Sunday, January 6, 2008

To Delivery... and Beyond

Well, it's been a while since I have written an update. I guess I have a legitimate excuse... I have been busy. But history must be recorded, so back to work I must go. In the last few weeks, as you know, we celebrated the arrival of Jackson David, our two week early, 10 lb. 1 oz, "little guy." When I left you last, my induction date had been moved up and I was er... calmly and composedly making final preparations for our new arrival. OK, after a mad flurry of arranging babysitting, running to Target for last-minute items, etc., ready or not, the baby was still coming.

The night before Jackson was induced, my friend Ranell took me to get a pedicure as a last hurrah/celebration of sorts. (This was after watching my kids for most of the day AND volunteering to watch them the entire time I was in the hospital-- now that's a good friend!) This was my very first pedicure, and while I'm not typically into "girly" things, I could definitely get used to that more often: soaking your legs and feet in a luxuriously warm bubble bath, having your feet massaged and rubbed with oil before having your toenails primped and painted, complete with exquisitely delicate white hibiscus flowers with a jewel on my big toe. No, this is not your typical Karen (and I think my sisters may have popped a gasket when they saw my cute toes: "Karen???"), but hey-- we can all change, can't we? Then the kids spent the night at Ranell's house while Dave and I went out to dinner and got as ready as we could for our 7 am appointment with destiny.

So, armed with the cutest toes to ever grace the delivery table, early the next morning we were off to the hospital to be induced. The delivery nurse complimented me on my cute toes... and on my nice veins. Yep, that was the first time I'd ever heard that one. Apparently I have great veins that make it very easy to put in an IV. (I bet you're really jealous.) So by 8:30 am, the doctor broke my water, I was hooked up to pitocin and the induction was underway.

Dave and I spent a very intense morning playing Phase 10. Despite the nurse warning him that in my condition he'd better let me win, he managed to barely scrape by and beat me (which was even more insulting when I discovered that I'd had the card I needed to win in my hand and just didn't realize it... oh well, I can blame it on the baby).

The induction progressed fairly quickly, and although Jackson didn't exactly fall out of me by lunchtime like the nurse predicted, by lunchtime I was progressing quickly and starting to experience quite a bit of intense discomfort. The anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural and I got another compliment that I'd never received before: he told me I have a nice back that was a great shape for epidurals. (I bet you're REALLY jealous now). After that the nurse teased me that what with my great veins and great back I should just go into business as a hospital tester (she'd noticed that all of my babies were born in different states so I'd have 3 western states covered already). =]

After that things started to go really fast. I went from a 5 to an 8 in about 30 minutes and then from an 8 to a 10 in about 5 minutes flat. My epidural wasn't taking hold fast enough to keep up with the pain, so they called the anesthesiologist back in to give me a boost. Before I knew what was happening, they were getting ready to have me start pushing. I started pushing and we got to the point where the baby's head was crowning, but then he just stopped and we couldn't seem to make any further progress. My epidural boost was starting to kick in, but I was getting a little bit too numb and that was making it hard to push. Finally my doctor did something that our nurse had never seen done before: she had me stop pushing and just take a break. So Dave and I just sat and hung out for about 40 minutes until the boost wore off and I felt the urge to push again. Then the doctor came back, I started pushing and the baby was delivered within a matter of minutes. The doctor and nurse couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time pushing the baby out when it was my third child until Jackson weighed in at 10 lb. 1 oz.... then it was a lot more clear. He was just a big baby.

So that is how Jackson made his entrance into the world. Dave stayed in the hospital with Jackson and I, and on Friday, Ranell brought Jared and Camryn to come and meet their new baby brother. They were thrilled to meet the baby. Ranell told us a funny story about Jared from the night before. She and her husband were getting ready to go to bed when the heard a noise in the laundry room like someone slamming the door to the dryer. She went in the laundry room to see if someone was awake. Nobody was there, but Jared's pants and underwear were on the floor. "Jared??" Ranell called and went looking for him. She went into the spare room where Jared and Camryn were sleeping and saw Jared standing up, peeing into a laundry basket full of clean clothes. "Jared, what are you doing??" she called out. Jared turned to look at her (continuing to pee, but now on the carpet as he turned around) and said in an annoyed voice, "I'm just going pee." (kind of like "What's YOUR problem?") I guess Jared was sleepwalking and couldn't quite figure out where the potty was.... So yes after having to deal with my son peeing into her clean laundry, I guess you could say that Ranell is a REALLLY good friend.

So aside from that exciting episode, Jackson and I were released from the hospital on Saturday, December 1st without any major catastrophes. My mom arrived later that day to stay with us for a week. Once, after a day of diligent meal-making, house-cleaning and dish-doing, my mom was resting on the Lovesac and Jared came up to her, to express his displeasure. "Grandma!" he said, "You're here to look at the baby and play with us-- not to be lazy on the LoveSac!"

While my mom was here I took my first trip out to take Jackson to the pediatrician and the brakes went out on our van. Well, they didn't quite go out, but they wouldn't work at all unless you slammed them to the floor (and even then it took a LOOONG time to stop). So after a precariously dangerous trip to the pediatrician and calling Dave to come rescue me, the brakes got fixed later that day. In other life-threatening adventures, we also had a huge tropical storm while my mom was here (yes, "tropical" was the designation, even here in the not-quite-balmy Pacific Northwest) entailing torrents of rain (even by Portland standards) and high winds which blew a portion of our fence over. But again, in a most anti-climactic turn of events, nobody was injured or even greatly inconvenienced by the huge storm.

While my mom was here you would think that I wisely spent all of my time sleeping and recovering. And I did... mostly. But, despite the attempts to sleep, I still was so tired that I just felt cross-eyed. I looked in the mirror and there was no way around it... I just looked bad. But after woefully bemoaning how quickly I had let myself go (and after carefully applying make-up so I would look cute in my pictures at the hospital) I realized that I wasn't exaggerating... I really did look bad. In fact, I couldn't raise one of my eyebrows and my face looked... crooked? And I couldn't close one eyelid at a time. I brought it up to Dave and my mom... something felt weird and I felt and looked funny and I couldn't close one eyelid at a time without extreme concentration. They just laughed and said, "Oh you must have "the African cross-eye disease." But then I laughed and they realized something really was wrong: when I laughed or smiled, one half of my face didn't move. Suddenly my mom burst out, "I know what this is... it really is a real disease. Sister So and So in our ward had it... it's the Droopsy Palsy." This made me laugh all the more, and look all the more ridiculous.

Anyway, so it's not called the "Droopsy Palsy," but it is a real disease called "Bell's Palsy." For reasons that scientists still don't understand, the nerves in your face get swollen and one side of your face becomes temporarily paralyzed. It can last for a few weeks, months or years (yes, that's what they told me at my doctor's visit-- encouraging, isn't it?). Your eye on the paralyzed side won't blink, so you have to put in eye drops or even wear an eye patch so it doesn't get damaged. Every time I smiled or laughed only one side of my face would curl up so I would look like a pirate going "Argghh" out the side of his mouth. There's no cure- you just have to wait it out and it eventually goes away. Mine finally started to go away about a week ago, so I can go out in public now without feeling embarrassed and trying to explain that half of my face doesn't work. But.... I finally figured out why pirates wear eye patches and go "Argghh": they must have had Bell's Palsy. (Dave gave me an eye patch and earring for Christmas in honor of my bout with "Pirate's Palsy.")

So, to summarize the rest of our month, we got test results back for Jackson and he does not have any chromosomal disorder: he is just a normal baby. That was a huge relief to finally know that for certain. He is a little bit of a sleepy eater and hasn't gained weight as fast as he should, so I've had to supplement with bottles and pump milk to increase my milk supply. I had never experienced an electric milk pump before this baby and I just have to say, I was not prepared for it: "Hello, I'm a cow and now I'm hooked up to a milking machine." I'm afraid this has been way too educational for my older kids. But despite my dislike of pumping, Jackson is now gaining weight well and is learning to be a better eater.

After my mom left, Dave's mom came and stayed with us for a week. In addition to taking very good care of us, she and the kids made a quadruple batch (accidentally) of the famous sugar cookies that are a part of every visit with Grama Susan. (I guess 4 cups of sugar should have been at tip off. =] ) Yum! Then after she left, Dave had a two week shutdown at work... so for the first time in who-knows-how-long we had two weeks with no work stuff: no cell phone calls, no email, and no conference calls. Talk about great!!-- I mean, Dave was so disappointed and felt so unloved. Then my whole family (except for Dave and Leah and their kids) came out to visit for Christmas. We had a great visit eating yummy food, having board game battles, watching movies and taking them to see a few Portland sights. We also had ongoing reminders from Megan about how Pumpkin Pie is a vegetable but Green Bean Casserole will make you fat (Sorry for the inside joke, but this really was an object of debate...). We were sad to see them leave.

Alas, on Wednesday Dave went back to work and I was on my own. We did fine... until Thursday. Then we had a very "Fun Day": after a night of no sleep Jackson nursed consecutively from 9-4 while the other two kids had more TV and computer games than I care to admit. At this point I knew I had to do something drastic. So I took the kids to a baby store and after taking 3 breaks to nurse a screaming Jackson, we bought a baby sling. Now I can nurse the baby and have my hands free to occasionally care for the other kids. Besides anything that will allow you to nurse a baby and play the piano at the same time is worth its weight in gold.

On the way home we stopped to get Papa Murphy's for dinner and Camryn's couldn't get her seatbelt buckled. Jackson was fussy, so I tried to help her as quickly as possible. In the process of helping her get buckled I knelt in our pizza. So despite the winner conclusion to a winner day, the pizza still tasted fine and we all survived.

Jackson celebrated the weekend by smiling for the first time. He is starting to look at people and things around him. He is still cuter than any baby has a right to be, despite a killer case of baby acne and cradle cap. Dave likes to treat Jackson to the daily "Baby Spa:" he runs Jackson's hair under warm water (which Jackson loves) and then gives him a scalp massage with a brush. What can I say? Between that and eating all day long he has a rough life.



Quotes of the Month:

Jared: "But I'm trying to save my money to a billion and beyond and I'll never do it if I keep wasting my money."

Jared: "Camryn and I will have to get jobs to get money because Dad only works to buy stuff for you and him. "

Camryn: "I'm just nuts about this book, you know. I want to read it every day, all the time."

Camryn: "Stay awake Mom, so you can watch over me. If you fall asleep I might dig in the sugar, you know."

Camryn: "Mom, you had your baby so you're not fat anymore!"

Jared and Camryn were playing chutes and ladders. Dave noticed an extra piece on the board and asked them, "Why is there a third person?" They answered, "Oh, it's just the computer player, Wario."

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