Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New and Improved Swagger Wagon

Because of this beautiful guy...

We had to get this big guy...

A gently used gray Ford Econoline

The upgrade to a 12 passenger van was inevitable for our growing family.  We can squeeze into our Toyota Sienna since it seats 8, but it is a Tetrus game getting the car seats and kids in and arranged.  Plus, we can never ever give anyone a ride which is very inconvenient when we have visitors stay with us and when I need to help out with carpools.  So here it is!  We took the plunge and will be shipping the Beast to Germany and trying very hard not to scratch it up parking.  It's going to take some getting used to for sure.  And in the great words of Yoda, "There is no try, only do."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Isaac's Swimming

Isaac finished out his second season of pre-team.  He improved so much this summer that he was even able to earn his swim band to be able to go in the deep diving board section without an adult.  He had to tread water for one minute and swim the length of the pool in a lane without touching the bottom.  He has been long awaiting this privilege since his sisters earn theirs the first swim day of the summer every year.  Congratulations, Isaac!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Back it up again to Cow Appreciation Day

I had written this post up, but I didn't get a chance to publish it before Bobby came.  So we'll take a break from Babyland for a minute.

The Tuesday before my due date, I told the kids that if they made their own costumes that I would take them to Chick-Fil-A to get their free dinners.  They were all more than willing except for Hannah who was convinced by the peer pressure at the last minute to throw a costume together.  I made Judah's out of an old white onesie and Isaac made Drew's for him.  Although I considered taping a pink (construction paper) udder to my big belly, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

The only bummer about this is that they only counted Genna and Judah as "dressed from head to toe" as a cow which meant that we got two free meals and three free entrees.  They had ears on their hats and headbands, but the lady said they had to have spots on their shorts to qualify for the meal.

One seriously cute cow!  He wouldn't take his costume off when we got home.  He slept in it and even wore it all the way to the pool the next morning before he agreed to take it off in exchange for his swimming suit.

I told the kids this had better be locked in their memories of all that their mother has done for them since I was days away from my due date and dragging them up to a very busy Chick-Fil-A with daddy out of town.  They really love Chick-Fil-A!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bobby Comes Home

Bobby Comes Home sounds like an easy reader book like Dick and Jane.

Bobby got to come home very shortly after his siblings visited and his circumcision on the day after he was born.  We had had a rough night in the hospital with Bobby spitting up mucus all night at regular intervals and being generally unhappy most of the night until he'd finally had enough and got into a good sleep at 5am.  Guess what happens at 5am!  Rounds.  Vital checks.  General hospital interruptions.  So, yes.  I was ready to take my chances withe the Fabulous Five at home.

Did I mention he had his blood sugar taken four times after he was born?  Only the first one was ever so slightly low.  The rest were great.

This guy is super in love with his pacifier.

The Welcome Committee

Judah has some work to do on being gentle, so we are watching him closely.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

And Bobby Makes Six

 The next day his siblings arrived to meet him.  I had told them ahead of time they got to hold him in order of birth, oldest to youngest, because they had been "dying" to hold him for the last several weeks of my pregnancy.  Everyone loved him to pieces!

Some loved on him a little more than others.  :)

And some loved on him a little rough. :)  Judah's working on his gentle hugs instead of the squeezy ones everyone else gets from him.
Bobby was taken off to be circumcised.  Then came the presents. We bought gifts for the kids for Bobby to give them in the hospital as is our tradition.  The girls got a book to share and each received a new drawing book.  Isaac got a Star Wars fingerprint drawing book.  Drew got Color Wonder books and a picture book.  Judah got Lego mini-figures of his own and a board book.  Everyone was on cloud nine!  

Bobby's Birth Story

Well, Sunday night I was having my typical irregular contractions, but they had me in a pretty irritated mood.  Brian and I took the kids to a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party that evening and I was just miserable.  I just knew though that these would die down just like they always do.  So I went to bed early thinking I needed more sleep since I was cranky.

I felt contractions on and off throughout the night, but not regular or that many.  Brian got up at 3am and drove back to Richmond, VA for the week.  He got there around 5:30am and texted me at 7:30am when I was awake that he was safe.  I was having contractions, but I hadn't bothered to time them since they are NEVER regular.  I texted him to "Have a nice day."  The thought crossed my mind that I should time them for a bit just in case.

Hmm.  What do ya know?  They were exactly 5 minutes apart.  I got up with the boys and started making breakfast.  They were still 5 minutes apart and getting where I wanted to sit down during them.  My mom came up and we decided I'd call Brian and call my ride to the hospital as well, my friend Ann, to put her on notice that I may need a ride soon.  My mom made the decision not too much longer to call Ann and tell her she was taking me to the hospital now.

Turns out it was good she did, because I was way underestimating my progress.  We left the house at 10am and I was feeling nauseated on the drive.  The contractions got a little harder and were 4 minutes apart.  I made the decision that I could be dropped off and wait for her in the skyway while she parked.  Brian called and gave me a pep talk so I wouldn't get an epidural.  Really it always sounds tempting, but since I know I can do it without, I'm not in love with needles, and there's always the potential for something else to go wrong when you put something in your spine I just cant bring myself to do it.

After Ann parked and met me with my stuff, we started to walk.  A man offered me a wheel chair and I declined thinking walking was good for me and moving the labor along.  However, I didn't make it far before I had a contraction and needed to lean over.  A man just brought me a wheel chair, so I took it.

When we arrived at the Labor and Delivery unit, they asked me if I was the one who called.  Oops!  That's Brian's job.  It had crossed my mind, but I forgot to actually do it.  The nurse asked if this was my first, and when I said, "My sixth" and my contractions were now 4 minutes apart they seemed to suddenly hurry me into triage and checked me right away.  8 centimeters!!!  Seriously?  I had guessed 6 or 7, but wow!  Brian was still about an hour and a half away.  I didn't think I'd make it that long.

They moved me to a room that was totally set up for delivery.  The bed was much more comfortable than the triage bed, the car, or the couch I was sitting on at home.  The contractions got harder and lower fast.  The midwife and nurses were asking me a lot of questions.  Some I could answer, like, "Do you want to hold him first when he is born?"  Some I could not answer because of my indecisiveness during labor.  I can't even remember what those questions were, but I know I was having Ann decide things for me.  That is usually Brian's job.  Everything went very fast and I only remember one guy (a doctor maybe?) telling me he might use internal monitoring or forceps, but only if they had to do so.  I remember him because he kept touching the bed when he talked.  All the while I was having painful contractions, and I do not like to be jostled about when I am trying to relax.

Next thing I know I said, "I'm feeling pushy."

"Do you want to be checked?"

"Do I have to be?" I asked.


"Then no, but can I push when I want?"

"Not until we check you."

So you know how that went down.  They checked me, and I was complete and ready to push.  Then came the doubt and indecision again.  I felt like I needed to push, but Brian wasn't quite there and I wanted him there.  I asked them to tell me when to push because I couldn't quite make that plunge on my own.  The midwife kept saying I would know when to push, but I just needed someone to tell me when to push.  Ann did that for me.  And I always have trouble making myself hold my legs and Ann did that for me too.

Let me pause the story to say, I totally thought she was just giving me a ride to the hospital.  That's all I asked of her, but she said I shouldn't be alone and she would stay until Brian got there.  How could I argue with such a loving offer?  And why would I want to?  Transition is a scary time with no one to support you, and that's just what she did.  I remember her repeatedly telling me how good I was doing.  She did just what I needed her to do and (Bless her heart!) got more than she may have bargained for since Brian still wasn't there when it came time to hold my legs and push.

Back to the story.  I pushed, and even managed to help with my legs, and my water finally broke.  I pushed, and his head came out.  I pushed again, and he was here!  He was here!  Bobby was on my chest and so perfect and beautiful.  Sweet relief for me.

There are two quotes from the book I am reading, Perpetua, based on a true story about St. Perpetua that I read this week after Bobby was born that really resonated with me and related to all my deliveries.  This book is amazing and it will not be the last quote on this blog from it, I promise.

"Paulus (her baby's name,) I am surprised to say, became for some moments not a son, but an unbearable object on which all my energy was spent to expel."

"The instant Paulus became separated from my body, he became a son again.  The son."

That so sums up how the delivery feels for me.  I have always felt badly about the first part, but hearing it put that way from another's point of view makes me feel more normal.

Brian arrived about 15 minutes too late to see the look on my face that he always loves so much when the "object" to expel becomes "the son".  He handled it well though.  Ann had even cut the cord for him.

People since the moment he was born keep asking about how I feel and if I'm in pain starting with the nurses.  After that, you feel no pain.  No ache can come close.  No pain seems to matter any more.  Plus I feel so much lighter!  I have a beautiful healthy baby and I feel great.  Tired, but great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

D + 2 = Surprise Birth!

Robert "Bobby" Cecil Smith was born on Monday, July 20th, 2015, at 11:49am.  He surprised us all by being 10 lbs 6 oz and 22.5 inches long at only two days past my due date.  Plus, he made his entry into the world rather quickly and without me having to be induced which was double the surprise since I've been induced or had to have my water broken with all but Genevieve and him.

He was and is a healthy big guy that the nursing staff nicknamed "the toddler" on the postpartum floor.

He did not have as much dark hair as I thought he was going to have based on my indigestion during the pregnancy, but he does have two dimples in his cheeks and a cleft in his chin.  My predictions were a bit off here, but what's new?

 Since this labor came on out of no where on a Monday morning, Brian had just gotten back to his job in Richmond, VA for the week so he had to turn back around and make the ~2.5 hour drive back when my contractions started up and were actually consistent and close.  There will be a full birth story coming up, but (spoiler alert!) Brian did not make it in time to see our Bobby's grand entrance into the world.  Luckily, I've done this before a few times and had a dedicated friend there to support me through my transition craziness.

His first night (in the hospital) was a rough one for me, but he had a tough day so I'll forgive him for that.  Additionally, he's super cute and soft, and who can blame this guy for anything?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

D + 1 = Uncomfortable Mama

I know I always forget the discomforts of pregnancy, but I would venture to say that this has been the most uncomfortable pregnancy for me probably because I am older.  I went shopping on my due date with my mom and daughters and my belly just aches when I am up and walking.  I haven't been doing my regular walking to get labor started because it just hurts too much and I have to stop to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.  I've walked my heart out during the last few weeks of carrying the baby with all my pregnancies except for Genna and she was the only one who came early so I was going with this strategy this time.  So far  it's not working for me though.

I could not even tell you how many times I had to answer, "Today," to the question, "When are you due?" from strangers yesterday.  I received a variety of comments while shopping that ranged from the standard, "You look like you're about to pop," or "Any day now, huh?" to "There's only one baby in there??!!!"  My personal favorite was when a lady told me my baby was "at least 10 or 11 lbs."  To that, I said, "Oh dear, I hope not 11 lbs!  That would be a new record for me."

I am ready for this little guy to make his appearance on the one hand because I am anxious to hold him and meet him face to face and am super uncomfortable.  I'm ready to be able to easily get up and down out of chairs and beds.  I'm ready not to be so out of breath all the time and not to have to wear these compression stockings any more.  I'm looking forward to wearing some of my regular clothes again sometime soonish.  However, I am not ever really ready to face the labor and delivery or to go to the hospital.  I don't like hospitals and this one I am very familiar with the L&D floor since this will be my third time delivering there.  I always try to convince myself that the hospital is this hotel that I am vacationing at where I don't have to cook and clean and be the "mom of many" 24 hours a day.  Somehow the nursing staff have yet to meet my expectations with all the needles missing the biggest veins they will ever see in their career, breaking my water, and hooking me up to machines despite their repeated offer to bring me ice chips or call the anesthesiologist.

Brian says I am like a paratrooper who is afraid to jump out of airplanes.  When it comes time for the babies to come out, no matter how many times I have done it before I get totally scared.  I resist and drag my heels the whole way, but when labor actually starts I just do what I need to do.  Suddenly I remember why this is what I was made to do.  The rush of holding my beautiful baby makes all the pain and fear I just went through immediately disappear.  That's Brian's favorite moment, seeing my pain turn instantly into awe-filled joy when they hand me my baby.  I love that moment too, and that's what I am trying to focus on each time fear creeps into my mind and heart.

In other news... Friday Isaac finished pre-team with his mini swim meet.  He is such a stronger swimmer than he was at the beginning of the summer.  I was very proud of him and how hard he pushed himself during the races.

Judah is not understanding the dethroning we are trying to prepare him for by getting out all the baby stuff.  He keeps insisting that he is still a baby and needs to be in the bassinet and infant car seat.  I keep telling him he is too big, but...

"See! I told you, Mom, I fit in here!"
Bobby's quilt embroidery is almost finished and so I just might get the whole blanket put together and completed by the time he gets here.  I don't have a doctor's appointment until Wednesday afternoon, and I just doubt anything serious happens before that.  There's always that possibility that I'll be crazy dilated and they won't let me leave the hospital from my appointment, but since Brian will not be in town during the week, I am going to try to talk them out of that so he has time to get here for a scheduled breaking of my water on Friday.  That's my plan, but you know how well the best laid plans tend to go.  So I will keep on updating daily if I am able to just in case my plans go awry. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Daddy and the Kids Being Silly

I walked in on this photo session late in the game.   I don't know what was going on here, but they were all giggling and having so much fun.

This is the child who started it all.

No baby yet, for my near due date blog stalkers.  :(

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Judah is growing up too fast, but aren't they all?

Judah is saying the cutest little sentences.  It sounds so adorable coming out of his tiny mouth in his tiny baby voice.

"This mine, okay?"  He adds "Okay?" with a very exaggerated question mark at the end of a lot of sentences.

"Hey, mom!"  He says this all the time even if he has nothing else to say to me.  Again the punctuation is exaggerated.  It's always an exclamation point with him.

"I'm tell Daddy/Mommy 'bout it."  This is how he tells us he is going to tattle.  My favorite is when he tells me he's going to tell Daddy about something I did.

Didn't remember this picture was taken of me.  This shows how I really feel all the time.

He has even started asking "Why?" with his head tilted and his face all squished up.  So cute!

On Sunday I woke him up early for 7:30am Mass.  His diaper was totally dry so I asked him if he wanted to try to go pee pee in the potty.  He said yes, so his brother's both came to show him how it's done.  Judah stood on a stool and totally peed in the potty!  He even told me he needed to go again when I started to put his diaper back on and he sure did go again.  We were so proud!  Not that I want to potty train right now, but it's good to know he can figure it out when the time comes.

Judah had his blood drawn about a week ago  to test his milk allergy level, and was the toughest guy ever!  I held his arm still, but he didn't pull away or shed even one tear during the whole thing.  I was super proud of my tough guy.  I went straight to the little shop int he hospital and bought him a ring pop.  His allergy test came back unchanged, so they want to do a milk food challenge.  It takes 4 hours so I am debating whether or not to try to squeeze it in before baby comes or after.