Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Fun

Tell me when you were a little kid you never did this:

There's nothing like being chased by a sprinkler!

Especially when the dog joins in!

Little brother stands guard by the sandbox. Just in case. 

And baby brother is just too young to play.

But big brother gets it.

Here's to a fun summer!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It Doesn't Get Better than This!


Baby feet are so delicious!

Of course this is pretty sweet too.

And then there's the chubby little fist...

... and the adorably fat legs.

And this!

This sweet little guy is 6 weeks old already! 

That happened way too fast.

Photos edited @ picnik dot com.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We have a big strawberry patch in our garden. 

It was planted last fall so the plants are just getting established. Despite this, there are some huge red berries that we've gotten to enjoy recently. They're SO much sweeter than store-bought berries!

But I've noticed that something has been eating, well, taking nibbles of the ripe strawberries! Can you imagine?!

Well, today I caught the thief. Any guesses?

Rabbit? Bird? Mouse? Raccoon? Skunk? Small children?


It was this guy:

That's it, Jude! Those berries are coming out of your allowance!

Anything (or anyone) uninvited eating goodies from your garden?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Days are Just Packed


Watermelon juice dripping down your arm, corn in your teeth, a sunburn, bug bites.
Watching fireflies, weeding the garden, going to the pool.

Did you ever read Calvin & Hobbes? You know, the comic about a little boy (Calvin) and his stuffed animal/imaginary friend (Hobbes)? 

I guess we've been doing more than waiting for the perfect water balloon shot. We have been trying to get out more and enjoy summer! There's the garden, area parks, a community pool where we bought a summer pass, the library...

And of course there's the whole major-life-change what with having a new baby in our lives! 
That baby is 6 weeks old! 

While we're past the stage where you're so sleep-deprived you can't see straight and beyond the point where you're lucky to get a shower, it's still an accomplishment to get everybody anywhere, or just keep the peace throughout the day! One wall is painted in the baby's room. The stripes in the boys' room are 95% done. (It's been like that for months!) The house isn't as clean as usual, and the potatoes are hidden by weeds. 

My point is, the days are just packed! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nursery Update

A month ago, right before baby came, I hung board & batten in the nursery. This is how it looked the last time I blogged about it:

Days before my due date, you could have found me caulking and painting in the baby's room. Silly, I know, but I think it kept me sane! At least I had something other than my huge, uncomfortable girth and impending labor to dwell on! 

Here's how the walls have looked for the last month:

Pretty, eh?! (Ignore the paint samples!)

I finished painting the crib two days before Baby was born!

I love how it looks white!

I added this blue Tiddliwinks Transportation bedding after we were home and I had the energy for it. I found it about two years ago on Craigslist for $20!! My older boys have a few pieces from this set (which used to be sold at Target) as well.

So what's next?!

Finding the perfect shade of blue for the top half of the walls!

I have a favorite already!

But am I buying new paint? No way! I just painted J1 & J2's room a couple months ago. That wasn't the right blue, but by mixing a little of this and a little of that, I found it!

Really. It's one part dark blue + one part light blue + two parts white. Or was that two parts light blue + one part dark blue + one part white? Oh no!

Monday, June 13, 2011

4 Weeks Old & Some Answers

Yes, this is another baby-related post. I promise my next post will be about something else! Well... it's about the baby's room, so maybe not. 

Oh well!!

He's a really easy baby and we all just ADORE him!

At the last check, Baby weighs 13 lbs! I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight (which really isn't something to brag about, but hey, at least it's not worse)! 

I'm feeling much better--even better than the last trimester. I have to take it easy still, as I can over-do it without much effort. Those nighttime feedings have fallen into a pattern somewhat, so I'm getting better sleep at night. What a difference that makes!

I hate to think about all that happened 4 weeks ago today. (If you missed it, you can catch up by reading J3's Birth Story.) Thank you for your kind words of encouragement in the comments!

I thought I'd take a minute to answer some of the questions I've been getting. I usually answer questions by responding individually via email. But since I've gotten the same question at least 3 times and since some who comment are "no reply" bloggers, here are some answers!

Q: How do you feel about home births now?
A: Home births are awesome! We had a great experience with J2's birth. (Read his story here!) However, giving birth at home is not for everyone. (While you're at it, you might as well read J1's Birth Story to get a good idea as to why we chose a home birth for J2 and J3.) If you have any high-risk factors, I wouldn't recommend being at home at all. Part of choosing a good midwife is learning what their policies are regarding emergency situations. In our case, we knew we would be transported to the hospital if anything went wrong.

 Q: Were you under a doctor's care during your pregnancy?

A: No. I saw a Certified Professional Midwife and a Direct Entry Midwife acted as our doula. 

Q: Did you have gestational diabetes?
A: No. I had bloodwork done regularly, both by my midwife and by a local diagnostic center. There were no indications of diabetes. My 2nd baby was 9 lbs, 12 oz so that should have been a clue!

Q: Would you do it again?
A: Honestly, I don't know. I always pictured having 4 kids... at least one of them being a girl. I could follow a diabetic diet and hopefully have a smaller baby. Or I could go back to an OB and schedule a c-section. Or we could adopt. Or we could just stop with our 3 adorable boys! There's a lot to consider--my age, my history, my motives, my heath, my husband's opinion... And I just had a baby, so I'm going to give it time! Who knows?! 

Thanks for hanging in there with all of this baby business! Tomorrow I'll post an update on the nursery!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

J3's Birth Story

I've been putting off this post. 

Baby J3 is three weeks old but I'm not looking forward to reliving his birth! It includes phrases such as "heart tones not good", "not recovering well", "baby is in distress", "emergency back-up", "ambulance", "call 9-1-1".

Ok, well, now I guess I have to finish what I started!

I had really really hoped to have this baby early. I'm not sure what gave me that hope as my first two babies were both over a week late! On Saturday, three days before my due date, I started having contractions but they were mild and inconsistent. On Sunday I remember being grumpy and annoyed because I wasn't in labor! I did stuff around the house--including sewing a couple pillowcases--and tried not to think about having a baby!

But that afternoon the light contractions started up again. I timed them and realized they were a lot more frequent and consistent than the day before. My husband was very excited and set up the birth tub, then we made a couple calls to our midwife and the boys' babysitter to give them a heads-up.

I continued to have contractions all night. I took a hot bath before bed to try to relax, but I wasn't able to sleep. I think it was more excitement and trepidation than the contractions. They were still consistently spaced but not very strong. I knew though, that I was in early labor.

I woke my husband at about 4 AM. Well, I didn't try to wake him but he heard me get up to use the bathroom. He started filling the tub, put on some relaxing music, and at about 5 AM he called our midwife. She asked some questions, gave us some advice and sent our doula out to our house. At 6 AM my husband called the babysitter and woke the boys. He dressed them and gave them breakfast while the doula checked my progress, made me some tea and had me eat some nuts and toast. The babysitter came shortly after 7 AM and I was glad when my husband was able to be with me again! 

Things get progressively foggier after that! The contractions were more painful, but I was able to handle them by relaxing and breathing. I was very encouraged that it wasn't my first birth, that things should go faster the second time, that perhaps baby was turned the right way and I wouldn't have as much painful back labor as last time...

But then my water broke and all of a sudden IT HURT!!! Contractions were longer and more frequent too. I wanted to get in the birth tub to try to relax and not be in pain anymore. Our doula helped me undress (when my water broke I was laying in bed and it went all over!) and got me into the tub which was in our bedroom. I had to stand up and walk from the bed to the tub at the end of the bed and it took a lot of concentration and I had to pause through several contractions as I went the short distance. 

No sooner had I gotten in the tub than the doula wanted to check the baby's heart tones. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when she waited through a contraction and checked again. Baby wasn't recovering well. 

Baby's heart tones were low.

About this time our midwife got to our house. They had me get out of the tub and lay on the bed in various positions, none of which were comfortable or decent for someone only wearing a bra! Feeling humiliated was the last thing on my mind; all I could think about was my baby in distress and how. much. it. hurt! 

We started talking about hospitals. And ambulance rides. And calling 9-1-1.

We live 45 minutes from the hospital. On a good day if you speed a little! I don't know which was worse, the pain or the fear! The pain kind of helped me deal with the fear, you know? I knew I would do whatever it took to keep my baby healthy. 

I won't try to pretend, and this is the hard part to write; I was scared our baby wouldn't survive. I knew 45 minutes was too long to go without oxygen. I didn't know if I would survive if our baby didn't--from a broken heart if nothing else! But remember I was in too much pain to voice any of this, or to really dwell on it. All I could do was pray and breathe and cut off all circulation to my husband's hand! 

Seriously, I have never prayed so hard! I was begging God for a miracle--not to stop the pain (although that would have been nice!) but for our baby to be born soon and healthy.

EMTs started coming sooner than I thought possible. And more of them than I thought possible! In my haze I would have guessed 20 people responded to that call! My bedroom started filling with strangers, mostly men, and I was still only wearing a bra. Can you imagine?! I was finally covered by a blanket which stayed with me as the ambulance came and I was strapped to a gurney and wheeled out of my house and into the ambulance. They let my husband ride in the back with me after he put his foot down that he was staying by my side. I'm so thankful for that!

So imagine with me, being in hard labor with barely a pause between contractions. You're mostly naked, surrounded by strangers in an ambulance and you have no idea how your baby is doing. You're strapped down, they've given you oxygen and started an IV and you just know you're headed in for another c-section when you'd dreamed of a natural birth. 

And then you have the urge to push and you're told not to. And you know the hospital is still more than half an hour away.

I remember thinking that I wish I knew how to make myself pass out. I seriously wanted to be unconscious! I was looking forward to that horrible shot they give you before a c-section, because then I would be numb! 

The EMTs warned me as we approached the hospital that we had to enter through the front doors of the labor-and-delivery unit. I felt sorry for the other moms who would see me and be scared for what lay ahead for themselves!

The emergency room we went to was, again, filled with strangers. This time they were all dressed in blue. Once the hospital staff took over, my stats were taken again, baby's heart rate was taken (still low but not in serious danger), and my progress was checked. Good news! 

You're fully dilated! Go ahead and push!

I was moved to a regular delivery room instead of surgery! My prayers were being answered!

Our doctor was amazing. I completely trusted him. The nursing staff was efficient and helpful, especially the head nurse. I really appreciated her!

It took another 45 minutes (it seemed like about 3!) and the help of the vacuum, but our baby was born at 11:16 AM on May 16, one day before the due date.

And then I heard a cry! Another miracle! It's a boy! And he's perfect! Even though I was braced for it, he wasn't even taken to NICU! I was holding my perfect baby just minutes after he was born! All is well! 

Did I mention he weighed 10 lbs, 15 oz? Hence the difficult labor!

Sure, it wasn't the birth I had envisioned. There was much more trauma involved than I ever want to have happen again! It hurt way more than I expected and there were things I wish hadn't happened. But they did. I had hoped to hold my baby immediately after he was born, I didn't want his cord cut right away, I certainly didn't want the vacuum or the (seemingly) hundreds of stitches down there, and I wanted to be HOME! But my baby was healthy and safe and in my arms. 

Thank God for miracles!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A New Normal

Baby J3 is three weeks old today! 

He is an easy baby and we all just adore him. Still, this has been a big change for our family and we are all adjusting to our new "normal".

My Mom was able to be here for 2 1/2 weeks! What a blessing! Besides keeping our tummies full and our laundry baskets empty, Mom did so much in taking care of the older boys -- and got her share of baby snuggles!

Of course when Mom's here we don't just sit around the house. Oh no! 

We went to Starbucks and Subway,

played in the rain, at the park, and in the pool, 


 got a new bear, went on a carousel ride, celebrated birthdays one last time, had a picnic... 

And got used to the new US: A family of 5!


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