Friday, August 27, 2010

Sleep, or Lack of It

Sleeping is my one true talent.  OK, so maybe not my ONE true talent, because right up there with sleeping is my ability to consume rich desserts in large quantities, which would mean I'm blessed with TWO true talents, not just one.  When I did Junior Miss in high school, I sincerely thought about bringing a mattress on stage and demonstrating my God-given ability to snooze. 

Around Chez Reese right now the hours I get to spend practicing my talent are limited to say the least. 

The broken hours I do spend sleeping are filled with dreams about, what else, but breast feeding.

I guess it's pretty natural to dream about what you spend a good 95% of your day doing.  My child loves to eat (which may be evidence that the second talent I mentioned has been genetically passed along as well). 

Sometimes I wake up to Kaden stirring, ready to eat, in a state of befuddled confusion, because I think I am already feeding him. 

Usually, Kaden naps quite a bit during the day (demonstrating that the sleeping talent may be genetic, we just have to work on timing that talent).  While he takes his first morning nap I get ready for the day and do a few things around the house before he wakes up again.  Later, when he takes another nap, I try to join him for a brief snooze, to prevent myself from going insane with sleep deprivation.

Notice the word at the start of that last paragraph?  USUALLY.

About that.

Today, was not a usual day.

Kaden slept for a total of one hour today.

30 minutes of that hour were spent in the stroller, while we took a brisk jaunt through the neighborhood, so mommy can work on losing her last 15 pounds of baby weight.

When we got home, he promptly woke up.

No problem.

I was actually excited we were having awake time during the DAY, instead of the usual 4:30 a.m. routine.

"I'll put on my makeup and do some laundry when he takes a nap after he eats," I thought.
That nap never came, my friends.

Kaden wanted to be held ALL day today or he was screaming.  The bouncy seat failed to entice him.  The swing seemed completely uninteresting.  The mobile in his crib would thrill him until he realized he was being tricked.  No pacifier was pacifying.  He fell asleep in my arms multiple times, but each time I lay him in his crib a good five minutes later the baby monitors would announce his extreme displeasure at having been deposited somewhere other than Mommy's lap.  I finally gave up trying to put him down, and let him fall asleep in my arms so he could get his 2nd 30 minutes.  He was so over-tired and cranky.

When Chad came home at 5:00, he put Kaden on top of the dryer in his car seat.

An hour and a half later, he had finally fallen asleep.

He's still out.

I think I have approximately 4 minutes before he decides it's time to eat again.

I'm surprised we've lasted this long.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What We've Been Up To

Immediately upon leaving the hospital, Kaden had to be put on a Biliblanket for his jaundice.  This made for a very interesting first few days home from the hospital, since Kaden looked like a glowing mutant most of the time.  He had to be naked except for his diaper, with the Biliblanket wrapped around his abdomen.  So, from August 13th through the 18th, Kaden quietly slept, ate, and pooped in the buff, while his darling newborn clothes became too small for him in the closet.  I also had to feed him more frequently because he was dehydrated, which was very stressful, since we were still learning how to nurse.  The Biliblanket was tethered to a machine, and the blanket glowed like the inside of a tanning bed.  Somehow all of the pictures of Kaden hooked up to this monstrosity have been deleted from the camera (it's a sore subject, but I do still love my husband), so here's one of the ones my mom had, so we can remember he did indeed glow for the first few days he was home from the hospital:

Here's Grandma holding Kaden after his first sponge bath:

Here is Daddy, changing his first blow-out diaper:

Here is Kaden with all of his English Department Aunties.  They came to see me on August 20th, when Kaden was just 9 days old:
Here's Kaden in his first Sunday outfit.  I really wish we'd taken a family photo, but alas, we did not.  We went to church because it was Cameron's farewell, and it's a good thing, because I don't think this adorable outfit will fit him by next Sunday:

Here's Kaden showing off his ability to already lift and hold his head up during tummy time with Grandma:

And here are some of the shots we took of Kaden on his 10 day birthday.  Note:  Photographing a newborn boy without a diaper, could lead to damaging Banana Republic attire:

A Story not Meant for the Faint of Heart

If you don't like reading birth stories, I don't blame you. Until I became pregnant, I never read them. Once I became pregnant, I feasted over every detail. If you don't like reading birth stories, just skip this one. I won't be offended. This is the story of how Kaden came into the world, which I really don't think necessitates being shared in a public forum. The problem is that in this case a public forum is the only way I ever journal anything, and since I'm already starting to forget the details of August 11th, I figure I better document them somewhere. So, without further ado:

Kaden was due on August 3rd. At my doctor's appointment that day, the midwife told me to come back the following week, and we would see where I was. By August 10th, he still hadn't arrived. I had felt no contractions. Not a one. I had walked on swollen ankles in the steamy North Carolina air, sweating, trying to coax him into the world. I even jumped on my neighbor's trampoline on August 9th, hoping I might go into labor before my doctor's appointment. I was terrified I would have to be induced. I had heard nothing but extreme horror stories about induction. I didn't want a C-section, and I knew being induced would also increase the chances I might have one.

On the 10th, we went in for my follow up visit. The nurses did a non-stress test to make sure Kaden's heart rate went up every time he moved. The test results were very positive. Kaden seemed perfectly content in his crowded little space.

Then, we went in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound technician made sure Kaden moved enough during the length of the ultrasound, that there was still enough amniotic fluid around him, and they came up with a weight estimate. When the ultrasound tech told me she was showing him at 9 and a half pounds, I almost fainted. Then I asked what were were going to do about getting him out. Now.

When the doctor came in (a man with absolutely NO bedside manner . . . it was quite clear he had slept through the class on how to treat a patient during med school) and checked me, things looked bleak. He couldn't even reach my cervix, it was so high, and I wasn't dilated. At all. With Kaden being so big, he recommended that I should be induced, but he didn't think I needed to have a C-section until I tried to deliver him naturally. When I asked him what the odds were that I would be able to deliver Kaden without a C-section he told me, and I quote, "Well, your odds pretty much suck." Thanks, Doctor Loser. By the time I was finished talking to the doctor, I was in tears and completely distraught. I knew being induced was the right thing to do, but it didn't mean I was happy about it. We waited in the lobby for them to set up an induction time. Lisa, one of the nurse midwives, came out and asked me if I had a bag packed for the hospital. If so, they could start the induction in a few hours. She told us to go grab some lunch, and she would meet us at the hospital around 2:00.
We went to Panera Bread and had lunch. I called it my “last supper.” I even got a frozen lemonade, because dang it, I was scared and I deserved it.
This is what I looked like, pregnant with Kaden at exactly 41 weeks.  We took this in the hospital parking lot, right before we went inside:
Once I got settled into the hospital and was hooked up to what felt like a million wires, Lisa came in and checked me.  Turns out, Doctor Loser had been wrong, and I was dilated to a one and 75% effaced.  Pretty sure that hadn't happened in an hour and a half.  Take that, Mean Old Doctor.  Still wasn't great, but better than nothing.  Lisa put in a foley balloon, with the goal to get me dilated to a three.  The balloon would stay in until it fell out at some point during the night, and they would start me on Pitocin around five the next morning.

Chad's parents came up to the hospital that night with Lauren, and Chad and his dad gave me a blessing.  After the blessing, I felt so much better about everything.

That night I experienced the most glorious night's sleep I had accomplished my entire pregnancy, thanks to a little gem called Ambien.  Seriously, the best sleep of my life.

The next morning, they started the Pitocin drip around 6:00.  When Frieda, another midwife, came in around 7:00 to check me, I was dilated to a good 4 or 4 and a half, but the baby's station was still high, at a -2.  Frieda broke my water, and that's when the fun really started.  I thought I had been having contractions before then, they were about 2-3 minutes apart from the very beginning (got to love the Pitocin) but suddenly I realized those were just a warm up.

My contractions really started to pick up.  I knew I wanted to go as long as possible without an epidural, because I didn't want my labor to slow down too much, and I knew we had a long way to go.  I did as much moving around as I could while tethered to an IV and fetal/contraction monitor.  I requested some pain medication, which helped take some of the edge off the contractions, but they kept getting worse.  Eventually, my contractions were 45 seconds to a minute a part, and I am surprised I hadn't shattered any bones in Chad's hands, or my mom's hands, because I was gripping them so tightly.  It got to the point that I felt like I had just breathed through a contraction and another one was starting.  That's when I decided it was epidural time.  When I asked the nurse about ordering one, she told me to let her know as soon as I was ready for it, because it can take awhile for the anaesthesiologist to get there.  "Ummm . . . now would be good!"  was my response.  Frieda came in to check on me, and when she found out I was getting an epidural, she said she would wait to check me until after, so it would be more comfortable (THANK YOU!).     

The resident anaesthesiologist came in to prep me for the epidural around 1:00.  The anaesthesiologist was finishing up an epidural in another labor and delivery room, but he would come do mine as soon as he was finished.  At this point I was sitting in the most uncomfortable position I could possibly be laboring in--sitting straight up, perched on the end of a hospital bed.  I couldn't move, because the resident had already sterilized the area for the epidural.  We waited.  We waited some more.  Finally, the nurse called and was told the anaesthesiologist had been called to an emergency.  We would have to keep waiting until he could get there.  This is the one point that I finally started to get a bit emotional.  I am so proud of myself, because even with my extremely low pain tolerance, I really did such a good job toughing it out, breathing through the contractions, and not having a melt down.  After waiting for an hour and a half, I started to get a little teary.  I think it was worse, knowing that relief was coming, and prepping myself for that mentally, only to have to sit and wait, while the pain got worse and worse.  I remember asking, "When is he going to get here?  I just want him to get here!"  The poor resident kept apologizing.  He wished he could just do it, but of course he couldn't.  At last, the blessed man arrived.  I literally told him before he left that I would love him forever.  That is how amazing the epidural was.

Frieda came in to check me after he left, and I was dilated to an 8.

After this, I was able to get a lot of rest.  I've got to say, the epidural was completely different from what I anticipated.  I thought I would feel completely paralyzed.  I didn't realize I would still feel the sensation of contractions, minus the intense pain.  I just felt really numb, but it was less scary than I thought it would be.  I just enjoyed the silence of the room from this point on and slept as much as I could.  My mom and Chad asked me if I wanted to watch TV, read, or listen to music, but all I wanted to do was enjoy the silence.  I knew I was going to have to push my little heart out, because Frieda told me with the baby being so big, they would not assist me with a vacuum or forceps, because they would worry about his shoulders being too big, if I couldn't push him out myself.  If I couldn't push out his head, they would immediately rush me to an emergency C-section.

Right before Frieda left for the night, around 5:00, she checked me again and said I was dilated to a 9 and half, and the baby was now at a 0 station.  She said Lisa would be there shortly to check on me again, and make a plan for what we would do.

When Lisa came in, she said there was no reason to check me.  They were going to let the contractions do the work, and let me labor down.  I was supposed to call them if I felt the need to push, but as long as the baby was doing fine, we would wait and let me save my energy, so I wouldn't end up pushing for so long that I wouldn't have the energy to push him on my own.

Around 8:00, Lisa came in and checked me again.  The baby had moved to a +1 station, and I was fully dilated, so she said, "Let's start pushing."

I pushed for around an hour and half, and Kaden was born at 9:27 p.m.  Only for someone so precious will I post such terrifyingly bad photographs of myself:     

He seemed so tiny to me, but when they put him on the scale, the numbers didn't lie.  9 pounds 3.9 ounces!  He was a big boy!  I've got to say, when they told me he was showing 9 and a half pounds at my ultrasound, I really did not believe it.  I know I was huge, but I didn't think I was THAT huge.  And all I have to say is, "Screw you, Mr. Loser Doctor, for telling me my odds sucked."

The moment I saw him, I was in love.  Chad and I still keep saying that we really had no clue how much we would love him.  We are not what you might call "newborn people."  There's a reason I teach high school English.  Give me the adolescents!  They are my niche.  Sometimes, when I was pregnant I would have these mini-panic attacks about what I was going to DO with a newborn.  I knew we would love him, but I pictured myself eagerly waiting for him to turn into a little person who could talk and walk, while Chad eagerly waited for him to turn into a little person who could kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball.  Those fears instantly melted away when I met my little boy for the first time.  Even though we aren't usually "newborn people" it is quite apparent that we are very much "Kaden people."  We adore our little boy.  Oh, and holding my baby, is like a trillion and a half times better than holding anyone else's baby.  Just so you know. 

This is me and Kaden with Lisa, the nurse midwife who delivered him, and Theresa, my amazing nurse who was also there during the delivery:

And here's Grandma Jensen holding Kaden for the first time:

Chad and I had gone back and forth on names, and we had narrowed our selection down to three.  We wanted to wait until we met him, and then decide on the name.  Right away, we knew his name was Kaden.  As soon as I saw him, I knew it, but I didn't want to say anything in case Chad thought something different.  Then, Chad said, "I think he looks like a Kaden," and I couldn't have agreed more.  It just suited him.  Kaden's middle name is Fox, which was Chad's grandmother's maiden name.

After Kaden was born, Chad's family members, who were anxiously waiting in the lobby, came in to see Kaden's first bath:

Gigi holding Kade:

With Aunt Lauren:

With Poppy:

With Uncle Cameron.  Cameron left bright and early this morning for Utah.  He reports to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday, and he will be serving a two year mission for our church in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Just looking at his picture makes me a bit teary-eyed.  I can't believe Kaden will be two years old before he sees Cameron again:

With Uncle Tyler:

With Nana:
Our family, after Kaden's bath:

When I was pregnant with Kaden, I came across this poem.  I loved it then, but now I love it even more:

Investment by Carol Lynn Pearson

How enviously
I watched
The rose bush
Bear her bud--
Such an easy
Lovely birth.
At that moment
I wished
The sweet myth
Were true--
That I could
Pluck you
My child
From some
green vine.

But now
As you breathe
Through flesh
That was mine,
Gently in the small circle
Of my arms, 
I see
The wisdom of investment

The easy gift
Is easy to forget.
But what is bought
With coin of pain
Is dearly kept.  

Pregnancy was hard for me, even though I know I had it easy compared to a lot of people.  By the end, I was so ready to be done.  Now, just like the poet who penned the above verses, I can see the "wisdom of investment."  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for sending Kaden to be a part of our family.

Here's Kaden, in his "coming home from the hospital" outfit:

Already, it is hard to imagine life without our little one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kaden's First Photo Shoot

Today, Kaden participated in what I'm sure will be the first of many photo shoots.  That's what happens when you have a Daddy who is also a pretty darn good photographer. 

Kaden was pretty alert for most of the shoot, so we didn't get to take a lot of the sleepy newborn shots we wanted to.  I'll post more photos after we do photo shoot attempt number two.

I'm sorry, but I think this little fella is the most precious angel I have ever seen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Meet Kaden:

Kaden Fox Reese was born Wednesday, August 11th at 9:27 p.m.  He weighed 9 pounds 3.9 ounces and was 21 inches long.  We are already completely in love with him.  He is becoming more precious by the second! 

Thursday, August 05, 2010

40 Weeks and 2 Days

For Meredith and Grandma Joy who want to see a picture, I am told:

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"Your Baby Is One Day Old"

Thus reads my handy-dandy baby counter on the sidebar of my blog.  Funny.  I don't recall giving birth.  Oh, wait, that's because I HAVEN'T.  That baby counter is a LIAR!

I am still very much pregnant, very much huge, and if that isn't exciting enough for you, add to that list the fact that I have developed PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy).  This is a fancy-schmancy acronym that really just means my entire body is covered in red bumps, and each red bump itches like it is a mosquito bite the size of Texas.  It started with an itchy belly, but soon became an itchy body.  I am looking stellar these days, let me tell you.  My mom offered to take pictures of my delightful rash, but I will save you the visual.  If you're dying to see (I do not recommend eating before hand), do a google image search and knock yourself out.  The pictures are pretty true to life.  

These are the things I have been doing to relieve aforementioned rash:

--Covering my entire body in Calamine lotion
--Covering my entire body in refrigerated Milk of Magnesia
--Soaking in Oatmeal Baths
--Lying naked in bed, trying not to cry
--Lying naked in bed, crying
--Sporting any clothing I can find that resembles a muumuu, so it won't touch my intensely itching skin
--Screaming, "I'M GOING TO KILL SOMEONE!"  when the itching becomes severe
--Complaining.  A lot.
--Trying to coax The Saucer out with verbal cues, some more aggressively stated than others
--Searching the Internet for potential cures without too much luck . . . UNTIL . . . 

I heard about this:
An online forum filled with other women in my predicament praised this soap to the heavens.  Yesterday, I bought my first bar for $3.99 at GNC in Greenville, after my doctor's appointment.  When I asked the man in the store if they carried it, he promptly said, "OH!  That stuff stinks!" and showed me where it was.  He had never before sold a bar.

Upon returning home, I showered.

I showered again, later.

I intend to scrub with this stuff multiple times today.

On the back of the box, Grandpa has this to say about his soap:  "There are no added colors or fragrances to mask the rich brown color and distinctive scent of natural Pine Tar Oil."  So, what does that mean exactly?

It means it smells like a campfire.  

No, really, it smells like a campfire.  When you take a whiff of the box you really do wonder if you need to bring some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers into the shower with you, just in case you feel like a s'more.  

I do not care what it smells like in the slightest, because my rash is looking better.  

Don't get me wrong:  I still look like I belong in a leprosy colony somewhere, and I'm sure mothers will steer their children the other way if they see me approaching them in a store, but I see a marked improvement.  My skin is less irritated, less red, and I am hoping this is going to keep getting better.

But, enough about yucky skin conditions.  We have also been doing other things around here, too.

Check out the adorable art project my mom and I completed for The Saucer's room:

I bought these framed pictures at a garage sale for $1.00 a piece.  That's $3.00 for frames with glass!

  Some white spray paint and scrap-booking supplies later, and TA-DA:

Aren't they precious?  I love how they turned out.  I think they are even cuter in person, but that's just me. 

Also, I have to post some pictures of the front of our house, just because the little yard work we have accomplished this summer has made a huge difference. 

This was the front of our house around Christmas time, with the original, boxy landscaping still in place:

And this is how we have changed things up since then:

We finally managed to finish clearing the beds (and by we, I really mean Chad who spent an entire 100+ degree day shoveling and hauling mess in a wheelbarrow) and laying mulch before my mom came.  (By the way, I really do mean WE with the mulch.  I totally helped with that part, even fully pregnant.)  I think it looks so much nicer, and I can't wait to see how much better it looks next year, after we actually re-space the bushes and plant some other things.

Anyway, that's what we've been up to around here.  Any prayers you would like to offer to help speed up The Saucer's arrival would be greatly appreciated.  I have not had an inkling of labor pains.  Nada.  Nothing.  It's like he's content to stay in his cramped, little environment forever.  I promise when he does decide to arrive, I'll be sure to let you all know.  Until then . . .
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