Monday, June 27, 2011


 Here she is!  I never even knew about getting these kind of newborn pictures - until it was too late to do it with Tristan, so I was uber excited to have Cambria molded and posed to get shots like these.  There will be many more to come, but this is what the fabulous photographer has edited so far.
 She was awake for a little while, then once her tummy was finally topped off, she slept through hours of this, and then a few more hours afterward.  We are certainly enjoying her around here!

In other news, Tristan had another modeling gig today.  I had to take all four children - ugh of ughs, but we survived, and it's that much more money to fatten his college account.  Kyler had his first modeling session while I was still in the hospital.  My mom went with him and found it all to be very interesting.  Speaking of my mom, we were sure sad to see her go, and we all wished we had planned for her to be here another week, but alas changing the return flight would have cost as much as the original round-trip ticket.  People here in the church have been very generous with meals, which we sure appreciate.  Dean is back to work as well after his ten days of baby leave (which included weekends).  

We will miss such perks when he's a civilian again.  Yes, he finally told his command that he intends to be finished with the army after we leave Korea next June.  He had just been accepted to do a residency in internal medicine, compliments of the army, but ultimately decided that's not what he wants to do.   Now we have a year to figure out what in the world we'll do, and where in the U.S. we'll do it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Imagine My Surprise

 A few weeks ago at church Dean walked into the primary room after meetings were over with my Uncle Louis - imagine that in Korea!  They've been serving a mission in Russia and have to leave every 90 days in order to maintain a visa there.  They knew that they were supposed to meet up with someone in Seoul when they came, but couldn't remember for the life of them who it was.  It was us, and Dean recognized Uncle Louis in Priesthood meeting and we were delighted to have visitors.  They came home with us and had lunch and played games.  We always love company.  I was about 39 weeks pregnant at that point, so the next time they come we'll have a three-month young baby to show them!
 Hunter worked on a project for some time in his gifted class at school, and we were able to attend his presentation of it.  He studied and reported on the cultures of the U.S., Cuba and the Dominican Republic.  He did very well, except for covering his face when he saw me pull out the camera : )
 I need to cut Kyler's shaggy hair before he does this style again!
 We worked out the timing very well with my mom's visit.  It's been a great help to have her around with Miss Cambria and the boys!
The boys are all enthralled with our sweet baby and constantly ask to hold her.
She is still one hungry girl, and I'm still not making enough to satisfy her, though I finally "let down" my milk today, which she gulped.  She gets too cozy and falls asleep when nursing, so 'round and 'round we go.
We are all so excited to finally have a girl around here.
She is definitely a keeper!  Even though she is a big newborn, she still seems tiny.  She's not chubby; she was 21.5 inches long at birth, and was down to 8lb14oz four days after she was born.  She is now one week old. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Well It Was Bound to Happen

and it Finally Did...

My mom came as scheduled on Friday night.  Dean and the big boys took the subway to the airport in Seoul to pick her up.  She came when I was 40 weeks this time so we didn't have another near miss like with Tristan (she came at 39 weeks and flew out two days after he was born at nearly 41 weeks).  Dean was stressed out as usual wondering when Cambria would show.  A fabulous doula here suggested I start taking evening primrose oil orally and vaginally to potentially speed things along, as my cervix was "high and closed" on Friday at the 40 week appointment.  I started with two orally and two elsewhere.  I put three in on Monday night at bedtime, and woke to painful contractions at about 2:00am, with the contractions coming from right there..  It took me a while to realize that they were the real deal, as I would drift off to sleep, then be woken again.  I had been having braxton hicks contractions for months, but they were nothing like these.  I filled the bathtub with water to try to relieve the pain, but it didn't much help.
Cambria Rose Lavallee was quite purple for a while.
That's when I realized it was time to wake my darling husband, whom I had woken the night before at about the same time, for a different reason.  He had been talking in his sleep the previous night, and I was afraid he was having a nightmare.  He wasn't, but was never able to go back to sleep so he was really exhausted Monday night and had taken some Benadryl to help him sleep through the night - ha ha, right on cue for having a baby.  I told him what was up and he jumped right out of bed.  We finished packing and got to the hospital quickly, with me vomiting some.  We went through the emergency entrance and I sat right down in a wheel chair.  I think the tires must have been flat - or maybe just my huge-ness weighed it down; it didn't move very well.  The triage guy walked us all the way up to the WICU.  He motioned a big belly to the staff in the ER - sometimes makeshift sign language is the easiest with the language barrier around here in Korea.
I was so sleepy I dozed off a lot between contractions, even though they were only 1-2 minutes apart.  I was too exhausted to hold her much at first, though she did try nursing right away.
Of course the contractions were monstrously painful by then, and the nurse in the WICU "checked" me right away.  I was still "high and closed," she reported - as my water broke on her hand.  She said that they would probably admit me since that happened.  There was certainly no question in our minds about whether or not it was time, even if she was skeptical  Within an hour I was dilated to a 10!  I begged and begged for an epidural as soon as we had gotten to the WICU, but they had to call the anesthesia person in, and she took her sweet time.  I was very grateful for epidurals with the first three.
June 14, 2011, 5:41am; Cambria weighed 9lb 5oz
The OB was super nice, and asked if I wanted to push then.  She also had to be called in, but got there quickly.  I said "no way", not until I could get some kind of pain relief.  There wasn't really time for an epidural, so when the anesthetist finally got there she did a spinal.  It helped a little bit - not much.  I had never made so much noise, for sure, as it hurt like the devil as always.  Once the spinal had been in long enough to take effect (about 10 minutes), Dean started prodding me to push, because it would wear off in 90 minutes.  I didn't want to - pushing is the worst part, and I've always been a lousy pusher.  But it hurt so bad that pushing like crazy was what my body wanted to do.
She is a happy baby
I had always had an epidural, which does take away the pain and some of the urge to push, so this was a new experience, and I was afraid of the pain of actually feeling Baby come out.  I only pushed a couple of times and out she came.  I screamed my head off because it hurt so bad - burning like I was on fire.  I learned later that that was the ring of fire that I had missed out on before.  I was awfully disappointed to have torn for the first time on baby #4.  My doula friend said later that if Baby doesn't crown first, then tearing happens, which is exactly what happened.  Dean said #3's head would come out a bit, then go back in, over and over.  He said the OB pulled on this one's head and neck once they were out, and I know I pushed some more to get her going because I wanted her out and the pain to stop.  Then it was all over.  It's always amazing to me how the body knows to stop hurting. Tragically, the batteries in our camera were dead, so Hubby took these pictures with his iPhone, and I wasn't able to get one of him shedding tears of joy after the birth, as he has with each of the children.  It always melts my heart.

The only other request we made was that the placenta be left alone until it stopped pulsing.  I have only recently learned about that (from Mamabirth).  So it was only a few minutes, then they had Dean cut the cord as usual.  I had never seen the placenta, so Dr. Cundiff showed it and the sac to me.  Interesting!  Dean said the placenta was by far the smallest he has ever seen - because the blood was allowed to drain into Cambria.  She weighed 9lb 5oz, and I'm sure a little of that is due to that extra blood.

Her little face had a bit of bruising, and her right eye has a bit of blood on the sclera (white of the eye), from "birth trauma", which will probably take a few weeks to clear up.  She is a delightful baby so far and we are ever so blessed and happy to welcome her to the family.  Her breathing was a little too fast for their taste, so they ended up keeping her an extra day and a half to see if she had early pneumonia or something along those lines.  There was no such thing, so they attributed it her just still adjusting to life...

It was actually peaceful to stay there a bit longer rather than face the loud crowd at home.  When the boys came to visit right after dinner one evening, Hunter got right in the nurse's face and told her he was hungry.  Kyler kept trying to get the TV to work - it didn't.  They both complained about being bored and galloped around the room like bulls in a china closet.  Tristan was bewildered without me being at home in the mornings, and spent the whole time trying to climb into my lap when I was holding Cambria, or running out of the room, or getting into everything in the room...  They quickly wore out their welcome.

She didn't think much of her first bath.

We are all home now.  The doctor had me bring her back in this afternoon to check her breathing again.  She has done great latching on, but as usual my milk supply is slow, so we've had to give her formula so she isn't so sad and hungry.  My milk seems to be slowly making an appearance.  One thing that kind of weirded me out is that they have young male soldiers as the nursing assistants, in the delivery room or immediately after - attending to the baby's and new mother's every need.  Oh, dear.  This guy above is super duper nice and loves the babies and is very complimentary and congratulatory, but it still weirds me out to have to ask them for personal items or when they check the fundus or ask very personal questions as part of their job.  Ah, well, whaddya do?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shoe Dummy

I love this adorable little swim suit on the Trist-man.  The pool has opened here and the boys are loving it!  Kyler has been asking ever since it closed after Labor Day last year when it would open again.  He has no concept of yesterday/today/tomorrow, much less "in eight months".
Tristan loves to play what I call "shoe dummy".  When he wants to go somewhere, he spends the day bringing me whatever shoes he can find.  If I'm dumb enough to put them on him, he soon has them off and wants me to put them back on...  He sometimes likes to help dress himself when he finds random baby clothes around.
 I've had the pottery piece on the right since Emily, my college freshman roommate, gave it to me for Christmas way back then.  I finally decided to take a picture of it and lay it to rest.  Note all the breaks and repairs.  I replaced it with the piece on the left, but will miss this one and the thoughtfulness behind it.
Tristan continues to enjoy experimenting with makeup.  His favorites are still mascara and lipstick.  I decided to take the bull by the horns on Monday (Memorial Day) and try the one-day potty-training method since Dean took the big boys fishing with Dr. Yun (a Korean civilian vet at work).  Alas, as the book details, the trainee must be cooperative, and this guy isn't exactly.  So it didn't go well.  We are doing what the book says to help him become cooperative, and are seeing some improvement, and are still dabbling with the potty.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks we can get at it again.

I'm due in a week!  We shall see what happens.  

We put Hunter and Kyler into the same bedroom again, as we decided that there's no reason for them to be-foul two rooms in the house.  So Tristan is in his own room, which means he doesn't get woken up early every morning by BoyWhoGoesToSchool, so it's working out great already.  

And, a tip for the interested:  I dabbed a bit of castor oil on Tristan's chest and forehead bruises, but not the one on his back.  All the bruises had a little hard nodule in the center (except the one on his forehead).  Dean said it was probably calcification as the blood is (slowly) resorbed.  All those bruises (minus the forehead one) came from him finally tumbling a few steps down our hardwood spiral stairs some time ago (love this army housing).  Well, the ones on his chest began healing finally and are now gone (along with the forehead one, which has been replaced by a new one - it never ends with hemophilia boy), but not the one on his back.  Amazing.  I love non-drug treatments! If castor oil isn't on the shelf at the drug store, it's sometimes behind the counter, and is not costly.