Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things I LOVE about this baby

Wait, first, I created a new blog to give updates on the diaper free thing so that those of you uninterested in reading about poop and pee habits of the baby will be spared. There's a link at the top of the blog list in the sidebar--Alaina's diaper free adventures

Okay, now things I love about this baby!

1. Cuddles!
2. Hiccup squeaks
3. Long flipper feet
4. Tiny hips
5. Swallowing squeaks when she nurses
6. How tiny she is
7. Soft baby skin
8. That she always wants to be held
9. Funny faces
10. Her name

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Okay, just one more, I promise

Some of you know about the diaper-free concept we've been planning on trying. I think I'll start a new blog to post updates about this since not everyone wants to hear about baby bowel movements, but for this first one, I'll just give you the overview and the first update. The idea is that no animal poops or pees where it lives and humans are no different. Babies don't want to mess on themselves and they can actually hold it for a very short amount of time until provided with an appropriate place to go. They also give cues that they need to go just like they do to tell you that they are hungry, tired, need to be burped, want to be held, etc. We just don't tune into those cues and the baby is taught to ignore those signals and not to try to hold it, but to just go whenever and to go on themselves in their diaper. Then they get to be about 2 and we start to tell them that it's yucky and bad and their body has to relearn to pay attention to a sensation they've been taught to ignore. When I heard about this idea, the pieces of the puzzle just fit for me. I had always been bothered by the idea that there would be a shame component to potty training, or that kids needed to be "ready," whatever that means, or that they couldn't possibly use the potty until they were older than 2. I hated the power struggle that potty training brought with it and I abhor cleaning poop off the carpet and out of clothes. I would just get angry with the child and it would damage not only the potty training efforts, but the relationship. So I got Brice on board with this diaper-free thing and I hope it works! I figure you either invest the time now, with a docile infant or later with a willful toddler. I'd rather do it now.

How it works:
You watch for the baby's cues (what's one more cue when you are already tuned into learning so many others?) and try to make a "catch" if you can. But really the catch is secondary to just noticing cues. You also issue a cue when you notice them going, whether you catch it or not. That way you can get them to go before you get in the car or something like that. The idea is that, never having learned to ignore the signals, the baby is always aware of needing to go and will always go somewhere appropriate because going in a diaper has never been an "appropriate" spot. Why would it be? It makes no sense. By the time the baby is mobile, they will take themselves to their potty, and by the time they can get their pants up and down they will be going independently!

Our first try:
So since Alaina was born, I've been trying to just pay attention and see if I can notice any cues. I found that I almost always know when she has to poop. She didn't really pee much at all until yesterday, and the one time she did was when Brice was changing her diaper--ever wonder why boys always pee when their diaper comes off? This philosophy suggests that it's because they don't want to pee on themselves, not because of cold air or whatever other reasons are typically given. Anyway, last night I decided to really give it a try. I laid her down on some rubber sheets and prefold diapers and worked on homework while paying attention to her activity level. At one point I thought she might have to go, so I held her over a tupperware (don't worry; they're labeled and won't get mixed in with the regular ones!), but she cried and kicked so I put her back down. But she kept fussing so I went and picked her up and she had peed! I was right! I just didn't wait long enough. I changed her and put her back down, dry. A while later she started to get restless again so I held her over the tupperware and after about 30 seconds or so, she went! Our first catch! This might actually work! Wish us luck!

The name game

Alaina's name. We always get asked about our kids names and it's been no different with Alaina's. It's kind of fun to tell our kids' name stories, so here's Alaina's:

My brother Jesse moved back home in September from Hawaii, where he'd been living for the past couple of years. We were still stumped on a name for the baby, so I asked him to make me a list of Hawaiian names he liked. One of the names was Kalani and I kind of liked that, but it wasn't quite right. So I toyed with it until I had Kalaina and Brice and I both liked that name, but it sounded a little to hard with that K at the beginning for it to be perfect. Oh, I was also looking for a K name and I would pair it with a T middle name so that we could call her Katie for a nickname. Silly, I know, but that's what I wanted. Anyway, I dropped the K on Kalaina and had Alaina, which I liked also, but then I didn't have the Katie option. Until one day Ryker was playing and he started saying something about Katherine. I wasn't sure where he'd heard it or what he was referencing, but I liked it as a middle name to go with Alaina and it would give us the Katie option. Perfect! As soon as I said it out loud, I was pretty sure we had a winner. So I called Brice and asked him what he thought and he liked it too, so our baby had a name. We still considered Kalaina for a while but I only liked it some of the time. Incidentally, I had a friend growing up in Canoga Park named Alaina (that's probably where I got the spelling) that I got to know again when we both ended up at USU. She found me yet again online just a few days after we decided on the name! Coincidence?

From the mom's perspective

So, you got Brice's side of the story, but I want to tell mine too. Plus, it's an excuse for showing off more pictures.

Here's the story:

I was miserably pregnant and hated moving, sleeping, walking, breathing, reaching, twisting, and bending. What else is there left to do? Okay, so it wasn't that bad; I just hated it! I really wanted that baby OUT. And I think she wanted out too. Like Brice said, I started getting woken up at 1:00 in the morning on Friday with contractions, but by the time we were up and ready, they were gone. Boohoo. I was irritated and had already taken care of my school stuff so I could miss class. So we decided to go DO something to try to get things going again. We went to the mall and walked forever and ever and my aunt Kyle... Wait, my aunt Kyle. She came all the way out here from northern California--a 12 hour drive--because I asked her to come and be my advocate at the hospital. With my other kids, I had things I wanted done a certain way, but never the time to explain them or a birth plan to tell them. Brice doesn't like to get confrontational, but after Ryker's birth experience where they didn't believe us that I was in labor and wouldn't do anything but hook me up to machines until I was dilated to a 9, I wanted someone that would get in their face and get things done MY way (selfish? Me? Well, maybe a little). So Kyle came out and it was a good thing she did! But I'll get to that part. Anyway, Kyle knows lots about herbs and homeopathic stuff and things like that, so we went to the health food store and she got the pill that Brice mentioned which is a homeopathic medicine that is used for menstrual cramps, but also gets labor going if it is on its way already. You put a couple little balls of it under your tongue to let them dissolve. So we walked the mall until the kids were beat and then we sent them home to sleep and my mom, Kyle, and I went to the other mall to walk some more. We finally gave up when we weren't really making any progress and finished out the day at home with nothing to report.

Saturday morning, I got woken up again in the middle of the night with contractions that had a new and rather uncomfortable quality to them. I guess, for some background, I'll tell you that I had read up on hypnobirthing (it's more like deep meditation and relaxation than hypnosis and you do it for yourself--no one hypnotizes you) and hoped to be able to use some of the techniques I'd learned to reduce, if not eradicate, the pain. Anyway, I was trying to concentrate on letting the right things open and relax and allowing the right muscles to contract and push the baby down. But it got harder and harder to concentrate and stay so focused as the contractions got stronger. We left for the hospital at about 3:45 or so and got there around 4:00 in the morning. Being the rebellious rule-breaker that I am, they had to call my doctor to get the okay on a bunch of the stuff I wanted. I did NOT want continuous monitoring, so they had to get an order on that. The nurse looked at me funny when I said I wasn't wearing their gown--I'd brought a robe and a sports bra instead. And that was SO much better! I highly recommend opting out of their labor and delivery attire. I also didn't want an IV but had agreed to let them do a hep block instead (my doctor was so accomodating that I had to give her that one request). That thing was SO annoying! Brice kept laughing at me because I kept complaining about that thing but not about the contractions. Anyway, when the nurse checked me I was only at a 4 and I was perturbed, to say the least. I did not want to be in the hospital laboring for 6 more hours, which was my estimate based on how long it had taken to even go into labor. The nurse called my doctor to report and my doctor offered to come break my water to speed things along. Please do! Anything to get this overwith! Then we walked the halls and I tried to prepare for a lot of waiting. I didn't have to wait long, fortunately--I think I would have gone crazy. The nurse was funny; she said to hurry up because her shift ended at 6:00 and she wanted to witness an unmedicated birth without any screaming. I think she was convinced that I could do it when she checked me at one point and I was having a contraction, but chatting with her and Brice and Kyle at the same time. Her eyes got kinda wide and she said, "Are you having a contraction right now?" Unfortunately, she missed it by an hour. That last hour is the worst part. The contractions hit a level of pain unlike anything anything else you can experience. For me, anyway. It makes me shake and I wouln't be surprised if I was in shock. But it's short--it didn't last the whole hour. And then I started to feel a new sensation, and my aunt could tell. She asked if she should get the doctor. That's when she had to get a little forceful with the nurse who was dragging her feet about it. I was so glad to have her there so Brice could just enjoy the experience (enjoy watching his wife suffer? What kind of husband does that?!) instead of having to be confrontational and demanding. So the doctor came and asked if I was "starting to feel pushy." Yup, that's what that feeling was. She got the bed set up for me how I wanted it so that I was upright and sort of squatting. A few minutes later she was in her green delivery suit and rushing Brice to get into his before the baby came. She coached Brice through catching and me through pushing so that I wouldn't tear and baby Alaina was born in a push and a half at 7:08, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and measuring 20 inches long. Brice put her on my tummy and the doctor told him how to clamp the cord and cut it. I got to just hold her without feeling like they were rushing her off to be weighed and measured and all that. She didn't want to nurse right away, but she was alert and looking around for two hours after she was born. I had asked that they delay all shots, pokes, and the dreaded eye goop for as long as possible and it was really nice to look into clear baby eyes instead of squinty, goopy ones and to nurse a baby that could see me for the first time. We were in the delivery room for about an hour hanging out with our new baby and getting dressed (just me; everyone else was already dressed). Then we all went down to the nursery for baby's first bath. The nurses were shocked that I was there an hour after giving birth, but the pediatrician's reaction was priceless. He came in and looked at Brice and said, "You're Dad?" pretty much dismissing me. Brice nodded and the nurse said, "And this is Mom!" He looked at me and startled. He literally took a step backward. "You're MOM!? I thought maybe you were an aunt or something! But not MOM!" He and the nurse went back and forth for a minute about how not normal it was to have Mom in the nursery so quick, or ever for that matter. She never left us the whole time in the hospital and it was really cool to be with her always and not to have my baby returned to me with gashes and pokes and who knows what done to her. I never trusted that the nurses didn't give my babies a bottle or do something else I wouldn't have wanted done. But this time, I was there every step of the way and I knew everything that happened to her. I got to see her weighed and measured (with the other kids, that always took place sooner than I wanted and way across on the other side of an enormous room where I couldn't see) and I got to watch Brice hold her for the first time. He is such a sweet daddy and he just looked at that little baby with so much love and held her so gently. It was precious to watch. We stayed in the hospital for their 24 hour minimum and then had to wait several more hours for the doctors (Alaina's and mine) to come and check us and then for the one prescription I wanted (lanolin-type stuff so I don't die from nursing--that can be worse than delivery sometimes!) to come and then we finally went home at about noon on Sunday. Things have been smooth sailing since. Alaina is a very good baby. And I think she's just really happy to be out of the uterus. About as happy as I am to have her out. I don't think this is going to be a baby that takes to swaddling much. As soon as she was out she stretched out straight and spends most of her time that way. She's much less wiggly now, too.

So that's my story of Alaina's birth. We are all happy and healthy and getting into a normal routine. I have been recovering really well; so well, in fact, that I didn't even miss any school after delivery! I feel better now than I did while I was pregnant. Walking is SO much easier! It was a great birth experience and I am so happy with how everything turned out. I am grateful to my doctor for accomodating all my wishes (demands?) and making this such a great experience. We are also, of course, grateful for Alaina Katherine and the sweet spirit she brings into our home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The day we've been waiting for

Morgan has been going crazy this last week waiting to go into labor. She was so sick of being pregnant that she never really worried about the upcoming labor. She woke me up at 3 AM Friday morning because she had been having more regular contractions for a few hours. After getting dressed I worked on homework while timing contractions. Unfortunately for Morgan the consistency faded and by 7 AM the contractions no longer promised labor. In order to take the day off of school, I drove my homework to my friend Marcos' house so that he could turn it in for me. We spent a lot of the day with Morgan's aunt Kyle and tried everything that we could to get labor going. We went off-roading, Morgan had some raspberry leaf tea, she took a caulophyllum thalictroide pill and so on. We went to bed that night but were up again by 3AM. This time we actually went to the hospital but Morgan was not as far along as she would have liked. Aunt Kyle met us at the hospital and helped keep the Nurses in line so that things would go the way that Morgan wanted. When notified, the doctor offered to come in to the hospital to break Morgan's water and speed up the process.Morgan liked the idea and so by 6:30 AM the contractions were becoming very intense. At this point Morgan found out that she was only dilated to 7cm and this didn't please her. She imagined that she would be in this type of labor for much longer and decided that she could do for an epidural. I convinced her that she didn't need it and that it wouldn't be much longer. I based my conclusions on her previous labor experiences and fortunately was right. Before we knew it she was ready to push and I had to rush to put on a gown and gloves so that I could catch. The doctor instructed me how to catch the baby, then clamp and cut the umbilical cord. Our experience at this hospital was better than it was at St. Bernardine's and from this point on we never were away from baby Alaina's presence. Throughout her stay at the hospital Morgan rejected every medication offered her and received not even a single painkiller. Because of this and who knows what other kinds of impossible toughness, Morgan was able to get out of bed and accompany Alaina and I down to the nursery. According to the comments and praise that was received there by the nurses and doctor, I doubt that any other mother has ever walked into the nursery carrying her baby! Morgan was ready to leave within an hour of having delivered but they made her wait a whole 24 hours. We had visits from family and a generally relaxing time. Alaina has turned out to be the easiest baby ever (at least so far) and only cried right after birth and when she got a bath. She didn't even fuss about having her feet pricked or getting shots.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Um, yeah. Still preggo...

So, my Dr.'s appointment didn't go as I had hoped today. What is with this kid?! Brice says she's definitely my baby; she knows it's cold out and she wants to stay where it's nice and warm as long as possible. Guess we won't be seeing her until May or something! Anyway, I'm "a tight 2," which means all the contractions this week have done hardly anything. The baby's head isn't engaged or anything (though the Dr. said that could happen with one contraction) and I'd been wondering if she had moved back up in the last day or two because I've had more trouble breathing. The Dr. doubted that I'd make it to my next appointment (Tuesday the 20th) without delivering, but I'm getting skeptical. I think she just wants to stay in there forever. Maybe she's part fish and she likes the water...

I'm open to suggestions for getting labor started if any of you know of anything that actually works. Apparently shoveling snow doesn't cut it...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nope, still pregnant!

So, my guess was wrong. All my guesses with this pregnancy have been for some reason. I'm still uncomfortably pregnant and ready to get this wiggly little thing out of me! As of Monday, I'm dilated to a 1 (still) and 70% effaced. At least I've had better contractions since my pelvic exam Monday. I've had contractions all along with this pregnancy (since about 4 months), so they're nothing to get excited over, but they have kicked it up a notch (a small notch) this week. Monday they were going strong and Tuesday they started to peter out, so I decided to shovel snow for an hour hoping to induce labor. No luck. But the contractions got stronger for a while and I got sorer for a while (I didn't know that was possible!). Today I'm just frustrated. I really want to have this baby already! Partly because having a newborn is way more fun than being kicked all day and also because I'm really ready to start healing from all the soreness. I've carried this baby really low and it's made walking pretty painful. But I'll take that over back pain from carrying high any day!

By the way, thanks for all of your kind unchubby encouragements; I'm really mostly kidding. I was bigger with Ryker, but I've been doing pretty well with this one. It's just that pregnant bellies are so ALIEN looking! I mean look at that thing! It's just not normal! I mean, it is, but at the same time it's not.

On another note, I've got to vent a little (as if I haven't done enough of that already--hey I'm pregnant! Back off!) about school this semester. I tried to be courteous and responsible and give my professors a heads up about having a baby, but I've gotten the most NOT courteous of responses. One professor just said that he can't make special exceptions. C'mon! I'm having a baby! You can't give me a few days of leniency to miss class unpenalized or catch up? Isn't this a FAMILY oriented major? The other guy's response just kills me. He basically suggested that his class might be to difficult for me to take this semester and I should consider taking it later. Excuse me!!! I just completed 42.5 units in one year while accommodating my husband's equally rigorous schedule, raising our two kids, carrying a third child, and I got all A's and B's, and he's trying to tell me that his junior level course might be too much for me? The audacity! Then there's the English predicament. I was signed up for the class that I needed, but it turned out that Brice has to take a class that hour that he can't change. So I have to change mine. But all the classes are full and have been for over a month (I've been checking regularly). There are two classes that fit into my schedule (sorry, but an 8:00 class with a newborn just isn't going to cut it!) and they both happen to be with the same teacher. She's pretty much adding people at random--she passed a sheet around the classroom and had those that wanted to add sign it, so it basically depends on where you happened to be sitting that day. Oh, except for those that have special circumstances like being snowed in and having their plane delayed and therefore being unable to make it to class the first day like the rest of us. On the other hand, those of us that are in their last semester, trying to juggle kids, pregnancy, spouse's schedule, etc. get no special consideration. But if you were snowed in, come right in! Ugh! Okay, I'll stop. Hopefully two more people will drop the class by Friday and I'll get in. That's the best I can hope for.

Well, keep checking back! I'll either post again after my next Dr. appointment on Monday (or Tuesday; I might have to change it) or when the baby makes her debut--whichever comes first.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our New Addition

No, not THAT one! She's still kicking and squirming away in my tummy. Made ya look though, didn't I. THIS is our new addition:

We've been talking about getting a Suburban for several years and it finally happened. Brice has been seriously shopping for about a year and a half now (he's very diligent!) and he finally found the right one. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but after driving a few that were in the price range I was hoping for, I realized that it would behoove us to spend a little more and get one that didn't already need some repairs. Especially since we are Somers' and have therefore been bestowed with the Somers Family Car Curse. We figured that this was the time to get a new vehicle since we can't fit three car seats across the back of our Saturn. We do on occasion and you really have to slam those things in there. As in put your shoulder or hip to the door and give it everything you've got. It tweaks the car seats and just doesn't feel too safe. Plus, when we get a new dog, where would we put it? We've been known to put dogs in the trunk, but we get hastled by the highway patrol for it. So, we got our Suburban just in time for our next new addition and we LOVE it! Ryker likes that he can see out the windows and Raelin likes it because it's green, her favorite color. Brice is really happy with it, which is the most important thing to me since he's been working so hard researching it. And I am really excited for some space! Pregnancy has made me really sensitive to noise so the poor kids have been sentenced to virtual silence whenever we get in the car. Hopefully, noise won't drive me so nuts in a big Suburban.

For those of you that care, it's 4 wheel drive, a three quarter ton (which means it's heavier duty than other models so Brice can't break it), has the small block engine (it guzzles less gas than the big block, parts are cheaper and it's a more tried and true engine), it seats 8 and the seats are leather, it has new tires (a HUGE selling point), 95,000 miles on it, and it has power everything. Finding a 3/4 ton with a small block engine was one of Brice's initial objectives, but it was so hard to find that he kind of stopped looking for that combination. He figured out after the purchase that he had gotten the exact thing he wanted! We've been really blessed to have everything fall into place for this purchase--the money came in just in time, the right car was still available at a really great deal, it had all the most important components (it's only missing a bench seat up front and a tailgate back door rather than barn doors), and it came in time for a new baby and the next semester of school which could have been a logistical nightmare without two cars. And it's quite the upgrade from our little Saturn, which, by the way, is only 5 years old, has 125,000 miles on it and is still running. That is quite a feat for a Somers' vehicle. Brice has done a great job keeping up with the maintenance on it and I think it's made a difference. Hopefully we can do the same with the Suburban, but keep it clean and unsmelly as well...