Wednesday, November 20, 2013

6 years - Max!

How is it possible that this little boy has turned the ripe old age of 6?!?

It seems like just yesterday that we had our first whirlwind delivery, and now he's well past the stage of infant, of baby, of toddler and full fledged into little KID.  And while so much of the baby is gone, there is still some that remains...

But today, I want to remember everything about this child, where he is at 6.  It seems so old and yet still so young at the same time.

How he still sleeps with his trusty blue blankie, tucking it in with him at night and carrying it around the house with him.  He's worn a big hole right around the small tag on the side of it that he likes to rub his thumb over right before he falls asleep.

How he asks, insists...that he get a hug AND kiss each night.

His eagerness to learn, to build, to compute, to understand.

His light blue eyes, sandy brown hair, perfectly olived skin and now his gapped, one-tooth-missing smile.

His slight stutter when he gets excited about explaining something...

His random exclamations of "I Love you Mom (or Dad) when emotion washes over him (like after he gets something he wants or he's happy).

The way his face lights up when I go to pick him up from school and how he races across the lot towards me and barrels into me, embracing my legs/waist in a HUGE bear hug - almost knocking me over.

His eagerness to please that he hides under the false pretense of 'knowing everything'

His love for his brothers and his irritation with them (mostly Sam) at the same time.  Still, he would move heaven and earth for them, and he gets visibly upset when they are upset.

His stubbornness.

His bossiness.

His kind and gentle heart.

His love for God and Jesus.

His passion for outerspace, rocket ships, Star Wars and Angry Birds (he's already got some pretty good planet trivia under his belt).

His ability to go from happy to sad back to happy again, and the intensity with which he insists he is feeling.

The adoration he shows his dad (veiled of course) and how proud he is of the things his daddy does.

The fact that he insists on cleaning out his toe lint.

His love for being goofy/silly/the center of attention. 

His obsession with treats and anything sweet.

His love for the iPad.

His love for playing house or school or other role-playing games.

He sleeps from 7:30-6:30 most days and if asked to, will even take up to a 2 hr nap.

The way he hums the ABCS when he brushes his teeth each night.

His infamous 3 second long hand washing.

That he stills wants to and ASKS to hold my hand.

His hesitation to try something new until he is able to mentally process it and overcome his fear/anxiety of failure.

The ease with which he makes friends - when I pick him up from school he's got kids from every grade saying hi to him and his response is to be cool and mutter "Hey".  It makes me laugh.

The fact that he calls his 'best friend' at school his 'best Dude'.

This child...the same one that tested us continuously when he was younger has been turning into the most amazing kid (not that he still doesn't test us from time to time).  There has been a remarkable change in him over the past few months (maybe it was just the dreaded half birthday syndrome we seem to witness here), so much so that big Max and I have commented on it to each other repeatedly, and other people in our lives have noticed it as well.

I think big Max said it best in what he wrote in Max's birthday card  "Happy 6th birthday, Buddy! You are becoming such a great kid!  Can't wait to see what the next year will bring."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Benjamin - 1 month!!

I can't believe this little stinker is already ONE month old!  Where does the time go?  Oh just flies by without you noticing it because you are in a daze dealing with a newborn in a house of 3 littles....THAT'S right..

But for the most part, little Benny has been a great baby.  He's fairly predictable about what he's crying about.  He tends to get pretty gassy if mom eats certain foods, so I've been trying hard to keep those things out of my diet (onions, garlic, salami).  Onions are in a lot of things (and they taste good), but I'd rather not deal with a fussy gassy baby!

He's also been a great sport with me using him as a model for all the new crocheted creations I've been making.  Here he's wearing one of my favorite hats I made for him.

He's got a lot of character, this one!  He's going to be a tough cookie around his two big brothers (that's a good thing).  He sure seems like he's practicing to stay strong already!  He rolls over from belly to back, and has almost made it from back to belly already!  When he's down for tummy time, he likes to dig his toes into the ground and push himself forward in a modified crawl!  One time he managed to make it across the blanket already!

He's been pretty solid in newborn sized clothing for awhile, but is just now exceeding the length of the outfits and needing to move into 0-3 months sized clothing.  He's still pretty skinny though, so some of the 0-3 month pants fit him lengthwise but not width wise and he shows some cute baby diaper crack!  :)

He loves tracking people's faces with his eyes, and he particularly LOVES the sound of his big brother Max's voice.  I think this is because little Max spent so much time talking to him while he was still in my belly.  It's truly amazing though...he can be in the middle of a fuss fit and little Max will go over to him to tell him its ok and he quiets down and opens his eyes and tries to find him. Absolutely precious.

He's pretty predictably eating every 3 hrs during the day and anywhere from 4-7 hrs at night (except for that lovely growth spurt the last few nights where he had me up every 2 hrs....grrr..).  But mostly he eats, plays a little bit and then sleeps.  I'm still napping him in his swing or bouncy seat downstairs in the AM, but have been laying him down in his crib for his afternoon naps, and he does great in there.  He's been sleeping  in the crib at night since he was about 3 weeks old.  He just did so much better in there than in our room...we are all getting better sleep as a result.

He's the perfect addition to this crazy family.  I may have always imagined myself as a mom to a girl, but I honestly wouldn't change a thing,  I'm loving this boy-crazy house!!

Well, most days at least!  :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

McTrois is Here! A (quick) birth story.

After 10 months of waiting, we finally got to meet the little person that has been growing inside of me.  It was a whirlwind of a labor but the end result was an absolutely perfect and beautiful…

…little BOY.

So now it is official that I will remain the queen of this castle and I will be forever surrounded by boys.  I guess it is my calling in life to raise 3 little men to be polite, kind, and to treat women right. 

But enough of the future…let’s get on with the present!  I’m sure you've all been on edge waiting to hear how little Benny entered this world.   I’ll warn you now…there isn't much to this story (and yet I bet I will still manage to make this a long post).  But, I guess that’s just par for the course when your labor is only 1.5 hrs long.

Benjamin Gabriel McLaughlin joined us at 3:30 am on Monday, October 14, 2013.  Sunday was a completely normal day.  We had beautiful weather, the boys and I walked to the park.  On our way home, a neighbor passing by commented on how my pumpkin was (I was wearing an orange shirt that day).  No signs of imminent labor, no signs that McTrois was going to be budging anytime soon!   Sunday night, Max and I enjoyed a movie, lounged around and went to bed around our normal time.   Again, nothing was amiss or awry, and certainly no indications that labor (and delivery) were only mere hours away.  Braxton Hicks were regular occurrences at this point in the pregnancy, but absolutely nothing happened to me on Sunday or Sunday night that would have hinted to me that this baby was going to come…

I woke up around 2 am Monday morning to use the bathroom – a common occurrence for me (and most pregnant ladies).  I am not entirely sure if it was the sensation of needing to use the bathroom or if it was a contraction that actually woke me up.  In any case, I went to the bathroom and felt a little ‘crampy’ afterwards, but I commonly felt like that after emptying a full bladder as things settled back into place down there.  I didn't think it was actual labor contractions, so I went back to lay down in bed.  After about a minute or two of laying there, I had a feeling that they were actually contractions so I went back to the bathroom with my cell phone to see if I could get a sense for how quickly they were coming and how long they were lasting.  After about 10 mins of trying to time them, I decided to wake Max up because the contractions appeared to be coming already 2-2.5 mins apart and they were getting more and more intense.  Honestly, they were hard to time because they felt like they were coming one on top of the other (in retrospect they really were) and the intensity seriously went from a mild crampy feeling to a doubled-over stop your breathing type of contraction in a matter of 10 minutes.  I honestly don’t know why I insist on being in denial that I am in labor for every single pregnancy, but AGAIN – despite all that was going on, I still remember telling Max I was uncertain. 

Since my parents were part of the plan (Mom to meet us at the hospital and Dad to watch the boys), I called my parents to let them know that things were happening and to get moving.  This was at about 2:26 am.  I also managed somehow, in between contractions,  to call my OB office and text my BFF as well as my birth photographer that we were heading to the hospital.  I am still amazed that my friend and my photographer were woken by my texts. 

In fact, the text conversation with my friend Kelly still has me laughing:

Me – Heading to hospital
Kelly – Aaah!  Keep me posted.
Me – OK they are pretty close together already.  I think it’s going to be fast.
Kelly – I hope so!  XOXOXO good luck.  Wish I could have been with you but know you will do amazing.
Me – Wait, you’re not coming?  OK
Kelly – Not unless I can be home by 6.  Think so?  If so I’ll head out…
Me – I can try J
Kelly – OK I’m coming.  Text me room number.

As it turns out, Kelly was home WAY before her curfew of 6 am.  So happy I could oblige, Kel.  J

We quickly raced around the house throwing my hospital bag into the car, making a quick list for my dad on the kid’s school schedules and drop off instructions, etc.  I didn't even have time to pop my head into the boys’ room to sneak one last peek at them before leaving…  No ‘before’ pictures like we did with Sam’s birth…it was definitely more of the feelings we had with Max’s labor – GET TO THE HOSPITAL, QUICK!

We got into the car (me somewhat reluctantly because the contractions felt so much worse sitting down) and made our way to the hospital.  My dad was pulling into the driveway as we were pulling out (perfect timing)!  The ride to the hospital is all a blur to me.  I remember one part of the drive where some guy clearly didn't remember the meaning of the word ‘merge’ (and what are the chances at 2:45 am that you’d have to merge with someone anyways??  The roads were basically empty!).  We got to the hospital and Max asked me if he should drop me off or if he should park.  I told him to just park that I could make it – HA.  Still in denial, LOL.  So, I got out and immediately hunched over – toughing out a contraction.  Once I was able to stand up and walk, I made my way around the car, only to double-over again on the back bumper!  Slowly, we made our way into the hospital…pausing a few times to get through a few contractions on our way to the ER doors.  Once we got into the Emergency Room lobby, I pretty much stayed in my hunched over position until they brought the wheelchair over.  I’m not sure what was worse – laboring in the middle of the lobby, or laboring in a wheelchair.  Seriously, sitting was NOT comfortable at ALL!

I was wheeled up to labor and delivery and when I got up there, all the forms I had to sign were laid out on the counter.  I think it took a few minutes for me to sign them all – seriously why do hospitals have you sign things in labor?  I don’t think I would even recognize my signature!  Max got his visitor’s pass – the time read 3:07 am. I met my nurse, Rosemary, who showed me to my room.  Rosemary’s name sounded familiar – I remembered that I had had a nurse with that name for either Max or Sam’s labor (couldn't remember which) but I thought, no – it couldn't be the same person…  Well it was!  Turns out, Rosemary was also present for Max’s delivery.  So, she must think I am a crazy fast laboring person because she was present for my two fastest labors, LOL.  (Oh and I remembered her name because I kept thinking ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ – how’s that for morbid?)

We went directly into a labor and delivery room – to this day, I still don’t know what a triage room at the hospital looks like – I've always been brought straight into a delivery room!  Once in the room, Rosemary told me I could stay in my dress if I wanted to, I didn't have to don the typical hospital gown!  I was thrilled!  So I just hiked up my dress and got onto the hospital bed.  

I love that my Mom is holding my hand in this photos.
Rosemary checked me, and lo and behold, I was already dilated to 8 cm!  Holy cow!  I was probably transitioning in the hospital parking lot or lobby, LOL.

They had told me on the way into my room that the OB on call was about to go into a c-section, so they ran to get him into my room before going into the operating room.  By this point, I was having some majorly intense contractions, but everything was just happening so quickly I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that this was actually happening right now!  

That handrail was my friend!
The OB came into the room, checked me, told me I was at a 10 and that they were going to break my water and that I was going to have to start pushing.  I remember asking him (somewhat jokingly, somewhat seriously) if I could deliver en caul, but with the need for him to get into the c-section (that was already prepped and he had been about to go into) the need for me to deliver right now was greater.  (It would have been cool to try this, but in retrospect with everything going on, it just wasn't in the cards and I am okay with that).

They didn't even turn on the overhead lights, and I hardly remember them converting the bed to a delivery bed.  I don’t remember them breaking my water.  All I remember is the OB telling me it was time to push , and I said “No, I’m not ready.”  He told me I “didn't have a choice.”  LOL

Pushing this time was NOTHING like with Sam.  (I'll spare you from pictures of that).  There was no mellow/zen/silent birthing moments happening.  I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I screamed like a banshee.  In fact, people may have even thought I was possessed or that there was an exorcism going on...After the first push, I told them I didn't want to push any more, I needed to take a break.  The OB informed me that the baby’s heart-rate had gone down, so I didn't really have a choice in the matter – I had to push NOW.  So, I reached deep down inside me, took a deep breath, and let it out in one long and LOUD ear-piercing screech.  You think I’m kidding…I’m not.  My throat was seriously hoarse afterwards.  The OB told me he could see the head at this point, so I reached down and felt my baby's head! It was the coolest thing ever! It was in my birth plan, and I would've loved to catch my own baby, but that’s kind of hard to do in a laying down position pushing from a bed.  So, while it was on my ‘wish list’ for this labor, I had to forgo it and do the job I was there to do instead.  One more push - 3 pushes total, and baby Ben joined our family (though he wasn't technically named for almost 12 hours after his birth), 1.5 hours after I first woke to use the bathroom and 23 minutes after we checked into the hospital. 

They immediately put him on my chest – I had asked them to delay clamping the cord for a few minutes and they respected that wish.  Max cut the cord. I was able to snuggle and spend some time with Ben before they weighed and measured and did all the other things that they like to do to newborns.   

By that time, the OB had finished up his work and started to leave for his c-section.  I thanked him and informed him that I expected his bill to only be for the 15 mins of his time I used. He had a nice chuckle over that one.

It was right about this time that my wonderful photographer came racing into the room – 3 minutes too late J.  We knew that it was going to be tricky to capture photographs of the birth – between anticipating the timing of the labor and the possibility that I would have a fast labor, we weren't counting on anything.  I’m just amazed that she made it there as quickly as she did!  And, even if she wasn't able to capture photos of the actual labor and delivery, I’m hoping she captured some pretty great shots of our first moments with Benjamin.

I’m still in shock that things happened as quickly as they did.  In the past few weeks there have been stories on the news about people delivering their babies at home, or in their cars on the way to the hospital because they've had such precipitous labors.  That totally could have been me!  I am thankful that it wasn't, but it’s just crazy to think that it could have happened.  I’ll admit that sometimes I hear those stories and think that those people just waited too long to head to the hospital or something…but after experiencing not one, but TWO crazy fast labors…I can see how it could happen to someone!

Overall I am just completely overjoyed that I have another beautiful and healthy baby boy to cherish and love.  He really is perfect in every way.  I am amazingly lucky and blessed.