Wednesday, January 30, 2013

(Almost) Back to Normal

*The other day we were sitting down to lunch, and I was laying Anna down in the swing, still in my pj's, when David let out a big *sigh* and said, "Mommy's back to normal." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Since having the baby, you're back to normal now." At first I thought maybe he meant that the belly is gone, but the timing of his comment made me realize: he's an observant kid, and things have certainly been a bit crazy around here for the past couple of weeks. But it is starting to feel like things are back to (a new) normal.

*I'm feeling much better this week, able to function like a normal person. There are still some lingering things to work out over the coming months, but I can do what I need to do. What a relief.

*Brian goes back to work tomorrow. Again, I know: SPOILED. I have just started feeling this week like I am ready, I think I can fumble my way through the days and get by. I'm mostly worried about being sleep deprived (I'm only getting 5-6 hours of sleep at night, not in a row, and no more naps once Brian goes back), and getting Katy and David to school by 9. I just know how early I will have to get up to get showered, nurse the baby, and get all of them dressed and fed and out the door. Yikes. But it will be ok.

*Anna feels less like a mysterious newborn and more like a baby that I know and love. Here's what we've figured out about her so far:
- She's smiling at me, I SWEAR. When I pick her up and talk brightly to her face, her face lights up and she smiles. Most amazing thing ever...
- She fights going to sleep, really fights it. I can't count the number of times she's been fussing, fussing, fussing, and we are all going, "What is wrong? She just ate? She's got a clean diaper?" and then 2 minutes later she's sound asleep. Also many times in the middle of the night I will lay her down in the bassinet and she's still squirming and grunting and whining and I think, "Oh, shoot, she isn't asleep, she's going to wake up..." but eventually she goes to sleep like that. Interesting.
- Once she is really asleep, she can sleep through anything (part of this is her age). But 2 brothers wrestling and crashing bulldozers right under her swing? Snoozefest...
-She loves to sleep on her tummy, which I only let her do during the day when I'm in the room with her, watching.
- She likes to swing, sleeps swaddled, and uses the pacifier just to get to sleep and then spits it out.

*I sorted through my maternity clothes to give away/donate/sell, and it's pitiful what I have left. I think I had twice as many maternity clothes as regular clothes. The good news is that I've saved several gift cards for just this occassion. But I'm torn whether to go now or hope to loose a little more weight first...

*David tried the Tae Kwon Do class yesterday, and Katy ended up doing it too (free trial). They both really liked it, but I don't know yet what we will do. The timing of the class is the only time of day that I have all 4 kids with me (between 4 and 5pm), and it is stressful to me to think of dragging Luke and Anna over there twice a week and trying to keep them happy and distracted on the sidelines. Plus now with Katy liking it, it would no longer be reasonably priced to pay for both of them. (I could certainly tell her that she can't do it, this is David's thing.) If we knew someone else doing the class, I would love to take turns watching younger siblings/going to watch the class with another mom. But I don't think I know anyone. (???)

*Katy reached her GS cookie goal (not the t-shirt, she picked a lower goal). She's had a really hard week or so at school. I won't go into details for the sake of her privacy, but it's been stressful, and I was relieved for an uneventful drop-off this morning.

*Luke is NOT going to know what to do with himself when Brian goes back to work. Those two have been serious buddies the past few weeks. They have played non-stop. He's going to have Daddy withdrawal tomorrow.

*We've loved this 60 degrees the past couple of days, even with the rain. It blows my mind to be able to walk to get Katy at school in January!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tidbits: 2 weeks of Anna edition

-Anna is 2 weeks old, and it feels so tough to find the time to update here. But if I don't record it, these days become a distant blur that is lost forever. So here's what the last 2 weeks have been like.

-The boys had a mild cold right when we came home from the hospital. It wasn't even worth mentioning except that I was immediately worried that Anna would catch it. She's now been congested for 5 or 6 days. Luckily it's all nasal (I would be worried if she were coughing), but it adds further challenge to eating and sleeping, neither of which are a walk in the park right now anyway. I have really enjoyed the January baby thing so far (it's so cold that I don't mind being holed up at home for weeks on end) except for the germ factor. My heart races every time I hear the words "flu epidemic" and I feel paranoid that the kids will bring something home from school that will be dangerous for her. But I know I need to relax. She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces at her 2 weeks check yesterday, so she met the goal of regaining birth weight.

-I am completely humbled by the generosity of our friends and church community here. First of all, a group of 7 ladies that I am so fortunate to call my friends (Beth, Kate, Wendy, Adrienne, Marianne, Liz, and Angie) got together and cooked a freezer full of meals for us, then brought it over and filled up our freezer. Then other moms from my MOPS group have started bringing hot meals at dinnertime a couple of times a week for the next few weeks. My friend Jenni (hi, Jenni!) brought a FEAST the other night plus gifts for the baby AND the big kids - it was amazing. We are so thankful for the support of our family and friends.

-Brian is still off work until next Thursday. I know I am spoiled for him to have this much time off, but I literally don't know if I could do it without him at this point! I am just now starting to feel like I could physically handle all the drop offs and pick ups that are required in a week. I don't know if I'm a wimp or what, but the physical recovery for me is always really rough, and I actually think it has gotten more difficult with each delivery. So many (very familiar) aches and pains. And nursing STILL hurts like crazy, even 2 weeks out. I'm really hoping that feels better before I'm left on my own. But everyday is a little better, and I feel SO much better than I did this time last week.

If you'd like a new friend, place Anna on your chest and settle in. She'll love you forever.

 -Sleep is still quite challenging at night, but slowly getting better. Brian swears that it was this difficult with our other kids, but the blog archives say that they were all at least doing several stretches in the bassinet at night by the end of the first week. Not Miss Anna - she's not a fan. For the whole first week we were taking turns holding her in the glider all night. As of now, she's been doing one 2-hour stretch in the bassinet each night, then sleeping the rest of the night either in bed with us or in the glider in my arms. I keep wondering if it has anything to do with her being born at an earlier gestation? Or it could just be her temperament. Either way, we're a little bleary eyed.

-We had a little bump in the road on Tuesday afternoon. Luke was walking up the stairs and somehow tripped and fell. I'm still not clear what caused it, but somehow he gashed his chin. As soon as I saw it, I knew it needed stitches because it looked pretty bad. I am SO thankful that it happened while Brian was home so he was able to take Luke to Urgent Care and I could stay home with the others. Brian said Luke did amazingly well getting 5 stitches (cried when they had to hold him down but once they got started stitching he just stared at them). They don't seem to bother him much now, so I'm hoping that they will heal nicely and be done.

Katy adores this baby. She says things like, "Turn her face away from me, because I canNOT resist kissing those cheeks when she gives me that look!" She did not hear me say that, you know? That is a sincere expression from her heart, it's amazing how innate it is to love babies.
-Remember how I was thinking about martial arts as a potential activity for David to give a healthy place to outlet some physical energy? I just got an email from a place 1 mile from here that's starting a new class, reasonably priced, for his age group in February. And there are 2 free trial classes next week. The timing might not be great (do I want to add an activity to the schedule right now? no, I do not.) but we might try the free class. David hasn't gotten to do anything that was just for him before, so we'll see. 

-I swear Anna is almost smiling at me already. Her face lights up when we coo at her. She's so stinking cute, and I am constantly struck by how amazing newborns are. So tiny, so innocent, so precious. I know this will be over before I know it, so I want to appreciate it as much as I can, despite the aches and pains and sleepless nights.

From my mom, obviously (if you know my mom).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Birth Story the Fourth

(Usual disclaimer...I like to record birth stories for my own future reference. It's not gory or anything, but feel free to skip this post if you aren't interested.) 

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

4:00am: Our alarm goes off and we finish packing and quietly sneak out to the car. My Dad and Sue are sleeping in the playroom prepared to take the kids to school and carry on the normal Wednesday routine.

5:00am: Arrive at hospital and check in. They say there are a few babies being born so there will be a little bit of a wait.

6:00am: We continue to hang out in the waiting room with 2 families that have been waiting for baby news in that room for 10 hours and 24 hours, respectively.

7:00am: Finally get called back to our room (wondering why we got up at 4am)...

8:30am: IV is started, monitors in place, water has been broken and pitocin started. 3cm dilated (same as I was the week prior in the office)

9:30am: Contractions are 2-3 minutes apart, but manageable. Strange as it seems, I am watching episodes of Sister Wives on the iPad (Netflix streaming) to pass the time.

10:30am: Contractions are getting stronger, I'm having to work through them, and I'm 4cm. I tell the nurse that during Luke's birth, I was stuck at 4cm for several hours, but then went from 4cm to baby in less than 2 hours. She says that is common with subsequent pregnancies, because your cervix sometimes thins all the way out before it opens up. Interesting...

11:30am: The intensity has picked up pretty quickly, so I decide to ask for the epidural now. Since I had challenges with the epidural during David's birth, I am nervous to be late in labor while they are trying to insert it.

12:00pm: Epidural is in and working, no complications this time. This feels like a major hurdle crossed to me. At one point she said "this is the part where you might feel a sharp pain shoot down your leg..." (like I had with David) "'s not concerning, no big deal..." and right at that moment I gasped and scared Brian and the nurse to death as the shooting pain happened again. But my bp didn't drop this time, probably because she had explained that it was fine. As much as I love the results of the epidural, I really hate the process of getting one.

12:30pm: She checks me again and I'm 4.5cm, 80% effaced, position -1. I feel discouraged because I thought I'd be farther along given the intensity of the contractions.

12:45pm-2:15pm: I rest on my sides, reporting to the nurse that I can still feeling my contractions (about 3/10 on pain scale), but they seem to have slowed down to about 7-8 minutes apart by my estimation. I tell Brian that I am worried that I won't have the baby before 5pm and my doctor will have gone home and I'll have to have whoever is on call. Disappointing.

2:15pm: Nurse comes in to check me and I'm hoping to have made some progress, but I'm worried that the epidural has slowed things down. The nurse says, "Girl, you're a 10! Time to have a baby!" So I went from 4.5 to 10cm in an hour and a half, and apparently I was only feeling about every third contraction (strongest ones?) because holy cow, I can't believe it's time to push!

2:20pm-2:46pm: Waiting on the doctor to arrive (she has to drive from her office a couple of miles away).

2:49pm: Doctor arrives and gowns up.

2:53pm: While she's still putting her gloves on with her back turned, she tells me to push through next contraction. I'm thinking, "Are you ready to catch?" but follow her instruction.

2:54pm: She turns around and shrieks because the head is out and she isn't ready to catch.

2:56pm: Baby Anna arrives into the world and is placed on my chest. I am so happy and relieved that she's here - it's such a surreal experience. She's beautiful and healthy and perfect.

3:00pm - 5:00pm - Anna was able to stay with me in the delivery room (no being sent to the nursery like the boys), and for the first time of all my kids - she latched on to nursing and ate for 45 minutes straight in the delivery room. I couldn't believe it!

5:00pm and later: They monitor me closely and give me some extra medicine because of the issues that I had last time, but everything looks good and I have a normal evening in the hospital with my sweet baby. Dad and Sue bring the kids to visit and I am so happy to introduce them to their new sister.

Overall this was my smoothest labor and delivery. It was such an answer to prayer. Also, 3/4 of my kids were born at approximately 3pm. It's a good time of day to have a baby.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cookie Time

It's Girl Scout cookie time, and my daughter is super motivated to sell. She has been talking nonstop about ways to increase her sales. She really wants to earn the t-shirt which requires selling over 200 boxes (double what she sold last year). I told her that we'll do our best but that might be a goal for when she's older and can go door to door.

Since Brian's not in the office right now to take the form in, he decided to write an email to the people from work who ordered last year, and let Katy compose the body of the email. I was so proud of her (while also laughing so hard) when I read the email that I just had to post it here. I suggested to her to add a little description of the cookies, and she copied some of that info from the form, but other than that she did this entirely on her own.

My girl scout cookies are going wild this year! Would you like some cookies.There is lots of kinds.Each box costs $3.50 .Here are the kinds.
Savannah smiles – lemon
Trefoils –shortbread
Do-si-Dos-Pb sandwich
Samoas-coconut  and chocolate
Dulce  de Leche –caramel chips
Thank U berry munch –premium cranberries!
Tagalongs-PB patties
Thin Mints-thin and minty!

How many boxes would you like?Thank you!                   P.S. THAY ARE GOOD!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chaos: Party of Six

Well! Here we are...a family of SIX. I don't even know where to begin to sum up the last 5 days. What a whirlwind of experiences it is to have a new baby. But overall I am so thankful.

Final belly shot - 39 weeks

I had asked people, here and on Facebook, to pray for us last Wednesday, and so many people responded that they were. I was quite anxious going into the induction, but it meant a world of difference to me to know that you all were praying. I felt so supported, like everyone was pulling for me, God was protecting me. It was awesome.

She wants to take care of Anna - BY HERSELF.

And He answered SO many prayers last Wednesday. I'll post a detailed birth story later (as much for my own future reference as anything else), but specifically, it was my most smooth labor and delivery of them all, things moved along quickly, the epidural went smoothly (and was effective), and I had no complications during or after L & D. Most importantly, of course, Anna was healthy, perfect, and beautiful, started eating right away (she latched on in the delivery room and nursed for 45 minutes!! That is a first for me), and the kids were able to come down and meet their baby sister. It was a moment that I will remember forever (and I actually have it on video, so maybe I will share it with you).

He has been SO sweet and SO proud of her.

Anna had a hard time maintaining normal blood sugars in the hospital, so we had to do some supplementing along with the nursing, and lots and lots of heel sticks, which was no fun at all. But once my milk came in, I was able to stop supplementing and as of today she has gained back 2 ounces so we are in business.

Melt. My. HEART. He was so sweet with her when he came to the hospital.

We came home on Friday. The pace of the household compared to the quiet hospital room makes my head spin. But it was really great to be home together all weekend, getting adjusted to the change, introducing her to family and friends. I think we were all ready to get back to school schedule this morning, though. The kids need a detox.

Dad and Sue took care of the big kids while we were at the hospital. Thank you!
Grammy came in and took over on the last night.
Pam and Craig and family came to visit - you should have seen the look on Jack's face when he held her.

I was looking back on old blog posts from when we brought Luke and David home from the hospital, and I had to laugh. Yep, pretty much all the same stuff I was going to say this time: I feel really cruddy, I'm fighting an infection (it's just better not to ask), nursing hurts like crazy, Anna has not slept in the bassinet YET, and we are taking turns holding her in the glider, but despite all of that, I love her like crazy and I am so incredibly glad that she joined our family. I know all that other stuff will be better in a couple of weeks, and then I will still have my perfect little sweetheart to hold and love and get to know as she grows.

Ready for home...

Constantly wanting to hold her.

So sweet that they made these signs and hung them up for her. They also brought up baby toys from the basement.

David's sign - he wrote the only word he knows.

A moment of open eyes.

In her happy place in someone's arms.

Now my mom is here for the week. Such a relief to know that I have lots of extra hands to help.
 Thanks again for all the love and support!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Welcome Anna Ruth

Born 2:56pm
Weight. 8lb 6oz

Brief update

Arrived at the hospital at 5am but did not get admitted until 7am.  They broke Emily's water and started pitocin by 8:30.  She started having more contractions right away and progressed to 4cm.  Contractions got stronger and around noon she was given a epidural.  Luckily the epidural went very smoothly this time and she is more comfortable now.  Currently we are at 4 1/2cm, 80% effaced and position -1 (whatever that means). :) 

Thanks for all your prayers please continue to send them our way!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Thoughts on the last day of pregnancy

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic...

I am being induced tomorrow, early early in the am. I am having all KINDS of anxious and emotional thoughts today. Labor and delivery is such an overwhelming thing to anticipate. And in some ways, having had 3 very different experiences before, it compounds my worries - because I am making this comprehensive list in my mind of all the things have been difficult/scary/painful in the past and hoping that those things don't happen this time (last Thursday I was "almost 3cm" so I hoping that my body is ready to go). But I am praying that this will be my smoothest delivery yet and as long as baby and I are both healthy on the other side, who cares what happens in the middle?

I am also feeling emotional because I intend (very strongly) for this to be my last day of pregnancy. You know, ever. Ninety percent of me is SO READY for this last day. Currently I am waking up in pain all through the night, wearing sneakers all the time to decrease sciatic pain, shaking the numbness out of my hands several times a day from carpal tunnel, fighting heartburn every evening, huffing and puffing up every flight of stairs, telling my kids that I can't carry them to bed or rock them in my lap to read a story, and only owning one pair of jeans that fit. I am really tired of the physical toll that pregnancy takes on the body, that I have experienced now for three and a half years of the last 7.


Today is also the last day that I will wonder with eager anticipation what a new baby will look like, the last time that I will feel those comforting kicks in my belly, the last time people will look at me with wide eyes everywhere I go and say, "How much longer?" or any number of other things that people say to a woman with a big belly. It will be the last time to post/send that first baby picture over text or Facebook with the stats, and smile with each person who offers their congratulations. The last time to hold a baby for the first time, to experience the surreal sensation that you are the person who offers her the most comfort. The last time to see your kids' faces as they meet a brand new sibling.

So I'm ready for this last day, but it's still emotional. I know that there are SO many fabulous things to look forward to in the lives of these four children - there's really no room for being melancholy when I have been so blessed. Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery for my and baby, and check back tomorrow for updates!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Little Bro, about to be Big Bro

When I think about the big change that's about to happen to our family in 4 days (!?!?!!), the child who will certainly be most affected is Lukey Loo. The poor kid, very much the baby of the family, has no idea what is about to happen. And I am holding my breath to see how he is going to react, because he could make our lives pretty darn miserable if he chooses to do so.

After several weeks of forward progress in potty training, I was so excited when he went for a whole week - even the week of Christmas when we were all sick and he was having serious, um, digestive issues - with NO ACCIDENTS. At home, but still. I couldn't believe how great he was doing.

Then his tummy was taking a long time to balance out, and it was as if he just...gave up. All the sudden he was just peeing and pooping in his underwear and then telling me to clean it up. Then he was complaining of being sore because he got a rash. I was cleaning up some very nasty messes several times a day and feeling very frustrated because just days before he was accident-free. And I know this song and dance - been through it with the others - they have all had big set-backs after I thought we were doing really well.

So we took a step back yesterday and today and went back to keeping Luke naked all day, and he went back to no accidents. Without the security of the underwear, he isn't willing to make the mess.  So like many other things in the baby and toddler world, it's two steps forward, one step back. But as long as we're continuing to move forward, I'll take it.

His language is through the roof lately, which gives me a little peek into his heart and makes me love him all the more. The other day we were at a friends house and ate waffles. He came out of the bathroom and said to me, "I need wash my hands. My hands sticky. I can't reach water!" I couldn't believe that he articulated all of that so clearly - it's nice to know exactly what he wants and why he is frustrated.

Hopefully this will help me to understand him as we navigate a new baby sister this week. We moved the glider from his room into our bedroom - the corner nursery. The only time we rock anymore is if he wakes up crying in the middle of the night (not often). But today we were walking past our bedroom and he pointed at the glider and said, "Hey! That's not nice!" So I said, "What's not nice? Did we move your rocking chair into our room?" And he said, with a pouty lip, "yeah."

Oh, Lord, help me to help HIM to know that he's still my sweet little baby and I love him to pieces, even if I can't give him as much of my attention in the weeks to come. I know he will be a great big brother...eventually.