Friday, May 27, 2011

What's in a name?

Do you know how hard it is to name another human being? There is so much to take into account! Will it be a strong name as an adult? How easy will it be for other kids to manipulate the name and tease the child? Do the initials make up some weird combo? What does the name mean?  (After all, Amos means "burden" and even if we did like the name, I can't imagine naming my child "burden"!!)

Then there are always the stipulations we put upon ourselves. We wanted an Indian name that began with "A" and was 4 letters long and was 2 syllables. Now you add in Biju's taste in names and my taste in names and that makes it almost impossible to come up with a name for a third boy!! We were very willing to be flexible. An "A" name with 5-6 letters, or a 4-letter name beginning w/ a vowel other than "A" - and by the time he was born we were even willing to let it all go out the window just to be sure we found a name suitable for this child. Aren came *this* close to being named Samuel. We both liked the name. But in the end, we decided it just didn't fit with our other two boys and we really did want to stick with our original plan. The only "want" we didn't end up with was the name being of Indian origin. 

I'm quite pleased with the names of all three of our boys and, as it turns out, they all have strong meanings.

Ajay:  Unconquerable
Alex:  Defender of Man
Aren:  Mountain of Strength

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aren's Story

Only in our wildest imagination could Biju and I have thought that our baby would join the world the way he did. 

So how far back should I begin?  (Grab yourself a cold drink and maybe a bucket of popcorn, cuz this is a long one!  Anyone who knows me knows I can't just tell a story, let alone tell a short one.)

A couple of weeks ago my body started teasing me with false labor.  I would have contractions coming on a fairly regular basis but then they would fizzle out.  Each false labor episode brought on contractions that were more intense.  Each time I would comment, with a sense of hope "well, these are more painful than last time.." but I was still able to walk and talk through them so I never ended up going to the hospital (after my initial visit at 34 weeks, that is).  I was up until 1am or so on more than one occasion.  The only good that I felt was coming out of this was that at each OB appointment my doctor would tell me I was progressing.  I had decided, and told everyone that would listen, that it was official:  I would not know when I was going into real labor and would ignore it for too long.

Wednesday the 18th was Ajay's Field Day at school.  It was supposed to be held in the morning but rain pushed it to the afternoon.  I was feeling quite under the weather that day.  I had either caught a cold or my allergies were bothering me.  We're talking runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and an overall feeling of "ugghhhh."  I managed to squeeze in two 20-30 minute naps that morning.  Alex and I went to the school to join Ajay at 1pm and I was assigned 3 additional children to walk around with.  We trekked all over the playground while the boys participated in many different activities and I "enjoyed" a few Braxton-Hicks contractions.  A few times Alex decided he wanted to go in the opposite direction and tugged hard at my hand usually timing it smack dab in the middle of a contraction. 

Once we got home we took it pretty easy.  Biju got home around 3:45pm (a few minutes earlier than usual) and told me I should go get another little nap in before I went to get Ajay from the bus-stop.  Aside from dealing with the nasty cold symptoms I was feeling decent - no more contractions than "normal."  Throughout the evening, they picked up, though, and I was getting frustrated knowing I was going to have to deal with more false labor.  The contractions were close enough to realize they were close but I didn't have the desire to time them because I knew they would still be too sporadic to mean anything.  And again, they didn't hurt too badly.

After dinner I ran myself a bath and let the boys watch "Frankie" (aka "The Middle" - for some reason the boys adore this show.) The contractions calmed down a little but didn't disappear completely.  We got the boys down to bed and put on a movie (a movie that left me a sobbing mess by the end).  Every 8-10 minutes while watching the movie I would stand up to make a contraction more comfortable.  And even though I didn't think the contractions were actually going to lead anywhere, I was hoping that gravity would help the contraction and at least at my OB appt. on Friday I would be even further progressed. 

After the movie (11:30pm) we went to bed.  I was surprised when the contractions I had been having through the movie continued and woke me up.  I finally got out of bed around 12:20 and started timing them.  They were still around 8-10 min. apart and lasted 45 seconds-ish.  I read birth stories on the internet to keep myself occupied but I was getting bored with sitting still and waiting for another contraction.  So I got up and started cleaning my house.  I figured just in case these turned real the house needed to look decent for whoever came over to watch the boys.  Also, switching activities is good to see if the contractions change.  They did - they got closer.  Like every 2-3 minutes closer and only lasting 20-30 seconds.  Blah.  Major clue that I was enduring more false labor.  I sat back down to see what would happen.  They went back to coming every 4-7 minutes but lasted more like 30-45 seconds again.  I got back up to do more cleaning and they stayed around 3-4 minutes.  Finally around 2am I just couldn't take the waiting anymore.  I went to bed with the thought that if it was false I would be able to sleep through them.

I woke up 2 hours later to use the restroom.  It took me a minute to remember that I had been hoping I would be in labor by now.  Since I slept a solid two hours and didn't wake up once with a contraction I was bummed.  Then (cue intense music) I heard a pop.  I wondered what it was and vaguely thought it could've been my water breaking.  I never had a big gush, though.  I finally went back to bed (20 min. after waking) and just in case grabbed myself a cloth diaper (a trick I learned from my mom!).  I laid in bed and the contractions picked up in intensity.  I mean really.  These bad boys hurt.  Biju woke up and asked me if we needed to go to the hospital.  Do you know that despite thinking my water could've broken and having intense contractions, I STILL told him "I'm not sure if this is it."  - Darn all that false labor for making me so unsure of the real thing!!!

We talked a bit and decided this was probably "it" since it was getting to the point of "I can't lay here through the next contraction, I need to walk!"  We laid out a plan, which included calling my parents at 5am to catch my dad before he headed off to work (I think he leaves at 6am) and waiting until 6am to call someone to come be with the boys.   We didn't want to wake anyone too early.  However, we quickly realized that we shouldn't wait to wake anyone (due to the intensity of the contractions and realizing it was, indeed, my water that had broken.)  Biju jumped in the shower while I called my parents.  My mom laughed and predicted (for the 20th time, probably) that the baby would be here before they made it down (they have a 3 hour drive).  I told her the contractions were coming about every 3 minutes, but that was a guess.  She told me it sounded like they were a lot closer than every three minutes.

Biju got out of the shower and I jumped in with the hopes that the shower would help ease the pain of the contractions.  (Funny how easy it is to forget how truly painful contractions can be!!)  After I got out of the shower Biju went to wake our neighbor.  I put on my clothes but could do nothing else but lean against a dresser and rotate my hips.  I had to focus so hard on making my body relax.  Biju came back with our neighbor, I gave her the list I had written up (a couple of weeks ago) that explained what the boys' morning routine was.  She looked at me with pity in her eyes and made a comment about how she was glad she was done with having children!

We walked out the door to get into the car, Biju locked the house, then I realized we'd forgotten our hospital bag and the camera.  He ran back inside while I leaned up against the trunk of the car to avoid being overwhelmed with pain.  He came back out, tossed the stuff in the back of the car and we got in.  I sat down and was unable to shut the door, so he had to get back out of the car to come around and shut my door.  Looking back, it all seems like a scene from a movie that you think "well its funny but it couldn't happen in real life." 

We started driving (at 5:50am) and hit on the way to the birthing center.  At one point I remember mustering enough energy to weakly yell "run-it RUN-IT I DON'T CARE, JUST RUN IT!!!" and he explained "There's traffic coming" - ahhh man!  (BTW - his car is a stick-shift and I felt every little jerk caused by shifting even though he was trying to be super gentle.)

He kept trying to reassure me that we would be there soon.  I was still trying to relax.  I was not looking forward to the checking in process and I was really dreading having to sit in the bed while they monitored my contractions.  I knew I would need to be up and moving. 

We pulled up in the circle drive and he got out of the car.  He left his door open while he came around to open mine.  I walked in the doors (at 5:57am) and leaned over their counters.  The woman started asking questions and I just looked at Biju to do the answering.  I had probably 3 contractions in the 5 minutes it took to get us checked in.  I know he had to sign some papers in lieu of me.  I was really focusing on letting every muscle release so I could make it through each contraction. 

All of the sudden I was hit with a contraction that started to overtake me.  I had been doing quite well with not being too vocal with my labor but this one forced me to let out not just a moan but a yell.  Then all of the sudden I couldn't stop yelling.  And just as I couldn't stop myself from yelling, I felt the urge to PUSH.  (I had never felt this feeling with Ajay or Alex, despite both of their births being without medications.)  My body started pushing and I couldn't stop it.  Then I felt it.  The ring of fire.  Holy moly this baby was coming.  Now.  I remember thinking "I'm in the lobby, wearing jeans!" and this baby was coming.  All I could do was yell "HE'S COMING!  I CAN'T STOP HIM!" and other phrases along those lines.

Nurses started running in from all directions and Biju says he was grabbing me from both sides to try to hold him in (didn't want his neck to break by being born into my jeans!).  The nurses got me over to the couch, Biju got my shoes, someone else got my jeans and they asked me to get my legs up onto the couch.  Within two more pushes (one for his head, one for his shoulders), there he was.  6:03am.  6 full minutes after we walked through the doors of the birthing center. 

**big breath**

They got me onto a wheel chair and took me back to a room so we could finish things up (placenta, stitches, etc).  They weighed and measured him (7lb 3.8oz, 19in) and let Daddy hold him.  As soon as I got the go ahead, I offered him some breakfast.  He latched right on.  It was as if he were made for nursing :)

I know there was a woman in the lobby when I started yelling but by the time I was wheeled out, she wasn't there anymore.  Biju says she spoke to him later in the day, to see how things were.  There was also a couple  detained outside the building while I was in on the couch giving birth.  Imagine the story they now get to tell.

We shudder to think where this child would've been born if any number of things would've detained us.  What if we had needed to wait for someone to drive across town to come watch the boys?  What if we had chosen to go to the hospital instead of the birthing center?  Sure, the hospital is just across the street, but we would've had to park and go up to the L&D floor - perhaps we would've had an elevator baby instead of our little "couch potato" as my BIL so lovingly referred to him.  

Biju called my parents to let them know that, yes, the baby arrived before they did.  They got to town around 8:30am.  They hung out with us through the day and we searched the internet trying to make a final decision on a name for this child.   My sister, Shelly, got the boys from our neighbor and brought them up to meet their new baby brother, then Shelly took Alex back home with her and Biju took Ajay to school. 

We came home Friday afternoon and we're all doing well.  Actually, Biju is sick again - possibly a cold, or allergies, or, we're hoping not, another round of Strep.  I'm still not 100% - very tired, and if I miss a dose of my pain meds I can really tell it.  Overall, though, we're adjusting well.  The boys are absolutely in love with Aren.  They can't keep away from him and when they wake up in the mornings, its like Christmas when you forget its Christmas.  Does that make sense?  You wake up then suddenly remember Santa brought presents and you're all excited.  That's the way it is with the boys - they suddenly remember there is a new member of the family to love on.

And to make this post even longer - the photos!

Holding Aren immediately after his birth on the couch and the nurses trying to get everything sorted out.

Daddios with his new son

Taking a little snooze 

Getting a peek at their new brother

Getting to hold Aren for the first time

Checking out his new world

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our new little bundle of joy!

I would like to proudly announce that we have our new little bundle of joy! 

Aren James was born on Thursday morning, May 19th, at 6:03am.  He was 7 pounds 3.8 ounces (we'll call it 4!) and 19 inches long.  The biggest of the three boys at birth!  He has black hair, and eyes that I'm quite certain will turn brown.  He came in a blaze of glory and has quite a story for himself.  We came home today, Friday, and everyone is doing well. 

I have since discovered that I have reached my photo limit here on Blogger.  I will do my best to get his amazing story written up in a timely manner and I will also figure out how to get more photos on here. 

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The second zoo

We managed to hit two zoos in one week!  A couple of weeks ago I snatched up a Groupon discount to get into a nearby zoo that we probably wouldn't have normally gone to.  I got two adult tickets for the price of one.  We were still charged a crazy amount for a 3 and 5 year old.  The Groupon expired May 22 - one day before my due date - so we knew we needed to take advantage of this discount while we had the chance.  The Saturday before Mother's Day we packed up a lunch and headed out.

They still didn't know exactly where we were going.  We had eluded to something about a zoo, which had Ajay upset since he had just been to the zoo a few days prior, but they didn't know it was a different type of zoo.  (Instead of having a bunch of animals in cages, many of the exhibits were "open" where you could get next to the animals!)  When we pulled up in front of the zoo, Ajay was even more upset.  He actually refused to get out of the van.  His disappointment soon vanished.

We went in and the boys immediately stopped at the nursery.  We got to see some baby leopards, baby penguins, etc.  We walked around and got to see quite a few animals that we'd never seen before.  We commented on how well the grounds were taken care of.

And now - on to the photo bomb! 

The view as seen from the entrance.

Checking out the monkeys!  (These hats were made at a parents-as-teachers playgroup last spring - they're wonderful to have for outings!   They have their names on them - I have one that says "Mama" but I didn't wear it on this day.)
We loved watching these guys walk around.  Here, they're getting a drink - cupping their hands, scooping it up, dripping it into their mouths.

What an experience - they got to walk along w/ the baby penguins as they were being led over to the penguin house.

An albino alligator.  Ajay asked if he was real because he was sitting so still.  A few minutes later he started walking around proving he was, indeed, real.  Such a rare fellow!!

Another rare fellow - the White Tiger!  So pretty.  As we were leaving we checked out the nursery again and saw some babies.  So so cute!!  (White with chocolate brown stripes.)

Ajay hanging out with the lemurs. 

Taking some time to play on the playground.

Biju giving Alex a boost.  For a kid who was afraid to slide down that green slide there in the background, he didn't mind at all going down the higher tube slide! 

Petting the bunnies.  Oops - not supposed to pick them up!

If you look closely you can see a baby poking out of it's mommy's pouch!

Ajay really dug this guy.

I mean he really dug this guy!  (I don't think they were supposed to get so up close and personal!)
We're glad we went early in the day as it was already pretty toasty when we left around 12:30.  Fun times at this great zoo where you can get so close to the animals!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The first zoo

Ajay had his kindergarten field trip last week and (surprise!) they went to the zoo.  Alex and I tagged along.  For the morning we were paired up with another little boy and in the afternoon we gained a third kindergartner.  They all behaved as well as 4 small boys could be expected to act - Alex, Ajay, Macky and Leonardo.  Every once in awhile I had to holler out to them "Boys!  Slow down!" - I just couldn't waddle as fast as they could run!

We tried to see as many animals as we could but we had time-lines to follow (be here at X time, lunch at Y time and we're leaving at Z time - it made for a lot of "Okay - we'll just see the hippos as we walk by them." - *pant, pant*)

At least I got a few good pictures - and I even used my "regular old camera" instead of the fun digital SLR.  To be honest, we haven't bought a converter-thingie-mabob to allow us to recharge the camera, so we're trying to make sure we have enough battery power to take newborn photos.

Alex wasn't fond of going into the petting zoo.  I had to pullll my hand out of his grip so I could take this photo.

Ain't he a beauty?

I loved the way he looked blue here but when he got down from the fence and walked away those blue feathers turned purple.

Hello big cat!!

All four boys sorta sitting still.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The boys discovered a bit of nature in our backyard.  
Unfortunately, there used to be four eggs in there.  
Even more unfortunate, a couple of days after I took this picture the other child got ahold of the last two eggs.  So now there are some unhappy Robins flying around our backyard.  Alex remembered them this morning and talked about how SAD the mommy and daddy robin will be when they come home. 

While I had the camera out trying to get some shots of the eggs, I decided to take some photos of one of the bushes in our backyard. 

I still have a lot to learn - it would help if I opened the books that came with the camera - but I'm having fun just fiddling around.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Biju's Birthday

Biju had a birthday last week.  Too bad he was sick!  He came home from work early on Saturday (he was trying to get some overtime in since it's rarely offered).  He said he didn't feel well and it just progressed from there.  He suffered all Saturday and Sunday (I've never seen him so sick in the almost 10 years I've known him) and was finally able to get to the doc on Monday morning.  Turns out he had strep.  We're not sure where it came from as no one he knows had it.  I'm just SUPER grateful that the boys and I stayed healthy!  Biju slept on the twin that is set up in the baby's bedroom, ate his meals (when he did actually eat) away from the rest of us, and only allowed the boys to give him hugs on his legs.  Once he got his hands on his antibiotics his world turned back around.  It was nice seeing him on the mend and able to interact with all of us again.  Despite not feeling all that well, he was a sport and allowed us to celebrate his b-day.  I had ordered one of his favorite cakes the week before, when he was still feeling well, and had a little bag of gifts (his main gift he had picked out last week).

Glad you're feeling better, Sweetos!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

37 Weeks!

Wahoo!!  After a little worry that this guy would try to make his appearance a bit early, we have now made it to 37 weeks - which is technically a full-term pregnancy.  I joke with Biju that now he's going to stay tucked in until his due date (May 23) or after.  I went to the zoo with Ajay's class yesterday.  I figured all the walking around may not put me into labor but surely it would be helpful exercise.  I was plum tuckered out, though!  Alex fell asleep on the way home and I couldn't wait to get home and take a nap myself. 

I would normally have had an OB appointment today (Wed.) but I couldn't get in until Friday.  I was 3cm/50% effaced last week and for some reason, I'm not expecting too much of a change this week.  It's really a good thing that this little guy wants to hang out awhile longer.  Biju has strep and we want him to be recovered so he can be fully involved with my laboring process.  I just can't imagine laboring and having a baby without him.  And how sad would it be if he had to miss the birth because of being ill??

I turned 37 weeks on Monday so I had Biju take a belly-shot (taken on Sunday before my niece Paige's First Communion mass). 

Apparently my tummy is a bit small, according to some people.  When I'm asked "when are you due?" I answer them and most people are surprised how soon I'll be delivering.  Here is a pic of me w/ Alex around 38 weeks (a week before he was born) (I don't think there's that much of a difference):

(Same picture in a different form:) 

And despite spending way too long trying to find a pic of me at the end of my pregnancy with Ajay, I just can't.  So the only thing I can find right now is when I was about 7.5 mo

(It's been fun sorting through old pics, though!)