It's been more than seven years since Kayleigh was born and ten since Abby was born, but on January 8th, 2018 we welcomed our third baby, Andrew Joseph Newell. He was born at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO at 2:30 pm on Monday, 1/8/18. The weekend leading up to his birthday was quite uncomfortable, with lots of contractions and feeling of anxiety. At my doctor's appointment the Friday (1/5) before, my doctor performed an internal check and noted that I was 3.5-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced.  She didn't think I would make it to the following Friday's appointment, but we also knew those numbers didn't necessarily predict a birthday!

With Andrew's pregnancy, there was definitely less patience for the discomforts of a growing belly and all the nerve "zingers" shooting down my legs as I walked towards the end of the pregnancy. Because of a tilted uterus (I think) I carry the baby internally more, which means I really didn't show much until I was 7 months along.  The downside of this is of course all my internal organs are relocated and squished, making eating difficult and resulting in a lot of heartburn. My heart rate, normally around 60 resting, was up in the 90s towards the end of the pregnancy.  Although the doctors were not concerned, saying it was perfectly normal, it was alarming to get notifications from my Apple Watch saying my heart rate reached above 120 bpm while I'm sitting and having a calm conversation!

Right before Christmas, I had an ultrasound that showed Andrew's head being about 2 weeks ahead while his body and leg length measuring to his gestational age.  Slightly concerned that the baby would be too large, my doctor ordered another ultrasound size check at week 36.  So, on January 2nd, Andrew was scanned again and it showed his head almost 3 weeks ahead.  Yet, after all the numbers were crunched, they determined he would be big, but not abnormally so. Since Friday's internal checked showed I was starting to dilate and efface, they didn't think we needed to worry about inducing and that he'll be arriving soon! 

Almost time!
Paul brings the girls to the hospital. Now we wait.

Sure enough, Andrew arrived at 37 weeks and 3 days. We were hoping he might have the 1/8/18 birthday and, coincidentally, I was checked into labor and delivery the morning of 1/8/18.  The contractions I was able to feel were about 5-7 minutes apart for over 2 hours after we went to bed Sunday night.  I woke Paul up and we called the Women's Health Care Associates' after-hours line and talked to the on-call doctor at 1:35 am, who suggested we go to the hospital for triage and at least have a peace of mind.  We arrived at Sky Ridge around 2:30 am and by 4:00 am I was admitted to Labor and Delivery. Contractions were irregular, but about 3 minutes apart and I had dilated to 5 cm and was 90% effaced. 

Throughout the next morning, the contractions came and went, but nothing regular nor terribly strong.  Dr. Bubier saw me around 7:30 in the morning and suggested we break my water at noon if it didn't happen on its own. I wanted to wait for Paul to arrive back at the hospital after taking care of Abby and Kayleigh.  Both girls were still on winter break and were eager to be at the hospital when Andrew arrived.

At 12:30 pm, Dr. Bubier broke my water.  My mom and dad arrived shortly after.  I remembered from Kayleigh's delivery the pain of delivering naturally and I didn't necessarily want it repeated.  However, I also wasn't keen on an epidural either because it made the delivery and recovery of Abby's birth harder.  So, when the contractions got serious, I talked to my Labor and Delivery nurse, Sue, about getting some nitrous gas to take the edge off of the worst parts of the contractions and we agreed she would get the set up and also call Dr. Bubier because I seemed pretty close to delivery.  Minutes later, Dr. Bubier came in and she was assessing between me and another patient who was also about ready to delivery.  While she was in my room, I started to feel the urge to push and lost the ability to speak, grunting in pain.  I hear the room go into action - the bed was transitioned and readied for delivery, Sue came in with the nitrous set-up and I heard her say, "I guess this is too late!" Dr. Bubier called another nurse to say she would deliver me first and have the other patient on epidural not push yet. My parents and the girls were ushered out of the room by Paul when the pain got intense. As I remembered, the urge to push definitely overpowered any contraction pains and luckily, delivery was fast.  After one push, I felt the head crown and deliver.  A nurse told me to pull my knees up before the second push.  After the longer and easier second push, Andrew arrived, showing off a powerful set of lungs with his cries!

So exciting to hold this perfect little human just moments after he arrives.

Ahh, bright lights!

Gong-Gong and Po-Po brought Andrew his first red envelope to welcome him to the world.
He was a healthy 8 lbs 0 ozs and 20.1 inches long.  Our smallest baby yet! Paul cut the cord and Andrew placed on my chest for some skin-to-skin time.  Of course, the first thing he did was pee all over me! We all had a good laugh as I tried to remember how to hold a squirmy, slimy newborn.
For the next hour, I got to hold Andrew while Dr. Bubier delivered the placenta and gave me a couple of stitches and I was cleaned up. My parents came back in the room with Abby and Kayleigh.  Kayleigh was a bit traumatized by the sound I made when in that much pain.  However, everyone was shocked at how quickly he was delivered.

Getting reassessed, footprinted, weighed, measured, and tagged
Re-burritoed and ready for more bonding with the family.
First picture as a family of 5
My mom's first time cuddling with Andrew.
My dad and Kayleigh enjoying some time with the new baby.
Andrew's apgar score was 8 a minute after delivery and 9 when he was reassessed. In the warming bed, he was weighed and measured, wiped down, and diapered.  He got his Vit K drops and a Hep B vaccine shot before finally coming back into my arms.  Because of my diabetes, his blood sugar level was checked and - thank goodness - it was fine.

Daddy admires his boy.

Abby was thrilled to hold Andrew.
Trying to keep Andrew awake for feedings was difficult.

After I moved from the Labor and Delivery room to a recovery room, Paul took the girls and my parents out for dinner.  Then everyone went home for a rest.  Andrew and I would spend a fairly restless night where the nurse tried to wake us up every two hours to make sure Andrew fed and had the appropriate wet diapers.  The poor little guy was so drowsy he couldn't stay awake for feedings. The nurse suggested some skin-to-skin to see if that might keep him awake long enough. Unfortunately, I had to resort to using a cold wet wipe on his face to wake him up and feed long enough to satisfy the nurse! In the middle of the night, he decided to prove his GI system worked perfectly by having a poopy diaper. During the change, he peed over all of his blankets and got poop on his hospital band.  I called the nurse and we decided it might be good for him to have a bath. We took a trip to the nursery where the nurse expertly gave him a sponge bath, which he actually seemed to enjoy!
Bath starts with a head/scalp massage.
Getting all cleaned up.
First spa treatment.
Time to relax under the warming lamp.
Cradled in a blanket support, enjoying the warm bed, waiting to get a new ankle band.
The next morning, Paul dropped Abby off at school then brought Kayleigh (who was still feeling under the weather) to the hospital. Our neighbors, Kristin and Sandy, stopped by for a visit and my parents also came back. The morning was a series of waiting on doctors to see if Andrew and I could be discharged and go home. My OB/GYN, Dr. Ashbeck, stopped by around 7:30 am and gave me permission to go home, but there turned out to be a mix-up and our pediatrician's office never received word that Andrew was born.  As a result, we got a personal call from Dr. Traver apologizing for the mix-up - even though it was Sky Ridge's fault - and a pediatrician from the management group (a group of pediatricians for those patients who have not picked a pediatrician yet) came by to give Andrew a clean bill of health and ok to go home. We would still need to follow up with Dr. Traver in his office the next day.

Kristin visits.
Sandy cuddles with Andrew.

Uncle Bill surprises us with a visit.
Andrew had a hearing screen performed first thing in the morning, but he failed the test. We were told that for babies in a quick delivery, this could happen.  Their ears are still filled with fluids, but nothing a few more feedings and hearty cries wouldn't clear up. Sure enough, Andrew easily passed the tests in both ears during a repeat screen later in the afternoon.

The first hearing screen.
Kayleigh lays a protective arm over her baby brother.
Sky Ridge offers free car seat installation inspection and newborn professional photography. We declined the first, but took advantage of the second, thinking we might be able to get some nice shots for a birth announcement. Although the shoot was fun, the prices for the photo packages were a bit outrageous, so we didn't purchase any. Kayleigh had a lot of fun helping the photographer with the shots and she got to take a few shots holding Andrew for the first time, which thrilled her!

Newborn photo session offered by Sky Ridge.
Kayleigh finally feels brave enough to hold Andrew.
The last thing we needed to do was wait for the 24 hr labs to be taken.  A nurse had to heel-stick Andrew and acquire several large drops of blood for these labs.  He was pretty distraught from the process, but the tests were state-required. After the blood samples were collected, the nurses went over an abundance of discharge instructions for both Andrew and me, then we were told we could finally go home! Walking out of the hospital I realized what a beautiful, warm day it was. Temperatures were in the 60s and a nothing close to the feared blizzard conditions we thought we might get when we first learned that Andrew's due date would be in late January.

On our way home!
At home, being introduced to Tigger.
Sky Ridge amenity - a bundt cake for Andrew.
A peaceful pose, unaware that he's been born.
We feel so blessed to have Andrew in our lives and are looking forward to new adventures as a family of five!

Abby has now been playing the violin for a year.  We think she has made some tremendous progress and has caught up to the girls in her group and is keeping up with them. 

For the spring recital, the girls each played a solo piece from their Suzuki repertoire and they played two fiddle pieces as a group.  (All the girls are starting to learn to read music, but so far, most of the music is learned by ear.  It was so cool watching them learn fiddle tunes, which sound so different from the classical tunes they're used to!  All of them love fiddling and are eager to practice these pieces!)

Attending their private and group lessons every week, I have watched all of these girls work so hard.  Each of us parents have watched our kids make forward progress and take steps backwards.  We've watched their frustrations mount and we've watched them conquer pieces with stubborn determination.

As recital time neared, they had only two rehearsals with the pianist who will accompany them on their solos.

Abby practiced well, but with all the "fine tuning" leading up to the recital, she started getting really nervous and upset about messing up in front of an audience.  She started to make more and more mistakes and it brought on a lot of frustration.

However, my little girl overcame her self-doubt and fears. She mustered up focus, courage, and maturity and played her solo as best as she has ever played it!

We are all so very proud of her!  She has come a long way from her first solo recital last spring.

Shruti and Abby got to hand out the recital programs. I think this little task helped calm the nerves.
A serious look of concentration as she rocked her solo piece.
Abby's group playing Cripple Creek.
Abby's group playing Old Joe Clark.
All the kids who performed tonight.  The littlest one who performed was only 4 years old and she did a tremendous job!

This is Abby's solo piece: Minuet No. 1 by J.S. Bach from Suzuki Book 1.

The video below is of Abby's group playing the fiddle piece, Cripple Creek.

The video below is of Abby's group playing the fiddle piece, Old Joe Clark.

We are so proud of Abby today, who did very, very well at her first violin recital.

Giddy with pride is a good way to describe us parents right now!

She has been playing violin since February and in a mere 2 months she has learned some impressive techniques and many, many variations of Twinkle, culminating in the ability to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - the shining achievement for the group of primary students (3-5 year olds) who started around the same time as Abby.

This was a really sweet concert.  Ms. Judy's students vary in age from just 4 to 7, but primarily Kindergarteners.  Half of them have been playing for over a year and the other half has just started lessons.  And ALL of them did a fantastic job!

Ms. Judy is a perfectionist and for the last couple of weeks, she has asked that I figure out the piano accompaniment and work with Abby on following the piano and maintaining her rhythm.  I haven't played in years and without the music written out, it took several tries - and being all stressed out - before I figured out the accompaniment (with help from YouTube).  Our practices paid off, though.  Abby followed the piano nearly perfectly the night of the recital!

I am just amazed by these kids.  What they have been able to accomplish at such a young age is simply magnificent.  And, of course, I'm super duper proud of our Abby.

Abby playing her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star solo, accompanied by Ms. Judy on the piano.  She looked so pretty up there, too!
She played beautifully and followed the piano perfectly, something she's been working very, very hard at and succeeded wonderfully!
All the kids who have learned Twinkle got to go on stage to close out the recital by playing the song.
Amazing what such young kids can be capable of!  

Group photo time
Taking bows at the end of the concert.
Karlee (center), is the classmate of Abby and Alexa (right).  She came to support both of her good friends at their recital, bringing them both a bouquet of flowers and kind words of encouragement.

Below is the video of her playing her Twinkle solo.

Kayleigh turned 3 years old this past Saturday and we gathered with close friends and family for a casual celebration at Bison Park.

It was a beautiful day to run around the park and all the little kids had a blast.  We used to be concerned that Kayleigh did not care for friends, but she absolutely insisted that a handful of friends from school be invited.  Two of her closest buds from school were able to make it - Addison and Ronin.

A funny side note about Ronin is about his invitation to Kayleigh's party.  She was absolutely adamant that "Lodan" be invited to her party.  We asked the school director, assistant director, current and former teachers and couldn't figure out who "Lodan" could be!  There wasn't a Logan or Lauren in her class.  We all thought it must have been Landen, but when I asked Kayleigh, "Do you want Landen invited to your party?" She replied, "Yeah! And 'Lodan!'"  So, the next day, I talked to her teachers again and they guessed she must have meant Ronin, with whom she's pretty close at school.  Luckily, they were right and Ronin being at her party really meant a lot to her!

I can't believe my youngest is 3!  I can still remember so clearly when Abby was this age.  It's a great age when they start growing out of the baby stage and really coming into their own persons.  I'm really looking forward to the fun we're going to have.

Abby Lin
Gwen and the Abbys playing on the shark and dolphin see-saw
Physics Experiment
Uncle Allen chatting with Grandma and Grandpa Newell
Abby and Gwen being adventurous in the sand box area
Ronin, Kayleigh, and Addison - friends from daycare
Kayleigh and Ronin
Trey aka Budders
Po-Po and Gong-Gong
Birthday hug and kiss from Abby
Goodie bags and cake pops for the guests.
Singing Happy Birthday and cake time!
The owl birthday cupcakes I made.  She requested that they be blue!

Of course, she only ate the fondant and icing, never having been a fan of cake.  Next year she might get a cookie instead!

All the kiddos who came to celebrate Kayleigh's birthday with her.  From left to right: Garrett, Sage (Ronin's cousin), Ronin, Trey, Addison, Abby L., Gwen, Abby N., Kayleigh, Addison S.