Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Bucket List: Bike Ride After Dinner

What do I do when dinner is complete and there's still an hour of daylight left in the day?  Go outside and watch the kids ride their bikes on the driveway!

My View:
L, E, and O

O kept stopping and posing for the camera

L's too fast to capture on the camera!



Just wearing the kids out while the sun is up!

**And yes, they typically wear helmets when they ride their bikes (even in the drive-way), but they went outside with their daddy and I snapped pictures before I realized they were not wearing them.

Summer Bucket List: Catch Fireflies

Summer in Tennessee would not be complete without staying up past bedtime (at least one night) to catch fireflies (a.k.a. lightning bugs).  So dressed in their pajamas, we let them run around the front yard last night catching bugs and putting them into a pickle jar.  They loved it!

E was in charge of the pickle jar

Watching her Bugs

L, Jumping to Catch One

Time to set them free!

Watching them crawl/fly out

Only one bug was injured in this activity.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Day I Became a Mother: L's Birth Story

This is a BIRTH STORY.  So if the details of how my son entered the world are going to offend you, please skip this post.

Pregnant With L
During the first few months of a first time pregnancy, the thought of delivering a child can be a bit nerve-wracking.  I remember looking down at myself at some point and thinking, "Oh my, this cute ball of baby is going to have to come out!"  BUT, by the 3rd trimester, I was so miserable that I was desperate to start labor and meet my new baby.  I had already tried every old wives tale (other than castor oil) and was so tired of pregnancy that I felt like I could honestly handle any amount of labor pains, as long as it meant not being pregnant anymore. 

On a Saturday morning near the end of February (2 days before my 2nd "due date"), I went to a Ladies Inspirational Breakfast at our church.  I spent time in prayer with some of the ladies from my small group and they reassured me, "no one has ever been pregnant forever."  Secretly I hoped that my water would break during the breakfast and I would be escorted to the hospital with all the ladies in my small group, but God had other plans...

After I was home from the breakfast, I started walking around the house.  I walked for nearly an hour and then went upstairs to take a nap.  Around 2pm I went to the bathroom and my water started leaking.  I knew it was likely my water leaking, but because it was nothing like the movies (no gush of water), I called my mom for her advice and reassurance.  I started having a few waves of pain in my lower back immediately, but it was hardly noticeable.  I chatted on the phone with my mom for a little while longer and then, took our child birth instructor's advice, and baked some cookies.

Baking cookies was a great distraction from the pressure waves in my lower back.  Between contractions, my husband and I laughed and chatted about being parents.  We'd laugh, and then I'd bend over the counter and breathe through the wave of pressure.  As one of the final batches of cookies were baking, my contractions really started to intensify.  So I left the cookies to my husband and went upstairs to take a shower to ease some of the pain.  The water in the shower felt fantastic and it really decreased the pain tremendously.  The relief was great, but it meant that when I got out of the shower, I felt like the pain was much worse.  At that point, I called my mom back and told her to come over.

The family (mom/dad/brother) arrive around 5pm or so.  They talked LOUDLY, laughed, played a game of scrabble, watched hockey, and were all around obnoxious until around 7:30pm when I could not take it anymore and decided to go to the hospital.  My contractions were between 4 and 6 minutes apart and I was no longer capable of focusing on anything other than myself.  At 7:45pm we got in the car and headed for the hospital.  I was really concerned that I would be in too much pain to ride in the car, but I slipped on my headphones, turned on my ipod, and fell into an, "It Is Well With My Soul" zone.  I honestly did not feel a single contraction during the 30 minute drive to the hospital.

Once at the hospital (8:30ish) I learned I was about 6cm dilated.  This was both wonderful and horrible news.  The contractions were intense and I was not sure I would be able to continue with my plan for a natural birth.  The most difficult time was when I was receiving the antibiotic for Group B Strep.  I really really REALLY wanted to get in the shower, but because I had the IV in my arm, I just stood in front of the sink splashing water on my face (***Aside, for baby #2 and #3 I got in the shower and had the nurse cover my IV in plastic).  It was a miserable first 30 minutes at the hospital.  At this point I told my husband I thought I wanted an epidural.  I think my exact words were, "why would anyone choose to do this without an epidural?!"  He ignored me and told me it would be much better when I got in the shower...  He was right.

After the IV finished and I got in the shower, I settled into my own little zone.  I had really intense back labor, but thanks to a LOT of back pressure from my husband (and mom) and the warm shower, it was manageable.  The midwife was very busy that night and popped in periodically to check on me.  She told me I was super woman every time and gave me little encouragements to help me focus.  At some point she asked if I wanted to be check.  So I wobbled out of the shower and climbed up onto the bed.  As I was holding on to the bar of the bed, I told my husband that if I wasn't making in progress I would need an epidural.  "8cm, and his head is coming down."  Thank the Lord!  I returned to the shower and continued to stand there until I started to feel the uncontrollable urge to push.

At about 11:45pm the midwife noticed I was starting to uncontrollably push in the shower.  She checked me and I was 10cm.  Hooray!  The pain in my back was going away and now it was pushing time!  I got out of the shower, they hooked me up to the monitors, put a mirror in front of me, and prepared for delivery.  When I saw the nurses for the nursery prepping the little "baby bucket," I knew it wouldn't be long.

THEN, I heard the dreaded sound that I'd heard before on episodes of the Baby Story on TLC: the heart-rate dropping.  My son's umbilical cord was trying to come out before his head and it was causing him some fetal distress.  In seconds, the midwife pushed the call button on my bed and an OB arrived.  He looked me straight in the eye, asked for my permission to give me a local anesthetic and to do an episiotomy, and delivered my healthy, "sunny side up" (according to the family) baby boy by vacuum!

Holding my baby boy!

"What on earth am I going to do with you now?!"

At 12:04 am my life changed.  This warm, slippery, ball of baby covered in slimy bloody goo was laid on my bare chest.  It was love at first sight.  His color was perfect.  He had dark hair and dark eyes and a red little birth mark on his eyelid in the shape of a perfect star.  He was going to be my star.  I was a mom!

Interested in my other birth stories?  Here's E's Birth Story and O's Birth Story.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Talk to Me, Baby!

Baby O

"They" say that its pretty common for the baby in the family to have some developmental delays.  My kid's pediatrician told me that the "baby" in a family typically learns to kind of go-with-the-flow: They just let others do things for them.  And… that seems to be the case for my (not-so) Baby O.  He's a pretty smart kid, but he's just not much of a talker.

At O's 18 month well-visit (at 19 months) he was only saying a few words ("dad" & "up") and his pediatrician was a little concerned about his verbal development.  He was understanding absolutely everything, and he has always been a great listener, but he just didn't make many attempts at verbally communicating.  Up until that point, I will admit I did very little to even encourage him to talk.  I guess the "theory" is correct in our situation, because when he pointed, I'd just give him what he wanted.  I would always say the word, but I never really encouraged him to say anything in return.

So, I came home from his appointment with a new goal: Get this boy to talk!  In the last few weeks I've read all about speech therapy, talked to those who have had children in speech therapy, watched speech therapy in action on YouTube, let him watch either the Baby Babble DVD or a Signing Time DVD during lunch, AND I've tried my very best not to give O ANYTHING without some kind of verbal request.

Watching the Baby Babble DVD
I must say, the past month he has made incredible progress.  Just in the first few days he added the words: ball, bike, bath, pop, eat, in, up, cracker, cookie, truck, car, hi, bye-bye, boat, and night-night.  And now a few weeks later, he'll practically repeat anything.  I honestly can not even count the number of words he can say.  I've also noticed in the last few days that he's tried to make some verbal requests without pointing or signing.  He'll just be sitting next to me on the couch and say "crack-cur" (cracker).

So I'm pretty confident now that it won't be too much longer and he'll be right on track verbally... And I can't wait to find out what he'll have to say.  He's pretty hilarious non-verbal, so I can only imagine the things that will come out of his mouth when he starts really talking.

Goofy O!

This Boy Cracks Me Up!!
My Cutie!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Bucket List: Lots of Swimming!

It just doesn't feel like summer without some swimming!!  This summer we've tried to go swimming at least twice a week.  So between the YMCA, my in-laws, and my aunt's community pool we've already had a lot of pool time!

Pop Pool Days:

The Kiddos with their Pop


Hanging Out with Pop


More Pop Pool:

L, Swimming Under the Little Kids


Playing "Ball"

So Proud of Himself

O with his aunt E

WAVE POOL (made by daddy)

My Aunt's Pool:

O is Fearless in the Water


E... Always with a "Floatie"

O and his Gran

My Little Fish!

Hanging Out in the Kiddie Pool with the Little Kids

O was SO proud of himself in this swim ring

Can you tell he felt like a "big kid"?!

Not in the mood for pictures

L and his Great Aunt

E starts swimming lessons next week so we'll be at the pool a lot next week too.  Right now E refuses to even put her head under water, so I really hope lessons will help her to build some confidence.  We'll just have to wait and see...