Friday, December 31, 2010

Blog Photo Review: A visually stimulating two years
August 31, 2008: knot = tied
Got Hitched

I adored every single inch of my modern wedding... rooftop ceremony, reception in an urban space overlooking a glass-blowing studio.. all the purple and yellow and black and white... the way I looked... the euphoria of pulling off the event...

love is grand, but a kick-ass wedding is, too.

Sept. 2008: Fish outta water!
Honey, moon me...

Hubs and I spent the week in Myrtle Beach, SC and
were there for Tropical Storn Hanna. Not a highlight:
super hard wind and rains. Definitely a highlight: forcing
my new husband to take my photograph on the beach,
me sportin' my wedding dress, even though our wedding
took place back in Louisville.


November, 2008 I spy a Hoosier!

Floor Seats in Assembly Hall, Bloomington

Yeah, we played nobody IUPUI. It was still top-ten on my most awesome life-experience list.


Summer 2009: Got a new ride.
I drove all night... to get to you.
Her name is Bella. She loves me and Edward.
 
Fall 2009... High School Musical: Reunited


 After 10 years, I finally started to like my hair. AND I got away with wearing horizontal stripes!

April 15, 2010 - December 14, 2010: Baby Makin'
Beginning of the bump

End of the bump.

Result of the bump.
A final thought from Stella...

and she makes Mommy happy, too.

The two-ish years since I've started blogging have been full of ups and downs, but when I stop to reflect on the ups, I am overwhelmed at how lucky I am in life.

Here's to 2008, 2009, and 2010...

and cheers to so many things to look forward to in 2011.


Happyspice New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TMI Thursday: Just Drop It

(Preface: I didn't think I was going to have the strength to blog about this, but since what doesn't kill our babies makes them stronger...)

Two weeks have slipped by since our first day home with Stella. A couple of hours ago, hubs headed back to his job. (My mom took this week off from her job and is coming over to help me -- I think the plan is that she will entertain Stella while I clean up around the house. Part of me wishes she would do the cleaning up while I do the baby-holding, but it's her birthday today so I guess I'll let it slidespice.)

Um, anyway... I digress. (I'm stalling.)

So, I have one of those super-stylin' My Brest Friend pillows, which straps around me like a fanny pack slash inner-tube... I just lay the babe on it and whip out the boobage...

It pretty much rocks.

Well, I'd gotten kind of confident using that pillow because I had it with me in the hospital. So, for instance, if I... say, dropped the remote or something, I would just place my arm around little Stella's hip and back, grip the front end of the pillow... and then execute a quick bendy-move to pick up the remote... or my pen... or whatever.

So, Thursday the 16th -- our very first night home -- it was the wee hour and I was feeding my little bottomless-pit Stella when something... say, the remote, fell off the arm of the couch. Following the formula above, I went down to retrieve it...

I. flipping. dropped. Stella.

In truth, I didn't really drop her -- she more or less rolled off the pillow and onto the floor. She didn't even cry. She landed on her stomach. I have never moved so fast in my life! I got her up and inspected her -- deep breath, she was fine.

I called my sister, who is a nurse and works the night shift. She made me feel better by telling me about banging her daughter's head reallyreally hard when Carley was an infant. Whew. I guess it runs in the family; there's my excuse.

I wasn't going to tell my mom, but my sister told her for me. (I wasn't upset; I hadn't demanded she keep it quiet or anything.) My mom's reaction? Because she spoken to me over the phone between the time it happened and the time she found out, she laughed!

Apparently, she dropped me on my head when I will still a peanut. (No snide comments, guys... such as... oh, that'sssss what's wrong with her!) My mom was laying on the floor and had me up in the air looking down at her... and I just toppled out of her arms.

Okay, maybe it really does run in the family.

Hold me tight, Mommy!
The scariest part -- other than thinking about what could have happened had Stella landed differently, or how I been standing up in the kitchen or whatever when she fell -- was telling my husband.

He didn't give me too hard a time about it. He knew I felt so awful, and that it was an accident.

After Stella's acrobatic first week of life, I've decided that she is meant to be an Olympic medal-winning gymnast. Or, perhaps she'll do the high wire in the circus.

It's cool either way, as long as she doesn't marry a carnie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CSN Stores: Product Reviews

Cute mobile; not the same as the photo on the website!


When I got the opportunity to receive a free item from csnbaby.com, I knew that I wanted to find a mobile to accent my modern nursery. The Lambs & Ivy Madison Avenue Musical Mobile looked like the perfect addition.


When the package arrived, I was a little crestfallen at first. The mobile I received was not exactly the same as the one in the photo on csn. The mobile I expected to get was brown, tan, and white -- the mobile that came was brown, pink, white and yellow. I realized that the mobile shown in the product photo is actually the Lambs & Ivy Park Avenue Style. I considered returning the item and getting what I wanted, but decided that it still looked great and kept it to avoid any hassle. Plus, since I received it at no cost for doing the review, I figured there was no reason to be complaining.

My husband easily installed it on the side of our crib. Our newborn doesn't sleep in her crib yet, but we love to put her in it a few times a day to let her look at the mobile and listen to its music.

Overall, I love what I got -- it just wasn't what I expected to receive.

Cute but overpriced


I had been eye-balling this lamp for my new baby's nursery for quite some time, so when I got the opportunity to receive a free item from http://www.csnbaby.com/ and then review it, I was very excited and knew immediately I would choose the lamp.


The lamp base itself is well made, and I love that the lamp is energy efficient. As for the lamp shade, what initially attracted me to it was the pattern and the colors. While I do still love the way it looks when not in use, the lamp shade looks a bit funny when the lamp is turned on. There are some imperfections that are illuminated.

I do love this lamp and plan to continue to use it at night for softer light in my baby's room. However, if I had purchased the lamp out of my own pocket, I would have been a little disappointed.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

the good tears

I spent a good part of the nine months I was pregnant being a little miffed that I would have a December baby. I spent the better part of late November and early December just wishing she would getherealready... so her birthday wouldn't be dreadfully close to Christmas every year. I prayed that I wouldn't go past my due date and end up in the hospital for Christmas.

I wasn't that excited about having a "Christmas baby."

Then she arrived and none of that mattered anymore.
It is a special time of year to have a baby... and the hospital looked beautiful with winter decorations, Christmas trees, lights.


More, in those quiet moments alone with Stella, when I looked into her eyes, I felt like saying thank you to a Big Man Upstairs -- one whom I'm not even sure I always believe in.  

On our last day at the hospital, the most wonderful thing: I was walking back from the nursery and I heard voices behind me -- the voices of a choir singing. I started to boing! my head and blame it on lack of sleep when I turned around and saw Christmas Carolers rounding the corner and headed my way.

Hubs was in our hospital room, holding Stella. I stayed in front of the singers and was choking back tears when I burst into our room and whispered for hubs to bring the baby into the doorway so she could hear the music and see the Carolers as they passed.

Apparently, we were the only ones in our wing who cared to stand and listen -- the carolers literally congregated in front of our room and continued to sing.

Tears poured out of my eyes as I was caught up in the emotion of the season and the magic of the moment. My husband's face was quite wet, too. Nurses were watching from the nurses' station and I'm fairly certain a few of them cr

The Carolers asked us her name and then they played Away in a Manger, dedicated to Stella Claire.

I'm not sure I can explain the beauty and overwhelming joy of that moment. Call it raw emotion, call it a divine presence, or say it just tis the season... but standing there I felt like heaven opened up and something greater than me said, "You're welcome."

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

TMI Thursday: Bringing Home Baby, Murphy's Making Memories

my little polka-dot-peanut
For first time parents, bringing home a little bundle of joy from the hospital is a big milestone. I'm sure that every parent can recall this emotional event -- the fear you felt getting behind the wheel. Is the car seat installed correctly? Is her head tilted too far to the left? Maybe we should turn up the heat a little more!

Yes, this beautiful moment is marked with just a bit of anxiety, isn't it?

When we brought Stella home on Thursday, December 16th, we were feeling like every other new parent: scared out of our wits! We had some bonus stress: Louisville was covered in a blanket of sparkling ice. The sleet and freezing rain had come as expected Wednesday night, and cars and trees and ground were all coated in a crystal glaze.

Schools and businesses were closed -- even the bank where I work (when I'm not busy bringing new life into the world) was on a two hour delay.

We didn't leave the hospital until late afternoon, and after a quick stop at Walgreens for my 8-hour Motrin and brain-freeze-Percocet, we pulled into our driveway around 4:30.

Note: Hubs had slept at home the night before to a) try to prevent our dog from freaking out completely and b) to wake up and shovel karate chop the expected ice off the driveway. (I was slightly nervous that he wouldn't be able to get back to the hospital to get me.)

Anyway, so... there we were: home sweet home. Almost. I told hubs I would sit in the car while he went and unlocked our front door and then came back to get the baby. Hubs got out and went up to the mailbox. I waited a minute, then looked back to see that he was literally reviewing each piece of mail as if to look for terroristic threats or something.

I knocked on the window to get his attention. Stella was starting to stir and it was past time to feed her. I gave him the "hurry the hell up" face and did that "get over here" motion with my hand. Hubs got all pissy and slammed the mailbox shut, but he came around to get the baby.

"Sorry, it's just that she's getting hungry..."

Hubs carried Stella to the front door and I grabbed a few things -- the diaper bag, my drugs -- and tried to ease my broken self out of the backseat. Hubs couldn't come back and help me because Stella had never met our dog... we weren't trying to leave them alone together just yet... so I was left on my own to negotiate the icy driveway and grass. Since I was a) exhausted b) on drugs and c) walking about as fast as a grandma... I decided that I didn't want to risk slipping and falling down on our sloped driveway.

I dug one foot after the other and trudged slllloooowwwllly through the ice-grass.

Inside, hubs was at the living room window getting frustrated at my slow pace... since I had just yelled at him for taking alldamnday at the mailbox.

"She's hungry!!!" (And I use three exclamation points because he really spewed those words at me.)

Of course, I BURST into tears.

"Do you think I want it to take me five minutes to get inside the house?! Don't you know it's hard for me to even walk?! I know you can't come help me because you have to stay with her, but I AM TRYING TO GET IN THERE! I'm afraid I'll fall! Jesus Christ!"

I. was. sobbing when I walked across the threshold and made that transition from hospital-patient-playing-the-role-of-mommy into real, true motherhood.

And that is the story of the day we brought home our Stella Claire, who did not starve... and who also did not see anything all that interesting in the day's mail pile.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

By labor, they mean business

Stella Claire Murphy
12/14/2010
5 pounds 12.9 oz
19.25 inches long

Birth Story: not for the weak-bellied
Monday night, Dec. 13th -- I went to bed around midnight. Monday night became Tuesday morning, December 14th... at 2:30 a.m. I woke up with searing pain in my thighs and lower back. I decided to try to go back to sleep because we'd just been to the hospital 2 nights before with a false alarm and I did not want to be the pregnant woman who cried wolf.

I got out of bed at 3:30a.m. and started coffee. I sat through an hour of contractions that were spaced 4-6 minutes apart. The pain was so different than what I expected -- I thought it would feel like a fist clenching and unclenching in my groin. Nopers. More like someone poured kerosene on my kidneys and then intraveiniously pumped it into my thighbones as well.

At 4:45 a.m. I went and sat on the edge of the bed -- hubby's side -- and made him aware of our situation. He'd heard me moaning and figured I was up questioning whether or not it was "time."

By 5:00 a.m. I was in the shower. I managed to blow-dry my hair and even straighten it a bit! I put on the slightest bit of make-up, too. Not that anyone could tell, except for maybe the hair. I thought it kind of still looked decent after Stella was born. Score! (As for the rest of me... not so muchspice. )

By 6:30 we were on our way to the hospital. I never understood the true purpose of the "Oh, Shit!" handles in cars until then. It. hurt. so. bad. Hubs wanted me to think about how he would go get me my favorite hamburger from W.W. Cousins after the baby came  I was all, "I don't even want to think about that right now! Wahhh-aiiiilll." Not real tears, just cringing an saying ovre and over, "It huuuuurts."

By 7:00 a.m. I was thrashing around in an observation bed, and the nurse made the observation that I was 3 centimeters dilated and fully effaced. I immediately asked about pain relief and how soon I could get it... the nurse said to me, "Soon, and congrats on being in active labor! We're moving you to a labor and delivery room. Can you walk over there?"

Whore. But, yeah. I walked. It was, like, steps away.

At this point, hubs was out in the hall on the phone to his mom or something... and I wanted to give him hell for leaving me alone for even a second... I lay in my new bed and thought about how awful it would be to have to go through this alone. I kind of wanted my Mom, but the nurse wouldn't let her in to see me until they had me a bit more settled.
At 7:30, the only thing helping me breathe through contractions was knowing that the epidural was coming in 30 minutes and I only had to endure a few more waves of pain.

Got Stadol at 7:45, which makes you feel drunk and also makes your face look fat, because mine did in pictures. Anyway, Stadol made my next contractions feel far awayspice, like ringing in your ears.

8:08a.m... Amber + Epidurral = true love forever and ever and ever and ever. And ever.

However, the Anestheezy doc stuck around after sticking me (ha!) because he was concerened that I might get massive headache that plague about 2% of epi-getters... something about a wet socket... the ligament in my back was super thick and when he pushed the needle through he "went too far." If this happened I would have to come back at some other point in time and get a SECOND epi called a blood patch or some other such craziness. OMFG. Thankfully, I have had NO headaches so far and for that I am very, very thankful.

Anyway. Back to our timeline of womb-doom.

9:30 a.m. cervix check and I was at 6 centimeters. I was actually kind of shocked that I was over halfway. Since I recently learned that 10 c.m. = 4 INCHES I started obsessing about the logistics of allthatdownthere. Ya know.

My water didn't break on its own -- apparently that only happens to, like, 15% of women. My baby-doctor came in about 10:30 and broke it with a stick thingy and I immediately was at 8 centimeters. She said my cervix was like butter. Whatever that means. (All the better for the baby to slide through, like a child's head stuck in the banister?)

By 11:30, I could have had the baby. I was fully dilated. However, they instructed me to "labor down," which turned out meant RELAX. That lasted an hour. I started pushing at 12:30 with my husband on one side of me and my mommy on the other. I asked for a mirror to watch myself work, and I KNOW that sounds uber-gross but I believe it helped. Since I had the epi, I felt nothing but pressure... but seeing the top of Stella's head was motivation to push to that full 10 count each time. (I think I did three sets of three pushes with the nurse, and then one more set of three with my OB.


They stamped her footprint on Daddy's t-shirt!
 When her head popped out, my OB started suctioning, and I heard a cry. I think that made me involuntarily push or something, because then out came her little peanut body, and it sort of startled my doc. She caught my baby gal, though, and they put her on my chest. Time of birth: 1:02 p.m. Tears streamed down my mom and husband's faces. I didn't cry, I just looked at her in awe. Hubs cut the cord, and I had to warn him to "be careful, and cut right where they say to do it!!"

They took her to the scale and the warmer, and one of the baby nurses asked, "What's baby's name?"

I was all, "Wait, it IS a girl, right?!"

It was.

And her name? Stella. Little star. My Stellar Claire-Bear. My
Stellabelle.

p.s. My boobs hurt.

Monday, December 20, 2010

For unto us a child is born...

I started a post and scrapped it... it was titled: "TMI Thursday, Monday Edition: Childbirth Photos."

Then I was going to write "PSYCH!!" as my opening line.

Anyway...

Blog world, she's here! Please help me welcome:

Stella Claire Murphy
12/14/2010
5 pounds 12.9 oz
19.25 inches long

A few things: yes, she's almost 7 days old already... sorry this post is delayed but I have been busy sacrificing my body, boobs, and bedtime for another human life. Plus, if you've befriended me on facebook, you already knew!
Still, as a reward for your patience, I will post a few photos of this December darling (and a few of them aren't on facebook yet... so they are super special.)

You'll have to settle for captions tonight, but I promise there are stories to tell -- get ready for TMI's out the vagina wah-zoo.

please note: she doesn't sleep here yet. Once she does, the crib will be empty of toys and other such hazards. (Musings of Amber Murphy does not condone leaving a child unattended with a boppy pillow.)



Stellaspice makes my life better than it was before.
I just thought I knew how to love... and then I made her.

*To view her hospital photo shoot, visit Bella Baby Photography and use 1214stella as the password to see the most adorable slide show. It gets me every time.*

Friday, December 10, 2010

TMI Thursday: Friday Morning Edition

Lost my mucus plug yesterday. Word.

(If you know about those, then you know how TMI that is. If you don't know, then google it.)

(Hubs came up with a pretty decent descrption of it, though... "It looks like you blew your nose after you had a bloody nose.")

(I'll pause for regurgitationspice.)

Still no baby, though.

I'm six measley days from my due date on December 16th, and I'm starting to feel like a beached whale. No, not just a beached whale: an impatient beached whale.

I'm 1 cm dialated/ 50% effaced as of my last appointment.

What is she waiting on?! Christmas?!