Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daybook Entry

For today, September 29, 2010

Outside my window...are clouds and raindrops.  It is a misty sort of rain, the kind where I can only tell it is raining my looking for the pings in the puddles as the rain falls.  It is also the sort of rain where Brian still has to work and he comes home with chilled fingers and damp clothing.

I am overwhelmed I am this afternoon since Brian says he has to work late due to the heavy rain we are expecting tomorrow.  Alaine is four weeks today and it will be the first time I've been on my own with the kids at dinnertime, BUT

I am thankful for...rain after a drought and a hard-working husband when so many are without work. 

I am where. My parents borrowed our van today to drive hours away to a funeral so we are safely tucked inside on this cold, cold, wet day.

Around the house...we have an extra guest today as my youngest sister (age 9) is staying with us while my parents attend the funeral.  So while there is an extra mouth to feed and another head of hair to brush and another set of schoolwork to oversee, there is also another set of helping hands. 

I am hair pulled into a twisty knot-- part glamorous, part mess.  I'm wearing my new navy T-shirt with the paisley bird screenprint and my favorite comfy jeans. 

From the kitchen...a crockpot full of pintos for simple bean tacos.  With an extra guest and a working-late husband, simple is on the menu.  We might get a few minutes this afternoon to stir up some pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, too. 

I am reading...The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings, and though I've only finished the first chapter, I have heard it is excellent.  If I had recorded my thoughts yesterday, I would have said I was reading Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman, but I finished that last night with a handful of M&Ms.  My quest to read through the Old Testament with Brian finds us in 1 Chronicles. 

I am hearing...the older children downstairs take turns reciting poetry and songs and then clapping boisterously for each other. 

Noticing that...fifth babies sleep better than first babies, even when they receive a big wet kiss and hair combing from a brother in the middle of nap time! 

I am hoping...for patience to control my tired tongue during the stressful dinner hour and the rush of bedtime preparations.

One of my favorite things...quiet time in the evenings after the children go to bed.  Brian and I read or watch TV or talk.  It is a soothing time after a hectic day.  It always refreshes my spirit and prepares me for a new day.

A few plans for the rest of the week...With rain in the forecast for tomorrow, we are looking forward to another day home with Brian.  Then comes the busy-ness of the weekend with soccer and errands and a much-anticipated Date Day for Brian and me (and Alaine)and Time With Aunt Kati for the other children.

Words I am pondering... from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:

“Then he [Aslan] isn’t safe?” said Lucy. 

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver.  "...Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

our family of 7

If you would like to type out a few simple thoughts from your own day, consider joining in at The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Breeze

Last night Alaine (and consequently, I) tossed and turned.  A little before four o'clock, I sat up in bed to change her diaper.  In the few seconds her bottom was bear, she peed all over her night clothes and the blanket that was tucked under her.  I quietly kissed her as I removed the warm wet from around her body.  I fastened on a dry diaper and pulled a clean shirt over her head.  I swaddled her in a warm pink blanket...and she pooped.  I unwrapped her, changed her again, re-wrapped her, and cradled her in my arms to nurse.  She pooped again.  I peeked at the clock, calculating the number of hours until the alarm was set to ring. 

The nights are not so scary this time around.  When Gavin was born and he didn't sleep and we had to sit up for two weeks taking turns holding him just so one of us could get some sleep... the nights seemed scary then.  When it was my turn to go to the bedroom and rest on my pillow, the fear of his whimpers rendered me unable to sleep when I needed it most. 

But the nights are not so scary now.  When I lay Alaine down in her sleeping basket by my bed and when I tuck her blanket around her sleeping form, my head sinks into my pillow, my whole body relaxing.  I hear Brian breathing beside me, feel his feet brush mine,  and I smile a smile of peace.  When I hear baby whimpers in the night, there is no dread. I'm not afraid of loosing a little sleep for a season.   I'm tired and my eyes are bleary as I rise...

...but this time...with my fifth baby...

...I know that these days and weeks are fleeting.  I lift her warm body, the body that still curls into itself like it did for almost nine months in my womb, and I kiss her pink cheeks, crusted with a bit of milk from her last feeding, and I memorize her gaze as she looks up at me in the dark.  Sometimes I prop up my pillow and nurse her before returning her to the basket.  I hold her tiny hand and enjoy the silence of the house.  Sometimes I snuggle her next to me until morning because I know it won't last.  Each sleepless night is another night closer to her being all grown up.

The nights are long.  I know I'll be tired in the morning,  but I also know it'll  be gone in a whirlwind.  This time around, I'm reveling in the breeze. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pretty Please

Hello.  My name is Kristin and I love a good birth story. 

Don't you? 

Now that I've finished sharing my most recent birth story,  I want to hear yours!  It doesn't have to be a recent story.  If you've ever talked about your birth experience on your blog...or if you want to do so now...consider linking up at the bottom of this post. 

Pass the word, too.  I guarantee I'll stop by to read every one of your stories.  I'm just that interested.  And if you don't have a blog, consider leaving your story in the comments.  I'm just that interested!  And if you have more than one story to share, link them all.  I'm just that...oh, you know. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alaine's Birth Story-- Part 4 of 4

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)

In which relief comes in the form of a baby!

Brian stayed close by during those long hours. He applied a hot washcloth to my neck and shoulders which helped immensely to relax me. He also gave me my coveted ice. I changed positions as often as I could, but I was in so much pain that I was afraid to try something that could put me in even more pain! I knew that if a contraction started, there was no moving until it was over. Still, labor continued. Around 10:20pm, Dana asked if she could check me to assess my progress and see what was holding back the urge to push. She told me to let her know when I was between contractions. I hardly knew what to tell her because there was virtually no break. I was almost in tears, telling Brian I didn’t think I could do it any longer…and then, I felt the twinge of the need to push so I did one little push. And then, it was uncontrollable.

I had begun to wonder how I would be able to push when managing the pain through each contraction was taking every bit of my strength, but as soon as I felt the urge, I forgot the pain and began the work of getting the baby out. After the first big push, Brian could see her full head of hair and said, “She’s almost here.” I remember thinking, “I just started pushing. Could it really be almost over?” With the next push, I could feel the burning and then relief as her head emerged. With one more effort, I felt the rest of her body born and Dana placed my little Alaine Claire on my chest at 10:32 pm. Within seconds of her birth, I had no pain. What incredible relief!

We decided to delay the clamping of the cord so Brian and I admired her new tiny body and kept her warm while waiting to deliver the placenta. However, like the rest of the process, the placenta wanted to take its time, too. I began nursing Alaine so the natural oxytocin could work to expel the placenta which delivered spontaneously and intact within a few minutes.  Around this time, Dana noticed some brisk bleeding so Angie gave me a shot of Pitocin in my thigh.

Though by this time, I had been awake for twenty-one hours, the birth caused a rush of adrenaline and I happily stayed awake to bond with my baby. She nursed like a champ from the beginning and then nestled in my arms to go to sleep. At 11:30, Angie asked if I was ready to have her weighed. Throughout the day, I had commented to Brian that I was expecting a tiny baby since she was arriving so early. I mentioned to him that I thought she would be our smallest for sure and probably very petite since the average 37 week baby is around six pounds. When she was placed on the scale, I was surprised to see she weighed 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces! (At a weight gain of ½-1 pound per week, she could have been 9-10 ½ pounds by 40 weeks!) By 2 am (and 24½ hours since waking the previous morning), exhaustion kicked in and I fell asleep with my new treasure in my arms. (Brian had succumbed a couple  hours before!)

When the kids came to visit the following day, Gavin gazed at Alaine and said, "Mama, now you you don't have to do that work anymore and have contractions."  All four of the children were so excited to meet their baby sister and kept saying, "She is even cuter than I imagined she could be." 

In contrast to delivery, recovery was a breeze. I had no tearing, no soreness or bruising, virtually no fatigue. The cramping I had during breastfeeding was minimal and I never needed any postpartum pain relief (though the nurses sure offered!). 

This, my fifth birth, was by far my hardest labor and delivery. And yet what remains foremost in my thoughts is the miracle of her lovely presence.

(Another note on the recovery process: Though the actual recovery was easy, I developed mastitis at 1 week postpartum.  When I started feeling achy one evening, I thought I had overdone it and simply needed to take it easy for the rest of the day.  However, when I noticed I was overly engorged and developed chills and fever, I knew I was dealing with a breast infection.  Antibiotics and Ibuprofen got me through a difficult couple of days, but eventually put me back in the land of baby bliss.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alaine's Birth Story-- Part 3 of 4

(Part 1)
(Part 2)

In which a long day turns longer…

We checked into the birthing center around 4:30 pm. When the nurse checked me, I had progressed to 7 centimeters. Dana arrived just minutes later and together, we assumed the birth would occur within a few hours, if not sooner.

We walked down the hall from triage to a LDRP (Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum) room and settled in to labor and wait. I felt wonderful. After a 20-minute strip on the fetal monitor, I was free to move around for the rest of the labor. If I sat down, I was comfortable and as soon as I got up to walk around the room, I had a contraction. I alternated between up and down for awhile and had quiet conversation with Brian. Dana and the nurse, Julie, commented that I didn’t even act like I was in labor. Several hours passed and I continued laboring in the same way. I decided to have Dana check me again for progress and discovered I was still only 7-8 centimeters. I was a little discouraged. I had thought that I would labor in the tub again as I had with Benjamin, but I was afraid I would progress even slower if I was in water or that labor would again stop altogether.

Dana told me that she would put me under no pressure, but that if she broke my water, we would probably have the baby rather quickly. Brian and I discussed it and could not come to a definite conclusion. Do we continue to labor and possibly not progress for many more hours or do we have her break my water and increase the intensity before I am ready for it? Around 8:30 pm, we decided to have her break my water and hopefully, move things along.

The first contraction I experienced after my water was broken was no more intense than the previous ones—milder actually! But immediately, the frequency of contractions changed. Instead of coming in 5 to 7 minute intervals, they came every 3 minutes. I would feel a twinge in my back which built up rapidly and then moved into my lower abdomen. My new nurse, Angie, monitored the baby periodically with a hand-held Doppler and the baby showed no signs of distress. My best coping mechanism was to close my eyes and relax all my muscles, not just the ones feeling the pain. The contractions began coming so fast that sometimes it was easier to not open my eyes in between. However, as a result, no one could tell when I was having a contraction and when I wasn’t, so they weren’t sure when to talk to me!

I began to feel a little nauseous, though not so much that I thought I would get sick. I also felt chilled, though the room was quite warm. At the same time, my ice craving returned! Despite concentrating through the contractions, I knew I was having classic signs of transition. Gradually, the pain increased until I had a very difficult time dealing with it. In my other labors, I had never felt so out of control. I could barely stay on top of the pain and the contractions came so fast that one was barely over before the next one began. Along with the pain in my back and abdomen, I now also had it in my legs. During this time, Dana commented that she was incredulous that I was still pregnant! Dana and Angie continued to make sure that I was okay and asked if I was feeling any pressure or need to push. Though I desperately wanted to reach the pushing stage, there were no signs of it.

Part 4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alaine's Birth Story-- Part 2 of 4

(Part 1)

In which we wonder what is going on…

Early on the morning of Wednesday, September 1st, I got up to go to the bathroom. I remember thinking, “I guess I’m really not going into labor after all.” I fell asleep immediately after returning to bed, but was awoken just minutes later at 1:30 am by Owen beside my bed. After sending him off to the potty and then back to bed, I had a contraction that made me unable to rest. Then twenty minutes later, I had another one, and thirteen minutes later, another. By 3:30, they were coming 5 to 8 minutes apart and becoming difficult to deal with, especially lying down.

When I sat up, the pain got better, but my movement also woke Brian. He asked if I was okay and when I told him I thought I was in labor, we slowly moved into action. Being almost three weeks before my due date, we hadn’t packed for the hospital and the vehicle we planned to drive to the birthing center (1 hour away) was on empty! As soon as I got up to begin preparations, the contraction started coming even closer and becoming more painful than I remembered contractions feeling in early labor. I began to wonder if things were moving along more quickly than usual. I gathered our belongings and placed them in the suitcase, then got in the shower, while Brian left to find a 24-hour gas station that felt safe in the middle of the night! I remember having several heavy contractions while I was in the shower and wishing I could stay there, relaxing in the water.

Around 5:30, I went downstairs and sat in the recliner to eat a bit of breakfast and drink some juice. I was so hungry and food tasted so good. The contractions still seemed much more intense than I was used to in early labor. I decided it was time to call my mom so she could come over to stay with the kids while we made our way to the birthing center.  While waiting for her to arrive, Brian woke the kids  and told them that their baby sister would be arriving some time that day. They older kids sat on the couch, excitedly chatting with me.  Benjamin crawled into my lap for a last snuggle.  They all watched me closely.  If I closed my eyes to concentrate, they whispered to each other, "Quiet.  Mama's having a contraction." 

Somewhere between 5:30 and 7 am, my contractions slowed and by the time we were halfway to the birthing center, I realized they had stopped altogether. Though the break was nice, I worried at the implications. Since I was still very hungry, we stopped to get something else to eat, and instead of going to the birthing center, we decided to first check in at the midwife’s office. When we got there, I asked Dana to check me, and while I had dilated to 4 centimeters, she said that since I was not in active labor, I was better off at home. Checking into the birthing center too early could eventually result in Pitocin and other interventions that I did not want. Dana said she expected to see me back that night or in the morning, but that I could possibly walk around that way for another 3 weeks!

Brian and I began making plans for what could be a long day. We discussed finding something to do close to the birthing center, but since my mom had taken the kids back to her house, we decided to go home and see if labor would kick back in. (If there were no signs by dinnertime, we would bring the kids back home with us to wait it out.) As we walked up the sidewalk to the house, I felt a mild contraction and some pressure in my lower abdomen.

In the house, I felt restless and had a few more mild contractions so after a short rest, we went outside for a walk. It was a hot, 95-degree day and the shade in our neighborhood was minimal so Brian suggested we drive to a local tree-filled park. While walking, the contractions began coming every 10 to 13 minutes and were the much milder contractions I remember from past early labors. Thankful that they were easier to handle than the morning’s heavy contractions, we drove to the mall for a late lunch and another walk, this time in the air conditioning! During lunch, I had to stop several times to breathe and in the first few minutes of our walk, I realized the contractions were coming too quickly for us to stick around town much longer so we began our drive back to the birthing center. Though we never would have planned to have a stubborn, stop-and-go labor, the day was a special one. Brian and I spent many quiet hours, talking and enjoying our time alone. We will look back on that time with fond memories.

Part 3
Part 4

Friday, September 10, 2010

Alaine's Birth Story-- Part 1 of 4

In which labor shows signs of beginning…

We found out we were expecting our new baby on Brian’s 31st birthday in January. What a gift! I calculated my due date as September 20th, but having delivered our other children anywhere between 1 week late and 2½ weeks early, I told people my due date was a vague mid-September. In my mind, the whole month of September was a possibility for delivery. With our other children having birthdays in July, August, October, and December, we thought September was the perfect filler, too!

On Sunday, August 29th, we spent the entire day reorganizing and cleaning the older children’s shared bedroom. We had finally decided to move Benjamin in, too, so we spent many hours making the room an efficient space for four! I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a bit more energy that day than I had in the previous weeks and I was so relieved to have the project finished. That evening I remarked, “Well, we have our bedroom to ourselves again…for a few weeks anyway.”

On Monday, August 30th, we had a big day planned. Maddie attended horse riding camp in the morning (something she had anticipated all summer!). We returned home for a quick lunch before making the hour drive to an appointment with my midwife, Dana. Having reached the 37 week mark that day, Dana congratulated me on being full term! Baby was head down and beginning to engage. I set up another appointment for the following week and made my way back home so Gavin and Maddie could get ready to attend a minor league baseball game in the evening with Brian and some close family friends. I had a few noticeable contractions in the early evening so I fixed myself and the little boys grilled cheese sandwiches then put them to bed before taking a bath and settling on the sofa with a big glass of ice (my late-pregnancy craving).

Tuesday, August 31st was a welcome quiet day at home. Brian was away for close to 12 hours, working overtime to compensate for expected bad weather at the end of the week. I felt odd all day. I had quite a few true contractions, not the squeezing, practice kind, but the painful, stop-what-you-are-doing kind. I also lost my mucous plug. I seemed to have a fair amount of energy, but at the same time felt the need to rest and be alone. I needed to go the bathroom at least once an hour (sometimes more) so I knew the baby was pressing on my bladder. When Brian and I talked on the phone in the late afternoon, I told him what was going on and he said, “So you think maybe within the next couple of days?” “I’m not sure,” I said. “I hate to get my hopes up or make something of nothing, but something is definitely going on.”

Maddie and I made a big pan of macaroni for dinner and we ate in the living room with slices of homemade bread and piles of peas. When Brian came home, he put the kids to bed and I settled on the sofa again with another big glass of ice and some mindless TV watching. After experiencing contractions all day, they finally settled down and I had none for the rest of the night.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

She Has Brothers, Too!

Big brothers...

...and bigger brothers...

...and even bigger brothers.

There can't possibly be a more loved little sister!

I've had several requests so I'm working on my birth story this week.  I'll be sure to have it published soon so check back!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Addition Facts

1 little girl

+ 1 little girl

= 2 little girls!

Our family welcomes
Alaine Claire
who arrived 3 weeks early on September 1
weighing 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. 
Thanking God for blessing us with a safe delivery and a new blessing to our world.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: A Final Word

With August over and the unofficial days of summer wrapping up on Labor Day, I thought I would  type out a few lines to share some final thoughts on the thrifty lifestyle.  It is always wise to remember that what works for one person, may not work for another.  What a mom of two is able to do to save money may not be what the mom of six is able to do.  What the mom with grown children does to save money may not be practical for the mom whose house is full of littles.  I think it is so important to remember our own current season of life.  I am speaking to myself, too.  It is so easy to compare myself to another and wonder  how she has time to coupon when I can barely get to the store to pick up a gallon of milk! 

Seasons can be short seasons, too.  While normally I do not buy paper plates or plastic cups, we realized after Benjamin was born what a blessing it was to eat dinner and throw away the mess without worrying about dishes for a few weeks.  It certainly cost more money, but it saved a lot of stress and created a more peaceful time of adjustment for our family. 

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

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