Sunday, October 31, 2010


I am absolutely smitten with these little ones.  The older one makes me smile every day with her cheerful and full-of-life personality and her constant chatter.  She may not always be obedient but she is quite happy and excited about life.  Her personality is contagious.

The little one is heaven-sent.  I don't ever want to put this snuggle bunny down.  And he knows it.  He protests quite strongly when I do.  He has such a calm presence about him.  Something tells me he will be the peacemaker of our family.

Can't help but want at least two or three more of these.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Carsten's Birth Story

I am not sure what it is, but us mothers always want to know the details of each others' births.  Maybe it can be compared to military veterans sharing their battle tales or returned missionaries sharing their mission stories.  I think it is because all of these things become a part of who we are and say something about our character.  Carsten's birth was an experience I will cherish forever.  And for those who want to know the details, I won't disappoint. This is the "unabridged" version of his birth.


Preface:  We had decided about two months ago that I was going to do this birth naturally.  Not that I am against epidurals - In fact, there was about 15 minutes during my labor this time where I was begging for one.  However, I do believe birth is a natural process and that our bodies know what they should be doing.   I heard recovery was so much easier after a natural birth (and as my recovery with Elisabeth was quite difficult, this was appealing.)  But, most importantly something inside of me felt it was the right thing to do.  We have had so many medical interventions getting pregnant, having a natural birth was my way of reclaiming something we lost at conception.

We signed up for a 6 week Hynobabies class and spent time everyday preparing for Carsten to arrive by practicing relaxation, meditation, and positive affirmations.  You use a series of CDs that have tracks with relaxation music and a person speaking with a soothing voice along with scripts that Lance would read to me while I listened to music.  I will post more details about this childbirth program later.  I do have to say I know that it was because of the techniques I learned in this class I was able to have a natural birth. 

Wed., Oct. 6th - Pre-labor.  I had contractions on and off all day.  Sometimes they were close - like 7 minutes and other times they were a vast 20 minutes apart.  None of them were painful.  Lance stayed home from work and we spent the day with Elisabeth making rice krispy treats, baking brownies, taking walks and going to the park.   My contractions had slowed down so much that I encouraged Lance to attend a work dinner in Newport Beach that night.

I went to bed at 11 p.m., listening to one of my Hypnobabies CD's through the night.  I woke up about once an hour to a sharp contraction and then would go back to sleep.

Thursday, Oct. 7th - 2:00 a.m.  Woke up to really intense contractions that were close together.  After about 30 minutes of trying to cope with them on my own, I decided I needed Lance to wake up to help me.  We started timing them and they were 3 minutes apart and lasted 1 - 1 1/2 minutes long.

3:30 a.m. - I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible because I was most comfortable there.  However, Lance started to feel that it was "time" for us to go to the hospital since the contractions were so close together.  After making the necessary calls to our "middle of the night" sitter, our doula (my good friend Becky a.k.a. my surrogate mom) and the doctor, we were off to the hospital.   (Dr. K's words to Lance when he called "You need to come to the hospital.  NOW." )  I listened to a Hypnobabies track on the way to the hospital and I felt very relaxed and at peace. 

4:15 a.m. - We checked into the hospital.  We spent about 45 minutes in L&D triage where they had me change, go to the bathroom and then monitored my contractions and the baby's heart rate.  I was already dilated to 7 cm.  Whoohoo!  I continued to listen to one of my Hypnobabies track the whole time and found it invaluable to helping me stayed relaxed.  I don't remember feeling a lot of pain - just pressure.

5:00 a.m. - I was moved to our Labor and Delivery suite.  No sooner did I arrive than I started to enter transition.  Because the nurse wanted to monitor me closely, I had to stay close to the bed. This was NOT helpful as I couldn't get comfortable. My contractions were right on top of each other, without a break in between.  My state of relaxation quickly dissolved as I couldn't find a comfortable position to labor in.  (Not to mention the nurse kept pressing on my belly during every contraction.  Once again, NOT helpful.)

The point of no return:  I am embarrassed to admit that I completely lost it for about 15 minutes during my transition - I begged, cried, and pleaded with Lance to let me get the epidural.  I kept saying "I know you are disappointed in me but I really need it."  Both Lance and Becky kept trying to get me to relax and kept reminding me that since I was feeling I couldn't do it anymore, the baby was almost here.  The nurse offered to check to see how far along I was and then let us decide what we wanted to do.  She checked - and I was at 10 cm already.  The point of no return.  I started to sob, remembering Elisabeth's birth and how long I had to push with her.  And the nurse sweetly told me "Kristi, you are just going to have to use your techniques you have learned to get through this."  I prayed.  Really hard.  And then, knowing the only way was forward, I started to focus on using the Hypnobabies techniques again and could feel myself relaxing again.

Moving forward:  The time table for the rest of the birth is hazy.  My water finally broke a few minutes later and then my body just started to voluntarily push and my contractions slowed down.  This was the neatest experience for me - when I had Elisabeth, I was told when and how to push and pushing lasted for about 1 1/2 hours.  This time, I only focused on what Lance was saying to me as he read the Hypnobabies script, and I pushed the way my body told me to.  And I continually prayed.  Five or six contractions later, my little guy barreled into the world.

And then the pressure disappeared.  And my perfect little boy was there, crying his little heart out. I had done it.  And surprisingly, it felt wonderful - empowering.  The doctors and nurses were  impressed with his birth and they kept telling us so.  I don't remember much of what they said.  I just remember holding my wailing infant in my arms, free of pain, and feeling like he was a gift from heaven.

Epilogue:  As I tried to fall asleep the day Carsten was born, I was just overwhelmed with his whole birth and couldn't stop replaying it in my head.  I couldn't wait to write down my feelings.  Elisabeth's birth was a miracle but it was not one I wanted to repeat anytime soon.  It was long and exhausting.  Carsten's was so different.

Was a natural birth painful?  During transition I would have to honestly say YES.  Oh, YES.  Carsten came so quickly I didn't ever have time to adapt to the hospital environment or get into my deep relaxation "zone" I had practiced at home.  Would I do it again?  YES, YES, YES, YES, YES.  I don't think I will ever have an epidural again. 

I can't justify my feelings with words but the having Carsten naturally was one of the most amazing, spiritual experiences I have ever had in my life.  Being at a brink where I felt like I couldn't do it anymore and then overcoming that, working with my body to birth a child, and then having the instant relief of pain being replaced by pure joy with the new infant.    Priceless.  Something about the experience is empowering and made me feel closer to our Savior.  I couldn't have done it without Him. Nor could I have done it without Lance's calming demeanor, encouraging me along the whole time.  Nor could I have done it without Becky's helpful hand, doing whatever she could to support us.

Life is good.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! - Illustrated version

Carsten John - How can you not love this face?

Dr. Kaminskas, Kristi and Carsten (center).  Dr. Kaminskas kept telling us she was so "proud" and gave us all hugs.
Elisabeth's first words out of her mouth when she met Carsten were "I want to hold him!!!"
Carsten's going home outfit.  Notice the smocking :-)
Carsten is so long and wiry - quite different than his sister was!
 Head-to-toe shot
Mama and the rest of the family were so happy to see baby Carsten!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

After a relatively short period of active labor and about an hour in the delivery room, we were happy to welcome a new baby boy into the world this morning!

I'll post pictures after I get home tonight, but in the meantime, here are the specs:

Name: Carsten John
Birthdate & time: October 7, 2010, 6:08 a.m.
Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz.
Height: 20 inches

Mama, baby, and the rest of the family are doing great! It was heartwarming to see Elisabeth give baby Carsten a big hug this morning.
- Lance

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Waiting for the best things. . .

Love, love, love this picture.
One of the reasons I became interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a teenager was the religion's focus on the family.  Mainly, that families could be together forever.  What an amazing concept - to spend eternity with those that you love.

We were able to be there to witness when Lance's brother, Chris, started his forever family with my new SIL, Wendy, in the Salt Lake City Temple in August.  And it was beautiful.  And touching.  And exciting.  All at the same time.

We love Christopher.  It could be because he is so generous and selfless and cool and we spend more time with him than any of Lance's siblings.  Yet that isn't why he is pretty special to our family.

The happy couple with most of the nieces and nephews.

Lance and Chris
When we were struggling to get pregnant and have children, I felt like there was an unsaid connection and understanding between Chris and us.  He wasn't married.  We didn't have kids.  In a religion like ours that focuses so much on family, this is heartbreaking.  There are constant reminders everywhere that we either didn't have a spouse in which to share life or children in which to find joy.   Whenever we were together with Lance's growing, huge family, there was always a reminder that everyone was progressing forward in life without us - We still remained childless for 6 years while multiple babies were born and Chris still remained alone, while slowly everyone got married.  We never really talked about it (how awkward would that be to discuss my innermost feelings with my brother-in-law?  Maybe almost as awkward as me posting them here - publiclyLet me apologize publicly - Sorry, Chris.), but I always felt in my heart that Chris understood what we were going through in a way no one else could.

After we had Elisabeth, there was nothing more that I wanted than for Chris to find his special someone.  I didn't want him to be the only one "left behind."

So, with many tears and much laughter, we were able to witness him being sealed to one of the most intelligent and kind women I have ever met.  We couldn't be happier for them and even saying that doesn't justify how we feel.

Priceless.  We have the temple marriage lesson down pat.  Now to work on modesty.
The best things do come to those who wait.   Even better for those who wait patiently (which is NOT me.  Still waiting for baby #2 to show up.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

All's Quiet on the Homefront

Spent the day walking around the mall and running various errands due to an unseasonal rain.

Made the following eclectic purchases:
- two Thanksgiving placemats from Pottery Barn kids
- a Cinderella nightgown for one of Elisabeth's Christmas presents
- a box of See's candy to surprise Lance at work
- a bone for Sofi
- a birthday card
- two hot dogs from Costco

Guess baby is now technically "overdue" though I am still pretty calm. He will come when he is ready to come.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rocking Her World

I went into Elisabeth's bedroom last night and crawled into bed with her.  I scratched her back while she slept and couldn't help but feel a little melancholy.  We are about to rock this little sweetheart's world.  She is going to go from being the beloved, only child who has her parents undivided attention to having to share every moment with an incredibly needy, yet sweet newborn brother.  And that is just the beginning.

Many times these past few weeks Lance and I have looked at each other and asked ourselves (while chuckling) "What were we thinking?"  Of course we want our son to be born into our family.  But. . . I am not sure we are ready to enter into the world of parenthood for those with multiple children.

Ready or not, change is immanent.   And to our credit, we have never been ones to have lofty expectations for the future.  We just kinda jump into things, head first, taking things as they come.

I just hope this little independent girl will weather the storm of change with grace.

And this mom can shake the feeling of guilt for shattering the only life her daughter has known.


Note:  As you probably already guessed, no baby yet.  I am going to try to do a post a day so if you notice a day goes by without a post you will know I am most likely at the hospital having a baby.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Nos and a Yes

No baby yet, for those who are diligently checking my blog to see what is going on.  Wait, is there anyone out there diligently checking my blog?  Maybe not.  I can only dream.

No baby name yet.  Two names are high in the running - Carsten and John.  Elisabeth is partial to Carsten.  Lance is partial to John.  And I am stuck somewhere in the middle.  Carsten was my great-grandpa who came over from Norway to the U.S.  It is a strong, good name that means "Follower of Christ" and has German roots.  And it is very unique.   John was my grandpa's name as well as one of Lance's greats, and has a lot of meaning to us because that is what Elisabeth named her son in the New Testament after waiting years and years for him to come.   Besides, who wouldn't want their son to aspire to be like John the Baptist?   So, we continue to debate and hope that our baby will come home with a name. 

Yes, I am pretty much ready.  My hospital bag was packed just tonight.  Elisabeth's clothes have been packed and sent over to her friend's house where she will stay and the dog has been bathed and her bedding washed so her caretakers won't regret offering to take her too much.  And I have baked enough zucchini bread that if I don't cook for a week or so, we can live off of that.

Ready or not, our little boy can come anytime now.  We look forward to meeting him!

 Me at 39 weeks, 5 days.  He is certainly a lot more compact than Elisabeth was.  However, my arms have definitely fattened up a bit - making me feel like a beached whale whenever I take Elisabeth to the pool or attend my bi-weekly water aerobics class.

38 weeks pregnant with Elisabeth