Friday, August 29, 2008

Three 3and Under---If List.....

I love "If Lists..." so of course I had to do one on this subject! Believe it or not, I survived my first full week of caring for the 3 kids by myself and love it! Does that mean it was easy or that it's not hard to find time to go to the bathroom sometimes? No. But what it does mean is that all of my kids are precious to me and I love having another one in spite of the work involved. I have found it to be incredibly stressful to babysit regularly for one or two extra kids in the past when I only had one or two of my own, but having 3 now that are all MINE is wonderful!

Here's my list! I'm sure I'll be adding to it as time goes on. After all, I've only been at this 2 weeks (seasoned moms of 3 or more are chuckling over what I have yet to experience!) Many of these things could apply to moms in general even if you only have one or two kids!

You Might Have 3 Kids 3 and Under If............

*You've ever been so busy you've "forgotten" to eat

*Before you are allowed to eat at any given meal you must fill 2 sippy cups, prepare and warm up 4 people's food one plate at a time, re-fill sippy cups, re-fill plates, nurse the baby, wash kids' hands, encourage toddlers to eat, pick food off the floor, and wipe your preschooler. Then, and only then, you can sit down and eat your food while holding the baby.

*You can do just about anything while you're nursing, including typing at the computer without missing a beat, cooking supper, reading, talking on the phone, going to the bathroom and doing it successfully, chasing after a naughty almost-2-year old, reading stories to your other kids, doling out a consequence for bad behavior, cleaning house, etc.

*You get comments all the time from random folks at the grocery store who say "You must be one busy mama!"

*You get sick of people thinking that you have a baby every single year just because the oldest is 3. In reality, they are all about 2 years apart.

*Your husband gets teased by co-workers about why he has so many kids.

*You are dubbed a "babymaker" by some of your relatives who don't understand why you like children.

*You have been either pregnant or nursing for the last 50 months!!!

*You have 3 adoring fans who love you more than anyone else in the world.

*You have 3 chubby little faces to kiss and cuddle all day long.

*3 three and under is a natural birth control. Huh? Both you and your husband wonder how some couples have the time and energy to even conceive a fourth.....

*In the blink of an eye you went from an economical college car to minivan full of carseats, from roller blades to a double jogger stroller, from a sporty mountain bike to a bike with kid cart attached, and from backpacks to diaper bags.

*You have unbelievable amounts of toys, even though you carefully rotate and don't buy many for your kids.

*Your storage shed holds baby paraphernalia in all shapes and sizes. You own all stages of carseats, swings, bouncy chairs, exersaucers, and slings. You have enough receiving blankets to make a parachute.

*Your doctor thankfully decides to skip the main spiel at the hospital about taking home a newborn and just reminds you of a couple of the biggies!

*Talking on the phone with screaming, crying, and whining going on in the background is normal for you so you don't even notice it and talk above it. After all, you relish a little adult conversation and if you waited until your kids were quiet, you'd NEVER talk on the phone!

*You have a secret energy source. Whether it's a Big Slam of Diet Pepsi, 10 cups of coffee a day, or a huge mug of strong Hot cocoa (this is mine), super vitamins (these help) or going jogging, you have found a way to keep yourself going.

*You don't sweat the small stuff anymore. In fact, you get a kick out of the first-time mommies who do, since you used to be them!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kid Funnies

Ali was supposed to be napping and got into my pajama pants and tried them on!

The kids never cease to keep us laughing!

Here are some recent ones:

King Jo was saying how Ali is so cute that we will have to keep the boys away! Ali replied, "I don't want you to give Jeremiah and Justus away Daddy!"

I was complimenting King Jo on his handy-man skills and then I said to Ali, "Isn't your Daddy a smart and wonderful guy?" She said, "Oh, he's smart because he knows how to put kids in time-out?"

Ali's Sunday School teacher asked me to bring Justus to class to show them what a tiny baby looked like since they were studying Moses. She asked Ali to introduce her special guest. Ali proudly exclaimed, "This is Baby Brother Justus Abraham ______!!!"

After church, Daddy was going to take Ali home in his car since we go at separate times due to kid's napping schedules. She said goodbye and that she'd see me at home for lunch. She left with Daddy but then ran back to me and glanced suspiciously at the lady holding her baby brother. She said, "Bring Baby Justus home Mom!" then ran off to join her Dad.

Ali said, "When Bear-Bear is a Daddy and I'm a Mommy, we're going to get married!"

Here's one that is almost as sad as it is funny. We got an American Girl movie from the library and were watching it together. The mom in the movie gets sick and almost dies. I was explaining to Ali why the girl was sad and explaining that people die when they get very, very sick or are very old. A while later I caught Ali chewing on her dirty flip-flop shoes (ick!) and scolded her not to do that because they are dirty and she was going to get sick from doing that! A few minutes later she came up to me crying and laid her head in my lap. I asked what was wrong and she blubbered, "I'm going to die because I chewed on my flip-flops!" It took lots of talking and reassuring her before she finally stopped crying and realized that she really wasn't going to die. I told her that chewing on her flip-flops might make her tummy sick, but it wouldn't make her really, really sick like the woman in the movie who nearly died!

Ali told her Daddy, "When it's time for me to die, I want Jeremiah and Justus to go with me."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Someone Else's Kid's Poop and Justus Smiles

What a catchy title for a post, huh? Just had to jot down on my blog that tonight found me cleaning up human feces from the front yard. Not my kid's feces, mind you, but the annoying neighbor's kid's feces. Why? Well, it would seem this little girl was told to come in for supper and didn't want to. Since she NEVER listens to her mom (why would she when there are no consequences?) she didn't want to go in to use the bathroom lest her mother corner her and force her to eat supper. So, this almost-6-year-old girl chose to squat on the lawn that we all share and go poo and wipe with leaves. Thankfully I discovered it before my two kids, who were playing outside, got into it. The girl's mother was right there with me whe we discovered it. She ranted and raved at her daughter and told her what she did was gross and told her she would have to clean it up. The girl's "clean-up job" involved throwing a piece of paper on top of it. I was horrified to see swarms of flies on it, knowing that those same flies diving into that mess were going to be heading for our homes where they would track their filthy germs all over our kitchens, food, dishes, toys, beds, little kids, etc. I quickly got the kids inside, washed their hands with soap, just in case the little girl had touched them, and refused to open our doors for fresh air lest those flies find their way into our home. When the kids were finally in bed, I headed outdoors to see that the mess still remained and the parents showed no signs of picking it up beyond the piece of paper that had been tossed on it.

So, I donned a rubber glove, grabbed a couple of plastic bags, and marched out there with an angry face. Lo, and behold, the neighbors whose little girl had done the dirty deed were out having a card-playing party with several guests at the picnic table. No doubt the mom saw me scooping her daughter's poop but she didn't say anything and I didn't either. I walked past them to throw it in the garbage bins and marched back to my house. Later, I thought about how I should have thrown the sack of poop on the table in the middle of their game, but that wouldn't have been Christ-like, now would it? I will be soooo, sooooo, soooooo glad when these neighbors move in late October!

In other, happier news, our baby boy smiled for the first time tonight at only 11 days old! No, it wasn't gas because I would smile at him and talk sweetly to him and he would grin. He repeated it six times! I'm so glad we didn't have to wait 6 weeks to see his cute little smile!

The Gentle Mothers Support Club

My best advice of the week:

Go to and click on Audio archives or recent broadcasts and listen to Ginger Plowman talking about these subjects on the radio programs this week:
*Disciplining With Love
*Scolding-An Angry Response to Misbehavior
*Dealing with Whining, Tattling, and Sibling Rivalry
*Avoiding Traps of Ineffective Discipline
*No More Whining
These programs are really encouraging and since I had a little extra grocery money this week I'm planning to order her book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three." I will let you know what I think of it when I get it!
I have had a very difficult week being gentle with my daughter. I sometimes feel like I will never experience a day where I don't fall into scolding her endlessly minute after minute, hour after hour. Especially on days like today where she refuses to nap and tries every trick in the book to stall bedtime and comes out of her room and when she finally falls asleep 2 hours past her bedtime awakes screaming at the top of her lungs twice and sleepwalks around the living room!
Sometimes I feel like I just don't have any idea how to deal with her personality. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and angry that she makes life a constant battle. Sometimes I am envious of others whose little girls look like darling little obedient angels who wear frilly frocks and delight to be "Mama's Little Helper" and are gentle and lady-like even at a tender age. Often, both my husband and I ask the question, "Why? Why do we have a child who causes us such weariness and exhaustion? What did we do wrong? How did she get like this?" I don't want all of my blog readers and friends to think Alathia is a horrible, wretched child, because she isn't. I don't want people to assume she is mentally ill. She's not always bad. But she is difficult and messy and exhausting even if she isn't being defiant or trying to be naughty. She tries to be a helper, though 9 times out of 10 it backfires and is the opposite of helping. She knows every possible trigger to get my emotions going like a steam engine and seems to delight in doing so!
I know there are parents out there who understand and know the struggle between loving a "spirited" child and delighting in so many aspects of who they are and knowing they are extremely intelligent and yet being frustrated to no end with the day-to-day challenges of dealing with their demands, energy, disobedience, manipulation, and battles.
While it's going great with having 3 kids so far in general (see my posts on Three 3 and Under) I don't know if I will ever be able to say that dealing with our daughter is easy. Three years of endless reading, studying, praying, talking with others, and still I feel like such a novice in dealing with her. I feel like I could have a dozen boys with personalities like Jer and Justus and not be as weary as I am from dealing with this one little girl. But I trust that God gave us this little one for a reason and He will be our strength in raising her and He will use her unique gifts and talents for His own glory.
I continue to press on toward the goal of being a mother who practices gentleness in all her ways. I fail continually but continue to "get back in the saddle." Who's with me this week?

11 Days Old

Matching Jammies

When Jer was born, King Jo's cousins Jeremy and Amanda sent us a set of matching pajamas. Since they are gender-neutral and all of our kids are 21 months apart, they worked for Ali and Jer and now they work for Jer and Justus!
Capturing a decent shot of the boys together was tough!
Justus is less than thrilled to be held by brother!
Jer attempts to give him kisses to stop his crying
Finally, Jer starts hollering, "Don't want to! Don't want to! No hold Dusthis!"

Three 3 and Under---Pace of Living

One big blessing of having 3 little ones, is that the pace of living has changed for us. Don't get me wrong, there are still endless chores to do and I still stay plenty busy keeping up with all of their needs, but I have found that our life has become a bit simpler and slower-paced.

For example, I believe that others' expectations of us have changed during this stage. We are getting far fewer invites to playdates and outings. We can't always make it to our evening committments and don't have to feel guilty about it. The folks at church aren't asking me to commit to any new roles and in fact are asking if I'm sure I can still be in charge of the nurseries (something I can still easily do), and the doctor's office is wonderful about scheduling my kids' appointments all together so that I can "kill two birds with one stone."

My expectations of myself have changed too. While my house is much neater than it was when I was pregnant and I now have energy and motivation to cook nice meals, I feel less pressure to have my house perfect when visitors drop by. After all, if the visitor has 3 kids, then they will be understanding of the toy messes and if they don't have 3 kids they will merely assume, rightly so, that when you have 3 kids you are too busy to clean everything all the time! I have given myself more grace as a mother of 3 since I have few friends with 3 kids to compare myself and my house to!

Instead of planning out an ambitious schedule for myself, I have cut back on my own expectations of what I can realistically accomplish and have proposed to stay home more. Does this mean we'll NEVER get out? Of course not! Does this mean that our schedule and habits won't change in several months or a year? Of course not! But when one has a nursing baby who needs lots of cuddling and attention, it is only common sense to cut back on errands, shopping, and outings. The fact that it takes a lot of effort to get out and about makes me deeply consider whether or not we really need to get out. Will the effort of going to the park be worth the amount of energy the kids will expend there? Can I possibly squeak by another couple of days without milk and substitute powdered milk in things? What creative concoction can I come up with for lunch instead of running to the store or my favorite local sub shop? Instead of going to the thrift shop to "look around" I won't go with 3 unless I absolutely need something. Instead of trying to take all 3 to Safeway, I will wait until my hubby is home and go once a week in the evening for a much more peaceful shopping trip. (The other grocery store in town is more kid-friendly so I took the kids there the other day and it was fine.) Instead of using outings to entertain my active kids and get them out of a small apartment, I pull things out of the closet they haven't played with in a while.

Therefore, in spite of the fact that we have had added another lil' one to the family, the pace of life has changed for the better. His tiny presence in the home reminds us of the importance of family and home above other pursuits and activities. The many, many times Justus needs to be nursed in a day force me to sit down, relax, and read more stories to the other kids. With more time in the home, my dishes are caught up and I have time to prepare an elaborate supper. If I feel up to getting out I can take the kids to the park or on a walk but if I don't, I can take a nap with them!
I love having 3!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Three 3 and Under---Taking a Shower

The long hot shower I took in the hospital after my epidural wore off sure felt amazing! However it was a few days until I got another one because once we got home there just never seemed to be time for one! I have discovered as a mom of 3, at least for this season of my life, that I need to be very proactive about taking a shower or it won't happen! So, here's my game plan:

*Showers have been cut back to every other day unless I get covered in a really icky mess. I actually started this during my third pregnancy to save time and energy. I had read that too much hair washing actually made your hair greasier and so I "weaned" my hair from a daily shampooing to an every-other-day shampooing. It has been great for me all around in that my hair seems healthier, it's cheaper to be using half the amount of shampoo (but I get all my shampoo free from Walgreens anyway =) and I have more time as I'm the type of person who gets in hot shower and has a tough time getting out until the water turns cold! I'm sure we're saving on our electric bill too!

*Showers are mostly taken at night now. Because there is so much to do in the morning with getting all 3 kids fed, diapers changed, clothes on, and trying to just squeeze in a quick breakfast for myself and a chance to go potty, I have found that it is so much easier to take a shower at night when all 3 are sleeping before I go to bed. I don't mind sleeping with wet hair and being that my hair is long now I don't have to worry that it will wreck my style or dry in a crazy way. This way when I get up in the morning I can quickly fix my hair and get dressed without having to wander around the house in my pjs for half the morning until an opportune time for a shower comes along.

If by chance I miss my night-time shower and find myself needing one in the morning, I try to take it when Jer is taking a morning nap and have Ali shower with me while Justus sleeps, or let Ali watch a kid's movie for a little while and bring Justus into the bathroom in his carseat to protect him. But this is a lot of extra work so the night time showers work the best for this stage of life right now!

*The kids get a bath or shower almost every evening before bed in the summer time because they are always getting dirty or sticky outside. If I happen to shower when they are awake, they usually want to jump in with me, which keeps them out of trouble at least!

Three 3 and Under---First Trip Out

Today was my first day out of the house with all 3 of the kids! I'm happy to report that it went very well even though I was feeling a bit tired this morning. I know that it won't always be easy and there will be some really harrowing experiences with doing this in the future, but it went well today. We first went up to the hospital for Justus' second PKU poke. The lab had a little children's corner with toys that kept my older two occupied until it was time for them to poke him. After that, he was howling and unhappy and so I just let the kids play in the waiting room with the toys while I nursed him to calm him down and get him happy. Then we all headed off to the grocery store since we really really needed milk and Jeremiah kept begging for a sippy of milk all morning. I knew that my many friends in the grocery store would also enjoy seeing the baby. It went very smoothly and I especially appreciate the amount of room in our van and the doors and back end that open at the touch of a button! I was also delighted to discover that Ali can not only unbuckle herself she can also unbuckle Jeremiah and help him out of his car seat, leaving me the job of helping him jump down out of the van and getting the baby.

So, all in all, what did I learn today about having three 3 and under? Well, that if you have trained your kids to listen well and they are in relatively good moods, that taking 3 out is very manageable and can be fun!!!

My kids were delighted to each receive a piece of candy when we got home as a reward from a Mommy who was so proud of their behavior!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pride Goes Before a Fall

We women can be so judgemental sometimes. The other day a gal I know expressed that her husband had asked her to do something, which would help him feel more respected and would overall be better for her. She said she wasn't going to do it. It was too much of a sacrifice of her own priorities. I thought, Goodness, it's not like he asked you to something that hard. Why wouldn't you want to do something for him that would improve your marriage overall? I sided with the husband mentally. I'm sure I was a little prideful as I thought that surely I would submit, unlike her, in such a circumstance.

Boy, was I about to get hit between the eyes! That evening I went home and just out of the blue my hubby decided to let me know that he would feel more loved and respected if I would make an effort to do something for him. I was immediately defensive and resistant. What!!! How dare he?????? I was angry at such a request. Most women would say, "No problem" or say that it was something they always did for their husband anyway but for me it would mean sacrificing my personal time and my habits and re-arranging my schedule.

Suddenly it hit me hard that it is easy to pass judgement on other women whose hubbies have different requests of them that seem so do-able to us, but it is so difficult to listen to the advice or rebuke of our own husbands because often what our spouse asks of us reveals our selfishness and requires a personal sacrifice! I was faced with the reality that I'm no better than that other gal because my response was exactly like hers, selfish and unsubmissive, even if the scenarios were different.

Ultimately my spouse wants the best for me and isn't trying to ruin my life. He is trying to be a godly leader and do what's best for me and for our marriage and merely expressed how I could bless him more as a wife. I see how the area he mentioned could benefit our marriage and my health and attitude and I admit that I am going to work on it and really pray about it.

As for judging other women; don't do it! Pride goes before a fall!

Operation Invest in Alathia

Today while the boys were napping I suggested to Ali that we have a tea party. It's been way too long since we've pulled out the little set that used to be my own mom's and then mine. Usually Ali is excited about tea parties but she had her own agenda and wanted to ride bikes with the neighbor girl. Not only do I not want her hanging out with the neighbor girl very often but I knew the neighbor girl's mom wanted her inside for a while anyway so I explained this to my daughter. At first she was acting out and I was on the verge of totally NOT practicing gentle mothering. I was thinking, "I've been trying to do a tea party with you for a couple of weeks now and things have come up or we've had too many things going on or Jeremiah is awake and when I can FINALLY do it, you tell me you don't want to and scream in my face? Ahhhhhhhh!"
Instead of losing my cool, I tried to stay calm and explain how much fun it would be to have a tea party and when I mentioned real cocoa and marshmallows, not just pretend, she was sold on the idea. We had a nice time and although cocoa got poured all over the doily (handmade by King Jo's grandma) it will wash out! I made Ali do the tea dishes in a little washbasin when we were done. I think we each had around 15 cups of cocoa considering the cups were the size of a tablespoon! I hope we can continue to have tea parties throughout the years and bond as a mother and daughter.
What kind of tea parties do you all have with YOUR daughters?

Making My Home a Haven Monday---Back on Track!

My home is looking pretty nice what with all the nesting that went into it and the large amounts of help from hubby and the in-laws during the last week. A friend offered to bring dinner by tonight, even though the meals from church have stopped coming, and so today's focus is going to be getting back on track with my schedule.

At the beginning of the summer I realized that my home management binder felt too rigid and structured for the summer time and so I made a simple, one-page-for-a-whole-week summer schedule to glance at in my binder. I found that because I had built discipline and habits in my homemaking throughout the fall and spring with my more detailed schedule, even without a daily list to check off the household chores have gotten done as I was able and we have lived life as it came to us, at a fairly simple summer pace.

Now that I don't feel so drained of energy because of pregnancy weariness I am feeling like it's time to crack open that schedule binder and get down to business again. There are lots of things swirling in my mind that I need to get done, especially since the birth of a new baby means lots of initial doctor appointments and paperwork (getting our will done, filling out birth certificate forms, etc.)

So, I'm writing out a list of things I want to accomplish for the week and the various appts. we have for certain days. I have a list of thank-yous to tackle and a list of pre-school supplies to gather for Ali. I'm writing out a week's meal plan using up meals that I have frozen for these post-baby days and I'm making out a shopping list for the end of the week that I can tackle when I can take one or none of the kiddoes!

Don't worry friends. I don't plan to crazily exert myself and I really am taking it easy for complete healing even though it may not seem like it from my posts. With every child we gain in our family, I have been forced to become more organized and disciplined to survive. So, I'm just trying to figure out how our new schedule will work with 3 little ones to care for and try to map out what needs to get done. My hubby is going back to work today, my mom starts teaching school, and my in-laws are back in MN so I'm on my own now!

STAY TUNED for a new series I will be doing on my blog frequently called, "Three 3 and Under" which will highlight the things I learn along the way about taking care of 3 little ones.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Project Minivan Complete!

The kids love riding in the new van!

We've never owned a vehicle made in this century until now! It's a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country. It has automatic sliding doors and all kinds of fancy gadgets and functions.
Grandpa Joel and King Jo wash and dry the van while Alathia watches.

We are so thankful to be driving the minivan that God provided! King Jo's folks brought it out from MN on their trailer and it was immaculate! Not only did they put a full new set of snow tires on it for us as a gift, but they bought a bunch of van-washing supplies so we can keep it looking sparkly. My father-in-law is a perfectionist with the vehicles in his care so they always look beautiful!

Boy, I sure feel like I'm a high-schooler "playing house" when I drive a van full of my own kids around town! Where did the time go? How can I possibly have THREE kids already?

Our van is a testimony to the fact that God always takes care of us, even when circumstances look hopeless or we have financial burdens. I need to remember this especially now, as we need a bigger place to live but can't find anything affordable to rent in our town, and our landlords are raising our current rent in a month.

God is good and we thank Him for the new wheels!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Justus' Song

A sweet lady from church brought over not only a meal, but also made up an adorable song for our baby boy.

(Sing to the tune of "Father Abraham.")

Justus Abraham

He is our son

Yes, our son is Justus Abraham

We're so proud of him

And he's so cute

So let's just praise the Lord!!!

What a Diet!

I stepped on the scale today, on Justus' one-week birthday and was amazed to see that I'm over 20 pounds lighter than I was a week ago! I only post about this because it's so cool to see it drop off that quickly! I have done little besides laying around, sitting around, and have been eating tons this week! Thanks to some of you out there who have supplied us with lots of chocolate and desserts and thanks to ladies who can cook like you wouldn't believe at our church, I have been eating like a horse about 6 times a day! Don't you wish it was always this easy to take off the pounds? It feels so great to not be preggo anymore (not to make those of you friends who are STILL waiting for your babies mad or anything =) I still have 10 to lose though and it's always the last 10 that won't come off for ANYTHING!


Life is going well right now! I just had to pop in to my blog and say that I have lots of great pics and posts coming but I'm spending time with my in-laws right now as they will only be here one more day. I've been so spoiled all week, that believe it or not I've actually felt......bored! Though cuddling my tiny newborn never gets old and I soak up as much of that as I can! Ladies from the church have been bringing wonderful meals by, my mother-in-law did laundry and dishes today, and Grandpa and Grandma and Daddy have been taking Alathia and Jeremiah for stroller walks, bike rides, and off to the park. My hubby did some major deep cleaning for me at the beginning of the week too!

However, because things have been going so smoothly and I have felt so amazingly well after this birth, King Jo has worked an hour or two for the last two mornings and I have done the getting up and breakfast routine by myself with all 3 kids. I have found that being alone with the 3 is totally do-able and not at all stressful. Yes, it's busy, and yes, it's a must that you learn to hold a baby and do many tasks one-handed, but it's plenty manageable, especially because you aren't pregnant! (There's no fatigue like pregnancy fatigue!) So, for those of you contemplating having a third someday; go for it! Whatever extra work and energy it may take, it is totally worth it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Comparison of Birth Experiences

This post is not intended to be scientific or medical evidence to prove that one way of giving birth is better than another. It is to be read as "Mrs. Jo's personal experiences with 3 different methods of birthing," with the understanding that all women are different and will have different experiences in birth. One way of birth is not superior to another and I don't believe you are a better mom if you do it a certain way. I have not experienced a c-section but I so appreciate the women who have who shared with me their wisdom and encouragement when Justus was breech and it looked like I would have one!


My Story
My waterbirth was amazing! Because I went into immediately after an all-day flu where I vomited and had diarrhea constantly, I was incredibly exhausted. I'm sure it would have been even more relaxing to be in the water if my body had been well and rested. The contractions felt twice as strong and painful when I would get out of the water to go to the bathroom. I couldn't wait to hop back into the birthing pool again. One mom of 3 who was a very crunchy granola gal told me that if I had a water birth I would NEVER want to go back to trying one out of water if possible. She was right! Because we moved to a state where there aren't any options for water birth, I wasn't able to have one with #2 but I sure wished I had! My labor with #1 was 15 hours total and of those hours I was in the water for about 11 hours. Can we say prune?

If you are interested in a natural birth, I think water birth is totally the way to go! The water eases your muscles, allows you to move and flip around during a contraction to be most comfortable, and it helps ease the baby's coming out, preventing tears.

Most Painful Part:

Waterbirth is not pain-free and after Ali was born I still described the process as torturous and told my hubby we were going to adopt any future kids! The contractions were very close and very long the whole time and so it's hard to say if the contractions or the crowning was the worst part of it. By the time I was ready to push I was so ready for the pain to be over that I didn't care if I ripped my body to shreds; I had one goal and it was get the baby out with all my might! It was pretty painful to birth the placenta, which I did out of the water.

Emotions/Reaction to the birth:
Once the baby was out and in my arms I was able to marvel at her and enjoy holding her. I had expected it to be a big emotional moment but I was worn to an absolute frazzle after around 36 hours of no sleep, horrible pain, and exertion. I didn't cry and couldn't smile for the pictures with her.

Ali was immediately alert and cried vigorously. She also had her eyes open very quickly and was looking around at us. Because it was a homebirth I believe she had the best experience of any of our babies as far as transitioning into the world since she wasn't stabbed and poked and examined like crazy as they do in the hospital. She nursed right away, and I was shocked at how painful it was!


I was quite sore and my body ached for about a week but after a week I felt great and pretty much back to normal except for lack of sleep.

Baby Blues:
My baby blues were pretty bad with Ali. I think the lack of sleep was the biggest contributing factor to this as I came out of the birth exhausted only to go into a week of almost no sleep and around-the-clock feedings. Being brand new parents we were more paranoid and less knowledgeable and so I cried and cried uncontrollably for a week straight! I cried over EVERYTHING and NOTHING! One night when King Jo worked on a friend's vehicle for several hours after work I cried for several hours thinking he had had an accident because he took longer than I thought he would. He would sometimes come home from work and find me sobbing in the shower and when he'd say goodbye in the morning, to go to work, I would cry without ceasing. My hubby only had 3 days with me (2 of those were Sat. and Sun.) before he had to go back to work and I was 1,000 miles away from my own mom so this probably contributed to my crazy emotions. I'm glad that after a week, my body leveled out and I got some sleep!

Overall, I'd say it was really cool to have a waterbirth. It's something unique and since I love swimming and take great comfort in warm water, it was a great thing for us. It was financially right for us at the time too since we didn't have insurance to cover having a baby in the hospital. It takes a lot of research, dedication, and emotional strength and preparation to have a natural water birth but it can be a beautiful experience!!!

Non-Medicated Birth or Natural Land Birth

My Story
Because I had given birth before, when I experienced my natural land birth I found that the contractions were different. I had heard that it gets much easier once you have had a baby and that pushing time is shorter and things supposedly go faster. My land birth was 11 hours total. It probably helped greatly that I didn't go into it after the flu. I remember thinking that it just didn't seem like real labor since my contractions never got closer than 7-10 minutes apart and weren't unbearably long or difficult to breathe through.

Most Painful Part:

The absolute worst part of my land birth was the exit of the baby. They call it a "ring of fire" in pregnancy books but my friend Lesley and I decided it should be called the "blowtorch from Hades" to be more accurate. Perhaps if we had had some warning he was coming and I had pushed for a long time, slowing moving him out, it would have been a bit less painful. Who knows? I never really had the urge to push. One minute I was on my hands and knees on the bed, experiencing the worst and longest contraction ever and the next minute I rolled onto my side and then back and he shot out in about 10 seconds.
Everything afterward was very painful too, from having to be checked "down there" to the placenta coming out, to the catheter they had to insert, etc. They also had to do lots of uterine massages (more like uterus-poundings) to get my uterus to contract down.

Emotions/Reaction to the birth:
I remember screaming at the top of my lungs, but my hubby said he didn't hear anything; perhaps my body's exertion muffled the scream that was inside of me. I remember thinking that no human being on the face of the earth should ever have to feel that much pain! After his exit, I remember seeing him for a minute and yet not really being able to absorb it. By the time they let me try to nurse him minutes later I was so weak and so traumatized by the pain that I couldn't even hold him and had them take him away. I felt like I was dying.

Recovery time:
I was very sore and hurting for at least a week. Due to excessive bleeding I was anemic and extra tired and had a bad, bad cold a few days after delivery. I bled for 8 weeks afterward.

Baby Blues:
Much less with #2. I had one episode of crying uncontrollably for 5 or 10 minutes in the hospital when the nurses were talking with me about Jer's check-up. They thought I was worried about him and in reality, I was just crying because of the hormones and exhaustion. I also had one melting down crying episode a few days later when a sweet gal from church brought a meal over. Because I broke down weeping in front of her (I was feeling overwhelmed with it all and caring for my hubby who had the flu and not having any help since my Mom was working at the time) the whole church ended up finding out we were "having a rough time of it" and volunteered lots of help and support.

Jeremiah was alert and crying right away. Because he had had a rapid exit, he had a little fluid in his lungs so they put him on oxygen a tiny bit during that first day and watched his breathing as he had a little grunting stuff going on. He nursed right away.

Some say natural childbirth is the very best way to deliver for the baby's sake. Some prefer less interventions. It is nice to be able to move around and be in whatever position you want to be in. Natural childbirth is no doubt less expensive if you are having to pay cash for your birth, since you won't have to pay the fees for drugs/anesthesiologist, etc. Emotionally, one benefit of natural childbirth is the feeling that if you have done something that amazing and survived something that painful, then you can conquer the world!

Overall I would have to say that natural land birth is not something I want to ever experience again! I have NO CLUE how our grandmothers did it over and over and over and didn't die. Reading the story of Amy's 5th child's birth at one of my favorite blogs, kind of re-inforced what I already know from experience: It's undergoing barbaric torture! If you are going to undergo it, you had better have a high pain threshold and really be geared up emotionally for it. I think all women should prepare themselves for a natural childbirth since sometimes drugs aren't an option, especially in quick labors. The best way to survive it is to concentrate on relaxation and deep breathing through the pain.

Medicated Birth

My Story
I recently shared my most recent birth story in 3 very lengthy posts. With baby #3, I was scared to death to have a natural childbirth as Jer is not quite 2 years old and the pain was still much too fresh in my mind. I was determined that I would try the pudendal block, like many of my friends, or possibly even the spinal or epidural. The more I talked to friends, the more I realized that the epidural didn't sound as bad as I had imagined it could be. Since I was constantly being shuffled around to different doctors and finding out my doctor was on vacation more often than not, I decided the epidural might be a better choice than a pudendal since very few pudendal blocks are done nowadays and I might end up with a doctor who didn't do them or didn't do them well. I had a 16 hour total labor, with the epidural being given about 3 hours before the delivery.
Most Painful Part:
Getting an IV in the hand was much more painful than getting the epidural catheter inserted. The most painful part of my labor was having my membranes stripped (before I got the epidural) and the cervical exams they did before the epidural kicked in. The contractions were getting quite painful around the time the epidural took effect. As far as pain related to the actual epidural, I will say that I had sharp, achey back pain the following day in my low back. I don't know if it was soreness from my worst contractions, which were centered there, or soreness from the epidural needle. It went away after a couple of days and was helped with Ibuprofen and massage.
While these weren't painful, the most inconvenient parts of having an epidural were: being hooked up to an IV and monitors the whole time and shaking for 2 hours as the epidural wore off as I was numb and tingly for the whole remainder of the evening, having to lay in bed and have someone fetch the baby for me. The ickiest thing about the epidural was having bowel movements without realizing it was happening all over in my gown and all over the bed and having to ask a nurse to clean me up, like a little baby getting a diaper change. Not being able to move and take a shower was gross after a couple of those episodes so I greatly looked forward to taking a shower the next morning when I could stand again!
I felt NOTHING once it kicked in. NOTHING as in no hard contractions, no crowning, no pain birthing the placenta, no cervical checks or doctor stitching me up or soreness or afterpains and cramping (at least not until the epi totally wore off). The next day I didn't even feel that burning pain that lets you know an 8 pounder exited your body. I felt NOTHING! I didn't feel any different than I was before having the baby. I am amazed that someone can give birth and really not feel anything at all to prove that they did! Having a BM a couple of days after childbirth, which was emotionally and physically torturous with my natural births, didn't hurt a bit after an epidural!
While some books would have you believe that epidurals make the baby lethargic Justus was our healthiest baby and was immediately alert and crying. He nursed immediately and had lots of bonding time with us. He was an early discharge because of his good health.
Baby Blues:
Due in part to the fact that I had no pain giving birth I didn't feel as exhausted and worn down. I also had a lot of help this time around just due to the time of year (Mom not working yet and hubby able to take some time off). Absolutely no baby blues this time around!!!
Recovery Time:
Felt great after a couple of days! As I said before I have had no pain to even indicate I have had a baby except for some backache, pelvic muscle soreness, and uterine cramping (afterpains) when nursing. Not sure how long it will take to feel like my old body is back and able to tackle long walks and wrestling around with toddlers, but so far I feel so much better than ever before after birthing a baby!
Emotions/Reactions to the Birth:
It was really cool to be able to sit back and kinda observe the birth of my baby without being consumed by deep breathing exercises and pain! As one friend said, "You will get to enjoy the wonder of having a baby." It was still a lot of work to push and granted, I was exhausted and ready for it to be done after my day-long ordeal, but I really got to soak up the wonder of it all and revel in my baby as I haven't been able to before. I cried seeing my baby and during the pushing I was more focused on the baby than I was with myself and my own pain. I would describe Justus' birth as really beautiful and amazing looking back on it!
Overall I think the epidural is AWESOME! I know many people who have had experiences with it that were less than pleasant; most of them involving it not working enough or at all for them. I know there are risks involved and those have to be weighed by each woman. Medicated birth is more intrusive than natural if you prefer to do things exactly your own way or be in your own home to give birth. However, I found that I have completely flip-flopped from being "I'll have my baby naturally or die trying" to "Sign me up for the epidural the very minute my pregnancy test comes back positive!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

4 Days Old

Justus' Birth Story-Part 3

I apologize for the super lengthy-ness of this birth story but some friends enjoy every detail and it helps me record it so I can remember the day. And hey, if you have 16 hours of labor, you have 16 hours worth to write about!
(Continued from previous post....)
Getting the epidural was scary for me. I’m sure as I bent over the little side-arm table next to the bed and was getting it my mom and King Jo probably thought it was hurting me a lot. I think I was trembling, crying slightly, and doing relaxation-breathing more because I was anticipating pain than that there actually was any. I kept repeating in my mind that my cousin had told me it just feels like a bee sting. Sure enough that is all I felt. While I was holding still for him to finish putting it in, I counted over and over to 100 to focus my mind and kept picturing my kids, smiling and playing as I counted. I was amazed when it was finished. You see, I’m very afraid of needles and have always been totally freaked out at the thought of one in my spine. I’ve often told many of my friends that I would much rather go through natural childbirth than take a needle in my spine. So, like each birth I’ve been through in the past, I discovered something new and came through something I never thought that I could. Getting the epidural was nothing! Getting blood drawn hurts much worse!
The anesthesiologist was such a WONDERFUL guy. I’m sure he had things to do that Saturday night (it was around 5 pm) but he refused to leave until he was absolutely sure my epidural had taken effect. He would come in every five or ten minutes and ask how I was feeling. For about an hour I continued to feel contractions and kept asking the nurse if I could push my button. They said it usually takes 10 minutes to start losing sensation and getting tingling. Since my body didn’t take to it in 10 they gave me a little more and little more until it finally all kicked in at once and gave me a super hefty dosage that left me exactly as I wanted to be: comatose from the waist down! I had one “window” where I would feel the bad contractions in a little 4 inch by 4 inch square on my left side of my lower belly so I had to lay on my side and that helped the medicine somehow fill in that window.
Once the epi took full effect I closed my eyes and was almost relaxed enough to sleep. My mom and King Jo enjoyed the machine that tells you when you’re contracting and how much. They watched it eagerly and would report to me that I was having big ones and they were coming faster. At around 6:30 he checked me, and I was at a full 10. They decided to turn off my epidural at that point since they knew it would be soon. I remember King Jo saying that I could have this baby by 7pm! I was so amazed at how fast the last part had gone and that I was feeling absolutely nothing. They got me into a pushing position and would tell me when I was having a bad contraction so that I could attempt to push. Pushing was so strange with the epi because I was sooooo totally numb. I did my best to do what I knew to be pushing but I felt like I was really faking it and just squishing up my face and leaning forward just to make everyone happy but I didn’t think it was actually doing anything. However, the nurse told the doctor that I was pushing well and things were happening. He was out of the room for a while and I began to fear he wouldn’t make it in time. But that was because in the past I hardly had to push. With my first, it was only 20 minutes and with Jer I didn’t really push at all, he was just an explosion shooting out in less than 10 seconds. The nurse would check to see if the baby was moving down and report to me. I’d rest between contractions and then push as much as I could on the contractions. I kept asking them to break my water so I wouldn’t have to push against it and so they finally did. The thing that really motivated me to push even more was when the doctor popped in and checked for progress and finally said, “Well, she’s so dead from that epi that we might need to just have her rest through a lot of contractions and wait for some feeling to return so she can work with the “urge to push.” That freaked me because the main reason I got the drugs was so that I would be numb specifically for pushing out the baby part! So, I got down to business and was bending over, grabbing the handholds for pushing and huffing and puffing and thinking, “I have got to get this baby out before the epidural wears off!” I even tried to push when I wasn't having a contraction!
My mom and King Jo each grabbed one of my legs and would push them up, bent against my body and I would try to grab my legs and push. It felt like I was touching someone else’s legs and my body felt like it weighed four hundred pounds. Though I felt absolutely NO PAIN whatsoever, I was still working my upper body and exhausted and just dying for it all to be over and done with. Seeing the baby nurse come in and lay out all the things for the new baby and hearing them all say encouraging things really, really helped. Hearing them say he was only a finger tip away or that they could see the head or that 3 more pushes and he would be out was great motivation for me. Some of it ended up not being true, since the baby seems to go back some for every centimeter gained but knowing I was close to the end of this long, tiring ordeal was an incredible feeling.
I figured I would feel a big release of pressure when the baby came out because all of my friends had told me about that and that though they felt no pain, you would feel the baby in that way. On the last push or two, the doctor had me try laying flat instead of hunching over my belly, which was causing the baby to slide back. While lying flat, King Jo and my mom pushed my legs up all the way to my chest and I looked at the doctor and saw him grab the blue bulb syringe and heard a sucking noise. I couldn’t believe the head was out as I still felt nothing, and no release of pressure. I decided I’d better give one last push to get the body out but as I started to the doctor stopped me and said he would do the rest. And there was my squalling, round, healthy baby boy in my arms! I was crying tears of joy and relief that it was all over and I was getting to meet my son! It was absolutely amazing! This was the first birth that I could actually enjoy because I wasn’t reeling from the trauma of excruciating pain. They let us hold the baby and look him over for a long time. They did all his check-up stuff right there on my belly and we marveled at him in all of his purple glory. (Yes, he looked very, very purple to me!)
The doctor was so awesome about following my birth plan and preferences. He knew I had a history of hemorrhage and that I wanted a slow placental delivery so he took his time, and didn’t rush it and waited on the placenta. My placentas are always very stubborn and my water sacks always stick to the uterus so with the last two births I have had placental fragments remain inside. With Ali’s homebirth my midwife had to really do everything she could to get my placenta out and it took around 45 minutes. With Jer’s birth, I believe they jerked the cord to get it out way too fast, (it was out within about 4 minutes) and that is the main reason I believe that I hemorrhaged. This doctor probably had mine out in a half an hour to 45 minutes. He was so careful to make sure that I was given pitocin in my IV as well as oral pills to cramp my uterus and prevent excessive bleeding. He decided to put a couple of tiny stitches in a “skid mark” that I had and I felt nothing. In my previous births I’ve had just tiny tears that have healed without stitches, but Justus was my biggest baby and has a huge head!
I began to shake around 8:30pm as my epidural was wearing off and continued to shake for about 2 hours. It didn’t hurt, and some warm blankets helped a little bit but it was just a minor inconvenience for having the epidural. I nursed the baby a lot during this time and he took to it right away. My dad came up with food from McDonald’s, which was the only place in town open that time of night. We all ate in the delivery room and my friend Amy brought Ali up to see her new brother.
I regained enough feeling to move to a recovery room about an hour later and they brought the baby to us right away and said he was so healthy he could stay with us all night. King Jo saw that I was comfortable in bed and then ran home to get some snacks and fleece blankets (the rooms are sooo cold!). I had to sleep with my IV in as a precaution against bleeding and had to take pills to help my uterus cramp every four hours. My legs tingled but were still mostly numb all night and into the early morning. Being numb was nice though since I didn’t feel much of the cramping pain from all the pills/IV/nursing. King Jo stayed with me all night in the recliner in my room and he would bring me the baby for nursing. None of us slept well with all the vitals checks and with Justus fussing all night to be fed and held.
The next morning I was fully able to walk and get up on my own and got to take a hot shower which felt amazing. I felt absolutely no pain and no soreness from the birth except for sharp lower back pain. Whether the lower back pain was from the super hard contractions I never felt or soreness from the epi needle, I don’t know but it diminished each day until 3 days post-partum it was totally gone. Jeremiah came up with my folks and Ali and got to meet his little brother that morning right after Justus had been circumcised. Justus didn't even cry during the circ, as his daddy watched the whole thing, and I found that to be such a relief since he usually screams bloody murder at just the touch of a cold wet wipe!
I was shocked at how little bleeding I had compared to the last birth! Since we were both doing so well they said we could go home Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after delivery!
And that concludes the novel! Hindsight is so much better because looking back on everything I praise the Lord for His mercy and strength through it all and I would definitely call it a beautiful birth experience and sooooo worth it all! It was my best delivery yet!
My hubby could have told this story in one sentence: Justus was born!

(Stay tuned for a post on my comparisons of water birth, non-medicated, and medicated birth!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Justus' Birth Story-Part 2

(Continued from previous post)

……………We arrived at the hospital to find that it was completely tranquil and no other patients except one 6 week old baby in the nursery with some acid reflux problems. This was a welcome find since our other hospital birth had been on one of the busiest days where the unit was strained to the max and nurses were cranky and rushed. We were given the nicest delivery suite and treated like we were in a hotel. I got into my hospital gown and then they checked the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions via the monitors. Not knowing what was going to transpire, I continually wavered between laughter and light-heartedness, even watching a comedy on the TV, and tearing up and thinking I couldn’t make it through. I had no idea what to expect since my body is so unpredictable. Was I at a 9 and too late for drugs or was I having the longest bout ever of “false” labor? I was guessing I was at a 6 or 7. So, I was completely unprepared for the nurses’ announcement that I was about at a 3, only about 50% effaced and a cervix still pretty high up there. She hadn’t been able to get a real accurate measure as I am horrible about relaxing for cervical checks, so she had another nurse come in who had smaller hands and she confirmed the 3cm. I felt cheated and frustrated. After all, I had endured around 25 hours of regular contractions over the last week and just a few days before at my last Doctor’s appt. I had been told I was a 2 or a 3 with a soft cervix. The Doc who had last checked me had predicted when I did hit real labor I would go fast. FAST?

Given my history, they weren’t about to release me just yet and tell me to go home. They said we’d wait a while. I had the neatest, calmest nurse who was unhurried and very peaceful and she put me at ease. The doctor on call was a guy from Jackson, filling in since there is such a shortage in our town right now. I liked him better than any of my town’s doctors. I was frustrated with my body because lying in the hospital bed immobile made my contractions spread even further and there was a big 18 minute gap between a couple. I wished I could make myself pick up the pace or at least fake some on the machine so they wouldn’t send me home. I asked the nurse if there was something she could do to get me going harder. Water breakage? Pitocin? As much as I didn’t want Pit I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a little if I could “get this pony show on the road!” I really began to feel that I would be in labor forever! She said we’d wait a while and see what was going to happen. A couple of the contractions showed that the baby's heart rate was dropping a lot during some of the bigger contractions so they said they'd definitely want to keep me under observation for a few more hours because of that reason.

She informed me that if I wanted to have an IV started in the waiting that it would be easier to get some fluids going so that I could have an epidural when active labor came. She also informed me that I could have the epidural NOW if I wanted it, as they usually start it around 3 or 4 or after. I felt weird about getting it then since the contractions seemed to be so infrequent and I still had this niggling fear that we would be sent home. I didn’t feel like I was experiencing enough pain to really merit one at that point but I okayed the IV. She got an IV started, which really hurt. I’ve only had one once before, when I was bleeding after Jer’s birth and at that time I was so out of it I never even felt them put it in. She put it in my hand, which made things quite difficult for going potty since I had to manuever, with King Jo’s help of course, two cords from the monitors, an IV pole, my gaping hospital gown, and only one hand!

The doc came in after a couple of hours and did a cervical exam, which ended up being one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt. This is when I thought my mom was going to start crying and lose it too as they were on either side of me holding my hands and trying to get me to concentrate on them. The reason it hurt so bad was he declared me finally in active labor, at a 5 and decided to stretch the cervix a bit and strip the membranes with his hands to try and really get things going. I was crying and shaking and in agony through that. When it was over I said I wanted the epidural right away. I had originally wanted a spinal but they said an epi would be better since we didn’t know how long it would take me to deliver and spinals wear off after a couple of hours.

I guess I was getting to the point that the pain was getting more intense with contractions and the stripping procedure had hurt so much I was done with pain! He also said they would soon get worse now that he had stripped the membranes.

To be continued tomorrow...............

Justus' Birth Story-Part One

I awoke on August 16th at 4 a.m. with strong contractions. I had had some contractions the night before that we were hoping would turn into labor so we had stayed up until midnight before I decided it was false labor AGAIN and that I really needed sleep. I was grateful to have had a good four hours of solid sleep. I got up and began surfing the internet, writing some e-mails, and waiting to see if the hard contractions would continue. They continued for 2 hours at exactly 8 minutes apart and were as strong as being an average of 60 seconds long. I was sure this was it! I decided to try laying down again and see if that would stop them, just in case it was going to be a hopeless case again. I laid down and had just gotten to sleep when one hit and jolted me awake. So, just like in the movies when the woman sits up in bed and shakes her husband awake, I grabbed my hubby’s arm and said, “I think we will be having a baby today!” He got up and showered and I made a pancake breakfast and continued to time contractions. They were now coming only 10 minutes apart. The kids got up at 7 as usual and ate breakfast. The contractions were slowing a bit and only 30 seconds long so I didn’t know if I should call Mom or our friends who were going to watch the kids. I called Mom around 9 and told her to be on alert and that we were going to go for a long walk with the kids and see if anything panned out. We headed to the video rental a few blocks away to return our weekend movies and then I decided we should keep walking a few more blocks to the yard sale corner. (Maybe a future post should be entitled, “You might just be a Yard Sale-ing Addict If…..You’ve ever gone yard sale-ing while in labor before!) There were lots of yard sales going that morning (everyone puts a box with their address on it on the 9th St. corner) but there were 4-5 particular ones a few blocks away and all on the same street so I suggested we hit that street on foot! The kids did great and were having fun. I scored some brand new packs of scrapbook page protectors for Justus’ scrapbook at 20% of the retail price and on our way home we walked past the house of some friends and stopped to chat with them for nearly an hour. It was so funny that my friend, whom I hardly see any more, had read my blog (which I had updated at 5a.m. to say that it might just be “the day”) before we got there so she was really wondering what I was doing out walking if I was possibly in labor! Throughout the walk and the yard sale-ing I had been having 30 second or less contractions every 10-20 minutes. I would merely stop, bend over slightly and breathe through and then start walking again. I doubt anyone driving down the street noticed I was having one.

I got slower and slower on the walk home and started feeling really heavy and like I really needed to go potty and eat. But the contractions still weren’t very close. About 2 blocks from our house is a grocery store and as we passed I thought it would be fun for the kids to get free balloons since every Saturday they give them to kids. So we grabbed some bananas and donut holes (my pregnancy weakness) and the kids got balloons. The sun was shining brightly and yet it wasn’t swelteringly hot. I was hungry and so we decided to take a breather and sit at the picnic table in the grocery parking lot and eat our food; like a picnic brunch. I remember thinking that it was a beautiful day and that it had been a really fun family excursion no matter what happened after it. I thought, “If our baby was born today it would be fun to look back and remember the pretty day and the family togetherness we shared on this long walk.”

We made it home and I called my friend to say that we might need her to watch the kids in the afternoon but I wasn’t sure. She told me about an awesome yard sale they had hit that I had missed where there were tons of teaching supplies my mom would like and tons of educational toys and yard toys since it was at a daycare. My mom arrived just when I was on the phone with us as she wanted to stop by and check on whether or not things were happening. So, I got off the phone with my friend and told my mom I thought things were still happening but wasn’t sure but that we should drive to this yard sale together. We headed over to it while Josiah stayed home with the kids and we scored some really, really great deals on stuff. My mom got lots of fun stuff for her classroom next year and the prices were amazing. At the sale, I had a few really long, hard contractions that started scaring me so I was glad to get home and starting to wonder about calling the hospital. I suggested we feed the kids first and mom headed home quickly to eat, grab her stuff for the hospital, and take her stuff from the yard sale home.

When we were feeding the kids lunch, they of course were crying, whining, fighting, and being typical demanding toddlers and I couldn’t handle it. I got very snappy and told King Jo that I couldn’t take it and I needed them out of there FAST. At one point (I’m not proud of this) I even told King Jo to shut up! They were hardly done eating but hubby hustled them out as soon as he could and we threw their bags in the car and we didn’t even call our friends; we knew they were on stand-by and so he rushed over there. I didn’t want my kids thinking Mommy was mad at them and of course I had thoughts of “this could be the last time I ever see them if I die in childbirth” (I know, I’m terribly dramatic) so I tried to be positive as I told them goodbye and told them I loved them and told them they would be getting a new baby brother soon. They were just excited to be going to their friend’s house. I waited tearily in the front yard, hoping my kids would be okay and praying for God to be with me whatever transpired next.

Soon my mom arrived back and King Jo too. He called his folks to let them know we would probably be heading to the hospital soon. We called the hospital and told them to pull my charts. I knew they would probably think I was some crazy mom who thought she was in labor but really wasn’t since the contractions were still so far apart but I was getting nervous. I knew I wanted pain medicine this time, in the worst way, and my contractions stayed 7-10 minutes apart the ENTIRE labor with Jer until about the last 10 minutes before he was born. I had gone into the hospital before after 8 hours of labor at home and been declared an 8 or 9cm. So, since 9 hours of fairly regular labor had transpired I wasn’t sure how dilated I’d be but wanted to make it up there in time for some drugs. Hearing my history, the nurse told me I’d better come up. So, we loaded up and headed up there. I wavered constantly between excitement that this was FINALLY it and saying, “I can’t do this!” to my hubby.

To be continued……..

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Pics

We've found that Justus enjoys being swaddled and doesn't enjoy sleeping in his bassinet as much as sleeping cuddled up between us in bed, nose to nose or curled up next to my belly almost as if he were in the womb again.
Justus' personality so far is a lot like his sister's! I was picturing a very laid-back baby since he hardly moved in the womb and had me always wondering if he was still alive or if something was wrong with him. But now that I have met him I think he is not nearly as laid-back as Jeremiah. My milk has yet to come in so perhaps he will sleep very well and be more content then but at this point in time he is pretty opinionated, has a very loud cry and knows how to use it, and is a pirahna nurser like his sis was. He would nurse 24 hours a day if I would let him, hence the reason we push a paci instead of Mommy as the human pacifer! The nurse at the hospital dubbed him a "Drama King" because he was so offended with her for giving him a bath that afterward when she brought him to the room he was crying big, wet tears, sticking his lip out in a huge pout and giving shuddering, shaking sobs. It's always hard for me to hear my baby screaming while I'm laying in a recovery room and not knowing what they are doing. This is why King Jo likes to stay with the baby through the procedures and it helps me feel more at ease. I thought they were torturing him yesterday but the doctor came in and said he was just mad that the wet wipe on his poopy bottom was cold!
I thought pouting was a girl thing since Ali did it from the day she was born but Jer didn't, ever. Justus is a big-time pouter too though so that blows my theory! I can't wait to catch on camera his huge pouty lip stuck out!

Our biggest baby yet (and we were expecting our smallest!) He is short and stocky with huge cheeks and chunky thighs. I was totally expecting another really slim, long-limbed son with stick-thin little legs and the string-bean body Jer had but this guy is very round and short!

The nurse was asking protocol questions and said, "Is the husband of the mother the father of the baby?" King Jo teasing turned to me and said, "Well....?" I said, "Where else would he have gotten those ears!" The first thing we noticed when we held Alathia was that she had the little pinched-top, "ironed-on" ears that run in King Jo's family. Jeremiah got Mommy's ears that stick out on top. Justus has Daddy's ears too!
Justus and Ali's Cabbage Patch Doll are the same size!

I love showing off new babies so there will be a lot of pics here in coming days!

Sunday, August 17, 2008



"May he be the father of a multitude of righteous ones"
Born: 8/16/08
Time: 7:44 pm
Length: 20 inches
Weight: 8#1oz.

We are so, so blessed to have our little bundle of joy in our arms! Praise the Lord! What an incredible gift!

Ali meets baby Justus just an hour after his birth. She was enthralled, bouncing off the walls, and wouldn't go to sleep at Grammy's until 11 p.m.!

Jer-Bear meets his brother for the first time. Ali snaps a pic with her play camera.

There is no joy quite like the joy of being DONE with a terrifying task and then being able to cuddle a newborn! Mommy, once a die-hard natural-childbirth-fan, wanted to declare the anesthesiologist her new best friend and was astounded to have a birth where she felt absolutely NOTHING once the epidural took effect! Bless you, friends who recommended it! I can't believe I lived through two births without it! (What a wimp I have become these days...)

Grandpa Allen takes a look while Grammy snaps a pic. Grandpa is amazed at how he feels like a little football.

He is an excellent nurser so far and takes a paci!

His first picture, just moments after birth. Mama is crying for joy that it was finally over and that our miraculous little gift was finally in my arms!

He has a double chin and a VERY hearty cry. He looks soooo much like his sister the day she was born: plump and stocky!

Daddy loves his boy so much and looks for every opportunity to hold him and cuddle him.

Going home! We had the priviledge of being the only ones in town to have a baby on the 16th so we were treated very, very well and they did everything to make sure I didn't hemhorrage. The hospital food was even good this time around, who would have thought? Because Justus was one of the healthiest babies they said they had ever seen, we got to go home only 18 hours after his delivery!

I just have to say how much I have appreciated your prayers, encouragement and support. I'm praying for those of you yet to go! God truly answered prayer in a big way and even granted some of my specific prayers for a day-time delivery, no hemhorraging, the chance to have drugs for pain relief, and the baby to come in time for my in-laws to see him!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why My Town Thrift Store Rocks!!!

A beautiful, like-new peasant skirt in feminine colors

A like-new (wrinkled, I know, but I haven't washed it yet!) Land's End cotton knit skirt with stretchy waistband that will be perfect for post-baby wearing

Both skirts are in my size (normal size that is *s*)

A can of unopened formula (I may not use it but if not, I have some friends who gladly will!)

A little basket for gift-giving

A brand-new Bible Story Book with stories focused on leading your child to Christ

Taste of Home Magazine (love these so much!)

A BRAND NEW IN THE BOX, NEVER BEEN OPENED electric/battery breast pump

A CD called Scripture Memory Songs for Kids

A like-new Gymboree dress (for the next friend of mine to have a little girl!)

A washable bib (love these!)

Cute Polo shirt for Jer

A fun toy for baby Justus, a bath toy for the kids (they don't have many bath toys), and some play tools and a turtle bowl for Jer (these are his Big Bro gifts "from Justus" he can open when he meets the baby. Ali is getting swimming goggles for her Big Sis gift). Jer loves turtles!

Not pictured: Birthday gift for a friend and like-new baby doll for the church nursery

I doubt there is a thrift store out there with great deals like the one in our town! Today was $2 for a brown bagful again and I was THRILLED with the $70 worth of stuff I found for $2!!! Yes, everything pictured above only cost TWO DOLLARS!

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