Nine years of awesome

This has been quite the year for Kelci and me. This time last year, Kelci was battling through morning sickness as we anxiously awaited Baby Berto 2.0. But today is different. today is a sunshine-filled day that welcomes in our ninth anniversary.

This year we wake up with two amazing kids, a life that we are both proud of and the ability to still make each other smile. We welcomed our second amazing daughter into our home. We witnessed Seattle history. We have learned the joys of being in the boat (and the costs). And we have continued to learn what being a spouse a partner and a teammate means.

The world was incredibly different for us in 2005. We didn’t have a house, our careers were kind of all over the map (I was still a reporter), kids were nowhere near our minds and spontaneity was still possible.

But I wouldn’t trade these last nine years, nor the five before that, for anything.

This has been a good year in the land of Eric and Kelci. I look forward to many more and the ability to experience the world with you as we continue down the path that we described more than a decade ago. I love you Kelci.

DSC_8882 Seahawks Super Bowl 48 winSeahawks training camp 2013 Bringing Sydney home. Tailgating fun Pumpkin patch 2013

First only happens once

On Feb. 2, 2014 the Seattle Seahawks won the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl.

And Kelci and I were there.

Seahawks Super Bowl 48 win

 

It’s been a month since we returned from New York and there were so many memories made during our five days in New York that each is as valid as the moment it happened. From the opportunity to visit the team hotel to the stroll through Central Park to the snow-filled sobering visit to the 9/11 memorial and Ground Zero. But the perpetual smile on our faces is what will stick with me forever.

Being able to share in a city’s history, and even getting to be a part of it by being able to actually write a weekly column for Seahawks.com has been one of the top moments of my life. I had no clue that I could get as passionate or emotionally invested in something as I have in the Seahawks. But here Kelci and I stood, 14 rows from the endzone as we watched history.

The game was surreal. The Seahawks defense dominated and the offense showed signs of a passing game we hadn’t really seen all year. I have been fortunate enough to meet a couple of the players. I got to spend time with WR Golden Tate. I’ve been around OL Max Unger and felt nothing but joy for those guys as they got to celebrate what they had done for the city. In the weeks that have passed, we’ve seen members of the team depart for other teams and we’ll soon see what the future of the team will be.

But now it’s a month later. I get to reflect daily as I enjoy the glow still from that weekend. The image of the Lombardi Trophy graces many of my thoughts. Kelci and I are planning our tattoo commitment and reflecting on the experience. I’ve shared a lot of my pictures from our trip on Facebook, but wanted to also share the game pictures I took.

Welcome Baby Berto 2.0

So, I started writing this on Dec. 24. Then I tried again on Dec. 30. And now it’s January 13. We welcomed our second daughter nearly a month ago and the days (and long nights) since then have been full of smiles tears (happy and sad) and a blur of doctors visits, friends, family, errands, holiday preparations and other assorted tasks related to a newborn. We’re settling into a routine of feedings and staring at each other through all hours of the day and night.

I have been trying to convince Kelci to write her birth story. But every time I catch her nodding off while Sydney feeds on her, I come to realize just a little bit more that my job here is to assist her wherever she needs it. And so here I am, trying to put words down for her.

The fast and the furious

I had just fallen asleep a bit before she entered the room. Her presence immediately caused me to wake up; I must have sensed something was up. When she said the words “I think my water just broke” my heart and instincts kicked into overdrive. See, we weren’t ready. Sure, the crib was built and even the  bag was packed. But ready was more than just having the house put together. I had a bit of mental preparation to do, but those words helped move it along. A well-timed sneeze erased any doubt of if the action was about to begin.

By the time I was up and dressed, it was 12:15 am. Our first phone call was to our amazing care taker to pick Kylah up. Then I scrambled to toss the suitcase, car seat and a few other things into the car and we were off. By now the contractions had started and Kelci was being a champ about breathing and focusing through the pain. But we were just getting started.

Triage and admitting

It all seemed surreal. The phone call to Kelci’s mom. The phone call to my mom. The helping Kelci into the car. The helping her walk to the hospital room. It was all happening so fast.

As the labor pains intensified and the attempts at breathing through the contractions became more futile, we were quickly escorted back to Kelci’s room. The room where we would meet Sydney.

As we made our way from the triage room to the birth room, we had to pause about four times for Kelci to breathe through the intense contractions that kept washing over her in waves of pain. Seeing her doubled over and holding her hands gave me a renewed appreciation for what she was going through.

Here she comes

The contractions had moved to Kelci’s back by this point. So, we tried to have the tub alleviate some of the pain. After some time in the jetted tub, we tried to get her out of the water. But by now the contractions were essentially stacked on top of each other. We helped her get back into the bed as the continuous contractions engulfed her.

I was sitting next to Kelci on the bed with one arm holding her hand and my right arm around her. I felt every muscle from her shoulders to her knee caps tense up. As Kelci moaned through each wave of pain, she demanded the epidural that would bring her some relief. As the anesthesiologist was literally running to her room, the midwife insisted on checking her dilation. See, at about 2:30 am, after she exited the tub, Kelci had dilated to 4cm and epidurals can slow labor down.

As Kelci swung one leg over the bed, I moved out of the way for the midwife to examine Kelci. As the midwife sat down and began, she looked at me and said “I feel the head, it’s time.” I pushed the sleeves up on my shirt and went t be next to Kelci. As she managed to get the second leg up on the bed, I held her hand. The midwife told her to push and despite Kelci’s insistence on the epidural, it was time. One major push and Sydney was out and immediately made her presence known with a hearty cry.

She was perfect.

Sydney Hazel just a bit after she was born

Sydney Hazel just a bit after she was born

Mommy gets to meet Sydney.

Mommy gets to meet Sydney.

Happy and healthy

Sydney had a few bruises from where the midwife literally caught her. We’ve spent the last few weeks staring into her eyes and admiring her round cheeks. She’s an amazing sleeper and isn’t shy about letting us know when she needs to be changed. Our family gained a member that night. Our older daughter gained a little sister and she has been beyond amazing. Offering to help and being gentle and taking care of all of us. Kylah has matured so much over the last few weeks since Sydney arrived and Kelci and I are lucky to have them both in our lives.

We have many adventures ahead of us. We have some parenting challenges on the immediate horizon and we have a lot of learning and smiles and hugs and tears ahead of us.

It has begun

The time has come for us to welcome Sydney Hazel Berto into our family.

It seems Kelci has gone into labor and we are off to the hospital for what we hope is an easy, painless birth process. We’ve been spending a lot of time together as a family these last few days and we can’t wait to have the newest member of our tribe in our arms.

We are beyond appreciative for the support and thoughts throughout these last few months. It has made everything go by super quickly and make the experience a positive one for us.

I will do my best to update along the way, but Kelci is my focus and after that Sydney is my focus. But, you can check with us on Facebook or Twitter for any updates.

38 weeks (and one day)

We’re ready to meet her. The bags are packed. The bassinet is warm and cuddly. The rocking chair is clean and cozy. We’re ready for Sydney to arrive. I obsess over her arrival. I want everything to be comfortable for Kelci. I want to make sure Kylah is taken care of and knows that everything is OK.

I’ve been a nervous wreck as I know that any time my phone vibrates or lights up, it could be “the call.” I know that Kelci is ready for an end to the pain and nausea and discomfort. I know that Kylah is excited to meet her little sister (although she still lobbies for a little brother).

I mentioned in the last post that I wasn’t feeling very festive, but we’ve managed to find a bit of the holiday spirit. We all went and picked out a nice tree that Kylah helped decorate and loves seeing. We even welcomed George, the lady elf into our world as it keeps an eye on Kylah from wherever she lands after visiting Santa. The holiday excitement has been routinely trumped by the anticipation of Sydney’s arrival. I, personally, am afraid to venture out shopping or to plan events and gatherings because I would rather be with Kelci in the event that “now.” happens.

But, the reality is that Sydney might not arrive for another three weeks. But, we’ll be ready. We’ll have warm arms and cozy hugs waiting for her when she arrives. See you soon Sydney.