Lucas

Patience, and then all at once.

That’s how Lucas’s story begins.

It seems like Aliana wasn’t even two when people began to ask us when we were going to have another child. This is such an invasive question, and one that broke my heart a little bit each time. But that’s a different blog post. Maybe another day.

We waited three years before truly discussing adding a second child to our family. For me, it felt like long enough. We got to enjoy Aliana exclusively, got to experience all of her milestones and accomplishments together. But I knew that I wanted to give her a sibling, particularly close in age. She was always asking, too. And from my personal experience of having a large age gap between my sister and myself I wanted her to grow up and have a relationship with her sibling. So last summer, we decided to give it a go.

It took a little longer to conceive than it did for Aliana. Any woman trying will tell you of the disappointment month after month, but thankfully, the day before my birthday, I learned that I was pregnant.

This is where it gets a little interesting.

For the last two-three weeks, my grandfather had been in the hospital with what turned out to be terminal cancer. Unfortunately, he passed away the very same evening I tested positive. It was weird, and maybe a little morbid, but the reminder that life continues even when others are lost was soothing to me.

I wanted to plan a crazy reveal for my family, but felt that it would be best to share this balm with my mom. So, when she and dad called me the next morning to wish me a happy birthday, I gave them a present instead. She thought it was a trick, and asked Andrew if I was joking. She started to cry and I could hear dad laughing in the background. It was honestly the best birthday ever for all of us, and something that I think strengthened my relationship with mom.

It sounds weird, but the superstitious Guatemalan in me thinks it’s all connected.

To recap the pregnancy: it was incredibly different than my first. I had little to no morning sickness and did not lose weight my first trimester. I was so happy and praised God that I did not have to suffer through that agony again. I suspected that we were having a boy based on how much easier it was this time around. It quickly became clear that I was going to have a much bigger baby this time. My hips began to hurt not long into my second trimester, and continued through to the end. I started to see a chiropractor to help with my pelvis and ligament pain, and it helped tremendously.

We were also preparing for another homebirth with our fabulous midwife, Michelle. Honestly, I know that choosing a midwife is such a personal choice and you really have to find one that just vibes with you in every single way, but I cannot begin to describe to you how amazing this woman is. I am not exaggerating, I literally have tears in my eyes just thinking about the wonderful gift she is and the blessings that she has brought to my life. She is a great nurse and midwife, but most importantly friend. She will forever be a part of our lives.

As I grew larger and larger, I began to prepare for another early birth. I had been experiencing Braxton-Hicks but they didn’t feel how I remembered, so I didn’t recognize them. Then, I started to feel real contractions, particularly at night: ten minutes apart, but mild, for two to two and a half hours every few nights. I would text Michelle each and every time, “it might be baby time!” Boy, was I wrong.

I said hello to weeks 37 and 38 for the first time, and these practice labors continued. I downloaded a contraction counting app but they always tapered off after two hours. Coworkers were losing out on the baby pool left and right. It became customary to greet me with “I hoped I wouldn’t see you today” instead of “good morning.” I started to sleep on the couch for additional back support. And it was there that Andrew woke me on Father’s Day a little after seven to let me know what he had planned for the day.

I felt awful because I had completely forgotten it was that day. I hadn’t even bought him a card! He understood though, and didn’t feel any less appreciated for it. So we planned for him to spend his day doing his favorite things, starting with shredding old files and cleaning and sorting out our filing cabinet. If you know him well, you know the satisfaction he gets from this, the weirdo.

But Lucas had other plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Months Old!

Aliana is now 10 months old! I still cannot believe I’m a father to one of God’s children. I’m not sure if it’s encouraging or downright jaw-dropping to think God has given me sole responsibility, along with my wife of course, to care for her; to tell me plain as day He has enough faith in me to turn Aliana into a kind, loving, follower of Christ who will be a great contributing member of the world. It’s been a challenge though for me to share God’s confidence in myself, as I’ve quickly learned I’m an overprotective paranoid father who fears everything from dirt to her own baby poo is going to hurt her. It’s difficult to take a breath sometimes, but Aliana never fails to show me regularly she is a big kid who can handle new experiences. I bet she looks at me thinkging, “take a chill pill dad and watch me figure things out on her own. Support me, don’t stand there in a panic.” Needless to say I’m a work-in-progress.

Aliana on the other hand, is perfect. She’s surpassing any expectations I thought I had about who my daughter would be as a 10-month old. She has a high tolerance to pain, can control all sorts of foods in her mouth, and repeat actions like, “If I bang this it will make noise.” It’s been eye-opening to see the wheels-turning, really watching her learn something she didn’t know just moments before. It’s something new each week with her, I hope it never ends. Until I’m old and senile I hope she’ll continue to call me telling me what new thing she learned that week. Heck, even after I’m senile, she may even have more fun telling me then!

I Know What It Feels Like to Be a Cow

(18 weeks pp)

I know what it feels like to be a cow. Every morning, I wake up, and perform my toilette, wake up the calf, and feed. Said calf feeds twice if I’m lucky (and she’s not too sleepy) before heading out to work.

Once I arrive at my place of employment — where I spend the day grazing on my 50 million snacks because I am always hungry — I have about an hour or so before I have to hook myself up to a machine that vaguely resembles this for fifteen minutes. I repeat twice more every three hours. Collected milk stays in our fridge in a small black cooler with a giant ice pack designed to fit around the bottles.

Once home, I transfer expressed milk into four freezer bags — totaling four servings — for my calf to eat while at calf care from one of these. My freezer is full of milk. There is barely enough room for the sustenance my bull and I require, but we manage.

When the calf comes home with the bull, she feeds directly again. Repeat process at least 4 times before her 7-8 pm bedtime, and I’m pooped. At this point, I require a large ice cream on a sugar cone. I take a few moments to thank God for the cow that provided her cream in my cone before consuming, and promptly go to bed.

…only to repeat the next day, and will continue to repeat until my time is over.

Dear friend, I commiserate with you. Our babies require the best food possible, so we do our best to provide. Unfortunately for you, you’re feeding thousands (including me), and I’m only feeding one. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it.

Well, I tried…

Need That Pick-Me-Up

Well, I tried to go without coffee today in an attempt to spend one entire day in caffine detox since Ali’s birth, but it turned out to be a failed attempt. I got to the office at 7:10AM, and by 8:00AM I was face-in-palm asleep. At least the effort was there. Right?

I’ve done some research recently on being a first time dad and the realizations and struggles that come our way post birth. The take-away was that no matter how prepared we thought we were as fathers, we weren’t even close. In fact, we showed up to the pier days after the boat set sail. This pretty well describes me, the dad. I was spot on with all the pregnancy stuff (except the preggie pops), but did not even consider what I would do once Ali entered the world, let alone how to take care of her. Now that Ali is 5 1/2 weeks old the shock of parenting has worn off, and the day-to-day exhaustion is now more of a lifestyle. I don’t want to call it a struggle, because being a new parent isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not easy.

Sleep deprivation aside, my most favorite part of each morning, and one of the reasons I feel so blessed, is I get to witness Ali and Lilly snuggled up in bed together under the early morning light for a few minutes before walking out the door. The two of them look so peaceful it pains me to leave but I know with the love they have for each other they are going to be just fine until I come home.

Month One

Mother Theresa

For anyone wondering where we have been, we’ve been here, at home, wayyy to busy and preoccupied to make a post, lol; but I’m here now to give you a quick update post birth story. Today Aliana is one month old and has definitely made herself known to the world. It’s been quite the month, probably the busiest, most stressful month we’ve ever had, EVER. We been really high, really low, and really freaked out, but wouldn’t change it for anything. The entire experience has been one to remember and we’re trying to document as much as possible so it will hopefully never be forgotten. We’re trying to prevent the… “Wait, she was once a baby? She used to be cute and quiet? When was that?”

Little One

Much Better

29 weeks and 5 days (this mean’s there’s only 10 weeks and 2 days left!!!!)

I’ve been doing much better the last two weeks, especially the last few days.

Andrew has actually made me laugh very hard a couple of times, and that hasn’t happened in a while. We’ve also had some good conversations about preparing for the birth and baby. We’ve had some miscommunications about what our expectations are of each other, and also talked about some things that we need to sacrifice in order to defer to each other a bit more. Andrew has been amazing in taking over the upkeep of our house, but there is still more that I can do so that he’s not doing everything all by himself. We’re certainly working towards being more supportive of each other in the ways the other needs. I think we’ve been trying to do it in the way that we expect in which to be supported, so it’s time to take a step back and do the reverse.

Our friends Laura and Nick welcomed a beautiful little girl, Elise Christine, on Tuesday. I haven’t had the chance to see them just yet, but I am cooking and delivering dinner for them on Wednesday. Congratulations to the Marcheses!

Very busy, but a hard week to get through

Okay, so last post I tried to be funny by posting a little poem about my belly button. It helped liven things up a little last week, but today I’m back to being just a little upset and tired.

So last friday, a virus spread throughout the network at work. My place of employment deals with a lot of sensitive information, so we have practically an iron curtain protecting our systems. Many workers are given laptops for travel, and they can use these with their ISPs at home for personal use. For work use, they have to log on to all these systems like Citrix to get into our network. So, what IT thinks happened is that someone brought in a virus from bringing their laptop in and connecting.

They don’t know why the virus targeted the computers it affected, but mine was included. I had my computer confiscated and reimaged yesterday. All my files are physically gone from my machine, but are backed up in storage. My projects have been put on a stand still. I provided them with a list of which local folders I needed to do my everyday jobs, but they’re prioritizing everything and working hard to clear all the high priority folders that the 40-50 employees need to do their work.

This has added a significant amount of stress in my life. Although the IT guy assigned to work my computer was able to return the physical machine and software really quickly, he doesn’t work in our Security department, and can’t tell me when items will begin to be returned. I am working on the most basic computer set up, and not having my graphics available to make my articles and publications is very frustrating. I have to start from scratch. Mind you, it took me a year and a half to build up my portfolio at work, and it’s all gone.

I have been so frustrated, and God forgive me, but today someone pushed a little too hard on my already frazzled nerves, and I sent a very short and somewhat snarky reply to an e-mail from someone who I’m sure was trying to be nice and helpful, but their pointing out a perceived error wasn’t what I needed at that moment. I don’t know if they picked up on the smart reply, but when I got home and thought about it, I regret letting my emotions get the better of me. Like I said, I’m sure they thought they were being helpful, and in all honesty could have just not replied at all.

I am very, very sorry for replying the way I did, and think it’s not a good idea to reply again apologizing tomorrow. That might be weird. And I think my sister would advise me to just let it go….. right M?

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day, and although I might not get anything back tomorrow, I can at least get started on recreating my graphics or look for copies on the shared network drives. I learned my lesson to never save anything locally either, but rather on the shared network drive. The reason why I stopped saving in my personal network drive is because I ran out of space, and I guess I never thought of being able to use the shared drive for personal storage… Well, like I said, lesson learned.

Definitely praying for more patience before I go to bed tonight!

 

Ode to the Button

Your shape was decided in 1987
And 23 years later have received
An unexpected makeover.

Once an innie, now a flattie,
You’ve revealed your true shape within,
Like a lotus chip, your compartments now
Reveal spaces previously unknown in your natural state.

Soon, the flattie will become an outtie,
and you’ll poke through my clothes.
No popper stopper for you (sorry Jeff),
I promise to embrace your changes gracefully,
And allow you to finally see the sun.

ps: the hair you've sprouted grosses me out.

 

One word never used to describe being pregnant: miserable

Week 26, day 6

Okay, quick topic here. The last few weeks has brought on new aches and pains, particularly, in the ribs. I don’t feel much bigger than I was a month ago, but she’s definitely growing herself. I feel her more and more each day as she grows. She’s quite the little punk too, especially now that she can reach my ribs with her feet. She kicks, she prods, she pushes up against my belly and it feels like she’s a chest burster trying to bust out. She’s made me cry a few times with how much her pushing and shoving has hurt. But, that’s all in adjustment. It’s not so bad now but I’m sure I’ll be listing new pains as she gets a little larger.

What is bad are the mood swings. How one minute I can be absolutely ready to bawl or scream at everyone and the next I’m all ladeedah and laughing. One thing I wasn’t ready for, nor warned about, were the days of absolute misery and utter loneliness.

There are some days where I don’t even want to wake up. And when I get home from work, I just lay on the couch and either whine or cry in complete silence. Being pregnant is hard work! There is so much going on inside your body that just zaps all your energy and leaves you feeling so empty and alone.

I know I shouldn’t complain, God has given me quite a gift here, but one thing I wish is that I was warned there would be bad days when you just want it to be over, just to feel some sort of control over your life again. Knowing this might not have helped me prepare for the actual feeling of it, but at least I would know that I’m not alone. To know that I’m not the only one that has felt this way while pregnant would have been comfort enough.

For now, I don’t really have many people I can really talk to about it (in terms of those who have experienced this). Andrew has been a great supporter throughout all of these ups and downs. I’m sure he’s had whiplash from the sudden (mean) outbursts  and the rebounding laughter two minutes later. But when all I’ve really needed is someone to hold me or rub my head while I try to fall asleep he’s always right there next to me comforting me and trying his best to make me feel better. I think he’s figured out that there really are no words necessary.

A true ally. I am soooo thankful to have such an understanding partner in all of this. I don’t know where I would be at this point if he wasn’t how and who he is.

PICTURES! annnd The Bradley Class Starts Tomorrow!

Hey everyone, we’re busy-bee’s as usual but I’m stopping by to show you some pictures. First off we have Ziggy who managed to crawl into the cabinet and stick his tongue out at us.

Get Out!

Next we have Lilly looking for her kitties. She won this awesome nursing cover from designhermomma.com and was looking for a cat to be her “test subject.”

She wasn't having much luck...

Finally, Lilly was able to snatch up a cat for her dry run; however, Dean wasn’t having any other it and wanted OUT immediately!

... and Dean said, "GrrrrrRrRrrrrrRrrrrrr"

P.S. Our Bradley class is starting tomorrow morning, so I’m sure we’ll have a follow up after the class, stay tuned!