Friday, October 12, 2012

Gabriel's Birth Story

I've been meaning to write this one for a while (like two months!) but we've been busy adjusting to our life as a family of four.  Gabe is a great baby and Alena loves being a big sister.  Lately when he gets fussy she says, "It's okay Gabe, I'm right here."  I know she hears me say it and repeats but it's just so sweet to see how much she cares about him.

Alena was born 12 days late, and while I was actually in early labor, we went into to hospital for an induction and just had my water broken.  Nothing went wrong and it was a great birth but I really, really wanted to labor completely on my own with Gabe. Lots of people told me I would go earlier with him but as my due date came and went I was convinced he would also be born after 41 weeks.  Knowing that, however, did not make waiting easier.  This pregnancy was a lot tougher that my first.  Nothing major but I just felt HUGE and had icky heartburn for the last half.  It was really hard to get up and walk those last couple months too because it was so hot.  We walked Wal-Mart, Target, and the mall many times.  I also had much more "activity" before official labor and those practice contractions were very annoying.  It was so hard to wake up every morning in my bed and realize that nothing had started overnight.

My doctor's office consists of one OB doc and one midwife.  I switched practices since Alena was born but they were both part of the old practice.  The office is amazing.  It's small and they take huge efforts to make it feel comfortable.  They both share my philosophy on childbirth and were huge cheerleaders for me through the whole pregnancy.  They really let me be in charge of my care and just were there to monitor.  I love this when there are so many docs out there who take control of pregnant women and make decisions based on convenience.  Towards the end of my pregnancy my midwife, Liane, told me she would be out of town for two weeks right around my due date.  I was hoping she would be at my birth but would have been just as happy with the doctor there as well since she acts like a midwife too.  At our last appointment before her vacation she gave me a hug and said to have a great birth!  Then she said, you know you could still be pregnant when I get back.  I laughed and said I hope not.

Fast forward over two weeks later and she walked in the door laughing.  I mentioned something about this being all her fault.  It was her first day back from vacation.  I had her check me and do a membrane sweep.  That's an intervention I'm okay with because I was so far along (41+2 I think).  After 42 weeks many docs start getting a little worried and require frequent ultrasounds and non-stress tests.  I really didn't want to go through that since the office was almost an hour away.  The biggest risk of membrane stripping is water breaking and I was okay with that at this point.  She told me I felt very "good" and went ahead and hooked me up to the monitor for a few mins.  I was having some contractions but couldn't really feel them.  Oh, and I  was 4cm dilated.  She told me to go home, drink some wine, and call her when we were ready to head to the hospital.  She thought it would probably be sometime that night.

We did some shopping, including a long trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I found the most amazing leg massager.  I seriously did not get up for like twenty minutes.     Then we drove all the way home, joking that we would be right back really soon.  Alena had been with us all day and she was super clingy.  She's like that all the time now, since my time is shared, but this was the beginning.  It was like she knew!  My sister had also flown down from Philadelphia and was only here for a few days.  We got home, and I rested and watched the Olympics.  So glad that was on the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I had run out of good shows on Netflix.  Alena went to bed and Neto and my sister went to get some food.  I requested fries and ketchup from Whataburger and a blizzard from Dairy Queen.  Lovely.  I had started timing contractions before they left but wasn't convinced I was really in labor yet.  When they came back I no longer felt like I could eat and contractions were getting longer and closer together.  So they ate and then convinced me I needed to head to the hospital.  Megan stayed with Alena and we took off a little after 10pm.  I called my midwife on the way and she said that it sounded like a good idea for me to come in. We got there and chatted at the nurses station for a few minutes.  My mom works on that unit now and she had already called to check up on me before we arrived.  Also, our nurse from Alena's birth was there.  She was about to get off but walked us to a room.  We got settled and my midwife checked me and found I was at 6cm.  She told me I was officially in active labor and then told us she would leave us alone until we asked for her.  The nurses were also very supportive.  Our nurse said "I'm going to say this once and never mention it again.  We have pain medication available if you need it."  I said okay and it was never brought up again.  I love how supportive they were of our birth plan.  And, possibly our nurse from last time told them I had this down!  I had a saline lock inserted (just the needle part of an iv) just in case I needed hydration or meds later but it was never used.

We walked the halls, I took showers, and paced the room once things got a little more intense.  Just like my previous birth, I hated being in bed.  I got in to be monitored every so often but as soon as we were done I would be up and moving again.  Neto was great and very encouraging the whole time.  Around 2am I asked to be checked and was at 8cm but my water still hadn't broken.  Neto had requested that our baby be born "in the caul" a few weeks before, which means with the amniotic sac still intact.  We're so weird...  I told him that's vary rare and would not happen.  I was hitting transition at this point though and things were getting pretty uncomfortable.  I stayed focused throughout my contractions and I actually felt like they were more spaced apart and less extreme than with my first labor.  Still intense though.  Around 4am Liane came back in and I had her check me one more time, I was pretty much complete.  She told me to try staying in bed and laying on my side.  I was not happy about this and asked to get up and shower again.  She told me to give it a try.  I threw up (very normal and a good sign...means rapid dilation) and a few minutes later was ready to push.  So, she knew what she was talking about when she asked me to stay in the bed!  I pushed for almost two hours with Alena so I was geared up for this taking some time.  Instead it was fast and Gabe was out in just a few pushes.  He got a little stuck and I had to do some maneuvering with the last push.  He was also *almost* born without my water breaking, it finally broke right before his head emerged.  I heard it looked cool, I'll leave that though to the people who were watching.  I'm not sure I would have felt the same way!  We found out why he got stuck (and why I had felt so different towards the end of my pregnancy) when they weighed him and he was nine pounds and five oz.  Not expected at all...he was huge!

Gabe nursed immediately for almost an hour and I was able to go without the routine pitocin shot.  We had discussed not getting it unless I had excessive bleeding and my midwife was on board with that.  We were between two names (I think, there may have still be a few more) but the top ones were Gabriel and Isiah.  Liane mentioned that she had a son named Gabe and that may have influenced the decision a little ;)  We love her so much.  We requested that Gabe not go to the nursery at all in the beginning and did not want him to have a bath.  That first bath washes off all the healthy vernix and drops body temp requiring baby to spend more time in the nursery under the warmer.  It was so nice to just spend all that time snuggling with him.  We waited until after 6am to call family since this all went down in the middle of the night.  We were also super excited to share his name with Neto's family.  Neto's grandfather's birthday had been the day before and we picked Roman as Gabe's middle name in honor of him.

We spend the day resting and visiting with family.  Gabe and I were great and able to go home at about 36 hours.  Gabe had his first pedi appointment a couple days later and was already above his birth weight and doing awesome.  We also had a home visit from our midwife (another reason they are so amazing) and she told me I was a labor rock star.

Labor really is my favorite part of being pregnant.  I feel so alive and in tune with my body during that time.  It's hard, and intense, but you end up with a baby and that's the most amazing thing ever.  I'm such a birth junkie...but we're done for at least a while.  Two kiddos is a lot of work!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Days

We are having a great summer so far.  It's hard to believe before the end of it we'll be a family of 4!  It has been so nice to spend a lot of quality time with Alena, hopefully that will help with the new baby transition.  My midwife/dr appointments are going great.  I'm super excited about labor and the birth and they are totally on board with all my expectations.  I'm so thankful for such caring and nurturing providers.  Each visit is like sitting down and talking with my friends.  

I went on a mission trip with my youth to San Marcos earlier this month.  We stayed in a dorm at Texas State for a week and worked on a house in the area.  It was such an awesome trip.  It was also my first night(s) away from Alena but she and daddy had a fantastic week together.  I'm so happy he is able to spend so much time with her.  They had a great week and got to meet me at Schlitterbahn on the last day.  My husband is amazing.

Alena is talking up a storm and starting to really string words together.  It's so much fun to watch her learn and process things.  She loves her brother already and gives him kisses through my belly.  Sometimes she puts her hand there and tells me he's kicking.  So cute!

Here are some recent pictures but they are in backwards order, that's just how they uploaded :(

Alena and Landon had a lunch date at Chipotle.  So good to see them!

We went to a 50th Anniversary party for Neto's aunt and uncle.  Alena would not get off the dance floor.  All Night Long.

Sesame Place in Pennsylvania-she had such a great time!  Waiting for the parade to start.

Sitting on the model set with her new friend Abby.

Exploring Hooper's Store with Daddy.

All the rides were just her size and she was fearless.  This was her favorite though and she rode it three times.  I even got to take part in this one.

Family tradition-skipping stones in the Delaware River at Aunt Diane's house.  I've never actually been able to skip them but still carried on the tradition with Alena.  She kept trying to run into the river.

Memorial Day parade.  I made this pillowcase dress for her last summer and it still fit.  She loved waving at the people in the parade.

Aunt Lois had to buy her a balloon.  Of course she picked Elmo.

I was alone with her on the flights up to Philly and daddy came a few days later.  She did very well but I was exhausted after all that traveling.

Summer Pinterest crafts-cloud dough.  You mix flour and baby oil and it makes a really cool sensory activity.  She would bury little toys in it and dig them out.  It's cool to squish it between your fingers too (like mommy therapy!).

Painting before bath time.  I think more of the paint ended up on her body than the paper.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcoming Summer

Alena turns 20 months old this week.  She's so big.  Sometimes I just stare at her and can't believe my little girl is so grown up.  I know the feeling is never going away though!

We're headed to Philadelphia this weekend for Memorial Day and a fun week with family.  We'll be there for my birthday so I get to go eat at a fancy Philadelphia restaurant and then we'll take Alena to Sesame Place.  She knows all the characters and I know it will be a lot of fun for her.  We looked at the website and talked about all the rides she will get to go on the other day.  I'll be flying up there alone with her and Neto comes a couple days later since he still has school stuff.  I'm a little nervous about the long flight alone but happy it's just for one way.  I know it's going to be a great trip and our last one as a family of 3.

We got a new car this month.  I was really starting to stress about my car with two babies.  We turned Alena's carseat around last month.  I didn't really want to because the new info says to wait until 2 years old but she was getting carsick all the time and it was such a mess to deal with.  Once I tried her forward facing things got so much better.  Her seat is big though and only fit well in the middle of the car.  Also, I read that you are not supposed to attach two carseats to one latch hook so they would have to be on the two sides with neither in the middle.  The middle is the safest place (since it's away from doors and impacts).  So, we started looking and I decided a van was the best fit for us.  I  like SUVs but the practicality of a van with little kids made more sense to me.  We got a great deal and it has everything we would ever need and more.  Two dvd players, automatic opening doors and trunk, fancy sound system, and lots and lots of space.

New baby boy is doing great.  He's growing right on track and making me pretty uncomfortable.  10ish weeks to go!  We went through Alena's clothes recently and picked out all the stuff he could wear.  Honestly it was more than I thought it would be but still not much.  A few yellow duck things and all the UT stuff.  I learned through Alena that babies really don't need much stuff though!  His due date is August 1 but I've got the 12th in my mind.  Twelve days late sounds like forever but I want to be prepared for passing up the due date this time.  If he comes earlier than than it will just be a bonus!  

Everyday I am amazed with the things Alena can do and say so I wanted to make a list to remember some of them.  She's so smart!
  • She sings ABC's and twinkle twinkle little star all the time.  Some of the letters and words get jumbled up but she's really close.
  • She can count things.  Like really count.  She points to things and says 1, 2, etc.  I've heard her go up to 12 before but she normally skips 7.  When we say 7 she says "pop" and we can't figure out where that came from.
  • She knows her books by name (or at least one word from the title) and loves storytime with daddy before bed.  She used to sit on his lap but now has to get a pillow, blanket, paci, and stuffed animals arranged perfectly before storytime can begin.  It's super cute but sometimes makes bedtime a little long.
  • She requests songs for me to sing from the backseat.  I really need some kid cds.
  • She loves to play outside and before we go out always says "shoes on" and now when she requests her juice in the morning she often says "juice on" I guess because it rhymes.  It cracks me up.
  • She also says chicken anytime I say kitchen.  Not that she thinks she's getting chicken, just that she thinks it's funny to say.
  • Whenever her eye itches she tells me there is a bug in it.  
  • Her vocabulary is so extensive.  Everyday I am shocked by the things she can say and comprehend.  Other people comment on it often too and can't believe she talks so much.  It's still normally one word or a phrase she hears a lot but I know she'll start stringing them together more soon.
I've got some fun work things going on in June and July and then it will be baby time.  We're so excited to welcome little boy and Alena loves him already.  In the mornings I get her from her crib and we snuggle in bed for a little while.  She likes to kiss my tummy and talk to her brother.  It is so sweet!  We talk often about how she will be a big helper and give the baby lots of kisses.  I can't wait to see them together.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

18 Months

I've packed this post full of pictures (totally out of order) because it's been so long...again.

Alena is still doing fantastic!  I'm amazed by what she can do and understand everyday.  We are loving the spring weather and can take nice walks and day trips.  The afternoons are already getting so hot though :(

In non Alena news we found out this month that new baby is a boy!  He is measuring right on track and everything is going great.  I'm feeling good, just need a little more rest.  Our due date is August 1.  I absolutely love our doctor and midwife.  They make everything so stress free and are totally in tune with my wishes.  I'm really excited about another natural birth and can't wait to see how it all turns out.  I have such wonderful, empowering memories of Alena's labor and birth and am so happy we get to do it all again.  Crazy right...I don't think many people think of the birth process in that way.  And, the midwife told me to throw all those "don'ts" out the window as long as it's in moderation so I've enjoyed Jimmy John's subs a few times.  She even said sushi was no biggie as long as it's good quality.  

Alena's 18 month check-up was great.  She's growing on track and has mastered all her milestones.  The nurse asked if she knew 7-20 words.  I didn't want to brag so I just said yes but I know she has a vocabulary of over 100 words.  She probably can name 20 things just related to her body (head, hair, nose, eyes...).  She loves to read books and has a name for almost all of them.  When we get books from the library she will remember a word from the title and ask for it again by name.  She also can recognize the letter A (capital, lowercase, and the weird keyboard a).  When we discovered that we were in shock...maybe Sesame Street? And tonight we were playing in her little kitchen and she would bring me the food I asked for.  She brought a cup of coffee and warned me it was hot, then I asked for chicken and she brought a drumstick, corn and she brought the corn, etc.  It was so cute.  Then she started picking out other play foods and bringing them to me to eat.  I love being her mommy so much!

This is Alena and Daddy at a park.  She was working on her balance.  Maybe gymnastics is in her future.

I've become a little more lazy in my current state.  This is us having rest time and watching some Sesame Street.  Alena is snuggling with her brother!

Daddy was busy with one-act play stuff so Alena and I took a quick trip to Houston to stay with Aunt Megan.  We went to the zoo and Children's Museum.

She loved watching the elephants.

Shopping spree.  Isn't that hat so cute?  We had to buy it because she wouldn't take it off...haha!

Houston Children's Museum.  The entire upstairs is for little ones and she had a great time exploring.

Driving a truck while playing dress up.  Multitasking :)

Building towers with big blocks.

Sending cars down a ramp.

Out of eggs and ham snack at the library story time for St. Patrick's Day.

And date with Mommy.  We love to go to Chick-fil-a (the only fast food I allow my child to eat).  Doesn't she look so big here?  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Long Overdue Update

Just realized how long it has been since I last blogged so here is an update into our past couple months.

We had an amazing Christmas, possibly my favorite yet!  Last year was Alena's first Christmas but it was also right around the time I quit my job and we were trying to figure stuff out.  Pair that with post-pregnancy hormones and it was just a little blah for me.  This year we tried to be home as our little family as much as the break as possible so we could spend some quality time together.  We took a weekend trip to Dallas at the beginning of the break and then traveled to Houston on Christmas day but other than that just relaxed at home.
Alena asked for lots of books because we are still overrun with new toys from her birthday.  She loves to sit and read throughout the day.

On Christmas Day Alena announced to our families that she is going to be a big sister!  She wore a shirt that said "A little birdie told me" on the front and "I'm a big sister to be" on the back.  We loved watching the reactions when people read it.  Her baby brother or sister will be here in early August.  The official due date is August 1, but I'm tacking on at least a week since Alena was so late.  We'll see!  We will also find out if the baby is a boy or girl over spring break.  Alena has told us it is a boy more than once.

We've had some wonderful weather recently so we can finally go to the park.  Alena loves to swing and go down slides.  She says "whee!" as she swings or goes down the slide.  So cute!

Here's some of Alena's recent milestones:

  • talking all the time...she wakes up rattling off words she knows "cat, shoe, bear, banana" it is so cute to hear her over the monitor each morning.  Yesterday when I went in she was singing wheels on the bus and doing the wipers with her fingers.
  • finally walking!  Alena took her sweet time but at about 15 1/2 months she started to take some steps. We went to Stride Rite and got her fitted for good shoes and she really likes them.  Now she says "walk" when I'm carrying her and she would rather be more independent.  
  • Learning so much!  Alena knows lots of animal sounds, can ask me to sing songs, can tell me when she's hungry and what she wants, says "night night" when she's sleepy, and even says "poop" right before she poops.  I think that's going to be great for future potty training :)
  • Following directions.  The other day Alena had a wrapper and I told her to go throw it in the trash and she did.  Then, yesterday she wanted water so I asked her to go get her cup from the other room and then she did!  Such a smart little girl.
Here are some recent pictures of our sweet little girl!
I love wearing my new mittens but still hate socks! 
Ready to go see Daddy at work before Christmas break.

Mmmm...Chipotle guacamole!

New baby's first pic...8 weeks old


Playing with trains at Barnes and Noble

Alena was supposed to be helping with dinner (see the apron), but decided to pull out all her cups and put her snack on the floor instead.  Maybe she's not so into cooking yet.

Homemade fingerpaint.  Took me half an hour to make and she refused to stick more than one finger in it.  I stripped her down expecting a mess and she refused.  That's a smile but probably not related to the paint!  All the stuff on the paper was me...but I still hung it up calling it Alena's first artwork.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Now that I'm done with grad. school and this mommy thing is getting more predictable I've had some time for projects around the house.

Since discovering Pinterest my creativity has increased dramatically!  If you haven't checked it out yet, you should, it's awesome.  Basically it's just a compilation of pictures, crafty ideas, and things to do from other places on the internet.  You can use it to bookmark stuff you like from other places or search what others have pinned for ideas.

Front door wreath

-wreath ($1 from dollar tree)
-pins (had from sewing projects=free)
-burlap (maybe $1)
-ribbon ($2 for entire roll)

Thanks vases for mantle

-vases ($1 each from dollar tree)
-paint (79 cents)
-grout (had from Alena's birthday projects-makes paint into chalkboard paint)
-twigs and eucalyptus ($2 from dollar tree)
-chalk (had=free)

Harvest Banner

-burlap (maybe $1)
-ribbon (same from wreath project)
-stencils ($4ish-used 40% off coupon at hobby lobby)
-paint (had=free)

Fall Sign

-burlap (scraps=free)
-ribbon ($1 from dollar tree)
-stencils (had from banner project)

Monogram sign for kitchen

-frame ($1-dollar tree)
-stencils (had)
-paint (had)
-paper (used old resume paper from our job searching days!)

Canvas word art

-canvas painting ($5 at goodwill)
-letter stickers ($3 at joanns)
-black paint (had)

Entryway Bench

-old wood and wicker bench ($35 at Salvation Army
-fabric ($4ish from Hobby Lobby)
-foam ($2ish from Hobby Lobby)
-paint (leftover from Alena's room=free)

Alena and I have been scavenging at the thrift shops and dollar stores recently for stuff to pinterest.  It has been a really fun and affordable way to spruce up our home.