Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Updates of sorts

Mothers day flowers, my favorite.

Smiles from my baby, my favorite.

Fishing, my kids' favorite.
(Ew)

Drive in movie, everyone's favorite.

Busy. Fun. Warm. Kids.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Oliver is now SIX

A golden birthday. Six on the 6th.

Oliver is so smart, quick, and endlessly creative. He is sleepy and hungry a lot of the time.

Oliver is fierce. He is strong-willed. I'm grateful he is, except when we butt heads because of it. But most of the time I'm glad he has a strong sense of self.

We love our Oliver. I wouldn't change him in any way. I'm grateful he is ours. I'm in awe of him. He is funny and challenging. Just the perfect Oliver.
Now pictures of his day:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Last Week. Much Pictures.

My inlaws were here this week, and we were able to bless our sweet Frederick here at home on Friday night. My sister, Erin and little guy Levi made the trek down from upstate New York to join in the festivities. It was a great, wonderful, busy time.

Easter included an egg hunt yesterday with the grandparents and cousin, and then again today, along with an basket hunt, WAYYYYYY too much candy, and no one wanting to eat anything real.

Basically, a perfect holiday.


Three generations 


All my boys wear the same blessing outfit because, well, they just do. But, Sir Fred was far too tired to wake up, and being my sixth, I've learned you simply do all you can not to wake the baby. So, instead of changing him, and making him angry, he took a four hour nap. I picked him up asleep, and handed him to Derek. The blessing was offered for him in, in PJs swaddled up nice and cozy. 


Cute girl. 


I can not figure out how to get them ALL to look happy at the camera. It's not possible. Also, my mother-in-law was MIA for picture taking. 



Tons of people were able to come celebrate out sweet boy. I'm so grateful. 


More friends!


Spencer... I don't know. 


We spent a lot of time together in the kitchen with the grandparents. 


Cookies with Grammy!


My sleepy boy. 


Grammy snuggles. 


Goobers. All of them. 

Dying eggs, on Easter. Because I'm slow and behind, but at least they got done. 



Easter isn't terribly impressive when you're new. 










So much Easter! 



Friday, March 27, 2015

Love For The Sixth Baby

Henry and Mommy, 4 months old photo PICT0955.jpg

Henry and me, nine years ago. 

The love for a first baby is a magic, manic kind of love. It's born of inexperience and a deep desire to do the right thing by this human, this brand-new person that you've been charged with. It is the love that runs at a hundred miles an hour, trying to keep up with what everyone says you should do for your new little love.

The beauty of having many children is that the mania is gone. The near-insane love fueled by fear and momma-bear instincts has waned. With each baby born, it has changed.

It is replaced with a different kind of love: one that is calm, relaxed, still clueless...

This knowledge, the truth that you-know-nothing-but-it's-alright, is so very different from the haunting, frightened love that drives a new mother to read every book on parenting. Or to obsessively check that her newborn is still breathing. It isn't the same at all. It's no more real, and no less equal to that first-baby love. But it is very different.

This love is gentle, it's slow, and it's confident.

This love is born of experience.

This love holds dear the wonderment that comes with each baby. His toes, his tiny nose, his sweet head; all are just as awe-inspiring as the first baby was. There is no less enchantment in a sixth baby than there was in a first. There is almost more in fact--more because you know it simply can not last.

You know soon, he'll big like his siblings, making you nuts and leaving you wondering where in the world he came from. In your bones, you know. It'll be over before you're ready for it to be.

You know you'll be tired forever, and you're fine with that. It's what you signed on for.

You know that you can't love him anymore than you do right this minute, but also that you'll love him more tomorrow, because you've lived it before.

You know that most things work out. You know you are doing your best, even on days when you're not. You know kids are forgiving. They forget your mistakes far faster than you do. You know they love you even when you don't deserve it.

So you move slowly. You marvel at him. You rock him because you know he won't keep. You hold him as close as you can as long as you can because soon he'll be running away from you towards the playground.

You know, if you don't pay attention, you'll miss it.

You know better than to risk missing it.

This love is its own kind of magic.


Frederick, ten days old.




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's A Long Story

We knew when we found out we were expecting again back in July that this time was going to have to be different. I found a nice OB group and they immediately deemed me "high risk" for various (multiple) reasons. I let go of my homebirth dreams. It wasn't going to happen, I didn't love the idea of a hospital birth. I also knew though, that it didn't matter. I never waivered. This baby needed to come in this way.

Then for basically the entire pregnancy, we had complications. Nothing MAJOR, but enough to warrant monitoring ultrasounds. From weeks 16-34 I had what's called placenta previa. This is where the placenta covers all or part of the cervical opening. Simply put: placenta can not cover the cervical opening if you're going to deliver a baby. Once the cervix dilates, you are going to risk bleeding out.

This meant we were headed for a c-section. It was one of those situations that you can't control. No amount of accupuncture or chiropractor visits or diet changes were going to solve this one. If that placenta didn't move, it was going to be a surgical birth. I accepted it begrudgingly, merely worrying about the effects of a c section on a baby, and when trying to keep up with five other kids. But, meh. Nothing could be done.

At the final 34 week scan though, the specialist declared that the placenta was out of the way! I was cleared for a regular delivery. WOOHOO!

The risk of post-birth hemorrhage was still very much a concern, but the OBs assured me that they would be on standby if I needed them, but overall, they'd "let me do my thing". Every room at this hospital has a jetted tub, and they'd just be pretty hands off.

Perfect.

My dear friend Stacy was my doula for Miriam. I attempted to be HER doula when her fifth arrived last summer, but missed it by mere moments. And so, she planned a cross-country trek with said baby a few days before the due date to be there to help me through.

I ALWAYS HAVE MY BABIES AT THE SAME TIME.

ALWAYS.

FIVE TIMES.

39 weeks and 5 or 6 days. Basically, the day or two before my due date, the kidlet just shows up.

LIKE CLOCKWORK.

So when I woke up at 3:30 on Tuesday, the 17th (SIX DAYS BEFORE MY DUE DATE) to a funny burning pain that was mixed with a contraction, I thought, "Hmmmm."

Derek was already up headed down to Boston for a full schedule of clients. "Should I stay?" he asked dubiously.

"No! It's too early. Just... check your phone between clients, maybe?"

He left, and I went back to bed.

The contractions hurt. But the weird thing was, the burning firey pain way low in my abdomen didn't let up. I was having a hard time figuring out what was going on. It was too early, contractions were real, but this extra layer of pain was disorienting. What was this?

It became clear that it was labor. Whoops.

I texted Stacy who was still in Utah. She wasn't going to make it. Crap.

I called Derek who was already an hour away, and he turned around without complaint. I called our good friends who had agreed to take the kids. I apologized for being early since we weren't expecting a baby until the weekend, but they just laughed and soon Derek and I were on our way.

I had forgotten the hideousness that is riding in a car in active labor. It sucked.

A half hour later, I was nearly screaming and crying in agony when we got to the hospital. Something was wrong. Contractions were barely managable, but the burning torture wouldn't stop. My back and hips were feeling shattered, and I could barely manage to walk IN BETWEEN contractions. By the time we finally walked ALLLLLLLLLL the way to the labor and delivery wing, I was done.

DONE.

I couldn't imagine a world where pushing a baby out through this burning intense fire that wouldn't stop ALONG with contractions was going to happen.

It wasn't.

At the registration desk, I simply said, "I'm here for my epidural."

Upon exam, I was 7 cm. The nurses and on-call midwife, Donna, laughed and said, "You don't need an epidural! Let's just have a baby!"

No.

Just no.

My kids all follow patterns. Kids 1,3, and 5 were relatively "short" and "easy" labors. 2 and 4 had been "long" and I knew that at 7 cm, with Kid 6, I was still at least two hours away from being ready to have a baby. It didn't matter that this was my sixth, and he ought to be polite enough to just fall out, he wouldn't. I was still in for hours of firey, burning pain that didn't stop. The idea was simply far more than I could fathom.

The staff was kind enough to get me the drugs in haste. The epidural worked. Bliss.

For about an hour. It was lovely.

Then, it just quit. The pain and fire returned full force. The midwife was surprised to find that I was an only 8 and feeling everything once more. She suggested breaking my water which would expedite the process since I was once again writhing in pain.

There was meconium in the water, which I had never had before, and concerned me along with the staff. The pain wouldn't let up even in between contractions, and at this point, I was bleeding steadily. With all these factors at play, it was determined it was best if we just had the baby.

So, I did the thing I HATE the most, and forced him out, screaming all the while that it hurt so much. That it hurt, and I didn't know why. The fire never stopped. The pain seemed ready to swallow me whole. I was dying. For real this time.

My extremities did their numbing thing, once again, I could barely form words. I could hear that the baby kept bottoming out on the monitor, his heart rate disappearing over and over. The sweet nurse, Catherine would push on the monitor to try and find him, which caused extra waves of fire.

It was heinous. All of it.

After saying all the words I'm not supposed to say. Oh yes, all of them, I decided no matter what I did, the only way to get the burning to stop was to get the kid out. So, ring of fire, added to the mix and... he was born.

Cord cut immediately, special care nurse swarmed, but kindly offered me my baby. MY BABY!

Well, hello sweet baby.

Pitocin through the IV to try and control the crazy bleeding, I heard the conversations regarding all of it, but... my baby!

Then, as if the torture of birth hadn't been intense enough, the placenta was being slow and the bleeding steady, so Donna decided to go and get it, manually. With her hand.

I really REALLY wish that epidural had worked. I'll just leave it at that.

In the end, Frederick was fine, no aspiration, no distress outside the womb, despite the distress inside. I'm so grateful.

Upon examination, my placenta which they had declared no longer in the way, wasn't quite out of the way ENOUGH. About a third of the placenta had detached from right by the cervical opening on up. This means it detached from the uterine wall, causing the bleeding, the pain, all the trouble. Donna didn't know why it had happened, when the docs had all declared everything good to go.

I'm grateful that it's over. I'm grateful that it wasn't worse. I'm thankful that he is here and healthy. I'm thankful for interventions in this case that controlled the bleeding so I can be up and around and feeling pretty darn great a week after his birth.

I got totally screwed on that epidural however. The ONE TIME I want one, and it didn't even work. BLAH.

I dunno. This was pretty crappy, but it could have been worse. Frederick and I had a long long time of just bonding. No one rushed us to weigh or measure or anything. He was never taken from me or scrubbed by scratchy towels. It was as gentle as it could have been.

And like I said, it's OVER. Amen.


SQUISH! 













Saturday, March 21, 2015

Frederick Has Arrived


He is here. We are so grateful, he is healthy, beautiful, squishy, sweet--deliciously so, just a joy. We waited for him, prayed for him, hoped for him, feared for him, and worked for him.

And it was worth it.

God is good. He is so good. And he knows the wishes of our hearts.

Frederick George, 8lbs 4 oz, 20 in long, born on Tuesday, March 17 at 10:06 am.


The squish won't last long enough. 






Everyone loves him. 


Our lil' leprachaun. (I die.) 



He is sleepy. It won't last either. 

More squish. 


Telling people the good news. 


Unimpressed with being weighed. 

Me at 39 weeks exactly. 24 hours later, he was in our arms. He surprised us with an early entrance. 

Life is good. 

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