Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Your babies this week

I get weekly emails that update me on what my babies milestones might be. Bruce is and has always been a total textbook baby; meaning, he's a predictable baby, and fairly easy to handle. Does everything on cue, so there are few surprises and reaches all the milestones right on schedule.

So when I got this email, it was no surprise that this describes Bruce exactly:

Hello, Melissa!

Whining and screaming: If your 15-month-old has started sounding like a hyena or worse, you're experiencin
g his intense desire to interact with you. Children thrive on their parents' attention, and a toddler this age will do just about anything to get yours. When he gets loud or whiny, kneel down to your child's level and tell him you're listening. If he keeps it up, calmly say, "I can't understand you when you talk like that. Please use your normal voice and I'll be happy to listen to what you're saying." Eventually, he'll get the message.

This wouldn't be such a problem if I also didn't get this email:

Hello, Melissa!

Every baby has a unique temperament. Some are placid and agreeable, while others are more sensitive. One thing all babies have in common is that they communicate with you by crying. Sometime in the first month, you'll begin to hear another kind of sound. That's when most babies find their voices. When your baby is calm and alert, you may notice she says a little "ooh" or "aah" when she sees you or hears you approaching.

Awww, the joys of two. And the joy of not sleeping. I didn't realize how lucky I was with Bruce. He slept till 5am, in his own crib from day one. Rhyan will only sleep at night if she is on my chest and I am propped upright. I think she has major gas pain in the evening and this is the only soothing sleeping position for her.

Last Tuesday we had Dr. appointments for both kiddos and Bruce is 33 inches tall (90th percentile) and 25lbs (50th percentile.) He is also advanced in his speech for knowing about 8 - 10 words. Right now he is only expected to know 3 - 5. Rhyan gained her birth weight back plus a pound. She weighs 9 lbs 12 ounces.
We've had more visitors. Rhyan has now met ALL grandparents, more Aunts, Celia and Shelley and Uncle Steve and cousins Mariah and Jack.

Bruce has been too cute lately, checkout Kiel's facebook for hilarious video footage.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And we regress

Bruce is handling the birth of his baby sister as well as expected. Bruce says "baby" when ever he sees or hears Rhyan and tries to be gentle with her, but he is just too rough.

Lately I've noticed him take an interest in pacifiers, something he hasn't had since he was 6 months old. Last night he wanted to swing in this, after Rhyan had been in it.

My mom and George left this afternoon to go back home but took a family picture before they were on their way. We are so grateful for their help. George stayed with Kiel the entire time he was in surgery and waited for him to wake up. They cooked us meals, took care of Bruce and helped with Rhyan, did laundry, dishes and took montana on walks. Kiel's parents will be here soon to take their place.

I finally got the flowers I ordered on Etsy, they might be a little too big for right now ;)
Lisa stopped by for a visit before she went to Utah.Two babies is much better than one. I've been able to jump right in without experiencing the baby blues and stress that I did when I was a first time mother.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sneak Peek

Rhyan had her newborn shoot yesterday. It was quite hilarious actually. Our regular photographer doesn't do newborn shoots anymore because they take away too much time from her family and she recently had twin girls. I am not a good picture taker but I know how to create a scene, especially for skin care products (ps, those make much better models. They are so much more cooperative.) We turned the nursery into a studio and went at it for 5 hours.

My friend Katrina has an awesome camera and takes great photographs but this was the first time she did a newborn shoot. Rhyan was not the most cooperative baby but that's expected when you try and stuff them in a basket or water well or flower pot. We got pooped and pee'd on with in the first minutes of shooting.

But here are a couple sneak peeks:
And this is what I mean when I say she wasn't being cooperative: I hope at least one shot of Rhyan and me and Bruce turned out. I can't wait to see the rest!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rhyan Patrice Christensen

Warning: This is a long post but I included a lot of pictures for those that get bored easily. For an update on Kiel go to my previous post and read the update on the bottom. Okay on to the good stuff!

Meet our baby girl: Rhyan Patrice Christensen, born: 8/2/11 @ 7:59 a.m., 8lbs 13oz and 20 inches long

Kiel and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for my scheduled c-section at 7:30am. Yes, I got up early, took a shower, dried my hair and put on make up so I didn't look like I did last time in pictures.Kiel suited up in scrubs before we entered the operating room. Here I am waiting to get cut open. I was nervous but also very excited to meet our little girl. Kiel still held out hope that it was a little boy, but promised me he wouldn't be disappointed if it was a girl.
And we finally meet: This labor was so much different than my experience with Bruce. A planned c-section is so much easier than an emergency one. To my left there were cabinets with glass doors and we could see my reflection in them. I didn't look until they told me they were ready to pull Rhyan out of my belly. Kiel and I were able to see them pull out her head and then the rest of her a few seconds later. It may sound gross, but it was the closest experience I had to giving birth, if that makes sense. I told Kiel for that for our third child he might be able to take a picture of him coming out of my belly. I think it would be cool. Kiel thinks it would be gross.After I held Rhyan for the first time, the nurse handed her off to Kiel so they could finish putting me back together. Kiel took Rhyan to the waiting room to meet my dad and then waited for me in the recovery room. I was able to do skin to skin with Rhyan for an hour. She immediately latched on and nursed for the entire hour. And this girl hasn't stopped since. She is a really good eater!

After bonding time was over Rhyan got her first bath.

Later that day Bruce got to meet his baby sister for the first time. This my friends, was the most scariest experience alive. Just picture an extremely busy 14 month old who is fascinated by buttons, babies, wires and all things electronic. And then stick that 14 month old in a room filled with all of those things he is fascinated by but NOT allowed to touch or else he could cause serious harm to others. He practically gave every one a heart attack for the 15 minutes he was there. Grandma Karen decided she would take him to the park and wait until my I.V. and other things were out of the room before his next visit. Good idea Grandma. Baby Rhyan was still in danger though and still is.
The second visit went much better.

But he still tried to attack sister. Bruce doesn't like socks on his sister's feet or when I have a blanket on her. He always tries to yank those things off of her. Other things I must block before he grabs at: her nose, belly button cord, hair bow and eyes. The only time he is somewhat cautious with her is when she is in her swing. He likes to rock it gently for her. Now that we are home, I try not to hold the baby a lot in front of Bruce and spend most of my attention on him when he is awake. Rhyan and I get plenty of bonding time by breast feeding that I don't feel guilty having some one else hold her or putting her in a swing. I do feel bad when Bruce wants to be in my lap and can't because I am feeding Rhyan. We all need time to adjust and I'm trying to create a new routine that works for everyone.
Rhyan had a good amount of visitors. My friends Beth, Marci and Rachel all came to my house for a surprise visit. Those sneaky girls arranged everything with Kiel and I had no idea. They brought me breakfast, flowers and really cute outfits for Rhyan. It was so awesome and I was so happy to see them.

Here is Rhyan with Grandma Karen.
And here she is with Grandpa Bruce.And here she is with Aunt Sunni.

And every visitor that came brought a present for Rhyan and also Bruce. Our home looks like a day care center with all of the loot Bruce has collected in the past few days. Here he is in his wagon that Aunt Sunni got him.

After three days in the hospital, we got to go home after I begged for an early release. Rhyan lost 10% of her birth weight by the beginning of day two but by the end of day two she already gained an ounce and her biliruben levels were completely normal. They needed to keep me because of my high blood pressure. I was panicking because my pediatrician mentioned on day one when Rhyan went from weighing 8 lbs 13 ounces to 8 lbs 4 ounces that we may have to substitute some of her feedings with formula if she lost more weight and I know from the classes we took while I was pregnant with Bruce that the chances of me producing milk would go down by 60% if I started substituting and continues to go down from there. (I want to breastfeed all of my children for a full year but if that doesn't work out I know that a breastmilk diet for the first 6 months is extremely important.) Later that night we had another weigh in and Rhyan weighed 7 lbs 15 oz which equaled a loss of 10%. I called the lactation consultant we took our classes from at midnight and prayed she would call me back in the morning before Rhyan's doctor got there. Then every two hours on the dot I fed Rhyan and had the nurses take her in the nursery when I wasn't feeding her so I could get some sleep (sleep helps with milk production.) Susan Orr called me the next morning and gave me very sound advice and told me how to communicate to Rhyan's pediatrician along with the nurses. And let me know that because Rhyan was a c-section and a hefty baby girl her weight loss was nothing to be concerned about. And it turned out she was right. Rhyan gained an ounce the following night as I mentioned above. As soon as I found out Rhyan was okay my blood pressure lowered and we were released.

Now here's a little info on our newest family member. She looks alot like her brother but she also looks different.

Remember Bruce:
Now here's Rhyan:
Now a little history on the name. Right up till about two days before she was born her middle name was going to be my middle name: Janelle. But for the past month the middle name has not settled with me. I would shoot different middle names back and forth to Kiel but he would turn them down and say her name is, Rhyan Janelle. But I knew it wasn't. It was when I was on the phone to Frances that I told her about my thoughts of changing Rhyan's name. We shot ideas back and forth and as a joke she started naming all of Kiel's sisters. "What about, Rhyan Shelley or Rhyan Brigitte or Rhyan Lisa?" I responded, saying that would cause trouble. Each sister would be waiting for our children to have their middle name and there is now way I'm having 4 more c-sections on top of the 2 I already will soon have. But it was at that moment when I said "Rhyan Patrice, that is her name." And Frances said, Oh my goodness that is it! That is her name! I immediately got a spiritual confirmation and then made sure it was okay with Kiel. He loved it also.

Rhyan is the sweetest thing. I could not ask for a more mellow baby. When ever she is awake she has her mouth open. She also sleeps with her mouth her open. And check out her face when she is trying really hard to focus:
She is so cute! She wakes up once during the night to eat and doesn't even cry. I just hear her sucking on her fists and know that it is feeding time. She sleeps a lot during the day and has wake time at around 9 p.m. and then sleeps until 11. I wake her up for one last feeding and then she sleeps until 2 - 3 am. I feed her once again and this holds her over until 6:30 - 7.

I love the way she holds her little hands near her face, kicks her feet when I change her diaper and almosts breaks her neck trying to find food. I notice she does look more like me. I think she has my nose. She definitely has my feet. Her feet are so long they look like rabbit feet. I LOVE them. She also has really long legs. She fits in 3 month sizes, newborn is way too small. When she has gas, she lets out this large squeal that sounds like a tea pot when it's ready.

Kiel has hopped on the girl train and loves, loves, loves his little girl. They are so sweet together it makes my heart melt. He also loves all of the girly outfits I dress her in. I have relaxed since the hospital tho and dress her comfortably at home.
And here she is in her going home out fit. All of the volunteers rushed over to see the baby in the tutu. It's a onesie with a tutu attached. Love Target!

I should finish by saying, despite our hardships we are incredibly blessed. My dad and Karen took such great care of our little boy while we were in the hospital and took great care of us too. They brought Kiel breakfast every morning, gave him rides to Dr. appointments and back and forth to the hospital. Before they left they cooked wonderful meals that we are still eating today.

My mom and George are here now and picked up where they left off. This recovery has been so much easier than the first. The hardest part is me not being able to lift Bruce especially when he asks me to over and over and over again. (I found a trick tho and lift by just using my arms and not my stomach muscles, don't tell the doctor.) I love my job as a mother. I love changing diapers, preparing meals, setting schedules, reading books and playing with my babies. Right now I'm incapable of doing some of these things which makes me cry but I am grateful for those around me that can help us during this time.

Sorry for the long post, but as you can imagine my future blog posts will not be of much writing or explaining but just of pictures and I wanted to journal my thoughts here before I forget them.

Much love to all!

Kiel, Melissa, Bruce and Rhyan