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Wow! Baby Owen is here. We are so thrilled and over the moon. Owen Patrick Krueger was born on April 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm, weighing 6lbs 12 oz and measuring 19.5 inches long. He is just perfect. Everything went so smoothly. I had a scheduled c-section this time around and it was a big relief and so different than my first birthing experience with Ella Rose. I want to share my experience with you because I think many women, myself included, struggle with the idea of having c-sections. When the decision is out of your control, you can’t help but feel completely defeated, helpless, and weak. In just a minute’s time, you have to decide what’s best for you and your child’s future. It can be very devastating. However, this “Gentle C-Section” approach that I encountered the second time around, allowed me to experience the closest thing to a natural, vaginal delivery; something I always thought I would experience. I really hope more hospitals move toward this method, as it will enable c-section mothers to experience the natural aspects of a pleasant childbirth, rather than the frightening, anxiety ridden traditional c-section.
So onto this experience…we arrived at the hospital a couple of hours before my scheduled procedure at 11:30 am. Before my surgery, they prepped me for about an hour before we were ready to walk back to the operating room (OR). That was a little strange walking to the OR (compared to Ella Rose’ c-section, in which I was wheeled back in a bit of a delirious state after 24 hours of labor). After entering the OR and sitting down on the operating table, the doctors surrounded me and gave me a spinal. I wasn’t sure how this would go since my first time I had an epidural. It is a very strange feeling because once they have placed it correctly in your back you immediately begin to go numb from your upper abdomen down. Once completely numb, the doctors began the surgery. In just under a half hour, we heard the relieving/amazing cries of our baby boy. Now, taking it back a step..heading into surgery, I was convinced by my nurse to do the “Gentle C-Section” approach. I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I was so happy she was in charge of this for her department and convinced me to do it. It was so neat and an unforgettable experience. To start, I was asked what music they would like me to play while the c-section was performed and they also dimmed the lights to make me more comfortable (we were told the previous c-section requested “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga before the operation could begin ;-)). They also had a clear drape behind the typical blue drape you see in most operations. Once Owen was born, they dropped the blue drape, and I was able to look up and see our beautiful baby boy shining in the lights. It was such an unbelievable moment. Brendan was able to snap the most amazing picture of this moment (see above).
Following his arrival, I was able to immediately hold him on my chest and do skin to skin, while they finished the surgery. That was so special to me. I wasn’t able to do this with Ella Rose, and this whole gentle c-section approach was exactly what I had hoped it would be. During my surgery, my doctor also informed me that I had minimal scar tissue, so having more children was in the books for us. This made me so completely happy, because we would love to have a couple more and with c-sections you can be limited to how many children you can have. As I was holding Owen against my chest, I was so in awe of this beautiful baby boy. It was all worth it, and the richest feeling to be holding him. Brendan and I are so in love and our hearts are bursting with joy.
Later that afternoon, Ella Rose came to visit with my mom. When Ella Rose first entered the room, she was very coy and smiled knowing something was different. We let her hold Owen and she was almost in shock that he was actually here. She had always known Owen as “Baby Owen in Mommy’s tummy.” Now that he was actually here, she wasn’t quite sure what to think. The next day when she came back, we let her snuggle him again and caught the cutest video of them. She was in heaven and so excited. We all hung out that evening and had dinner together. She loved roaming the halls of the hospital, taking selfies with Daddy and walking to see the “fishies” in their large tank. My mom came in for the week to help with Ella Rose and to help me in the hospital. I very much enjoyed having my mom there because she is very knowledgeable from her many, many years as an OB nurse. It was just so comforting having her there. After a few days of recovering, I was able to finally head home. I couldn’t wait to be home, but I knew it would be an adjustment.
Similar to the photo shoot we did for Ella Rose around one week old, we hired my good friend Alicia to take some family photos on the first Saturday we were home from the hospital. She did such an excellent job (see sample pictures below)! We have a number of her photos around the house today…
Now, onto the adjustment at home. I am not going to lie – the first two weeks at home were really rough. Not only did I feel terrible, even though this recovery was much better than the first time, but I was very emotional. Everything was making me cry. I believe this was due to a combination of the after baby blues along with the side effects of weaning off of my pain meds. Ella Rose was having a very hard time and didn’t quite understand why I couldn’t hold her or pick her up. This was extremely hard for me because all I wanted to do was be there for her and do the things we used to do together, and I couldn’t meet her needs. I felt so helpless and guilty. Luckily, both Grandmas were there to help us. Brendan’s mom came the week after Owen was born and cooked us bread, baked cookies with Ella Rose, and did our laundry. I love when she comes because our clothes are always meticulously folded, and we have home-made bread and chocolate chip cookies for days and days. It’s the absolute best. While we were fortunate enough to have the grandmothers around to help during the week, we had to fend for ourselves during the weekend. I remember one of these first crazy nights on our own very vividly. Owen had woken up to eat and needed to be changed, and all of a sudden we heard Ella Rose crying and screaming for us over the monitor. This was strange, because she is a very good sleeper and never wakes up in the middle of the night unless she is sick. So…both kids were crying, Owen had peed all over himself (a very common occurrence), and Brendan and I were running back and forth between the rooms trying to calm everyone down. At one point, in the midst of this chaos at 2am, we stopped, looked at each other, and started cracking up. This was our life now. Chaos. Luckily, after those first two difficult weeks, things calmed down. We all were realizing we were now a family of four.
While it was chaotic for the first couple of weeks, Owen was never really part of the difficult equation. He is such a sweet baby. He never cries unless he is starving or gassy, and is so incredibly calm. He will just sit with us for hours and soak everything in. We have noticed he does not like to be alone and is very sensitive. He loves being with us, not necessarily being held, but has to be in the same room. He loves getting his head rubbed, and taking baths, but he doesn’t like being changed. He is now two months old, and is a great sleeper, so far. He usually loves having mommy/daddy time around 8-10pm, falls asleep after a bottle of formula or nursing, and sleeps until anywhere from 5:00-7am straight. It’s incredible. With his good sleeping habits, I was able to recover a lot faster, and by three/four weeks was up and about. By six weeks, I was completely feeling myself again and now, I’d say, 99% recovered. Now don’t get fooled, we had our fair share of struggles with the first born, so I have to say, it is a relief having an easier baby this time. I always say, I would rather have learned the hard way the first time around, and be pleasantly surprised this time.
Now moving back to Owen again…he is such a little man. It is so funny because he grunts and snores all of the time! Like a lot of people have pointed out, he even looks like a little man ;). It is so true and funny. He started smiling a little after a month old, and definitely knows our voices. Now, he is smiling a ton, is cooing, and even giggling, and is so content. He recently began to laugh and absolutely loves his big sister. When he cries, Ella Rose will kiss him and he even will occasionally stop crying at times to admire her. It’s really sweet. I can’t wait to watch their bond develop as they grow up together.
Speaking of Ella Rose, she is such a character these days. She is pretty much speaking full sentences and has a great sense of humor, making us laugh constantly. She loves singing “You are my sunshine” and at the end of the song she sings in this funny little voice pointing her finger up and down. Her new thing lately is talking in funny voices and laughing crazily. She also loves negotiating and arguing about anything and everything. Her new favorite phrase is “two mo minutes,” while holding up both index fingers near her face, and “right neowww.” The best is the negotiating at bed time and the stall tactics- “one mo song,” “one mo twinkle twinkle little staw,” “snaaaaack, healthy snaaaack.” The negotiations are endless and quite funny at times. For example, we know she doesn’t really want to go to bed when she asks to say her prayers for a second time. She also loves singing and knows “Daisy, Daisy” and “Twinkle Twinkle,” and “Tu-ra-lu-ra” by heart. I love when she sings these by herself in her little high voice, it is so sweet. She can count to twelve on her own and loves singing her “ABCs.” She is really into “Finding Nemo,” still into “Frozen” & her new favorite is “Mary Poppins.” She absolutely loves riding the merry-go-round at the zoo, and always says, “just like Mary Poppins, Mama.” I love that. She also loves when we sing “Toppins,” to her before bed again, just like “Mary Poppins.”
We are off to a fun summer so far. We are taking a break from gymnastics and soccer for a few months. However, we are continuing our music class. We absolutely love this course and the teacher (Mrs. Tonya); it’s wonderful and full of energy. Owen has been coming as well and I think he enjoys going and listening to the music and activities bustling around him. Ella Rose has also just started her survival swim class. It’s an intense six-week program where she is learning how to float on her back and swim to the side to prevent her from drowning. The first week was a little scary for her, but the instructors have said it is completely normal and within a couple of weeks she will be more comfortable. I have already noticed her getting more comfortable, as this week finished with her giving her coaches high fives and playing with the toys. I think the hardest part for her is that I am not able to be right by her side, but can watch right by the window and clear glass doors next to the pool. The instructors are top notch and within the first week she already learned to hold her breath, grab the side of the pool, and kick. It is now week three and she can swim about five feet on her own. I’m excited to see the other techniques she will learn.
We are so happy we’re settled now and functioning as a family of four. We are already enjoying the hot summer weather together. We have started taking walks every Saturday morning for coffee. Brendan will put Owen in our Chariot stroller and run with him, and Ella Rose and I will ride our bike together. I got a new cruiser for the summer and we put her, “Wee Ride” seat on the front of the bike. We both have so much fun riding together. She loves ringing the bell on the handlebars too. We also have a Sunday tradition where we go to church and then out to brunch. Another fun activity we have started doing is going to the pool on the weekends. Brendan’s work partnered with a gym and we are able to hop around to the different gyms around the area, it has been great thus far. We have just made travel plans for this summer. We are going back to Chicago to see family for a week and also go to Brendan’s family reunion. His mom is one of 13, so it’s always fun to get together with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins. We also are taking our first family vacation this fall to Arizona and staying at a resort. We can’t wait. We realized we hadn’t taken a trip with just our little family, since we usually visit family or travel with family and friends, and decided it was time to do so. So we are really looking forward to that.
I hope you enjoyed my super long post! It has been a while, and I plan to write more regularly now that things have calmed down. I hope you enjoyed some of the fun, cute, affordable summer outfits for girls and now little BOYS!