"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

38 Weeks

Can you say SWOLLEN??? I have never been this swollen with a pregnancy. I considered myself very swollen with Devin, but this time takes the cake for sure. I have gained about sixty-five pounds now and I think ten of those pounds are in my face alone. I feel Asian because of how my eyes are. Little slits most of the time. Today I had my very last OB appointment with the kids. The youngest three go to all of my appointments because of the time of day. They are my sidekicks from Hell. I do have one more appointment next Wednesday and I will have all of my pre-op work done then, but I will have no kids with me. Thank goodness for Aunt Leighann coming into town a day early for the delivery!

Exactly one week from tomorrow we will meet our new guy and fall madly in love with him. I am so excited and so nervous at the same time. I asked Mike to give me a mild tranquillizer to take the night before because I know I won't sleep otherwise. And I have to be up at 4:00 that morning to get ready and I'd like to sleep for at least four hours before that. Everything is completely set for next week and I can not believe we are here already!

This boy is sitting very low on my pelvis and it feels like he is about to fall out. I've never dropped like this before, and I'm sure my body is tired and spent and can't hold him up too well anymore. Ha, it doesn't help things that I did this only seventeen months ago! Not a lot of time to recover since then. Sleeping at night is a joke and rolling over every fifteen minutes due to going numb on one side is getting very old. When I roll I have to be very careful, otherwise it hurts like the devil. Well two nights ago I wasn't careful, and when I rolled halfway it felt like my pelvis was splitting in two!! It was terrible. Sure can't wait to sleep on my back again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Countdown Is On

{A couple of weeks ago the giirls and I made a baby countdown paper chain and it's become a ritual each morning to tear off a link. It's getting much shorter!!}

The baby is set to arrive in exactly sixteen days. For once, I am able to say I feel moderately prepared. Normally at this time my to-do list is still gaping with incomplete tasks, but this time I have quite a few things marked off. Maybe it's the fact that I feel like I am manning a ship that could easily sink if I DON'T get certain things done. Maybe it's because with four kids, I am the master of multi-tasking (ha ha, yeah right). Whatever the reason, I feel somewhat prepared. Here is my original to-do list and things in red are complete.

*paint girls' bedroom
*clean up backyard and back porch
*meal plan for two weeks for post baby grocery shopping (so Cody can do it while I am in the hospital)
*get infant car seat from garage and clean/sterilize it
*purchase new car seat for Lauren and skinny boosters for Ethan and Hailey
*help Hailey prepare her talk for church on 3-27
*vacuum and fully detail van
*install all five car seats in designated seats in van
*get reclining baby seat out of crawl space and clean
*restock travel toiletries for hospital stay
*email Dr. about birth plan
*make "big brother" shirt for Devin to wear when he meets his brother
*try to get kinks worked out of video camera drama
*keep cameras fully charged and memory cards empty
*pack hospital bag (as much as I can until the morning we leave)
*purchase one new pair of hospital PJs
*stock newborn diapers and diaper cream
*thoroughly clean the master bedroom
*purchase and wash baby's going home outfit
*arrange for subsitute for church calling
*restock breastpads
*sort through, wash, organize, and put away all newborn clothes and accesories
*draw out maps and write out all info for getting kids to and from activities
*gather ideas for birth announcement
*purchase gifts from new baby to older siblings
*TRY TRY TRY to keep house clean!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Home Stretch

Well, we made it this far! I had many worried and crazy dreams in the second trimester of having to give birth to this guy way too soon. I don't know what caused all that anxiety because I've never before had any problems that would cause something so scary. When I was about eighteen weeks I dreamed that his cord spontaneously came detattached and we lost him. Crazy things like that flooded my mind during that time, and I am very grateful that so far this has been a very uneventful pregnancy. For now he is set to arrive in about eighteen days and I'm feeling him move and kick and show off for me. I love that feeling.

But it's not all fun and games right now. He is causing me huge amounts of pain, and quite honestly, I don't remember it being this bad with my other four babies. I've started calling him "The Mole" because it feels like he is digging into my pelvis as hard as he can. Yesterday I was almost paralyzed with pain during the day because his head was stabbing me in the pubic bone, to the point where it felt like it was being crushed. I doubled over in pain several times during the day when he would move just right. Ouch!

I noticed a few days ago that my belly is taking a new shape as well. I tend to get the "straight out in front torpedo" look. But lately my belly is starting to elongate and look a little smaller, which means he is dropping down more and more. And as a result, it feels like my pelvis has a burning lead weight in it and that my joints are eaten up with arthritis. It hurts to walk, it hurts to lie down, it hurts to sit...it hurts to do anything right now. But, in less that three weeks I will trade in that pain for a NEW pain. Yeah, I'm dreading the surgery. I feel like I must brace myself for a train wreck each time. This time I am really dreading the afterbirth contractions, which have gotten progressively worse with each baby. But, I have to tell myself that on that day even though I will be in huge amounts of pain, I will be snuggling with and falling madly in love with the newest guy in my life. I-CAN-NOT-WAIT!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Swim Lessons

Swim season is upon us! Although it still feels like winter outside and likely will for several more weeks, the kids started their first session of swim lessons for the season today. Yup, one more activity to add to the mix of an already CRAZY time of year for us. But, Cody and I feel that the kids becoming strong swimmers is a crucial life skill, so we don't mind the ongoing sessions. Luckily we got them all into the same time slot for their classes every Saturday morning for the next several weeks. It's a little tricky this time because Ethan is in one pool, and the girls are in another pool across the rec center. But that's just how it is!

Lauren has been looking forward to her chance for swim lessons for at least a year. They can't start until they are three years old, and since she turned three at the end of last summer, she had to wait a whole six more months! She took to it as soon as she stepped foot in the water. It helps that her buddy and neighbor friend, Jack, is in her same class. But even if he wasn't, I think she still would have been fine. She has been dragged to the older kids' lessons for over three years and she's had a lot of exposure to the experience. Since this is her first session ever, she started out in the preschool level 1 class. She is a little fish!

Hailey is doing preschool level 3 again. This is the last session she finished, but since it has been six months she is doing this level again as a refresher. She too has been overly excited and jumped right into it, quite literally.

Ethan is doing level 4 again for the same reason Hailey is re-doing her level. But his level is much more advanced than the preschool levels and it's normal for a kid to have to do the upper levels two or three times each. Today he proved to be very rusty, and I'm going to make an effort in the next week to have a swimming date with him. My body will appreciate the water, and I want to work on some skills with him. His class is much bigger than the girls' classes and I hate for the teacher to feel stressed for one on one time with him. In his class they are mainly working on breathing techniques and stroke development. They have to pass off level six before they are elidgible for swim team, and Ethan really wants to try it next year when he is eight. So, I'll be working a lot with him to make that goal a reality.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Devin's Surgery

Devin had his surgery today and I'm happy to say it was a roaring success. I've been nervous about it since we found out he would be having surgery one month ago, and I'm glad it is over. I've had a headache this week trying to "farm out" the older kids because today is a school day and everything surrounding it presented different obstacles. But, it all worked out and I am indebted to my sweet friend, Emma, for taking the three kids bright and early this morning while it was still pitch black outside. Bless her heart, I owe her a big one.

We checked into the surgery unit at 7:00. As many times as I have been to this particular hospital, it makes my heart ache each time as I see all the sick children. In the registration waiting room there was a little boy with dwarfism (cutest guy ever) and another girl connected to all kinds of tubes being wheeled around my her mom. There were also itty bitty newborn twins with who knows what happening to them. And then there was our guy who is healthy as a horse and strong as an ox, except for this one issue. I thanked my lucky stars that he was the healthiest kid in the room.

Devin loved being in this new place with all the new toys and things to explore. He loved the giant fish tank and kept "telling us" about everything in it. For a kid who hadn't had anything to eat or drink all morning (and he is one who yells at me for a cup first thing each morning because he's so thirsty) he was doing fantastically well.

He was then fully examined by the nurse practioner and he became very leery. Hhhhmmmm, new clothes? New people? Strange things being done to me? I sense a disturbance in The Force. Something bad is coming.

Cody wasn't able to come to the hospital when Devin had his tubes done last summer, and it was emotionally draining on me being a single mom that day. There is a reason why you have someone come with you when a loved one is having surgery. I was very grateful that he was able to be there today. Devin clung to him, and in my huge condition, it would have been pretty hard to chase him around and let him climb all over me.

The anesthesiologist was possibly the best one I've ever dealt with. He was so kind and compassionate and really talked to us. I am horrified and scared of general anesthesia, especially when it is happening to your baby. People are very naive when they think that GA is no big deal. Depending on the procedure being done, it's possbly the riskiest part of surgery. Taking a person to the brink of death, and then bringing them back...well there is a reason anesthesiologists get paid so much money. And I was glad Devin was in his care.

Because of his age and how much he hates to be away from Mommy and Daddy, they gave him a tranquilizer before the anesthesiologist took him back. That REALLY made him mad, but within two minutes he was punch drunk and didn't know which way was up. (see picture below)

It's very hard to see your child be wisked away and put into the care of complete strangers. You just have to pray and trust that those strangers know what they are doing and won't let anything bad happen in that mysterious OR. As Cody and I walked back down the hall, he put his arm around me and my eyes welled up with tears. I think of my dear friends and family members who have children with medical issues who have undergone numerous surgeries, and my heart hurts for them. I don't know how a parent could ever get used to that sick feeling in the pit of their stomach.

Even though my baby was being cut into, I couldn't ignore the insane hunger in my huge belly so we headed down to the cafeteria. They assured us that we would be paged if something went wrong, so we got some breakfast and I tried to talk about other things. We then headed back up to the waiting room...and waited. Finally Dr. Barnhart came in and told us that the surgery went very well and Devin was being taken to recovery. Whew! He said not only did the right side have a substantial hernia, but there was a hydrocele as well and that was causing a huge amount of the buldging. They went in through his belly button to check out the other side of the groin, and found an even BIGGER hernia there too. So they fixed everything and he shouldn't have anymore problems.

Only one parent was allowed in the first part of recovery, so we chose it to be me. Devin was like a caged wild animal as he tried to wake up. He did something similar after his ear tubes last summer, but this go around was a lot worse. Partly because he is older, and partly because he was under GA for so much longer. He was hyper and crying and climbing and kicking. His heart rate was sky high and he was hot, so they had him stripped down to a diaper. After about five minutes, I realized that he was going to send me into labor if I kept holding him, so I went out and traded places with Cody. Then after about twenty minutes they took Devin to a new room and I was able to go back in. He had calmed down a lot, but was still very unhappy. Eventually he started doing a lot better and we all got to come home. He is currently sleeping off his nasty anesthesia hangover and hopfully he will sleep all day and all night. The poor guy has had a rough day and we are all glad it's over!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Incredible Phase

When I was seven months pregnant with Devin, I journaled about all the things I love about being pregnant. Granted most of pregnancy is very uncomfortable, but there are those things that seem almost magical, and it's those things that keep a woman going until the very end. As I sit here and think about only being in this moment for three more weeks, I am overcome with emotion. There is so much that I will miss...feelings that I can never have again. I want to remember exactly why I have done this five times and why it has been one of the most incredible phases of my life.

I will absolutely miss-

-How great my facial skin looks and feels.

-Getting a for sure positive pregnancy test and then seeing the itty bitty heart beat on the U/S screen for the first time.

-Eating whatever I want, whenever I want it with no questions asked. No one thinking twice when I say I need a juicy and thick hamburger NOW!! -

-The thought of Cody holding our new baby in his arms. He's just too cute with our babies.

-The constant kicks I feel when I lay down at night, and the ones I feel first thing in the morning.

-Knowing that I am the only person in the world that the baby needs or can depend on.

-How excited the other kids get when we talk about the new baby. They are so excited about meeting their new brother they can hardly stand it.

-Being able to assist God in creating such a miracle.

-That indescribable feeling when I'm certain I felt the baby move for the first time. It's like tiny little air bubbles floating around.

-Imagining the youngest child as an older sibling.

-Not feeling at all guilty when there is laundry to be done but I HAVE to lie down in the middle of the afternoon. (Okay, actually I always feel guilty about that one)

-The anticipation of finding out if we're adding a brother or a sister to the family.

-Sorting through tiny booties and socks in preparation for the baby's arrival.

-Shopping for the perfect going home outfit.

-When the kids insist that I lift up my shirt so they can kiss the baby.

-Listening to the kid's prayers when they ask God to bless the baby.

-Imagining what the baby will look like and who he will favor most. My side or Cody's side?

-Realizing that my body is working as hard as someone's who is climbing a mountain.

-Organizing all the little stuff that goes along with that baby. I love opening that first package of newborn diapers and being blown away at how small they are.

-This time around I love when I'm at the store by myself and someone asks me if this is my first baby. I then say "No, it's my fifth" and then I giggle to myself.

-Watching my belly grow and take shape. Even though I shoot out like a torpedo and everything goes kaput, I love how my body changes.

-Getting to see the little one on the U/S screen. It melts my heart each time!

-Hearing the perfect heart beat at each prenatal check up. It's music to my ears.

-Watching my belly as the baby pushes and rolls and wondering what body part he's poking me with.

-Feeling him hiccup.

-Agonizing over the perfect name.

-I love the rare instance when Cody actually gets to feel the baby move and how excited he gets. Our babies are notorious for hiding and being still when he tries to get a feel.

-Scheduling the last of my prenatal appointments because it means that we'll be having a baby very soon! And I just love having a new baby.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lonely No More

This morning the house felt very erie. Thanks to daylight savings time, the kids slept extra late. Ethan was off to school, then Hailey trailed in and after breakfast she sat quietly in the living room reading books. Lauren and Devin were still sleeping soundly, which never happens that late unless they are sick or there is a time change. Hailey kept asking when she could wake up her "friends". Finally Devin started talking to himself in his room so she dashed in there to say good morning. A while later I went in there and found his crib completely full of toys. Hailey said she didn't want him to be lonely. She is such a thoughtful big sister!

{Yes, he is in fact in a purple bedroom. His crib is temporarily being housed in what will be the girls' room while we are doing construction in the basement. Then we will be doing a massive bedroom switch up!}

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Apple Papple

Oh, what a GLORIOUS Sunday afternoon! The kids spent most of the afternoon out back making mud pies and digging for earthworms. The kids love finding worms and are not at all icked out by them...unlike their mama. Every worm they find, they name it "Apple Papple". We have many, many Apple Papples in the backyard. A long time ago we let them dig a big hole near the back porch and it keeps them entertained for hours. I try not to mind too much when they get covered in mud, because it gets them outside, it's free, and they really use their imaginations when they play in their hole. It has been such a great day!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Ballet Recital

Tonight we went to the girls' long anticipated ballet recital. Their studio does NOT mess around. This performance was incredible! Last year Hailey and I went to their production of "Swan Lake" while we were decided whether to enroll her or not, and that show is what sealed the deal. That was great, but this show was better.

They did an "almost" full production of the orgiginal ballet, with a few modifications. Of course the older girls do the lead rolls, but the younger classes do supporting roles. Hailey and Lauren's class were the roses in the Capulet garden scene. They danced with a soloist named Abby, who couldn't be older than 14 but she was awesome. I could not believe her strength and stamina! She was so sweet to them while they rehearsed over the last few weeks and tonight she gave the girls a huge hug after the encore.

I was blown away at how smooth and organized everything was. They had a huge break room for the dancers to stay in while they were not on stage. There were many volunteer moms in there helping and the girls had a lot of fun. I peeked in a few times to see if either of them needed to go potty, and each time they were running around playing duck duck goose or something like it.

The show was very, very emotional. The balcony that they constructed was very impressive and ever since she saw it at rehearsal earlier this week, Hailey insisted that SHE would be going up into it, not Juliet. She was a little disappointed. I was sad that I couldn't get a single picture of them doing their actual dance, but my hands were busy with the video camera. I did, however, get pictures of the encore at the end.

Miss Kristina, who we love because she loves our girls so much!
Waiting for the show to start. You can see how excited Ethan is to be there!
Miss Abby, their cute soloist.

Aunt Leighann and Uncle Skylar came up to see the show and really appreciate that. Thanks for coming!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Like Clockwork

Devin takes a shower with me on most days. I've found that unless he is down for a nap (and I despise waiting that long in the day to shower) he gets into a ton of trouble while I am bathing. So on most days he gets in there with me and plays on the tub floor while I shower myself. Then I turn the faucet on to let the water fall out of it while I step out and towel off. He LOVES playing in the fast water and filling buckets. Then after I am toweled and dressed, I get him out, towel, diaper, and dress him, and send him on his merry way.

Then he hears the roar of my hair dryer and like clockwork, he comes running back into the bathroom. He loves it when I blow the dryer in his face for a second, and he loves having his hair dried too. He laughs the whole time. And then while I finish getting ready, he pulls in a stool and starts to raid the drawers. I quit long ago trying to keep them organizied because he loves ot destroy them. And if it keeps him happy and entertained (and supervised) for twenty minutes while I get ready for the day, then I'm not complaining!