Sunday, October 28, 2012

Titus' Birth Story

A few of you have asked, and I'm sure others are also interested in hearing about how Titus's delivery went and how we are all settling in.  I'm still behind on sleep so some of this might not flow that well, but I will do my best. ;-)

Our night actually started out pretty rough with Emilia.  We all went to bed at a decent hour, but she was really struggling to stay asleep.  Kept crying out, getting up, etc.  Jason thinks she may have "known" something was about to change, but whatever the case, she had us all tired already! 

Around midnight, I started having contractions.  They were already about 5 minutes apart and lasting for over 1 minute each.  After 1 hour I called the hospital to see when I should come in.  They said after a 2nd hour of the same, I could come in the be checked out.  I waited another hour before waking Jason.  I spent that time finishing with last minute packing, between contractions.  They felt just like I had read they would- bad cramps/diarrhea-ish.  {Yes, this is my 2nd child.  Why don't I know what contractions feel like?  I was induced and had an epidural with Emilia.  I didn't feel a thing.}   They were strong, but not too bad yet.  Squatting and rocking from side to side helped the best.

When I went in to wake Jason, I told him, "It's time to get up".  He had this grumpy look on his face as he checked his clock.  It wasn't until I said, "I'm having contractions", that he realized I didn't mean he needed to get up for work at 2 a.m. ;-)  He went next door to wake our neighbor, Amber.  She is Emilia's favorite friend here, so we knew if she would be OK waking up to anyone besides us the next day, Amber would be the best choice.  Once we had Amber settled and J packed the car, we set off for the hospital.

My packing list looked much different this time doctor here recommended bring my own pillows (if I wanted to have one at all), a fan (bc the Labor/Delivery and Recovery departments do not currently have aircon), sanitary supplies, diapers, wipes, etc.  I also had no extra items for entertainment (magazines, books, etc.) because my doctor was pretty clear that we would be discharged after 6-8 hours as long as everything looked OK.

Jason's favorite part of this story happened next...  We were driving to the hopsital and Jason was speeding.  The speed limit on island is 35, and most people usually go around 40.  Jason was up to 51 by the time we passed the cop car.  Jason, thinking out loud, said something about getting pulled over on the way to the hospital and what he'd say to the cop.  WELL, he got his opportunity!  We got pulled over shortly after and my husband's cunning words got us out of the ticket.  He said something like "Can we do this at the hospital?  My wife is in labor!"  The cop was really understanding and just told us to use our hazards and watch our speed.  As we drove off, Jason realized he probably could have been a little nicer about the whole thing.  But he was still stoked to have that as part of the day's events. ;-)

We made it to the hospital's Labor & Delivery department just soon enough to hear a woman screaming her head off.  {Talk about welcoming for an anxious person...}  I was set up in my room quickly and was hooked up to the monitors right away.  I asked the nurse about being able to walk around, etc.  She said they had to monitor me first so they knew whether it was time to call the doctor.  After 2 hours of contracting at home- walking, rocking, squatting- this laying in bed stuff was no fun.  They were definitely more uncomfortable and it was harder to breath through them.  I was already effaced 90%, 4-5 cm and had a "bulging bag", so they called my doctor.  I'm pretty sure the nurses intended to keep me locked to my bed the whole time.  But I knew from earlier conversations with my doctor that he would let me do pretty much whatever I wanted.  So, at his direction, they unhooked my monitors and brought in a birthing ball.  That ball was WONDERFUL!  Labor progressed pretty quickly.  The pain intensified and Jason's poor hand/fingers felt my increase in pain with each contraction.  ;-)  He was a really great coach.  I was a little nervous about how focused he would be and luckily he proved me WAY wrong!  He could tell when I needed him to help me remember to breath, and other times when I just needed him to be quiet while I worked through the contraction.

Around 5 (I think), my doctor came to check me again.  I was at 7cm and he suggested breaking my water to speed things up.  This made me pretty nervous because I wasn't sure exactly how much quicker things would progress (pain wise).  But, we decided to go for it since I was already strapped back down anyway.  I'm glad I did since Titus was here only 54 minutes after that!  (O:

Everyone was super helpful when I was pushing.  They had these arm bars for me to pull on.  That really helped focus my energy while pushing.  Jason was SUPER helpful too, propping up my back each time.  I kept pulling my head back, which isn't what they wanted me to do.  My nurse was really encouraging and my doctor was great.  All in all, I pushed for right around 30 minutes.  I don't really remember that part being painful...mostly just Really tiring.  I was so tired by then that I didn't feel any pain.  It just took everything in me to hold my breath and push because I just wanted to rest.  I am SOO thankful that I only had to push for a short time, I don't want to think about those poor girls who push for hours!

The doctor says I tore again this time- about 1.5 inches.  Even with that, my recovery has been much easier and quicker than last time. I was surprised by how quickly I was up and around, especially with leaving the hospital only 8 hours after giving birth.  I was pretty worried about that part, since we spent 3 days in the hospital after Emilia was born.  But, the recovery room was super tiny and also had no we were all ready to go home ASAP!  I am still a little sore, but mostly I feel pretty good.

We have a good support system in our little teacher apartment community and I'm so thankful for that!  Our next door neighbor, Amber has helped so much with Emilia.  She takes her to the playground, lets her come over and play, and even dropped her off at church for me today.  Another neighbor, Michelle, also helps entertain Emilia and loves to cuddle Titus when we need a break.  We also have several other neighbors and friends who stop by to visit.  I never would have guessed I would be OK with so many people in my house, but it is really nice to have people over.  (O:

About Little Man:

Titus Mark Warren was born at 5:54 a.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2012!  :)  He weighed 6lbs 9.5oz and was 21 in long.  {We had to convert from cm and grams, as listed on his little bed tag; that was different!}  He has a full head of dark hair {just like his sister did}.

He is one very relaxed little guy!  I have to wake him up to eat most of the time and even then, he rarely cries.  He has much more of Jason's personality in that regard!  I will be glad if he continues to be calm and laid back as he grows.

Last thoughts about labor and delivery with no medications and no aircon:
*I am so glad we brought our own box fan!  {I think that's why I looked pretty decent in my first photos with baby!}
*While it was hard, it was not as bad as I had anticipated.  I am glad I did it and can mark it off my "bucket list".
*I probably will not choose to do it that way again, if I can help it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Update :: 39 Weeks!

Whew.  I can barely believe how quickly time has flown by this pregnancy.  My due date is in 4 days!!  I wasn't nearly as faithful with keeping up on pregnancy updates as I intended...but it turns out there aren't exactly that many things to update about on a weekly basis!  {Or maybe I was just lazy...}

There are a few things I can tell you...

My weekly doctor's visits has been fine.  Apparently my doctor doesn't measure dilation or effacement at the weekly visits.  He said he doesn't think I will make it to next week's appointment (yay!!), but if I do, he will measure me then.  It is so different than in the states when I was measured often.  But it kind of keeps me from thinking about it too much.  When I knew I was dilating a little more each week, I got anxious.  This time, I am relaxed and just taking each day as it comes.

I guess I did OK gaining a little extra weight as the doctor ordered-- he never said anything else about it.  I'm proud to say I only gained about 21 pounds with this pregnancy!  I am *really* hoping this means it will be easy to drop the baby weight {and then some...} once Titus is born.  My double jogger is all ready to go!  ;-)

Wednesday morning I started feeling (what I believe were) contractions for almost 2 hours, about 5 minutes apart.  But I tried laying back down and they slowed to 10 minutes and then went away completely.  Boo!  I can tell he is getting into position though.  I have felt movement much lower than he has been this entire pregnancy.

My legs and feet finally started swelling.  Again, this is SO MUCH later than when I was pregnant with Emilia and I'm so thankful!  Jason and I just started noticing the swelling this week.  My nurse said to keep my feet up as much as possible.  I have found that pretty hard with such an active 3-yr-old, but I'm trying.  Jason does a good job of playing with her when he gets off work too.

I'm not sure how this happened, but I completely forgot to register at the hospital!  Thankfully, my doctor mentioned it at my appointment yesterday.  So Emilia and I went up there and took care of it.  I also asked to see the Labor & Delivery department...I wasn't so sure I really wanted to know ahead of time because we have heard the conditions aren't that great.  But, my fears were laid to rest.  Yes, everything is old and there are none of the comforts one would expect {like aircon...}.  But from what I can tell, everything will be fine.  I didn't get to see the nursery or recovery sections, but that's OK.  (Nurse staff is low, so I couldn't find anyone to help me...)  All in all, I know God is in complete control.  This is HIS timing and HE will see us through.  I still get scared thinking about doing this with no medication, but I know I can do it with HIS strength.

One funny thing I don't think I've mentioned yet-- I can actually SEE the end of my belly button!!  Some of you know this is quite the feat.  I have a crazy deep belly button when I'm not pregnant and with Emilia my stomach grew out differently so it stayed pretty deep still.  This time around, I am ALL belly.  I started noticing it several weeks ago and it keeps getting more shallow!  It will never "pop" like some preggo mommas, but I'm impressed!  Haha!

Emilia seems ready for her baby brother to get here too.  It's hard to tell how she will really react.  But she loves talking about him and I know she will be a great helper.  I have already started mentioning to our friends that I really want them to still say "hi" to Emilia first when coming to visit, to hopefully help with jealousy.  I also intend to let Emilia introduce Titus to new visitors.  Before leaving the mainland, we let Emilia pick out a little blankie to give her brother.  Last week, I purchased a gift "From Titus, to Emilia"- a pink ukelele!  I have read about several parents doing something similar and I think she will love it.  Jason and I both know we will have to make a conscious effort to give Emilia one-on-one time once he comes.

On a similar note, we have a fun afternoon planned for Emilia!  I wanted to do "one last thing" as a family of three.  So I found out about the "local discount" at a local water park.  The rates during the week are pretty good so we are taking her today after Jason is done at school!  This water park is part of a hotel called PIC.  They also have great dinner deals during Happy Hour (5-7), where all the menu items are 1/2 off.  So we have been there a couple times for dinner.  We always have to walk past the water park to get to dinner and Emilia ALWAYS asks if she can go swimming there.  So we knew this would be the perfect way to spend our afternoon.  We haven't told her yet.  I am SO excited to see her face when we tell her!  (O:

I have been Pinning some newborn and sibling photo shoot ideas.  I really *hope* I have the energy to capture these precious memories!  I plan to do a monthly photo like I did with Emilia.  I feel more confident in my photography skills this time around, so I also plan to do several more newborn photos of Titus and Emilia with Titus.  I have a friend on island who is also a photographer and she is going to do a mini family session for us too.  So don't you worry, there will be PLENTY of photos very soon!!

I think that pretty sums it up.  Lots going on, but I always forget when it comes time to post!  Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement throughout this pregnancy!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rainy Day Fun {Embrace the Camera}

One thing Emilia and I love about Saipan is the RAIN!  It rains almost every day, at some point in the day.  My main reason for liking it is that it cools down the apartment quite a bit.  Emilia's main reason for liking it is the puddles!  I am so glad I decided to ship her rain boots over when we moved because they are getting a lot of use!  (O:

(I'm not exactly excited to share my slightly swollen ankles, sweaty hairline or the weird belly angles of these photos...but it's all part of embracing the camera, right?  Even the not-so-glam days...sigh.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apartment Tour :: Living Room

I am sure some of you might be wondering what our Saipan home looks like.  Today, I am going to show you around our living room.  With such a small apartment, things tend to get cluttered pretty quickly.  So, I intend to photograph a different room/area each time and continue to show you around our home!

Walking in our front door, we are standing in the kitchen.  That is where I am standing for this first photo...I left the kitchen out of the pic because that area is always the most cluttered.  You can see a bit of our dining area, which is just past the kitchen, as we walk towards the living room.
If we are home, the front and back doors are always open to pull air through the house.  At least one or more box fans are running at all times too.  There is an AC (called AirCon here) unit above the window, but we rarely run it due to high electricity costs.  We do not get much natural light through the house because we leave the storm shutters closed and locked most of the time.

Here is a closer view of our "seating area" (haha).
The futons are a rough, black fabric.  Thankfully, the couple who lived here before us, left a couple sheet sets for us.  So, we used the plain teal to cover the couch and one chair and used my Saipan Quilt over the other chair for now.  My mom is going to sew better covers for soon as I get her the measurements, that is.  We ordered a white sheer curtain from Walmart and put one of the other sheets left for us behind it for a little added color.  (We really lucked out how the quilt and sheets all coordinate!)  The cross wall hanging is something we picked up at GBIM's Mission & Ministry conference the week before we left.  It is a hand-painted cross with Joshua 24:15 written in Chinese.  You can also see a little peek of our favorite rug!  There is a market every Saturday and we found a lovely Filipina lady who makes the comfiest rugs out of jersey cotton.  We are going to special order 2 to go with our color scheme and will either gift the Saipan one or move it somewhere else in the house.  (The best part- it was only $6!)

Here is a view from the couch(ish).  The TV stand came with the apartment and we ordered the bookshelves from Walmart.  (I am SO glad Walmart ships here- it has helped us make this apartment feel like a home at a reasonable price!)
I found an awesome deal on the baby swing pictured, very lucky find!!  (O:

So, that's that.  This is our living room.  We spend lots of time hanging out here and I love how it finally feels like "ours".  Stay tuned for the next area of our home...hopefully soon! ;-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Relinquishing Control :: Laundry

As Emilia gets older, I have tried to give her additional (age appropriate) responsibilities.  Now, with the weeks counting down to the arrival of our 2nd kiddo, I am looking for any and all chores I can have Emilia start helping with.  Lucky for me, she LOVEs to help!

My latest chore started as just somewhat appeasing her by letting her "help" while I fold clothes (then refold hers when she is off playing...)  But then I decided to fully relinquish control.  Emilia now proudly folds and puts away all her own clothes!
Honestly, I still cringe a little because my OCD tendencies take over.  Everything has a place and organization is key.  This is what her shirt drawer and shorts drawer look like since she has taken over putting the clothes away:
...not exactly as orderly as I once had them, but they are still put away!  And she is SO proud of herself.
Not to mention, it cuts down on the laundry *I* have to put away each day.  That will be wonderful once Titus is born.  I am still working on my desire to sort them back out as they once were...but, the feeling fades each day.  (O:

Sometimes little ones just need to feel important and needed.  Emilia taking pride in this chore is worth a little chaos in her dresser.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forever Young Infininty Scarf Tutorial

I love the song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan.

But, I have a confession...I never actually knew this song until the TV show Parenthood used it as their opening theme song.

Nonetheless, love is love.  I love it.

So much so, that I decided to incorporate it into one of my handmade Christmas items this year.

Enter:  The Forever Young Infinity Scarf

Yes, infinity scarves have been done before and will continue to be done forever, I'm sure.  I didn't say this was a brand-spankin' new idea here folks.  But I did take two ideas previous pinned here and here (Thanks again, Pinterest) and meshed them into my own creation.

I have somewhat of a list going of friends and family for whom I want to make some sort of Infinity Scarf- whether the Kid Art one posted previously, or one with writing like today's scarf.  So, last night while catching up on the most recent episode of Parenthood (thank you Hulu for keeping this island girl up with the times!), it hit me!  I knew I wanted to use the lyrics from the song "Forever Young" for one of the scarves.  I even knew exactly who I wanted to give it to.  (She doesn't read blogs, or Pin anything, so I'm safe in posting...mwahaha!)

The steps are super easy, as you probably already know:

Cut your shirt to the desired width (I chose a thinner width for this scarf and *still* fit the lyrics to the song twice!), put a piece of cardboard inside to prevent bleeding and get to writing:
*I think I have decided that it is best to turn the shirt inside out before writing.  Both the scarves I have done this week seem to curl to where you cannot see the side you draw/write on.  I'm going to test this on my next one, but just something to think about*

Once you are finished writing, stretch the heck out it.  The longer you stretch it out, the skinnier it will be.

I really like the skinny look for this scarf.  I think a bulky scarf with this much wording would be too over powering.  But now, it is the perfect accessory to complete an outfit.  I can't say we wear many scarves on Saipan, but my friend doesn't live here and I can see her using this to dress up a tee, go casual with a cardigan or anything this fall.

I really love to give thought out, hand made gifts.  I hope you are inspired to start working on a creation of your own!

"Forever Young"

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kid Art Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Christmas has been on my mind a lot lately.  It may seem early (even for me), but when you add in shipping time from Saipan, as well as the shopping and shipping time from my Mom/Sister when I need certain craft items, it's really not that bad.  Also, I have this unrealistic hope of having most (if not ALL) Christmas gifts ready before Titus comes at the end of next month.

This year (as much as it pains me since I love gift giving), we are going minimal on gifts.  The reasons for this are pretty basic--Saipan has very little to offer as far as gifts go (except for extremely touristy items, which no one wants), we have limited funds with which to purchase gifts, and I have way too many Pinterest craft ideas on my "Want to do" list.

So, Emilia and I have been working on the projects that involve her.  She LOVES to help on a project and she is getting to the age where she actually IS a help.  ;-)  Originally I saw this idea on Pinterest for personalized handwritten scarves.  I loved the idea right away because they aren't completely legible when worn, but they would have special meaning to the giver and the recipient. 

My next challenge was finding a way that Emilia could help make them for certain family members.  Some of my family members are more crafty/artsy than others, so I knew they would appreciate (and actually *use*) this gift.  Since Emilia cannot write yet (except for her name), I decided to lay out all our colorful permanent markers and let her go to town.  She had a blast!


1 Plain White T-Shirt (we used XL)
Permanent Markers of your choice

Step One:  Cut your shirt just below the armpits

Step Two:  Let your kid go to town!  *Important suggestion which I didn't initially do...lay down a piece of card board, or you'll end up with this:
Step Two Redo:  Lay down a big piece of cardboard on the floor, and let your kid go to town! 

Step Three:  Cut the bottom hem of the shirt off:

Step Four:  Stretch, stretch, stretch!  I had a 3-year-old helper, but if you don't, but one end around a chair or your feet or whatever works for you.


She wanted to test it out..I think it got her approval! ;-)


This type of gift might not suit the taste of everyone (or anyone) on your list, but I know it is going to be very well received by the family members we are giving them to.  (Sorry for being so vague...they don't usually read this blog, but just in case!)