Friday, March 28, 2014

Christmas in March?

I realized I never really did a Christmas round-up, which I promised to do back in January, so I thought I would do a short little post about our Christmas before Easter gets here at least. This year we were sick a lot of December, so we ended up taking care of Christmas presents mostly at the last minute, as in, the week of Christmas we started our shopping/present making. However, the last minuteness didn't stop us from having a great Christmas.

We actually had snow through a lot of the month of December, so even though we had been sick, the Christmas cheer was still working its way into the house. This was the snowy view out our kitchen doors a lot of the month, give or take some of the snow, although Christmas Day was one of the few snow free days of the month.

Having the Christmas tree up before everyone got sick helped too. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we put up the Christmas tree the day we bought the house and then decorated it for a Christmas party the day after we moved in. Here is our family after the Christmas Eve service in front of our tree. Please forgive the graininess of the picture, I'm not entirely sure what caused that.

We let Will open one present on Christmas Eve, it was a pair of Christmas pajamas for him to wear that night. Then Jake read The Night Before Christmas to him before bed.

On Christmas Day we woke up and I made some breakfast; Will even got to try chocolate milk for the first time, it was a hit. Then after eating breakfast together we read the Christmas story from Will's Jesus Storybook Bible.

Next we opened stockings. We got Will a little car at Ikea while we were there in November that was in his stocking. He loved it and probably played with it for 10-15 minutes straight, which was nice because it gave Jake and me time to open our stockings and then watch as Will enjoyed his car, along with giving me time to set up the tripod to take another family picture in front of the tree before we opened presents. 

I took a few pictures of Will in his Christmas jammies in front of the tree, and then we took a few family pictures. With how much Will moves all the time I have to take at least a few pictures in order to try to get one that isn't completely blurry.

After pictures it was present time! We followed a guide that I heard about a few years ago for our gifts to Will that we really liked, and plan to continue in the future with him and our future kiddos as well. You only buy four presents: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. He had already gotten part of the something you need the night before since he was in desperate need of new pajamas, but his Christmas pajamas came in a set of two, so I just wrapped the two sets separately so that he could open one on Christmas day as well. He had also gotten his something you wear the night before, it was the vest that he wore to the Christmas Eve service, and he looks stinkin' adorable in it. He got the Sandra Boynton book But Not the Hippopotamus. We have a few of her other books and he really likes them so we thought we would add to the collection. 

The last present was the real hit though, even more so than the car that was in his stocking. Will got a set of Mega Bloks and loved them.

I pointed out as I was taking this picture how much Will is like his daddy. He had to read the instructions before playing with his new game.

It made us even happier that we had gotten him so few presents when we saw how much he loved playing with the couple of new things that he had, and we didn't have to try to force him to come open more presents while he was busy playing with his new toys already. It really worked out well overall, and we would highly recommend using this system or something similar as it simplifies and cuts down on the materialism of Christmas, which enabled us to be able to focus more on just being a family and playing together, as well as on the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place, the coming of our Savior.

Oh, and for anyone wondering, Jake got me a phone case since I had been walking around since September without a case for my new phone, as well as a Lumineers record.  For Jake I got a framed picture of him and Will that had been taken at a photo booth during one of Joplin's Third Thursday events and Dominion, which is a strategy game that we both really like. Will seemed to think my phone case was actually for him for a good portion of the morning until it actually got put on my phone.

Later on that day we headed over to Jake's parents' house to have Christmas with his family. We all had lunch together, and then, after the kids had taken naps it was present time again. We were blessed with a lot of nice things from his family, and Will got some more new pajamas as well as some puzzles, and a latch board. For both sets of our parents we made a snowman family for them to put up around Christmas time. It turned out really cute and we labeled each family member on the snowmen. You can kind of see Jake's dad holding it in the midst of all the craziness of this picture. We had wanted to find out the gender of the baby to label his snowman as well as a surprise, but he didn't cooperate at the ultrasound we had the week before, so we just left the name off with the promise to fill it in once we knew the name.

We all had dinner together that night and then played games and finally headed home. It was a full but good day.

On Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my family, and since my parents were in the middle of a bathroom remodel we hosted all 15 of us over here, well 14 actually since my sister didn't take up much room since we just Skyped with her in Romania. Having the basement with basically nothing in it turned out to be a great thing that day. We just sent the older kids down to play in the family room that was virtually empty and let them run wild. We had a great time with my family as well. We opened presents first and then sent the kids off to play while we prepared breakfast for dinner, or brinner as we call it in our house. You can see my sister in the background as Will plays with his new vacuum in this picture. For a little ambiance we also set up a "fireplace"  on the tv thanks to Netflix.

It's hard to convey through pictures how truly crazy it was here that day with six kids ages 7 and under running around, along with eight adults, but it was fun, and we love having a home that we can comfortably host groups like this in now.

All in all we had a great Christmas where we got to spend a lot of time with family, which we love doing, and Will loves playing with his cousins. Even though we were sick through much of the month of December we were still blessed with good times, family, and food, and most of all, stopping to remember that our Savior came to earth as a baby.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will's Birth Story

As the weeks wind down and Charlie's arrival looms ever closer (and yes, I do mean looms at this point as I have about .01% of his room finished), I can't help but think back to Will's birth and wonder what will be the same and what will be different. As I was thinking about Will's birth I realized that I would like to have the story of it written down somewhere in order to remember in the future when it is not as recent and my already poor memory gets even poorer. So here goes!

When I first went to the doctor and they dated my pregnancy with an ultrasound, my due date was October 14th. That was the due date we worked with through the majority of my pregnancy. Sure, Will measured a little big at the 20 week ultrasound, but that isn't that out of the ordinary, so we just continued to go with it. At what I then believed to be my 33 week appointment they decided to do another ultrasound, just because my belly was continuing to measure a couple weeks further along, and since I didn't have gestational diabetes or anything they wanted to make sure everything was going along as planned. During the ultrasound they measured everything on Will again, and sure enough, he was still measuring two weeks further ahead, so my doctor told me she was going to do something she hadn't had to do in eight years, she was moving up my due date.

The "7" in this picture had suddenly become an "8".

That decision put me at not 33, but 35 weeks along, and after checking me, she discovered I was already dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. Can I just say what a shocker that was?! Yes, two weeks doesn't sound like that much time, but when it is the end of August and you think you still have until the middle of October (and I was actually in my head saying mid-late October, just so that if Will came late like a lot of first babies do I wouldn't be too upset by it) before your baby comes, the idea of your due date being changed to the end of September and being told it was very possible you would have the baby before that was kind of a giant shocker.

We went home and told our family and friends, who were all pretty surprised at the news themselves, and tried to get used to the idea of potentially having a baby join our family not in a month and a half as anticipated, but really any time. We had the room finished and all the clothes laundered and ready though, so it wasn't too bad, just an adjustment in mindset.

At my next appointment a week later I had progressed to a 3 and was 80% effaced. My doctor was still okay with us going out of town to Branson for the weekend though, because most first time moms have at least a 12 hour labor, so we would have plenty of time to get back to town if I were to go into labor while we were away. So we happily went on our last get-a-way before having any kiddos and had a great time in Branson, although a few of the hotel workers misunderstood a slight car problem we had at one point and mistakenly thought that I was in labor. We even had time to take a few maternity pictures and make a monkey for Will at the Build-a-Bear on the Landing.

So the next week I went in for my 37 week appointment, and once again I had progressed, now dilated to a 4 and still 80% effaced. By this time it was the middle of September, and my doctor was a little shocked I hadn't gone into labor yet, but we just went with it and continued waiting.

The 38 week appointment came, and this time I had managed to stay the same for a week. No progress, but baby could still come at any time. That Saturday I had strong contractions every 5 minutes or less, that lasted all morning, but I didn't want to be one of those first time moms who goes in for a false alarm so after going to Lowe's to walk around for a while (what, Lowe's isn't everyone's shopping go-to?) we went to lunch and since the contractions still hadn't stopped we decided to head to the hospital. They brought me in and hooked me up to a monitor to watch my contractions, and checked me. I was still at a 4 and 80% efface, which I'll admit was kind of discouraging after having had strong-ish contractions all morning long, but the contractions were still steady, so they kept me for a couple of hours to see if things would move along any more. After two more hours and no more progress, and the contractions even calming down a little despite my walking around the room and even jumping up and down to try to move things along, they sent me home with directions from my doctor to eat a good meal and take a sleeping pill so that I would be rested when labor really got going. She thought I would be having that baby the next day.

Well Sunday came and went without any excitement, so at my 39 week appointment on Tuesday my doctor came in saying she really thought we were going to have had him the past weekend. She checked me, and I had progressed again, now at 5cm and 80% effaced. She decided that to avoid me getting some sort of infection due to walking around already dilated to a 5 to strip my membranes, which is much worse sounding than it actually is, and if that didn't work we would go ahead and schedule an induction for Thursday. I really didn't want to be induced, but I could see her reasoning, and just hoped that the stripping the membranes would work. I headed off to work that day, which was scheduled to be my last day of work before starting maternity leave anyway, and waited anxiously hoping my water wouldn't break there in the office. I made it through the day of work then headed home to hang out with the girls just like every Tuesday, and so far was not noticing anything different and was afraid it looked like I was going to have to be induced after all.

That night I took a shower "just in case", and made sure we had everything ready to go. I kept hoping that I would go into labor on my own rather than have to be induced, although I would prefer to get a good night's sleep first if possible, so Jake and I headed to bed. I went to sleep around 11:30, and then at 12:30 woke up to a sudden and gigantic gush of fluid. I jumped out of bed immediately to try to keep from getting the mattress dirty, even though we had a pad down for just such an occasion, and tried to wake Jake up as I headed to get a towel to clean off. It took a minute to wake up Jake, and then we both got dressed and ready to go. I decided to eat a piece of toast before we left since the prospect of not eating for a long time was not appealing. I wanted to hang around the house and wait a little longer, all while sitting on a towel and on non-upholstered furniture to be safe, but Jake tried to convince me that after I finished my toast we should get going, and I thankfully gave in.

We got to the hospital somewhere around 1:15-1:30, and walked down to the maternity ward. I choose not to be wheeled down so that I could continue to help things progress as much as possible. When we got down there they had me change into a hospital gown and tried to figure out if my water had in fact broken like I said. There was no doubt in my mind, but they needed to check since I hadn't leaked anymore since the initial gush. They ended up pushing Will's head up a little and sure enough, another gush came and they were convinced. Will was just acting like a cork keeping everything from leaking. I was also now dilated to 6cm. After that they admitted me, and got the monitor all set up and had me sign paper work, etc. All the while I was having pretty strong and very close and consistent contractions. I had thought about trying to go all natural but the contractions were hard enough at that point and I wasn't able to move around because of the monitor so I decided to ask for an epidural. They tried to hook me up to an IV, but I don't have the best veins in the world, and our nurse was pretty young, so she put the IV on the inner part of my forearm, let me tell you, not the most comfortable place in the world for a needle.

Around 3:30-4:00 I was finally able to move around and I got more comfortable, and was actually starting to question whether or not I really even wanted the epidural. They came in and checked me again and I had progressed to 9cm at that point. I asked if I could still get the epidural this far and they told me I could basically get it right up until I started pushing, so I went ahead and went through with it since it had already been ordered.

The lady who was doing the epidural came into the room and kind of explained how things would work. I was really wondering to myself if I still wanted to mess with it at this point, but the wheels were in motion, and I'm not one to rock the boat by changing plans. They had me sit on the edge of the bed and arch my back, not the easiest thing to do when in the middle of a contraction, and they put in the needle. I'm not entirely sure what was happening since it was all behind me, but something took a very long time for them to get the epidural to go in correctly. It took about 15 minutes or so to get it in, and the pain of getting the epidural was for me far worse than the pain of any contractions I had had. I remember saying as they were putting it in that this better be worth it, and made sure to clarify that I meant the pain of getting the epidural, not the pain of childbirth. You can probably tell by my tone that in my opinion it did not end up being worth it. It only took on one side, so I could still feel everything that was happening on my right side, and it was the most excruciating pain I experienced throughout the whole labor and delivery. This is certainly not the case for most people, but in my case I would rather have gone without it.

After I got the epidural there were a few minutes where things calmed down. My parents and sister had gotten there and came in to say hi, and I had a little time of fewer and less intense contractions. I also started to feel the urge to push during this time, but I didn't tell anyone because I wanted to be able to just rest a little longer before having to do more work again. Around 4:45-5:00 my doctor came in and told me it was indeed time to push, and so the pushing began. The pushing contractions came very close together, where sometimes I only had 30 seconds or so between them and I had to start pushing again. Thankfully though, this didn't last too long, and at 5:19am the little man who made me a mommy entered the world.

It had only taken 20-30 minutes of pushing to bring that sweet little man into the world, and even the pain of the epidural was worth it as soon as I saw his big barrel chest and chubby cheeks. He weighed 7lbs 9oz, and was 21 inches long.

After some time of just our new little family being together, Jake went and got our families that were out in the waiting room and they came in to meet Will. He had quite the cone head, especially for me not pushing for too long, but he wore a hat most of the time, so it wasn't too noticeable, and we just thought it was funny and cute anyway.

They ended up letting us leave the hospital before noon the next day, so we were only there for a little under 36 hours, so not too bad really in my opinion.

Looking back there are definitely things I would do differently (epidural anyone?), but overall it was a pretty great birth experience, and we all healed up and adjusted well very quickly. I can't wait to see what happens this next time around, to see what changes and what might stay pretty much the same, seeing how Will adjusts to being a big brother, and how we will adjust from being a family of three to a family of four. Just 8 1/2 weeks to go!