Sunday, July 31, 2011

oh, little man.

you cant possibly know how close i hold you. how often i whisper "mama loves you" while you sleep. how i count the seconds between your sighs. or how i treasure every single second. you are such a blessing. it all seems too good. too wonderful. too much. more than i deserve.

you've started really looking around now - and nothing excites you more than whatever happens to be you are constantly flinging yourself backwards to see farther up. farther out. and for such a small baby (well, okay - you've grown now into a definitely not-such-a-small one, I admit) you have incredible strength. where is this super power coming from?! how can you possibly be so much stronger than me? i've actually stopped holding you certain ways for fear you'll catapult yourself straight pout of my arms...

but the curiousity is unstoppable. you want to see. you want to touch. you want to be a part. if we're singing (and it happens a lot - you and I sing and dance, and you have regular "jam" sessions with your sister on her guitar, daddy on his harmonica - all of you piled on the bed) your voice raises right along with the rest of us. if there's a conversation across the room, you will strain with everything to be closer...

you are my curious monkey every day you make me thankful i have this time with you.

mama loves you, wylie bear. every second.

Friday, June 17, 2011

sweet boy, it's been two months!

I sit here, typing one-handed - which makes this process a bit tedious. But you often want your own space to stretch in, so the fact that today you want nothing more than for me to hold you is something I haven't the heart to squander.

So typing one-handed may be slow-going, but is totally worth it.

I'm not sure where to start, honestly. This past month has been such an adventure - in my head somewhere I knew you would be different, not me or your dad or Maire, but you're own person. Now, with you here it seems my heart is having to catch up to that thought. I am just now able to look at you and see Wylie - who you are now, who you're becoming.

You have a quick temper that flares bright as fireworks and passes just as quickly; though you are unbelievably calm most of the time. The days, the hours, they wash over you with ease. You open your eyes and see everything, and as it passes you either look deadly serious or you get the most adorable Han Solo half-grin on your face. You definitely have a sense of humor, and my guess is you've inherited your dad and my sarcasm, but we shall see.

You've been smiling for a couple weeks now, big giant grins that seem able to just eat up all the air around you. You smile most often at Maire, but from time to time throw a big one my way, or your dad's. You're learning to reach for things, and while you don't always get it right, I can see the intention in your face. You do nothing in a minor way. You are truly our little bear.

Just the other day you were ornery for the first time. Maire was playing on the floor near you and you grabbed her dolly's dress. She said "No! Stop Baby Wylie!" and by god, you reached right out and grabbed it again with absolutely no hesitation... and a GIANT smile on your face. Dear lord, I didn't know whether to laugh out loud or be frightened to death where this mischievous attitude may land us.

And, oh, how I love afternoons like today where you curl up under my chin and just sigh with delight. I coudl never put Maire down as a baby, but you - you will cry if I coddle you too much and I don't' see that changing as we grow together in these coming years. You will insist to be put down and the minute you have room to stretch as you please you will smile and coo and then make sure we haven't gone too far. Sometimes, when your tummy hurts or you're fussy I'll hold you close and walk back and forth across our living room, promising you "I will always hold you too tight, kiss you too much, hug you too long. I am your mommy, you are my boy. I will always love you more." It seems to calm you and make you happier and I can't count now, how many times I have repeated it over and over again. I hope you understand it, or some piece of it's intent stays with you as you grow.

An how you've grown! We took you into the doctor's office for your two month check-up and you've already almost doubled your weight. All the nurses and even the doctor herself commented and were impressed. You might have started out a little small and with some hurdles to overcome, but you've more than proven you can tackle anything. I can't help but put my hand on your belly, or squeeze your little chubby thighs. Even Maire will try to pinch your little fat rolls singing "you're my favorite! to you as your Dad and I yell "BE GENTLE!!!"

Ha. Yes, her violent love hasn't lessened at all. It might have grown, actually. She was sick just last week and burst into tears when I told her she couldn't kiss you. It was torture for her that thankfully only lasted a day. Not being able to shower you with kisses was worse to her than being sick. She adores you and while I know that someday there will be slammed doors and (I have no doubt) punches thrown, seeing you two together now almost breaks my heart with joy.

She looks for you the minute she wakes up and cannot bear to leave you for school in the morning. She runs straight to you when she returns, and she is still the voice you most follow, the face you most lock onto. I never had this, a family of more than three. A child co-conspirator... and watching you two interact, watching you obviously so love each other. It bowls me over. It makes me so grateful you have each other, already.

Oh, and before I forget - you took your first trip this week. And, man, were we impressed (and relieved). It seems you travel as well, if not better, than your sister if that's even possible. So, my little man, getting ready to see the world - your daddy and I plan to show you as much of it as we possibly can.

You've given us so much already, it seems only fair.

Sleep tight, little one. I love you so very much.
your mama

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One Month

My dear baby boy, Happy One Month!

This is a few days old, of course. It seems with two my time to sit in quiet and find the words I need to let you know how fast and wonderfully time is flying by is a bit harder now than it was when it was just your sister about - but here we are, better late than never. It's so important to me you know what these days were like.

These days when we were first falling in love with you. These days when our family, a day, an hour, a moment at a time was being made whole.

This month has been amazing, I have to say. Slowly my fear you aren't truly ours has started to subside, though I still have a catch in my heart every time you cry. I still go crazy until your in my arms, until I have you (crying or no) close to me where you feel safe.

You've definitely found your voice, though honestly, I don't think you ever had want for it. It seems you've been talking since you first caught your breath, and hearing your tiny coos and hubs are just magic. Your dad, sister and I just sit and listen sometimes as you tell your stories.

And, oh, it's not just been you that's been magic here these past weeks. Samaire has embraced being a big sister with all she is and her love is filling every corner of our apartment. It's palpable and ferocious and absolutely undeniable. She smothers you (quite literally at times) with kisses and hugs and pats and is heartbroken you can't purposely hold her hand yet. She sits next to you on the couch and reads you books, regales you with made-up stories and songs and will often translate for you when your dad and I can't figure out what you need or want.

Her favorite thing to do with you, however, is to sing "April Showers" by Sugarland to you. She knows all the words and when it seems nothing is working, she will insist we put it on - as, often, Dad holds you and I hold her - and we sing it as a family. These are my favorite moments. She knows all the words, and as we sing and dance as a family in our tiny apartment, I know our lives cannot possibly become more sweet or wonderful. It seems to always calm you, and usually by the time we're done your eyes are heavy and you're cooing along with our melody.

I guess most of all that's what I've spent most of my time this month thinking - that you've come into our lives at such the perfect moment in such the perfect way. Turning our little threesome into a quartet - turning our lives in so many ways upside down, or perhaps rather righting them. I'm so very happy. Happy to have you here and watch you grow, happy to be your mommy, happy to see Samaire be a big sister, happy to see your daddy have a son.... happy beyond words can ever contain.

Your month birthday landed on Mother's Day, so I got to spend all day being ecstatic over you and your sister - which is what it's all about, no? We celebrated your birthday perfectly - taking you to your first Mets game. Sam and Maire had a celebratory breakfast on your behalf of pecan honey caramel rolls before we left, and then we spent a great afternoon in a box suite (Thank you, Uncle Mangan!!) watching the Mets. We came home after the game and watched a movie on the PS3 Papa and Grandma Bell got us and then went to bed early, all snuggled up and warm. Despite the Mets' loss, it was still a pretty fantastic first-month-birthday, I think.

And now, a few days later, I sit here on the couch typing as you sleep peacefully in your bouncer. I hold you and snuggle you as much as you'll let me, but it seems when it's just you and me as long as I talk out loud from time to time you like to have your own space to stretch out. And this isn't so bad, as I get to sit here and just stare at your absolute perfection.

I guess that's what this month has been all about - appreciating every moment as it passes. Even the frightening ones, because they all led to these - these quiet, perfect, lovely moments. Our life, as a family, really feels like perfection now. I probably sound like a broken record, I know. But there it is.

You make me immeasurably happy.

Thank you, Baby Bear.

much love, your mama

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First Week

Oh, Wylie,

You sure did know how to make an entrance. I still feel a bit like my heart is living on the outside of me - scared to death something, anything, might happen to you: having you finally here in my arms - cooing and smiling and making pod-ling faces at me  feels dangerously precarious still. I hold you closer than perhaps I would otherwise. I examine every aspect of your existence with furrowed brow and wake regularly at night - examining your breath, tickling your toes, making sure you're okay. I have this fear that we overcame so much in your initial moments - that perhaps even more is awaiting us.

I know it's not. I know your safe. But still, I can't help but hold you closer than I would otherwise. (And believe me that's pretty close.) Samaire and I feel the same about your birth story - I can't bear to hear it, it upsets me so. It makes me cry still. The fear of those moments not knowing if we had made it through is obviously still very real to me. I'm carrying it around in my heart still. Slowly, I'm learning to put it down a little at a time, though I can't promise to put you down any time soon.

Your first week didn't help. Jaundiced and slightly dehydrated we spent every day but one at the pediatrician's office. She was great, and rather than send us straight back to the hospital, let us take you home to hold you under sun and pump you full of as much much breast milk (and formula, alas) as we coudl get you to swallow. I only had to give you formula for two days and you gained weight like a champ - so, admittedly, my worries have been for naught. Your daddy has from the beginning bragged that you are strong and a fighter, and you have proved him right at every single turn.

But despite the worry, having you here has been an unprecedented joy. I have always loved our little family of three. It has never lacked anything to me - but now, as I curl up on the couch with you and Maire and your daddy - something inside me has quieted, has sighed, has rested. Our family feels complete in a way I'll never be able to put words to.

You are so obviously ours. You belong here, with us. It has been amazing to see this little apartment swell to accommodate our joy. I feel it must eventually burst with the sheer happiness with which we are filling it.

Samaire coos over you, loves on you. Adores you. You are hers, resolutely: watching her take care of you, listening to her talk to you - my heart has grown ten sizes. Your eyes, in turn, follow her little voice as it travels around the room and you reach out your arms toward her when she holds you.

And hearing her sing you "April Showers" and "You and Me Together" when you are tired - I never imagined life would be this good.

In fact before you came, I was scared to death because I couldn't imagine what this would all be like. But here I am, hardly able to imagine what life was like without you here. I didn't know my heart, my life, could hold this much love.

But it does. And I know from experience it will only grow.

Oh, Wylie, thank you. Thank you for never giving up. For choosing us.

I love you, Baby Bear. More every moment.
your mama

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Wylie Pictures

Here are a few more great pics.

Proud Big Sis

 Uncle Doug giving Maire her first guitar.

Mama and babe

Danc'n with my little man

Love this kid.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wylie William's Birth Story

(Sam's writing this out this time around, and I'll just add my comments. I thought it was important he do it, as he remembers it best. So, Wylie, here's your first story...)

We went to see the midwives in the afternoon. Misty had been taking showers at 3 a.m. the last two mornings anticipating labor to start at any moment. There were cramps, and a few other signs, but nothing was screaming LETS DO THIS! Jeannie (one of the four midwives who take care of Misty) told us that Misty was 1-2 cm dialated and it could happen at any time, and would probably happen in the next 24-48 hours. "Go home, eat, take a hot bath, have a glass of wine and get your sleep... you're going to need it." She was right.

Misty went home and got through the list (Sam went out and got me a bottle of sparkling shiraz, my favorite and we have some yummy Chinese delivery - ha. so New York), but when she started to get ready for sleep it was too late, labor had begun. We sent up the Bat Signal and Team Awesome jumped into action. Mikki got out of bed and headed our way. She arrived at 11 and by 11:30 one of our midwives, Suzanne, had summoned us to the Birth Center. We said our good-byes to Samaire and Mikki and headed that way. 

Headed to St. Luke-Roosevelt Birth Center
(That's Sam's TtWS t-shirt I'm wearing here, the same one I wore when I labored with Maire)

Maire and Aunt Mikki keep the home fires burning... and rock Bear and the Big Blue House.

When we arrived at the hospital Suzanne was busy delivering a baby in Labor and Delivery so she had us roll up to L&D on the 12th floor, something we didn't do with Maire. Since she was busy she couldn't meet us and we had to go through the standard triage. 30 minutes later Suzanne came by and gave us some bad news. Misty was only 2-3 cm dilated and we weren't far enough along to be admitted into the Birth Center. (By ONE centimeter! UGH!!) We had headed out early because everyone told us that 2nd births happened faster (and Samaire had happened so fast we thought for sure we'd show up too late). We were disappointed, but headed home. It took a lot out of Misty to walk up to the 4th floor and that would come back to bite her later. We were home by 12:30 am and Misty was already toast.

We got Samaire to bed and by 2 a.m. contractions were getting serious and closer together. (Mikki was awesome and stayed up with me the whole time we were home. We just sat in the living room, her using her iPOD to time my contractions and we chatted in between. I felt really good about how I was handling the labor this time around, I was much less scared and much more able to just breathe through. That would, unfortunately, change.) We headed back to the Birthing Center and went straight to our room. Birthing Room 1 (we were in 2 with Samaire). Misty got checked out and she was at 5 cm, so a lot of progress for the 2 hours we were gone. Misty got in the tub and while things were definitely moving slower with Wylie than with Samaire they were still moving in the right direction. After a few serious contractions Misty was taken out of the tub and at 5 a.m. she was at 8 cm, we thought for sure it would happen any moment. Then, Ugh. Misty and Wylie hit the wall. Misty then got super sick and after throwing up and pulling a ligament in her side the contractions stopped and Misty ran out of gas.

(This was where I started to lose it. The midwife told me my contraction, or what I thought were contractions weren't enough or even possibly contractions - and at that point I sort of lost it. All my confidence quickly left and I just wanted to cry with despair. It felt like everything was starting to unravel. I was BEAT and feeling a bit lost and I have no doubt that's a reason the contractions took a nose dive. That moment was the first and only time I thought drugs might have been a good idea.)

Things continued to get worse as Misty was unable to catch her breath and started having muscle spasms in the side where she pulled the ligament. Suzanne had been on call for 24 hours, so she tagged out at 7 am and in walked Sandy Woods. (I freely admit that angels really did sing in my head at the sight of her. I trust her implicity.) She's brilliant. She didn't deliver Samaire, Cora did, but she saw us the first go round in the office and several times with Wylie. We knew her, we love her, we trusted her. She's great. She's an old Cajun from Louisiana and has been delivering babies since the Louisiana Purchace... ha. I keed. She got the contractions back using a few tricks, but they were still infrequent and didn't seem to be working.

(I remember her looking at me and asking me where all my fear was coming from. She could see I was terrified and knew it didn't match with what she knew of me previously. I burst into tears and told her I was afraid something was wrong. She looked me straight in the eye and told me she and I were going to handle whatever was coming. That she would make sure everything would turn out alright. I truly believe that what was to come didn't upset me like it could have because Sandy had made me that promise.)

Misty continued to slip in and out of sleep and didn't seem to have much left in the tank and things weren't progressing. The worst part was Wylie's heart beat started to dip to dangerous levels. Sandy said things weren't progressing and the options were to break Misty's water manually or take her upstairs. (Upstairs meant a c-section. NOT an option for me.) So, at 9 am. Sandy broke Misty's water. Contractions came back a bit but again, things didn't seem to be moving along. 10-15 minutes later Wylie's heart rate continued to drop and Sandy told Misty that she had to get Wylie out now or they were going to take us upstairs for a C-section.

This put the fire back in Misty. She started pushing as a surgical nurse from L&D (Danielle who was a midwife in Australia) came down to check on Misty. After a few pushes Sandy told her we had to get the baby out now as she wasn't sure Misty would make it upstairs. Misty was working harder than anyone I'd ever seen, but Wylie wasn't moving. It turns out he was in the posterior (face up) position and that was causing a lot of the issues and was making it hard to get him out. Sandy worked her magic and Misty pushed like hell (she did amazing, with little left in the tank she save our little one's life by getting him out in time). All of this takes place over an hour and change.

( I didn't realize how serious it all was at the time, and I'm glad. All I knew is that Sandy told me I had to get it done, and there was fierceness in Sam's voice when he told me I had to get this done for Wylie.  The whole room seemed to be cheering me on - Sandy, the nurse, Danielle, the ER pediatrician (though I didn't know who she was) and Sam. It felt like I was never going to be able to stop pushing. They just kept saying "Again!" And so I would. There were brief moments of time where Sam woudl hold up an oxygen mask for me to catch my breath and then it woudl just keep going. Push, push, push. Deep breath of oxygen. Push again. The whole room was exploding in support, but I could only hear Sam saying over and over "do this is for Wylie" and I just held onto that every time I thought there was no way I could keep going.)

Finally out pops the little guy's head and then more bad news, the cord is wrapped around his neck. Sandy called out to stop (and the room instantly got silent and I froze) and again used all her skill and experience to get the head out of the noose and finish getting him out.

Then came the longest and scariest 5-10 seconds (seemingly years) of my life. He came out and looked limp. No movement, no breath. (Oh. My. God. I swear my heart stopped. I have never been so terrified in my life. I kept asking if he was okay and nobody would answer me. I just kept getting louder and kept hearing nothing. It was absolutely horrifying. My heart really did break later when I asked Sam why he didn't answer me and he said "I didn't want to lie to you. I didn't know.")

Sandy held him up by his ankles and gave him some hard wraps on the back. She sucked out his nose and mouth and he finally let out a cry. She told me to come quickly and cut the cord, which I did and then she passed him off to Shelley (greatest nurse ever) who took him to a bassinet right next to the bed and a pediatric specialist sucked out his lungs and got him some oxygen. 5-10 minutes later he was gurgling less and I was playing with him while Misty got fixed up.

(I so wanted to hold him, but they had to get him warm and breathing and watching that was frightening and reassuring all at once. I so hated having to wait.)

When the placenta came out Sandy called over Danielle and showed it to her. Turns out the cord, which is usually attached in the middle, was attached at the edge and it wasn't a solid attachment; had the water broken in a different spot or labor had continued poorly it could have detached and Wylie would have suffocated on his way out. Sandy dubbed him the miracle baby and I have to agree.

Little man was finally handed to Misty (Samaire went right to her chest when she was born) and he latched right on. 7 lbs 2 oz. 20.5 inches. and a lot of short light brown hair.

So proud of them both.

 Sandy, one of the two best midwives ever. She helped save our little guy.
(I will forever credit her with everything turning out okay. And forever be grateful.)

He's turned out to be much mellower than Samaire and he slept and ate on mama. Of course he just went through the fight of his life, so he earned his rest. Back home Mikki stayed with Samaire all night and passed the torch to May that morning. May brought our girl over and when she met Wylie it was love at first site. She's been an AMAZING big sister. Protective, gentle, silly and always loving.

Maire LOVES her Aunt May... another hero from Team Awesome.

 And then there were four.

The four of us crashed in the room that night because our pediatrition couldn't come give him his exam until Saturday morning. (It was actually pretty lovely, all of us curled up together in the full-size bed. A wonderful first night.) So we ended up staying 24 hours in the hospital. Got to eat our Island Burger meal again, just like with Samaire. And we got to see Cora, the midwife who delivered Samaire. Wylie passed all of his tests and proved to be quite strong; he's a fighter, just like his mama. We finally broke out and headed to home Saturday thanks to Doug, the best wheel man ever, who drove us home and was Wylie's first baby sitter for the 5 minutes it took for me to get the girls up the stairs before I could go back down and get him.

Maire and her midwife Cora, 2 1/2 years later.

Sweet Dougy V watching Wild Bill after driving us home.

Big Sis welcomes little brother home.

Now we're all home and well. Happy it all worked out and so thankful for our little miracle baby. Big thanks to Sandy, Suzanne, Cora and Jeannie (Best Midwives EVER!), our loving and amazing NY family and everyone who sent good vibes and love our way. Enjoy the pics. Much love to all.

First nap at home.

He's pretty cute.

Love from the Stiers Clan.

We'll post more pics soon.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

To Samaire, on her second birhday

Oh, my girl! I'm not sure what to say. It seems like no time at all I was sending your dad off to work insisting I wasn't getting to meet you that day and then, mere hours later, calling him to come back. And we did meet you that day - oh, wonderfully, fantastically. Perfectly.

But it seems a lifetime, too. You've grown so much. I still call you my baby - but you aren't, not anymore. You're your own person now - with opinions and preferences. More wonderfully, with stories and jokes and hilarious ways of seeing things. I am amazed every single day at who you're becoming. One of my greatest blessings in life has been and will be being able to witness you figuring out who you are and finding your place in this world. You're already doing it, and if there's anything I know for sure - you're going to make this world a better place. You've already made me a better person in countless ways.

Even our neighborhood is brighter with you in it. You have so many people here that love you. We can't walk 20 feet without being stopped so you can give high-fives or be coo'ed over. Every one exclaims how quickly you're growing - and though I always think they don't know the half of it - they do, they really do. From Jose (our old maintenance man), the the crosswalk lady, to the crazy leglass guy to the brothers at the bodega - they all love you in their own way, they've invested themselves into your smile, your new words, into you. I feel very lucky you have such a wonderful community of people around that cares about you so very much.

I have a feeling it's going to be like that no matter where you go in life. You seem to bring out a light in people, Maire, a happiness. Even when you were just days old that was true, and it seems to only be growing over time. 

I guess every mom thinks their daughter or son is the greatest ever. But, darling, you should know I don't think you could be anymore magical or amazing than you are. 

You're very excited for this birthday, and that makes me excited too. I had all kins of plans to make it special, and while I've gotten some of them done, the ones I really wanted slipped through the cracks. I feel awful, and while I know you probably won't notice and your daddy will make you feel like the whole world is yours - I wish I could've done more. Mostly so you woudl know how very very very much I love you. How this day celebrates everything I love most in this world. You are my shining light, little one, and every dream I had dared not begun to hope for. You've made a love and life I thought was perfect with your daddy even better - and you made into a family. A family. We're a team, the three of us and I can't wait to see what life brings us. Thanks for choosing us. Thanks for letting me be your mama.

I love you, Bugaboo.