Monday, April 23, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery

Last Tuesday we got the chance to see the Space Shuttle Discovery on it's final flight as it was carried on top of a Boeing 747 around Washington D.C. Since I'm still getting up multiple times a night to feed Micah I wasn't sure if we would be up and ready by 9:00 a.m., which is when I figured we would have to leave our house to get to a good viewing spot. Robert was going to walk down to the Mall from his work, so he took the digital camera and left me the video camera in case I decided I could make it.

At 8:00 a.m. I had finished feeding Micah and Julia was awake, so I figured maybe we would be able to make it. It was a very fast morning of getting three people ready, but we made it out the door at exactly 9:00 a.m. The traffic was very heavy getting into D.C. and we ended up parking at Teddy Roosevelt Island and walking down the bike path a quarter mile to a good viewing spot across the river from the Lincoln Memorial. Every other place I passed was packed with people. I was quite surprised at how many people turned out to see it, and by how many people did NOT turn decide to park at Teddy Roosevelt Island. We had a great view, without the crowds. 

By the time we got through traffic and parked and were finally walking down the bike path it was 9:53. I figured we were good since we still had about 10 minutes to get to a good viewing spot, when I heard a really loud plane directly overhead and caught a five second glance of the shuttle going right over us. It was pretty disappointing to only get a five second glance at it, and Julia didn't even get to see it. I thought that was it, but decided to keep walking since we were out anyway. But the shuttle came back three more times once we had gotten to a good viewing spot and gave the thousands of people watching it along the Mall and the Potomac River, including Julia, Micah and I, a good show.

I got some good video of the shuttle and decided to take a picture with my phone the last time the shuttle came around. So here it is on my phone going past the Lincoln Memorial (above), and Julia and Micah with the Memorial in the background.

And here is Robert's picture with our digital camera. They opened up the roof of his building for people to watch, so he didn't have to walk down to the Mall after all.

Fort McHenry

This has been on our list of places to see for a while, and last weekend we felt up to getting out of the house and doing a little sightseeing. So we headed up to Baltimore to see Fort McHenry. In 1814, during The War of 1812, the British attacked Baltimore. Fort McHenry sits at the front of Baltimore Harbor and was the first water defense of the city. 
Francis Scott Key had been trying to leave Baltimore by boat, but his boat was detained by the British on the way out of the port. So during the attack Francis Scott Key sat on his boat in the harbor watching as the British bombarded the fort. In the morning after the bombing had stopped, Key struggled to see through the morning fog whose flag now waved above the fort. He strained to see if the British had taken the fort and if there was a British flag above the fort, or if the Americans had held the fort. He was able to make out our American "star spangled banner."

And that event inspired Key to pen a few lines about the event, eventually becoming the poem that we know today as our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." The original flag from that night is in the National Museum of American History here in Washington D.C., so we have seen the flag. Now we have also seen the fort.
The flag that was flying the day we went was tiny compared to the original flag. The ranger said this flag would barely cover the blue section on the original flag. He also said this is one of the few places where the flag is always flying because of an order from the president. 
We also got to explore the inside of the fort, including the jail. Julia had a little too much fun running around the fort.
Afterwards we went to Baltimore harbor and looked at the cool old ships they have in the harbor. This is the USS Constellation, the last Civil War era U.S. Naval ship. It was beautifully restored and does not look over 150 years old. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Micah's Birth Story

Happy one month Micah! It's fitting that I finally got his birth story written. It's pretty long, but I want to have  the entire story online so I can easily find it again.

Julia was born two days before her due date, so I hadn't expected to go very far past my due date, if at all past, with Micah. On the morning of March 22 I was four days past my due date and I was starting to get ancy. I had an induction date set and I couldn't sleep well because my mind was all over the place thinking about if Micah would come on his own or if I would have to be induced or wondering if my contractions were starting up. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and was finally falling back asleep around 6:00 a.m. when I felt a pop or a jolt or a big kick. I thought "what was THAT?"

A minute later I started feeling a little wetness so I jumped out of bed and made a beeline for the bathroom figuring I had just felt my water breaking. It took me about twenty minutes to convince myself that the trickle of water that I was feeling was in fact my water breaking and not that I had lost control of my bladder or something. I just wanted to be sure before I left the bathroom because I knew once I wasn't sitting on the toilet anymore I would be second guessing myself.

I put on a pad and did what any woman would do who knows they are about to have a long day; I went to eat breakfast before anyone could tell me I couldn't eat anything anymore. I wanted to wait and see if I started having contractions before I called the doctor, so then I took a shower and figured I should clean the bathroom since I probably wouldn't have much time for that from now on. After that I went back into the bedroom where Robert was just waking up and wanting to know why I was up already since I never get up early.

I told him my water broke and he told me to call the doctor to see what they wanted us to do. I was having some very light, spread apart contractions by then. I called the advice nurse but just got a message machine so I left a message and went to finish getting ready. By the time I called back and dialed the emergency number instead it was almost 10:00 a.m. and they didn't even ask about contractions. They just told me to go ahead and go into the hospital right away.

We checked into the hospital right around 10:00 a.m. (the hospital was literally five minutes away). I overheard one nurse tell the other nurse she needed to check if my water really did break. I kind of just laughed to myself because it was very obvious to me by then that my water had broken. And when the nurse went to check me to she definitely agreed and said I was "grossly ruptured."

Unfortunately by then I still was not having regular contractions so my doctor had them start me on Pitocin right away. This was a little disappointing because I was hoping to avoid Pitocin altogether this time because I had it with Julia and she did not respond well to the strong contractions it produces. I also wanted to wait a little longer this time before getting an epidural but knew that once the Pitocin really kicked in the strong contractions were going to be too much for me and I would have to get an epidural pretty quickly. So when I first checked in I told them I wanted to wait as long as possible for an epidural, but by the time they were ready to take me to my own room I told my nurse might as well get the epidural right away.

I was started on Pitocin around 11:00 a.m. and changed my mind again about the epidural. By about 2:30 p.m. my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was not handling the pain very well. Since I had an IV and Pitocin drip I felt very limited in my mobility and could pretty much just stand by the bed and sway during the contractions when I really wanted to be able to have full mobility. I theoretically could have walked a few feet, but it was annoying and uncomfortable to have to move with tubes sticking out of my arm. At this point I requested an epidural and got one by about 3:00 p.m.

They hadn't checked me in the hospital to see how far I was dilated yet, so after the anesthesiologist left and I was feeling better the nurse checked me. I was only a one at my last doctor appointment two days earlier and now I was...a two! "A TWO?!" I thought. "All that, and I'm still only a two!?"

After my epidural it seemed liked one thing after another wasn't going well. My contractions slowed down to every five minutes. My blood pressure and heart rate were both pretty low. In fact, now that I had an epidural and could finally relax I would try to take a nap, only to be awakened by the beeping alarm of my heart rate monitor as soon as I stared to fall asleep because my resting heart rate would dip too low.

Since I hadn't progressed much my doctor wanted to try this weird method of stretching my cervix by inserting essential a balloon filled with saline that would stretch me open to a five. They inserted it (and I was very glad to have an epidural for all that), but my contractions were so strong that during the first contraction after it was inserted the device was pushed right out.

What was most worrisome however, was that as my contractions got more intense every time I had a contraction the baby's heart rate would go down as well (the same thing happened with Julia). They eventually put me on oxygen and turned down the Pitocin (just like with Julia). They soon discovered that if I laid on my right side the baby's heart rate wouldn't go down, but if they tried to turn me on my left side his rate would go down again after each contraction.

It looked like a classic case of an umbilical cord problem, the cord was likely wrapped around Micah's neck (which happens in about one third of births, including Julia). Since it had been a while since my water had broken the doctor decided to insert more water into my uterus to buoy up and loosen the umbilical cord to take some pressure off the baby after each contraction. For a while this seemed to work, but eventually the nurse turned the Pitocin off all the way because the baby's heart rate was still going down after contractions.

Around 5:30 the nurse checked me and said I was a seven and things seemed to be going well. 
But then, around 6:30 there was a shift change with the doctors and my new doctor came in to check me. She said I was only dilated to a five and then looked at my contraction history. I pretty much had not progressed at all since they turned off the Pitocin. The new doctor said that things could just not continue on like they have been because it had been 12 hours since my water broke and I was still not really in active labor. Soon it would have been too long since my water broke and they would have to do a c-section, or my cervix might be swollen in which case they would also have to do a c-section. 

The doctor wanted to try putting me back on the Pitocin for awhile, and if baby continued to not respond well we would have to do a c-section. They slowly increased the Pitocin dose over half an hour and the baby still did not respond well with a dose high enough to dilate me. However that entire time I was on the side that Micah had not done well earlier. At 7:00 p.m. the doctor came in and started talking about doing a c-section and asked how far we were willing to go before we had a c-section. She basically asked if we wanted to go ahead and do the c-section now or wait a little more. Meanwhile the nurse helped flip me to my other side and baby started responding better. I told the doctor I'd like to wait and see how he does on this side. 

The doctor said that was okay, but only if we put a heart rate monitor directly on the baby's head. At 7:10 p.m. the baby was still doing good and the doctor went to put the monitor on the baby. 
To everyone's surprise she said I was a ten and lets deliver this baby! I was shocked because according to them I went from a five to a ten in half an hour. 

The doctor said the baby was was really low and she could literally see his head already. It took a couple minutes to get everything ready for pushing, then I pushed two or three times and he was out! He was born at 7:20 p.m., so we went from talking about a c-section at 7:00 p.m. to having a baby 20 minutes later. It was the most surprising and eventful half hour of my life and in the end I'm just glad that Micah was born healthy and safe.

Micah did have the cord wrapped around his neck, twice, which is why his heart rate would go down right after the contractions. The doctor said it was lucky I was able to push him out so quickly. Apparently I'm pretty good at pushing because Julia was born after just 20 minutes of pushing. I say apparently because for both births I had no feeling at all and was just doing what I thought it should feel like. 

He did great afterwards. They set him up on my belly right away and got him breathing and wiped off. Robert cut the cord, with a little coaxing from the doctor. I had a small tear so they stitched me up, and by the end of the week I could hardly feel it anymore. I felt a lot better after this delivery. Micah was nursing before we left the delivery room and he thankfully hasn't had any problems nursing (besides that he eats a lot!).

We love our little  man!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Family Picture

Just a few pictures.

Our family of four =).

Robert said that out kids coloring are completely opposite, but it's no wonder where it came from if you know my parents.
Micah and Julia. They both have about a 15 second attention span, so if I don't get a good picture on the first couple shots it's probably not going to happen. I'm still trying to get more that I really love.

And here's the little man solo.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Arlington National Cemetery/ Fun with Picasa

While my family was here we went to visit Arlington National Cemetery. The pictures are pretty self explanatory, so to have some fun with this post I edited most of the pictures with the new image processing tools in Picasa.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Easter

First off, here's another picture of Micah in his swing since he does not appear anywhere else in this post. He just doesn't do much besides eat, sleep, poop, and apparently swing.
We had a busy Easter weekend with celebrating Julia's birthday, my family coming to town, and Easter. On Saturday before everyone got here Robert took Julia to the Easter egg hunt at our community center, and a couple hours later to the Easter egg hunt at church.

The setup of the community egg hunt created a bottleneck of kids trying to get to the eggs, so by the time Julia got to where the eggs were all the kids in front of her had almost gotten all the eggs already. Julia ended up with like four eggs, but she didn't care because she didn't know any better. She was thrilled with what she got.

Next they went to ward Easter party where they told all the kids the story of Christ's resurrection and gave them all an empty Easter egg to remember the empty tomb (they collect all the empty eggs from the egg hunt afterwards to use again the next year, so this one the kids got to keep.) Robert said later that if they really wanted to drive that message home they would make all the eggs in the egg hunt empty. Ha!
Julia fared a lot better at this egg hunt.
Not that we needed any extra candy. On Sunday Julia got to find her and Micah's Easter baskets which included plenty of candy.
And then she had her own little Easter egg hunt (which means more candy). It's a good thing we had my family visiting to help us eat all that candy through the rest of the week.
Her uncles joined in to find the eggs that were hardest hidden.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia!

Julia turns three today! We celebrated her birthday last Saturday after my family flew into town. We didn't want to do anything too big, so she also had one little friend come over and her Uncle Kevin and Aunt Ellen come back to celebrate with us. It was a Pinkalicious/Dora party. Pinkalicious because Julia wore her Pinkalicious dress, we had Pinkalicious cupcakes, and had a pink pony pinata that she picked out earlier that week. Dora because we had some Dora party decorations left over from last year.

Miss Julia poses in her Pinkalicious dress.

She got to hit her pinata. Thankfully she wasn't upset that we broke her beloved pink pony. She wanted to play with it all week and I wondered if it would even make it to Saturday in one piece.

It was a drawstring pinata, so after the girls both took a swing at it we let them pull the strings. They got the bottom open, but no candy fell out! I guess the candy was too big for the opening. So we decided to let one of the adults break it all the way. Uncle Kevin got to do the honors and break the pinata.

Gathering their loot.

Julia blows out the candles on her Pinkalicious cupcakes. A lady in the ward made them for us and they looked just like the cupcakes from the book (the book is about a little girl who loves pink and eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink).

And opening presents

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Julia's Meltdown

This is both sad and funny to me. Sad because I wish I could devote enough attention to each child to avoid this kind of behavior. Funny because she's just so cute getting so upset over something that seems really trivial to me.

Before I sat down to nurse Micah I got out two snacks for Julia to choose from, raisins and animal crackers. By the time she decided what she wanted I was already feeding Micah. She got really upset because she wanted me to put away the snack that she didn't choose. But really, she just wanted some attention. If you listen closely she changes her mind on what snack she wants mid-tantrum. The tantrum had already been going on for a while at this point, but I took the camera out when she starting repeating over and over again, "I don't want to be a big girl!" after I told her she was a big girl and could eat her snack without help. I'm going to enjoy showing this one to her when she gets older.

Also, the elusive baby smile

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Happy to see Micah getting a little chub in his cheeks and legs. He was up one pound from his birth weight at his two week doctors appointment. Not that his weight was ever a problem, but he was just so long and skinny it's nice to see he's fattening up. This comes as no surprise to me though because he eats all the time during he day (but he is usually great at night).