Thursday, May 31, 2012

24 Months - AJB

Oh dear.  This post is LATE.  Asher has been getting up as early as 6 and Micah is feeding at 545 ish an not going back to sleep.  So my normal 630 mom-time was pushed back to 6, then disappeared completely.  Looking forward to the return of my "mom-time" before I go any more batty.

Now on to the reason for this post.

Our little boy is TWO!!! I can hardly believe it.  Although having a new little one around makes him seem much more like the big boy he is.  I was rocking him this week when I realized that he was half the length of my body!

We had a small birthday party at home with grandparents and Aunt Jessica, Olivia, and Danica.  We had Asher's favorite- everything bagels with cream cheese!

Some other favorites right now - NANA - in fact, he is starting to make me wonder if he likes Nana's house more than home as he asks constantly to go to Nana's house, RUNNING - "Asher go fast!", OUTSIDE - not a day goes by that he doesn't ask to go, DIRT & WORMS, MOVIES - we limit TV time and don't have cable so this is always a special treat right now the favorite is "Horton Hears a Who", CARS/TRUCKS/TRAINS - we are trying to set up a ride on a real choo choo train.

Asher is such a light in our lives, so full of energy and always ready to go somewhere and help someone.  The only time he will cuddle is when watching movies so we treasure that quiet time but he is so loving in other ways.  He has become protective about Micah and we are still learning to be gentle around his little brother. 

Some things I have been praying for with him- that we would have wisdom to know how to deal with his defiant streak/terrible twos, that he would sleep through all night - no crying spells, that he would be shown his passion in life early, that he would be lead to a christian wife, that God would use us to bring  Asher to know God, that I be used daily to raise a leader.

And speaking of praying, we have begun to pray together at bedtime.  He is able to tell me something he wants to pray for, sometimes it's Nana or Emma, sometimes it's for his cars or the trees he sees out the window. 

A new word we are loving around here? "Yes"  I wish I could type out how it sounds because it's so full of enthusiasm!

And even though it happened a few days AFTER his birthday he received his first stitches.  He fell at Nana's house and hit the corner of the wall.  5 stitches in the middle of his forehead.  He was a champ and we were so thankful to the awesome ER staff at Riverside.  SO thankful.  (It was awesome how God was present the entire time)

That's all for now.  We love this little boy with all of our hearts, even when the "no's" out number the "yes"!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Birth Photos #1

Here are some of our birth photos.  It is a little scary putting these out there, but I find them beautiful and some of you may like to see them.  Thanks, Annie!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Honest Assessment

Well, here we are.  Two weeks in with two children under two. 

I haven't posted much on Facebook lately, and haven't done any blogging.  Part of the reason is that my normal morning "mommy-time" has been quite interrupted.

The other reason is that I know a LOT of first time mommas.  Many of those first time mommas are also thinking about having a second child, and I feel like many of them are watching me to see how it goes.

Now, I'm not so self-centered to think that my experience will affect the outcome of other parents having children.  However, I look at it like those awful stories women tell of childbirth.  I'd rather be encouraging and positive rather than freak another woman out.  And, if I am being honest (hello, notice the title of this post?) it hasn't been totally positive, at least in the second week.

I had a lot of help the first week.  My hubby stayed home through Wednesday, my mom was here those days and part of Thursday and Friday as well.  I STILL have not cooked dinner because so many wonderful people have brought us such awesome food.  That first Friday as a family of four was like hitting a wall with Asher and it turned into a rough weekend which turned into a rough week.

Without rehashing all the crappy details I will just sum it up with this: a newborn who has yet to want to even show signs of any type of getting himself on a schedule (that's OK, we don't put or babies on a schedule around here, I just thought Asher got on one a bit earlier), a toddler who decided after six days that he didn't really want this said newborn around anymore-nor did he want to sleep, a type-A anal mother who hadn't exactly gotten out of the house for a week-which in turn made her need for a clutter-free house even worse, a harsh reality check for two parents who had conveniently forgotten what sleep deprivation feels like.  Oh, and I almost forgot that lovely bout of mastitis (that I got rid of without antibiotics! yay!).

Yet, we are still here.  Still plugging along.  Micah is a great nurser, although I may have to give up my morning coffee.  He has such a calming energy and I admit that when I have felt overwhelmed with Asher holding Micah makes me feel so much less stressed.  He already will search for me when he hears my voice which is soooo heart-melting!  I am also quite amazed at what the second child will sleep through, which is anything and everything.  I laughed at the doctor at our first pediatrician appointment who suggested I may just have to wake him up during the day.  Yeah right guy, he sleeps through a toddlers excited squeals as he is dumping all of his marbles through the super loud marble maze, the dog barking, and the vacuum being swiped 2 inched form his bouncy chair.  Plus, haven't you ever heard NOT to wake a sleeping baby? This is why we go to the nurse practitioner, but I digress...

Asher is back to sleeping (most nights) and is actually coming around to being a brother again.  He has stopped referring to the baby's name as "Cry" and seemed legitimately concerned when the girls at the bank were taking turns holding his brother.  His new aggressive play style has lessened a bit and he is returning to the loving boy I knew two weeks ago.  He is still a BOY about to turn TWO on the 23rd, so I am trying to keep that in mind.  I DO still want him to grow up to be a strong, capable, confident leader, husband, and father.  So maybe I should stop telling him ALL the time that we use our hands for love...  My heart warms when I get to spend any alone time with him as that seems to really help in the rough times.  They are small times (I have no idea if or when we will introduce a bottle to Micah) a quick trip to get a haircut, the grocery store, or to pick up Billy from the groomers.  He has become quite the helpful little one and I can tell he actually cares for his little brother which is so exciting to watch!  Now if I can get him back to sleeping until 7:15 in the morning that would be nice...

I have had to learn to ask for help again, which I am not good at, nor do I like to do.  And by "learn" I mean I have done it a few times and still not every time I should have.  Nor do I do it in a nice way, or the right way, etc. 

I told a friend recently that I still maintain it was a bigger adjustment to have one child than to have two.  At least for me.  I am so much more relaxed with Micah than I was with Asher.  In fact, we are wishing the next three weekend weren't so busy as we could actually go out on a date with Micah.  He doesn't need anything besides a boob, a couple of diapers, and a burp cloth.  Plus he won't try to get out of a high chair or throw food on the floor.  He also won't tell me that "mommy no talk to daddy" in the middle of a conversation. :)

We are hoping to get more sleep.  Soon.  Very soon.  I know better, but still hope.  I wouldn't go back and change having Micah for anything.  I think ultimately learning that he has to share will benefit Asher and the joy of having a sibling to conjure up ideas to get in trouble will be awesome for both boys.  Until then I REALLY need to learn to take it a day, or hour, or 5 minutes at a time.  I have gotten them both out of the house together, I have endured to screaming boys at the same time, and they seem to discuss when the best time to both need something is going to occur.  But I do love these boys!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Micah's Birth Story

First off, I've discovered that it's going to take me twice as long to do anything with 2 little boys.  At least for now.  Including type up a birth story.  I should be sleeping since both boys are sleeping, but it all happened so fast I'm afraid I'll forget it!

I guess I will start with the fact that at 36 weeks I was already 2cm dilated.  Yahoo! Well, we all know that means diddly squat, right? I still let me hopes go up a little bit.  Silly me!

Still, at 39 weeks 6 days (Thursday) I had my last appointment.  In our case we still were at once a month appointments, so it was a long wait! I did have her check me for progress and requested my membranes be stripped as I knew it wouldn't send me into labor unless my body was ready to do so.  Well I was 5 cm dilated above the cervix and 3.5 below.  Meaning, if I had been completely effaced I would have been at 5cm! Well, that is what I call some progress!!
I had some pretty strong contractions at bedtime, strong enough to time at least.  However, I quickly realized that they were no where near consistent and attempted to get some sleep.  Yeah right, I hadn't slept in a week, I wasn't going to start now!

Friday I awoke to some pitiful contractions, a sore throat, and a little boy with an awful runny nose! Even his eyes were draining! I went into panic mode. Both the friend that was to watch Asher and the back-up friend have small children.  I couldn't send my child anywhere! That left my husband, mom, or MIL to pick up the slack. Great.  I/they wanted them be present at the birth.

My mom is a saint so I sent the hubby off to work as he had projects I knew he would not be able to stop thinking about if he didn't get them done and my mom came to keep us company.  Asher went down for his nap around one as usual and I started noticing contractions again.  They were strong enough to notice and once I realized they were coming regularly we started to time them.  14 minutes turned into 13 minutes, turned into 10 minutes.  They weren't that strong (I could still do things, talk, text) and they weren't speeding up quickly.  But they kept coming.  I texted the hubby almost 2 hours later.  I texted the midwife to giver her a heads up.  Later, I sort of accepted I was in early labor so I sent out a text to some people. 
I got tired of timing them so the hubby and I went for a walk before dinner.  That picked things up again and at dinner they were coming every 4 minutes! I was afraid to eat as I tend to get sick during labor, but still wasn't convinced that THIS was it as they still weren't increasing in intensity.  So to make a looooong afternoon a little bit shorter by 10 o'clock with my mom, MIL, hubby, and friend the photographer sitting around my living room I declared that I was tired and wanted to go to bed.  I had had enough and obviously this wasn't going anywhere.  I thought in my head that I would just sleep, wake up at 6 and things would start again tomorrow.  I knew what your mental state could do during a labor so I just figured I would shut it off mentally.  No big deal! And I DID.  I SLEPT.  It was AWESOME.  Best 2 hours of sleep I had had in over a week.

Until 12:03 AM.  A contraction woke me up.  I was so deep in sleep I remember thinking "OK, ow.  That hurt...".  And I laid there until another one hit.  And then one more before I was awake enough to think I had to pee.  I walked back to bed laid down and the next one brought me to my feet.  The hubby was still sleeping so I headed back to the bathroom, and without getting too graphic, I got stuck there, on the toilet, with no way to get anyone's attention as Asher was just 2 doors down zonked out. Great.  I remember sitting there thinking, "All I want to do is get in that bathtub" and that's when I finally accepted it.  It was time.

Luckily, my mom brought her dog Emma who I heard whining downstairs, she would wake my mom.  When I get into "real" labor I make a low what my mom calls "meditative" sound (ha!) so I knew she would hear me when she woke up.  Mom came in the door and I told her it was time.  She was off to round the troops.  Dear hubby came in bleary eyed, asked me what I wanted him to tell the midwife and I told him the same.  "Just tell her it's time".  I could hear that he had turned on the coffee maker in the kitchen and I remember thinking that was funny.

30 minutes later I was thankfully in the tub working though long, intense, close together contractions.  Someone was always there pouring water on my stomach and making sure the water was warm enough.  I guess there was lots going on downstairs, but I was unaware. The next face I remember making an appearance was the sweet midwife.  I remember thinking she looked so nice for 1 AM! She asked if I wanted checked and again I was leery but said yes.  I didn't want her to say only 5 cm...
Brad left to go help his mom with a car seat issue while the midwife took over for a minute.

Midwife: "Oh! You are very open."
Me: "Am I at least more than 5?".
Midwife: "Oh yes, you are at 9, and very soft.  You could push whenever you get the urge."
Me completely shocked and sooooo thankful: "God Bless you woman!".

Mind you this was at about 1:15 AM.  I don't know how I got that far and when it happened.

My mom popped in again and the news traveled around quickly. She said "everyone is here" and I looked at her in my mind thinking "well, if they want a show they had better get up here!".  She was laughing the next day telling me looked at her like, "well, so??". Brad was back before I knew it.

That's the thing about this stage of labor, I kind of lose all track of time.  It's just enough to focus from one contraction to the next, to stay relaxed, to breath.  I look around at times and my MIL is there, another time I see my friend Annie at the door with her camera, at another moment I realize I need more hot water.  From the moment I woke up with the first difficult contraction to the moment he was born was only 2 hours, but so much happened that I feel like time was actually stretched for those 2 hours.

After checking my progress the midwife listened to the heartbeat.  There we had a problem.  Micah's heart rate was low and we had to figure out how to fix it or how to transport.  The funny thing about that fetal doppler is that there doesn't seem to be a silent button.  The mom in labor can hear it all.  While we prayed the midwife checked again for a prolapsed cord.  When she said that there was no cord my panic lessened a bit, but still it was time to move.  I tried pushing a little with the next contraction and that took care of the heartbeat problem.  The guess was that the cord may be around his neck, and she was right! It was time to get him out.

I learned that if you choose a water birth once the head is out you have to stay IN the water until the whole baby is born so that the baby doesn't take a breath and then be put back into the water.  Since our tub is on the smaller side, it was getting a bit shallow at that point, and I knew I could push faster if not prone we decided to get out.  I chose a position (hand and knees - I pushed for an hour with Asher in the old on-your-back hospital pose so I wasn't doing that again) and got on the bed.  When people ask if we do a water birth I always say tell them that we don't have anything in particular planned, I just go where my body leads me. 

We were still in a bit of a hurry to get this baby out so I was having to push past the lip of the cervix that wasn't completely dilated.  This, my friends, was no walk in the park.  Once I got to the pushing stage with Asher I didn't have pain.  In fact, I could barely feel the contractions come on.  Not the case with Micah.  Although it didn't help that the midwife was manually trying to pull that lip of the cervix over the baby's head while I tried to push.  I know that I declared a couple of times that there would be no more babies after this one.  I also told them that THIS was why women chose epidurals.  The midwife thought I said I hoped it was a girl so she replied back "Oh, I hope it's a girl too!" in her sweet calm voice.  If it was different circumstances I'm sure I would have laughed.

Luckily I felt some relief once we got the head through that lip, at least the midwife could get her hand out of there (which I asked her not so nicely to do... :) ) and that helped.  However I had forgotten the next step, you know, the crowning.  I don't remember feeling Asher move down at the end like so many women talk about.  So I focused a little more and boy did I feel him come down.  In fact, I felt him hit bottom and I was able to tell them before they told me. :) I kind of panicked a bit then as I forgot what that felt like, but the nice thing about that stage is that you know that all you have to do is get that head out. It burns, but it's a means to an end. 

I don't know how long/how many pushes later, but the head did indeed come out and that's when the midwife saw the cord wrapped around his neck.  She was able to quickly remove it and from behind me I heard a bunch of "awwww...." which is a funny thing to hear on your hands and knees with a head of a baby facing everyone.  I'm not sure that would have been MY reaction.  My mom told me the next day she will never forget that because she was so taken a back by the fact she thought she was looking at Asher's face all over again. 

The body came out with a little more difficulty than I had imagined, I remember the pain being over once Asher's head was out, but his head measured larger at birth than Micah's.  Micah ended up weighing a half a pound more.  (I only gained 22 pounds with this pregnancy and was convinced I would have a 6 lb 7 oz baby.  Later the midwife would tell me it's always better to have a smaller weight in your mind.  I thought that was a good point.)

I was so relieved he was out and immediately heard Brad tell me he was a boy.  Micah was screaming bloody murder.  We were all shocked by how loud he was.  Asher still slept through even that! He calmed down once covered up on my chest.  It took us a minute before the midwife reminded us he needed a towel, he was cold! Jeez!

After some bonding and some initial latching on we learned he was 7 lb 8 oz and 20.5 inches long.  His hair was dark! And I'm not convinced he will have blue eyes like his brother, but they look SO similar in a multitude of different ways.  Micah also has his daddy's feet, so I'm not sure if I'm going to get my sprinter.... :)  Either way we are going to have to start marking photos so we don't mix up the two boys when looking back at these pictures one day.

And speaking of photos we are excited our photographer friend was able to be there to capture the birth.  I will have to post those separately as I don't have them yet but I am bursting with excitement (and nervousness) to see them.

I really love that I had the opportunity to have my babies at home and hope that if there is a third we will be able to again.  There is nothing like bathing with your baby, getting into your fresh clean bed, and having a quick snack before falling asleep as a family of 4. 

We praise God for this new life, a healthy baby, and a healthy family.  As a coworker of Brad's told him, with two boys we will now never know who broke that lamp, fan, dish, etc.  :) We are so excited to start this new adventure!

The most awesome thing of all I have learned is that there is indeed enough room in a momma's heart for two amazing little boys (and of course, their awesome daddy!).