August 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1. 6 weeks old is a mental checkpoint - halfway done with the newborn stage. What I failed to remember was the growth spurt (Lola) and the crying (meeeeee) that usually comes with said time. Sometimes, even when life is going well and there is so much to be thankful for, you just need to lose it and freaking cry. You need to throw things (OK, at least *I* need to throw things) and then go for a run in the rain and get over it. Plus talking to a good friend helps. This baby thing gets easier but it never gets easy. Just when you "have them figured out and you think you're the best mom ever" they change everything on you and then you think you suck. But we're getting it figured out and in the meantime it started raining so maybe that means I'll stop staring outside wishing I could sleep and get a tan and actually get stuff done. Ah, screw getting stuff done. I have this to snuggle with:

2. After watching Cinderella again the other day Avila decided to be at my beckon call. That meant I had someone to sort and fold the laundry. But then she got bored after the towels and left the rest for me.

3. Obsessed with Strivectin. I bought the wrinkle/stretch mark cream pack at Costco and within 4 weeks my stretch marks were pretty much faded away. Stretch marks from like 3 babies ago. If only they would get rid of the poochy pooch. These cute babies sure like to stretch everything out.

4. So I'm typing this blog and thinking I have all this time time type this blog (kids are done with school, Lola is napping, kitchen is clean...for now). But I just realized that in 5 seconds I will be starving because I haven't had lunch yet, Levi needs a nap, and that Lola will be up any minute clamoring to nurse. Shiz is about to hit the fan people.

5. A bottle of Kombucha, a handle of pistachios, and some honeydew later and lunch is done...Now time to go throw Levi in his bed for a nap. Except Lola is napping in his room and I have to put him down in Max's room which will be the first time he's slept in there. We've been prepping him for weeks about moving into the boy's room and whenever someone would ask him if he was excited about baby coming he would say, "No get outta bed." This is either going to be awesome or a disaster...

…verdict? WIN!!

6. I'm not a huge fan of sitting down to play cars or Legos but sometime you gotta do what you gotta do. And you make the best of it: like with my freaking awesome paddleboard creation. She just needs a head.

7. This weekend we have NOTHING people. Epic amounts of napping, baby snuggling, non-chore-doing, and hanging out. Currently sitting in bed with Avila watching a movie (boys are playings cars or something) and Lola will probably join the girls soon (to eat) and I have a feeling some Thai take-out is in order for dinner. #TGIF

August 26, 2014

How Lola got kicked out

If you didn't catch it from the title this is the story of how our girl came into the world. Don't worry, I won't go crunchy and post all the real life pictures (you know, the ones) but this does have to do with labor so if that stuff weirds you out, just stare at this and call it good:

I always assumed that Lola would come early. (Official due date was July 10th) Max came two weeks early and Levi one week early (Avila was a day late - now that I think about it girls do take longer to get ready) and I totally thought we'd have our baby here by July 4th. Actually I wanted a July 4th baby because that would be cool and I would never have to plan a party. But the 4th then the 5th then the 6th then the 10th rolled around and still no baby. Funny thing was, even though I was at my due date, I never really felt super pregnant. I actually felt (don't kill me) great. I remember thinking when July rolled around that I could still go for weeks and it didn't feel like baby was coming anytime soon. I ran up until 40 weeks plus one day. I did boot camp and paddle boarded the day before she was born. I had energy and never really felt like I had to "get this baby out now" (except for the fact that I was DONE wearing the same black tank top and sweats everyday).  So maybe Lola was all stuck up in there because she liked the running (you think that would make her fall out...) or because she knew she was baby #4 and gonna get pounded on or because she was just so darn cozy and didn't want to face this crazy world. And despite contractions that seemed to pick up as the days went on, she wasn't going anywhere.

I was faced with the idea of getting induced when I went in for an appointment on my due date. But since Lola was fine and I wasn't uncomfortable I wanted to let things take it's course. Five days later when I went in for another appointment, and subsequent ultrasound, it was found that my placenta was getting ooooold and my amniotic fluid levels were pretty low. Conclusion: go upstairs and have a baby. I pushed back on the induction but actually deep down I felt it was the right thing.

You see, I had it in my head of how things would go. Duh, doesn't every woman plan how everything's going to go? Anyway, I thought I would go into labor at night (like I did with the other babies), it would go super fast ('cause it's #4 and they fall out right?) and that's how it would be. I envisioned scrambling to the hospital and barely making it in time. But this time Michael and I moseyed over to the hospital, calling people as we arrived, nonchalantly saying "um, we're going to have a baby now."

After getting checked in upstairs I was given a run down of how things would go: up to three rounds of Cytotec (a contraction inducing pill, once every 3 hours) monitoring baby in between and then see if we needed to do anything from there. I had cytotec once before with Avila when my water was leaking but no contractions had started yet. I'm pretty wary of taking any medication but I was comforted knowing I had this thing before with no complications. Because once you start the medicine train during labor it can lead to other interventions and my goal was to have another "leave me alone I want to have a baby by myself" labor and delivery. Seriously, my ideal labor would be to retreat into a dark quiet place (preferably in Maui), labor by myself, have a few people show up for the delivery to help (OK Michael you can show up now) and done and done.

Anyway, before I took the first pill, I texted a whole bunch of people asking for prayers for what was about to ensue and was amazed all the responses I got. To know that all these people were lifting me and our little one up in prayer made me realize that I don't need to have it all figured out, I just need to trust. And trust did I.

At 1:00pm I took the first round and was monitored for about 30 minutes to see how baby would respond. She looked great and then I was taken off the monitors and free to walk around the hospital to get things moving. I already was having random contractions (and dilated to 2cm) before heading up to get induced so that was a plus - I would be a bit more hesitant if things weren't "happening" already. Michael was in and out of the room finishing up some odds and ends with work and my sisters, mom, and good friend (shout out, Katie, XOXO!) were there with me. Katie and I decided to walk around and we did the illegal thing and walked the stairs. Actually I walked them all funny like and Katie took pictures. Contractions still random at this point but getting stronger. On the way back up we stopped by the gift shop and Katie found the most adorable girl outfit that she got, because really deep down we all (everyone but Michael) knew it was a girl.

Back up to my room I got another round of cytotec at 4pm and by this point contractions were fairly regular - probably 3-5 minutes apart. Katie was a doll and ran to my favorite Thai place to grab me fresh rolls then to the grocery store to pick me up two bottles of Kombucha and when she returned around 5:30 I had kicked everyone out of my room 'cause I was entering the "leave me alone in a dark room to be by myself" stage of labor. 2-3 minutes apart. Picking up steam.

By 7pm the contraction were still super close and getting stronger. Hoping to deliver this one sans druggos I employed my strategies once each contraction hit: close eyes, RELAX EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE IN MY BODY, sloooowly count to 10 in my head, and tell myself it doesn't hurt. And in between contractions take a sip of water. I would try to change positions every 10 contractions or so. That part sucked. And hurt a lot. By 8pm I was around 5cm dilated and was asked if I wanted my water broken. Like smash a bottle against a wall? Sure!!! Oh, the other water? No thanks. Not yet.

By 8pm I was wheeled from my triage room to my delivery room (which apparently was the same room I delivered Levi in) and while I thought I wanted to finish laboring in the wheelchair (like I did with Levi) I wanted out of that thing. Contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and so so so so so strong. Like, zone everything out and enter another world, type strong.

And I know this sounds weird, but during this stage I actually had visions. From what I remember this happened with Levi, too. When the pain and pressure became unbearable I would let everything go and when I was emptied of everything, I was consoled. I was consoled by the angels and a heavenly light and the face of Mary. Quite a bold statement, I know, but I'm not a wacko and I know what I saw. During these times, during my most intense moments of pain, I would smile. It was both a conscious (to trick my body) and unconscious smile. It reminded me that through the most unbearable sufferings we can find the most wonderful joy. The contractions were one after the other and twice as long and I was beginning to get tired wondering how much longer I could go on.

In labor, the moment you want to give up is usually the moment when baby is close. So I asked to be checked and was at 7cm. I had my doc break my water knowing that it would speed things up. I also knew it would bring more intense and painful contractions. I prepared myself mentally and accepted whatever pain would ensue. It was 10pm. My water broke and I laid on my left side. Literally two contractions later I yelled, "GET THE DOCTOR IN HERE NOW BABY IS COMING RIGHT THIS SECOND." There may or may not have been an expletive. Or five.

Another contraction went by and I thought I would be delivering my own child. Within two minutes I had my doctor, the nurses (shout out Heather!! my running buddy who delivered my third baby who was also there to deliver my fourth!) my family (sisters, mom, Mike's mom, and friend Katie) and Michael there to welcome our baby. At 10:55pm and after three pushes (which SUCK BY THE WAY) our little girl was born. She was beautiful and perfect.

During labor (at the end mostly) I asked myself why I would keep "doing this to myself." Namely, go without drugs. It's not that I think they're evil or anything - I actually had an epidural with my first and had a great experience. (Except for her heart rate dropping and needing to go on oxygen and all….) I think going all in has to do with embracing the beauty and glory found in suffering. I've gone through a lot of hard things in life, and a lot of which don't compare to labor. (Except for White River 50, I think I said that was harder.) But as I get older or go through more and more hard things I am realizing the amazing things that can result: the strength found in being broken, the empathy experienced for those who are suffering worse, the relational glory and elation coming out on the other side. I am grateful for the times I suffer for they make be better, stronger, more able to handle other things in life that come my way.

With Lourdes I was oddly enough looking forward to labor. OK, now I'm entering wacko territory. But there is something deeply exciting about having gone through this other worldly experience - that and getting to finally hold your baby. I was excited to retreat into the dark of the night (or the dark of my hospital room) away from it all and, while the rest of the world is going about their normal day, bring forth a life. I can't really explain it more than that and if I tried and tried you would probably just get bored and ignore it anyway. So I'll keep all that to myself and revel in the experience that is having babies.

As we now are in the next chapter of Lola's life (chapter 1 being in the womb), we get to experience new and beautiful things. But I will always hold close to my heart her entrance into the world and, who, knows, I'll probably forget about all the hard crap and want to do it again or something.

Wink wink.

August 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes - the "Lola is one month old" edition

Technically six weeks today. But let's see if we can squeeze the first month of Lola's life into some quick takes, shall we?

1. The first two days: After latching on right after birth (and subsequently nursing for 1.5 hours) Lola slept a five hour stretch that night in the hospital. No amount of tickling or prodding would wake her but at the 5 hour mark I was either going to dump water on her head or something like that. She awoke on her own, ate like a champ, and went right back to sleep. Just a glimpse of her personality thus far...We only had a couple visitors in the hospital (mostly family) which was nice and the nurses totally left me alone because they figured I might kind of know what I'm doing by this point (I fool people well). I wasn't super looking forward to the hospital stay because everyone just bugs you with all the testing and coming in and out but I must say, it was nice. Two days and two nights of pretty much just me and Lola. Mike stayed the first night and my mom stayed the second but then I kicked everyone out so my baby girl and I could eat and sleep. We got to go home the morning of the second day and baby Marathon Maniac and I got all decked out for the trip home.

Caption: life is good.

2. Week One: My mom stayed for the week to take care of the big kids, fold laundry and make us dinner. Um, can I get a *spoiled*??? I spent the week nursing and napping. Lola spent the week eating and sleeping. The first night home she surprised us again by another 5 hour stretch of sleep, followed by waking only once after that. I was starting to get nervous that she was only tricking me by being super awesome and then she would wake up in a couple weeks to be terror baby or something. Time would tell. During this first week I told myself I would start off right away by teaching her to fall asleep on her own. Pretty much every sleep issue the other kids had I had created myself and I wanted to try things differently, from the get go, with this one. I never believed all the stupid people who said "lay your baby down drowsy but awake and they'll fall asleep." I thought they should be shot. Or at the very least have their mouths washed out with soap for saying such silly things. But right when she woke up I would nurse her, talk to her for a bit, and the second she showed any sort of being tired, I would swaddle her and lay her in the bouncer...awake. Taking advantage of how flipping tired newborns are (they can only stay up for 45 min to an hour max up until about 2 months), she would fall right asleep and I crossed my fingers to see if my plan would work in the long run.

3. Week Two: There are always two days I am guaranteed to cry: the day we come home from the hospital and the day my mom leaves. Cried the day we came home (4 kids. hormones. realizing that my life has forever changed once again. happiness. craziness.) but I actually didn't cry the day my mom left. Of course I missed her (and the laundry folding) however I had this confidence and peace that I could handle it. I mean, I've been through everything already (save for something huge) and I had my plan of taking things a day at a time. Plus our normal routine of life helped Lola just fall into our family instead of taking over our family. She was still super laid back and I had to wake her every three hours to eat. She would wake once-twice a night and slept in a cradle next to our bed. She never cried, not even during bath time or diaper changes. I was still holding my breath and waiting for her to come out of this awesomeness. I kept up with putting her down awake but sleepy and if she would fuss I would pat her tummy or leave her for a minute to see what she would do. After a couple moments of whining she would inevitably drift off to dreamland.

4. Week Three: Our pediatrician pretty much told me we would have the most laid back child. I don't know why I thought she would be high maintenance. Maybe because of all the running, I thought she would need to be bounced all the time or something. I think me being off dairy from the beginning was a win, too, because she is my only newborn not to spit up or cry and gag or grunt or have reflux. I started back up running/working out during this week and took it day by day to see how things went. Logged 20 miles this week and the next and it feels so good to be back out on the road again. The dreadmill was getting a little booooring.

Coolest birth mark ever? No need for a tattoo. She's got one of her own.

5. Week four: On Lola's four week mark she started smiling!!! She is so beautiful and I'm in love. I don't bond with my babies right from the start (OK that sounds's more like they are something I just add to the TO DO list) but after a couple weeks the nursing hormone bond kicks in and I am attached. She is my new little buddy and her snuggles are warm and comforting and make my arms feel full. During the first four weeks, here are some places she's been: out to lunch for mama's birthday, Crystal Mountain to cheer on White River 50 finishers, church, Costco, the Market, grandma and grandpa's house.

Chilling at the mountain.

6. How the kids are doing: Pretty much from the get go they fell in love with their sister. They want to hold her and help and best things about #4 is that I don't yell at them every five seconds to be quiet. Lola actually sleeps better when they're yelling in her ear. Avila went through a jealous stage around week 4 - mostly because I could never put her to bed because I was nursing in the evening and because wherever I went Lola came too. But we talked about the fact that not only is this time just a stage but we all have to sacrifice for this little one to be in our family. Loving her means getting up at night and adjusting from how life used to be. But the rewards will outweigh all that and we are so excited to see how she will continue to bless our lives. Plus Avila can't wait for the tea parties and the bunk bed sharing to come.

7. How mom and dad are doing: Busy but hanging in. Actually more than hanging in given the fact that we have a newborn. It's weird this go around - life hasn't stopped as much as with the other babies. Maybe because it's summer and things are slow and crazy anyway. Maybe because she just has to fit in. Either way, I've had to stop and remind myself that I just freaking gave birth and I have four kids and one of those kids is a newborn and just let go. To let myself say no to anything extra and use this time to focus on what's important (like napping in the sun and forgetting about the stupid laundry). Running/staying active until Lola was born helped me to recover physically super well and getting in my running now helps with everything, too. Plus I'm trying to eat super clean which helps me not go crazy from the combination of hormones (how many times have I used that word in this post?) and the lack of sleep (but she did sleep an 8 hour stretch last night WAHOOO) and the life changes. Michael loves his little girl and I love watching him light up when he gets to hold her at night. I forgo my "no holding while sleeping rule in the evening so he can get some good baby time. ;) Because there's nothing in the world like a daddy with his baby girl.

So there we goes. Supposed to post this last Friday but screw that. I don't even know what month it is so let's pretend it's a Friday. Peace Out.

August 12, 2014

4 weeks and one day

Well, crap. Apparently it gets sunny and I have a baby (who is 4 weeks and one day today) or something and I put off everything except napping in said sun and nursing said baby. And what do I have to show for it? (besides an empty blog). Well, how about a rocking' tan and a baby growing chunkier by the minute. (Oh and three other kids doing the summer thing and trying not to kill each other...)

So let's back this timeline train up and I'll fill you in on the happenings of our life (besides the tan - already mentioned that.)

Well, at 40 weeks PLUS 5 FREAKING DAYS our beautiful baby GIRl was born. I kept joking to myself she wouldn't come until I blogged and she never came and eventually had to get kicked out. Birth story to come (because rain is forecasted for tomorrow and the next and I might actually blog). So here she is in all her glory:

Lourdes Marie
7lb. 11oz ~ 19in.
July 14th 10:55pm

I totally guessed it right: 8lb dark haired girl was my prediction. Points for mommy intuition.

People, she is so beautiful. And super crazy laid back. I was grumpy about having a newborn - especially in the summer when I could be doing all sorts of outside things instead of stuck inside with a baby - but I knew that the moment we met this little one I would get over it and fall in love. And fall in love have I. Plus with her super napping skillz and mom vowing to teach her how to sleep from the beginning, I'm getting my outside time...booooonus.

Over this next week I'll catch you up on the last bits of this experimentally awesome pregnancy, how Lola (what we call her) is doing, how the big kids are, and the other crazy goings on in our household. But for now pour a cold one (mine will have alcohol 'cause I can drink that now, Amen?) and drool over these. Just don't droll into your drink.

June 11, 2014

A June Daybook

Outside my window…
Still more sun. The forecast called for rain all week but so far not a drop. Blessings, blessings, blessings in the form of liquid sunshine for this 9 month pregnant lady.

I am thinking about…
the fact that we are going to have a baby in 3 weeks. I really haven't thought a lot about this pregnancy and another kid (well, I have but more of in like something that's just on our to do list) but now it's kind of becoming a reality. It's like I'm either in denial or just not freaked out but seriously I'm just going to go into labor one day and then before I know it I will be holding our new little life and then it will hit me, I think. In the meantime I'm enjoying every single day (it helps I actually don't feel pregnant this time around) and really not wishing for it to come sooner that it's supposed to.

I am hoping for…
crap, this whole post might be about baby (I'll try to throw something else in…maybe) but I'm hoping (and praying) for a smooth, healthy, holy delivery. Ya never know what you're gonna get in the labor department so I'm hunkering down and offering lots of prayers for this one's arrival. I'm also hoping that baby will wait until I get my hair done because I really don't feel like going into the sleepless newborn stage with these roots.

I am thankful for…
the slow, quiet days of summer that lie before us. And for using a newborn as an excuse to let the house go for a few months.

I am reading…
Letters from the Desert by Carlo Carretto.

I am praying for…
many people I know in transitions in life - that they will be comforted in the unknown and know that, even though the future seems uncertain, that they will be provided for.

We are learning…
wrapping up the school year, weird. I'm literally leaving one chapter/lesson in each subject (except math, gonna finish that baby up) mostly because I want to end school next week and not go right up to baby and because I want to remind myself that, in our homeschooling adventure, it's not about how much we get done but rather about the joy of learning and discovery along the way. Some of the best school moments come from our conversations after our read-alouds or by making creations with random stuff from around the house. These are things that can't be measured in a lesson book but carry with it more value than Grammar Lesson 35. Sure, formal curriculum is important, but the love of family, the love of discovery will carry them further than anything else.

From the kitchen…
homemade applesauce that none of the kids will eat.

I am working on…
growing a baby. And finding internal peace no matter what occurs in the storms around me.

I am struggling with…
keeping in touch with people. Just so hard when the only time I have to talk on the phone is like 5:30am.

Around the house…
found a place for the swing and the bouncer. On another note: LEGOS. Everywhere. But Legos kept all three kids occupied for 6 HOURS yesterday while I deep cleaned the baseboards and doors and walls (nesting) so I don't mind. They do mind, however, when I vacuum them up because they got lazy in cleaning them off the carpet.

Towards health…
I think I might do a separate post on my experiment from this past pregnancy. Because, as I mentioned before, I seriously don't feel pregnant. Which is a nice reprieve from the last go around when I cried everyday from 36-39 weeks when I had Levi. Hardly any discomfort, sleeping well, lots of energy. I was totally not expecting to feel like this the last few weeks but now I'm convinced that my experiment worked. More to come...

Clicking around…
trying to decided which color to get for baby's swaddler.

This fanny pack. I have actually longed for one since, well, I lost the last one I had, from college. I don't do purses but I also know I can't fit diapers onto my hip so this might have to wait.

A few plans for the week…
The week of appointments. After ballet tonight, tomorrow is doctor's (ultrasound!!!), hair cut, massage, then Friday is dentist for Avila (cavity filling, booooo) and Relay for Life, Saturday is bootcamp and Sunday is making daddy feel special day.

One of my favorite things…
all the little signs and signals that the kids are growing up. Like the fact that Max will hardly hug or kiss me anymore. OK, I don't like that part but it means I get to keep knowing and discoerving these amazing little people.

A picture to share…
quite ingenious answers, if you ask me.


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