Celebrations, and other things…

Good afternoon, readers,
We are slowly reaching Eloise’s one month birthday. In those short few weeks since she’s been born, many things have happened, with sleep being the lowest on the list. But I yawn, and digress…

One is Frances and the other Eloise... Can you tell the difference?
One is Frances and the other Eloise... Can you tell the difference?

Let’s catch up, shall we? First of all, after Eloise was born, Annie and I looked at each other, nodded, and said goodbye to any hope of a good night’s sleep for awhile. We were sad to see it go, and hope it returns again someday. In its place? Coffee… Lots and lots of caffeinated coffee.

Anyway, where was I? New baby… that’s right. To help out a bit, my parents made another trek across the country to see us. This time it was in a 2011 Ford, not a 1930’s Model A Ford. And this time it was straight here, and not to Alaska and back.

They were a great help. My dad and I concentrated on things to do around the house… Oh, did I mention we moved? In Annie’s last month of pregnancy we got a wild hair to buy a new house. I won’t bore you with details, but we stumbled upon a great opportunity, and couldn’t pass it up. We are now just a few blocks from Annie’s parents in Hughson. We still have our other house, and no, we didn’t move because we couldn’t make the payments. We are both in the black, and with this new opportunity we have a chance to rent the old house and make a little on the side. Win, win.

But then we had a new house that we needed to move into. Crap, was that not fun. You can’t imagine just how much stuff you acquire when you think you’ve settled down for good. So here we were, a month from a new baby, and me and Annie’s brother single-handedly moving an entire house across town by ourselves. Fun, fun. Thanks, John. Without your help we would still be moving… It took us little by little, but we are finally in the new home, and we love it. It’s bigger and the floor plan is better laid out than our other house. The backyard is humungous and Dexter loves it.  Also having Annie’s parents so close now has been a blessing, and very helpful. But new houses come with problems. Like: The backyard isn’t finished; it’s just a gigantic dirt field. No ceiling lights/fans were installed. Etc…

So with my dad here, we were able to tackle a lot of the problems. The biggest was a shed to house all of my tools and yard equipment. We basically went to Lowes and looked at their sheds and wrote down all the wood, shingles, nails and tools we would need to copy one. It took us several days of 100+ degree temps, but we persevered and before he left we had a kick-ass new shed built, AND at a fraction of the cost if I had had one installed. Most of all it was great spending time with my dad and learning some new wood-working tricks. I’ve learned so much from my dad over the years, and his ability to problem solve using common sense is the quality I hope I’ve absorbed the most. I really don’t think there is much he can’t do if he set his mind to it.

My mom was great too. She helped babysit Frances, and every night cooked us dinner. Before we could turn our heads, she had the dishes washed and everything put away. I think I miss that the most now that’s she’s gone. It was also great to have them here to see me play a gig at the Stanislaus County Fair. My parents hadn’t seen me play since I left Kentucky, and it was nice to see them in the audience cheering us on. If anyone is interested, my band is called River Rising.

So they left and we attempted to get back to normal. Yeah, right… Eloise was sleeping a little better, but multiple times at night she still needed to be changed and fed. She reminded us of that with her very loud crying. Somehow I don’t remember Frances being that loud. In the past week though, Eloise has been sleeping much better. The last few evenings she has slept 4-5 hours straight each night. That has done wonders for our productivity. Like for example, this new blog post! Annie is a milk making machine, and Eloise is drinking like a champ. I suspect that’s why she is sleeping better. At the 3 week weigh in, Eloise weighed 10.5 lbs! We call her Bubba now.

Happy 2nd Birthday!
Happy 2nd Birthday!

You may ask now, “How is Frances doing?” Well, she is doing great! On July 22nd, Frances turned 2. Those 2 years flew by so fast. In fact, July was full of celebrations. I had a birthday on the 10th, Frances had her birthday, and Annie and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. We couldn’t be happier. I love my wife very much. She is a great mother, and even though I try to help out, I know she has more than she needs on her plate right now. She’s a champ though, and I can see the love in her eyes for Frances and Eloise (and hopefully me!) each day.

We want to thank everyone for their kind words, cards, gifts, etc… You have been great to us, and we appreciate it.

Until next time…

Eloise Hazel Akers

After nine long months, Eloise Hazel Akers is finally here! For those that remember the difficult birth that we suffered through with Frances, this labor was the complete opposite.

Just a reminder, there is a photo gallery at the end of this post.

It all started about a week before the due date. Since Annie was induced during the first pregnancy, she was a bit confused with some of the labor signs she was getting. Were they real contractions or just the false ones called Braxton-Hicks? It was clear that she was uncomfortable, and Eloise was taking up A LOT of room. Our due date was the 2nd of July, but of course we never made it that far.

On the 22nd of June, Annie felt like the contractions were consistent, but not very strong. Her doctor told her to go to the hospital to get checked out. We went and of course baby wasn’t quite ready. Annie was dilated to 2, and really thinned out, but the nurses said it could be tomorrow or it could be another week… and another week it turned out to be.

On Friday, the 29th of June, we went out for Thai food with Annie’s brother and his wife Sara. We joked saying that the spicy food would help pop the baby out, and Annie told Sara to have her phone ready cause the baby was going to come that night at 2am. Annie turned out to be a prophet, because at 2:15 am Saturday morning, Annie’s water broke in bed. Now that is a story for another day, but suffice it to say, that was an adventure unto itself.

So after about an hour of sleep we were now trying to figure out how to get to the hospital. Luckily we live close to her mom, and in a few minutes, she was on her way over to babysit Frances. The scare of the previous Friday had prepared us for this evening. We now had bags packed and the car ready to go. All we had to do was jump in and hope baby wasn’t coming in the 17 minutes it was going to take to get to the hospital.

We made it and checked in in record time. The nurses and staff at Emmanuel are top notch. We felt safe and very cared-for. They got us in a room fast and prepped Annie to deliver. Annie was about 5 cm when we got there, but in just a short period of time, her contractions were coming fast and painful. The epidural couldn’t come fast enough! No, really, it really couldn’t come fast enough. By the time the epidural was in, Annie was fully dilated and ready to deliver. The nurse warned us that Annie may not get much of a benefit from the epidural. Things were certainly moving fast, however after a round of extremely painful contractions, Annie was determined to give it time to start working. As the drug began to take effect, she began to feel better, and the nurse was confident to give us some time before she had to push. But I could tell through my peripheral vision that the nurses were prepped already and just waiting for the doctor to show up.

Soon the pressure began to bare down on Annie and Eloise was ready to be out. Sara showed up to give us support, and when Annie requested a mirror so she could see what was going on, Sara also got a view she probably never wanted to see. The doctor showed up and he was an artist guiding the baby out. Slowly turning Eloise out as Annie pushed from above. Soon a head surfaced, then shoulders, then toes, and she was out.

I got to cut the cord this time, and it was a weird experience to say the least, but I can say I did it. It was a tough little sucker to cut!

The NIC unit was hovering in the background, because in the chaos of all the nurse chatter, I did hear that Eloise had had a bowel movement in the womb, and they wanted to make sure she hadn’t swallowed any. But all was well, her color great, and her crying a beautiful sound. She was certified OK and the NIC unit nurses were shooed away.

At 6:22 am baby Eloise graced us with her presence. 4 hours. Let me repeat that… 4 hours of labor. Pretty amazing considering Frances was a week late and we were in the hospital undergoing inducement and delivery for 3 days. So while Frances may be stubborn like her mother, Eloise may be impatient like her father. We shall see.

It’s such a satisfying thing to have all my girls home safe and sound now. Annie is almost 100% now. No tearing or complications. Eloise is sleeping, eating, and pooping like a champ. Annie’s milk came in pretty quick, and I can tell what little weight baby lost at the hospital, she is already getting back. Sleeping through the night was difficult the first couple of nights because it seemed like that’s when Eloise liked to party. From 10-3am the first 2 nights, she was up wide awake. But last night and the night before she has slept in 4 to 5 hour intervals which has been great.

We really couldn’t ask for much more. Now we wait to see how Frances adjusts. So far she has been great and wanting to help. She asks for baby first thing in the morning, and says “bless you” when ever Eloise sneezing or cries. It’s really cute.

So with all that, I leave you 20 pictures of a photo shoot I did yesterday and today. Thanks for checking in, and reading about our lives. We miss those we can’t see, and personally, I’m excited to see my parents in a few days.

As always: more blog posts coming soon… or not.