Monday, February 28, 2011

Ethan and Sienna Meet

We were able to leave the hospital a day earlier than scheduled (after 3 days instead of 4).  Kristen brought Ethan to our house after dinner on Thursday and said that he had done fine the previous two days, but that on Thursday he had begun asking for us and being emotional.  We met him at the door and then took him into the living room where Sienna was.  He got happy and said, “Baby!”  I took a video of him meeting Sienna, so I don’t have pictures from that.  I am putting some pictures up from the next day where Ethan is being affectionate with her.  He really likes to hug her and has gotten upset several times because he wants to hold her on his own.IMG_7659 IMG_7663

My mom arrived on Saturday, after we had been home for 2 days.  She has been very eager to meet her new granddaughter and see Ethan again.  The last time she came to Hungary was over 10 years ago.IMG_7672IMG_7675Ethan giving Sienna a kiss above and enjoying holding her below.IMG_7669

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ethan’s Birthday Celebration at Yaikos

Interestingly, Sienna was born on Ethan’s birthday, so we actually weren’t able to be with Ethan on his birthday- not that he even knew what day it was.

But, Kevin and Kristen were so sweet to have a celebration with their family to celebrate his 2nd birthday.  Here are some pictures that Kristen sent.IMGA0293 I just love this picture!  Ethan with his little buddy, Seth, and Ethan looks so enthralled with what is going on.

I have never been away from Ethan as long as I was while in the hospital (3 days), so I missed him quite a bit.  It brought such joy to my heart when Kristen sent this picture.  Ethan didn’t even know it was his birthday, but they still did something special for him.

IMGA0298 Kristen even made sugar free pudding for him to eat (knowing that we don’t give him sugary sweets).  IMGA0299Doesn’t look like he liked it too much though.  Kristen told me that he didn’t eat all of the pudding and ended up eating a yogurt instead.  Glad to know he is making ‘healthy’ choices. :-)

Arrival of Sienna

I know that the family has been patiently waiting to see pictures posted on here.  I’m finally able to sit down for a bit (over several days :-)) to write and post some pictures.

Here are a few ‘before’ pictures that were taken about a week before Sienna was born.IMG_7479


And here is what everyone has been waiting for… the pictures including Sienna.IMG_7536Sienna was born at 2:44 am on February 15th (the same date that Ethan was born two years earlier).  This picture was taken about 15 minutes after giving birth, as soon as they checked her out and cleaned her up.

All of these pictures were taken later the day she was born. DSC05622She has a full head of hair, just like Ethan.  Gary’s mom said that she is a Rickard because they all are born with a lot of hair.  Ethan’s hair never fell out.  I’m hoping that hers doesn’t either.IMG_7557 The Custers were Sienna’s first visitors.  I’m not sure if William knew what to think, but either way, it is a little preparation for the arrival of his little brother in April.IMG_7587It’s hard to say who we think she looks like at this point other than we both think that she looks like Ethan.  It is evident that she has Gary’s forehead and possibly his cowlick (hopefully not :-)) and Kim’s nose.

For those who are interested in reading about the labor and delivery you can read below.  Otherwise, you can just skip this part and read the last 2 or 3 paragraphs. :-)

When we returned from the mission’s conference in January (4 weeks before the due date) I was dilated 3 cm.  I attributed it to being on my feet all week long at the conference and was more careful when exercising after that so not to speed things up.  When I went to the doctor on the 14th (11 days before the due date), the doctor said that I was fully effaced and 4 cm dilated.  He said that my body was completely ready to give birth and that she could come today, tomorrow, or just wait until the next week.  A friend had offered to babysit Ethan after he was born, and we had never taken her up on it.  Since we rarely go out on dates and knew it would be more difficult with the baby being born soon, Gary asked her at church on Sunday to watch Ethan sometime in the week.  She said that she could watch him on Monday night (Valentine’s Day).  So, Gary and I went out.  Contractions began while we were out.  When we came home we decided to go ahead and pack the car and bring Ethan’s suitcase, etc. by the front door.  The contractions continued to get closer together, but I was expecting them to be stronger than they were.  With Ethan, they came on very quick and went down to 5 minutes within an hour and a half.  I remember not even being able to stand up with the contractions before we left the house.  This time, I could still stand up but was hurling over some and swaying from side to side (not being able to just stand in one place).  A friend down the street offered for us to call her if I went into labor in the middle of the night so she could just come sleep at the house rather than us waking Ethan up and taking him somewhere.  We finally decided to call her to come.  We left the house a little before 1:30 am and arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 2:00.  When we got there my doctor was on call and examined me.  He said that I was 8 cm dilated and then broke my water (he actually had a hard time breaking it; he said the membrane was real strong).  He had to break my water with Ethan too (and neither Ethan nor Sienna had dropped before that point).  He told me to go to my room and change and then walk back down the hall for him to check me again.  While in the room the contractions were much stronger.  Gary and the nurse helped me walk back down the hall and as soon as we got to the room for the doctor to examine me, I had to stop with a contraction.  I felt a need to push during the contraction and just automatically started squatting some and pushing.  The nurse quickly took me directly across the hall into the delivery room and called the doctor to come over.  As soon as they got me on the table, he told me that I could start pushing.  There were four series of pushes and she was out.  After I gave birth I told the doctor that that was fast.  He said yes and that had he not been on call that he would not have made it for the delivery.  There would have been a different doctor on call, but we were thankful that he was there since we knew him and he had been working with me this whole time (and he speaks English).  He is the same doctor who delivered Ethan.

It was such a different (and better) experience this time.  After I gave birth Gary told me that I acted like I hadn’t even given birth.  After giving birth to Ethan I was totally wiped out.  Ethan’s umbilical cord was really short, so it took him quite a while to drop after the doctor broke my water, and I had to push for a long time.  I was thankful that she dropped quickly.  The most painful part was getting sewed up from tearing some.  Last time my doctor did an episiotomy and then I tore in 2 places, so the pain afterward was FAR less this time and the recovery has been a night and day difference.  It feels WONDERFUL to have some soreness compared to a lot of pain as well as to be able to walk around or stand up and sit down while holding Sienna.  I feel like I can enjoy her much more at this stage in her life.

It was even a better experience at the hospital since there was at least one English speaking nurse on duty each shift.  When Ethan was born there were hardly any English speaking nurses the whole 4 days.  There are still some differences and issues with the nurses there, but I still felt much more comfortable since this was my 2nd time having a baby there.

I’m thankful to God for a healthy and safe delivery and for a recovery that is so much better than last time.  I know that everything is supposed to be faster and better with having more children, but I know of some cases where it was more difficult.  So, I’m VERY grateful that wasn’t my experience.  I’m also thankful for friends who pitched in with coming to sleep with Ethan and feed him breakfast and take him during our stay in the hospital (THANK YOU Yulia and Kevin & Kristen!!!).

I will share a little interesting thing that Yulia shared about the morning that she got Ethan out of bed.  Thankfully it went well (he had one person besides us putting him to bed since we were out and then had a different person besides us getting him out of bed).  Yulia said that when she carried him downstairs that he asked for Daddy.  She told him that he was helping Mommy.  Then he said, “Doctor?”  She said yes that we were with the doctor, and then he said, “Baby?”  We know that there is no way he could understand that I was having the baby, but we found it interesting that he just put that together about being with the doctor when she said that Gary was helping me.  He has gone to all of my doctor appointments and been listening to the baby’s heartbeat as they monitored it (including the day before she was born), so I’m sure it was on his mind a good bit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Mission Conference

Well, I don’t even know where to begin.  As usual, I’m behind on the blog.  Once we returned from the States I haven’t done anything but eat, sleep, and breathe the conference that was at the end of January.  I was asked to be the childcare coordinator for the 0-4 year olds for our mission conference that is held every 3 years.  I was busy in the fall with this, but was consumed with it in the weeks leading up to it.  Gary and I have always gone to bed together, so when my average time of going to bed for 3 straight weeks was 2:00 am, that meant it was his average bed-time too.  He had stuff to do and work on, but I know he would have preferred to go to bed sooner (as I would have).

We had a house guest the week before the conference who was one of the key people involved in the planning of it, so each night after Ethan went to bed, all 3 of us were busy working on conference stuff.IMG_7418 My home church sent a team of 5 over to help with the childcare.  I recruited 16 others from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, including some teachers and students from ICSB.  The work alone of recruiting, dealing with transportation issues for many, and even getting involved in medical insurance for the Eastern Europeans since they were having to travel to a different country was much more than I imagined.IMG_0033 (2) I ended up being on my feet running around during most of the conference.  I attended two of the main sessions.  Gary was recognized for serving with CCC for 25 years (in the picture above), so I was glad to attend that session.

I had a great time getting to see the team from my home church and spend time with them, though I didn’t realize that so much of my time with them would be talking about childcare issue concerning the conference.  The team were such troopers!  They arrived without their luggage and ended up wearing the same clothes for about 4 days.  The supplies and snacks for the kids were in the suitcases, so they had to adjust and be quite flexible at the beginning.  This was the first time that three of the five had left the country, so they had quite a beginning to their week.  So they arrived, jet-lagged and no luggage, and then jumped in working with lots of children from 12 different countries (and many not speaking English).  Many of these children had never been left with anyone outside of family before this conference, so you can imagine how much crying there was the first night and next day as parents dropped off their children.  We had 15 babies that were 2-6 months old.IMG_7464I never stepped foot outside of the hotel all week except to take this picture of Gary and Ethan from our balcony.  Gary and I had planned to go to the neighboring town during an afternoon that was free time, but it was the end of the week and my legs and feet were enormous from swelling due to being on my feet all week, and I couldn’t have walked the mile to get there and back due to my feet hurting me so badly.IMG_7469 This is a picture of Ethan during lunch on our last day.  This is probably how many felt, especially the kids who had such long days.  Ethan was having to get up earlier than normal and was going to bed later than his bedtime due to the conference schedule.  Gary and I were so thankful that he is a pretty flexible child and that he is so social.  That saved us from lots of meltdowns during the week.  I couldn’t have imagined having the responsibilities that I had at this conference had Ethan been having meltdowns and not enjoyed being around so many people.

I’m quite eager to see the personality that God gives our little girl.  I know that she will be very different from Ethan, but I do hope she is easy-going like Gary and Ethan.  She will probably be introverted since Ethan is so extroverted, but it will make life easier if she has some extrovertedness.  But God knows best what our family needs, so we will see.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I had this blog post done and saved on my computer that I forgot to post.  These are from when we were in the US in December.

Ethan learned the word “statue” around November and has used it often.  He knows when we drive by the church in Diosd (our village) that there is a statue and points it out every time we get anywhere close to it.

There is a park near Gary’s parents’ house that is full of different statues.  Ethan really enjoyed walking around and seeing them.IMG_7042 IMG_7050 IMG_7059 IMG_7066