Wednesday
Feb082017

Everett's Birth Story

I suppose the subtitle to this should be, "Or how I gave birth to an almost 11 pound baby." Because it's a question I get (mostly indirectly) all. the. time. When my sister, who lives in Minnesota, was here for Christmas, she saw this firsthand while we were out shopping. A sweet lady stopped us and starting asking about Everett. Usually it goes something like this:

"How old is your baby?"

"2 months old."

"He's huge! How big was he when he was born?"

"10 lbs. 13 oz."

"Oh my gosh...and you had him...???"

I'm still getting used to the fact that strangers want to know how my baby came out of my body. Of course, my sister took this as a sure sign that she was, in fact, visiting "the south" - for northerners would probably not strike up a conversation inquiring about that many personal details.

This is not to say that I don't mind people asking - I enjoy conversations with strangers and don't find their questions overly intrusive. Usually they say something about how Everett will probably play football, and I quickly inform them that THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN because this mom will not sit in the stands for a sport she hates and watch her son repeatedly get tackled. He will play baseball instead. It's at that point people realize I'm not from here...

Anyway - on to Everett's birth story. If you were around for Adler's birth story, you'll remember that when the doctor told us at 36 weeks how big Adler was measuring, I kind of freaked out. But guess what? He came out and everything was OK. 

So this time around, I was ready for the news. The doctor didn't really even need to tell me this time around - some intuition-type thing in me had already determined that this was my childbearing fate. Sure enough, at our 20 and 36 week ultrasounds: "He's measuring big." 

After confirming what we already knew was true, we decided to not go past 40 weeks with Everett. Adler was born 3 days early, so we never had to make that decision. But because my recovery with Adler was very difficult (I will spare you the details here), I wanted to avoid some of the same complications. I'm SUPER thankful that my doctor was on board with what we wanted, but never pressured us into anything because Everett was measuring big. 

In order to avoid an induction, I got my membranes stripped at 38 weeks. I did the Miles Circuit (which proved to show me how ridiculously out of shape I was). And I walked up and down our hill in the backyard. But nothing happened. 

At 39 weeks, my doctor gave me instructions on what to do the day we "scheduled" our induction (you'll find out why I put that word in quotations in a minute...). We were to call the hospital at 5 am to see if they had a bed available. If not, we were to call back at 8 am, and they'd give us a time. My doctor said we'd "for sure" be in by noon. 

Well...we called at 5. No bed. We called at 8. No bed. They told us they'd call us. By noon, I was getting antsy, so I called again. No bed. At this point I explained to the triage nurse that though my stats said 39 weeks 6 days, I wasn't scheduling an induction just to schedule an induction...I had an actual medical reason! She was kind, but didn't care. Eric called back around 5. No bed. At this point I was all kinds of discouraged.

We finally got a call at 11pm asking us if we could be at the hospital at 1:30am. Not exactly ideal to skip a night of sleep before having a baby, but we had waited long enough...so we got packed and headed to the hospital in the middle of the night.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was 4 cm dialated when I arrived. The work I had done was not in vain! They started me on pitocin, my contractions began. They turned the pitocin down, and my contractions continued growing in frequency and length.

With Adler, I was determined to at least attempt a natural childbirth. I lasted 12 hours (and only 2 cm) until I caved. And you know what? Adler's birth was (and is still) one of my favorite memories in my life. Natural childbirth was no longer a strong desire for me with Everett. I waited 4 hours before I got an epidural, and that was enough for me. The nurse had actually informed me that I could get an epidural upon arriving since I was already showing significant progress. It was tempting, but Eric talked me out of it. After all, once you get an epidural, labor is a little "boring" for awhile (according to him ;)).

The rest of my laboring story is rather anti-climactic. I progressed, my water broke, I progressed some more...and 12 hours after we arrived at the hospital, it was time to push. When my doctor came in, she said that she didn't think Everett was going to be as big as I thought. "I think we're looking at an 8 lb. baby." I didn't know if she was saying that just to calm my nerves, or if she really believed that. I didn't believe her, so it really didn't matter...but we were about to find out.

With both of my boys, I could feel my contractions during the pushing stage. Having an epidural didn't make me totally numb, and for that I am thankful. Everett came out in about 5 pushes - and unlike his brother, he made his way out slowly instead of kicking himself out in one big push. I heard Everett cry, but before I saw him, one of the nurses had a shocked look on her face.

"Oh my gosh. That's a 10 pound baby. At least."

I just laughed. Neither Eric nor I could really tell if he looked bigger in comparison to other babies. As soon as they put Everett on my chest, he just melted in to me. There's no better feeling in the world. 

Eventually, I let them take him to get his measurements. Sure enough - 10 lbs. 13 oz. and 21 3/4 in. long, born on his due date. 

Tuesday
Jun162015

5 months: never say never

Adler turned 5 months last week. Since becoming a mother to the sweetest little boy, I've found myself surprised on more than one occasion by what I thought motherhood would be like vs. what it actually is. I wrote this list as a reminder of things that have surprised me the past 5 months. It reminds me about the importance of realistic expectations, prioritizing what's important, sacrificing my will, and appreciating the diversity in families as they learn what's best for their children. And it's encouraging to look back and see that even though my ideal plan wasn't executed, Adler is still a happy, healthy baby boy.

I never thought we'd send our baby to the nursery while we were in the hospital. I even wrote in my birth plan that the baby must stay in our room at all times. But that hospital nursery restored our sanity at 3am on our first night with Adler.

 I never thought that breastfeeding would be such an emotional process. My babe and I made a lot of progress, had a lot of challenges, and one of the hardest decisions I've ever made was to stop. Many tears were shed!

I never thought it would take more than 6 weeks to recover. But at 5 months postpartum, I'm still in physical therapy every week. Babies are totally worth it, but it doesn't make it any less difficult.

I never thought I'd give him a pacifier as soon as we got home from the hospital. Or want him to sleep in the same bed as us. Or give him food after 4 months. Those things weren't in my plan. But seriously...whatever works.

I never thought I'd run out of space on my phone. That I'd be compelled to document every little moment. That I'd get excited about EVERY first. Not just the smiles, laughter, rolling over milestones...but the ones only moms notice.

I never thought becoming a parent would make me understand my own parents a little more. My dad used to worry anytime I'd take a road trip with friends...even though I didn't think it was a big deal. But now I'm like, "ADLER IS NEVER DRIVING."

I never thought I could love someone so much, so instantly. My heart has grown x1000 since meeting Adler.  

Monday
May182015

Four months with Adler

At Adler's four month check up, he weighed 17 lbs. - and measure 26.5 inches. That puts him in about the 85th percentile for weight, and 95th percentile for height. 

Like I mentioned last month, we are really starting to discover Adler's personality more and more every day. Here are some things we've learned about our little man in the four months he's been with us:

- Adler will talk, but only when the room is quiet. He doesn't like talking over people or noises.

- He needs alone time. When he's had enough people interaction, he'll get a little fussy. We lay him on his activity mat, and he enjoys being there by himself.

- He gets overstimulated easily, especially by noise. He'll enjoy playing for awhile, but after a few minutes his hands will start shaking, his eyes get really big...and the calming down process has to start before a breakdown begins.

- He's very curious and doesn't want to miss out on anything. He fights sleep, and when he knows you want him to fall asleep, he won't make eye contact with you. He loves to look around the room, especially if you carry him to the window so he can watch the leaves on a tree.

We're excited to see how his personality develops as he grows up!

Tuesday
Apr142015

Month THREE

Adler's three months old now, and I can definitely say that SO much has changed since he was first born. While I enjoyed the first two months, this past month has definitely brought out more of his little personality; the biggest developments being talking and smiling. He seems to really be discovering his voice! I read that babies are already learning how to "take turns" when you have conversations with them, so we practice that every day. And smiles are less random now - he'll smile back at you, or when he sees you for the first time. 

He's most cheerful in the mornings, which are somewhere between 5-7am. He's either sleeping through the night, or just waking up once, which I am very thankful for!

Just like my post his first month, I wanted to update our list of baby products that have been essential to us! 

- Baby Bjorn bouncer: if we only could buy one seat for our baby, this would be it. I know a lot of babies love swings, but Adler's pretty neutral about his. However, he LOVES this. We bought it on consignment, but if I could have predicted how much he loves it, it would be worth paying full price (considering that it can be used as a chair for toddlers, this lasts much longer than any other baby seat). When I look for baby stuff, I try to 1. find products that "save space" so we can store it once we're done using it, and 2. are stylish. This definitely fits both of those requirements!

- Wubbanub: You can't understand the value of these things until you become a parent, and then it makes sense. The added weight the animal adds to the pacifiers keeps it from flying out of his mouth and on to the ground. Plus, now that Adler's becoming a bit more coordinated with his hands, it helps him keep the paci in :)

- Sakura Bloom linen ring sling: I thought about doing a whole post on babywearing, and what I've learned as a new mom. But I still need more experience :) For us, this ring sling has been the best for a newborn without much head control. It's easy to carry in your purse and put on/off. Thanks to YouTube videos - and practice - it wasn't too difficult to learn how to use. The added bonus is that it's one of the cooler options for wearing in summer months! (I found mine on Craigslist for much cheaper - that site and eBay have been my friends when looking for higher ticket baby items that aren't necessities.)

- Mamas & Papas play mat and toys: Adler loves his playmat - we chose this brand because they make much more padded mats for our wood floors. And the toys integrate black and white patterns, which Adler loves!

- 3 sprouts towel: These towels are much thicker than the standard infant towel - making it more absorbent and warmer for post-bath snuggles. Plus they are super cute! 

- Jesus Storybook Bible: In case you don't already know, this is a GREAT first Bible!

Also, for my new mom friends, the website Lucie's List was super helpful. We wanted to spend as little as possible on baby Simpson, but get the most out of the dollars we did spend (which often meant not getting the cheapest option - but getting something that was a little more versatile, or items with high reviews). 

Wednesday
Mar252015

Raising Adler

A letter to my fellow American Christians (now that I'm a parent),

These days, time is something I don't have a lot of. So I'm just going to come right out and say what's really on my mind --

I am more concerned about my little Adler man growing up in a world where Christians are still boycotting things, than him growing up in a world where gay marriage is legal. 

Maybe your conversion story is different than mine. Maybe you came to Christ by watching people stand up for biblical morality when the culture said otherwise.

But me? I became a Christian because I was surrounded by people whom I was drawn to. They were peaceful, not divisive. They listened, they welcomed...they loved. I wanted to be like them. 

I want the same for my little boy. I used to think becoming a parent would help me understand...maybe even participate in the latest Christian boycott. Second to my desire to have my children walk with the Lord would be my desire to have them live in a country that values what the Bible has to say...right?

Sometimes I look at my boy and wonder how I'm every going to tell him no. He's just so dang cute. I want life to be easy for him. I don't want his heart to be broken, I don't want him to feel pain. This is part love, part selfishness...because his broken heart will be my broken heart, his pain my pain. And as humans, we generally like to avoid these feelings. 

But this will not be his reality. He will have struggles. When he does, I hope Eric and I will point him to Jesus. 

And when the time comes that he finds out his parents are totally not cool, or he questions what's true, I need you to point him to Jesus, too. I want him to see the community of the kingdom of God beyond the four walls of our house and say, "I want to be a part of that."

So for now, my mom status hasn't changed anything. I'm still rolling my eyes at boycotts. Because they seem utterly unattractive to me. They wreak of a need to have the loudest voice, an outlet for those who are easily offended, a war against those who disagree.

I am going to train my boy to fight a battle that is SO MUCH GREATER than supporting or condemning a business because of their CEO's moral stance. That way, even if there's still a Starbucks on every corner, he will know victory.

More than establishing a safe environment for Adler to grow up in, he needs to see Jesus. And Jesus didn't respond to divisiveness with more divisiveness, but with an invitation to have a conversation with him. If he were here today, he may have that conversation over coffee...at Starbucks, I don't know. He went where lost people were, so if there are lost people at Starbucks, I'd imagine that he'd go there. 

But you can choose not to go to Starbucks in good conscience. My point is this: Jesus is so much more attractive than boycotts. And we need a love that is irresistible if we want our children to follow Him. That's why I'm choosing to be more concerned by the hundreds of people I pass by every day that do not know Christ, rather than the hundreds of dollars I may have spent this year at Starbucks (because let's face it, new moms need caffeine and drive-thrus).

In love -

Your sister, Amy

 

(This letter is in response to this site.)