Thursday, April 25, 2013

Felix's Birth

I'm almost hesitant to start writing this, less than 24 hours after my son came into the world.  A bit because I still feel in shock.  That beautiful wonderful shock that a new life always brings, no matter how much you've been anticipating and praying and wishing for it.  A bit too because I want to savor that wonderful day, already find myself playing bits back in my brain.  What a perfect entry you made into this world my boy (my boy!).

I woke up yesterday, Wednesday April 24, at 2:30am.  I came downstairs, putzed around for about an hour and forced myself back up to bed, weary of starting another long pregnant day exhausted to boot.  Ian got up with the girls and I rolled out of bed at 6:30, sat with my family, drank my cup of coffee, and began to feel very off.

I was having irregular contractions (nothing new or to note of late), but they were accompanied by radiating pain down my back and thighs and nausea.  I knew almost immediately that this was it.

I asked Ian to take Ainsley to school, knowing I simply couldn't make it in and out for drop off.  Louise and I tidied the baby's room and I let her play while I paced the upstairs hall, deciding what to do next.

Ian came home and helped me time contractions.  After realizing they were 2-3 minutes apart I called my midwife, Hilary.  She was downtown and instructed me to get in the bath to try and relax a bit, worried that things may progress quickly before she could get there.

While I was in the tub Ian made plans for the girls.  Sonya had a couple of work meetings that day so our wonderful friends Ruthie and Taylor took the girls after school and for the early afternoon until Sonya could pick them up.  I was so thankful for the peace of mind that they were well taken care of and they were SO excited for all the special fun they got to have that day.

Ian came back and the midwives started showing up.  Hilary, Rachel and Annie all settled in and I went about the work of keeping busy and my body moving.  Ian and I went on 5 small walks that day.  The clouds were lifting and the birds were chirping.  It was the most wonderful way to spend the second stage of labor.

In between our walks the midwives listened to the baby's heartrate and checked my blood pressure.  Hilary checked and swiped me once to help keep things moving.  I was 6-7cm around 1:30pm and we decided that after one more walk I'd get in the tub, Hilary would break my water, and we'd have this baby!

I was still in denial that this was all happening until just about his point.  I really don't think it hit me until I climbed into the tub around 3pm that our baby was coming SOON! NOW!

The tub felt amazing.  I was actually worried at first because I could hardly feel the contractions.  Hilary assured me this was normal, wonderful in fact because it gave my body it's last bit of rest before the big show.  So I took it.  I leaned back, closed my eyes and waited for it all to start.

And start it did.  Oh that first transition contraction.  Memories flood back, a bit of panic too I'll admit. The difference this time was I felt so in control.  I was able to talk myself down from my ledge and focus on my baby.  With each contraction I breathed as low as I could.  Tried to be so aware to concentrate all my energy and breathe on lowering the baby and opening my body.

I relied on Ian a lot. I kept my eyes closed and just raised my hand with the start of each and he gripped me hard to support my floating body while I relaxed every ounce of me that I could, save for of course the internal work of pushing a baby out.  I rested my head on his forearm and floated to and fro.  While still very painful and overwhelming it was the easiest third stage I've had.

And then the baby was ready and I was ready.  One big long contraction (I was told 3 minutes) and our boy was born.  As exhausted as I was and as much as it hurt I just pushed with everything I had and our boy emerged, kind of just like that.

Ian was behind me outside the tub so Hilary brought the baby up to me.  It's a boy! Ian proclaimed almost immediately.  I could not believe it.  Could not believe that he was here after a mere 10 hard contractions in the tub.  Could NOT believe that we had a son.  That I was holding my perfect pink crying little boy.  I cried a bit, Ian too.  I just sat there holding my son, tearing up, unable to believe it all.  That wasn't so bad! was the next thing I proclaimed in my state of new mother euphoria.  And really it wasn't bad at all, it was so miraculous and wonderful.

After a while in the tub holding my boy and delivering the placenta I got out and headed into bed.  Ian handed Felix back to me and he latched right away to nurse.  The next hour and a half was kind of a beautiful blur.  Phone calls to family, nursing, newborn exam, nursing, Grammy arrives! nursing, big sisters arrive! nursing.  It was glorious and the time simply flew.

After determining that the baby and I were healthy and well the midwives all gave us hugs and headed out.  The rest of the family descended for dinner while I snuggled my new, very wide awake boy.  We all finally crashed around 9.  Little Felix slept nearly 6 hours.  I finally woke him to eat.  So far he is the calmest sweetest little newborn.  The only time we've heard him REALLY cry was right after he was born and during the newborn exam.  He is such a sweet little peanut of a boy.

We are all doing well so far adjusting as a family of 5.  The girls are absolutely smitten with their new baby, wanting to hold him and kiss him and help with him all the time.  Especially Louise.  Ainsley is a bit preoccupied with her favorite person EVER right now (Grammy!) but Louise? Oh boy, she just wants to smother him with love (actually no, she's VERY protective of her new brother, even telling Ian to be extra gentle!).  Such a sweet big sister she is.  Ian of course is relishing in the role of new dad all over again.  I love that look he gets looking at his son.  Makes me fall in love all over again with them both.  As for me, I'm recovering well.  SO thankful to have been able to be up and about this whole pregnancy.  I'm trying my best to take it extra easy these first few days so that I feel as good as I can as soon as possible. I tend to overdo it in the beginning and pay for it big time later.  I'm learning!

I am giddy, so very thankful and still on cloud 9.  So excited for these next days with my mom and Ian home to take care of everything around the house so I can just rest with my little boy.  I love him so much.  We all do!

Welcome Felix.  You make our family absolutely complete.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

   Just in case you're waiting for...

sure signs that Spring is finally here...

your nursery (and last minute mama made goodies) to be 100% ready for you...

cloud and star mobile finally hung, hot air balloon "art" all ready

teeny tiny brand spankin new born knit cap

sister made wall art and quilted jacket

I am beyond excited for you to wear this little outside outfit

your sisters to be so very excited for your arrival (mostly to "dress you and hold you and sing to you and so that you can meet Grammy")...

your mama's tummy to be ready to burst...

me to have ample time to do a few things for myself (oh baby, so sweet of you really)...

pedicured toesies (and a very ready birth tub in the background!)

mmmm oatmeal strawberry bars

execution a clever plan to keep Ian away from my girly floral ones!

progress on my second Tea Leaves cardigan, this time with spring friendly cap sleeves, ooh and ample time to break in my new Toms

So you see baby?  We are all set.  Thank you thank you for this extra time that we weren't expecting.  But you are free to come any time now.  I thought it wouldn't hurt to let you know.  We can't wait to meet you soon!

  Your Eager and Waiting Family

Trail Blazing or, 39 Weeks Pregnant

Never ever in my wildest most dramatic pregnancy dreams did I think I'd be sitting here, still pregnant with my third baby, a week away from my due date.  Pretty much since the beginning when people asked when I was due I'd say "the middle of April", because in my mind? even that was pushing it.

These last two weeks have been such an emotional and physical roller coaster for me.  I've had about 7 legitimate false labors. The longest lasting almost 12 hours, the most recent one off and on for nearly 2 straight days, ending with an hour of contractions so intense that they made my face white and even Ian was convinced that "it was time".

But as always, it's not. And I don't understand.  You'd think three times in I'd know, but apparently I don't.  And now my previous worries of an early baby have been replaced by a whole new batch of uncertainties.  What if I wait to long when it's really IT and the midwives can't get here in time?  Is the baby just stuck in there or turned funny?  Will this labor and delivery be so much different because the baby is later? WHY HAVE I NOT HAD THEM YET?!?!?!?!

It is so utterly exhausting to think that you're baby could be coming at any given moment.  In a normal day now I wake up at 4:30 or so to contractions.  I get up to go to the bathroom and then my mind and body are all abuzz.  So I head downstairs, drink some water and putz around until the girls skip downstairs just as soon as that sun peeks over the horizon.  Then I'm mom for the day.  Even if I'm in pain or so so tired or contracting all the live long day I have that job to do.  So I do it, somehow fit in a walk and making some food, then relish in Ian being home and our evening together.  Once the girls are in bed I typically start having pretty intense contractions again.  My mind is too amped up to do much else other than take a bath and read a mindless book.  I go to bed early because I'm exhausted.  I wake up just about every hour to pee and rearrange myself in bed because my hips fall asleep and my pelvis is in incredible pain.

So yes, I'm still pregnant.  Still feel like this baby could be coming at any given moment, have no clue why I have not had them yet.  It's so bizarre to walk past the nursery, and sit down in the chair with them still in my belly and not in my arms.  I feel like i'm in the twilight zone, like I'm just kind of trudging/floating along until they're here.  then for a moment I can calm and cool it a bit, remind myself that they WILL be here soon and that all of this will make perfect well timed sense.  I have just never been so antsy in my entire life.  Soon?  Soon!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

38 Weeks

I was going to write this post on Monday, the day I "turned" 38 weeks pregnant, but I was in a bit of whiny I'm so ready to have this baby NOW! mood and it seemed grossly inappropriate to complain about something so trivial in light of the sad/scary events of the day in Boston.

And miraculously, now that I've let it sit I bit, I don't feel as whiny at all.  Mostly?  I just feel really really thankful.

Thankful that for the first time I get to experience all those terribly annoying "so, you haven't had this baby yet? what's up!?" "you look so ready!" "No way, still two weeks until the due date?!" comments from pretty much everyone I cross paths with.  Thankful that I'm still holding up alright.  That these extra days and weeks I wasn't planning on have given me time to get things done, be with just my girls, prepare so fully for this baby, rest and lounge a bit.   Thankful for every ginormous kick and punch and roll in my stretched to the max belly.  Each one a reminder of the beautiful strong baby we have coming our way any day now.  So very thankful for this pregnancy.  I really couldn't have asked for it to have gone better.

::also super thankful for new shirt purchases meant for post baby wearing that miraculously fit RIGHT NOW!!!!::

So am I done?  Oh yes.  I can't wait to sleep on my stomach again and wake up without excruciating pains in my hips and pelvis.  I am ecstatic to get back to running, walking even at a brisk and normal pace.  I so yearn to hold my family close to me, Louise snuggled comfortably in my lap, Ainsley embraced fully into my chest, and a hug from my boy that doesn't require me standing two feet away from him.  And it'd be nice to see my feet again.  I'm so very thankful for this season of slip on shoes.

::I cleaned this mirror two days ago, I promise::

Oh baby we can't wait.  I have my 39 week appointment all scheduled for Monday evening.  If we make it there? you'll have both of your big sisters beat in the gestation department.  Deep down I truly don't mind if you want to hang out a bit longer.  I can handle the discomfort and the slight inconvenience of a huge bumbling body for as long as you need me to.  It's just, I'm so very excited to meet you.  We all are.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waiting Game

I'm bored.  Am I allowed to say that?  Can it even be true?  Must be, because I am.  Any drive to do anything not related to this baby coming is nonexistent.  But once I admitted that to myself and let it go, it's gotten easier.

I'm remembering becoming a new mom so vividly these days.  Harkening back to those 12 days off of bedrest with Ainsley just waiting for her to come.  Being unsure about false labors, thinking my water had broken (then REALLY having my water break, how could I not have known?!).  But mostly the anticipation of how life was going to change, the excitement, the complete and total lack of control.  What a ride.

I also remember when she was a newborn, and as much as I loved her and being a new mom I already longed for her to be bigger, older.  I dreamed ahead to those days when I'd have older kids to pull me through those duldrum days that feel like all work and no thanks.

Well now I'm there, and I must say, it's amazing.  Somehow alongside being their mom and keeping up with our lives I've been able to get ready for this baby.  Little One's nursery is ready, diapers are washed and folded, new tiny bottles and pacifiers are bought and washed waiting.  Just today I finally tackled our bedroom, cleaned it to the nines, rearranged it so the tub will fit in one corner, our bed in the other, just waiting for our baby to be born there, welcomed there, loved to bits and pieces, right there.

diaper sorting

Now when I cook, I cook big.  Full, double batches of chilis and soups, roasts and casseroles, stashing the extras in the freezer for those first days when all that really matters is tending to our new family, though I suppose we'll still need to eat.

But I do plan on making at least one large batch of this baked oatmeal (recipe in we have a rhythm post).  Far and away the best oatmeal I've ever tasted. (Notes:: Added full amount of berries, mixed frozen worked beautifully, subbed 1% and half and half for the whole milk, worked just fine...Mmmmmm)

Really I am so thankful the baby hasn't come yet.  It's given me a few days (and maybe a few more, weeks even) to be a bit more me again.  Today I went for the longest walk I could manage (1.5 miles) while pumping my running tunes loud. I played a midday game of scrabble with my boy while my too big to nap everyday girls enjoyed snacks and Mary Poppins in the basement.  I sewed a bit for the nursery while my girls played "roast beast feast".  I cooked dinner with my girls, Ainsley making her first dish all by herself, even using a big girl knife to chop carrots (with close supervision of course).  It's been a wonderful day, a reminder of how great we are together, how simple and joyful and fun life can be.

"carrot pennies" from her new cookbook (they were delicious)

And really?  I'm just 37 weeks (ok, ALMOST 38), in theory, we could have lots of time.  I am thankful for this life of mine that keeps moving forward, for my family who needs me and supports me and is just as excited as I am for this baby to come.  Because this baby belongs to all of us, they're part of our unit, our clan, our brood.   And as antsy as I am and as hard as it is to wait, I'm doing my best to savor right now, because today has been pretty amazing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

37 Weeks Strong

I'm up early, pretty normal as of late.  But 2:45?  I guess that's what I get for going to bed at 9.  I think I may be heading back to bed in a bit.

On mornings like these it's nearly always my mind that keeps me up (ok, my bladder that GETS me up, admitedly).  There is just so much buzzing through my brain.  Some mornings it's quite hard to calm back down and settle.  Where to start?

These past few weeks have been rough.  If I haven't been worried about the health of everyone in my little family, I've been worried about going into labor early, or trying to keep up with all the housework that a sick house produces, or planning for this new little one coming any day now.  It's been absolutely exhausting.

This past week of terrible family stomach flu really did us all in.  We missed out on an entire week of school and activities thank to two very sick little girls, and later in the week, one very sick and pregnant mama.

But then somehow, just yesterday the skies parted a bit and sun shone.  My girls are both eating again, me too.  The laundry is mostly done and the baby things gathered.  It dawned on my suddenly and unexpededly that thanks to being so preoccupied with all that's going on with us, I've somehow made it to full term.  Just like that.

Starting out this pregnancy I was optimistic, but in the back of my head was prepared for, expecting even, a similiar scenario to my last two pregnancies.  Third trimester scares, preparations for a preemie, lots of bedrest, it had all become a bit standard.  But then I just kept plugging along.  Life with two little ones will do that to you I guess.  There wasn't a whole lot of time to sit and think about the ifs, I just had to do it, keep moving forward with life, and somehow my body and this new baby obliged me for once.  And here we are.  37 weeks strong.

While I've been telling everyone for weeks that "come 37 weeks I'll be doing jumping jacks to get this baby out!" now that I'm here I don't feel so desperate.  Sure I'm terribly uncomfortable, large and ready, but on the other, I'm not in a hurry just yet.  I so emotionally and physically drained from the past few weeks that i'm hoping this little one gives me a bit longer to resettle into life, get those few last things done, regain my strength and full health so we can do this right.

Because truly, family health trauma aside, I am in a bit of shock.  I can hardly believe that I am sitting here, full term, with a big healthy baby in me, just hanging out.  It's all I've ever wanted in a pregnancy and now I jsut want to enjoy that a bit.  Go for long(ish) walks without worrying it will put me into pre term labor.  Power through our days just a bit more, watch my girls play at the park a few more times before our little one joins us, strapped to my chest.

I hadn't expected this time to be so bittersweet, but of course it is.  Life is changing, a lot and soon.  I don't know the specifics of when or how, but I know it's coming, so for now?  I am so very thankful.  So many prayers have been answered.  I simply cannot wait to meet our baby, for that moment of triumphant pain and elation when they are born and our family is complete, for my girls to meet their baby brother or sister, for Ian and I to become new parents all over again.  But also?  I can, for just a bit more.  Because life is so sweet right now just as it is, and I want to savor every moment.

The many blessings of this long hard totally normal pregnancy are not lost on me at all.  We'll be seeing you soon baby, whenever you're ready, so are we.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Library to the Rescue

We've been utilizing the library even more than usual lately.  These long afternoons at home won't fill themselves!  i have never been more thankful for our little library, mere blocks away.  The conveience of requesting books online, browsing DVDs in person, a quiet calm place for my girls to get some social energy out and play, these are all good things.

As a result of all this library time I have some new finds I'd like to share.  This last batch of books and films was particularly choice, I can't help myself.


This may be my new favorite, ever.  A story of a little girl who makes a bedtime wish to wake up on a ship, then of course, wakes up on the cutest most adorable ship with her baby brother.  They spend the day on this magical vessel, ending the day cooking a sweet meal while a storm rocks them to sleep.  The pictures are simply magical, as well as the story.  The girls were entranced.  I'm in love.

I had never heard of this author/illustrator who makes mostly wordless books.  This one is so fun and great for those young counters.  Each page is a beautiful image of a growing little town, first with one of everything, then two, then three...on up to twelve.  We counted, we marveled, the illustrations stand up on their own.  Simply wonderful.

Of course we needed a little silly in our library finds and this one hit the spot.  A little boy receives a "tadpole" from his uncle for his birthday, but instead of turning into a frog it resembles a famed creature of lore much more.  It's funny and sweet and of course Kellog's illustrations capture attention and inspire imagination.  A new favorite for sure.

i'm always on the look out for good wordless books.  I find they are so wonderful for independent "reading", storytelling really for my little pre readers.  Louise in particular could just sit all day with a good book telling the story and this one of two siblings sharing in the joy of a rainy day is no exception.  We could stare for hours.  Spier's other books, People, in particular, are already favorites of ours.

Ainsley is in love with this book.  The cooky illustrations are so fun to look at, really they tell their own story.  She's very fascinated with teeth and this funny story of a unique show and tell experience appeals to her school aged self big time. A fun family read.


While I'm still not a fan of most little kid shows out there I LOVE good children's films.  We've spent many afternoons snuggled up watching old favorites of mine, finding new favorites for us all.  It's turned into a time I really treasure with my girls.  

We watched a bit of this classic up at my parents' cabin last summer and the girls were hooked.  They LOVE the songs and I love Dick Van Dyke so really it's a win win.  I haven't let them watch the end yet.  If you've seen this movie you know how kid inappropriate those last bits are (child snatcher in a kingdom with no kids?!?!).  But the girls could watch the first half with the songs and cute magical car moments over and over.

I found this at the library last night and was almost giddy.  We had this 1985 version of Alice in Wonderland on VHS growing up and I can't wait to share it (in parts, its 3 hours long!) with the girls.

Ah Totoro.  I think we've watched this film about 15 times since discovering it online a few months back.  I truly think it is the perfect first movie for any child.  The story is so magical and mild, not the slightest bit scary or dark.  Two little girls find a crew of magical creatures living in the giant tree in their woods and these creatures have a way of showing up at just the right times to cheer them up and help them out.  I wish I had a Totoro in my back yard.  I know the girls do too.

Do I really need to write anything about this one?  Nope, didn't think so.  Even Ainsley will tolerate the bits of "scary" for the sweet story and amazing underwater creatures.

Ahhhhh! Cinderella!!!!!  I'm still waiting on our copy of the Lesley Ann Warren version to arrive at the library, but we found the Julie Andrews version (below) and love it.  To me these are the quintessential Cinderella's.  It doesn't get much better than In My Own Little Corner in my opinion.  I'm so glad the girls like them too!

So there we are!  I'm so thankful today for all these fun finds, especially seeing as Ainsley is down for day three of this tummy bug (now complaining that her neck hurts...oh boy, I hope we don't have our first round of strep).  I just hope we're getting it all out before the baby comes.  My patience and waiting on people is wearing thin!  Thanks library, you've come to rescue again.