September 30, 2009
I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't yet "officially" photographed Ben. Nor have I started on his birth announcement. I have done several dozen announcements for other people's children though. I did one this morning for a baby born two days after he was. I feel mildly guilty, but it's ok because the guilt is being drowned out by my fatigue.
The two-year-old in my life is causing the most stress right now, but I'll write more about him later. We had a REALLY good day today and I don't want to jinx it. He's definitely warmed up to Ben, but is learning that when I'm nursing I'm powerless to discipline or to come and see what he's getting into.
When Kyle came to pick him up for lunch, Jack gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, "Be good for me, ok?" What a funny kid.
That said, it is getting easier. Ben sleeps pretty well, but usually during the times Jack's awake. I do ok with less sleep than most people though. He eats like a champ. He'll nurse once an hour for two or three hours and then go a longer stretch before starting again. He naps in his sling or laying on his boppy in my lap while I work. I think the sound of mouse clicks and keyboards soothe him . . .
I'm healing . . . slowly but surely. I'm getting sick which complicates things a little. The aftermath isn't as bad as it was with Jack, but the painkillers aren't as strong this time either. It'll just take some time. I had someone this week ask when I was due . . . which was super fun because I had JUST WALKED IN carrying a newborn. I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I'm ok with it, because I have a sweet little boy sitting here and that totally makes up for the fact that I won't fit into any of my regular pants for 10 - 12 weeks.
So, no "official" newborn photos yet, but here are some snapshots from Ben's first week. You can see more here.
September 29, 2009
This account is LONG. But it's for me. And hopefully Ben someday. I want to remember every detail and it's already started to fade. And I want him to know that we were beyond excited on the day he arrived. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I don't have the energy to re-read everything that I wrote below, so please excuse the typos and poor grammar that you might see along the way.
I honestly could not have asked for a better labor and delivery than I had with Ben. I still CANNOT believe I went into labor on my own. To be even more honest, I can't believe we got pregnant on our own at all! I wonder if I'll ever stop being amazed at that.
Anyway, here's how it all went down . . .
Tuesday, September 22
9 AM - Noon
I worked all morning at camp. I felt so tired and a little nauseous. I was having these pesky gas pains on and off. It had not even occurred to me at any point during the morning that I was having contractions. Not even for a minute.
I went to pick up Jack who was with Kelsey at home. They were playing outside, and I took Jack into the house to change his shoes and to respond to a few e-mails. While I was sitting there at the computer, it hit me that I had been having these waves of "gas pains" periodically throughout the morning. But honestly, I knew that any thoughts of these being contractions were merely wishful thinking.
Jack and I met Kyle at camp for lunch. When he came to help me get Jack out of the car for lunch, I asked him, "Do you have everything done for the weekend that you need to get done? I'm thinking you should try and finish up today instead of planning on working on it tomorrow."
As the words left my mouth, I realized how ridiculous I sounded. I wasn't going to go into labor on my own. That just doesn't happen to me. My body doesn't do things it should do naturally. Later, Kyle told me he was thinking the same thing. We've learned to be skeptical of anything that comes easily or naturally, I suppose.
During lunch, I felt these pains twice more, but they weren't bad enough that anyone really knew I was having them.
We took Jack home for his nap. Kyle put him down so that I could take a nap. I laid down and rested for about 30 minutes and felt nothing. Kyle went back to camp to work, and I went to work as I normally do from home every afternoon. I felt nothing else. I went to the bathroom and soon after, well . . . um, confirmed that it was just gas. I think I even blogged that night that I thought I was in labor, but I wasn't.
Kyle came home and we decided that we were going to get pumpkins for our front porch and then grab dinner at the Beach Bar. We bought $30+ worth of pumpkins (not even kidding . . . I went a little overboard) and headed to the Beach Bar. It was CLOSED and we had to settle for McDonalds. I was so bummed. I kept having little twinges, but didn't think it amounted to anything.
In retrospect, I feel a little dumb for not realizing it sooner because by this point, the "gas pains" were enough to make me have to stop and breathe through them.
We returned home and Kyle put Jack to bed and I went to work . Even though I knew I wasn't in labor, I had it in the back of my head that I needed to get EVERYTHING done just in case. I eventually came up to bed and couldn't fall to sleep. So, I decided that if I couldn't sleep, I might as well get stuff done. In retrospect, I think my nesting instinct was kicking it in to high gear, because I was picking everything up, cleaning, starting laundry, etc.
Wednesday, September 23
It was at this point that I started timing what I was realizing were, in fact, contractions. I almost woke Kyle up, because they were starting to get really painful but I thought it was silly for both of us to be up. I downloaded an iphone app to help me time them. It was really handy. They were about 8 - 12 minutes apart. I figured they'd probably be that far apart until Thursday night when I was scheduled to be induced.
I was up editing pictures, working on cards, etc. until about 3:30, when I finally came up and went to bed.
I slept for three hours until Jack woke us up. The contractions were getting MUCH stronger, but were still about 8 - 10 minutes apart. I called triage just to let them know and the midwife said to call when they were about 5 minutes apart. Jodi was scheduled to watch Jack that morning, so we decided to go into work.
About a half hour before Jodi came, the contractions really intensified. So, we decided to pack up our bags and get breakfast and then head to Ann Arbor and shop until they were close enough to go to the hospital. We live an hour from the hospital, so we didn't want to be too far away if they started to get worse. At this point, I still honestly thought we'd come home that night because I wouldn't make any progress.
I was in total denial.
We went to camp to take care of a few things and I stayed in the car because the contractions were getting so strong. This is the point that we probably should have headed right to the hospital.
We went to Bob Evans for breakfast and I asked to be seated far away from people. So, so glad I did. As we were waiting to have our order taken, the contractions kicked up a notch. It was painful, but the cinnamon stuffed pancakes were worth it. Seriously.
Our plan was to head to Target next, but as we were leaving, I sat down on a bench while I was waiting for Kyle to come out of the bathroom and was kind of writhing in pain. When he came out, I made the pronouncement: "It's time."
The contractions were about 5 minutes apart at this point. We called triage and began the longest drive of my life. I will never drive to Ann Arbor again without thinking about that trip. Lucky for us, Kyle got behind a police car who was going at a good pace and followed him most of the way. We made it there faster than usual.
When we got there, I was having contractions every 2 - 3 minutes. Just walking started a contraction. I don't know why we chose to just park in the parking structure, but we did. I think I think I just wanted to be able to use the "laboring mother" parking spaces that I had envied for so long. The walk through the lobby to the elevator was painful and embarrassing. Let's just say the people were staring at the woman who was hunched over every few steps. I refused the wheelchair, but Kyle finally insisted. By the time we got to triage, I just braced myself on a chair for a minute and they got me back to a room pretty quickly. I changed and they checked me and announced, "You're at 8."
Um, excuse me? 8? As in 2 cm from completely dilated? I had still been in total denial. I thought for sure that they'd tell me that I was at 1 or 2 and I had a long road ahead of me.
By this time, the contractions were horrible. Awful. Worse than I remember with Jack. Writhing is the only word to describe my condition. They wheeled my bed from triage into a room and it got worse. And worse. And worse. In retrospect, I'm embarrassed. I wasn't mean or vulgar or anything. But I was loud. It was so, so bad. It turns out that natural contractions are not, in fact, less intense than those with pitocin. More gradual, maybe. But they were WAY worse this time around.
Any question I had about whether or not to have an epidural was erased from my mind. It was no longer an option. It was necessary. I'm not even sure what I would have done without it. As soon as I had it, my blood pressure was no longer in the dangerous range, and I was able to concentrate a little better on the task ahead of me. We got to the hospital at noon or so and I think Ben would have arrived at about 1:00 without the epidural. I felt a little bit guilty about hindering that but it turned out for the best. Had I started pushing and had him at 1:00, I wouldn't have had the antibiotics for GBS in my system long enough and it might have resulted in Ben having to be in observation in the NICU for his first 8 - 12 hours. Which would have been awful.
The anesthesiologists were fantastic. So patient and so comforting. It was the worst pain of my life and they were really good about helping me through it while they got everything set up. The nurses and midwives were fantastic too. I can't say enough about them.
Once the epidural took effect, I was able to rest and breathe through the contractions. I think my exact words to the nurses were, "See, I'm a perfectly lovely person when I'm not in excruciating pain." My water broke shortly after I had the epidural. And, in my defense, it does feel exactly like wetting the bed.
The doctor who was supposed to deliver Ben was one that I had encountered on the day I was hospitalized because of my fall in July. I LOVE HER! I remember telling Kyle that I would love for her to be around to deliver my baby. But because he didn't come as quickly as we had anticipated, she wasn't there when he arrived. But she did check back in on us three times over the next two days.
We had called our families to let them know that the baby would be here at any time, because I was completely dilated. But the epidural slowed things down and they made it before he was born. My parents came up, and my mother-in-law brought Jack up at about 3:00. Jack was a little hesitant and kept pointing at things and asking, "Whats that for?"
The nurse came into to check me, so our families left the room. I started to feel a stronger urge to push and they had me do a "practice push" at about 4:15. Turns out, it was pretty effective, because they called for the doctor right away and everything started getting really busy in the room. I started really pushing at about 4:25.
Bennett was born! I felt the urge to push, but not a ton of pain. Even with the horrible contractions, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect labor and delivery. It was everything I had hoped it would be.
They put him right on my chest and my emotions overflowed. He was this perfect, messy little boy and I just fell in love with him right away . . . even though he proceeded to poop on me three times over the next 30 minutes. By looking at him, I didn't think he was as big as Jack was, but he was almost a pound bigger and an inch longer . . . 9 pounds, 6 ounces and 23 inches long. Some people have made a big deal about him delivering a baby who's over 9 pounds, but honestly, I don't think there can be that much difference in delivering an 8 1/2 pound baby than a 9 1/2 pound baby. Pushing a baby out is pushing a baby out no matter how big he is, right?
Ben cried. And cried. And cried. This was WAY different than it was with Jack and I was worried that there might be something wrong. And if he hadn't been crying, I'm sure I would have found something else to worry about. But he was healthy and perfect in every way.
Thursday, September 24 - Friday September 25
Jack's reaction was lukewarmon Wednesday and when he came back on Thursday, he wasn't really any better. He had a lot of questions for my mother-in-law on the way home about when Kyle and I were coming home and when baby brother would go back in mommy's tummy. He cried whenever he heard Ben cried. And then I cried whenever I heard Jack cry. It was rough. I felt like we hadn't prepared Jack enough for what would happen, but I'm not sure anything would have. By the time he left on Thursday, he was willing to hug and kiss his baby brother. This calmed my nerves quite a bit.
Because I was GBS positive, we had to spend an extra 12 hours at the hospital for Ben to be monitored. Which meant an overnight stay in a nesting room. We call our 12 hours in the nesting room with Jack the worst 12 hours of our life. It wasn't fun this time either, but at least we knew what to expect. And, I'll be honest . . . Thursday night television helped ease the pain a little. Ben started nursing and nursed well right from the start. That night in the nesting room, he basically nursed ALL NIGHT LONG. Ouch.
We were able to come home Friday morning. We picked Jack up at Kyle's parents house and started our life as a family of four. The last few days have been a roller coaster, for sure. I'll update on those more later. And I'll include more pictures.
Here area couple of snapshots from the day he was born.
September 28, 2009
I grew up with 2 sisters. My husband had 1. So I joked during my first pregnancy that I the baby had better be a girl because I didn’t know what to do with boys. Two sons later, I’m learning that boys are very different than the world of girls I’m familiar with! My favorite illustration of this so far came when I took my 2 boys to visit a friend of mine who had a daughter. The little girl took her play stroller and pushed around her baby doll leisurely, then putting her in a high chair for a snack. My oldest son then took the stroller, loaded it up with matchbox cars, and after a harrowing ride across the room, threw the stroller sideways, spilling cars everywhere and exclaimed to me, “Uh oh! Crash!”
My own observation of my sons has amazed me at the range of noises that come built-in for boys: cars, trucks, trains, tools, bikes, vacuum cleaner, and lots of burping and spitting. I’m also amazed at the way any any object can become a car and any surface can become a road. Little boys do not walk – they only run. And they think violence is funny. In a my playgroup of 9 moms, 6 of us have 2 boys. Here are a few of their comments about the surprised and joys of boys:
“One thing I realized was how little I understood boys, even at the earliest age. I actually emailed my dad and husband, "What IS it with dumping things out of boxes? Is it the noise? Exploring gravity? The need to see the bottom of the box? WHY must all boxes be systematically emptied out onto the floor?" I just felt like if I could understand the fascination, I would be a little less exasperated. :) I am also continually surprised how melty I feel when he hugs me and says, "I love you, Mommy." The fierce affection of a small boy is something I never really anticipated.” (from Melanie)
“I remember feeling a little apprehensive about the issue of competition - I didn't want the boys to be always comparing each other and trying do out do each other. I remember another guy (who had a brother close in age) telling me that he felt like competition was a good thing. He was much better at a lot sports and academic subjects than he ever would have been if he didn't feel like he had to try to stay one step ahead of his brother. I'm starting to see that with my boys now too - Luke was not content to let Brian [the younger brother] master the tricycle before he did!” (from Rachel)
“I can start with fears/worries about raising boys. Being a woman, I have no idea how I’m going to raise two boys!! Micah has so much energy, and I can tell already that Dylan is going to be just as active, so I’m worried about keeping up with them. On a more serious side, I’m worried about stifling their “boyness” because I don’t understand it. I want to encourage them to explore and be boys even though my mind says, “let’s keep it clean and under control around here!” [My husband] is great to remind me sometimes that boys just need to be boys.” (from Andrea)
A great resource I came across this summer, and am recommending to EVERYONE is the book, “Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys” by Stephen James and David Thomas. These clinical counselors-to and parents-of boys give an amazing, realistic, practical, and entertaining look at raising boys. They state, “Over the past few decades our culture has adopted a model of parenting and educating children that doesn’t affirm, celebrate, or embrace a boy’s hunger, passion, or wildness but rather seeks to tame it. As a result, many parents…find themselves frustrated, confused and wearied by boys’ behavior. The truth is, boys don’t need to be tamed – they need to be understood, loved, challenged, and encouraged.” If you have a boy – go read this book!
I know that my journey of raising boys will bring me back to my knees in prayer over and over….and over…. And I know that God promises in his word that his grace is sufficient, and his power is made perfect in my [parental] weakness (2 Cor. 12:9, parentheses mine). Being out of my comfort/confidence zone with boys has given me an opportunity to turn to God more and more. Let me note that I know there are plenty of challenges in raising girls too. But since the wonderful keeper of this blog is welcoming her second son into the world this week, I wanted to share my thoughts and encouragements with her. Congrats, Sara!!
September 27, 2009
I love being a boy mama. In high school I always said I wanted to be a soccer mom and load up a van full of boys after practice. But I didn’t really know what that meant. When AJ and I got married we started dreaming of our future family. We thought we’d want a boy first. You know, to be the big, older brother who protects his siblings. And then whichever sex came next, didn’t really matter. We just assumed we’d have a combination of boys and girls. We thought we’d like 3, possibly 4 kids. Our first baby was a boy. Perfect, just what we wanted. Our next baby was a boy, great! A brother for our Avery. They’ll be best of friends. When we found out we were expecting a third baby, we tried so hard not to get our hopes up. We told ourselves it would be a boy so that we wouldn’t be disappointed. But, the closer and closer it got to the ultrasound, the more I started dreaming of the ultrasound tech exclaiming, “It’s a girl!” I imagined AJ’s face. I imagined crying. I imagined going out and calling all our family and friends to tell them. Then we would go out to lunch and excitedly dream about names, cutsie girl clothes, & long hair to brush. I would go shopping and buy something pink.
Well, it didn’t go quite like that. When I laid down on the ultrasound table I was shaking. I tried to prepare myself and be okay either way. I reminded myself that we just wanted to see a healthy baby. As soon as she put the wand on my belly, she set it back down and walked over to get some tissues. She handed them to me and said, “It’s a boy.” The floodgates opened. I bawled like a little baby. I thought I would be okay either way, but the disappointment took over and really surprised me. I was so bummed the rest of the appointment. I was thanking God for a perfect, healthy little boy, but I couldn’t stop crying. I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around all boys. I just had never really considered that possibility. After the appointment we went to lunch and I cried into my sandwich. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a boy. It was that I had to let go of the dream of having a daughter. I was almost more disappointed for AJ than I was for myself. I always knew he would be a great girl-daddy. He’s so kind and patient and a great listener. I wanted him to get to experience having a daughter who was a daddy’s girl. I wanted to see a little girl have him wrapped around her finger. I wanted to experience a relationship with a daughter.
But, slowly the Lord replaced those longings in my heart. He reminded me that He had a plan for our family and knew exactly what we needed. Throughout my pregnancy I started getting more and more excited about having another boy. My girl dreams were replaced with dreams of 3 boys who are the best of friends. 3 boys to take care of their mama. 3 boys to grow up to be men of God who change the world with His love. I thought a lot about the story of Daniel and how he did not blend in with the culture. He was set apart. He stood firm amidst temptation. I started praying that God would help my boys to be Daniels in their world. Then I had our 3rd boy, our sweet Sawyer Daniel.
Having all boys has once again taught me God’s amazing love for me. Being a mama to all boys has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. I am so crazy in love with them it hurts. I love that they are always looking for an adventure and a battle to fight. I love that they love to give me hugs and kisses and tell me I’m beautiful. I love that they pick flowers (weeds) for me from the yard to put in a glass of water because “mamas like flowers.” I love that they want to marry me when they grow up. I love that they fight with each other and get over it just as quickly as it started. I love that they don’t care what I pick out for them to wear, they just put it on. I love that they dress up in a costume every single day that we’re at home. I love that they are mine. I love that God gave me 3 boys. I love that God’s plan for me was so much better than I could have imagined.
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them
September 26, 2009
Ever since Sara asked me to be a guest poster while she was tending to her new little bundle of blue...I have found myself thinking and pondering and wondering about why having two boys is just so awesome.
A big thing for me is that they aren't girls. Not that there is a thing wrong with little girls. But.
I will never have to deal with Barbies or pink frills or dolls that wet and close their eyes.
I won't have to deal with short skirts or tight shirts.
I won't have to scrutinize each boy in the neighborhood and give them the third degree about their intentions.
And that all suits me just fine.
Even bigger for me is the marshmallow.
Each boy in the world has it.
It's that mushy sweet center that the rock of every man is built around.
Not many get to see it. But the mama's always do. If you raise them just right they grow to know that it is possible to show it and share it and still be seen as men.
To be kind and gentle and sweet and stand their ground at the same time.
To be considerate and thoughtful and good to the people you love...and still able to score the winning points of the game.
I have seen my son face plant into gravel, get up to shake it off one minute and the next minute he is sweetly saying hi to a bug.
I have seen him practically roll around in the dirt and mud and muck then turn around and pick me a flower with a one inch stem.
I hope this kind of trend continues. I hope that he will always be comfortable enough to be a tough guy one moment...and not afraid to show his tenderness the next.
I hope that as a mother of a son that I will continue to grow to learn how to nurture this sort of thing...in a world that is increasingly tougher.
Bigger still is the thought that with God's grace and help we are raising two boys that will grow up to be just like their father. That two women in this world will be blessed to know them and love them...that like me, will be amazed at the gentlemen that they are...that they can seem tough but have that sweet marshmallow just below the surface and not be afraid to share it with them.
September 25, 2009
When you're done reading this post, check out these other two that I love:
The 6 Stages of Child Development that No One Tells You About
The One Where I Wish I Had Superpowers.
Originally posted at Here's the Diehl on April 28, 2008:
It’s been a really. rough. day. On top of what you’re about to read, our plumber came today and fixed (we hope) our faucet so we can proceed with the remodel, and him being here required me to take the boys to a plumbing supply place for a part this afternoon near naptime. And my house is still a disastrous mess from the remodel and my lack of cleaning until it’s done.
Midway through today, I was convinced that Bennett was put on this planet to make me lose my mind. He’s short on sleep, because he still needs to nap but refuses to, and this was the day that it all just culminated into him not being able to control himself at all. This comes after several pretty good days, so I was kinda shocked. I finally got him into bed a little after 7, and he was asleep shortly after that.
Luke stayed up to hang out with Matt and watch the Cardinals for a bit, and when it was time for him to go to bed, he asked me if I would climb in bed with him and snuggle. I don’t think he’s done this for a long time, and sadly (internally), my first reaction was to say no. I was so tired and worn out from dealing with the antics of child #2, and I wanted to get to work listing some stuff on ebay. But I decided I would for a couple of minutes, and boy, am I glad I did.
Before I climbed up into his bed, I started his (and the other boys’) “sleeping music.” It’s a CD we were given at the hospital when Luke was born, full of classical music and distributed by Enfamil. Basically from the day we brought him home from the hospital, we’ve played this for him and his brothers every nap time and bedtime, and if they wake at night. By my calculations, this CD (we have many copies) has been played no less than 6800 times since Luke was born…I’m sure it’s far more than that. As the first song started, I was just thrown back in time to his infancy. Walking around with him in his little room in our old house…wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with him when he wailed…rocking him in the chair I now rock Jack Henry…and, of course, the tears started pouring. I stayed there with him longer than I intended, and just told him how thankful I was for having him as part of our family.
I so needed a moment like this with one of my kids today, to demonstrate that this hard, amazing, rewarding, and sometimes totally sucky job is really, really worth it. In a month, Luke is going to be a kindergartener, and he’s smart and funny and kind and loves the Lord. What more could I ask for? Oh yes, a moment like this with Bennett, too, would be nice. I’m going to make that happen tomorrow.
It’s difficult to do, but I think I’m finally learning that I’ll never regret slowing down and taking an extra moment with these boys of mine. It’s always worth it.
Anyway . . .
In the meantime, I've asked a few bloggy friends to guest-post on my blog and they agreed. They're the mothers of all boys and they all love God. I've learned A LOT from reading each of their blogs. If you don't already follow them, I'd recommend that you do.
I have children to attend to, card orders to work on, and healing to do. Enjoy their posts for the next few days and I PROMISE to update at the beginning of next week!
Oh, if you want a glimpse into the last couple of days and to see the camera phone pictures, look back at some of my twitter posts.
September 23, 2009
Bennett Nelson Luke arrived safe and sound at 4:31 PM today. He weighs 9 pounds, 6 ounces and is 23 inches long.
Pictures and details are forthcoming, of course. But we're all healthy and happy and Kyle and I couldn't be more thrilled to have another perfect boy.
September 22, 2009
A little bit earlier today, I started having pains and thought that it might be time. But it wasn't.
We celebrated summer birthdays with Kyle's family over the weekend and I asked for gift cards and gift certificates to restaurants that I could use after the baby's born so that I don't have to cook. BEST. IDEA. EVER. It's difficult, though, to not want to use one of them tonight. For some reason, I thought we had dinner at camp every night this week, but tonight's the only night we don't. Oh well. I can live through one night of cooking at home. Maybe. Or maybe we'll go to the Beach Bar. I asked Jack what he wants for dinner and he replied, "pumpkins." Which is different than his usual response of "Peanut butter & jelly and french fries."
By the way, a couple of my cards will be featured on http://www.myhandmaderegistry.com for a couple of days. I happened to find a couple of fun things on there for the baby, too!
September 21, 2009
When I was 38 - 39 weeks pregnant, I kept thinking to myself, "Wow . . . this pregnancy is so much easier than it was with Jack. I'm relatively comfortable. I'm feeling ok. I remember being a lot more miserable at the end with Jack. Why is it that I had such a hard time at the end of my pregnancy with Jack? This isn't that bad. It's not super comfortable, but it's not unbearable."
And if I had delivered at 38 or 39 weeks . . . I probably would have continued to think that. Shoot, even right at 40 weeks, I was still thinking about how much easier it was this time around.
But once I hit passed the 40 week mark, everything kind of started to head downhill fast. I remembered what it's like to be more than 40 weeks pregnant. If you've ever had the honor of going this far, you'll understand. It's only been a week, but it's been a LONG. WEEK. How is it that just a few days can make such a drastic difference?
Physically, I'm wiped out. Because I'm not only carrying a baby, but I've been doing it for more than FORTY WEEKS. I've been pregnant for the entirety of 2009. I no longer sleep more than 1 1/2 - 2 hours at a time . . . but I actually consider it a success if I sleep more than an hour. I have bad headaches. The baby feels like he's about to split my belly right in half because there is NO. MORE. ROOM. My feet and hands are numb (though this continues to be better than it was with Jack). It's just not fun.
Emotionally, I'm spent. I'm in this constant state of wondering if he'll come on his own or if I'll have to go in Thursday night. I'm disappointed that he didn't come when he was "supposed" to. I keep losing my patience with Jack over little things and then feeling guilty for it. I let him watch more TV yesterday than he probably has in the rest of this life combined because by early afternoon, I just didn't have the energy to play ANOTHER round of Memory or Hi Ho Cherry-O with him. I kept wishing that someone would call yesterday and say, "Can we take Jack for a few hours?" And I'm sitting here crying just typing that because I feel guilty for not wanting to spend every minute of this quality time with him before the baby comes. We really have had some great moments over the last few days and I'm so thankful for that.
I cannot even fathom what it would be like to start having contractions out of the blue. I'm not even sure what that would feel like or what I'd do if I were sitting at work and my water broke. I know that's what happens for most people, but it seems so unreal.
While I'm feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, I do have so much to be thankful for. I'm carrying a healthy baby. I have another four days at work to get things done before he arrives. Kyle asked me yesterday if I was going to come into work on Thursday. What else would I do? Sit at home and wait? No thanks. We wont' have to be to the hospital until 7 or 8 PM and that would make for a LONG day.
I'm thankful for fantastic babysitters who play with Jack and help him spend some of the energy that he needs to spend so that I can spend time doing things like reading and cuddling with him instead (over the weekend when Kyle was working in the yard he kept asking me to wrestle with him . . . um, no).
I'm so glad that we'll be able to have dinner at camp every day this week . . . I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for that. I've decided that when I know of someone pregnant, I'm going to bring them dinner the week before the baby comes rather than after. Cooking over the last week has been the LAST thing I've wanted to do. Let's just say that Jack has consumed more french fries than I'm willing to admit.
It won't be long. I can make it.
September 19, 2009
That said, I do have some rules about cuddle time. Otherwise, he'd NEVER fall asleep.
So today, I climbed into bed and said, "OK, head on the pillow, eyes closed, no talking, legs on the bed."
Jack grabbed my chin in his hand and said, "You forgot somefing."
"Oh yeah? What?"
"Keep your hands to yourself."
Hmmm . . . I guess I can't complain that he doesn't listen. When did he get so grown up? I have a feeling that in a week, he'll look even more grown up than he does now . . . in comparison to our new little guy, that is.
Because a week from now, I'll either have a baby or be in the hospital still trying to have one. I'm scheduled to go in Thursday night to begin to be induced. There are SO MANY varying opinions on the safety of being induced vs. the safety of going any farther past my due date. Trust me . . . I've heard them all. But I decided to go ahead and stick with 8 days past due (it'll actually be 9 by the time they start the pitocin . . . maybe 10 if it takes a while). I'm still praying like CRAZY that he'll come sooner. Like tonight.
As much as I'm ready (R-E-A-D-Y) for this baby to come now, I've started to be a little bit sad about this pregnancy being over. I'm confronted with wondering if this will be my last time pregnant and wanting to just soak it all up. To be quite honest, I'm still STUNNED that I'm pregnant. I know . . . it's been 34ish weeks that I've known, but I still can't believe it.
This relationship that we have right now . . . just he and I together ALL the time . . . I'll miss that a little once he arrives. I know it sounds contrary to all of my whining for the last few days (if you've kept up with me on twitter or facebook).
I'm ready to be able to take deep breaths again. I'm ready to be able to bend over. I'm ready for sitting down and standing up to no longer be athletic events. And, I'm excited to meet my youngest little boy. But there is a part of me that feels just a little bit sentimental about the whole thing.
September 18, 2009
I was getting ready to take the picture for the banner earlier today and Jack woke up from his nap just as I was beginning. He immediately went for the "letters" on the floor and asked if we were playing a game. I was getting ready to tell him not to touch and to move out of the picture, but I LOVED what I was seeing through my lens. So, I let him play a little. And I was happy with the end result.
Besides, Jack playing with the tiles while I'm trying to take the photo is a little symbolic, don't you think? In case you're wondering, we did play a game with the scrabble tiles when I was done taking the pictures.
I've also decided that I'm going to have packs of note cards using pictures of scrabble tiles . . . look for those in the shop sometime, well, this fall/winter . . . who knows? When I get time, I guess.
2. I've alluded to my iphone, but I haven't really stated that I did, in fact, get an iphone. Poor Kyle can't get one until mid-October. I think it's killing him. I remember when they were released a few weeks after Jack was born and I sat nursing him while watching the Today Show hosts talk about them on the news. I wanted one so bad but they were $599 at the time and I figured I would never have one. While I'm thrilled with the phone, our experience at the Apple store left much to be desired. The associate we finally met with was great, but everything and everyone leading up to that was chaos and just plain old BAD. I intend to write a letter . . .
Also, I should note that for the last week or so, I've felt a tad over connected. I answer e-mail immediately. I check facebook and twitter more than anyone should. I need to set some limits.
3. I've had more caffeine during this pregnancy than I did with Jack. I feel a little guilty about that. If this child has any problems, I will likely blame the Coca Cola Corporation and the addictive ingredients that I'm sure they add to their products.
4. Last week alone, I did 4 announcements for babies with our baby's name. Up until this week, I had only done 3 ever. So far, two people have guessed his name correctly (much to my SHOCK), but only one of them knows that she did and it's only because she caught me SO off guard.
5. At this point when I was pregnant with Jack, I'd had his birth announcement designed for weeks (little did I know where that would land me, two years later), I had all of the envelopes address, stamped and ready to be stuffed and sent. They were sent out about less than a week after we got home from the hospital. I haven't even started this baby's announcement. But I can guarantee that it will be better than Jack's. I've improved quite a bit since then.
6. If you've been looking at my holiday designs, you'll notice that there aren't many new ones. Most of them are from last year. I'm working on it. Stop pressuring me.
7. I'm working on processing my last two photo sessions I took before the baby comes. Processing photos takes SO. MUCH. TIME.
8. I mentioned that I haven't been sleeping well . . . which stinks, but does lead to increased productivity. My work day starts about about 4 AM. A couple of days ago, I heard Jack crying at about 6:30, so I went in, changed his diaper, and cuddled for a little while. I kept waking up and wondering what time it was, but figured Kyle would let me know when we needed to be up. Bad assumption. I finally climbed out of Jack's bed and went back to our room and the clock said 8:19. Kelsey was supposed to get there at 8:30. YIKES. Needless to say, it was a rushed morning.
9. A frequently asked question is, "Have you tried potty training Jack yet?" The answer is, "Well, no, kind of, a little, maybe?" He sits on the potty sometimes. He tells us he has to go sometimes. He won't go unless he has a diaper on or he's sitting on the potty. But we haven't really pushed it. LOTS of people have told us that it would be so nice to have him potty trained before the baby comes, but I just don't see it. It seems way easier to change a diaper than it does to stop what I'm doing to take him to the bathroom. I realize as I type this that it probably says more about me and my desire for convenience, but I don't care. Erin calmed any pressure I was feeling when she commented a few weeks ago and reminded me that EVERYONE has to be ready for something like this. Just because Jack might be, doesn't mean it's the best time. He'll let us know if he's REALLY ready and I'm sure that once the baby's here and we get settled in, we'll find a time to start when we can all feel comfortable about. We have started using cloth diapers with him (with the exception of the nursery and when the babysitter's here) and we're liking them for the most part. I'll write more on that another time.
10. I did the baby center height predictor thing tonight . . . where you put in your child's stats, the parents' stats and they predict how tall your child will be. The results are below. Yikes . . . can I still call him my little boy?
September 16, 2009
But the day has come and almost gone and I've had no signs of any sort of progress at all. All of my feelings a few weeks ago that the baby would come early have proven to be inaccurate. In about two hours, this baby will officially be late.
I told Kyle that it's like counting down the days to your birthday, and then everyone sort of forgetting that it was your birthday. Total letdown. The day that you've held in such high regard for so long has come and gone with nothing to show for it.
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow in which we'll discuss what to do if he's not here in another week. Part of me wants to give it two weeks past my due date just to do what I can to avoid the dreaded pitocin. But given Jack's size and how much bigger this baby seems, I also don't want to end up in a c-section because he's too big for me to push out. I had really hoped to not have to make this decision.
Oh well. No one stays pregnant forever. I just want him to arrive and for him to be healthy . . . whenever that may be.
I just noticed that she has them back up in her shop! If you have a tradition of getting your kid(s) a new ornament each year, I'd strongly recommend you consider doing one of these this year. It has the homemade look and feel, but the quality of a keepsake ornament! If you head over there and can't find them, she'll probably get more up. Or contact her for a custom one!
And I'm posting this without asking her first and my fingers are crossed that she wasn't thinking, "I'll just post two this year and then not make anymore." :)
September 15, 2009
You can reminisce with me here.
Three years ago tomorrow, this blog was born.
Time flies . . .
Jack's needed new shoes for, um, let's just say a while. I've pushed it as far as I possibly could and I'm not sure why. Maybe because size 9 looks HUGE and I can't believe my baby needs that size. Maybe because I couldn't find anything that I really liked.
We were down to one pair of shoes that fit and then, they fit only without socks on (they're those sandal/tennis shoe mix shoes . . . I call them all terrain shoes). They've been awesome for the summer, but they're starting to get tight. And stinky. Really, really stinky. His tennis shoes kind of fit, but they're tight, for sure. His flip flops leave sores on his feet. He had a pair of sandals at the beginning of the summer, but he had outgrown them by July.
That said, I finally broke down and ordered him two new pair of shoes last week. They're two pair of exactly the same shoe, in different colors. They were on sale at The Children's Place and I had a 20% off coupon. Perfect. While I was shopping online, I picked up a couple pair of pants that were on sale (which I have to return because I accidentally ordered them in 3T and he's well into 4T) and a shirt.
Everything arrived today and when Kelsey (our babysitter) left this afternoon, Kyle called Jack over to open the box with him. He said, "This stuff for baby brother?" And we told him, no, that it was stuff for him. His eyes lit up.
"Yay! Yay!" he kept saying over and over with his arm up in the air. This is his newest way to show his excitement. His eyes were wide as we pulled out the shoes, pants and shirt. My two-year-old was jumping up and down and literally ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the clothes we had purchased for him. I had no idea he'd be this excited. He immediately sat down and started trying to put his shoes on. At which point I patted myself on the back for buying shoes with velcro. One less thing we have to do for him when trying to get out the door . . .
He wore those shoes all over and kept saying, "I like them! I like them!" He walked out onto the deck and just stared down at his shoes as he walked around for a little while. After we went inside, he started pulling his shirt on over his head. He got a little stuck, but had a huge smile on his face the whole time. This whole thing took me by surprise. I just thought I had bought him some necessitites and that he'd barely notice that we were strapping something new to his feet.
I've got to tell you . . . I had no clue he'd react this way. But I was so, so happy. I loved seeing the look on his face when he saw these things. I loved the excitement in his eyes over the gifts we had given him.
I think that's how God feels when he watches us receive the good gifts he gives us. I think he beams when he sees our excitement.
Later, when I was snuggling with him at naptime, Jack said, "Thank you for the new shoes, Mama."
"You're welcome," I responded. I laid there next to him with tears in my eyes thinking about how much I loved that kid.
After I left his room, I sat on my bed for a while and just thanked God for all of the good gifts he's given me. And I think God was sitting there with me thinking about how much he loves this kid.
September 14, 2009
1. My new thing to panic about: The fact that Jack doesn't really have any friends his own age. He has a few through church that he doesn't really see very often and he has his cousin Emma but I'm starting to worry that his social skills will suffer. I toyed with the idea of putting him in a day care with lots of kids for a day or two a week this year (since he's not yet old enough for ANY preschool in our area) but decided to stick with the in-home babysitter for the time being. And we LOVE our babysitters, but I'm wondering if I should have opted for the more social option. Ugh. While I kind of hope he'll always be the nerdiest kid in school (I'll explain that some other time), I do want him to have the ability to make friends.
2. Kyle and I went to IKEA on Saturday for our last time out just the two of us for a while . . . with the exception of the 24 - 48 hour stay we'll have at U of M sometime in the next two weeks. With all of that walking, I was feeling cramps, I felt the baby really low . . . I was excited that I was feeling progress. Then on Sunday and today, I have felt absolutely nothing. NOTHING!
3. Jack has been saying too many funny things to even keep track of. The most startling of which was last night when walked toward me with a pair of toy pliers, lifted up my shirt and said, "Baby brother, I know! We will get you outta there!" I'm not sure how he planned on doing that, but I didn't stick around to find out.
4. Christmas cards . . . seriously, I've done dozens of holiday cards for people and we're just at mid-September. It deceives me into thinking the holidays are closer than they are. I'm in awe of people who are that organized. Totally in awe.
5. Jack was kind of sick last week. He had a fever for one night, but was congested and sneezy for several days. I kind of wonder if his two year molars have popped through but I keep forgetting to check. It did make for lots of cuddle time. I got into bed with him one night and he put his arm on my shoulder and said, "It's ok, mama." Sweet boy. Kyle went to Meijer in the middle of the night last Thursday for a new humidifier and Jack has slept through the night every night since! He hadn't done this since early August. Humidifier, you're hired!
6. It's crazy that when I was pregnant with Jack my ankles were HUGE. Not just normal pregnant-swollen ankles. They were outrageously puffy and disgusting. Think about what Shrek's ankles might look like and you'll be almost there. And my hands were numb for about 8 weeks leading up to his delivery. This time, my ankles are a little puffy and my hands just started going numb. I wonder what the difference is . . . I am sad to report, however, that I've caught up with the weight gain I had with Jack and I'm about dead even with where I was at 40 weeks with him. (insert Debbie Downer noise here)
7. I've been a little down. That's just the honest truth. I'm sure it's just the roller coaster that is pregnancy hormones. There was SO MUCH to do leading up to Jack's birth and this time around, things are a lot more laid back. I've also had a lot of trouble sleeping more than 2 - 3 hours stretches. Which I guess is good preparation, in a way. . .
I'll probably post something similar to this tomorrow, because I have a lot more on my mind but I'm finally feeling tired and I need to take advantage of that!
September 12, 2009
Me: Not right now.
Jack: Cam I?! PLEEEEASE!
Me: Ask your dad.
Jack: Cam I watch a show, dad?
Kyle: Not right now. A little later.
Jack: I not want to wait! Please, please, please, please, please! PLeeeease!
Kye: What did I tell you?
Jack: Cam I watch a show now?
Kyle: I'll tell you when it's time.
Jack: Please, please, please, please, please . . . now?
Me: Jack, I think baby brother likes hearing you talk. Come talk to him!
Jack (in high pitched voice): Hi baby brother. I want to play with you.
Jack: I hear baby brother talking!
Me: Oh yeah?
Kyle: What's he saying?
Jack (in a whisper): He say wants to wants to watch Little Einsteins.
Is this kid serious?
September 10, 2009
My mom made this pumpkin chocolate chip bread and I don't know where she got the recipe from. I'm sure it's elsewhere online, but this was the recipe I got from her. She made it as a loaf (therefore, this recipe is for the loaf version), but when I was in college and wanted to make this, I think I only had muffin pans, which is why I started making them that way. Also, they take a little less time to make. I really do prefer it in loaf form, so you can slice it, heat it and spread a little butter on it. Which I guess you can do with the muffins, but it's just not the same.
I also always double the recipe below and make two loaves or two pans of muffins. Trust me on this one . . . you'll thank me later.
Mix these ingredients well:
3/4 cup pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling . . . regular pureed pumpkin)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl and then add gradually to the wet mixture until everything is combined:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Once everything is combined well to form a batter, add the chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup - which would be 1 1/2 cups if your doubling the recipe - but when I double the recipe, I add at least 2 cups. Probably a little bit more. The moral of the story: Add chocolate chips until you have your desired amount.
Pour into a 9 x 5 loaf pan (or 2 - 9 x 5 loaf pans) and bake at 350. I think for around 50 minutes to an hour for loaves. More like 25 - 30 minutes for muffins. You know . . . until a knife comes out clean.
Here's a picture from a few years ago. Enjoy!
So, I began to limit what I listened to and (gasp!) entered into the world of children's music. We had a few CD's that came with his children's Bible (the CD's he refers to as his "Bible songs") and we downloaded the Veggie Tales Sunday Morning Songs from itunes. Neither of these are my first choice when it comes to music in the car, but I have to tell you . . . because of this, I discovered the incredible blessing that comes from hearing your child sing the name of Jesus and shout (literally shout) praises to God. There's something about hearing Jack proclaim, "There's nothing my God cannot do!" that makes me believe it even more than I already do.
From day 1, I sang choruses and hymns to Jack as I was rocking him to sleep . . . mainly because they were the song to which I knew all of the words. And now, he can sing you Amazing Grace, It is Well, Great Is Thy Faithfulness and a handful of others . . . totally off key, thanks to me, but at least he knows the words. We heard a more "modern" version of "It is Well" in the car last night, and listening to him sing, "It is well with my soul" over and over brought me to tears.
Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not saying that I don't occasionally listen to other kinds of music in the car. I have no problem with that. Jack occasionally requests some of "my" songs like "You Found Me" or "She's a Good Girl" (also known as "Free Falling"). I have just become MUCH more conscious of the lyrics.
I know it seems totally obvious, but our kids, whether they're verbal at age 2 or not, SOAK UP EVERYTHING! And because of these realizations about how songs can get stuck in their heads . . . for better or for worse . . . I've been so much more intentional about what we listen to in the car. And what I have on the television at home. He doesn't miss a thing. And what goes in, eventually comes out, right?
Ok, so where was I going with this? Oh, right . . . somewhere completely different from where I am right now . . .
During the summer, we have a speaker named Jerry Jacoby. Seriously, he's one of the best kids' entertainers out there. He does a lot of character education programs in the public schools, but his love for God is so evident that it comes out in everything that he does. I think my favorite thing about him is that when he's speaking at camp, he conveys the truth of the Bible in a way that kids can understand, but without watering it down. And he lives it out in front of the kids so that they can see that he's more than just "talk."
SO, he gave all of our staff one of his CD's for free and Jack has fallen in love with that CD. As much as I love Jerry Jacoby, I've started to grow tired of the songs because of how much we listen to them, so Jack and I take turns . . . one of his songs, one of my songs.
Ok, anyway . . . back on track. There's a song on there that says, "I know the One who stills the water." Jack sings along with that quite a bit and one day, Kyle asked him, "Jack . . . who's the one who stills the water." And Jack replied, "Jerry Jacoby." We explained to him that no, Jerry Jacoby isn't the one who stills the water, but that Jerry's singing about Jesus. That Jesus is the one who stills the water.
So a few days later, Jack's singing that song and after he sings, "I know the one who stills the water" he shouts, "NO JESUS! BRING THAT WATER BACK!"
Kyle and I were a little confused and asked Jack what he was talking about. And he said, "THAT'S MY WATER!"
After thinking for a few minutes, we realized that Jack thought he was singing, "I know the One who STEALS the water." While it occurred to us to explain to him that Jesus was the one who stills the water, it never occurred to us to explain what "stills the water" means.
So we did, and now when he sings that song, Jack inevitably asks if there's a storm coming. Hmmm . . .
September 6, 2009
Honestly . . . I'm in no hurry for this baby to arrive. I have too much to do!
There is no amount of editing that can make me look awake in this photo, so it's straight out of the camera. And it's pretty much how I feel. Tired. And it may look like my shirt covers my belly, but in reality, my shirt stops at my midriff and the Bella Band takes it from there. Though I wonder what the people at church would have done if I arrived with half my belly hanging out . . .
September 5, 2009
Anyway, I took one round of senior pictures about a week ago, and another round on Monday. I kept waiting until I had the second round edited before posting any, but, well . . . at this rate, it'll be a little while. So here are a few of my favorites so far.
I've noticed that when I upload pictures to blogger, they come out looking fuzzy and distorted. Hopefully, embedding from flickr will clear that up. Or maybe not. Visit my flickr page to see more.
September 4, 2009
A week or two ago, you looked up at me and said, "Mama, after school, I'm gonna go to college like Emily." I laughed and told you that I hope you're right and to start saving your money because college is expensive. But I spent the rest of that day thinking about how the day that you leave home will be here all too soon. It'll be one of life's biggest changes.
Life is full of changes. We just gave up our dog . . . that's been a big change. You haven't quite figured out yet that she's not coming back. It breaks my heart every time you ask when she's coming home.
But One of the biggest changes of your life thus far will be coming in the next few weeks. There's a quote from a movie called You've Got Mail that says, "People are always telling you that change is a good thing, but what they're really saying is that something that you didn't want to happen just happened." Over the next few weeks, our lives are going to change dramatically and it WILL be a good thing. I'm 100% sure of it. But you might just feel a little bit like something that you didn't want to happen just happened. Our family of three is going to multiply. We'll become a family of four.
You're in a little bit of denial because when we talk about baby brother, you often say, "No baby brother. No little feet. No little hands." You've started telling us that you want to "be a baby more, instead of a big brother" and that you "don't want to be a big boy." You've become more cuddly and kissy and want to snuggle all the time. You sense the coming change.
I know that you'll be excited when he arrives and that you'll love him and be an incredible big brother. I know that this new relationship that will begin to develop in a few weeks will be one that you'll cherish your whole life. But I also know that there might be a bit of a rough road ahead of us as you try and figure it all out. And that's ok. Take your time.
I'm incredibly excited to meet your baby brother but at the same time, I feel a little bit like I'm mourning the loss of what we have right now. I realize that you won't have any recollection of what life was like when it was just the three of us. You'll never remember what it was like to have your dad and I all to yourself. Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not worried that it won't get better. The special bond that the three of us share will get a little bigger to include your baby brother and our family will become even more amazing . . . I'm certain of it.
But before that happens, what I want you to know is that these last 27 months have been so incredibly special to me. And that doesn't even begin to accurately describe how I feel. This time we've had has changed me and shaped me as much as it has you.
YOU, my sweet boy, are my firstborn . . . the one who made me a mother. You brought out parts of me that I never knew existed. You turned our world upside down . . . for the better. Life will never be the same as it was before you entered our lives. You have been one of our greatest joys and one of God's most profound tools in molding your Dad and I.
When we watch tv together, and we hit the hot dog dance on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or the curtain call on Little Einsteins, you immediately start crying and saying, "It's over, mama! It's over!" Even with 5 minutes left in the show, you see that the end is near and won't even enjoy the last moments because you know that the show will soon end and be erased from the tivo forever.
I do this with things in life too, Jack. But I don't want to get so sad about the end of this stage of life that I don't enjoy the last few weeks, or that I don't look forward to the excitement of what's ahead. So, I'm going to spend whatever time we have before baby brother arrives enjoying you and getting ready for the upcoming changes!
I love you even more than I did on the day you were born. Being a big boy and having a little brother will never change that.
September 2, 2009
Of course, I knew my water had broken.
I told Kyle to start packing up and I did the thing that any of you would have done in my situation . . . I threw some eyebrow wax in the microwave in order to wax my overgrown eyebrows that I've been putting off for weeks. I couldn't do anything about the zits on my chin, or the lack of a manicure, but if I was going to be photographed lots for the next two or three days, I was going to have well-groomed eyebrows. I then proceeded to accidentally wax off half of my left eyebrow. Just lovely.
We decided we were going to just wait until our babysitter got here at 9 AM and took our time packing stuff up. We seriously had nothing packed or even put together. At all. I wasn't completely sure my water had broken because I realized I hadn't been up once all night to use the bathroom. I'd say I was about 75% sure, though.
Ok, I'm realizing as I type this that in order to publish it I'm going to have to publicly admit that I just wet my pants. Because that's what happened
I got to triage and the midwife confirmed that my water had not broken. I was just incontinent. Which was mildly embarrassing. THough my mom freaked me out a little, because when her water broke with my brother they didn't see any ferning at first, either. So I can't get that out of my mind.
But that was our false alarm day. I asked the midwife how to know the difference . . . what if this happened again? She said I can't really know for sure, so if it happens again, I'll have to just come in and be checked. Ugh.
If nothing else, this lit a fire under us to get stuff done! I spent our drive to the hospital making a mental list of everything I wish I would have had time to get done and now I'm trying to do everything on that list!