Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One month

Dear third born child,
     You are one month old! The month has flown by - and I'm thankful because asking Momma to survive on such short increments of sleep, 45 min to an hour and a half, for three weeks is a little nuts-o! Thankfully you started to stretch to 3 and 4 hours... for all of two nights before getting your first cold. Now we've been stuck at 2ish again for about a week. But it's better than it was. I'm praying you're well soon - both because you sound miserable and because I want more sleep. 
    Sometimes late at night, before bed, you cry, and I can't figure out why. It's the end of the day, and I'm beyond tired anyway. I try to get you to nurse. again. after you've already cluster-fed. I try to lay you down to sleep. Or rock you to sleep. Or sway you to sleep. Or even just cuddle you to sleep. Sometimes you like that. Especially if mixed with rocking. Usually I conclude that you're overtired. Big sis Adeline used to get overtired and would demand to be set in her crib. alone. Over-stimulated baby. You two may have that in common.
    Even though we sometimes have rough patches late at night, I think you're going to be a pretty easy baby. So far you have somewhat of a routine (set by you) of naps, feeds, and play. You come with us in the car, without too much crying. You are happy once we move. And you love the Ergo. Snuggling up next to Momma is your thing. The swing seems to appease you when needed, though sometimes people leave the room, which seems to make you lonely. You also allow me to lay you down tired but awake for naps sometimes, and a lot of times you will fall asleep! About half the time, you'll try really hard but end up calling me back in there. I'm just amazed and thankful that you'll try!
    Oh! I saw an involuntary smile the other day, while you were sleeping, and I'm positive I saw a dimple in that left cheek, just like Adeline! I don't know from whom you sweet things are getting that dimple! It's the cutest thing ever though. Matches your dimple chins nicely.
    Mommy thinks you'll have blue eyes. You've already lost some hair, but the brown hair remaining has blonde roots. Oh and you are full of chub! Double chin and all! That's what happens when you eat all night, I guess.
    Last I checked (one week ago), you were 10 lb 14 oz. My midwife immediately commented, "So he must be a good nurser!" And that you are! You outgrew newborn clothes and diapers at one week. Three month clothing fits you perfectly, and 0-3 month are a stretch. You have so many cute 3-6 month clothes that I just put you in those with a little room to grow. You'll fill them out in no time! You are currently fitting snug in size 1 diapers but probably should be in size 2. I just have way to many size 1's and refuse to move you up until you start leaking from them. I'm sure it'll be tomorrow. 
    You're only a month, so you don't "do" a lot. You have, however, rolled from tummy to back a couple times, which seems crazy early to me! You also really like your play mat. You just started actually looking at all of the toys hanging down on there. And sometimes when I talk to you and make faces, I notice you'll try to stick out your tongue and copy me. Lilleigh loves this.
    Now that we've gotten through the stats, have I mentioned that we are smitten by you? Sometimes after your cry fest, at the next feed, I'll sit here and rock you and snuggle you just a little longer. My eyes and head droop with exhaustion, but I thank God for giving you to us to raise. What a gift you are. 
    Your sisters adore you and speak to you in high pitch shrills. I'm sorry if you have hearing loss later in life. Talks to your little mommas. It doesn't help that they get all up in your business when you're on your play mat, which I'm sure is how you got that cold. Thank you, Adeline. (She's breaking you in. Boosting your immune system.) 
    Lilleigh wants to hold you constantly. It's actually quite challenging to pry you from her grip. She's a little momma alright. And she takes her job. very. seriously.
    Dad likes playing the piano with you because he says you seem to listen to it. Deep thinker maybe? 
    Also I'm pretty sure Dad is thrilled that you take a bottle and don't just scream at him. Your oldest sister pretty much traumatized everyone there.
    We love you, Jamesy-boy! You're a sweetheart through and through. We are so thankful for you! 

Friday, January 13, 2017


Brendon captured some great photos of the girls playing with what remained of our snow the day after our snow day last week.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our Sweet Baby BOY!

It has been such a whirlwind since our sweet James got here! I still can't believe we have a BOY! What a fun addition to our crew! 

The girls love him... they constantly want to hold him and are always talking to him in high pitch voices. This kid will hopefully develop lost of patience and have a tender side, with two big sisters! 

Labor was super fast - and I'm thankful! I had been having contractions at night for about two weeks... prodromal labor I guess... or practice labor, whatever you want to call it. According to my midwife, this becomes more common once you start having 3+ kids, though not everyone gets it. The prodromal labor, while miserable, does help your body to progress, which often makes labor really fast. And that's pretty much what happened!

Other than terrible morning sickness I felt great most of my pregnancy... I gained less weight and had more energy. At 38.5 weeks though, I reached "done" - I started becoming uncomfortable when I walked; fake labor became normal; and my joints hurt. By my due date, I was so over being pregnant. Thursday (day before) I got an awesome foot rub, with all the reflex points. Friday I got acupuncture and a massage. Just to cover all the bases. And that night (his due date) I went into labor! 

The timeline basically went like this...
9:15 I had gotten out of the shower and was blow drying my hair. My doula had texted me, checking in. I told her I felt crampy, but not to think anything of it yet since that had been the norm for weeks.
9:45ish I got in bed to try to get some sleep, and suddenly the cramps intensified to definite contractions. 
10 I got up to see if the contractions would go away if I had a snack, drank water, and walked around the house. Basically to test if it was the real deal.
10:15 I was on all fours on my living room rug, timing contractions at 7 minutes apart. They were intensifying, and I was needing to focus. My doula said just to give her an hour heads up, so I told her given how fast that all happened, I'd need her in an hour surely!
In the next hour, between contractions, I called my midwife and a neighbor to come stay with the girls. 
11:15 We were leaving for the birth center! On the way, I was breathing - not talking - through contractions, timing them at 4 minutes.
11:45 We were at the birth center, and when checked, I was 4 cm dilated. Part of me was discouraged at this point, to only be 4 cm, but the natural birth side of my brain (which has probably read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth one too many times..) kicked in and told myself to keep pressing on, that I had progressed so much really fast and would surely continue to!
I had back labor again, and given that this time baby was positioned perfectly, I know that's just how my body labors. So I spent most of my time on all fours. I used the birthing tub some, but really being on all fours felt best. 
12:40/45 I said I felt like I needed to push, and when checked, sure enough my body was ready! 
12:56 James Abel was born! 

When Brendon said the baby was a boy, I could hardly believe it - I had to double check! ;) Since then, it's been so fun to think about having a son. I feel so privileged that God is allowing us to raise a boy, as well as two girls! Raising these kids is not a job we take lightly, and we are so thankful to get to do it!

We chose the name James because Brendon's first name is James. And Abel comes from Genesis 4, where Cain kills his brother Abel... at the end of the chapter Eve gives birth to Seth, whom God had appointed to Eve in place of Abel. What struck me when reading this chapter is that God didn't forget Abel, and He hasn't forgotten the babies we've lost either.

I truly think James is going to be a pretty "easy" baby. Right now he's really testing me with how often he's getting up at night. (A 1.5 hour chunk of sleep for me is good at the moment!) But I'm confident he's going to start eating less at night and sleeping more SOON! (Pray for me!) (James, please don't make me eat my words here!) During the day, he's been a great napper, and even sometimes will let me put him down in his crib awake and then fall asleep! He's also a great nurser, no issues so far.

Well that's it for now! Momma is smitten and super tired! 

This is our birth team. My midwife, Monica, is on the left, and the birthing assistant, Debbie, is on the right.

This is my doula, Meredith, another valuable part of our birth team.

We left for the birthing center at 11:15 PM, after the girls were in bed. James was born just before 1 AM, and we returned home at 4:30 AM. The girls never even knew we were gone! So the next morning Lilleigh walked in asking what was for breakfast, and I pointed to the baby and said "Look what happened over night!" She ran and got Adeline, and the two piled into our bed to get a closer look. It was such a sweet moment! 

Christmas morning with their new baby brother 

Two big sisters excited to help me give James his first bath 

My sweet chunk of a baby boy! He was 8 lb 7 oz at birth. I unofficially weighed him today on our scale, weighing myself first and then holding him, and with pajamas and diaper on, he was 11 lbs!