So Much Love

meeting-23Can I just say, I have been overwhelmed with love since Dom was born.

Seriously, family and friends, you guys are fantastic.

We’ve seen non-stop generosity since people found out we were expecting… So many baby boy clothes dropped off. Help installing the dishwasher and a wonderful baby shower. Mom came before he was born and stayed with the girls while we were in the hospital, and then it’s been non-stop visitors and pre-made suppers since our little April Fools Day baby.meeting-2 meeting-6 meeting-7 meeting-8 meeting-10 meeting-11

By the way, Andy and I (both number people) think 4-1-14 is a pretty cool birthday. April Fools? Whatever. Also it’s this lovely lady’s birthday too (our dear friend and pretty much Mo’s favorite Vancouver-friend, Karissa):meeting-4

Family has showered us with help washing dishes, doing laundry, picking up after my crazy daughters… and giving us time to shower. Also, loving on those two older children, who need just a little more cuddle time right now. meeting-16 meeting-17 meeting-24

We have suppers delivered to our door till this friday! That’s 18 days of pre-made meals, leftover lunches, frozen extras and a little one on one time with all my closest Vancouver friends (most of which I didn’t take pictures with…dang it! But you know you’re loved, right?).

You guys are making me feel like three might just be possible. And I’m not so worried about postpartum depression now. During this crazy transitionary time, I feel this net, this nest, of love and support just surrounding our fragile little family.

I know we still have weeks and months of adjustments ahead. But I’m feeling ok, maybe even a little confident, going into them.

All thanks to you.

Our lives are truly blessed by the love. meeting

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Photos From the Hospital

We had a baby!

Here’s the photographic proof (don’t worry, no body fluids):birth-13 birth-14 birth-15 birth-2 birth-3 birth-4 birth-5 birth-6 birth-7 birth-8 birth-9 birth-10 birth-11 birth-12

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To Future Caitlin (or any other Brand New Mama)

Dear Brand, Brand new Mama,

Hi. It’s me. Slightly less brand new Mama. As in Baby Dominic is almost a week old already. Before the memories fade, here are some things you should remember about the first week of a Baby. Especially some encouragements in this time that’s full of both Joy and Pain.

1. Baby will cry a lot the first night. You might even cry too, and the night will seem unending. You might say some mean words to your husband, because he just can’t calm the baby. Even though he’s pro with your other kids, this one won’t. stop. crying. It’s ok. Cry if you need to, but just hold that baby. Hold him skin to skin. Fall asleep holding that baby. And feed that baby. Feed him all the time. Those first days in the hospital, he should be sleeping or eating. And so should you. You both just experienced some serious craziness… trauma, even.

2. Breastfeeding hurts. The lactation consultant will say “If he’s latching properly it shouldn’t hurt” and that will be the truth…eventually. This first week, it’s going to hurt. Every. Single. Time. A nurse put it best, “That nipple has to stretch to 3 times it’s normal length, it should hurt!”. They’ll get raw, blister, maybe bleed. Use nipple butter. Lots of it. By day 7 postpartum they’ll have mostly toughened up, it’ll only hurt when he first latches. Then you will be able to enjoy feeding your little one. And you will feel that sleepy, happy, bond-inducing oxytocin.

3. Breast feeding uterine contractions are the worst. Breathe. Cry. Breathe some more, and do your best to relax. They’re good for you. You want that uterus to clamp down, stop bleeding, and that’s gonna hurt. They’ll be gone by day 5.

4. That umbilical stump is gonna stink by day 7. It’s ok as long as it’s not infected, but prepare for a little smelly belly till it falls off.

5. You’re going to bleed for a long time. Probably 4-6 weeks. However, you won’t wear that giant diaper-pad forever. After a couple days at home you can wear normal pads. And that magic squirter bottle thing will be your best friend. Especially if you’ve got stitches again. Seriously. Best friend. Use it. And it’s worth running the water for a second so it can be warm. So worth it.

6. However terrifying as it may sound right now, you will poop again. Take the Colace your doc prescribes, and you’ll be just fine.

7. Love on your husband. Encourage him. Remind him that some day he will be able to comfort baby to sleep. Probably by day 3. He was pretty powerless during this whole delivery process, and that’s hard. Remind him that he’s an amazing support and is a fantastic daddy. He’s going to want to help in other ways, getting ALL THE THINGS done, so persuade him to take a break or two just to lay down with the Little Guy.

8. You’re going to feel a little crazy. You probably won’t sleep for about 48 hours. You’ll be high as a kite on delivery hormones and adrenaline and so overwhelmed by the fact that you guys are now 2 people instead of 1. Seriously, whoa. Then you’ll crash, and really, really need to sleep just in time to go home and try to adjust to being 2 people there. You’ll rally and feel good again, until you don’t. At which time your moods will swing from baby-induced-euphoria to snappy-angry-tearful, and back again. So, snap. Cry. Laugh. Yell. It’s ok. Your loved ones will forgive you.

9. You may feel some disappointment about your delivery. It’ll probably be something little like, you wish you had felt more in control, or delivered in a different position, or said something more profound postpartum than “thank goodness that’s done”. If you deliver unmedicated, you’ll probably think something along the lines of, “I never want to do that again” and “Wow, that was really, really hard, and hurt a lot.” Feel it. Claim those feelings. Write them down, even. You can be happy it’s over. You can be both proud and disappointed. Both those feelings are allowed. And it’s the proud you’ll remember 6 months from now.

10. You’re going to discover new aches and pains every day. During delivery, you flexed every muscle you could and all the muscles you didn’t even know you had (scalp, neck, forehead…). Your butt will go numb from sitting in the hospital bed. Get up, move around. Other weird pains: uterine massage via the nurses, IV site and where they take the tape off, anything you gripped hard during delivery… Then a couple days later, your pelvis and tailbone will start to ache from being moved around. Take the ibuprofen. It’s ok. You’re not weak for needing some pain relief! This will all seem distant a week from now.

11. Take those new baby photos in the first 7 days, when baby sleeps all the time. And don’t worry, that baby acne covering his face will go away soon (day 5ish).

12. You are loved. So loved. Accept the help and food and love from everyone. Soak it in. Soak in it.

13. And last, but not least: nap. Seriously. Nap. It will make you a much more pleasant person. And a better Mama.

Motherhood is very often not flattering. Especially brand spanking new Motherhood. There’s a lot of crying, and body fluids and awkwardness.

Here’s a picture of me immediately postpartum. birthAt first I hated it. Puffy face, mid-exhale is not flattering. But Andy took one look and said, “I love that photo. It’s honest. It’s triumphant. It’s real.”

New Mama, you are real, and honest, and triumphant.

Nicely done.

Now go take a nap.

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Family of Five

Family Photo before we left for the hospital:Family Photo

Family Photo when we got back:Family Photo-2

Welcome to the world Dominic Robert! You are such a blessing and so loved.

Born: 4-1-14, 3:46AM, 9lbs, 21.5″

Birth story to come…

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While We Wait…

Dear Baby Brother, while we wait for you…

We’ve had visitors:www-10 www-11

We’ve (quite literally) nested:www-14 www-13 www-12

Including this little brooding box, designed, purchased and constructed one day in an uncharacteristic fit of energy by you and me:www-6 www-7

We’ve hung on:www-4www-5

And held tight:www

And seen the cherry blossoms by moon light (I’m coming dangerously close to breaking into prose…):www-3 www-2

We’ve done minor home repairs:IMG_9740www-9 www-8And just in general….www-16

waited.

39 weeks today. Come on out Little Man! We’re excited to meet you!

 

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New Favorite Photo

New Favorite

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Going from Two to Three…

two to three-2I made three stops this morning with both girls. Three. With only a couple minor breakdowns, brought on (as usual) by hunger or hair pulling. That may be my greatest accomplishment this week. And proud I am.

two to three-3Because here’s the thing: logistically, going anywhere without another adult can be difficult. And that difficulty increases exponentially in proportion to my growing girth.

two to threeHowever, this week, I’ve really made an effort to go and do and be with my girls. A desperate effort, even. Because I know our time as “just the girls” is quickly coming to an end. And while there is great joy and anticipation awaiting the birth of our Baby Boy, there is also a grieving. A small one, albeit. But a real one.

Some of that grief is based in fear. How will I ever go anywhere with three kids? How will I keep them fed, and happy and alive?! I often lament, sometimes aloud.

two to three-8“You’ll make it work,” comes the answer, either from Myself or Andy or God. “You wondered the same before One, and the same before Two. And look, today, even at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, you and your beautiful girls went to three places! You can do it.”

So those fears are calmed for the moment. I know it will be difficult, but I know I can do it.

But, it will be so different. Three. We’re just discovering who Lu really is, and Mo grows in Beauty and Wisdom every day. I don’t want to miss any of that, and I know I will…

two to three-9And here comes the answer, like salve for my heart, “Yes, you might miss some moments. But look at Monica. Is she less because of Lucia? Do you know her less, love her less, rejoice in her less? two to three-6No, of course not. She is more because of her sister. More loving, more caring, more vocal, more joyful. Baby Boy will do the same. Make more out of all of you.”

two to three-11 two to three-10So I wait. I wait for our family of four to become a family of five. I wait for my body to do the work necessary to split from one person into two. I wait in a mix of peace, panic and desperation. Peace that he is meant to be. Panic that he may come tomorrow (CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!). Desperation that he may wait for several weeks (let’s get this party started already, k?).

And while I wait, I love. I love on my girls. Chances are, they won’t remember not having a brother. To them, he will always be a part of their story. But I will remember. I will remember “just the girls.” And I will love those memories, those moments. The giggles and the pink and the dress up and the high heels. The fights and the melt downs and messes. The wake up cuddles and the bedtime snuggles with only two on my lap. They are all a part of the story, part of our tale that I don’t want to forget.

two to three-7So, Mo Bug and Lulu Bell,
Some day in the future, when you’re reading this, know that when it was just the three of us, we had a really good time. We found worms, and fed the chickens, and went to the zoo, and painted pictures and tickled and sang and danced. Oh, how we danced! None of those things will change when your brother arrives. In fact, I bet life gets even better! But know that the last several years together have been some of my happiest. And I’m so blessed you two made me the mom of daughters. I love you both.

two to three-5 two to three-4And Baby Boy,
You should come out soon. Your sisters can’t wait to meet you. There are several princess dresses that have your name on them…

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Baby Boy Belly Bump

Maternity Shoot-5As promised, here are the rest of the shots from our mini-maternity shoot with Creo Photography. I highly, highly recommend Kaitlynn as a family photographer if you live in the Vancouver/Portland area. She is kind, professional, funny and has a servant’s heart. This is both a passion and a ministry for her. Plus her awesome husband Matt comes along to carry bags and make the clients laugh. They make a most excellent team.

Maternity Shoot-8I take a lot of pictures of our kids. And I think that most of them even turn out pretty good. But there’s just something about the experience of working with a professional and getting everyone into a shot that is magical. These photos are time capsules, treasures. I already look back at the first shoot we did with Kaitlynn last spring and can’t believe how much our family has changed.

Maternity Shoot-9 Maternity Shoot-10And these photos also work to dispel a little guilt involved with pregnancy number 3.

Maternity Shoot-6With Mo, I took a belly photo every. single. week. Without fail.

Maternity Shoot-7With Lulu, I probably got 20 photos in 40 weeks.

Maternity Shoot-4With Baby Boy… three? Maybe?

Oops.

So, if he ever wants to complain, I can kindly point to our professional shoot and say something like, “Yes, but we got a real photographer to take pictures of you while you were in Mommy’s tummy. That’s just how special you are!”

Maternity ShootBut wait, won’t that make the girls feel bad?… Nah, they featured rather prominently in “Baby Boy’s” shoot.

Maternity Shoot-2Only a Mom would worry about future parental guilt, am I right?

I’m pretty sure he’ll survive, and so will the girls. Thrive, even.

Maternity Shoot-3In our family of five.

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Spring(ish), My Half Birthday and Messes (aka Three Ways my Husband is the Best)

half birthdayFirst of all, who has a husband that remembers her half birthday? And celebrates it?

I do.

Andy is seriously my favorite, and I am ridiculously blessed.

half birthday-2It’s started to feel a little Spring-y around here.

Bi-polar weather:

half birthday-4Poor trash man. Good thing he has two adorable little girls who wave to him, even on rainy days.

half birthday-5Later that same day, the weather was beautiful! Sunshine!!

half birthday-3I planted primroses to add some color to the front yard  garden. And I put some peas in the ground. Garden plans are coming along nicely, now I just need to recruit a couple people to help me spend a day or two planting. I’m thinking if I garden hard enough right around 39 weeks gestation, we may have a March baby instead of April…

half birthday-8And, we’re in the process of cleaning out the garage. Spring cleaning meets pregnancy nesting at its finest right here folks!

half birthday-7It’s still in the disaster phase, but I’m well on my way to having an actual pantry area! Alleluia!

half birthday-9And thanks (again) to my amazing husband.

Just to keep it real, what happens when we concentrate all our efforts on some project outside? The inside of our house looks like this:half birthday-10

The girls were a huge (read: none whatsoever) help when it finally came time to pick up (read: Mama finally flew into a hormonally-induced rage, cursing every toy she nearly tripped over)… I mean, if they can make a mess like that, they can certainly clean it up, right?half birthday-6

Thanks (for the third time) to my awesome husband for un-disaster-ifying that room before Ladies Night yesterday. You’re sincerely the best.

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Ultrasounds and Prayers

Fundraising efforts for St. Gianna’s Maternity Home raised more than $50,000! If you were one of the many who contributed, they very sincerely thank you! And I say “You’re awesome!”

So, as promised, ultrasound photos of our handsome Little Man. Maternity Shoot-11 Happy face, with his hand against his forehead.

Maternity Shoot-2-2Grumpy face (or as Mo would say, “He has angry eyebrows!”).

So, once again, we had an extra ultrasound. Remember last time with Lucia? This time isn’t anything quite so serious. Or at least, I don’t think it’s serious. The doctors are freaking out a little since I’ve had one baby with a fractured clavicle (Mo) and one baby who weighed-in over 9 lbs (guess who?). These two things, in combination, mean we’re at elevated risk of shoulder dystocia during delivery. In fact, I’m categorized as a “high risk pregnancy” this time round.

Yipee.

Keep in mind, this is after naturally birthing two babies without any intervention necessary for should dystocia. They say there’s just an increased risk…

However, to be safe and “as educated as possible” we did a fetal weight ultrasound a week ago, because the bigger the baby, the bigger the risk. So far, he’s measuring 5 lbs 12 oz (+/- 14oz). Pretty wide margin of error there, if I do say so myself. I have an appointment next week to chat with my midwife and an OB to see how his projected weight, 9 lbs 6 oz (+/- a whole bunch, because no one really knows…), should shape our birth plan.

I’m trusting in the phrase “proven hips” which means just what you think it does. I’ve already birthed a 10 pound baby. Pretty sure I can do it again.

However, all this talk about some impending horrible birth is starting to get to me.

I know I can do it.

I know I can.

I know Andy believes I can do it too.

I also need to know that the medical professionals that will be surrounding me, caring for me, and advising me also believe in me.

I don’t want to be induced early. I don’t want to hear suggestions of interventions when I finally make it to the hospital.

I just want to get there, do my thing, and bring a baby into this world. If he needs a little help during delivery, that’s why the OB and the nurse and all the other awesome medical professionals will be there. I trust them.

Hopefully they can trust me too.

That’s what I hope to convey (in a charitable, tactful manner) at my next appointment. Prayers are, as always, greatly appreciated.

Next up: Baby Boy Bump photo shoot. Thank you to the very talented Kaitlynn Marquis. Here’s a beautiful sneak peak: Maternity Shoot Maternity Shoot-7

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