Sunday, September 26, 2010

More pictures of baby

Wow...Alexander is 4 weeks old! It went by so fast...much faster than 4 weeks of pregnancy ever did! I have been wanting to take more newborn portraits of him, but it just isn't happening. I will just have to be satisfied with what I got the first time. Like I said time (if there is a next time) I will hire someone for newborn photos. There is just too much to do and too little energy because of the sleepless nights and napless days.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little Girl

I am still not used to seeing Estella in her big bed. It makes her look so tiny.

Essie has such a bright, fun, social personality. It is almost like she literally shines when she smiles. Everywhere we go, she makes people smile. With the new baby we have been staying at home more than usual. This is hard on Essie. I didn't realize it before, but she really needs frequent social interactions. After realizing this, I have made more of an effort to set up play dates and daily outings for her. It has helped. Another thing I have noticed about Estella is that she likes to know the "plan." She wants to know what we have planned for the day...where we are going to go, who we are going to see, what we are going to do. At night, while tucking her into bed it seems to relax her if I tell her our plan for the next day. Also at night, she will often say, "Talk to me." She loves to talk and be talked to. We love you Essie!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Soccer Season

Soccer season has begun again and Nicholas is playing for the first time! He has been waiting and waiting to turn five so he could play. It is so fun to watch him play with kids his own age. He is really enjoying it. It is a bit tricky juggling two game times on Saturday mornings, but so far it has worked out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Grade

I am still having a hard time believing that Thomas is in first grade! I had a really hard time this summer with the thought of him being gone so long. I really miss him during the day, and so do his siblings, but he is enjoying school and so far it has been a very positive experience. He is so fun to be around, I just have a hard time sharing him :) His teacher and classmates are very lucky to have him.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Uncle Jake

The weekend of Nicholas' birthday and the first day of school for Thomas, my brother Jake came through on his way home from a summer of selling pest control in Texas. My kids love when he comes...he spoils them with attention and gifts. These are some pictures while we were sitting in the front yard waiting for the bus to bring Thomas home from his first day at school.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jackson's Side of the Story

It's a pretty big blur, but as I write it will come back. It was Sunday morning and I was laying in bed. The whole week prior I was on edge about the possibility of the baby coming. Restraining the idea that the baby could come anytime, yet excited for when it would happen. 15 months of pregnancy is for whales and elephants, definitely not humans.

Jen had been hiding contractions from me so I was constantly asking her if she was having one and trying to read the body language as well as the facial expressions because sometimes that was the only way to really tell if it 1) was a contraction, 2) was a good contraction. Jen spoke up, pulling from my reverie, and said she was having contractions. In order to betray my excitement I thought, "oh, well, this will probably wear off. It will last a little while and stop." She seemed pretty calm yet quietly excited. Excitement breeds excitement and I again had to curb the emotion.

To distract the kids I pulled up a Veggie Tales move on NetFlix. The contractions continued, and the excitement mounted. I called my mom before she left to pick-up Grammy for church and told her that she may want to be ready to come over and take care of the kids, and was careful not to squirt anxiety through the phone adding, "it's probably nothing, just precautionary." She promised to keep her phone with her and would check for a text during church.

Jen was now sitting down for contractions and the exercise ball was making the contractions easier to bear. I texted my mom and she and my dad came over from church to be with Thomas, Nicholas, and Estella. I started getting them ready for church, but Thomas was determined not to go to 2nd ward. He just wanted to go to 5th ward, after some debate the consensus was to skip church altogether and come visit the baby when he arrived.

We loaded (overloaded) the van with the hospital bag, the exercise ball, the car seat, and my cello. The cello came on Dr. Robbins recommendation. He told us that when he brings his guitar to the hospital he never has time to practice it because things go so quickly. When Jen called labor and delivery to let them know we were coming in Dr. Robbins reminded her to bring the cello.

By now we were certain the baby was coming. It was approximately 10:15am. The nurse checked her in, hooked her up to the heart monitor and contraction monitor (I love the contraction monitor because I know before she does when a contraction is coming) and then checked her. She was only dilated 4 cm. They monitored the baby for a half hour or so then let Jen un-hook and walk around. She used the hospital's exercise ball and I took pictures of the view out the window (labor and delivery is in the new tower and has beautiful views of the valley). Jen called her mom, I called my parents...waiting waiting. The contractions started to get stronger and Jen preferred to lay down now for them. It was probably about 12:00 and she was asking me to count through the contractions with her and hold her hand. When things got really intense she asked for an epidural, but by that time it was too late.

It was delivery time. This was beyond what I ever imagined it would be. Can you imagine Jen screaming? I'll never forget. She was having very strong contractions, squeezing my hands, pulling me in a tight hug, screaming and saying things like, "I can't do this!!!!" Thoughts like, "I hope she can survive this" and "where's the doctor, she dieing" were going through my mind. I'm terrible about forgetting life events that I don't record and really didn't want to miss this event. So between contractions I grabbed the video camera and held it in my free hand pointed back at the action. I don't think I've ever been in a situation quite so intense and personal. Jen could hardly feel the final contractions and delivery of the other children, it was even peaceful in some ways to see her smiling and saying, "it feels like I have to push." I was squeezing tears out of my eyes terrified of why she was in so much pain, and if it was possible to endure it.

Finally Dr. Robbins showed up and just minutes later with a huge scream and a push out came Alexander Paul Berry! His head at least. He was a true blue Berry. They said Alexander's cord was around his neck and I saw Dr. Robbins grab it and pull it from around his head. Then the rest of him came out. But, Alexander wasn't breathing, he was sort of limp. I was really anxious, they handed him to Jen and let her hold him and when he let out a little scream they let me cut the cord. Later they explained that they couldn't cut the cord until they knew he was getting oxygen into his lungs. He still didn't breath very well so they put him on the warming table and gave him some oxygen to get him breathing. I was holding my breath too just waiting for that first scream, then it came. The nurses were very calm which kept me from panicking. While the nurses were helping Alexander breathe, Dr. Robbins was stitching a small tear in Jen.

Jen was pale if not yellow for the next day and a half (and she had a sore throat). Alexander turned out perfectly healthy and Jen survived the hospital without having to swallow a pill or take anything intravenously. She did request child's Ibuprofen so she could swallow it without gagging.

If you want to see the video, it will have to be a black market deal because Jen has forbidden me from allowing anyone to see it. That may change over time however. Maybe after baby 5! (j/k Jen).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Alexander Paul Berry

August 29th, 2010. The contractions started around 8:30 that morning. They were instantly very hard and strong. Jackson's parent's church starts at 9:00, so we called them right away so we wouldn't miss them. Michelle came over just after 9:00 and entertained the kids while Jackson and I got things together to go (and while I made sure the contractions weren't going to stop). By 10:00 I was certain that this was it, so we kissed the kids goodbye and headed off to the hospital.

When they checked me around 10:45, I was disappointed to only be dilated 4 cm and resigned myself to a long road still to travel. I wanted to get up and walk around, but my sciatic nerve was really bothering me and sitting on an exercise ball was the only thing that offered relief, so that is what I did for the next hour and a half. Jackson helped me pass the time by playing his cello (our doctor requested he bring it in every time he saw Jackson).

Around 12:45 they checked me and I was only a 6. I was disappointed. The nurse suggested a little walk to help things progress. I tried to stand up and got very lightheaded. That was the turning point. The intensity of the contractions increased to maximum power and I lost all willpower. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural. She left the room to order it. Not 30 seconds after she left the room I realized that it was going to happed too quickly for that and I sent Jackson after her to request whatever they could give me that would take the edge off...NOW. When she came back in, I started saying, "It's time...I'm pushing." She paged the doctor and it was just a lot of pushing and screaming after that. I kept begging for him to at least inject a local anisthetic, because I was sure I was going to rip. There wasn't time. I felt and all. At least it was quick...I went from 6 cm at 12:45 to delivered baby at 1:14...30 intense minutes.

That was the first time I have done it without ANY pain relief at all. All I have to say is WOW...that was intense! Now that it is a memory I can say I am glad I did it that way, because my recovery has been much easier this time. Also, I think it needed to be that way for Alexander's safety. Let me explain that.

The cord was wrapped around his neck really tight. We didn't know until his head popped out. His heartbeat had been perfect the whole time, so there was no need to do an ultrasound or worry about anything. When his head delivered, though, the doctor slipped the cord off (it was tight enough to leave marks on his face). I delivered him the rest of the way and he was blue and not breathing. They immediately set him on my chest and started rubbing him down. He was just making gurgling type noises. After a bit of rubbing, he gasped once. At that point they cut the cord and quickly moved him over to the warmer. They started giving him oxygen and suctioning out his mouth and nose. Then they paged a NICU nurse and I started to worry. He still hadn't cried and I wasn't sure he was even breathing. Finally the cries came and a relief swept over the room. I don't know for sure, but I think things needed to happen fast for him to be safe. Epidurals really slow me down and also slow the hospital staff down. I feel like things happened the way they did in answer to our many prayers for Alexander to be safe.

Afterward Dr. Robbins explained that they didn't cut the cord until he had taken a breath because he was still getting needed oxygen through it. He assured me that there was absolutely no worry of oxygen deprevation and that he was completely fine. They did, however, keep a close eye on his blood sugar because a traumatic delivery can cause low blood sugar...which Alexander did have. It wasn't coming up as fast as they liked, so we gave him a bit of formula and it came right up. I took pictures of Jackson feeding him the bottle, because none of my other kids have taken bottles, so it was likely the only time Jackson would be able to feed one of our infants.

Jackson's parents brought the other kids to visit soon after the delivery. They were all so excited and happy to meet their new little brother. My mom came that evening and stayed the week (thanks Mom!). Here are pictures from the hospital stay (which was as brief as possible...24 hours).