Thursday, June 8, 2017

When James Was Born

My SON, James Kyle, is one week old today!

When Eden and Ila were both one week old, I sat down to write all about the day they were born.  So now it's James's turn.

I'm always a complete wreck when my babies turn one week old.  I've been crying for two days.  I'm just always so sad when we start to leave our newborn bubble behind.  I love the first few days SO MUCH!  I actually even love being in the hospital, and I'm always sad when it's time for us to leave.  It's the place where I met them, spent their first nights with them, fell head over heels in love with them.  My heart has broken three times as I've walked out of the rooms where for three days and two nights I spent my life completely surrounded by all things newborn baby.

A couple of weeks before James was born, I picked a blue shirt out of Dustin's closet and told him it's what I wanted him to wear the day James was born.  It's now washed, and I cried when I hung it back up in Dustin's closet... heartbroken that the day James was born is now in my past instead of my future.  The day before he was born I had my fingernails and toenails painted blue, as did Eden and Ila.  Eden and Ila's polish is now completely worn off, and my fingernail polish is chipped.  After James was born and we were settled into our new room, Dustin went to the giftshop and brought me back flowers.  I put them on our kitchen table when we got home, and now they are dry and faded and droopy and dying.  Yesterday I started crying because of my chipped fingernails and dying flowers.  Again because it's just a reminder that I'm getting farther and farther away from that magical day he was born.

My mom came down the day before he was born.  She stayed at my house with Eden and Ila while we were in the hospital and then stayed a few more days while I got settled in with three kids.  She left yesterday, and I about lost it.  I cried and cried and cried last night.  Because her leaving means it's time to get back to real life.  And I know that's GOOD!  I know it's time to officially start my life as a mom with three kids.  And I'm excited and happy, and really, I just feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world to have these three perfect, amazing kids!  BUT!  I love my newborn bubble.  I love the first few days.  I hate leaving it behind.

But let's start.

James was born on June 1st.  Exactly one week prior, on May 25th, I went in for my regular check-up.  During the routine ultrasound, they saw that the cord was wrapped around his neck.  The doctor didn't want to deliver him YET since I was only thirty-five weeks at the time, but she wanted to get him out SOON because of the cord.  I freaked of course, but she was confident that he would be okay for a little bit longer because I had so much fluid around him.  Her plan was to give me steroid shots to help develop his lungs and then deliver him in one week.  I got a shot that day in the office with instructions to come back the next day for another shot and to go to the ER immediately if I felt a decrease in his movement.  TALK ABOUT TERRIFYING!

Naturally I freaked out by the very next morning when I hadn't felt him move for a few hours.  I ended up in labor and delivery at the hospital, hooked up to monitors, only to feel him start moving shortly thereafter.  It was actually kinda embarrassing, although my doctor assured me I did the right thing and to come back if it happened again.

We had a follow-up appointment on May 31st to get another ultrasound and check on our boy to see if we still needed to deliver early.  May 31st was our 9th anniversary, and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way but with Dustin at the doctor's office, making the official plans to meet our son.  Sure enough, the ultrasound showed that the cord was wrapped not once, but twice.  So yes, they wanted to induce me the next morning!

Dustin and I went to lunch for our anniversary, bought a bottle of whiskey (more on that later), hit up the grocery store so we'd be prepared when we came home from the hospital, and I went and got my blue manicure and pedicure.  We got home that evening, and I painted Eden's nails blue (Ila wanted to wait until my mom got there to paint hers!) and spent extra, extra time putting them to bed that night.  My last night with just my girls.

We had to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning.  Just like the drive to the hospital with both Eden and Ila, I spent the hour drive both crazy excited and crazy nervous about what I was fixing to have to do!

When we got to the hospital, they put us into Delivery Room (lucky number!) 13.  I changed into my hospital gown and spent the longest time staring at the little baby bed/warmer thing that was in there. Knowing that in a few hours, that's where my baby was going to be weighed and cleaned and swaddled.  The little hospital hat was already laying there, and it was just so surreal to think that it would be placed on my baby boy's head soon.

Even though we had to be at the hospital at 5:30, it was almost 8:00 before we got the show on the road.  First they had to do lab work on me, we filled out paperwork, answered hundreds of questions about my health, etc.  But finally, after what seemed an eternity, we got started.

I mentioned in my posts about when Eden and Ila were born that my labors go FAST!  Pregnancy is not my friend.  It never has been, and ESPECIALLY this go round.  This was a HARD pregnancy on my body.  BUT!  My body is seriously amazing at labor.  Before they started the pitocin, I was already dilated to a three.  About thirty minutes after they started, my doctor came in to break my water, and I was already at a five.

While the doctor was in there, she asked me if I wanted the epidural.  At first, I wasn't going to.  I didn't like it when I got it with Ila, and my plan was to try my hardest to go without it.  So I told her I was going to try to go without it for as long as I could.  She informed me that I wouldn't have time for that and that if I wanted it, I better get it right then because I wouldn't be in labor for long.  Then she told me that they weren't sure if I was going to be able to have the baby naturally.  That we were going to try, but with the cord situation, it might end up in a c-section.  Well as soon as she told me that, I thought, "Oh hell no!  I'm not about to labor naturally AND possibly end up in a c-section too!"  If there was a possibility of a c-section, I wanted labor to be as pain free as possible!  So I told them to bring on the epidural.

Well of course, you can't just get the epidural immediately.  First they have to pump you full of fluids.  So I labored on while I waited for the IV bag to empty.  And I started panicking that I wasn't going to make it because those contractions were coming hard and fast.  I would watch the clock across from my bed to time my contractions and then glance up at the IV bag to see how much was left and then panic because the math didn't seem to be in my favor!  And for all my "I'm gonna do this labor naturally" talk that I had before June 1st, once you're actually IN labor, it's a different story.  And you get to a point where nothing else in life matters EXCEPT GETTING AN EPIDURAL.

Lo and behold, I got my epidural in time!  Just in time, because about thirty minutes later, it was time to push!

And on June 1st at 10:36 am, James Kyle entered the world and changed my life forever.

And because the labor went so quickly and because it only took pushing through three contractions to get him out, everything went smoothly, and they slipped the cord over his head as he came out, and it wasn't an issue at all!  Dustin was even able to cut the cord.

He weighed 6 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long.  And he was the handsomest little fellow I ever did lay my eyes on!

 I cried for the longest time after they gave him back to me.  I couldn't stop!

We laid there skin to skin for about an hour.  It was magical.  I nursed him for the first time.  I stared at him.  I kissed his face.  I told him "Happy Birth Day" and "I love you" over and over.

After a while, we were moved to our new room, and then Dustin got to hold him for the first time.

After he was born, we called and texted everybody to let them know, and we told all of the parents and grandparents to come around 4:00.  So we had a couple of hours to relax and enjoy him and hold him before everybody showed up.

Soon, everybody started trickling in, but there were really only two people I was interested in seeing! :)

To say they are over the moon about their new little brother would be an understatement.  One week later, and they're still fighting over who gets to hold him!

When Eden and Ila were born, we toasted to them with champagne.  I knew Dustin was not going to be okay with champagne for his boy though.  After we found out that he was going to be born on June 1st, I asked him what we were going to toast to him with.  I knew exactly what he was going to say.  "Whiskey."  So the day before he was born, Dustin bought a bottle of whiskey to take to the hospital, and my mom brought the cups.

Everybody who came to the hospital had to take a shot of whiskey (as has everybody who has come to visit us at home since he's been born!)

Eventually everybody left, leaving just me, Dustin, and James.  Our little trio.  This is the part in Eden and Ila's story where I ended the post, saying how wonderful the day was and how happy I was as I drifted off to sleep.

However, if I were to end this post on James's first night in the world, it would go, "and then he was taken from us and put into the NICU because he couldn't regulate his blood sugar."

Because that's exactly what happened.  Between my gestational diabetes and him being born just over three weeks early, the poor little guy just couldn't get that blood sugar under control.  In addition to nursing, we supplemented with formula, but to no avail.  He had to go to the NICU and get an IV.  I was devastated of course.  Devastated that they had to put a needle into his teeny hand.  Devastated that he would be away from us on his very first night in the world.  And stressed of course that he was having problems.

They wouldn't allow me to be there when they placed his IV, and when I was allowed to go back, it was heartbreaking to see my tiny baby with tubes and wires coming out of him.  I went back and forth all night long to nurse him... I nursed him every three hours... And it went like this:

-get to NICU at 11:45 so I could be there when they took his vitals and blood sugar
-start nursing him at 12:00
-nurse for about thirty minutes
-hold him for about thirty minutes
-go back to my room to get my vitals taken
-go to the bathroom (which, if you've given birth, you know is a HUGE production)
-go to sleep around 1:30
-wake up at 2:30 to walk to the NICU and do it all again

And on and on and on for two days.

He never did get to come back to our room.  He stayed in the NICU up until the day we were discharged.

My doctor came and discharged me bright and early on Saturday morning.  At that point, we didn't know if James was going to be discharged or not.  His blood sugar was good by then, but it was just a matter of how fast they could wean him off of his IV.  I was completely freaking out about the possibility of him not being discharged with me.  I begged my doctor to let me stay another day if he had to, but insurance wouldn't allow it.  There was no way we were leaving that hospital without him, so we were prepared to set up camp in the NICU, but around noon, they told us that he was going to get to go home!

the nurses setting James free of his tubes and wires!

It was the best feeling in the world when they handed me my baby back, and THIS time I didn't have to worry about tangling up wires or being careful of his IV! :) :) :)

We packed up the last of our things, I dressed him in his going home outfit, and we said "Adios, Houston!"

 Eden picked that onesie out months ago, and I had it monogrammed.  The hat is one of the things I bought the day I found out he was a boy and wanted to surprise Dustin.

With Eden, Ila, and now James, before we go home, we always stop at my Pops and Granny's house so that they can meet their great-grandchild.

 and my grandpa's nurse, Carmen, and my Uncle Harold

Finally, late that evening, we arrived home.  Where two little girls came bursting out of the house to meet our car.  And then climbed in the car to see him because they were too impatient to wait for us to actually get him out!

get used to it, James!

And then we put him in the bassinet for his first night at home, and my heart was so full I thought it may burst to be home and have my three babies all under the same roof.

blowing him kisses and telling him "goodnight"

And life is grand, and my heart still feels like it may burst from being so full, and we've had the best week! 

My heart still hurts to leave our first days with Baby James behind though.  Part of me wishes I was still in the hospital with him, sitting in his NICU room, holding him in the middle of the night, feeling like we are the only two people in the world.  It sucked having him in the NICU during our whole hospital stay, but I will forever cherish the memories of my late night walks down the hallway to his room, unswaddling him, and holding him to me.  I can picture us now, in the chair in the corner of his room, just me and him, with monitors and beeps in the background.

But I know that we have some AMAZING days ahead of us.  I was pregnant for nearly nine months, and I've held him in my arms for seven days, and I still can't believe that I have him.  My little bonus baby.  I feel like the luckiest girl to get to start over and do all of this again.  The newborn days, him curled up on my chest.  First smiles and giggles and steps.  And to have Eden and Ila by my side to do it with me.  It brings tears to my eyes right now to just imagine it.

James Kyle, you have brought so much joy to our lives in such a small amount of time.

By the way, my dad and Dustin's dad are both named James, and Dustin's middle name is Kyle.  So my little James Kyle is named for both his grandfathers and his father, and I think that's just the coolest thing ever.

all of the Jameses 

And now it's my favorite part of the day... the part where I climb into bed and let my newborn lay on my chest.  Life is good.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Easter Weekend Highlights

(Easter is my favorite holiday, but I have ZERO Easter decorations.  So Eden and I spent the days leading up to Easter weekend making some!  She made that bunny garland... I traced the bunnies onto paper for her, but she cut all of them out and glued the cotton tails on.  We also made some "stained glass" crosses together that you can see in a later photo.  And the dyed eggs on the table are the eggs that Eden and Ila dyed on Good Friday.  By the time Easter rolled around, I absolutely loved my little breakfast nook area with all of our homemade decorations!)

Our Easter weekend was seriously so, so perfect!  Here are some highlights of all things Hargrave Easter:

The Wednesday before Easter, Eden had her Easter party/egg hunt at school, and Ila and I went.

 I just love this picture of Eden and her little classmates checking out each other's eggs!

Ila got to participate in the craft!

Eden's school did one heck of a good job teaching her about Easter, and in the days leading up to the holiday, she would come home and say things like, "Did you know that Jesus could have gotten himself off the cross, but He didn't because He loved us and had to die for our sins?" and "My heart is filled with sadness because one of Jesus's disciples didn't love him."!!!!!!!!!

By the time she got out of school for the holidays, she could tell me the Resurrection story backwards, forwards, and upside down!

On Good Friday morning, we went to my Pops and Granny's house so that Eden and Ila could dye Easter eggs with their cousins, Rylen and Willow.  I decided to do the shaving cream/food coloring method this year, and HOLY MOLY!  I had no idea it would stain so badly!  We should have definitely used gloves!  This picture was taken after we washed their hands with soap and water multiple times, soaked their hands in vinegar, and scrubbed them with alcohol!  I thought for sure that they would have purple hands for days, but Eden and Ila ended up going swimming that evening, and fortunately, the chlorine took it right off!

That afternoon, Dustin and Eden went fishing while Ila napped and I baked a key lime cake for Easter Sunday.

When they got back, Dustin cooked us a dinner of fried fish, fried shrimp, and crab.

On Saturday morning, we gave Eden and Ila their Easter presents.  (We don't do the Easter Bunny.)

 the difference in my kids - Eden got a bug catcher, Ila got play make-up :)

We made the girls strawberry pancakes for breakfast and then headed to the park for the Community Easter egg hunt.

The grass was still wet and dewy when the Easter egg hunt started, so while Eden rushed off to grab as many eggs as possible, Ila didn't want to touch them.  I was all, "look Ila, here's an egg, get this egg!"  And she was all, "Ew, that's GROSS!"  She managed to get four whole eggs and had to clean every single one of them off before she would put it in her basket!

When we got home, Eden and I (and kinda Ila) made a bunny dirt cake for her to take to my Pops and Granny's the next day.  Eden did the majority of the work, I just told her what to do.  She was VERY PROUD.  She said she has to make one every year now.

That afternoon we got to visit with my cousin and her kids.  Eden and Savannah just love each other but rarely get to see each other!

Then that evening, Dustin's parents came over.  Dustin made prime rib, and we watched as Eden and Ila ran around playing outside.  We got out the bubble maker, and it always cracks me up because Daisy ALWAYS goes NUTS when there are bubbles.

We had plans to go to church on Easter Sunday at my grandma's church in downtown Houston.  We missed it.  I won't get into the details, but it involves my gigantic self ripping a big revealing hole in the ONLY dress and Easter appropriate outfit that I had bright and early that morning (and then crying hysterically because I'm pregnant and hormonal).  It's a long story and one that I find hysterical now, but at the time I was SO UPSET!

So instead of church, we spent the morning swimming.  Well the rest of my family spent the morning swimming.  That water is WAY TOO COLD for me!

That afternoon we went to my brother and Audrey's for lunch and an Easter egg hunt.

And then that evening, we went to Pops and Granny's for yet another Easter egg hunt and more food!

 We always set up the egg hunt right in front of that big window so that my grandpa can sit in his chair and watch all of his great-grandkids.

It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.  We spent lots of time together the four of us, and we also managed to see every parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, etc.  It was full of fun and love, and I can't wait until next year!  I hope to not be the size of a whale and to be able to fit into clothes so we can go to church! :)