It is certainly not all sweet moments like this one, but it is nice to capture shots like this to look at on the less deliciously candy-coated days.


More than meets the eye

Josh is very imaginative. We spend our days in alternative worlds that he has created. He assigns a role to everyone at our home whether they are eager to participate or not. In fact, I'm a bit concerned about Kip learning his name since he is called Kip just about as much as he is called Jake, Petri, or Ratchet.

This week, we're having a new HVAC system put in. We've has 2 different crews come through installing this and adjusting that. Today, Josh decided that we (Kip, Josh, and I) were Autobots and the 2 men working were Decepticons - Starscream and Lugnut, specifically. For those of you behind in your Transformers knowledge, the Autobots and Decepticons are sworn enemies both trying to find the All Spark, which happens to be hidden in our kitchen.

Since Josh remains fully in character, I feel the need to explain to strangers coming into our home why my son is growling at them and shooting his laser or stinger or whatever his chosen character's special talent is. (I'm already in too deep in this boy stuff!) Today, I casually mentioned what was going on to the workers. One guy understood and laughed (that would be Lugnut), but Starscream wasn't very interested. You should know, Starscream is an African American man of good size.

So, early this afternoon Starscream needed to do something in our kitchen, at which point Bumblebee (that's Josh) yelled, "Oh no, he's gunna steal something in the kitchen." Yelled loudly and clearly. Awesome.

Now, if Starscream had been attentive to our storyline, I wouldn't have been too concerned, but since he wasn't in the know, I immediately feared that he thought my dear 3 year old is a racial profiler. I felt a bit awkward.

Fortunately, I did get the chance to explain the role he was unknowingly playing in our day and thanked him for his hard work. He'll be back tomorrow. Hopefully the Transformers war will rage on without us as we pretend to be dinosaurs or dogs or something.


3 months ago...

Three months ago today, our sweet Kip was born. I never got around to posting his birth story, so here it is. The following talks about my cervix quite a bit, so the "TMI" crowd may want to skip down to the next post.

We arrived at North Austin Medical Center at 6:30am, on Friday, December 19, 2008. It was a cold, foggy and wet morning. We checked in at the front desk and were escorted to admissions. The admissions staff then took us up to the labor and delivery wing. Our induction appointment was at 6:45am, so we had to wait while the nurses changed shifts. I changed into a gown and rested in bed while Brian rested on the couch. We waited and waited and waited.

Our nurse introduced herself, we completed a 3,000 question survey (and commented on the inefficiency of said survey, especially since nearly all of the information had previously been submitted to the OB’s office and during our previous visit to the same hospital a month prior), and an IV was started. It was already 8:30am.

Around 8:40am, our midwife from the OB’s office came by to check on us. She empathized about the hospital’s slow pace and encouraged the nurse to get things moving. The midwife examined my cervix and broke my water. A loose 2cm, 50% effaced, and Kip was at -1 station.

One of the highlights of the induction was the opportunity to get labor started naturally before Pitocin was administered. The midwife planned to return around 11am. Until then, we were encouraged to do whatever we could to get labor started on its own. Brian and I put on our shoes and began walking laps around the labor and delivery wing. We walked and talked and laughed and received comments from the nurses whenever we passed them. Some asked why we were walking; others commented on our fast pace; and still others thought I should be in bed. Every 30 minutes we had to monitor Kip’s heart rate and my contractions for 5 minutes. There were some contractions – most 6 minutes apart – but they were not progressing in strength or consistency. We walked for a couple of hours at which point we decided to stop. I needed to conserve energy to make it through labor, especially since I had been on the diabetic diet for so many weeks and was starting off hungry. We returned to resting in our room. Although labor didn’t begin naturally, I am very thankful that we tried. Walking about with Brian was one of the highlights of the day.

Our midwife was delayed and returned around 12:45pm. We decided to begin Pitocin to help labor progress. She encouraged me to eat some lunch and nap before active labor began. I called room service and ordered chicken noodle soup, cucumber slices, and sugar free Jello. This was identical to my diabetic lunch at least once a week during the pregnancy. The nurse started Pitocin at 1:15pm. After lunch, I got out of bed and swayed and paced as far as the IV and monitor cords allowed so that gravity could help Kip move down.

The contractions began, progressed in intensity, and labor was moving along. I was able to relax through the contractions and enjoyed resting and chatting with Brian and our midwife between contractions. I paced my breathing with the sound of the IV pump. At 3:31pm, our midwife checked my cervix - 4 cm, 90% effaced, and Kip remained at -1 station. She also checked Kip’s position and suggested that I change positions to my hands and knees, leaning on a birthing ball, because Kip was posterior. The midwife, applied pressure to my lower back during contractions. Later, Brian took over. (Thankfully, Kip rolled over prior to his birth.) The contractions kept growing.

Later in the early evening, I switched to a seated position with heat on my back, and our midwife checked my cervix again - 7cm, but able to stretch to 9cm. We were really close. The contractions required a lot of concentration at this point, however, they were only “unbearable” for about 5 seconds during each one, so I counted to 5 in my head whenever we reached that section of a contraction and internally celebrated as each one passed.

At this point I knew that Kip would not be born in time for Josh to come up to the hospital that evening. I was a little sad as it was the first day of Josh’s life that I did not see and talk to him. Brian called my parents and let them know that Josh could go to bed and should plan to meet his brother first thing in the morning. Labor continued.

Up until the last thirty minutes, I was really relaxed throughout labor and carried on a conversation or joked around between contractions. However, once transition hit, I was focused on getting Kip out so that labor could end! When it was obvious that my mood changed, our midwife checked my cervix again – 9 cm with a lip on the top – and felt to see what my cervix and Kip did during the contraction. She could hold the lip of my cervix back and Kip would move down to 0 station during the contraction. I asked her if we could begin pushing and she agreed that everyone could get the room ready and then we could push. I didn’t feel the overwhelming need to push that I experienced during Josh’s birth, but I mentally needed to change my task.

Our midwife manually held the lip of my cervix out of the way for a couple of contractions and then the remaining lip disappeared. Finally, the end was near. As I did with Josh, I couldn’t look. I kept my eyes closed and focused on pushing. Our midwife did an amazing job of directing my pushing – small push, stop, bigger push, stop, another small push….. Fifteen minutes of pushing and baby Kip was born. When Kip was placed on my belly I immediately said, “I’m so glad that is over!”

Kip was born at 7:15pm. Ten hours after my water was broken; six hours after the Pitocin was started. (Josh was born 6 hours and 44 minutes after Pitocin was started.) Kip weighed exactly 7 pounds and measured 19.5 inches long.

With both births, I have been amazed at how quickly the overwhelming, “I think I might die, yes, one more second of this and I will die for sure” pain immediately subsides when the baby is born and is replaced with an overwhelming peace. The contrast is Indescribable. I’ve experienced the same thing when we’ve miscarried. Once the miscarriage is complete, the pain is gone, and it is almost as if a veil is lifted and I can see colors with new brilliance. (Of course, a birth is more satisfying and joyful than a miscarriage.) In my opinion, that peace, a renewed closeness with Brian as a result of our intense team work, and the baby are all prizes for running the race. I consider both birth experiences a gift. I think about them often. I’m amazed at how God designed my body. I’m amazed at how God has used the births to teach me that through Him I am stronger than I perceive myself to be, that the pain and difficulty of circumstances on earth are temporary, and that hard work often returns great joy. Praise God for using these experiences to add to our joy and wisdom and hopefully further mold us into His Son’s image.

The boys

Here's a few pictures of the boys from the last couple of months. You may have to turn your head on a few. I haven't flipped them.

Preschool Birthday Party

Although on "spring break," Josh played with some of his preschool friends today at a birthday party. It was a great chance for me to meet some of the other parents and to watch Josh play with his friends. A few of the families attend our church, but are in a different Sunday school class. Who knew? Seriously, isn't the picture of him holding hands with his friends shocking? Very cool! True to form, Kip slept through the party.