Thursday, October 30

Our first week

awake time

Today we had Luke's one week checkup- he's gained several ounces (up to 9 lbs 3 oz!) and is otherwise looking like a healthy boy! He's sleeping a lot right now, so much that I was thinking it was too much but my mother has assured me otherwise. I just don't remember Beth being so sleepy- I think a lot of my memories of her at this age are of her not sleeping! I'm loving everything about him, and it's bringing back so many memories of Beth. All the cute little noises he makes, his sweet smell, his warm body next to me when we sleep. I can't believe he's been around for a week already!

My mom is staying with us this week and Ryan has gone back to work. Beth is still adjusting to being a big sister, she loves "Yue" and usually wants to hold him. Sometimes when I'm holding or nursing him she'll tell me "No nurse" and will try to pull me up. She's not used to sharing me! Luckily she's getting in lots of play time with MawMaw! I'm so happy the weather is absolutely beautiful right now so she can play outside.

Obviously I'm not able to update my blog as frequently, sorry! We'll fall into a rhythm shortly I'm sure and I'll be able to get online a little more often. A lot of people have called, and again, I haven't been very good at returning calls! I appreciate everyone's sweet emails and phone messages though and will try to get back with you soon!

sleepy time

more snoozing in mommy's arms

We gave him his first bath on Tuesday night, he was starting to smell like sour milk! He didn't like the bath so much, but it definitely wore him out and he slept very well that night!



beth's awesome new sweatshirt!

Ryan carved our pumpkin last night. Beth held his beer, lol.

Monday, October 27

The birth of Luke Michael

I went into labor around 7 am on Thursday morning. My contractions started pretty quickly but then slowed down to once every 10-15 minutes. I was hesitant to call anyone to tell them I was in labor because I was worried it would stop- or that maybe I wasn't even in real labor yet! Several hours later the contractions were getting a little harder- pretty manageable in my opinion, just very infrequent. We called our parents and I sent out a text message to lots of people- and immediately my phone started buzzing with return texts. That was the only time I cried that day- feeling the love and support of so many wonderful people saying they were thinking of me and praying for me. It was overwhelming- thank you!

Around 2:00 (?) or so we called Ryan's mom to have her drive in to take care of Beth. We thought we wouldn't leave for the birth center for a couple more hours at that point, but before she even got to our house we realized that we'd have to leave immediately. All of the sudden my contractions went from every 10 minutes to right on top of each other, leaving me little time to catch my breath! It was insane how quickly my body switched gears. As soon as she arrived, Ryan tried to get me to the car, which was more of a task than he thought it would be. He thought I would have that baby on the floor in our bedroom- I could barely walk! We rushed off to the birth center (that was the most painful drive of my entire life). I barely remember arriving and walking into my room, my midwife checked me and I was at 8 cm! I asked when I could get in the tub and they said they were already filling it up, so a few minutes later I hopped in. WOW I never thought being in water would make that big of a difference! It honestly helped the pain so incredibly much. Unfortunately, my cervix was being difficult and wasn't pulling all the way around his head like it should have, so she made me get out of the tub to labor in a squatting position until it went to how it should be. By that time I was already feeling the urge to push so it was really hard to climb out. After some time (15 minutes?) out of the tub, things corrected themselves and I got back in to finish the job. Now I can't remember this exactly, but I asked her to break my water since it hadn't broken yet, so she did and that was a crazy feeling! I pushed in the tub, leaning over the edge in sort of a squat, supported by my doula so Ryan could catch the baby. He finally crowned and once I got his head out, I thought I was done. It was at that point my midwife told me to take a deep breath and push for the first time- I thought I had already pushed him out but apparently his little hand was up by his neck, gripping his cord! It made it just a little harder for me to get him out, but seconds later he was out and caught by his daddy!

They passed him to me and I sat in the tub, Ryan jumped in and we were able to just take it all in for awhile. :-)

After I delivered the placenta, and we all took a good look at it (really gross but totally cool) I got into the bed and we had our first nursing session. He was a little slow to start but caught on within a few hours. We were both examined and checked out and sent home that night, we got home between 10-11 pm.

Overall I would say we had an excellent birth experience. Ryan was extremely impressed with our midwife Katherine, and I was very happy to labor and deliver on my own terms. No one yelled "push!" or counted for me; when I told her I felt the urge to push she told me to follow my body. I loved the water, which I was uncertain about going into since I don't like taking baths. And looking back, not once did I wish I was in a hospital with an epidural. I can honestly say pain relief never crossed my mind- my main focus was on just getting the job done and getting him out! We'll definitely have another birth this way, I am so thankful that we were able to have this sort of support and have such an wonderful birth!

Sunday, October 26

Our first weekend

...as a family of four! (more text to come, but i can't type well with a newborn in my arms!)

checking out big sis

my first drink, a mimosa!

gazing at aunt jenny

beth and her new baby, ariel. eric and ariel, get it???

ohhh she is obsessed with the swing!

cat nap

a yummy breakfast

uncle josh and aunt ramona visited today, and brought beth the coolest flower girl gift ever- an a&m sweatshirt for beth!

Friday, October 24

A few pics of Luke

new tea set to play with while I was in labor


being admired by the proud daddy

minutes afterward, resting in bed

right after a bath, about to be measured

our new little boy

Thursday, October 23

Introducing Luke Michael....

Stephanie went into labor at 7am Thursday morning and Luke emerged at 5:48pm in all his glory that evening at the birthing center. Mama and baby are both healthy and happy.... It was amazing. More details to follow.

8 lbs, 13 oz.
20" long

Feel free to give us a call tomorrow.

-The Proud Papa

Wednesday, October 22

School

Lately Beth's education has been on my mind a lot. While I'd like to think we're considering homeschooling, it still seems pretty far off. Sending Beth and our other children to a local private Catholic school would probably be my first choice, but we all know private school means tuition! There are a lot of factors to consider but it's too early for me to make any decisions about kindergarten right now. So I'm thinking about preschool. :-)

I'm pretty sure we won't be sending Beth to any sort of formal preschool. At this point I'm still bouncing around ideas in my head about learning and environments, but I know from my personal schooling experience that I did *not* learn well in a typical class setting. In fact, it wasn't until I was in college that I really learned how to study, which is sort of sad but at least I figured it out! I found that I was no good at multiple choice tests, but could write my heart out when asked to explain my comprehension of something. I also discovered that I learned/memorized material better by rewriting lecture notes. I learned by experiencing and through hearing about others experiences, but I did need structure and a "plan."

I understand each person has their own personal learning style, and I want Beth to be able to learn in the way that is best for her. If she learns like me, fantastic. I'll know better how to teach her. If she learns a different way, then we'll adapt to that.

While I want her to learn things now that she "should" be learning (ABCs, colors, numbers, etc.), I am also concerned about her learning how the world works. I want her to develop a wild imagination, and I want her to love to read. Most importantly, I want her to desire to learn. As her mother and primary caretaker, I feel like the ball is really in my court on this one!

Beth does love to read. Right now we read books several times a day- sometimes I actually read to her, other times I narrate the pictures, and sometimes we just look at and talk about the pictures. She is developing quite an imagination and recently has been able to entertain herself in her room with her toys for up to 20 minutes at a time. And I think she's outstanding at puzzles- she has several wood puzzles that she can do by herself and it really impresses me.

I'm trying to figure out ways to foster a love for the world in her. I want her to be polite and learn manners, but also to be able to think for herself and figure things out. I want her to see God's hand in everything we do, understand her gift of free will but figure out how to follow His path set for her. I guess these are hopes and dreams every mom has for her child!

Right now I'm really into the Montessori way of thinking. This website is really inspirational to me, and I've realized I already use a lot of these practices. Offering choices is something I am constantly doing- I pick two choices that are equally pleasing to me and let her pick which she'd prefer. "Broccoli or peppers?" "Red shirt or pink shirt?" "Do you want mommy to help you or would you like to do it yourself?" On the other hand I've heard young children can be overwhelmed when faced with too many choices, so I make sure to keep her choices limited at this point! Other ideas- like rotating books and toys- I've talked about but just haven't really done yet. I think Beth is on the borderline of having too many toys but am having a hard time figuring out which ones to put away to make room for more age-appropriate toys. She really has several that she plays with on a daily basis and I feel like a lot of toys she owns, she has outgrown mentally. I'd prefer her to have a few, high-quality toys instead of a million cheap plastic toys with lights and noises. And still there are other ideas I want to incorporate as she gets older, like framing her artwork and hanging it at her eye level.

I have so many hopes and dreams for her, but my first goal for her is to incorporate her Catholic faith into every aspect of her life. I hope she grows up knowing her Creator and understanding the blessings Christ has to offer her through the Church. It's already a struggle for me to include prayer constantly throughout my day, but knowing that I'm doing it to set an example to her motivates me to be a better person. It's amazing how one sweet, tiny little soul has such an impact on an adult's life!

PS- I had an appointment today and nothing new was said or discovered! I'm still healthy and he's still not interested in being born yet!

Tuesday, October 21

Debris is gone!

Our debris has been removed- yay! Beth thoroughly enjoyed watching the big trucks haul it away. We stood at her window for probably 10 minutes so she could watch them! We picked up what was left this afternoon after Ryan got home from work then went to have some fajitas for dinner. I asked for the spiciest sauce they had to add to my fajitas and they brought out some crazy hot chili sauce- I'm still sweating! Maybe this will work? Something has to!

I wonder when HOA is going to send us a notice to replace our grass?

Beth helping us clean up!

Monday, October 20

40 + 1

This is what "overdue" looks like on me.

40 + 1 = 40 weeks and 1 day, the gestational age at which we had Beth. I know this through the miracle of charting, lol. So really as of this day, this has been my longer (yet easier) pregnancy.

Last night I woke up at one point with a pretty strong contraction and I thought to my half-asleep self, "What have I gotten myself into with this med-free labor thing?". It's very possible that this experience was only a dream though- my inner worries showing through. Though it's odd because I feel 100% at peace and confident in my decision to have Luke at the birth center.

Off and on contractions today, nothing strong enough to make me think it's the real deal though!

Comments from strangers have been mostly well-meaning, I think. "Woah, you're pregnant!" "Any day now right?" "That looks uncomfortable!" "Well I went overdue two full weeks!" Etc. You get the point. Though yesterday after mass we had a guy come up to us and tell us how he taught his daughter how to add by the age of 12 months by singing to her, using some method he learned in his two years of psychology during undergrad . That had to be the most random thing anyone has ever said to me.

This evening I walked to the park with Beth and Finley, with hopes of swinging my way into labor. Everyone is offering me advice on how to go into labor, swinging has come up with several people so I thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't sure how long I was supposed to swing though, so I did it for a few minutes, as long as I could comfortably with my big ol' childbirthin' hips! Beth enjoyed the swings though. :-)

Sunday, October 19

Due date!

And there's nothing going on today. I bought some evening primrose oil to start taking, still doing lots of walking and getting lots of comments from strangers. Really though, there's sadly nothing to report!

Saturday, October 18

Has he dropped?

I think today Luke may have "dropped." I had a lot of radiating pains across my lower abdomen this morning that definitely weren't contractions, and a couple of hours later I looked in the mirror and realized my belly looked more pointy. I don't know how else to describe it, lol. What do you think?

Please ignore my ugly pajama pants. Nothing fits me these days unless it's elastic or drawstring!

This is the blanket I worked on last night. A yard of flannel (not long enough by the way, oops) that I hemmed on 4 sides took me about 2 hours. Argh. I pressed the seams down and started sewing. All went well until the machine started acting up on me. I don't think sewing would be so frustrating sometimes if I knew it was me messing up and not the machine- but unfortunately I know nothing about it. I'm guessing some of it just comes with practice, and some of it might be that I'm working on an older machine that probably needs repair, and the last bit of it just plain old user error! While it frustrates me sometimes when I can't figure something out, I still enjoy it in the end and I'm looking forward to the day when I can make something to really be proud of!

The seams are a bit crooked, I don't know if I'm incorrectly feeding the material through or if the machine pulls it over? It seems like it's always pulling to the right and then I have to correct it manually, usually over-correcting during the process.

This afternoon we went for a walk to try to get things going and then hung around outside. Our new friends came over for a little bit to share some cookies and I think this was the first time Beth and Grace really played together. The other day at the mall it seemed they weren't too interested in each other (except for when they were holding hands while they were in their strollers- where was my camera then?) and we wondered when they'd actually start interacting. Beth shared her slide, played with Grace's hair, and even gave Grace a back rub! They rolled the soccer ball around to each other and played in our "prayer forest" (dubbed so by another neighbor) by giving Mary hugs. It was really cute to see them play and "talk" to each other. Beth was sort of the aggressor today, usually other kids come on to her and intimidate her but today she was being sort of bossy! Maybe because she was on her home turf- maybe it's just part of this almost-2-years-old personality.

Playing on her slide today. See the big pile of debris? Yup, wouldn't you know, the truck filled up yesterday and they said they'd come back this morning to finish up. LIARS!!! :-(

Beth and Grace! New BFFs?

Feast day of St. Luke

Today, October 18, happens to be the feast day of St. Luke. Coincidence? Hopefully not!

I was honestly pretty unfamiliar with who St. Luke actually was until we decided to use Luke as our child's name. I knew he wrote a gospel, and I knew he was pretty tight with St. Paul, but that's about it. I didn't know he wrote Acts of the Apostles also, was a physician, and that he was the only Gentile Christian to write a gospel. He is patron of physicians and surgeons.

Here's a good page with lots of information!

Today would be a good day, little Luke Michael. :-)

Friday, October 17

My day off

Today I sort of had the day off- Grandma and Grandpa came in to play with Beth so I took time to go out and be by myself. I ran to Wal-Mart (always exciting), had a mocha at Starbucks with my hubby (one last mini-date?) and went to Hobby Lobby to buy some flannel fabric. Then I came home, put Beth down for a nap and tried to sleep a little myself. Luke was moving around a lot so unfortunately I didn't get much sleep but at least I got to lay in bed for an hour and not do anything else. :-)

Tonight after Beth goes to sleep I plan to make some swaddle blankets for Luke. Well basically I plan to cut the fabric and hem the sides, lol, I don't think it'll be too fancy! The little Gerber receiving blankets just weren't big enough to swaddle Beth so we just didn't swaddle her hardly ever. This time I really want to swaddle him more often though, and instead of using the ugly hospital blankets from Beth I got a few yards of nicer flannel and hopefully that will work just fine.

Dare I say? They're *finally* outside picking up our debris!!! It's been over a month and we've been patient, but I think they literally forgot about our cul-de-sac. They did our whole street at least 2 weeks ago and ran out of room in the truck once they got to the cul-de-sac, and haven't been back since. Apparently our neighbor called to ask about it and they're outside today- wohoo!!! We'll have a nice big patch of dead grass for the holidays!

Thursday, October 16

Silly face

Beth has a new "trick," her "silly face" we call it. She pushes her chin back and lowers her bottom lip and makes a goofy face- it's really hilarious and it cracks Ryan up. If I ever ask her to make her silly face while Ryan is at work, she always asks "Daddy?" and I say, "Yes, the silly face daddy likes," and she makes the face. She's so smart and cute!




Not much new to report from my midwife appointment this afternoon except that Luke has flipped back into the correct position- so he's head down, anterior. I'd be excited except that she did an internal check at my request, and he's still incredibly high and I'm not dialated or effaced at all! Boo. This little boy is so active that it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he flips around again, so I'm just trying not to see anything as permanent because it really could change at any moment. I'm still trying to do lots of hands-and-knees to encourage him to stay in the right position. They also drew blood to check my iron, I'll hear about that in a couple of days. In the meantime, I'm still on the iron suppliments. My local vitamin store is no longer stocking Red Raspberry Leaf tea so I'm desperate to find some more! If anyone knows where to get some in my area (we have no health food stores believe it or not!) please let me know- I really need it!

Please keep sending me your prayer requests. I have a long list but it's not long enough for the labor I'm anticipating, lol.


Beth and Eric. Yes, he's wearing one of Luke's cloth diapers. ;-)

Wednesday, October 15

Prayer requests

I've been meaning to do this for a long time, I'm glad I remembered before it's too late!

I would like to offer my labor pains for the prayer requests of friends, family, and even total strangers. If you're not familiar with the idea of "offering it up" I'll try to explain it (I think I've tried before-possibly unsuccessfully- here on my blog). "Redemptive suffering" is our reaction- our choice by our gift of free will- to suffering. Should I say a curse word, mumble under my breath, or stare down that awful driver- or should I offer my displeasure to God for a specific intention? Instead of suffering without reason, it's taking something painful and turning it into something positive. It means offering our sufferings up to God as a sacrifice.

For me, I think it would give meaning to my labor to be able to offer up prayers for my friends and family. Of course I have my own personal list- but since Beth's labor was a couple of days long, I'm anticipating needing a longer list of prayer intentions! So if you'd like for me to pray for you and your intentions during my labor, please email me with your list. I'd prefer not to have specific prayer requests in my comments section so that we can keep these private and personal. If you'd rather not share a specific request, just say, "For a personal intention" and that will suffice. God knows the desires of your heart! If you don't have my email address then you can post in my comments section and I will find you somehow!

Tuesday, October 14

Push Present

Ryan and I always thought the idea of a "push present" was really silly. Well this time he has been hinting for the past few weeks that he has something for me, and finally today he didn't want to wait anymore. It's not really a typical present, but it's something that we've also joked about for awhile!

(And yes, consider this my post for the day!)

Monday, October 13

Still waiting

Nothing today! Except I am very happy to announce that I have my happy little girl back. Though she's coughing a lot, she's back to her happy self. She has just been so cranky the past week- and who can blame her, being sick is no fun. She was so much fun today though- she played with MawMaw and Uncle "D" and Uncle "Ah", got to talk to PawPaw on the phone, and took a nice nap. Then she and I did some laundry, read some books, and took a walk this afternoon. It's just so much fun when she's a happy girl! I, on the other hand, am completely congested. But that's my only complaint so I guess I'm not doing too bad!

This picture is of her new shirt and skirt from Grandma and Grandpa. It was taken a few days ago, hence the non-smile, lol.

Sunday, October 12

Sunday

No baby, no labor... No nuthin'.

Well, I did do some nesting today. My mom came by for a little bit and helped me do a little deep-cleaning of our house (dusting, bathtubs, etc) and I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed spots out of the carpet. It was good for me- I need to spend time that way, plus I got a little work done! We also installed Luke's car seat. I remember it took us like, an hour at least, to install Beth's Britax Marathon. Today it took me about 5 minutes to install Luke's Graco Safe Seat, it's amazing how much I've learned and how nice it is to have a car with LATCH, lol.

So that's all, we're still waiting! My mom is driving back tomorrow so I imagine as soon as she steps foot into her house is the moment I'll go into labor!

Saturday, October 11

Saturday

First off, no baby news!

Today we went to a birthday party for some of Beth's friends, twins who turned three . She had a really fun time playing on their new swing set and learning how to swing on her belly!






After the party and a really long nap, we went to visit my mom and 2 of my brothers who came to town to visit us and my grandma. We had dinner at my uncle's house with some other family members and Beth had a great time playing with "D" and "Ah" (David and Alex).

This girl is no longer afraid of dogs!

My brother David and Beth.

We also found our double stroller today at our resale shop. It wasn't as cheap as I'd hoped to find it, but it was exactly the stroller and colors I wanted and honestly I'm just glad to have it now. I had been looking on Craigslist and I've seen them on there cheaper about 3 months ago, but I put it off thinking there'd be some up around now. Of course no one is selling any right now so I hadn't had any luck finding one, plus at least now I don't have to drive halfway across the city to buy one.

Tomorrow night is a full moon! Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, October 10

The Catholic Vote (but important for everyone- not just Catholics!)

Curb walking

Tonight I did a little curb walking. It's my first effort to get labor going! We didn't go on a very long walk but I did manage to have a contraction while we were out there so I'll count it as a success! Right now Luke has the hiccups and unfortunately I don't feel them in the right place, and my his other movements I'm pretty sure he's still posterior.

Beth is still sick, but her fever has been gone for almost 48 hours so that's the positive side of it. She's still cranky as every with a super-runny nose, but she just cut one tooth and I think she might have two more coming in also (all pointy teeth) so maybe-hopefully- that's contributing to the crankiness instead of her actually being sick.

That's all for today! We have a semi-busy weekend but I'll try to at least give a quick update since I know I have daily (hourly?) blog stalkers at this point. ;-)

Thursday, October 9

Our day at home

Today we stayed home. All day. It was glorious! I didn't even change out of my pajamas until 3:00, and I didn't feel guilty about it! We had a meeting that we should have gone to this morning, but the drive was long and Beth still isn't 100% up to par- plus we hadn't just stayed home all day in over a week. I can tell it was wearing on her and definitely on me, so we just did things around our house. I actually got a lot done, but I did things slowly so I didn't feel overwhelmed. Of course all day I was thinking about things I need to do or buy- like a bigger diaper pail for their cloth diapers since in a few days we'll be adding a lot to the pile!

"New" toys- I bought this set of "Little People" for Beth at a consignment sale a few weeks ago but just gave it to her yesterday. She loves it! I guess I know what she'll be getting for Christmas now!
A small project- I made her another sling today. I know she'll be mimicing everything I do with Luke, so I figured she needed a sling that actually fit her. The other one I made wasn't deep enough, and unfortunately this one is deep enough but a little tight. It'll do the job though!
Playing with Finley


I think the baby will be coming soon, not in the next 24 hours or anything but soon. I have been soooo tired and soooo hungry all day today, which I'm taking as my body gearing up for labor. I have also had the oddest pains that I don't recall having with Beth- they're harder than braxton hicks contractions but definitely not the real thing. I figure since my body has done this one time, things are just going to go a little differently (hopefully "differently" means "quicker").

I'll keep updating my blog! I can't guarantee I'll be calling everyone the day of/after delivery, but please feel free to call me after I update with the big news!

Wednesday, October 8

Surprise!

I had the wonderful pleasure today of being surprised with a baby shower for Luke by some of my lady friends at church! I was completely baffled and almost ruined the surprise! I hadn't planned on going to our meeting this morning because Beth has been sick- I called to let them know I wouldn't be there and instead was asked to come by at the end of the meeting instead for the surprise shower. They had a sweet cake with punch and presents. And I think the most moving part for me was that our priest came up, had everyone circle up around me and lay their hands on me, and they all prayed over me. I cried! I am so amazed at the generosity of these ladies who have become such good friends to me, I'm even tearing up right now just thinking about it. :-)

My awesome sweet friends. :-) Unfortunately 3 ladies had already left by the time I remembered to take this photo.

Last night Ryan got down our bassinet, swing, and bouncy chair. We've decided to not use the bassinet again since it's pretty unstable and we don't trust Beth or Finley around it. I'm not sure if we'll buy a new one or just use our pack n play. We didn't really use it for Beth to sleep in, it was more of a changing diapers/resting place so it doesn't really make a lot of sense to us to spend money on one. Though there is a lot of sentimental value to a baby bassinet!



Beth's still under the weather. I'm not sure I ever blogged that she was sick, but she's had a fever since Monday accompanied with a nasty nose and just overall miserableness. It's not enough for me to bring her to the doctor at this point- her fever is low but still there though. I have a stuffy nose also so I'm thinking it's allergies from our change of scenery last weekend, and she's just dealing with it worse than I am. Hopefully she'll be better soon because it's not fun for anyone when the baby is sick!
 
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