Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacation ~ Rehearsal

Ian performed his duties as a ringbearer with the utmost professionalism

Troy's girlfriend Becky was a part-time babysitter and photographer

Ryan and Liz taking the big walk in prep for the real big walk

For the life of me, I have no idea what was so funny

Cecily and Uncle Ryan

Cecily was pooped

Elinor and Aunt Liz

I decided I'd better get a move on jotting down all of our vacation memories as school has started, Elle is getting bigger, and they are fast fading. We managed to be discharged from the hospital with a few hours to spare before Ryan and Liz's wedding rehearsal. It went fine, but dinner got a little dicey with the kids and the baby. We survived though (and I think the restaurant did too).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Elinor's Birth Story

Finally I've made it to Elle's birth story. Be warned, it's long, but hopefully entertaining.

The whole tale actually starts on the evening of the 13th. The day at the waterpark, while fun, was exhausting, and later that evening when we got back to the campsite, I noticed just the faintest bit of spotting. I was a tiny bit concerned (I know it's normal for some women to spot throughout pregnancy, but not me, ever) but when it didn't escalate at all I chalked it up to too much activity. I told my mom about it, but not James because I didn't want him to worry. I had an uneventful night and on Wednesday we broke down camp. I wanted to walk the downtown Dells, and we hadn't had the opportunity to do that, so everyone but James and I with Colin and Cecily headed home while we stayed for some extra time. It was beastly hot, but we ducked into the air-conditioned stores frequently and enjoyed our two mile or so stroll (except for the steep uphill part LOL). Then we stopped at Culver's on our way out and enjoyed a very fattening lunch. There was some threatening weather on the two hour drive home, but we made it back right before dinner time safely. That evening I just felt absolutely panicked about the fact that Cecily's handmade "New Big Sister" shirt wasn't done yet. Everyone was so exhausted and just wanted to go to bed, but I made my mom stay up with me until 11pm to work on the front side (I paint it on both sides, so it needs drying time). Then I finally went to bed and was surprised to fall asleep without much trouble. I woke up around 4am for the first potty break of the night, but I just couldn't go back to bed. I was feeling some pain but they weren't very regular. I finished the rest of Cecily's shirt between contractions, read a magazine, and then took a long shower. At 6 I decided it was time to wake James up because it was indeed the real deal (they weren't getting closer together, but they were getting stronger). We got everything ready for whenever the children woke up and then I woke up my mom. We left for the hospital around 7:30am on Thursday morning. After some confusion about the fact that I was from out-of-state and didn't have a local OB, they took me straight into a room (no triage stop, which was kind of strange). The nurse checked me and I was at 5cm with a paper thin cervix and she was concerned about how swiftly I was moving. They called the on-call doctor, a family practitioner who was so old he had actually been the doctor who delivered my brothers. Once he arrived 30 minutes later I was at 6cm. Because he didn't do VBACs they had to find an OB-GYN to take over my care, so I ended up getting my mom's personal doctor, which was a strange coincidence. When he checked me (about 9am) I was complete and they thought delivery was imminent. They insisted there was no time for the epidural, which I was not at all happy about. But I figured if it was going to go this fast I could handle it. They kept telling me to push, but I felt absolutely zero urge to do so. I remember wanting to cry because my body just did not want to push. I've always wanted to know what it felt like to get that fabled urge to push they always talk about with natural deliveries and it never happened. The baby was up too high and her descent was complicated by transverse positioning. They alternated between having me push and resting for about two and a half more hours. All I wanted was the epidural because I knew I could push her out with the epidural, since I'd done it four times before. Finally they relented and determined that I could indeed have an epi. After it was in the nurse said to me something along the lines of, why didn't we do this right away, and I'm thinking, no kidding?!! At this point the OB said that I had a one hour deadline to deliver or they were going to do a c-section because the baby just wasn't going to fit. I was absolutely flabbergasted by this, and James was downright mad. It just didn't make sense that they would arbitrarily decide that I couldn't vaginally deliver a 38 weeker despite four previous successes. I later learned that the hospital was anti-VBAC and that VBACs were few and far between there and that c-sections were very common. After a lot of praying and an hour of resting without pushing, the OB came back to check me and the baby was right there. They had me give one tiny "test push" and she crowned right there at 12:55. Neither the OB nor the nurse were ready (in fact the OB's back was turned when she came out) and she delivered right onto the foot of the bed. I had warned them that this is how my deliveries go - tons of pushing and slow progress and then they just fly out all of the sudden. You'd think they'd have taken my words a little more seriously than most since I'd been through the childbirth process so many times. I felt so vindicated and strong after giving birth - I knew that my body could do it. This was the first delivery where I had absolutely no tears of any kind as well, which was a huge bonus in the healing department. She was covered in vernix when she was born, which was a new experience for me because all of my other babies have been late 39 weekers or older. She was also 7lbs 7.5oz, which is huge for me, especially at only 38 weeks (Cecily, born one day before her due date, by comparision, weighed 7lbs 5oz). I guess my body just knew that it was time for her to be born and that if she waited much longer she might be too big for me. James, Hero, Allegra, my mom and my dad (it was his first birth experience) were in the room when Elle was born. It was a wonderful moment, as all births are, but so unexpected that it felt surreal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hero Turns 11

We celebrated Hero's 11th birthday during our camping trip. We spent the day at Noah's Ark water park (I think the older kids enjoyed it, but I must admit it was a long, tiring day for me although I did actually ride on two of the family waterslides) and then when we rolled back to camp, exhausted and more than a bit water-logged it was party-time. Mom brought a cake on the trip from Wausau (that was a feat in and of itself - cakes don't fit in coolers properly) and a few decorations. Hero had already gotten most of her gifts earlier (an ice-skating jacket and a shopping spree) so the celebration was fairly low-key, but hopefully it was an 11th birthday to remember.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vacation - Deer Park

One of Mom and Dad's suggestions for our trip to Wisconsin Dells was a visit to the Deer Park. They had fond memories of taking Troy and Ryan there (maybe me too, but the funny thing is I don't remember it at all) and thought the kids would love it. So on Monday we headed over there after a trip to the outlet mall (yay for the Disney Store Outlet - I was suffering withdrawal after the Disney Store in Boise closed). The kids were so cute. They got a huge kick out of feeding the deer out of their hands. Even Cecily got into the action from the safety of her stroller (there is a LOT of deer there, I didn't want her trampled) although she wasn't quite as amused by the deer touching her as the older kids were. Incidentally, I think these are the very last pictures of me pregnant since I would give birth four days later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation - Camping!

Ah, the joys and trials of camping! It's a little bit like giving birth, I think. You get amnesia after a certain amount of time has passed. While you are actually living through it you notice the bad things - bugs (and bugs and bugs), less than sanitary bathroom conditions, crappy sleep (I shouldn't complain too much as I was fortunate enough to sleep in Mom and Dad's RV - the rest of the family was consigned to our tent), the interminable set-up (in the rain this time, no less) and take down... And then, a funny thing happens as time passes - you start to remember just the good parts selectively: campfire food (pudgie pies, smores, eggs and bacon), simple (if not clean) fun, late night game time (okay, so I didn't participate in it, but the kids had a great time playing Uno with Uncle Troy and Becky) and so on. This camping trip was both for sheer fun and economics - we stayed three nights in Wisconsin Dells with the plan of having lots of fun in the kitschy resort town. We camped at a state park, which is different than Idaho camping, that's for sure. We were in the forest, but we also had bathrooms and showers a short walk away (but they were super disgusting, so maybe that makes it sound less lush), and, of course the requisite electric plug-in at the campsite. James likes to make fun of it as not real camping, and I suppose in some ways it's not, but on the other hand I definitely wasn't complaining about getting to sleep in air-conditioning (which is funny because we have the opposite problem in Idaho - freezing cold nights). Pictures are as follows: Ian, Becky (Troy's girlfriend), and James, and Uncle Troy and Ceci. Stay turned for more vacation tales!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation - Just for Colin

We actually had this little excursion planned from back when I visited Wisconsin in April - a firehouse tour courtesy of my uncle Tim, a firefighter with the Rib Mountain Fire Department. Colin is absolutely obsessed with fire trucks right now and there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to allow him the chance to get up close and personal with a firehouse. Uncle Tim was more than happy to oblige and gave us all a great tour. The kids just really enjoyed it and got to climb all over the different trucks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vacation - Grandma & Grandpa's House

What a crazy, fun vacation we had. It seems like we were planning (and stressing) about our trip to Wisconsin for so long, it's hard to believe it's done and over. We arrived, after a too long two and half day drive, on Sunday night, July 4th. We were planning on enjoying a barbecue and then the city fireworks but the weather was stormy, so we had to have an inside dinner and no fireworks instead. We were all just so glad to be out of the car that it hardly mattered. The weather while we were in Wisconsin was crazy - there were insane thunderstorms (including a particularly vicious hailstorm that caught James, Ryan, and the kids while they were out fishing on the lake), tornado watches, the hottest and stickiest weather I can remember, and intense rainstorms that flooded the yard. And the mosquitoes were super bad, so we ended up spending a lot of time inside (will Mom and Dad's house ever recover?). The kids enjoyed playing the Wii, shopping, spending time with aunts, uncles and extended family, fishing (James is a bit bitter though that I gave birth early because it meant he didn't get to use his 15 day fishing license for more than one night), eating (and eating and eating - Dad's no slouch in the menu planning department), and playing with toys (someone else's so that made them more exciting) and board games.

Mom and Dad's backyard and it's mini-flood

The back patio and garden after the hailstorm

Grandma and Colin setting up a game - bet that one never sees the light of day again, it was messy LOL

Allegra, Ian, Colin & Cecily playing in the living room

Ceci napped and slept quite well the entire vacation

Who buys red-frosted cupcakes for kids? ;-P

Lack of sugar was not a worry on this trip

Cecily and Grandma

Colin showing off the first of several "injuries" he sustained during vacation - this one happened the first morning of our drive out there, I kid you not (he fell in the parking lot and hit his head on the concrete curbing)

Cecily and Allegra