Seneca at 18 Months

A couple weeks ago, Seneca reached 18 months. She’s still very petite at 19 pounds 4 oz and 30.5 inches tall. She still fits in some of her 6 and 9 month clothes from last summer and loves to swing in her baby swing. Her vocabulary is light, but she communicates well using signs and she’s becoming more vocal every day. She loves swimming, going for walks, playing in dirt, smelling flowers, shoes, lotion, Moana, Frozen, Meow Meow, and her family. She loves to eat avocados, spinach, eggs, plain yogurt, fish, pineapple, strawberries, and sweet pea snacks. Her eyes are gray-green, she has 12 teeth, and she’s a great sleeper.

It’s been 5 months now that I’ve put her to bed every night and it’s my favorite part of the day. I get to savor every second she is in my arms and she goes down without a fuss. Sadly, we’ve gotten to the point where I need to wean her off the  bottle so instead of letting her lay in my arms with a bottle then a binkie, we watch Moana or Frozen for a few songs and then I gently lay her down and play with her for a few minutes then let her go to sleep. She has the most amazing personality that I just love. Her newest words are ‘buh…buh…buh…” when she says bubble or ball, and she likes to say ‘baby’.

Our trip to Maui

Well I have been so excited for this trip for such a long time, we’ve been doing a ton of planning and that has only made it more exciting. We’re finally here and I’m going to write a breakdown of each day here in Paradise.

Saturday March 10 – flight leaves at 4:50, delayed by a half hour, bumpy flight most of the way. Got in about 10:30 and made it to the hotel by 11:30.

Sunday March 11- got up early and had breakfast, then drove out to shop for food, and pick up my bike in Lahaina. I had a mostly pleasant ride down the coast, it was windy but a perfect temperature. A little exhausted from the day before but took a quick nap and then went to the pool with the kids where we got very cold quickly. We showered and got warm then went and walked along Wailea beaches then had dinner at a place near the hotel. Kids were wiped out so we came home and crashed out.

March 12- we were up early and put in the car by 7:45 for the long drive to Hana. The journey took us 9 hours total but was well worth it. It was raining like crazy but there were breaks in the rain that allowed us to check things out. We were able to check out a gorgeous black sand beach and a red sand beach by Hana. The red sand beach was much more remote to get to and the path was a bit treacherous so it made me really nervous with the kids. It was well worth the drive and the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.

On the way back we stopped for a bite to eat and saw one more waterfall. We got back to the hotel at 5pm then got cleaned up and had a bite to eat at a fresh grill in Kihei.

The kids were great during the ride and slept for most of the way. Seneca is so absolutely cute, she gets so excited when she sees the water and the pool. She flaps her arms and screams with excitement. Everywhere we go she smiles and waves at people and they say she is so cute.

One last thing, the Halfway to Hana shack has the best fresh baked banana bread I’ve ever tasted, I ate a whole loaf!

Tuesday March 13- today was the day where I knocked riding Haleakala off my bucket list. I was really worried about the rain because it came down so hard the day before but luckily it wasn’t bad. I rode to Kihei to pick up Chad around 9am then we stopped at the beach to get a photo. The first 18 miles were flat and windy then we started the 36 mile climb with a bad head wind. After about 25 miles things got a lot better, more humid but no wind or rain. As the miles went on my legs started to suffer, my back started to ache and I got a bad headache. After 6000 feet things got really tough at an exponential rate. Chad was losing a lot of water and started to cramp up, eventually so bad that he had to stop a few miles from the top. Luckily I was able to make it but it was super painful and very cold at the top. I had Angie waiting for me and had her drive me back since it was so wet and unsafe at the top. Glad to have that done with. I came back and had a hot shower then went to dinner with Angie and the kids.

Wednesday March 14th- today was mostly laundry and transferring from one hotel to another. I rode my bike from Wailea to Kapalua, it was a pleasant but humid ride up the coast. We checked into the Ritz Carlton then went swimming for a bit, then are dinner with Sharrell and Jaron, had a few drinks then went to bed.

Thursday March 15 – today may have been my favorite day of the trip so far. It started out with an awesome ride over the North Shore of Maui where the roads were absolutely beautiful and there were relatively few cars on the road. The humidity was so high that my hands slipped off the handlebars and I crashed pretty hard taking a huge gash out of my leg. I was able to get a ride back from a motorist thankfully because the front wheel was bent.

I got back and patched myself up and went to the CHG welcoming brunch which was beautiful and amazing. After that I took the bike back and we went to the pool for a bit. We then went to the Westin hotel for a wonderful Luau which I enjoyed a lit more than I expected I would. The food was great and so was the entertainment, Liam loved the fire dancers. My favorite part was holding my baby girl and slow dancing with her. My heart was filled with such joy.

Friday March 16 – we got up kind of early then went on a whale watching tour from Lahaina. We were able to see quite a few humpback whales from afar but there was one that came up right next to the boat and surfaced then went underneath, it was absolutely amazing and beautiful. We also saw a calf playing and jumping out of the water and landing on her back. Poor little Seneca got sea sick and threw up twice. When we got back to shore we ate at a wonderful place called Paia Fish Market, the food was awesome. Went back to the hotel and rested for a bit then went swimming and back to Lahaina for dinner.

Seneca goes from infant to toddler so quickly

These last few months we watched Seneca transition from baby to toddler. From crawling and climbing to walking and running. She’s almost 16 months and she’s an excellent communicator. She has a few words: Mama, Dada, Hi, Meow Meow (Wowse our cat), and Milk. She also says “Ffff” for fish and “Shhh” for shoes. She knows about 40+ signs and she can communicate her wants and needs (she’ll even sign the weather outside). Her favorite toys are dolls (and anything of Liam’s). She loves avocados, eggs, raspberries, and sweet potatoes – everything else is fun to throw. She loves to dance any time she hears music. She’s an excellent napper and goes to bed without a fuss – she usually tells us when she’s sleepy. She’s learning how to swim and loves to play in the water. She’s a petite little thing weighing in at 18 1/2 pounds and 29 1/2 inches. Her eyes have settled in a beautiful shade of gray, changing to blue if she wears blue, and green if she wears green. We all love her so much.

 

Seneca’s Firsts

I’ll try to keep a running list of first words and milestones, I should have started this earlier but oh well.

  • Late October 2017 – 1 year’s old, starts to stand up for the first time, pops up around her birthday and then starts standing a lot better. Says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, ‘baba’ and ‘be-be’ for Binkie.
  • December 2017 – starts taking her first steps in Mid December. By January she is walking and by the end of Jan she is speed walking.
  • Jan 2018 – she is getting good with her sign language and can say a lot of things. She pats her leg for dog. She says ‘meow, meow’. She says fffff for Fish at the Aquarium.
  • Feb 1, 2018 – she holds her cell phone up and pretends she is calling me and says ‘hi dada’. She loves baths and pats her tummy when she wants one.
  • March 7, 2018, says ‘shoes’, ‘eyes’,
  • March 11 while on our trip to Maui she starts nodding ‘yes’, so cute! She is starting to say Fish all the way through. She signs Bird by pointing to the top of her head. Today at the pool in Maui she chased some birds around while pointing at her head.
  • Aughfff is Avocado. Booah is Bird. This month she is eating so much. It’s getting nice outside so we go for walks every night and she sings. She loves Frozen and Moana, she is a good climber and gets up and down the stairs easily. April 23, 2018
  • May 17 – she’s saying more and more all the time. This week she said Fairy, more, door (singing along to the Frozen song, Love is an open door), me.

Happy Moments in January 2018

The holidays have been absolutely amazing and I had so much time to spend with my family. It was great taking 10 days off, the only other time I had done that was while I was on paternity leave. I did fun things with my family every day and got in to the habit of putting my baby girl to sleep every single night, and now it has been 2 months since I have done that. I will put her in my arms and rock her to sleep while she drinks a bottle, then pop a binkie in her mouth and let her fall asleep. I savor every moment and make sure i am so present, I think about how thankful I am for these moments and savor them.

Angie got me an amazing present for Christmas, daddy-daughter swim lessons. I did my first one in the last week in January and although I was sick as a dog, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It was such an amazing experience and was one of the happiest moments I have had. What a wonderful bonding moment with my daughter, she was so happy and stared into my eyes with the biggest smile and her twinkling eyes. I told one of my co-workers how amazing it was and she said that it was too bad she is too young to remember, but I disagree, I think these moments build that bond stronger between us. We take them into the pool and sing songs while we teach them swimming motions such as kicking, floating and paddling.

Liam has been an amazing big brother and loves to play with his little sister and teach her things. I have a hard time getting him to bed because he just loves being awake so much, as I write this he is laying in his bed and singing songs. I am so happy that I have these two children in my house and it is so fun to hear them talking and babbling with their cute little voices. I love my time with them and never want to be too busy for them. I love being a father and teaching them, but also having fun with them and making them laugh. I love holding Seneca and chasing Liam with him in my arms, this makes them both laugh and scream with excitement.

Work has been great, after a tough year I feel like I am back in action and our full team is firing. The mood is much better and we are off to a great start to the year. I am so thankful for my company and the amazing things that it gives to me and my family. I am so thankful for the Presidents Club trips that allow my family to have amazing experiences. I love that it allows my wife to be a stay at home mother and spend time with my baby. I love the challenges that make me a better person, and the relationships that my job gives me. I love being so close to work, and the home that I was able to purchase. I am excited to leave to Maui in a month from now and am having a blast getting prepared. I plan on riding my bike up Haleakala which is a bucket list item.

Fitness has been great up until getting sick 3 weeks ago. I had some high 1 hour threshold power numbers leading up to that and probably lost some fitness, but hopefully I can get on track soon.

Seneca’s first birthday

My how time flies, Seneca is now one year old and Angie put together an amazing birthday party for her this past weekend. The theme of the party was “Twinkle Twinkle little Star” and we had a great turnout of friends and family. Angie made a wonderful gluten free cake and a delicious chicken tortilla soup for our guests and Seneca got some great toys to play with. I was able to finish up the playhouse for the most part, at least enough for the kids to go play on. What a great first birthday!

Disneyland 2017

This is the third year that we have taken Liam to Disneyland and the first year that we took Seneca. Last year during our Disneyland trip we found out that we were having a girl. This year we decided to go a little later in the year so that we could hopefully avoid the busy lines, but with it being the first week decorating for Halloween, there were long lines and plenty of crowds. Our vacation was shorter this year, no additional days to explore, just spending most of our time visiting the 2 parks. Liam was a little bit of a handful, probably because he was so excited. We had a great time eating at the Blue Bayou, which is the restaurant that you can see when you are riding on the Pirates of the Carribean, I’ve always wanted to eat there. It was fun for Angie to ride on some of the roller coasters since it had been such a long time since she had been on any of them (due to being pregnant or trying to get pregnant). The decorations were great, Cars Land had some awesome Halloween lights and decorations and Space Mountain had ghosts. The Haunted Mansion was completely re-done as a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. I had an absolute blast hanging out with my baby Seneca.

Trip to San Francisco for Presidents Club

This was my third year at Presidents Club and this time I was able to bring the kids, and it was Sececas first ride on a plane and a boat. We were able to go to Alcatraz on the first night then there was a cruise around the bay with dinner and dancing.

On Friday we visited the Wharf and then took Liam to the Arcade museum, then went to dinner at Aliotos and then had a sundae at Ghiardelli Square. On Saturday we went on a Bay Cruise with Liam then went to the aquarium. Later that night we went to a party right in the middle of Union Square, after that we went to Ruby Skye for about an hour.

On Sunday I took Liam to the Museum of the Sciences in Golden Gate park, then when we got back we walked to Chinatown for dinner. On Monday I got up early and went walking with Seneca and took her to the point on Broadway that overlooks the city and Bay. Later we went there again and did photos with the kids. We then walked down to Columbus street and had some lunch then went back to Macy’s for a sundae and then went home. Great trip with the family!

 

The Birth of Baby Seneca

Friday October 28th was the happiest day of my life as my baby girl Seneca was born at 8:19 in the morning after a long 15 hour labor by my wife.

This has been a long year and a half for Angie, we had been trying to get pregnant for the last several years but became more deliberate after we starting seeing a fertilization specialist who gave us some different options but ultimately at Angie’s age, we needed to go for the option with the highest possibility of success which was IVF. Luckily Angela’s insurance was able to pay for up to 6 rounds of IVF, but even so, at 40 years old we had a small chance of success, less than 15% chance but the way I thought of it was that we had a 90% chance if we did it 6 times. The first two times were unsuccessful and Angie had to take a large amount of very specific hormones to make it work, she definitely went through a lot to make it happen. Finally, in February we got the news that we were pregnant and were so happy, but in for many months of worry as we knew how fragile those little cells could be. In the first trimester, we had a big scare because Angie lost a lot of blood but after we went to the hospital we found out it was a cyst and not a miscarriage. I felt so lucky but all along I have been anxious about her birth.

Baby boy or baby girl?

I would have been just as happy with either a boy or a girl. On one hand, it was nice to have Liam and I love bonding with a boy and love having a little side kick, also I would have loved to have a boy to carry on the Parsons name (hopefully Liam can do that for us). On the other hand, Angie really has always wanted to have a little girl, and it would be so nice to have one of each in our family. I have also wanted to have a girl just so that I would have an opportunity to give this little girl everything in the world that I think Angela should have had when she was a child. Well in the first part of April we were allowed to do a test that determined our baby’s sex and also run some tests for chromosome disorders. When we were at Disneyland we were in our hotel when we found out that we were going to have a baby girl, it was so exciting and I love that Angie has the opportunity to have a little girl.

Baby’s name:

We played around with a few different names, at first we thought we were going to name her “Maya” or “Maya Rey”, after that we started thinking of “Aviana”, Angie also liked “Zaylee” but I never really got interested in those names. One day I mentioned Seneca, who was a friend of mine since high school, and Angie also met Seneca in a yoga class. We both really liked that name and decided that would be our baby’s name. When my old friend Seneca learnt that would be our baby’s name, she said she looked forward to meeting her because she has never met anyone else with that name. We always get compliments on how beautiful that name is and know that it will be quite unique.

Hypnobirthing Classes

Angie decided that she wanted to do the birth naturally and through a few recommendations, decided to do ‘hypnobirthing’ which I didn’t quite understand until we went to the classes which consisted of 5 x 3 hour long classes during August. Once I got into the classes I started to understand what hypnobirthing was and was very fascinated with the idea. The classes talked about a peaceful way to have a child naturally and that using visualization, meditation and coaching could help with the natural birth. I enjoyed doing these classes and the teacher did a great job. Also during August we did an 8 hour child birthing crash course on a Saturday, as well as a Friday night hour long class for Liam on being a ‘big brother’.

 

The pregnancy:

Angie did well for the entire pregnancy, she was somewhat sick during the first trimester but never threw up. The second trimester was during the summer and I remember Angie feeling really hot all of the time. The last trimester Angie struggled with her mobility and her sleeping. During the last few weeks, she had a couple of times where she didn’t feel baby Seneca moving and went to get it checked out. Baby was fine but they said her fluid levels were low so she needed to drink lots of water.

The baby’s due date was November 4th, but Angie and I were doing our best to be prepared ahead of time. We had an idea that Seneca would come early and on October 27th, I got a call from Angie saying she was going in because she had not felt Seneca moving very much. When she got in for her checkup, they said they wanted to head over to delivery and get ready to have the baby because she wouldn’t be safe with such low fluid. It took a while for it to really hit me and I had some stuff to do at work to be able to leave for 2 weeks, also I had to go home and get Liam and drop him off with the neighbors. I didn’t know if they mean that we would have to do a c-section or have an induced labor.

Angie is starting to feel her labor wearing on her.

It took me about 2 hours to wrap up my work and then I left around 5pm and headed over to my house to grab all of the things we needed for a hospital stay. I also dropped Liam off at Tiffany (our neighbors) house around 6pm, then headed over to the hospital and arrived around 6:30pm. When I got into the delivery room, Angie and our doula Kristen were hanging out just casually talking, and let me know they were going to induce her with some Pitocin. From there it was really just a long waiting game and several hours went by where we talked and listened to casual music as Angie got dilated. They inserted a catheter that would help push on both sides of her cervix to help open it up, but it was extremely painful and she had to endure that for several hours until she reached a 4cm dilation.

About 2pm they removed the catheter and Angie felt some immediate relief, but then the started upping the Pitocin and the contractions became stronger and stronger. We laughed and joked around for quite a while, and went on walks around the hospital hallways. Kristen and I took turns taking short little naps and massaging Angela, but neither of us got much sleep. I was so concerned for Angie getting tired, and in the back of my mind I wondered if she would consider getting an epidural, but by 3 or 4 in the morning I knew the contractions were growing so strong that we were likely past the point of no return. As the contractions got stronger and stronger, I spent a lot of time trying to help her get her mind off the pain by helping her visualize being in a peaceful place and using some of the techniques I learned in our hypnobirthing class.

Around 5am it seemed like the dilations were not going as fast as we would like and the nurses and doula agreed that it would be a good idea to break Angie’s water. It took a little bit to get the resident OB to come in and break her water. I remember my stomach was sick and I had to go to the bathroom, by the time I came back from the bathroom, Angie was in a full labor. Angie’s OB was just getting in by this time and would help with the delivery. At this point, Angie could no longer keep her mind off the contractions, each one lasted about 10-12 seconds but it must have felt like a lifetime. I was holding her hand and she would pull so hard on me and then she started screaming, it was hard for me to watch her go through this. I tried to get Angie to focus on the sunrise that was coming up over the mountain but there was no way she could put her mind on that.

When the OB came down, she could tell the baby was stressed because her heart rate would drop during each contraction. She inserted an electrode onto the baby’s head to help observer her heart beat better. I sensed something was going wrong because the staff and OB seemed to become a lot more ‘serious’. The OB started getting stern with her guidance and started to yell at Angie to push and push harder. The scariest part was when she told Angie that she had to push hard because the baby was stressed. Angie pushed and the head started to pop out and the OB told us she had a hairy head, which gave me some relief. A few more hard pushes and finally the baby popped out, they put her right on Angie’s chest and before I knew it, I was cutting the cord. It was such a relief to have her out and such a miracle after almost 2 years of work.

Seneca was born at 8:19am and weighed in at 6lbs 8oz. I was so emotional and so happy to have my baby girl born and I just soaked it all in. The sun was just peaking over Mount Olympus when it happened. I took some photos and put the word out to my parents and Angie’s dad. He was the first to arrive around 9am when Angie was recovering and with the baby. Kristen, with a job well done, left after an exhausting night. I stepped out of the room for a few minutes when they were giving my baby her shots because she was crying so hard, but I wasn’t worried, just full of emotion. After an hour, we were transferred upstairs to a recovery room where we have been for the last few days. Angie and I were so exhausted, I had been up for over 24 hours and Angie had been up for nearly as long but with a full 15 hours of labor, what a champion.

The support we have had:

The support for our baby has been so unbelievable. We have had some amazing friends and family helping us out. We had many beautiful baby showers that provided us with so many great gifts to help our baby with a great start. Angie was a little worried about some of the showers because invitations  went out so late, but they really all were great and shows how many amazing friends we have. My parents have been helping to watch Liam while I am here in the hospital helping Seneca get her strength and eating up. We had some good visits from friends such as Alexa, Lisa, Angie’s dad and Lolli, even Marcus came by to bring some gifts for both Seneca and Liam.