Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Letter to My Boys

You've changed so much in my eyes in the last month that at times, I can hardly believe you're the same boy.  But really, when I think about it, becoming a big brother has just magnified your best qualities and made me realize how much I appreciate those things about you.  Your sweet nature, your eagerness to help and your goofy personality add up to what can only be described as the best big brother there ever was.  

Don't get me've had your share of extra neediness and crankiness as we transition to a family of four, but when it comes to Bennett, you are over the moon about him, and watching you instantly fall in love with him is easily at the top of my "best moments of life" list.  It's like when you were born and I fell in love with Daddy all over again in a new way because I watched him become a father.  The same is true for you.  Watching you become a big brother made me fall in love with you all over again in a totally different way.

The first thing you do when you get up in the morning and get home from daycare in the afternoon is go looking for Bennett.  You smile at him with this look of pure adoration that I wish I could bottle up, and then come the kisses and hugs, always with a gentle touch.  When he cries, you ask, "What's wrong, Baby Bennett?" and suggest to me or Daddy that "he's prolly hungry" or "he prolly need his diaper changed."  In the car, you hold his hand, sing him songs you made up, and adjust the shade on his car seat so the sun's not in his eyes.

Speaking of sweetness, we just went to your daycare parent/teacher conference last week and your teachers gave you rave reviews for kindness, politeness and general skill level for your age.  You still need to work on standing up for yourself when you get upset, but if that was your one area of improvement, I'm impressed.

You've grown up so much, or perhaps it's just that you look SO grown up to me now that Bennett's here. You're tall enough to reach the strangely-high light switches in our house, and all your 3T shirts and pants are too small.  You now have no trouble putting clothes on by yourself, including your shoes, though you prefer for us to help you.  You've finally gotten strong enough to open and close our sliding glass back door, which you are VERY proud of, thank God, because the dogs always need to come in or out when I'm on the couch nursing Bennett.

Another pleasant side effect of Bennett's arrival (selfishly for me, anyway) is that you're more cuddly with me.  You've always been a Daddy's boy, but the older you got, my cuddles from you generally only came at night during bedtime routine.  Now, I get random snuggles all the time, some even with comments like, "You're my best friend, Mommy" or "I love you SO much."  I'm hoping it's a side effect that sticks around.  If not, I'm soaking up all I can get now.

I'm so, so proud of you, sweetie.  There are just no words.  And I can't wait to spend the whole summer with you!

I love you more, 

How is it that one month has gone by so quickly, and yet I feel as if I've always known you, like you were always a part of our family?  I wasn't prepared for how instantly and ferociously I'd love you.  How I could spend hours studying every detail of your face and still never tire of looking at you, or how you would feel familiar from the first moment because, "Oh yeah.  Of course it's you."  It's like you snatched up pieces of my heart before you were born and now they're yours forever.  I'd forgotten how that happens.  

In looks, you have almost all of Gavin's features, though your hair is dark, and your lips are all your own.  Still, I find myself looking at you and wondering how I gave birth to the same child twice.  You and Gavin look so much alike to me that I constantly have déjà vu, probably not helped by the fact that you're wearing mostly hand-me-downs from him.

Even so, I'm loving discovering who you are, including your quirks.  You love to be upside down.  Not all the way or anything, but when we're holding you, you constantly push back so your head is hanging over our arms.  You also don't really like being up on a shoulder.  Not to be burped, soothed, anything. You prefer laying down or facing out so you can see what's going on.  You do love to be swaddled at night, and will give us a good five-hour stretch of sleep because of it.  Unfortunately, that five-hour stretch usually starts at 8 or 9 o'clock, which means Daddy and I don't benefit from at least the first hour.

You're a voracious eater, and have been right from the start, which is why I affectionately call you "my little sharky."  When you get fussy because you're hungry, Gavin says, "You want to eat again, Baby Bennett?" and then says to me, "He eats all the time, Mommy!"  You're already 12 pounds at a month old and wearing three month clothing.  You don't appear to be slowing down any time soon.  But to be honest, I'm incredibly attached already to your full cheeks, double chin, and chubby thighs, so keep it up!

You've been very smiley right from the start, too, and I believe we're starting to get some real social smiles now instead of just gas.  Frankly, the glimpses I've gotten of your dimpled right cheek have me craving more sweet smiles from you.

You've been a little sneezy the last week and I'm hoping you're not getting your first cold.  With an older sibling though, I'm sure the first one isn't far off.  

I'm happy you're here and that you've fit so seamlessly into our family.  We are so, so blessed by you, little man.

I love you more, 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Watch Bennett Grow--One Month Old

Somebody clearly didn't want his one month picture taken today.  Sorry, son.  You're going to have to get used to this "camera in your face" thing.

Unofficial One Month stats:
Weight:  12 pounds
Length:  22 inches

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Watch Bennett Grow--Newborn Photo

I took these pictures right after we got home from the hospital and didn't get it downloaded/posted until now.  Keep an eye out every month for updated photos.

First Doctor Visit Stats:
8 lbs. 10 oz.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twelve Things I Forgot About Babies

1.  How annoyingly tiny their socks are in the laundry.

2.  Napping with a sleeping baby on your chest is the best sleep ever.

3.  They wake up at exactly the moment you put them down to go pee.

4.  Baby boys turn into fountains during diaper changes.

5.  They're noisy.  When they eat, when they sleep, when they poop.  Noisy.  All the time.

6.  Even the crappiest day can be righted when your baby smiles.

7.  They decide they need to eat just as dinner is placed on the table.

8.  They smell intoxicating.

9.  How tiny they are, even when they start out at nine pounds.

10.  Newborn diapers fit for about the first ten minutes of their lives (this may only apply to my monstrously large children).

11.  You go through an entire box of diapers in a few days.  DAYS!

12.  You can study every detail of their tiny features and still never tire of looking at them.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bennett's Birth Story--Part Two

If you haven't already, read Part One here.

After his surprise entrance, Bennett headed to the nursery with Ryan and one of the nurses so he could be weighed, cleaned up and evaluated.
The nurses rounded up to an even 9 pounds and measured him at 19.75 inches.  Big boy!
It seemed like it took forever to get me sewed up and ready to head to recovery.  The doctor had warned me it would take a bit longer this time because of scar tissue, but I watched the clock as almost an hour passed before I finally heard the doctor talking about placing sterie strips on my incision.  I knew it was almost time, and I reminded her I'd had an allergic reaction to the strips with my first c-section.  She and the nurses insisted they wouldn't be on long enough to cause a problem, and if they did, they'd remove them right away.
Wide awake, waiting for Mommy to come to the recovery room.
They finished up, and I headed to recovery where Bennett was more than ready to nurse.  He shook his head side to side, mouth agape like a little shark and latched on right away.  The one thing I was most worried about before delivery is that he wouldn't be as good of a nurser as Gavin, but he proved me wrong right away.  

We spent the next hour in recovery together before we headed to our hospital room, and by the time we got in and settled, it was almost 5 AM.  My mom came in to meet her new grandson and then headed home so we could try and get some sleep after being up all night.

We only got about two hours before excited visitors started showing up, ready to meet our newest little man.  I was most excited about seeing Gavin, and watching him meet his baby brother for the first time, but I was anxious about it, too.  We'd tried everything we knew to prepare him, but this was the real deal now and I wasn't sure how he'd react.  But I know my boy, and I should've known how over the moon he would be for his brother right from the start.  Deep down I think I always knew.
Gavin's first look at Bennett.  "Hi, Baby Doc!" he said.

"Can I hold him?"

My two boys.  Probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

What I wasn't prepared for was the giant boy who walked through that hospital door.  The smart, capable, walking, talking, joking boy who would never again look like a baby to me.  Ryan and I both cried like the big saps we are.  It was just too much seeing our two boys together after such a long wait, too much when we thought about how blessed we'll be to watch these boys love each other, fight with each other and hopefully, become the best of friends.

I also wasn't prepared for how terrified Gavin would be of me.  The IV, the hospital bed, the leg compression was all a little too much for him and he wouldn't come near me.  Broke my heart the tiniest bit, but I got my hugs and kisses soon enough after they unhooked me from all the machines and I could get up and out of bed.

We spent the rest of the day alternating between catnaps and entertaining visitors.  It didn't take long before I started getting a little itchy and wondering if I was having another reaction to the sterie strips.  By the next morning when my regular doctor came in to check on me, I already had a blistery reaction and she ordered the strips to be taken off immediately.  I was pissed, and wishing I'd been more adamant with the doctor on call.  Lesson learned!

Poor Bennett had a reaction, too to the eye ointment and ended up with red, swollen eyes his second day of life.  It also didn't take us long to notice he was becoming jaundiced.  No surprise to us considering it runs in Ryan's family and we'd experienced it with Gavin, too.
Poor baby!  Swollen red eyes and yellow skin.
By the third day, Bennett's jaundice levels had reached 14 and the pediatrician ordered him under light therapy, something we hadn't had to worry about with Gavin.  It was a miserably exhausting and emotional day.  My milk hadn't come in yet and Bennett was nursing every hour, desperate for something to eat.  He was only content to be in my arms, which made putting him under the light very difficult.  Even Ryan, my usually calm and collected hubby, ended up yelling at one of the nurses when she insisted our screaming newborn "just needed to get used to the machine."
Sucking on Daddy's finger while in the light therapy machine.

Lounging and napping, with feet up.
Thankfully, we were able to calm Bennett down enough to be in the machine most of the day, and used a portable device called a wallaby the rest of the time.  My milk came in that evening, and once his belly was full, he zonked out enough to sleep in the machine between feedings the rest of the night.  By the next morning, he was looking like a normal baby again and his level was down to an 11, which meant he was able to go home when we were discharged later that day.
Bennett in his coming home outfit, ready to go.

Bright-eyed and calm the whole car ride home.
I, however, am still healing from the reaction I had to the sterie strips.  Even after a major abdominal surgery, I ended up using more benadryl and other "anti-itch" medications than I did pain medication.  I did feel a little satisfaction though when I went in for a check up and saw the doctor who'd done the surgery.  She took one look at my rash and apologized profusely, saying "she itched for me."  My guess is she'll listen better to her patients in the future.

Even with all the pain and frustration (and itching), our new little man is indescribably awesome, and I couldn't be more in love.  I wasn't sure how there was going to be room in my heart for another child, but everyone was heart grew the instant I saw him.  It's like there was always a place there, just waiting to be filled up by him.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bennett's Birth Story--Part One

I'm a planner.  A pretty meticulous one, actually.  I like to know when and where things are happening and plan accordingly, which is why I was perfectly happy with a planned c-section for Bennett's birth.  But that boy had other plans!

With Gavin's birth, I've always felt like I got gipped.  I became preeclamptic during the final weeks of that pregnancy and because Gavin hadn't dropped into position, I didn't really have any other choice than to have a c-section.  No labor, no contractions, no water breaking...but also no story.

Early in this pregnancy, I'd talked with my doctor about a possible VBAC, and we scheduled the c-section only four days before my due date to make that more of a possibility.  But because of Bennett's size, and because he, like Gavin, hadn't dropped into position, I wasn't really planning on any other day besides March 28.  Sure...we packed, we nested, we prepared, but that day was the end date in my mind.

On Saturday the 24th, Ryan, Gavin and I spent the whole day running errands and taking care of last-minute to-dos before Bennett was born.  I felt funny all day long.  Not sick, not tired...just funny.  I even ended up staying in the car during a couple of the errands because I just didn't feel like myself.  I blamed it on pregnancy exhaustion, but I should have known then what was coming.

I went to bed around 10 and Ryan stayed up watching college basketball.  I tossed and turned (as much as you can actually "turn" when you're nine months pregnant), but couldn't get comfortable.  A little after 11, I felt what I thought was my water leaking.  I got up, used the restroom and convinced myself it was probably just wishful thinking.  I stepped into the living room and told Ryan I thought my water might be breaking.  As soon as he said, "What?!" in shock, I felt a gush that was definitely my water breaking.  And when I say gush, I mean the kind of gush you see happen to pregnant women in movies that never happens in real life.  

The next hour was a blur of phone calls and preparations before we left for the hospital.  I insisted on a shower and Ryan got everything in the car ready to go.  I joke now that it seemed like he was bouncing off the walls, completely thrown off kilter that I'd actually gone into labor instead of heading in for the planned c-section days later.

My parents arrived and we gave quick instructions to my stepdad about Gavin before Ryan, my mom and I headed to the hospital.  I had a few contractions about five minutes apart in the car on the way there.  My mom was concerned they were so close together, but I could tell they weren't painful enough to be doing much.  We got to the hospital a little after midnight and sure enough, I wasn't effaced at all and only dilated to "maybe a one" according to the nurse.  The doctor on call was the least VBAC-friendly doctor in the practice, and because my labor wasn't progressing and they won't give pitocin to a woman whose had a previous c-section, we opted to go forward with the surgery.
The last pregnancy photo before surgery.  Notice the fancy non-hospital gown.
I brought my own and the nurses said it was the first time they'd seen anyone do that.
While Ryan got suited up for the surgery, I walked into the operating room and got up onto the table myself.  The anesthesiologist put in the spinal block and I laid down on the table and slowly felt my bottom half go numb while the nurses prepped everything for the surgery.  The anesthesiologist gave me some medicine so I wouldn't feel sick from the anesthesia.  I thanked him immensely since I'd felt sick during my c-section with Gavin.

It seemed like forever before Ryan came into the room.  I remember thinking, "He's gonna miss it!" but the nurses called him in right before they started so he could sit next to my head during the surgery.  I told him multiple times to take TONS of pictures, and at 2:05 AM on March 25, I gave birth to our second son.
2:05 AM  Our boy is here!
Bennett Green Evans came out screaming, letting everyone know just how unhappy he was about his early morning birth.  I took one look at him and thought, "He looks just like Gavin...but with dark hair!"
Hi Mommy!  My first glimpse of our new little man peeking over the curtain.
Getting all cleaned off, and still screaming!
I cried and cried, and watched Ryan cut the cord, wishing I had the camera so I could take a picture.  The nurses swaddled him tight and brought him over so I could touch him.  They weren't planning to let me hold him, but the anesthesiologist assured them he hadn't given me anything that would make it unsafe.  I held him tight and kissed his screaming face, and he promptly grabbed onto my nose with his tiny little hand.

It sure wasn't how we planned it to happen, but I love that Bennett did things his way.  He chose his own birthday, and we got quite a story to tell.  I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy Birthday, Bennett Green!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Bennett Green Evans
Born March 25, 2012
2:05 am
9 lbs, 19.75 inches

Poor second child.  I'm posting his birth announcement a week late.  Today was his official due date though, so I guess that makes it a little better.  It's been a crazy, emotional and absolutely awesome week to say the least.  Birth story to come!