Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer style!

Now that ballet is over for the summer and we don't have to worry about buns, etc.,  I thought it would a great time for a shorter cut for Amelia! So, we went over to Aveda (love) and she got a cute bob. She was so funny- embarrassed and happy and unable to stop making faces in the mirror:)
 Oh Amelia, you are just beautiful and growing up so, so fast!! I'm so thankful, even though there is a bit more talk of " being skinny" (what?!) and " trying to impress the older girls", mostly you are still just our fun loving, people loving, bug loving, Jesus loving, tree climbing, bike riding, sweet toothed, affectionate, expressive, hysterical girl. We love you to pieces, Mama

Friday, June 28, 2013

Backyard play.

I'm a big fan of back yards and I'm so thankful that if we can't live way out in the country, at least we have a yard to have natural play spaces for the littles right here at home. When we moved into this house there was literally one bush in the back yard and the kids would sit around it looking for bugs and playing animals, etc. Kids are so good at making due! 
Joel and his dad have done such a great job at helping the yard flourish in the past 3 years.
The sandbox Jim built under the deck has had SO many hours and hours of play in it. It's one of my most recommended play things ever! Get some big Tonka trucks from yard sales, some shovels, little animals, muffin tins, a water hose nearby...endless hours of fun. Jubilee (21 months) is loving it this summer!
 Joel and Jim built the kids a playhouse! It's awesome...and huge! I can't wait to see all the play that goes on In it. I have lots of pictures of that, so I'll do a post on it soon. 
The most played in area right now I think is the chicken coop!! We moved it and Jim built a run so that they aren't so free ranging (pooping) everywhere, all the time. Amelia still loves holding them, Sam loves digging up bugs and worms and feeding them to them, and jubilee loves going in and out and in and out of their coop.
 The raspberry and blackberry vines are also very popular hang out spot these days. They are doing great! Go Joel! This series of pictures makes me laugh out loud. Sam and his peace sign holding the chicken...oh my. Then he was pretending Jubilee was a chicken and he was feeding her raspberries so " she would survive". 
And Oliver,well, he is following suit and loves to be outdoors like his siblings. So calming for his fussy times. And mine.

I guess that's all. I'm just sitting out here under the deck watching Jubilee play, holding a sleeping baby, the grape vines Joel planted green and shady beside me, and thought I'd record here how thankful I am with a thriving yard around me and for the hardworking guys that made it so! Jen

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oliver finds his hand...

I love it when they do this...staring so intently at their little fists!
1 month old and growing so quickly!! He's staying awake a bit longer at a time and looking around (sometimes content not being held even!:). He, like each of our others, loves to stare at the black, iron spirals of our bed and at the plantation blinds, and our faces of course. He sleeps right next to me, grunts during the night when he wants to nurse and then usually falls right back to sleep (unless he needs to poop or burp and can't settle down, then he grunts and grunts and we don't sleep much). Loves to swing on the porch swing, loves to be in the sling. Does not enjoy being put down unless he is in a deep sleep in the evening hours. 
He's a darling boy basically, that we know for sure.:) Jen

Friday, June 07, 2013

Oliver's birth story.

Oh goodness, I've started this story many times and just delete, delete, delete because I can't seem to find the right mood, the right time (currently Sam is talking my ear off about if the dinos he is coloring would jump out of his book and into our house:), the right words to convey all the emotion and all of the intensity and all the beauty that was Oliver's birth. Let me start by saying that overall I feel an extreme amount of thankfulness for the way his birth unfolded. I feel like it was a gift from the Lord, hearing my heart's desire and allowing it to be so.

As with the hardest moments of my life and the most wonderful, He used so many people to comfort and strengthen me and I want to start by acknowledging some of those as they are so much a part of the story.

*Thanks to my friends and family, who I called and texted for support when my blood pressure was "high" in the last weeks of pregnancy and things started to get medical very quickly- so many appointments, talk of induction, etc. It brought fear and frustration, and I'm thankful for those friends and sweet family that I know will pray,will care, and did. Thanks to the Hunts who, thank the Lord, were here during those weeks and tirelessly cared for the kids, made meals, did laundry, and much more. I literally don't know what we would have done. Also, to our doula team Aunika and Robynne, who answered every text in those weeks with comfort and empowerment. Those ladies were amazing and I highly recommend having a doula for your birth, especially if you have experienced birth trauma or if it is your first birth (but really, no matter what!). Thanks to Bea, an amazing acupuncturist, who helped in trying to get labor going before they induced. If nothing else, I sure slept better on those acupuncture days, which was a gift! 
Ok, onto labor and delivery! 

* On Friday, May 10th, I went in for a NST(because of the blood pressure) and then to get my membranes stripped to try to get labor started before a planned induction on Monday. When they called our name to go back for the midwife visit I saw a provider coming out of a room and she smiled at us. When we got settled I asked Joel if he had seen "the earthy lady with braids and a sweet smile" and how I so hoped she was a midwife and our provider for that visit. And she was. She was JUST what I needed. Soft spoken, intelligent, a good listener (oh, I laid it all out there), and just very midwifey in the best sense. So, we went ahead with the membrane stripping. The induction was called off for Monday because my BP was not alarming at all and she recognized this. I was so encouraged by the visit, to say the least. 

* Saturday morning at 1:45am my water broke. I was in bed and had gotten up to go the bathroom. Bam, here comes the water. I was like, "Oh my gosh!" Amelia, who was sleeping beside me sat straight up in bed and said, "What's happening?!" It was so cute and sweet. I said, "It's ok babe, my water just broke. It's good, it means baby is coming!!"  I let Joel know, texted the doula, called the midwife on call (who was in no rush for us to come in, so different than last time!) and then tried to get some more sleep. No contractions at this point, but hard to sleep after the adrenaline rush and knowing baby was coming. Keep in mind that with Jubilee my water broke, labor didn't follow, I got an infection and had a csection. So, though I tried to keep it at bay and remember this was a different experience ( I was already 3cm dilated, 80% effaced and having contractions on and off) in my mind the clock definitely started clicking when my water broke. 
Despite that, Saturday ended up being a lovely day. Joel and I ate lunch together at my favorite lunch spot, then went to Red Butte Gardens and walked slowly through the beauty there. It was so peaceful, really. We called the midwife on call again following this, and again she was not in a hurry to come in and start pitocin unless we wanted to. Because of our last experience, though, we felt like we were ready to "get the party started", and so we went home and saw the kids, rested a bit and then went in to the hospital around 5:30pm. 

* My initial BP was a bit high upon arrival, but no one seemed alarmed. I still was not at all in active labor. Our doula Robynne met us there and brought a tomato plant for me, which was so cute and funny. I had told the doulas when they asked about scents I might like to smell during labor that I wished someone made a tomato plant essential oil because I loved the smell so much! Haha
By the time we got settled in to labor and delivery the midwife from our Friday visit, Jessica, was coming on duty. Woo hoo! I was still periodically gushing liquid. I don't know why, but the whole gushing massive amounts of liquid thing was a real irritant to me. Just thought I'd throw that in there for memory sake. 
Jessica came in and chatted with us and suggested we get pitocin going. Of course I was bummed that my body had not kicked into labor on its own and knew that pitocin was going to make the contractions more intense than they already were going to be, but to avoid another infection scenario, ect. we were ready to go with it. So, we got hooked up and then went to walk around the halls. It was probably 8:00pm ish by this time. Joel and Robynne never left my side from this point on. 

* Labor is intense, there is just no way around it. I mean honestly. Ouch. Oliver was resting on my backbone or something and I have never felt pain and hope never to again like I felt in my back with every.single. contraction. Brutal back pain. BRUTAL. I kept thinking I would find the magic position to take the pressure off of it, but I did not. Robynne and Joel both pushed on and rubbed and applied pressure to my back with every contraction and that helped and I'm so thankful for them. But man, oh man. Thank goodness for breaks in contractions. I kept saying that over and over. At one point I said that hell is probably like one long contraction with no breaks in between. Heaven is probably like the breaks. Except infinitely better because there will be no pain in your future! But anyway, we chatted in between contractions and Joel made us laugh and we listened to a girl screaming her head off down the hallway (yikes!) and I marveled that this was it- Oliver was making his way down and my body was doing the work to get ready to welcome him into the world!! 
At 12 something am, Jessica did my first internal exam. 4cm, 80%effaced. Ahem. I was like, "Are you not discouraged by this?" She said she was not, things were moving forward, and just to keep at it. For some reason, I did not fall into the depths of despair or think about getting medication or what have you at this point. I was just happy to have the chance to keep going I guess. However, it did start to feel like the rest of my life was going to be working through contractions. They are just so intense and consistent and painful and I kept saying ( and thinking it ever so often), "Soooooo, how long do you think this is going to go on? I feel like it's going to go on forever." Of course, no one can tell you, so Joel and Robynne would just look at me and smile and tell me I was doing great. I remembered a text from Shanyn saying "Just remember that it will end!" and hat was encouraging.:) 
Things were getting intense and at one point I said, "This is just getting ridiculous." I moaned through each contraction then and the focus was so necessary. Not much chit chatting from me, the room was dim and quiet. Shari came and helped with ice chips and water (you feel like you are in a desert and will die if you don't get water or ice chips- right?!) and Joel took a short snooze somewhere in there and the midwife and nurse came in every once in a while. But mostly, it was just us, quietly doing the work of labor.
At 3:45 ish the midwife checked me because every now and then during a contraction I would feel pushy urges. "8 cm, fully effaced." SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. One of the happiest moments of my life, right there. The work was paying off, things were progressing....I can't even describe the relief and happiness. Pure joy. No time to celebrate though as those contractions and extreme back pain just kept on coming. 
Then, right around 5am, the back pain left. Glory hallelujah, the baby had turned! The contractions turned into mostly urges to push, they checked me and I was complete, and ready to push! Again, one of the happiest moments EVER! Then our other doula, Aunika, came in. Robynne, who had tirelessly and selflessly served us for so many hours stepped back as her partner stepped in and coached me through pushing. I did not push long. Aunika really helped me figure it out on the pot and in my head I thought, " I can not do this for hours. This baby needs to come out now." I would start to lose control and think, "This is too crazy! I can't do it!" but then I'd focus my breathing and say out loud, " I CAN do this. Come on Oliver. Come on buddy." I wanted to squat while pushing and asked if they had a birthing stool. They got one, brought it in, the midwife was called out for something, I sat down, pushed once and the baby crowned ( I think I had pushed 8 or 9 times at this point)!! They got a mirror and showed me his head and I reached down and felt it. Aunika told me not to push, just to breathe through the next contraction, and out he came. 

Euphoric. It's the only word I can think to describe that moment. The midwife student caught him and handed him to me. Joel and I were crying and I was just saying, "Oh my gosh! He's beautiful. Hi beautiful baby!" From intense pain to intense love, in just moments. It felt miraculous. 

The midwife came in, and while they took Oliver to try and get some fluid out of him, she (who had missed the birth, unfortunately) came to check me. I could see in her face that something was amiss. Long story short, Oliver had come very quickly and I tore very significantly. I moved to the bed and she stopped the bleeding and then tried to start the repair. Ouch. It was very, very painful even with a local anaesthetic and some kind of drug for me that wore of too quickly! She worked for an hour before help (that she had been asking for since the beginning) finally arrived. The decision was quickly made that it would be best to do the repair in the OR for best results and with a spinal for me. Yes, please! Oliver was here safely, he and I had had time to be together and he had nursed immediately,  and he was currently skin to skin bonding with his daddy and mama was ready for some pain relief! 

So, off we went to the OR. Aunika was allowed to come and once again was such a comfort. I remember thinking and saying that I was just so thankful Oliver wasn't born in the OR, under those bright lights and sterile atmosphere. I will say that the anaesthesiologist was so kind and personable and I think even if I would have had a csection it would have been a different experience (for many reasons, one of which is that they are a Baby Friendly hospital). The reconstruction (oh my) took over an hour and then we went back to the delivery room where Oliver and Joel were still snoozing.  Oliver woke and immediately came to me and latched back on to nurse again. So precious. We moved to a postpartum room, said goodbye to Aunika and hello to some sleep finally, with Oliver tucked in right next to me. Ahhhhh. 
Jim and Shari brought the kids up later that afternoon. It was chaotic, of course, but so sweet too. Amelia stayed with me while everyone else went to eat dinner and she held Oliver and kept saying, "I'm just so happy!" 

* He was born Sunday (Mother's Day!) at 5:52am, 7lbs 4 oz. We went home on Monday after lunch. 

Healing physically has taken longer than I expected, but of course I didn't expect my vagina to explode when he came out either. Hehe 
The midwife said that it is healing beautifully and the pain will just continue to lessen, so I'm just trying to be patient. Again, thank goodness Joel's parents were here, that Joel had planned to take three weeks off of work, etc. 
All in all, I just feel so at peace with Oliver's birth. It was so hard and so painful and so beautiful and amazing and I sit here now holding him as he sleeps and just feel overwhelmed with thankfulness. 

Oliver, what a gift your birth was to us. What a gift you are to us. You beautiful, beautiful boy.

P.S. I'll add more pictures to this at some point, but if I wait to do that, it might take another month to post it:) 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Mammy is here!!

Only for ten days, and I already get teary at the thought of her leaving, but the important thing is that she's here now. That makes us all very, very happy! Jen