Friday, December 9, 2011
So, takin a chapter from their book, we decided it'd be good to have Ri pass out candy at my grandma's nursing home. As much as the Christmas season has become all about receiving, we'd like to at least try to help our kids see it's not all about them.
My mom brought Santa hats and bells and my nephews came along too with peppermints in tow! I helped Ri practice saying "Merry Christmas!" - she did pretty good and she didn't even try to take the candy for herself! A few of the residents were beyond thrilled - one even asking for Ri to hop on the bed with her (bless her heart) but Ri wasn't down with that so she settled for blowing kisses.
Afterwards, we headed to the nearby town's downtown to see the horse-pulled carriage rides and discovered a train shop and a place that had all kinds of free kid-friendly activities.
I'm hoping to continue to find ways to serve others throughout the year - especially ones we can do as a family! Not only did we get to serve others, but we made some great memories!!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Shutterfly has some awesome designs for a Christmas card - here is ours (it's a folded card so there's more inside and on the back). They're doing a special now for 40% off and free shipping on orders over $30!
Of course, I HAD to use pictures by Naisang Photography!! :)
Friday, October 28, 2011
And so I went with pocket diapers. We had a good relationship even though it took a while for me to figure out how to correctly stuff and snap on the diaper without leaks - as well as figuring out a good wash routine. I started using cloth diapers on Rilynn when she was just over a year old. Once I figured it out, I wished I would have started sooner!
I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers when Kaylee was born but I held off until she was about 2 1/2 months old. But when I tried to put her in my pocket diapers, I realized they weren't fitting her well. Perhaps part of it was because of the snaps (velcro gives a better fit - simliar to a disposable but it also wears faster). Perhaps it was the brand. But I found I no longer liked my pocket diapers.
After doing research, I decided to try prefolds. *GASP!* Yes, I know. But turns out, they're actually not as scary as I originally thought. And they're A LOT cheaper!!
Here's what I'm doing now:
With Cotton Babies' Econobum system, you can buy enough covers and prefolds to use from newborn to potty training for just under $100! Their covers have snaps which aren't my preference, but one of my friends let me borrow one of the covers and I found there were more snaps so I was able to get a good fit on Kaylee.
Monday, October 17, 2011
But alas, I HAVE been produtive. Because my first job and responsibility is training and caring for my children, and I've been doing that all day!
I'm in the midst of potty training; this is our second week. Ri is improving. But it's definitely taking longer than I had hoped. And if you've ever potty trained, you know that's a job in itself. This is hard stuff!
So my house may still be dirty. But my kids are fed, clean (ok, for the most part they're clean), safe, happy, and loved. Plus, Ri actually used the potty a few times! I've had a very busy, productive day!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
This is how Ri spent a good bit of her time at the orchard.
Gettin an apple!
Ri annointing Evan with holy hay.
We had to end the day with a fire in our backyard - complete with smores!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I understand this tends to be a sensative subject that can spark much debate. That's not my intention. Here's my point of this post. If there's any woman out there who's interested and open to learning more about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum, I'd love to help! If I could, I think I'd become a doula. But I just don't have the time to sacrifice with having a family right now. Maybe I can be more of a birth consultant. :)
So, if you can't afford a doula (and I highly recommend having one) but you at least want someone to bounce things off of as you read or have appointments or become concerned or are told things by family that you're just not sure of, I'll do everything I can to help as long as it doesn't interfere with my family responsibilities!
If you're not a birth junkie, may I recommend at least getting your feet wet - perhaps reading Ina May Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth" (very informative!) or just start Googling and read away! It doesn't mean you have to have a natural, drug-free birth at home and consume your placenta afterwards. But how cool to learn about God's design!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I can't believe how big she's gotten already! I've tried to cuddle her as much as possible because those moments are so fleeting! She's getting some good, chunky legs like her sister had (errr, has) and she interacts so well - loves to smile and coo!
It seems her hair is thinning out a bit but I'm hoping it won't completely fall out. It's still silky soft, which I LOVE. It's gotten a little bit lighter...not as jet black as it was when she was born.
I'm so curious how her and Ri will interact when Kaylee is older and how many ways they'll be different. Who's gonna be the bossy one, who's gonna be into sports (both please???), who's gonna be the comedian, who's gonna love school, who's gonna be prissy, who's gonna be a leader, who's gonna be sensitive....
I know one thing...both my girls are precious gifts from the Lord and I'm so thankful to Him for allowing them to be a part of my life!!! May He grab ahold of their sinful little hearts early and use me to point them towards Christ!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
At first, she sat down. But the apron just looked like a dress.
Then we tried holding something above her head so she'd at least stay still but the picture didn't turn out very good because her head was tilted up and her hands were in front of her face.
After chasing her around for a while, my mom bribed her with some sweet tea (hey, don't judge). If she would take a picture for me, she could have some tea. But she got confused and started crying because she didn't get tea right away. Bless her heart.
So then I just took a picture of the apron while she was having her tea. :)
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Let's have a little contest: can you tell which picture is Rilynn and which picture is Kaylee???
Mom and Kelli - you're disqualified. ;)
Check out www.naisang.com to book your photo shoot! Kelli does an AWESOME job! Also check out their newest company - Monkey Deez!!!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Wednesday, July 20th, Septtro suggested we head to the mall to walk. It was too hot to walk outside. So, off to the mall we went. We did a couple laps and headed to my check-up appointment. I was 4 days past my due date. The doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to check fluid levels (everything else looked great). Once I heard, "If there's not enough fluid, we need to have the baby", I declined the ultrasound. I wanted no reason for them to push for induction and since I was only 4 days past my due date, I didn't see a risk in waiting a little bit longer. I don't think the doctor understood at all why I would refuse. But I was just trying to protect myself and my baby girl from any possible unnecessary interventions - or pressure to have any.
Before going home, I went by the natural health store and picked up some red raspberry tea and a bottle of evening primrose oil. My doula mentioned this may help get things going. I've always said I wonder if these "natural induction methods" aren't a bit more mental than anything. As in, "If I take this, I'll go into labor" and because your mind can be so powerful, you start labor. I drank a cup of the tea before bed and took one dose of the evening primrose oil. Rilynn stayed with my mom at her house so we could go enjoy our church's care group toddler-free. She also had our dog, Suka. I joked with her that this would be a good night for me to go into labor since she already had Ri and Suka with her.
Early Thursday morning at about 2:30am, I woke up, as usual, to use the restroom. I was unusually hot. So I went to get an extra fan and had it blowing directly on me. At about 5:00am, I woke up to a sort of popping feeling. I remembered my friend Kelli describing her water breaking feeling like that. I lied there for a second, wondering if that's what it was. Then I felt like I was about to wet my pants. I quickly got up to head to the bathroom and barely made it to the potty before a bigger gush came. I must say, I still wasn't sure. I figured I wouldn't have peed myself that much, but still, I wasn't sure. I immediately called Septtro into the bathroom and we started wondering together if my water had really broken.
After sitting there for a while, it became apparent, it was my water. I debated whether to call my doula right away and whether to alert my mom. I waited until about 6:00am until I called my doula. She was actually at her other client's birth at the time. What are the chances?? She said she'd come to our house after her client delivered, which appeared to be soon. I wanted her to be at the house so she could help me with pain management and help us know when to head the hospital. I most certainly didn't want to arrive at the hospital too early and have labor slow down.
Close to 6:30, I decided to call my friend, Holly. She had a home birth last August and had attended a few other births and I thought she might be a good fill-in doula. :) Of course, she didn't answer her phone as it was early in the morning. I left her a message. My doula had suggested I try to lie down and rest and that this would probably be a long process. But my contractions were already starting to get pretty intense. There was no way I was going to be able to rest.
Septtro and I continued to time the contractions. They went from about 7 minutes apart to 4 minutes to 3 minutes in the span of about 45 minutes. Septtro was keeping in contact with my doula via phone and she suggested we get in our tub at home. By the time I was in the tub, my contractions were extremely intense. We tried to keep timing the contractions but I was afraid I'd drop my phone in the water (we used an application I downloaded on my cell phone - thanks for the tip, Shawna!) so we stopped. This was obviously the real thing.
Septtro reminded me that I needed to eat and drink. I was going to need energy for sure! So he made me a glass of Innergize and got me a stick of cheese. He had to keep reminding me to eat and drink, which was good because I certainly wasn't thinking about it.
My doula asked to speak to me (although Septtro had to put me on speaker at this point because my contractions were so intense) and reminded me to be in control of the contractions and not to allow them to control me. I was continually humming through every contraction, making sure my throat stayed good and open - almost like a deep yawn (as I had read this is directly connected to opening the cervix).
At this point, my body began pushing on its own. I know that sounds weird. But it's what happened. When there would be a very strong contraction, my body would push.
I started to wonder if maybe we shouldn't head to the hospital. And I started to get a little nervous that we might have a unassisted home birth. As much as I wanted a home birth, I wasn't mentally prepared for one at this point. Septtro called my doula again and she said things were still in the early stage and she didn't want us to get to the hospital too soon. When there was bloody show, then maybe we should head to the hospital.
Septtro got in the tub with me. I had my eyes closed pretty much the whole time and I would squeeze Septtro's hand through a contraction. I later realized that neither of those things were helpful in managing the contractions. I needed a focal point and I needed to work with my body and not be tense.
Not long after we last spoke with my doula, I saw a tiny bit of blood. Septtro said it wasn't blood. Then a couple minutes later, it was pretty clear - bloody show.
I began to already dread the ride to the hospital. We were a good 25 minutes away. Septtro was very calm and began getting things into the car. He helped me out of the tub and into the car and off we went. I remember he was playing the radio and singing along on the ride there. And I remember thinking, "How can you possibly be singing at the time like this?!" :)
I continued humming through my contractions. We arrived at the hospital at about 8:30am. When I got to the triage room, the nurse said, "You sound like you have the urge to push". Um, yeah. My body had been doing that for over an hour at this point. So ya know, I figured, I'm gonna be at least dialated to 6 cm.
The nurse checked me. She said, "You're about a 2-3". WHAT??! You have GOT to be kidding me! This was obviously a blow to me mentally. I started counting in my head the standard "you should dialated a centimeter an hour" and dreading it taking that long - but at the same time, reminding myself that by dinner time, I would have a baby. This was at 8:45am. The nurse told me that I shouldn't be pushing or my cervix would swell. But I couldn't help it. I wasn't really pushing, my body was doing it on its own.
They admitted me and started monitoring the baby's heartbeat. I had to stay in the bed for this and that was very hard for me as I was in quite some bit of pain. I kept telling the nurse, "They said I could move around". They eventually got a portable monitor so I could move around. But because I was a vbac, the doctor wanted a 20 minute continuous reading on the baby. I was doing all I could to get into a position that would help me manage the pain better, but it wasn't always condusive to getting a good read on the heartbeat. So the doctor decided to come in the room to tell me how important it was to get the reading he needed - during a contraction. I specifically put in my birth plan not to speak to me during a contraction. But after ignoring him while speaking to me during one, he decided to say, "Hey I really need you to listen. This is important". I threw my head over towards his general direction and let him say what he wanted. If I had anything to throw in his general direction, I think I would have.
The nurse was great. She was nothing but encouraging. She even encouraged me to visualize my pelvis opening and the baby coming down the birth canal - things I had read in my natural child birth books. When she wasn't looking, Septtro would give me more to drink and hand me a container of blueberries to snack on. I think the nurse knew, but she didn't say anything.
My doula still wasn't with me. The birth of her other client ended up taking a lot longer than expected. I asked Septtro to call her to ask her some positions to manage the pain. That's the main thing I didn't really research for myself since I was relying on her experience to help with that. But what I did know was that I needed to be in tune with my body and work with my body. I finally found that bouncing on the birthing ball at the end of the bed, facing Septtro, and focusing on his mouth as he hummed along with me during contractions eased the pain quite a bit.
I asked the nurse to get into the tub. They had tubs at this hospital that they would let you labor in (but not give birth in). "We don't have any, honey but we'll get you one as soon as we can". Oh great. Things were really not going well so far. No doula. No tub. How in the world was I going to do this? In fact, yes, I did say, "I can't do this" to Septtro...several times. Part of me said it because I really wanted to know if he believed in me. Of course, he replied, "Yes you can".
Pretty soon, there was a knock at the door. It was my friend Holly. Apparently, she had seen my mom post on Facebook that my doula wasn't able to make it to the hospital yet and when she found out I already called her, she encouraged Holly to come up to the hospital. She told me that I should get into different positions to help the baby get in the best position for delivery. But it seemed every position I tried didn't feel good. But we still tried a few different ones for as long as I could tolerate it. She rubbed my back, fetched a warm washcloth, and hummed with Septtro and I.
Periodically through the process, I was talking to my baby. I was saying "open" and visualizing her coming down through the birth canal. I was encouraging her. And I was encouraging myself. I said a few other times that "I can't do this all day". Holly reminded me that I just needed to take one at a time.
I remember at one point, I felt like I could throw up. I remembered this was usually a sign of transition. I didn't tell anyone I felt that way. And I didn't throw up. I thought it was too early for me to be going through transition anyway. I soon learned that it felt better to go limp after each contraction. So I would roll forward and lean against the bed while on the birthing ball, and Septtro would hold my arms so I wouldn't fall to either side.
At about 12:30pm, they checked me again. The nurse said, "Oh, you're complete". I remember looking at Holly's face as she looked at Septtro with quite a surprised look. I had dialated from a 2-3 to a 10 in 4 hours. And the baby was at a plus 1 station (plus 3 station is when the baby's head is crowning).
Holly leaned over and whispered, "You're about to see your baby's face". I can't tell you how powerful that was to hear.
So, here comes the pushing stage. I pushed for a while when I was in labor with Rilynn. I must say, I was nervous. Could I push out this baby when I couldn't push out my first??
When I got the green light to push, it felt AWESOME. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. I no longer felt any pain, just relief is the best way I can describe it. At first, I was pushing as soon as felt the contraction. I soon realized I needed to wait until it built up a bit so I could get some good, long pushes in.
Holly graciously excused herself at this point as Septtro preferred it to be just us when the baby was delivered. I started out pushing at the edge of the bed on my knees and used the birthing bar attached the bed as leverage when pushing. I knew I had to have gravity on my side and that was my goal.
I soon decided I wanted to stand and push. So I stood, facing the edge of the bed; and when a contraction would come and I felt it was time to push, I would hoist myself up onto the top of the birthing bar and go limp and just push. Septtro kept saying I needed to sit on the birthing ball in between contractions but when I tried, the pressure was too great. It wasn't comfortable. So I would lean up against the birthing bar and go as limp as possible in between contractions.
I was pushing for about an hour when the doctor came in and said he might have another doctor come in to help because they were very busy (yeah, I know...I'm pushing my baby out and I'm still in the triage room). He said he wanted me to be on the bed when the baby crowned because if her shoulder got stuck at all, it'd be easier to help get it free if I wasn't in the standing position. I REALLY didn't want to be in the traditional flat-on-back position because I knew this wasn't the best position to prevent tearing and help the baby descend (hello, gravity). But he said I could be on my hands and knees and hug pillows if I wanted, just as long as I was on the bed.
Around 2:00pm or just before, I started to feel a bit of a burning sensation. I recognized this as the "ring of fire". But it would come and go. So I figured her head was getting sucked back in a bit after a contraction was done. The nurse had left at this point. They later explained they assumed it would take me much longer to get to this point of pushing. She checked and said, "Yep, the baby is right there".
They started getting the warmer ready, blankets, more nurses came in. None of this happened when I was pushing with Rilynn. All I heard was "She's not really coming down". I felt like nobody felt like she could actually come out at all. But now, they were preparing for a baby to come. This gave me more confidence.
I did have a different doctor now...my favorite one out of the three in the practice. I continued to push when I felt the need. Nobody was telling me when to push. That was nice. The ring of fire got a bit more pronounced. But I wouldn't say it was the worse pain or horrible pain. I just knew I was so close to seeing my baby and wanted to badly to finally see her! The nurse reminded me to allow things to stretch and not to go too fast with my pushing. Soon after, her head was totally out. I gave about two more pushes and her shoulders weren't coming out. The doctor then said, "Ok, let's flip her". So...with the baby's head out, I was flipped over onto my back. In a couple more pushes and with the help of the doctor, out she slid - at 2:15pm. I looked down and absolutely could not believe it! I did it! We did it!
They suctioned her and kept her on the edge of the bed entirely too long for my liking. I asked to hold her. They finally gave her to me. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before Septtro cut it (he wasn't able to do this with Rilynn's birth).
I looked in her sweet eyes and told her we did it. We did it!
She nursed right away and my placenta was delivered very quickly. I asked to see it and the doctor showed me where the sac was - pretty fascinating. What an amazing organ it is!
My doula didn't make it until shortly after she was born. Turns out, her other client's birth just went on a bit longer than everyone figured.
I did tear. They initially said it was a 2-3 degree tear. But then the nurses kept referring to it as a 4th degree. I then found out it was because it almost was. Except it somehow was like an upside down "Y" tear. Thankfully, that was better than a 4th degree. Not ideal, but hey, I'll take that any day over surgery.
They let us have some kangaroo time and then took her across the room to weigh her. The doctor guessed 8 pounds 8 ounces. I guessed 8 pounds 6 ounces. Then, the number popped up - 10 pounds 3 ounces! That couldn't be right! That's almost 2 entire pounds more than Rilynn weighed! I had pushed out a 10 pound baby?!?! She measured 21 inches long.
After I was stitched, my mom and Holly came in with Rilynn.
Rilynn did very well and was very interested in her new sister.
Soon, they brought me food. I wasn't able to eat anything after my c-section with Rilynn due to the medication (liquid diet only). So, needless to say, it was great to be able to eat right away. But the best part, honestly, was to be able to hold my baby right away; to stare at her and speak to her and just love on her.
The next couple of days, my legs were very sore and if I would be on my feet too long, my heart would race a bit and I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. All this because of how I pushed standing up and how I used the birthing bar. As much as it wasn't the greatest feeling, it reminded me of how hard I worked...so I was ok with it.
What I learned from the experience is that giving birth naturally is a process that starts from the first moment you find you're pregnant. You have to eat right, exercise, do some exercises to help the baby get into the right position, educate yourself, and most importantly, you have to surround yourself with POSITIVE people. I don't know how many times I thanked the doctor and nurses for their encouragement. It makes a difference, let me tell you. It wasn't just the nurses and the doctor, or Septtro and Holly, it was the community of women who supported my efforts - doulas, midwives, friends. So to those of you who encouraged me, helped educate me, prayed for me - thank you!
Would I do a natural birth again? Absolutely. Yes, there was pain. But man, there's NOTHING like working with your body and feeling your baby being born. I can't thank God enough for how He worked that day. Things didn't seem to be going as planned at all. But He allowed me to ultimately have the birth I desired.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I think it suits her perfectly!
Kaylee comes from a combination of family names on my side (Kay is a middle name for several female relatives and Lee is my dad's middle name). Plus, we have always liked names starting with a "K".
Aveolela is Samoan and it means rays of sun. It's pronounced "ah-veh-oh-leh-la". I LOVE the meaning for several reasons. One, she was born in the summer. Two, this birthing experience was definitely a bright spot in my emotional struggles that lingered from my first birthing experience. And lastly, I hope and pray she can be rays of sunshine for the Lord!
I am recovering well and feel SO much better this time around! I promise to post my birth story soon. :)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Today has been a VERY unusual day as far as weather - overcast and barely 70 degrees (a nice break from the heat advisory 100 temps earlier this week!). Ri found her prized boots in her room before nap and got frustrated trying to put one on herself. I asked if she wanted help, to which she promptly replied, "ses sir" (yes sir...we're still working on ma'am). I tried to get it on her foot, but it was a bit small and I was afraid I'd hurt her. So I told her they were too small.
Break-down of the century!!!!
So I tried again and stuffed her foot inside. Her mood instantly changed. She never did care to find the other boot and was very quick to show her Daddy her pretty boot. She walked around with one boot on for a good 30 minutes before nap time. As soon as she got up from her nap this afternoon, can you guess what the first thing she said was - "boot, boot!!"
I think she may wear them to bed if we let her.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
This was my living/dining room this morning:
I LOVE the new floors. They're actually laminate but look like hardwoods...so we got the look of hardwoods but the durability of laminiate. The Lord was very good to us financially through all of this. Since Septtro did the labor himself, we were able to save a significant amount of money and actually had no out-of-pocket cost. Yes, it was a huge inconvenience but we got a new floor and new washer. :)
In addition to replacing the floors, molding, etc, we had some field mice get into our house. Plus there was a lot of dust everywhere. Honestly, I was a little afraid that we wouldn't get the house put back together by the time the baby came. But just yesterday, I finished my last absolutely-must-do-before-baby-comes task (with the help of my friend Kris and my mom!). I'm so thankful to the Lord for his care for us throughout this...as well as for my parents as we stayed with them for 44 nights before moving back into our house this past Friday.
So...I'm ok if baby girl wants to come now. We're ready for you!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Our family of 3 - soon to be 4!
One morning after a rain, it was cool enough to ride bikes. The island has GREAT sidewalks throughout the island for bikes and runners and such. It was nice to be able to really take in the scenery and admire all of the unique houses.
I love this picture. :)
On Wednesday, we let my mom take Ri to a small pool/water park that was steps from the ocean. Of course, Ri loved it!
Of course, we HAD to take watermelon down by the pier one evening. Good thing we left Ri in her bathing suit...easy clean up!
Daddy picked a pretty flower for Ri.
Ri much prefered to stay on land than play in the ocean.
One of Ri's many faces.
Walking to The Village (playground, mini-golf, pool, picnic tables, pier)
Watchin the boat with Daddy.
We put a different pair of shoes on Ri when we went out this night and she LOVED showing everybody her "new" shoes.
Last day at the beach.
Worn out after a very fun week!