Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Annika & Saben

From the get go, Saben has acted unimpressed with his new baby sister. He immediately was able to say/learn her name, which was cute, but today he asked when Annika was going to go home. I asked him "Where is Annika's home?" and he says "At the hospital". Poor kid, he has no idea....

A couple days after being home we were finally able to get him to "hold" her for the first time, but it definitely was not his idea and we sort of forced him into it.

The first time he seemed sort of interested in her was when she had her eyes open and turned his direction. "Annika's looking at you Saben" I said. And his eyes lit up and he actually came over to see her. Then I convinced him to let her hold his hand and he liked that as well.

This week we've progressed to stroking her head and Saben likes to tell people "Annika's head is soft". He does seem to be warming up to her slowly but surely, he even asked to hold her this morning!

Saben has also been quite the miscreant lately. When the grandmas are around he's pretty good, but I swear they walk out the door and he instantly falls apart. It's especially hard because I can't force him to do anything or even put him in time out because of my c-section. He now yells "NO!!" to things he used to do without complaint and screaming fits at my creative punishments (putting away his train set) are quite common.
He's been driving kyle crazy especially, I think it might be a bit hard to have an injured/emotional wife, a newborn and a screaming toddler to deal with all at the same time.

But... things are actually getting a lot better, we had a really good day today - our first without any help whatsoever! I went to bed nice and early, we stayed home all day and I got creative by singing nursery rhymes & reading books with Saben while nursing.


EVERY day I click on the Bellingham Herald link, hoping for a "Trader Joes Announces Opening!" story and instead all I find is a story on how to find black tailed deer locally. Try looking by the side of the road?


I was amusing myself the other day by imagning myself proudly posting pictures week by week of my just barely, very very slowly returning to "normal" post pregnancy body - just like everyone does with their growing belly.

Very modern/feminist of me, yes? I am not saying it'd be pretty, just sort of humorous. And also kind of like that one website Shape of a Mother I mentioned last year. Even as an "old pro" (not quite), there is nothing so shocking as looking in the mirror for the first time after giving birth.

Don't worry, if I can't manage to take weekly pics of my growing belly, I'm certainly not going to pull it off with my shrinking one either.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Annika's Birth Story

July 17th
By tuesday morning it was pretty obvious that I was going to have a scheduled c-section the next morning whether I wanted to or not. I was having a really hard time seeing past my dread of the c-section itself to the excitement of meeting our baby. I actually can't pinpoint my emotions, but I was nervous, near tears and needed something to distract.

I thought of the final things left on my "to do before baby" list and called up Vale to help me go pick blueberries. I called ahead to make sure the bushes were well loaded so that it wouldn't take to long or be too hard, but I forgot to ask how tall the bushes were. We arrived and found out that though they had plenty of berries, the bushes were only knee high. Sigh.

Berries frozen, blueberry coffee cake made (we ate almost an entire pan later that evening), final meal of steaks grilled, and our last day as a three person family was drawing to a close. After I (tearfully once again) sang Saben to sleep, we watched some Simpsons and miraculously I felt completely at ease for the first time all day. I fell asleep almost immediately without once worrying about the next day. (ok, maybe just once)

July 18th
4:30 am I wake up to use the washroom, yet again, and suddenly I am wide awake. Really really wide awake, thinking about what's going to happen in a few hours. After admitting to God that I am sort of freaked out about being cut open again, I start thinking about the baby and suddenly I am completely euphoric and excited. "I'm having a baby! Today! In just a few hours!" She is kicking me and it is hard to imagine that I will soon get to see her sweet face and that she will be jerked out of her warm happy world.

I fall back asleep finally an hour or so later and the big day arrives. Wanting to take full advantage of the benefits that a planned birth allow, I woke up early to put on makeup and straighten my hair so I'd look awesome for all the pictures to be taken later with the baby. : )

My parents arrive to watch Saben and we hurry out the door a few minutes late.

At the hospital I am nervous, but not terribly so. Now here's something I certainly don't remember from my first childbirth - how much the dang IV hurts when they insert it. I had no clue it was coming and it just kept hurting and hurting.... I survived until five minutes later when suddenly I got extremely light headed & my blood pressure dropped. My wonderful nurse kept assuring me that the IV was the worst part of the whole morning and she ended up being right.

My nurse Krista talked a mile a minute. This was a God send for me because I love being distracted when icky things are happening. When Saben was born, I spent the entire c-section calculating exactly what Kyle & I had been doing one year prior on our trip to Egypt. (laying on the beach in Sharmel Sheikh) We went into the operating room which was possibly the 2nd most terrifying part of the morning. Something about the table, bright lights, lots of blue sheets, and it was FREEZING.

I buried my head in the nurses chest and survived my spinal block. Then I found out that not only was my nurse chatty, she also loved gardening. So we chatted about her favorite roses while they got me ready for surgery.

Kyle came in, my doctor arrived and I laid there waiting for it to start, talking with Kyle the whole time. He peeked over the bluesheet and to my relief, told me that they had actually started quite some time ago. Euphoria flooded over me because everything I was nervous about was over and I was about to have a baby! Or maybe the anesthetician gave me a hit of something because I was loving every single person in the whole room.

A small tug and suddenly one of the nurses squawked. Oh wait, no, that was my daughter! The happiness I had always hoped for washed over me and Kyle looked over the sheet again to watch our daughter being born, head out, screaming her head off as they pushed on my upper abdomen to get the rest of her out.

The next five (It felt more like twenty) minutes were excruciating because I didn't get a single glimpse of her before they whisked her off to the cleaning table. Luckily I could hear her (quite loudly) the whole time and the first I saw of her was actually on the camera from a picture Kyle took of her getting cleaned up. (the one I posted previously actually)

FINALLY, they brought her over and I was able to snuggle and sort of hold her next to my head. Then off she went again with Kyle & the nurse for supposedly "5-10 minutes" while the doctor finished sealing me up. That was probably the loneliest part because no one in the room talked to me at all. Sort of weird, but hey, it can't all be perfect right? I swear it took at least 15 minutes and finally we were back in our room and I got to hold and nurse Annika for the first time.

After 1 1/2 hours of "recovery", Saben got to come in with Kyle to meet his sister. Its a little hazy, but pretty much his whole attitude about her from the get go has been "uh huh. That is a baby, just like you said mom. Can I go play now?" Grandparents came in shortly after and visited for about 30 minutes. Saben got his railroad crossing sign and his eyes lit up much more than they had for his new sister.

Our pastor came next and its funny to call him that because I've felt so "churchless" since we've moved here, drifting from one place to another. It was so nice to finally feel like we actually had "our pastor".

In the evening we were flooded with visitors. My brother & sister-in-law drove all the way up from Seattle, which was the nicest thing ever. Kevin, Cam & Mike all showed up from transition bikes and Kevin amused us with his caricatures of the other guys, done on Saben's magnadoodle.

Thursday evening, 48hours from our final steak meal, I was finally allowed solid food again. By Thursday lunch I was starting to turn into a basket case because I was so hungry. As much as I am madly in love with St. Joseph's ice machine and cranberry juice, woman can not live on fabulously crunchy ice alone.

The days in the hospital whizzed by and I so appreciated everyone who came to visit us and keep me company. Kyle left on Friday for several hours to meet his other "baby" for the first time - the brand new women's bike, fresh in from Taiwan. Its right there in the midst of al our other baby pictures and makes me chuckle each time I see it.

The best thing about this childbirth is that I was so much more relaxed and happy. I had a really hard time with Saben - I think it was actually the magnesium they put me on for my pre-eclampsia, combined with the shock of everything and it basically had me comatose emotionally for about 3 days. So I am so thankful that I got to experience all the excitement, euphoria and happiness this time around.

Ok, by now I am sure I've lost most readers, but it completely amazes me how much I've forgotten about Saben's birth and my pregnancy, so I've really tried to recreate it all for myself to read later. .

Monday, July 23, 2007

Annika Noelle

born July 18th, 10:34 am
9lbs 4oz, 22 1/2 inches


Saben shocked mama by drawing his first "face" the night before Annika was born

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Men, listen up....

What NOT to say to your nervous squeamish wife the morning before her scheduled C-section.

"My friend watched his sister get a cesarian and said it almost made him puke because her guts fell out of her belly"

I post this because the only way I can fight the insanity of such a mental picture is to try to laugh.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


How we've been passing the time:
  • 2 hour meals of fresh caught dungeness crab in the cool evening air on our back patio. (speaking of which, I killed my first non-insect creature today! Quite a long way for an ex-vegetarian to come...)

  • Watching Saben poke ants with sticks while we enjoy our crab. Who ever thought a child of mine would take such delight in killing things. Then again, I did kill a crab today...four of them in fact. And yes, we would have eaten all four if it weren't for my tiny baby squished tummy. But leftover crab for tomorrow is divine as well.

  • Picnic dinners at the lake, me swimming in my giant tent suit but feeling so wonderful to be weightless and cool.

  • Lounging in the kiddie pool with Saben in the backyard, squished into my bikini because even the tent suit felt too hot, praying nobody unannounced showed up.

  • A fun trip to Lummi Island where we lounged on the beach, had fish and chips and had to run for our ferry.
  • Reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and spending way too much time daydreaming about someday spending a summer eating my way through Italy.
  • Trying really hard not to get depressed when my 5 minutes apart Braxton Hicks don't go anywhere.
  • Finally getting some wonderful pregnancy pictures taken by Vale. (see below)


6 days till C-day. I realized today that I have passed the point where I would definitely consider a VBAC. If I went into labor tomorrow it would be one week early which is exactly when I had Saben and he was big enough to sort of freak me out.

I also realized today, as I started to imagine not going into labor at all but just showing up for my appointment next Wednesday, that going into labor is the one thing I had really hoped to do. Even if I ended up choosing a c-section once I went into labor, there is something about the unpredictability, surprise and excitement of spontaneous labor that I love, getting to call Kyle and tell him, feeling those initial contractions, heading off for the hospital....And something about just showing up to get cut open that really freaks me out.

Obviously there are still 6 days for labor to happen, but I think I had been positive it would happen because Saben was so early. Of course I also assumed Saben would be late and was quite wrong, so it would make sense that if I assume she's going to be early that she won't be.

Funny thing is that all this was sort of depressing me today and now that I wrote it all down I think it might be ok after all. There might be something special about going to bed knowing that you will meet your baby bright and early the next morning. Just getting used to the idea I suppose.

For some reason writing feels completely beyond me right now, everytime I read what I wrote it barely makes sense and is all cluttered and messy so I rewrite it and its just as bad. But I really want to save all these thoughts, so here they are...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One last thing to say, I am so extremely grateful right now that I tolerate heat so well. I always sort of thought I was meant to live in a desert climate (like say Egypt or Africa, NOT arizona) because ever since my first mission trip to Mexico I've realized the heat doesn't bug me like it does a lot of people. (for some reason I was the only one who volunteered to help roof the house we were building in 90 degree heat)

Now take away my food and that is an entirely different story. We all have our weaknesses, right?
Oh wait, scratch that, it is now 94, up two degrees in the last 15 minutes. Which is the hottest temp in Puget Sound right now and ties the ALL TIME hottest temperature in Bellingham. And its only 1pm.
It is 92 degrees in Bellingham and I am 38 1/2 weeks pregnant.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Father's Day

A bit late (can you see I'm playing catch-up here?) but I wanted to put in a plug for the Lake Whatcom Railway which we went on for Father's day. The train itself only goes about 10 mph so it might bore older kids, but it was pure heaven for a train obsessed 2 yr old.

We actually got lost on the way out there and came really really close to missing the train when we arrived 15 minutes late. (Silver lining - I called Miss Crafty Mama to see if she could look up a map for us and became one of the first to find out she was in labor and at the hospital) So give yourself lots of time and remember that there are no signs for anything out there.

After a 30 minute ride & 15 minutes of manuevering to get the train "turned" around, they stop at a park and you can explore the train, tracks, ride a hand car, etc. The staff is so nice & friendly and obviously love what they are doing. Then its 30 minutes back, for a nice 1 1/2 - 2 hour excursion.

Saben LOVED walking on the train tracks

Leaving was just a bit traumatic


My VERY favorite thing lately has been picking strawberries with Saben in our yard. He asks to go do it almost everyday.

We also went to pick some at a local farm last week and that was really fun because we went with a boy Saben's age. They were so cute running around and exploring. We had one little scare where they disappeared, but pregnant momma sprinted across the strawberry fields and found them playing on the toy train at the farm.
Saben is just reaching the age where he interacts and talks with other kids his age and I looooove watching him & listening to them talk. It is the cutest thing in the world.
Speaking of energy levels being cut in half, this week I can not even imagine how I managed to pick strawberries and make a batch of jam last week.

2 weeks left

Well we made it through the full moon, but I did have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions Saturday night. I don't remember having this many with Saben, so it sort of freaked me out. I told Kyle the next morning I figured I had a 50/50 chance of going into labor Saturday night. Notice I told him "the next morning". Am I a sweet wife or what? No sense keeping him up all night with me.

I don't remember being this exhausted with Saben either. With him it just seemed that I was cruising along and all of a sudden the baby was here (a week early). This time it seems my energy level gets cut in half every week and the last 4 weeks are significantly different/harder than the rest of my pregnancy.

I've had a few nights of awful insomnia and that really wipes me out. Its not that I'm uncomfortable, I just can't sleep. Then every afternoon I'm ready to pass out from tiredness, but by 10:30 pm I'm sort of wide awake again. yuck.

The other day Saben was asking for a railroad crossing and I said something like "maybe when your sister comes you will get one". Somehow I thought it would appease him and he'd forget about it. Ha! Saben's new favorite sentence is:

"Baby come out of mommy's tummy and bring Saben a railroad crossing. AND LIGHTS!"

So the search is on, the store we went to yesterday didn't have any, but we will continue to look.