Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dawson's Cannon Entrance

All three of my guys are currently taking naps upstairs, so I'm finally getting a chance to tell the story of the newest one's epic arrival last week. For those of you interested in the juicy details, you are welcome to read the whole thing... and for those of you who just want the cliff notes version, if you stick to the phrases in Bold you'll get the gist of it ;)

So I started having contractions with this guy way back in July, so when doctors would ask if I'd had any yet, I would say yes, but they haven't amounted to anything. I had also been dilated at a 2 for the last two weeks. 

The due date of Sep 16th came and went and nothing happened until 1:30 AM on the morning of Wednesday the 18th, I woke up to contractions. I counted several strong contractions at 8 minutes apart. So I woke up Cam and said, "We're going to have a baby today." He asked jokingly how bad it was and if I could sleep through them (some of you may remember the flak he got for asking that last time). I told him no, but given the fact that when I felt this way with Wes he was still 19hours away... I resigned to waiting and finally fell back asleep exhausted sometime around 3:30AM.

At 5:00 AM Cam woke up throwing up. And I thought to myself... this is going to be an awesome day. Especially since Wes had started showing cold symptoms the night before. And now I've got a family of three all quite under the weather, which I was doubting would allow for a healthy and happy 4th member to join us that day. As Cam's digestive problems continued through the morning I called my mom at 6:30 and told her we were going to need some extra assistance that day. By 7 though Cam was feeling quite cleared of his ailment and decided he was well enough to go to work. He left at 8. 

Wes got up about the time that Cam left, and we tried to have a normal morning between contractions. We went walking around the block and stopped in to bug some friends, all the while I'm still having contractions about 8 minutes apart, that hurt, but not too bad. My mom made it to our house at about 9:30. 

My mom, Wes, and I went on a walk to the playroom a few blocks away. We stayed for about 45 minutes before my mom noticed my face turning red during each contraction (still every 8 minutes), so we walked back. By the end of the walk I was having to stop for contractions, so when we got home around 11:00 I called Cam and told him he better make it a half-day because we should head to the hospital in a couple hours. 

He came home and we had a leisurely lunch other than the fact that every 8 minutes I had to walk over to the wall and brace for a contraction. We came up with a plan that my mom would put Wes down for his nap while Cam and I would go to walk for another hour or so and then head to the hospital, when Wes got up my mom would take him to his friend Ross' house and then meet us there. 

It was a great plan, except that while my mom was upstairs putting Wes to bed, my contractions suddenly changed to being every 3 minutes, and were at the very edge of my coping level. So we skipped the walk and headed straight over to the hospital, still confident Wes had time for a nap.

We got to the hospital around 2pm and they checked me... and I was only at a 3. So they hooked me up to the monitor in an exam room to measure my contractions and left Cam and I alone in the room. We were there for half an hour and my contractions were getting harder and harder to deal with and I told Cam that I wanted my epidural. Like right then. He said of course and tried to be comforting. Over the next fifteen minutes my contractions piled up and I continued to insist it was time. Finally after a particularly large contraction the nurse ran in and said they needed to get me to a room. 

We waited for a contraction to pass and walked across the hall. All the while I'm insisting to everyone that they need to get my epidural right now. Like right now. They switched me to the delivery nurses who checked me after the next contraction, and I was at an 8 (less than 45 minutes later). The nurse who literally had not even had time to check my chart said "we may not have time for an epidural..." and I looked at her and said with all the sincerity of my being, "Oh, we have time for an epidural." And she said probably the smartest thing that she could have at that point which was nothing. 

Cam called my mom and told her to get over to the hospital (a 15 minute drive) so he's trying to be supportive while giving my mom directions. Wes was still asleep so she called my friend Stacey who worked out getting someone to watch him, and drove off.

On the next contraction the nurse used the help button and said, "We need a doctor in here right now!" and the on call doctor at the clinic across the street who had been walking over was called and told to run. They told me he was coming now and just a few pushes away. I worked on channeling my energy into some good productive yelling. As the nurse tried to get an IV in my water broke, so she had to start over and try again. I had two more contractions before the doctor ran in the door, and literally on the next contraction she delivered this guy at 3:10PM:

Who was wide awake and made a few squeaks, but was otherwise not too unhappy about the situation.  The doctor then introduced herself and said, "So do we have a boy or a girl here?" and the nurses didn't know either because none of them had had time to look at the charts yet. So we checked and he was in fact a boy. Then they asked if I wanted anything, like water. I said, "could I get like a tylenol or something?"

My mom got there a few minutes later. I suppose the one perk to having no medication whatsoever was that they let me get up to use the restroom only two hours later. Cam went to go get Wes so we could stage this awesome family photo:

Here is Mr. Dawson after his first bath. He has some pretty wild red hair and cute little sideburns. My doctor came in the next day and her first remark was, "So, I heard he came out like a cannon." Which sounded pretty accurate.

My tender mercy for the day: Dawson was only 6lbs 10oz. Look at this guy, not a single roll anywhere- just skin folds. He has the longest skinniest fingers I've ever seen on a newborn. Here he is at 5 days old! The white blanket is the one that Cam made for him, luckily he was further along this time so he didn't have to worry about racing to finish in the delivery room;)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Homemade Toddler Travel Toys

I just love a good alliteration, don't you? 

We've been back for a whole month now, and I remembered that I promised that I would do a post about the toys that were essential to our 4 cross country flights and 3 months with limited entertainment. I promised in part because I had several friends who have asked in preparation for their own travels. But the other reason I wanted to post these was that I did a TON of research before we left, and I was amazed at the things that people called "compact" and "inexpensive" i.e. a set of 8 bulky magnetic "travel legos" for 20 bucks. Not happenen' people. 

So I made up some tiny toys of my own.. and here I will share the ones that were worth their weight in case anyone else is ever in need of such a list. (I even made them pinterest friendly so you can remember them for later!) 

First up: The purse playmat. 

I've made a couple of these before as birthday presents for Wes' friends, and learned a few things before designing this one. The grass and road are just a light flannel appliqued. All the other pieces are felt. Wes likes to put the sheep in the convertible and pretend that he's driving. It folds up into sixths, so that the pockets to hold the car and pieces face in and nothing falls out. The folded out dimensions are 14x11, but if I were to do it again I'd make it a little shorter so that it fit better on an airplaine tray table. The ones on Virgin were only about 9inches, and he didn't like that it didn't all fit. 

Changeable Magnet Board
This one was inspired by magnetic boards I had as a kid. Actually, my mom still had them, and I snatched the cool dinosaur magnets and farm magnets from them. But to take up even less space, I bought this silver tray from the dollar store, printed off background pictures that would fit, and covered them in contact paper (I tried laminated but the magnets didn't stick as well). The sesame street magnets I made by attaching them to a magnetic sheet. The backgrounds didn't actually attach to the tray at all, once there was a magnet on them they didn't move, although I wish I had brought a manilla envelope or something to store them in.

Kitchen Puzzles
This is something we didn't do actually on the road, but we made quite a few for entertainment while we were on our trip. They are a great toy for when you actually don't have any toys around to play with. We would just find random things (generally in the kitchen, which is why Wes gave them the name) and I would trace them on a piece of cardstock to make a puzzle. Actually, from a group of objects I would make a couple different puzzles, each left out a few objects to make it tougher. I cut out the cardstock so that it would all fit in a ziplock bag and we could take it along places. 

Sewing Cards
Based on another toy I had as a kid that my mom made. To make it super simple I just cut out the front of greeting cards, laminated them, and punched holes around the outside. You could easily do other shapes as well. Wes wasn't into these so much at the beginning of the trip, but he was ready for them developmentally by our way home, and has used them quite a bit since.

Animal Cards

I was going to make some myself, but instead found this super-cute free printable at (you can go there for the high-quality download). She calls them memory cards, but we used them to play memory, go fish, and some other silly games Wes invented. I printed and laminated these and they were probably the highest entertainment to weight ratio of anything I brought.  

The non-homemade toys that were worth their weight:
  • A small spiral notebook- for coloring and making up stories about letters
  • Crayons
  • A stickerbook Grandma gave us. I thought he would blow through it too fast but she found one that had a ton of stickers and once he placed them all he could peel them off again and put them somewhere else.
  • I got a matchbox police car and firetruck that I gave him for the first time on our flight. Loved them.
  • Some tiny (half inch tall) farm animals that my mom had. We used them for playing pretend, counting, all sorts of things. 
  • A beach ball. 
  • Books- I had two books that take him a long time to get through (he has to find things, and do different things on each page) and he somehow didn't get tired of them. 
  • Oh yeah, and my ipod with some songs he liked, some episodes of Sesame Street and Elmo, and some fabulous apps. Well worth it's weight.