Phoenix at Three Months

Time flies. Phoenix is three months old today, which was my longest relationship before I met my wife when I was 20. RANDOM SETH TEARZ FACTOID.

If Phoenix was at a new job, he’d be eligible for health benefits by now. With that, I figured now is a perfect time to get some unseen photos out to y’all and fill you on what we know, so far, about this kid.

We call him “P”

We thought Finn (or Phinn) was a cute nickname, and Gray loved it because of the Star Wars The Force Awakens reference. But I don’t think any of us call him Phinn. He’s pretty much P, baby, or baby boy in our house.



He’s chubby as all hell. Definitely the chubbiest baby we’ve had. Jax and Ellie had big cheeks, but Phoenix takes those big cheeks, and raises Jax and Ellie on the chest, abdomen and legs.


Great eater

Along with the chubs theme, I suppose, is that he’s a great eater. Always has been. My wife breastfeeds, and it’s not that he’s eating a lot or anything (he’s eating appropriate amount of ounces each day), it’s just that he’s much quicker and more efficient than the other kids. Jax hated bottles. Phoenix, in our few test runs, has excelled. The twins took forever to eat. My wife duel breast-fed, so she was dealing with two tired kiddos, or them finding each other to play with and distract, but Phoenix, when awake, knocks it out in 20 minutes and is ready to move on with life.


He loves his sibs

Phoenix is drawn to Gray and Ellie when he hears their voices. I’ll sometimes catch him smiling and flirting with them when they’re not paying attention to him. And vice versa, they’re super attached to him. A couple of weeks ago we went to Disneyland, and my wife and P stayed home. When Gray found out, he cried so hard, which isn’t like him at all. Normally he’d be like “Ok, well, peace out, I’m going to have a great day.” This time, he cried and cried like it tore at his soul that Phoenix wasn’t going to go with us. Ellie’s been playing a great mini mommy role, too, and has already changed a few pee diapers.



He wants to sit up

Since he was two weeks old, Phoenix has displayed an unusually strong neck/head. Now, when he’s laid back in a way, he tries to sit up. He wants to be up and involved, and with that spare tire around him, he just doesn’t have the muscles yet! He also hates playing the roll over game. He doesn’t want to do it, and he’d rather just munch on his hands in frustration.


He’ll be a yapper

Far and away, Phoenix is the most talkative baby we’ve had. And it’s not just making sounds. It’s legit conversations. The way he looks at me when we talk makes me feel like he’s having a deep connection with me. Maybe I’m just crazy. Last night I was hanging out with him, alone, and he was laying in the boppy pillow. I’d say hi and smile, he’d flash a huge grin back, and start cooing. After a bit, with nothing having changed, his bottom lip made a frown and quivered. His eyes got red. He started to do his complaining type voice/talking. He looked scared. Then his eyes watered. He was so sad! And I couldn’t figure out why. It’s like he was telling me about something that happened earlier in the day, or some deep down fear or pain he had. A few minutes later he was back to smiling and being goofy.


We’re all having a blast watching his personality develop. Hopefully some of these descriptions and photos give you an idea of who this little guy is today.





Baby’s Name & One Week Update

On day three of our hospital stay, two hours before scheduled discharged, we finally decided on a name. Mainly because the birth records department forced us to. We picked Phoenix, which I’ll explain in a few, and Davis as his middle name. Davis was my wife’s grandmother’s maiden name.

Phoenix weighed an even eight pounds and stretched out to 20 inches long. The registered nurse at Monday’s mother/baby assessment said he was strong and fierce. He’s loud – though not as loud as Gray was – and has no problem screaming his displeasure. He’s a fantastic eater and is peeing and pooping right on schedule.


Mommy is recovering okay after the c-section. She says it’s been harder compared to recovering after the c-section with the twins. I guess being five years older will do that to you.

We chose Phoenix purely for the symbolism of it all. The name was fine, but we liked another name better, if we’re comparing apples to apples. But damn the symbolism of Phoenix. I couldn’t shake it.

The phoenix represents renewal and resurrection. Mythology states that when it feels near the end, it sets itself on fire, and out of the ashes, a new phoenix arises. Death, transformation and renewal. When Jax died four years ago, the death beset our family, only to be followed up by the loss of our church, a major loss for our family, and then three miscarriages. We’ve been transformed, and not for the best. We’re just…different. Hardened. Aged. Jaded. A new appreciation of the fragility of life. A lesser fear of death.

And then the renewal. It’s been noted as a cleansing. Wash away the death and all that came with it. For our family, this baby represents that. He’s brought us hope. A new sense of life and energy.

Another plus for Phoenix is the initials. Months ago, when we started thinking of names, the wife suggested something with the initials of PD. Jax had two best buddies – Moo, a stuffed animal cow we got at the Orange County Fair when he was 2, and PD, a prairie dog he chose from the San Diego Zoo shortly after Moo joined our family.


Moo and PD had a birthday party. Here’s PD wearing his presents.

Since we couldn’t come up with something that would feature Moo as a nickname, PD became a goal for us. In the middle of June, the wife text me the idea of Phoenix. Swapping name ideas became a hobby for us. Usually it was me throwing something silly out there, like O’Shea or Wally, and the wife shooting it down.

But when she suggested Phoenix, it grabbed me. Hard. The twins preferred it. Gray suggested calling him Finn (Phinn), largely for the Star Wars The Force Awakens reference I imagine. A friend of ours suggested Nix. Right now, we just call him baby.


Birth Day


UPDATE 4:52 PM: Pic, but no name.

I’m at work. Been here for about an hour now. I needed to wrap some things up. Some trivia for ya!

Did you know? Baby boy (still unnamed!) will be our fourth child born on a Tuesday. Weird, huh? Presley’s D&E was on a Tuesday. Jax and the twins were born in the early evening on Tuesdays.

My plan is to live blog as the day goes on. I’ll head about about 9, 9:30, shower and drop the twins off at a friend’s house before taking the wife to St. Joseph’s for prep.

Keep refreshing this page for updates, as there will not be any added posts.

Just under seven hours until show time, people.




Mom and baby are in recovery. Baby Boy was born at 2:44. He weighs eight pounds and is 20 inches long. He has a mix of brown and blond hair and cried for thirty minutes while mom was sewn up. Turnout he was starving. He latched right on to mama and is in bliss now.

Name and pics to come.




It’s Time

Remember that c-section that was scheduled for July 22? Yeah, well, now it’s tomorrow. The wife’s OBGYN decided to go out of town instead, and 2 p.m. on July 19 was the only time slot the hospital could crowbar us in to on the surgery schedule.

All thoughts, prayers and good vibes are very much appreciated.

I’ll start a post tomorrow and live blog as the day goes on. Expect photos, baby stats and my bad jokes.

First Look at Baby Boy

First off, an update on the pregnancy. Everything has gone very well to date. The wife and Baby Boy are growing appropriately, and as far as we know, are healthy as can be. A c-section was scheduled for July 22. We’re hoping the little sucker is good at keeping appointments.

Last month, Mommy’s First Peek captured some 4D ultrasound pics for us while the wife was 28 weeks pregnant. I thought it’d be fun to compare and contrast 4D ultrasound photos of Jax, Gray and Ellie to Baby Boy.

For comparison, Jax was 30-weeks-old at time of ultrasound and the twins were about 24-26 weeks.

Let me know who you think he looks like in the comments below.


addtext_com_MTcwODUwNDA0MzcHe’s already a conceited little sumbitch, ain’t he?








My wife is pregnant, 12 weeks along. We are excited, cautiously hopeful and scared of another loss. How’d we get here and why are we putting ourselves through this again? I can try to explain. But let’s take it way back, first.

The First Miscarriage

“Smile,” the doctor enthusiastically coached. My pants rested around my ankles as my forearms supported me on the examining table. I’m 28-fucking-years-old and I’m already having a lubed-up index finger patrol my rectum for my prostate. I walked into the urologist’s office anticipating an infertility exam and exited wishing he at least bought me dinner first.

My wife and I tried for a year to conceive. Her OB/GYN directed her to a fertility doctor for testing, first. Everything came back normal, which meant it was time for me to be tested. Along with the prostate exam and junk test the urologist conducted, a semenalysis provided raw data for our fertility clinic.

It turns out I was generally healthy. My testosterone, however, tested severely low and my sperm liked to swim about in circles or something. So we began fertility treatments. After several months of me supplying goo – as one of the nurses called it – and the wife’s use of Clomid – the “goodoo” magic worked.

The next 16 weeks were filled with joy, bliss and walking on cotton candy clouds. While it took us over a year and mad science for my wife to get pregnant, she was treating crack babies in Long Beach as a registered nurse for parents living on welfare with four other kids. But for us, it finally happened. We announced the news with friends and family and eagerly awaited the January 1 due date.

Cue the record scratch.

The wife called me at work after a check-up with the OB/GYN. The doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. He sent her to the hospital for an ultrasound which confirmed there wasn’t a heartbeat. Our baby was dead. A couple of days later the wife underwent a D&E procedure at a Los Angeles clinic. We elected to run tests to determine the sex and cause of death. It was a girl, but no dice on the cause of death. The clinic was kind enough to send us home with footprints of the fetus the doctor extracted while performing the procedure.

We named her Presley Kaelyn. We eventually both had her foot prints tattooed on our arms, and I added “Loved Forever”.

We cried a lot over the next few weeks. I mean, a whole lot. Why did this happen? How? We cleared the 12-week danger zone. This isn’t supposed to happen.

It was the summer, and I eventually ramped up my social calendar to get my mind off of things. My wife, however, dealt differently. There were nights I’d find her crying on the floor of the bathroom. Our souls ached. Caring for babies of 14-year-old moms and meth addicts reminded her every night that life isn’t fair.

She told me months later how much it bothered her that I was going out and trying to distract myself while she just wanted to withdraw and hang out with the pain. She didn’t understand that I was just as distraught as she was. I cried. I was mad. But I had to get out of that house so that it didn’t become anything worse than that.

Eventually the fertility doc allowed us to start trying again. It was like ripping open a healing wound, peeing inside of it and then punching it for good measure. Month after month an early period, too many produced eggs at once or cysts cock-blocking our chance for conception dashed our hopes of another pregnancy.

The Next Three Miscarriages

A fertility clinic helped create Jax and the twins – artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, respectively. Since Jax died in June of 2012, my wife’s been pregnant three times, all naturally. Something we couldn’t imagine being possible. And something we didn’t knowingly try for.

On July 31 of 2013, just after lunch, my wife text me a photo of a positive pregnancy test and wrote “So this happened :/”. You’d think we’d be ecstatic, right? We were done having kids. We sold off everything but a breast pump and a pack-and play. I suppose the magic of Chicago on our tenth wedding anniversary didn’t care much about our plans.

We’ve heard and read that the second year after losing a child is often harder than the first. That sounds impossible. But most of the support received in the months after the death has now moved on. They have lives to live. We are still stuck. The loneliness is harder. All of the firsts – first Halloween, Christmas, birthday, memorial – have passed. All that’s left is our broken hearts.

After Jax’s memorial service we felt the beginning of that rough second year.

But this pregnancy changed that. We felt hope for the first time. This baby was going to keep that second year from being worse. The baby embodied life after all we had known for a year was death.

It’s a gift from God. We thought it. The few people we told thought it. Everything’s going to be okay, because this is from God.

Neither of us could bury our fear completely. Fear of something bad happening. We lost Presley. Then Jax tragically left us. There’s no way this will end badly. Right?

Well it did, at seven weeks gestation. Our hope evaporated. It all felt like a giant tease. A cruel trick. I kept asking myself why God would have us get pregnant naturally after years of not being able to only to go through yet another loss. F Him.

After a second miscarriage in April of 2014 we discovered my wife carried gene mutation methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). One side effect of this gene is elevated homocysteine levels, which increases the risk for blood clots. Our best guess to this miscarriage was a blood clot, based on ultrasounds viewed at emergency room and in the OB’s office. Remember this, as it’s a key piece of our staying pregnant puzzle.

On January 21 of 2015 I wrote about a stupid pigeon that decided to crap all over, and then die on, our front porch.

A new beginning, a fresh start. We could use those. And from this website:

Dead bird in the yard or on the highway – if you’ve seen a dead bird in the road or perhaps you accidentally hit a bird on the road, this usually feels like a bad sign. Actually death is typically a good sign showing us that an end to turmoil or pain is ending. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical death, just a metaphorical death. Perhaps you’re going through heartache of a break-up, perhaps you are struggling to find a job…this dead bird marks the end to your search and struggle. A new beginning is just around the corner.

An end to turmoil or pain is ending. The end of our search and struggle. I think we can use that. And here I was, thinking the only gift that pigeon left us was white polka dots of crap on our porch.

When I wrote that, we knew my wife was pregnant again. I legit thought this was a sign. A month later was her third miscarriage. I’ve stopped believing in signs. It was supposed to be our last try. I told her three strikes and we’re out, because I’m such a baseball dork. Let’s stop the anguish. No more losses, if we can control it. No more pain.

My wife’s obstetrician recommended we genetically test the frozen embryos left over from the IVF that produced the twins. The thought being that we can pull the genetically normal embryos, do an embryo transfer and, along with treating the blood clotting issue, limit the risk of future miscarriages. Always the suckers thirsting for hope, we had the embryos tested. Except that after the defrost, only three of the seven embryos survived, and of those three, none of the embryos were genetically normal.

What’s wrong with us? How lucky did we get that Jax, Gray and Ellie even happened for us? It seems odds are stacked against us when it comes to creating normally genetic life.

But we weren’t done. Call it perseverance, but you’d be wrong. We’re just tormented souls with a burning want to extend our family. Our fertility doctor said the next option would be a fresh round of IVF. F that, I thought – too much money.

Yet after testing, semen deposits, more genetic testing, three shots for egg retrieval, multiple ultrasounds and the egg retrieval itself, we were left with two genetically normal embryos. So far the transfer of one embryo has held up (the other is frozen).

My wife was giving herself three shots a day – two in the stomach (Lovenox for blood thinning to decrease risks of a blood clot) and one in the upper tush (Progesterone). Her belly looks like photos of galaxies far, far away – a mesmerizing mixture of purples, blue and pink in disjointed shapes. And because of that pesky MTHFR gene mutation, she’ll be shooting up the belly another month after the baby comes.


Kristina’s belly

The Fear is Real

Early in the pregnancy, my wife noticed some blood. It was more than spotting, but less than a period. I panicked. Again, really? This early? I tried not to let her see my fear. It was 10:30 at night. I couldn’t fall back asleep. I searched her weeks of gestation online, read a bunch of pregnancy forums where women post about their own experiences (I sadly know what DH means now – dear husband) and concluded that this is a pretty common thing for women. While it was more than just spotting, absent pain  in the abdomen, everything could still seem normal. Now, I’m not a super optimistic guy. Especially after the past three years. But I tried to be that rock for my wife. Mr. “Everything is going to be okay” guy. Positive thoughts. The next day she went to fertility clinic, a heart beat was found and everything appeared normal.

But fuuuuuuucccccc…that fear. It just doesn’t go away.

Every doctor appointment messes with my nerves. Once, my wife was late to an appointment with the fertility clinic due to brutal traffic. Then the office was slow seeing her. From my desk at work I checked my phone every five minutes. If there wasn’t a text, I’d open up iMessages to see if she was at least typing something. She wasn’t. It was hard to breathe. The anxiety manifested itself physically. I was freaking out. She finally texted that everything was looking good, but that thirty minutes of anticipation took six months off my life span.

Every time she goes to the bathroom I push down expectations of her walking out of the bathroom crying.

Slowly, after each positive ultrasound and blood test and doctor’s appointment, we grow more hopeful that she’ll see this pregnancy through to the end. Our excitement continues to build. My wife found a stroller on sale at Babies ‘R Us last weekend. She thinks buying anything baby related is a curse. But either the clearance item was too good to pass up (it was over $100 regular price), or she’s genuinely feeling good about this pregnancy. I think it’s a bit of column a, a bit of column b.

Ellie & Gray

On a random week night a few weeks ago, before Christmas, we were going to tell Ellie and Gray about the pregnancy. When I got home from work, my wife said she was bleeding a bit, and that we should wait. I agreed. Fifteen minutes later, things changed.

Ellie was sitting on the couch next to me and wanted to show me a photo on my wife’s phone from earlier in the day. I unlocked it for her, she swiped through and showed me the photos. My wife sat down on the couch next to us a few minutes later, and we talked a bit.

“Is this a baby?” Ellie asked. She held up the phone with an ultrasound my wife texted to her mom earlier in the week.

I looked at my wife with an oh-shit look.

“What do you think it is?” I replied to Ellie.

Gray, who was playing with toys on the floor ten feet away, ran over to look. He couldn’t make out the ultrasound.

“A baby,” Ellie answered.

“We’re having a BABY?!?!” Gray shrilled. I teared up. His reaction was beautiful. He was genuinely so excited.

I told them that we were. After they soaked it up for a few minutes, my warning message followed. I explained how it will take a long time for the baby to grow and be born, and that we’ll have to pray every day to God that the baby and mommy can be healthy, and that it could die, like the others. I encouraged them to help mommy while she’s pregnant to keep her and the baby safe.

Later that night Ellie sat on the couch next to my wife.

“I don’t want this baby to die,” she said.

Neither do I, hun. Neither do I.

As of yesterday, our baby is the size of a plum. Ellie constantly asks how big the baby is, so we use a website that compares the size to a fruit to help the kids get a better grasp of the growth.

Our family would appreciate all prayers, positive thoughts and good ju-ju you can send our way over the next six months. Hopefully we’ll be introducing y’all to the little alien at the end of July.

Was That Dead Pigeon a Sign?

Last Thursday a pigeon decided to get super comfy on our porch mat. My wife was leaving to meet a friend for dinner when I heard a shriek. She never shrieks. I ran to the front and she showed me the bird. Our porch light is out and it was dark. She almost stepped on it, which would’ve been messy. We both had an eery feeling, mainly because it was dark. So she left through the garage and I hoped it’d fly away. It never did.

As she left, my wife told me there were two packages left on the porch, as UPS and Fedex often leave. I circled around the house and crept up the front lawn towards the packages that lay/lied/laid three feet from the pigeon. I cursed at myself for not bringing a flash light. I slowly reached for the packages, scooped them up and back peddled the hell out of there. Those Hurley sandals CHOC sent us for reaching a fundraising goal were safe!

Later in the night I showed the kids and snapped a pic and shared it on Facebook and Instagram, as some of you might recall. Before my wife came home I checked the porch and text her to let her know the bird was still there. She came home through the garage and I went to bed with a plan to call animal control in the morning if it was still there.


It wasn’t still there. The kids and I looked in the morning. I started to turn around and close the door when Gray suggested we look outside further to see if it moved. Makes sense. So I rubbernecked out my front door, looked left, and damnit there’s the bird, face down on my porch. Directly in front of the window to Jax’s room. What the shit. Later in the day I shoveled the carcass in to a trash bag and dropped it in the trash can.

The whole thing is very curious. Now I’m not the most observant when it comes to birds in our neighborhood, but we don’t really see pigeons on our street. And how the hell does a bird find our porch and plant itself inches from our front door step? And then it decides to die right in front of Jax’s room? C’monnnnnnn universe.

My wife Googled it and came across a common theme about the signs/omen of coming across a dead bird.


A new beginning, a fresh start. We could use those. And from this website:

Dead bird in the yard or on the highway – if you’ve seen a dead bird in the road or perhaps you accidentally hit a bird on the road, this usually feels like a bad sign. Actually death is typically a good sign showing us that an end to turmoil or pain is ending. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical death, just a metaphorical death. Perhaps you’re going through heartache of a break-up, perhaps you are struggling to find a job…this dead bird marks the end to your search and struggle. A new beginning is just around the corner.

An end to turmoil or pain is ending. The end of our search and struggle. I think we can use that. And here I was, thinking the only gift that pigeon left us was white polka dots of crap on our porch.