11 May 2014

Reflections on Mother's Day

Quite a while ago, my mom used to tell me she and Father used to stare at me when I was a baby. That's weird, I thought. Yet today, guess what I do when Sebastian is sleeping or learning something new or reading a book quietly to himself or watching the music leader wave her arms? I stare at him. I hear all the time from other moms about the love they have for their children, but I, like probably all, didn't understand it until I became one. But that's not what struck me this Mother's Day. The love that I feel for my sonthat...that is what my mom feels about me. 

Just look at her! I'm not sure why this had never dawned on me before, but my parents actually loved me. A lot. They did the things they did and said the things they said for a very good reasonthey wanted me to be as happy and successful as possible. I'm sure it was hard for her to accept that I never understood this about her. But she loved me anyway. 

04 May 2014

Welcome to the World, Sebastian

Before Baby Girl arrives, I wanted to make sure I documented Sebastian's birth story and highlights from his life so far.

On November 3, 2012, Curtis and I were gearing up for the birth of our first son. We decided to walk around the University Mall in Orem, Utah, for some pre-labor exercise. We didn't buy anything, but we had fun walking through some different shops, including the Yankee Candle store. We walked in at just the right time. The clerk said that he was doing one last giveaway for the day, gave us a number, and told us to wait about two minutes. He gave a number to another couple. Anyone that walked in the store before the drawing would get a number. Luckily, no one else walked in! Sure enough, our 50/50 chance favored us. We chose the classic Mandarin Cranberry and considered today a lucky day. I had to sit down a few times on the way to the car because I started feeling contractions and considered today even luckier.

We headed from the mall over to a wedding reception for one of Curtis's mission friends, the Ortons. Throughout the evening, I continued to feel contractions, but they weren't extremely painful or strong as I had imagined. We had some yummy pie to eat and chatted with some lovely people and departed. I threw up my pie as we were pulling out of the parking lot. I told Curtis my contractions were getting stronger, so we decided we should check out the dollar theater to see what was playing.

We bought tickets to late showing of The Bourne Legacy, and waited in the parking lot until it was time go inside. Curtis started timing my contractions so that we had an idea of when we might like to go to the hospital. Timing these things is not really an exact science. It was difficult to tell exactly when I should tell him to start timing, when it was over, etc. Since we concluded nothing, we went in to see the movie. We chose a good action movie to hopefully distract me from feeling a lot of pain. It didn't work out that way. I squeezed Curtis's arm, crossed and uncrossed my legs, got up to walk around, left to get a drink, left to go to the bathroom, and winced throughout most of the movie. I instructed Curtis to start timing my contractions in the middle of the movie theater. Consistent enough for me! By the time five minutes of the movie remained (It seemed more like the climax of the movie at the time, but had I realized how poorly the movie would have concluded, I would have endured the last five minutes. It would have been better with Matt Damon.), I told Curtis we probably ought to head to the hospital (and had to remind him that, no, it would not be fun to get pulled over on the way).

We arrived at Orem Community Hospital around 10:30 p.m. We were lead into a small room where nurses checked my cervix to see how dilated it was. Two measly centimeters?! We were in for a long night. They let me stay there for an hour to see if I progressed enough to admit me to the hospital. I called Mammaw to let her know what the situation was. If I didn't progress, we could go across the street to her condo to wait a few more hours. However, when they checked me at around 11:30, I was dilated to a whopping 3 centimeters! Admission.

The nurses at Orem Community were so lovely to work with. They knew just where and how to press on my knees to ease the pain of each contraction. They tried to teach Curtis, but let's face it: He needed more practice before it had any real effect. Good effort, though, Sweets. I got in the tub and ran water over my body. It felt good, but I was cramped. I decided to get an epidural sometime around 2 or 3 in the morning. If I had to wait out the whole night only to push in the morning, I would not have made it. I slept and drank all the cranberry juice my heart desired. Even though the epidural numbed my pain, I could feel my water break sometime in the middle of the night. The nurses said I was dilated to a 6.

At 8:30 in the morning, I was ready. A perfect 10! The nurses suggested that I let the baby "rest and descend," which meant that even though I was fully dilated, we would wait another hour or two to push. It turned out to be a great idea. I had more juice and we watched Fantastic Mr. Fox. What a bizarre movie.

We started pushing around 10 a.m. I could feel the tension in my abdomen with each contraction. The nurses were impressed that I felt like singing some mood music: Shostakovich Symphony No. 5. I guess moms-to-be don't normally sing during delivery. And thanks to yoga, happy baby pose worked like a charm. Sebastian Curtis Hale was born at 10:22 a.m., weighing in at 8 pounds and 14 ounces and measuring 20 1/2 inches. He had a full head of dark hair and feet too big to fit on the ink pad.

Sebastian's birth day
In all honesty, delivering Sebastian was fun for me. I know that I was extremely lucky to have a complication-free labor and delivery, but the whole experience was perfect and remains a beautiful memory.

My perfect boy is now eighteen months old, weighs 24 pounds, and goes to nursery like a pro. He has already had eight stitches, lived in three different states, flown on four planes, applied for his first passport, survived sixteen teeth eruptions, and learned 27 words (cat, dog, hot, more, bye, love, dad, all done, eat, banana, apple, cheese, milk, water, play, music movie, help, bubbles, poopy, open, outside, shoes, bath, toothbrush, please, thank you).

Sebastian's first passport photo
He loves riding his Strider bike, measuring ingredients for bread and pizza, brushing his teeth, running outside, throwing rocks into the creek, jumping off the couch, eating and sharing his apples, and playing horse and hide-and-seek with Dad. He is so, so sweet, takes long naps, loves to cuddle, smiles at anyone (except Uncle Will), rocks his little-man tweed blazer with elbow patches, gives open-mouth kisses, and sings "Ram Sam Sam" and "Popcorn Popping" with the all the right actions.

Happy 18 months, Sweet Boy. I'm so proud of you that it makes me cry sometimes! Your dad and I frequently look at each other, knowing we are so lucky to be your parents, and exclaim, "He's just so perfect!" You are going to be the sweetest big brother we've ever seen.