Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Baby Story and McCoy's Birth Story

A year ago from McCoy's birthday our lives were very different.
I was in triage in labor and delivery and I was so relieved to be there. 
We'd checked into the ER at UCSF and were so grateful that they transferred us to labor and delivery on the 15th floor. It was a place filled with fond memories because of Evangeline's birth. 
 This time we were probably even more anxious than we'd been when we rode the elevator to the top the day Evangeline came into our lives. Yet, at the same time, we were so much more calm walking those familiar halls.

I kept telling myself things would be fine; however, I realized that day how much I felt for those who left the hospital without a sweet baby in their arms. Before that day labor and delivery only brought happy memories of newborn cries, of holding a brand-new perfect human being, and of so much joy. 

I was sure things would be fine and that things would work out the way I hoped. I was so sure of it. The moment I first realized we wouldn't have a baby or even good news when we left the hospital was when a janitor came in to empty the trash. I was waiting alone in the room while Jeff went to get some water for me, and she tried to make friendly conversation. She asked me if I was going to be having a baby soon. Tears started to come to my eyes, so I just looked down, shook my head, and told her no I wasn't. When she left the room all I could hear were the babies crying in the nursery across the hall.   

Each time the door opened the muffled cries would  become so clear and with each cry came an even greater realization of my circumstance. I quickly regretted being in this place that we'd originally been so comforted to be sent to. Each cry reminded me of what I'd be lacking as we left the hospital and made me anxious of if and when we'd have another opportunity to have a baby again. As we headed home, I tried to remain hopeful. I still kept telling myself things could be fine. We finally knew the next day that there wouldn't be a baby. There were no tears from me this time. I didn't really want to talk about it, so I didn't. We hadn't told anyone we were pregnant, so luckily for us, there was no one to tell. It just seemed too depressing. Too horrible of news. It was good to have people not know and just treat us as normal. No reminders. We needed normal right then.

I felt numb. No feelings really. Then I received a call from one of the nurse's. She informed me that the results from the tests in the hospital confirmed what we already knew. But then she surprisingly said something to me that I wasn't expecting. She asked me a question that took the shock away and made me feel again. The nurse simply asked, "And how are you doing?" In my mind I expected to immediately respond with a standard answer of "I'm fine," but I was surprised when no words came out and I just started to sob.  

She let me cry for a while before this complete stranger helped me feel better. It was exactly what I needed to hear - compassion and empathy from someone. She told me what she knew I must be feeling and she was exactly right. We had gotten so excited this time because things had worked out so perfectly with Evangeline. This time I'd purposefully let myself feel excitement and joy before the first doctor's visit. We even let ourselves buy the baby something since Jeff felt like it was going to be a boy. I am so thankful our Heavenly Father is so aware of us because I know this nurse was inspired to talk to me the way she did. The kindness, care, and sincerity that I'll always remember hearing in her voice will always bear testimony to me of God's love for me and all of His children. 

Evangeline and I just went on with our days after that and tried to heal. Evangeline was our light during this time of sadness. The day I'd started bleeding Jeff and I were talking about our concerns. Evangeline was just turning 18 months, so we didn't expect her to know what we were talking about even though I was sitting right next to her. She interrupted our conversation and sweetly said, "Say prayers?" Jeff and I just looked at each other and burst into tears. 

"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4 

Things ended up being fine. Things didn't work out the way we expected or had originally hoped, but it all ended up being fine. Evangeline and I went to the beach the day after my miscarriage, we went to the Oakland temple the day after that, and then just tried to keep ourselves very busy each following day.  However, I was worrying about June 7th. It was coming up within the next few days and it happened to be our anniversary, but it was also supposed to be my first doctor's appointment. I'd been so excited when they scheduled it on that day because I thought it'd be fun to hear the baby's heartbeat on our anniversary. We were going to announce it after the appointment too. It ended up being a pretty solemn day. After that I was so concerned I'd always remember the sadness of this experience each anniversary. 

I started to worry about Mother's Day. I had the brilliant idea of waiting til it was Mother's Day to take my pregnancy test since I really felt like I knew I was pregnant. It'd been so exciting to get the positive pregnancy results that day that I even had Jeff take a picture of all "three" of us. 

I was worried since these days were already so significant that it'd be hard to forget what had happened on these days when they inevitably come around again each year. The only hope I had was that I could choose how I felt. I could decide what those days meant to me.

When Mother's Day 2014 finally came, no pictures were taken this time. But it was a happy day where I chose to look forward. However, I could never get over how "coincidental" it was that McCoy's due date happened to be June 7th. That we found out he was a boy on the day that was the other baby's due date. Maybe it was just coincidental, but in the back of my mind, it seemed significant. So as we approached McCoy's due date I secretly hoped he'd actually be born that day. Even though it was our anniversary, I wanted that day to become McCoy's day. If he could have that day for his own, it could no longer be a day I could connect with sorrow and disappointment. 

I never admitted it out loud. Jeff never understood the many reasons why I wanted McCoy to be born on our anniversary because I couldn't explain it at the time. I just didn't want to be disappointed again on that day. And I wasn't. 

I began with this baby story to show that June 7th is McCoy's day.  
It's our wedding day.
It's a special day,
 and it'll always be a happy day thanks to him.

(at the hospital in triage about to be admitted 6am June 7th, 2014)

McCoy's entry into the world was nothing short of exciting. He came bringing a very exciting story with him.  And thankful he was the one that came into our family at one of the craziest times of our lives.

Jeff was very nervous about when McCoy was going to arrive and the entire last month of pregnancy was anxious to have me be induced. Due to our situation (i.e., flying across country with our 2 1/2 year old and our newborn and having to move into a new apartment), I was not wanting to risk things going differently than with Evangeline's birth. I knew that if I recovered the way I had with Evie's birth I could do it and things would be long as nothing about the birthing process was different.

Induction meant something different and I didn't know what would result from it. So I wanted induction to be my last option. 

I also was stressed about having to move our things after McCoy came. I just wanted to enjoy our brand new baby and the earlier he came the crazier life seemed like it would be. For me I just wanted Jeff to graduate, I wanted to have our stuff loaded on the truck and driven away, and I wanted our car to be shipped so we could just wait for baby. 

At the beginning of May I asked about my induction options and they approved me to be induced at 39 weeks due to my special circumstances. I said I'd consider it and decide at my next appointment. At my 38 1/2 week check up, they checked me and I was dilated to a one or a two (different than Evie), so I decided I'd try to get my membranes stripped instead of scheduling an induction. That evening was Jeff's graduation dinner (bleh...thanks but no thanks) and I had the same symptoms I'd had with Evangeline when I had my membranes stripped two days before she came. My legs were so achy but this time it was more extreme than before. And this is when my labor pains began. Nothing super painful. Just some discomfort and uncomfortable cramping. Jeff got excited and was sure this baby boy would be coming any day. 

Not quite.

At 39 1/2 weeks (the day before Jeff's graduation), I got my membranes stripped again and I was dilated to a three or four. I reluctantly decided to schedule an induction on Saturday June 7th at 8pm because Jeff and I were worried that McCoy wouldn't come on the 7th and then he'd be less than a week old when we flew to Alabama. The same symptoms happened that night (i.e., aching legs), but they weren't as intense. The doctor got excited because I had a contraction during the procedure, but it felt more like a cramp to me, which I'd been having my entire pregnancy. I started to worry a little more that it might happen during graduation, but after I talked with my sister, Natalie, and found out she'd been dilated to a four for a month with her last kid, I decided I had nothing to worry about. I had been having more labor pains, but they just didn't feel painful enough to consider a contraction like when my whole labor process began with Evangeline.

On the day of Jeff's graduation, I woke up and the symptoms were gone. Just left with some cramping here and there. We went to Jeff's graduation at about 10am that morning (parking was annoying...I won't forget being 2 days shy of 40 weeks and walking from Civic Center parking to the Davies Symphony wrap dress kept flapping in the wind, so I held it with one hand and pushed Evie in the stroller with the other hand. I am sure I looked ridiculous). During the ceremony I had to use the bathroom, and of course, Evie wanted to come with me. She was wanting to be held all the time, so I took her with me. 

Spoiler alert...this may be TMI...
but when I got into the stall, I looked at my underwear and realized I'd experienced the bloody show. This hadn't happened with Evie, so I didn't know what to expect exactly. I just remembered reading about it and I thought I remembered that it meant the baby would be coming within the next few days. I was just hoping it wouldn't be that night (Jeff had a graduation dinner he'd been looking forward to and I'm not gonna lie, so was I).

Evie saw my worried face when I'd looked down and she says (very loudly), "What's that Mama?" I quickly told her it was just something from the baby, promptly changed the subject, and got cleaned up.

I was definitely noticing a lot more cramping at this point but nothing super painful so I still didn't consider them to be contractions. They were just a little uncomfortable. I was worried the entire dinner because the bloody show was continuing to make it's appearance. And I hadn't told Jeff about any of what had been happening. We were just so close to having everything done that I wanted checked off my "before baby comes" list, so I still didn't feel ready for McCoy to come yet. Luckily for me, he didn't.

When we got home from dinner and went to bed, I told Jeff what had been going on all day. I explained that I still wanted all our boxes to be completely ready for loading the truck, and Jeff reassured me that we'd be able to get it done the next day (Friday June 6th). 

We got up, took care of Evie, got her settled watching a show so she'd stay in one spot (we didn't want to knock her with furniture or boxes), and started organizing all our packed things. We were pretty much finished with moving things around by early afternoon. Evie got to play outside with her friend Gray, and by 6pm we received a call from the truck driver. Apparently, our car needed to be dropped off to him by 9am the next morning. This meant that Jeff had to go with his classmate Mike to pick up the truck at 7am. The Elder's Quorum was coming to help pack the truck at 8:30am. And I said I'd drop off the car by 9am. I was hoping our whole moving deal would be over on Saturday by 1pm, so I could then start walking a ton so I wouldn't have to be induced that night. 

It took us the whole day on Friday, but when we went to bed at 11pm that night. I felt completely ready for baby boy to arrive. (We even slept on an air mattress that night so our mattresses would be ready to pack...we were totally ready). Thank goodness my babies know me and know that I like feeling completely ready and prepared. Evie and McCoy came right when I was ready. 
Jeff kept telling me he felt like this baby still hadn't come yet because I didn't want him to come yet, and I think Jeff was completely right. 

When we laid down to fall asleep, I felt contractions start that were more painful. I kept it to myself, closed my eyes, and went to sleep. It took about a half hour to finally be able to ignore the contractions enough to fall asleep, but I did. I kept telling myself we'd be able to get everything done in the morning before baby would come. 

I woke up at 2:30am to contractions that were painful enough to wake me up. After a half hour of them, Jeff asked me if I was having contractions. Apparently, he'd been awake listening to me try to deal with them quietly. I said yes but they weren't bad and we'd be able to move no problem. I'd even take the car at 9am too. By 3am Jeff said we should start timing them. At 4:30am I started getting nervous because they were close. My doctor had told me not to labor at home very long this time since it was my second baby, so I wanted to get to the hospital and I didn't want Evie to hear me laboring. 

By 5am we called our friend, Tess, and asked if she could come over and stay with Evie (who was sleeping in their pack n play in our bathroom). Jeff and I couldn't shower because Evie was asleep in our bathroom. So we tried to get ready as much as possible. When Tess got there I was putting on some make-up, so I wouldn't look so not showered and Tess called UCSF labor and delivery for me and handled them like a boss. They said to come on down. 

Evie woke up right before we left, Jeff went in and talked to her to let her know Tess would be there when she woke up, and she went back to sleep. 

When we got to triage we thought I wasn't as far a long as I'd been when I checked in the hospital before Evangeline. And we were right. I was a 5 almost 6.

(monitor in triage of my contractions)

We were checked into the labor and delivery room by about 7am. (My babies like to time everything pretty much the same I guess). Jeff called Mike and let him know he'd have to get a taxi to pick up the truck. They brought be the nitrous oxide and everything seemed to be moving along nicely. The best part about how this labor started was that my nausea I had the entire pregnancy with McCoy almost immediately disappeared once labor started. I was so excited when I could tell Jeff that I finally didn't feel sick anymore! Unfortunately, it didn't last the entire labor, but when it did come back it was so brief I barely noticed it.

McCoy's hospital birthing experience was so different from Evangeline's. I don't know if we were just excited we didn't have to pack the truck ourselves (ha!), but there was a LOT of laughing and joking during my laboring. I might also have been a little in denial about what I was about to do. Evangeline's birth had felt a little traumatic for me, so I was a little scared to have to do it again. Luckily, McCoy's was not traumatic by any means of the word. I don't know if a birth could go any better than his birth experience did.

Kimball was at our apartment at Aldea helping direct the Elder's Quorum about packing the truck for us. They made record time and had the entire truck packed within about 30 or 40 minutes, which took a little longer once they realized the mattress wasn't packed the way Jeff wanted it and there was some repacking involved. But even with that it took about an hour for them to finish.

I'll never forget Jeff picking up a phone call from Kimball letting us know the truck was packed, Kimball asking Jeff how it was going, Jeff looking at me, and me making a face at him like, "Are you kidding me?" because I was right in the middle of a contraction and was in the process of tightly grabbing onto Jeff's shoulder's for support. We just started laughing and Jeff quickly responded that you know I was having a baby, so it was going as well as it could go. 

Jeff was also getting calls from his parents who were coming up to help and they were going to drop off our car to be shipped for us. Once those several phone calls were finished, Jeff decided he'd hurry and grab some water and snack for me before things got more intense. 

They still hadn't detached me from the monitors yet, and I was not liking to stand up because it was feeling really uncomfortable down there. Very different from Evangeline's birth. It felt kind of like a balloon down there, which as you would imagine doesn't feel that great. 

I'd just sat back down when my phone started ringing. No Jeff. No nurses. And I was hooked up to the monitors still. We were expecting the call from the truck driver who was going to pick up our car to be shipped to Alabama. I knew that had to be the truck driver. Unfortunately, my phone was on the window sill on the opposite side of the delivery room. So I just tried to stretch the cords as far as possible. 

It really felt like a scene from an episode of Seinfeld or Friends (one of those 90s sitcoms) as I was literally hopping on one leg to try to reach my phone and try to stay attached to the monitors and keep my nitrous close. I was able to snatch the phone just in time. 

The truck driver proceeded to give me the details about where to drop off the car, and I could feel a contraction starting to creep up, so I quickly told him, "Actually I'm in labor right now at the hospital, so if you could contact my father-in-law, that'd be great." I read his cell phone number as fast as I could and quickly hung up right as the contraction swelled to it's climax.

Once the contraction was finished, Jeff walks in and I told him what happened. We just started laughing and Jeff couldn't believe the odds that we got the call during the only time he left the labor and delivery room and the only time I was completely alone in there. 

Things calmed down after that and we couldn't believe how slowly things seemed to be progressing. I felt like a big part of that was due to me having issues standing up for prolonged periods of time. When they came and checked me again, I was only a six still. I asked about the balloon feeling and they explained my bag of water was bulging out, but it wasn't breaking. Bleh. And they were surprised I'd been there for several hours and really hadn't progressed. I explained that with Evangeline's birth my water didn't break until I was an 8, and after it broke I went straight into transition, which is basically how it happened when my mom was in labor with her babies. The doctors then proceeded to say then they would feel comfortable breaking my water if I wanted; however, it might go a lot more quickly and so it could potentially be a lot more intense. This did make me a little nervous because I was only at a six. Would it take an hour of intense pain or would it take ten minutes? Would the pain be more intense than it was with Evangeline's birth? All I knew was I learned from Evangeline's birth that the faster you can get the baby out the better because once it's out you're done. So I chose to have them break my water. 

After that things really went quickly. It was twenty minutes of contractions and then the contractions got so painful I couldn't use the nitrous anymore. Then the worst contraction came, and just like with Evangeline's birth, I called out, "I can't do this anymore!" and then I went into transition. 

I am always so amazed that with both my labors what a tender mercy it is that when I don't feel like I can take it anymore, I go into the transition phase. It's so beautiful and it always makes me so grateful

Everything went better this time since I knew what to expect. But I felt like I was able to stop from pushing a lot better this time until they said it was okay. Ten minutes of pushing with three pushes and McCoy was out! I realized how much better of a birthing experience you can have when you have slept before coming into deliver the baby. I had so much strength to push this time around and because of that I didn't push the wrong way. I realized the reason I'd pushed wrong with Evangeline was because of pure exhaustion. I never understood what had happened until McCoy's birth was so flawless.

When he came out so quickly, I just remember telling McCoy thank for coming out so quickly and that I just loved him. I didn't tear this time, so I got to hold him first. When they handed me him, I told Jeff it was like déjà vu. McCoy looked almost exactly like Evangeline when he came out, only a little on the smaller size and his ears looked completely different. I loved that. I loved that it seemed so familiar and it made me love McCoy even more almost instantly because he reminded me of the happiness and joy Evangeline had already brought me. I just started imagining McCoy bringing us the same joy all over again. And I loved that. I loved him.

The nurse  asked me if I thought he was the same size as my other baby, and I honestly felt like he was pretty close to the same size, but a little smaller. When they measured he was definitely smaller weighing in at 7 pounds 15 ounces. I started feeding him and he was soo noisy! The nurse said it sounded like he'd been starving! It really did sound like he was so thirsty.

McCoy was a dream baby. The only night he really was wide awake was that first night in the hospital. And I know they say babies aren't affected by light when they are that little, but McCoy was. He really responded to the lights being off when going to bed. I was worried about our journey that was yet to come, but while I snuggled this bundle of joy, nothing else mattered. And with all our things on their way to Alabama, we were able to truly start enjoying McCoy. 
We are so grateful we have him in our lives. 
He is so special and so important to us. 
We are so happy you were born McCoy and we will always love you sweet boy.

I didn't take it for granted this time that I was so blessed to be someone who got to leave the hospital with a sweet baby in their arms. And I certainly didn't forget all those that may have left that hospital and any other hospital without a special newborn in their arms. I think my heart will always go out to those mamas and dadas that have to leave with heavy hearts for whatever reason. 

We are truly blessed to have these babies of ours. 
We love you McCoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

One Month older and wiser too...

He can't stop sneezing when he starts. Sneezed up to seven or eight sneezes in a row and after he'd always say "Ohhh..." in the sweetest little voice. I've never seen anything like it but we were never fast enough with our cameras, which makes Jeff and I so sad.

His first real smiles were on July 3rd. I'd been helping Evangeline take a nap (since she decided to stop after he was born), and didn't hear that McCoy had woken up until he was very upset. I ran in and got him, felt like the worst mother, and cuddled him while I told him I was so sorry. He just stopped crying, looked up at me and smiled. Evangeline saw him smile at me and said, "Mama, did he just smile?" I was so surprised that I just said, "I think he might have." Then he smiled at Evangeline and she squealed that he smiled at her. That sums up this little boy's personality so far in a nutshell. He is too sweet.

Honks ALL night long.

Started the peak of fussiness a little before four weeks. But chose the best time. Dinner until about 10:30pm (which was fine by me because Evie chose 11pm until 1am). He had lots of tummy issues with gas bubbles because he gulps like a maniac. In the hospital when he was born the nurse was so shocked that he was gulping the entire he was starving to death. He still will do that everytime he nurses and he nurses ALL the time! Every hour, except at night time he can go 2-3 hours and sometimes 4 hours (only happened once or twice).

He is very strong and can literally throw himself off of you if he want to change his position. It's actually very scary and makes him hard to hold because he's so so jerky.

He chokes all the time on his spit up. Rarely spits it up because he chokes to death on it, which is terrifying at nighttime. Most of the time he has to sleep on my chest, which caused it's own terrifying problems. He already has started cooing, is good at tracking, self-soothes by sucking on his hand, looks for Mama when you ask where I am, responds to his name, and calms down when I saw McCoy while he's crying.

He makes the best old grumpy man faces and stretches like a little man. He also makes the funniest faces while he's stretching.

Rubs his nose all over me all the time - such a boy.

Has hair that sticks up like a little mohawk all the time.

He poops like a boss. About 10 times a day and more if you include that he poops again while you're changing him. He's enjoyed peeing all over our bed, Evangeline, and his face. McCoy has also enjoyed pooping all over the wall twice. Different walls each time. And one wall was about three feet away, so he had a pretty nice shot. He's also pooped all over Grandma and Mama. And he enjoyed his first fireworks show with no crying, until the ride home.

He loves the car if he's alseep and hates it if he's awake or if the car isn't moving. But it helps if you can hold his hand because he loves holding hands (not like Evie as a baby). And apparently, bumper lips run in the family because he can make a pretty good one just like Evangeline.

I love this little guy and I'm so glad he came into our lives. We really needed his sweet spirit in our home at this time :)


He has the froggiest legs...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hello Kitty Halloween

 Yes she is a "Hello Kitty" fan.
Because it's a kitty cat.
So we had to make it a Hello Kitty Halloween.
Especially since her costume was a kitty cat.

And yes she is wearing her pajamas with shoes and a hat while she's inside looking at her pumpkin she made with Dada.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Evie chose to be Marie from the Disney movie "Aristocats."

She loved that kitty the first time she saw it on the shelf - no need to see the movie. 
It was love at first sight.

Although, we couldn't resist showing her the song "Scales and Arpeggios" when we realized how much she loved that kitty.
And by 17 months, she'd ask to listen to "Arpeggios." 
By 18 months we could sing the song and she'd finish the line for us in tune and everything :)

This love for Marie started at 15 months, so no one was surprised when Evangeline picked to be Marie for Halloween.

Happy Halloween!