Sunday, March 30, 2008

Check out the baby my UPS man delivered!!

Not that baby, but my goodness he's cute. We'll keep him!!
Our double stroller arrived!!! It needs a name. Before it's named, it needs a gender... Considering how "tough looking" our stroller is, my immediate thought is to choose a female name. Naturally.

However, for me, this stroller represents an escape from our cozy cave, a means by which I can take my babies to the park, or the library, or to Nanna's house - oh, the possibilities!! (can you feel my excitement culminating? Can you?! CAN YOU!?) .
(My Mama can be so dramatic. Strawberry anyone?)

The word or phrase that screams at me when I envision Eliza, Henry and myself taking our first stroll as a threesome was most notably exclaimed by him...
"FREE(eeeee) - DOM"

Thank you, William Wallace, I couldn't have said it better myself. So for now, our stroller's been dubbed as Mr. Wallace. We'll see how it fits.
Excuse me, Eliza... what's so funny? Ah, that's right. There is a load of snow outside. Why she thinks that's funny, I'm not sure. Perhaps, it's a coping mechanism. But yes, she is right. It looks like I might be writing another letter of complaint to Mother Nature...

Which leads me to a question for my friends who have delivered babies in the late fall/winter. What did you do to help maintain your sanity?
Eliza's taken up, "extreme bouncing" - I have a video of her in action that I will soon post. I should probably require that she wear a helmet before engaging in such extreme sports. But this activity helps battle toddler wiggles.
Another favorite pastime, eating. Developing an unhealthy bond with the TV is another way our time is spent... more specifically, Eliza (with the help of our DVD player) has created an obsession with Thomas the Train. As a result, Eliza has a deep rooted bond with her Thomas boots or her "Choos!!" as she lovingly refers to them. She wears them everyday. It's a miracle I got her to wear her Sunday shoes to Church yesterday.I was excited that Eliza was the first to dive into my Mom's dress-up's yesterday. She hasn't expressed much of a preference for anything "girly." However, she picked out her tinker bell outfit and wore it all night ... along with her boots of course. As for Henry, he is content passing the time by sleeping and allowing people to stare at him. At least that's one of my favorite things to do (and Andrews).
...hold and look at Henry.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

For my personal history

Feel free to pass on this one, it won't hurt my feelings.

It is 2:10 pm and I am showered and dressed in something other than pajamas. That's a new record for me. Usually showers happen in the late evening, but today I made a ludicrous decision and skipped out on nap time. I laid in bed for forty minutes, completely exhausted, but was unable to fall asleep. When I feel the pressure of having to fall asleep "RIGHT NOW ," I can't.

Instead of laying in bed, I opted for a long shower and am now enjoying a few moments alone, child-free. I am catching up with myself via today's entry. It's totally going to be a long entry (depending on when my kids wake up) and for once, I am making no apologies, because this entry is mainly for me.

Unfortunately, I am already in need of a new shirt; not because of anything Henry sent flying my direction (wee-wee or spit-up) but because I pulled an "ali" and left a nice white streak of deodorant on the front of my clean, black t-shirt.

At least I remembered to put on deodorant.

Today is March 27th. It's a significant date considering it's the day I've been focused on for the last nine months. March 27th was my original "due date." Regardless of the fact that these past two weeks have been "challenging" (even now, that word seems too soft!), I am so thankful that Henry came when he did. The idea of not meeting him until today, makes me miss him.

I hesitate to describe the difficulties and challenges associated with these past two weeks because I fear that someone may misinterpret these thoughts as being ungrateful. I promise, that is not the case. I'm simply writing down how I am learning to be grateful for life's recent challenges.

I would say that I am an optimist by nature. I am quick to assure a friend over the phone that everything is "going great" - even if I am silently in tears because Eliza wants to be held while I'm nursing Henry. The reality is, motherhood is hard. With that being said, I believe that anything in life that's worthwhile - our greatest joys - requires sacrifice and work. Isn't it true that you love those you serve the most?

**My thoughts aren't meshing and/or blending, but that's ok. I'm going to play the "tired" card again.

It's true that every pregnancy and labor experience is different - even for the same woman. What I didn't think much about until now, is that the six week "post-partum" period can also be different from a previous experience.

Henry is an excellent baby. I don't know if I can classify him as being an "easier baby" because I've experienced a newborn before or if his temperament is simply more mellow than his older sisters... maybe it's a combination of both.

Thinking back to the days following Eliza's delivery, I remember being plagued with a never ending case of mastitus, among other physical complaints (the first bowel movement, anyone?). Overall, I remember feeling physically rotten for a long stretch of time. Seven weeks after giving birth to Eliza, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder and the process of recovery began again.

Because of these memories, I was dreading the thought of my physical recovery. However, I am PLEASED to say that physically, I bounced back quickly after giving birth to Henry. In part, I attribute this to being a mother of two. You don't have much "time out" time after the second child arrives. I was up on my feet, chasing after Eliza, lifting her into her high chair, etc - moments after arriving home. In the hospital, I was left to fend for myself when Andrew had to leave for class or when he left to spend the night at home with Eliza. I had to push myself sooner and I think that helped.

Another difference is the insane amount of rotten luck/poor timing that we've been dealt.

- An absent husband. Poor Andrew is being pulled in thirty five different directions...
  • His senior design project deadline is quickly approaching. As the team leader, he is trying to live up to expectations that he has set for his team and stay on top of his responsibilities so that the project can move forward.
  • Job interviews - I've spent three nights alone caring for a newborn as he's been out of state. One of those nights, Eliza decided to pull a fast one on me and woke up at 1:00 am. Isn't that Henry's job?
  • Last night, Andrew was scheduled to return home from an interview up in Idaho at 7:00 pm. Long story short, his flight was canceled, so he spent another night away while I tended to a traumatized Henry who was circumsized yesterday evening. Poor Henry.
  • Scouting - why is he worrying about going to Scouts? Good question.
  • Employee - he hates missing work, period.
I am not coming down on him or trying to send him a guilt trip. I know he misses his kids and that he aches to help me. When he is home, life is great. I am all smiles and feel like I can accomplish anything. His schedule should slow down in the upcoming weeks. The optimist in me is saying that the worst is over.

- Eliza had a devilish fever for two days. An ill toddler is a recipe for instant clingyness (not a word, I know). She and I need solid cuddle time each day anyway, but to have to put her down when she was sick to console an upset newborn, ripped my heart out. She missed out on a week of cousin festivities and was kept inside despite nice weather.

- The final difficulty or public murmur is in regards to the emotional storm that follows the birth of a baby; the baby blues. This isn't a topic I read about on other "new mom" blogs, so I'd be curious to know, how many of my friends have struggled with some degree of depression or "bluesyness" as a result of hormones and sleep deprivation.

Every woman is different. For me, the first few days is when I feel an intense amount of unnecessary sadness. I am thankful that nurses and my OB explained the possibility prior to being released from the hospital. This time, my depression was heightened because I worried that Eliza was going to suffer from a decrease in my attention and the fact that I really felt crippled without having my own laundry machine (silly, I know).

In the midst of my "trials," I find myself praying with more fervor. This pleading combined with my faith, has allowed the Lord to bless me. I find myself recognizing and expressing thanks for small tender mercies as well as the more obvious of blessings.

There have been days where I would pray for someone to be inspired to help and not long after, I would receive a text message from my sister-in-law, Katie, asking if she could come and take Eliza to the park.

My Mom...has been my hero and my life preserver on the days where I felt like I might drown. In addition to grocery shopping for me 4 times a week, doing a load of laundry (picking it up, dropping it off) daily, and babysitting Eliza - she listens to me and offers needed words of support. Last night when I received the phone call from Andrew that he wouldn't be making it home, she offered to stay over. I told her to sleep well at home so she could help with Eliza in the morning if needed.

By the time she left, she was covered in a horrible batch of spit up and urine. She helped me with the first diaper change that followed Henry's above mentioned medical procedure. She held him as I put Eliza to bed and then when Eliza screamed for me to come back, she patiently tucked her back in. That is one of the hundreds of acts of service she has rendered on my behalf. I hope that I am giving to my children as she gives to all of her kids.

I'm thankful for friends like Keersten who went above and beyond to make my birthday special ; and to Laura for bringing me a bag of peanut butter M&M's (and dinner) that I'd dig into whenever Henry pee'd on me. Let's not forget Samye, a blogging friend, who unexpectedly sent Henry an outfit in the mail. Thanks Samye, I will be sending a proper thank you card, I promise!

I'm especially thankful for a patient husband who handles my mood swings like a gentleman and without passing judgment. I am thankful for his willingness to help during the night and for the needed Priesthood blessings during difficult moments.

What humbles me most and causes me the deepest feelings of gratitude, is the fact that my two children are healthy. I don't want to be insensitive to those who have children that are struggling with serious illness or to my family, friends and acquaintances who have lost babies. That level of grief and sadness is at a level that I've never known or experienced. Because of this awareness, not a day or moment goes by that I don't thank the Lord for their well being and pray that it will continue.

Eliza is in need of a play-mate, so I will conclude this edition of "ali's overshare" by saying that I love, love, love my family. Little Henry calms me in a very special way. I'm so happy he is here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A comparison, belly button discussion, cute Henry & Easter

Let's begin today's picture fest with a game of... (*insert witty game title here) um, well... it appears that my verbiage creativity is on hiatus until I resume proper sleeping habits.

For lack of an interesting introduction, here is a picture of Henry at 8 days old.

(Henry, 8 days old)

Now take a peek of a photo of Eliza taken when she was 10 days old (if I was on "top of things" I could have arranged to have Henry's photo taken at day 10 as well)
(Eliza, 10 days old)

Is it just me or do they look related? Perhaps they're twins separated by a two year time difference. The real game would have been to dress up Henry in the same outfit and see who could tell the difference. Our children don't strongly resemble us, but they look like each other.


In other news, Andrew and I bathed Henry a few nights ago following the loss of his umbilical cord. I am please to report that his belly button appears "normal" looking. I don't know what alien planet Eliza's belly button came from. It's normal now, but for a few weeks, we were anxious that the quarter sized belly button would never even out with the rest of her small body. Henry needed a moment to decide how he felt about being bathed. Or maybe he's upset that he's constantly greeted by the bright FLASH of our camera whenever his peepers are open. It's a sacrifice that cute babies are forced to make. A happy Mama cuddles a fresh smelling, fuzzy headed baby boy (.5 seconds from now, Henry will poop)!! I'm all about featuring our puppies latest tricks... here is one that Henry developed in the womb. He can suck his thumb really well. His other tricks include spitting up, pooping, piddling (another word for "urinate") on command and opening his eyes (pictures of these tricks are available upon request).

We will close the Henry show with two photos from last night. Mr Henry at day 13!!
Not being one to share the limelight, I have to share Eliza Easter pictures. Easter was a quiet affair for our small family. Andrew was out of state being interviewed for a job, so Eliza was unable to go to Church in her Easter dress :(

We spent the afternoon at my Mom's house. Eliza missed the big family Easter egg hunt due to illness (that's a blog for a different day - sick toddler + newborn baby + baby blues Mom = a word I'm not allowed to say)
So, my Mom saved Eliza's eggs and she enjoyed her very own private egg hunt (oooh, ahhh). Her method of opening each egg and eating it's contents before moving on made for a really long Easter egg hunt.There are no words to describe how it felt to sit outside underneath a clear blue sky.

Eliza made it down the big slide - for the first time. However, when she is up on the deck, she crawls. Apparently she's not comfortable enough with the height to walk.
"Mom, where did my chocolate bunny go?"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Jumping for Joy" by Eliza G. Flegal

Why the excitement?Yesterday marked a milestone for baby Henry.
It's true, we celebrated his first week of life. But I think Mama was enthused that he didn't wizzle ("urinate" for you people who have class) on her or Dadda once! Up until yesterday, it's been a daily occurrence.

Wait... what's that Mama?

Oh! Henry, wizzled on you during this morning's diaper change? That's too bad. I may clear a room when I have my diaper changed, but Henry seems to drench everything within a three foot radius (... by the way, I have no clue what "three foot radius" means) when it's his turn.

Henry would like me to say something on his behalf.

He has so much to cope with right now. He has an entire world to adjust too... could we please cut him and his miniature sized (yet powerful) bladder a break?

On a more serious note,
Mama is wondering if anyone has tips to help prevent Henry's sprinkler system from turning on automatically. I am trying to discuss this delicately and with sensitivity. I try and tell her that he's probably so small and that with time, it will occur less frequently. She's keeping him warm and is changing him when he's happy because his tears seem to trigger it...

but she still would like to hear from you if you any tricks. She needs to be patient, that's what I say. But why would she listen to me? I am not yet two.
Okay Henry, we're done talking about you (for now). You can go back to sleep.

Monday, March 17, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALI! (belated of course)

For all of you who think that march 17th is a celebration of leprichons, four leafed clovers, or any other Irish thing you are wrong. March 17th is the day to celebrate the birth of Ali. Let me help you understand why we celebrate certain things on this day. The color green has become associated with this day because it is Ali's most favorite color. Leprichons have been stealing Ali's limelight for centuries. In reality Ali is the grand keeper of the leprichons. From a young age she has been able to see and speak with them when nobody else could.

Okay I admit it. I am not the story teller that captivates you on a regular basis here on this blog. I am just the luckiest man on the earth to be Ali's husband. I am glad that Ali has all of you as friends. She truly does have a talent for writing and entertaining. She has so many other great attributes too. I have never seen a mother more in love with her children. She has been so worried about mothering two children but she does it so well. And even finds time to be nice to me. She can cook with the best of them. She sings like an angel. She has a smile like sunshine. She is the best friend a person could hope for. She smells nice. She is absolutely the best. I love you Ali. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Anybody that didn't get a chance to wish Ali a happy birthday (because you were blinded by the commercial glow of the false celebration of st. patrick's day) now is your chance to leave a belated birthday greeting comment.

Sleep Deprivation: A side effect

*Saturday morning: driving in the car, on our way to Henry's two-day doctor appointment.

Andrew lays a supporting hand on Ali's leg. He glances over and asks,

"So, what was the trick to getting Henry to go back to sleep this morning?"

Suppressing laughter she reminds him, "You were the one who got him to fall back asleep, not me."

Confused and surprised he asks, "I was?"

"Yup"

"That's strange. I wonder how I did that."
(five days old)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hospital Highlights

March 11th - 3:00 am

After an hour of "monitoring," Nurse Vickie informs me that I've progressed. It's true labor (Hallelujah!)! I am in shock as she escorts me to labor and delivery room #5. So much for the screaming/dramatic/pain filled images I had once envisioned my arrival to the hospital as being. This seemed too casual.
Thanks entirely to Russ the anesthesiologist, labor itself wasn't painful. However, I definitely had my unattractive moments (I vomit on myself when I'm laboring - how's that for an over share?).

As I received the epidural, Andrew distracted me by discussing gelatos (Italian ice cream, taste bud heaven). Russ, aka miracle worker, dived into our conversation as he played with the nerves surrounding my spine. At one point, he offered a recommendation of a restaurant in SLC where we can find something close to authentic. My nurse had no idea what a "gelato" was. I think at one point she thought we were discussing a brand of shoe. Poor, poor soul (I'm sorry if you fall into that category).
The delivery was work but lasted a mere six minutes/four pushes. The morning was beautiful. The early morning light and view from our window made the moment feel serene.

The words sacred and surreal sum up how I feel about Henry's arrival.

Henry David Flegal

The name "Henry" was our compromise. It has a classic, long lasting feel to it, which appeals to me. As for Andrew, it isn't a name that you hear often (although, I think it's making a comeback). He is named "David" after Andrew's Grandfather. It fits him.A "freshened up" Mama wants nothing more than to hold her new baby. Although, I wouldn't mind another dose of percocet. Those post labor uterine contractions were sinfully painful.
A beaming father meets his son.
A special introduction or perhaps it was a reunion for the two of them. Meeting Nana Marie and Nana Teresa - they are the heroes of the day! Thank you both (and other family members) for taking perfect care of Eliza. I missed her terribly, but didn't have a moments worth of worry.Each evening, family would bring Eliza to the hospital for a visit. Andrew would then take her home for the night where they'd both sleep. I cried like a two year old when I hugged her after our first, very long (18 hours!) separation.

She was happy to see me, somewhat curious about Henry - but more interested in my cup of ice, looking at cars from my window and playing "peek a boo" in a curtain.However, at one point, a nurse took Henry from our room so she could check his vitals, etc . in the nursery. As Eliza watched the nurse wheel him away, she began to sob, "Baby!!!!!! Bay-beeeeeeeeeeeee!" She was devastated that her baby brother had left the room. I was totally surprised by her reaction. It made my heart turn into goo. (Crying as the wheel out baby Henry)

Overall, she is doing great. She interacts with him in bits and pieces; laughs when he sneezes and says, "Ewww" when I change his diaper and he pees on me. She doesn't seem resentful and isn't smothering him. She keeps to herself, and I think that as long as she still receives Mom's attention, she'll be fine.

To my friends who have been reaching out invites of help, I want to "thank you." I'm sorry that I've been slow to respond to text messages, e-mails and voicemail. I'll be back in touch soon. My recovery has been a lot faster this time.

Oh - I almost forgot.
Here is Andrew with his Costco hot dog and drink!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Meet Henry



Henry David Flegal

Born: March 11, 2008 @ 8:55 am (37 weeks, 5 days)
Weight: 6 lbs 13 oz
Length: 19.5 inches
Hair: Yes!!

Began timing contractions at 10:00 pm
Checked in to hospital at 1:30
Admitted after monitoring around 3:00 am
Ali pushed for six minutes (she was a champion)
Henry is nursing beautifully.

Details and photos to come - Intense bonding in progress with Henry and his parents.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Resolving an Insecurity

Did you attend your high school reunion? How do you feel when you "bump" into an old acquaintance? Perhaps, it depends on the person. Are you confident enough in your appearance and life choices that you leave the meeting feeling happy that you saw them?

(Excuse the interruption, but it should be noted that the following paragraph falls into the "personal nature" category)

Generally, I enjoy seeing old friends, listening to their achievements and current "works in progress" and exchanging other details. I manage fairly well if a situation turns awkward considering that "awkward" seems to be a general theme of my life.

The inner securities I held in high school dissipated a great deal once I started college. Feeling loved and needed by Eliza, having the consistent support of this man right here, and benefiting from personal knowledge that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and wants me to succeed as a wife and mother has stabilized me.

In short (*The word "short" doesn't belong in this post. I'm officially rambling and will get to the point.) I am secure with the woman I am in the process of becoming.

(*here comes the "but")

BUT that's not to say that I am not human. From a completely vain standpoint, the physical transformation that takes place during pregnancy (weight gain - why mask what the issue really is?) can lead to feelings of disbelief, humility and occasional embarrassment.

Man, I've digressed (huge surprise). Here's the insecurity. My dear friend, who happens to be the Queen of Nice, is getting married next week. She's a friend to everyone; the type of person who makes friends on accident and then ends up keeping them for life. Due to her kind nature and charismatic personality, I foresee that her wedding will be similar to a high school reunion because I imagine most people would be able to rightfully claim her as their friend.

As attractive as waddling is and as charming as two chins can be, I am not exactly thrilled about playing "catch up" with someone who was a lot cooler than I was while I'm re-filling my dessert plate with another slice of cheesecake.

("Oh, this calorie enriched piece? It's for my child"...my unborn child that is.)

Keep in mind that the situation of possibly bumping into former classmates and/or friends in a body reminiscent of a whale is entirely hypothetical due to the fact that I may have had my baby. At that point, I will be rendered house bound and unable to attend. BUT - in case I am still baking Nameless son, I have found a solution that will ease my apprehension. I have a nice pair of brown flats and a string of borrowed pearls that will serve as a nice accent. At her wedding shower, I was told that her wedding colors are brown and green (someone please confirm). I'll easily blend in.

Between now and then, I'll continue to gently encourage my body to go into labor. We've been taking evening walks, eating pineapple, yesterday afternoon I did a little of this...

(*Word for the wise...empty thy bladder before any type of bouncing)

and finally, I spent sometime on a tread mill. Eliza took a turn. She's empathetically sensitive like that.