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I’m so behind in so many facets in life, it’s not even funny! One thing’s for sure, those back to back vacations were just what the dr. ordered!

Even though it’s Thursday, we just got back from our trip to Va. on Tuesday night. Spending a long weekend in Va. Beach was a great way to kick off the summer. And like always, after a nice visit back home, I always feel nostalgic and sentimental.

Jeff and I both have such fond memories of our childhood in VB. From swimming all day and night to playing out in our yards until the knees in our jeans dissolved. Home is where our hearts are…

As we made our way south down the turnpike, we were greeted with next to no traffic. Perhaps the mounting gas prices were to blame. And to think, NJ, of all places, not too long ago reportedly had the cheapest gas prices. Now we’re hovering right around $3.89/gal. I don’t blame a lot of people for staying local. For once, it was nice to have the road to ourselves!

Cousins!
Our time back home, as always, was fun. We spent time with Jeff’s family BBQing and watching the kids play together. It makes me feel old to see Britney- who was a baby when I moved up north- lugging my kid around. It’s so sweet to see how the bigger kids dote on Jack. I can already envision him running after his big cousins this time next year.

Per usual, we timeshare our visits with our two families and friends. On Sunday, we had a family friend’s baptism to attend and then another BBQ at home. Jack was able to give his uncle Jeff and uncle John drooly open mouth kisses, in between their crazy schedules. However, my favorite part of the weekend was, undoubtedly, sitting in my parents backyard– picnicking with the family, Jack swimming in his kiddie pool, laying on the grass with my boys and watching my parents enjoy being grandparents.

waiting to swimEvil KnievelAs my dad loves to remind me, “you can’t buy a backyard like this anymore.” To me, his statement translates to: the fruit of his labor, in a sense, is symbolized by their home and yard. Many memories were made there. Without a doubt, many more memories are upon the horizon.

I’m incredibly blessed to be able to share such an important part of my youth with my kid, even if it means driving 600+ miles in a weekend to do so!

For all those who wonder how we do that drive so often, that is why.

Since we literally and figuratively grew up at the Beach, it’s so inherent that we immerse our kid there, too. Honestly, it’s no surprise Va. Beach was tapped as one of the best areas to raise kids, according to Best Life.

Swimming time!

Dreams and careers are what landed us in the NYC area. At a time when joblessness is at a high, a flourishing career is what will keep us here. It’s hard being away from family and friends, especially after fun weekends. But, as they say, there are trade-offs for everything in life.

Much to my dismay, Jeff once said to me on the eve of my departure to chase the unknown, “NYC is a great place to visit, but not a place I want to live.”

At this point in our lives, I’m going to put it out there: VB is a place we’ll always visit, but NJ/NYC is our home.
Congrats on your promotion, Jeff!

(I’m so glad you changed your mind.)

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Happy Monday! Today is one of those frigid days where the entire city seems to be walking around in glorified sleeping bags in the subzero windchills. Wherever you are, I hope you don’t have to be outside, but if you have to face the frigid temps, stay warm!

I’m sure many feel the same, but it’s always hard to come back to work after such a nice weekend filled with family fun. So, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day than watching a video of my pantless and very energetic boy.

Here’s Jack perfecting his latest Riverdance routine. I tell ya, his favorite toy ever are those feet and legs!

I’m busy playing catch up at work since we were recuperating and preparing to get on the road yesterday.

Jack’s baptism over the weekend was a beautiful celebration surrounded by friends and family; we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for the boy. Amidst all the preparation, commotion and loving attention, Jack seemed to enjoy the time spent with all of our family and friends (minus a minor meltdown at the church right before the ceremony began.) Everyone, as always, was so wonderful and gracious for Jack’s special day. The baptism, itself, was beautiful.

Jack and Jeff had a very significant father-son moment as Jack was officially baptized. Instead of wailing out of fear, Jack knew he was in good hands while his dad held him tight.

The lunch we hosted afterwards was just as awesome. It’s family/cultural tradition to have a gigantic celebration for baptisms. But because of our distance and small timeframe to plan, we had an intimate lunch with our closest family and friends instead. We hosted it at our friends’ restaurant, which unbeknownst to us, was opened early just for us. It was perfect.

I may moan and groan about our geographical separation from our family and friends in Va. and having to drive such far distances for every holiday or major event, but it’s times like this that remind me exactly why we will always return home to Va. Thank you to all of our family and friends who took the time to share in our celebration.

Can I brag about my awesome family a bit more? I wanted to say a special thank you to Jack’s Godmother, my cousin Kristine, who flew in from California to be a part of the day. Also, another very special thank you to another beautiful cousin, Melissa, who graciously took on the role as photographer during all the festivities.

Here’s a slideshow of the many pix that were taken on Sunday. Also, I’m opening up access to the flickr photos for the day. (I’ll set them for family and friends access only tonight.)

For the first time in a long time, I was sad to see another year end. 2007, for us, was a year of Jen, Jeff and Jackunexpected surprises, warm welcomes and a whole new beginning. In essence, it was our year of Jack. This time last year, I was just barely pregnant and had no idea what we had in store. We were welcoming 2007 and hoping, wishing and praying that it would finally be OUR year. I can say wholeheartedly that yes, it was most certainly our year. After so much struggle, we found happiness in so many facets of our lives.

Last night, we were fortunate to have not one babysitter, but TWO since both of my parents are here visiting. As I got dressed to go out with Jeff and a few friends, I watched my parents enjoy their new grandson and remember just how much one little guy changed my entire family’s perspective. In between a nice dinner with friends andJack and dad the intermittent neighborhood boozing, Jeff and I popped back in to our place right before the ball drops– a tradition that my family has done for years when proximity allowed. When we were younger we all tried to make it a point to be together when the ball dropped, no matter what we were doing for the hours before. In a sense, to us, that togethernessMomma and babe signified togetherness for the coming year. And because he can’t stand missing a party, Mr. Jack woke up just minutes before midnight.

So, at midnight, we bid farewell to our best year yet and welcomed another year of surprises! So long 2007, you were so good to us!

Here’s to all of you, we hope your new year is filled with health, happiness, fulfillment and joy!

silly hat
born in 2007I pretty much eat everything

Other than the fact that it’s a holiday that promotes a lot of non-stop eating, I truly love Thanksgiving!  I love everything about it.  I love crossing the Bay Bridge Tunnel, as it’s the first indication that we’re home.  It’s a reminder where we’ve come from, where we’ve been and where we want Jack to love just as much as us.

With this being the kid’s first trip to Va., so far I’ve noticed that his short existence has changed everything, but most importantly the perspective in my family.  I know my perpsective has changed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!I have so much to be thankful for this year: happiness, health, a very loving family, a lot of great friends and 2 very special guys that make it all worth it!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bohnvisit 130

Jeff said he sat in the empty birthing suite in his scrubs for 15 long minutes as they continued to prep me in the OR.

It was definitely a long 15 minutes. Not having a hand, specifically his hand, to hold at the scariest, most painful time in my life was much more than I could comprehend. While I laid on the operating table, I kept my eyes closed but would peek intermittently to see if the anesthesiologist had arrived to save the day yet. Considering I’d never had surgery or even stayed at a hospital overnight, I remember thinking that the OR was exactly how it’s portrayed on TV. It was sterile and white– exactly the way I’d imagined it would be. Actually, it was THE only aspect of my birthing experience that was just like it’s shown on tv. And finally, when I peeked again, I heard an unfamiliar voice among all the counting of the surgical equipment. It was my savior– the anesthesiologist! He had to measure stuff, ask me questions then finally after all the moans and groans, he topped my epidural off with some good, strong stuff, enough to hold me off for the C-section. He didn’t have to inject anything directly in me since I had the epidural already wired in. Within minutes, the excruciating, imploding pain had subsided and then I could focus on what was going on besides my pain. I heard my dr’s dialogue with the anesthesiologist, basically implying that the medicine needed to hurry up and be administered because we were on a tight time table. I then realized that beyond the nurses, my dr. had another OB assisting in my surgery.

And then, what was probably the weirdest thing ever, my dr. had to do a test cut to make sure the meds were strong enough. He did a quick slice, starting on my left side. I felt the sensation of the first cut, but not the pain. Dr. said I wasn’t quite ready but would be within the next 3 minutes or so. I felt the urgency in his voice. And then finally, he told the nurses to go get Jeff. Once Jeff arrived, I was even more relaxed…well, considering the circumstances!

The drugs made me feel 10000% better than I felt half an hour earlier. I remember getting pretty inquisitive. Since the anesthesiologist was sitting by my head, I kept asking him questions, like he was the tour guide for C-sections.”So, what does it feel like?” I asked him “Well, many women have said that once the baby is pulled out, it feels like a giant elephant sitting on your chest.” he told me. I’m glad I befriended this doc because all the questions I asked him made me almost forget what was going on. Even though there was a tarp like thing hiding the surgery, I was within earshot of the drs and nurses. I heard my dr. telling the other dr. that he had to do something quick because the baby was so far down in the birth canal. I even heard the dr. realize part of the reason why the baby wouldn’t descend. And then I tried to focus on the different sensations and tugging that was going on. I didn’t want to miss the baby’s first cry. So after a minute or two of forceful pulling, my dr. finally pulled the baby out and the giant elephant sat on my chest. Wow. He wasn’t kidding about that analogy! That’s exactly what it felt like. It was right about then when my dr. asked Jeff if he wanted to see his baby boy. He told Jeff he could stand up, but could not touch anything sterilized that was in blue. Jeff stood up, saw our alien-like squirmy newborn and was completely smitten. Jeff also said, as he sat back down, the dr. shifted and then he could see my “insides” just sitting on the table. mmmmm. nice.

After Jeff sat back down, I could hear that the baby was finally here. And it was then that I first heard him. I knew they had to flush his system a bit to remove fluid, so it took a moment for him to cry. But once he let out that first cry, my heart thumped a lot louder and the tears began to flow. I couldn’t see him yet, but I knew I loved him, just from the sounds of it. The dr. continued with my surgery. It felt like he was rearranging my organs and cleaning up shop and even rattling my vertebrae just a bit. It was quite uncomfortable to feel all that movement going back in. I felt him sew up the insides and then do stuff to the outside. I also heard a blow torch thing?? and smelled a strange burning thing. I still have no idea what THAT was, but whatever. It took another 10 minutes for all that to finish up.

While he was sewing me up, the dr. started to tell Jeff and me that we made the right decision at the right time. He said we didn’t have just 1 thing going against us causing the distress, but we had basically 4 factors that could’ve created a different result, had we gone another route. The dr said, first his size was an obvious factor. We knew he was big, but nobody really doubted that he’d have problems coming out. UM, I KNEW! Secondly, the baby had meconium stains on his face which can be very serious. Meconium stains indicate distress during delivery and if too much is swallowed, it can create a lot of problems. Then the baby had the umbilical cord around his neck almost twice. While it’s almost common to see this among babies being born nowadays, that too can create problems. And then the big one– the baby had a true knot in his umbilical cord. Since Jack was so active in utero, he created an actual knot in the cord. The knot could have created circulation issues and even resulted in a cord accident, but thankfully things worked out in our favor. We were told that with the cord around his neck combined with the true knot, the umbilical cord was like a bungee cord for the baby, so I could’ve pushed for 2 days, and he probably would have never completely descended on his own. My dr. said the the true knot is so rare that it only occurs in 1 in every 10,000 or so births. And basically, it means good luck. WHAT! good luck? haha. you’ve got to be kidding me. After all that? Now you tell me I have good luck. We could’ve used the luck before the birth!
We didn’t really need luck afterall– we made one quick decision that ensured the safety and health of our beautiful boy. And that’s all that matters.

After all the serious talk, I asked, what day it was? I couldn’t figure out if it was Wed, Thurs or Friday at that point. I wanted to know when Jack was born, as well as all of his stats. I was so excited and drugged up, I had to know right then! The drs told me they had to take the baby right away to the nursery to do all of his stats and the initial testing, so I wouldn’t be able to see him for long. But thankfully, they brought him around to show me. I kissed my boy, sobbed a lot and glanced at my husband, who beamed even brighter. Even though it wasn’t the way I envisioned my birthing experience, it was still the most unscripted and seemingly characteristic way to welcome our first born. We wouldn’t have had it any other way. From going overdue and then finding out that his umbilical cord could have created long term, even fatal problems, all we could think was how blessed we were to be able to finally meet Jackson Foster. Jack measured at 21 inches, 8 lbs and 14 oz. and was officially welcomed into the world at 10:34 on September 27th.

The nurses kept saying, wow he’s a big boy. Yeah, he’s really big! In fact, he was the biggest newborn in the nursery during our stay. haha. go figure.

All it took was just a few seconds and I immediately (well, temporarily at least) forgot about the years of heartache, the 9 months of morning sickness and discomfort, the 27 hours of difficult labor and 2 painful hours of unsuccessful pushing.

In just one instant, I was so completely in love and he was FINALLY all ours.

Happy one week birthday to baby Jack! October 4 at 10:34pm marked the first week of the birth of our sweet and (not so) little Jack. It’s so cliche to say, but still so true: it’s hard to believe how much has changed in just one week!!

For starters, Jeff and I reaffirmed just how strong we are as a couple, not to mention as individuals. Jack’s birth, the instant decisions we were faced with, as well as the painful road to GET pregnant, joyous road to BE pregnant, the heightening road of labor and the most rewarding road of delivery all led to our little man. While the paths may have been twisted, detoured and completely wrong at times, I can look back and say that we wouldn’t change a thing.

As Jeff and I said to each other shortly after meeting Jack for the first time, if things weren’t difficult or if things just fell into place, it wouldn’t seem right. It wouldn’t be “jen and jeff enough” if it didn’t happen without struggle.

And so, that’s where I’ll begin. I took this past week off from the internet , not only to recover physically, but also to bond with my little family. The detachment from the world has been hard, but so worth the refocused energy and the newness of everything.

A lot has happened in the first week, so I’ll recount things chronologically. (mainly for myself and for the few that have been asking!)

Induction day–September 26, 2007

Last week when I was very pregnant, I had 2 things on my mind: having a healthy baby boy and then having a nice cold beer. haha. just kidding. well, sorta. No really, I was looking forward to meeting Jack and then having our “happily ever after.” I just couldn’t comprehend why I was still pregnant and why I wouldn’t just go on my own. So, when the dr. suggested an elective induction, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Jeff, the more conservative one, weighed the dangers and outcome of this elective procedure.  He was afraid that it would end in a C-section.  To be honest, so was I. He didn’t want me to go through with an elective induction, just because I was “done” being pregnant. In reality, he was right. But at the same time, my instincts told me to just do with the induction NOW.

I have to say, it’s one of the best decisions I made throughout my pregnancy. Sure, inductions are far from natural. In fact, a lot of the drugs they use to ripen the cervix and in turn induce labor, aren’t meant for obstetrics. My OB even confirmed that– when I was all strapped up to the IVs and in my pretty hospital gown, no less. It’s a scary thought to consider and think that labor-inducing drugs can lead to uterine ruptures and even maternal death. But after speaking to my OB quite candidly about my fears about the specific drug he prescribed to ripen my cervix, I let faith and trust lead the way.

So, starting at 8 pm last Wednesday, I had to drink this one tiny little pill called Cytotec every four hours. It was meant to ripen my cervix and “open the door” to contraction-producing labor, if you will. I took the pill, and then watched the contractions begin to appear on the monitor next to me. I had a maternal monitor and a fetal monitor hooked up to my belly to monitor the whole induction process. Every 4 hours, I took the magic pill and waited…uncomfortably. It was one of those never-ending nights where I didn’t get a wink of sleep, even though Jeff was right by my side in the hospital chair/bed snoring away.

By 6am, my OB walked in, all dressed in his scrubs to check on me. He gave me a tentative schedule on how things “should” look. He told me that since he had 3 surgeries scheduled in Hoboken that morning, that the other OB (who is also my gyn) would be coming by between noon and 2pm to break my water, and by then, he would have me start the Pitocin. NICE. He made it sound like I would be waiting for the cable guy to come and hook up the Silver Package.

Just as he wished, the other dr. came to break my water. That procedure was nothing short of painful and dreadful.  It’s no wonder why my body didn’t do it on its own. From that point on, I think every L&D nurse had to come by every 30 minutes to “check my progress.” By the end of the day, it seemed like the entire staff was up my gown to do some sort of checking! All the L&D nurses, btw, were nothing short of fantastic. All of them, in their own way, made me feel like a million bucks (all things considered, of course!)

Shortly after my water was broken, the contractions started to come effortlessly. And then, so did the Devil Drug, as it was inserted in my IV at 1:30. I wanted to wait as long as possible until getting the epidural– for what, I have no idea. I ended up getting it at 1:5o. Pitocin, when it’s up THAT high, is a very intense drug. While my labor was never ending and totally drawn out, I must say that the epidural made it tolerable.

Oh the epidural… haha. that deserves a post of its own!!

ok, the babe is calling, but I’ll end this part with 2 pix that were taken yesterday and the day before. After all is said and done, HE, well now THEY make it so worth it! I’ll be back with more!
Jack and mom

Jack's first week 108

introducing our long awaited little man, Jackson Foster.

Baby Jack was born on Thursday, September 27 at 10:34 p.m. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 14 oz. and measures at 21 in. For those that don’t know, we faced quite the complicated road to reach our final destination. After all is said and done, it was a road well worth traveling.

Quite simply, Jack is love and patience personified.

Jackson Foster

Thank you to everyone for all of your love and support

Now that we’re finally home, once I write it up, I’ll have the birth story and more to come!

I thought I’d post an update in case anyone is wondering. I had my last scheduled dr’s appointment yesterday. I went in ready for the dr. to say, let’s go to the hospital today and have this baby. But since I know it doesn’t exactly work that way, I was somewhat prepared for the disappointing news.

I didn’t make much progress since last week. While I’m almost completely effaced and been having timeable contractions, I’m not dilated much more than 1cm. I still have favorable signs of going into labor on my own, but who knows when that could be.

Jeff voiced his concerns to me earlier in the week because he’s been doing his own research and reading. He told me that while it’s completely my decision and values my judgment, he’d prefer if I waited the extra week and try to go into labor on my own. Both anxiously and selfishly, I did not even want to think about going beyond this week. My fears of this baby being too big and creating any unnecessary trauma for him is clouding all judgment at this point. And quite frankly, I’m exhausted, not only physically, but from all the unsolicited advice coming my way. I love the support and feedback I get, but with me feeling so worn out and defeated at this point, I just can’t take another “well, my sister’s fiance’s cousin was 3 weeks overdue and her baby was only 7lbs…”

I know I’m not the first woman to face delivering an estimated big baby, nor the first person to go beyond my due date, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be terrified and anxious of the unknown.

So, after delivering the news that I hadn’t made much more progress, the dr. asked how I felt. I glanced at Jeff, released a heavy sigh and told him the obvious: “I’m tired and so done.” We talked more about the possibility of induction and scheduling or whether I wanted to wait the extra week. The dr. said, at this point, induction would not be a medical necessity since I’m not really overdue or high risk. Jeff told him how he felt about waiting the extra week. And with the dr. throwing around the words, “elective” and “unnecessary,” my confidence level plummeted. Reluctantly, I told him that I’d have no qualms with waiting it out, if that’s what he suggested.

“There’s no right and wrong in this decision,” he admitted. “And to be truthful Jen, if you are feeling defeated and exhausted like it appears that you are, waiting the extra week won’t necessarily help.”

Laden with guilt, selfishness and confusion, I wanted nothing more than to burst into tears at that very moment.

With a heavy heart, I asked the dr. if we could mull it over and call him back in the evening. “Not a problem,” he said. “It’s a big decision to make.” And as if a lightbulb went off he went on to say, “oh, for scheduling purposes, I should let you know, if you guys decide to wait until next week, I won’t be here. Dr. B will be on call since I have some family obligations next Wed. and Thurs.”

Great, doc. Throw even more BS into the equation why don’t you. Who ever heard of drs having a life outside of delivering babies, I thought. haha.

Jeff said, as soon as the dr. told us that, my facial expression changed and he knew I’d made up my mind. So, like the observant, dutiful husband he is, Jeff said, “Well, I think that detail alone made up our minds. We’d like to go ahead and schedule the induction for this week.”

I felt so relieved. Not only did I not want to wait another week and endure more tests, but I did not want a different dr. While the other dr. who would be on call is very capable (he is my gyn and has delivered hundreds and hundreds of healthy babies), we had a very solid rapport with Dr. M. I know and realize that the L&D nurses do most of the work during delivery; however, it would be my dr’s call on how this delivery and experience would progress. We’d met with this dr. over the duration of my pregnancy, he’s been very involved and has helped make it as wonderful as it’s been. I did not feel comfortable changing directions at this point.

So, there you have it. Unless I go into labor beforehand, I will go into the hospital tomorrow night to be induced. If things progress well with no major problems, our little dude should be here sometime Thursday.

It’s quite daunting to accept the fact that really, I have no control whatsoever about this whole childbirth thing. I don’t really have an idyllic childbirth plan or scenario. I just want a healthy baby and happy family. I know it’ll be painful, and even moreso now with the induction. I know it’ll be long and exhausting. But what I do know is that my incredible husband will be right there with me.

With my parents coming up tomorrow and Jeff’s parents to follow this weekend, not to mention the throngs of family and friends from a distance, we’ve got a very solid support system ready and waiting to welcome Baby B. into this world!

Thanks for all of your positive feedback. Again, if I don’t answer my phone or return your email, I promise I’ll get back to you eventually.
Everyone’s birth and pregnancy experiences are so different, and I totally appreciate that. WE are ready for it to be OUR turn 🙂 After sleeping on it, I like the idea of knowing when to expect our kid.

Needless to say, we’re looking forward to becoming parents next week. Updates later, maybe after my appointment at the nail salon.