Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Newest Member of the Steen Clan

Last winter I was down in Utah talking with my boss. He had recently bought a vintage Coke machine, something I had always wanted. I told him how I had long hoped to acquire an old Coke machine. That's when he told me that he actually had TWO Coke machines (such is the opulence of my boss's lifestyle). He offered to let me have the other machine for a paltry $100, the price he paid. So last February, we made a return trip to Utah, loaded the machine into the Suburban and brought it back to Idaho. There it sat in our garage for roughly 4 months while I slowly and methodically took the machine apart, labeled every piece I could, and cleaned roughly 30 years of coke syrup off it in preparation for sanding and painting. The Coke Machine before I got some auto paint from a body shop, a paint gun, and rented an air compressor and primed it and painted it over a couple of days in our garage. I had never done anything like that before so I was pretty nervous. Aside from some pretty horrendous bondo spots that I didn't sand down too well, the machine looks pretty good. The finished product: The Coke decals were custom made at a local sign shop and cost me as much as the machine itself. After getting it all put back together I was relieved to find it worked perfectly. And the coin mechanism is set to 25 cents! What a bargain!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Samantha Jane

Daddy and I arrived at the hospital just a few minutes after 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, April 17th.  We are always running a few minutes late.  It’s something we’ve been working on, but haven’t mastered the art of being early or even on time.  I had planned on being 10 minutes early, so that hopefully I could get back before the other women scheduled at 7 as well.  They took us back to a birthing room.  I had never taken a tour of the hospital prior to this, so it was all new to me.  My nurse’s name was Wendy.  She was wonderful.  Aunt Mary (who is a labor and delivery nurse in Maryland and was with me for Matthew’s birth) was keeping close tabs on me through text and asking me for details on how they were proceeding with your induction.  She would give the approval and give me advice on when to get the epidural etc.  I let my nurse, Wendy, know what was going on and she was very supportive.  Wendy had my IV hooked up by 7:50 a.m.  She couldn’t get my vein near my elbow to show, so she put it in lower, closer to my wrist.  It actually hurt quite a bit and I ended up with a nasty bruise for a week afterward.  That morning I noticed that my uterus was actually contracting on it’s own every 10 minutes or so.  Mary recommended that I get my epidural before Dr. West broke my water.  I was planning on it and let my nurse know.  She said she totally agreed.  She thought Dr. West would be by around 11 or 12 to break my water, so we would get the epidural between 9 or 10 a.m.  That would give me a few hours to labor on my own which Dr. West recommended.  When Matthew was born, it was my water breaking that sent me into the hospital to have him, so I never considered the doctor having to break my water. 

Wendy hooked me up to the pitocin soon after I received the IV.   She started me at 6 milliunits as per Dr. Wests instructions.  He wanted her to increase that by 2 units every 15 minutes or so.  When I let Mary know, she was taken back a bit and said that was pretty aggressive.  I told her that Wendy agreed and said she planned to take it a bit slower.

I started out rocking on a birthing ball.  After some time doing that, Matt and I took to walking the halls.  We ran into Dr. West around 9 a.m. and he was ready to break my water!  We were definitely surprised as we weren’t expecting that until 2 or 3 hours later.  So much for getting the epidural before then!  After Dr. West broke my water, I decided to get in the Jacuzzi bathtub to labor for a while.  I told the nurse I wanted my epidural at 10 a.m.  That gave me almost an hour.  The tub had a timer on it for the jets.  It was for 20 minutes and I would watch the minutes go by, counting down until the time I could get that epidural.  I was glad to be in the hot water.  My contractions started coming less than 2 minutes apart and the jetted hot water seemed to help lessen the pain as I breathed through those contractions.  I had Dad rub my hand at one point to take me mind off of the pain.

I got out of the tub just before 10, so that I would be ready for the anesthesiologist.  He was running late!  I was so annoyed.  I was in a lot of pain.  I asked Wendy if she had any tips on breathing and she said, “Just don’t stop breathing!”  Around this time, Grandma Shipley, Aunt Holly, and Uncle Steve showed up.  Your cousins, Kristina and Danielle took school off to come to our house and watch Matthew that day.  When the anesthesiologist showed up to give me the epidural they had everyone go out.  There was a 3rd year medical student shadowing Dr. West that day, so he wanted to see the epidural given.  It seemed to take longer.  Finally by about 10:30, I had the epidural in me!  I waited too long again.  I don’t know why I always feel like I have to prove something, like I should experience some pain to show that I am tough.   By this time my cervix was at a 5 and 95% effaced.  I was so relieved!  I actually did that on my own, without the epidural!  With Matthew, after spending hours in labor and the most uncomfortable overnight, by the time I got the epidural, I’m pretty sure I was not even to a 3. 

Uncle Steve and Dad gave me a beautiful blessing that all would go well and that the veil would be thin as I delivered you.  That you and I would have a special bond.  Within about 30 minutes I was already to a 9!  You would be here before noon.  I couldn’t believe it.    By 11:30, I was feeling a lot of pressure and getting uncomfortable.  Wendy called Dr. West to come.  He and the medical student immediately suited up.  That meant that you were ready to come!  I asked for a mirror so that I could see you coming as I pushed.  Grandma Shipley and Aunt Holly got on either side of me to hold my legs.  The doctor asked them to help count as I pushed with the contractions.  Grandma would get distracted and start counting slower and slower.  I tried nudging her with my leg to speed up!  We all got a good laugh after I told her how slow she was counting!  When your head appeared, Dr. West showed me and had me touch it before I pushed you out.  After 11 minutes of pushing, you arrived!  Again, the doctor was surprised at your size.  He thought you’d be no bigger than 8 ½ pounds.  I just make big babies!  I even exercised much more with you than Matthew and tried to eat less ice cream and chocolate.  It just didn’t make a difference.  You were a beautiful, healthy baby and that is all that mattered.  They immediately put you on my chest so I could hold you.  You were perfect!  I was so happy to finally meet you and to begin our life together!

We stayed in the hospital for just one day.  Because you were a bigger baby, they had to take your blood sugar levels 5 times, every 3 hours to make sure that they were high enough.  Luckily, you passed every test.  The Casos girls were all able to come see you the first day along with your big brother.  Matthew was excited to kiss your head.  For some reason he cannot say the word sister.  So he calls you “baby mister.”  He can say Samantha just fine.  He prefers to call you “baby girl.”  I think that’s because that is what Daddy calls you the most.  He always called Matthew “baby boy.”

Matt received this black eye a few days prior playing church basketball.  It didn't even occur to me to explain that to the nurse.  She asked me at one point if everything was alright at home.  She wanted to make sure we didn't have an abusive relationship etc.  Looking back, it all makes sense :)
Aunt Holly and Samantha
Grandma Shipley with baby girl
Dr. West 
Ordering dinner
So happy to have you here and in my arms!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Induction

I struggled with the decision on whether or not to get induced for several weeks.  My doctor was worried about the size of the baby as my first (Matthew) was 9 pounds 7 ounces and my belly was consistently measuring 4 weeks ahead of schedule for the last few months.  I was definitely ready physically to be done.  I had about made the decision when I happened upon a blog post by a popular Mormon blogger who said that inducing our babies was taking from them their first act of free agency.  That really bothered me and I definitely pondered it and prayed about what to do.  Originally, Dr. West wanted to induce me 2 weeks before Samantha's due date, but when the time drew nearer, my body was just not progressing enough to feel comfortable moving forward.  I didn't want to be in labor for hours nor have to endure a c-section if possible.  The week before her due date, things still weren't looking favorable.  We went ahead and scheduled the induction for the following Tuesday, only two days before Sam's due date.  I came in the Monday before the day for a check-up and luckily, things were progressing.  By the time I cam in at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, I was contracting on my own every 10 minutes.  This made me feel much better about my decision.

After arriving at the hospital.  Ready to get going!

My amazing nurse, Wendy, getting the birthing table ready.

 If you look at the monitor, you can get an idea of how strong my contractions were.  This is post-epidural, hence I am lying down and smiling.

 Matt by my side.  He got a finger to the eye playing basketball a few days before this.  I forgot to tell the nurse that's what had happened.  She asked me after the delivery, in private, if we had any issues with abuse at home.  It didn't even cross my mind then that she was probably thinking of Matt's black eye.  I just said, "Oh no, no problems."

 Holly & Steve came to support us. Unfortunately, Steve was on call that day and had to get back to his hospital.  He missed Samantha's arrival by less than 15 minutes.

 This is me relaxing after the epidural.  Thank goodness for modern medicine!  I made it to a 5 and 95% effaced on my own though.  I can be proud of that right?  I spent more time in labor without it than with it.  But, oh it was totally worth getting and why do I always wait so long to get it?!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our First Big Snowfall (and Maybe Last)

We have been waiting and waiting here in Idaho for some snow to play in.  It finally came.  I was getting really worried that we'd never be able to put to use that snowsuit I purchased for Matthew several months ago.  As soon as Matt got home from his hearings, I sent him out to play in the snow with Matthew.  Being pregnant, I wasn't going to fit into my snow pants and I figured it is just much easier for Matt to move around out there and build a snowman.  Thank goodness he works from home, or I would have had no option but to go out.  It started raining later in the afternoon and on through the night, so the snow didn't last long.  That snowman started melting and falling over in less than an hour after they'd built it.  At least we have proof that it snowed and that we (they) played hard!

The ski resort here, Bogus,  had it's latest opening in 69 years of being open due to the lack of snow.  I hope we get a few more good storms in before winter is over.  I have to admit, I really enjoyed the rain the few days following this snow storm.  It rarely rains here and so I was smiling all day as I drove in the rain.  It reminds me of Pennsylvania and the people and beauty that I miss there.

Matthew all dressed for the snow.  He was pretty upset to be put into all of that gear.  Once he got out in the snow he realized Mom had good intentions after all.  He got frustrated with the gloves and Matt eventually took them off so he could make better use of his hands.

Matthew and daddy rolling the first ball for the base of their snowman.

The finished product!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Maple Creek

We decided to head to the cabin for Memorial Day Weekend. Matt and I left in the early afternoon and we arrived about the same time as my parents who were driving up from Utah. Holly and Steve left a few hours later and ran into some problems with the lights on the trailer that was towing the four-wheelers back to the cabin (Steve borrowed the four-wheelers to go hunting over the winter), so didn't get in until 1 a.m.!

Saturday morning, Jericho woke up early thus waking up Matthew. Holly and I ended up in the car with Jericho and Matthew trying to fall asleep and having a hard time of it after Sienna and Capri decided to join us and were arguing with each other :) We decided at 8 a.m. it was safe to go back inside.

We spent most of the day Saturday riding four-wheelers and playing games. It wasn't super warm yet at the cabin, so our hands would be freezing after riding for some time. Jericho's favorite thing about the cabin are the four-wheelers. He calls them "yellow" since they are yellow. He was riding them almost constantly throughout the day as we all took turns taking him out. Sienna likes the four-wheelers almost as much as Jericho, so she spent a lot of time taking Jericho for rides.

I wish I looked as good as Kayla sans makeup! This is one of the best things about being at the cabin - you don't have to look pretty and you don't even have to shower if you don't want to.

Matthew and Kayla

Matthew figuring out how to wear headphones and look cool!

Jericho actually fell asleep while Holly was taking him out for a ride. His head was bobbing up and down with the bumps and poor Holly was trying to steer and keep his head from hitting the front of the four-wheeler! Unfortunately he woke up before we could get a picture.

Playing Settlers of Catan. I won almost every game!!! Skills or luck? Maybe a little of both :)

Saturday night, Jericho woke up at 2:40 a.m.! Unfortunately the walls in our cabin are not at all sound proof. Poor Holly took Jericho outside in the pouring rain, bundled him up in a blanket and sat him down on her lap and proceeded to slide down the wet stairs until they were at ground level and she could take him to the car. She went back up for pillows and sleeping bags and they stayed the rest of the night out in the car (Jericho falling asleep after playing the I-touch for an hour and a half). It got colder and colder that night and in the morning when we all woke up in the cabin we were trying to figure out where Holly was. We looked outside and it was snowing! We figured out Holly must have gone to the car with Jericho again. Matt & Steve went out at 8:15 to yell down to Holly that it was okay to come in.

We had our own spiritual meeting Sunday as the roads were too slick to go down into Franklin for church. There was a news report that it was to snow again that night, so while we had intended to stay another night, we decided it was best to leave Sunday evening while the roads were clear. Had to get our men back to work safely for Tuesday!

Not sure what Matthew is doing here, but I thought it was cute!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Leisurely Bike Ride

Matthew loves sitting in the back of Jericho's bike. A few of us decided to take a bike ride through Holly's neighborhood and check out the duck pond. I rode right behind Kristina to make sure my baby boy was safe.

He did pretty well, except for the occasion when he'd stand up and I'd yell at him to sit back down. Kristina realized afterward that he may have been imitating her when she'd stand up to pedal the bike.
When we got to the pond, he made a b-line for the water.

Danielle, Matthew and Kristina

Aunt Holly caught up to us in the middle of our ride.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jumping in for a Bath!

We were at Holly's house the same day we had gone to the zoo and Jericho had to take a bath that night. While we were all hanging out in the family room, Jericho came traipsing in sans towel. At just about the same time I'd been wondering where Matthew had disappeared to. Holly ran after J-boy to get some clothes on him and glanced over into the bathroom to find Matthew in the tub with all of his clothes on having a great time in the water!

The water was still dripping out of the faucet and he was filling this cup and drinking it.

When he saw us he promptly plopped down into the tub and then turned around and did a belly flop on the tub floor. He is a silly guy!

I found a sweater in the diaper bag to put on him. Here he is in one of his favorite spots - shhh . . . don't tell Grandma Karen that he just loves her computer!