Saturday, May 23, 2015

Slumber Party of Five.

Well, we did it.  Our first full family overnight away from home.  I suppose we kind of cheated (and it was more like a Slumber Party of Four) because we brought Rowdy to his favorite place ever, doggie daycare, buuuuuuut we still had to get everyone ready and out of the house, so we'll count it.  Besides the pack and play Angie brought, we brought food (for us and Myra), another pack and play, blanket, pillow, sound machine, baby monitor, diaper bag, diapers (cloth takes up more space), travel high chair, clothes/PJs, frozen breast milk+bottle, my pump, random overnight stuff (toothbrushes, face wash), beer, and of course the kids+car seats.

Last weekend we packed up and headed to our friend Dan's house.  Dan is actually my best friend's brother.  He and his roommate let us all move in for the night and the dudes held down the fort with the kiddos while Angie and I rocked out to Billy Joel at the Target Center.  It was SUCH a good concert.  Besides the surprise opening act of Gavin DeGraw, Billy Joel sounded awesome and he.was.hilarious.  Very entertaining, great music, played everything we hoped to hear, and a much needed night out with my pal.  Sorry for the junky concert photos, I'm too lazy to upload the actual videos.  Maybe someday when I'm bored (HA!).

From what I hear, bedtime could have been better (there was a barking dog/baby waking incident and Myra has been very independent with bedtime especially "Myra to do it!") but really the night went very well.  We all slept in one room which was confirmation that we should not be doing such a thing.  We have never bed shared with either kid and Myra has never even slept in our room.  Neither of us is a huge fan of having Niko in our room, but it makes the most sense for right now.  So, having all of us in one room is definitely new.  Luckily, we had a pack and play for each kid and spread them apart as much as possible.  Niko slept well, woke up to nurse twice but let us sleep in until after 8 (close to 9??).  Myra did fine, too, except when she did her usual tossing and turning at night (typically no big deal and she falls right back asleep on her own), she realized we were in the room and wanted to chit chat.  "Hi Mommy!  It's Niko!"

And, for funzies, some random photos from the last week:

Grandma brought this for the day and Myra LOVED it

Helping Daddy clean up the sand box

Our first semi-short-notice house showing and it's nap time? No problem

Warrior's Pride wrap (red, white, and blue + yellow for support our troops and teal for PTSD awareness)

Doing tummy time with her baby

Babywearing isn't just for babies, hard to see the black wrap on black shirt

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spread the Lovey!

I wrote this post after a friend wanted me to test out one of her favorite loveys by Baby Jack & Co, but it didn't work out to get one to me in time for today's focus on military families. Despite the fact that I realized they're a Wisconsin company (I kid, I kid), these things look adorable and come in a variety of colors and themes including an American flag one. Though it didn't work out for me to get one in time to post about it today, Myra loves her lovey so much I wanted to hit Publish on this one anyway.  In an effort to help #SpreadTheLovey (helping get these loveys to littles who may have an extra need for a security item, click link for more info on this campaign), TheBabyGuyNYC is doing a giveaway today!  Click the link to get to his Facebook page for more info and to enter.  Also, Baby Jack & Co. is donating a % of all their proceeds from today through Monday to The Carrying On Project, a favorite non-profit of mine.  They help get baby carriers to military families in need, whether it be a spouse who needs to free up her hands while a service member is deployed, an injured service member needing a way to hold his/her child, or providing a way to nurture the parent/child bond in a world with many periods of separation.

Anyone who has spent 10 minutes with us knows how attached Myra is to "Baby."  While we do have a few boundaries with her (Baby doesn't go to school or the library), Baby pretty much goes everywhere.  The combination of Myra being a thumb sucker and having a lovey has made my life so much easier.  More importantly, Baby is by far the number one way to comfort Myra.  If she wakes up in the middle of the night, no matter the reason, our first instinct is to say "where's Baby? do you need Baby? let's get your Baby!"  I kid you not, we regretted not including Baby in our holiday card photo last year because she is that much a part of our family.  I have a photo of Baby ready to be printed next time I order prints so I can put it in a frame for Myra.  Especially considering the added amount of pain and illness Myra has gone through due to her FPIES, Baby sure has come in handy.  Note: we actually have a rotation of 3 babies so we will hopefully never be without her.


Myra rubs Baby's hair between her fingers while sucking her thumb as she falls asleep

Needless to say, I sure hope Niko finds a lovey to provide him the same amount of comfort.  The most stressful (downright scary!) part of having a lovey like Baby is the fear of losing it and/or the fear that we won't be able to replace it (the reason I bought two extras for Myra).  I actually got a lovey for Niko, a MN Gophers lovey from a friend's shop, but Myra stole it and insists on sleeping with her "Go Gopher," too.

While we haven't had a deployment since becoming parents, we have had to say goodbye to Trevor often for as long as 3+ weeks which is a long time for small kiddos!  Whether the need for comfort comes from simply missing Daddy or the need for Mommy to divide time while solo parenting (surprisingly, I can't do everything all at the same time), I have found comfort knowing Myra has the tools to soothe herself.  To be honest, it gives Trevor something to talk about with Myra while he is away and upon his return.  She's too little to tell him what happened two weeks ago, but she will talk about things she has done with her baby all day long.  I love being able to bring a comforting piece of home with us when we travel (which we do as much as possible with two small children).  Again, I would love for Niko to have all of this, too.  While it does make sense to treat Myra's security object as a part of our family since it's a stuffed person, I think any security object could do the same.  We could just as easily recognize a blanket, pillow, or sensory taggie as Niko's BFF (pet rocks, anyone??).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Three Months with Two Kids.

Wow - these past three months have been BUSY.  We have so much happening right now, I'm grateful for all Myra taught us in her first four months and even more grateful we haven't had the same struggles with Niko.  I'll break it down for you.  This one is a doozy (weird, right?).

Big Sister Stuff
Like most parents (I think), one of my biggest fears when having another child was how it would affect Myra.  In the long run, I knew it would be great for all of us-we were giving her a sibling; however, we had no idea what sort of growing pains we might have to deal with.  I'm pleased to say there has been absolutely zero new baby drama.  The first week after Niko was born, Myra regressed in her potty training a bit, but that was over as quickly as it started.  If he really gets going crying, she will cover her ears and sometimes do this obnoxious screechy cry herself, but I can't blame her.  She absolutely adores Niko and gets bummed when he is sleeping.  She'll ask, or even try, to go get him.  If I have him in a wrap/baby carrier, she often asks to see him (his face).  She loves to talk to him and says adorable things like "there's my smile, buddy!" and "Maybe he does want his Nuk!"  Sometimes she even wakes up crying asking to see him.  She still cites her Big Sister book and talks about helping Niko be "warm and cozy."  She loves to do what I do, she uses a kid sized neck pillow as a Boppy to nurse her baby ("baby needs some milk!") then burps her ("we're burping together! two burpings!").

New Baby Stuff
Niko is great.  He is currently sleeping in a crib in our room and usually sleeps all night (8pm until 530/630am).  Sometimes he will nurse once during the night which is fine because it usually allows me to sleep in a little longer in the morning.  I do, however, have to reach over and shove his pacifier in his mouth quite a few times throughout the night so I am anxiously waiting for him to find his thumb.  He's trying so hard!  Babies are hard, newborns are a-holes, I stand by all that, but there have only been just a couple nights where Trevor and I have given each other the "WHAT DID WE DO?!?!?!?!" look.  Babywearing has been a lifesaver and I have been incredibly intentional about getting him to sleep in his crib.  When Niko first came home, we did a few days of musical where-will-the-baby-sleep-best and landed on "on mommy's chest" which is neither the safest nor most comfortable option.  I slept on the couch for the first 8 weeks (don't be sad for me, our couch is awesome) and gradually worked Niko into sleeping on his crib mattress on the floor.  At 8 weeks, I moved back into my room and brought the crib mattress with me.  Just a few days ago, we put it into a legit crib situation.  These have all been informed decisions that I've felt a decent amount of guilt about because I know the guidelines about infant sleep, but I also know the importance of a well rested family (heck, even semi-rested family).  I've learned you really can't force a newborn to do anything, so I just kept working towards the safest goal.  He also sleeps on his tummy which is not my favorite, but hopefully he learns to roll over himself sooner than later so I can let that go, too.  Myra never slept in our room and I have confirmed I do not enjoy a baby in my room, but it is temporary and it's working-at least he's not in our bed.  I could go on and on about the fussy evenings, crazy gas, refusing to be put down, refusing to be held by anyone but me, loud crying, not wanting to go BACK to sleep during middle of the night wake ups, and all the newborn stuff that makes me bonkers, but we're just creeping out of that stage and I'm not feeling inclined to reminisce. So, hopefully simply mentioning all of those things will suffice.  Today Niko rolled over (from belly to back) for the first time so that was fun -- one of his first milestones!

Breastfeeding Stuff
Thankfully I don't have too much to say here, but I thought I would give this its own little section.  If you're not interested in breastfeeding stuff, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Niko was a tad sleepy with nursing at first in the hospital.  I wasn't concerned and just kept trying and he caught on really well.  My milk came in, tons of it (very common for the first 6-8 weeks or so), he bounced back up to his birth weight by 7 days old (awesome!), etc.  Then right around the 6 week mark I started having some pain, more on one side than the other.  I decided it was due to a lazy latch in the middle of the night one night and I would try not to let stuff like that slide and hoped it healed quickly because OUCH.  Niko continued to be a bit chompy on that side which was so, so, so painful.  Most women have a lesser producing/slower flow side and that's the side that was painful, so I figured he was annoyed.  I started pumping on that side while he nursed on the other side (and continuing to nurse both sides as well) to increase my milk supply and hopefully even it out.  That was not fun either because my poor nipple never got a break.  I had a crack and occasional bleeding and there was crying and it was awful.  If we hadn't had so many issues with Myra which terrified me to try formula with Niko, I'm pretty sure I would have given up.  I just cried.  I know breastfeeding doesn't always come easily, but to have this much pain start at 6 weeks seemed nuts.  I broke down and made a lactation appointment to make sure his latch looked good, no tongue or lip ties, etc.  Everything looked perfect but the nurse noted that with the amount of redness I had, I should go see my doctor if it didn't improve in a few days.  Well, I'm stubborn and waited a week with no change so I finally made an appointment with whomever could get me in.  As it turns out, I had been dealing with thrush that whole time, not poor latch, which is why nothing was getting better no matter what I did.  By now it's been over 6 weeks of this nonsense.  Things really started improving last week but then the pain came back.  I've been doing all sorts of tricks to try and kick this thrush (yeast) to the curb and today has been better, so hopefully I'm on the mend...again.  I have no evidence Niko has/had it, but with how long I've been battling it I don't see how he could have dodged it.  I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor in a week, so if it makes a comeback again we can figure out a new plan together.  All that said, I'm so glad I didn't quit nursing.  It was so tempting and I was just miserable, but he was gaining weight well, not having any issues like Myra did, and his latch was great, so I didn't want to give up.  I just needed an explanation for the pain and a plan to make it go away -- hopefully we're on our way now.  (Photos: Gentian violet is a very common and generally quite effective thrush treatment.  It's also very messy.)

Two Kids Stuff
I've pretty much covered it all, but I just want to give a couple examples that show how, even though things are going really really well with two kids, ish still gets crazy sometimes.  Last week, Myra woke up in the middle of the night flipping out and I couldn't figure out why or make it stop...which woke Niko up...and I was home alone.  Juggling two crying children in the middle of the night is even more annoying than it sounds.  This has happened at least twice.  (Note: I eventually figured out Myra's seasonal allergies are back and she's been sleeping much better now that she is back on Zyrtec.)  Tonight, Niko and Myra were ready for bed at the exact same time.  I picked the kid who is most self sufficient (Myra) and got her to bed first while Niko was whining off and on during her bedtime routine, how relaxing.  She was messing around in her crib while I was feeding Niko and getting him ready for bed, no big deal.  Just a couple minutes after Niko had fallen asleep in my lap, Myra starts whining and escalates quickly.  I checked our video monitor and she had gotten herself stuck in her crib rails thigh deep.  The only way to get her out of that mess is to shove it back through which results in shrieking and much more crying all while Niko is right next door so I'm in panic mode to just make it stop so I don't have a crying circus on my hands.  I'm sure you've noticed the bruised goose egg on Myra's forehead.  That was the result of letting her entertain herself (run run run run up and down the kitchen) while I was tending to Niko and cooking supper.  Myra launched herself into the corner of a drawer she left open.  I don't get too worked up about injuries ("brush it off!") but I didn't know where she hit and what was injured, just that she was freaking out big time.  Thankfully Myra is a great communicator and was able to show me where she got hurt even while crying so hard she couldn't breathe.  Naturally, Niko wasn't just giggling peacefully by himself through all of this, he got worked up, too.  So, while I love both of these kids and things really are going quite well, there has definitely been some crazy, too.

School Stuff
Myra and Niko are both in ECFE classes this spring.  Myra has so much fun there and her teachers are her heroes.  She loves going to the SibCare room just as much as she loves going to her actual class and she gets excited to "drop him off" at SibCare so we can have some one-on-one time.  Trevor just finished the marathon that was earning his Bachelor's Degree.  Graduation was last weekend and what an accomplishment that was, for all of us!  He spent the last 14 years working towards that goal, taking breaks for three deployments, being put on orders to work full time for the Guard, a marriage, buying a house, a dog, two babies, you get the idea.  Now he has the summer off of school work and will begin dental school in August.  We will miss our local ECFE dearly when we move, but look forward to making friends in a new program near our new home.

House Stuff
Putting your house on the market while being the primary caregiver for a toddler and a newborn (and recovering from childbirth yourself) is not my favorite combination of things I've ever done.  I am not meant to be a neat freak and I have taken 4, possibly 5, naps since bringing Niko home from the hospital.  My house has never been cleaner, but I can totally understand why people say to forget the cleaning and just enjoy your kids.  I do the best I can to do both, but as soon as our house sells I will cut back on the cleaning big time.  It's stressful.  We have had an open house and 15 showings so far and I'm exhausted.  Trevor has definitely helped with the big stuff and done the best he can, but a lot of this has fallen on me (which is fine, life has been nuts for him, too).  Again, babywearing has been a life saver.  To everyone who keeps asking us if we've found a new place to live yet -- no.  And actually, that's not really how it works.  Our house hasn't sold yet, so there's that, and rentals are much more short notice for the most part.  We have looked to get an idea of what's out there, but most everything is available immediately or June 1st and we don't really want to move until July at the earliest.

Helping her baby do the "activity"

Keeping busy with most of our toys packed


Killing time during our open house
Work Stuff
Trevor is busy as usual with his Guard stuff.  "One weekend a month and two weeks a year" turns into "four day weekends a month, sometimes more and three+ weeks a year...oh and LOTS of emails and phone calls in between, usually during supper or at bedtime."  I'm not complaining, it is what it is, just trying to point out that it definitely keeps him/US busy.  I went back to work gradually when Niko was 8 weeks old.  I have a beautiful position doing something I love, part time, with the opportunity to completely create my own schedule and even complete some of my duties from home as needed.  I don't really get into the specifics of my job on social media due to the nature of my position.

Food Stuff
We did our last semi-risky food trial for a while in January, before Niko was born - white beans and Myra has done fine on them.  We picked some foods with really high pass rates to do for a while as we adjusted to all the changes happening in our family.  There have been no food issues with any trials lately and we're starting to consider throwing a few riskier foods into the mix.  I even have a little nagging voice in my head telling me she may be outgrowing FPIES, but I don't have the courage for that just yet.  We will start with some generally risky foods in the near future, then foods risky for Myra in specific (three of her scariest incidents involved legumes, so we'd start with a different legume).  If all of that goes well, we'll discuss challenging previous fails.  Many kids outgrow their FPIES by age 3 and she'll be 2.5 in July, so keep your fingers crossed for us!  So far, Niko has really shown no signs of FPIES.  He's a gassy baby, but I expected no less considering the man I married ;)  We're certainly not in the clear, but optimistic.  We were having major issues with Myra at this point.  Today we restarted our tomato trial.  Last week I gave her a cherry tomato and she wasn't so sure, so we switched to ketchup and she was definitely a fan.  Luckily she has already passed onions and corn, both are ingredients in ketchup.

Dog Stuff
Last but not least, Rowdy, our first child.  He is adapting well despite the chaos.  He gets a little antsy and definitely barks more (protective, I assume), but he's such a good boy.  I wish I could explain to him that this time of year is tough, new baby or not (cold, rain, plus the house prep stuff) but I just do the best I can to get him exercise.  Myra loves going for walks, so if it's at all nice outside we take advantage.  He has been going to his favorite place EVER, doggy daycare, a little more often lately until our house sells.  He needs the exercise and attention and we're happy to send him.  A tired dog is a good dog.  :)

Blog Stuff
I really want to do better!  Now that Trevor has started a weekly activity again, I'll get some weekly 'me-time' too.  I have very low standards for this and I usually choose some combination of coffee, nap, book reading, and blogging.  I have a handful of drafts in the works, just need to finish them up!  I also plan to update the photos on my page to include our newest family member.

No fancy ending here -- I'll try to be better about the posts...again.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baby Names.

Well, I think we're done having babies.  Before you get all "never say never!" on me, I know.  We could change our minds and we have no plans to do anything permanent to prevent more kids right now, but I feel like we're done.  Trevor feels like we're done.  (And not just because Niko was a boy, don't get me started on that perfect family nonsense.)  Also, mind your own beeswax.  If we do change our minds some day (many years from now), I imagine we will start from scratch with names, so why not share our favorites for now?

I just can't name a baby until we meet.  I like having options and seeing their squishy face before choosing.  We decided to go with family (or family+friend for Niko) names for middle names which mostly made things easier, but did provide some restrictions.  Baby names have also been pretty top secret during pregnancies for us because everyone has an opinion and I'm just not interested.  The suspense is fun, too.

For Myra, our top girl names were Myra and Anissa.  Our top boy name was Silas, but we also liked Liam (though I really don't think we would have picked it).  We didn't get too into boy names since we found out Myra was a girl at 20 weeks.  Click here to read Myra's birth story.

For Niko, we did not find out the sex until he was born.  Our top girl name was Esme and top boy name was Niko (Nikolai), but Judah put up a good fight the last week or two even after he was born.  I struggled with names enough, I just kind of let it go once we had names we both liked.  Not knowing the sex definitely made this process more difficult.  Heck, I even got so desperate I wrote to Swistle!  See the link here.  I really loved, and still do, the names Rissa (girl) and Chester (boy), but Trevor didn't love either of them like I did, especially not the yucky teasing nickname that came to mind with Chester.  Click here to read Niko's birth story.

Fun fact about our kids' names that we didn't realize until we already decided we liked Niko (Nikolai) a lot and I did some Googling:

From the Latin Nicolaus, a derivative of the Greek Nikolaos (victory of the people), a compound name composed of the elements nikÄ“ (victory) and laos (the people). The name was borne by St. Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop of Myra who is regarded as the patron saint of Russia and Greece, and of children, sailors, and wolves.  (from Baby Name Wizard)

Oh, and their first initials are M and N, as in in Minnesota.  Filing that away for future tattoo ideas...

Throughout pregnancies, these are the other names we tossed around.  We wanted something unique, so anything "top 200" or "up and coming" was out.  Many of these names are pretty popular which is why they didn't make the cut.

Some favorite baby naming websites are: Swistle, Nymbler, Baby Name Wizard, Nameberry, and the good old Social Security site.  The book Cool Names for Babies was a fun and different read, too.

Esme (first choice girl name for Baby 2 thanks to Swistle suggestions)
Anissa (this was #1 for our first pregnancy and our second choice for Myra)
Delilah (the song Hey There Delilah was very special to us during our first deployment together)
Mila/Myla (this was Trevor's inspiration for Myra)
Nell (second choice girl name for Baby 2 even though it's already being used in the family)

Niko (Nikolai)
Silas (this was #1 since our first pregnancy but got too popular for us)
Percy (I still love this, but would have needed a longer version and wasn't sold on Percival)
Judah (our initial thought for Niko. but after three hours we still just couldn't commit to it)
Chester (though it wouldn't have made the cut because people are cruel with nicknames)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Niko's Birth Story.

I started this a little early so I could keep all my end of pregnancy updates in one place.  Click here for Myra's birth story.  All the awesome photos are courtesy of the fabulous Angie Knutson Photography (AKP in captions), the cell phone photos are property of yours truly ;)

January 21, 2015, 37 weeks.  168 pounds (up about 30-33 pounds from pre-pregnancy).  Cervix high but very soft, dilated almost 3cm.  Group B Strep test: negative.  37 week update with Myra.  37.5 week appointment with Myra.

January 22, 2015, 9pm.  37+1  Feeling crampy, like menstrual cramps, not Braxton Hicks.  I assume it's nothing exciting, but I'm naturally dying to know when this baby will come so here I sit wondering... It went away after maybe half an hour.

January 27, 2015, 1pm.  37+6  That strange feeling you get in your back when dehydrated, like my kidneys hurt.  I've actually had more water so far today than usual.  I also feel a bit flushed randomly.  Clearly I'm aware of every little thing these days...

January 28, 2015, 38 weeks.  173 pounds.  Fifty percent effaced and I thought my doctor said +1 station, but the online notes say -1, dilated 4-5cm.  Fundal height (uterus) has been measuring right on all along, but today measured 32-33 weeks.  Doctor and I both assumed all is well (I figure baby is just settling in, but she said that doesn't typically change measurements), but ordered growth scan/fluid check ultrasound just to be safe.  Baby's head still measuring 2 weeks ahead (Myra had/has a giant head, too), baby's stomach measuring right on, and I didn't look when the tech checked the legs though I was very tempted.  Weight estimate was 7 pounds, 2 ounces.  My doctor emailed in the evening and said baby's growth and amount of fluid both looked great, so all is well.  I'm aware the dilation doesn't mean anything will happen soon, but it likely could happen quickly when it does.  Today was enough of a push to get me to install the car seat bases in the car though.  I haven't packed a hospital bag yet, though I don't really need much.

38 weeks + 6 days
February 4, 2015, 39 weeks.  171 pounds.  I lost a few pounds during my last week with Myra, too.  I've been pooping at least twice a day for over a week now, my body is running out of room and/or getting ready...probably both.  Doctor said "definitely 5cm...5+" today, but the online notes say 5-6cm, 50% effaced, -1 station.  Belly measured 37 weeks today.  I had what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions exactly 6 minutes apart for 30 minutes tonight, then nothing.  With Myra, real labor contractions definitely felt different, so I wasn't holding my breath.  Myra has been extra clingy and had a couple wonky nights of sleep--maybe she knows something we don't?!

February 7, 2015, 1-3:30am.  Contractions that felt like the real deal (and not Braxton Hicks).  They were 8-12 minutes apart and not super regular, so I kept waiting "just one more" to wake Trevor.  Finally at about 3:15am I decided I should wake him.  I said "I think we should probably call your mom," (to come stay with Myra) and his half-asleep response was, "Why?"  Anyway, his alarm was set for 3:30am since he had to get to drill.  Of course, once I woke him they stopped.  He was all "do I get ready for drill? Are we having a baby? What is happening?"  I told him to go about his morning and if they continued, we'd call his mom and the photographer.  They didn't and I fell asleep sometime after 4am.

February 8, 2015, 11:30am.  I lost a glob of mucous which felt like a small water leak, but nope.  Lost a little more later in the day.  I guess I could say I had more nesting urges today, nothing actually useful, of course.  Our kitchen needs to be cleaned something fierce, but instead I organized clothes and picked out a bunch that need to get donated.  I also organized baby carriers and our newborn cloth diapers, which I suppose is helpful.

February 9, 2015, 5:30am. Trevor's alarm woke me up, went to pee, had a small gush of fluid.  It seemed very watery and I had some contractions that didn't feel like "it," but went to the hospital to have it tested for amniotic fluid to be sure...negative.

February 10, 2015 39 weeks+6 days.  Same fluidy feeling this morning, I'm assuming yesterday was watery mucous and today is more of the same.  I had some random contractions throughout the day, but this is also my work day so it could be because I'm more active (SO MANY STAIRS!).

39 weeks + 6 days, February 10, 2015
February 11, 2015, 40 weeks, 170.5 pounds.  Was up from 3:30ish-4:30ish timing contractions.  Some were not so obvious, frequency varied a lot, and ultimately they stopped so I went back to bed.  I overslept and didn't wake up until 8:15, weekly baby check appointment at 8:45.  I rushed myself and Myra out the door, grabbed some Kix for her to eat on the go, and headed to my appointment.  We ran into Keithia in the waiting room.  At my appointment, I filled my doctor in on the fluid stuff and random contractions.  I was still 5-6cm and baby's heart rate was a little slower than the 110s.  When she was listening, she also heard a brief decel in the heart rate and decided to send me (and to Labor and Delivery for monitoring then she'd come meet with me to discuss options.  I asked for clarification and she said I would likely be induced (to some degree at least) but we'd know more after some monitoring and testing for amniotic fluid again.  Since the secret is out and we all know 2/11/15 is Niko's date of birth, I will do the rest in more of a bullet format since that's how I kept track.  I apologize in advance for bouncing around past/present tense.

9:35am I arrived at Labor and Delivery with Myra.  When I came two days prior, they had me in a triage room for monitoring/testing, but today I went right to a delivery room.

9:40am Nurse speaking as if I'm staying no matter what.  I thought this was brief monitoring then we'd discuss.  I tell Trevor to leave school now since it looks like I really am staying.  I call Christy and she is coming ASAP.  Myra is so interested in all the buttons and lights and I'm stuck in bed connected to stuff.  This room is so not toddler friendly.

9:50am I call Keithia to see if she can come get Myra.  She's actually still at the clinic (connected to hospital) so she is there in a few minutes.  She takes Myra to our house in my car to wait for Christy,

10isham Official clarification: definitely staying.  It's baby day!

10:30am I've been monitored for a bit now, I'm having contractions every 8 minutes but not feeling a thing.  I tested positive for amniotic fluid, so no clue when my water actually started leaking!  This makes me a little nervous about a c-section because I know there's a bit of a timeline once water breaks and mine could have ruptured days ago...  I have awesome veins and have always been an easy stick, but apparently threading was a different story, took three tries to get a good one.  I will be getting fluids, antibiotics (since water ruptured and not sure when) and starting small with pitocin to help get things moving.

10:43am Still 5-6cm dilated, cervix thick ("like your cheek"), still feeling nothing but epidural will be ordered soon (I will want it eventually, so just getting it done)

11:15am Trevor arrives at hospital with my hospital bag--I had nothing with me since I thought this would just be another weekly check.

11:35am Contractions every 3-5 minutes.  Ordering epidural now.  I am still not feeling contractions at all, some may disagree but how amazing would it be to not feel any?? I love science.

12:20pm Epidural in, contractions every 3 minutes, everything looking good.  My HR 66, BP 122/71.  Baby's HR 122.  I'm 6cm and have a peanut shaped yoga ball between my legs to help dilate.  Angie (photographer) arrives sometime around here.

12:50pm I can still feel my legs, but they're warm and a little numb.  The hospital's internet seems to have Netflix and Pandora blocked.

1:30pm Contractions 2.5 minutes apart.  I wanted to take a nap, but no luck.  Trevor and I watched House on his laptop.

2:51pm 8-9cm and cervix is very thin, awesome progress.  The nurse says I'll be done in an hour...not sure if she means done done or just done dilating.

3:02pm They're bringing in the rest of the birth equipment, a cart with all the instruments and what not.  My epidural was great but I could feel contractions in a small area of my lower right abdomen.  This happened with Myra, same spot, and they fixed it for me.  This time, the nurse told me it was normal and would help with pushing.  It was not a big deal - it hurt but I could still talk through them.

I forget exactly when, but sometime in here I am now 10cm.  Nurse has me do one push and says she'll call for the doctor if I can get baby's head pushed down a bit.  I win, doctor coming.

3:25pm I start pushing.  (I know this because they told me how many minutes of pushing it was and I obviously know what time baby arrived)

3:37pm It's a boy! (We didn't know the sex until birth) Six pushes that felt like 60.  8 pounds, 12 ounces, 21.5" long.  Apgar score 9.

We had a name picked out, recently revisited our lists and couldn't decide between two names.  We both thought the other name at first, but for one reason or another neither of us could commit.  Around 6:30pm we agreed to stick with our original choice, Niko (knee-co).

How did we come up with Niko?  Well, for the most part, Trevor did.  Once again, I was struggling with names.  I made a couple lists and Trevor thought they were okay, but didn't love any.  I finally told him I had a name or two of each sex I really liked and if he wanted something else, he would need to make a list of his own.  The first name he told me was Nikola.  Where on Earth did that come from???  Nikola Tesla was a Serbian inventor (among other things).  Trevor likes his work and it's fun that he's Serbian and Trevor has been deployed to the Balkans twice.  So, we tweaked it a bit and he will legally be Nikolai, but we agreed we both really like Niko so we're going with that straight away.  Random history lesson: after agreeing we both liked Niko (Nikolai), I did some Googling.  I came across this link and what is one of the first things on the page?  MYRA.  "Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey)."  Woah.  We knew nothing of this or the fact that "Myra" had anything to do with ancient Greece.  Niko's middle name is Jeffrey which is the name of Trevor's dad, two of my uncles, and a very dear friend of ours who passed away in November 2013.  Jeffrey just made sense; there was never even any discussion about a middle name.

Soon, I will post the other names from our lists, too.  Also to come, updates and photos of Niko meeting Myra and other family members.  I wanted to keep this post strictly for Niko alone.

Day One

Three days new, Niko's first ride
Day before he arrived vs two days after
We're off to a great start and he's fitting right in!
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