Welcome Madeline

Madeline Grace Freed entered the world this morning at 8:50 AM after only one push. Since she’s roughly 2 weeks early we expected a smaller girl. We thought that was the case, but she clocked in with almost identical vitals (19.75″ long, 6 lbs 10 oz) and she scored the same 9 on her Apgar, so she’s in good shape. And she’s lovely.

I know you’re expecting photos, but the wireless here is basically down, so you’ll have to settle for a cell phone pic in the meantime.

No news is good news?

Still no baby. Michelle has been a trooper with almost now food, limited mobility, and little motion on the baby’s part. She’s just been put back on pitocin and we’re going to attempt some rest before the show.

The show now looks like it’ll be on the 17th, which doesn’t have the logical appeal of the 15th nor the artistic appeal of the 16th. I was hoping baby would be born with a new president, but now I’m just hoping she comes in January. So much for groundhogs day.

While we were out walking the halls with IV bag in tow, we ran in to a former employee of mine who’s wife is also there having a baby. Strange, small world.

Day 2

We’re starting day 2 with breakfast and a modicum of sleep. Michelle got a new IV line added so she can use her right hand again. Sadly, the wifi here is crap so updates are slow.

Pins and needles

Baby 2 isn’t due until February 2nd (Groundhogs day!), but we got a shock from the doctor on Monday who informed us that Michelle’s amniotic fluid is low and we may be seeing baby much sooner than expected. Today we go back to find out if the fluid level has dropped. If so, Michelle will likely be induced. While we’re both excited to meet her, we’re both hoping she gets to stay in a little longer.

Speaking of pins and needles, Baby 2 was breech until Monday afternoon. Michelle was seeing an acupuncturist to try and turn the baby. During her session on Monday, baby started moving and by the time she got to her other doctor appointment an hour later, baby was no longer breech. Very good news because it means Michelle won’t need a cesarian. Michelle loved the clinic and her experience, and amazingly, our insurance covered it under “complementary” care.

Now we just wait to see what baby 2 wants.

First “old” moment

This morning I woke up around 4:30am in considerable pain. I had tried to roll over to my side and immediately stopped due to the sharp stab in my lower back. Michelle was asleep so I did some self-diagnostics and realized that my back was “out” as I’ve heard a number of my older acquaintances say.

Yesterday I put 1.5 yards of cedar chip in the chicken run and around the yard and may have hurt it shovelling, or I may have hurt it lifing the wheel barrow over my head to get it around some obstacles (it was empty), or maybe it was the pumpkins, or all the toting Ella around, but I ended up going to bed with a sore back.

Anyway, come 5am, i was trying to pin the blame on a certain moment or action so I could avoid doing it again in the future. My dad pulled his back like this the day we went to Seattle for last year’s STP and I thought it was pretty amazing that he rode and finished it considering the pain. Now I’m especially impressed given how difficult it was to eventually get out of bed (with help).

Now I’m taking it easy and trying to milk the pain for sympathy. It’s not working entirely well, but I didn’t have to carry the laundry downstairs.

Ella Turns Two

Ella on the ZoolineToday Ella turned the big TWO. As is now tradition, Michelle and I took the day off and we took the girl to the Oregon Zoo, where we spent far longer than years past. I’m amazed at how much she’s grown, and how much she’s changed in a year. Just a year ago she was still clumsily walking for the first time. She walked for maybe a hundred yards or so last year, and she maybe didn’t walk for a hundred yards this year. In fact, she spent much of her time running or climbing.

I don’t know if I would have believed you if you would have told me that I’d love my daughter more this year, and maybe that’s the wrong way to say it, but my love has widened, and I’m just in awe of who she is and what she’s capable of. (Awe or fear) While she’s still signing a fair amount, Ella has now added a fairly decent collection of words to her spoken vocabulary and is connecting several words to communicate intention, desire, and, well, orders. She’s loving her tricycle and dolly, and we’re hoping that helps prepare her for what’s coming in February.

She’s waking up from her nap now, so I’d better run. Here are some pictures from our zoo trip. Thanks for letting me borrow the camera, dad.


Barley started growling this early this morning and Michelle said “I think I heard a door open.” I jumped out of bed to investigate and was scared as I rounded the corner to find Ella standing naked in the doorway, signing and saying “potty?” After the initial shock, I was pleased to see that she’d made it through the night without soiling a diaper, and tickled that she’d taken it off and attempted to use the bathroom herself. Now if only we could do it consistently.

I suppose this is a case of having knocked on wood. Just last week I made the mistake of commenting that Ella never gets out of her bed when she’s napping. About 6 months ago she stopped fighting nap time and just accepted her fate. Well, that’s no longer the case. Saturday she got out of bed and played with shoes and got herself dressed (both legs through one leg of her favorite pajamas) before I heard the door knob turning. Sunday she did the same, got up and was wandering around upstairs. I explained that she had to stay in her room during her nap, and she seemed to comply. We’ll see what happens, but we better get the monitor out again.

First flight and Nebraska

Ella and I flew back to Nebraska for a wedding and for my grandparent’s 60th anniversary over the long weekend. It was Ella’s first time flying and her first time in either Colorado or Nebraska. Due to the cost of flying and lack of vacation, not only did we fly to Denver instead of Lincoln, but Michelle stayed home. My parents and sister who were driving back to Nebraska for the wedding picked us up in Denver, then we completed the last 288 miles with them.

I had kind of been dreading the trip because I was worried about traveling with a toddler, less than enthusiastic about going to hot & humid Nebraska during the summer, and all sorts of other little things that I associate with being in the Midwest. (i.e. no recycling, bugs, wal-mart everything, lite-beer, my family’s seeming need to out-religious each other, meat in everything, driving everywhere, etc.)

There was really no reason to worry though as I had a great time, and I’m pretty sure Ella enjoyed herself too. You see, I have 21 cousins (not all of whom were there) and as they are having kids, there were plenty of people for Ella to play with, or at least watch. She made quick friends with a couple of my first cousins, once removed. (that distinction was bugging me the entire time. “My cousin’s kid” wasn’t cutting it, despite being shorter)

The weather was even cooperative most of the time and we had several pleasant evenings outside with cardinal calls, lightning bugs, yard games, and a few mosquito bites. Ella even got to swim in the same pool that I swam in as a toddler some 28 years ago. When away from it, it can be easy to forget all the parts I like about Nebraska – family being foremost. Like the trip to Ontario last September, it was great to catch up with family (many of whom weren’t on the Ontario trip) and see how everyone is doing. It reaffirms how important the connection to family can be, and reminds me that we need to make sure we keep in touch for Ella’s sake. And ours.

Some photos

Ella’s first camping trip

Back in April, we scrapped a camping trip with my parents because it was 50F and raining. We thought it would make for a miserable first camping trip for Ella to be stuck in the volkswagen for two days. So, after aligning all our schedules (Hilary’s too) we picked this weekend. My parents, Ella and Barley went over to Nehalem Bay State Park on Friday morning, and Michelle, Hilary and I met up with them after work.

3 minutes after we arrived, Ella vomited twice. She’d woken up with a cough that morning, but was fine until around 4pm, when she started to slow down. She perked up a little after some tylenol, so we stayed the night, and it went fairly well considering. She didn’t vomit again, but woke up 3 separate times with the saddest, most haunting vibrato crying I’ve ever heard. But after 3 interruptions, we all fell back to sleep for about 4-5 hours.

The day was quite nice, though overcast and cool. We had a great breakfast then rode our bikes in to Manzanita for coffee and more children’s tylenol. The town has changed quite a bit since our first visit in 2002, but it’s still a charming place. After returning to camp, we ate lunch and goofed around a bit while Ella got a much needed nap. We tried some kite flying, reading, and relaxing.

The campground is about 1.5 miles south of town and is really pretty swank. We happened to be there at the same time as a Winnebago View/Itasca Navion Rally, so there was this erie twilight zone feeling because all the campers there were the same. Nice folk though, and they were quiet, so there were really no complaints.

After Ella’s nap, her coughing had gotten worse, and our prospects for a rougher night convinced us to head home after dinner. I know sounds like all we did was eat, but that’s a pretty important part of camping, isn’t it?

Having a physician for a father has it’s benefits, so we knew that it was in fact croup that she was afflicted with and how to deal with it. She sounded pretty rough for most of the weekend, and it was clear that she was in pain when coughing at times. Luckily, the tylenol and ibuprofen allowed her to enjoy herself and she would go from being morose and in pain to her busy self in cycles throughout the day.

Despite the illness, camping again seems promising. She was kind of confused by the whole sleeping bag thing, but we’ll get it down. I didn’t take any pictures because my camera was in Michelle’s purse, and I kept forgetting to retrieve it. Luckily, my mom, dad, and sister all had their cameras.