Monday, July 28, 2008

Praise Baby

So Aidan seemed to really be getting into the praise songs at the camp Mike was speaking at last week... or was that just Grandma? (and no apparently we don't know how to hold a camera to take video correctly, but it's still cute!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Aidan's First Bath

So we gave Aidan his first "real" bath. He of course was not happy with the event - he basically hates having his clothes off at all. But of course we were snapping away with the camera while he screamed. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Pictures

Sleeping baby

With Nana

With Papa

Our Family (and yes I still look pregnant...)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Family of Four

Father's Day - Mike with his two kids

Tired happy mommy

The Name

Emma and Aidan

or more accurately Emmaline Eowyn and Aidan Elessar

We now have two children whose first names at least top the trendy popular baby name lists these days. I'm not one for trends generally and it would probably be false to say our name choices were not influenced by the ethos of our culture, but these have been our top name choices since shortly after we were married over eight years ago. One of my favorite literature professors at Wheaton had a little girl named Emma who came along on our Wheaton in England trip and I think I fell in love with that name then. Mike and I both love the story of St. Aidan - the Irish monk who brought Christianity to Northern England. Where other missionary monks had failed in attempts at conversion by persuasion, Aidan succeeded by befriending and serving those around him. We visited the holy isle of Lindisfarne (where Aidan's monastery was) on our honeymoon. But I think it was after we both read Stephen Lawhead's book Byzantium about an Irish monk (named Aidan) journey to (you guessed it) Byzantium and his parallel faith journey that we discussed how much we liked the name (the book is a good read btw). So the first names were chosen long before we had kids.

Aidan literally means "little fiery one" and is a diminutive of Aodh - the Celtic Sun god 9hence the fire part). If this baby had been a girl, we were learning towards the name Rhiannon - the Welsh Moon goddess. So early on we told people that the baby would be named after a pagan deity. Yes, we are weird like that. But given how active Aidan was in the womb (and now) "fiery one" seems fitting.

Then there's the Lord of the Rings middle names. With Emma, we wanted her to have the name of a strong female. Eowyn's desire to make a significant impact on her world led us to give her name to Emma. With Aidan we went with another LOTR name. If you did't know, Elessar is Aragon's elvish name (he was raised by the elves) and the name he assumes once he becomes King. The term elessar actually refers to a green jewel (in a ring of course) that contains a bit of a star (making it apropos to pair with Aidan). But the person who has the right to wear the stone is also referred to as the elessar - a person who is a healer. In LOTR Aragon shows that he is a healer as well as a leader and King. But the idea behind this type of healer is not just one who can heal physical wounds, but one who can look at any person or situation and see the good underneath. The healing occurs by the elessar being able to bring forth the inherent good in people and in the world. I loved that concept and pray that my child can be one of those who see that "there's good in this world and it's worth fighting for." (and yes, we are complete nerds as well...).

Aidan's Birth

Aidan Elessar Clawson was born June 11 at 3:15. He weighed 8lbs 1oz and was 20 inches long.

That's the short version. I thought I'd write the full birth story here for the random few who are interested. This may be way too much information for some, but I'm writing it anyway. So get ready for a really long and most likely incoherent (I'm still drugged up and sleep deprived) post!

After weeks of feeling miserable, having contractions, and thinking the baby could arrive at any moment - it finally happened. Last Wednesday morning my plan was to get up and call some friends about going out to get Indian food for lunch (hoping the whole spicy foods bring on labor thing was true), instead as I went to get out of bed, my water broke. It wasn't a huge gush, but it was obvious it was my water breaking. I was a bit freaked out because I had been told that with high amniotic fluid my water breaking could cause the cord to prolapse which would be really bad. So we had a friend rush over to stay with Emma and we went to the hospital. I wasn't contracting yet, but was scared about the complications. At the hospital they confirmed that my water had broke and that I was 3cm dilated. At that point they told me that this time it was for real; I wasn't leaving the hospital again without having the baby.

They started monitoring me and I had to have an EKG to determine if my heart issues were going to be an issue during labor. They decided to let me proceed in labor and gave me a low dose of pitocin to get my contractions going. I had very mild contractions for a couple of hours, then they ramped up super fast. Within half an hour I went from feeling nothing to the intense scream inducing every other minute kind. They tried to give me an epidural, but because of my previous back surgery it didn't take (with Emma, it worked partially). At some point they gave me an oxygen mask to help me breathe.

I quickly started feeling the need to push which took the nurses by surprise at how fast it happened. So the nurse checked to see if I was fully dilated (which I was) and that's when the problems began. She said she didn't think that what she was feeling was the baby's head and wondered if he was breech. So the doctor rushed in to check me out. She said she thought he was head down, but something didn't seem right. They rushed an ultrasound machine in and discovered that Aidan was face up and his head was tilted backwards. Basically he was positioned to come out nose first. (Remember all this time I am trying not to push) This freaks the doctor out, apparently if I try to push I could cause severe trauma to Aidan's neck. So that's when things went into emergency c-section mode. Basically they told me I was having to go completely under with general anesthesia and Mike couldn't be in the room and rushed me to an operating room. I saw them doing prep on me and that's the last thing I recall before I woke up about an hour later and was told I had a 8lb son.

The rest of that day really was a blur (I think the drugs I was getting had a lot to do with that). I got to see Aidan briefly shortly after I woke up, but didn't get to hold him for a few hours. Mike's parents drove straight in from Michigan to see him which was great. Emma came in that evening as well. At first she was speechless when she saw him. I think she was expecting a bigger "baby" that would be able to play with her. But then she started saying "he's so cute" over and over. I don't remember much of that first night expect that I could barely keep my eyes open. The next day it really hit me that I had just had surgery and it really hurt. I had prepped myself for the pain (and recovery) of a vaginal delivery, so this whole c-section thing was a shock. The inability to move much at all (like to get up to get the baby) wasn't expected. So my time in the hospital was spent beginning to get over the pain and having to have people do everything for me.

I am so grateful that Aidan is healthy. He was still three and a half weeks early, but was over 8lbs. He never had to go to the NICU or have IVs of any kind. They did an ultrasound of his kidney's and couldn't find anything amiss, so that image on my ultrasounds must have just been false echo. They were concerned at his blood sugar and bilirubin levels (and kept poking his feet to test him), but those have leveled out. In all he is a healthy boy. It was weird having him in the room with me. With Emma, she was taken away to the NICU immediately and I had to go to her. She also stayed in the hospital for nine days. So having Aidan there, not hooked up to a bazillion monitors, and be able to hold and feed him whenever was amazing.

We came home on Saturday night which was a bit overwhelming. Of course the pharmacies were closed by the time we got home so I had no good pain medicine that whole night (not fun). But each day since I have gained some strength and can move around a bit more (despite the lack of sleep). Aidan feeds about every two hours which makes sleep and any activity near impossible, but hanging out catatonic on the easy chair is about all I feel like doing anyway right now. It is weird for the wait and misery of the pregnancy to be over. And we are just trying to take it easy and enjoy this time. My parents are here and are taking care of Emma (spoiling her rotten) this week. She is obviously still adjusting to this new member of our family and it will take some time for that to work itself out.

I'm trying to work on getting back into being myself. Being on heavy duty painkillers and the immediate postpartum hormone dump doesn't help much with that though. I still look 6 months pregnant, my ankles are swollen to grapefruit size, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what clothes actually fit at this point. Like I realized that all of my underwear are bikini cut which lay right on my scar, so we had to make an emergency run for granny panties. I can't fit into any pre-pregnancy clothes and the maternity clothes fit awkwardly. Luckily I have a closet full of elastic waist broom skirts, so that's something. It's silly, but one of those random things I didn't think about beforehand.

I'm sure the next few weeks will be an adventure. I don't know what my life will look like day to day. But we are enjoying finally having Aidan here and look forward to getting to know him.

Monday, June 9, 2008

36 Weeks

So I have amazingly made it to 36 weeks. I am having contractions all the time and am in major pain because of them. I feel huge. I think I was at the hospital 5 times for various things last week (picture from one of those trips). My doctor didn't think I would make it to my next appointment with her which is on Thursday, but we shall see. The false labor and waiting is driving me crazy.