Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Word is Out

Aaron is going back to school!

He put his two weeks notice in at his job so the word is finally out.

He will be doing a full-time MBA at Southern Methodist University starting August 10th, 2012.
Although this wasn't the original plan when we moved to Dallas, it has definitely proven to be the right choice for us. Everything seemed to fall perfectly into place as we moved towards making this decision.

We are excited for this new adventure and new chapter in our lives, although it does seem weird that after 4 years out of school we will be going back to the "student lifestyle" if you will.
SMU is in Dallas so we won't be moving (hallelujah) and we're grateful to be staying in our current area and apartment since we love it so much.

As of August 10th, we'll all officially be Mustangs.
Here's to new adventures and a whole lot of student loan debt!

Friday, July 27, 2012


After Christian was born, one of the first things the pediatric nurse noticed was that he was a little "tongue-tied." Meaning that his frenulum, or the skin underneath his tongue that holds his tongue down, came almost to the tip of his tongue. It gave his tongue a sort of heart shape and he could barely stick it outside of his mouth as evidenced in the picture below.
There are possibilities for difficulties nursing and future speech problems with babies who are "tongue-tied." However, that doesn't mean that he would for sure end up with a problem. Aaron and I decided to go ahead and get his frenulum clipped to avoid any possible problems down the road. I'm so glad that we did because the days before his appointment with the ENT I was solely pumping and bottle feeding because nursing was excruciatingly painful.

The procedure was pretty straight forward, and because he was a newborn he didn't need any anesthesia. My Mom had Grace and Aaron and I went to Christian's appointment together. Thank heavens Aaron was there, because a parent was required to stay with the baby during the procedure. I was in the next room over trying really hard not to cry my eyes out, and not succeeding in my efforts. The moment they left I started biting my lip in an effort to stop the tears. Aaron said he only cried when they held him down and put the device in his mouth, but not when his frenulum was actually clipped. I heard his crying and completely lost my marbles in the next room.

They brought him back wrapped in a white towel, to catch any blood, I nursed him and we waited for 15 minutes to make sure that everything was fine. Aaron and I laughed as we watched Christian discovering the new movements he could make with his tongue. He kept sticking it out of his mouth and moving it around.
 We packed our little man up and headed home to recuperate from our traumatic morning. And by we, I mean me, because Christian seemed totally un-phased.
Thankfully nursing has gotten so much better since his frenulum was clipped. And we also learned that being "tongue-tied" is genetic. When Aaron's Mom got here she told us she got her clipped as a baby. So Christian is a Barnard through and through.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I do still exist, I promise. Every day I have a mental battle with myself in regards to my "To Do" list. I have about 14 different blog posts that I want to write, Thank you notes to be done and sent, an apartment that really should be cleaned, amongst 17 billion other things. When I carve out some time where those things can be done, the #1 thing on my "To Do" list always wins: Sleep. I am in pure survival mode, and when there is a window of opportunity where sleep can be had, I jump on it like nobodies business.

This is a common sight at our house. Christian usually ends up in our bed after his first feeding of the day because the 2 foot walk from our bed to his bassinet seems too long at 7 in the morning. (read: laziness)
So for the time being please bear with me. There are lots of things to be written and documented since we left the hospital, lots of things I don't want to forget, (because heaven only knows in my sleep deprived state these memories won't stick in my brain) so there will be more posts coming at some point or another. Until then, I will be napping.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Birth Story: The After

Eventually the nurses came back into the labor room to finish up the routine things that the baby needed, we gathered our things together, and were wheeled to our post-partum room.
Our first order of business was to introduce Grace to her new baby brother. We had been referring to the baby by his name when I was pregnant, and it was nice to finally prove to her that "Baby Christian" was an actual person and not just my huge belly
We had gotten gifts for the two kids to exchange, and Grace was excited to finally give Christian his. Can you see her putting his gift into the bassinet in the picture below. I have to admit, it was hard to keep it together when I saw how sweet she was with him.
We spent the afternoon together as a family of four and then Aaron headed home with Grace for the night.

The next day was July 4th, I had Aaron bring Christian's festive onesie so we could kick our holiday celebrations into high gear.

We had some festively dressed visitors come by to meet Chrisitan.

Our wonderful friends watched Grace that afternoon so Aaron and I could spend some time together and with the new babe. Aaron brought an apple pie and we ordered some vanilla ice cream. We didn't see any fireworks, but we figured apple pie was a pretty good second best to celebrate Independence Day.
Aaron took Grace home every night, so both nights in the hospital it was just me and Christian. At first I was nervous to have it just be me, but this ended up being one of my favorite experiences. It was just me and my boy together. I didn't worry about anyone or anything else. Time wasn't an issue. We snuggled and slept, or didn't sleep. The hospital was quiet and peaceful and I soaked in every quiet moment knowing that the two of us probably wouldn't have an opportunity to do this again.
Although on the second night I was pretty delirious and couldn't tell the difference between my dreams and reality. I started talking to people who I thought were in the room and my talking woke me up only for me to realize that the room was empty and I for sure was talking to no one.
Aaron and Grace joined us for our final morning at the hospital. Grace was a huge fan of my bed and the cartoons playing on the TV.
But she also had a soft spot for her brother and helped when he needed to be burped.
Christian had his first blow-out that morning in the hospital which completely ruined his 4th of July onesie.
We got visited by the therapy dogs which were making their rounds through the hospital.
We packed everything up, (much to Christian's chagrin apparently)
Said goodbye to the incredible nurses (and I really mean incredible).
And after the most epic temper tantrum on the planet thrown by Grace on the car ride, we were finally home with our little boy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Birth Story: The During

At 4:00am my alarm went off and I rolled out of bed, not needing to hit snooze since I was already awake. Despite having crazy butterflies the day before, on this morning things were calm and peaceful.
Since I showered the night before I merely got dressed and straightened my hair. Because having a good hairdo is important for a safe and easy delivery (note the sarcasm). Okay, it's because I was attempting to look semi-put together. We snapped a picture a few minutes before we headed out the door to the hospital.
Since I was "past due" we didn't need to call ahead to see if there was room for us to come in. Past due, apparently, takes precedence when it comes to inductions. We walked in and the labor floor was calm and there was a group of nurses at the nurses station. They pulled my binder and got me into a room. While I "gowned up" my nurse Mary came in and started setting up. Since I wasn't in labor the process was easy and methodical. I was already in the system, so there was just some last minute paperwork to be filled out and put together. Mary set my monitors up and after awhile I started to notice that I was having Braxton Hicks contractions regularly. Mary informed me that they were 12-15 minutes apart. Although I secretly hoped it was my body telling me that today was the day, I took it instead as a good sign that this induction wouldn't be like Grace's at all.
Aaron grabbed some breakfast, and I started my "diet" of apple juice and ice chips. The sun slowly started to rise, and with every passing minute I was more and more eager to get the show on the road. After a few unfortunate attempts with the IV, it was finally placed and at 6:30am they started the pitocin.
I was checked before the pictocin was started and learned that my cervix and the baby's head were both pretty high still. In order to encourage the baby down I sat on a birthing ball. Please take note of the shape of my bed in the picture, Mary informed me that this position was called the "Queen's Throne." Who knew a hospital bed could do that?
The birthing ball was wonderful. It was nice to not sit on a stiff bed. While my contractions started coming Aaron and I chatted with Mary and watched the Today show. I bounced ever so slightly on my birthing ball and snacked on ice chips. After an hour or so the contractions started getting harder. I started breathing through them and finding a focal point.

My doctor came in and checked me. I was at a 4.5. While he was checking me, my water broke. It startled me and I started laughing which was causing the water to come out faster than my doctor was expecting. The whole situation struck me as hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing. After the doctor left I was talking to Aaron and said, "Can you believe my water broke when he was checking me?" to which Aaron responded, "That's because he broke your water, did you not hear him tell you beforehand?" It made the situation a whole lot less funny and apparently I have selective hearing.

After my water was broken my contractions became really intense really fast. Each contraction I had crept one number higher on my "1-10 pain scale." Suddenly breathing methods and focal points were traded for phrases like "Holy hell" (pardon my french) and me desperately gripping Aaron's arm and rubbing my face as hard as I could into his shoulder. Logical thought in any form or fashion was out the window. Aaron was wonderful as he let me grip the living daylights out of his hand and as he stood calmly with me and pretended like my sailor like language was totally lady like. I reached a point where I said "Nothing is worth this, I want an epidural." About 4 minutes later the anesthesiologist was there ready to go. I didn't feel a thing, aside from the contractions that made me want to snap my fingers right off. Rebecca, the anesthesiologist, was amazing and somehow got things situated so I could still feel my lower legs and feet but I couldn't feel the contractions. Once the medicine settled, my body was able to truly relax for the first time in nine months. Every pregnancy ache and pain was gone and the mere comfort of it all made me tired.
My nurse had to take care of something and left Aaron and I for an hour or so. We were fine to hang out with just us in the room. Aaron updated my Mom, my ever wonderful blog doula, and we took stupid pictures like this one. This was Aaron's drink, since apple juice and ice chips were my jam, but you best believe I wanted to be drinking this instead.
Around 10:30am I started noticing that the baby's heart rate was dipping a little bit. My nurse was still gone, and I hit my nurse buttons a few times to have someone come in to check that things were okay. Since things went south in my labor with Grace when her heart rate was dipping, I wanted to make sure that these dips weren't leading us down the "emergency c-section" path like last time. Each nurse came in and adjusted my monitors and assured me that everything was fine. Around 11:30am my nurse Mary came back and she had me lay on my side. I wore an oxygen mask to help the baby when his heart rate did dip. I was checked and was a 9.5. At one point I laid on my left side and the baby's heart rate was not having that at all, so I switched back to my right. At noon my doctor came in. He has a monitor tracking device linked up to his phone so he was aware of the dips that were occuring. He checked me and I was at a 10 but still had a little "lip" and he figured 30 more minutes would do the trick. I was a little bummed since I hoped we'd be delivering right then, but was fine to wait. My doctor didn't immediately leave the room, but instead stayed and watched the heart rate monitors. I could see the gears turning in his head and he said, "Nevermind, let's deliver this baby now." At first I thought he was just trying to be nice for my benefit, and I said "Oh that's okay, you can go eat your lunch if you want." And he laughed and said "Well when the baby's heart rate is dipping like this, it's better to have them out than leave them in."

The room was already prepped and ready to go. There was just my doctor, my nurse, Aaron and the pediatric nurse in the room. I remembered how oddly crowded with hospital personnel my room seemed to be when I had Grace and this time around I soaked in how quiet things were with so few people there. After a few pushes on my part, it was clear that the baby was getting stuck in my pelvis. As his heart rate dipped, the doctor was pretty eager to get the little man out. After more pushing, more dips, more attempts to get the baby's heart rate back up, my doctor got the vacuum out. I could see him using the vacuum to maneuver the baby's head through my pelvis and after a quick episiotomy and one last push, the baby was out. His cord was wrapped once around his neck which was the cause of his heart rate dipping. My eyes filled with tears and the moments before they laid him on my chest felt like hours. I could see his little hands and feet and desperately wanted to look at his face. They laid him on my chest and I fell in love. He was finally here, my little boy. He seemed so brand new yet so familiar to me.
They took him for a few routine things, a quick relief of his bladder while on the warming table, and his measurements. We all took bets on what his weight was. The doctor and nurses both commented that he was a "big boy" but I wagered low and said he would be 7lbs 11oz, Aaron guessed 8lbs 3 ounces. He was 8lbs 7oz, 20 and 1/8 inches long.
I was stitched up quickly and they brought the baby back to me to do skin to skin. Both the nurses and the doctor left to give our little family some quiet time to be together. It was by far my favorite part of the whole experience. It was just the three of us, all other tests would be done later, his bath would be later but right then it was just us in the moment savoring the arrival of our sweet boy. He screamed and cried for a majority of the time and Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Once his lungs were a little more clear, he calmed down.

He was here. And we could finally announce his name: Christian Clark

July 3rd was an incredible day. It was a birth experience that went 110% better than I ever expected. Despite having the cord around his neck he made a quick, safe, and easy arrival and I was so happy to have been in such good hands with the doctors and nurses. My boy had made his debut, and life was very very good.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Birth Story: The Before

This should really be called a "Birth Saga" since there are three parts and more pictures and information than the standard person would want to know. But that has never stopped me before, right? So here is the Birth Story: Before.

Looking back on my labor and delivery with Grace I realized how medically involved it was. I was in labor for 12.5 hours, I had contraction and fetal monitors on the inside of my body, Grace's heart rate was all over the place, and I was about 15 minutes away from an emergency c-section. At the time I didn't know any different and assumed it was a relatively smooth experience, but looking back on it I wasn't too happy with how everything went. I felt like my body wasn't ready to go into labor and the pitocin caused funky contractions and an unnecessarily stressful experience. I decided when I got pregnant this time that I would just let my body go into labor on it's own and that would result in a more positive experience.

As evidenced on this blog I had many a Braxton Hicks contraction. I falsely assumed that these so-called "ineffective contractions" were actually effective for me and would result in an earlier delivery than what my due date predicted. The last few weeks of my pregnancy these BH contractions started getting pretty gnarly and were resulting in periods of false labor. I went to bed every night wondering whether or not I would be able to get any sleep. Getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night always resulted in two hard contractions. It was miserable.

At 38 weeks I got my membranes stripped and a few days later I lost my mucous plug. I walked almost daily and we tried all sorts of things to throw my body into labor. Every appointment that I set up for other things I would think to myself, "There is no way I will make this appointment, I'll definitely have the baby before then." But sure enough, I made every single appointment. At 39 weeks I had my membranes stripped again. And we tried all of the labor methods again. The weekend of my due date I started to break down. I kept getting random hard contractions during the day but never anything that remained consistent. Every time I got one I would think "Finally, this is labor starting." And it would stop. One night I was in the bathtub reading and I started getting consistent contractions. I tried to not get my hopes up, but as per usual, about 40 minutes later they just stopped. I burst into tears. I was exhausted and cranky, swollen, and hot. The next morning I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. I was relaying all of my complaints to her. Stating how miserable it was to watch everyone around me go days if not weeks before their due date and I was just about past mine. I had an out of body experience where I felt like I was so miserable that I was making everyone around me miserable as well. No one wants to hang out with a Debbie downer, am I right? That afternoon, I broke down and sobbed yet again (I blame hormones....). After a conversation with Aaron I decided that I was going to pull the trigger and talk to my doctor on Monday about getting induced. If I went into labor before then, then that would be wonderful, if not, then I knew there was an ending point. After I made the decision I felt a million times better.

On Sunday my due date hit. Nothing. On Sunday night I got a contraction so hard that it brought me to my knees and I thought, "oh my gosh, here we go." Nothing happened. Don't worry, I handled the situation maturely- I cried. On Monday Aaron took the day off to come with me to my 40 week and 1 day doctors appointment (the appointment I never thought I'd make it to). Apparently a sonogram is required once you are "past due" to make sure the baby is okay. We were informed that our little man was doing well and was "definitely still a boy," was approximately 8lbs 8oz, and we got our last and final sonogram picture.
My doctor walked into the room and said "When are we getting this baby here." And I responded "As soon as possible." I was still dilated to a 3 and 60% effaced. I expressed my concerns about getting induced and not wanting an experience like I had the last time. My doctor assured me that my body was more than ready to have this baby and that my experience should be more favorable. Although, I was still a little on the fence about things, I told him to go ahead and schedule an induction. We left the office and got a call while we were eating lunch. "You are all set and ready to go for an induction at 5am tomorrow July 3rd."

We spent the rest of the day together as a family a three. We had our "final meal" at Costa Vida

We went for a long walk at the mall (one last ditch effort to throw me into labor). Then got home and got Grace ready for bed. She was spending the night at a friends house and staying with them while Aaron and I would be at the hospital. I had to start fasting at 9:00pm for the induction so while Grace was in the tub we ate cookies and had milk. (I was also in the mood to spoil Grace and give her anything she wanted).

I took my last pregnancy belly picture: 40 weeks.
We got Grace settled at our friends house and we hung out with them until we were sure Grace was good and asleep. We drove home, finished setting out our things for the morning, set our alarms and went to bed.

For the first time in a while I got a good chunk of sleep. At 3:35 I woke up to use the bathroom. I couldn't go back to sleep, I knew that at 4:00am my alarm would go off, and we were about to get this party started...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meet Christian

He's Here!!!!!!!

Christian Clark Barnard
8 pounds 7 ounces
20 1/8th inches
12:13 p.m.
July 3, 2012

Pictures to follow


not the weight.
Everything is set up and ready to go for when
the doctor gets there.
Things are happening much quicker the second time around.
We may have a baby soon!

High Risk

I guess when you are dilated between 6 and 7
you become a "high risk" for 

Important Information

Blessed Relief

Epidural is in.

No Turning Back

Water is broken.
Kara's at a 4
There's no turning back.

Contractions Coming

Aaron is enjoying breakfast.
Contractions are coming 2-3 minutes apart.
Kara is doing well, and says she is now needing to breathe through them.

Pitocin in Place

The IV is in place.
The pitocin started at 6:30 a.m. (CDT)
Last labor was 12 1/2 hours from this point.
Kara's hoping for half the time this go around.


This is Kara's mom or better known as her Blog Doula.
I am in such high demand (this is my second job in three years) that I now telecommute.
I am in Virginia Beach on vacation while Kara is in Texas having her baby.
With Aaron's help, I will report on Kara's progress as she gives birth to Baby Boy.
Below is Kara walking into the hospital this morning.
Stay tuned.  More information to follow.