Monday, April 28, 2014

Castillo Family, Party of 5!

On March 28, 2014, after a roller coaster third trimester, Miss Abigail Elizabeth entered the world!  She is the perfect final addition to our family.  As I did with Jeremiah and Evelynne, I want to document her birth story- so bear with me, this is going to be long, as it requires a lot of back tracking.

On January 21, approx 30 weeks along, I went in for what was supposed to be my mid-point ultrasound (10 weeks late because we were waiting on insurance issues to be squared away).  Our baby looked so adorable!  I was expecting to hear about the baby's position being questionable- I strongly suspected the baby was transverse for around two months.  The baby wasn't transverse at the time, but was breech, and was expected to flip before long.  We could deal with this.  What we weren't expecting was to walk away from this ultrasound with me being put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  The baby was measuring a week behind overall in development, and the measurements of the baby's abdomen were measuring two weeks behind.  The lack of development is known as Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), something I had never heard of.  The disproportionate growth is what landed me on bed rest.  The dr suspected that my over activity from all the running around I have to do with Jeremiah and Evy both being in school, and Jeremiah's therapy, plus Luis working so much caused this to happen, and the bed rest was supposed to help plump the baby back up.  I wasn't completely confined to the bed or couch, but on orders to stay off my feet as much as I possibly could.  I was really blessed with my parents stepping up from day one of this diagnosis , spending 3-4 nights a week at my house helping out with everything from shuttling the kids home from school, to cooking and cleaning for me so that I could focus on being a couch potato.  This diagnosis got my visits with my OB bumped up from 36 weeks to immediately (Normally you don't see the OB at my practice until the last 4 weeks, you see a nurse practitioner til then), plus in depth ultrasounds every other week, and NST 2x a week.  I was very busy, and very sick of dr appointments by the end of my pregnancy.  Thankfully though, the baby started plumping up around 36 weeks.  

We also had a slight scare the week after I got put on bed rest, thinking my water had broken.  I had a huge gush of clear, sticky, watery fluid and was told to come in to the hospital immediately.  Thank GOD it wasn't my water  (we still don't know what it was!)

I also started losing my mucus plug at 34 weeks, something that didn't happen until 24 hours before labor with Jeremiah, and 2 hours before labor with Evy.  This made me very nervous, as preterm delivery is a big side effect of IUGR.  I was losing huge globs every 2-3 days up until the day I finally delivered (at 39w3d!)  

At my 36 week ultrasound, Luis and I showed up with our car packed to head straight to the hospital if needed, as that was the earliest the ultrasound specialist said he would deliver me if growth wasn't plumping up.  However, the baby finally started to show a significant change of growth- but threw another curve ball at us.  The umbilical cord was wrapped 2x around the neck, causing my NST to be upped to 3x a week from 2x.  

On March 19, at my 38 week ultrasound,  I got the happy news that the baby was finally at 6 pounds 15 oz (approximately) and that bed rest was no longer necessary.   I celebrated by spending two hours at Target and walking laps around the dog park across the street for an hour.  The next day, I thought all of this activity had put me into labor- I was contracting hard, felt like I was going to throw up, and more.  Turns out it was the start of a stomach virus (thank you kids!), and I spent part of that night and 12 hours the next day in L&D as well as the ER , trying to stop the early labor that had started and keeping me hydrated.  I was in NO position to deliver a baby at that point even though I was full term , 2 cm and 50% effaced.  

On March 27, at 39w2d, I had two appointments- my NST as well as an OB appointment.  That morning, I posted on Facebook that I was hoping it would be my last day of double doctor appointments- not anticipating how true this would turn out to be.  My NST went pretty poorly.  The baby was very sluggish and just BARELY passed the NST.  This coupled with the cord wrapped around the neck earned me a one way ticket to Labor and Delivery for an induction.  The sluggishness could have been from me being sick the week prior, or running out of space with my due date the following week, or from the cord. The doctors didn't want to wait to see if the problem was going to get worse or not.  I was very nervous and somewhat in a state of shock.  It was never my plan to ever have an induction.  I was given my induction papers, gave Maria, my NST lady, a big hug, and left to meet my dad across the street from the hospital to give him the kids car seats .

 Since there was no big rush to induce, and since I hadn't eaten a thing for breakfast, I stopped inside Vons to grab a quick bite - some soup and bananas- and then drove myself across the street to the hospital.  Yes, I drove myself and checked myself in alone, since Luis was coming from Ontario an hour away and was planning on stopping home to pick up a few things that didn't make it into our hospital bag.  It was extremely strange being admitted without being in labor, and even more strange not showing up with Luis.   He showed up shortly after I got gowned and placed in a triage room.  In the tradition of all of my births, my OB was NOT on call for my delivery.  Thankfully, the doctor that was on call was VERY open to me trying to get things started without the use of pitocin unless as a last resort.  I was 3 cm dilated, 75 percent effaced, and a -2 station.  Since I was somewhat contracting on a regular basis (but not to the point of me being in any sort of discomfort), he wanted to give me two hours to see if things kicked into gear without any intervention.  Those two hours passed with me answering tons of questions for admittance, several failed attempts at getting an IV in my arm- with the success resulting in a geyser of blood (ouch!), Luis and I watching TV, and me sneaking his labor snacks (I was supposed to be on a liquid only diet- that wasn't even close to being satisfying!).

When the time period passed and I obviously was not in labor, the doctor came in to strip my membranes.  I was all for having my very first epidural free delivery until that point- stripping my membranes felt like the dr shoved his entire fist inside of me to scrape my cervical region.  OMG the pain! I was cursing like a sailor and telling Luis that there was no way I was going to go without an epidural (more on that later).  After I recovered from that horrific ordeal, I dragged Luis to the hallways to walk laps with me for an hour.  I power walked quite briskly for someone who was 39 weeks pregnant, determined to get things going without the dreaded pitocin.   Luis joined me for half of it, then wound up crashing in the waiting room to watch TV and enjoy treats from the vending machine.  I didn't care, I was a momma on a mission and he was slowing me down!  Anyway, the walking didn't put me in labor either, but did succeed in lowering the baby to a 0 station.  LOW!

Remember how I said I was planning on trying for an epi free delivery? Well, shortly before going on bed rest, I hired Jessica, a student doula, to assist me in my labor.  She's such a sweet heart and quite possibly the world's greatest cheer leader for a mom trying to go without pain meds.  We had been texting through out the day as to when she should come.  She finally arrived at the hospital around 6 pm , as to avoid traffic for when I did finally go into labor.  Since nothing was going on yet, and we were waiting at that point for Dr. Wong to get out of a C Section to break my water, she went to hang out in the cafeteria to give Luis and I some alone time.  I was also in correspondence with my sister in law, Lindsey (who is now pregnant with my little niece Rachel!). She was at my house with my mom, mother in law, Jacob, sister in law Lisa and her boyfriend Angel.  I was unsuccessfully trying to convince the grandmas that there was no need to come to the hospital that night since my induction hadn't even began yet, and who knew how long labor would take. Trying to convince two grandmas to stay away from the hospital is darn near impossible, LOL.  My dad wound up taking the kids back to his house so the grandmas could be there for the meet and greet.

My water was broken by 8:00, and the first round of HELL (AKA Pitocin) by 8:30.  Somewhere around 9:00 we let Jessica back in.  Contractions started coming uncomfortably within 10  minutes of the pitocin being turned on.  They were coming steadily every 1-2 min, even though they only lasted 30 seconds or so.  I was miserable in the bed right from the beginning.  I spent quite a bit of time switching from swaying and sitting on the toilet.  The baby was so low that even sitting in the bed was miserable.  They increased my pitocin, much to my dismay, about 30 min later.  Thats when the real misery began.  I felt like I was going to vomit, even from Luis' touch or the heat of his body.  Jessica's cheer leading was becoming less comforting and more annoying by the minute.  I didn't even want her , let alone Luis, touching me to provide relief with massage.  Even though I was trying my hardest to talk myself out of an epidural because of a BAD reaction to my prior one with Evy (my heart rate was sky rocketing , making me out of breath, for almost two hours, plus I got a bad rash), I just couldn't take it any more.  I kept setting mental time goals of how much longer to make it without one, not expecting to be progressing very quickly (even though the pain was practically unbearable), but around 10:45 (I think) I asked to be checked.  I was 5 cm- 1 cm less than my minimum goal for an epidural with Jeremiah and Evy.  I didn't care- I yelled that I wanted an epidural.  I was adamant.  And I was furious that I was told I had a 45 minute wait to get one- between finishing the necessary bag of fluids needed to have one, and waiting for the anesthesiologist.  Jessica didn't try to talk me out of the epidural at first- I'm sure she figured she had 45 minutes to talk me out of it.  I spent a good deal of time just siting by myself in the dark bathroom, just wanting some space from her and Luis (he wasn't getting on my nerves, but I felt like I was going to throw up just being next to him) or sitting on the edge of my bed.  Finally, the anesthesiologist came.  Jessica said she could tell I was very close and asked if I wanted to be checked before the epidural- I yelled out NO!  Just being checked was agony.  I was so glad to get the epidural- and when they checked me as soon as the epidural was in, I was 8 cm.  8!!!  So close!  Within 10 minutes of my epidural kicking in I felt the urge to push- and sure enough, not only was I 10 cm , but TONS of hair was already sticking out.  She was coming out without any effort from me, and I had to will my body not to push while the dr came in .  We let Jessica come back in for the delivery, and two contractions later Abigail Elizabeth was born- 6 pounds 12 oz, 20 1/2 inches of perfection, at 12:14 am on March 28- my father in law's birthday :) FOUR HOURS TOTAL from the time they broke my water (the official start of the induction) to the time of her birth.  I remember in the midst of my misery thinking that I wish I could just enjoy the birth of my final child like I did my first two, and the epidural allowed me that.  And I had no reaction to it this time!  She had quite a bit of fluid that needed suctioning , so after initially placing her on my tummy she was taken to the baby table to be suctioned and cleaned up.  I remember feeling so odd having her out of my tummy.  After she was all cleaned up, and I stopped shaking enough to hold her, I got to do some skin to skin and breast feed her.  My girl has breast fed like a champ right from the start :)  We let our family in an hour or so later for a very quick meet and greet, and then went to our room.

We stayed in the hospital a total of 3 nights.  Jeremiah and Evy came to visit her that afternoon, and had nothing but enthusiasm and adoration for their little sister right from the start.  A memory I will always treasure.  Another memory from the day of her birth- earthquakes!  The epicenter was in La Habra, really close to our Whittier house (and even closer to my in laws house, where several windows and lots of posessions broke).  We felt it at the hospital too.  I had my tubes tied on Saturday the 29th.  I am so glad that my birth had next to no recovery (Very minimal tearing/stitches- didn't even need the spray or witch hazel pads, or ice packs!) because my tube tying recovery was NOT fun.  We left on Sunday the 30th around 5 pm (thanks to running her Jaundice labs) and were welcomed home by the kids, my parents, Joe and Lindsey.

Abigail has been such a delight to have in our family.  She is one month old today.  I will be posting more about our wonderful daughter sometime later this week.  Thanks for reading!!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

24 Weeks

24 weeks and Baby Castillo #3 is growing, growing, growing!  I am really enjoying how active he or she has been- and now I"m able to see movement on my belly rather than just feeling it :)  We still don't know if #3 is a boy or a girl, and still don't have any plans on finding out until D-Day, but I have to say my curiosity is starting to get the best of me.  I'm starting to get hunches, but I will keep those to myself for now as well :)

Now that I'm starting to look pregnant, (I actually had a few moms at Jer's school tell me they finally believe I"m pregnant this week!), I'm really starting to FEEL pregnant, beyond the first trimester queasy, tired etc.  Those not-so-fun calf cramps have returned, shortness of breath, major heartburn when driving (or even sitting in the car for more than 10 min at a time), difficulty bending (wrapping presents is getting difficult), and the oh-so-sad knowledge that no matter how much I try to convince myself that a lot of my pre-pregnancy clothes still fit, reality is sinking in that they just don't.  

Preparations for #3 are under way as well- we bought a mini van last week!  A 2002 Honda Oddessy.  I remember just the thought of having to buy a larger vehicle was one of the things that was stressing me to the point of sheer panic the day before I tested positive, but with God's guidance we did it- and it was a piece of cake :)  We (well, rather, I!) have also decided to go the cloth diapering route this time around - at least when I'm the one in charge during the day.  I have a feeling we will do disposables at night, and definitely when Luis is in charge or if we have a baby sitter.  At any rate, I"m looking forward to all the cute, brightly colored fluff that will be covering our baby's tushie!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013


14 Weeks with #3
On August 13, the day before Jeremiah started kindergarten, we got quite the surprise!  A third little munchkin is going to join our family!  Luis and the kids were very excited right from the start; it took a few extra days for the shock to wear off for me but now I am on the thrilled bandwagon as well :)  I am due on April 7, 2014.  Just like with Jeremiah, we don't intend on finding out the gender of this munchkin.  We figured we started this pregnancy off with a surprise,  and we started off our family not knowing gender, so we might as well end the final chapter of our family with a surprise gender reveal as well! With Jeremiah I knew right away he was a boy, but so far God is answering my prayers about being clueless as to what is growing inside of me.  We have names finalized (something we did NOT have until a week before Jeremiah was born, but we kept our girl name for Evy), but are keeping up with our tradition of not disclosing those names until D-Day.  If we ever leaked to you what Evy was going to be named if she was a boy, we have completely changed our choices.  

Anyway, I know I have been keeping up with this blog maybe once a year (although I certainly still keep up reading blogs!) but since I actively blogged for both Jeremiah and Evelynne's pregnancies, I am going to keep this blog up again- if not for an audience, but for my own notes.  I love re reading my entries from my pregnancies, childbirth experiences, and babyhood of each of my kids.  

Speaking of which, here are Evy and Jeremiah the day before I found out about #3, on our very last trip to Disneyland before our passes expired- and will not be renewed for a few years at least.  They are now 3 1/2 and almost 6.  I'm shaking my head at how fast the years go by- I'm looking forward to little baby snuggles come Easter!!  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A HUGE Sigh of Relief

Yesterday we got some pretty amazing news.  Evy officially does not have Autism!  Because she receives early intervention services thru the Regional Center, she qualified for a psychological evaluation.  Even though I was fairly certain she doesn't have it, it was still very reassuring to hear it from a professional.  The psychologist did tell us that Evy does have a phonological disorder (trouble pronouncing certain sounds- ex she calls kitties "titties") and so he is recommending that our school district continue to give her speech therapy.  He is confident that within a year it will become a non issue, but since her pronunciation is pretty off on several sounds and not just a little here and there, he is recommending therapy sooner rather than waiting waiting til she gets older if she doesn't grow out of it.

In addition to testing for autism, the psychologist also ran some other tests, and told us that Evy's cognitive and social skills fall in the "gifted" range, and that even with her speech issues, she tested for speech at the absolute top of "normal" and will be "gifted" once her speech clears up.  Already he's talking to us about considering gifted programs for her when she reaches 2nd or 3rd grade if she seems bored in class!  Lots to think about....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This past year.....

September 2012
So much has happened this past year!! I always have the best intention of blogging, and definitely love keeping up on everybody else's blogs, but between having two kids in preschool at different locations , and Jeremiah having nearly 20 hours a week of in home therapy after school, plus all the usual day to day tasks of being a mom and a wife, I just have not been motivated to sit down and write.  So in the off chance that I actually still have readers , here's what we've been up to the past year:
Moving Day- July 20- last pic in our Whittier house

As a family.....
*We moved from Whittier to Altadena in July.  We now live in my grandparents' old house .  We absolutely LOVE IT!! It's in the foothills of the mountains, right next to a trail, and has a big stretch of grass across the street going down hill.  There's so much wildlife here- we see squirrels and a variety of birds every time we look outside, plus flocks of peacocks and even coyotes.  Everybody walks their dogs across the street too, so that's fun for the kids to see.  The move was a surprisingly easy adjustment for the kids, which was an answer to prayer.  I think its helped that we moved to a house that they were already familiar with . 

*Luis and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary two days after the big move.  We went to Vegas for 4 nights at 3 am following our move.  It was great to have some uninturrupted time together, relax, and watch Jerry Seinfeld live :)

*In fact... today is the 11th anniversary of us entering a relationship, and the 9th anniversary of our engagement! We still celebrate this anniversary by going out to dinner.  Any excuse for romance and nostalgia :) 

*Have gained a nephew and baby cousin! Lindsey gave birth to Micah Clark on February 21.  We absolutely love our little guy, and it's so cute to see the kids play with him.  

Cal Poly Pumpkin Patch 
*Will be 5 years old on Dec 2.  So hard to believe that this week 5 years ago I had my last day of work (substitute teaching and tutoring) and haven't looked back!

*Started his final year of preschool in September- next year kindergarten! 

*Is improving by leaps and bounds verbally, behaviorally and socially.  Just today I witnessed him initiate play with a classmate at the park- something I've only dreamed about before!

*Loves his sister to pieces- and she loves him equally. They are best buds

*Loves playing with marbles, bubbles, his iTouch, going to the park, Disneyland-and riding all the big rides!, chasing our dog, and anything to do with  birthday cakes and candles.

Evy is....
*Loving every moment of preschool! Because of Jeremiah's autism, she qualified for early intervention preschool for kids under 3 just to be on the safe side.  However, any little question marks we have had about her possibly having autism have gone out the window.  She's a very verbal, very social little gal!   

*Loves her brother to pieces.  She loves dressing him up just as much as she loves playing tackle football with him :) 

*Loves to sing.  All day, every day.  In the car, in her crib during naptime, while she's playing, you name it.  And if she's not singing she's talking.  nonstop.  My little chatterbox

*Loves to read, which I'm sooooo excited about because I'm definitely a reader too! Her favorites are Dr. Seuss books and Eric Carle books.  

*Wants to do everything that Jeremiah does... even if it's climbing up those scary ladders and rock climbing walls at the park.  And she does it so well! 

*a veggie-holic.  She loves vegetables to pieces.  Seriously, what two year old has to be told she can't have her veggies until she finishes her mac n cheese??? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in Undies, Day 1

Evelynne is really interested in Jeremiah's potty training. She loves watching him go and has been asking to "go pee pee" on the toilet the past few days. She hasn't actually made a movement in the toilet, but her willingness to sit on it is a step in the right direction.

Anyway, I decided to buy her her own little undies today, because Jeremiah started learning the quickest how to control his bladder when I let him run around in underwear. Evy was THRILLED to pieces to have her own undies. She spent 20 min playing with them in the cart at Target (and I was a nice mommy and didn't take pictures of her pink Yo Gabba Gabba undies on her head!). I put them on her at home, and within 2 minutes I hear her start to cry "oh no, yucky yucky!" with tears streaming down her face. Yup, she had an accident. Poor baby! Later on that afternoon she brought me another pair of her undies, excited to try again. The same thing happened again less than 2 minutes later. Oh well, she'll get the hang of it soon enough :) If Luis had it his way, she'd stay in diapers forever, because "she's a baby, and babies wear diapers." She will always be my baby....but I can't wait for our diaper expense to be cut! It's already gone down a bit with Jeremiah being in undies only when we're at home, but at night and out in public he's still in pull ups.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Crazy Kiddos!

I am so excited to be blogging again! It is great getting back into the swing of things. I especially love it when my readers reply to my entries even anonymously. I know it seems like all I write about are my kiddos... but they are my life! As a stay home mom, (who is actually now a work at home mom- more on that later!), Jeremiah and Evelynne occupy every moment of every day for me. Whether it be playing with them, teaching them, getting things ready for an outing/meal/bath/bedtime/etc. or thinking ahead for the next outing/meal/bath/bedtime/etc. So, apologies are in order if I have nothing but my babies to write about :)

Today I'm going to be doing a quick "catch up" on the kiddos- how they're growing and what they've been up to!

Jeremiah Luis

Jeremiah has been my busy bee! He has been in preschool since his third birthday (Dec. 2). He absolutely LOVES school. He goes 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. Last year he was in an autistic class at Maizeland Preschool, and adored his teacher, Ms. Lincoln, and even made a few little friends. This year things are switching up a bit- he will be in a special needs class with kids of various disabilities, and 3x a week "typical" peers are brought in to work on social skills. Luis is excited because his preschool class is on the same campus as his old elementary school, Aeolian. He starts on Tuesday!

Jeremiah is such an active little boy, always on the go. He loves playing outside, getting dirty,and playing in the water (give him access to the sprinklers or the hose and he's a happy camper, or better yet, take him swimming!). He loves watching TV (what kid doesn't?!) Favorites include Toy Story 1 and 3, the Leapfrog DVDs (he knows ALL his letters and their sounds, and can count to and ID all numbers up to 20), Special Agent Oso, Sesame Street, and Finding Nemo. He also loves, loves LOVES birthdays. Birthday cakes, birthday parties, birthday presents, and especially candles on birthday cakes. He loves to find things around our house (ex: my hair brush), pretend it is a cake with candles, sing the birthday song, blow the candles out and cheer. I can't wait for his 4th birthday- he's going to have a blast.

For the past two weeks we have intensively been working on potty training my big boy. He's done SO good with it! His accidents are minimal (if at all) for #1! We have him in undies if he's at home or at my mom's house; pull ups are only for long outings and overnight. #2 is another story...but we're working on it :) I swear if he poops in the toilet I'll buy him a Lexus :) In the beginning we were giving him pieces of ice cream sandwich as an incentive for going #1, and on the second day, Evy caught on to this and was cheering him on when he was sitting on the toilet. She got up in his face and yelled "pee! pee!!" So cute. He's absolutely fine now with just verbal praise (although my princess misses her ice cream!) On Thursday Jeremiah had a big break through and went 3 times at Disneyland- he has yet to use a toilet other than ours and my moms until then. Yay!! Only a mother would get more excited about 3 pees in the toilet at Disneyland than renewing passes :)

Evelynne Arlene

I jokingly refer to this as Evelynne's "Am I pretty?" picture, taken purely by coincidence as she was stretching while I was trying to get her to smile for the camera. At 18 1/2 months, Evelynne is already such a girly girl. She loves playing mommy to her stuffed animals and dolls, carrying around her purse and putting things in it, playing with Little People (or other little figurines), coloring (everywhere. the walls. our sliding back door. the bed frame in our play room. and sometimes coloring books). of today...she adores getting her nails done. She found a bottle of nail polish, ran over to me, plopped her self in my lap, handed me the nail polish and told me "okay!!!" She was thrilled to get pink toes! She wasn't a huge fan of getting her nails done before (I've painted them a few times) but this time she loved it- and sat still for almost all of it :) She also loves looking at the pretty dresses and Disney/Princess emblem clothing when we're out shopping...and thank goodness I have enough self restraint not to buy every pretty thing she sees and tries to grab for! Although I am very excited that she's just about outgrown all of her 18 month clothing so it's time to go SHOPPING soon! She'll finally get the Rapunzel shirt and PJs she's been eyeing.

Evelynne loves playing with Jeremiah, and saying "hi" to almost every kid she sees when we are out- picking up Jeremiah, at the park, etc. She prefers kids Jeremiah's size and up to kids her age, but she's getting better at socializing with them, too. One of her regular playmates, Ian, is a few months younger than Evelynne and therefore is smaller than her- and she has gotten very jealous on a few occasions where I have picked him up and held him. I'm praying this phase passes before February, when their first BABY COUSIN, Micah is born! That's right- I'm going to be an AUNTIE for the first time! My brother Joe and his wife Lindsey are expecting their first child, a boy, due just 5 days after Evy's 2nd birthday.

Evy has been a chatter box for a long time now. Her vocabulary well exceeds the expected vocabulary of a typical 18 month old. I think the norm is 6 words, according to books and her pediatrician, but I can't even count how many words she knows- and small phrases. All day long I'm hearing her talk, and now starting to link words together, rather than just standard phrases like "oh boy", "oh no," "all done," etc. As wrong as it is to compare your children, I think it's fun to see how a "typical" kid develops linguistically versus Jeremiah (who I am equally as proud of! It's just that the spot she is at right now is where he was at when he was 2 1/2 , almost 3). It's the cutest thing ever!