What Lucy’s Reading

First, I should say that I was given two baby showers that were themed around children’s books. One was thrown by my family (and close friends) and I helped plan it. My mom asked guests to bring a little children’s book in lieu of a card to build Lucy’s library. Then, without any idea what my family had done, my school threw me a very sweet book-themed party. Thus, we had amassed somewhere around 50 children’s books before Lucy even arrived.¬†I have a love affair with children’s books and so I was in heaven. Tom somehow skated through toddler and childhood without the classics, so he’s learning. ūüôā

She got really into her board books in the last three months. Here are here current tried and true faves from the book basket, the ones she brings to us over and over to read to her.

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1. Eating the Rainbow

This book was perched next to a pretty tray of fruit kebabs at my school shower. (Every snack had a book to go with it…so, so adorable). Lucy loves this because it’s filled pictures of real babies and real food. It gets boring for us, but this is definitely her number one.

2. Baby Beluga

You know the song... it’s catchy, huh? This little book has sweet pictures set to the lyrics. Lucy grabs it and starts dancing to indicate that we should begin singing the song while flipping through. Raffi would be proud.

3. Baby Baa Baa

I really like the DK board books, because they usually use photos and very realistic and concrete ideas for baby. This one is lift the flap (made of indestructible cardboard, not just a paper flap) to see farm animals. She loves to find the animals and make their sounds.

4. Touch and Feel Animal Books

We have four of these, also by DK, and she has a great time pulling fur, scratching bumpy or rough skin, and especially touching the sticky tree frog’s feet.

5. My Catholic Treasury Prayer Books

This is an adorable set of tiny, perfect-for-baby-hands prayer books that my Mom found at Catholic book store. They’re foam, so Lucy has effectively chewed through most of them, but she really, really loves carrying them around, flipping through the pages, and kissing every picture of Jesus (“Csch”) therein.

+1 Honorable Mention: Goodnight, Moon

I wouldn’t say this is one of her absolute favorites, but here’s why I’m including it (besides that it is a true children’s classic)– this animated video, narrated by Susan Sarandon, is insanely adorable. Lucy will actually watch all 2.5 minutes of it, which is a feat. It brings the pictures to life and has a soothing lullaby in the background. It’s a great way to calm Lucy down before bed.

Joining Hallie for Five Favorites!

 

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Put A Bird On It (and other things)

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Like many toddlers, Lucy has quite the obsession with live animals (and animals in books too, I guess). When spring started to tentatively creep its way back into our climate, she began noticing the birds singing and occasionally hopping bravely around in search of food. Thus began her first animal sound, which was supposed to be “tweet” but most often came out as a “EEEE!!!” in the highest pitch possible. So we decided to capitalize on this interest and bought a bird feeder two weeks ago. It took the birds a few days to find it, but we have seen quite a bit of variety already!

-Cardinals, male and female

-Chickadees

-Downy Woodpeckers

-House Finches

-Goldfinches (my favorite!)

Tufted Titmouse (weird name, cute bird)

 

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To aid our newfound ornithography endeavors, we downloaded a handy app called Merlin Bird ID. It finds where you live and then you check off a few options to ID the bird you see (what size was it, what was the main color, where did you see it?). It draws up a little list of possible birds with pictures and is surprisingly accurate. Also, it’s free.

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Guess who discovered our feeder first? Yep, the squirrels. We bought one that has a cage that shuts over all the openings to seed when something to heavy lands on it. We also hung it in the middle of the pergola over my parents’ deck and so far, the squirrels haven’t cracked the code. They have tried really hard though, and it’s hilarious to watch them get foiled.

This black squirrel is the most persistent (unwanted) visitor

This black squirrel is the most persistent (unwanted) visitor

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Location of the feeder (and two pretty goldfinches visiting)

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This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonization day of Bl. John Paul II, in case you’ve been living under a rock. A lesser known fact, is that Bl. John XXIII is also being sainted. Let’s face it, it’s hard not to get eclipsed by such a rock star as JPII.

Can we say dapper??

 

I SO wish I could be in Rome for this… but I will live vicariously through Jenny and her super, super lucky fam who are all there this weekend!!

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We’re on an earnest hunt for a place to live. Also, for a real estate agent. ALSO, for a second car so I can schlepp around Miss Social Butterfly during the day, get to appointments, etc. St. Joseph is getting bombarded by our prayer requests, I fear.

All we’re asking for…

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Excuse the frivolity, but I have noticed in recent pictures that my hair is getting LONNNNG.

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I¬†usually don’t do much with it at all because I wrote it off as “bad” sometime in middle school. Now I’m thinking of cutting it before the baby is born… thoughts? Haircut ideas for thin, flat hair? My only requirement is that it require very little upkeep (and by upkeep, I mean blowdrying it more than once a week. Welcome to life of a mom). Please and thank ¬†you.

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And now for some fun: I don’t care if you hated Frozen and are sick of hearing “Let It Go”… this is hilarious, especially if you like old school Disney and Pixar. I mean, the Pooh Bear bit– ahh! He is incredible.

Linking up with Jen for Seven Quick Takes.

Babymoon

Tom and I escaped for a day and a half on Monday to the Shenandoah Valley. It was our second (hopefully NOT annual) babymoon. Just to be clear, for anyone who may be confused, a babymoon is simply a little getaway trip a couple takes shortly before the birth of their child, akin to a honeymoon. I laughed at us,¬†because our babymoon during Lucy’s pregnancy occurred two months after our honeymoon, and then we still had seven more months of what I now consider a “babymoon” (i.e. life together, without a baby).

Thus, this second babymoon was truly more a respite from real life and the demands of a one year old tyrant cutie. We snagged a Living Social deal for an overnight stay at a historic bed and breakfast in the small town of Berryville, VA. The whole Shenandoah Valley area is rich in history, and this B&B was no exception, having been owned by Harry Byrd, Sr., and host to many famous people (Einstein, the Kennedys, Nixon, Churchill, and more). The manor was gorgeous and the grounds were too.

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The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase

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We went on a couple walks while we were there but didn’t really get any pictures, so I’ m borrowing one from their website¬†to show the amazing front¬†porch:

We were so happy to take a leisurely drive into the country, stopping along the way for some shopping at the blissfully empty Leesburg Outlets, some little country towns, and a lovely vineyard for wine tasting:

Sadly, our best attempt at a selfie in front of Breaux Vineyards

Sadly, our best attempt at a selfie in front of Breaux Vineyards

Then we drove into Winchester and stopped at the house where Stonewall Jackson made his headquarters in the Civil War:

Tom helps the docent carry flowers up to the house

Tom helps the docent carry flowers up to the house

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We walked around the pedestrian mall for a bit in Old Town Winchester, enjoying amazing sunny skies and perfect spring weather. The next morning we headed out to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. I wanted to show Tom their impressive gardens, which my best friend had used in her wedding photos a few years ago. It was a bit drizzly, but not enough to deter us from exploring. The place is unbelievable. Just a little sampling…

Tom's model shot in the crabapple covered Peach Allé

Tom’s model shot in the crabapple covered Peach All√©

Baby and I in the Peach Allé

Baby and I in the Peach Allé

The Pink House

The Pink House

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Grand Allé

Grand Allé

Beware of the Geese

Beware of the Geese

Chinese Gardens

Chinese Gardens

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Water Gardens

Water Gardens

Then we went to a local noon mass, grabbed lunch, and used the voucher that came with our B&B deal for a wine tasting at another vineyard.

Check out that view...

Check out that view…

Our last stop on the way home was to join some Trappist monks for their afternoon prayers at Holy Cross Abbey.

They have many cats...here was one. Photo taken for Lucy's enjoyment.

They have many cats…here was one. Photo taken for Lucy’s enjoyment.

As fate would have it, Lucy came down with a head cold right before we left, but she still greatly enjoyed her little stay-cation with Nana and Papa, who put up with her runny nose and unexpected nighttime waking. We brought them two bottles of wine from the vineyards for their pains enjoyment of Lucy! We came back quite refreshed and are ready to get back to our big old to-do list. Send up a prayer to St. Joseph for us if you have a moment, so that we find a place to live soon!

The (First) Birthday Girl

Dear Lucy,

What a beautiful first birthday weekend you had! God blessed us with amazing weather, which felt more like summer than spring. You had no idea, of course, what the day meant, but you definitely enjoyed the excitement it delivered!

Her first card in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa!

Your first card in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa!

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And balloons!! This has been entertaining you for days!

And balloons!! This has been entertaining you for days!

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You enjoyed lots of swing time and a few walks in the sunshine with Nana. Then on Saturday, Daddy and I took you to a big park in your brand new toddler car seat, your present from Nana and Papa!

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Playing at the park

Playing at the park

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But Sunday was the big party day for you, with all your nearby family. You looked like a ballerina princess in your party dress!

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You were perfectly content to play outside with your cousins, especially in your new little red car!

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Also, you were pretty obsessed with the visiting dogs, and said “arf!!” every time they came near.

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As soon as we set out your birthday cupcakes, you were clamoring for the sweet stuff. You almost blew the candle out yourself, but Dad helped a little.

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Nathaniel helped you open all your fun gifts: clothes, puzzles, magnets, baby doll pacifiers, and some tiny prayer books.

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What an adventure your first year of life has been! You’ve become such an independent, strong little girl. Daddy and I are so happy that you are finally a good sleeper! You want to walk all over the place and do things yourself. You love being outside, listening to the birds chirp, as you “chirp” right back, and you get super excited about seeing all kinds of animals, especially dogs. You can understand so much of what we say to you, which is amazing to see, and you like to bring us books to read you, pick out your own clothes from the drawer every day, and communicate with us in many ways (squealing, pointing, waving and saying “buh-bye”, babbling in your own language, and signing more, all done, milk, and water). You also like to find pictures and statues of Jesus and say “Ches” (which also means cheese to you, but we know when you mean what!). You are the sweetest little love bug, frequently giving us unsolicited hugs and love, by laying your little head on our legs, shoulders, face, or whatever you can reach, and saying “awww” in a sweet voice.

We are the luckiest to be your parents and can’t imagine life without you, even if it meant more sleep. We can’t wait to see what your next year of life brings, especially as you become a big sister. We love you, Luce!

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Lucy Agnes’ Birth Story

Tomorrow Lucy turns ONE! I’m still in disbelief. But I thought I would post her birth story, since I’ve had it written out since shortly after she was born but before the blog was. If you don’t like hearing about things involved in¬†labor and birth or are squeamish then skip away! I know I love birth stories, and many do, which is why approx 260 women have posted their stories in Grace’s link-up (so go there if you want more!).¬†

Lucy’s Birth

or

The Fastest First Labor, ever.

Lucy's Birth Story

It’s hard to say when labor “began.” I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for about two weeks, but they were random and not painful, so I didn’t pay too much attention to them. At 36 weeks, I had started taking an herbal supplement to help prepare my body and ripen the cervix, so that, in my midwife’s words, it would make my cervix “less of an unripe banana, and easier to peel.” Right. Well, apparently, those little supplements did their job! At 37 weeks and 6 days, on the morning of April 11th, I began to experience my first “real” feeling contractions. The night before, we had walked around our cute local main street, gotten ice cream, and stopped in at adoration at our parish. I hadn’t really felt anything that night other than the tiredness and severely swollen feet that had been my constant companions, a la Mrs. Bennett, for the past couple weeks.

I woke a few times between 4:30 and 5:30 and noticed maybe two or three cramp like contractions. They were definitely different than all my previous Braxton-Hicks, so I knew something was afoot. They were also more uncomfortable but not truly painful. I was sort of incredulous in that early morning waking– was this it? Was it real? Would she come today?

I told Tom around 6:15 that I’d been up for awhile with a few contractions, and that I would text my co-teacher. I knew I couldn’t teach through these contractions (which really should’ve clued me in to what was happening) but I told her it might be a false alarm, so I’d let her know if I would come in later (hah). Meanwhile, my poor substitute had only had two days of shadowing me and figuring out what the heck was going on with my classes. I was supposed to work up until April 19 and slowly let her take over my teaching over ten days. This baby had other plans and Tamara was thrown into the fire, but did beautifully and relieved my many worries on that front.

I went to the bathroom shortly after texting my co-teacher, and there was some bloody show. I knew that was another sign that labor was truly beginning. But, still, I just couldn’t believe it was happening, particularly since we’d been told over and over at our birth classes that first time labor was often very, very long, and usually occurred after the due date. I went back to the bedroom to tell Tom and felt a little gush of water; nothing crazy, just a little bit, but I knew it was amniotic fluid and told Tom that “some of my water had broken.”

We decided that since the contractions weren’t too intense, Tom would go to school and wait to hear from me. He didn’t have afternoon classes, so he could come home at 1 if labor was progressing, and we could take a walk, watch a movie, and relax (hah, again!). My contractions were very bearable, but I noticed them. They were probably about 7-8 minutes apart, but didn’t last long. Maybe 30 seconds. I sent Tom off at about 7:20, and made plans to go to Whole Foods and buy coconut water and baby wipes/diapers, make home-made Labor-Ade to sip in labor, and clean up the apartment a bit.

Well, about an hour after Tom left, and I had finished emailing the day’s lesson plans to my sub and alerting the school that I was maybe in labor, the contractions started really picking up. I needed to breathe through them consciously and stop what I was doing to focus. I knew I should eat, though i had very little appetite, so I had a bowl of plain yogurt. I texted Tom to update and let him know the contractions were getting more painful and closer together. I was sort of loosely timing them and they were probably now about 5-6 minutes and lasting 30-40 seconds. I found an app online and tried to use it to time them, but found it extremely cumbersome to try and lug the Macbook around whilst trying to relax during each contraction, and sometimes I’d be too far from the computer and totally miss timing one or two, so I didn’t have a great picture of the progression of the contractions.

I decided that now going out anywhere was impossible; the contractions were not slowing down during my activity, and stopping to breathe and relax every few minutes wouldn’t have worked in the car and the store. So, next I tried making my Labor-Ade. This required juicing 5 lemons and measuring out some honey and a few other ingredients to boil on the stove. Lets just say it took me a very long time to get that recipe made, since I had to continually stop, bend over and get through a contraction. It was probably about 9:30 or 10 at this point.

I used the birth ball a little to rock and drape myself over during contractions, as well as leaning into the wall and swaying. These things helped a little. I decided a shower would be nice, and maybe slow things down. The water did feel good, but I had several more contractions in the shower, so I knew my plan was pointless. I dressed in the stretchiest, comfiest clothes I could find, and let Tom know via text that I was getting more uncomfortable quickly. I put on Pride and Prejudice with the idea of distracting myself, but the movie quickly became background noise; I couldn’t focus on it whatsoever. I tried the heating pad to relieve some pain, as well as different positions on the bed. I knew at this point that labor would not slow down, but continue to progress, and I was getting a little panicky at being alone and being approximately 50 minutes away from the birth center. I threw a few more last minute things in the diaper bag and the birth center bag. I discovered the camera battery was dead, and failed in my attempt to charge it.

Around 11:00 I decided I couldn’t do it anymore, and my feeble attempts to time contractions showed that they were about 4 minutes apart and lasting almost 50 seconds. They were becoming much more intense, and required a lot of moaning and moving around for me to calmly endure them. At around 11:30 I had had it, and sent an all caps text to Tom saying I needed help, come home now. I had realized an hour previously I should probably call the midwives at the birth center, but every time I tried to dial I would get a contraction and give up.

Tom finished the class he was in the middle of teaching and left the school around 12:30. I was definitely in transition and becoming much less able to endure the contractions. They were very strong at this point, and I thought of women who had Pitocin-induced contractions, which are way more intense, and couldn’t fathom how they survived. Tom called me on his way home, probably after I texted him again in panic, and he stayed on the phone with me as I went through a few more contractions. He finally walked in the door at about 1:15, and tried to make me a smoothie which I refused. Poor guy. He was trying to call the birth center, get changed out of his suit, make a smoothie, and put pressure on my hips all at the same time. He realized I was in, or almost past, transition and that we needed to get to the birth center quickly. We left around 1:30, praying there’d be no traffic on the several major highways we had to use to get there.

That car ride was the worst of my life. I was in the front seat, so I couldn’t really stretch out, and it was torture. I wonder what people in nearby cars thought– I must have been a sight! Gripping the hook above the door and curling over my huge belly, while moaning and sometimes screaming. Tom was awesome– he drove as fast as he could and used his right hand to apply pressure on my back/hips, while reminding me to relax between contractions and drink water. He also reminded me through each contraction that it would come to a peak and then die down…that was really helpful, since in the moment it feels everlasting. He also told me it was ok to scream and that actually helped a lot too.

When we were about 10 minutes away, we hit the only traffic of the drive, due to construction. It was so incredibly frustrating, especially since there was absolutely no shoulder because of the jersey barriers, and everyone was at a dead stop, waiting to inch forward. I thought I would surely give birth right there on the road. There was incredible pressure on my pelvis, because the baby had already descended all the way down to the cervix. The pressure of holding her head in made it feel like my lower back was going to break. Contractions were about 1.5-2 minutes apart, and lasted a minute. We were also so close to the birth center, it probably would’ve been faster to get out and walk.

After about 20 minutes of this, we finally made it past the construction and into the parking lot of the birth center. As I walked in, I remember thinking I was one of “those” women, who goes into labor In the middle of the day and has to walk into the birth center waiting room filled with moms waiting for their afternoon appointment. At each of my own appointments I had wondered if I would ever see a laboring mom walk in, but never had, and now I was that mom. However, at this point, I didn’t care; I was just so glad we had made it in time. The midwives and staff were expecting me and immediately walked me back to the Lotus Room, which I had chosen a few months earlier to birth in. All 4 of the room in the birth center were absolutely gorgeous, with huge beds, fireplaces, lovely furniture, and a huge birthing tub. I had chosen the Lotus Room because it had soft¬†¬†pink colors in the decorating scheme, and a beautiful round birthing tub in the middle of the room, not too deep for my petite self.

The midwives were immediately soothing and solicitous; not once did we feel pressured or put-upon. Kelly, the head midwife that day, asked if I wanted to be checked. It was the moment of truth! I had a slight fear that I would only be 5 or 6 cm. dilated, but as soon as she checked me, Kelly announced that she could see the head! I think I asked if I was 10 cm, to which she laughed and said, “Honey, you’re complete!” Wow. I was still in shock. It was happening!

I didn’t have long to mull over my shock, though, as the pounding pressure on my pelvis took over. I asked if I could sit on the toilet, as that position felt the best. They said I could, but told me not to bear down. I came out a few minutes later, and the assistant were filling the birthing tub. They asked if I wanted to et in, and that water sounded great to me. I got in, and almost immediately announced that I needed to push. My body wanted nothing else but to push that baby out, now! Kelly said, “Yes, you do!” And yelled out the door to Kim, the other midwife, and the two assistants to come quickly.

It was probably about 2:45 when I got in the tub. I began to push with the contractions on all fours in the tub, but found it more comfortable to sit/squat while leaning back on the tub. Tom was behind me to hold up my arms and encourage me. One of the assistants listened to Lucy’s heart every so often, and they monitored my heart rate and temperature too. Another assistant kept giving me water, which was awesome, and wiped my forehead with a cool washcloth. The whole team was amazing. The best thing was that between each contraction, everyone was so quiet, allowing me to lean back and almost sleep in the painless interludes. This was very refreshing, since pushing was much harder work than I’d anticipated. I mean, you can’t really practice pushing a baby out, not until you’re actually doing it. It did feel better to push through each contraction. The midwives said I could reach down and feel the baby’s head, which I did, and it felt so strange! Squishy and wrinkly. They tried holding a mirror for me to see what was happening, but I wasn’t wearing contacts so I could mostly just see a blob. Kim traded places with Tom so he could watch and encourage me from the other side of the tub.

After about 30 or 40 minutes of pushing, the baby’s head was getting closer to coming out. I knew this because of the notorious “ring of fire” feeling. That was particularly horrendous, and the midwives said, “Push through the burn!” Ungh! Worst words I ever heard! All I wanted to do was make it stop, t making it stop required pushing the head all he way out. The head was taking its time, coming out and receding, over and over for about 20 minutes. Tom said this was the most frustrating part to watch. Finally, the burning and pressure was too much, and I was motivated enough to push through it as hard as I could. Kelly told Tom to get closer so he could catch the baby, but as I pushed her head out, her entire body came shooting out like a rocket! No time for Tom to catch, Kelly swooped in and caught the baby in the water and brought her up to my chest. She was screaming (I don’t blame her!) and her huge, deep blue eyes were wide open. Her chubby body was covered in vernix, a sign she was a little early, and I laughed because Tom had such an aversion to the idea of vernix all through the pregnancy. My first thought was that she looked exactly like her father, and that she seemed big!

In the next few minutes, as we wrapped a blanket around squalling Lucy, the midwives asked if Tom wanted to cut the cord after it finished pulsing. It was crazy to see her umbilical cord with blood still pumping through it! At that point, they helped me try to stand, and as I did the placenta started to come out. So, once again, Kelly had to intervene and cut the cord herself, so they could get the placenta out safely. I then was helped out of the tub, and onto the bed to look at newborn Lucy.

She had stopped crying and was looking around intensely. She was very pink and had lots of fat around her face. We also noticed she had very pretty reddish blonde hair. We all took bets on her weight, and I thought she was about 7. She turned out to be 6 lbs. 14 oz., so I was close! I immediately decided all future babies must come two weeks early, because pushing out 6-14 was good enough. I was SO glad she didn’t go full term and get any heavier!!

Weighing Lucy in the cool midwife weighing thingy

Weighing Lucy in the cool midwife weighing thingy

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I actually felt pretty good, all things considered. The midwives kept telling us how impressed they were with my pain tolerance, and wished all their moms could be like me. I hadn’t eaten anything since my 8:00 AM yogurt, so I wolfed down the rest of our forgotten smoothie, and Tom ordered burgers and fries to be delivered (appropriate, since those were my biggest preggo craving). Then the assistants helped us get Lucy latched on to nurse, and she did so… Great on the left side, not so great on the right. She fell asleep shortly after being diapered and swaddled by Dad.

We realized we hadn’t had a minute to let anyone in our families know we were¬†heading to the birth center, so Tom quickly sent out a few emails and texts to our family and close friends. The midwives were meanwhile discussing what to do about the tears I had I incurred while pushing the little chunker out. They weren’t sure they could stitch it up there, so they called in Peggy, the head midwife, who inspected them and said they were second-degree tears and she felt confident stitching me up. So we all walked down the hall to the little room with an operating chair and better lights. Tom held sleeping Lucy and the other midwives chatted with us while Peggy stitched away. She was very thorough and careful, and took her time. The surgery took about an hour, and Peggy kept warning me it would hurt, but they used a lot of Lidocaine to numb it, and it honestly didn’t hurt much, not compared to what I’d just done.

Our food had arrived, so we ate that and Lucy woke up to nurse again, and then screamed for no apparent reason. The assistant expertly checked her diaper and had guessed correctly- she had pooped her first meconium. Lovely. The midwives gave us a rundown on what to do and expect the next three days, we dressed Lucy and me, took a few family photos, and they told us we could go! We arranged with my parents to stop by and let them meet Lucy, and they kindly went to the grocery store and bought us a ton of necessities, since we weren’t 100% ready for her arrival.

First Family Photo

First Family Photo

We left the birth center around 9 PM, so all in all we were there for about 6 hours. I was so glad on so many levels that we had birthed at the birth center with midwives. They do home births also, but we went with the birth center because it was more covered by insurance (correction: so we thought), and because it was much bigger and better equipped for birth than was our apartment. Plus, all the mess was contained and cleaned up there, and we returned home to a (mostly) clean apartment.

I can’t praise the midwives enough. They were so supportive and respectful, from my first meeting with them, through the birth, through the last postpartum checkup. They never did anything without asking permission first, and respected and trusted a woman’s body to perform the task God had created it to do.

I can’t say the birth was painless, but it wasn’t ever so overwhelming that I couldn’t get through it, even sans pain meds. It was empowering and reassuring to do it, and know I could.¬†I felt¬†very blessed to have experienced such a rapid labor with my first, since that’s definitely not the norm. I was also so relieved she came two weeks early; I was so uncomfortable and ready to be done teaching on my feet all day.

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Ah, that was fun. It was also good for me to re-read all of it, since I’ll be doing it again in approximately 12 weeks, or 10, if we follow the same pattern (and the correct one, I’d like to throw out to Baby #2). At least I learned several things:

1. Listen to the body in labor. It knows what it’s doing.

2. When contractions start, we better be ready to mobilize within two hours or less this time. I want to go through the crazy part and transition AT the birth center, not the car.

3. Relax. ūüôā

 

Countdown to Baby To-Do List

I realized the other day that I have given so very little blog time to the smallest member of our family. Maybe it’s the fate of the second child, but I do feel bad that I haven’t posted more updates or thoughts about this pregnancy. Of course, since it all started off so inconspicuously, I suppose it just continued on that way, mentally. Physically, I’m quite aware of the presence of this little person. I’m getting quite round at 26.5 weeks, and baby is rolling and kicking a lot more these days. I still don’t think he/she is quite as active as Lucy was, but then again, I was hyper-sensitive to everything during that pregnancy. Lucy accompanied me to my last midwife appointment, and got to sit up on the bed with me to listen to baby’s heartbeat. Then she screamed when we had to take the belly measuring tape away from her. She’s still very sweet and motherly with her dolls (as well as anything soft, including pillows, stuffed animals, a pile of clothes, etc…she’s not overly discerning), and she loves to see pictures of babies. So that’s reassuring.

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A favorite activity-- carrying baby dolls in her doll carrier

A favorite activity– carrying baby dolls in her doll carrier

Last night, Tom and I were scrolling through his iPhone pictures and we went all the way back to a year ago when Lucy was born. We couldn’t believe how wrinkled and tiny and puffy she was! And before we know it, we’ll have another wrinkled puffball in our arms. I have lots to do before the end of June or early July (I’m voting for end of June, thank you very much).

* First, there’s the business of figuring out what area we need to move to, and find an apartment. This is made extra complicated by the fact that I REFUSE to be more than 20-30 minutes away from the birth center, and that we will be back to one car in about a month. ūüė¶

*I need to fully master driving the stick shift. That way, if and when I do have the car, I can confidently drive without putting myself and two babies in imminent danger. So that’s a little stressful. Tom’s a super patient instructor, but time is not on our side, which is why I’ve had exactly 3 driving lessons between August and November and then none after that.

*I need to have a very organized system in place before the baby arrives, regarding Lucy and cooking. Lucy requires a lot of attention, so I’ll need to make sure I have plenty of stimulating activities set up for her. Also, lots of ready to eat snacks and meals for when I’m one-handed again. If we do move out before the baby comes, I need to cook and freeze some meals and bread.

*Lucy (are you listening?) needs to not wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning and require nursing to go back to sleep. We’re going to work on this one over spring break when Tom’s home. Yeah, his break sounds amazing; try not to be jealous. Considering she screams like someone is pouring boiling water over her if she is not allowed to nurse, well, we’ll see. I’m hoping she can get used to Daddy putting her back to sleep if she doesn’t even see me in the bed as an option. She’s ok with napping but I still need her to put herself to sleep at naptime without needing to be rocked, because I won’t have arms for that in three months!

*Then there’s all the regular getting ready for newborn stuff that will happen in May and June, like packing birth center bags, setting up the co-sleeper and converting my dresser to a changing table, etc. I’m the least concerned about that stuff, especially since we really have everything already. All of that seemed like a big deal with Lucy, but looking at my list above, well, it’s not.

So that’s our rather impossible sounding list as of now, but I’m sure everything will be fine and work out according to God’s plan. Now I’m off to pack for our little trip this weekend– we’re going to Franciscan for a reunion with my household! I haven’t been back to campus since graduation day in 2010…eek, worst alum ever! And Tom’s never seen the school, so he’ s in for a real treat in the form of Steubenville, Ohio! ūüôā

Spring, Sourdough, and more (Five Favorites)

Excuse the long silence…Tom and I were simultaneously struck down by a violent stomach flu all weekend. It could have been much worse– Lucy never got it, thank God, and my parents were there so Lucy didn’t starve or go without sleep, as she surely would’ve if we’d been alone with her. I hope we never experience both of us being slammed like that with multiple children to take care of… Sadly, we missed a day-long parenting conferencing we were very much looking forward to, but our brother and sister-in-law gave us the run-down, and the talks should be online, so hopefully we won’t fail as parents completely.

Anyway, we’re better, and enjoying the finer things of life:

::one::

The weather has turned! We did have a freak snow shower on Sunday, but since Monday it’s been awesome here. In the mid 60s, frequent sun, birds singing, and flowers popping out. Lucy has finally decided to enjoy the baby swing on the deck. We’ve tried for the past couple weeks on random warm days, and she freaked out massively. Something about feeling herself swing away from us, I suppose. Well, on Monday she decided to love it, and never looked back. She’s also enjoying bubbles.

Enjoying the sunny deck

Enjoying the sunny deck

Swing and bubbles

Swing and bubbles

Yay for spring!! It’s a huge favorite.

::two::

We got this sound machine a couple weeks ago for the bedroom. I have NO idea why we waited almost a year to purchase this life-saving device. It has about six different sounds, but we prefer Ocean. We turn it up loud, and keep it going allll night (and all through Lucy’s naps). It is wonderful, and we will pay $20 for replacements many times over the years with pleasure.

::three::

Well, when you cloth diaper, anything that makes it easier and less messy is a favorite. At our apartment, we had a great diaper sprayer, but it doesn’t attach to any of the toilets at my parents’. So, these flushable¬†diaper liners save my life. I can just dump it all into the toilet and flush away, without touching anything. Huge blessing.

::four::

Sourdough! I have an interesting history with sourdough. Tom got me a starter two Christmases ago, and I made a couple batches of bread. They were so-so, and I didn’t have enough time to really research and understand how maintaining sourdough works. And then, Lucy was born two weeks early. My sourdough starter was on the counter. And on the counter it stayed…until we noticed it sometime in June? It was a brick. ūüė¶ ¬†I decided to try again this year, and my sister got another starter for me. I finally got to it a few weeks ago, and did more homework. Our bread is much better. Lucy devours it! We’ve also made delicious waffles and I tried biscuits last night. Fun, delicious times. I also received a kombucha starter today, so we’ll see how that fermentation adventure goes!!

First batch from the new starter. Cute and yummy.

First batch from the new starter. Cute and yummy.

::five::

Tom and I finished Kristin Lavransdatter on Monday. We have been reading it aloud (sporadically) since about January of last year. It’s a tome, but so, so worth reading. It has gained a well-deserved spot among my absolute favorite books. It is such a well-written saga that paints human nature just about perfectly, and emphasizes over and over the heart’s longing for God and the need for redemption. We read Tiina Nunally’s translation; please do yourself a favor and read that particular one, NOT any of the older translations (they are very dense and heavy, with archaic language not intended in the original Norwegian). There is much to be thought and pondered and discussed about this book, and we both heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone. There is really something beautiful and profound about it. It is also thoroughly¬†Catholic,¬†as the life of the Church pulses through the daily life of medieval Norway, as well as through the heart of Kristin, as she grows from little girl to old woman throughout the books. (It’s three volumes in one book). Reading it felt like part romance/adventure saga and part spiritual reading.

 

We were sad to close the cover for good, and are searching for our next read-aloud. We’d love suggestions! We’re looking for something not as long this time, a novel, and relatively easy reading so we can get through a few pages at night before collapsing into oblivion. ūüôā

This post is linked up with Five Favorites at Moxie Wife!