Saturday, November 08, 2014

Violet's Birth

August 14th came and went and there were no signs of baby.  Throughout this pregnancy I had told everyone that baby would arrive at the end of August.  I fully anticipated going to 42 weeks again.  The kids took bets on when baby would be born.  Most of my babies came at the end of the month (one on the 27th, two on the 28th, and two on the 30th) so we hoped that we might have a baby on August 29th or 31st.  No such luck.  When August ended, I was frustrated and really starting to feel impatient.  

On September 1st, I woke up to a mild crampy feeling and some pressure.  A friend texted me at 9:32 AM and said, "it's Labor Day!"  My response?  "Hopefully that means labor for me!"

I soon realized that the constant crampiness and pressure was exactly what I felt the morning before Seven was born.  By 10:02 AM I texted my friend to tell her that I was feeling constant cramps/pressure but no contractions and that I thought this was how it started with Amelia.  Sure enough, at 10:30 AM it became clear when I went to the bathroom and saw bloody show.  That was exactly the same as the day that Amelia arrived.  I texted my friend back, "definitely baby day."

I was relieved that Jason had the day off and was home to help with the kids.  I had breakfast, nursed Amelia, and started setting up the birth pool.  I was certain that baby would be coming.  I was hopeful that things would kick in soon but Baby #8 had been persistently posterior, so I knew I needed to be patient.  I rested in bed for a bit and then took a warm bath.  I figured labor would kick in when the kids went to bed that night.

I spent the day trying to get baby into a good position.  Jason used the rebozo and I crawled around on the floor on my hands and knees.  I did some of those inversions on the edge of the bed that I'd tried desperately during my labor with Seven.  Finally, I decided to fill up the birth pool.  By then it was early evening and I just wanted things to pick up.  They did.

I got into the pool for a bit.  Another friend texted me to check in and I let her know that it was probably baby day.  At 5:02 PM I told her that I'd let her know when things started to pick up so she could come over if she wanted.  Within a couple of hours, things got crazy.  I got in and out the pool a few times to use the bathroom, change positions, and walk around.  I really didn't leave my bathroom much after that point. 

I checked myself and I wasn't any more dilated than I had been a few weeks earlier.  My cervix was still posterior.  I was frustrated and didn't want to push out another posterior baby.  By 8 PM labor had really started.  I began having frequent, strong contractions.  I had Jason and the kids bring me something to drink and get the towels and supplies ready.  I was still texting back and forth with my friends but was starting to feel more serious.  This was it.

At 8:34 PM, I still wasn't any more dilated but my cervix had started to swell a bit in the front and was still very posterior.  I tried the "flip the lip" trick, which was made so much easier being in the water.  Things were sort of a blur after that.  I was starting to worry about my cervix swelling.  

At 9:16 PM, I decided I was DONE.  I announced it to anyone who would listen.  Thankfully, Jason knew that this meant baby was coming soon.  I did the same thing I did with my other homebirths... I tried to talk Jason into taking me to the hospital for my epidural!  Thankfully, he never listens or we'd have a lot of babies being born in our van.

My friend headed over to my house and arrived around 9:45 PM.  Just before she walked in the door, I broke my water.  I have some lingering guilt about this because I strongly believe in letting labor happen naturally and I'm not a fan of unnecessary interventions.  But I was DONE. I wasn't completely dilated but I could feel that baby's head was moving down.  I don't know why I did it, but I pinched the amniotic sac until it broke.  It took quite a few tries.  

Immediately, I felt the urge to push.  My friend came in and sat next to the pool.  I wanted Jason to hold my hand, unlike my previous births when I really didn't want to be touched and wanted to be left alone.  He later told me that I squeezed his hand pretty hard.  I had my friend gather up the kids and I soon had a crowd in the bathroom.  All seven kids, Jason, my friend, and my friend's teenage daughter watched as Baby #8 joined our family.

There was a strange moment when I pushed out the baby's head but her body turned and rotated inside me.  It was painful and I shouted "what is it doing?"  Then, relief.  Baby slid out into the water at 10:26 PM.  I caught her, untangled her from her cord that was wrapped all around her, and lifted her from the water.  She was covered in vernix and didn't look like a baby that was 18 days "overdue."  

We have some great video of the birth but the only still photos were on my cell phone, just after the birth.  Jason proudly proclaimed that Baby #8 was another girl as I lifted her from the water.  Just like with Amelia, I hadn't even thought to check the gender yet.  There were squeals of excitement from the kids as they learned they had a new baby sister.

Violet Isabelle
September 1, 2014
10:26 pm
9 lbs, 9 oz
22 inches

I birthed the placenta and got out of the pool and into my comfy bed.  I nursed my sweet baby for the first time and let family and friends know that she had arrived.  I've never felt so great after giving birth.  No soreness, no tears, no terrible afterpains!  It was wonderful.

We did a much better job at naming this last baby.  It took 3 days, not 3 weeks.  Violet wasn't on either of our name lists.  I wanted another name that ended in "a" or "ah."  Instead, Violet was the name that we both loved and Isabelle was Jason's choice for her middle name.  Anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I picked the name Violet, considering my fondness for all things purple.  I'm actually surprised it took me this long to use that name.

My sweet Violet looks a lot like her big sister Amelia.  And she is very loved by a bunch of big brothers and sisters.  She's obviously the youngest of eight because this girl can sleep through almost anything.  We are so blessed!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Coming back soon...

I'm finishing up Violet's birth story and I'll share it soon.  Her birth was very much like Seven's birth.

I'm also working on that post about tongue tie that I promised so long ago.  (Yes, Violet was born with a tongue tie too!)

We have been busy enjoying our new addition, visiting the Georgia mountains, keeping up with school (theirs and mine) and making new friends here.

I'll be back soon!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Baby Eight!

After my longest pregnancy that felt like it would never result in a baby, I finally went into labor on Labor Day.  I guess eighth babies like to be unpredictable.  While I was pretty sure I'd hit the 42 week mark again, I never even considered that this baby might not arrive in August!  At 42 weeks and 4 days, my September baby arrived... just 3 days before Nathan and Ryan's birthday.

I had another VBA2C and this sweet babe was born in the water, in my bathroom.  Just like Seven.

We have a sweet baby GIRL!  Just like Seven.

She weighed 9 lbs, 9 oz.  Just like Seven.

And she's got a head full of black hair and squishy cheeks.  Just like Seven.

Seven loves her but is also willing to give her sister away when she's annoyed.  Seven is not thrilled about sharing milk but will tolerate it because Mommy insists.  You could say there's a teensy bit of jealousy.

We are all thrilled to have another baby girl in the house.  I'm excited for Amelia to have a sister close in age and I'm sure these two little girls will end up being best friends.

We are doing well and this sweet girl is such a joy.  She does have a tongue tie/lip tie that will be revised soon but otherwise things have been pretty great.  I still can't believe she's finally here!

I am also pleased to announce that we were able to name this baby girl in just over 3 days.  That's a major improvement over the 3+ weeks it took us to name Amelia.  We ended up choosing a name that was not on either of our lists but just seemed to fit her perfectly...

Violet Isabelle
September 1, 2014
10:26 pm
9 lbs, 9 oz
22 inches 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 Month Mama

 I'm still here.  Still pregnant.  Still trying to be patient.

As I approach 41 weeks, I'm hopeful that I'll be holding my sweet baby by next weekend.

Until then, I am holding this sweet baby...

Who am I kidding?  They're all my babies, even the handsome, ornery tween that is too big to hold.

Until I have something to announce, I'll just be here holding my baby... trying to be patient.

About the photo:
A local photographer had a vision for a photo she titled "The Life Giver."  She took this amazing picture of us and shared it for World Breastfeeding Week.  I was a bit shocked at the response.  There were less comments about breastfeeding during pregnancy and more about our family size.  I think I've heard it all before so I try not to pay much attention to those who don't have anything nice to say.    

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happenings in our house

It has been quite a summer in the House of Twinsanity.  I realize that I have basically dropped off of the face of the earth but if you could have seen what life has been like lately, you'd understand.

Spring was intense.  I have been attending births as a student midwife all year and there was a point this spring when we had 5 moms due in one month.  And that month just happened to coincide with a 5-week class that Jason was attending over 500 miles away.  And that was baseball season so I was spending hours at the ball field 4 nights a week.  Oh, and I have been taking classes toward my BS in Midwifery so there was that going on at the same time.  We were trying to sell our house here and I was carting lawnmowers across town to mow the yard and keep our listed house presentable.  Like I said, it was intense.

Then there was the month of July.  July was just rough.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  I spent much of the month in a weepy daze.  We lost sweet Delmar and buried him on the 4th of July.  Our house sold but closing was delayed at the last minute and was pushed back from June into the month of July.  Jason was in a minor fender bender and sustained some damage to his car.  Leila injured her toe and I had to puncture a hole in her toenail to drain the blood that was causing her an incredible amount of pain.  I missed my last birth before maternity leave by just minutes.  I was stung by wasps on my very pregnant belly and broke out in hives that lasted for weeks.  July was not my friend.

August has been so much better.  Although I was overly ambitious in taking four classes this semester, I managed to finish on time and with straight A's.  I'm 40 weeks pregnant this week and will soon feel some relief from this summer heat and humidity.  We just had my dad visit for the most wonderful week where we felt loved, supported, and encouraged.  I was able to fill my freezer with meals for after the baby arrives and, in true Heather fashion, built Seven a cute toddler bed.  My dad's visit was just what I needed to finally feel ready to have this baby.  I'll admit that I was feel a little self-pity about this being my last baby and never having a Blessingway or the support of friends and family during this special time.  My dad flew in and just made me feel loved.  I think that was all that I needed.

Here are some highlights from the last few months...

 Seven and I had a few hours alone together (what?!) while the six big kids were at VBS.  It was so much fun to take her to the park and have people ask if she was my first child... almost as much fun as when I (rarely) run out sans kiddos and get asked if this is my first pregnancy.  

 Leila and Sarah had a birthday.  Joshua had a birthday.  We celebrated the birthdays of two neighbor friends.  Now we are ready to celebrate the new baby's birth and Nathan's and Ryan's birthday.

Matthew may not be a morning person, but he had fun at his last year of VBS.  Next year he'll get to be a volunteer instead.

Matthew and his baseball team warmed up on the field with the local minor league baseball team.

Seven attended her first baseball game.

This photo really reminds me of one that we took seven years ago...

...when Matthew was just a little guy.

I've been rocking the big belly look again.  This was a couple of months ago.  I'll spare you the photos of what my 40-week belly looks like right now.  (The awesome teething/nursing necklace is from Peacemaker Jewelry and I love it!)

Our weekly trip to Costco typically looks something like this now.  I wear Seven, Matthew pushes a cart with twin boys and I push a cart with twin girls.  Six years later and people still stop and stare.

The kiddos participated our library's summer reading program.

This was just before Delmar died.  

July 4

We've enjoyed some ice cream on a hot summer evening.

Seven has gotten cuter.  How is that possible?  She talks non-stop and is quite a character.

Sadly, there has only been one trip to the pool this year.  It is still really hard to take seven kids to the pool by myself.  When does that part get easier?

A rare photo of me.  Seven likes to ride on my bump when I wear her.  This girl has only been in a stroller twice.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the new baby gets here.  I thought our tandem babywearing (and nursing) days were over a few years ago.

Seven hoarded the beanbags at Jason's unit picnic.

20 months old

My dad entertaining the kids with his photos of Colorado.

My dad and the kids having dinner out.  Table for ten (and a half.)

Typical Jason.  Always making special faces when he sees someone taking his picture.  The maturity level is high in our house.  

I'm not sure who told my baby girls that they were allowed to grow up.  They may be the size of 5-year olds, but my babies are EIGHT.  How did that happen?

At some point in the coming days, I'll be back to announce our newest arrival.  For now, I try to be patient and enjoy what has turned out to be a pretty fantastic August.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Never quite the same

It is with a heavy heart that I'm sharing this post.  Our beloved dog passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last week.  Delmar was getting ready to celebrate his tenth birthday and he has been a part of our family for the last nine years.  He was hit by a car and we are devastated.  Jason and I buried him on July 4th, wrapped up in his U.S. map blanket that he used to sleep on during our many road trips.  I don't think our family will quite be the same without him.  I don't think he could have loved us more and I don't think we ever could have loved him back enough.

We adopted Delmar when we moved to Georgia in 2005.  We only had two children at the time.  

Delmar was my "doggy doula" when I gave birth to Leila and Sarah.  He never left my side.  He was right there getting splashed when my water broke.  

Delmar survived the chaos that came with a second set of twins.  He was so gentle and patient.

He was born to be an Army brat.  Delmar rode along as we moved over and over again.  He visited more than 40 states and lived with us in the RV when we were on the road.  He was the best traveling companion.

He literally never left my side.  He loved me far more than I deserved to be loved.

Delmar went with us everywhere... to the mountains, the beaches, the deserts, and everywhere in between.

He was scared of dog bones.

He put up with us when we were silly.

 He was more trustworthy than any human.

We brought him on our family vacations... to the Grand Canyon, to the Rocky Mountains, to South Dakota, California, Texas, and all over the country.

He kept us safe when I was traveling across the country while Jason was deployed.  He guarded our children as if his life depended on it.  And he never complained.  He never asked for anything in return.

He was happy to lead or follow.  It didn't really matter, as long as he was with us.

Delmar may have been "just a dog" but he was the best dog I've ever known.  I will always regret that I didn't get to say good-bye, thank him, and let him know how very much he was loved.  The kids will miss their furry backseat companion on long car rides.  Amelia will miss growing up with her "doe doe" and I am not sure when I will stop turning around to see if he's there behind me.

We will always love you, Delmar.  Thanks for being the best dog and best friend ever.  You'll be greatly missed.
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