Monday, August 25, 2014

And then there was Gabe

What a weekend it was! I sit here typing and can hardly believe that we are the parents of three boys! I am already so in love with Gabe; I couldn't picture our family without him.

Friday morning began early for us.  It was the morning of our scheduled cesarean. I was so restless the whole night before.  I'm not sure I could have slept no matter how much I wanted to.  Needless to say, when our alarm went off at 3:30 am it was quite early.  Andrew loaded the car and off to Springfield we went.  Poor, Andrew.  I think my nerves were starting to kick in because I wanted to talk and he was  just  trying to stay awake to drive us there.

We got checked-in and all set up in our room.  Our nurses that prepared us were wonderful.  The morning felt calm. You are to arrive two hours before your section which gave Andrew and I a lot of time to chat and just talk about Gabe's arrival.  I was nervous a bit because I don't like to have a lot of time to wait around, especially for something like surgery but the time passed quickly and before I knew it I was being wheeled away.

Last pregnancy shot

I can't say enough how grateful I am for the people that were in the room with us.  My doctor is fantastic and had a partnering doctor with her, who I adored immediately.  My nurse anesthetists were  both so sweet and kind.  There was just truly a sense of calm and peace in the room. I did get teary-eyed after my spinal but Andrew came in and the reality that our guy was going to be here set it.

There is nothing like hearing your baby's first cry.  And Gabe, cry you did! Your cry was so loud and strong and it continued the entire time they cleaned you up.  It didn't stop until you were put in your daddy's arm and sat next to me.  You were so beautiful.  I couldn't decide who you looked like; you were already your own person.  I couldn't believe how small you were, such a peanut compared to your brothers.  Andrew and I both, along with the nurses, commented on how long your fingers were.  You were perfect.  Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed, sweet boy!

6 pounds 12.5 ounces. 20 inches long

Back in our room, as I was holding Gabe and Andrew and I were talking I couldn't get over how beautiful he was.  What I loved about this experience was the baby stayed with me the whole time. During my past sections, the baby was always taken away to be cleaned and bathed. He was in the OR getting cleaned up and had his bath right in the recovery room so I could see.  I loved that so much! 

We had a bit of scare during recovery.  I began to lose some blood (now we know it was more than "some").  Yet, the nurses and doctor never made me feel concerned.  I thank God so much for those women who were so calm and reassuring.  I passed the Gabe to Andrew, who sat down and never showed it if we was scared or nervous.  Fortunately, they got the bleeding to stop pretty quickly.  There was a discussion of a transfusion, but we left without having to get one! 

All day I was poked and checked and Gabe was perfect.  Snuggling us, sleeping, nursing like a champ! Andrew and I spent most of that day trying to decide who he looked like, pulling up pictures of Beau and Hudson, looking through the ones we had taken.  We decided Gabe is definitely a mix of our boys while being 100% himself.  Completely handsome. We called our boys and sent them pictures.  They were so excited and couldn't wait to meet him.  We spent the other part of our day discussing what kind of sushi we were going to order that night.  {Yes--we ordered in sushi less than 12 hours post-op and our whole ordeal. I felt I deserved it.  And it was fantastic!}

We were moved to the room that became our home for the rest of the weekend just as Andrew's grandparents and parents arrived.  By this time I was starting to feel tired.  They stayed and chatted for awhile, held our sweet boy but then headed home after an hour or so.  

My dad came by later that evening as well. He was so excited to meet Gabe.  One thing I love about my dad is that he wears his emotions.  No shame.  He is such a strong man of God.  He asked about the delivery and our day.  I still was having nurses come in to take my blood (checking my hemoglobin and platelets since my earlier loss).  I had to get a new IV.  At one point during all of this, I saw my dad, holding his newest grandson, head bent in prayer as the nurses were starting my IV. I thought, "I hope Andrew and I can raise our boys to have faith like that." 

End of day 1.  Exhausted but so grateful.

Gabe was up lots during the first night.  I think he finally fell into a deep sleep around 3:30.  The next morning came early but this mama was so excited because they were finally letting me shower! Andrew commented about three times that the shower was a miracle.  I seriously came out a new woman.  Even after only a few hours of sleep in over 24 hours.  We were beyond excited because our bigs were coming that day! I could not wait to have our whole family together.  

Andrew looks like a new man after his large coffee!

My grandparents were our first visitors on Saturday.  It was nice to chat with them, sip my Starbucks and revel in the company of our new boy.  Late morning, Andrew went to meet my mom and help her bring the boys up.  I don't think I have ever had my heart more full than when they walked in.  Their faces were so sweet; lit up.  They walked over so quiet and careful and just patted and kissed on Gabe.

We ended up having them eat lunch in our room.  They got to open their brother presents "from Gabe" and were so excited.  They kept trying to share with Gabe and we kept having to explain that he was too little.    

Our visitors continued after they left.  Gabe's Aunt Jaci came by with Andrew's mom.  They stayed for a bit but then it was the napping hours.  We took full advantage of that quiet time and the three of us took a little siesta.  

That evening two of my closest friends came by.  I can not begin to tell you how hard I was laughing during our visit.  When you have friends who love you like family and love your kids like their own, it is such a blessing.  Andrew got to sit in our mommy convo and it was no holds bar.  We were all laughing so hard {no easy task with that incision} but it was so good for my heart.  

We woke up Sunday after a really good night.  Gabe seemed to be getting better at sleeping longer stretches {at least for one night} and I felt really good.  We were hopeful that we were going to get to go home Sunday even though my levels were still low.  Our morning passed quickly with our final visitors, my brother, Zach, and his family. My nephews were so sweet.  Emmett really just wanted to check the room out but Graham had to have his peeks at "baby Gabe."  I really am so thankful for all the people that came to love on us and our new little guy.  

Early afternoon we got the news that I was being discharged.  Sweet Gabe was discharged earlier that morning, just waiting on his mama! We had all our stuff ready to go and our nurse, who we had with us each day since we moved rooms, had our paperwork ready, knowing how much we wanted to get home.  She was such a doll! 

Coming home never felt so good! The boys were waiting with my mom outside with balloons and signs they had made.  They had baked a cake and set the table for Gabe's homecoming! The first ten minutes home were utter chaos as Gabe wanted to eat, Beau wanted to hold him and Hudson was just so excited, he kept throwing a balloon! I was peed on, cried on and a tad overwhelmed.  But it quieted down and felt completely normal.  

I still can't believe we are an official family of FIVE! My heart is so full it could bust.  I am so beyond thankful to have our sweet little Gabe here.  More pictures to come for another {less lengthy} post! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Little Things...

I can not believe summer is over and kids are starting back to school.  I can't believe my sweet boy will be starting preschool in a couple of weeks.  It just doesn't seem possible.  And yet, when I look back from the beginning of summer to now, it is hard to ignore how much my boys have grown and changed!

Beau- 21 months

Beau is a character! He is happy go lucky with a million make you laugh faces! He cracks himself up more times a day which ultimately leads the rest of our family to laughing too! He has become so independent this summer, wanting to do more on his own, trying things by himself.  He is fearless and doesn't realize he is smaller than Hudson. He likes to do things that Hudson is doing.  They get along so great {most of the time}.  He has become a picky eater and a messy eater to boot! And his language has really developed this summer.  We can't always understand him {Hudson can better than us} but he can show us if we just aren't figuring it out quick enough.  His phrases are such a delight to hear!

Some current favorites:

"Wash dis, Mom!" {Watch this, Mom...said like a robot with a large pause between this and mom}
"I did it!" with hands raised in the air and a huge smile on his face.
"Wuch you doin, mom?" followed by my reply then "Ooohh" and "Why?" Repeat this sequence a number of times during any given task. {Me mopping the floor, folding laundry, making dinner}

I love that he calls Hudson {Hudshin} by name and even his little fits are sweet {not always at the time}.

Hudson- 3.5

Oh our sweet first born! Gosh he is a joy! And a challenge! Three is hard.  Hudson is so smart.  He gets things quickly, loves big and feels deep.  He has such a desire to express his thoughts.  He likes to be right and do right but also likes to do what he wants too! His vocabulary amazes us.  He referred to a Mulan's "reflection" the other day to which Andrew just looked at me dumbfounded! He loves to play outside, ride on his bike, draw with chalk, color, paint, sing.  He is beyond ready to start preschool; asking often what they'll do there, what he'll learn.  He is observant and sensitive.  He is kind.  He is inquisitive and funny and can be all boy! He is brave when we least expect it.  He loves his friends fiercely and talks about them often.  Hudson seems so big, so grown-up.  It is a joy to watch and yet breaks my heart too.  I know we are leaving the stages of toddler hood behind.

Some Hudson commentary:
When playing in the rain he came up to me and said, "Dey aren't tears. Dey're jus waindrops." And then patted my hand and smiled.

After nap we were taking his lovies (some blankets, a giraffe and two Mickeys) back to his bed (he naps in our room so Beau usually naps longer) and he dropped a Mickey.
Me: "You left a Mickey. Come get him."
Hud: "Oh jus yeave it."
Me: "But he'll be sad!"
Hud: Turning to look at me, totally serious, "Mom, dey aren't real." Walks away

It doesn't seem real how much I love these two boys.  They fill my cup over.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Recap: State Fair

Hello, Monday! I don't think I have ever been so excited to see a Monday roll around in all my life....well, at least not in the past 10 months! It is BABY WEEK, y'all! This little guy can come anytime he wants this week because we have officially checked everything off our summer bucket list with our trip to the State Fair this past weekend.

We have gone to the fair every summer since we had Hudson.  And every year I get more and more excited to go because the boys are older and can do more, take more in and get excited about different things.  I think every time we asked Hudson what his favorite part of the fair was he changed it to something else. So sweet!

Last year, we went right when the fair opened and loved that timing.  It was late morning so we lunched our way around the fair and planned to do the same this year.  Well, no such luck.  We live about an hour from the fair location and when we woke up Saturday, it was POURING! Beau kept saying, "It rain. Hard!" over and over as he looked out the window.  Andrew, being diligent as ever, checked the Doppler repeatedly, trying to figure out our best window to go.

So the morning was a bit lazy.  I did laundry and cleaned (shocking since that is all I feel like I've done this past week #nester) and we played and introduced our boys to Aladdin (woohoo) since it was showing on TV and, ummm, rain--what else were we going to do? We left a little after noon.  The boys slept on our drive over and we killed some time at Scheels before heading over to the fair grounds. It was raining but not too much and we waited in the car for about ten minutes before venturing out.  My mom, who met us at Scheels, had an umbrella and the boys' stroller had a covering but it was honestly just a sprinkle (and it ended about 10 minutes into our time at the fair).  We went to the Little Ag area first.  Our boys are such wanna-be farmers; I love it! They looked at the chicks and the farm tables.  Had it been nicer we would have done the Little Farmer walk-through but it was still raining so we stayed under the tent area and let them play a bit.

We left there and went to our first food stop: corn dogs, fries and lemon shake-ups! Our boys CHOWED (and so did the adults!).  Is there anything better than fair food? #idontthinkso

After our little "snack" we went to the rides area.  The big slide was closed due to the rain (really sad) but most of the other rides were all open.  I didn't have any thought that Beau would be hesitant.  He is our little daredevil.  He has no regard that he could get hurt or is high or anything like that.  Hudson on the other hand gave me a moments pause.  He is our boy, that when climbing at the park and realizing how high he is, freezes and doesn't go up or down, just calls for help.  Well, surprise, surprise, both boys loved doing everything! Hudson even rode this "octopus" ride with Andrew that tilted up and back down and their seat spun around the whole time.  He had the biggest smile on his face!

We walked to look at all the animals.  My boys thought that was great.  They loved them all and couldn't get sit still in the stroller, wanting closer, or out! It is in those moments that farm life appeals so much to me.  But then I remember all the work it takes to run a farm like that and I am not sure I am cut out for that.  Maybe when my three boys are older! ;)  We went to the area where you can milk a cow.  We tried this last year with Hudson and he wouldn't even go near the cow.  (I mean, honestly, those animals are HUGE!) This year, he went up to the cow, petted the cow, got really close to milking her, but then backed away. Bless the young boy's heart that was helping out at the time.  He was probably in high school but was so patient with Hudson, showing him how.  So sweet.  Beau petted the cow too but didn't get much past that! They sure enjoyed their free milk afterwards though!

Then we trekked it on over to Andrew's favorite part, Conservation World, but not before grabbing a funnel cake and mini donuts. I am not a fan of this part of the fair.  Our boys are a little small for the activities in this area and honestly, it is deer and fish.  Do you know my husband? We get a lot of that already.  But nonetheless, we made the journey and walked around.

Our last stop was of course, the dairy building with the famous "Butter Cow".  The boys got some ice cream there.  It was already almost 5:30 and this mama was winding down! So we headed back to our car and made the trek home. But first..pony rides.  Because you can't not do the pony rides!

We got back home, got baths and put our kiddos down around 8.  They were so tired! And so were Andrew and I! It was beautiful or sunny this year but it was cool and the rain held off! I am so glad we got to go and make some more memories with our boys before fall and all this change!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oh hey Friday: Fall Wardrobe Wish List

All summer long I have been eyeing lovely summer pieces, pining away wanting to add them to my own wardrobe.  However, I am not one to buy ANYTHING while pregnant in the clothes department.  I have bought a few maxi skirts, and some tops but honestly, I am not a maternity clothes gal.  I just don't love them and hate the idea of spending money on clothes I can only wear such a short time!

That being said, I am more than looking forward to getting back into shape post baby and picking up some new additions for my closet for fall! I love fall more than any season anyway but I especially love fall fashion.  You can layer. Skinny jeans. Tall boots. Chunkier scarves. Jackets {versus coats!}. It isn't hot or so so cold.

So this Friday, with one week until baby, I am sharing my fall wish list.  {Visualize with me how much better my closet will be!!}

{O N E}
Shoes. I can not narrow it down to one pair.  So I am lumping them together. It's a wish list right?? ;)

I love leopard as a neutral and just love the pointed toe on these Steve Maddens.  I already have a cognac pair of riding boots and although they go with everything, these black boots are adorable.  And yes, I know I am late to the game, but I would LOVE a pair of Hunter wellies.  I am unsure of the color, but perhaps navy or their forest green color!

{T W O}

Is anyone else as obsessed with this J Crew vest as I am? I will answer that with a resounding YES since the item is sold out! I just love a vest.  If I can't get this one, I am thinking a black puffer vest will suffice.

{T H R E E}

I know that I am not going to be slipping right back into skinny jeans and postpartum or not, I love a good pair of leggings.  I found this photo on Pinterest and love it.  I am all about a comfy, long sweater to layer over tunics, tees and leggings.  

{F O U R}
Now it may not be this exact one but I am dying to find a great brown leather jacket.  I feel like jackets can definitely take any outfit up a notch, if it's a GOOD jacket.  I am sure I will probably settle for a faux leather one but if it's my wish list, we'll just pretend not.  

{F I V E}

I am also wishing for a great handbag.  Yes I know that if I have a small wardrobe for fall I should be choosing more pieces of actual clothing but I also need more of a grown-up bag.  I haven't bought a purse in a while and feel mine are very young and just not big girl enough. I love simple, classic, and functional. I am open to color.  I love the structure of this bag and that it can be a crossbody if needed because, let's be honest, we mama's don't always have our arms available.  

So there you have it! My fall wardrobe wish list! What would be on yours? 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! We are soaking up the last bits of summer at our State Fair tomorrow! :) 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's in my hospital bag?

Being that we spent all of July away, I just got around to packing  my hospital bag.  And to be honest, even though this going to be our third delivery, I kind of forgot what to take! Ha!

I do know I way over-packed for my first and scaled it WAY back this time.  So, in no particular order, here are MY hospital bag essentials. If you are someone who went into labor or doesn't have a scheduled section, you may want to take something to pass the time or your list could be different all together.  These are just  my personal picks.

{O N E}
Comfy clothes.  I have had two c-sections so will be having one this go round.  Anything with a tighter band is not my friend.  It lays across the incision and is terribly uncomfortable and painful.  My friends gifted me with some really loose and comfy PJ capris and a tee.  I tossed in some comfy (and cute) PJ shorts, extra tees and tanks, my robe, and some really big underwear.  I usually buy some non-sexy, cheap underwear to toss because, well, you've just had a major surgery and you just won't want those things around. I also recommend bringing a robe and a going home outfit for yourself.

{ T W O}
Toiletries.  Nothing was more amazing (and again, a little painful) than my shower hospital.  But I loved every 4 minutes that I could bare it last time. (Seriously, I kid. I have never thought cesarean recovery was all that bad. Just my personal experience.) I like having my bad ready so I bought a travel size of all the toiletries I would need, disposable razors, extra loofah, shower shoes, etc.  It just makes things easier and if I want to pitch it, that is one less thing to take home. (You have flowers and gifts and oh, that new baby to cart home anyway!) I also take my make-up.  I do.  Don't care.  ***Make sure of your toiletries you include lotion and chap stick.  Hospitals tend to be very dry.***

{T H R E E}
Camera and charger.  You aren't allowed to video during a section but we {Andrew} sure do flash away the pictures as soon as our guys arrive.  I love to relive those moments through the photos taken and to capture shots those first few days we are in the hospital.  So definitely pack it.  Nurses are also amazing at snapping your first shots with your new addition.

{F O U R}
Abdominal binder.  I did not know I was going to have a section with Hudson.  We actually labored for about 18 hours before his section.  Before he was born I had been reading up on abdominal binders, or belly bands, for women after birth to help their uterus get back to normal quicker, to relieve pressure as your body reshapes, etc.  It sounded amazing.  Well, one c-section later, I thought my purchase was a waste.  I asked my doctor at the time about using it (one day post-op) and he saw no problem.  That little wrap became my best friend.  I feel like it was even more beneficial since I had c-section.  It gave my back support, put pressure on the incision in the right way (like holding a pillow to your stomach but constant) and helped the incision area not be pulled as my body was "reshaping" (we'll just word it like that so it doesn't sound so gross). I used it again after Beau and am definitely using it after G arrives. I bought the Belly Bandit.  It is ok.  There are other ones out there that have better reviews.  Many hospitals also provide them upon request and can bill your insurance company.  Just ask and shop around.

{F I V E}
Items for baby.  This is where I completely OVER-PACKED with Hudson.  The hospital gives you diapers, wipes, ointments (if your little guy needs any). Really anything and everything the baby needs.  Use it! You are going to get billed for it anyway! No need to pack a ton of your own.  The only items I pack for baby now are some onesies, outfits, blankets and his lovie.  There is just no need for tons of extras and again, you seriously feel like you are leaving with a ton more than you came with anyway so no need to add to that feeling.

{S I X}
Proof of insurance and ID.  You probably already have this in your purse but I put mine in my handy little wallet, zipper pouch, whatever you want to call it because again, I do not want to haul my purse, hospital bag and pregnant belly in nor do I want to haul all that plus new baby out.  No thanks. I'll keep it simple.

{S E V E N}
Big brother gifts.  Our boys will be receiving a gift from G for them being his big brothers.  I don't care what anyone says this whole adding a new kid to the mix has got to be hard.  And although a sibling should be gift enough, we have gifts for our boys.  It isn't anything too extravagant but something that they will enjoy and can play with as our house transitions. Hudson actually can tell you what he got in the hospital from Beau. We never really even talked about it.  He just remembers. So I take that as a sign that it helped.

{E I G H T}
Last but not least, PILLOWS! Body pillow, pillow from your bed, Boppy, whatever you desire! I can not stand not having pillows and since I basically sleep on my back almost upright after my sections, having some extra comfort from home is the only item I deem necessary in regards to the hauling of extra stuff!

{N I N E}
Have hubby pack a bag.  This time around we are an hour from our hospital so Andrew can't just run home and grab a shower or a change of clothes as easily.  He will probably want some of that (and a pillow) for himself.  See how this stuff accumulates?? Less is more!!

Other mamas, what am I forgetting? Anything essential? What did you take in your bag that was a MUST? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Being A Boy Mom

As our delivery date is quickly approaching, I can't help but seem to reflect on being a boy mom.  Some days Andrew gets home from work and in the chaos of playing outside, the boys running around, or me trying to get dinner going, I ask, "Seriously. How are we going to handle another boy?"

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  It was a desire in my heart that dates back the furthest.  Mothering was instinctual when it came to my babies and my little brother.  Growing up with two brothers, being in a family with both genders, I naturally assumed I would always have my own little family mixed with some boys and girls.

I can remember the weeks leading up to our 20 week ultrasound.  I was focused on the baby being healthy first, but I also was trying to get some inkling as to what the gender would be.  The pregnancy didn't feel different, and although most gender test results revealed girl, I kept telling Andrew that I thought boy.  Not because of mother's intuition, but because, if I'm being honest, I didn't want to get my hopes up.  I sound terrible, right? Ungrateful even.  But that wasn't it.  I just knew that Andrew and I were to a point in life where we wondered if this was going to be our last pregnancy and I didn't want to think girl and find out it was a boy and be slightly disappointed.

At our ultrasound, it was a family affair.  Andrew was there and we took the boys since we live further from family and our appointment was mid-day.  When they announced boy and began talking about how he was measuring and assuring us he was healthy and on track, I felt relief.  And I felt a bit of panic--THREE boys three and under?? And then I felt a bit of sadness.  No proms.  No wedding dress shopping.  No sidekick to go get a pedicure with. My mind kept replaying that saying: "A daughter is a daughter for life. A son is a son until he gets a wife." {Who wrote that diatribe up anyway??} I wondered, as if my boys were leaving the nest any day, if they would get married and get wrapped up in a family other than our own; if my future daughter-in-laws would love me and see me as a companion and not just the mother-in-law.

Well time has passed and God has used his Holy Spirit, His word, and some sweet truths spoken from dear friends, to reveal to my heart how lucky I am to be a boy mom.

I may not ever have that companionship with a daughter to do girly things with, but I get the honor of teaching my boys about the girly things, so they are sensitive and attentive to their one day wives.

Being a boy mom may mean football practices and sweaty pads over dance recitals and ribbons, but I get to encourage them to use their strength that God has placed in them in ways to serve Him on and off the field.

Being a boy mom means that I am the first female my boys will love. That I am the model who shows them what being a wife is; what being a mother is; what being a woman after God's heart looks like.  They will look to me for that without even knowing it.  The responsibility of that task is overwhelming, yet God has thought to give me three boys to show that to.  Humbling doesn't begin to describe.

Being a boy mom means that as their mother, I get to have those sensitive conversations that help them understand that female mind given my perspective.  I get to help shape my boys into men that see women as God created them to be; not as the world idolizes, sexualizes and promotes them to be. I will be the one who has the conversations about clothes and make-up with my boys so they can recognize true beauty, inner beauty in a world that bombards them a focus on outer.

I have the great task to pray for their future wives, my future daughters.  To pray that God keeps her safe and pure.  To pray that God molds her into a woman that will fit perfectly with my son, that they will compliment one another and lift each other up. To pray that I will be another mother to her and that our relationship will be blessed.

I have the responsibility, my husband and I, to teach our boys to be strong without apology; to be men of integrity and faith; to be servants; to be dreamers.  I have the responsibility to teach our boys that there are some things that men do better {just as there are some things women do better} and to be proud of those things.

As a friend pointed out, our country, our world, is in desperate need for men of God. Men after God's own heart.  And God trusted three of them to Andrew and me.

There are perks of being a boy mom I never really noticed until this past summer as Hudson is really becoming my big boy.

I always get all the flowers.  I get the first kisses and their hugs.  They are gentler with me than with their dad.  I won't have to have the birds and the bees talk with any of my boys (same gender parent does that one).  I get to eat my meals out in peace {kind of} because it is Andrew that takes our Hudson to the restroom.  I don't have to worry about explaining why a crop top or booty shorts are inappropriate.  {PTL boy clothes are least right now} They come to me when they are sad and I can make it better.  They can express why they are sad versus having to many emotions to articulate {their mama totes that quality}.  On a long car trip if someone really has to go, we have the option of just pulling over for a quick stop {no rest area needed}.

So maybe I won't get to watch my daughter try on a wedding dress.  {Or maybe this baby isn't the end of babies for us.} But my prayer is I grow my boys into men who choose women who will allow me to be present.  My prayer is that I partner with God for this task.  And that I always thank Him for the blessing it is to be a boy mom.

credit TEP

credit TEP