Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 28, 2017 at 02:54PM

My first baby. 😍

Instagram Pic: February 28, 2017 at 02:52PM

This almost one year old insists that she eat her food without any help which can be challenging when there are so many very willing helpers around. #astridevangeline

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 23, 2017 at 02:25PM

I got to hang out with these two cuties at the coffee shop this morning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Astrid's Birth Story

My due date was March 12, but that day came and went with very little excitement. Emery and Declan were both born a week before their due dates, but then Oscar decided to start a new trend by making his appearance a week late. So almost a week later on Saint Patrick's Day I started having contractions on and off throughout the day but didn't think too much of it because they were very spread out and coming intermittently. The contractions were a bit more painful and longer lasting than typical Braxton Hicks though, so I mentioned to Dustin later that evening that we may have a baby in the next few days. That night I woke up around midnight with time-able contractions about every 5-10 minutes. I woke Dustin up so he could start filling up the birth tub and I began walking around the house trying to speed up contractions while getting a few things from our birth kit organized. After a couple hours of walking around the house and climbing up and down the stairs, as well as a perfectly full and warm birth tub, the contractions weren't getting stronger and in fact had tapered off altogether. We both decided to go back to bed, a bit defeated, but mostly tired.

The next day was Dustin's birthday so we woke up to enjoy a hearty birthday breakfast and some family time before seeing Dustin off for the day. We did briefly consider having him call into work and stay home in case labor started back up again, but I hadn't had a single contraction since the previous night's teaser, so he left and we went about our day as usual. I continued having mild contractions throughout the day every hour or two but they didn't escalate in pain from one to the next. I brushed them off and we continued through the day working on schoolwork, chores, and keeping warm on a chilly March day. That night I decided to go to bed right after getting the kids in their own beds since we had been up most of the previous night and I figured it would be wise to get a little rest if contractions woke me up again.

After trying and failing to fall asleep I got out of bed at 9:30. I went downstairs to see Dustin, who was still up doing some work in the living room, and realized contractions were now coming pretty frequently. We began tracking them and found them to be only 3-5 minutes apart and progressively getting stronger. Dustin began to get the water in the birth tub warm again since it had cooled off all that day. He ended up needing to drain off at least half of the water and refill it with all of the hot water from our water heater along with multiple stock pots filled with boiling water from the stove to get it up to the 97 degree temp we needed. Needless to say, this busied his time pretty well for the next hour and a half. In the meantime I decided I didn't feel like leaving our bedroom where the tub was set up and proceeded to find a comfortable spot to settle into while I labored.

At about 10:30 we decided to call our midwife to let her know that we were indeed in labor and that it started about an hour earlier. I was still able to talk quite easily on the phone and wasn't in much pain yet so I told her she didn't need to rush to come over. She knew we preferred to labor alone for a while and that we'd done this before, so she told us she'd be over in a couple hours unless things picked up sooner, then to give her call. Our midwife, Jeanne, has delivered both of our boys and lives only five minutes away so she could get to us quickly if needed.

Because I have had extremely painful back labor for each of my previous births I knew I needed a spot where I could comfortably work through contractions and do some counter pressure while Dustin was busy warming the tub, so I settled for a spot between my bed and dresser. I dug my back into my dresser while leaning over my bed and a stack of pillows during a contraction and then standing up to sway in between. After a couple contractions I realized this wasn't working as well as I'd hoped and pain was beginning to intensify so I got on all fours and leaned into a pile of pillows and a rocking chair situated in the corner of our bedroom. Between contractions Dustin and I talked a bit, both of us getting excited that we'd be meeting our little girl soon. It was quiet, the lights were off besides the bathroom light streaming through the hall, and I began to focus mostly in silence as things started to progress. During this time the kids slept soundly in their bedrooms which are right next to ours.

It was now 11:30, contractions were coming evert 2-3 minutes and lasting about a minute long. Dustin was doing his best to get the temperature of the tub to where it needed to be, while also putting a hot pack on my back and doing as much counter pressure as he could. Peppermint oil applied directly to my low back ended up being extremely helpful during these moments along with extreme heat from the hot pack. During the next 30 minutes things continued to intensify and it was at that point I knew I hit transition because I felt like vomiting and then had the uncontrollable urge to moan during every contraction. My eyes were closed tight in concentration and I began tuning out all surroundings. One wave at a time, breathing through the pain, and letting my body do this job.

Within 15 minutes I knew that familiar pressure and urge to push that told me to get in the birthing tub (which was finally to the temperature we needed it at!). Dustin helped me in, I leaned back in the warmth. I was sweaty, shaky, but feeling more in control and in less pain than I remember feeling at this stage with previous births. With the next contraction I began to push.

At about 12:30, after pushing 2-3 times, I heard our midwife Jeanne come in the front door. She came up to our room and quietly greeted Dustin, quickly and silently checked me, listened for fetal heart sounds, then set up her most needed equipment before coming to my side during the next contraction. Words of encouragement followed as I pushed two more times, my eyes shut tight, and then I could feel that sweet little newborn head. She was almost here!

Finally, one last push and her wriggly little body followed. My eyes finally opened and Dustin and I slowly lifted that tiny, squishy, perfectly pink little baby out of the water and into my arms. I said "That was so easy!" and truly felt that this birth was the easiest of all four of mine. She cried within minutes of being in my arms and I held her for the next moments kissing her sweet face with overwhelming happiness, relief, adrenaline, and love. Our baby, our little Astrid Evangeline!

Born on March 19, at 12:46 am, 8 pounds 6 ounces and 19.5" long. 

It wasn't until Astrid was born that I finally looked up and acknowledged my midwife for the first time. My second midwife, Joanna, made it about twenty minutes later since she lived farther away. We could have called them to come sooner but I think they came at just the right time and we weren't concerned or anxious to have them there any earlier. They took great care of us and are two of the most wonderful women I know.  

One of the sweetest memories of that first day came after everything was cleaned up, our midwives had made sure all was well and had left us for the time being, and all three of us were cozily tucked into our bed. It was about 5am now, still dark and quiet, Dustin was asleep, and Astrid was laying beside me nursing sweetly. Then I heard Emery's door open and she shuffled to the bathroom. Since our bedroom is in view directly after walking out of the bathroom she came out, stopped, and stared bleary-eyed into our room, which had previously contained an oversized birthing tub that had since been packed up and taken down mere hours earlier. I could see her trying to make sense of what she was seeing, wondering why the tub was no longer there. Then from the doorway it hit her and she exclaimed in a whisper, "Mom, is she here?! Did you have the baby?!" I nodded and whispered back "Yes, she's right here! Come and see her!" She squealed and came running over, the most excited little girl I've ever seen, and began gushing, kissing, and loving her new little sister. She stayed for a few more minutes asking all the questions and loving every minute of this special greeting before I sent her back to bed in attempt for all of us to get a little more sleep before the sun came up. That moment was pure joy for her and I love that she got a little sneak peek before her brothers woke up. Of course, they were equally thrilled to meet her in the morning. It was a good day.

Overall Astrid's birth was the quickest of all of my births, lasting just over three hours. It wasn't painless but it was purposeful. We are so thankful for Astrid and the joy that she has brought to our family.

Instagram Pic: February 21, 2017 at 02:15PM

This girl is eleven months old already. ðŸ˜ĻI'm just desperately trying to soak up every last moment of these baby days. 😭 #astridevangeline

Instagram Pic: February 21, 2017 at 02:05PM

What a gorgeous day to be outside!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 19, 2017 at 09:07PM

The perfect day for our favorite lakeside park. #februaryinminnesota #silverlake

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 17, 2017 at 04:58PM

Is it February or is it May? Hard to tell when you can watch your big siblings outside without coats and sporting flip flops on their feet.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 14, 2017 at 03:18PM

Best moments. I love that little pudgy hand. 😍

Instagram Pic: February 14, 2017 at 10:41AM

Homeschool on Valentine's Day. ❤❤ #ranemschoolhouse

Instagram Pic: February 14, 2017 at 09:47AM

Kwik stix are my new favorite art medium. Also, that little tongue sticking out in concentration is killing me. 😍

Instagram Pic: February 14, 2017 at 09:25AM

From my Love on this ❤Day. 😍#valentinesday

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 09, 2017 at 04:22PM

"Mmmm. Mom, smell this. It smells just like blueberries!" ðŸĪ”😆

Instagram Pic: February 09, 2017 at 11:34AM

That one time your degrees paid off at the coffee shop. #tencentsoff #score

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 07, 2017 at 10:44PM

This girl just cracks me up! 😄 So many silly faces and goofy noises. Doing her best to keep up with her siblings' comedic exploits.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Instagram Pic: February 06, 2017 at 02:41PM

From table time this morning. Oscar lasted approximately 45 seconds. #twoleftiesandarighty. #ranemschoolhouse

Instagram Pic: February 06, 2017 at 02:31PM

You can't tell from behind, but Astrid was very sad that her brothers both went out to play and didn't take her along. #sadbutadorable

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017