Thursday, August 27, 2015

and the school years begin

in the midst of all the craziness that we later named seth, claire had her very first day of school ever. the children were spending the night at their cousin's house down in spanish fork while we welcomed our newest addition to the family, so the next morning i ran down to get them before bringing them back to the hospital. we all said our hellos to baby seth, then i took claire and everett home to get claire ready for school. i tried to take some photos, but i'm not the professional in the family. :) it was an emotional moment. claire got in her class line and was off to growuphood.

Seth Lucas Bryson

Seth Lucas Bryson
born August 25, 2015
7 lbs 7 oz
19 inches

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, I really can't complain. I had a bit of morning sickness at the beginning and I was extremely emotional. I've always been an emotional person, but I felt like I was crying all the time or feeling anxious and worried about everything. :) And of course, that last month of pregnancy was pretty uncomfortable, but it could've been so much worse, so I'm pretty grateful for my easy pregnancies.

For some reason I was expecting this baby to come early. I was hoping he'd be at least a week early so his birthday would be between Claire's and Everett's. So when he didn't arrive until four days late, I felt like I was being given a huge lesson on patience. :)

Seth's birth story starts at 11:45 on Tuesday the 25th of August. I had a prenatal appointment and the doctor stripped my membranes for the 4th time (they were stripped at my previous 3 appointments). I was told it was done pretty "aggressively" this time, and the doctor was optimistic I would be in labor by that night.
12:30 - I drove home feeling pretty normal. I don't remember even feeling very many Braxton hicks contractions.
12:45 - I made lunch and ate with the kids and sent them to their quiet time.
1:30 - I messaged my mom and told her about the induction date they had set up for Thursday (in case I still hadn't gone into labor on my own). It was around that time that I started feeling stronger contractions, but I didn't think much of them yet because they were pretty normal after getting my membranes stripped and I was almost sure they'd dissipate. I felt like I was destined to always having to be induced.

2:00 - Scott dropped Claire and me off at the elementary school for her Kindergarten open house. He then left for work. He has about an hour commute to work. I was still feeling the stronger contractions, but they didn't hurt. Because of what we had experienced in the past (labor lasting all day), we also had talked about waiting a little longer before heading to the hospital, so I let Scott go to work and told him I'd give him a call if they got worse. I was still assuming they'd stop soon.
Claire and I walked around her future classroom and picked up papers, all the while I kept getting stronger contractions. I actually "joked" about maybe being in labor right then with her teacher.
2:30 - Claire and I started walking home. We walked pretty slow and I had to stop occasionally when a contraction came. At this point I was realizing they weren't going away, but I also knew I didn't want to go to the hospital too soon again. They still didn't hurt that bad, I thought I had plenty of time.

3:00 - We got home and I sent Claire back to quiet time so I could take a quick shower. I sent a text to Scott saying it was a difficult walk home, but we still probably had time before he needed to come home. 
3:30 -After my shower I put on a show and tried to relax a little. Instead of relaxing though, I was beginning to realize how painful the contractions had gotten. I wasn't able to concentrate on the show.
4:00 - After a lot of debating in my mind (I still wondered if it might be too soon to go to the hospital), I finally decided to call Scott. He headed home right away and called his brother to come pick up our kids. About that same time Claire and Everett came out of their rooms.
4:15 - Scott called me back and asked me to pack a bag for the kids. I packed in between contractions. The pain was to the point that I kept grimacing and saying "ouch" a lot during each contraction. At some point Claire asked "what's hurting you?" and Everett asked "when are you going to stop doing that?". I felt bad I wasn't hiding it better.

4:30 - Sherry (my sister-in-law) and her daughter Tasha arrived to pick up the kids for us. I was crouched on the ground, leaning against the couch in pain. The contractions were getting more painful very quickly. I never really timed the contractions, but they were starting to come closer together. Sherry looked at me and asked if I wanted her to take me to the hospital instead of waiting for Scott. I responded with a "maybe, yeah".
4:35 - Sherry helped me to the car and we headed to the hospital. Tasha stayed with the kids. I am very grateful we live so close to a hospital.
4:45 - We drove up to the valet parking in front of the hospital and a random man not wearing a shirt asked if we needed help. He ran inside to get a wheelchair and Sherry wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery.

4:50 (my timing might be a little off through the rest of this story) - I had to answer a bunch of questions and sign a paper or two (which made me wonder what the purpose of pre registering was for) and then they wheeled me into a room and handed me a gown. I put the gown on quickly in between contractions. Contractions were coming so close together by then. I got up on the bed on my hands and knees to get through another strong painful contraction. Sherry pushed on pressure points in my hips to help relieve some pain.
4:55 - The nurse told me to lay down so she could check my progress but before I was able to, another contraction hit me. Sherry was helping again to push on the pressure points and this time, in the middle of the contraction, we both heard a "pop". My water broke. The nurse then sounded a little more forceful when she told me again to lay down cuz she REALLY needed to check me. She checked quickly and said I was about 8cm dilated. As soon as I heard that, I knew that meant "no epidural" and inside I freaked out just a little. 

5:00 - After checking me, I heard the nurse calling for a code WHITE (later I found out that meant they needed a doctor right away). My room filled up quickly with medical personnel that began setting the room up for the baby and hooking me up to the IV. I felt like EVERYONE in the room was telling me how to breathe. I knew I was breathing fast and I was trying to slow it down as best I could, but I hadn't been planning on labor this way. I wasn't prepared and knowledgeable about breathing techniques. :) I was also starting to worry that Scott wasn't going to make it.
5:10 - Scott finally arrived so Sherry left to get her camera from the car. Scott arrived just about the same time as our doctor. Doctor Bennett checked me and said I was about 9cm dilated.
5:15 - I felt like pushing and asked her if I should. During the next contraction, she told me to go for it, so I pushed. Sooo much pain. I was aware of the fact that I was screaming pretty loud, but I couldn't help it. Scott saw a side to me he hadn't seen before. The doctor then gave me some instructions, to which I told her "I didn't get any of that". She repeated herself, basically she just told me that instead of screaming, to hold it in and push really hard. 

5:23 - I did as she instructed and Seth arrived, all 7 cute pounds of him. :) It's amazing to me the instant relief from the contractions. They placed Seth on my chest. He looked a little purple and he was pretty quiet but he was so good. He didn't need to go to the NICU at all, so he got to stay with us the whole time. I delivered the placenta which wasn't as big a deal as I thought and then she had to do some stitches. I had one small tear. That stung quite a bit and then finally, after the nurse pushed on my belly a bit, we were able to relax and enjoy him.

Sherry left to get Claire and Everett. She brought them back to the hospital to meet Seth and I loved seeing their excitement, especially Claire's. :)

I have now had three very different birth stories. This one was fast and unexpected and I'm still amazed sometimes that I did it, but I'm happy with how it worked out. I think Seth was just trying to make up for being overdue. :)

I'm so grateful for my little family of five now. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Everett's Birthday

Being a day after my due date, Everett's birthday came with a little apprehension. Things turned out well though, and Everett still has his own day to himself!
It started early with some fun decorations in the house to make him feel special and his breakfast of choice: poptarts. :) Scott had a football practice that morning so we got ready and went with him. I took the kids to the playground to play for a bit and Claire and I both played with our cameras and took pictures of Everett. After the practice, we then went to Scheels. They have a ferris wheel that Everett wasn't able to ride last time because he wasn't tall enough yet. So this was his first time to ride the ferris wheel and he was pretty excited about it. They gave him 3 free tokens afterwards too for his birthday.

We came home for quiet time and we used that time to make his cake. He wanted a car cake this year. It was pretty easy, we crushed up some oreos to make a 3 and put yellow m&ms in it. I think he was happy with it. We opened presents after quiet time and got pizza for dinner, then sang to him and had cake and icecream after that. It was a successful happy birthday for him. :)

 10 Facts About Everett

1. Everett now weighs 30.8 lbs, putting him in the 41st percentile and he is 38 inches tall, putting him in the 66th percentile.

2. One of the things we love the most about Everett is he likes to make people laugh. He purposely does funny things to make us laugh. And he may go too far at times, but he loves to tease Claire in a typical little brother fashion, and see her reaction. She thinks he's hilarious most of the time and gives him the satisfaction of seeing her laugh.

3. Claire and Everett have a great relationship. They get along most of the time and one thing we notice is that Everett copies everything Claire does. He'll repeat the things Claire says to us right after she's said them and he wants to try everything Claire does.

4. Everett still loves his belly button. I thought this would fade a little, but he still will drink a bottle or sippy cup with one hand while his other plays with his belly button. :)

5. As we've been teaching Claire the alphabet and sounds in preparation for school, Everett has picked up on them very quickly. He already knows all the letters and most of the sounds they make. He's always asking questions and learning things so quickly, our smart little boy!

6. Everett really likes to play Mario video games and something he picked up from those games was when a player got hit they would fall down and their head would spin from dizziness. So now whenever Everett gets slightly bonked on the head or anything, he likes to fall down and spin his head just like them. We were at the store one day and he (purposely) bumped into a post and did this and we immediately heard a woman start laughing, one of the store clerks saw him do this and thought it was hilarious. Of course, Everett loved this reaction which caused him to repeat this action over and over again in the store.
7. Everett loves to pull up his shirt (especially after he's eaten) and exclaim "Look how big my tummy is!". After this he liked to compare tummies and see who's was bigger. While I was pregnant, he always told me mine was the biggest. :)

8. With two parents who are pretty indecisive themselves, it's no wonder where he gets it from. Everett can be extremely indecisive sometimes. He'll tell me one thing he wants to eat for lunch and then after making his lunch he'll change his mind. This has caused quite a few tantrums at lunch time. He does the same thing with many other choices like what book or show or game he wants.

9. Everett has a stuffed monkey named "Bounce". He always needs to take him wherever he goes. It worries me a little when he wants to bring him along to some places, cuz I worry he'll lose him. We have lost him for a day or two in the past and I'm almost certain that we'll have to look for another replacement monkey friend but luckily, so far he's always turned up. :)

10. Even though I say sometimes he can be a handful, Everett is actually really well behaved. I'm always pleased to hear that he listens and is so good at nursery. He's obedient at home too and really does try to be good. He takes after his mommy and doesn't handle change very well and so the last month has been hard for him, but he's surprised me how quickly he's adjusting. We love him so much!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

five years

five years ago, we were blessed to become parents to this little angel. wow, where has the time gone? for claire's birthday, she chose to start the day out with donuts, so we headed to krispy kreme first thing in the morning. then we headed home so mommy could make this awesome rainbow cake that claire has been wanting for the last few months. it was spectacular. :)

because of my new work schedule, we had to do presents and cake right after lunch. her big gift this year was a toy digital camera, which she proceeded to take several hundred pictures in the next couple hours. it was so funny watching her take her dolls and posing them around everywhere. she takes after her mommy - a little photographer in the making. here's a collage of some of our favorites of her pictures.

after presents, we invited some of amber's family down for cake and ice cream. yummy stuff. :)

now, for 10 facts about claire:

1. claire is now 41" tall, putting her into the 31st percentile. she weighs 38lbs, putting her in the 42nd percentile. she even got her vision tested this time and was a perfect 20/20. well done claire. well done.

2. claire is our very sensitive little girl. for the most part she won't scream or throw fits when she doesn't get her way, just start to tear up. she loves playing with everett, but when everett doesn't want to play the way she wants him to, she'll get that shaky voice and tell him, "then i won't play with you everett." when things are at their worst, she says there's four things that will help her calm down: a hug & kiss, a song, rainbow (her stuffed elephant), and/or going to her room to cry, coming back a few minutes later declaring, "i've calmed down now." it's all so heartbreaking seeing her so distraught, but it also warms our hearts at the same time.

3. claire has come to love these animal and dinosaur shows. she comes to us after watching one and tells us all about the new animal or dinosaur she learned about. claire knows about so many random animals that i have never even heard of. did you know there's a lizard that can run on water? claire does. :)

4. after claire sneezes, she always declares, "bless you me!" one of those funny little quirks that we always want to remember.

5. claire has one crazy imagination and loves playing pretend all the time. from princess dances to tea parties to house to dress up, she loves it all. her favorite right now is store. she takes random things (rocks, flowers, leaves, toys, etc.), lines them up on the stairs like they're products on shelves, and pretends they're for sale. so funny.

6. speaking of her fun imagination, claire loves games, especially making up her own games, or at least put little twists on classic games. every dinner we end up playing her "thinking game", which is basically a version of twenty questions. at the doctor's office we end up playing a number of different versions of "i spy". she loves every kind of game anyone can dream up. she loves arts and crafts - coloring, cutting, stapling, etc. and she is really into puzzles right now and is pretty darn good at them.

7. we went on a hike the other day, and to pass the time, we started asking everyone what their favorite _______ was. claire loved this. so here are some of her favorites: color - blue, toy - camera, doll - rainbow, game - sardines, sport - soccer, book - if you give a mouse a cookie, show - wishinpoof, movie - frozen, princess - elsa, song - families can be together forever, food -spaghetti and bread sticks, dessert - strawberry milkshakes, best friend - her cousin lily.

8. claire is always talking about when she grows up. her career aspirations are to be a swim teacher and a mommy. she always reminds us that we'll be her kids grandparents, making us feel much older than we are quite ready to feel. but she eases that dread just a bit by telling us that she'll always bring her kids over to visit all the time, making that distant future much more exciting to us. and claire is definitely getting to that point where she is noticing the differences between boys and girls, as well as kids and grown ups. she constantly points to that special part of her body and proudly declares, "when i grow up, these will get bigger."  :)

9. claire will be starting kindergarten very shortly. she couldn't be more thrilled. we have mixed emotions - we're excited for her, but not quite ready for her to start growing up on us. she recently went in for an assessment for school. she has difficulties with letters. she knows her alphabet, but she has a hard time remembering what the letters look like and what sound they make. she is great with numbers though. she loves math and doing addition and subtraction. she is going to be a young one, just barely turning 5 right before the school year begins. and while that year difference with some of the kids won't be a big issue later in life, it's a bigger deal now as she just begins school. she's a smart girl, so we feel pretty confident she'll catch up quickly. i suppose it's the social aspect that probably has us more worried. she loves other kids, but can be a little shy initially, especially with grown ups she doesn't know. we just hope she loves it all.

10. claire is our little angel. while she gets a little crazy when everett gets her going, she is generally our good-natured little girl. she is a great helper, nearly always excited to do her jobs and help out with cooking, dishes, and cleaning up around the house. she is very reverent at church. she is obedient and is always trying to be a good example for everett. and she is especially excited about helping with the new baby, almost a little too excited for our liking.