Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Mother's Memoir

Friday, May 29, 2009

It is early and Ian is still sleeping on the hospital pull-out sofa.

I have been wanting to take a few quiet moments to record my thoughts ever since we welcomed little Joaquin into this world on Tuesday evening. But I hadn’t gotten a chance to do so till now.

Birth is such a strange thing. One moment you are pregnant--and in a way you know there is a child in your belly--but to actually meet that child, see them, hear them cry, and touch their skin, is a completely different state of awareness. Maybe it was because we became pregnant with Joaquin so quickly after Elijah, I don’t know, but it seemed this time that I didn’t fully believe I was having another child until I met him.

This time it was different, all different. The day of delivery seemed to me more about taking care of loose ends and planning who would watch Elijah, than being focused on meeting Joaquin. I was nervous that my mom wouldn’t get down to the hospital in time for Ian to get to be in the O.R. with me during the C-Section. Since Ian was watching Elijah in the hospital lobby right up until I went into the O.R. I didn’t have anyone in the prep room with me except the nurses. It was lonely and I felt pretty scared being by myself. Even though I knew Ian and Elijah were just down the hall, it was completely different than having 3 people in the room with me at all times like when I had Elijah. I was trying to be strong but some part of the excitement and joy seemed to be missing. Once Ian was finally able to come in and be with me, everything changed for the better.

One thing that I was more aware of this time, though, was the joy I felt when Joaquin was born. I had much less medicine in me this time around and I felt fully conscious during the surgery. I wasn’t throwing up or feeling ill, so I was able to just focus on Joaquin at this point. It was so special to hear him cry and see Ian’s immediate response to his birth. Ian could see over the surgery curtain and instantly started crying tears of joy upon Joaquin's arrival. Suddenly, even without seeing Joaquin, I was filled with joyful tears. Just thinking about it now, as I write these words, makes me cry. I just remember feeling such a passionate surge of gratefulness. Words can’t describe that rush.

Dr. Michel poked Joaquin’s little face over the curtain and it made me laugh. He was covered in white vernix and blood, but he still looked precious to me. I will never forget that moment. He had such a tiny, high pitched cry and right away the doctors said “ooops, he’s peeing!!” So, apparently he was peeing all over me right when he came out! (At least it wasn’t poop!)

These few days in the hospital have been so wonderful and low key. Mom has been watching Elijah at the house, so it has pretty much just been Ian, Joaquin and I here together. It has been wonderful getting bonding time just focused on Joaquin and having time to process everything emotionally with Ian. I feel like I have been a hormonal wreck for the past few days and Ian has really been a rock for me. I forgot how close God feels during the birth of a child and the following recovery; when things are quiet and you are in a state of physical stillness. You are forced to listen to yourself and self-assess.

What a pure feeling of contentment when you look at your sleeping baby. (Right now, Joaquin is sleeping in his bassinet at the end of the bed.) They are so present and pretty much incapable of anything other than just being. Then, when you stare at them for a bit it puts you into sync with that same feeling of peace. I can’t help it, I just feel complete peace and love…like your heart lets out a profound sigh and fully releases itself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Joaquin Sol Kirkland

Tuesday, May 26 began as a regular day. Rachel was contracting every three minutes (not unusal) and I, assured by the doctor that it would be awhile before the new little guy came along, headed up to work. Rachel had a doctor appointment scheduled for mid-day, so I left work at lunch time to take her to the doctor and watch Elijah. The 1 hour visit turned into 4 hours of fetal monitoring and the go-ahead to proceed with a C-section. So, like any family on the verge of having a baby, we swung by Sonic for a burger (which a hungry Mommy jealously had to watch Elijah and I eat).

That night (exactly 13 months from Elijah's birthday on April 26th 2008) we met our second son on May 26th, 2009.

If you've visited this blog within the last few months, you're already familiar with the name-picking dilemma we've been having ever since we found our baby was a boy. You may have even voted in one of our "name polls". Before we go any further, let me explain the story of how we discovered we were having our second little addition.

Barely 4 months after Elijah was born, I had a very special dream. It wasn't your typical "chased-by-elves-and-flying-on-a-block-of-Gouda-cheese" bizarre-ish dream. It was a dream like that which prompted Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus in the middle of the night. In the dream, Rachel turned to me and said these exact words, "I'm pregnant again; I think it's a boy." Then I woke up, her voice still ringing in my head. Because of the dream, we went out the next morning and, quite dubiously, bought a pregnancy test. "Surely we can't be pregnant", we thought. But with so vivid a dream, we had to lay all doubts to rest. The rest is, of course, history...and so our name search began. Early on, Rachel found that the name Joaquin meant, "established by God" and felt that it was an apropos name for such a surprise pregnancy. (After all, it took a good two years and quality accupuncture before we got pregnant with Elijah.)

Rachel knew I was never wild about the name, "Joaquin"; so, not wanting to "force-convert" me, she decided that if his name was to be "established by God", God would have to--literally--establish it Himself. Insert here the countless name polls, phoneme analyses, and unproductive name searches. I tried for so long to fill in the blank with names like Evan, Ethan, Kye, Rhett, and so on. This morning, I finally admitted to myself that his name had been Joaquin all along. And deep down, no matter how many other names I attempted to be open to, I realized God alone had established "Joaquin" as his name just as He had established the dream, the pregancy, and the child himself.

*Following our tradition of a Hebrew first name and Native American middle name, "Sol", which also nods to my family's ties to Mexico, means "sun".
The whole Kirkland Crew

Mimi, Papaw, and Uncle Bubs

Joaquin Sol
6 pounds 4 ounces
18.5 inches

Mommy and son

Praying together in the O.R.

Daddy in his birthing threads

Monday, May 25, 2009

Baby # 2 Update

So, I figured I would update everyone with what has been going on as we are getting close to meeting baby # 2. :) As some of you may know, we had a false alarm last Wed. and baby # 2 decided not to make his appearance. It seems my body likes to have a looooooooong period of time when it has contractions before it goes into labor.
With Elijah I had seriously painful and regular contractions for about a week before I was finally induced to move the process along. At first they thought the contractions were false labor, until they put an internal monitor on and verified just how strong they were! Mind, you the contractions were coming every minute at that point! It is difficult to do ANYTHING when you are having serious contractions every minute of the day and night. So, they gave me some meds to help me sleep, but they were making me hallucinate and talk about boats on the freeway, so I decided it was best to skip those pills and suffer through. So, that is enough about Elijah's birth.
Back to baby # 2 (and no we haven't picked a name yet and that is why I keep referring to him as baby #2)--last Wed. the contractions were so bad it was causing me to throw up. Then, the dehydration made the contractions worse and they went from being once every 30 minutes or so to every four or five minutes. I called the doctor and she said to go ahead and go into the hospital. So, Ian drove home from work and we prepared to meet baby # 2!
However, once we got to the hospital and they gave me lots of IV fluids, the contractions slowed way down to about one every 15 min. or so. The doctor confirmed that the "false labor" hadn't produced any cervical change, so I was sent home that evening. Those of you that have been through it know how horrible it is to get sent home from the hospital when all you want to do is get that freaking baby out of your body!
So, since then the contractions are still at an annoyingly constant pace (about 3 or 4 minutes apart morning, noon and night) and are picking up in intensity. I have been popping the Tylenol and that is helping me get some sleep (I promise the doc said that was OK to do). In the meantime, we have been trying to patiently await baby # 2's arrival. Keep the process in your prayers. I pretty much feel like a crippled hermit. I can't physically do much around the house or with Elijah or drive anywhere because the cramping pains are too often and too intense. Hurry up, baby # 2!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trip to Cali

As many of you know, Ian and Elijah took a trip to California to go to Uncle Stuart's graduation from USC this past weekend. It was a big trip because mommy wasn't allowed to fly and the boys got to have daddy-son time on their own! Ian said Elijah did great on the plane rides and he even took this little video of our big boy trying to put on his own seat belt and saying "HI" to daddy. We thought it was cute enough to share, so here you go!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting a Move On!

Elijah has been able to crawl up the stairs for a while now and mommy is EXTREMELY happy about that because the doctor has been telling me for a long time to stop carrying him up the stairs. (Elijah's 23 pounds plus the 25 that I'm packing on with this baby makes for a pretty intense workout up the stairs 50 times a day!) Anyway, I think he is cute and wanted to capture another one of his "milestones" for all of you to see!

Gamma and Gampa (Ian's parents) got Elijah a little push car for his first birthday and he loves to "drive" it around the house! He is pretty much walking on his own now; he will cross the living room floor, go into other rooms, walk to mommy and daddy, and is gaining more and more confidence in himself as the days go by!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


As most of you know, I turned 30 years old yesterday, on May 2nd 2009! It is hard to believe time goes by that fast. 30 always seemed like such an "adult" age, and now that I am here myself, it feels quite young. I know that our parents always told us that you never really "feel your age" as you are getting older, but I guess I just never fully experienced that until now.

I had a wonderful day yesterday! I wasn't expecting to do much because I was already planning on celebrating my birthday with Mel in a few weeks with a girls spa weekend in Dallas, so it was a joyful surprise that Ian had planned a fun day for the two of us!

I woke up to a sweet card on my bedside table, and for those of you that don't know it, Ian is an amazing writer so his cards are always a gift in themselves. One of my love languages is definitely words of affirmation, so a card is an easy way to please me. :) Then, I got the perfect breakfast of a McDonald's egg and cheese bagel, orange juice, a chocolate glazed donut, and a Starbucks soy chai latte. :) Ian was such a trooper to drive all over town to get me EXACTLY what I wanted for breakfast (from our local donut store, to the Starbucks and Micky-D's). Then, he took Elijah over to Adam and Chandra's to watch him for the rest of the night so I could have a total relax day! I had a special pedicure and the works! Then, he surprised me with dinner at one of our favorite sushi restaurants in Austin and an awesome seat at the premiere comedy club in Austin! There were three stand-up sessions, and those guys were hilarious! I love comedy, so it was a perfect ending to a perfect day! This picture is from the comedy club when we first arrived. We had to get there an hour or so early, even with reservations, because it was sold out!

I have one tradition on birthday's to ask what the individual feels they have learned that year...some piece of advice that could be passed on from their however many years of wisdom. So, this time Ian asked me and for some reason it wasn't hard to answer this year. In a very real way I feel like I am aware that one thing I really want in this life is a life of peace. I want to be a mom, a wife, a daughter/ sister / friend, etc. that emanates peace and contentment in her life. I really do. I have found so much peace and inner contentment this year in being a stay at home mother and devoting myself to my family that it has truly brought up the desire to be this way my entire lifetime. I've always wanted to stay at home and raise my family, but it is more than that. I want to be REALLY GOOD at it. I want to bring back the lost art of the homemaker...for whatever that means. I want to educate my kids in ways that go beyond just schooling, and be devoted to my husband in total respect of who he is as a man and father, have great dinners planned, family nights, traditions started, and a house full of joy, edification, listening, wisdom, equality, fairness, strength, passion, and lots of laughter! So, there...that is what I learned about myself this year! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

As promised...

Here are Dad and Adam playing washers in the backyard.  It was a perfect day; not too hot and not too cool, nice breeze and company.

Little Noah is such a happy baby and he preferred being pant-less too!  Those boys know how to get crazy at a party! :)
Here is Mel pushing Alex in the tree swing.

Precious Alex... a spitting image of her mommy!
Here is Elijah making a go for it; trying to get outside where the fun is being had.
Here we are opening gifts.  He got a big wagon full of outdoor sandbox toys from the Darby's!
Emily and Elijah loved playing with the musical table that MiMi and Papaw gave him!
Em was such a trooper; all the kiddos claimed her as their "buddy" for the day.  :)  Here is Noah and Elijah and Em at the table again.
Opening the gifts
He had a special little t-shirt for the day!
Sorry, this one got put on here twice.  I didn't realize I had the b/w on here too.  :)
And, here we are into the cake!
Just loving it!
Sooooooo happy about sugar!!
At one point he just put his whole face into it.
Thank goodness MiMi had a full on apron/bib that covered his shirt.  The shorts were covered, but the shirt was protected well.  
Papaw and Elijah
Here we are getting ready to start the activities... just having woken up from his nap!