Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thomas' Birth Story

Thomas Van Shipp
Born May 30, 2018
at 11:50am
8lbs 0oz
19.5 inches

I'll begin the story of Thomas' birth on May 29th (his official due date) when I went to the doctor for my 40 week checkup, where I had Dr. Watabe strip my membranes and I was already dilated to 3cm. I remember he told me that if I had strong contractions, but they were around 7 minutes apart, I should come to the hospital because things probably would progress quickly. That night, I enjoyed a normal night out at book club. ;)

The next morning was the day of my scheduled induction. I really wanted to have Thomas in May (not June; I felt like Delilah should be able to have June to herself since their birthdays would be so close together), so against my normal philosophy I scheduled an induction for the 30th. I woke up at 7am (in my bed--a rare occurance the last few weeks of this pregnancy since it became very painful in my pelvic area to sleep on my side, so I took to sleeping on the sofa most nights) and got a text from my Mom asking if there was any progress. Being prangry (pregnant-angry) by this point, I was bugged by the reminder that NO, I was not in fact in labor and I would have to be induced.

I finally got out of bed around 7:25am and decided to take a shower and do my hair for the big day. Trevor went downstairs to work while we waited for the call from the hospital for our scheduled induction time. As I prepared to get in the shower, I started noticing that my braxton hicks contractions (something I had very frequently this pregnancy, especially toward the end, and sometimes pretty strong, but not too painful) were stronger than they had ever felt before. As I was in the shower, I realized the contractions were actually pretty painful, too. However, they still seemed like braxton hicks contractions since my belly would harden. In my past two pregnancies, my labor contractions were pretty obviously different from the braxton hicks, so I was hesitant to be optimistic that I could actually be in labor.

By the time I got out of the shower, I called Trevor upstairs and tentatively told him, "You might want to call your Mom to have her start coming, because I think I'm feeling some real contractions. They're pretty painful." I didn't want to be an alarmist, though, and was a little afraid of being wrong, but it seemed like the right call to have her start coming over to our house to watch Charlie and Delilah.

For the next hour, I got ready for the day. I curled my hair and put on a little make up (I guess if I know I'm going to have a baby, I might as well look good! Ha!) while contracting at irregular intervals. Some would come every 5 minutes while sometimes I'd have a break for 15 minutes or so. It really had me second-guessing whether or not I was really in labor.

Around 9am, the hospital called to ask if I could arrive for my scheduled induction at 10am. I told them I would try (it's a 25 minute drive to the hospital), but we were still waiting for Jill to arrive to watch the older kids. I asked if it was okay if we were a little late and she said it would be okay if it was around 10:15or so. By this point, my contractions had become obviously painful and I knew for sure I was in labor on my own, although the contractions weren't consistent in their timing.

By 9:30am, Trevor's mom still hadn't arrived, although we knew she was on her way and getting really close. (I later learned that when he asked her to come he didn't tell her it was urgent so that's why she took a little while to get ready and arrive. Ha!) I was starting to panic a little because I knew I was in labor and I knew we had a scheduled time at the hospital. We got the bag in Trevor's car and then I sat inside, waiting, ready to go the moment she showed up. Her car drove down the street at 9:48am. A quick hug and a few instructions later, we were on our way. I swear I had at least 10 contractions on the drive to the hospital and kept saying "oh no, not another one!" I would close my eyes, hold on tight, breathe and count my breaths while each contraction passed.

We arrived at the hospital at 10:15am. I had a contraction in the parking lot, one in the elevator, and one at the check-in desk on the labor and delivery floor. I feel fortunate that they already had a room prepared and nurse waiting for me because of my scheduled induction. I got into my room right away and changed into the hospital gown. The nurse checked my dilation and I believe I was around 5 or 6cm. My memory is a little foggy as it's been nearly two months. ;) I remember requesting an epidural right away because I was quite done laboring on my own thank-you-very-much. I was shortly informed that the anesthesiologist was finishing up with another patient and had one other to do before getting to me. In the meantime I did my best to calmly make it through contractions, counting and breathing. It was very obvious at this point there would be no induction needed.

I believe the anesthesiologist arrived around 11am to give me my epidural. I made Trevor come hold my hand through the contractions around this time. He later told me I was squeezing so hard it hurt him. I had no idea I could even squeeze that hard. The epidural was placed about 10 minutes later, but they had to go find a syringe of the medicine because he didn't have one on hand. By 11:20 or so, I was panicking that the epidural wasn't helping as much as I expected (so much pain!) and requested that the anesthesiologist come back to check things. He gave me a booster of some sort of quicker-acting medication and left. I think it took the edge off the pain, but I was still feeling a lot of what was going on.

Around 11:30am I had a monster contraction that I remember moaning and almost yelling through, despite the epidural. At the end I felt a weird pop, and a few seconds later the sensation of warm fluid. I turned and told the nurse, "I think my water just broke!" This had never happened to me before and was definitely an interesting, new sensation. She checked my dilation at this point and I was basically fully dilated to 9.5cm! I couldn't believe I had transitioned with very little pain management! And so quickly, too! I heard the panic in the nurse's voice as she said she would need to page Dr. Watabe right away. She hoped he would get there in time and I remember her "complaining" about the fact that I was in the labor and delivery room where she always had to deliver babies because they came so fast. Haha!

From here on out, things were a whirlwind for me. My memories of birth are a rush of moments and I'll do my best to describe what happened. It felt like Dr. Watabe arrived just moments after being paged (bless him!) and was ready to help me push. It was strictly business at this point. I remember the sensation of needing to push (I was in so much pain, and pushing made the pain go away. Nature is amazing!). We did 3-4 10-second pushes with each set and I could tell I was making good progress. I rested a little between each set, but my contractions were coming quickly. I also remember feeling myself poop and being so embarrassed and apologizing to everyone. The fact that I had the mental capacity to care about that at this point is kind of hilarious in hind sight.

After four sets of pushes and for the first time feeling the sensation of the "ring of fire" (although probably somewhat dulled by my semi-effective epidural), baby's head came out and with the next push, and a little aid from Dr. Watabe, the rest of him came too at 11:50am. I remember resting my head back with my hands on my face, crying with the relief of giving birth. Dr. Watabe asked me if I wanted to look and see what gender the baby was, since we kept it a surprise the entire pregnancy. I leaned forward to look, immediately saw his boy parts, and exclaimed "Oh! It's a boy!". Cue the waterworks again. I vaguely remember Dr. Watabe asking Trevor if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, and despite saying "no thanks" to the nurse earlier when he was asked, he took the scissors and cut the cord. It made me so happy that he got to be involved in that way.

After the umbilical cord was cut, they put Thomas directly onto me. He was my first baby where I got to hold him straight out of the womb before he was cleaned up. I distinctly remember his blue-gray color, the sticky wetness of his skin and hair, and the specific yet un-describable smell of the fluids he had just emerged from. It was amazing. It took him a good minute to start crying and he sounded gurgly at first due to swallowing some of the amniotic fluid on the way out. Once he did start crying, he was pretty agitated and hard to calm down for the next hour or so. I remember lots of screaming and feeling sad for him and hoping he was okay. I guess my whirlwind labor was quite the whirlwind for him, too.

After holding him for the first 5-10 minutes, they took him to clean him up and suction him and brought him back to me. He wasn't too interested in latching and eating yet, which concerned me a little. Trevor ended up holding him for a while, too.

About an hour after giving birth, I was transferred to the recovery room on the second floor. My legs were so numb from the now effective epidural (eye roll), that I had to be helped into a wheelchair and rolled to my new room.
I spent the next few hours getting to know my little man and encouraging him to eat. He had this adorable little furrowed brow and wasn't too interested in opening his eyes.

Trevor went home that evening around 7:30pm to be with our older kids. I spent the night restlessly, worrying and thinking about my new babe, feeding him every few hours. The next morning, we finally settled on a name: Thomas Van Shipp. It wasn't easy to name him and we went back and forth and had to try out Thomas for a while before we settled it for sure. Honestly, it took me a good 3-4 days after coming home to really get used to his name. But now it totally suits him and he's our little baby Tom. <3

In the afternoon on the 31st, Trevor brought Charlie and Delilah to meet little Thomas and to bring us home. Delilah was excited to see him, but then got really scared and nervous to get up on the bed with me. It was totally unexpected. I thought she'd be in heaven. Charlie was happy to see Thomas, but was definitely more interested in exploring the fun lights, switches, and machines in my hospital room.

After making sure all the paperwork was done, things were packed, and our ducks were in a row, we put Thomas in the car seat and were discharged. I walked out of the hospital slowly and gingerly, but I was proud I could do it! It was a hot, sort of smoggy day, and I remember hating that we were bringing this perfect little angel baby into such a dirty, corrupt world. It's that feeling of hoping I can protect him for as long as possible and be the best parent.
After a rough first few weeks with breastfeeding (so much pain--I had to get Newman's ointment as a prescription from a lactation specialist on day 5), we have adjusted to our new life with Thomas and everyone is in love. He is such a sweet baby and a great sleeper. He's so good, he ALMOST makes us think we could have another one day. Haha! <3

He loves sleeping with his hands free and gets mad almost every time I wrap his arms up tight. Silly boy.
We're over the moon for you, baby Thomas.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Charlie's Disney Cars 4th Birthday Party

To celebrate his birthday this year, Charlie had a little friends party at our house. It was just me and Trevor against nine 3- and 4-year-olds. At first I wondered if I was crazy for attempting such a feat, but it turned out really fun! Everyone played and listened well and things never got out of hand.

Additionally, I purchased all of the decor and also bought a store made cake this year, and it was WONDERFUL. Like, zero stress. Except for the moment an hour before the party when Trevor went to pick up the cake and they had--ahem--supposedly lost the order slip and never made his cake. Say WHAT? ... Luckily we ended up getting a free cake, but unluckily it didn't look exactly like the one I ordered (read: pick up a pre-made cake and put Cars toys on top and write on it). Oh well, the only thing that really matters is that Charlie didn't know the difference and he LOVED the cake. He was so excited to dig into it, and he didn't leave its side until the party started. Ha!
Here's a couple pictures of the decor. When I asked Charlie what kind of birthday party he wanted, the first thing he always said was "balloons and cake!" so I made sure those things were present and accounted for. :)

When all the tiny sized party guests had arrived, I let them play with the toys and watch Cars 2 for a few minutes. Then, we played Pin the Teeth on Mater. I let Charlie (being the birthday boy and all) go first. I put the paper blindfold/mask on him and told him to stick his teeth on the poster somewhere. He kept turning his head back and forth and up and down and before I realized what he was doing, he had put his sticker almost perfectly where it was supposed to go. That's when I realized he was looking through the cracks around the mask! Cheater!! Haha... I let it slide since anything goes on your birthday, but I told the rest of the kids that they couldn't peek and I tried to prevent them from seeing. It was such a fun game and some of the kids thought it was super silly. {$6 at Partyland. Can't beat that!}
Next, we trekked downstairs to hit the birthday cake shaped piñata (I didn't have enough time to order a Cars one... oops!) filled with candy and trinkets. Each of the kids took a turn. They got two hits per turn. We soon realized that their weak little arms weren't going to do much damage. Haha! Some kids did hit harder than others, and his little friend Austin (who also happens to be a 3rd child) hit so hard that he knocked it off the string and we couldn't tie it back up. At this point, we let him try to beat it on the ground (see picture below... so funny!) and when that didn't work, Trevor resorted to ripping it open and throwing all the candy up in the air. It worked, and all the excited kids ran and started filling their loot bags. :)
Run run run and get all the treats!
Here's that amazing picture of Austin taking names with the piñata. And then a picture of my sweet Charlie and his birthday cake. He (finally) was a pro at blowing out his candles! Getting sung to and blowing out candles on a birthday cake is probably his favorite thing in the entire world. He was in birthday heaven.
Here's everybody enjoying their cake and ice cream (except Kellen, the little neighbor two houses down who just really wanted to play with toys the whole time... like, I couldn't even get him to eat cake... what!?!) Starting with Charlie and going clockwise we have Chloe, Austin, Alyson, Aunika, Cohen, Oliver, phantom Kellen, and Elena!
After cake (and a good round of "let's clean everybody's face off") we opened presents! Charlie was slightly more interested in his bag of candy and party favors than his gifts, so we had to help him focus a little bit.
Kids live for presents, do they not!?
And sometimes even Dads are impressed by the toys! ;)
Overall, it was an hour and a half of high-energy fun! Charlie had a blast, and I just can't believe that my oldest baby is 4! Sometimes it seems like it's flown by... other times it seems like it's taken forever to get here. Either way though, I just love this silly, crazy, sweet boy and all of his quirks (like collecting everything currently important to him in one container and lugging it around the house... see photo for details hahaha). And finally, here's the invite Charlie personally delivered to all of his friends. I let him run up and knock on each of their doors and hand it to them. <3
Love you, Birthday Boy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gold and Pink Princess Birthday Party

We celebrated Delilah's birthday a couple days early, on June 6th. After seeing my friend's cute little one wearing a crown in her 1-year-old pictures, it only took me about 0.6 seconds to decide to copy her idea. A couple Pinterest minutes later, and I knew it had to be a pink and gold princess party for my little girl. The funniest part is when I was pregnant and found out I was having a girl, I couldn't wrap my head around all the girly things and I said things like "I will never call her a princess and do super pink-y girly things. That just sounds cheesy and gross." ... Well, here we are a year later and I'm totally eating my words, embracing all things pink and sparkly and princess-y! With no further ado, enjoy these pictures from her party:
First, just some customary pictures of the table spread in all its glory. I decorated it with pink and gold circles cut out of paper (thank goodness for my neighbor and her Silhouette!), a simple white tablecloth, and lots and lots of white (and a pink) picture frames full of the gorgeous photos we got taken at FotoFly studios earlier in the week. The amazing little crown cupcake toppers were a steal from Topper and Twine on Etsy and made such a big impression for the cost! I made the cupcakes myself out of a white box mix (after failing miserably at making cupcakes from scratch, yikes!) topped with a delicious buttercream frosting kissed with pink food coloring. I also made the little "wand" treats by using prepackaged vanilla wafer cookies with strawberry frosting dipped in melted white chocolate, also with a hint of pink food coloring. Then I finished it off with a paint stroke of dry gold pearl dust for a finish fit for a princess.
I borrowed this cute frame with a magnet board inside from my friend, but what a great idea! Just take any frame and fill it with a magnetic background for a very quick, easy, adorable magnetic surface! Her little girls love to hang up their pictures on display in their room. And finally, Delilah's wonderful, Pinterest-inspired smash cake! To alleviate stress, I asked my friend who is an awesome cake-maker-and-decorator to do the cake for me. She baked the two little 6 inch rounds about a week in advance and froze it. Then, the day before the party, she came down with the flu... so rather than make her decorate while she was sick, I decided to try it myself. For my first time trying this technique, I'd say that it turned out pretty darn good... definitely NOT a Pinterest fail!! :)
Here's my living room, mid-party. It's full of happy friends and babies. And it makes me happy to see all that happy. :)
Post-apocalyptic party living room. Ha. (There's Kimma talking to Grandma)
After we ate some of the delicious treats (may I mention we also served lightly buttered and salted white popcorn, those pink and white Mother's animal cookies {a HUGE hit with my 3 year old son}, and a veggie tray just to counteract all the sugar), Delilah got to smash her cake. She was in a pretty grumpy mood since the party happened during the time she would have liked to take a nap. However, after smashing the cake she perked right up and was happy for a few hours. Thank you, cake induced sugar rush! And, as usual, I couldn't pick just one or two cake smash pictures, so here's 5. ;)
I think she looks sooo stinking cute in her crown from Love Crush Bowtique on Etsy and her tutu/onesie from Onesies for Elliott. I mean, really, what did people do before Etsy and Pinterest!? <3
I think her toes even got a little taste. :) She was very matter-of-fact about her cake eating. It was all business and no play. No hesitation either. It may have helped that she got to dig into a cupcake during her photoshoot earlier in the week.
After a bit of cake cleanup, it was present time! 
Here is sweet Chloe, Delilah, and big brother Charlie. Friends Chloe and Millie brought her this little Fisher Price Cinderella princess carriage where the horse moves front to back when you push it along the floor. So cute! We love girly toys since we don't have very many of those (yet).
She also received a fun stuffed dog that plays music and teaches about body parts (ears, tummy, hands, feet) and colors, as well as her first little baby doll complete with disappearing milk bottle and sippy cup. Grandma and Grandpa Shipp brought some fun little trinkets and an adorable white lacy romper from Old Navy. Kimma and Bebop bought her the cute little pink Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair with her name on it. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Cummings gave her a little pink ball and a chunky farm puzzle a couple weeks later since they weren't able to make the trip for the party.
Look at those adorable little friends... Millie (who's just 2 months older) and Delilah. Millie LOVED Delilah's chair, but D was good to share with her. Overall she had a fun little birthday party and it's so much fun that she's already ONE!