Thursday, March 28, 2013

Party of F I V E

Here are a few of my favorites from our family session with our friend, Rachel Howden.

It's amazing what a little candy can do to get two little boys to cooperate with a 45 minute photo shoot. It's a whole new level of hard to get five people looking good at the same time...heck, it's just hard to get five people to stop moving to get a picture! I'm so grateful that Rachel was able to capture our new family of five and that we got so many great images to add to our home!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enjoying Our Time...

With W off of work for a few days, we've been keeping things low key. We had a few photo shoots with friends to capture our new season of five. Our societal debut happened Saturday with a walk to downtown's farmers market. We got to see quite a few friends which was fun. We are definitely a caravan now: V wrapped up on W, and pushing T in a stroller while I stick with E on his bike. 

Other than that, we've stuck close to home with W taking the boys on walks to the nearby parks while I rest with Vesper in the afternoons. It's a nice lull before the storm of me taking on all three. Friends have been so kind to drop off meals and gifts along the way. So nice not having to worry about dinner while we rest. And thankfully, this recovery has been the best so far!! No complications and the biggest hurdle being: lack of sleep! I'll take that over mastitis any day! 
Can't believe we're already nearing the two week mark. Certainly bittersweet this time as I realize that we're already passed the half way point in making babies. As hard as it is, I will mourn the day when the newborn stage is over for us...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vesper Wren's Arrival {3.1.13}

Third birth and we were still so nervous and excited. W and I drove to our midwife's on Tuesday afternoon to get my membranes stripped hoping to start labor. My mother-in-law had arrived the night before and I was really, really hoping to have her here while transitioning to three. We discovered that she was super low and I was already dilated to 4 cm and 75% effaced. It was clear she was coming soon, I just needed those contractions to start...the only missing piece to bringing her out.

We added a few home remedies that evening but nothing was happening by morning. A few days went by and I was certain she'd come on Thursday {just like her brothers}. No dice. At this point I'm kinda getting desperate. I have a few girlfriends who swear by castor oil and gave me some pointers of how to use it. But I chickened out and decided to wait another day to purchase some.

Thursday night, we were just super exhausted. I'm wondering if it was Theo's new molars coming in or if he sensed something was up because that normally happy, go-lucky, independent kid took to clinging like there was no tomorrow. And saying, "mama" a-thousand-and-two times per day. So, W and I headed to bed at 8:30. Which never happens.

But for some reason my body was just buzzing and I couldn't relax at all. I was having a few contractions about every 15 minutes and had the normal signs of aches, chills, and the like. All were very mild, but annoying enough not to get settled into sleep. About 10:40 I called Melissa and checked in since the contractions were regularly coming about 15 minutes apart, lasting approximately 30 seconds each. She told me to call her when they move to 10 minutes and she was off to sleep. Well, those dang things stuck to every 15 minutes the ENTIRE night. Funny, I hoped that I would do my hardest work during the day {which I did thankfully}, but it didn't guarantee a good night's rest. Win some, lose some.

Around 5:30ish in the morning, they finally moved to 10 minutes and were still only lasting 30 seconds. They were strong ones but definitely nothing to get worked up over. I'm finding that I'm really no good at sensing if "this is it." I feel that if the contractions aren't really bothering me, nothing is really happening. Apparently, that's not really true.

I touch base with Melissa and we decide to wait a bit longer. I get up, make some breakfast and wait. By the time the boys and W are up, I lay back down for a bit and the contractions come back. About every 10 minutes again. I'm still not sure if Melissa should come and if I should send W to work. My worst fear, of course, is that I get everyone ready to do this and nothing happens.

Melissa said she'd come over after breakfast and check me to see if we couldn't get things rolling. Sounds like a good plan. I join everyone else downstairs from about 7:15ish to 7:45ish. Contractions are still coming consistently at 10 mins. And some I have to start rocking my hips through them to ease the waves. At this point, I'm hopeful but still not sold this is it.

W decided independently that he would stay home even though I was wondering if he should try for at least a half day. I touched base with my parents about taking the boys after their morning workout. Again, trying to be super causal about it so people's schedules aren't completely uprooted. Melissa joined us around 9:30 and at this point it seems like my contractions are fairly dead again...maybe every 20-30 minutes. But the boys are around and I feel a bit stressed. Shortly after, my parents arrive and take the boys. Things calm some at home and the contractions return.

Timing-wise, things get hazy after this. I'm moving into more active labor so the concept of time lapsing is kinda distorted.  Melissa checks me not to long after the boys leave. I'm around 5 cm but she can stretch to around 7 cm very very easily. Basically, I need some hard contractions and this baby is coming! So, we do what we've done every time: go outside and do laps around our complex.

It was a beautiful and warm day outside. Plenty of neighbors to say hi to and give updates to. My mother-in-law Judy and Doula Kerri joined us as we walk. I can't talk during contractions now, but instead breathe through them. I'm glad the others carry on conversation without me. They made sure I drank water and W timed my contractions. Kerri had me do "step-ups" on the curb while walking which triggered some good, hard contractions.

At some point we came back inside. I was getting hot and uncomfortable. I changed into shorts and continued to walk or rock through the harder, longer contractions. W changed into his utilikilt so he could have it on for her birth. Oy Vey, that husband of mine. ;)
The last few hours with her growing inside me. {41 weeks, 2 days}
 I basically wore a trench into the carpet between our room and the boys' room doing mini-laps. Melissa and Jackie, her assistant, were finishing filling the tub.
Once the tub is ready, I'm hesitant to go in. I really like walking through contractions because it feels more manageable. Like I can distract myself long enough through the pain. They aren't overwhelming. So I'm nervous to plant myself somewhere because the pain may then take over. But the team encourages me to get in: "the water will feel really good", "you want the contractions to move to overwhelming. That makes her come out.", etc. So in I go, resting on my knees...sometime around 12:30 {?!} Hanging as much of my top half over the edge until another wave comes and I prop my arms up so I can breathe.
I'm still really coherent, talkative and cheerful during rest times. I make a joke about being at a day spa while Kerri and W alternate between massaging my lower back through the hard contractions. Melissa and Jackie check baby girl's heart rate throughout rests and contractions.

About five minutes after the above picture was taken, I transitioned to pushing {around 1pm}. I still had a few super hard contractions during transition. I pushed for about 20 minutes and out she comes. W got to help "catch" her this time. She sneezed then wailed. Thank the Lord that it's over!
Melissa did all the standard heart rate and breathing checks while we did skin-to-skin. 
We, of course, nervously joked through that last half of the pregnancy that we were only told once that she was a girl. We needed verification upon delivery. Both W and Melissa made sure I knew she was, in fact,  our sweet daughter right away. Woot woot! And geez, is she perfect!
Shortly thereafter, I was put to bed and nursed our little one. She had a great latch from the get-go and did wonderfully. The team cleaned up the tub and Melissa checked her stats a few hours later...

Vesper Wren Swenson
Born 1:22pm
7 pounds and 2 ounces
20 and half inches long

Her name...

We both discovered and fell in love with Vesper during my pregnancy with Theo..who obviously wasn't fit for the name. We love that its bold, fits with our other names, and still has a biblical nod {regardless of how slight.} We liked the Latin meaning of "evening prayer" and it made us both think of Vespers. W particularly so with memories of boy scout camp-out days and his leader holding them every evening. There's also a more recent Bond film with a Vesper character who was more of a badass girl than your "damsel-in-distress" type which I thought was sassy and befitting for a girl who has two wild older brothers to contend with. Plus, it's great that she won't be one of the dozen of Sophias or Avas in her generation. As far as Wren goes, I simply loved it this pregnancy so we used it as a middle name. A wren is a petite song bird with a perky little tail. Its got spunk and the name is just sweet.


It's pretty crazy to think that my perspective of this birth was simply: it was normal. Another home birth with another perfect little bundle. Two thirds of our off-spring have now been born into this little house of ours. And definitely my third birth: a few hours after giving birth, I asked someone to check on the pulled pork that I had put in the crock pot during my morning contractions. Clearly, we're gonna be hungry for dinner. ;)

Overall, this time was much more of a gradual build-up. Melissa attributes that to my water not breaking until about 15 minutes before she arrived. I definitely felt it more this time, but it still was bearable until the very end. I liked the water and know it helped with pain management, especially at the end and with pushing. I'm glad I didn't get in any earlier though. I do wish I would have rested my knees between contractions. By the time I was pushing, I was so fatigued in that same position. Melissa coached me during the pushing more this time and I came away without tearing! Yay! Although, I finally felt that ring of fire everyone keeps talking about. Not fun. One of those things you're really thankful for later down the road.

It's still sinking in that we have a daughter. I say "she" but in the back of my mind there's a "he" hiding because that's all we've ever used. And it definitely feels like we've crossed THE threshold. The threshold to being legit. A legit family. Legit parents. No joke. Can't give them back. Zonal defense. Just outside social norms now. They are outnumbering us. We have now added to the population instead of just replacing us. Annnnnd all illusion of control is out the window. ;)

Couldn't be more excited about the chaos, memories, challenges and joys we're about to experience!

Bring it on.