The Sisterhood of the Traveling Maternity Suitcases

Today I drove my big van with the two little girls across part of Iowa and retrieved a set of 2 suitcases that have become very fond to me. What’s so special about them? Well, the contents of these 2 suitcases have been through 11 PREGNANCIES now. Think about that for a minute.

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Heather and I have been friends for a loooong time and are similar sizes. When she was pregnant with her first child in 2007, she of course acquired some maternity clothes. I became pregnant 2 months after her baby was born, and she packed up all of her maternity clothes and loaned them to me. Woot woot! I added a fair share of new and used maternity clothes with my pregnancy, and then returned it to her when she became pregnant again. Over time, the collection of clothes has grown to fit (sometimes overflowing!) into 2 suitcases that travel quite nicely. We each periodically weed out the old stuff and are always adding new items as we need them. We have passed the suitcases back and forth over 13 years while expecting her 5 children and my (going on) 6 children. 11 PREGNANCIES!

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🙂

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Some of my winter favorites

We’ve always used the same 2 suitcases since about 2014. We’ve handed them over on the side of the Interstate, at each other’s houses, and sent them with messengers. We’ve transported them across the country by car and plane. They’ve been stored for short times in the states of Georgia, Iowa and Kentucky, but have been in use more time than they haven’t. We’ve overlapped pregnancies, but always been able to work out a way to share!

The suitcases contain all seasons of pants, shirts, tanks, shorts, skirts, leggings, formal and casual dresses, sometimes swim suits and postpartum accessories, along with just about everything else. Need a maternity little black dress? Got one. How about flowy shirts to cover the postpartum pooch for a few months? Got them. A belly binder? Several. You’re looking for a specific color of solid colored v-neck tshirts? We have them ALLLLL. Need the perfect dress to attend a funeral in December while 4 months along or a wedding in July in your 3rd trimester? Gotcha covered.

Let me tell you, some of these clothes have seen it all.  Many things have been loaned out to other fellow mamas as well. If you need it, we’ve probably got it.  Each time I pack up and hand over the suitcases, I’m more than ready to be out of maternity clothes. I always wonder if I’ll need them again, or if my childbearing bonding time with them is over. So far, they’ve always returned. 😉 Each time I get the suitcases back, it’s like Christmas morning and I acquire an entire new wardrobe. There’s always new things to love that show up in the suitcases!

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14 weeks …. and a new shirt!

So, the traveling maternity suitcases are currently living with me, and after that they’ll go into storage in my laundry room until they are possibly needed again by someone. Only time will tell 🙂

Postpartum tips from a mom who’s learned some things

I have something to admit. I’ve had 5 children now and I feel like I’m decent at growing/laboring/birthing them. However, I admittedly am no good at the postpartum period for about 6 weeks. With Kateri’s pregnancy, I did some reading and researching beforehand on postpartum. I scoured blogs of moms who’ve had more kids than me (!) and tried to figure out what the secret was and what I was doing wrong. I believe one memorable post was titled ‘How to postpartum like a boss’. That’s exactly what I needed!!!!

Why was I always so miserable and a heap of sadness for 3 weeks and then just a mess for 3 more weeks? I shared my findings with Jeremiah and he was on board, probably because he’s seen me so miserable 4 times over. I’m writing this because 1) I like to write in my little space here 2) I want to help other moms who struggle like I always do, maybe pass on some knowledge/tips 3) Postpartum hormones are a b!tch.

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In no particular order, my tips for moms who suck at being postpartum, like me. Here goes.

  1. Sit. One of the most popular things I read was to sit for 1-2 weeks to allow your body to use all it’s energy to heal and allow it to rest a bit. At first this sounded like hogwash to me. Why would I sit?! I have 4 other kids and a newborn to care for! Well let me tell you, I think this was one of the most helpful things I did. J took care of all the meals, cleaning, dishes, laundry for an entire week after we came home from the hospital. I sat on the couch, porch, lawn chair, etc and fed the baby, talked with visitors and ate. I only stood or walked when I absolutely had to. I napped almost daily and just did a lot of sitting around. In past times I had done just the opposite, and obviously it worked well *sarcasm*
  2. Wear a belly binder. Anyone who’s had a baby knows about that jelly belly that you’re left with immediately postpartum. That thing shrinks a bit on it’s own, but then it’s all up to you. I always have a hard time breathing for the first few weeks as well, due to the shifting of organs and void space in my abdomen. I started wearing a compressive postpartum belly binder on day 1 postpartum this time and immediately felt relief. Not only did it give my organs some support, but I could breathe better, my low back didn’t feel quite so unstable, and it helped the belly to shrink. Definite help!
  3. Don’t be alone. This one just kind of happened by chance for me, but again is probably my #1 or 2 tip for surviving. Looking back, I was never alone with kids for the first 2 weeks, there was always another adult or 2 here, by chance or planned by my dear husband. What a great help! Not only did they help with the kids or housework, but also just having another adult to talk to was a therapeutic. J was on summer break when Kateri was born, which had never happened with our other kids. Don’t get me wrong, I did still have my fair share of down, weepy, teary days for no apparent reason, but they were a lot better this time. Having a support person at home was definitely key for me!
  4. Take the ibuprofen. I can tough a lot of things out, but those postpartum cramps, pelvic pains and joint pains are for the birds and they last awhile! This time around I made sure to take the prescribed ibuprofen for about a week postpartum. It helped immensely as I could move better and wasn’t about to vomit every time I had after-pains. Don’t tough it out. Just take the ibuprofen.
  5. Vitamin D. I hung out with the sun on my face for at least 15 mins a day, sometimes a few hours. Vitamin D is our friend. Being outdoors itself also helps to brighten moods. My neighbors are probably got used to the sight of me nursing the babe on the front porch because I just find it helpful to be outside!
  6. Freezer meals. I had 12 or so meals in the freezer prepared weeks before Kateri was born. Nothing fancy; taco meat, lasagna, tator tot casserole, egg bake, etc. This also helped with allowing me to sit so much. The hard part was remembering to put the food in the oven at 4 pm since it takes so long to defrost and cook!
  7. This too shall pass. I have talked to so many moms who have dealt with the same struggles I have. I told myself daily to just try to get through another day. Get something done or read/watch something funny if you feel down. Hormones take time to level out. Enjoy the baby. Give it time. This too shall pass.
  8. Work back into life slowly. Man did I ever suck at this one. With my previous pregnancies I tried to jump full force back into life within 1-2 weeks. I was up on my feet all day and exhausting myself. Same goes for exercise. Even this time I jumped the gun and tried running at 3 1/2 weeks, not my smartest move and very painful. Running at 6 weeks felt much, much better. I did start pelvic floor and deep abdominal activation in the hospital (I’m a PT remember!) and started walking for exercise when I felt ready, beginning with just a few blocks. This was a change for me and one that I’m glad I adhered to. We tried an overnight trip at 3 weeks that was not our best move, either, as it was just too much for me. One of these days I’ll learn!
  9. Be patient. Here’s another one that I’m no good at, but working on. I’ve found it’s important to be patient with yourself, your family/kids, your hormones and body, as very difficult as this is. Everything takes time to resume it’s normal functioning, your family included. Adding a new baby to the mix with a mom who can sometimes be a mess makes an impact on the kids too. We talked to the kids how things were just temporary and we would get back to ‘normal’ soon enough. I think they enjoyed the temporary increased Netflix time, however.
  10. Lower your expectations. This was easier for me. It took us 2 hours to get ready to go somewhere overnight during those early days. Again, not our smartest move to start with. Our house was constantly in disarray and was a mess and the laundry did pile up a handful of times. But we did find our way out and we did survive. It helped to realize that things were going to be nuts for awhile, as they should be, and I didn’t need to worry about it!

There you go. If this post helps just one mama, I’m glad I wrote it 🙂

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The birth story of Kateri Elizabeth Ann Costello

The Birth of Kateri Elizabeth Ann Costello

August 1, 2018

7:47pm

8 lbs 1 oz

19 in long

39 weeks 4 days gestation

Wednesday, August 1 I woke at 4:30 am. This was becoming my norm and I had not been sleeping well for some time. I began noticing contractions and began timing them while laying in bed; 6 mins apart for about an hour. I got excited thinking that today was finally going to be the day!!! I got up around 6am and quietly crept to the couch. I started reading in a large family facebook group about funny birth stories that made me laugh. Contractions were still 6 mins apart, but nothing to write home about. Jeremiah got up around 7:30, along with Gabriel. I told him what was going on and he decided to cancel some plans he had for the day. He started doing a happy dance around the house. I was annoyed. Because when you’re 39.5 weeks pregnant, everything is annoying!

We got kids fed and dressed for the day and I threw a few more things into the van that I thought I’d need at the hospital. Meanwhile, my contractions STOPPED. Kyle and Alissa offered to take the older 2 girls to the fair, and Gabriel was at school. That just left us Ruth. We decided to go for a walk to try to bring on contractions. (We had been walking every night so I wasn’t sure this was going to do anything special!) We walked for over an hour. No contractions. I was seriously annoyed and disgusted.

By this time Gabriel was back from school and it was lunchtime. I was so disgusted with my lack of progress that I made myself a sandwich and sulked in the corner of the porch by myself. I then promptly left for my massage appointment at 1pm, without offering to help with lunch. With Ruth I had a ‘labor induction massage’ that worked wonders, so I had scheduled one for this day, hoping I would have already had a baby by now. About halfway to the appointment, the lady let me know that she would have to reschedule, she was heading to the hospital with a doula client. Ugh. I knew I shouldn’t be upset, and it sure wasn’t her fault, but of course, I was annoyed.

I headed home and limped upstairs for a nap, as mostly everyone in the house was doing the same. I slept for about 1.5 hours then came downstairs. We sat on the porch and visited with my parents who had stopped by and then I played Gabriel in a game of checkers. I was seriously uncomfortable, and not because my 9 year old was beating me. I had so much pelvic pressure, random contractions that had no rhyme or reason, pain everywhere and swelling everywhere. My pelvis hurt the most, especially just above my pubic bone. I was cranky. I went inside to use the restroom and upon walking back across the living room floor, I felt a gush of water. I thought there is no way my water just broke! It was 5pm.

I told Jeremiah that I thought my water just broke and he sat upright real quick. Gabriel launched into big brother mode and started putting on his and Ruth’s shoes. We had told the kids previously that when it was time to go to the hospital they needed to MOVE. With my last delivery things had went quickly and I wasn’t planning on delivering a baby on the side of the road! G got Ruth in the van and just as we were climbing in, Kyle and Alissa arrived to drop off the older girls from the fair. They offered to take all the kids and drop them off at my parents, so we could GO. I was thankful for that as I was already feeling the baby move lower and contractions were starting to feel more real.

We drove very quickly to the hospital, but of course there was a lot of traffic. I thought we were going to be in an accident more than once. I was timing contractions and they were 2-3 mins apart consistently and getting quite painful.I let our midwife, Kim, know we were on our way.

I was relieved when we got to the hospital. Kim called just as we were getting out of the car and let us know she was on her way. We walked all the way up to labor and delivery and checked in. I was hurting. Check in seemed to take forever. They got us in a triage room and Kim arrived. She checked me and said I was 5 cm and cervix was ‘paper thin’. I had been 3.5 cm a few days ago so I wasn’t impressed. She reassured me that it would not take long. Kim has been our midwife for almost 8 years and delivered all of our girls. She knows us well and has become a great friend and fellow Christian. She kept telling me that she’d be home my 9 pm, which meant I’d go quick. I wasn’t so sure. They started my IV and got it on the first stick, then capped it off.

They wheeled me in a wheelchair to the labor room. They offered me a gown and I declined, I’d rather birth in my own clothes, thank you very much. They double checked that I wanted no pain medication. They hooked me up to the monitor and I sat there in bed. Jeremiah kind of paced. At this point I was scared. My contractions had dwindled to almost nothing and were very spread out. I was thinking that this was probably going to be an 8am birth at this rate. Again, I was super annoyed with my body. This was supposed to go fast!!!!

After 20 or 30 mins on the monitor Kim told me she had saw 2 drops in baby’s heart rate that were a little concerning, enough to keep me on the monitor. I knew this was necessary but the LAST place I want to be in labor is in bed. Kim knows this about me and said I should sit on the birthing ball for awhile and I could still be monitored. I sat there and bounced, rolled and did pelvic rocks and talked to Kim about women’s health physical therapy, her kids, what I wanted to eat after labor, etc etc. My contractions had slowed to every 5 or 6 minutes. They hurt some, but between them I was bored. Why was this taking so LONG?! (Looking back, at this time I think we had been at the hospital a whole hour, so it wasn’t really that long). I told Kim my concerns but she said that contractions don’t always have to be right after another to deliver, and that I might be surprised. We joked that I hoped this would be a Quick Bix and not a marathon.

Kim said she was going to give me a ‘smell of pitocin’ which means she hooked me up to the lowest dose available. I’m a very naturalistic birther and really don’t like intervention, but at this point I knew this could help. I wanted a baby already!

Within a few minutes, contractions were stronger and a bit closer. I was still sitting on the ball. They let me up to go to the bathroom then Kim suggested I try hands and knees to see if this would put more pressure on my cervix and speed things along. Lucy and Ruth were both born in this position so I was all about it. Instantly I had stronger contractions. I was getting noisy at this point and a bunch of people showed up. I looked over my shoulder and saw that sterile blue cart that they bring in when you’re about to deliver. Jeremiah was at my side, letting me have the death grip that I needed on his hand and arm and he kept telling me what a great job I was doing. I think I had maybe 15-20 mins of contractions in this position then felt really pushy. I threw up and thought I was going to die, literally. The pain was so bad. Kim suggested I roll to a reclined position but I told them I was staying where I was. 2 nurses gave me counterpressure on my hips and Kim kept encouraging me and telling me ‘strong work Sarah!!’. She checked me again and said 8cm, almost complete and then tried a maneuver to slide a lip of cervix over the baby’s head. I started bawling between contractions but it didn’t last more than a few seconds and I was pushing……once….twice….and I felt the baby’s head slide out. I thought I was done but all these people who suddenly appeared told me to keep going! Keep pushing! I did as told and heard the baby cry! A nurse announced 7:47pm. 2.75 hours from start to finish. YES!!!!!! Jeremiah had disappeared so I knew he had caught the baby. (He’s caught all the kids except Amelia, which was my fault because I couldn’t release the death grip). I was SO RELIEVED at this point and started crying myself. I was still on my hands and knees, with all my clothes still on and my skirt hiked up. They handed the baby up to me between my knees and I announced she was a girl! We had all guessed this baby was a boy, so another girl was quite a surprise! I was elated with either one, and just completely relieved that labor and delivery was over. She had great color and was still crying. She looked perfect! Kim waited until the cord stopped pulsing then clamped it and Jeremiah cut it. Then I carefully and painfully turned over and sat on the high part of the bed while she checked me out. No tears, no stitches! I have never had stitches due to birth and was exceptionally happy that this was the case again. All those deep squats I did paid off!!!!

The nurses kept pushing on my belly and that was intense pain all over again. I realize the importance of this but it still hurts a LOT. I delivered the placenta and I told Kim I wanted to see it. That thing is absolutely AMAZING. We commented that the ‘tree of life’ image in the placenta would make a great art piece. I kind of wished I had a print of it!

We decided on Kateri for a name, which was our top choice, and because I didn’t think she looked like any of the other secondary options we had decided on. Kateri checked out great and weighed in at 8lbs 1 oz. We are completely in LOVE with our new baby girl!

I always feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing husband and midwife to guide and support me through birth. They are nothing short of incredible and I am exceedingly blessed. A beautiful birth for a beautiful girl!!!

 

 

If you’re in the mood for more birth stories:

Ruth’s birth story

Amelia’s birth story

Lucy’s birth story

Gabriel’s birth story

 

The kids are all right

Returning from my blogging hiatus for an update on my children. Because 1) I haven’t done this kind of post in awhile 2) they are doing some seriously awesome things that I want to be able to look back on in years to come 3) I have an unprecedented case of ‘pregnancy brain’ this go around and my memory is similar to a goldfish… So here goes:

Gabriel, 8 years and 9 months

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Gabriel is growing up so quickly. He solved the Rubics cube several times in the past few weeks and competed in a school wide Rubics cube competition this week and did well! We are awaiting to see if he made it on the school’s team, which will then go to the state competition. G is doing awesome in school. His mind never ever stops turning. Google helps answer the questions that J and I have no clue about, lately he’s been asking about how teeth are formed, what is the Bermuda Triangle, if Noah’s Ark has been found, why gluten is fed to cows, where the remains of the cross were discovered, etc etc. He never stops! He’s pulling scores 4 grades above his current grade in math and science, and is right on track with reading. He has woken at 5:45am the past 2 mornings. (why?!?!) This kid loves the trampoline and wrestling/roughhousing with the neighbor boys. He hates when I make him change him clothes because he couldn’t care less if his shoes were mismatched or if his shirt was on backwards for an entire day. He never stops EATING. He still enjoys building stuff, from Legos to bridges/towers vs fans at school. He was psyched to get the 2-year award at the wrestling banquet this year and is looking forward to baseball starting shortly! He’s also taken up piano and after only a few weeks is playing recognizable tunes. When he grows up he currently aspires to be an engineer/priest 😉

Lucy, 6 years and 11 months

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Lucy is a very interesting person. This kid LOVES art like it’s her air. She finished a session of 2 art lessons with a local artist and was inspired even more, if that’s possible. Lucy is an amazing student. She’s had perfect report cards this whole year. She’s reading way above her grade level and truly enjoys reading, which makes her bookworm mama happy. Her current favorites are Owl Diaries series that she finishes in about an hour each. She’s also playing piano and doing well. She’s already started borrowing her friend’s clothes (what the what??) and wants to go out for sushi for her *ahem* 7th birthday next month. She’s a very sensitive girl and internalizes almost everything. She’s become attached to our rabbits and says prayers for them almost every night. She’s excited to play real softball this spring. She makes homemade cards for the garbage man, our priest, various family members, her friends, teachers, and her parents. She is slow as MOLASSES in the mornings. When she’s all grown up, Lucy would like to be an artist. If that doesn’t work out, a K-LOVE singer. And if all else fails, a veterinarian. 😉

Amelia, 4 years and 4 months

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Kitchen helper extraordinaire, this one. We MUST bake every Wednesday and Friday as soon as she gets off the preschool bus, and she’s now allowed to cut vegetables with a butter knife.  Amelia is a very persistent child and talks nonstop. Her speech is getting so much better with speech therapy, it’s amazing. Amelia loves books, bouncing, running, anything in the kitchen, playing with friends, her toy birds named Angie and Rainbow, the trampoline, lacing cards and glitter markers. Amelia is like a sponge at this age, I love it. You can almost see her just soaking everything up and she’s blunt and honest. She’s very sweet and also very emotional. Some days I do believe that she cries more than she doesn’t. She has 2 volumes: home=LOUD and school=appropriate tones. We’re working on that. She races to be the first one dressed in the morning and occasionally wins, but otherwise cries. She loves to wear ‘high heels’ on Sundays to church and always fights to sit next to me at dinner. She ends all questions with ‘yes?!’ hoping that I will answer in her favor. She’s decided that when she grows up she would like to own a bakery possibly specializing in cupcakes and also be a horse-riding-girl. 😉

Ruth, 1 year and 6 months

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And next up is the resident climber of the House. I sure do hope that this stage has an end, because my house is only so tall and I only have so many places to put things up. It goes like this: Ruth dumps the crayon bucket that contains approximately 50,000 crayons. I put the bucket in a locking tote. She figures out how to open it, dumps them again. I move the bucket to the middle of the dining room table. She moves a chair, climbs, dumps. I put them on top of the piano. She find a step stool, scales the piano and dumps. The step stools are banished to the stairway, locked behind a baby gate. She somehow fanagles that gate and gets a step stool, with her next stop being the kitchen island. Here she eats whole oranges out of the bowl and pushes anything and everything onto the floor until her mother becomes a raging lunatic that the climbing MUST STOP. Ruth is a really fun age, albeit being difficult to take to libraries, stores, anywhere with shelves. Her favorite thing to do secondary to climbing is to play and explore outside. She would be out there all day, as long as the snow isn’t too deep that she can walk. She loves seeing animals and is especially fond of dogs. She’s excellent at cleaning out mixing bowls. She enjoys walking the kids into school and despises the vacuum cleaner. She’s very good at ripping/coloring on/hiding library books but squeals when they have flaps or sliders. She no longer will sit in her high chair (another climbing apparatus) but prefers the table chair. I often catch Ruth in the bathroom attempting to eat toothpaste or clean the toilet. And today I saw her dip her toothbrush into the bathwater. When she grows up she wants to be a rock climber 😉

Baby Five, 21 weeks gestation

I have yet to meet this child face to face, but I do know that he/she is hungry! This baby enjoys laying still and quiet for the majority of the day, but then comes alive at 5am. This baby does not tolerate much of his/her mama’s activity, as I’ve learned to deal with in the past pregnancies. A short time of doing things around the house and I feel terrible. Baby prefers my new copper-infused compression stockings (thanks Prime!) and has contributed to the audible clunk in my pelvis with every step I take. This baby prefers I take a nap a few times a week. This baby has yet to have a name that either of us can agree on, and this is starting to give me stress. This baby has taken the usual shape of a basketball in my abdomen. 😉

Have a Blessed Tridiium!

No ‘oops’ here

*Disclaimer: in this post I am standing tall on my soapbox. If you don’t want to hear it, I’m telling you now. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy my post today 🙂

We announced to our parents/siblings our 5th pregnancy on Christmas Eve. Everyone was happy!

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We announced to the world our 5th pregnancy via social media and general people we know earlier this week. Mixed emotions from many. But honestly I didn’t expect a lot.

We waited a loooong time to announce between Christmas and this past Sunday because I was dragging my feet. Was I excited, happy, and feeling blessed to be pregnant again? YES! Did I know what was coming as far as comments, looks, and people’s opinions? YES! I literally braced myself and continue to do so, as people don’t always have the nicest comments to a 5 times pregnant lady. Sometimes it makes me cringe. However, there are people who know us well enough that they rib us a little bit, but are genuinely happy for us and our openness to life. And we whole-heartedly appreciate them 🙂

Here’s some of the responses I’ve gotten: 1) Genuine ‘Congratulations!’ 2) ‘Good for you guys! You do a great job!’ {#1 and 2 are my favorites and preferred} 3) *Blank stare* 4) ‘Wow! You are going to have your hands full!’ 5) Look of disgust 6) Look of sadness or feeling bad for us 7) Look of confusion or that I am an alien …And my favorite *sarcasm*…. 8) ‘Don’t you know what causes that by now?!’ I’ve developed a pretty thick skin and can dish it right back usually, but sometimes these kind of comments just strike me wrong. (Obviously, because I’m writing an entire post about it, ha!)

Here’s the thing. Why do some people have to hate on large families or people who want a lot of kids? What business is it of theirs? People who have 1 or 2 children by choice are not poked fun at, talked to about their fertility, or told that they need to find a new hobby. I always wonder how it would feel to reverse the roles? It seems that people in general leave them alone, and allow them to be happy with their decision of their family size. People may have questions or wonder, but they usually keep it to themselves.

Each baby, whether #1 or #10 is wanted and loved. And each truly is a blessing! And outsiders need to realize that. Just because you have a large family doesn’t mean you have a lot of ‘oops’ babies or that you stink at family planning. It can actually mean the exact opposite! Family size is something very personal and individual. My husband and I just happen to feel called to have a large brood of kiddos. Isn’t that great? I think so. And if you don’t, keep it to yourself.

And a little humor:

Just keepin’ it real on the ‘House tonight.

And that’s all I got.

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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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! 😉

 

Pregnancy + Biking = No go

We had a great Memorial Day weekend.  I chatted with Navy bro Mitch on Friday morning and he didn’t even realize it was Memorial Day weekend. Well Mitch, you are one of the reasons that I have newfound appreciation and gratitude for all soldiers and their sacrifices, both at home and on the other side of the world. Thank you for all you do!

Part of Mitch’s Wallbangers crew on the USS Truman; Mitch is left side, in the green!

Back at the ranch, we had an incredibly busy and fun weekend. Friday, however, was not the best.  I have some days now and then when I just feel like junk. Completely wore out and grouchy. I just blame it on the hormones and that baby *must* be growing! 😉

Friday was it. It was raining, the kids were restless, we had exhausted a ton of indoor activities including 2 entire skeins of yarn, and all I wanted was a 60 min nap after lunch. That’s it! Guess what? NO ONE NAPPED. Nada. I broke down and let them watch a movie in the afternoon, which rarely happens. The weather cleared up and we played outside.   J was late coming home, so after dinner I took the kids out for a bike ride to try and make everyone a bit happier and give myself some energy. While going around a cul-de-sac, G inadvertedly cut his bike in front of mine and I hit his back wheel.  I literally flew off the bike, lost my balance, and skidded to a stop on my hands and knee (belly was safe). Road rash.  Braxton hicks contractions. Sore pride. I was fuming. Angry at the world. Angry at myself. Why was today so HARD?! Why did I think I needed to bike at 23 weeks pregnant and try to be *that* mom?! And why was my knee bleeding!?

Amelia just looked at me from her comfy seat in the bike trailer.  G turned around and calmly asked ‘What happened Mom?’.  I told him to get going, we were heading home and we were DONE BIKING. I laid on the couch the rest of the night, bitter and angry. Myself and baby are fine. I’m done with the bike till next summer, sadly, as I really really enjoy biking.  Some things I still have to learn the hard way. Sheesh. What a way to start a long weekend.

After I got over myself and the rough Friday, the rest of the weekend ended up being a lot of fun. After church and grad party on Saturday, we started our 2 day camp out. We spent a good portion of our weekend in the place dubbed the ‘Costello campsite’ with our family.  We cooked and ate a ton of good food over the fire, slept in tents on the ground, and played in the creek. It was awesome!!!  I should clarify that this pregnant body did absolutely no tent or ground sleeping. I trekked my way home after dark 2 nights in a row to sleep on our Tempurpedic. And all was well 😉  The kids had such a blast and my husband is a great dad….’Sarah, I can go 2 nights without sleeping much; look at how many memories they are making!’ Well said! He is also quite the grill master over the open flames.

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Girls decided to have good ol’ Iowa mud scrubs in the creek

Monday we had more good eats and I finally got dirt dumped into my raised gardens, so now we can plant!! I’m not sure how much gardening I’ll actually be doing this summer, but it’s never too early to teach the kiddos, right?  We’re planning on tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, eggplant, and squash. My kids can devour a large watermelon in less than 1 days time, so that should be a good way to entice them to weed the garden!  The kids capped off the day with playing in the pool and falling asleep at the dinner table. No, really. Amelia actually fell asleep while chewing her sandwich.  Amelia looked like this this morning. Her hair kills me!!

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Yay for the beginning of summer!

 

The ultrasound reveal

So we had our 20 week ultrasound today.  I talked to my brother Mitch way over on the other side of the world today, and I told him we had our ultrasound this afternoon, and that I was excited for it. His response?  ‘Sounds fun. You’re probably getting used to these things by now.’ 😉  I guess you could say that.  But really, getting a glimpse of your baby inside your womb is one amazing experience.  All the aches, pains, poor sleep and weight gain are worth it to see that tiny being kicking and punching away in there!

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‘Ninja’, as the kids call him/her

So the big reveal? There wasn’t one! HA! We’ve never found out the gender and of course didn’t want to for this baby either.  🙂 After all, getting the surprise of your baby’s gender after labor and delivery is so WORTH THE WAIT! (In my opinion anyways!)

 

The 3 kiddos, J, and Nana were along for the ultrasound. Nana and G predict a boy, and Nana tells me her predictions have been right with all 3 of our kids. L and A predict a girl. J has no idea, but was hoping for twins. I change my mind daily.  Gabriel thought the baby looked like a frog. Lucy thought it was a butterfly. The kids were bewildered by the fact that the gel was warm.  They weren’t sure what to think of the facial pictures that looked like something from Halloween.  We saw 10 fingers and 10 toes and a heart, kidneys, feet and hands, spine, long bones, etc. So neat! G thought the baby’s head was huge. If only he would have seen his own head at birth! Oh my….

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Of course they want another sister! Dresses for dayssssss

So, on we go into the 2nd half of this pregnancy. Hopefully it’s smooth sailing and my pelvis can keep it together (literally). And now I can reassure a few of my patients that it is indeed, only ONE baby, not triplets 😉

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