Thursday, April 18, 2013

One short year... One amazing boy!

Dear Cohen,

Well, time has certainly slipped away from me.  As I sit down to write this entry we are only days away from your first birthday. This is a very emotional and bittersweet entry for me.  I'm so proud of the independence you've gained, but am quickly realizing you are growing so quickly before my eyes, and becoming less and less of a baby.  It's hard for me to sum up this first year together.  It has been the most rewarding, fun, and amazing years of my life.  You have brought so much joy, fulfillment, and pure love to this life, and I honestly cannot imagine a day without you in it.  You have brought endless amounts of smiles and laughter, tons of happy tears, and a sense of completion to my heart that I cannot put into words.  I am so proud to be your mommy.  It is an absolute honor, and one of the sweetest journeys of my life to watch you grow, adapt and learn.  You amaze me each and every day!
Now, not to say every day has been easy... this year has also been the most challenging, and tiresome years I have ever experienced.  There have been many sleepless nights, a fair share of frustrating moments, and constant worrying, researching and questioning my decisions as a parent.  It's a crazy journey becoming a parent.  YOU are my main priority now,  your happiness and well being have become more important than my own.  A new sense of selflessness, and self discovery has been blanketed over me as a mother.  You know it's a funny thing, before you were born I thought "Ah, I got this whole parenting thing."  Especially working as a preschool teacher, I knew kids, in and out, up and down... but being a parent is a whole new ballgame.  When you are sad, or hurt my heart aches for you.  When you are happy, I am beyond happy.  When you make a new discovery, or master a new milestone I feel the greatest sense of accomplishment (for us both).  The emotional connection, and love I feel for you is simply indescribable. Although I am trying to teach you the ways of the world, you are teaching me far more than I ever imagined you could. 
You have grown and changed so much in these past 12 months... time truly does fly by when you are having fun (or maybe it's the fogginess from lack of sleep), either way it's crazy.  Just the other day you took your first few steps, and are quickly gaining your confidence to start walking.  YIKES! I know I am in for it once you really start going.  You are into EVERYTHING, and are definitely keeping daddy and I on our toes.
You are such a strong willed, independent, and determined little guy.  You watch older children play and study their movement and abilities.  I can see your little wheels spinning, soaking it in and figuring out how you too can do what they are doing.  You love music.  Anything musical, whether it's daddy playing guitar, the radio blaring, a commercial on TV, or someone singing in the other room.  You stop what you are doing and bob your head, and shake to the beat.  In fact, just the other day in the car you woke up from a dead sleep and started rocking out to the song playing on the car stereo.  Pretty cute!  Daddy and I think you are destined to be musical! 
It's not just music that has captured you though.  You seem to love baseball!  You've already watched several San Fransisco Giants games, and intensely studied the players.  At this very moment your favorite word is "ball".  You repeat it over and over again at the sight of any round circular object!  Today, outside Target you spotted the big red balls out front and excitedly yelled "ball! ball!".  Although to some these little details may seem so insufficient and unimportant, to me they mean a whole lot!!  You are taking in this great big world, and making amazing connections and discoveries.  As a mother, nothing makes me more proud!
You are quite the eater, let me tell you.  There is not much you don't like (most of the time).  Its pretty cute to watch you chew using those 4 front teeth, and exclaim "Yummmmm" after each bite. Your ability to communicate is becoming more and more apparent, although you still do a lot of screaming to get what you want.  I think I can safely say daddy and I will be so much happier once you gain a few more words and can use those instead of those powerful set of lungs you have been given.
In these past few weeks you have become quite the daddy's boy.  When he walks in from work at the end of each day you speedily crawl to him and climb up his leg for a hug, and some much needed daddy time.  Nothing warms my heart more.  Seeing you two, and knowing you are "mine" is one of the greatest blessings I have ever known. 
You have accomplished so much in this first year, and have filled my heart with enough memories to last a lifetime.  I am so excited to continue to watch you grow, explore, challenge yourself and reach your goals. I will always support you, stand behind you, and fight for your best interest.  As a mother, my hopes for you grow stronger each day.  I dream that you'll be a kind, gentle boy to those around you, that you will love with all your heart, always try your hardest, keep your promises, tell the truth, follow what makes you happy, and to always dream without limits.  Mostly I hope you always trust and know that you are smart, you are capable, and you are so loved.  Never ever will a day pass that I am not grateful for you, and for this beautiful gift I have; to be your mommy.
So, as I end this letter to you I want to wish you the happiest 1st birthday, and thank you for all the moments that have summed up the past 365 days.  To quote Piglet from Winnie the Pooh; "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart".  Nothing rings more true to me.  I love you Cohen Rigsby, and I always will.

Happy Birthday sweet boy,

                                          Being ONE is so much FUN!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A half birthday...

Sweet boy,

Today is your "half birthday", 6 months old!?!!? Already?  You are changing so much.  Every day.  Every stage we've gone through has been fun, and new... but now it not only is fun and new... it's rewarding!!! You smile back at us, giggle at "peek a boo" and tummy rasberries, engage with toys and games, and hug and snuggle into daddy and I.  These truly are the moments.  A few weeks ago I asked daddy if he thought being a parent is harder or easier than he expected.  He said it's harder, the screaming, and the sleep depravation... that part... but the smiles I get make it all worth it. I couldn't agree more.  I love how you smile and look at daddy and I.  In those moments I know you love us just as much as we love you.  It is the best feeling. 

                                                                    Happy Boy!
You have certainly found your voice... oh boy!  Lots and lots of screaming is happening in this home.  You are so proud of yourself.  You scream between bites at meal time, when you are excited, tired and cranky, when there is toy just out of you reach, and a lot of the times just because you can.... I guess you like the sound of your own voice.  In fact a week ago you screamed and yelled so much you nearly lost your voice for a day or two.  Silly baby.

You still love to be outside best.  You love to see what's going on.  It's funny, people always comment on how aware you are when we are out.  You don't miss a beat, you're always looking around, watching what is going on around you.  You have taken a strong fascination to kids.  Always watching what they are doing... it's pretty cute to watch you. We've done lots of fun things like; visiting the aquarium, going to music classes, walks all over the place, and a visit to the pumpkin patch.  Tomorrow will be your 1st halloween.  I have a cute little giraffe costume for you to wear... if it fits! (You are quickly growing out of everything!!).

                                      Pumpkin Patch with Liz, Kristen & Payton

                                                      My little Pumpkin

                                                 Aquarium day with Hannah

You are sitting up all on your own, and again, are very proud of your new skills.  We are so proud of you too.  I know I have said it, but it is so much fun watching you grow, learn and absorb the world.  Just like everyone always says... you truly are a little sponge.  Sometimes you just watch daddy and I talk, or do things around the house and we can tell your little wheels are turning.  You are defintely trying to figure it all out.

We tried out the walker (thinking you might not "get it" yet), but we were wrong.  You love it!  You get going pretty quick, but because our house is so small you pretty much just run into cabinets and bounce off chairs.  You try to chase Shelby, and watch her from the kitchen door.  You have grown quite fond of Shelby (our black lab).  You get the biggest smile when she's in sight, and sometimes even let out a laugh.  Shelby loves you too... she gives you doggy kisses (mostly because she smells left over avocado and banana on your face).

                      Daddy can always get you laughing!

Every day since we brought you home has brought more love, and happiness into this family than I could ever explain.  We all learn something new everyday.  You are teaching us, just as much as we are trying to teach you.  I've loved every moment from the tiny newborn snuggles, to the 6 month old big boy screams.  Right now, in this very moment I feel so blessed. Although being a parent isn't always easy or glamorous, and on days I find myself day dreaming of a full nights sleep I would not trade this for ANYTHING!  I love you Cohen!

                                                        Mommy & Daddy love you!

To all of YOU,

I feel like writing this blog has helped me in so many ways.  I've connected with a lot of people who have gone through a similiar journey as Chris and I, some still on their journey to becoming  parents,and some who are just starting out. For that I am so grateful.  Talking with others who are in the same place as you really helps!  I've had several people tell me how reading my entries helped them cope with the emotions of infertility, and the struggle & heartache that comes with it.  Nothing warms my heart, more than that.  I remember when the thought first crossed my mind to write this blog, especially the first entry... I was scared and nervous.  I am so glad I did though.  Once I embraced what we were going through, and got it off my chest I felt freed.  Today, I couldn't be happier, and although it really sucked at times I would do it all again to have Cohen.  He is absolutely worth every bit of that wait!  I want to thank you all for reading this, for following our story, and for loving us through it. To those of you still trying... don't give up!! Don't lose faith!! The reward is so much sweeter than the pain.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Milestone Mania

Dear Cohen,
Four months have come and gone.  That was quick! It is so crazy how much you've changed and grown.  You are so much fun; smiling, laughing, rolling over, talking (well yelling!!), eating, laughing... it is all so much fun.  It seems like it's something new everyday.  You have quickly outgrown many of your clothes, and are fitting into 6 month stuff!! (You are definitely a healthy boy).  You weigh somewhere around 15-16 pounds now.  It's crazy to think you were such a peanut when you were born.

Sleepy boy! I love how you sleep, completely sprawled out (just like daddy).

As long as you are outside, you are happy!
Smiles for mama!

You love your hippo from cousin Porter!

Mmm... your first taste of avocado.

You also outgrew your bassinet, so mommy & daddy got you a co-sleeper which is right up against our bed... you don't seem to like it much though.  You are most content in our bed, or our arms, and although I often wake up with a stiff neck, and cramped body I love the snuggle time with you.  These are moments I would not trade for the world. 

Happy baby!
You are on the move! Rolling over all the time, trying to push off your legs and crawl, even making walking motions when we hold you up right.  We got a Johnny jump up, which you LOVE!  The first time we put you in it was at Grandma and Papa's, you spun around, walked and explored, and smiled from ear to ear... and then, passed out! I guess all that moving really wore you out!

We started feeding you "real food", boy do you love it!!  Your first taste of something other than mommy's magic milk was avocado.  It was so funny, you literally said "Mmmm" after each bite, and could not get enough.  We've also tried banana (which seems to be your favorite), oatmeal, and sweet potato.  You are a good eater, daddy says "That's my boy!" (He's really proud!!).

You are such a joy, Cohen!  A few weeks ago was the anniversary of the date I found out I was pregnant with you... I was emotional just thinking back to that day.  I could so clearly remember the feelings of shock, excitment and nervousness I felt.  It brought tears to my eyes to look at you now and relive those feelings... you are so worth the wait!  You bring a sense of completeness, and happiness to our lives that cannot be explained.  Daddy and I feel so lucky, and so happy.  I often find myself just staring at you, marveling at the fact that you are here, that you are ours, and how much you have completely filled our hearts. 

I love you to the moon and back (and that's still not enough).  Forever and ever.
Mama & Cohen

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2 months

Sweet Cohen,
It's hard to believe that you have been here for 2 months.  You have changed and grown so much already.  You have filled out, grown longer and you've outgrown your newborn clothes... you even fit in 3 mo. stuff.  My tiny little peanut, isn't so tiny anymore.  When we went in for your 1 month check up Dr. Ariola was so happy to see you.  She called you a rockstar baby.  When you were born you were so small, you ranked in the 10% in weight, and 25% in height... you are now in the 75%, and 50%.  You weighed 10 lbs. 4 oz! I'm sure you are even bigger now... we'll see in a week.  You have started making a lot more noises; "cooing" and "oogling" over things.  You seem to smile and "talk" right when you wake up, (and get a fresh diaper!)... happy boy!  Your smiles have completely captured daddy and I! (Shh, don't tell... but mommy cried the first time you smiled at me). 

The past 2 months have been filled with lots of first, tons of laughs, and more love than could be imagined.
You had your first fathers day with daddy.  We went up to grandma and Papa Cranes.  You got to spend the daddy with your dad, both grandpa's, and your great-grandpa Richard.  It was a pretty special day.  We've gone for walks, shopping trips, cabin days, and you even went to your first Giants ballgame (which you slept right through!). You love being outside!  You get a big smile whenever we are out.  You also love your bath time.  I think it's mostly the being naked part.  We have learned this is a very dangerous time.  You have managed to pee all over yourself a few times, all over the furniture a few times, and all over mommy a few times (and you even got auntie Kerry the other day!).  One night you got mommy and daddy (several times in the same diaper change!).  All we could do was laugh.

I am having so much fun being your mommy.  You amaze me everyday!  You are becoming a little person, making connections to this world, and with the people who love you.  It's the most rewarding, and fun thing I've ever done... watch you grow and change! Every day, you give me something to smile and giggle about.  I am embracing, and enjoying every minute with you... I see now, how quickly you are growing and changing.  I look forward to so many more firsts with you, and to continue to watch you grow.

I love you, sweet boy.

Fisrt Father's day together!
Papa Bruce's first diaper change!
Here you are.  Lounging on Uncle John!
Your great grandpa, Richard.
Just over a month old here... so cute!

2 months old and smiling like crazy!

All decked out for your first Giants game!!

watching daddy play softball.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The first month

Dear Cohen,
It's hard to believe you've been here a month already! You have changed so much already, it's crazy.  We've experienced a lot of your "firsts" so far... Your first bath (which you loved), first shower, first pee pee on mommy experience, first mother's day, first trip (Tahoe, for Auntie Kerry's bachelorette) new smiles, coo's, expressions and movements.  It has been so much fun getting to know you, little guy.  Daddy and I are still in awe of you (I'm not sure that'll ever change).  You are such a beautiful, amazing little baby boy.
Last weekend we went to Tahoe to celebrate Auntie Kerry's "final fling before the ring."  Mommy was nervous for the long car ride, and how you'd do overall on the trip.  You were such a trooper!  You barely cried the entire weekend.  You did lots of sleeping and eating, and were passed around to all the girls.  You were quite the ladies man.  You always seem to surprise me... the times I think "Oh no, how will Cohen do in this situation", you do amazingly well.  Yesterday we had a photo session with Tom O'Neal.  You did so great!  You were a natural!!  You loved the camera, the flash had you intrigued.  I cannot wait to see all the photos. 
It seems like you are growing and changing everyday.  Each morning I look at you and think, "wow, he grew overnight."  You are longer, and definitely chubbier.  Your little face has filled out, which make your sweet little cheeks even more irresistible.  I can't help but kiss you all the time (Daddy was right, smother mother, I am).  Daddy says the same thing... he gets home from work and looks at you and says "He's bigger, since I left this morning."  Everyone warned us how quickly you'd grow and change, and they are so right.  I am trying to soak in every moment, cuddle, coo and expression I can.  My favorite time is snuggle time with you.  I know this won't last forever, but for now it's the best part of my day.
Daddy and I are so in love with you.  Just yesterday we had a conversation about how "complete" we feel with you in our lives.  You have filled our hearts with more love than you could ever know.  It is the greatest joy to be your parents... we are, and will forever feel blessed. It has been so wonderful this past month, and I know as you grow, and change it'll only get sweeter.  We can't wait for every step along this journey.  Just the thought of watching you become a little boy, and a young man has us elated.  Knowing the love and support that surrounds you, and the opportunities you'll be blessed with makes us so happy. 
Keeping growing little man, and remember, always, you are so loved!

Mommy and Daddy

Mother's day 2012 (almost 2 weeks old)

Talking with daddy.

1 Month old!!!

Sleepy boy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Birth story...

As I sit here trying to find a way to write out this experience, I find myself at a loss for words.  Out of all the entries I've blogged this is by far the hardest for me.  This journey has been one filled with many emotions, lots of ups and downs, and life lessons.  It has taught me to be more patient, to love with all I have, and to appreciate the small things in life.  I've never felt more joy, happiness and true honest love than I do right now. My heart is filled with more love than I ever even imagined it was capable of.  Cohen has completely stole my heart... and the love, and admiration I have for Chris is beyond what words can describe.  I feel like my life is so much more complete.  Although I can look back at some entries I wrote and still recognize the pain, heartache, and desperation I felt at times I cannot imagine it any other way.  This sweet little boy is worth the wait, and I would no trade any of it... I would not have HIM if it had been any other way. 

Wednesday April 25th was my last scheduled OB visit.  I was anxious, nervous, and hopeful (for progress) as I entered the office.  Dr Laughlin checked me and I was the same as the previous week (1 cm dialated, 50% effaced).  It was a little discouraging to hear, because I was having some contractions and thought I may have progressed a little more.  We discussed options, and decided that if Cohen did not arrive by that weekend she would induce on the following Monday (April 30th).  I had high blood pressure the last few visits, and was swelling really bad.  So, I left her office knowing I'd have a baby in the next 5 days.  What a crazy thought that was! I was ready, but as soon as I began to think about the reality of it I must admit I was nervous.  The unknowns of it all scared me. 
Chris and I enjoyed our last few days of quiet, and calm by going to the cabin and walking, going to the beach, one last date night, and snuggling up discussing what it'd be like to have Cohen here.  Saturday and Sunday were filled with lots of contractions for me.  I was up a lot during the nights, because I just couldn't get comfortable.  They got stronger and stronger, and at some points would be 5 minutes apart (which we would time, and think "Is this it? Will we end up driving into the hospital this time?") but then they would go away for awhile.  I figured this was good, at least my body was getting some of the work done before we went in on Monday. 
Monday morning was a whirlwind.  I was nervous, really nervous, super anxious, and super excited all at once.  I remember calling into the hospital to make sure they had a room available, and stuttering over my words.  I cried as we drove away from our house, knowing the next time we came home Cohen would be with us.  The entire day was just the most surreal thing.  Went we got to the hospital I got all checked in, and waited for Dr Laughlin to come in.  When she arrived she explained to me that they would put a cervadil (to help my cervix thin out and get labor started) inside me, and then she'd check me an hour our so later.  I explained to her that I was having pretty strong contractions the last 36 hours, so she decided to check me first.  I think she was surprised. She said "Oh wow, you've made a lot of progress over the last few days".  I was 3 cm. dialated, and 80% effaced.  She then decided to just break my water, and let things progress naturally.  I was able to get up and walk around in between monitoring, and contractions.  My contractions progressed over the hours, but not intensely.  The nurses checked me and I slowly dialated a little bit more, but not a whole lot.  At 2pm we decided to start the Pitosin (to speed up the process, and help my body progress).  The nurse started it on a super slow drip, which helped things get going, but again, not tremendously.  Awhile later they upped the pitosin, and that's when things really started progressing.  I'm not sure what time it was but probably between 3 and 4 I was having very intense contractions, with little to no breaks in between. The nurse checked me and I was just about 5cm dialated. At this point I decided to get an epidural.  It wasn't my favorite part, to say the least... I was contracting every 30 seconds, and had to lay in an uncomfortable position while they administered the epidural.  I will say though, when it was said and done it was pure relief.  I was able to relax my body, and calm down.  (before I got it I was shaking and feeling very nauseous).  Over the next few hours things progressed beautifully.  Everytime the nurses checked me I was further along then the last time, and baby Cohen was making his way down the birth canal. 
By this time we had a waiting room full of people.  Everyone was so excited and anxious to meet our little guy... but no one as excited as Chris and I.  The day was just amazing for us both.  He was so sweet, and helpful.  He rubbed my feet, reminded me to breath, and comforted me perfectly.  It was probably around 8:00pm I was last checked and the nurse (Judy) said "You are there! Fully dialated! Baby still has a little ways to come down, and you can let him labor down or we can start pushing." So, with that said the pushing began!!  They don't call it labor for nothing.  That was hard work.  As I pushed, Kerry and Chris held my legs, and mom helped push my head forward.  All I could focus on was Chris' voice.  I could hear him say "Oh my gosh honey, he's right there!", "I see his head", "You are doing so great", "He's so close, keep pushing!".  Dr Laughlin made it just in time... The end is all kind of a blur but I remember her saying "Oh my gosh, I thought I'd be here all night... I brought work to do and everything, you are so close... let me at least get my gloves on."  I kept my eyes closed pretty much the entire time as I pushed.  I just tried to focus on the fact that Cohen was almost here.  At one point I could feel his head almost out, and Dr Laughlin said "I think with this next set of pushes he'll be out".  That gave me the strength to push with all I had, and I did.  Out he came!  That was a moment I'll never, ever forget.  I looked down to see this little tiny body, hands wailing everywhere, and could hear everyone around me crying and saying "He's here, oh wow. He's here."  Cohen Rigsby Bartoli was born at 8:50 pm on April 30, 2012, weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz., and stretching to 19 1/2 inches long. I remember them putting Cohen on my chest, and he looked up at me... that moment is imprinted on my heart forever.  The moment our eyes met was/is the most indescribable feeling I've ever known.  Chris and I just cried, and kissed, and rejoiced in the fact that finally we did it!  I honestly cannot think of a more rewarding, and powerful moment.  I was blessed when I became Chris' wife, and now we've been blessed with the greatest gift this life can give. 
That night, and the next days to follow were just surreal. (I know I keep using that word, but it's hard to find anything else to compare it to).  Chris and I were/are in complete awe of him, and this experience.  He's absolutely perfect in every way, and we could not be more proud, and honored to be his parents.  The Hospital staff was amazing, the nurses were so kind, informative, and compassionate.  We were taken very good care of, and it was a wonderful birth.  I am thankful to all the people who came and surrounded us with love that night and the days to follow.  Cohen is one lucky little boy to have so many wonderful people in his life. 
Chris and I are happy to be home, and be on our own schedule.  Cohen is adjusting beautifully.  He is eating well, sleeping lots, and pooping like crazy! Ah, the life of a baby.  We took him to his first pediatric appointment last week and he looks and sounds very healthy and has gained 2 oz. since we left the hospital.  He truly is the sweetest little bundle, and I just cannot get enough of him.
Again, Thank you all for being a part of this journey with us.  We are truly blessed!
With Love,
Kristen & Chris

And now, for the first letter to my little angel (outside the womb)...

Dear Cohen,
I still cannot believe you are here! I have to pinch myself to make sure this isn't all a dream.  It's amazing to me that daddy and I made you.  I watch your little movements and think, oh that's what you were doing in there.  It's so beautiful to know you on the outside now.  You are even more perfect than I imagined. You can't begin to know the joy you've brought to this family.  Your daddy and I love you more than any words could ever say.  I know throughout my posts I expressed how special you are, and how loved and wanted you are, but now that you are here it's even better than all that.  The love I feel for you is more than I imagined my heart was capable of.  I could stare at you all day, and listen to your little coo's all night.  You have made daddy and I's lives complete, and there is nothing we wouldn't do for you. I would not change one single moment in this journey to you... like I said before one the biggest lessons I've learned is "everything happens for a reason".  YOU are the reason, and I would not want it any other way.  You are beautiful, wonderful, sweet, and perfect.  We believe in all you are, and know you'll grow to be a kind, and loving boy, and man.  You are our forever, our everything, and you will always be loved. 

You are my "I love you",
Mommy and Daddy