Picture of the Day for May 31, 2008

Video: Baby hiccups

Picture of the Day for May 30, 2008

Picture of the Day for May 29, 2008

Video: 9 months of pregnancy in less than 3 minutes

Picture of the Day for May 28, 2008

Settling in at home

Carolyn's second night at home was exponentially better than her first night. She didn't wake us up at all! She's also been eating (and pooping) a lot, so that's good.

We're taking her for her first pediatrician appointment tomorrow where they will check her bilirubin levels again and make sure everything is still okay. We've been holding her in the sunlight by windows most of the day, so we're hoping that helps too.

In the meantime, you can check out more pictures of Carolyn in the Newborn Carolyn photo album. If you're strapped for time, I'll summarize for you: She's still adorable! (By the way, notice up at the top right of this page that there are links to all of the photo albums for your convenience.)

Video: Meet Carolyn

Introducing Carolyn to her home

We were discharged from the hospital last night and made it home around 9:30 or so. On the drive home, there was a Memorial Day fireworks show happening as we drove on I-95, but we decided that it was actually in honor of Carolyn's homecoming.

The first night at home with Carolyn was... a challenge. We think it's partly because we couldn't hold her very much yesterday, but she didn't do very well sleeping in the bassinet. Every time we would put her down after rocking her to sleep in our arms, she would wake up about 10 minutes later and scream until we picked her up again.

Other than that, she's eating much better than she did at the hospital, so that's great. Kristen has also managed to get her to sleep pretty well in the Moses basket downstairs. We've got her lying in the sunlight to help keep the jaundice at bay. Isn't she adorable?

As for the rest of today, we're going to try to get some naps in where we can, but I've got a big list of errands to run as well. Most notably, I'll be going out to get a rocking chair so that we don't need to walk around to get Carolyn back to sleep in the middle of the night.

I'm hoping to get some time this afternoon to put up some video from the hospital too, so stay tuned.

The blue light special

One of the series of tests I alluded to last night is a test for jaundice based on the baby's bilirubin (pronounced like Billy Reuben) levels. As you've guessed by now, Carolyn's levels were just barely within the range where they need to do some treatment.

The treatment in this case is to put her under blue UV light for 10 hours. She's here in the room with us. We've had her swaddled and have been holding her just about all the time up until now. Well, for this treatment, she needs to be unswaddled with her eyes protected by a tiny little mask, and we obviously can't hold her, so for a little while she was screaming like she never has before.

But the nurse came in, worked some magic by swinging her on her side while making a swishing sound (that's three out of the "five S's", the other two being swaddling and sucking on a pacifier). Carolyn is calm and sleeping now, and hopefully she stays that way for a little while, because we can't bear to sit and just watch her cry!

And of course, we're hoping that Mr. William Reuben goes away so that we can take Carolyn home tonight.

Answers to some of your burning questions

I'm sure some of you are wondering about some of this stuff, so I'll try to cover as much as I can. But really this is just an excuse to post more pictures of the baby while she and her mommy are getting some sleep.

What have we been doing since she was born?
Lots of holding and snuggling. Kristen and I love just holding her close, looking at her, talking to her, and introducing her to her new world.

When are we going home?
Tomorrow afternoon. Carolyn has passed the glucose tests with flying colors, and unless something comes up in the battery of tests they have planned for tonight, they have no reason for keeping her in the hospital past tomorrow.

Does she have red hair?
Not exactly. It's brown right now, but I think it looks like my sister Ellen's hair when she was born, so I think it may turn red.

How does it feel to be a dad?
AWESOME. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me! (Kristen feels the same way about being a mom.)

That's all for tonight. With any luck I'll be able to get some video posted here tomorrow after we go home.

All cleaned up

She's even cuter since they've cleaned her up. Kristen hasn't slept in, oh, 30 hours or so, but she's not even tired. I got a couple of hours of sleep last night so that I'd be ready to tend to our beautiful daughter today.

The doctors and nurses have been keeping an eye on her blood sugar levels because of her low birth weight. In the morning the levels were low, but they're starting to stay up, which is good! Kristen and Carolyn have both been doing a great job with nursing.

Carolyn's going to meet Grandma and Papa Hyland in just a little while, so she's obviously excited about that.

Carolyn Mary Moyer: born May 23, 2008 at 7:49pm weighing 5 lbs 7 oz

She's coming!

They just told us that the baby is ready to come out!! The pushing will begin imminently!!

Epidurals are liquid magic

For a little while there Kristen was feeling a lot of pain ("9 out of 10"), but then the magician, a.k.a. anaesthesiologist, came in, put in the epidural, and now she's feeling very little pain (witness the above picture!), but tons of pressure.

We're still a few hours away. Kristen is going to try to take a nap again.

Cold hands, warm faces, back pains, and knitting

We're approaching the introduction of pitocin into Kristen's system which will trigger some increasingly frequent and severe contractions. She's been having pretty regular contractions that have caused her discomfort, mostly in her back. In her words: "This really is starting to hurt." But overall, she's taking it like a champ and keeping her eyes on the prize: Carolyn.

Meanwhile, my hands are freezing from taking a 30-minute nap directly underneath the vent, and Kristen's face is warm, presumably from the medication they've given her, so we've combined our special powers to keep her temperature tolerable.

She had been knitting to keep herself occupied, but now she's turned on the TV to distract herself. And now I've gotta go distract her. May not post again for a while.

Nap time

In anticipation of what lies ahead this evening, Kristen is attempting to get some much-needed rest. I don't know if the contractions will allow her to sleep too long though.

It may be a loooooong day

Kristen is still feeling contractions, but after emptying her bladder they've been less painful for her. The doctor was just in and she indicated that Carolyn may arrive in the wee hours of the morning since they won't start the pitocin for another, oh, two hours or so. So we've got that to look forward to.

In the meantime, we're enjoying that old favorite from when you were sick and home from school: The Price is Right. Same sets, same games, no Bob Barker, no Rod Roddy, but still awesome.

Waiting for the labor to begin

We're here in the labor and delivery room, and I've figured out how to set the camera to take a delayed picture, so unfortunately for you, dear reader, you get to look at my ugly mug in addition to my wife's gorgeous face (sorry).

Kristen is having some contractions, about 2 or 3 minutes apart. According to her they are uncomfortable bordering on painful. They are going to start the pitocin (the drug that induces labor) in about 2 hours.

As you can see in the picture, Kristen is keeping herself occupied by knitting a blanket for Carolyn. More updates to come a little later.

(By the way, how far has technology come since Kristen and I were born? I'm taking pictures and instantaneously publishing them to the entire world. I would also be publishing video, but I don't have the right cord to hook up the video camera to my laptop. And to think, our parents had to walk uphill to and from the hospital without shoes and the printing press was just a twinkle in Johann Gutenberg's eye when we were born.)

Video: Kristen plays Wii on the last night of the pregnancy

Yes, you read correctly, tomorrow we will be going to the hospital where they will induce labor: Carolyn will be born tomorrow!! Most likely by the time you're reading this, we're already at the hospital.

At any rate, we thought it would be fun to tape Kristen doing some Wii bowling.

Keep us in your prayers tomorrow, and we'll update the blog with pictures and videos of Carolyn as soon as we can!

Video: Mom and dad graduate

This past weekend, the University of Pennsylvania held its graduation festivities. Kristen graduated from medical school and is now officially a doctor, and I couldn't be more proud of her.

I finished my master's degree in December and participated in graduation this weekend as well.

The ceremony for the engineering master's degree recipients was not nearly as cool as the med school ceremony. Plus, I got my diploma a few months ago, and didn't know anyone else at graduation, so I was really just there for the formality of it, and so that we could get some pictures of Kristen and me both in cap and gown.

Why'd you pick that name?

The first question people always seem to ask when you tell them your baby's name is either "How'd you come up with that?" or "Is she named after anybody?" Well, for Carolyn Mary it's pretty simple: We like the name Carolyn, and both of her grandmothers are named Mary. (By the way, the picture up there is a cross-stitch that Kristen made.)

There's a couple of reasons we like the name Carolyn. For one, we wanted to give her a name that wasn't already taken by someone else in the family. Also, it's a name that people have heard before, but yet it's not the most common of names for a baby girl right now. According to the Social Security Administration website for baby names, the name Carolyn is currently the 616th most popular baby girl name. It's actually falling off the cliff in popularity right now, but that's fine with us, because it means she probably won't get confused with any other Carolyns in school.

Okay, so we couldn't have selected Carolyn merely for its unpopularity. After all, we could have called her Apple or Pilot Inspektor if we were looking for a rare name. To be honest, we were on the fence between Caroline and Carolyn, but decided that Carolyn just sounds better. The first inspiration for these names were probably from the songs "Oh My Sweet Carolina" by Ryan Adams and "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" by Adams' old band Whiskeytown, neither of which actually use the name Carolyn, but so be it.

In case you're wondering, we've already got names picked out for the next kid, but you'll have to wait a few years to find out what they are.

The labor mixtapes

Last time around I talked about making mixtapes and there was a request to see the track listings. Since I'm the kind of guy who listens to what his audience wants and delivers on it, here we go...

Labor Mix #1

  1. "When Your Mind's Made Up" by The Frames
  2. "New Slang" by The Shins
  3. "Step on My Old Size Nines" by Stereophonics
  4. "Where Does the Good Go?" by Tegan & Sara
  5. "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison
  6. "Fake Empire" by The National
  7. "Think Long" by Mates of State
  8. "Don't Wanna Know Why" by Whiskeytown
  9. "On the Radio" by Regina Spektor
  10. "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Madeleine Peyroux
  11. "Black Sheep Boy" by Okkervil River
  12. "Cello Song" by Nick Drake
  13. "Wordless Chorus" by My Morning Jacket
  14. "I'm Tongue-Tied" by The Magnetic Fields
  15. "Hummingbird" by Wilco
  16. "Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse
  17. "Come Around" by Rhett Miller
  18. "Crystal Village" by Pete Yorn
  19. "Chinese Translation" by M. Ward
Labor Mix #2
  1. "Oh My Sweet Carolina" by Ryan Adams
  2. "Question" by Old 97's
  3. "Fly" by Nick Drake
  4. "Falling Slowly" by The Frames
  5. "Hi-Fi" by M. Ward
  6. "Red Vines" by Aimee Mann
  7. "Arms of a Woman" by Amos Lee
  8. "Silent Sigh" by Badly Drawn Boy
  9. "Blackout" by British Sea Power
  10. "Flicker" by Calamine
  11. "Yankee Bayonet" by The Decemberists
  12. "Burning the River" by Pete Francis
  13. "Everything Reminds Me of Her" by Elliott Smith
  14. "1234" by Feist
  15. "I'm on Standby" by Grandaddy
  16. "Such Great Heights" by Iron & Wine
  17. "Even Tho" by Joseph Arthur
  18. "Make a Plan to Love Me" by Bright Eyes
Labor Mix #3
  1. "My Darlin'" by Wilco
  2. "Silver Lining" by Rilo Kiley
  3. "Say Yes" by Elliott Smith
  4. "Harness and Wheel" by The Kingsbury Manx
  5. "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap
  6. "Something to Talk About" by Badly Drawn Boy
  7. "Passing Afternoon" by Iron & Wine
  8. "Red Rabbits" by The Shins
  9. "Shelter" by Ray LaMontagne
  10. "Fidelity" by Regina Spektor
  11. "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys
  12. "The Crane Wife 3" by The Decemberists
  13. "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley
  14. "Sunrise" by Norah Jones
  15. "Now It's On" by Grandaddy
  16. "Bottom of the Barrel" by Amos Lee
  17. "Blue" by Lucinda Williams
  18. "Mushaboom" by Feist
  19. "Saturday Sun" by Nick Drake

On the musical aspects of childbirth

Much like Rob, the main character in my favorite movie of all-time, High Fidelity, I believe in the power of the mixtape. Let's not forget my contributions in a short-lived, but much beloved (by upwards of 10 people) blog dedicated to the art of the mixtape. A great mixtape gives those of us who were not blessed with the ability to create our own music (or at least good music) a sense of artistic accomplishment.

And so it is with these thoughts in my mind that I put together the mixes that will contain the songs that will cause me to hearken back to the birth of my daughter. The experts, and one of our nurses, say the music that babies hear in the womb tends to stick with them, such that when a boy of 10 wonders why he digs that Christopher Cross song so much, his mother just smiles, oblivious to her terrible taste.

So as you can imagine, the mixes that I've put together for when Kristen is in labor at the hospital are weighing pretty heavily right now. Will they influence Carolyn's musical tastes, or at the very least, ensure that she never buys an album by Hannah Montana or some other future musical abomination? I sure hope so.

But mostly, I just want the music to set Kristen's mind at ease, so that's why I've picked songs that she would like; again, much like Rob at the end of High Fidelity, except that I refuse to put songs on there that I would object to. Now of course, this is the same Kristen who frantically lowers the volume of the radio when she's trying to parallel park because she's agitated, so who knows whether she'll even want music on during labor.

The hospital bag checklist

We've been told by the doctor that we should be bringing our hospital bag to every appointment from here on out, which basically means "any day now". Before tonight we had thrown a few things into a bag, but tonight we went full tilt and packed it for real.

Since I know you're just dying to know what's in that bag (otherwise why would you be reading this?), here's our checklist:

  • Baby's going home outfit
  • Baby blanket
  • Video camera (and battery charger)
  • Digital camera (and extra batteries)
  • Change of clothes for Mommy
  • Change of clothes for Daddy
  • Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant (we don't want Carolyn to think she has stinky parents)
  • Socks
  • Pillowcase
  • Chapstick
  • Massager
  • ID and insurance cards
  • Brush
  • Books
  • Hard candy
  • Hair ties
  • Cell phones (and charger)
  • Snacks
  • Laptop computer (for live blogging of the birth...... just kidding, but not far off)
  • and of course... Mix CDs

Video: Baby shower

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the baby shower (and also those of you who sent us gifts). Yesterday was the most active that Kristen has been in months, and after everyone had left, she was so exhausted that she spent the afternoon and evening in bed. And so did I actually; I was just as exhausted after chasing these little guys around all day:

We're counting the days down now. The top thing on the to-do list right now is to get the hospital bags ready, and, well, I better go do that now!

35 weeks down, 2 or 4 to go

This is officially the home stretch. The doctor today told us to expect to deliver somewhere between 37 and 39 weeks, which means Carolyn may be born in as soon as 2 weeks. This is exciting obviously, but there's still so much left to do to prepare.

For instance, I haven't even finished reading The Expectant Father yet, and if Knocked Up taught me anything, it's that you need to read the baby books. I also have put forth a really poor effort in trying to install the car seat base; I have an appointment with a state trooper on Friday where they will no doubt ridicule me for how terribly I have it installed, just as Kristen has already done. With any luck, they will fix it for me, or at least show me how not to be an idiot about it.

In non-nincompoop-dad news, Kristen managed to get outside this past weekend, and even helped to plant some vegetables and herbs. From the picture, you can clearly tell that she is ecstatic about this.

On robins and nesting

While I was planting flowers this morning (one of the many fantastic activities a man can be subject to when his wife is pregnant), I noticed that this robin kept flying by with twigs and other junk in its mouth. Of course, I quickly realized that it was actually two robins, and they were building a nest in one of my shrubs.

My first instinct was, "Hey, get out of my bushes!" but then I thought that it was kinda cool, because we're both getting our homes ready for our children. So I decided it was okay for them to stay. As long as they don't poop on my flowers.