Tuesday, November 08, 2011


our baby turned 1. We've had him with us for 365 days. We lived without him for roughly 12,045 days. Yet, we would die for him in an instant.

My dad used to say something to me, that as a teenager and as an adult, would sometimes embarrass me. He would say that he could not bear to see tears in our eyes and he would get choked up. I understand that sentiment now. I can tell the difference in when Oli is crying because he's throwing a tantrum or when he's in pain. I hold him, and he looks at me with this look in his eyes that seems to say, "mommy, why am I hurting? why can't you make it better?" It shatters my heart into a bazillion pieces. I want to wrap him in bubble wrap and put him in a safe room somewhere for EVER. I never want him to feel pain, or hurt.

On the other hand, I want him to walk, run, jump off my couch. I want him to learn his boundaries, know his limitations and reach for more. I want to catch these impish looks he throws us right before doing something like taking off across the room so he can throw himself at the dog, or try to flush the toilet.

I guess this dichotomy is what's called parenthood.

I am listening to yet another song from my shower CD and thinking of all the things I want to show him. The song is "With Arms Wide Open," by Creed.

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready

To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything

With arms wide open

With arms wide open
I'll show you everything ...oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open

[Guitar Break]

If I had just one wish

Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open...

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

The song is so true. I didn't know if I was ready, emotionally, till he was placed in my arms. And, a year later, I still don't know if I am ready and capable. But, I know I want to hold his hand, help him walk, run and climb. I want to show him as much of the world as I can. I want to teach him to be a patient, kind, tolerant, loving man. I want to show him the stars in the sky and have him ask questions, so I can say, "ask daddy about that." I've warned his grandma that when he asks where babies come from, I'm telling him to call her. I want to see him grow up to be independent and smart. I want him to not be afraid of venturing out into the world on his own when it's time. But, I want him to know that I'll always be there at home, with arms wide open, if he ever needs or wants their shelter. It's so weird, I started writing about his first year, and I started wondering what he'd be like as a 5 yrs old, as a teenager, as an adult ...

At his party
Let's go back to him being ONE. We had a party Saturday for him, where all our closest friends helped us celebrate him and well, us surviving a year as new parents. It was extra special that my sister and parents were able to be there. He was showered with so much love (and lots of loud and bright toys - I have to talk to my friends about this!) that we feel blessed to have this network of support around us. Oli had a blast, he was walking, crawling, playing with other kids.

We tried to have him eat cake.That did not go over too well.
We tried 2 different types of cake and he barely touched the frosting, before screaming for the abomination that was in front of him to be taken away.

At home, on his birthday
I thought about it, I'd rather eat a bag of lime tortilla chips with an entire container of mango habanero salsa, and Jeff a bag of Doritos, than anything sweet. So, maybe that's why our son did not touch cake.

A year. I am still trying to wrap my head around that. He also had his well check appointment with his doctor yesterday. 5 shots. He was a champ. Screamed when he was shot up, but 5 minutes later, was back to his regular self. He's stayed strong on all his charts. He's walking more and more daily. He knows 5 signs solidly - dog, fish, more, milk, signing.
He's so vocal. Still no comprehensible words but oh, is he vocal. Happy shrieks. I love them. He'll crawl on hands and feet or run around the room, shrieking at everything and everyone, grinning wildly. I could watch him all day.

This video was at his doctor's office. And, he took a spill from running into my foot. But, it did not faze him a bit, as you can see.

Happy birthday to my beautiful boy!

Saturday, my family also said their farewells to a beloved family member. I alternated between sharing Oli's party info and photos and not because it was the same day. But, then I thought about the fact that both were celebrations. One of a life just begun, a mere 365 days in a long journey. The other? A celebration of a long life, well spent. She lived to see her great-grandson be born; moved with her family across the world to a new country and set roots. So, I am sharing the photos. I'll publish his photo album on Facebook from home later today.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wow, a year already

I cannot believe it's been almost a year already, since we welcomed Oliver into our lives. I had this published online and did not want to lose it, since it took me some searching to find it.

Published on August 03, 2011 in Online Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine:

I was due November 15, 2010, but our son, Oliver, was breech throughout the entire pregnancy so we had a planned C-section for November 11. From the time we first made out limbs and a spine, he was butt down. That’s how he remained until the day he was born. Also, I had an anterior placenta and scar tissue from previous surgeries. My OB did not feel comfortable trying any versions.

On November 6, we headed to a friend's surprise birthday party. Earlier in the day, I was having some contractions. I kept thinking they were uncomfortable but not painful, probably Braxton Hicks. My husband Jeff downloaded an iPhone app for timing contractions and since I never thought I was going to use it because of the planned C-section, I decided to go ahead and time these contractions for the fun of it. For six hours or so I kept track of them. They were all over the place: sometimes seven minutes apart, sometimes three, sometimes lasting 30 seconds, sometimes over a minute.

Later, I joked with our friends that I had done everything listed under “what to do to go into labor,” including eating spicy food that morning and taking a walk. I also brought a pineapple over to their house for dinner.

Throughout the evening, I kept timing the contractions. They were still all over the place. Around 9:00 p.m., I used their bathroom. I thought I heard something plop into the toilet. I looked in and swear I saw pieces of the mucous plug. There was also some blood and mucous on the tissue when I wiped, but my contractions weren’t bad. We left their house around 9:30 p.m and told them we were probably going home, but we might call Labor & Delivery because the contractions were getting slightly painful.

On the way home, I called my OB's answering service. I got a call back from the doctor on call who told me to come in to be monitored. In the next 30 minutes, the contractions went from being slightly painful to me screaming at Jeff that if there was any day he was allowed to speed, this was it. We made it home, dropped off our dog who was with us, grabbed our packed bags (thank heavens for that), and headed to our hospital 15 minutes away. Every contraction from that moment on was excruciating. I now understand and empathize with the women screaming in all those movies during labor.

We got to the hospital parking lot and I had to stop twice on the walk to the door because of the contractions. The guard on duty took one look at my face and immediately brought me a wheelchair. They got me into Labor & Delivery, checked me in, got me into the beautiful gown and strapped me to the monitors. The doctor on call came in and did an internal. Uhhh ... I was 4 cm, 100% effaced and -1 station!!! What that means to the uninitiated is that I was in active labor. They did a quick ultrasound because of my scheduled C-section. My son was fully engaged in my pelvis – butt first!

Things moved fast after that. They prepped me for my c-section and rolled me into the Operating Room at 11:09 p.m. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal. It had an immediate effect. I kept mumbling “It feels weird, it feels weird in my feet and legs,” but I didn’t feel anything from my c-section, not even pulling. My husband sat by my head the entire time. At one point, the anesthesiologist asked him to stand up and I heard Jeff ask, “What's that?” The anesthesiologist replied, “That's his butt.” My husband saw Oliver being born, still butt first.

Oliver Gary Williams was born on November 7 at 12:37 a.m. weighing 5 lbs 12 ounces and measuring 18.5 inches long. They took him to the nursery, promising to bring him back once I was sewn up and in recovery.

Oliver ended up spending a few days in the NICU because of a spontaneous pneumothorax but he is doing wonderfully now. He is the center of our universe. His smiles light up our days and his giggles make my heart skip a beat every time.

I can't believe that this little one:

is now doing this:

Happy birthday, my little one. We love you so much. There will be another post after his birthday with photos and some stat updates.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Baking Gals

A few months ago, I heard about this group, Baking Gals. They bake and ship home made goodies to troops stationed overseas. I joined the group, created a team and was assigned somebody stationed in Afghanistan. I also found out from his wife that his birthday was around the time our team was supposed to ship him goodies. Even better!

I got some friends involved; some other people joined my team online. We baked stuff, I bought some Halloween goodies, and we shipped the boxes off.

I wanted to share the first email I got from his wife:

"My husband got your wonderful package from you and your baking team... he wanted me to send along his thank you and I wanted to tell you his response.  He loved the cookies and said they were absolutely delicious.  Apparently, he gave a couple out to his friends and after they tasted them, word got out about how good they were and the cookies were swarmed.  He told me everybody loved the "professional cookies" and I said "the cookies were professional?"  He said that they tasted so good that they had to be "professional cookies."  I'm pretty sure he meant made by professionals, but, regardless, he raved about the taste.  In particular, he said the oatmeal ones tasted like they just came out of the oven because they were so soft. 

Thank you, and your baking friends, for your support and making my husband and his battle buddies smile."
I also got a second email from her:
"I sent my email yesterday too quick... I heard from my hubby early this morning that he received more goodies!  Thank you again; you guys are awesome."
And another one:
"I thought you and your team members would like to see a picture of the company.  It is about 170 soldiers and whenever he gets a package, he shares with the guys he is in charge of, which is about 30 guys.  So your goodies are going to 30 of those guys!"
Here's the photo she sent and I thought I'd share with the rest of the team:

It feels good to know that we were able to send a small slice of home to these guys! Thanks to everyone who joined my team and participated! We'll do this again. It was truly gratifying to do something for somebody who's doing so much for his country, far from his loved ones.