Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Scene from Week One

This is my favorite photo from Katherine's first week.
This was our first night home from the hospital and what struck me right away was that when you have a third child your older two expect business as usual.  So there was a normal dinner with all of us around the table.  There were baths after dinner.  There was brushing teeth and combing hair.  There was lotion and jammies.  And there was the bedtime story.

Katherine was awake and I was cleaning up the bathroom so I just put her on Brian's chest.  I love how no one seems to think it's a big deal that there's a new audience member for our book-reading session.  William is captivated by Harold and the Purple Crayon even though he's read it one thousand and one times.  And Lucy, per usual, is more interested in the camera than anything else that's going on around her.

No one is paying particular attention to Katherine's presence.  And it's not because she isn't special or appreciated or loved.  It's because she fits so seemlessly into this house.  I look at her and think, "Oh there you are!" Like she's just been missing all these years.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Katherine's Story

Although Katherine was born on Sunday, her birth story really starts on Friday.

After finding out earlier in the week that I was already dilated to 5 centimeters my mood was lifted. I knew the end was near and I thought Friday was it. And if it wasn't, I was going to will myself into labor. Brian worked from home just in case. I had some light contractions begin around 3:00 p.m. It was a beautiful fall day so we walked to the playground with the kids. They played for about an hour while I soaked up the warm October sun. I was still having contractions but they were very light and very inconsistent.

After the kids were in bed we put Casino Royale in the DVD player. But I was distracted. Contractions kept coming and I kept wondering if/hoping that they would start to get stronger and closer together. My mom even wondered if she should hop in the car and drive the two hours to be here with the kids. But I told her no because I wasn't sure if this was "it." When the movie was over I decided to go to bed. If this were really "it" I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. And when I awoke to find the Saturday morning sun greeting me in the face, I was bummed. It wasn't it.

Saturday brought absolutely nothing. And zero contractions to go with it. Brian even commented that it was the laziest Saturday ever. William had a birthday party to attend in the morning. After lunch both the kids took great naps. I layed down with William and snoozed myself. For dinner I made whole wheat pasta and turkey meatballs in marinara sauce with a side of edamame. That evening our neighbors invited the kids over for one of their movies in the backyard. I told Brian I wasn't sure if I could handle any more questions related to the end of my pregnancy so I sent him with the kids and I stayed at home and finished some loads of laundry.

When the movie was over both the kids went to bed beautifully and Brian and I began to watch the Notre Dame and Wisconsin football games that I mentioned last week. Because both of the games were on at the same time we had to DVR both channels and flip back and forth, meaning that we watched a total of eight quarters of [disappointing losses of] football. It was around midnight when finished watching both games. We decided to head to bed.

After I washed my face, brushed my teeth and removed my contacts, I slipped into my sheets with a sigh thinking how tired I was because I hadn't made it to midnight in a long time. I closed my eyes and instantly had a very strong contraction. I grabbed Brian and told him. He glanced at the clock. 12:10. I closed my eyes and fell halfway asleep. Then I was awoken by another strong contraction. I even had to breathe through this one. I told Brian. He looked at the clock. 12:20. I was disappointed. Ten minutes was too far a part. I closed my eyes again. Ten minutes later I was again awoken by a strong contraction. So strong that I grabbed Brian's arm tightly to get me through it. When it was over he hopped out of bed, threw on the lights and started putting his jeans on.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm putting my clothes on." he said. "We're going in."

"We are?" I said. It should be noted here that I never, in all my pregnancies, think I'm really in labor. Brian is always the one that has to make the final decision to go to the hospital.

"Yes, we are," he said. "I'll text your sister to come over."

He started following the list for my hospital bag and putting in the remaining items. I put my contacts back in and threw my hair up in a ponytail. While I was in the bathroom I had another big contraction and had to kneel next to the bathtub to get me through it. But when the contraction was over I felt completely fine so still, I wasn't sure this was really it.

Brian continued to pack up our stuff and call my midwife while I poured myself a glass of water in the kitchen and waited for my sister to arrive. By this time I had the full-on shakes no doubt from an adrenline rush of going to bed one minute only to realize the next that our plans for the evening would be much, much more exciting than mere sleep. I remember having a few contractions at the kitchen counter. I would lay my head on the cold granite while Brian pressed his palms into the small of my back.

At 1:21 a.m. I received a text from my sister saying she had just exited the freeway. That meant she would be there in five minutes. When she arrived I had just finished up a contraction and I asked her to remind me why I don't just take the epidural. I always have doubts about having a natural birth when I'm in labor. I think every woman must! But I powered through it.

So around 1:30 Brian and I finally hopped in the car and were off for the 10-15 minute drive to the hospital. The most entertaining part of the drive was that it was right in the middle of bar close on a Saturday night. We passed a few crazies on the way and at least one hitchhiker approaching our car right in the middle of a contraction. Brian ran a couple of red lights which was totally unnecessary but always provides for a fun extra detail to the story the next day. I think he secretly wishes he would get pulled over so that we could get a police escort to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital's emergency entrance I don't think the staff was fully up to speed on how far progressed I was because it took FOREVER for someone to come down and bring us up to the maternity floor. All the paramedics were gawking as I was contracting and kept offering a wheelchair.

Finally a nurse arrived and escorted me to my room where my midwife was waiting. She checked my cervix and found me to be dilated to 9 centimeters and baby's head very low. She briefly mentioned breaking my water and having me start pushing but for some reason I asked to go into the bathtub. At this point I don't think I was mentally prepared to realize that I was in full-on labor and that the end was here. So instead of pushing I went into the bathtub where I had about four more intense contractions.

After those contractions I looked up at my midwife and said, "So really you think you could just break my water and I can start pushing?"

"Yes," she said, "Why prolong the torture of contractions if you don't have to?"

So out of the tub I went and back into the bed. My midwife easily broke my water and told me I had a bit of cervix left that I would have to push through. As I pushed, she told me she was going to help move it around my baby's head. Those first couple of pushes were a real struggle because I didn't feel like I was making any progress. But once she successfully moved the cervix I could really feel baby coming and I remember taking a break before my next, and last, contraction and saying a quick prayer.

I said: Please God, give me the strength to push this baby out with the next contraction. I really want this pain to be over and I want to see this baby.
On the next contraction I held my breath and pushed with everything I had. I watched Brian's eyes get wide and listened as he told me with a confident voice that I was doing a really good job. It wasn't one of those fake tones where you know you're not really doing anything and they're just saying that to help encourage you to keep going. I knew this was for real. So I kept pushing. I felt a brief respite when the baby's head was out only to feel a bit of gloom when I realized I still had the shoulders left. So I kept pushing. And finally I felt the baby slide all the way out. Relief. Glorious relief! The pain really is 100% gone as soon as that baby is out.

2:34 a.m. As in about 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. I like to keep things exciting.

The midwife had to suction the baby for what seemed like forever so I yelled at Brian to tell me what it was. I felt like it took him an hour to finally look up with teary eyes and say, "It's a girl!"

A girl! Holy crap! I really thought I was having a boy. A girl!

My midwife finally put her on my chest and it was then that I got to see what a little chunk she really was. Later we would find out she was an 8 pounds, 11 ounce chunk, to be exact. She was a bit blue from being pushed out so fast, not allowing her lungs to completely clear of the amniotic fluid, but she pinked up fast. After she was pink the nurse kept rubbing her to get her to cry. After a while they realized she had no trouble breathing at all. She just wasn't crying. She was totally content just staring at her new world. And I was totally content with her in my arms.

After a few minutes I turned to Brian and said, "Hey, guess what?"


"I'm not pregnant anymore!"

It felt so good. But not nearly as good as sleeping away the rest of the night with my new baby girl in my arms.

I admit, this picture was not taken immediately after birth but rather after I had a bit to pull myself together and apply a little mascara.  Mascara--a new mom's BFF.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh Baby!

Early Sunday morning we welcomed Katherine Elizabeth into this crazy family of ours.  As much as I complained about the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I have to say, my labor, delivery and recovery has been a piece of cake. Yay for third babies!

More birth details to come. In the meantime Brian and I are enjoying our 48-hour vacation in the hospital until the reality of having three children fully engulfs us.

Here's the newest princess in our castle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still Minus One

Greetings from the land of Still Pregnant.

I'm sure many of you assumed my absence meant baby had arrived but really it just meant I was trying to keep my crabby out of the blogosphere.

I had a mini breakdown on Sunday when every one in our family was dressed so pretty for morning mass.  I had pulled together one of the last cute maternity outfits that still looks halfway decent on me only to realize I had no shoes that fit.  Yeah.  That's one of the things "they" forget to tell you about pregnancy.  In the last few weeks your feet swell so bad many of your normal shoes leave you feeling like one of the ugly step-sisters in Cinderella.  Tennis shoes and sandals are pretty much all that work.  And being that temps are currently in the 40s and 50s, the latter is out of the question.

On the way out the door I glanced at myself in the dining room mirror and realized my hair looked GORG-eous.  All shiny and flowy and tons of body.  So there's that up side to pregnancy.  And then there's my chest.  My normal negative A cup is now a generous B making shirts and dresses fit like they're supposed to and making my husband eye me up like it's the first time.  So it's not ALL bad.

The other day we were laughing that William knew almost all the lyrics to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."  Well, I was laughing.  Brian, being the real musician in the house, couldn't help but wonder what songs he would have memorized if he were the stay-at-home parent.  But he's not.  So inappropriate lyrics it is.

So anyway there Brian and I were in the kitchen finishing up the dinner dishes singing "Teenage Dream" when Brian grabbed me from behind and sang "Let you put your hands on me in your MA-TER-NITY jeans be your teenage dream tonight..."

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.  I chose to laugh.

After the dishes were done we had ourselves a little family dance party in the living room and it made me so happy to see every one having so much silly fun together.  Brian was dancing with Lucy and I was dancing with William and suddenly I realized these last few days are really a treasure to behold.  Soon they will outnumber us.  Soon we will have to take turns doing one-on-one activities.

I think a sibling is one of the most blessed gifts you can give your older children.  But initially that change comes with a lot of growing pains.  And as much as you can prepare yourself and your other children for those changes, you really can't.  You kind of just have to plow through it head first.  And there's a part of me that's really sentimental about the loss of our one-parent-to-one-child ratio.

This week two of my sisters-in-law called and graciously offered to take William and Lucy for a four-day weekend as schools in Minnesota are on break.  There's no doubt William and Lucy would be ecstatic to spend that much time with their seven cousins.  And there's no doubt it would be much easier for Brian and me, especially if I went into labor during that time and didn't have to worry about finding child care.

But after thinking it over and discussing it with Brian, we both decided to decline their generous offer.

I just didn't know if I could bear to see their empty beds every night wondering if this would be my last opportunity to really devote myself to the bedtime routine.  And I wasn't sure it was fair to them to leave their house for a few days only to return to drastic changes.  Having a new baby is an event for the whole family and my heart just feels better with them here.

And now here I am sounding like I'm going to have this baby in the next four days.  My midwife appointment yesterday left me feeling like that's a very real possibility.  So real that it had Brian considering a call to the hospital to ensure they had access to the right television channels for both the Notre Dame and Wisconsin football games on Saturday.  And it had me, as much a die-hard college football fan as he, questioning if that was enough.  Should we request a second television so we can watch both games at once?  Should we check the hospital's wireless Internet speed so we could stream one of the games?  Should we look into reserving a conference room?  Should we just scrap the hospital idea and consider giving birth in a sports bar?

All very good questions at the very top of our priority list.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Notes from the Land of the Quarantined

Look at this! Me, posting, two days in a row! I figure if I can just start with writing about what's going on in my day-to-day life eventually some meatier posts will strike me.

The real reason I'm sitting in front of the computer at 9 o'clock on a Tuesday in my yoga pants and Brian's white undershirt, with the sun glistening in the SUPER CLEAN porch windows and a steaming cup of coffee in front of me is because we've been quarantined with croup. William comes down with croup a couple of times a year and this, apparently, is one of those times.

If I'm being honest I would tell you that it's been kind of nice to be forced to just stay put. Yesterday I put folded laundry away, made my bed, took a shower, packed a few things for my hospital bag and threw a roast in the slow cooker. That's it. William had intervals of A LOT of television-viewing and napping and Lucy had intervals of the toy room and giving me hilarious one-liners.

When Brian came home I expressed guilt about the tube being on so much but ever the realist he scoffed at that. What else was I supposed to do with a child who could barely lift his head from his pillow to acknowledge my existence? And truthfully, since school started at the beginning of September, our schedule has been so jam-packed this was the most the TV had been on in two full months.

After a night of very little sleep and a lot of labored breathing (why does croup have to be SO scary?!) William popped up from his permanent indent on the couch while we watched The Today Show this morning.  I was scrolling through emails on my phone at the time so I was able to capture the moment.
I'm going to miss those sun-bleached locks this winter.

I think it's safe to say we're on the upswing from illness.  But is there a way to keep the hoarse voice?  Why are hoarse voices so dang cute in little kids?

Of course all this sitting still does have one major drawback.  I had not a single contraction yesterday.  So that is not boding well with progressing labor.  But apparently all I need to do is complete a marathon to kick start things.  Kudos to that woman but also a little peeved that she's making the rest of us (me) look like a bunch of whiny sloths.

Speaking of being slothful, I got a pedicure last night.  I rarely get pedicures outside of the summer months but I figure the least I could do to spruce up my swollen sausages-for-feet was to give them a fresh coat of polish.  It isn't exaggerating to say it was the best pedicure of my life.  I wanted to adopt my pedicurist (word?) as my Asian grandmother.  She took pity on my enormous cankles and gave me an extra long massage.  When she finished with the first leg, the swelling difference was astounding.  So now baby has a pretty set of toes to greet him/her as s/he emerges into the world. Ha!

So that's my exciting life in the past 24 hours.  Tell me, what's going on with you?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Discount Announcement and Other Updates

Remember when I linked to this Etsy shop last week while featuring the baby's room makeover?  Well, I recently received a note from Maya, the shop's owner, letting me know she'd like to extend a discount to all Mama Nash readers.  All you have to do is send her a note mentioning that you're a Mama Nash reader and she'll discount the total of whatever you'd like to purchase.  She also wanted me to remind my readers that all of her work is custom made so if you're looking for modifications or have something particular in mind, don't hesitate to ask!  Even if you don't have a baby or one on the way, I think these pieces make for such a unique baby gift.  Happy shopping!

And now on to the state of things in this ninth month of my pregnancy.

The nesting bug hit me hard this third time around.  Even I got sick of myself.  I did crazy things like clean all 13 windows in our porch including removing every screen and hosing it down.  I've switched all the closets over to our fall/winter clothes which included a major dump at Goodwill and a reorg of our cedar closet in the basement.

As of today I'm feeling good with every item checked off our to-do list except one.  Removing the window a/c units.

Which leads me to my next update.  The weather.  And really, if it were any other year, you'd be seeing a ton of pictures posted here of how the kids and I are enjoying a record-setting Indian Summer that has lasted for more than a week now of temps in the upper 80s.  But instead I'm Grumpy McGrumperson with my swollen feet and hands, my too-small-to-fit summer maternity clothes and my sweaty body.  This was just not at all what I planned for when I pictured myself being nine-months pregnant in October.

I used to think I would be the perfect person to live in Florida or somewhere in the desert.  But I've changed my mind.  I need long sleeves and puffer vests and cute scarves and tall boots and hot baths before bed and snuggling under a blanket on the couch and hot lattes and crisp evenings at a football game and good things baking in my oven.  I still reserve my right to complain in January, mind you, but a few 50-degree days would feel pretty nice right about now.

Today officially marks two weeks until my due date.  It also marks the climax of me being a total basket case.  I didn't get it with William, probably because he was born too early for it to hit, but I did get it with Lucy, who was born three days before her due date.  Full-blown basket case means you would see behavior like me being completely neurotic about not finding William's belt where it should be.  Or having a breakdown because I can't find anything to wear that covers my belly.  Or having energy equivalent to ten manic people.  Or not having the energy to stay awake past nine o'clock.

One minute I want this baby out of my body right now.  The next minute I'm hoping to buy another day or two because it's just not convenient right now.  This part of pregnancy is definitely not my favorite.  But it's also the shortest.  So I'm trying not to complain too much (not a word from you, Brian) and put it all in perspective.  These last few days as a family of four are a blessing.  Soon we will be a family of five and there's no going back after that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Room Makeover: Baby's Room

I finally got around to taking some new pictures of the baby's room that I think do it more justice than the previous ones I had taken.  Prior to the makeover, this was William's room.  It's the smallest bedroom in our house so, needing just a twin bed and a dresser, it was perfect for him.  The walls used to be a medium shade of green and I actually really liked the color.  But now that we've painted it a dull yellow, I like this color so much better.
This room is at the end of our hallway.  The windows face East and South giving it a plethora of sunlight.  It has quickly become my favorite bedroom in the house.
We spent the most money making over this room--but still only around $350 which includes the dresser, the chair, paint and new blinds.  We bought the small white dresser at Ikea for around $100 and we bought the chair for around $140.  I'm a veteran at this mom thing now so I didn't waste my money on a changing table that will last us two years tops. Instead I just threw a changing mat on top of the dresser.
I knew I needed some sort of a chair in this room for nursing purposes but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a glider or any other type of chair that couldn't be easily incorporated into another room after my nursing days are over.  This chair from Ikea is SO comfy.  There's just enough rock in it to lull a little one to sleep.  (Hopefully.)  There have been a few trying days lately when Brian comes home from work to find me sitting peacefully in this chair while the kids are downstairs fighting or playing or doing something I'm trying not to pay attention to for just five minutes.

You see that white bench in the background?  We have no idea what's under it!  I tried to peel back a wooden plank but it wouldn't give.
So a bench it remains.  For now I've decided to use it for these baskets (that I already owned) and rolled up a bunch of baby blankets to display.  I'm not sure what it will become later on.  Suggestions?  Previously, William used it for his stuffed animals and then later as a spot to play with his beloved Batman Cave.
One of the tough things about living in a 90-year-old home is that every bedroom has a radiator that takes up wall/floor space.  I actually really love having radiators as opposed to forced air.  I have zero allergies in the winter and we get a lot less dust bunnies flying around.  But having radiators in every room is a challenge when deciding furniture layout.

I wasn't sure where to put the crib in this room but in the end Brian convinced me to put it between the radiator and door (which is closed in this picture).  He reminded me that in the winter this room gets extra cold and it would be nice to have this heat so close to the baby.  And for the safety conscious, don't worry.  The radiator is never too hot to touch.
The crib is a bit cluttered and unfinished at the moment until we find out baby's gender.  I washed my pink and blue Pottery Barn Kids crib bumper and dust ruffle and my mom is all excited to set it up when she comes to watch the kids while I'm in the hospital.
And now for the "ahh, cute" factor.  William is in the middle of a shapes/learning-to-cut-with-scissors unit at school and made this mobile.  I tied a knot at the top of the yarn and hung it from the mobile my sister gifted me with way back when William was a newborn.  Already William loves to stand on the stool and wind it up.

You'll notice that, other than an actual baby, this room is also missing wall decor.  I'm still trying to decide exactly what to do and where to put it all.  I do have a large white picture frame that currently features nine 4x6 newborn pictures of Lucy.  I'll probably use that.  And then I've been secretly admiring Etsy items like this or any of these.  But I'm still undecided.  I welcome other suggestions!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My [New] Thoughts on Comments

My post about "to blog or not to blog" from yesterday garnered a lot of comments and emails from all of you begging me to stay.  Thank you!  But I have to put it out there that it was definitely not the point of that post.

Don't you hate it when someone says something like, "I'm so fat!" Which of course requires you to demand that they absolutely are not.  I hate that.  Nothing makes me want to compliment a person less than when they are fishing for a compliment.  And maybe that makes me not a nice person because those are probably the people that need the most compliments.  But still.  I hate it when people do that.

That's my way of saying, I wasn't fishing for comments.  I wasn't fishing for praise about how awesome of a blogger I am.  I was sincerely trying to relieve some guilt about deserting this little space on the Internet because the truth is I do know that you're out there.  I know that you're clicking every once in a while and I feel bad to disappoint you when the same post from last week remains at the top.  I felt you deserved an explanation or at least acknowledgement.  That's all.

And in receiving all your emails and comments I realized something.  Comments don't mean as much to me as they used to.  I need to qualify that first by saying that I do so treasure every single comment I receive.  I read every single one and I try to respond to most of them.  I especially love your thought-provoking comments.  Comments that tell me the way you do things.  Comments that give me a new perspective.  I even love comments that disagree with my point-of-view.  (So don't be afraid to share those.)

But I don't ever want you to feel like you owe me a comment.  I've read a lot of posts about how comments are a blogger's paycheck.  I used to believe that.  In the past I think I've even written a few posts myself begging for comments.

I've changed my mind.

Just knowing that, in your busy schedule and of all the billions of websites to go to, you've chosen to visit me.  Wow.  That's so much bigger than watching my comment count go up.

Sometimes I read a book because it challenges me and makes me think.  But sometimes I read a book because it's easy and not at all thought-provoking and I just want some leisure time without having to turn on the critical thinking part of my brain.

I want my blog to be a little bit of both.  I want you to come here with your five minutes and your hot cup of coffee and read what I've written and not feel at all guilty about not having left a comment.  I wish there were simply a button you could click at the end of each post that says "Hey, I read this!"  There's probably already a plug-in for that.  Maybe I'll look for one to install today.

On the other hand, if something I've written does move you, I still hope you'll comment.  But only because you really want to and not because you feel you've betrayed me if you don't.

Blogging almost exactly mimics a good friendship, doesn't it?  Sometimes you want to sit around and gab and gab forever.  And sometimes you're just content to be silent and know that they are still there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

For Now

I just looked at my photos of the re-done baby's room and realized none of them is any good.  So I'll get to that makeover later.  But first I need to say some words about the content of my blog. Or lack thereof as the case may be. As they say, it's not you, it's me. Brian told me today that a piece of music he recorded is getting quite a few hits on the Internet. I told him that while his numbers are rising, my blog readership has been reduced to two. One of which is him. They other of which is probably my mom. But I can't even be entirely sure about that.

Last week I wondered aloud if perhaps I was finished as a blogger. Every day when I have a free moment to sit at the computer all I can think about is finishing the laundry or organizing another drawer or sweeping away the crumbs from the floor or eating some lunch in peace or taking a nap. Anything having to do with social media these days is very low on my priority list. I've even been absent on Twitter and Facebook, which requires little, if any, creative talent. And if I can already find "better things" to do with my time now, how will it be to add another body to this household?

The answer is: I'm not sure. Brian screamed "Noooooooo!" when I mentioned closing down my blog so it's out of the question for now. But things may be a bit sporadic around here until I find my groove and get my mojo back. Here's hoping a new baby will inspire me to carve out time for lots of great writing in the months to come.

Baby time is getting close.  Just a few weeks (days?!) away now.  You can still expect the breaking news to be posted here as well as plenty of follow-up posts to relieve my need to brag about having the cutest baby on the block.

In the meantime, I'm still here. And if you're not, well, that's OK too. If I can't make the time to read other blogs, I certainly can't expect any different from you.  Sending out lots of love anyway.  My blog readers, past and present, are the world's best.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © Mama Nash | Custom Blog Design by Lilipop Designs