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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Four

(Still trying to play catch up!)

Oscar's last, but not least! I'm not really sure at this point where to start. On one hand, he's so young, so I can't really recollect on a few years of memories, but that doesn't mean nothing he's not memoriable.

It's a funny thing, because when I was a teenager, I dated a guy who was a Momma's Boy. Bugged the heck out of me and it ultimately lead to the end of our relationship, and I kind of at that point swore to myself that if I ever had a boy he was NOT going to be a Momma's Boy! Already I see myself not standing up to that self promise I made to myself when I was 16.

Oscar's birth was by far the easiest for me; even though he was the biggest. And he's also been the most laid back baby as well in terms of sleeping and whatnot. Which is nice, considering that he's our last baby. On one hand it's like "Yes, we caught a break, this is our reward for having one more baby and keeping the other two safe!" But I can't get lulled into complacency, because I know there's a tiny voice that's going to start chanting, "Oscar's so easy, you should have one more because maybe the next one will be even MORE laid back." That's dangerous thinking.

I can say this; having Oscar has brought in my mind our family into a full circle. I can finally say without mental hesitation that we're done; that our family is finally complete. It's a nice feeling having that sense of wholeness within the family unit. Although if you ask the girls we're lacking a cat; but still.

I think there's a certain amount of hilarity involved with the fact he's a boy and out of all my children; he looks the most like me. He's got my hair color and skin coloration; however he looks more like my dad than anything else; particularly the ears. I kind of figured it would happen since even in his ultrasound his ears were sticking out. But that's okay because they are his most precious feature.

Aside from Oscar, the best thing I've been able to take from my pregnancy with Oscar is a confirmation of my personal convictions and standing up for them. I was bound and determined to cloth diaper, and it took me a while for Jeff to say yes. I was also -with the help of a neighbor- talk Jeff out of circumcising Oscar. I don't feel like getting into a debate about it; however I can honestly say had we gone through it, it would have put me in a horrible place mentally. Bringing him home the first night I started having these dreams where I was being chased down by very large crowds of people attempting to kidnap him so they could take him away to circumcise him; and there were even mothers with babies in their arms chasing me so they could distract me and pull a switcheroo. And they continued for a few days. Then, when he was 4 days old, Jeff finally said we didn't have to do it after all. I was so relieved and happy I nearly cried.

Oscar for me represents that; convictions and perseverance. He's also got that in his personality along with happiness; even when he's sick and feeling crummy he always manages to crack a smile and continues to be happy. He's also got sheer determination, my favorite picture of him is where he was sitting on the floor wearing nothing but socks and a diaper; I had gone to get him something clean to wear. I came back to him with his diaper undone and smiling big.


I ended up putting him in a diaper that has snaps instead of velcro, and I sat him back down on the floor, and of course his hands went back to the front trying to undo the snaps. I love his determination and I sincerely hope its a trait that he continues to have.

Monday, December 5, 2011

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Three

(Trying to play catch up here! Bear with me please)

Since she's the next one in line, this post is gonna be about Ruthie.

We were a tad nervous about trying for another baby after having Zoe. We were concerned that my Endometriosis would cause problems; enough where I mentioned them to my doctor who said he'd put me on Clomid if we ended up not being able to conceive after 6 months. Thankfully -and yes, shockingly- It was just one try; I got pregnant right away.

So, what can I say about Ruthie? Her birth was quite a bit easier than Zoe's, mostly due to the great staff that I had supporting me when she was born.

Hi Ruthie! She was .3 oz heavier than Zoe.
The funny thing is, she still makes the exact same face when she cries, even now. Ruthie was actually named after Jeff's Grandma Ruth; we decided to add the "ie" to make it.. well less old lady. Of course, she'll be an old lady someday and then it'll fit but I think it just makes the name sound sweeter.

Ruthie's not quite the complete opposite of Zoe. They are sisters after all, but while Zoe's more intellect and logic, Ruthie's more emotional and more aware of her emotions. They both still have their moments and can be equally stubborn, but it's easy to tell that they love each other very much.

Ruthie also has a touch of absentmindedness that Zoe doesn't have; bless her. She was easier to potty train; mostly because she fell for whatever excuse that we fed her; so as a result she was potty trained at 2 years and 4 months. Insert funny video taken while we were potty training her:

Ruthie's best trait in my opinion though is her sense of humor, even when she's not trying to be funny.


[We're on our way home from dinner at Jeff's parents'; Ruthie's been talking up a storm the whole ride home.]
Me [annoyed at the fact she hasn't stopped talking for 15 minutes]: Ruthie, can you please be quiet?
Ruthie [sincerely]: How do I do that?

Or more recently:
[We're pulling into the carport after running errands]
Ruthie [very alarmed]: Oh no! Our Mazda is gone!
Jeff [in a fit of laughter]: We're in the Mazda Ruthie.
Ruthie: Oh.

My favorite though is from when my dad was here:
My dad: Ruthie, did you know you're pretty?
Ruthie [very matter-of-factly and self assured]: Yes I am!

She also has a fun imagination. She enjoys dressing up in their old halloween costumes, and will act like whatever she's in. The other weekend, she was in a kitty costume, and wanted me -I was in my room getting dressed- and she was on the other side alternating between meowing and saying "Mommy!"
 Zoe [slightly annoyed and impatient]: Ruthie why don't you just knock?
Ruthie: Because kitties don't knock on doors!

She's also very sweet. I don't know what happened from when I was a kid, to now, but when Ruthie's getting picked on by Zoe, she'll run and tell us what Zoe's doing. Of course we'll reply with "Do you want us to put her in time out?" or something similar and she'll start howling "No, don't do that to my sister!". Back in my day when you tattled on your sibling, you did it because you want them to get in trouble and punished. Nope, not Ruthie.

And of course, like me she's difficult to wake up.

But then again, who would want to wake up this sleeping little cutie? Ruthie's the perfect middle child, she really is; although she's prone to acting like a diva at times.

Friday, December 2, 2011

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Two

Quick Note: I wrote this on Friday, but since I wanted to put up a recent picture of Zoe, I just got busy and wasn't able to finish the post until today. Of course, I realize I need to write another three blog posts today so I better get cracking!

I'd say the next thing I'm grateful for are my children, but because they are individuals, they deserve their own posts. And because it's convenient I'll just start with Zoe, the oldest. One thing you're going to see is that these posts are going to be personal.. I just hope you don't mind.

In March of 2002, my Aunt Grace took me to see a GYN mostly because I had been experiencing painful cycles; I happened to be at her house when I had started my most recent -at the time of course- period and was concerned due to the pain I was experiencing. So, during that visit which involved a fire alarm getting tripped midway through my exam and having to hurry and get dressed so we could evacuate the building with my dignity intact, I found out I had a condition called Endometriosis. Typically, the doctors would recommend a procedure called a laproscopy to confirm the diagnosis, but due to the location of my lesion and the size, that was not necessary. At that point I got news that no female who wants children should ever hear.. I was infertile. Infertility could mean a lot of things. It can mean that you can get pregnant, but your body cannot stay pregnant, or in my case, my chances of pregnant were pretty non-existent. He advised for me to get on birth control because it can help control the symptoms, but he said in his experience, I would most likely never be able to get pregnant, even if there was medical intervention.

Even at 16, with future plans of getting married and having five kids (yeah that's not gonna happen, I've discovered three is enough for me) were gone --well, the having kids part. I was pretty ambivalent towards the idea of adoption, and while adoption is a wonderful thing, I wanted the experience of having children of my own.

So fast forward to 2005. It's no secret that Zoe was born only 4 months and a week after we got married, but was concieved some five or so months after we got engaged. I'm not going to go into details about that; but I can say we started doing that under the assumption that I wasn't going to get pregnant.. and as the saying goes "'Assume' makes an ass out of 'u' and me". (did I get that right?)

Here's the thing though. I don't think Zoe was my first pregnancy. About a month after we got engaged, I had an experience that I just chalked up to being another painful period -a side effect of having Endometriosis- but it wasn't until after Ruthie was born that I realized I most likely experienced a miscarriage. I don't mourn that possible pregnancy loss though, mostly because I'm not even sure if that's what it was.

All of that aside I didn't find out that I was pregnant until the first trimester was almost over. Another symptom of Endometrosis is irregular periods so I thought that's what it was until it dawned on me to take a pregnancy test. And so I did, and the pregnancy was confirmed 2 weeks later.

I consider Zoe a miracle. She was the (first) child that I was never supposed to have according to medical science. When she was born (you can read my birth story here if you want to) I bawled. I probably cried more than she did when she was born. From infancy though she's always been precocious. Her personality pretty much started from birth, from when the first picture of her was taken at the hospital on the scale and she's glaring in the general direction of the camera. She quit crying at that point and was just staring and trying to take everything in.

Zoe was born at 12:19 pm on 11/24/05.
She took breastfeeding quite quickly and as you can tell here; she enjoyed eating with a side of problem solving...

"If Mama doesn't feed me fast enough, I'm gonna feed myself!"
One of my favorite memories of her when she was about 9 or so months old, I left her in the front room on a blanket with toys while I went to the bathroom, and I came out to her breastfeeding her doll. I know that's what she was doing because the baby's head was about chest level and she was rubbing it's back while holding it there.

I'm not going to lie and say parenting Zoe is easy and that she's the perfect child; quite the opposite. She's extremely intelligent, and at times it's difficult to figure out what'll work with her and what won't. Things that will work for other children don't work for her. For example, we tried potty training her from around 2.5 and it wasn't until she was 3 years, 4 months old that she was finally potty trained. Bribing her with toys or candy did not work; she was completely indifferent. What DID work? We bought our house and told her that we couldn't afford to buy diapers; so pick out a package of panties. And guess what she was potty trained the NEXT DAY when we finally put her in them full time. We felt outwitted by our 3 year old at that point. Even now it's a challenge, but the only thing I can really do at this point is try and figure out different and better ways of approaching things.

On the flip side of things it's keeping things interesting and yes, even when she's driving me batty, I'm still okay with it. Granted she needs to learn better ways of expressing her emotions, but I'm grateful that I'm blessed with a child that can express themselves. I'm grateful that she has enough self confidence to say "I don't want to." or "I don't like it." because that means she has enough self worth to think that whatever she has to say is important enough to share. She's by no means timid, which I'm grateful for. Her ability and willingness to communicate now will be beneficial later.

Zoe with frisbees
Zoe being her typical goofy self. I took this picture in exchange for her help taking a picture of me in my new dress.

For me, Zoe represents a miracle that defied medicine; and she's literally been stubborn from conception; since it shouldn't have ever happened if you consider my infertility. But that's her best quality; even if it drives me crazy at times.

She's my miracle, and I love her dearly.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day One

(I've decided from today until Christmas, I'm going to write a blog post once a day about things I'm grateful for. Considering I've got three separate blogs, I will be writing my posts on the blog that's most relevant to the subject that I'm writing about. I've been having a rough time as of late, and I'm hoping this will benefit me in a few ways. The first reason is to help me get into the Holiday Spirit. I can be a real Scrooge, and with 3 kids having that attitude isn't cool. The second reason is just so I can re-channel and focus on trying to start next year off on a good foot. Something is telling me that 2012 is gonna be a very significant year. Not sure why or how; hopefully it has nothing to do with the world ending, but hopefully something positive and wonderful. And the last reason of course is to get me into the habit of blogging more.. even though I've said that way more than I'd care to admit. *wink)

So, the first thing I'm grateful for is my husband Jeff. We've been together for over eight years now; eight years, two months and 4 days now to be exact. And what an amazing time it's been. We've had our fair share of ups and downs -thankfully more ups than downs- and I cannot express how grateful I am to have him in my life; as my husband best friend and companion.

For those of you who don't know; we met online on LDSchat in November 2002; just about two weeks after he came home from his mission. We were hanging out in the young single adult chatroom -where I technically wasn't supposed to be at since I was still 17, but I digress- and we were kicked out after breaking the chat room rules of not using English -along with his friend Nate- luckily before that we had exchanged info to continue chatting on MSN messenger. I don't remember the exact date although I'm pretty sure it was November 8th; I can remember is that it was a Friday night since his friend Nate signed off to go to some Singles Ward dance. I'm not entirely sure of the time, but considering the dances typically start at 6-7pm, it had to be around 8-9pm EST when we started chatting. We ended up chatting until sunrise the next morning; which according to a website I had found, the sun rose in Virginia Beach around 6:35am the next day. so, basically we're talking about 9-10 straight hours of chatting and getting to know each other. Something significant happened that night; namely we learned that after a certain point, the chat window stops scrolling down automatically; which at that point you have to either manually scroll down or you have to close the window and open it again. I sincerely wished that we could recover that conversation, but it's not that big of a deal. I just remember getting off the computer and being happy.. and of course tired. We ended up chatting EVERY single day from that point until we met in person; although there was a three day period sometime in April of 2003 where he got mad at me over a car problem -thanks to my dad's faulty memory- and didn't want to talk to me, and then a few days in the first part of September 2003 when we got hit with a hurricane in Virginia Beach and I lost internet for a few days.

We decided at some point in July if it would be REALLY cool if we could meet in person; but due to him having a job, he wasn't able to take the time off to come and visit me -and in hindsight my dad would not have been cool with that- so we decided to wait until after my 18th birthday; two days to be exact. So, on September 27th, my good friend Joel came to pick me up from my apartment and took me to the airport at 3 in the morning (my dad did not have a car at the time) and he sat there with me sipping hot chocolate and keeping me company until it was time for me to board the plane. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to do that for me!

Doing this was a MAJOR experience for me. Not only was I flying over 2,000 miles to meet a guy in person that I had met on the internet, it was also my first time flying. Scary stuff I tell you. But my plane ride was uneventful and I safely landed here in Salt Lake to Jeff waiting for me with a bouquet of yellow roses that had red edges on the petals.

Seeing him for the first time was literally a life changing moment. I can't believe I'm making a Twilight reference here, but there's a part in Breaking Dawn where Jacob makes eye contact with Renesmee for the first time, and describes what he feels.
... All the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts that made me who I was [...] 

 I was not left drifting. A new string held me where I was.

Not one string, but a million. Not strings, but steel cables. a million steel cables all tying me to one thing-to the very center of the universe.

I could see that now-how the universe swirled around this one point. I've never seen the symmetry of the universe before, but now it was plain.
-- Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
That pretty much sums up the experience of seeing Jeff for the first time. For a split second, his face momentarily took on this.. glow or something where it looked the same, yet different. Pure, as if I wasn't seeing him through my dim nearsighted eyes. But with something else entirely different. Then hugging him and (yes even kissing him) was the sense of closure and completion that every person strives for. Hugging him, I realized This is it. I'm finally home and where I'm supposed to be. Here in his arms. It was as if every event and experience I had in my life, good and bad, amazing and tragic lead up to that critical point in time. I have no regrets, nor any desire to go back and change anything. I was so secure in my choice that by the time I left 2 weeks later, we knew we were going to end up married. And so we did on July 16, 2005.

I will be forever grateful for his presence in my life. And of course for him just being there for me in more ways than I can count. I wouldn't trade in our 2,184 days together for anything.

First picture taken of us, taken on 10/03/2003

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's been a while!

Man, it's been AGES since I blogged! Things have been kind of busy around here since I had Oscar.

So, let's see... um, Oscar is growing very well, and is doing wonderful. He's a great eater and sleeper and has such a laid back, chill personality; very much like Jeff!

Something we did with the girls was stick a giraffe on their heads on their first Independence Day. Obviously, we had to do this with Oscar too!

He looks rather bemused actually. As opposed to Zoe's ANGRY face:

Or Ruthie's "I like this!" face:
I love all three of these pictures; I plan on maybe getting a picture frame that holds three pictures to put all of these pictures together. But the various reaction between the three just shows me how different they really are.

Being a mom to three kids is honestly MUCH easier for me than having two kids. I'm not entirely sure how or why; and that will probably change once Zoe starts Kindergarten; because then for a few hours of the day for 5 days a week, I'll just have two kids at home. It's going to be hard on Ruthie I think more than anyone else since Zoe's been a constant in her life since the day she was born, and while he's cute and fun, Oscar doesn't do much. I've been feeling content with the number of kids I have, and I KNOW for certainty my family is now complete; everyone that's supposed to be here are here.

Oddly enough, cloth diapering is going much easier than I had anticipated. There's been a few hiccups along the way, but I'm seriously thinking to myself; "This is way easy and so much better than having to worry about disposable diapers!

I'm getting closer and closer to my driver's license! I've done 3 observations with the driving school and one driving time; I have two more scheduled for next week. And after discussion and weighing the pros and cons we've decided that I will take the driving test with a private company versus going to the DLD/DMV. I'm hoping this will all be done by August 1st; however I'm not entirely sure if that will happen. At the very latest, I need to have it by August 10th; that's the day that kindergarten registration is. That's in three weeks; I KNOW I can do it!

Once life catches up I'll be able to blog more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pictures of Oscar!

Well, here's some pictures we have of Oscar!

Here's Oscar minutes after being born! This is the picture I sent out to family and friends announcing his arrival.

See, he was really 8 lbs, 9 oz!

He really likes sucking on his thumb. Taken 4/15/11
I love this expression! Taken 4/23/11

Oscar sucking his thumb after taking a bath. He sure loves that thumb. 4/23/11
Being wiggly on the quilt that I made for him. 4/25/11

Laying on his belly on the quilt I made. Love that little pout! 4/25/11

And of course, can't forget a picture of the kids together.. kind of sad this is the first one, but we can work on getting more.. although I think it captures all of them perfectly.
Zoe's usually a nut, Ruthie is nosy and Oscar just sleeps... 4/24/11

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oscar's Birth Story

Well, here I am blogging from the hospital. I figured it would be best for me to do so while I can remember everything the freshest. So here goes.

The whole time I was pregnant with Oscar, I've seen my doctor on Thursdays; Jeff and I decided out of the day of the week, that was the best day for us. So of course, I had an appointment on April 14th. I went in, and I was weighed, which I guess is my final pregnancy weight.. 141 pounds. Since I was 113 pre-pregnancy, that leaves my total weight gain at 28. That day, Jeff and the girls were with me. So, during my checkup, I had mentioned that Oscar's movements were not as frequent as they normally had been.. for the duration of the pregnancy he was extremely active; I could feel him constantly waving his arms around as well as kicking his feet, and occasionally he'd pivot from his favorite position with his back on my left side and occasionally roll around to the middle, but he'd always go back. Obviously this is a sign of concern, so Dr J went ahead and finished checking me.. I was showing sizewise about 38 weeks and 5 days, and then she checked my cervix, which had gone to 4 cm and still quite thick, and of course Oscar's heart rate which was fine. During the examination, I had been having contractions that were apparently obvious to her trained eye.

Due to his decrease in activity, which has been occurring sometime in the last few days prior to him being born, she had one of her nurses set me up on the heart rate monitor they have in office for about 20-30 minutes. While she was initially setting me up, I was having another contraction, which caused her to have to wait until it was over to properly set it up. And of course, in the time I was hooked up, I had probably 6 or so contractions. We had initially decided to do an elective induction slated for Wednesday the 20th , since while I have been able to tolerate the pain, I've been increasingly getting ornery and it wasn't good. I had ambitions of having an all natural labor and delivery, but my changes in temperament was overriding any benefit from holding out hoping for natural delivery. So of course after being on the monitor, and seeing what was happening, she decided that it might just be better for me to just go down and get admitted to labor and delivery that day instead. She called down and then told us she'd be down to break my water before heading home. The admission occurred roughtly a bit after 5 pm.

She came down and was able to break my water a bit after 6, and noted that I had some minimal progress to 4 plus, which I guess means that I was almost to 5 cm. Since there was another mama having a C-section, the anesthesiologist was not available to give me an epidural until after she had sufficiently recovered. During the wait, I realized there wasn't any way I was going to be able to labor naturally, because with every contraction, my uterus was putting pressure on the underside of the right side of my rib cage, which was pushing out and causing the pain to wrap around the middle of my back. Even now barely 25 hours after birth, my ribs are still VERY sore, and probably will be sore for quite some time.

Anyhoo, I was finally able to get my epidural sometime around 8:35 to 8:50; I only know the time because I was watching Bones, and I was able to gauge the time based on plot progression. I sort of missed the entire last half of the show; so I'm going to have to catch up on it later via Hulu... but that's not really relevant, haha. After getting my epidural, the nurse -who was pretty awesome- checked me and I had progressed to a 5, so on came the pictocin, that probably came around quarter after nine. The nurse speculated that I would probably end up having Oscar after midnight, since I wasn't progressing very quickly. And man, I was feeling the contractions VERY strongly at that point. There was super intense contracting going right above my pelvic bone as well as vaginally. We had to boost the epidural twice, and even after it had taken full effect, I was still feeling the contractions.

Anyway, since Jeff's parents and youngest sister had showed up to wait it out for us, and the girls were getting really bored and restless -not to mention the c-section Mama had complained about the noise the girls were making, and we felt kind of bad for her- we all felt it was best that they go home with Shayla, and they could come back after Oscar was born. I was somewhat puzzled that Shayla wanted to come, but it ended up working out very well; thankfully we live super close! So while Jeff was gone, I was able to have a really nice chat with John and Wendy, and then Jeff got back probably sometime around 10:30ish. Just seconds after he got back, the nurse came in to check on me, and of course to check on my progress. Her face went from the 'clinical professionalism' to complete and utter bewilderment. I thought it was very odd, and then she said "Um. You're fully dilated and effaced." to which there was a collective "What?" and she said "You are ten centimeters dilated and you're completely thinned out. I'm gonna go and call Dr J to let her know so she can come up." We waited for about 15 minutes, during which time some additional nurses came in and set everything up; and of course there was a nurse from the nursery as well for Oscar on hand. Of course there was an air of shock, since I had been on the pictocin only for an hour and fifteen minutes, and I was able to progress THAT quickly. For some reason also, I could feel my emotions starting to shut down a bit -not negatively of course!- and I kind of entered this weird state of calmness and serenity, and I sort of felt an inward turn of focus. I felt almost detached, but at the same time very wrapped up in the moment. I have to admit, it was a very odd state to be in.. I guess that's when my birthing instincts really kicked in! I had at least three or so contractions, and I could feel Oscar moving out just a bit each time.

Once Dr J got here, I was obviously ready to push! While I was pushing, we were all speculating how big he was going to be; she guessed on the smaller side, and asked how big the girls were (7lbs 6oz) so we were speculating he was going to be about the same size. After about 4 pushes, he was out! He was placed on my belly, and the first thing I noticed was he had a head full of THICK hair. And that it was black. The next thing I noticed was he was actually pretty hefty and solid. After the cord was cut, they took him over to get looked at by the nursery nurse. And that's when we were hit with a big shocker.

He was 8 lbs, 9 oz!

I don't think anyone in the room was expecting him to be that big.. I know I would NEVER expect that in a million years. Jeff and I were under the impression just based on the fact that the girls were the exact same length and weight, I had some sort of maximum capacity limit, and we were expecting him to be around that same weight range. I always thought that for my 4'11" height, and extremely petite frame, that I was only going to be able to carry a baby that was around seven and a half pounds.. considering that's about average, I was totally content and perfectly fine with that. A lot of people are usually shocked that the girls were as big as they were, and that I was able to carry them to full term on top of that. I should mention that he was also 20.5" long as well, so he was slightly longer than the girls were.

And the most amazing thing of all? I didn't tear. I tore and required an episiodomy with both girls, but not with Oscar. Funny how things work out like that sometimes.

Sorry the post has no pictures; Jeff's been taking home the camera, so any good pictures we've taken I currently don't have access to. I'm so glad that I didn't have to wait until next Wednesday either; I don't want to know how much bigger he would have been.. I know for sure over nine pounds.

And I guess I'm going to have to change the blog name now too that he's here; however that can wait.