Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009 Review

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 Weeks

(Thanks Chira for the cute sleeper!)
Wow, where does the time go? Myra is now 3 weeks old, 9 lbs 4 oz, and has grown 1 inch!

And as you can see, she gets more darling every's the truth!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

To You...

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone. Hope you all had an excellent one. Love you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Break

Reading & Relaxing

Baking Yummy Goodies

Snuggling My Myra

Watching Movie, after Movie, after Movie

I absolutely LOVE Lazy Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Rare Treat

The boys were ecstatic to wake up and find SNOW!

Boy was Glade jealous of Jimmy's transportation to school!

Our own little Frosty. Jimmy was truly heartbroken when we put Frosty's hat on and he DID NOT come to life!
And our precious Myra stayed warm all bundled up inside.
We had a fun day in the snow. Now pushing the stroller to the store in the snow...not so fun!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Difference #5

Myra being weighed...I love her little feet poking out!
#5. Kraamzorg : Postnatal Care

Kraamzorg is a program unique to the Netherlands. For the first 8-10 days after the birth of the baby, a trained maternity nurse comes to help the mother and baby. Most (if not all) of the costs are covered by the insurance. The amount of hours you receive varies depending on your situation. I was given 49 hours of care throughout 8 days.

The nurse is there to help with all sorts of things. She does pretty much everything: changing diapers, checking stitches and the uterus, weighing the baby every day, checking temperatures, making meals, doing grocery shopping, cleaning the house, washing laundry and dishes, giving advice, etc. She even writes in a special diary for you with notes about your and your baby's progress.

It was nice to have extra hands to snap pictures like this one and the ones below.

Here is Glade, my little helper, tickling Myra and "showing" her the bunny!

I have to admit, I was a little nervous to let a complete stranger into my home and have her care for me and my children. I worried that it would be awkward or annoying to have someone always there. But I couldn't have been more wrong in my worries. Gemma, my nurse, was absolutely amazing! I created such a wonderful friendship with her and it's sad that today was her last day here.

She just looked for things that needed to be done and did them (I was nervous I would have to order someone around and tell them what I wanted done. "Will you please go clean my toilet!"). She spoke a lot of Dutch to me, which was nice, but she also spoke English so I wasn't totally lost! She made sure I napped every day and watched the boys for me while I did. She even taught me a few Dutch recipes.

I held it in while I hugged her and said goodbye today, but after she left I cried. She has been kind of like a mother to me for the past 8 days and I will miss her. It has been so hard for me to not have either of my moms here, but Gemma made it much easier.

Now why doesn't the U.S. have a program like this? It explains why the women who do give birth in the hospital often go home just hours after giving birth. I've concluded that the Netherlands is an exceptional place to give birth!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Myra's First Dress

Oh my goodness, little girls are SO fun!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Hidden Talent

This picture has nothing to do with my post, but why not throw it in! We have few pictures of Myra actually awake.
When my nurse checked my uterus on day 2 postpartum, she gasped. My uterus at day 2 had shrunken down to where it normally is at day 14 postpartum! That explains the crazy intense contractions I've been experiencing.

How's that for a hidden talent!

I Think He's In Love!

What do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daddy's Version

I'm glad that Jarom wanted to share his version of Myra's birth story as well. Don't worry, his isn't nearly as long as mine and is of course more comical!

I have exciting news. Tuesday at around 4:38 am, my little baby girl Myra arrived.

Erika woke me up at 4:15 or so, and she said it was time to go to the hospital. I was a little skeptical at first, because she had made this same announcement the day before, only to announce 10 minutes later that it was a false alarm. She did not have any more contractions the rest of that day. So when she woke me Tuesday morning, I thought she might be wrong again, but we were in for a surprise.

Erika was getting dressed so we could go to the hospital, and then she stopped and told me the baby was coming. I thought she was having a bad contraction, and after it passed we would go down to the van our neighbor had brought over for us and then drive out to the hospital as usual. Myra had different plans.

Erika yelled to me to help her, because the baby was coming. "I can feel the head" she yelled, or perhaps it was "she is coming now!" I can't remember which she yelled first. I checked for myself, and found it to be true - the baby's head was almost poking out. I thought it would be impossible for me to drive under these conditions, but I still planned on making it to the hospital for the delivery, so at 4:30 am I called 112 (911) and asked for an ambulance. With Erika's labor and my panic, the gentlemen on the other line could hardly understand my English, and I had to tell them my address 10 or so times. Finally, they understood and said they were on their way.

Erika continued to have intense contractions, but I told her I needed to run downstairs and unlock the door, otherwise the EMT personnel would not be able to come in. She told me not to leave her, but I assured her I would only be a few seconds. I ran down as fast as I could, unlocked and opened the door, and ran back up. Erika yelled once more the baby was coming, and after just a few more minutes, out she came. The head and one shoulder came out, and I caught her. I then pulled out the other arm, and out came beautiful Myra. I showed our precious little girl to Erika, and we held her for another moment until the EMT arrived.

I don't know how Erika managed to keep everything together during this time, but she was amazing. When the paramedics arrived, they asked for a blanket to wrap our slimy newborn girl. I looked around and saw Erika's blanket, the one she sleeps with at night, and thought, "her blanket might get ruined, but it's worth it." I offered this blanket to the professionals, but Erika quickly intervened and said to get a towel instead. She had delivered a baby just a few minutes before, but somehow she managed to keep everything together and saved her blanket. Too bad our carpet floor and bed were not so lucky.

My wife and I delivered our beautiful little girl all by ourselves. The labor and delivery, from start to finish, lasted less than one hour. Needless to say, it was an exciting hour.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Myra's Grand Entrance

I really don't know how to do this story justice. I'll do my best. Although the birth was extremely fast, the details are many so you may want to grab a drink and a snack...or maybe a whole meal! You ready? Here we go...

The few days before her birth I had been having very strong contractions and many times thought labor was right around the corner only to have my contractions stop all together. I thought Tuesday morning may be another one of those.

I woke up Tuesday around 1:30am, 2:30am, and again at 3:45am. Each time having strong contractions that were similar to the ones from the days before. Each time I got up and went to the bathroom and went back to bed.

At 3:45am Jarom was also having trouble sleeping. We both had sore throats so I went downstairs and got us some throat lozenges. Then I crawled back in bed. I had strong contractions pretty close together for the next few minutes. I told Jarom this may be it but of course he was pretty skeptical considering I had said the same thing to him several times in the previous days. I honestly was a little skeptical myself. I once again headed to the bathroom as I couldn't sleep. As soon as I saw the blood in the toilet (tmi? come on this is a birth story!) I knew this had to be it. I started to pack up the remainder of my things.

A minute or so later I had another strong contraction and started to head to the bathroom. I couldn't make it and stopped at our bedroom door, leaning on the door frame for support. Once the contraction stopped I barely made it to the toilet before another one hit. I was moaning through them at this point and definitely thinking something was up!

Then at 4:15am another contraction hit and my water broke. I felt lots of pressure. I called to Jarom, trying to do so semi-quietly so I wouldn't wake up the boys. I tried again and again, desperately calling out his name. Apparently "semi-quiet" was not going to cut it. I YELLED this time as another contraction came, "THIS is it! Call Kristal NOW!" (Kristal is our wonderful neighbor who was bringing her car for us to take to the hospital and she was to stay with the boys.)

Jarom jumped out of bed and called Kristal at 4:21am. I put a shirt on and was in the process of putting on my pants when a HUGE one hit. I could honestly feel the head descending. This is when I knew we would not make it to the birthing center. No more being all! I screamed to Jarom, "She's coming NOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!" And let me tell you I have never screamed that loud in my life. Jarom ran in the room and I clung to him and moaned/yelled through the contractions.

Jarom was a rock during all of this. He was absolutely amazing. I felt 100% dependent on him. He didn't seem panicked at all. You wouldn't have believed it if you saw me, but I wasn't panicked either. To say I was in incredible pain was an understatement, but I was calm inside and just knew everything would be fine.

Jarom said he had to get his phone to call 112 (911) and I yelled through a contraction, "Don't leeeeeaaaaave me!" He had his cell phone and made the call at 4:30am. Between my screaming in his ear and the language barrier, it took the man on the other line 10 or more times to understand our address. I kept having contractions every minute. I could feel her in the birth canal and could actually feel her head with my hands, although it was still inside me. I called out, "I can feel her head!"

Jarom said he had to go unlock the door for Kristal and the ambulance and that was the point where I did panic. In my mind he was leaving me and I was going to be utterly alone for this. I pleaded with him not to leave me and he calmly said, "I HAVE to unlock the door. I am NOT leaving you. I will be right back. You let me know when I can go. Okay?" I don't remember ever giving him permission to leave but he did eventually. He was back holding me within seconds. We were now both crouched on our bedroom floor in between our bed and the closet, my pants still around my ankles.

Then two scared little boys came wandering in the room. Glade was wimpering and Jimmy asked, "Mommy, are you okay? Is the baby coming?" In between my yelling I "calmly" told him that Mommy was just fine and yes the baby was coming. I told them they could go in their room and play. Jimmy lovingly put his arm around Glade, who was now crying, and said to him, "It's okay. Mommy is okay." Kristal arrived shortly after 4:30 and thankfully she took the boys downstairs, although I have no recollection of her coming upstairs.

I don't know how many contractions I had after that but they were pretty much back to back with no break in between. Another huge contraction and I screamed as her head came out. I was holding her head in my hands. I yelled, "Her head's out!" Jarom told me later that it was actually her head and one of her shoulders that was out. Jarom then reached down and together we brought her out. I felt between her legs...She IS a girl!

She was born at 4:38am. 53 minutes after I woke up! Only 18 minutes after my water broke!

She took her first little breath and made her first little cry and then was quiet. I was in awe. I just gave birth to my daughter. On my bedroom floor. In a matter of minutes.

The EMT arrived at 4:40am. Jarom got them some towels and I told Jarom to grab the camera. I was planning to tape the whole birth. Jarom held the videocamera in one hand and cut the cord with the other. One of the EMTs took Myra to the bed to check her out and the other helped me deliver the placenta, which was suprisingly very painful.

I was still having contractions just as strong as before she was born and continued to have them all day. I still have them today, which I know is normal, but mine have been extremely painful. They weren't near this bad with either of my boys. The nurse said it's because the labor went so quick that now I am experiencing many of the contractions that would've happened before her birth. In fact, when my uterus was checked today I am one full day ahead on recovery. My uterus has shrunken down much quicker than normal due to all the heavy contractions.

Jarom took Myra downstairs to meet her brothers and the EMT helped me down the stairs and onto the stretcher. These Dutch stairs are a blast minutes after giving birth! Just trust me on that one.

We headed outside in the rain (of course) to the ambulance and rode to the hospital where we were both checked out and everything was fine. We were there for such a short time, just long enough to get checked, get one stitch put in (my that hurt), and take a shower. Then we headed back home just a few hours after giving birth.

Looking back, we should have called the midwife rather than the EMT, but we weren't thinking quite straight (can you blame us?). There really was no need to go to the hospital. The midwife could've done the same things right there in our home. However, the call was already made and I do believe the EMTs were glad. They were two men about my Dad's age. They said it's not every day you get to experience something like this. One had just become a grandpa recently and the other was excitedly taking pictures with his phone before leaving the hospital.

So there you have it! Believe it or not I did actually leave out many details for your sake! This experience is one we will obviously never forget and never tire of telling! Thank you Myra, for making this such a memorable day!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Myra Kimberly

* 08 Dec 2009 * 7 lbs 15 oz (3585 grams) *
I have quite the birth story to tell you, but sadly you'll have to wait a few more hours.
Here's a teaser: total labor and delivery time was less than ONE HOUR.
She was born at home.
On our bedroom floor.
Jarom and I delivered her alone!
And she's absolutely perfect!!!

Monday, December 07, 2009

In Case You're Wondering

Just thought I'd let you baby yet. That's all, I'm too exhausted to write much more. It seems I am doomed to eternal contractions that are painful enough to keep me from sleeping but not enough to bring the little girl here.

As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep last night, Jarom rubbed my back and sarcastically said, "Don't worry...only a few more days." In case you didn't know, days feel like years to a pregnant woman past the 39th week. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or punch him!

So I smiled (sort of) behind the tears.

That'll teach me to cry wolf.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


So my contractions from last night were every 5 minutes for about an hour and a half. At that point I decided that because it was late (1:45 am) and because I was still able to breathe and slightly relax during contractions that I would try to sleep.

I hesitated doing this because I really didn't want my contractions to stop, but I also didn't want to be up all night if she wasn't coming. Thus I slept off and on, waking for moderate contractions from 1:45 to 5:45 am.

It's now 6:30 am and the contractions are once again picking up to be about every 5-7 minutes apart and are moderate intensity. The house is very quiet as everyone else is still sleeping, so for now I will continue to pace and wait. There's no way I could sleep any more right now.

Is it true labor? I really don't know, but it seems very likely that she could be born today! I sure hope I didn't just jinx myself. Gotta go find some wood to knock on!!!


We celebrated Sinterklaasavond (Sinterklaas Evening) tonight. I'm not the most knowledgable on the subject, but here's what I understand about Sinterklaas traditions:

Sinterklaas arrives from Spain some time in mid-November. He comes by steamboat. Some time between his arrival and December 5th (Sinterklaasavond) children can put their shoes out at night. Sinterklaas or one of his helpers, Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete's), put little candies and toys in the shoes for the children to find in the morning. Jimmy and Glade put their shoes out a few days ago and received a little toy car and some candy (leftovers from their Halloween bag...shhh, don't tell!).

According to Wikipedia, "Children are told that Black Pete enters the house through the chimney, which also explains his black face and hands, and will leave a bundle of sticks ("roe") or a small bag of salt in the shoe instead of candy if the child has been bad. If they have been really bad, Black Pete may take them back to Spain in his sack, a tradition now frowned upon under the influence of modern child psychology." :)

On the evening of December 5th everyone gathers and sings Sinterklaas songs while the children wait for their package of gifts to be delivered to their house by Sint and Piet. Below is a video of our boys from tonight. Jimmy knew Sinterklaas would be ringing the door soon and was so excited when he finally heard it!

I'm sure there's much more to the December 5th tradition, but that's my take on it all! I believe most people here then leave Christmas as a time for family. The 25th I think is when they visit with family and the 26th (Second Christmas Day) is for visiting friends. Most of the gift giving is done on Sinterklaas day instead of Christmas.

Okay, what did I leave out? Anyone know more about Sinterklaas or need to correct me? :)

P.S. Lots of contractions going on here, but trying to not get my hopes up and also not go insane. ONE week left.

I raked 3 large trashbags of wet leaves hoping to jumpstart my labor...nope.

And did scrubbing the floor over and over work...nope.

What about walking up and down stairs...nope.

Vacuuming the house...nope.

Scrubbing bathrooms...nope.

Lying on the couch all day long...nope, that one didn't work either!

And I am NOT trying castor oil!

Oh I'm so ready, why isn't she? :)

(Ummm, okay, quick update...I've now had 6 intense contractions each 5 minutes apart...could this be the real thing? You'd think after 2 births I would know. It's after midnight and I should go to bed but I have a feeling I may not be sleeping much tonight, whether she comes or not.)