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Zachary's Birth Story
Pregnancy Loss
Third Times the Charm
Vivian's Birth Story
Conner's Birth Story




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February 8, 2014
Saturday morning family breakfast date!

Saturday morning family breakfast date!

February 6, 2014
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This is a point in pregnancy I am always very happy to reach - viability. Now at 24 weeks along, this little guy could survive outside my womb. With lots of help, he would have a fighting chance if something happened.

Of course, I prefer to keep my littlest cupcake cooking for as long as possible!

February 4, 2014

The other day I was chatting with Marissa about a friend of hers who adopted a child from Russia. The child was 12 months old and came fully potty trained because the orphanages cannot afford diapers so they make the children sit on the toilet for 20 minutes after meals starting very early.

This got me thinking… why not give that method a try? Sure, I wasn’t going to force Vivian to sit on her potty for 20 minutes if she hated it or didn’t want to, but heck, what did we have to lose?

Since I am working from home this week fully utilizing my flexible work arrangement as Shelby is out of town on vacation, I thought the timing was right to experiment. So today after breakfast I pulled out Vivian’s potty that I purchased at IKEA long before she was even born and into the bathroom it went.

I grabbed a few books so we could make it fun and planned to see how long she would tolerate it - especially since my little miss is always on the go - and see if she would go.

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Concentrating hard!

To my complete surprise she loved sitting on the potty with books, reading and listening to my encouragement after every few read words “go potty, you can pee pee” not knowing exactly what to say since this was a totally new and random suggestion she probably never has heard before.

Within about five minutes she was done. She started squirming and was ready to do something else. As she was trying to wiggle off the potty I saw movement inside… there was pee!

I didn’t even realize or hear her go but she did! We had a celebration that she had no interest in because she wanted to go play. So off we went.

Later after lunch I figured we’d give it another go since we were so successful after breakfast. We walked hand in hand to the bathroom while I kept telling her we were going to go potty now.

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Mid-“Yay!” celebration.
Reading on the potty is so exciting!

She instantly wanted to climb onto the potty but I had to take her diaper and pants off first - this was a good sign! Once seated on her little green and white throne we started reading again. She flipped through pages while I encouraged her to go potty, tinkle and pee pee.

Not very long after it was apparent she was going poop! And at that moment I realized I was not prepared for that - I had no wipes.

The smart thing would have been to just use toilet paper and forget the wipes but I thought Viv looked content with her books and I made a mad dash to the diaper bag about 20 feet away. In that 10 seconds things changed.

Viv wanted to get off the potty now being done and she didn’t quite know how, so out came the potty insert with her and her mess. I got there just in time to watch it happen. All I could do is just continue congratulating and cheering while cleaning her up. (Of course I snapped a photo but it  isn’t quite appropriate for the internet as my little Vivi’s buns and mess are shown.)

The mess got on the bath mat and one of the books but I’m pretty sure that rug needed to be washed anyway and that book - well, I’ve got disinfecting wipes. So I cleaned up Viv’s leg - ironically I wouldn’t have even needed wipes and toilet paper would have served just fine - before we got a diaper back on and headed down to get ready for nap.

After her two hour nap Vivian woke up with a dry diaper so up to the potty we went. She sat down and peed right away. I’m in shock.

I’ve got to say, I am one proud mama. Even if I am not intending to actually and fully potty train right now - I think we will continue the “Russian Orphanage Method” to decrease diapers a little if possible.

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February 2, 2014
Way to go Seahawks!!!!!!

Way to go Seahawks!!!!!!

February 1, 2014

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write about life’s happenings lately. In fact, I’ve pretty much neglected this space of my life - my blog - and I’ve been ok with it. I’ve been snapping less pictures and living more in the moment instead of trying to write it all down.

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Seattle Children’s Museum

Besides working hard to make a deadline (that was yesterday), we’ve done a lot of fun stuff this past month. Lucky for Viv, life is all fun and games while Tyler and I work as Shelby takes her to do tons of awesome things! This month they’ve gone to playdates, the park, Seattle Children’s Museum, Kid’s Quest, and Woodland Park Zoo among everyday fun. I’m lucky to get to see their fun in pictures when the day is done - it makes it seem almost like I was there.

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playing at home
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At the park
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Best friends watching otters at the zoo
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Feeding the penguins
with Shelby at the zoo

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Other than the fun Viv has without us, weekends come and we just enjoy family and friends. Today instead of sleeping in as one would think after a late night, Vivian was up earlier than ever. We went to McDonald’s to play in the play place for something fun to do while it rained and Viv got a nice big goose egg with a bruise on her head because she tripped into the structure. It slowed her down for a second then was off to play with the other kids. Later today we will be heading out with some friends and tomorrow we will - of course - be at a Super Bowl party rooting on our Seahawks!

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McDonald’s Play Place!
Someone loves the slide even
when it makes your hair stand up!

Last night we got together with our Vivs and Rivs clan to unwind and celebrate life. We got takeout and all caught up with each other while the kids played together and shared snacks and sippy cups with each other. Once it was time the Rivers went to bed just fine but the Vivians were having none of it! Our little lady was such a party animal that she decided she’d rather scream bloody murder instead of sleeping so we snatched her out of the pack ‘n play and she got to party with the adults. She was in a pretty good mood thankfully and we all got to go enjoy the hot tub - including Viv with some bath toys! Finally when we were ready to get out of the hot tub Viv was at her breaking point - that kid does not like to get out of the water. It was 11:30pm so we knew her good mood would very quickly turn south so we headed home thankful that we did get to stay sooo very long and sooo past Viv’s bed time! She conked out immediately upon her head hitting the crib.

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Sharing a snack while the adults chat

Last weekend we had a celebratory birthday dinner with some friends on Friday night then Saturday was beautiful so we got to enjoy the sunshine at the dog park then brunch with Ali and Alex and their pup. We also had a fun one year reunion party at our home with our birth class! It’s hard to believe that all the kiddos are walking, babbling and becoming such unique individuals with very strong personalities!

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Six kiddos that could make the birth class reunion

Two weekends ago was pretty low key. Vivian and I went to a rare weekend playdate and had so much fun catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in quite some time because of my work schedule. We went to the park to play at Zachary’s playground and we also got together with friends to watch the Seahawks winning Championship game which was fun! Viv wasn’t sure of all the screaming but all the kids had fun playing together and grazing on snacks all afternoon.

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Go Hawks! And zoom goes River
with Vivian in the toy stroller.
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Zachary’s bench!

Three weekends ago I had lunch sans children with my friend Phoebe. Then we had a family dinner over at Katie and Brandon’s place. It’s so awesome that Vivian has three cousins so close by and that they have so much fun playing together now that Viv is a lot more interactive and interested in other children. Sunday we met up with Nora, Adam and River for brunch before going to a first birthday party.

And that about brings us to our cruise vacation! Of course there were various other things scattered about during the weekdays - a few dinners with friends, a pedicure and more recently chiropractor appointments. My coccyx has been acting up and causing very sharp pains so I have been getting adjusted twice a week for the last two weeks and it is helping immensely!  Vivian joins me because she needed her milestone adjustment for learning to walk (we were recommended to bring her in to get adjustments as she hits milestones - rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.) and we also wanted to get an opinion on her walking technique.

She has now been walking about a month and a half and her gait has not improved from the robot technique - swinging her legs and not bending her knees. It became quite apparent when we got all the new walkers together that she should be improving more than she is and we were right. It turns out her hips are extremely tight which was likely due to her being frank breech and not having the full range of motion en utero. Makes perfect sense to me as I can now unmistakably agree that she did NOT move as much as she should have at least compared to her little brother who is - at this very moment even - kicking up a storm. Vivian just never could wiggle the way a baby should inside the womb.  So anyway, she has been coming twice a week for adjustments to help loosen her hips and knees and it seems to really be helping! Of course it will take a bit more time, but I can already see her bending her knees and swinging one leg much less.

Vivian also had a doctor’s appointment at Seattle Children’s to check up on her medication dosage for her birthmarks. She has been on Propranolol (a beta blocker) since September to primarily decrease the height of the birthmark on her back. Of course it lessens the redness of that birthmark as well as the one on her head too. We have been going in about monthly for checkups and dosage adjustments as she grew and this time we got the word that she will be on the medication for a month then we will start to wean her body of it to determine if the birthmarks are out of their growth phase. If they aren’t, as we wean it will start to raise up again and we will have to continue medication but if they remain the same while weaning we will be clear to quit!

The only other update I can think of is that unlike I thought before the cruise, I seem to not have gestational diabetes (at least not yet). When I realized my numbers were awful, I was sick and stressed which greatly impacts your insulin. I continued to monitor my blood sugar while I was on the cruise and everything was fine. I’ve continued to check and still I am apparently in the clear. I will have the official test sometime in the next few weeks but I will continue self-monitoring nonetheless. I may get lucky!

Photos

January 30, 2014

Making chocolate covered strawberries with Shelby!

January 23, 2014

Little man is really starting to make his mama proud. He is squirming and kicking and punching pretty regularly now and that is so amazing. His movement feels nothing like it did with Vivian - probably because she couldn’t move nearly as freely as this guy can. I am really hoping to experience the crazy alien-like movements that most people get to experience that I never did with Viv or Zachary.

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Quick belly shot after work. Makes the
belly look bigger than it really is and it’s
not a very flattering picture but you
get the idea.
  • Size of baby: About the size of a spaghetti squash (measuring about 11 inches from head to rump and about a pound)
  • Weight gain: I’ve gone ahead and doubled my weight gain in the last two weeks - little man is starting to really grow and get strong! I am now up to 7.1 pounds total this whole pregnancy.
  • Symptoms experienced: A literal pain in my butt. My coccyx is acting up and I’ve started going to the chiropractor for it. I’ll be going twice a week until the pain subsides then maintain whatever I need to do to keep the pain at bay.
  • How I feel: Bigger. Definitely starting to feel bigger.
  • What I’ve been craving: Nothing.
  • What I miss: Sitting without pain.
  • Best moment: Last night Tyler got to feel little man for the first time!
  • Items purchased: Nothing new to report since last update.
Pregnancy Ticker

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January 22, 2014
At the doctor for a checkup. Cuddle buddies at the ready!

At the doctor for a checkup. Cuddle buddies at the ready!

January 21, 2014

Lately mealtime has been a bit of a disaster. It became blaringly obvious when we went out to dinner with our friends on Saturday night. Let me paint a picture.

There were six adults and four children all one year old or almost. Everyone was sitting calmly as food arrived except one. Her name was Vivian. She was trying to stand up in her high chair and when she was sitting she was throwing her food on the floor or screaming because she wanted something else because she couldn’t communicate what. She wanted her water but food had to be 100% cleared away from her place and when she was ready for more food her water bottle had to be gone. Her preference would be on the floor if I wasn’t so skilled at catching her things.

While Vivian is being a terror at the table all three other children are staring at her with faces that said “whoa kid, what the heck is your problem, do we know you?”

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The kiddos right before food arrived. Vivian far right with the scowl on her face.

Previous to this life changing dinner I thought that all one year olds acted the way Viv usually does. EYE OPENER. That is not necessarily the case. Each of the other three sat calmly during dinner not trying to escape nor scream for no reason.

So yesterday we decided that some serious manners training was going to start. We pulled out the straps on the high chair to force our little miss to sit properly at the dinner table at home. We ditched her high chair tray and scooted her up to the table to practice the art of food and water cohabitation. We’ve committed to getting better at signing certain things to help communicate instead of throw.

Meals yesterday were rough. Viv hated the straps and tried more than once to throw her plate to the floor along with her sippy cup and fork. Shelby said breakfast today was the same story but lunch was better.


A little view into what we usually deal with.
This was a video at ME and Pop’s house
when she first learned to throw food to
the floor and we thought it was amusing.

I don’t know if some magical switch happened or we just lucked out but tonight was a meal to remember. Tyler and I walked in the door and Shelby was making a surprise meal - it turned out to be family date night at home with steak and pasta. Yum!

Vivian was still napping upon our arrival (transition to one nap has been interesting but that’s a whole different story) so Tyler went down to wake her for dinner. She was put in her chair, straps on, bib on, plate full of steak and her fork loaded. She sat and ate. And ate. And ate. When she didn’t want her fork she actually set it to the side of her plate instead of tossing it violently to the floor. She reached for the water when she wanted it but amazingly did not toss the plate to the floor. When she wanted more food she didn’t throw her plate or fork either! Not once did she try to climb out of the chair or scream.

Who was this child?!?!

After a very delicious and peaceful family meal we cleaned up and went downstairs to play. She usually starts melting down by now and whines most nights but tonight she was hysterical! She was having so much fun laughing and playing with us and it was wonderful.

I hope this version of my child sticks around for a while because it was a great way to end a long work day.

January 18, 2014

After Zachary passed away I realized that dreams can be prophetic. Of course not all dreams are but the one I had while I was pregnant with him ended up to be more meaningful than I knew until he was born. Because of that, I’ve taken my dreams a bit more seriously since then and haven’t really had anything that was too exciting.

Until Thursday night. I went to bed right after writing my note to little man and clearly had him on my mind as well as Zachary. Unfortunately my subconscious turned that into a tail spinning dream - rather nightmare. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and had a hard time falling back asleep after realizing I had the awful dream.

I was in labor and when I wanted to push we had to call for a nurse but she didn’t come. The baby ended up being born very quickly and easily but he was a kitten for some reason and wasn’t breathing so we were doing CPR by ourselves on his tiny kitten body (kitten face and hairless human body) and he started breathing then the nurse, doctor or whoever it was supposed to be finally came and he stopped breathing again. They picked him up immediately and found that he had something in his throat and apparently the nurse knew about it and said she was worried this would happen. And I woke up when they were trying to get him to breathe again.

I didn’t know if he survived or if that was the end of his little life.

It was just a dream but it stayed with me. I told Tyler about it that morning and I cried on my way to work. I got myself together and worked all day but it stayed with me. I felt exhausted from lack of sleep, drained from the emotional havoc it was apparently causing and eventually I started to feel achey along with exhausted and drained.

I had no idea how much emotions can cause such physical reactions. I cancelled our plans with friends for the evening and after eating some dinner and putting Viv to bed I climbed in my bed with Tyler rubbing my aching back and sobbed.

I guess I needed to release my tension and emotions as well as get a good nights rest. It’s times like these that I am thankful for my little man’s reassuring kicks and jabs. He will not follow in his big brother’s footsteps. He will not.

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