Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Go to Parking Pass" (Translation: Let's go to the Pumpkin Patch!)

We're still figuring out all of Micah's sentences, but every time he said parking pass, we knew he was excited to go to our first trip to the pumkpin patch! Here are some photos of our excursion:

I forgot my little pumpkin's pumpkin hat - was so bummed! It would have made a great picture.I made up for it at his bath that very same night! What cruel torture to my child, I know. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting Perspective

I didn't expect this week to be so physically exhausting. This getting-up-every-hour thing is driving me to insanity. I'm sure this is how they torture prisoners of war---they sleep deprive them for weeks, and then they let them sleep 45 minutes and just as soon as they fall in a deep sleep, they scream as loud as a wailing baby, "Wake up!" and then they make them stay up for an hour, and start the whole process again around the clock. After all my serious grumbling, I got some encouragement from my wonderful girlfriends and one thing they said was: Lower Your Expectations! This gave me some much needed perspective and so I chose to turn a corner and not focus on the burden of nursing every two hours with no sleep whatsoever, but to focus on the privilege of getting to hold my baby and smell him and to watch him grow. Here is my crashed-out baby smelling like well...a delicious newborn baby!
So with a shift in perspective, I looked back on the week and found myself to be grateful:
1. that Micah slept through the night every night since we brought Caelan home except for the first. What a huge relief!
2. that my husband tirelessly helps around the house and burps and changes diapers without complaint. Every now again, he'll look at me and say, "I know this is hard..." and it makes a world of difference.
3. that we went on a date night in the first two weeks, even though we did still talk about the kids. It was nice to get out and be alone. (Actually, the real first date was on day 4 when we went to Walgreens at 11:00 at night and like school kids, we browsed the aisles laughing at things we found that were so weird to find at a drugstore. It was a lot of fun, and we laughed a lot - so what if our mission was to buy stool softener - it was STILL romantic!)

My funny husband on our first date (post two kiddos!)
4. that I got to take a shower at least every other day. That's unheard of!
5. that breastfeeding does not hurt as much as the first time
6. that my mom gave up two weeks of work to spend quality time with Micah, clean my house, and make all our meals. Mom, you are heaven-sent!

When you can focus on the good things, you realize how blessed you are. And it gives you the strength to get through the tough nights. My prayer is that Caelan will grow quickly so he'll at least give me four hours of uninterrupted sleep. Truly, that's all I need to survive! For now, I will just sniff his wonderful baby smell, and realize that I don't want time to speed up too much or I'll miss the part of enjoying him!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Caelan's Birth Story

In all fairness to Caelan, Micah had his birth story recorded so I wanted to make sure Caelan's story got the spotlight too. Most of you know that I was scheduled for an induction on October 1st at 7:30 a.m., two weeks earlier than my due date. In the last trimester, I was diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) which is a liver condition that causes excess bile in my bloodstream, and was toxic to the baby. While the idea of an induction was very unnatural, in all frankness, I was more concerned with the risk of a sudden stillbirth than I was with an early baby. But the Lord's timing is always perfect, and I didn't need to worry, it turned out that my body was ready to give birth at exactly the same time I was supposed to be induced. How God is that!

My doctor's appointment earlier that day confirmed I was about 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I started having strong contractions around 4 p.m. and decided that I should go to the hospital in case I dilated too quickly and wouldn't be allowed an epidural. Something I was not willing to risk! So I packed the rest of my bag, got all dolled up for the momentous occasion (for all those comments of how I looked- no I did not have a make up artist on stand by! I am a diva --deal with it) and so we were off to meet our new baby!

Our last family photo of just us and Micah:

When we arrived at the hospital, I was only 5 cm dilated (For reference, you need to be at ten when you start pushing) however, the doctor was not willing to send me home and risk me having the baby on the bathroom floor. I was encouraged to walk around the hospital for about an hour, so Patrick and I paced the halls in hopes that the pressure would dilate me further. We used that precious time to "prayer walk" and pray for the delivery, our sons, our families, and friends. When we ran out of things to pray for, we prayed for the upcoming Presidential election! :)

Hard to believe I am in active labor right now with killer
contractions at 2 minutes a part. I can't feel a thing! 

Around 7:30 p.m., I was checked again and it worked, I was more dilated and pretty ready to go. I was quickly admitted, given a fantastic dose of an epidural and by 8:30 p.m., they broke my water, and started me on pitocin to speed things up. Within 3 hours, I was already fully dilated! I have to say it was the best birthing experience EVER. I didn't feel an ounce of pain from the start and when it was time to push, I had to peer over the side and ask my doctor if indeed I was pushing! I suppose anyone would still look good if they didn't even break a sweat during labor! We missed a September birthday by one minute (believe me, my doctor tried!)

Fifteen minutes of painless pushing and little Caelan came into the world at 12:01 a.m. And shook me to the core. I guess I thought having done this before that I wouldn't be as moved, but surprisingly, I was even more moved by seeing his little body wiggling and hearing that first cry. I think it's because of all the stress of whether he was going to be alive or not. We have a video and you can hear me saying in complete awe, "Wow, he's so real! He's actually alive..." He was the most beautiful thing I ever saw.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Caelan turns ONE....week that is.

Caelan turned one week old yesterday and looking back and reflecting on our first week as a four-member family, things have been going very well. Caelan is eating well, and although he doesn't sleep as long as Soryda would like, he does seem to be sleeping soundly. Already after one week, he looks like a different baby:

Here's our first family-of-four outing
(Micah's favorite past time -riding the trains!) :

Micah is also adjusting well. I didn't really know what to expect as far as how Micah would react, but it is fun to see how excited he is about Caelan. He exclaims "the baby!" when he hears him cry for the first time in the morning, wants to watch us change him, and sometimes asks to hold him. We were eating snacks two days ago, and he wanted to give Caelan some of his raisins. It was very cute.
Micah tries to give Caelan a kiss after their baths:

So, at least for now, since I am not pacing up and down the stairs with earplugs and a crying baby (which is exactly what I did the first full month Micah was alive), I can worry about other things, such as how are we going to raise TWO boys? I thought one was going to be hard enough. When Micah was born, his skin was a light tan color, then Caelan comes out a bright pink. My first thought is "These are definitely not the same babies." So almost everything that worked with Micah will not work for Caelan, but I am looking forward to getting to know another adorable little boy the Lord has entrusted to us, and as his father, He will give me the strength and wisdom to do the the job right.

Here's a debut of Caelan's first slideshow. (You can also view it by double-clicking on the slide show at the top right-hand corner). Enjoy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Starvin' Marvin, Wailin' Caelan, Tongue-tie, Oh My!

The title about sums up our first few days from the hospital. I had wondered why our wailin' Caelan was quickly returned from the nursery after a feeding, and I suspected that he might be hungry. After visiting with the lactation consultant the next morning, she took one look at his mouth and said, he has a tongue-tie (before anyone gets too worried, it's the cord of tissue called the frenula under the tongue). Apparently, it's too short and not allowing him to fully extend his tongue to nurse effectively. Micah also had a tongue-tie, but not nearly as bad as Caelan's. Friday night was a dejavu first night home experience ---incessant, inconsolable crying, ALL night long just like Micah. I nursed about every 45 minutes, and Patrick held him in a football hold in the recliner all night, the only way he would really settle. Somehow that dream of a third child was fading away into the far distant future....

Saturday morning, our first pediatric visit, confirmed Caelan lost 12 ounces (almost 10% of his birthweight) and the doctor told me to supplement him with formula until my milk came in. Thank God that very afternoon - the Lord heard and answered with a whole LOTTA milk-- so much so, I didn't even buy a pump (or any bottles for that matter, was purely trying to breastfeed) and had to borrow my friend Kathy's pump so I wasn't in so much pain.

On Sunday, with great relief, he slept ALL DAY AND NIGHT and I had to wake him up to nurse him several times. He is a much happier baby, already looking plumper, and now mom can rest for a whopping two hours at a time. Woo hoo! Today, we visited the ENT, who confirmed the tongue-tie, and Caelan painlessly got his frenula snipped (sounds a lot worse than it is), cried for maybe ten seconds and promptly fell asleep. He just now nursed quite a bit so I think it's helping. We're off to a much better start for our adventure. Now, off to sleep I go...

Friday, October 3, 2008

So the Adventure Begins...

Well, it's day three at the hospital. And I can't tell you how elated I am to be going home. This is coming from the same girl who ever since she saw an episode of the Brady Brunch where Cindy and Bobby got to eat ice cream after having their tonsils taken out, always wanted to be hospitalized and have tons of visitors. (The only other time I ever got to stay overnight at the hospital was the first time I gave birth.) I suppose I still like the all-you-can gorge ice cream and the streaming friends who come with well-wishes, but I am glad to part with the experience. I basically got no sleep while I was here. Zip, zero, zilch. Perhaps it's my raging post-pardum hormones, but it is INCREDIBLY annoying every time you actually fall asleep that a staff person comes in to ask you something irrelevant! Even with a sign outside the door that mom is resting, in the course of one hour, I had eight people stop by (who by the way was not my doctor or Caelan's)!

Aside from the sleep deprivation, one of my worst fears is coming true - Caelan likes to cry a lot. It was a bit deceptive in the beginning because he would mostly sleep and make door-squeaking noises (that at the time were very cute) and each day, he would progressively get louder and I got more clueless as to why he was wailing. It had been only an hour since the last feed!

Experiencing the classic mom-nightmare, last night around 3:30 a.m., I had finally dozed off and I hear this baby's distant, but loud crying down the hall. My first thought was "oh, that poor mommy" and the crying became shrieking, and it got louder, and closer, and closer...and I thought, "No way! Couldn't be, mine just got sent to the nursery..." Sure enough, that poor mommy turned out to be ME! Caelan was back and the nurses had no clue how to calm him. After I fed him (again!), I couldn't help thinking this was the exact course that Micah took when we found out he had reflux...the nurses would bring him in shrugging and saying, "Your baby just wants to be with his mommy" which is CODE FOR: "We tried everything. You take him, and um...we wish you lots of luck when you leave here." Oh, Lord, have mercy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Micah sees Caelan for the first time

I always wondered if Micah would understand the concept of a new baby. I thought for sure he wouldn't understand that Caelan was the same baby in mommy's belly, and sure enough, our smart little guy figured out that this child mommy was holding, was somehow out of mommy's tummy, and wasn't just anyone's baby --this was HIS baby! Here's their first meeting:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Introducing my son....Caelan Daniel Ring

As a proud father, our eagerly awaited baby arrived early. Caelan Daniel was born this morning, October 1, at 12:01 AM. (Caelan is an Irish name meaning "Victorious Warrior") and the winner of the vote (and incidentally our first choice) for the middle name is Daniel. A very strong name. Caelan was born 7 pounds, 8.9 ounces and 19 inches long. For reference, and just because parents compare children, that's about the same size Micah was. Praise the Lord! Everything went very smoothly and fast. Labor was about four hours. He is healthy, and both baby and mommy are doing well. I am going to send out more thoughts shortly, but I wanted to get some pictures out quickly.

Here is a very good picture of Caelan
with a nurse, shortly after he was born:

And here is beautiful Mommy and beautiful
baby (about 6 minutes old):