Monday, November 28, 2011

Katie's Birth Story

I suppose now that Katie is six weeks old I had better write down her birth story before details get fuzzy or I just forget it all together.

Katie arrived exactly one week after her due date.  I honestly am not sure how long I was in labor, but I know I started to feel funny towards the end of the 7:30AM Mass that morning and shortly before 9AM I was wondering if today might be the day that I finally would go into labor.

When I got to Mass that day I spent a decent amount of time praying to begging and pleading with God to let me go into labor.  I was pretty much waving the white flag and admitting that I finally acknowledged that A) I had no control over when the baby would come. B) I got the point that this seemingly never ending pregnancy was clearly a lesson in patience. C) Yes, I really get that I'm not the one in control and that I would have to be patient and just wait.   Also, totally unaware that October 16th was the traditional feast day of St. Gerard, I decided to ask for his intercession with hopes that I'd eventually go into labor on my own.  Mind you, I was three days away from my next appointment where I was told we'd have to look at inducing labor.  I desperately did not want to be induced.

That morning I found out that I had a new student coming into my class so I decided to hang around to meet her even though I had a substitute for my class.  While I greeted my students as the arrived I started to feel more and more off, but I wasn't about to get my hopes up that I'd actually go into labor.  I went home for about 30 minutes before heading back to the school to pick up Ellie and pop in on my class.  By the time Ellie and I were on our way home a little after 10AM I was feeling crampy.  Shortly after we got home I had a contraction that I would classify as painful.

Bryan and I decided to give walking another try.  I must have walked a hundred miles during my last few weeks of pregnancy in a futile attempt to get labor started.  As we walked around the neighborhood I began to get contractions every five minutes that were painful enough to make me think that I might be in labor.  At this point I was in a serious stage of denial.  After we walked for 45 minutes to an hour I told Bryan I wanted to go home and have lunch.  We went home and made lunch.  While that was cooking I worked on straightening the house a little and spent some time bouncing on my exercise ball.

By noon the baby was clearly dropping.  My jeans (my pre-pregnancy jeans which I had worn throughout my pregnancy) which had zipped up and stayed closed with just a hair tie that morning were now unable to zip at all.  By the time we sat down to eat lunch I was having a hard time sitting down.  I could sit on the exercise ball, but sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table was next to unbearable.  I did, however, manage to sit down at the kitchen table and have lunch with Bryan and the girls.  My contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart, but they were not lacking in intensity.

Right after lunch I decided that I was not going anywhere until the laundry was folded and put away.  Yes, I'm really that stubborn.  The bottom line was I was not going to have my mom come up and see laundry all over the living room and I wasn't going to have her fold my clothes for me since they wouldn't be folded my way.  Don't try to figure out the logic of a woman in labor who is in a state of denial.

Once the laundry was folded, I tried to just sit down to see if the contractions would continue.  They did, but I was unable to sit still.  I'd sit for a few seconds and then have to get up and walk into another room to be by myself.  That's not easy when you have two kids, a concerned husband and a dog trailing you.

Around 1 or 1:30 Bryan and I went for another walk.  I think we made it around just one block in our neighborhood before I decided that I needed to go home.  At that point Bryan wanted to call the doctor's office and my parents.  I refused and told him I wasn't sure I was really in labor.  I was worried that we'd get to the hospital and that it would be false labor.  He told me that if I was still like this at 2 he'd be calling the doctor's office.  At 2:30 he made the call and within minutes the midwife called back, spoke to Bryan and told us to head over to the hospital right away.  Bryan got our next door neighbor to take the girls (He caught them in the nick of time.  They were about to head over to their son's soccer game.) and then he called my mom and dad to come up.

We go to the hospital a little after 3PM.  It was dead in labor and delivery when I arrived.  That meant I got the "good room."  I was also the only L&D patient at that point in time.  My contractions continued along the same path of intensity.  I think they were coming about 5-7 minutes apart once I got there.  I was surprised when they told me I was dilated to 5cm and 90% effaced.  Finally, I had made it past 3-4cm.

After laboring for about an hour or so I felt a ton of pressure and had Bryan get someone to see if I progressed.  The resident who was really excited that I agreed to let her be part of my labor (I had expressly said no residents were to be involved in my care on my birth plan, but changed my mind when my midwife wasn't at the hospital when I arrived) checked and told me I was now at 7cm.  My water still hadn't broken at this point.

Bryan and I were watching the Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan one) while I sat on the birthing ball and leaned on a chair in front of me.  I have no idea how close my contractions were.  All I know is that with each one I could feel the baby moving further down into my pelvis.  I was also getting to a point where I felt like I was just going to freak out and lose control if I didn't focus on breathing.  With every contraction I focused on breathing deeply and simply praying.  It was a very meditative labor.

I have no idea how much time elapsed between when the resident checked me and said I was 7CM and 100% effaced and when I told Bryan that I needed him to get someone to check me again.  I had hit a point where I felt like I just needed to push.   I suspect it had been maybe 15-20 minutes, but really I had no concept of time at that point.  When the resident and my midwife came rushing back into the room I was 9-9/12cm and I was given the choice to either wait until I was at 10cm or try to push past it.  I chose to push.

After 8 minutes of pushing Katie was born.  What I didn't know until much later was that the cord was wrapped around Katie's neck.  She came out and was a purplish blue. I thought her color was odd, especially her purple feet, but I didn't think to ask about it.  I don't remember when Bryan told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck but I think it was the following day.  My midwife, who was taking pictures of Katie being born had put my camera aside and directed the resident to remove the cord from Katie's neck.  I guess this was done quietly since I was totally unaware of it. Despite the fact that I pushed for less time that I did with either of her sisters, I think I had more difficulty delivering her than I did with the other two.  Perhaps that has something to do with her head coming out sideways.

At 5:50PM on October 16th Katie was born weighing in at 7lbs 12 oz and 20 1/4 inches long.  She was my biggest baby and surprisingly I had the easiest recovery with her as well.  

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have or have had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had a great day today and are now relaxing at home after going to my parents' house for a Thanksgiving feast.

We started our day off with delicious homemade pumpkin pancakes.  I highly recommend trying them out if you're ever looking for a tasty and filling fall breakfast idea.  Even our pickiest eater, Ellie, enjoyed them.

Once we got to my parents' house I had to compete with the girls and my cousin for the black olives and the Wheatable crackers.  I find both of those foods highly addictive.  I sat down for just a few minutes to look at the Black Friday ads and when I went back to the table with the crackers and olives they were all gone.  I've tried convincing the girls that they don't want to eat the olives or the crackers, but they're not buying it.

My contributions to Thanksgiving dinner was a homemade pumpkin cheesecake (Yum!).  I also swooped in and saved the day by preparing two can shaped cranberry molds.  My dad was about to use a knife to get the cranberries out of the can before I offered to get them out unblemished.  It was funny to hear my kids tell my mom and dad that I know how to make the cranberries look like a can.  It's like they think I'm doing some sort of special trick that no one else knows about.  I couldn't help but laugh.

Katie slept through almost the entire visit to my parents house.  She woke up a few times to see what was going on and to eat, but she was quite content to sleep the vast majority of the time.  She reminds me of Ellie and how she used to just shut down when there were more than a small handful of people in a room.

Madeline and Ellie had a good time dining at the "small table" with my mom and my cousin Kelly.  The small table was actually just a couple inches shorter than the kitchen table, but it had a lot more elbow room than the table my dad, my brothers, my uncle, my cousin's husband and I shared.  So really, they could have named the "small table" the spacious table.

Shockingly we're all still wide awake despite eating lots of turkey.  I guess that's a good thing considering I have a lot to do around the house to get everything ready for the party we're having on Saturday to celebrate Katie's baptism.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On the bright side...

Today is one of those days where it's becoming quite evident that I'm simply not meant to get anything done.  Apparently I'm also not suppose to do frivolous things like eating either.  Someone, who shall remain nameless, but not quiet, has been rather needy today.  When that incredibly cute someone finally drifts off to sleep, someone or something always wakes her up within minutes.  It could be the dog who is lucky he's not banished to the back yard to sit in the rain, or the children who had a half day at school today.  No matter what the situation is, something always prevents me from doing any task for longer than 3-5 minutes.

My new boss is wailing for me at the moment and 2/3 of the candy bar I sat down to eat is now sitting on the couch.  And people wonder why I'm so skinny already.  It's hard to keep meat on your bones when you can't get a few minutes here and there to eat.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

Capturing the context of everyday life...


Ellie's teacher likes to send home a lot of projects.  Some days I wonder if homeschooling her would have required less effort on my part.  Anyway, one of her recent projects was to disguise a turkey so he wouldn't wind up being Thanksgiving dinner.  Sadly, I threw out the Santa Turkey that Madeline and I made last year.  Had I known we'd have this project this year I would have saved it, erased Madeline's name and passed it off as Ellie's this year.  And if you're sitting here reading this and thinking that the last statement sounds a lot like cheating, you're right.  I'm totally willing to cheat on projects like this if it saves me a few hours of my life.  I don't like having to prove to the teacher that I'm capable of doing 1st grade work.  I passed first grade 27 years ago, I don't need to do it again.


After our trip to the beach to get a Christmas card photo was a total fail this past Sunday, I spotted Uncle Bill's Pancake House on our way off the island.  Bryan and I used to eat at Uncle Bills (in North Cape May, not Ocean City) just about every Sunday when we were dating.  We decided that we'd have lunch there and I got this nicely plated and super delicious stack of pumpkin pancakes.  


Ellie lost another tooth on Sunday.  Seems like this kid only looses teeth on Sundays.  Anyway, on Monday morning she decided she was going to draw a picture of what the tooth fairy looked like when she saw her come in to leave a couple dollars and take the tooth.  Mind you, Bryan is the tooth fairy in our house since I'm too noisy to pull off a tooth heist in the middle of the night.  I think her drawing is a good likeness, don't you?


Straight As for Madeline's first marking period at the middle school.  She's thrilled and we're very proud of her.

Keen Powers of Observation

On more than a few occasions I have been known to get things a little mixed up.  Last night I was certain that I typed up my Small Successes post under this blog.  I distinctly remember making sure that I wasn't under the Catholic Faith Adventure blog that I have for my religious ed class.  Then, I went and confirmed after I set it to publish this morning that it was set for this blog.  Turns out that in my coffee charged pre-sleep deprived state that I failed to realize that I wrote the post on the wrong blog.  HOW exactly did I miss that?  The odd thing in all of this is blogger still didn't publish the post at the specified time.

Small Successes-November 17th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. Our school district has this thing called Power School that allows me to check on Madeline's grades.  A year or so ago I set up our account to send me weekly updates with her grades in each subject.  I was skeptical when I saw that she had an A in every subject.  Monday afternoon a very happy Madeline came through the front door waving a report card with straight A's.  We're very proud of her.

2.  I went shopping with my mom on Tuesday and found a Christening gown for Katie.  When Madeline was baptized her godmother Bryan's aunt, who is also his godmother, spent an obscene amount of money (more money than my wedding gown and veil cost) on a beautiful Christening gown for her baptism.  When I tried to use this gown for Ellie she screamed like it was the end of the world each time I tried it on her.  I never understood what the problem was and I eventually resigned myself to the fact that Ellie would not wear it for her baptism.  She ended up wearing a pretty ivory silk dress from Gymboree for her baptism.  The end result was she was happy and comfortable.  On Monday I tried Madeline's gown on Katie and while she didn't react the same way Ellie did, I noticed when I removed the gown that she was all scratched up on her face and neck from the beading on the bonnet and gown.  Then I noticed that her armpits were all red and irritated.  It was then that I realized that Ellie's problem must have been that the gown was very uncomfortable.  So I proceeded to try Ellie's Christening outfit on Katie.  It was a fail.  3-6 month clothing is way too big on a baby who is just four weeks old.  Since Katie's baptism is in just nine more days I realized that I needed something for her to wear.  I stopped at my mom's and tried my Christening gown on Katie, but since I was a big baby and wasn't baptized until I was seven months old, my gown was quite big on her.  We ended up finding a pretty Christening gown for her at JC Penney at a very reasonable price.

3. The laundry is under control.  Everything is folded and put away, too.  Everything but my and Bryan's clothes, that is.  Our bedroom has piles of clothes all over the place.  There's clean clothes for me and Bryan that I never find a moment to put away and then there's the piles of clothes that the girls have outgrown.

4. I boxed up all the hand me downs we've been given for Katie according to size and removed them from the floor of my closet and bedroom.  I realized I needed to do something with the hand me downs for her when I could scarcely walk into my walk in closet without tripping on something.  The catalyst behind organizing these clothes came on Monday when Bryan came home from work with two big boxes and two big bags of baby clothes from two different families.  We're very blessed to have several families who send their little girls' outgrown baby clothes to us for Katie.  I've never even met one of the mothers who sends me her little girl's outgrown clothes.  She's a friend of Katie's godmother and she just bags the clothes up as her little one outgrows them and hands them off to my friend.   Aside from the fact that getting hand me downs gives me that shopping high without having to spend any money, I love digging through the clothes and finding that I can mix and match pieces from different families since all three of them have little girls born within a month or two of each other and they all seem to buy different pieces from the same clothing lines.  I'm also rather amused when I open up a box and find the exact same sleepers or outfit that I have for Katie in the next size up.

5. On Sunday Bryan and I did some yard work on the front yard.  Bryan ripped out all the shrubs that were either dead or disliked by me.  I spent a couple of hours weeding the gardens.  The retainer wall where Bryan removed the shrubs looks very sparse now, but it will look better in the spring when we have pretty flowers  instead of dead or ugly overgrown shrubs.

6. Katie turned one month old yesterday.  It's hard to believe she's already a month old.  The past month has certainly passed by quickly.  To celebrate, she and I braved the rain and went to the office of vital statistics for the township where she was born and got a copy of her birth certificate.

Thanks, Blogger

Last night in a coffee induced state an effort to get ahead I typed up my Small Successes post for this week.  Being a control freak I decided that the Thursday post wasn't going to be published on Wednesday night so I took advantage of the oh so handy schedule a post option that Blogger offers so that my Small Successes would magically appear at 7:00AM today.  I even confirmed that it was there and that it said it was scheduled on the edit page that shows all the blog posts.  I am not the least bit amused that my post has now vanished.  It's not on the blog and it doesn't show up as anything that I ever wrote up on my edit page.    Grrr...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

I was going to put up a picture of one of the girls but Bryan told me he was pretty and he wanted to be this week's pretty.  So here you go.  Isn't he just precious?

She's such a goofy kid, but she's happy.
Ok, so Madeline wasn't happy that:  1. I put this hat on her like so.  2. That it did not match her outfit-oh the horror of going to soccer practice in the dark and not matching! and 3. That I insisted on taking a picture.  At least she was kind enough to smile for me.

I took this picture of Katie two weeks ago.  I love how she's sticking out her tongue.  Couple that with the "I still live at home" onesie and I can't help but laugh every time I see this picture.

We brought a pie at Sam's club on Sunday.  I was rather amused when I looked at the label when we got home and discovered that it's a "New" pie.  It never occurred to me that they might sell used pies.

Bryan and I like to find label fails when we're in the stores.  We found this gem at Target while we were looking at blenders.  For some reason every blender we've ever owned has had the housing around the blades crack.  It's frustrating since we've had a few pricey blenders break the same way.  Anyway, if you can't read the fine print on the blender label, this handy kitchen appliance is actually a Dirt Devil bagless cyclonic upright vacuum.  This is probably why our blenders break.  We're using them to make milkshakes and daiquiris and not to vacuum our floors.  In case you were wondering, they also sell a vacuum at my local Target that is really a blender.  Methinks there's an employee there who doesn't know his or her household appliances very well.

Small Successes-November 10th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I've felt like a huge procrastinator the past couple of weeks because I hadn't sent out birth announcements for Katie.  Yesterday I took a picture of her that I deemed announcement worthy and actually uploaded it, made an announcement and ordered it!  You can take a peek at it here.

2. Realizing that Katie's baptism was a little over two weeks away, I also decided to work on the wording for her baptism invitations and had Bryan print them out for me last night.  They'll be heading out in the mail this morning.  We're keeping it small so I don't have to drive myself crazy.  Of course, the fact that we've lost a lot of family members over the past six years also contributes to the shrunken guest list.

3. We had another cavity free visit to the dentist on Tuesday.  Katie also slept through her longest car ride that day.  I'm so grateful that she sleeps in the car.

4. I found dress shoes that fit Ellie this past weekend.  I'm still working on finding shoes for Madeline.  Why is it that many stores don't carry half sizes for children?  It drives me crazy.

5. I'm trying to get the laundry done today.  Last night I discovered that I left clothes in the washer for two days.  I had to send them through for another cycle and I'm hoping the funky smell from being left in the washer for two days has washed away.  The rest of the laundry is sorted (It's amazing what offering the girls 25 cents a piece can get accomplished!) and queued up to be washed.

6. We had a few nights in the past week where Katie slept for 5-6 hours straight.  Last night wasn't one of those nights but I'm hopeful that she'll be sleeping for longer stretches soon.

7. The Zantac is doing a nice job at keeping Katie happy.  It's not perfect, but she's not screaming and wailing in pain like she was last week.  Actually getting her to take the medicine is the biggest challenge.

8. Almost forgot...I went back to teaching my religious ed class this week.  I'm happy to be back with them, although it feels like I never really left.  I was there for half of two of the classes I didn't teach.  But I still feel like I missed a lot.  Would you believe I only have one more class to teach this month?  It's crazy.  I'm looking forward to Advent and doing lots of fun crafts with the class.

9. Speaking of Advent, I finally decided on an Advent calendar for Katie.  I ended up ordering a cute nativity themed one.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Katie's Birth Announcement

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Quick Takes Volume 19

It's been 15 days now and I still can't shake this sinus thing that I got hit with right after the baby was born. Last night I broke down and decided to take antibiotics that I was prescribed in case it was strep.  I was told it was up to me after I got the negative result for strep as to whether or not to take it.  I'm also now taking the Mucinex that was recommended to me.  Now if I could just feel better I'd be thrilled.
I have fur all over my kitchen and entry way floor. Sweeping the floor has been on my to do list all week but I never actually get a chance to get the broom out.  Sigh.
I'm tired of soccer and all other extra curricular activities that my girls are in at the moment.  Three nights every week are jam packed with things to do and I'm feeling rather burnt out because of all the running around I have to do.
I feel like a total slacker because I have not sent out birth announcements yet.  With Ellie and Madeline I had them out before they were ten days old.  Katie will be three weeks on Sunday.
At some point I need to also send out invitations to Katie's baptism which is happening in just 22 days.  I also need to get pictures taken of her in her baptismal gown.
I'm on a futile quest to get the house clean.  Every time I make some progress the mess grows exponentially in another area of the house.  I suppose with three kids and a dog it's just not meant to be.
Katie slept for six hours straight last night.  I'm really shocked at how well she slept, but I wish her timing had been a little better.  She went from 8PM to 2AM.  Midnight to 6 would have been awesome.  Hopefully she'll get to that point soon.  I'm not going to thumb my nose at 4 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken
Princess Elisabeth in her glittery pink dress and sneakers.
Ellie was thrilled to give Katie a bottle.  Let's just say she was very disappointed to learn I am nursing the baby.  

Our pumpkins from the pumpkin patch rotted and only one survived, so the girls had to share it.  This is what happens when you have a newborn in the house and you simply aren't worried about running around to find more pumpkins.

This motley crew of characters is who I accompanied for trick or treating.  I dressed up as a mom, meaning I was too lazy to be bothered with a costume.  Katie actually wore a piggy costume over her skeleton sleeper since it was pretty cold that night.  So she was pushed around the neighborhood as a pig in a blanket.  I apparently failed to take pictures of her in the piggy bunting with the cute little blanket wrapped around her to keep her nice and warm.

Small Successes-November 3rd


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I took the baby shopping for seasonally appropriate clothing this past Friday and found five outfits that look pretty cute on her.

2. The Christmas dresses that I ordered for the girls the week before have all arrived.  Madeline and Ellie look quite nice in their new dresses.  Madeline's dress is all black and I found out today that she can wear it for her school's holiday concert.  I'm excited that she will get to wear the dress three times.  I haven't tried the dresses I ordered for Miss Stomach Acid 2011 on her yet.  At this point I'm pretty sure she'll be in size 3-6 months by Christmas so I'm probably going to return those dresses and just use the ones I had for Ellie.

3. Katie now weighs nine pounds.  Isn't that crazy?  She gained 17 ounces in nine days.  How do I know this?  I had to take her back to the pediatrician this morning.  Her reflux got pretty bad in the past week and Bryan and I decided that we couldn't wait 15 more days for her well visit to see about getting her on Zantac for the reflux.  As of this morning she's now being treated for reflux.  I'm hoping that the Zantac will make a difference.  It worked wonders for Madeline but it didn't do a thing for Ellie.  If this doesn't work our next step will be trying Prevacid.

4.  I did some Christmas shopping for the girls this past weekend.  I placed my Lego order for them and will be wrapping those items later today, I hope.  Yesterday I wrapped all the Christmas gifts that I had on hand that weren't already wrapped.  I'm hopeful that I'll have all my Christmas shopping completed by Thanksgiving.  I'll be thrilled if I can have the stuff wrapped by then, too.

5. I dusted the entertainment center on Tuesday and cleaned half of the kitchen counter tops. Half is better than none!

6. I made Bryan a pumpkin cheese pie for his birthday.

7. I took three kids to Mass by myself on Halloween for the All Saints' Day vigil Mass and the expedition was not a fiasco.
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