One Month Photos Almost a Month Late!

I posted these photos on Facebook and forgot to put them up on here. The pictures are from August 10th, when Ceci turned one month old. 

We were in Michigan when these were taken. The two older children were enjoying a cousin's camp that my brother and his wife hosted for a few days. Capri and Ceci stayed with me at my parents where my other brother and his wife, three other brothers, and my sister and her youngest were all staying. 

We left Michigan a week later taking with us my oldest niece, Emma. Emma is 10 years old and was as helpful as if I had another adult around. Between CJ's help (which is quite a lot for an 8-year old) and Emma's help, I was able to do a lot of fun things without too much hassle. We spent one day at my in-laws at their pool, one day at the zoo and then one day at the fair. That week was pretty much the only week I had to do "summer" things since I was finally almost 6 weeks postpartum and physically doing a lot better to handle going out so much. Plus, it was the last week before homeschooling started.

Emma left the Thursday before school started, even though we had already started easing into a few things already. That Friday we started school and the following Monday (the 24th) was my 6-week postpartum check-up and our first official full day of school.

Amidst all of this we've been working on updating the house in order to get it ready to list it for sale by Labor Day. Between law school, homeschooling, house projects that keep us up well past midnight, a new baby, and all the other little things we're doing, life is definitely continuing full speed for us.

Cecily has been a very easy baby, content to just sit in her bouncy seat or lay on a blanket on the floor so that I can do things like keep up with the yard work/mowing, keep up with he house work, study three hours a day, homeschool about 4-5 hours a day, grocery shop when needed, keep up with the meal making and the laundry, even get the oil changed - plus help Chris with all the painting and house projects. She usually wakes up around 5-6AM, but every once in a while she'll wake up at 4AM and sometimes she'll sleep in till 8...and that's with a bedtime of about 10PM! Nonetheless, I do feel pretty exhausted still and sometimes my to do list really overwhelms me. But by God's grace we're getting it all done.

We love our little angel who never seems to mind the craziness that's going on around her and still gives us smiles and coos whenever we coax them out of her. Happy one-month Birthday, Cecily!


Two Week Photoshoot

Cecily is two weeks old today. I took these photos quick this morning while the light was still soft on our front porch. Isn't she beautiful?

Parents talk about how their youngest children have the least amount of photos. For me it is opposite. My oldest has the least and I get more and more with each child.

I'm recovering really well and feel just about back to normal already. Ceci sleeps really well at night now so I'm getting enough sleep that I don't even have to take a nap. Ceci's one week check up showed weight gain since birth, so she's definitely eating well, too!

I've tried to hit the books to catch up on the whole week I took off of studying (that I hadn't planned on taking off), but it has been slow going. I'm getting the bare minimum in.

I'm also trying to get a lot of walking in since I feel very much healed already. The weather is so perfect for walks and at least the two youngest enjoy them.

Between studying, walking, taking care of the new baby and breastfeeding/pumping, I can definitely say that my house is looking pretty unkempt these days and I'm looking forward to when our routine is such that I can get some cleaning done. For now I'm just going to be proud of myself when I get a shower in and can put some make-up on.

Now that I'm feeling better I'm starting to really feel the fact that I didn't travel yet this year. I do have a couple of trips planned for Michigan to see my parents, but no beach trips, no lake trips, and no vacation. It's just so hard with a newborn, and before this I was feeling too miserable to enjoy anything. I hope I can make up for it next year!

Well, sorry for all of these scattered/random thoughts. Physically I may be better, but mentally I'm even more scatterbrained than I was while I was pregnant!

Hope you are enjoying your summer. I'm hoping to start enjoying mine now too!


Cecily's Birth Story

Last week I was resigning myself to weeks of prodromal labor (it had already been three weeks of it). I was exhausted, I was uncomfortable, I had a lot of heartburn and morning sickness that last week, and I was ready to be finished. But here she is and the last ten months cease to exist in my mind as I just revel in the joy of having this sweet baby in my arms. 


A week after my due date I had an early morning OB appointment. My doctor said I was 3.5 centimeters, but still 50% effaced. I was encouraged at the little bit of progress, but kept my expectations low, and then she swiped my membranes. Ugh. That night was my son's opening night for Mary Poppins and I didn't want to be bleeding and having even more false labor the night of his show!

Sure enough, all day long the contractions came and I was getting pretty worn out. I tried to walk through them and I tried to remember they were just braxton hicks, but they were so rhythmic and so close together, that it was hard to not let myself think I was in early labor. Not to mention, all the bleeding I was doing!

Nevertheless, that night I got all dolled up and went to my son's show. The show was spectacular. I am ridiculously proud of how well he did. Never missed a line, a dance step, or a note. But halfway through the show the contractions were really coming and I was getting nervous that my water would gush when I stood up, or worse, the contractions would become unbearable.

Somehow through intermission my mom and Chris helped me walk up the aisle to the back. My Mom was convinced I was in early labor and wasn't so sure I should stay for the rest of the show, but I was convinced it was yet another night like all the ones before it, so I suffered through the last Act. During intermission I felt like I made quite the scene. This huge overdue pregnant lady huffing and puffing through contractions made everyone think I should be in the hospital. But how could I tell them it was just braxton hicks and this is just how I am at the end? And yet how could I miss my son's show, too? So there I was slightly humiliated, but glad to be able to see my son perform.

After the show I figured we should just go to the hospital. After all, I had been sloughing the mucus plug all day, my contractions had been regular all day, and I was already 3.5 centimeters, which is the most I've ever been before labor. So off we went.

Contractions came every 2 to 3 minutes on the drive to the hospital. They didn't get worse, but they didn't get irregular either. They were very early labor contractions. Not quite painful, but the cramping in between was getting painful.

At the hospital, as soon as I stood up, I realized I could walk without too much pain and I realized that the contractions weren't as bad when I was standing. By the time they got me in to triage to be checked it was apparent that this was yet another night of my prodromal labor that I'd been having the past three weeks. I told them I came in because this time my membranes had been ruptured and I had bloody show - plus I was told I was already 3.5 cm. But alas, the nurse said I was only 2cm (how can I get smaller??) and that my contractions had become irregular. She assumed I'd be sent home.

How humiliating!

But my Dr. came in and explained that since I was 8 days late already and a VBAC, they wanted to keep me and see if labor wouldn't just progress on its own. If it didn't progress on its own, he wanted to break my water.

By 1:30 or 2AM I had fallen asleep. Contractions had stopped. This is what I had been doing for the past three weeks. I should have known. My Mom and sister were with me and I was so embarrassed to have to tell them that even with my fourth baby I can't tell the difference between early labor and prodromal labor.

At 4:20AM the doctor came in and broke the bag of waters. Ugh. That was NOT comfortable. Nothing happened for at least two hours. I was so embarrassed and so tired. My entourage had to be so tired as well sitting around in the hospital room the entire night for nothing!!

By 7AM I had a new nurse who got me on the exercise ball and true early labor began. I was back to 3 cm in no time and I was really energized to get things going. By 10AM, though, I started to panic. I started to remember how fast my last labor started and how I couldn't get on top of the contractions. I was scared. I asked for an epidural before the pains got bad even though I didn't need it. My nurse strongly opposed it, saying it was way too early and it would probably stop my labor. I didn't care, I was so tired already and I just wanted to skip my entire labor. So funny that I thought that was even possible!

Against the recommendations of both my doctors and nurses, I got an epidural. It was so nice getting it before transition labor (I've only ever had it after I got to 8cm with the last two). I easily stayed still for the anesthesiologist. They took their time since there was no rush, and I was sure this would be my best epidural yet. My nurse turned me over to my right side and I looked forward to when the numbing would begin.

Alas...as I laid there on my right side and immediately felt numbness in my legs, I noticed there was no numbing in my pelvic area or pubic area and I started to feel everything in my back. And that's when I realized that the epidural was dripping out of my left side and concentrating in my right leg. I thought it was kinda cool to only experience half a labor (only the left side), so I didn't complain and just breathed through the "half" contractions I was feeling. I felt on top of the pain and in control. It was a great time of laboring and in less than an hour I was already at 5cm! Obviously the epidural wasn't slowing anything down!

But closer to noon I started feeling more and more. I still didn't panic, I was sure I could just get more epidural right before pushing or during transition, but I did notice that I was starting to feel everything in my right side above my right leg. I turned over to my other side and I started to feel the epidural drip out of my right side as well. My right leg still remained numb, but oh my back, my abdomen, and everything else - the parts that I wanted numb were not!

An hour after the epidural they put a catheter in and made me lay flat on my back. She put it in during a contraction. A big one. I felt her put the catheter in and I felt the contraction. I felt like I was suffocating dealing with the contraction and catheter laying flat on my back. I started to hyperventilate trying desperately to catch a breath and then I felt sharp pains right in the lower side of my uterus. And then I promptly passed out for just a second. I sort of saw people fanning me and telling me to wake up, but I just couldn't breathe! They asked me where the pain was and when I told them they worried my uterus was rupturing and in came two doctors and a midwife. They quickly ascertained it wasn't a uterus rupture and just gave me oxygen.

Oh sweet sweet oxygen. I could breathe! But just as I was able to breathe they checked me at a 7 and I knew transition labor had begun. Oh the pain. I started crying knowing Ceci was coming soon. I hummed my way through contractions and kept quoting Psalm 23 in my head to try to stay calm as my body was shaking so uncontrollably and I felt like I no longer had any epidural at all.

I begged for more epidural, but they only gave it to me right as I started pushing, and I never felt the difference.

For the first time I felt every bit (or so I thought) of the pushing. I felt her body move down my back and into my pelvis. I felt her head crowning with pushes. I liked pushing because finally I could fight the contraction and not give into it. I was allowed to grunt and push with all my might. But I could feel when she got stuck. Her shoulders were so big! The nurse tried pushing on my pubic bone to open up my pelvic area. Oh that hurt. But the Dr. told her to hit it as hard as she possibly could. I saw her step up onto the bed so she could basically jump her fist into my pubic bone and I yelled indignantly. I don't want to remember that pain.

By 3:34 PM, 9 days after my due date, on Friday, July 10th, little Cecily arrived. I say little, but as you saw from my last post, she was a nice size. Blonde hair and blue eyes so far. And we are in love. I didn't tear and although the first four days I found myself quite sore, I am now feeling about back to normal already.

Cecily goes in for her first check up today.

So grateful for a safe and smooth delivery. So grateful that both my Mom and sister could be with me for the labor - and thrilled that I got to experience the pushing for the first time with only a touch of epidural left.

And that's my story.


Cecily Renee

Cecily Renee arrived Friday afternoon on July 10th, weighing 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and measuring 21.5 inches long.

Birth story to come . . . 


Final Update: 40 Weeks

This day has finally arrived! I made it. I got my exams done. I started my second semester of my third year of law school. I finished the art projects for the props my son needed for his Mary Poppins play. The nursery is ready, all the baby clothes are washed, my Mom arrived last night, and my bags are packed. Trying to tell myself that I could have weeks yet to go, but with how much false labor I've had in the past two weeks, I'd like to think I'll have her by July 8th. 


MORNING SICKNESS: With all this false labor, it seems to have stirred up my stomach and I feel pretty nauseated just about every day now. Nothing to complain about, but something to note.


BABY'S MOVEMENT: All the time and her every movement causes more Braxton Hicks. 

HEARTBURN: Every night. I find Tums can help, but then it makes the nausea worse. I prefer heartburn usually, so I just tough it out.

PAINS AND ACHES: Two weeks ago the contractions were four minutes apart and lasted for a good three hours. I've had several nights of that since, but each day they get stronger and deeper and lower. Each day walking or moving gets harder and harder. How did I forget this part of pregnancy? Oh you ladies out there who run miles and miles up until they birth their baby, I am in AWE of you.

EXERCISE: Just getting up off the couch has felt like exercise to me these past two weeks. It is so painful sometimes! However, I've been trying to do certain pregnancy stretches to get the baby in the right position for labor. I get out for a very slow walk a few times a week, but oh do I pay for it later!

WEIGHT GAIN: I caught a stomach bug right in time for my two days of final exams. That brought on more contractions, but less of an appetite, so I lost a few pounds. I'll probably gain those pounds back this week, but in the meantime, I'm at the same weight as I was when I delivered my last two. 

FATIGUE/SLEEP: I can't catch enough sleep these days. I don't sleep well at night, so naps are a necessity and I take them whenever I can. 

MOOD: I've had a couple of mood swings, but I feel more in control than I did during my second trimester. I feel like I'm finally mentally prepared to have this baby even though I'm still scared as anything about labor. I plan to get an epidural, but even with an epidural labor is still one of my top fears. 

There are so many parallels and things that God teaches me through pregnancy and labor, and even with these amazing teaching moments and wonderful times of experiencing God's mercy and grace, I still fear the unknown of what this next labor might be like. I think one of the blessings of having prodromal labor for weeks is that I have been in so much pain and am so exhausted already that I'm finally ready to face my fear and just get this over with so I can have a normal day!

I know everything is in God's hands and this is going to be a great experience - but in the meantime, I am pretty nervous about what the next couple of weeks holds for me. Praying for strength, determination, and patience. 

My next post will have news of the baby. Thanks for following along on this little journey of Cecily's and mine. These 40 weeks may have passed by quickly for you, but it has been a long road for us and we are pretty excited to say that we've finally made it!


Just a Few Family Photos

I'm posting a few extra photos today because today has been an especially good day. I'm not sure how I got one of these days since two days ago I would have written something else. But there you have it. I feel amazing today and this goodness has to be documented. 

And here's some more goodness . . .

Photos of my family all dressed up for a wedding and in the last couple of photos, just for church. Since it's rare that we all look so nice, a photo is definitely necessary. And I mean, look at those precious ones--how crazy cute are they?  

For some reason I've felt the urge to get more photos in here and there of all of us since you never know if this is our last photo of just the five of us. So here we are. Just the five of us. Soon to be six! I can't believe meeting Cecily is right around the corner!


36 Week Update

I have only three and a half weeks till my due date, but so much to do yet. I just finished my last writing assignment for my Legal Writing class (woohoo!), and now I have two and a half weeks to review for my finals exams in my other two classes (Criminal Procedure and Evidence). CJ still has play practice three nights a week for three hours each, plus all day Saturdays. In addition, he has two afternoon karate classes, and baseball games. We've been working hard on memorizing all of his lines, songs, and dances. On top of that, I have three art projects I'm doing for the Mary Poppins play that CJ is in (carving the parrot head for Mary Poppins umbrella handle, getting a shadow box painting done, and painting 10 vases!). This baby better stay put so I can get everything done! Thankfully my track record shows that I still  have about 5 weeks left, so we're good.


MORNING SICKNESS: Just about none left. I get waves here and there, especially after eating dessert (so it's my fault), but it's subtle.

CRAVINGS: None. Nothing really tastes good anyway. I don't know why I eat so much.

BABY'S MOVEMENT: Consistent and very uncomfortable.

HEARTBURN: Here and there. When I do get it, it is pretty severe, but it is gone by the next morning, so I can handle that.

PAINS AND ACHES: This is the worst part. Lots of Braxton Hicks, lots of lower back pain and plenty pelvis pain. The Braxton Hicks aren't always painful, but they take my breath away and I have a hard time dealing with them when they're rhythmic for longer than a couple of hours.

EXERCISE: I've been doing a lot better with walking. I get about 2.5 miles in at least three times a week. It's not as much as I like, but it's something. I find that it helps calm my nerves and also helps with the lower back pain.

WEIGHT GAIN: I'm right on track with the last two pregnancies as far as weight gain. Swelling is the same as my last pregnancy which has been pretty normal. I do not have "cankles"and my shoes still fit - I'm just puffy all over and I finally took my wedding rings off a couple of weeks ago.

FATIGUE/SLEEP: I've had a cold since the end of April that over Memorial Day weekend turned into a nasty sinus infection. I had migraine type headaches for four days that made one side of my face down my neck and the back of my head feel like it was being hammered with nails. I started amoxicillin right away and the headache turned into a regular sinus headache and now I'm just congested even though I'm done with the antibiotics. The antibiotics have made my stomach a lot more sensitive than normal, too. Trying to pump myself with probiotics now, but I'm still sleeping restlessly from the congestion (not to mention the discomfort of my size).

MOOD: My emotions are definitely better! I haven't been depressed, and my tears are only sentimental or happy tears. Nevertheless, I'm very irritable with the heat (we still haven't put in our window units) and irritable with the stress of all I need to get done.
Thanks for following along! I look forward to blogging about regular life here soon. I always have plenty I want to say, as my husband would fondly attest to.