Friday five

20170120_102330.jpg1) It’s official. We need a bigger grocery-getter….stay tuned, J has been putting in hours of ‘research’ (AKA watching lots of youtube reviews and scouring the Ford build-your-won website). Amelia and I and Ruth ventured today for our bi-monthly grocery run. I cook A LOT. We eat A LOT. I get groceries 2x a month. That’s a lot of food to get at each trip. When I was placing the contents of my cart onto the belt, some older woman told me I ‘had my hands full’—like I’ve never heard that before– and offered to help me. I found that very nice, albeit comments!  After that I proceeded to stack and place all of my bags into every nook and cranny of the Expedition, and it was full. Yikes. It’s a workout. Good thing the kiddos have carseats because otherwise they wouldn’t have a place to sit! Amelia gets one bag to fill (on her lap in the pic) when we’re bagging groceries and it always ends up to be the bag full of licorice, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Go figure.received_1868864253393295.jpeg

2) These bunks! J has orders coming out of his ears! We’ve thought about these for awhile, but when I sent a pic to J right before his Christmas break with the caption ‘How bout you build these over break?’ I didn’t expect much of a response. Boy was I wrong! They’re all torn apart now as we are debating what color to finish them…white? light grey? covered in glitter? I kid, I kid.  Hoping they will be in the girls room soon, and then I’ll do a ‘tour’ for the blog. Yes, I’m a mom-dork 😀

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3) 3 year old whining.  It’s like nails on a chalkboard. You can only tune it out for so long. Amelia is a great kid, but her whining just about does me in some days. I sure hope this phase passes fast. And yes, I gave in and she got to watch that darn movie she’s holding. *sigh* You win some, you lose some. She still tells me “Mom? You know that you my best Mommy?!”  I love her heart.

4) We’ve turned gluten free over at the House of Costellos, and it’s been great! I read an article several months ago and it sounded just like some symptoms J had been having. Since then, we’ve been GF.  At first, I had no idea what we were supposed to eat because I am not going to make 2 meals, one GF and one ‘normal’.  Fast forward 2-ish months and I’d say we’re doing pretty well. J is feeling a lot better. I’m eating mostly GF and mostly according to the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, and I’ve lost all of my pregnancy weight! HOORAY! I would still like to lose 5 more lbs, but realize that may not happen until I’m done nursing. Soo, that could take awhile. But I feel good and can honestly say I’m not hungry! I eat as much as I want, but just eating differently.  THM is science based and not a ‘diet’. It’s been eye opening and made me appreciate people who’ve lost pounds.  GF is not too hard, once you figure out what it all entails. Of course no pasta or bread (unless it’s the GF variety), and not much processed food. That’s another whole post in itself that I’ll save for a later date!

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5) And this munchkin is 17 weeks today! She’s such a delight, sweet, content and ADORABLE! I cannot resist her pudgy cheeks and I love how she lights up all the time. She’s got a great smile! She’s such a good baby, we’re getting spoiled! She can roll belly to back and prefers sitting/standing instead of laying anymore. She can sit up independently for about 5 seconds then topples over.  She’s pretty much the sweetest! 😀

That’s all I got for today! Have a great weekend!

 

 

My Favorite Things: Mom of 4 version

It  only took me 4 kiddos, but I think I’ve figured out what’s actually necessary (as far as things) for this season of mom life that I’m in. I’ve also figured out exactly what it takes  as far as material things to have a baby. We used to have a TON of baby gear and stuff, and come to find out, you can have a baby without all that stuff! 😉 Over the years I’ve gotten rid of most of it and over the past few months, I’ve been going through EVERYTHING in our house. Closets, cupboards, totes, storage areas, kids clothes, etc. I’ve only kept what we need, and it’s been really nice. (Other than toys, because, well, Christmas….)   I decided to join the ranks of Ellen and Oprah this year and make my own version of ‘My favorite things’.  Theses things have really helped me in life, no joke. And they have stood the test of time and kids, as many of these things we’ve had for 7 years and 4 kids worth of use! No dancing elves and no, I’m not giving away all of these things (but I did include links to Amazon!), but I thought it’d be fun to put together some the things that I find to be ah-mazing.

Sorry if I seem kind of excited about some of these things, but they really are great!

So, my top 10 favorite things:

10) Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper

This thing is amazing. We didn’t get it until #2, but I’d never go back to a bassinet or pack’n’play or whatever. My 3 girls have loved sleeping in it. Amelia loved it so much that she slept in it until she was 6 months old (whoops). The incline is great for reflux, the pad is removable to wash, and one is able to rock it with one hand while half falling out of bed at 3am. Yes, it’s a keeper.

9) ConAir Handheld Steamer

ExtremeSteam® Handheld Fabric Steamer

I own an iron. I bought it went I went off to college because I thought all ‘adults’ needed an iron. It never gets used. The whole idea of getting it out, plugging it in, putting it up high enough that no one can reach it, warning and re-warning all little people in the house to stay far, far away from said iron, laying down towels (no ironing table here), and then actually completing the ironing just sounds completely and utterly exhausting. I ain’t got time for that. J got this steamer one year at Christmas and I thought he was nuts. Now, I use it all the time. Plug it in, wait approximately 60 seconds for it to warm up, run it quickly over your wrinkly clothes, unplug and lay it wherever because IT’S NOT HOT, then leave with wrinkle free clothes. Awesome. I might as well take my iron to Goodwill.

8) Prince Lionheart Faucet Extender

So Amelia is a climber, just like her brother. Before I discovered this little gadget Amelia would climb completely on top of the bathroom counter and sit there while she splashed water all over the sink, the counter, herself and anything else surrounding while she was supposed to just be washing her hands. Enter: the faucet extender. It makes it so little arms can reach the water without having to climb all over the place. Makes it so Amelia can independently wash her own hands without supervision, while I’m busy doing something else. Now we just need to work on the idea that one does not need to completely soak the hand towel  and then throw it over the shower curtain into the tub while washing one’s hands. Every. Time. (where do they get this stuff?!).

7) SwaddleMe Swaddlers

SwaddleMe Original Swaddle 3-PK, Who Loves You (SM)

Whoever invented this thing is my hero. Yes, one can swaddle their baby with a regular blanket. But everything you read as a mom freaks you out about SIDS and infants.  Loose blankets, baby being too hot, not having a fan on, etc etc etc ETC. Makes me worried sick. The swaddleme at least puts one’s mind a little at ease because there are 3 velcro fasteners that don’t allow the baby to get out of the wrap on their own, and don’t allow the wrap to move or slide around on the baby while they’re sleeping,.  The fear of the blanket shifting and covering baby’s mouth or nose is gone. My kids have always slept better for the first few months while swaddled in these puppies. Yay for sleep!

6) Cell phone wallet

I stopped carrying a purse quite awhile ago. I figure I won’t need a purse for quite some time, as a diaper bag is my go-to bag for all the things.  I don’t really mind, purses aren’t really my thing. But this. This little gadget has been so great. G won it at a family holiday game and I thought it was kind of cool. I stuck it on the back of my phone and haven’t had a real wallet since. No more wallet, no more purse, no more forgetting my ID/health insurance card/points card for Once Upon a Child (doesn’t everyone have one of those?!).  I just keep it all together and toss the phone in my pocket or diaper bag to go anywhere. It’s just about the handiest thing.

5) Tommee Tippee bib 

Tommee Tippee Explora Easi Roll Bib, Blue and Green  2 Count (Color may vary)

Yeah, yeah, it’s a bib, so what’s the big deal? Well! This bib has a pocket on the bottom to catch, yes catch all of the stuff that misses the baby’s mouth. That equals less food and gunk all over the floor, the highchair, or the baby. It also can go in the DISHWASHER and is made of durable flexible plastic-rubber. One less thing to clean, and then it’s ready for the next meal. We’ve had ours since G started eating solid food and it’s still being used!

4) Sea Salt spray

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, 8 Ounce

I stopped washing my hair everyday. Don’t got time for that. It’s getting long-ish and I’m going through that weird postpartum head hair loss which is utterly sad, as I’ve never had thick hair in my life and do enjoy that while pregnant! On days I don’t wash my hair, I spray this stuff on and it works magic. No greasy hair, no weird colicks. Gives it a little volume and texture and it takes all of 1 minute to do. Mom score!

3) Crock pot liners

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners (6 Count)

These were a huge revelation to me when I first found them. I rock the crock pot 3+ days a week at our house and washing it can be a beast. These things make cleanup about 60 seconds, and then the crockpot is ready for the next night, or tomorrow’s breakfast! Love them!

2) School paper files

This was a Pinterest steal, definitely not my own original idea! Next year we’ll have 3 kiddos in school! Even this year, with 2 in school, we get a lot of papers, photos, artwork, projects, etc brought home. Everyday I sort through their stuff, pitch some, enter any dates of events, etc into my phone calendar then pitch that paper, and then we choose which important or cutesy things to keep, and I put them right into these files divided by grade. I put in any pictures from school, report cards, cute projects, nice artwork, things they wrote about themselves, certificates. I took me 1 evening to do this a few years back and was definitely time well spent. I’m not a scrapbooker, not even a little bit, but I feel like this way the kids will still have many memories of school, along with picture albums.

1) Second floor laundry room

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HOORAY!!! This is my #1 for several reasons. It saves me a ridiculous amount of time and effort carting laundry up and down the basement stairs. The laundry is never sitting in the living room or hallway or stairs, waiting to be folded or put away. The kids can put their own away, as the room is only steps from their bedrooms and they won’t dump it trying to walk up the stairs while carrying a stack of clothes. I have a place to hang my hanging clothes, finally. And Jeremiah and my Dad put several days of work into this room this summer so that my dream would come true, and that made me feel loved! In all honesty, this was a dream of mine from the time we started remodeling this house, no matter how nerdy that makes me!!! It’s a small room, so difficult to get a picture of, but there’s 2 hanging areas, one for shirts and one for dresses or longer clothes, a countertop for folding/stacking, a cupboard and shelves, a place to store baskets (or currently totes of baby girl clothes), and of course a washer and dryer. This means that we have TWO sets of washers and dryers, and you better believe I use both of them at the same time! Efficiency!

I hope you enjoyed my favorite things as much as I do 🙂

 

 

Well, that was quick

So much for my well intentioned frequent blogging during maternity leave.  10 weeks has come and gone and now I find myself on the ‘last’ day of my leave. Since the first 2 weeks have passed (thanks hormones…) it has flown by! I have REALLY enjoyed my maternity leave.  With my other 3 kiddos, I always got to a point where I felt like I was ready to go back because I was bored or whatnot. This time….not so much. I feel busy at home, lots of projects, things to do, people to take care of, meals to cook, laundry to do, schedules to coordinate, and errands to run. I suppose I can continue doing all of those things but with a few days of work intermixed! It also helps that Ruth is an AMAZING baby! We really got a keeper!!!

So here’s what we’ve been up to since I last posted….about 6 weeks ago. HA!

10 weeks today!

10 weeks today!

Ruth is growing like a weed. She was off the charts for length at her 2 mo checkup, measuring in at 24.5 inches! Shes now 11lb 14 oz and stretching out her 3 month clothes because she is so long! She loves to smile, coo, sit in her Bumbo and watch her siblings, get her diaper changed, be swaddled and nap.  She is a fantastic sleeper, usually going between 8-9.5 hrs at a time at night. No kidding! This actually exists! I’ve gotten more sleep during this maternity leave than ever before.  We had to do a lot of coaxing her to finally take a bottle, but she is slowly getting better. She’s curiously laid back but does enjoy observing everything going on around her. The older kids all still compete for who can hold her first, and she hands-down prefers her brother.

Birthday girl!

Birthday girl!

Amelia is now 3 and becoming such a big girl! We celebrated her birthday on the actual day and she got exactly what she wanted…a BLUE cake! This girl continues to be obsessed with all things blue. She loves helping me in the kitchen, pretend playing with food especially, swinging, bouncing on her new trampoline, riding in the combine with Uncle Kyle, and singing. She melts our hearts when she says a version of her favorite phrase, “Mom? You know that you my best mommy?” and plants a big ole kiss on my cheek and squeezes my neck.  Awwww! I hope she’s always this affectionate and loving. She does this for everyone in our family. Adorbs. But she does also have her stubborn times. She’s got the classic arms folded, looking at the ground scowl posture nailed. She is 3, after all.

Lucy

Lucy

Lucy…..well where to start? She’s rocking kindergarten like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. She really really really enjoys school, her classmates and teacher, and misses it on weekends and breaks. She’s done very well and is beginning to read. She continues making ‘cards’ for everyone and anyone and I have to say that her art skills are quite impressive! She is constantly writing, drawing, doodling, making up shows and games,  talking, and getting distracted! She’s excited for her holiday window dance routine next weekend and wants a unicorn for Christmas. She did have quite the meltdown last night as she was sure that the Elf on the Shelf that showed up in her classroom yesterday had a ‘key to her bedroom’.  Well now.

Biggest and littlest!

Biggest and littlest!

Gabriel seems to be getting older by the minute. He’s becoming quite mature and loves hanging with his older cousins and uncles.  I do believe he’s developed a hollow leg as he never stops eating! He has taken an intense liking to wrestling, much to his father’s delight, and will participate in his first tournament this weekend. He cooks his own eggs for breakfast and prides himself in his Minecraft knowledge (although we don’t have the game!) and wearing his Cub Scout uniform.  He’s really improving in reading, and apparently can code computers at a 6th grade level (what the what!?) He has been loving all things manly lately, and even went target shooting a few weekends ago. There may or may not be a compound bow under the tree for him this year that I’m actually really excited about!

Jeremiah is busy busy busy. He is almost done with his first semester of master’s classes for educational administration and has done very well. He’s doing all kinds of observational hours for the master’s program as well as teaching 7 periods/day. He’s been helping with wrestling meets in his school district and helping me corral these 4 little people that live with us!

I’m to return to work on Monday and will return to ‘life as usual’ as a part time working mom.  I do expect some bumps in the road, but we’ll just see how things go for now. I’ve got 90% of my Christmas shopping completed (thank you, FedEx man!) and the tree is up! I’ve been working back into an exercise routine and am recognizing that this body has now grown, birthed, and nourished 4 humans and it’s no easy task to return to prior state of being. I guess it’s a journey, but I’m not the most patient!

Enjoy this beautiful and holy Christmas season!

-The Costellos

 

 

Meet Ruth

“Where you go I’ll go, Where you stay I’ll stay” -Ruth 1:16

Today Ruth is 1 month old!  The last post I wrote was Ruth’s birth story, so I know it’s time for her introdution.  Our family of 6 is doing well.

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Ruth is a great baby. To put it simply, similar to her birth, she is absolutely AMAZING.  Don’t hate me. I’m afraid to even say some of these things for fear that she will change her ways, but here it is. Sleep? 6 hr stretch at night, waking almost always at 3am to eat, sometimes closer to 4.  She rarely wakes more than once a night. She’s done all the way up to an 8 hr stretch at night, but only once. I made the mistake the first or second night we were home of waking her every 4 hrs to eat. BIG MISTAKE. Learned that lesson fast. She wakes when she’s hungry and that’s that.  She eats alot. She’s a good nurser and spends a lot of time doing so.  Evenings are spent nursing almost the entire time from 5/6pm until 9, when she goes to bed. But I’ll gladly oblige if she continues her sleep patterns! She’s given me a few grins, always in the morning. Ruth is very scheduled in her own way. I like that, I like schedules. She naps almost always consistently from 9 to 11am, and 1 to 3 pm, and numerous other catnaps in the late afternoon and evening. She loves to be swaddled, look at lights, stare at faces, and be cuddled. 🙂  She has an amazing wardrobe, because being the 3rd girl to come along in 5.5 years, we have it allllll.

Ruth is pretty low key for the most part.  She’s been carted along to everything since birth, and has done great! She’s been on her first 4.5 hr road trip (one way), stayed on campus visiting Uncle Cam, attended a soccer game, to church, dance class, hiking, shopping, dr/chiro/eye appointments, library and school programs, and everything else in between. I haven’t tried going too many places in the evenings as I spend the entire evening nursing usually.  She spends a lot of time in my baby carrier or wrap during the day.

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Ruth’s first trip to Missouri!

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Today Ruth was baptized, on her 1 month birthday!! She has 2 cousins, all born within 1 month of each other, that were baptized at the same time. It was a great day! I always get emotional at baptisms, even when the kid isn’t mine, and today I got a bit teary.  There is something truly special and holy about baptism and welcoming a baby into the church. Gabriel got the job of wiping Ruth’s head dry after the baptism, and Lucy got to hold the baptismal candle, which I strongly cautioned her about not catching her hair on fire beforehand. Amelia spent almost the entire time smearing her face with her new EOS lip balm that Aunt Mel gifted her. Amelia does love to give kisses!!

Ruth is absolutely the perfect 4th baby, and a wonderful addition to our family. G, L, and A are smitten with her, love to hold her, entertain her, give her high 5’s, read to her, play with her, dress her, tickle her feet. Gabriel has lived up to his title of ‘baby whisperer’ and Ruth almost always calms when he holds her. Watching the siblings interact as they get older is probably one of the best parts!

Ruth’s amazing birth

After each of our children’s births, I’ve written their story of entering the world, partially for my memory, and mostly for them to read as they grow up. Each one has been so different and unique.  Ruth’s story is beautiful!!

The Birth of Ruth Gianna Costello

September 23, 2016

8:03 am

8lbs 9oz

20 in

 

Thursday September 22, 2016 was my due date, 40 weeks pregnant. Given the fact that my midwife was concerned with preterm labor and that I had never made it to my due date before, I was more than surprised that I was still pregnant at this point. At my midwife appointment earlier in the week, I was 3cm dilated, 0 station, 90% effaced and had a ‘bulging bag of waters’.  She had swept my membranes on Tuesday, and I STILL had not went into labor.  My midwife, Kim,  put me down for the following Monday morning to come and and have her break my water, because she was confident that was all that needed to happen for me to have a baby. I did NOT want to be induced.

 

I woke up at 4am on that Thursday, couldn’t sleep. I was SO uncomfortable. Couldn’t sleep, could hardly walk, and was in a lot of pain whenever I was up and about. I had been off work since the last Thursday, and I was tired of waiting to go into labor. I finally got out of bed at 6am and went for a walk. I walked in the dark around our small town.  I was in tears and hurting a lot, but I kept walking. If I wasn’t in labor yet, I was going to make myself get there soon.  I got everyone to school after that and posted in one of my mom groups a question on the best way to induce labor.  Someone suggested labor stimulating massage. I immediately set up an appointment for later in the afternoon.  Amelia and I went to the grocery store. The kind checkout lady asked when I was due, and when I answered ‘today’, replied with ‘Oh bless your heart’.  I may have unconsciously scowled.  I was so DONE being pregnant, and done with carrying around the almost 40 extra pounds. I didn’t feel that beautiful glow anymore, and I was pretty sure that my belly could not possibly stretch any bigger.  I went to the massage appointment later in the day, where the therapist worked 3 accupressure points in my bilateral ankles, feet and lower legs.  I stopped on the way home and got a smoothie with pineapple in it.  I also massaged the heck out of another accupressure point on my hand that the therapist had told me about. Still no contractions greater than they had been. I picked up Amelia from my mom and dad’s house, and my mom assured me that I would not be pregnant forever.  I wasn’t so sure. That night I made tacos for dinner, for the second time that week, because I was too exhausted to think of or attempt anything else. I was cranky, moody, and overall unpleasant to everyone in my house. We got the kids to bed and I announced to Jeremiah that I was going for another walk. It was lightly raining and lightning outside, but I didn’t care. I had a major pity party for myself as I walked a 2 block circle around our house, over and over and over. I cried and felt sorry for myself, was mad and frustrated at my body for not going into labor yet, and overall mad at God and the world. I was miserable. I came home after an hour with a severely sore pelvis and still NO LABOR. I took a shower and went to bed at 9:30pm.

 

3am I woke up. It was still lightning outside, and I noticed I was having contractions. I thought no big deal, I was confident I was not going to go into labor on my own, so I tried to go back to sleep. After a few more contractions, I pulled out my trusty contraction timer on my phone and timed for the next 30 mins.  Contractions were 4 min apart, but not overly painful, just noticeable. I woke up Jeremiah at 3:30am and told him that he needed to call my parents.  It took him a minute to figure it out, but then I told him I thought maybe we should go to the hospital. Kim had told me to come in when the contractions were 7 mins apart, because I had fast labors. Well, we were already at 4 mins. He called my dad, whom sounded very very awake for 3:30am. He said give them 30 mins to get here. 17 mins later, my mom and dad were pounding on the back door. We got dressed, I wrote down school drop off and pickup times, said goodbye to my parents and got into our Expedition in the pouring rain. I told my mom and dad that maybe by this afternoon they’d be able to come and see their new grandchild, if they didn’t send me home.  I thought this was probably going to take awhile, seeing how things seemed to be going quite SLOW, and I wasn’t even confident that I was in labor.  Contractions were ranging from 2 to 4 minutes apart, and still just uncomfortable, not painful.

 

As we drove to the hospital, I told Jeremiah we needed to seriously decide on a boy’s name. Up until this point, we had each had a favorite boy’s name, but had not come to a conclusion on what name to use. We STILL didn’t come to an agreement during the drive, so good thing it was a girl. We did agree that the drive to the hospital was eerily similar to when we had Gabriel, with the rain and lightning, in the very early morning. I was praying that I wouldn’t be in labor as long as I was with Gabriel. I texted Kim, my co-workers, and my sister to give them all a heads up.

 

We got to the hospital and the contractions were a bit stronger. I had to stop and breathe through the contractions, but they still were not bad. We went into the ER entrance of the hospital, and when they asked me how they could help me, I answered ‘Uhh, labor?’ That’s all I could come up with!  The receptionist called ‘Many blessings to you!’ as the nurse wheeled me away in a wheelchair.  I told them I could walk, but they made me sit in it anyways.

 

We went upstairs to labor and delivery and they put me in a different room than I had ever delivered in. Apparently there are 3 delivery rooms, and now I can say I’ve delivered in all 3! The nurse asked me what was going on, and I explained the contractions. She suggested we put on the fetal monitor and check my cervix to see if anything was happening. ‘Well, you’re a good 6 centimeters’.  Wow!!! I was pumped! I was actually in labor and my body was doing SOMETHING!  The ER nurse came back to start my IV (she was really good!), and I told her I wanted a saline lock, so she did it. The nurse asked me what kind of pain medication I had planned. I told her this was my 4th baby and I didn’t want any pain meds, I had never used them before. She nodded and said ok.

 

Jeremiah and I started walking the halls. It was 5:30am.  The nurse told us she called Kim and she would be here in about 45 minutes.  I felt kind of silly being at the hospital, as I was not in pain and the contractions were still about 4 mins apart. I thought maybe we should have stayed home awhile longer. I asked the nurse how long she thought it would be before I was 10cm, and she replied ‘several hours, because you seem so comfortable!’ I didn’t care for her answer.

 

Kim arrived at the hospital around 6:30 am.  I told her I felt like I was wasting people’s time and I was sorry the nurse had woken her up.  We talked and joked and she suggested that she check me again to see if anything had changed. I doubted it had.

 

‘Ummm, you’re 8 centimeters, why don’t you look like it?!’ Kim said. HALLELUJAH! Progress! I felt like skipping! I wasn’t going to have to be induced after all! I was +1 station which means baby had moved down even further.  I told her I still was just uncomfortable, not really painful.  My water still hadn’t broke.  Kim said she could break my water and take probably 90 mins off labor, or we could leave it alone. I’m very natural minded when it comes to birthing, but I saw no reason why she couldn’t help me out here. She said I would not go backwards from 8cm and would most likely be quick once she broke the water.  We talked evidence based birth a little longer, told her our girl’s name (we still didn’t have a boy’s name decided) and then she broke my water with that crazy crochet-hook looking thing. It was 7:05am.

 

I immediately felt pressure and much heavier contractions in my pelvis. I had to concentrate and really breathe through each contraction.  The fetal monitor was on for 15 mins or so while I laid in bed. The one place I DON’T want to be in labor is laying flat on my back, so as soon as Kim suggested I try hands and knees position to put further pressure on my cervix, I flipped right over.  A new nurse arrived and she recognized us right away. ‘I remember you guys! You’re pros!’  That made me feel good! She had attended Lucy and Amelia’s births as well.

 

Contractions remained about 3-4 mins apart, getting stronger and stronger.  I labored on hands and knees and would push back into Kim and Jeremiah’s hands with each contraction.  The contractions were painful now, and I was all about getting this baby out.  My eyes welled up with tears on a few contractions, and I declared I was going to be sick.  As I was throwing up I realized that meant this was transition labor, and that meant it was almost pushing time, but that couldn’t possibly be as she had literally just broke my water, and 30 mins ago I wasn’t in pain.

 

With the next few contractions I felt an urge to push. Kim told Jeremiah to get his gloves on if he was going to catch. He said he didn’t need gloves, as he wouldn’t wear gloves to hold his baby after birth, and she said ok, but I chimed in to make darn sure his hands were clean!  Kim asked if I wanted to push and I said yes. She said ‘Let me put my coffee down and we’ll have a baby soon’.  Immediately after she said that I had a big urge to push. She ran back over to the bed to brace me and I heard someone say to get a nursery nurse in the room.  I looked over after the contraction was over and saw the baby warmer was on and the sterile cart was in the room and soon the nursery nurse was messing with my IV, hooking up the post-delivery pitocin. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? I cannot possibly be having a baby already!’  

 

Kim told me one more push and we’d have a baby. I looked over my shoulder and said ‘Do you PROMISE!?!?’  She kind of laughed and said yes.  I had a big lull between contractions and Kim said that usually is a good sign. We probably went 4 or 5 minutes without a contraction and then it came.  And I was pushing out a baby! I made terrible low animal noises, moaned into the pillows on the bed in front of me, but I couldn’t care less.  I felt the baby’s head emerge, and then felt a big relief.  Kim and Jeremiah told me to keep pushing!!! So I did, and I felt the shoulders come out, along with the rest of the baby.  I HAD A BABY!!!! It was 8:03 am, less than 1 hr from when Kim broke my water. Jeremiah had completely delivered the baby on his own, with Kim coaching him what to do.  Kim joked that he had missed his calling as a midwife, because he did it so naturally.

 

Jeremiah put the baby between my knees, since I was still on my hands and knees.  I grabbed her and shrieked with delight and relief.  I HAD A BABY!!!! We checked and it was a girl! I couldn’t believe it! It was barely light outside and still lightning. My kids hadn’t even started school yet and I had delivered a baby! I was overjoyed!!!

 

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I held Ruth until the cord stopped pulsing, and then Kim clamped it and Jeremiah cut it. I hugged Jeremiah and Kim and my new baby girl.  Jeremiah held Ruth while I carefully flipped over to sit in the bed. Kim delivered my placenta and showed it to us. That thing is absolutely amazing. She said I was ‘intact’, meaning I had no tears! Hooray! 4 babies and no stitches EVER! I was thrilled again!

 

Kim told me that was an amazing birth, and I completely agreed. She said she wished she had it on video to show people how delivering on hands and knees is done. That kind of made me feel like a rock star!  I asked her what time she had patients that morning, and she said 8:15.  It was 8:17am and she left to go to the clinic. I think I was still in shock that I had a baby already!

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The pitocin finished, the nurse locked off the IV, and Ruth nursed pretty quickly after delivery. She was hungry!  Aunt Mel was in the doorway by about 8:30am and got to hold Ruth after Jeremiah. She was an instant Facebook star.  We finally weighed Ruth at 9am and I was absolutely floored by her weight…. 8 lbs 9 oz!!! My last 2 babies were in the 6lb range, and Gabriel was 7lb 8oz.  Ruth is my biggest baby by over 1 lb, and she was by far the easiest delivery.  Jeremiah called the school to tell Gabriel and Lucy that they had a new baby sister over speakerphone in their classrooms. It was so sweet!

 

Bart and Julie arrived and they let me get out of bed around 10:30 am.  I felt kind of light headed, so this time I gladly took a seat in the wheelchair to go to the postpartum room.  Soon my mom and dad arrived, with Amelia in tow, Gabriel and Lucy were in school. Amelia was very concerned about what the IV was and why it was in my hand.

 

I requested to leave the hospital at 12 hrs, but the nurses told me we at least had to stay 24 hrs, even though we were all doing well. We got to go home at noon on Saturday, about 28 hrs after Ruth’s amazing birth.

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Today Ruth is 10 days old. I’ve had my share of emotions following her birth, but the biggest emotions I’ve felt are happiness and gratitude. All those days and nights I waited and pleaded with God to go into labor were all for a reason. My labor was fast, productive, and ‘easy’.  I have such fond memories of her birth.  It took me awhile to write this birth story because I think for me it signifies the closing of the pregnancy chapter.  Although I was absolutely miserable at the end of the pregnancy, I already kind of miss it, as crazy as that seems.

 

Ruth is a great baby, and a wonderful addition to our family. Babies and birth are an amazing gift from God!

 

I’m not complaining, but……

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Today marks week 38 of pregnancy with baby #4. I shouldn’t complain, and for the last week, I made it my commitment to try and NOT complain and just focus on getting through the day and getting done what needs to be done, with a smile on my face for at least part of the day.  That’s the truth. It worked for awhile.  This pregnancy has been pretty good, as far as my pregnancies go, but I’m coming to the end of my rope, and we need to have a birth. Soon.  There is definitely a reason that God makes mothers so miserable at the end of pregnancy, and I think it’s to give us strength to get through birth!

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This is pretty much how I feel. On the daily. None of my shirts fit any more. A well meaning older woman at work the other day told me that if my belly gets any bigger I will need a cart to set it on and wheel around with. Getting out of bed is a serious feat. Don’t even get me started on that whole ‘sleep’ idea, or lack of it.

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Poor Jeremiah, he hardly has any tshirts left that don’t have a belly bump imprint.  It’s a fact of life I guess. All of my clothes look like tents, so I have to resort to something!

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Truth. There is one baby in there. Yes, I know my belly is huge, but thanks for pointing that out.

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Skirts. Dresses. I haven’t worn pants for at least 6 weeks. TOO HOT. By the way, what is with this summer?! It’s like a permanent sauna here in Iowa!!! Yikes!

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These last few weeks have been pretty miserable, I’m not going to lie. I’m having pains that I’ve never felt before. That’s another truth.  I haven’t slept well since……..yeah, awhile.  My midwife told me yesterday that she’s not sure why I’m still pregnant because everything is ready to go, to put it lightly. I’m just hoping that the longer I wait, the shorter the labor will be. We’ll see. And Lord seriously help me if I’m still pregnant in 2 weeks, or just send a lot of ice cream and a cool breeze….

BUT, I wouldn’t have it any other way! This baby has been prayed for and over and is a huge blessing to our family already. Gabriel has already snagged the title of ‘baby whisperer’ and is looking so forward to being the first sibling to hold the new baby. Lucy can’t wait to be ‘baby fashion consultant’ and be in charge of picking out clothes, etc every day. Amelia is excited to see the new baby and what he/she looks like compared to her baby dolls. We are very much looking forward to baby’s arrival!!!! (And I’m going to keep trying not to complain about my current state…)

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Feathering the nest

Life is hard. I’m to the point in this pregnancy that I cannot sleep.  I’m out of breath all. the. time.  I’m turning down activities left and right because they are absolutely too taxing, and I tell the kids that.  They’re not used to my lameness. I can hardly walk without wincing and limping, as my groin is killing me and I think my pelvis is breaking in 2 some days.  The foot cramps…what is with the FOOT CRAMPS?! I’m in the air conditioning 90% of the day because the heat makes me feel terrible.   I was on ‘you need to take a week off and take it easy’ orders from my midwife this week, so I spent a lot of time shopping and browsing online since I wasn’t able to work or do much around the house or with the kids.  I was having some signs of preterm labor, but a few more tests showed that I should be alright for awhile longer (good news!).  I eat a lot of popsicles and sweet corn.

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Baseball game the other night…it was cool out and we had ice cream and watched fireworks….it was all good 🙂

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Amelia and Rascal!

However, I am pretty happy that we got our carseat in less than 24 hrs after ordering it…thanks Target!  My other few shipments have not been quite so quick.

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Amelia’s got the idea!

Baby diapers and clothes are washed and organized; bouncer, rock’n’play, and wraps/carriers have been washed, I cleaned out the diaper bag, our hospital bag is packed, carseat is installed, and Aunt Mel’s on baby watch {she has been the first to hold all our babies!!}.  Baby still does not have a crib set up, but that’s because we are going to wait to see if we need to put the crib in the ‘boy room’ or the ‘girl room’.  That crib is a beast to take up and down! For awhile he/she will be in our room, so I’m not too concerned about that.  My pump is cleaned and ready to go.  Birth plan is written.  I have still to locate my burp cloth stash and a few other things, but hopefully they’ll turn up soon! Kid’s school supplies are bought, organized and packed, so I have one less thing to worry about in August/possibly September.

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Newborn diaper stash…they’re so little!

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School supplies all ready to go.  Land’s End backpacks are the best! They’ve held up so well for us!

I’ve got a stash established in the freezer as well. Quite happy about that! I’ve been doubling at least 1 recipe per week, and occasionally a few more on weekends if I feel ambitious (which lately is never). Here’s a list with links:

Breakfast burritos (2 dozen)

Chicken cheddar bacon ranch soup

Spicy peach chicken sliders

Trim healthy mama BBQ chicken

Sweet and sour baked meatballs

Enchiladas (my own recipe)

Southwest pork and rice (some things I threw together, hope it’s good)

Pasta bake (another I made up!) x2

Mexican lasagna  x2

Crockpot BBQ chicken sandwiches

Crockpot chicken apple sweet potato

The kids have been very, very helpful lately.  I had a talk with them last week after I was put on activity restrictions and that’s all it took.  G suggests positions I should try to help me breathe better.  He steam mopped the entire first floor of the house today. He offers to sit in the ‘fancy chair’ (ie zero gravity lawn chair recliner) with me so we can be comfy together. He’s practiced carrying the carseat and rocking a baby to sleep (love that!).  Lucy has decided that she is taking over all of ‘my jobs’.  So far, it’s worked! She’s made several meals as I sit in a chair and direct her, she has helped her sister get dressed a few times, and she vacuumed the whole Expedition today after she picked up the entire first floor of the house. I just hope she keeps at it because it sure is nice! She also gave me a foot massage today with a dog toy. #winning.  Amelia has generously let me nap with her a few times and is getting more and more independent by the day 🙂

Ready to meet this little one and be able to get around a little better again…but not too soon! 8 weeks (or less)!

It’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to

So last year I turned 30. It was kinda rough.  Changing from being a 20-something to a 30-SOMETHING was a bit difficult. However, I think 31 takes the cake thus far.

Here’s my pity party, take it for what it’s worth 😉

The night before my birthday, I had a small fall on the treehouse ladder that resulted in a pair of  construction screws ripping into my left ankle, with no other injury, and I landed on my feet. After I suppressed my rage and choice words, I went into the house to clean what I thought was a small cut.  Well, that all changed when I could see muscle fibers in the gash. How GREAT. I hobbled around as we got the kids to bed and then headed off to the ER since, of course, urgent care was closed, and it was a Sunday.

The ER doc talked fishing with Jeremiah as he shot me up with lidocaine, and then put 4 stitches in my ankle. I made it 30 years and 364 days without stitches, but I guess my streak is broken. Alas, it never ceases to amaze me how Jeremiah finds something to talk with EVERYONE about.  He talks to our midwife about Mustangs, the ER doc about fishing…I could go on for days.  I did talk the ER doc into letting me sneak out take home the stitch removal scissors so that was a plus; I was not coming back! In and out at the ER was pretty quick I thought, we were only gone 2 hrs.

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Well this is fun….

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Only about an inch long, but just about as deep 😦

3 am that lidocaine wore off and my ankle was SCREAMING. Happy birthday to me! If I would have been a little less exhausted, I could have remembered to take some tylenol before I zonked out at 1 am. Whoops. Add that to some pregnancy pains and I got a total of 3 or 4 hrs of sleep that night.

Off to work I went the next day, and I kept dropping things. I couldn’t finish my thoughts. I was dizzy. My body HURT. My ankle THROBBED. My pelvis was so HEAVY. Lots of contractions.  No problems to any of my patients, but good thing I had a student with me.  I decided that my midwife’s strong suggestion of decreasing my work hours was probably a good idea now, since I had already put it off a week, so I decided to implement that now.   Apparently one is not supposed to have more than 6 Braxton Hicks contractions per hour? Who knew….. I wore my glasses and my patients kept saying I looked different. I think what they were trying to say was that I looked like crap, but whatever. It was my birthday after all, so maybe I was just looking ’31’.

I somehow made it through the day and got home. Jeremiah ordered me a birthday pizza that I vaguely remember blowing the candles out on. I went to bed early and remembered to take more tylenol. Then I slept.

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The pizza was good….I think.

But, oh. There was the screaming from Amelia at 12:30 because of the obnoxious thunder, and then of course she was in our bed the rest of the night.  And then the incessant leg and foot cramps at 3am that would not go away.  And Jeremiah’s alarm that went off at the wrong time at 6am when I could have slept a bit later due to my later start time the next day. Woof.

Honestly, I was happy for my ‘happy birthday’ to be over.  I really hope this year doesn’t continue as it started.

Adulting is hard, but it’s worth it!

3rd trimester thoughts

It’s 9pm on a Saturday night, and I sit here eating a spoonful of (eggless) cookie dough, with my feet propped up and no less than 3 sources of air movement pointed my direction. The 3rd trimester is definitely here!

I’m achey, sore, VERY tired after the end of the day, and spurts of energy are waning. I do LOVE feeling baby moving all the time now, and enjoy the general happiness of people around me. Case in point, I was at Menards twice today (don’t ask), and both times nice men loaded my 5 gallons of paint into the car for me. #pregnancyperks  The kids have still not figured out how to get off the couch without jabbing their elbows into my swelling belly and rolling over in bed is a huge pain.

I’m getting a LOT of comments lately.

“Are you sure you’re due in September?” Why yes, but thank you for saying I’m huge in a much nicer way…

“Mom, I think your shirts are too small, I can see your belly right here {pokes}” Yes, it is indeed a fact that many of my maternity shirts are too short, but thanks for scratching that itchy belly for me, Lucy.

“Are you sure it’s not triplets?” Yep just one baby. Thanks. Thank you for making my day.

“You’re ALL out front” Thank you Captain Obvious. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a compliment or just an obvious remark. I really don’t get to choose how my babies are positioned, despite what some people must think.

“Well, you definitely grew over the weekend” Again, thank you for the obvious remark. Pretty sure that’s what I’m supposed to be doing however.

“4 kids?!?! So you’re done then?” This really gets me. Since when is it anyone’s business how many children we have? They are all loved and cared for by our own able hands, and we can support them without assistance. And no, we’re probably not done. What do you think of that!?! *stepping off soapbox*

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Cy, myself and Amelia at the last wedding we attended. She wasn’t too sure of Cy’s dancing….or his tuxedo shirt

Anyways, I’ve started to feather the ol’ nest.  That means freezer cooking (more on this obsession later), house projects (Jeremiah is a rockstar), and thinking way back into my brain to remember where I stashed the newborn girl and boy clothes and newborn diapers.  We only have a very few things to purchase this time around, and I haven’t gotten around to doing any of that yet. Ahh yes, the 4th baby 😉

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2 dozen breakfast burritos coming right up!

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Pretty much the best place ever….

So 12-ish more weeks to go. We have a girls name decided, but have come up with several other viable options lately. We CANNOT agree on a boy’s name, which may mean it’s a boy. 😉 We’ll see.

And here’s what our 4th of July weekend looks like so far:

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House painting….I’m a good spectator. J turned white today and dark grey tomorrow! 😉

 

Gabriel’s 7th Birthday Adventure

I’m beginning to love/hate the birthday party.  Small is good, large gets to be a bit….overwhelming. But the kiddos love it.  So, for Gabriel’s birthday this year, I pulled the ‘pregnancy card’ and opted out. Instead of a party, we promised G a day packed full of fun surprises, with just him and the 2 of us. He was reluctant, but agreed.

Gabriel is growing into such a young man.  He’s really not into ‘toys’ per se, but loves doing things and building and doing ‘man stuff’.  He’s been tagging along with J pretty much all summer and loves every minute of it. He’s told us several times that he’s old enough to have his own kayak now.  He’s also informed me that he’s old enough to go deer hunting this fall with his BB gun, but we’ll see about that.

Friday morning he woke up to this:

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His response? ‘Uh, Mom? There’s a kayak in the living room…..’. HA! We did a lot of research on this kayak, and specifically picked one that is very difficult to tip over and had good reviews for kids to maneuver. And, he really wanted red.

Let me tell you, this kayak is a beast. Or maybe the kid paddling it is. He was so speedy!

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We went to a local lake and hooked him up to J’s kayak with a rope for awhile, but after a short time he’d had enough of that and we set him free!

After about 2 hrs on the water, we were hungry.  We ventured over to Gabriel’s favorite place for lunch!

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The waitress was so sweet and made G his own birthday crown, which he proceeded to wear for the next 2 days.  The food was AMAZING as usual.

After that, it was mini golf time. We told G where we were headed, expecting him to be super excited. His response, ‘What’s that?’. UMMMMM, apparently we had failed at parenting in this area, and G had never been exposed to mini golf before. Well, today was his day.

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He loved it.  And J and I tied exactly, as well as got a hole in one on the same one. Go figure. I had been tolerating the heat very well, up until this, when the high was upper 90’s. I got really overheated carrying this belly around and putting a little ball around, and spent a lot of time trying to duck into the shade!  Probably the best part was that I had 2 coupons so we paid $5 total for all 3 of us!

Later that evening we had family over for birthday dinner and cake. He requested enchiladas, strawberry cake with strawberry frosting, and I added a layer of strawberry jam along with the frosting in the middle layer. Perfect day!

I’m thinking this is the way to go. As much as I love throwing a grand birthday party, having the majority of the day with only one of our kids, and giving them an ‘adventure’ for a day, was super fun and enjoyable.  Great memories!!!

HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY GABRIEL!!!!!