Saturday, December 30, 2017

River: 3 Months

Our first Christmas with River was especially special. The boys and River opened up matching pajamas Christmas eve and we rushed the boys and River to sleep.

On Christmas day Josh and I couldn't sleep. Josh woke up at 4:45am and I woke up at 5:30am and neither of us could go back to sleep. We made sure Santa's cookies were eaten and no milk was left in his glass. We started a fire and had the train chugging around the lit Christmas tree. We made coffee and had Christmas music playing before Shepherd finally woke up. Josh couldn't take it anymore and he went and woke up Judah. 

River had a quaint Christmas with only one gift from us - a knit rabbit doll bought from the Market of Hope and a Guatemalan rattle from Santa. Of course this doesn't include all the goodies she received from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. 

We ate cinnamon rolls and spent the rest of the day at Josh's parent's house - Pappi and Grammy's.

How many months old? 3 months
Weight? 12 lbs
Doctor check-up? None this month. I had to regularly take her temperature though with all her coughing and congestion, but she never had a fever. I consulted her doctor, but she said not to worry about it if there wasn't a fever to accompany everything else. 
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? I actually got one night where I got a solid 8 hours of sleep! Other than that she still wakes up 2-3 times a night. 
Feeding? Feeding every 3ish hours, but sometimes it is every 2 hours. Just whenever she is hungry, I'll feed her. She had to take a bottle several times this month when I was away attending a birth and she did great!
Eating anything? Not yet
Developmental milestones? She is starting to coo and she has started bringing her hands midline. She holds her own hands all the time. She will finally hold something in her hand like a rattle or her Wubbie. 
Favorite toy? She loves to hold the animals that are attached to her pacifiers - her Wubbanubs. She isn't super interested in any toys still. She has started batting at the knitted toys we hang from her play gym.
Speech and language? Definitely starting to coo, sigh, and gurgle.
Loves? She loves facing out still, being warm or snuggling up against warm bodies, and smiling at Shepherd.
Dislikes? She doesn't like to be cold or when her brothers get in her face for too long. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

River: 2 Months

I haven't explained the meaning of River's name yet. If Judah would have been a girl his name would have been River, but we hadn't paired it with the verse to bring forth so much meaning behind the name until we were pregnant again the 3rd time. 

4. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5. God in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; 
God will help her when morning dawns.
Psalm 46:4-5

This brought the name River so much additional meaning. We wanted to pair a middle name with River that came alongside that gladness. When I found out that Eden meant "delight" I knew it was a perfect fit!

She has only lived outside the womb now for 2 months and has already with bringing so much joy not only to God but to all of us. She is such a sweet and easy baby. I couldn't have asked for a greater gift of a calm baby. Riv has her moment when we can't soothe her immediately, but overall I really can't complain. 

How many months old? 2 months
Weight? 10 pounds 12 ounces
Doctor check-up? We had our checkup just 2 days after she turned 2 months and she is doing great! Her weight was in the 43rd percentile (biggest of any of my babies so far) and her height, 22 in, was 34th percentile (again longest of any of my babies at this point).
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? I put her down right around 7:30 or 8 when the boys go down and she will wake up around 11-12pm and again around 2:30-3am. Honestly, I am not really sure when she actually wakes up in the middle of the night because I am barely coherent, but I know she wakes up at least once every night and at 6am every morning. I usually feed her at 6am and then get out of bed and she goes back to sleep - lucky duck.
Feeding? Feeding has always been good, but this past week has been so odd. Sometimes she will cry and cry and I know she is either hungry or tired but she wont latch on. Once I can finally calm her down she usually falls right to sleep, but she usually wants just a tiny bit of milk before she falls completely asleep. When she is this way I definitely don't like being in public. I've never minded a crying baby or even breastfeeding in public, but when she is screaming while I can't get her to feed sends me back to my first months of trying to feed Shepherd when I could NEVER get him to latch. I start sweating and I know I just need to go somewhere where I don't have to worry about covering or being decent while trying to soothe her. 
Eating anything? No
Developmental milestones? She definitely smiles a lot more and has started batting at something if it is right in front of her. 
Favorite toy? She still isn't super interested in actual toys yet. I've given her a rattle or a bell a few times and she never keeps ahold of it. Her pacifiers and breasts are still #1 in her heart.
Speech and language? Definitely starting to coo!
Loves? She loves facing out when I hold her. She has become really particular about certain things. She wakes up if her wubbie (what we call her wubbanub pacifier) falls out of her mouth. 
Dislikes? She doesn't like to be cold. She is my girl! 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

River: 1 Month

River's first month is kind of a blur. I spent a lot of time figuring out how she liks to sleep - in the bassinet on her back or on her side, in the rock-n-play, co-sleeping, sleeping in my bed but not right up against me, etc... (PSA - I don't need info about SIDS, thanks (; ) 

Besides the actual sleeping position, once I could get her to go to sleep she did pretty well and would sleep for 3.5-4 hours at a time. My boys NEVER did that. Not for several months so I didn't have expectations for this. It has been so nice! 

A win for me this month was going to Target for the first time with all three kiddos without having a single meltdown. I even told the boys "no" at least 85 times when they asked for a toy or something they saw strategically placed at their eye level. River started to get fussy because she was hungry and I just fed her IN MY SLING!!! If ever I have felt like a superhero, it was at this moment. I knew if I could handle this minuscule moment that I could actually raise three kids, possibly even more in the future, who knows. 

I will say, I was positively terrified at the transition of adding another family member would have on the boys and specifically Shepherd. I have been pleasantly surprised though by his response to her. Shepherd has been gently at all times and helpful bringing her a pacifier, blanket, diaper, or wipe when needed. He is proud of his little sister and tells everyone how he knew it was a girl and mommy thought it was a boy! Judah, however, hasn't done as well as I thought he would. He has regressed, again, with potty learning. He pees his pants multiple times a day, but if I put him in a pull-up he doesn't even attempt to use the potty. Not gonna lie, I feel bad for his teachers at PDO, but they all know he needs to move forward with potty learning and doesn't need to wear a diaper/pull up anymore. I just take at least 3 changes of pants/underwear and a wet bag with us at all times.

Being a mom of 3 has definitely been a change, but the biggest change is transitioning from an all-boy mom to a mom of boys AND a girl. It has been so fun dressing her up with bows, bonnet, and even some frills.

How many months old? 1 month
Weight? 9 pounds 6 ounces
Doctor check-up? We've just had the 2-day and 2-week check-ups. She was 8 pounds 6 ounces at her 2 week check up!
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? She sleeps all day pretty much still. She will be up for 30-45 minutes and sleep again. She sleeps in 3.5-4 hour increments at night. 
Feeding? At night she feeds twice before 6:30am. So once at midnight and again around 3:30am. And she has always fed like a champ. Her first latch was perfect. I still have dips in my milk supply in the evening so occasionally we have been heating up some of my milk that I've pumped. She has taken a bottle 3 times and has had no trouble. 
Eating anything? No
Developmental milestones? She lifts her head and tracks with her eyes. She doesn't really coo too much yet, but she definitely cries when she is hungry or wants to be held. She hasn't rolled over yet and has only smiled a handful of times.
Favorite toy? She just likes her wubbie (wabbanub pacifier). She wants the pacifier or boob all the time. 
Speech and language? Same as the developmental milestones. Just cries - not necessarily coos. 
Loves? She loves looking at the fan and when mommy holds her. She also loves being in my wrap. I, unfortunately, have to take her out of her car seat (because I am not about to carry that cumbersome thing) every day when I drop the boys off at school. I got in trouble for leaving my younger kids in the car when dropping Shepherd off. I get it - it is ILLEGAL, but COME ON! They are sleeping and it takes less than 2 minutes. Bless. I need a car attendant because it is such a huge pain sometimes. 
Dislikes? She is such an easy going baby. I would say sometimes she doesn't like her car seat, but if we give her a wubbie she usually falls right to sleep. She doesn't like feeling hungry in the evening when my supply isn't at its peak.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

River Eden's Birth Story


**I had another long birth, so it is going to be a long story. You've been forwarned**

With lots of chiropractic care, exercises, inversions, and doula care, I was hoping all of this would guarantee a quicker labor. Baby wasn't breech anymore and I had been having contractions for almost 2 weeks the morning my labor started. 2 mornings after my due date Judah crawled into my bed at 6am wanting to nurse. He was sleepy and ended up nursing for almost 40 minutes falling in and out of sleep. I didn't mind because I was still tired myself. I noticed contractions started and were around 5 minutes apart while he nursed. I knew nursing could make me have contractions, so I wasn't too alarmed.

The contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart once we all got up but they kept coming consistently. Josh decided to take the boys to school by himself and I stayed home to keep timing. Once Josh got back home we excitedly picked up and cleaned the house to prepare for what we were hoping was THE birth day we had been planning for 10 months. I let my midwife, doula, and birth photographer know that I was in early labor, but that it was starting slow just like my other two labors.

Since my regular chiropractor was out of town my midwife made me an appointment with her's that has backed up for my chiropractor before. While Josh picked up Shepherd from school, my doula volunteered to take me to my appointment. Oddly, my contractions pretty much halted once we got in the office. I didn't have one for almost 40 minutes. They didn't start back until we were about to leave. My doula and midwife suggested I take a nap to prepare for the long journey ahead not knowing still if this was real or not.

Shepherd was already down for his nap when I got home so I crawled into bed to take my own nap. Josh left with Shepherd to pick up Judah from parent-day-out before I woke up. Once awake, I knew for sure I was in early labor since my contractions didn't wake me up for 2.5 hours but they were still coming and were harder contractions than several hours before. Walking around the house, my contractions were still consistently 7-10 minutes apart. I took that time between contractions to appreciate the quiet before I embrace the chaos of 3 kids in the coming days.

Once Josh came home, kidless, we decided to take a walk in the drizzling rain. We walked for 30 minutes before deciding on going to Rosa's for dinner. At the time, that is all I wanted and I didn't care if it was healthy or not.

At Rosa's I remember having a really good conversation with Josh, but we would stop talking every 5 minutes or so for me to work through a contraction. I definitely couldn't talk through them at this point and, thus, deemed this as the start of active labor - not prodromal labor. Josh would always stop talking or eating to basically labor with me. I loved the respect and empathy he showed doing that without even thinking about it.

Once we got home, I think we started to watch some Netflix but I was too tired and went to bed pretty early. As soon as I crawled into bed the contractions slowed to every 9-11 minutes apart. Josh decided to watch something on the iPad in the spare bedroom. It was far enough away that I could rest without hearing his show and close enough that he could run into the room once he heard me to press my hips together for counter-pressure.

I've never been a quiet laborer. Maybe its because the moan helps Josh identify that I need him or maybe it really does help me work through contractions, but even this early on I was very verbal.

Throughout the night after Josh crawled into bed himself, the contractions were way too painful to keep laying on my back. I would either flip over to contract on all fours or get out of bed to lean over against the bed. I really wanted Josh to get some quality sleep because I didn't know how long this labor was going to last. It took so much self-control to labor silently and not ask him for help. I realize in hindsight that it would have been okay to ask and to even call my doula for more support, but I still thought it was too early for any of that.

Finally, around 5am I couldn't stay in bed anymore. I was up and laying down, flipping around and whatnot was just making me more exhausted and making my hair a ratted bird's nest. At around 7am I called my midwife, Alex, just to give her a heads up that my contractions were every 5 minutes or so apart but that she probably had plenty of time and didn't need to come. She promptly disregarded me and said she would be there in 30 minutes. (I'm so glad she did this because it was getting more intense by the minute and without realizing it I needed her and my whole birth team)

She encouraged me to call my doula, Sarah, to come over knowing I should have called her several hours prior. I went ahead and called her and my birth photographer, Lauren. My doula showed up 10 minutes later with my midwife and photographer arriving quickly afterward. They blew up the birth pool and got everything ready as I labored, and Alex checked me for the first time. I was 5cm and around 85% effaced. ONLY 5CM!!! After 26 hours, I was a little heartbroken that I wasn't further along.

The next few hours are somewhat a blur. I paced around my living, leaned against Josh, leaned against the couch, got on all fours leaning against the birth ball with counter-pressure from either Josh or Sarah, and tried other positions to relieve the pain during the contractions. This labor was different from my first two in that I found tremendous relief getting on all fours and having Josh squeeze my hips together. These contractions were tricky this birth. This baby was flipping constantly in my belly making me have back labor when baby was sunny side up and front labor when baby was AP, in the correct position. No position or counter pressure really relieved the pain this time. It was odd and I was desperate.

I kept making my way back to the toilet to labor, not because it was more comfortable but because I felt like I was making the most progress in this position. If I couldn't alleviate the pain I wanted to go away faster, thus, I wanted to dilate and efface as fast as I could. I had Alex check me again around 9:30am and I was 7cm dilated. I was making good progress, but not as fast as I'd hoped.

Baby 3.0 was sitting so low that I was having urges to push already by 7cm. It was also making me very nauseous. I drank water and Gatorade and ate a few apples and crackers hoping to keep myself hydrated and energized, but I just couldn't keep anything down. Someone was constantly having to hold the good and faithful silver pot right by my face for the next several hours.

A couple more hours went by and I had only progressed 1cm. I was sitting at 8cm and FIGHTING the urge to push. I was having to blow raspberries each contraction to stop myself. This all only led to more vomiting and dehydration. At one point, Alex was concerned with my extremely lethargic state and what she was hearing on her doppler of the baby's heartbeat. We all decided an IV was best. She and Elyse, her assistant, started an IV and poor Josh had to hold it up high while I napped between contractions.

The next 45 minutes were the most brutal. I would fall hard asleep and once my contraction came I could barely stand it. Tears were coming as I seriously didn't think I could do it anymore. Either Josh, Alex, or Sarah would basically put all of their weight in their forearm and press against my back and someone else would press against my bend knees while the other would hold my IV up. Elyse was charting the whole time while Lauren documented the whole thing.

Finally, once the bag of fluids was emptied, she checked me again. I was still an 8, but I was 100% effaced. She said I easily stretched to 9 to 9.5cm during a contraction, but I just wasn't dilating over baby's head. She gave me the option to continue to labor or during a contraction she could easily stretch me to a 10. After consulting Josh and Sarah, we decided to go for it even though I knew it would be painful.

The next contraction, Alex easily stretched me to 10cm before it was over. She exclaimed, "you're complete!" I sat up and we all walked from my bed to the birth pool. I climbed in with Josh right behind me. We had planned and discussed multiple times that I would push on my knees leaning against the pool and Josh would catch the baby. With my history, we knew this was probably the optimal position.

This is an embarrassing but very real part of my birth story. I think I could have pushed her out the first contraction, but I stopped myself. I had the overwhelming need to go #2. This is a very common feeling, but this was my third time and it felt very different than my first two experiences. There was a reason for this. I pushed both of my sons out OP, which means they were sunny side up. She was in a perfect position, AP. I kept saying, "I need to poop! I need to sit on the toilet for a second." My midwife said I could get out and sit on the toilet if I wanted, but I could expect to give birth on the toilet and not have a water birth like I planned.

So I decided to get over myself and my minor fear of relieving myself in the birth pool and push. On the next contraction, I pushed the head out and my water broke. One shoulder came out and Alex had me lean back on to Josh. The next contraction the second shoulder and the rest of the baby came out. I reached down to help catch my third baby and Alex and I slowly transitioned this sweet baby out of the water. Big eyes looked straight up with arms spread wide.

As soon as I brought the baby up to my chest I was so relieved to be finished. Josh immediately asked me the gender of the baby to which I immediately responded, "I don't even care!" I was just glad this baby was here.

After about 4-5 minutes I finally decided to look to see whether we had a boy or girl, but before I did I said, "I just feel like it is a boy!" (Apparently, everyone thought I felt male genitalia) When I looked and saw we had made a little girl I was in complete disbelief. Definitely the best surprise of my life! My trajectory of emotions went from shock, surprise, and overwhelming joy leading to so many happy tears.

After 31 hours of labor, we welcomed River Eden. She was born at 1:06pm after 7 minutes of pushing. She weighed 7pounds 7ounces and measured 20inches long.

Check out these wonderfully captured photos in this slideshow by Lauren Hodges with LoPhoto

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

3rd Pregnancy: Week 40

This week I fully embraced my boys and my family. I made plans with other people and canceled them. I skipped small groups. I went on long walks. I read and listened to podcasts just soaking up so nourishing me-time. I took my camera out and really followed my boys around portraying exactly who they are right now. 

The photo of Shepherd sleeping in his carseat shows his sheer will and determination. Watch out, people. When he becomes an adult, he will be relentless and move mountains. We stayed in the parking lot of his preschool for 30 minutes because he was unwilling to buckle his top buckle and keep it buckled. I told him we weren't leaving until he did so. There were no meltdowns because I remained calm and didn't force him to do it in my time frame. No, he never did what I asked, but he fell asleep with it unbuckled, I buckled it, and we finally got home. I carried a sleeping Judah and Shepherd to their beds at 40 weeks +1 day. 

I embraced it. I was a little worried about carrying them, but they become so small when their arms are slumped over my shoulders and snuggled into my neck. Judah just sits on top of my swollen belly.

I'm just excited for this baby to meet his or her big brothers, because they are pretty cool.

How far along? 40 weeks
Baby is the size of a: Pumpkin
Total weight gain: Same :/ 28 pounds
Update from the midwife: Measuring slightly bigger, which gives us all a peace of mind. My fundal height was 36cm (still 4 weeks behind). 
Waist Measurement:  41.5 inches
Maternity clothes?  Owning those maternity clothes. That is all I wear. I even walked in my maternity jeans and tennis shoes because they are more comfortable than my workout pants...more give. 
Stretch marks?  none this pregnancy. weird. Not mad!
Best moment this week: This week has actually been pretty anti-climatic. I haven't done anything aside from my regular routine. I've spent a lot of time with family, napping, and plain resting. 
Movement: Movement has been normal. One day this week I didn't remember the last time I felt baby move and it freaked me out. I laid 
Food cravings: I've been wanting a lot of particular things. Egg rolls, Thai food, Mexican and anything else that is not compliant with our gluten and sugar-free diet. 
Miss Anything? It is getting harder and harder to MOVE. Like at all. Walking, bending, sitting, getting up. It is all hard and uncomfortable.
Gender: Everyone and their dog think this baby is a girl. We shall see.

Symptoms: CONTRACTIONS - dear Lord. I am so over it. I'm having a mix of Braxton Hicks and contractions, but the pain from the contractions is all over. Sometimes it'll be just in my belly, then just in my lower back or tailbone, then all of a sudden I'll have it in all 3 locations. The constant is leaving me exhausted all of the time. I go to sleep at 9pm and wake up around 6:30am utterly exhausted still. 
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood? I won't lie. I have been particularly grouchy this week. By 6pm I am done "momming" and our bedtime isn't until 7:30pm. Josh and I may or may not have put them in bed starting at 7pm each night. The only problem with that is the boys take FOREVER to go to sleep. We do the "I'll check on you in 10 minutes" routine until they fall asleep an hour later. One night this week Shep didn't go to sleep until 9:15....I about lost my mind. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3rd Pregnancy: Week 39

Shepherd had his first soccer game this week. I knew it would be sheer chaos as only two of the seven boys had played soccer before. Those two boys had barely played in the previous summer season so it is safe to say there was very little experience on our team. Little did we know entering our first game day that almost every other team had played in up to 3 seasons prior to this season. THEY WERE 3-YEAR-OLD BOSSES. Our poor Little Minions, the name of our soccer team, got OWNED. 

Of course, it isn't the score that counts (obligatory parental statement) and technically they don't even keep score, but we all knew it was 12-0 and which kid on the other team made almost 100% of the goals. NO BIG DEAL.

Shepherd had an absolute blast and didn't even notice that their team hadn't even come close to making a goal. At one point Shepherd slid and tackled a kid on the opposing team preventing him from kicking the ball into the goal. It may or may not have been legal, but I was stinkin' proud. 

Also, I'd like to say that the label "soccer mom" is one to be proud of holding. Bringing snacks, sitting on the sidelines on a Saturday morning, and yelling at the top of your lungs IS A STINKING BLAST. Be prepared for Facebook live videos every week, because I will post them without shame and say things without abandon.

How far along? 39 weeks
Baby is the size of a: Mini watermelon (20 inches)
Total weight gain: Gained a pound! Back up to 25 pounds. 
Update from the midwife: Fundal height was still 35 cm and baby's heart beat was still 125-135bpm. So weird that I am EXACTLY the same. 
Waist Measurement: 40 inches. 
Maternity clothes? Love and hate them. So read to wear my fall clothes. COME ON FALL AND SMALLER BELLY!
Stretch marks? Still none.
Best moment this week: Just being intentional with our boys. More time reading books, proactive listening, time around the table with good food, and more memories with Shepherd's new squinty-eyed laugh and Judah's ornery explorations.
Movement: Still tons a movement. I feel the most movement in the middle of the night or right as I'm falling asleep. It is actually painful sometimes when I roll over in the middle of the night, because it is like I'm waking up baby 3.0 and sloshing him or her to the other side.
Food cravings: Peanut butter and honey sandwiches. YALL. I have had 7 sandwiches in 2 days. I mean...its an open faced sandwich, but it is a little out of control.
Miss Anything? Being able to move. The rabbits are impossible to catch. It usually takes Josh and me corraling them into a corner and one of us catching them, but it is like they know I'm the weaker link and they'll jump right through my legs before I can reach down far enough. Imagine a sumo wrestler in a low squatting stance moving one large tree trunk leg at a time and a quick rabbit darting right between those sausage fingers. I'm basically useless when it comes to putting Castle and Cupcake back in their cages.
Gender: We'll find out soon enough!
Symptoms: Just a ton of Braxton Hicks.
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood? Just ready for baby 3.0 to get here.