Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of School

Today's the day! Maximus started kindergarten this morning at Northside Elementary. He told me last night at bedtime that the only thing he was nervous about was sleeping too late and missing the first day of school. He was so excited that he was out of bed and dressed for the day at the crack of dawn this morning!

We let him choose who he wanted to take him to school this morning, and of course he chose his Dad. No surprise there. :-) Lucas dropped him off at his classroom and Max started the day without a glance back. I'm sure it helped greatly that he has a great teacher (Mrs. Fox) and several of his best little buddies in his class this year. We are so thankful and are praying that he has a wonderful year.

I can't wait to pick him up this afternoon and hear how his day went!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Alexander's Birth

**Disclaimer: This post contains details about Alexander's birth. I'm posting both for my own journaling purposes and because I know a lot of you gals out there enjoy some of these not-too-graphic details.... but feel free to skip this post if you're not into birth stories!

Alexander's due date was August 1, but a couple weeks before his birth my doctor started talking about the possibility of a planned induction and gave us the option to move ahead with that once we got a little closer to his due date. Since the doctor said I was progressing and everything looked favorable for the induction, we decided to proceed with that plan. I'm so glad we did!

This was our best birth experience yet, and that combined with all of the help and rest Aunt Carol had given me in the week leading up to the birth made for a very smooth delivery day and adjustment to life back at home with three. What a gift from God to me during a tough milestone without my mom here- I've been so thankful.

On Wednesday, the day before Alexander's birth, Lucas' mom drove in from her new home in Missouri, less than two hours away from us. What a change in distance from her and Tony's previous home in Oregon! I am thankful to have them so much closer. She arrived in the afternoon just in time to watch the kids while I went to my final doctor's appointment. Aunt Carol came with me, and I was able to get some final questions answered before moving forward with the induction, which we had scheduled for early the next morning. My sis-in-law Meagan treated me to a manicure after the appointment- what a great gift; it was such a relaxing thing to do on the evening before Alexander's birth!

We had decided to deliver at the hospital in Siloam Springs, and we were supposed to check in at 5 a.m. for the induction. We left the kids in great hands with Gramma Cheryl, and amazingly enough for Lucas and I, who neither one do well with early mornings, we were walking out the door at 4:55 a.m., ready for the big day:

Leaving for the hospital: 4:55 a.m.

We arrived at the hospital right at 5:00 a.m., and Aunt Carol met us there. We sat down at the check-in desk, and I was feeling a little bit jittery and nervous and excited.... and mostly just ready to have this next part over with and have our son in my arms.

A very kind woman at the desk wanted to quickly verify the information we had on file with the hospital. Name, Address, phone number, Emergency contact... "Still Kerwin and Vicki Dees, grandparents?" Gulp. Lucas jumped in and corrected the information, and I took a deep breath as the L & D nurse came and got us and took us to our room.

When we got to our room and settled in about 5:30 a.m., Lucas decided to text my dad and let him know we were at the hospital and getting started. Less than two seconds later, my dad texted back: "I'll be right there." My sweet dad came at the crack of dawn and wanted to be up there all day, even though this is an extremely busy week for him at work.

Aunt Carol was by my side all day and went to work immediately, asking the nurses to find and send the nurse who was very best nurse at IV insertion, and holding on tight to me as the anesthesiologist got my epidural in after three very uncomfortable attempts. I was so relieved to have those two parts of the day over with!

After that, the morning went by pretty uneventfully. The doctor came in and checked me– I started out the morning at 2 cm dilated– and then he broke my water. I was having some regular contractions, but not enough to get things really moving, so they started me on pitocin. We kept the room pretty quiet and dark all morning, and I was able to relax and sleep a little, and Lucas and I also made a final decision about what our son's middle name would be. The nurse checked me again at 11:30 and said I was at a 4 and the baby was still basically as high as he could be at a -3 station. I settled in and figured that it might be a long day of waiting, but I was comfortable and not having any pain.

About an hour later, the contraction pain started to ramp up just a little, and Aunt Carol came and sat by me and helped me relax through them. She was asking me all about our trip to Cancun in May and had me describe the most serene parts of our trip.

I had been nervous about my epidural wearing off, because my legs weren't really not numb at all, and I thought "there's no way this epidural is going to get me through transition,"especially since they had just checked me and I was only at a 4! The nurse told me they needed to refill the medication in the epidural line, so I thought I was feeling the contractions more because they were changing out the meds. After she took care of that, the nurse decided to check me again when she saw I was really having to breathe through the contractions. I was shocked when she told me at just before 1 p.m. that I was fully dilated to a 10!

She said if I could hold off on pushing for a little while that it might make the delivery go more smoothly, so I decided to try to do that. My dear friend Anna had just come by to check on me, and she came and sat with me for a few minutes until the nurse came in and said it was showtime! I started pushing at about 1:15ish, and Alexander was born at 1:28. I really couldn't have asked for a more smooth labor and delivery!

Lucas and I both said out loud as soon as he was born- "Wow- he's big!"
At 8lbs., 4 oz., He looked so much bigger than Max and Maggie had when they were born
(Max weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz, Maggie was 6 lbs. 12 oz.).

I had plenty of tears of joy as I met him for the first time.

Very soon after he was born, we were able to introduce Alexander to his big brother and sister, who were SO EXCITED to meet him. Maggie had this amazed smile on her face and was completely speechless for at least 30 seconds- perhaps a new record for her. :-) She quickly snapped out of her state of wonder and exclaimed, "Give me my baby!" Max was practically glowing with pride.

We were so thankful to have a lot of family there to welcome Alexander on his first day in the world. Gramma Cheryl, my dad, Aunt Carol, Uncle Russ, Aunt Meagan, Uncle Tyler, my cousin Brandon and several great friends were there in the hours after his birth to meet him. I was thankful to be feeling very well in the afternoon after an easy delivery, and I really enjoyed celebrating with everyone!

Meagan made this adorable sign to hang on our hospital room door!

We stayed one night in the hospital, and we were able to take Alexander home on Friday after lunch when he was exactly 24 hours old.

First car ride: 1.3 miles from the hospital to home.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing Alexander James into the world safe and healthy. We are so grateful for our new son and can't wait to see what God has in store for him!