Sunday, August 23, 2015

::{ Summertime }::

Last blog update for a while, but at least I'm caught up on the last two months!

Here are some random adventures we've had that we wanted to share.

For many months now, Ainsley has become my favorite sous chef.  She loves helping me cook, and Steve finally got his turn with our little helper earlier this week when he felt like being domestic.  He had a hankering for cookies, so he busted out two batches.  Ainsley helped with the first: oatmeal chocolate chip, and then Steve made sugar cookies after the munchkins were in bed.

I can personally attest to the fact that Steve is a fantastic baker.  The end product was ridiculously delicious.  In a random twist of events - yet one more way in which Team Adams isn't your conventional family - Steve is the better baker and I'm the better griller.  
Go figure.

We spent yesterday morning in Gahanna so that Steve and Bug could go paddle-boating.  It wasn't a huge operation, so it was perfect for Bug, but they had fun on the water and AJ ended up figuring out how to steer the boat and had a lot of fun with Steve.  Beck and I stayed on dry land and captured the watery adventures of the other half of Team Adams.

This is near the end when she was a pro at steering the paddle boat.  Steve would tell her which way to push or pull, and they figured out a pretty good system.  He was the muscle and she was the rudder.

Wandering on the paths next to Creek Side in Gahanna.  This was such a pretty place.  I'm pretty sure we'll head back and do some more exploring later on now that we know about it.

She wanted help for the first round of climbing across the huge boulders, but then she ventured off on her own...

This picture is a pretty accurate summary of Ainsley Jane.

Showing me all the cool sights along the way.

Of course, we had to end up at a fountain at the end of our paddle-boating adventure.  Funny how she didn't get wet, or even desire to splash in the water on the paddle boat, but couldn't keep away from the fountain when we stopped for a snack.

Our favorite little firecracker.

The highlight of her day was swinging over the fountains with daddy.  These two have a pretty special bond and I think Steve has been a bit nervous that his relationship with Beck won't be the same since it won't have the same foundation of 3 years of one-on-one weekend adventures like he's experienced with Ainsley.  I tell him not to fret.  He makes family a priority and I know Beck will have just as much fun with him on their adventures, and have just as strong a relationship with him as Ainsley has.  

I knew Steve was a great catch when we started dating, but seeing him as a dad has taken things to an entirely different level.
He is the greatest.

::{ Keeping it Together: Life with Two Kids }::

Life with two kids is exciting.  That's the catch-all term to cover the entire chaotic experience.  Three or more must be completely crazy, but two definitely takes parenting to a new level.  I knew, even with Ainsley being as energetic, curious, and spunky as she is, having one kid was a piece of cake.  Adding another baby has been difficult at times, but also pretty manageable with the help we've had in place.

The best part is seeing how much AJ loves her little bro.  She runs in when she gets home from preschool and checks in on baby Beckham.  We sometimes have to remind her to be gentle with him, but she does pretty well most of the time.

She's learning to be patient with Beckham, and she's doing much better when he cries.  In the beginning she would freak out and cover her ears whenever he started crying, but now she's figuring out how to help him calm down.

One week old.  His motto at this point is "life is better in a straight jacket."
We're so grateful for swaddlers.

This is Bug's latest thing.  She does it with newspapers, but more commonly she'll do the same thing with the loads of artwork that she brings home from school.  She is pretty meticulous with how she arranges the pieces of paper, and it's really fun hearing her explain why she does what she does.  

So yeah, life with two kids means that our house is generally a mess.  If Bug is entertained, we're happy to let her artwork decorate every square inch of our townhouse.

A rare glimpse of nap time sans swaddler.   I think we used the blanket as a swaddler, but he escaped.

Oh that little face - it's the best thing ever when he stares up at me while I feed him.  Conversations are pretty one-sided these days, but that will change all too quickly so I'm soaking it up his smallness while I can.

I can't help but laugh when I see this picture.  He HATES tummy time.  I'm really surprised Steve captured Beck on his tummy in this picture because he rolls over the first chance he gets.  Yup.  He started rolling over at two weeks old.  I mentioned how strong Beck is in an earlier post, but Steve and I were blown away when he started rolling over as soon as he did, and he does it consistently to avoid spending time on his tummy.  We have ridiculously strong kids, and if they don't like something, they find a way to change it.


Another thing that I really like about Bug at this age is her blossoming independence (a two-edged sword).  She wants to get herself dressed these days, and I'm usually impressed with the outfits she puts together.  These fairy wings and chiffon skirt generally show up in one way or another.  She's never been a fan of headbands, but that is slowly starting to change.  She can keep one on her head for about two minutes, which is basically forever in AJ's world.

She really likes helping us give Beck a bath.  AJ loved them, Beck hates them.  We learned very quickly that our kids are very different.  I'm excited to see more similarities and differences as they continue to grow up.

Here is Beck's one-month picture.  He seems huge to me here.  I should have included multiple photos showing the sequence of him sitting upright, in the process of falling, then finally face-planting onto the elephant and waiting for us to save him.

My favorite picture of Beck to date.  This captures so much of his personality as we've seen glimpses of it - alert and expressive, yet calm and content at the same time.  How I love this kid!

::{ Newborn Cuteness }::

I had no idea how much work went into a newborn photo shoot, but boy oh boy, I love how these photographs turned out.  We selected Felecia Williams as our photographer at the recommendation of another favorite photographer, Ashley Terry.  Long story short - we spent nearly 4.5 hours in Felecia's studio as she carefully posed and photographed Beckham, let me nurse him, clean up explosions (notice how there's no diaper in most of these?  Yup.  He went to town multiple times, but Felecia was totally understanding and professional - she calls this stuff her "occupational hazards.").  

Here are some of our favorite shots from our session with Felecia (

Six days old

Team Adams in 2015

This is probably my favorite photograph of the whole bunch - my two little loves

I love that she caught him with his eyes open...a rare sight in those first few days

I mentioned his skin tag in an earlier post, but here it is in more detail.  I had no idea what skin tags were before he showed up, but apparently they're pretty common.  He'll see a surgeon when he's six months old and at that point we'll decide when to set the surgery date to remove the extra skin.  He may hate us for getting rid of them, but at least we kept some photographic evidence so we can tell him when he's older that he's really an elf.  =)

And there you have it - a smattering of photographs documenting the cuteness of our recent addition.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

::{ Keeping it Real: Musings on the C-Section }::

As you probably guessed from the title of this post, the following is all about welcoming little Beckham Grant into the world....via c-section.

This post requires some back story, and I'm writing it mostly for my own sake, though I HIGHLY doubt I'm going to forget most of these details.  I remember my labor and delivery with Bug like it was yesterday, and that was 3.5 years ago...

The backstory:

Here's what happened in the two to three weeks leading up to Beckham's birth.  As a diabetic, my OB/GYN's office basically became my home away from home.  I had to head into the office twice a week for non-stress tests (NST's) to make sure the baby was doing fine.  I had to do that starting at 32 weeks, so I got to know the office staff pretty well by the end of a pregnancy.  One of the things these tests monitor is the baby's movement and corresponding spike in heart rate.  It was always clear from the 30 minutes I spent strapped to the monitor that I had a baby on the move.  Beckham was going to town doing flip flops and somersaults, even at 38 weeks.  Unfortunately, this also meant that he ended up breech much of the time.  This didn't become a problem until I reached week 37, then the doctor got worried.  He told me that if the baby was breech at this point, there was little I could do to get the baby to turn.  If the baby wasn't head-down....that's when the c-section entered the game plan.  The frustrating thing is that the baby would be breech one day, then head-down the next.  No joke.  He moved that much up until the very end, which really surprised my doc.  He suggested at one point that I try an external version procedure where they try and physically move the baby into the head-down position from the outside to allow for a vaginal delivery and avoid surgery, but I didn't have them do that simply because this kid would have flipped again as soon as the procedure was done.  I was sitting in a hospital room waiting for an ultrasound because three hours earlier, the baby was head down.  By the time they got me in a room and hooked up for the ultrasound, the baby had already flipped again and was back in the breech position.  For crying out loud!


I have never wanted a c-section.  They've always freaked me out, and having experienced one now, I can say that I was freaked out for good reason.  C-sections are brutal.  Not the procedure itself, but the recovery.  BRU-TAL.  Some women opt for a c-section to avoid a long, drawn-out labor, but having experienced both - I much prefer the long, drawn-out, I would even say miserable labor (been there, done that - it still beats a c/s recovery).  I don't think people realize that a c-section is a major surgery since they happen so frequently, but I have never taken that for granted, and I was less than thrilled to find out that I would be sliced open in order to have a baby.  I think the most frustrating part was the constant back-and-forth that Beckham's gymnastics caused.  One day I was scheduled for an induction (standard diabetic protocol - induction at 39 weeks), then I was scheduled for a c-section, then after that was planned, I even had a couple hours after an office visit where my doc thought we could get into the hospital for a quick induction because he had flipped once again, and we wanted to avoid surgery.  But alas, a c-section was performed, and Beckham arrived happy and healthy.

Arrival at the hospital at 0530 to get checked in for surgery.

Steve sporting a lovely get-up for the procedure.  He totally got the better end of the deal than I did.  Plus, he had a much better view, too.  =)

And away we go!  This is after I had been in the O.R. waiting area for a couple hours because they hook you up to an I.V. to pump you full of liquid, they shear you - yes, they really do, then they ship you off to the O.R. where the anesthesiologist works his magic with the spinal (different, and much better than an epidural, imho) before the actual procedure begins.

Since OSU is a research and teaching hospital, tons of people are involved in the process.  While I was in the waiting area, Steve and I tried to keep a tally of how many people came into our room and said something like, "Hi.  I'm so-and-so.  I'm a _______ (insert med-student, resident, or doctor here), and I'll be participating in your procedure today."  By the end of all the introductions, I think we figured there would be about 20 people in the operating room.  What can I say?  It was a party.  As you see from above, this was some serious business with everyone gowned up and ready to go.

The whole procedure is just really weird.  They strap your arms out to your sides, you can't see anything going on, you feel pressure once they cut you open, and then all of the sudden, you hear a baby crying.  I didn't know it was a boy until I heard my doctor say, "He's a little guy.  No wait, he's a big guy!"  And then I knew.  I wasn't really emotional when Ainsley was born, meaning, I didn't cry when she showed up.  I did, however, get a bit teary-eyed with Beckham, which I honestly think was a release from all the stress of the couple weeks leading up to his birth until his arrival.  I was very excited that we had a boy, and I was so grateful that the procedure went well.  I can't remember how long the whole thing took from the time they cut me open to the time they stitched me up, but Beckham was out within the first five minutes, and then it was probably about 35 minutes after that to finish the procedure.

The little guy-turned-big guy comment proved to be true when they weighed him.  He tipped the scales at nine pounds!  He's a healthy one.  He came with two skin tags - one on each ear, which will require surgery down to the road once he's a bit older - and after passing all his tests the docs handed him over.

The proud papa!

Meeting Beckham was a bit surreal since I was behind a drape when he arrived, but they got him into my arms quicker than I was expecting.  He is seriously the most beautiful baby I've ever seen, with the most expressive eyes.  That hasn't changed in the five weeks he's been with us, but I could already see it from day one.

The newest member of Team Adams.  This picture cracks me up - does Steve look like a doctor to anyone else, or is it just me?

I looked forward to this particular moment for a long time.  I couldn't wait to see Ainsley's reaction to her new sibling when she came to visit us in the hospital.  She claimed for months that she was going to have a little sister (whom she named "James" - weird), but she was pretty taken with Beckham even though "he" wasn't a "she".  Ainsley still calls him her baby "sister," which is becoming more and more amusing to her friends and her teachers.  Poor Beckham..."sister" is beginning to stick...

Aside from Steve, these two are my everything.  He's got the top spot, but these two munchkins are right up there with him.

Lots of kisses those first couple hours and days.

I would say that I've forgotten how much newborns sleep, but I haven't.  It's not that I didn't remember, it's just that I didn't experience it the first time around.  Ainsley has been a little bundle of energy from day one, so much so that I've been worried by how much Beckham sleeps.  I think I was using Ainsley as a barometer - she didn't sleep nearly as much as Beckham does - which may mean that we've gotten the typical "calm second child."  KNOCK ON WOOD!!!  He is just as strong as Ainsley (both kiddos have surprised our pediatrician by how strong they are at 3 days old), but he is already proving to be much calmer and more subdued than she was.

Since the Buckeyes won the national football championship in January, every baby born in 2015 receives this lovely blanket with the logo, "born a champion."  True story.  GO BUCKS!  I'm not going to lie, this was one of the things Steve has been most excited about since we won the championship and we found out what the hospital was doing.

Me and Sarah, my very favorite nurse.  She was with me my first two nights post-surgery, and she was heaven-sent.  Strict, but kind.  You have to move as soon as possible after surgery (as soon as the feeling comes back to your legs they want you up and about to avoid complications) and she was so helpful in motivating and helping me to get around.  Nurses can be really amazing, and Sarah is off the charts.

More sibling bonding.

Welcome to the world little one.

The after shot.  I spent four days in the hospital (Friday to Monday), and we were equal parts nervous and excited to get home.  I craved the comforts of home, but I also recognized that hospital living is easy breezy compared to getting home and having to do everything on your own.  That is amplified when you throw in the c-section part.  A normal vaginal delivery equals a couple days of aches and pains and soreness, but a c/s extends that into weeks.

I'm including this picture because it's a personal reminder to me of my recovery.  Again, I haven't gotten into half of it here - I can't.  I thought I would write everything down, but I can't bring myself to do it.  Parts of it were really, really hard and I don't want to delve into it at the moment, but this picture brings it all back for me.  My mom set me up on the couch (I couldn't do stairs for a few weeks) so I lived on the couch in the front room and had my own little pharmacy set up in the bookshelf.  My world was very, very small for three weeks.

Things are getting better each day, but I'd be lying to you if I said that I felt back to normal.  I'll never feel "normal" if that means feeling how I felt on July 16.  My normal has now changed.  Yes, I can walk up stairs now, but it took me two weeks  Yes, I can finally sneeze without being scared for my life, but that didn't happen until about four days ago.  I stopped every sneeze that tried to come as if my life depended on stopping it.  Yes, the constipation from heavy-duty pain meds subsides, though it's a painful process getting your insides working properly again.  Yes, I can laugh, though it is still a bit uncomfortable.  Even last week I had to beg Steve to stop making me laugh because it pulled the abdominal muscles at my incision and was still painful.  Yes, I won't always have to wear an abdominal binder to feel like my organs and muscles will remain on the inside rather than feeling like they will spill outside.  Haven't reached that stage yet, but I know it's around the corner.  All of these things will get better as time goes on - I know that - but I also know that I carry a scar across my lower abdomen that will never fully fade.  I'll come to terms with my new normal, but my scar will always remind me of an experiences that was painful, hard, highly stressful and even scary, but in the end, life-giving.

*Disclaimer: I am only speaking to my own experience with this post. Some women have great experiences with c-sections, others do not.  Some have it worse than I did, like those women who experience a c-section after a long, grueling labor, sometimes ending in an emergency c-section.  My experience was compounded by a case of mastitis, which landed me back in the hospital two weeks after I had Beckham and before I felt better or somewhat healed from my surgery.  Even though these are two different episodes entirely, they blend together in one big, not-so-pleasant experience.  A different story for a different time perhaps.