Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes

It's been a fun "babymoon!" I'm having a great time just lovin' on my babyboy! It's been a gorgeous week where we've been able to leave the doors open, and the kids have spent most of the week outdoors. I've enjoyed the company of my father-in-law this week who has been so helpful with the kids and with lots of little house things. Thanks, BopBop! We've also been the recipients of at least a half-dozen meals and treats this week...thanks to all our kind friends and family who have brought food, given rides, and sent prayers and welcomed our Thomas so tangibly!

So here are 7 quick pics from the week, off my iPhone...

enjoying using my moby wrap again. he sleeps great in it!

my sweet morning cherub

2 stevens and 2 thomases hanging out in the driveway after work

ellie and thomas one morning

sleeping angel all bundled up in his new swaddleme blanket!

mary clare took these last 2...
her cute baby brother waiting for dry clothes

oldest and youngest, a special bond :)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! And happy feast of St. Therese today! May she send down a shower of roses on you all and may you feel the love of God ever close to you today!

Find more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Monday, September 27, 2010

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

kids enjoying the beautiful weather in the backyard
eating lunch in the fort

taking a really good nap outside!

a little glimpse of my special helper this week,
Steven's dad, Thomas Sr. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Birth Story--Thomas William

To my newest son Thomas:

I have yet to finish a birth story for your siblings. Their deliveries were a bit traumatic and I always have a hard time writing them out. But I am determined to write out our story this time. We had a rough pregnancy but quite a good birth, and I am so utterly in love with my newest baby I can't control my tears. But here goes:

I found a wonderful obstetrician this time around, and he gave me such confidence about my pregnancy and delivery even before I was pregnant! He prescribed progesterone supplementation both to help prevent miscarriage in the beginning and to help prevent pre-term labor at the end, and it worked! I had one little scare after our day at Disneyland in July and was so worried I'd be having a California preemie, but all was well and you held out until it was time for your arrival.

We had some adventures at our weekly trips to the OB office for my shots starting at 24 weeks. I'll write those out with the accompanying photos from my phone sometime soon. But for now, I'll focus on your arrival. On Monday, September 20th we had a long morning. We attended daily mass and dropped Mary Clare off at her Faith Formation class. I took Steven Joseph and Ellie to a resale store and they were so wild, and I was having some tummy issues and was anxious to get home!

I rested for a few hours while the kids played dance class. Your poor big brother was in a leotard the entire afternoon! We had stir-fry for dinner and everyone went to bed. Except Mommy. I didn't feel quite right and was having lots of stomach cramping. Soon it turned into more obvious contractions, but they weren't too painful so I started getting ready. I showered, picked up the house, set out clothes for SJ and Ellie, and packed my bag. I finally woke up Daddy around 3 and told him that the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, and I didn't think they were stopping. We called Aunt Jill to watch the kids and continued to ready ourselves to head to the hospital. It was Tuesday the 21st, the Feast of St. Matthew, and you were exactly 37 weeks gestation. Perfect timing.

We arrived around 5:00 a.m. and things moved slowly. My contractions weren't really enough to show up well on the monitors and they became irregular. They kept me for about 3 hours but weren't ready to admit me for the surgery because they weren't sure I was actually in labor and were worried that you wouldn't be ready. I already had my OB appointment scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to check your lungs on ultrasound and possibly schedule the c-section. We waited nearly an hour for the doctor only to be asked to get the ultrasound first. She thought you were about 7 lbs 9 oz and said she couldn't be sure your lungs were ready. You were still at a "2" and needed to be a "3" for us to be sure your lungs were mature enough for delivery.

We talked things over with the doctor and he encouraged us that we should probably wait another few days. I was really worried that I'd be sent home while I was still having contractions! I told Daddy that I was going to want to just deliver at home. I was tired of people thinking I wasn't in labor! Well, then the doctor checked and found out I was 3-4 cm dilated. The plans changed right away and we were sent back across the street to the hospital to prep for the c-section!

My nurse Shanna was so sweet as we did all the preparations for the surgery. I got an IV after one vein blew (ouch!), had blood drawn, signed consent forms, and tried to distract myself while Steven made a quick run home and back. We met the anesthesiologist and talked with the student nurse. I played around on my phone and called family members. We were waiting for someone else to deliver before me, but things changed and they called my doctor to see if he could come now. He didn't call back but soon showed up at the door, surprising the nurse who wasn't ready yet! Things started moving really quickly.

I was asked to walk down to the OR and sit on the table. The bright lights and nurses quickly setting things up made me really nervous. I just looked at the floor, tried to pray, and listened to the Christian radio station songs on KSBJ. Finally the anesthesiologist came back and started my spinal. Ouch! I didn't remember feeling those strange sensations in my back before, likely because I was in such hard labor for previous deliveries that I was thrilled that my pain was ending. Daddy was asked to come in and seemed nearly as nervous as me. I was shaky and panicky the whole time. I kept asking him to talk to me; I didn't want to hear the doctor/nurse chatter and wanted to be distracted.

Every few minutes I would start to feel really light-headed like I was going to faint. I think I was hyperventilating. I was wondering why I'd ever wanted to go through that surgery again and was worried that I'd never want to have more children. I was so scared and miserable. But soon I felt that tugging and they said your head was out! You had a huge knot in your cord and a head full of black hair. Dr. R asked Daddy to stand up and announce your gender. He started laughing and said, "It's a BOY!"

Daddy announced your name (Thomas William after your grandfathers and uncles and so many other Thomases and Williams in our families), and as they were cleaning you off Dr. R told everyone to sing Happy Birthday to you! It was so sweet but I was still feeling so faint that I couldn't even sing. I just smiled and enjoyed those few minutes of watching you and then seeing your face up close as Daddy held you close to me. Then they sent you and Daddy away and he asked the student nurse to come and sit by me. That was such a nice gesture. She talked to me and distracted me through the rest of the surgery. Dr. R said that my uterus looked great and could handle another 5-6 kids! I was glad to hear that but still felt pretty bad. The anesthesiologist asked if I'd like some kind of anti-anxiety medication, but the doctors said they were almost done. Soon enough they were wheeling me back into the recovery room with you and Daddy and I was so happy. They said you were 7 pounds even, and 19.5 inches!

It took a good half-hour for me to calm down and I slowly started to feel my lower body again. Daddy took some pictures and they continued to take our vital signs. We got to breastfeed and after an hour or so, your sisters and my parents got to come in to see you! Your godmother Veronica was there for your birth too, but had to leave before seeing you since she had her 4 little boys with her. You were doing a lot of grunting with your breathing the first few hours, so they kept having the NICU check on you, but every time the tests showed you were oxygenating just fine! I was still concerned that you'd need time in the NICU, and you spent all of 10 minutes there before you met me up in our room on the 2nd floor!

We had a few visitors that afternoon...your siblings, my parents, and the K family. You got really sleepy that evening and had no interest in eating. That got the lactation consultant a little concerned. She brought me a manual pump and suggested we feed you with a syringe once you woke up. But as soon as you awakened, you were ready to nurse and haven't stopped since then! If you are awake, you are crying or nursing!

We had a quiet time in the hospital. Daddy had to go back to work at lunchtime the next day, so you and I spent lots of time watching HGTV and TLC together those next 3 days. We hung out in bed while I ate the great hospital ice, apple juice, and graham crackers...and a few great meals of bacon, chicken fingers, and chicken caesar salad! Someone came from Sts. S&J every day to bring me communion, what a blessing! I was up and walking the 2nd day and felt really great with my overall recovery. I didn't sleep much with all the hospital staff visits and TV shows and your nursing schedule, but we did have some nice afternoon naps. I had some times of loneliness missing all the family, but I always treasure that special time at the hospital with my new babies!
My recovery has been so much easier this time around. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't go through so much laboring, or if it's to the credit of a talented and experienced surgeon. I'll give credit to both and just be thankful that I'm now 5 days out and haven't taken any pain meds since last night! You have looked a bit yellowed, but all the tests showed your jaundice level was normal. I just couldn't believe what an easy check-out it was at the hospital! I am so thankful for our health.

Your siblings spent time with Aunt Jill, NeNe and PaPa, Grampatti, and the O family while we were in the hospital. They were thrilled to come visit you each day and were so happy to make special welcome home signs for your arrival! They have been doting and fighting over holding you, wanting to climb in bed with us, trying to pick out your clothes, and just doing whatever they can to get close to you. What love they have for their newest sibling!

We've now had a few days at home and are settling in well. You are either sleeping or eating, or crying if you're not able to do one of those! You spend your days being held by Mommy, Daddy, or one of your grandparents, and are getting lots of cute outfits and gifts each day! You're still too small to fit into most of them though! Your last weight check put you at 6 lbs 9.5oz, but hopefully you've gained back some since then.

We are enjoying every new day with you, Thomas, and we can't wait to share all the events of the coming months with our new little blessing! We can't wait to introduce you to the rest of our family and friends, and to have you baptized sometime in the coming week. We are so thankful to God for our newest treasure, making us a family of 6. Oh the adventures we'll have as we watch you grow up! Be strong and true, Thomas William, and know that your family has loved you from the first moment we knew you were with us until now until forever!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Welcome, Thomas!

We're home!

Thomas William
(named after both grandfathers)
9/21/10, 12:30pm
7 lbs, 19.5 in

He's doing wonderfully and I might just
be having the easiest c-section recovery so far!
Everyone is thrilled with the new addition
(Yes, especially Steven Joseph who got "his boy!")
I'll try to post some of the birth story and more photos tomorrow.
For now, I'll head to bed with my 3 main men :)
Thanks be to God for a healthy and happy baby and mama!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Smiling about...

a new working dishwasher! Yay! The repairman wasn't able to fix our dishwasher or icemaker on Friday, and recommended we just get a new dishwasher. We went to 4 different places today before we finally found the one we wanted that was available for us to buy and take home!

My handy hubby spent about 2 hours installing it and I'm so excited to load it for the first time and get all the dirty dishes out of my sink without scrubbing them myself!

Yesterday I spent much of the day in bed. I was having contractions all afternoon, almost to the point of calling the doctor. But they finally slowed down enough for us to stop panicking! Steven took all the kids out to the farm last night while I stayed home in the quiet house. What a strange feeling!

I've also been having those "last time" feelings this weekend...realizing it could be the last time I go to Sunday Mass without the new baby, my last grocery store trip tonight, and of course the last days with just 3 children to take care of...

Here are how my precious cherubs are sleeping right now. Steven and I have been so exhausted by the end of the day that we end up letting them all fall asleep in our bed, watching a movie on the floor, or whatever. Bedtime is never a strict routine in our household, but even less so right now!

This evening we moved a little table and chairs into my room so that the girls can come in and do some schoolwork while I'm resting now, and recovering in the coming weeks. Someone on one of my email loops suggested this and I wish I would've thought of it sooner! Sometimes a little change of scenery is good for the kids too, so hopefully we can get a little bit of schoolwork done in the midst of the coming events!

Tomorrow morning is the first Faith Formation class for Mary Clare and her homeschool friends, in preparation for their sacraments this year (Reconciliation and Holy Communion). We are supposed to meet for daily mass at 9am and then they have their hour-long class. I know this is going to be a beautiful experience for her but am wondering how in the world I'm going to handle daily mass every Monday morning with my crew? I may just have to pass on tomorrow's class, but I'd hate for her to miss the first one.

Please offer a little prayer for us as we navigate the activities of the coming weeks...sacramental classes, Faith Formation, ballet, doctor visits, a hospital stay, and a NEW BABY! I am still in shock that I could have a little one in my arms any day now. And still panicked that I will have to have major surgery again in order to meet him or her. God be with us and help us get to the "other side" all in one piece!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Still Here!

I've been a bit MIA in this place the past week. I'm still hanging on! Hopefully Steven will be able to post here soon after Baby is born. But since I haven't been able to figure out how to blog on my iPhone (though if someone knows how, let me know!), most of the initial announcements and pictures will likely be on Facebook and email.

The past week we seem to have a few days of rest followed by a few days of lots of activity and I am utterly exhausted. But I feel the need to fill this space a little bit I'll try some Quick Takes!

Baby update: I'm now 36 weeks. Baby is measuring 7lbs 2oz and everything looked healthy on the ultrasound today (praise God!), although the lungs are still not mature enough to deliver. We will scan again on Tuesday and if Baby looks ready and Doctor feels I'm ready, we might deliver at the end of next week. Either way I imagine he/she will be here by the next Friday October 1st, the Feast of St. Therese! So probably 2 weeks at the most!

Baby stuff: I finally got out the clothes and washed some pink and blue sleepers and such, then packed them in a bag with some of my stuff for the hospital. I also washed the carseat and put the co-sleeper in our bedroom. The kids got really excited about it all, and the girls are constantly hugging and kissing my belly. Steven Joseph is still not quite sure of his role in all this, he continues to hit my belly and claims that the baby can only be a boy. We're seeing lots of attention-seeking behaviors already. This is going to be quite a ride with the big brother! But I'm really trying to treasure these last days with him as my "baby." Here he is with one of his recent obsessions, his "pocket knife." He wants to carry around a plastic knife in his pocket!

Tonight we had our priest friend, Fr. Matthias, over for dinner. He's a wonderful preacher, teacher, writer, and friend. He is promoting his book, The Stations of the Resurrection, which is a prayerful reflection similar to the ancient Catholic tradition of the Stations of the Cross. Why is it that whenever we have priests or religious over for dinner, the kids go WILD...jumping on couches, running around while we're praying, eating without manners, and just being crazy and loud?!? Mary Clare did great, but the other two were pretty much out-of-control the entire evening, especially Steven Joseph who had a short nap today. But we still had a wonderful, inspiring visit with Father, and he gave us many blessings and thoughts to ponder. God-willing, we might have the blessing of Fr. Matthias baptizing our baby in a few weeks!

I won a blog giveaway! I checked my email early this morning and realized I totally missed the post on a blog where I was declared the winner of a $50 credit towards stamped silver jewelry at! I'm so excited! Only problem is that the necklace I want only comes with 2 charms (which I would get the kids' names stamped on) I'll have to of course pay more to add my other 2 children, once we find out the gender and name of the one in my belly. I enter giveaways all the time, so it's fun to actually win one where I was chosen randomly out of 365 people!

I can't stop eating ice. Doesn't that mean I'm lacking in some kind of vitamin? (I haven't been very good about taking vitamins this pregnancy.) Part of the issue with ice-chomping could be that I just snack all day if it's not food, why not ice? Crushed ice is great, and my tray ice is do-able after it melts a little. I'm hoping the appliance repair man can fix our ice-maker (and dishwasher!) tomorrow and I'll be one happy mama!

There's a burger restaurant (Fuddruckers) that is selling little saints in their gum machines. Awesome! Check out the "Santos!" The girls both got Our Lady of Guadalupe a few weeks ago.

Pants. Skirts. Several discussions on skirt-wearing have been circling the Catholic blogosphere this week. I was a former "sola skirtura" follower in the past, partially because the school where I worked required us to wear long skirts, and partially because I liked it and my husband did too. But practicality and comfort won out in the end. Now I generally wear skirts/dresses to Mass and other special events, and I encourage my girls to do the same. But for daily wear, capris fit my bill. I actually bought a skirt yesterday and wore it last night, but I was constantly trying to make sure I wasn't flashing the priest since I was trying to keep my swelling feet propped up. Then at one point Steven Joseph unknowingly put his hand up my skirt trying to grab me and nearly flashed everyone! I think I'll stick with capris, especially during pregnancy. I have enough worry these days about flashing my lower belly since most of my shirts are becoming too short for my growing mid-section!

Check out more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!
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