Tuesday, January 31, 2012

93,872 miles

It took me 10 years, 7 months, and 10 days to drive that many miles in my little Pontiac Sunfire.  It was a great car that was a part of my life for many miles and milestones.  

I first got the car the end of my Senior year of high school.  It was a gift from my parents for being a great student, and it would continue to be a gift as long as I did well in college.  

It took me back and forth from San Diego to Corona for 4 great years.  

It held 10, yes 10!, people for a quick drive to the movies my freshman year of college.  

It survived 2 drives across the country.  One to an exciting adventure living on the East Coast with my boyfriend.  The other for another great road trip with my husband to start the next chapter of our lives back in California.  

It took us along the "Mother Road" of Route 66 with no problems.  For that matter, I never had any problems with my car, aside from regular maintenance.  

It survived 4 winters on the East Coast, which led to the wonderful paint damage seen in the picture.

It was a great car for me as a single woman and into married life.  I never thought I would still be driving it when I was ready to have kids, but there I was still driving it when the + sign appeared.  

The plan was to get me a new car before Kalea arrived, but again, she had plans of her own.  Instead, we took her to the car dealer at 2 weeks old and purchased our first new family car.  Thank goodness for my parents or we would not have been able to sit there and work a deal to buy the car.

We are so excited for this next stage in our lives as our family grows.  I foresee many family adventures in this new car including family vacations hitting the road and camping.  

Our first family trip will be to drive up to Vegas next month to visit Uncle John and Aunt Kristin in their new home!  Plus there is an added bonus with Mom mom and Pop pop in town at the same time for some quality grandparent time.  We can't wait!

So here she is!  A Chevy Equinox.  I love the color!
 Kalea and Pat in front of our new car.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

1 month

One month, the first month life for our little Kalea.  It hasn't been easy, but we have enjoyed every second with her so far.  This post is heavily loaded with pictures, but I am sure you won't mind. 

I wanted to share some of the things that have happened this first month with Kalea.  Just scroll down if you are only interested in the pics.

While in the hospital, she was screened for a hearing test.  The first night of her life and she failed her first test.  We tried really hard not to worry since we were told that she most likely still had extra fluid that still needed to work itself out.  Sure enough, the next night she passed the hearing test with flying colors!

She had her first doctors appointment at 5 days old.  Her new pediatrician wasn't available, so it was with a nurse.  She weighed in at 5 lbs, 8 ozs.  Not good since she checked out of the hospital at 5 lbs. 14 oz.  The nurse was concerned about her lack of weight loss (normal for newborns, but not this much) and immediately told us we needed to supplement with formula.  I was extremely upset and had to work hard to not cry.  I was extremely frustrated with the nurse by the end of the appointment, since there was no explanation for why supplementing was needed, as opposed to finding out why she wasn't gaining with normal breastfeeding.  We were scheduled a weight check for the next day.  I decided to ignore the nurse and not supplement, but instead go full force with breastfeeding and make sure she got as much as she could.  The next day we went back and she barely gained half an ounce.  Not good since she was still so small.  This led to more frustration with the same nurse, but finally she found a lactation consultant.  We discovered that Kalea is not using her tongue properly, and having a transferring problem.   This means she is not getting enough breast milk.  Finally an answer as to what is going on.  We are now working on her eating properly while pumping and supplementing as needed.  

We had a wonderful family friend buy Kalea some premie sized clothes since she didn't have too many clothes that fit her.  Happily, she is not fitting into her newborn sized clothes much better.  I never thought I would get to use the newborn clothes so much!

Kalea's grandparents from New Jersey have been with us for two weeks, soaking up every second of baby time they can.  Sadly, they have to leave tomorrow.  Thanks for all of the help Mom mom and Pop pop!

We have ventured out to dinner with Kalea quite a few times this first month.  She is a great dinner date, sleeping through it most of the time as long as we time it right with her feeding schedule. 

And now on to the pictures!

Gramma and Grampa

She sleeps just like Daddy

Getting ready to go home

Leaving the hospital Christmas Eve

Welcome home Kalea!

Meeting Uncle John the first time!

she loves her Aunt Sara

Aunt Kristin meeting Kalea Christmas morning.

with Aunt Andie

The Tackman's enjoying Kalea time

with Gma

retouched photos by cousin Jacque

with Jacque

Kalea and her second cousin Owen (5 months)!  

I'm sensing a pattern to her sleeping habits

Ringing in the new Year!  She was awake at midnight and then fell asleep about 5 minutes later.

In her newborn clothes ready for some Flyers hockey in the Winter Classic

We had to take some Christmas shots under our tree in her 0-3 month outfit!

Mom mom and Pop pop can't get enough of Kalea!

All dressed up for a girls day planning Aunt Sara's wedding!

Trying out the new family cradle purchased by Gramma and Grampa.

One month old!  We will have her wear this one year size onesie each month to watch her grow!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

December 22nd, 2011

40 weeks.  That is what I would have been today if not for the early surprise of our little girl.  I could have been anxiously awaiting her arrival, wondering when it would happen.  Instead, she came in her own way 19 days early.

I have been wanting to put down in words Kalea Lynne's birth story, before I forgot the little things.  I know I will remember certain moments forever, but I want to have a written record for her to read some day that I recorded when it was still fresh in my mind.  This might end up being a little long, so feel free to skip down to the bottom where there are some pictures from her first day.

Kalea was born Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 2:23 pm.  She was recorded at 20 inches and 6 pounds, 7 ounces.  

Now to the start of it.  Going back to the week before, I had just finished working 6 days in a row.  My normal work load would have been fine, but over the weekend I worked the retail floor which is always more exhausting.  I had to leave work early Saturday and still had 2 more days of work to go.  I felt well enough to work after resting, so I didn't think anything of it.  

Monday night was the end of my 6 days of work and I was looking forward to getting stuff ready for the hospital and finishing up everything for Christmas.  Instead, I spent Monday night stressing myself out all night thinking my "water" was leaking.  I followed the directions of my doctor, and the signs that I was supposed to check for weren't there so I figured we were still good.  Regardless, I still spent the night picturing having to go to the hospital not ready, including not having the car seat installed in our car.  

On my day off on Tuesday, my big plans of getting everything ready fell through as I spent most of the day on the couch relaxing.  I was still waiting for the "nesting" instinct to kick in to really get me going.  I still had so much to do but I figured I could be super productive once it hit.  Pat and I decided to have a date night that night since it had been so long since we went out.  We went to see "Sherlock Holmes" and had dinner at Pei Wei.  I had started having mild contractions that were slightly uncomfortable, but they were very infrequent and not very long.  Pat and I discussed what I was feeling, and it turns out he was anxious as well.  We decided that we would install the car seat when we got home and finish our packing so that we would be ready no matter when the time came.

All night Tuesday I continued having the mild contractions.  They weren't too bad still but I was still uneasy about them.  I decided to call into work and let them know that I wasn't coming in.  Pat and I still had quite a few things to do and I wanted to spend the day with him on his day off.  We spent the day getting last minute things at Babies R' Us, Christmas shopping at a few stores, and walking the mall.  It was a busy, productive day; but I was exhausted by the time we finished.  

Later that night, my contractions started getting stronger, but still pretty far apart.  As we went to sleep, they continued, and I had felt the need to use the restroom almost every hour.  A lot of the contractions I needed to wake Pat up and have him rub my lower back to help me get through them.  I was uncomfortable in bed at times, other times I couldn't stand or walk without being uncomfortable.  I kept my eye on the clock in between each contraction, but they were anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes apart.  In everything we were told, it is only when they get to between 3-5 minutes apart that you need to call the hospital.  

As it was getting closer to morning, I was needing Pat more and more.  The contractions were getting closer, but still only between 10 and 20 minutes.  With the timing still so far apart, Pat and I decided to start keeping track on paper, but we didn't think it was time to call the hospital yet.  We had my regular check-up scheduled for later that morning at 9:40, so we figured we would just see how things were going then.  

We luckily had scheduled a car seat inspection at our local police station that morning.  We headed there and had it checked with all of our hospital bags in the car.  We then had some time before my check-up so we went out for some breakfast at "The Broken Yolk." My contractions were more intense, but I was still able to talk through them.  They came on still no more then 10 minutes apart, but often they occurred when I would stand up or sit down.  I made it through breakfast while having maybe 3 or 4 contractions.  

What a shock that was...I really felt like I was going to be told that I was 3 or 4 cm and that we could take our time heading down to the hospital.  Instead we were driving over to have our baby and most of the work had already been done at home!  I called my mom on the way since my parents were set to leave from visiting my brother in Las Vegas.  They were just packing up the car and on their way.  I also texted my sister to let her know.  She had asked me if I wanted her to come down after work to help clean up things and I responded to her with yes, she should come down but not to clean but to welcome her new niece into the world.

We arrived at the hospital and had to use the valet since we were in such a rush.  The valet was backed up and here I come walking up to him with bags in my hands having to tell him that I was in labor and we needed our car checked in.  Not planning on using this hospital, we had no idea where anything was.  We went up to the reception desk and asked for labor and delivery.  They asked if we were visiting someone ( I was extremely calm and probably not what they were expecting for a woman at 8 cm), I told them that I was in labor and needed to hurry.  The older woman proceeded to get me a wheel chair and took us up to where we needed to go.  

Our nurse, Marie B., met us and helped us get settled in our room.  She mentioned how surprised she was at how calm I was for 8 cm.  Really, I still can't believe that I was able to get that far and not know it.  By this time it was 10:40 am.  Pat went between texting people, calling his mom, and getting everything settled while I was made ready for the whole process.  Marie asked if I was interested in an epidural, since there was still time to get one.  I decided that I had made it that far and handled it fairly well, so why get one now.  If I needed it a little later, I could always get one up to a certain point.  I wanted to make sure I could walk around if I wanted, and our nurse allowed me to do that.  

I am not sure how long I was walking around, but after a little while I had a contraction that just wouldn't stop.  It felt like it lasted forever.  I called the nurse in and let her know what was going on.  She decided at that point to call the doctor in to check me again.  When she did this I was now 9 cm and +1 phased ( I think that is what it was called).  Basically when you are +4, that is when the babies shoulders are out of the birth canal, so our little girl was well on her way.  

Now for some possible TMI.  I started feeling like I had the urge to go number 2 after each contraction.  The urge would stay around for a little while and then fade away.  The nurse informed me that this pressure was actually the amniotic sac pushing down on the opening.  So apparently, my water still hadn't broken.   When the pressure would not go away, that would be when it was the head causing it which would mean it was time to push.  

A little while later, I felt like I needed to pee, so my nurse had me get out of bed and head to the bathroom.  I think she knew something I definitely didn't because she told me that I was going to sit on the toilet for a contraction.  I did my business (very difficult by the way) and then had a very strong contraction.  This was followed by an extremely strong urge to push like I never felt before.  I actually started pushing a bit, but the nurse had to stop me and distract me to get me through it.  Her and Pat had to help me back to the bed.  She called for the doctor, and to have the room prepped for delivery.  It was time!  It was a little before 2 pm when this took place.

The nurse then told me once I was on the bed to push like I had been wanting to.  Basically, it was the same feeling of having to push while going number 2.  I did what she told and felt a gush of liquid come out of me.  My water had broken!  The nurse later said that she thinks it broke when I was on the toilet.

It was then a big rush of medical staff getting stuff ready as fast as they could.  The doctor came in and I really just wanted to start pushing again, but had to be coached through each contraction so that I wouldn't push.  It was so difficult to resist that urge.  During this whole process, Pat was amazing as he helped coach me through each contraction, helping me breathe, keeping me calm.  

The time finally came for me to push with each contraction.  It is an indescribable feeling to push and know that you are just so many pushes away from meeting your little baby.  Pat continued to count me through each contraction, even when the nurse had to step away for a moment.  He was right there counting me through it, reminding me to concentrate instead of screaming (very counter-productive).  

20 minutes and 6 pushes later, Our little girl was here!  Pat went into the whole process thinking he wanted to stay as far away as possible from seeing the birth.  But there he was, right there helping to hold my leg watching her birth.  He was able to see his little girl arrive in the world and he said it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.  I guess it really is different when it is your own as opposed to the videos you see in classes.  

Kalea was put on my chest briefly, but they needed to take her over to check her out.  She had such a quick delivery and had come out with the cord wrapped around her neck once.  She wasn't crying so they wanted to make sure she was breathing and that everything was ok.  She was fine, but it felt like an eternity waiting for them to finish and bring her back to me.  Pat got to trim the cord, not cut since they had to cut it almost immediately because of how she arrived.  

Finally I had my little girl in my arms, and she was perfect.  Pat and I were so in love and it all happened within 5 hours after our doctors appointment.  We could not be happier with our little girl arriving in time for us to celebrate her first Christmas and New Year.  She arrived the day before my dad's birthday and he was so happy.  

Here are some pictures from her arrival

Me at 37 weeks, 2 days before her arrival.  
In labor and delivery
She is here!

 Daddy and Kalea
 Gramma arrived an hour and a half after her arrival!  Not too bad for driving from Vegas.
 Grampa and Kalea
 Daddy and our little angel
 One happy family.

 4 Generations!
Aunt Sara made it in time for her arrival, but we didn't get a picture of her.  Uncle Adam and his mom Lucy were there as well.  Fun side note...Sara had an almost "Knocked Up" experience.  I had informed the nurse to let her have access to the room when she arrived.  Of course she came in when I was in the pushing process.  I told her she could stay if she wanted, but she decided to wait it out in the waiting room.  

Happy Birthday to our little girl.  We love you so much and we couldn't be happier to have you in our lives.  I can't believe she is already 19 days old!  Please don't grow up too fast.