Thursday, November 23, 2017

Verona, Italy

Verona Verona, what a beautiful city to start off our Thanksgiving road trip.  We drove through the Alps the previous evening having spent the night near the top of the Brenner pass in Vipiteno before heading down into Verona.  Verona's main attractions are its UNESCO recognized Roman architectural ruins, pedestrian-only ambience, world class opera festival, and "home" to the saga of the two star-crossed lovers-Romeo & Juliet.

We had parked outside of town because driving in the city is only for residents.  Thanks to my navigation skills (or not) we got to the parking structure in a round about way, but nevertheless we made it there.  Once parked, we headed to town to explore.  We stumbled upon a little gem that reminded me of how I had forgotten the taste of real tomato sauce.  The pizza at Rita tastes was good as it looks!  The dough-crispy, the texture-perfect, and everything was made with passion.   We shared a salami and mozzarella slice, and a pear with gorgonzola.
So many delicious looking choices

Both were delicious, and Bode's head made a great crumb holder.
We started out our self-guided walking tour at the Piazza BrĂ . A generation ago this piazza was noisy with cars and now it is open and people-friendly.  Little kids riding their bikes around, and others out on an afternoon stroll. 
We took a stop to read about some of the sculptures (and for a diaper change) in the park.  Little guy trying to wake up...
The fountain called "The Alps" was a gift to Verona from Munich, which is just over the mountains to the north.   In the middle of the fountain there are symbols of the two cities separated by the Alps, carved out of pink marble from the region. 
You can't miss the ancient arena looming over the piazza dating back to the Roman times. Most of the stone around the arena is still original, dating back to the first century A.D.  Over the centuries crowds of up to 25,000 spectators have cheered Roman gladiator battles, raved at medieval executions, and sung along to Andrea Bocelli concerts-all taking advantage of the great acoustics.
Where the street splits is the Devotional Column.  In the Middle Ages, this column blessed the marketplace that was held here. 
We walked down Via Mazzini to the Piazza Erbe and were welcomed by a bustling square of shops and stalls.  The square itself is beautiful, back in the day Renaissance nobles showed off the finely painted facades on their homes, and in the 16-th century Verona was named "the painted city"... I think I know why.
 Love the balconies 
 We wandered through the market stalls of the street selling souvenirs  of all kind
In the middle of the square is the fountain that has bubbled for over 2,000 years, the statue is of Verona's Madonna.  She holds a small banner that reads, "The city of Verona deserves respect and justice."
We came across a Christmas market...Little Bode slept through all the fun
We continued walking until we saw the exotic and very Gothic 14th-centry tombs of the Scaligeri family who once ruled Verona.  The Scaligeri were to Verona what the Medici family were to Florence, so you can imagine how important they were.  Their tombs are built atop pillars, and they are arranged to be looked up to, even in death. 
I loved the wrought iron gates
Our feet kept walking to the waterfront to see the Ponte Pietra and riverfront.  
About 200 yards from where we were was the Duomo, which was started in the 12th-century, and built over a period of several hundred years. This place is painted from head to toe!
Our last stop on our Verona walk before we were hungry for dinner was the house of Juliet. The tiny, admittedly romantic courtyard is a spectacle of tourists posing on the balcony and in line ready to polish Juliet's boob.
 Romeo, oh Romeo, where art though Romeo...
Our dinner was quite a hit, we were really looking forward to our Thanksgiving dinner.  It had previously been planned out a nice  fancy dinner at Trattoria Al Pompiere... Well it was an epic fail.  We got ready to go, Bode sleeping in his stroller, and by the time we got to dinner little man was going bizzerk.  We got settled at the restaurant and took turns calming Bode outside, but he was so inconsolable that we had to ditch the restaurant and take our fancy dinner back to the hotel to eat.
meanwhile...Bode slept soundly...
All in all we loved Verona, a great city and now onto the next! Padua!
Side notes:
-Bed and Breakfast stay:  (B&B Al Filarmonico)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bode's Birth Story

The news that I was pregnant with a little baby was surreal; it's almost hard to imagine being pregnant when you don't look, nor feel, the symptoms.  The no symptom part didn't last long, and sure enough by 4 weeks (the day after Jordan's birthday to be exact) I became best friends with the toilet bowl.  No food sounded good, and I lived off Kashi blueberry waffles and cottage cheese on toast for the next 15 weeks...if I could eat.  I remember asking Jordan multiple times, "how many more weeks will I have to feel this way" poor guy had to listen to me as I laid blame on him for all my sickness.  My doctors visits with Dr. Krieg were great, every time I went for a visit we got an ultrasound of our sweet baby and when week 16 came I started to educate myself on the different methods of delivery and childbirth.  The best book that I read was Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  I would recommend it because it was educational and inspired me to have a natural child birth birth-plan.
So I got on the hypnobabies train and stuck to the plan that "by body was designed to do this" and it will!  I listened to my hypnobabies soundtracks almost everyday, educated myself with all the course material, and came up with my ultimate birth plan (be forewarned... plans don't always go according to what you think will happen-mine didn't). 
So lets get to the story of how Baby Bode was actually born...

SATURDAY: SEPTEMBER 23 (5 days past due date)
Dr. Krieg had let me know that in German hospitals they will plan to induce once you have reached your 41 week mark, so my goal was to deliver naturally prior to 41 weeks on September 19. I tried lots of methods to start this process-everything from spicy Thai food to bouncing on a bouncy ball, but nothing worked. Once I hit week 40 I was going in every two days to be monitored to check if I was showing any signs on labor. Each time I went in there were no clear signs, no contractions, no effacement nada.  One of my check up visits landed on a Saturday, and I was checked in the hospital because the doctors office wasn't open on the weekend.  Still no signs, and the midwives and doctor told me that on Monday after my appointment to come in and get the "midwife mixture" of castor oil and maybe that would throw me over the edge...if not I would be induced on Tuesday.  

Monday rolls around and still no signs of labor, the only change is that I have blown up like a blowfish, and my body was like a sponge holding onto all the water I could possibly take in.  After my appointment I walked down the hallway to labor and delivery to pick up some midwife mixture and my plan was to head home to try it out...or so I thought.  When I arrived at L&D they told me that I should be admitted right there and then because I was swelling so much from all the water (this is the one day I decided I didn't need to bring my hospital bag...what was I thinking?!?).  They said I could do the midwife mixture in the hospital, and it was better that I was under their care until baby came. 

They started with a stress test and then I was checked. The midwife told me the castor oil mixture probably wasn't going to have any effect other than make me sick because I was not showing any labor signs, so it was best not to take it.  Fine by problem here!  I got situated into a room and was ready for this baby to come!
I was going to L&D ward every two hours to take a pill that would help soften my cervix, and by 8 pm they tried to insert a transcervical Foley balloon to help me dilate to 3cm.  The balloon didn't go according to plan, it was too painful and I could barely breathe when they started to inflate it (because I wasn't fully effaced) so it had to come out!  My lady parts were irritated for the rest of the night; the doctor reassured me that everything was okay, and that in the morning they would start doubling up on the medication to help me progress-still no epidural or pitocin so I was feeling good!

Woke up to no sign of Baby Hatch.  I was doubling up on the medication every two hours and convinced I was taking a sugar pill because NOTHING was happening. I climbed the stairs of the hospital, and even broke out for a little walk...Yes I have an IV in my hand here...but no one said anything as I left the building, so I did it...

After my 4 pm pills I noticed I was really getting period signs in my pants so I went back to L&D just confirm that I was okay; don't worry, I was.  I borrowed a bouncing ball to bring to my room and bounce-I would do anything to start this process...Jordan came to the hospital after work around 5 and within minutes of his arrival, I noticed I was having an incontinence problem. More like I was peeing and I couldn't stop...That was it.  My water had broken.  It was time to go to labor and delivery one last time!

I started off being monitored, but still no sign of any contractions so they told me labor could take some time, and wouldn't officially start until I had pressure waves (contractions).  The minute the midwife said contractions-it sent a signal to my brain and I felt my first one.  Oh wow!  We had to stop the monitoring a few times because I kept needing to use the bathroom, and there was no stopping me from using it.  

The contractions were getting strong, and I wanted to get in the tub.  They helped prepare the birthing tub for me to relax.  I thought I would be so relaxed but it was really hard for me to get comfortable. My contractions were so strong that I was counting down until they would be over, and I was sick to my stomach.   I could barely concentrate on my hypnobabies, and at one point I just needed silence. I lasted about two hours in the tub before I was 3cm dilated and changed my birth plan to something more manageable for me, which was to have an epidural that I could self administer the medication so that I could still feel the contractions and urge to push if I needed to. 

The epidural was wonderful, it helped me relax so much that both Jordan and I feel asleep for a few hours.   Fast forward two hours: I was at a 6... two more hours (3 am): I was at a 10 and ready to start pushing.  I started to slowly push with the contractions, but nothing was progressing, and when I was checked they realized baby had moved into a sunny-side up position-"eyes to the sky"- and they needed him to turn.  My contractions weren't strong enough to get him to turn, so they wanted to give me pitocin: the one medication I DID NOT WANT.  I listened, they knew better than I and I was tired, so pitocin it was, and let me tell you that drug is not kind...My contractions were non-stop super strong for about two hours, and I was pushin like crazy.  I kept asking Jordan when they would end; and he did a great job of convincing me it was almost over.  He was playing mind games with me, but it helped distract me as he counted down until I could get collected.  At one point the midwives wanted me to get on all fours to try and turn baby Hatch-which was a bit difficult considering I was completely numb from the waist down...Jordan and his mom were sitting at my sides helping me not to slide off the table.  I feel bad they had to hold all the weight of my heavy legs for over an hour!  The result of being on all fours?-Baby still not turning. I got back on my back and continued counting down until the contractions would give me a few seconds of relief before the next wave started. 

At 7 am there was a shift change in the L&D ward and I asked Jordan to check out what was going on... Why wasn't I progressing and was I going to have to do this for another 10 hours, it had already been 15!  Three doctors came in to do an ultrasound of the baby and check his position.  Little baby was on the move but his head was turned a little instead of to his chest, so he wasn't lined up with the birth canal properly...Nothing can be perfect right?!?  They gave us two options, the first was using the vacuum to pull him out, however the doctor did not recommend this as she thought it had a low likelyhood of succeeding and would most likely end in an emergency C-Section, the second option was a was my last choice of options, the option I told myself I wouldn't have to experience: C-section.  Even though it was my worst case scenario at the beginning of the night we trusted our doctors and did not want to risk our baby.

I did what needed to be done to get baby out, and within 20 minutes I was on the operating table having a C-section.  The anesthesiologists were so patient with me, making sure I was completely comfortable before everything began, and the surgeon was very nice.  When they took the baby out the room went silent, I didn't know what was going on, but I did hear a crying baby.  
Baby was born at 8:30 in the morning via C-section.  They showed me the baby's cute little face and then took him with dad before I could even see the gender; luckily they brought him right back so I could see-we have a BOY!  Here he is: Bode Gregory Hatch
Bode in his hospital bed
 He is our HUNK

So far this is his favorite position for cuddling, and mine too.  He loves face to face :)
 Bode and I were able to recover in the hospital for a few days, with the most wonderful midwife care from the amazing staff at the Amberg Hospital. Here we are getting ready to leave the hospital:
Proud new dad right here
We came home on Sunday night, and have been doing great ever since.  We sure love him!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

B-A-B-Y Baby Shower time!

I have been SO incredibly lucky to feel love from all over recently.  Baby Hatch is coming soon and we are preparing for this little one every free chance we get; I have gone into full fledged nesting mode over here. I love that our family and friends have been feeling the excitement too! I want to document these memories, so that I have them to look back on and can share them with our little Hatch-you are loved baby, that is for sure.  We have been showered by the masses, and I am thrilled to be able to share the celebrations from our showers!

-First Shower-
I came back to Los Angeles to visit friends and family in April and while I was there we were showered by a great group of hostesses.  We celebrated with a beautiful brunch at Ysabel. The best part about the shower was getting to be with the people that matter the most, and spending time with all of them in the same place.  
Mom & Me
My Savitch Ladies, I love my grandma at 91!
FOUR generations right here:
How lucky am I to have married into such an amazing family-my mother-in-law and sister-in-law drove from Arizona to be here for this special day!
We may not all look alike, but we are sisters!

My mom, and my second mom: Shellro.
It was so fun to celebrate with friends who have been in my life I was a baby, so special!
This is one of my first friends, curly Carly; she helped the ladies with the shower, she is amazing!
And my closest friends from high school, whom I am so grateful to have kept in contact with for over 10 years...We have known each other for about 16 years-crazy!
Sister love came in from New York
The tables were decorated with such thought: gardening and the very hungry caterpillar.  
Did I mention the food was amazing too?!?  We had delicious pastries and enjoyed Spicy Fried Rice, Smoked Salmon Flat Bread and Moroccan Pepper Stew among many other things!
We got so many great gifts.  Lots was pre-mailed to us from our registry since it was going back to Germany, and it was so fun to see all the other surprises we got.  Shopping for babies is so fun and cute!
I put together little "thank yous" for all the hostesses. I am so grateful for all their hard work they put into the day. 
The L.A. baby shower was undoubtably amazing.  I felt so special and it got me excited for baby (although at this point you can see the bump, but can't feel it!)

-Second Shower-
I have never had a party planned here in Germany where I didn't help contribute.  I have always been a planner, doer, helper, but with this one my friend Bethany kept me completely in the dark-all I had to do was show up and pick my jaw up off the floor after I took in all the sweet details of the day. 
 Bethany made all of this delicious food, and a beautiful table too: 
 She even went strawberry picking and made homemade strawberry jam for everyone.  I have to admit, I ate it right out of the jar it was SO good.

My sweet friend Allison went out of her way and made the most adorable cookies!
 She needs to go into business-they taste as good as they look.
We had so much fun together laughing as girls, and playing baby pictionary.  It was so nice to be around all the dental wives, dentists, and close friends from work celebrating our little Hatch.
It was a great day celebrating with these girls, I am so glad I got to be with good friends.  Baby Hatch is going to "hatch" soon!

-Third Shower-
There are so many GREAT children's books, and a book themed shower hosted by my good friend Jeana from our church was so awesome.  The ladies from our church gifted us their favorite children's book and it was so great to receive such good books-both classic and new.   
Adorable Decorations
The food was themed after baby books:
We played "How Familiar are you with Children's Books" and apparently I am not familiar with any!
I had so much fun opening playing games and discovering great books with these girls~
My cup of love is overflown by all the great literature and love and excitement I was showed for the joys of new motherhood.  I am so fortunate to be around such great examples and support.
We have done all we can do to prepare, and after being showered with love from all sides we are so enthusiastic and excited to welcome this baby into our home.   One week away, two weeks...? Time will tell!

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