Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our First House

Several people have asked to see pictures of our house, so I figured this would be a good place to do it.
This is technically the dining room right as you walk in the front door, but we turned it into a game room.  There's an actual 'game room' upstairs that we gave to Jackson for his bedroom, because we didn't want the kids walking up and down the stairs all the time to play since they're so little.
 And here's the main living area...the first picture is what you see from the front door:
Those are the basics of the house.  We haven't done much decorating since we're just focused on finishing unpacking.  Up the stairs are 3 bedrooms and a game room (turned into Jack's room) as well as two bathrooms.  Our master bedroom is downstairs off the living room in addition to another bathroom and the laundry room.  It's a big change from our place in California!

Here is Izzy loving her backyard:
We also got a kid-sized trampoline for the boys and put it in the garage so that they can play on cold, rainy days here.  They are obsessed with it!  They're little blurs just bouncing away:
It has rained more in the 1.5 weeks we've been here than it did in the almost 4 years we were in California. We definitely have California babies, because they are so intrigued by the rain.  Jackson hates getting wet, but Owen loves it.  We sat on the porch yesterday just watching it rain.

And here's one of Mary just because she's so stinkin' cute!!
It's quite a lifestyle change moving from California to Oklahoma.  In California your house is generally smaller, but you can get anywhere in a few minutes and be outside constantly.  We had a big shopping center right across from our house with a Starbucks, CVS, grocery store, etc. if you just wanted to run out to grab one thing or a quick coffee.  Now we're kind of out there in a little bit more of a rural neighborhood, so there's no running out quickly.  Everything takes a little bit more planning.  Since you're not close to anything and the weather's more unpredictable, we've spent a lot more time at home and making our house fun for the kids.  Our neighborhood is great, though, and there are a ton of young children around.  We need to go start knocking on doors to meet people, and we're super excited about Halloween here.  I'm also joining a new MOPS group starting next week.  I miss my MOPS group in California like crazy, but I'm hoping for some great friendships here as well!

We've bought a house, own a minivan, have 3 children, a dog, and we're both in our 30s…Jonathan and I have joked asking when did we become real adults?!

Mary's First Milestone

On Sept 11-12 I thought there were a few instances where Mary might be smiling, but I wasn't sure if it was involuntary or related to gas.  On September 13th, though, I was sure that she smiled!  I finally caught a picture of it yesterday:
They're still infrequent, but it's so fun to get a sweet smile once in a while!

Making the Move to Oklahoma

We found out that we were moving to Tulsa, OK for a job transition around the middle of August.  After that point, it was just one giant logistical puzzle to put together with the birth of a baby where the date was unknown at the time, Jonathan moving before us into a hotel, rental cars as our cars moved at different times across the country, making sure we had car seats in any car we had, kids' sleeping arrangements since 2 out of 3 are still in a crib/bassinet, etc.  Jonathan and I also visited Tulsa by ourselves to get an idea of the area and look for a place to live.  In that weekend we found the house that we wanted to buy, so we spent the next 1.5 months in the home buying process from a distance.  Luckily, we had an amazing real estate agent that made the whole process pretty easy.  I randomly asked a barista at Starbucks when we were visiting Tulsa how she liked the area, and she gave me the name of the real estate agent she had just used.  That inquiry ended up being one of the most helpful things of our trip :).  

Anyway, after a long 1.5 months of planning it was finally time to move!  A few days before our actual move, a company came to pick up Jonathan's car.  The boys thought it was so cool.  It's kind of hard to see, but they loaded his car on a huge truck carrying multiple other cars, and this was the boys' view from the window:
Jonathan's company hired movers to come pack and move 99% of our belongings besides what we would need during the transition.  Ann took the boys out for the majority of the day to breakfast, the park, the store, etc. to keep them out of the movers' way.  I stayed home with Mary since someone needed to be there to do the inventory management.  Mary spent the first part of the move sleeping upstairs before they packed our room, but I spent a good portion of the day walking around holding her when we had no where to sit.  Here are the boys coming back from their day wreaking havoc on the end of the movers time there:
They were picking up bands that tied down furniture, running up and down the stairs, pushing furniture, and all things that little boys find interesting.  It was a long day for them as well, though, because there were no naps and they were outside on a hot day.

Once all of our belongings were out of our place, we spent the next two nights in Irvine in a hotel.  I was a little afraid of the sleeping arrangements since we were in close quarters, but we had a two bedroom suite with a living room.  Jonathan's mom stayed with us one night before driving our mini van for us to Tulsa.  My mom flew in and stayed with us the second night so she could help me fly with the kids.  A grandma slept with Owen each night in a room, and I slept in a room with Jack.  Mary slept in the living room since she's a loud sleep as to not disturb Jack and I could feed her on the couch in the middle of the night.  It all actually worked out great, and we got much better sleep than I expected!  We also ate out quite a bit, and the picture below is Jack giving the thumbs up to his grilled cheese.  I think Jackson will enjoy vacations someday since he was so relaxed in the bed watching a Curious George episode.  Owen just had fun pulling utensils out of the mini-kitchen cabinets.
September 30th we flew out of Santa Ana airport, we had a connection for 2.5 hours in Houston, and we ended up in Tulsa that night.  The day started out with some challenges.  The first picture below shows Owen having one of his classic tantrums right after arriving through security.  After laying his face on the germ-y floor several times I'm happy to say he did not get sick :).  Jack used the bathroom and managed to have poor aim where he peed all down the back of his pants and underwear.  Once we got on the plane, though, it was better.  The flight to Houston was 3.5 hours, and the boys did great with all of the activities and snacks both grandmas had helped to put together for them.
Once we arrived in Houston it was what would have been nap time for the boys.  This is when the poop started to hit the fan.  They were both really grumpy and defiant in the airport most of the layover.  And then the flight to Tulsa…sigh.  Owen cried about 98% of the 1.5 flight to Tulsa just from being so tired before he finally fell asleep 10 minutes before we landed.  The man next to us was less than amused.  My mom and I laughed to the point of tears when we got off the plane, because most people on the flight were in the hall waiting for their bags checked at the gate when we got off.  They were all just staring at us when we got off.  It felt like the walk of shame getting of the plane, and all we could do was laugh out of a little bit of delirium.  I do have to say that the picture of Mary above is what she looked like the entire day besides when she was half awake to eat…thank you Mary!

In Tulsa we had to pick up a rental mini van, and the rental agency did not have the correct number or type of car seats.  We were tired, hot, and frustrated while waiting an hour for them to find the right type of convertible car seat for Owen.  They also cannot do anything with the car seats, so I had to install them myself in the parking garage.  It was a loooong day!  We finally made it to the hotel to meet Jonathan.  We all slept pretty deeply that night, the boys included.

The next morning on Oct 1st, Jonathan and I signed all of the closing paperwork for our house while my mom stayed with the boys at the hotel.  We headed over to our new house that day, and the movers showed up with our belongings two days later.  We are so glad to be here and mostly settled in now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mary's Growth and First Month in California

Mary has had two doctor visits since discharging from the hospital.  We had an appointment two days after leaving the hospital when she was 4 days old to follow-up on her mild jaundice.  She had another appointment 2-weeks after discharge when she was 19 days old.  Here are her stats:

September 9, 2014:
Weight- 6 lbs., 10 oz.
Height- 19.5 inches

September 24, 2014:
Weight- 7 lbs., 13 oz.
Height- 20 inches
Head Circumference: 35 cm/13.78 inches

Mary's actual due date was September 23rd, so it's kind of interesting to see her stats a day after her due date.  They come right up to what Jack and Owen were, so our babies are all pretty consistently sized :).

Mary didn't get to spend too much time in California since we moved 5 days before she turned 1-month, but she looked good in some pretty cute summer newborn dresses and outfits while she was there.

 These are just some where she is all snuggly and cute:
 And here she is with the men in her life:
I took a picture of Owen on each of his monthly birthdays, but I didn't get a good tradition started with Mary.  Here is the only picture I got of her on her 1-month birthday:
So now that I'm pretty much caught up on Mary's first few weeks before our move, I am going to try to get caught up through our move to Tulsa, OK and Mary's first big milestone!

Oh, our little Owen

We had our first experience with an ER visit for one of our kids.  A day earlier I had made the comment that Owen would be the first one we would need to take to the ER, because he has no fear and is extremely clumsy.  He's the kid that will jump off the top of the staircase when you are 4-5 stairs down assuming that you will catch him.  

After an ambulance ride and about 5.5 hours in the ER he was back home.  He was so good just sitting in the bed not trying to remove the monitors.
We got some mommy/Owen alone time.
My friend Erin came to the rescue again just like when I needed her a few days before Mary was born. She drove Ann, Jackson, and Mary to the hospital so that I could feed Mary while Ann sat in the room with Owen. After dropping them back off at home when I was done feeding Mary, she came back to drive Owen and me home at 12:30am. 

Mary's Birth Story

My favorite blogs to write are the birth stories of our kids.  I look forward to them having the opportunity to read about the day they came into this world someday when they are older, and it's going to be fun to reminisce about 3 of the best days of my life when I look back at this blog.  5 1/2 weeks after Mary was born I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write about her birthday.  

The week leading up to Mary making her appearance was a little bit stressful since we knew we were moving to Oklahoma and doing everything that needed to be done to prepare for that.  We had decided that I would stay back in California with the kids while Jonathan moved to Tulsa since I could not find an OB that was willing to deliver a VBAC patient who was so late in their pregnancy.  I also had Intrahepatic Cholestasis and needed to go in twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) for non-stress tests and fluid level checks.  On Tuesday September 2nd (37 weeks pregnant) I went in for my usual tests, and my fluid levels were just above the point where they would begin to get concerned.  I then went to my non-stress test where they picked up on one definitive deceleration and two possible decelerations.  Due to the decelerations I was sent to a perinatologist for a full biophysical profile.  She scored an 8 out of 8, which was great, but I was still obviously a little bit scared from the two previous tests.  My OB wanted to wait to induce until 39 weeks, but everything I have ever read about Cholestasis says to induce between 37 and 38 weeks.  While at the biophysical profile, I asked the nurse doing the test to ask the perinatologist what his opinion was.  He agreed that 37 to 38 weeks was ideal and said he would contact my OB to pass on his opinion since I had already reached that point in my pregnancy.  Immediately following these tests I went to see my OB for my usual 37 week appointment.  We agreed to schedule the induction, and we were scheduled for September 5th at 7 a.m.

That same night after all of these appointments I had some substantial bleeding.  Jonathan had already moved to Oklahoma ahead of us, and my mother-in-law had not arrived yet, so I was all alone with the boys.  I am so grateful to my friend Erin who lived in our neighborhood for coming over right at the kids' bedtime, putting them to bed for me, and sitting at our house to babysit!!  My other friend Heather met me at Labor and Delivery to be with me in case Mary had to be delivered.  After being checked out and monitored, they sent me back home.  The day before the induction they gave me a foley catheter to try to dilate me to 4cm before actually giving me pitocin.  It's a gentler way to induce you since I was doing another VBAC, and inductions are not preferable with VBACs even if you've already had one successfully.  That night I was back in labor an delivery with contractions, bleeding, and the catheter had fallen out, but I was still only 2 cm just like at my appointment a few days earlier.  A little after getting back from the hospital Jonathan arrived back in town to be there for the induction the next day.  

Here's one last picture the night before the induction at 37 weeks, 2 days:  
We arrived at the hospital on Friday September 5th at 7 a.m., and the nurses brought us back to our room to get the IV started and meet with my doctor.  My doctor was upset the catheter had fallen out prematurely since it was going to make labor longer, and she felt the doctor who did it had done it incorrectly.  By 8 a.m. they began small amounts of pitocin, and I began having actual contractions around 9 a.m.  I tried to last as long as I possibly could without the epidural since I wanted to be able to drink fluids and walk around for as long as possible.  Eventually in the early afternoon I reached the point where I wanted the epidural.  Pitocen-induced contractions are just way too painful when you're not even that far along.  After the epidural it was pretty much just us hanging out, watching tv, and relaxing.  They had this on the board waiting for her arrival:
Around 7 pm I had reached 8 cm, but I wanted Jonathan to go out and get me food for after she was born before all of the restaurants closed.  He asked the nurses if they thought he would get back in time, and they gave him the go ahead.  Shortly after he left the epidural started to lose it's effectiveness, and the nurses recommended not having the anesthesiologist come back since it would be better for pushing to feel the 'pressure.'  I was not totally on board with it, but I went with it :).  Jonathan made it back as I was telling them that I really felt like I needed to push.  They had me do a trial push before they called the doctor, and just as with Owen, they rushed the doctor in pretty quickly.  Both Owen and Mary have been "brachial," which is really high up, until around 8 cm.  However, around 9 cm they basically just dropped really quickly and are easy to push out quickly.  Once the doctor came in and they were all set up, it took a big push, two small ones for the shoulders, and one more big push and she was out.  I think I only pushed for maybe 5 minutes with Mary.  Mary Kate Nichols was born on September 5th, 2014 at 8:34pm.  She was 6 lbs., 15 oz. and 19.5 inches.  
She wasn't born very early, but I was still a little bit anxious that she would have breathing or feeding problems after she was born.  She didn't have any problems at all and scored a 9 on both Apgar tests that they completed after the birth.  She had no issues with nursing and didn't need any additional monitoring.

I have to say that my 2 days in the hospital were magical!  Jonathan slept at home and was home most of the day with the boys.  My MIL gave me the advice to put Mary in the nursery at night and just have them bring her back for feedings.  She said I have 2 other kids at home and can't come home completely sleep deprived.  This honestly was some of the best advice.  With both Jack and Owen I totally had the 'mommy-guilt' that it was selfish to put them in the nursery, but it was so great knowing that someone was watching her in the nursery while I got quality sleep between feedings every 3 hours.  They would just gently wake me up, let me feed her, and bring her back to the nursery.  I was a little bit bored during the day, but it was a wonderful, quiet type of boredom that home with two young boys does not offer :).  I missed my boys, but it was so wonderful having the chance to just hold Mary, stare at her peacefully, and enjoy the short amount of time we had for it to be just us.
Ann brought Jack and Owen to meet their little sister, and they were so excited!  Owen was a little bit hesitant at first, but he was excited once he saw how excited Jack was.  Both boys took their chance to hold her and give her kisses.  We had little gift bags ready for both boys from Mary, and they got there just in time for the hospital snack cart to go around and give them chocolate chip cookies.
 Ann got a little bit of grandma time with Mary as well:
 And we got a family photo:
A nurse in the nursery made a little bow hat for Mary while she was in there one night, which was super adorable.
I was discharged late Sunday morning after Mary had passed all of her tests.  She initially failed her hearing test in one ear, but once they massaged the ear she passed.  That just meant she had residual fluid in her ears.  Here's Mary ready to leave:

Here's Mary resting comfortably on her first day back home:
Mary has been such a blessing in this chaotic time of moving, because she is about as easy as a newborn could be.  She doesn't cry often, and when she does it is easy to tell what she needs.  She initially slept about 22-23 hours a day, and she occasionally would go a 4 hour stretch at night in the first 2-3 weeks.  She is seriously the loudest baby ever when she sleeps!  She is always moaning and kind of growling in her sleep which makes it hard to have her next to our bed sometimes.  She has crazy loud gas like an adult, but I'm glad she gets it out instead of it all building up inside of her :).   We are so in love with our little girl!