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.







One Year Later…

Aliana is now 13 months old, and we can hardly believe it.

We know we’ve been MIA, and I’m kicking myself hard for not documenting the last six months as I should have. We were going through some tough, personal issues (which included having to move as well as an unexpected job loss), and I may or may not have been a little depressed. I am in denial about it, haha.

Anyway, I’ll begin posting again soon. I’ll begin with a quick recap of her milestones and incorporate where she is now as soon as I can.


Part 3: The Power of the Purple Bracelet

14 weeks post partum. this is the final installment i promise

Aliana, she might as well had been at the beach, and not under photo therapy lights

When we finally made it to the NICU, I was the only one allowed in the nursery with her. While they hooked her up to the monitors, they took me out to the desk to get my purple bracelet. This wrist band gave Andrew and I 24 hour access to our baby. Only Andrew and I were authorized in her nursery at all times, the only exception was if there was an emergency or if the yellow chain was strung across the door. On Wednesday night, we came back to the nursery after going home to have dinner. It was after visiting hours, and there were some people arguing with the security guard to be let in. We just held our arms up, flashed our wrist bands, and walked past. Pure VIP style – the only exception was this wasn’t a concert or exclusive club. We were heading up to see our precious baby.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our first week with Aliana. The story continues (and ends!) with pictures after the jump.

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Part 2: Home birth to NICU

At the Kahrs family reunion. A rare photo of the three of us together.

(11 weeks post partum)

Sorry for taking so long with part two. I believe you are aware that my life got busier since the first part way back in June, haha.

Anyway, to continue. Aliana was born early but safely, and most importantly healthy that Sunday. Two days later, she finally began to open her eyes more, and start to look around. That morning we made an appointment to see the pediatrician for her to get a complete check up and to get into the system. We thought we were doing what any parents should do when they first have a baby. Now I don’t want to speculate too much about what happened next but, we can’t help but think that this trip to the doctor is what sent her over the edge we didnt even know she may have been tettering on.

This is probably the most painful part to our story to recall. So much happened in so little time. It feels like things happened in slow motion; time was really unnoticeable… it made me realize exactly how much could happen in only 24 hours. Stay tuned for part three…

Tangent: Andrew, I really hope that I do not emasculate you with this post. I’m only trying to record these events elsewhere than my mind. Please forgive me for telling folks you cried.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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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.

Not Enough Sleep

I’ve mentioned before that I have sleep apnea. How, do you say? I certainly don’t fit the appearance of one who would normally be diagnosed with sleep apnea but it can also be hereditary (so i’ve been told) and my dad has had surgery for it, so there’s the connection.

I don't care if this is what I will look like, just give me a C-PAP!

I’ve been having trouble sleeping since I started college so, for about six years now at least. I can’t sleep through the night. The last time I did that was when I bought my body pregnancy pillow to sleep with, and even then it was only the first night. Last January I began falling asleep at the wheel, always waking up in time to see myself begin to veer off the road (and always able to right myself – I swear I am a safe driver! but all we seem to talk about is my car troubles). That January I called my doctor for an appointment to talk about it and ask for sleeping pills. I didn’t get any, but he did refer me to a sleep specialist.

I don’t want to get into why it took so long (but i was highly unsatisfied and very peeved when they finally called me to make an appointment in May) but I got in for a consultation with the specialist in June. My appointment was made for a July polysomnography (sleep study), to see if I actually did suffer from any sleep disorder, including Narcolepsy. So, they call me two days before the test to cancel my appointment. Apparently the technician who was supposed to run my test had an “emergency” and wouldn’t be able to perform the test. So I was rescheduled to August. I get a call the week after the call to cancel asking me to show up that night for a test (that was also a last minute cancelation on the patient’s side). I was angry, this was so unprofessional. I was leaving for San Diego to see my sister the next day, there was no way I could come in for a test. So, we kept my August date.

So the test finally came. We won’t go into what issues I had the day and night of the test. Results time — idiopathic hypersomnia and supine sleep apnea. The first part meants i’m overly tired and sleepy without a visible (medical) cause or diagnosis. Second was obvious. BUT here’s the kicker — my apnea is not severe enough to treat with a C-Pap machine. Their solution: don’t sleep on your back.

Okay, anger has reached boiling point and I explode. Somehow I managed to train myself to sleep on my side or on my stomach, one of which is no longer possible.

Now that I’m pregnant I have erected a wall of pillows around me (and I’m sure Andrew appreciates it sooooo much 😉 ) but somehow in my sleep, regardless of all the pillows, I am turning onto my back and waking up choking and coughing up a storm. This is really beginning to affect my quality of life. I honestly just want to cry and beg for a C-Pap machine, but don’t know if it will really be all that effective if my apnea only acts up if I’m on my back.

I am just about to die I’m so tired. Okay I’m exaggerating, but seriously, please, give me some respite from this. It’s really painful and I need to sleep… and I know it’s not going to get any better when the baby comes, but at least it’s for a reason worth getting up for.

Family Emergency

The original plan Friday was to finish painting baby’s room and put our apt back together, but that was not the case and will be done tomorrow. Hopefully we can have some pics of the finished room posted by tomorrow night.

In regards to the emergency, out of respect for my family’s privacy I will not go into detail about the emergency, but for the time being everyone is safe. Here’s a quick rundown…

On Friday afternoon I raced out to Syracuse to see to my family, actually got pulled over on the thruway which did nothing but slow me down. I spent most of the night at the hospital, had a few good cries, and drove back to Albany early this morning. Again, everyone is okay, and I had Lilly stay at home while I went as there was severe weather on the thruway and I didn’t feel it was safe for Lilly and baby if there was an accident along the way.

Make sure you have hugged and kissed your loved ones tonight, and remember that family is family no matter what happens. I’m so thankful to have 3 loving family’s in my life, my side, Lilly’s side, and mine and Lilly’s together. Life is in no way easy, but with family we can get through it together.