Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday memories

Just a few things to remember:

Saturday we took our first outing as a family of four. We went to breakfast at McDonald's. Which, if you know me and know what I do for work, is so very appropriate. Owen slept the whole time and Colt had a great time eating everything in sight and climbing on the table.

That afternoon, my mom, sister, Colt, and I went shopping. I was exhausted! But I got some new clothes for Owen (he's so tiny still, nothing in 0-3 months fits and I only had a few newborn size outfits) plus a Baby Book for him. We stopped for a snack and Colt discovered the wonder that is chocolate pie. He was an absolute doll all day, giggling and smiling and blowing kisses. Talking, singing and just clearly enjoying his day with just Mommy.

I know I've mentioned it on here before. But Colt has a sign that he makes when he wants us to sing to him. And he wants us to sing ALL. THE. TIME. He turns his hands like he's doing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and that means sing. Anything. Well, technically it means sing but he has particular favorites and if you're not singing that song he shakes his head "no" and signs until you start something else and get to the song he wants. He's move on from Itsy Bitsy, Wheels on the Bus, Read your Bible and Pray Every Day, and ABC. Right now he LOVES Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Boomer Sooner, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Jesus Loves Me, I love You, and my personal favorites This Little Light of Mine and The Wise Man. Both of which he knows the hand motions to and it breaks me down every time. His teachers talk about how he loves his songs and loves circle time when everyone sings together. So, so sweet.

Then that night, my mom and stepdad brought over a FEAST. John grilled delicious steaks on the grill, and my mom proceeded to fix tons of delicious sides. Mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn, spinach, and rolls. She used all my lovely serving dishes and we ate around the table as a family: my stepdad, mom, sister, John and me. Colt was in bed, Owen sleeping as well. It was so nice. I should have taken a picture of how lovely the table looked and how delicious the food was. We NEEDED that after the last two weeks...I just can't even describe how awesome it was. Then we had key lime pie to top it off. Mom then CLEANED everything up for me! No mess for me to worry about. After all that, she still sat down and cuddled Owen for the rest of the night and Bill played Wii with John (he'd snuggled Owen for a long time before dinner).

People keep telling me to just call if I need anything, and I never really know what I NEED. People have brought us dinner and that's been amazing and something we have desperately needed while adjusting to life with both Colt and Owen. Especially when I was physically so depleted. But really, all I can think of this time is that I need people to come visit. I need company. I need people to come and love on my kids. So last night was truly, in my eyes, perfect.

An all-around great Saturday!

See below for another new entry "The Birth Story".

The Birth Story

So, the last few nights Owen has slept wonderfully! And I...have not. I'm not sleepy at all past the first few hours. I lie in bed tossing and turning wishing I could fall back asleep. It's really not the best of situations, as my mind wanders and I tend to get weepy about things.

Since Owen was born, I find myself feeling very sad that it's all over. I know, I know...I said I was DONE being pregnant and ready for him to be here! But looking back, I had an amazingly easy pregnancy. Yes, there was the complete exhaustion in the first trimester, the horrific round ligament pain, the few trips to L&D triage to get fluids, and of course constant need to go to the bathroom. But other than easy.

While delivering, everyone kept saying I was a natural. My body went into labor naturally (water breaking), I was a natural pusher. Ironically, after all we've been through, it's like my body was made for pregnancy and birth. Hard to wrap my once-infertile brain around that.

So in hopes I can finally get this out and move on from these nostalgic, weepy feelings I'm writing the birth story. The best way I can describe my sadness of it being over is the way I feel after major things: like my wedding, or returning from an awesome vacation, or CHRISTMAS (we all know how weepy I get after Christmas)! Just need some time to move on from those awesome experiences that will never happen just that way again.

I wrote about Colt's birth story, you can read it by clicking here. How different our experiences have been in bringing home our children! But I wouldn't have it any other way, and I'm humbled that I was able to experience both births in such a magnificent way. God is SO good and SO amazing.

Just a warning: some things are probably TMI (too much information) for you. If you're my grandparents or family in general, you might want to proceed with caution. I share because I appreciate others who share details and maybe my experience can help better prepare others. But, I don't want to censor too much...

At about 36 weeks, I declared I was done. My ankles/feet/legs were SO swollen I could hardly fit into my slip on shoes. My ankles practically touched the ground. I was in full-on waddle mode. My wedding ring didn't fit. Few of my maternity shirts fit and the ones that did were gigantic and made me feel even more uncomfortable. To adjust a few inches in bed at night took tremendous effort. I was DONE.

At my 36-week check-up I was dilated to a 2 and 90% effaced. We still hadn't finished the nursery, or had my baby shower, or even gone through any of Colt's hand-me-downs. I hadn't made a list or packed a bag. So naturally, I assumed the BABY IS COMING TOMORROW. I went to Target and bought newborn diapers and bottles and a coming home outfit, and pajamas for the hospital. I got my mom to come over in the next few days to help sort and wash clothes. I packed what I could in my bag and made a list for last-minute items. And then I had my amazingly huge baby shower where I received EVERYTHING else I needed or wanted for Owen.

At my 37-week check-up I was dilated to a 2 and almost fully effaced. Frustrating, BUT John had made major progress on the nursery and I still had my bag packed. Mom came over and helped hang and fold clean clothes. That Saturday was February 13th, when most of America was flooding restaurants for Valentine's Day celebrations. John woke up that morning and wanted me to text our babysitter to see if she could come over and stay with Colt so we could go out. Let me repeat: he wanted me to ask our babysitter if she would come over in the next 8 hours on what essentially was Valentine's Day. I laughed and said there was no way but texted her anyway.

She was available at 7:30!! I couldn't believe it! One of the best babysitters at our church and she was available during dinner time. She rushed over, even though Colt was already in bed. And she allowed John and I to go out to eat for what we both assumed would be our final night out alone before the baby came. We ate at Texas Roadhouse and then walked to Starbucks and sipped hot drinks in the corner while making fun of dating couples who were fighting, teenage girls and their fashion, and making up stories about people we figured were on first dates. It was awesome. We kissed a lot that night, John was very attentive and hugged me a lot. You just kind of lose that feeling for a while with a toddler and an exhausted pregnant wife that goes to bed early every night. So I felt wonderfully spoiled, loved, and beautiful.

On Sunday John's parents came over to bring Colt his Valentine's gifts. Before they arrived I did a last-minute pick-up in Owen's room and finally got it "FINISHED". I went to bed that night feeling fine.

Around 2:30am I woke up to go to the bathroom. And I was soaking wet. I know it sounds crazy, but I've heard so many people say they weren't sure if there water broke or if they just peed a little or if they were sweating and I always thought that was ridiculous. How do you NOT know your water broke? Well, those thoughts were swimming in my head. So I changed and laid back down. 30 minutes later I got up to see if any more wetness would occur...and sure enough the gushing started. I woke John up, and I called my mom to come over for Colt.

It was happening! That middle of the night "Honey, it's time" experience was happening to me! No check-in time, no planning, no final goodbyes. Just a call to my mom to come over and we were off. I knew they wouldn't send me home since my water had broken...this was IT.

As we were driving the short distance to the hospital, I mentioned how glad I was it happened like this. I didn't have any contractions at that point, so I hadn't spent hours being uncomfortable or counting minutes. Also, I hadn't spent a weepy evening with Colt thinking "this is my last night with you as my only" that I would have had a c-section or induction been scheduled. I was SO, SO grateful for that. He was fast asleep, none the wiser, and when we'd put him down we'd assumed we'd see him in the morning.

Once we got checked in (after determining my water HAD broken and none of the other mortifying things like just complete loss of bladder control or heavy nether-region sweating was going on), they started me on pitocin to get my non-existent contractions going. This was about 6:00am by the time we were left alone and the medicine began.

Around 6:30 a woman stuck her head in the door and asked if it was ok that a student nurse shadow my main nurse that day. After determining it was only one (instead of a room full) we agreed. Remember becomes important.

Close to 8:00 my mom and stepdad arrived. At this point, I was feeling a few contractions, but there was no pain involved at all. My new nurse Amy had started and John and I were so happy because she was AWESOME. Totally up John's alley and she gave him a run for his money. We also met our student nurse. I don't even remember her name. Amy told me to let her know when I wanted my epidural.

Well, I didn't want to start it until there was reason to. Meaning discomfort. Plus, I'd heard sometimes it can slow your labor down and I wanted to be checked first. Amy checked me and I was at a 2 STILL and not very effaced. WHAT? My doctor had been telling me for 2 weeks that I was almost totally effaced. Apparently not so...still not sure which one was wrong. Anyway, I didn't want to get it started at just a 2, and I was still having no pain.

Then Amy casually mentioned that the anethstesiologist was booked in a c-section from 8 - 9 and that hour would be closed for epidurals. No problem, it was 7:45 and I was fine. Amy left and I began gabbing with my family.

By 8:05 the contractions began to get very uncomfortable. It happened that fast. By 8:15 I was telling John to call and make sure the anethstesiologist would come to my room immediately post surgery. He made the call...I was number 3 on the list. So for the next 2 hours I writhed in pain. Squeezing the life out of John's hand, begging him to tell me when the contractions were going down. He kept telling me I was doing so good and I said "don't tell me I'm doing good, I'm not doing good!".

One thing I thought was so interesting that no one really tells you is that your water doesn't just break and it's over. No, it continues to leak. The baby's head is like a cork, so each time you or the baby changes position, more water comes out. So this whole time I'm writhing in pain, I'm also being flooded with water and that's just uncomfortable. I'll be honest, it's not fun to sit in a wet bed. Amy wouldn't let me stand and walk around because of the water (once you start losing it, there's more chance for the cord to wrap around baby's neck). It was awful.

About 9:45, as I was crying to John "if the doctor isn't coming then just tell me! I just need to know if he's coming and it's fine if he's not but just tell me", Student Nurse came in. She asked how I was doing and I said "not well".

Then she gets right up in my face and says "what's wrong? are you in pain?"

Well, at this point I'm about to lose it. "Yes, lots of pain" I politely, painfully respond. She then proceeds to stand next to me and PAT MY ARM. Pat my arm. Like I'm so sweet and silly and a little pat will make it better. I look over at John with wide eyes and give him a look like "get her the heck out of here"! My mom, stepdad and mother-in-law were all in the room as well, and they were all thinking the same thing.

Before John could ask her to leave and before I could scream at her to leave, the angels descended and brought forth my Savior in the form of the anethstesiologist. I swore I wouldn't forget his name, but 2 weeks later I already have. He babbled something about risks and I nodded and signed and begged for mercy. Contractions were about a minute and a half apart lasting 45 seconds each time.

The procedure was horrible for me, but not the actual needle in the back. No, the sitting up, rolling in a ball while contractions were happening were the worst. It was horrible and I just wanted him to be done. He actually did me a great favor because he decided to quiz Student Nurse on epidural procedures and treatment and she had no freaking clue. At the time, I was annoyed because I thought it was taking longer than it should have but in hindsight it was great to see her get put in her place.

Other really bad part was that the whole time I was gushing water. Everywhere, all over the floor. I kept apologizing because it was getting on Amy's shoes and John was right in front of me, letting me lean on him and I kept thinking he would be grossed out by it getting everywhere. Amy just threw a towel down and said no problem, John didn't even notice much (so he says).

The epidural had one shot that felt like a bee sting (but didn't even hurt as much as drawing blood) and then I couldn't feel anything. Once it was over, almost immediately my lower-half started feeling like warm velvet. It was the most amazing feeling ever. EVER. And just like that, I was back to gabbing and joking with friends and family in the room.

After an hour, Amy checked me again. It's now 11:00 and I've been having contractions for hours. I was at a 3. A THREE! She asked if I could feel her down there and since I couldn't she did something and pronounced "now you're at a 4". Like I said, she was awesome. (I'll pause here to say that all friends and family except John left the room each time I was checked or exposed...just in case you were wondering I did not share my lady parts with everyone).

An hour later, Amy did the same thing as before and pronounced me a 5. She also said she predicted I wouldn't deliver until 8p that night. I was a little discouraged.

An hour after that, I surprised everyone by dilating to 7.5cm! I was moving way faster at this point. Not long after that, another nurse came in and mentioned the baby wasn't tolerating my position very well and she made me lay down (instead of sitting up) and gave me oxygen. Hello nervous!!

Within 30 minutes Amy came in to check and I was now ready to push. It was 4:15p. I couldn't feel pain, but was starting to feel pressure, and she told me to start pushing when she told me to. After my first push she announced I was an "amazing pusher" and that it would go fast. A few more practice pushes and she called in the army.

Soon my room was full of 7 people scrubbed up and ready to go. I pushed until about 4:40 and they called my doctor. He came from his office in the building next door and after 3 pushes with him, Owen's head was out. John watched the whole thing, which I love. I love that he was interested and excited and wanted to see it unfold. Soon the shoulders were out and I had a tiny baby on my chest. It was 4:50 at that moment (even though the birth certificate says 5:20 we know it was 4:50).

He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 20 inches long. He scored an 8 and 9 on his Apgar scores. He was perfect. I did have a tear (up until the second shoulder came out I'd been fine) and my doc stitched me up and said congrats and headed back to his last patient of the day. He'd been there less than 15 minutes! But Amy stayed with us and she was amazing.

After having so many people there and all this equipment, suddenly we were all alone. It was amazing. Owen was perfect.

The next few hours were all our friends and family coming in to see this new little boy. At one point a nurse tried to get me to go to the bathroom, and I passed out and required a wheelchair to get from the bathroom back to bed! The combination of heavy drugs (for the searing, burning pain caused by my stitches), loss of blood, and no food for over 24 hours didn't work well for me. At that point, everyone left and they transferred us to a new room. Again, I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and passed out cold on the floor before making it there. They took Owen to the nursery for the night and I tried to get comfortable.

One thing we learned from our experience with Colt was that rooming-in makes going home very difficult. I had already decided not to nurse, so we were bottle feeding. And we remembered how exhausted we were after rooming-in with Colt on the first night (which we are so grateful we did, but just remember how tired it made us). So we asked for Owen to be taken care of in the nursery both nights we were in the hospital. It was such a great decision for us because we got great sleep both nights and set us up to be much more rested when we were home.

Tuesday came and went with lots of visitors and bad daytime TV as we loved on our boy. I was in lots and lots of discomfort and pain. My tailbone was so sore, my tear, and several other things caused by delivery just plain hurt. But I was in great spirits - especially when Colt came up to see us and meet Owen.

Wednesday morning we prepared to go home. I felt much better being up and around. We had a stalker photography lady come visit us over and over about ordering pictures (which we ended up doing online at home). We dressed Owen in his coming home outfit, which was gigantic on his tiny body. And they wheeled us out to our car and we headed home.

It's been quite a 2 weeks. I felt so crummy and gross until about Day 8 post-partum. FYI...worst days are not in the hospital, they are days 5-7! But I'm finally feeling like myself again.

Owen and I have had lots of wonderful cuddle days. He's very laid-back, quiet, sleepy, and easy-going. He's already gained almost a pound, so he's eating very well. We've been on just a few trips out to lunch, but I'm trying to avoid major crowds and lots of children for a while longer. He's a cuddlebug, and everytime I look at him I just fall in love all over again. He's delicate and his hair is so light and fine.

I am so very amazed at what my body did to bring him into this world. I always thought that was kind of cheesy when people said that, but I'm obsessed right now with pregnancy and birth because it is an awesome thing. I'm also amazed that Colt is already protective and loving and interested in his brother. We can already tell this was the best gift we could give him...these brothers are going to love growing up together! My heart swells with pride, and I simply could not ask for more.

If you've read this far...thanks for sticking with me! I love my story, and I'm glad the memories won't fade since I wrote it all out. God is good!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Emotional Rollercoaster

I have been working on this post over the last three days. Today I feel one thousand times better, I haven't even had the urge to cry! But I felt like I wanted to post this anyway, since it was important enough for me to spend days putting in writing!

This post is full of pregnancy hormone-related emotional activity. Don't say you weren't warned! And if you're going to roll your eyes just do it behind my back because it will probably make me cry otherwise!

When Colt was born, there was so much fanfare around him. Rightfully so! He was our first, we'd been down such a hard path to get to that point, we'd waited for so long, we were all on pins and needles not knowing if we would get to keep him. We'd had 4 showers for him, educated so many people on birthmothers and adoption and waiting, we'd bought the best of the best for him, decorated his nursery with vigor.

And yet, once we had him home and our family and friends had loved on him, John went back to work. And I was on maternity leave. And I remember feeling like it was a very lonely existence. I remember thinking very early on that I wanted to go back to work because at least there I knew what to expect, and I wouldn't feel so lonely. That feeling passed pretty quickly and by the time I DID go back to work I cried for weeks leading up to it because I was not, in fact, ready.

So this time around, I knew there were certain things I HAD to do to avoid that feeling, or at least minimize the amount of time I felt it. I had to shower IN THE MORNING every day, fix my hair and do makeup EVERY DAY, and wear clothes (not sweats) like I was going out EVERY DAY. At the same time, I needed to remember that my job during this time is to bond and love on and care for my baby. If the laundry didn't get done or the kitchen didn't get cleaned or we slept on the same sheets for weeks...that was ok. If I spent the day cuddled in the chair with my son watching TV and taking naps, that was OK because that's what I needed to be doing. But in the meantime, the blinds needed to be open each day, the overhead lights on, and I need to get out, even if it's just a walk or trip to the grocery store, as often as possible.

Well, John went back to work yesterday. I knew it was coming, but it didn't make it any easier. It was even more difficult because yesterday was the first day since Owen was born that I felt GOOD. That I felt like myself, physically I had very little pain. We'd slept well, and the sunshine was out and abundant. And all those things, naturally, caused me to cry ALL DAY LONG. It was the first day I really wanted to get out.

The whole time John had been home, I felt so crummy. Which, thankfully he WAS here during that time because I NEEDED him. Yesterday, I just really WANTED him.

To top it all off, I've been feeling incredibly guilty since the day Owen was born that I didn't enjoy this experience or look forward to his birthday as much as I had with Colt. And once it was all over, I was sad. I realized how amazing this gift of pregnancy and birth really was, no matter how uncomfortable or crummy I'd felt along the way. I also felt bad because, as most second children know, there isn't quite the fanfare leading up to the birth. Everyone is excited, of course! But it's just different. So I've spent time feeling guilty. Wishing we would have spent more time planning and getting excited. I just didn't realize how amazing it would feel once he was here, and how much I would love having TWO sons!

I know a lot of this is just post-partum hormones and emotions. But I sure am ready to be over it. I am LOVING this baby, I am enjoying every second (between the hours of 6 am and 9pm...otherwise it's hard to "enjoy"!). He is so beautiful and special and cuddly and his personality is already beginning to sparkle. Colt is doing so well with him, and Colt is finally starting to hug on me again. It's just an awesome time in our lives and I'm ready to feel like myself physically and emotionally.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finally some photos of Owen! (and Colt, OF COURSE!)

Well, here are a few pictures over the past several days since coming home. What a difference it makes when I can't be the photographer...not many photos get taken! Now that I'm feeling better and up and about more, there WILL be more photos to come!

Colt has been wonderful. I still don't think he really "gets" it, but he loves patting Owen, rubbing his head on his side, and giggling when he moves. We made it through our first weekend, which is the true test since Colt is at daycare during the week. It was an easy decision for us to keep him in daycare while I'm on maternity leave. He NEEDS the routine, and I really wanted this time with Owen like I had with Colt for bonding.

I have to say, all that time I worried about whether or not I would feel bonded to Owen, if he could "live up" to all the amazement and feelings I have for Colt...I need not have worried. It was almost immediate how natural it felt to have another baby, how in love I was. I think it's really amazing to have experienced both being a mom through adoption and through pregnancy. The feelings I had those moments both my children were placed in my arms: exactly the same. Amazement, wonder, joy, love, and even being overwhelmed. I'll admit I was relieved that the feelings were the same. I wasn't sure if they would be.

Of course some things are different, the biggest being the physical recovery this time around. However, we are MUCH more relaxed this time around. We're not overanalyzing every cry or poop or sneeze. We're able to move around with much more ease, talk louder, less worry about feeding. So that's been a relief. And I'll be honest when I tell you our nerves and lives are much easier this time around because we don't dread every time the phone rings. Most of you adoptive parents know that feeling. I don't miss that at all.

We'd forgotten how small they are, how snuggly, how delicate. Newborn size diapers are astounding, still. We're just having a blast drinking in the moments. Owen is amazing and beautiful and we feel so blessed that he's here.

I'll post the "birth story" soon. Once I'm completely healed and feel like I can wrap up that ending. I wrote about Colt's birth story, and I can't wait to write about Owen's. After all those months of being very iffy about pregnancy, I'll admit I am completely and totally amazed with what I went through giving birth. Nothing special or out-of-the-ordinary from other births, but still special to me and I want to make sure I write it down for our family.

Hope you enjoy the photos! From coming home in the first pictures, to just this morning. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Checking In

Just checking in. Pictures coming soon, I've got to download them off the camera.

We're doing well here. I'm more than ready to feel better though! I know it takes a while, but it just seems like with a toddler at home and a newborn I just don't have time to feel this lousy!

We've taken it pretty easy. Yesterday we went to have Owen's jaundice levels checked. They were still a little high but thankfully not high enough to put him under lights. That was one of our nightmare moments with Colt so I'm thankful we're ALL spared that! He's up to 7 pounds, 1 ounce and never really lost weight after birth.

We've been spoiled with visitors and people bringing food. We're just laying low at home and enjoying our little guys. Colt has been in PRIME mood lately, very grumpy and whiny this week. Combination of being off his schedule, away from his parents, and playing and walking hard at school. Today he seems like he might be getting back to his sweet self. He likes to touch Owen and giggles when he moves. However, he does NOT like to see him drink a bottle and not get one himself. We'll work on him!

Well, I'll get to the pictures soon, just wanted to check in. Still in a haze of being a mom to TWO boys!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Colt meeting Owen

We're all still here! All doing well! I'm feeling much better, just sore and achy but I know it's only temporary. As far as we know, we're headed home today so it will be nice to go home.

Last night was the moment John and I had been waiting for - the brothers meeting each other for the first time! Colt was SO tired, plus there were a lot of people so he was a little whiny and trying to show off. But he had his moments. He was very interested in touching Owen's hands and his face, and also liked burying his head in Owen's side like one of his stuffed animals. When Owen cried, you could tell he was concerned.

The best part of the night was when my mom and stepdad were getting ready to leave. I finally was able to get out of bed and finally Colt wrapped his arms around my neck (me being in the bed was scary to him, I think). He wouldn't let me go, and reached out and grabbed Owen's little hand, too. What a mommy I felt like then!

We'll be needing a lot of help the next few days while we get used to being a family of 4. But we'll get there. We are so blessed and so thankful God has given us these two beautiful boys to raise. More updates and pictures to come, especially for the grandparents who can't see him just yet! Love you all!

Monday, February 15, 2010


John here. Well as most of you all know, Owen arrived at 4:50 P.M today weighing in at 6 lbs 13 Oz. He was 20 inches long and is 100% healthy! 10 fingers and 10 toes! He is VERY cute! Mom is not doing too well tonight. With the combo of meds and an empty stomach and losing so much blood today, she passed out onto the floor tonight. She is doing a little better, but needs to gain some strength tonight! She'll be better tomorrow...she's a fighter!
In the meantime, here are a few pics of Owen! Enjoy!

It's baby day!! Owen will be here shortly!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Colt Walking!!!

John again. Here are some videos of Colt walking. He can do it on his own, but he thinks he needs to hold on to your hand.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Just checking in

Just checking in with a few pics of Colt's favorite things: one, this bowl toy called (I think) Biboli? I didn't really get it, but he LOVES it. It's supposed to be an imagination toy, encouraging kids to do whatever with it. Climb on it, sit in it, fill it with stuff, or like Colt - push it around. He plays with it every day!

He also LOVES to stand in our pantry. He's only just recently tried pulling things off the shelf. But it's one of his favorite rooms!

Also, I had a doctor appointment today. I'm currently 2 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Guess it's truly any day until Owen arrives! I'll check back soon!