Thursday, December 16, 2010

I know I'm lazy. . .

But here are a few pictures instead of doing a real post. If anyone out there is still checking my blog every once in awhile.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some quick pictures

Life is good. Jack is the perfect baby, no joke. Good sleeper, good eater, smiley and happy, healthy. We have had some visitors who all agree with me, or at least they were too afraid I would kick them out if they didn't agree. John's new job is interesting and not too stressful. He also got a new calling at church as an early-morning seminary teacher. The other kids are all having a fun summer with lots of swimming and other activities. Our niece Caitlin is staying with us to help out. We went to Six Flags on Saturday and had fun until we were ready to drop.

The only thing I can complain about is our basement flooded on Tuesday. Our sump pump failed and our battery backup pump worked its little heart out until the battery went dead. Luckily, the kids found out quickly that the basement was wet, and Caitlin called John who works only 15 minutes away and he got home fast and stopped the flood. We're still in the clean up process, but it's moving along just fine.

Here are some cute pictures. We take a picture on their month-birthday, so you can see Jack's growth.

Isn't Jack the cutest chubby-wubby baby that there ever was?

And doesn't Kevin look so grown up with his summer cut? It's the first time we've buzzed his hair. John did it right after the baby was born and it has been great to not have to worry about his hair. Now if only I could do the same to Hannah. . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jack's Story

***ALERT*** This post is for my birthing buddies, who are interested in the minute details of birth. This post definitely contains TMI (too much info) for the casual reader, so if that is you, scroll down to the lovely pictures and don't worry about the gory details of Jack's birth.

Jack was due on May 28th, a Friday. On Thursday, I went for my 40 week check and she said I was about 2 cm, but 0% effaced. That was a little discouraging, but I wasn’t too surprised. I talked to a lot of people about what to do to encourage some softening and dilating, and one friend suggested (and provided!) evening primrose oil. I used it Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon, I lost my mucus plug and then later started having some bloody show. I also had several strong contractions. That night, I woke up with some pretty intense contractions that were about 10 minutes apart for 2 or 3 hours. I thought for sure this would be the night. But they never got closer, and eventually I fell asleep between contractions and didn’t time them any more, but I think they were about every 30 minutes. This continued Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night. I obviously was not getting much sleep. Every night I thought “This is it!” but then they would slow down and even almost stop by morning. They were pretty hard too—I didn’t sleep through them. I had to breathe and sometimes even moan during them. During the day I would have some, but not like those episodes at night.

On Wednesday, I went to a baby shower lunch for two friends who are due soon. I ate A LOT. I was pretty uncomfortable, feeling huge, having some contractions, but nothing to be alarmed about. About an hour after I got home (about 3 pm), I went to try and take a nap, but the contractions started up again super strong, about 9-10 minutes apart. I timed them, but they didn’t get closer together or stronger. At almost 5 pm, I called John and told him to not dilly-dally on his way home, just in case this was it. It felt a little different, but I still wasn’t sure. They stayed steadily at 8-9 minutes apart, so I thought it would be a long time still. Suddenly at about 6:30 as John, Denise and the kids were eating dinner (I couldn’t even think about food at that point), they started being about 5 minutes apart. But some of them weren’t very strong or long at all. Easily bearable. So I still wasn’t convinced this was actual labor. By about 7:15, I said we should probably start getting ready to go over to the hospital because I was pretty sure it was labor, even with the mini-contractions I was having. We got everything set, got the kids ready for bed and had prayer with them, then headed out at about 8:15. The hospital is pretty far away, and by the time they got me checked in, dressed in a gown and checked my cervix, it was about 9:15. The nurse said I was at 5 cm, with a bag of waters bulging out! I couldn’t believe it. I think I had been in the early stages of labor for 5 days. With all my babies, it takes me hours and hours to get to 5, then from 5 to 10 takes about an hour. I told the nurse that, and she took me seriously and called my midwife immediately. We called Denise to tell her to come over quickly, and my doula Sarah too. The nurse wanted me to do antibiotics because I was GBS positive. I told her it wouldn’t do much good since I was pretty sure to have a baby in an hour, with no time for the antibiotics to work. My midwife Deb got there very quickly, then Sarah soon followed. Deb talked me into the antibiotics, though I wish now I had stuck to my original plan. Getting the I.V. in while I was having these super-intense contractions was just a nightmare. I was tense and the vein blew, they had to really hold my arm down to get it in. I was crying from emotion, pain, and overwhelming feelings. It was pretty hard and fast now, Deb and Sarah helped create a calm environment with low lights, no nurse interventions like blood pressure or temp, and suggesting different positions. I was totally out of it, they would suggest standing up and I did what they suggested, but it hurt. So I’d try something else for the next one, and THAT would hurt. Yeah, that’s because I was dilating 1 cm per contraction by then, it didn’t matter what position I was in, they were all bad.

We were all expecting my water to break any second, but it never did. I laid on the bed for one contraction, and afterward said “I think I’m going to need . . .” and Deb knew right away I needed something to throw up into. I heaved a few times, and was happy to realize transition was here. One more contraction, then felt like I needed to pee. I had to swear to Deb I would not try to push out the baby while I was on the toilet. But after I peed, I had a contraction there, and at the very end, felt the need to push. Deb heard me and said “Are you pushing?!” and ushered me back to the bed. I lay on my side and she had me push a few times. Up to this point, Deb had never checked me, but only watched me and listened to my moans to gauge where I was. Those few pushes were pretty tentative on my part (at least compared to the later ones), and I don’t think they did much.

Deb checked me and said I was almost complete when not having a contraction, and that she was sure I was complete during them. She asked if I wanted her to break the water so the baby’s head would put more pressure on the cervix. I said yes. Immediately as she broke the water, I had the most intense contraction ever and I said “No, no, don’t!” thinking, I don’t know, maybe she could put the water back in or something. Obviously THAT wasn’t going to happen and I pushed a lot stronger than I had been. At least it felt like it to me. Up to now, the baby had been tolerating the pushing fairly well—having decelerations, but the heart rate would come back up in between contractions. Now, the decels were going lower and staying very low. Deb told me very seriously to use all my force to push him out quickly. This is when Denise finally got to us. That was the first thing she heard, and she grew immediately concerned about the baby. The next three or so pushes, I worked harder than I ever have in my life, using every ounce of strength I had to push that boy out. During the pushes, I remember thinking “WHY does this hurt SO MUCH more than when Kevin was born???” Now I know it’s because he was almost 3 pounds bigger than Kevin. In between pushes, Deb continued to quietly and seriously tell me I REALLY needed to push with all my strength and not hold back because he was not doing well. I remember crying and saying “I’m trying!” and thinking I could not work any harder than I was. John said he could see the baby crowning during those pushes, but that his head seemed enormous and never-ending. Deb said she was going to cut a little episiotomy during the next push so he would come out. At that point, I was ready to agree to anything to help him along. She only cuts in 1-2% of her mothers, so I trusted her judgment completely. So the next push, she cut, and he practically flew out. Everyone said “WOW!” when he came out because he looked so big, but I couldn’t tell what the big deal was. She put him right up on my chest and I held him and he looked normal to me. The nurse rubbed him gently (not all rough) and he gave a little cry, but didn’t seem too traumatized. The nurse said “I should take him and check him out” but Deb hadn’t cut the umbilical cord and she said “Look at him, he’s fine, he’s strong, he can stay right there!” and I was just crying in happiness being able to hold him and keep him with me.

When they finally did take him to weigh him, and they said 10 pounds, 14 ounces it was totally surreal. “WHAT??” They measured again, same results. We couldn’t believe it. Then, 22 ½ inches. Well, at least he’s proportioned. His head is huge, all the nurses commented on it. They couldn’t believe there was no molding. His head was perfectly round and gorgeous. During the second to last push, I felt something pop and had a lot of pain in my tailbone. I don’t know exactly what injury it is, but it is extremely painful. His big head has just about killed me.

A lot of people have said they are amazed I did it naturally, but I think if I had had an epidural, I wouldn’t have been able to push him out. I probably would have ended up with a c-section. So I’m so glad I chose not to. I don’t know why or how this kid got so big, since my others were all 8 pounds, and I didn’t have gestational diabetes. I wonder if he is going to kind of even out, or if he’ll always be big for his age. He is so far a very mellow and content baby. He sleeps pretty well and is gaining back the weight he had lost after delivery. And of course, he’s the cutest baby ever.

One thing I learned from Jack’s birth is that a woman’s body is incredibly strong. I’m not a very strong person ordinarily, but during his birth, I probably could have lifted a car if someone told me that was what I had to do to get him out. The feeling of power and strength was amazing. If I can do it, ANYONE can.

Here are some pictures of our newest Sapp. The first two are the professional pictures they take at the hospital.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jack is here

Just a few pictures to announce the arrival of Jack born on June 2 weighing a whopping 10 lbs 14 oz and 22.5 inches long. Both Jack and Lajuana are doing well and are due to come home Saturday morning. Jack is a very mild baby so far and it has been nothing but a treat to have him join our family. Lajuana is amazing having delivered Jack all natural. His hair is light brown almost reddish, exactly how Garrett's hair was when he was born. So we are expecting Jack will have nice blond hair like Garrett or maybe a little darker.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

At Last

I'm very pleased to say that I (John) found a great job! After interviewing around the country I ended up finding a great fit with a company called Nalco. I'm in the global headquarters which happens to be of all places right here in our town! So no moving any time soon for us. My position is Product Manager, basically managing the marketing and strategy of industrial products that are used in water systems. Without getting too detailed I'll be able to combine my heating and cooling, engineering, and MBA experience for this position...exactly what I was hoping for.

I started the job on Monday of this week but something else very important happened Saturday May 15, my graduation! After a stressful 18 months with no breaks, I finished my MBA at the University of Notre Dame. When I began the program I asked our Heavenly Father to help me out so that I can do well and take the most from this opportunity to learn. The experiences and friendships I have gained have truly been a blessing to me. My class was cohort style so I took all my classes with the same group of people who became a close group of friends and teammates. I'm on the right side of the group picture with my head above the others.

I never would have thought it but I guess the windows of heaven were opened because I was blessed to do well in my classes and ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude and inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.

I have to say that none of this would have been even remotely possible without the amazing support and constant sacrifice that Lajuana and the kids have made. Lajuana never ever made me feel that I was less of a father or husband because of the extreme time devotion I had to spend getting that project done, prepare for a presentation, or get ready for that impossible exam. She is an amazing woman and I truly believe I am who I am because of her. The business school sanctioned the use of an honorary certificate called the "Master of Patience", she earned it with Summa Cum Laude honors.

To celebrate my graduation we had my entire family come in from across the country. It was a blast seeing my family and having them stay with us. My younger brother Jason was in Iraq when I graduated with my bachelors degree and so this is the first time we could all be together in 8 years! Below is a picture of my brothers and my sister. The one below that is of the entire family. We sure did have a great time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We are here, we are here!

I’ve been taking it real easy the last few months, which translates into I’ve been even lazier than usual. The biggest change is that John was laid off on Feb 1, and has therefore been home all day almost every day. Since before, we were lucky to see him two times a week, this has been an adjustment we were happy to make. After the initial shock and stress, we have really been enjoying our time together. I think if I were not pregnant, I would be even less stressed and not worry at all. But we’re taking full advantage of John being around all the time: we were able to take time to go visit my parents in St. George, UT and John has done a million projects around the house. He has spent hours and hours in searching, applying, and interviewing for new jobs. We have some promising ones, but I don’t want to count my chickens before they’re hatched, so I’m not going to say anything until we have some firm offers in our hands. John has been really hands-on with the kids, playing with them and helping them with homework and projects. SO NICE FOR ME, since I’m pretty tired of explaining fractions and gluing things.

My Mom and Dad are doing pretty well--we put my dad in a home in January and he has been fine there. My mom can't drive or hear very well (brain damage from tumors)but is happy to be living at home and has help come in 3 times a week to take her places and help her clean. She misses Dad, but is a lot less stressed now that the burden of his care is mostly on other people. She complains that they aren't taking as good care of him as she would like (they don't shave him everyday, and lose his socks), but they are mostly doing as good a job as you can expect from people not related to him.

I'm doing well physically and emotionally. I feel huge and my mom even said I already looked 9 months pregnant and a man at church asked if I was having twins. But I try not to take it too much to heart, especially since I've only gained 14 pounds so far with 6 weeks to go. The kids love to feel when the baby is kicking, and especially when he has hiccups. Hannah has reconciled herself to having yet another brother, but she also keeps telling me "they could be wrong and it's a girl." So I told her if it is, we'll name her Hope because Hannah has never lost hope.

John is getting ready to graduate with his MBA from Notre Dame and he is so excited! So are we! He has worked really hard and has earned great grades. I'm really proud of him. His whole family is coming for the graduation on May 15th. Anyone else who wants to drop in would be welcome. It's a beautiful time of year in Chicago.

The first 3 pictures are from Sunny St. George (you can see how huge I am--can I get any bigger?), and the last two are the before and after pictures from our kitchen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The big news

My facebook friends may already know, but for the rest of you, I’m keeping you in suspense. I went to get my first (and hopefully only) ultrasound on Thursday. Everything looked great with the baby, placenta, umbilical cord, etc. I was extremely relieved because I’ve been having this weird feeling that *something* is going to go wrong and for some reason that translated to me as “you’re going to have placenta previa and need a c-section.” Not so! I practically danced out of the room I was so relieved and happy. I know there are still things that can go wrong, but I’m not worried anymore and have my “protective bubble” tight around me now. No bad thoughts will enter in here!

The technician was able to find out the gender and I had her write it down and seal it in an envelope. She didn’t tell me (or Kevin who was with me) what it was.

A little background: the gender lines have been clearly drawn in our household, with the boys wanting a boy, and Hannah wanting a girl. But Hannah REALLY wants a sister, and the boys want a boy mostly because it’s expected that they should want another boy. As for me, I have felt there is another girl for our family, ever since I found out Kevin was a boy. I’ve always assumed this would be a girl, born in the same month (or close to it at least) as our other girl. I have saved most of our girl stuff, while liberally giving away most of our boy stuff when we moved here. You see where this is going, don't you? John was kind of hoping for a girl, though he didn't say anything about it to the kids. Hannah had worked herself into a frenzy, making pictures of me holding a baby girl, talking to the baby and telling it to be a girl “PLEASE!” and yesterday she told all her friends we were finding out the gender and they all made her cards saying “Good luck!” or “Congratulations I hope it’s a girl!” I love my four sisters (heck I share a house with one), and I couldn’t imagine life without ANY of them. I really wanted a sister for Hannah, though I knew she eventually might regret having a pesky little sis getting into all her stuff. After my miscarriage last summer, Hannah cried and asked if that was “the girl baby” that died. It was just heart-breaking, I was as sad for her as I was for myself.

So when John got home, we hurried him through dinner so we could open the envelope. Should we take video of us opening it? I said no, because if it’s a boy, there will be some weeping and wailing that might hurt the future Sapp’s feelings (but a little voice in my head said, wouldn’t it be precious to have her reaction on video if it is a girl—luckily I ignored that voice). Hannah was dancing around the room, dizzy with excitement. I opened the envelope and read aloud “It’s a boy!” with as much happiness as I dared. She immediately started sobbing, wailing, crying—her face was filled with anguish. It made me start crying too. I held her and tried to comfort her but she was literally inconsolable. I talked to her about how much we’ll love this baby, even though it’s a boy. I told her I was sorry and I was hoping for a girl too. Still crying. John said there’s not much difference between boys and girls when they’re babies anyway. And Hannah replied “But when it grows up it will STILL be a boy and I’ll have ALL BOYS in my family, WAHHHH! I will NEVER have a sister now! WAHHHH!” Yeah, she knows that this is her last shot because I’m done after this baby.

I talked to her about names, said she needs to help me pick out a name. Still sobbing. Then I said, “Hannah, I need your help. Do you remember what Dad wants to name a boy?” She slowed her sobbing and nodded. John wants to use an old family name, I think it’s German. The name is Topliff. Ewww. We fought about it a lot a few months ago until I finally said let’s put our arguments aside until we know the gender, thinking it would be a moot point anyway since we’re having a girl. So I continued to Hannah with a low urgent voice, “You have GOT to help me talk Dad out of that name. I do NOT like that name.” She stopped crying and said vehemently “Me neither!” John came to sit by us at that point and she told him that it was her job to not let him name the baby Topliff. He thought that was pretty funny. She was still in the post-crying hiccupping stage, but John called his sister and let Hannah talk to her. “Well, Aunt Renee, it’s a boy” with dripping disdain. Poor Renee had the same problem in her family but not only does she have 2 younger brothers, but THREE. She told Hannah how sad she was when John and their other brother were born. She told some funny stories that actually made her LAUGH. The crisis was over. I hope she will be happy, I know she’ll be a great big sister again. My reaction: I’m sad for Hannah, but happy for me because my boys have been relatively easy once they can walk. My girl has gotten harder as she gets older, which I imagine will continue into pre-teen and teenage years. Do I still feel there is still a girl waiting for our family? Ask me again in a year or so. But don’t get your hopes up.