Saturday, March 30, 2013

'Twas the night before Easter

'Twas the night before Easter and all through the house
Not a creature was sleeping, 'cept maybe the mouse
The baskets were laid out and all filled with grass
In hopes that the Easter Bunny wouldn't just pass.

The children were nestled all snug in nightgowns
But the echos of giggles continue to sound
Bedtimes stories and prayers ad threats weren't enough
To calm their excitement or, their restlessness, snuff

Yet in a mere few hours, long before sunrise
They will rise from their beds to seek out the prize
For Full Easter baskets they will search high and low
Their mouths seeking sweet treats, their eyes all aglow

Then, Easter sweets found and baskets devoured
Breakfast is eaten as we draw nearer to church hour
Five little beings to be dressed, groomed and readied
And loaded in the car. Off to church we are headed.
Where we remember the reason we celebrate this fun day,
Because our Lord and Savior has risen this Sunday.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Three weeks

Little man is three weeks old now, and life is still a blur. Last week's plans to take it easy, bond, maybe rest a day or two, went out the window. John spent three days in the hospital with a fever, which ended up being "just a virus" and we spent two days traveling for another reason. Now, we are home, hoping for some quiet time.

John started eating almost nonstop at 11 a.m. Sunday and, with the exception of two one-hour brakes, hasn't stopped yet. I don't want to sound like the ungrateful new mom; I know what great blessing I hold in my arms. But. I. Am. Tired.

Today, I have three goals: get groceries, put away John's clothes, and I can't remember goal three. I guess by default then goal three is to get a nap! :) oh, goal three is to work on a baby announcement. But, since he is pretty much attached to me, that goal may just wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week.

On the bright side, John is back to birth weight.

Edited to add:  I accomplished all four goals. Groceries were bought. Announcement is made. Clothes are put away. There was a nap, albeit thirty minutes. I even got the newborn girl clothes and blankets put away, which I admit was bittersweet. Now we will see what Little John has planned for tonight. We hope sleep.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two weeks old

It's amazing the difference a week makes, along with an antibiotic and some sleep.

We are getting 2, 3, and sometimes 4 hour sleep stretches.

Little man has fuller cheeks, milk on his chin, is all healed up, and has lots of baby dreams. On our scale, he is back to his birthweight now. His hair is very blonde, with almost white eyebrows. His eyes are a dark blue, making me think they will turn brown.

I am doing well, feeling functional, able to lift his car seat now, which will come in quite handy with the divide and conquer travel our family will be doing this week.

Sisters have all adjusted. Katie loves her power to put him to sleep, while M, L , and N just like holding him until he cries. No one is volunteering to change poopy diapers, though.

I had another first today; well, two actually. I had a follow up appointment for my c-section and everything checked out. Then, we went shopping in the boys section, to find an Easter/Baptism outfit for John. I don't understand all those moms who say there are no cute clothes for boys. I think they are adorable! And so is my little Gus-Gus.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rough start

I think I'm still processing his rough entrance to the world. Of all the scenarios I pictured, this is not one of them.
But, just a week later, he's amazingly fine:
Look how blonde his hair is! And I'd bet his eyes will be that deep brown, just like three of his sisters. He's even (finally) giving us some stretches between feedings and not needing held all the time. Of course, my mama guilt may have brought some of that on. I felt so bad at the pain he must have had at birth that I didn't want to cause him any discomfort now. And, the only soothing I knew was to feed or hold.

But he's shown us he wants some time to stretch out, and rewarded me with two and three hours between feedings. He still cluster feeds, but not around the clock.

He may have forgotten his entrance into the world. His daddy and I have not.


Big Sister #1

Big Sister #2

Big Sister #3
Big Sister #4

Mama in the recliner

Grandma, who held down the fort while we were in the hospital

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What I learned last week

Last week, I learns lots of unique facts, possibly share worthy.

I learned Come Sail Away by STYX and Sugarland's Fall Into Me are fabulous labor songs.

If you are planning to work through labor, it helps to dress the part. I really felt empowered wearing my yoga pants and running shoes to the hospital.

C-sections cause gas in your abdomen, which can cause pain in your right shoulder. And, if you burp like Charlie and his grandpa in the bubble room on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the pain goes away.

It is essential to trust your doctor or midwife.

It is also essential to like and trust your nurse. Thank you, Lindsey, for all you did for this delivery. And Beth for the past four deliveries. And Miranda, for tolerating all my office calls the past three months.

Prayer can get you through some incredible pain, emotional and physical, and through strong fear.

It is best to have no expectations.

Just because it is your sixth delivery, that doesn't mean the baby will fit.

And, my husband is an amazing labor coach and knows how to adapt to whatever our crazy kiddos throw at us.

Sleep = better

John and I had a slumber party yesterday. We stayed in bed almost all day, and when he slept, I slept. The result? Five hours of daytime sleep.

I felt empowered enough to give him a bath, do a batch of laundry, and eat lunch. We even went to our church's catfish fry, where he calmly slept through the hour meal and I got to eat and socialize.

Then, for dessert, he stretched his nighttime feelings out to eating 15 of every 90 minutes instead of 30 of every 60 minutes. Big improvement to me, although Jay's response of "ya, a freakin' vacation" showed he wasn't as enthusiastic. :)

Physically, I still don't know whether to do more or do less to feel better. I am hurting more this morning, but I haven't taken my big pain killers since Thursday night. For now, I am resting while he rests, and have big plans for an afternoon nap.

Sorry- no new pictures until I brave the stairs to the basement and my desktop.

Friday, March 8, 2013


We are home. I am exhausted and sad. No, not post partum depression. Just sad.

I am tired from being up all night with little man. He cluster feeds from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. As in, he eats thirty of every sixty minutes, not the pattern we hoped for.

I'm sore all over, maybe fighting an illness, maybe threatening mastitis, maybe just sore.

I'm limited in what I can do, so still no major lifting, no cleaning, no picking up the floor, no driving.

It's a silly thing, but this is the only pregnancy that I came home in maternity clothes. That isn't helping my mood.

I had a couple people call me super Mom yesterday, but I feel a long ways from that. I'm more like half-power Mom.

This little guy has thrown some serious stress at us this week, so I probably need to process that.

But first, I need to sleep. Because every time we wake up, I smile at the little man next to me, so thankful he got here safe and sound, so thankful for our little blessing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

John Augustus is here

Our son his here, safe and sound and beautiful. This is my attempt to recall his crazy labor and delivery.

We got to Mercy at 7 a.m. to start our induction. By 7:30, the pitocin was started. I got up out of the bed as soon as possible, and spent the next four hours standing, rocking, swaying, and bouncing beside the bed. Baby looked great through all that, with a good heartbeat and no problems. Probably around 9:30 I had to put on my headphones and start getting serious to manage contractions. By 10, I was standing with my arms around Jay, rocking through each contraction. I would hum and/or pray through the worst of it, and realized it took one slow hail mary to get through a bad contraction. I think they were about every 2-3 minutes. Jay was awesome, reassuring me through the contractions and supporting me between.

At 11:15 Lindsey checked me and I was at 6. Baby was still in good position at this time.
Around 11:30, I said something felt different, I felt kind of pushy. In previous deliveries, I had gone from 7 to complete in a matter of minutes, so we were all kind of on edge to be ready.  By 11:45, Jay was holding me up to keep me from squatting all the way to the ground with each contraction. Lindsey checked me again, and that's when we had a problem. Sometime in that half hour, baby had changed position and was presenting face first. Instead of the back of his head, she felt his face. Doc came in right away and confirmed a face presentation. I'm sure no one said it aloud, but I bet some silent cuss words were uttered.

Keep in mind, I still didn't have anything for pain. Doc started trying to manipulate baby's head, first to try to tuck her chin. (At this point, we still assumed girl.) I changed positions a lot, from left to right to hands and knees to anything we could think of. Doc tried between contractions to push baby back up enough to get that head to tuck, but then once the contraction started or I started pushing down, babe would come face first again. After an hour, at about 1:00, I couldn't tolerate anymore and asked for the epidural.

This was my best epidural ever. I could still move my feet, move my legs, feel to push, but didn't need to scream through every contraction anymore. And, in hindsight, it was inevitable.

With the epidural in place, Doc tried to again manipulate baby's position. And tried. And tried. He would push baby transverse and try to hold him in position, but with every contraction, baby would come back face first. Somewhere in there they had shut off the pit, too, to help give us more time to change positions.

At 2:30, Doc was going to check one more time, then we assumed c-section. But when he checked one more time, baby had shifted just enough that we had hopes for a forehead. And, through all this, baby's heartbeat was great through the contractions. And, so doc tried just a few more, just a few more, going through checklists, trying to come up with any other solution.

At 2:45, baby had decels with two contractions, low enough that I was done, doc was done, and we were headed to a c-section.

Then things we lightning fast. The epidural was topped off for a full numbness, I was prepped, Jay was dressed up in his gear, and we were wheeled down the hall. I was moved to the table, and baby was out by 3:07 p.m.

His apgars were 5, 7, 9, and he was as boogered up as the doc had warned us he'd be. He looked so swollen in his face, Jay thought he had a cleft lip at first glance. I thought he looked like he had been in a horrible fight, with his face and head all swollen and purple and red. But he was crying strong and he was stable. Truly, I was focusing on just getting through the few minutes remaining of the c-section. Oh, I hated that experience worse than anything, even though it was pain free. I felt too numb, my blood pressure had dropped, I needed to vomit but felt like I couldn't move my head. Thank goodness I still had my hands, or I would have probably freaked out.

I was moved to recovery, and then Jay brought John from the nursery. He already looked better, and he nursed like a champ from the get-go. His head was still football shaped on Monday morning, he had two shiners, refused to open his eyes, and was all scratched up. But just a day later, all the swelling is gone. He just has a road rash on his forehead and the back of his scalp. And through all that, I still just see my beautiful son.

A son. Wow. We have a son. I'm still in shock and pleasant disbelief. Our family was going to be complete no matter the gender, but it feels complete in an entirely different level.

In hindsight, now that the swelling is down, Doc thinks baby's head was just too big to fit. Cephalopelvic disproportion is the official term, and one common cause for face presentation. 

So, John Augustus "Gus" Sleichter was born at 3:07 p.m. on 03/03/13 weighing 8 pounds 2 oz and measuring 18.5 inches long. He has blonde hair, dark blue eyes that will probably turn brown, and his daddy's appearance. We will go home tomorrow and continue our recovery, and get settled into our family of 7.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Morning before

It's the morning before our induction. 5 a.m., to be exact. I've been awake for an hour and a half, which is normal for me for this point in the pregnancy. Those last weeks with every pregnancy I wake at crazy times and there is no going to back to bed.

It takes me 90 minutes to give up on trying to go back to sleep.
It takes me 6-7 steps before my hips can support my weight enough for me to be able to walk without holding on to something.
It takes me 2-3 hours before I'm ready for a morning nap.

I've gained pretty close to 40 pounds.
I haven't gotten any wider in the past 4 weeks, but baby is still growing. S/he is just more crowded.
I am 39 weeks 2 days today.

Contractions are still there, ranging from a constant annoyance to a twisting, hopeful wrenching pain. Since the first part of December, they have been 3-15 minutes apart, depending the day and my activity level.

My biggest aches and pains are in the left upper quadrant of my abdomen, where I think baby has pushed and kicked me until I am bruised from the inside out. My hips are bad, but only after I have sat or laid down. Those first few steps are rough. 

On Monday, Doc offered us an induction. I didn't take it at first, wanting to avoid pit for this labor. But, truly, I have given up on my body's ability to finish labor without intervention. True, I haven't given myself 44 weeks, which is what it took Jay's mom and my mom to go into labor. I haven't even given this one 40 weeks. I'm just not dedicated enough, I guess, and so I caved. Three more weeks of contractions with no unmedicated end? No, thank you. Three less weeks at home with the baby before I return to work? No, thank you. Three more weeks of wondering every stinkin' night if the pain I'm in will be productive or if, instead, they will stop suddenly at 11 p.m. and I will go to bed defeated, tired, sore? No, thank you. Induction this week? Yes, please.

This week, we've tried just about everything to get these contractions into a steady, non-stopping pattern. Red raspberry tea, spicy food, walking, swaying, dancing, yoga, exercise ball, other stuff. :) The most effective is probably accupressure, which will cause almost an immediate contraction for me. But, even after hours, it stops.

Thursday, I walked a mile in the morning and contractions got fired up to every 3 minutes. They held steady through most of the day, even with a nap and another half mile walk in the afternoon. I was hopeful. But on Friday, when I woke up with contractions slowed and aching knees, I decided to just relax and let pitocin do its thing.

And so we are to the morning before. My mom will be here today. The girls will be taken care of. We will drive to the hospital tomorrow and take the meds to meet this baby. The bag is packed, the car is gassed up, the kids are prepared, the fridge is stocked. There will be no late night dash to the hospital. We know when this present will be opened.

For the last time, we will labor and deliver.

And we pray, so hard we pray, for a healthy baby and a smooth labor and delivery.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

39 weeks

39 weeks
This may be our fifth child, but it is definitely our best documented third trimester. I can just about bet there is more written about these past 12 weeks than there will be in this baby's baby book for the first 12 months. I am so, so ready to hold this baby in my arms.

Jay says I've surpassed basketball and have achieved beach ball status. I would have to agree.

The girls are divided on how the baby will actually be born. I am not willing to give them an anatomy lesson with details. It's not that I am opposed to them knowing the facts; it's just that I would hate to hear the version they tell their classmates, and the repercussions from those conversations. I've given them a broad idea of what will happen, but they have turned that into their own interpretations. Maggie apparently thinks the baby will be pulled out. Lainie thinks it will fall out. Natalie thinks s/he is coming out my belly button, and must check it every day to see if the baby is ready. Katie's old enough to know the truth.

No matter the mode of delivery, we are all ready to meet Baby Jalapeno.