Isaac Levi | 4 Years Old

Friday, April 26, 2013

Oh man, what a mess of emotions! Isaac Levi, this past year has been one for the books. In looking back, we knew we were going to have our hands full with you, we just didn't know to what extent! Your third year proved very challenging, for you and us. That amazing personality, coupled with your determination and love to talk made for quite the interesting mix.

I'm not saying that our battle of wills has been sunsetted, but we're thankfully no longer having arguments over taking an ice cube to bed! That gives me hope. This shouldn't be read that the entire year was difficult, because really, Isaac you can be the most tender-hearted and compassionate little boy. You'd argue with me right now though, if you knew that I just referred to you as a little boy, but that you still are.

It's just as true now as when I wrote it last year, Isaac, son, we love you. Through thick and thin, and all the trouble and love we'll experience, we love you.

We last left off here, celebrating your 3rd birthday.
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Like I said, it was challenging.
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But oh so sweet as well! One of the best parts of this past year has been watching your relationship with your brother evolve.
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You enjoyed new things, like sparklers[!] for the first time.
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Taking your brother for a spin in the backyard on your John Deere Gator.
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And connecting your bat with a pitched ball!
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And so many of your standing summertime favorites, like the backyard sprinkler.
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Swimming at Lake George!
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Going to the MN State Fair . . . although this ride might be enjoyed more this year.
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In the fall, you enlarged your life experiences and circle of friends by starting preschool!

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In October you were excited to help us share the news that we were going to be a family of five!
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And then at the end of November, you helped us share that you were going to have a baby sister! Who we now know as Miri Joy.
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Also around this time, you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. No greater words or choice have made us so happy than to know He is in your heart.

The last six months of the year, aka The Never-Ending Winter, is when we really saw you take off in terms of intellect and social skills. Unfortunately, I pretty much neglected my camera this past winter, so pictures are few and far between.
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The lone bright spot was our trip to the Wisconisn Dells, where I do believe you had your first crush. It was also so fun to watch your confidence build until you finally went down the Big Green Slide by yourself.
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And then we were plunged back into 4 more months of winter!
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Just like when we were expecting Ezra's arrival, you were absolutely in love with your baby sister before she was even born.
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Lucky for us, that love continued even when she was out of my belly!
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You're still throwing us curve balls, little man and we look forward to each and everyone!

Love this time

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I keep feeling the urge to blog, but am entirely unsure what to write about. Our days are quite slow right now, which is not a complaint. Essentially the only thing really happening right now is little Miriam gaining weight, staring at her endlessly, and transitioning the boys [while dealing with cabin fever due to MN's endless winter].

The boys have continued to just love on their baby sister. Isaac is very considerate of her needs and 
tries to anticipate what she may want . . . like his Puppers. Another example would be when Miriam started crying with about 20 minutes to go before we got home, Isaac wanted to help, so he held her hand. Remarkably, she quieted and he stared adoringly at her the rest of the way home.
Courtesy of her biggest brother Isaac, #mirijoy enjoyed a little Puppers love this morning.#isaaclevi couldn't possibly be a better big brother. He has been so sweet, so loving, just incredible! On the way home from an errand, Miriam started to cry. Isaac did what he could and held her hand . . . And it worked! The look on his face says it all.

Ezra for his part just wants to kiss and kiss and kiss and sometimes hug her. The kissing is going great! The boys learned very quickly to not kiss her face, but to kiss her hair and forehead. The hugging though, well, let's just say that Ezra wants to really express his love.
Loving on "baby seester." #ezrajohn #siblings #proudbigbrother
I've really appreciated the small miracle of three children napping! Although, it did come with a cost . . . to get Isaac to just settle down and take his nap without a fight/waking Ezra up, I gave him one of Tony's fudgesicles after a great nap! Wouldn't you know, the next day he again went down without a fight, but he expected a fudgesicle upon waking up! I kind of think it's worth it, although I did tell him that a fudgesicle is not assumed for listening!
I don't know when to stop holding my breath. First day with all three kiddos and they're simultaneously napping. #familyof5 #Imaypassout #smallvictories

This whole never ending winter thing is entirely old. The boys and I went just.a.little. crazy last week and I had no reprieve in Tony or my Mom. Unfortunately our plans to have Tony work from home the first week were dashed when he was asked to come back to the office on Wednesday. To be fair though, he went back to work the day after we came from the hospital with both boys, so two days working from home was more than we had before! As for my Mom, she was exposed to the vaccinated form of chicken pox and was advised to not hold Miri. Even with the change in Tony's work schedule, I didn't feel comfortable bringing the boys to my Mom's for a break. It was a little difficult, but thankfully it's past us now! Those hard days, not the snow. The snow returned last night, but we've got 60's forecasted and it seems that we're finally, finally, finally going to shake winter!
This.is.insane. #Springisanoshow #yesanothersnowpicture #mnwx
We made it to church this past Sunday and I'm not entirely convinced I should be out in public yet, as my socialization skills are still a little rusty. Conversing at home with the wonderful friends and family who have visited and brought meals for us surprisingly go well, but I keep getting overwhelmed and tongue-tied outside of my house.
We all made it to church this morning! #familyof5 #fontainefive

And Miri, my sweet little Miri has just gone with the flow and fit her way quite seamlessly into our family. She still sleeps quite a bit throughout the day and eats really well and did from the first latch. Last night, she even gave me a 6 1/2 hour stretch of sleep! We last nursed at 11:30pm, so you can imagine my surprise when I woke up at 6:00am without seeing her precious face in between. I'm sure it was just a fluke, but I have no complaints!
Girl time. #mirijoy #mother #daughter
The favorite game of both sides of our family has been guessing whether she'll be keeping her blue eyes. Isaac's were a very slate, steely newborn blue that I knew from the beginning would eventually change. Ezra's were as brown as could be and there again, there was no questioning that they'd be dark. Miriam's are just blue enough to make me wonder, although I've positioned my heart to think that they're hazel. It's obviously such a trivial thing, but growing up, everyone commented on my blue eyes. They were my most memorable trait, well maybe that and my sassy attitude [woah, not looking forward to that potentially!], and it's just a little sad to know that they most likely will not be carried on through one of my children [at least in this generation!].
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Life is good for this new family of five. Thankful through it all.

Miriam Joy's Arrival

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday the 11th, I was growing very discouraged. I felt pretty caught between a rock and hard place. The rock being that Gina was gone [and that I couldn't talk to her about how I was feeling, because hello! I'd choose to be in Mexico too and didn't want to make her feel bad!]. The hard place being that I was on countdown until my midwife Fern would be unavailable.

I played it cool all week, because I didn't know when to get my hopes up, but with getting stripped on Monday, I had contractions off and on all week. Unfortunately none were as exciting as the ones I had on Monday. It was so frustrating to get my hopes up . . . all for nothing. As a bus rider, I chose to drive into work Tues, Wed & Thurs, which only annoyed me more when I had to pay for parking at the end of each day when nothing happened.

I tried several natural induction methods, including the acupressure video I used with Ezra, and even a few new ones, like evening primrose oil, but was wracking my brain for the next option. Suddenly I remembered I could try bouncing on an exercise ball and quickly text my friend Sarah to see if she had one I could borrow. Within minutes she'd responded that not only did she, but that she'd drop it off for me! So, this was how I spent Thursday night.
Trying to get something going! Thank you for borrowing and quick deliver @sarahlouise_rn! #39weeks #bouncingbaby

Friday I had scheduled a 2:45pm appointment with my midwife to do another membrane strip, as she was also feeling the squeeze to have me deliver before she left. Tony kept asking me what I hoped to be dilated to Thursday night and I honestly didn't want to think about it. I'd had contractions, but knew I'd be discouraged if I was less than a 3, since I was a 2 prior to the sweep on Monday. You can imagine how annoyed I was then when he said "I hope you're an 8 and they admit you!"

Due to my appointment, I decided to work from home. Around 8:00am, I got a phone call from Fern's office letting me know that she didn't do sweeps after 10:00am, so that I'd have to come in sometime in the next two hours. I was so glad to have been working at home, because it made it super easy for me to just email my boss the schedule change and head out around 9:00am for the 9:30am appointment. As I sat down in the Jeep, I had a contraction and they continued the rest of the ride.

When I got to my appointment, the nurse excitedly told me "Fern's got a plan for you to get things going, if you're game." Not sure at all what that meant, my mind started spinning. I love Fern to death, but she's not a super crunchy midwife. She's a CNM hospital midwife, which helps rein me in a bit. I shouldn't have been so surprised when I was offered Cervadil at 39w2d, but I was none the less. Not too keen on accepting a pseudo induction, I asked to first be checked and then evaluate. While I whole heartedly wanted Gina to be able to be there, we both knew we were unsure of the emotional punch it could carry, no matter how excited she was. I still contemplate what could have happened if I hadn't been a 2, hadn't prayed about accepting the Cervadil, just hadn't made some of the choices I did, but it is what it is.

So, at 9:30 I was a 2. I was given the Cervadil at about 10:15 and checked at 10:45 to be a 3. I was texting Tony pretty fast and furious during this time and was shocked to be a 4 with bulging waters at 11:00am. Tony was still a good 40 minutes away and had to stop at home to grab our things for the hospital, so I told Fern I thought I'd go to Target just to walk around while I waited for Tony. Based on the look on her face, I knew Fern thought otherwise and she suggested I just walk down from the clinic to be admitted, as it'd likely take 45 minutes and Tony would be there by then.

Turns out, Tony wasn't too far off and I was completely unprepared! Everything was happening too fast and I was extremely emotional.

It was so hard to not set myself up mentally to expect to meet our girl in two hours, based on two carbon copy deliveries. I was a little further along with Ezra when we got to the hospital, but I was only a 4 with bulging waters with Isaac as well and he was born 2 hours after admission, just like Ezra. I've never been happier to hear Tony's voice as he came flying through the Women's Center. He sounded practically giddy and I couldn't blame him! We were soon going to meet our daughter!
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I made a birth playlist this time, but the song selections started to work against me, as they were way too emotionally charged! Like hearing Third Day's Offering, which was the song playing when we lit our unity candle.
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Things started to get pretty intense and I quickly slipped into what I remembered of the Hypnobirthing I used with Ezra. 
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Fern still had appointments in the clinic, but also thought things would quickly progress, so she hung out for a bit.
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Baby looked good and we were all excited . . . at 1:15pm.
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Oh, and this is when I should also say that while Gina couldn't make it, I did have friends set up as backups and my 2nd shooter, Mandi, who is also a doula was able to join us for all of these wonderful photos!

I labored as I did with both boys, standing and walking. I would then pause for contractions and sway. This time though, I also added leaning on the bed during contractions and just sway my hips.
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Honestly, looking back, it may have been the change that hurt me.
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Around 2:00pm my Mom, Stepdad and both boys came in. Considering that when I last said goodbye to them I had no idea that we'd be meeting their sister that day, it was very sweet!
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Unfortunately, I started to spiral a little after they left. I'd set myself up to think that she'd be born by 2:00pm at the latest and I could tell from my contractions that we were not even close. Coupled with being checked and hearing that I was only a 5 1/2, maybe a 6 and this girl was very frustrated.
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Tony, Mandi and Fern could definitely sense my frustration and set about trying to encourage me. Well established at this point that we are all born again Christians, this is when Fern asked me if it would be alright if she prayed with us. I'll always treasure that memory!
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Fern suggested that I maybe try the bath for a change of pace. Knowing that it'd do one of two things, I figured it was worth a shot! Mandi pulled out her Clary Sage to see if it could help speed things along, but unfortunately my contractions all but stopped when I got in the tub. It was nice to have a few minutes to rest, but with the end goal being pushed further away, I got out of the tub within 7 minutes.
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After standing and rocking for 3 hours and skipping lunch, I was really starting to feel it. All of my confidence from Isaac and Ezra's births completely evaporated. I was beginning to feel desperate for change. Just something had to change! My contractions weren't super intense, but I was tired and starting to get a little light headed and nauseous. I knew the nausea could be a sign of transition, but without the support of strong contractions, I knew it was due to not eating. Either Mandi or my nurse Bridget suggested I try supporting myself on the bed. I ate some almonds and Tony brought Ezra in again, but my contractions continued in their infuriating slow, mild pace.
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I knew I had to get back on my feet. No matter how tired I was, that is my position for moving baby down, and if I wanted to meet baby girl anytime soon, I needed to start swaying and rocking again.
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Fern came in and checked on us at 4:00pm and offered to break my water. As I had with pretty much everything, I wanted to be checked first. I'm not going to lie, this is definitely when I was wishing I could audible for an epidural. My strength was fading, my confidence was shot and I had no faith that I could actually deliver her anymore. When Fern checked me, she said I was a "fake 8" and ended up simultaneously breaking my water. She said I was super stretchy and could almost be complete.

I started to get really hot after my water broke and ended up taking my robe off. This was uncharted territory for me and I honestly think the look on my face below is more due to frustration than pain. With both boys my water broke with them crowning, which turned into uncontrollable pushing. I wanted nothing more than for my body to just start taking over . . . but it wasn't happening. 
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After standing and laboring for another 40 minutes after Fern last checked me and my not feeling the need to push, she asked to check me again. She found me to have a little lip and thickness and suggested that I labor on my hands and knees.
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I spent a few contractions in this position while slightly pushing and then bam, there were three contractions that were absolutely awful . . . and effective. There was no denying that she was moving down. I started moaning at this point, which turned into a bit of panic while I waited for them to get the bed back in position.

By the time the bed was flat again . . . I, uh, looked like this. Which is to say, she was coming!
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My first push essentially birthed her head, much like Ezra. But then my contractions completely stalled out. Concerned for the baby Fern asked me to help her, which is the same she asked of me for Ezra too. I recognized that I was jutting my chin to the ceiling, quickly ducked it, held my breath as everyone was reminding me to do, grabbed my legs and bore down . . . but it wasn't enough. A nurse ran into the room, and with my next push I felt 8 hands all over my body, some supporting, one yanking my leg to my ears essentially and still more pushing her down from my stomach. And then, then she was born. It was all over in 2 minutes.

She was extremely floppy and I was more concerned about her than I was Ezra, while Tony was the opposite because Miriam was trying to breathe/cry, while Ezra wasn't at first. So again, no delayed cord clamping, as they were trying to determine if they were going to whisk her away, but this is when we happily reacted to her beautiful hearty cry!
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I wonder if the shock of holding your baby for the first time is ever, well, less shocking. I don't imagine so.
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Absolutely pure bliss!
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Our cheesy girl was caked in vernix, but she scored a 9/9 on apgars!
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Tony, if you ever doubt how much I love you, feel free to refer to this picture on the left.
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It took us a few minutes to decisively choose Miriam Joy, but once we did, there was no second guessing. This was our little Miri.
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Love at first sight.
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And a Daddy who is smitten.
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Plus, can we talk about this child's hair? So much for the heartburn relation!
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She latched right away and we nursed before bringing the boys in.
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Of course we had to grab a couple of posed pictures too!
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As for the waiting room, my family pretty much owned it. There wasn't anyone else in there and my Dad was playing hide and seek with the boys!
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Bringing the boys in was pretty much the best cherry on top! Isaac was a little overwhelmed by everything going on, but he gave me the best hug and kiss.
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And just like that, we were a family of five.
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As you can tell, Miriam's birth wasn't quite as jubilant for me as Ezra's. I was frustrated and I let it get to me. It's so important that you stay focused mentally, which I didn't. How absolutely ridiculous of me to have been down about a 8 hour labor and 2 minute delivery! To boot, her's was the only delivery that let me walk away without any stitches.

Also, I should mention that within minutes of her delivery, I ended up with a migraine. I hope it's not too foretelling that she gave me a headache from birth!



 

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