Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Celebrating 4, 3, 2, & 1 Years: Our 2013 Year

Dear Family & Friends,

We hope you had as eventful of a year as we did! This year we celebrated 4 years, 3 years, 2 years, and we are about to celebrate 1 year!

In February, Adam signed a contract with Aerotek working as a temp employee of Sauer Danfoss (they have since been bought out and are now just Danfoss). We were really excited that he got a job fairly quickly after graduation, though while he was searching, it seemed like forever! They like him there, and are talking about hiring him on sometime late next year. In the meantime, he continues to work early AM’s at UPS before heading to his “real” job.

In April, I took a long term sub position teaching math at St. Agnes. It was rough for this Bulldog (St. Bernard’s) to be an Aggie, but I enjoyed being back in the classroom. Several of my mom friends helped watch the kids while I was at work. It was a great experience; however, it made me realize that my place right now is at home with my babies!

On May 9th, Adam and I celebrated our FOUTH wedding anniversary. Four years doesn’t seem that long, but when I look back to our wedding day, it seems like an ancient memory!

A couple weeks later, we celebrated Danielle’s THIRD birthday on May 17th. The weather didn’t cooperate, so we didn’t release balloons this year, but we had cake and celebrated with friends & family.

At the beginning of June, mom, the kids, and I went to Oregon to visit my mom’s family and introduce them to our little man, Nathaniel. My grandma was so excited to see us that she ended up slipping off the ottoman and breaking her leg on our first day there. So we spent a lot of time going back and forth visiting her, but we were able to celebrate my cousin’s pregnancy and throw her a baby shower while we were there.

On August 12th, our little Eleanor celebrated her SECOND birthday. She spent the day playing with her cousins and even got to skip her nap. After dinner she was able to blow out candles on a birthday cupcake, though we didn’t have her birthday party until October, since we were in the middle of moving.

At the end of August, we bought a new house in Woodbury. We love all the space that we have (coming from a townhouse!), and the room we have to grow our family. Though I am finding that with more space to grow, comes more space to clean! I’m pretty sure that’s the only part I don’t like about moving out of our townhouse. Since then, we’ve been kept super busy putting our home together, from yard work, garage improvements, painting, decorating and more!

In October, we celebrated Adam’s dad’s wedding to his mom’s sister. Even though it rained a little, it was a lovely wedding, and reception. It’s been great to have his aunt take a new roll in the family and grow closer to her.

While we haven’t gotten to it yet, we will be celebrating Nate’s FIRST birthday just a few short days before Christmas on the 21st. To my disappointment, at 10 months, he’s recently started walking. But, it’s been such a fun year watching him grow into such a little man!

We hope that 2013 was a wonderful year full of blessings for you and your family, and wish you a Merry Christmas filled with joy.

Sarah, Adam, Danni (3 years), Nora (2 years), and Nate (11 months) 

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Talented Kids!

So a while ago I wrote a post about what Nora could do at 13 1/2 months, and even then I wanted to keep posting every once in a while about the new things she has learned and can do. But, I think what made me actually sit down and write this post, was after reading some articles about homeschooling on the National Home Education Network about getting started homeschooling (I know I'm probably a little a head, but I know I won't always have time to learn about it, so I'll be behind later I'm sure!). A couple of them mentioned about keeping track of what your child knows, just to show yourself that you are helping your child learn. Then on days when you doubt what you're doing is actually working, you can come back and reassure yourself. So, while we aren't officially homeschooling right now, I still wanted to write down what my kids can do. I know it's not good to compare kids, but sometimes you see other kids your child's age and think, "Oh! My child is so much smarter than him/her!" and other times when you see another child (or maybe a different child doing something your kid can't) and think, "Oh, no! That kid is so much smarter than my kid!" But really, especially at this young age, kids are developing at different rates, and in the areas that interest them most. Even with my own two kids, I can see the differences. While Nora was very strong with her large motor skills (crawling at 6 months and walking at 9 months), Nate doesn't seem as interested, but I think he prefers fine motor skills. Nora still isn't really interested in using a fork or spoon at meal time, and I'm guessing Nate will have it mastered by the time he's her age. Alright, without further a due  here's what I came on here to post...

(Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, at this point we are planning on homeschooling our kids.) :)

Nora's List at 20 Months
-say so many words that it's hard to keep a list at this point (it seems like she adds another word or two each day!)
-has such a larger vocabulary that sometimes I surprise myself when I ask her to do something, thinking that she won't know what I'm asking of her, and then she goes and does it
-say several two-word sentences (up peas, down peas, hi bebe -or Dora, or Elmo, but never momma or dada-)
-say a couple three-word sentences (I see ya)
-do simple puzzles
-"help" clean the house or dishes, and cook (she says "ha-p, ha-p" when she wants to help)
-jump and get her feet off the ground
-walks up the stairs like an adult, holding onto the wall, since she can't reach the banister rail
-clip together the many safety buckels in the house (car seats, the swing, high chair, etc.)
-identify several body parts on herself and others (nose -noe-, eyes -aye-, ears, hair, mouth, tongue, teeth -teet-, hands/ fingers, arms -aarm-, legs, toes -wee wee-, feet, tummy, belly button)
-identify people by name in person and in pictures (Nora -raw raw- or Eleanor -i no-, mama or ma me, dada, Nate -nee-, grandma -mama-, grandpa -ga pa-, Addy -ad de-, Linda -da da-)
-identify characters by name (Elmo, Dora, Abby, The Count -ha ha ha-)
-greet people (hi-e, bye bye) sometimes by name (dolly -dol de-, Nate -nee-, etc., but not Momma or Dada)
-knows to stop at the end of the driveway and not go into the street (we're working on the yard & street boundary)
-follow one step, specific directions (Can you put your toothbrush to go upstairs?)
-use manners (please -peas or the sign-, excuse me -me me-)
-identify when Nate is happy (hap pe)
-parts of the sign of the cross (Father & Holy -ho e-, sometimes Son and Spirit, but not necessarily in the right order) using her proper hand
-put her arms in the arm holes of clothes, and put some pairs of socks and her shoes on her feet

Nate's List at 3 1/2 Months
-"stand" with us making sure he doesn't tip over
-hold his head upright
-get his hands into his mouth to suck on
-smile (with dimples!)
-"talk" with ahh's and coo's

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nathaniel's Birth Story

We had originally scheduled Nathaniel's c-section birth on December 26th at 2:30 in the afternoon. For several reasons we switched it to December 21st at 7:30 in the morning. I was happier to have it earlier in the morning, since I couldn't eat or drink anything for ten hours before the surgery, that meant I would be sleeping for most of those ten hours. (Try telling a pregnant lady to not eat!)

The night before we dropped Nora off at my parents' house. I missed having her home, but I knew that since we would have to leave the house at 5am, it would be better for her to sleep there so she could stay more on her normal schedule. That night it took me quite a while to fall asleep, Adam and I talked and he helped to calm my nerves, and I eventually fell asleep. Not that sleep lasted for long. I woke up at 3am (as all pregnant women wake up in the middle of the night), and never went back to sleep.

Adam's alarm went off at 4am, and we laid in bed for another 15 minutes cuddling and talking about the big day ahead of us. We were both excited to meet our first son, but I was not ready; I was nervous about everything leading up to his birth. But, alas, it was time to start putting our plan into action. Adam had said that I should shower first, and he could go downstairs and eat breakfast, so that he wasn't eating in front of me. So off we went getting ready for Nathaniel's debut.

We left the house around 5:15am, and entered the hospital through the emergency room doors. The security guard greeted us, and I told him I had a scheduled c-section, so he directed us towards the elevators to the second floor. It was a much different ride up to the second floor than when I was in labor with Eleanor. I wasn't grasping the rail, because of contractions, and there was no nurse escorting us. Just Adam & I. When we went into the labor and delivery unit's entrance, there were several nurses at the station waiting, one of them was Jill, the charge nurse I had talked to on the phone earlier in the week. It put me at ease a little to see her there to greet us.

They let us through the door and Jill greeted us on the other side and brought us to our room with a little bassinet for Nathaniel, a hospital bed for me, and an uncomfortable couch for Adam. It was the end room, with two windows, where it was quieter. She said she was trying to save it for us, and was able to. She handed me my hospital gown, and asked me to put it on.

Shortly after I got dressed up in my lovely gown, Julie, one of Woodwinds' volunteer doulas, came in and introduced herself. We chatted a little, to get to know each other, and I gave her a copy of my birth plan. She said that she wasn't sure that Adam would be allowed into the OR when the spinal was done, but that she would be allowed in. I explained to her that I had already talked to Dr. Dubink, and he had okay-ed it.

I was hooked up to the monitors for about a half hour, hooked up to an IV & given saline, shaved, and visited by several nurses, Dr. Dubink, Dr. Mahan. Just about every one of them asked if I was ready. And to each one of them, I would respond, "I'm ready for that," pointing to the bassinet, "but not for everything leading up to it." It was the total truth. I was excited to meet Nathaniel, to hold him, to nurse him, to love him, but I was not ready to be "sliced & diced," as I kept putting it. I still wanted a VBAC, I wanted to be able to deliver my baby with my own body, not with drapes, scalpels, and someone pushing down on my stomach.

I'm not someone who really likes to be at the center of everyone's attention, so most of the time with one or two people in the room asking me a couple questions and leaving wasn't a big deal. It was like having a conversation with a couple people. That, I can handle. But, at one point, there were two nurses, both figiting with different things that were hooked up to me, then add in Dr. Dubink and Dr. Mahan both trying to ask me questions or tell me something, plus Adam and Julie both watching me and everything that people were doing to me. I don't remember not breathing when they were all in there, but I remember all of a sudden being able to breath when all the medical people left. (I'm certain my next birth plan will have something in it about only having one or two medical staff in the room at a time, whether it's a VBAC or another c-section.)

 If I remember correctly, it was Jill that came in and told Adam and Julie to "suit up" as it was almost time to go to the OR. Adam had a lovely jump suit, but Julie ended up in scrubs just like the medical staff. She also gave me a hair net that looked only slightly nicer than your cafeteria lunch ladies'.
Once Julie came back from getting dressed, we were ready to go! Another nurse came in to help, and they laid my bed back, raised it to their level and pushed me out of the room down the hall to the OR. I don't know why, but I liked getting pushed down the hall on the bed better than having to walk down the hall like I did at Abbott. Though, I still didn't like that Adam wasn't walking next to me holding my hand. He was behind me again. This time it was because there wasn't much room in the hallway for a bed, and for him, but as soon as he could he was at my side.

Once we were in the OR, they had me slide onto the "chopping block." Dr. Dubink asked me how I would like to be positioned when he did the spinal. I decided I would try it sitting up, since it would be easier for him to get it in there well, and since Adam was there this time to support me. I was trying to situate myself so that my legs were hanging off the edge of the table, because that's how it went at Abbott with Danielle. But, Dr. Dubink wanted me sitting on the table so all I would have to do was lay back once the spinal was placed. This made much more sense to me. So I leaned forward as far as I could, Adam put his hand down on the table so that I could wrap my arms around his and hold on tight. Dr. Dubink did a much better job than the anesthesiologist at Abbott. When he numbed my back, I didn't arch my back, I just gripped Adam's arm tighter. I didn't even cry! Dr. Dubink got the spinal in, without any problems! We were off to a decent start.

They got me laid back on the table, and started getting everything set for the surgery. They put the sticky drape on my belly, and hung it in front of my face, put on the blood pressure cuff, placed the catheter, and checked to make sure I was numb everywhere they would be slicing. While they pulled up a desk chair for Adam to sit on, and he handed the camera over to Julie to photograph the whole event. When they started pulling him out, Julie went on the other side of the drape to take pictures for us (I won't expose you to the gore, but I am glad I have pictures to see our son being born since I wasn't able to see anything but a blue drape, and Adam's hand holding mine.)

Dr. Mahan told us when she was starting to pull him out. I could feel the tugging and pushing on my upper ribs, where the spinal hadn't blocked feeling. During all the tugging, pushing, and pulling, all of a sudden my right shoulder starting hurting, like there was a really big knot or something. I kept trying to roll my shoulder to work the knot out, but when you have limited movement, it's difficult to work out. I stopped looking to my left at Adam, closed my eyes and faced the ceiling where there was a ceiling tile that was an autumn pictures of trees all covered in red leaves. It seemed to help my shoulder just slightly. (I found out later that apparently "air bubbles" can get inside your body when you have surgery and move around to different parts of your body. They had me take Gas-X to ease the pain afterwards, and it actually helped, but it took a couple weeks for it to go away completely.)

We were told his head was out, and I was waiting and waiting to hear him cry. I opened my eyes back up to face that autumn ceiling tile. I kept thinking that Danielle had cried so much sooner, and that something was wrong. The few moments that it took for me to hear his tiny little cry seemed like forever. When I finally did hear him, I started crying. For me, I guess, c-section births are more emotional than vaginal births. (Adam told me later that he was actually starting to breathe though his nose before his mouth was even out, and the docs were impressed! He just wasn't the crying type, I guess!)

Fresh baby!
 Dr. Tumaneng and the "baby nurses" took him over to the warmer, gave him and Apgar score of 9, and did whatever else they needed to do to him immediately (we requested that they wait on pretty much all newborn stuff). Adam left my side to go to see our son, Nathaniel Reed, who decided it was time to christen the warmer. One of the nurses put a diaper on him, and Adam picked him up and brought him over to me, after nine minutes of being apart from me. Jill helped Adam place him on my chest, and I met my son!

He was right there where he should be, on his Momma's chest. After holding him for a couple minutes, I was able to get him to latch on and start nursing right in the OR, while they were sewing up the large hole where they had just pulled my son out.

Once Dr. Mahan had stitched me back together, I continued nursing Nathaniel, while they took down the drape and peeled the sticky part off my deflated tummy. I had to hand him back to Adam though while they moved me back to my bed, but as soon as I was there, Adam placed him back on my chest. We got me covered back up, so I wasn't exposed in the hallway, and took the short treck back to our original room.

Back in our room, I held him a while longer, then Jill came in to take his measurements. We all took a guess as to what he weighted, and I was right on: 6 pounds, 8 ounces. He was 19 3/4 inches long, and his head was 13 1/2 inches. Then Adam had a chance to hold him skin-to-skin.

His birth, even though I was completely disappointed that I had to have another c-section, and that my "Danni scar" would no longer just be for Danni, was pretty much exactly what we had planned. While Nora's birth was healing in knowing that my body could do what it was designed to do, I think Nate's birth was healing for me, also, to have a c-section birth go so well after the experience I had at Abbott with Danielle. I still can't believe the only time I cried was the joyous moment I heard him cry for the first time.

Footnote: I think c-section births in the U.S. are starting to go more this way. Jill had taken some notes about how it all went. For example, the heart monitors that they place on my chest could have been placed differently to make holding him and nursing him right away a little easier since they were poking him in the head. I hope that more moms-to-be out there educate & advocate for themselves to have the best birth experience they possibly can, even if they end up needing to have major surgery in order to deliver their baby. I think I posted a link to The Natural Caesarean video in Nate's birth plan, but I want to post it again, because it really is how a c-section birth should be. It might not be that all parts for all people (like I didn't want the drape dropped at all!), but it's a great starting point. I hope anyone out there reading this, knowing that they are going into a c-section, can have as great of an experience as I had. Just remember that advocating for yourself is your best bet for everything going as you hope!

Monday, January 21, 2013

National Hug Day

Today, January 21st, is National Hug Day. To celebrate, not only did I give Nora and Nate LOTS of hugs (and kisses too!), but Nora made a hug to send to her Great Grandparents. I tried tracing Nora's hands, but she refused, so I traced mine, and had her color them. Then we cut a piece of string that was the length from one of her hands to the other. I wrote a note to them telling them about National Hug Day, and told them that whenever they miss Nora they can just wrap her hug around them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nathaniel's Birth Plan

With Danielle's c-section, I did a lot of research before and while writing my birth plan for her. Since I had already been though it once, and had learned much more about birth, I had a much better idea of how I wanted this birth to go. One thing that helped me write my birth plan this time was a video that my friend & doula from Nora's birth, Ashley of Gaia Birth, about a "Natural Cesarean." If you are having a c-section, I highly recommend watching it, and using it to help you write your birth plan. You might not want to use everything you see in the video (like I didn't want the drape dropped to see him being born, but I did want pictures to look at later), and some hospitals might not let you do everything, but it's worth asking!

We request informed consent for both Sarah and our son, Nathaniel.

For Sarah’s Prep & Surgery:
ü  IV’s in left arm/ hand (numb area before IV goes in)
ü  IV should be placed so the loop is above my knuckles
ü  Adam does NOT leave my side as soon as the IV’s are put in
ü  Adam will be in the OR when the spinal is done
ü  Low transverse incision (want a VBAC again with rest of children)
o   If he is not in the optimal position for a low horizontal incision, attempt to move him (We will not consent to a vertical incision)
ü  Do NOT want arms strapped down
ü  No sedatives after he is delivered

For Nathaniel’s Birth:
ü  Would like to know when he is starting to be pulled out, and when he is all the way out
ü  We will wait with all new born procedures and assessments (weight, length, eye ointment, etc.)
ü  Want him given to Adam and I right away and try breast feeding while in the OR
ü  If he needs immediate medical attention, Adam will be with him
ü  Both Adam and the baby will stay with me the whole time (OR to recovery room and thereafter)

For Sarah’s Recovery:
ü  Spinals & epidurals work really well for me, and take longer than expected to wear off
ü  I don't move well by myself until well after the spinal has completely worn off
ü  I WILL need help moving and/or transferring beds, or I will throw up
ü  Would like the minimal amount of pain drugs to keep me comfortable

For Nathaniel:
ü  Adam and/ or I would like to give him his first bath
ü  We will be breastfeeding
o   Absolutely NO formula, water, or glucose water is to be offered or given to him
ü  We do not want our child offered a pacifier, we have some we might offer, if we feel he needs it

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Last Few Days

I got a sentence or two into this post, and ran out of time to write it before Nathaniel was born, so I'm trying to remember everything, but I can tell you that I don't!

Well, we finally had the tour of Woodwinds that I had been wanting to do (Tuesday, December 11th), except it wasn't at all what I wanted, and our tour guide, Julianne, was no good. At one point we asked a question, and we were right next to one of the nurses's station on the Labor & Delivery floor. Julianne gave us an answer and the nurse sitting there gave her a look like she was crazy.

While we were there, I got a call from Comprehensive letting me know that Dr. Mahan was out on delivery at St. John's. We ended up rescheduling with Dr. Nelson for about 15 minutes later than our original appointment time. So after our uninformative tour of Woodwinds, we headed across the highway to Comprehensive.

Dr. Nelson is still not a favorite of mine. I've seen her twice now, and both times she seemed to be in a rush to get in and get out, like she didn't have time for her patients.

On our way out, I asked if Dr. Mahan had any openings or cancellations for the next week, since I wanted to see her one last time before the c-section. I lucked out, and was able to switch my last appointment to her only open slot.

When we got home, I posted on Facebook about how I was more nervous to go under the knife after my tour than I was before. One of my friends, Ame, messaged me about getting in contact with some of her nurse friends at Woodwinds. On Thursday, I called Julie, the charge nurse on the Labor & Delivery floor, and she told me that I was on her list to call today, but she was in the middle of a delivery and would call me back. She did, and she gave me a much better "tour" over the phone, than Julianne did taking us around the hospital. She answered most of my questions, and the ones she couldn't answer, she knew who to talk to get an answer. One of the questions I had, well, more of a request, was that Adam be allowed to be in the OR with me when I got the spinal, and the possibility of me laying down instead of sitting up when he did the spinal. Jill said she'd talk to the anesthesiologist and get back to me. She also recommended using one of their volunteer doulas, especially if Adam wasn't allowed in the OR. After talking to Jill, I felt so much better about going into surgery. I still really didn't want to get "sliced & diced," but I felt more at ease in having to go into it.

Dr. Douglas Dubink, the anesthesiologist that would be in on my surgery called me also after Jill had talked to him. I told him about my concerns of how I needed Adam in the room, and how I would probably do better laying down to get the spinal than sitting up. After talking to him for a little while, he was okay with Adam being in the OR for the spinal, but said if he passed out that he would miss the birth of his son. I told him I wasn't concerned since he stood up to peer over the drape when they were pulling Danni out of me. (I think he was less concerned then too.) He explained about how it is easier for him to place the spinal when people are sitting up rather than laying down, but if I really thought I needed to lay down, he could do it that way too. We decided to make that call on the day of the birth.

Jill also called me back to make sure that Dr. Dubink had called me, and to see if I had any other questions. Dr. Dubink actually came in her office while she was on the phone with me, and so she put me on speaker so I could ask one more question. With Danni, the anesthesiologist had said that their nurses were great photographers, so I asked if the same were true at Woodwinds. He assured me that someone would be able to take pictures in the OR for us, but it would probably not be him or his nurse. Jill also suggested that I contact Julie, one of the volunteer doulas at Woodwinds, that would be on call that day. She said that Julie would be willing to come in a little early to be with us for the prep and surgery. She gave me her phone number to contact her ahead of time, but I never got around to calling her.

After talking to all these wonderful people at Woodwinds, I felt much more at ease going into the c-section. I still really didn't want to do it, but I felt that it would be a better experience than Danielle's birth in the OR.

I will leave you with my last "belly shot" from Nathaniel.

36 weeks 2 days
36 weeks 2 days