Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,And my soul knows it very well. - Psalms 139:14

I'm starting this post on July 28. Fiona is one week old today, perfect and amazing. People have tried to describe to me the love new parents instantly feel for their newborns, but it truly is an experience that has to be lived. She is truly "fearfully and wonderfully made."

We named our baby girl Fiona Virginia Leckrone. "Fiona" is a name both Chris and I like, and "Virginia" is the name of my maternal grandmother (also my middle name) who was named after Virginia, MN, the town where her Swedish mother first settled in the U.S.

Here's Fiona's birth story:

I had my 39 week appointment on Friday, July 20, and the doctor told me that I hadn't progressed any since the previous week. We tentatively talked about the process for induction (wait until 41 weeks), and I left the clinic planning to carry Fiona for at least a few more days. I told my co-workers I would almost certainly be working the following week. Chris and I made dinner Friday night and settled in front of the TV. I won't post gory details, but by 11:00, my lower back was aching and I was slowly becoming suspicious that my water may have broken. I called the doctor on call at my clinic who told me to take a bath/shower and drink a lot of water but that it didn't sound like I was in labor. Chris went to bed, and I took a shower where my first "real" contraction hit. The contractions were about 6 minutes apart, so I shook Chris awake who jokingly asked if we could wait a few hours. At 1:00 am, we drove the five minutes to Fairview Southdale where a triage nurse confirmed my water had broken and admitted me. The biggest surprise to me about labor was the painfulness of contractions. They took my breath away and gave me dry heaves and shakes. Because I wasn't dilated very far, I was given an IV bag of fentanyl, instead of the epidural. The fentanyl made me instantly woozy and tired. Chris turned on the TV for white noise, and we both fell asleep (me in between contractions) to the sound of a D-Day program on the military channel.
About an hour later, I had progressed enough to receive an epidural. I didn't feel a thing. The nurse told me that's how you know you're in labor because the epidural is nothing compared to contractions. Even though Chris has a stomach of steel, the nurses made him sit down to watch the procedure because a few months prior, another man passed out while watching his wife's epidural, smashed his head against the heat register, was rushed to the E.R. and missed his baby's birth. The epidural was incredible - after just a few minutes, the pain from the contractions disappeared (along with most other sensation in my legs). I progressed quickly to begin pushing, but every time I started, the baby's heart-rate dropped alarmingly (140s to 80s) so I had to stop. After a bag of pitocin and the second round of trying to push, the baby's heart-rate was still dropping, and the doctor talked to Chris and me about the possibility of a C-section. We decided to wait and let me "labor-down" some more and then try to push again while lying on my side.
It worked, and I was able to give birth naturally to Fiona at 12:15 pm after quite a bit of pushing. The doctor threw her on my stomach after she emerged while the nurses rubbed her little crying self then transferred her to the heat lamp. She opened her eyes for the first time to see Chris. Fiona weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 19.5 inches. She had a touch of jaundice but the doctors didn't seem concerned. The likely explanation is that some of my O pos blood mixed with her A pos blood, creating a reaction.
I'm feeling well, overall. I was extremely stiff and sore for several days and appreciate even more that Chris was able to take a week-and-a-half off work. The nurses at Southdale took great care of me. We are home now with our sweet baby, who is overall very good, usually only fussing when she's hungry or needs a diaper change.

Newly born

With Chelsea, my labor and delivery nurse

Jamie, Tara and the girls visit

My parents with granddaughter #4

 Audra and her girls

Mark & Shannon

Our family

 Ready to go home 

Meeting Greta

Allison and Rob were our first visitors on Saturday evening, but I was too zoned out to remember to get pictures. However, here are a few from Tuesday when Allison brought the kids by to visit and dropped off Greta.

Lilly and her first girl cousin

The cousins meet

Auntie Allison

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kitchen Renovation

Our kitchen renovation is finally complete. Chris and I began prelimary design work and took bids in March, with the hopes that the kitchen overhaul would be finished by the end of May. It took longer than expected (began in May and ended this week), but we are very happy with the results. Basically, we kept our appliances and not much else. We tore down a wall, filled in a doorway and installed new cabinets, countertops, sink, backsplash, windows, lighting and flooring. The electrical also had to be re-wired and plumbing re-routed to accommodate moving the sink and switches to a new layout. Our contractor also ended up doing a lot of custom work on the baseboards, trim and windows to match the rest of the house and had to find special-order custom width wood flooring from Florida to match the existing wood floors in the dining room and living room. Once the renovation started, we added a couple extra projects: new wood floors in the main floor hallway (the old maple was completely worn down) and a new banister, wood landing and steps leading into the basement.

I've never been involved in such a sizable renovation project. Chris and I were without a functional kitchen for about three weeks, and while we enjoyed take-out for a couple days, the expense and inconvenience quickly got old. We saved money by doing the design work and finding most of the materials ourselves. We designed the kitchen using software from Menards where we ordered solid cherry cabinets in a Briarwood stain. We lucked out on a quartz countertop sale at Lowes and ordered new windows at Home Depot. The biggest headache was picking out the backspash. We brought home dozens of samples and ended up ordering and returning a couple batches that ultimately weren't quite right. I never want to see the inside of the the Tile Store again.

However, I love the end result. We had limited countertop space in the old kitchen, and it was closed off from the rest of the house. Now, the main floor is much brighter and more open, and Chris and I visit with guests seated in the dining room while we cook together in the kitchen. We also have enough cabinet space to store our dishes and can chop/wash food without running into each other with hands full of vegetables or knives.
Before: Dining Room to Kitchen View 

After: Dining Room to Kitchen View 

After (wall down)

 After (doorway filled in)


Before: Stairway to Basement (we could never keep the white stairs clean of paw prints)


Friday, July 06, 2012

Recent Happenings

Chris and I have had a busy few weeks. We both traveled quite a bit in May, trying to fit in final work trips before I neared by due date. We also spent much of May and June overseeing our kitchen renovation, which dragged on a little longer than expected. The finishing touches (new windows and touch-up painting) will be complete on Monday, and then I'll post before and after pictures.

I had a chance to visit my friend Audra at her home in Princeton, and Katrina, who's in town from Germany, came over for dinner, but I unfortunately didn't get pictures. Otherwise, here are a few pictures over the last weeks:

Gloria's wedding and catch-up with high school friends

Celebratory dinner at W.A. Frost for my mom's retirement from public health nursing

 Fourth of July pool party/shrimp boil with Allison and Rob and Rob's family

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Greta's Surgery

Poor Greta underwent surgery on Monday to have a large, benign mass removed from her inguinal area and another small lump removed from one of her front legs. We noticed the lump on her undercarriage three or four years ago and had it aspirated at that point, but it was benign and not hindering her movement. Over the last six months or so, the lump has grown significantly, to the point that we were worried she might eventually have trouble walking or running. On Monday, I dropped Greta off at the vet in the morning, and the two lumps were removed midday. The large one weighed a a little over a pound. I think I'm more traumatized than Greta, although she was in rough shape the first couple days. When we picked her up early evening on Monday, she was completely whacked out on morphine, and Chris had to carry her into the house onto her bed. She managed to yank out the drain at the incision site Tuesday and rip off her sturdy e-collar (cone). I've been giving her pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and she's slowly getting back to her old self, walking up and down the stairs and around the backyard. She's also leaving her new e-collar alone, which will help her recovery. She can't be too active until her sutures come out several days from now.

My sweet girl

Monday, July 02, 2012


The nursery is almost complete. Chris put together the crib and changing table a couple weeks ago, and I've slowly been finding places for the gifts we've received and the rest of the items we purchased. The house's previous owners painted the nursery blue for their little boy, and I didn't care to re-paint the walls. Instead, I decided to use orange accents to brighten it up. I purchased orange and white folka dot fabric, which Chris' mom, Rhonda, transformed into beautiful curtains. Then she and Allison picked up some complementary fabric for a bumper and crib skirt, which Rhonda made into designer-style bedding. The room feels simultaneously bright and restful. I still need to buy a rug and wall hangings/picture frames. Allison is making a name sequence out of letters and printed paper, which I will post after it's done. I'm grateful that this little room is right next to our bedroom.

The teacup in the shelving behind the crib is from the baby shower.