K.

Karis Comes Home

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

We were discharged from the hospital this morning and we were able to bring Karis home for the very first time! The morning actually went very smooth which was kind of unexpected because I just assumed it would be hard to figure out all the paperwork, pay for our time in the hospital, and then get released. But again, the Lord was so gracious and things went really well.

Obviously with a newborn our sleep is interrupted, but in the first few days you get a bit of a break and that’s what Karis did for us last night. By “break” I mean that she gave us a stretch of three hours. It’s amazing how good three hours of sleep feels when you’re sleep has been irregular for a few days. But I digress. Bethany got up early to feed Karis and the nurses were in our room a few times before 7:00am. All of this worked out really well because by 9:30 we were walking out of the hospital! We really thought it was going to take a good portion of the morning but we were packed, paid, and pulling out of the parking lot at least a few hours earlier than I had imagined.

Karis did incredible on the drive home and pretty much slept the entire way. We ended up stopping off for a little food and coffee and still she slept through it. The weather kind of felt like “beach weather” to us in the States, and it was cool and partly cloudy. When we got home the kids came running out to the car, and I heard Avery say, “I want to see baby Karis!”

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

I ended up setting Kari down in her carseat so Avery could look at her, but both Titus and Avery wanted to “help” me carry her inside. At one point I had Titus holding one side of the carseat while Avery was holding the front and we made our way into the house. If I had a third arm, I would’ve taken a photo of Papa and Nana wielding their iPhones to capture it all in photos and video. Such excitement for the home arrival of this baby girl.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

Our landlord is often away at another home she has in Prague, but she came back this evening as we were walking outside to play in the yard with the kids. I tried to tell her in broke Czech that Bethany was home and so was the baby. Bethany brought Karis out to the driveway to meet “Babicka” (Czech for grandmother) and we all had a good time watching her reaction to the baby. Babicka gave our kids a little chocolate treat and we actually had Bethany’s parents bring her a gift from the States–a box of chocolates from Washington. The kids also made her a card and we wrote on it in Czech and she seemed to really enjoy it. The whole exchange was fun and hard because of the language barrier. We were glad to introduce her to Karis and Babicka was congratulating everyone which was also a ton of fun. Below is a photo of her with her chocolates and Bethany with the baby.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

It’s so good to be home. Bethany’s parents did an amazing job just kind of detailing our house and getting things cleaned for us. They said Titus and Avery did great while we were away which was a blessing to hear. It’ll definitely be a time of transition for all of us as we relearn life now with a newborn. Already I can feel the constant reminders coming of “be careful with the baby,” or “that’s a little too rough, you need to be gentle with her.” I think for sure it’ll be good for Titus to learn just how gentle he needs to be around a little baby and he’s got a healthy respect right now for how fragile she is.

We’re tired but not overwhelmed. Bethany continues to recover, but is definitely still experiencing pain. We’ll be heading to the pharmacy tomorrow morning to get some meds for her which should help. Karis has spent her day at home sleeping and eating which is to be expected, and which is great for willing grandparents who want to just hold her. Even I got the opportunity to just hold her while she slept for over an hour. All that to say we’re glad she’s home and we’re so full of joy for this new little life.

T.

The Czech Hospital

Karis (6/3/15)

Today could very well be our last full day in the hospital here in Czech as we’re hopeful that some time tomorrow morning Bethany and the baby will get released. Czech hospitals require a 72 hour stay from the time you give birth and that time would be up tomorrow around 10:30am. Even though we’re excited to get home, our stay here has actually been very enjoyable. I though it would be good to write a bit about our experience here and maybe some of the differences we have noticed between Czech and the States.

Karis (6/3/15)

Above is a photo of the room that we’ve been in the past three days. On Monday and in to Tuesday, Bethany and Karis were sharing this room with another mommy and baby. They were released yesterday and the room was given completely to us and that’s why I was able to sleep here last night. The past few days have been very warm outside (mid-high 80s) and there is no AC in here, so we brought our own fan that has been running non stop. At times we have been sweating in here, but we’re thankful for the moving air. The sun is setting as I type and I’m feeling the cooler begin to blow which is a nice break for the warm day. Over all this place has been a nice, temporary home.

Karis (6/3/15)

Karis (6/3/15)

In the States we only really remember seeing the pediatrician a few times during our stay at the hospital. Here we see her daily, if not a few times a day. Today the doctor and nurses came early to check on Karis and they gave us the task of weighing her before and after every feeding. Our room has a little scale and they gave us a chart to keep track of Karis’ weight and at first we thought this would be burdensome task, but it’s been just fine. Occasionally the doctor or nurse has come in to check her progress. Any staff person entering our room has the potential to be difficult because of the language barrier, but we have done pretty well understanding what’s going on. We have been super impressed with the kindness of the staff here and their willingness to try and speak whatever English they can to us. They are kind, sweet, and in general just have a love of babies. It’s great to hear them talk to little Karis in Czech and we have felt very cared for by everyone here.

Karis (6/3/15)

Karis’ crib on wheels (shown above) is pretty nice. It has a little heart monitor that we have to turn on and off when we lay her down or pick her up. We have forgotten to turn it off a few times and it begins to beep loudly! I actually like the crib better then the plastic, bucket-style one that we had in the States because it’s a little more spacious and seems quieter in general when we are picking up or putting Karis down. Since she’s mostly just sleeping right now I’m glad she’s got a queen (baby) size mattress.

Karis (6/3/15)

Like most Czech homes and schools, you’re asked to not wear shoes inside and that’s true here. We brought our own house slippers and every day they clean our floors and the floors of the entire hospital. You are also given a mug and a glass cup, along with your own silverware. They leave the silverware with you and just bring food, which I think is pretty smart because you can just reuse your silverware and it cuts down on the dishes they have to deliver and do on a daily basis. I also figured out how to hook my computer up to the TV in the room so we could watch a little American baseball (Go Dodgers!), so that was fun this afternoon. Our room has a wardrobe for your clothes and a full shower in the bathroom (not something I remember us having in the States).

Karis (6/3/15)

It will be a joy to take Karis to our home tomorrow but as I’ve written we have been really blessed here. Part of learning a new culture is having experiences like this one and I can honestly say we’re thankful for it. I’ve even been thinking about all the women throughout the globe who give birth in so many different facilities and locations. For us, this has been similar to what we call home but for others this is quite different. We’re thankful for modern medicine and well trained people who can care for us despite a language barrier. There’s no other way for me to express it than to say it’s all grace.

Karis (6/3/15)

E.

Every Perfect Gift is From Above

“Rough night. Pray we can make this a private room…” That was the text message I woke to this morning from Bethany. She, of course, was at the hospital and was sharing an open room with another mommy and baby. I was at home, in an unplanned series of events because we weren’t able to secure a private room when Bethany delivered Karis yesterday. As the story goes, it wasn’t so much Karis that kept Bethany awake, but the other mommy and baby who just were struggling through the night as is often with newborns. By God’s grace, Karis was able to sleep through it, but that wasn’t so much the case for Bethany. So I did pray this morning and the Lord’s answer was clearly in the affirmative.

Sleepy Baby (6/2/15)

I’m writing now from that same hospital room. It’s almost 11:00pm and I will be sleeping here tonight. The other mommy and baby were discharged early this afternoon and the hospital is allowing us to use this space as a private room. Not only does that mean I get to sleep here, but it also means that visiting hours basically no longer apply. Where yesterday the family could only come between 3-6pm, today we were able to come here for much longer to enjoy Karis and give Bethany so much needed rest.

Sleepy Baby (6/2/15)

A little rest did come this afternoon when Papa and Nana took shifts holding Karis and allowing Bethany to get a nap and then a shower. I ended up taking the other kids to the science center because they were restless and the hospital room was quickly becoming a play area in their minds. I think everyone was a winner this afternoon, even though we separated for a bit. I was glad to give Bethany an earlier break that we had expected and am even more glad to be here to help her tonight while Papa and Nana watch our kids at home.

Sleepy Baby (6/2/15)

Karis is doing great and Bethany is recovering well. We were just sitting here tonight catching up and enjoying the time with our new daughter. It’s so incredible to now be a family of five! I feel like this entire experience has been different, not just because we’re in a foreign country, but because we’re more comfortable with a new baby and have just been so blessed by God throughout this entire process. The hospital has been great. Papa and Nana have been a huge help. People continue to send us messages through text, email, or social media encouraging us. Titus and Avery are doing well. And I can sit here tonight and just smile at how good our God is. I’m thinking of James 17 tonight, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” God has given us so many good gifts this week and we couldn’t be more thankful and in awe of His goodness.

I.

It’s All Karis

It gives me great pleasure to announce the birth of our third child, Karis Debra Thomason, born today this first day of the month of June two-thousand fifteen at precisely 10:27am. At the time of birth she weighed 7lbs 13oz and measured 20.5in in length. Her first name, Karis, comes from the Biblical Greek word meaning “grace” and Debra is her Nana’s (grandma’s) first name. Mommy and baby are both doing very well and we’re so excited about this this little gift form the Lord!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

We honestly thought things were moving quickly last night and that we would be heading to the hospital, but it wasn’t until early this morning at about 4:30am that I packed up the car to leave. We left the house close to 5:30 and got in to the hospital around 6:30. Bethany would really like to tell her part of this story in a later post so I won’t share every detail, but things moved pretty quickly today at the hospital here in Czech Republic. With the help of our friend, doula and translator, Lauren, we were able to get everything in order and get settled in the delivery room. Bethany’s contractions were moving fast at some points and becoming more intense, but I really didn’t think we would meet Karis until later in the afternoon.

To our surprise, however, things really got moving at 9:30. After only a few hours Bethany was ready to push and that’s exactly what she did. She actually had to pause in order to get all of the nurses and doctor in the room and prepped for delivery. The whole delivery was significantly more painful for Bethany than the previous two kids, but my amazing wife literally pushed through the pain and in what seemed like ten minutes our third child was born. As with both previous births, I teared up at the sight of little Karis, not only because she was beautiful it was a joy to hear her cry, but also because I was blown away by Bethany’s courage and strength, especially in regards to having a child in a foreign country. While tears were filling my eyes the doctor quickly turned around and shook my hand as if to say, “Congratulations” (he didn’t speak English, so it was a silent but meaningful exchange).

A photo posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

One of the differences between having a baby in Czech versus the States, is that in the States they would clean up the baby right away and then give her back to Bethany. But the Czechs only wipe the baby down and then give them quickly back to the mommy. Then they require a two hour waiting period where Bethany laid on her back with the baby. I don’t know the significance, but that’s what she did. During that time I had the opportunity to hold Karis which was a special time for me. As soon as that time was up we were packing our things and heading down to the recovery room.

Again, a difference between the States and Czech is the availability of private rooms for recovery. Today there were no private rooms available (they call them “non standard”) so Bethany and Karis were put in a room with another mommy and baby. It’s a bit strange and it also meant that I wasn’t able to stay the night tonight with them because there was no room for me in there. This was not part of our plan, but the Lord knew it and we’ll just continue to trust His sovereign plan in it all. Bethany will be in the hospital for a minimum of 72 hours so we’re hopeful or a Thursday morning release.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This afternoon I was able to come back home, pick up Nana, Papa, and the kids and bring them back to meet baby Karis for the first time. It was a really special time for us and it was so much fun to watch Titus and Avery meet their new baby sister. It was also an opportunity to grab a bunch of photos. I took a ton of photos today, so here’s a few from the day with captions to help fill in a little of the story.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is the outside of the maternity part of the hospital. It doesn’t look like much, but on the inside it’s very nice and clean and we were so thankful for the nurses and staff there. In so many ways, it was no different than a hospital that we’re used to in the States and we just feel like the Lord was gracious in the entire process today.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Karis as they were cleaning her up after the two hour waiting period. I had the opportunity to go with her to where the nurses have a legitimate cleaning station. The woman doing the work must’ve done thousands of babies, because the way she was handling Karis was so crazy and so natural all the same time. The nurse put her under the sink and rinsed her, washed every crevice, and was almost tossing her around in her hands as she did the work. They also did this crazy baby oil thing where she was doused with baby oil and rubbed down from literal head to toe. In the end Karis was shiny, squeaky clean, and bundled up in a special wrap and then laid under one of this baby heater thingys. The next two photos below show the rest of that process. It was actually really fun to watch!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Titus and Avery holding Karis shortly after meeting her for the first time. I love Titus’ genuine smile. They were both so gentle with her and were so excited to meet her.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Like Titus, Avery was just smiling at Karis while we were there. At first both Titus and Avery were a little skittish because it was a new experience, but by the end of the time they had warmed up to the idea of this little baby sister and were enjoying her just like we were.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

I loved this photo of Nana holding Karis and Papa getting a photo of her on his iPhone.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Karis’ little name tag in her crib that sits next to Bethany’s bed. Let’s hope she fast asleep right now!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

I have many more photos from our time today, but this last one is of Papa holding her and I’m taking the shot from above. I just loved her little hands coming out of her wrap and seeing her tiny face.

It was an incredible day! We are so thankful for the many prayers of those of you who have followed our story and what God has been doing in our little family. As Karis and Bethany rest tonight please continue to pray for healing for Bethany’s body and for continued growth for Karis. There is still much to do in the days ahead but we’re excited to welcome this little life in to the world. All we can say is praise the Lord for this wonderful gift and for His grace!

N.

No Delivery on Sunday

It’s possible that it could still happen with three and a half hours left, but there has been no delivery of the baby today. However, contractions have begun and things are definitely moving forward at this point. After I posted yesterday’s blog, Bethany was having regular “events” (as I’ll call them) with contractions happening about every hour. We were able to sleep last night even though she was contracting through the night. We honestly thought things were going to start heating up this morning so we decided not to try to get everyone to church in case something happened. But even though things have stayed constant, it’s still not enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. That being said, as I type Bethany has had some really regular contractions about fifteen minutes apart so we’ll see how this evening goes.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

So without wanting to get too far from home, we tried to just stay around town today with the family. Mostly, we let Bethany rest at home and the kids, Papa and Nana, and myself walked the town a bit, played at the park, and played a lot in the back yard. Of course I kept watch on my phone, just waiting for any news from Bethany that would cause us to turnaround and head back towards our house, but still had a lot of fun walking and enjoying our little town here in Czech. I especially love showing Papa and Nana around and seeing their reactions to this little place. It reminds me of almost a year ago when we first arrived and had all of those same emotions. It’s wonderful to remember those days and to be to sort of relive them again.

I took a ton of photos today form our adventures, so here they are with captions beneath each.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

Throwing rocks and sticks in the river is something we haven’t done in a while. You can see Titus on the right with his new sunglasses enjoying the beautiful weather and water. It’s still so fun to be able to walk to these places which are so close to our apartment.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

Late this afternoon, after everyone had a nap, we spent some time in our landlord’s garden just sitting and swinging. Papa made some coffee so he and enjoyed some great conversation and time together. Later Titus joined us and wanted to swing with Papa so I got this photo of them. Hopefully Titus will learn from his Papa much wisdom!

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

Here’s a view I have often of Avery when she wants me to hold her. I was pitching to Titus in this moment but looked down and saw just how cute she was, so I got a photo.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

I couldn’t resist. I had to get another one of Avery. She was showing me how she could twist her arms which she thought was pretty awesome.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

While walking to dinner tonight we saw this ice cream cone that was freshly dropped on the ground.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

We took Papa and Nana to a local Czech/Italian restaurant tonight (Bethany came too!) and the waitress brought the kids some colored pencils and coloring books. Titus was really proud of this one and said, “Dad, take a picture.”

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

After dinner we caught the tail end of a little kids festival in our town square, so we ended up buying a couple balloons. Avery had her heart (and eyes) set on this flower balloon which I couldn’t resist buying. This was her face when we got it tied to her wrist which was just hilarious.

Resting on Sunday (5/31/15)

Finally, here are the kids running towards our place with their new balloons. Even though we’re still waiting for baby, we’re enjoying the time together and having fun!