Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rhys - "Up Close & Personal"

Obviously, we cannot get too much of this little guy! I capture a moment whenever I think to do so and have the camera close at hand. Well, actually, sometimes I run to grab the camera! :) I'm NO professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I can point a camera and mash a button! Here are some random shots of Rhys from his first week!

One VERY thankful and joyful family! We praise the Lord for His new addition to our family!

I love this picture of our strong and healthy man cub! :)

Below, he was just starting to open his eyes...they're mostly blue right now, but it will be interesting to see if they turn more brown, like his mommy's, or more hazel, like his daddy's.
Rhys had just a twinge of jaundice when we left the hospital, so they told us to sun him as we had the chance. Here, he's catching his first sunbath! :) Like his mommy, he likes the heat of the sun!

Russell gives Rhys his first bath! So sweet!!

Rhys got the royal treatment from Daddy after the bath...I caught Russell brushing Rhys' hair, which just makes my heart melt!

Hair parted...what a little gentleman! Notice his hair is pretty light in color...more like Russell's! We're still trying to figure out who he looks more like. :) We'll be able tell in time.
After bath comes swaddle time! Daddy does the perfect swaddle! I'm still trying to 'perfect' mine, if that's possible!
In his crib!
My two favorite men...Rhys gives a high five to Daddy's high one! :)
Russell filing Rhys' nails...I'm telling you, he got the spa treatment!! I hope I'm next!! :)
We were eating lunch, and Rhys started giving us some sweet smiles (probably dreaming), so I grabbed for the camera yet again!
In his pack 'n play downstairs.
A close-up.

That's Rhys, up close and personal, guys!! He's got a very sweet demeanor, and we are excited to watch him grow and develop into his own personality! May God be glorified as we genuinely seek to raise Rhys up to honor Him and live for Him. May God continue to prepare Rhys' heart to know and love Him with all of his heart, mind, body and soul! May Russell and I be diligent in the Lord, as well! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!

Home Sweet Home and Rhys Meets More Family & Friends!!!

Upon arriving home from the hospital this Sunday afternoon, we were welcomed with balloons on our mailbox and this sweet sign on our door front for Rhys! Ryan, Jenn and the boys surprised us with this sweet homecoming!! How fun!! Jenn also prepared yummy potato soup, zucchini bread, amazing granola bars (for which I've begged her to email me the recipe, and I may just have to post it on our blog!), and I know I'm leaving out so much more that they've done! We appreciate their encouragement as we enter this new season of life!

They came to visit this afternoon!
Ryan holding Rhys.Jenn helping Rollins to some yummy crackers, and (below) I'm marveling over Christian as he starts to roll over!
Yesterday, Jennifer, Reilly & Connor came to check out the new little bundle.
Papa Wright holds our little man as he sports the "camo" attire, and (below) Grandmom Wright gets to feed Rhys!
Aunt Soraya visits yet again! Rhys sure loves his Aunt Soraya! We can't get enough of her!!A couple of nights ago, Poppa Pete brought Yaya :) to meet the new addition!
Earlier that same day, Ashley and Nathan came over for a good time out in the sunny, 70-degree outdoors! We first went for a good walk (my first exercise walk since surgery!!), then, we took our lawn chairs out to the patio and soaked in some sun rays!!! The beauty of the day and the visit filled my heart after days of sitting and laying around!! "Thank you for coming, Ashley!!!"Ashley holding Nathan; I'm holding Rhys (below).Claudia (Russell's mom) was more than available to cuddle with her new grandson! :)Ashley had to have some Rhys time, too! Rhys loves his Aunt Ashley and his buddy Nathan!!Our boys side-by-side.

Russell and I are so thankful for all the visitors who have come, loved on us and helped break up our days!! "Thank you all, and we love you and appreciate each of you with all of our hearts!"

P.S. Darby, more Rhys pics to follow in my next post! ;)

Rhys is One Week Today!!

Thank you to all the pray-ers praying on our behalf these last several pregnancy :) months, especially the last few weeks approaching Rhys' due date! It was a difficult labor and delivery, and the recovery has been slow-going and painful, but it's all been so worth it since we now have this treasured little man in our midst! We love him so much!!!

If you're interested in the labor and delivery story, continue reading... If not (and that's totally fine!!), I hope you enjoy the pictures below of our little man, already being loved on by so many wonderful family and friends!

The story...I awoke last Wednesday morning, motivated to dive into my Bible study, then decided to clean house! I cleaned EVERYthing! Later in the afternoon, I was antsy to get outside, so I asked Russell if he'd escort me :) on a long and hard speed walk, stating, "We're getting this baby out of me!" :) We walked hard for about 50 minutes. I was tired when we got home, so I went to take a nap, but I never slept because I started cramping, which I soon realized were labor contractions. I slowly and painfully made my way downstairs to Russell..."Honey, I think I'm having contractions." He started timing the contractions, while shutting down and packing our laptops and all of our hospital bags and goodies. He was so calm! The contractions were 5 minutes apart. I had gone back upstairs to pack my bag...I was a procrastinator with my bag! Then, I made up our bed with freshly cleaned sheets, remembering that a few of my girlfriends said to hang out at home as long as you possibly can so that I'm not stuck in a hospital room for hours while my body is slowly dilating.

We called our doctor and were told to come on in. So, we were off to the hospital, still counting contractions, me moaning in pain and giving Russell directions to the hospital via the back roads. :) We were admitted around 6:15 Wednesday night. I went from being dilated at 1.5 cm the day before at my 39-week dr's appointment to 5 cm upon admission. Within 2 hours, I was fully dilated and ready to push! The nurses and doctor were so encouraged, just knowing that this delivery would be as quick as my dilation! I was excited and hoping for this, too! Well, long story a little short :), 3 hours into pushing, we moved to a c-section. I was so loopy from all the pain meds and so exhausted from pushing, I was just ready to end this delivery.

Praise the Lord, the c-section was fast and successful. Rhys was delivered at 2:19am on Thursday, January 22nd (Chris, Russell was pulling for your birthday, and he is always "wright!" :)).

Upon hearing Rhys' first cry, I just broke down in joy and thanksgiving! I was surprised at this because I've never really related to the infant stage of a child's life, but I'd been praying specifically that the Lord would change my heart so that I would relate to Rhys and appreciate his infant years, and God has more than blessed those prayers!! After being stitched up, I was wheeled into my postpardum room, where the long recovery process began. I say "long" because I could hardly move without hurting, even on pain meds. Russell had to lift me in and out of bed and tend to my every need. He won HUGE brownie points from me!! He also tended to Rhys' diaper changes, cries and would carry him to me for his feedings. We bonded as a family for those four days at the hospital and are thankful to be in our HOME!!!

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us and meet Rhys at the hospital!! We were only able (or mindful! :)) to snap pictures of some of you... Papa and Grandmom Wright drove in from Louisiana without hesitation! They were with us by 3:00am, unable to wait to meet their first grandson!!
Baba and Mama Nili (my parents :)) came and took turns loving on their first grandchild, too!!

Aunt Soraya (my twin sister :)) has come by to hold and love on Rhys almost each day of his sweet life, so far! She calls and texts to check in on him all the time! She's excited to be an aunt!

And sweet Britney...our adopted sister :) came all the way from Atlanta just to meet Rhys and visit with us! Oh, not to mention do Rhys' first photoshoot! Britney's in photography school, and she snapped away so professionally for at least a half hour! We can hardly wait to see the pics!! :) "Thank you, Britney!!! You've got to come and spend a day with us, just playing with Rhys and catching up with us! We would love it!!!"

A big THANKS to Ryan and Jenn! Russell hadn't eaten anything throughout my long delivery process, so at 3:00AM Thursday morning, Ryan shows up with a bag of a dozen Krystal burgers. Beggars can't be choosers at 3:oo in the morning! :) Russell was thankful! "Thank y'all for visiting us at the hospital and for all that you guys did in making our homecoming so special!! We love you guys, and the Lord has really blessed our transition into a family through our interaction with your family!!"My sweet friend Ashley!!! I called her at least 3 or 4 times during my labor and delivery just to keep her posted! :) She's been SO excited for us to have our little one!! "Thank you for all the goodies for our hospital stay, and how fun for our boys to have already spent a day together basking in the sun (another post to come on that! ;))!!"Of course, Poppa Pete wouldn't miss this sweet treat for anything! He couldn't get enough of Rhys in one visit to the hospital, so he came again! He and Yaya have already made their rounds to the house! :) "We love you guys!!"
Sweet Jan couldn't wait to meet the little man either! She rushed to the hospital with a sweet new blanket for Rhys, which is so cuddly and soft!!! "Thank you, Jan! And thank you for bringing us dinner last night!!" :)I just couldn't resist posting this sweet picture of my men! Aren't they so perfect together!?!? I love them, and I praise our Lord for allowing me to live this life and all these wonderful seasons with them!
Russell snapped this shot of us asleep...isn't it so sweet!?!? I was probably on pain meds and completely loopy, but I'm thankful that he captured this sweet moment. P.S. We're snuggled in the cuddly blanket from Jan! :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update on Rhys

Everything is going very well! Rhys was circumsized yesterday and is doing great. Here are the photos we have so far. I'll let Shireen add comments to them when she's ready. Brittany was so sweet to come by for a visit and take some beautiful pictures. Once her professional shots are available we'll let you know.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rhys is here!

Here's just a quick summary of the last 12 hours.

Wednesday, January 21
3:00pm - Shireen begins experiencing mild contractions
5:00pm - Shireen tells me that she thinks she's having contractions
5:10pm - I begin monitoring the contractions...they are coming approx 5-6 minutes apart
6:15pm - We are admitted to Brookwood Medical Center
11:15pm - Shireen starts pushing...then pushing...then pushing
Thursday, January 22
1:45am - We prepared for the unplanned C-section
2:19am - Rhys is born! He weighs in at 7lbs 8 ounces and measures 19.5".
Rhys is feeling well and looking good (thanks to his mom). Plus God allowed Rhys to share a birthday with Chris Kear. He and his wife, Tara, are family to Shireen and I. What a blessing!!
Shireen giving thumbs up after getting an epidural.Rhys just after deliveryBaba & Mama Nili with Rhys
Aunt Soraya with Rhys

More to follow....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

39-Week Update

Well, Russell and I went to our 39-week dr's appointment yesterday, and we were encouraged to hear that I've progressed. Dr. Sparks seemed delighted! He did say that we're about 1.5 cm dilated but that that doesn't mean much...I could go into labor any time. He said that all we're waiting for now is for me to go into labor! So, we're praying that I'll go into labor now! I've not had one contraction. So, we're still just in waiting mode.

We praise the Lord that Rhys is measuring perfectly and that I am feeling absolutely wonderful! No back pain, no sciatic symptoms! Yay!! I'm officially staying home from work since I'm due this Sunday, and I just want to be home. I woke up late this morning, did my Bible study and then felt compelled to clean house, so I did! More nesting!! :)

More good news...we are officially scheduled to be induced next Wednesday, January 28th! So, Lord willing, by this time next week, we'll have a baby in our hands and no longer in my tummy! :)

Still praying for Rhys to come naturally and NOW :) but it's a relief to know that he should be here by this time next week regardless.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Sweet, Creative & Domestic Husband...

I came home yesterday afternoon to find Russell doing this......shampooing our carpet.

This morning, he redecorated our living room...

Such a domestic man! I love it! Didn't he do great?!?!

Friday, January 9, 2009

March of the Penguin

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was experiencing quite a bit of pain and discomfort from my sciatic nerve, since Rhys has been growing this final month of pregnancy. He's averaging a weight gain of an ounce a day these last couple of weeks, which should put him at about 7 pounds right now, and it shows!
38 weeks tomorrow!
Thankfully, the Lord awoke me one night last week with the pressing desire to send out a prayer request via email. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even sleep. The replies, prayers and phone calls have been so know, more than anything, that I am not in this alone. "THANK YOU to all of my girlfriends and family who responded! I love you and praise the Lord for you and your hearts of compassion!!!"

The pain went on and got progressively worse for about 2 weeks, all of my holiday time! :) God has a plan for everything. He allowed for me to be on vacation from work so that I could rest and take naps during the day, since I was not sleeping well at night. He helped me to really embrace resting and relaxing...if you know me, you know that I would have been ON THE GO all of those days...walking, exercising, meeting with girlfriends, go, go, go! God had a very different plan for that vacation time. It was much like a long Sabbath, and, although it was a struggle at times, He gave me the grace to genuinely enjoy and delight in Him and in the rest.

I've been back to work since Monday, when the sciatic issues started to subside! How amazing is that!?!?! Now that my vacation time is over, I'm mobile again! Two days ago, I was able to walk on our treadmill for 20 minutes, the first time to exercise walk in over 2 weeks! It was hard, and it hurt for the last 5 minutes, but I pressed on, and it was great! Yesterday morning, I walked for 25 minutes, and it felt even better than the day before! Then, I went on an afternoon walk yesterday, too! It was a sunny day, and I couldn't resist. I'm so encouraged, and I'm so refreshed!! I do praise Jesus for what HE has taught me these last few weeks, for the friends and family who took time to pray for and encourage me, for my sweet husband's accountability and support in going at my slow-as-a-snail pace and making me take daily naps and for the peace of mind that the Lord has given to me in awaiting Rhys' arrival, even if he incubates for the full 15 days till our due date.

I'm still hurting when the Extra Strength Tylenol wears off every 6 hours or when I've been lying in bed in one position for hours through the night and I have to grunt and groan in pain to make my frequent trips to the potty. However, Rhys will be here soon, and the lessons learned have been and will continue to be priceless!!

One final note (and I really should take some video footage of my current walk!), I overheard Russell sharing with a friend over the phone a few nights ago, "She walks like a penguin." He quickly realized that he said this in my presence and sheepishly looked over at me for my response. I just laughed, and I totally agree!!! I've been noticing that I certainly waddle these days, and it is just like a penguin! So, now, we just laugh, and Russell calls me his little penguin! :) {Of course, I only laugh because I know this should all be over soon!!}

False Alarm???

A few days ago, I noticed slight swelling in my right foot. I didn't think much of it, just tried to keep it elevated at work then at home that night. It stayed only slightly swollen through the day, so that was good. That evening, Aryvia & Kate came over for dessert and Joker. Side note, Kate & I stomped the guys! Whoohoo!!! :)

By the end of the night, both feet were noticably swollen and slightly purple! Well, before going to bed, I told Russell that I was going to call my dr's office, just to leave a message, so that they know what's going on and check in with me the next morning. It was already 10:30, and I was tiring out fast! So, I'm thinking...a quick call, then off to bed!

Not so fast...I leave a message with the answering service, the doctor-on-call calls me back immediately! I was actually impressed! I shared what I was experiencing, and she said it could be one of two things: a blood clot in my right leg or pregnancy-induced hypertension. She went on...recommending that I come in to Labor & Delivery to spend the night so that they could run tests and she could see me before I checked out the next morning.

My thoughts..."You've got to be kidding! This is enough to give me hypertension...going into the hospital just to stay up all night long while people run tests on me! I'll never sleep! Russell won't either! Come on, already! This is merely signs of late pregnancy! It wasn't supposed to go this far! Are you serious!?!?!"

My verbal response, "Uh, I'm sorry, Dr, but I don't think it's necessary for me to come in (pausing so not to be rude or start laughing!!)," to which she responded that I don't have to follow her suggestion, but she still has to make that recommendation. She told me that she'd call Labor & Delivery and have a room ready for me, to which I responded, "Thank you, but I don't think we'll be coming in." Click.

Russell was kind of excited...hoping we could go in and induce! He was ready to load our hospital bags! That might have been fun, but I was {practically} thinking that as conservative as our Dr's practice is, there's very little chance for that!

I called two girlfriends...Jenn & Katie, thank y'all for your input.

The night only gets more entertaining...Katie listened and then wouldn't talk to me :) until I got my blood pressure checked. So, I hung up, and Russell drove me down the street to the fire station. No one was sitting at the front desk, and he hated to ring the front bell and potentially awaken all the firemen, so we drove down to the nearest Walmart! It was 11:00, and no other pharmacies were open at that time. We walked down to the blood pressure machine at Walmart's pharmacy, checked my blood pressure twice, and it was just fine! :) PRAISE THE LORD!

I just wanted to get home and go to sleep! I'd just elevate my fat feet! :) So I did, and all was well the next day!

Great story, no pictures! :) You don't want to see my size-11 feet, anyway. ;) (Before you think anything about that size, just think what a firm foundation I stand on!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Holiday Get-Togethers Continue into 2009...

More fun times with lots of great friends and family this week...Above, lunch with Sarah Dunn & Sarah Gamble at yummy Surin West this Tuesday.
Below, New Year's Day lunch with my family...guess which one is me...yep, you got it...the one with the baby in her belly! :)Then, our sweet church threw us a baby book shower for Rhys this morning! We got some great books for him...Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, trucks and automobiles and some other great things!Lauren Brooks and her two oldest daughters, Natalie (left) & Caroline (right).
Emily Whitty & Ashley Johnson.

Above, Jenn deVilleneuve & Melissa Richie.
Below, Christen Sloderbeck, Sarah Dunn & Amanda Blake Coile.
Then, this afternoon, a co-worker and friend of mine, Cindy came to visit with her sweet little girl, Claire. Cindy is a programmer, and she works on a computer at home all day, in between raising this little angel...Claire obviously wants to be just like Mommy when she grows up because she kept looking up at Russell's laptop and would put her little fingers on the keyboard and pretend to type. "She's a little sponge, Cindy!! She's clearly learning from you!! There's some good accountability in that, huh????" :)Claire is so cute and into everything, but very gracefully so! :) She had to try out Rhys' new pack 'n play, and I think she gave it her "Claire Stamp of Approval!" :)

Less mobile these days, due to the aches and pains of sciatica, I'm SO thankful for the good fellowship opportunities that the Lord has graciously poured out over us! Last night, I was about to go stir crazy, and I told Russell around 5:00, "We need to get together with someone!! I'm so bored!" So, I texted our neighbors, and Aryvia & Kate were SO nice to let us come over with our Joker board and play a couple of games before they moved to their sofa to watch the Sugar Bowl. Tonight, we have another set of neighbors coming over to play! Ha!!

Happy New Year!!!