Soren, Summer Vacation, and The End of an Era


Soren is a couple weeks past two months by now. He is such a sweet baby. He's rarely fussy and rarely cries. When he does get upset it seems to be randomly in the car or evenings and usually I attribute it to being over tired. He smiles so easily and loves to "talk". At his two month well-check he was 13 lbs, 5 oz, which put him around 85th percentile for weight. Even with all his spitting up, he's gaining weight like a champ. He's well into 3-6 month clothes which is new for my babies. The other boys always wore whatever size clothes of the age they were. 

Around two months old he started sleeping longer stretches and dropped a night feeding which was a welcome surprise. I try not to have any expectations for sleep so it caught me off guard when suddenly 5-6 (sometimes up to 8) hour stretches became the norm at night. Although I don't think two weeks can be considered "the norm". So we'll see... We love Soren Devin so much and are really enjoying having him around, even if he makes our (my) summer a lot less flexible.

MICHIGAN

We spent the week of the 4th up at the lakehouse with mom, dad, and Betsy's family. Such a good week. Unusually hot weather, lots of fishing, beach time, ice cream...the usual.















Now we're home and enjoying our last month of freedom before Henrik starts school. It's hitting me hard that we're about to have a kid in school full-time. I really cannot believe how quickly 5.5 years have gone with Henrik and that we'll be sending him off to Kindergarten, ending the era of having all our young kids at home. So weird. 

Deciding where Henrik would go to school was not an easy decision. We considered all the options...public, private, and homeschool. Homeschooling and private ended up being the final two that we deliberated about for months (public isn't a great option for us because of our current school district). It was really good for me to pray through and consider the option of homeschooling because it revealed a lot about who I am, what I value, and what type of needs Henrik has. Ultimately I was able to confidently say homeschooling was not right for Henrik and definitely not right for me and my interests. It was freeing to be able to put that to rest even though we liked some of things that option offered our family. So Henrik will start his school years at the private Christian school where he did preschool. I am super confident in this being a great place for him for this year even if the adjustment to 5 full days a week is hard.

But for now, looking forward to a few more weeks of summer!

Life with all the boys


This pictures absolutely takes my breath away. Look at all these beautiful boys (and man)!

Overall I'd say the transition to having three kids has gone pretty well. Having over a three year gap between babies this time around was very nice and I'm glad that's how things worked out. In a lot of ways, it's been easier having 3 than I thought it would be, but there are for sure days that are long and overwhelming. I'm perpetually behind on my to-do list, but I expected that. Devin and I, who both enjoy a tidy home, have agreed this is a season where things are going to feel less put together and that's ok. 

For the most part Soren has been a great baby. Weeks 2-4 he was fussy in the evenings and from time to time seems to have some digestive issues that make him uncomfortable. But he's easily consoled and overall a content baby. He's up to nurse 2-3 times during the night. With my first baby I would have been losing my mind and wondering why he wasn't sleeping longer or "through the night" but I have no expectation for that anymore. I think it's healthy for babies to nurse during the night for several months and it's good for my milk supply. Of course I'm always happy when he'll do a longer stretch, but this newborn season goes so quickly and I'm enjoying the time with him, even during the night.

I think I keep enjoying each baby more and more! Around 5 weeks we started getting some smiles and by now (6.5 weeks) he's smiling and cooing consistently and melting all of our hearts. He's such a dear. 

Henrik has maintained his interest and love for Soren and is always happy to see him and interact. Ira is super sweet to Soren as well. Maybe I'm missing something, but the older boys haven't seemed too impacted my Soren's addition to our family. A couple times I've wondered if their behavior is tied to the change in our family, but mostly I think they've weathered it all very well.

It's been a little sad to feel more restricted on our summer activities. It's pretty easy to take Soren places, but I do feel limited going out with all three of them and knowing Soren will want to eat and that may be inconvenient with where we are. So we have been home more than any of us would prefer and the last couple weeks there have been some long days where everyone is a little restless. But things are going to pick up and be pretty busy the next few weeks so I should enjoy the down time. 

Vanessa Stoller Photography did an amazing job on our newborn/family session. Here are a few of my favorites...










Soren's Birth


It was an absolutely beautiful spring day on Thursday, April 26. The boys were playing outside most of the day and I got a bit of a sunburn outside watching them. Devin had decided to buy a new grill on his lunch break and ended up taking the afternoon off of work to enjoy the weather and set up and 'season' his new ceramic egg. My sister Molly stopped by as she often does after school and we sat outside chatting. I was no doubt lamenting about how I couldn't believe I was still pregnant. This conversation had been going on for the past two weeks as I was having tons of contractions - or false labor - and so many other signs of impending labor.

I had been 90% effaced and dilated 3cm for a couple weeks now with the line from my midwife of "you could have him tonight or who knows, even make it to your due date". Not helpful when each day felt like a week. Let's just say I did not enjoy the last month of pregnancy, at all.

As Molly was leaving, around 3PM or so, I mentioned I was having a few steady contractions but rolled my eyes about how I'm sure it was nothing. Since Devin was home, Ira and I decided to go for a walk. Ira was really into stroller rides that week so I pushed him around our neighborhood for about a half hour. During our walk the contractions definitely picked up and were actually pretty painful to walk through.

We had invited Devin's parents to come over for burgers on the new grill and I started to wonder if it would be good they were coming in case we needed them to take the boys home overnight. I was so hesitant to call it real labor, because I knew it could stop at any moment, but I also knew these contractions were feeling different than anything I had been having the past couple weeks. And I was only a couple days from my due date, so surely he was coming soon?!

By about 5:30 I declared to Devin I was pretty confident active labor had kicked in and I didn't think he'd be grilling after all. Devin's parents came and picked up the boys around 6:30. The Penguins playoff game was on so we (mostly Devin) watched that while I sat on the exercise ball timing contractions. Devin and I took a walk around 7:30 and at this point contractions were roughly 5 minutes apart and definitely not comfortable.

I called the on-call midwife a little before 9PM to let her know what was happening. She suggested it definitely seemed like the real thing but also didn't sound like we needed to rush to get into the hospital. However, she recommended it was better to be there a bit early than a bit late so I should head in whenever and call her when we left the house (I know my file said "history of rapid birth" from Ira, so this was probably what she had in mind as far as not waiting too long.)

At this point in the evening, I had been up since about 6AM, had a long day with the boys, no nap, and was feeling kind of exhausted. I tried to lay down and rest before what I figured would be a long night of laboring, but the contractions were too painful to sleep through. I drank a smoothie and walked some laps around our house. I was timing contractions and they were really irregular and then backing off. I was frustrated and not sure if we should just go to the hospital or if things were a long way off. However, even though the contractions weren't very close together, they hurt! So we ended up leaving for the hospital around 10:20PM.

By the time we got settled into our room at Dupont, my contractions were only coming about every 10 minutes and I was annoyed and wondering if I wouldn't even be very far along. Maryann, the midwife, checked me and I was about 6cm and she said she thought my water could break any second. I was happy to hear where I was. She suggested breaking my water after we got checked in with registration, etc. I wanted to, because I knew it would speed things up, but also knew it would ramp up the intensity and wasn't looking forward to that.

The delivery nurse came into to monitor me/baby for awhile and do the general intake. Thankfully because of the practice I go to, the nurses know they don't have to follow certain protocol, like IVs because my DR/midwife are flexible and very pro-natural birth so don't follow the L&D status quo. But I could tell the nurse was quizzing me on my past births to assess if she really thought I wouldn't end up getting an epidural and need an IV. She broke my water around 11:40PM. At that point I decided to go across the hall to use a tub. Devin said he thought the nurse's suggestion to just use the shower in the room implied she didn't really want me to get in the tub. In hindsight I think both she and Maryann thought it would all go pretty quickly.

The contractions in the tub were pretty brutal, despite still not being super close together until right at the end. I was kind of emotional and told Devin I knew what had to happen to get this baby out and I just did not want to do it. He prayed with me and though I was generally peaceful there was a heavy cloud hanging over me, I think from the mix of pain and exhaustion.

Probably after 20 min in the tub the nurse came to quick monitor baby and asked if she should check me but I declined, assuming we still had awhile. But just a few minute after she left I had two strong contractions close together and the final one made me cry/yell and I knew transition was happening. I told Devin to pull the cord and get the nurse ASAP. She was in there instantly, followed by the midwife (like I said, I'm pretty sure they were expecting it to be quick). They all walked me back across the hall. I was a bit hysterical from the pain and somehow it still wasn't clicking with me that he was coming out and I was almost done.

When we got back in the room I got on the bed and with a quick check Maryann confirmed I was 9.5 cm and I could start pushing. Maryann is a total boss lady and at this point told me firmly to calm down because I was almost done. As soon as I had a contraction I started to push. Devin had gone to grab me water and our midwife yelled at the nurse "where is dad? get him in here or he's gonna miss this birth!" Devin's disclaimer is that he was just doing what I told him to (get water) and was hurrying because he had picked up on the fact that it was happening fast.

Pushing was terrible, like it was with Ira. Definitely not a relief from the pain. I was having a hard time taking any instruction as I was kind of in my own world. Once again Maryann got firm with me and told me to stop screaming and to listen to what she was telling me to do, which was holding my legs back and lifting my head to push. It was at this point I finally realized I was, in fact, almost done and got serious about pushing him out. I started hearing encouraging things from Maryann, Devin, and the nurses, like about his dark hair and how his head was almost out. That gave me the motivation to get his head out on the next contraction. Then after a small push for his body, there he was at 12:30AM on April 27th.

He was pretty blue and had some gunk in his throat that he was having a hard time clearing. But once he did he had a nice, full cry. As soon as I saw him I thought of Ira. At this point I was still really uncomfortable and having a hard time focusing on my baby. I felt better once the placenta was delivered. And did have some stitching, which is the worst. It took me about an hour or so to feel the joy of having my baby in my arms and the relief that he was finally here. I think I made some sort of half-joking comment to Dev about how I was never doing that again so he was free to go get that vasectomy. :)

Once again I'm in awe of this process that our bodies go through of growing a human, giving birth, and then feeding that human. Seriously, women have some amazing bodies. I'm thankful and do not take for granted that I've been able to have three uncomplicated, natural births!

Soren

He finally came!
I probably didn't earn the right to say "finally". I mean, he was born two days before his due date. But, the reality is, I had so much false labor that tricked me into thinking he'd be a couple weeks early like Ira AND the final month of pregnancy felt more like a year...hence, the "finally".

Soren Devin was born at 12:30AM on April 27th. He weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz and was 20.5 inches at birth. Birth was uncomplicated (birth story coming!) and he is healthy and thriving. For that we are so thankful and feel very blessed.

He was so familiar to me right when he came out. The resounding theme is that he looks like Ira, which we definitely agree with, but see glimpses of Henrik, especially in his darker hair/coloring. He's only 5 days old, so I'm not making any blanket statements, but so far he's been content and our most chill newborn of the three.

It's still sinking in that we have three sons to shepherd in this complicated world and the weight of that is very present. But joy is present too. So much joy in these three boys!

Brothers are adjusting really well. Henrik loves him and has been super excited to be around him and hold him. Ira pretends to be excited for awhile with Henrik but loses interest a lot faster. We're easing into life with Devin off work and trying to all enjoy this beautiful spring weather together.

My recovery, both physically and mentally, has gotten so much easier with each baby so I feel glad to be doing this for the third time and not the first.

And now for an onslaught of pictures...






During labor, birth and the first hour of recovery I felt a lot of heaviness. I think mostly the pain and fatigue really messed with me, but when I looked over at Devin holding Soren for the first time I felt this wave of relief and joy and thought "wow, this baby has no idea how lucky he is to have the dad he does". Somehow this moment settled me and seemed lift the heaviness I was feeling.





So much enthusiasm from the older brothers!











Look at these precious, handsome boys! Thank you Jesus!

Spring Break and Waiting for Baby



Easter Sunday

We had a nice Easter weekend. We hosted Devin's family (minus his parents who were up in Michigan following his grandma's death) Saturday night just to get together and then Sunday we lucked out and my family got together at my sister Molly's just 15 minutes away. It was my idea to have Easter in FW this year and then Molly got to host. :) Thankfully I don't think she minded. 


Spring break has felt more like winter break. Definitely a good year to go south for those who did...which sadly wasn't an option for us. In some ways the weather gave me an out to cozy up inside instead of being outside with the boys, which isn't something I have tons of energy for at this point, but overall I'm finding myself pretty frustrated by cold and snow in April.

The boys and I did a couple fun outings throughout the week and they got to spend the better part of the day at their beloved auntie's house and play with cousins which was for sure their highlight. My sister's kids, though much older than mine, are amazing players and include my boys so well. Molly even gave Devin and I some free babysitting so we could grab dinner...probably our last one before baby.

Speaking of baby...

 
I sent this to Devin this week. :) I wore this shirt at 41 weeks pregnant with Henrik and have majorly outgrown it at just 37 weeks with baby #3. I'm feeling a little paranoid that this baby is going to be massive, which is probably one of the reasons I'm hoping he comes sooner rather than later. My ideal would be for him to come like one week from now...about 38 weeks like Ira. I really am glad it's not up to me to choose his birthday, but for some reason I just feel like I won't make it to my due date on this one. (Please God don't let me be wrong about that.)

One day this week I had tons of painful cramps and random contractions. I knew it wasn't labor, but it did feel like my body was doing some work ahead of time, so hopefully that's true. My stomach also seems to have dropped an inch or two.

Honestly the main thing I feel right now is bored. I've worked through pretty much everything I wanted to have done before the baby and a lot of days don't really know what to do with myself. It doesn't help that my energy is LOW. Like, six hour days are about all I have in me. I could totally sleep half the day and all night if that was an option. I remember this before I had Ira though...and remember thinking "how am I going to survive when I'm up half the night with a newborn?!". But now I know that this pregnancy exhaustion is so much different than newborn sleep deprivation. I feel pretty confident I'll be feeling lots better once this baby is outside of me.

Devin's guess was that the baby would come on the 24th. My guess is the 15th. Both of our other kids were born on Sundays, so seemed fun to continue that tradition.