Friday, October 19, 2012

The New Place

Ever since we moved into our new place, I keep telling Ransom that I'm afraid I'm getting too spoiled to ever let us move into a ghetto money-saving apartment again. Our plan has always been to live in the  classic 2 bedroom square apartments until the day we die we pay off Ransom's student loans. But now that we've experienced what it's like to live in a nice home, in a nice neighborhood, with nice neighbors.... I just don't know if I can go back. Here's to hoping Ransom can make the big bucks quick so we can get ourselves into our very own nice modest home soon.

Since my camera fell into the Puget Sound on the 4th of July (hint hint, Santa!) I've been using my very low quality camera on my phone. So bear with my as I give you a short tour...

Family Room
Notice the desk space in the back affectionately called, "Mega Desk"

Kitchen. I can't get enough of the island and breakfast bar!

Back patio complete with bench and grill. The clothes line is usually covered in cloth diapers.

Dining Area
Glorious master bath complete with his/her sinks, separated shower, toilet room and huge bath!

HUGE walk in closet 

Close-up! Love this cross-stich from my SIL, Anne
Ransom's old booties :)

Where I spend 1/5 of my day!

I love this! The flags up top are from Jonah's baby shower and say, "Ahoy"

OK, seriously the cutest! Arms are always like that :)
Ransom's Monkey, Bike and the camera which gives me SO  much peace of mind!

Not pictured is the 3rd bedroom and guest bathroom.... but you know what those rooms mean: come stay with us!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


As promised, the continuing story of our first days with Benjamin...

We stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon. (Someone has GOT to tell the nation's maternity wards to consolidate the nurse/dr/lactation consultant/photographer/administration visits... the lack of sleep as a result of Ben was NOTHING to the interruptions from the hospital staff). We went home already quite exhausted and very excited to take an uninterrupted nap in our own bed!

Going home!
As we walked in I was pretty proud of myself for having deep cleaned right before leaving for the hospital. There is nothing I love more than coming home to a clean house. We put Ben down in his car seat and I went into his nursery to put on the new rocking chair cushion covers that had been waiting for us in a package outside our door when we got home. (Thank you, Mom Young!!) But when I went to grab the cushions, I noticed several brown pellets. It took me a second to realize that there were mouse droppings ALL OVER them! Horrified, I stepped over to the crib. There, around the full perimeter of the bedding and covering the monkey teddy bear that had belonged to Ransom, were hundreds of droppings. I screamed for Ransom and before we could even think, we began taking off all the bedding, shaking them off outside and throwing them in the wash.

I remember feeling like I was in a movie: couple brings home brand new baby from the hospital and finds mouse droppings all over baby's things.

As we began disinfecting, we started looking around the house for any other signs of mice (naively hoping the mice only attacked Ben's room). Sure enough, pellets in our own bed. Under the pillows, on top of the comforter... I want to gag just thinking about it! For those of you who have never experienced anything like this, (and I hope none of you ever have to) there is no way to describe the violation you feel. Beds are so personal. They also bring the creepiest imagery of mice crawling around you as you sleep.

Ransom called the landlord and told him he was calling an exterminator. (Unfortunately, the exterminator couldn't come until the next day)

Needless to say, we needed help. I called two of our friends who came to the rescue and took loads of laundry back to their places so we could have clean linens for the night. One also brought disinfectant and helped us clean all of the furniture. The other came back with dinner. I don't know what I would have done without them!

One of our friends offered their home to stay the night, but I was convinced that the mice would leave once they realized the apartment was occupied. So we stayed the night. I spent most of it on the couch with Benjamin so Ransom could get some sleep. Luckily Ben sleeps well in his car seat because there was no way I was going to put him in the crib until I was sure the mice were gone.

Early that morning, as I was nursing Ben, I saw a mouse scurrying in the kitchen. Yikes! I have no idea where it went because by the time I got Ransom up, it was no where to be seen. I again justified the mouse and thought it was just trying to get out now that it knew humans were there. We spent the rest of the day at home waiting for the exterminator.

Taken right before I saw the mouse
When the exterminator got there, we were so disappointed to find that she was just an inspector and that nothing would be done until the next day. We were even more disappointed to learn that for mice, the company simply sets traps for 30 days and then closes up any access points they find. 30 days!? I wanted to cry thinking about living in fear of mice (and never letting my baby sleep in his crib) for 30 days! We felt so helpless.

A little later that night, as Ransom was getting something out of our bedroom, a mouse ran toward him, almost hitting his feet, and then sprinted back behind our bed. That was my breaking point. I started bawling! I called my mom in hysterics and told her what was going on (I later found out that when I called so upset she thought something had happened to Benjamin- sorry, Mom!) She calmed me down and told me that she would get a hotel for us to stay in for as long as we needed. Luckily she was already flying in the next morning so she could help get us there and take care of me and Ben. By the end of the conversation, I felt much better and finally had some clarity of mind. I called a very generous lady I go to church with and asked her if I could borrow her cats for the night in hopes that they would keep the mice away and/or hunt any brave ones. And then I called our friends and asked if we could spend the night. We packed enough for the evening and headed over to their home.

Walking into our friend's home was such a relieving feeling. It felt completely the opposite from our apartment- warm, happy, clean (my friend even made us warm cookies with ice cream!) It was exactly what we needed. I got to take a nap while the rest of them watched Ben and when I woke up, I finally felt rested enough to function.

That morning we picked up my mom from the airport and headed to the Marriott where we got to stay in a 2 bedroom suite complete with a kitchen, living, and dining space. There was a great continental breakfast (with bagels and fresh fruit for lunch). And the best part- they cleaned the suite for us! I am SO grateful to my parents for putting us up at this nice place while we figured out what to do next!

On his way to meet Grandma Hartzell!
Very happy Grandma!
Ben's buddy Brooks and his parents brought us flowers and pie at the hotel
Over the next 2 days, we casually thought about moving. I was completely overwhelmed by the idea, but Ransom and my mom were surprisingly optimistic about the ability to do it.

Thank goodness Grandma brought this bassinet!

Ransom and I decided to have me go back to the apartment and see how I felt while I was there. When I did this, I honestly didn't feel much. I felt like although I hated it, we could handle the mice until they were exterminated. I went back into my car to drive away, but as I did, I had a very strong feeling that I needed to pray about it. I began to, but then got distracted thinking about Ben waking up at the hotel and my mom not having anything to feed him. I pulled out and started driving. Again, as I started driving, I felt that same feeling telling me to pull over and pray. I felt a little silly, but I pulled over and asked if my decision to stay in our apartment was right. I didn't feel anything. So I asked if we should move. I felt an immediate and very calming peace. The right thing to do was so clear to me. I was kind of shocked by the answer because I thought moving just because of mice was overdramatic, but then I got the feeling that the mice wasn't the only reason we should move.

As I drove away thinking about the seemingly impossible task that lay ahead of us, my mind kept drifting to the home of a couple in our church serving as mission presidents in Japan. I knew that their house was empty as of a few months ago, but I hadn't heard if new rentors had been found. When I got back to the hotel, I decided to look into it. I called the first rentor, who is a friend of mine, and learned that the house was still empty, but that it was a lot more expensive than we could afford. I was totally disappointed and decided not to even call the couple's son (who manages the home).

As I began the daunting search for apartments on craigslist, my mind kept wandering back to the home (You'd think I'd have learned by this point!).  I finally called. Long story short, the next morning we got a call saying that we could stay in the home for a price we could afford! We were ecstatic! And we were even more ecstatic as we got to go see the home and find three perfect bedrooms, a large, beautiful kitchen and living areas, a community pool and gate, a short walk to a great grocery store, access to the river walk (miles of walking/biking trail along the river wash), and a very short distance to a few of our friends! Seriously, the PERFECT place to bring sweet Benjamin home! And on Saturday, the 29th, we got to move in.

Driving to the new place!
My mom stayed until the 3rd and helped in every way possible to get us unpacked and set up. I am SO grateful to her and to everyone else who made our quick move possible. So many good friends stepped up with packing, moving, bringing meals, housing us, housing our dog, doing our laundry, etc, etc. We literally could not have done it without them.

Once the weekend was over... :)
These past few weeks have made me ever mindful of how involved the Lord is in our lives. That even though coming home to mice was a very stressful way to get us out of our apartment, He knew we wouldn't have been so proactive to do so if Benjamin weren't with us. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, I am grateful for mice!
This one is just for good measure- I love how Ben looks at Ransom!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We've Been Busy

We've been busy... maybe that's an understatement! I'm going to split this past few weeks into a few posts because, well, I don't have that much time!

The most exciting news is: BENJAMIN HAROLD YOUNG is here!!

He is just the sweetest little man. I call him "little bug" or "little lizard". Someday soon I hope to finally capture the hilarious expressions which inspired these nicknames. Then you'll understand.

The birth story:
I had been going to my weekly appointments at the midwife clinic and had internal exams since 38 weeks. Each week I would maintain 1cm dilation and 30-40% effacement. At first this didn't bother me, but as the weeks went on and my 41 week deadline approached, I started to get more nervous about the possibility of a repeat c-section. However, as I prayed about it, I felt peace about the c-section and decided to let my body and my doctors determine the necessity of a repeat surgery.

At my 40 week appointment, my midwife told us that we should schedule the c-section and hope that I would be far enough along by that date to take last-minute interventions in pursuit of a vaginal birth. Ransom and I decided to schedule our c-section for Thursday, the 20th since the midwife we had been seeing most at the end of the pregnancy was on call that day. The section was scheduled for 1pm and we were told to be at the hospital by 11am.

Last shot before leaving for the hospital (no, that is not my belly hanging out, that is my hand!) Final pregnancy weight gain- 33lbs! Whoa!
After dropping off Penelope at our generous friends' home and receiving a priesthood blessing, we headed to the hospital. I was surprisingly calm as we made the drive. Even though I was having some contractions, the level of discomfort was so low that I didn't think much of them and was prepared for the c-section.

We sat in the prep room and I was hooked up to the fetal heart rate and contraction monitoring machines. My midwife came in and did an internal exam hoping that I would have enough dilation and effacement to break my water. Again, only 1 cm and 40% effaced. She said my cervix was too posterior for her to break my water and she recommended the c-section. About a half hour later, the MD who would perform the c-section came in to introduce herself. She took a look at the monitors I was hooked to and said my contractions were 4 minutes apart. (I didn't even notice 1/2 of them!) With this track record, she asked if she could do an exam herself. She found the same result of dilation and effacement but said she could reach far enough to break my water if I wanted. Seriously!? That was a huge shock! Of course Ransom and I decided to go for it since the result of this intervention failing would be a c-section anyway.

We were taken to the very last available labor room and my water was broken and cervix was massaged to 3cm dilation (ok, this was ridiculously painful... I had NO idea to expect that!). Once this was done, I was placed on pitocin to help kickstart my labor.

*For those of you who knew that we had been planning a Hypnobirth (natural, drug and intervention-free birthing), I was a little disappointed that my birthing had to go the route of interventions, but I decided that despite my hopes for this birth, what I cared most about was the safe delivery of Ben. I used Hypnobirthing techniques throughout labor, but definitely would not describe my labor/delivery as a Hypnobirth.*

For the first few hours, I did not use any pain medication. But as labor progressed very slowly and the pitocin was increased, I decided to have the lowest epidural amount administered. This was very very helpful in keeping me relaxed. As the hours went on and pitocin further increased, I asked for more to combat the discomfort of contractions.

At one point, Ben's heart rate dropped dramatically for 4 minutes. The nurses and midwife rushed in and poked and prodded me. They put on an oxygen mask and were frantically calling for the MD. I thought for sure that I was about to have an emergency c-section. By the time the MD came into the room, Ben's heart rate returned to a healthy level. Even though I was told he was okay, I was still terrified and couldn't stop bawling. It brought back so many suppressed memories of the heart rate monitor alarm beeping loudly in Jonah's room over 2 years ago. Even though my MD felt all was well, I was seconds away from requesting an immediate c-section to get Ben safely out. Luckily, my midwife, nurse and MD knew what to say to help me calm down and we decided to continue pursuing the vbac.

After 12 hours of labor, I was dilated to a 9 and having very strong and uncomfortable contractions. My epidural was at the highest dosage available with the current administration. I asked for a higher dosage and was told to do so would require the anesthesiologist to come back and add more (which would mean my legs would go numb for an hour or two and I wouldn't be able to push effectively). Together, we decided to administer the epidural, rest for an hour and then begin pushing. Rest? Ha! At least Ransom, my midwife and nurse were able to get some shut-eye. I was a bit preoccupied with the contractions and the thought of pushing out a child!

Finally, at 3am, the team came back in the room and we began pushing. This will sound funny, but I had NO idea how exhausting it is to push! I thought having an epidural would make it no harder than breathing though a medium contraction. My goodness, it was exhausting! But after an hour of coaching from Ransom, my nurse and midwife, sweet Benjamin Harold Young was born at 4:02am!!

It was a surreal moment! I can't say I remember it fully due to the exhaustion and sheer shock of what was happening, but I felt a ginormous sense of relief followed shortly by the feeling of finally being complete. With a screaming baby on my chest, an amazing husband to my side, and an angel son who was undoubtably present, I finally felt like I had a complete family. Not that more won't come, but that all current members were finally together. It was too much to even cry- I just lay there looking around in awe at the moment I had fantasied over for so long.

Ben was born in his meconium (baby's first stool) so he was only on my chest for a minute before needing to be cleaned and suctioned, but I got to watch him the whole time as Ransom took pictures. He looked so big! We all took guesses at his weight and no one guessed under 9 pounds. So when he only tipped the scales at 8lbs 6ozs and 20 1/2", we were all quite surprised! Finally, he was given back to me and I was able to do what I had dreamed of for the past 2 years; breastfeed. He was amazing! He looked at me and lached on right away! I nursed while watching him for like a half hour on each side before finally detaching him to lay on my chest to sleep. For the next two hours Ben and Ransom slept. I tried to, but was too concerned that I would drop him! It's funny how instantly a mother's concern for her baby supersedes any care for her own comfort.

Benjamin is a miracle. He has brought so much love and fulfillment into our home. And as I will describe in another post soon, has brought many unanticipated blessings as well.