Monday, March 31, 2008

Hey Bloggers

Just wanted to tell you all I'm very thankful to know you in RL and/or through your blogs. I've been reading your posts through Bloglines since Zachary has been here. Though I haven't posted much, I just wanted you to know I'm still reading and loving each of your insightful, fun, spiritual, real posts. They really speak to me as I read them, in these days of being a stay at home shut-in,, I mean :) Thanks for being you and I'm looking forward to getting more interactive and branching out to other blogs and new friends as time goes on. Love you all!

Oh Happy Day!

I forgot to mention my 2nd birthday was this past Saturday. March 29, 1989, I was born again into Christ when I was 12. Bryan and I got the chance to go out on our first date that night too. We left the girls with some friends and took Zachary along to Olive Garden. I fed him in the car while Bryan got us a table and got our food ordered. The food had just arrived when I got inside. After the meal, some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. A great 2nd birthday celebration!

Today, I am totally doing happy dances all around. My student loans are finally paid off, my friends!! Nearly 10 years after I graduated college, mind you :) Woohoo!! We've also been able to pay off some other debts too from our tax return and hubby's bonus. Of course, now we still have the septic tank to fix, but at least it's some burdens relieved. Yay!! I'm all kinds of excited.

Zachary is 3 weeks old now. Can you believe it? He's growing up too fast already. He's still a newborn right now, eating, sleeping, pooping. He's starting to smile more and coo a bit and I'm just eating it up. Lovin it!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Imagine this

"It was approximately 5:15 am. In Opelousas, La. I had stayed with a friend there and was on my way to work. I stopped at the Exxon/Blimpie Pie station to get gas. I got $10 gas and a Diet Coke. I took into the store two $5 bills and one $1 bill (just enough to get my stuff).

As I pulled away from the store, a man approached my truck from the back side of the store (an unlit area) He was an 'approachable-looking' man (clean cut, clean shaven, dressed well, etc.) He walked up to my window and knocked.

Since I'm very paranoid and 'always looking for the rapist or killer,' I didn't open the window. I just asked what he wanted. He raised a $5 bill to my window and said, 'You dropped this.' Since I knew I had gone into the store with a certain amount of money, I knew I didn't drop it.

When Itold him it wasn't mine, he began hitting the window and door, screaming at me to open my door, and insisting that I had dropped the money! At that point, Ijust drove away as fast as I could."

Have you ever gotten this e-mail? These often emerge from real events, like a serial killer on the loose in Louisiana a few years back. Fear sparked many stories such as these, that continue to be circulated, even though the killer has been caught.

Though rumors are annoying, ones like these can serve a purpose other than increasing our paranoia. They can remind us to be aware of our surroundings at all times, especially when alone, and recognize unusual behavior. Also, I like how in one version the target asks an employee to escort her out. If in doubt, have someone walk you out! Good advice, even from e-mail rumors!

Read the rest of the story here:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here it goes

Yesterday, I began my first day alone as full time mama to all three kids. Bryan went back to work. As terrified as I was, it was ok. Everyone survived.

This morning, Bryan had to leave extra early for an out of town day trip, so I had to get Meg ready for school. Bryan had been doing it for the last couple weeks. I was lucky enough to get Zachary fed and back to sleep before she got up. Then, Zoe slept late as well, so I was able to lie down for another hour before Zachary woke up again.

Not exactly caught up on my sleep mind you, but every little bit helps.

Praying for God to help me balance my days and get everyone used to a new family member, to be really forgiving of myself and not worry about the house being a wreck. To be patient in developing a productive daily schedule while I recover from childbirth and adjust to new sleep patterns. To be sensitive to the needs of my family and be more grace-filled, more gentle and loving towards them, even when fatigue makes me super cranky. And most of all, to be thankful and content with what I have every day, to complain less and praise more.

"Thank you God, for giving me more strength than I thought possible, more patience than I can produce on my own, and enough love in my heart for my husband and all our kids, and thank You especially for the grace and love you show me. Amen"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Zachary captions

Because it's funny and he's too little to argue about it :)

"Say what??"

"Whatchu talkin bout, mama?"

"So, Zachary, what do you think
about this year's presidential candidates?"

Egg hunt or bust?

Sounds like it was a bust. Bryan called the house 1/2 hour after the egg hunt started saying it was already over and the poor girls barely got any eggs. In fact, Zoe only got one. The kids all ended up hunting at the same time at different ends of the church, so Bryan could only be with one at a time. By the time he got back to Zoe, she was already coming back inside, holding one Hershey kiss from the one egg she got, crying her little eyes out. I don't know what happened with the planning this year. Last year we held it indoors and different groups went at different times and there were enough eggs. I didn't bring any this year due to the baby coming and all, and I guess not many other people did either.

But despite the disappointing church egg hunt, we had a nice one here at home. Bryan asked me if I could get some eggs prepared and hidden all around the living/dining rooms. So while he antd the girls were still out, I prepared a bunch of eggs with candy, stickers, and change we had around here. They had a great time hunting them and going through their "stash".

Now, boiling eggs to color after naptime. I'm so sleep deprived, I hope I don't color Zachary or something :) But I'm determined to have a little fun today.

Hard decision

I decided to skip the Easter egg hunt at our church today and stay here with Zachary. Bryan took the girls along. I helped them into some new spring outfits and fixed their hair. Bryan has the video camera and my digital one so I hope he gets some good footage for me. It's the first egg hunt I've missed since the girls started hunting eggs.

I had thought about getting my front carrier out and taking Zachary along, but decided to sit it out this year. Zachary was up and down a lot last night, crying with gassiness or something, so I'm especially sleep deprived. Also, it's still cold/flu season and really chilly outside, so I figured taking him along with a church full of little sniffly kids was probably not the best idea, since he's only two weeks old today.

So just a morning alone with Zachaboo, time to rest and reflect on the real Easter miracles. Later, the girls and I will be coloring Easter eggs, and I'll gear up and rest up for tomorrow, when we'll finally get Zachary to church for his "debut". :) See you then!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's different

Going from your first baby to your third. With your first, you've read all the books, attended all the classes, and you get through the birth, only to be absolutely terrified when you actually arrive home alone with the baby. The baby cries and suddenly all the conventional methods of dealing with crying babies that you read in the books don't work like they should.

By the time you get to #3, you know most of the tricks, but you also know the real trick is knowing that each baby is different, so what worked with #1 and #2 doesn't necessarily work with #3.

You realize now that it's ok to not force-feed babies every 2 hours when they're newborns, but that feeding on demand works best. You have finally learned to sleep when the baby sleeps and to take advantage of every minute of maternity/paternity leave and let your husband and anyone else that offers do the chores for a couple weeks. You finally give up on the conventional baby bedding and opt for whatever works--a car seat in the bassinet, co-sleeping, etc. You allow baby to pacify themselves on whatever they like--a pacifier, thumb, or your pinky.

Most of all, besides the sleep deprivation and craziness of raising 2 other kids at the same time, you can enjoy your baby #3 and all those cuddly coos, without being terrified you're starving or freezing or traumatizing him for life. Just think of all the money he'll save on therapy...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Snuggle time

Daddy's boy--enjoying some snuggle time yesterday.

Zoe came back Saturday evening and held little brother for the first time. She's really taking to him better than I thought. She and Meg fight over who gets to hold him and she loves to give him his pacifier when he's fussy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Zachary's first checkup

He looked good. The doctor didn't think his jaundice looked bad enough for blood testing or anything like that. She said as long as he's eating well and peeing and pooping well, he'll get it out of his body soon. And he was up an ounce from his birth weight too, which is good, considering a lot of babies lose some weight in their first week.

And boy is he ever! His appetite has finally caught up to the milk production and he's now starting to nurse from both sides on most feedings. Having a little problem with N. soreness on one side, but working on better latching and using Lansinoh lanolin is helping that. He's a great burper and hardly spits up anything at all. I'm glad to have a good little eater!

He had his first vaccination for Hep B. He did NOT like that! Man, did he turn red, but he calmed down as soon as I picked him back up.

Also, he seems to take a pacifier well so far. Neither one of the girls ever would, and Megan was a thumb sucker (still is in her sleep). It's interesting to see how different each of the kids already are.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The new debate

We're debating between hubby and I about how to shorten Zachary's name. I've been using Z-a-c-h. Bryan says it looks better as Z-a-c-k. I don't really have a strong preference one way or another. Shortened names have always intrigued me, like how William is sometimes "Bill" and not "Will" or Charles is "Chuck". Anywho, I've added a poll in my sidebar. Vote away!! It'll be interesting to see and may sway our decision.

Big sister/Little mama

*Note--I can't get Blogger to cooperate with picture placement and captioning. If it looks goofy to you, my apologies! By the way, Zoe is with her Nana and Papa for the week and won't be back until Saturday, so that's why you don't see pics of her here yet :)

Tuesday night...stealing kisses.

Wednesday afternoon...lovin after school.
Wednesday night...curling up for a nap with Zach.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Today's Highlights and Breastfeeding Tips

Zachary has some jaundice. He has a little tan, as did our girls when they were newborns. It's pretty common in a lot of babies, especially breastfed ones. Most of the time, though, it's no cause for concern. Sometimes the doctor will want to do blood testing 3 days in a row just to make sure bilirubin levels are going down. I don't think Zach's is that severe, but he has his first checkup on Friday and we'll see what his doc says then.

We've discovered he likes sleeping in his car seat and tried it in his bassinet last night. He slept two good stretches. He wasn't liking his bassinet until then. I think he likes being snuggled in so we're going to try one of those sleep positioners or something like that.

Bryan also noticed what appeared to be a little tooth right under his bottom gum. I am in denial. I'm really hoping that is not what that is. He's not allowed teeth until he's at least 7-8 months old! So there :)

Nursing is going well. He's eating about every 3 1/2-4 hours. My milk is in with a vengeance. I'm thinking about putting out a sign to advertise "Free Milk!" to any baby who's passing by :) I could feed a whole slew of them right now.

For those of you who don't know, milk ususally comes in 3-5 days after birth, and very often, the breasts will become engorged, which is just an overproduction of milk. They kind of overcompensate for the infant's needs in order to make sure they get enough. It can be very uncomfortable though, so putting ice packs on them between feedings and taking pain meds like Aleve helps a lot. After a few days though, the production will slow down as they start to match the infant's feeding needs. Sometimes, the infant will get a bigger appetite right after they slow down production, and this will result in the baby wanting to eat much more often for a couple days or so. This is called "cluster feeding" and is best met by just feeding on demand, though it's very tiring! Often women will give up nursing at this point, believing they don't have enough milk to satisfy the baby. This is usually NOT the case as again, the breasts will begin to increase milk production to meet the baby's needs!! So, if you are expecting a baby, or will be at some point and plan to nurse, remember that! Hang in there those first couple weeks and you'll get a great breastfeeding relationship established with your baby.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The first few days

I'd forgotten how idyllic, yet exhausting these first days/weeks at home with a new baby were. Well, hadn't forgotten, really, just hadn't thought about it until now that I feel like a zombie ;)

First there was the still-shocking fast birth experience, then they had to throw in a time change over the weekend. I'm all mixed up! Poor Meg is really exhausted too, having to get up an hour earlier now for school--in the dark again *sigh*. We caught a few more moments of the last couple of days for your viewing pleasure.
Meg was so tired last night, she settled in with Dad and Zach and went right to sleep. Didn't even move when Dad got up. He propped her up with a pillow for a while until supper.

This morning, it was bad....

Then, it was good.... :) I love these first little smiles. It's not just gas, you know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

And the milk comes in...

Whoa! Let's just say I can't believe I was a B cup before I got pregnant!

Zachary is doing well. He's nursing every 4 hours or so at the moment, except for last night when he wanted mom as a human pacifier :) We finally ended up sleeping together so he could nurse to sleep and I could get some sleep too. He's finally stopped passing meconium (that yucky tarry first poop) and is getting that mustardy yellow breast milk poop. We've already been hosed with pee a few times! Changing a boy will take some getting used to!
Here's a pic from right after he was born and one with the girls first meeting him. I'll post a few more later as we get them converted from raw format.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

And he's here!

Zachary Bryan arrived yesteday, March 8, at 12:11 pm CST. He weighed 7 lbs, 1 oz and 20 in long. Surprisingly one ounce lighter than Zoe and 2 weeks later than she was :) He was born on his due date, another surprise, since both our girls were early by 3 and 2 weeks.
We just brought him home and we're exhausted. Bryan's parents, sister and brother-in-law are here and they are going to take Zoe for a week so we can have a little more peace at home.
Megan is already crazy about him. Zoe's not quite so sure. I think she hasn't quite grasped that Zachary is what was in mama's big belly for so long. I think she likes him, but it's just shocked her a bit.
Here's the shortened story of the labor and delivery for now. I'll catch you up on details and more pics later after I've rested. Yesterday, 4 am, water broke. Nothing happened much until 9:30, when irregular light contractions started. By 11 am, very active labor had begun and by 11:30 we had left for the 1/2 hour ride to the hospital. By that time, I was in transition, which is the last stage before you push!! We rode in our 4 wheel drive very quickly (to say the least) on the snowy roads, got to the hospital, got to the delivery room about 11:49 AM, and he was born 22 minutes later at 12:11 PM. We just about didn't make it. 3 pushes and he was out. We are still in shock that he came so fast. But we are totally in love! He's nursing well and is calm and preciously cuddly. Thanks for all the prayers for a safe drive and delivery!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Looks like he's on his a blizzard!

It was 4 am. I heard a little popping sound, but didn't feel anything until a few minutes later...a little trickle. Yes, my water has broken. I have been having contractions on and off since then. Managed a little more sleep until a few minutes past 6 am, and now I'm up eating breakfast, hoping contractions will start coming on stronger and faster soon. I want to wait here at home until labor is really uncomfortable to try to avoid the "devil juice" :)

We're going to eat and take showers and try to go on with life as usual until we have to go. There is a lot of snow on the ground and it's still coming down. He just couldn't wait any more, I guess. And today is his due date too--never had one on their due date :)

Debating on when and who to call first. Don't want to jump the gun too soon, but man--what a time to have a baby--well at least it's daytime.

I'll post again as soon as I can...hopefully I'll be able to report a little boy being born soon.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Angels of mine

I woke up this morning with really bad cramping and back pain. I thought--"This is it--he's finally coming." Nope. After getting up and moving around a while, it subsided.

I fixed the girls some waffles for breakfast since school is out for the snow storm--yes, a real snow storm, with more than just sleet and freezing rain!

Since all is now quiet in Zachary-land, I finally relented to Megan's "When can we go out and play?" and took them out for a bit. They've just finished up some s'mores and hot cocoa and I thought I'd post some pics of my "snow angels". I sure love these little girls. They fight like wildcats sometimes, but they're crazy about each other and I'm crazy about them.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Perpetually confused

*Edit: They are going by the due date of March 8, so I'll be considered 40 weeks along this Saturday. The nurse also said the swelling is probably a lymph node related to the recent colds/drainage I've had and just to keep an eye on it for further swelling, heat in the area, or fever. So there ya go--less confused now.

Yep, that's me. Today, another appt with my midwife, since Zachary is taking his sweet time coming out. I realized I have 3 different due dates on my chart, one is March 8 according to the first U/S, the next is March 16, according to my last period, and the last is March 19, according to the last U/S. *sigh* I think they're going by the first one as of now, but I did call back later and left a message with the nurse to verify that. My midwife told me if I go past 41 weeks, they will want to do another U/S to check fluid levels, and if all is ok, then they won't worry about anything until 42 weeks has passed. So, I want to be sure what week of gestation they are considering me to be in so I'll know what to expect when.

Then, I took Zoe to McD's for some playland time, and I discovered I have some swelling on my left jaw muscle right in front of my ear. It's really sore to the touch too. I have no idea what it is. Maybe clenching my jaw when I sleep? Mumps? Drainage? So, another call to the nurse's voicemail. Hopefully she'll call back soon, so I won't be so confused.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Looking forward to spring

To warmth, to sunshine, to renewed hope and hopefully better days, smoother paths for those I love.

Yesterday, Bryan's brother and family said goodbye to another baby in a small graveside service. We sent flowers. Hardly seemed like enough. Wished we could be there. Wished we could take away their pain and rewind it was just a bad dream that never happened.

But it did. And we move on. Another day. Another season approaches. And I pray for peace, for joy, for a break in the challenges and hurts. A time to recoup, to gather strength, to make happy memories before the next life storms hit.

Zachary is still content to stay inside me for now it seems. His due date is Saturday. Looks like he's not in a hurry to come out like his sisters. But each day that passes, I find myself more ready and more happy to meet him. I think the waiting is good for us now, hopefully a transition to the better season I described above.

Yep, I'm looking forward to spring.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saying goodbye before we even met

Bryan's brother Roger and his wife Angela delivered a little girl last night. They named her Riley Anne. We wished so much that we could be there for them. Bryan's parents were there and his mom called with the news around 9 pm.

I was antsy all day yesterday, waiting to hear something, yet not wanting to hear what I was hearing.

Then the last call came, and now we have to officially say goodbye, and we never got to meet her. I could almost picture in my mind our little niece, what she would have been like, how wonderful it would have been to hold and cuddle her. But it's not meant to be.

We want to be there with our family, yet Zachary is due any time now. We look forward to bringing our last child into the world, but we're so sad that they don't have the same chance now.

I ask for you to pray for Roger, Angela, and their two teenage kids and our whole family, as we are all hurting for them.