Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was one of those days that ranks up there with my wedding day and the births of my baby boys.  I knew it would be emotional, but let me tell you, when after what seemed like a wild goose chase, we finally heard this would be a little girl, the floodgates just opened and I realized how much I truly wished for a daughter.  It was so amazing to know that in addition to my two little princes, whom I couldn't breath without, we now get to experience the roller coaster of raising and loving a baby girl.  As one of my good friends put it, the whole dynamic of the Robert's household is about to change in a BIG way lol.

Let me tell the story of today.  This little girl is already being dramatic!  My mid-term anatomy scan was scheduled for this morning at 10 am.  During this sonogram, they measure all of the baby's organs and limbs to make sure things are progressing normally.  This sonogram can be a very good indicator of general health and well-being, so it's kind of a nerve-wracking procedure just on that level.  It also happens to be the perfect time to diagnose gender, so of course we were all on pins and needles, wondering if this might be our girl, but trying not to get our hopes up.  Adding to the stress was the fact that I have barely felt this baby move, which is odd considering I felt it easily by about 16 weeks with Pierce.  I was slightly worried that something wasn't right.

So we got to the ultrasound and had a super nice technician who was really welcoming.  Hayden, my mom, and Nathan were all there too, and of course after saying for 3 months that he wanted a sister, Hayden told the sonographer that he wanted a brother lol.  Then he told us he was just teasin!  What a jokester.  The ultrasound got started and right away my mind was set at ease because she found an anterior placenta, which means it is in front and often keeps a mama from feeling baby movement at the early stages.  What a HUGE relief.  The heart rate was in the 140's and everything was measuring well (about a week ahead).  So hurdle one was past us - baby looked healthy!

Finally she got down to the important stuff (just kidding!) and my heart started racing when she said, "have you ever seen those three lines before?" (knowing we have 2 boys and these lines mean girl), and I immediately broke into SOBS and covered my eyes.  I just could not hold the emotion in.  Then as quick as they came, the lines went away, and baby closed it's legs.  The sonographer was so sweet and searched and searched for more conclusive evidence, but the baby would NOT open it's legs and as we left she said she certainly wouldn't decorate a nursery on that little glimpse, and in fact she thought she might have seen a penis too!  I was also bummed because we didn't get any photos from this session!  She had captured some beautiful images of very long arms and legs (going to be tall like Hayden), and a beautiful profile (looks so much like Pierce), and little hands and feet, but we don't have any of them.  I guess I'll call them and see if I might be able to get some since they were saved for the radiology report.

Although I was super happy when we left to know the baby was developing normally, it was also really really emotionally difficult to accept that this was a "maybe girl".  I didn't believe I could go to sleep tonight thinking "maybe girl" and allow my hopes to rise, and then find out it's a boy down the road (perhaps at birth since I have no more ultrasounds).  And Nate agreed - we need to plan and know!

So I began to feverishly call friends to look on the internet for ultrasound places (I had promised to take Hayden to Chik-fil-A and had no access to a computer), and my friend got me a number to call for a place in Plano that had openings for tomorrow.  Luckily when I called she said she could fit me over lunch, so we picked up PJ and raced over there to make the appointment in time.  Unfortunately Nathan couldn't come because of work, but he was on board for me finding out as soon as possible.  The other neat thing is that this place streams the ultrasound live (with sound) online, so my mother-in-law was able to watch and listen live from Colorado.  It was so cool!  And the whole ultrasound is saved online for a week for whomever wants to watch it.  I loved that feature and it was super special to share it with Debbie AND my mom, even though my hubby couldn't be there.  He can watch it tonight when he gets home :)

So at first of course the baby wasn't cooperating.  We got to see a little cute face in 3D, but the baby was being modest with it's hands covering the eyes, and the legs firmly crossed, so still no evidence!!  And it was hysterical - when Pierce first saw the black and white ultrasound he started roaring like a lion, and then he pointed at the screen and yelled "cow".  If we can't say boy or girl, we might as well just say COW!  Haha.  So anyway, the tech did what all good sonographers do, she shook my tummy and prodded it until baby opened it's legs, and BOOM, there was the money shot!  ALL GIRL.  No mistaking it.  Once again I immediately burst into tears.  I'm pretty sure my mom did too, and I could picture my mother-in-law running around the room at her house in excitement!  Our awesome sonographer continued to get amazing shots of baby girl in 3D and 2D, and continually went back to between the legs just to confirm, but sure enough, we are having a little GIRL in February!  And Hayden was quick to remind us that he had known it was a girl for "a really long time" lol.  I should have believed in him (although I secretly did).

So there you have it.  The Robert's household is growing by a girl in February, and I can't wait for her to join our fam!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wisconsin Trip

Last week I took my boys home to Wisconsin for a much needed visit with my extended family, and an introduction to all things midwestern.  Oh my gosh it was FABULOUS to be home with the cool fall breezes, the open spaces, the beautiful farmlands and red barns and white farmhouses.  Quintessential Wisconsin at it's best, and I LOVED it.  So did the boys.

My mom traveled with us, and we departed on a Tuesday morning, flying on American Eagle (Hayden was elated by this turn of events having never flown this airline before) up to Milwaukee.  It's funny because when you land in Milwaukee on certain days, they'll fly out over Lake Michigan first, then double back to land at the airport, which is right on the shoreline.  It does almost feel like you are going to land in the water, and Hayden was convinced that the Milwaukee airport was indeed ON the water.  I'm pretty sure this scared him more than excited him lol, since he clearly knew we weren't on a water plane, as he stated many times in those last 15 minutes.  But alas, we made it safely on the ground, and my Uncle Mike picked us up to take us to my grandparents cabin.

Now let me just say that Uncle Mike has two boys himself, that are grown and in college.  So he has paid his dues with little ones, but I think it's safe to say that he is VERY happy those days are behind him, after helping us struggle with about 10 "essential" pieces of child-related luggage, all while taking trips to the bathroom with a 3 year old, and trying to keep a 1 year old confined to a stroller after 3 hours confined to an airplane seat.  NOT FUN!  And he was so patient as I sweated bullets trying to install the dang carseats in the mini-van.  Whew, but we made it!

After a nice long car ride out into the country, we finally arrived at my grandparent's home, which is a beautiful log cabin that they built on a hill just a little way down from their old farmhouse, which they have since sold, and is now operating as a horse farm instead of the dairy farm I grew up with.  It's still as gorgeous as ever, and the new owners are taking really good care of it.  We had prepped Hayden to expect a log house, but he still looked up in awe and told me, "Mommy, it really IS made of logs!  It's bigger than I thought!".  Too cute.

So we quickly settled in, and baby-proofed.  My grandma and aunt Kathy had been so generous to gather a bunch of baby toys and items to make our stay easier, and it really helped out.  We had everything we needed and the boys were totally happy.  And "GG" really took care of us, just like I always remember.  We had every kind of yummy food you could ever imagine at our fingertips, all home cooked and delicious.  After dessert one evening Hayden looked up at my mom and said, "GG has the BEST food!".  And he's right!  Sadly, the first morning we were there, I told Hayden it was time to get dressed so we could go outside to play.  He looked at me confusedly, and said, "But mommy, it's too hot!".  Poor kiddo, he's so used to me telling him we can't go in the backyard at our own house because it's 100 degrees by 9 am.  I explained that the temperatures in Wisconsin are a lot nicer, so we spent our time exploring their huge yard and gardens, swinging on the wooden swing out back (Pierce loved that), and picking and hauling pumpkins from their pumpkin patch.  I even taught Hayden how to roll down the hill.  I was definitely taking a trip down memory lane, and it was fun to have the boys with me.



One of the highlights of our stay in Wisconsin was a trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo with one of my best friends from high school, Nicole, and her two little boys ,who are roughly the same age as mine.  I hadn't seen Henry since he was about 14 months old, and I had never met her youngest little guy, Ben.  Besides just being happy to be back at the zoo, which held so many fun memories from my own childhood, I had a great time watching my boys make new friends with Nicole's boys.  Henry was about the cutest, chattiest, happiest child I've ever met, and he and Hayden immediately clicked and were best buds the rest of the day.  They rode ponies together, and Henry saved the seat next to him at lunch for Hayden.  Adorable does not even come close to describing how cute they were together.  Ben and Pierce tried to keep up too, and chased after the big boys, and had a great time entertaining each other in adjacent high chairs at dinner out.  Too funny.  It was hard saying goodbye, but she's bringing her boys here in November so I'm looking forward to that.

Besides just watching my boys have fun, I had the best time reconnecting with Nicole, and with my aunts and uncles and grandparents.  Since my parents moved away from Wisconsin when I was in college, I just haven't been able to travel back there as often as I would like, and I sometimes feel those ties getting looser than I would like.  I had so much laughing with my Aunt Kathy, who is the sweetest, most caring, and funniest lady I know.  And although I do get to see "GG" very often, because she makes an effort to come visit us, it was still nice to just curl up on her couch with her and chit chat, and just enjoy being home again.

I finished up the trip by meeting Nathan in Chicago for the wedding of one of my very best friends from college, Julie, and her (now) husband James.  The kids stayed back in Wisconsin with Grammy and GG and proceeded to get the flu (which my mom kept secret from me THANK YOU) and pass it on to my grandparents.  I was blissfully unaware, and Nate and I had so much fun playing the sophisticated city couple for a few nights, and getting to hang out with a bunch of college friends whom I LOVE.  The wedding was gorgeous, as is the couple, and it was a perfect weekend.

The trip ended with a really icky plane ride home, but not because the boys were naughty, but rather because all the people we came in contact with were so unpleasant.  As soon as we sat down on the plane, the lady next to my mom buzzed the flight attendant and made a big fuss about being moved because she needed to study and my kids were a distraction.  Well, the flight was full, so unfortunately for all of us, she stayed put, but of course I felt tension the whole flight trying to keep my kids from bugging her.  Furthermore, the young girl in front of me (probably early 20's) was trying very hard to sleep her way through the flight (at 6 pm), and kept turning around and shooting me dagger eyes every time one of my kids bumped her seat or made a noise.  Ugh talk about stressful.  I need to shake those things off, but it just made for an unpleasant 2 hour flight home.  I was never so happy to get us all into our own beds that night!

All in all thought, it was a fabulous trip and I need to thank my grandparents and aunt and uncle for their hospitality and company, and send my congrats out to the lovely new couple.  Now, on to the next adventure for the Roberts Family....our big ultrasound in 4 days woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby #3 Update

Well I am 17 1/2 weeks pregnant!  It actually feels like it has gone quickly, which has been good up until this point, since I'm dying to reach the halfway point and find out if we are having a brother or a sister, but honestly I hope the second half of the pregnancy slooooooows down because I'm not exactly ready to have another little baby around quite YET!  Scary.  So the next 5 months can take their time haha.

The last post I wrote about the baby was right after I visited the birthing center I was considering delivering at up in Denton.  At the time I had really mixed emotions about hospital vs birthing center, and I was feeling very conflicted and confused.  Furthermore, my mom and mother-in-law were both pretty skeptical about the safety of a birthing center, so that made me feel uneasy about.  So I decided to embark on a really serious quest for information about birthing center safety.  I read articles published in medical journals, I called the birthing center and spent about 30 minutes getting my questions answered about their own safety records, and I solicited feedback on birthing center experiences from just about every internet chat board I could find!

All of the evidence I gathered supported the conclusion that birthing centers are absolutely as safe as hospitals when it comes to delivering babies.  Mother and infant mortality rates are exactly the same (obviously more babies/mothers die in the hospital because this is where high risk cases are taken, but the studies account for only healthy moms and babies), and in fact the c-section rate for this particular birthing center is 3-5%, where the local hospital c-section rate is 35-50% (it varies by hospital)!!  This birthing center transfers about 8% of it's birthing mothers to the hospital at some point during labor, the VAST majority being first time mothers.  The reason for transfer is usually that mom cannot get the baby out on her own and needs either forceps/vacuume/c-section, in which case she is taken (in her own car, non-emergency) to the hospital, which is 6 minutes away, and where a back-up doctor is ready immediately for assistance and/or surgery.  My midwife said they have only had 1 emergency situation where mom had to ride in an ambulance to the hospital because the baby's heart-rate was faltering during birth, and the outcome was c-section and healthy baby.  That is their only emergency in the 4 years that they have been in operation.  After birthing over 3000 babies, this midwife is extremely adept at identifying cases that need to be in the hospital, and at identifying possible problems during the labor.  She is not a risk taker, and she will advise hospital transfer if anything seems to be out of the ordinary, which I think accounts for their excellent safety record.

Every birthing center is different when it comes to their ability to handle emergency situations.  Well Inanna is certainly the best equipped out there that I have researched, which is a huge comfort.  My midwife explained that it is basically the equivalent of a level 1 hospital, meaning they have all the drugs and equipment to stabilize mom or baby, they have oxygen, anti-hemmorhage drugs, and the ability to intubate.  In fact, my midwife teaches infant resuscitation classes at the local Denton University.   

After doing all of this research, I decided that my final decision would rest on having my first appointment there, and just seeing how I "felt".  I knew rationally that it was safe and perfect for me, but all that flies out the window if you don't feel good there.  As a further measure, I brought my mom along to the appointment because she was my biggest skeptic and I wanted to get her read on the place and the midwife.  Immediately when we walked in it felt good, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming to my mom and I.  I got right in to see Jean, my midwife, and instead of having me sit on the examination table, she had me take a seat on her loveseat, and we just chatted.  I loved her demeanor - very professional and doctor-like, but at the same time she was open, chatty, and friendly.  I got to test my own urine for proteins and glucose (using little test strips like you would for a hottub),and weigh myself; just all very hands on and fun (sorry if that is TMI for some!).  She went over lots of stuff about diet during pregnancy, she explained the quad-screening which I could elect to have at this point of my pregnancy, and discussed my previous birthing experiences and what I could expect at Inanna (basically no drugs or induction unless medically necessary) to make sure I was aware and comfortable with that (YAY I completely am).  Finally I got to hear a happy little baby heartbeat (in the 150's) and my tummy is measuring right on schedule.  Honestly, I couldn't have felt happier about the appointment and Jean, and I felt 150% ready to sign on the dotted line and deliver my baby there.

Then.....there was my mom.  She had asked tons of questions during the appointment, mainly about safety and hospital transport, and many of the answers I've already outlined above.  One thing that Jean said that I think stood out to both of us, was that the two Denton hospitals (and she thought Lewisville as well where I delivered Pierce) do not staff anesthesiologists (or obstetrical surgeons in some cases) 24/7 in their hospitals.  If you need a spinal or epidural for c-section at 2 am, they often have to call someone in.  Even in a hospital, between the time your doctor or midwife decides you need an emergency procedure, there may be some lag time before the procedure can begin simply because of staffing reasons, at certain times of the day.  At the birthing center, if a transfer is required, the back-up physician is called ASAP, you are transported, and he is ready and waiting for you when you arrive at the hospital 6 minutes later.  I think hearing that scenario put some things in perspective for me, and for my mom.

By the time we left, my mom was in full agreement with me that the birthing center was a great choice,and she felt really comfortable with their safety precautions and procedures.  Yay!  I know I don'tneed anyone's approval or support (except for my husband), but it felt really good to get my mom's support on this one.  We both loved Jean, and her overall perspective on what childbirth is (not a disease or a medical procedure, but a perfectly designed process that God created to bring a baby into this world).  Her credentials are impressive and she has been delivering babies in hospitals and birthing centers and homes for decades.  I trust her completely and feel that she is safety minded and cautious.

And I am excited to report that I have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday Sept 20th at 10 am, and we should be able to find out the gender of the baby at that time!

Also, Jean told me one interesting little factoid that I thought I would pass on.  She told me this story after finding out I was a meteorologist.  She used to teach graduate level midwifery classes in Dallas, and one of her masters students needed a thesis idea.  She had often suspected that there was a correlation between storms and going in to labor/water breaking, but there isn't a lot of data in literature about it.  So she set her student up with a PhD candidate in atmospheric science, and he provided her with barometric (pressure) data for a certain span of time, which she then compared to birth rates in the vicinity.  She found a highly significant correlation between low pressure (that accompanies a storm) and women giving birth.  I thought that was pretty cool!  So I am going to be hoping and praying for a big storm come mid-February so I can evict this baby haha.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conquered Fears

Oh my gosh I have been MIA from my blog posts (and my normal life) for the past few weeks.  Life has been complete hectic and crazy, with family visiting and traveling and weddings.  Whew we've had a blast, but it's good to be home!

I'm dedicating this post to conquered fears.  My three year old has worked VERY hard on conquering his "Hayden baby" fears this past month, and I couldn't be prouder.  Something clicked into place when he turned three, and he decided that "big boy Hayden" wasn't afraid of baseball, or pre-school, two of his biggest fears from times past.

I'm not sure if you'll all recall, but Hayden had a very rough time at a few baseballs games last summer.  In fact, we didn't even make it past the first inning at the last game, as he was shaking and sobbing and couldn't un-bury his face from my shoulder.  He was absolutely terrified! His terror extended to anyplace with a stadium, large or small, including the pig races at the state fair lol.  Poor little guy.  Well 3 weeks ago my brother came to visit from London, and one of his favorite things that he can't do there is attend a baseball game.  After chatting with Hayden about it, and hearing that "big boy Hayden" loves baseball, we decided to give it a try.  Game day rolled around, and I could see him battling with his fears, but we managed to get into the stadium with no tears!  He kept asking me if we could leave when it got dark, and I kind of brushed him off and told him that there are big lights in the stadium so it always feels like day.  For the first few innings we enjoyed hotdogs and cotton candy, and things were going extremely well!  Pierce also was having the time of his life - so happy!



Well, it started to get dark in about the 4th inning, and his fears started to mount.  Suddenly he mentioned the word "fireworks", and I realized that he remembered the fireworks from last year!  As he started to get tearful, I insisted to him that there would be NO fireworks (they were coming at the end of the game and I planned to be long gone by then), and then over the loud speaker I hear the announcer mention the GRAND FIREWORKS SHOW after the game, and viola, here's a little taste of what's to come - and 3 huge fireworks are set off right over our heads!  Oops bad mommy!  Of course that sent him off the edge and into hysterics, but luckily, somehow, we managed to calm him down, and despite one other "taste of what's to come" in about the 7th inning, we managed to hang in there until the end of the 8th inning, when we made the decision to go because Pierce was turning to mush with tiredness lol.  Although he seemed nervous, there were certainly a lot of things about the game that he definitely enjoyed, and overall the experience was really really fun.  I was so proud of him for sticking it out and keeping control of his fragile little emotions.  Here we are, all smiles, leaving the game.

The best part of the night came after we left the game, and stopped for gas a few miles away.  The fireworks started to go off at that point, and instead of being scared, Hayden asked to move to the open back of the car to watch them.  Granted we were a few miles away, and the noise level was low, but I still thought that was great that he wanted to watch despite his fears!  Go Big Boy Hayden!

In even more exciting news, today we had preschool, and big boy Hayden attended with flying colors!  In fact, as I was getting ready in my bathroom this morning he came in with his backpack on and told me, "mommy I'm ready to go to pre-school"! I took that as a good sign. So off we went, and although he did struggle a few times to hold back his tears, and there were lots of questions about when I was coming to pick him up, he still marched into the classroom of his own free will, and waved goodbye happily. The classroom has a pet beta fish and he got wrapped up in that right away with one of his teachers. When I picked him up he was all curled up in his sleeping bag - apparently the morning of school had worn him out! I didn't see any art projects today, but his little note from his teachers said that he was "happy and busy", and that he had learned "the Pledge, some new songs, and the letter A". He also got a checkmark next to every behavioral task (sharing, listening, keeping hands to himself, etc), and their comment was that he seemed like a seasoned pre-school pro. So I was a very proud mama. He told me he will go back again, but not tomorrow. So I'm thinking that's a good sign. We'll see! At his summer camp, his second day was way worse than his first, which I know is common. But I am cautiously optimistic that this new school is just what he needs, and that "Big Boy Hayden" will love attending and will learn a lot from it.