Friday, May 26, 2017

Cece's 3rd Birthday

May 25 has come and gone again! In some ways it's hard to believe that Cecelia is already three, and in others it's hard to believe that she's only three (because I can't remember life without her!). 

Cece is my wild animal and my princess. She is sweet and naughty. She is sensitive and defiant. She is cuddly and rough and tumble. She's beautiful and smart and we love her like crazy.

Things she's into:

-dressing up (in costumes or changing her clothes)
-reading books
-putting things in a backpack or box, carrying it to another part of the house, and emptying it on the floor
-talking to and touching her baby sister
-dragging blankets around the house
-going to Sunday School with "Mawy Oos" (Miss Mary Lou)
-TV (if I had to pick a favorite for her I'd say Team Umi Zoomie)
-coloring on things that shouldn't be colored (herself, walls, furniture, etc.)
-eating all the time
-breaking things
-helping with things like laundry or cooking. I wish she loved to help with things like cleaning up her room...

What she's up to:

-She's completely potty trained! We finished our last package of pull-ups for night time a couple weeks ago and she has done great! She's had a few accidents here and there, but overall she has been doing really well and I'm quite pleased.
-She is not a picky eater and likes most foods. She'll say she doesn't like things sometimes, but it's usually just a matter of not wanting to eat that thing at that time. I'm happy she's a good eater. She devours baby carrots like her mama. She wants to eat all day long, also like her mama.
-Cece is extremely expressive with her face and voice. I think she has a great vocabulary and has some pretty complex things to say! I love her excited reactions. ...not so much the end of the world when she doesn't get her way.
-This is definitely not a super obedient child, and she has no qualms with deliberately disobeying. She has a very strong will and is very stubborn. But she's so cute and charming about it that she probably gets away with more than she should. Uh oh.
-Cece is a very heavy sleeper and is on a great schedule. Very occasionally she wakes up during the night, but usually she falls asleep within minutes and doesn't move til morning. She should probably still take a nap, but I don't make her unless she's having serious meltdowns. She often falls asleep in the car and sometimes I can move her to her bed.
-She knows her colors pretty well and knows some shapes. She can count to ten and sing her alphabet, but I haven't really started working with her on letters and numbers yet.

Here are the stats:
Height: (will add when I locate a tape measure)
Weight: 31 lbs

Cece wanted a princess birthday party, of course. She wore her princess dress and received so many nice gifts from her grandparents. I made lasagna and bought a gorgeous cake from Dorothy Lane Market (it was so. good.) because it was too perfect to resist. It was a really nice party, and our first at our new house.

Yesterday was her actual birthday and I wanted to do something fun, so we went strawberry and cherry picking at Tuken's, our favorite local farm (we have been there for apple picking the last couple years). Picking the cherries was much more fun and easy than the strawberries! I hope Cece has good memories of things like this. We picked up McDonald's on the way home and had a "movie picnic" at home watching Moana. Then she got to watch TV on the tablet while I worked on school with the boys. Cece fell asleep on the way to Tae Kwon Do, so she was too cranky to participate until the end, but the teacher LOVES her and it was nice to be there on her birthday. We got "worms" (lo mein) for dinner on the way home, followed it up with ice cream, and then she got to take a bath before bed. I think it was a pretty good day for the birthday girl. :)

Per tradition, I asked Cecelia a series of questions on her birthday and her answers were pretty entertaining!! It's tempting to correct her, but I just wrote down her actual responses. She's hilarious.

What's your name? Cece
What day is your birthday? 3
How old are you? 2
What's your favorite color? Pink
Favorite number? 5
Favorite letter? 6
Favorite shape? A triangle
Favorite food? Snakes (lo mein noodles)
Favorite candy? cereal
Favorite game? Hoot Owl Hoot
Favorite movie? Bubble Guppies
Favorite TV show? Bubble Guppies
Favorite book: Dragon
What do you want to be when you grow up? Play
What is your Daddy's job? To work
What is Mama's job? To measure
Favorite place to go? To McDonald's
Favorite restaurant? Bubble Guppies
Favorite animal? A zebra
Do have brothers or sisters? Brothers
Any pets? No
Favorite song? *starts singing a gibberish song of her own invention*
Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate
Who is your best friend? Allie
Favorite cereal? Cheerios
Favorite thing to do outside? Play on the trampoline
Favorite drink? Chocolate milk
What toys do you like to take to bed with you? A bunny
What's your favorite holiday? A birthday party
What are you good at? Jumping on the trampoline
Who is the coolest person ever? Papa
Favorite toy? a bunny
What makes you happy? Papa
What makes you sad? A monster
What are you scared of? A monster!
What's your super power? *hisses like a snake*

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hazel: 2 months old

Hazel turned 2 months old a week ago! I waited until now to write a post because she had her checkup today. Surprise surprise, she has started dropping on the growth charts. That's our norm, so I'm not worried. She's obviously a healthy, happy girl! She is moving into 0-3 month clothes. She can wear some newborn things but many are getting too short.

Here are the stats:
Height: 22 inches (19%)
Weight: 10lbs 8oz (21%)
Head: 38cm (33%)

She got several immunizations today and only cried for a minute, then fell asleep in the car and is still snoozing three hours later. I declined band aids today because last time taking them off really hurt her skin! Maybe I left them on too long.

I still suspect thrush because her tongue is white, but the doctor doesn't think so (I think because she doesn't have patches anywhere else in her mouth). I kind of feel like she passed it to me the last couple days, but I hope I'm wrong!! If her tongue is bothering her she certainly doesn't complain.

Hazel is far and away the easiest baby I've had. She basically sleeps through the night most nights (!?!?!?!). Last night, for example, she slept from about 9:30-6:45, ate, then slept til 9. She has me so spoiled... I kind of expect her to revert to getting up more later on, but I'm enjoying my sleep for now! I do have to nurse her to sleep and sometimes getting her to stay settled in bed is hard, but when she's out she's out.

During the day Hazel naps in her swing. I usually set her down when she's sleepy or content and she drifts off. Sometimes she only sleeps for a little while, sometimes for four hours. I'm intentionally avoiding looking at the clock or thinking about her schedule because I have found that it doesn't help and only stresses me out. It has been really nice. There are times when she wants to cluster feed or use me as a pacifier (she won't take a paci) and that can be frustrating, but overall she's quite laid-back and content (finally!!).

Hazel loves to talk to people and makes the cutest little coos and sounds. She smiles easily and has been excitedly kicking her feet lately. She has the sweetest personality. When she's not sleeping or nursing she often just hangs out on her blanket on the floor and looks around. The other kids like to talk to her. Orion will lay down and look at her, Desy will talk to her and rub her cheeks with his finger, and Cece likes to bring her toys. I worry she's going to get a flat head because she just lays around so much! I've never had such a content baby.

Hazel continues to nurse well. She spits up quite a bit, but nothing beyond normal. She has had a couple impressive blow-outs and I've moved her out of newborn size diapers (we still have some left over thanks to gifts from generous family and friends!). Between her clothes, burp cloths, blankets, nursing pads and camis, we go through a lot of laundry! I really need to wash her car seat and swing covers. Babies are gross. ;)

I feel very lucky to have such a sweet, easy baby. I think God took it easy on me for baby #4. ;)


Monday, April 24, 2017

Hazel: One Month Old

Can you believe that Hazel-nut (yeah, that's her nickname...) is already a month old? Actually, she's over five weeks old now, I just stink at blogging.

This girl is still a sleepy baby! YES. She naps in the swing during the day, and sleeps swaddled in a bassinet by my bed at night. She usually gets up 1-3 times during the night and goes right back to sleep after nursing. I feel very lucky to have restful nights!!

She is generally pretty easy to please, but sometimes she gets MAD in the evening around bed time, wants to nurse over and over, and won't settle down. I've had better luck with her the last week and we haven't had any trouble. It's frustrating when it happens, but I can't complain.

I'm always happy to share :) Hazel will let anyone hold her so far... I hope she stays that way! Sometimes mama needs a break! She has even been staying in the nursery at church and doing fine until she gets hungry. She will not take a pacifier which is a little unexpected, but as long as she stays a good sleeper I'm totally ok with that.

This week Hazel has started making eye contact and smiling at me! She smiled a lot before, but now it's AT people. She has also been "talking" and cooing a lot. It's stinkin' adorable and makes me really happy.

Baby loves her bath! We have a GIANT kitchen sink, perfect for baths. Hazel really seems to enjoy herself as long as I keep pouring warm water on her.

She has pretty bad baby acne right now, so I hope that clears up soon!

Hazel had her one month checkup today. Here are the stats:

Height: 20 inches (28th percentile)
Weight: 9 lbs 10 oz (47th percentile)
Head: 14.57 inches (52nd percentile)

I was so surprised and excited that she weighed 9 lbs 10 oz!! I'm sooo hoping her weight won't drop off the charts like her siblings (really thinking the early tongue tie revision should help). I'm being as laid-back as possible with nursing... I couldn't even tell you how often she eats, but I think it varies a lot. I feel like my supply is good, and her weight gain is really encouraging. She's a healthy girl so far!

We took a family picture on Easter. I love it. :)

Hazel's birth story

As promised, this post comes with baby pictures! It has been a long time coming, but I'll do my best to recount everything surrounding Hazel's birth!

*This post contains all the nitty gritty birth details, so if that stuff grosses you out, enjoy the pictures and move along ;) *

At 41 weeks 1 day, a Sunday, my friend Amanda offered to take me walking in the evening. I gladly accepted, and we power-walked around Wal-Mart for an hour or two. The next day I started getting bloody show, which I experienced two days before all of my other babies were born. Finally, progress! That day at my midwife appointment I was still only 1 cm, but thinning. She swept my membranes which, remarkably, didn't hurt at all. As the week went on, I continued to have bloody show, felt lots of low pressure, had sporadic contractions, and generally felt really crummy (I think malaise is the fancy word)!! On Wednesday night I completely flipped out because I thought that Hazel had changed positions again, but blessedly it turned out that her position was still fine. Thursday I went for another midwife appointment and NST and had progressed to 3 cm! However, I was facing a deadline at that point... I really wanted to deliver Hazel at the Family Beginnings Birth Center where Cece was born, but I could not do so after Friday (I would be 42 weeks on Saturday, and technically high risk). We chose to schedule an induction via foley bulb + breaking my water if necessary at 9 am on Friday.

However, I started experiencing strong timeable contractions on Thursday night around 8. They were about 5 minutes apart and pretty strong. They petered out after a couple hours and we went to bed. Around 3 am I woke up with lots of strong contractions, and after a couple hours they were 2.5 minutes apart so I called the birth center and we headed out. Unfortunately, the contractions again faded.

When we got to the hospital (around 5 or 6 am) we were sent to triage because the birth center had only one nurse on duty at the time. My cervix was dilated to 4 cm. The midwife swept my membranes again. I had an NST and only had mild contractions. During that time, Hazel's heart rate dropped during a couple of the contractions. This, combined with my being almost 42 weeks, concerned the midwife that the placenta could be deteriorating and decided that we should have continuous monitoring... which they cannot do at the birth center. I would have to deliver in the regular maternity ward.

I was crushed. I SO wanted to deliver Hazel at the birth center because I loved it so much when I delivered Cecelia. I was extremely upset, not to mention worried that Hazel could be in distress. The midwife (Neva, the same midwife who was there for Cece's delivery) assured me that they would do everything they could to give me an experience as close to the birth center as possible except for the fact that I would have to have the continuous monitoring (in the birth center they do intermittent heart rate checks with a Doppler instead of using the monitors that are strapped on to the belly). There wasn't anything I could do to change the situation so I just had to come to terms with it, but it was hard. The last couple months of this pregnancy had been such an emotional roller coaster and things were just not going the way I thought they should be. Thankfully, the midwife allowed me to decline an IV (they wanted to insert one just in case)... this seriously made me feel better, and I'm so thankful to her that she let me have that little bit of control over the situation.

We got into the room and they outfitted me with a portable monitor box that I could carry with me while we walked the halls. I was assigned a nurse who usually works in the birth center, so I felt confident that I would be supported in the natural (unmedicated) birth that I wanted. Nathan and I walked a lot and I also spent some time on the birth ball. It was a struggle to get the monitor to consistently pick up Hazel's heart rate... those things are designed for a person who's laying in a bed, not constantly changing positions. My contractions were still pretty mild and sporadic.

Around 9 or so that morning I took a half hour nap, and when I got up Hazel's heart no longer dipped with contractions and my contractions got much stronger and closer together! The midwife came in a bit later and offered to break my water, but we felt like things were speeding up and getting stronger on their own so we decided to wait. I really worked through labor for several more hours and felt like things were really moving forward.

Around 3:30 the midwife checked my cervix, and to my dismay I was still only at 4 cm. I couldn't believe it! I had been laboring pretty hard for a long time. We decided to go ahead and break the bag of waters (I wasn't sure about it because I'd never had that done before, and nervous because I knew labor would get a lot more intense). It felt so weird! They worked at it for a while because they weren't sure whether the bag had ruptured, but I felt some fluid come out so I figured it had (Hazel actually had a couple little scratches on her head when she was born from this procedure!). They outfitted me with basically a diaper, and sure enough, when I got up and started having contractions, aaaall the fluid came out. TMI warning: during the strong contractions over the next half hour or so, I couldn't tell whether I was losing more amniotic fluid or if I was peeing! At that point, I guess it didn't matter. ;) They asked if I would like a birthing pool set up (I did), and started getting it set up and filling with water. It took quite a while and they didn't check back until it was too full and Nathan had turned it off to keep it from overflowing! So they had to drain some back out. I was happy to finally get in when it was done filling. I did miss the awesome tubs in the birth center... this one wasn't quite deep enough or warm enough. But better this than none!!

As I expected from my experience with Cecelia, things really picked up once I got in the water. I had been having super intense contractions for a while before that, but they continued to build. The nurse continued to adjust the belly monitors while I had these contractions... it was torture!! Those monitors were definitely the major negative of this birth... they were a painful, annoying thorn in my side.

When my vocal tones changed from a low hum/sigh to an "ohhh" sound, I thought I was getting really close (again, remembering my last birth), but when the nurse offered to check my progress I declined because I didn't think I could handle the disappointment if I wasn't as far along as I expected!! Not five minutes later my body started pushing and Nathan paged the nurse. The nurses and midwife came and and I focused on relaxing and letting my body do the work. The midwife coached me and reminded me to stay in control when I started bearing down too hard. This stage was harder, longer, and more painful than my previous one, but I was still able to mostly stay in control and keep my body relaxed, though I did actually push a good amount. I think it probably took ten minutes from start to finish. After Hazel's head came out they told me to stop pushing for a moment so they could check for a cord around her neck, but it was clear. Then I pushed her out the rest of the way, and I actually got to feel her body slide out, which I had never experienced before. The midwife caught her and quickly helped me turn around and step over the umbilical cord (which they said was short), and then I got to hold my Hazel Hope. She was born at 4:49 pm on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2017.

I kept saying, "I did it!" and "I'm done!" I was so relieved to be finished. It was a hard delivery, a hard labor, and a hard pregnancy! I had worked HARD and was so glad to be done. Actually, I was still having some very intense contractions because the placenta was ready to be delivered too. Nathan cut the cord. The nurse told Nathan "She needs skin to skin. Take off your shirt." and had him hold Hazel while I finished delivery. It was pretty funny in hindsight. I pushed a couple times to deliver her placenta... it was HUGE! I think that thing was almost as big as Hazel! And definitely not deteriorated or unhealthy.

They cleaned me up and I was thrilled to hear that I had no lacerations. I was incredibly surprised and lucky that I had virtually no discomfort in that area either immediately after the birth or in the following days (nothing short of miraculous, if you ask me). I did have very very strong afterbirth contractions that day and some milder ones the next two days.

Hazel weighed 8 lbs, 1 oz, and was 20 inches long. The nurse who did her newborn assessment that day confirmed that Hazel was really only 41 weeks! Aha! Told you so!

From the get-go Hazel has been a very quiet, sleepy baby. She didn't cry right away when she was born, and only would when the nurse rubbed and agitated her. I could barely get her to wake up to nurse the first night! I didn't get much sleep that night because I was too wound up, but I was so thankful to have a sleepy baby.

She nursed well, but I had a lot of familiar pain that (along with just looking at her) told me she had a tongue tie. No surprise there (been there, done that). Unfortunately, the pediatraitian on call would not diagnose or treat her. The nurses and lactation consultant agreed with me, but there was nothing they could do about it. I ended up taking her to the specialist that released Cece's ties when Hazel was five days old and had her tongue tie released, so at least it's taken care of now.

Robin, Larry, Allie, and Josiah visited the night Hazel was born, and then Robin and Larry brought our other kids the next day (my birthday!). They brought me killer brownies and we enjoyed introducing the kids to their new sister. They were all in love, especially Desy.

Our friends Andy and Cassandra also visited right after our family left. It was nice to spend some time with family and friends on my birthday, and to show off our sweet baby. The hospital kitchen even sent up a little birthday cake with my lunch! Nathan got me dinner from Panera Bread so I would't just have to eat hospital food on my birthday :)

My parents visited the next day, and then we got to take Hazel home. Because of the crazy unexpected late delivery, Nathan had used up the week he was going to take off of work the previous week, so I was on my own the day after we got home! It's absolutely incredible how good I felt right away... I mean, I felt like I had run a marathon... my body was sore and weak. But I had no pain, my mind was clear, I had energy, and I wasn't taking any medications. I could even drive right away! I definitely let the TV babysit that week, but we made it through and that's all we could hope for!

I added this picture because LOOK AT THAT HAIR!

We have definitely had some rough times, but Hazel has really been such an easy baby and such a joy. I think she has her own unique look and I can't wait to see her unique personality come out. I'm so thankful that God has given us another healthy baby and that, despite the bumpy road, a healthy delivery, and even the natural water birth I was hoping for. I'm also incredibly grateful for and proud of my husband for being an AMAZING support during my labor. He was with me every moment during the intense hours of labor, and I can't imagine how I could have made it through without him. I am one lucky mama.

Look at this... I couldn't ask for more.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Baby #4: 41 weeks

Well this is not a post I expected to be writing! Both boys were born three days after their due dates and Cece was one day before, so this is an unexpected twist...

How far along? 41 weeks?!
Total weight gain/loss: +30
Maternity clothes? Um, yes. Very few options left! I basically wear the same things every day. I tried on one of my favorite maternity shirts earlier this week and it was comically short.
Sleep: OK. I wake up and turn over a lot because my hips hurt. Still napping almost every day.
How I'm feeling: Physically​ good, emotionally done!
Best moment this week: Finding out Thursday that she is head down and "well engaged."
Movement: Still active.
Food cravings: Pop, salty snacks (Crunchy Cheetos?), chocolate, Oreos and milk
Food aversions: None. I've had a lot of nausea this week.
Gender: It's a GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: Inconsistent contractions here and there. I think I lost my mucus plug Monday night.
Belly Button in or out? Flat
What I miss: Easy movement, sleeping comfortably, clothes that fit
What I am looking forward to: Finishing this pregnancy, birth, meeting Hazel, moving.

Milestones: I've never seen 41 weeks before! Life is an adventure.

Monday afternoon when I went to my midwife appointment I found out that Hazel was once again transverse. Head up on my left side, butt down on my right, back down. The doctor scheduled me for an external version that evening, but told me it was only a 50% chance of success, and on top of that she was just in a weird position. I was SO upset... frustrated, scared, angry, worried... you name it.

We went into triage that night and had a non stress test, got an IV put in, and I was prepped for a C Section just in case something went wrong (in rare cases the version can cause placental abruption or rupture the bag of waters). That was scary for me.

When it was finally time for the version itself, it was a piece of cake!! The doctor turned Hazel aaaall the way around in the uterus... picture her head going from 10 o' clock to 6 o' clock. It didn't hurt (it was mildly uncomfortable sometimes) and only took a few minutes. The doctor did a great job and made sure to give Hazel time to relax and settle in before he let her go. His arms were shaking by the end! Once I could tell she was going to rotate it was actually a very cool experience. I know I'm lucky it didn't hurt- he said mine was one of the easiest versions he's done.

Once we were done we had to decide if we wanted to be induced that night or wait to go into natural labor but risk her flipping again. It was a very hard decision. I had him check my cervix before the procedure so I would have all the information possible, and it was only 1cm dilated and thick. I ended up deciding that my body just wasn't ready and that for the healthiest and smoothest delivery I needed to wait.

... and I guess it's a good thing I did, because it clearly wasn't time!! I'm SO happy that she did decide to stay put and engage. It was been a stressful week!!

My original due date was March 10 before they did an early ultrasound and changed it to March 4. So my theory is that she wasn't actually due until yesterday and that we all need to chill out because she's surely coming soon ;) I have my fingers crossed that Hazel will be born this weekend and I'm doing everything I can to encourage that, but it seems that we have another strong willed child on our hands. Sigh.

NSTs galore for the "overdue" mama!

Next post WILL include baby pictures...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Baby #4: 40 weeks

How far along? 40 weeks!
Total weight gain/loss: +31
Maternity clothes? Um, yes. Very few options left! I basically wear the same things every day.
Sleep: Good. Usually up once or twice at night and my back gets sore, but I'm sleeping pretty well. And napping. 
How I'm feeling: Pretty good! My back and feet get sore, sometimes I get heartburn, I'm tired... but surprisingly feeling better now than I did a while back.
Best moment this week: Good report from the doctor that Hazel is in a great position and is doing well.
Movement: Still very active. I think maybe she dropped?
Food cravings: Pop, salty snacks (Crunchy Cheetos?), chocolate
Food aversions: None. A lot of times nothing in the house sounds good, especially at lunch time. I haven't had as much of an appetite. Some nausea.
Gender: It's a GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: None. Lots of pretty strong Braxton Hicks contractions.
Belly Button in or out? Flat
What I miss: Easy movement, sleeping comfortably, clothes that fit
What I am looking forward to: Finishing this pregnancy, birth, meeting Hazel, moving.

Milestones: Today is our due date! I'm expecting to meet Hazel this week!

This is what a contraction looks like from my perspective with a full-term baby. Ha!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Baby #4: 39 weeks

How far along? 39 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: +28 (Still!! I can't believe it!)
Maternity clothes? Um, yes. Very few options left!
Sleep: Good. Usually up once at night and my back gets sore, but I'm sleeping pretty well. And napping. 
How I'm feeling: Pretty good! My back and feet get sore, sometimes I get heartburn, I'm tired... but surprisingly feeling better now than I did a while back.
Best moment this week: Finding out Hazel is finally in a good head down position!! STAY THERE!
Movement: Yep! She's strong! I think she's finally settled down into her position (I hope!)
Food cravings: Pop, salty snacks (Crunchy Cheetos?), chocolate
Food aversions: None. A lot of times nothing in the house sounds good, especially at lunch time. I haven't had as much of an appetite.
Gender: It's a GIRL!!!
Labor Signs: None. Lots of pretty strong Braxton Hicks contractions.
Belly Button in or out? Flat
What I miss: Easy movement, sleeping comfortably, clothes that fit
What I am looking forward to: Finishing this pregnancy, birth, meeting Hazel, moving.

Milestones: Only about a week to go! I can't believe we're at the end!