Friday, June 26, 2015

40 Weeks AND...

40 Weeks! Phew, I'm ready!
Birth Story

Early in the day before things really got going.
 Nervous would be an accurate description of my feelings at this moment.
      By the end of the weekly Dr.'s appointment on June 11th, it was determined that the baby needed to be delivered soon. Friday was too soon for me, Monday was booked, and so Tuesday was to be the big day!
      The plan was to induce labor and then attempt a vbac delivery. I didn't think a vbac could be done with an induction. I feared the needles, interventions, and potential serious complications all weekend. I was also highly concerned about leaving Tennyson for such a long time. I busied myself getting as much as possible cleaned in the house and ready for others to care for Tennyson.
      On Tuesday, Elaine (pastor's wife at church) met us bright and early at our home. We quickly went through the basics of our home and caring for Tennyson. I was relieved that he'd wake to her and we wouldn't have to have a difficult moment separating. Soon, we were on the road to the hospital!
     It was really strange walking into the hospital without being in labor and knowing that by the end of the day we'd have a baby. In the case of Tennyson's birth, I was in full labor when we arrived at the hospital. This baby was continuing to show herself to be a different story.
     No long after we arrived, my water was broken and Pitocen was started.  This was the first time for me to experience my water breaking, and that was quite a strange sensation. Soon, contractions began but they were tolerable. In fact, I contentedly worked on handstitching together pieces of felt that would eventually create a strawberry and carrot. I confidently thought, "I went to 6cm without even knowing I was in labor last time. I can do this!" This time, however, Pitocen was involved and after frequent adjustments to the drip rate my thoughts took a turn. I was suddenly hurled into sheer agony. If I ever had questions as to what a pain level of "10" felt like, I had my answer. I buried my face into the bed and screamed with every contraction. My body just couldn't take that level of pain (and I don't believe any body can tolerate Pitocen-induced contractions naturally).
      Fortunally, anesthesiology arrived quickly. I was so grateful for relief. Yet, I was taken by surprise by how badly the epidural insertion hurt. It was like my back muscles instantly seized up in one giant Charlie horse muscle cramp. I had a spinal block with my last delivery, and didn't recall it being anything like that. But, the pain did fade as the medication took effect. This is the first instance in which I was beyond grateful for an epidural.
     Then, something happened. For whatever reason, I slipped out of consciousness. Though I couldn't feel the pain, my body was still experiencing and responding to it. I could sense what was going on around me, but couldn't respond. It was as if my body was redirecting all energy and effort away from consciousness and towards pain control. I came to to smelling salts, oxygen, and a room full of people.
     Labor continued to progress, and I "slept" (though I don't know if you can really call it true sleep). At some point her little heart rate began dropping with each contraction. It was determined that I had lost too much fluid and she no longer had enough of a cushion from the contractions. I catheter was inserted and fluid continuously added back in for her. Later, her heart rate continued to fluctuate, and an internal monitor was applied to her head. I laughed a bit to myself for having fretted over the weekend over just an iv, catheter and epidural, and yet there I was with more tubes and wires than I could have ever imagined! All that mattered to me was our utmost safety.
     Then, another incident occurred in which I slipped from full consciousness. When I woke, the room was full of people and I could tell there was an added energy. In a half-conscious and fully confused state, I repeatedly asked what happened, what was wrong, and if she was okay. The answer was simply that she was coming. (Rather strange to be told the baby is coming instead of feeling that way. haha). I pulled myself together and prepared to begin the pushing process. It was a process, indeed!
      She was in a posterior position, which made the delivery a little more difficult. It felt like it was talking forever for her to arrive! Her heart rate continued to be unstable, and eventually it was determined that she needed to be out quickly through the aid of an episiotomy. This would be the second instance in which I was beyond grateful for an epidural. Not long after this procedure, she made her way out! We did it! (It could then been seen that her cord was wrapped around her shoulder and likely the reason for her trouble during labor.) She was here and healthy!
    She was laid on my chest and we got to soak up the moment together. It was amazing getting to keep her with me instead of whisked away like last time. It was a long and difficult pregnancy, but that moment made everything worthwhile. I am so very grateful to have been given a means of carrying her full term and then deliver via vbac. The experience has been simply amazing. We're so glad she's here and a part of our family!

Annelise Michelle
6lb. 7 oz. & 19.25in. long
Born June 16, 2015
Introducing big brother to his new baby sister!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Preparing for and Establishing the Homemaking Day: Part 2

Image used with permission per CC license Attribution. No changes made. Copyright by Alex (aka "eflon")
~Read Part 1~

     Rising early and starting the day on time supports my personal definition of “homemaking:”

"Homemaking is the art and science of creating and maintaining the home to be a pleasant and productive environment for the glory of God."

I've highlighted three key components in this definition: productive, pleasant and for the glory of God. Consider for a moment how productivity in the morning sets the pace for the day. Or, how the tone of the day is set from a pleasant start. Last, the purpose is always ultimately for the glory of God. We embody these characteristics when we rise early and work to prepare ourselves and our home for the day ahead. When I start behind in the day, I typically remain behind and cope by being moody and reactive to the day’s tasks and challenges. However, being proactive in my preparations and productivity allows our home and family to be pleasant places. Pleasantry isn’t going to happen just by having a well-executed “to do list” though. We must also have purpose. Why are you doing the things you’re doing? My heart is for my family to enjoy being together and for home to be a delightful haven. God has entrusted us to care for the homes and families he’s given us. It is within which and from which we serve and glorify Him.

     If you’re not a morning person or have not yet determined your start time to your homemaking day, then the following steps towards that goal may help:
1.    Determine necessary morning tasks and the amount of time to needed to complete them. If necessary, time yourself. You may find that you need less time than you thought for your shower, or more time than anticipated to fix your hair and make-up. Be sure to limit your activities in the mornings to those that are pertinent. I used to be so rushed and late in the mornings, and then I realized that I was trying to cram way too much into that single time of the day. We’ll discuss later how to organize the day so that there is an appropriate time for all tasks each day. 
2.    Determine a set start time. For me, I set my start time as the time that my child wakes. This is the time I need to shift my attention and energy from myself to him and our day together.

3.    Work backwards to determine your ideal wake time. If your morning tasks take an hour, then you’ll want to wake at least an hour to an hour and a half earlier. For instance, my start time is 8am and so I’m usually up and going by 6:30am. Don’t forget to build in a little extra time for the occasional 10 minute snooze or unanticipated hiccup in the morning!

4.    If waking up is difficult, then start small. Set your alarm for just 10-15 minutes earlier than you normally get up. Once you’ve grown accustomed to that wake time, set it 10-15 minutes earlier than that. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to your ideal wake time. If getting going in the mornings is a struggle, then ease into the change. 

My Morning Routine:



6:30-8:00 a.m.

·         Shower

·         Dress

·         Make bed up

·         Carry dirty laundry downstairs to laundry room

·         Put away clean dishes

·         Make-up

·         Fix hair

·         Personal devo. and/or read

·         Prepare breakfast


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Preparing for and Establishing the Homemaking Day: Part 1

Image used with permission per CC license Attribution. No changes made. Copyright by Alex (aka "eflon")

     In homemaking there is no clock to punch. You won’t lose your job for excessive tardiness. Therefore, you must be self-disciplined in rising early and beginning the day at an appropriate time.  It’s tempting to hit the alarm snooze button too many times, remain in pajamas, or conduct the day in a manner which would convey it to be a “lazy day.” Trust me, it can be a challenge to rise early and get moving when there is no one or thing demanding that you have to do so, especially when the night is particularly restless. But, there are valuable benefits and consequences to how I choose to begin the day. It’s truly remarkable how different my day is based on how it starts. Let’s look at two different scenarios.

     I set my alarm for 6am the previous night with great anticipation for the following day. When that alarm sounds, however, I groan, press the snooze button and tell myself that I can sleep just a little more. After all, there’s nothing that’s going to become an emergency if I ignore it for a little longer. So, I do. Soon enough, I hear my little one awake in his bed. Undressed and unprepared, I leap into the day’s tasks. As we enter the kitchen I’m reminded of the dishes that were left undone as I search for a single clean cup and straw for him.  He’s hungry and cranky clinging tightly to me as I attempt to make breakfast my remaining free hand. After breakfast, he’s ready to play but I still have to complete some housework and to prepare myself for the day. He plays or watches a video while I finally get dressed beyond pajamas, fix my hair and put on some make-up.  Before long, it’s time for a morning nap for him. We hurry to take care of that occasion. I plan to catch up the intended morning tasks during his nap, but he doesn’t sleep well. I’m irritated that I have yet to have even a moment to myself and seem to keep falling behind. I have a list of tasks needing my attention and a child who is also in need. The house is chaotic. Our day is unproductive. I’m feeling emotionally and physically stressed and depleted. We’re just trying to make it through.

      Let’s now look at a day that begins early and on time. As always, I set my alarm for 6am the previous night. (I set it a little earlier than I intend to actually get out of bed so that a ten minute snooze is built in without being delaying). I snooze, but then get up knowing that a day started well will be worth the initial discomfort. I can then take advantage of my little guy sleeping by enjoying a peaceful shower. I’ve learned that if I don’t rise before he does, then a shower likely won’t happen until the afternoon- yuck. Next, I get fully dressed with the exception of shoes. I make our bed, gather our dirty laundry, and head downstairs. There, I start some coffee to brew while I fix my hair and put make-up on. I quickly put away the clean dishes leaving the empty dishwasher and sink ready for the new day’s load. If time allows, I may enjoy a moment to read my Bible, pray, or read a little in another book. Sitting outside on a beautiful spring or summer day reading, drinking coffee and preparing my heart and mind for what lies ahead is my ideal way to start a day! I will gladly work efficiently in the morning to have this moment! About twenty to thirty minutes before my son typically wakes, I begin preparing breakfast. By the time he comes downstairs for breakfast, it’s already waiting for him and we avoid an encounter with a cranky morning monster. We then proceed with our well-ordered day as intended. The house is orderly. Our day is productive with each task accounted for at the most appropriate times. I’m feeling joyful and at peace. We enjoy our day together!

      I sincerely believe that we’re meant to do more than simply get through the days with our families. In order to do that, we need to be intentional from the start. I know I need to set a time by which I will get up, and then hold myself accountable to be fully ready for the day by a second set time. If not, then negative consequences similar to those listed in the above scenario will follow. I’d much rather experience the second scenario and have a calm and joyful home and family time! Wouldn’t you?

~Read Part 2~ (Coming Soon)


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bits of Happiness in Our Day

    Just a quick little daily life kind of post for today. These are a few points of our day yesterday. Occasionally, I want to pause for a moment to record these times. They go by so fast, and yet are so precious.

1) I was up early, and decided to use the time to write. I haven't written any kind of composition (versus the more journal-like style on this blog) in over a year! It's been difficult to find the time and thinking capacity for writing after becoming a Mama. I finally feel like we're settling into a good groove in life, and can better entertain the activity. (Just in time for a new baby, of course!). I picked up in writing the book on homemaking that I had started back in 2013. As I looked over the table of contents, outlines, and previously written material I became inspired and motivated for the continued work in and completion of this project. It felt so good to work on it again. I'd really like to see this book dream come to reality at some point.

2) As I was holding Tennyson, I looked to him and said, "do you know that I love you?" He looked back at me, leaned in, wrapped his arms around me and then gave me a "kiss" on the cheek. He is the sweetest!

3) We enjoyed the morning at the library for storytime and playtime. Some days he does well with being quiet and still. Other days, he'd rather explore and talk. Yesterday was the latter situation. At 9 months pregnant, I couldn't keep getting up from the group circle on the floor to chase him and bring him back. So, he got to play in the play area instead of participate in story time. Our friends soon joined us, which was fun. The boys are only a month apart in age, and it's so cute to watch them playing together! He has a little sister expected to arrive in August, which will make she and Annelise only two months a part in age. Two sets of playmates for playdates!

4) We enjoyed National Donut Day! David and I got coffees and a couple of cake donuts. Yum! Although, I should've stopped at one donut because two was too much. Ah, temptations. It was a fun splurge though. I hope to continue to make fun moments like these a part of our children's lives. (Tennyson did get a few pinches of the inside of my blueberry cake donut. Not much, but just a taste).

5) We spent a little time on the porch enjoying the sunshine. It has been so gray and chilly lately. Tennyson thoroughly enjoys taking the decorative marbles out of the flower pot tray and placing them into the watering can or off the side of the porch. His latest skill fixation is transferring. If an object can be transferred from place or container to another, then he'll do precisely that. I really enjoy watching him discover and perfect one skill after another!
     Likewise, I love his little toddling walk and jibber-jabbering! He's articulating more and more words. Moments like he picking out a book, saying the word "book," and then bringing it to me to read to him just delight my heart.
      I'm equally thrilled that he's finally demonstrating some of the sign language signs we've been teaching him since the beginning. We just had to wait for the fine motor skill development to match the knowledge of the signs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Baby 2 Pregnancy Journal: Week 38!

Whoops. Same shirt two photos in a row. hah
This baby deep inside of me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave to me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now a part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rodgers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How far along: 38 weeks!
"With only two (or four, max) weeks left in utero, all systems are (almost) go. To finish getting ready ... baby has a few last-minute details to take care of, like shedding that skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. And producing more surfactant, which will prevent the air sacs in the lungs from sticking to each other when your baby begins to breathe -- something he or she will be doing very soon."-What To Expect When You're Expecting, Fourth Edition

Baby size:  
"Hitting the growth charts at close to 7 pounds and the 20-inch mark (give or take an inch or two)" -What To Expect When You're Expecting, Fourth Edition

Gender: Girl!

Belly: Oh, this belly! She has continued to drop, and is in a super low position. I've actually had a couple of random people comment about how low I'm carrying and that it won't be long. haha. I hope so!

Sleep: Sleep just doesn't happen anymore. I'm so uncomfortable at night that I'm up all night long. I typically get up every hour or two to walk the hallway to move a bit. Some nights have ended with me sleeping on the couch downstairs. I need a daytime nap to be fully present and productive in the day.

Clothes: Most of my shirts are now too short and leave a portion of the band of my maternity pants visible. At this point, I don't even care. haha.

     I recently purchased some new warmer weather nightgowns, and they are fabulous. I look forward to changing into them each evening. I have a feeling that I'll enjoy them even more post-delivery.

Movement: Waddle, waddle, waddle!

     Now that the weather is gorgeous, Tennyson and I take a walk (he rides in the stroller) around the neighborhood each day. It's a short walk, but I am enjoying every step of it. I love being outside in this amazing springtime weather. It will definitely be so nice to be able to get out with both kids in the coming months!

  Though, I think my greatest exercise comes in the form of being Mama to a toddler and keeping the house tidy! It can be rather tough to keep up at times! haha.

Baby Movement- She is quite the active little one still! She's remained head down and her feet are up towards my ribs on the right side. She'll sometimes move them over towards the left. Sometimes she'll move entirely (not my favorite at all). My OB reminds me about kick counts and labor signs at each appointment. I've yet to even have to do specific kick counts because she moves and kicks so much that she without a doubt exceeds that number. haha.  

Food aversions: I don't think there are any anymore. Anything and everything sounds and tastes fantastic.

Food cravings: My previously immense appetite as slowed down a bit. I don't know if the reason is space or just that I'm so physically fatigued at this point. I have enjoyed lots of fruit lately though. I always enjoy summertime fruit- strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe etc. Mmm! Of course, the occasional ice cream has also been a delight.

Symptoms: Reflux is raging. I don't even always have to have eaten something to trigger it. Often times, just bending over makes me a fire-breathing Mama. haha.

What I'm excited about: I'm so excited for her to be here with us! My excitement may even be clouding any anxiety or nervousness of delivery. My focus is entirely on her and the joy I have for her to be here as a part of our family! 

In Other News: 
     I'm ready for her to be here. 38 weeks...we're close enough, Annelise. Let's go! haha!

    She being positioned so low has revealed a new side of pregnancy. Discomfort is immense. I've also had some days of Braxton Hicks contractions. The level of discomfort and "practice" contractions have had us on edge thinking the time has come. But, then it all dissipates and another day comes. Phew. Considering that we've been waiting day by day for the last five weeks, it almost feels like she's never going to come. Maybe tomorrow. Haha.

     The anticipation has been good in that we've been much better about keeping the housework caught up and other preparations done. Our goal is to be able to quickly make phone calls for Tennyson's care, toss last minute items in our bags and get on the road as soon as possible. We have about an hour drive to get to the hospital. Tennyson's labor went rather fast, and we probably should have arrived at the hospital much sooner. We're not wanting a repeat of that frantic drive. Haha

     In the meanwhile, the extra time has given me opportunity to have as much ready for her arrival as possible. I'm way more prepared this second time around (lesson learned well!). I took a moment this week to switch out the clothes in the closet. We had purchased preemie clothes and things in anticipation that she could arrive as early as Tennyson did. She did not, so those items will now get packed away for later use or donation. I left out some of the bigger preemie outfits just in case she is still on the smaller side (that's our guess currently). Otherwise, the closet now contains newborn sizes. Hard to believe I had to pack up the preemie clothes and prepare the newborn sizes!

     I also finished getting some gear that's been on my list for her. For instance, we picked up another highchair. I really like that it accommodates a newborn, infant and toddler and saves space by attaching to the chair. I really enjoy having the children join us at the table for meals from the very beginning. I also purchased a bigger diaper bag. This is actually the first actual diaper bag I've had. I picked up the other bags at consignment and have made do with it. I'm already enjoying the better quality and space the new bag offers. Last, our new double stroller arrived today! It's a beast, but what double stroller isn't. It will be really nice to have whenever I'm out and about with both of them (this Mama isn't about to try to hold a baby and chase a toddler!). The interesting part will be me lifting it in and out of the car. haha!

We're ready when you are, Annelise! (Actually, Mama may be more ready. haha!)
38 weeks completed! How many more to go? :)
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