Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Baldwin Family Reunion

For posterity. We do fun things.

July 2012

Labor Day Weekend: Jackson & Jellystone

I've got so much to catch up on. Here goes!
Road trippin' with the Duncan Fam! All piled into one big cozy van, we drove to Jackson for the Labor Day Weekend. I couldn't help but think about how last Labor Day weekend I was on bed rest, laying low after IVF. Fast forward one year and we are road trippin' with our little miracle. {Sigh} Life is amazing! BD is beyond pleased that she did so well in the car. Watch out Bee, he's got big plans for life on the road :).
All 3 kiddos did amazingly well in the car, given how much driving we did in 3 short days. We ventured up through both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks to Old Faithful and back. Yellowstone is my happy place. It reminds me of some of the happiest days of my childhood. Wild. Untamed. We saw not one, but FOUR grizzly bears all together. Pretty incredible and the highlight of the trip for me. Besides of course, the wonderful family time. I love them all. Thanks Grandpa Lee!
"The Wheels on the Bus Go...."
Bison range

Men wearing babies = YES!

Motel life. She is perfect, no?

Best Gwampa EVER. Also, cutest kids ever.

Can you spot all 4 grizzly bears?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Letter to Baby Bee: The Birth Story (part II)

{This is so long. But how do you compress the most significant event in your whole life? xo}
Dear Baby Bee,
On the night you were born I held you tight in my arms, kissed your irresistible soft lips and whispered I love you, Phoebe over and over. You looked at me with eyes wide open and I recognized you immediately because we were not strangers, you and I, we were finally together again. But there is even more to it than that...
After getting settled in at the hospital the nurse had taken my vitals, began monitoring your heart rate, and reassured me that I was absolutely without a doubt positively in labor having a baby today. And dilated 4 cm! My heart was giddy and your dad sent out text messages from my bedside alerting family and friends that you were on the way. Nowhere in my psyche was I planning on having a June baby. I looked at the clock and realized we had a lot of work to do before midnight. 
As the contractions intensified your dad and the nurses began assisting me with breathing iiiiiiiin ... and ouuuut ... I couldn't wait to get off my back and out of that hospital bed to take a bath, walk around, or at least lean forward. Dr. Lash came to check on us and see how things were progressing. At around 4:00 pm he broke my water and instantly he and the nurse looked at each other and exchanged a series of Oh! Ohhhhhhh. Ohs. There was meconium in my amniotic fluid. 
I could tell that Dr. Lash was troubled as he gently explained what the meconium meant and the possible risk that you could aspirate that fluid into your lungs when you take your first breaths. This revelation changed the course of the labor and it meant that I would need to remain in bed (epidural please!) with an IV pushing fluids through the uterus in order to flush as much meconium from me as possible. It also meant that when you were born they would immediately rush you away to ensure your health and safety. My heart sunk, but I accepted that I might have to wait a little longer to hold you in my arms. 
The anesthesiologist had to come back and juice-up the epidural after a couple more hours of labor because I was still feeling every contraction just as before. I'm convinced that hospital beds were not designed for laboring mothers, but anyway. Once I was finally feeling comfortable around 7:00 pm the nurse checked me again. "I can tug on all that dark hair!" she said once. Um....what? There must be some mistake, our baby is bald! The notion that you might have hair had never crossed our minds. My anticipation only grew and I wanted you out so badly. The epidural, while thankfully taking the edge off my pain, was also stalling the progression of labor at 7 cm dilation. Dr. Lash suggested I start on pitocin if I wanted to have this baby in May. By then I was in the very delightful get.the.baby.out.now phase of labor. By 10:00 pm I was fully dilated and ready to push. 
As they prepped the room for delivery your father sat excitedly by my bedside and held my hand. There was so much emotion in those last moments. We were here, after this long journey together, about to see our baby girl. All of a sudden the last 10 months seemed to flash by me in an instant. I felt no fear. I only wanted you in my arms. I asked him not to leave your side, to go with you wherever they take you after the birth and never take his eyes off you. As a few people bustled about in the room, the nurse prepped me about pushing, when and for how long. The epidural hadn't knocked out my legs and thankfully I had control of my own motion. I was ready!
The next 20 minutes until you were born were ... well, I don't even know how to describe it. I've been sitting on this letter for 2 months, not being able to articulate this part of your birth story accurately. I could feel the pressure of your body moving within mine. My body was telling me it was time to push.There was pressure, really uncomfortable pressure. There was pushing, about 5 hard pushes. There was love, encouragement, and sensitivity from the few that were there. Then suddenly after one strong push I felt you slip out. Just like that. All the pressure and pain just slipped right out. 
My body collapsed on the bed and I barely had the energy to crane my neck to see them wisk you away. I could hear your first cries from across the room and, baby girl, that is a sound I'll never forget. 
Dr. Lash got to work delivering the placenta. Only, the placenta wouldn't deliver. The situation got a little hairy and very unpleasant from here. But ultimately, the placenta was manually extracted (i.e. ripped out) and everything was fine. That was by far the worst part of your whole delivery.
When things had finally calmed down and mother and baby were both doing fine, your father brought you over to my bedside bundled like a burrito. I promptly unwrapped you like a present so I could see, touch, and feel the perfect little body which housed your spirit. Better than all the Christmases of my life wrapped in one moment. I poured over all your little features: long fingers and toes, big wide eyes, plump lips, round face and cheeks. Holy Cheeks! You had a scrumptious roll of fat at the back of your neck, evidence that you were in me for too long my dear. You reached up and touched my face with the back of your hand and I spoke softly to you, tears running down my checks. You are here and you are mine and you are perfect. And you are here! Thank God that you are here. 
Our lives will never be the same. Which is perfectly alright by me. Welcome, little one. 

PS, I had to include this photo because it's one of daddy's favorites

Thursday, September 13, 2012

100% Goofy

I die! Honestly, I die. I am regrettably behind on blogging, but this face trumps all. We call this Goofy Face, and it's nothing short of amazing. Hard to capture on camera, so this is a rare treat. I showed BD this photo in bed last night and we rolled laughing until we cried. Where has this precious Goofy Face been my whole life? So glad she's here. So glad she's mine. So glad she's goofy!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Happiness is...

...Brisk morning walks and capturing that sweet sweet smile. Gets me right here. Every time.