Wednesday, June 26, 2013

storybook - first time out as a six pack

When Ezra was only a week old, we had some good friends, the Crumptons, visit us for the afternoon. Terry knows Adam and Krista from college at Moody and Adam lived out at the ranch for a couple summers. They are missionaries in Mexico (we even visited them once and need to again) and were on the road visiting some churches. They went out of their way to come and see us!

It was our first time out as a six pack! I looked in the back seat and was almost startled to see all those kids. Whose are they? Oh yeah, I'm a mother of four now. We are a family of six! Crazy. Nothing felt like four kids like getting them all into the van. The Crumptons patiently waited for us to get loaded up for Storybook Island.

Terry and I disagreed about which stroller to bring. I thought Samuel would have plenty of fun running around and we didn't need to bring the bulky double stroller. I was wrong...
Yeah, I'm woman enough to admit when I'm wrong. Samuel had a hard time being ousted from "his" stroller seat. We should have brought the double stroller...

Our two oldest with their two oldest: Alistair and Anson.

Digging in the sand.

Adam and Krista and Ainsely 

Shari and Grace joined us as well. Grace and Samuel are driving an old fashioned fire truck. 

Samuel (and Terry - haha) and Anson. 

Noah flashes his gang sign at the top of Pooh's tree house... 

Noah and Evie and Alistair on a funny little boat on Noah's Ark island. 

I was there. See?! Funny thing was, even though I took every opportunity to rest and sit down (only a week postpartum!), I ended up getting quite sick the very next day. Mastitis. Thank the Lord for antibiotics.

Train ride. 

They spent quite a lot of time climbing in this space ship thing at the very end. Afterwards, we got some take and bake pizzas and ate at home. The Crumptons stayed til bedtime and then drove all the way to Chicago! It was really good to hang out though. So glad they stopped.

daddy bike ride

Here's Ezra at 3 days old getting his PKU drawn at the birth center. He was so relaxed we had to take a photo. It could have had something to do with the warm light he was under, but he does seem to have a pretty good temperament. Of course, he's nearly 4 weeks old now and in need of figuring out day time napping, so perhaps he's not as relaxed as we thought at first...

Later that same day, even though he was feeling quite sick, Terry took the kids on a pretty big bike ride. Here they are a couple miles away at Sioux Park. He's a good daddy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

tub bath

I think Ezra lost his umbilical stump like 10 days after his birth. I gave him his first bath while Terry was gone for something so we had no photos of it. We managed some pretty good ones the next time though.

He does better in the water than the others ever did. After all, he was born in the water!
good advertising for Norwex as well :)

"Not sure how I feel about this mom..." I have a feeling I will see a lot of that expression in the years to come.

The siblings have to be a part of everything Ezra related. Noah the spaz, Evie the sweetie and Samuel the destroyer.

Here's what Ezra thinks of getting out of the warm tub and into a cold towel. 

Yep, he worked up to a proper cry.

All better.

Or not... Don't worry. He doesn't usually have eyes like that. HA!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

holding Ezra

So far, our fears of a rough transition to a family of four kids have been minimally realized. Samuel has been doing well as an older brother and hasn't done any harm to Ezra. Though, he did enjoy going grocery shopping with me alone today. It was so sweet how he was smiling at me from the front of the cart - I could tell he was enjoying himself. I much prefer that Samuel to the one who destroyed their room during nap time yesterday - no nap was had either. I was so stressed I passed on making dinner and Terry brought home Subway.

So the transition is going relatively well. The kids all love Ezra, especially Noah. But Evie and Samuel do too. They will take every opportunity to hold him.

As the oldest and the most trustworthy, Noah has had quite a few more turns holding Ezra than the other two. Plus, he hovers around him the most.

This was Samuel's first time holding Ezra when he was five days old. Samuel was so pleased, though Ezra doesn't appear to be sharing those feelings...

And here is Ezra at 10 days old. Noah got the first turn holding him.

I thought I'd better let Evie have a turn next. She looks so happy! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Our first three kids have all had jaundice so I had resigned myself to deal with the heel pricks and cries, the bili-beds, bili-blankets and window sunbathing on top of all the other transitions a new baby brings. Thankfully, Ezra has had lower numbers than his siblings and I've only had him on the bili-bed for six days total, and not even at night. He's still a little yellow, but I'm not worried about it because actually, he looks really good. 

Here is our wall of newborn jaundice sunbathing photos - the ones with the close up baby shots. Noah is the top left and Evie is next to him. Below her is Samuel.

So, here are my photos of Ezra attempting to sunbathe in our bedroom. It was a fail as far as getting the biliruben down because at this time of year, the sun doesn't come directly in any of our windows. But it was a win for getting some cute photos. I did have to adjust the coloring so he didn't look completely orange though. He looks almost normal colored in these!

This is a close up of the previous photo. It's my favorite expression that I was able to catch where he didn't look cross eyed.

This is the same photo as above but rotated and black and white. This one is what will go up on the wall with the others!

So little! He was only three days old.

I love that double chin. Last night I overheard Terry telling Ezra not to worry. Some day he'll have a neck.

A little lip action.

Hand action.

Full body shot with the pretty dried blue umbilical stump. It's fallen off since.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

puppy gollum girl

Do you see what Evie's done here? Yes. She's tied to the bunk bed. Like a dog. She wanted it!
The little squish is just so silly. Gramma K had bought the kids a couple jump ropes. She thought it would be fun to be tied up like a dog. Daddy happily obliged. Mommy had to grab the camera. Don't worry. It came off in just a few minutes.

Though, for me, I didn't think so much of a dog. I was forcefully reminded of Gollum in The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam tie up Gollum round the ankle with the elven rope. 

"All we need is something to keep a hold on him," said Frodo. "We want him to walk so it's no good tying his legs. Or his arms. He seems to use them nearly as much. Tie one end to his ankle and keep a grip on the other end. He stood over Gollum while Sam tied the knot. The result surprised them both. Gollum began to scream. A thin, tearing sound very horrible to hear. He writhed. And tried to get his mouth to his ankle and bite the rope. He kept on screaming. At last Frodo was convinced that he really was in pain. But it couldn't be from the knot. He examined it and found that it wasn't too tight, indeed, hardly tight enough. Sam was gentler than his words. "What's the matter with you?" he said. "If you try to run away you must be tied. But we don't wish to hurt you." "It hurts us, it hurts us!" hissed Gollum. "It freezes, it bites. Elves twisted it. Curse them. Nasty cruel hobbits. That's why we tries to escape, of course it is, Precious. We guessed they were cruel hobbits. They visit elves. Fierce elves with bright eyes. Take it off us! It hurts us!"

Why yes, I did look that up to get it just right. I love me some Lord of the Rings.

3 in 1

When we bought our house last year, we only had three children and no real solid plans to add another though we were open to it.  So our three bedroom set up was working just fine. Noah and Evie shared a room and Samuel was still in his crib in the smallest room. Well, God had other plans for our family planning. 

Little Ezra has come along, necessitating that all three kids go in one room (I'm too light a sleeper to share a room with a baby). So last week we moved Samuel on over into Noah and Evie's room. It's been going just okay. Samuel seems to want to talk himself to sleep for like 45 minutes, which of course disturbs the other two. The punk. So hopefully we can figure this thing out.

But when the dungeon is complete (gas line, furnace and drywall is next!), the next project is another bedroom downstairs where the school room is now. Evie will have this green room to herself and it will double as a guest bedroom. Ezra will have the smallest upstairs bedroom where he's already at. And Noah will whip Samuel into shape in the new downstairs bedroom (we will be too far away to hear Noah beating up Samuel). That's the plan for this summer. Well, I can hope we'll get that far this summer.

first sponge bath

Ezra did not get a full bath at the birth center. Well, he was born in a tub so he did get wiped down, but no actual soap was involved. 

So, on his 2nd night at home, we gave him his first sponge bath and washed his hair. 

Yeah, they never like it. No matter how hard I try to keep them warm, it's always a cry fest. But, I'd say he did better than the other three. So far, Ezra seems more relaxed. I'm hoping that sticks. Though he sure doesn't look like it here...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

first meetings

Since we came home the same day that Ezra was born, there was no need for a crowded hospital room meeting. Our kids got to meet Ezra about five hours after he was born at home and lemme tell you, they were e x c i t e d. I remember slowly coming up the garage stairs (I had just given birth people!) and scrambling to get the camera out to video the first meeting. All the noise the kids made completely overwhelmed me. After they were done meeting Ezra, I sat down in the living room and tried to nurse. At that point, he wasn't too good at it yet. The kids were bouncing off the walls so I excused myself and locked myself away (well, maybe not literally) in our bedroom. Solace felt good. Mom made dinner. Terry took care of the kids.

When it was the kid's bedtime, then we let them have turns holding Ezra.

I guess Samuel was the first one to stop playing the video game, which was easy since he doesn't actually play, so he got to have a closer look at Ezra. No holding that night. We didn't know how destroyer baby would handle a baby brother, but actually, so far he's done great. There's been no jealousy or whining or anything we were worried would happen. That could take place next year when Ezra is old enough to play with Samuel's stuff...

Next up the stairs was Evie. She's very pleased to have a baby brother but she did ask me a week or so ago why we didn't have a girl for her. After talking about it with all of the kids, they all agreed that four kids is enough. Daddy says she's just the special girl, something she has been regularly pointing out to Noah.

And last to stop playing the game was of course Noah. But actually, he is the most excited about our new addition. His hovering around Ezra is most irritating. It's only because he's so happy and curious though. And mommy is extra frazzled.

That night was a tough one. I was definitely missing the help that hospital nurses offer through the night. Oofda. Ezra didn't get much sleep (and neither did we), but he did figure out nursing. I guess that's a good trade off...? The following night we put him in his room in his crib though. I just can't sleep well with a baby next to my bed. Too light of a sleeper. 

So the following morning I was quite sleep deprived and also loopy from the Tylenol with Codeine. So tired. But Terry's family came over to meet little Ezra. It was good. They brought donuts.

Alice was the first to get him. See what I mean about the kids hovering? I guess even Grace is in there. And he was pretty new and exciting. He is still. Did I mention I was sleep deprived?

Next up was Jerry. I think Noah is in about all the photos. We had to keep yelling for him to get out of the way of the cameras. He had eyes only for Ezra. But so did everyone else. And Noah was in the way!

Shari was sweet talking him. She got a couple smiles out of him later. And she's 14 weeks along in her own pregnancy so he will have a little play mate soon!

Next up was Jesse...and Noah again.

The smile Shari elicited. He's so cute!

The following day, Sunday, I did not attend church even though Ezra slept much better. My dad came over after his church was over to meet Ezra for the first time. He's funny to watch with babies because he imitates their faces. Ezra is so small! I'm trying to soak it in because it goes so fast. Already he's filling out. :(

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ezra's birth

We began this fourth pregnancy with an Obstetrician but ended up switching to a Midwife at 34 weeks (to be clear, I did like our OB). Although I had healthy births in the hospital with all three of my other children, I was anxious about going into the hospital again. I have always felt that women are treated like cattle there. You are forced through their system and there's nothing much you can do about it. I didn't want to be hooked up to the monitor for 20 minutes of every hour, thus restricting my movement. I wanted to have real support, not a nurse looking at the Electronic Fetal Monitor instead of me. I didn't want to have drugs pushed at me. I didn't want the baby taken away from me right after birth even to be wiped up. I wanted Terry to be able to cut the cord (something they always say they'll allow but somehow never do). There are so many other reasons I don't like the hospital experience. So when we heard that the OB that delivered our firstborn (bad experience) was the back-up for our new OB, we researched our options and discovered that it was possible to switch care to our lovely Midwife Jeanne and have a water birth. So that's what we did, even though we had to drive 40 minutes, our insurance was a pain in the neck and we were worried my labor might be too fast to reach the birth center in time.

The ultrasound dates for baby Ezra were consistently May 30. And not to be picky or anything, but 266 days after conceiving was actually May 31 (since I knew exactly when we conceived). And our insurance deductible was scheduled to reset June 1. So we had been praying for quite some time that God would bring this baby "early" (all of our previous children had been late) so we wouldn't have to pay our deductible twice. 

I had also been dealing with a fair amount of anxiety about going through labor again. I had some pretty vivid memories of the pain of childbirth that I wasn't eager to experience again. Jeanne was very encouraging here regarding how much the water birth would help. Having never done it before though, I was still scared.

So on May 30 we headed to our 40 week appointment with Jeanne at the birth center. She stripped my membranes and sent us walking. Though I did have considerable pressure and some contractions, they were not the real strong ones that accompany labor. After two miles, we went back to the birth center where Jeanne stripped again and gave me orders to walk some more.                                                                                                                                                         
walking in Whitewood where the birth center is located

From there we went to the ranch where Terry's folks were watching the kids. I walked. And walked some more. And walked some more! I walked three more miles at the ranch. That night we were both exhausted. We went to bed early and slept hard. We had my mom sleep over just in case anything happened during the night.
4 wheeler ride at the ranch with daddy

The following morning (May 31) I woke at 5am with a full bladder. When I laid back down after a trip to the bathroom I had a couple light contractions with enough force to get me wondering if something was happening. Then I had a genuine labor contraction and I woke Terry. He took a shower and I laid there freaking out inside. I was so scared! I didn't want to go through labor again even though I was thankful and cognizant that the timing was perfect - it was my actual "due date" and exactly one day before our insurance reset. I got up and started getting ready. Terry called Jeanne who told us to head to the birth center. Then I realized that the contractions were like 10 minutes apart and perhaps we shouldn't go yet. We had breakfast, though I couldn't eat much because I was so nervous. I called Jeanne and told her how far apart the contractions were and she insisted we get on the road because of my history of fast labors (Evie's birth was only 2 hours start to finish and Samuel's birth was 3 hours. Noah's was 4-5 hours.). So we headed out the door. Samuel was up and I went in and kissed him good bye and he went back to sleep.

On the way to the birth center, I had only a few minor contractions. I was so incredibly filled with fear and anxiety. Then I got a text from a friend at church that said, "'The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.' Deuteronomy 31:8" Instant tears. That was exactly what I needed to hear and it was like God spoke it right to my heart. Then we looked out the window and saw a very beautiful rainbow and I was reminded of another promise the Lord made and of His faithfulness. You'd think I would have stopped being afraid after all of this, but I couldn't!

 We arrived at the birth center at 730am and Jeanne and the nurses could tell I was upset. I was on the verge of tears. They were so reassuring though! They said exactly what I needed to hear and I knew I was in good hands. I was glad we had come when Jeanne said to because I felt safe and protected. My fears finally abated a little. 

Jeanne said I should walk to increase the frequency of the contractions so that's what I did for a bit. The contractions were still like 8-10 minutes apart. I was perplexed. Usually when I go into labor, it's like wham-bam-we're-in-a-hurry contractions and I can hardly catch my breath (hence the anxiety). So we opted to get some natural pitocin (oxytocin) going with the pump. We did that for a half hour and my contractions went down to 2 minutes apart. Of course, once I got off the pump, they slowed down to like 5-6 minutes apart.

It was so strange having contractions so far apart. I was used to contractions every 2 or 3 minutes from the onset of labor. This time I was just walking around the birth center waiting to have another contraction, hoping that I would move along and not be there all day. Another thing was that I needed to be in pretty established active labor to get into the warm water tub. I really wanted that tub. So I walked and Terry recorded the contractions in his phone. We talked to the nurses. Terry read news stories from his phone. I didn't realize it at the time, but he was feeling very sick that day. Poor guy.

Finally, at like 11am, we decided that I was established enough to get into the tub. It was a nice feeling being in there. I had a contraction right away, and initially, I didn't think that it felt all that different in the water verses all the contractions I had been having up to that point. After only a few minutes I had to get out and pee though. With the regaining of full gravity on my body, I was all too ready to get back in that tub. Something about the water really does help. I didn't even realize how much it helped until a few days later. After looking at the contractions Terry recorded, they were so short - only like 30 to 45 seconds long. To me they seemed longer and further apart. I thought I was getting no where.

Terry or Jeanne would rub my back while I had a contraction and it was so helpful. The way I dealt with the contractions was deep controlled breathing. For me, if I tense up, freak out or get really loud, it gets worse and I can't deal with the pain. I wish I had known how to do that for my first two births!

While I was in the tub, it seemed like the contractions were so far apart and were not strong enough for me to be nearing the end of labor. However, I was wrong. Jeanne was able to tell how I was progressing based on my reports of pain and pressure in my back. After she checked me, she reported that I was complete and ready to push. I said, "Really? Are you sure?" I didn't feel like I had gone through the dreaded transition phase at all. I remember the out of control painful contractions I had at transition with my other births and it was that memory that had me so afraid. What I realized after talking to Jeanne was that I had not been feeling the full force of the contractions due to the water - or "aqua-dural" as another nurse put it. The contractions I was experiencing were probably longer than I could feel but due to the water, I only felt the most intense part of the contraction. And even that part was do-able.

So before I knew it Jeanne was coaching me through pushing. The water didn't change that from hurting pretty bad. But it was only like four contractions long before Ezra was out and I didn't tear at all! After about three pushes, Jeanne instructed me to feel the babies head and I was so surprised his head was already out. On the next contraction I pushed him out and caught him myself, bringing him up out of the water immediately. Talk about amazing.

I was so surprised and overwhelmed and relieved and overjoyed. I did it! 

He perked up and cried right away. They don't breathe until their face hits the air so there wasn't a risk of him drowning. They go from water to water to air. It's a very relaxed entry into the world. Plus, the nurses didn't whisk him away immediately and clean him up. I got to hold him first. My baby!

Terry said it was the best experience for him too. Jeanne and the nurses worked around him and let him have a good view. He'd never seen any of our kids' births so clearly before. He definitely teared up.

Terry got to cut the cord and hold Ezra after that.

After I got out of the tub, I got to nurse Ezra right away. Then Jeanne took him to weigh him and do the other tests. He was 7 pounds and 12 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

He lost the swollen post-birth face so quickly!

All done being picked on and ready for snuggling.

Jeanne is holding Ezra, Erica is in the green and my nursing school classmate Chelsea is on the right. These ladies were wonderful. When it seemed like my labor was progressing kind of slowly, all three circled up around me and prayed for me. They were so supportive and encouraging. Frankly, I felt spoiled! They made my last birth experience a dream come true. It was everything I wanted.

I'm looking quite pale in this photo because I must have lost more blood than my other births. I nearly passed out in the shower! After some IV fluids I was all better. And then we were ready to go home (that's how she does it there).

Ezra's first ride in the car seat.

Pulling out from the Birth Center we could see that Jeanne was already announcing Ezra's birth.