that time you learned the crawl (ok, not really)

Last night daddy put you on your tummy on the ground and laid near you. You immediately started kicking your legs and even managed to scoot a few inches forward towards him. This looked ridiculously a lot like you were trying to crawl, and since you already hold you head up for up to 10 seconds at a time, I wouldn’t put it past you to be trying to months before it is typical.

It looks like your colic is getting better. There were about 4 nights in a row that from about 8pm until midnight you screamed almost non-stop. Everything we tried would only soothe you for a few seconds. Finally someone suggested giving you catnip and fennel and I also took you to the chiropractor for the second time since you were born. It’s hard to know what helped for sure but the past two nights have been much better. You still get upset but we’re able to calm you down. The past two nights you have slept for 7 hours! This morning after you got up and ate I put you down for a nap in your crib and you slept another 2.5 hours. It was amazing. That was only your third nap in your crib but I think we might try letting you sleep in it tonight. As much as I love having you near by to check on, mommy doesn’t sleep at all when you are restless in your sleep. Every time you grunt or move around I become wide awake!

Yesterday mommy went back to work for the first time and tried bringing you to the office with me. This didn’t go so well and I had to take you across the street to visit Grandma Nisly and Great Aunt Liz at their office. Today you are staying home with Grandma Nisly while mommy comes to work for a few hours. Mommy already wants to cry and it will only be a few hours!

And I pray that you will know,”the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief,” and that you will “come into the presence of still water” and “feel above you the day-blind stars waiting with their light” and “for a time rest in the grace of the world and be free.” Wendell Berry

 

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That time you posted to Facebook and other thoughts on sleeplessness

You had a rough night last night, to put it mildly. Mommy and daddy tried everything we could think of to soothe you but nothing seemed to help. You would be almost asleep when suddenly you’d scream like something had bit you! We even checked you for bites. I rocked you until I started to fall over because I had fallen asleep and then I woke daddy who was sleeping on the floor near the rocker and he’d take a turn. You finally settled into a restless sleep sometime around 1 but it didn’t last long.

Here’s the thing. If daddy screamed at me like that for most of the night, by morning I don’t think I’d be feeling very fond of him. But somehow this morning while you were eating and the sun was just coming up and streaming in the window I looked down at you and you smiled up at me and I realized I like you more today than I did yesterday if that is even possible. God knew what He was doing when He gave mommy special hormones when she feeds you.

I was thinking the same thing about giving birth to you and what an awesome experience it was. A lot of women talk about being afraid of giving birth without an epidural or pain meds but I was thinking today about how God designed the whole experience and how glad I am that I got to feel all of it. Somehow trying to separate labor from having you by trying not to feel as much of it as possible seems like a terrible disconnect.

But as fond of you as I am today, it would sure be great if we could figure out what is bothering you and making it hard for you to sleep. Your daddy sure is a trooper. He never complains when we wake him up at night. I try to let him sleep as much as possible because he works hard all day but sometimes like last night it takes both of us. It is hard for him to stay low key with you at night because he loves talking to you so much that he can’t help it but he’s learning how to soothe you.

You’re taking another restless nap next to me now and it is almost time for you to eat again. You’re three weeks old now and today you posted on Facebook for the first time using your foot while I changed your diaper. I’m still not sure how you managed to hit “update status”, type r and then e and then hit “post”. I mean, seriously, what are the chances? You need to slow down with all this growing up business.

This week I wish this for you:

“Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

You learn to roll… Because you already knew how to rock.

You’re almost 3 weeks old! I was thinking today of all the places you’ve been in your first two or so weeks of life:

You’re first trip into “public” was to Avery’s 5th birthday party!

Since then you’ve been to the flea market, Hog Wild, back to the birth center, Target, Pizza Ranch, the Dutch Kitchen, Walmart, the Anchor Inn, church, the doctor’s office, Open Door and to Auntie Tonya’s a few times.

You’ve had lots of visitors that mommy has done a bad job of keeping track of…

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Grandma and Grandpa Becker were here for your second week and Grandma basically never put you down.

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You’ve learned to roll on your side from your back and this is your preferred sleep position. You weigh 9 lbs now!

You sleep for 4-6 hours at the beginning of night time but then think its morning and it takes mommy 2-3 hours to get you back down. You almost have to be swaddled to sleep at night or you wake yourself up by kicking your legs and throwing your arms around.

I want to find a little morsel to post for you as often as I can. A prayer or word of advice or poem. This week my prayer for you is that “No matter how loud and crazy and broken the world is, child? Let joy live loud in your soul.” (Ann Voskamp)

That time you rocked your first photo session…

On Sunday we were scheduled to head to Auntie Tonya’s for your first photo shoot (well, other than your birth…) but when we woke up in the morning everything was under water! It rained so much over night that the city was flooded. We couldn’t even get to the hotel your grandma and grandpa were staying at. We thought for sure we’d have to cancel our shoot but my afternoon the water had gone down and it was drying up some. Then it got cloudy and even started to rain while we were on our way. Even though the weather was being cantankerous, you were ready to rock and roll! You were such a good sport while we dressed and redressed you and changed your head bands.

Mommy saw a bed like this for sale on etsy when she was still pregnant with you and knew she wanted to have one for you but was never going to pay for one when she knew daddy (well, mostly uncle Mark) could build one.

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You got some awesome headbands from Janie Girl Headbands!
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Of course we had to get some of you and daddy. Mommy will join the pictures next session. 🙂

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Um, holy cow, do you and daddy look alike in this shot! I think everyone think you get your awesome scowl from me, but obviously it was at least a joint effort.

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And then, in honor of the fun paint splatter maternity shoot mommy and daddy did, we continued the theme!

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You’re such a rock star Emmy girl!

Poop week

Congratulations baby! You’re now over a week old. And while the rest of the country is watching shark week, we’re celebrating poop week here at the Nisly house. You’re definitely getting a hang of this eating thing which means lots and lots of poopy diapers. One after another. Literally. The new diaper must just feel so…fillable that you just can’t help yourself.

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You had your first follow up appointment with the midwife today and you clocked in at 8lbs 8oz, up 1oz from birth! They were pretty impressed with your big belly and nice pink skin.

You’ve had a couple of awesome night where you sleep for almost 4 hours at a time, annnnnd a couple of nights where settling down just hasn’t been your thing. Over all, you are very alert at times during the day. So much so that people say you can’t be only newborn. You watch people when they talk to you and sometimes coo like you are trying to talk. Our midwife says it is because you came 11 days past my due date. The extra cooking time did you good. Other times you sleep like a champ. So much so that waking you to eat is nearly impossible. We sing and talk to you, take your clothes off, tickle and poke you all over…we’ve even put cold wash cloths on you and you barely notice.

Your Grandpa and Grandma Becker are here this week. Grandma has been holding you all the time and spoiling you.

You’re growing up too fast already!

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One stormy night in July…

Suddenly I woke up from my short nap and knew that it was a stronger than usual contraction that had woken me. Your daddy was just getting home from a job and wanted to take a nap too so I laid there for a long time thinking maybe I’d fall back asleep but I slowly began to feel that something was different about this time. By mid afternoon I was almost positive we’d end up at the birth center that night so naturally, I sent daddy after some chocolate frozen custard. It was the only thing that sounded edible as I was preparing myself mentally for a long night. I messaged your Auntie Tonya and told her that I was pretty sure I was in labor. She said that she was going to be leaving soon to shoot a wedding, so naturally, now would be the time for real labor to start since the plan was for her to come and document the event. She said to text her when we were ready to head that way if this turned out to be the real deal.

I decided to call my midwife, Lois, around 3pm to check in even though my contractions were just setting up to be about 7 minutes apart. She made sure I was feeling fine at home and told us to check back in around 5pm. By that time they were getting closer to 5 minutes apart but things were still going well at home so we decided to check in another hour. By 6pm they were just under 5 minutes, I had showered and we were beginning to get our things together. When I called Lois she said she’d meet us there in about 45 minutes. Daddy checked in with family to let them know we were really headed to meet you soon.

On our way to the birth center which is about 20 minutes from home I got a text from Lois saying she was running a little late. We joked about how some people already thought it was crazy to wait until contractions were under 5 minutes to head in and that if they got a text from their doctor saying they’d be a little late, they might be freaking out. We loved how laid back this process already was turning out to be. As we got to Yoder and were about to turn into town we heard a car horn and at the last second looked to the right just as a SUV flew past us on the shoulder. Daddy slammed on the brakes and managed to stop the car just inches before we collided. The other driver stopped his vehicle and ran over to make sure we were okay and it turned out to be someone daddy knew. We all were shook up by how close it was and on my side but I’m pretty sure there was some sort of angelic bumper pad that stopped us in time. Otherwise, we would have been on our way to the hospital instead of arriving at the birth center just a few minutes ahead of our midwife.

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I snapped this shot of daddy right after we got there.

Lois got right to work preparing the room and soon it was time to check out how far I was dilated. We had made it to almost 5cm laboring at home. Things were moving right along and we decided to break my water around 7:15pm. Pretty soon Tonya arrived with some food and we all sat around and chatted for a bit. My contractions were getting really strong by now and I had daddy hold my “hot thing” (heating pad) on my lower back every time they came. Lois wanted me up and moving around but I really just wanted to lay in bed.

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Finally I agreed to try sitting on the exercise ball but the one at the birth center was tiny compared to mine at home and it was incredibly uncomfortable.

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We decided that I would try using the breast pump to see if we could move things along but sitting in the chair and beginning to pump I suddenly had intense pain in my hips. It was like having a contraction that lasted for 5 minutes. I had tried not to worry in the months leading up to this about my bad hip and how it would affect my labor, but it was turning out to potentially be a problem. I jumped out of there and went back to my comfortable position in bed. After another quick check I was still only at 5cm but I asked if I could get in the jacuzzi tub. This was the turning point in my labor.

At first when I got settled in the tub it was an incredibly uncomfortable position to be in as my contractions came. As I began to let myself relax and daddy poured warm water over my tummy with a cup I slipped into a deeper place of focus. Without having any plan beforehand to try to, I started to visualize that I was swimming in deep water. Each time a contraction came I would go there and tell myself that I was weightless and completely comfortable. I pictured you there with me, sometimes daddy was there, sometimes I was all alone but always in water. Daddy fell asleep on the stool beside the tub and I stopped having him time my contractions because I was too focused. After an hour of this it was time to get out.

I got back in bed and we began to time my contractions again but they had slowed to almost 4 minutes. Tonya had fallen asleep in the recliner by now and my midwife decided to get some rest too. Daddy laid with me and kept trying to keep time but he began to think I was going to fall asleep too. I was in such a deep state of relaxation.

Suddenly it happened! Before I even had time to think about what I was feeling, I was pushing. It came out of no where. After the second time Tonya woke up- she recognized that sound! She went to get Lois who had also heard from the other room and was on her way to check on me. She decided to check to see if I had dilated more and we were all totally surprised to discover that in the hour I spent in the tub I had become fully dilated! It was show time.

Lois quickly went to call her nurse, Rosina, to come down to the birth center. I had little idea what was going on around me, only that I HAD to push. Because the birthing stool was also too short for me and other positions hadn’t gone so well earlier in the evening because of my hip, we decided I would push on my side in bed. This meant holding up one leg and daddy and I worked together to do this. It took a little while to get into a good rhythm but with Lois and Tonya both coaching me, chin down, good good, now rest, things began to progress.

I had no idea going into labor how long the pushing stage was supposed to last. I also was paying absolutely no attention to the clock.
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Sometimes I would catch a glimpse of it but nothing was registering other than the need to push. I could hear the others sometimes say good, good and then Tonya squealed and someone said “Look at that hair!”.

Eventually I had turned myself off to the pain but was beginning to feel my strength leave me. I would push with everything I had, telling myself that this time you would come out but you seemed to be stuck. I started to think that I didn’t have enough strength to do it but with so many coaches, that didn’t last long. Your daddy kept whispering to me, telling me that I could do it, that I was doing a good job and that he was so proud. Lois told me to reach down and feel your head and then I knew it was time to get you out!

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Finally, after two and a half hours of pushing I felt you slip out and immediately you began to cry.
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They quickly brought you to my chest and I could barely open my eyes or believe you were finally here! You were so slimy and squirmy and screaming at the top of your lungs.
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Everyone laughed at how loud you were. No questions about your lungs! Daddy was laughing and touching you. He kept telling me that I had really done it!
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After I held you for a while it was time to cut your cord and daddy got to help with this. He was so calm and focused.
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It took a while for my placenta to come and then mommy had to get some stitches because you decided it was a good idea to keep your right hand up by your face while you came out. This was probably one of the reasons it took so long to push you out!
We all guessed how much you would weigh and everyone thought somewhere in the 7 pound range. Boy were we all surprised when you weighed well over 8!
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Daddy asked if honorary Auntie Tonya wanted to hold you and she of course squealed. After getting in a quick fix, tired Tonya headed home.

Everything about you was perfect. After she checked out mommy some more and everything looked good it was time for Lois to head home and for you to try to eat.
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Daddy settled into bed with us with you nestled on a pillow beside me. We all dozed while you nursed.

It was hard to believe that any of it was real. It had been such a long night but you were finally with us and I had really done it! We never questioned our choice to have you at the birth center instead of a hospital and even when I was beginning to think I didn’t have enough strength to get you here, I never wished I had an epidural. I have never been more completely exhausted in my life but I felt incredible knowing what I had just been able to do. Everything about our experience at the birth center was just right for us. Mommy would not have done well with too much stimulation and we were able to keep only a small lamp on during the entire night until you came. Lois and Rosina both speak quietly. There were times that Lois asked mommy to do things she didn’t feel like she could do, like change positions, and I would tell her no. She didn’t argue with me or get pushy she just gently guided me until we had accomplished what was needed (I guess after delivering almost 3,300 babies you get pretty good at it). It was perfect. I feel warm when I think about that night. I’m so glad Tonya was there to document all of it so that now I can watch it from a different perspective. Also, she’s so good at pushing, I mean encouraging mommy. And we were so blessed to have such a calm and skilled midwife and nurse there quietly facilitating the whole process. I can’t imagine facing labor without your daddy there by my side. There were times I didn’t know where I ended and he started he was so close. And getting to see him finally meet you and kiss your forehead will be something I never forget.

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And now we have you!

JULY (Emerson’s Birth Story, part 1)

You’re finally here! What a long month it has been. For weeks before your due date when the midwives would check on you they would comment about how far down you already were and how ready to come out you seemed. You gave us all quite the surprise.

I started having contractions here and there the beginning of July. By my birthday on the 12th I was having them pretty regularly. That night they even came every 10 minutes but every night by the time I’d go to bed they would slowly fade away. On your due date you were quiet, which is what I expected. I knew you’d never come on a predicted date but I thought maybe you would the next day. I spent my days walking the mall to make sure my body was ready for you. I took all the herbal labor prep regimen from my midwives. I got massages and did acupuncture especially for labor induction.

Your Aunt Annette flew in from Michigan to be here to help with you on the 20th and you still weren’t here. I had contractions on the way back from picking her up at the airport and we begin to think maybe you would make your appearance that night. Oh were we wrong. The entire week came and went. I stopped having very many contractions. We got very nervous that Annette would miss meeting you all together.

At my appointment on the 23rd I was 2cm dilated and not much was going on so we scheduled a sonogram the next day to make sure you were still sitting pretty inside. Not only were you looking happy as can be in there, we could see that you were starting to have tummy rolls and had grown some hair! The few glimpses we caught of your face made me think of a baby picture of mine.
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We had no idea at the time how much you WOULD look like this!

The week was coming to a close and we were beginning to prepare for you not making an appearance before Annette had to leave on Sunday. We were scheduled to go to the birth center early Monday morning to see if we could get labor started before our Wednesday (two week past due) deadline. Friday night we spent time with family and went out to eat. I started to feel strange at dinner. I was having contractions but they were making me lightheaded and sort of nauseous. I called my midwife and she suggested trying to get some rest so we went to bed. Around 3:30am I woke up with a strong contraction. They weren’t coming real regularly but they kept me up the rest of the night and were starting to get pretty strong. The next morning we decided to go to garage sales but I spent most of the time in the van because I was so tired. After a stop at Allie’s Deli for some brunch, I headed home to take a nap.

(to be continued…)

Romaine

I am: 36 weeks

You are: probably getting close to 6 pounds and are 18 1/2″ (but knowing you so far, you’re probably longer). That’s about as long as a head of Romaine lettuce.

I feel: or more like I can sometimes not feel all my body parts because you’ve already dropped and my legs aren’t terribly impressed.

I crave: somebody to make food for me. I can’t eat a full meal which means I have to eat all day long. And I’m getting pretty tired of finding food to eat.

Your dad: is getting so excited to meet you and is all amped up for labor. He’s going to be a big help.

Looking forward to: making it to 37 weeks so we can safely have you at the birth center. So just hold on!

Daddy Day

The other night we watched the documentary the Business of Being Born. I’ve been meaning to watch it forever and just never remember to. It basically chronicles the history of labor and delivery in the US and examines some of the differences between hospital and natural births. It confirmed our desire to use a midwife/birth center and one of the over all themes is empowering women to not be afraid of birth.

One of the bests parts of the movie was watching it with your daddy. The first time they started to show a home birth he looked at me very wide eyed like he couldn’t really believe it. After that every time they showed a woman in labor he would start to squirm and reach for my hand or leg but was totally in awe. Every time a woman would push the baby out your daddy would hold his breath and then start to laugh. It was an adorable “holy cow can you believe that just happened” laugh. The few times they showed hospital births and baby was quickly taken over to be examined and cleaned off he would say, “Why is no one touching the baby? Somebody hold that baby!”

I’ve always known that your daddy is “good” with kids. They love him. But I fall in love with him more every day as his sweet daddy heart shines through more and more.

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We laugh a lot at our house. Your daddy laughs whenever I tell him about how much you’re squirming around or when he can feel you punch him through my tummy. We talk about how we think the best way we can handle the changes coming our way, the sleepless nights, and all the ways we’re going to feel like we don’t know what to do…is with humor. You’re probably used to the sound by now, but if not you will be. And maybe we can teach you that it’s okay to laugh at yourself, and when you’re frustrated and it is especially okay to laugh when you don’t know what else to do.

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Your daddy was feeling pensive last night and decided to write down some of his thoughts. He’s not usually so serious but his daddy heart was working overtime. This is what he had to say…

We went golfing today. It made me think about how fatherhood will change our lives. All the time spent caring for a little one is going to leave a lot less time for other things. Like golfing. Not that I’m any good and not that we go often at all, but I’m guessing it won’t be real high on the list of important things to do. And I don’t want to think about budgeting time. It’s stressful. There aren’t enough hours in the day already. There is one thing I do know, and that is that I have to spend time with our daughter. It is high on the list of important things to do. But I’m worried about not getting enough family time in and that makes things we do for entertainment seem less important. I told Kalene that the family that golfs together stays together. Don’t think she bought it. She did have fun though and maybe Emmy could ride along in the golf cart with momma.
I am so looking forward to doing things with my daughter and teaching her things and just spending time with her.
And I don’t have time to figure everything out that I need to before she comes so I’m going to need a little (meaning a lot) of grace and I hope Kalene is up for it. Because when the time comes and and I change the diaper at 2 in the morning I know it won’t be easy. And can wash that load of laundry? And the dishes? And it’s just another day in paradise. I’m usually pretty patient. I’m also selfish. And when the patience is worn to a thread and the selfishness is saying I deserve a break and I’m at the end of my rope? That’s when I need grace. And I pray for the strength to make it through and somehow still manage to show love to my family.

I can’t wait until you and daddy get to meet (well, I can wait a few more weeks…keep cooking). I know he’s going to laugh (and probably cry) and make sure no one puts you down for the first couple of hours you’re out here. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to welcome you with!

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Nursery sneak peek

We’ve been busy little beavers preparing Emmy’s woodland creature themed nursery. It’s not quite done but it is coming together. Big thanks to Emmy’s Aunt Annette for hand making some of the decor including the adorable mobile we put together last night. Uncle Mark hand made her name blocks. And Aunt Margi helped put the room together. Grandma Nisly is working on her custom crib set!
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