Sunday, July 20, 2014

February

I know, I know.  Just leave it be, ok.  It's July, but deal with it.  Way back when.... I already posted about the snow days and some of our fun science from February.  So, we pick up at Valentines Day.

Our family tradition is to dress up in nice clothes and have a really nice meal in as a family.  The tradition started our first year with Ellie as a baby and our not having anyone to babysit, so I decided to surprise Daddy when he got home.  Now, I love that our tradition has grown and makes Valentines Day exciting for the girls too as our celebration includes them.  It has become a lot more work than that first year, but I look forward to continuing the fun tradition for years to come.

Here were our girls dressed up and waiting for Daddy to get home. 

 I love that in this picture they both tried to run away from me with the same mischievous look.  Yeah, they are sisters...
 
 And here I was at 28 weeks pregnant.
Our dinner of crab legs, steak, asparagus, potatoes, strawberries, crescent rolls, and sparkling cider.  It was delicious!
 The best picture we got of our family.
 A picture of Ellie's fancy hair.
 The best picture of MG from the day by far.  She loves her snuggles with Daddy.


A few other quick pictures.  This wasn't a big occasion, but we loved this Broncos diaper baby Kerry and Dad got us for our baby gift.  So cute!

 Also on February 27th Ellie finished her last swim lessons so we could take it easy and prepare before the baby came.  She had a lot of fun this last session with Miss Makayla again.  Hopefully we'll finally get her back in the water here soon!


And, I think that wraps up the random bigger things from February.  The only other thing worth mentioning that happened in February was that my pelvic pain from the pregnancy got so bad so suddenly that I had days I could hardly move around the house without significant pain.  I talked to my doctor and confirmed that I had SPD - symphysis pubis dysfunction.  Basically my body produced too much of the hormone relaxin.  As a result the ligament that connects the pubic bone is too soft and allows the pelvis to twist and tilt, causing pain - sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. After crying at my last doctors appointment we set me up with a physical therapist Steve saw after his ankle surgery and really liked - who also happened to be in our ward.  Dr. Goates got me started with some electric stimulation therapy and core strengthening exercises to help support my pelvis and lower back.  He also constantly realigned me to make sure I wasn't working towards popping my pelvis out (No thanks!) by doing things while I was poorly aligned.  Physical therapy made a significant difference for me in just the first couple of weeks, and I was so glad Steve had seen Dr. Goates and insisted we get in to him right away!  And, that's how I went into March, going to PT once a week and counting down the weeks till our baby would come, praying that my SPD wouldn't get worse and I would still be able to function until then.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Our Newest Girl's Birth Story

Ok, I admit that I'm skipping a couple of holiday and other blogs that I need to catch up on.  However, I want to put the most important blog, the one that everyone wants to see, up before the weeks it may take me to get caught up to this point.

(Quick disclaimer on our limited photos... I find myself really regretting that I didn't remember to grab my Dad's pictures from him and Kerry being here.  So, we may end up posting more pictures later that cover the same time period as this blog.)

That being said.  SHE'S HERE!

Meet Kassidy Noelle Bennett.


Now, to start from the beginning.  Once again, this may be more information than some people want, but this is my journal for Kassidy's birth story, so oh well...

Thursday April 24th I went in for my 37 week appointment after feeling crampy and like I'd maybe had some small contractions.  My doctor agreed he should check me, and we were blown away to find out I wasn't feeling any real contractions yet but was already at 4 cm!  It took 2 days of terrible back labor and my water breaking with Mckayla to get to a 4, so we were beyond surprised.  He had me come back that afternoon and said I was 75% effaced, at a -3, but was definitely more dilated than that morning, around a 4., so he sent us to the hospital.  There we were monitored for a couple hours and the nurses said I wasn't progressing, since I couldn't feel my contractions every 6-7 minutes, so they discharged us.  Apparently being 37 weeks put us pre-term, so they wouldn't do anything to progress labor until I was actively having the baby or hit 39 weeks.  No problem.  We were fine waiting, especially since I wasn't feeling anything yet really.  However, my doctor said he thought I'd be having the baby in the next day or two, and then the nurse told us that being at 75% and a -3 we could be there for a week before we ended up having the baby.  Ok....

So, we told my parents who had come to stay with the girls that we were waiting for a baby that weekend and they went back home to wait for our next call to come watch our soon to be big sisters.

Then we waited.  We didn't do anything to push things until Saturday when I was officially term at 38 weeks, and then just did some walking and normal activities, not wanting to push our baby girl to arrive before she was ready.  And then we waited.  And waited.  It was so strange to not be in a hurry to have a baby and yet now be so impatient because we had to wrap our minds (really suddenly) around the fact that this surreal pregnancy was going to bring a real baby any day now, and then she didn't arrive.  So anti-climatic....

Well, nothing happened that weekend, and Monday I called my doctor (as a nurse suggested I may want to) to make sure I was good to wait till my next appointment or if I needed to come in before Thursday.  The doctor had me come in again and told me that I was still at 75%, still at a -3, but was now at 5 cm.  The other doctor at the practice just shook his head and laughed at me as I left.  But, I still couldn't feel my contractions, so I didn't feel too bad about us progressing without pain.  Our only real concern was that as soon as I could feel regular or strong contractions I could progress really rapidly and so we were ordered to go to the hospital if I could feel my contractions regularly.  

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling crampy again and then started feeling some contractions.  Every once in a while I had one that made me stop, so I called my cousin Dayna to come stay with the girls while my folks drove the 2.5 hours here and Steve and I went to the hospital.  Where my contractions became irregular and I stopped feeling them much again...  We were still at a 5, but after a few hours of being watched and 45 minutes of walking, we were sent home to wait until my contractions became stronger and more regular.

Later that night we spent time with my parents and then got the girls to bed.  I was having irregular contractions still, so we decided to go walk around at 11:00 at night - which meant walking laps around Walmart for an hour.  My contractions were getting more regular, but still 10-15 minutes apart.  We headed home to see if the contractions would keep up even when I wasn't actively pushing myself.  We figured that things would calm down and we'd head to bed, but instead my contractions started getting stronger and more regular although still about 10 minutes apart.  

At about 2:00 AM we decided we'd take yet another shot at the hospital even though I felt stupid getting sent home, just in case I was progressing so we wouldn't end up getting to the hospital too late for my epidural.  We arrived at the hospital and were observed for a little while and told we were now at a 6.  We got checked in as the contractions started to really hit me hard.  I was already wondering how long till my epidural.  Thankfully, my nurses told me they had already called the anesthesiologist and he would be coming soon.  I was now at a 7 and could barely get through the contractions which were coming fast and hard.  I was rubbing my fists across my forehead over and over trying to get through the contractions since I tend to deal with pain inwardly.  (My forehead was really sore Wednesday...)

After one blown IV, one good IV, and some excruciating time, the anesthesiologist arrived and I was done with my epidural around 4:15 or 4:30.  My doctor broke my water, put us on a little pitocin, said we should all get some sleep and that he'd plan to see us again in 2-5 hours since it usually takes around that much time to progress from a 7.

Twenty minutes later, I woke up with increasing pain in my left side.  I hit my button for more pain medication, but it didn't help.  I told my nurse, and she had me hit the button again, but still no help.  I started feeling every contraction just in my left side, and the nurse called the anesthesiologist to give me a "boulson" whatever that is.  I know it was another shot of drugs in my epidural, and it didn't help.  I was laying on my left side hoping to numb that side, holding to my bed crying through every contraction.

My nurse then told me that sometimes if the epidural doesn't touch the pain it's because the baby has moved down already and is causing too much pressure.  She checked me and then asked me if I just wanted to have a baby instead of trying anything else for the pain.  She told Steve at about 5:30 it was time to put the bed up to have a baby and went for the doctor.  Apparently if you get your epidural and then progress that quickly and are that close to the birth, then it can't always keep up.  AWFUL.  But, at least we just had to push through enough contractions to get the baby out.  Needless to say, Steve and I were VERY glad we didn't wait longer to come to the hospital!

When Dr. Logstan arrived my boulson (however that's spelled) finally started to numb the left side, and he said he could already see her head without our having done anything yet.  They told me when I was having my first contraction and I pushed once, twice, and her head was out.  One more small push and our girl was born on April 30th, 2014 at 5:53 AM.

Fun fact, she probably goes in the record books for messiest birth.  She was wrapped in the cord a bit and had some back pressure behind her, so as soon as she came out she squirted blood and fluid all around the room.  She hit Steve, the doctor, nurse, me, and several feet around us all across the room.  The nurse later recommended I not drink my juice that was surrounded by blood splatter...  Gross, but highly entertaining to Steve and I on about an hour or less of sleep in the last day and a half.

I had some minimal stitches, so Steve is 3 for 3 when getting to spend time with our girls first when they are born.  Kassidy was 7 lbs 15.8 oz, so basically 8 lbs, and 20 inches long.  She was really cheesy with vernix, and had a full head of hair.  She seems so tiny to us after Mckayla!  


Steve and I took turns taking short catnaps and then finally got down to discussing her name.  I had a strong impression where the name Kassidy popped into my head on our way to our gender ultrasound.  After finding out we were having another girl, I mentioned the name to Steve and we both really liked it, so we were fairly sure that was going to be her name.  We spent as much time working on middle names as we did back-up first names.  We really liked Kassidy Noelle going into the hospital, but based on our previous naming experiences, were surprised that we ended up using it.

That evening Steve went home and brought my Dad, Kerry, Ellie, and Mckayla to come meet our newest family member.  Ellie and Mckayla were both really excited to see her and Ellie loves calling her "Kassidy Noelle" whenever she says her name.  Mckayla is excited to constantly say "baby!" whenever she sees or hears her.

You could tell the girls were a bit stressed out by the whole thing though as Ellie cried and cried when it came time for Steve to take them home.  Ellie is a total Daddy's girl, but she was clinging to me crying about leaving, and when Mckayla gave me hugs goodbye she got tighter and tighter each time someone tried to come get her.  I cried as I heard Ellie yell "Mommy!" out in the hallway as they left.  Most loved and yet one of the worst feelings I have had as a mother.  I love our girls.
Ellie keeps saying that she has two babies now, Mckayla and Kassidy.  There are times when Mckayla seems so big to us, but I have to admit, there are a lot of times where I think Ellie is dead on - we have two babies now.  Here is our old baby holding our new baby.

Kassidy followed in her older sisters' footsteps of being a great sleeper who we had to wake up to feed in the hospital, and still sleeps a lot at home.  

We were released Thursday after lunch to come home and are now working on settling into the routine of having 3 kids.  It has been wonderful to be back to some normal mom duties at home and to spend time with the older girls as we hopefully send them the message that they are still just as loved as ever.  I admit I am hormonal, tired, and everything else that comes with that territory, but Steve and I were both pretty emotional being home and seeing the excitement and joy of our older girls that first night with our whole family together at home again.  I am grateful we've had and will continue to have help keeping them busy over the next several days, and look forward to Steve being home for this summer, but it's also been nice that I have been much higher functioning and less beat up this time than after past deliveries.  

It's going to be a wild ride here for a while, I'm sure, but we are so glad to have Kassidy here finally, and look forward to the fun and love that our family will get to experience as a result.  Welcome Miss Kassidy Noelle!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Frozen, like you've never seen it before.

So like every other girl in America, Ellie and Mckayla are obsessed with the movie Frozen.  Our girls can recognize the first few notes of the song "Let it go" at at least 500 yards.

Whenever a song from Frozen comes on, everything stops and our girls engage in some very active listening.  So for your enjoyment we present Ellie and Mckayla performing (emphasis on PERFORMING) "Let it Go" for your viewing pleasure.

video

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My New Hobby

I have no idea why, but I suddenly got interested in how to do a curving braid in Ellie's hair.  So, I used the power of youtube.  However, I'm not very good at it yet, so every day is a new adventure and ends up with my doing her hair in new and slightly different ways.  These are just a few of the many hairstyles I have played with on Ellie lately.  There are even more hairstyles, but these are just a few of the pictures I've taken on my phone to document my learning process - and pride that I may eventually be a mom whose daughters have cute hairstyles!  I know it's not really an important thing, but it's another way I feel like I'm learning - slowly - to be a better mom of our girls.






Probably the most elaborate one I've tried, this was Ellie's Valentine's hairdo.  Post to come on that.

This last one was my latest youtube adventure in making a braided headband that goes all the way across the front.  I still need work to get faster and neater.  Thank goodness for morning cartoons while I do her hair each day!

But there you go, my adventures in learning to be more feminine.  I have to admit, the whole thing is kind of entertaining since I still don't even own a curling iron or do much more than put ponytails in my own hair....

Snow Days!

The beginning of February brought A LOT of snow to our area.  Tri-Cities is a desert.  It's rare for us to get any snow that sticks to the ground for more than a few hours.  In our 5 winters in the area, this is our second that has had significant snow, and for the first time I regretted that the girls have no snow gear.  That's because our desert suddenly had 8 inches of snow on the ground.  For days!

So, February 7th found Ellie and I playing in the snow.  We didn't last long in the 20 degree weather, but we enjoyed making little snow castles and drawing letters with our footprints and sticks.  We also enjoyed our warm hot chocolate after our snow time was done.

 A few days later Ellie finally got more snow time, which she'd been asking for in the couple too cold and too busy days in between.  She got to enjoy new snow with Daddy this time.  He does better with the cold than Mommy does...
 This is the much bigger snow castle they made together
 Right before Ellie decided she was hilarious if she leveled it.
 Our happy little snow girl.
In the future we may have to keep some snow gear around.  Ellie loved the snow, and our only regret was that our fluff was all so dry that we couldn't build any snowmen or anything more complex than our "castles".  Ellie still enjoyed her winter adventure though!

Daddy-Daughter Science

I just wanted to document how amazing Steve is as a father.  I know we've mentioned before that Ellie has ridiculous science understanding for a three year old, but both our girls also benefit from almost weekly hands-on adventures in science with their Dad.

Steve does a great job of coming up with kid-friendly experiments, and the girls love learning form Daddy.  Here are just a few of our recent adventures in science from the past couple of months.

This first picture is of a homemade lava lamp Steve made for the girls.  It was really neat to watch, and Mckayla loved saying "Bubbles!" over and over.
 Science makes these girls happy.

These next pictures are of an experiment where you place salt on different ice forms and then add colored water to paint the pockmarks and crevasses that form from the ice melting where the salt is.  Mckayla hammed it up for the camera while watching Daddy and Sister.  This girl gets more and more personality every day!
 I love Steve's expression of satisfaction in his girl's joy from science.
Some of Ellie's ice art.
 Our cute little scientist.
 On a total tangent here, everyone says our girls look like their Dad.  However, this picture looked familiar to me, so I looked up a picture of me around the same age.  Yeah, this girl is definitely mine...

 Back to the science, here are a couple pictures of "dancing raisins."




 The girls have also enjoyed fun with dry ice and bubbles, and most recently Ellie learned about osmosis by soaking gummy bears in water.  Yeah, our kids' teachers will probably hate us....

Just so I can say that I contribute in the least, Ellie is also getting really good at identifying first letters and sounds in words, knows fourteen 2D shapes and is starting on 3D shapes, and is now starting to really understand AB patterns and rhyming.  I can't take credit for everything, since Ellie has learned a lot from preschool this year, including months of the year, days of the week, etc.  Once again, her teachers are DEFINITELY going to hate us.

Christmas Break

So you'll have to forgive me, but I have started taking fewer and fewer pictures lately.  Part of this is due to the fact that I am trying not to interrupt moments and enjoy them at times.  Part of this is also due to the fact that it's almost impossible to take pictures of a 1 and 3 year old when you are busy keeping them out of trouble, especially at big events or in public.  This means that although we took pictures of a few events, I am once again indebted to grandparents who are better about taking pictures than I am.

I did document our Christmas tree at home, as well as the easel we gave the girls as their big present from Mom and Dad this year, which we weren't willing to haul across two states to give them.

Christmas break was not as busy as normal for us in Preston this year as we all got the virus Mckayla got croup from.  It totally tanked us and zapped our energy, so we didn't do much adventuring.  Instead we stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa at home much more and had a relaxing break.  The girls enjoyed time playing with the local farm cat that loves abuse from Grandpa.

Then we hit every family house for the holidays.  We spent Christmas Eve with Steve's sister Sheri and her kids for a great soup dinner and the traditional Bennett pinata.

 We then headed to Steve's sister Kathy and her family's house for Christmas Eve night and opened presents there with the girls Christmas morning.  The girls' loot from Santa and us (minus their easel).
The girls did well.  For once they actually loved and play daily with all of their gifts!

We then headed to Steve's last sister Lori and her family's house for family gifts and dinner Christmas afternoon and evening.  (Mckayla sporting her new hat her cousin Erin made her, and Steve and I opening our fabulous picnic kit from Lori and Curtis.)
 These are the girls' Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls Grandma made them for Christmas this year.  So cute!
It was busy, but it was fun!  Especially as it may be a last hoorah for us as the girls get older and we think about spending more holidays at home.

Later in the week our niece watched the kids so all the adults could go watch the second installment of The Hobbit in theaters.  Then on the 30th everyone was at least fairly healthy, so we took the girls to a place called Hardware Ranch in Hyrum, Utah.  These were just a few of the MANY turkeys we saw on the road.
The ranch is an open area where they feed the elk and they come and go as they please.  They take small groups on sleighs out to see the elk up close though.  This was us keeping the girls busy in line for our turn.
The girls really enjoyed seeing the elk, and we enjoyed seeing them up close as the dorky biology teacher and his increasingly dorky wife.
 It was fun seeing a few fawns that still had spots, were nursing, and crying to their moms.
 Mckayla really liked the great big work horses that pulled the sleighs.  Ellie talked about them for days after by name, but now I can't remember what their names were, only that they were a mother daughter team.
 It was BEAUTIFUL out there!

Yeah, and this was a slow visit for us!  We had a lot of fun, as always, and we always miss Preston and being so near to family whenever we leave.

But, New Years Eve we headed out and arrived in Spokane the day after Mckayla conked her noggin.  On New Years Day we got together and Grandma Sun and Papa Rose's house to open gifts.  This was Ellie waiting for stockings, and I love/hate this picture because Ellie is so cute, but looks so big to me here!
 All four cousins lined up and opening stockings.  I love that Mckayla saw a clip-clop princess in the top of her stocking and decided she was good and that Aubrey made a good spot to pile her stocking.
 Yeah, she may eventually give Ellie a run for her money when it comes to who likes princesses more.
 This was Ellie's favorite part of her stocking.  Anything owl gets called her "O the owl ______" thanks to Daniel Tiger, and she loves this hat.
Wyatt and Ellie were both excited about the girls' new train set.
 Our girls are just cute.
 Mckayla opened these soft new jammies and fell in love.  As she opened gifts, played with toys, walked around.... she never dropped these the rest of the morning.
 Juls and Jen.
 Steve and I.

The next day we also met up with Grandma Moon and went to Red Robin for lunch.  It was great to see so much family over the holidays, even if we ended up spending the last few days of break with Mckayla sick or in the ER in Spokane.  We always look forward to the holidays and how much time we get to spend with family that we just don't see often enough!