Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Preparations

Possibly the best part of the Christmas season is all of the buildup to Christmas. It's like having a month of holidays.  What did we do with all of that excitement? We did a little puddle stomping. . . 
 . . . some bike riding. . .
 Jared and Eloise were invited to a Christmas pajama party and brunch.  All of the other children ate and went to play.  Jared and Eloise tucked in like it was their last meal on earth.  They ate and ate and ate and ate.  Eventually they went to play, long after the other children.  One of the party games was writing letters to Santa.  Jared asked Santa for a paper towel holder.  Guess what Jared got his mom for Christmas.
 Grandma Jill came on December 5, and stayed until December 28.  Jared and Eloise got a lot of stories out of her.
 Benjamin prefers cuddle time.
 Jared and Eloise spent plenty of the month like this:
 Or bouncing up and down with excitement.
 Then there was some more of this:
 Jared and Eloise love watching Elmo's World and clicking through the alphabet on

One thing that Jared really wanted to do this Christmas season was go to the Bellevue Square Mall.  He absolutely did not want to see Santa.  What he really wanted to see was the reindeer bobbing near the ceiling, and all of the Christmas trees.
As an added bonus, we came across some live music.
  The most memorable moment of our visit to the mall came as we got in the elevator to leave the play area.  Who should follow us into the elevator but Santa himself!  Jared edged through the throng of people in the elevator until he was standing directly in front of Santa, eyes wide, and speechless.  Santa asked for a high five, which Jared gave him, still dumbstruck to be in the elevator with SANTA!

Sometime during the month we devoted a week to Eloise and her drug allergy, and then Jared got a cough, and then Todd got a cough.  Benjamin doesn't seem to mind the decreased attention on him.  Here he is chilling in some tummy time.
 All of a sudden the month had slipped away, and Christmas Eve was upon us.  Jared and Eloise were excited to don towels and blankets to reenact the Christmas story in thirty second segments, until something else caught their attention.
 Eloise really enjoyed her "towel hat."
Before we knew it it was time to set out stockings for Santa, and try to get Jared to stay in bed long enough to fall asleep so that Santa could come.  More Christmas adventures are coming soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Benjamin is very sweet and cuddly, but, let's face it, newborn babies don't do a whole lot.  As he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps, a little baby comparison is inevitable.  People ask me all the time who he looks like.  You decide.
Who does he look like?  I think all three of them came from the same mold.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A New Chapter

One month ago today, a new chapter commenced in the Knight's story.  Chapter one started on June 6, 2006: "Todd and Savannah get married and go to college."  Chapter two, entitled "Todd and Savannah try Parenthood" began three years later, on August 21, 2009.  Chapter three, "Eloise," started on April 16, 2011.  Each of these new beginnings has felt like a page has turned, and a new story has begun.  In almost no time, we begin to measure time by distance from the most recent beginning, and all events previous become hazy in our memories.   Chapter four, "Knights; family of five," has been no different.  The time has passed oh-so-quickly, but it is hard to picture our family before sweet, sleepy little Benjamin arrived.
 In his short time, Benjamin's hair has gotten longer and more unruly, if you can believe it.
 Here he is dressed for his first trip to church on December 2.
Grandma Jill has been here since December 5.  We would be lost without her.  
Ben is more wakeful during the day. . . sometimes.  
 Here he is sporting his matching bear hat to be the third bear with Jared and Eloise's Halloween costume.
 Last Saturday, December 15, he met his Grandpa Michael, who came to visit for an afternoon.
 Jared insisted that Grandpa Michael wear this hat for pictures.
 Eloise loves her baby brother.  She likes to tell me what his cries mean.  "Benyamin ky-ing.  Hun-ghee." "Benyamin ky-ing.  Want Mommy."  Here she rocks him as we wait for Grandma to mail packages at the post office.
 One of Todd's coworkers knitted this sweet hat for Ben.  I think it looks like it jumped out of a Dr. Seuss book.
 Can you see how much he is changing?
I am so thankful for this new, peaceful little soul in our family.  As Christmas approaches, Eloise is having a little bit of trouble differentiating between Baby Benjamin, who is tangible and present for her, and the stories of Baby Jesus.  Happy one month day, Benjamin!  It is a great joy to see you grow.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adjusting to baby

When I pictured our family's adjustment to having a third baby in the house, I pictured some sleepless nights, maybe Jared and Eloise having some tantrums, potty accidents, or wakeful nights.  We have had a bit of all of that.  What I didn't picture was spending ten hours in and out of doctor's offices with a very sick, sad little Eloise.
A week ago last Monday, on December 3, I took Eloise to the doctor's office to get her checked out for a persistent cough that my mama in law suggested might be an ear infection.  Sure enough, the princess had an ear infection and a sinus infection.  We got a prescription for antibiotics and assumed that our troubles with winter illness were behind us.
On Monday, December 10, Eloise got really crabby in the afternoon.  When I changed her diaper, I noticed a few small spots on her legs.  I thought she might be having a mild drug reaction, but I gave her her evening dose anyway, since it was only a few spots.
I called the doctor's office first thing Tuesday morning, before Eloise was awake, to get her seen that afternoon.  When I spoke to the nurse, she said to stop giving Eloise her antibiotics, and, if she developed any swelling on her face to bring her in right away, with an appointment or without.
Shortly after I spoke to the nurse, Eloise woke up covered head to toe in massive, swollen, itchy hives.  Her face and neck had puffed up under the hives.  Benjamin was supposed to be circumcised late Tuesday morning, but I called that doctor to cancel our appointment so that I could take Eloise in to be seen right away.
 Eloise was a trooper in the doctor's office.  We couldn't see our regular doctor, Dr. Belarmino, on such short notice, but Eloise kept asking for "Dottor Mino." When he heard she was there, he came in to see her in between appointments.  Eloise got a dose of benadryl, a new antibiotic to clear up what was left of her sinus infection, and another antihistamine, zyrtec.  The doctor told us it could take up to a week for the hives to go away.
Sure enough, the hives looked worse on Wednesday.  Eloise spent all day scratching her head and doing a little body wiggle so that her shirt would scratch her back for her.  During the course of the morning, I noticed that she was shivering uncontrollably with a low fever.  I called the nurse again, and she assured me that the fever was most likely her body still fighting the sinus infection.
On Thursday, the hives started to go away, but the fever remained.  Eloise seemed happy, but when Todd came home from work, he noticed that her walk had changed, and when we started to get her ready for bed, we discovered why.  Her legs and arms were swelling up like balloons.
I called the advice nurse again, hoping against hope that she would tell me that swelling limbs is a common side effect of hives, and that there was nothing to worry about.  Instead, she said she needed to consult with the on call doctor, and would call me back.  The doctor wanted her to be seen right away, so we drove to pediatric urgent care in Bellevue at 8:30 p.m.
Fortunately, there was no wait to see a doctor.  Eloise was tired, but in a fairly good mood.  She told me, "Feet hurt!" The doctor evaluated her and determined that, instead of a simple allergic response to penicillin, Eloise had developed serum sickness.  Serum sickness is an auto-immune reaction that can occur with any drug.  It shows up 7-10 days after being exposed to the drug, and usually is characterized by hives, fever, and joint pain.  Swollen limbs is a less common effect.  Dr. Belarmino explained to me that a serum sickness reaction is less predictable than an allergic reaction, so she may or may not get serum sickness from certain medications related to penicillin.
Serum sickness is treated with antihistamines and, in severe cases, steroids.  The urgent care doctor wanted some blood from Eloise to do some tests and see if she needed steroids.  She didn't want to prescribe steroids unless she needed to, since steroids have a tendency to make babies crazy (right, Cheyenne?).  Poor little Eloise.  It's a good thing it was me with her instead of her daddy.  He would never have let his baby girl get stabbed so cruelly.  The nurses had a hard time finding a vein to get blood from in the princess's swollen arms and legs, so when they did find one, the left a tube in it in case she needed anything by IV before we went home.  They put a tiny little splint on her elbow to keep Eloise from bending her arm too much.
As soon as they put the splint on, she snapped it into two pieces. She's sick, but still super strong.  The nurses had to give her a splint that went from her wrist to her shoulder.  Then we waited for blood test results.  We read "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" two dozen times, called Todd to let him know what was going on, and looked at pictures on the phone, as Eloise got more and more tired.  She didn't complain very much about having her arm in a splint, except to occasionally point at it and say, "Stuck! Arm stuck!"  She clutched her bear like a lifeline.
Eventually the doctor determined that she didn't need steroids, so we could go home.  We left for home at 11:30.
On Friday morning, we went to see Dr. Belarmino for a follow up.  The swelling was a little bit worse, but it got slightly better throughout the day.  This morning her feet were even small enough to put socks back on.
Yesterday afternoon I took Benjamin to meet his circumcision doctor.  He diagnosed our tiny little guy with thrush and a yeast rash, and sent us home with another handful of prescriptions to get baby Benjamin healthy.
I am exhausted.  I have seen enough of the inside of doctors' offices this week to last me several years, but we are all finally on the road to recovery.  All we need is a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. . .

Monday, November 26, 2012

O! Christmas Tree!

Our Thanksgiving holiday week was definitely low key, with the surprise addition of a new family member.  We had a Thanksgiving themed family home evening on Tuesday.  On Thursday, Todd took Jared and Eloise to Thanksgiving dinner with some friends of ours who had already invited us to get together with them before Benjamin's arrival.  They brought me some turkey.  

With Thanksgiving behind us, it was time to break out the Christmas decorations!  The first order of business for Jared and Eloise was to raid the holiday decorations box for anything fun.  All of our holiday decorations fit in one box, so here is Eloise ringing in the Christmas season with a bag of Easter eggs.  
 Jared remembers decorating the tree with Grandpa Knight last year, so he was very excited to pull out the Christmas decorations.  The challenge now is to keep him from unplugging and replugging the Christmas tree lights twenty times a day.  Most of the ornaments have already been rehung a few times since these pictures were taken.
 Eloise doesn't remember Christmas, but she is excited.  She was most excited to find some ornaments that smelled like cinnamon, or, as she says, "cinnaminiminimin!"
 There is also an ornament which says "Princess" on it.  As we all know, that is Eloise's preferred name.  That ornament hasn't spent much time on the tree, since she is usually carrying it around.
 We came home from the birth center last Monday to find progress finally being made on the house next door.  Jared and Eloise have been glued to the window since they brought in a tractor to knock down trees and dig a pit for the house.  At the end of each day's work, they cover the whole lot with tarps to protect their work from the rain.
We put all of our lights, ornaments, tinsel, and ribbon on the tree. . .
. . . topped it with a star. . .
. . .  posed for a Christmas picture (complete with Easter eggs). . .
. . . sang some Christmas carols, and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and some leftover pumpkin pie.
 Bring on Christmas!  The Knights are ready!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Benjamin Kent Knight

On Saturday, November 17, Jared and Eloise decided to help get things ready for baby to come by warming up the cradle for him.  I was pretty sure that their efforts were wasted, since baby wasn't due until December 9.  That put me at 37 weeks pregnant on November 18.  According to Jared and Eloise's arrivals, we could expect three more long, grueling weeks of pregnancy before meeting our new baby.  
 I woke up on November 18 at 4:45 a.m. having painful contractions every 15 minutes.  This has happened before.  The contractions usually keep me awake for a few hours, then taper off.  This time they kept going into the day, but stayed 15 minutes apart.  I managed to get a nap in the afternoon, so I was pretty sure that these annoying contractions were on their way out.  At bedtime, when they were back in full force, I was pretty tired, but since I was scheduled to see my midwife in the morning, I decided I would just tough out the night, and then see if I could get some relief from the midwife at my appointment.  I managed to get two hours of sleep, and, when I woke up at 2 a.m., the contractions were ten minutes apart.  I read for a while, texted with my mom, talked to Cheyenne, and remained convinced that I still had at least two weeks of pregnancy left.

My midwife says wild weather brings babies.  I know it is always raining in Seattle, but the storm on Monday, November 19 was a crazy one, even for the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle got two inches of rain in six hours (Tucson gets an average of 12 inches of rain a year, to give you Arizonans some perspective), and many roads were closed as drains overflowed and roads became rivers.

Active labor started the moment I got up, at about 7:15.  By the time I was done getting breakfast ready for the family, it was pretty obvious that the baby had picked this very early date for his arrival.  I called a friend who had offered to take Jared and Eloise for an extended play date in the (we thought unlikely) event of baby coming early.  They weren't too excited about being abandoned for the day, and Jared was deeply upset that the baby, who I had promised after Thanksgiving, was actually going to come before.  Then I called the midwife. I was having contractions every two and a half minutes.

We left for the birth center in a torrential downpour in time to make it a few minutes early for the appointment I had scheduled anyway at 10, and were met by the midwife, Val, and two student midwives, Leah and Sarah.
 From the moment I knew I was really in labor, I knew it was going to be extra hard because I was so tired.  All I wanted all day was a nap.  I was ready to lie down and close my eyes for a few seconds between every contraction, but Val and Todd wanted me to be more active so that labor would progress faster.  They were worried that all of the contractions I had been having would wear my body out for delivery, so I had to keep moving.  I'm glad I did.  Todd is getting quite expert at being my labor partner.
Labor went pretty smoothly.  I was all gung ho to deliver in the bathtub, but I got too hot or something in the water and had a scary moment hyperventilating, so I had to get out of the tub.
I thought that my water would break on its own, like any normal person's, but I dilated to 10 cm and got stuck in the most difficult part of labor.  With both Jared and Eloise, the doctor broke my water and labor suddenly became very fast.  Todd had been joking all day about my water bag made of kevlar, and encouraging me to get it broken so that we could pop the baby out and go home.
It turns out he was right.  When Leah broke my water, she had to be poised to catch the baby.  He was out in two big pushes.  I was exhausted, but he is perfect.  He came out with a purple face (bruised from delivery) and a full head of hair.  If I hadn't pushed him out, and if he didn't have exactly the same newborn face as his brother and sister, I would be convinced that we had the wrong baby.  I didn't know we could make them with hair.  He was born at 3:04 p.m.
We named him Benjamin Kent Knight.  He weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz., and was 20.5 inches long.  Here he is with his papa at the birth center an hour or so after delivery.
 After four hours of recovery, we headed home.  Here is Benjamin getting ready for his first car ride.
 Jared and Eloise were excited about their new baby brother.  Todd dropped Benjamin and me off at home and went to pick up Jared and Eloise.  They came running into the house a few minutes later in their pajamas, both yelling, "Baby Benjamin! Baby Benjamin!" Eloise came up to us, peered into his tiny face, and demanded, "Hold baby!"  We gave her a new baby doll to hold instead.  Jared got a new book as a gift from the new baby.
We waited a day and a half to wash his hair. Here he is after his head wash.
He is a handsome little guy.  He doesn't open his eyes very much.  In the first moment after birth he opened both eyes wide, but he must not have seen anything worth looking at, because his eyes have been closed most of the time since.  His eyes are actually a little bit swollen from delivery, so when he does open them, he peeks out through slits.
We finally did let Eloise hold the baby, but he wasn't too excited about it the first time.
Here is Benjamin's first tummy time.
I put Benjamin down to sleep on the floor next to the table when we were eating lunch yesterday.  When lunch was over, Eloise made a game out of pretending to sleep near the baby.
When Jared finished his lunch, he joined the game.  Here are my three little babies.
I never did get that nap I was promised when I was in labor, but I knew that sleep with a new baby is an elusive dream.  This precious little man is worth all of the sleeplessness.
Welcome to our family, Benjamin!  We are looking forward to all of the new adventures you will bring to us.