Friday, December 30, 2011


You crowned with Radiohead’s Supercollider. You entered the world to The Black Heart Procession’s, It’s a Crime I never told you about the Diamonds in Your Eyes at 10:38pm on December 19, 2011.  You were welcomed into this world into a pool of warm water and through a circle of support.  You cried right away.  I was amazed.  I couldn’t believe we’d done it. You had made your way into my arms finally, and I helped you along.  My body did all the right things, and yours pushed through to our dimension.  Welcome, our angel baby. 
You like to hold my finger while you sleep. You make a scrunchy face when you are pooping.  You have little baby smiles when you are sleeping.  I call you the Milk Monster because you love to chow down on some milk.  You fall asleep on my chest and it is the best feeling in the world.  The weight of you, the pounds of you breathing and gurgling and warming me, I can’t get enough.  You smell heavenly.  
This is a love like no other. 
You waited an extra 2 weeks to make your appearance.  You stayed inside, cozy, getting plump, and strong.  By December 19, my body was finally ready to help you come out.  And, all the better for the time spent inside, my labor was so manageable that I didn’t believe I was really in active labor until my water broke at 6:10pm.  Things started moving more quickly then, and it’s really all a blur.  I don’t remember timing of anything after this point.  We called our doula, Andrea and we spoke to Hillary our midwife on the phone and she listened to my contractions.  Andrea and Nick helped me cope, and got the pool ready, and stayed in communication with Hillary.  Nick was timing contractions and time between them.  I never reached 4 minutes between contractions, they were always closer and shorter.  As soon as they got to almost a minute long, they were already just a few minutes apart.  When Hillary and Casey arrived a little later, I was 8 centimeters dilated.  There was some finagling getting the temperature in the pool ready, some boiling of water on the stove.  It’s all really hazy, I was in a zone, working through the waves and breathing.  I got in the water soon after and the contractions became so much more manageable.  I loved being in the water.  I am so happy that Nolan is a water baby. 
Soon, I was pushing.  I think I pushed for an hour, according to some records sheets that we have, but I have no recollection of the time. There was a time at the very end, where I said “I can’t do it”, and everyone just said, “yes you can, you have to, the baby’s right here” and he came out. 
The overwhelming feeling was trust in each person that was there.  I had to let the brain part of myself go, let my body take over, and I had to really trust what each person was telling me.  I did what they told me to do, without thinking about it.  I think that’s why everything worked so well, my brain got out of the way. 
At 10:38 pm, with a push that stretched my strength further than I though I could, Nolan Aubrey Grutz made his way into the world and our lives were changed forever.  A true supercollider. 
He is 9 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches long and perfect for us in every way. 

ps- Nick has been amazing through this journey.  It needs to be said.  Thanks love. 

Here is a little photo stream of the past few days with Nolan. 
My two boys. 

I don't want this time to end. 

Nolan meets Nana, his great grandmother.  So special. 

I'm pretty cool with my cloth diapers.  Mom still needs to figure out how to fold them right though....

This hat reminds me of "In the Night Kitchen," anyone? 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Grutz says, "Fatherhood rocks and/or rolls!!" or "A brief history of what the heck just happened."

A note about my wife....
I want everyone to know that Carleen is doing very well.  She is tired, sore, and healing.  And she's madly in love with Nolan.  These factors have caused the communications blackout from her.  Now she is slowly starting to return calls and such, so be patient.  She's not rude, she just had a baby.  Also, I'm sure when she feels up to it she'll add to the blog and get some quality writing up here in the place of my drivel.

Another thing about my wife is that she is devastatingly wonderful and amazes me to the point of awe.  She has handled the pregnancy so well.  She has tolerated me so well.  She went through labor like a champ, with the doula and midwives commenting on how they wish all births could be as successful and smooth as ours.  A real compliment to Carleen and her poise, effort, and drive.  (Yes, I was a little concerned that she would "fly off the handle" as depicted in many birthing books for dads, but I'm a sucker, I guess.)  She is a fine, fine mother and exudes nothing but love and joy.  Nolan really lucked out with her.  And so did I.

A little photo essay of some of the events that led up to our current family unit.
DISCLAIMER: Now, I do not have a problem with content of these photos, but my wife might, so I may have to edit at some point. (Yeah, it would make sense to run it by her now, but she's sleeping.  End of story.) 

So the Monday arrived and I had to run off to CVS to acquire some castor oil, as mentioned here because we DID NOT want to be induced at a hospital the next day.  We were not overly concerned or fearful or worried about the labor/birth, we just wanted to have it happen, specifically at home!
Monday morning and Carleen ponders how she'd like to ingest her castor oil.  (Notice how clean things look, that will ever happen again.)

This is the second dose of castor oil, mixed with a fine helping of Ben & Jerry's.  The chaser is vodka ginger ale.  Carleen did not have to finish this dose for "the package was in the mail", as they say.
 So by this time, 3ish, Carleen started to feel contractions.  And at 6 pm, boom! Carleen's water broke and we knew it was on!  ("LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!")  We called Andrea our doula.  Now Andrea was actually our fill-in doula and Rita, our "starting" doula couldn't make it because of a family emergency.  Andrea was amazing.  She did so much and was so supportive.  She was instrumental in keeping Carleen on top of things and keeping me busy with things to do (when I wasn't "centering" my wife), including inflating and filling the birthing pool.  We called the midwives, Hillary and Casey, and they arrived around 9, I think.

Carleen, resting between contractions, was a force to be reckoned with.  On the right is Hillary.
 And before you could say, "Hey, underhanded insurance companies and overly complicated hospital chains?  Stick it!!", a baby was born!  I grabbed the babe, along with Casey, and drew it out of the water and placed it on Carleen and wrapped it in towels.  Now you may notice I refer to he as "it".  At this point we didn't know the sex.  We were so excited/dazed/amazed for a good minute or so before we were like, "What is it?" and I peeked under the towels and exclaimed, "It's a boy! It's Nolan!"  Ah good times.

The two most beautiful things my eyes have ever beheld.

While weighing Nolan I couldn't stop thinking about weighing my catch at the KDTH Future Fisherman Contest as a kid.  (Not to brag, but I won it one year with biggest fish and the next with the most fish, PA-POW!)

My little guy getting ink on his feet. 
Much of what followed is posted here, here, and here.  We had Arnie stay at a puppy hotel while Nolan arrived and we finally got him home.  We were a bit concerned about his "wild and playful" side and the baby.  Our friend Kristina visited with her boy, Gus awhile back, and Arnie was overly "nosey" to the point of having to be put in a room, with the door shut, yeah, that bad.  Well, Arnie was super-duper inquisitive and wanted to check out Nolan, jumping up and barking at the crying babe.  But once we let him smell Nolan all was cured (mostly, he's still learning).  Now he sits (or lies) at attention with a "Don't mess with my boy, Nolan" attitude.  No, make that a "I dare you to mess with my boy Nolan.  I DARE you." attitude.  Just kidding, Arnie's not that much of a bad boy.

This is my family, Carleen, Nolan, wunder-mutt watch dog, Arnie.
So here we are.  Whew.  It's amazing what life throws at you.  By the way, I keep hearing about this "Christmas" thing-y.  I can't say I'm at all prepared, I guess I've been busy.......But Christmas is now something completely different, it has a new importance and meaning.  And as long as I'm with my Carleenie, Noley, and Arnie I've got buckets of joy.  What more can a boy want?*

*The Cubs winning the World Series wouldn't hurt.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grutz says, "Wha, what happened?" or "Can't make complete thoughts......""

We're bushed and busted.  Whew.  I can't speak for Carleen but I'm fried.  A little photo update of little Nolan.  (Don't worry, we're all fine, just tired.
This is the norm at the Grutz household.  Quality time in bed.

HO HO HO! Look what Santa brought!

Carleen, Grandma TT, and Nolan get festive!  Ho ho HO!

The happy family! (Yes, I am the ever supportive husband......)

......and the tired daddy.  Look at those bags!

Nolan grimaces at the thought of college tuition in the year 2030!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Nolan doesn't like it when you stick your pinky in his mouth after you've made his mom some food and forget to wash your hands.  Replace "doesn't like" to "utterly detests" in the previous line.  Lesson learned.  Carleen and I are still getting back in the swing of things.  There's a whole other variable to everything now.  A game changer, dare I say it.  To all our many, many, well-wishers, thank you for all the love and support, and yes, we will get back to all of you and share our newest adventure once we're a bit more rested.  Here's a couple of pics to keep you satisfied.
Nolan has hands!  Look at his hands!  Aw, hands.
Grandma and Grandpa Healy enjoying little Nolan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grutz says, "IT'S A BOY!"

Hooray for baby!  And yes, he's a Hawkeye.

Welcome Nolan Aubrey Grutz!
Coming in at 9 lbs 7 oz and 21 inches, Nolan finally joined our family at 10:38 pm on Monday, December 19th.  Baby is doing well, mother is doing well.  More info later.  Thanks for all for the positive support over these final few weeks!
A boy and his dad, enjoying our first moment together.
Carleen waking with Nolan this morning.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Grutz says, "Slip sliding away..." or "You're supposed to what with that?!?"

A miracle in a bottle: Castor Oil!

And so, it begins.
At least another stab at having this baby.  Carleen ingested some oj and castor oil.  Temporarily.  So we mixed some castor oil with yogurt, ice cream and tons of chocolate syrup.  This seems to be staying down.  We'll see if this starts things humming, and if not, we'll be off to the hospital tomorrow.  More to follow.....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grutz says, "Enough already about waiting for the baby! Give us what we REALLY want!" or "Mono? Mono?!? Sorry daddy-o, we want stereo." or "Sprechen sie"

Baby, oh baby.
Yep, it's still in there.
Baby.  Get.  Out.  With love, your Dad.

And now for something completely different.....
I've been picking up a lot of chatter on the airwaves asking for a Nick photo montage.  And since we all need a break from a little something (I'm looking at you, still-yet-born  Little Grutz), I thought I'd oblige, so without further ado, a Nick Grutz photo montage!  Enjoy!

SuperGrutz!  With drill!  Yes, I DO have a big head, why DO you ask? 
George Best* has nothing on me.  Hell, my voice cracks NOW when I see this button.

Honey, have you seen my lederhosen?
Carleen and I walked over to Mirabell Restaurant for dinner, and well, a stroll to maybe get things moving.  We had some fine German food and brew.  As you can see....

Mmmmmmm, Beef Rouladen, red cabbage, spatzle, and BBK.  Now that's a happy Grutz! 
"Auf Wiedersehen, delicious German food!"

Ok, now I'll come clean.  The baby is coming.  At some point in the next couple of days.  No matter what.  So when that happens Little Grutz will be getting top billing.  Just wanted to get a little ol' Grutz in before the baby-rapture starts.  Thank you.

And we'll keep you posted. Of course.

*Nor I anything on him.  Especially the football part OR the drinking part.  Yikes!

41 weeks, 5 days: update

I am ready.  And the baby is not.  We are not in synchrony over here.

C- day is Monday and I- day is Tuesday (at home Castor oil and hospital Induction).

It really feels like limbo.  And it's a little disappointing.  I am pretty peaceful about the whole thing, but my body is getting to the uncomfortable point.  I keep having irregular little contractions that are more like pressure than anything else.  They come and go, and never increase in intensity.  At this point, it would be a relief to have some real contractions.  It would also be a sign that my body is working, which I know it is, but in the back of my head I have these lingering doubts that something is not right, and I will just never go into labor on my own.

I am waiting for my clothes to dry (another load of incessant laundry trying to feel on top of things), and then we are taking Arnie to the beach.  Yes, it is snowing!  He clearly doesn't remember ever seeing snow before and is so intrigued.  He needs the exercise and we need the outing.

I'll post some pictures of Arnie frolicking in the snow when we get home!

And... now we are home, I am uploading photos and came across a few holiday and Arnie ones that were omitted from the other day.
Nick's a decorating handyman, and he dolled up our mannequin the other day when we were putting up lights.  Isn't she lovely?

My contribution of popcorn and cranberry garland.  It took forever!

And here is Prince Arnie showing disdain over me washing his blanket. 

"I can't believe you washed all the good smells out of this!  Just for that, I am going to chew it up."

"You can't catch me basset hound! Your ears are too heavy!"

"Come on Dad, let's play rough!"

"Just you try to get my ball...."


"Yay, I love the beach!  This is my happy, bum shaking dance!"

And this is how we are passing the time.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

41 weeks, 3 days.

So apparently I'm now 4 centimeters dilated and have had no contractions.  Is this normal?  I read that at 4 cm, it is considered active labor, this is definitely not active labor.

Yesterday I had acupuncture from a lady who was certain that it would put me right into labor, and Tuesday, our midwife was confident that labor was soon.  Today, our midwife (a different one, same practice), did a membrane sweep and easily "stretched" me to 4 centimeters.  And nothing, aside from the same painless tightenings and little cramps that I've been having for a while.

So, basically the acupuncture, though at the time I thought I was feeling things, didn't do too much.  And so far, the membrane sweep also didn't send me into labor.  I read that these sweeps are stimulating and can initiate labor within a few hours.  Nick went with me to the appointment for moral support, and then stayed with me because we thought maybe, just maybe this could be the day.

Instead we occupied ourselves with staying busy and holidaying our apartment a little bit more.

These are the amazing molasses cookies that my family loves.  We are on our second batch.  They are perfect with tea. 

The crafter himself, Nick is making us stockings. Since this is our first Christmas away from family and we don't have any of our own, Nick took up the job. 

I made a nice belly necklace for me.  Cranberries and popcorn hopefully will do the labor trick.  Actually, it's for our wreath, the one that I am pretending is a tree. 

Check out that belly in our newly Christmas light lit hallway! 

You might see Arnie with a red kong in his mouth, you might not.  He is so fast, he's is everywhere!

So yes, we are trying (and succeeding) to enjoy ourselves in this short time that feels like a life hiatus: can't make too many plans and can't go too far from home, and need to keep the apartment relatively neat.   The good news is that no matter what, I will be in some kind of labor by next Tuesday.  And that means that there will be a baby by this time next week.  That alone is exciting and, of course, I can wait one more week.  

This little baby is just too cozy in there.  I must have a very comfortable uterus. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grutz says, "Focus your chi, dammit!" or "Ditching the 24 hour clock and embracing a new lingo."

You all need to do this and channel your chi to Carleen.  Go ahead, I'll wait.
Greetings all!  Yep, still waiting for Little Grutz.  Carleen is a champ and is doing remarkably well.  Keep sending the good thoughts our way and that little bundle of joy will be with us (in person) shortly.  Deadlines and ranges don't really apply to births.  We're on a whole different time line.  One that ignores the clock, ignores the work schedule, ignores convenience, ignores everything that we wrap our lives in.  This adventure is not waiting for me or Carleen or anything.  That baby's coming when it's ready.  I'm really starting to appreciate this new spectrum of time.....(ooooo, so deep!)

We'll keep you posted!

Oh, and I'll get around to explaining this recent hiatus from blogging and this past hiatus, too!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

41 weeks, 1 day.

Today I notice the change in my voice.  It's softer when I don't mean it to be, and my ability to breathe expansively is so limited.  I walked up the stairs and was out of breath, I walked around Naperville with my grandmother and I was out of breath.  And I almost fell asleep driving home.  Yesterday I had a burst of energy, today is fatigue city.  I saw the midwife this morning, I am 3cm dilated, which, I hope is a good sign that something is moving along.  If my body doesn't go into labor naturally, we'll try castor oil on Monday, and then Tuesday will be induction at the hospital.  Hilary, our midwife is pretty amazing, and has never had to have any of her patients induced at the hospital.  She is optimistic, and so am I.  So far, I really don't feel any contractions at all, just really mild lower abdominal discomfort that is mostly absent, and goes away when I change positions.  I truly can't stop yawning, maybe this is pre-labor and I am going to have a nice sleepy, dreamy birth.  Or maybe I am just saving up some energy pockets.   Either way, I'm going to lay down.  

PS- someone should tell the automatic weekly email updates from Baby Center to not send emails that read "What should your one week old be doing this week?" Alas. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

41 weeks

There are only so many times I can check my email, and delete the page of spammy messages.  Only so many items I can launder, times I can sweep the floor, and vacuum the throw rugs.  I've watched 5 episodes of Friday Night Lights, Nick even got sucked in last night.  Cuddling with the dog is great, but at this point I wish I had a baby in my arms!  I've exhausted the google image searches for other ladies at 41 weeks.  Thankfully there are tons of blogs that chronicle over-due babies and their birth stories, which I find incredibly comforting.  I am fine, just anxious, and can't shake the feeling that I am wasting my 12 weeks off from work.

41 weeks seems to feel a lot like 40 weeks. Mildly more uncomfortable, majorly emotionally drained!

While I am thrilled that overdue babies are sometimes big and chubby, I don't know how thrilled I am going to feel at 10 centimeters!  Thankfully, a word of wisdom from my mom came the other day.  I should preface this by saying that of my 4 siblings, my mom swears that she had no pain, just pressure when giving birth (naturally).  My friends say that this is the selective memory talking, and that birth while manageable, is not without pain.  The other day during our daily phone check in "how's it going?  any contractions?"  "I'm fine, no changes." She reminded me that contractions won't feel like pain.  Maybe this is her mothering instinct coming out and trying to protect me from the inevitable, but I know her, and she was actually being serious.  She says it feels like pressure, and waves, riding the waves in the ocean, sweeping through and moving out to sea.  Mom is peaceful, and centered, and knows herself, so I am apt to believe her, and hope that I can have a similar experience.  Perhaps just knowing that this kind of birth experience is possible is enough to enter into it in a calm and full way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

40 weeks, 4 days

Our living room smells like pine, and it's delightful.  The pumpkin candles help too, but it's the pine that really does it for me.  I'd love to have a tree, but it doesn't look like it's in the cards for this year.  We also don't have enough ornaments to fill it.  My mom still has my  "carleen" box at home, the clay bake ornaments, the photos with Santa, the beaded candy canes, and the hand stitched ornament gifts that came each year from mom's friend Alice.  I have yet to inherit my childhood ornament memorabilia.  This wreath will work for now. 

Pine wreath on our living room door makes it feel a little more holidayish. 

No news is still no news on the labor front.  Today Arnie had a vets appointment for a persistent red eye.  Our suspicions were confirmed, he is indeed a high needs dog.  His red eye comes from anxiety and possibly a hayfever allergy.  We are two peas in a pod with the allergy business.  He also is so attentive to me now, following me around and just checking to make sure whatever I am doing is legit. 
He wanted to be in the belly picture I took at 40 weeks.  He couldn't resist. 

What's going on? Do you want me to take your picture Mom?

These next few pictures are me at 40 weeks 4 days, today.   I wish I could say that I feel like it's going to happen soon, but I really don't know.  Baby is pretty comfortable in there.

This was the best I could do in the bathroom mirror!

Check out that belly.  It continues to amaze me. 

Can you believe that there is a baby squirming around in there?  The human body is something else. 
The rest of the day holds making molasses cookies and watching some online tv (I watched two episodes of  Kitchen Nightmares and it's a little too much drama for me.  I'm going to try and find Breaking Bad next, thanks for the suggestions friends!).

I'll keep you posted on the baby!