Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Max you are 3 weeks old today! Yipeeee!

Happy 3 week birthday Max!

This week you are opening your eyes more and more - although the photos just show you sleeping ! But that peeking photos is so YOU right now. When the lights are dim or out you open your eyes wide and you look around. You look at us and seem to be assessing the situation - then you close your eyes again.

Things we are finding out about you:

1. your feet are growing at lightening speed!
2. you love being held. You still pass out when I shooch you, and you still love being swaddled. All good good good!
3. everyone that meets you is overwhelmed by how adorable you are.
4. your grandparents are proud to know you and all of them met you this past week.
5. you are eating more this week - up to 60-80 milliliters of food each feeding.
6. I'm sure you could hit a tin can at 20 paces with the way you've been peeing on us whenever we change you !
7. you sleep longer if we feed you more....good to know at 3am!
8. your curiosity about the world is growing as you open your eyes more.
9. your poop smells like cream of broccoli soup or something just as offensive and somehow we don't mind it one bit!
10. you are already outgrowing your little preemie onsies. YAY!!!!!
11. I just love all of your facial expressions - the way you purse your lips just kills me every time.
12.he loves his papa!

Things I am noticing now that I am no longer carrying Max in my belly:
1. I can bend over and pick things up off the ground again.
2. I can put on my own pants without assistance.
3. I can sleep through the night without extra strength Rolaids!
4. I can sleep without a mountain of pillows propping me up
5. I can eat whatever cheese I feel like eating. I can eat cesar salads again. I can eat everything!
6. People don't look at me and smile at me because of the belly anymore - ie: I'm no longer 'special' or treated differently because of the belly - however I feel special because I belong to Max now.
7. I no longer have an excuse to eat an ice cream cone at Buster's all the time. And now I am craving the old food plan I was eating before I was pregnant, and craving getting back into those jeans I was wearing then as well!
8. I can take the trash out again.
9. I can pick up heavy things without worrying.
10. I can take a scaulding hot bath and shower now and not worry about harming the baby in the belly.
11. I can drive with the seatbelt on in the usual way and not have to tug on it to get it to fit right.
12. I don't waddle anymore. ( well i do a little because my thighs are still huge )
13. There is a very small part of me that misses being pregnant because I have already forgotten how uncomfortable I was then. hence this list!

I'm sure more will reveal itself.

Looking forward to hearing about Katye, Tania, Alyssa's pregnancies, birth stories, and baby news!!!
And I'm glad it's no longer me! I'm on the other side now - drinking up all the cuteness that is our baby.

I keep having these moments where I realize that my life is perfect. Just the way it is. I don't have any desire right now for something else or other. I have everything I need and want. I love my husband and our baby. I love the time we have together to get to know Max. I love that Jerry and I made a baby together. We dance around the house, sing, hold, feed, change the baby, watch movies all day and night, laugh, love, kiss, hold, and notice. I feel more in the moment then usual. Although I am still addicted to internet, blogging, facebook, and my iphone which isn't really "here" it's out there somewhere. It's a small fragment of all that is going on in our warm home right now.

I love being in this little bubble of love.

I love Max
I love Jerry
I love my life.

Thank you Max for choosing us.
Happy Birthday to you!

p.s. the photos on the bed were totally fabricated. I swaddled Max and placed him there and took the photos. He wasn't sleeping on a mountain of pillows. Just in case you were concerned. But Jerry was sleeping until I got up on the bed with the camera - he just didn't want to move or look.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

can't get enough of you (and why I love my iphone....)

Augh - I want to eat you !

You are scrumptious.
angel baby.

and about that iphone.
who knew it would come in so handy!
we use it as our alarm to wake us every 2-3 hours for feedings.
to time my breast pump sessions
to take photos all day and night of Max with ease
to check e-mail in the palm of my hand instead of getting up and going across the room to the computer. I can stay with Max and know if I've got mail.
to update facebook easily.
I can do so much while I'm stuck on my glider chair attached to the breast pumping machine.

I think every new parent should go home with their baby and an iphone.
It has been SO handy in so many ways.

I love taking a photo and then instantly sending it to my parents at 5am and knowing that when they wake up they will see Max in all his glory and all I did was push a button - and then hit send.

As a professional photographer - I know I'm "suppose" to use my pro gear. But the thought gives me hives. I don't want to take the photo, download it, convert it to the size small enough for e-mail, and then send it.
The iphone is a one stop shop. No fuss.

So while I'm oooo-ing and ah-ing over our new son Max I can capture him so easily.
The one thing I wish was that the camera on the phone was faster at opening and at taking the photo. I've missed a few because of that...but hey - it's still fabulous.

Enjoy all the iphone photos from this week.

Max is changing so fast it's unbelievable.
He opens his eyes a lot more now so it feels like we are getting to know another being now instead of just a little play toy.

Love you Max! you and papa are still sleeping and I am busy looking online for a better sleeping arrangement for you, and more swaddling blankets to wrap you in.

Today is the Ocsars. That was almost your name. Oscar Seiner. Sounds crazy now! Max is so PERFECTLY you!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

your 2 weeks old....and a day

Dearest Max!

You are already 2 weeks and one day old - I say it that way because I had all intentions of getting a blog post up yesterday to celebrate your two week birthday. But I have to say that I am just not as good lately at keeping up with my own list of things to do. What I am more interested in is making sure you get fed on time and that your diaper is dry, and you are happy and comfy. That's really all I care about right now!

Here are a few photos we took yesterday. One was taken in the middle of the night right before I woke you for another feeding. You are so so so sweet and quiet and adorable that I just didn't want to wake you up.

Can you blame me!

This was a big week for you.

You spent time with Grandma DeeDee over the weekend, then you met your Grandpa Jerry, and his wife Shari. And now you are spending time with your Grandma Marty! WoW! Lots of grandparents wanting to meet you and squeeze you. They are all so in love with you and excited that you are here! I took photos with you and all of them and I just haven't gotten it together to download them and then post them - maybe that's a task for another blogging day.

Today you had an appointment with the Regional Center - Free assistance with Down Syndrome. They came over to check on you and see how you are doing. They raved about you - saying that you had just wonderful muscle tone and that are just so CUTE they couldn't stand it. We agreed!

Then we took you to another Pediatrician appointment. She says you are doing great. We need to keep adding more ounces of food each feeding and get you back up to your birth weight. Right now you are at 5 lbs,13 ounces and we want you at 6 lbs!
You eat so much as it is that I am surprised you aren't past 6 at this point!

You are opening your eyes more and more. Not sure what you think of us what you see us but you seem very intrigued by your papa - as am I ! Isn't he entertaining?!?!

I'm having a hard time with the breast feeding - which makes me really sad. I want to give you lots of great nutrients and my body just isn't supplying much. So while dad feeds you formula - I pump my milk for you - and you get whatever I can get for you. That seems my biggest mission at this point. Getting your milk supply! I've gotten lots and lots of support from friends, lactation specialists, and women who seem to know all about breast milk. Lots of it is helpful. Some of it is militant and un- necessary - but I am learning to take what I need and leave the rest - which I know you will be learning too at some point along the way.

I wish you could sleep with us in our bed. I want to hold you all night long. It's hard to have you in the bassinet next to the bed and not be able to reach over and put a hand around you. But - your papa and I just don't feel great about having you in the bed with us because of all the pillows and covers we use. We want you to be safe and that's more important to us then our own selfish wish to hold on to you all the time. If there was any way I could be 100% certain you would be ok in the bed - you would be there for sure. I wonder how you like the bassinet, and if you feel ok there emotionally without us as close to you or holding you? You seem to be ok - but I just can't tell!

You are starting to stay up a little more at night and we hold you on the couch as much as we possibly can when you get fed.

Your feeding schedule is:


and repeat.

The feeding / diapering usually takes about an hour - when I am pumping milk as well as putting you to breast to see how that goes.

At night you get papa around the 4am feeding and I sleep , and then I do the 7am feeding so Papa can sleep.

I hear that generations before us the dad's didn't get up to feed or diaper. It just wasn't done. But luckily for you - you get both of us. Sometimes we share the feeding time, and some times we take turns so you get one of us for the entire time.
I love being a team. We have always called ourselves "team seiner" and now you make out team complete!

So glad you are here - and doing well and we love watching you grow and change right before our eyes.

Happy happy 2 week birthday baby Max. You light up our lives!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Letter to Friends and Family

We decided to send this letter out to friends and family to let them know about Max - his diagnosis - and his personality to this point. It was a great way to share news with a lot of people at once and get LOTS of love and support that we really loved receiving.

Here it is:

Hi there friends and family!~

We wanted to give you all an update on our little Max.

Born Feb 4th, 2009
at 7:10am

6 pounds and 19.5 inches

He was a dream to give birth to and a doll to live with! We've been a bit behind in sending out announcements or calling or e-mailing because he was a month early and we weren't totally prepared for him yet! So in between feeding and diapering every 2 hours all day and night - we are trying to maximize our "down time" by putting together the crib, getting the changing table, buying wipes, and writing thank you cards. Please forgive us if you haven't heard from us - we are still catching up and learning all that it is to raise a baby!

I wrote out the details of the birth experience on my blog if you are interested. It was an amazing event that I actually laughed through - and had one of the easiest and funniest births I've ever heard of. Funny because it was fast and painless. The total opposite of what I expected.

here is the link

He is an adorable, quiet, peaceful baby.
We found out that Max has Down Syndrome and we are feeling even more
blessed that he picked us to be his parents!
We are finding that we much prefer support and love instead of sadness about his diagnosis so please be gentle if you feel like responding.
We are excited by the idea of creating an environment and community that will support Max in living his best life ever and we look forward to you all being a part of that process!!

Here are some fun facts about Max on day 12 of his life:

1. He loves his head and chin rubbed.
2. He is just starting to open his eyes for brief moments.
3. He is quiet, peaceful, and doesn't mind our noise.
4. He squeeks and beeps. It's the cutest thing in the world.
5. He loves bottled formula, breast milk, and sometimes thinks dad is his mom and looks for milk there too. He is an equal opportunity eater.
6. His peek awake periods are from 2-6am and that's when he really loves to be held, sung to, and rocked. which is why we are dazed and confused!
7. He hates getting his diaper changed but at times will give us a perfect military salute while we are working away on getting him dry. It is hilarious.
8. He loves to be carried around in a sling and his papa and I love to take turns during the day "wearing" Max.
9. He loves being swaddled and shooshed and will fall to sleep immediately after these two things are done for him. LOVE THAT!
10. His parents are CRAZY about him and can't seem to get enough!!!

We have attached a few photos here of him so you can get a peek at what he looks like although he is changing daily.

More will come soon - but first we need some food, sleep and maybe a shower!

Much love,
Catherine, Jerry and Max Harrison Seiner

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Max - you are one week old!!!

you are one week old today!
Time is flying by!
You light up our lives in a way we never expected. I love you so much that I can't stop kissing you even when you are sleeping. I can't stop staring at your beautiful face and I love holding you. I love it when you open your eyes and peek at us. I love singing to you - especially when your papa sings along with me. I can't imagine my life without you!

This week you had a field trip to the hospital to deal with jaundice. You were hooked up to a lot of wires and had to wear eye protection and sit in an incubator with tanning lights on you for 2 days. Papa and I stayed with you and slept in the room. Couldn't imagine what that was like for you. It looked uncomfortable - and I wanted to climb in there with you and hold you tight. You are a total trooper and made it through. We were so happy to hear that you were on the mend - and our efforts to feed you more formula paid off. We spoke with a lactation consultant who is helping us figure out the best way to work as a team with you to get the breast milk in sync with you. You've seen your pediatrician already, and are heading back on Friday.
Your Grandparents Rich and Dee Dee came up to visit you and Grandma Dee Dee is on her way up again tomorrow to help out. Grandma Marty is coming next week. You are surrounded by love!

We love getting to know you - and I would say so so so much more but we have to go to sleep now because we need to get up in an hour an a half to feed you again. You are on a feeding schedule of
1. change diaper
2. feed
3. burp
4. put you back to bed
5. pump milk.

every 2-3 hours.
all day and night.
gotta catch some zzzzzz's.

I love that when I start to shoosh you - you fall asleep immediately.
I love that you don't mind a lot of noise around you when you are sleeping.
I love that you are such a sweet boy with a peacefulness about you.
I love Max Harrison Seiner.
So much more to say.......but sleep calls me.....

Happy Birthday mr. one week old. You just energize us with your presence and we adore you.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Introducing Max Harrison Seiner

Yes that's right ! He came EARLY! a month early!

here is the usual info:

Born: Wednesday Feb 4th, 2009 at 7:10am
Weighing in at 6 pounds
19.5 inches

He was at 36 weeks and just days before he was considered full term so the doctor felt that he was full term based on his weight, and health and size.

Don't you want to hear the birth story? Well I've got one for you if you want to stay....

First off I must start this by saying the pessimism really works for me.
What I mean is this:
I was pretty convinced that I couldn't get pregnant - so I wasn't really attached to it, but felt we could try for a year and see what happens. Within 8 months I was pregnant.

Then I thought that I couldn't and shouldn't really have a baby vaginally. I just felt that the baby would get stuck, and cord would wrap around his neck and he wouldn't make it. I was all for a c-section. Plus I felt that nothing baby size should ever pass through the vaginal canal. that's just not right. right? Yea - I have heard that we were made to give birth - but maybe the design was off.....and we were also made with freedom of choice. so there you go!

Anyhow -

The baby shower was on Sunday. 25 people in our home. That morning - at about 3:45 I had the first sign of labor progressing called the bloody show. Yep - they really call it that. And I will leave it at that. I heard that it might mean labor is right around the corner - but it also could mean nothing! I was writing down my contractions that had started 3 weeks ago and they were all so far apart I wasn't worried about it. I knew that I had to have 1 hour of contractions that were about 5 minutes apart for me to consider going to the hospital.

Monday I felt like I had the flu

Tuesday Jerry called me on his way home from work and I had the first contraction. It was hard and different then all the others. I couldn't talk through it and it was coming from a different place.
3 minutes later, another contraction, 3 minutes later, another one. After 40 minutes of being on the phone with Jerry and then Amy we concluded that I had 10 contractions and needed to go to the hospital.

We figured they would send us home since I've heard so many stories of this. You think the contractions are bad but really they have just begun and you are sent home until you are further along.

We were told we weren't going anywhere. I was already 3 centimeters.

Had some pretty "off" experiences at the beginning with our hospital. Ie: they didn't have our pre-admittance info anywhere that we dropped off a month prior, so we couldn't proceed until we filled out paper work which held things up a lot.
Also had a few nurses who were not so hot at finding a vein for the IV. Both of my hands looked like a war zone and at a certain point I started to lose it because it hurt so bad on my hands - worse then the contractions!
If Jerry wasn't there I would have lost my mind. He was so calm and helpful. Loving and present.

Then there was a shift change and the nurses that came on were exactly what I needed. Maternal, nice, touchy, gentle, kind, fun, nursing team. Phew. Other then the UGLY decor at the hospital, I felt much more taken care of, and in better spirits.
The anesthesiologist came in to find the vein and she was AWESOME. she made me feel so much better and taken care of as well.

I didn't know if I was going to have a vaginal birth or c-section because the baby was early I just didn't know what was best for him and I wanted to do whatever was least likely to be harmful to him. I spoke with my doctor who said that the baby was really far down and because of that - and the fact that he is early - he would be smaller - and both of those factors would make it easier for a vaginal birth and he suggested I start there. I said ok! Totally felt trust in him and in that decision without a second thought.

Jerry and I took all the birthing classes at the hospital in the last few months of pregnancy, so we knew all about breathing - and what to expect - what devices they use in the labor room - what they look like - why they are used - all that. And Jerry and I practiced our breathing together. Every time I looked at him to breathe with him it would tickle me on the inside. Made me smile. Even if I couldn't outwardly smile! His eyes melted me.

The anesthesiologist came back later to administer the Epidural and I completely trusted her which is good because that needle is fricken Huge.

ok- so - once the epidural was in - I started to feel numb from in the legs and feet but I could still move them around and wiggle my toes so it didn't freak me out too bad. I basically slept through the night. Jerry slept next to me in a chair in the labor room ( which by the way was a huge room ) My parents drove up from San Diego and stayed at the hospital overnight as well. I needed another doctor in the room who knew me - and that person was Dr. Just! I think hearing the story of my birth over and over again made me feel terrified in general of giving birth so having people there in the room who were educated and knew what was going on but who were on "my team" made me feel better. ( basically my mom stopped breathing during my birth and rose up and saw herself on the table - and I was still inside of her. They had to go in with forceps and get me in a way that is usually not done in order to try to save me. Obviously my mom came back and lived to tell the tale ( over and over again! ) But it did impact my feelings about giving birth of course.


I slept the night away - feeling NOTHING except a cramp in my neck from laying funny on it.
At around 6am the doctor woke me and checked me and told me I was at 10 centimeters. I couldn't believe it. I literally slept through the contractions and the transition.

It was time to push. Jerry held one leg - and my mom held the other leg and I held them from under the knees and pulled them towards me.
( side note : I thought every time we saw birthing movies Jerry and I would squirm during the birth and we would look at each other and say " c-section! " - and laugh. We thought Jerry would pass out from what was going on down there and he certainly wouldn't be holding a leg and looking at the head coming out of there......but he was a total rock star and didn't look pale or seem uncomfortable at all! He was really grounded, and into the process. Thank God He was my birth partner!!!! )

My first push they told me that they could see his head!
This was shocking to say the least! I figured - being the pessimist - that I would be pushing for HOURS before seeing anything.

So each time you push - you do it in a set of three pushes.
I did 5 sets of 3 and the baby literally slid out!

It was over in 15 -20 minutes.
I felt nothing and laughed through each push because I thought it was hilarious to push real hard when I couldn't feel it at all. I would just bust out laughing.

They put Max on my chest and I breast fed right away. It was shocking to me! shocking in an amazing way. This baby is breast feeding with me! This is My baby! This is Crazy. This is amazing. This is shocking. It was all so fast and I didn't have that elated crying session or anything like that. Just happy, and shocked.

I gave birth to a baby boy.




And so EASY! and PAINLESS.

Who would have ever thought that I would have THAT story to tell. NOT ME.

We didn't know his name for a few days. It was making us crazy. We had Harrison, Oscar and Max on the top of our list the entire pregnancy but none really felt like him.

Then my cousin Alyssa suggested Max Harrison or Harrison Max and I knew it was right. So did Jerry.
Max Harrison Seiner.
How Perfect.

Now we are home from the hospital and getting to know him and he is getting to know us. It's amazing to watch him, hold him, feed him, watch him sleep, smell his skin, kiss his face all over, watch his papa hold him, etc. I'm pretty blissed out in love with him and was the moment I saw him. He Just started to open his eyes for brief moments and we just squeal every time we see him look at us.

He is peaceful, and just makes the cutest squeeking noises. He loves to be swaddled, and shooshed, and held. he also loves his head massaged lightly, and under his chin. He loves the sounds of his papa's voice, and he loves both breast milk and formula. He also loves being in a sling and we love carrying him around with us that way, and napping with him that way as well.

Tomorrow is his first doctor's appointment and first outing in the world. We aren't sure what to pack along with us, but we are going to have fun packing his little bag and heading out. Of course we will bring the cameras.

Pretty girl - by the way - seems to like him. She is leaving him alone but curious. Not hiding out in a closet. Being a little needy but sleeping in the other room and leaving Max and his bed, and stuff alone.

Of course there's more to the story - and more photos - but anyone who has kids will tell you that posting on a blog is much more then just sitting down and writing. It took me HOURS to get this done in between feeding, changing, holding, swaddling, shooshing Max, and taking care of myself and Jerry best I can as well. Gone are the days of self centered distractions for hours on end - and I'm glad for that.

I'll be posting more about him with more photos as we go. This blog is dedicated to him, as a place to record everything MAX - so that he has something to read and entertain himself with when he is older and wants to find out more about his parents - and his life from a different point of view.

I'm so grateful to have an opportunity to meet this little perfect Max Harrison and be there for him in whatever way we need to be.

We love you baby MAX and so do so many others already! I can't wait for them to meet you and you them.

you are a bright shiny being and you make our home and our lives glow. I look forward to seeing how you evolve and grow into who you are suppose to become. Your papa and I support you in having your best life ever and being the best "you" that you can be. I have no idea what that will be - but we do know that it includes experiencing love as much as possible.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

baby shower recap

©Catherine Just Seiner
Click on the photo above to make it larger.

Baby Seiner Baby Shower - Feb 1st, 2009 at our casa.

Here is a little photo collage I made to sum up my favorite parts of the shower. I took these photos today of all the rituals we did together. Luckily my friend Amy took lots of photos too during the shower and I'll post those later - with a view of who all was there.

In this collage we have:
1. a portion of the invitation that Amy designed - isn't that adorable? And she is so smart she took the crowns from our wedding invite and incorporated them into the design. smarty!
2. heart candles for each guest. Amy is going to e-mail everyone when I go into labor and then each gal is asked to light their candle to send light out our way as a prayer during the birthing process.
3. Prayer stick. Each woman was asked to pick a ribbon and tie it to a branch that Jerry and I took from our pomagranate tree out back. Each ribbon represents a prayer for the baby from each woman, and will be put in the baby room.
4. Magic Beads. Each woman picked a favorite bead and put it on a necklace for me. The bead represented them, and the wish or prayer they had for me, the baby, and Jerry. I put it on and will wear it for the rest of the pregnancy and through the labor so that they are all with me during this time.

( I love the photo out of focus - you can see the love and magic bouncing off of it)

5. Instead of having to share with the room what the bead represented - each woman wrote down their thoughts on a card that I got to read after the shower and will put in the baby book.
6. Onsies. Each gal painted a onsie with fabric puffy paint when they got to the shower - and hung them with clothes pins out front to dry. Each time we put one of these on the little dude we will remember the person who painted it and giggle. I personally love the one that says " I might barf " cracks me up.
7. mini cupcakes. Ok so I was pretty much in charge of the dessert and HAD to have Violet's cupcakes. Best I've ever had. The mini's were a perfect size. In this photo you can see all three flavors. red velvet with a cream cheese frosting, brownie bomb, and oreo. So YUMMY.

Lots of people chipped in and brought food to share - we had quiche, egg souffle, veggie plate, salad with poppyseed dressing, salmon dip, cheese, fresh fruit, brownies, godiva, crackers, bagels and cream cheese, coffee, tea, water.
It was a really amazing spread and I'm so glad that it was made from friends of mine because it made it that much more personal.

I felt surrounded by loving friends and family. Jerry showed up at the end and a moment later my dad and their dog Simon joined in too.

I'll share photos of the actual day very soon.
A big fat kiss to all the gals that came out. I love you all and I can't wait to introduce you to the little dude!!!
And thank you to the two hosts, Amy and Kirsten! Great baby shower ladies!!!
And thank you to my mama for the great idea of the necklace and bringing all the pretty beads. Love my necklace.
And thank you papa Jerry - for being the best husband and friend on the planet. Thank you for helping us create a beautiful space to have the shower in. I love you. I adore you. I am grateful you are you.

p.s. I just ate a left over mini cupcake and now the little guy has hiccups in my belly!

momversation about breastfeeding vs. formula

ok so here is another momversation that I really loved this morning.
All about breast feeding vs formula and all the opinions out there.
Another opportunity to say that whatever I decide to do or can do based on how my baby responds, how my milk comes in or doesn't come in - is none of your business. Unless you support me no matter what happens.

Just another *@&*# ( bleeping ) opportunity for growth as they say up in portland! and down here in LA.

I'm learning quickly that the opinions will never end - only get worse when the little dude arrives. How fun for everyone!