Jul 29, 2012

Josiah Roy's Birth Story

Well, folks...I'm not going to put on airs...a week in the hospital separated from your hubby and little girl is the pits and really took it's toll on me.  The transition home was anything but the happy homegoing I'd hoped for.  Its been exhausting, and really hard with Josiah and Ella and figuring out how to do this all. But we're hanging in there and working our way through.  With strength from the Lord and lots of great friends to lean on we're gonna make it I'm sure :) 
But, finally, here is our precious Josiah's birth story! 

Tuesday July 17th I woke up at 5:30am feeling mild contractions 10 minutes apart like clockwork.  "Wahoo!" I thought, "This is it!  Today's the day!"  And then they stopped.  What a tease.

I went about my day as normal.  Ran some errands.  Took Ella to the library.  Bought some crickets for her toads.  Every now and then I'd feel a contraction but they were SO random.

Jason got home around 3:30 and set up the treadmill for me to walk on (It was 95+ with like 100% humidity so I was having nothing to do with walking outside).  I hopped on and sure enough, within about 10 minutes my contractions picked up anywhere from 5-8 minutes apart...still not regular but they kept coming and we started to think it really would happen.  At 5pm I called my midwife, just to give a status report and a heads up that I'd probably be in tonight.  She said she'd check back in an hour.

Jason made dinner, Ella played and watched some shows and I just walked about the house, pausing to sway my hips though each one.  They started coming more frequently.  We bussied ourselves about the house, putting last minute things in hospital bags, putting them in the van and calling our friends who were going to watch Ella to let them know this was it.
Here we are...contractions 2 minutes apart...just before we got into the van to head to the hospital.  Feeling good and very happy that Josiah is finally coming!
At 6pm my contractions were 45sec-1min long and coming every 2 to 2 1/2 minutes from beginning of one to beginning of another.  But as far as intensity, there were nothing.  My midwife said, "2 minutes apart, second baby, Id really like to see you come in now." 

We loaded up and dropped Ella off at our friends house, which went better than anticipated, and got to the hospital at 7pm, just minutes before a huge thunder storm and lightning show rolled in.  I was 4cm and fully thinned out.

I got in the shower and it felt awesome, relaxing my whole body.  I wanted to stay in there forever!  And I think I did for an hour or more (time warps when I'm in labor...and hour feels like 10 minutes) and then it was just too hot and steamy.  So I got out, put my nightgown on and laid on my side in the bed.  I put my relaxation music on and breathed and moaned through the contractions.  Jason read my relaxation scripts and massaged my lower back every time a contraction came.  Then he did a really light massage up my back with his finger tips in between...this is amazing...it releases those feel good endorphines.  Last time we had a doula and we were unsure how this time would go without one, but Jason was an amazing labor partner!  So contractions started to get really intense and at this point my midwife and nurse came in because I think they can just tell when things are ramping up.

I couldn't lay anymore, I needed to be moving around.  I stood, laying my upper body on the birthing ball and swaying my hips through each contraction, Jason still massaging my lower back each time.  Things really started to ramp up, and I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't pretty for a time.

I was hitting transition and it went the same way with Ella.  I began to think I couldn't do it anymore.  Then I began to say, loudly, and often, with much vigor, to everyone around that I couldn't do it anymore.  I asked to be checked again and I was 7cm.  I remember thinking, "Three more to go!?  I CAN NOT DO THIS!" I had an IV port in my hand (in case they needed to give my medicine to stop the bleeding after) and at one point I held up that hand and said, "I need to know what my options for this are!"

Everyone around me was so awesome!  They told me my options...Jason asked great questions about pros and cons for me and the baby with the medicine...and they reminded me of my goal to do it without medication.  They told me I was strong and I could do it.  Jason reminded me that this happened last time and that this means I'm almost there, almost done, almost to pushing.  My midwife told me that if I could get through three to five of these contractions, things generally shift and I'd get a new sense of energy and clarity.  At which point I may have yelled, "I'm pretty sure it's already BEEN 3-5 of these!"

But sure enough, not long after I got a new resolve.  I buckled down and said, "Okay, I think i can do this.  I'm gonna try!"  There was no where I could find that I felt settled.  Not standing, not on the birthing stool, not using the bars in the bathroom.  I finally went back over, stood next to the bed and put my hands on the bed.  And fortunately three centimeters more went away pretty fast.  Another contraction came and I felt the urge to push like I never had before.  And I did.  And my water broke.

My midwife came over and said, "Okay Sarah, if you want to have this baby here I need to put pillows all around you.  If not, you need to get in the bed!  Because this baby is coming!"  She told Jason she thought he'd be here just a few contractions.  I was SOOOOOOOO relieved to hear that the time had come to push.  I tried being on all fours for a few, but just felt too tired.  So I ended up lying on my side. 

Let me tell you.  I remember pushing with Ella feeling really good and not hurting at all.  She also came down very slowly and I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with her.  This little guy was in more of a hurry and that made everything MUCH more intense.  Let's just say, I'm sure I woke some people up in surrounding rooms.

It felt like no time at all.  I don't know exactly how many contractions it took, but Jason said I pushed for 15-20 minutes and then boom!  There he was.  Lying on my stomach.  Perfect, sweet little boy.

Once again, the relief and joy that washed over me when I felt that baby come out was INDESCRIBABLE.  There is no other feeling or emotion that will ever compare!  I remember looking up at Jason, both of us beaming, and he leaned over and kissed me.  Jason thought twice, but ended up passing on the umbilical cord cutting for fear he'd hit to floor, so I got to do the honors, which was a new momentus experience for me. 

It was a good thing I had the IV port, because like with Ella, I was bleeding too much.  A little medicine and I was fine.  (Thank-God we live in a first world country!)  With Josiah all cleaned off we just snuggled.  Jason sat beside me and we soaked it all in.    

About an hour old!

A few hours old.  Mama all showered up, daddy in his jammies...ready for some rest!

Oh my!  Too cute for words!

Yup.  In love!

The next morning.  Giving us some cuteness!

Came out of the shower to find him sleeping on Daddy's chest...de ja vu from when Ella was born!

Jul 15, 2012

June & July with our Little Love

At the end of June we went to the local, annual Strawberry Festival. 
It was blazin' hot!  We got there when it began, stayed for 1 1/2 hours and were DONE!
But Ella got to ride a horse, see zoo animals and pet the giant tortoise, go in a jump house and slide down the HUGE tiger slide multiple times. 
The slide was GIANT...maybe three stories high.  She climbed it and whizzed down it all by herself and then begged for more.  It was her favorite! 
...Or maybe her favorite was her first snow cone...or the big strawberry balloon she went home with...our girl has a thing for balloons!

Riding Rocky

Granite State Zoo Tortoise

Giant Tiger Slide!

Here is Snappy...the snapping turtle who happened across our yard and was held in captivity for observation by a cute, inquisitive three year old for three days.  Then she and daddy trapsed out our trail and through the woods and let him go in the big pond.  These pictures are from his release day.

 Our friends have a sweet little pond on their property and we can just pop on over there whenever we want.  You're pretty much guaranteed to catch sunfish and hornpout one after the other...and the biting and reeling and catching are all Ella is concerned about...not the the type of fish or size.  She loves it!

Tiniest Sunfish Ever!

She's all about holding them up herself and touching them.  I'm sure she'll be taking them off the hook in no time, and Jason's already talking about buying her a fly rod!

Aaaand then there was yesterday. 
With the forcast being 90+ and muggy as far as the eye can see, I knew we needed to go get IN water for the day, or else I'd spend the whole day sitting inside, in front of the A/C and I just hate to do that on a beautiful summer Saturday...even if I am 41 weeks preggers! 
So we kicked it to Pawtuckaway State Park and it was GLORIOUS! 
I could really LIVE floating around in the water these days.  The coolness, the weightlessness, the pressure gone from all joints and such.  I do believe it is a small slice of what Heaven will be like :)

Belly Photo Fun!

He's still in there!
41 Weeks

My midwives are super relaxed and not pressuring for inducement which I LOVE! 
My next appointment isn't even until next Friday which is almost at the 42 week mark but I do hope he comes before then, the suspense is killing me!  I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve...except Christmas morning keeps getting pushed off :) 
And I really am hoping this is the last belly picture I take!
So let's have some fun with the progression shall we?

11 Weeks

16 Weeks

20 Weeks

24 Weeks

28 Weeks

32 Weeks (pop!)

36 Weeks

41 Weeks

Jul 13, 2012

What Daddies Are Made Of...

Our little has been coping very well (for a three year old) with being on a short leash due to impending baby.  We all would really rather be hours away visiting friends and family, camping out for a long weekend or lounging around at family camp.  But alas, we find fun close to home.  And this week over-due mama is just a little too uncomfortable to leave my sweet, soft bed.  And again, I find myself so thankful for Jason.  For what an amazing man he is and what a great Daddy he is! 

"Phew it's hot in here," Jason exlaimed and then unrolled their sleeping bags and set up camp anyway.  Because Daddies are Made of Sacrifices.  

Even though today was 90+ degrees and muggy as all get out, he promised his little girl at the beginning of the week that he'd go camping in the yard with her.  Because Daddies are Made of Kept Promises.
Daddy/Daughter Fun!

Just earlier Jason and Ella were running around the yard, nets in hand, catching fireflies to put in a jar for their camping nightlight.  Because Daddies are Made of Fun and New Experiences!

Our Happy Camper :)
As I packed our lunch for our beach trip tomorrow, I could see the glow from their headlamps, illuminating book after book as they laid their and read together.  Because Daddies are Made of Stories and Snuggles and Quality Time.
A Few Gazillion Stories Later....

And now as I type, just yards away, windows open to let the sweet summer breeze blow through, I can hear the sweet muffled sounds of their voices as they chatter off to sleep.  Because Daddies are Made of Sweet Words and Love.

Ella pretending to sleep...convincing I know ;)

Jul 11, 2012

Baby Status Update

Yes, that wondrous thing called my "due date" has come and gone.  I'm sure inquiring minds want to know and so that I don't have to repeat myself one million times, I'll just post here :)

Due dates are silly, silly things really.  People get WAY too hung up on them!  There's nothing magical about them at all.  Full term (fully developed, healthy baby ready to enter the world) is really anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks.  And might I just add...I am SOOOOOOOO against induction for so many reasons!  But I won't even get started on that right now.

What I'm concerned about are these things:  Is the baby healthy?  Good heartbeat?  Good fluid?  Good movement?  Yes, yes, yes and yes.  Am I healthy?  Still active?  Good blood pressure?  Good sugars and protein?  Yes, yes, yes and yes.  I feel good and I'm happy and ready for the baby to come when HE'S ready.

I just had an OB appointment today and everything looks great.  I haven't gained any weight for the last three weeks so that makes me pretty jazzed too :)  I decided to get checked today, not that it means anything one way or another, I just like to know what I'm working with, or where I'm starting from should I go into labor.

I won't post all me details right here, but I will say that Josiah is in the perfect position.  He's as low as he can go and all the other fun stuff is moving right along.  In short, everything is in a great starting place for whenever he decides to make his way into this world.

Physically, I'm fine.  Really, the hardest thing for me is really the desire to get to see him and hold him.  To find out what he looks like and what his little personality is.  I am so excited to meet this little man.  And you may call me crazy if you like...but just know that it CAN be this way...I am so excited to give birth again...yes, like the actual labor part.  I'm just a little giddy right now, knowing that it is all coming soon!    

Jul 5, 2012

To Honor a Memory

How do you help a three year old understand what death is?  It has been hard to grieve for Hunter and answer her questions.  It hurts my heart wondering what her conceptions are and what is going on in her head and heart and what she understands. 

Right now Ella is just about the same age as I was when my father died.  I CANNOT imagine...not even fathom a fraction of what it was like for my mom... to lose my dad... to grieve... and to have a three year old and a six year old along in that process that I'm convinced no one is ever prepared t handle.  I'm not even attempting to compare the experiences.  I'm saying it's brought the gravity of that back to my mind in fresh new ways.
We prepared Ella over the months.  She knew all along Hunter was sick.  She knew his leg didn't feel good or work properly.  She knew he needed medicine and doctors visits.  In the final days we told her that Hunter would be going up to Heaven with God very soon.  We told her he wouldn't be here with us anymore.  We told her Mommy and Daddy would be very sad and it was okay if she was sad too.  We told her it was okay if she didn't feel sad too.  We told her it was okay to cry, or laugh, or just carry on as usual.  We told her that when he got to Heaven he wouldn't be sick anymore.  That he would have no more pain and would be able to run and romp, chase sticks and balls, go for long walks and swims...just like he always used to.  

(Now, for my Christian friends out there that know their Bible...I KNOW the Bible says nothing about animals in Heaven.  I know we don't really know.  I'm not really looking for a theological debate or commentary here ;)  I just know that this is a golden opportunity to teach our sweet one about Heaven...and the truths we do know about it for those who know Christ as their Savior.  And it was healing to our souls as we literally preached the good news of the Gospel to our daughter and to ourselves.)

Here are some of the sweet, sweet things that came out of Ella's mouth over the weeks and still sometimes now.

"When Hunter gets to Heaven is Jesus going to heal him?"
"Mom, will their be lakes in Heaven for Hunter to swim in?"
"Mom, is God going to feed Hunter treats? What kind of treats?"
"Mom, will Hunter be able to run again in Heaven?"
"Mom, will I see Hunter when I get to Heaven?  That's the first thing I want to do when I get to Heaven, is see Hunter."
"Mom, I'm afraid he won't like Heaven, because Claira's dog is up in Heaven too, and Hunter didn't like to play with other dogs."
"Mom, do you think Quinn (our cat) will be mean to Hunter when he sees him in Heaven like he was here on earth?"

It has definitely helped her understand the finality of Heaven.  She gets that you don't come back.  She now says that she doesn't want to go up to Heaven for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long.....time.  She asks why Hunter got sick and had to go up to Heaven.  She says she misses him.  But she also understands that Heaven is where we get to spend forever with God.  She talks about that.  She understands that it's a place where there are no more tears and no more hurt and no more sickness.  She often comes up with things out of the blue that she thinks are up in Heaven.  Good things like fields and Hunter is running in them.  And Bacon, real bacon, that's what God is feeding Hunter for treats, along with apples, because he really liked apples.  It brings tears of sadness and joy to my eyes at the same time.  And it is healing.

I see it as no coincidence that one week after Hunter passed we went to our church yardsale in search of something Ella could buy with her hard earned chore money and found this!  A giant stuffed animal golden retriever in perfect condition for $3.  We didn't tell the man our backstory and as he handed it over he said, "And look at his outfit.  He's a hunter." 

I mentioned that we'd be doing some things to remember and honor Hunter.  We have a "rememory box" as Ella calls it.  As we packed up Hunter's things (a little too painful to have them all still laying around) and prepared to send them on to new homes, we kept some of his favorite things...some of the things that bring memories to mind that make us smile...some of the things that just scream "Hunter" when we look at them.  And we put these things in a memory box. 

His collar
His blaze orange bandana for fall because he was the exact color of a deer.
His well loved tennis ball
His last chewed stick
Pictures that Ella drew and signed for him
His favorite treats
His favorite fluffy toys that he would shred to show off whenever company came
A few favorite pictures
Letters from Jason and I
Cards that we receieved when he passed
And his ashes when we get them

Jason has been pretty jazzed about starting to plant fruit trees on our property over the last year.  We've done nothing yet, but when all of our land renovation is finished this summer, we'll pick a perfect spot, plant a beautiful fruit tree and bury the memory box in it's shade.  It seems so perfect a way to remember and honor his memory.

Jul 4, 2012

What I've Been Up To

Jason and I have said we'll stop at two biological children...because the trying to get pregnant for years at a time just takes it's toll.  But I don't know...I might go for a few more JUST to get this surge of hormones that gives me the energy and motivation to organize small nations in a matter of minutes!

Remember how I told you about my CRAZY nesting and all my fabulous organizing? 
Remember how I told you I still have one disaster area like Monica's closet on the show FRIENDS?
Well, not anymore.

This is what it looks like now!  I forgot to take a before picture, but trust me.  You couldn't even see the floor.  Much purging and organizing has been accomplished this day! 
And this is the new linnen closet.  I finally was able to move all the towels and blankets from the guest room closet into here.
 Moving those towels and blankets and such from the guest room closet allowed me to organize the guest/office closet like this!  Games, office supplies, craft supplies, giftwrapping supplies and suitcases and aerobeds.
Getting all of this stuff out of the former guest room, which is now the baby's room allowed me to organize Josiah's closet like this!  Have I mentioned how blessed and how grateful we are!?  Because when you take a peek at all the goods in that closet the only things we've bought are some changing pad covers, a sheet and the cloth diapers!  Everything else was hand-me-downs or given to us through showers! 

 Oh, and after much prompting by my three year old who doesn't forget one thing...EVER.  I finally added the owel and bird to the tree mural. 
 And here's Ella's bag, Josiah's bag and a "Big Sister Gift" all ready to go for when baby decides to come! 
Yup.  Told you I've been busy.  I literally have nothing else to do and nothing else to organize...oh, except that utility room...but that's more Jason's domain....yeah I'll leave that for him...ya know, unless this baby decides to come late and I just can't help myself in the meantime. 

Bathroom Redo Finally!

I think I can finally post that our upstairs bathroom re-do is complete!  Okay, so it seems we always have some finish work to do...but the linnen closet and functional finish are what's importnant with baby on the way and I couldn't be happier with the outcome!

BEFORE: No Linnen Closet.  What were they thinking!?
 AFTER: Beautiful, spacious linnen closet (PAINSTAKINGLY) built from scratch and finished by my amazing hubby!

BEFORE: Gross linolium with many a rips and holes.  Also, totally grungy baseboard.
 AFTER: GORGEOUS ceramic tile and freshly sanded and painted baseboard.
PS: Our friend who is AMAZING at tile and just and AMAZING guy in general gave us this tile FOR FREE!  Then instead of just telling us how to do it and letting us use his tools, he literally showed up one night and installed it for us too!  Seriously.  If you're in southern ME/NH or MASS and you need tile installed or cleaned, go with him!  Check him out here at RENEWED TILE & GROUT, LLC

BEFORE: Sink/toilet area.
 AFTER: Paint, tile, trim, mirror, and towel holder.

BEFORE: Tub area.  Notice the totally grungy door!
 AFTER: Gorgeous!  The shower curtain that inspired the bold paint choices.  Fresh white door and trim and new hooks and towel bars!

BEFORE: The washer and dryer just kind of floated in a big open bathroom.
 AFTER:  Now they fit just right and look like the space was meant for them.  It actually kind of inspires me to do laundry...okay that may have been a lie...but I do think it's real purdy!

So, there you have it.  I didn't really keep track of the total expenses on this one.  But we did buy:
lumber, sheetrock, door for closet, backerboard for floor under tile, cement stuff and grout for tile, trim, paint, shower curtain and towel bars.

 We just were so stoked that we got the tile for free that once we got that in, we went all in.  The whole thing took us about 6 months to do because we just saved what we could in our "house" budget each month and bought the supplies as we had the money.  Debt free is the way to be.  Feels good!