Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Sunday Post

Another week has come and gone and everything is going pretty well. I haven't had to do any real cooking yet (I think I made some macaroni this week... and that might be the most major thing I've "cooked" since Sylvia was born!), we had a few meals brought to us and ate leftovers and meals from the freezer. And I still have 3 meals from my MOPS group to pick up, too! Wow, I really won't have to cook again until next month!!

Last Sunday after we got home from church I asked Daniel to take some pictures of Susannah. She was just too cute in her blue dress with her hair extra curly that day.

The big adventure of this week was Friday morning. Both girls (I love saying "girls" and "both girls"!!!) had doctor appointments. Sylvia had her 2 week checkup and Susannah her 2 year checkup. I was really glad the office let me schedule them both together - in the same room, same time! - but I also knew it was going to take herculean effort to get us there on time: the appointment was at 8:45am. I asked Daniel if he could go with us, and he was happy to take the morning off from work and play a huge role in getting us all ready, fed, out the door and to the appointment on time. It was also great to have another set of hands since there were two people to get undressed, up and down from the table, dressed back up, and so on.

The appointment went great! Sylvia weighed 10 lbs. right on the dot (so just over 2 lbs. above her birth weight). Susannah got 3 shots, and I was prepared for her to cry (even though she is pretty hardy). She squirmed quite a bit for the first two, but held still for the third. No tears shed! Wow, I was impressed! I would have completely understood if she had cried - I want to cry at shots! - but she didn't. I guess she has a high pain tolerance or something. After they put on the band-aids and she was back on the floor, she pulled her dress up to check out the "stickers" on each leg. :-) Susannah is also on track for her age, ranging from the 50th to 75th percentile in different areas.

Susannah continues to love her sister. She calls Sylvia "Sigh-ee-uh" or "Suh-ee-uh" and gets excited when she sees Sylvia for the first time after her nap, etc.

Before Sylvia was born, and after we'd put the baby swing together, Susannah LOVED to turn the swing on, and then get on her rocking horse and rock with the swing. One day this week Sylvia was in the swing (turned off), and Susannah turned it on and got on her horse to rock. It was so cute! I was able to get some of it on video. I apologize for it being off center. Our camera must tape in one size, and I'm not sure how to get the entire width onto blogger.

I feel like it has been a good week and I'm looking forward to getting into an even better "groove" this coming week if all goes well. I'm not back to housekeeping anywhere near normal, but we're wearing clean clothes every day and the dishwasher helps keep the dishes clean. :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sylvia's Birth Story

For memories' sake, I want to write down Sylvia's birth story. Both for myself and maybe someday she would like to read it, too. {I have yet to write Susannah's birth story, I hope to one day before too long.} It has only taken me 2 weeks, lots of editing, and writing in little spurts of time here and there to get it down. I am probably forgetting some things and don't have it as eloquently written as I'd like, but for now it is what it is.

For several weeks leading up to Sylvia Hope's birthday, I was continually dialating 1 cm. each week and staying at 50% effaced. My Dr. - and myself - really didn't think I was going to make it to my due date. I was occasionally having a Braxton Hicks contraction, but nothing very noticeable. Only a time or two did I have contractions that I thought could be the real thing. At my 39 week appointment I was at 5 cm. and she really didn't think I would make it another week. So much so that for my 40 1/2 week appointment, Daniel took off work and we went prepared to stay if I had progressed another centimeter or more. Nothing had changed, so we came back home. With a detour to a park so I could swing for a while :) I bought and ate a second pineapple. And there was nothing to indicate labor was thinking about happening.

Sunday marked 41 weeks of pregnancy (you can read about it here). Hesitant to go much beyond than 41 weeks, several weeks earlier Daniel and I had prayed about, thought about, talked about and decided to be induced the following Monday (which would be 41 weeks and 1 day). I don't know why, I just didn't feel at peace about waiting much longer.

Early on in the pregnancy when people would ask the baby's due date, I would tell them "Feb. 26th, but I won't be surprised if it's a March baby." I just didn't think it was going to be THAT much "March."

Sunday afternoon I finished up some laundry and packing the needed bags, Daniel emptied the garbage and helped with some general picking up and cleaning up. We met up with Daniel's parents so Susannah could spend Sunday night with them since we had to leave early Monday morning for the hospital. After dropping off Susannah, we went to church and afterward celebrated our 8th anniversary 2 days early by going to dinner at Chili's. It was a special, sweet time together since we hadn't been on a date for several months, and I savored every moment.

Bright and early Monday morning I dragged out of bed, showered and got myself ready to go. And it was snowing. :-) We were going to have a snow baby after-all, in MARCH, no-less! (We have some cuh-razy weather in these parts!) Daniel dropped me off at the hospital entrance and went to park the car. I didn't have to wait long before being taken back to my room, and Daniel was soon with me as well.

At first I wasn't too sure that I liked my nurse. Oh, I was sure she was competent and knew her stuff, but she seemed a little drill-sergeant-ish. One of my favorite things at that point in the game was that I didn't have to take off my rings or watch! I was getting ready to take them off and she said "oh, you can leave those on!" In all the "here's what to do" information they give you, it says to remove all of those things. I was very happy to be able to keep them on. She got me all hooked up to everything and we waited for the Dr. to arrive. I said that I would like to hold off on the pitocin for a bit, and see if just breaking my water would start anything. My Dr. and nurse were both fine with that which made me happy, too. :) So that's what we did. And nothing happened. Not a single blip on the screen.

Eventually the nurse started pitocin and labor started at 9:30am. I was still at 5cm. and 50% effaced. The contractions quickly got very intense with just a low dose of pitocin. By about 10:15am Daniel was wondering if he was going to have any fingers left by the time the baby was born (but he never said a word to me about it - I thought that was really sweet of him!), and I was going through each contraction with my face buried in a pillow. Getting an epidural was not far from joining my "birth plan", but I wanted to wait a bit longer to see how I could handle the contractions.

Oh, and once labor started, Drill-Sargeant-Nurse turned into Much-Nicer-Nurse. She offered that I could try a birthing ball and see if I liked that at all. I was on that through a handful of contractions and knew an epidural was the next step in the plans. The nurse checked to make sure I wasn't too far along for one, and I was only about 6cm. and 80%. It seemed to take forever for the anesthesiologist to get there (a nice Scottish guy who did my epidural for Susannah's birth), but I was soon getting more comfy and my legs were becoming "decorations" as Daniel calls it. :-) Going from the intensity of labor to resting/dozing so quickly, my blood pressure dropped and so did the contractions. A shot in the IV fixed all that and we were quickly back in business.

About 12:30pm I mentioned that I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. My Dr. stopped by right then and checked, and I was ready to push. I was a little surprised that it was time already. Just a few hours had passed! The nurse got everything ready, an intern who was shadowing her arrived to take her place through the birth, and my Dr. returned from a super-fast lunch.

I started pushing right after 1:00pm, and after the first push I was really surprised when Daniel said he could see the head already. (I pushed for 30 minutes with Susannah, so I wasn't expecting a head-sighting so soon!) After the 2nd push my Dr. offered that I could feel the baby's head if I wanted to. 3 pushes later our little Sylvia Hope was born at 1:13pm.

My Dr. has a neat practice in that she does not say what the baby is. Instead (as long as there is nothing life-threatening) she holds the baby up for the parents to see for themselves. Through blurry vision I could see that I had just given birth to our 2nd daughter, and said something like "It's another GIRL!" As soon as Sylvia was born, I right away felt much better - seemingly than I had for several weeks prior (I'm sure adrenaline helped a little :)). I was pretty clear-headed and really enjoyed meeting our daughter while she was on my stomach waiting for Daniel to cut the cord and all that goes on in the first minutes following birth.

She was then moved to the warming tray to be cleaned off a little better, get weighed and all that fun stuff. Oh, and to exercise her lungs a little. :-) Daniel was by her side most of the time, and one thing I do not want to ever forget: The emotions that crossed his face as he looked at our daughter for the first minutes of her life. There was a mixture of enormous daddy-pride along with some blinking, wet eyes and hard swallows. I doubt he would admit all of that, but I saw it. I think I fell in love with him a little bit more right then.

Since I was feeling so good, when the nurse offered that I could have some skin-to-skin time with Sylvia, I was thrilled to accept.

A few minutes after being placed on my chest, Sylvia started rooting around looking to eat. I was excited to help her start eating right away and with little trouble, she was eating like a champ.

I started regaining feeling and use of the lower half of my body, and continued to feel really good overall. Shortly after being moved to my post-partum room, I was cleared to take a shower. I was pleasantly surprised with that, and that I even felt like taking a shower to boot!

I rested and slept great in the hospital, Sylvia continued to be a good eater (though sleepy and slow sometimes!), and we came home shortly after noon on Wednesday. We are all settling into our new lives as a family of four.

6 Days Old

I praise God for our daughter, and at times am overwhelmed that He has blessed me again with the privilege and joy of mothering another child. My heart is filled with thankfulness for this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Life With Two Little Girls

As I fully expected, life with two little people to care for is different than life with one little person to care for. But I would not trade it for the WORLD.

So far I've only been "solo" for 2 days since Sylvia was born, and we just kinda rolled through each day as it went along. And I was glad for my 1 morning cup of coffee. :-) Daniel took off for the week after Sylvia was born and my sister-in-law came to visit and help Wed. - Fri. of this past week. She was a huge help, getting the dishes washed, the floors swept, and did a boat-load of laundry for me.

Today I am back to flying solo, so we will just roll along with the day however it goes!! Last night was the first night I let Sylvia go longer stretches (about 5 hrs.) between her night-time feedings, so I am hopefully a little more rested, too. (Even though, on the whole, I have been MORE rested since Sylvia was born than I was for about a month before her birth!)

All committed help has already been here, and those 2 weeks flew past!! On that note, I can't believe today is Sylvia's 2 week birthday, either!! Now I am really back in the saddle, so whatever happens or doesn't happen is up to me. Thankfully we are still getting meals, and my sisters gave us a LOT of food. We have meals coming every other day yet this week, a well-stocked freezer of casseroles ready to bake, and a few more people that have said they want to bring us a meal in another week or two. Wow! "Blessed" is an appropriate word!!

I know this is a shorter post, but I am starving for breakfast plus I need to get up and get moving for the day. I hope to be able to post more soon!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's A....


Our second daughter, Sylvia Hope was born Monday, March 5th. She shocked us all with her weight of 8 lbs. 14.5 oz.!! I guess she was really fattening up while waiting to make her appearance. :-) She measured 20.5" long. (She is the same length that Susannah was, but 1 1/2 lbs. bigger.)

We are so happy to finally have her on the outside where we can see her and hold her and love on her. Oh my, there is nothing more heart-capturing than a squirmy, snuggly, miracle-of-life baby that grew inside of me for 9 months!!! We are in love, plain and simple.

Thrilled to no end, enjoying some skin-to-skin with my daughter.

Labor was induced Monday morning and contractions started about 9:30am. After about 10 minutes of pushing (5 pushes in 4 contractions - yes, I was proud of that!) Sylvia was born at 1:13pm after a little under 4 hours of labor. I was already 5cm. when we got there (and had been for 2 weeks) so once things started, they went fast.

All showered and snuggled the first evening.

I felt so amazing and so much better as soon as she was born. I couldn't believe the difference! I think one of my first comments was "I can BREATHE again!!"

Susannah got to meet her little sister Tuesday morning.

I had packed a few books to be able to have some
"quality time" with Susannah when she came to visit.
Daniel is reading "I'm A Big Sister" to his 2 girls. :-)

We came home Wednesday shortly after noon. Aside from being a little tired from lack of sleep, I'm continuing to feel really good (and the pain meds help. ;-) ).

Sylvia ready to go home, wearing the same outfit
her big sister wore home from the hospital.

Susannah loves her baby sister, "Sigh-ee-uh", though we can't get her to say her name very much. She is very protective and wants to make sure Sylvia has her paci and blankie if she notices that they aren't with her.

Well, it will soon be lunchtime for everyone, so in wanting to get this posted already, I will have to save more for another post.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

41 Weeks

Today marks the 41st week of pregnancy for me with our 2nd baby. I do feel like I have been pregnant for-ev-er. :-) I won't deny that. I know that I really haven't been and won't be. I feel like "this is the longest I've EVER been pregnant in my LIFE!" but as this is only our 2nd child I don't know that I can proclaim that too loudly. ;-)

The past week or two have certainly been more trying, physically and emotionally. My emotions haven't been terrible, there was one weekend where for a day and a half I just wanted to sit down and cry "just because." The rest of the time I am just exhausted almost all of the time.

Not as a way of complaining, but more just sharing and recording for my own sake, most days I feel like I am barely going to survive. Some mornings I wake up and think "there's no way I can have the baby today, I'm too tired!"

Sleep eludes me several hours each night and if I try to nap in the day I rarely fall asleep very deeply or for very long at all, I just lie there dozing and resting (wishing I could be sleeping!). Saturday and Sunday mornings are my catch-up and recovery time when it comes to sleep. I don't have to bust out of bed early to get Daniel's breakfast and lunch, so I can stay asleep and get a second cycle of good sleep. I have not checked for sure, but I think I usually fall asleep the first time at night around 1 or 2am... then I usually HAVE to get up about 4:30 or 5 and it takes me a bit to fall back asleep from a bathroom visit. Then on workdays the alarm starts going off around 6 or 6:30, so not really any time for another good "sleep" in there. Without feeling guilty about it, I do not bust myself out of bed Sunday mornings so we can get to Sunday School because that is ONE day that I can sleep more and not feel dead all day long.

The other downside to the past 2 or 3 weeks of this journey has been that my back has been bothering me more and more. Especially if I lie on my left side, for some reason my back just doesn't like it very well. But I get weary of being on my right side. :-) So in the mornings I cripple out of bed and creep around for most of the morning until my back gets most of the kinks out and then I'm a little better for the rest of the day. Susannah goes in circles around me quite a bit lately, and I feel like it takes me 5 minutes to get from one side of the kitchen to the other! I have been going to the chiropractor weekly for the last month or two, and that really helps.

Between lack of good rest, back pain, and feeling like an over-inflated beach ball that an elephant is sitting on, no, it has not been easy lately. Many days I feel like I simply cannot go on. I cannot move another muscle. I cannot bend over or squat down to pick one more thing up off the floor, or lean and stretch to wash another dish, or figure out one more meal to eat. Multiple times each day though, I just pray for God to give me strength and grace to get me through the moment. Through another few minutes, another hour, another day. And He does. And I make it. I have Scripture verses taped to my cupboard door, and the lyrics to the hymn, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, taped up at the kitchen sink. I find comfort and identity in the 2nd line "I rest my weary soul in Thee!" as well as throughout the rest of the song.

A few good things that have come from being pregnant this long...

I was able to attend church this morning which was a surprise mini-concert and then message from Steve Green. If the baby was already born (and hadn't come extra early), I probably would not be up to going to church yet. This morning was a HUGE blessing to my soul and I'm so glad that I am still pregnant so that I could attend.

I have been keeping the laundry caught up and the floors better picked up. :-) I am working with Susannah very purposely helping her keep her toys picked up when she finished playing with them, or before naps and bedtimes. (Plus it's SO much easier for her to pick them up than for me to!) We have had more time to implement "room time" into most of Susannah's days where she plays in her room by herself for 20 minutes (we started out with just a few minutes and worked up to 20). This gives me a chance to sit down a catch my breath, close my eyes if I really need to, or give my undivided attention to a task (which will soon likely be one of the baby's feedings).

A continued blessing for this pregnancy is that the baby and I are continuing to do great. I still am not experiencing any swelling (aside from the big beach ball, of course!), my blood pressure and heart rate have been great, and baby continues to pass with flying colors each visit as well. Now if I could just have a little more lung room to breathe deeply again!!

To close out this update, which will most likely be my last pregnancy update before the baby comes, here is a picture from today. Officially 41 weeks pregnant. Yes, it was 51° when we left for church this morning and I wore short sleeves and no jacket. :-) And yes, I do wear jeans to church lately!! I grew out of my (non-maternity) skirt around 37-38 weeks (rather, I had it hiked up as far as I dared hike it and it was getting too small to fit around and over), and as I have never found a maternity skirt I like, I figure a couple Sundays wearing jeans is not going to hurt anything. (And it helps that in our church some dress to the nines and others dress in jeans, so I'm not an oddball wearing jeans. :-) )

Friday, March 2, 2012

Of Bread And Bubbles

This past Wednesday my order of wheat berries arrived and I am so thrilled to be back in fresh-ground flour bread makin' business!! My first experience with ordering wheat berries I ordered Hard White Wheat. This time I ordered 50 lbs. of Hard White Wheat and 45 lbs. of Soft White Wheat. The hard white is supposed to be better for bread, and the soft white better for pastries. I used the hard white in cakes, cookies, muffins and so on, liking it just fine, but I'm eager to see if the soft white makes a difference.

As the new baby hasn't come yet, I have to keep making bread to keep my freezer stash supplied. We go through bread so quickly sometimes I'm not sure if I'm keeping up with my supply for after baby comes or just using it up!! Today was an overcast morning and then rainy afternoon, and my bread turned out beautifully! I was a little worried that maybe I would have lost my "touch" (ha!) as it's been a few weeks since I ran out of wheat berries. I was happy to turn out three loaves of nice, well-risen, good textured bread.

One of Susannah's thrills is helping me grind the "fow-er." Today when I mentioned bread she pointed to the mixer and jabbered something about fow-er, then pointed to the mill (which is in the opposite corner of my kitchen counter).

She likes to watch the wheat berries run down in the hopper on the mill :) As it nears the end, I do put the lid on in case any of the berries go flying as I don't want them to hit her or me.

I asked her to say "cheese" and instead she said "fow-er!"

This morning she also helped me wash up the few dirty dishes that didn't go in the dishwasher. She loves to put things into the dish-water for me, and I have to monitor closely that she doesn't put in something that doesn't go in water OR something I'm not ready for yet (I am a little picky about my dish-washing order! :) ).

After I finished, I drained the water but didn't rinse down the sink like I usually do. Pretty soon, she had the measuring spoon drawer open and had gotten out every single measuring spoon to scoop soap bubbles out of the sink and onto the counter!

Even though I am very eager for our baby to be born, I am reminding myself to enjoy these times with Susannah while she is the "only" child and I can give her my undivided attention :)