Jun 30, 2010

Easy to love

I call her "The Princess of Everything." I can do that because she's mine. And I tell her being the Princess of Everything is a hard job but she can do it.
I love her smell, the swirl of hair at the back of her head. Her fingers that splay while nursing...the noises she makes, the fat rolls that are beginning to multiply, the bit of lanugo left on her ears.

I soak her in. Even though I'm tired and wish I could get a full night's sleep, in the future I will covet reversion to her newborn days.

So we cuddle.
We breathe in sequence during afternoon naps.

And I thank God I am living a dream.
One last thing: any suggestions for a Fourth of July treat bearing the colors red/white/blue? If not, I'm making my trusty dirt cake.

Jun 29, 2010

Oh the thinks you can think if only you try...

A dear friend of mine and my sister in law threw the baby shower of the century for little Story. Thanks, girls!

From the cleverly written invitations to the pregnancy progression photos to the green deviled eggs to the wonderful ladies attending, the party was an incredible gift.
Story now has lots of precious clothes, including a Cora's dress--perfect for showing her off wherever we go!

Jun 28, 2010

To market, to market

We set out for some apple pie at farmer's market Saturday. It can be exhausting going out as a family of four, but summer's whizzing by...time to get out and have fun!

I could go every Saturday morning...love the people, music, artsy stuff. Wichita boasts a couple of summer markets & has a new one headed this way. Pretty certain it will be in a Hispanic area; we'll sample their enchiladas I'm sure.
Story was well-behaved. I bought her another flower headband as a reward. ;-)
Wilder continues to soak up everything. We're working on colors right now because he only knows pink.

Did I mention he's a jabberbox? My favorite things he says: "sorry about that" "hi, gorgeous" "goodness gracious", &, "bummer".

Love this guy's red bike. He's rockin' those jeans, too.
Remember the fountains that weren't turned on on Father's Day? The boys finally got to test them out:
Some friendly Weimareiners joined in. Beautiful dogs.

And now you know how we spent part of the weekend. Off to catch a cat-nap (have a pretty exciting night life these days).

Jun 26, 2010

Story's a month!

We are at the one month mark with Story; unbelievable.

At one month, she:

Loves to be held
Doesn't like being on her back

Rolls from tummy to back (this isn't supposed to happen for three more months!)

Enjoys mommy's songs and nursery rhymes

Snacks during the day; feasts at night

Is up three times during the night; sometimes we start as early as 7pm because it takes so long to put her down; she wants to party

Takes sometimes rough kisses from Wilder quite well

Loves lying on Daddy's chest
Will take a pacifier

Fairly patient...but really prefers to not have "independent time"

Doesn't like the swing...or vibrating seat...

She's living the princess life. As it should be!

If you have a daughter, buy her this book:

Story received it as a gift (Thanks, C!) and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. It reiterates inner beauty & the tenderness of loving the Lord.

Having a daughter sure is a blessing!

Jun 24, 2010

Wanting to protect

Came across this in some reading material today. I really need it, especially with Wilder's increased interactions with other children...which means he might get hit or pushed. :-( It shatters my heart, and equally painful was when I was away from him, at the hospital. I thought he'd be scarred for life at my absence. A couple of weeks later, he's well adjusted and a joy in SO, SO many ways!! And I'm pretty sure he's forgotten I was gone. He's probably sick of me now.

As mothers, we never want to see our children experience the sting of failure or rejection. But in trying to shelter them from adversity, we sometimes overprotect them. By safeguarding them from pain, we also shield them from potential growth.

God calls us to journey with our children, encouraging and instructing as they encounter trials and temptations. In sorrow our children can experience the comfort of God; in failure they can learn to try harder; in disappointment they can exercise the priceless faith that we most desire for them.

~Dr. Juli Slattery

Jun 22, 2010

Brilliant idea...not so much

I had the idea to go to a part of town I love for Father's Day...it has fountains in the summer, and Old Chicago right there, and a boutique I adore. And you're right, that does sound like more of a Mother's Day outing. But I was thinking of Wilder the most--wanted something fun for him to do, and Shawn was on board.

Except the fountains weren't on.

So we went to a park that has fountains but it was crowded and littered. Plus Wilder didn't like the fountains and got sunscreen in his eyes.

Poor kid.

These photos are proof again that Shawn deserves Dad of the Year award. That he let me pick the day's activity on his special day says a lot.

I love ya, Dude.

Here's Story givin' the peace sign:
And Story sporting her new summer digs:

Jun 20, 2010

A most special day

Happy Father's Day to both my ground and my wings.
You are perfect.

Jun 19, 2010

postpartum crazy

Ok I'm still talking about my pregnancy/recovery stuff. It's fresh in my mind. Although many of the details are foggy since I was very sick. This is a long post--stick with me!

Story was born on Friday, May 28th, and we checked out Sunday evening. When we got home, things were pretty chaotic but my parents were there to hang with Wilder. Shawn and I handled Story at night (Shawn's the best like that). Monday night I couldn't sleep, so I handled Story mostly on my own, then cleaned the house. I literally didn't sleep.

By Tuesday evening, I was completely wiped. I lied down for bed and started experiencing one of the worst headaches ever, along with some shakes, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Shawn called the ambulance.
They checked my heart rate, and it was high, but not so high that the EMTs demanded I go to the hospital. We called Shawn's dad, waited for him to arrive from Winfield to watch Wilder, then went to the hospital.

Upon our arrival, it was quickly determined that I was likely experiencing postpartum pre-eclampsia, something that's taken very seriously in that it can lead to seizures/stroke. Most of the time it happens during pregnancy, not after...weird. So, I was admitted. Story was with us. She was such a trooper and I prayed continuously that God would protect her from hospital germs.
They set me up on a 24-hour magnesium sulfate dosage via IV. That was awful. I felt so, so sick. It wore me out just to go to the restroom, and I wasn't certain I'd be able to keep nursing. But we stuck it out.

After two nights in the hospital (and Shawn's brutal fight with a creaky hospital chair), my OB released me. I was a little surprised since I still felt pretty puny.
I was home one night, then the next night experienced the same pounding headache/muscle spasms/blurred vision. Shawn checked my blood pressure with our home gauge, and it read high. Since he wasn't certain of its accuracy, he called 911. Again. At that point I was begging to go to the hospital. I knew my body was in a bad place. I was really scared. Before the ambulance got there, I called two friends and said, "I have an emergency. I need you at the house now (for the kids)." I'm blessed to have friends who will drop anything to help me. I'd do the same for them.

The paramedics read my pressure at 189, which is super high for me, and this time, I let them take me via ambulance to the hospital. It was a whirlwind of activity. The hardest part was being taken on the gurney into the vehicle...looking at the flurry of activity on the porch...leaving my house and kids. I told Shawn, "no, don't come with me. I can do this. Get the kids settled first. If I have to give up nursing, I do."

The ambulance ride was scary, but I took deep breaths while they worked on me (more needles!) and thought of my kids. How I needed to be strong for them. And how they are so resilient--how they'd be ok without mommy for a little while. The main EMT, Ed, reminded me of Shawn. Same kind of humor. That was really comforting and it was hard to have him leave me once I got to the emergency room.

I was admitted again. I saw my OB the next morning and she was, quite frankly, rather stumped. She said, "this is weird. We'll keep monitoring your blood pressure though, run some blood work." I can't remember how many times I was pricked. The blood work and EEG (since I was spasming) came back fine. Shawn and I thought the doctors were dilly-dallying, so we asked them to do more tests. We didn't want to leave until we had an answer. So I had an MRI (gosh, not fun), and it came back clear. Phew.

The next day, my doctor came in with a quasi-diagnosis. "There's a large anxiety factor here. You're obviously still recovering from pre-eclampsia, but when you experience that intense head pain, your anxiety/fear goes up, sets your nervous system into overdrive (spasms), and impacts your blood pressure."

So I'm a crazy person?

Though I had a lot to process from that diagnosis, it was enough of an answer for me. Something fixable.

Even though I don't feel like I was highly anxious or agitated once I got home from the hospital the first time, I could see where the doctor was coming from. I can pinpoint situational anxiety in my life for sure: worrying about my kids, freaking out if I get lost while driving, nervousness over being late or not finding matching socks, etc. Still I don't feel like anxiety is a stakeholder in my life.

Overall, the first subsequent hospital visit was awful. My emotions were out of control, and I lie awake crying "Wilder, Wilder, I want Wilder." I just wanted to be home with my boy so badly. The second hospital stay went a lot more smoothly. Shawn helped me put several things into perspective, and I felt an overwhelming sense of calm/peace about the wonderful care my children were receiving (we had round-the-clock care for each child). Story didn't stay with me that time, because I had to dump my milk (MRI fluid)...

We were also so lucky to get a post-partum room, with a queen bed. So Shawn could be right there with me. Gotta add that Shawn and I are even more tightly-bound after this experience. He is simply amazing--he scheduled the child care, took care of Story, Wilder and I simultaneously, made phone calls, arranged this and that...WOW. That's hot.

It'd be neat to say I wrote letters and watched TV, called friends, accepted visitors, but I literally just slept those two days. I was determined to get better. I could feel the prayers and support of loved ones near and far. I sensed God was going to right this.

He did! I am fully entrenched in mothering my two sweethearts, and though the days are long, exhausting, challenging...I'm just so glad to be here.
So glad. I'm still processing the experience, but have mostly learned that my children must be released into the Lord's care every day. He is their ultimate guardian. My short inability to care for them in no way reflects His ability to protect them. I'm getting used to not being in charge.

Lastly, my support system came hurtling forth with such force, determination, and love that brings me to my knees. Friends and family were willing to do what we needed to keep things afloat. I am grateful to them forever.

And now you know the story!

Jun 16, 2010

Newborn photos by Unruh Photography

The unpredicted turn of events had me super stressed about getting Story's pictures taken before she got "too big." But my wonderful friend, Jenna, for Unruh Photography, was able to dash over to the house on a sunny morning before Story turned two weeks.

I'm so proud of the pictures. Oh my! THANK YOU, Jenna!

There's a bigger version of the pictures over at Unruh Photography's blog (and a bonus picture of 6 week old Wilder at the top). They would love to hear from you...
Also, a big thanks to Ian and Julie over at Breezy Acres Farm for going on a hair accessory hunt (I'm a sucker for those flower headbands)/delivering them to my house. My little stinker's high maintenance already.

She's not following in my footsteps.

At all.

Jun 15, 2010

Story's birth story

I have the good Lord to thank for my beautiful, healthy kiddos. And I also have Him to thank for a fairly breezy labor and delivery of Story.

Here goes:

Opted for induction May 28th, my due date and momma's birthday

8am Check in

10am Pitocin, dilated 3 cm

Pain pain pain; hugged Wilder's Wolfie for comfort; stood and swayed; I only experienced Pitocin labor with Wilder for a couple of hours without pain relief, so 6 hours without pain relief with Story was BAD.

Broke my water between 5-6 cm

4pm Epidural, dilated 6 cm-the epidural guy, Joe, said that as I good as I did receiving an epidural, that I should have more babies. I tried real hard to hold still for him and breathe and squeeze the nurses fingers while cursing out Shawn. Just kidding. I kept my words clean. Joe was the best; much better than my epidural experience with Wilder. Piece of cake.

5:15 Complete but had to wait for doctor to get there (she was gardening and almost got sprayed by a skunk/then traffic was bad. EXCUSES!)

5:40 Two pushes and baby was here!
Shawn announced the gender and cut the cord. We both cried and were super surprised/excited. I was really happy to have both a boy and girl and felt an immediate sense of completion to our family. I was in love with the name Story Elena (more on that later) for a very long time and was so proud to use it.I looked at the placenta this time. It was both gross and fascinating.

Even though the day FELT long, it wasn't that bad. I'd rather labor through painful contractions and only push twice, than to labor not very long but have to push two hours (as with Wilder).
Our hospital experience this time was phenominal. We had a wonderful nurse, Connie, the whole day (always nice when there's not a rotation) and she even visited Story a couple days later. She was a little hard of hearing and smelled like smoke, but was so good at her job that I didn't care.
The only thing I got tired of were the pancakes and mac-n-cheese at the "Down Under" cafe. Maybe that's cuz I kept going back to the hospital. Kept having to eat that food!
Subsequent posts to come about my recovery. Plus I have a bunch more pictures; we had a photographer friend there.
I praise God for you, baby Story!

Jun 13, 2010

Purty tired

Alrighty folks, I'm pretty tired. And I have my first solo full day with both babies tomorrow. I had a teeth cleaning appointment scheduled for 8am. Why in the world at my last appointment did I think it would be possible to make it to an appointment that early, two weeks postpartum, with a newborn?

I totally canceled it.

My teeth can wait.
Just like my parched plants and sticky kitchen floor.

Story partied last night from 1 to 2:30 and 4 to 6:30...but we still made it to church.
On time. Church's not til 10:45.

But still.

I didn't intend for us to match...kinda fun though.

Jun 11, 2010

Temporary tattoo

Wilder went to the park with Mommy; just us two.

Wilder met a friend at the park yesterday. Andrew. His old tennies were too large, if not clompy, and I wondered if that was because it's all his family had for him or if they just didn't notice. Andrew told me he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. I think that's going to happen for him as he was such a little daddy to Wilder on the merry-go-round.

He saw the IV tape remnants on my arm and thought it a temporary tattoo. I just agreed with him and said it was a square...never mind that it still makes me cringe at the thought of all those IVs and blood tests that seemed to lead to zero answers. I am not a pin cushion.

Even though our recent circumstances were what I call " going to heck and back", they were only
temporary. And they've sealed our family closeness even tighter. Shawn pulled through as my knight like never before. I peed the hospital bed so many times from laughing at his humor. He slept in a creaky, uncomfortable chair, by my side, for several nights. He is so special.

We're all adjusting. But tonight, when we were on a walk, Story snug in her baby wrap, Wilder holding Shawn and I's hands, splashing through the neighbors sprinklers in his dorky WalMart sandals, I saw my happy again. I cried through those long nights in the hospital, aching for the melding together of our family...aching to take care of the blessings in my life. And steadily, I'm making that climb.

My back hurts, I wore Shawn's baggy soccer shorts most of the day, my one nursing bra stinks, and I'm kinda bummed about the long nights.

I hope we all remember that the good and bad moments in life are just that: moments. They come and go and it's up to us smile, to learn, to be human. And a more recent lesson: to accept help!Story at 2 weeks. Umbilical cord fell off today (kinda sad). Likes to party at night. Fairly easy going unless she has gas. Loves her baby bundling (thanks, A). In the 40-50 percentiles on height, weight, head circumference. So even through our ordeal, we were able to keep her healthy...she's up to 8 lbs 3 oz.

It feels good to tell you about life.

Jun 9, 2010

On the other side

With the deepest sigh of relief, I'm proud to say I'm back home, putting the pieces of our family back together. Although I'm not doing it alone. To say Shawn deserves husband/dad of the year award is an understatement. He deserves the award into infinity.
The support from family and friends has been humbling, and a blessing. I never once had to worry about my kids' care. We had someone mow our yard in a circle pattern, a friend brush my hair and do backrub, food brimming over in our freezer, round-the-clock childcare including late nights with Story, Panera delivered to the hospital, baby supplies and cutsie clothes...we wouldn't have made it through the ordeal with out every single person's loving, selfless contributions.

When I find time and strength to recap the days since Story's birth, I will.
For now, I rest. And praise Jesus. He is always good.

Jun 4, 2010

Update on Mindy



We had to come back to the hospital again last night. High blood pressure and a horrible headache. Doctors are running tests now and Mindy is more stable. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.


Wanted to let everyone know that we are back at home after an unexpected trip to the ER on Wednesday night and 2 days at the hospital. Mindy was diagnosed with post-partum pre-eclampsia and after some uncomfortable treatment and recovery she is now doing well. More details and the full "story" on baby Story and our crazy adventure will be coming as soon as I let Mindy get her hands on the laptop. Thanks for your prayers and to all those who stepped in to help. What amazing people we have in our lives.

- Shawn