Wednesday, October 4, 2006

A Schedule!

For almost two weeks, Caleb has been on a pretty predictable schedule. It is unbelievable how much more enjoyable everything is for me now that I have a general idea how the day is going to go. I can plan for outings, make appointments accurately, know when he's going to be hungry, etc. I LOVE THE SCHEDULE! He gets up in the morning sometime between 6:00 and 7:00. We usually play, talk and cuddle in my bed for about 30 minutes before we get up, get dressed and get the toys out. He plays on his own for about 10 minutes while I brush teeth, feed dogs, etc, and then I join him on the floor. We rarely go anywhere in the morning before his first nap, and so this time has become consistent Mommy-Caleb time that we both enjoy very much. His goes down for his first nap (yes he actually takes naps now!) at 9:00 am. He almost always falls asleep right at 9:00, and sometimes he even falls asleep in his crib on his own, without rocking first. (I usually put him in his crib around 8:45 to let him wind down, and if he's not asleep in 10 minutes, or if he cries, then I pick him up and rock him to sleep.) He naps for an hour or so. We usually go out and do something between 10:00 and 1:00, like lunch with a friend, errands, grocery shopping, etc. Caleb enjoys going out, and a change of scenery is good for both of us. I try to be home by 12:30 so he can wind down for his afternoon nap at 1:00. It's funny to me how consistent his internal clock has become with this schedule. Today I was running behind with my errands and then checking out at the grocery store took 20 minutes b/c of some mechanical error, so we ended up pulling in the drive-way right at 1:00. I rushed around to get him out of the seat so I could get him and rock him to sleep, and discovered that he had fallen asleep in the car seat!

His afternoon nap usually lasts about an hour, though he sometimes sleeps for two hours. If his afternoon nap is short, he takes another short nap from 4:30 to 5:00. Atypically, Caleb seems to be the most energetic and the happiest in the evening hours from 5:00 to 7:00. He laughs, squeals and "talks" the most, and seems to enjoy playing more too. Bedtime routine starts around 7:00 pm, and it includes some time in the swing outside, watching the dogs play, a bath (which he LOVES), pajama time, reading several books in his bedroom, and then nursing and rocking. He is almost always asleep by 8:00 pm, and sometimes a little earlier.

With as much as a planner as I am, it was really hard for me when I had no idea if he needed to eat or sleep or what was supposed to come next. I was not willing to try to force a schedule on him, but I'm so glad that he allowed himself to be eased into one. I tried scheduling him at four months and at five months, but it seems that six months was the right time for him.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What a joy!

Caleb is such a delight! He will be 4-months-old on Sunday, and he's already sitting on his own! He LOVES reading, and is using his hands more and more every day. He picks up everything he can reach and puts it in his mouth, even if it is another child's hand! LOL He is still a little charmer, flirting with and captivating every one he sees, especially females :) He's laughing out loud now, and is very ticklish in the ribs. He still loves TV, and we occasionally let him watch a Baby Einstein video while we eat dinner. Probably one of the most remarkable things about him is how much he loves letters, even at this age. The alphabet song is his favorite song, and he is much more fascinated with the words on each page of a book than he is with the pictures. I need to get him some wooden alphabet letters. I've started doing baby signing with him, though I don't expect him to begin signing back to me for several months yet. I'm teaching him the signs for Mommy, Daddy, book, please, thank you, eat, drink, all done, good, ouch, more, sleep, and milk. His temperament is sweet as ever, and he pretty much only cries when he's in his car seat for more than 15-20 minutes and when he wakes up in the night and wants to nurse. Otherwise, he's content or happy. He is just a complete joy to his daddy and I.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Random Thoughts

Caleb is such a happy little boy! He spends about half of his awake time with a huge toothless grin on his face (and he's nursing almost all the the rest of the time.) He outgrew all of his 0-3 month clothes several weeks ago, and he's even outgrown a few 3-6 month outfits. His torso is so long that he really needs 6-9 month size in one-piece outfits, though 6-9 month pants are way too long on him. I am definitely not being as self-controlled as a I should when I shop for Caleb, but at least I no longer have any desire to buy myself clothes, so the costs offset each other :) This is my last day of work, and Marcus and I and Caleb are going to Melbourne, FL for a wedding this weekend. I'm a little nervous about our first road trip, because sometimes Caleb wails in the car seat, and I couldn't bear listening to him cry for hours. We're timing the 3-hour drive during his afternoon nap, which usually lasts about two and half hours, so hopefully that will work out well. I won't be surprised at all if he even extends his nap to last the whole trip. He is generally a very accomodating little guy. I've been amazed over and over again by how he manages to fall asleep at all the appropriate times, even if its not a normal sleeping time. Every time we eat out, he manages to sleep through the part where we eating. I've taken him to prayer group several times (where babies are technically not allowed), and he's slept through the whole hour, waking up just when we finish. We even went to see XMen III in the theater and he slept through the entire movie! If only he would start sleeping through the night, I think he really would be the easiest baby ever :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Back to Work

I went back to work full time a week and a half ago, and things are going more smoothly than I expected. Caleb has been staying at home with his Aunt Traci during the day. The first day I left him, he refused to take the bottle for about five hours before he gave in. I felt so bad for him, but I was glad that he acquiesed in only five hours, because some babies will hold out a lot longer. Since the second day, he has taken a bottle from Traci with little protest.

I thought it would be totally agonizing to leave him for a whole day, but a couple of things made it easier than I expected. I'm very at ease leaving him with Traci, because I know that she loves him and has his best interest at heart, so I don't have the concerns that I would with some other sitters. (Like that he would be left in the bouncy seat most of the day, not talked to and loved on) It's also much easier because I know I'm only going to be working for a couple of weeks, and then I have the summer off to be with him all day long :)

In some ways, I've enjoyed getting out of the house and using the more intellectual part of my brain at work. I also enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel from getting things done, which rarely happens at home these days! It looks like my principal is going to work it out where I can come back for three hours a day next year, which I think I will really enjoy, and the income definitely won't hurt :)

The hardest thing about the past two weeks has been the sleep deprivation. I don't get the afternoon naps with Caleb that I could take when I was home all day, so I'm pretty much tired, well, exhausted, all the time. But work's almost over, and the day after I finish, I get to fly to Arkansas and take Caleb to see his Grandma and Grandpa for the first time!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Caleb is sleeping a lot better at night. To date, he has had three nights that he slept a 7-hour stretch, and three nights that he slept an 8-hour stretch. Unfortunately, those nights are peppered throughout the past three weeks, with little consistency. They do seem to come on the weekends more than during the week, though he slept eight hours last night. I'm hoping that he will soon make the 8-hour night a habit instead of a pleasant surprise :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

First Shots

We took Caleb to get his 2-month shots today. I say "we" because I warned Marcus that if he didn't come with me, I was liable to have a meltdown right there in the doctor's office. Marcus held him and the nurse was quick and he only cried for a few minutes, so it wasn't as bad as I was expecting... least at first. Marcus and I parted ways right after the shots--him back to work and me to Subway to reward myself with some cookies for being so strong during the shots :) Caleb was a little fussy in the car seat on the way home, which is unusual for him, but I just attributed it to the fact that I had taken the head support out of his car seat that morning and he didn't like the new feel of the seat. When we got home, Caleb went down for his afternoon nap, only he woke up after 30 minutes and had to be nursed back to sleep again, but that's not too unusual. After I got him back to sleep, I was feeling quite complacent, silently scoffing at the horror stories I'd heard about immunization day. Little did I know...

I was laying on our bed beside Caleb after he'd been sleeping for almost two hours, and I watched in dismay as he opened his mouth and started SCREAMING before he even opened his eyes. Caleb is a very easy-going baby and I've only heard him scream a couple of times. Once when a toddler threw a toy in his face, and once when his skin was accidently pinched in the stroller snaps. Both of those times, he screamed for a minute or two, and was easily consoled by nursing when he'd calmed. Not true this time. He screamed incessantly for 45 minutes, only taking breaks to draw in deep, raggedy breaths. He wouldn't nurse at all, and holding him actually seemed to make him scream louder (if that was possible??), so I just laid him on the bed and sat over him, aching for how much he must be hurting. I called Marcus, who told me to give him Tylenol, but neither of us knew the correct dose. Then I called my friend who has two kids, but I couldn't get a hold of her. Then I called his pediatrician's office, and the receptionist said someone would call back. By now it had been thirty minutes. I decided that Caleb had to have some Tylenol, so I looked and looked and finally found the sheet from the doctor's office that explained the dosage and then gave him the recommended dose of Infant Tylenol Drops. About fifteen minutes later, the pediatric office called back, telling me to give him Infant Tylenol Drops every four hours, so I was glad that I went ahead with it. The nurse also said that he was probably having a reaction to the Dtp vaccination, based on my description of his quivering, highly-sensitive left leg, and cautioned me to sleep close to him and monitor his breathing for the next 24 hours. (That was wonderful news for an already frazzled and paranoid mommy.)

Caleb was beginning to calm down at this point, though he was still screaming periodically--just taking longer breaks to breathe. He finally complied with my efforts to get him to nurse, though he would come off and let out a wail every minute or so. I was so relieved when his little eyes started to close and the shudders in his tiny body started to subside. I laid motionless beside him for about 45 minutes after he fell asleep, paranoid that my movement might be the end of his respite from pain.

He's been sleeping for an hour now, and I don't think there are enough cookies in all the Subway's in Gainesville to erase this experience from my mind. Goodbye smug complacency--shots suck!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006


Caleb said "Ah-goo" today!!! It was so incredibly sweet! He was laying on the changing table, smiling up at me. I said "I love you" in my crooning baby voice, and he opened his little mouth and let out a perfectly clear "Ahhhhhh--ghooooo".

For those of you who don't know, "Ah-goo" actually is a word. It has multiple meanings in Webster's Baby Language Dictionary. It functions, not as a noun or a verb, but as a complete statement, and actually changes its meaning with the context, much like a chameleon. In this case, Caleb obviously meant "I love you, too." Other times, he has said "Thank you for getting up to feed me in the middle of the night, Mommy." I've heard a few "I love looking at you!" "ah-goo's" and one or two that clearly meant "You're my favorite person." But that first one will always be my favorite :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Caleb will be six-weeks-old tomorrow. Marcus commented the other day that the last six weeks have flown by, but it seems to me that I have been a mother forever. I can't really even remember NOT having Caleb.

Anyway, Caleb seems to have settled into a semblance of a routine. He wakes up for the day around 7:00 am. He nurses for about 30 minutes right after he wakes up, and then its play time. Mostly, we talk and sing together, and occasionally get out one of his books, though his attention span is only about ten seconds for the book. He is happiest in the morning, full of smiles and coos. The morning is also the only time when he is content to lay alone on his Baby Einstein playmat for 10-15 minutes, which works out very well for Mommy's morning shower :)

He starts getting tired and hungry again about an hour and a half after he woke up, so he nurses again for about 30 minutes and falls asleep. His morning nap ranges from 1-2 hours, and he's usually up again by 11:00 am. Again, he nurses, plays for an hour or so, and then nurses again, going down for an afternoon nap around 1:00 pm. He's up again around 3:00, and the routine repeats himself. He usually takes a little catnap, 30-45 minutes around 5:00 pm. His longest wakeful period is in the evening, and it ranges from two to four hours. He also tends to fuss the most in the evenings, though some nights he's perfectly happy.

We try to start his bedtime routine around 8:00 pm, though he may not actually go to sleep until as late as 10:00 pm. Bedtime starts with a bath, which Caleb loves. Daddy like to take part in the bath-giving, because Caleb enjoys it so much. After his bath, Caleb wails in protest while Mommy puts on his diaper and his pajamas. He usually doesn't mind being changed or getting dressed, but somehow, the combination of fatigue and being deprived of the warm water makes pajama time a battle. The final step in the bedtime routine is a long nursing session with the I Can Only Imagine Lullaby CD playing in the background. Caleb falls asleep when he's full and I lay him ever-so-carefully in his little bouncer seat and tip-toe out of the room.

I'd like to pretend like that is the end of the day, but of course it is not :) He usually sleeps for about four hours that first stretch, gets up to nurse for about 15 minutes, sleeps another three hours, nurses again, and then sleeps about two more hours; then he's up again for the day. If I'm lucky, I get seven cumulative (though definitely not consecutive) hours of sleep.
I have described here an ideal day for Caleb. Some days, he wakes up after 30 minutes when he should have slept for a couple hours, and then he is fussy until he catches up on his sleep. Some days he won't go to sleep at all and skips a nap entirely, which also results in grumpiness. Appointments, mommies' groups, church, shopping and other outings sometimes disrupt his schedule. In the two weeks since this general pattern has developed, probably only half of the days have unfolded as neatly as described here.

Friday, April 21, 2006


I can't believe that it's been over a week since I wrote a journal entry. In some ways, the days fly by, and in other ways, they seem to go so slowly. I think being up all hours of the night has caused me to kind of lose track of where one day ends and another begins :)

Anyway, I want to take the time to record some of the things that Caleb has accomplished in his short little life. (I got these "milestones" from the book What to Expect the First Year.)

Caleb was able to hold his head up at just a couple of days old. At almost two-weeks-old, he was able to bear his body weight on his legs. He could even stand unassisted for a few seconds before toppling over :) (His physical strength has quite impressed his Grandmama, who has spent time with many more newborns than we have.)

At two weeks old, Caleb focused on my face/eyes for 3-5 seconds. Somewhere between his second and third week, he found his hand and began sucking on it whenever he was hungry. (Very nice heads up for me :) Around three weeks old, I noticed that he was lifting his head almost 45 degrees while laying on his stomach. (He hates tummy time, but we do it at least ten minutes every day.)

At three weeks and four days old, Caleb blessed his mommy with his first social smile. He was fussing, and I started singing to him. He looked right at my face and his frustrated little expression transformed into a wide, toothless, incredibly adorable grin. Since then, he has several smiley periods every day, though Daddy hasn't had the opportunity to be in on one yet

Around four weeks old, Caleb started cooing (making happy non-crying noises). He'll be one month old on Sunday, and I'm sure the coming days will bring even more baby wonders than we've seen so far :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bath Time

When we could only give Caleb sponge baths, he would scream all the way through his bath. Even now, he hates being naked for more than a minute, and he really hated being wet and naked. But when he turned two-weeks-old and his cord fell off, we were able to start giving him "big-boy" baths, and his attitude completely changed. He loves being submerged in the warm water and having mommy and daddy's hands all over him. Of course, we still have to get through the fussing when we take him out of the warm water and dry him off, because he does NOT like that transitional naked phase, but bath time has definitely become much more enjoyable this week :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Caleb is growing so quickly! He was done wearing his three little preemie outfits at one-week-old. He's been wearing newborn clothes since then, and he can fit into a couple of his 0-3 month outfits (like the Ralph Lauren onesies Aunt Jennifer gave him :). Today was his last day of wearing newborn diapers. He has officially graduated to Pampers Swaddlers #1. (I am now officially a Pampers mommy; the Huggies diapers have leaked four or five times, and the Pampers not once.) It won't be long until we have to put all his cute little newborn outfits into the "retired" bin as well. I'm beginning to understand why all the mommies who see him say, "I'd forgotten how small they were!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New Mommy's Group

Today Caleb and I had our first meeting with the New Mommies' Group that is coordinated by the hospital where Caleb was born. The facilitator is a lactation consultant, who also happens to be a very warm, personable individual who knows a LOT about new mommies and new babies. I really enjoyed the meeting. Caleb is a little young to enjoy socializing, but he definitely charmed everyone there. He was the youngest, with the next up being a six-week-old girl, and everyone was impressed with his big blue eyes, adorably-shaped little head, and all-around alertness. There were about fifteen mommies and fifteen babies ranging up to almost a year old. (Babies "graduate" from the group when they turn a year old.) Each week, Teresa (the facilitator), talks about a baby topic relevant to the season or to a specific problem brought up by one of the moms. Next week, since summer is fast-approaching, we'll be talking about sun protection and learning how to preserve our babies' skin. Teresa also spends time asking each mommy in the group how her baby has been doing this week, and everyone gets a chance to share and be responded to by the others. Since this week was my first week, I was able to share about our efforts to conceive, my pregnancy and delivery, and the difficulties with breastfeeding so far. Everyone was very interested and supportive. I can already tell this Tuesday afternoon group is going to be a blessing for Caleb and I.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Breastfeeding--Part 2

It seems that I am being required to pay for my painless labor with an unbelievably frustrating breastfeeding experience. In my breastfeeding book (A New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics), there is a section entitled "Problems and Solutions". There are five major problems discussed in this book that are sometimes encountered during the course of breastfeeding: cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts, baby's refusal to feed, mastitis, and thrush. Caleb is only three weeks old, and I have already experienced all of them! The worst of them was mastitis, which included three MISERABLE days of high fever (102), hot flashes, violent chills, headache, foggy brain and horrible pain in my left breast. I've been on antiobiotics for four days now, and this is the first day that I've really felt good. I had a clogged milk duct a couple of weeks ago, and managed to work it out with hot compresses and massage, but it was still painful. I mentioned his refusal to eat my onion-ring-flavored milk in the "Baby Drama" journal entry, and talked about the first problem in the other "Breastfeeding" entry. Now, the current issue is thrush. Caleb doesn't have it (yet!) and it seems to be resolving on me, so maybe the breastfeeding drama is coming to a close. Either way, I'm very glad that I'm still feeling very committed to breastfeeding, because I seem to have been given every reason to give up!

Monday, April 3, 2006


I've been reluctant to write about how well Caleb is sleeping because I'm afraid to jinx it, but now that he's 11 days old, I can't resist the urge to brag on him any longer :) For the past week, he has been sleeping a 3-4 hour stretch beginning around 10:00 pm and then going right back to sleep after nursing for another 2-3 hours. Other than getting up for an hour to feed him, I'm getting a fairly normal night's sleep! (Of course, now that I've advertised this on Caleb's website, he will now certainly begin waking up hungry every hour.) Anyway, he is such a sweet little boy and so good-natured 95% of the time, I can hardly believe that he already has his days and nights straightened out at such a young age.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Baby Drama

Its amazing how many things there are to worry about! When we first brought Caleb home from the hospital, we were all concerned because he didn't poop for several days. After that drama ended with a very full dirty diaper at 6:00 am on Sunday morning, a new one emerged: Caleb didn't like the taste of onion rings in my breast milk, so he spent two feedings (one in the middle of the night) screaming and refusing to eat. I think I might be scarred for life by watching him refuse my milk over and over, and I have been subsisting on a diet of Cheerios and Chick-Fil-A ever since. Today's drama is that Marcus is sick (sore throat and headache) and Caleb is fussy, hot and clammy. Babies under a month old are automatically hospitalized and subjected to a spinal tap if they get a high fever, so we are sitting on pins and needles hoping his temperature doesn't rise. Anyway, all that to say it is truly amazing to me how drastically the ups and downs of my day are wrapped up in the health and comfort of one little 8-lb bundle of exquisitely adorable life.

Friday, March 31, 2006


I've been told for a couple of years by many mother-friends that breastfeeding is very hard at first. Somehow, in the midst of all that well-intentioned advice, I missed WHY breastfeeding is such a challenge. I think I had the idea that new mothers had trouble adjusting to the time that it took or the way it tied them down or something like that, which seemed like a non-issue to me. About six hours after Caleb was born, I knew exactly why breastfeeding was going to be difficult for me. Caleb, in his precious innocence, spent most of his first few breastfeeding sessions chomping on me rather than suckling. Not only were his efforts ineffective in obtaining milk, but they left me with raw, cracked and bleeding nipples from the first day. During the next seven days, his 8-12 feedings were charactized by excruciating pain. At the suggestion of Caleb's pediatrician, I actually started using Lamaze breathing to cope with the pain as he latched on and began nursing each time. There were several late nights when I, an avid breastfeeding advocate, actually longed to give up. Marcus encouraged me and reminded me how much I would regret it if I did, which he was 100% correct about. Anyway, I eventually began to heal and breastfeeding became less painful. Caleb is eight days old today, and I'm beginning to enjoy our feeding sessions, as I know I will continue to in the days to come.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Day at the Mall

Today, on his one-week birthday, we took Caleb to Picture People at the mall for his first professional pictures. It was so much fun to take him on his first non-medical outing. I've longed to be one of the moms strolling their darling babies around the mall for ages, and today I finally got to experience it. Grandmama Susan came with us and we ended up meeting Aunt Traci for lunch at the mall as well. It turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable day. During the photo shoot, Caleb was amazingly cooperative! He was wide awake until just before we finished, and not fussy at all. He seemed to be performing for the camera in many of the shots. Our photographer, Juliana, was amazed that he was so alert at only one-week-old. Rather predictably, I ended up spending more money than I'd planned, and even joined the photo club so we can go back several more times at a discounted rate as he grows this first year.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

First Week of Motherhood

There are so many things about being Caleb's mommy that I absolutely love. I love watching him breathe while he's sleeping. His whole body rises and falls, and he has a delightfully peaceful look on his face. I love the way little shudders run through his tiny body after he stops screaming and finally gets what he was asking for (usually food). I love the drunk expression on his face after a nice long feeding. I love the smell of baby that exudes from him. I love the adorable series of expressions he makes while he's trying to poop. Most of all, I love cuddling him to my body and feeling his warmth, knowing that God has entrusted his physical, emotional and spiritual care to his father and I, and knowing that God will give us the strength to fulfill that responsibility.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Labor Story

At 41 weeks, I was scheduled to be induced at 5:30 am on Thursday morning (March 23rd). On Wednesday afternoon, I called my doctor because I hadn't felt Caleb move much at all the whole day, and I was concerned. Dr. Duff sent me to the labor and delivery triage center for a fetal monitoring test. I called Marcus and he met me there. When we arrived around 3:30 pm, the nurse hooked me up to the monitors, took my blood pressure, and then casually asked me how long I'd been having contractions. I, thinking she had misunderstood why we were there, replied that I was not having contractions. She said, "Oh yes you are honey. Look at the monitor." I was indeed having small contractions every 4-5 minutes. By the end of the 30-minute test, I was just beginning to feel them. Since Caleb appeared to be fine and my labor was just beginning, they sent us home for the evening. My contractions continued for the next six hours, gradually becoming stronger and closer together. Around 9:30 pm, the contractions were painful enough that I was ready to go the hospital. It took another hour and a half to get everyone out the door. We arrived at triage for the second time that day around 11:00 pm. Dr. Greene, the on-call resident, checked my cervix and proclaimed me to be a measly two centimeters dilated. It was a busy night and being only two centimeters put me third in line for the next available labor and delivery room. I was extremely dismayed, to say the least, when the nurse suggested that I "walk around for a couple of hours," until more rooms became available. By now, the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes, and they REALLY hurt. I ended up laboring in the labor and delivery waiting room (instead of walking around) for the next 2 hours, until they finally gave us a room. Those two hours were definitely the worst part of my labor. I made Marcus call the other hospital in town to see if we could go over there instead. I was disgusted that they didn't have a room for me. One of the other people in the waiting room (there were 10 or so) asked me if I shouldn't get a room or something. I said, "They're out." He was pretty shocked.Anyway, once we got in a room around 1:30 am, things started happening. The anesthiologist came around and quickly became my favorite person in the world. They only let Marcus stay for the administering of the epidural. I squeezed his hands very tightly and concentrated on not moving during the five minutes or so that the doctor was working. The pain of the contractions began to subside immediately, and within an hour, my legs were numb.Shortly after I got the epidural, a nurse came in and started me on Pitocin because my contractions were lessening in strength and frequency. Dr. Greene came in again and checked me, and I was dilated 3 cm. By now, it was about 3:00 am, and all three of us were exhausted. Marcus folded out the chair that was supposed to pass for a cot and slept for a couple of hours. I also drifted off for a couple of hours. When I woke up around 5:00 am, someone was there to check me, and I was happy to hear that I was now dilated 5 cm. Another doctor, I don't remember the name, took this opportunity to break my water. For the next couple of hours, we just chilled out, waiting for Dr. Duff to arrive. The nurse had told us that Caleb would probably be born Thursday afternoon or evening, based on the progress I'd made, so I wasn't looking for anything to happen soon. I was just happy that I wasn't in pain :) Dr. Duff arrived around 7:30 and checked my cervix. His eyes widened and he didn't say anything, so I said, "What is it?" He said, "What would you like it to be?" I said, "10!" to which he replied, "Will 9 cm do?" I was ecstatic! We were soon going to see our little one! Dr. Duff was in a shirt and tie, so he said that he would go change and be back in about 30 minutes. He said that when he got back, it would probably be time to push. True to his word, he came back a little after 8:00 am, proclaimed me fully dilated, and whipped out the stirrups. Marcus and the nurse had to life my legs up and put them in the stirrups, because I had no feeling in them at all. I pushed for a total of 23 minutes, which is not long in the laboring world, but felt like forever to me. My nurse, who had been downright rude several times throughout the night, was not very helpful during this stage. She didn't count, or give me any idea how long I was supposed to be pushing. Instead, she constantly interjected little confidence-boosters like "Now push HARD this time" and "Okay, now REALLY try." A few minutes into the pushing stage, Dr. Duff told Marcus to suit up. I remember feeling excited because I knew Dr. Duff was going to let Marcus help deliver Caleb! I probably would have ended up pushing longer, but Caleb's cord was wedged between the birth canal and his head, and the closer he came to being born, the more his oxygen supply was being cut off. His heartrate slowed enough in those 23 minutes that Dr. Duff decided to do an episiotomy to hurry things along. I, of course, didn't feel a thing. A few minutes later, Caleb's head was out. I think Dr. Duff delivered the head, but during the next push, it was all Marcus. I opened my eyes to see Marcus lifting up a squalling infant. I couldn't believe it was over and he was born! It was 8:36 am. My first thoughts were: "That cord is huge!" and "He's not bloody at all!" They put him on my stomach and I gazed into his little face, amazed at his perfect form. I don't remember much after that, except that Dr. Duff told me to push once more to deliver the placenta, and then immediately said, "Never mind, there it is." So I didn't even have to push :) I also remember us all guessing his weight just before they put him on the scale. Susan though 6 lbs, Marcus thought 6.5, and I thought 7 lbs. He shocked us all with his 8 lbs, 5 oz. He didn't look like a big baby, but the scale said he was.This is my labor story as I remember it. Overall, it was MUCH easier than I was expecting, and I am extremely grateful for that epidural!