Monday, September 30, 2013

And then there were four

I tend to be very timely with my pregnancies.  Two of the three have come without assistance on their due dates.  Rhode was a few weeks early but he was induced.  I should have just been sitting pretty until the 20th, given my track record.  But I will be honest,  I was very much hoping this baby of mine was going to want to make an early entrance.  I had my mom here, I had a very large belly, I had checked off almost all of my baby to do list and I was ready to go... but baby just wasn't coming.

And then, before I knew it, my due date was here.  Yay!  I was going to go into labor at ANY SECOND!  I then went to bed without a single contraction.

I got to talk with my sister, Kristy on the phone during this waiting time and she mentioned that she had been praying for me to have the baby.  It was a very good moment for me as I remembered what I had been praying for.  My wording was something like this, "Heavenly Father, please bless this baby to be strong and healthy, to finish growing and to come into this world when it is ready.  And if that could be today, that would be awesome."  So instead of griping, I trusted and enjoyed my last few days.  I really couldn't do much about my secret hopes that my due date would be THE date but it didn't stop me from enjoying the day.  I watched Rhode's soccer practice, enjoyed some Sonic Happy Hour, and had a great movie night watching Epic with Asher snuggled up against me.  I got into bed at a decent hour and got a good 6 hours of solid sleep... and then all craziness broke loose.

But before we get to that... let's back up a bit.

As you may recall, Asher decided to make a very quick appearance into this world.  Start of contractions to his birth was about 5 hours, I did almost all of my progressing in one hour and gave birth to him without an epidural, much to my dismay at the time.  This experience, plus the low nature of my baby carrying this round, plus the fact that I was already at a 4 before going into labor, and with a warning from my doctor that the only way he was going to make it to this delivery is if he set up camp at the hospital, really made me think about this delivery.

The one thing that would have really helped Asher's delivery in my mind is if I had been mentally prepared at all for it.  I did not have one thought in my head other than, 'this needs to stop hurting right now' and 'where is the *@&# guy with the needle?'  If I was going to be doing this again, I really wanted something else to think about.  So, a friend of mine suggested this book:

This is an extremely interesting book.  I read it from cover to cover, then called my friend and we proceeded to mock it for a very long time.  If Jon were to design his own book store with all of his own shelf labeling, he would put this book on the shelf entited "Voo Doo Witch Science".  He would then preface the cover with his own summary, "Anytime someone tries to prove a scientific point with one random example of a person that it worked for, it's voo doo witch science."

Here are some of the crazy things this book suggested:

1) There is no physiological reason why birthing a baby should hurt at all.  Bologna.  Big object, little hole.  There will be pain people
2) There is a lady in Africa who, while cleaning her hut, birthed her baby, cleaned herself up and then went back to cleaning, thus labor doesn't have to hurt.  I promise you, lady, that mother is about a million times tougher than I am. And I am pretty sure she didn't say anything about it not hurting
3) They list several 'safe' methods to start labor, including the usual spicy foods, "hugs before drugs" and, yes they actually bring up castor oil.  Please tell me there are not women who are still doing that.  I cannot think of anything more miserable to add to the top of 'just about to have a baby' than squirting bowels.  It is really time to stop suggesting that to very desperately uncomfortable women
4) And the real clincher, in case your labor slows down in the hospital and your doctor wants to turn on the drugs, they suggest one option is to excuse the medical staff from the room and go back to some of the previously mentioned labor starers, including "hugs before drugs".  Seriously... but seriously, don't ever do that.  I don't care what they say, that is weird.

But in between all of the absolute crazy in this book, I found what I was looking for, a few coping methods.  In all reality, the whole book basically just tries to make labor seem less scary.  Because, if you aren't afraid if it, then you can relax.  And  muscles work better when you aren't all tense and crazy.  Which is true.  It gave some breathing techniques to practice and it came with a relaxation CD, which I loaded onto my ipod.  

And now back to the story.

So there I am peacefully sleeping the night away when I woke up to a sudden pop and rush of water.  My clock was blaring 4:00 a.m. on the dot and my water had just broken.  That had for sure never happened to me before.  I had prepared myself to go through basically the same labor I had with Asher, only potentially even faster.  Instead, I had zero contractions and I was leaking.  Talk about throwing a person for a loop.

I started moving around and getting cleaned up, which I am now realizing from other people's stories of their births starting with water breaking is basically impossible because you're just leaking water the whole time.  It is really very annoying.  I hopped into the shower while sending Jon back to bed because, really, I didn't even have any contractions yet.  No need to start running around like a sitcom dad.  

And then the contractions started.  I had this handy dandy phone app downloaded where I pressed the button when my contractions started and stopped and it recorded all of the information so nicely for me.  I can't explain to you why I enjoyed this so much but I totally did.  I happily pushed that button all the way to the hospital.  Even when it hurt, I thought, 'Hey, I get to push the button again! How long has it been ol' contraction app buddy?'  

Well, my contraction app buddy informed me that I was already having my contractions about 2 minutes apart.  Oops, sorry Jon, turns out it is still go time.  So we gathered, warned my mom we were on our way out the door and were on the freeway by 4:45 a.m.  I was keeping steady at 2 minutes per contraction and they were strong but I was able to keep breathing and focusing to where Jon didn't actually know when I was contracting and when I wasn't.  

I was totally calm as we approached the labor and deliver desk.  I told them my water had broken, I was having contractions 2 minutes apart, and my babies tended to make quick entrances.  I am so grateful for my nurse who believed me.  A lot of the nurses commented afterward that they wasn't even sure I was actually in labor from my face but my nurse kept things moving.

At 5:20 a.m. I was in a gown, I had my monitors on, I had my earphones in and was listening to a lady with a British accent explain to me how I was going to relax my muscles starting from my head and working down to my feet, and I was checked for the first time at a 7.  And the baby's head was "REALLY low" according to my nurse.  
The next few minutes were spent getting an IV port in my arm (I requested no IV but they wanted a port in case of emergency) which took awhile because I have very uncooperative veins.  I was pretty well in the zone, ignoring a few too many of the nurse's questions (oops) but breathing well and steadily.  I did hear my nurse mention say, "You are going to have to tell me when you feel pressure because that is going to be our only sign that this is starting."  And probably two minutes later, that is exactly what happened.

The pressure part hit quick and strong and I definitely lost my focus for a bit.  I had two big contractions and I remember thinking, 'Once the kid comes out it doesn't hurt nearly this bad,' so I started pushing really hard when I really probably shouldn't have.  But I got my focus back, got a chance to catch my breath between contractions, and about three contractions later, had a crowning baby.  Then Jon got his crazy birthing scene.  The next contraction preceded with a HUGE rushing of water, so much that everyone by my main nurse (have you caught on that there was once again no doctor there?) leaped out of the way.  And then, at 6:09 a.m., two hours after my water broke, the next contraction was another huge burst of water with, as Jon describes it, "a baby shooting out of a water slide."

Jon leaned over and told me that I had just delivered my third son and then they handed me my baby.  That moment makes you forget a lot of stuff that hurts.
The nurses then swept him away to get him all cleaned up and checked out and that's when the comments started, "Wow, that is a head!" "He is so long!" "This baby is almost 10 pounds and she didn't even make a peep!"  "This isn't a baby, this is a toddler!"
Official Stats:
9 lb 11 oz.
21 inches
big head (can't remember how big...)
The doctor on call made his appearance shortly after that.  It wasn't my doctor, which was a bummer. I really like my doctor, he just takes things in stride and pretty much lets me do what I want.  This guy made it clear that he thought most of my decisions were dumb ones.  Most doctors would have recommended c-sections after the bad tearing experienced after Scarlet's birth... says the doctor stitching up my mild tearing from my fourth vaginal delivery.  Most doctors would have insisted on a second ultrasound and early induction if I had already delivered a 9 lb. baby... says the doctor who can see my beautiful child which I just gave birth to in under 2 hours.  And most doctors would think its crazy to not give a woman pitocin after childbirth... but since he really wasn't my doctor he gave in on that one and let them hold off unless it was needed.  I don't about you guys but the pitocin they gave me after Asher's delivery gave me worse contractions than the ones that had just delivered the guy.  I felt so much better without the stuff.  
And then the doctor finally left and I got to have my baby back.  He wasn't as interested as bonding as he was in eating, which he latched on immediately like a pro and it was just us.  I took that moment to step back and realize that I had just gone from completely pregnant with no sign of any change to baby in my arms in two hours.  If this labor had started while I was running all of my errands all week, it would have been insane.  And if the baby had decided to start coming an hour later, Jon would have been on a long Saturday run and would very likely have missed the birth.  I said a prayer of thanks for His great understanding and timing.
He is a really big baby.  He is so strong and those cheeks of his are just so wide and kissable, it is hard for even me to believe he is only a few days old.  The poor guy was absolutely starving waiting for my milk to come in so we've been supplementing with some formula and he has been extremely grateful.  Plus, having a baby who can do the breast or the bottle will be very handy.

And then Jon and I had to name him.  I walked into the hospital extremely undecided on names but shortly after meeting this little guy, I really wanted to name him Jude.  It was on our list and for whatever reason, it just fit him.  Jon waffled a little bit, but he was voting for Doctor Earl Nielsen... so it was imperative that I won for both of our sake.  

Jude Earl Nielsen
We only planned on being in the hospital for 24 hours so we just basically hung out all day. 

Coming up... the siblings meet their new baby brother.  Tune in next week (or earlier depending on how well Jude naps) to hear Rhode say, "I don't really like that name mom..." 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our last weekend away as a family of five

We held off for as long as we could, but it was time.  The five seater car just couldn't hold us all anymore.

Months and months of car research led us down several roads and ended with me staring at a computer screen while a man spewed numbers faster than any mouth should ever be able to speak, clicking a mouse button in pure panic, hoping I didn't end up spending thousands of dollars on a new bulldozer.

Well, I didn't end up with a bulldozer, but it was a pretty big piece of machinery.

Thanks to the Richie Brothers auction, I am now the owner of a 2008 Chevy Suburban we lovingly refer to as BB (the blue burb) or by Asher, the Bourbon.  We knew very little about our purchase, we pretty much knew that it could drive and the mileage.  But we piled the kids in the old Acura and drove out to Perris, CA to go pick her up.

We have been happily surprised with what a great vehicle this is.  It has lots of fun, fancy features like a DVD player and GPS, automatic doors, and seats that fold by themselves, not to mention XM radio and a CD player which is a big jump from the radio I have had for the past 9 years.

We enjoyed our new ride so much we decided to keep driving and spend a little time at the beach.  We used some credit card miles to stay at the Sheraton in Garden Grove for two nights.   But before heading up that direction, we drove straight to the beach and broke in our new ride with a little bit of sand.

It was a perfect weekend.  We spent time with great friends, the Mercuros and the Campbells, our kids had the best time playing in the ocean and digging in the sand, we ate delicious food, and we played ourselves to exhaustion every night.

It was a good thing they went to bed tired and loved the beach because I wasn't totally aware when I booked the hotel that I had booked a Disney hotel.  Not so much on the property Disney hotel but basically every guest that was staying there was headed to the Happiest Place on Earth the next day.

"Hi guys!  Do you get to go to Disneyland tomorrow?!" asked a lot of enthusiastic hotel employees and guests to my hopeful little children.

"Nope, we're here for the beach!"  I got to respond every time, trying my hardest to make the beach sound just as thrilling.  It got old quickly.

Scarlet discovered her love of the boogie board this trip, and thanks to the Mercuros we got some great shots of some of her rides.  Scarlet with Zoe Mercuro.

Emerson Campbell, Rhode, Scarlet, and Zoe
Catching a wave!

With the Campbell kids, they were so happy the whole time.
Jon, Scott and Chase (not in the picture) got to do some body surfing while the ladies monitored the sand crew.

The sand crew was pretty well behaved until this one decided to bolt straight into the waves.  I got to get my 9 month pregnant belly sprint on and grab him before he got sucked into the Pacific.  I succeeded, but it was a good 20 minute recovery before I could breathe again.  Lucky you are worth it kid.
Speaking of that nine month belly, seriously guys its a big one.  If this is a 6 pound baby, then I have absolutely no idea what the heck else I am hiding in there...

We had two babies on the beach with us, Cru and Mirinda (who is only a few weeks old and beyond precious)

It always seems like a big deal to get away (seriously we changed the weekend about 3 times before we finally came out) but it is always so so so much fun.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First Days of School

Scarlet is in first grade.  I drop her off in the morning at 8:00 a.m. and I don't see her again until 3:30 p.m.

It is surreal.  Awesome, but surreal.

She is back at Discovery Charter School with Mr. Ocasio, a new teacher to the school that they call Mr. B (his first name is Ben, I was confused at first too).  School is Monday through Thursday, which I absolutely love.

Her class is a first through third grade combo and she is one of only 16 in her class, which I also love.  I also noticed, as she walked out onto the playground with her new classmates, that Scarlet is still the tallest in the class.

She spends the advisory period in Mr. B's class and then the kids are divided by ability for math and reading.  She is doing some seriously real math this year, which is so crazy to me but she is handling it like a pro and absolutely loves school.

Her extracurriculars this year include her Mini Dance Team, which is after school for 1:45 min. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Piano is on Mondays after school and then Soccer is Mondays and Wednesdays.  She is sleeping exceptionally well these days :)

Packing lunch has been an interesting new obstacle.  She has never really been a fan of sandwiches and I am more than happy to let her expand her lunch horizons a little, but for the first few days she came home with a full lunch box, minus the treat, and starving.

It has taken a lot of trial and error and a few days of no treats but we have now established a lunch pattern that includes taking the time to actually eat it.

Instead of the typical backpack this year, we decided to go out on a limb a little with wide shoulder purse.  I kind of really love it and she does too.

First grade, here she comes!

And then, about a week later, it was Rhode's turn.

 His school started on a Friday, which was random but great timing for us.  Scarlet didn't have school that day so we got to spend the whole morning on Rhode, picking out his first day of school breakfast and taking his pictures.
Rhode makes the cut off for Kindergarten this year by about two weeks, but we kept him in Preschool.  Knowing Rhode, I really think he will excel more as the oldest in his grade.  Academically, he would do just fine but another year of growing and maturing will be perfect, I think.

So he will be spending the year in Miss Erika's Lil Academy.  He goes to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  It is a bit of a drive for me and the short hours mean a lot of taxi driving time but we are really happy with his teacher and his class.  There are not a lot of kids his age in our area and he has four other boys in his class, which has been so fun for him.

Showing off the new backpack.

Rhode thinks school is the best thing ever.  Asher is devastated every time we drop him off, but also a little confused.  "I want to go to Rhode's Birthday!" he says every day.  "That is not his birthday, it's his school!"  Asher still doesn't get it and really wishes he could go.  Little does he know how much I wish he could go too...

With Scarlet gone all day long, most of the time it is just my boys and me.  It has made me realize that if this next baby is a boy, then I will really be the mother of little boys!  Good thing they are so well behaved, disciplined, calm, and good looking.  

Or maybe just good looking.

When Scarlet's in Charge of the Camera

After her photo shoot, it's Rhode's turn.

He's not nearly as enthusiastic about the idea.

So Scarlet dresses him up.  He refused to wear the dress but did agree begrudgingly to hold it up. 

A major "don't do everything your sister tells you to do" step for Rhode.
Scarlet is over my shoulder, watching me blog and added, "Rhode, I told you to smile!"

"I didn't want to..."  he added.   You are a very good little brother, buddy.

June stuff I forgot to blog about

I have been trying to get the blog all caught up before this baby decides to join our family and I realized, I skipped an entire month of our summer.  Mostly because it wasn't well documented picture-wise.  But it cannot go unmentioned.

June was crazy.  We were booked every single weekend with dance/work things.  And then we threw a wedding into the middle of all the crazy.  After a trip to Boise for our last dance event of the year, we sent Jon back down south and the rest of my family took off for Moses Lake.  We got to spend a few days getting those last minute wedding preparations done before taking off to Portland so Courtney and Curtis could get hitched.

Jon had to change flights a few times because of work emergencies but he did finally get to join us in Portland in time to go to their reception that night.  Courtney was a vision of perfection and Curtis looked pretty decent himself.

Kristy and I were uninvited from the "bridesmaids" group.  'Well sure,' you say, 'it's because you are married!'  Yeah, so are the first two bridesmaids at the left of the pictures.

The true story is they don't make squeezy hot pink pencil skirts that fit over 6 month pregnant bellies.  And Kristy was disqualified so they didn't just have to call me fat.  :)

Instead we got the more demure black dresses, which were much more belly friendly.

My family in their wedding getups.

After the wedding, we hopped back in the car and headed to Moses Lake for their second reception.  We ate delicious food and saw a ton of fun ML people, stayed just long enough to get stuck helping with cleanup and the hopped a plane back to Las Vegas.

Those random extra summer pictures...

This summer...

our mountain lit on fire.

 And for days our skies looked like this.

It was very sad.

And now our mountain is not the same.

This summer, Asher learned to use the potty
And, as usual, goofed around as much as possible. 

 My first child who was definitely not afraid to fall into the potty.