Monday, September 26, 2011

My Heart Will Go On (despite my kicking & screaming)

We are on our way to our new city with a 3 night visit in Michigan City, Indiana first to visit with David's parents.  This will be the first time they will see Jonathan!  Pulling out of town was so strange.  Knowing that we were going to the in-laws first, the departure almost felt no different than a family vacation.  Yet, simultaneously, I knew that there was so much more to this departure.  Yes, I am excited about exploring our new city yet, this does not negate the fact that leaving my hometown is quite sad.  Prior to our final departure, David and I did a "Goodbye driving tour".  I thought I would share some photos of places that have meant something to me in Buffalo.  Keep in mind, however, that some of the places in these pictures look VERY different than when they were a part of my life.  Neighborhoods of my past have changed and, in many situations, have deteriorated since they were part of my stomping grounds.  Nonetheless, I felt it necessary to drive past each and every one of them.  Here, you can say that final goodbye *with* me......but stay tuned for photos of the journey AND our new city too.  (Also, keep in mind that some of my photos below are sideways and I can't figure out why my computer will not allow me to rotate them.)

My childhood home
Key Bank branch where David & I met. I was a commercial teller and he was my customer

St. Gerard's - my childhood church parish. Also, attended this parish's school from kindergarten - 6th grade

Buffalo State College Student Union - At 18, met my friend Tammy at Buff State.  Also at 18, hung out with my guy friends there too. As an adult, grabbed a meal there between my work & and evening classes

Delaware Park Rose Garden - Where David & I got married

Previously where David & Jon where roommates but when Jon moved to New Orleans, David and I lived in the (upper) apartment

My high school, Holy Angels Academy

My grandma would be rolling in her grave at how her house looks......but, this was my Grandma & Grandpa Odziemiec's house

This was my mom & dad's house 1988 - 2007

Grandma Mazur would not be happy about how her house looks either

Our first house together 1998 - 2009

Said bye to Mom & Dad too

Niagara University - where I got my teaching certification & master's degree

When we were at the cemetary, Madeline was picking dandalions and placing them on my Grandma & Grandpa's grave (Sad....I don't know where my paternal grandparents are buried)

St. Lawrence School - Grades 7 & 8

Tim Horton's....yum!  AND...they were building THIS one right around the corner from my house & I won't be there to see it open!!

Wegman's!!!!  If you don't understand WHY I would be mourning a grocery store, you have obviously never been to a Wegmans!
Our most recent "Home Sweet Home" , 2009 - 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shuffle Off FROM Buffalo?!?!

As I mentioned in my last post, aside from a new baby, there is also another life changing event on the horizon.  Things have been quite hectic here.  In the course of just *one week*, David accepted a job offer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, he gave notice at his job here in Buffalo, we put our house up for sale *and* we had a baby.  Talk about multi-tasking!

So how did this all come about?  Although David loved his most recent job, we knew that in order to take that next step in his career he'd have to move on.  Unfortunately, since David is in a very specialized field, there aren't many of his kind of job in any given city.  We hung tough though, I guess because we both love Buffalo and we hoped that some type of opportunity would magically appear in the region, overnight.

How did we end up in Minneapolis?  That all started in about February.  David was in a conference in San Diego.  On one of his breaks, he was able to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Meanwhile, I was back in Buffalo freezing my butt off.  David texted me, "Remind me again, why do we live in Buffalo"?  In the course of that text "conversation" we  decided that if he were to look for another job, we (because we have no immediate family in Buffalo) could move anywhere we wanted.  We could choose a city with a warmer climate, where winters are shorter.  Ummmm.....somewhere we failed in the execution of *that* part of the plan! But after opening our minds to the thought of a relocation, we began keeping our eyes opened to job postings in David's field. When an interesting posting came up, David would ask me, "What about (fill in blank with city name)"?? My response was always, "There is no harm in sending a resume".  In May. when Minnesota wanted to meet David for coffee, while both parties were at a conference in Indianapolis, my response was, "There is no harm in coffee".  I didn't start getting nervous until July when they wanted to have David fly to Minneapolis for more interviews, not to mention the fact that I was 9 months pregnant and couldn't travel to Minneapolis to scope out the city. If they offered David the job, and it was a good enough offer, that would mean I was relocating away from my home town to a city, sight-unseen.

Soooooo.........NOW we know what is the "harm" in *just* a resume or *just* a cup of coffee. The offer presented to David was too good to pass up. Talk about mixed emotions!!! On one hand, I was happy for and proud of David's success.  On the other hand, I was so sad - almost felt as though I was in mourning, at the idea of moving away from my hometown and all my friends.  Without a doubt, preparing to move has been much more than just having our house packed up.  Preparing to move has also meant preparing myself emotionally for this transition.  Although I am excited about many aspects of our new adventure, I am very sad to leave my friends.  Many tears have been shed and now, I take a deep breathe and forge ahead.

What is in Minneapolis?? God only knows.... Many people, when finding out about our move, have made reference to Mary Tyler Moore and the "hat throwing" scene in the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore show.  I remember this scene well as when I was a kid, it was my bed time when Mary threw her hat in the air.  Come to find out, that scene was filmed in Minneapolis.  Furthermore, the scene is further honored with a bronze statue of Moore's iconic hat toss erected near the Minneapolis intersection where the scene was filmed. I'm sure I will eventually make my way to the statue and have a hokey picture taken of me throwing *my* hat in the air.  But as many of our first days in Minnesota will be spent exploring new sights (especially the Mall of America) I will try to keep the Mary Tyler Moore mentality in the forefront of my mind.  
As the theme song says, 
"Love is all around, no need to waste it.
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Introducing Pork Chop

Jonathan David
Born 7/30/11
7 pounds 7.5 ounces
20.5 inches

Hospital photo
For somewhat obvious reasons, I am super behind on my blog entries. I typically try to post entries in a chronological order however, the birth of Jonathan is an exception to the rule.  So, here I will give the story of Jonathan's birth.  And then in a subsequent post I will discuss the other life changing events that are occurring here and that we firmed up just prior to Jonathan's birth.  (Side note: Blog pictures - some are posted sideways and I can't seem to figure out why my computer won't let me rotate them)

With regard to the story of Jonathan's birth I do plan to discuss some of my labor story.  Why???? might ask.  Well, this blog is just as much a diary of time (which I often refer back to) for my life as it is a means to share news and day-to-day adventures with my family and friends.  So, consider yourself pre-warned.  If you are not interested in that aspect, feel free to skim past those details.

Prior to labor, I had tons of questions to my female friends and family that had gone through the childbirth experience.  I remember asking questions about how much fluid is release when one's water breaks.  I think my biggest fear was being in the grocery store and needing a "Clean-up in aisle 9!"  My sister, Marysia, had told me that she *heard* her water break.  She told me that it sounded like a little "pop".  Despite never experiencing this, I thought for sure that Marysia was imagining things.

Statue at entrance to Sister's Hospital.  We called it the "Whoa, Whoa Jesus" statue because it looks as though he is saying, "Whoa! Whoa! All visitors must check in at the front desk"!
Approximately 5am on July 30th (3 weeks prior to my due date) I awoke to go potty.  Certainly, not an unusual occurrence for a woman who is 9 months pregnant.  I crawled back into bed, laid on my left side and began to settle in when I heard a "pop".  The "pop" was really more like a "twang", similar to the sound of strumming on a very tight rubber band.  When I heard that, my eyes popped open like a deer in the headlights as I remembered what Marysia said about hearing her water break.  So, there I laid, waiting.....and nothing.  After about 30 minutes, I figured that I was just letting my imagination get the best of me.  I rolled over to my right side and just began dozing off when I heard that "twang" again.  My eyes shot open once more and I waited for something.  I wasn't sure what, but I waited.  After about 5 minutes I began to feel a small trickle like a woman might feel when her period starts.  With that initial sensation I jolted out of bed, nudged David on the way out, and ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet.  Whewwwww.....just in time!  By the time David made it into the bathroom he asked, "Is that you peeing"?  "No" I responded, "My water just broke". And I sat there on the toilet while David stood there watching me, both of us with dumbfounded looks on our faces as we tried to mentally register the fact that would most likely have the baby some time that day.  A few minutes passed and I went to get off the potty and another gush came. All I could think of was I was so glad this happened at home.

Waiting for contractions to start.
So, my water broke but no contractions.  I knew that meant that even if contractions didn't start, they would induce me.  Therefore, I knew that I would have the baby that day.  I told David I had to call the doctors.  My cute husband told me that my sister, Marysia, said that it could take a week after my water broke before I went into labor....I had to inform him that she never said that and that she was referring to loosing the "mucus plug" which I don't recall loosing, but...whatever.  He kept trying to tell me that it could take a week.  Finally, I said to him - "DAVID, we are having the baby TODAY".  Too funny....soooo cute!  But still, it took him several moments to have the "Are you sure about this??" look off of his face.  Despite having my water break three weeks early, walking around the house with a towel in between my legs while I packed my hospital bag and an overnight bag for Madeline (My friend Tammy watched her), I remained amazingly calm.

It's a boy! Jonathan David

7 pounds 7.5 ounces
Comedy of errors. We waited at home for Tammy to come over. As we were leaving for the hospital David tells me that we have to stop for gas. I thought he was joking.  I get in the car and sure enough the gas light was on.  However, the "miles to empty" said 40 miles to go and we made the trip into Buffalo with low gas.  Also, we got on the highway and there was new construction with a traffic detour.  What?!?!...are you kidding me??  We got to the hospital and went straight to the labor & delivery area of the about a surreal feeling!

Mama right after surgery....not allowed to hold the baby yet

David holding Jonathan

My little dude
meds and so finally (David was still gone) I asked if it was too early for an epidural.  The nurses examined me and I was only 3cm.....WTF?!?! I would've thought that I was a lot further along than that!  Funny, but I felt disappointed in myself that I didn't hang tough longer.  Oh well, I got over that thought quickly.  They put in a call for the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural and that period of time seemed like an eternity (all though in reality the time span probably wasn't that long).  However, during that time it seemed as though  the contractions came so quickly (David was still gone and by now I was clutching the bed rails with each contraction)  While I waited the nurses would have to come in to check on me or do this or that.  Back to the "Quiet while Amy is in pain" thing.....I can't even tell you how many people I SHUSHED that day.  Nurses, midwifes, the anesthesiologist - you name it I shushed them.  Of course, I shushed them only during a contraction and then apologized afterward as I explained my need for quiet while in pain.  Once the epidural was administered but before it took effect, I was examined again and was at 6cm.  Wow....a lot of progress in a short period of time.  Once the epidural took effect, I was a happy camper.  I dozed off, David read me magazines, I talked on the phone and played on Facebook as I waited.  My only question then became, why on Earth would someone NOT want an epidural?!

In recovery room - I look as though I just got hit by a truck, but I am happy to be holding Jonathan for the first time.
Madeline meeting her little brother for the first time
Memory of time at this point has become foggy.  It was probably about 7:30 pm when I was the full 10cm but they had me wait to start pushing.  At about 8pm, I began pushing however Jonathan was facing the wrong way.  He was not breech but rather face up instead of face down.  The doctor would try to turn Jonathan as I pushed but he wasn't having any part of turning.  So I pushed and pushed for 2.5 hours.  Finally, it was evident that the baby was not going to budge. He was stuck and so at 10:30 it was decided that I would have a cesarean.  As they wheeled me to the operating room I told David (in a joking manner), "Ummmm.....just so you know, we are never having sex again".

Surprise visit from Uncle Paul
At 10:48pm, Jonathan was born.  The sound of his cry was the most beautiful sound in the world.  With a cesarean, the nurses take the baby and clean him up right away.  It was so difficult to know that I just had a baby, hear him crying, but not be able to see him or hold him.  David was able to see him and hold him right away but I was not able to hold him until the recovery room.  I just got a quick peek at my little guy.

The rest of that evening was a blur.  After being up since 5am, going thru labor/cesarean I could hardly keep my eyes open in the recovery room.  I was able to try to breast feed in recovery while we waited for my hospital room to be ready for me.  It was about 2am before I got to the room.

Jonathan with his Aunt Marysia
The nurses at Sisters Hospital were awesome.  My stay at the hospital was as enjoyable as a hospital stay could be.  Sure, I was exhausted from recovering and getting used to feeding during the night, however I really did enjoy my stay.
A visit from Mary, Kym & Cecilia
During my stay at the hospital, I also enjoyed my visitors.  The absolute BEST was my brother, Paul and  his family surprised me!!  For those who do not know, Paul lives in Kentucky.  His daughter, Rachel, was at that time preparing to move from Pittsburgh to NYC.  Paul and his wife, Penny, were in Pittsburgh helping Rachel with transporting her pets when they read on Facebook that I was in labor.  They (Paul, Penny, Rachel & Rachel's boyfriend Garrett) decided to drive the 4 hour trip to Buffalo to visit me and meet Jonathan!  Talk about complete surprise and a touching show of love.  I just feel terrible that they could only stay for such a short time and I was still somewhat "out of it".  I also received visits from my sister, Marysia, from Baltimore who came into Buffalo and stayed with us for a week to help me and David once we returned from the hospital.  Also, my friends Tammy, Kelly, Jen E. and my MOMS Club friends - Kym, Mary & Cecilia.  visited(ugh....I hope I am not missing any other hospital visitors!)

HIGH FIVE! We're going home!

Jonathan coming home in Buffalo Sabres hockey fan gear

Home at last!
Jonathan was supposed to come home on Wednesday. However Jonathan became jaundice and had to spend an additional night in the hospital.  I was discharged on Wednesday but I was able to stay the additional night in an open suite in the NICU so that I could breast feed throughout the night (Jonathan was never in NICU that is just where the suite was) I looked on the positive which was, that day (Wed 8/3) was gray and rainy.  Before I knew that Jonathan had to spend an extra day in the hospital, I was disappointed that the homecoming day would be a dreary one.  As it turned out, with him staying an extra day, his actual homecoming day (Thurs 8/4) was a beautiful sunny day.

Madeline giving her little brother some love

Everyone is super tired with the adjustments
I was super blessed to have the helping hands of my sisters and friends upon returning home from the hospital.  For the first week, Marysia worked her tail off helping us out with Madeline, the baby, household stuff, grocery shopping and tons of other items pertaining to some other big things going on in our life (will discuss in a separate post).  The day Marysia left, my other sister, Margaret, and her daughter, Kate, came to town for a week to help some more.  Margaret worked her tail off too and Kate was put to work by being Madeline's playmate during this time of chaos in which David and I had our attention to Madeline slightly distracted.  Also, my MOMS Club friends stepped in with scheduling a few meal drop offs.....yum!

Jonathan with Aunt Margaret and cousin Kate
Madeline has been a great big sister.  She is a huge help to me and is such a loving sister.  I look forward to the day (and I am sure Madeline is too) that Jonathan is big enough for the two of them to play together.  It is fun to watch the dynamics of our family evolve during all of this.

Aunt Marysia holding Jonathan during his baptism
Big Jon and little Jon - Jonathan with "Uncle" Jon
I will end this post with a couple Baptism pictures.  Jonathan was baptized at our parish on Sunday, 9/4.  The godparents are my sister, Marysia, and her husband, Mike who traveled to Buffalo, from Baltimore, for the occasion.  And even our friend "Uncle" Jon was in town from New Orleans.
At the baptismal font with godparents Uncle Mike & Aunt Marysia and Mama & Papa

And now, the "Adventures of Mama- Dirtyfoot" a Mama to two.