Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Monthly Recap vol. 25~ September 2015~ Babies born, Time off from blogging, etc.

Well, in case you missed the news, we had a baby on September 3rd! We have five kids in tow now! (what?!!!!) So hard to believe.  I've taken some time off from regular blogging, and it has been well worth it. I'm finally feeling like myself again, and fortunately, I'm looking forward to regular blogging again.

A few highlights from this month were my Birth Story for Annabel ... (if you read it you know the jury is still out on whether or not I will ever do a natural birth again... also wanted to make a big, fat disclaimer that I didn't want to come across totally rude toward the nurse midwife from the hospital. I wrote it right after it happened, so my nerves and my emotions hadn't quite recovered ;) and a big thank you to Jenny Cook for contributing a guest post this month!

Even though you can't really see it in this picture, we saw a baby river otter, not too far from my parents' dock on the TN river the other weekend. 
We got out the binoculars and we could see it so well... he was eating the green algae! It was so incredible to make out his little mouth and tail and body. We watched him for quite a long time.  I found this pic so you could see how cute he actually was. ;) Adorable!

As for what I've been up to otherwise, well....

(1) Reading...

The Royal We

I did some good reading this month, and I was partial to this one, since the heroine's name is Bex (short for Rebecca). Sorta sounds like Becks.  It is fan fiction, yes... but it's also smart and informed. It will make you roll your eyes at the fandom, and then you'll be totally hooked on the Royals, and you might find yourself wanting to learn all there is to know about their lives and histories... if you're anything like me!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

I enjoyed this, and it wasn't what I expected, at all.. which was refreshing. It is light-hearted and romantic, without being cheesy or shudder-worthy (my complaint with so many rom-com books and movies). Nor did I find it too dark, although there were certainly many real-to-life themes. I am sensitive, though, and an INFP, and it didn't bother me at all. I would say read this one! My one complaint was that I wanted to get to know A.J. Fikry even better... it could have gone on another hundred pages without me minding!

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

I liked this even better than Freeman's debut.  It got me thinking a lot about the art "you were created to make," and how we have guilt or self-doubt or we put ourselves down, when really we should embrace, engage, and surrender.  We are a poem made by God, and the art that he inspires us to make is a gift from him that we should cultivate and see grow. From the title it sounds like it would be disconnected,  but it really wasn't at all! ;)

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

If you are thought a writer by any of your kith or kin, read this book! If you need inspiration for writing, reading this book is like taking a course on writing. It is particularly helpful if you take her advice and do the experiments mentioned in the book, such as "write in a restaurant." I tried it and her advice was solid gold!

(2) Watching...

Parenthood (season 6 - the final season- is on Netflix now)
The Swiss Family Robinson
very good if you want a realistic picture of the jihadists at work... also very sad

Whaling in Indonesia
Love and Mercy: The Life and Genius of Brian Wilson (from The Beach Boys)
The Royals: a series on Netflix

(3) Funny Things They Say/Funny...

~during our stay in the hospital~

Me: If someone takes my blood pressure one more time...
Stephen: You're going to have high blood pressure?

~reflecting on labor and delivery with Annabel~
Stephen: I kept thinking about the line from The Princess Bride: "This is the sound of ultimate suffering."

Madeleine's conversation with Siri:

Siri: Hello Mommy!
Madeleine: I’m not Mommy.
Siri: I’m not sure I understand.
Madeleine: What are you doing, then?
Siri: Working on some corny jokes.
Madeleine: Okay, Bye!
Siri: Hello Mommy!

Madeleine: Mommy, Someday… when I go to the surface, can I get cotton candy?
Me: um… (?!)
Madeleine: Not a cotton candy lollipop, just cotton candy.
Me: Are you a mermaid, or something?
Madeleine:  No. I want to go to the surface when I’m a mermaid. I just want to go to the beach and see some mermaids.
Me: ...alllllrighty then. :-)

Madeleine: I had a dream last night that I went to the bug hospital. They wanted to see my bug bites. I said I have them here and here and here and here... and I showed them the biggest one... and they shotted it.

Madeleine: Mommy can I watch a show?
Me: Did you put the tops on the markers?
Madeleine: Yes! They’re all topped.

(4) Happiness means...

-So many kindnesses from others- meals, gift cards, sleeper sets, cards...
-Not being pregnant anymore
-Dates with Stephen to Starbucks, sipping a Pumpkin Spice coffee in the cool wind, and then treasure hunting at the consignment store together
- Nightly walks in the the crisp air
- Cuddling with Annabel in my bed nest
-Reading really good books on my Kindle (for iPad;)
- Pondering deep thoughts and contemplating my favorite quotes for the September Quotables series

(5) Pet peeves recently:

When you say "I'll be right back!" And all of your kids follow you downstairs or outside to the car, and then you either have to carry them back upstairs/inside or they talk you into staying downstairs/outside. AGHH!!!! ;)

(6) Eating and Drinking....

Also, to cure your sweet tooth, these snickerdoodles and this pumpkin spice latte syrup.

(7) Links...

Mr. Autumn Man @ The Onion
crying. ;) My husband showed me this one, and I really was laughing so hard I was crying.

Sometimes Mamas Just Need to Let Go @ Someday (Hopefully They'll Be) Saints
This is such a good reminder when you are struggling with bitterness- you've really got to give yourself and the people in your life some grace. It's not gonna be perfect, even when it's "easier"... so why wish it away with perfectionistic feelings and disappointment in the present moment?
Richard John Neuhaus, Father @ First Things
This was a really moving piece about watching a holy man and Father die. Most definitely worth reading!
8 Novels That Are Delightfully Self-Aware About the Writing Process @ Modern Mrs. Darcy
This was just such a fun and feel-good post, and it gave me some ideas for books that I want to read, as well as highlighting a few that I have read and enjoyed. I now officially want to read I Capture the Castle.

A Rough Start @ (by) Sara Damm

This is an excellent look at what daily devotion and spirituality looks like in the life of a Catholic mother.  These types of posts are few and far between- it is worth reading if you are a non-Catholic wondering what this daily spirituality looks like!
adding my link to Kelly @ This Ain't The Lyceum!
Also: Go like my Facebook page, would you, friends?...  I'm getting *so* close to 100 likes!

Monday, September 28, 2015

September Quotables: Emily Stimpson

Welcome to the series: September Quotables.  As I recover from having a baby, I'm going to be posting some of my favorite quotes here on the ol blog. Nothing fancy... although I like fancy.... Just some good quotes, as a series while I recover and take my sweet time in the postpartum department!

today, read, enjoy, and savor this quote from Emily Stimpson's excellent book, These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body.

"At the most basic level, living the theology of the body in the midst of a culture of distraction is difficult because living the theology of the body takes time, and time is something the culture of distraction steals from us...

In contemporary American culture, there are a million unimportant things- status updates, online celebrity gossip, Dancing With the Stars, Steelers stats, and political polls- stealing hours from our limited daily set of twenty-four.  There are also cultural priorities that crowd out what's genuinely important. Working weekends to pay for the vacation in Tahoe, running kids around to their resume-building gaggle of activities, throwing elaborate birthday parties for two-year-olds- they all eat up the time where we could be visiting the elderly widower up the street, sitting down to family dinner, or praying Morning Prayer."

-Emily Stimpson, These Beautiful Bones, ch. 9 p. 140

I liked this quote because...
I think living in a culture of distraction is extremely hard to overcome. Her vision for overcoming it is powerful and enticing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Best Piece of Advice Ever~ Guest Post from Jenny

Good morning friends! I am taking my sweet time, recovering from having a baby. Thankfully
Jenny Cook is here to save my skin. Today, I'm sharing a guest post that she so graciously offered to write for {Picture a Skyline.} Jenny is the rather casual proprietress at Life in the Cookie Jar and also a contributor to Real Housekeeping and Shine Catholic.  She, her husband, and their three little kids live in a little house near Portland, Oregon.  
Take it away Jenny... and thank you!

Pretty bold statement, I know.  Right up front, please know that this is not advice I am perfect at following.  But I strongly believe it and attempt to make it a practice in all areas of my life.


Find someone who has what you want, and ask him/her how he/she got it.

This statement is not primarily aimed at material things, although it could be.  If you know someone who has a beautiful house which impeccable style, and you also know them to be generally frugal, ask them where on earth they got those adorable throw pillows or where they learned to arrange flowers so beautifully.

I mostly use it in terms of skills that I wish I possessed or skills which I have but need to improve.  For example, when I see parents whose children are a joy to be around, I ask them about their parenting techniques.  

I draw upon my circle of friends for parenting advice, because I spend enough time around them as a family to know their children well. I’m around them enough to see the kids on their angelic days and perhaps their not-so-angelic days.  I’m around the parents enough to know whether I like the way they parent.  

(That said, even people you don’t know IRL (in real life) can be a resource. I have emailed bloggers who have written extensively about their family life to ask them questions.  And they’ve written back!)  

I suppose you could say that I’m arguing for renewing the apprenticeship model of learning.  I was a teaching apprentice for two years, and I can’t imagine learning the art of teaching any other way.  My husband is currently entering into his third year as a carpentry apprentice.  Both of these were paid apprenticeship models, which is an idea whose time has come, gone, and should come again.  But you don’t have to be in a formal master-apprentice relationship to reap the benefits of learning from others.  

The other day I had a challenging parenting situation arise.  I’d talked to my husband about it but we were at a bit of an impasse with not knowing how to proceed.  I called my friend who has a couple of kids the ages of my kids and a couple who are older than mine.  I laid out the situation and asked, “What do you think we should do?”  We had a 20 minute conversation about possible ideas and things that have worked for her.  When we hung up, I felt such relief.  It wasn’t as if she had imparted some magical new revelation from on high that no other person on this earth has ever known.  She listened, asked clarifying questions, and gave me her two cents.  It’s just that her two cents is in a currency that’s worth more than mine, because I recognize that as far as parenting goes, I’m a greenhorn.  While I’m sure my friend would never call herself an expert, she has already parented three of her children out of the “terrible threes” and her son who is himself now three is far from terrible!  She’s further down the road, and I respect her as a parent...why wouldn’t I want to apprentice myself to her, so to speak?

Additionally, I think there is a huge psychosocial benefit to the idea of reaching out to ask for help and advice.  It forces us to get outside of ourselves.  Ironically, ever-expanding social media technology tends to isolate us.  Why ask another person when I can just look it up online or buy that new book about simplifying my life and organizing my house?  By asking others, we have to have relationships outside of our home and to get to know the person sufficiently well to know what their talents, gifts, and skills are.  We have to know ourselves well enough to realize a deficit that we would like to remedy.  We have to have the humility to want to ask for help and the guts to go ahead and ask.

As you think about your life today, are there any areas in which you’d like to improve yourself?  Maybe it’s a hobby, like cake decorating or gardening.  Maybe it’s more of a practical life skill, such as car repair.  Perhaps your spiritual life is in a dry spell, or you’re entering into a new phase of parenting and feel in over your head.  The possibilities are limited only by your own ability to assess your personal situation.  What, if anything, do you most want to fine-tune in your life?  Do you know anyone who seems to be a few steps ahead of you in that regard?  As women, I think we’re constantly comparing ourselves to other women anyway.  Let’s at least make constructive use of those comparisons by asking those women how they’ve gotten where they are instead of berating ourselves for not being there yet.  

Finally, you probably have some skill, talent, or life experience which someone else would like to have.  I hope you will consider making yourself available to those who ask, “How do you do it?”  Likely as not, the people in your life have already seen this (given our aforementioned propensity to measure ourselves against others) and may already be yearning to know your “secret.”  If they ask you, you don’t need to hem and haw about how you’re not actually that successful.  You’re allowed to be good at things and to know you’re good at them!  If you’re asked for advice, give it with the reminder that they can take what they like and leave the rest.  You never know whose lives you’ll touch by this simple act of sharing your experience and strength.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

September Quotables: T.S. Eliot

Welcome to the series September Quotables.  As I recover from having a baby, I'm going to be posting some of my favorite quotes here on the ol blog. Nothing fancy... although I like fancy... Just some good quotes as a series while I recover and take my sweet time in the postpartum department.

today may you enjoy these lines from Burnt Norton, by T.S. Eliot.

Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
Wtih slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plentitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

-T.S. Eliot,  from the poem, Burnt Norton from Four Quartets

I liked this quote because...
Eliot is one of my favorite authors and poets.
Also, he used the word "twittering" a hundred years before Twitter was invented.

Friday, September 18, 2015

September Quotables: St. Paul

Welcome to a new series: September Quotables.  As I recover from having a baby, I'm posting some of my favorite quotes here on the ol blog. Nothing fancy... although I like fancy...  Just some good quotes as a series while I recover and take my sweet time in the postpartum department.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

-St. Paul the Apostle, 1. Corinthians 9:24-27

I liked this quote because...

 ~ it made me think. It made me think about how undisciplined I am.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Birth Story~ Annabel Clare

early bird :-D

Birth story= Lame with a side of terrible.

Well..... despite the beautiful fact that this very, very sweet baby girl came out of all of it, this, friends, was not a good birth story. I wish I could say it was, but... not so much.  It was more like lame. With a side of terrible.  When my Mom asked me how it went a few minutes post-birth, I said, “It was really hard (thinking:/horrible).” It wasn't just your typical natural-this-hurts-birth. It was mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining bad. Call me Happy Hallie.

Fair Warning! This is a birth story...! If you don’t like words about position, pain, and vocabulary related to birth stories, you can click away or just skip this one for now!;)

On Wednesday night around 9:30 pm, I started having mild contractions. I was watching the last episode of the 4th season of my current binge-pick, Parenthood.  Anders tried jumping on my lap and I yelled “Stephen!” I think he thought I was going to say, “Come get Anders…” but instead I yelled, “I just had two contractions!" I was thinking to myself: And I think they were real deal! Oh no. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming. With my last birth, I went into labor two after my before my for-real due date. Was I really going to go two days early this time? Don’t get me wrong for a minute. I was as ready as ready could be. The kids were getting on my every last nerve, and my hormones were making me a raging irritable, hot mess, and I was tired of being pregnant. Not to mention the end of August weather had been hot, hot.  God knew. It was time. I prayed to St. Therese, one of my favorite saints and a powerful intercessor: “Please I pray that this is it, bring this baby, God… come on baby! I’m ready!”

I had had my membranes stripped that morning at my Doctor’s appointment. When I first got to my appointment Wednesday morning, they said, “What are you doing here?”


And I said, “Well… I’m 39 and 5 days.  My due date is Friday. And today is the only day my doctor is in this office. Why wouldn’t I be here?” The response in the front desk of the office was so evasive of the actual situation at hand, I became upset. Unfortunately, getting upset made my blood pressure soar right as they were taking it, and that is always a very... um,  bad sign when you are about to go into labor.  This resulted in doctor’s order that the nurses take my blood pressure three more times (all of which came back normal), and 20 minutes of monitoring the baby’s blood pressure/heart rate. Lesson learned: Do not answer the nurse when she asks you why you are upset. Rehashing the situation as she takes your blood pressure will cause your heart to race in anger and that is a very bad and not-recommended-at-all idea!!! But she stripped my membranes, checked me and said I was between 2-3 cm, and sent me home to wait. Of course, not before giving me a very long and convincing speech about being induced the next day.

I went home exhausted and discouraged. And although I thought it had been a bad day, unfortunately I didn’t know how bad it could really get, yet. Call me Optimism Incarnate please. I didn’t know I would be licking my wounds come middle-of-the-night thirty.  When the contractions started coming on strong about every 10 minutes that evening, we decided to not waste any time. I called my parents, my doctor, and my neighbor friends to let them know what we had mutually decided: We were headed to the hospital! Just like with Anders, we didn’t want to wait until 5 minutes apart, because Madeleine had come so quickly when she was born at home (contractions were every 5, 7, and 10 minutes apart and 45 minutes later, she showed up!) and we didn’t like the idea of taking chances, because our instincts to go early with Anders also proved correct.

So, we finished packing and getting everything we needed. Once we got there to triage, around 11pm, however, the contractions stayed at 10 minutes apart, and… I stayed at 3 cm.  There was a lady on call in triage who was not dressed in nurse clothes, and called herself a nurse midwife. She was wearing baggy, out-of-style black and white clothes, and no make-up with several patches of red, dry skin on her face.  After staring me down apathetically multiple times and making the atmosphere horribly awkward, the no-makeup nurse midwife checked me and then mumbled some things I couldn't understand. She checked me around 2am, mumbled incoherent speech, then stared at me. For a very long time. Then, finally she said, "Well? What do you want to do?" I said, "Um. I don't know. I think maybe we should wait?" Ok... she looked at me again and then disappeared to check email and do whatever on her computer at her desk.  After more awkward waiting (theme!), she checked me at around 3:30 in the morning, and I still hadn’t progressed. Guess what? She wasn’t happy about that at all… and let’s just say Optimism was not her special talent.  By 4:30am, she came back, stared at me without saying anything, again, and this time didn't ask my opinion. She had finally made her decision. "I think you need to go home."  I was mad.

I felt like she didn’t seem very caring… Correction: I told Stephen she was the worst nurse midwife ever and how did she have the balls to call herself a midwife anyway? She was uncaring and very aloof. So as she made her pronouncement, I actually fought back a bit. Despite the risk to my blood pressure, I spoke up: "Listen, I’m going to go home, and then labor is going to speed back up, and then this labor is going to be like Frances- the baby will be here by 8am,” I predicted to her in my second moment of my-heart-is-racing for the day/night. Through the whole thing, it was like she was just making a grand attempt at ignoring silly, pathetic loser me who was trying to make a big show of nothing at the doorstep of my child's grand entrance.  Stephen sat in a chair uncomfortably trying to sleep... for five hours.  I was just sitting there, listening to various episodes of the Sorta Awesome podcast, trying to get my mind off things. The negative tension-drama I didn’t ask for and the awkward and palpable sense of helplessness you could cut with a knife. And as I had told her, I also had a suspicion that the minute we left the hospital, my contractions would speed up, and we would have to turn around and come back.

My suspicions were correct. We went home at about 4:30am, and sure enough, were only there until about 6:30am. My parents were on the pull-out to be there for the kids in the morning and we went to bed. Sidenote: when we got home, we noticed the cats were on the porch, and although my parents had them closed in, they didn’t realize the screen on the back porch had fallen out of the door, and our cats had run away. Side note again: we found Sneaky but not Yo-Yo, later that night so he disappeared for a second time. We later found him eating the food we left for him on the back steps, thank you, Lord. Tired and discouraged? Check.

Meanwhile, my contractions had sped up to 5 minutes apart, and they were very painful this time.  So we bid farewell again to my parents, and bid hello again to the not-so-nice nurse who was STILL on call in triage, unfortunately. (bitter);) She checked and I was 5cm. Booyah, mean nurse midwife lady who likes to make people sleep in chairs for five hours.

It was around 7am. This time, although we were quickly admitted to a very nice labor and delivery room with two solid walls of windows, and a bed/couch (good thing now that it's morning thirty!), this is when my labor when from lame to lame with a side of terrible. I set forth my birth plan and despite getting a few kickbacks from the new not-so-nice nurses (many serious and bitter-sounding mutterings under their breath: “She’s being reactive”… yes I CAN hear you! Did you think I couldn’t?!), I was allowed my wishes… freedom of movement and no intervention… or so I so brilliantly thought!

For about an hour, I had contractions, and I could feel the head descending.  Things kept tapering off. Slowing down. Contractions would come between every five and seven minutes. They checked me and I was a big eight. I had already gone through transition and the contractions were bringing her head out. They could feel the head and the bag of waters was right there. Did I want them to rupture the membranes, they asked? No! I said. According to my plan, no intervention!  A few minutes later, they check me again and I must hsvr been a big 9 because they told me I was ready to push.  I turn to Stephen: Maybe they should rupture my membranes? No, he said, it will be easier if they don’t!  Right! Onward! And slowly they came...

...verrrrrry slowly, however.

Again, the nurse started pleading with me. “If we rupture your bag of waters it can really speed up the process”! As she pushed on my tummy, “Am I pressing too hard?” No…… I said.  I was torn. Honestly. Finally, after more pleading on red-haired nurse’s part, (she asked about fifty times, no lie) I conceded, and said: “Ok- do whatever you think best.”  The doctor again reiterated why it might be a very good idea to rupture the membranes.  Finally I said “Ok, you can do it!”  They used a hook, but it didn’t hurt at all. The contractions- guess what?!- didn’t hurt much worse, but they also didn’t speed up all that much at all, that I could tell. Still once every five, once every seven minutes. Except now they were pushing contractions. I had the urge to push and bear down with every contraction. It hurt- a lot. There was a cervical lip again like with Frances, and for a minute they thought she was sunny side up, because the pushing was taking forever, and it was so, so painful for me.  Although I tried pushing on my knees, the doctor and nurse (and two nurses-in-training and two assistants) were helping me to get in position (on my back, they insisted multiple times), and I kept wanting to stand, move, go to the bathroom, get on my haunches. The back-laboring was putting all the gravity on- you guessed it- my back! And the gravity wasn’t working with the contractions, but rather- I felt, against it. I felt weird, but I knew and kept imagining that if I had a doula (or midwife) there with me, it wouldn’t be awkward at all.  So I kept insisting they let me walk around. And walk around I did…

And I ended up pushing for close to two hours. Not. Fun. I didn’t just try walking. I tried everything (squatting, kneeling, praying, asking Stephen to keep texting my Mom to “keep praying!”, birthing ball, dim lights, and even tried to turn on my iPod, but Spotify kept crashing). All of the memories of my past push-them-out-with-one-push (well, with Anders and Madeleine) made me realize I have been spoiled! This is hell! Hats off to all who have had a hard time with pushing! At one point, I was so fed up with pushing and all of the “kind advice” the nurses were testily offering me, I said, “I think I need some space!” Did I mention there were a lot of- at least six or more-  people in the room, and I was pacing from the bathroom to the bed? I later apologized to the nurse for that one, and she said “I fault no one for what they say and do when they are in labor!” That’s a very good thing, because it was almost pathetic how indecent my labor was from beginning to end. It was downright awkward, that since I tried kneeling on the bed, how many times I stuck bare buns in the air for all to view. The red-haired nurse kept pulling my gown back to monitor the baby, and I kept pulling it down, and that was making me mad. Thankfully she ended up being really cool, although during labor I wasn’t feeling it.  Stop monitoring me lady and let me walk around in peace, I kept thinking.  The tone in the room was not peaceful. Sadly, I felt. But after all was said and done, she was very cool. ;) More on that in a minute.

Finally, around 9:15, they encouraged me to try a bar over the bed. I draped myself over it and stayed for one contraction, but it hurt. They told me to try my back again, this time in a “cannonball” position with my legs up high on either side. I did.  And…. ironically enough, since I had been so opposed to being on my back the entire delivery, it worked. Her head was coming out. Oh, my did it hurt. The “ring of fire” was truly that: It felt like her head was HUGE. Pushing the body out, I just kept saying “It hurts so bad!” And "Aaaah!" screaming. But by that point, I was so, so glad her head was out I didn’t care at all. ;) I disconnected my thoughts from my body and pushed through intense pain until she was born.

Despite the fact that she got stuck, my doctor especially was awesome and dedicated in all of it… she far exceeded all of our expectations by being there for the entire duration of my time in Labor and Delivery, helping me and encouraging me and giving me lots of pointers!!!  Would I do natural birth again, though? Yes and maybe with a real midwife as well next time... if there is a next time.;)

{What I learned: A few takeaways... first of all, assume nothing. All you think you know will be proven wrong in your fifth delivery, Tacy. This birth was epically bad. God doesn’t give us more than we are able to handle and capable of enduring, and he prepares us for every trial and suffering we undergo, but that does’t make it easy or in the least bit simple. Having four deliveries previous to this one definitely prepared me for the worst, but I wasn’t expecting the worst! You just never know.}

She was finally born at 9:27am on Thursday, September 3rd... two days early. She weighed in at 6lbs, 10 oz’s, and our second smallest after Molly (five days early).  Delivering the placenta wasn’t bad at all this time, and I didn’t tear so that is SO good… but I had membrane left in my cervix that the doctors and nurses needed to get out for prevention of infection, and that was process was terribly painful. I also had clots that needed to come out of the vaginal canal right after birth, and having the nurse pressing on my abdomen felt more like hell and unlike any past experience. I announced not too long after she was born (after saying she was beautiful a million times) that I’m not having another baby for at least 5 years!!!!! ;)

As we walked to our overnight room, the red-haired nurse who incessantly wanted to monitor my baby, shared with me that she had two babies- three and five months old, and she had  a third baby who died in delivery. Oh. I thought.  No. words. I didn’t hear the rest of the story, but you know? Knowing just a little bit more about someone can change our opinion of them in a flash-second. You just never know.

Overall, our experience in the hospital was good, and yes, I would say I'd do it again. (Really~ I would, in a heartbeat!;)) All of our nurses except the one in triage were good, prompt, helpful, and encouraging. We had a really amazing lactation consultant who was very professional and helpful. All of our kids came to meet the baby in the afternoon with my parents, and Stephen’s parents and our priest father Carter came to visit. Our sweet friend and Godparents of Annabel- The Hinsons- brought us gourmet treats from one of our favorite coffee shops downtown. They visited with us and it was such a bright, happy visit!
so worth it

She is so incredibly beautiful. We are so proud and so blessed to call her our baby! We all feel spoiled by how sweet and good she has been so far!  It has not been without its challenges -- she actually went 7 hours without nursing at all the first day and all the lactation consultation fell on us. I was pumping, feeding her by syringe, and the whole nine yards that first day. But to borrow a cliche- she has nursed like a champ - ever since.

Friday, September 11, 2015

There are two ways to suffer...

Welcome to a new series: September Quotables.  As I recover from having a baby, I'm going to be posting some of my favorite quotes here on the ol blog. Nothing fancy... although I like fancy.... Just some good quotes, as a series while I recover and take my sweet time in the postpartum department!

"There are two ways to suffer... to suffer with love and to suffer without love."

-St. John Vianney

I liked this quote because...
It has a hidden profundity that stopped me in my tracks and really made me think about the how and why of suffering. We suffer everyday. Are we doing so effectively and with wisdom?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Birth Announcement~ Welcome Annabel Clare Beck!

Annabel Clare Beck was born at  9:27am yesterday (Thursday September 3rd).

The whole family is so happy, overjoyed, and thrilled to have finally met this daughter and sister, and to finally, finally hold her in our arms.

Annabel is a Latin baby name meaning "beautiful, loved, and loving."  We have loved this name for a long time, and we're so lucky to have another girl so that we could use this name!
Clare is also a Latin baby name meaning "illustrious, bright, and clear."
Her middle name is after St. Clare, whose feast day is close enough (August 11th) and we found to be just a really beautiful middle name!

We are going to take some time to get to know her. Thank you to everyone for the warm wishes!!
Happy visit and a blessing from Fr. David Carter for baby Annabel!

joining some of these linkups.