Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and boy do I have the best village. After I had Nicolas, it was reaffirmed to me again just how many friends and family we have, surrounding us with love and support. Of course my Mom was here taking care of everything at home, while my in-laws watched the kids for us for a few days and my sister-in-law took them the next week for another little extra break. Friends brought over delicious, home cooked meals, presents for the baby and me, specialty drinks, homemade baked goods, take out lunches and I was constantly receiving texts. “Congratulations, he is beautiful!” “How are you feeling?” “How is the baby?” “We miss you!” “Can’t wait to meet him!”
 Even a month later, I’m still feeling the extra love as friends offer to bring Brooke home from school, ask if I need anything and we even received another meal the other day, just because. Now that I’m out an about more, everyone always asks how I’m feeling and how we are adjusting. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more loved in all of my life. Our village is full of the most caring souls on the planet and it makes the page to the new chapter of our lives turn a whole lot smoother than it would have had we been alone.
 We are so very blessed.

Quick photo dump from the past few weeks:

Hands near mouth, always

"The boys"

Baby blues

He has been such a good baby for us--happy, peaceful and content for the most part ;)

Before my Mom left, we celebrated Joe's birthday a little early. She made ice cream sandwhiches with him and gave him his presents.

I know I'm a little biased, but does he not have the perfect face?!

I'm curious what color his hair will end up being...

No words needed. She's my hero and my kids adore her.

She's adjusting great to going to school every day, and we are settling into our new routine. The first week was really rough on me, not gonna lie, but it was definitely the best decision for us right now and I'm adjusting!

Leaving you with baby toes.
 Happy Friday!

P.S. We have our yearly anniversary Sunday coming up this weekend, and we are praying for many souls to be saved. Please pray with us, would you?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Post of Firsts

School started this week, bringing big changes for our family. This is Brooke's first year attending our church school. She is loving it so far--me, not so much. I miss her, and 9 hours a day is a long time! I'm hoping I'll adjust to it soon, but for now, I'm just glad that she loves it and seems to be doing really well.
 I'm teaching JoJo Kindergarten at home and learning that boys are very different to teach than girls! He's doing great, though, and we're both enjoying it! I'm usually holding the baby during school, because he's not too keen on taking longer naps by himself. Some might say I'm spoiling him, but I prefer to say I'm enjoying him. I just can't resist his little snuggly body curled up against mine! (Which is where he is right now, because I can't stop)

First day of second grade!

First day of Kindergarten!

Other firsts...his first Sunday going to church, wearing a tux, because duh, when you're two weeks old style is important! And look, he's already praising the Lord!

The cutest little face ever

His umbilical cord stump fell off at only 6 days old (just like his sister!), so he got his first bath, which he loved and never made one peep!
It was a family affair, which pretty much every new baby event is in this house. This baby is oh so loved! 

My Mom leaves tomorrow, and while I'm dreading the goodbye, I am so, so thankful for the 3 weeks she was able to spend here. She has spoiled us rotten! Because I have such a big family, we don't get much alone time so time with just her after I have a baby is very precious to me. Hey, maybe I should start cranking out babies more often!
 Just kidding.

Tomorrow's Friday! Have a great weekend, friends!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blissfully Exhausting

The past 12 days have been a blissfully exhausting blur of feeding baby, changing baby, cuddling baby, bouncing baby, kissing baby, staring at baby, repeat, repeat, repeat. He has been such a good boy--so laid back and easy going! He nurses like a champ and weighed 7.13 at his 2 week check up today.
 I have learned after 4 kids to let my body recover and rest as long as I can, which I'm blessed to do since my Mom is here to take care of everything else. I am forever indebted to her for the countless loads of laundry, cleaning, cooking, and most importantly, loving on my other 3 while Mommy is out of commission. While I'm exhausted, I can't imagine how much more exhausted and frazzled I would be if she was not here to make my post partum weeks easy and enjoyable.

My kids met their baby brother for the first time when he was just a few hours old, unbathed and undressed. For them to see him so new and fresh was something that I really hoped would happen God worked it all out! Nicolas was born a little after 6 on a Sunday night, which meant the kids were able to come right after church was over!

I'll be honest--I totally broke down and cried when they walked in, all smiles. There isn't really any way to describe the overwhelming feeling of joy I was experiencing to see all of my babies, meeting their newest sibling on the outside for the first time. Nathan was obsessed with my belly the entire pregnancy and would not go to bed without "kissing baby". He looked at my belly, then at Nicolas, back at my belly and said, "the other one baby is in there?" It didn't take him long to figure out that the baby had finally come out and he was so enthralled with his little brother from that moment. And obviously, he had been eating something very blue. ;)

Our first family picture when Nicolas was less than 3 hours old. 

My grandma and Aunt traveled down to visit, and it was so special to have them here with the baby just being born. Our time together was too short, but we had such a great time together. Anytime I get to spend with family from home is comforting and gives me just the boost I need.

"Grammy" meeting Nicolas

They adore their Nonnie

She is my biggest helper, like I knew she would be. She loves to dress him, change him and of course hold him any chance she gets.


Nathan had to make sure he had a ball to play with ;)

Nathan has been a handful and a half since the baby was born. He loves his little brother to death, but he's had a rough time adjusting to the change. I'm really hoping he turns a corner soon!

We got family and newborn pictures done last week, and I'm hoping to have them soon and share a few soon!
 Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Birth of Nicolas

This birth was very, very different from my others. I am normally an early dilator, but this time I really wasn't. At my 39 week check up on Thursday I was only 1-2 centimeters at the most and 60% effaced. I know that early dilation doesn't mean anything, but I admit I was a little worried I would end up going late. Thankfully, that was not the case!
 We had been praying that I would go into labor that weekend for a number of reasons. The main reasons were so that my Mom could spend most of her time helping me out with the baby, and that my Mother-in-law would be present for the birth since she was out of town until then. 
 On Saturday (8/16), my Mom and I had a perfect day out. We shopped, ate lunch and got pedicures. When we came home, I rested a little and later on Nate and I went for a walk. No signs of labor at all, but the day was laid back and restful. We also found a little bassinet at a garage sale for $20, and set it up, as well as washing the car seat and getting it ready to go. When I went to bed Saturday night, it was the first night I felt totally ready for a new baby to enter our little world. Apparently, my body got the memo--and God answered a lot of prayers!
 At 4am on Sunday (8/17), I woke up to go the bathroom and discovered I was bleeding. I knew that things were starting and even though I tried to rest after that, I was too excited, so I straightened the house instead. I made the mistake of waking up my husband to tell him what was going on, and then he couldn't sleep either. 
 I called my midwife around 7am just to let her know what was going on and to make sure that it was normal to be bleeding like I was. They said that it sounded like things were starting up and I was pretty excited!
 At this point I was feeling slightly crampy but definitely not in labor yet. Nate took the kids to church and my Mom stayed home with me. I took a long walk and bounced on my ball. I was already pretty exhausted from getting less than 4 hours of sleep, so I rested on the couch a little bit too. I would have sporadic contractions here and there but nothing too painful.

 My midwife called around 11 and asked me to come in just to get checked since I have a history of very fast labors. At this point I was contracting about once every 10 minutes and by the way I was feeling was thinking I was about 3 centimeters. Before she hung up, she said, "it's going to be today!" which made me relieved, excited and nervous all at the same time.

 We arrived at the birth center and I was 3cm, 70% effaced, just as I thought I would be. The baby was a little high for her to break my water to get things going. 
 At this point she didn't want me to go home but she left it up to me if I wanted to go somewhere to walk or stay there. I knew I didn't want to lay around waiting for things to pick up on their own so we went to a shopping center to walk. We walked for about an hour and I was consistently contracting for 30 seconds every 2 minutes. Once again, things tapered off and we decided to go back to rest because I was exhausted and didn't feel like walking anymore. I laid on the bed and rested for about 30 minutes. In this time I had a few stronger contractions but nothing much different than I had been having. The break was nice, because I knew once "real" labor started it would be non-stop.

One last belly selfie while out walking(39 weeks, 3 days)

I decided to get in the shower a little before 5pm and this is when my active labor started. The contractions were getting stronger and I loved feeling the warm water on my belly. I held the bar in the shower and swayed my hips during contractions. They were back to 2 minutes apart, still only 30 seconds, but a lot stronger. At 5pm my water broke in the shower. I frantically texted my birth photographer to come now, because once my water breaks things happen very quickly. We also texted My MIL to come back, because things were finally happening. At this point I asked to get in the tub because I knew I wanted to labor in there.

She checked me in the tub and I was 5cm and 95% effaced. Labor was pretty intense at this point, and even though I was only 5, I knew it wouldn't be long. The water was extremely hot and I immediately started sweating, so Nate ran cool water over me which felt amazing. Thanks to bars in the tub, I was able to grip those during contractions instead of breaking Nate's hand like I normally do during labor. ;)
I mostly labored sitting in the tub, but I did try hands and knees for a little bit which I didn't really like.
At this point I was hating life. This labor was nothing like my other labors and I felt like I couldn't get in the groove of anything. My contractions never got longer than about 30 seconds and never really climaxed--they started out with full intensity and then just stopped. I still had 2 minutes in-between, which was so nice. At some point I asked that we call my sisters who were going to FaceTime for the birth. I started feeling pressure around 5:50PM and just tried to focus on the fact that it wouldn't be long now! My midwife saw me start to bear down and said it was time to get out of the tub. Because my last baby was almost 9 pounds, she didn't want me birthing in the tub because sometimes Moms of bigger babies can sit on them--yikes!  I was totally fine with that because I hadn't really decided if I wanted to birth in the water anyway.
I started pushing at 6PM with my weird, super short contractions. It didn't feel totally natural to me at this point and I was miserable. I know this sounds weird, but I usually love pushing because it's such a relief. This time it just didn't feel right. I kept asking, "is he coming down? I don't feel like these are effective at all!" I was desperate to get this baby out of me!
After about 20 minutes, my midwife checked me and said I had a little bit of cervix still left which was probably why my pushing felt ineffective to me. She said for the next push she would push it out of the way, and even though it hurt, she looked at me and said firmly, "You can do it", and I did.

Well, that did the trick! At 6:23PM in one push, Nicolas Jay came into this world and there is nothing that will ever compare to that feeling of having a screaming baby being laid on you after going through what feels like the valley of the shadow of death. It's horrible, it's beautiful, it's euphoric. 

I haven't really cried at my last 2 births, but I bawled like a baby this time. My labor was just so intense and hard and the relief I felt was overwhelming.

At approximately 2 minutes old, Nicolas made known that he was a boy and peed all over everything!

Nate has never been interested in cutting the cord :), so my Mom got to do it which was so special!

I was dying to know how much he weighed and was surprised when he was under 8 pounds-- 7lb 10oz! After having an almost 9 pound baby last time, I was very careful with what I ate and it paid off! I was very determined to not keep producing bigger and bigger babies each time!

There is nothing like the moments alone after everyone has gone home and the hustle and bustle of weighing and cleaning and checking temperatures has died down, when Nate and I just stare at our newest gift from God and feel overwhelmingly blessed. Another beautiful, perfect baby has been given to us and we do not take if for granted for one second!

Even though I would say this was my hardest labor, it was still only an hour and a half, just like my last 2 and I would take fast and furious any day over something long and drawn out.

Let me just say that I had the best support team ever. First of all, my husband is amazing and I could never do it without him. My Mom has birthed 9 babies and having her there means the world to me. My amazing Mom-in-law was a quiet presence and it was so special to have her a part of this moment!

I'm hoping to post pictures of the kids meeting their new baby brother sometime later this week. Happy Monday!