Thursday, June 20, 2013

The arrival of Baby Alice - The Birth Story

I think I had a pretty good guess when New Baby would arrive. On Memorial Day (May 27) Alice Grace was born at 9:15 pm. She weighed 7 pounds, 4.5 ounces, 20 inches. Can you believe It's a Girl?! Enough with the boring stats. Here she is...
Turning from blue to pink

Alice on the scale, delicates discretely covered.
I knew the baby would come over the long weekend when all our friends were out of town and we would need to use our backups for child and dog care. Things went pretty similar to Miles' birth, except we knew which hospital we were going to and when we walked into the maternity ward there was a full staff and no boxes stacked in the hallway. I started having contractions around 3:00pm on Memorial Day. I was actually at Hugo's (local grocery store) when I started feeling them. I had been feeling similar contractions all weekend so I wasn't too concerned yet. I started timing them when I got home and realized this was it.! Aaron and I took a walk around the block with Miles in the wagon to keep my labor moving. We thought we would be able to keep walking to the park, but I realized the contractions were progressing and we cut our walk short.

We had had our bags packed for two weeks, so we were ready to go. We took Miles to Teresa's house (our daycare provider who is wonderful and said she would take care of him over night for us). Miles was a little confused as to why he was going to her house in the afternoon, but he was happy to stay with her.
At the hospital, before the puking. Contractions still manageable. 

After the puking, contractions getting stronger. That smile is really forced.
We got to the hospital about 6:00pm. I was 4 centimeters dilated and the contractions were consistent at about 3 minutes apart. We probably should have gotten there sooner, but we just weren't sure exactly how fast it would go. The nurses put us in a room right away and I settled in for the ride. Aaron was a great coach. He helped keep me relaxed and calm during the contractions. He thinks he can be a professional birth coach now. So ladies, if you are prego and need one, Aaron is available.

I moved around a lot, I brought my yoga mat and was on my hands and knees on the floor for a while. This position worked well when I was in labor with Miles too. My body just seems to know what to do during birth. I didn't have any pain meds so I was managing the contractions by breathing and listening to Aaron's voice telling me to relax. I had a few rough patches and kept repeating out loud "I can to it, I can do it" and I heard Dr. Sorlie saying, "yes you can Jen, yes you can." Another great part about the experience was our friend Janelle was my nurse. She was great, she was also talking me through contractions and being a supportive part of the team. 
All swaddled up and resting.
Oh yah, and there was puking. I don't understand why my body does this, Dr. Sorlie said "that is just part of the process." But it sucks! Why does there have to be puking during labor? From our experience with Miles we learned that I shouldn't eat a big garlic and sausage filled meal before I go to the hospital. So I only had a small snack. But up came my stomach contents shortly after we got to the hospital. I had a respet from the puking and could concentrate on "opening my lotus flower" (sorry if that is too graphic, it's an image they used on my yoga DVD).

I wasn't keeping track of the time, that was Aaron's job, but honestly I didn't want to know what time it was. I was at 8 centimeters and everyone was just waiting for the pushing urge to come. I could hear Dr. Sorlie and Janelle asking me questions, but all I could do was focus on me and wait for the next contraction. I think I heard Aaron answer them, but I was in no shape to talk. Then I experienced this weird lull where I could catch my breath and even speak a few sentences. Janelle said this happens a lot during labor right before the big push at the end and the final birth of the baby. I was happy to have this time to catch my breath. Then there was more puking and as soon as I asked for the puke bag everyone jumped into action. Apparently you use the same muscles to barf as you do to push the baby out and vomiting is a sign that the pushing is going to start. Again I asked "why must there be puking?"

Mom and baby soon after birth.
Aaron told me there was a lot more screaming (from me, not the Doctor or Nurses) this time than there was with Miles. I remember at one point feeling the baby's head move down then retreat back in. It is a little hard to tell, but I think I had three good pushes and she was out! Like I said, I think my body just knows what to do when it comes to birthing a baby. I feel pretty fortunate.

Dr. Sorlie put Baby right on my chest and I was so happy to see her. Aaron announced loud and clear this time, "it's a Girl!" I couldn't believe it. It is really an indescribable feeling when you give birth.To finally see the little being that has been growing inside you for 9 months is really incredible. It is also a little surreal to think that Aaron and I created this little person.
Mom, Dad and Alice a few hours after she was born.
One of our first impressions of Alice when she came out was the length of her fingernails! It was so weird! They were like cat claws. We were also a little relieved to find out she was a girl because we didn't have a boy name picked out. We just couldn't decide on one. So luckily, we didn't have to deal with that issue. 

Another cool thing that happened was soon after she was born, maybe 10 minutes, she started rooting and looking for food (i.e., my boobs). I couldn't believe it, I don't remember Miles having that instinct right off the bat. She also latched on right away!  It is probably a combination of my experience and her ability, but with Miles it was a lot different. He had trouble latching and he didn't have a very powerful suck. Breast feedings with him would last over an hour. But Alice is a Champ at breastfeeding. We go about 20 to 30 minutes and she latches great. We do have to use a nipple shield like we did with Miles, but so long as she is getting good milk and I'm happy.
Taking of the footprints, look at those little black feet.

It was late before we settled down and were able to get some rest. Aaron stayed at the hospital with us and tried to sleep on the fold out bed in the room. My mom arrived the next day to see Alice and stay for a while to help out. Miles needs a lot of attention and Grandma was happy to give it to him. Miles also got to meet his little sister the next day. He didn't warm up to her right away. I think it was a little much for him to take in at the time. But once we got home he started to hug and kiss on her. He is going to be a great big brother.
Grandma Kross and baby Alice the next day.

Miles' first look at his sister.

Our friends Lori and Murray came to visit in the hospital and deliver cute girl clothes.
The next night in the hospital was a bit restless. It seemed like as soon as I got Alice to sleep and myself settled one of the nurses would come in disturb us. They were just doing their job, but I was longing to go home.
The ride home from the hospital
At home with Dad.

He's got to feed the Monkey, Man! (Miles practicing feeding his sister)

First family photo.

So that's the long story. We are all adjusting to the new life with baby. The dogs seem to be doing ok. The Grandmas (my mom and Aaron's mom) have all come an gone. They were great to have here. My house stayed clean but now it's up to us to manage everything. This two kid thing is going to be a challenging change. But we can do it! We can do it!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

We're almost there

We have been thinking a lot about preparations for New Baby (two or three weeks to go), but we haven't actually put anything into action yet. We still have to dig out all of Miles' baby toys and clothes and figure out where we put the swaddle blankets. Grandma Kross did buy us a new swing for New Baby and Aaron put that together last weekend. It looks pretty cool and plays all the soothing white noise sounds that kept Miles calm when he was a baby. If this baby is anything like Miles was, we will be using swaddles and the swing day and night.
Miles in March came with me on a trip to Walmart. He fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep while I shopped. I can't imagie he was too comfortable.
St. Paddy's day. Miles loves this green hat. He wears it around the house all the time. Who knew it would be such a fun play thing?

I've been trying to come up with new activities for Miles and I in the afternoons, besides napping. One thing he has shown interest in are my Simpsons toys I have scattered around the house. So I decided that I would teach him all their names. He is getting pretty good. I love how he says "Otto" and "Lenny". He knows Barney from Barney the Purple Dinosaur (you know the "I love you, you love me" singing dinosaur), so I think when he says Barney he is trying to say Dinosaur. He has also gravitated to Milhouse, I think he likes his glasses. He will make the sign for Mouse when he picks him up.(Milhouse is Mommy's favorite too)

Hayduke  looks pretty pathetic in the background. He hurt his tail and I he was pretty mopey the day I took this video. Miles' signing is also coming in handy these days. He is getting a lot more vocal and really trying to have conversations with us. Sometimes we don't quite understand what he is trying to say and him being able to sign what he wants helps us clarify his words. He doesn't quite have his Ls, Ts, and Bs quite put together yet, but he is working on it.

Our friend Ruby had her first birthday and we helped her celebrate at Stepping Stones, a kid's play place at the Lutheran Church in Jamestown. 
Ladybug cupcakes were yummy! Made by our friend Lisa.

Ruby with her Mommy Janelle.
Miles played play-dough with his friends Henry and Murray.

Miles is also interested in my belly. He has definitely noticed that it has gotten bigger and we tell him that there is a baby in there. He will also kiss it every once in a while and rub his hand on by belly and say "nice" or "baby". It's really quite cute. I'm not sure he grasps the concept of what having a new baby in the house will mean for him, but we are hoping he will adjust quickly. I haven't taken belly pictures this time around and I didn't really want any naked belly pictures of myself, but we took some with Miles and he wanted to see my belly. Please forgive me if this freaks you out, but I thought Miles was too cute in this pic not to share.
Miles Loving on the baby belly.
 He is turning into a really goofy kid.
Miles using the travel dog bowl as a hat.
 In mid April we still had snow. Miles was eating it every chance he got.
Miles eating a snow ball. "It's cold" he said, no joke kid.
But it is May now and we have been able to get outside and enjoy the sun and warmer weather. It's still a little chilly at times, but the sun feels great. Miles was wrestling the blow up alligator. I also taught him the "Gator Chomp" but he wouldn't do it for the camera.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Where did the last two months go?

Holy Cow! We had a busy start to the year and turned around and the end of January was upon us. Let me apologize for the lack of updates. My work schedule changed and I don't have the Miles-free afternoons I used to. Not that I'm complaining, it's just hard to get on the computer when little fingers want to push buttons. 
Our back yard in January, there is a little more snow now.

March has been kind of rough so far. We are still getting snow. The one thing that I (Jen) love about winter is it is citrus season and we've been eating up the grapefruits, mandarins, and other oranges. Miles loves them too. New baby seems to like them too.
We have gotten out a few times to hike and play in the snow.

We made a trek down to Memphis at the end of January for the North American Duck Symposium. Memphis is one of my favorite places and we had a great time catching up with all of our duck colleagues and grad school friends. Miles came too and we introduced him to the duck community as well. Grandma Kross met us there and spent some quality time with Miles while Aaron and I attended the conference talks and discussions. The conference was at the famous Peabody Hotel where they have a small flock of ducks that they bring up and down the elevator and they hang out in the founten in the lobby all day. Grandma made sure Miles got his fill of duck viewing every day.
We got to see Amy!!!

Grandma and Miles on the roof of the Peabody where they take the ducks to roost at night. 

He liked it up there. It was a little cold but that didn't bother this ND kid.


Up on the roof of the Peabody over looking the Memphis skyline. I love Memphis!

Amy and Brian at the Duck Symposium banquet. Brian felt the need to point out the prego belly.
I think Aaron scares Amy sometimes.
 We had some trials during the travel. Miles and I got stuck in Fargo for a night on the way down due to an airline mix-up with my ticket. And, on the morning we were leaving Memphis, Miles fell in the bathroom and hit his head on the garbage can. It opened up, there was blood and crying and we had to take him to the emergency room to get stitches.  It was a little tramatic at first, but in the end it all worked out and now Miles has a tough guy scar.
"Guy Mommy" Amy (You'll have to ask) and Miles with his head gash waiting to get stitches at LaBonner Children's Hospital in Memphis.
Three stitches.
In February Miles and I went to Florida to visit Grandma and Grandpa Kross. We stayed at their new hose in Barefoot Bay, which is about 1 1/2 hours north of Boynton where they used to live. We had lots of fun in the sun. We went to the pool in the community and all the retired, suntanned ladies fawned over Miles. They love little kids. We played wet dog with Maggie (Grandma and Grandpa's yellow lab), went to the beach, chased the birds in the back yard, visited with Great Uncle Bob and Great Aunt Sue, and we even sneaked in a little Disney and had dinner with Pirate Goofy and Donald Duck. We also made it down to Boynton to visit with my friends Vicki and Kelly and went to the Lake Worth street painting festival. The finally was the Brevard  Zoo, where of course Miles fell asleep half way through. But that was ok, it gave the grown-ups a chance to enjoy the sand art sculptures with out Miles begging to play in the sand.
Playing "wet dog" with Maggie at her special beach.

Chasing the birds, the sandhill crane was quite perturbed.

On the boardwalk at Disney's Vero Beach Resort before dinner.

Grandma and Pirate Goofy

Goofy was cool

Miles really liked Donald's bill

At the beach

Picnic at the environmental education center in Vero

Dinner at Great Uncle Bob and Great Aunt Sue's

Riding on Grandpa's lap at the Zoo. I'm really not sure what they are pointing at.

The Kross family and sand art.

Let the kid nap, we will all be happier if he does. P.S. note we are both in shorts!

So, that has been our major adventures so far in 2113. The days are getting longer and we are anticipating seeing the ground and planting our garden in another month. We are also counting down until New Baby arrives. We have about 9 more weeks to wait. We don't know the gender, we had fun waiting to find out with Miles so we thought we'd do the same with this baby. New Baby is very active and is doing back flips and kicking me constantly. This has been a smooth pregnancy just like with Miles and we figure the challenges will begin when he/she gets here. We are also still debating names.

Hopefully it won't be so long before my next update. I'll try and schedule a time and stick to it. Take care and drop us a line anytime.