Oliver’s Birth Story

8 Jun

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A year ago today, I gave birth to Oliver Michael Jones. It took me a year to share Charlie’s birth story, so why would it be any different this time around? To be honest, in the craziness of having two kiddos now, I’d give myself complete permission to wait until Oliver’s SECOND birthday if it weren’t for the fact that my mind would probably have completely forgotten every detail of his birth at that point. So instead, I’ll go ahead and make this happen!

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Oliver definitely kept us guessing. When I was 37.5 weeks along (trying not to expect it but hoping that I would go into labor at 38 weeks just like I did with Charlie), I started having major contractions. All the signs were showing up, to the point that we took Charlie to a friend’s house to spend the night and Caleb and I began getting everything ready at home. Then, we waited. And things tapered off. Late that night, we finally went to sleep, and when I woke in the morning everything had stopped.

We picked up Charlie that morning, went to the park, and when we got home, there was a message from Caleb’s brother. We called him back and he told us that the night before, Caleb’s Grandfather, Pap Pap, had passed away. Pap Pap was incredibly special to all of us and while he had been dealing with health issues as he got older, it was still a shock. We knew then that God had nudged Oliver that it was not yet time for him to arrive, so that we could have some space to mourn the loss of Pap Pap and celebrate the incredible life he lived.

As the next couple of weeks passed, I would get hit with random bouts of intense contractions, but every time I would decide that maybe this was it, they would slow again and space out. Everything was looking good, thankfully, Oliver just couldn’t decide what he wanted to do!!

Finally, on Saturday (June 6th), contractions started again and this time, something just seemed different. I tried not to get my hopes up but I was pretty certain this was it. I would be 40 weeks that Monday and couldn’t believe I was still pregnant. Things were fairly quiet that day, but I cleaned a bit to try and distract myself. I went to bed early, not knowing what to expect.

On June 7th, I woke up at 4am, with things feeling a bit more consistent. I was excited because June 7th was Pap Pap’s birthday, and Caleb and I had talked about how crazy it would be if Oliver waited until that day. I rang the midwife and she came around 5am, checked me, and agreed that this was probably it! She was about to finish her shift and told me she would send another midwife in a couple of hours. Right before the second midwife came, I was timing contractions and they were getting really close together. But in a perfect example of how environment and people can affect the progression of labor, as soon as she came in and started checking me, they stopped. I had never met her before, she was super matter-of-fact (which was fine later but initially came off as a bit rude) and I didn’t feel totally at ease with her. She told me to give her a call when they got closer together again and get some rest in the mean time.

Charlie went to church with a friend of ours and Caleb and I went for a walk. It was a beautiful day and it was really nice to be outside, even though I would end up majorly leaning on Caleb every time I had a contraction. When we got back, I started using the birth ball and some of the exercises on Spinning Babies to try and get Ollie into a good position and hopefully speed up the labor. It worked, and around 7pm, Caleb left to get Charlie from our friend’s house (I was so thankful he was being looked after and having fun) and I called the midwives again. This time, they sent two midwives to stay, along with a midwifery student who happened to be on call for observation. They arrived while Caleb was still out and helped me get the TENS machine wires on. I had never used one before, but they are popular here and I was really glad I had rented one. It’s about the size of a remote control, and has electrodes that are attached to four thin adhesive pads, which you stick to your lower back. When you turn it on, it causes a slight buzz, and when a contraction starts you can push a button to intensify the buzz (kind of like a bunch of grasshopper wings going super fast, if that makes any sense!). It’s a really nice distraction when contractions get intense.

Caleb called to let me know that he and Charlie were on the way, so I had the midwives go “hide” In the kitchen so that Charlie wouldn’t be confused. I sat on the stairs and was able to give Charlie a hug goodnight between contractions, which I was really glad for! I think it helped him settle for bed a lot faster. Once he was asleep, Caleb and the midwives started filling the birth pool. I spent most of the time in the living room on or near the couch, relaxing and going back and forth between the birth ball, or leaning onto a pillow on the couch. I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting in the tub because I felt like I got in too early with Charlie and that was part of what slowed things down with his labor.

Things were getting SUPER intense around 10:30 and I laid on the couch with Tycho turned up really loud in my headphones. I was definitely in the zone, and it was only later that I realized I was definitely in transition at that point. I came out of it a bit, had some popsicles and vitamin water, and when the midwife checked me, I was at 9cm! I was elated and so glad that it was time to get in the tub. I took off the TENS machine pads and got in the water (which Caleb had worked incredibly hard at filling, between using our tiny sink tap and carrying down bins of water from the bathroom). It felt AMAZING. Seriously, hydrotherapy is a wonderful thing. I relaxed in the water and then stood and held onto Caleb in between contractions. It was almost midnight, and I was really hoping that Oliver would be born that day so he could share a birthday with Pap Pap.

The midwife explained the gas and air to me just in case I wanted it. I hadn’t necessarily planned on using it, but had agreed to have it available just in case. She set it up and showed me where to inhale. Then, I had a contraction and my water broke—all of a sudden I was in a totally different zone. I asked for the gas and air, mainly because I wanted to trust my body and not overthink pushing. It worked really well and I was able to relax and let the contractions do all the work. It’s hard to describe, it didn’t really change the pain but just made everything a bit fuzzier around the edges when I was breathing it (probably for a total of 10 minutes or so).

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I had Caleb hold my hands/wrists to support me. I couldn’t not push, I felt completely out of control and driven by instinct. After two or three contractions, it was the most intense and I reached down to feel Oliver’s head. Within seconds his head was out! I knew there was a flurry of activity all around me preparing for him, but I just listened to Caleb and to my Midwife. I took some breaths, exhaled slowly and let his body turn while the next contraction came. And just like that, he was out! I kept saying, ‘You’re here! You’re here! You’re finally here!” It was so incredible; he was so soft. It was 12:23am. The student midwife took photos and later I saw that his eyes were open in the water, and he had one hand up to his face (he still loves being able to suck on his hand). I spent some time with him in the tub before they cut his cord. After I got out, I delivered the placenta and then I got all cozy on the couch and nursed Oliver. He latched on perfectly and was so sweet and snuggly. He weighed 6 lbs, 13 oz. Charlie only woke one time; right after I had given birth and there was some commotion, but Caleb was able to get him right back to sleep. He was so excited to meet his brother in the morning and kept saying, “Ol-i-ler came out! Ol-li-ler is out now!”

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I was so thankful to be able to have Oliver at home. I felt so comfortable and relaxed the entire time, and I’m so glad that the NHS is supportive of home birth. Taking a shower in my own bathroom and cuddling up with my new baby in my own bed was pretty amazing (although Caleb did all the hard work of putting away the birth pool and getting our kitchen back to normal).

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As much as we had hoped that Oliver would share Pap Pap’s birthday date, I’m really happy that he was born on June 8th. He has is own special day, but since he was born in the UK, it was still only 7:23pm in the US. Which means that technically, at the moment he was born, it was still Pap Pap’s birthday. I can’t wait to tell him all of our favorite stories about Pap Pap and how lucky he is to share in his legacy.

 

Oliver: Eleven Months

4 Jun

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At 11 months, Oliver…

:: Has started wanting to carry things around with him, meaning he will either hold them in his mouth like a puppy, or do this side-scoot crawl so he has one hand free.

:: LOVES oatmeal, bananas, curry, chili. Still does not like eggs…that’s about it. Everything else goes right in.

:: Wants to eat rocks. And also to tip over the bucket of water that catches a leak in our back yard. Because of this, his outdoor time in our back yard is fairly limited…

:: Has started to really enjoy being tickled.

:: Does NOT enjoy being tossed up into the air (as some babies do). I tried it again recently and he nearly burst into tears.

:: Has decided that he’s a little bit more ok with this whole “sleeping” thing. Not completely, but a little bit.

:: Has four teeth and the beginnings of two more on top (Incisiors I think) poking through.

:: Is getting thicker hair, with a little bit of curl to it.

:: Could spend an entire day chewing on clothing tags. Or eating all the paper, if I would let him.

:: Wants my phone and the laptop more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD if it is within his reach.

:: Has started actually caring when Charlie takes things that he is playing with and expresses his displeasure while trying to take said things back.

Oliver: Nine and Ten Months

3 May

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Combined post because the past two months have been such a blur! At nine and ten months, Oliver…

:: Has this really fun position that he likes where he’s up on one knee with the other leg diagonally to his side. Very yoga-like and very cute.

:: Loves paper. Oranges. Hot Cross buns.

:: Likes to gouge my face with his sharp, tiny fingernails. Or pull my hair, if he’s lying next to me for a nap and can’t fall asleep.

:: Still super fascinated by Charlie.

:: Has been a super velcro baby lately, not wanting me to put him down or leave the room. I blame teeth.

:: Is starting to enjoy being “dipped” upside down for a moment, but still doesn’t like too much motion (like being thrown up in the air).

:: Visited Rome and was fawned over by every Italian woman over the age of 50. “Dulci!” they would exclaim.

:: Speed crawls. To the point that sometimes he’ll faceplant because his legs get ahead of his hands.

:: Cruises all over the place. He’s starting to bridge some of the gaps at wider and wider distances by barely even touching the furniture.

:: Babbles like crazy, with new sounds showing up constantly.

:: Likes riding in the ergo on my back like a koala bear.

:: Has two top teeth and two bottom teeth, with more threatening to break through at any moment.

:: Growls. Not at anything consistent, but it cracks me up.

:: Has a super cackly-laugh/giggle that I wish I could bottle up.

Oliver: Eight Months

1 Mar

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A little late, but at 8 Months, Oliver…

:: Is a total live wire. Kid cannot be contained. The only way he will happily stay in my arms is if he is A) tired B) held while I am standing. If I sit down, he immediately tries to wriggle free, and getting him dressed/changed? It’s ridiculous. I’ve already started with the standing diaper changes as he won’t stay on his back for more than a millisecond.

:: Has two bottom teeth. They were not fun but glad they’ve finally come through!

:: Still adores his brother and will cross a room at lightning speed to get close to him.

:: Is starting to work on standing on his own — just for a few seconds at a time, then back to cruising around on the furniture.

:: Has a super adorable laugh that I just can’t get enough of.

:: Loves oranges. Not a fan of purees (which I actually tried a bit this time — Charlie was Baby Led Weaning all the way). Likes bananas but isn’t totally sure about their texture. Big fan of cucumbers, not super interested in much of the other things i’ve given him (but he’ll try nearly anything).

:: Had a bout with pinkeye (conjunctivitis) in both eyes, which was super sad but thankfully didn’t keep him down too much.

:: Loves to bounce up and down if I’m holding him. Also loves to bop and “dance” in his high chair if Caleb starts doing similar motions.

:: Is a chatterbox. The variety of noises and words that he puts together are so much fun to listen to.

:: Has an obsession with trying to eat paper and plastic. He will go to great lengths to acquire them and is very, very unhappy when I take them away!

:: Likes to play peek-a-boo in the bath tub and gets really excited about it, laughing and splashing the water.

Oliver: Seven Months

25 Jan

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At seven months, Oliver…

:: Has tasted lots of different foods but not really been interested in actually eating any of them. He’s been most excited about licking/gumming on an apple, but I think that was more of a teething thing. I’m hoping to get the high chair out of the attic tomorrow so he can have a little more space for BLW (Baby Led Weaning) while the rest of us are eating. I’ve been trying to give him tastes of things but meals are always so involved that I feel like it just doesn’t happen as easily.

:: Is a lightning fast crawler. He started crawling a couple weeks before he turned 7 months and is such a pro. It’s a little scary. He’s already into climbing over things, going through tunnels, etc.

:: Has gotten a bit more serious. Exploring the world is an important job! There was a definite shift once he figured out crawling from being totally entertained and goofy all the time to making “discover all the things” his number one priority.

:: The exploring has also led to him pulling up to stand and even starting to cruise on the furniture or whatever he’s able to pull up on. Which in turn has led to multiple daily bumps when he tips over or loses his grip.

:: Loves his brother. He will follow Charlie anywhere and is always the most interested in whatever Charlie has. Charlie, while much more tolerant of Oliver than he used to be (I could even say he likes him a fair amount of the time), is not such a big fan. He tends to freak out when Oliver is touching him, or very passionately declares his ownership of whatever item Oliver wants to touch. Totally normal toddler/baby sibling stuff, and as long as there’s no threat of physical harm, I try to stay out of it. I’m enjoying watching them build their own sibling relationship and every day brings a new shared experience for the two of them.

:: Has started to say “ma ma ma” a little, especially if he’s with his dad and seems to want me. I’m not 100% convinced he’s making the connection but it does seem like he means me when he’s saying it!

:: Thinks his reflection/image his hilarious. Anytime I let him look at himself on my phone he just giggles and grins.

:: Has had his first tooth break through. Finally. The poor kid has been a drooling mess for weeks, and his sleep…well, it’s not been pretty. But now that I can feel the entire top ridge of his first tooth, I’m hoping maybe his mouth will start feeling better. I’m definitely ready for him to sleep better, and I’m sure he is too.

:: Is getting a lot more hair — I feel like it’s coming in more quickly (and darker) than it did with Charlie. I still can’t tell if it’s curly or not, but since Caleb’s genes seem to run stronger in him, I think he’s got pretty good odds.

Oliver: Six Months

2 Jan

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At six months, Oliver…

:: is a pro at scooting. He can go across a room in minutes if he’s got the right motivation.

:: has the crawl position down. He likes to get up on all fours and rock back and forth, followed by a scoot forward and then into army crawling territory.

:: almost has the sitting position figured out. I’ve let him do his thing and without any help from me, he’s been working on backing up from his crawl position onto his bottom and propping himself up with his hands. He has this awesome semi-reclining greek-esque pose where he’ll use one hand to investigate a toy and the other to keep his balance. I love all the fun little positions that happen in between the bigger developmental milestones like crawling and sitting.

:: is ticklish. I try not to bug him too much but it’s a lot of fun to give his chunky legs a little squeeze and watch him chuckle.

:: hasn’t really eaten much food yet. It’s been a busy month and the timing just hasn’t worked out for him to really get started on solids. He’s had a few bites of sweet potato and gummed around on a banana, but I’m looking forward to seeing what else he enjoys once we get back in the regular routine of things.

:: Loves to see what his older brother is doing. Nothing makes him scoot faster than Charlie playing with something cool in his general vicinity.

:: Is wearing 9 month clothing and still covered in rolls. He’s not massive by any means but what a little chunk.

:: Has thoroughly enjoyed all the attention from his adoring relatives during our travels in the USA.

Oliver: Five Months

15 Nov

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At five months, Oliver…

:: Has started scooting (?!). I know. Not far yet, and it takes him a lot of work, but it’s all he wants to do right now. He’s got major crawl action going with his legs, getting on his knees and everything, but hasn’t figured out that he needs to push his upper body up at the same time. I’m excited for him but, yikes! I’m not ready for a mobile baby! It’s hard enough watching the two boys with one still staying (generally) in one place.

:: Also enjoys rolling around, doing what we call the “skydiver” pose (lying on his stomach and putting his arms back, whilst puffing up his chest and looking around), grabbing his toes, and trying to chew on everything.

:: Is still toothless, although he has started to get some toothy texture in his lower front gums. I can almost feel them poking up, but it could still be ages before they appear.

:: Received his passport and his BRP visa, which means we are all heading to the USA soon for an extended visit. Unfortunately, his BRP visa will expire at the same time as all of our visas (in March), meaning I have to reapply (and re-pay the $1000 fee) for him along with ours. Yuck.

:: Still wiggles, wiggles, wiggles. Nonstop. I’m a bit nervous about how he’s going to do on our long flight to the US, because he loves moving around on the floor so much and often tries to arch out of my arms if I’m holding him. Hopefully we’ll luck out and get the bulkhead or a bassinet attachment!

:: Discovered how much fun it is to screech like a pterodactyl. He will grin like mad and make the wildest noises. Also not super fun on an airplane…

:: Smiles at anyone and everyone. Which will hopefully make up for any disruptions he causes while flying. He grins away the second someone smiles at him, causing all sorts of baby talk and exclamations from old ladies when we are in town.

Oliver: Four Months

17 Oct

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At four months, Oliver…

:: Has a super cute laugh. I mean, pretty much all babies do, but of course as his mom I find Oliver’s particularly grin-inducing. It takes a little work, but once you have him smiling enough, it’s bound to happen (squeals and all).

:: Has a cold. Just a small one, thankfully, mainly with watery eyes and some extra coughing. It’s been going around as the seasons are shifting, and I’m just hoping that our upcoming travels will help us avoid some of the other bugs that start multiplying like crazy over here.

:: Got all his paperwork in! We are hoping to head back to the USA for a visit over the holidays, and due to Caleb’s brother getting married just before Thanksgiving, we’ve bumped up our travel plans a bit. We had to rush everything but so far it seems like we will probably get Oliver’s passport just in time for our travels.

:: Enjoyed traipsing around London. We had to go to the U.S. Embassy in London to file a number of different forms in order to make Oliver an official U.S. Citizen (still seems crazy to think that he will always be telling people that he was born in Wales). It was a long day and a half of bus travel, riding on the tube, waiting and more waiting, but Oliver didn’t mind and even enjoyed wiggling around on a blanket at the British Museum.

:: Is really, really wiggly. It takes me forever to get him dressed or changed because he just doesn’t stop moving around. Right now his favorite thing is to grab his toes, and every time I move him back to start putting his trousers on, he grabs them again. And again. And again.

:: Loves texture. He’s an especially big fan of different fabrics and still loves to pull them over his head.

:: Loves watching his older brother. On days when Charlie is out doing something with his dad, Oliver is always extra needy. But if Charlie is around, he is as happy as a clam just being a spectator.

:: Started rolling over! It seems like he’s been practicing all month long, but just yesterday he used his crib bars to help push himself all the way over, and today he’s done it 3-4 times in different places. I’m really excited for him (he seems so pleased with himself), but I am also hoping his mobility stays low for a while.

:: Hit the 4 month sleep regression (Google it if you need to, not fun), and hit it hard. He was happily falling asleep on his own (Charlie didn’t do that until he was nearly two) really well for the past month, and would almost always sleep a really nice long stretch for the first part of the night. Now it takes lots of re-assurance, there are tears no matter what, and he’s waking up about a bajillion times a night. There’s a lot going on for him developmentally right now and I know that his sleep cycles are changing, but I will be very glad to be past this phase. Especially because both boys have started getting up at 6am (they were normally waking around 7/7:30am) and we have a time change coming up, not to mention a massive amount of jet lag and major change in routine! Here’s to coffee…

:: Really enjoys talking to himself and is starting to make new noises all the time.

:: Is solidly in 3-6 month clothing and still covered in rolls. I love it.

Oliver: Three Months

17 Sep

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At three months, Oliver…

:: Is so very happy and smiley. It doesn’t take much — just look him in the eyes and smile and he will grin right back!

:: has an incredible sense of wonder. He loves to inspect every aspect of the things around him, and will focus on fabrics for ages. He just generally seems very impressed by the world around him.

:: likes to “sing” and chat. All those cute baby noises, I just can’t get enough!

:: Is going to sleep on his own at night! I am still completely in awe, and I fully understand that his sleep habits can and will change as he grows, but for right now, we do our bedtime routine, I tell him goodnight, and he goes to sleep without so much as a peep. Charlie always needed a lot of cuddling and I don’t think he went to sleep completely on his own until he was past two (except for a random few weeks around 5 months). Oliver just has a totally different personality, and it will be interesting to see where his sleep journey goes. But for now, I am reveling in the fact that by 8pm I normally have two sleeping boys who will stay that way until at least midnight. Gotta enjoy it while it lasts (the four month sleep regression is just around the corner).

:: doesn’t like long naps. Maybe it’s because he sleeps so soundly at night, but during the day it’s rare for him to sleep more than 20-30 minutes at a time. He usually wakes up quite happy (and at this age, short naps are pretty normal), but I am hoping some nap consolidation happens soon.

:: Enjoys touching his hands together. He discovered they could reach together last week and now loves to watch himself touch them together, or sit and hold them across his chest, looking very dignified.

:: Wants so badly to roll onto his stomach. He’s been working really hard on it and can get all the way on his side. I’m cheering him on but also trying to relish his current (relative) immobility.

:: likes to scoot backwards. He can actually get pretty far (but it takes him a long time) by doing this push back with his legs. I have a feeling he might end up being a bum shuffler before he crawls (Charlie pretty much went straight to crawling).

:: Really enjoys pulling blankets over his head, especially when he’s in the pack ‘n play in the kitchen. There’s a (breathable) blanket over the sheet to make it a bit softer, and he loves to grab it and pull it over one side of his head. Charlie and I joke that he’s making his own little fort before fixing it for him.

:: continues to be a bath maniac. Sheez. I feel like I never want to miss a moment of bathtime with him, he is so excited and wiggly and giddy. The grins! The laughs! It’s like he remembers being born in the water and made a special connection with it or something.

:: is on the way to become “legal.” We have an appointment at the London Embassy in early October to file for his passport. We are hoping it will come quickly so we can get his UK visa and enable him to travel.

Oliver: Two Months

20 Aug

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At two months, Oliver…

:: Is so chunky. He has BACK rolls. I can’t get over it.

:: Started wearing 3 month clothing. Which is mind-blowing when he’s wearing stuff that Charlie wore when he was closer to 6 months!

:: Has chilled out a lot. He’s super happy and enjoys just chilling in his pack n play whenever we are in the kitchen. He loves light and shadows and has just started trying to reach things that are near him.

:: Finally figured out how to poop in the morning (see my previous post). Thank goodness. He still tends to wake early to take care of business, so to speak, but he’s gotten the hang of it and made my mornings much better.

:: Smiles like crazy! We’re starting to get some goobery-almost-laugh noises recently and I’m loving it.

:: Is really wiggly and now scoots and shifts into new spots if I leave him on his blanket for a few minutes.

:: LOVES the bath. I’m pretty sure he’d live in it if he could. He gets a really peaceful look on his face when I first put him in, then starts kicking wildly and grinning like a nut.

:: Enjoyed spending lots of time with his grandma (my Mom) during her visit last week. I’m so glad my parents were able to come and hang out with the boys, and it was really nice having some extra sets of hands for a bit.

:: Has already endured a few wounds from his brother, but nothing serious. Charlie is still working on finding the line (or rather, not crossing the line) from gentle pats and tickles to pokes that are not quite so nice.

:: Looks more and more like his dad every day.

:: Visited London! He mostly napped but did seem to really enjoy watching the fountains at the gardens in Buckingham Palace.

 

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