Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orelia Meets Bennett

Having a second child certainly means some extra challenges and more work than when you just had one tiny soul to care for.  Life can't revolve around the newborn when the older sibling needs someone to read books with, someone to prepare her meals, and generally just someone to give her attention.  When you have another child, however, you get to experience the joy of introducing your children to one another, and that truly is a great experience.

 We were lucky enough to have my dad on hand to capture the moment that we had been waiting for.

We waited to bring Orelia until the second day I was in the hospital so that I would be slightly more mobile and recovered.  I had my IV out by this point and was able to walk around, which certainly made me feel more human.  Orelia first ran to see me (John had already seen her the night before), and then John showed her "Baby Bennett" (his full name according to Orelia) in his bassinet.  

She was eager to get her hands on him, so we plopped her in bed next to me and Bennett got to experience his first sibling snuggles.

She dutifully practiced her "one finger touch," which is the very specific coaching we give her about gentleness.  

She was thrilled from the start and absolutely enamored by her little brother.  Hugs and kisses were doled out freely.

 Every day since she has lavished attention and love upon her tiny brother.  She always wants to know where he is and wants to hug and kiss him as much as possible.

A couple of days ago she said her first unprompted "I love you."  It wasn't to Mommy or Daddy.  "I love you, Baby Bennett," she declared while towel-clad and and heading to bed.  My heart melted, and I realized how grateful I am to have this sweet, affectionate child to serve as a role-model for my second-born.  She is a proud big sister who loves to help - she has already given Bennett more baths and taken him for more walks than Mommy.  We can't wait to see how their relationship grows.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bennett's Birth Story

 With very little sleep under out belts, John and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on September 15th, eager to meet our son.

The nurses whisked us away into the pre-op room to prepare for the procedure.  My belly was hooked up to the fetal heart rate monitor and contraction monitor, and I was hooked up to an IV to start pumping me full of fluid.  Not being allowed anything to eat or drink since the night prior, I was quite hungry and thirsty (and John will probably attest I would not shut up about this).  Luckily the time went by quickly, and John and I were happy to see our baby's heart beat looking strong the whole time (the baby was actually awake for almost the entire two hours), which was a welcome sight after experiencing Orelia's spotty heart rate last time I was hooked up to such a machine.   Around 7:40 a.m. they wheeled me into the operating room to give me my spinal.

One of the scariest parts of the day for me was getting the spinal, as it involved a huge needle --- not my favorite thing.  They wheeled me into the very, very cold operating room and it was just me, one nurse, and the anesthesiologist in there to administer the spinal.  I survived, but I was much happier once my OB came in, since I know her and she could at least chat with me to make me feel a little more comfortable.  My OB and another doctor prepped me for the surgery and once they were done John was able to come in and sit right next to me.  What a relief that was to finally see him again and have him there by my side.  As soon as he was situated they started the procedure, which felt nothing like I imagined.  It involved a lot of weird pushing and unidentified pressure, which was actually better than what I feared (me knowing exactly what they were doing at all times and imagining it).  About ten minutes after it began, they started telling me they could see his "big" head.  Another big push on my belly and we began to hear his gurgling cries.

They held him over the drape for me to see, and I immediately started crying.  He was whisked away to the side for his checkup, and John went with him while I sat on the table mostly numb and my glasses fogging up from the tears.

The anesthesiologist helped de-fog my glasses while John gave me updates to tell me everything was fine.

After his checkup they brought him over to me to give us some face-to-face skin-on-skin time.  We had a nice little chat and I told him over and over again how much I loved him and how happy we were that he was finally here.  I'm so grateful to John for photographing our son's first moments on earth.

In the recovery room, I started gaining the ability to feel and move my body from the chest down.  Most importantly, though, they let me hold my brand new son and give him the cuddles I had been waiting for these past nine months.

John and I were both relieved that everything went smoothly for me and Bennett that morning.  In the end, it was a normal and average c-section like many women go through all the time, and I am grateful I don't have anything out of the ordinary to add to Bennett's birth story.  He's here safe and sound, and we are thrilled.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bennett at One Week

 Our little guy turned a week old today.

 We, thankfully, were let out of the hospital a day early (upon our request), so we have been getting the swing of things at home since Thursday.

 Things are definitely different the second time around.  It's not because we know what we are doing - because really, sometimes, we have no clue.

 I think this second time I am savoring things a bit more.  I'm taking more pictures.  I'm giving more kisses.  I'm appreciating him more as a snuggly little newborn.

 With Orelia I was more focused on survival and getting to a period where I could sleep more. For now (at least) I'm willing to trade the sleep for more newbornness.

Each day we realize what a treat it is to have a sweet baby fast asleep in your arms.  We loved it with Orelia too, but I think now I know that we only get to do this for a few more months and then it's over.

So happy first week, Bennett!  I hope you don't mind posing for several thousand more photos and getting plenty more cuddles in the coming weeks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Welcome, Bennett William

On September 15th we welcomed our son, Bennett William, into the world at 8:12 a.m. via cesarean section.  Tears of joy were there to greet him.

He arrived weighing 8 pounds, 1.5 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches.  Not huge, but just big enough at 39 weeks to be glad we had a scheduled c-section.

His first bath was not well received.

 Once wrapped in some cozy blankets, however, our little guy was at peace.

We are so happy to have another member of our family to love.

We are so happy to call him ours.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Indulgence - Last Few Days as an Only Child

This little lady has just a few days left as an only child.

She knows her baby brother is coming soon, but obviously a two year-old can't quite comprehend that significance.

Being with her this last week has been somewhat surreal.  I pick her up any time she asks and I'm the one requesting extra hugs.

I know that after my surgery, I won't be able to pick her up (at least with my doctor's permission!) for about a month, and this will be hard on us both.

We have been at home a lot, which has given us lots of time to read books (both she and I do the "reading").  She always has strong opinions over what she wants to read, and for the most part I'm trying to indulge her in that tenth reading of an idiotic dollar store book.  Maybe not for an eleventh time, but I can maintain my enthusiasm for a good ten straight readings.

She has become a Taylor Swift devotee - well, specifically to the new song, "Shake it Off."  She is frequently rewarded with a viewing of the "Shake it Off" video and is always mesmerized.

All of our friends have been gathering to support me and Orelia as we enter the final stretch, and the other moms have been especially kind to help run after her at play dates and sit on the floor with her when I'm not really capable.

She and I are so lucky to have such good friends around - always, but especially now.

Noni and Grandpa arrive tomorrow at long last, and Orelia is elated.  They will be taking care of our girl when John and I are at the hospital for the better part of a week and we are beyond grateful.

The temperatures have heated up around here, which isn't exactly ideal for someone who is nine months pregnant, but is wonderful for a little lady who loves to go in the pool.  

Since Orelia is close in age to all her friends, we have been hitting the birthday party circuit on the weekends.  

She has been loving all the extra play time with friends, especially her special baby friend whom she always wants to cuddle with.

He has provided her lots of practice for big sisterhood, and I am so grateful my friend lets her hold him, however unappealing this might be to a baby.

This weekend Orelia will visit two last birthday parties before her baby brother's birth day arrives.

A couple extra chocolate cupcakes under her belt and she will assuredly be ready to take on her new role as a big sister.

I have a feeling the chocolate and general spoiling will be continuing a lot in the near future.  Whatever keeps us happy and sane as a family will be fine by me.  I know I'll be needing some chocolate myself next week, so I certainly can't deny any to my firstborn.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Orelia's Second Birthday Bash

We celebrated Orelia's second birthday with a backyard bash and fifteen of her best friends.  

 The party started bright and early, so the day began with Krispy Kreme and progressed to a Chick-fil-a feast.  Only the best for our little girl.

 My parents were here for the party and basically did all the work.  Needless to say, I never would have been able to pull off a big party at eight months pregnant if not for them.

 We talked about the party with Orelia for weeks leading up to it, and perhaps the thing she focused on the most was that she would be eating chocolate cake with butterflies on top.

 It was excellent cake, and Orelia thoroughly enjoyed every bite.  She left the vanilla icing on her plate, however, because she vanilla icing was not part of the deal.

 Her post-cake smiles were the biggest of the day, I think, especially when topped off with some lemonade.

This girl loves her some "'dade" and literally expects it at every birthday party she has been to since her own.

After playtime and cake, the kids enjoyed a bubble show unlike anything they had ever seen.

Orelia was filled with wonder and a bit of fear of some of these monstrous bubbles.  

They literally took up the entire backyard.

All toddlers love bubbles, and Orelia's crew was absolutely fascinated.  

 The kids got a chance to blow their own bubbles too, which they loved.  Two year-olds love to do things themselves.  

This was Orelia's last birthday as an only child, and I'm glad we got to make the most of it.

Two year olds sure know how to party!