Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kylie's Blessing

On December 28th, 2008 Kylie Clark was given a name and a blessing by her father, Doug Clark in the Lindsay Ward of the Porterville, CA Stake.  Standing in were Chuck Winter (grandpa) and Paul West, Paul Tanner, Brad Clark and Nate McDonald (uncles).  Among other things, her blessing said that she would be quick to smile (I noticed that this exact phrase was in Claire's blessing also), a light in her mother's life, a steadying influence and an example in her family, and a stalwart and faithful member of the Church.  With Keilana's and Dylan's blessings, both times there were things that caught me a bit off guard.  For the first time, it said exactly what I expected, from the impressions I've already received of my daughter.  I finally thought, "I've got this one pegged!" :)  

I absolutely love baby blessings.  It is so reassuring and wonderful to see those tiny babies held and protected by those big strong arms in a circle of faithful priesthood holders.  It just makes it seem like all's right with the world, or can be at least.  I wish my family could've been there, but it was a very special experience to have Doug's whole family there.  I love Brad, his brother, and have gotten to know him fairly well since we moved to Lindsay (he spends a fair amount of time at my house) and I love my brothers-in-law.  Doug's sisters have chosen well.  I'm still getting to know Paul Tanner and Nate, but have enjoyed the time I have spent getting to know them, and appreciate the way they serve as the Priesthood leaders in their homes.  And Paul West--couldn't ask for a better brother in law, because he has felt the most like a brother to me of all my in-laws on both sides.  As he put it, I think we're "kindred spirits".  Chuck has been a better father-in-law than I could've asked for, certainly better than I ever hoped.  He is such a good grandfather to my children--doting and affectionate and patient.  I was honored to have each of them there to share that moment with us and am grateful to have married into such a wonderful family.  Sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out (and you all know when those moments are-hahahahaha), but to be a part of this wonderful group of people who love each other, who love the Gospel, who love me--its been a tremendous privilege thus far.  Thank you all.  I love you very much, and I had a wonderful Christmas with all of you.

Daddy holding Kylie.  Isn't this dress gorgeous? Yaya made it for her.  We'll take more pictures of her in it when she's bigger.  Mom managed to do what no one else has done:  make Doug feel some shame over his Jeremiah Johnson look.  When I opened the dress he said, "Wow.  That dress is so beautiful. I feel like I need to shave and get a new suit!"
The whole clan (well, minus Sarah, anyway--almost the whole clan).  The kids were all really good the whole time (there were lots of cameras to get photos with), but as soon as we said we were done, it was like the last day of school:  they all yelled, "Yay!!" and took off running in different directions.  Hilarious.
All our priesthood holders: Nate McDonald, Brad Clark, Chuck Winter (holding Claire, whom he blessed), Doug Clark (holding Kylie), Paul West and Paul Tanner.
Amanda and Tim with Claire June VanderArk and Doug and I with Kylie
Ladies and babies: Amanda and Claire (born Dec 15), Me with Kylie (born Dec 12), Jennifer, Melissa with Clark (born Nov 6) and Christa with Alexa (born Nov 16)
The Wests (Keith's technically in the picture, yeah?)
Nate catches up on his reading while Chuck grabs a nap
Taylor checks out Keilana's new scrapbook from Grandma
Baby Clark hangs out with his dad and grandma.
Oh, these two.  Oy.
Christa and Alexa.
A rousing game of Catchphrase (man, can that game get loud!)

Christmas Day at Grandma's

For a few hours on Christmas day, everyone was at Katy's house.  Everyone being: Katy, Chuck, Sarah, Rachel, Doug, myself, Keilana, Dylan, Kylie, Brad, Jennifer, Paul Tanner, Ben, Ryan, Amanda, Tim, Taylor, Clayton, Claire, Melissa, Nate, Clark, Christa, Paul West, Keith, Alexa, Grandma and Grandpa Barnes, and Uncle Bud.  It was madness, since we also did all the present unwrapping while everyone was there.  Wonderful madness, though.  Even Grandma and Grandpa seemed to rather enjoy the pandemonium.
Keilana checks out her I-Spy that auntie Jen put together for her.
Nate and. . . .a Tanner boy.  I'm not entirely sure which one at the moment.
Keith checks out his new car from Mimi.  I've decided that Keith and Dylan need wrestler names.  In one corner we've got Dylan "The Tank" Clark, and in the other Keith "The Instigator" West.
Melissa enjoyed Dylan's Santa hat.
Grandma Barnes and Amanda.
It looks like Dylan is smiling over the step stool, but in fact he's still basking in the afterglow of opening his Lightening McQueen coloring sheets from aunti Lissa.
Paul and Alexa.
Tim and Claire.
Keilana was of course right in the MIDDLE of all the present stuff almost the whole time.
Poor Ben was sssooo tired.  But he was a trooper, putting up with much abuse from my children.
Doug shows Grandpa Barnes how to use the digital photo frame we got them.
She's always liked her Grandpa Chuck, but it seems like Keilana's always cuddling up to Grandpa these days.
Christa and Alexa.
Rachel, Christa and uncle Bud calmly take in all the present commotion going on at their feet.
Ben and Jen and Katy's pretty tree.
Grandma and Grandpa Barnes.

Christmas Morning

My little Keila bug and Kylie bear.

Christmas morning, Keilana and Kylie woke up about an hour and a half before the rest of the house.   This was torture for Keilana, who was convinced she was gonna shrivel up and die while waiting for everyone else to get downstairs so she could open presents.  Surprise, surprise, she lived!

I think she looks a little like her uncle Michael.  Any input from those of you who actually know Michael?

Digging into those stockings first (there was a lot of candy around here!)
showing off her Hannah Montana beads from Santa (she is still really excited about this, as Mommy and Daddy refuse to buy her Hannah Montana ANYTHING)
The Tanner boys were pretty happy opening presents (they got Lightening McQueen sleeping bags from Santa!)
Our budding musician.  Next time: drums.
This Leapster from Yaya has been the focus of most of her attention since Christmas.  She hides it from the other kids under her pillow.
Getting cleaned up to head to Grandma's house.

Christmas Eve

This was the best Christmas Eve we've had in a while.  With four kids between the ages of 2 and 4, the Santa anticipation was high.  Earlier in the day, we'd made chocolate chip cookies, and Doug had the kids each put one on a plate for Santa.  Then we got him a glass of egg nog and a candy cane and left them on the piano next to the tree to be sure he'd find them.  (Boy did he like those cookies!)  Each of the kids got to open one present.  Dylan got Lightening McQueen pjs, Keilana got Disney Princesses, and the Tanner boys had matching Curious George.  We got everybody in their jams, then read Luke 2, sang "Silent Night", said a family prayer and sent them all to bed (more or less).  Santa still had some wrapping to finish, so Paul was on stair patrol, making sure the little hooligans didn't make it down to the first floor! :)

Ready to open their presents!!
Posing next to Santa's cookies and egg nog. . .unfortunately, I didn't have a picture where Dylan's finger wasn't up his nose.
The tree, after Santa and before kids.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Updates coming. . .

I've been a little slow since bringing the baby home, but I'm getting there. . . . .

Christmas, family visits, crucial conversations, baby blessings. . . . .so much to say. . . .

Finally catching up on all your blogs. . . .sorry so few comments. . .but enjoying hearing about your adventures with Christmas/travel/weather/school/kids. . . . .will comment again soon.  . . .

love to all. . . .

pictures (and a whole lot of words!) coming. . . . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Reason

". . .Jesus answered. . .To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world. . . ." ~John 18:37

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." ~John 3:16

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world. . ." ~3 Nephi 1:13

"There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter.  The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.
   "I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal, Living God.  None so great has ever walked the earth.  None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing.  He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world.  I believe in Him.  I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise.  I love Him.  I speak His name in reverence and wonder.  I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and truth.  I thank Him and kneel before His Beloved Son who reached out long ago and said to each of us, 'Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' "
~President Hinkley

I think most women, after they become mothers, develop a greater appreciation for the Savior, the Atonement and our Father's love.  But I think most women also feel a greater connection to and appreciation for Mary--certainly physically.  As I sit here listening to music about the glorious night of His birth, still convalescing somewhat from giving birth myself, I feel a greater appreciation for her physical sacrifice--young, far from home and its comforts, pregnant for the first time, a world away from the modern comforts and conveniences that we have.  How scary and uncomfortable and difficult this time in her life must've been.

And yet, it is all the other stuff I appreciate more.  There's that new mom glow, where you just get sort of a natural high and nothing seems more wonderful than gazing at your sleeping child in peaceful contentment.  The scriptures tell us that Mary pondered. I'll bet.  When you are first holding that new child, finally able to see into that precious little face, you wonder about who they'll be and all the things they'll do--and you start thinking about who you will have to be and what you will have to do in order to be the mother that child deserves.  How much more joy and apprehension must there be then, when the tiny baby in your arms is literally the Son of God?  What must she have felt and thought as she wrapped her first born child, and rocked Him and listened to the angels' anthem?  How beautiful He must've been!  

"No ear may hear His coming, 
but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive Him
still the dear Christ enters in."
~Phillips Brooks

May we all remember and ponder the reason for all the presents and celebrations, for the sweetest season that engages the world in greater patience, kindness and love.  I will remember the words to that sweet Christmas song and make it anew my resolution for the coming year:  Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.  Merry Christmas and much love to all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The whole story

Ok, I said I'd write about L&D, and people kept asking how it went, so I'll tell you exactly how it went.

Friday morning Doug and I got to the hospital just after 7 and got settled in.  Rita (my midwife) came in and checked me and said I was at about 1cm and 60% effaced.  So she gave me a dose of Cervidil (to ripen my cervix) at about 7:45.  After an hour, I was able to get up and walk around, which I did a lot of.  Contractions started at about 9, but were still really mild (e.i., I barely noticed them if I wasn't paying attention).   I walked around a lot (oh, how utterly boring--round and round the loop of the delivery ward) and even managed to catch about a half an hour's sleep while it was still mild.

Around noon, the nurse came back to check my progress (by now the contractions were fairly consistent and noticeable, though not really painful) and I was at about a 3.  Woohoo!! thinks I.  So much farther along than I had been at that point in the day with the first two.  Just after that, Mom came in with the kids to see hello and see how things were going.  Keilana was still buzzed about Yaya being here and was in a very, very good mood.  Dylan insisted on getting up to sit on my lap (of course), so we decided it'd be better to go for a walk.  We walked around the waiting area a bit and Dylan was rather annoyed that I wouldn't leave in the elevator with him.  He kept grabbing my hand, dragging me that direction and saying, "Momma, go!"  When I explained that I was staying but if he went with Yaya she would buy him chicken nuggets, he threw his hands up in the air, shouted, "yay! [something I couldn't understand]" and took Mom's hand and left with her.

Rita said she'd come back in a bit to break my water and hopefully speed things along.  I walked and walked some more, still bored out of my mind (I hate waiting around the hospital--can you tell).  At about 2, the nurse checked me again, and I was at about 4cm.  She called Rita, who told her we'd wait on breaking my water since my body seemed to be progressing well on its own.

My mom, in the meantime, was carting my kids around Visalia, exploring all their favorite places: McDonald's, Costco, Target, etc.  We called to update her, and after a bit more exploring she left the kids with Katy and came back to the hospital around 4.  At that point Doug left to get something to eat (and I was so grateful.  He was getting hungry and he's no picnic when his blood sugar drops--he's a lot like Grandma Barnes that way.  I really wanted him well fed once the hard part started).   The nurse came back at about 5, and I was still at 4 cm (though my contractions had gotten a lot stronger), so she called Rita, who said she'd come and break my water.  She got there at about 6, and I was so glad that she did.  As soon as she did, my very next contraction was stronger and more painful.  Hooray.  My mom laughed at me because when the nurse came in to check (before my water broke) she asked how the contractions were and I said, "Not bad.  I'm still talking right through them."  To which my mom responded, "You sound so disappointed!"  Having been around for both my previous deliveries, she knows how much I hate just sitting around waiting and wanted to get the show on the road.

(Disclaimer: If you are squeamish about large needles in highly sensitive areas like the spine, skip this paragraph).
Anyway, I had decided before I came in that I would bite the bullet and get an epidural after all, so after she broke my water, I asked if they would get the anesthiesiologist, assuming from that point on things would move fairly quickly.  It took about a half an hour for him to get there (he was with another patient), which wasn't a big deal, since I was only somewhere between 4 and 5 cm and still had lots of pain tolerance and patience to spare.  Once he got there, I did that curl up in a ball thing that is oh-so-pleasant when you're having contractions.  But it took him more than A HALF AN HOUR to get the stupid thing in.  He was having trouble getting in the space. I would feel a sharp, shooting pain down the right side of my spine, then down the left.  Then when he thought he'd finally got in, he put in a test dose to make sure.  I immediately got extremely dizzy and lightheaded and the nurse and doctor's voices became quite echo-y.  The nurse gave me oxygen right away, while the doctor took the stupid thing out and started over.  The next day, my back was by far sorer than any other part of my body.  I still have some pretty bruises and lots of little pin pricks all over.  I almost said, "Forget it!  I'll just deal"  but I sat there hunched over with my oxygen mask on repeating the mantra, "Its not as bad as transition labor."  (Is anything, really?)

Finally, he got the epidural in and it started to take the edge of the contractions, and Mom and Doug came back (they got sent out of the room while he did it--I almost asked the nurse to go get one of them for me;) ).   The  contractions got less noticeable until I could barely feel them.  With Dylan I had the intrathecal and had such a pleasant experience just sitting up and talking to Mom and Doug until he arrived, that I think I was expecting the same thing.   But instead I was very tired (hadn't realized until this point that I was so tired) and a little sick to my stomach.  I had the epidural going, and was on an antibiotic as well, so I think that it was just the medication unsettling my stomach.

Oh yeah, I was on an antibiotic because at some point in the day, the tubing became disconnected from the needle on my IV line (before I was hooked up to anything), but I have no idea how long it was like that.   So for some undetermined length of time, I hadn't an open vein pretty much exposed to the outside world.  And one hecka nasty bruise where the needle was.  So they had to put a new line in--right in my wrist in my right hand.  How annoying is that?

Anyway, back to labor.  So every time I get a contraction, I'm still getting a horrible pain on my right side, from the front of my pelvis through to my lower back, despite the crippling epidural.  I'd had a lot of back labor all day, so I was a bit concerned she might be sunny-side-up.  The nurse checked and said I was at about 8 cm, 9 during contractions, but that the baby was face-up still.  She must've saw the look on my face because in a very reassuring tone she immediately said, "Don't worry, she's still got plenty of room to turn on her own."  Which she did! It was about 20 minutes later that Rita came in and I pushed a half a dozen times or so and she was here.  Despite her big size, her head was only about 36cm (just a tiny smidge above average) and she was number 3, so she came out nice and easy with no tears or anything.  

Right after I delivered, I started having some fairly major bleeding and my uterus just kind of shut down.  They had me on a pitocin drip and were working like crazy to figure out what happened.  Fortunately, they just laid the baby on my tummy the whole time and got me a blanket, so the whole time I was only half aware of what they were doing and really focused on the baby and relaxed, so it went pretty smoothly.  At first she thought I might have an internal laceration, but as it turns out my uterus just went a little nuts.  Thank goodness for hospital births! It was no big deal in the long run, but boy could it have been if I'd been at home!!

Kylie was already responding to my voice in the delivery room.  Once they finally did take her away to get her cleaned off and weighed and measured and all that (after about 30 minutes or so of just hanging out with me:) ), they had her on the warmer and when I would talk, she'd stop moving and listen.

She was mellow right away.  She gave us a good healthy cry once they got her all suctioned out, but then was pretty calm and quiet while Doug, Mom and I took turns holding her.  When she was on the warmer, she moved her little arms and legs a bit, but no outrageous kicking like her brother and sister, hardly any crying at all.

She's been a very, very easy baby.  On Sunday and Monday, Mom and I went out and carted her all around Visalia and it was pretty easy.  She nurses well, and sleeps SO well.  The last three nights, she's literally slept all night.  She sleeps well if I'm holding her, but usually sleeps just as well if I'm not.  When she's awake and alert, she is calm--she rarely cries, and usually only if she's hungry or trying to work out a bubble, but really not much even then.  She stays calm and content even when her brother and sister are both happily shrieking in her face--which they do pretty much any time she's awake.  If I'm holding her, great.  If I'm not, that's usually ok, too.  She's a good baby, and we're happy to have her!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My favorite Kylie pic so far

This morning was her first check-up.  She's down to 9lbs, 8 oz (I imagine that's because my milk didn't come in until Monday--she eats a lot!).  I keep telling everyone how mellow and ridiculously easy she is, and its so true.  She was wide awake for her whole physical, but she never cried, fussed or protested even the tiniest bit the whole time.  She was just looking at the doctor, wide-eyed and content while he poked and prodded.  And we've both slept all night the last two nights.  From between 9 and 11 pm until about 8:30am the last two days, she's only been awake just enough to suckle (and she nurses easily while I'm laying down already, so I really don't have to wake to feed her).  I'm already getting real sleep!  Its fabulous!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kylie Clark

We sadly had to say goodbye to Yaya this morning (and really hope she makes it into and out of Denver and into Missoula in that nasty, stormy, freezing weather).  We were all really glad she was here and very disappointed to see her go.  Hopefully it won't be too long before we make it up to her house.  Kylie is doing well.  She's a good eater and a good sleeper.  Her first check up is on Thursday, so we'll see if she's lost any weight (or gained any;) ).  Just a quick picture update now that her swelling/newborn puffiness is gone.
Very calm baby thus far. . . .mellow and content on the couch.
                                         My girls. . .Keilana LOVES her new sister.  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just the pictures

Kylie Clark arrived in Visalia, CA at 9:21pm on December 12, 2008.  She's 21 inches long and weighs 9lbs, 11 oz.  I'll write about L&D later, but here's at least some pictures to get started.

Kylie and I getting to know each other right after delivery.
Looking nice and big and plump on the warmer.
The kids checking her out for the first time.  Dylan kept saying "my turns".  He didn't want to share her.
Enjoying the Cadillac at Costco while wandering Visalia with Yaya.
Daddy checking out Kyle while I get cleaned up (she pooped all over me!!)
Dylan and Yaya talking to Kylie just before heading home.
Kylie was very alert while hanging out with her Daddy this morning.  Look at her holding that head up!
Doug cutting the cord (it had a big knot in it, but she was just fine).