"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gemma’s Arrival Part 1

We are now a family of four, Nick and I are parents to two beautiful little girls, and Isla is a big sister!  Here is the story of the day our newest blessing arrived into the world...

The morning that Gemma arrived I had been looking forward to sleeping in!  I was so excited that the surgery wasn’t scheduled until 12 PM and we didn’t need to be at the hospital until 11 AM so I thought I could do that.  I had originally expected to need to be at the hospital at 5 or 6 in the morning because it seems like that is when anything “scheduled” with labor and delivery usually happens.  Unfortunately, we were woken at 6 AM (at least an hour and half early) by Isla who was complaining of her ear hurting.  That is not like Isla, so Nick and I go up and got her ready so that Nick could take her to the HEB ReadiClinic and be there before it opened at 8 AM.  We wanted to be sure that she was ok before we turned her care over to grandparents and we knew that this would be faster than getting her to her pediatrician.  Thankfully the Nurse Practitioner there said that her ear looked ok, so Nick brought her home.

We spent the rest of the morning leisurely packing up and my mom kept taking our last pictures of us as a family of three! Isla was extra tired and also definitely not feeling very good, poor thing.  I tried to give her extra cuddles and love.


We did change Isla into her special “Big Sister” shirt!  We spent the days leading up to Gemma’s birthday telling her that she would be a big sister, and on the day of, she kept saying “NO! I’m going to be a BIG BROTHER! And I’m going to have a LITTLE BROTHER!”


39 weeks pregnant exactly!


Anyway, at about 10:15 AM, Nick and I hopped into the car!  I had been very nervous the night before, and we had spent a good bit of time talking and praying so the morning of I felt very calm.  Nick and I passed the time once again trying to figure out what to name the baby!  We had a good short list for girls, but we weren’t certain about boy’s names, and we were fairly certain at the time that we were having a boy Smile.

We arrived at the hospital at about 10:45 AM and waited to be taken back into the Recovery Room by the nurse.  Our nurse was a girl named Shanna and she was very nice and super ditzy. We liked her though because she reminded us of a very good friend of ours.  Nick and I put on our hospital clothes and they had me lay down and hooked me up to an IV.  My Doctor came in to check on me, and I was able to meet the anesthesiologist.  It was nice how calm everyone and everything was, and I felt such peace.  There was a minor emergency in the OR before me, so we were delayed by a about 30 minutes.

Once we were ready, they took me into the OR while Nick waited in the Recovery Room.  Everyone was so nice and super chatty and making jokes.  Normally it would bother me, but my doctor is so nice and the nurse reminded me of my friend so well that I couldn’t help but laugh along.  It made for a nice atmosphere. The anesthesiologist set me up with “the spinal”, and after that Nick came in.  This time they did not strap down my arms, which had been necessary on my first c-section, but it really scared me.  This time they didn’t, and it turned out they didn’t need to since I was so much calmer and less out of it.

Before I knew it, my doctor had started my surgery!!!! 

It only took a few minutes until Dr Hamptons said “Ok baby is ready, Dad do you want to take a look?”  Nick peeked over and laughed and said “It’s a girl!!”  Those words were so sweet!  We had another beautiful daughter.

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When Isla was born, they took her out of the room to prepare her and Nick went with her.  Gemma they took over to the left of the room to clean her up so that she was in my line of sight the entire time!  I am so glad that they did it this way.  Not only did I get to see my precious daughter and husband, but it gave me something to focus on for the hard part of the surgery, which is the stitching back up. It is the most uncomfortable part and also takes a long time.  This time I didn’t feel nearly as much tugging and pulling, hardly any actually, and I got to watch Nick and Gemma.  We were shocked when she only weighed 6 lbs 15 oz!  Isla was 7 lbs 12 oz so we weren’t expecting such a tiny little girl.

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They brought her over to me so that we could be cheek to cheek.  Her skin was so soft.  I loved it.  Nick actually teared up… we were so happy over our daughter!  I love her little face and pursed lips in the picture below.

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Before I knew it, Gemma and Nick left for the Recovery Room.  I only had a few minutes, and they finished me up and put a binder on my stomach.  Then it was my turn to head to the Recovery Room.

Part 2 coming soon…

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It’s a Girl!

Introducing Gemma Elizabeth Wann!


Born February 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM weighing 6 lbs 15 oz!  Birth story to follow soon…

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prepping for Two Baby: The C-Section

The first thing that I have been preparing for over the past months is my repeat c-section.  Its weird and sad for me to be having a scheduled c-section.  I am totally that person who thinks having a baby in a bathtub in an open field sounds romantic and empowering – a natural, vaginal delivery the way God designed.  That was always my dream.  My husbands not so much.  Nick was very supportive of a natural birth, but was very uncomfortable having Isla anywhere but in a hospital.  That was fine – I figured we would have one successful birth in the hospital and then we would be able to move forward with a home birth with the next one after we had built up our confidence.  I also had a Doctor that was supportive of my birth plan.  Nick and I read book after book, took 18 hours of birthing classes, and most importantly, we prayed.  We prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed for the birth that we wanted.

But we didn’t get it.  Things started to go wrong – my Doctor started pressuring me to induce when Isla didn’t arrive before D-day.  I trusted my Doctor, and I allowed myself to be induced knowing it would increase my chances of needing a c-section.  I had my movement hampered by the IV that I was on because I was strep B positive even though I could still walk the halls and get on my birthing ball and such; it was just annoying.  After 16 hours of labor and only dilating less than one centimeter (I went in at 4 cm and only got to under 5 cm) and laboring with my water broken (which makes for much more intense labor), I broke down and asked for a epidural knowing again that it would raise my chances of needing a c-section.  I had heard a theory that sometimes epidurals help you relax and you dilate more quickly, and I hoped that that would be true in my case.  14 hours later, 10 centimeters dilated – my Doctor recommended a c-section.  He was right.  We had let the epidural wear off.  I was positioned and repositioned to give Isla more room.  The Pitocin drip had been raised to the max to try to force that little girl to engage in my pelvis.  It was all for nothing. She was too big to fit through the birth canal.  She came out quickly but I very strongly remember feeling a lot of pain and pressure as they were stitching me back up and screaming out and trying to move right before the anesthesiologist knocked me out.  It was not fun, but of course completely worth it!  I totally got the baby bliss and momma tiger hormones that I was supposed to get and was so joyfully happy for months after the birth.

I usually try not to share my birth story with Moms-To-Be because I don’t want to scare them.  The only thing that matters is that it was worth every second, and at the end of the day, it’s only one day during two very long lives!  Isla is blessing and no one should ever focus so much on the birth that they forget about the joy that comes afterward.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)

Still there will always be some doubt, and I will always wonder if I had stayed strong and not gotten an epidural to hinder my movement or if I had been strong and not allowed the Doctor to induce would I still have needed a c-section?  I truly never believed that I would have a c-section when I agreed to those things – Doctors do them all the time and women still have a vaginal delivery.  The thought of having a c-section never entered my mind even once before labor and delivery – that was something for other people.  At this point, no Doctor that I have talked to recommends a v-bac, and the truth is, even though I HATE that I am now a c-section person, I just can’t set myself up for failure again.  I’ve always been the type of person that believed that if I prepared enough and worked hard enough I could do anything, so when I put my heart and soul into something and I fail, its pretty devastating.  And then there’s the spiritual component.  I have never prayed so much for something that didn’t happen.  Wondering why God didn’t answer my prayers was the hardest part, and I just don’t know if I can build my faith up enough again to try for a v-bac.

In the past three years since Isla’s birth there has been a lot of grieving.  I know that the most important thing is that I have a healthy baby, but I wanted that amazing birth experience so badly, and I’ve been shocked at how hard its been and how many tears I’ve shed knowing that its been fully denied to me.  Oh and articles like this one and this one only bring on more guilt.  I can only imagine how mothers who wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t feel by all the articles they are constantly bombarded with trying to convince the world that bottle fed babies should practically be labeled second class citizens!  I hate the looks that I get from hardcore natural birth advocates – the judgy stares and the dismay on their faces when they find out that I am c-section all the way.

And then the c-section recovery – GROAN.  That was the worst part.  The swelling, the pain, the scar… gross.  It was a long and difficult recovery. I remember visiting my good friend TWO DAYS post partum from her vaginal delivery and she was already picking up her niece!  I hate that I won’t be able to lift my first baby for six weeks after the delivery of Two Baby.  It’s the recovery that makes me wonder why anyone would ever have an elective c-section – no judgment, promise – I just don’t understand it.  I would love to be up and walking around immediately after the birth of my child instead of feeling like my insides were about to pop out with every cough and sneeze!

Needless to say, I have really been dreading having another c-section, and so I have been praying for a lot of peace around it.  I keep reminding myself that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and LOVE and SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7), but still their was some fresh grieving and worry that has taken place over the course of this pregnancy.

Thankfully last week I was able to sit down and have a nice long talk with my OBGYN.  She assures me that a scheduled c-section is completely different from a c-section after 30 hours of labor.  She said that there would be very little chance of my epidural wearing off mid surgery like it did last time, and the recovery would be much easier!  I would also not be emotionally spent and out of it like I was the first time.  I’m almost looking forward to it – imagine, looking forward to the birth of your baby, how novel! 

I also know that this time I won’t be afraid to ask my Doctor for more pain medication if I need it.  I ran out while I was still feeling a lot of pain the first time, but I didn’t want to ask for more. This time, I say bring on the pain medication and I know my Doctor will give it to me!  I have a toddler to watch.  Also because I had such a hard time during the stitch up part of the first c-section, my Doctor told me that I would have the chance to be given some anti-anxiety medication after the baby was delivered… umm, ok, yes please!!!! I think I am going to take my anesthesiologist up on that one!  She assures me that I won’t be given anything to hinder nursing and given that I was able to successfully nurse after my first delivery, I am not too worried.

There are some things that can’t be changed – its still a c-section.  I will still have to be on an epidural for a day or two and not be able to walk after the birth.  I will still need more help than I would like in taking care of Isla.  I hate delegating her care to other people, I am her Mama!  But I am feeling a lot better about things, and I am really getting excited about Monday! 

I can’t wait to welcome our littlest Wann!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Activities for Isla and First Hair Cut

Its so hard to believe it but I have been back in Texas for 4 weeks!!!  It goes by so quickly.

Before I came home, I knew that we would be in the USA for at least 2 1/2 , if not 3 months.  Since one of my biggest complaints about Russia is that there is so little for Isla to do, I decided to see if I could get Isla involved in some fun activities.  She is such a sociable little girl and so active, that I knew she would love it!  At almost 3, I feel like she is needing more stimulation and socialization than I can give her by myself.  I might not feel this way about the next one since all children develop differently, but Isla was definitely ready for something.

I really wanted to do a Mother’s Day Out program with some structured “school time”, but I thought it might be difficult without a church home in Texas and for short term.  Not to mention that my parents live out in the country and I didn’t want to have to drive all the way to The Woodlands (30 minutes) get her into activities.  Thankfully I found a good one just five minutes up the road from my parent’s house, and I wrote them and they had a spot for Isla!  They didn’t mind that she was only going to attend for a few months.  It is two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 2.  I didn’t know how well we would do with the time change, but we got into the US on a Thursday and she was ready for it the following Tuesday.

Its funny, but I didn’t think that it would be a big deal to drop her off… but it was!  I was so nervous and kind of sad.  Isla did great though!  I prepped her the same way I prep her for Sunday School in Russia – by telling her that she was going to get to go and make a present for Mommy and Daddy.  I don’t know why, but that always motivates her to go without fuss or tears.  I walked her to her classroom and she wanted me to come in and made a frownie face and motioned for me.  Her teacher just took her by the hand and said that she was going to make a present, and Isla smiled and followed her in without a backward glance.  The next time I dropped her off, I followed the standard MDO practice of just driving up and then the workers get them out of the car.  The workers told me that the kids do much better that way and there are less tears.  The worker came and got Isla out of the car which she didn’t mind, but she made a frownie face and whimpered for me when she realized I wasn’t getting out.  I told her and the worker told her that she was going to make Mommy and Daddy a present, and again she happily walked off without a backward glance!

Since then Isla happily greets the workers when they open the car door and tells them whatever she has been doing – like “My pen didn’t work” or “I just took off my shoes!”  Anything to strike up a conversation Smile, and happily follows them into the building!

She has been learning so much and it is so fun to hear the things she says when she gets home, and she loves, loves all of her friends.  She is always saying something new.  Today at bedtime she told her Daddy and me “Tick tock, goes the clock, now its time to pray!  Thank you God and Jesus for our food. Amen.”  It was pretty cute.

We took some good pictures of her first day of school but they are on my mom’s computer.  This one is more true to life anyway!  This is the way I found her when I picked her up one day last week.  I had sent her with a spare outfit, but apparently she had been given a store made cupcake with bright red icing and it had given her an immediate case of what we affectionately call “Fire Booty”.  Poor thing.  She went through two outfits and another one at home!  We think she may be allergic to the dye.

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I also knew that I wanted to get her involved in one more thing.  I was hoping for something that was an activity that she could do that required a lot of movement because she is SO ACTIVE, but I wasn’t too sure that I would be successful.  For starters, it needed to be something that she could do under the supervision of just her teacher and that didn’t require me or another guardian to assist her during class.  I knew I would be out with a c-section and my mom is still recovering from her broken heel.  Most activities that I found required that she be three to not need a parent to participate with her.  That ruled out swim lessons and gymnastics Sad smile, and I thought we would have to do Kindermusik since that didn’t require a lot of movement on the part of the supervising parent.    However, I decided to stop at the new ASI Gymnastics that just opened up the road from my parents and just see if they wouldn’t make an exception for Isla since she is so close to three…. and they did!!!  I was thrilled.  I may have told them that she is a great listener… which she is… sometimes.

She is currently in a class with five other little girls ages three and four (all blonde), and she is loving it!  We went to pick out a little pink leotard for her, and she loves jumping on the trampoline.  The first day she didn’t participate much and I realized just how “unschooled” she was – for starters, she didn’t even know how to form or stand in a line.  Its weird the things that you don’t think about needing to be taught.  However, she has gotten better and better every class and I am so proud of how well she listens to the teacher and tries to do the activities and doesn’t run off to play on the rest of the fun equipment!

Here are some pictures from her first class when she was adorably clueless and trying to figure things out! She picked out her sparkly purple shorts.

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She also didn’t realize that she was supposed to sit with the class Smile.  She was seriously so cute that first day.

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She loves her gymnastics class and I am so thrilled that she was able to do it!

And if you didn’t notice in the pictures, Isla finally got a hair cut.  I am sure that some may have noticed how badly her hair had been hanging in her face.  I knew that she had needed a haircut for a while but I was REALLY, REALLY hoping that she would start letting me put bows in her hair again.  I used to be obsessed with putting bows in her hair or on a headband when she was a baby and she has quite the little hair bow collection.  They are so cute on little girls.  Sadly, Isla remains as intent on removing any foreign object that is placed in her hair as she was on the day at roughly eight months old that she realized that she could pull off her headbands… sigh.  I finally gave up hope and decided that it was time for bangs so that at least her hair wasn’t in her face.  She is a little old for a first haircut, but she didn’t have much hair, and it always grew in a perfect little mullet, long in the back with adorable bangs.  Its only recently gotten long enough to get into her face.

We went to get her hair cut just a few days after we arrived in the US so Nick came with us before he returned to Russia.  We took Isla to a special store at The Woodlands mall that caters to kids and did the entire “First Haircut” package.  She got a picture and a little certificate.  It was silly, but its fun to commemorate silly things sometimes.  She did great and sat very still and just requested sucker after sucker!

Here she is pre-haircut.

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Enjoying the suckers and cartoons!

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The hairstylist did her hair in a cute little style and pulled it back into twisty pigtails… which of course lasted all of 15 minutes after we left the store.  Check out that look of intense concentration as she works to undo her do!  She is a lost cause Smile.

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Afterwards we got her some ice cream!  Probably not a good idea on top of the suckers, but… oh well! It was a fun day already and ice cream only makes things better.

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I am so happy that I was able to get Isla involved in some activities.  She is such an active little people person, and its been wonderful to see how well she has taken to them and LOVES them.  Here’s hoping and praying we can continue having her involved in something after my “confinement” in the states is over!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What A Couple of Weeks

I really hate that my blog is becoming a place where I only update when crazy things are happening.  I am sure that my life is pretty awesome, and not just crazy, but lately it seems like that’s all that makes it up here.  I am really going to make a concentrated effort to blog more and about good things.  I hate when I think about all of the great things that have happened the past several months – Jordan, A Texas Night Before Christmas and many more fun memories, but I never got them up to the blog.  Part of the reason is that my laptop has been hijacked by Nick during my favorite time to blog (the evening) the past 6 months or so to stream American television, rather than on his iPad.  We are going to have to remedy this situation somehow… not sure how.  Anyway – its bothers me and this is situation that I will rectify. I love blogging and I don’t want to give it up!

Anyway, our past few weeks have been so nuts that I can’t just start blogging without mentioning them!

Here’s a recap of our difficult past few weeks -

It started with my illness…

  • Remember this little thing?  It turned into a virus, and probably a little bit of dehydration.  But it took four days, countless tests, trips in and out of the dirtiest hospitals I have ever been into, Doctors thinking it was anemia, pyelonephritis, some other kind of infection, telling me I couldn’t fly to the US, that it was too late to fly to the US anyway, angrily questioning why on earth did I want to have the baby in the USA and not Novorossiysk?  There were people in real authority who were telling me that I couldn’t fly and that I wasn’t well enough to fly.  It was pretty nerve wracking, and on top of that, I was in miserable pain.  BUT BLESSING!  In the end I DID get to fly home, AND Nick was able to accompany Isla and me, which was awesome, which he originally wasn’t supposed too.  AND, we were able to be together on his 30th birthday!
  • The next week Nick came into Houston for two days and then returned to Novorossiysk and we got as settled as we could.  I tried to rest and recuperate and get Isla in a routine and get caught up on communication (which I still am not). Plus I went to spend the long weekend with my In-laws because that was the only weekend I would be able to make it.


  • Sunday night I started getting one of my massive migraines while I was at my In-laws.  It lasted until Thursday, but I felt like a space cadet until Saturday.  I had to get on serious medication, which made me so loopy.

But who cares about my migraine!!!  I sure didn’t.  It was a major inconvenience because I had other much more important things to worry about…

  • Monday morning I received a call from Nick telling me not to panic or freak out, but… that he had woken with a pain in his side… and that he had gone to the Doctor… and they were in agreement… that he had appendicitis… and that he needed surgery… and that he wouldn’t have time to fly to Moscow!  *****Pauses added for realism, if you know Nick, you know that it can take him a while to get out what he wants to say.******
  • I admit that I had a few moments of panic; if you saw my original Facebook post, there were so many typos, I was shaking, not to mention the migraine was affecting my vision, but that was probably one of my worst moments.  Everyone, including Nick’s company, was so AMAZING though, not to mention all of the expats in Novo with his company, plus our church friends that I knew he was in good hands. 
  • Nick was also so calm and collected throughout it all.  He told me that he was happy that it was him and not me Smile.  Bless his heart, he is the best husband.  He said that he just wanted me to focus on staying calm and NOT going into labor until he could get home. 
  • Yes, he had to have his surgery in one of the very same hospitals that I had been in a few weeks before (and it had a bathroom that you seriously would not even see in the nastiest gas station in the USA – seriously, no toilet paper, no seat, no lid, just the rim, junk everywhere – oogggh). BUT Nick’s company got him the best Doctors in Novo, not to mention they had a company Doctor come into observe the surgery, who was a surgeon with a specialization in abdominal surgeries.
  • Truth be told, it went smoother than any appendectomy that we have had in either of our families in recent history – we have had some bad experiences. I am so thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers, truly they mean so much to me.
  • Nick experienced very little pain afterwards and he was mostly bored at the hospital.  He got a semi private room, in that he only had one roommate as opposed to 6 to 8, which is the norm here.  He sent me a picture!

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  • It was a long week with a lot of back and forth with Nick, people from his company, trying to figure out how and when he would get home and when he would be ready to fly BUT…
  • BLESSING!!! He is coming home this Thursday!!! That is one week earlier than he had originally planned.  I am so overjoyed.  Of course he will be recuperating and won’t be able to lift anything or help out much with Isla, but I am so thankful he will be home.

I know that I sound pretty upbeat right now, but this has been a really stressful time for me.  I mean really stressful.  Being so pregnant, trying to coordinate a birth across continents, having these health issues pop up, amongst other things that are going on in our lives has really taken a toll. I’ve felt like my head is going to explode at times.  I am ready for calm and zero adventure for a little while – I am not sure that I will get it, but I am praying for it.  I told God the other day that I had reached my limit, I couldn’t handle anymore.  We’ll see… we all know how I love to disproportionately compare myself to Job whenever I have troubles and health issues, and I admit that I have been repeating Job 13:15 over and over to myself!

“Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.”

Maybe I have a tendency towards melodrama Smile, but I have been very stressed.  Right now I just want to get all of my family in ONE PLACE, and hunker down.

Anyway, I am hoping to catch up on a few blog posts in the next few days and remaining emails.  I finally have computer set up at my mom’s house that I can use and not just my iPad.  I really want to do an update on Miss Isla before Two Baby comes – she has just been blossoming; she is is my joy!

Phew, man I am tired. Signing off for now…

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