Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Does Three in Diapers Look Like?

This is what stands next to the changing table/dresser
in Ruby's room.
(A dresser top is what I use for a changing table.)

There are three different sizes of cloth prefolds
in these stackable bins.

(The bins sit on top of a dresser of sorts:
four wicker baskets in a stand.
This serves as Ivy's dresser.)

Ivy's diapers are on top,
Ruby's 6 plys are in the middle
and the 8 plys for night-time are on the bottom.

Most days, Elijah wears pullups
as he is potty training,
but if I do need to diaper him, he wears an 8-ply.

I'm sort of used to three in diapers.
But I wasn't always.
I remember when I was pregnant with Ruby,
I was giving the two little boys a bath
and I had this moment...
the moment when I knew that I would have
Seriously, it took my breath away.
I actually cried.

Then I got a grip,
realized it wasn't going to be that bad,
and continued with the bath.

And it really isn't that bad.

But we are working on having
*only* two in diapers...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Night, Night Baby


I wanted to thank all of you who commented, encouraged, and shared with me on my
I Ain't Fakin' It post.

I appreciate each of you being real, here on my blog.

It's funny...when I wrote that post, I thought to myself, "they're all going to think I am a complete weirdo".

Turns out, I perhaps a little more normal than I realized.

And that, my friends, should be enough to just scare the pants right off ya.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seriously--How Cute is This??

You probably thought I was going to have a picture
of one or more of my adorable children.

While they are, in fact, adorable,
so is my new diaper bag!!

A friend gave it to us when Ivy was born
and it is so stinkin' cute!
And guess what else--
she made it herself.

It's a perfect size for
Ivy's things.
Ruby and Elijah's things go in the
"big" diaper bag;
I only need to grab this little one
when I take Ivy out during church to change her, for example.

I just love the fabric, too--
a little baby bling for Ivy...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Works For Me Wednesday--My Portable Changing Basket

The Sunday after Ivy was born,
I was sitting in the rocker in Ruby's room
nursing the baby.

And then it hit me.
"Huh. I hadn't really thought through how I was
going to change a newborn throughout the
day and night without waking up the toddler."

(the changing table is in Ruby's room)

Then I spotted the basket I was using for books in
her room and thought
"Hey--I could make a little portable changing
station out of that!"

(It's down-right uncanny how my mind works,
ain't it??)

So I did.
Diapers, wipes, an extra outfit and onesie and receiving blanket
along with a blanket to lay down underneath
her while I change her diaper.

Works for me!

disclaimer: I do use cloth diapers, although you only see the disposables in the basket. Newborns are so skinny and tiny that it takes a few weeks for the cloths that I have to fit.
Also, I'm real enough to know my limits.
I give myself permission to NOT use cloth all the time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Special Visitors

My grandparents came for a visit this afternoon.
They met Baby Ivy
and visited with the rest of the children.

AAAAAANNNNDD--she brought cookies.
'Cause she's Grandma.
I think that's a rule or something.

Grandma Mavis and Grandpa Glen,
my grandparents...

Ruby and Elijah showed them how well they can do puzzles.

Ruby and Great-Grandma Mavis

Grandma and Ivy Joy

Grandpa Glen and Baby Ivy

PS. I cleaned up before they came...

Ahhh.....that's better.

My first loads out
of the season!

I kept singing to myself
"Reunited and it feels so goooood".

I'm that easily entertained.

For Those Who Think I Have It All Together

I so don't.
This is what my living room looks like today.

And here's my kitchen.

So, if you come over today, we could hang out in
Linnea, Andrew, Christopher and Elijah's room
'cause it's clean.

Look at all that floor space!!!
No, the carpet is not pink. It's red. It just looks pink
due to the lighting/camera.
And yes, it is from 1980 thank-you-very-much.

In addition to this bedroom,
I could host a small gathering in the bathtub
as it, too, got cleaned today.

But that's about all I've done.

Oh, well, unless you count
wash a load of laundry,
feed the baby,
dress the littles,
feed the baby,
start another load of clothes,
shower and dress myself,
feed the baby,
hang out the laundry,
and and assortment of diaper changes.
You know, the usual...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Remembering Grandma

Today is my Grandma Marjie's birthday.

She would have been 83.

She died in August after a very short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Today, and many other days, I am remembering things about her.

* how much she loved God
* how much she loved Grandpa
* how much she loved babies
* that she served a meal in addition to dinner and supper, called "lunch", at about 3:30. Some people may refer to this as "coffee time" or "snack"
* the way she called noodles "macaroni" and how my kids always thought she meant macaroni and cheese.
* how she would say "oh, honestly" when she was disgusted about something.
* her gold-capped teeth, which I thought were fascinating, and which she hated. They are the reason she didn't smile with her teeth showing for a picture.
* when she had open-heart surgery, she had a huge scar on her chest. She never tried to hide it, which I think was really neat.
* how her wedding ring would spin around on her finger. It had to be big enough to go over her arthritic knuckles, which made it too big for the base of her finger. I remember exactly what it looked like.
* the squeak of her rocking chair.
* how she would hum, but didn't sing particularly well. She left that to Grandpa.
* she LOVED to entertain. So many people ate many many meals around her huge dining room table. She was always the hostess.
* her Mystery Suppers. Have you ever done one of those? Where the menu is all in code, and the attendees pick what to have for their meal with no real idea of what they are getting. Very fun. In later years, she would enlist my help for these. They were times of a lot of laughter. I remember once she had our Pastor and his family over along with our household. Our pastor had 7 kids at the time and so did we. How many people, much less an 80-something widow, would have 18 people over for supper? Especially when 14 of those 18 were under the age of 14? That was my Grandma...
* I remember going over to her house as a child before Christmas and helping her to wrap all the gifts. She would have a post it on the box, telling who the gift was for and my sister and I would wrap it up and put on the tags.
* she always called canned peaches or pears "sauce". "Would you like any sauce?" she'd say. My kids knew what she meant. And even began to call them that themselves.
* how bravely she faced death.
* how freely she told her family that she loved them.
* how on the day of her death, when I read her her devotions, the passage was "6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." She died that afternoon.
* I am remembering how she could drive me really crazy, because she could be so pointed in her questions or comments.
* But mostly, I am remembering how much I miss my Grandma...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Ain't Fakin' It

This post inspired me to write this post...

I ain't fakin' it.

I'm going to tell it like it is.

Well, mostly like how it is...
I probably won't tell you about how I don't wash my hair every day or that our fridge is empty but I don't have the energy to go to the store or that I am no longer able to keep the clothes folded in the drawers of the little ones' dresser. (Three toddlers in one dresser...they're folded when they go in, but in the rifling through to find what they want to wear, it just doesn't stay folded.)

But I'm ready to tell you how it is when I come home with a new baby.
It's hard.
Really hard.

I didn't experience this until Christopher came along. I cried from the time he was about three days old until he was two weeks old.
I felt so out of control of myself. Odd things would set me crying.
Loudness would make me want to just run out of the room.

I tried not to let anyone know. After all, having a baby is a happy time, right?
So why was I so sad??

These feelings eventually passed and I began to feel like my old self.

Skip ahead 14 months to Elijah's birth. A lot of things were going on in our life at that time, too, and the whole time was a rather rocky one.
I cried and cried, but not as long as with Christopher. Elijah was about 2 days old when it started and it last about 5 days.
The crying, that is. The anxiety lasted longer than that...I don't recall exactly how long.

Next was Ruby. We thought that maybe if I stayed in the hospital longer to recover, that that maybe would help for when I came home. Wrong. I stayed the full time allowed and came home and balled and balled.

The house was so quiet, and even though my grandma had been there and had made a pot of soup, I wasn't hungry at all.
Dennis, of course, had to go out to the barn.
There I was, all alone.
And crying and sobbing like everything.

And now with Ivy, well, it's been more of the same. I was so disappointed because I thought I was going to avoid it this time around. A good friend of mine, we teasingly call her Dr. Jen, is a nutritional guru. Her children have some severe allergies and she has learned her stuff, let me tell you!
She suggested I get on some high quality fish oil, so I did.
The bottle said to take two a day, so that's what I did. Along about the last month of pregnancy, I upped it to three per day, anticipating the post partum period.

Turns out, I should have been taking more like 6 per day. Oops.
So that's what I take now and I think it helps.

But what I was taking wasn't enough to ward off the awful post partum stuff I deal with. She was born on a Friday and everything about the birth was so fantastic! (I know that a less-than-ideal birth experience can lead to post partum issues.) Saturday, I felt so good! I was ready to go home.
We got home and I did up all the dishes that were on the counter and got the kitchen straightened up.
And then it hit.
Dennis was going out to the barn, the two big boys with him, the other five were still with my parents and would be coming home the next day, and I was in the house alone with Ivy.

That first night home was terrible. She wouldn't sleep. I nursed her constantly and cried just about as much. I finally woke up Dennis on the couch and asked him for just five minutes...just five minutes. She fell asleep with him and stayed sleeping for about two hours. Thank you God.

Sunday morning when Dennis came in from the barn, he found me rocking Ivy and crying my eyes out. He called Jen. That's when we figured out the fish oil dosage was off. ( I couldn't talk on the phone because I couldn't stop crying...)

Sunday afternoon wasn't so bad...the kids came home early that evening and I only cried a little. I am ok with that in front of my parents now. With Christopher, it took everything within me to keep it together because I didn't want them to see me like that. I'm over that now.

Sunday night and into Monday morning were awful again. Such anxiety and crying and sobbing. I got out of bed, and bless Linnea's heart, she offered to hold the baby. It was earlier than she usually wakes up, about 6:30 or so, but she said she had heard me crying and Ivy crying, too. So she held Ivy while I took a shower and balled my face off.

This lasted about 4-5 days, this terrible post-partum stuff. I hate that they call it "Baby Blues" because it sounds so silly. I know that because it doesn't last longer than 2 weeks that it isn't post-partum depression--I wish there was a name for it.

And so...this time around I am trying to be way more upfront about it. If someone asks me how I'm doing I say "today's a good day" or "yesterday was a better day".
It has helped me a lot to talk with my friend Kim, who has experienced some of these same things. I have found very few others who have gone through this, which adds to the isolated feeling.

One of the things that's hard about letting it be known that I struggle post-partum is the ever present specter of people saying something like "then quit having babies" or "you see...this is why it's obvious that it's just too much for you."

I realize that the only one who's opinion counts is God's. He has called us to obey him...to let Him show us the blessing of children, no matter how many he sends our way. I know that I should just let it roll off my back, all that stuff people say. Some days that's easier said than done.

So today, as Ruby has spent a majority of the day fussing, and Ivy has spent most of the day sleeping--and therefore will most likely spend most of the night awake,
I'll tell you that
yesterday was a better day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ivy's Birth Story

Disclaimer: This post may well contain TMI* if you are one of my tween/teenage sons or nephews, brothers, brother-in-law or male with whom we attend church. I'm not going to be embarrassed if you read this, but I won't feel bad if you chose not to read.

*too much information

As I was saying...

I went to sleep at 1:00 am. I had a really strong contraction, opened my eyes to see what time it was.

Closed my eyes again, had another good four contractions or so, and decided to look at the clock again.
Five contractions in 18 minutes.

I see.

Maybe something is going on after all!

I thought to try to sleep some more, but just couldn't stay laying down. I threw back the covers and walked from the hall out to the living room and back a few times.
The contractions were really coming strong now; I decided to wake Dennis up out on the couch.

I stood before him and said, "Dennis, I need you to be awake with me."

And would you like to know what he said?
Would you really?
Would you really like to know what this father of eight said???

He said, "Why?"

As his overdue wife stands before him, swaying from side to side massaging her bulging belly, he asks "why".

He quickly figured out the reason for my request.

He tried his best to stay lucid for awhile and then he suggested we both try to get some more sleep. While I'd like to think that this was his way of being concerned for my well-being, I'm pretty sure he was just plain hoping to go back to sleep.
Either way, it wasn't happening.
I tried to lay down...lasted about 45 seconds and had to get back up again to walk the floor.

I must say that this time around, the contractions were so very short in duration. I found that to be a little disconcerting, because I felt like things wouldn't really progress if they didn't get longer. They just kept coming on, fast and furious, with really no break between it seemed.

We kept trying to decide whether or not to call our doula, Megan, (which is a whole 'nother post, too! I will get to that one soon, I hope!) and eventually called her at about 2:00.

While waiting for her to arrive, we called my parents to come be with the kids. Here, too, as in the whole situation, God was so at work! My mom had called our house just that afternoon to say that tomorrow would be a good day to have a baby because she'd be able to get the day off.

So, now we were waiting for Megan and eventually my parents. Megan got here, she observed me for a bit, we all chatted, bless-her-heart she told me I looked really cute in labor. Call me vain, but I had touched up my make-up and gotten dressed out of my pj's. I didn't want any pictures of brand new baby and hagged out mommmy!

Dennis made a pot of coffee, realized he hadn't put in any coffee grounds, tried again and was successful. Dennis and Megan had coffee while I contracted. It was a good arrangement.

Then things started picking up and we decided to go to the hospital. My mom and dad hadn't arrived yet, but that was ok. Dennis called and let them know we had left, they were just pulling out of their garage, it was something like 3:20 am, if I remember right.

I left the house with no shoes, only my slippers. Oops. I didn't care at that point.

We drove along, realized we had NO gas.
Somehow made it to the hospital.

We laughed and joked along the way, but I was getting really uncomfortable.

We got to the automatic doors, found they are pretty sluggish when it is cold out.
Got to the second set, and stood before them waiting for them to open.
Dennis made some smart comment about having the baby in the entrance while waiting for the doors to work.

I followed with some comment about how he should read the sign right in front of our noses that said "Between the hours of midnight and 5 am, please push the button to open the doors."
He pushed the button.

We went in, freaked out the lady pushing the mandatory wheel chair just by being in active labor. They actually don't see many women in labor anymore, what with all the inductions and planned c-sections.
Admittedly, it was a little funny to see them scramble.

Ok, so on the ob floor...
They attached the obligatory electronic fetal monitor, I sat in the bed for about 90 seconds and then had to stand up. I walked as far as the cord would let me, knowing that it was hospital protocol to get a good reading on baby before being amiable to letting mom be off the monitor. Bless the nurse's heart, she was so nice.
I said we had ok'd intermittent fetal monitoring with my dr. and she said no problem.

Off went the monitor, and it never did go back on, 'cause things went kinda fast after that...

I walked and walked and walked in my room--I'm not big on walking the halls of an ob wing, or any hospital wing for that matter, just so we're clear.
I walked from the door to the window and the window to the door...back and forth, back and forth.
I probably spent all of three minutes in the bed before she was born.

Megan and Dennis took turns pressing in on the top of my hips, to make more room for baby to descend. If you don't understand what I mean by that, I can't think of how to type that any differently for you to understand. Sorry.
This was a wonderful help to me--it felt so much better during those contractions!
Megan thought to raise the bed up as high as it would go and to put a bunch of pillows on it; I stood at the side of the bed and leaned over onto the pillows. This was great, too.

Not too much longer passed, I had a really painful contractions, I tried squatting to get through it, that didn't help, I stood up, my water broke, I could tell baby was coming.
Megan went to the door to tell the nurse the baby was coming.
I remember saying again that the baby was coming...in ran the nurse, I heard her say "up in the bed, up in the bed".
I hopped in the bed, (as sprightly as any birthing woman could hop I dare say) and out came Ivy.
Caught by the nurses, born without me even pushing.
I think that having the bag of water intact for so long protected her and let the contractions do all the work of having her be born.

Dennis said "It's a girl" and I was crying and laughing.
I always cry when the babies are born and I was laughing for joy and because I honestly thought the whole thing was funny!
The nurse had time for one glove.
There was no time to take the bed apart as they do.
Just catch that baby.
At 4:53 am.
Four hours of labor? Not bad...

You probably know that we had looked into and really wanted a homebirth. Well, we got the closest thing to it that we could in the situation.
No doctor, just a very midwife-minded nurse, our friend Megan, and my husband. No interventions...just normal, physiological birth.
It was fabulous.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Day Before Ivy

When my friend Lori came to work Friday afternoon, her first question was “so you gotta tell me—what did you do the day before?”

It isn’t very glamorous…not very memorable even…but it is Ivy’s day before!

I remember drinking about a half gallon of grape juice and apple juice. (Incidentally, I normally don't even like apple juice. For the latter part of this pregnancy, I liked it.) I usually mix the two kinds together when we have both on hand, and that’s what I did. And of course, it was on ice, because from about the sixth month of pregnancy on, I eat ice. I most likely consumed about 100 pounds of ice in those months. I’m not exaggerating. I would buy the five or ten pound bags of ice at the grocery store and I did this many times.

So, I drank a lot of juice.

And I ate like four quesadillas.

When I say quesadillas, I mean the upper midwest, raised on hotdish, ketchup and salt are the only spices you need version: a soft tortilla shell, a little butter, sprinkle with shredded cheese and a pinch of salt, and pop it in the microwave. I don’t know if that even qualifies to be called a quesadilla, but it’s what we call it here at our house.

I remember I didn’t feel like eating what I made for the kids and Dennis to eat at dinner and supper, which was waffles. I just drank juice and ate those quesadillas throughout the day.

I texted Dennis at about 7:30 or so that night and said that he didn’t need to rush through chores, but that I thought something was happening.

He and Linnea came in from the barn at about 9:30…I had fallen asleep about a half hour before that. I remember feeling “different”. Dennis grabbed something to eat, I read a book, he fell asleep on the couch and I kept reading. My back was hurting…I took a bath. I was beginning to get discouraged that maybe nothing was happening. The short contractions I had been having hadn’t really gotten any stronger and I didn’t really have any during my time in the tub. I went to bed at 1:00 am pretty bummed, thinking I had been wrong again. (There were many times in the last few weeks that I was sure labor was imminent.)

So, went to bed at 1:00…not long after had a very strong hard contraction.

Oh, but wait---this would be part of Ivy’s birth story! And that’s a whole ‘nother post!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm Still Here

I promise I will post something soon...telling of Ivy's "Day Before" and about her birth.
I'm working on it...
Just a little busy.
I'm sure you understand...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meeting Miss Ivy

Christopher and Elijah meet their new baby sister

Linnea and Ivy

Mommy and Ivy, just before we headed for home.

Ivy Joy

Our new baby girl,
here at last!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baby Is Here!

Just a very quick post to say that
Miss Ivy Joy
arrived Friday morning at 4:53 am
She weighed 8 lbs. 14 oz. and
was 21 1/2 inches long.

And she's beautiful...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Love My BeBand

Each pregnancy, it seems I learn something new.
Whether that be a new way to do something, a new product that is helpful, or even a discovery as to why something hasn't been working for me.

Well, with this pregnancy, I have found my BeBand to be very helpful!
I had read about BellaBands, but they are more expensive. I found my BeBand at Target and thought it was worth a shot, particularly for the price.

I had originally thought it would be most helpful after the baby is born, which remains to happen by the way, but I've been wearing it for about the last 6 weeks and I LOVE it.

It provides excellent support for my bulging belly, so it will be interesting to see how my stomach muscles respond after the baby is born. 'Cause, you know--I'm still pregnant.

Many woman in other cultures wrap their bellies post-partum, but I know of few women in America who do.
It makes sense to me, though, that after all those months of "extended-ness" that the abdominal muscles could use a little help to recover afterward.

And so, that's what I'm thinking about, and wanting to share with you while I wait for this baby to make himself/herself known.
'Cause, yep--I'm still pregnant...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A New Record

I've set a new record for myself.

This is the longest I've ever been pregnant.

Linnea was born the day after her due date, in the mid-morning, so technically I've gone over my due date before.
But not by this much!

I'm actually thinking it's kind of funny now.
I mean, who would have thought that Baby #8 would take so long?
Although, I have heard from more than one person that the more babies you have, the longer they take.

I'm also thinking that it won't be too many more days until shaving my legs isn't quite the aerobic activity it is now.
I bet you really needed to know that, didn't you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our Pattern is Officially Broken...

I told you before that our kids' birthdays fall in this order
and what was expected to be February again.

Not so!
I guess March will be the month of this baby's birth.
'Cause, yes, if you haven't guessed it--I'm still pregnant.
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