Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coen Robert Redford O’Brien the Barbarian Stramara

As you all know by now, we decided on the name Coen for our little man BUT what you don’t know is that agreement came with an *asterisk. Kyle only agreed on the name if I would agree on naming him Conan if he was born with red hair. (Yes, after both Conan O’Brien and Conan the Barbarian.) Considering there to be about a 5% chance of him having red hair, I shook on it to satisfy the name choice of Coen.

I whole heartedly believe that is the reason why Coen was, in fact, born with red(ish) hair. Luckily, because our hospital room had no natural light, we didn’t realize his hair hue was Conan material until after the birth registration papers were filled out.
2 Days Old: Our first look at Coen next to window light reviels his red(ish) hair

Once we saw his natural color, Kyle started calling him Robert Redford, who has an amazing coif as well. So feel free to call our son Coen Robert Redford O’Brien the Barbarian Stramara.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Baby Story - Day 3

June 7
After a long day and night of nothing happening, we were beginning to wonder if, in fact, I would ever have this child. Kyle predicted Coen would be born at 4pm and I guessed 8pm or never. We waddled into the delivery room ready for some good news. Once the midwife checked that I was still only 1 centimeter dilated, she gave me 50mg of the German induction pill and told me to come back in 4 hours.

Kyle and I used the time to sleep and had a solid 3 hour nap which felt like the longest stretch of sleep I’d had in a few months. I woke up feeling the best I’d felt in months as well which was terrible considering I was trying to move this labor along…I honestly didn’t feel a single contraction. So, once more, we made the waddle to the delivery room. I explained to the midwife how great I felt and as I lay on the bed monitoring the contractions I wasn’t having, THEY started.

By ‘THEY’ I mean real labor contractions, the kind that hurt like nothing you could describe. I had gone through about 4 midwives by this time and my favorite one was back on duty, Ann-Marie, the 20 year old who still cared about her patients and was excited to be at work. She showed me how to use the exercise ball and hanging rope to get through the contractions and drew me an aromatherapy bath (grapefruit). The bath wasn’t as helpful as the ball/rope so I went back to the room and when she put her hand on the small of my back during a contraction, the pain magically reduced to something tolerable! Unfortunately, Kyle’s man hands weren’t as effective, but still helped significantly which made the labor pains manageable. Since my risk of infection was high from my water breaking, they were limiting examinations and wouldn’t check my dilation until “delivery pains” started. Ann-Marie said I would “just know” the difference when the delivery contractions started but I remember thinking how will I possibly know the difference (which I can laugh about now). I begged her to check again because I felt like they were getting worse and after enough begging she told me to lay down and she’d check.

As I laid on the delivery bed, BAM, delivery contractions started. By BAM, I mean I felt like a gorilla punched me from the inside. Ann-Marie checked and, yes, I was 10 centimeters dilated. She rushed around the room gathering materials and saying ‘don’t push’, which is the worst thing to hear when your body is using every ounce of energy to force you to push, but she helped direct my breathing to get past the first few contractions until she and the doctor were ready.

Kyle was absolutely perfect the entire time; timing contractions, making sure I drank enough water, starting and re-starting the labor playlist and keeping me smiling and laughing during contractions. As soon as I was situated on all fours to push, he stayed at the head of the bed, holding my hand and squeezing it through pushes.

Coen Robert Stramara is born! All 7lbs 13 oz and 20inches of him! He was immediately placed so I could see him and when I reached to him he grabbed my finger and I instantly felt an unexplainable love. Hellooooooo motherhood!

I positioned myself to lay down and after Kyle cut his umbilical cord he was placed on my chest for some skin-to-skin time. Kyle held him as the doctors finished up their business with me which took a little longer than normal because I had a few issues that I’ll spare you from.

Once the room was cleared out of doctors, the nurse took Coen’s stats and then left Kyle, Coen and I to spend some family time alone. We called our parents and siblings to tell them the good news and celebrated via cell phone and Skype.

The next few days were a blur of love, check-ups, German hospital food and waiting to get the all clear to go home, which finally came on Sunday the 10th.
loving him

loving hospital food

NOT loving see-through meat

We took Coen home to meet his sister Love and be one big happy family!

Getting ready for the Autobahn

Love kissed her brother!!

Love loves her brother!!!

A Baby Story - Day 2

June 6

After an exciting night of calling our family to tell them my water broke and we were in the hospital, we woke up ready for a D-Day baby! If he wasn’t going to be born on his due date of July 4th, D-Day was a good alternative and we could later laugh about Coen invading Germany…(spoiler alert: he didn’t. Another 32 hours passed before he was born.)

We slowly waddled our way to the delivery ward for my first attempt of inducing contractions. Early in the pregnancy I decided I wanted to have the most natural birth possible; My reasoning being women have been having and surviving natural childbirth much longer than pain medication, epidurals and c-sections have been around. My mom had my sisters and me naturally so I also used her as inspiration. With that being said, the first attempt of induction came in the form of acupuncture. With needles sticking from my shins, in and between my toes and on my hand, contractions started almost immediately. They were similar to what I had been feeling at home the weeks prior to my water breaking and what my OB/GYN wouldn’t describe as Braxton Hicks “just yet”…(no, I didn’t like my OB/GYN)…I would later realize were NOTHING like “real” contractions.

After 6 hours, the acupuncture contractions didn’t progress and I was still only dilated 1 centimeter. Second attempt consisted of 25mg of some German induction pill I never got the name of. The same “Braxton Hicks” contractions came and went and nothing happened. So after a long day of walking back and forth from our room to the delivery room, the chances of a D-Day baby were dwindling.

Lucky for us, we were able to buy out the extra bed in the overnight room and Kyle stayed with me 24/7 throughout the entire process (except when he would leave to let Love out 2x a day). Although there was a window in the room, the view was of siding to the building a foot away (this becomes relevant later). In retrospect, I couldn’t imagine having to share a room with a stranger and the stranger’s closest family and friends during this time so to those reading, if you get the chance to buy out the whole hospital room, DO IT! It’s worth every penny.

A Baby Story - Day 1

June 5

I was lying on the couch at home watching mindless television in complete relaxation when I decided I want to get a drink. I stood up and ‘peed my pants’ a little…how embarrassing, right? Well, I was home alone so no one had to find out. I laid back down and when I got back up 10 minutes later, it happened again. Either my bladder had COMPLETELY failed me or my water had just broken. It being my first pregnancy and not at ALL like the movies where a pool of liquid bursts to the floor, I wasn’t expecting to really be going into labor a WHOLE MONTH EARLY (I was 35 + 6 weeks at this point). Kyle was not answering his phone so I called the OB nurse who said it’d be best to just go to the hospital to get checked even if the likelihood was low. My TriCare referral for delivery had not yet been processed so she sent in an emergency referral. Kyle called me back and after explaining the whole situation, he suggested I just meet him at the hospital as he was already halfway there…boys. I said it’d probably be best for him to come home and drive together in the off chance that I in fact was about to go into labor.

We arrive at St. Josefs Medicum and go straight to the labor and delivery ward. As I lay down for the exam I feel a little silly for suggesting my water has broken so early and am ready for them to laugh at me for peeing my pants. She checks my “mother mouth” (gross German translation for cervix) and whoosh goes a gallon of fluid. You’re welcome for that visual.

The midwife tells us to go downstairs and register, because we’re havin’ a baby! So now this is the last picture I have of me pregnant:
It's official!
(side story: I was going to help a photographer friend with a maternity photo shoot the next week, which I obviously had to cancel. So note to self and any other mother’s-to-be reading this – don’t wait until the last month to book a maternity shoot!)

When we were all registered and ready to go, the doctor on duty casually mentioned I was not legally allowed to deliver the baby in the next 3 hours because he wasn’t yet 36 weeks and the Medicum did not have a Kinder Klink (NICU). Thankfully he held out for another 42 hours…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I will be trying to play catch-up on all that has happened since my last post so I can be back on track with updating Coen’s progress and growth. I realize this will be difficult as so much time has passed and now that I have a 2 MONTH old, time easily slips away…but bear with me …

(By the way, my water broke the DAY AFTER my last post about the Baby Shower!)

But let me back track for just a second.

Kyle’s parents, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Shine and my dad came to visit us in May. We had some great weather and toured around Wiesbaden, Mainz, Trier, Metz, Schriesheim and Heidelberg in an 8 passenger van.


Lunch in Wiesbaden

Touring Trier, Germany & Metz, France

Dinner in Heidelberg

Strahlenburg Castle in Schriesheim

We also enjoyed a relaxing Rhein River cruise from Bingen to Koblenz…the ride home on the train was not so relaxing as it was the most uncomfortable I felt the entire pregnancy. The last picture sums it up pretty well:

Rhein River Cruise

Warning: Do not attempt to ride a train in your 3rd trimester

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mustache Bash

I want to give the biggest THANK YOU to Christy who put together the best baby shower to celebrate our little man! Coen’s Mustache Bash was perfect and we were lucky enough to have not only our close friends from Germany attend, but Kyle’s parents, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Shine and my Dad were in town to help celebrate as well!  

Christy’s handmade decorations were just perfect and Jackie’s cake was absolutely fact, it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten out of a mustache!

The lady’s games involved melted chocolate diapers and “turkey dinner” baby food while the men competed in a Chug the Bottle contest. Round one went to Tom and round two went to one other than Scott Taylor, aka my Dad…it was a proud moment and a clear example of where I get my competitiveness.

Lorene guessing the poo

Who doesn't love baby food?

Round 1: Baby Bottle Chug

Round 1 Winner: Tom "And I Throw it on the Ground" Mlack

Round 2 Winner: "Poppa Scott" Taylor


The entire shower was a success and Kyle and I are so grateful for our friends and family who helped make it so special.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 weeks!

Don't let the shirt fool you, it is NOT warm here, I was just haven't unpacked most my clothes yet.

Due Date: July 4, 2012
How far along? 30 weeks!
How big is baby? The size of a squash; approx. 16in & 3.5lbs!
Total weight gain: 24 beautiful pounds
Maternity clothes? The ones that fit in our suitcase…still haven’t unpacked most my clothes from the move.
Best moment this week: Getting our Internet set up and getting to park in the “Reserved for Expectant Mothers” spot at the commissary for the first time! I plan on milking this for all it’s worth for the next 2.5 months.
Miss Anything? My speed and agility of getting off the couch.
Movement: SO much movement
Food cravings: Lots of fruit
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Ridiculous emotional breakdowns? Emotions aren’t ridiculous.  
Gender: Boy – Coen Robert Stramara
Labor Signs: Kinda sorta? I guess I had a contraction while doing a stress test at my last appointment but it was normal and I didn’t feel a thing? Either way, I am now taking magnesium pills to postpone all that fun stuff until 34/35 weeks.
Symptoms: Hard to decide where to begin…nothing I can’t handle though :)
Belly Button in or out?  Still both…still weird looking
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: This is starting to feel like a loaded question…
Looking forward to: Kyle’s parents, Aunt & Uncle and my Dad visiting in 2 weeks! I can’t wait for them to see our new house and meet the Strambino belly.