Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jaedyn Amara Carlson: Born 5/15/2013

Jaedyn Amara Carlson was born at 6:35am on May 15th, 2013. Mom and baby are both healthy, in good spirits, and gorgeous. She was 6 pounds 15.7 ounces and 18.75 inches long at birth.

She was due on May 7th, and Kyla's doctor recommended an induction at 41 weeks to avoid complications with the delivery. We tried several things to induce labor on our own. Kyla's doctor recommended "walk walk walk walk sex" (her words, not mine). I asked if it had to be in that order. In my own words, "I got her in there, and now I'm going to get her out the same way!" Alas, the baby was quite happy to stay inside Mommy well past her due date in spite of our best efforts.

We got to the hospital at 7am on 5/14, and Kyla was started on a Pitosin drip to induce labor around 8:30am. Kyla wanted to try to give birth naturally, but a side effect of inducing this way is that contractions can be more painful than labor without intervention. Kyla's mother and I tried to help as much as we could through counter pressure on her hips and massaging other parts of her body during her contractions.

By 11am, contractions became more painful and frequent as labor officially started, but Kyla toughed it out with no meds until around 7pm. At about 7pm, they gave her some Fentanyl through her IV. However, the pain was still too great, and she opted for the epidural around 8pm. It took a little bit to kick in, but Kyla was soon a lot more comfortable and things went more smoothly from then on. The labor went on through the night, and we watched some TV and movies to pass the time in between contractions. By 3am, Kyla was ready to push, but the doctor on call and most of the nurses were doing an emergency C-section on another patient, so we had to wait another hour. At 4am, Kyla started pushing. I held one of her legs at first during the initial pushing, then switched to acting as counterweight at the foot of the bed and pulled on a blanket that Kyla pulled on at the same time. She pushed that sucker out like a boss.

After two and a half hours of pushing, the baby was finally delivered. The labor officially lasted almost 20 hours. I initially thought the idea of cutting the cord was gross, but after seeing everything else, that wasn't a big deal. ;) Kyla had gotten precious little sleep during the labor, and I had gotten none. I was able to squeeze in 45 minutes after the labor, but neither of us really got much sleep until late last night, and right about that time the baby decided it was about time for her to feed like crazy. She's been a voracious little booger ever since. We're both still really tired, but we have a healthy and alert baby, and that's all we can really ask for. We're already about to be discharged (finger crossed), and Kyla is going to try to walk for her graduation (again, like a boss). Have I mentioned how adorable our brand new baby girl is? She has her mother's dimples (and her dad's love of breasts and tendency for the occasional blowout).

As part of the naming process (which we take very seriously), we've decided to dedicate a theme Bible verse that fits with their given name. Jaedyn means "God hears" in Hebrew, and Amara means "eternal" or "forever." Taken together they become "God always hears." We felt that the following from Psalm 116:1-2:
I love the Lord for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Prenatal Doctor's Appointment #8

Jaedyn is still doing well. She kicked the doctor again when she was listening to her heart. She is now head down with her back on Kyla's right side, rump at the top right, and hands and feet off to the left. Both of us got TDAPs on the spot, which was super convenient. I'll probably stop with the prenatal doctor's appointments going forward unless there is any significant news as they will increase with frequency and decrease with major milestone announcements.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Birthing Class #4

Today was our last class. We talked about caring for the baby. We had little baby mannequins and a basket full of typical products used to care for the baby. The instructor asked how many people had never changed a diaper. I was the only one in the class that raised my hand -- due to my defiant retort to any of my siblings wanting me to change a diaper that I would never do it until I have to. Well now I have to, apparently...

Those baby head washer bristle brushes are awesome. I could just sit there stroking them all day. They need to make a full body version. Just sayin'.

I wiped the mannequin (front to back!!!), changed the diaper, and yes, even swaddled it. I'm the best swaddler of any swaddler that has ever swaddled.

We talked about circumcision. Some of the couples having a boy asked a few questions. I was interested in the topic, so I asked how long after birth they do the circumcision. In spite of what Kyla will tell you (and what I jokingly said on the car ride home), I did not forget that we are having a girl. I was just ... interested.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birthing Class #3

Today we talked about the actual birth of the baby. We also discussed the whys and hows of C-sections. I could barely stay awake.

Prenatal Doctor's Appointment #7

The regular doctor was out sick, so we saw a physician's assistant instead. Jaedyn's heart rate continues to be on track.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pregnancy Scare #3

Kyla experience severe abdominal cramping for 2.5 hours. We didn't go to the emergency room, but Kyla asked the doctor about it on her next visit. No problems, just stuff stretching.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Birthing Class #2

Today we got a little more in depth about what actually happens during labor and how to handle it. It was Valentine's Day, and the instructor brought goodies!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthing Class #1

Today we started our birthing classes. There will be one a week for four weeks, each 2.5 hrs long. We decided to do the one that the hospital offers. Kyla had also been interested in a 'no meds' hippy dippy birthing class. After talking with some people that had gone through the former, she found out that it discusses the both meds and no-meds option and doesn't necessarily promote one over the other. While a natural birth is our goal, we also recognize that it is safest to have modern medicine readily available should the need arise. We are not interested in having to drive to a separate location should something go wrong during labor.

Side note: we watched "The Business of Being Born" a couple years ago. It was interesting, but I still have nightmares of Ricki Lake naked in a tub giving birth. Shudder.

There are 8 couples in our class. We started with the customary awkward ice breaker. I hate the ones where you have interview your neighbor and introduce them. I'd rather just freaking introduce myself. The couple we 'interviewed' wanted to just exchange pieces of paper instead of being interviewed. Sigh. Ice-breaker fail.

I found it interesting that exactly half the class was south Asian (Indian or Sri Lankan), whereas Austin apparently has only about 2% of those ethnicities. <racist comment>We chalked it up to the hospital's location, which is smack dab in the middle of several large IT headquarters.</racist comment> In all seriousness, though, every single one of them had a tech job (ok, maybe one of them was doctor or something). So there.

Also among the notables was a former NFL player that sat right across from me. I only mention this guy because I could tell that he found this whole class as hilarious as I did, and we exchanged many an awkward glance when something was said that screamed out for a snide comment to be made, but we knew we had to bite our tongues and let it go. And how many of those cases there were! I mean, that I got through these classes without going through fits of laughter is nothing short of a miracle. Moving on ...

The first class dealt mostly with the basic stages of labor. At the end, we did a breathing and relaxation exercise, which basically meant we turned down the lights and listened to some new age music overdubbed with an annoying British woman's voice telling us about the state of our consciousness. My favorite was when she literally paused for a full second mid-word. "You are now slipping into a state of nothing----------------ness." I just about lost it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Prenatal Doctor's Appointment #6

Had a blood test for disease screening (CBC, HIV, and glucose). Jaedyn kicked the doctor when getting her heart rate checked out. She's feisty! Heart rate and size are average. Jaedyn is mainly to the left with limbs facing to the right, which is why Kyla feels the most movement there. Jaedyn was extra wiggly for the rest of the day because of the sugar from the glucose test.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

State of the Family 2013

We started this blog 2 years ago as a way to keep our friends and family informed about what's going on in our lives. In truth, we haven't been great about doing that, but I'm hoping that will change with so many things happening in our lives. A lot of families send out Christmas newsletters at the end of the year, and we've been meaning to join in that tradition. But instead of printing it out and mailing it, we've decided to just keep everything online. So here is the first of what I hope is many annual online newsletters.

Looking Back on 2012: The Year of the Dragon

2012 was a busy year for us. Kyla continued to pursue a Master's of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is on target to complete her degree and become a pediatric nurse practitioner in the spring of 2013. It hasn't been easy on her, though. In addition to going to school full time, she's had to complete clinical hours while also working part-time at Dell Children's Hospital, even during the hot summer months.

Our beautiful black labs (Daphne and Lily) are doing well. Lily was diagnosed with an intrahepatic shunt in the summer of 2011, which caused her to intermittently seize. Our vet referred us to the A&M Veterinary Hospital to get it checked out. Instead of a costly surgery that was not guaranteed to fix the issue, we chose instead to try to manage the issue through medication and diet. We are grateful that Lily has not had any visible seizures since. Daphne continues to be in good health as well, though we are concerned that she may have arthritis as once in a while she seems to be in pain when walking.

I (Jake) got LASIK in March of this past year, and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I continued to (slowly but surely) work toward my Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design (AKA Graphic Design). Ever since I quit my full time job at HomeAway in 2008 to grow my web design and development business, I've been following a general pattern of attending the Texas State University part-time for one semester a year. Due in part to fatigue of formal education and also out of the need to avoid the embarrassment of my wife getting her Master's before I get my Bachelor's, I increased my hours at school, attending part-time in spring, summer, and fall. I am now on course to graduate at the same time as Kyla in the spring of 2013. Unfortunately, my shift in focus has caused me to have to scale back my work hours.

Some respite came in August, when we forced ourselves to take a well-deserved vacation in Canada. For the better part of 2 weeks we criss-crossed Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island in a series of rental cars. We saw L’Anse aux MeadowsGros MorneOld Town Lunenburg, Grand Pré, and Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was near the end of our trip that we learned that Kyla had conceived our first child, a girl. While welcome news, the burden on her body made the fall semester all the more difficult to cope with for her.

We nonetheless managed to get to the winter break. We visited my family in Minnesota for a few days over Christmas before returning home for a quiet and uneventful New Year's. On our trip, we finally decided on a name for the baby: Jaedyn Amara. While we're glad 2012 is over, we look forward to reaping the rewards of our labor in 2013 (pun intended).

Looking Forward to 2013

Our New Year's resolutions mostly center around our physical health as this past year has taken its toll. I was plagued by persistent illness due to overwork and lack of sleep, and on more than one occasion was responsible for getting Kyla sick in turn. While my work habits haven't changed much over the years, my body's ability to cope with them has deteriorated. I will be 30 years old next October, and simply put: I can't keep staying up late whenever I please anymore without consequence. I spent many a late night this past fall working on school projects or work for clients. I also ate terribly, all too often resorting to fast food on my hour commute to and from school. In this coming year, I am going to try to be better about keeping a more regular schedule. Kyla (and my body) will thank me for it, and hopefully I'll be a lot more healthy as a result.

2013 is shaping up to be very eventful for us. We will welcome our first baby into our family, and we will both graduate with the degrees we have long been pursuing -- all within the span of a couple weeks in early May if all goes according to schedule. While neither of us is so naïve to think that being first time parents will be easy, we do look forward to not having to worry about school for the foreseeable future. After Kyla completes her maternity leave over the summer, we anticipate that she will be presented with many lucrative opportunities to put her new title as pediatric nurse practitioner to work. I look forward to refocusing my efforts on growing my business and perhaps hiring on a few employees to help with the workload after the baby is born. Daphne and Lily are eagerly waiting for Jaedyn!

Happy New Year, and may 2013 bring ever more blessings to you.