Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Story of Radley James

***Warning*** This is a post about child birth. There are bodily fluids involved. I left out the parts about tearing, stitches and the like, but still. Read at your own risk.

It was a dark and stormy night...

Actually, February 28th was a pretty mild day. Kinda sunny, about 55 degrees. It was my second weekday home from work, and I woke up feeling fine, ready to tackle a few things on my "getting ready for baby" list. As soon as I finished my frosted mini wheats, I started to feel a little groggy, and I thought maybe I'd just had too much sugar. I have to admit, it was a pretty big bowl of frosted mini wheats.

Anyhow, I dropped Halen off at daycare so I could run some errands, clean the house and work on my online traffic school, but when I got home I still felt kind of dizzy/nauseous/sluggy. I ended up just laying on the couch until 2:00 when I had to run to the bathroom to... (what's a polite bloggy word for puking your face off?) I immediately did what any rational person would do. I ate a bunch of Cheerios. Surely that would help, since they're so low in sugar and all. Right? Right.

As soon as I finished up in the bathroom, I started having sharp upper abdominal pain (presumably from the puking) and very regular contractions. The contractions themselves didn't hurt, and my upper stomach was hurting pretty constantly anyway, so I was pretty sure they were Braxton Hicks, which I'd been getting off and on all day every day for a few months. I mean, I figured that contractions and abdominal pain should happen simultaneously. These were both happening but not in sync with each other.

I'm realizing there's a little bit of background info missing here. Let me fill you in. At that point, I was 18 days ahead of my due date, and just the day before my doctor had told me I was 2 cm dilated. The week before that I was 1.5 cm dilated, so not much change. There was no reason to suspect this baby would be coming early, although I'm sure you've figured out where this story is going...

So back to my living room. I ate the Cheerios, downloaded a contraction timing app, and endured the sharp pains for awhile. I called my doctor around 4:40 or so just to see what she had to say, and I was told she would either call me between patients or after 5 when they closed. No problem. I called a nurse hotline. She told me to go to the hospital, but come on, that's what they always say. We called some friends to see if they could come watch Halen in case we needed to go to the hospital just to make sure I wasn't sick or anything, and they said of course but they wouldn't be able to get here for an hour or so. No problem.

At 5:00 I puked again. I informed David that were were gong to the hospital because surely I was dying, and Chad and Lindsay (shout out) could meet us there to pick up Halen. And then, in a moment of incredible foresight, I grabbed my pillow. On the way to the hospital I noticed a voicemail from my doctor saying that nausea could be a symptom of labor and to go to the hospital to get checked. We got up to Labor and Delivery at around 6:00 and waited for my doctor to show up. By then, the contractions were starting to align a bit more with the pain. Around 7:00, the doctor came in and said I was only at 2.5 cm, but because of something having to do with the baby's heart rate something or other, she thought it was best to break my water. Up until that moment, we weren't even sure if I was in labor or if I had some kind of flu or something, so we weren't exactly prepared. Except for my pillow. (Loooove my pillow...)

The doctor left, and the nurse came back with the agenda for the night: epidural, break my water, pitocin (to help induce labor), and then we wait for baby. David went home to help put Halen to bed and pack up some stuff for us. While he was gone, the anesthesiologist came to give me my "epidural." (If you know me at all, you know that I don't put random quotes on words... you can be sure I'll come back to this so-called "epidural")

David came back around 9:30, and we were waiting for the doctor to come break my water. Apparently she had stepped out to attend some other doctor's going away dinner party or something. So we waited.

Finally the doctor came, water was broken, pitocin was administered, and I was at 3cm.

Now seems like a great time to tell about my "epidural". For those of you who've never had one, it can be a wonderful thing. But it does feel weird. First, the anesthesiologist pokes around on your back for awhile looking for just the right spot. Then, he or she (he in this case) uses a little needle to give you a numbing shot so you don't feel the actual tube going into your spine. Then, he inserts the tube (which is a soft rubber catheter), takes out the gigantic needle and tapes the tube all the way up your back and over your shoulder so you can lay down without disrupting the flow of sweet numbness to your spine.

The first time I got an epidural was when I had Halen almost 2 years ago. it was magnificent. I could barely feel anything from the waist down, and trying to lift my legs or clench my butt cheeks was like trying to tie my shoes with my belly button. Not happening. This time, my legs felt heavy but I could still lift them and I had full control over my *ahem* "middle region". Lady parts, that is. I was a bit concerned about this, but they seemed to think it was fine and that I would numb up in no time.

When you get an epidural, it's usually several hours before you can get up and walk again, so they give you a urinary catheter so you don't pee all over yourself. Of course, when properly numbed, you have no control over those things anyway. So that's what they did. Only I was not properly numbed. At all. I realized this right around the exact time they tried inserting the catheter. Incorrectly. A few minutes later they realized it needed adjusting. Ouch.

One good thing about the epidural was that I no longer felt the pain in my upper abdomen. Unfortunately, I still felt pain everywhere else. Contractions were a bit easier for about 10 minutes, when they started hurting again. I complained to the nurse and she upped the drugs and checked my dilation. I was at 6 cm. I'd gone from 3-6 in about 20 minutes. She said the contractions were painful because the baby was dropping so fast. Mmmm... okay. I asked her how I would know when it was time to push, and she said that the contractions would start to get more intense, and she would come back at 12:30 to check on me. This was about 11:55, by the way. At 12:15 I couldn't stand it any more. I called the nurse in and told her there was no way these could get any more intense and I had to push right now or else. She checked again and said I was already at 10 cm, and she would call the doctor. So then we waited for the doctor to get out of bed, drive to the hospital, find my room, get scrubbed up, and so on. All the while, they're telling me, "don't push! Don't push! Breeeeeathe...."

FINALLY the doctor was ready to roll. On the first contraction we pushed, and on the second contraction Radley was born. And all the while I'm screaming like they do in the movies because OMG there's a baby coming and my epidural didn't work. It was 12:42 am.

Rad was the same exact size as Halen, 6 lbs 7 oz and 19 inches. Halen was 3 weeks early and Radley was 2 weeks and 4 days early. And that is where the similarities stop.

Rad is 8 days old today. He is a fantastic eater. And a champion sleeper. He's already above his birth weight and last night he slept for 6 hours straight. When he's not sleeping he's just sitting there quietly looking around. Even at night. He is the easiest baby ever. Halen is a ton of fun and a totally free spirit, but boy was he a challenging newborn. To be honest, I've been dreading this time for months now, just remembering how difficult the first few months were the last time around. But not only are we better parents now for having been through this already, we have the dream baby to top it off.

We're not sure how Halen's adjusting so far, because he basically ignores the new baby. If you try to force him to get close he'll wimper or try to run away, but he otherwise won't acknowledge Radley's existence. Of course they'll be buddies in time, but so far we're just trying to get Halen comfortable with having the new kid around.

And that's the story of how Radley James Stratton came to join our little family. I hope you liked it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Revel in My Lameness...

Soooo... it's been quite a while since my last update (almost 5 months!) and I feel like now's the time. The problem, of course, is that I'm on my mom's laptop and don't have any pictures! I'll just have to summarize as vividly as possible.

I start school on Monday, and I can't believe that the summer is already over! It truly flew by. I don't even really feel like I had a summer break.

This is where I would have put a picture of me frowning.

Here's what we did this summer:

The last week of June and first week of July, Halen had a break from daycare, so we got to spend a lot of quality time hanging out and playing. I honestly don't remember what we did. One thing I remember is that we got a zoo membership, so we got to hang out at the LA zoo a few times.

Imagine Halen with some giraffes or something.

For the 4th of July we had a BBQ in the backyard for some friends. We bought a little blow-up pool and did some "swimming" (lounging) and splashing around. That was a good purchase, although I wish we'd gotten to use it more often. It's still sitting out in the yard, so it's not too late I guess.

Here's where you would see Halen in the pool with his little swimsuit and rash guard thingy. So cute!

The following week, I was summoned to jury duty, which ended up lasting 2 weeks, so Halen spent those 2 weeks in daycare full time while I sat in a courtroom fulfilling my civic responsibility. It wasn't altogether too bad. I was the foreperson on our jury, and I did find the process to be pretty interesting. I guess I'm kinda nerdy.

Picture my face on Ally McBeal's body. It was pretty much exactly like that probably.

Almost immediately after the case ended, I started feeling yucky. I knew it would happen any day, but I'm glad I didn't feel gross in court. But as I was saying, pretty much the day my jury duty ended, I started getting morning sickness. That's right folks, Halen will be a big brother in March.

If you know my mom, picture her dancing around a bit. Now shrieking.

So I basically spent the rest of July and most of August on the couch. I'm probably skipping over some fun and/or interesting stuff, but as far as I remember, the summer went jury duty, sick on couch, vacation. Which leads me to right now, where I'm writing this on my parents' couch and feeling much better. Just exhausted. I'll try to get around to writing another post when I get home highlighting our trip. With actual pictures! But, of course, I start school Monday so... yeah...

This is where you picture me not blogging.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Halen's One! (Photo Extravaganza)

I can't believe it! I think I've said this before, but it truly feels like the blink of an eye and an entire lifetime simultaneously. How can my precious baby boy be a thriving one-year-old? It seems impossible. We had some family and a few friends over today to celebrate Halen's first year.

Before the food.

David's mom Shanna, step-dad Wes and brother Andrew are in town (more on that later), and my aunt Sherry came, along with my brother Chris and sister-in-law Laura who drove up from San Diego with their 6-week-old daughter Quinn!

Wes, Chris and Quinn

Laura, Quinn and Halen

Halen loves his Auntie and baby Cousin!

Laura, Sherry and Quinn

Halen with Gramma Shanna. Guess who discovered his nostrils this weekend?! And so it begins...

David being his usual bad-ass self...

The Strattons and the Coxes. Not my best photo, but look how good everyone else looks! Taking this one for the team.

Halen and his Daddy!

Mr. Happy

The birthday King!

Slobber Chin

Birthday cupcake!

Birthday frozen yogurt is more up his alley...

Yucky cupcake gets the drop :)

I love this picture!

Mr. Halen has 8 teeth. He weighs about 20-21 pounds. He is crawling and standing like a madman, but afraid to walk and not quite there yet. He will, however, pull himself up to a table or couch, grab anything he can get his hands on, and start tearing/chewing/smashing. He’s our little destroyer

Halen is sleeping really well these days. He'll go down around 8, and more often than not he'll wake up between 1 and 4 to eat, and then he goes right back to sleep until sometime between 6:30 - 7:30. Often times, he doesn't wake up during the night at all. During the day he takes 2 naps, usually around 11:30 and 3ish.

Halen mostly drinks milk, but he also has 3 meals a day of organic jarred baby food. His favorite foods are pears, bananas, carrots and sweet potatoes. He’ll eat other veggies and meat if I mix in fruit and rice. He’s a pretty good eater, but he still doesn’t do anything solid or chunky. He gags on the smallest bits, so we just do the mushy stuff for now, and occasionally give him something solid to gag on, like fruit pieces or tofu.

His favorite toys are his mailbox, his train and car, and his books. He has a curly blondish mullet and giant blue eyes. His favorite words are “mama”, “dada” and “giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle…” Sometimes I look at him and I’m in awe because he’s just so beautiful and I can’t believe how much I love him. All the poopy diapers and cranky-pants tantrums are well worth it.

Where Has the Time Gone?

Sheesh. Where do I ever begin?? Here's a quick summary of my life from September - March:

Monday through Friday I get up at 5 am. Okay fine, 5:15... I get ready for work, (which includes about 45 minutes of pumping), run out the door and hit the road. It's a 25 minute drive into downtown, and I'm usually there by 7:15. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we have staff meetings at 7:30 and then school starts at 8.

This year, we got a class-size reduction grant which requires all 9th grade classes to be capped at 20 students. Since we weren't in compliance until early December (I had 30-35 kids in each class), we had to drop all of my classes to 15 and add about 4 new sections to compensate for the overflow. Until then, I was the only geometry teacher at my school, but now there are 2 other teachers with 1-2 geometry classes and I had to give up my English class to make way for a 6th geometry class.

Since all of the 9th grade classes shrunk, we had to rearrange all of the classes to make everything work. Unfortunately, we can't find any teachers to fill our vacancies because we have 1-3 openings for almost every subject, and no teacher is qualified for all of the subjects we need. LAUSD has a shortage of biology/spanish/world history/pe teachers (that's one teacher qualified to teach ALL of those classes). As a result, we're all teaching extra classes without a planning period. Of the 18 teachers at my school, only 2 of us have a prep period. And no, I'm not one of them.

So, basically, this has been good and bad. Good for me, because my classes shrunk significantly and now I only have to prep for 1 subject instead of 2. But bad because all of us are majorly overworked and no one has time or energy to do anything. That's bad at a small school like mine where there are so many out-of-class requirements. It's just simply a lot of work.

School ends at 3:10 and if I don't have meetings or 10th grade presentations to attend (don't get me started) then I leave to pick up Halen from daycare. David drops him off every morning at 8, and I'm usually there between 4 and 4:30 to take him home. Part of me has some maternal guilt about how much time Halen spends at daycare every day, but I know that he has a great time there, and they love him and treat him well. I've come to terms with being a working mom, and I feel blessed to have a career that gives me so much time off! (Like spring break, which is only 1 week away! Counting down the days...)

What else has been going on with me? Well... nothing. Life right now is work, Halen, work, Halen, etc. My favorite times are visits from family, which have been happening a lot lately :) For more on Mr. Halen, click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

General Updates

I can't believe it's already November! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas music made its debut in my car today. It actually rained last night, which helped the festive spirit since it was 96 degrees last week.

Since it's been a few weeks, here are some general updates on the whole family.

David - He's been back at work for over a month and totally hates his job right now. I thought paternity leave would give him a newfound sense of appreciation for the 9-5, but boy was I wrong! He's hanging in there, being a great daddy, and staying healthy despite the sickies surrounding him here. (we've all gotten it but him...)

He put together an improv team a few months ago and they performed a Halloween-themed show at the i.o. West in Hollywood. This is the 3rd annual House of Improvised Horrors, but with a new set of performers this year. It's his favorite thing and his outlet, so it was great to hear about what a great show they put on! Next up is their holiday show.

Saki and Chili - Chili had the sneezes last week, but otherwise seemed fine. She's fat as ever and more lovey than usual. Fortunately, she's all better now. Unfortunately, she passed her cold on to Old Man Saki, who's not taking it so well. He looks like he's on the verge of death. His eyes are all weepy, and his nose is completely stuffed up so you can hear his squeaky, snorty nose-whistle breathing when he enters the room or walks down the hallway. He's been sleeping a lot, and resting in some unusual places, like in the middle of the closet floor, or halfway under the bed (but hotdog style, with his left half sticking out, not the typical "head-out" position expected from a cat.) Hopefully in a few days he'll be good as new. Here's an Olan Mills-inspired picture from his more youthful days:

Halen - What a month we're having! I'm pleased to report that he loves his new daycare, and they love him right back. He's really doing well there. It has been a bit hard on his health though, with all the germs going around. He's had a cold for a few weeks now, and can often be heard snoring, even while awake. Poor guy. Now, to top it off, he's recovering from a 3-day long attack of diarrhea, which caused really painful diaper rash. Man, I do not envy that guy!

In addition to being under the weather, he's teething. His first tooth broke through a few days ago! But I didn't realize what a slow process it is. There's still barely anything visible. You can feel it more than see it. But it's there! Huzzah!

We celebrated Halen's 7-month birthday on Sunday (by changing a million awful diapers and soothing his chapped butt the best we could). I can't believe how much he's grown! He's so much taller these days. He's still 50th percentile for height, although he dropped down to 15% for weight a few weeks ago when we went in for shots. We've been trying to fatten him up, but his cold really dampened his appetite and it doesn't help when food goes in one end and immediately out the other. He weighed 15lb 8oz at all 3 doctors appointments these last few weeks. Apparently, he's "still on the chart" but we need to really crack down and chunk this kid out! He's loving bananas mixed with rice cereal so hopefully that will do the trick.

Halen's favorite activity right now is rolling around on the floor. We have fake hardwood in the living room, and he can scoot around by rolling and dragging himself with his arms and sliding on his belly. He's not crawling yet, but he can cross a room, nonetheless! Any day now, and then we'll all be in trouble.

For Halloween we dressed up like characters from Futurama. Halen was nibbler, and he looked so cute! It was almost impossible to draw little fangs on him, but we did our best. We just hung out at home with some friends, carving pumpkins and watching Troll 2, the world's worst movie.

Me - Not much to report here. I'm recovering from my second cold of the season, surviving my classes and trying to enjoy my evenings with Halen. I just signed up for a Thanksgiving day 5k, so that'll be fun. I don't really plan on training :)

Well, that pretty much sums up the family lately. Can't wait for the holidays!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rebel Baby

Halen spent the first 5 months of his life at home with me, and the 6th month home with Daddy, so when we dropped him off at daycare 2 weeks ago, he was rightfully unprepared. But I never expected him to be a "problem child!"

I guess I should start by saying that I wasn't 100% thrilled with his daycare. I felt like they didn't play with the kids enough or give them enough individual attention. It was an in-home daycare run by a married couple, and there were 4 infants and 3 toddlers. I think they were overwhelmed as it was, but they expected the babies to sit quietly in a crib and just entertain themselves all day. I would go to pick up Halen and the toddlers would just be sitting there by themselves, not interacting at all. There were 3 toddlers, and one would be sitting around, one would be in a high chair eating a snack and one would be sitting on a mat. No music, no laughter, nothing. The other infants would be in cribs or bouncy seats just sitting there staring around. It gives me the chills just thinking about it.

So I guess it was definitely a blessing when I picked Halen up on Thursday and they told me that he wasn't adjusting quickly enough, and that when they put him down for naps, he would cry, which disturbed the other babies.Well, of course he would cry. We don't put Halen in a crib and walk away if he's wide awake. "See this baby (zombie)? He doesn't have to be held or played with. He just sits by himself staring around nice and quietlike. Halen needs to be more like that."

They told me they'd give him another week to improve and then they wouldn't be able to keep him there since he disrupted the other babies. I took Halen straight to the super fancy daycare that we had been on a waiting list for since I was 7 months pregnant, and told them my sob story. They told me they were moving a 12-month-old up to the toddler center this Monday and they could take Halen, but it had to be now. So now I feel really good about the care he'll be getting but it costs more than my college tuition. Hope he appreciates it!

Anyhow, sorry for the awful story-telling. I'm typing one-handed and I'm still not sure how to better tell this tale. Plus, it's bedtime and I'm sleepy.

Other stuff: excited to be flying Halen to Poulsbo the few days before Thanksgiving! Yea!

School is good. Hard and tiring but good. Everything else is fine too! The end.