Caleb Can Sleep Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow

You betcha I’ll be adding pics to this post over the next 13+ years šŸ™‚ Just try to notĀ be amazed at this progression of photos I’ve taken since he was 2-years-old!

The sequel to this post shall be entitled: “Evie Won’t Sleep Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow” (UGH!)

*If you enjoyed this post, you will also like the post documentingĀ Caleb’s shenanigans.

Seth’s Birth Story (And Why We Can’t Have a 4th Bio Child)

Can anyone relate? And no, it’s not that we can’t have another kid because I got my tubes tied. It’s just that each of our kids has been born progressively later in the pregnancy, and I’d be too concerned the next kid would never make a dĆ©but!

*Disclaimer: The story you are about to read may or may not be accurate and probably contains illogical fallacies and other nonsense. It’s only been 2 months since Seth’s birth, but it feels like forever ago and it all seems very fuzzy…which I can only chalk up to a bad case of “mommy of 3” syndrome (akaĀ my brain is complete rubbish now. And has apparently taken on a British alter ego).

The Familiar Waiting Game:

Leading up to Seth’s birth, I had plentyĀ of “Braxton hicks” contractions, but not many painful ones (unlike my 5-week-long labor with Evie). His due date of June 3rd came and went uneventfully. Although passing his due date was a bit disappointing, I knew better than to have any expectations based on my experience with previous labors.

On June 9th (6 days after his due date and 2 days before his birth), I had a non-stress test done to make sure Seth was still doing ok. This was the first time I got far enough past my due date to need one. It took forever to do because he decided to sleep the whole time, which made it difficult to get the measurements needed. After poking him a bunch of times he eventually woke up, and the nurse was able to confirm that everything still looked good. After that, I saw my doctor who swept my membranes for a second time, hoping to kickstart labor.

The Standard False Alarm (It Happens Every Time):

Later that day, I finally had some contractions that seemed to beĀ ramping up. They were consistently coming every few minutesĀ but weren’t very painful yet. I called the hospital to see if they thought I should come in, and they said I could probably wait. However, Seth hadn’t been moving around as much as usual (gee, maybe ’cause it was getting a little cramped in there??) so they told me I should come in because of that.

When Sean and IĀ arrived at the hospital, the contractions were still coming regularly and often, but weren’t increasing in intensity. We unintentionallyĀ walked the halls for a while because we forgot where labor and delivery was and couldn’t find the elevators. Turns out, the elevators are right at the entrance when you walk in.Ā Don’t judge – I was (sort of) in labor. IĀ have no defenseĀ for Sean, though.

We eventually found our way and I was checked into a triage room. On the computer in the room, we could see the contraction monitoring charts for everyone checked in. We passed the time by watching the screen and fist pumping each other every time my contraction looked more intense than women in other rooms. After a few hours of this and my pain level remaining relatively low, I was discharged around midnight and we went back home.


Ya know, you’d think by your third labor you would know if you’re really starting active labor, but apparently not. Although if you can play a dumb game, laugh, and generally be in a good mood, it’s a fairly good sign you’re definitely not.

The Day Before Seth Was Born:

By the time we arrived back home it was past midnight and the contractions had petered out. I was able to get some sleep that night, and I woke that morning hoping to go into labor sometime during the day before returning to the hospital that evening for my scheduled induction. No such luck – I guess Seth was just too dang comfy. Even though I managed my expectations much better this time than last, I never imagined he would be so late I wouldĀ be induced!

5 pm:

I felt pretty disappointed as we made the drive out for the induction, so I drowned my sorrows in a huge Olive Garden dinner which I immediately regretted (I absolutely did not have room for it, bleh)!! I called the hospital at 5 pm to confirm they had room for me, and I was told to call back and check again at 7 because they were busy.

That was the second day in a row we had made the 45-minute drive out and I was a week overdue, crabby, and not about to be sent back home again, so I had Sean break my water. JK! But it didĀ cross my mind.

7 pm:

When I called back at 7 from the hospital parking lot, I was told I could come in at 8 pm. What a relief! No questionable medical interventions required šŸ™‚ We went in and while we sat in the waiting room, a soon-to-be-dad and his friend were sitting next to us eating pizza and drinking beer, discussing how his fiancĆ© had been in labor for a really long time. HelloooĀ 1960’s!? I almost punched him in the face and yelled at him to get back in there on behalf of his fiancĆ©, but I refrained because I needed to save my energy. Bizarre. Anyway, I digress.

8 pm:

I checked in for the forced eviction and I’m pretty sure I was put in the same room I gave birth to Evie in! (Although I’m not 100% sure since I was delirious for her entire birth and it’s all a blur). I must say it was pretty strange being admitted while not yet in labor…it was so calm and I was actually aware of what was happening around me for the first timeĀ since I wasn’t already in a trance like state.

It was also the first time I noticed how much it hurt to have the IV line put in…especially since it took the nurse three tries to insert it correctly! And even after the third try, I still don’t think sheĀ insertedĀ it correctly because it hurt a lot the entire timeĀ I had it in.

The bruise I still had 5 days after Seth was born (and I almost NEVER bruise from anything)!
The bruise I still had 5 days after Seth was born (and I almost NEVER bruise from anything)!

9 pm:

After the IV line was placed and the baby monitoring stuff (that’s the technical term) hooked up, the midwife came to check my dilation. Her name was Evey (pronounced the same as Evie). What are the odds!? After checking me, she gave me the option to either startĀ oral doses of Misoprostol or to begin administering Pitocin through the IV. I really wanted the labor to mimic the progression of a natural one as closely as possible, so I chose the Misoprostol which she said would be more likely to do that.

10 pm:

I took the first dose of Misoprostol. It was just a half dose because they wanted to monitor me and make sure I didn’t have a bad reaction to it. In the meantime, I googled Misoprostol on my phone since I had never heard of it before, and I discovered it hasn’t been officially cleared as a labor induction method – it’s actually an ulcer medication! So, um, that was a little disturbing.

11 pm:

There was a shift change and I got a new nurse. Just before the shift change, my previous nurse (the one who botched my IV) told me she was going to begin giving me fluids. But when I looked down at my IV a few minutes later, I noticed it wasn’t hooked up to anything. So when my new nurse came in, I said to her: “I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure this needsĀ to be connected to one of those bags in order for me to get fluids…”

She appeared mortified as she took a look and realized the bag of fluid had been dripping ONTO THE FLOORĀ for half an hour!!Ā I don’t know if my previous nurse was just near the end of her shit (<– haha! that was honestly an accidental typo) and really tired, but I think she could benefit from a little extra training. The clearly irritated new nurse had a janitor come mop up the sticky mess as I thanked God I only had the previous nurse for a short time! Yikes!!

12 am:

I began having contractions similar to the ones I had the previous night – every few minutes and very consistent, but they were hardly painful at all. My next miso pill wasn’t supposed to be given until 2 am so I tried to get some sleep, but it was nearly impossible with various people coming in and out of my room every 20 minutes. Everyone told meĀ being induced at night is the best because you can sleep before the “real” action begins…ya, right (cue dramatic roll of the eyes)!!

2 am:

Because I was having consistent contractions, the nurse thought I shouldn’t take another miso pill because she thought it might ramp labor up too quickly, which the midwife seemed to disagree with. It was weird – there was a lot of disagreement between the nurse and midwife which was awkward.

Initially, the nurse was mad the midwife hadn’t told me what my stats were when she checked my cervix. Next, they disagreed about continuing the miso. Then, after it was decided I would not be given another pill at 2, the midwife told me I should go walk the halls to see if that would move things along, while the nurse told me that wasn’t a good idea and it would be better to sleep so I wouldn’t be exhausted when active labor began. I ended up walking around for a bit, but when it was having no effect, I went back to my bed to lay down.

6 am:

By 6 am the contractions weren’t progressing, and the midwife came in to check me again. This time, she checked my cervix during a contraction which altered my stats, and she determined Seth was low enough to break my water safely. Had she checked me the previous night during a contraction, I’m pretty sure she would have come to the same conclusion since not much had changed over the previous 9 hours. So frustrating!

6:30 am:

Just before the next shift change, the midwife broke my water. It always amazes me how much fluid comes out…and continues to ooze out…and ooze, and ooze, and ooze…like a leaky faucet you can’t turn off! And thenĀ BAM! Within minutes, contractions came fast and hard – to the point I couldn’t talk and had to breathe through them. It really was incredible how instantaneously active labor began after breaking my water – like flipping an on/off switch! Of course, Sean had just left to go grab something from the car which was an unforgivable offense in that moment because I had no hand to cut the circulation off from!

7:30ish am:

The contractions became extremely intense and painful and I was given Fentanyl (a narcotic) which was AWESOME. I also readily agreed to receive an epidural. I know, I know, I wrote in Evie’s birth story I would never get it again after the bad experience with it during her birth, but a) it seemed like I had more time left than I had with herĀ and b) I can’t think rationally when I’m in that much pain.

After the Fentanyl took effect, I recall the nurse explaining something to me but I couldn’t comprehend anything she was saying. I just smiled and nodded with a 100-yard stare and struggled to hold my head up.

After she left, the bags of fluid next to me made a noise every couple of minutes that made me think they were talking to me. Every time they made the noise my eyes jerked wide open and I turned to Sean to ask: “did you hear that?” Haha! Sean says it was highly entertaining šŸ™‚

8 am:

The epidural was placed, which also would have been AWESOME had it worked on both sides of my body! The drugs kicked in fully on my right side but not my left, which was a new experience. Since I could still feel the contractions fairly strong on the left, I had to focus and breathe through them till the very end. What a bust! My right side was happier, though, so I guess it was worth it.

8:45 am:

I had an increasingly strong urge to push. We called my nurse, but I guess the delivery crew must have been busy because they didn’t show up until 9!?

9:05 am:

The delivery entourage all got in place and I began pushing. 5 minutes later, Seth Josiah Felker was born on 6/11/16 at 9:10 am, after just 2 hours and 40 minutes of active labor. And I thought a little over 4 hours with Evie was fast! This time, I only got a 1st-degree tear (with Evie it was a 2nd, and with Caleb a 3rd).

Expressing how he felt about his forced eviction. Not just one middle finger – nay – two!


Seth was born 8 days past his due dateĀ but was born on a palindrome date, which I suppose makes up for it (the date is the same forwards and backward). What? I married into a family of engineers…they note these kinds of things šŸ™‚

He got a 9 and 10 on his Apgar scores, which amazed everyone because apparently, it’s very rare for a baby to get a 10/10. I’m sure it’s because he was practically a man by the time he was forced out! As he came out he was already crying and breathing, and Sean says he had his hand by his face and gave a little wave as he made his grand entrance. He also weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs. 7 oz. and measured 21 inches! I think Uncle Drew is right when he says this kid will beĀ a savage šŸ™‚

So. Mad.
So. Mad.



Our Stay at the Hospital:

Our recovery went well – it was uneventful, really. Of course, you can never get any sleep which is just par for the course (and it’s not because of the baby). It’s the pediatrician, nurses, lactation consultant, janitor, billing people, birth certificate person, photo people, dropping-off-the-Kaiser-gift people, meal people, hearing test people, infant screening test people, etc. etc. etc. popping in every 5 minutes! I think it’s all just a ploy to get you to want to go home ASAP to keep Kaiser’s costs down šŸ˜‰

All in all, we stayed in the recovery room for about 24 hours. For the first 12 hours, Seth had to get his heel pricked before each nursing to check his sugar levels and bilirubin since he was so fat (they have to do this for babies larger than 9ish lbs. because they can have a diabetic episode). So that was a new experience.

Nana, Pop Pop, Caleb, and Evie came to meet Seth the afternoon he was born, which was fun to experience:







Seth cooked for so long his fingernails were like razor blades when he finally came out and he scratched up his face :/
Which son is which? Our boys look like twins, only 5 years apart! (Caleb is on top, Seth is on bottom).
Which son is which? Our boys look like twins, only 5 years apart! (Caleb is on top, Seth is on bottom).

Pop Pop also captured the video below, which is classic Caleb and solid gold. I promise it will make you chuckle (and it’s pretty cute, too) šŸ™‚

And there you have it – the complete and overly detailed story of Seth’s arrival!Ā It really is fascinating to me how unique Caleb, Evie, and Seth’s birth stories are. But all were beautiful, amazing, special, memorable, and crotch-destroyingĀ in their own ways šŸ˜‰

Missed Caleb and Evie’s birth stories? Here they are:

Caleb’s Birth Story: Rated PG-13 for Language, Nudity, and Drugs šŸ™‚

Evangeline’s Birth Story: The Womb that Cried Baby

Comical Calebisms 2014

IMG_2165Caleb: (Hits Sean)
Sean: “Ow! What are you doing?”
Caleb: “Hitting you. It’ll heal.”

Caleb: “I thought I heard a snake in the closet, and I was really scared and I prayed to Jeeeesus. I prayed to Jesus really REALLY LOUD!”

After getting cut off at the airport –
Caleb: “Mama, please don’t crash. I don’t want to crash.”


To make the next quote even better, I will provide no context for it –
Caleb: “Can I have some coffee too with my crack?”

Caleb: (Pointing to my shirt) “Mama, what is that??”
Me: “They’re beads.”
Caleb: “Ohhhh. They’re cuuu-te!”

Negotiations at the park –
Me: “Caleb, 5 more minutes and then we have to go.”
Caleb: “20 minutes.”
Me: “No, just 5 more minutes.”
Caleb: “2 minutes.”
Me: “Ok sure, you win.”

Sean: “Caleb, don’t rock back in your chair. You might fall backwards and crack your head open, and your brains will come out.”
Caleb: “Oh no! I would crack my head open and I would get lots and lots of germs in it!”

Caleb: “Can I watch a show?”
Sean: “Well, I looked at the clock and it said it’s too late, so we can’t watch a show.”
Caleb: (Turning to the clock) “Clock, can I please watch a show?”

Caleb: “Mama, you’re a beast.”

Me: “Caleb, do you remember what sin means?”
Caleb: “Yes.”
Me: “What does it mean?”
Caleb: “Doing bad things. But I don’t want to do bad things! Only mama and pop pop do bad things.”

Me: “Caleb, did you take a nap today?”
Caleb: “Yes.”
Me: “Caleb, why are you lying to me?”
Caleb: “Lion?? Raaawr!!”

Caleb: “When I get bigger and bigger and I’m a Dada, I will work at the lab with Dada and pop pop. It will be so so SO good!”

Sean: “Ok Caleb, 10 more minutes then bath time.”
Caleb: “But why?”
Sean: “Evie got yogurt in her hair so we have to wash it.”
Caleb: “But why?”
Sean: “If we don’t, it could grow bacteria and make her sick.”
Caleb: “But why?”
Sean: “Because if it gets inside her, it can multiply rapidly.”
Caleb: “But why?”
Sean: “The biological conditions are ideal.”
Caleb: “But why?”
Sean: “Because of the temperature of our body, and the availability of moisture.”
Caleb: “Oh…yeah, we have to protect our bodies.”

Sean: “I’m sorry Caleb, you have to go to time out.”
Caleb: (Crying half-heartedly)
Sean: “I’m sorry buddy…you weren’t listening.”
Caleb: “But look at this saaad face!”

Caleb: “Today we played mommies.”
Me: “Oh yeah? How do you play mommies?”
Caleb: “You get buried and then make a baby.”
Me: “Married??”
Caleb: “No…buried.”
Me: “Huh. How do you make a baby?”
Caleb: “You put tan bark under your shirt.”
Me: “And then what?”
Caleb: (Imitating barfing sounds)
Me: “…Cool.”

Grammie: “Can someone please say grace?”
Caleb: “Grace!!”

Me: “Caleb, who’s in charge at church?” (child care)
Caleb: “Nico. He’s 6. He knows everything.”
Me: “Really? What about your teachers?”
Caleb: “No. Nico is in charge.”
Me: “Who’s second in charge?”
Caleb: “Me.”

Mickey: “Caleb, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Caleb: “A vacuum cleaner.”

Sean: “Caleb! Why did you drink out of mama’s water?? She’s feeling sick!!”
Caleb: “I’m sick too…I have crabs.”

Caleb: “I want to marry a girl…and a boy.”
Me: “You’ll probably just marry a girl.”
Caleb: “No, I want to marry a girl and a grandpa.”

Conversation with Caleb at bedtime –
Caleb: “Stay and lay with me!”
Me: “I can’t, I have to get some work done.”
Caleb: “Noooo, stay and lay with me!”
Me: “I would love to, but I really have to get some work done.”
Caleb: “Noooo…lay with me!”
Me: “Caleb, I have to go order some presents on Amazon for you and Evie for Christmas, otherwise, there won’t be any gifts.”
Caleb: (without skipping a beat) “You should go RIGHT now!!”

Comical Calebisms: October-December 2013

Evangeline’s Birth Story: The Womb that Cried Baby

According to my early ultrasounds, Evie’s due date was July 29th. According to my calculations, it was July 26th. But then, I figured her due date was actually July 18th, because Caleb was born eight days early, so obviously she would come early too. So you can just imagine my surpriseĀ horror when July 18th passed, then July 26th, and then (gasp!) July 29th. Apparently what baby #1 does has no bearing on what baby #2 does – so I learned – and Evie’s birth story could not have been more different toĀ Caleb’s.

Even though Evie arrived “late,” the last month or so of my pregnancy was far from uneventful. At 35 weeks pregnant, I began experiencing painful contractions (not braxton hicks). The first time they beganĀ I was at church, and they lasted a couple hours, so I legitimatelyĀ thought she could be arriving that day. Since I was only 35 weeks, I was completely unprepared, so I rushed home after church to pack bags and get things ready for her. However, by the time I finished getting ready, the contractions had disappeared…and thus began a long 5+ weeks, and the sub-title of this post: “The Womb that Cried Baby,” or alternatively, “my ridiculous 5-week-long labor.”

These on and off again contractions continued sporadically over the next few weeks. Then on July 17th (2 weeks and a day before she was born), while I was at church again (what’s up with that?), they started up yet again, but seemed a bit stronger. Because it was nearing rush hour (meaning if we didn’t leave soon, it could take us up to an hour and a half to get to the hospital), I called Sean and told him I wasn’t sure if it was time yet, but that we should just head out there to avoid getting stuck in traffic. So we made the 45-minute drive out to Antioch, and walked around the lobby to see if my contractions progressed. After 6 hours of consistent contractions, they disappeared again. Poof. I was disappointed and exhausted, but we turned it into a date night at Red Robin, so all was redeemed šŸ™‚

After that day, the contractions came more frequently. About every other day, I had relatively strong, consistent contractions lasting 4-6 hours inĀ the dead of night, that had me preparing for the hospital and thinking: “today isĀ the day!” However, they always vanished by morning, leaving me exhausted from no sleep and super frustrated. It felt like I was on a crazy, totally unpredictable roller coaster ride!

Exactly one week before Evie’sĀ birth, I had a check-up and was 2 cm dilated,Ā 50% effaced, and she was literally 1/4 of an inch from crowning. I had so much pressure on my pelvis, it felt like I could sneeze and she would shoot out. If you know what prairie doggin’ means, that is literally what it felt like, baby style. It was terribly uncomfortable. Every time I saw my OB, she kept reassuringĀ me – “it really should be any day now,” and then was surprised when I showed up for yet another appointment, and another.

So, the contractions just kept coming and going, as did Evie’s official due date. Three days past her due date, I went in for another OB appointment. My doctor checked me, and even after an entire week of contractions, my stats were the same. The SAME!!! I fought back tears, as she asked me if I wanted to schedule an induction. Flashing a Benjamin out of my purse, I eagerlyĀ saidĀ yes, most definitely…can my little friend convince you to do it today? (That may or may not have happened, my mommyĀ brain doesn’t remember). She scheduled me for an induction on August 5th (not quite that same day, but I took it).

Leaving the office, I felt so depressed. I know that sounds entirely pathetic, but I was just so frustrated, confused, and exhausted after weeks and weeks of non-committal contractions (and let’s not forget I was pregnant, and overdue at that, which =Ā totally unstable). I called Sean at 10:30 am, and had a completeĀ meltdown. At this point, EvieĀ was 2 weeks late in my book, which is like 2 months in pregnant time. Pregnancy is particularly difficult onĀ my body, andĀ the thought of even one more day sounded impossible. I recall praying in theĀ car: “God, you could make her come right now if you wanted to, and it seems so inconsequential when she comes since she’s full-term, so why can’t it be now??” After a good 5-minute cry and deliberate attempt to release it to God, I pulled myself together and drove home.

An hour-and-a-half later, at noon, contractions began again. “Here we go again,” I thought. Not wanting to get my hopes up again for the umpteenth time, I tried to ignore them and just go about my day. However, by 12:30, they were becoming stronger than they had ever been before, so I called Sean and told him to be on call, since I was worried about getting stuck in traffic. I told him not to come home yet, though, because there had been so many false alarms, and it was likely another one.

Over the next 30 minutes, the contractions ramped up so quickly to a level at whichĀ I knew it was time to go to the hospital, so I called Sean at 1 pm and told him to come home right away. (Sidenote: Anyone else think it non-coincidental that I went into labor an hour-and-a-half after having the epic parking lot meltdown? Pretty sure Someoneā‡‘wanted me to stop being so controlling and let it go, let it go and give it all over to Him. Lesson learned). Sean arrived home, we grabbed our things, and left for the hospital at 1:45. Sean hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so he grabbed some leftover pizza from the fridge to eat on the way. We drove about 10 seconds before I politelyĀ irritably informed him I could not stand the smell of the pizza. In my mind, that meant he should throw the pizza in the trunk of the car to eat later. In his mind, it meant he should throw it onto our neighbor’s sidewalk. ??? He jumped back in the car, exclaimed “sorry neighbor!”, and we drove off. I love my husband šŸ™‚

Fortunately, we left just before rush hour, so it took just 45 minutes to get to the hospital. My contractions were pretty intense, and Sean made fun of me for most of the way, because he said I sounded ridiculous. At least, that’s how I remember it. In his defense, I did sound ridiculous. Probably the best way to describe the noise I made during each contractionĀ was a semi-melodic voice warm up exercise for a group of tone deaf ogres that rose in intensity and volumeĀ every few minutes (Sean’s description) šŸ™‚

We arrived at the hospital, and I was admitted to triage around 2:30 pm. I remember aĀ nurse saying something that implied sheĀ didn’t think I was very far along, which I gave a big harumph to in my head. I did all the standard stuff – peed in a cup, answered a million questions, and was examined. The nurse said I was 4-5 cm dilated, and I would be admitted. I was ecstatic at this news (as ecstatic as anyone can be in labor), because that was exactly where I was hoping to be – far enough I would be admitted and not sent back home (like my experience with Caleb), but not so far I couldn’t get an epidural (which I knew from experience, IĀ definitelyĀ wanted).

I was transferred to a birthing room around 3 pm, and my contractions were very intense at that point. For some reason I could not wrap my mind around, the nurse’s began asking me the exact same questions IĀ had just been asked in the triage room, but because my contractions were so intense, Sean was answering for meĀ because I was totally unable. Since it was clear I couldn’t answer them, they said they’d resume asking the questions after I got the epidural.

The anesthesiologist (who looked to be about 13-years-old, but who am I to judge), arrived around 3:30 pm, and began the process of inserting the epidural. It was extremely difficult for me to keep still as he inserted the needle, because my contractions were so painful and coming so fast. After 3 attempts, yes THREE (do you know how big those needles are???), he finally got it placed by 3:45 pm.

Ten minutes later, at 3:55 pm, they asked if I could feel the epidural kicking in, and I said I couldn’t. They adjusted the dosage, and told me it could be another 20 minutes before it did its job.Ā A couple minutes later, I felt like I had to push, so I told the nurse. She basically dismissed me, and said: “oh, some women feel that way during the contractions, but it’s not really time yet…but I can check you if you want.” To that I replied: “no, really, I have to push…check me.” Well, she checked, and subsequently panicked as she called the appropriate personnel in, because like I said…I really,Ā actuallyĀ hadĀ to push!

The nurse told me to wait, which could be likened to instructing someone to hit the brakes on aĀ car that has flown off the edge of a cliff. Not gonna help. So I started pushing. As the nurse scrambled to get everything in place, I pushed about 5 times, and out she came. We didn’t even have our camera, video camera, or bags with us, because Sean had planned to go grab them from the car once the epidural kicked in, when things weren’t so intense and I didn’t need him right by my side. My water never broke during labor, so she started coming out inside the amniotic sac, which the delivery nurse (who showed up in the nick of time), was pretty excited about since it’s not something they see very often. The sac burst on her way out, so unfortunately, we didn’t make headlines for a baby born inside the amniotic sac šŸ™‚

Evangeline Love Felker made her grand entrance at 4:08 pm on August 1st, 2013, and she was beautiful. Like I wroteĀ in the post I did detailing herĀ cleft adventures, I noticed something was wrong with her lip right away, but I really didn’t care. We cuddled, and it was wonderful. I tore like I had after delivering Caleb (but not as bad, the nurse said it was nearly a second degree, and she could tell my previous tear was nearly a third degree). She stitched me up, and in an oh-so-timely fashion, the epidural kicked in at about 4:15 pm…7 minutes after I delivered Evie. Served. In fact, double served, because then I was stuck in bed until the epidural wore off since my legs didn’t work – ha! And we never did get to all those questions they were supposed to ask…





So, my entire “active” labor was a total of 4 hours, and I was in the birthing room for only a little over an hour before Evie’s arrival! I suppose it makes sense that once the ball truly got rolling it all happened so fast, since I had practically been in labor for 5 weeks! It was theĀ shortest, longest labor ever. We called all the grandparent’s to announce the news of her arrival, and a short while later, Pop Pop, Nana, and big brother Caleb came to meet her:


Giving Evie a kiss
Probably scheming
A perfectly accurate portrayal of their relationship from day 1. They love each other and thinks the other is absolutely hilarious šŸ™‚

Overall, I would say my labor and delivery experience at Kaiser Antioch was positive…the only major negative was the epidural. I don’t know if my nurse was inexperienced or what, but in retrospect, sheĀ really should have checked how dilated I was immediately before the epidural was administered, because I must have been 8-9 cm atĀ that point, and the strength/frequency of my contractions should have tipped her off to that (and epidurals are not supposed to be given that lateĀ in labor). Not only was it super awesomeĀ to have a huge needle stuck in my back 3 times for medicine that didn’t take affect until after I had already given birth, but the following day, of all the places I could be hurting, the epidural locations on my back were the most sore. So yeeeeah, if we ever have anotherĀ bio kiddo, I definitely do NOT want an epidural. Noooo thank you. Funny how my attitude on that one didĀ a complete 180…after Caleb’s birth, I thought maybe God had given them as a concession to womankind after realizing the “painful childbearing” curse was a tad bitĀ unequal to men’s “you must work to eat your food” curse šŸ˜‰

Speaking of Caleb’s birth, I wrote downĀ a few of the interestingĀ differences between the two labors and deliveries. Caleb was born within 48 hours of the first painful contractions I ever felt, and Evie was born more than 5 weeks after the first painful contractions I felt. Definitely set me up for some misguided expectations for round 2! šŸ™‚ With Caleb, my active labor was like a marathon, and with Evie, my active labor was like a sprint. And since my active labor with her was so short, I felt much better physically after Evie’s delivery, than I did after my 19-hour labor with Caleb (which left me feeling like I had beenĀ mauled by a bear…then hit by a bus).Ā Getting an epidural when I was in laborĀ with Caleb was a life saver, and getting it with Evie was a total bust.Ā And just in case you’re wondering, given the choice between a marathon labor with an epidural, or a sprint labor without an epidural (like you get a choice, ha!) I would unquestionably pick a sprint labor without an epidural.

The remainder of ourĀ hospital stay was also much smoother than with Caleb – I could understand my nurses, I had a private room, Sean was able to stay with me, Evie took much better to breastfeeding (even with a cleft lip), Sean was much less anxious, my body was less jacked up, I felt more confident in my parenting abilities since I was no longer a rookie, I could hang a “do not disturb” sign on my door whenever I wanted, and the hospital even brought us a celebratory dinner. Now that’s what I’m talking about. And when we came home, we weren’t living in an apartment complex full of partying college students!!Ā So all in all, I was very grateful for a much better experience the second time around…despite Evie’s leisurely, tardyĀ arrival. It’s ok, I get it…she’s a female. Just preparing us for the next 18 years šŸ™‚

Click here to read more about Evie’s subsequent cleft experiences, or here to read Caleb’s birth story!

Caleb’s 30 Best Shenanigans

When Caleb was between 20 months and 3 1/2-years-old, he went through an epic “shenanigans” phase. Below, I have documented his 30 best shenanigans during that time period in chronological order. I don’t ever want to forget this awesomeness, since it will be prime material for my speech at his wedding šŸ˜‰ Let’s be honest, I love the fact that we spawned an evil genius –Ā muahahaha!!!

13 Months OldĀ 

#1: Caleb dialed 911 while playing with my cell phone when I wasn’t looking.

20 Months Old

#2: At Caleb’s first time to the library for toddler story time, he: refused to sit down, kept walking up close to the woman telling the story and blocking the book from everyone, ran circles around the group, weaved in and out of the table and easels up front nearly knocking them over, ran in and out of a storage closet I couldnā€™t fit into, practically demanded another childā€™s snack (even though he had his own), and ran into the main library yelling at the top of his lungsā€¦multiple times. When we were leaving, Caleb escaped my grasp for the umpteenth time, and the librarian saw me and muttered under her breath: ā€œohā€¦itā€™s you.ā€

#3: Caleb made a mad dash straight towards a 45 mph street and got halfway across before I caught him and carried his little non-compliant, flopping body back to our car. Of course, he thought it was the most hilarious experience and could not stop laughing!?!?!

22 Months Old

#4: Caleb figured out how to climb over the contraption we put on the top of his crib to prevent him from escaping, so we were forced to convert his crib temporarily until we had his big boy bed/room ready. On one particular morning, he pushed out the bed rail, got into his closet, and pulled out an entire roll of fairly expensive diaper genie refill bags. We have since installed locks on all the closets in the kids’ rooms.


#5: Caleb learned how to take his pajamas/diaper off, and this is how I found him one morning:

20130313_075935 censored
From this moment forward, we duct taped his diaper every night so he couldn’t take it off in the morning. We called it his “superman belt” šŸ™‚

#6: Caleb learned to climb his bookshelf and change the iPod settings. Also, notice there are no books on the bookshelf because he kept ripping them up (and still does).


23 Months Old

#7: Multitasking – climbing the bookshelf AND taking off his diaper. Ā After he climbed down, he proudly showed me where he had put his diaper…on top of the diaper garbage can of course!


#8: I was getting dressed one morning, when I heard a Black Eyed Peas song playing. My first thought was: “wow, our teenage neighbors are playing that REALLY loud and REALLY early…that’s weird.” I eventually realized the sound was coming from the baby monitor. Caleb had climbed his bookshelf, grabbed the iPod which plays his white noise, changed the “song”, and decided to have himself a little dance party. Then I think he realized he was being watched, and disconnected the monitor.

#9: Plied Sean’s eyelid with a pair of play pliers.


#10: I was finishing getting ready for Church upstairs one morning, and thought Caleb was securely gated in the baby-proofed living room playing, when a suspiciously long period of silence brought me to check on him. As it turned out, he had climbed all the way up the outside edge of the banister of the stairs to the second story landing. I refrained from immediately scolding him so he wouldn’t startle, let go, and fall onĀ the first floor tile. First thing he said once I pulled him over the banister: “bad. trouble. spank.” And he proceeded to spank HIMSELF…twice. I didn’t know whether to laugh, yell, or cry.

Sean’s solution to the stair climbing problem (which was constructed immediately after shenanigan #11)

#11: Caleb broke a bowl while I was trying to unload the dishwasher after breakfast. IĀ lockedĀ him out of the kitchen so I could clean up the shards, and when I finished, I found him at the top of the stairs on the outside of the banister again. Immediately after that, we had some friends over for a play group, and he turned on the hose in the backyard and sprayed all the ladies’ diaper bags/purses. Next, he ripped out the second oak tree we had tried to plant (which was completely covered so he wouldn’t), then crumbled the muffin I gave him for lunch and threw it all over the kitchen floor. I’m awarding this one king of the shenanigans, thus far.


#12: He pooped all over his floor, rug, and chair after taking off his pajamasĀ and diaper in the morning…for the third time. I narrowly missed stepping on a piece when I walked in. We have since duct taped his diaper every night before he goes to bed, and we’ve already gone through a roll and a half (no, I am not kidding).

See the poop at the very bottom of the picture?

#13: While I was trying to make breakfast, Caleb repeatedly threw his sippy cup against the refrigerator until it busted and spilled milk all over the kitchen floor.

24 Months Old

#14: Broken kitchen window with a rock. In all fairness, Caleb was only partially responsible for this one. He likes to relocate the landscaping rocks into the grass, and although Sean had thought he picked all the rocks out before mowing the lawn, one was missed and found a home in between the glass panes.


2 Years, 2 Months Old

#15: Caleb slowly but surely picked at and shredded the screen in his room (it looks a lot worse now).


#16: Poking animals’ eyes at the fair petting zoo when Dada and Nana weren’t looking. This poor goat was not Caleb’s first victim (or last).

IMG_2013-06-26-7912 crop

IMG_2013-06-26-7912 crop 2
Close up

2 Years, 3 Months Old

#17: On our first Target shopping trip after Evie was born, we were attempting to load the groceries and put Evie in the car, when Caleb escaped from the cart, jumped INTO the SUV of the woman parked next to us (who was also loading up her groceries), and started climbing her seats. Fortunately, she was understanding, since it just so happened it wasĀ her first Target trip with two kids as well!

2 Years, 4 Months Old

#18: We bought a brand new minivan, and after owning it a whole four days, Caleb rammed the jogging stroller into it and scraped it down the side. Sean’s response: “Well, at least we got that over with quick.”


2 Years, 5 Months Old

#19: Listened to Caleb cry/scream/yell for 45 minutes straight while I nursed Evie in the car and then drove home from the park. In his anger, he also poured out his drink all over himself and the floor. Definite points here for impressive endurance.


#20: At Caleb’s first dental appointment, he figured out how to work the water sprayer (don’t know the correct term for it), and sprayed the office with it…on three separate occasions.

#21: As Sean was changing sheets that Caleb had peed on, Caleb ran over and peed on the only fresh sheets left, as well as Sean’s leg.

Caleb was pretty proud of his accomplishment


#22: Harassing Tomahawk (my sister’s dog) with the vacuum at Grammie’s house:

2 Years, 6 Months

#23: Caleb figured out how to climb his (very) tall dresser, and this is how I found him in the morning. So much for keeping his books out of reach so he can’t rip them.


#24: While nana was watching Caleb during Evie’sĀ surgery, he ran into the bathroom while she was getting ready for the day, grabbed her nightgown, and tossed it…smack dab into the toilet.

2 Years, 7 Months

#25: While showering, Caleb shoved a cap to an empty body wash container down the drain…waaay down.


2 Years, 8 Months

#26:Ā While at Costco, I was intently looking at something deciding if I wanted to buy it, and when I turned back, I found my wallet emptied of every last bill –


#27: Caleb unscrewed his dresser knobs –


2 Years, 9Ā Months

#28: Caleb discovered the joy of drawing on his closet doors with a pen –


3Ā Years, 5Ā Months

#29: Another broken dish. I’m surprised we still have any at this point!


3Ā Years, 6Ā Months

#30: While visiting Grammie’s house, Caleb found glitter while he was supposed to be napping and did an art project with it on the carpet. Let’s just say Grammie was not. happy. Gotta love the look on his face, though šŸ™‚


Bonus – 2 Years, 5 Months

Not a shenanigan per se, but here’s a video of Caleb easily overcoming every “childproof” obstacle:

Comical Calebisms: October-December 2013

IMG_2014-01-01-9999_2Over the past three months, we’ve been recording the amusing things that come out of Caleb’s mouth. Enjoy! šŸ™‚

Caleb: “Dada, can I have feta cheese for dinner?”
Sean: “Go ask mama.”
Caleb: (Within earshot of Sean) “Mama, can I have feta cheese for dinner?”
Me: “Whaaaaaaaaaat?”
Caleb: (Turning back to Sean) “Mama said yes.”

Why it’s a bad idea to let your kids watch TV and eat at the same time –
Caleb: (In a very concerned and confused voice) “Mama, where did my bagel go???”
Me: “Ummm, I think you ate it.”
Caleb: (Long pause) “Oh.”

After pooping twice in just a couple hours –
Me: “Caleb, you are a pooping monster!”
Caleb: “I’m not a pooping monster. I’m Caleb!”

I was changing Caleb’s diaper on my bathroom counter, when he reached over and grabbed a nursing pad out of the box, and said: “Mama, do you need another boob?”

Me: “Caleb, I love you.”
Caleb: “I love Briolette.” (A girl in his mommy and me class)

Caleb: “Did you take a shower mommy?”
Me: “Yes.”
Caleb: (Stroking my hair) “Did you wash your hair?”
Me: “Yes.”
Caleb: “It looks…kind of good.”

Me: “Caleb, I really love you a lot.”
Caleb: “I love you…and I love feta cheese.”

A conversation with himself while sitting in his time out chair –
“I want to go upstairs.”
Nooo…dada said nooo.”
“But I waaant to.”
“No. I didn’t cooperate so I have to be in the time out chair.”
“But I waaant to.”
Nooo…dada said nooo.”

Right after Evie’s surgery, while Caleb was watching TV –
Me: “I know it’s been busy and crazy around here lately, but I want you to know that we love you very much and we care about you a lot. You’re our very special boy!”
Caleb: (Without taking his eyes off the TV) “Excuse me, mama.” (His polite way of saying stop talking).

Yelling out his bedroom window at the top of his lungs to his buddy across the street –

Me: “Who do you think is more amazing, mama or dada?”
Caleb: “Pop pop.”

Right after a big poop, in a voice of disgust –
“Ohhh…it’s ooooozing.” (Patting bum) – “I can feeeeel it.”

“I got a mommy, but she really wants to eat.”

This is the conversation we have verbatim *every* time he hurts himself –
Me or Sean: “Caleb, are you ok??”
Caleb: (Yelling incredulously, like ‘why would you even ask me that?’) “NO! I’m NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Caleb: “Run faster mama!”
Me: “I’m running as fast as I can! I’m old and tired.”
Caleb: “You should go to sleep.”

Me: “Evie, we need to pump your legs because you need to get your poop out.”
Caleb: (Disappearing into the garage and returning a couple minutes later with a bike pump).
Caleb: “Let’s pump Evie’s legs!”

Driving home after the Christmas Eve service at church and Evie was crying –
Caleb: “What is her deal??”

“I have a really good nana. I have a really good pop pop. And I looooove Uncle Drew. Tickle tickle tickle!”

Me: “Ms. Christina is sick so Isaac won’t be able to come and play today.”
Caleb: “Can his daddy bring him?”
Me: “No, his daddy is taking care of his mommy and helping her.”
Caleb: “Can Isaac come by himself?”
Me: “No, because he can’t drive.”
Caleb: (30 second pause) “Oh. Ok.”

After Sean said goodnight and left Caleb’s room at bedtime he began freaking out, so Sean went back in –
“Dada, I got scared because you turned the light all the way off, and I almost heard a noise!!”

And here’s a handful more I posted on facebook, pre-October:

Fairly soon after giving birth to Evie –
Caleb: (Patting my belly) “Mama has another baby!!”
Me: (Look of amusement)
Caleb: (Lifting up my shirt) “Let me see!”

Me: “Hey Caleb, do you like Evie’s outfit today?”
Caleb: (Continuing to play and without turning around and looking) “Yeah.”

Sean: (From the living room) “Caleb, are you coming?”
Caleb: “Yeah…”
Sean: “Are you coming right now?”
Caleb: “Yeah…”
Sean: “Are you lying to me?”
Caleb: “Yeah…”
Sean: “What are you doing?”
Caleb: “I’m standing on the table.”

While some friends were over for dinner –
Caleb: (Repeated no less than 10 times) “Pooping…kiss it”

Me: “Caleb, what does Papa say?”
Caleb: “Papa.”
Me: “Caleb, what does Nana say?”
Caleb: “Nana.”
Me: “Caleb, what does Dada say?”
Caleb: “Dada.”
Me: “Caleb, what does Mama say?”
Caleb: “Nooooooo. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.”

Evie’s Surgery Day Recap

The morning of Evie’s surgery was dark, cold, and rainy. She was required to fast four hours prior to check-in, so I broke a cardinal parenting rule and woke a sleeping baby at 3 am to nurse one last time. I fell back in bed at 3:30, and woke again at 4:45. Sean and I fumbled to get dressed and gathered some last-minute items, then were off to Oakland Kaiser hospital at 5:30 am. We were silent as we drove along in the dark, and my thoughts began to drift to irrational worst-case scenarios. I finally broke the silence with: “what if Evie dies today?” Sean quickly replied: “She’s not going to die today. Everything will be fine.”

There was less traffic than anticipated on the drive there, so we arrived at the hospital early. This was a good thing, since we weren’t sure where we were going. Just as we left cover of the parking garage, we realized we had conveniently left our umbrella in the car. A moment very similar to this, then ensued:

So we forged ahead, and I’m sure we were quite the sight as we jogged towards the hospital – toting three large bags and a baby in tow. After waiting at the longest cross-walk in all of history, we eventually made it into the hospital only slightly wet. We found the ambulatory surgery unit, signed in, and found a seat in the packed, dingy waiting room. We drank some coffee and attempted to relax (ha!), when a woman struck upĀ conversation with us. (Not that this was a bad thing, I’m just not typically a lively conversationalist at 7 in the morning). She asked what everyone *always* asks us – “is she your first?” I guess people assume she must be, since I am informed ad nauseam I don’t look a day past 16. She then recounted an entire Modern Family episode – I really can’t remember why – and we smiled and nodded, smiled and nodded.

After what felt like an eternity, we were summoned to the check-in office. We signed a bunch of paperwork acknowledging possibility of death, dismemberment, irreversible damage, lingering PTSD, etc. etc. etc., and then we were off to weigh Evie and change her into the 10-sizes-too-big hospital-issued gown. She weighed 12 lbs 5 oz, which placed her in the 20th percentile, down from the 90th percentile at birth (I unequivocally blame her birth weight on the daily half-baked chocolate chip cookies I consumed in abnormally large quantities while pregnant, haha).

Next, we transferred to a pre-op area, and answered a million questions. My personal favorites: “does she smoke?”, “does she drink alcohol?”, and “any custody issues?” After the long interview, we waited for her plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist to come brief us. Evie was surprisingly calm during the wait, considering she hadn’t nursed in five hours and I imagine was very hungry. Even though Evie couldn’t use words, she’s a smart girl and figured out another way to communicate exactly what she thought about the impending ordeal:

Waiting, waiting
Daddy love
Last smile we got for days :(
Last smile we got for a while šŸ™
Last smile I gave for awhile too, ha!

Eventually, Dr. Yokoo and the anesthesiologist came by to ask if we had any questions and to provide more information. The anesthesiologist assured us it was more likely for us to have been in a car accident on the drive to the hospital than for something to go wrong with anesthesia, so that made me feel better (except then I worried about crashing on the way home). They left to prepare for Evie’s surgery, and in the meantime, she passed out:

This is the last moment I remember her as an “easy/mellow” baby!

A short while later, a nurse came and escorted us to the double doors leading into the hallway of the operating rooms. We each gave Evie one last kiss and squeeze and said goodbye. Emotionally, we had been ok up until that point, but as we watched the doors close and little Evie disappear down the hallway,Ā a switch flipped in mere seconds and the tears instantly welled up in our eyes.Ā I can’t explain why, it was just really distressing to watch a stranger carry away our baby girl. Shoot, if it was that traumatic to release a child for a relatively non life-threatening surgery, I hope to never know what it feels like for one that is. Ugh, no parent should ever EVER have to go through that!!!

We sat down to pray together and regain our composure, then wandered aimlessly up and down the same hallway for five minutes, as we attempted to figure out how to get to the hospital’s lobby. We must have looked highly suspicious to anyone watching on a security cam – haha! We eventually made it, dropped off our bags, and I immediately left to find the hospital’s lactation room because it was time to pump.

I was informedĀ the room was on the administrative 12th floor, but after walking the hallways multiple times, I could not find it anywhere. I stopped to ask a man who worked at the hospital where it was, and he said he didn’t think they had one. He flagged down another man, who flagged down another man, and all three stared at me blankly while I explained that I was searching for the lactation room. The three adamantly agreed one did not exist, and boisterously shared a good laugh about how absurd that would be. They eventually pulled themselves together long enough to suggest I try the labor and delivery floor. Good thing I’m not easily embarrassed by awkward situations, because I probably would have melted into the floor.

In the nick of time, a woman was walking by who must have heard our conversation and scolded them, snapping: “state law requires every workplace to provide a room for breastfeeding mothers to pump…it’s on the 11th floor.” She rolled her eyes, grabbed my arm, and took me down a flight of stairs and showed me the room. She asked if I worked at the hospital, and I said no, I was there because my 3-month-old daughter was having a cleft lip repair. I think she could sense I might burst into tears at any moment, so she pulled me in for a big bear hug and gave me her phone number in case I needed anything. I think she might have been an angel…a big, sassy angel šŸ˜‰

After my pumping adventure, I returned to the lobby, and Sean and I waited together for the remaining 2 hours. While we waited, we talked on the phone with Caleb and Nana, which was really nice because it got our mind off the surgery for a little. Caleb was having a blast with Nana – splashing in puddles and getting really muddy…pretty typical šŸ™‚ There was another family waiting next to us who we had seen in the surgery waiting room upstairs. From what we gathered, their young son (maybe 7 or 8 years?) was undergoing brain surgery…a 24-hour operation. I really felt for them.

I kept anxiously looking at the clock, and just before noon, a messenger came over to inform us Evie’s surgery was finished, and we could go up to see her. When we walked into the large recovery room with multiple beds, I could hear Evie crying. My heart skipped a few beats, and I quickened my pace. I had expected her to wake from the anesthesia groggy and lethargic (not upset), so I was concerned. When we arrived at her side, I barely heard Dr. Yokoo say the operation had gone well, before the small crowd of medical professionals gathered by her crib were all telling me she was hungry and wanted to eat. Everything was a blur after that as I jumped into action – I quickly sat down, whipped out the goods (so much for privacy!), and fought with all the tubes and cords attached to her as I tried to maneuver her into the correct position.

What resulted next was so sad and pathetic, it made me tear up again. Evie was obviously starving, but because her surgeon gave her mouth a nerve block, she couldn’t close her lips to latch on, and her tongue was completely numb as well. She kept trying and just couldn’t do it, making her increasingly frustrated, and crying harder and harder. I felt so powerless to help her šŸ™

It was obvious that Evie was not capable of breastfeeding yet, so we retrieved the milk I pumped earlier and began syringe feeding her (i.e. basically squirting milk down her throat). Once we did that, she calmed down a bit, which was a huge relief. Since she didn’t eat well right off the bat, we were transferred to the pediatrics floor, in case we needed to stay overnight.

When we arrived at our shared room, there was already two women there with a toddler boy, who appeared to have been there awhile. As we situated ourselves, a doctor walked in to talk to them, and the first thing I heard out of his mouth was: “your son’s rare infection disease…” Wait,Ā WHAT!?!?!Ā I literally froze in place, and thought: “ummm, should we be sharing a room with this boy??” It would seem I do not have the best of luck withĀ shared hospital rooms, haha!

As it turned out, the boy had a surgery and the wound got infected, but it wasn’t contagious. It was actually a really sad situation – he was obviously in a lot of pain from all his groans and cries, he also had down syndrome, and his mother was quite belligerent with the medical professionals who came in and out, and the other woman in the room who was the boy’s grandmother. We really didn’t have to think long about whether we wanted to stay the night or not! :/

Over the next few hours, we syringe-fed Evie nearly continuously, and she took 5 ounces which was commendable. Soon after we had arrived at the pediatrics room, I needed to pump again, so I hopped up on the middle bed right next to her crib, since there was limited seating in the room. Evie’s nurse had left the room, and when she returned I was seriously reprimanded for sitting on a “clean” bed, which she lamented would now needĀ to be changed. Geesh, sorry…and thanks for the heads up!

In the pediatrics recovery room, taking a break from syringe feeding
She was so miserable :/
Her whole face was terribly swollen

After a few hours in the recovery room, I attempted to nurse Evie again, and this time she did much better. The nerve block had worn off just enough to regain function of her mouth/lips/tongue, but was still keeping her pain mostly at bay. It was slow going, but I was encouragedĀ she was able to breastfeed at all. Since Evie did a decent job nursing, her nurse decided she could be discharged. By this point weĀ were exhaustedĀ and ready to go home, so we were happy to receive this news.

We picked up her medicine in the pharmacy, and left the hospital. Predictably, we got lost and couldn’t figure out where we parked (I think we must be directionally challenged), so we walked in a circle around the hospital until we finally found it (this time, haulingĀ 5 bags and a baby)! Sweating bullets, we loaded up the car, and as we were leaving the parking garage, we got stuck at the automated parking machine because it wouldn’t accept our ticket. We motioned for every car behind us to go around, backed up, and re-parked so Sean could go back in the building to get help from someone. I really think we should have our own reality TV show…it would be awesome. Just kidding, it would actually be super boring.

We eventually made it home after a delightful trip in rush-hour traffic and a record-breaking wait at Chipotle, and then the real fun began…

Next post:

First Day Post-Surgery Update


Out of Cleft Field: Evieā€™s Cleft Adventures

1 Month Post-Surgery Update

Life is finally returning to a manageable state! EvieĀ still isn’t napping well and is fussy often, but I think this is more a function of her age, than anything surgery-related at this point. In the last week or so I began sleep training, because I decided enough time had passed since the surgery and she is now developmentally old enough for it. I’m sure those of you without kids are thinking: “what? you have to train a baby to sleep??” Yep, those little stinkers don’t come pre-trained to do anything…except maybe how to drive their parents mad šŸ™‚ Essentially, sleep training is allowing her to “cry it out,” and helping her learn how to self-soothe and get to sleep on her own (and back to sleep when she stirs), without my help. I’ll be honest, sleep training is probably my least favorite part of parenting (that I’ve come across thus far). Listening to a baby cry is the worst kind of torture for me…I would take Caleb’s shenanigans any day over listening to her cry, no contest. However, I do think the cry-it-out method is the best tactic (especially with two kids…is anything else even practical)?? I hate doing it, but I know it’s best for her (and us) in the long run.

So all in all, things are much better than they were. I’m glad Evie won’t remember any of this nightmare, because I think Sean and I will always have lingering PTSD from the experience!! (Speaking of nightmares, I actually had one last night about the whole ordeal)! Thankfully, the worst is behind us, and life is “normalizing.” I will still write a post about the day of her surgery, but the following is a hodgepodge of final thoughts about the experience, that I haven’t yet expressed:

I wish the operation wasĀ performed earlier in her life – closer to when she was 10-weeks-old, which is a standard age for lip repair. Or at the very least, sooner (it was originally scheduled for two weeks prior, when she was 14 weeks). I think the surgery wouldn’t have upset her so much when she was less cognitively developed, aware of her surroundings, and mobile (i.e. hadn’t begun rolling yet).

Sean and I have been speculating that Evie’s strong emotional reaction to her surgery may be an indicator of what her personality will be like. I’m wondering if she will be a sensitive girl, who appreciates routine and predictability, and has difficulty adjusting and adapting to new situations. Or perhaps she will struggle with anxiety – which would not be surprising – because the apple never falls far from the tree šŸ™‚ I guess we will have to wait and see if our inklings are correct!

If we could rewind time and do it all over again, we would have administered her medication very differently. She was on the Tylenol w/codeine for 5 days, and we should have only given it for a day or two at most, and then switched to alternating between Ibuprofen and regular Tylenol. In the ER, we were instructedĀ to take her off the Tylenol w/codeine completely (without substituting regular Tylenol), but the Ibuprofen alone was clearly not enough to manage her pain, which is why we put her back on the Tyco. In retrospect, though, I think regular Tylenol and Ibuprofen would have been sufficient. This way, we could have avoided the whole constipation debacle, and she wouldn’t have been so zombifiedĀ for as long as she was.

Finally, we want to thank our family and friends who prayed, helped with Caleb, and brought meals, coffee, treats, and care packages. The first 3 weeks post-surgery easily ranks in the top five most difficult experiences in my life, and you were a lifeline for us. I really don’t think we could have survived without you, and we are SO grateful for your love and support. We hope we can bless you in return in the future when you find yourselves in a season of need.Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Photos taken this morning:

Looks even better than a week-and-a-half ago!
Her lip looks even better than it did a week-and-a-half ago!
I finally rubbed off the stubborn stitch under her nose last night, but there's still a couple on her lip
I finally rubbed off the stubborn stitch at the base of her nose last night, but there’s still a couple on her lip


Cute girl :)
Cute girl šŸ™‚
As usual, big brother had to crash the photo shoot :)
As usual, big brother had to crash the photo shoot šŸ™‚
But Evie got him back by pulling his hair. And so the sibling rivalry begins!
…But she got him back by pulling his hair. And so the sibling rivalry begins!
We started the silicone gel strips today to assist with healing, which we'll apply for a few months.
We started the silicone gel strips today to assist with healing, which we’ll apply for a few months (that is, if we can figure out how to get them to stay on…why do we keep getting instructed to do impossible tasks!?!)
This is Evie's "I'm going to get you back for all this torture when I'm 13" face, haha!
This is Evie’s “I’m going to get you back for all this torture when I’m 13” face, haha!

PreviousĀ posts:

Evie’s Surgery Day Recap
First Day Post-Surgery Update
Second Day Post-Surgery Update
Third Day Post-Surgery Update
Fourth Day Post-Surgery Update
Fifth Day Post-Surgery Update
Days 6-10 Post-Surgery Update
3 Week Post-Surgery Update
1 Month Post-Surgery Update


Out of Cleft Field: Evieā€™s Cleft Adventures

Schooled by a 2-Year-Old

Last night, we managed to get out of the house and go to the Christmas worship night at church. We nearly aborted mission at the last-minute, because I knew an event like this would be really difficult with the kiddos. We decided to push through and go, because it is the only church-wide event all year (that I’m aware of), that children are allowed to attend, and I really wanted Caleb to experience worship as a church community. Sean front-packed Evie, and she did better than expected because she was mesmerized by the lights and sounds, but Caleb was as crazy as anticipated šŸ™‚ I spent the first 30 minutes chasing him as he ran down rows of chairs, dancing with him in the back, and full-body tackling him before he could run up the stairs into the stadium seating. (I was sorely mistaken when I chose to take Caleb, thinking he would be easier on me physically than holding Evie the entire time – ha)! Ā I contemplated leaving with him on several occasions, but I really didn’t want to, since 1. It had been a month-and-a-half since we had gone to church due to Evie’s surgery and I really missed worship, and 2. I didn’t want to take away a unique opportunity for Caleb to experience God.

Our friend Becky was singing in the choir and Caleb wanted to see her, so I decided to take him up closer to the stage (I know…a highly risky move). I noticed some empty seats in the front row on the far right side (I thought he might be more engaged if we were closer to the action), so I sat down with him and bear-hugged him so he couldn’t escape for half the time, andĀ jumped him up and down on my legs the other half (not so easy anymore at 2.64 years). It was exhausting, I was obviously more focused on keeping him under control than singing, and I kept wondering if he was bothering other people and making it difficult for them to worship.

After each song (and even during songs), Caleb clapped loudly and woo-hooed in the highest-pitched woo-hoo I’ve ever heard…it was really quite impressive (it was like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, but higher…back me up on this one, Bauer’s). He also kept turning around to loudly exclaim: “mama, we’re saying hallelujah!” After each disruption, I half-smiled nervously, glanced around to see if anyone noticed (they did), and sternly whispered to him – “Caleb, please stop [fill in the blank].” But in the midst of the chaos, God spoke to me through scripture. He said –Ā ā€œLet the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heavenā€ (Matthew 19:14). After all, we were there to celebrate BABY Jesus. I also felt Him impress upon me: Melissa, I know your attention is split and you can’t quietly focus, reflect, and worship Me like you once could before children, but I accept your worship just the same. You are doing your best to give what you have to Me, and I am loved through your love for this boy…and let the boy worship!

After that, I tried not to care what other people might be thinking, and I clapped, sang, waved my arms, and hollered as loudly as I could with Caleb. It was pretty cool, and my throat hurt afterward šŸ™‚ Life is so different now with kids, and God is constantly redefining and teaching me what it looks like to be in relationship with Him in the throes of life with littles. All I can say is – I’m sure glad God is a God of patience, grace, and understanding, because I definitely don’t have it figured out. I love God, I love my crazy boy, and I love that I got schooled by him through his reckless abandon, as he praised God in his special 2-year-old way!

He passed out on his floor afterwards...didn't even make it to the bed :)
He passed out on his floor afterwards…didn’t even make it into bed šŸ™‚

3 Week Post-Surgery Update

One of these days I’ll master the art of short updates and publishing them in a timely manner (yeah right), but until then (never), I apologize. If you want the cliff notes version, you can just read the first line of the next paragraph šŸ™‚

ThisĀ past week-and-a-half was another roller coaster ride, but overall, things are improving. Sunday and Monday (12/1 and 12/2), were equally as intense as the previous days, with Evie’s nap strike continuing and crying for most of the day. On Tuesday, we went to her post-op appointment with her surgeon, and that marked a turning point. Dr. Yokoo said her lip is looking great and healing as it should, so that was good news. Since that appointment, we have been applying vaseline to her scar and massaging it throughout the day, so it will continue to heal well. Dr. Yokoo also instructed us to pull down on her lip periodically since it will naturally pull up, but Evie is adamantly opposed to such torture (go figure), so we have all but abandoned that. As soon as all her stitches fall out (there’s still a few stubborn ones), we’ll apply silicone gel sheets to her lip over the next few months, to assist with healing as well.

The even better news we received at that appointment, was permission to ditch the much-loathed (by all!) arm restraints. Sean thinks we should keep them to show her, but I just want to burn them. Evie was obviously pleased by this, and immediately stuck her fingers in her mouth and began sucking, which made her a happy girl. On our way back to the car, she spontaneously laughed, and we’re pretty positive it was an expression of uncontainable glee over her regained freedom!

During the appointment, we also spoke with Dr. Yokoo at length about her sleeping difficulties and fussiness, and she thought Evie is simply reacting to her world getting turned upside down and dealing with a traumatic event, is uncomfortable, and just plain mad/upset. She did not think it could be due to any lingering neurological effects of the drugs or an unknown medical issue (which has since been confirmed by Evie’s anesthesiologist, pediatrician, and my uncle who is a retired psychiatrist…I like to cover my bases :)). Dr. Yokoo said Evie’s reaction to surgery is unusual, but not rare (although it is more common after cleft palate repair, not lip repair). She also speculated that Evie was highly irritated by the arm restraints (she had just learned to roll before surgery, and wasn’t able to for almost two weeks), and Dr. Yokoo also thought she was hampered by the inability to soothe herself in the ways she was accustomed to (i.e. sucking on her hands/using a pacifier). I really didn’t think Evie was old enough to be capable of such complex emotions, but I guess I underestimated her emotional maturity! šŸ˜‰ Dr. Yokoo did not think her disposition was anything we needed to worry about, and thought it would pass within a couple of weeks.

The remainder of Tuesday was a bit better than the previous days since Evie actually fell asleep in the car to and from the appointment in Richmond, but still difficult with fussiness. Even though she had use of her arms back, she had lost her ability to roll, which really frustrated her. It was really kind of sad that she had regressed developmentally due to the surgery. She has since relearned how to roll – which is a very good thing – since it is a particularly useful skill in this household to successfully dodge flying objects hurled by big brother!

Wednesday was a day of blessings. When we woke up, our heater, (which Sean had been climbing into the attic to restart manually on a near daily basis), finally stopped working altogether. We had already ordered the broken part, but it wasn’t set to arrive until Friday. And lucky us, a cold front was rolling in that day, and the temperature dropped to 26 degrees that night. Sean tried his best to fix it, but to no avail. We began praying that God would fix it. And praying and praying. After that, Sean decided to try one last-ditch effort and MacGyver’ed it – bypassing the electronics and safety shut-downs – and it worked! Not only did it work on Wednesday, but it kept running until we received the replacement part on Friday, and Sean was able to fully fix it. Praise Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide)!

That afternoon, Sean had to go back to work…which I was dreading. At that point, Evie had not taken a nap in an entire week that was not facilitated by a car ride, being held/rocked, or using me as a human pacifier (and even in these cases, she only slept for 45 minutes, max). I knew it was not practical to continue these nap-inducing tactics once I was on my own with both kiddos, so once again, I prayed and asked God to help her nap on her own. I laid her in the swing, and she fell asleep…and stayed asleep for 2 hours! It was an even bigger miracle than the heater working! šŸ™‚ Her afternoon nap didn’t go as well, but I was so stoked on the first nap, I didn’t care. A friend also came to help that day, and we were surprised with not just one, but two meals that night, which was amazing!

Now Thursday…well, Thursday was a doozy. Evie had become hoarse on the previous Sunday evening, and I figured it was due to screaming for four days non-stop. However, her voice was still hoarse by Wednesday afternoon, even though she had cried less on Tuesday and Wednesday (and it really seemed to me her voice should have recovered by then, if the hoarseness was due to voice overuse). I began wondering if Evie was sick (even though she was not exhibiting any sick symptoms), so I took her to the pediatrician Thursday morning. The doctor (not her usual one), checked her from head to toe, and determined she was not sick – her lungs, throat, and ears looked fine. She thought the hoarseness could be due to Evie’s crying, or possibly due to her vocal cords getting damaged from intubation during surgery. She told me not to worry about it unless it wasn’t going away, because that could mean Evie had polyps on her vocal cords. I had no idea what “polyps” were (hopefully I’m not the only one here), so I pressed her for more information. She began describing what they are (small growths), which sounded scary enough to me, and stopped mid-sentence to say – “I shouldn’t have said that…I don’t know why I said that.” For any doctor or doctor-in-training reading this, don’t ever say that to a patient or their parent. Just don’t. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss!

It was difficult to concentrate after that, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the scary growthsĀ Evie might have on her vocal cords. I fought back tears as I left, thinking to myself – “I just can’t handle one more thing right now.” When I got home, I researched all about vocal cord polyps and how they are fixed…which is viaĀ surgery. At this moment in time, the term surgery is a curse word to me, and I think I just about had a heart attack. My mother-in-law was at my house watching Caleb, and when she asked how the appointment went, I pretty much lost it. I just felt so beat up by the previous two weeks, dealing with one issue after another, that it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. These so-called “polyps” weren’t even a for sure thing, but I couldn’t even handle the possibility of them.

Searching for answers as to the cause of her hoarseness, I emailed the anesthesiologist who participated in Evie’s surgery to ask if her vocal cords could have been damaged due to intubation (a known risk). When Sean came home from work, I told him what the pediatrician had said, (which he took really well), and we prayed together for Evie’s hoarseness to resolve itself. I received an email back from the anesthesiologist just a few hours after messaging her (pretty amazing!), and she said she did not think it was due to the intubation, because the timing was not right (the hoarseness would have shown up earlier), and thought it was more likely due to Evie’s obscene amount of crying. After putting more rational thought into it, what the anesthesiologist said made a lot of sense, and I agreed with her. I was relieved the hoarseness was not due to intubation, but still concerned that it might not be temporary, and what that would mean. Exhausted, and feeling like I got hit by a bus due to a day’s worth of extreme muscle tension, I collapsed into bed at 8 pm with Evie, which is probably the earliest I have gone to bed since I was 10. What a day.

After more prayer and some decent rest (I say decent, because I probably could have slept for 24 hours straight), I felt better. It really is amazing how a new day can bring new perspective. I decidedĀ to give it over to God, and not worry about it. It took longer than it should have to arrive there, but I know this is a growth area for me, and longer is better than not at all. So long story long, I calmed down about it, and Evie’s voice is better now (the hoarseness comes and goes depending on how much she’s been crying, which tells me it is definitely a temporary condition due to excessive crying as I had originally suspected, and truly nothing to be concerned about). And even if it had turned out that she did have polyps and needed surgery, I know it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Bringing us to the present, the past week or so has been about the same in terms of Evie’s behavior. She is still experiencing a lot of difficulty sleeping and is fussy often, but is definitely screaming much less than the five days prior (thank the good Lord)!! Fortunately, last Friday brought an epiphany for me. When EvieĀ first began her epic freak-out, I had emailed my cousin to ask if she had experienced anything similar with her daughter after the surgeries her daughter had early on in life. She said no, but thought what I was describing didn’t sound too different from how all her kids acted around four months of age.Ā What she said got me thinking back to when Caleb was 4 months old, (which strangely feels like an eternity ago), and I vaguely recalled that he also struggled with napping and was pretty fussy at 4 months too.

Up until that point, I had only considered that Evie’s disposition could beĀ related to the surgery, and had not considered that her developmental age could be a factor. Rather than googling “fussiness after surgery” and the like, I googled “4 month sleep problems.” I came across this article about 4 month sleep regression, and as I read it, it sounded eerily familiar. Know why? Because I realized I read that same article when Caleb was 4 months old, and I was trying to figure out what was wrong with him – haha! Darn mom-affected amnesia gets me every time – I could swear the part of my brain responsible for memories was irreversibly damaged when I gave birth to Caleb. Granted, I don’t think his behavior at 4 months was quite as ridiculous, which is probably why I don’t remember it as well either.

I had Sean read the article, and after discussing it more, we theorized that what we have on our hands is the result of a perfect storm. We think Evie’s experience with a traumatic event (surgery, being drugged, and all the issues that followed with dehydration and constipation), mixed with her developmental age of 4 months, created a monster. Lol! Just kidding. Not a monster…just a very irritable, tired, confused, upset, and frustrated little girl. Poor baby šŸ™

This breakthrough has been a relief to me, because I’m no longer wondering if she’s suffering from PTSD, or if the surgery provoked multiple personality disorder in her – haha! Obviously I’m exaggerating, but I really was concerned that something was seriously wrong by the way she was acting and how many weeks it was lasting, and now I believe her crazy disposition at the moment is normal, albeit elevated due to atypical circumstances. As the surgery gets further behind us and she simultaneously grows older, I know things will get better and better. I mean, they have to…I really don’t think I’ll be ok with her sleeping in our bed until she’s 18 šŸ˜‰ So at the moment, it is still difficult – and I even shed a few tears again yesterday (during the whole 15 minutes I had to myself the entire day), because I think my kiddos were in cahoots to see who could break me first. Thankfully, after some prayer, a refreshing shower, and Dad to the rescue, I was (and am) feeling optimistic. But let’s just be honest, I am looking forward to moving past this stage and restoring some semblance of normalcy again šŸ™‚

Photos taken last Thursday (12/5), 2 Weeks Post-Op:






Photos taken yesterday (12/10):





Photos taken this morning at 3 Weeks Post-Op:


I think her lip is looking great!
I think her lip is looking great, even though it’s starting to pull up some

Next post:

1 Month Post-Surgery Update


Out of Cleft Field: Evieā€™s Cleft Adventures