Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sick kids

I have had some poor sick kids this past week! Both Maren and James broke out with a fever last week but seemed generally okay otherwise (both were happy and playful). When I went in for Maren's 6 month check up a few days later, the doctor informed me that she had a double ear infection. I felt like an idiot. She had shown me no signs of an ear infection. James then developed a yucky cough and became quite lethargic just wanting to be held all the time. I finally broke down and took him in to the doctor for a check up on day 5 with his fever and the doctor just thought it was viral. Maren just developed the cough but has been acting great. So it is just waiting it out. James has improved immensely the past couple days but still needs some extra loving. I have savored the time that I have been able to snuggle with James. It isn't too often that he just wants me to hold him for no reason and for a long period of time. However, I'm definitely ready for him to be his energetic self! I sure hope this cough clears up soon! Sickness sure helps you appreciate healthy bodies, doesn't it?

On another note, this weekend my friend Megan got married! It was a beautiful ceremony and fun to be a part of the festivities. This is a picture of Amanda, Megan and I with Amanda and I holding my passed out children. They were wasted because of sickness! Congrats to the newly weds!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fathers and Sons

Last weekend it was our ward's father's and son's campout. Phil decided to go a week before. I appreciated him taking time out to spend with James. He has been studying nonstop for his first set of boards next month. It has been a worse schedule than when he was actually in class! But a week before the campout Phil informed me that he was going to go which surprised me. It would take out a whole day of studying. He then told me that he didn't want to ever be "too busy" to do things like this. Quite impressive to me.

They had a good time and James loved to be outside to play in the dirt, with sticks, etc. Phil also took 2 boys from our ward so they kept James entertained on the drive to and from the campout. Phil decided to sleep in the car with James while the 2 boys slept in our tent. They didn't get to bed until at least 10pm and then James was up at 5am. So needless to say, James was one tired boy when he got home...his dad was also! I guess Phil decided to just sleep in the same sleeping bag half way through the night so it wasn't the most restful sleep!

I was a little lonely on Friday night but Saturday was able to do some major cleaning. It is amazing what you can get done when you don't have a toddler at your side or needing your attention!

That night we went to a East Valley Mormon Choir Orchestra (EVMCO) concert to see our family participate (Steve, Louise, Shay, and Derek). The concert featured Collin Raye
and was absolutely amazing. It had patriotic songs (some of my favorite) and the evening was a wonderful. My awesome sister put up with grumpy and tired James as well as Maren while we were gone and luckily James crashed for her at an early bedtime. It was a great weekend!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Updating the undocumented

Here are a few happenings that I never got around to documenting.

One of our friends came over for Valentine's day and we decided to do some fingerpainting for the dads. James and his friend Rachel had the time of their lives. It was funny to watch James figure out what he was supposed to do. As you can see, most of the paint just ended up on him. The picture on top was the running around game post painting.

Just getting into things. I love to watch him explore and figure things out...even if that means picking up a mess afterwards (at least most of the time).

James' first introduction to the wii. He loved watching. After watching baseball he started to act like he was batting and throwing. In this particular picture, it shows how much his dad enjoyed it as well. Talk about focus!

In January, we started having problems with our Malibu...well, more problems. The mechanic couldn't figure out what was going on except by pulling the engine apart. We finally decided we had had it with car problems and started looking for another. What to look for became the question. We wanted to get a car that would last us at least through residency which could be as long as 8 years down the road. And at that point, we didn't know where our family would be so we decided to upgrade in size. It took a lot humility but we decided on a Toyota Sienna minivan. Phil and I are neither minivan people but we can now say that we LOVE it. It is a 2006 and we got it from a family in Gilbert who took great care of it. It is so nice to finally have a reliable car.

James loves to "work". Whatever you are doing, he wants to do too (especially with his dad). In fact, this is how Phil watches James. He just goes outside to work on a project and James wants to be in on the action. Many times, James will watch what you are doing (for example, digging) and then come and want your shovel so he can do it. Phil will generally give him his tool and then find something else he can use or get another tool to work on something else. What a great helper! He is helping his dad dig out a big concrete mass out of the ground.

There have are some mornings when Phil will get up work on things and I will continue to try to catch some sleep. He will sometimes take Maren out of the room so I can get some really restful sleep. One morning when I came out, this was what I found.

I tried to take a quick shower and when I came out, this is what I found. We purposely don't have the toilet paper on our roller but keep it on the counter top so James doesn't play with it. Unfortunately, it wasn't far enough up. I think he was pretty proud of himself. I tried to get him to pose for the picture so I could get the decorations plus him. This was the best I could do.

Cousin John was born on April 1st, 17 days after Maren. It is fun to have them so close. John is 4 days old in the above picture and the bottom picture is on Mother's day when he was blessed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Although Easter wasn't too eventful, we still had fun watching James experience it. We talked with James the morning about the true meaning of Easter and then later in the day we had dinner with my family and an egg hunt for James. He caught on quickly that you get the eggs and put them in your basket to be opened later instead of opening each one as you find it...although he took a few pit stops to get some candy. I'm sure we had more fun watching him than he did finding them...well, he may beg to differ. As soon as he collected all of them, he sat down and one by one, opened them up to gobble up the goods inside.

And he's off!

There is one this way!

Look dad!

"I needed to make sure there really were some goods in this one!"

The final loot

Not the most flattering picture but, I wanted at least one with both kids and they had had it. At least I just took one with both, right?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maren's Birth Story

I finally finished it! It only took me about 6 weeks but it is done. Just a disclaimer, I do include details (it isn't that bad) but if any sort of details turn you off, just don't read it. It is also super long. I thought about editing a short version but I'm just glad I finished the long version and I'm too lazy to shorten it. So there you have it!

On Thursday, March 10th, I had an appointment with my OB (Dr. Kevin Lythgoe) for my 39 week progress. I had absolutely nothing going on. In our visit prior to checking me, he had mentioned about stripping my membranes. After my cervix check he mentioned how closed I was still. I was a little disappointed. I had really thought I would have made some progress as it seemed like the week before I had felt more movement in that area. Weeks previously I was having constant Braxton hicks and was even experiencing some random painful cramping but nothing too exciting.
On Sunday afternoon, March 13th, about 3:30pm I started to have a few painful cramps. We were headed out to Gilbert for dinner with family so I ran to the bathroom and lost my mucous plug. Even though that may not mean a whole lot, it meant that my cervix had to be softening up a bit or possibly even dilating so it got me a little excited. The rest of the evening I continued to have quite regular contractions but nothing too painful. By the time we got home around 8pm, they had picked up a little bit in intensity and were pretty regular, on average 8-10 minutes apart. I had the thought that something was going to happen that night. We made calls to family so they were prepared just in case we needed to call them in the middle of the night. Well, the night came and went. I had consistent contractions throughout the night but they weren’t necessarily regular. I would have some that were about 12 minutes apart and then right after some that were 3 minutes apart. I tried to sleep the best I could but they were strong enough that they’d wake me up if I did doze off. I did different things to try to endure them. I laid in the bathtub for about an hour hoping that would help relieve some of the pressure but that didn’t help much (why are standard size bathtubs not big enough to fit an adult lying down?...let alone a pregnant woman). Phil slept during the night which I’m glad he did. When he would wake up during the night, he’d ask how I was doing and then roll back over and go back to sleep. He needed the rest! In the morning when he woke up, it was a lot easier for me to bear the pains. I’m not sure why that is. Just having him there aware of what was going on and what I was feeling helped me out.
I tried to convince Phil that he should go to school and that I’d just let him know when I was ready to go to the hospital. He refused and it all worked out as I started to have contractions less than 5 minutes apart by about 7am on the 14th. We decided it would be best to go to the hospital. We called Sarah, my sister’s roommate to come watch James and my mom to meet us at the house so we could travel to the hospital together (she was coming to the delivery as well). After we checked in, I was taken back into OB triage and put on the fetal monitoring. My nurse then checked me. This was the moment that I was so nervous for! Would I be dilated? You’d think that someone who had been laboring all night would be disappointed being told that they were only dilated to a 2 ½ and about 40% effaced, but I was ecstatic! Both Phil and I even got a little emotional…I know, it may seem a little silly but we were on our way to having a vaginal delivery. The nurse even said when she checked me, “Oh, there is plenty of room in there for a head to fit through!” So that was encouraging as well. As excited as we were, a 2 ½ wasn’t good enough to buy us a ticket of admission so my nurse had me walk around the floor halls for an hour to which I progressed to about a 3 and was admitted by 11am. In my room I mainly used a rocking chair at first and enjoyed visiting with Phil and my mom. I started using some breathing techniques by this point to deal with the pain…mainly slow breathing in and out (which seemed to be my most used strategy during the majority of labor) which really helped. They placed an IV and took my blood to check my platelet count which I believe came back as 95 (which really surprised me since it was much higher than normal for me). It would totally depend upon the anesthesiologist’s comfort level of whether I’d be able to get an epidural though. They were able to hep-lock me so I wasn’t attached to an IV pole which was super nice.
My doctor came in around noonish and mentioned breaking my water to move things along. I wasn’t absolutely thrilled about the idea. However, I was really exhausted and the thoughts of being done sooner were very appealing to me. He said he would come back later and we’d discuss it then. Somewhere between 2-3pm, a resident came in and asked again about breaking my water. We decided to go ahead with it. Before she broke it, I had progressed to a 4, about 60% effaced, and baby was stationed at 0. It wasn’t overly encouraging but at least I had made progress and baby was doing wonderfully.
I didn’t notice an immediate change in my contractions. They were just about as painful as they were before. In fact, I’m not really even sure when they got to the “really painful” stage. They just did. After my water was broken, my nurse brought in a birthing ball for me to use and roll around on to encourage my pelvis to open a little more and for the baby to drop. She also mentioned that I could get in the shower to deal with the contractions if I so desired. I decided to start with the birthing ball and then later move on to the shower. While on the birthing ball, Phil helped me as much as he could. He would massage my back and hands/arms with lotion. There were times he would start to massage and for some reason, it didn’t feel good anymore so I’d gently pull his hand away. He tried getting me music to listen to which lasted only so long. By that point I was pretty wasted and the contractions were really getting to me. I had been quite positive throughout labor but as they started to get more intense and be intense for the whole contraction, I really got discouraged. I would tell myself, “I can’t do this. Yes, I can. No I can’t, but I can’t tell Phil because he’ll just tell me I can” etc. etc. My biggest problem was I was SO TIRED. I just wanted to sleep. In fact towards the end as I sat on the birthing ball and had my arms and head on my raised bed, I think I dozed off a little until the next nasty contraction hit. A little before 5pm (I think, as time just blurred together), I finally told Phil that I was really struggling and wasn’t sure if I could do it any longer. He gently asked me if I wanted to get an epidural (assuming I could depending upon my platelet count and the anesthesiologist) and I said yes. He then left the room to consult my nurse. When he returned, he said that my nurse would call the anesthesiologist to just come and talk with me. At this point, I was so tired I just wanted to lie down for a little bit to “rest”. I had been on the birthing ball for several hours and needed a break. I was lying on the bed for a few minutes or so when I had the urge to push. I didn’t want to say anything because I was afraid it was a false alarm and that I was getting my hopes up. I just tried to resist pushing (which is so stinkin’ hard to do…I finally understand). When I got the same urge the next contraction I told Phil and my mom who immediately went to tell the nurse (I don’t remember which one. I do remember seeing a look of surprise and a little concern when I told them though). The nurse came and checked me and I was almost a 9. She called the doctor and he said he’d be there in 10 minutes. Phil later told me he was nervous that if I wasn’t dilated very far, I would be super discouraged. He got emotional again at this point.
I had wanted to squat during delivery so my nurse set up the squat bar for me and I sat up in bed holding on to the bar. I said to my nurse, “I’m guessing you don’t want me to push?” at which she said yes. I then began to use some major breathing to stop from pushing. My doctor arrived, had me lie back so he could check me and moved the last little lip of my cervix from off the baby’s head. Since I was already in that position, I just decided to finish delivery that way instead of squatting up (something I slightly regret). They set up a mirror for me so I could see as baby emerged and within 4-5 contractions, baby’s head came out. When the rest of her was delivered, they immediately placed her on my tummy (one of my wishes) and began the delivery of the placenta (at which I still don’t remember when that happened). I loved that I got to hold her as long as I wanted. I had asked the nurse after I had her for awhile if they needed to take her. She told me only when I was ready which I greatly appreciated. Maren’s apgars were 8/9 and she looked great overall. She immediately defecated several times on me as well as urinated (what a welcome present!).
At this point, I thought I would be overcome with joy and emotion (aka: crying) but I wasn’t at all (my mom and phil took care of that detail for me!). In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was mostly relieved that it was “over” and surprised at how much pain I was still experiencing due to after pains (they had pitocin running as soon as she was delivered) and having to be sewn up. I had an interesting tear. My doctor said it was about a second degree laceration but instead of being a nice clean tear in one direction, it “exploded” (and yes, that was my doctor’s exact word). It took them a long time to get it all sewn and I was experiencing the shakes rather badly. There were a few times where I would feel them put in the stitch where the local anesthetic hadn’t reached which was rather unpleasant.
After the doctor finished, I tried to breastfeed Maren on one side and she did great. I didn’t do the other because she defecated again on me and we decided a shower would just be easier to get cleaned up (don’t you love that as soon as you “clean up” you are just as bloody as before?) Before moving to the postpartum floor, we got some good bonding time and I was able to eat some food (which was glorious…and not clear liquids might I add…real delicious fruit and yogurt).
Overall, it was a great experience. It was really hard. I think I’m safe to say that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. A few people have asked, since I have experienced both a cesarean section and vaginal birth, which was better? A c-section was easier (I didn’t progress that far and thus didn’t experience much really hard labor, transition, or pushing). Recovery is a different story to be saved for another day. But there is something empowering in doing something you really want to do that is really hard. Right after delivery, I thought I was crazy for wanting to do a natural birth and swore I’d never do it again if I could help it but time has passed, my memory is fading, and it doesn’t seem so bad now. I’m so grateful I was able to accomplish a VBAC and so grateful for a patient doctor who allowed me to try and succeed. I’m especially grateful Maren did so beautifully during delivery. She had absolutely no problems during labor and delivery. We love our baby girl!

One last belly picture the night before Maren was born

Our awesome medical team

Sweet McRae loving his new cousin

Little brother loving his sister

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Arrival!

Our little girl finally decided to join our family!
Maren LeSueur (middle name TBD)
March 14, 2011
7lbs 11.4oz

Right after birth

Our first family photo

James loving his little sister (with help from Grandpa)

Our little baby girl!
We are grateful she finally arrived. We are loving her! I'll write a post with details in the next few days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So close...

Well, we are coming to the end of this current pregnancy. I can't believe how quickly it has gone. I have had thoughts of, "I can't have a baby yet, I'm way too busy!" However, today I finally hit an "I'm ready" stage and everything else can just take the back burner (which would have happened regardless! Phil finished an exam and is starting spring break and my week isn't nearly as packed with things to do).

I am currently just over 38 weeks. James decided to make his debut at 37 weeks so I can officially say I have never been pregnant this long before. I have been feeling quite well besides the normal uncomfortable "bigness" that comes at the end. I started my weekly appointments at 37 weeks and started to get "checked" as to my progress towards delivery. I tried really hard not to get my hopes up and did alright. So far, at each appointment, I haven't been dilated. This past week my doctor did say (after saying I was less than 1cm), "but your cervix maybe feels like it has softened up a bit"...I'm pretty sure he just said that to make me feel more hopeful! I really am fine with not being dilated at this point. As I have expressed before, I am very determined to have a VBAC so that is the only downside to not having made any progress over the past week. I just want my body to show me, even just a little sign, that it is going to work the way it is supposed to. If I can dilate to a 2, it is more than I did with James and I'm already on the path to success.

I have been concerned about feeling like a failure if I don't succeed in having a vaginal delivery this time around. I'm not quite sure why it is such a big deal for me. Part of it has to do with feeling disconnected with my baby. It took me a few weeks to truly feel like James was my baby. I wouldn't say I had postpartum depression or even baby blues that badly but I just didn't feel like I was his mother. I just felt like I was babysitting this newborn. I didn't get to bond with James much immediately after delivery due to concern for his welfare. I have seen several vaginal deliveries and each was such a spiritual experience for even me, the onlooker. I want that experience, that closeness with my child. I also am concerned that I will be limited with how many children I'll be 'allowed' to have if I end up having another c-section. I have done so much preparation with this pregnancy: read book after book, watched videos, made phil practice with me, did hospital tours, packed my hospital bag much earlier then last time, etc. I mentioned to Phil that I would be frustrated if I did end up having a c-section after all this prep and he said to me that at least I would know that I had done my part and it wasn't because I wasn't aware/prepared for birth. I do get a little anxious as my doctor said he would give me a week over my due date to go into spontaneous labor before he'd have me schedule a c-section. Having a deadline adds a little extra anxiety!

As my emotions have been so up and down about this upcoming birth, I finally feel like I have entered into a peaceful state and have accepted whatever will come. Partly, I feel prepared as mentioned above. That has made a big difference for me. Also, I have had some good appointments with my doctor where lots of questions were answered. My appointment this past week was probably the most helpful for me. I don't express my feelings too much to my doctor. However, this week I really wanted him to know my feelings about being successful in a vaginal delivery. I felt that I was able to get that across to him and for some reason, that has helped me feel much more content. Phil also gave me a blessing this past week which has been a great strength as well. So, when it is all said and done, I really think that I will feel content and peaceful, regardless of the outcome. I'm not going to say I won't be slightly disappointed if I do have a c-section, but I think I'm going to be just fine...much better than last time.

I am very excited about the arrival of this little girl. I can't wait to meet those little feet that love to poke my upper right abdomen day and night; who likes to be active when I'm trying to sleep; who makes me smile when she makes my tummy move all around. I hope I can be so good to her. It is amazing at how much you can love something that you haven't even met yet! Wish us good luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nursery and growth update

In the mormon church, turning 18 months is a big deal, both for the kid but primarily for the parent. It means you only have to "fight" with your kid for 1 hour instead of the 3 whole hours of church. The child, at 18 months, gets to enter the first stage of what we call primary, which is called nursery. At this "class" they get to play with toys, have snacks, play with bubbles, have a 5 minute "lesson", sing songs, etc. Sounds awesome, huh? James hit this milestone the end of December and both Phil and I were very excited about it. We didn't have any concerns that James would run in and not look back for the next 2 hours. After all, he does great getting babysat by other people for the most part.
However, the transition has not gone as smoothly as we have hoped for. Now, I don't want to belittle his success. He truly has done well (and supposedly, according to the leaders, has done absolutely wonderful comparatively to the other children who have recently entered). But once again, I really thought he would not have a hard time AT ALL so when I showed up the first time to pick him up and he was crying, I was a little concerned. Since then, we have had to work on a few things. Apparently my child is a slow eater and takes food VERY seriously...he unfortunately gets that last part from me. When the leader thought he was done (since everybody else was done and had moved on to other things), she picked up the rest of his snacks and I guess he had a breakdown. He also struggled when they had to pick up and put away toys which is something I had never really had him do at home (what kind of a parent am I?!?! I'd just quickly clean up after he went down for a nap or for the night...needless to say, this has definitely changed in our house). The hardest part for him is when people open and close the door frequently to the nursery room as well as when they move rooms for the "class/singing" time.
He has since improved immensely, after us going in a sitting with him through the room change but still becomes a little weepy. I am sure, with time, all will go smoothly and it will get to a point where he doesn't want to leave. But until then...It is a big change for him and I need to understand that. Structured class is a whole new world. We just take it one Sunday at a time.
Just for an update with James, he is growing and growing and we continue to fall in love with him more and more every day. Phil and I frequently express our love for him to each other at the end of the day. It is amazing how much you can love such a little person so much. At his 18 month appointment he had increased on the growth chart in head circumference and height (around 75%) but weight is still around 25%. It is fun to see him learn and grow. He loves cars and trucks (tractors/big machinery). I get an assortment of books at the library for us to read and I got a tractor book a few months ago which he fell in love with. Since then we have gotten several more and he loves them. As soon as he sees any type of big machine outside when we are driving, he is quick to point them out. These include cranes, front end/back hoe loaders, excavators, cement trucks, Semi trucks, etc. Anything that is big. Even just a regular big truck can catch his attention. He has taken to rolling cars around on the couch/bed/our legs (mostly things his level) and this can keep him occupied for quite some time. He is also enjoying stacking blocks together. Balls are getting to be more exciting and of course, any moment we can spend outside, he does...but has needed mom or dad out there with him more recently for some reason.
Word wise, we have struggled a bit. He doesn't say a whole lot and the doctor was a little bit concerned at his last appointment. He only verbally said uh-oh and nana (banana) at 18 months but also signed please, thank-you, and more. He has increased that vocabulary since and has added several words such as:
-ap-poh (apple)
-mo (more)
-dah (dog)
-em-poh (temple)
-bah (ball) or bah-bah (basket ball)
-may-men (amen)
is able to sign cereal, cracker, drink, milk, help and also imitates the following sounds:
-moo (cow)
-whoo (owl)
-hoo (blowing out air for a dog...not sure where that came from)
-meow...sort of (cat)
-choo-choo (train)
-a form of quack for duck
-moves his lips for a fish
-blinks his eyes open and close for rabbit (phil scrunches his nose and that is how he imitates)
-spanks his bum when we ask him about getting a spanking (since that happens so much at our house!)
He has been a little clingy the past few weeks as he hasn't been himself due to sickness/teething. He has needed mom time a lot more which makes me worry about this new baby coming so soon but I guess he'll manage! I hope to be able to give him the time he needs but that he learns quickly how the transition will be. We sure love our boy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Man Race

In mid December, Phil ran a marathon. He decided during the summer that it was a goal that he wanted to acheive and put his mind to it and did it. Being the frugal people that we are, he didn't want to pay to run in a race and figured he could just chart out his own course and do is own race. He started training mid summer and things went great until a few months before the planned marathon day (well...he did have some issues prior to this but getting actual running shoes fixed that problem!...that was one corner he couldn't cut when it came to money). He had some issues with his calves cramping up on him. He kept putting off the date but finally set it for December 11th and raced from Marana up to about Picacho Peak. The actual race went much better than he could have asked for. In the first two miles his calves started to cramp which worried him immensely but he was able to alter his stride so that they didn't give him any more problems. I was able to be his water/snack girl through the race. I would drive ahead every 2-3 miles and wait for him to meet me, set up station, cheer him on, and then drive ahead a few more miles. My parents were able to watch James so we didn't have to deal with keeping him happy which was marvelous. Phil's parents and sister and her husband (Janette and Brian) sent him off at the starting line and Janette and Brian were able cheer him on during the race and celebrate at the finish line with us (Thanks to everyone for their help/love/ was huge!). Phil used Janette's GPS watch so he could calculate the exact distance he had gone and also her IPOD which allowed him to listen to 4 hours worth of conference! Janette joined him running around mile 23-25 and then at the finish line, we unrolled some toilet paper for him to cross which actually ended up being a little before 26.2 so he had to keep running! :)...we had gone by our odometers and the GPS wasn't quite there so we miscalculated.

Phil is pretty amazing and quite the example of reaching a goal when setting his mind to it. I was so proud of him and love him so much! Great job, babe!

Getting Ready

Part of his fan club

On the road again...
Ready for some water and nourishment

Getting close...

And, the finish line...even though he had to keep running!

The post race shot with McRae taking place of James since he was MIA

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mother of two

Through the months of October-December I watched a little girl, Ember, from my ward who is 3 months younger than James. It was quite the experience for me. It was pretty tough at first. I hardly dared go out of the house unless I had them both strapped into our stroller but soon grew more comfortable with it. I even felt like I could grocery shop and not go crazy by the end (that was my biggest of all fears!). It was great for James as he hasn't had too many opportunities to interact with another child, let alone one his age for longer periods of time and I think it helped him prepare for nursery. It definitely helped boost my confidence level immensely in regards to having two children. I understand it will be much different with the difference in ages (newborn/toddler vs. two toddlers) but nonetheless, I feel like I'm going to be okay. It will be easier in certain things such as one won't be mobile. On the other hand, I will be completely sleep deprived! Thank you Ember for this preview into the new world of mother of two!