Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bonnie Vance Hall

Bonnie Vance Hall
7 lbs 11 oz
20 inches
Born April 5, 2015 10:38 pm

Bonnie Vance Hall was born on her due date, April 5, 2015 (Easter!). Her birth was a wonderful event that went better than I had hoped. It was conference Sunday and Easter so we had a very relaxing day with the kids finding eggs and Jon making a steak dinner. I had been feeling different for the past week, so although I wasn't quite due I was in a state of expectation at all times. I was really hoping to start labor on Saturday because my doctor was on call, but it didn't happen. I had my usual spell of gloom that happens with each child before labor begins, although looking back now I realize Saturday was my crazy nesting day where I was getting everything ready. On Sunday I started having painless contractions more regularly after conference ended but I mostly ignored them as I had this happen a couple times in the past week. They continued to be about ten minutes apart and after we put the kids to bed around seven thirty we settled on the couch with some homemade chocolate ice cream and episodes of a show. I was highly content and hoping that my contractions would eventually disappear, as I didn't feel like being in labor all night and not sleeping. I had this dream of having a mid morning (after commute traffic, of course) birth that had always eluded me. I decided that I would start tracking my contractions at 8:00 pm, to see if they were still regular or if it was false labor again. Exactly at 8:00 I started the timer and my contractions started being 2-3 minutes apart, and a little painful. I told Jon with disdain that this was likely labor. He didn't quite believe me, but after 15 minutes of contractions two minutes aparp growing in intensity I suddenly felt the need to get to the hospital. Meaning, I needed to actually pack my hospital bag. I finished throwing all my stuff in there (packing a hospital bag is so simple, I don't understand how people do it weeks ahead--it's just me throwing a bunch of toiletries and a change of clothes in there) and called the doctor who agreed I needed to go to the hospital right away. We called Nina to come stay with the kids, who weren't even asleep yet but climbing on the window sill and being crazy, and I paced by the door ready to run out to the car. I guess my internal knowledge that I was progressing quickly didn't quite register outward because Jon asked me several times if I thought I was actually in labor or if it was false labor. But when it's real, you know. I hate traveling in the car while getting contractions (who does) so I mentally told myself that I was going to slow things down to about five minutes between contractions. I guess it worked because I had about three in the 18-20 minute ride. It was about 9:00 pm when we got to the hospital. I started asking everyone to start filling the tub because I knew with Margot I got to the hospital dilated to an eight and this didn't feel too different. But they waited until after being monitored, asked all the questions, IV etc. I was an eight when they checked me and I got into the tub as soon as I could, even though it wasn't very full. I couldn't really find a good position for my contractions—everything felt awkward and I was feeling some aches in my back. Dr Williams who was on call (and I hadn't met of course) made some comments about the baby's position and I started to ask which way she was facing, and inwardly checking my mildly flat looking belly, remembering my paranoid questions to my doctor about what to look for if your baby is posterior--one of them being your bump having a little plateau at the top. Dr Williams stated that she looked like she was trying to turn a corner, as my birth canal is apparently made up of a few hairpin turns. I started to mildly panic, but since we didn't know for sure and I was about to start pushing, I realized there wasn't much I could do. I hit the contraction where I almost felt her crown, and it really felt more intense than anything I had remembered with my other two. I flipped on my back and the doctor stated she would be born on the next contraction. I reached down and caught her as she was born, which was a mixture of instinct and with the intensity the need to make sure that she was really going to be out on this next push, because I had no intent on another. She was placed in my arms and there she had her first breath. She was chubbier than everyone expected and born with a full head of dark hair! I was in a bit of shock about that. Then the doctor informed me that she was born fully posterior (face up instead of down), and I was so glad she kept that fact from me! I was so grateful and amazed that she was born so quickly (10:38 pm) in one push, posterior, with a water birth, and no damage done to me. Jon was amazed we were done already. I knew it was fast but I would not have wanted anything any longer! Jon was the perfect partner, offering me water constantly, which is about my only need in labor. I love seeing the doctor hand Bonnie to Jon for the first time as they cut the cord and move me from the tub to the bed. It's such a special moment and he looked so happy. She latched and nursed amazingly right away. I couldn't sleep much that night due to my delivery high and those crazy uterine contractions that really do get worse with each child.

Most of my time in the hospital was spent quietly looking at Bonnie and trying to catch up on some sleep. Theo and Margot came to visit with my parents and they were so sweet and just loved her immediately. Margot was content to eat a cookie instead of hold her at first, however.

I was so glad my parents came for two weeks. Watching the kids is such a big task and while my recovery was overall great I had some bad mastitis that hit and I was so glad hey were both there to help me get to extra appointments and take care of everything. And weed my yard. So amazing! My mom hardly had help with twins and a toddler of her own, and instead of passing on a "I did it with little help, you should too" mentality, she helps in every way she can and it was truly needed!

Bonnie is a cute little girl with the best chubby cheeks. We love her so much. She might be our most temperamental baby, and after two weeks has colicky episodes in the evening. I'm glad to have Jon help so much when he can. I might be sending Theo off to his preschool carpool in a bathrobe most mornings, but we are all slowly adjusting to this life with three children and love our little Bonnie. Or "Bon Bon," as the kids call her. Jon was the champion of her name, as usual. She was almost named something else but he always felt like her name would be Bonnie, and when it comes to names, he's always right! I chose Vance as her middle name as my grandma Naylor and all the wonderful loving memories of her have been with me throughout this pregnancy, and Vance is her maiden name.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


It has been about five months since we bought and moved into our new home. I was feeling behind about writing about it but I have needed a some time to emotionally settle in and really be very content and excited about our new house. Our search for a home began and ended within a few days, not the leisurely pace I expected, where we would see enough houses to really feel comfortable and know which one was "the one." The real estate market in Portland is very strong and and so a well-priced home will be gone within hours, with multiple offers, above asking price. My exact nightmare scenario for purchasing a home. When we walked through our eventual home I felt more of a sinking feeling, knowing that this was the one, but not in an excited way, but in a "Oh man, we are going to probably buy this house and I have to decide right this second" kind of way. I don't process large change very well--I get overwhelmed easily and was essentially in shock. After it was done, I couldn't even remember the details of the house. I did not take any "before" pictures--it felt silly and like taking a picture of someone else's house. Also, the owner was always there and liked to make things awkward at all times. The original wood floors were in terrible shape, it needed all new plumbing, and all the finishes were either outdated or not to my liking. It's easy to picture changing everything when walking through a house, but after closing it suddenly felt like too much to handle. I also found out I was pregnant right around all of this so I was essentially a crazy person. However, before we moved in we refinished the floors and removed some popcorn ceiling and it really started feeling so much better. The floors came out beautifully and they are my favorite part of the house. We were really ready to get out of our condo and let the kids be loud and run around without sharing walls with angry neighbors. Even though we all share a bathroom now. But we have a garage! It may not have automatic closing doors or drywall but its practical storage is beautiful to me.

After my parents visited and we coated all the interior walls of the house in a nice bright white (my dream for so long!), my mind really started settling. Many months later, we are still configuring and reorganizing and I have loved doing things that feel more permanent and grounding than when we rented. More importantly than scheming about new kitchen renovations, we have moved into a great neighborhood near some good friends of ours and kids Theo's and Margot's age nearby, a great school within walking distance, and a closer proximity to anywhere we want to go. I also have a very nice maple tree in the backyard that just makes me happy. Jon is doing big-boy things like entering crawl spaces, buying small power tools and replacing small appliances (with help). We are the most inexperienced and unknowledgeable DIY-ers in the world but we are figuring it out one doorbell replacement at a time. I'm so glad I had Jon to hold my hand through this process and trust in his confidence that this would be a great move for us. It has been, and we are excited for everything the future holds!

Closing day selfie

Floors before, small example of the discoloration, gauging and staining

After sanding

Finished! I love all the different colors and character in the wood grain.

We got a pretty new dishwasher installed

The first night in the house we ate ice cream on the back porch.

Margot decided to start climbing out of her crib the first weekend we moved in. It's tradition!