September 30, 2013

September 26, 2013

Ibbie's Birth Story

If you're not interested in birth stories or any sort of medical talk, skip this post.

Unlike her sister, in the weeks prior to Ibbie's birth, there was little evidence that I was progressing toward labor. At 40 weeks and 2 days, my OB said I was still 2 centimeters, as I had been since 37 weeks, and I still wasn't having any contractions. After an ultrasound indicating everything was fine, my doctor gave me the option to wait it out another week or schedule an induction. I opted to schedule an induction since my mom was in town to help. My doctor left a message with the hospital scheduler and told me she'd call me later in the day with my induction date and time. Before I left the appointment, my doctor also offered to strip my membranes. I asked her to go ahead with it since it was effective with Cole.

I was a touch uncomfortable following my appointment but proceeded with everything as normal. Cole, my mom, Bigs and I ran errands, lunched on the bluff and even walked the bluff stairsanything to get labor going! At 3 o'clock I got a call from my OB that my induction was scheduled for 5 o'clock the next morning. I was relieved. The waiting game was over!

As the afternoon turned to evening, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. I wasn't able to stomach dinner and I realized we wouldn't be making it to the scheduled induction so I asked my mom to spend the night at the house with Cole. Around 8 o'clock I decided it was time to start tracking my contractions. They were coming every 4:30-5:00 minutes and lasting for 60-90 seconds. After an hour, they were coming every 3:45-4:00 minutes and I told Peter it was time to go.

When we got to the hospital at 10 o'clock, the nurse told me Dr. Delaney, the same doctor who delivered Cole (and who I love!), was on call and that I was 5 centimeters. Then she asked if I wanted an epidural which I did.  Before she checked me, she asked if I'd had any bleeding. Prior to arriving at the hospital I hadn't but as I changed into the hospital gown I realized I was bleeding. She told me it was probably just bloody show which is normal. Once she got me hooked up to the fetal monitor she put me on oxygen because Ibbie was not reacting well to the contractions.

I got my epidural around 10:40. As I laid back on the bed, I felt an overwhelming amount of pressure. The anesthesiologist said, "Uh oh!" and the nurse said she needed to check me because it may be time to push. Fortunately I had only progressed to 8.5 centimeters so I wasn't going to have to push without the epidural. Still, 3.5 centimeters in forty minutes is pretty fast. The pressure I felt was from a "bulging bag" of waters. I remained on oxygen and the nurse had me lean on my left side because Ibbie was still not doing well with the contractions.

As Peter and I waited for progress, I thought my water broke. Twice. In both cases, it was just blood. We told the nurse, who was not concerned the first time but became quite concerned the second. Looking at the fetal monitor, she said, "I don't like this. Let me call Dr. Delaney again." Not long after that, around 1:15, Dr. Delaney was in the room.  She checked me and I was at 10 centimeters. My water still hadn't broken so she went ahead and broke it. After doing so, she looked at the nurse and said, "Call NICU." Of course, hearing that I knew something was off but set my mind to getting the baby out. I started pushing at 1:20. The pushing was going well but they needed to get the baby out which was obvious by the faces of the NICU nurses that had come into the room and were watching the fetal monitor. At 1:29 Dr. Delaney told me she was going to use a vacuum to help get Ibbie out. With the vacuum assistance, Ibbie was out in five pushes with an official birth time of 1:31.

The nurses cleaning Ibbie up called her "chunky," "bigger than mom," and pointed out her double chin. Our sweet girl arrived with a head of hair and a tad heavier than her big sister, at 8 pounds 3 ounces. As Ibbie was being checked on by the NICU nurses, Dr. Delaney explained that I had a partial placental abruption. She even went to far as to show me the placenta, with the caveat that she didn't want to "gross me out." She also explained how the position of the cord was part of the reason Ibbie wasn't doing well with labor. The cord was pinched during contractions; Ibbie was quick to turn her head away from the cord once she was out.

After everything was determined to be just fine with Ibbie and me, we got to meet! She latched right away, like Cole, and hasn't lost interest. After a bit of recovery time, Dr. Delaney came back to discuss how I was doing and answer any questions Peter or I had about the labor.  She told me we were fortunate pushing went well because had it gone on much longer she would have had to perform a Cesarean. It was a short labor but a long night.

Ibbie revealed a hint of her personality when she opted to arrive after her due date but ahead of the scheduled induction. And exactly 19 months after her sister. We're looking forward to seeing more of this little lady's personality in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

Here's a short slide show I put together with some pictures we took during our time in the hospital: 

September 24, 2013

Early Days

These early days have been busy ones! After 36 hours at the hospital, I was ready to get home and ease into our new life as a family of four. Lucky for us, my mom decided to come visit for a bit which has been very helpful, especially with Cole. We've had a stream of visitors since Ibbie arrived- both in the hospital and at home. Most notably, Peter's sisters came to visit from Nashville and Georgia and Stacey came from Arkansas! Since free time is precious these (and all) days, I'll leave you with more pictures than text. 

September 20, 2013

Leaving Home

There are times in life when you are ready to leave home, like before going to college. You spend years preparing for the change, knowing you'll have to establish a presence in your new place. There are also times when you don't have years of preparation before leaving home.

Six years ago, I followed Peter from Clemson to Memphis. It wasn't immediate, but after two years it became home. We have grown to love this city and our little place in it. In the past six years, I have adopted the term: Memphian by choice. This city has been so special to us. Our first house is in Memphis, our first jobs were in Memphis, our baby girls were born in Memphis, this city is absolutely a part of us.  We have been abundantly blessed with a large community of people who know and love us. Still, we have longed to live closer to our families for years and that longing has been amplified by the birth of our daughters.
Earlier this week, Peter accepted a job in Maryland. We'll be one hour from my family in Baltimore and one hour from Peter's relatives in Philadelphia. While we are thrilled to be moving closer to family, we are sad about leaving our home.

Peter wasn't looking for a job, but since the position in Maryland crossed his desk in late July it has been very clear where God is leading. We are praying to embrace and understand His perfect timing. In the upcoming weeks we'll be getting ourselves organized for the move while getting to know our newest addition. Of course that will mean selling our little house in Midtown the home we returned to after our honeymoon, where we hosted our first Thanksgiving, and first brought our children back to from the hospital.

I would love to reach out and tell our friends individually but with a newborn that just isn't an option. We covet your prayers during this transition. Our hearts are heavy knowing we'll be leaving our home, but we're optimistic about what the Lord has in store for us as we establish ourselves in a new place.

September 19, 2013

Hello, World!

Elizabeth Kathleen Slaton
Born 1:31 am, September 18, 2013
8 pounds, 3 ounces
20 inches

September 15, 2013

40 Weeks

September 15, my due date, is here and we are still a family of three.
It is not what I expected, but I'm so grateful for the extra two-on-one time we've been able to spend with Cole. Our girl has received lots of extra attention from visitors lately with more visitors joining us tonight. Months ago when my mom was buying plane tickets, we told her to come on the baby's due date since sister would definitely be here by then. Ha! Oh, how the lessons in parenting two children have already begun. It seems the notions that every child is different does, in fact, extend into labor. Somehow I  think I worked it in my head to anticipate different children but similar births.

While we're living in a state of constant expectancy, I'm opting to keep on living. As I've been around town this week, people have been quick to comment on my belly. A typical exchange goes something like this:
     "Wow. That baby must be coming soon..."
     "Yep. I'm due on Sunday."
     "Whoa! And you're out and about? Are you okay? Do you need any help?" 

It's actually amusing to see how people shift when they realize how pregnant I am. I suppose there may be some deep underlying fear that I could break into spontaneous Stage 2 labor and require immediate help in delivery. But, really, am I just suppose to stay at home and wait?

We've been filling our time with all sorts of routine and special activities: washing cars, walking the dogs, attending a couple of parties for the Cooper-Young 4 Miler, treasure hunting at the Cooper-Young Festival, and visiting the farm for a Sunday School kick-off party. Until sister arrives, we don't really have any intention of abandoning our plans.  Since I'm already carrying an extra thirty-plus pounds around, I've been relying on my iPhone camera rather than my Nikon. Surely, you understand.

Friday night, we watched the start of the race before heading down the street to our friend's house for a yard party. Cole delighted in the glow sticks the hosts put out and tried to help her buddy H put one around his ankle.
Saturday we walked up to the Cooper-Young Fest where we found treasures for the girls, ourselves and my mom.  Two years ago, my mom mentioned a painting that was on display at Fino's and asked me to go back and get it. Unfortunately, by the time I made it over there the painting had sold. I familiarized myself with the artist and every time we've gone to a local festival I've kept an eye out. While I've perused the artist's booth at least three times since then, I've not seen any similar work. Until yesterday! It was a major score. We also bumped into the Moskes, whose daughter was one of Cole's first friends. The girls decided to stroll through a couple of booths together.
Cole & Sally (Thanks to Sarah for this picture)  
After Cole's nap on Saturday, we headed to the farm for a Kick-Off Party for our Sunday School class. Other than an unexpected fear of horses that was exposed, Cole seemed to love everything about being in the country. Sure, it helped that there were a gazillion children for her to play with and more ride-on toys than I could count. Cole actually cried when we wouldn't let her drive the four-wheeler.
Sadly, Cole woke up with a stomach bug this morning. A 12-hour bug has been going around our church and our baby was not spared. She seems to be over the worst of it now so we're just soldiering on.

As for becoming a family of four: if sister hasn't made her debut by Tuesday, I'll be going back to the doctor for an ultrasound and to discuss an eviction plan.

September 13, 2013

A Pride Story

It's a big weekend for our neighborhood! The annual Cooper Young Festival is on Saturday and tonight there is a 4 Miler which will bring 2,500 people running right down our street. Unfortunately, early this week the residents of one home on our block were evicted. While they took many of their belongings with them, a heaping pile of goods was left on the side of the road. Almost immediately, there was a series of emails sent between the neighbors about what to do with the pile. Knowing the festival weekend and events would bring many visitors into our neighborhood, we all wanted to see the pile cleaned up.
Before any of the neighbors took actions, there were a number of street shoppers that rummaged through the pile looking for salvageable goods. It's pretty typical in midtown that if you put something with potential on the street it'll be picked up by street shoppers within a day. Peter and I have taken advantage of this norm multiple times when we have items to get rid of but not enough for a yard sale.
After the pile had been picked over, there was still a remarkable amount of furniture and trash that remained. One of neighbors was concerned that the pile would remain through festival weekend but then Thursday came. Thursday is trash day and our trash men are unbelievable! They took everything!
There were some crumbs, if you will, that remained after the trash men had hauled away the bulk of the goods. Before the trash men were off the street, our neighbor made his way to the now empty house to clean up the remaining trash, mow the yard, and weed whack. It's really cool to live in a neighborhood that is recognized as a great place to live where the neighbors look out for each other and work to maintain pride in the community.

September 8, 2013


The logistics of having a second child are a bit more complicated than a first. When Cole was born, we just had to have some friends on call that could let our dogs out. With little sister, we need friends who can watch the dogs and Cole. When we learned that the Swens, the family Cole is most comfortable with, would be out of town from August 22 until September 8, we decided we needed a backup plan. While we had an outpouring of volunteers willing to be "on call" to watch Cole, we knew the easist thing would be to have a specific and stable plan. So my sister, Kelsey, came to town.
Kelsey works from home so it was hardly any trouble for her to head South for a couple of weeks ready to watch Cole in the event that sister made her appearance. Kelsey was with us from August 27 until September 7. Cole loved every minute of it!
While we made sure to give Kelsey time to work, we also gave her a glimpse into our lives here in Memphis. We went swimming and to a birthday celebration with friends. We ventured to Jerry's, the fair, Gibson's, the Peabody splash pad, and the zoo. So we kept her busy. Aunt Kelsey introduced Cole to her new favorite song, which has essentially been on repeat since the first time Cole heard it. While sister didn't debut during Kelsey's visit, Cole got to spend lots of quality time with her auntie.

Before she left, Kelsey got Cole an amazing princess castle. Our child is enamored.
We were all sad to see Aunt Kelsey go, especially Cole. There were tears all the way home from the airport. Hopefully Kelsey will be back soon to visit Cole and meet little sister. 

September 5, 2013

Gettin' Real Real

Knowing that baby sister will be joining our gang by the end of the month (or I hope and pray sooner!), I am anticipating a return to straight-up survival mode. At least for the fall. Newborns are tough whether they are only children or not. I'm aware that two under two will present unique challenges but I'm a firm believer that those challenges are just different from the challenges presented when siblings are further apart in age. Ultimately the goal with a newborn is just the general survival of the family. Am I wrong?

I will admit, saying a return to survival mode is a bit funny because with Cole we constantly live in a state of survival. Cole is a climber in the most gifted sort of way. She loves to practice balancing on various surfaces and climbing as high as she can as often as she can. It's come to the point where bystanders may not know if I'm speaking to my dog or child as I command: off, down, sit, and no.

Because her climbing is so mind-boggling, I've been known to snap a picture before returning her to a less precarious position. For what it's worth, she does have a very good balance and is quite resilient after a fall. 

September 4, 2013

Family Pictures

A few weeks ago we had some family pictures taken. Since I'm extremely pregnant, we're counting them as maternity pictures too. On the recommendation of my friend Cameron, we used Jennifer from Pea Pie Photography for the session. She was a breeze to work with! The pictures of our family turned out to be some of the best of the year and the images of Cole really capture her personality.