Thursday, May 30, 2013

E's Birth Story

My daughter's birth story really begins five days before her birth with the death of my grandmother, "Mamoo."  My Mamoo had been in poor health for several years, but God called her to be with Him just 5 days before E was born.  She had a servant's heart and was such a good example of a Christian woman.  I have great memories of running around with her delivering food for Meals on Wheels, and helping her decorate tables for parties at her local nursing home.  Even in her last years, when she was unable to get out of the house to volunteer, she made blankets to be sent to babies overseas.  One of the songs I remember her singing to me as a child was, "Oh, How I Love Jesus," and I think her life was really an example of how much she loved and served Him.

ME as a baby, getting a tight squeeze from my Mamoo
Before she died, my Mamoo was able to watch E do a little "praise dance" in my belly, and she knew that E was going to arrive soon.  She was sooo in love with L, and I know she already loved E too.  Every time she held L she would squeeze him and say, "so sweet."  She was not much of a hugger really, but a squeezer.

My Mamoo and L

Baby L getting a tight Mamoo squeeze

L and Mamoo

I'm sure it's, as my brother says, "bad theology," but it makes me happy to think that maybe during those five days between her death and my daughter's birth she was up in heaven just squeezing and rocking E.

This is the last photo I took of my Mamoo.  We had all gathered in her room to sing happy Birthday to my grandfather so she wouldn't have to miss out on the celebrating.  She loved parties!  That's my grandfather holding her hand and my 2 yr old L next to the Birthday cake.

For obvious reasons, the days leading up to Ella's birth were very emotional for me.  My grandmother had such a positive influence in my life and, as much as I knew that Gods timing was perfect, I was pretty heartbroken that E was not born soon enough to meet her.  Depending on the ultrasound, I was just 2-4 days away from my due date.  I really wanted to be able to place my little baby girl in her arms, (wrapped in one of the blankets she had made, of course), but that photo opportunity never came.

There was a memorial service, a huge funeral, the burial, and then... gradually the family started leaving town.  My due date passed and I cried... a lot...

You'd cry a lot too if you looked like this!

When I went to bed on Friday night, I knew that if I didn't go into labor my brother would head back to Virginia and he wouldn't get to meet my daughter for several months.  So on Friday night I took a bath in our huge garden tub.  I cried, I prayed, and for the first time in weeks I gave up.  I completely surrendered.  I told God that his timing was perfect... and I believed it.  I got out of the bath tub at 10pm and by midnight I was having some weak contractions.  To encourage them, I went downstairs in the dark and walked... and prayed... and walked... and prayed.  As long as I was walking, the contractions continued, but when they weren't getting any stronger I decided to rest.  I went to bed around 2am and woke up that morning with some more weak contractions.

I honestly have very little memory of that morning.  I walked around in the house, had some breakfast, and my contractions gradually increased in intensity.  I talked to my older brother on the phone and begged him to stay in town.  As if the week wasn't packed with enough already, my youngest brother's high school graduation was that morning, so the family made plans to go to his graduation and then meet (hopefully) at the hospital afterward.

My Two Brothers
Around noon, when everyone else headed for my brother's graduation, my husband and I headed to the hospital.  L was still a pretty wild little 2 year old and he was becoming too much of a distraction between contractions.  I was still able to talk, but my contractions were a little less than 5 minutes apart.  My father-in-law met us in the parking garage and took L (to a wedding) and my husband and I walked into the hospital together.

After we checked in, we met my fantastic nurse Susan (who resembled Susan Boyle).  She was so confident in my ability to have another natural birth.  Twice, an anesthesiologist tried to come into the room to talk to me about an epidural and she told him my plan for a natural birth.  The midwife on-call arrived a few minutes later and I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised, to discover it was THE SAME midwife that had delivered L.  She's only on-call the last weekend of the month, but apparently that's when I like to have kiddos. ;)

I was 6cm when we arrived.  I had really intense back labor (again), but with an intact water, my pain was not AS intense (as with L's labor).  Of course it was some of the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life, but I don't remember feeling like my entire body was contracting.  As my labor progressed, I did a lot of standing in the shower with constant pressure on my back (from either my husband or the shower bar). I am honestly not sure how people labor without water.  As I stood in the shower, my pain continued to increase.  Around 3pm, I asked for my mama.  My husband called her and they were on their way from the graduation.

When my mama and dad arrived, around 3:30, I was still standing in the shower.  My mom was in her Sunday dress and high heels, but that didn't stop her from taking over for Will and pressing on my back.  At 4pm I was 8cm.  I got out of the shower and my midwife offered to break my water.  I was starting to get impatient and the contractions were one right after another.  My fabulous nurse was rotating icy cold wash clothes on my back and forehead, but I felt like I might need an epidural if I had to withstand the contractions for much longer.  I looked over at the nurses preparing the newborn area and went ahead and agreed to the midwife's request.  Within about 5 minutes of having my water broken I was 10cm and ready to push.

I really only pushed a few times before my daughter's head was out.  I remember being so proud of myself because my son had had complications and he had to be delivered by a vacuum.  BUT THEN... I saw the face of my midwife change from elation to fear.  My daughter's shoulder was stuck on my hip.  She paged for help, and within seconds there were nurses all over the room.  My nurse turned me onto my side and literally pushed so hard onto my abdomen near my hip that I later had a bruise.  I could hear the heart rate slow on the monitor and my mom said Es face was turning blue.  I could also see that the midwife was literally pulling with all of her might.  It was likely just a matter of seconds, but it was long enough for me to know that it was serious.  My daughter was born, at 4:32pm, the midwife cut the cord, and they immediately rushed her over to the baby bucket.

E, 8lbs 11oz and
A team of nurses were all around her and for entirely too long I could not even see her.  The midwife told me that she likely had a broken clavicle and in all the excitement I couldn't even remember what a clavicle was (FYI: it's a colar bone).  When she finally started crying (probably just seconds later) and the color returned to her face, I started crying too.  My husband went over to her as the nurses checked her out and within about a minute she was wrapped up and given to me: 100% healthy, without any broken bones.

Finally holding my healthy baby girl in my arms

**TMI, scroll down to the pictures and avoid the text if you're not interested in reading about vaginal birth complications.**  Unfortunately, in those last frantic moments to deliver E, I was torn significantly.  I was in entirely too much pain to really even hold her for long and I had to pass her on to my husband and mom.  The repair required close to 100 stitches (literally).  The pain was intense and I had a very hard time focusing on anything else.  They gave me shots of all kinds of local anesthetics, but I've never wanted an epidural so badly.  I'm sure it was awkward for my dad, but he held my hand during the entire repair to allow my mom and husband to hold and take care of E.

8lbs 11oz
An hour and a half later, yes, AN HOUR AND A HALF later, I was repaired, doped up on all kinds of pain medication, and the rest of the waiting family was able to come meet E.

L, meeting his baby sister for the first time

Me and my sweet baby girl
It was certainly an eventful week, and an eventful delivery, but the week that began with death, ended with life.  Here's a picture of my sweet little E snuggled in between two Mamoo blankets:

Four years later, I still give E a tight hug (Mamoo-style) every night before she goes to bed.  When I rock her (which is, unfortunately, becoming less and less) I like to sing, "Oh, How I Love Jesus" to her.  In fact, it was one of the first songs E actually sang out loud too.  And she still loves to be wrapped in one of our "Mamoo Blankets."  Mamoo loved celebrating Birthdays and I'm sure she'll be celebrating with us in a few days.  Happy 4th Birthday Sweet Girl!

If you're interested in Birth Stories: Here's L's Birth Story and here's O's Birth Story too.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Walking Field Trip

L's class went on a special, "Walking Field Trip" this morning to get a behind the scenes look at Publix, Little Caesars, and The Marble Slab.

Publix- Waiting for instructions

Publix- Heading to the Bakery

Publix- Produce

Publix- Touching a lobster

Publix- Into the freezer!

Publix- Coming out of the refrigerator!

My sweet L. I love this kid!

Publix- Cashier

Publix Cookie Time!


L and one of his best girlfriends

How can he be growing up so fast!?

Little Caesar's Pizza

Little Caesars- Learning about the dough

Little Caesars- Rolling out the dough

Marble Slab- Learning about ice cream

Marble Slab- Time for some ice cream

Marble Slab- Yum!

After the Field Trip, we returned to the school for a Kindergarten Award Ceremony.  They wore their own homemade hats instead of graduation caps.

L and I

"My Hat is a Bird Hat"

Getting his Award and Diploma

"You Completed Kindergarten!"

L and his teacher

I'm so proud of this boy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


** This is a post for myself.  It was my Mother's Day gift to myself to sit and look at my entire collection of photos from the last 6+ years.  So this entire post is way too many photos of ME with my kiddos.**

My motherhood journey, in pictures: 

It started with a cute little baby bump.

Then, that cute baby bump grew to enormous proportions.

Are those actually my feet down there?!

Baby O Belly

And my cute naval ring started to look like it was stuck in a watermelon.

Baby L Belly

And by the end, the baby belly was just... miserable.

Due Date w/ E
Post Due Dat w/ O

BUT THEN, the big day arrived... THREE times... and it was WONDERFUL.  It's hard to describe the joy of feeling that slippery baby on your bare chest for the first time, but it's beautiful... and miraculous... and wonderful... and awesome... and just the greatest moment imaginable.  Then when those tiny little eyes look up at you for the very first time, the love is just... indescribable.  The best three days of my life...

L and I
E and I
O and I
Then, about 5 days after the birth, reality sets in and there's a lot of this...

Cry-Baby L
Cry-Baby E
Cry-Baby O

And lots and LOTS of breastfeeding... 24 hours a day... every 2.5-3 hrs for months... for a year(+)... three times...

Nursing L, on the beach

Nursing E, on the beach

Nursing O, on the beach
...And don't let the sunny, nursing-on-the-beach photos fool you, nursing sucks and I pretty much hated 85% of it.

And there is really only enough sleep to SURVIVE the first year... and some days I felt like I barely survived...

Sleeping with L

Then, by the time they stop crying for no reason, sleeping all night (for my kids, at 1 year), and quit nursing all day long, they start pouting, whining, fighting, complaining, and talking back....

Weepy L

Angry E

 Pouty O

Weepy L

Angry E

Angry O

And they can turn a clean room into a disaster in seconds...

L's Reorganization of the Playroom

Toddler E

Toddler O

Moon Dough


And a motherhood picture journal would not be complete without a LOT of laundry...

Laundry Tower (& L)
Laundry Tower  (& E)

And Poop...

Baby O and "the poop"

BUT, being a mom is really the absolute greatest thing ever.  The good moments are SO good, and they really do make up for all the tears, stresses, and frustrations.

I really love these three little people that God has given to me... and am blessed everyday to be able to spend time with them.

Box Mama:

Windy Mama:

Pirate Mama:

Hanging Out Mama:

Baby Girl's Mama:
Sweet Baby E

Beach Mama:

Snow Mama:

 Hockey Mama:

Bench Mama:

Predator Fan Mama:

Three Kid's Mama:

Baby Wearing Mama:

Hockey Fan Mama:

Two Boy's Mama:

Walking Mama:

Gulf Water Mama:

On the Beach Mama:

Sliding Mama:

At the Doctor Mama:

Bunny Ears Mama:

Pool Mama:

Outside Mama:

Playground Mama:

Silly Boy's Mama:

 Loved Mama:

Car Mama:

Disney On Ice Mama:

Sweet Girl's Mama:

Sky Fort Mama:

Christmas Mama:

Skiing Mama:

Running Mama:

Good Morning Mama:

I am SO blessed to have these three kids in my life, and so thankful also to have a wonderful husband to help me along in this journey of motherhood:

Happy Mother's Day to me!  Now when I'm in tears at the end of the day and I'm not sure I'll survive until my husband gets home, I have a post to (hopefully) remind me of how much I really do love being a mom.