Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer's Finally Here!

We had a really LONG winter in Edmonton this year and it's been somewhat of a cool summer up until now. Summer has finally arrived!!!
Every two years we have a huge Smith Family Reunion which is something I always look forward to. It's a great time to catch up with everyone and have a great time! Our extended family continues to grow and this year's family reunion in Fairmont, BC did not disappoint! For awhile I wasn't sure if we would be able to attend after I found out my due date with Blake was two weeks before the reunion. I guessed that I would likely be overdue again and would be cutting it close but I insisted that we be there. A lot of people thought I was crazy, but 5 days after Blake was born we headed out on our little adventure. We drove to Calgary and thought we'd give everyone a break for a couple hours. We met some good friends at a spray park for a picnic and had a hard time getting Zach to leave.
At that point, we thought we were doing so well as Zach had been amazing up to that point and Blake had slept the entire way! We left Calgary right at Zach's nap time, expecting him to sleep at least a couple hours. Unfortunately we didn't plan on Blake waking Zach up about 10 minutes into his nap and screaming at least 2 out of the remaining 3 hours we had left. I spent the rest of our ride literally squeezed between the boys, trying to entertain Zach and keep Blake happy. Welcome to the world of having two kids - just when you think you have things under control ...

Well, we arrived just in time for supper and had a great visit with everyone. This is a skit my mom organized of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'. Sooo hilarious ... but you had to be there :)
These two boys sure had a blast together!
Zach just loves his oldest cousin Lauren. You gotta love a spontaneous dance party in your pj's!
The boys were being Grandma's big helpers in making a yummy cake.
We spent a day at Wasa Lake. Zach preferred to spend most of the day on the beach. He really doesn't love being in cold water .
Blake enjoyed a snooze in the shade.
Lauren was finally able to get Zach out on the water and he loved it ... as long as he wasn't 'in' the water!
My dad sacrificed some sun time to sit with Blake in the shade.
After the reunion, we stayed for the rest of the week with all of my immediate family. They had a great pool at the condos but Zach only wanted to sit in the hot tub.
What a cool dude on his sweet ride!!
We had such a great week! Mark golfed a lot , Zach had a blast with his Bennett cousins and I was able to relaxed and enjoy lots of time with Blake. Thanks Mom & Dad for a fantastic vacation! I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend a week as a new family of four.

As if I didn't feel spoiled enough, my parents came up the following week to stay with us for a few days. My mom helped me out with the kids and my dad helped Mark with some of our basement renovations. Here's mom getting in some cuddles with her newest grand-baby.

Zach (and his mom) was desperately needing some play date fun a few weeks after Blake was born so we had some friends over for a pool party. So much fun!!!
At the end of August I decided to make the trek down to Lethbridge by myself with the kiddos. Luckily for me, I found a young woman last minute that was needing a ride down to visit her family. Zach has recently become my little parrot and repeats EVERYTHING we say. He didn't end up napping (thanks again to Blake) so we had a full 5 hours of commentary from the backseat. I'm used to it, but by the end of the trip, I'm sure she was ready to lose her mind!!
We spent a week enjoying time visiting with my parents, Kaleigh and a few good friends.
Blake is getting sooo big - it's hard to believe he's a month old already!!!
Zach had his first experience playing fetch with some dogs.

We timed it perfectly and were able to enjoy the Lethbridge Whoop-up Day Parade with some friends. Zach loved to wave at all the firetrucks and cars, but did get a little upset when the loud sirens would surprise him. I hope we can catch it again next year!

Zach got his first taste of Taber corn ... I think it was a hit!

We also got to celebrate Brody's 2nd birthday while we were down. Kaleigh did an AMAZING job on the cake and we had a great time at the Sterling Swimming Pool afterwards. Happy Birthday to my favourite nephew :) Love ya!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby Blake

After many requests to hear Blake's birth story - here it is. Hopefully I haven't shared too much info ...

I really didn't know what to expect from this delivery. With Zach I delivered naturally, with midwives in the hospital. I knew that this experience would be quite different as it was my second and I was delivering with an Obstetrician. Although this time I definitely wasn't opposed to an epidural, I wanted to just see how things progressed on their own first. I'm not going to lie though - I was definitely more terrified this time around! I think it's worse when you know what's coming. They say you forget, but the memories came back with a vengeance with the first contraction!

I was booked to be induced the day after he was born as he was 9 days overdue. I tried everything in the book to get labour going, so when I felt my first contraction on Friday evening (2 days before my induction appt) I felt both utter excitement and pure terror. The contractions were coming quite regularly, every 7-10 minutes, and finally at 3am I got up and showered and got the last few things ready to go. I thought I'd be having this baby by noon for sure! Much to my dismay, the contractions became quite sporadic around 6am and I spent the day with contractions coming every 10 min - 30 min. Talk about frustrating! Mark's mom came to get Zach in the afternoon just in case, and shortly after 3 pm the contractions came in full force.

It was just after 6pm that I told Mark that we should head to the hospital as I was sure I was over 4cm. I made sure I had everything and was ready at the door when I called out to Mark that I was ready to go. When I didn't hear a response I went looking for him and found him in the basement shredding paper ... of all things (he'll never live that down)!! He didn't think that when I said I was ready to go I literally meant - NOW! He was also hesitant to go too soon, knowing how frustrated I would've been if they sent us back home. With a slightly unimpressed wife we headed out the door and were on our way. When we arrived to the hospital at 7pm the nurse checked me to be at 6cm. Woohoo! The pain wasn't all for nothing! Within a few minutes the Dr. came in and she said I was already at 7cm.

At that point they asked me if I wanted the epidural. I struggled with the decision because if the labour kept progressing as fast as it was I figured I could do it without any meds. I was so scared of having the same thing happen as Zach and get stuck at 9 1/2 cm for 3 hrs. I was having pretty painful back labour again and had one brutal contraction that helped me make my decision - bring on the epidural!! The anaesthesiologist was right outside the room and what took him 5 min to start the epidural seemed like an eternity ... but what a miraculous feeling!
Mark just laughed and said, 'I told you so!', since he though I should've had an epidural with Zach. He said that one of us was getting an epidural this delivery - if not me, then him! I guess I wasn't the only one traumatized by our first labour experience. Ha!

I ended up being VERY grateful for the pain relief as I was stuck at 7cm for almost 5 hrs. Blake was face up and not budging. They kept having me roll back and forth to see if that would help, but Blake's heart rate kept dropping quite low. Around 10pm I started feeling an intense urge to push with each contraction, even with the epidural. I was still only 7cm but it became excruciatingly painful and finally I had to have my epidural topped up. This time I was so numb I couldn't move at all. The painful urge to push still didn't go away but it did take the edge off. It was just after midnight when the nurse checked me again and I was still at 7cm, but regardless of what we did we couldn't get a good reading on his heart rate. Quite a few nurses were running in and the Dr. came shortly. She went to place an internal lead in Blake's scalp to monitor his heart rate when she realized that I was actually now 10cm! What a relief!! After a few pushes our newest little man was born at 12:34am on July 24!

He weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 20" long. After being checked over I got to hold him for the first time. This was such a special moment for me and I am so grateful to have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy.
Daddy getting to meet his new son for the first time.
They let me stay for 1 1/2 hours in the labour and delivery suite to rest before taking me to the postpartum unit. I stayed in a 4-bed room, so Mark had to head home shortly after we arrived. As one could guess, I didn't get much sleep that night, but I enjoyed many cuddles with my new little man. I literally just sat and stared at him for hours.
We had a hard time trying to decide on a name for our baby. A week before he was born we still had a list of 13 possible names, so I made Mark sit down with me and make a short list. We still had a few names on the list when he was born, but within a couple minutes of meeting him we were pretty sure we knew which name fit best. It's so much pressure to name your child so soon after meeting him!! Dr. Ballerman asked what we decided and we told her the two names we were debating. She took a long look at our son and stated firmly - 'He definitely looks like a Blake' and the medical student and nurses also agreed. And so it was decided ...


It was so special to find out a couple days later that my Grandma Bennett, who passed away when I was 8 years old, had always loved the name Blake and had always really wanted a grandchild with that name.

Finally headin' home after a whopping 12 hours in the hospital.
With the timing of my discharge from hospital and Zach's nap, it worked out better to just have Mark's parents bring him to our house to meet his new little brother. It was so precious to watch Zach's reaction to seeing his new little brother for the first time. He was so intrigued by Blake's little squeaks and noises. He has no idea that his world has been changed forever more!

Our first photo as a family of four. This is still so surreal to me!
Blake meeting his Grandpa Darrell Corie who he was named after.
Blake is still unsure of what to think about his big brother. His eyes get so wide whenever Zach is near. It might have something to do with the fact that Zach always talks super loud to Blake and loves to give him constant smothering cuddles.
Meeting his Great Grandma & Grandpa Aylwin

I love my smiley boys :)

We had some professional photos taken shortly after Blake's arrival by Curtis Round. Here's a random sampling:

I am even more outnumbered in our family now, but I couldn't be happier! Mark and I have been so blessed and we love our boys so much. Mark has had this week off and has a couple more to spend with us at home. I know it is still too early to tell, but the transition to two kids has been going fairly smoothly so far. We'll see how it goes after Mark returns to work.
He has been so absolutely amazing this week and takes Zach out a couple times everyday just to give Blake and I a chance to rest. Mark is such a great daddy and I love to see how excited Zach is to be able to spend more time with dad. I love my little family so much!!