Friday, June 24, 2016

William's Birth Story (baby #3)

Apparently I started writing this birth story one week after Will's birth and only got up to the part where the first contractions started. Then I stopped writing it. My guess is, either the baby had woken up, another kid needed something, or I decided to catch some z's. Either way, I've verbally shared the story with enough people (or texted it out to curious friends), that I think we'll be able to fill in the gaps! 

Here's the no-holds bar story of Will's birth:

September 9 with pretty much ZILCH activity to speak of

My estimated due date was September 9, 2015. Based on my other two children’s arrival times, I anticipated having this baby anywhere from the end of August up through the due date, but definitely not after!! However, I should have known babies have their own plans. :) 

The weekend leading up to his birth was not necessarily ideal. Gabe, age 3 at the time, unfortunately came down with a really tight case of croup, which wouldn’t let up after a couple of nights. On Saturday, we took him to Urgent Care to be assessed and it was determined he needed some breathing treatments and some steroids (not our favorite, but it was bad enough to merit some medical help for croup for the first time ever). The steroids made him a little crazy, and he ended up not even taking a nap that day. That Saturday night, Greg and I had a chat about some last-minute fears related to welcoming another baby into our family (like, will it mess up the good flow we have already with our 6 and 3 year olds? was this a big, colossal mistake?!) and kind of just reviewed where we were at. I know sometimes babies don't come if they sense momma's not in a good mental spot.

We took a very HOT walk around the neighborhood
 Friday afternoon to try and get things going &
get Gabe some Vitamin D
A little while later after that chat, Gabe woke up in an all-out (what I believe, drug-induced) tantrum. It took nearly an hour to calm him down. He was completely out of his mind and not in control at all. Trying to calm him down only made my belly tighten up, and was very emotionally draining, so Greg finally got him back into his bed and lay down with him. I decided by that point (well past 1am) to lay down and try to sleep...finally Greg returned and he laid down too. A few minutes later, around 2:30am, I started sensing real contractions, after I had probably been asleep about 30 minutes. Greg was finally asleep too, and I didn’t want to wake him up yet, because it had already been such a short night of sleep. With my other two labors, I was blessed to have gone into labor after having had a better night’s sleep, and I had been really hoping for that this time around as well, but when the baby is overdue, and you’re READY to give birth, what are you going to do? I digress…

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt...

I was somewhat in denial these contractions were real but laying down was not making them go away, and they only proceeded to get more uncomfortable. I got up and started swaying my hips around, and woke Greg up around 3am. Bless my mom -- she had come down to stay with us, almost two weeks beforehand because I was just sure this baby was going to come earlier like Mia & Gabe had, and no, the baby decided to stay in longer -- but Greg knocked on her door to let her know what was going on as we were about to leave the house. Greg and I gathered what we could for the hospital bag (that was mostly already packed), while I stopped every few minutes to slow down and breathe through a contraction. Greg called our backup doula, and we got in the car around 4:15am. Right before we got in the car, I grabbed a towel, a big bowl, a cup of ice water, and I ate a banana and a granola bar. I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have before actual delivery, and I wanted some energy since it was the middle of the night and I hadn’t eaten in hours, and I grabbed the bowl and towel because I have a history of puking mid-labor and especially while driving! :(

Our hospital for delivery is about 30 minutes away, but in the middle of the night, when you get to cruise on the expressway, we were able to get there super quick! We spotted a couple of deer as we exited our neighborhood and while we drove down the interstate and I remember wondering if/what that meant and how that was kind of cool to see... Right before I began throwing up that banana I had just eaten and the water I just chugged. Greg was a very good sport to not start throwing up himself. That only happened a couple of more times and I very adeptly dumped the waste at a stoplight about 2 blocks away from the hospital. Woohoo!

When we pulled up to the hospital (around 4:45am), which has valet for pregnant women going into labor & delivery, the valet was SOUND asleep. Like, out. Greg slammed the doors on our car a couple of times to get his attention, and he finally stumbled awake and sprung into action like “Oh hey! I’m here, ready to go! Was totally not sleeping!” Except he was. We were wheeled up to L&D where we met our backup doula, Holli, for the very first time. I had talked to her on the phone the Wednesday night prior and she had my birth plan printed out and was ready to go immediately attending to me, even while I was sitting uncomfortably in the wheelchair in triage working through a contraction.

one word: LABOR

It's gettin' REAL

We were wheeled into our triage room, I changed into even a less attractive hospital gown than I wore with Gabe, if that’s possible, and kept working through contractions. I believe they were at least every 4 minutes at this point, if not even faster. We were waiting for a midwife to come check me before we moved me to a room, but the midwife from my practice was in the middle of a delivery. So, instead, I just hung out in the triage room, either on the bed, or on the side of the bed, going through different laboring positions while they did some quick monitoring of the baby too. Holli, our doula, was giving suggestions for different ways to sit, stand or move, and reminding me to breathe baby down and relax my face. I didn’t know it at the time either, but she was snapping some pictures on her camera as well, which I really appreciated after the fact (I think birth photography is awesome!). After probably 45 minutes of hard labor and waiting for a midwife, one of the nurses came back in and said, “She’s still stuck in a delivery; I’ll just go ahead and check you.” She checked and said I was complete with a bulging bag of waters! I’ll never forget the surprise, shock, and delight I feel when I hear the words, “You’re complete.” Knowing it’s go-time is exhilarating and butterfly-inducing all at once. They asked me if I had the urge to push and I said, “Not yet,” but after the next contraction I immediately felt that sensation. They put my saline lock in and were ready to move me to my labor and delivery room. It was around 5:45 or 5:50am at this point.

It's GO time

Because my midwife was still in a delivery, the nurses were trying to figure out who would be able to help me deliver. There was another midwife from another practice available at the hospital that night so they decided to wheel me into one of her rooms. I literally met her for the first time as they wheeled me in and I was about to have another contraction. Her name was Sandy and she asked me how I wanted to push. I had a moment of complete indecision as I had pushed on my back with my legs up with the other kids but I had been basically on all fours this time around, smushing my face into the pillow on the bed. My doula asked if I wanted to squat for pushing, but since I was in a position I couldn’t imagine physically switching myself from, we stayed on all fours and my NEW-to-me midwife told me to push my butt into her hands. For a first meeting, that was a pretty brazen request! She told me to do it again, as I had been a little apprehensive, but after about half a contraction of pushing that way, I finally pushed past the awkward, and started pushing intuitively and aggressively, in my mental zone. It all happened pretty quickly at this point, but after I started really pushing, the baby descended, then in the next contraction, my water broke (which has never happened without intervention/assistance in the past!), which kind of freaked me out!, and then in the next contraction the baby’s head emerged, and finally during the next contraction, the baby was born!!! If you read that fast, just imagine it happening in your body that quickly, because that’s about how it felt. There was such a flurry of activity around me, but I basically had my eyes closed the entire time as I gripped the pillow on my bed for dear life and was utilizing all my other senses to figure out what was going on. Because I was on all fours, I didn’t visually take in my baby until I heard the midwife ask Greg to announce the sex, and Greg checked and said, “It’s a boy!” all excitedly and cheerfully, and they helped me flipped over and gave me the baby immediately. I was still in shock, but so so so relieved and so happy he was here and looked healthy and good :). The time was 6:04am.
Three Words: Newborn Baby Bliss

Our own kids wouldn’t have even been up for the day yet, and we had just had another baby.

They cut the cord after a little while of letting it pulse, and he was on my chest doing skin-to-skin immediately. Because it all happened so quickly, I felt like I was in a whirlwind and my body had a little bit of a hard time calming down. All the hormones rushing through my body gave me the chills/shakes, so the nurses were bringing tons of warm blankets to wrap around me, which felt wonderful as I snuggled our newest little one, who was yet to be officially named.

After about an hour and a half, they weighed him and he was 6lbs, 12oz, and 19 inches long. He’s our biggest baby and stayed in the longest too: 40 weeks and 4 days. Once he was weighed, I was good to go for a transfer to our postpartum recovery room, and take a nice little morning nap. Mia was born on a Sunday too, like this kid, and it was nice to rest and have some peace and quiet while the rest of the world was waking up or readying themselves for church activities!

The history behind the name

We discussed his name options on and off throughout the morning--despite having announced his birth and healthy arrival to family and friends--he didn’t have a name yet! “William” had been on our list throughout the pregnancy as a potential boy name, but had also been taken off the list once or twice just due to how popular a name it is. However, it’s a classic name, and a family name (it’s interwoven multiple times on both sides of the family), and most directly, is my dad’s middle name and my brother’s middle name, so, William it was! And Thomas was chosen as a biblical name after one of Jesus’ apostles who believed in the resurrected Christ after having been able to examine Jesus’ resurrected body and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Additionally, Thomas is also a family name as well, after Greg’s deceased grandfather. So, Will’s name is rich with family and biblical history and we announced his name to family and friends in the early afternoon. Thankfully, no one balked at it ;)

A couple of interesting notes about the delivery…

This was my 3rd birth, and my 2nd hospital birth. It went so quickly and even though I didn't have much windup time in terms of labor, I was really thankful for the supportive people involved: Greg, my doula, who handed out copies of my birth plan, my stand-in midwife and my group's midwife who came in later to congratulate me (she had a delivery with a retained placenta)! They all helped things flow quite smoothly.
The doula also used some essential oils during labor to help me not be too nauseated as I had thrown up on the way to the hospital in the car, and she used peppermint on Greg when he got a little light-headed right before I began pushing. He said he recognized the sounds I was making from the other 2 labors and knew pushing and birth were imminent and it was gettin' REAL and he had to go lay down! (Yes, on the floor of the delivery room.) Thankfully the nurses were on it right away and pointed a fan at him, gave him some juice, my doula popped open the peppermint oil and some honey sticks, and he was able to not totally pass out and miss the birth! His favorite part was getting to announce the sex since it had been a surprise. We both got to do skin to skin as well afterward, which is not something he'd done before but we knew we wanted to incorporate. The hospital honored ALL of our wishes and is considered "baby-friendly," and never tried to take away, bathe the baby or push any interventions or procedures we didn't want. In fact, when they wheeled us to our postpartum room I was happy to hear that they only expected baby to feed 4-6x in the first 24 hours and that he'd likely be sleepy (yes, mom and baby both)!! We were able to be discharged after 36 hours, which was also my fastest turn around time too!

Despite the “waiting” for Will, he was worth the wait and be it due to this being our third time around doing this newborn thing, or his nature in general, has been a very easy-going baby! We are so blessed by him and the older kids began loving on him immediately. My mom was able to stay a few more days to help things be in good order before heading back home, and Gabe eventually got over his sad, pitiful croupy cough and life began as a family of five.
Photo by Aubree Clark Photography

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where in the world are our Chiquita Bambinos?

I miss blogging, I really do. The world is changing so quickly these days, that the things I totally took for granted when Mia & Gabe were tiny are now already totally different. Do people blog? Do people even read blogs? I do not know. But I still kind of miss it.

One of the reasons I haven't been on here that much simply is just our lives have changed. Adding in a new person (hello, Will, who never got a formal introduction here on the blog!) at the beginning of the school year meant we just got sucked into the vortex of school and newborn parenting all at once.
Additionally, between the school runs, and homeschooling (we continue to partner with a school that's half-homeschool, half-"regular" school), my consistent nap times for the other kids were not as consistent, and nap times were often when I'd get any blogging done in the past, if I wasn't trying to sneak in a nap myself. By the end of the day, the last thing I'd want to do is get on my computer, as I was all "what series can I finish in one night on Netflix?", and so, here we are, just a year since my last blog update, with a 9 month old and what feels like a lifetime of stories to catch up on.

Speaking of naps, that's what our "little" 9 month old is doing. Whilst holding a child-proofed bottle of teething tablets. "Wear your supplements," they said, and thus he is, clutching them in his hand! That's just where we're at right now. Will is 9 months old, has 3 teeth on the bottom and the top two are breaking in. He had his 9 month check-up the other day and is 19lbs, 9 oz, and 28" long. Blessed be my brain, but I can't remember the stats for Mia & Gabe at this age, but, he's pretty big for our kids for a 9 month old baby. I think Mia weighed 19lbs by one year. Everyone remarks on how big and solid he is. He's definitely a little one can clearly tell by this solid picture. :-|

Naps have been a source of much discussion around here lately. Are we getting one today, or not? Because Will is the third baby, he hasn't had the luxury of our staying at home most of the time to ensure he can stay on his nap schedule. Life is so much different now than it was when Mia was three and Gabe was a tiny tot. This past school year two days of the week, either myself or Greg was running out the door at 2:30 to pick up Mia from school. On Wednesday afternoons, we had violin lessons for Mia and gymnastics for both Mia & Gabe. Those were long afternoons. If Will was asleep and it seemed like he might take a good nap, sometimes I left him home (with Greg who works from home) for those runs out the door. If he wasn't asleep, he had to come with me, and we just let him sleep on the go, or he'd stay up and we'd just roll with it. Trust me, he's a special kind of baby to just be "rolling with it."

Now that it's summer, though, we've been able to rearrange our schedule a tad and also cancel some activities (bye bye, gymnastics!), so I'm really working on getting into a better nap groove a) for his own benefit and b) for my sanity. I may be random, but I do crave some structure too. After all these years, Spontaneity and Structure can be good friends, I've determined :P

Our goal is to get him on a pretty regular rhythm or routine so that we can plan the rest of our activities in step with his nap needs. This has required some nap-training, which sometimes sounds like a horrible code-word for "crying it out." I don't enjoy crying it out (I mean, who does?), but what I mean by nap-training is laying him down, and patting his butt, and playing special music he likes that is a cue for sleep, and continuing to do this (and sometimes leaving his room to let him know it's not play time) until he falls asleep. We are at like a 60% success rate right now. He knows the cues, so it's a matter of continuing to reinforce it until it becomes solid. Sometimes we have to do this at night as well, if he doesn't fall asleep while nursing. The transfer after bedtime nursing is like 98% more successful than the transfer after naptime nursing.

So, I just spent a good portion of this blog talking about nap times. Cuz that's where I'm at!

Next blog, I'll back up and introduce who Will actually is and his birth story, cuz I'm all about a good birth story. Until then, adios! Master William is awake from his merry morning slumber. Adieu.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Can't stop won't stop

It's gonna be another fun summer with these kids...
Looking at this rusty old blog space makes me a tad nostalgic. It was maintained so well during my children's younger years (which, for the record, they are still young), but with life amping up as we entered school for my oldest, and just life amping up in general, it has quite obviously taken a sad backseat. I know they say time flies and cherish those younger years with your kids because they're over before you know it, and it's sort of really true. I downloaded the app TimeHop a couple of months ago, because, why not? And it stuns me when pictures from 6 years ago show up and it's a little baby Mia in her bouncy doesn't even seem fathomable that she was a baby 6 years ago. Where has the time gone?

I feel for moms who are in the thick of it with a toddler and a baby--it is really a nonstop work. And not that my situation isn't nonstop either, it really, seems to get busier and busier, but the mental fortitude and attention that is required starts to shift. They don't need my constant attention. Sure, they want it, but it's not always required.

What's going to change though? Baby #3.

As I announced on my other blog a couple of months ago (which, sadly, has gone on hiatus as well!) is that we are expecting baby number three at the end of the summer (late August or early September, likely)! I'm already 28 weeks so that means I've hit the unbelievable point of my 3rd trimester, which is alarming, exciting, and mind-blowing.
Some of our fav things to do at HHI, SC
My oldest child graduated kindergarten this year, and the week after school let out, we went on a family vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC, with some good friends of ours. I looked at that trip as the "dawning" of summer for our family, and I figured it might be one of the only excursions/trips we take this summer, because I figured we'd be busy getting ready for the reality of a baby coming at the end of summer, but I gotta say...
The summer's flying by faster than I expected. Just like last year, it's filled with tons of good things like seeing family, going to the pool, participating in Stroller Strides, Mia's doing developmental swim team (where she works with a coach and other kids to learn strokes; it's not competitive!), and just finding time to chill as a family, it's amazing to me how blazingly fast it's all going by. Before I know it, it will be July, and then August, and if I don't have a baby by the end of that month, I for sure will be having one in the next month (Lord Willing)!

It'll be interesting to return to babyland. Mia will be in 1st grade, and Gabe will be 3, almost 4, when the baby's born, so while they are two and a half years apart, there's obviously been a bit of a lag between these kids and this next one. I'm thankful to have two older helpers (right?!) but it'll be another mind-shift for me as a mom. We've gotten really used to, and have enjoyed, being on the go a lot and doing fun things and going with the flow, and I just have a feeling that while this baby might have to go with the flow as well, we may also be slowing down. And that's okay. There's a time for everything. So I'm just going to enjoy the time we have left as a family of four and hopefully in doing so, allow my mind and body to mentally and spiritually prepare for becoming a family of five! It won't really be real to me, until it's real.  So, here we go :)

25 weeks in HHI with a little sidekick who wanted in on the action
Kindergarten graduate, whaaat!!

Have you added a kid to the crew when your other kids were already a bit bigger? I know they look small in these pictures but they seem big to me! How was your transition/experience? What did you love; what were you not prepared for?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Where can you find me?
Naturally In Progress blog
It's been busy around here, what with back-to-school and all. But lately, even more than just back-to-school has kept me busy. Soon after the start of the school year, I started a new protocol to work on an autoimmune condition that I have. I've been sharing my experience at another blog I started called Naturally In Progress.  This has been a long time coming, but in actuality, this was probably the best time for me to do it. God just knows :)

I'd love if you followed me over there too while I document what I'm doing, and how I'm doing. I can't believe I'm through the first 6 weeks and am happy to report I've done so with little incident. It's working!

Hope all is well in your corner of the world and Happy October. I officially declare that fall decor can come out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I'm going to miss most about summer...

My inner Minnesotan child wouldn't believe it, but our family officially went back to school earlier this week. Up north, it was not uncommon to start school the day after Labor Day. I was in shock when I went to college and I had to report down to school mid-August!  We didn't get out of high school until the first week of June, so where went my summer??

Well, getting out early May in college won me over -- summer started early! And now that Mia's on a August-May schedule, I'm down with the program.

But our summer has now come and gone, and here are the things I will miss:

1. Nearly weekly pool visits.  Once our swimming lessons went into effect, we started taking the kids to the pool nearly every week, and sometimes more than once a week.  Splash pad, waterslide, jumping in with floaties on -- we had a great time and tried to make the most of our local community pool! The kids even got in some sunbathing too, as you can tell...

2. Doing what we wanted, when we wanted. Kids needed a haircut? Alright, let's go! Why not grab an iced latte while I wait? Wanna go see the matinee of Planes: Fire & Rescue? Yes, please! Not having to work around a school schedule was liberating.

seeing family in TN
cousins playing in early morning in NC
packing for the beach was so easy -
pastels & white all the way! #type1
Southern Outer Banks, NC, we loved you!
3. Packing for and taking our trips to the beach in North Carolina in June and seeing family & friends in AL, MO, and TN in July. Our kids got to experience new places -- the Busch stadium in STL, the Atlantic Ocean in NC, and spend time with family we don't get to see very often, not to mention celebrate a great-grandmother's 100th birthday! I was so glad to also see some of my friends in different states--it was so good to reconnect and spend time together--really, truly good for the soul! Also, wouldn't you know that a perk of learning my type also allowed me to pack better? Everything just "matched"!

It's almost hard for my mom-brain to believe this,
but sometimes we went on two dates a week!
What were we thinking!? :P
4. Going on dates! Since we didn't have deadlines or super tight schedules, Greg & I were able to take advantage of our college-aged babysitter who was "off" for the the summer and schedule lots of on-the-spot dates. I do not take that time for granted!

5.  Lots of Stroller Strides -- even in the humid Florida heat.  Our Summer get fit challenge really challenged me by getting out of bed in time to get there...but it wasn't too early that I still couldn't "sleep in" a bit. ;)

6.  And for as on-the-go as we were, also having downtime to do stuff like this:
Watch the World Cup or a Rays game, or even possibly go overboard on reruns of House Hunters. Hey, I'm just sayin'!

Now that we'll be back to a bit of a more normal schedule, I can feel myself gradually getting back into the groove.  And I won't lie, it felt good to pull up to that school Tuesday morning, not just for my child, but also for me.  It'll still be a while before it really feel like fall in Florida, so I'll continue to hold onto the last remnants of summer while finding my new pace this school year. That splash pad is still calling my name!