Friday, April 30, 2010

My THREE Sons!

My mom is visiting this week... and one of the (many) things she does well is take pictures. Enjoy these shots of the boys.
















Monday, April 26, 2010

"Certainly not more than 8 lbs..."

Yes, that is what I was told at my OB appt the day I delivered my 9lb 4 oz son.

The "size" debate had started a few weeks previously when I started noticing my first belly stretch marks. I say, "first" because somehow I made it through both previous pregnancy's (8lbs 5 oz Isaiah, and 8lbs 15oz Joshua) without a single belly stretch mark. Amazing, I know. These attractive tell tale signs on my lower abdomen got the wheels turning... how big??

It was hard to know if I was just carrying the baby lower (and/or differently), or if I really was bigger. I felt huge. But then... I always feel huge when I'm pregnant. And some people tell me I look huge (mind your manners people!! You NEVER tell a pregnant woman she looks huge!!) but I must say, more people told me I looked small.

My weight gain was right on "target" and very close to what I gained with Joshua (35lbs), and much less than the whopping 45lbs I gained with my first baby. I felt fine too. Sure a few maternity tops were a big snug, but that always happens when you're pregnant--- who even invented extra small maternity clothing????

But the stretch marks did make me curious, and perhaps a bit worried. For a gal who was planning a second VBAC, you can't help but feel that the bigger the baby the greater the chance for failure (and needing a c-section). Whether it's true or not, that's how you feel.

So you can imagine that when my OB provider (a wonderful midwife) told me "certainly not more than 8lbs" I was quite relieved and content to think I had a "normal" size baby in the oven.



Later that afternoon, the contractions started coming. Thankfully, Nick was home from school (45 minutes away) and we discussed whether "this was it" or not. I had had so many pre-labor contractions earlier in the week, I didn't want to overreact and head into the hospital too soon. But after waiting a bit (and walking a bit), it was pretty clear the contractions were getting harder and were definitely painful enough to be the real thing.

Its funny how those first real contractions bring a mixture of excitement and fear. Finally labor had started and I wouldn't really be pregnant FOREVER!!! Along with: if this is what the beginning phase feels like, can I really make it through the whole process??!!

So the plan was to wait until the contractions got a bit closer together and a bit more regular. We called the babysitter and gave her the heads up (but not the "official" call) and sat down to eat dinner. I couldn't eat (too excited... and a little nauseated). We busied ourselves around the house, checked and rechecked the hospital bag, pulled out the infant car seat, and cleaned a bit (funny that the "nesting" phenomenon doesn't stop until its time to push!!)

The contractions had been coming for about 1 hour but were still 7-10 minutes apart and a bit irregular.

However, the next contraction broke my water and then the contractions started coming HARD and FAST. Things quickly changed from, "we have plenty of time" to "Ahhh! Will we make it to the hospital in time!?!" Both Nick and I had thoughts of my labor with Joshua where he was born 20 minutes after my water broke (including pushing time!!) and we knew we were close to 20 minutes away from the hospital!!! Plus, we still had the boys with us and not with the baby sitter. And again, the contractions were harder and faster, about 2-3 minutes apart.

I admit, I panicked and started crying. The pain was intense and I hardly had a break between contractions, but even more so, while home births are great-- they are not my thing, especially when my husband doens't second as a midwife and my kids are still running around. But praise the Lord, my husband doesn't panic and is the strongest, most steady person out there. He called the babysitter to meet us as the hospital while also loading the boys in the car (without even putting on their shoes). We grabbed the carseat and the hospital bag and off we went.

It was hard to stay calm as I worried about making it to the hospital in time. But my motivation was the little boys in the back seat... we all cheered when we got through the gate onto post and could see the hospital. It's interesting to note how (I think) my panic played into the whole process. They always say that the "fear-panic-tension cycle" slows down labor... and what do you know, the contractions slowed down to 5-7 minutes apart by the time we got onto post. A thankful and much needed calming agent while I headed up to Labor and Delivery without Nick (ahh, scary thought!!), while he stayed with the boys till the babysitter arrived.

Again, the Lord blessed us, the contractions stayed 7 minutes apart while Nick waited downstairs for the babysitter. And I was able to get checked in and settled. And I was quite relieved to discover I was only at 5cm and that the likelihood of delivering the baby in the next few minutes were slim. Nick made it up to our room and things progressed quickly from there.

The plans was to go "all natural" like I had with Josh and not use any pain medications. And again, Praise the Lord, we did just that. Nick coached me through every contraction, kept me focused and calm, and we labored along...till little Noah was born 2 hours later.

My labor was just over 4 hours long, start to finish. It was very fast and intense, but I'm so thankful it wasn't any longer!! Noah was in the proper position (head down, facing my back) and I pushed for just about 15 minutes. Another shocker I know. And did I mention that his head was 15 1/2 inches around?!?!?! Wow!! Little Kathryn delivered a 9lbs 4 oz baby and didn't have to push for 6 hours... I'm still amazed. And still praising the Lord for such a smooth and uncomplicated delivery. All I can say is all the squats, stretches, and cross-legged sitting really paid off!!


Of course, I'm sure some of you are wondering what the "damage" was after having such a big baby, but I am amazed and again so thankful to be able to say there was none. Seriously. No episiotomy. No tearing. Just a few minor stitches after delivery. I'm not sure what to attribute this to (except clearly the Lord's mercy!!), but I do think that the fact that I continued pushing in between contactions helped . It hurt too much to just sit and wait for the next contraction, so I pushed in between. My "little" pushes seemed to ease the baby through more slowly and gently than with the big uterine contractions.

I can't tell you the emotional high that followed Noah's arrival. I had just undergone the 4 most intense and painful hours of my life, yet I couldn't even think about sleep or rest. I couldn't stop praising my Savior for His lovingkindness and tender mercies throughout the whole process.

-A beautiful healthy baby lay in my arms... with perfect little fingers and toes, sweet round cheeks...
-My loving and faithful husband at my side... a true soul mate and companion through life's most challenging journeys
-Making it to the hospital in time
-A short (but not too short) labor
-A successful VBAC
-A natural unmedicated birth
-No tearing
-No labor and delivery complications for mom or baby
-A healthy baby!!
-Good friends who babysit
-Good friends/family who pray
-and, last but not least, a surprisingly small pregnant belly for these moose like children I have hiding inside!! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sweetness in itself

I know I'm a biased mom... but still... can a baby get any cuter than this?? ;)







Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Moments

Today, I'm amazed and overwhelmed with the preciousness of a single moment... my newborn snuggles up against me and I feel his soft skin... and kiss his sweet cheeks... and smell his baby smell... and my heart overflows with joy...



This moment of tender snuggles, of closeness, of warmth, of softness... makes 9 months of waiting and anticipating worth every minute.





There are so many highs (baby kicks) and lows (aching backs) in pregnancy... and as the end draws near, the yearning increases for it just to be over!! But still I marvel. Having reached the end, and now looking back... truly it is worth it. Every minute, hour and day... every week and month of pregnancy... yes, even all the time in the world... just to be able to enjoy a sweet moment like this one now.




Sleep

It doesn't matter how big... or how small...

~Noah--3 days old~

~Joshua-- 2 years old~


~Isaiah-- 3 1/2 years old~


...there is just something so sweet and beautiful about a child sleeping. I've always loved watching my boys sleep; contentedly resting without a care in the world. Thank you Lord, for sweet sweet sleep.

"I lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quiet morning



It's been a peaceful and productive morning. The rain is beating down on the windows and the dishwasher is humming away as it cleans my dirty dishes. I hear little giggles of glee behind me, as my two little boys watch Sesame Street and laugh at Elmo's antics.

And here I sit, 38.5 weeks pregnant, enjoying a few quiet moments on the computer. As I type and update, I ponder and meditate. It is almost time for another big life change. A 3rd child will join our home in just a few days/weeks.

I wonder at just how the new little one will affect our family; how God's richest blessings will change and mold us; how we will adapt and adjust and bring God glory in the process. Deep thoughts for a quiet morning...

Despite a few looming anxieties (labor and delivery!!), my heart is filled with thoughts of thanksgiving and praise. What a great God we have, who knew us and loved us before we were even conceived, who knows our weaknesses and frailties, and who gives us strength when our strength is gone. Thank you, Lord, for quiet mornings, for peaceful rain, for loving husband, my dear little boys, and my 3rd child on the way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Books


Here's the books I read in March. Obviously not all of them in their entirety (Calvin and the Bible are "a bit" long), but I'm still reading regularly and just LOVING curling up with a good book.
  1. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (this was a blast from the past-- a childhood story that I never forgot and always enjoyed)
  2. The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges (an excellent and convicting read for sure. Bridges goes through the Fruit of the Spirit and challenges the reader to live out "the fruitful life")
  3. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (#6 in the Chronicles of Narnia)
  4. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (#7 in the Chronicles of Narnia, despite the fact that I've read this series before, I'm always surprised by the ending)
  5. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (Nick and I are enjoying a study through Calvin's Institutes at our church-- our reformed Baptist church no less!!-- and what a great study its been thus far. We delved into some big topics this last study, such as predestination and election)
  6. Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth from the Bible (the Old Testament is such a beautiful picture of Christs redeeming work)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bowling

Nick is on Spring Break this week, so we've been enjoying all kinds of fun family activities. Today, we went bowling as a family. And yes, even though I'm 38 weeks pregnant, and am carrying around a bowling ball of my own in my mid-section, I bowled too.



Its neat to see the Lord's providence in little things like this. We thought we should go bowling during the week while the bowling alley was less busy. We checked what time the alley opened and arrived shortly there after. Not only were their plenty of lanes free, but as a April Fools Day special they were offering 2 games for the price of one. On top of this bonus, April is also "Month of the Military Child" (and we were bowling on post) making kids games half price. So... we bowled 6 games plus shoe rental for pennies. The little outing would have been even less expensive if Mommy hadn't spotted someone eating hot wings and decided that she needed some too. But oh well... :)



We had a great time and made some wonderful family memories. We put up the bumpers for the boys and managed to find them orange balls (their favorite color) of the light weight variety





Nick, being the expert bowler that he is, gave Isaiah a few pointers






Looks like a STRIKE, Isaiah!!




High fives all around!







Trip to the Zoo

Spring Break is such a lovely time. Especially when it means that your husband is home from work every day, the sun is shining, and there are lots of fun things to do.



On Wednesday, we headed to the Zoo. What a fun and enjoyable day for all of us. Well, it was a little hotter than this pregnant gal would have liked it, but there was a good breeze despite the temperature being close to 90 degrees.



The boys found a stray turtle in the parking lot and took turns sitting on his head. This was amazingly entertaining for us all. I just love how a 3 year old and 2 year old find so much pleasure in little things like this.






We had a lot of fun walking around and looking at animals, and doing all those silly and "extravagant" things buying food to feed the overfed fish in the pond. The boys have so much energy and literally ran from exhibit to exhibit in the hot sun. Even though Nick had wisely brought his Camel Pack (water pack) and kept us all hydrated, the boys got pretty hot from all their running... so we took them into the bathroom and soaked their heads down. They LOVED it!! And only a few people commented on how funny they looked... with their matted, sweaty, wet heads and rosy cheeks.


The "boys" checking out the ostriches.



The Zoo had this fun little train that made a tour around one of the lakes/ponds---and our boys do love trains, so we decided to go for it.




Joshua started out thinking that maybe trains were better to look at (just a little scared as the picture shows), but quickly adjusted and enjoyed the ride. Such fun for little boys.

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