Our little girl

I have been trying to figure out how to write this post for a while.  I keep going back and forth because I want this to be a happy post, but at the same time there is a lot that happened that I wanted to write about.  I have decided to just write 2 different posts.  This one is the happy post.

Last week our beautiful, wonderful little girl, Iella, was born!  I am so amazingly happy and all I want to do is hold her.  I ended up having to have her a little early and was induced at 36 weeks.  The morning of the induction I was so, so excited to be meeting our little girl.  I was also terrified that she would be sick because she was being born 4 weeks early.  I spend a lot of time in the days leading up to the induction reading online about what to expect with a 36 weeker.  I tried to prepare myself for whatever might happen, but I was still scared.

During the labor, soon after I got my epidural, Iella started going into distress.  In order to keep the epidural working evenly on both sides the nurse wanted me to lay on my back, but every time I did that Iella’s heart rate started dropping really low.  They would put me on my left side for a little while, let her recover, then try to switch me to my back or right side so the epidural would keep working.  At one point Kaanas left to get food from the cafeteria and Iella’s heart rate dropped and wasn’t coming back up.  I was so scared I started talking about a c-section because I didn’t want Iella to be hurt.  I called Kaanas and just as he got back Iella’s heart rate started coming back up and she started doing better.  At that point I didn’t care if the epidural stopped working on one side.  We had found a position that Iella liked and I wasn’t moving.  Luckily it didn’t get too bad and about 12 hours after we started the induction I was ready to start pushing.

When Iella was born was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.  She was born completely blue, not moving, and not crying.  I honestly thought she was going to die.  They put her on my stomach right away and let me hold her while they were cutting the cord.  As soon as that was done they took her to a corner of the room where they had some equipment and tried to get her breathing.  They ended up having to take her to the nursery and Kaanas went with them.  Before Iella was born we had agreed that if she had to be taken to the nursery Kaanas would go with her, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be watching him leave the room.  I was so scared and all I wanted was for Kaanas to hold me and help me feel better, but I also knew it was important for someone to be with Iella in case something happened.  The next couple of hours were the longest of my life.  I had to get stitched up, then I couldn’t go see Iella right away until I had recovered a little more.  Right as they were getting me into the wheelchair to go see her Kaanas came back in and the pediatrician came in after him.  They said that it looked like Iella was having seizures and they were preparing to transport her to a nearby children’s hospital.  They let me go spend about an hour in the nursery with her while they were waiting for the transport to get there, and that helped so much.  They warned me that seeing her might be scary because she was hooked up to a lot of stuff, but when I went in the only thing that mattered was that she was pink, moving, and making noises.  I didn’t care about anything that she was hooked up to because she no longer looked like she was dying.  During that time my mom arrived.  We weren’t planning on having her come up that night, but Kaanas was going with Iella to the children’s hospital and we decided that it would be best if my mom came to spend the night with me so I wasn’t alone.

They released me the next day as early as they could and my mom took me straight to the children’s hospital to see Iella.  It was actually a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.  The NICU was an entire floor and each of the babies had their own room.  The room had a couch and a recliner so Kaanas and I were able to sleep there with Iella.  The other fantastic thing that happened was that as we were driving there Kaanas called and said that he was holding Iella!  I was so excited, especially since Kaanas said that as soon as I got there they were going to let me start doing skin to skin.  It was so wonderful getting to hold her, and everything just felt right with the world again.

We were in the hospital for a week with her.  It was so hard, but also so much better than it could have been.  After monitoring Iella for 24 hours they determined that she wasn’t having seizures, but she did have some very mild damage from lack of oxygen.  We don’t know exactly how that will effect her, the doctor said it is possible she won’t be effected at all because the brain damage is mild enough, but it is also possible that she might have some developmental delays.  The thing that really kept us in the hospital was breastfeeding.  It took a little while for Iella to learn how to do that, so for a while she was being fed through a feeding tube.

The hardest part about being in the hospital was being away from Mingli.  I knew he was safe because he was at home with my parents, but I wanted to be with him so bad.  Kaanas went home regularly to be with Mingli, and even spent some nights at home because Mingli didn’t want his daddy to leave, but I stayed at the hospital.  Since we were working on breastfeeding I didn’t want to mess things up by leaving.  Having one child at home and one in the hospital was like having my heart cut in half.  I had never felt so torn in my whole life because all I wanted was to be home with Mingli, and all I wanted was to be with Iella, holding her and making sure she was ok and felt loved.  Luckily the hospital we were at had playrooms and different things for children to do, so Mingli came up to visit a few times and we were able to have fun with him.

When Iella was exactly a week old she was finally discharged from the hospital.  It was so wonderful bringing her home.  My family is back together and it is amazing.  We have been home for almost a week now and are settling in.  Iella is doing great.  She is feeding and gaining weight, and you can’t even tell she was early or needed time in a NICU.  I love it when she snuggles with me, she loves to curl up into me and it is the sweetest thing.  She also smiles all the time.  Mingli loves his little sister and is fascinated by everything about her.  He keeps trying to do things like share his food with her or brush her hair.  I am working on showing him better ways of showing his affection, like blowing her kisses.  I was worried that he would be jealous, and he seemed to be the very first time he came to visit in the hospital, but now he gets so excited when he sees her and even comes to find her.

I love my new family so, so much.  Life just seems so wonderful right now.  I feel like this is how it is all supposed to be.

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Picking apples and raspberries

Today my family decided to all go to a local u-pick place and pick some apples and raspberries.  I though Mingli would enjoy being outside and possibly enjoy picking the fruit, but I had no idea how much fun he would have.  The best part for him was that we were allowed to eat as we picked.  Kaanas managed to get him to reluctantly try and apple, and then he wouldn’t let go of it.  He roamed over the hills in the orchard eating his apple and enjoying being outside.  But the best part was the raspberries.  We picked them and he would grab our hands and stuff our hands in his mouth.  He just could not get enough of those berries.  They also had a little store there that we stopped by and got some of their treats.  Mingli ran around the store while Kaanas followed after him to make sure he didn’t get into anything.  He had a lot of fun exploring the new place and seeing everything.  Mingli cried so hard when it was time to leave.  We all had a wonderful day, and it was so nice being outside.

Up in the mountains

Last week I was really wanting to take a drive up in the mountains, so we got in the car and went to the nearest canyon.  It was beautiful and fun to just spend time together.  Mingli started getting pretty restless just being in the car, so we found a little pull over spot by the river and got out for a few minutes.  It was nice just sitting there and watching it, very relaxing.  Mingli wanted to play in the water, but the river was moving pretty fast with the snow melting in the mountains, so we didn’t think him playing in it was the best idea.  We did let him just barely dip his toes in the edge while Kaanas was holding onto him tight, and he loved that.

The last week

So, a few things have happened since I last posted.

On Saturday our whole family went out to get haircuts.  It has been a long time (like two years), since I got a haircut, and Kaanas was wanting to get a haircut to look good for a possible interview for a promotion that they should be doing soon, so we both made appointments at a nearby beauty school.  I found out that they also do haircuts for children Mingli’s age, and his hair is getting pretty wild lately, so I thought why not get him a haircut as well.  We scheduled it so Mingli and Kaanas got their haircuts at the same time while I sat with Mingli, then when Kaanas was done he took Mingli and I got my haircut.  I was pretty nervous about Mingli getting his haircut, but they did a great job.  One of the instructors actually did Mingli’s hair because the student had done a haircut on someone so young, but the student watched and helped out.  They were super patient and it turned out great.  They took off just enough so it looks really neat, but he still has plenty of hair.  He also looks a lot older with his hair cut.

On Sunday we got to meet our new primary class.  We got to keep one of our girls from last year who actually was not supposed to be in our class because she was a year younger than all of our students, so it was fun to get to have her again.  Then we also got four more little girls.  We are supposed to have two boys as well, but we were told that at least one of them doesn’t really come.  It is a huge change from last year.  I loved our class last year, but it was also difficult.  We had nine kids, including some very rowdy little boys.  They kept us very busy and were quite a handful.  This year our class is much quieter.  I really miss our old class, they really were some amazing kids, but I can already tell I am going to love our new little ones, and honestly it will be nice to have a little bit of an easier year.

Our church is also at a new time now.  Before it was at 11 in the morning, now it is a 1 in the afternoon.  For most people this is their least favorite time for church, but it is working well for us.  Mingli takes a nap at 12:30 everyday, so we went to church early, at about 12:15.  Kaanas went to the chapel to spend some quiet time reading scriptures while I went into the mother’s room where there is a rocking chair.  Once Mingli was pretty soundly asleep we went to the chapel to join Kaanas.  Mingli slept on the bench beside us for almost the entire sacrament meeting, waking up about 5 minutes before it was over.  This meant that Kaanas and I were able to spend the entire meeting sitting together and listening to the talks.  It was such a restful, renewing time.

Monday was Mingli’s doctor’s appointment.  He missed his 15 month appointment because we lost our insurance, so we made him his 18 month appointment for as soon as our new insurance kicked in.  Part of this appointment was discussing how to get Mingli caught up on the vaccines he missed.  I also had a couple of concerns about Mingli’s development, particularly that he doesn’t have any words that he says clearly, it is all still things like “ba” for ball.  He does have a ton of words that he says, but all of them are just the first couple of sounds.  After discussing our concerns with the doctor he doesn’t think there is anything wrong right now, but we will see how he is doing at his new appointment in 6 months.

Monday was also Mingli’s first library story time.  Normally it will be on Wednesdays, but since we had a funeral on Wednesday they let us go to the Monday one.  Actually, they said we are always welcome to come to any of them, even though we signed up for the Wednesday one, and we can even come to all of them if we want.  Mingli loved the story time.  He had trouble for the first couple of minutes, because the librarian was talking about the background knowledge needed for the stories we were going to read (stuff about sheep and their wool), and this was a little difficult for him to sit quietly through, but it was less than five minutes, then as soon as the songs, activities, and of course books were started Mingli was transfixed.  The librarian doing the story time was perfect for it.  She was not shy at all, and was loud, enthusiastic, and silly the entire time. Just perfect for keeping the attention of the toddlers in the group.  After story time was over Mingli played with some of the foam letters that had been placed on the floor.  He sorted them all by color, then helped put them and the blankets away.  I am so proud of him and the fact that he loves to help clean up.  He is only little, but he is already very helpful and developing the beginnings of responsibility.

Wednesday morning we had the funeral of one of Kaanas’s grandfathers.  He has been sick for a few years, so everyone recognized that it was better for him, which made it a little easier, even though everyone was still sad.  It was a lovely service.

Kaanas’s family came into town for the funeral and came to visit us on Thursday (Wednesday after the funeral they spent visiting other family and helping Kaanas’s grandmother).  We got to spend several hours with them, and everyone had a lot of fun.  Mingli loves all the attention he gets when family comes, and is really starting to love them, as opposed to just seeing them as the people who come and try and take him from mommy.  He is getting a lot more comfortable with strangers.  It was also really nice for Kaanas to have his family over.

So quite a bit has happened the last few months.

First, I started working part time as a cashier at Home Depot.  Kaanas and I decided that we needed just a little bit of additional income, so I am working 2 evenings a week.  I work while Kaanas is home so he can watch Mingli, that way we don’t need childcare.  It was a bit stressful at first, I didn’t like leaving Mingli, but now we have adjusted and it is getting better.  Mingli and Kaanas like spending time together and have gotten closer with all the father son time.  It is also nice for me to be out of the house more.  I go a little stir crazy sometimes cooped up all day.

I am an aunt now.  Roark and Anais had a little baby just before Halloween, I’m calling him Ebo.  He is 2 months old now and he is pretty cute.  Mingli is fascinated with him.  He just stares at him like he is the most amazing thing he has ever seen.  It is adorable.  We got to see them for a bit, then they moved to Indiana so Roark could work with our dad.

Things got really hard for a while with the miscarriage.  I thought they were getting better, but then it got so much worse.  I couldn’t move on.  Everything felt wrong.  I just thought about how different my life was supposed to be.  I felt like I was supposed to move on, to get on with my life, but part of me just refused.  My baby had died, how could I, as the baby’s mother, just move on and forget?  I got stuck.  I thought I was supposed to be grieving in a specific way, but grieving in that way was just making it harder.  I couldn’t move on and leave my baby behind, I just couldn’t.  I finally started seeing someone to get some help, and it helped so much.  I realized that the way I was trying to grieve wasn’t right for me.  I started doing things to help me remember my baby.  I started talking to my baby, and when I do I can feel my baby close to me.  I thought trying to do things to remember my baby would make it so I got stuck in grief, but it did the opposite.  When I feel sad now I do something to help me feel close to my baby, I let myself feel sad for a little bit, then I feel better and am able to live my life.  I am happy.  My baby’s due date was last week.  I thought it would be a sad day, but it wasn’t.  Instead of grieving I felt like celebrating.  In my church we believe that families can be together again after we die.  I believe this includes the baby I love.  I felt so grateful for this baby, and I look forward to the time when I can see my baby.

Mingli started nursery at church a few weeks ago.  I was nervous that he would cry or be really upset.  He did cry when I left the room, but I waited outside the door and it only took about 30 seconds for him to stop crying.  When Kaanas picked him up his teachers said he had been fine the whole time, just a little quiet.  The next Sunday Mingli didn’t even seem to notice when I left, even though I said bye to him (I know some people think it is easier for the child if you sneak out without them seeing, but I don’t like to do that because I feel like sends the message to the child that mommy and daddy can disappear at anytime, without any warning).  When I picked him up he was playing with blocks.  He didn’t notice when I came in, so I sat down beside him.  He looked at me, smiled, then went back to playing with his blocks.  He didn’t want to leave.  I was really relieved that Mingli is taking to nursery so well.  He loves being with other kids, and he doesn’t get that too much.  It is also easier on Sunday for Kaanas and me.  We teach a primary class with 5-6 year olds.  It was a bit difficult doing that with Mingli.  Now we can focus on our class and Mingli gets to have fun playing with toys, other kids, having singing time, and eating snacks.  It is great for all of us.

Well, that’s all I can think of right now.

Christmas

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ll write a post, or a few, to catch up, but right now I just want to write about Christmas.

This whole Christmas season has been hard, but a lot of fun.  I’ll write more about the hard parts later, but right now for the fun.  Mingli is 18 months old and actually enjoyed Christmas this year.  In the middle of January someone gave us a bunch of baby books, including more than a dozen Christmas books.  I had seen something online that I really wanted to do, but I didn’t have enough books.  After I got these I finally did, so I wrapped up all the Christmas books, including the ones I already had, and everyday Mingli and I opened one and read them together.  Mingli loved it.  When he saw me pull out a wrapped book in the morning he would laugh and run to the rocking chair.  I think that is going to become a great tradition, although it made it so we couldn’t put presents under the tree until the last minute because Mingli wanted to open them.

We got all of our Christmas shopping done early.  Kaanas gets a coupon just after Thanksgiving every year as a Christmas present for 25% off a whole purchase, so we use that to get presents.  Then I decided to crochet some presents for Kaanas, and I remembered that I needed to fix up the rocking horse Kaanas and I had bought from a thrift store in May (see this post).  The rocking horse needed a little bit of fixing up.  It had scuffs on the wooden rockers, it had no handles, and parts of the mane had been pulled out.  So I painted the rockers, built new handles and painted them the same as the rockers, cut off the old mane, then sewed on a new one.  It was more work than I thought it would be, but it turned out better than I thought as well.  We also got him two small play sets, one a zoo and one dinosaurs, some wooden blocks and duploxs, a dump truck, and some wooden peg puzzles.  My parents got him a cool car track and a robot the plays music.  I was super excited about all of this.  Mingli has a lot of toys, but most of them were given to us by others before Mingli was even born, so they were toys for young babies.  He was outgrowing so many of his toys, and I wanted toys that he could be growing into instead of growing out of.  I was so excited about him having toys that he can use for pretend, puzzles, a toy to encourage dancing (gross motor), and a more complex way to play with his cars (his favorite toy).

On Christmas eve Kaanas bought some steaks that were on sale and we had those for dinner.  I had never cooked steaks before, we don’t usually spend that much money on food, so I had to look up how to cook steak online.  I looked up several sites, and they all said the same thing, cook it on medium high in some olive oil for 5-7 minutes, then flip it over and cook it for 5-7 minutes on the other side.    I don’t know if something was wrong with the directions (on all the sites) or if something was wrong with my stove, because I cooked the steaks just barely over medium (slightly lower than I was supposed to), and flipped then after 5 minutes, and they were completely charred.  I cooked the other side for about 3 minutes then put it in the oven, because the inside was still rare.  It was still mostly edible, but next time I will definitely cook it on a lower heat.

This was me and Kaanas’s first year as Santa Claus, and we had a lot of fun.  In my family we don’t wrap Santa Clause presents, so we set out the presents from Kaanas and me all wrapped and under the tree, and then the rocking horse, the dupluxs, and the dinosaur play set we staged.  We built a tower with the duplos and had the box tipped over and spilling around the tower, and the dino play set was all set up.

I was so excited to see Mingli come into the room and see how it would react.  For once when Mingli woke up Kaanas and I didn’t try to get him to lay quietly in bed with us so we could doze a little longer, we were as excited to get up as he was.  Mingli’s reaction was was a little disappointing.  He came into the living room, saw the presents, then turned around and walked out.  Kaanas brought him back in and sat down and started playing with him.  Then he got excited.  We spent a little bit of time playing with each of the Santa presents, then we started opening the presents that were wrapped.  Mingli loved his presents.  He spent the rest of the day playing with his new toys, and even fell asleep for his nap sitting on the floor with his cars.  Kaanas and I also opened the presents we got for each other.  I was nervous about Kaanas’s presents, but he seemed to like them.  I loved the presents Kaanas got me.  He got me a shelf to go over the sink, which I have been wanting, and some bone china.  The bone china was just a simple white set of 4 place setting, but I am really excited.  I wasn’t immediately excited about the bone china, I don’t like plain white as much, I like simple patterns, more traditional than modern, but the more I looked at it the more I liked it.  It looks elegant, and it will match a lot.  Kaanas said that eventually he is going to get me fancier stuff, but by getting me the white he was able to get me 4 place settings instead of just 1.  Kaanas knows that I have been wanting bone china ever since I started looking at stuff for our wedding registry.  Now I finally have some, and enough for our whole family to use it on special occasions, we can even have enough if we invite another couple over for dinner.  I’m super happy.

All in all it was a great Christmas.

1 year

Today Mingli is 1 year old. He is learning more and more.  He is learning to stand by himself right now.  The other day he was standing holding onto something, and he looked at me, grinned, then let go.  He stood there for a few seconds, then grabbed back on, grinned, and then did it again.  He was clearly very happy about what he was able to do.  He has also taken a few steps, but he doesn’t really seem interested in walking yet.  We have to really work with him to get him to do it.  Mingli’s favorite toys are cars.  He loves pushing them around, and has even started trying to say vroom vroom while pushing them around like I do.  He has trouble with the vr sound, but gets the oom sound pretty well.  He says mama a lot, and has said daddy a few times, though he has trouble with the d sound.  He also loves books, especially the lift a flap books.  If you lift the flap just the tinniest bit he can open it the rest of the way, then close it again.  When he closes it you are supposed to turn the page, and he will sit waiting patiently until you do, as long as you don’t take too long.  He is eating more and more, and he has two teeth now, finally.  They are his two front bottom teeth, and they came in at the same time.  Mingli is still such a happy baby, and very cuddly.  I can’t believe he is already a year old.  He is quickly turning into a little boy, instead of a baby.  I love him so much, and I am so blessed to have him in my life.

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