Category Archives: Momentous Occasions

A New Purse, A New Year

I bought a new purse today. Since high school, I have toted variations of the same tiny purse—a few pockets here and there; room for keys, a cell phone, a wallet, and not much more. But lately, I have wanted to carry more than my little purse would allow. I’ve overloaded it, struggled with it, and been frustrated with its inadequacy. So today I upgraded to a larger, more appropriate handbag, one that I hope will make my life a little easier and a little better. It is sitting empty, awaiting the transfer of the contents of my old purse, ready to hold those things and more.

In a few minutes, I’ll be ringing in a new year. The old year is filled to capacity. It was a time of growth and stretching. At times I felt overloaded, I struggled, and I was frustrated with my own inadequacy. But I gained a little more wisdom, a little more understanding, a little more compassion, a little more peace, a little more faith. Those are things I will carry with me into this new year, which is wide open and waiting to be filled.





Baby Girl’s Birth Story

I woke up on Sunday morning, July 18, 2010, when my 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son climbed onto my bed around 6:30 AM and began chattering and bouncing around as usual. After several minutes, they got down and went to play in another room, and as I lay in bed, I realized I was having light contractions, about 12-15 minutes apart. At exactly 42 weeks pregnant, I was ecstatic to finally have some indication that labor was beginning.

We considered staying home from church, but I finally convinced T that I would rather be doing something than just sitting around waiting for contractions to get stronger. After church, we went home, had leftovers for lunch, and put the kids down for naps. My mom picked me up at 1:40 to take me to a joint baby shower at church for another 3rd-time mama and me. My contractions started getting stronger and closer together during the shower. During the prayer time at the end, they were coming about 8 minutes apart and making me perspire and curl my toes!

As Mom was driving me back home after the shower, around 4 PM, I called my midwives and let them know I was ready to come to the birth center. We agreed to meet there at 5:30. I called T and let him know the plans. He was running errands with the kids, but he came home quickly and loaded our things into the van.

I had two contractions on the ride to the birth center and one more as I stepped out of the van; they were uncomfortable, but not at all as intense as our last hurried trip to the birth center when I was already in transition before giving birth to our 2-year-old.

We checked into the birth center at 5:40. I had planned to give birth to this child in the same room we’d used with our other two children, but that room was occupied, so we were shown to a very nice, large room with an extra-deep birth tub.

At this point, I was 4 cm dilated and very effaced.

My midwives made me a turkey sandwich, and after I ate it, T and I decided to go for a walk. It was a perfect summer evening, about 70 degrees with clear blue skies. Once T and I started walking around 6:15, my contractions immediately became much more intense and came every 2-3 minutes, lasting about a minute each. We would walk a block or so, then I would stop and lean on T for support, then we would resume walking until the next contraction.

We returned to the birth center at 7:15. I laid on my side on the bed to try to catch what little rest I could between contractions. I remember having one insanely strong one and saying to my midwives and T, “It won’t stop! Why is this contraction going on forever?” They assured me that it was because our baby would be born very soon.

My water broke at 8:07, and I sat on the birth stool at 8:08. After 6 minutes of very intense pushing, our daughter was born at 8:14 PM, weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and measuring 20 inches long with a 13 ½ inch head. I birthed the placenta at 8:27 and T cut the cord at 8:30.

We had planned to go home after a few hours, but we ended up staying overnight at the birth center because Baby Girl’s breathing was a little fast. We arrived home around 1:30 PM the next day and introduced Baby Girl to her brother, sister, grandma, and grandpa. Baby Girl is doing great, and we’re so thankful for her.

Cupcake is 2!

I made a peanut butter cake to celebrate Cupcake’s actual birthday with our small group from church.

The next day, my family came to visit and we had strawberries with whipped cream.

Cupcake received a wading pool (and a cute little swimsuit) from her great-grandmother.

My sweet 2-year-old:

5th Anniversary

Friday was T and my 5th anniversary. We dropped the kids off with their favorite babysitter and went to a Thai restaurant which we had heard good things about. We ate spring rolls, lobster pad thai, and cashew chicken. T gave me a silver heart necklace with a diamond in it. Then we went to hear some live bluegrass music. It was short and sweet, but it was fun to go on a real date…I don’t think we’d been on a date since last summer.

I am 17 weeks pregnant now. My next appointment with my midwives is in three weeks, at which time I can schedule an ultrasound if that’s what we decide to do. Most likely I will get an ultrasound and find out the gender of the baby, if our insurance covers it. It would be nice to be able to refer to the baby by name, and not just call him or her “the baby” all the time. We’re 99% set on a boy’s name, and probably about 75% sure of a girl’s name.

3 Years Old

Happy third birthday to D.L.F.!

D.L.F. helped T put up streamers and balloons this morning, and then my parents took the kids for a while so T and I could take care of more party preparations. I baked a gluten-free coconut carrot cake based on this recipe, although I tweaked it by using a mix of brown rice and coconut flours, and adding extra eggs, some applesauce, and xanthan gum, and using honey and stevia in place of sugar. Oh, and using half butter and half coconut oil for the oil. With all those changes, I was really hoping the cake would turn out all right, and it did. It was moist and tasty. I frosted it with a cream cheese and maple syrup frosting. We had lasagna and salad for dinner.

The kids had a wonderful time with my parents and Uncle J, who kindly brought his guitar and played lots of fun songs. D.L.F. received lots of nice presents, including some new clothes, books, Duplos, and perhaps his favorite gift, his very own tricycle (“It’s a motorcycle!” he gleefully exclaimed as T wheeled it down the hallway toward him). What is nice about the trike, since we live on a busy street and don’t have a yard of our own, is that is folds up and is pretty light, so I can just hook it over the handlebars of the stroller when I walk the kids to the park, and D.L.F. can ride it there.

Oh yeah, this little imp was at the party, too:

Precious One-Year-Old!

Cupcake turned one on May 5. She has been a joyous addition to our family! I am so grateful to be the mother of such a sweet, special little person. If you follow this link, you can read her birth story and see pictures of her as a newborn.

Things that make her happy at this point are her family and friends, bananas, cats, stuffed animals, baths, and music (she does the cutest little boogie whenever she hears music!). She is a super imitator and tries to copy sounds and people’s movements. She is crawling and pulling up on things, but is not walking alone yet. She says, “Papa,” “Mama,” “nana” (banana), “ca” (cat), something resembling “cracker,” and she refers to both books and socks as “k.”

Her soft, downy hair is getting longer. I love to snuggle her and kiss the top of her head over and over. She puts her thumb in her mouth and leans against me. I treasure these days.

D.L.F.’s First Ice Cream

Here are some pictures from D.L.F.’s 2nd birthday party. It was his first time eating ice cream. Please excuse the dorky T-shirt. We always use one of T’s old T-shirts over D.L.F.’s clothes as a bib whenever he eats, but I would have taken it off for pictures if I’d thought about it in time! Picasa will only let me post four pictures to Blogger at a time, so I will have to put some more up in another post.

Ice cream? Hmm…what’s that?

Oh! It’s kinda cold…

But I like it!

The Birth of Our Daughter

Here is the birth story of our daughter, who will henceforth be referred to on this blog as “Cupcake,” because she’s cute, little, and sweet. 🙂

I woke up at 12:30 A.M. having some moderate contractions. They weren’t extremely painful, but I thought they seemed stronger than Braxton-Hicks. After a while, I started timing them, and they were about ten minutes apart. I lay awake for several hours and then managed to doze a bit between the contractions, which had slowed down.

I continued to have light to moderate contractions throughout the morning and early afternoon. I wasn’t very diligent to time them, because they weren’t even requiring my full concentration at that point—I was able to continue doing whatever I was doing through them.

I managed to take a nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon, which I guess meant that I didn’t have contractions during that time, or they were so light they were unnoticeable.

After I woke up, I decided to take a walk to see if that would help the contractions become more intense. I walked briskly around the neighborhood for about twenty or twenty-five minutes and had four fairly strong contractions during that time. When I got home, I started to make dinner. I had all the ingredients for potato-broccoli-bacon soup, and I wanted to use them up before they spoiled, so I started making the soup, even though the temperature was in the seventies and I already felt hot. I started chopping up vegetables and realized that my contractions were getting closer together and stronger. My water broke at with a gush at 5:00 P.M. while I was standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes. I found a contraction timer on the internet and started using that every time I had a contraction. Within forty-five minutes or so, the contractions went from moderate intensity and about five minutes apart to extremely strong and about three-and-a-half minutes apart. My water gushed a couple more times during contractions. By this time, Hubby had called my mom, who was staying nearby, and she said she would be right over. I guess I should have realized how close I was to having a baby at that point, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up of having a short labor, so I continued trying to make the soup. I told myself all these contractions were probably a false alarm, and the baby probably wouldn’t actually come for a couple more days. Finally, Hubby told me to stop making soup and come pack my bag! He had already put in a lot of my things for me, but I tossed in a few more things between contractions, which had me yelling and pounding on the wall. My mom arrived and took charge of D.L.F., who was becoming a little upset about seeing Mama acting so strangely (at first, he thought it was just a game and tried to imitate the sounds I was making, but after a while, he realized I wasn’t playing around). As we were heading out the door, I was giving my mom instructions on how to finish the soup! She said she would figure it out just fine, and I should go get in the car.

We made it down the stairs and about halfway out to the car when a big contraction hit. I was a bit embarrassed to have to moan so loudly while there were other people in the parking lot of our apartment complex, but I couldn’t help it.

We left our house around 6:30 P.M. and got to the birth center at 6:50. During the ride, I sat in the backseat and clenched the handle grip above the door with all my might during contractions, which were getting closer and closer together. The breeze from the open windows felt great. My method of distracting myself during contractions at this time was to slowly sing the ABC song in my head and mentally write the letters in swirly cursive.

When we arrived, Hubby opened my car door for me and extended his hand to help me out, but I was in the middle of having a contraction, so he stood there waiting until the contraction finished. Then I got out of the car and had another contraction. There were three men talking together on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairway up to the birth center. I tried to ignore them, but was again embarrassed to be making such animalistic noises. We made it up the stairs and into the birth center. I saw my midwives, but couldn’t bring myself to even greet them, as the contractions were right on top of each other and were all I could concentrate on. I requested the room D.L.F. was born in. I collapsed on my side on the bed, and Midwife L. did a quick exam and said I was at ten centimeters and ready to push. Wow! What a different experience from the hours and hours and hours we spent at the birth center awaiting the birth of D.L.F.

Someone asked if I wanted the tub filled. I said sure, but I was beyond caring where the baby would be born. I was just ready to get her out. While the tub was being filled, I sat on a horseshoe-shaped wooden birth stool, gripped the handles, and pushed. Hubby was right behind me rubbing my back the whole time. I didn’t need the back massage this time in the same way I needed it with D.L.F., who was posterior, but it was still nice to feel Hubby’s touch and know he was there supporting me. He kept telling me what a great job I was doing and reminding me that we would see our baby very soon.

I started pushing at 7:07. At first, I was yelling a low “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” every time I pushed, but Midwife L. suggested changing to a more grunty yell, which would help get the baby out more easily. And it did—Cupcake was born at 7:27 P.M., weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and measuring 20 ¼ inches long. It was only thirty-seven minutes from the time we walked in the door of the birth center until she was in my arms. Whew! Her APGAR scores were 9 and 10.

I bled quite a bit, approximately 450 milliliters, and so one of the midwives gave me a shot of pitocin in my right thigh to help control the bleeding.

I pushed the placenta out at 7:36. It was large, healthy-looking, and complete. Cupcake’s cord was extremely long—“Enough cord for two babies,” as one of the midwives put it. Hubby cut the cord at 7:41. I got into the tub and cleaned up a bit.

I started nursing Cupcake at 8:00. She was more interested in trying to get her fingers in her mouth than in nursing, but she did manage to latch on and suck for about forty-five minutes.

Midwife D. brought us take-out from a Thai restaurant. I had cashew chicken, and Hubby had teriyaki chicken. We were hungry, as we never had gotten to eat our soup! Hubby fed my dinner to me, as my hands were busy with Cupcake.

After we ate, Midwife L. examined me and found that I had a small first-degree tear which did not require stitches. I was so grateful for that, as getting my third-degree tear after D.L.F.’s birth stitched up was physically and emotionally as hard or harder on me than the actual birth.

We left the birth center at 10:50 P.M.—exactly four hours after our arrival. Midwife D. said, “What a great way to spend an evening. It only took the same amount of time as going out for dinner and a movie, but you got a baby!”

Hubby and I thank God for our precious, sweet baby daughter. It was a blessing to have such a quick, natural, peaceful, beautiful, relatively easy birth. Mama and Baby are both doing great.




First Steps!

1-year-old took his first solo steps yesterday at our appointment with the midwife! It somehow seemed appropriate that he started walking at the place where he was born.

The appointment went well. I appreciate the familiarity of using the same midwife and the same birth center. On the team of birth assistants, there is also an apprentice midwife and a student.

They’ve added another birth room, so now we have three to choose from (all with those wonderful, big birth tubs) when I am in labor. We heard the baby’s heartbeat, they took my blood pressure, felt my abdomen, did a urine test, and drew some blood which they will send to a lab to be check for anemia and a few other things.

My mom agreed to stay with 1-year-old at our house when Hubby and I go to the birth center, so I feel like the details for the birth are finally starting to get firmed up.