I got a voicemail from Emily Lam today calling to congrats and hi. And she want to know how weâ€™re doing and updates and so forth. So rather than just simply call her or email her, Iâ€™m dedicating this post to her (and to any of you who are interested in reading all the details about our lives). This is a long post for those of you who like to read short stories. For those of you who like picture books, scroll to the end.
Warning: Graphic pictures abound. Not of poop, but of birthing babies. Youâ€™ve been warned.
Carisâ€™ due date was February 14, so three weeks before that day, weâ€™re still getting things done around the house to prepare for her. Preparing for Carisâ€™ arrival was a little more daunting of a task, since thereâ€™s now a little boy running around the house getting into everything and distracting us at every momentâ€™s chance. So we were ready to a certain extent. We have her crib ready, which sheâ€™s not even going to use for the first couple of months anyways. We got her dresser and diaper warmer. Her clothes are washed and mostly put away. We even did a private session with the hypnobirthing instructor (more on that later). Everything is coming along for that February 14 date.
Of course Caris didnâ€™t want to have anything to do with our plan. On Sunday, January 25 at 8pm, Yvonne started getting contractions. Very mild, but different than her braxton hicks. Lower as though Caris was trying to kick her way out. The contractions were coming every 10-20 minutes at that point and lasting only 20 seconds long. Yvonne was in denial, and for good reason too. Caleb has these same type of contractions 4 weeks before he was born, and so she thought it might be the same with Caris. I, on the other hand, was getting ready, mentally if not physically.
Monday morning rolls around and Yvonne doesnâ€™t feel any contractions throughout the night. So Iâ€™m thinking, â€œgood.â€ We should have a few more weeks to get things ready. And then right after she wakes up, she starts feeling her contractions again picking up right where they left off the night before. 10-20 apart. 20 seconds long. Nothing to worry about except for me deciding to go to work or not. I want to stay home just in case since I know Yvonneâ€™s body can get rolling pretty quickly. She convinces me that it should be okay. So I head to work.
Yvonne has these contractions throughout the day with the same length and intensity. Around 4pm, her contractions are getting stronger, longer and closer together. She calls me to update me. She tries to tell me to stay at work longer and says sheâ€™ll be fine. But Iâ€™m not falling for this again. Last time she told me that, Caleb popped into my hands when I got home. I head for home.
Iâ€™m almost arriving at home, when I get a phone call from home. Iâ€™m expecting her to tell me that her contractions are strong and she canâ€™t handle it and has to go to the hospital. But no. Hereâ€™s the funny part. She calls me to tell me sheâ€™s on her way to take Caleb to Gymboree. Hereâ€™s a woman whoâ€™s in active labor, or close to it, taking her son to play at Gymboree. How silly is that?
One thing we had just discussed this past weekend was deciding whoâ€™s going to watch over Caleb when Yvonneâ€™s in labor. And how would that timing work out with Caleb and his sleep/nap schedule. This boy has had no one but me or Yvonne put him to bed. And heâ€™s sometimes hard going down as well. If Yvonne goes into labor in the morning, who watches Caleb? If itâ€™s in the evening, who puts him to sleep? Ideally, Caleb would be put to bed by one of us, Yvonne goes into active labor and gives birth to Caris overnight, with enough time for me to go home and greet Caleb good morning. Well the ideal just did happen.
We had Denise come over to watch him as he slept. Yvonneâ€™s dad was to come over as well and stay overnight. Weâ€™re so grateful to have people come over on such a short notice. What a blessing.
So the labor progresses and weâ€™re putting Caleb to bed. Caleb wants â€œMamaâ€ to put him to bed tonight and she does. I am off finishing up the last touches on things to bring to the hospital, packing up the car, eating and writing blog posts.
Caleb falls asleep, and weâ€™re finally off to the hospital at 8pm. Labor is progressing quickly, but not as quickly as Caleb. Yvonne isnâ€™t dying of pain, Iâ€™m feeling calm and somewhat ready. Weâ€™ve only been practicing our hypnobirthing for only a week, so thatâ€™s kind of a concern. And with all of the problems that could occur with Yvonne, there were so many things that we couldnâ€™t control.
Hereâ€™s a quick list of things off the top of my head that could go wrong:
- Quick birth which could cause tearing which could lead to
- Blood loss. With Yvonneâ€™s low platelet count, we could have a repeat postpartum recovery like after Caleb. Slow recovery and healing. 3 months of bedrest. On top of the sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.
- C-section. Again with Yvonneâ€™s low platelet count, sheâ€™s a bad candidate for C-section or any type of surgery for that matter. A platelet transfusion would be almost guaranteed.
Thereâ€™s numerous combinations that could have led to the above situations. We took the hypnobirthing class to help us with a calm, relaxed natural birth. The priority was to not have Yvonne tear, cause that would help with blood loss and recovery time. But even with all our efforts and planning, we knew we would never have that ultimate control. But by His grace, He is faithful and answered our prayers in the abundance.
We got admitted into the Arcadia Methodist around 8:15pm. (I had much higher hopes in this hospital than our last. Our treatment and care was piss poor when Caleb was born. We didnâ€™t notice at the time, but itâ€™s only be Godâ€™s grace that Yvonne survived what happen. And when I say â€œsurviveâ€, I literally mean not dying. You can ask me or Yvonne for more details later.)
We get set up in our labor and delivery room. Labor is going well so far. Contractions are getting stronger and longer. Transition hits. Sheâ€™s fully dilated and effaced. The water is broken. 2 pushes later, out comes Caris.
We were at the hospital for just about 2 hours before Caris came. Timing was absolutely perfect. Transition was relatively short. Pushing was less than 10 minutes. Yvonne was absolutely great handling the pain and labor. She impresses me often, but this one ranks up there. I know sheâ€™ll give me a lot of the credit for it, but sheâ€™s the one actually having the baby. And I knew all along she was going to do great. And she didnâ€™t disappoint.
God is so good. I look back at everything and see how He graciously answered our prayers. Yvonne only had a very slight tear. Blood loss was good. Blood pressure remained normal. Even having Caris born at 37 weeks, where sheâ€™s full term, but smaller so she could slide out more easily. Thereâ€™s no way we could have planned it this way. But thank God.
Caris was born Monday, 22:23, January 26, 2009. She was 5 pounds, 11 ounces and 19 inches long. When she came out, she didnâ€™t cry at all. Not one bit. We were waiting for her to cry, but nothing ever came out. (She has since then found her cry and sounds very similar to Caleb.) She just laid on mommyâ€™s chest and starting sucking away.
Yvonne is doing great. The tearing was very slight, but sheâ€™s already walking 10 times better than when she had Caleb (maybe not that much. Itâ€™s hard to quantify, but she is walking fine.) Breastfeeding is going well. Apparently both our children like their food. Caris is latching well. Yvonneâ€™s nipples are still sore from the drinking and sucking, but thatâ€™s to be expected. We need to toughen those babies up.
(Wow!. I just found maybe 5 grammar errors in the last 2 sentences. I guess thatâ€™s what happens when youâ€™re writing at 1 in the morning. If you see more, my apologies to you. Just let me know so I can correct them. I donâ€™t like proof reading. Thatâ€™s what youâ€™re for.)
Caris is a hungry-saurus just like Caleb was. Sheâ€™s been a great eater. She latched on well. Sheâ€™s eating pretty much every 2 hours. And sheâ€™s pooping just about the same amount as well. I wonder if she can beat Calebâ€™s average of 12-14 diapers a day the first couple weeks.
Yvonne hasnâ€™t gotten much sleep though. Even though she hasnâ€™t had to take care of Caleb has much the past 2 days, sheâ€™s still feeding Caris. And Caris doesnâ€™t always sleep in contiguous hours like we want her too. Weâ€™ve forgotten how much better Caleb sleeps now. Sleep deprivation is going to hits us hard, we expect.
We want to make a special point to not forget about Caleb with the new girl around. We know sheâ€™s going to get a lot of attention, especially since she actually needs it since sheâ€™s kind of useless now.
Caleb is trying to go about his business with the new baby around. He tries to â€œplayâ€ with her by poking her hat and saying â€œehâ€. Or poking at her nose or mouth. Suffice it to say he isnâ€™t so gentle around her. His poking can hurt. He does give her kisses though.
Caleb also likes to copy his sister. Well at least copy her cries. She cries, he screams. She whines, he screams. Nothing better than a screaming child every time your newborn cries.
Caleb is getting large. According to our unofficial scale, heâ€™s now 25.5 pounds. Heâ€™s starting to get chunky again. And not only chunky, but taller as well. Comparing him to Caris, I can see how much he has grown. While putting on his diaper today, his butt is so big. And then putting on Carisâ€™ diaper, she doesnâ€™t even fill up the newborn diaper.
In only 19 months, heâ€™s grown so much. Yvonne and I are thinking he probably knows about 80 words. Although out of those 80 words, he probably only makes a dozen distinct sounds. They all sound similar. You just have to pick up the context or the little accents to know what heâ€™s talking about. Next time you see, ask him how old he is.
Caleb ushered in the toddler years a while back with his first temper tantrums. But his â€œnoâ€ phase didnâ€™t come. That is until a few weeks ago. Caleb has found his new favorite word, â€œnah.â€ His natural response is â€œnahâ€ now even when he actually wants something. I guess itâ€™s easier to say no now and then change your mind later. He loves that word so much now, that he even sings using just the word â€œnah.â€ And why does he sing? Not cause he doesnâ€™t want something, but just because he loves that word.
Now on to the real reason you came here. Some pictures.
With all the attention always centering around a new baby, Caleb needs some pictures of his own.