Friday, May 30, 2008

No Vanity Here

Finally, some photos of our new little guy. And obviously I have no problem throwing off vanity, judging by the first photo ;) Here we are, about 20 or 30 minutes after his birth.

Here's a very proud daddy :)

Here are my doctor and my labor nurse, both of whom were really great!

Grandma Jean & Grandpa Jim, Ben's paternal grandparents, were his first visitors.

Here's Grandma Jan (maternal grandmother) and big sister Rachel.

Ben wasn't too sure about his first bath. He's still not a big fan :)

Here's James' brother, Jeff, and his wife, Hillary.

More photos to come, but it took me 3 days to get this post completed, so I figured I'd better get it published before any more time passed!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grunty McLittlePants

Ben is starting to grunt at us, soft little noises. As I was changing his diaper, I grunted back. Before you knew it, we were having a little gruntversation going back and forth. It's so cool to see those shifts. He's also appeared more alert and observant today.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Big Day

I realized that it's been 12 days since Ben was born, and I still hadn't posted anything about how things happened. We were hoping labor would start on its own without an induction. We did end up having to go to the hospital as scheduled for our 7am appointment time on Monday, 5/12. We got checked in and were taken to Labor & Delivery, where they would start things off. It took a little time because they needed to run blood tests first, then wait for the dose of Cytatec to come up from the pharmacy on-site.

By the time I took the first dose, it was 9:15. We were hanging out in the room waiting for contractions to start and decided to watch "Ocean's 11." (We'd brought a whole case of DVDs since we didn't know how long the labor process was going to take, once it got started.) We watched probably half of the movie before we decided to take a walk in the halls. It wasn't a very long walk because there weren't a lot of halls to explore near L&D, plus it feels a little strange walking around in public spaces in just an open hospital gown and a short robe. So we killed a little time doing that, then went back to the room to watch the rest of the movie.

From 9:15 until 11:00 or so, we were noticing that the contractions were coming pretty regularly and were starting to get a little stronger. By the time my labor nurse, Elizabeth, checked on me around 11:45, the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, and Elizabeth decided to hold off on the second dose of Cytatec until my doctor examined me to see how I was progressing. My doctor arrived around 12:15 and decided not to give me the second dose but to just break my water and allow the contractions to progress from there. She broke it at about 12:30, and by 2:15, the pain was bad enough that I was asking for medication.

The nurse had started the IV drip previously in preparation for an epidural, but it still needed time to finish dripping, so she gave me a dose of Fentanyl. Strong stuff, but it wears off *way* too fast. I had another shot of Fentanyl at 3:15 and barely felt any relief from it, so I was really really wanting the IV to finish dripping and the epidural to happen. I ended up using a lot of the breathing and pain management techniques we'd practiced in our childbirth class to deal with the pain until the epidural was in and working fairly well, which was about 4:30. Until then, I used quite a bit of focused breathing and relaxation to deal with the pain. Needless to say, I was really thankful we'd attended a class as a refresher.

And oddly, my brain kept trying to work complicated Sudoku puzzles, just in my head, which I think was one way my body tried to distract itself from the pain. It was the weirdest thing and made me laugh a little amidst it all. There were times when I honestly felt like I couldn't take the pain any longer, but I just kept telling myself, "Get through this one. The epidural will be in soon." and getting through each one as it happened. The hard thing was that the Cytatec made the contractions right on top of each other, so I had maybe 30 seconds without pain to try to gear myself up for the next one.

Finally, the epidural kicked in and they adjusted it to the right dosage for me, and I felt *much* better, to the point that I was on the phone with people, giving them updates and just waiting to find out how much I'd progressed. Elizabeth came in just before 5:00 to suggest that I try to get some sleep, and said she'd check me first. After checking, she said "Okay, you won't be getting any sleep, because you're going to be pushing in a few minutes." I was fully dilated and Ben had dropped all the way down! I think I must have been in transition when they were putting in the epidural, and that's why the pain was so intense.

My doctor came in shortly after 5:00, and we got down to the business of pushing. It was a challenge since I'd only had the epidural for 35 or 40 minutes, so I wasn't feeling much. I had to really just act as if I could feel things and push accordingly. She kept saying "Harder! Harder!" and I wanted to yell "I'm pushing as hard as I can!" But I kept my breath for the pushing, and in about 20 minutes, Ben was out. As opposed to 2 1/4 hours and with a vacuum extraction, like what we had with Rachel. I much prefer the 20-minute version!

We were amazed at his thick crop of dark hair - Rachel had very very blond peach fuzz on her head, and it didn't grow much for the first year. Ben's hair is probably already as long as hers was at 8 or 9 months old, maybe longer. It's lightened up quite a bit since the first couple of days, and I think it's on its way to blond, but I don't know if it will be as blond as Rachel's.

He came out hollering and crying for the first 4 or 5 minutes, then he quieted down and became a really mellow little guy. By sheer good timing, my in-laws were at the hospital because they had stopped by on their way back from visiting my father-in-law's mother in Yakima. They were in the waiting room when we started pushing, so they got to see Ben when he was probably only 20 minutes old. I called my mom to let her know, and she and Rachel came to see Ben as well and got to see him at around 1 hour old. It was so neat to be able to have family there so quickly - my brother-in-law and his wife also came that evening, as well as the Eskew family, who are good friends of ours, and more friends stopped by the next day - the Addises, Meyers and most of the Matheson family.

It's been a strange experience going from one child to two. I'll have to post on that in the next few days and record some of the feelings and thoughts from this time, because I'm sure I won't remember them down the road a ways.

I'm also going to post some pictures of both kids very soon. I think it's time to spruce up this blog with photos.

Anyway, that's the story of Ben's arrival into the world. If my brain wasn't sleep-addled, it would probably be a more interesting read, but at least you have the details :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

TV Commercials

Lori related to me that yesterday she and Rachel were watching TV and Lori began fast-forwarding through a commercial when Rachel exclaimed: "That one's for Lowe's. It's OK. That's a good one. Can we watch the Lowe's commercial?"

My fault. I was ranting last week about the horrible parking situation at the local Home Depot and how it was enough to make me want to start shopping at Lowes. I'm sorry, Home Depot. I didn't mean it. I know I can avoid these problems in the future by driving 10 blocks out of my way and coming back at it from the other direction, passing right by the Lowes and its many easy entrances and exits.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Photos Uploaded

Photos from the hospital are now on Flickr. If you can't see them, you're not signed in, or you need an invitation.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And then there were two...

Ben joined out family today at 5:30. I twittered the entire day using the Blackberry, that was kinda cool. I wish Twitter showed the date and time and not just how long ago. Anyhow, it's really weird to look at the little guy and realize that we now have two children. And I already feel like I screwed something up. I got a new photo of Ben with Lori and I, but no photo of the four of us. I will have to rectify that tomorrow. Things will be different and I want to make sure that there's no chance that Rachel feels left out or that she's old news.


Although this pregnancy has actually gone pretty quickly for the most part, the last few weeks have seemed interminable. But we're finally at the end of this pregnancy - not by Ben's choice, apparently. He was moving around with a ferociousness for the whole evening yesterday, and I kept thinking labor would start on its own, at least before this morning arrived. But that didn't happen, so in about an hour we're heading over to the hospital for my appointment to be induced.

Not how I would have chosen for this to kick off, but we're happy that we'll be meeting Ben today and are trusting God's plan for his life, including his birthday today! We'll post the details either as they happen or shortly after his arrival.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sage Advice

Heard a TED Talk recently from Hector Ruiz, the chairman and CEO of AMD, Intel's primary contemporary. Anyhow, it wasn't the bulk of his talk that amazed me the most, but the parts he did by way of introduction and closing, his talk of his life growing up.

As a child, his parents would tell him that they trusted him to always do the right thing and he heard it so often from his parents that it really stuck with him.

And after high school, he went to college. He was the first person in his family to go to college (though all four of his younger sisters did as well), coming from a very poor family in a very small village in a very poor part of Mexico. But his father told him that the way you change the world is to do better than the generation before you. He didn't understand it too well at the time, but his father would remind him of it from time-to-time.

He eventually met a woman, proposed, and married. On his wedding day, his father once again told him "To change the world, you must do better than the generation before you. Be a better husband than I was." That was a little surprising to him because he had felt his father had been a wonderful husband to his mother, but it also didn't surprise him because it fit the pattern of
what his father would regularly impart to him.

And then a little while later, Hector and his wife had their first child. As Hector and his father stood at the glass looking into the nursery, he wasn't at all surprised to hear his father once again remind him, "To change the world, you must do better than the generation before you," adding, "Be a better father than I was." Again, he thought back to his own childhood and how great he thought his parents had done at raising him.

I really think this is phenomenal advice and wonder if someday Hector and his father (if he's still living) will write a book, because I'd sure like to learn more.

I Forget She's Not Yet Four

This conversation is indicative of things...

Me: "Yeah, so she knocked the cup over. I managed to reach into the backseat at a stoplight and right the cup, but most of the milk had already spilled. And then she knocked it over again."

Lori: "Wait. You gave her the cup back after she already knocked it over?"

Or, the other conversation...

"I need you to come to Home Depot so I can load the stuff into the Santa Fe because our trunk is full of the hospital bags. I'd load it into the car, but I can't until I clean up the rest of the milk. Which I can't do until I can get the passenger door open. Which I can't do until I move the car because some idiot with an Obama bumper sticker parked too close to me. Which I can't do until I put Rachel's car seat back in. Which I can't do until I've cleaned up the milk."


Me: "Yeah, so I refilled her Starbuck's cup with water and we're in Home Depot and she tells me it tipped over. I see a large puddle under the cart and a trail leading most of the way down the aisle we just came."

Lori: "Maybe she's not ready for one of those cups."

Silence as I think it over. In my mind I argue "But she did so well when we were sitting in chairs at Starbucks last time." But realize a moving car is a different story, as is a shopping cart.

So Lori had to truck over to Home Depot. By the time she got there, the cars on either side of me had left and strategically placed shopping carts kept the parking spaces open. Loaded the stuff into her car, then she hung out while I cleaned up as much of the milk as I could from the car. The leather seats are great on top, but underneath, just thick, porus foam. And in their brilliance, Chrysler made the seatbelt attachments at the lowest point in the steel form of the backseat and made the seatbelts out of cloth that absorbes liquids. So Lori helped me clean
Rachel's brand new seat (the reason I took my car -- she graduated to the last chair she'll have to sit in before she can just sit on the seat... in another 6 years) and the base for Ben's seat using the cloths and disinfectant I bought at Home Depot.

And I just remembered that all that stuff is still in Lori's truck and that I'll need to get it out before church tomorrow.

But really, what I meant to post about in the first place is her age. After Home Depot, we went to another store where she picked out a project she wanted to make for Lori for Mother's Day. I'm quite impressed by her choice. It's not exactly surprising, but I think Lori will like it and it fit Lori's requirements that it not be big/pricey, and my requirements that it not be something that ends up in a box or collecting dust on a counter. And Rachel has the opportunity to really customize it. And then at the register, she was saying she wanted to get Lori's something else. And I was reminding her that mommy couldn't appreciate that right now and she replied "No, for after Ben comes out." The other people in line were just marveling at her.

So we get home, bring the stuff inside, tell Lori not to come down and we get to work. She works for a little while and then she's done. It had been a long day and she just couldn't work anymore. No amount of logic could encourage her to keep going, she was just done.

Which makes me think I should have planned better and started sooner, but also reminds me that she is still just a little girl. I think I give her a lot of credit and possibly expect a lot from her, but I need to remember that while she usually does live up to my expectations, that she is still just a little girl. I don't need to be hurrying her through life but just need to enjoy her and love her as she is. (I'm not intentionally trying to, I just forget.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Final Countdown

Well, we're down to the last weekend before baby Ben's arrival into this world. Which means my weekend will be full of decluttering and doing any last-minute things I'd like to have done before his birth. Mostly clearing off our dining room table, which is embarrassingly full of stuff, clearing up the piles that have accumulated in our bedroom, and other boring cleaning tasks. Probably cleaning the bathrooms so that'll be done and they'll be nice and fresh again for the beginning of the week. Getting the morning glory planted that Rachel grew from a seed in her preschool class, lest I delay too long and kill the plant, resulting in the question "Mommy, why did you let my plant die?" every week or so for MONTHS ON END.

I had wanted to get some meals made ahead of time and put in the freezer, but I only have the freezer that's on top of the refrigerator, and there's not a ton of space in there, so it's not that big a deal that I didn't get to that. I do want to buy a separate freezer, but we haven't really had the funds for that yet. But our church should be coming through with some meals for us a few times a week for the first few weeks, so that will help.

It's a little hard to really grasp that we'll have a newborn again in just a few days. I'll admit that I'm nervous about readjusting to life with such a dependent little person, after seeing Rachel grow into a largely self-sufficient little girl. Granted, she still wants a lot of our attention, but she's able to feed herself, get dressed, have conversations, find ways to amuse'll be weird to go back to the constant dependence again, but I think the joy of having Ben in our lives will more than make up for the time and attention he'll require.

Induction is scheduled to start on Monday, 5/12 at 7am if I haven't begun labor before then. A tablet at 7am, a tablet at 10am, then a slow drip of Pitocin at 1pm if the tablets haven't caused contractions to start.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

6 Days or Less

Although I'm not due until May 16, 10 days from now, my doctor wants to induce labor on May 12 if I haven't started on my own by then. Because of the gest. diabetes, she doesn't want me to go past 40 weeks, and I'm guessing she most often schedules inductions on Mondays. So, somewhere between now and 6 days from now, Ben will be arriving.

It's nice to have a definite end date in sight, and one that's only 6 days away. On the other hand, I would much prefer to go into labor without drugs, but I'm going to have to wait and see what happens.

It's just exciting to know that I'm truly in the last week (last full 5 days now, really) of this pregnancy and that we'll be meeting our son very soon!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hitting New Heights in Self-Awareness

Rachel's preschool teacher is one of the women in our small group at church. She just adores their whole family. Here's what she told me today:

Rachel: Today I ran up to Mrs. E in the gym and told her "I love you!"
Me: That was nice. Did she say "I love you, too!"
R: No, she said "Aw." Like "Aw, that was so cute!", like that.

Way too self-aware :)


No progress since last Friday. That's a bummer, as I was really thinking I would have progressed some based upon the contractions I've had this week.

The doctor wants to induce me on Monday, May 12 if things haven't started on their own by then. I'd really prefer to avoid an induction, so we'll be praying that labor will start before that. But at least we're looking at 10 days or less before we're welcoming Ben, so it's good to have an end date in sight. We're getting close now - maybe closer than we know!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

No news yet

My next doctor's appointment is tomorrow. As of last week, I was dilated to 3cm and 70% effaced, so it'll be interesting to see if I've made much progress since then. I've had some regular contractions here and there, but they've mostly been sporadic the last couple of days. Granted, I don't notice many of them because I'm so used to the tightness in my abdomen after having Braxton-Hicks start around 23 weeks this time. So I may be having more than I realize, but they're mostly not uncomfortable enough for me to really pay attention and time them.

I know things could start any time, but it sure doesn't feel like they will. I just wish I had more energy so that, while we wait, I could get more household tasks and errands done. Especially since both will be a bit more difficult once Ben's actually here, unless he ends up being a very laid-back baby. Which would be AWESOME.

James' coworkers threw us a shower today, and we got some fun gifts and some great practical things. Rachel came, too, and had a ball helping to open up packages. It was nice for her to be able to participate, since I think she must be thinking "How come there's all this new stuff for Ben and hardly anything for me?" We did have a really thoughtful couple who brought a gift for Rachel to the baby shower our church gave us on Saturday, and I love that they did that. We got some great things at that shower, too, and don't have too much that we still need to buy in order to be ready, so that's been such a big help. Money has been tight, but God's really been providing for our baby needs through the generosity of others, and we so appreciate it!

Hopefully somewhere in the next couple of posts will be the one announcing Ben's arrival :)

I'm also trying to think of what Rachel's been doing lately. I haven't been good about posting her comments and actions the last few weeks, and my memory is just shot right now, so it's hard to think back and come up with some. She's enjoying her preschool and all the kids in her class. Sophie and Hannah are her "best friends" there, although she ran down the list of all the kids in her class the other day and called them all her best friends, so she likes them all pretty well, too! There's a total of 11 kids in her class, which is a nice size for her first school experience.

She's registered for next year, when she'll be in the pre-K (!) class. Hard to believe she's only about 16 months away from being a kindergartener. I can still remember her arrival into this world so clearly, especially now that we're just days (hours?) from welcoming Ben. It's amazing how quickly they grow, and I just hope I remember to treasure this time with her instead of always looking ahead to the next milestone or wishing she'd outgrow the temper tantrums and bargaining. Something I read in a magazine recently totally fits her: Preschoolers are experts at renegotiating the terms. Amen to that!