Monday, June 29, 2015

A baby story

You might think that preparing for and having a 6th baby might be routine, old news, nothing new to get excited about.  For us, that was definitely not the case.  When Ben and I first got married, (and probably a bit before we were married), we talked about our future family and how many kids we wanted.  We always knew we wanted a bigger family.  I had come from 5 siblings, Ben from 6, so we knew 5 or 6 would most likely be our number.

After the twins were born and we suddenly had gone from 2 to 4 kids overnight, we felt like 4 was a ton of kids.  It definitely kept us busy.  But we both knew our family wasn't complete yet.  Knowing that, we knew we needed a break to enjoy (and survive) with the 4 we had for awhile.

We were very excited to have another one years later and were thrilled when Olivia joined our family.  That pregnancy was my first one in 4 years and it was pretty brutal.  I was definitely the most sick with the twins' pregnancy, but having had such a long break, and now 4 very active kids, Olivia's pregnancy threw me for a loop.  It was very difficult.  I remember one day as I was laying on the couch- very sick and deplete of all energy, as my kids fended for themselves and as Ben was literally picking up all my slack and outside doing some sort of project- I thought to myself "I cannot do this again!  I just can't!"  As of that moment, Olivia was going to be our last and that was it.

Soon after bringing our sweet Livy home from the hospital- probably within a week, 2 at the most- I had the feeling one day, and it was very distinct, that she was not our last.  Holding my 2 week old newborn in my hands, having just had my second c-section, with 4 other kids running around downstairs, I felt overwhelmed and a freaked out.  Another one?  And knowing this literally just days after having a 5th?  I kept telling Ben "I can't think about this right now!  I just want to focus on and enjoy the baby I have right now!"

I did enjoy my Livy girl, but the impression that I had received that day did not leave me.  It stayed in the back of my mind and when I gave it to much attention or thought, I felt panicky and a little scared.

Luckily, this heavenly impression did not interfere with my ability to fully enjoy our new sweet baby.  And the impressions and promptings I was having (and to which Ben concurred) as to the size of our family was helping to prepare me.  When Olivia was around 7 months old, I thought about this impression one day and was quite surprised that the thought did not freak me out anymore.  The thought was a little bit exciting and I felt very calm about it.  Calm enough, in fact, to start pursing what I knew needed to happen for our family.  At the time, I was seeking medical treatment for my migraines (again), and had to wrap those things up to start preparing.  I also needed to meet with my OB, as I need medical intervention to have kids.  I was also still nursing Olivia- I have never been at the point of wanting to get pregnant and still nursing someone.  I was hoping to be able to still nurse her and get pregnant at the same time, but was not able to.  I was sad to have to quit nursing her, but we were both blessed with an extremely smooth process of weaning her.  We were also blessed to be able to get pregnant very quickly, which sometimes is not the case for us.  This baby, I found out early on, was meant to be in our family! 

Olivia was just 10 months old when I got pregnant.  It was a much different experience than I was used to, but it all worked out.  Having a baby and being pregnant was definitely tricky at times, but worked out great at other times.  In the beginning of my pregnancy when I was the most sick and super tired, Olivia was taking 2 naps (which she actually did until just a few weeks before the baby was born).  So 2 times a day, I knew that I could lay down and rest.  The twins were in school a few times a week and even on the days when they were home, they were old enough to quietly play or watch a show while I rested/slept.  Olivia was sleeping through the night when I got pregnant, so I was always guaranteed a full night's sleep, which was fabulous.  Pregnancy is never much fun for me and I certainly do not do it gracefully, but I feel blessed to be able to do it at all and that my body is healthy enough to carry babies.

Moving while pregnant was not ideal, but ended up being totally fine.  We quickly realized that moving pregnant was probably much preferable to moving with a newborn, at least for us in this situation.  And Olivia has been great at warming up to all of our family that lives here and whom she spent time with as I had quite a few doctor appointments soon after moving.

With Olivia's delivery, I had the emotional internal conflict of which type of delivery was best for us, and her.  It was a few months struggle, one which ultimately nearly drove me crazy.  This time around, I was told that a VBAC was still an option, but I didn't feel the strong desire to pursue it and drive myself crazy over it.  If, miraculously it happened, great.  But I was not going to hold my breath over it and was just going to plan on a repeat C-section with a microscopic chance of a VBAC.  I felt much peace with this decision and was so glad to not have the stress and worry that I had felt last time.

Not surprisingly, the baby never dropped low enough to be considered for a VBAC and I did not go into labor on my own.  The c-section I had scheduled for 2 months happened right on schedule.

I put Olivia down for bed the night before my C-section.  She fell asleep within minutes and I was able to capture this sweet shot of our soon-to-not-be "baby" of the family.  As I rocked her and read books to her that night, I thought to myself that she had no idea what was coming for her the next day.  She had no clue that a new baby was soon to uproot her world and leave her, most likely, displaced and confused for awhile.  And it was kind of surreal for me to be snuggling with a sweet baby, knowing I was going to have another baby the very next day. 

April 16, 2015- baby day!  I got a picture with my 5 sweeties one last time before the big kids headed off for school.  Ben went into work for a few hours before coming home to pick me up.  We had to check in at the hospital at 10:00 a.m. for a 12:30 c-section.  My mom had gotten into town the night before and was there to watch the kids as we left.  Olivia cried when we left.  It was very sad.

Checked in and waiting to be taken back!  Our pre-op nurse was very friendly and hilarious.  When she asked us what we were naming the baby, she laughed at our answer.  Her former daughter-in-law had that name and she disliked the girl with a passion.  She was not sad when her son divorced her.  We told her that she couldn't hold that against our little sweetie, who would soon bear that name.

In his scrubs, ready to watch baby arrive!

For C-sections, they don't allow the husbands in the OR while mom gets her spinal.  I really, really dislike that rule.  Especially this time around.  As soon as I got up on the operating table, I became very, very nervous.  I have been through this C-section game twice before now, but the reality of getting surgery and the recovery process and all that comes with it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.  Being/staying pregnant didn't sound so horrible anymore.  I am not usually an anxious persons, but as the anesthesiologist was prepping me for my spinal, I became a nervous wreck and felt sick to my stomach.  I had to have a nasal canula in for extra oxygen during the surgery, which I've never had before.  My stress must have been reflected in my stats.  I felt much better when Ben was allowed into the room, which was just seconds before the doctor made his first cut.  Like the two previous times, I felt no pain, but some very intense amounts of pressure.  The doctor later told me that the baby was very high and being that high made her more difficult to retrieve, which was the tugging and pressure that I felt like never before.

Jocelyn Elizabeth Andros was born at 12:42 p.m. and weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was 19.5 inches long. 
My first view of her was not a great one, but the first two things that I noticed were how incredibly long her fingers were (and that they were bent back pretty far, as if made of rubber) and that she looked so small.

See how those fingers bend back?

I was very anxious to see her.  The nurse brought her over to me after they had her somewhat cleaned off and wrapped up. 

She was so warm and so very soft.  The nurse was so sweet to stand there with her for what seemed like a long time, just letting me nuzzle her.  It was a very sweet moment for me.

They didn't weight or measure her until after we left the OR.  Ben went with them to the nursery to capture this moment.  When I found out she was a 7 pounder, I was very surprised, and realized that was why she had looked so tiny when I first saw her.  Our smallest singleton baby was just under 9 lbs, so this was very small for us.  And with Jocelyn, we now officially had babies in the 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 pound range. What a line up! (Leah was 5 lbs 12 oz, Lexi 6 lbs 13 oz, Jocie 7 lbs 6 oz, Mitch 8 lbs 13 oz, Olivia 9 lbs 1 oz, Chloe 10 lbs 5 oz).

When they were all done with her stats, I was back in my recovery room and anxious to finally hold her.  She was very, very red in color (not in a bad or dangerous way) and next to my pasty white, we were quite the opposites.  She latched on right away and began nursing like a champ.  She also took to the binky immediately.  We had lots of snuggles in the recovery room before we were taken up to the Pediatric floor where we would stay for the rest of our visit.  It was just that very morning that the hospital moved it's recovering new moms and babies to the peds floor, as they are expanding and remodeling the hospital and were in need of switching things around to accommodate the reconstruction.  It was great for us, as our room was very spacious.  The other two rooms I've had after my c-sections have been tiny.

After school, the kids came by to meet their new sister.  This was one anxious and excited crew.  (And they are dressed for summer because it was in the 80's that week).  

Jocie was the star of the show and there just wasn't enough of her to go around.

Does that look like a face that wished for a brother instead?  Sisters are the best!

Our baby lover and best helper!

Everyone got their own turn to hold her, including Olivia, who needed just a little bit of help.  She was very sweet and soft with her.  And there is nothing that makes your 19 month old look more HUGE than having a newborn.

Ben's parents stopped by later that evening to meet our sweetie.  

Ben's sisters all came by for a visit as well.  Megan took some newborn shots of Jocie that were just precious.  This one captures all of her gorgeous hair- the most we've ever had on a newborn!

This picture sums up our hospital stay- it was fabulous.  I used to not like my hospital stay very much and was always anxious to get home to my own bed.  Now with lots of little kids at home, I fully enjoy my quiet days in the hospital where I have nothing to do but snuggle my new baby.  She was such a sweet, sweet baby.  She hardly cried at all and was near perfection.  She ate well, but was fine not to eat (I had to wake her almost every time to feed her).  She was such an angel.

This girl loves having her hands by her face in any capacity.  Sucking on her long, long fingers was a favorite pastime.

I could not get enough of her!  (This picture makes her look chubby, but she was not, at all.  We haven't had a small baby in 5 1/2 years!)

Day two brought our favorite visitors back for more sibling love.  I now have FIVE beautiful girls.  I am still in shock some days.

Olivia couldn't wait for her turn.  Seeing her with the baby was so sweet.

Livy immediately took it upon herself to be the binky giver.  She would try and shove that binky in whenever she thought it would help.

This picture captures how small she was.

Cousin Weston came to visit.  These two are just over 2 months apart.

Our time at the hospital flew by.  I was not expecting to have a 7 pounder, so her "going home clothes" were much too big.

The pants were not connected to her in any way and the shirt was so baggy.

She looked like a child's doll in her car seat and her pants and socks were off by the time we got home.

We found this note waiting for us when we got home.

We were greeted by 5 very anxious siblings- we barely made it in the door before being surrounded on all sides.  This is going to be one very loved baby.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

April, pre baby

A 10 week break from blogging was not what I intended, even with the excuse of having a baby.  Life has definitely been busy since our new bundle arrived, but not unmanageable by any means.  Let the blog hiatus end today.

At the beginning of April, we had our first visitors come into town.  Yes, everyone- Hotel Andros is still alive and well. 

In preparation for our visitors, we did some cleaning.  The big kids were on Spring Break from school, so everyone was able to participate in our cleaning over haul.  It was a great excuse to do some deep cleaning, as we all had just gotten over the stomach bug the week before.

It was our first time meeting baby Jeter, the newest Blakeslee grandchild/cousin.

My kids were just smitten with him.

Obsessed, really.  Thank goodness they were going to get a baby of their own in just 2 weeks.

Jeter had his own fan club every hour of the day.

We love when Uncle George comes to town.  He spends most of his days here playing with my kids.  He is up for almost anything and is so sweet to give any of his free time to them.

Papa did his traditional coloring contest with the kids.

He gives awards and prizes to each kid and their coloring.

Ben took the 4 big kids and Grandma, Papa and George to ride bikes one afternoon.  Our kids could die happy riding bikes.

Saturday April 4th was the start of General Conference.  Just 2 years ago we started the tradition of going to the church and watching one of the Saturday sessions of conference there.  It is our best session of conference, as the kids sit so reverently and it allows Ben and I to listen, and gives the kids a much better opportunity to listen.  Livy was exhausted, apparently, and fell asleep on my lap (which never happens anymore).  As per tradition, we took the kids out to eat after.  It's a fun and very beneficial tradition.

At home, after the second session, we stuffed easter eggs with candy and hid them in the yard for an egg hunt for the kids.  This was Livy's first hunt and she caught on quickly.

It was a beautiful Spring day. 

Livy warmed up to Grandma after a day or two and then didn't want to share her.  Luckily, Jeter was great a sharing.

She also wanted nothing to do with Jeter for a few days, and cried and cried when Chloe or I would hold him.  By the end of their visit, she was quite taken with him.

Our visitors had to leave on Easter morning.  Livy was sad to see them go!

With Conference on Easter, we had a relaxing day watching the 2 remaining sessions together.

The kids were thrilled to get another set of Picasso tiles from us.  Hands down the best toy we have ever owned.

The also each got their own box of pop tarts.  They shared flavors and traded back and forth.  All of the pop tarts were gone within 2 days. 

Grandma had also baked an Easter cake for them the day before.  We had plenty  too much sugar on Easter. :)

Later the following week, we had our first visitors from Auburn/Seattle.  They stopped by on their way back to Auburn from their Spring Break visit to Tri-Cities to visit their grandparents.  We got to spend a few hours with one of our favorite families, the McInelly's.

Our kids were all good friends and it was so fun to see some familiar faces.

These 3 were so happy to be reunited and wasted no time getting down and dirty (literally) together.

This picture sums up the fun they had and their friendship perfect.

They came with us to Mitch's first game.  He made a good looking first baseman!

Later that week I took the twins to a nearby school to test them for the Spanish dual language program for kindergarten.  We were originally turned down for it, but have since found out that Alexis was accepted into it when another dual language program was added in the district.  I was very bummed that Leah was not accepted as well, especially after her twin was accepted, but she has been put on the waiting list and we are hopeful she will be accepted before school starts as well.  Fingers crossed!

We have had gorgeous weather very consistently since late March, early April (really since February).  The kids have loved playing outside nearly non stop since we moved here.

The twins have been so sweet to include Livy in their outdoor games.

With General Conference on Easter, the kids weren't able to wear their new Easter clothes until the following Sunday.

Livy also sported her first pony tail that week- a big milestone in the Andros family, as our babies don't have much hair until close to 2 years of age.