Saturday, March 18, 2017


I've heard from several different sources that once you have three, and can handle it, you can pretty much have as many kids as you want because at that point, what's one more? far, that's only partly true. It's been a rough transition in just a couple ways. And they're not terrible, really.

The church and our friends really stepped up this birth and we didn't have to cook any dinners for nearly two full weeks, which was so nice. That meant we didn't need much in the way of groceries, either, and what little we did need Austin could grab in just a few minutes in the store. We'd stocked up on snack type stuff and we had our own freezer meals so we're still sitting pretty food wise.

The tricky part was the fact that spring break started on Austin's second day back to work. It's always a little rough trying to keep them entertained when I have low energy, but throw in a newborn who I don't really want to take to many places and it's harder. Then add in that she feels like she should be nursing on a nearly constant basis and it's basically impossible. We watched a lot of Netflix (did you know that you can watch the entire series of Sarah and Duck on Netflix in one day? I do. We did it nearly every day this past week) and took naps in Mommy's bed and ate lots of Cheez-its and goldfish and leftovers and toast. We went to a doctor's appointment for Rebekah on Tuesday (she was at 8#3 at 12 days old) and a midwife check up for both of us (she was at 8#6 then), got lunch and cookies from McKay's and had a picnic on Thursday. Aunt Cari came back to help out on Friday and its definitely nice to have her here, she is for sure helping by getting the kids out of the house periodically so I can focus on Rebekah, but at this point, I have a slightly better handle on things. Slightly.

I'm definitely looking forward to Monday when the Es go back to CCF and Asher goes back to school and I can just be alone with Squishy and sleep as much as she'll let me (which isn't much).

Breastfeeding is going well, as her weight gain will attest to. She nurses seemingly around the clock. Overnight, she'll nurse for the majority of a two hour span every hour or so, which means I'm not getting much sleep at night. And since I've got other kids to keep alive during the day I can't nap very much then. I'm giving her a little longer to kind of get a schedule or get over a growth spurt but if she's going to keep up with this constant nursing all day every day, we're stopping. I can't do it. I seriously will nurse her for 30 minutes on each side and she'll be asleep so I'll take the opportunity to go to the bathroom, grab a quick bite to eat (toast or maybe a piece of fruit or something) and she'll wake up and be wanting to nurse again. Another 30 minutes on each side and she'll be asleep again but as soon as I lay her down or readjust my clothes, she wakes up and wants to nurse. She will literally nurse until she overflows. We've had some explosive spit ups where it comes out her nose and mouth simultaneously. She nurses through them. Austin will occasionally give her a bottle of formula to give me a break overnight and she'll sleep a few more hours that way, but then she wakes up and we start all over again.

It's just too much. I've never enjoyed breastfeeding to begin with, I do it because it's cheaper than formula and I do believe that breastmilk is better for babies than formula, though I think formula is fantastic, too. But with three other small children to take care of, I can't spend 6 or 7 hours a day tied to one small infant. It's a shame because she's my last, but it'll be ok, no matter what.

So next up is figuring out our summer and how we're going to survive that. I know things will be easier with Rebekah by then, but I still have to keep in mind the needs of the others. Finding things that aren't going to be super difficult for me to do solo with a 6, 4, 2, and 3 month old gang will be interesting. At least this summer we'll have MDO to help out and give me breaks during the week (weekends are easier since Austin's around). Should be an interesting summer.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And baby makes 6

Every birth and pregnancy are different, and for sure that's true for us.

Asher's pregnancy was stressful because of moving and a new job and his labor and delivery were fast and intense for a first time. Recovery was rough and breast feeding was basically a disaster.

Elijah's pregnancy was much more relaxed and easy, though his labor and delivery were insane. Recovery wasn't too bad, just a little tricky because there was an older kid in the mix.

Eden's pregnancy was a little hard because three pregnancies in 5 years is a lot for a body to take, or at least my body. Two active little boys, lots of discomfort, I spent a lot of time in bed at the beginning during the morning sickness phase and at the end during the "oh god when will this end?!" phase. Her delivery was just nuts and the recovery was so weird because of her diagnosis. My body shut a lot of stuff down for a time.

So along comes baby #4 and we really just have a general idea of what to expect. It wasn't hard in the beginning, just pretty typical, but the aches and pains were awful. At the end I was getting massages every two weeks just to be able to walk and sleep comfortably for a couple of days. We really thought she'd be early since two out of the previous three had been, so we had the freezer stocked in January and everything ready to go for birth by the beginning of February. And then we waited.

The first time I felt contractions was in the middle of the night on Valentine's Day. We got excited. We got ready. We let certain people know. Then they stopped. Then it happened again on the 16th. And then a few days later. For two weeks. I walked miles around downtown, even in the misty rain. I ate pineapple. I ate slightly spicy foods. I got a pressure point massage. I tried so many things to get her moving. She shifted down a bit but was pretty content to stay where she was. Physical exams didn't show much change in my body, which is always frustrating (even though I know it doesn't really mean anything).

So this past Thursday, the 2nd, at my appointment I was checked and things were actually a little more advanced. She was super low and things were opening but not super fast, so the midwife went ahead and swept my membranes. It's not a super comfortable procedure, but if it gets things going I'm all for it.

We got home around 9.30 and settled in to wait. Around noon, I realized I was having actual contractions that probably needed to be tracked. They were consistently about 10-15 minutes apart, but the previous two weeks had me on guard so I waited until about 3 to start letting people know. I was able to take a short nap through them, so I was a little skeptical they'd keep going. But thank goodness they did.

At school pickup, I told Asher to get dressed after changing out of his school uniform instead of hanging out in his underwear like he usually does since the baby was coming and there'd be people around. He said "Finally! It's been days and days!" A couple hours later I was getting a snack for Eden and Elijah came running into the kitchen and stopped when he saw me and said "Where's the baby?" I told him she was taking a little while and it would probably be after dark when he was in bed when she came out. He grinned and said "Oh yeah. It'll be dark and I'll be in bed and you'll have your baaaaabeeeee!" Then he ran back to his previous activities. Eden just wanted to lay in bed with me and watch tv.

Mom came and checked me around 8 (the midwife had run home to De Leon and was on her way back) and her findings were so different from the midwife's that when she got back in town, we asked her to come check, too. She put me at about a 6 and nearly 85% effaced (I think...its a little hazy). So we still had a couple hours to go, but I was promised a baby by dawn. So we called people and let them know what was up.

My best friend, Kristen, showed up around 9:30 and climbed in bed with me to time contractions and watch The Great British Baking Competition on Netflix for a few hours (until 2am), my sister showed up around midnight and settled into my recliner to try to get some rest since she'd been up since 4:30am, and Austin kind of floated around the house. The kids were crazy because things were changing around the house, so they didn't get to bed until around 10.

At 2 am the contractions were hard enough that I was having trouble thinking coherently during them. So Austin started calling people. And since no one had very far to go, they all showed up seemingly within about 15 minutes. We were all kind of expecting a repeat of before, super fast and intense and back to bed in a couple hours.

Nope. I was checked again and there was improvement but it was still moving slowly.

We all sat around and chatted for hours. Kristen, Cari, Austin and I were so tired we were all fighting sleep. Everyone else had had at least a few hours, though they were sleepy, too. Kristen cleaned my kitchen up for me (sink full of dirty dishes) and then she and Rosetta baked some cookies. We had coffee for those that wanted it.

I was on the bed and everyone else was in chairs around me, so whenever I had a hard contraction people stopped talking and looked at me, like maybe this was it. It was kind of amusing after a bit. Another check showed a little more improvement but still not a ton. Around 4:45 or so I asked about breaking my water. I tried to push during a contraction to break it myself but no go. So the midwife broke it for me while I was standing in the tub. That was a different experience for both of us.

Breaking the water definitely increases the intensity of the contractions. I'm not sure how long those lasted but it felt like a really long time. The contractions got harder and harder and more fluid came flooding out. I soaked through three towels and an incontinence pad or two. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and Austin climbed behind me so I could lean on him and that helped some but not much. Those were the kind of contractions where I just wanted to leave my body behind and let someone else do it.

A little before 5:15, my body decided to push. I had no strength to move myself, so Austin and the midwife moved me. I was on an old crib mattress we have on all fours and my body was pushing for me. It felt like I was having one long lasting contraction and so I just pushed. And it felt like she was refusing to come out. I asked a few times if it was out yet (her head) because I could feel it bulging and retreating and when I kept getting nos, I felt like I wouldn't be able to do it. I don't remember it taking that long once the baby crowned to get any of the others out. Asher took an hour of pushing, but once he crowned, it was over pretty quickly (they ended up having to use a vacuum on him because his heart rate dropped drastically).

Finally her head was out and shortly after her body. I pushed for 9 minutes, though it felt like forever at the time. My arms started to give out so they gave me a birthing ball to hug and that helped tremendously for the last few pushes. My arms still hurt.

Austin caught her at 5:22 am, my brother John got some pictures (I haven't gotten them yet but I'll post some when I do), and Bob valiantly took a video of the birth and then some afterwards. Kristen got an audio I haven't gotten around to listening to yet, and Cari got to cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and the placenta was delivered. It was definitely a group effort.

Rebekah curled up against me and just kind of lay there, stunned. She nursed for a while on both sides, then we got her measurements and she got checked out. Mom and the midwives listened for her VSD and none of them heard anything, so we're intrigued to see what her echo next month shows. Uncle John got to hold her for a bit and she snuggled right in and went to sleep around 6:30 or so. She didn't wake up until 1:30 that afternoon and at that point, she was hungry again.

Bob and Cari generously went out and got everyone breakfast from Grandy's, which was definitely welcome. Other than a snack with Eden around 5 and a piece of toast around 2am, I hadn't eaten much since dinner on Wednesday.

Everyone started clearing out fairly quickly to give us some rest and get a start on their day. Asher got off to school and Eden and Elijah were left to run amok a bit in the house. They all three came in to see their new sister and had mixed reactions. Eden is a little dismayed by the upheaval in the house and spent most of the day crabby and fussy. Asher glanced at her then went back to bed when we got him up at 5:45 to see her, and Elijah excitedly proclaimed his love for her before running off to watch videos on youtube. By 8am, we were alone in the house with our three youngest.

Austin's parents showed up around 10:30 or so and agreed to keep Eden and Elijah out of our hair for a while so we could rest. They did pretty well, though Eden did come in to check on us a couple of times and Austin finally put her down for a nap around 12 or 1 or so because she'd been up since 6:30 and was super tired. Since she went down when BB and Papa took Elijah to Sonic, she missed out on lunch so was starving and crabby again by dinner time.

She nursed around 1:30, then we went back to sleep for a few hours. Finally around 5 we felt like we should probably get up and let her grandparents meet her. Mom, Bob, and Cari arrived about then and shortly after, we ordered dinner from Arrowhead. After dinner, Mom, Bob, and Cari took Eden and Elijah to their house for the night and Beth and Allen cleared out as well. Austin, Asher, and I took showers, then settled down for the night.

Because she nurses for so long, I had nothing for her by about midnight last night. She was nursing for 30 minutes per side and still fussing and rooting, so we pulled out a bottle of ready mixed formula and gave her that. She sucked down half then passed out. She has not given hardly any of it back to us. She's filling diapers regularly and still spitting up some mucous but she's also sleeping well and seems pretty content.

So there you go. Maybe more than you wanted, but this is also a personal family record, so I try to put as many details in as I can while I can remember them. At 8 lbs even, she's my biggest baby. She was born on her due date, which I guess was considerate in a way? but also super annoying. She's 20 1/4 inches long and just generally pretty perfect. She looks at everything with a confused frown, which I suppose makes sense. She hates having clothes pulled over her head, and that's really the only reason she's really cried. She fusses a bit when she's hungry and she grunts and whimpers in her sleep. Even if the kids are pretty nonchalant about her, Austin and I are pleased.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March has arrived

Yes. I'm still pregnant. You don't have to call or text me. I can guarantee that if you're on our list, you'll be notified when that status begins to change. You're excited to see pictures and hold her? Get in line, bub.

No, I'm not happy about it. I'm hurting all the time. I can't hardly walk without discomfort from the bowling ball resting in my pelvis and pushing my hips out of alignment. I can't sleep because even with a pillow under my belly, it sags and the skin is stretched so tight it feels like it's going to rip. I have Braxton Hicks contractions pretty much non stop, so my belly is firm all the time, which means there's no comfortable position ever.

I can't reach the kitchen sink faucet unless I turn sideways, which makes filling pots or washing my hands tricky. I can't reach the bottom of the washer or the back of the dryer without some serious maneuvering. I can't wear a seat belt normally because it either cuts across my neck or cuts into my arm if I tuck it under so I can breath. I can't lift Eden up to change her diaper or hold her in my lap or put her in the car without pain. I've got a step stool in my room so she can climb on the bed on her own, which she thinks is the greatest.

At times, I can't breath super great unless I arch my back and stick my stomach out, which then means my lower back hurts even more. To ease that, I take warm baths but then I have trouble getting into and out of the tub.

I've been having light to moderate contractions for over two weeks, feeling pressure in my pelvis from her pushing down for a few days (and yes, I've pushed down on her, too, just because why not at this point?) and still nothing. I've had so many false starts that the one person I alert every time is probably getting less and less excited every time ( I didn't even mention the last time to her.

So yes. I'm grumpy. I'm able to hide it fairly well in company, but home alone by myself...not a terribly happy sight. I know it'll end. I know I don't have it the worst of anyone ever. I know there are women who would love to be in my position. I know I know I know. At the moment, I don't care. When you've been uncomfortable for so long with no real lasting relief, it actually drives you a little crazy.

No, there's nothing you can do to help. Like I said, I'm grumpy and will likely continue to be so until she's born and I've been able to get some restful sleep. The last few weeks of pregnancy are the pits and when you go over your due date (which YES I KNOW IT'S JUST AN ESTIMATE; I HAVE THREE DUE DATES) it gets worse.