Maternity Photos Take Two

Lost Lake Maternity PhotosOur new baby gave us an opportunity to take a new round of maternity photos, this time in the great outdoors. We headed up toward Lost Lake, stopping at a cherry orchard along the way. My wife had a few ideas for  poses that she found on Pinterest that  made use of the older sibling in the photo shoot. While Siena did cooperate for most of the photos, we had to bribe her with candy at least once. After the cherry orchard, we made our way up to Lost Lake, past the “road closed” sign and encountered a “resident” about 100 feet from the parking area by the lake. We were politely asked to “leave the premises” due to the imminent dangers posed by the ongoing snowplowing efforts. I scratched my head looking for imposing snow drifts and hazardous black ice, only to find bare roads and parked plows. Still, we complied with the request and returned a few days later. Our return trip offered us a chance to stop at the orchard again, with a different outfit . Our trip to the Lost Lake was successful this time as we parked and made our way to the shore. It was a gorgeous day and the calm wind almost made for a perfect refection of Mount Hood in the lake.

Gabriel Has Arrived!

Gabriel BirthGabriel Connor was born Saturday April 27th at 1:35 PM. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 20″ long. He came 3 weeks before my daughter and two weeks before his due date, so its obvious he was quite impatient and wanted out!

Theresa started labor at 11PM Friday night. Surprisingly, less than a half hour after labor began, her contractions were happening periodically at 5 minutes, lasting 45 second each. This is the frequency/duration criteria for heading to the hospital. Her labor lasted a total of 14 hours which was roughly half the time of Siena, though the labor was more intense.

Since our last visit, the hospital has been remodeled with a new family birthing center. The new rooms are spacious with a built-in Jacuzzi tub for labor. The postpartum rooms are also roomier and have an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Adams. We’ll be bringing our son home tomorrow since he’s healthy and Mamma is recovering beautifully.

We’re Expecting a Son

4D ultrasound


My wife will be starting her third trimester in a few weeks, carrying our second child. This one is a boy and we plan to name him Gabriel Connor! We learned his gender at her last ultrasound, around 22 weeks gestation. She had a follow-up ultrasound about a week later and the technician was able to capture a 4D image this time. Apparently the baby has to cooperate for the image to be usable.

I also learned that today marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. This revelation was chilling as I find the entire concept of abortion distasteful. In fact, 784,507 abortions were reported in 2009 according to the CDC’s latest statistics. I see my son’s face in this picture and I know that he is alive, a human being entitled to the same civil rights as as any other person. He can think, feel, and even hear my voice. In this nation, it would also be perfectly legal to abort him. There are four abortion procedures that may be used to terminate his life, and each one of these would cause him tremendous pain.

Roe v. Wade was decided before the advent of high-resolution, 4D ultrasound technology. I can only wonder if the decision would have been different had the justices seen the faces of the unborn children whose very right to exist was being questioned.

What a difference a year makes!

St. Valentine’s Day 2008:
St. Valentine’s Day 2009:
Happy Siena
So how did I spend my first second St. Valentine’s Day? (first one on the outside, of course)

  • I went with Momma on a sticky note treasure hunt from Daddy.  My favorite clue was on the bathroom mirror (I LOVE mirrors) and it said, “Close the door” so she did, and found her Valentine on the shelf behind the door. I like it when Momma laughs – so I smiled big when Daddy made her laugh about the Snicker’s bar. He said he knows men are supposed to buy roses and chocolates, but that chocolates in heart shaped boxes just don’t taste as good as Snickers. I’m not sure what that all means, but I sure thought it was funny. (Mama says I’ll probably learn to laugh any day now.)
  • I watched from my swing as Momma got out her lights and umbrellas for a photo shoot of her FLOWERS! I thought photo shoots were just for pictures of me? I felt a bit better when Daddy explained that he asked the florist to put the pink rose in there to represent me. The red roses were to represent their love, and I’m the pink rose growing out of their love. They let me smell the roses and feel the soft pussy willows.
  • I stayed with Daddy while Momma enjoyed a grocery shopping trip without me. You should have seen her face when she walked in and found Daddy feeding me a bottle. (I hate those things – they taste and feel all wrong, but somehow they do deliver the goods so I put up with one every couple weeks or so.)  She said we looked so sweet.
  • I watched from my Jumperoo as Momma prepared a heart-shaped pizza and chocolate fondue. I was asleep when they had their romantic evening, but I think I had chocolate milk for breakfast the next morning so Momma must have really enjoyed that fondue.

So many new things to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch…Yup, St. Valentine’s Day is definitely more interesting on the outside of Momma’s tummy!

These pictures aren’t great, but they do show off three of my latest tricks.
1) I can suck on my lower lip and make an “mmmmmm” sound.
2) I hang out with my hands open more and more.
3) I discovered an ear on the right side of my head! How long has that been there?

More TricksNew tricks

Maternity Photos

Maternity photo shoot 4Now that we’ve brought Siena home from the hospital, it’s time to show some of the maternity photos we took the week prior to delivery. We set up a simple home studio. For a backdrop, we hung a bedspread from a closet clothing rod placed between a cabinet and a tall lamp. We opened our French doors so that natural light was bathing the photo space, and then shot all of the pictures using the overcast-filtered sunlight and a tripod when necessary. I absolutely love photographing my gorgeous wife!

Siena Has Arrived!

Holding a new babySiena Francesca Bettale was born Tuesday at 9:12 PM. She was 8 pounds 1 ounce and 20 inches long. T went into labor in the afternoon on Monday and we went to the hospital Tuesday morning. She labored in a tub initially which helped tremendously. I was able to help by massaging her back during the contractions. She later requested an epidural and was fortunate to receive 100% pain relief from it. Apparently this is not common. While T recovered from the birth, I was able to help with bathing, weighing and measuring our newborn. Our stay at the hospital was incredibly positive. We just arrived home from our 3-day experience and I’m going to post a few pictures here before I try to sleep. We are both exhausted but so happy. More soon.

Oh, and Siena is spelled and pronounced like the Italian city: “see-en-uh”

Waiting for Baby

We are in the hospital right now. T is sleeping comfortably and I’m listening to my unborn daughter’s heart beat on the fetal monitor. She made it 24 hours without medication of any kind but finally decided on an epidural. Now she is able to sleep and gather strength for the birth in a few hours.

This is a great hospital – free wifi and a room with a beautiful view of Mt Adams and the Columbia River Gorge.

More soon :)

Fun in Seattle

We had a really fun day yesterday. Our plan was to go to Seattle because we had some stuff to take care of. We finished our business early and decided to play in the city for a bit. We headed over to the science fiction museum at the Space Needle and then toured the EMP (experience music project). As a science fiction fan I really enjoyed touring the SciFi museum with T. The EMP seemed like a glorified shrine to grunge which was incredibly lame but understandable considering where the building is located. The upper level was fun, however, with sound-proof boxes featuring instruments and computer-based tutorials on how to use them. We took some shots of T’s 5-month pregnant belly outside of the museum. Its reddish-brown riveted paneling made a perfect background to compliment my wife’s beautiful hair. Before heading home we dined at Benihana, and sipped delicious mango piña colada smoothies. It was a good night and we got to check off a few more items on our adventure to-do list.

Maternity photosMaternity photosMaternity photos

We’re having a girl =D

She's smiling for the cameraWe just had the week 21 ultrasound and learned our baby’s gender. If she looks anything like her mom then I’m not looking forward to when she turns sixteen! LOL – several friends asked me if I’m going to buy the shotgun now or wait until she’s of dating age.

T had her friend Corine do the ultrasound. They met during her first year as a special ed preschool teacher when Corine worked as a paraeducator. Now shes an ultrasound tech. Worked out quite well – and she was very thorough. It looks like we have a healthy little girl. It was amazing hearing her heart beat during the follow-up appointment with the OB a day later.

Now I’ll need to buy me a few shotguns!

Baby Update and Ultrasound

Today I discovered a new rite of passage in a modern mother’s life – sitting in a waiting room with an extremely full bladder, waiting for the ultrasound. I was supposed to drink 36 ounces of water between 2 and 2:30, and not go to the bathroom until after the 3:30 appointment. Really uncomfortable, but amazingly as soon as baby was on the screen I didn’t notice my bladder anymore.

This wasn’t the 20 week ultrasound where we find out the gender – this was part of a routine screening to check that the spinal column is forming as it should.

It took about 30 minutes to get a clear image of baby’s neck to be sure the spinal column had formed correctly. Our little punkin’ seems to be an acrobat, preferring to stand on its head most of the time. The sonographer needed just the right angle, without the chin being tucked in, but our baby seems to hang out on its neck/head an awful lot. Several times, the sonographer pushed the wand firmly onto my stomach and jiggled it, supposedly to shake up baby to encourage it to get in a new position. The cool thing is that, with all the angles she tried, I got to see my baby for quite a while, and from lots of perspectives. I saw it suck its thumb, move its head back and forth, move its arm up and down, do a little arching its back sort of stretching motion, and I got to count five fingers and five toes. The images on the computer were sharper than the screen shots show. It was such a cool experience!

The sonographer was finally satisfied with the measurements she was able to take, and left the room to show the images to the doctor while I got to use the restroom and wipe the ultrasound goo off my tummy. The doctor said the images are good, and baby looks healthy. I did a few more blood tests to add to the handful of vials they took last week, and in a couple weeks we’ll know with a bit more certainty that I’m growing a healthy baby.