Tuesday, September 30, 2014

everly's arrival

I love hearing birth stories.  I feel like each baby comes into this world in their own special way, and the birth story is just the first of many stories that will become a part of their life, and a part of who they are.  For all of my children, the day they were born is one of my favorite parts of their story, and Everly's story is already so special to me.
If you don't want to read words like membrane and dilation, you might just want to skip this post.  Sorry, but it just wouldn't be a true birth story without some terms like that.
I guess this story started on Friday, September 5th.  I had my weekly doctor's visit that morning.  There, the doctor told me that he thought I had a 50/50 chance of having the baby within the week.  Then, he told me that he was leaving on Sunday, and would be out of town for two weeks, so unless I went into labor the next day, when he was on-call, then it would definitely be a different doctor that would deliver the baby.  He went out of town for two weeks right at the end of my pregnancy with Krew, only that time he told me in advance, and he induced me early so he could be the one to do my epidural and deliver the baby.  This time, it wasn't going to work like that.  
Anyway, since I really wanted him to be the one to deliver the baby, I asked him to strip my membranes, in hopes that it would put me into labor by the next day.  Well it didn't.  All it did was make the contractions that I had been having frequently for the past several months, super painful. I really wasn't having any more contractions than usual, they just hurt. In fact, it even hurt when the baby would kick.  I suddenly wanted this pregnancy to be over.  
The next day was Saturday, and I was officially 39 weeks!  I spent the day resting, cleaning the house, taking the kids to the library (where I was so miserable, I really shouldn't have been out with the three kids by myself).  That evening we went out for tacos to see if the spicy food trick was real or a myth.  Then, we went for a walk as a family along the river to see if the walking trick was a myth.  
Sunday morning I woke up, not in labor.  All weekend I would have contractions that I thought might be becoming regular, but as soon as I would start to do something else, they would stop. Also, I didn't sleep well at all Friday or Saturday night, because I kept having contractions that were painful enough to wake me up, but only a couple at a time. Since we have church at 1:00, I decided to try to take a nap at around 11:00, but I couldn't sleep more than ten minutes at a time because I was having more painful contractions.  I probably shouldn't have gone to church at all because I was miserable.  Every few minutes I would be in pain, I could hardly walk, and I was exhausted.  During the last hour of church, from 3:00-4:00, I decided to time my contractions, which I discovered were coming every 6 minutes.  I was beginning to think I might actually be in labor, but as soon as church ended, and I walked around to find Bart and the kids, the contractions became sporadic again.  
So, we went home, and I finished the brownies I had made that morning, and we headed to our friends' house for dinner.  As soon as we got there, I warned them that I was having a lot of contractions and that I wasn't going to pretend that I wasn't in pain every few minutes.  I tried to socialize a bit, but I quickly realized that it wasn't going to be easy, and that we probably should have stayed home.  I tried to eat while I sat on their couch, timing my contractions, which were now coming consistently every 5 minutes.  After we'd been there about an hour, I stood up to go to the bathroom.  As soon as I stood up, my water broke!  Luckily it wasn't a huge gush, but I then knew that this was really happening, and that we were going to meet our baby girl very soon!
We quickly packed up the kids, took them home, got the neighbor to come watch them until Bart's parents could get there, and headed to the hospital.  I wasn't feeling too bad until we were on our way to the hospital and by then the contractions were every 3 minutes or so, and getting quite strong.  Luckily the hospital is only 2 miles from our house, and it was kind of exciting to be heading to the hospital in labor, because I'd only ever been induced before, so this was new and different.  
We got to the hospital a little before 8:00 Sunday evening, got settled in, found out I was already dilated to a 4, and had my epidural by 9:30.  It kicked in so quickly, and worked so well.  I seriously felt more comfortable and relaxed than I had in weeks.  It was the first time in quite a while that I could rest without feeling contractions every 10-15 minutes.  I certainly didn't expect to feel better right before I had a baby than I had in months, but I did.  

To pass the time, Bart and I watched a few episodes of The Office on the iPad, watched the 10:00 news, where our weatherman friend gave us a shout-out on the air, and wondered if the baby would be born before midnight or after.  

Every so often, the nurse came to check how I was progressing.  I started at a 4, then I was a 6, then an 8, and shortly after midnight when the nurse checked me, she said I was complete, and asked if I wanted to start pushing.  I felt so great, that I never would have guessed I was ready to have this baby.  But, I did a "practice" push with just the nurse there, then she called the doctor and the rest of the medical team in.  Within a few minutes, everyone was there and we were ready to go.  I seriously felt awesome, and I loved that I could be relaxed and just focus on what was happening, and try to remember the little details, instead of being in pain and a bit out of my head like the last two times.  I pushed through two contractions, and the doctor told me to stop so she could clear the baby's nose and mouth.  I couldn't believe how close she was to being here!  One more contraction, and she was out!  It was one of the most awesome moments of my whole life!  As the doctor placed her on my chest, I felt an instant connection, like I had known this little person my whole life and had just forgotten.  
The labor and delivery had gone so wonderfully smoothly, we couldn't even believe it.  It just felt so peaceful and spiritual.  Baby Boots was finally here!

The nurses did a great job of cleaning her up, clearing out the room, and leaving the three of us in the quiet stillness to be together for a little bit before we tried to get some sleep.  I loved everything about holding my brand new daughter that very first night (morning?) of her life.

Isn't she just the sweetest baby you have ever seen?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

some thoughts on this pregnancy and my ever-growing bump

I realize that this post is now out of order, but I wanted to include it anyway.  I started it before Everly was born, and never finished it.  

Since the very first time, I've always said I love being pregnant.  This time was certainly no exception.  It may not seem to anyone else that I am enjoying it though.  The first trimester was very similar to all the others: horrible morning sickness.  The difference this time was that it really wasn't just morning sickness, it was all-day sickness.  There were lots of days that I woke up feeling relatively well, only to be miserable by mid-afternoon.  And, just like all the other pregnancies, I was tired.  Not just a little tired.  More like, "I've been drugged and I can't keep my eyes open/if I don't take a nap now, I will actually die" kind of tired.  Lucky for me, the first trimester occurred during the coldest winter in (probably) the history of the world, the older boys were at school all day, and my two year old loves to nap.  So, that meant that I got to take a nap most every afternoon.  Because it was so cold, and I was so tired and sick, I often imagined what it would be like to be a bear and hibernate for a few months until the first trimester and the bitter cold were over.  
During all my other pregnancies, I would joke with Bart that it was a good thing I never had any mood swings like pregnant women often do.  Okay, I may have had a few, but definitely not very many.  This pregnancy I can say that I didn't have any mood swings.  You can't call it a mood "swing" if your mood just plummets to the bottom and doesn't rebound right?  I was so ornery!  Everything made me mad, or sad, or the things that should have made me mad, I was completely indifferent about.  The bizarre thing was, I felt happy about life in general, I just didn't like anyone or doing anything.  I did have to apologize to Bart and the kids on multiple occasions for saying something I didn't mean, and then feeling so bad about it later.  It made me wonder who or what had possessed my body and made me act that way, because I really didn't feel like myself at all.  
The second trimester was much better, as the sickness and the tiredness finally wore off.  I love being able to feel this tiny little life wiggling and kicking inside me.  That is always the thing I miss most when I am not pregnant.  I love that every time she moves, I feel like we are getting to know each other a little bit more, and that the physical communication between us is our own special secret.  
Once we found out that Baby Boots was a girl, it put me into full project mode.  I designed and decorated her nursery, made hair bows, and skirts, and shopped for tiny pink clothes.  I love the excitement that comes from such a special project, and I loved that I finally had the energy to be creative.
One thing that I made a priority this pregnancy that I hadn't before was going to the gym regularly.  There were days and weeks that I was too sick and tired to accomplish much, but I still went to the gym three times a week, and made dinner for my family most evenings.  A few times I puked at the gym because the morning sickness was so bad, but I still went.  It would have been easy to use the pregnancy as an excuse not to go, but I'm glad I went.  I was able to keep going until I was 35 weeks along.  By that time, I was waddling more than anything, and I figured that even doing chores around the house was as good of a workout as I was getting at the gym.  Plus, I was tired of being stared at the whole time I was at the gym.  What, you've never seen a very pregnant woman exercising before?
The third trimester, my energy disappeared again.  I would try to get one thing done in the morning, whether it was cleaning or organizing something, running an errand, or taking the kids somewhere fun.  But after that one big thing, my energy was pretty much zapped for the rest of the day.  The biggest problem was that the third trimester coincided with the boys' summer break.  I tried hard to be a good mom and make sure they were taken care of, and that we did a few fun, memorable things throughout the summer, but mostly I just wanted to sit on the couch, or sleep.  
The last few weeks, I started to get really impatient.  I had only been induced early before, so I had no idea if I would have her early or late, and I wasn't sure I liked not at least having an end date.  Plus, a few weeks before my due date, I finally felt ready for her to come join our family.  We had everything here prepared and ready for her to come, and I was so excited to meet her.  
Anyway, here is a visual of how I grew as she grew.  I've never been very good at taking pictures of myself while pregnant because I start to get really critical of how I look.  But, later as I look back at the few pictures I do have while pregnant with the boys, I cherish each photo.  So, this time I forced myself to take more pictures, and I'm happy I did.  
20 Weeks
 21 Weeks 
   22 Weeks
24 weeks
28 weeks

29 weeks shadow shot

31 Weeks

34 Weeks

At my baby shower
36 Weeks

I had so much fun enjoying my time with Krew during this pregnancy.  In some ways he still seems like a baby, and I know he won't once this baby is born.  He has been my sidekick for the past (nearly) three years, and love the special connection we share.  He is so excited for Baby Boots to come, and I'm excited to watch them together.  I took this photo while we waited at the doctor's office.  The sign by the door said, "Shhh," so he made sure I was being quiet.  Isn't he the most handsome two year old ever?  Those eyes!

37 Weeks
 39 Weeks, the day before my water broke.  I posted this photo on Instagram with the caption: I need an extra dose of patience, or for my water to break.  I didn't get any more patient, but a little over 24 hours later, my water did break!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

baby everly is here!

Our sweet baby girl, Everly Kate Miller was born on September 8, 2014 at 12:43 a.m. She is so beautiful and sweet, and we are all completely in love with her! 
She came with a full head of dark, thick, long hair, long eyelashes, 

 And adorable dimples!
Stay tuned for more of her birth story, as well as details about the next 8 days that were some of the scariest, exhausting, difficult, trying days of my whole life. (Don't worry, there's a happy ending!)
We love you sweet Baby Boots!

Monday, September 1, 2014

random august fun!

Trying to entertain 3 kids in the summertime, during the last month of pregnancy was something I was dreading.  But it ended up being much easier than I thought, mostly because my kids are awesome.  Most days we had one fun activity, sometimes it was a not-so-fun trip to the store, and the rest of the day they were left to entertain themselves because I was too worn out from the one activity/errand.  Here are just a few of the things we did:
Free lunch at the park is always a hit!
One day we had to go grocery shopping, and this funny cow car was in the parking lot.  There was also an interactive dairy exhibit we got to check out.

NO cavities at the dentist!!!!
This was Krew's last night in the nursery.  The next day he got to move into the big boys' room to make room for baby sister.  So far, three kids in the same room has gone fairly well.
New parks always make us smile!
There was also a trip to the county fair...

Where the boys got to pet lots of animals...

Krew was big enough to try some new rides this year!

And all the boys got to ride on ponies.  

And Krew liked to play with the costumes.  So much so, that I would put one on him, and 30 seconds later he would get so excited about another costume, that he would insist I change him, only to repeat this about 5 times, get sick of changing costumes, and that would be the end of dressing up.  Maybe someday he will want to wear a costume and play in it for a while!
Then, one day we went to the railroad museum, and even thought the twins were not excited about it, they had fun, having fun with Krew, who loved it!

August is now over, and that means it's back to school time, and new baby time!!  Hooray for September!