Monday, October 29, 2012

Micah's World Series Week

The end of Week 5 and beginning of Week 6 are beginning to prove a bit frustrating. Micah has become more fussy and is not sleeping as much as he probably should. I still can't get him to sleep in his bassinet either, which is also super frustrating. Luckily the sock problem seems to have been solved, as he got a gift from Sarah, Dave, Charlotte, & Porter of these little things called Sock-Ons! Genius!
Life savers!
Last week was full of love and fun for Micah. His Papa Jay came to stay with us Tuesday through Saturday and so Micah got lots of quality time with Papa who smothered him in love and kisses. My dad was very helpful doing dishes, cooking a couple dinners, treating us to take out Chinese (in true Strauss family fashion) and a happy hour out. He even helped upgrade us to a decent (ok, beyond decent) sized TV so we could watch the World Series and not have to guess what the score said (we are talking 18 inch to 55 inch screens!)! It was super nice to be able to watch our San Fransisco Giants in another World Series and I'm thankful that I got to watch with my dad. Micah is a lucky kid! I had to wait 27 years before the Giants won a World Series and my dad had to wait 50+ years before they won one! Micah seems to be good luck for the team! It was an awesome series and we are still celebrating the sweep!
Micah thinks his Papa is pretty cool!

Thanks to Dad, i got a bit of uninterrupted sleep at the start of each night!

Micah is still smiling about the Giants win!

We also took Micah to his first Halloween party over the weekend. He seemed to enjoy it for the most part, but he did get fussy on and off. He looked super cute in his (oversized) pumpkin costume. Fussiness included, he is certainly our little Pumpkin and we love love love him!
Our little Pumpkin

With Shane & Ella

We can still smile through the crying...most of the time anyways!

Happy Halloween and Yea Giants!!!
Now if I can just figure out how to heal these muscles near my incision....

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Whole Month Already!

It's so hard to believe that Phil & I have been parents for a whole month already! I know they say that it all flies by so quickly and they grow up so fast, but I never realized the truth to the cliches before now. It truly feels as though I have blinked and one day I was in the hospital and the next we are celebrating Micah's first month birthday (and yes, I know, the days and years to come will go by even faster and he will be 21 before we know it). This month has been so wonderful as we have this new blessing and addition to our lives, we have gotten to be surrounded by family and good friends who have been nothing but helpful, and we are challenging ourselves as a couple. Phil was Super Nurse and Super Dad in the first two weeks that he took off from work. Not to say that he hasn't continued in those roles (he has), but now that he is back to work we have begun to realize the give and take/push and pull of parenting. We are making it just fine and realize that these early stages of parenting will make our relationship stronger, yet we definitely have begun to see how easy it is to let parenting slowly let the relationship fade since it is so easy to both feel like you are the one doing more work (bringing home the bacon at a job or at home changing diapers and feeding all day). As we try to figure out exactly why Micah is crying each time or as someone forgets to grab the extra diaper or the blanket, we are determined to remain helpful and respectful of each other. Our friends Krista and Peter (parents of a 10 month old) have warned us that anything you say to each other after 9:30pm does not count and must be erased from memory the next morning. We are starting to see why!

Life with Micah is still nice. I am adjusting to the slower pace of life still, but have started to wear Micah around the house in the Baby Katan (basically it's an easier version of the Moby wrap...which is basically a sling) while doing chores and using the computer, etc. Today I managed to make dinner while wearing him!

Micah at One Month:
  • Micah is definitely getting bigger already! At his one month doctors appointment he measured 22 inches long (90th percentile!) and is already 10 lbs 6 oz (75th percentile!). I knew he was eating well, but didn't know he was doing that well!
  • Micah still does not have a set schedule of any kind. I am on his schedule and that's ok at this age. In a month or two we will attempt some sleep training, but for now I am happily at his every whim. He had been sleeping two to two and a half hours at a time and has gotten up to three and a half hours at a time, however last night it seemed like he only slept for an hour and a half at a time and just wanted to eat, eat, eat (probably another growth spurt). 
  • He loves his "animal friends", as I call them. They are lovely thick black and white flash cards. We have the wild animal cards and now we also have the sea creature cards (thanks to Auntie Beth who saw how much Micah loves these cards!). He lays there on his changing table and just coos and squeals at them and seems to already carry on whole conversations. The cards are nice because they keep him calm and entertained and they are mobile so I've stuffed a couple in the diaper bag and placed a few in the bassinet.
  • Shame on us, but he is still mostly "cosleeping" with us very carefully in the bed. Yes, we understand that it is not recommended, but we hear lots of people do it regardless and we are being very careful. Micah just will not sleep as long in the bassinet and it is extremely difficult to get him to even go in there.
  • While he fights being swaddled, the swaddles do help him sleep for longer periods of time.
  • Micah smiles more, but it still does not seem to be reaction to us or to anything interesting yet.
  • In just the last few days he lets us enter into staring contests with him. It's so sweet to stare into each other's eyes, but he is not yet following if we move away.
  • He's finally had his first bath! While I was pretty nervous about it (I know...silly me!), I ended up  loving bathtime and can't wait to do it again.
  • We've started doing "tummy time" with him so that he can practice strengthening his neck muscles. At first he didn't like it, but it seems to be growing on him. 
  • Our current challenge is that none of his hats seem to fit quiet right and I can't get his socks to stay on (he moves his little legs and feet so much that he ends up kicking them right off!).
  • He has been on many adventures this month as previously documented (breweries, restaurants, grocery store, and this week was his first pumpkin patch!)
Micah talking to his "animal friends"
There's a smile!
1st bath time!
Lots of car rides already!

On his activity mat after doing some tummy time

Haha! 1st Pumpkin Patch!

One happy family!
What a difference a year makes! 2011: Krista just pregnant & me joking about being preggo with a pumpkin under my shirt. 2012: Krista and Isaac (10 months old!) and Me and Micah (one month!).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Micah's Brewery Tour at Three Weeks and more...

Last week was our last full week of visitors for a while. Jen stayed with us Monday and Tuesday. On Monday we made an epic trip to Ikea with Micah. I say epic because it took us 6 hours! Why 6 hours, you ask? Because I had to feed Micah twice, change him twice, they had free lunch in their cafe if you spent over $100, and we had to also have our free soft serve for joining Ikea Family Membership. Micah did really well for most of the trip, but he started to get fussy a bit before the warehouse section and so there I was holding him and pushing the empty stroller while Jen tried to manage our loaded shopping cart of smaller items and the flat cart of our two bookshelves at the same time. It was a very difficult task for Jen and I'm sure we looked quiet ridiculous, but we got the job done. Loading the car home was even more ridiculous and humorous as I didn't really account for the fact that we now have to factor in the car seat and stroller to all shopping trips. Needless to say, we did manage to fit everything in the Suburu, even though the car seat was probably a little askew and the stroller almost prevented Jen from shifting gears! After such an eventful Monday, we took it easy on Tuesday at home before she had to go to the airport. It was wonderful to have Jen with us as she was very helpful. She was a rock-star at burping Micah (I am still working on it...not my strong suit as a mom yet).

I was a bit nervous to be on my own for the first time since Phil went back to work last week, but it turns out I still didn't really have to be alone for long periods of time. Gramma Susan came to help out and hang out with Micah on Wednesday and Friday, and Krista and Isaac joined us on Thursday. Isaac was very entertaining as usual, crawling around, almost walking, trying to get to every dangerous looking item in our house (like uncovered electrical outlets), protecting his face from Charlie (who loved licking him!), and even trying to touch Micah. Krista was so nice and brought over bagels and even cooked a yummy quinoa, tofu, veggie mix meal for us! I am appreciative of her company and especially for all her good mommy advice.
Micah's first play date with Isaac!

Krista cookin up some yumminess while Micah sleeps

Finally, on Friday night, my brother and sister-in-law came from Denver to meet Micah. It was so sweet seeing them as Auntie Beth and Uncle Ben. I've never been able to picture my little annoying brother as a dad, but after seeing him hold Micah, I have no doubts that Ben will make an amazing dad (whenever they go down that pressure!). They were really awesome house guests and totally spoiled us. Ben took out our trash/recycle/compost, picked up Charlie's poop, and did the dishes, while Beth cooked us three gourmet meals a day! I wish I had taken a picture of each meal that Beth cooked as each dish looked almost as good as they tasted. We were treated to pancakes, cinnamon pull apart bread, and nutella pumpkin bread for breakfasts. We were spoiled with a yummy asian peanut sauce pasta with butternut squash potstickers, meatballs and a spicy pasta, butternut squash burgers with a rice veggie salad, and more! She even made homemade chocolate chip cookies with a chewy consistency that I've never managed. The most amazing part was that she made all of these amazing meals on top of our outings each day! Phil needed a break from working (and from working on the house), so we did what most crazy parents do with three week old babies, go on a brewery tour! On Saturday we went to the Georgetown Brewery and the Fremont Brewery and on Sunday we fit in Pike's Brewery since we took Auntie Beth to Pike's Market and downtown since it was her first time visiting us here in Seattle! Needless to say, we super appreciate all that Ben and Beth did during their stay. I just hope they will come back soon, since getting peed on and projectile spit up on don't really encourage return trips soon.

Uncle Ben with Micah

Ben, Phil, and the babies

Nice to get along with my brother now and even nicer to have him as Micah's Uncle

Beth in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

Had to put Micah in his Denver shirt for Auntie Beth & Uncle Ben. Also, isn't this hat sooo adorable!? Thanks Skyler's mom!

We meet again wheat beer. Yes, that is me feeding Micah at the brewery with a beer in my hand!

Yes, this is Beth feeding Ben beer with Micah in hand at Georgetown Brewery

Cute Auntie & Uncle. Like the t-shirt Beth made for Ben?!
Micah's first trip to Pike's Market. Here he is in the wrap Phil is wearing
So, baby jeans are the cutest, right!?

This is a common sight in our household. Micah on "my breast friend" pillow feeding or sleeping & me on the IPad.
Micah at Three Weeks:
  • He is getting so strong so soon! His head doesn't flail as much (he is already holding it up a lot), his arms and feet push off against our bodies with force, and he looks as if rolling over is not too far away already! 
  • He is beginning to make cute little babbling noises, which leads us to believe he is going to be a talker (as if his parents weren't enough indication!). 
  • It has completely surprised me, but Micah already has begun wanting his Mommy! A few times already, he has become extremely upset only to be consoled by being in my arms. It made sense when he did this after being in his car seat, but I felt sad when Phil had him and he stopped crying as soon as he was in my arms (and both times he immediately fell asleep). I know he will learn to love his daddy, but I wish it would happen soon!
  • He loves his black and white animal cards that I put up next to his changing table. He loves to stare and stare at them. We hate to pick him up after diaper changes since he is so entranced! Sometimes I've seen Phil just standing there watching Micah watching the animal cards. It's so cute!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Micah at Two Weeks!

Two weeks old and Micah has gotten to meet lots of important people in his life.
Meeting Anna, one of Mommy's besties!

Cousins Julien & Mark visit too

Nana Joyce stayed longer than Papa and took the first shift at night watching Micah

Uncle Andrew

Aunt Cassie

The Vrbas/Thomson fam

Uncle Alan

Auntie Jen
Stephanie visited all the way from Montana!

Uncle Mikey stopped by for a peek too
He also got to meet Mommy & Daddy's friends Krista, Peter, & Isaac; cousin Johanne, & neighbor Cricket!

His outings so far (that he mostly slept through) include:
  • the OB's office (circumcision time)
  • the Pediatricians office 3 times! (normal first visit & then 2 extra visits to check up on his poor little wee wee that was inflamed after the circ. That was scary!)
  • Almost daily walks in our neighborhood
  • Trip to Pioneer Coffee on Alki
  • Car ride so Mommy and Daddy could run a couple errands  
  • Trip to the chiropractor's so Mommy could get her massage and adjustment
  • Dinner at Jak's Grill (a whole dinner with no fussing!)

Since Phil took the last two weeks off to help out with Micah (and to lift things since I'm supposed to take it easy and recover from this C Section), he was able to do a lot of work on the house. Phil taped & mudded, textured, and painted the whole living room! When our brother-in-law, Andrew, was in town, the two guys put up a temporary fence so that I can let Charlie out without dealing with the leash and trying to finagle baby, dog, and my incision at the same time. So far it is working out great and Charlie loves his new found freedom. At first he didn't know what to do and just sat by the back door, but now he has found the highest spot in the yard and looks like a lion overlooking his pride and the entire savannah. Speaking of Charlie, he has been the best "big brother" to Micah! He gently sniffs him and licks his feet (if we let him) and is very protective already. If Micah cries and we don't attend to him instantly, Charlie lets us know with a little bark.
painted and with such an awesome entertainment center ;-)

the new fence

Protective brother Charlie and Micah share Dad's lap!

Charlie on the ramp by the back door not knowing what to do

Paint on the ear...small casualty of painting the living room

Jen & Phil helped me put up the super cute alphabet cards that were made at my Seattle shower

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Story of Micah's Birth

I went to another OB appointment a week ago Thursday afternoon and they decided to induce me by breaking my water the following day. Phil and I woke up at about 4:30am on Friday, September 21st and took the strangest car ride of my life to Swedish Hospital on First Hill for a 6am induction. I was excited and nervous and imagined myself being as close to "preparing for battle" as I will ever get. We arrived to check in at the triage station and the nurses were a buzz from the night before. They said perhaps the weather is changing or something because the night before was crazy busy. Thus, we had to wait for a birthing suite for over two hours. They put me on the monitors, which showed that I was having contractions every two or three minutes (but I could barely even feel them) and the baby's heart rate was fine.

Not long after we arrived at the birthing suite, the doctor arrived and broke my bag of waters. I was amazed at how instantly I started feeling contractions and how quickly they became intense. At first I was able to just walk around the room and do lunges through contractions with only a bit of intensified breathing. But, I swear those contractions tried to kick my butt as soon as possible. I quickly was looking for another way to combat them. The nurse offered to fill up the tub for me and I figured that the time was as good as any (we were told in our six week birthing class that being in the tub or shower is the best way to lower the pain of contractions). I wanted the water cold though since every time a contraction hit, it felt like I had entered a sauna inferno. I couldn't quiet think of much else besides the pain and how on earth I would get through it. I was praying that the whole experience would be quick like both of my mom's labors (five hours total with me and less than an hour with my brother). I started getting annoyed that people describe contractions as coming in waves. When I think of waves, I think of how soothing the sound of them are and how calming the ocean is. These contractions were no calming soothing waves. They were more like getting hit by a train full force or being pounded by one of those hammers at the fair that try to knock out the cute little gophers that pop up, only I was the gophers and those damn contractions were in charge of that heavy duty hammer.  Finally in the tub, things became a little more routine. At least at that point I was understanding the nature of the beast a bit more and wasn't so completely surprised each time I got hit. During our classes when they taught us breathing techniques and had us think about what ways we might try to relax during contractions (haha), I had figured that I would kick each contraction in the butt by getting really vulgar and use profanity and yelling to get through them. I didn't think I would be the woman to physically hurt or yell at my partner, but I also thought there was that possibility. The way labor was described to us was that women truly become animalistic and completely not themselves during the process. Back in the tub, I began to think about those drugs. Yes, I had planned to do the whole thing heroically and naturally and was going to try not to even think about drugs, but seriously? If I got hit by a train or by some super hammer...would I not let doctors give me medicine or wouldn't I at least take some aspirin or something? So why would this situation be any different? I get a headache and I take something for it. I get an upset stomach and I take something for it. But, I get pounded by a 200 pound dumbbell of a contraction and I'm going to grin and bear it? I think not. Lucky for my self-righteous self though, before I could even begin to discuss drugs with the nurse, she got me out of the tub to check my cervix. When I had come in I had been at about 3 and a half to 4 cm dilated. When the nurse checked me, I was at about a 7 or 8 and that was only after about an hour or hour and a half of labor. I was so surprised that I figured wow...maybe I don't need drugs to get all the way to 10 (I wasn't thinking yet about the whole pushing process). So, back in the tub I went. The inferno kept getting hotter and hotter with each contraction, yet in between contractions, I felt like I had entered an industrial freezer and my body was shivering uncontrollably. I remember being concerned for Phil since he looked really uncomfortable kneeling next to the tub and I figured his comfort level could be adjusted as opposed to mine that was out of our control. Phil was a great encouragement telling me that I was doing good and the nurse was a great coach telling me to breath out the pain. I think that is what kept me going. I took that nurse so literally doing my best to capture all the pain of that contraction and squeeze it out my lips with all the force my lungs could muster up. I also began counting the seconds trying not to think of it in terms of a full minute or more.

Finally, after about ten more minutes back in the tub, things got real, real fast. Our nurse (who's name is Leia and who was absolutely amazing and wonderful and probably does not get paid her worth), instructed me to quickly move back to the bed to check me again. I'm not really sure all of the details from here on out since I guess I was pretty out of it and because everything happened so quickly. When I got to the bed, Leia said I was already at about 9cm, so I was thinking sweet! I can definitely do this! That's when she pressed the big button on the bedside saying urgently, "Page the doctor. Code blue" or something like that. Whatever she said led to about four other nurses or specialists instantly flooding the room. If people were rain, the room became quiet an intense thunder shower. At some point in the ensuing chaos, I believe someone let us know that the baby's heart rate had dropped. I remember Leia telling me not to worry, that there was still the possibility to do this thing naturally, but they were taking me to an OR just in case. Funny that I really thought that was still a possibility seeing that  even I noticed that the hoard of people wheeling me were going so quickly that the bed kept running into walls on the way there. They already had an oxygen mask on me and all of a sudden Phil entered my vision wearing scrubs! At that point I realized that I was going to have a C-Section. I hadn't even read any of the sections of my books on C-Sections or listened during that part of our class since I figured there was no way that would happen to me (I was going to have a quick easy labor just like my mom...remember?!). They started prepping me for surgery. I felt some kind of saranwrap like stuff being laid out on my lower belly and that's when I remember getting really nervous and asking the swarm of doctors and nurses if they were going to put me out. Finally I felt a funny tickling sensation come through the oxygen mask and I remember feeling relief more than anything else. I didn't have to deal with contractions anymore. I wasn't going to have to push. I wouldn't feel pain anymore.

When I woke up, I was back in the birthing suite. I could see Phil holding the baby and knew that everything was ok just like I thought it would be. I think they let me hold Micah at that point, but I was still foggy from the anesthesia. I couldn't understand why my jaw was sore and I couldn't clear my throat. I couldn't feel much of anything down by the incision and didn't really care that they did such a great job at stitching me up again so that I can wear a bikini again. I was shaking, shivering, and convulsing uncontrollably. At this point, Phil and Nurse Leia tried to take my bra off because it was still wet from the tub. Once they realized it had to go over my head, they decided just to cut it off me, and I remember both saying they would personally buy me a new one (although my memory is so fuzzy that I thought that whole process happened before the surgery and not after!). What a dumb little thing at such a crucial time, but that is clearer to me than anything else from the surrounding couple of hours. Aside from my convulsing body, I felt a sense of peace that our son was living outside of my uterus and that Phil was a dad! It took me a day or two to really realize that I am a mom now.

Phil says those few minutes that he was asked to step out of the OR were the scariest minutes of his life. He says he didn't know if his wife and son would live. I can't imagine being in his place during those moments. I can imagine his fear being right on par with the intensity of my last contractions. He said that someone finally opened the door for him to hear the wonderful and healthy sounds of Micah crying. When he entered the room he was still nervous about me since there I was intubated, eyelids taped shut, splayed out on the operating table. The doctor later said that they still have no idea why Micah's heart rate dropped. She said it was the worst looking tape for the best looking baby. He really did look amazing!

We've both been recovering nicely and getting to know each other. They had said that we would be in the hospital for three days, but I was doing so good they let us go Sunday afternoon instead of Monday. We are figuring out the feeding thing, the diaper changing thing, and the whole sleep routine (or lack there of). We've been to the OB's office for Micah's circumcision and the pediatrician's twice. Yesterday we started daily walks in the neighborhood again, which is so perfect since I am very close to getting cabin fever already with this whole staying home to recover from surgery thing.

So far, I am amazed at how natural it feels to be parents. Phil and I are so happy to have Micah in our lives. He is such a wonderful baby. I have learned so much already from this whole process. Here is a short list of some of my learnings:
  • Getting an IV doesn't actually hurt
  • Having a catheter is not as gross or painful as expected
  • The nursing staff at Swedish Hospital First Hill is blue ribbon quality
  • Go with the flow/roll with the punches/a change will do you good are all great cliches motto's to live by
  • Our parents make really wonderful Grandparents
  • Phil is the most amazing, caring, supportive, helpful husband. It is so cliche, but I truly am loving him more and more every day. I am beyond thankful for him.
  • I like being a mom so far: blow outs, spit ups, crying fits, sleep deprivation, and all
Thanks for sticking around for my longest post ever! If nothing else it was very cathartic for me, so thanks again!

Micah Howard Vrbas. Born Sept. 21st at 11:50am. 8 lbs 13 oz. 20 3/4 inches

Proud Daddy

Proud Mommy

Going home from the hospital day! Micah in the bag that Micah's Auntie Jen made!
Proud and excited Nana and Papa

Proud and excited Gramma