Friday, September 30, 2011

The Schwartz's vs Cody's Birth--His Story

At 1:30 Wednesday morning, Natalie wake's me up and says that her contractions are getting close together. She says that one is coming and she wants me to time then.  I say, "sure baby," and promptly fall asleep.  She shakes my shoulder and says that another one is coming.  I look at the clock and 5, 6, 7 minutes have passed... I'm still asleep.  we go thru this 3 or 4 more times and I'm starting to notice that they are getting closer so I decide to get up and get my watch so I can track the contractions a little better.  Now we start to see that they are a little jumpy in their timing -- 4, 10, 8, 5, 6, 6... So Natalie decides to take a bath to see if the contractions will calm down.  We also watch a video that goes through the stages of birth, we felt like we needed a refresher.

So we get finished with the video and the bath and the contractions seemed to have slowed but are steady enough that we think getting ready to go to the hospital is a good idea.  She gets in the shower and I start gathering our packed bags and other items that we are planning to take.  She finishes and it's my turn.  She goes straight to the bed and asks me to get her cell phone for her.  So I do and I hop in the shower.  Next thing I know I hear, "My water just broke!"

I open the shower door and I can see her on the bed.  I try to focus on her but I don't have contacts in... I finally focus and.... YES, her water did break!  I finish, dry and dress.  She is on the phone with Amy, our doula, and they are trying to figure out if we're gonna have the baby at home.  I am not up for that so I load the car and put a towel in the front seat.  I then go to get Sarah. I turn on her light and she stands up and says, "Hi Daddy."  I say, "Hi Sweetie.  We've gotta go get in the car, ok?"  She says, "OK Daddy."  I scoop her and her bag up and head to the car.  She tells the cat, the bananas, the phone, the fridge and mommy's bike "bye-bye" and I put her in her car seat.  I then go and see how Natalie is doing.  She is scared to move and debating on the phone with Amy about leaving.  Amy convinces her and we get a towel and night gown for Natalie and we make our way to the car.
Now the fun begins.  We get on the road and I drive... fast.  Natalie is on the phone with Amy still and she is helping keep her calm and being her focus letting me concentrate on driving.  We fly down the highway thru the first set of red lights that I ran.  Our picture was taken... we didn't have plates on the car :)  So, I'm flying through town 20-25 mph over the limit.  Taking turns much faster than our car is made to do.  Natalie still on the phone and Amy is telling her that she is doing ok.  Then I hear a voice from the back seat saying, "Mommy ok.  OK Mommy."  It seems as though Sarah is encouraging her mother.  She is just an angel.

We make it to the street that the hospital is on and Natalie says, "Amy! The head is out!"  And as we pass under a street light I look over and see and then say, "Oh my gosh the head is out!"
We almost miss the turn into the hospital and take the turn a bit fast.  Natalie is basically standing up in the front seat of the car.  We pull under the awning of the drop off area and I throw the car into park.  I run around the car and open her door the kneel down and catch Cody as he comes out.  He is blue and slippery.  I turn him over in my hands and rub his back until he cries.  There is something indescribable about holding your baby while he takes his first breath.  It is amazing.  Awesome.  I wrap him in a towel and put him on Natalie's chest.  The only folks down at the car at this time are Amy and a security guard.  The security guard is on her radio explaining the situation to the folks upstairs and I hear, "Did someone mark the time?" I check my watch and see that it is 4:19.  We left at about 7 til 4.  We live 40 minutes away from the hospital.  I made good time.
Amy asks about the camera and I snap a few pictures as the hospital staff come down to cut the cord and check on baby and mom.  I call my mother and ask her to come to the hospital to get Sarah.

I will never forget that day.  It was amazing.  My heart still races when I think about it and I get jazzed up when I tell the story to someone.  Just the thought of him taking his first breath in my hands.  And then, the intense new love that comes.  Don't get me wrong, I loved him before he was born, but it increased 1000 fold the minute I held him.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Schwartz's vs the 21 Month Old

Sarah, you're 21 months old now!  Wow, time sure does fly.  

* You are spunky.  We've had a number of moments where the battle of the wills is being fought.  I'm not quite sure how to handle it just yet.  
* You're starting to put together more 3-4 word sentences.  They generally express directions or order you're giving people.  But it's pretty darn cute.  You'll pat the ground beside you and say "you sit here" when you want us to play with you.  Or you'll now take someone by the hand and say "com' on".  
* You like Chick-fli-a.  And it's the first place where I realized you truly are becoming a big girl.  You sat on the bench beside me without a booster seat or high chair and ate all 4 of your chicken nuggets and fruit cup.  Then you went and played in the indoor play area.  
* You still love going to the nursery at the Y and at church.  You've started bringing home your coloring sheets from those places and we continue to color them here.  You sure do love to color.
* You love to sing and dance and are starting to do the hand motions to the various songs that have them.  
* Your favorite food is fruit.  ALL kinds of fruit.  You got burned out on grapes, but still love blueberries, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and apples.  
* You also love
* You like to look and point out animals as we drive.  You see lots of horses, ducks, and birds.  Sometimes you tell me you see a cow, but I've yet to see one so I think you sometimes confuse horses for cows.  I won't knock you for that though, the animals aren't always close the fence and I'm driving.
* You can recognize playgrounds when we drive past them and start yelling "slide!" and have quite the memory.  To appease you I'll often tell you that we can slide when we get home and sure enough as soon as I get you out of the car you high tail it around to the back yard chanting "slide! slide! slide!" all the way.
* You also recognize places like Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz's house and things like Daddy's car.  One day you actually saw a grey vibe on the road and pointed and said, "daddy's car".  It wasn't him, but I was super impressed that you recognized it.  
* You've started doing this weird hand flapping thing.  I'm not sure if it's your way of dancing or something else but I'm hoping you outgrow it and fast.
* Gone are the days of the hair bows.  You pretty much pull them out as soon as I put them in.  You also like to have some say in what you wear so I usually let you pick out your shoes.  
* Yesterday you became a big sister.  You give Cody kisses on the head and like to peek at him while he's sleeping in the pack and play.

Sarah, we love you so very much.  You bring so much joy and laughter into our lives.  We love to read books with you, sing and dance, play little people and do puzzles.  We love to watch you learn and grow and discover the world around you.  We often hear people tell us that you "sure are busy" at yes, at times it can be tough, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  

The Schwartz's vs Cody's Birth--Her Story

You know how on tv and movies they like to over dramatize birth and delivery.  Well, Cody's delivery came straight from one of those movies.  It all started at about 11:30 pm on Tuesday, September 20th.  I woke up for one of my many middle of the night tinkle breaks and had a contraction but it wasn't bad and I figured it was nothing more than a Braxton Hicks or at best very early labor and I should just ignore it and rest through it.  Then at 12:30 I was up to use the restroom again and had another.  Waited a few minutes to see if some more would follow and when they didn't I went back to sleep.  Chris was snoring next to me at about 1:00 when I had two contractions pretty close together.  I don't have a clock on my bedside table so I nudged him partly to make the snoring stop and also to have him time a couple of contractions.  He said they were 5 minutes apart but I told him that didn't seem right.  (In hindsight, and for next time it's at this point I'm going to go ahead and go to the hospital.)  So I did what was logical to me at the time and I took a bath and watched the stages of birth video Amy, our doula, had given us.  The whole time I'm asking Chris, where do you think we are and is this real?  He's timing the contractions and we can't get a good fix on them.  Most are now 7 minutes apart, but some are 3, and some are 10.  Some are really painful and some don't hurt a bit.  A few last for a minute, others for only 20 seconds.  We just couldn't get a good fix on what was going on.  So after a few more contractions I told Chris let's start getting the car loaded.  It was around 3 in the morning and I thought, based off Sarah's birth that we'd have until about 5 am to get someone to come sit with Sarah and get to the hospital in a timely manner.  I took a shower and Chris went ahead and did the same.  We weren't wasting time in our opinion because with Sarah we didn't have to leave until the contractions were 5 minutes apart.  So we were just doing the same thing we did last time, calmly and casually getting ourselves ready to go.  While Chris was in the shower, I had a decent contraction and with it the urge to push.  And that made me a little nervous because I knew that wasn't a good sign so I went ahead and called Amy and told her my contractions were 7 minutes apart but I felt like we needed to go to the hospital.  Then while I was on the phone with her another one snuck up on me and with it my water broke!  My water broke!  I never felt my water break with Sarah because it happened oh about 5 minutes before it was time to push her out.  I had no idea what to expect and never want to feel that again.  It scared me, I screamed and I'm not a screamer.  I actually pride myself is staying pretty calm during child birth.  But when all of sudden it felt like the water cannon from the end of Splash Mountain shot out from my who-ha I got a little nervous.  And then the contractions were coming back to back and with each one the over powering urge to push.  It's 3:30 in the morning and we live 40 minutes away from the hospital we're supposed to deliver at.

Chris at that point is loading the car as fast as he can.  I hung up with Amy for about a minute to try and call Annie to come sit with Sarah.  Thankfully she didn't answer the phone because there really was no time for that.  So Chris loaded Sarah up too and then me.  My husband, in all his wisdom laid towels down in the front seat and those came in pretty handy later on.  He gets me in the car in between contractions and drives as quickly and safely as he can while Amy stays on the phone with me.  The first miracle of the evening was that we didn't lose cell phone connection.  We live in the country and there's at least 3 places on the road we were on that we ALWAYS lose the call and this morning we did not.  Everyone in the car is trying to stay calm.  Sarah's riding in the back seat just hanging out.  Chris is doing at least 20 over the speed limit slowing down and stopping briefly for red lights to make sure it's safe before running them.  The cameras got us a couple of times but we haven't registered our new car yet, so we won't be getting those tickets.  I'm telling Amy when each contraction is coming and she's walking me through how to NOT push.  But with each one I can feel Cody moving lower and lower and pushing harder and harder to get out.  We passed 2 or 3 cops and none of them came after us, I guess cause we had the blinkers on.  Chris was really hoping for a police escort.  I actually kept closing my eyes as often as I possibly could because 1) I'm not really good with directions or knowing where I am so the thought of being so far away kept stressing me out and 2) I was really praying to not have this baby in the car on the side of the road.

Thankfully Amy was already at the hospital and had told the staff of the situation.  Unfortunately, I guess the hospital didn't believe us because they didn't send anyone down to the lobby to wait with her.  As we pulled off the interstate onto Humphrey's Blvd (the road the hospital is on), Cody was tired of waiting and he pushed his own head out while I was doing my best to breath out the contraction instead of push during the contraction.  I holler into the speaker phone, "Amy the head's out!", Chris turns and looks and since there are street lights he shouts, "Oh!  The head is out!  The head is out!"  Amy has now gone back inside and one more time told them that I'm coming, the head is out and get someone down there then raced back downstairs to meet us just as we were pulling in.  Chris throws the car in park and runs around the car just in time for the next contraction which forces Cody out and catches him.  Amy's telling him to wrap Cody in a towel and put him on my chest.  I just keep saying, "he's blue" because I don't know what a baby looks like when they first come out.  I have a strict "don't hand me a bloody baby" policy so I got Sarah after she was all pink and cleaned up.  I hear Amy tell Chris to rub Cody's back to make him cry and they both do as their told.  Cody starts to cry a little and by then the hospital staff is finally outside.  Chris steps back and the hospital staff cuts the cord and rushes Cody inside.  (Sorry Chris, but at least you got to deliver the baby.)  At this point I'm in a little bit of shock.  I keep apologizing to everyone for having  baby in the car.  And I'm really concerned about delivering that placenta right there in the car, because that would be gross.  So they take me inside to the room where they are checking over Cody and everyone starts going to work doing whatever needs to be done.  At this point, I'm not really pleased with the labor and delivery staff who I felt was pretty rude but it's not worth journaling since it's not worth remembering.  I'll suffice it to say they were not listening to what I wanted and took some liberties of their own that I did not think was medically necessary (i.e. giving me pictocin to start my uterus back contracting instead of massaging the top of it and allowing me to nurse immediately which would trigger the same reaction.)

At the time I was mortified about giving birth in the car.  I didn't want pictures taken.  I kept apologizing to people.  I really didn't want to seem like one of those women who just didn't know she was pregnant and delivers a baby on the toilet when all she thought she was going to do was poop.  I knew I was pregnant, I knew I was in labor, I just didn't know my contractions were going to suddenly drop from 7 minutes apart to no minutes apart and I still be at home when this happened. And no where in my wildest dreams did I think my water would break!  But now I think it's a pretty awesome story and am actually glad my husband was brave enough to snap a few pictures of the situation.  We've made a number of jokes about how we're going to name him Cody "Freestyle" Schwartz and his first birthday party is going to be Hot Wheels themed.  Cameron joked I should throw a shovel in the trunk with some muddy boots and take the car to be detailed to handle the mess in the front and tell them, "clean this up real good and don't ask any questions".  Ha!  But my dear husband already took care of it all.  It's been fun to see the different medical professional's reactions as they change shifts and a new person who doesn't know comes in.  I can't wait to go back to my OBGYN who just last week said "are you sure you can handle this delivery without an epidural".  Handle it--I nailed it!  As my sister in law put it, "I only thought this happened on tv" so now it's kind of neat to be that person who you can say you know delivered their baby in the car.

So here are some of the embarrassing photos from the event, but I'm glad to have them.
A little confused, with a "I seriously can't believe I just gave birth in the car" look on my face.  That's the nurse down there checking things out, I don't remember if she's already cut the chord or she's about to cut it.

Just to prove Sarah was there when Cody was born.  Here she is such a big girl sitting in her car seat calmly during this whole event.  She's got her paci and her lion so she was perfectly content.

They just took Cody inside.  It looks like I'm an extra in some horror movie.  Needless to say, I threw this nightgown away after it was all over and I finally showered and got cleaned up.

Mommy and Daddy finally reunited with Cody.

Amy, our rock star doula who kept us all calm and together during this crazy labor process.  I think normally her job is to help the mom stay calm while she delivers the baby.  This time, it was to coach me how to not deliver the baby in the front of my Freestyle.

Cody Dennis Schwartz
7 lbs 15 ounces
20 inches long
Delivered by his father at 4:19 am on September 21, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Letter to my Firstborn

Dear Sarah,

Sometime this month your life is going to change drastically and you’ll never know it.  Right now you are sitting beside me happily coloring while I write you this letter.  You are blissfully unaware that these special moments of just you and me are about to end.  And you’ll never remember the time when there wasn’t a baby brother around.  And while we decided to put you and your sibling close together for this very reason, it doesn’t change how hard it is to think about how this time in your life is coming to a end.

Sarah you’re never going to remember how we use to curl up on the couch together and drink milk every morning.  How even though you are a toddler now, during that morning milk you still let me hold you like a baby.  How you’d get angry with me if I went to the bathroom without telling you first.  You won’t remember how getting ready for bed meant at some point either reading books or watching a show snuggled up between mommy and daddy.

 As long as you can remember there will always have been at least 4 in our family.  And that breaks my heart a little because these past 20 months have been some of the sweetest most memorable moments in my life.  For the past 20 months you and I have been inseparable and neither of us would have it any other way.  You have been my sidekick on shopping ventures and long car rides.  And I’ve been your favorite playmate and beloved book reader.  You’ve stood outside the shower door with your hands against the glass waiting for me to finish and I’ve cheered and laughed with excitement when you’d find me during a game of hide and seek.   We’ve crawled around the floor together and rolled on a blanket in the yard.  We’ve splashed at the pool and slipped in the tub.  We’ve practiced new words and how to follow directions.  We’ve had our fights and our frustrations but they always end with a kiss and saying “I love you” (you even started saying it back just this week).  For 20 months I have been your best and sometimes, only friend and since daddy’s in school and gets home late there are many days when you’ve been my only friend too.

The more I write this letter, the less traumatic the whole bringing home your first sibling situation seems.  I think it’s because you’re not meant to remember these sweet times.  I think they are meant for me to always remember.  Because one day, and if I’m lucky it won’t be until you’re a teen, you’re going to look me in the eye and scream at the top of your lungs that you hate me.  And the best I’ll be able to do is smile and say, “I know dear” as I hold back the tears.  Then you’ll grow up, and look back on that moment and feel bad and wonder why I didn’t reach across the table and kill you.  And it’s because I’ve got 20 months worth of wonderful memories of the time when it was just you and me and my presence was the center of your world, and your smile was the light of my life.  And so in those moments as you grow older and things get tough and you’re at your worst, I’ll always see my little girl at her best.  I’ll see you in your PJs, curled up in the crook of my arm, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I’ll see you grabbing a book and backing yourself on to my lap for us to “read please”.  I’ll see your little hand reaching for mine as you take me to something you want when I can’t understand what you’re saying.  I’ll see your face with your little lips puckers up as you say, “muuuuh” and give me kisses.  And I’ll always see you dancing around the living room waving your arms while we sing silly songs at the top of our lungs. 

Sarah no matter how our family grows, I will always grow to love you more and more each day.  This I promise.

I love you with all my heart,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Schwartz's vs Twins!

Well, not really, but my mom sure does feel like it.  Apparently, in the past 37 weeks, I have failed to mention this:
Natalie and her sister Emily, both 36 weeks pregnant

It's not because I'm not excited about this situation, it's more because I try to forget about the fact that I'm pregnant so along with that I kind of forgot about this miracle.

So here's the story and yes, it is absolutely a miracle.

About 2 years ago when I was in the hospital having Sarah, Emily was getting results about if she and her husband would be able to have children.  I only know this because the speaker on her cell phone was up too loud when she took the call from her doctor while she was hanging out at the hospital with me.  And over the course of the year, I think each member of my family sorta came to terms with the sad fact that my amazing sister would have to settle for just being awesome Auntie Em.  And while I wouldn't normally admit this to anyone (especially not my sister) I was really sad for her.  Like I cried and prayed multiple times for her to either have the opportunity to have kids or at least be comforted that she couldn't.  (I know that seems really sappy for me.   Who knew having babies would also give you a heart and emotions?)

And life went on in the Schwartz house.  A year later, Chris and I had about a 5 minute conversation that resulted in us deciding we were ready for another and boom wouldn't you know it next month I'm peeing on a stick.  What we didn't know was across the state my sister was doing the same.  

You see, I don't know if it was in how our mom raised us or what, but both of us prescribe to the wait until after 12 weeks or you hear the heart beat to announce your pregnancy.  So the same weekend I'm stuffing envelops and preparing to mail out the cards to family announcing we're pregnant my phone rings.  My sister is calling (we're not big into calling so that's strange in itself) I say "hello" she says in a stern voice "You're pregnant aren't you" to which I say, "NO!" because the cards aren't going in the mail until Monday so she's not going to find out until Tuesday or Wednesday.  She says, "good, cause I am" and much screaming ensues.  

It is nothing short of a miracle that she and David are having a baby so it's ridiculously exciting and I'm didn't want to do anything to steal this moment from her so I keep quite about me while I was on the phone with her.  Until I asked, "so when are you due" and she replies "September 27th".  "CRAP!  Are you kidding me!  Are you freaking kidding me!"  So at that point I had to let Em know that, yes, I am pregnant and according to baby center 9/27 is ALSO MY DUE DATE.  Not only are my sister and I pregnant at the same time, we have the same due date!  

We've been asked a lot, "did you plan this".  And no.  No we didn't plan this.  In fact, if Emily's situation had been normal she and I would have probably planned to NOT be pregnant at the same time.  I would have called and asked if they were trying and then pushed back mine and Chris's timeline if they were.  But based on our information I was the only one in my family capable of popping out kids so I didn't think to consult others.  And thus you have my mom's only 2 daughters with the same due date.

So this has been a lot of fun, and a little stressful at the same time.  I would have loved to go over and visit Em and help after she gave birth but I'll be in the same boat.  I would have loved to driven over for baby showers and other events but now that those things are happening I'm in the stay close to home time frame of my pregnancy.  My poor Mom!  I don't know how she's going to handle it.  Emily, of course, very quickly called dibs on mom for a whole week and I want my Mom to come and help me too so this will be interesting.  She's told her boss that she's taking off 3 weeks for these births so she can stay with each of us for a good about of time and help out.  I guess it'll all just depend on who pops first.  If I pop first mom will come here and leave me when Em goes and if I get shorted on my week I'll have to beg her to come back and finish her time.  =)

But this is a really exciting time for our family.  And luckily its a Smith year for Thanksgiving so we'll be together in November so we can take pictures of the two babies together.  And Em has agreed to come to my town to have dad do the baby blessing so we'll be together then too.  It does make me wish Emily and David lived closer so our kids could grow up together.  Who knows!  David is graduating in a few semesters, perhaps he'll find a job closer to Memphis rather than further away.  (They seem to keep moving more East with each move they make.)

Here are a few more pictures of me and Emily during this pregnancy.  We will also start taking bets on when you think each of us will deliver and the weights of the babies.  Ring in below.  =)

24 Weeks Prego

I'm still rocking my non maternity jeans and tops.  Since Emily is a size nothing she's already had to switch to her maternity shirts.  

36 Weeks Prego (just got home from church)

We both like the other's dress so much we traded after the picture was taken.  Eh, we've only got a few weeks left it'll be nice to have something new in my Sunday attire rotation.