April 30, 2011

Leah May makes her arrival

Leah May made her arrival on March 30th weighing 6 lbs 11 oz and 20.5 inches long. Just like her brother she made her arrival in record timing 1.5 hr labor. We are excited to have a girl in the family and are getting use to the colors pink and purple. This is the first grand-daughter on the Valdez side of the family. Needless to say, she will be spoiled by Grandparents, have several body guard boy cousins to protect her and receive lots of love from her daddy. Here are just a few pictures.

A Family Photo- Bracken was so happy to meet his "sister"
A Proud Older Brother

January 15, 2011

Brackens Birthday!

How did our little boy grow up so fast! It is amazing how much a child learns and grows in their first year of life. It seems like just yesterday we were in the hospital welcoming Bracken into this world and our family

Bracken's First Cupcake!

We celebrated his birthday with a BBQ with close friends and family. The weather cooperated and the children enjoyed playing on the bounce house thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Valdez.

Aunt Tina helping Bracken into the Bounce House!
Bracken attempting to get his Cousin Andrew, who can't walk yet, to jump or play catch with him.
Bracken was overwhelmed with the presents and after a few attempts opening the gifts he soon let his older cousins help out.

July 14, 2010

Pictures of Bracken By Chad

Chad (Brett's Brother) invested in a new camera and we get to benefit from his purchase.

March 27, 2010

Eating Like a Big Boy

It took a little longer than we thought and a little ingenuity, but Bracken finally began to regularly eat the rice cereal and oatmeal. He didn't seem to dislike it in the past, but he just didn't understand how to get it from the spoon down his throat.

So when Brett was giving him a little Tylenol, we realized he was pretty excited and lunged for the syringe. Therefore, we just put the cereal in a syringe and he loves it. It looks like he even has the tongue thing down now and would be fine with a spoon. But one step at a time.

He is getting so big!

March 13, 2010

Okay, Okay... Here are some pictures!

We have been hogging pictures of Bracken all to ourselves. Here are several pictures over the past couple of months with a little input from our little BC himself.

Hanging out in my Bumbo. This is where Mom and Dad put me when they are tired of me crying and they are trying to make dinner.

I had fun hanging out at Uncle Darren and Aunt Chelsea's wedding. All of these people I had never met sure liked holding me. I don't see what all of the fuss is.

What is that crazy face Aunt Nettie is making? Does she know she looks funny?

This is my Grandma and Grandpa Bracken and cousin Logan on my first Christmas. For some reason Grandma and Grandpa seem to really like my name.

My mom always likes to dress me up in all of these "cute" clothes, even if they are a little too big on me. Doesn't she know I am just going to spit up all over it anyway?

There that camera thing again... and now mommy is making a crazy face.

My cousin Candice really likes me. I wish she didn't have to live all the way in California.

Why do mom and dad take so many pictures of me on this blanket next to this black thing? It seems a lot smaller than it used to.

Daddy, now that face is just plain scary!

Just chillin' with my cousin Nicholas at Grandma and Grandpa Woolley's. We look pretty cool, don't we. It will be fun having three of my cousins the same age and two of them born in the same month.

Do you know all of the cool stuff this thing does? It is amazing. Thanks for letting me borrow it, Candice!

It may not look comfortable, but this is my favorite position in my bouncer regardless whether I am awake or asleep.

My Grandpa Bracken sure does love me.

Here is that blanket again. My parents thought it would be fun to put me in the same clothes they brought me home from the hospital in when I was 4 months old.

February 27, 2010

Ode to Utah State Basketball

Hey, even if you are not a basketball fan nor a Utah State fan, you really have to check this post out. Pure entertainment!

Last weekend we went up to Logan with our friends, Mark and Jen, to catch an Aggie basketball game. The Spectrum has always been a great place to watch a basketball game. The team is always solid and the fans have always been great, maybe sometimes even a little over the top. BUT... until you have experienced a game from inside that stadium within the last two years, you don't know what you are missing.

The incredible student section is one of the craziest, loudest, and best-choreographed that you will find in the nation. Have you heard the Scottsman? Have you witnessed the "winning team" chant? Have you ever seen Wild Bill? Well if can't answer yes to those questions, it is time to head on up to Logan and experience it for yourself. You don't even have to watch the game to be thoroughly entertained, Dy didn't.

Check out these clips and I challenge anyone to tell me of a better experience anywhere in the nation. According to Wichita State coach... there isn't.

  1. Welcome to the Spectrum!
  2. Winning Team Chant - "You gotta love coming to the Spectrum"
  3. Winning Team Chant - "Better choreography than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir"
  4. Winning Team Chant - The game we were at
  5. ESPN's Not Top Ten
  6. Meet Wild Bill

February 19, 2010

Out from the Darkness

So, after a year of barely catching neighbors wireless signals, trips to Brett's parents, and very few blog posts, WE HAVE THE INTERNET!

It took a year, but we finally caved in earlier this week. The primary reason is so we can talk to Dy's family through Skype (and anyone else who wants to), but there are obviously other benefits for us. It was nice to have an excuse for not updating the blog, though. I guess that means we better be more diligent about it.

We will get some other things going here shortly... stay tuned.

November 18, 2009

The Bracken Blog

As most blogs do at this point in one's life, this will turn into the Bracken Blog. Eventually we will find some creative ways to mix it up, but for now it will be a steady dose of Bracken pictures, stories, and perhaps even a video or two.

One of Dy's coworkers is expanding her photography portfolio to include baby pictures. Here are some examples of what she did for us. If you want to check out more of her stuff, go to her blog at www.kimeskelsonphotography.blogspot.com.

We love the pictures...thanks, Kim!

November 8, 2009

Bracken By The Week (4 weeks)

As requested, here is a week by week picture update of Bracken. Yes, we already missed one. Anyway, it will be fun to look back over several months as he continues to grow. We placed him next to one of Brett's gloves to help give some perspective of his size.

0 Weeks

1 Week

2 Weeks

4 Weeks

October 22, 2009

The Story of Bracken's Arrival

We are back. Still don't have internet, but we are making due with the resources available...thanks momma and pappa Valdez. We figured you are all interested in some updates about our little addition to the family. Well, we have each wrote about the birth of Bracken for everyone to enjoy. It really is quite the story; long, but worth it.

As told by his mother:

Well my friends it’s been an eventful and joyous week. Here are the details that led to us welcoming Bracken Carl Valdez to our family.Friday I went to my cousins wedding and towards the end of the night started to feel what I thought were contractions. They were slightly stronger than normal. At the wedding I helped serve some refreshments and clean up afterward and thought I probably just over did it a little bit. Everyone kept telling me I looked ready to have the baby…in other words they are saying that you look like crap.I was planning to go back to my car that was parked at Nettie's work with her, but I decided to leave earlier with my parents so I could get home. My mom was pretty confident I was starting to go into labor and wanted to drive me home. I insisted, however, that I was fine and made the trek alone. While driving home on I-80 I had some contractions and actually put the car on cruise control to help get through them. When I got home, I told Brett I felt very uncomfortable but probably had just over done myself at the wedding. I attempted to watch the end of the Red Sox game with Brett, but opted for a hot bath and bed instead.Around midnight, I woke up in a lot of pain. Brett asked if I was in labor. I doubted I was since my doctor told me just two days earlier "it would be a miracle if you delivered by the 16th." Unsure, I called my mom to see what labor felt like. We timed the contractions being every 8-12 minutes apart and finally decided to take off to the hospital. We arrived around 1:30 a.m. where they got all of our information and eventually admitted me.By this time I was so uncomfortable and wanted something to relive the excruciating pain. Before giving me any pain medicine, they had to check me only to tell me I was barely dilated to a 1. For the next hour they hooked me up to the computer to monitor the contractions to see if I progressed. After 90 long miserable minutes of intensifying labor, annoying vomiting and being extremely uncomfortable, the nurse came in to check me again. I was positive after the tears and squeezing Brett's hand for what seemed to be an eternity, I would have progressed to more than a one. I was pretty bummed to find nothing changed! The nurse said it appeared the contractions were the beginning of labor, but she said she had seen mothers like this take up to 36 hours to deliver...or longer. I told Brett I couldn't do this anymore. Well, I should of thought about this labor thing nine months ago. They gave me a shot of morphine and sent us out the door. By the time we arrived home at 4:30, I was feeling pretty loopy and out of reality. I slept pretty well for about two hours only to be awakened once again with strong contractions. For the next five hours I laid in bed next to my sweet husband who coached me through every contraction. In between each one I was mentally trying to relax myself. By 11:30 am we decided to log the contractions once again. In the middle of one of them, I felt a little pop and a small amount of fluid excreted. I turned to Brett and told him I think my water just broke. His response, "I think I just heard it!" At that time I doubted it was my water and thought I probably just peed my pants. But Brett insisted we head back in, so we got in the car and started driving. As we were leaving Tooele, I felt like I just had to push. In my mind I wanted to tell Brett to just go to the Tooele hospital, but after doing the math (the ride is 40 minutes and each contraction is around 7 minutes apart), I figured I could handle around eight more contractions before getting some meds.As we got to the airport I finally confessed to Brett I felt like I had to push. At that point we suddenly went from speedy 85 mph to an intense 100 mph. The whole way Brett was trying to help me breathe through each contraction. By now we had reached I-15 and I turned to Brett while I was in between contractions and notice he was doing the deep breathing himself. I asked him if he was okay and I thought I heard "I am faint," not "I am fine." He told me his stomach and neck were tingling and his fingers were getting stiff. Now I was worried he was going to pass out on me and we weren't even going to make it to the hospital. From that point on I tried to downplay my contractions. For those who don't know, Brett doesn't handle blood and guts so well.We eventually pulled up to the hospital doors where Brett ran in to get a wheel chair and get me inside. They started asking all the same questions again from earlier this morning when I finally persisted that I needed to push and wanted my epidural. The receptionist finally realized I was serious and said "this one doesn't look too comfortable. Let's take her back to room one." They wheeled me back and got onto the bed with assistance from the nurse and Brett. He then went out to sign the permission and consent documents. By the time he returned three minutes later, there were 15 people in the room. Now I was pleading with the nurse for my meds. After ignoring my repeated requests, she looked at me and said "I see the baby’s head. It is time to put you legs up and start pushing.” I finally conceded the fact I was not going to get an epidural and better just make the best of this. After just a few minutes, Brett turned to me and said, "He is almost here. I can see his head." Referring back to the comment earlier, Brett is not good with blood and I was surprised he would actually watch our child be born and stay awake to tell me about it.
Sixteen minutes after being admitted, Bracken Carl Valdez entered this world. What an amazing moment to think he’s so recently departed from heaven. Weighing in at 6 lbs 9 oz. and 21 inches long, I was grateful Bracken didn't take after the Martin side being a ten-pound baby. I did tear a bit and had to have an episiotomy, but the recovery has been pretty easy. So far he only wakes up once around 3:00 each night after we put him down so I even sleep better than I did prior to his arrival. I feel great and I love being a mom. I truly was blessed with a little angel.

As told by his father:

What an incredible experience it has been to welcome little Bracken Carl to our family. It was a pretty good story of him getting here, too.
October has always been a special month, especially in 2004 and 2007. Now I get to add 2009 as probably the best of them all. Since Dy was away at her cousin’s wedding, I decided to skip out on the Friday night Elder’s Quorum activity to get ready for game 2 of the division series. While I was depressingly watching the Sox let game 2 slip away, Dy returned home from the full day of wedding activities. After a few minutes of watching the tragedy unfold on the television, she said she was feeling pretty worn out from the day and needed to take a hot bath. I too was feeling pretty bummed, but for obviously different reasons. By the time Lowell flied out, I thought I had better follow Dy upstairs to see how she was doing.

Since it was already 11:00, she was unsurprisingly wrapped up in bed and trying to go to sleep. The next hour was pretty miserable for her. She explained she thought she was having contractions, but honestly didn’t know what the real ones should feel like. With the doctor’s dismal outlook just two days ago where she said it would take a miracle to get this baby here before October 16, we were skeptical Dy was in labor. Since it was approaching midnight, we didn’t want to wake up our parents if it was nothing. Eventually we decided to call her mom to get some motherly advice. Carol’s motherly instincts were in full force as she was basically anticipating the call. She told Dy she thought it was the beginning of labor and advised us to start timing the contractions. At this point they were anywhere from 12 to 16 minutes apart. While Dy was reviewing the situation with her mom, I finally decided to get our backs packed. We had a couple things set aside, but we really thought we were at least a week away and I had to throw some things together. As the contractions continued to creep down towards eight minutes and the pain was intensifying, we finally decided to make the 40-mile trek to Intermountain Medical Center…Dy’s second home.

On the way in there, we hit EVERY traffic light green, even the ridiculously long ones that are supposed to make you wait a minimum of 5 minutes. I mentioned to Dy it really must be time with this unheard of good fortune. During the ride, the contractions seemed to come down to around 5 minutes apart and for the first time I TRULY thought Bracken was on his way. I could tell Dy was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable and needed some sort of relief from the pain. At 1:30 we arrived to the hospital and I helped my amazing wife inside leaving the X-Terra at the front doors…I always wanted to do that. I sat her on the mother’s wheel chair and we went through all of the admittance paperwork with the receptionist, which felt like it took an hour.

By time we got back in room number two, Dy’s pain had become excruciating. Therefore we were both pretty frustrated to learn she was still only dilated to a one! Before they would give her any meds, they had to get the computer readings of her contractions and the baby’s heartbeat to verify the intensity and frequency of her contractions. The next 90 minutes were full of squeezing my hand, vomiting into the garbage can, and constant readjustment to find any level of comfort. We did use this time to develop the Brett Breathing Technique (also known as the BBT found in recent medical journals) to get through the contractions. Since we planned on taking an epidural, Doctor Brown agreed we didn’t need to take the birthing and breathing classes. Though it probably was far from perfect, together we figured out a way to get through the contractions and try to relax in between. When the nurse finally came back in, the update was just as disappointing as before…still dilated to just a one. Dyana finally qualified for the shot of morphine that she gladly accepted. The nurse said we may be in the beginning stages of labor, but that even if we are we should get prepared for a long day as she has seen this go on for 36 hours…or longer. Because Dy wasn’t “progressing” she said we should head back home and return if the pain intensified or when her water breaks. This was a little much for Dy to take. After all, she was already to the unbearable pain threshold. I never felt as helpless when Dy turned to me during one of the contractions to say “Brett, I just can’t do this anymore!” I wish I could take some of her pain…I think. How much more did she have to take? Was she just not able to handle the real pain? Of course not, she is a Martin.

On the ride home, she could slowly feel the drugs kick in and the contractions become less painful. By the time we got back home at 4:30, she was pretty loopy and out of it. That at least gave her a couple more hours of rest before going at it again. By 6:30 she woke back up with the pain slowly returning. The BBT had been somewhat successful as she had now learned to breathe through each contraction and relax in between to make them a little easier, but they still really hurt. Once again, I felt helpless. I knew she was in pain so I tried to fight my urge to sleep. I just gave her my hand and let her squeeze away. By about 8:00 I was fully awake and began calling our parents with some updates. To find some comfort Dy again tried a warm bath, then the recliner, and different positions on the bed. At 11:30 we decided to again log the contractions. Since leaving the hospital when they were 3-5 minutes apart, they had gone back to about 7-8 minutes apart. During the second contraction at 11:39 am, I heard a faint popping sound coming from Dy’s general direction. It sounded like one of those bulb seaweeds that you can step on and they pop. I looked at Dy and she said “I think my water just broke,” to which I responded, “I think I just heard it!” Since there really wasn’t much liquid associated with it, she started second guessing herself that she just “piddled her pants.” This again goes back to the fact that the doctor said Dy wasn’t close and they just sent us home from the hospital still at a one. However, I was positive it was her water and insisted we head back in there. Once we gathered everything up again, loaded back into the X-Terra, and made the phone calls to the parents, off we went.

For the second time in a row, we got out of town…and eventually to the hospital…without stopping at a single light! I should probably call Guinness. This time I was a little more frantic since there was clearly more traffic at noon than in the middle of the night. I could tell Dy was getting more and more uncomfortable. I was cautiously weaving around the cars in my way. Each time I passed one I tried to make it obvious that I had a pregnant lady next to me by exaggerating the breathing and rubbing her legs as she reclined in the seat. With the tinted windows and elevated SUV, I am sure no one could appreciate my critically-acclaimed performance, though it sure made me feel better. By the time we hit I-80, I was carefully hovering around 85 mph, give or take a few. I was continuing my attempts to help Dy breathe and relax. As we passed Saltair, she turns to me and says, “I feel like I just need to push!” Horrified by the vision of me trying to deliver little Bracken in the car, I lovingly, yet sternly told her “DON’T PUSH!” At that point the needle seemed to be stuck near 100 mph. By now I was actually hoping to see a cop who could then escort us to the hospital, to no avail.

I was still working on my acting skills as I weaved around other motorists, but have to admit by now I found it had some practical uses to help me settle down, too. As we had now reached I-15, I found it kind of amusing that my neck and upper stomach were starting to tingle with my fingers becoming a stiff. Not thinking about how this would add to Dy’s level of stress, I mentioned to her my funny discovery. She looked over while in between contractions to notice me still using the now popular Brett’s Breathing Technique. I later came to find out this only made Dy try to downplay her pain so I didn’t pass out while driving. In the end, we both made it.

Just 32 minutes after leaving the house, we pulled back into the hospital where I once again was able to leave the X-Terra at the front doors. I literally ran into the lobby and grabbed a wheel chair to take Dy in. The receptionist again started asking the same questions we had gone through just a few hours earlier. Eventually she realized my wife was serious when she said she needed to push and wanted her epidural now. Along with a nurse I helped Dy into her room and on the bed. Once situated, I ran back to the receptionist to finish the consent forms. It took no more than three minutes and by the time I returned there were literally at least 12 people in the room getting everything prepped for delivery. Due to the quick arrival, not even the on-call doctor was able to get there in time to deliver so the resident got things going. At this point Dy was vainly pleading for the epidural. Though they never said no, it was clear my incredible wife was going to do this naturally.

It was once again time for the BBT, though we did receive some tips from some of the nurses and other medical staff there to help us out. Beside the miracle of birth, there was one more miracle I am sure Dyana will declare happened this day. While I was holding her head during the contractions, and no longer choking her in between, I was also needed to help hold Dy’s legs as her hands were getting tired. That perspective allowed me to watch our beautiful little boy enter this world and take his first breath of life…and yes, without any fainting. I did, however, pass on cutting the cord. A mere 16 minutes after being admitted into the hospital, our little family was joined by Bracken Carl Valdez. Though we were pretty sure that was his name, I still double checked with mom to confirm. Because of a little meconium ingestion into the lungs, they had the NICU respiratory team there to make sure everything was fine. It was a pretty special moment to be able to hand our little Bracken into his mother’s arms.

The rest of the details from that weekend all kind of a blend together. It was great watching the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends hold our little boy. It was really special to see the pride from grandma and grandpa Bracken as they took their turn. We kept reflecting back to the thought that we are now parents and helped create this little miracle. Not that our priorities were too offline before, but Bracken’s birth helps put things into an eternal perspective of what really is important. So even after Paps blew the two-run, ninth inning lead on Sunday, it was much easier to handle holding Bracken in my arms.