Sunday, December 6, 2009

Are these the Christmas memories I want to make?

Christmas music playing in the background and snow softly falling outside...

Hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows and homemade Christmas cookies right out of the oven...

Lots of smiles and laughter as we create beautiful Christmas memories of decorating the tree as a family...

The entire family dressed in matching holiday sweaters so that we can take our holiday family photo as soon as we are finished decorating the tree... okay, that one is a little too cheesy, even for me.

The reality of trying to decorate for Christmas in my house is SOOOOO different than the Christmas decorating in my daydreams. I love holiday traditions and the chance to create special memories with my kids but this last week has not gone as I planned.

It started last Sunday during our drive back from Louisiana for Thanksgiving. I had told Sophia that we could put up our Christmas tree when we got home and she was so excited. Traffic, tummy aches and tantrums delayed our trip. By the time we finally made it to our house, Sophia started throwing up and Tallen demanded constant adult contact. We discovered during his doctor appointment the next morning that he had (and at this point probably still has) double ear infections.

On Monday, Trey managed to get the tree downstairs and put it together. Yes, we have a pre-lit tree that can be assembled in less than 15 minutes. (Talk to me again in ten years and maybe my kids will have convinced me to bring a live tree into the house so we can spend several weeks watching it die). Anyway, Sophia was so excited when Trey taught her how to turn on the lights on the tree by herself. Five boxes of Christmas decorations made the trip from the attic to the living room but remained unpacked. Except for the smallest box which contained the stockings, kitchen towels and blankets which Sophia used to decorate Tallen's exer-saucer (while he was in it playing).

On Tuesday, both of our heaters stopped working... which was inconvenient because it was scheduled to get down in the 30's that night. Trey built a fire, we put a portable heater in our master bedroom and had a four person slumber party in my bed. As I left for work on Wednesday morning it was snowing, so I got a little bit of my Christmas spirit back.

By Wednesday evening, Trey had given up on the idea of me actually decorating the tree with ornaments and moved all the Christmas boxes into the dining room so we could stop tripping over them.

My plan for Thursday night was to take the kids to a lighted Christmas parade in downtown Grapevine. However, with Tallen still recovering from double ear infections and the temperature forecasted to be in the 30's again that night, we had to miss out. Sophia and I made up for it by baking the first batch of Christmas cookies.

On Friday evening, all four of us headed out to do some Christmas shopping. In theory this sounds like fun... but I did not factor in the extra time it takes to put two kids in coats, hats and gloves due to the cold weather. This coat, hat and gloves routine had to be repeated every time we got out of the car to go into a store and again when we were trying to leave the store to go back to the car. After the third store when I realized that I had lost Tallen's hat and had to go back through the aisles looking for it, we headed home and went to bed. The tree remained lit but unadorned...

Saturday morning I was at the mall before 8:00 AM to do some KID-FREE Christmas shopping and then on to brunch with the girls. The plan that afternoon was to take the kids to the Lewisville Christmas parade but Tallen decided that his ear infection is back (or maybe it never got better) so I spent the afternoon holding a fussy baby instead of watching homemade floats and catching candy canes.

Which brings us to Sunday and the the real reason my tree finally got decorated today. Both of the kids went to Trey's parent's house last night while we were at the Mavs game. Sophia was mesmerized by their Christmas tree and could not resist touching all of the sparkly, glittering items on the tree.

In awe, Sophia looked at her Gran and said "Our tree does not have all of these beautiful things on it. Ours just has lights."


So today, after I had rocked a fussy Tallen to sleep, I finally opened the Christmas boxes in the dining room and got out the sparkly, glittering ornaments. I woke Sophia from her nap and told her it was finally time to decorate the tree. And with the Dallas Cowboys game as our background music (instead of Christmas carols), we hung the ornaments on the tree. Instead of having hot cocoa and Christmas cookies when we were finsihed, Sophia and I shared my leftover cotton candy that I brought home from the Mavs game. Instead of lots of smiles and laughter, Tallen's cries filled the room (I really think he still has those ear infections) and Trey had to hold him so that Sophia and I could decorate. And instead of posing for our a family picture in front of the tree, Trey snapped some pictures on his Iphone because he had left the camera in his car and he could not go get it because he was holding Tallen (unless he wanted to go through that whole coat, hat and glove routine again).

So while this may not have been the decorating scenario of my daydreams, our tree is up and are making Christmas memories as a family.

My plans this week? Well, we still have to take the kids to get their picture made with Santa. Check back later in the week to see how that goes...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Foto Friday

Sophia, the "Big Sister", is still in love with Tallen, the "little brother".

I'm sure in a few years, I will not be able to get them to sit together like this and smile for the camera. But for now they both look very happy. And that makes me very happy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

If at first you don't succeed... take another picture!

I know these are over a week late... but we did get a picture of the kids on Halloween before we hit up the neighbors for some candy. If I just put up the picture below, you would never know how much effort it took to get a good picture of all three of us. But I think it is more fun to see how much effort it takes to get ONE good picture...

We are all smiles and ready to say Happy Halloween and Treat or Treat!

Umm, I don't think we were ready yet... Is anyone looking at the camera?

Well at least Sophia is smiling in this one. She is so excited to have pink pom poms!

I was little worried that Tallen couldn't breathe with the lion costume over his face so adjustments were needed...

He is clearly not as excited as I was about his costume - he looked so sweet.

Those cute little lion feet would not stay on and we had a little trouble getting Tallen to sit up...

Finally - my sweet little lion on his first Halloween. Check out those chubby cheeks. Thanks for being such a patient photographer Dad!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

That is one cool kid...

"Hey, check out my new hat. I think it looks pretty cool."

"Yeah, chicks dig guys who wear cool hats. My daddy wears them all the time and my mommy thinks he looks cool."

"So I have the cool hat - now I just need to learn how to play guitar. Then I will really be just like my daddy."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time... is NOT on my side

There are many days that I wish that I could get paid to be a writer... maybe if I was paid to write my blog it would get updated more often. I can come up with lots of excuses but the main reason is that life just gets in the way.

So I will take a deep breath and quickly bring you up to date on what you have missed in the past month...

Sophia got an ear infection, a virus, hives and tested positive for Type A influenza. Tallen had a fever, had his 4 month check-up, gained 2 pounds, got a yeast infection, tested positive for Type A influenza and lost about 1/2 a pound. Trey had an upper respiratory infection early last month and 24 hours after Sophia tested positive for the flu he was down for the count. I guess I was the first one with the flu (fever and body aches for four days probably indicate the flu) followed by an upper respiratory infection and recovered just in time to take care of everyone else who had the flu. Our family has made 8 trips to the doctor since the beginning of September!

On the Saturday morning in October that I was schedule to run the IBC 5K race, I was up at 6:30 AM heading to the store to buy Tylenol, lots of Lysol, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to "germ free" our house. I washed every sheet, pillowcase and blanket that was coughed or sneezed on in burning hot water, then I prayed over our house and family so that we will never get the flu again.

The weather started to turn cooler and I discovered that Sophia has grown several inches since last winter and all of her pants are too short and tight. We spent several hours at the outlet mall trying to get her to try on jeans and pants while she ran through the aisles of the stores and played hide and seek in the rack. I tried to keep her strapped in the stroller but would let her out to put Tallen in it after my arms got too tired holding him. Trey finally agreed that we need a double stroller. I will be searching craigslist this weekend.

Work is super busy this time of year so I am trying to find those extra hours in each day to work some overtime but that has been difficult when I have had to stay home several days over the past month to take care of my sick husband and kids. Trying to catch up as fast as possible and still see my kids before they go to bed each night. Did I mention that Tallen is still nursing? Yes, another reason to try to rush home by 6:30 so I can feed him. This is also why I am sometimes functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep each night once I subtract the time spent awake after nursing him. I hope we get him back on his schedule soon - the flu really turned our world upside down.

Trey and I have missed date day in September and October but we are doing our best to squeeze in some kid free dates whenever possible. Date day is the 16th of every month (the day we got married in May) and we try to set aside that day to plan a date together - which I hear is so important when you have kids. Sunday we grabbed a cup of coffee together at the bookstore. Our date last approximately 47 minutes before we had to head back to his parents house to pick up the kids.

Whew, now that I have caught my breath I have to get back to work.

Oh I forgot to mention that we did buy a new camera so check back in a few days for a new edition of Fun Foto Friday!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Foto Friday - Extended Edition

Tallen was four months old yesterday! We celebrated by taking him to the doctor and letting the nurse poke him with lots of needles. He was not amused and he made sure that we all experienced his displeasure. On the bright side, he is a healthy growing boy who now weighs over 14 pounds and is taller than 80% of other babies his age. Who would have thought that Trey and I could produce a TALL child! It's not that we are both short (okay, I am slightly vertically challenged) but we definitely don't stand out as the tallest people in a room either. As long as Sophia does not grow up to be taller than me, I might be okay with Tallen towering over me one day.

Tallen had colic for the first few months of his life. Looking back, the pattern of our life went something like this... If we looked at Tallen, he cried.
If we picked him up, he screamed. If we attempted to put him down at any moment of the day while he was awake (to take care of basic needs such as eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom) he would scream and cry. And basically anytime between 5 PM and midnight you could feel the walls vibrating from his screams while we walked him around the house and constantly rocked him.
There were a few weeks there that I was not too fond of this child. But now that screaming baby has been replaced by the happiest kid on the block (and I'm pretty sure our neighbors are happy to be getting some sleep again too - now that the screaming is over).

Tallen has changed so much! Now this happy kids smiles at everyone, even at the nurse who brought lots of needles to his 4 month old party at the doctor's office! Trey got him to laugh out loud the other day while playing peek-a-boo. I got a laugh after kissing him on the neck. He watches Sophia's every move and grins from ear to ear. I love him so much that I wanted to call in sick to work the other day just so I could stay home and stare at him. (NO, I didn't actually do it but I really wanted to).

His new tricks include sucking his thumb, which he prefers over a pacifier. Tallen also learned to roll over from his back to his tummy, which is great until he realizes he is stuck and he gets mad. Or when he rolls over while he is trying to sleep and gets stuck in the corner of the bed and I have to go rescue him. It was cute the first few times but I am not in the mood to play "Mommy to the Rescue" at 11:49 PM, and 1:23 AM, and 3:42 AM. Nope, I would much rather stay home from work and play the part of his hero during the waking hours of my day.

Sorry for the lack of posts and pictures lately, especially the Fun Foto Friday posts. SOMEONE in our family dropped the camera on the tile floor and now the pictures look like you took them underwater. This SOMEONE should not have even been using the camera to take pictures. This SOMEONE must have looked up at her daddy with her baby blues and sweet talked him into using the camera, EVEN though he should have learned his lesson from past IPhone incidents. Until we get a new camera, I only have my blackberry to take quick snapshots and Tallen gets this confused look when I throw my phone up in his face. Does not make for great memories. Hope to put up some new pictures - as soon as we get a new camera.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Foto Friday

My sweet little girl with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes...

Looks a little bit like her mommy when I was a little girl,a long time ago. This is me (blonde on the left) with my big sister Jenny (why do we not look more alike)?

What do you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rattled and a little raw

I felt like I needed to applaud or cheer when he started walking towards the podium. It had been about six weeks since he had stood in that spot and we had all missed him. He looked exactly the same, and even had a smile on his face when he started to speak. First, he said, he should probably address the elephant in the room. He had to talk about the reason for his absence. Exactly 39 days ago he received the phone call that completely changed his life. As he sat in the chair in his office, his doctor told him “Andy, you have cancer”.

That man is my pastor. Andy McQuitty, the senior pastor of Irving Bible Church in Irving, TX where my family and I have attended faithfully for over five years. Pastor Andy is a husband, a father of five, and a grandfather. He rides a Harley and drinks Starbucks coffee like it is going out of style. He loves to quote lines from movies and books, and he breathes better when he is on the golf course. He takes his family to dinner on Sunday evenings and inspires SO MANY people in his congregation. I have always admired (and envied) his way with words, he finds the right balance of wit and intelligence. I am amazed at how he makes me feel like he writes his sermon directly for me every Sunday. And he has cancer.

I am on his email list at church and about five weeks ago he send out a very candid message that tell us about his “news”. About a week later he went in for major surgery and had several inches of his colon removed. While waiting for additional test results, we were relieved to hear that he was recovering quickly from his surgery and could be back to preaching in as little as six weeks. As a church body (and IBC is a fairly large congregation), we wanted to reach out to our pastor and his family. However, it would probably be a tad overwhelming if we all started calling, emailing, texting or stopping by to visit. So last week the church came up with the idea of a “prayer line” for Andy. It is a phone number to a pager and we can call when we are praying for him, to let him know that he is in our thoughts. Pastor Andy brought the pager with him as he spoke to the congregation this Sunday morning and joked about how often it vibrates – he said it goes off all hours of the day, so often that he has replaced the battery three times, and so much that he can almost get a massage from the vibration. He is able to joke about his cancer.

So last week, I was saddened when I opened his email and read the news that Pastor Andy had to share. He has (in his words) “a pretty band cancer and the next two to three months are crucial in determining how much longer I’m going to… be on this planet”. He explained how the Oncologists rank the seriousness of this disease with One being the least serious and Four being barely hanging on. He is in late Stage three. He starts six months of chemotherapy on Wednesday to attack those dirty little cancer devils.

So do you want to know how I feel about this news? It’s not pretty. I don’t know if I can joke about it.

The first thing that happened when I heard about Pastor Andy having cancer…

I got MAD. At God. Really ticked off, to tell you the truth.

I told God that He was wrong; that He had picked the wrong person for this evil disease (although I’m not sure if there is a right person to deserve cancer). I told God that there are so many people that NEED Andy around a lot longer. I told God that He was wrong if He thought that something good would come out of this “journey” that He has selected Andy to endure. I told God that maybe He should have considered all the people of IBC, all the people’s lives that Andy touches before He gave him an all access pass to the Cancer Club. I basically sat down to pray but ended up telling God off.

Let me tell you that in my 20+ years of experience as a Christian, getting mad at God DOES NOT WORK. So I cried instead.

When I heard that Pastor Andy would be speaking at church this morning, I made sure my entire family got up on time to be there. It was a relief to see him standing in his usual spot for a change. I also needed to hear what he had to say, I needed to hear how he was dealing with this life-altering news. I needed to know how to pray for him and his family. When Andy spoke this morning, he questioned if the rules were different now that he had to endure the burden of cancer. He wondered if he should get a “free pass” on how to handle things now that he is sick. The answer is No. Then he quoted Matthew 6:25-34.

In the past five years, this has become the passage of scripture that I turn when I am anxious, worried, or feeling lost. This is the passage that I seek when I am struggling to see God’s plan in my life. It is the passage that reminds me that God is in control, that I need to continue to put him first in my life and continue to spread his word. It humbles me every time I read it. We all have burdens and struggles in our lives, but that does not mean that the rules no longer apply to us. Nobody gets a free pass. I am still struggling with the news that my Pastor has Stage three cancer, but I also realize that I have no control over this diagnosis. I am reminded that I have to put my faith in God, realize that He is in control and He has a plan (I just wish He would have consulted me on His plan because I have VERY STRONG opinion about it).

Today I left church feeling rattled and a little raw. I'm still angry and upset at the fight that Andy, his wife and his family is facing over the next several months. I think about how I would feel if we got the same news about Trey and it made me want to scream. When we got home, I found my way into Trey’s arms and we held each other without words. I cradled my infant son and kissed his sweet, chubby cheeks. I hugged Sophia tight before she went down for her nap. I have been reminded that the time that we have here on this earth is very short and we never know when God decides to bring one of us home. I still don't know how to handles what I am feeling, but that is for God and me to figure out. We have a lot more talking to do. I still have a srong opinion about cancer though - it sucks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fun Foto Friday

He came into the world so tiny, innocent and sweet...

Totally dependent on me to care for him...

He smiles in contentment and my heart fills with love...

Then I realize that his diaper is off... Oops!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday's Motherhood Moment - "Techno" Overload

I have a BlackBerry. I’m on Facebook. I have a blog. I have multiple email accounts (for work, personal and spam). In today’s world of technology, there are lots of ways to keep in touch with friends and family without actually talking to them face to face. Text, email, wall post, blog entry… all ways to let people know what is going on in my life without actually hearing my voice. This weekend, I found a new way to keep in touch with friends without any effort on my part.

Step 1 – Leave my BlackBerry sitting out on the coffee table.
Step 2 – Leave the room to change Tallen’s diaper
Step 3 – Hear my phone ringing and run back to the living room to answer
Step 4 – Check my caller ID and notice the name is from a friend that I have not talked to in over a year.
Step 5 – Answer the phone and start talking to long lost friend - who says I just called them and hung up
Step 6 – Catch up on what they have been doing the last few months, talk about the kids, and then tell them to find me on Facebook so they can see pictures of the kids
Step 6 – After the call, look for Sophia. Find her and ask if she was playing with my phone.

“Yes”, she said. “I had to email my Daddy”.

My three year old daughter wanted to email her Daddy, who had just left the house 15 minutes before to run an errand. Yes, technology has evolved over the years.

P.S. I have to admit, I have texted my own husband while we were both at home. In my defense, I was upstairs nursing the baby while he was downstairs visiting with his parents. I did not want to yell and startle the baby but I needed Trey to bring me some medicine for Tallen.

Has technology gotten out of hand in your life? Do you text more than you talk?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun Foto Friday

All I did was ask her to bring me the newspaper and then I turned my back for a minute...

Maybe she was trying to help me tear out the coupons...

I'm just glad that I did not ask her to get the mail too...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday's Motherhood Moment - Home Alone (with my kids)

Over the weekend Trey had to take his godchild, who had been staying with us for the past week, back home to Louisiana. Originally the plan was for them to get up Saturday morning to leave. Trey was going to stay over for one night and come back on Sunday afternoon. On Thursday afternoon a few things came up, so he decided to leave Friday before I got off of work. My weekend outlook had changed and I quickly realized three things…

1. I have never done the single parent thing for more than a couple hours since Tallen was born. Sophia continued to go to daycare while I was on maternity leave and taking care of Tallen was a full-time ordeal.

2. I was going to be spending two entire days alone with two kids after just finishing my second week back to work. No time for catching up on my rest.

3. It was just three short weeks ago that Tallen was just coming out of his screaming/crying phase so what if he had another three hour meltdown while I was alone with the kids?

When it comes to my kids, I will admit that I struggle with asking for help from family and friends. On one hand, I feel that I should be able to take care of my children own. I am with them every day, know them better than anyone else, and should be able to take care of their needs. I think - other moms do this all the time! A stay-at home mom could take care of a three year old and a newborn on a full time basis. Why do I struggle so much? What is the big deal about having my kids by my-self for 48 hours? I feel guilty and incompetent when I even think about asking for help.

On the other hand, being a mommy of two young children is still pretty new to me. I need to learn and practice how to handle both of them at once. Taking care of Sophia is second nature now – I have been doing that for three years (and she is pretty independent). Once Tallen was born, I had a crash course in newborn care again (it is amazing how much you forget about taking care of a baby). During my maternity leave, the only time that both children were home there were other adults around to help (Trey, my mother-in-law, my mom). Besides a few nights when Trey is racquetball or band practice, he is at home every evening to help me with the kids.

The downfall of being a working mom is that a lot of things still need to be taken care of around the house after work hours (i.e. the same time that you are home with your kids). Which meant that this weekend I needed to do the laundry, clean the bathrooms, go to the grocery store, and cook dinner while still finding time to play with Sophia and her dollhouse, cook in her play kitchen, color with her new crayons, dance to “Rockin’ Tots” CD AND take care of Tallen. I warned Trey that by the time he returned on Sunday I might be exhausted, overwhelmed, and in desperate need of a few hours away from home to recover.

So when Trey walked in the house Sunday evening around 6:30 PM, he was a little wary about what he might find… I admit that my mommy-of-two skills are still a work in progress, just like most of the things around our house this weekend. In addition to Trey’s dinner waiting for him on the stove, I left two baskets of clean laundry for him to fold (because Sophia had asked me to come up to her room and play with her dollhouse). The dishes in the dishwasher were clean, but not put away (because Sophia wanted to cook dinner for Tallen and me in her play kitchen instead). I had left the vacuum out in the living room but never managed to clean the rug (because it was occupied by Sophia dancing to Rockin Tots and Tallen on his play mat, giggling at his toys). Trey walked upstairs and found all three of us sitting on the floor in Sophia’s room, still in our pajamas from the night before, playing and laughing together.

I didn’t need a few hours away from home that night. Instead I spent the night in with Trey, telling him how much fun he missed over the weekend. And how glad I was to have him home…

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fun Photo Friday!

A few weeks ago when my mom was here visiting, we took Sophia to story time at a tea room in Grapevine. She was so excited to have a "tea party" with Mommy and Grammy.

Before we had our tea, she was able to pick out a princess dress and tiara to wear.

She even got to wear make-up and glitter in her hair.

Every princess needs their nails painted pink with sparkles!

The pink cupcakes and tea were yummy too.

What a beautiful little princess!

Monday, August 3, 2009

And I am back... from maternity leave

Hi. Remember me? I almost feel like I should introduce myself again because it has been so long since I have actually posted here. My name is Stephanie and I now a full-time career mom, wife, and parent of TWO little children, Sophia and Tallen. Let me clear off the cobwebs on my keyboard, blow off the dust on my blog and bring you up to date with what is going on in the Suiresphere.

Tallen was born on May 24th so now he is just over two months old now. The last pictures I posted (in the slideshow) were taken when he was two weeks old and he weighed around 6 ½ pounds. He was long and thin when he was born, but check him out NOW…

He weighs over 11 pounds with his chubby cheeks, round little legs, and plump little arms.

The first two weeks after he was born were tiring, but fairly quiet. I was up every 2-3 hours to feed Tallen but he mostly slept between his feedings during the day and night. However, when he was about 2 ½ weeks old the screaming began… Trey described it best when he said that 95% of the time that Tallen was awake, he was screaming and crying. Nothing would soothe him and he would cry for hours at a time (up to about 7 hours a day). It was emotionally and physically exhausting for both of us to take care of him. I took Tallen to the doctor more than once and she prescribed some medicine for reflux and said he also probably had colic (for which there is no magic cure). Basically we had to endure the crying and hope that he would grow out of it in a few weeks, or a few months.

I remember holding Tallen and pacing in his room while trying to comfort his cries and repeatedly looking at the clock to see how long he had been screaming. Fifteen to twenty minutes would pass and it would feel like hours. Even when I managed to calm him down so he could fall asleep, he would wake up screaming again within five to ten minutes. This was a normal pattern each evening from about 8 PM to midnight for several weeks. I was frustrated, exhausted, and not really enjoying my “bonding” experience with my baby. Trey would usually take over late in the evenings (after he had given Sophia a bath and put her to bed) and let me rest for a few hours before I had to get up and nurse him again. I learned that some days, my goal was to just get by… to survive hour by hour until he was able to sleep again.

One day when Tallen was about 5-6 weeks old, I had just finished nursing him and put him on my shoulder to burp. As I turned my head to look at him, he locked eyes with mine and the corners of his mouth started to turn up. His little eyes were shining as he gave me his first, real smile. All of the frustration, anxiety and anger of the past few weeks just vanished as I started to laugh through my tears. The first few weeks of parenthood are a testament to the instinctive power of unconditional love that God weaves into the heart of a mother.

Now that Tallen is 10 weeks old, thing have improved enormously. The hours of screaming have been replaced by hours of awareness and discovery. He will lie on his play mat and smile at the toys that play music above him. If I talk to him, his eyes and mouth show his delight. He studies my face and concentrates on the movements my mouth makes. He tries to make sounds so that he can “talk” back to me. He stares at Sophia when she is playing next to him on the floor of the living room. He moves his mouth and kicks his legs in anticipation when it is time to nurse. In the past week or two he has found his hand and likes to suck on his thumb. He and I also survived his first week of daycare when I started back to work last week.

Sophia is also adjusting well to her new role as big sister. The day after Tallen was born, she walked into the hospital and demanded to see her baby brother. She excitedly sat on Trey’s lap so that she could hold him, kiss him, and touch his face over and over. (She even looked up at me and asked if I wanted to “pet” her baby brother). After we brought Tallen home from the hospital, her excitement did not fade. For the first few weeks she loved to hold him but now she seems content to just give him kisses. If he fusses, she brings me a pacifier or covers him with a blanket. She pats him and tells him in a high pitched voice, “It’s Ok brother. I’m your big sister. I can take care of you”.

There has been a definite shift of parental responsibilities around the house. Trey is now in charge of taking care of Sophia while I am busy with Tallen. He makes her breakfast, gets her dressed, takes her to the pool, pushes her on the swings, gives her a bath, and puts her to bed. I do make an effort to spend time with her too but she has naturally drifted to Trey to fulfill her needs. Surprisingly, I have not seen the jealously from Sophia that I expected to surface.

This past weekend, we celebrated Sophia’s third birthday. I took a minute to look at my beautiful daughter Saturday night as I was putting her to bed (a rare occurrence in the past few months). I held her on my lap and was amazed at how much she has grown. She still surprises me with her intelligence, her vocabulary, her appetite, her imagination, her personality, her innocence… Yesterday, as we were all in the car driving home from dinner, Sophia asked me a question.

“Mommy, will you teach me to fly so that I can touch the birdies in the sky?”

I choose to believe that this is just another way that Sophia lets me know that she believes her mommy would do anything for her… a true sign of my unconditional love.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Diary of a Delivery, Day One

I know it has been three weeks since Tallen was born, but I am finally able to put him down for a few minutes and catch up on emails and write about his birth. Below is an excerpt from my journal with give the details of the day he was born... Check back over the next few days to see how we spent the next two days in the hospital.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

5:00 AM – I can’t sleep and I am tired of lying awake in bed so I head downstairs and find something to eat. I turn on the TV but nothing keeps my interest. I am scheduled to be induced in two days, but I am having second thoughts (and some anxiety) about inducing. During this pregnancy, I have felt that it is important to let labor begin naturally. The baby (and my body) will tell me when it is time to go into labor and I still have another week until my due date. My main objection about induction is the medical intervention, so I turn on my laptop and search for information about the side effects and risks of inducing labor with Pitocin. I remember how it made me feel when I had Sophia and I don’t want to feel that way again. Although he will probably be disappointed, I decide to tell Trey that I have changed my mind about my scheduled induction on Tuesday.

4:00 PM – Trey, Sophia and I arrive at Tim and Kara’s house for a Memorial Day cookout. Several friends are there too and Sophia is excited that she gets to play with Court and Jackson. Soon after we arrive, I think I feel a contraction so I glance at the clock - it reads 4:16 PM. (I tell my friends that we almost went to the hospital on Friday night because I was having contractions and they were pretty strong. However they went away after about an hour and I fell asleep). Over the next hour I feel several more contractions – although I am not sure if that is really what they are because I did not have any contractions with Sophia.

5:16 PM – Another strong pain, which I believe is a contraction now. I find a pen and paper and start to keep track of when I feel them. The girls are sitting in the kitchen eating dinner while the guys have been gathered around the grill or in the living room watching TV. Knowing this could be my last chance to eat for awhile; I finish my plate of food and eat Sophia’s leftover dessert. Around 6:00 PM, I tell Trey that I have been having contractions for almost two hours. He is surprised and asks if I am sure (a valid question due to the fact that I still am not sure if this is what if feels like to be in labor). The girls convince me that it is probably time for us to head to the hospital. I want to go home and get my bag and the cameras in case this is the real deal. Kara offers to watch Sophia until Trey’s parents can come pick her up.

7:30 PM – We are officially checked into the hospital. It is a slow night; I am the only patient in labor and delivery. I am dilated to 5 cm and having contractions every 6-8 minutes. The nurse puts in my IV (I have to look away – I really hate needles) and tells me that I can have an epidural whenever I am ready. It is my intention to go as long as possible without IV meds – including Pitocin. My contractions are stronger but I am able to breathe through them. I make several phone calls to my mom, my sister, and my grandmother to let them know the baby is on his way. Trey and I make bets about if the baby whether the baby will be born before midnight (I say yes, he thinks no).

8:30 PM – I have reached the point where my contractions are painful so I call the nurse and ask them to page the anesthesiologist. Trey is having a hard time watching me in pain, but he sits beside me the entire time and talks me through it. By 9:00 PM the epidural is in and the medicine begins to take the edge off the pain. The nurse is shocked when she checks me and I am dilated to 9 cm already. She pages the doctor on call to go ahead and come to the hospital, because it seems like the baby will be here soon. Dr K (who is on call for my regular doctor) visits me around 9:30 PM. Unfortunately she has to deliver some bad news – my high blood pressure has been a concern since we checked into the hospital and my blood work has confirmed that I have pre-eclampsia. There medical risks include seizures which could affect me and the baby, but the good news is that the treatment for this condition is delivery of the baby and that will happen soon. However, the doctor orders IV meds for 24 hours after delivery and warns me that I will feel pretty crappy while I am on the medicine. This shock of this news slows down my contractions for the next hour. The baby’s heart rate is also a concern - it drops several times so the nurses give me oxygen and move me from side to side to find a more comfortable position for the baby.

11:00 PM – Due to my contractions slowing down, the nurse tell me that the doctor has ordered Pitocin. I am upset but know that we need to get the baby out soon. Trey tells his dad that things have slowed down, so he can go home and get some rest. We are not sure how much longer it will take for the contractions to speed up again. About 10 minutes later, my nurse checks me again (gives me the second shocked look of the night) and runs out of the room to get the doctor. Dr. K arrives and it is time to have a baby… I am happy that the epidural has taken away any pain and with just a few pushes our baby boy is here!

11:19 PM – Tallen is here! The doctor has called in a PICU nurse as a precaution during delivery but Tallen looks great when he is delivered and the doctor lets me hold him right away. She places him on my chest and tears start to stream down my face.

I am laughing, crying and overjoyed to finally hold my baby boy. I am surprised at how clean and pink he looks compared to Sophia. I check to see if he is indeed a boy (I never trust those sonograms). He also has some healthy lungs because he is Screaming!

I am relieved that he is ok and the delivery went so quick. He is tiny – 6 lbs and 4 oz (we would not find out his length until after he went to the nursery).
I am able to nurse him and hold him close that first hour before he goes to the nursery for more tests. His only problem is low blood sugar, so the nurses ask if they can supplement with some formula. I have no choice but to say yes.

Trey texts me from the nursery to tell me that Tallen is 21 inches long! I am tired and the nurse has started the IV meds so I try to get some sleep.