Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two month photo! *UPDATE* 2/4/08

I thought I should get these done before I either 1) forget or 2) run out of steam or 3) a combination of the two. I put him in the same outfit as his one month to see the difference. Aunt Jes and Uncle Dave gave this outfit to him as a gift. The pants didn't fit him at one month, but they look pretty sharp on him today! I'll have to update this post when I find time to measure Drew's height, but his two month pedi appointment isn't scheduled until February 4, so I decided to weigh him at home. He's roughly 11lbs.6oz. Stinkin' Tanita scale only reads ounces as .2, .4, .6, .8 so I had to do some creative conversions.
Drew had his official 2 month appointment this morning. The stats: Head circumference - 38.1 or 5-10%, Weight - 11.7 or 25-50%, Height - 23 inches or 25-50%.
Doc said he looked good. We had not had an official hearing test done, so we'll have to schedule to see an ENT specialist to get that done. Neither of us are worried that he can't hear since he responds to all kinds of noises, but we'll be scheduling his hearing screening just the same to check it off our to-do list.
We ended up switching pediatricians because I decided it made better sense to drive down the street (and on nice days, walk) to the new practice vs. driving all the way down to Bee Caves Pediatrics in Westlake which, on a good day, is about 25 minutes driving time. But the real reason I decided to switch is because Dr. Ruiz, who had been my doctor since I was three and Ashley's doctor when I was in college and up until a few months ago with Jonathan and Paige, decided to retire. He actually moved back to Spain. I thought that was the best time to make the break. I don't want to have to make arrangements to drive down to Westlake for a sick baby when I can easily make plans to drive literally two minutes down the street. So, the kids' new pediatrician's name is Dr. Chang. How's this for dating a person? We went to UTand graduated at the same time. Of course, we talked about how great college was, but we don't miss the days of living off Ramen noodles and stale pizza. And of course, we had to talk about good ole Ricky. I had meant to talk football today. So bummed...poor Tom Brady. But that's *another* thread entirely.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wha?? Ya need proof of a laugh?

Martina writes:

At the very beginning of the video Drew breaks out into a huge laugh. It cracked me up and I couldn't keep it to myself. This kid has tricks in his bag that we can't wait to see! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Aaaand it's the one month mark 12/24

With all the other kids, I've taken pictures at one month, two months, three months, etc. With Ashley and Jonathan, I found some really nice frames and the standard Hallmark frame insert so I could put each picture in it. Then we moved to Austin and Paige was born. I'm admittedly not into the same things I was with Ashley and Jonathan, so I changed things up a bit. I gave up on scrapbooking the Creative Memories way, and decided to go digital. I mean, all Paige's pictures were on the computer anyway. So, when she turned one, I made an album of all her firsts and then the usual 1-12 month photos. With Drew, I may do the same, but I thought of maybe doing something in addition and something creative with his photos. Then it hit me. How about a flipbook of photos taken throughout the year? We take a picture of him almost every day and at the end of his first year, we'll find a way to make a book focused on his face to see where all the changes happened. It's going to be one fat book when we're done! But I've always looked back and wondered how they grew up so fast and where did those changes happen. This time, at least with one of the kids, we'll have a good idea which week those changes happened and where he fattened up or went through a growth spurt. So, in that spirit I'll be posting the one, two, three month photos as Drew gets older.

Sudsy Surfin'

Martina writes:

Neil has given Drew almost all of his baths to date. This time was hilarious because he kept swishing his head all over the place, not to mention sticking out his tongue!

A hitch in his getalong

Drew's birthweight was 7lbs. 10 oz. on November 24, 2007. At his three day checkup, his weight plummeted to a 15% loss, or 6lbs. 7 oz. Funny, he didn't look jaundiced or malnourished. His cheeks were pink, but the facts don't lie. You'd think with kid #1 you learn a lot, and so I'm astonished at how much more we learn with each child. For example, I didn't know that you could use witchhazel to help the cord dry up. Now, I can't tell you if Drew is the exception and he just *has* to do everything at break neck speed, but his cord fell off just hours after his three day mark. I also learned that a barely wet diaper with a slight red tinge isn't blood, but a sign that the baby is getting down to his/her reserves. Had no clue about any of this stuff, but it worried me enough that he was losing weight and showing physical signs. I got enough encouragement from the birthing center. With Paige, the same thing happened. I was forced, while still in the hospital, to "supplement" with formula. Being so worried about the situation, I dutifully did as I was asked. Now, I'm not saying the hospital pediatrician didn't have Paige's best interests at hand, but he didn't take the time to encourage me. I think pediatrician's are too quick to go the quick-fix route, you know? We all know that if you choose to nurse your child, supplementing with formula makes your supply worse. You're basically setting yourself up for failure is what I mean to get at.

In any case, I felt like I was in a much better position this time around. Yes, I was worried about the weight loss, but I also knew what I needed to do. Saying you want to be dilligent about feeding your baby and actually doing it is hard. Flat out hard. It took some time getting used to feeding *EVERY* two hours without fail, but that Tuesday appt. needed to be remedied, and we had until Friday to see if we could pass that weight test. So, we crammed and crammed and studied really hard. After the initial drop in weight, babies who are nursed typically (and when I say typically, I mean ideally) gain one ounce per day. So, Friday rolls along and the scale reads 6lbs. 10oz. - not bad! Three ounces for three days. Yay, I'm thinking to myself. Good start. His next appt. bounces between the pediatrician to the birthing center. The pedi's appt. is at his two week mark, or December 7. He weighs in at 7lbs.3oz. The progress is looking good. The next weigh in won't be until my six week appt. at the birthing center. Just to see how he's doing, I take him in for an informal weigh-in on Wednesday, December 19. He was about 3.5 weeks old. He weighed at 8lbs.and almost one ounce. Just 2.5 weeks later, he weighed in at a staggering 9lbs.13oz, or roughly 28 ounces in 16 days. Unbelievable!! He gained weight and gained ground. His next weigh-in will be at his two month appt. and I'll be interested to see how much he's gained!

The million dollar question everyone asks...did the car survive? and other various aftermath questions answered

Martina writes:

Variations of that question are pretty comical too. My sister-in-law asked if it looked like a murder scene. A good friend of mine from childhood, Holly, asked if we would be trading in our new car. Another friend from Jonathan's playgroup, Angelia, asked who cut the cord.

So, I guess to tell everything, I'll start back with the story of the labor and answer all the questions at the end.

I think the last five midwife visit notes read about the same: "10/10 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - she is at 3cm", "10/24 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - she is at 3 cm and baby's head is engaged", "11/1 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - wants us to break her water and promises only to be as long as someone's lunch break - 4 cm", "11/8 - patient will have membranes stripped with next visit - fingers crossed, the kid will come out!", "11/16 - patient has membranes stripped, is now nearly at 6 cm". That last visit Neil and I spent the better part of that Friday evening walking around trying to get labor started. No luck. This kid was going to come on his own terms, like it or not. He must have known how stressed out we all were about when and where he would make his entrance. Neil's appts. were restricted to the north side of town (and looking back, this wouldn't have made *any* bit of difference), I stayed close to the house and was nervous to have my kids scattered around for their activities like swimming or CCD. My question, week after week at the birthing center, was *if* they would consider "inducing" me if I really felt that nervous about it. They cautiously said 'yes', but I think I was determined to be a big girl about it. Was I worrying needlessly about this? What were the odds I wouldn't get there in time...honestly? I don't think it helped that I had watched one of those shows on the Discovery channel (and HD to boot) about women who gave birth under strange circumstances. One woman ended up giving birth in the elementary classroom when she went to work with what she thought was mild labor pains. This was her third kid!! I thought to myself, 'seriously, how do you *not* know you're in active labor??' I wonder if that had any impact on my psyche... With my last labor at 1.5 hours, the birthing center felt that if I was to go, it'd be quick but likely only slightly longer than my last labor, so I'd have a good chance of making sure the kids were home and the sitter got there. I even had my backup plan in place. Ask a neighbor to come over *while* she waits for the babysitter. Heck, I had even joked that I should walk across the street to the firestation and introduce myself with a plate of chocolate chip cookies and explain to them there might be a chance they'd have to deliver my baby if none of my scenarios worked. Now the joke is that had I known, I'd have just stayed home and thrown down some newspapers and garbage bags in the bathroom. And I *might* have had time for all of that.

Now, I want it known that the birthing center did what they could knowing my situation. I just wasn't a normal case. They knew (and I did too) that I was at a disadvantage never having gone into labor on my own. They told me to not wait *at all* if I even *thought* I was in labor. Being induced is great if you're assured you'll never have to do it on your own. This time was a real headache. What do I look for? What kinds of pains can I expect? Even Braxton Hicks can be painful at the end of pregnancy, and anything that doesn't result in a baby at the end is false labor, no matter how painful or fruitless the process! I had a couple of times where I thought I might need to go in. Nearly 45 minutes of consistent contractions...stopped. Again, right around the hour mark...stopped. My body had had enough stop/start that when it was time, it got down to business.

I woke up just past 1:30 a.m. November 24 to my first real "on my own" labor. It was painful. I had read the Bradley books and tried to prepare myself. Neil and I disagreed that it was important for him to read it so he could be there for me during labor. He thought that was the midwife's job. I told him there weren't any t.v.'s in the birthing rooms. He decided to read the book. We practiced with the pillows and breathing - all that stuff you're supposed to do before labor gets intense. Umm, yeah, doesn't help when you wake up just minutes outside of transition. I think all things considered I dealt with the pain fairly well. I woke up to long, labored breathing. We took all of 15 minutes to decide whether to call the midwife. With two false alarms, and it being the middle of the night, I wanted to be sure. The pain went up the scale in a matter of minutes. I was thinking all logically still, which was weird. "I should probably put something else on", "Maybe I should brush my teeth, no one likes nasty morning breath while they're in labor". I was asked what I wore. Poor Neil - he gave up so many of his t-shirts so I'd have something comfortable to sleep in. I'm not sure he'll wear that shirt again, though, lol. It was his black Banana Republic shirt and I threw on some jeans and flip flops before grabbing my purse. Since we had thought we might have the baby the week before, I had everything still in the back of the car. Good thing. I never did end up brushing my teeth. The "screw it" mentality kicked in and I wasn't sure I could even walk to the car on my own. But I didn't let Neil know that. He was busy making phone calls and getting himself dressed. I knew we had turned a corner in labor when he said he'd be right back - he just wanted to let his folks know we would be leaving. I think I said in a pretty nasty voice that we needed to leave. So we did.

I felt every bump on the ride. I remember telling Neil to drive as fast as he could without breaking any laws. Man, I wish I had told him to just run all the red lights. That light at Parmer and 620 did *NOT* have a timer and we sat at that light for probably all of three minutes, but those three minutes might have made the difference in making it to the birthing center. About four minutes later, I put the 'oh s**t' bars to good use. I think after that, it was all kind of a blur. I remember telling Neil to run a red light, which he did. I'm thinking I said that b/c my water had broken already. My water didn't just break, though. That might have been fine if that's all that had happened. It broke *because* Drew was making his debut on the spot.
Huge gush, baby's head coming down.
Another gush and baby is now on his way out.
The birthing center will have to wait.
I think from the time my water broke to the time of delivery *might* have been around three minutes, if that. I know it couldn't have been any longer. Neil swerved into the library parking lot (and this is where I thank the Lord that it was in the middle of the night!), threw open his door and ran around to the other side where he asked me what to do. I told him (ok, maybe yelled, screamed...who wasn't my finest hour to be honest) to pull him out. He told me later he pulled him by the sides of his head and pulled him out. It's 2:30 a.m. I remember looking at the clock on the dash. Neil didn't even turn the car off when he threw it into park.
It wasn't done though.
He hands the baby to me. It's *very* cold outside and I have my thin jacket on, the door is open and Neil is at the back of the car going through the bags trying to find something warm to wrap him in. While he's doing that, I notice the cord is wrapped around behind Drew's neck. I don't know if it was panic or not, but I definitely know to act quick. If I'd had the foresight, I'd have held him near my knees and it might have made it easier to take off of him. But I think I was thinking of keeping him warm and just worked with the cord. It's a pretty squishy spongey thing. Neil brought Drew's take home blankey around - the one that Jonathan had picked out. I wrapped him up in that and rubbed him. I had forgotten about him needing to scream or something to clear his lungs. I think that's what made Neil panic when he called 911. He got back into the car and relayed their instructions to me. I could hear Drew breathing softly, so I wasn't panicked. Neil told EMS we were on our way to the birthing center. They actually asked that we stay where we were. But he told them it was just down the road. They pulled up behind us literally less than a minute after we got there. If our midwife hadn't been there, we would have gone to the hospital for an ordeal that I'll explain further down.
She had been racing down MoPac to get there.
She knew.
Her fourth child was delivered at home b/c she had an hour long labor too.
Neil went to the front door, no lights were on. He went over to the EMS truck. I knocked on the window to let him know the lights had just been turned on. He went inside, found the midwife, Roswitha, and they both came out. So, by this time, we've got EMS on standby ready to whisk us away to the hospital. Roswitha looks him over, sees he's breathing, looks good and tells us very confidently that we can send the EMS away. So, Neil tells them; EMS, by law, have to ask me to verify they are no longer needed and they leave.

Roswitha goes inside and gets a wheelchair, comes out to get me, which I'm sure looked hilarious b/c I haven't delivered the placenta yet. Thank goodness Neil's shirts are long enough on me that I'm not providing the world with a second moon that night, lol. She rolls me in, sits me on the bed, clamps the cord in two spots and hands Neil the scissors to cut the cord. For some, this is a moment of anticipation, husbands getting to participate in the labor and birth of their child by cutting the cord. For us...this, I'm sure it had to be somewhat anticlimactic. Or who knows? Maybe Neil saw it as the final event in a long string of much more intense events.

The reason why it could have been an ordeal: I was GBS positive throughout my pregnancy. What that amounts to was I had a bacterial infection that can not be treated through pregnancy and if the baby is exposed to it during labor for too long, the baby can get it, has a high fever, and back in the day, babies died unnecessarily from this. The baby is only exposed when the water breaks and the longer the water has been broken, the higher the risk is. You *can* get antibiotics, but you need to be in labor for a minimum of four hours for it to take effect. EMS, acting cautiously, would have exposed Drew to a battery of tests to make sure he wasn't affected. My midwife, with her fourth child, was also GBS positive. If any midwife was prepared to handle my situation, it was her. She has been a midwife for 26 years. She's German and very no-nonsense. She was the perfect person to be on call that night. Neil and I were probably rattled enough that we might have said yes to going to the hospital and ended up with a totally different set of circumstances. Because my water broke as Drew was coming out, he was exposed with minimal risk. Less than a few minutes exposure, as opposed to many long hours. He was fine, thank goodness. It ended up being best case scenario all around - labor, delivery and recovery.

So, the is it? Well, the murder scene thing only happens if you deliver your placenta too. We were only in the car for a few minutes after his birth and I hadn't delivered that so it was all amniotic fluid. It was a quick cleanup and all I can say is leather is the way to go! Even when we left to come home, I sat in the middle row and there were only two small spots on the floorboards. We'll be keeping the car. It's funny. I don't even think about it much anymore. Probably better that way, though. When I took Drew in for his two week appt. with the pediatrician, the nurse asked me where he was born. I laughed. She said it was ok if it was the ambulance. I said, 'ok, half in and half out of our Yukon', lol. Drew waits for no one. This might be a sign of his personality. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 18, 2008

So, what's with title? I thought there were four kids...

Martina writes:

So, I'm sitting here staring at the computer...I have no clue what to name the darn blog and yet I have to make that decision right off the bat. It'd be nice to start off with a few posts and, eh, see how I feel - like maybe something will just come to me and I'll have the most brilliant title yet. Something catchy that most people will just hang onto my every word and set alerts to their mobile phones so they can keep up with us. And just then it hits me...yeah, still staring at the computer, still no title and I think I just saw a dustbunny grow a little. I decide on Johnny's Brother because there's a neat story about Mr. Drew and it's all connected to Jonathan. He called it. He must have placed his order with God and God decided to answer. Out of the mouths of babes...

Just after Drew was born, I had it on my "to-do" list to send out a little notecard that told the story about Jonathan and Drew. I bought all my cutsey scrapbook stuff to print it on and got a really cool stamp (and I'm not even into scrapbooking *or* stamping). I even wrote it up in Word and when it went to print, the stinkin' paper was pulled through crooked. It looked beyond amateurish, so I decided to pass. After all, it was good enough that we were sending out Christmas cards with the announcement in it and right on the heels of just having given birth so recently. So, now as an opening post I'm going to say what I wanted to say on that cool piece of cardstock:

As a departure from the usual Christmas letter, we thought it might be fun to share the story of how Jonathan wished for his little brother and how God answered that wish.

In late March, I picked up Jonathan from school as usual. What I didn't expect was his volume level 10 question "Mom, when is God going to put another baby in your tummy?". The question caught me off guard, not because I thought we wouldn't have more children, but because it was a random question, something Jonathan had never asked me before. At that particular time, I had a sneaking suspicion of pregnancy, but due to a variety of reasons, did not believe I was. I relayed the story to Neil that evening. I asked Jonathan to tell Dad what he had asked me, and so he did. He then went on to tell us that he wanted a baby brother and that we should name him Andrew. The following Wednesday, we found out that we would be welcoming a new addition to our family. The icing on the cake was that all the children were excited. Ashley and Paige were obviously pulling for a girl and Jonathan was holding fast to the idea that he would get his baby brother. On November 24, 2007 that wish came true.

I named it Johnny's Brother because, in the end, it seemed the most appropriate. Don't get me wrong, though. Ashley and Paige absolutely adore him - but there is something special about the brotherly bond between Jonathan and Drew. I see how simplistic and inspiring Jonathan is when we're on our way home from school and he's kicking rocks and telling me how he wants to teach "brother" (as he's called) how to whistle and kick a ball. He reminds me that it's not about the age difference between the two of them, but about how important it is that I do my job well to encourage them to be the best of buds.