Monday, March 30, 2009

Very busy weekend. Phew! We had the dual birthday girls (they share a birthday 4 years apart. Now they are 13 and 9) celebration. This year due to the proximity to the baby's birth, it was low key, dinner out with my dh and and the two birthday girls. My 13 year old daughter made their own birthday cake, which I was grateful for.

We had a few more "meet the baby" visitors.

We had a healing service at church, which was one of my first visits there since Melanie was born. I have mentioned before how beneficial anointings are for me, and I received one yesterday with great joy and appreciation.

Now my schedule is gearing back up to its normal pace this week, so we will see how it goes. This week we have doctor appointments, choir, Holy Week preparations and gearing up for our annual Pachal Party.

Baby is nearly two weeks old already, and I can see the writing on the wall about how quickly her babyness is going to go. I am making certain to take time to soak her in, enjoy her littleness, and revel in the miracle that she is. We are truly blessed!
(photo of three of her older sibling meeting Melanie for the first time).

Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, baby edition!!

Quick takes, baby edition! Yea!!! I was waiting for this, and now she's here!

1) Just this morning, for the first time since she was born, baby took a nap in her bassinet. I got to make and drink coffee, make steel cut oats, and begin this post. We'll see if I get to finish it before she awakens, but even still, this is a first.

2) Sadly, she did get thrush. I was afraid of that since I was on anti-biotics for the root canal. I have been taking tons of pro-biotics the entire pregnancy and post-partum period, but we are still battling yeast. Piffle.

3) As I commented on frequently during my pregnancy, I felt terrific and downright youthful while I was pregnant (excepting the last 2 weeks). I have, however, felt everyone of my 42 and 3/4 years during this post partum time. My neck and shoulders are sore from HOLDING the baby. My hips ache. My stomach hurts, I still look 6 months pregnant. I am dizzy tired. And I am so happy about getting to have Melanie in our lives, I can barely stand it.

4) While I was nursing the baby this morning, on the most painful side, my four year old daughter was noticing my grimace. She looked concerned, then convicted, and then she said, "I know what will help you mommy." She then took her little hand and softly began to rub my cheek. "Does this make it feel better, mommy?" It absolutely did!

5) Two days ago, the baby awoke with a goopy eye. I then remembered the miraculous healing powers of breast milk, and after a few applications, her eye is clear. Isn't God smart?

6) I am filled with excited anticipation to have my son home in a week and a half. I can not wait to introduce him to his new little sister and God-daughter. He and my eldest daughter have agreed to be Melanie's Godparents, and I couldn't be happier about it!

7) Melanie will have the honor of being Baptized and Chrismated at the Easter Vigil this year. In the Eastern church, babies are Baptized, Confirmed and receive the Holy Eucharist all at the same time. A sacramental trifecta, so to speak. It is going to be a big, joyful day at our house!!

Well, baby is crying now, so off I go. Check out Conversion Diary for more Quick takes.
(Photos courtesy of my eldest daughter)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Baby

This is a photo I took with my cell phone the morning after Melanie was born. I can not believe she is a week old (or will be at 10:15 tonight) already. What week it has been. So many loving visitors, so much care and concern shown to us, so much love! We have had a slow start on the nursing, which is a little frustrating and painful, but I see daily progress so I have hope. I am still quite swollen in my hands and ankles, more so than I was during pregnancy. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can help to make the swelling go down? I have been drinking lots of water, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

Anyway, I think she is fabulously cute, and I have been enjoying her tremendously. My kids came home from Grammy and Papa's last night, so my house is full again, and it feels much more normal around here. I actually have only held her long enough to feed her this morning. She has been in the arms of her siblings the rest of the day. So there is a quick update. I'll add more when I can!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Birth Story

I need to write this down before I forget some of the details. It is amazing how quickly so much fades after birth.

I would say it all started Monday the 16th of March.

I had some early labor signs, but was truly in a lot of pain from an inflamed tooth. This had been bothering me for some time, and it was decided to have a root canal done this day. All signs of labor stopped at that time, providentially, and the procedure was completed. I had my first very good nights sleep in a while, and woke on the 17th, St. Patrick's Day, to more early labor signs and mild, spaced out contractions.

Over the course of the morning, the contractions regulated at 15 minutes apart, but were still mild and short. I finally decided to just go out with my mom and eat lunch, do a few errands, and generally enjoy the lovely day outside. We went out to eat, then to Trader Joe's, and Goodwill. One lady at Goodwill asked me when my baby was due, and I told her it was the next day, although I was timing contractions as we spoke. She couldn't believe it ~ "Here??" she asked, shocked.

We went home, and I was sleepy so I took an hour nap, and woke up about 6:00 pm. Contractions at 12 minutes apart, still mild, still barely uncomfortable. My mom went home, because it seemed as if this might not go anywhere for a while.

However, immediately after she left, the contractions went to 9 minutes, and required a little walking off. My husband called the midwife, who reserved the birth pool for us at the hospital, and agreed to wait til we called again to meet at the hospital. Within 20 minutes, the contractions were at 6 minutes, were quite uncomfortable, and I was getting fuzzy headed. My husband quickly recognized the signs, and ordered me to the car, as my desire at this time was to stay home a while longer. That is my way, supreme denial.

By the time we did the 20 minute drive, the contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart. As I walked into our room, I saw the birth pool, all set up and being filled. My anxiety level decreased immediately, as I knew I was going to get to use the water!

After about an hour of signing papers, getting monitored and getting checked, I finally got to get in the pool, at 7 cm dilated. Joy! Bliss! Immediate pain relief!

I think I had about 7 contractions in the tub, before I knew that our baby girl was about to be born. I remember how hot the water was, how good the cool towel on my face felt, and how nice it was to listen to the chanting of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. The atmosphere in the room was upbeat, energetic, yet peaceful. It was just myself, my husband, the midwives and one nurse, all supremely supportive of me, encouraging and excited.

I remember expressing some fear about hemorrhaging , as I have had two significant postpartum hemorrhages in the past. I felt my fear was preventing me from relaxing all the way to let the baby be born. My midwife assured me she was quite prepared to handle it, but that my body knew what to do to control the bleeding. She encouraged me to have confidence in my body, and with that, I relaxed significantly. Two good, hard, painful pushes later, and there she was! It always amazes me how quickly anguish can turn to joy!

She was perfect. She didn't cry much, as she was still in the water with me, and I assume, quite comfortable. Her eyes were wide open, and she looked amazed at what had just happened. She pinked up quickly, and, after her cord was finished pulsing, my husband cut the cord, and was handed his new daughter, and I got out of the tub and went to the bed. The placenta was delivered, and there was no hemorrhage at all. Perfect.

I got to hold the baby again for an hour, and she was quiet, alert and peaceful. Moments I hope to never forget, some of the absolute best of my life.

We debated about her name. We had previously decided her name would be Melanie Christine Marie. But she was born on St. Patrick's Day. Do we commemorate this? Seemed like we should, so we thought we could change it to Melanie Patrice Marie. My older daughters really were attached to Christine, which we had been using for some time. Ultimately it was decided to name her Melanie Christine Patrice Marie.

Melanie is for St. Melania, born in the 400's, a married saint of the church and philanthropist in the Holy Land. Her story is remarkable and I can't wait to share it with you in a later post.

Christine, my grandmother's middle name.

Patrice, in Honor of St. Patrick

Marie, in honor of the Theotokos, the mother of Our Lord, and patroness of our other four daughters.

Our Melanie's arrival was just as I had hoped and prayed for. My recovery so far has been the best ever. I want to thank God, and all of you, for your prayers, encouragement and concern for me during this pregnancy and delivery. The power of your intercessory prayers is evident to me in the beauty of this birth. Thank you, each and every one. I am truly grateful!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Melanie is here!

This is the DH posting because the once-again-birthgiver is still in the hospital. All went well; she had the birth-pool she had hoped for, the Canon of Andrew of Crete was playing, we were at the hospital only two hours before the birth, there was no hemorrhaging to speak of or fear, the nurse was great, the midwife was great, and much more that I will let herself hold forth about since this is her blog.

Little Melanie landed on St. Patty's Day, so we may have some debate about a middle name that we had thought was settled. She was born at 10:15 pm; weight 8lb 14oz, 35.5 cm head (sputnik), 21.5 in long, thick reddish slightly curly hair. Again, I will let herself fill in with more details. Please let it suffice for now that we are happy, we feel blessed, and we are grateful for the numerous prayers, yours and ours, that have been answered with such super-abundant generosity by God.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I think this is it...

I will be heading to the hospital in a little while. I have had contractions all day, but they are now picking up in intensity. The birth pool is open, so that is looking good. Pray for us!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

39+ weeks

Friday, March 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


Well, here we are again, and no baby edition for me. I realllllly thought we were up and running during the night, as I had my first episode of regular, although quite spaced apart, contractions. Alas, when I did get up this morning, all rumblings quieted down, and I was left to wonder "when". It's alright, though, because I just wasn't ready to do it all today. I just wasn't.


I had to skedaddle early this morning to the midwife's appointment. All is still well. I gained weight this week. One week I gain weight (and the midwife is concerned), the next week I loose weight (and the other midwife is concerned). Next week, if I am still pregnant, I have to have a non-stress test and an ultrasound to verify the health of the placenta. I ardently hope my placenta is retired by next week. Ardently.


I have a tooth that needs a crown, one that my dentist said is in good enough shape to wait until the baby is born to deal with. Apparently, my tooth disagrees, as it flared up two days ago to such a degree that the entire side of my face is in pain. The upside? I get Tylenol with Codine, and the sleep I have been getting during the day has been phenomenal! I mean truly divine. I am not, I repeat, not looking forward to the root canal I will need either tomorrow or soon after the baby is born. I never thought I would get to test the theory that childbirth is better than a root canal. I would have been content to leave it an irrelevant saying.


My forced bulbs are blooming in the house.


I am letting my little girl (age 4) watch way too many movies. I have to read to her more instead. Picture this: hugely pregnant women on codine attempting to read to a 4 year old who really wants to be on her mom's lap. The lap doesn't currently exist, and the mom's head starts bobbing middle way through page one of the book. So it boils down to, "What do you want to watch, Cinderella or Robin Hood?"


If all goes well, I should get to do a water birth again. The arrangements have all been made. Now I just need things to go as planned. Silly of me, I know. But I can hope, eh?


I am going to go lay down right now, and will be asleep in 3 seconds. Lame entry, but all I can come up with at this moment. My body is literally screaming at me to go take a nap, so I will.

PRAY that the baby is born soon and safely, please!

More of these at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Small successes

Time for small successes. This may be a stretch, but I am trying.

1. I cleaned out my closet, got rid of all the maternity clothes I won't wear again.

2. Cleaned out the mud room (with my mom and the kids) and got rid of 3 large bags of shoes. Sorted all the winter outdoor wear and put most of it away for the year. Reordered the shelves and BOY does it look nice out there.

3. Got the grocery list to my husband, who completed the shopping yesterday. Got the food put away, and we are set for 2 weeks for food. I am assuming the baby will be born before we need to shop again, although it is beginning to feel as if she will never be born (and I haven't even hit the due date yet).

So that is it. Check out Faith and Family Blog for more Small Successes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another corner turned

Six weeks after I had my first baby, we got a dog. A puppy. A little Sheltie puppy, very timid and very sweet, very beautiful. We named her Sophie, which was the name we were going to use had the first baby been a girl. This wasn't even a year after my husband and I got married. For 15 and a half years, this dog has been part of our family.

Needless to say, she saw many, many changes through the years. She accepted each new arrival into the family, both children, as well as a cat, and three new houses, with nonchalant notice. Being a timid dog, she didn't train well, in the traditional sense, as any firm voice would cause her to roll on her back and cower. I was quite distracted through the years with all the children coming, but somehow Sophie managed to learn my language. She came when called. She learned our yard borders, and never ran off. She would "go lay down" when ever I told her to, and she rarely barked. She didn't ask for much, nor did she get much. Benign neglect would be a phrase I would use for the way she fit in our family.

She got lots of affection, being that there were so many people in our home, but only sought it out rarely. She followed me around everywhere, and if I was out of the house for a few days, she wouldn't eat until I got back. No doubt I will never be the recipient of such devotion for the rest of my days.

Over the past few years, her health has been declining. She went deaf. She got cataracts. She began coughing and throwing up frequently. But she didn't seem to be in pain, and she still loved to scrounge the kitchen floor for food, and loved to go outside and explore our land, and chase raccoons, and deer, and possum. For a small dog, she was truly fearless when it came to keeping things out of our yard.

I am guessing you can see where this is going. As my pregnancy has progressed, our Sophie has declined. It became apparent that she was not going to recover any of her faculties, and her decline was speeding up. While I think she could have had a very nice life a bit longer, with proper care and attention, I also know she wouldn't be getting that once the new baby was born. My husband and I knew that a hard decision had to be made about our Sophie, but I just haven't been in the "hard decision" state of mind. I couldn't really think about it, I just made futile wishes that it was resolved. I would pray that she would die in her sleep, and spare us the agony of deciding.

My brave husband made that decision two days ago, and took the hard step to take her in and have her put to sleep. There have been lots of mixed feeling around here, sadness, relief, regret, a lost familiarity. The child I thought would be heart broken was very practical and matter of fact. The one I thought would be matter of fact was heart broken and cried all day. My littlest two girls found some of Sophie's pretty fur on her pillow and put it in a baggie to keep. My eldest daughter just today took her pillows apart to wash, and pass on. Her food dish and water bowl are still in the kitchen, no one ready to dispose of them yet. I haven't gotten to talk to my oldest son yet, the one who was six weeks old when we got Sophie.

So now we get used to the house being a little less full, for a while, until our new baby girl comes home, and new life brings its joy again. We all know that it was a good decision, to have our Sophie put to rest, after a long and faithful life with us. But we miss her. She was a part of us all along.

Good bye, Sophie.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Question

So I feel like I am stuck between phases of my life. I am finally pretty uncomfortable, but still have a week or so to go with this pregnancy. So I can't do my regular life very well anymore, but, I don't have a new baby yet. So I sit, wait, and struggle to keep my imagination in check. Just waiting, and wishing for things to be resolved, finished, moving towards what my new normal will be. Too large and tired to get much accomplished here, just waiting, waiting. *Sigh*. What should I DO now? How do I make this time fruitful? Any suggestions?

Friday, March 06, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


Baby edition 7 Quick Takes over at Jen's Place. Maybe next week I'll have my own. Maybe the week after that. Or the week after that. Ughh. I hate this part of pregnancy. I still feel pretty darn good, but my emotional health is less so. When will the baby be born? (I have been anywhere from 8 days early to exactly on the due date). How long will it take? (I have had long and short labors). Good birth, or complicated? (I have had all non-complicated births so far). Postpartum hemorrhage or not? (I have had this twice out of seven). Nursing difficulties, or smooth sailing? (I have had both). Calm baby, or fussy baby? (I have had both). Postpartum depression, or not? (I have had difficulties in this area a few times, once pretty badly). Dark haired girl, or blond haired girl? (I have 2 of each, currently).


Even though midwives are supposed to see pregnancy and birth as a normal occurrence in a woman's life, mine seem to be assuming that at any minute something is going to go terribly wrong, and I don't know why. It is starting to undermine my confidence in this pregnancy, the closer I get to the actual birth, and that is making me rather upset. This has been a good and healthy pregnancy. Is it my age? Is it past experiences that are guiding the attitude? What? They had me do a non-stress test yesterday, after a perfectly normal appointment. Not a big deal, really, and it was all very good results, but the specter of concern and worry was thick at the appointment, and I really have no idea why. Getting on my nerves, I tell you!!


We have had a slew of people close to us experience serious health concerns this past week. Thanks be to God that in each case, there has been astounding progress in their recoveries, and in each case, the prognosis is so much improved over where we were a week ago.


I can sense a growing apprehension around my house. I think the very near arrival of a new baby is adding a happy anxiety that is making people a little agitated and tired. My youngest daughter is clinging to me like crazy, kissing me all day long, and telling me she loves me and wants to sleep with me forever. As much as she is looking forward to meeting her new sister, I think she is a little worried about what it will feel like to get bumped. The older two are a little worried about how much responsibility will fall on them. The middle kids are wondering if Mom will ever be her old self (she won't). So this transition is coming, and while it is a joyful one, holds a bit of trepidation for us all.


Another beautiful 60 degree day today. I am opening up the windows, and packing up and giving away half my maternity clothes (the ones I don't ever want to wear again). I am going to fill and take 4 bags to Goodwill today (from my room and my boys room, both of which have way too many clothes). And I am going organized my mudroom because I just got a new shelving unit for that room. And then I am going to go outside and enjoy the weather.


I have been reading a book I found at the thrift store, Death on a Friday Afternoon by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Fabulous book, and may he rest in peace! I probably won't get through it all this Lent, as it is so packed with profound reflections, I would do the book an injustice to rush through it. Highly recommended.


**blush** I still have some Christmas decoration outside, and that will also be on the agenda today. All winter type decor is getting put away today. Finally.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Small successes

1. I managed to get all my last minute baby purchases completed this week. Now all I need to to do is pack my "to the hospital bag", and I am ready.

2. My older girls and I had a nice evening out for hot cocoa while we created 3 weeks worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and shopping lists. We'll recycle these for a while after the baby is born, and hopefully make my husband's job of doing the shopping a little easier. Plus, we'll get regular meals, and that's always good.

3. I got my son to refill the bird feeders, and we will hang the bird houses today, because nesting season is beginning. And, did you all know the time change "spring forward" is this weekend? Spring is on its way!!!

(Isn't it wonderful how I can take spring coming as a personal success? Maybe I should just say, I made through winter relatively intact).

Monday, March 02, 2009

Still here

Still hanging in there. I had a very busy weekend, thus no Friday Quick Takes. I don't really have time for this, but just didn't want anyone to think my absence indicated baby's arrival. I have too large of a list to accomplish today, but I am going to give it a try, so in all fairness, must get off the computer. May your day be blessed!