Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Is Here!

We've finally had some nice warm weather here. We're talking a few days in the 70's! It's been beautiful. It's almost like Anna has forgotten what it's like to play outside - everything is new and exciting. This past week we've had a few picnics, went on numerous walks, played in our backyard (Anna even helped rake and weed), and went to the park a few times. Anna loved the swing the most with lots of screaming and laughing - see above. Benjamin slept the whole time we were there- see below.

This weather makes me so happy! It's a relatively small town we live in so we've run into neighbors and friends often in our outings. It's kind of funny, but we don't see our neighbors much at all during the winter on account of the snow and cold. Everybody just stays indoors. So they didn't even know I was pregnant since I didn't start showing until the fall - bundling up weather. I thought it was pretty obvious at the end, especially those last few weeks, but apparently not. Now that the weather is nice and everyone is outside again, three, THREE, different neighbors have asked if Benjamin is our baby. Hah! One of them said they thought I might be having another baby, but weren't sure.
Ok, this is one of my favorite baby items that I heard about from a friend. It's called a Moby Wrap and can be ordered on-line. So I have a "sensitive" back and with Anna I tried using a Snugli, but my back would hurt after maybe 15 minutes. This thing is amazing though. I wore it for two hours the other day on a walk and just around the house. The weight is very evenly distributed over the back and shoulders. This picture shows one of the newborn holds, but it's good for up to 35 pounds and there are different wrapping techniques to hold babies/toddlers during different stages. This is the basic wrap and is very affordable - 39.99. So, new moms out there, I LOVE this product and really recommend it for everyone. Man, I sound like a spokesperson for this product, but I just really love it. (It's machine washable, comes with a nice little carrying case and direction booklet WITH pictures, and the sand colored one - shown above- protects from UV rays. The material is soft and strechy cotton. We're getting a lot of use out of this - even Ethan loves it.)

Here are a couple cute pictures of Benjamin waking up. When he wakes up, which is quite the process, he goes through a wide range of facial expressions that is just hilarious to watch!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ode To Grandparents



Don't worry, I'm not planning on writing a poem here - I just wanted to describe how grateful I am to all four of Benjamin and Anna's grandparents. It is so wonderful living close to both of our parents. We have had so much suport and I am so thankful. Before I even had Ben, Melissa and my mom watched Anna on some days when I just couldn't take being prego anymore (yes, Anna Jones, I LOVE, LOVE not being pregnant...I don't miss it in the least). Now that I have Benjamin, the grandparents have been so great helping in any way they can. Well, Chuck is still a little nervous to hold Benjamin, but he's more than happy to hang out and play with Anna. :-) We are so happy to be able to live so close to our families right now. So here is Ben with each of his grandparents.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Snow Day!!!

Our first week home has been pretty good. NMU was canceled yesterday, so Ethan had a snow day. Whee! How many people can say they have snow days on April 11th??? And Northern doesn't cancel for just anything. So Anna and Ethan made the most of it and went out to build a snowman.
Here is Benjamin all bundled up for an outing. We probably wouldn't have taken him out in the weather, but we had an appointment to go to and the day turned out pretty beautiful.
Ben has still been a very sleepy baby (please let it last!), but here is one of the rare moments that his eyes are open and he is pretty alert. We love having him at home!

Anna is still helpful and pretty excited about having Benjamin around. In the first picture, she wanted Benjamin to sit with her to watch a movie. Anna usually asks to hold him about once a day.
Understandably, we've been mostly at home this week and I think Anna isn't quite used to just hanging out at the house so much. She has come up with some pretty creative play though. Here she is riding on her horse. (Her shirt got wet and she refused to put on a dry one. We did get her into her pjs for bedtime.) She has made forts and homes out of our couch cushions to pass the time as well. Other favorites are Polly Pockets, hide-and-seek, and "chase me" games.

Here I am with my two little sweeties. It is just great being a mom and our family seems more complete now that Benjamin is here. This first week home has been such a smooth transition because of all the help we've been getting from family and friends. Everyone has been so great! My mom, I can't begin to describe how wonderful it is to have her close. She has been soooooo helpful in so many ways. Thanks mom!
Of course all of this would be way, way more overwhelming if I wasn't married to the greatest husband and father in the world! Ethan is such a natural at being a dad, I can't even describe how amazing he is. He is so helpful and hands on and is the perfect calming balance that I need. He is so supportive and understanding. Thanks babe! I am sad that he has to go back to work next week, but the semester is almost over, and a relatively care-free summer is ahead of us. Yay!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rayhorns On The Rise

Benjamin Parr Rayhorn is finally here! Woo hoooo!!!  I really thought I would have him before his scheduled c-section date, but he held out to the bitter end.  He was born at 39 weeks on Friday, April 4th at 7:54 am weighing in at 8.1 pounds, and measuring 20 inches long. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 5am, bright and early!, and the excitement of finally meeting Benjamin helped wake us up that morning at 4am. Whew!

Since this was my first scheduled c-section (I didn't know I was having one with Anna until I'd been in labor for 4ish hours), I was surprised that it took a few HOURS of prep, paperwork, etc. before actually going to the operating room.  It wasn't too bad hanging out in our suite in MGH's birthing center, but I was getting anxious!

                                                         Sweet little squishy face!!!

The c-section went well.  Since we knew what to expect this time, there was a lot less fear of the unknown and less stress.  Ethan and I were actually joking and giggling during part of it!  Seriously, I had a case of the giggles on the OR table...which felt inappropriate, but couldn't be helped. :) I'll spare you the gruesome pictures, but a nurse took a few action shots of the doctor pulling Ben out. It was pretty cool to see what was happening behind the blue curtain.  And weird.  And ok, a little gross too. 

                                            Daddy and Benjamin bonding in our birthing suite. 

Hearing Benjamin cry for the first time felt dream like, yet powerful.  It stands out even more than when I first heard Anna cry, which is, again, probably because we felt so much more prepared and comfortable this time.  I felt more "in the moment."  I was so excited to meet my baby boy!  Finally hearing him cry made me immediately get teary eyed and choked up too - so full of joy.  And even though this may be weird, the thought that clearly popped into my head when I heard Benjamin's first little cry was, "This can't be my last baby.  This can not be the last time I hear a newborn cry."  (Not being a huge fan of pregnancy, and a few other factors, I've thought many times over the past nine months - "I never want to do this again!")  So, we'll see.  hehe.  It was a very distinct impression.   

Anyway, after some bonding time in the OR, Ethan went with Benjamin to the nursery to trim the cord, give him a bath, and watch as the nurses assessed various things. Then they hung out for some father/son time while waiting for me to get put back together and return to the room.

Since I felt so overwhelmed after having Anna, and felt a little bombarded with guests (when I really just wanted to be alone with Ethan and baby), we told family/friends to wait for a phone call to come visit.  We even thought it might not be until the second day.  Well!  I felt great - emotionally and physically - and after about an hour of alone time in our room, I told Ethan, "Call some people to come visit, pronto!  And make sure Anna comes as soon as possible!"  We were ready to celebrate, and have Benjamin start to meet all his family members. 
 Mama and Benjamin walking around the room.
I had a really good experience with my c-section with Anna - physically, and a great recovery too - which is why I opted to do it again, even though they gave me the choice. I also assumed the same thing would happen that did with Anna if I had tried to have a VBAC.  (A stuck baby because of previous car accident injuries.)  This experience was even better. For major surgery, I feel pretty dang good!  I think it helps that I knew what to expect, I wasn't quite as sick with this pregnancy so I've been more active (chasing Anna around, etc.).  I also feel so much better emotionally than last time, which I think contributes too. The nurses have been so warm and helpful, the MGH Birthing Suites are great, good doctors, and the hospital stay has been nice - very nice, but I am definitely ready to go home tomorrow.
Anna visited about 5 different times while we were here and she was such a sweetie!!! She was very excited to meet Benjamin, and insists that people call him by his full name. She talked about how tiny and cute he is, and each time says that we should take him home now. I just cannot describe how great she is being with all of this. She is so kind and I don't think it's too soon to declare the title of, "World's Greatest Big Sister."  (But, really, did we expect anything less from her?  :)  Anna was very concerned for me and always asks me if I'm feeling better. She is so caring!  We are all excited to be together at home tomorrow. I've missed her tons!!  I love her so much.
She asked us if she could hold Benjamin the first day and then told us, "We have to be careful, he is very tiny." So true Miss Anna!

Ethan is in the middle of his busiest semester ever, seriously!, so although he has a week off of work, he is still a bit busy.  Only 3 more weeks!!  He has studied here in our room (and elsewhere, like across the street at the University Center), and had to go to a few classes he just couldn't miss.  But NMU is literally next door to the hospital, so it hasn't been too bad.  He's also spent some time with Anna, and helps put her to bed each night, so she doesn't feel completely abandoned.  Since I'm so much more comfortable this time around, it's been fine.  After I had Anna, I didn't want to be alone at all.  I know every pregnancy and birth is different, but I really feel like knowing what to expect has really helped with the calmness of it all this time. 

So, Benjamin hasn't really let us get to know him too well yet...he has been so sleepy. Incredibly sleepy! He doesn't even want to wake up to breastfeed, silly boy.  (And speaking of, he has a bit of a tongue issue that makes nursing pretty challenging - again! - but we're making an appointment with a lactation specialist, so hopefully that helps!)  I think his sleepy-ness is just starting to wear off. Maybe?  I have just loved snuggling with him, trying to figure out who he looks like, and enjoying this precious newborn stage. As far as looks go - He is definitely lighter complected, and his hair is lighter than Anna's was coming out.  Anna as a baby and Benjamin don't look very similar to me now, but we'll see who he turns in to.  Oh, and I'm surprised at how excited I am to have a son!   A boy!  I know I'd be happy with whichever Heavenly Father chose to send us, but I can't help but feel excited to experience both genders and see the unique personalities that each will develop.  Mi precioso bebe!   Mijo.  I love him so much already.     

Welcome to the world baby Benjamin!  Everyone is happy and healthy and full of love!