Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

 With a brand new baby and all we didn't have big plans for New Year's Eve!

Hannah had invited us over and we decided to head on over.  Hannah is a FABULOUS cook and you can't turn down an invitation to dine at their house!

Both Hannah and Todd's parents were there and they all had fun loving on sweet Tessa!
 Ollie loved holding her too!  He's going to be a big brother too soon so he was getting some practice in!
 And the food...oh the food!  

Shrimp Bisque with a Poached Pear and Blue Cheese was so yummy!

 It was a great night of good friends and relaxing...and these two managed to have loads of fun too!
2011 was a great year...and it couldn't have ended any better with Tessa making her arrival!  We are looking forward to all that 2012 has to bring to our family!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our first night at home was's just so nice to be back in your own home with both kids under the roof!

Riley had a jam packed day while we got discharged from the hospital so we spent the afternoon relaxing and settling in at home.  She had been at Six Flags for the afternoon and the Burrell's dropped her off and got to meet Tessa!  Jason's boss and his family brought us Chipotle for dinner and we let all the kids play.

We had a full house that evening but it was great.

After all the visitors left it was just us and our girls!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


 Tessa finally made her debut on December 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm.  She was early as I was due on January 7th but I say "finally" because she did a lot of teasing before she decided she was ready to come out!

I had switched my insurance in order to be able to deliver at Sutter Davis Birthing Center for many reasons but one being that so many of my friends had delivered there and had a fabulous experience and the other being that I wanted to have a natural labor and delivery.  With the desire to have a natural delivery this was the place to be.  You can choose to be seen by midwives or doctors, they are attached to a hospital, anesthesia is available, they offer a free doula service, and they are very passionate about natural deliveries.  I switched to this clinic at around 20 weeks and couldn't have been happier with the care.  The midwives were FANTASTIC and every appointment they blew me away.  They would come into the room having read every part of your chart and were very in tune to all aspects of the pregnancy and home life.  They encouraged me to bring Riley and let her use the doppler and ask all kinds of questions at every appointment.  I was definitely nervous about having a baby with no medication but I wanted to give it a shot.

Here's how the last few weeks of my pregnancy went down and my last belly shot!

Thursday 12/15 - I had an appointment with a doctor rather than a midwife.  He was nice but I much prefer the midwives. :)  He checked me and said nothing was going on.

Monday 12/19 - I woke up at 2:30 and was frantic to clean because our house was still sort of a disaster from Riley's birthday party. I resisted the urge but could not get back to sleep...I heard every breath Jason was taking and him grinding his teeth and I normally never am bothered by anything of the sort.  I moved to the couch around 4:15 and fell asleep until 6:00 and then got up and started cleaning...I told Jason to get ready because I felt like my crazy nesting phase was in full swing!  The night before I had Riley I was doing touch up painting in our kitchen so I was on alert for ridiculous behavior like that! :)

Wednesday 12/21 - I felt contractions start around 11:00 pm and they were pretty consistent coming about every 5-6 minutes...when I realized how consistent they were I got up to walk around and go to the bathroom and see if anything changed and sure enough they seemed to dissipate.  I figured I wouldn't sleep through childbirth so I went to bed and slept just fine.

Thursday 12/22 - I went to see my midwife and she was surprised that the week before nothing had started happening and she confirmed the contractions the night prior were real because she said I was a good 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced...she told me to get ready for a Christmas baby!  That threw me into somewhat of a panic because I did not want a Christmas baby.  Regardless, I knew Tessa's birthday would be close but I had lots of reservations about the potential of Riley spending Christmas with anyone other than Jason and I.  I knew it would all work out and she would be well taken care of but I really wanted to get through Christmas. I made sure all of our friends who would be helping with Riley knew what the prediction was and we had plans in place in case something did in fact happen over Christmas!

Saturday 12/24 - Riley and I finished our Christmas cookies and I was pretty crampy all day.  I felt like things could happen soon so when Jason got home from work I told him I thought we should have the car packed when we left for Christmas Eve service...just in case!  We got everything loaded and felt like we were packing the whole house up.  During Christmas Eve service the contractions came on pretty intense and regular...about 4 minutes apart.  We were both thinking this could be it and I was a little freaked out.  Remember...I didn't want a Christmas baby! :)  We finished church and once I was up and moving around again they started to lessen and become less frequent.  I had lots of lingering back pain but the contractions were gone...again!

Sunday 12/25 - I was pretty crampy and had back pain during the morning but it went away and I felt normal the rest of the day.

Monday 12/26 - I started having contractions again around 9:30 am and they were mild but regular...around 6-7 minutes apart.  I went on a 45 minute walk with Riley and they were still happening but losing their consistency.  They went on for a few hours but never gained in intensity or frequency.  I had a couple hours of nothing and then around 5:00 I started getting some stronger ones that were stopping me from what I was doing so I started timing them again...they were averaging 6 minutes apart and lasted for an hour and a half.  About 6:30 I decided to take a shower and see what happened and once I got out of the shower they were gone...again!

Tuesday 12/27  - Time for an attitude change!  I was becoming so frustrated with this false made me so anxious to go into labor even though I wasn't due for over a week.  I was flat out uncomfortable.  However, it was all getting in my head and I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything because "what if..."  I finally told myself to not think about it and live life in the meantime.  These were my last moments with just Riley as my child and I wanted to relish them...not waste them away worrying about labor.  The hard part was that everything Riley really wanted to play just sounded so not fun to me...dancing, hula hooping, cartwheels, etc.  I had to be a spectator most of the time!

Wednesday 12/28 - Hannah had called to see if they could take Riley with them to Six Flags for the afternoon and give me some time to just relax...of course I said yes!  I actually contemplated going with them but thought I better just enjoy some down time and stay home.  I took her to story time at the library that morning and then they picked her up around 12:30 and they were off for a fun filled afternoon.  After Six Flags Jason and I met them at S&L Thai for dinner.  Riley had a super fun day and they were all teasing about ordering the spiciest of things to put me in labor.  Lo and behold I was having contractions before we left the restaurant. I figured it was once again a tease and tried to ignore them but they started around 7:30.  We went home and got Riley to bed and the contractions were still there.  They were the same low intensity and about 6-8 minutes apart consistently.  I decided to go to bed and see if I could get some sleep.  I did make sure Hannah knew what was going on since she would be the one to come in the middle of the night if need be. So I went to bed but kept waking up to the contractions.  I would time a few and see that they were the same 6-8 minutes apart and doze in and out of sleep.

Thursday 12/29 - About 12:30 in the morning I called the midwife at the birthing center and she said to see what happened in the next couple hours so I tried to sleep some more.  By 2:00 in the morning they were still there.  Same intensity, still regular.  At this point I was just anxious.  My biggest fear was not getting to the hospital early enough since we have another child this go round.  I called the midwife again and told her we were going to head in...this had to be it after all and it could be any minute when things would pick up.  I called Hannah and she came over.  We got Riley up to use the potty and told her that we were heading to the hospital and she seemed to understand and went right back to sleep.  So we were off...considering the contractions weren't very painful at all our ride to the hospital was rather leisure...we listened to some good music and drove on in.  Once we got to the hospital they hooked me up to the monitors and took my vitals and my blood pressure was high.  It hadn't been high through my entire pregnancy so they were concerned that I had pregnancy induced hypertension and wanted to run labs to make sure.  When they checked me I was only 3 1/2 cm dilated and 60% effaced.  I was shocked...considering what the midwife had checked me at the week prior and all the false labor I had been experiencing.  They could see my contractions were regular but they weren't sure they were intense enough yet so they said they would check me once the lab work was done and we'd go from there.  We tried to just relax and get a little sleep.  About an hour later the good news came back that I did not have pregnancy induced hypertension but the bad news came when they checked me again and I had made no progress.  They said they might let me stay an hour and walk the halls but since I wanted a natural labor they decided to send me on home.  Their instructions were to come back when I couldn't talk through the contractions.  So we made the drive back home and arrived about 6:45 just a bit before Riley woke up.  I went and got in bed hoping to just get some rest and see what happened.  When Riley woke up and found us at the house with no baby she burst into tears..."I wanted Tessa to come out" she kept saying...little did she know how much we did too!  Jason got her breakfast and they watched Megamind in the living room while I stayed in our bedroom.  Wouldn't you know about 7:15 the contractions came on with much more intensity and I knew things were now moving along.  I was using my handy dandy contraction timer app and was marking these contractions as strong.  I could still talk through them but they were much more intense than what I had been experiencing through the night.  They were 4-6 minutes apart and I stayed in bed for the next hour and a half with these same type of contractions.  About 9:00 I got out of bed and went and ate a small bowl of cereal because I was starving.  They were starting to get more intense so Jason drew me a bath and I labored in the tub for about an hour.  It truly took the edge off.  About 10:00 I got out and decided it was probably time for us to head back.  I could not talk through the contractions at this point and they were about 4 minutes apart.  I called back into the clinic to tell them I was coming back in.  The nurse I talked to didn't know anything about me other than what I was telling her on the phone but her response was " need to get yourself out the door quickly."  She then asked if there was a hospital between my house and the birthing center just in case.  This freaked me out and I explained to her I didn't think I was about to pop this baby out, but nonetheless she confirmed we needed to go.  We got ready and got Riley's stuff together and headed out.  We stopped at Hannah's house to drop her off and then headed back to the hospital.  Things moved fast on the ride there.  The contractions were getting closer and closer and they were extremely intense.  I'm not sure why or how but I managed to survive the entire ride in the front seat buckled in like a normal passenger.  Needless to say this ride in was much different than one we had taken earlier that morning!  Jason was driving swift but safely as he would say.  He was great encouragement to me the whole way but I think he was wondering why in the world I didn't want drugs! :)  By the time we were exiting I was convinced I was about at my limit.  The contractions were now 2 minutes apart so I wasn't getting much of a break.  Since I didn't have a natural birth with Riley I had no way to gauge how far along I was and all I could think was that if I wasn't past 7 or 8 cm then I was getting drugs...if this wasn't the worst than I didn't want to know what was worse.  We finally got in the parking lot and we had to wait for a contraction to end before I could walk in.  I barely made it in the door before another one hit.  I was leaning over on a brochure stand while Jason got us checked in...they were expecting us and had all of our paperwork since we had just been there a few hours earlier.  They took us to a room and just as I feared they wanted me hooked up to the monitors.  This birthing center is all about natural labor...they have midwives, doulas, birthing tubs, and every amenity you could think of to go through natural labor...that's why I wanted to deliver here.  However they didn't let you do anything until mom and baby were monitored for twenty minutes.  With the level of pain I was experiencing laying in bed was the last place I wanted to be but I didn't have a choice.  Our sweet nurse Mayna came in and got me hooked up.  I told her I felt a lot of pressure and she calmly said "that's great" but they hadn't checked me to see how far along I was yet.  We were in the room by ourselves for a bit and I just knew I was about to have this baby...I sent Jason out to get them twice and still no midwife.  I remember telling Jason I didn't want another contraction to come.  Both of us were shocked it was happening so fast...he told me I could hit him or call him names...I never resorted to that.  I just wanted him holding my hand and close by me.  All of a sudden I started feeling the urge to's completely uncontrollable and I sent him out again to find someone.  Finally Amelia, the midwife, came in and she was so sweet and talking about reading up on my chart (they were fabulous about knowing ALL about you before they walked in the door even through all my prenatal care) but honestly we didn't have time for chit chat.  She said "let's check you and see what's going on" and then she said "well you're about to have a baby" and her and Mayna started moving quickly.  My water broke with the next contraction and there was slight meconium so they were calling for extra hands in case they needed to do any suction on Tessa.  Things went so fast from here. My body completely took over and about 4 contractions later Tessa was born.  The pain was surreal...not gonna lie.  Once she was out it was instantaneous relief from all the pain and they put my sweet baby girl right up on my chest.  Her meconium wasn't an issue so no intervention had to be done.  I had my baby in my arms and life was good.  Just to give some perspective on how fast things went..she was born 36 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  Remember how my biggest fear was not making it there on time?  Ha!  We couldn't believe how quick it happened...I mean I was technically in labor since 7:30 the night before but the it felt like it went so fast because they had sent us home.  I was a little frustrated that they had done that seeing that she was born 6 hours after we had left that morning.  "My" plan was to take advantage of all the birthing center had to offer...birthing balls, tubs, doula, etc.  I didn't get to use any of that and since Riley was at home with us that morning I was sort of on my own until the last part.  But it all worked out and it's Tessa's story and she's here and healthy and we couldn't be more grateful for all that God has blessed us with!

They didn't take her from me for about 2 was great.  We had been going back and forth on a decision for her middle name...June or Evelyn...we wanted to choose those as a namesake of my grandmother June Evelyn, an amazing woman who passed away a few months before Jason and I got married.  I wish so much she could meet all of her great day!  :)  We decided to make a game time decision and once we met her we decided June it would be!

Tessa June Purcell...fresh out of the womb!
 She did prove that her plumbing was working just fine because in that 2 hours she pooped on me twice and peed on me twice...we were quite the mess!  I was having a little more bleeding than they wanted so they gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg but that didn't curb it enough so they ended up giving me an IV..  That darn IV would turn out to be the most annoying thing to me and I convinced them to take it out by the evening!
Jason had gone out to get me some grub...I wanted crepes from a great place but they were closed for he was so sweet and went 3 different places so I had an array of things to choose from.  Needless to say I did not go hungry!  They waited until Jason got back to do all of her weight and measurements!  She weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and 18.5 inches...we learned however that her length wasn't quite right since she measured 20.5 inches 4 days later at the not sure exactly how long she was when she was born!
Normally they would have moved me to postpartum a couple of hours after Tessa was born but all the rooms were full so we just hung out in the delivery room longer.

Here's Daddy with his second sweet girl who has him wrapped around her finger!
 Mom and Baby!

Hannah came up to bring Riley to meet her little sister about 4:00 that afternoon and it was so great to see her!  She was just as cute as can be.  We had a little present for Riley from Tessa...the Little Mermaid movie..and that was a huge hit!  She got to hold Tessa and she sang to her and gave her lots of was awesome. 
Mommy and girls...
Tessa, Riley, and her Big Sissy present!
 Checking out Tessa!
  Singing to was precious!
 Riley got a special bracelet from the hospital that said "Big Sister"...she was stoked!
 Daddy and his girls!
 Our new family of 4!

Shortly after Riley left we got a room in postpartum and it was time to move.  Since I didn't have any drugs I had total control of my body and was able to get up, go to the bathroom, and walk myself over to post postpartum. One of the reasons I had wanted to try a natural labor was that many of my friends who had gone that route had such great recovery stories.  I felt like my recovery with Riley was long and painful and I was hoping for something different this time.  From just hours after Tessa was born I already could tell how much better things would be.  I was obviously sore but felt so much better.  With Riley Jason had to do everything for me and this time I could totally take care of myself. 
 We got settled into postpartum and we were both exhausted.  I had pretty much been up most of the night before with contractions and drifting in and out of sleep and then of course our first trip to the hospital so we wanted to sleep.  Tessa had fallen asleep on the "ride" from the delivery room to postpartum and she was out for a couple of hours...of course we ate and got settled rather than slept during that time.  This hospital never takes your baby out of the room...all of their care is done right in the room and they don't have a nursery where they will just watch your baby for a couple of hours.  Some people may not like that but I loved it.  I hated when they took Riley away from me even if it was for just a few hours.  The downside to that was that it felt like someone came in the room about a million times in the short stay we had.  They finally came in about 8:30 that night to give Tessa her bath and we finally got to see her hair all clean.  
 We definitely saw some red! 

 She loved having her hair washed but was not thrilled with the rest of the bath but there is nothing better than the smell of a freshly bathed newborn! 

 She was doing great feeding and even though she had slept great for several hours in her bassinet earlier that evening she was not having it during the night and ended up sleeping in my arms in between feedings.  There were several things that were almost deja vu moments for us that were just the same when we had Riley.  The first was that when we first turned the tv on the show Scrubs was on...same exact show that was on when we got to postpartum with Riley.  Next was waking up in the middle of the night with the tv still on and Fresh Prince being on.  It seemed like we were always up for Fresh Prince when Riley was little...this was before DVR so we only had a few options in the wee hours of the morning and this was always our choice.  Lastly we had a neighbor with a screaming baby...same thing when we had Riley.  We were happy we were so far the parents with another calm and content baby...I felt so bad for the parents of the screamer! 

We made it through our first night and we were exhausted...moreso from all the vists from the staff than from our sweet girl.  We were hoping to be able to go home that day since both Tessa and I were doing so well.  I got up and shower ever!!!  We had more rounds of docs/nurses...her weight, her hearing, pediatrician visit, her blood, my blood, her temp, my temp, etc.  Finally we got everything on the list checked off and we were discharged...not quite 24 hours after she was born!

Of course we had to get her all dressed up and take some pics!

Love those little toes!
 Sweet Tessa!
 Me and my sweet girl!
 Daddy's girl!
All bundled up!
Riley had a whole slew of social activities that day with several of our friends so we decided to head to Hisui 2 for some sushi as a celebratory lunch on our way home!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 Christmas morning was so much we expected! 

Riley woke up early but nothing too crazy and we made sure she knew to come get us before she went in the living room.

She was so excited to see what Santa had left her!

She got her "real" fish tail, a Rapunzel vanity, a "hoola loop", and a Tinkerbell toothbrush kit!

She had lots of fun stocking stuffers too!

Checking out all her loot!

 Aaaaa...the "real" fishtail was a hit.  Riley said "He listened to me and made me a real fishtail.  I'm so proud of him"  Ha!
  Santa left Riley a note too and she had fun hearing what he had to say!

She had to try out her vanity and get all prettied up!
 So cute!
 Beautiful Rapunzel!
 I didn't know we could have to many Rapunzel's in our house...even her Build-A-Bear has a Rapunzel outfit (and hair) now!
 She also got a HUGE princess castle from DiDi and Doc and that was a huge hit!

It wasn't quite the hit with Jason since he had to put it all wasn't too bad!

 She couldn't wait to play with it!
 We had a nice relaxing morning.  We got to skype with both of our families and it was even nicer because Jason surprised me with a new iPad so now we can FaceTime with it and it's so much bigger than our phones!  Jason made us breakfast and we just opened presents and let Riley play.  

Jason had to go into work after our family fun and then we spent the evening with friends again having Christmas dinner.

Riley got to wear one of her new outfits...cutie!
 We had a great Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus and just time as a family.  I'm thankful for all of our friends here who become our family as we live life together.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve!

 This Christmas was different from any other...this was the first Christmas we didn't spend with family...and I sure hope this is the last time that happens!

With Tessa arriving so soon after the holidays it just didn't make sense for everyone to travel so we had Christmas together as our little family.

Jason had to work most of the day and that was weird just didn't feel quite like Christmas.

Riley and I had fun finishing up cookies and spending the day together!

Here's Miss Riley in her Christmas outfit!

We went to church that evening and packed up everything we might need for the hospital because I just wasn't feeling good.  I had contractions all through Christmas Eve service and was seriously thinking this was it but they went away once I started moving around so we kept our plans to spend Christmas Eve with some friends from Jason's work.

We had a great dinner and Riley had some fun friends to play with.

We did a white elephant gift exchange and that was a lot of fun!  Jason ended up with a zebra print towel wrap and had no clue what it was so that provided entertainment for all!  I convinced him to keep it because it came with lots of great Bath and Body Works stuff for me.

The kids had fun playing with the towel wrap!
When we got home it was time to leave a note for Santa!

Riley wanted to cut out a heart all by herself!

I wrote the note but transcribed it word for word as she told me what she wanted it to say and then she signed her name!
The final product!
We put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer!

She went to bed with much anticipation for what was going to be delivered to our house overnight!

It's so fun to see things through your kids eyes and Christmas is one of the best!

Christmas Baking

 I love baking and Christmas baking is my favorite!  

I especially love doing it with my girl!

We did several rounds of baking this year.  First off we made some treats for all of Riley's friends at school!  These were called Christmas Hugs...pretzels and chocolate..yumm!

My silly chef!
 Love her precious hands!
These are so easy...a Hershey's hug on pretzels and then once you bake them and they are soft you add a peanut butter M&M!
 We also made sugar cookies to give out to friends!
 Riley loved rolling out the dough and cutting out the cookies!

 We had candy canes, christmas trees, and snowmen!

 We didn't end up decorating them until Christmas Eve day...better late than never right?

Ariel got all dressed up and put on her apron so she could do the decorating!
 This was a very serious job...and all the sprinkles that didn't make it on the cookie HAD to be eaten!
 We let Jason take most of these to work for the guys working over the holidays and they were a hit!

 We also made some chocolate peppermint fudge!

We had so much fun baking and I love being in the kitchen with Riley...I hope she has great memories of times like these!