Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rower, etc.

So, I was just flipping through some old blog posts from a few years ago to find a recipe that I'd blogged about because I want to make it for dinner tonight. And as I was looking through, I couldn't help looking at photos of myself, and thinking, "Oh, you poor, lovely, well-slept idiot. You have no idea what you're in for, and no idea what you're missing."

I can't really remember what it felt like to not have a child. I can imagine what it must have been like, but the memories are strangely impersonal to me. Like I'm watching a movie of my memories instead of remembering them from my own point of view. And, stranger still, I don't really care!

Most of the people who read this blog (all three of you) have children, so I don't want to restate in paragraph form all the tropes and cliches of new motherhood that we've all heard so many times (it's the hardest and best thing ever! It makes your life so much more meaningful! They're so cute and sometimes they make you want to scream!).  I've learned a truckload about how I handle sleep deprivation (excruciatingly poorly), how bad labor really is (BAD but fast!), how tricky nursing can be to learn (replace "tricky" with "surprisingly counter-intuitive"), and how on the worst of days, I just glance down at my baby's chubby, wide-eyed face and think, "Oh, I would so clean up any amount of spit up and poo for you."

Baby Row, 3 days old
Sleeping Row, 3 days old
Cozy Row, 11 days old
Bathing Row, 3 weeks old
Milk Coma Row, 3 weeks old
Tired Row, 5 weeks old
Angry Row, 7 weeks old
Pucker Up Row, 7 weeks old
Sassy Row, 8 weeks old
Posing Row, 9 weeks old
Cat in the Hat Row, 3 months old
Beach Row, 16 weeks old
Rower is growing and filling out and becoming my best little companion. He's smiley and giggly and jibber jabbers constantly. Sometimes he gets a wide-eyed look and starts yammering on with this sense of extreme urgency, like there something he just has to tell me right now. The earnestness melts my heart into a puddle of goop. Maybe this is pretty typical of most 4 month old babes, but he's not extremely social outside of home. When we travel anywhere and spend the night outside of our home, he reverts back to newborn stages of night wakefulness and seems really on edge all day. At home, he's a laid back dream who smiles readily and falls asleep just about anywhere. We'll see how that pans out in the long run. My mother tells me that my bro Cameron was a lot like that as a baby- he did very well at home but struggled when presented with too much noise or commotion. And he grew out of it. And, if Row ends up being like Uncle Cameron, we're in for a very pleasant, obedient, compassionate kid.

Thankfully, he really likes third-wheeling it on dates with us. He has successfully slept through FOUR movie theater movies with us without making a peep. He hangs out patiently in restaurants (95% of the time) and for the most part falls asleep in his carseat in the car.

I take him on errands, runs, hikes, visits, and most recently, the beach.

Having him around for Christmas will make everything so much more sweet and fun (and probably tiring but I'm becoming an expert at functioning in that state).

We had an uneventful Halloween, a fun Thanksgiving in Vegas, and Christmas will be an adventure.

Thanksgiving: my huge Reynolds family.  And this isn't even everyone.
Chilling at the end of the Thanksgiving table, photobomb courtesy of cousin Rob.
This year for Christmas we (thankfully) get to spend time with both families, despite Harry's crazy busy work schedule. He's been plugging away, seemingly doing the work of 5 people by himself, and he never complains. He's learning some cool and interesting things and working with creative people, and we're both really grateful he landed in such a great place.
Christmas Bumbo Row, 16 weeks (That tree was my own creation, made of textbooks, a trashcan, garland, and lights.)
I'm still figuring out how to balance things that I want to do and need to do with his schedule, but as hokey as it sounds, I wouldn't change that. We love this dude so much. Welcome to the blog, Rower. I'm sure, like most other things in our life, it will happily and mostly start revolving around you.

Merry Christmas from our family of three, taken on a visit to see Dad last week during his lunch break.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The coolest thing I've ever done

Have you ever felt so far behind on something that you don't know how you'll ever catch up, and then you realize, ah well?

It is with this attitude that I am attempting to start blogging again after the biggest life adjustment I've ever (or Harry's ever) made. There are a few things I really want to blog about before the memories evaporate. So, to begin: Rower's birth story.

I'm not sparing many details here, so if you are squeamish about this kind of thing, or don't want to read exhaustive details about the day Rower was born, consider this your chance to turn back. For the rest of you, here goes.

My due date was August 27th, 2013. Pregnancy was such an interesting adventure (read: it was kind of cool but also very uncomfortable and I'm mostly glad that it's over). The second trimester was great. I had a fun job, I got to carpool to work with my husband and eat lunch with him a few days a week, and for the most part I could still exercise. My third trimester brought about a lot of nerve/ligament pain in my left leg, and my doctor told me to stop exercising. I think that's when I started looking back fondly on the days when I wasn't pregnant like it was another lifetime, and I longed for it constantly. Being very, very pregnant is hard work. Right after I had Rower, I couldn't even look at pregnant women for a while. I'd just yell, "Too soon!" and squeeze my eyes shut.

At my 38 week check up, my doctor noticed signs of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is basically high blood pressure associated with pregnancy, and the way to cure it is to give birth. It's pretty dangerous if it goes undetected for long. She ordered a full blood panel for me. On a Sunday afternoon, two days before my 39 week check up, I was awkwardly bending over a bunch of fabric, cutting it out to make myself a really comfy nightgown for the hospital (speaking of which, I haven't touched it since...) when my doctor called. She said to come into the hospital, that she'd looked over my blood panel and that I was borderline preeclamptic, and that she wanted to monitor me for the evening. If she didn't like what she saw, they would induce me that night. I told her I'd be right there and hung up the phone. And then, I burst into tears. Harry wasn't home, he had been at work for about 36 hours straight (yes, this is real), trying to finish up a project before the baby came. I called him and told him what was going on in between sobs. It was all really frightening to think I was sick and didn't know it, and it could be dangerous for the baby, and that we might be having a baby that night, without much warning.

Harry came home, and he and our good friend Oliver gave me a blessing that everything would be fine, the baby would arrive safely and would be healthy. Peace filled the room in a very palpable way. I still am so grateful for the comfort I felt.

We arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter. After 5 hours of sitting in a triage labor and delivery room, hooked up to a monitor, and giving more blood, my doctor said I was still too borderline to induce, and to go home, and she'd monitor me again two days later at my 39 week appointment. We went (I waddled) home.

Hanging out at the hospital on a Sunday evening.
When I went in two days later for my 39 week check up, I brought my hospital bag. My check up showed an increase in the likelihood of preeclampsia. I didn't have it yet, but I was definitely headed in that direction. I was instructed to head over to Labor and Delivery where the OB on call would make the final decision.

Minutes later, the OB, who I'd never met before, walked in, shook my hand, looked at my progress, and said, "Well, you're not preeclamptic, but let's not wait until you are and you're having a seizure. The baby is healthy and ready to go. Let's induce you."

I just remember feeling my eyes get really wide and saying, "Okay!"

And then I remember saying, "Um, I'd really like to get an epidural before the pitocin."

I called Harry and my family and told them "it's go time." I was that odd mixture of terrified and thrilled. Meredith texted me that at least I was getting to know exactly when I'd go into labor, and that was really nice!

Harry rushed over from work and arrived just after I'd been hooked up in a delivery room, around 2:00 pm. Man, I had no idea I would have to have so many tubes and doodads hooked up to me. I felt like a Christmas tree. While I was being stuck and poked with needles and tubes, a nurse told me that since I was a first time mom, and was being induced, that the labor would probably take 12-15 hours. The OB herself said, "I'm guessing you'll deliver around 2:00 am tomorrow, earliest." I hunkered down for the long haul and wished beyond wishing that I had eaten lunch. I texted my sisters and told them the last thing I'd had was a bowl of cereal at 7:00 am. Elizabeth texted back, "Yes! Next time stop at In-N-Out on your way to the hospital!" Lesson learned, people.

"Go time."
Here's something that I'd heard about having a baby but wasn't sure was true: time FLIES when you're having a baby. Every time I looked at the clock, hours had flown by and it had felt like 10 minutes. It made me feel a little crazy. Case in point: thanks to a lovely nurse named Yvonne, I got that epidural before the pitocin drip (the OB had wanted to start the pitocin drip before the epidural, but my momma didn't raise no fool). The CRNA administering the epidural made Harry leave the room for it, saying they'd come get him when it was over in 20 minutes. I guess it's too traumatizing for a lot of husbands to see. It took a while for the epidural to happen, I guess. It literally felt like 5 minutes, but when Harry came back in, he looked really stressed and worried and asked me if I was okay. I said, "Yeah, why?" Apparently it had taken 50 minutes to do the epidural and he was pretty freaked out, sitting in the waiting room all that time, wondering if something had gone wrong.

Then something unpleasant happened. The epidural didn't fully work. I could feel all the contractions (which were crazy and coming very fast and were very painful) on the right side of my abdomen. The CRNA and her assistant kept giving me more medicine until they couldn't give me any more, but the pain was still raging. They tilted me onto my right side so that the medicine would spread, but then I started feeling back labor on my left side. The nurses kept rolling me over every few minutes, side to side, trying to get the drugs to spread out, but the pain was still intense. The pitocin made me vomit, and after a while the contractions were right on top of each other, and I couldn't catch a break in between them, and started to cry. I was completely exhausted. I was covered in blankets because I had been so cold, and I was holding Harry's hand. I remember telling him, "Harry, I'm so tired. I think I'm going to close my eyes for a while." I actually fell asleep between contractions every few minutes.

After a while, an anesthesiologist's assistant said she'd go get someone to try to re-administer the epidural or to try to give me a different kind of narcotic for the pain. She left, and Yvonne, my lovely, warrior princess nurse, said she'd just check my progress for the heck of it.

She checked me, and her eyes got really wide. "OMG. I swear, you're complete!" She said.

"I'm at a 10?!" I asked her.

She told me the baby was literally an inch away. Our minds were completely blown. It was about 6:45 pm and had only been 4.75 hours. She said, "I can't believe this happened so fast! Do you want to try pushing?" I said, "Sure!"

After a few pushes, she told me to STOP and called in the cavalry. A bunch of nurses rushed in, saying, "I heard you were at a 10 and I didn't believe it so I rushed over to see for myself!"

My sister Meredith described this moment like you're a race car when it's tired are being changed. All of a sudden you're surrounded by people who are hoisting up stirrups, moving your pillows, getting you into position at lightning speed, and she's totally right. In the blink of an eye, things get real. The OB was in a c-section, so it was just me, Harry, and the nurses. Harry was the perfect coach and jumped right in without hesitation.

Pushing is hard, but there's a sense of relief that comes with each push. I was breathing so hard that they gave me an oxygen mask. After a while I was so tired, I started to say, "I don't want to do this anymore..." but right then, Yvonne bellowed (and I mean bellowed), "SARAH, PUSH YOUR BABY OUT!" So I pushed and pushed until the nurses said, "STOP!" I could see Rower's little head and said, "Oh my gosh!" The nurses laughed at that.

Just then, a midwife came in to do the delivery, and Yvonne yelled, "You have about 10 seconds to wash your hands and get over here!" The midwife was this very calm, quiet, older woman who glided over to me, sat down, and told me to push. So I did. Then she said to stop, and do one little tiny push. All of a sudden, they were pulling Rower out and laying him on my chest while he screamed.

First family photo
Rower Eaton Reynolds
Boy's Club

He stopped crying when he was on my chest and I kept saying, "Hi, baby!" Harry immediately started saying, "Hi, Rower!" We'd kept his name completely secret for my entire pregnancy, and I was thrilled to hear Harry call him by his name finally in mixed company! Rower is a Reynolds family name. Sarah Elizabeth Rower was the mother of Harrison Tallman Reynolds (Harry's namesake). We first read the name years ago when we were newlyweds, and we always knew we had to use that name the minute we read it on a family tree.

In a crazy turn of events, one of my very best friends, Karina, went into labor the same day and had her baby, Mac, about 3 hours after Rower was born!

It was a wonderful, perfect day and even typing it up has made me all warm and fuzzy inside! We love our little Row and are thrilled he came to our family.

One month
Two months
This is just the beginning of the picture dump that is about to take over this blog.  We've taken hundreds of photos of this dude and it's only the beginning.  We love him like crazy.  He's our favorite thing in the world.  Our lives have been turned upside down in the best way!

Now he's 2.5 months old and my mind is blown!  He eats and poops like a champ, smiles and coos, and is overall the cutest baby we've ever seen (biased first time parents that we are), we're just still working on that whole sleep thing.  Sleep deprivation has done a number of crazy and hilarious things to my brain, but I wouldn't trade my early (early) morning minutes with Rower for anything.

That's about it for now.  We love being a family of three.

A video, in parting, of his first smile, taken at 6 weeks.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It's a boy!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Now that the cat's out of the bag

Sometimes, I feel inspired to write a blog post and just save it until I feel like posting it. It doesn't happen often, and sounds pretty lame when I admit it. But pregnancy is something that keeps inspiring me to write, but then inevitably my feelings change shortly after, and I'd write something, and two days later I'd reread it, and think, "That is so 48 hours ago!" and punch "delete" until it all disappeared.

So, from my 17 week perspective, here is the most accurate description I can give of how this whole pregnancy thing has gone down for me.

(I couldn't resist.  For more, click here.)
When I first got married, I was hypersensitive about the negative things that people would say about their experiences with pregnancy and parenthood (not that I heard those things very often).  I couldn't tolerate even the slightest unhappy comments.  It was deeply discouraging to me, because I knew pregnancy and motherhood was definitely in my future.  I remember coming home from an enrichment activity when I was a newlywed, sitting on the bed and literally bursting into tears because of all the complaining I'd heard all night about the trials and difficulties of motherhood, with no redeeming or positive follow up comments.  I believe the phrase "in the trenches" had been used many, many times that night (and I studied World War I in depth in London, so I know my trench warfare, people).  For a while, I felt doomed to an unsatisfying and frustrating life.

Then, lightening struck.  I didn't just want any old kid.  I wanted to meet OUR kid.  I realized it's not like any old random baby would land in our laps, it would be one that was like us.  And I like us, so, obviously, I'd like our kid, right?

And now, I think I get it.  If you had your dream job or were building your dream house or writing your dream novel, I'm positive you'd have hurdles to jump along the way that would make you want to grumble, but you'd still be in the midst of doing that "dream" thing the whole time.  I think pregnancy/motherhood is the ultimate version of that.  When it all seems really hard and miserable, it's still in the midst of doing your ultimate "dream" thing.  And I think to most mothers, that fact is a given.   To a childless lot, it's a weird thing that was very difficult for me to understand, but no matter how frustrating it is to feel sick and tired way more intensely than you ever have before, it's still outweighed by how exciting and fun it is!

With that said, I can freely admit complain that for the first two and a half months, basically everyday was a sick day.  How quickly I sat up in bed in the morning could actually make me want to hurl, so I had to learn to roll over and sit up slowly, and then, immediately stumble into the kitchen to grab a fistful of saltines and a small glass of club soda before I could do much else.  Some days were extremely rough.  Especially in the days leading up to my discovery of gummy prenatal vitamins (replacing those awful Kroger brand horse pills that must have been mostly made of cardboard and wood chips, judging from how they affected my insides).

During this time, saltines and club soda were the only things I could really count on to help me keep it together.  I started carrying crackers in my purse wherever I went, and keeping a cup of club soda in my driver's side cup holder.

Harry is wonderful.  Whether you're feeling elated, depressed, nauseated, energized, or anything else on the spectrum, he's the best person to have around.  He doesn't pressure me to do anything a certain way.  He only encourages me to find ways to do things things that I like.  And he's SO excited!  He's been excited to be a dad pretty much since childhood, and it makes this whole thing so much more fun to have him excitedly spouting out parenting/name ideas right and left.

I have also been surprised at how exciting it's been to be pregnant!  Especially since Harry and I kept it completely to ourselves for about four months.  As I get older, I'm getting more and more private.  It's one of the key ways I know I'm turning into my mother, who always kind of plays her cards close, in the best way.  I still over-share on occasion, I'm sure, but big pieces of news like this, I relish keeping quiet.  We liked the idea of staying mum, even from our parents.  We even (well, Harry even) considered not saying anything EVER, just waiting until people noticed that I clearly looked pregnant, but I thought that was taking it a little far.

And I have to say, after waiting 4 months to finally spill the news, I was really hesitant to tell people!  All of a sudden I just felt so shy about it.  I kept picturing myself sounding like an overly intimidated Lutz.

And with that said, any and all advice/recommendations on all things "MOTHERHOOD" are welcome!  I've tried to take mental notes on things that work for people over the years (Bumbos! Swings! Bob strollers!), but really, I know that I don't know anything.  If you have a golden piece of wisdom for me, feel free to leave it in the comments, or in an email, or in a scroll delivered via carrier pigeon.  Seriously.  Because I may still be slightly emotionally discombobulated in some ways, but I'm feel more stable these days, so, in the immortal words of Liz Lemon, "Hey, nerds! Who’s got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn’t cried once today? [pointing thumbs at self] This moi."

And also, thank you in advance.

In other news, here is a list of names we will not be using:

1) Adolf
2) Mussolini
3) Gremlin
5) Voldemort
6) Gollum
7) !!! (Pronounced, "Ahh!")
8) Malificent
9) Jumbotron
10) Hashtag

And now, without any further ado, I present:

The Sarrison Reynolds Baby of the Future (TM)! Coming to a blog/Instagram near you August 27th, 2013!
Lovingly dubbed "the dino picture." The very instant this baby appeared on the ultrasound screen, he/she turned his/her head right toward the camera and opened his/her mouth for a second as if to say, "Hi!"  Or, "Rawr!"  The doctor excitedly yelled, "Did you see that?!"
Giving Dad a hello
Up close profile with a little waving hand

We love him/her already.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'll give you two guesses.

Which one of us do you think is pregnant?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

And everything else in a mild hurry

Well yay, now I've caught us up to the end of October. Way to go me! Here's the rest of our lives in compression format.

Girl's Trip 2012

We all drove/flew to Orange County for the annual girl's trip last November!

We went to Disneyland, did some shopping, and Tiff, Karina and I ran a 10K in the Woodbridge area of Irvine.  It's such a treat to get to spend time together.  Megan went above and beyond and surprised us all with matching sweatshirts to commemorate the weekend.

Girl's dinner

Tower of Terror

RunLove 10K race
And then a few days later, on election day, I hacked about 7 inches of my hair off.  It's been fun having a long bob!  I am glad I was brave enough to take the plunge and Natalie did an amazing job.


We all trekked to Elizabeth's beautiful new house in Draper, Utah.
Bowling with McO cousins the night before Thanksgiving
Jubes is the cutest
And knows how to make a good funny face
Early morning giggle fest
Best buds and only 10 days apart
The apple pie goddess
The orange rolls goddess
Thanksgiving = 8 busy and fun hours of cooking and about 30 minutes of eating.
The cutest Juju there ever was
A morning stroll in beautiful Draper
Harry timed it just right and managed to appear in this panorama twice!
And sadly only a segment of Jeff got captured.


We moved to LA!  And one of the very first things I did was drive down the street (literally- a 6 minute drive) to see my Katt.  She's one of my Palo Alto besties and seeing her was one of my favorite Christmas presents.

Megan lives nearby and we met up to hear Sherri Dew speak
And we went out to lunch with her cute little boy
Mistletoe given out by the Boy Scouts of America.  We put it in our car.
Those Boy Scouts.  Always serving our country.
Christmas Eve jammies.  It's all very serious.
Christmas morning for me and Hal.
A picture of one of our most notable gifts- handerpants.

Now we live in LA. It's been a few months and so far we've had a few adventures. Harry and I are both working, and we actually work across the street from each other, so we get to meet up for lunch!

Aaaand that's enough of catch up for now.  Whew!