Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Sweetest Li'l Santa

Obviously, our most cherished gift this year as a family has been our sweet Vivienne Claire. Our lives are forever more full, complete, enriched and joyful because of her arrival.  Our first Christmas with Vivi was magical.  She is a magical gift to all of us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catching up...

I haven't blogged in over a month!  But I'm pretty sure anyone can guess why.  I've been absorbed completely into the amazing life and beautiful face of this little beauty- Vivienne.  I've been taking it all in, holding her every moment that I can and staring into those gorgeous blue eyes while singing her songs, telling her stories and delighting in the most beautiful smiles one could ever even dream of seeing.  Being a Mama to a sweet little baby that you grew inside you is truly an amazing and inspiring experience.
We celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a family of four- and it was the most THANKFUL and GRATEFUL Thanksgiving ever... so much so now that we are complete in our little family.  Sharing the day with my Mom and John was the icing on the cake and thankfulness was in true abundance all around.


Shortly after that- Vivienne turned one month old!  I know, I can't believe it, either!  She eats and sleeps like a seasoned pro, smiles when she looks up into our faces and is starting to grasp at things near her.  She has the most delightful little squeals and exclamations and cheeks that are honestly just too cute for words.  We can hardly deal with the cuteness and I am constantly finding Roslyn at Vivi's bassinet talking and singing to her.  Makes my heart just melt.
Roslyn turned 7 on December 9th and we had her long awaited Minnie Mouse party extravaganza!  To say it was a hit would be an understatement!  She was surrounded and so showered by friendship and love that it was almost too much to believe! 
My beautiful girl- I can't believe shes 7!

during the singing of Happy Birthday

we had friends visit all the way from Kingman- Aunt Crystal, Uncle Joe and the girls!

Mama had fun planning, crafting and baking for the party. :)

See?!  Told you it was a huge success!

December has been spent immersing ourselves in all things Christmas and the magic of the season.  The girls made their visit to Santa and we treated ourselves with a present of a Holiday trip to Disneyland! 
Disneyland with a six week old was not anywhere near as difficult as I worried it may be and when she was awake, she was so focused and aware of her surroundings.  When we rode Small World for the first time with  her she lifted her head and looked around the whole time with those big beautiful eyes of hers and even treated us to some super sweet smiles.  We think she liked it! :)

As if all of this wasn't enough, we still had Christmas morning!  Roslyn loved getting to finally get into her stocking and open all of her gifts.  After the present madness of the morning, we had a nice dinner with my dad and his roommate and then drove up to the Prescott Resort to see the Gingerbread Village, one of my very favorite traditions.
Now that we are settling down from all of the excitement of this last month and a half or so, I have to admit that there is always a small feeling of blah!  We spend so much time gearing up to this one day and then as quickly as it came, it's over and the tree and decorations come down and it's time for life back to normal.

But I despite that down feeling that can come post excitement filled holidays, there is something that I love... the excitement, promise and unknown of a New Year to live to the fullest, to hope and plan for and strive to make the best year yet.  And that is what I am in the midst of doing for myself... brainstorming and dreaming of the goals and possibilities for 2012.  
One of my big goals is to blog regularly (really, I mean it! :-P) and document our lives, our adventures and so much more.  So now is the time when I ask YOU, my readers (if there are any out there ... hi Crystal lol!):

What would you like to see from me in the coming year here on my blog?  
I have some ideas, but I do want to share what you would like to see too.  I know that I want to be open, real, honest and share the loves of my life... so if there is anything at all that you would like to see or a question you have for me, please leave a comment and let me know and/or ask away.

I'm so excited 2012 and our full first year as a family of four... looking forward to loving, creating and sharing that all here.
Wishing y'all a happy, happy new year... I hope it's as amazing as each of you are.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welcoming Vivienne- our birth story

Welcome Vivienne Claire Hall!
Born Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at 11:33 am.
Weight: 8 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches

As many of you may know, we were scheduled to go in on Tuesday, November 8th to have our daughter Vivienne via a repeat c-section.

What's important and somewhat funny to note before I begin our story, is that during my entire pregnancy, I prayed for Vivienne to be like her mama.  Drew has his mini-me in almost every way in Roslyn and I hoped for a mini-me in our Vivienne.

I'm pretty sure I got my way so far! ;)

On Saturday November 5th, I woke up as always, with a list of things to do for the day and for the following two days until we would check into the hospital on Tuesday.  Drew and Roslyn went to breakfast as per their tradition and then we all went out to lunch as a family at the Iron Springs Cafe.  We'd never been there and I was just wanting to try something new, so off we went!  After that we ran errands... picking up the paint for Vivienne's room so that we could paint on Sunday and some wooden letters so that I could decorate them to hang up in her room.

On our way out to Hobby Lobby Drew and I were talking about this new little life that we would be meeting in just a day and a half.  I told him how I hoped that she would be a brunette like her Mama, a little Snow White. He talked about how he was just anxious to meet her and we both agreed how wonderful it was to be going into the experience this time better prepared and educated for the c-section process and how convenient it was to be able to pick a date and know when she was arriving.  For compulsive planners and organizers of time like the two of us, planning the birth date was perfect.

But like I said before, I prayed for a mini me.  And frankly... I can be impatient and I don't like to be told what to do and when.  And neither does our Vivi.

By the time we got home on Saturday I wasn't feeling too good.  I was feeling contractions, my back was throbbing and all I wanted to do was rest.  Drew played with Roslyn while I napped and tried to rest so that I could feel better and get back to my to-do list.  After my nap, we went and got Chinese takeout and had a nice dinner.  We bought a movie to watch on our TV and I fell asleep about 30 minutes into it, still having some contractions that I was guessing were every 10-15 minutes apart.  No big deal, right?
the last picture of me pregnant... contracting and all on Saturday late afternoon

At one in the morning I woke up and it felt like I might be leaking some fluid down below, but honestly, with the bag of tricks that your body pulls during pregnancy, you just never really know if it's your water or just another lovely perk of pregnancy.  So I went to the bathroom, checked things out and then went back down to the couch and fell asleep for another few hours, still contracting about every 10-15 minutes in my guesstimate.

At four in the morning I was up again, things still felt the same with the fluid and the contractions were still coming.  I did some googling online with phrases such as "Can you not know that your water broke?" and "early signs of labor" and from all my reading (thank you and lol!) I decided I should time these contractions.  So, I did what any iPhone obsessed user would do and got an app for that.  And I am glad I did!

After timing my contractions from 5am-6am in the morning I learned two things.  Apparently, I have no sense of time and that my contractions were coming in consistently every 4-6minutes!  I was also having some new symptoms that were leading me to believe that either my water had indeed broken, or was about to.  And let me tell you... the classic movie seen of a puddle of water on the floor... LIES!  At least in my case. ;)
hey!  There's an app for that! ;)

I went upstairs to where Drew was sleeping and told him that it was time to go to the hospital.  That I thought my water might be leaking and that I was contracting every 4-6 minutes.  And since I cannot do anything without a certain level of quirk or pop-culture reference, I used my favorite line from Juno exclaiming "Thundercats are go!"

We called my dad so that he could be with Roslyn while we went to the hospital and loaded up our hospital bags, Roslyn and some of her things and took her to Grandpa Whit's house.  Roslyn was confused and tired, but she was such a good little girl and brave and so ready for the craziness that was happening.

We dropped Roslyn off and headed out to the hospital.  When we got there, we got buzzed in and then taken off to OB triage where they hooked me up the monitors to monitor contractions, Vivienne's heartbeat, my blood pressure and more.  Try as we all might, we were unable to confirm whether or not my fluid was leaking and trust me, I went through the wringer trying to get that confirmation, but alas... we never got a definite answer on that one.  One thing that we did learn and learn quickly, was that my blood pressure was getting scary high and my contractions were consistent, regular and pretty intense.  I had Drew call my Mom to let her know that today might be the day.

We learned that my doctor, Dr. Ohanesian was on call for the day and were so happy to hear that.  When  he came in and I just looked at him and exclaimed "This is your fault, I told you we don't speak of this!" with a smile on my face... and we all laughed about how I had tracked my contractions via app.  He told me that he was going to have blood work done to check for pre-eclampsia and that we might not be going home today due to my blood pressure and contractions.

My blood was drawn, and we waited.  My triage nurse came in about 20-30 minutes later and told me that we were going to have our baby that day.  Drew and I were so glad to hear that... we didn't want to spend the next two days worrying about my contractions, my blood pressure, if my water was leaking or not and of course and most important of all, how Vivienne would do with two days of that stress!  I called my Mom and let her know that yes, today was going to be Vivienne's birthday and she told me that she and John would be on their way as soon as possible!
about to head into surgery

Everything was happening very quickly... last time we'd had practically a whole day of waiting to get to the OR and on this day it was boom, boom, boom... so fast!  They put in  my IV, took care of pre-op prep and within 45 minutes I was being rolled down the hallway towards the operating room to get my spinal anesthetic and ready for surgery.

After my spinal they brought Drew in and I think in my whole life with him, almost thirteen years, that that was the happiest I have ever been to see him.  The spinal made me feel very sick and Drew was, as he always is, my safe place.  My comfort, my rock, my love, my best friend and my constant partner in every adventure of life.  He just stroked my head and within minutes I was feeling calmer and better and they started surgery.

Within 10 minutes, they announced that Daddy could stand up and watch them deliver Vivienne, which he did.  At 11:33 am, we welcomed our beautiful little Vivienne to the world, surrounded by her Mama, Daddy, the amazing doctor who had ensured her health and safety and the amazing hospital staff that made us feel secure and safe the entire time that we were there.  They quickly whisked her to the warmer which was in my line of sight and I saw her and heard her cry for the first time.  She was gorgeous and sounded so beautiful in those first cries.  Tears started flowing as I watched Drew stroke her head while the doctor and nurses did their work on her.  They wrapped her up and Drew brought her over to me and she was pure, delicate perfection with beautiful brown hair.
Welcome Vivienne!

She was in one sight, the baby that I had dreamed and hoped for, my little girl who I carried within me and loved more than life itself and vowed to always care for.  At 8 pounds 6 ounces and twenty and a half inches long, she was the little one who kicked me all the time, hiccuped and rolled about for nine months of worry, pain and most importantly- magic, miracle and pure love.  I was home, I was happy, I was blessed and most importantly, I finally had the overwhelming calm and peace in the knowledge that I was finally complete.  I had been waiting for her my whole life and here she finally was.

They then had Drew take Vivienne to our birthing/recovery suite while they finished my surgery and closed me up.  Within 15-20 minutes of starting to close me up, I was in our birthing suite and staring at my amazing husband and holding my beautiful baby girl.  I called my mom and let her know that Vivienne was here, safe and sound in our arms and beautiful.  She told me that she was on her way and close and that we would see her soon.

I wish that I could adequately describe the feelings that I have felt holding her in my arms that first time and looking at her, but some things cannot be truly described, they are simply felt and known in the heart.  I was genuinely amazed, so in love and so grateful.  I was held breathless by her delicate beauty and astonished at what nine months of love and work can create within the human body.  I remember thinking to myself... "hello... there you are.  We've been waiting for you." and not meaning for nine months of waiting, but of mine and Drew's life together.  And like the Grinch in the classic story, I am pretty sure that my heart grew about 10 times in size in those moments.  Sometimes in life we get to experience the magical and those moments were pure magic.
holding my precious Vivienne for the 1st time

Roslyn got to come in later in the afternoon and meet her little sister.  The look on her face as she exclaimed "She is so cute!  Awwww!" was priceless and one that I will treasure forever.  She petted Vivi's head and read her story and fell right into place as the amazing big sister that I know that she is and will always be.
with my girls :)

family photo :)

Over the following couple of days before our discharge home we were visited by some of our closest family and friends and spent those days wrapped up in this little cocoon of a world where it was so new, so precious and just us.  Drew and I fell in love all over again and with our little girl and I felt complete, whole, and happier than I have ever felt in my life.
heading home!

We're so happy to be at home, adjusting to life as a family of four and doing well.  My recovery is going well.  I am up and about and get out of the house every day and am off of all pain killers other than over the counter strength advil.  Drew was able to take off all of last week to spend with us and it was like a dream come true vacation for us... we never wanted it to end.  It was one of the best weeks of my entire life.

Vivienne is a pure and true blessing.  The sweetest and snuggliest little thing that you have ever seen and is eating like a champ with no problems.  She averages 2-3 hour stretches of sleep and Drew and I are working together and finding out the best way to handle the late nights so that both of us can be as rested as possible.  She is a joy... and when I hold her, I know that this is what my life is supposed to be.  Loving and caring for my two little girls with the most amazing man by my side.

We are so grateful for the last nine months of the outpouring of love and support for our family as we waited for Vivienne.  There were so many times where the love and blessings from our family and friends got us through and kept us moving forward every step of the way.  Every one of you helped us to make this the magical and amazing miracle of an experience that this has been and we are so grateful.  I can't wait to share Vivi's life with all of you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

38 weeks :)

Your Baby in Week 38 of Pregnancy
Hey, your little one isn't so little anymore, weighing close to seven pounds and measuring 20 inches long. Fetal development is nearly complete as your baby tends to a few last-minute details like shedding the skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. He's also producing more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in his lungs from sticking to one another once he starts to breathe. Most of the changes this week are small but important: He’s continuing to add fat (so he can take advantage of all those photo ops by sporting a round, cute baby look!) and fine-tuning his brain and nervous system (so he can deal with all the stimulation that awaits him once he makes his entrance into the world).
Size of Baby: 20 or so inches long and around 7 pounds... gaining about 1/2 an ounce a day!
Total Weight Loss/Gain: -10 pounds
Maternity Clothes: This entire pregnancy I have only bought 2 pairs of maternity jeans, one maternity cardigan, 1 maternity tank top and a novelty maternity T... the rest has been stuff from clothes I've already had or regular clothes that fit well for pregnancy and can be used transitionally after delivery while I get back into my regular clothes full time.
Gender: sweet little girl- Vivienne!
Movement: still movin' lots!  Especially first thing in the morning, late afternoon and right around bed time.  When she's resting she still and sound asleep, but when she is awake, she wants you to know that she is there for sure with quick, firm kicks, bumps and punches. <3
Sleep: Doing alright with sleep since I get the opportunity to nap during the day and when Drew gets home.  He is awesome to take over once he gets home the way that he does.
What I Miss:  Not a darn thing... enjoying the moments as I experience them now.  For soon I will be missing parts of now. :)
What I'm Looking Forward To:  Seeing her face for the first time.  Seeing Drew hold her and that glimmer he will have in his eyes as he meets a new little love in his life.  Watching him fawn over her.  Introducing Roslyn to her little sister and watching her become a big sister.  Holding her close and breathing her in.  Taking those sweet little hands and feet into my hands and marveling over them.
Cravings: Pudding.  Random, I know! :-P
Symptoms: General soreness and a lot of pressure low in my pelvis, nausea, heartburn and headaches!  Oh boy! :-P

Well... another week closer to what we're calling Vivienne Day!  I can't believe we're so, so close!  it's exciting and making us anxious all at the same time.  Our doctor appointment was technically our pre-op appointment this week and everything is looking like we'll hold old out until the big day- but you know what happens when you count on or guarantee anything lol.  Plans can always change.  The doctor said that she was happy by her heartbeat and I am doing good... high blood pressure at first take, but it dropped after laying down on my side for a while.  I had the same issue when I was pregnant with Roslyn but it was definitely worse then than it is now.  I think going on the thyroid medicine and the weight loss that I have experienced as a result of that has helped.  

This week I got the hospital bags packed, we've taken my dad to Roslyn's school so he knows the pick-up process and the staff and her teacher know who he is and that he is helping us out.  We're hoping to get some last minute things done around the house this weekend and take a lot of time to relax and enjoy these last few days before we bring our precious little girl home.

It's funny how when you find out that you are pregnant that this time that we're in right now seems so very far away and then before you know it, here you are.  Days away from welcoming your little one to your world and you look back and wow- it all seemed to have blown by in the blink of an eye!

My plan is to pregnancy blog again next week before we go to the hospital, but if we can't... I just have to say that this has been an incredible adventure for us.  An adventure that I didn't know I'd get to have again and am so grateful for.  The support and the love we've received during these last 8 months has been truly amazing and cherished and we're so grateful for every single bit of it.  Sharing this with our family and friends who love us has made it that much more wonderful.  Thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts.