Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Clara's Birth Story

On June 20th, I went to what ended up being my last OB appointment. I wasn't any further dilated, but the nurse practitioner could feel baby's head, and guessed that once I went into labor, baby would probably arrive fairly quickly. I also had a growth sono scheduled that day, and baby was measuring in at about 6 pounds, 8 ounces (give or take a few.) I was a little worried that if I went too far past my due date, this really would end up being a big baby!

the last baby belly shot I took at 39 weeks!

On Friday evening (June 23), I took a long walk around the neighborhood catching up with my college roommate, Kristen. She is pregnant with her first, and so of course most of the conversation revolved around pregnancy and babies (which I could probably talk about all day!) We talked for about an hour, and then I got off the phone to help Luke get the kids to bed. According to my Fitbit, I had over 20,000 steps for the day- more than I'd had in quite awhile! I'd been hoping that the more walking I did, the more likely my body was to go into labor.

Throughout the night on Friday, I felt the occasional contraction, usually when my bladder was full. I kept wondering if that's what I was really feeling or if it was just my wishful thinking that we were closer to meeting baby. On Saturday morning, I woke up and did my usual 3 mile walk around the neighborhood. I felt little contractions here and there while getting ready for the day and while we went grocery shopping. We decided that since it was such a beautiful day, we would pack a picnic lunch to eat at Piney Run Park. After walking around there for a bit, it felt like the contractions were becoming more intense/painful, and I told Luke we may need to head home soon.

hanging out at Piney Run

At home, I folded a load of laundry and finished packing the hospital bag for myself and a bag for the kids to take to my mom's. Around 3:20, I decided to start timing the contractions on my Baby Center app. I decided to pace around our room, which seemed to make contractions get more intense. Once I started timing them, they were all about 5 minutes apart.

After about an hour and 20 minutes, and Luke encouraging me to call, I talked to the doctor to tell her what was going on. Contractions didn't feel as intense as they did with Jonah, but were consistently about 5 minutes apart. Dr. Richards told me that since this was my third time, she trusted my judgement and to come to the hospital if I felt like it was time. I was totally second guessing myself wondering if we should wait because I really didn't want to get sent home! But the pain was pretty bad by this point, and Luke was really pushing to go because he was a tad worried about having to deliver a baby in the car.

We waited a bit longer for Luke's parents to get to our house to watch the littles, and then we headed out a little after 5:00. I was still timing the contractions on my phone and realized they were slowing down! They were now about 7 minutes apart and I told Luke I was pretty sure they'd send us back home. When we pulled into the ER parking lot, we sat in the car for a moment, trying to decide what to do. (Luke really wanted us to go in!)

After another painful contraction hit, I decided we should at least go in so I could be checked. I really didn't want to have to deal with these contractions without an epidural anymore! As we walked into the ER lobby and waited in the short line, the contractions got closer together. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long and I got wheeled up to labor and delivery.

We sat down at the registration window and I realized I forgot my ID and insurance card at home. Luke has an insurance card, but the lady didn't see my name on it (it's definitely on there!). Thankfully she was able to pull up my info since I'd delivered there before. As I sat there the contractions slowed down again, and all I could think was I should fake it so that they would actually take me back and check me! After about 10 minutes and only having ONE contraction, they took me back to a room, and my nurse helped me change into a gown in the bathroom. The contractions picked up again, and as she helped me to the bed, I was in a lot of pain, and praying that they kept me there! The nurse checked me, and I thought I heard her say I was at 9 cm. I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly so I asked her how far along I was, and she says 9! I asked her if I can get my epidural, but she said there's not enough time.

Three more nurses came into the room and swarmed around getting everything prepped. One was asking me questions to get some history, telling me to pause as I got through contractions. Another suggested I stand to help with moving things along more, and within a few minutes of doing that, the doctor arrived. They helped me lay back down, and the doctor checked me.

She said "you're a 10!" She broke my water, and then told me to pull my legs back and try pushing when I felt the next contraction. As it came, I was screaming and hoping that I was pushing hard enough. I pushed till the count of 10, and then paused as we waited for the next contraction. On the second contraction, I could feel the doctor helping things along, and only vaguely realized my sister had made it into the room to take some pictures for us. (Heather later told me she heard someone screaming when she walked onto the labor and delivery floor and hoped that it wasn't me- totally was!)

I honestly can't remember if it was the third or fourth time pushing, but baby's head came out, and they told me to stop pushing for a moment. Then I pushed once more, and baby girl came out at 6:33 p.m. and they laid her on my chest. As the doctor lifted her up to me, she said "it's a girl!" I really couldn't believe the baby was a she, and that she was here so quickly!

our little 5 lb 10oz bundle of joy!

Since I missed out on the epidural, I could feel everything the doctor was doing when she delivered the placenta, and I felt some of the stitching up even with the little bit of numbing the doctor gave me. For me, that took away from just being able to enjoy holding my brand new baby, and I would totally get an epidural if we were doing this again. BUT God was definitely with me throughout, and I was really just so thankful for a healthy baby girl!

One of the nurses in the room told me later that after seeing me at the registration desk not really having any contractions, she thought for sure I wasn't very far along. She said next time (ha!) we should head to the hospital as soon as I start feeling contractions. After the doctor was done stitching me up, she came over and told me I did a great job. I laughed thinking about how much screaming and yelling I'd done, but it was good to just be done with the delivery part and was thankful for her encouragement.

We snuggled with Clara for probably close to an hour before they took her over to be cleaned and weighed. The nurse helped me get started with nursing, and Clara did a pretty good job with latching, but fell asleep pretty quickly. My sister ran out to pick us up Panera for dinner, and then the three of sat there eating and staring at our new baby girl while the nurse asked some questions to get all the information filled in. I kept looking at Clara in disbelief that she was already here!

Overall, I am SO thankful for how everything happened. Our nurses were great, I can say I had a drug free birth (though if we were doing this again, I would still choose the drugs!), my doctor was encouraging, and we didn't have to labor at the hospital for long at all. The timing of Clara's birth in our lives has been absolutely perfect- God's timing in every way, including Luke being able to be home for 12 weeks of paid leave, a company policy that was effective June 1!

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me." Psalm 13:5-6

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Slow and Easy

We've been taking our weeks slow and easy. We make plans, but hold them loosely knowing that with a newborn, we may not be able to all get out together. In the mornings I've started to try to get myself into some sort of routine of feeding Clara and then heading out for a walk, more for my mental state than anything else. If she's still sleeping when I get back, I'll hop into the shower and get ready for the day while everyone is still sleeping. Those moments of quiet and being by myself to think and pray are so helpful!

Slow morning with my girls

The kids wake up when they're ready, sometimes Jonah first, sometimes Noelle. I nurse Clara again when she wakes up, and feed the kids breakfast downstairs while we let Daddy sleep in for a bit. This past week we had a few mornings where the big kids just played at home for awhile, and a few mornings where Luke took the big kids to do something or all of us went somewhere together.

On Monday, we had Noelle's 5 year well check and Clara's 2 week (16 days) appointment. Both girls were looking great, and thankfully there were no shots for anyone! Clara weighed in at 6 pounds 1 oz, surpassing her birth weight and almost a 1 pound weight gain since leaving the hospital. Luke and I were pretty proud of her! She did get her heal pricked, but they let me nurse her while they did it, so that helped some.

Picking flowers in our PJs in our backyard jungle/garden

On Tuesday, Luke took the big kids to the YMCA for an art class. They had a blast, and proudly showed me their work when they got home. Tuesday evening we headed to Chick Fil A for cow appreciation day, and then to 7-11 for free slurpees. Lots of free food! On Wednesday, we all headed out for the $1 movie to watch Penguins of Madagascar. Noelle and Jonah thought it was hilarious, and baby girl slept or nursed the entire time.  On Thursday, Noelle got a birthday card in the mail with some money from her great Aunt Cindy (on the Wiedeman side) and so we all headed to Dairy Queen after dinner for some birthday ice cream. I ate way too much, but it was delicious!

vanilla with sprinkles!

Summer birthday party season has started, and we missed one the day I had Clara and had another one today. It's so fun celebrating our friends, and we have a few more to look forward to, including cousin Holden's 1st birthday!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Week 2 With Three Kids

While our mornings are slow, we've also been trying to get ourselves out the door a couple of days during the week to keep things normal for Noelle and Jonah. I'm definitely remembering how long it takes to get out the door when you have a baby who nurses on demand, and a million things to make sure you have in case you need them. On Wednesday I even made it out the door for a MOPS playdate with all three by myself- we were only a half hour late and somehow managed to leave one of the sliding van doors wide open the whole time we were at the playground. 

Playing with chalk outside the library

On Monday, we took Daddy to our favorite library time. Clara slept in the ergo the whole time, and the big kids had fun picking out books and singing and dancing with Mr. Chris. Since it was Noelle's birthday, Luke took her and Jonah to get froyo while I nursed Clara in the car. That evening we had our families over for pizza and strawberry cupcakes. I'm pretty sure it was the perfect day for Noelle.

Fourth of July was pretty quiet. We hung out at home, ate the delicious food that people from church have been bringing, and just had some good downtime. Which of course gives me time for lots of newborn snuggles. We've also been reading books, watching TV, and playing with toys (especially new birthday toys!)

Yesterday was rainy so we headed to the mall to play in the play area, eat our packed lunch, and go for a ride on the carousel (paid for by a gazillion coins out of their piggy banks.) Luke also joined the YMCA this week, and we're hanging out at the pool for the second time. Since Luke is home for the summer, we figured we'd join a pool so he could give the kids swim lessons, rather than paying for them to go somewhere. Luke even got them both goggles, which Jonah was especially excited about!

Sweet miss Clara is continuing to do so well! She gets fussy when she needs to get some poop out or when she's hungry. But overall, she's pretty content. I go to bed sometime between 8 and 9, and Luke takes her down to the basement. He usually does a feeding at some point before bringing her up around midnight so I get at least a three hour stretch of sleep. Lately she's then been eating around 2 and 5, and then wakes up between 7 and 8. She's already sleeping better than 6 month old Jonah was! We're praying it continues this way, but I know that things could always change. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Maternity Pictures

I am thankful my sister has such an eye for taking pictures. Pretty much every framed picture in our house is one that she has taken of our family or the kids.

Below are the pictures she took of us on June 17 when I was 38 weeks (and 4 days) pregnant. Fun fact- my dress is a maternity dress I ordered after winning a giveaway on someone's blog. Noelle's dress-obsessed self especially loved that I was wearing a dress.

She has been so excited for another baby! Even the last few weeks of pre-K, she would hug Jonah and me good-bye and kiss my belly.

My first baby!

This little man- turning three has been an adjustment for us all, but he still sure loves his mama!

that lip!

I truly love being pregnant, and miss having a pregnant belly! But mostly, we are so happy little miss Clara is here!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday, Noelle!

Happy 5th birthday to my first baby!

one last picture with my 4 year old!
It has been so fun watching you grow in to the little girl that you are. I know that in the last few months that I've begged you to stay 4, but I know the next year will be so good for you! Loving on your sister, starting kindergarten, telling Jonah what preschool will be like- it will be a year full of good changes.

You love My Little Pony, Octonauts, Littlest Pet Shop, and a variety of other shows that you watch on your little tablet. Which you almost always fast forward through because you can.  You love being read to, and one of our current favorites to read together are the Sophie Mouse books. Our current summer goal is to read 100 different books, with the reward of frozen yogurt. (An Ellie favorite!)

You love cheese (and only cheese!) pizza, peanut butter sandwiches, turkey meat, yogurt, oatmeal, and chips. Your sweet tooth is not as strong as mommy's, but you did eat three cupcakes on your birthday yesterday!

You play a lot of pretend with Jonah- managing a store, restaurant, Care Bear as your baby, and putting on shows. You don't seem to have a fear of being on stage as you had no problem being up on front of people at your Pre-K graduation and end of Sunday School presentation. You still are not a fan of being outside, especially of it's too hot or too cold, but you do enjoy a trip to the playground. One of your favorite things to do is go to the mall. You're all about the carousel and getting Chick Fil A for lunch. And spending any money that you've been given- my little shopper!

You try to avoid bedtime regularly by coming into my room and telling me you miss me. And your current bedtime prayer every night is "thank you that mommy and daddy had the baby." You're still all about wearing dresses, and thanks to one of your best friends, Sophie, we are well stocked for awhile.

You're very insistent that your name is Ellie, but you've told me that I'm allowed to call you Noelle during the Christmas season. You're recognizing a few words here and there when we read books, and you amaze me with all the things you learn from Sunday School, and even from the t.v. shows you watch.

We love you so much, and continue to pray that you will love Jesus above all else!

Happy Birthday, Noelle!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Clara's First Week

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

This verse is so how I feel about the first week of Clara's life. There have been so many precious things that I want to remember and treasure in my heart. Out of all our kids, this has been the easiest transition with a newborn, and I'm praying that it's part of her personality, and will continue to be this way! And maybe it's also because this isn't our first time, and because I've longed for these newborn days for awhile.

In the hospital, Clara really only cried if she was hungry or wanted some extra attention. She didn't always take to nursing, but even if she fussed through that, she would fall asleep in my arms, and I would just stare at her while she slept. I stayed awake with her for a few hours the first night with her just laying on my lap. It was precious and sweet just staring in my brand new baby girl, thanking God for the opportunity to be her mama. The second night, Luke stayed up for a bit holding her so that I could get some sleep, and seeing Luke love on his daughter is a sight to cherish.

When my parents brought Noelle and Jonah to visit after church on Sunday, they had on their Big Sister/Promoted to Big Brother shirts. The first thing Noelle said was that she was right- the baby was a girl! She absolutely loves that she was right about getting a sister. Someone from our church told me that when Jonah was dropped off for nursery that morning, he exclaimed to the whole nursery that he had a new sister. When my sister and her husband got to to the hospital, Jonah proudly pointed to Clara and told them that she is our baby. So much sibling love!

On Thursday we were visited by one of our pastors just to check in and make sure that everything was going well. And then he prayed over Clara that she would continue to grow, and come to love Jesus as her Savior. It made my mama heart feel so loved and blessed by our church. We've already received a few meals, and will continue to receive them for another two weeks from friends at church, and then my local MOPS group will provide meals for a couple of weeks. The generosity of friends is felt and SO appreciated!

Everything is certainly not sunshine and roses- I'm struggling with this post baby body even though at the same time, I realize that it just grew my little Clara girl, and that is such a miracle to me! She still fights breastfeeding at times, and I told Luke that it feels like she's rejecting me. I know it's because the bottle is easier, and I'm just happy that she's getting some breast milk, but still, I want my baby to be happy and satisfied. I'm hoping breastfeeding is a more positive experience overall this time (and so far it is!)

We're so thankful that she's growing, and sleeping so well. I love how she sticks her little lips out when she's done eating, and sticks her chin out as she stretches. I love when I lay her on my shoulder to burp her and she scrunches her little body up like she probably was in the womb. So many tender things that fly by in the newborn stage!

We love our little Clara! Happy one week, sweet girl!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Clara Irene

Clara Irene joined our family at 6:33 p.m. on June 24th! She weighed 5 pounds 10 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches long. We are all smitten with our baby girl, and adjusting to life with THREE babies!

Noelle is so excited that she gets a little sister, and will often ask if she can just sit and watch the baby. And Jonah's little voice telling people that this is our baby, and calling her baby Clara is so incredibly sweet. I love seeing them in the roll of big sister (again) and big brother.

The journey it took to get to this point has just made me extra aware and grateful for what we've been given. Every single baby is such a huge blessing, and my heart it so full knowing that Clara was God's plan for us all along. Even though I struggled with the emotions of infertility and trusting God, this is exactly what He wanted for us. It's certainly not the journey I would have chosen, but in His grace, He knew exactly what we needed to go through.

So far (5 days in) this has been our easiest transition with a newborn. We are SO thankful for how everything is going. Even in the hospital, she only fussed if she was hungry, or if she just wanted to be cuddled a bit. She's fought nursing here and there, and like we planned, we're supplementing with formula. But each day she's definitely getting better about nursing, and I'm pumping to keep up my supply. At her first pediatric appointment yesterday the doctor was pleased with her two ounce weight gain (up to 5 pounds 5 ounces), and how she looked overall. We're tired of course, but overall, she's already sleeping better than Jonah was at six months (#problemchild). I know that things can, and most likely will, get more difficult, but for now we're just soaking it up!

all the cousins!