Awkward?

This picture makes me laugh. It’s like one of those awkward family pictures when the photographer says, “now everyone look lovingly at the baby…and keep smiling.” Except this, somehow, is completely candid. I don’t even know why we were all looking at Jacob but Devin managed to capture some odd dimension of my family.

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Gotta love it.

Jacob’s birth story — going home

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After five full days and four nights in the hospital, we were ready to go home. Keeping with tradition, Devin bought the “going home” outfit while we were in the hospital. He couldn’t decide between two so, he went with his gut and bought both.

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And good thing he did because what you don’t see in this picture is Jacob’s freshly pee-soaked clothes from one of many diaper leaks.

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So, we have pictures in one outfit but, he actually went home in another.

Such is life.

The ice pack

During the few days after a c-section, some people experience pain in one or both shoulders. I’m one of those lucky ones. Apparently, it has something to do with air, lining of the uterus, transferred pain…or something. All I know is it kills. Oddly, it hurts horribly when you take a deep breath. (Shoulder pain + incision pain = I’m dying if I need to cough). I can’t even imagine the pain without the pain meds.

With that said, ice has always been my friend, post-op. With #1 and 2, getting an ice pack was no problem. This time, however, there were issues. When I asked for one, I received a few “insta” packs that were part of a pad. (I’m assuming they are used for an episiotomy or related happenings? I wouldn’t know.) Anyway, they are small, awkward, not cold enough, and essentially useless for my needs. Thus, I went without until I couldn’t stand it. I knew exactly what I needed, but every nurse looked at me like I was crazy when I described what the perfectly sized, refillable ice pack looked like.

One nurse brought me a gel pack from the freezer. That was great but after 20 minutes it was done. Finally, I just asked, yet another nurse, for those useless pad packs. A few minutes later she came back with this beauty.

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The pack that I had been asking for the whole time and it arrives! I told her how I asked three other nurses for it and no one knew anything about them. She told me their supply closet was out of them so she got one from a neighboring unit.

She’s a thinker, that one.

The other nurses

And then there are the other nurses. A few were great. Specifically, the one who finally got me the right ice pack. (More to come on the ice pack shenanigans). Too bad I forgot her name.

There was Margot. I only had her for a few hours before I was discharged. Best thing about her is she announced herself before coming in the room. She also hooked me up with extra supplies to take home and walked us to our car, helping to transport our belongings. She was great.

But then there is the nurse who didn’t respond to my call button. Twice. And I waited for over an hour. At 1am. Then she tried to give me another round of meds when she just gave me some. And she had this crazy glitter hair clip that only ten-year-olds wear. But that’s another issue in itself.

Then there is the one who didn’t care to take care of me. She never offered to do anything. She was in and out before you could say anything. Then she tried to throw away my coveted ice pack but only after she refused to refill it after it fell on the floor.

But perhaps the best move of these “others” was the one who let me and my two neighboring moms sleep in after a rough night. How refreshing it was to wake up at 8:30am. Wonderful.

My favorite nurse

Let me tell you about my favorite nurse.

A nurse can make or break your day, night, even your entire experience. They are up in your grill constantly. Or so they should be.

There are the ones you love and address them by name. There are the ones who are good but you forget their names. And then there are the ones you vow never to forget until you finally call the “have a comment or question?” hotline and relay your experience.

Gerry was the one we loved. She was there the first evening. As she introduced herself, we looked at each other as if we knew one another. Turns out she was one of my nurses when I was there with Abby. (And my favorite then, too!)

Gerry was patient, funny, thorough, friendly, efficient, no nonsense, there when you needed her (and welcome when you didn’t) and seriously made sure I was taken care of.

During some small talk, Devin mentioned how I was looking forward to the cheesecake. That evening she managed to round up three extra slices of cheesecake for me. Awesome!

The day before we went home there was a splitting of shifts. One nurse (that I didn’t care for) had to leave in the afternoon. Gerry picked up my room, as I was the only one at my end of the hall. And once again she delivered.

She had house keeping in my room minutes after I mentioned the floor hadn’t been swept for two days. She did some “butt kissing” (her words) to get me some extra cheesecake again. She made sure I had everything I needed to take a shower. She decided I needed a good nights rest so she sought out for a quiet kit which had earplugs, an eye mask and a few other items.

How could I not love her?!

Jacob’s birth story — hospital food

It’s not a true hospital experience until you experience the food.

For years now, (yes, years) sequoia hospital has been under construction and thus has no actual cafeteria. So naturally, the food is awesome. (Can you sense the sarcasm?)

Generally, you have two different entrĂ©e options for any given meal with a few choices of sides and drinks. The “system” goes something like the following:

Nurse initially gives you a menu.
You mark your selections.
Return the menu to the nurse or take it to the nurse’s station.
Your order is entered into the “system.”
The “food” people work hard to prepare your meal by pressing microwave buttons.
Your meal, as requested, is delivered with a menu for the next meal.
You give the new completed menu to the “food” person collecting the empty trays.

That’s the process, or how it’s supposed to be…maybe. No one really knows.

The nurses don’t have the menus. The food people don’t provide the menus. No one knows what time they need to be turned in. Food never comes on time anyway. The tray collectors are nowhere to be seen. Or, they trash your menu with the rest of your rubbish. And so on and so forth.

Of all the meals during my five day stay, one was correct. Every other one was wrong in some way or there was that time when I didn’t get dinner until 7pm because of a mix up.

The nice thing, however, is that you can always get a guest tray. Of course it’s always a crapshoot of what’s on that tray, too. Because some items were questionable, I’d always order a guest tray even when Devin wasn’t there. With the two trays combined, I somehow had decent meals.

For your enjoyment, here is a picture of the “celebration” dinner. A lovely rice and bean slop with roll, sparkling apple cider and cheesecake.

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It was just missing the fine linen napkin.

Jacob’s birth story — Two girls and a boy

About a month before my due date we had an FHE lesson on welcoming a new baby to the family. I was surprised how receptive the girls were when we talked about washing hands, asking to hold the baby, how to hold a baby, etc. They practiced with their dolls up to Jacob’s arrival. I definitely recommend taking the time to do this.

Katelyn and Abby had been excited for months to meet their baby brother. We even made a countdown chain. :)

Katelyn has been especially curious, loving and helpful. Here she is holding him for the first time. She instantly fell in love.

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Abby is curious but often could care less.

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On day four in the hospital (Easter Sunday) I pumped a bottle of milk so that the girls could help feed Jacob. It was a precious moment to have them so involved with their new brother.

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I think most second+ time moms will tell you one of the hardest things about having another baby is the time you have to spend away from your other children while you are in the hospital. It’s especially hard when you are there four or five days. I looked forward to seeing my girls everyday. I’m so thankful that my parents and Devin could bring them to visit everyday.

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Jacob’s birth story — what’s in a name

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Naming our children is always a challenge. Katelyn’s naming came quick after she was born but for years before we had a different name picked for her. For Abby, we never even discussed the name Abigail but it’s what we decided on three days after she was born. Because everyone has their opinion about names, Devin especially likes to play games with people. We often referred to Jacob as Orville while I was pregnant. Some reactions were great.

A couple weeks before our bundle arrived, Devin had an inspirational moment where he came up with a name he really liked. When he told me I looked at him trying to figure out if he was serious. He was. I loved the name, too. But I knew something Devin forgot–we have a nephew with the name we loved. My sister just happens to get boys and so the lovely name Bryce was already taken.

A couple days before delivery, I made a list of about a dozen names. During our evening family walk we discussed the list. He quickly vetoed about half the names and we were left with five or six that we both liked, though we didn’t necessarily love any of them. It was reassuring, however, that we had a few we could go with.

On my side of the family, it’s tradition to give the first born son the father’s fist name as their middle name. I like this tradition. But Devin doesn’t like his name. So depending on the first name, we decided that his middle name (Brandon) would be just as meaningful.

When we started the name discussion, I first suggested Jacob Brandon as Jacob was a name I always loved. Devin liked it as well so the discussion essentially ended there. We wrote the full name on the white board to make sure it didn’t look silly.

And so it was. Jacob Brandon Collier. We haven’t figured out what he will most commonly be called but at this point Jacob, Jake, and Jakie are our favorites. But who knows–he might prefer JB or Jay. Time will tell.

Of course Devin couldn’t let the naming process end without more fun. For kicks and tricks for my parents, he wrote “Breken Brandon Collier” on our board. Completely random. The trick didn’t last long.

Katelyn and Abby took to the name right away. (Although they still call him Baby Brother much of the time.) My dad, however, continued to offer suggestions over the next few days as if it were an open discussion.

So here is our precious Jacob.

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A quiet moment

After arriving in our permanat room, the three of us had a few moments alone. This is the first picture of me and Baby. I’m clearly still a bit out of it.

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And the first of him and Devin.

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It was during this time that we began to discuss what we were going to name him.