Saturday, March 30, 2013

out for a sunday drive

on a gorgeous sunday morning, just a few days before tess' arrival, we loaded up the suv with kids, lovies, movies and the ever-coveted sippies & snacks.  benji and i grabbed lattes and homemade cinnamon rolls at our nearest coffee shop, and we blasted on up the parks highway.  my hope had been to head south, a day trip to seward to run around the sea life center, but my midwife had strong opinions:

like i said, we couldn't have planned our drive for a more beautiful day.  so it wasn't driving along turnagain arm, but we had a great view of mt. mckinley.

last family of 4 photo...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

labor & birth

late tuesday evening, i began feeling crummy.  i felt rather period-like, full of cramps and discomfort but nothing like "typical" contractions, just short 30-second bursts of pay-attention-to-me.  wednesday morning, still feeling these annoyances, i contacted my midwife, and she asked me to come in for a check; i was 2-3 cm.  you'd think this would excite a gal, but i was a 2 on bed rest at 35 weeks.  plus, i just didn't feel like it was labor.  i drove home, still crummy, still discouraged, still pregnant and went about my day.

i corralled the kiddos and tucked them in for their afternoon snoozes.  gramma d was assigned to my latest sewing project (a pair of bookends for baby 3's room) as i was attempting to wrap up a blog.  but, every time i'd get into a rhythm of writing, i'd have to jump up from my birth ball to breathe through a contraction.  wasn't too long before i realized this might actually be baby 3's birthday.

around 3 pm, peggy called to see how i was doing.  i tried to down play what i was feeling, but i think she was already convinced as to how our evening would play out.  she insisted on heading over "to avoid the 5 o'clock traffic and get things set up."  i figured if she was coming over, i better alert ben.  they arrived within 10 minutes of each other, about an hour after our phone calls.

i allowed peggy to do her thing, as i did mine.  she was in and out of our bedroom and bathroom so i made my way to baby 3's room.  i labored between my grandmother's rocking chair and gripping onto the side of the baby crib.  pacing, swaying in the doorway, gazing out the window; anything to aid gravity and ease baby's descent.  all this was happening while benji was snoozing in our bed.  i'm sure peggy had her own thoughts about this situation, but i'm one that goes internal to focus and breathe and visualize.  it was a comfort just knowing he was home and not racing up the highway to make it in time.

unaware of the time, but i'd guess around 7-ish, i made my way into the tub.  peggy had checked me right before and i was measuring between 5-6 cm.  i wanted to labor as long as i could, walking around and using gravity, but i knew with transition right around the corner, the warm water would help to relax and (hopefully) help dilate faster.

no contraction
top right: peggy using the doppler to listen to baby

i was in the tub for a while.  my contractions were closer together, only 30-40 seconds in length, but each more powerful than the last.  i couldn't help but moan and breath loudly through them.  i wavered between embarrassment over being so "vocal" and not even realizing who was coming and going.  peggy mentioned stella had arrived (midwife #2/doula) and i remember thinking ok, so?!  the contractions were crazy-intense, low in my abdomen, radiating between my legs.

within the hour or so, i was feeling the urge to push with each contraction.  is it crazy that with my third natural childbirth, i've never been checked and heard the words "you're 10 cm, time to push!"  the uterus is an AMAZING muscle, and i so wish ladies would trust their bodies to show what it's capable of!

so with that, i looked at ben and stated: i wanna get out of here.  i meant the tub and that's what he took it as, but in hindsight, i know i just wanted out of the situation!  ugh!  it's such long, hard work getting to 10 cm - i mean, you wait 9 (10) months to meet your baby; all the prenatal appointments, blood work, ultrasounds, morning (all day) sickness, bed rest (!!!), weeks upon weeks of contractions, all to hold and raise this tiny being - and then you really don't want to do it at all!  i don't remember saying this, but after getting out of the tub and being paralyzed by 2 contractions, i looked benji in his eyes and said, don't leave me.  can you imagine?  hey, annie, i gotta run out for a sec!  ha!

i got out of the tub at 8:01 pm.

from tub to bed, i had 3 contractions, each one worse than the previous one.  all while standing and all pushing contractions.  i maneuvered myself onto the bed and complained that i couldn't feel my arms.  they were completely numb and tingly, that fallen-asleep-sandy feel, you know?  ben later said it was likely because of the way i was holding myself up at the counter, almost in a standing push-up position.  anyway, my arms were really distracting me, making me feel extremely weak.

i was laying on my side, and baby did not like this position, as the heart rate began to drop.  backing up, at my 36-week check up with peggy, she went over all the emergency procedures.  the one that really stuck out in my mind was her saying if i ask you to do something, you need to do it immediately.  so with that, she told me to get up and sit on the birth stool, right next to the bed.  ben helped me (ok, like, picked me up) and sat behind me, holding me.

i was given oxygen for the baby.  i was given oxygen with dylan, too, because her heart rate dropped once she was in the birth canal.  this didn't alarm me in the least, and it helped get my breathing under control.  as i was pushing through contractions on the birth stool, i heard peggy say to stella, call 911.  you'd think i would have panicked over hearing those words, but a second later, peggy told me that if i got the baby out now, we could call it off.  i began pushing in between contractions, just completely focused on holding my baby.

i remember feeling as if i were underwater - i could hear commotion and voices around me, but only my breathing and peggy's voice, instructing me in this way and that, made any sense.  pushpushpush, ok, stop.  there's the head.  at this point, ben heard peggy say there's no cord meaning they thought baby's cord was around the neck.  i didn't hear this.  with another push, baby came out and into my hands.  then, very clearly i heard peggy say, call off 911.

it was 8:13 pm.

twelve minutes of i-don't-know for ben, but for me, baby was out, baby was breathing and baby was very, very cute!  headful of black hair, pink cheeks (blue hands and feet) and oh!  what is it?

it's a GIRL.  

we have another daughter!  tears.  lots and lots of tears.  i won't say who cried more, but i will say someone was very relieved how it all played out.  my version of the birth is very different from ben and the midwives.  i really feel for him.  i was confident in my ability to birth our baby and could feel the head descending with each pushing contraction.  but man.  ben later told me he was looking at the midwives and neither of them would make eye contact with him.  my heart hurts for him and where his mind will go when he thinks of this experience.  but.  thank you, God, for blessing us with a healthy baby.

tess anne   

8 pounds 6 ounces
20 inches long

my biggest baby yet!

{jackie was 7 pounds 8.5 ounces and 20 inches long; dyl was 7 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches long}


Sunday, March 24, 2013


{aaaaand, once again - a blog i started over a week ago.}  

out of control.  


in my defense, i did have 14 days to think.  and plan.  and prepare.  organize and reorganize.  after day four of my freedom, ben uttered:  i don't think i'm going to make it through this nesting period.  it's true.  it's never - I'VE never - been this awful.  demands.  (ir)rational planning.  pregnancy brain.  but you know what, it's not worth arguing over.  it's just easier to have it done my way because it's what makes sense to me now.  ha!  how awful to admit that, see it in writing, but sometimes the truth is tough to handle.

as of the new year, the kiddos had been bunked up, sharing a room.  we only have a three bedroom home, and i figured having them room share was the lesser of evils when thinking of throwing a newborn into the mix.  for the month of january and some of february, it was working.  then things changed - some red head got a little too comfortable and bedtime turned into this atrocious thing.  jb was ready for bed at night, and well, she wasn't.  we'd hear complaints of duey won't stop singing/clapping/talking/stay in her bed, and eventually he'd open the (child-locked) door as in saying get out!  disaster.  he would even fall asleep through all her shenanigans, only to get a foot to the face or a book slammed on his head (once, ok, maybe more).  poor guy!  and with ben doing bed time during my bed rest, he realized how big of an issue it was, too.  so, our first mission after my freedom: separate (problem) kid 2 from (sleepy) kid 1.

our super-coveted bonus room, now houses our 5 year old.  he not only has the biggest "room" in the house, but he also has the best view!  my computer and desk are now in our bedroom, and the tv was brought downstairs to our great room.  dylan has jack's old room, all to herself, and amazingly, bed time is finally a breeze again!  she has time to wind down on her own, and jb (the no-napper) falls asleep within minutes of cheek-to-pillow.  and, my most favorite part about him having his own space???  i get to walk up the stairs and spy on him snoozing!

jackie's new space
all his trucks and trains at his disposal
screen to separate the room, his messy bed with all his favorite lovies

next up, dylan's room.  it still feels so odd to say that.  it's been jack's room for as long as we've lived here.  from baby crib and green & white striped walls, to camo bed & slide to big kid trundle beds... and now, girlie stuff.  even as they were together, i wanted to maintain the boyish room feel - no pinks or purples.        

but now?

it's quite girly.  just like her.  she loves anything pink.  she requests pink-everything.  the bouncy-house we've reserved for her birthday party?  i wanna pink one.  ummm, ok, i'll get dada to get right on that...  

does your toddler insist on having EVERYTHING in their bed?  sometimes, i don't know where she sleeps!  and, just like a toddler, there are those mornings where i find her with nothing in her bed.  always keeping you on your toes, those tiny humans.

i purchased this upcycled side table/magazine rack from a local store in palmer, vintage poppy.  i want everything she creates!  when jack picked out his lamp from target, dylan was quite put out that she couldn't get one, too.  so after our table purchase, we found ourselves back at the bullseye, picking the same stand, different shade for the redhead's room.  notice:  the magazine rack is the perfect storage place for lovies and her collection of books & handbags.

don't you love that picture of our teeny tiny bulldog?  dylan found it in a stack of photos from when i was rifling through our 2007 wedding album.  she grabbed it, squealed and "talked to" beanie like you'd talk to an infant.  i just love that they know how to baby-talk!

baby 3's room!  much to do still, but here's what my big body has done so far.  ok, no.  wait.  here's what dear husband has hung so far.

Friday, March 15, 2013

38 weeks.

i thought i was in labor on wednesday evening.  i started timing my surges around 6:30 because they were coming quick enough that i wasn't able to quite catch my breath.  i noticed my walking slowed, the surges were numbing the front of my legs, and i was having to brace myself at the kitchen counters.  i couldn't talk through them like i had been able to just hours before.  curious, i started my contraction app, and sure enough, these puppies were close together.

a few screen shots from my timing.

after a chat with my midwife, i determined to change things up and see if this was the real deal.  i laid down, and still, they came.  my potty breaks were more frequent.  i got sick a few times.  benji clorox'd the tub for me, and i was able to find great relief in the warm water.  i took a break from timing because it was just making me anxious.  could this really be it?!  it's like, you want it to be IT, but when it happens, it's a little overwhelming.  am i really ready to do this?  pushing feels good, but man, you gotta get through transition.  oh, and we know how transition is, like, the ugly, evil stepsister of labor.

around 10 pm, i climbed into bed and continued to have them, one after another.  strong enough that as soon as i would start to doze off, i'd get jolted awake to continue my breathing techniques.  this continued until 4 am.

when jb woke me at 8:15, this dread, this ohhhh, not yet, swept over me.  can't i just roll back over and sleep for another eight hours?!

the surges have continued throughout thursday and today but nothing like wednesday night - not as intense or as frequent.  i'm actually grateful.  it's nice to have a night off from work.  it IS work.  the adrenaline, the breathing, the focus... it all takes its toll.  i wanted to say it was all for nothing, you know, to wake up still pregnant, but i know this is all for the greater good.  perhaps, this just means my labor and birth will be that much shorter.  if i put in time now, maybe the final outcome will be minutes versus long, drawn out hours.  that's the way it all went down with dylan, so here's to a repeat!  i had a false start on april fool's day, and she was born 4 days later.  so perhaps, my 5 day countdown has already begun...

38 weeks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

march 10th

our last anniversary was quite different.  i was svelte, but in a big, full gown, sun-kissed cheeks, adorned in fragrant flowers.  it was 80-some degrees and my kids were both taking daily 3-hour snoozes from being sun soaked.  this anniversary?!  no more big gown, just big ol' me.  i could use some sun, but thank goodness for daylight saving and an added hour of sun spilling into our great room.  dylan still naps; jb if i run him hard enough.  the only constant in my life, our life, is benji.  he's forever handsome.  forever lighting up the children's lives.  and mine.  he's the best thing to happen to me.  he's given me the greatest gift a girl could ever hope for


i feel an incredible amount of adoration, love and thankfulness for him.

2007.  so many blessings that year...

and 2012.  
the second love of my life.
it takes a small army for me to get dressed, while benji was ready within 15 minutes.  alone.
getting sewed in
 about to make our super-windy walk
grandpa vern's kerchief
a moment
ok, now it's coming together.  
i now know who to blame for her chapstick/lipgloss obsession...

none of this could be possible without all these fine folks.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

all things love.

{i am not all there in my mind.  my husband can attest to that statement.  i mean, i feel & think that i have it all together, but then i come across something like this - a blog, a month-old blog, that i've skimmed over and purposely not posted, when in fact, it was done and edited weeks ago.  i blame pregnancy brain.  the good news is this is all coming to an end, shortly, but the bad news is that i need to make room for nursing brain and 3-kid-mom brain...}

v-day at bub's school.  we made heart-shaped crayons - super fun!  we even had extras to keep for ourselves.  

the valentine bags included one recycled crayon, a pack of organic fruit leather shaped mini-hearts and a spiderman hologram.  jack's not too keen on writing just yet, but he was all over the stuffing of the baggies.

of course, grandma and grandpa needed flowers for valentine's day - i couldn't not show them love!  my grandpa was so great about bringing her flowers, so it's only right for me to continue the tradition for him.  if pink tulips were available, that's what he picked up.  naturally, i couldn't help myself.

baby 3's room!  looking forward to getting all the extras in place.  as of last weekend (again, another one of these posts that i started pre-bed rest...), all my gender neutral clothes are washed and hanging in the closet.  the blankies and sheets are washed and folded on the shelves.  the closet is cleared out of big kid toys, the baby board books are in place, and i have a hefty supply of diapers ranging from newborn to size 2!  i feel like i'd be ok with baby coming... except that she/he needs to gain some chub and develop his lungs a little more.  ah!  i said his.  yep, maybe jack has convinced me...  

one sewing project that is complete is 5 strands (3 feet each) of pennants.  i chose an array of gender neutral colors, traced my triangles from a scrap of cardboard and cut them out using pinking shears.  pinking shears, totally masculine, right?!  currently in production is the valance and cover for the warm windows aka darkening shade.  it's a lot of work - it's big and bulky (as am i) and crawling on the floor, cutting and pinning fabric in place, proves to be a work out in itself.  but, i'm totally up for the task.  anything for baby 3!    

we added paint glitter to the yellow stripe; so fun when the light touches it!

more baby 3 room pictures to come, among other nesting projects.  my husband already said he wasn't sure if he was going to survive nesting 3.0 - it's been tough on all of us!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


totally humbled.  i mentioned before about "getting over myself," but it's been easier said than done.  surrendering and just allowing people to care for you around the clock is not in my nature.  i'm the nurturer.  i'm the care giver.  i like to dote.  i'm so out of my element that i feel in a constant state of embarrassment and guilt.  and, knowing that postpartum healing is right around the corner, where i'm going to have more of the sit down, let me do that for you - i've filled my quota for the year, and maybe next year as well! 

i feel dirty and stinky, and i miss makeup for the first time, like, ever in my life!  i am having daydreams of facials and pedicures, getting waxed and taking 30-minute showers.  but, despite my insecurities with the physical, my mom still wants to kiss me on the head, and jb constantly rubs my cheeks and calls me sweepheart.  today, before he left for a porch picnic with gramma d, he came running back into the house exclaiming, i almost forgot to give you a smooch!  have fun in bed, mama, i gotta go check on grammar!

why is it so easy to focus on the negative when we have so much positive around us?!

i heard a line yesterday that i can't let go of:  i'm too blessed to be stressed.  i really need to take that to heart!  

it's thursday!  (hehehe... and now, right now, it's actually saturday...)  and if you wonder why that matters, it's because today marks one week until my release date.  freedom.  fresh air.  tucking in my kiddos at night.  making jackie's school lunches.  driving my rig.  showering more than every 3 days.  loving on my husband - i think i failed to mention that bed rest, also meant pelvic rest.  i'll let you figure that one out...  (sorry, dad/uncles/brother/male cousins/male friends!)  i'm excited to fix my own meals, bathe my children and run my own errands.  it's invaluable to have help, but this just takes things to a whole new level.  again, so humbled.

on tuesday, i had a massage that could only be described as heavenly.  my friend, heather, drove out to my house, with her table and two humongous bags filled with pillows, blankets and sheets.  i was able to get off my shoulders and lay on my belly.  for us stomach sleepers, sacrificing 6+ months of tummy sleeping is really hard work!  she massaged me for 90 minutes, and i was nearly in tears by the end of it.  having someone, even if it's their profession, make you feel brand new again - it's priceless.  she doesn't normally do home visits, so just her willing to come to me, knowing my situation, i feel such a great amount of debt, appreciation and love for her.

also on tuesday, nana lynn came out to take bubba to gymnastics (and for a 3-day sleepover!).  she had just as much fun witnessing him in action, as he did getting his wiggles out.  she got to meet all my new friends, get in on the parent-kid-gossip, and apparently, everyone there is up to date on what's happening with me!  there is a great group of people to chat with while we watch our children grow and learn.  i know jb has benefitted from this experience in more ways than one.

so with jb staying in anchorage, gramma d, dylan and i had a pretty quiet week.  without minion #1 getting minion #2 all fired up, we had lots of cuddle time.  dylan was finally able to feel (and see!) baby kicking, and she could not have been more excited!  now, whenever she sits on the bed with me, she pulls up my shirt and says, "mama, see the baby kicking now?" while instantly making an O with her mouth.  she's getting it!

but, i think she's about at her limit.  the last few bedtimes have ended in tears and sadness of, "i want you to close da door, not dada."  or even this gem, "mama, i want you to get outta bed!" while tiny tears slide down her cheeks.  i feel for her.  she's been very patient and more than understanding.  on friday, before my midwife showed up, dylan and i watched one youtube video after another, all while spooning and playing with her orangey locks.  her favorites are the sesame street videos with or adam sandler, bruno mars or my favorite, feist.  she's watched the video since her colic days.  that was the only thing to snap her out of her incessant crying fits!

peggy visited on friday.  this was the FUN visit i had been waiting for!  we discussed my ideal birth and what that looked like; my labor techniques and my desire for a water birth, ben to catch baby, if not, me.  she told me when to call her, and then quickly said that ben should be the one to call because it's likely i will be in denial - based on my last birth experience and how we nearly had a baby on the side of the road.  ben agreed with peggy.  ha!  and of course, we talked about the what-ifs that could happen; never fun to hear but nice to be prepared.  we ended the appointment with listening to baby 3's wicked heartbeat.  also, i'm measuring ahead which i'm ok with, if baby decides to come early.

my birth kit arrived a few days ago.  gramma d washed some towels on sanitize mode and packed them away in garbage bags.  plastic sheeting is on hand.  just need to run some bleach through the jetted tub, and we'll be ready to rock.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"no gravity"

those were the words my midwife left me with after my 35 week visit.  those words have been ringing in my ears ever since.  no gravity.  huh.  kinda covers everything i can't and shouldn't be doing in one swift jolt.

this is hard.  have i said yet?  maybe i think i've connected more because i compile notes daily in my iphone for what to blog about.  but.  it's hard to type while laying on your side.  my shoulder gives way long before my fingers and mind.  so then, i end up typing with one hand, click-click-click.  i take a break and before i know it, another day has passed.  this little bit of writing here has been over a 4-day period!  you'd think with all this extra time i'd be pumping out blog after blog, but i struggle with blogs that don't have pictures.  and, considering i'm at my laptop and not my desktop, where all my photo storage and such is, i just feel all outta sorts.

all outta sorts, indeed.  this is not what i envisioned for my pregnancy.  not really for myself, ever.  it's hard to imagine being a mother and then just removing yourself from that equation, right?!  my mind wanders to the what-ifs in life, especially the big what-if facing me after this baby is born, as far as my health is concerned.  i'm at a crossroads that i haven't been able to really consider or think about because getting through this pregnancy is #1 priority.  babies sense when you're stressed, so i've chosen to block out the next phase of my life.  but.  with it being right around the corner and all the hours in the day to think about it right now, my mind has been buzzing.

when i'm not distracted with "future" thoughts, bed rest is lonely.  you'd think with my full house that there wouldn't be time for such a state, but lonely is the best way to describe it.  not everyone wants to lay in bed all day.  the time it hits me the most is in the evenings.  ben and the kids are at the table, usually with my mom and mark, and all the chattering and laughing (and ok, some scolding), it makes me wish for the chaos.  instead, i'm surrounded by the begging bulldog.  and my crumbs.

on top of bed rest, i'm taking a supplement of herbs to ward of contractions.  i'm willing to do anything to keep this precious babe inside until my 37 week (full-term) date.  the down side to these two herbs is that i alternate them every two hours, so that really means, i'm taking one of them every hour.  as if bed rest isn't just a stop in time, add to it watching the clock to make sure i stay on top of my dosage.  insanity.

last weekend, day 4 of bed rest to be exact, after tucking the kiddos in and likely doing it 3-4 times, ben peeked his head in the bedroom with an expression (one i didn't recognize) best described as exhaustion or fatigue.  he then said to me, "i'm gonna go upstairs and have a little benji time."  this was at 8:45 pm, and i didn't see him for the rest of the evening.  my husband, the extrovert, loves people, excitement and chaos, and all things busy, had had his fill.  never in my nine, going on ten, years of knowing him has he uttered the (well-known phrase to me) ME TIME.  all moms know what i'm talking about.

he truly is out of his element.  this down time for me has been so extremely hard - for everyone involved - but i think it's been an invaluable learning experience for us as a couple.  i am in the role i was meant to be, as ben is in his.  the moment i held jack was THE most natural experience of my life - and i was NOT a baby person.  but, there's something about holding your child for the first time; it's indescribable, but i knew it was finally where i was to be in this world.  a mother.  this is not to take away from ben as a father, at all.  if you could see him in action... he's so good with the kids.  but, around-the-clock, routine, nap time, scheduled meals, activities, dylan's (almost) 3-year-old drama, etc.?!  forget it - he's a goer.  an on-the-fly guy.  very UNscheduled.  and, if you've trial and error-learned like myself, you know kids strive off of routine.  period.

on the flip side, ben is so incredibly patient.  the love that pours out of that dear man, upon seeing and holding his children, brings me to tears.  he is an amazing father.  i can't believe how lucky we all are to have him as dada and husband.  he's been my best friend for close to a decade and daydreaming about our upcoming arrival, i can't imagine sharing that moment with anyone else.  he's the first person i want to call when something makes me laugh.  he's the last person i smooch at night.  he just makes so much sense.  he's the brightest spot in every day.  i still can't believe how much the heart is capable of loving!  thank you, God, for benji!


have i mentioned how emotional i've been through this pregnancy?  if you haven't figured out already...  i've cried more in the last nine months than i did combined with my first two pregnancies.  crazy.  television commercials, children's storybooks, greeting cards, conversations, my own thoughts...

ahhh, one week to go!