Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Birthday Bash!

We are having a very special birthday weekend! My dad's birthday was yesterday, Grace's birthday is tomorrow, and Bob's birthday is Monday! So to celebrate, we brought lots of desserts to Bible study, where we sang "Happy Birthday" to all the celebrants, to include Amy P., who shares Bob's birthday on Monday!

My mom and I made birthday request desserts--my Grandma G.s coffee cake for my dad, cupcakes (funfetti ones, just like Anna's!) with purple and green frosting for Grace (notice the "4" design), and chocolate-covered strawberries for Bob. He actually wasn't sure what to request, so Caleb suggested the strawberries--mainly because I hadn't made them since he outgrew his milk allergy, and he wanted to taste them! (He thought they were "okay". We assured him that if he was not THOROUGHLY enjoying them, then he could just leave them for everyone else, LOL.). We came home with a few cupcakes, and that was all--the coffee cake and the strawberries (4 pounds of them) all went!

Grace has been so excited for her birthday to come! We have our church small group over tomorrow afternoon, but after they leave, we'll eat left-over cupcakes and she can open her presents. So exciting!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Micah's 2 Week Appointment

I realized I never posted here about Micah's 2 week well-baby appointment, which was on Monday. He has regained his birth weight, plus one ounce, so he is up to 10 pounds, 9 ounces. He's grown another 3/4 inch to be 22 3/4 inches long. He's healthy and happy, and everything checked out just fine! He's settling into a good sleeping routine as well. I've been feeding him and putting him down for the last time around 11:00, and he wakes up around 4:00 and again around 7:30 or so. I can't complain!

He is still constantly surrounded by his ever-adoring fans, all of whom clamor to hold him. Has any baby ever been surrounded by so much love?! I have to remind people to give him some space, LOL. A friend asked me yesterday how Faith was doing, and if she was jealous. She's doing fine with Micah, and I would say she is not jealous at all--I still have plenty of time to hold her, because so many other people are always holding Micah!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Random Post-Partum Thoughts

I really haven't disappeared, but I am enjoying this "babymoon"! We've sort of taken a 2 week spring break, with minimal school especially for the younger kids, and it has been so nice. I've actually had time to have some random thoughts!

1. Micah is coming right along, as far as sleeping. He had a few nights where he basically only got up once to feed. I fed him around 11:30, then he was up again around 4:00, and then again at 7:30ish. The last 2 nights he's been up twice during the night, but still . . . I can't complain. He's awake for much longer periods during the day too. He has a really strong neck, so he is always rearing back to look around at things . . . or I should say faces, since those are what usually surround him. He has his 2 week well-baby appointment on Monday, and I'll be curious to see how much he weighs. He's a good nurser! He had his first bath yesterday (his cord fell off Saturday). I love snuggling with a clean baby who smells like baby shampoo!

2. There's a lot I greatly dislike about the first few weeks of nursing, but one thing I do like is all the time to read! One book I just finished was Three Cups of Tea, which is timely in light of the controversy going on right now about whether Greg Mortenson lied about what he has done, and if he spent the money donated wisely. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that people sure are quick to judge Mortenson and treat random people from Afghanistan and Pakistan as worthy and reliable witnesses, with no real evidence to do so! From reading the book, it seems that the reason people didn't like Mortenson, or found him hard to work with, was because he was scatter-brained, had no concept of time, and did things on his own schedule. I can see someone like that telling stories but not getting all the details completely right--compressing stories, mixing them up, etc. I've known people like that! And I think that is also the culture he is working in, so that's probably one reason why he fit in there. I'm not sure all his critics really understand the difficulties of working in a culture that is so different from America? I don't know--it just seems like a lot of what I have read has been unreasonable expectations, flavored with a bit of sour grapes. But now the Montana governor has opened an investigation (which will hopefully be more even-handed than one led by sensationalistic 60 Minutes!), so hopefully any real wrong-doing will be exposed, and any unjustified criticisms will also be revealed, although I'm sure those will never get any press (did everyone notice that Gen. McCrystal has been cleared of wrong-doing? Yeah, that didn't get the big headlines. His career was ruined by a left-leaning rag, with no real evidence . . . ).

3. Another book I just finished was called Birth Day by Mark Sloan, a pediatrician in Roseville, CA (did you know him, Melinda? : ) The subtitle says, "A pediatrician explores the science, the history, and the wonder of childbirth". It was so interesting, and Sloan is a pretty funny writer as well. The chapters on the history of pain medicine in labor were really fascinating, and as usual, I am left wondering why hospitals in America don't get on the nitrous oxide bandwagon for pain relief. One quote that I thought was interesting was, "Here at home the goal of hospital labor pain management is often the complete obliteration of pain; in Europe and elsewhere, particularly in countries like England, where most uncomplicated vaginal delieveries are performed by midwives, the objective is "good enough" pain relief." I would have been interested in something that briefly took the edge off of my most difficult transition contractions, but went out of my system a few seconds after I stopped inhaling it. I was absolutely not interested in something that would make me nauseous and woozy and would affect my baby, especially since I realized, even if the doctor didn't, that I was almost ready to push. Anyway, I think because the author is a pediatrician, and not an OB (or a midwife, for that matter), he was able to be a little more even-handed about the managed hospital births that generally take place here in America. There was a TON of evolutionary biology, which is so speculative, and I did not enjoy that, but overall the book was really a good read.

4. I LOVE the nursing camis that Target sells! What a great idea! They are comfortable, they layer well under shirts, and then when you nurse, you don't have to pull up your shirt and expose your belly that has the stretch marks of 8 pregnancies for all the world to see (theoretically, of course)! I only bought one, but I'm going to get some more. I think I'll wear them for all my in-public nursing!

Hmmm . . . I am sure there are more things I was going to post about, but my brain is still a bit mushy . . . We are still battling the ants, who have opened up another front in our pantry. We are enjoying tremendously all the delicious meals friends from church and co-op have brought us. I am very blessed to have generous friends who are excellent cooks! And we are looking forward to my dad flying back here Saturday. He flew back to Ohio last Saturday to take care of some business, and he had a little scare with some chest pain/pressure. He was hospitalized for 2 nights while they checked into things. Nothing showed up as wrong with his heart, which was good, but now he has to follow up with his family doctor.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Finally . . . Some Pictures

I put some pictures up on Facebook, but I have sadly neglected the blog! Here are a few pictures of Micah.
My parents brought everyone to visit Sunday morning--the kids were too excited to go to church! They stayed for awhile, and Bob, Grandpa, and Nathan brought lunch back from the base McDonalds for everyone. All the kids got to hold Micah, but Faith was more interested in snuggling with me!
Micah was a little too big for his hospital t-shirt and blankets! We had quite a time keeping him all covered up--usually one foot was poking out the bottom!
We came home Monday afternoon, and everyone was quite happy to see us! Micah's skin on his face has cleared up nicely. All the hospital staff kept remarking on how round and well-shaped his head was, even though he was so big. And it's true--Faith had this huge ridge on her head for the first few days after her birth, and she was almost 2 pounds less, with a much smaller head!
Micah's doing well. We're working on getting his days and nights straight for him, and he is not enjoying the feeling of his bowels working, LOL. But he is a great nurser, and he loves that my milk is already in and can fill his tummy! He despises being on his back and lets us know that with the screechiest cry of any of our babies, so we've already been putting him down on his tummy some. I don't think there has ever been a baby who has been more loved on! Micah is definitely not lacking for attention and snuggling!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Micah Edward is Here!

Now, for all the details . . . Nothing happened after I exercised Saturday morning. Once again, I only felt contractions if i sat down, and they weren't regular or strong or anything. But Bob was really getting antsy about having another crazy drive down the beltway, like we had with Faith, so he wanted me to just go in and get checked. I called the labor unit, and they said to come right on in. So we got to Bethesda around 3:00. They put me on a monitor, and it seemed like the baby's heartbeat was going up and down, although later they decided it was actually just the monitor being wacky, and not the baby. But that made me a bit alarmed and more likely to want to want to stay. When the doctor examined me, she said I was at 5 cm. I was hoping to be at least 6 cm, but oh well. So they admitted me, with a plan to let me walk around a little bit, and then start some pitocin to regulate my very irregular contractions and also to break my water. Now I don't like interventions, and I would much rather go into labor all natural. But it wasn't happening, and I was just a little bit concerned about the baby being healthy. Two of my other kids (Luke and Anna) passed meconium before birth, and I knew that was a possibility here too. I just had this weird feeling.

I walked around for about 30 minutes, although I knew that wasn't going to do anything, if all my treadmill walking didn't ever start anything! I was happy to find a birthing ball in the room for me to use (an improvement over 2 years ago when I had Faith), and well as wi-fi (another improvement!). My nurse was great about letting me sit on the ball, so I rocked on there for awhile. Eventually the pitocin got started at around 4:45, and the contractions did get regular, although still not too strong. Finally the doctor came in at 6:15 to check me and break my water. I was still at 5 cm! That was discouraging! And there was indeed meconium in the water. Another thing to pray about. So they kept ramping up the pit, and eventually when I was checked at 8:00 or so, I was all of . . . 6 cm. What?! I was not happy! I was sure I was moving into transition because I was geting sweaty and a bit shaky. I was starting to doubt this one doctor's ability to measure me, LOL.
The contractions were getting quite strong by this point, and Bob was doing a great job of pressing his fist into my lower back to put counterpressure there. I was lying on my left side by that point, which is my "favorite" position for transition. I will say, though, that the thought of having hours more of these strong contractions was making me seriously be tempted by an epidural. In fact, the doctor (same one who kept measuring me) told me, "I know this labor isn't progressing as fast as you would like, so you can always just have some other drugs, if not the epidural . . ." I was actually tempted, but I just tried to take it one contraction at a time. I could tell the baby was moving down, and I was definitely feeling more pressure.

Around 9:00 I told Bob I was getting close, although I knew I wasn't complete yet. He went ahead and pressed the call button, since you never know how long it will actually take the doctor to get there! To our surprise, 3 of them (2 regular docs I had been seeing all afternoon plus one student) came right away. They checked me and said I was at 9. Then the one who usually measured me said they would check back in an hour! Ha! I let them leave because I wanted to be on my side for a little longer, but I told Bob I was already feeling pushy, and it definitely was not going to take an hour for me to go the last cm! Sure enough, by 9:15 I was definitely pushing, so we called the doctors back, and they officially declared me complete at 9:20. It was nice to push on my own for a contraction or 2. I hate the whole "breaking down the bed" uncomfortableness, right as you are ready to push!

So there I was, pushing away, and I could tell this baby was going to be big because he wasn't just popping out, LOL. I could feel him moving down and start to crown, so you would think that the next push would just pop him out. But it didn't. So with the next contraction, I pushed really hard. And kept pushing. Took a breath and pushed some more. And a bit more. Why wasn't he out yet?! The doctors and Bob were all saying, "Keep pushing! Don't stop!" and they were moving my legs all around. But the head was not coming out!! I was pushing so hard I saw stars! I was really starting to doubt if this I was going to be able to push this baby out. It was a little scary, but it wasn't like I could really dwell on it, LOL. Finally the head came out, but there was no relief, because there were the shoulders. Another hard bit of pushing, and then FINALLY I felt the body slither out. Relief--at last!

Micah Edward was born at 9:38 PM, April 9. Because of the meconium, the baby had to go directly over to the pediatrician there in the room for suctioning. I could not have cared less, LOL. I was just so relieved to have him out of me! I took a look and could tell he was a big baby--like I had any doubt about that after all that pushing! The peds docs got him all suctioned out, and then I started nursing. He fussed around for awhile, but remembering Faith and her low blood glucose adventures, I really worked to get him to latch on. Finally he did and nursed for awhile. I talked to my mom at this point, but we didn't have any details about any statistics because no one had weighed or measured him! Finally the corpsman came in with the scale about 11:00. Micah was 10 pounds, 8.5 ounces, and 22 inches long, with a head circumference of 38 cm (15 inches!). Yeah--that's big. Micah did have a low blood glucose reading the first time they took it, so we had to get it checked a few more times. But thankfully it was never low again, and he's been nursing like a champ.

I was so sore last night. I had to laugh about how much I had been complaing about my aching pelvis. HA! I didn't even KNOW what an aching pelvis was! I thought my pelvis was going to crumple up and fall out. I could hardly walk! Thankfully, that is another benefit of Micah being my 8th, and not my 1st--today I feel much, much better, and not so sore at all. My bleeding has really tapered off too, which is nice. The doctors and nurses kept remarking about how amazing it was that I had a pitocin-induced delivery with no epidural and no tearing. It was definitely a gift from God. Micah's name means "Who is like the Lord?", and I could feel the Lord strengthing me during the whole labor.

So we will be coming home tomorrow, Lord willing! I wanted to get pictures posted from here, but the connection is really slow, so I'm not even going to bother trying. In the meantime, Bob and I are just enjoying this nice, quiet little vacation, snuggling with Micah and rubbing his sweet newborn head and cheeks! He's a doll! We're so thankful for him.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Let me start by saying I have no idea why my posts are not publishing with paragraph breaks in them! I keep going back and adding them in, even manually into the html code, but they still are publishing in one big paragraph of type. Frustrating. So I apologize that they are hard to read! Okay--editing one more time to say I think I figured out a new way to make paragraph breaks that is working! Yay!

Now for the update. Obviously I am still around. Thursday night I had several contractions that woke me up during the night, although they never were in any sort of regular pattern or anything. I was nervous about Bob going in to work, but with no pattern or anything, it seemed like the best idea. And sure enough, once I got up and started the day, I had no more contractions. I felt uncomfortable throughout the day, though, and I did end up losing my mucus plug, so I guess things are still technically happening.

Last night, I didn't have any contractions at all that woke me up, but I just didn't feel good. My back was quite achy as well. But again, now that I am up, nothing is happening. Sigh. It would be very possible for me to make it to my appointment Tuesday afternoon with no contractions and not in active labor! I was 5 cm dilated and not in active labor when I went to my appointment on Anna's due date, and the doctor did not send me home because she was worried I would go into labor and have the baby immediately! So we will see what happens. I am going to go exercise here shortly. At least we made it to the weekend, where traffic shouldn't be the issue no matter what time it is!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Progress . . .

I had another OB appointment this afternoon, and I am pleased to report some progress! I am now between 3 and 4 cm dilated, with a "stretchy" cervix. I'm 75% effaced, and the baby is at -1 station. She did strip my membranes, although not all that thoroughly I didn't think, so hopefully it will be enough to move me into active labor sometime in the near future. I still haven't had too many contractions that I felt were actually doing anything, so I was glad to hear that some progress was indeed made, even without me feeling it really.

So now we just have to pray for the timing also--getting to Bethesda in rush hour is a dicey proposition. Ideally I would go into labor tonight or tomorrow night, or else during this weekend! Bethesda doesn't induce until 41 weeks, so I have an appointment scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00, which is about the worst possible time for an appointment, as far as rush hour goes. Hopefully I won't need it! If the government does indeed shut down, then Bob's conference will be cancelled, so maybe having the baby next week wouldn't be such a problem. We'll see. Like I said before, though, having him this weekend would be better! We are having some second thoughts on names, however, so maybe he is waiting until we are settled before making his debut?

I've been taking an ever-increasing number of herbs to help things along. I always take my prenatal multivitamin, as well a fish oil pill, which is supposed to help even out moods and promote brain development in the baby. Around 32 weeks I started taking the red raspberry leaf capsules, which promote uterine toning and effective contractions. At first I just took 2 pills a day, but now I am up to 4. At around 36 weeks I started the alfalfa pills. Those are supposed to help control bleeding after birth, and after the doctors I had with Grace were so paranoid about that, I did research and took them with Faith (no problems there!). I'm taking 4 of those a day now too. And starting Saturday I am taking 3 evening primrose oil pills a day as well, to help soften the cervix. Those appear to have worked! I should have started a few weeks ago with those too, but I didn't think of it until I read some things on the alldoulas message board I like to lurk on. So that is 13 pills a day if I remember everything, LOL.

As I wait, I am more and more uncomfortable. My poor aching pelvis! Plus, with each baby I have, I think I dread the actual delivery more. I hate pushing, even though it is so much shorter now than with the first 1 or even 2. The doctor did say that she thought this one looked like a big baby, since my belly is so big, and I would have to agree with her. Caleb and Jonathan were 9# 5 oz and 9# 6 oz, so I would say we are definitely looking at that size or bigger. And it IS harder to push out a 9 pound baby than an 8 pound one! Oh well--no turning back now, LOL. And I am definitely not willing to just continue being pregnant, just to avoid pushing! I will be glad when it's all over, though. I will try to keep everyone updated if anything does start happening, although I don't think Bethesda has wi-fi. We'll see!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cupcakes For Anna

We celebrated Anna's 5th birthday again Friday night at Bible study! Bob flew back in Friday afternoon, and my parents drove in at dinner time, so we had lots of people to celebrate with! The picture is of her and her birthday buddy Amanda, who turned 13 on Mar. 28! For the past several months, we've been trying to nail down what kind of cake Anna wanted me to make. She came up with several complicated princess-y ideas, which of course changed all the time. But a few weeks ago, she came up with the idea of cupcakes, which I thought sounded wonderfully easy! My mom had the brainstorm of using the timy mini-muffin tins, instead of the regular-sized one. I thought this was a great idea, since 24 cupcakes wouldn't be enough for our whole Bible study, and I really didn't want to make up 48 regular-sized cupcakes. She picked out "white" cake, so Luke and I thought she would enjoy Funfetti cupcakes, like Amy and I used to make in college. And of course she wanted pink frosting! So using only one box of mix, I was able to make about 55 mini cupcakes, and we had 9 left over! I just frosted them using a big star tip--some with a big swirl, and some with stars. Anna liked them! Everyone else liked them too, and I especially liked how easy they were to make, LOL. Grace is now saying she also wants cupcakes for her birthday, although with purple and orange (?!) frosting, and I am fine with that! Here's one last shot of the 5 year old birthday girl, enjoying wht is left of her ice cream!