Thursday, April 30, 2009

Little Squares

Since we didn't know the sex of our first child (Justin) before he was born, we painted the room neutral tones of blue and green. The thinking was that adding a few accent squares, plus the usual bedding and wall accessories would be enough to tilt the room in either direction (boy or girl) depending on the outcome. However, once we painted the "boy squares" the first time around, I think there was some skepticism as to how "neutral" the room was to begin with (especially with the blue). Well, with Jasmine's arrival, we got a chance to finally see if the theory would match up with practice... And 3 repainted squares later, I've gotta say that I'm pretty happy with the results. It's funny how just a few dabs of paint and a hint of pink can soften the look of a room. Here are a couple of shots of the before and after... From Justin... Jasmine.

We'll take pics of the full room once we get the other accessories up and done.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Around The Clock

It's funny what you take for granted. Jasmine's got her days and nights mixed up, a problem that I don't remember having to deal with upon Justin's arrival two years ago. She spent all of last night as wide awake as can be, staring at me and her mom as we fed, rubbed, and patted her down all night... basically pleading with her to go to sleep. Meanwhile, besides forcing a cry, we can barely get her to open her eyes in the daytime . I'm sure she'll figure it out in due time. But in the meantime, her reverse schedule will continue to take its toll on any hopes of a good night's sleep. It's also taking a toll on her having a halfway decent photo scrapbook. When she's up, alert and ready to roll at 3 in the morning, grabbing my camera is just about the last thing on my mind. And as for daytime photos, how many photos can you really take of a sleeping baby? I'm sure I've passed my quota about 5 days ago.

In any event, here are a few photos from yesterday: Jasmine at 8 days old. Two of them were taken during the 11 minutes of wake time that she granted us on Sunday. While the other is from my growing collection of sleeping baby photos. Hopefully by the end of the week, her schedule will start to turn around.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Day

8 hours ago, I was in a car accident. Hit and run on Terminal Boulevard as I neared the interstate entrance. Hit from behind and side swiped on the passenger side, I fishtailed into the guardrail several times, doing my best to avoid entering oncoming traffic, before regaining control of (myself and) the vehicle. No one was hurt. But the level of frustration felt when someone flees the scene (and flees accountability) for what could have been a fatal situation is indescribable. And the timing of it all (just days after Jasmine's arrival) made the whole situation extremely surreal as I was reminded (very violently, no less) of how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken from us. Scary thoughts, for sure. Certainly enough to make you go home, kiss your wife, hug your children, and redouble your efforts to make the most of everyday.

So now the cleanup begins. Phone calls. Car repairs. Or perhaps a car replacement (depending on if the vehicle is "totaled" or not). Unexpected expenses. Huge inconvenience. And plenty of time lost. It is incredible how 8 seconds on a nondescript Thursday night can conceivable impact the rest of your life. But I just thank God that I am still here to see another day. Because in the scheme of things, everything else besides life suddenly seems very trivial. What a reminder to count your blessings.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Checkup

Jasmine Olivia went for her first doctor visit on Tuesday, just one day after we arrived home. After the dehydration issues that we had with Justin (who was still "Alex" at the time) two years ago, we were more than happy to get to the doctor sooner than later to make sure that all was a-o-k. And with that, we are happy to report that everything is great. After the typical post-birth weight drop, she is already on her way back to her original 8 lbs 3 oz birth weight. Other than that, mom is doing great, Justin is adjusting better than I expected (more on that in another entry), and Elena continues to be a tremendous help with just about everything. As for me, I totally underestimated how different things would be this time around given that I still have to go to work everyday (with Justin's arrival, I was already on summer vacation). But with just two more weeks of school, summer vacation and 24 hours a day of family time is right around the corner. Can't wait.

At the doctor's office

Justin gives Jasmine the foot check.

In daddy's hands

Jasmine & Nurse Brenda

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's A Girl!

Jasmine Olivia Reyes. 2:36pm. 8 lbs 3 ozs. 20 inches. And a lifetime of blog entries to come.


10:41: Progress! V's water was broken and the doc put her at 3 to 4cm dilated. The water breakage didn't go so well... For a week V has been asking me if I thought the water breaking process would be painful... we now have a very definitive answer to that question. And so does anyone else within screaming distance of our room. But hearing right afterward that the cervix had gone from 1cm to 3 or 4cm made all the difference in the world. Pain is one thing, but pain with a purpose is a whole lot easier to bear.

10:42: V forgave the doctor for what she just did.

11:04: The request for an epidural. Once the water was broken, the contractions went bananas. Our guess is about a minute apart with the intensity almost up 50 to 100%. Whatever they were, they were intense, and I think we all got our first collective sense that it wouldn't be long from here. Yipee Skipee!

11:12: Enter stage left the anesthesiologist.

11:33: The epidural procedure begins. "Hold still..."
11:51: Epidural is a done deal.

12:45: 5 centimeters and counting.
13:26 : 8 - 9 centimeters.
14:11: Dilation complete.
14:16: 1... 2... 3... and PUSH!

Rise and Shine

3:25: Woken up by contractions. "Hi, this is Reyes in room 2. Bring on the drugs. Thanks."

3:50: Medicated.

4:00: Relief sets in. More sleep follows. The drugs only lasted about an hour or two, but mommy says that it was the best hour of sleep that money could buy.

6:00: Wake up call. Unfortunately the cervidil made no noticeable improvement in dilation, as we are still at 1 cm (been there for weeks, actually) despite contractions continuing to intensify at 2 to 4 minutes apart.

7:12: Induction Stage 2: Pitocin connected. Scrabble game resumed.

8:40: Crank up the Pitocin.

9:00: Mom-in-Law makes a cameo (and brings dad's breakfast. Hooray for mom!!).

9:39: Pitocin increase numero dos.

9:53: Visits from Dr. Puritz, Mom, and Popsicle number 2.

Overall, V is in good shape. Sleepy still, but enduring the contractions better over time. Every trip to bathroom has been an adventure with all of the cords, wires, and i.v. bags in tow. But it does ad for comic relief and helps break the monotony. For what it's worth, the weather outside seems gorgeous (not that we can enjoy it). Going up to 80 degrees with few clouds to speak of. Perfect day for having babies. Now if we can just get some dilation going.

The Night Before - pt. II

21:13 : What's on TV?

22:48 : IV Connection. 12 minutes til Cervidil.

23:47 : Scrabble, anyone? We lasted about 4 rounds each before the urge to sleep started to hit and V started to fade away.

01:45 : Out cold. Contractions made things rough for about 1/2 an hour, but in the end sleep prevailed. See you in the morning. G'nite.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Night Before

20:36 : There's always time for a Panera stop. The stop turned out worth our while as the staff at Panera was awesome. They wished us well and sent us on our way with a complimentary extra bagel, full chocolate cake and a delicious danish ring for the nursing staff.

20:55 : The Arrival

21:05 : In the room. Ready to "find out".

Reyes Reprieve

In preparing for our hospital visit you can say there were three check lists we were using: The must-have / must-do list. Then there's the it would be nice to get this done before we check in list... and finally the you've really got no business worrying about that right now list. With that said, it is safe to say that everything we did today was on list #3. With yesterday's letdown already fading into distant memory, today was quite the normal day for the trio, soon to be quartet. Daddy took advantage of his day off from work and mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage, and tackled a handful of other non-essential house chores. V spent quality time with her mom, who arrived just before yesterday's make believe hospital trip. The two of them made a trip to a Japanese steakhouse for lunch and also took one last pregnancy stroll in preparation for the baby's arrival. And Justin went to daycare, and was home in time to enjoy 70 degree temps while he cruised on his motorized ATV. So business as usual at the Reyes residence. I guess you can call it our last taste of normalcy for a while. In all, an enjoyable productive day, and perhaps to some extent the silver lining to our 24-hour pause.

As for tonight, V just called the hospital an hour ago, and I'm happy to say that things are a go (for-real for-real this time). Checkin is 8:30 pm and from there it'll be time to rock and roll. Oh happy day. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Delayed Gratification

Finally!!!!!!! Baby number two has arrived! It's a....

... photo of Justin from two years ago. Sorry. But did you feel that? That feeling of instant exhilaration and held breath... followed by an indescribable let down? Did it make you feel emotionally bamboozled, beguiled, conned, deceived, duped, gypped, hoodwinked, victimized, ... you get the point. Well, that's exactly what I felt when we called the hospital at 7:15 to confirm our scheduled arrival for V's induction and were told that there were no more beds. You want to talk about feeling dejection. I'm still trying to recover. I felt like someone punched me in the gut. Wind out of my sails. Air out of my balloon... and any other cheesy proverb that you can think of along those lines. We spent a week gearing up for today, only to be put on hold for another 24 hours. And after 9 months of waiting, you'd think that another day would be neither here nor there... but it was the build up. The planning. The anxiety. Like seeing those dreaded three words at the end of your favorite tv show: to be continued (to which you almost always respond awwwwwwww mannnnnn). It's that same feeling I get after every episode of "24". Brought to the brink of exhilaration. Then, BAM. Nothing. See you next week.

Oddly enough, V is taking it much better than I am. For me, this is worse than that time 2 years ago when I thought I won the lottery. Stayed up until 11pm to listen to them call the numbers. Realized I matched every one of the numbers... including the mega ball... Funny how $102 million dollars will send your mind in 100 million places in just 8 seconds flat.... only to realize that my ticket said Virginia Lottery, not Mega Millions. Right numbers. Wrong Lottery. Now that, my friend, is an emotional roller coaster that you don't want to be on. That also never happened. But if it did, that would pretty much describe how I felt when I heard those dreadful three words tonight: No more beds.

So we try again tomorrow night. Only to face the possibility of the same thing happening again. Exasperating. Hey if nothing else, we'll have a story to our second child every year on April 17: "Your birthday would be today... but there were no more beds. Sorry kid, you can open your gifts tomorrow."


Just 10 hours until we check into the hospital. For the birth of a child, the idea of being "ready" is laughable... but I guess we're as prepared as we are going to be at this point. Bags are packed (okay... minus mine, but what do I really need? pompoms?). The nursery is set. The car seats are installed (it'll be fun to see how Justin takes to his new backseat company)... and last night I gave Justin a crash course in manual transmission in the event that he'll have to take the wheel while I deliver the baby in the back seat. So all that's left is the passage of time. Let the fun begin.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


As I was putting Justin to bed two nights ago, for some reason it hit me just how much his world is going to change once the baby arrives (t minus 5 days or less). As adults, we've had the luxury of planning, mentally and otherwise, for this momentous shift in our lives. But even though he seems to acknowledge the changes that mommy has been going through, I'm almost certain that the arrival of a brother or sister is going to blind-side him like a ton of bricks dropped from a penthouse balcony. For 22 months, he has had the luxury of our undivided attention. The world as he knows it revolves around him. And in the blink of an eye, that will change for the rest of his life. No longer a soloist, but a duet at best. Of course, this is nothing unique since at some point, this will obviously happen to every kid who is not an only child like I am. But pondering how the transition will go is still an interesting exercise to me.

Anyway, with all of that said, I thought I'd make it a priority to wrap up the March entry of our Photo Scrapbook since once the baby comes, it simply won't seem that interesting anymore... kind of like pictures of just V and I before Justin was born... we are so second fiddle at this point... on our way to third. And if we have any more kids, I guess we won't even be in the orchestra anymore. So here it is, Justin's last solo performance in the Family Footprints Photo Scrapbook. You had a good run, kid. But now it's time to share the spotlight.

Friday, April 10, 2009

BellyWatch2 | 38 Weeks

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. 7 days from now (perhaps sooner... perhaps a few hours later) we will be a family of four.   This week was our last ultrasound visit (and sadly the first that I've missed in two pregnancies)... which means that the next time we see the baby will be live and in person. After 38 weeks the baby is estimated to be 7 lbs 10 ounces; which means that things are progressing towards another baby in the lower end of the 8 pound range (remember, Justin Alexander was 8/2). The lab tech also mentioned that there was lots of hair and the legs seemed pretty long, which is interesting since neither of us are particularly tall.  Anyway, combining that info with 9 months of blogging, lots of photos, and a rapidly approaching delivery date; we figured it's time to close the book of speculation. So here's a little poll that we put together so that everyone can make their predictions "for the record".  Enjoy! We look forward to reading your responses.

Click here for the survey

Click here to see the survey results 
(don't cheat... take your survey first :o)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sand Dollars

Life is definitely happening faster than I can write about it. But long story short, Justin Alexander got called for another gig last week: a photo shoot for the Dollar Tree circular.  Yes, he got paid to play in the sand. This was definitely his best shoot yet given that he got to just "be himself", rather than being expected to pose as if he wasn't the unpredictable toddler that he is. With their lack of patience and bizarre expectations, you'd think some of these photographers / A&R reps have never worked with kids before (though I will say that the Dollar Tree staff was the best so far). It was also his first gig where he got to interact with other kids, which worked out great for him. Anyway, as of now, Justin can officially put "swimsuit model" down on his resume; which I think is hilarious. More details to come (or maybe not...) but I at least wanted to post the photos now for the sake of documentation. Check him out signing his contract work.

BellyWatch2 | 37 Weeks

This is the smile of a woman who just caught a break.

Big news: As of last week, the doctor has given the baby until the 16th to come on its own (which is now only a head spinning 10 days away). If it doesn't come between now and then, given the complications we've had, they will induce labor to help ensure the arrival of a healthy baby by the 17th. For me the whole conversation about choosing a date was very surreal, and I still haven't totally wrapped my head around the idea that we are scheduling the baby's birthday rather waiting with bated breath for that breakthrough moment marked by broken water and an action packed dash to the hospital. When the doctor asked, "what day would you like?"... I had to honestly ask her, "and exactly what are we supposed to base that on?" I mean, in my book, you schedule vacations, dinner plans, and homework assignments... but what are you supposed to consider when you are scheduling a birth? Your favorite tv show? ("well, Law and Order is airing a new episode on Thursday, so I'm thinking Friday morning is fine")... Zodiac signs? ("We definitely want a Pisces, so we'll hold out till Monday, thanks" )... Kids Eat Free night at Sal's Pizzeria? Whatever the case, they all sound equally absurd to me. I know it's done all the time, but choosing someone's birthday just doesn't seem like something that should be up to me. So I was at a loss as to how to even respond to her question. For what seemed like forever, I sat dumbfounded. But after about a minute of staring at the wall, I finally came up with a halfway decent question.

Jerome: "So you want to induce during the 39th week... Statistically speaking, is there any difference between 39 weeks and 1 day versus 39 weeks and 6 days? Will either choice improve the probability of a successful childbirth for mom or baby?" (I was thinking she'd say, the longer we wait the better... but instead, she replied...)

Doctor: Nope. At that point it's all the same.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BellyWatch2 | 36 Weeks

We are up to 3 (yes, three) doctor visits a week: an NST, an Ultrasound (one week for fluid measurements, the next week for baby), and a doctor consultation. Sometimes we get lucky and they're all back-to-back. But other weeks we feel like human pendulums with all the back and forth. Contractions are getting very intense. Sleep is coming in shifts and getting less comfortable every day. But the good news is that V has migrated from the bed to a sofa chair, to a chaise lounge, and has now traded up for a plush recliner we snagged on Craigslist two days ago. We are definitely in that "any day now" mode. According to V, I've been doing my fair share of "nesting" over the last 2 weeks. And according to the doctor (as of last Thursday) the baby was estimated at about 6 pounds 14 ounces... which is a heck of a lot of baby with 4 weeks to go (sounds fully cooked to me). At first we flipped out after doing our own calculations, figuring that this would equate to an 11 pounder or something of the sort since the weight gain picks up quite a bit over the last weeks of pregnancy... But the doctor assured us that although it is high (about the 70th percentile), it's not cause for alarm just yet. He estimates that'll put us somewhere in the 8 pound range if V continues her stellar job at maintaining the gestational diabetes eating regiment (man, that diet is getting so old right now... I'm amazed at how well she's stuck to it.. actually, I think she's amazed, too). We were also reminded that Justin was no small potato either, weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces. So V feels pretty good about the prospect of another juicy baby.

Only days away now. With the calendar rolling over to April just 22 minutes ago, the countdown is officially in full swing.