Tuesday, February 25, 2014

January Art

A little behind on the monthly post of Celia's art.  But here goes... All captions are written by Celia unless I note otherwise.
This is a Zoo with a giraffe and a pig.

This is Jasmine walking down the stairs of her palace.

This is Aurora in her castle.  In her castle, she has an Earth floor.

This is Ariel playing tag with Flounder.

This is Belle waiting for the Beast to come down the stairs from "Beauty and the Beast."

This is a ballerina.  "The Purple Ballerina" is what it's called.  Her name is Sally.

This is the Red Ballerina.  Her name is Angelina.

This is another purple ballerina.  Her name is Emma.

This is a Christmas dancer.  She dances on Christmas Eve.

This is a picture of my school and of a red-winged black bird.

This is me and my Grandma going on a vacation by ourselves in the airport.  My best friend, Kanae, let me use her yellow marker because it glowed.

This is Mr. Scott, the school custodian.

This is a picture of Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel.

Marel commentary: The above two are some of her schoolwork.

This is a princess bird family.  All the birds that are purple with hearts are the girls.  All the birds that are green with blue polka dots are the boy ones.

Marel commentary: This came from Church.  I like the "Life After Death" with the buried body and the spirit (I'm guessing) floating away...?  Better than Sabrina's rendition of the afterlife, which looks a bit gloomy (not to mention our onion-like state in the pre-mortal life):

Sabrina has also been working on the letters in her name:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Caleb's First Photo Session

This photo session was especially fun because A) it was our own little baby and B) Caleb is so chill and sleepy, we could have gotten away with anything.  We tried not to get too carried away...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Caleb: The Hospital

So at 5:52pm on Thursday, February 6, Caleb Robert Stock was born.  He weighed 8lbs, 10oz and was 20.1 inches tall.  Because of my bleeding history, they kept us in the labor and delivery room hooked up to Pitocin until almost 10pm.  Caleb conveniently decided to be born before the Olympics were on, so once all was settled around 7pm, Tom and I and Caleb were left alone in the labor and delivery room to watch the Olympics.  Around 9:30, they came in and gave him a little spongebath, and got us ready for the Mother/Baby floor.  I should mention that Caleb had not stopped crying at all from birth until this point.  But he had such a cute little newborn cry (unlike either of our girls at birth) that he was so cute and we were still able to watch the olympics.  We did try to nurse him, but he would have none of it.  So, they wheeled us off to Mother/Baby.  Tom and I got the very last room on the floor they said.  The whole floor had been remodeled and opened just this week.  We had Caleb for a bit and then they took him off to get his assessment done.  He had been making noises while sleeping, so they said they were going to get him checked out by the NICU doctor just in case he had fluid in his lungs or something.  Then she came back and told us that his blood sugar was really low and he needed to stay in the NICU for the night and they fed him several bottles of formula.  So, we didn't see Caleb again until the morning.  We tried to sleep between meds, my assessments, and the cramping and pain.  In the morning around 8, they brought Caleb back and had me try to nurse him.  We had a 30 minute time limit to try to nurse him and give him a bottle.  No pressure, right?  So, I actually got him to feed for a bit and then we fed him a bottle.  They checked his blood sugar again and it was still low, so Caleb had to head back to the NICU.  They explained that big babies that grow fast are living in a high-glucose environment and when you cut the umbilical cord, the baby's pancreas doesn't know what's happening, so it starts making a whole bunch of insulin and it has to learn how to regulate.  Tom went with Caleb this time to the NICU.  They were in there for about 2.5 hours.  Tom says they put the IV in (it took three tries).  They started with his right hand, but couldn't get it to work.  The NICU doctor said that with bigger babies, it's hard to put in an IV because there's more skin in the way and they can tell where the veins are, but it's hard to tell how deep they are.  It worked on the left hand, but only long enough to get some blood for some labwork.  And then they had to put it in again.  Once they had a successful IV, they got a syringe with a dose of glucose.  They put it into a machine that slowly pushed the syringe and gave him the dose through the IV.  Then they had to wait 30 minutes to do another blood test.  His levels were at a reasonable level, so they brought him back to try to eat.  He wouldn't nurse in the allotted time, but we gave him his bottle, and then he had to go back to the NICU for a bit again.  Around 5, they determined that we were allowed to keep him in our room for the night, but every 3 hours, we had 30 minutes to try to nurse and feed him a bottle and then they would come in and poke his foot and test his levels again.  It was a busy, stressful night, but Caleb managed to start nursing in the allotted time (just before I would have had to pump!) and supplemented with a bottle.  He kept his levels up and in the morning, they told us he was probably in the clear, but they needed two more good blood sugar scores 12 hours apart and we had to stay until the following morning to get that last score Sunday morning.

During all of this, the girls were able to come visit on Friday.  Tom went and got them and brought them over before Caleb might have to go back to the NICU at 5 (which he didn't end up having to stay... but we thought he might).  They were so excited.  They both wanted to hold him.  Sabrina was excited to cuddle with me without a giant belly and she did some dangerous chair surfing on the hospital room's rocking char.  Caleb gave the girls some presents.  Celia got a tiny little Lego Friends set.   Sabrina got some wood lacing cards, and Caleb gave them an art project to do on the airplane for their upcoming trip in March.  They counted Caleb's toes.  They discovered they could (barely) fit underneath one of the chairs, so they climbed under that for awhile. The nurse even brought them popsicles. By the time cousin Taylor came to pick them up, they had pretty much taken over the room and kept asking her when they were leaving.

On Saturday night, I was discharged and Caleb became the patient for our final night in the hospital.  By this point, we were literally the only patients on the floor and the nurses said we could move to one of the big rooms with a king-sized Tempurpedic bed.  It was awesome.  So, we moved rooms, and Tom and I got to eat our proud parent meal.  That means Tom got to pick off the hospital menu for one meal and they gave us champagne glasses with sparkling apple cider and a big chocolate cupcake.  Tom and enjoyed our fine meal in our giant comfortable bed and watched the Olympics.  It was pretty much the greatest night ever.  And though we still had to feed Caleb every three hours, no one came in to bother us, we didn't have a strict time limit, and my milk came in that evening, so Caleb ate until he was full and we didn't have to supplement anymore.  In the morning, Caleb passed his final blood sugar level test and we were free to head home.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Caleb: Pregnancy and Delivery

(This was taken the night before Caleb was born.)
This isn't the fun blog post with cute pictures and funny stories of having a new baby.  That will come later.  This is the one where I record, for my own sake, what happened this past nine months. So be warned.

The first trimester with Caleb was awesome.  I was nauseated, but really not that badly.  Compared to Sabrina, this pregnancy was a piece of cake.  At 20 weeks, we had the usual ultrasound.  Everything looked good.  He was 50th percentile and healthy.  The doctor I met with after the ultrasound was pretty blunt, kind of scary, and ironically, retired two days after my appointment.  So, I went into the room and he came in and said "Have you had blood?"  I was confused by this question, but told him no, I had not bled at all.  He then proceeded to draw my uterus on a paper towel followed by my placenta and a large pool of blood they found between the end of the placenta and the uterine wall.  I mentioned I had been having a sharp pain in one particular spot.  He said that pain was the placenta threatening to tear from the wall (not sure if this actually ended up being the case).  He put me on strict pelvic rest (no lifting, no exercising, only leisurely walking as he said).  I was set to go on vacation (East Coast trip) just two weeks later.  He said I could still go on the trip if I knew where all the hospitals were on my trip (he was kinda scary).  We went on the trip and all the walking was quite aggravating.  I really thought I might just have that baby in the middle of the Smithsonian one day.  But all was well and when I returned, they did another ultrasound.  The blood had gone down a bit and the placenta had not ripped off the wall any more than it had.  That was good news and they took me off pelvic rest and put me on a "Take it easy."  Then Caleb had an arrhythmia.  It lasted one day, but caused quite a stir and I got put on a weekly non-stress test and a monthly ultrasound schedule.  Then it was mid-December, and I started going into labor.  It stopped by itself but added another reason I was on the "high-risk pregnancy" list.  They predicted my placentas didn't last 40 weeks and that the problem was getting worse (Celia born at 39 weeks, Sabrina was born at 37 weeks 5 days) and they said "if we can get him to hang on to 35 weeks, that would be great."  No drastic measures were taken to stop me from labor and from mid-December on, I was contracting constantly.  I went in for weekly non-stress tests and monthly ultrasounds.  At one point, the placenta ripped off a bit more, the blood got bigger, and they said I had a "minor abruption."  But Caleb kept growing.  In the monthly ultrasounds, he went from 50% to 50% to 83% and then in my final ultrasound on January 29, he was 90% and already weighed eight pounds.  (As an interesting note, his head was 50%, his femur was 73% and his abdomen was 97.7%.  They said he was quite a fatty.)  On top of all of this, I was in so much pain in this pregnancy.  My abs never came back together after Sabrina, so they moved so far out of the way with Caleb that they weren't functional.  My pelvic muscles then had to carry the weight of what all the ab muscles would help do.  So my pelvis was in constant pain.  And he was so big, there was nerve damage at the top of my uterus that felt like I was laying on a hot stove.  It was just constant burning in one specific spot.  I couldn't do anything to move the pain or relieve it in any way.  It felt like torture.  So when 35 weeks came and went, I felt overdue after all that "you could go into labor at anytime" talk.

On February 5, I had a regular appointment and non-stress test.  I was pretty sure I had a UTI because I had very localized pain in my lower left abdomen (which happened when I had a UTI when I was pregnant with Celia).  They confirmed it and gave me an antibiotic.  I had been contracting all morning (again, not uncommon) and had two pretty major contractions during the non-stress test.  The doctor told me to take the two doses remaining that day of the new antibiotic (supposed to take it 4 times a day) and the contractions would stop.  I went to bed without hope of ever going into labor.  Every hour, exactly an hour apart, all night, I had really severe contractions that lasted about 4 minutes each.  By the time I got up in the morning, they were much less severe (back to my usual daily contractions to which I had built up an immunity) but they were 15-20 minutes apart.  I told Tom he probably shouldn't go to work.  We got Celia off to school, dropped Sabrina off with the cousins, and I checked into the hospital around 10AM pretty convinced they would send me home eventually because the contractions didn't really hurt.  (But after Sabrina's super fast labor, I wasn't taking any chances.)  I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 5.  I had been at a 4.5 a week before, so it wasn't looking all that hopeful.  But the contractions continued.  The nurse called my doctor who told her to do a kidney flush to ensure that the labor wasn't just UTI-related.  So, the IV started.  The contractions stopped for a bit and I was getting nervous, but then they picked back up.  Still not really painful (again, I had been contracting for 2 months several times a day, so I was pretty good at handling them now).  By the time the midwife arrived around 1pm, I was at a 7 and she said I could stay.  She said that because I was officially in labor, she could do everything needed to deliver that baby.  It was basically the most relieving thing I've ever heard.  She did a quick bedside ultrasound to determine that the baby was facing up, but she said some major contractions should get him to turn around.  Around 2pm, I got an epidural.  This lady was awful.  She made me sit up in a weird position and then got mad at me when my body spasmed everytime she stabbed my back.  She called me a "control freak" and indicated that it was probably my fault that I was "Vagaling" (as they called me passing out because I had Vasal Vagal).  Of course the epidural spot didn't work the first time and they had to do it all again.  When she finally left, and I finally stopped passing out, the awesome nurses and midwife were totally apologetic.  They told me she was verbally abusing me and no one should ever blame me for "Vagaling."  I told her I actually get that quite a bit from nurses and the midwife said "well it's inappropriate.  You tell them that it's inappropriate."  They were awesome.  They were just about to break my water, but then the nurse looked on the computer monitor and noticed room 1 was in major labor, so she rushed off to go help (there were only 2 nurses on duty) and the midwife left me to recover a bit from all that "Vagaling."  Tom and I watched poor room 1 on the monitor (we could just see her contractions and the baby's heartbeat... no name or anything else... in case you're all worried about HIPPA).  I really hope she had an epidural with all those crazy contractions.  Around 3:30, they broke my water.  I actually had a water this time (I didn't with either of the girls), and they left us to rest.  Around 4, I was starting to feel some major pain in my back and on my right side.  She came back in and I was at a 9, but she said it was time to start pushing to help him turn around and move down.  She said as soon as he turned his head, he would just come flying out.  I started pushing.  I pushed for about an hour.  He moved down, but didn't turn his head.   It got to the point where it was so painful, pushing was the only thing that made the pain better.  So I kept pushing.  Eventually, he came out.  He came out facing sideways with his hand by his face.  He was a big boy and covered in cheese just like Sabrina.  They put him right on me and they cut the cord (Tom was not pressured into it this time).  Then the pushing on my uterus started.  That hurts!  Eventually, they had me push out the placenta.  That thing was so huge, she delivered it like a baby, with two arms.  It was the size and shape of a football and I couldn't believe how huge it was.  Luckily, because of my history, they were very proactive about bleeding and I hardly bled at all.  The nurse and midwife were awesome and all went very well.  He was born at 37 weeks, 6 days (following Sabrina's gestation by less than 24 hours).

(Here I am with a wet washcloth on my chest, recovering from "Vagaling" after the epidural and waiting for them to break my water.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Christmas 2013

Because I'm convinced that Caleb is waiting to come until we have blogged about Christmas (because Sabrina waited to come until the night after Tom finished the dining room table and the only project we've currently been talking about is this entry), here it is.

Christmas season began with the decorations.  And Sabrina wearing the Christmas stockings.

And the girls playing in the star lights.

This isn't really Christmas related, except that the girls took a break from dancing to Christmas music to play some games in a "cuddly bunch."  

Sabrina and Tom got to go to Celia's Kindergarten class to make Gingerbread houses.  All the kids were coming up with unique ideas and then the rest of the kids would copy it.  Celia came up with adding a doorknob.

For the second year in a row, our ward has hosted the annual Christmas party for all the foster kids in Anchorage.  It's a big pizza dinner, the kids are entertained and get to see Santa while the foster parents come "shop" among the presents donated through all the giving trees in town.  I helped run the gift room for kids 11+ while Tom partied with all the kids.  It's always a super awesome time and this year, I even got to sport the yellow Mormon Helping Hands jersey.  

Here's Tom with the girls too shy to see Santa.  But they did end up with a stocking and some really nice teddy bears from going close to him.

Celia and Sabrina then attended the Gingerbread Man birthday party of friends of theirs.  They got to decorate giant gingerbread men.  Celia was, of course, at the table with hers long after the next game had started.  

Thanks to the Trader Joe's Christmas cookie kit, I don't have to work hard to keep up Celia's insisted tradition of making cookies for Santa.  The girls dove right in decorating (and eating the colored sugar).  

On Christmas Eve, we went for our annual ice skate (except me... I took pictures).  It was quite cold that day, hovering right around 1 degree, but the girls did a great job.  Celia has outdoor recess up here down to ten below (with wind chill).  Her recess heartiness really kicked in.  Even when I couldn't feel my toes and Sabrina started crying, Celia was still skating around like it was no big deal.  This was also Sabrina's very first year on real ice skates.

Celia surprised us all by just heading out herself on her skates.  I assumed she would forget since last year or be too scared, but she just got right out on the ice and started skating around.  

Taylor and Travis helped out.  Taylor helped Sabrina glide on skates while Travis helped Hazel hover over the ice in her snowsuit.  

Hazel also got a really classy new sled from L.L.Bean this year and sported it like royalty...

...until the cousins all insisted on hopping in and making her look foolish.

A classy family picture for sure:

Sabrina did manage to stand up by herself a few times, but only on the edges where there was a little snow on top of the ice.  

After a cold skate and a warm nap, we headed over to Taylor and Travis' for Christmas Eve soup and a cousin bath.  Unlike Thanksgiving, Celia's panties did not end up in the bath this time and the girls had fun eating toys like babies and making it rain with their fingers.  

Christmas Morning: Celia had to get all dressed up in her fancy red outfit and skirt and put on a necklace before she would come upstairs to see the stockings.  They found the nail polish they had both asked for as well as the movie Despicable Me from Santa.

Nana and Papa gave them these amazing elf slippers and Grandma and Grandpa gave them all the Mardi Gras necklaces from their trip to New Orleans this year.  Both really added to this year's "by the Christmas tree" picture.  

The girls got some beautiful clothes, and Celia found something hilarious...

For dinner, we hosted Taylor and Travis and Hazel who brought the annual ham.  Tom added a Christmas tea ring to his repertoire this year.  When we were discussing the menu, he mentioned that "it isn't Christmas without a tea ring."  Though joking, I do wonder what the past 7 years have been if not Christmas... 

Celia spent all day Christmas building her new Lego Friends bakery.  (Boo Boo Ga Ga wanted to be in the picture of the finished product.)  She has spent several days since then dismantling and rebuilding said bakery over and over again.  

Then we had New Year's.  We've continued my family's tradition of having crepes and started the tradition (upon moving to Alaska 4 years ago) of watching the live webcast from New York so we can ring in the New Year's at 8pm and put the girls to bed before 10.  This is a winning combination.

We had the Dahle's over as usual and we had enough champagne glasses for the three girls and all the adults except me for the sparkling cider.  So, I took one for the team and drank out of the bottle (and quite enjoyed myself).

The girls gorged on crepes and chocolate fondue, held their special glasses until we all said "Happy New Year" and had a really good time.  

On New Year's Day, we took down the Christmas decorations.  The girls decided to decorate the tree for January.  Appropriate decorations for a January tree include shoelaces, necklaces, fancy gloves, and purses.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.  (Okay Caleb... let's go.)

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