Osh Kosh/Carters Shoot

If you’ve seen my Facebook status in the past week, you know that Wesley booked a photo shoot for Carters. Well, now I have the time and energy to tell the full story, with photos.

On Monday, November 2nd, I got an email that Wes had a casting call at 7:30am the next morning in downtown LA. Not lots of prep time! But, I was able to get to bed early so I could get up at 4:45am to get him and myself ready to leave by 5:30am. The casting was pretty simple. We were there early, so we were fourth in line once the casting started. They took us in two at a time and put Wesley into a Carters outfit (he wore a baseball jersey onesie). Then, they took two photos of him, in which he refused to smile, and then said, “Thanks, you can go.” I was out of there by 8am.

On Wednesday, Wesley’s agent Heather (of Youth Talent Connection) called saying that he got the job. I was so stoked. The shoot was Friday morning at 8am. Again, I had an early morning ahead of me.

On Friday, I got up at 5:15 and woke Wes up at 5:45 for our 1 1/2 hour drive. Here he is, all stuggled in ready for the drive.

I was hoping he would sleep in the car, but he was alert the whole way. The shoot was at a large home and the staging area was in the back yard. Here’s a photo.

There was a blanket with some toys for the kids to play with. They were just shooting 9month sized kids at that time, so all of the babies were about the same age. One of the women was someone I had talked to at the casting call, so it was neat to see her again. This photo has Wesley and Jake (the son of said woman) hanging out on the blanket. See just how glamorous photo shoots are?

And here is a photo of the prop table. You can tell it’s a spring shoot with all of those Easter baskets.

So, Wes had woken up at 5:45. We arrived at 7:30am, got to the holding area at 8am (couldn’t be there early), and they finally called him in for his shoot at 9:30! He had been awake for nearly four hours, which is really long for him. I was a little worried that he wouldn’t crack a smile or would melt down. But, he was a champ.

I don’t have any photos of the shoot because it was strictly forbidden to take pictures of him in his Carters outfit. They changed him into a cute blue and brown monkey-themed sleeper and put him on this white fluffy bed with a stuffed monkey. The sleeper had little monkey faces on the feet, and they wanted to see the “foot art” as they called it, so they posed him with one leg bent. The baby wrangler did a great job of getting him to smile, and he acted fairly amused the whole time. Though, he did have a couple of crying breaks when he was getting overwhelmed. I was standing right next to him the entire time and was able to comfort him when he was a little fussy. At one point, I lifted him up in the air like he was flying and he started to smile, so they took some photos in that pose. So, there’s a chance that my arms will be in the photo! The photographer’s name was Laurie Frankel. You can see her website here with some gorgeous photos.

Afterwards, as I was changing Wesley back to his streets, he started melting down. He just couldn’t take anymore, so I took the little man to the Jeep and let him sleep in his car seat. But, not before taking a celebratory photo with mom.

And here he is all tuckered out from a hard day’s work.

The photo should be coming out in the spring. They do not tell you anything about where it will be, so we just have to keep an eye out. It will be for Carters, but it could be in a mailer, in the newspaper, on the internet, anything. If you see it before I do, please let me know.

And, to top it all off, we have another audition tomorrow (Monday, Nov 9) for a Walmart commercial! This would be a national commercial, so there would be residuals from it. I’m not putting all my hopes on it, but it would definitely be great to get it. Prayers, please!

Solid Foods, Here We Come

This morning was an epic event in the Clausen household: Wesley ate solid foods for the first time! Well, I should say, he intentionally ate solid foods for the first time. We have decided to start with avocado. He made some priceless faces.

As you may expect, we captured those priceless faces on video. You can watch them here.

He’s Leaving on a Jet Plane

Last weekend marked another first for Wesley. He flew for the first time. One thing I noticed is that baby sounds pierce through that airplane din and everyone for 10 aisles can hear any little noise they make.  I also learned that if you have a lap child you can only sit on the C & D side of the plane because that is where the extra oxygen mask is (sobering though, huh?).  Because of this little technicality, we had to be moved from our original seats and were given seats in two different rows. But, not to worry. When someone sees they will be sitting next to a baby, they will gladly switch places.

We were flying because we went to my sister’s baby shower. Yep, Wesley will have another cousin in just a couple of months.  Anyway, we used this opportunity as a mini-family reunion and my parents got to see how much Wesley has changed in just the short time since they saw him last. The next time they see him will be around Thanksgiving, so he’ll be eating solids and doing all kinds of things.

Here he is with his Papa Clayton wearing one of my favorite onesies.

Growth Update

Wesley had his 4 month check up (and vaccines) yesterday, so I just wanted to share his current stats:

25 3/4″ long – 75%-90% for height
16 lb. 10 oz – 75%-90% for weight
17 1/4″ head circumference – 75%-90% for head size

So, as the nurse said, he’s perfect. She literally said that a few times. I told her that I already knew that and that I tell Wesley that every day (I have a running joke that I’m going to ruin Wes for his future wife by constantly telling him that he’s perfect and no one is good enough for him. Oh, and that no woman will ever love him as much as his mother).

The week in review

Had to share some cute pictures and give a little update.

Last week Wesley attended his first wedding. Yes, another “first” that most people may think is insignificant, but which I am noting nontheless. The best part of the wedding was that he got to sport his new (well, borrowed) dress up clothes. Just try to look at this photo without your heart melting.

Since we introduced Wes to the water, we have been taking him swimming every chance we get. So, of course, I had to get him a swim outfit. I wanted something that was long sleeve and had high SPF so we didn’t have to use sunscreen. I found one that I loved on the Alex & Me website.  Everyone comments that all he needs is a surfboard to complete the look.

Then, I found this pool float on Craigslist. He’s still pretty little in it (technically, it’s supposed to be for 6 months and older), so his bottom half floats up and it makes him lounge back. But, he has a grand time sucking on his sleeve and floating around.

We have enjoyed swimming so much with him, we have decided to do swim lessons. I found a place nearby called Swim Venture where they offer free group lessons for kids under 2. We went for the first time last Tuesday and Wesley loved it. In fact, I’m pretty sure the other moms were jealous of my smiling baby because those kids between 12 and 24 months were screaming in panic the entire time. So, my advice is, start young! We’ll be going again this Tuesday and I promise to provide video evidence.

Another big thing from this week is the addition of a crib into our bedroom. Until now, Wes has been jammed into the bassinet, but he could barely fit and I was sure that it was disrupting his sleep. So, we squeezed the crib between my side of the bed and the wall and now I have to inch my way through the 4 inches of space. But, it’s worth it and he transitioned very well into the crib (fyi, we’re in a 1 bedroom apartment, so this is really the only way he could sleep somewhere quiet during the day).

The Audition

I know I promised to tell you all about the audition Thursday, but I have to say all of the details would make a pretty boring post. The highlights were that Wesley smiled at the casting director about three times, but once that camera was on him, he stared at it, mouth agape.  We couldn’t get him to smile for anything (though, they only give you about 5 seconds). So, I’m not expecting much to come of it. Plus, it seems that the company the ad was for has clothes only for 12 month to 5 year olds. He was definitely the youngest at the audition. The other kids were old enough that their moms just said, “Smile” and they did. I was a bit jealous of that ability.

He’s gonna be a star!

So, I have something to share that I have been waiting to share until the time was right. A few weeks ago, Josh and I decided to sign Wesley up with a talent agent. I know, everyone thinks their child is the cutest on earth, but we have been told that by people who have their own babies. I mean, would someone say “Wesley is seriously the cutest baby I have ever seen” while holding their own son if he wasn’t actually cute? On top of that, Josh’s co-worker told him that he thinks most babies look like demon-spawn (his words, not mine), but that Wesley was actually really cute.  Maybe it went to our heads, but we believed them.

So, I sent photos out to about 30 talent agents and I got 4 bites. Not bad, huh? We decided to sign with Youth Talent Connection, got his work permit (yep, he’s a 3 month old with a permit to work), and set up his Coogan acount, which is a special bank account where 15% of his earnings are automatically deposited and his parents can’t get their greedy little hands on it.  Then, today, the news came – he has an audition! Tomorrow morning I will be taking our little star to downtown LA. His audition is at 10:42am (random much?) for a Walmart print ad. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Oh, and here is his current headshot (for babies, they don’t expect professional shots since you have to update them every month):

A Real Laugh!

Last Saturday while we were at Josh’s parents house, Wesley had his first real laugh. Josh had just told a joke and we all laughed at it, and Wes joined right in.  It took us all off guard, which made us laugh, and that in turn made him laugh more. It was adorable. However, we didn’t get it on tape, so it will just have to live in our memories. But, never fear! He laughed again later this week and we had the camera handy. So, here, for your enjoyment: Wes’ second laugh ever.

Wesley’s Birth Story

Through the incredible adventure that was the birth of Wesley Reece, Josh and I learned some important truths. First, I wholeheartedly believe that the experience of one’s birth comes almost entirely from their psychological preparedness going into the birth. I could tell you the facts and figures of my birth and most people would grimace and think that I had an incredibly difficult time. But, that is completely false. I LOVED my birth experience. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. It was a time of intensity and intimacy between my husband, my baby and I. I went into it with the powerful relaxation tools as well as with a support team that included a caring doula.And, very importantly, I went in educated and well-informed. This came in very handy when faced with an unexpected hospital transfer. I don’t regret one decision made from the moment we decided to have a home birth to the ultimate C-Section delivery of my beautiful son. Before you read my story, you need to know that I am satisfied with it. No, it was not at all what we expected or planned. But, it was what it needed to be.

On March 24th, at 41 weeks 1 day, I took castor oil as recommended by my midwife. I took the oil around 6pm and mild pressure waves started about 8pm. They were 15 minutes apart and felt like Braxton Hicks with a little pms-cramping thrown in. They were very familiar to me by then because I had felt them for a couple of weeks, but they were becoming regular and so I started paying attention. By midnight that night, I was sure I was in my birthing time because they were 2 minutes apart and had become intense enough that I wasn’t able to sleep through them. But they were just about 30-40 seconds long. I called my midwife and doula and both told me to try to get as much rest as possible and then call them in the morning.

During the entire birthing, time was elastic. I couldn’t believe how quickly morning came. By 8am, my midwife and doula were both at my house, but my pressure waves hadn’t gotten closer together, just longer. They were now lasting just about 50-60 seconds. My midwife never told me my measurements, but I found out later that I was dilated to 3 cm.

Throughout the day, the waves would get closer for a while and then spread back out. But, they were most often staying at 2 minutes apart. Some of my most treasured memories from that day were taking walks outside in the beautiful sunshine. The fresh air was wonderful and I was often able to walk through the waves. I also loved taking a shower with Josh where he would hold me during a wave as the hot water poured down my back. After that shower I felt like a new woman. I also remember often draping my arms around Josh’s shoulders as he whispered relaxation cues in my ear.

Josh supporting me through a pressure wave while we were walking around our apartment complex
Josh supporting me through a pressure wave as we walked around our apartment complex
Enjoying the birth tub near the end of my birthing time at home
Enjoying the birth tub near the end of my birthing time at home

I can’t remember many specifics about time or measurements. I remember my midwife and her assistant leaving for about 4 hours in the middle of the day and my waves becoming stronger while they were gone. This is one of the events that showed me how psychological birth is. I think I started being afraid that they wouldn’t make it back in time and as the waves got more intense, I felt that things had be close. My doula also believed that they needed to return, so she called them and asked that they hurry back. Then, when they did return, everything slowed back down. I remember walking with my doula and telling her how terrible I felt that I had forced them to come back and now things weren’t progressing.  She encouraged my midwife to let me know that no one was on a time schedule and they were enjoying themselves, so I didn’t need to worry about them.

At around 5pm on March 25th, after another check, which I found out later showed me to be at 5cm, my midwife suggested breaking my water. I agreed. Surprisingly, the waves didn’t seem to intensify in any way right after that. I took more walks and used my birth ball quite a bit. We also had a birth tub, which was filled by then. The warm water was marvelous and it did seem to make the waves closer together and more intense. However, at 11pm my midwife found that I was still at 7cm. We tried a couple more positions, but she told me that the baby’s head was just not on my cervix, so the waves weren’t as effective. They had definitely gotten very intense by then and from the outside, it appeared that I was close to transition. So, we were all surprised that I still had a ways to go. My midwife told me that I was fine and the baby was fine, but that she didn’t want to wait until there was a problem. I had been in active labor for 24 hours, so uterine exhaustion was a consideration, not to mention maternal exhaustion. I hadn’t slept since Monday night, even though I had gotten quite a lot of rest during my birthing time. She suggested we go to the hospital. She said that an epidural might just relax me enough to open my pelvis and help the baby descend. So, we loaded up and headed out.

The hospital was actually a very good experience. We brought our birth preferences and my midwife went over all of my medical records with the on call ob. She was a very attentive doctor and wanted to help me get as many things from my preferences list as I could. We decided to go ahead and get the epidural and pitocin to try to relax my pelvis and help the baby descend. This helped me to be able to take a nap, which was invaluable for the rest of the birth. I believe that this is one of those cases in which an epidural was medically necessary. I knew that after 24 hours of active waves, I was too tired to try to add pitocin without help from pain medication.

It wasn’t long before I was completely dilated and ready to push. The hardest part of the whole thing came when the nurse kept telling me that I still had an anterior lip on my cervix and I couldn’t start pushing yet, but I really felt the need to. When I was finally able to push, it felt so good. By the way, the epidural had pretty much worn off and my waves felt just like they did before I got the medication. Since it was a walking epidural, I was able to try a couple of different positions on the bed. The baby’s head was having a hard time getting past my pubic bone, so I pushed for about an hour and a half without getting much progress. During this entire time, his heartrate never dropped and all of the nurses commented about how happy he was.

Then, there was a shift change and I got a new doctor and a new nurse.The new nurse had me start pushing again (I had rested for a little while) and then told me that I still had a cervical lip and it was catching the baby, so any effort I was putting into pushing was being wasted. They gave me a bolus of the epidural so I could rest and let the cervix finish dilating. At this time, the doctor came in and talked to me about the size of my baby. We were over a week past my due date and recent ultrasounds had guessed him at about 9 ½ pounds. My midwife had never tested me for gestational diabetes, so this doctor ordered a blood glucose test. It showed up at 130, which is pretty high since I had not eaten for the past 9 hours (and the IV did not have glucose in it – I asked). So, then he became concerned about the fact that I could have had GD and not known it. Anyway, at this point, he started suggesting a C-Section because of the fear of shoulder dystocia. Now, let me say that I had already researched big babies and shoulder dystocia and I knew that the chances were very rare and are often not even related to the size of the baby. But, I also knew that now that the doctor had planted that fear in my mind, I could very well be at a higher risk of shoulder dystocia because of the power of the subconscious to turn fears into reality (especially because I was in such a suggestible state at that point). So, after many questions to the doctor and risk/benefit analysis, we decided to go with the C-Section. This was a very difficult choice because I had just been told that I was complete and the baby was at +1 station. So, I could have started pushing right then. But, my husband and I decided that if anyone was going to recover from a surgery, it should be me, not the baby. And, even if we had a 99% chance of a healthy baby with a vaginal delivery, we had a 100% chance of a healthy baby with a section. (By the way, I fully believe that if we didn’t get a new doctor at 7am, we would have had a healthy vaginal delivery because the original ob had no fears about the baby’s size. I talked to her about it later and she told me that it was a philosophical change and that she had delivered plenty big babies. I still think we made the right choice given the circumstance of the fears placed in our minds by the doctor.)

All that to say, Wesley Reece was born at 11:13am on Thursday, March 26th via C-Section after 35 hours of beautiful, fantastic “labor.” He was 9 pounds, 1 ounce and 21 inches long. (It’s funny because the doctor who delivered him said, “See, he was big” and the doctor who we originally checked in with said, “He wasn’t even that big. Only 9 pounds.”) My recovery has gone well and Wesley is doing fantastically. Josh and I love being parents and sometimes can’t stop staring at him.

I never felt that I wanted everything to be over or that things were out of my control. We always had time and mental energy to discuss the situations, the risks and benefits, and to make our decisions. My midwife, doula, doctors and nurses all commented about how good I looked and how relaxed and calm I was. Even my recovery was quick and my nurse was so impressed with our attitude and energy. I credit all of this to our psychological preparation beforehand and my earnest belief that birth is an incredible adventure to be treasured and enjoyed, not feared and escaped from.

Wesley and me on the day he was born
Wesley and me on the day he was born
Wesley and Josh sleeping together on his first night outside the womb
Wesley and Josh sleeping together on his first night outside the womb

The Craziness is over, yet it has just begun

Yes, we FINALLY had our incredible, gorgeous and completely perfect son. He was born March 26, 2009 at 11:13am. He was 9 pounds 1 ounce and 21 inches in length. We named him Wesley Reece.  I will be posting LOTS of videos, pictures and the details of my INCREDIBLE birth. I had such an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to share my experience. But, for now I have to get my sleep.  In the meantime, you can check out my Facebook page if you’re a friend on there (if not, invite me to be your friend, darn it!). And, you can look at these completely cheesy, somewhat hilarious hospital shots: http://www.our365.com/NewbornPortraits/BabyDetail.aspx?birthid=30f58b62-c717-4ff8-9dfb-2e28df44df4b (Make sure to notice the Gangsta Wesley C. photo – first in the group.)