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Monday, June 26, 2017

Survival Mode: Newborn + 3

I have written SO MANY blog posts since Samuel has been born, in my head. I really hate that I don’t have an efficent way to post from my phone because by the time I have 3 minutes to get on my computer I’ve forgotten the funny/sacrastic/deep thing I wanted to blog about!

Which brings us to where we are at currently: Survival Mode. The newborn period (honestly, for me it’s until somewhere between 4 and 6 months) is just survival – are all of the humans who live here dressed (defined as having some article of clothing covering their body, I’ve given up on matching)? Fed (defined as having consumed some amount of food for the day)? Bathed (on a somewhat regular basis) (you can define “somewhat regular” for yourself)? Obviously I knew having another baby would throw off our routine and force us all into a new normal but it is feeling like a very long journey to “normal” as we’ve had SO SO MUCH happening since Samuel was born I find it hard to belive it was less than 3 months ago that he joined us. I know lots happens on an ongonig basis in a big family but seriously, since he was born on April 9 the following have occurred:

  • Gianna’s birthday
  • Easter
  • Gianna’s first communion
  • Gianna’s softball season started and ended
  • Gianna and Aleesia finished dance and had their recital
  • Mother’s Day
  • Mine and both of my sister’s birthdays
  • School ended for Gianna and Aleesia
  • Father’s Day
  • Dance camps
  • VBS
  • Vivian’s half birthday (very important!)
  • Mike got a new job
  • Several different doctor, dentist and chiro appointments
  • My sister’s baby shower
  • I ran a race
  • And more that I am sure I am forgetting!!

It’s been a little overwhelming just making sure the laundry is done and the dishes are clean in a timely manner let alone the other regular and irregular things that pop up. And I really did forget how demanding it is to basically live your live in 2-hour increments between nursing sessions. And those 2-hours really turn in to about 1-hour by the time he’s done nursing, burprd, diaper changed, I’ve gotten myself a drink or gone to the bathroom or something.

I have so many pictures to share, things to discuss and/or write down for memory keeping purposes, questions to ask and not enough brain power/energy/time to do all that I want. I am constantly reminded in a variety of ways to give myself grace, re-examine my expectations and re-evaluate my “needs” versus my “wants” in order to make the most out of our life/time/etc.

I haven’t even had time to make birth announcements of his seriously AMAZING newborn pictures (maybe some day I’ll share a few!) but I do intend to do it and send them out even if they are 3 months late!

Every single day is a new challange managing 4 different personalities/needs/wants/requirements. We are starting to really see some differences based on age (8 year olds do NOT like to do things that 4 year olds do, as I am regularly reminded as of late) which just adds a new challenge to overcome. The girls do SO GREAT with Samuel and they also do great with the chores/responsibilities they each have – they don’t always like when Samuel cries or helping aroudn the house, but they tolerate it and get things done (with many prompts at times, but still) which is a huge help to me even when they don’t do things “my” way.

Overall, I think we are doing ok with this whole family of 6 thing so far– my voice is louder and my patience is thinner than I want it to be more often than I’d like to admit but we do have a lot of good moments and we do our best. No day ends without apologies for whatever didn’t go right that day, hugs, kisses and I love you’s and prayers for a better day tomorrow.

This really IS the life I never knew I wanted, even when I’m barely hanging on!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It's A...... {Baby D 4.0 birth story part 2}


(Part 1) [warning, there are some tasteful, but could be considered graphic, birth pictures to follow]

So! The whole room was prettty unprepared when I said the baby was coming - including Mike and my mom!

Our midwife said "are you sure?" checked and said some version of "yep, you're sure - that baby is coming!" Nothing was ready in the room - in fact, I was still wearing those awesome mesh underwear and a pad - that was super fun to try to get off in a hurry!


Once we took the 90 seconds or so to get as situated as possible I could push when I wanted to. I stayed on my left side the whole time because that was most comfortable. I remember thinking "there is NO WAY I can lay on my back right now" I held up my right leg and honestly, the contractions did all the work.

I remember hearing about these "pushing contractions" in our Bradley classes years ago and let me tell you something, the body does such awesome work. I was really deep in my own head at this point and so laser focused on the end game - I let the contractions do the majority of the work and just waited it out.


My midwife let me dictate all of the parts of delivery - I pushed when I needed to and listened as best I could. She reminded me that my water hadn't broken yet so she might ask me to stop pushing to avoid getting sprayed in the face! Honestly I don't remember a lot of what anyone might have said to me or what I might have said, but I think I was pretty quiet and again, focused.

There weren't many contractions that happened and I passed right by the ring of fire. Maybe because the sac was still intact, delivery didn't hurt at all - in fact, it was the least amount of discomfort, kind of like birthing a water balloon paired with relief.



I couldn't believe how easy this delivery was, I didn't even break a sweat! I had a single, brief moment of thinking "come out now baby" but then I felt that squirmy little bottle wiggle on out!



One of the things we (I) really wanted was for Mike to announce the sex of the baby. He probably said "it's a boy" three or four times before I really "heard" him.


And then Sara said "reach down and grab your son"




And then it hit me. A BOY BABY!


I looked into HIS eyes, stared at his sweet face and instantly declared "He looks like Vivian" and thought a million times, I can't believe it's a he!




As of 4:01 am on April 9, 2017 this boy was in our world now.


And he needed a name. We had a few ideas for names but Mike was in charge of picking. A few names sort of immediately didn't fit and we were between two. We stared at him and said the names a few times until one fit the best. It was something we agonized over for months and suddenly it was the easiest choice in the world.


I grew this child - a child I really, truly wasn't sure would come to be after the journey to get pregnant this time.




But here HE was. In my arms, safe and sound.






We prayed so hard for this - for the safe passage of another tiny human into our family. And that prayer was answered so abundantly and in ways we couldn't have imagined.






Samuel Michael - what did we ever do without you in our lives? 

Gianna's birth story
Aleesia's birth story
Vivian's birth story

*all photos by the awesome Christine at Bella Rose Photography 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ready To Meet You {Baby D 4.0 birth story part 1}

As I neared the end of my pregnancy I was still feeling fantastic – large and in charge, but overall really great. As happens when have several other humans to care for, I really just wanted to make it through a few appointments and meetings and a work deadline before this baby arrived. Once I hit those few things, a few days before my due date, I was ready to have a baby! I had been practicing regular meditation, using essential oils and trying to maintain a positive mental attitude in preparation for labor and delivery.
As with Aleesia and Vivian, I was planning on going natural and declined any cervical checks until I was 39 weeks, half expecting (assuming?) to be at 4cm, have a membrane sweep and go into labor shortlly after. Except that I was only about 2cm and while I did have her sweep my membranes at that appointment and it made some contrations happen, I wasn’t really that hopeful afterwards. I tried not to be frustrated, but I was a little bit. I had made it through all of my “must do” things on my list, was feeling great but still ready to know if this was a girl baby or a boy one! To appease my frustrations, I did a fun comparison of baby bellies – this one got lots of boy votes!
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The next day, a Friday, was my last scheduled work day and I spent my lunch walking around the mall with the kiddos! Still not super helpful in the “get baby out” game, but we tried out the new double stroller and the girls gave it 2 thumbs up! And Mike and I were able to get a little mall walking date in because my mom is super awesome.
On Saturday morning Aleesia had a class at the Y, then we went to a community easter egg hunt, and dropped the older girls off at the request of their grandparents.
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While the big girls were gone and the little girl was napping, I decided to grab a smoothie and try to fall asleep to some meditation. I’d been practicing meditation and using essential oils throughout this pregnancy, so it felt like the right thing to do. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t having a baby yet, so I told myself to rest/relax, the baby will come when the baby wants to come, and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was having contractions. I laid there for a little while and the contractions kept coming – I knew for sure this was the beginning of the real deal.
Mike was supposed to work that night, so we got things situated on that end and the girls taken care of (thanks to awesome grandparents and aunts!) and headed to the hospital around 6:30/7.
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We were in triage for a little while and a few of my blood pressure readings were higher than normal (because they were at the beginning of contractions!) so I couldn’t walk around, which frustrated me. At one point, they tried to tell me they wanted me to go home for early labor and come back and I basically told them hell no! Before they had a chance to discharge me, my contractions got stronger and the resident decided to recheck me for progress and I was at 5cm – it was most definitly baby time!
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We got into our delivery room about 11:30/12am and I was so ready for this. I met our midwife, Sarah, for the first time and was so excited by her calm presence – I knew this was going to be great. By the time our awesome birth photographer got there I was in a good groove – contractions were coming strong and steady and I was able to focus through them without much of an issue.
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Between them I was still feeling great!
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We walked around to keep things moving along. You can tell the progression of contraction strength by the progression of how I look – hair went up, jacket and glasses came off!
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There was a point when I felt the contractions coming along stronger and faster at which point my midwife came in and I asked her to check me for the first time.
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I was starting to head deeeeep into labor land and losing my words. As she was checking things, I started to feel the transition-shakes coming on. She told me I was at 7cm but I knew that was about to change quickly.
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I worked my way through a few contractions sitting up and out came the uncontrollable labor sounds – I was trying to keep my body relaxed but it wasn’t easy. I rolled to my left side which I knew was going to be really uncomfortable so I was very thankful for the calm voice and hand massage from my midwife to get me through it.
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She sat with me for 2 contractions and was getting ready to leave when on that third contraction I felt the baby crowning to which I yelled as calmly as possible “baby is coming NOW, I need to push” to a very unprepared room!
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