Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Harper Ann Vukasinovic - May 7, 2013

I've written snippets here and there about the arrival of my sweet granddaughter, 
Harper Ann Vukasinovic, but to do her justice - and for posterity - I feel she
deserves to be memorialized in one of my blogs!  All along, we didn't know if
this first grandchild of mine was to be a boy or a girl.  Laura and Alex were
adamant at every ultrasound that they did NOT want to know the sex of the
baby, that they wanted it to be a surprise.  They didn't care if they had a boy
or a girl.  I was equally vocal that, if I had a choice, after raising three sons, I
wanted a girl!!

Harper's due date was April 21st.  The kids invited me to go to Laura's ultra
sound on April 10th so I made the two hour drive to West Sacramento, planning
to stay for a three day visit since my India journey is drawing close.  Laura was
told the baby was weighing in 8 lbs!

You can definitely see Harper's face here, hair and an expression that seems 
to say, "Good grief, let's get this show on the road."

At Laura's OB visit after the ultrasound, her doctor initially was saying the first baby 
is often late but, after examining her, he said labor might begin that week!!

On Saturday morning, April 13, as I was preparing to head back home, Laura told 
me she was having back pain and hadn't slept all night.  She was having irregular
contractions, she thought, about twelve minutes apart.  A shopping trip with her
mother was planned for the Galleria instead of downtown Sacramento so she
would be near the Sutter Roseville Birthing Center where she was to deliver.

I moved my suitcase back into the bedroom, amused at Alex's text, "Oh, no, I'm
not ready."  

About 5PM, i headed to the hospital and joined Christine Calhoun, Laura's mom 
for the grandmother vigil.  I was most impressed with Sutter Roseville's beautiful 
birthing rooms and, especially, with Donna Taylor ( I think that was her name ),
a wonderful OB MSN from Alabama - I picked up on that kindred accent 
immediately ) - who was simply amazing.  As the hours passed, Laura finally
decided to have an epidural and then the atmosphere became downright festive.
Alex's two brothers arrived as did another family member of Laura's and we
waited patiently for the debut of "baby Vook."  

Here are the three brothers together.  Shawn Smith, the oldest, at 42, is senior
to Alex by 12 years.and is 14 years older than Jeremy.  I don't think I could
have managed without his help when I had extensive back surgery when his
younger brothers were just toddlers.  He says he will remain forever single 
and has done his child rearing with his two brothers.

As the hours passed, everyone began to grow weary.  Alex hopped up on the
hospital bed and napped between Laura's contractions and everyone else
got a little shut eye wherever they could.

Jeremy had borrowed a motorcycle from a friend and made the two hour drive from
San Francisco in pretty cold weather and he was totally exhausted.  Shawn, in military
style, can sleep anywhere.  "Nana" and "Nina", both nurses, of course, could sleep
standing up, if necessary.

Christine Calhoun, who will be "Nini" waited patiently for her grandchild.

Laura's cousin, Iva, was also a cheerleader all night.

Finally, as dawn approached, serious contractions began and all but Alex were
urshered out so Laura could begin pushing earnestly.  A short while later, Alex
came out and said Christine and I were grandmothers, still not telling us whether
he and Laura had a girl or boy.  "See for yourselves," he told us.

The first thing we saw on entering the room was the sign next to the door:

A GIRL!!!  The answer to my prayers - a beautiful, healthy baby girl in our family
of testosterone laden men.  

With Nini

With Nana and Daddy

With Uncle Jeremy

I've got my eyes wide open for Uncle Shawn

I was waiting when Laura, Alex and baby Harper arrived home from the
hospital on April 15th.  She was greeted by Taffy and Bucky who wondered
about this strange little creature.  She must have immediately aroused some
dormant maternal instinct in Taffy who responds to her every gurgle and cry.

Bucky says hello

Now it's Taffy's turn

At 8 lbs, Harper is already outgrowing newborn sizes!

I am overjoyed with this sweet granddaughter.  I have to get the kids hooked up
with Skype so we can have weekly visits the six months I'm in India.  June 1st is
such a short time away.

Laura and Alex have settled into parenting so easily.  I am very impressed.
Harper isn't really fussy at all.  She's a good eater and she can sleep just
about anywhere.  We've already had her on outings and, as long as she's dry
and fed, the adults can enjoy dinner without interruption, for the most part.

One of Harper Ann's favorite spots to "hang" out

With great Uncle Charley, Nana's brother, from Georgia

Supervision from Taffy

Lunch at Awful Annie's in Auburn, CA with Mommy and Nana

Needless to say, this is only the first of many pictures to come of Harper Ann 
Vukasinovic.  There will be a bit of a hiatus while I am in India for six months but 
I will certainly post an update from time to time.  I expect to be back in California 
for her first Christmas and I will need to have her stocking finished by then.  What 
a joy she will be to all of us, that is for sure.  Thanks to everyone for your wonderful 
wishes and prayers at the start of her life.


  1. Great post. I love the boneless cat look on Alex's shoulder.

    1. Joan, I am amazed at her ability to sleep like that. She seems so comfortable in this position...in almost any position, really. I am envious since, even if I take something to help me sleep, I am awake much of the night. It must be 21 years of carrying a pager around the clock and half listening for it to go off!

  2. Wishing the best for Harper. Congratulations to the proud grandma too!

    1. Thanks, my dear friend. I couldn't be happier than I am with this sweet little girl. I'll be looking for some Indian outfits for her. I'll have to watch her progress on Skype for the first six months since I won't be home until early December. I hope to see you in Bangalore for a few days, if you can find a corner for me!

  3. Thank you for sharing such a treasured memory. She is such a cute little button! My granddaughter is now 19 months old, and we are moving back to live near her. I can't wait! They grow so fast. Have a good trip to India, Nana, from NannyG :)

  4. Oh Carmen, I couldn't be happier for you all. Miss Harper is adorable and so is her great big happy family!
    This post was a real treat. I'm so happy you "got your girl". Life is good.
    xo jj

  5. How wonderful to hear of the safe arrival of Harper! A girl!!!!!!!!
    I could almost go through that pregnancy, birth and excitement of seeing her because of the lovely photos that expressed it all.
    The photos of the baby are so gorgeous. Enjoy every minute of her because they grow so fast!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  6. Your first grandchild? After all those boys, you must be ecstatic to have a girl! Now there will be pink in your life! I went through the same joy when I had my Trinity...after two boys. Congratulations Carmen!

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