Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hazel and Charlie's Birth Story

Is it silly to share this? It’s a pretty cut (yay foreshadowing!) and dry birth story…and we all know I’m an over-sharer— it’s pretty much all been posted on social media. I live in fear that one day social media will disappear, and there go my pictures and captions and comments to remind me of the crazy days leading up to the delivery of the twins. For the sake of posterity, I'm adding it to yet another corner of the internet. 

September 2017, I’m 31 weeks pregnant with boy/girl twins. Up to this point my pregnancy— especially a twin pregnancy— had been pretty uneventful and uncomplicated (albeit enormous). 

I have a history of preterm births, all right at or less than 37 weeks, so I was receiving weekly progesterone shots. I had noticed an increase in discharge over the course of several days, enough to need a panty liner, which I've never needed before. After consulting with my mom friends and my family, I decided to head over to labor and deliver to get checked out. 

It was a Saturday, so I drove myself while Tim stayed home with Henry— Emma and Molly were having a sleepover at Mooma’s house. Once I was in triage, Dr. K did the test to see if my water was leaking and performed a physical exam. The amniotic fluid test was negative, but I was dilated to 3 centimeters, and the monitor showed that I was contracting. It was nothing too uncomfortable, but enough to dilate me another centimeter to 4 centimeters.  

It was at that point that Dr. K decided to admit me. She sent off another test which could indicate if your body is going to go into preterm labor (it says I was), gave me a steroid shot, tested me for GBS and started me on a magnesium drip. It seems like a whole lotta precautions, right? After all, some people walk around at 4 centimeters dilated for weeks while pregnant. 

But I had a few things working against me. 

First, I had a history of precipitous labors and pre-term deliveries. My other kids came fast and on the early side. Second, twin pregnancy! That automatically puts you at higher risk. Third, my sweet twin A, Hazel, was in the breech position with her foot down in my cervix (rude). This was discovered on the ultrasound they performed while deciding whether or not to keep me in the hospital. 

Footling breech status pretty much sealed the deal in regards to me being admitted. The doctors fear was my water would break and Hazel’s cord would prolapse, which means her cord would fall down into the birth canal before she herself comes out, cutting off all of her oxygen, creating a very scary situation. Taking all of that into account, my doctors decided it would be best to admit me 'for the foreseeable future'. I finished my magnesium drip (that stuff is horrible!!) and was moved to the antepartum unit where I would spend the next four days. 

Spending 5 days in the hospital when you are feeling pretty much okay is a special sort of mind game. The nurses wanted to limit my walking, confining me to my room or getting around in a wheel chair. Antepartum is a quiet section of the hospital— it’s pretty boring… until it’s not. My days were filled with visits from my mom, Tim and the kids. We crafted, we made wreaths, and I even learned how to cross stitch. The instructions on my dry erase board in my room literally said 'sleep'. 

The nurse came in twice a day to check vitals and I had a non stress test every morning. The doctor on call would drop in either at the end or the beginning of their shift— I was the low patient on the totem pole with all their other patients having babies. According to one of my doctors, they labeled me as the 'problem child' during my time on antepartum. If Hazel was butt down and not foot down, they would have had no problem sending me home. Her foot is what was keeping me in the hospital. 

The biggest challenge for me during my time in antepartum was being stuck in the hospital with 3 kids at home. The day to day logistics were so hard to manage while away from home, not to mention that it was a fresh school year for all 3 kids. I felt incredibly disconnected from everything, and it sent me into tears the second morning I was there.  Like I said, staying in antepartum was a mind game. One of the biggest reasons I didn’t completely lose it is the nurses and staff at the hospital were amazing; so sweet and caring. I can’t really say enough about the people who cared for me while I was there, they made the experience a positive one for me when it could have easily not been. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017 rolled around, day number 5 on antepartum. I was finally getting use to the idea of being there for the long haul. I mean, I was only 31 weeks! These babies still had another 6+ weeks of cooking to do. 

By now I had received my second steroid shot. The night nurse, Amy, was doing her initial checking of vitals, etc. when she noticed my IV was leaking. Amy examined my arms and veins and decided it was okay to take the IV out— if an emergency came up and I needed an IV, she felt confident I would be a quick stick. Amy enjoyed the fast pace of labor and delivery and I got the impression antepartum was not her speed. 

With the IV out, I was ready to watch some Fixer Upper and head bed. But at 11:00 pm I woke to my water breaking. Like, the Niagara Falls of water breaking (this coming from a three-time water breaking mama). I’m surprised my hospital bed didn’t float away. 

Knowing that Hazel’s little foot was down and the chance of her cord prolapsing was so great, I lay perfectly still while I paged Amy to tell her my water broke. Of course I go in to active labor mere hours after getting my IV out! After this, things were pretty rushed (I'm sure Amy was delighted;-). Dr. Yoon came in to check me, and sure enough... he felt a tiny little foot which got me a one way ticket to the operating room.

I managed to let Tim and my mom know that the babies were coming and we were off! I'll never forget this— and she probably doesn't know the impact this had on me— but as we were rushing through the hallways, Amy said something along the lines of, "Antepartum may not be my thing, but this is!  This is what I do." And with that, all the anxiety and fear I was feeling went away.

After having three vaginal deliveries, the thought of a c-section scared me big time. This was my first time in an operating room, and Amy's words were just what I needed at just the right time. In the operating room, I received my spinal and was prepped for surgery. Miraculously, Tim made it on time! Within minutes of Tim's arrival, Dr. Yoon began the c-section and we were about to meet our twins!  

At 11:57pm on September 14, 2017, Hazel Fox was born breech, just under an hour from when my water broke. She let out a squeak and was whisked away. At 11:59pm— one minute from having a different birthday than his sister— Charlie Richter was born head first and let out a loud scream. Hazel required a few breaths to get going on her own, but other than that, they were doing amazing for 31 weekers. I was able to see them both and kiss their faces before they were taken to the NICU. 

The twins spent the next 36 days in the NICU, which is a whole other story for another time. It was a life changing experience for me and something I'm so thankful I got to experience. 

I can clearly see God's hand and His divine intervention throughout this entire story.

From the specific people he placed in my path, to those nudges from my friends and family to go in to labor and delivery for what I thought was a fluid leak.

While my story was unfolding, so was Katie's story. She gave birth to baby E who was also a NICU baby. She was admitted to the hospital the night I went into labor and was taken to my old room on antepartum as I was delivering the twins. It wasn't until we crossed paths a few times in the NICU that we met each other and started connecting the dots. She is my NICU soul sister. We both experienced something that is super scary but also amazing. I've gained a friend for life in Katie. This entire experience has given me a whole new perspective— something that could have very easily unraveled me, made me a better and stronger mom. 

The twins are now almost five months old. It's never taken me this long to type up a birth story but, as I'm coming to find out, doing anything with twins just takes longer.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Orange Rhino

What better reason to resurrect and dust off the good ol' blog than to share with everyone my resolution for the new year.  I hate to even call it a resolution.  I don't do resolutions.  This is really just something I want to change and it just so happens to fall on the new year.  I figure the more people I tell about this change I'm making will just be more people to hold me accountable, ask me how it's going, etc.

I've turned in to a yelling mom.  

There.  I've said it.  I'm not sure when it happened.  Maybe sometime between kid #2 and kid #3?  Not sure.  But, my default when stressed, annoyed, frustrated, tired, etc. is yelling.  When kid #1 needs homework help and kid #2 won't touch her dinner she JUST asked for and kid #3 just wants my lap--all this after a day of working, coming home to a house that isn't clean and piles of laundry.  All I can manage to do is yell my responses, bury my head in my hands and hide my face.  Then, I look up--kid #1 is un-phased, she's used to the mean mom, kid #2 is looking at me like a deer in headlights and kid #3 is still begging to sit in my lap and wants me all to himself.  This has been the scene in my house most school nights.  There are so many scenarios I could tell you about but I'm afraid you will think worse and worse of me.  Times when we've been at Target and Molly was not keeping up due to stopping and looking at something that caught her eye--I snap.  When Emma works so hard on her homework and all I can seem to focus on is her handwriting and how it needs to be better--I snap.  I'm gonna stop now.  You get the point.  

The night I decided to stop yelling, I was laying in bed after a day of yelling and snapping and was scrolling thru Facebook.  This image was in my feed:

It was like a smack in the face.  The pit that was already in my stomach from feeling guilty about the day, turned in to a pit of not only guilt, but sadness, regret, pain--you name it.  I was replacing the sad face of this child with my children's faces.  Y'all, it rocked me to the core.  It was that moment I knew I had to change.  I wanted to change.

I'd heard of the Orange Rhino Challenge in the past and decided to look it up.  There is a book, an app, printables, support groups--you name it!  It was created by a mom who was a yeller.  The challenge is to not yell at your kids for 365 days (or however many days you chose).  I have rallied with a few other moms who also wish to stop yelling and we've created a safe place to share our struggles, accomplishments and to support one another.  The web site,, has these printable coloring pages for the kids to color.  I'm printing them out tonight and will be talking to my kids about my new goal.  I plan to humble myself before them and apologize for being a yelling, sometimes scary, mommy and ask for their forgiveness.  I'm going to tell them how from now on our house is going to be a peaceful place where we won't use yelling to say what we need to say.  The creator of this challenge also broke down the different levels of yelling--yelling if a kid is in danger and to get their attention is ok, just so y'all know.  My goal is to talk to my kids like I would talk to a stranger on the street.  I would never imagine yelling at a stranger on the street--and how much more important are my kids to me than a stranger on the street?

A few days after committing to this challenge, I looked in Emma's prayer box.  This is something she got for Christmas and I love the idea!  It's a sweet little box for her to write down prayers on paper and to keep them in the box.  Never did I imagine the impact it would have on me when I bought it for her.  This is what I saw when I looked in:
"I pray that I will not get in trouble today."

Another rock me to the core moment.  I honestly believe this was God's icing on the cake.  It was Him showing me that I'm making a good decision and that everything will be okay.  My kids are my most treasured possessions.  My investment in them, their happiness and their self-confidence is one of the most important investments of my life.  God gave me these three little souls--not to break them down but to build them up.  I will do everything in my power to do that and to never be the yelling, scary mom again. 

As far as accountability, I give any of you who made it this far permission to text, message and post on my wall "Orange Rhino!" as a reminder.  In fact, I ask that you do it!  The more Orange Rhinos I see the more often I will be reminded why I'm doing this--to see more of those sweet smiles in the picture above instead of deer in headlight faces. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Henry is ONE

Poor third child.  I think I've blogged about Henry three times in the past year.  His birth story, 8 weeks and 4 months.  I was talking to my younger sister the other day (there are three of us and I'm in the middle) and she pointed out our baby books.  Our older sister's was filled out in detail, mine a little less but still some substance and her book--apparently she filled it out herself when she was 5ish.  Poor third child. 

It's not for lack of interest in his development and milestones.  It's just that I'm a mom of three kids ages 7, 3 and ONE.  With workschoolhouseworkhomeworkdinnertimenursingbabygrownupjob and only 7 days a week to do all the things.  **Henry, if you're reading this 20 years from now please know, just because I didn't document every detail of your first year in this blog doesn't mean I love you any less than your sisters, m'kay**

Moving on...let me break it down for you.  Here is a snippet of Henry aka Buddy aka Bub aka Hank aka Hank the Tank aka Smoosh aka Little Baby Boy (that is what Molly calls him).

"mamamama" and "dadadada" but I don't think either are in context.  He babbles a lot but for the most part, he grunts.  Such a man, amiright?!

Henry loves to feed himself, dive bomb off the sofa (only when under the watchful eye of daddy), get to his hands and knees and rock, pull on the dogs fur,  pointing, playing peek-a-boo and playing copy cat (where he does something and we copy--cracks him up!).  He is almost clapping and will mimic the signs for 'more' and 'all done'.  He will also pull himself up to his knees.

not doing:
Henry is following the foot steps of his sisters and is less interested in gross motor skills.  Baby boy could feed himself the tiniest piece of food at 5 months old (fine motor) but crawling, fuhgeddabouditHe's done a few knee shuffles forward but he does not see that as a way to get around.  He's got a pretty impressive reach when he is trying to get something he wants.  He will also not take steps when holding our hands.  Again, the whole gross motor thing.  He has better things to do.


We feed Henry everything we are eating.  He will pretty much try anything but has his preferences.  His most favorite food ever is frozen blueberries.  They are messy, but my boy loves them!   Other favorites are cheese, yogurt, apple sauce and sliced turkey.  Notice there is no mention of vegetables.  He is not a fan.  He will eat olives and carrots occasionally.  We have made the transition from formula (started supplementing him when I went back to work) to milk.  He does still nurse.  Honestly, I'm sort of over the nursing...but he still seems to really enjoy it and want it.  Also, it's mostly in the evenings and at night time.  Molly pretty much weaned herself around 13 months.  I assumed Henry would do the same.  I'm okay nursing him for a little longer but I'm close to ready to be done.  I will probably let him nurse as much as he wants through this cold and flu season and then really work on tapering the nursing sessions down.  As it is, it's just a few times a day.
He is solidly in 18 month clothes.  We have some 24 month and 2t clothes that are in rotation that aren't terribly big on him.  He is big...but I see him slimming down in the face and belly (see collage below).  He wears size 5 diapers.  I have no idea what size shoe he wears.

eh....what can I say about the sleeping.  It's not horrible, but it can be better.  He goes to bed between 7 and 8 in his crib.  Some nights he wakes by midnight or 1am and comes in to bed with me.  Other nights he will sleep until 5am and then come in bed with me.  Once in bed with me, he nurses off and on but mostly sleeps.  I've started offering him his paci instead of nursing and that usually keeps him content for a while.  I would say, on average, once in bed with me, he nurses 2 times before we are up for good in the morning.  He wakes up between 6 and 7 am.  If it weren't for those middle of the night nursing sessions, he would probably be weaned.  But, I'm too lazy to try to change that up right now--so he gets the all you can eat buffet at night if he wants it!  And y'all, don't come at me with, "oh, you need to stop that", "you're creating a bad habit", "you will never get him out of your bed", "he is using you as a pacifier", etc.  All that may be true...but you know what?  I don't care!  Tim and I get our alone time one way or another and it just doesn't bother me.  I'm fine with it.  I went through this exact thing with Molly...and you know what?  We survived.  So for now, I nurse and snuggle and soak up this boy because next thing I know he's gonna be big and opinionated and will want to rough house with daddy and will think girls are gross!

As for naps, I think he is working on cutting his afternoon nap.  He has started falling asleep later in the morning and in turn not being sleepy enough for his afternoon nap.  Overall, he's a good sleeper in my opinion.

He has 5.5 teeth.  Two on the bottom and 3.5 on the top.  The half on top has been like that forever.  He seems to handle teething pretty well.  There are some days where he will be fussy and I totally blame the teeth, but for the most part, he takes teething in stride. 

I seriously can't believe he is ONE.  This past year has flown by.  I literally remember everything about the day and night leading up to his birth (holy OUCH!).  I look back on his first eight weeks of non stop crying and don't get twitchy and anxious, but instead smile that we made it through.  Our family grew in so many ways with the addition of this little man.  He is the last baby and we are moving on to life with a toddler and growing these kids up!  I get so excited at the thought of our family of 5 and what the future holds.  I don't make it secret that Henry was a BIG surprise--a very welcomed one--but a surprise nonetheless.  Every life is a gift and a blessing and we are so thankful for our Henry Arthur!

Happy birthday, sweet boy!  Mommy, daddy, Emma and Molly love you so much!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweet Bella B

I've always been a dog person.  Growing up we always had dogs and/or cats.  I don't think I've ever lived in a home without an animal.  Fourteen years ago, when Tim and I were freshly in love and living together, we decided it was time to expand our family.  We spent weekends visiting the local animal shelters looking for just the right dog.  That's when we met Duke.  He was a wild, sweet, energetic puppy.  After having Duke for about a year it became clear he needed a friend.  He would get pretty anxious when Tim and I would leave the house and that resulted in tearing apart the sofa and getting in the trash can.  I wanted a baby puppy.  We got Duke when he was around 6 months old so he was big.  I wanted a small puppy with that sweet puppy breath.  Every Sunday I pulled the classifieds out of the News & Observer (*gasp* there was no Craigslist back then) and looked for free puppies.  I came across an ad one Sunday for free lab mix puppies.  That's what we were looking for so (with much convincing from me) Tim and I were off to check out this litter of puppies.  When we got there the puppies were all outside running around.  I would have taken them all, but there was this one...I think she picked us out instead of the other way around.  This sweet black-faced, fuzzy, clumsy little puppy ran straight up to Tim and I could tell then he was sold. 

We named her Bella.

We brought her home and she and Duke were best buddies from the get go.  Duke immediately stopped acting out.  Besides the potty training, Bella was the best little girl.  She had these quirks that were so endearing to Tim and I.  She had to have a ball in her mouth to go on a walk, whenever one of us would come home, she would pick up a shoe and bring it to us to greet us, she would do what we called "clean" with her nose--if there was some dog food on the ground she would rub it with her nose and push it all in to a pile.  She was the most lovable, soft, good-smelling, high maintenance dog around.  Up until having kids she slept in our bed with us. Usually up above Tim's head between him and the headboard.  She loved to play catch, go on car rides and swim.  Although she had only been a few times, she loved the beach.

And then we had kids.

Bella welcomed home each and every baby we had.  She was always so sweet and docile with the kids.  She never tried to be the alpha dog and was always very submissive.  Life got busy and our focus and attention was more towards the kids than the dogs.  But Bella was always there to greet us at the door--up until the last year or so--with a shoe.  She was always ready to walk when she heard the noise of her leash--until she couldn't hear anymore.  When we would walk into the room we would always hear the *thump, thump, thump* of her tail--until she could barely see anymore.  She was a constant companion.

And then the cancer took over.

Bella had a growth and it was clear to the vet it was cancer due to how fast it was growing.  It was too big to remove plus it wasn't recommended on a 12 year old dog.  She was not given a certain amount of time to live so we took it a day at a time.  This past year Tim selflessly took care of his pup doing things that would turn my stomach.  He treated her with dignity up until her last moments.  He proved to me that his big ol' daddy heart goes beyond his human kids and fully extends to his fur babies.  He carried her frail body up and down the 12 steps to our house to use the bathroom.  He bandaged her tumor when it would bleed.  He cleaned her when she would have accidents on herself...all of this while still hugging her and telling her what a good girl she is.

And then she was gone.

I'll never forget the day.  It was my birthday, actually.  I went home for lunch.  Tim was home watching the kids.  Bella was in her spot in the kitchen sleeping.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  But once I got back to work Tim started messaging me telling me that Bella wasn't walking or eating.  He was offering her all the yummy stuff from the fridge that she would normally flip over and she wasn't eating.  He knew it was time.  He later told me that she had been telling him with her eyes all day that it was time.  I came home for work to stay with the kids and Tim took her in.

And just like that...our companion for 13 years, a part of our daily lives, a living breathing part of our pack was gone.  How do you explain to a 3 and 6 year old that Bella isn't coming back from the vet with daddy?  How do you look at her spot in the kitchen and not expect to see her?  It's funny how use to something you get and not even realize it.  Bella was just always THERE.  The days following Bella's death were filled with tears.  This is the first time our family has grieved together over something.  This is the first time I've lost something very, very close to me.  Bella was a part of mine and Tim's lives for 13 years.  We've been together for 16 years.  The majority of my relationship with Tim has had Bella in it.

It's been over a week since we said goodbye to our sweet Bella B.  The dog food is lasting longer, there is half as much fur for me to sweep/vacuum and the house only smells a little like dog instead of a lot.  I don't expect to see her when I walk by her spot in the kitchen.  I have a picture of Bella in a silver star shaped frame that had gotten buried under kids artwork and other miscellaneous stuff over the years.  I'm glad I was able to find it because it's sitting front and center on our side table in the living room now.  I smile every time I look at it.

Honestly, as much as I hated battling the fur, I would take the fur any day if it meant having her back.  She was the best dog our family could ask for and we miss her so much.

Until we meet again Bella B.  We can't wait to play ball with you in Heaven.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Henry : 4 months

Can I bottle this baby up and keep him this way forever?  Seriously, Henry is a pure delight these days.  The first eight weeks were tough, but, Henry has done a 180' from that fussy baby we had in the beginning.  He went from being our fussiest baby to probably our most content and happy baby.  I consider the baby he is now as my reward for those first eight weeks :)
He has this bouncy chair that we call his "man chair".  He will sit in that chair completely relaxed watching the business of our household.  He will occasionally yell at a passer by, but for the most part, we are guaranteed some time to be able to get things done when he is in his man chair.   He has started to reach for the toys that attach to his chair.  He reaches for anything you put in front of his face.  He's getting pretty good at his hand/eye coordination.  Whatever he grasps he doesn't hold on to for too long, but long enough to get it in his mouth one good time.

The Man Chair

Here are some highlights on Henry right now:

Wearing:  Some 3-6 month clothes but 6-9 fit him the best.  He is in size 3 diapers.
Eating:  He is mostly breast fed.  He gets some supplemental formula on days I work (3 days a week) because I just can't pump enough for what he wants when I'm away.  He's been a monkey lately with the nursing.  He will be contently eating then all of the sudden he will pop off, look up and me and smile so big...then latch back on as fast as he can...wash, rinse, repeat several more times.  He is so cute!
Saying:  Coo, Goo, Guh, Gah, Oohh :)
Doing:  Like I said above, he is getting really good with his hands.  He grasps things and brings them to his mouth.  He loves to shove almost his whole fist into his mouth.  He getting better about staying up on his elbows during tummy time but tires easily.  He has rocked up onto his side from his back but we don't have a roll yet.  Honestly, I don't expect him to roll anytime soon.  Neither of his sisters rolled too much.  My babies are just not concerned with the gross motor skills.  While laying on his back he moves/kicks his legs so fast.  It looks like he's running in the air.  He also bangs them down on his chair.  He has also just started to get the hang of jumping in his jumper.  I think that's going to be big fun for him.

Sleeping:  Henry is an amazing sleeper.  Just a few weeks ago he started sleeping through the night.  I was pretty shocked but am going with it!  Molly didn't do this until she was a year old.  He goes down between 8 and 9 at night and usually sleeps until around 6 in the morning.  He takes two solid naps during the day and one or two cat naps here and there.

Here's Henry's official 4 month stats:
Weight~17.3 lbs
Head Circ~43.8 cm

And to compare:
Weight~17 lbs
Head Circ~41 cm
Weight~16.10 lbs
Head Circ~39.5 cm

A few things Henry loves are:
his mama, sisters and daddy
his Mooma and Doodad (they watch him while I work)
being talked to and having a "conversation"
holding your finger
when you touch his toes to his mouth
when you move his arms around and make him dance
looking in a mirror
going for a walk
watching the world from his man chair
bath time
mama snuggles (when I nurse him)
being in his carrier (most of the time)

Henry smiles if you just look in his direction.  He's always ready to talk.  He won't complain when a sister smooshes his cheek with a kiss or hugs him a little too tightly.  He doesn't mind the occasional head band or accessory when Emma and Molly are playing dress up.  He is the happiest, sweetest little love who will gaze into my eyes, grab my face and pull me in for a kiss whenever he gets the chance.

Henry Arthur, God knew what He was doing when He loaned you to us.  You have filled our house with so much joy and have completed our family.  We love you so much, little guy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

8 week synopsis

My, how our lives have changed in the past 8 weeks.  It's been 8 weeks since Henry joined our pack (we're a pack now...all five of us).  A few words to describe the past 8 weeks would be:


I thought going from one to two kids was hard...but that was a walk in the park compared to going from two to three.  At least we had a home to go home to this time instead of a hotel (with Molly).  But it was during a winter storm.  Nothing is ever easy when it comes to bringing home my babies apparently. 

Henry is probably my fussiest baby.  At first I was determined to find an answer.  Was it something I was eating, gas, reflux, not sleeping enough, colic, forceful let down, eating too much...?  Was it the difference between boys and girls?  Could he sense my anxiety building when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying?  But whatever I tried and worked one night wouldn't the next.  My few standby's have been gas drops, Gripe Water and shower running in the steamy bathroom.  One of the first nights home Henry was fussing.  And wouldn't stop.  I was trying to snuggle Molly on the couch (which is our THING) and she got up, left me and went and snuggled Tim in our room!  I cried and cried :( Of course at that moment I was convinced I ruined everything and my "normal" was gone.  How would I ever make our home feel "normal" with a fussy newborn who demands all of my attention, a middle child who has fallen through the cracks and a six year old who seems even more distant from me because we've added yet another kid to the pack and she is basically fending for herself? 

The first few weeks were HARD.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  Looking back I can easily see the way God provided for me JUST when I needed it.  My husband taking the baby when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying.  My mom coming over and cooking dinner.  My sister stopping by after school drop off and holding Henry so I could do something without a baby attached to me.  My in-laws taking the girls overnight or out on quick "dates".  Dear friends bringing over meals. Midnight chats with my sister in Japan and her reassuring me that everything will be okay.

Eight weeks in and I actually feel like I can say we are turning a corner.  The house is staying a little more clean, the girls have gotten some dinners that aren't cereal, everyone is getting bathed a little more frequently (including me) and Henry is giving us some happy, awake, content stretches.  I am starting to see what life with three kids will look like for our family.  It helps when you set your goals and expectations pretty low for the day.  It also helps to wear your baby so your hands are free to help with homework and make dinner.  Slowly but surely I'm getting my groove back. 

As for Henry--he is the cutest little thing I've ever laid my eyes on.  Like I said, he is having more alert stretches where he loves to look around and watch what's going on (usually his sisters).  He is giving us some adorable smiles and cooing.  He's a mama's boy but will contently sit with daddy for a few minutes.  We are working on establishing a better nap routine and in just the past week he's started sleeping by himself in his pack and play for a few naps.  Sometimes he will go up to 2 hours for a nap which is awesome.  Today is actually my first day back at work and I'm reentering the world of pumping at work--it's a labor of love I tell ya!  I'm lucky to have an employer who is very accommodating.

The past eight weeks started out a bit bumpy, but I feel everything evening out.  It feels good.  I'm actually thinking I can do this!

*Henry goes in for his 2 month check up in a few days.  I can't wait to see how much he weighs.  I feel like he's doubled in size!  Stay tuned :) 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Henry's Birth Story

I downloaded Blogger on my phone just to get this birth story on "paper" while the details are fresh in my head.  

This story starts on Monday, February 10th.  I had been having cramping during the morning but it was nothing painful--just uncomfortable.  Around two in the afternoon I decided to call the nurse and fill her in on what I had been experiencing.  With my history of fast labors she thought it would be best for me to go to the hospital and get checked out.  I felt sort of silly going because I did not appear to be in labor.  No pain, no heavy breathing...nothing.  Once there it was discovered I was dilated to 3cm.  They told me to walk around the birthing hall for an hour and come back to get rechecked.  I did that and no change so they sent me home.  I got home around 6:00 PM.  I was still cramping but it wasn't any worse.  We had a normal evening and I figured we would be seeing Henry soon but not that night.  Around midnight the cramping got a little more frequent and intense.  After texting my mom and sister, they convinced me to go back in.  I woke Tim and told him.  He was in charge of calling his mom and getting her to our house to stay with the girls.  For the second time (while in labor-first with Molly) I drove myself to the hospital.  Back in triage and the cramping is ramping up a little.  Enough for me to need to focus on my breathing through them.  My mom got there before Tim and she and I chatted while listening to pandora.  When I first got there I was 4/5cm.   They gave me a birthing ball to sit on and decided to recheck me in a bit.  

*side note: I've lost all concept of time around now.  I just know the specifics of the nitty gritty of the delivery.  That's coming up.

When they rechecked me I was at 5cm.  They decided to admit me due to fast labors and a winter storm on the way.  We made our way to the labor and delivery room.  At this point Tim was here too.  I hopped back on my ball while nurses did a few things.   The doctor came in and asked if I wanted them to break my water.  This was new to me as my water broke on it's own with both girls.  I was all for this as I know once my water breaks things move pretty fast....little did I know....

I was still at 5cm when she broke my water which happened at 2:26am.  

Oh my dear.  The pain following the water breaking was unbearable.  It's pain I had never experienced before--even going all natural with Molly.  I was begging for meds.  Thankfully my nurse could tell what was going on and put me off.  

2:36am they check me and I'm complete.  I dilated those last 5cm in 10 minutes!  I continue to beg for meds, tell everyone how much it hurts, tell my mom to "shut up" (I don't even remember this), and basically act like some possessed crazy lady.   

They tell me to start pushing.  After 4 hard/long pushes, Henry was born at 2:47am!!

So from deciding to leave my house at midnight to when Henry was born it was 2 hours 47 minutes.  From when my water broke to delivery was 21 minutes.  

February 11, 2014
Henry Arthur
8lbs 6oz

I can't explain the emotions behind this labor and delivery.  The 21 minutes up to his arrival were the hardest 21 minutes of pain I've ever experienced.  When he came out the emotions were overwhelming.  

We are adjusting to being a family of five. It has only been 4 days (3 of which were winter storm days) so it will be a while before we find our groove.  

I'm just thankful he is here and healthy and LOVED by so many...especially his sisters.  

*I apologize for any typos.  It was hard doing this all on my phone.