Sunday, November 18, 2012

Loving myself, inspite of body issues!

  Busy doesn't even being to encompass how I have felt lately.  I keep saying, lets just get through this one thing and then surely it will slow down a little.  And instead, life with three just keeps on truckin'.  I have neglected my blog profusely, but I resolve to try to keep up a little better.  A pre-New Years resolution, if you will.  Maybe my next post can be an annoying compilation of all the things I have missed blogging about.  However for now, I am going to just write about this.  My body issues.  I have had a weight problem for what feels like my whole life.  I was self conscious in high school about it, but looking back, I was very normal and average weight, and it was a typical teenage girl body issues.  Since gaining more than the "freshman 15" in college, I have gone up and down with marriage, babies and Weight Watchers in between.  I really do long to lose more baby weight, and all the extra that was hanging out from before.  $ and time are an issue now, but for now, I resolve to do this instead.  To 1) Make better choices daily, and 2) Not to get down on myself for making a bad choice and moving on the the next day and 3) To love myself more, and to love myself openly.  I have fought hard (so far) to keep my girls from having weight or body image issues.  I have fed them the right things, encouraged active lifestyles but I think the one things that's missing is my attitude about my own body.  Yes, I have gained weight.  I think 9 months later, I can't keep blaming it on Avery and pregnancy.  No, I am not the size I want to be, but YES I do love ME and I love what my body grew and nourished.  I RESOLVE to say this daily to my girls.  Its so easy to smile at their little faces and tell them how beautiful they are inside, and out.  Maybe hearing it from me about myself instead of worrying about aging skin, jeans that don't fit right, stretch marks and saggy breasts will be just what my girls need to be confident and secure in a world that judges women primarily on looks alone.  If you are a mom of girls (and boys too!) please joining me in making an effort to outwardly love ourselves more!
The blog post below inspired me to write these thoughts down, please go check it out too!

Monday, August 27, 2012

6 months and counting.

  When Carl and I married, children (God willing) were a given.  We had some discussions about how many we'd like to have, but never settled on a definite number.  His only input was we definately needed more than one, since he grew up an only child.  (His parents lost his sister when she was only a few weeks old)  I come from a family of four kids, and I have a huge number of cousins with whom I am very close, so having a "big" family has always been something I wanted.  There was no doubt in my mind, when Lilly was born, we would have more.  Lots of people asked if we were done when Ryley came along.  I would say to them, God willing, at least one more!

  Now, our little girl #3 is here, and already having her half year birthday!  Not something particularly exciting to "celebrate" but it feels like another milestone.  I have survived three kids for six months and I have lived to tell the tale!  It has been more joyful and more difficult than I imagined it would be.  I have a few close friends who have two kids and would like more but their husbands all have been using the man-to-man vs. zone defense argument.  There is no doubt, we are outnumbered here!  However, I wouldn't change it for anything. 

  I also have to wonder, if I'd had a son, would I be wondering, "am I really done having kids?"  I was always a tom boy, loved sports and the outdoors.  I always pictured myself raising sons for some reason.  Now here I am, knee deep in princesses, ponies and pink stuff, and loving it!!  A friend of mine, blessed with five beautiful kids said to me once (her youngest a girl), "I really wanted her to be a boy, but I have never been so glad I have her in my life."  Its true, God gives us what we need, not what we want!  Even though I felt the heartache and disappointment when we discovered Avery was a girl, I can not imagine not having her in my life.  I can't picture any other face in her place.  I can't wait to see her grow up with her sisters learning all things girly, and all things tom boy-ish too! 

  Recently, I started tagging winter clothes Avery has already grown out of, and a variety of other baby things, for a local consigment sale.  I have had quite a few weepy moments putting those little baby things on hangers and sending them out my door.  I kept the few that meant the most to me, but really it was monumental, the thought that all my babies weren't tiny babies anymore, and none of them would ever wear this outfit or that outfit again.  It wasn't the clothes, just the memories that choked me up.  I can honestly say (again, unless God sees fit to surprise us) that the Groce baby factory is done making babies.  Its just hard to believe my child bearing days are over.  I have a pang of jealous when my friends talk about their pregnancy, but I can honestly say I don't want to do it again.

  I can also say this: I still want to have a son.  If we survive three kids for a few more months, maybe a few more years, just maybe I can talk my husband into adoption.  Its something thats been on my heart for a while, and I've been praying and thinking maybe this is why God gave me three daughters, so I would pursue adding to our family through adoption.  I guess thats a post for a different day.
  So, pray for us, our family and future decisions, and from mommy to Avery Pearl, happy 6 months baby girl!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An eventful August day!

  I've seen lots of posts about the first day of school lately, and an incredible number of kindergartner's headed off to school this August!  2006 (and 2007) was a good year!  I've seen lots of my mom friends (and some dads) reminisce about how it feels like only yesterday they were bringing him/her home from the hospital.  Seems cliche to say, but it is so true.  Last night, I was cuddling Avery at bedtime and was thinking about how it feels like Lilly was this size, then I blinked, and now she is 5, going on 6, and starting school.  Where does that time go?  I am so lucky have gotten to spend my days home with all my girls, but how could almost 6 whole years with my baby Lilly have gone by so fast?  I know this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it feels so monumental. 

  Here she is before we left for school, saying bye to Pee Wee, her favorite doggie.  She really wanted to take Pee Wee to school and was upset that I wouldn't let her.  I think she wanted a little comfort, because as excited as she was to be off to school, she was definitely nervous too.  Big changes ahead!

  I've said all along, I thought Ryley would take Lilly's absence pretty hard.  She has a great imagination, but Lilly directed so much of what the girls did on a day to day basis, I don't think Ryley really knows what to do with herself.  She has been my shadow all day!  However, I've been facing the fact that all these changes are inevitable (unless I chose to home school, which I am not interested in). I think it will really turn into a growing and learning experience for both Ryley and I.  She and I can now spend some special time just the two of us, and she can (hopefully!) develop as she learns to play on her own more.  Its been bittersweet as we move into a new stage of life in our family!  I hope all your kiddos had a great first day back to school too!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trouble with Sleep

  One of the best things about mothering the third time around is my mommy confidence.  I still second guess myself a little, but I find myself much more self-assured in what I am doing as a mom.  Its so much easier to cuddle, dress, change, wash, feed and generally deal with a baby after having done it twice prior.  I remember my super caution when Lilly was born, being ever so gentle with her, afraid she might break.  Now, I am much more at ease with myself and my parenting. I know all babies, and all kids, are different, and we have already dealt with two starkly contrasting personalities with Lilly and then Ryley.  I know Avery will be different still, but it is nice to have been down this road before. 

  That being said, I could use some advice from my mommy (and daddy!) friends out there.  My pediatrician is a tried and true believer in the "Ferberizing" method for sleep.  It seems really extreme, but when you actually research the term, it isn't about totally letting baby cry it out for an endless amount of time.  Instead, its about helping baby learn to soothe themselves to sleep.  My pediatrician recommends waiting until baby is about 4 months old.  He says this is the perfect time to help Avery learn to soothe herself, and that it will get harder to break bad sleep habits if you wait until after the 6 month mark or so.  Don't get me wrong, I am actually a little sad about it.  I like cuddling her, letting her fall asleep in my arms.  It's just that during the day, I have trouble getting her to take a nap on her own.  I rock her to sleep, put her down.  It is always 20 minutes or less, and she is awake, crying, and still tired.  At night, she sleeps like a dream.  Twelve solid hours a night.  But during the day, she consistently wakes up, still tired.  If I hold her, she sleeps.  If I put her down, she wakes.  Without fail.  I don't remember ever having trouble with the other girls napping as a baby.  I've been wondering if trying to help her soothe herself to sleep will help her sleep more soundly during the day.  Sure I could put her in my sling and cart her around while she sleeps, and sometimes I do.  That is just not an everyday solution.  At least not to me it isn't. It would be really nice to get Miss Avery into a better sleeping routine for daytime!  Any ideas? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Camping Fun!

Well, its already been a month since we took Avery on her first camping excursion, Dale Hollow Lake.  It was also my nephew Paxton's first camping trip too, and we had so much fun!!  The weekend prior, it had been 95+ degrees, so we were worried about how hot it was going to be.  In actuality, it was much cooler than we thought, and we all ended up in hoodies and sweats during the evening and early morning hours.  Luckily, it was still warm enough during the day to head to the lake, or the swimming pool.  We all had a blast, one big (all 18 of us!) happy family!


Mommy warming Avery up!

Avery, lakeside!


Ryley, Daddy and Lilly enjoying the pool!

My nephews, Paxton and Jude, in the baby jail!

Family photo by the lake!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

One Year Ago....

  Exactly one year ago today, the reality that our whole world was about to change was barely sinking in.  One year ago came the test that read, "pregnant".  June 28, 2011 was the day we knew our family was going to grow by two more feet.  Our Avery was coming, though we didn't know "it" was a she yet.  Somedays, I feel like that was lightyears ago, and other days it feels like the past year has flown by.  I can't believe a year ago we were trying to wrap our heads around the idea of having three little ones, and now we have been living it for four months.  Its still amazing how little Avery has changed our family for the better.  She is such a sweet natured soul, quick to smile and so easy going.  I can't imagine our lives without her.  Though I can't say I look forward to the teenage years in any way, I do look forward to watching my girls grow and change.  I look forward to watching them develop as sisters.  I know how close my own sister and I are, I can only imagine how impossibly close they will all three be in the years to come.  It warms my heart, and I am glad they will always have each other. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Vacation First!

  Today, Carl and I set off on our first ever (mini) vacation without kids.  It is exciting, well-needed but sadness and anxiety provoking!  I got teary a little all day yesterday thinking about leaving them behind for four days!  However, I know they are in great hands, and I know we really need this.  I read everywhere about nurturing your marriage to the benefit of your children.  I guess its one thing to say, and a whole other thing to do.  I am really looking forward to it, but I will be glad when the "goodbye" moment is over!  As a good friend told me, the kids are going to be here when you get back, so you might as well enjoy it!  I feel really blessed to have people who are willing to watch our kiddos for such a long period of time (and our dog and cat!).  The girls at work were questioning me, "where are you going?"  My boss replied, "they are going alone, does it really matter?"  SO TRUE! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My first book review!~read and win a copy!

   A few months ago, MOPS posted on their Facebook page an opportunity to join in their Mom Blogger Book Tour.  If you had an active blog, and were willing to read, review and post on your blog, they would mail you two free copies of Tracey Bianchi's Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood.  Two copies, one to read and one to give away!!  So guess what?!  I joined, read and now I am reviewing the book.  It felt a bit like a high school assignment to write a book review, but I really enjoyed reading Bianchi's book!   Read on for a chance to win a copy of your own!!

Check out how ear-marked and note-filled my copy is!!

  The author brilliantly divided up her chapters into sub chapters and those, into what I am calling mini-chapters.  This made her book very easy to read, with short one-half to one page mini-chapters.  Easy for a busy momma like me to squeeze in some reading!  Bianichi is incredibly relatable and knowledgeable, without being condescending.  She made me feel drawn into her stories, ideas and solutions, and really made me feel like bringing some changes into my life was completely doable!!  In fact, one of my favorite mini-chapter headings was titled Never Alone But Lonely. This really spoke to my heart, I could have written that passage when Lilly (my oldest) was a newborn.  Becoming a MOPS mom has helped, but even five years and three kids later, its very easy to feel overwhelmingly crowded at home, but still very lonely.  Bianchi offers ideas on how to live intentionally, offering real world inspiration for all moms.  Even if you feel like you are already living a wonderfully connected life full of meaningful relationships, this book still has something to offer you.  The author reminds us that even while "we may have connected lives, not everyone has that same treasure.  Many of us moms are lonely, so reaching out from your place of abundance helps tremendously."  What great advice for all of us.  Just a small smile or kind word for the mom struggling with her child in the checkout line may make her day.  Making a meal for a mom with a new baby, or a phone call to the new mom down the block.  Offering help to the obviously overwhelmed momma at the doctors office or shopping mall.  All these ideas can be a starting block for investing in new and deeper relationships among other moms.  The ideas and narratives of Bianchi's book really were inspiring, fun to read and have been easy to incorporate into my own life and family.  I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it yourself!  Better yet, follow me over to The Playdate Crashers for a chance to win a free copy!  My friends Krista and Jamie are more expert than I at the give-away process, so they've offered to post my review on their blog as well as the run the randomized give-away!!  If you are interested on more info about the author, Tracey Bianchi, feel free to check out her website and blog at!!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Time Warp of Life

I started the following post May 6th, 2012:
    I'm a little sad that it's taken me so long to write another blog post.  I want so bad to be "good" at keeping up with this blog!  On a daily basis, something happens in my life or in my head that makes me think up a good idea for a blog post.  Of course, life has just gotten in the way of taking those ideas and thoughts and putting them to paper (or rather a computer screen).  Days are filled with lots of activities, lots of them done one handed, and its pretty difficult to type while cradling a little one!  At the end of the day, all I want to do is fall into bed and I have no interest in checking my email or browsing through my Facebook or writing a blog post!!  For some reason tonight I felt like catching up on things and I didn't realize how far behind I was!! 

Avery at 8 weeks old!

Ryley with her hero, Buzz Lightyear!!

Lilly playing Spring Soccer for the Raptors!

  Now, its the 14th of May and time just keeps slipping away from me!  I didn't even finish my "I haven't posted in forever" post!  I really hate how long blogspot takes to upload photos, or I would post considerably more pictures!  Since the last time I posted, Carl and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary.  Avery has turned two months old, and now is coming up on the 12 week old mark!  She is sleeping through the night most nights and is just a sweetheart, smiling and cooing at us all the time!  I was even blessed with hearing her first little giggle recently!  My nephew Paxton celebrated his first birthday in April and my oldest nephew Payton lost his first tooth!  We've taken Ryley and Lilly to see Toy Story on Ice, which was cute!  Ryley loved seeing all her favorite characters up close and personal!  I registered Lilly for kindergarden and she cannot wait to start school!  Just three more months at home with all three of my girls!  Also, Lilly has played spring soccer, and though it added another "to do" item on our growing list, she really seems to enjoy it.  Its pretty entertaining to watch five year olds chase a ball around!  
  Life just bustles on an an alarming pace!  Keeping up with my blog and journal posts has fallen way low on my totem pole of importance, but I really am going to try to keep up with this!  Its been a fun way to compile little milestones in the course of our life!  I keep a little scrap piece of paper near my bed where I can write little things down at the end of the day, and later transfer them to paper (and in this case, computer!).  Hopefully it won't be so long again before I find the time and energy to post again!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A March Madness Love Story

  I realize not everyone loves college basketball and March Madness season.  My husband and I are big sports fans in general and there is usually something important to watch nearly every season of the year.  To me, as far as sports go, nothing is more fun, exciting and anxiety provoking than college basketball during March.  I guess it helps to be a Kentucky Wildcats fan, who play in the NCAA tournament (nearly) every single year.  Interestingly enough, my husband is not a Cats fan (*gasp* I know!)  but is an arch rival Louisville Cardinals fan (*double gasp!*).  Our story of love is tied to this rivalry and I thought this time of year was a good time to tell it. 

  In January 2002, I was enrolled in a vehicle extrication class that was necessary to complete my Emergency Medicine degree from Eastern.  It was actually a pretty cool class where we learned all sorts of techniques to help treat and remove injured patients from wrecked vehicles.  A very attractive football player sat next to me in class, wearing this horrible Louisville hat every Friday morning at 8 am.  Perhaps the hat was why I didn't hit on him sooner?  We had a few flirtatious interactions during the class, but it ended after 8 weeks, and I didn't think much about it, or him.  Until April 5, 2002 when he waltzed into the Richmond Arby's (where I was working the drive thru) to eat dinner, wearing that terrible Louisville Cardinals hat.  I proceeded to tell him (he says flirtatiously, I remember being more rude?) he was not welcome to eat in my store, wearing that piece of crap hat.  I was due for a break and was going to go sit with him and eat, but we were too busy.  I do recall he came back to the counter quite a few times for (probably unnecessary) extra sauce packets.  I thought he'd left without saying goodbye, when I heard his voice in my ear piece, asking to order something else, just so he could come through and talk to me.  I wrote my number on a napkin, and as they say, the rest is history. 
  So I am madly in love with a Cards fan.  How can I hate the Cardinals like lots of other Cats fans do? I just can't do it.  Now I find myself cheering for them (eek!  I know!), so long as they aren't playing UK.  I am actually worried that we are breeding Cards fans, though try as I might to dress them in blue and teach them to cheer C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!  They are daddy's girls, and alas, this puts me in a bad spot.  Bribe them to be Cats fans?  Check.  Buy them cute UK clothes?  Check.  Beg and plead for them to say, "Cats rule and Cards drool?"  Well, I begged, they refused.  I've decided maybe Lilly will be a lawyer when she grows up because she successfully plays both sides, saying she is both Cats and Cards.  I told Carl, we'd better be careful not to push for a choice too much or they'll end up going to college somewhere like UT.  Now THAT would be horrible! (just kidding people!)

  Now it's bracket time, and yes my five year old DID pick the Lehigh/Duke upset, as well as several other heralded upsets this past weekend.  Our brackets probably won't win any money, but a little family friendly competition is what started this household, and I wouldn't change it for the world!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The gift of milk!

  Its pretty obvious by now I have been a little obsessed with my journey with breastfeeding.  It hasn't been a very pleasant ride, and once I made the decision to stop the insanity and just give it up, I have felt better emotionally.  I am still sad that I can't be the one to nourish my child like God intended, but I am comforted by the fact that I did quite seriously try everything to help it work for us.  I have also been immensely comforted by my friends and family who have shared their stories of trials and triumphs with breastfeeding.  Its lovely when women can breastfeed successfully, and its also nice to hear the stories of other's struggles and feel not so alone.  If you were one of those people who shared, cared and encouraged, thank you. 

  The best part about stopping breastfeeding has been a huge reduction in my stress level.  I have still been a little misty-eyed about the situation, but merely accepting the situation for what it is has really been a big stress relief.  Add to that, Carl has been able to be even more hands on and share the feedings with me, which is nice in the middle of the night.  We also were blessed with quite a few sample cans of formula from the doctors office, so we haven't had any costs there yet.  Even better has been the gift of an amazing best friend.   I am lucky to have lots of good friends in my life, and four people I would list as my best friend.  One of these people has given us a great gift.  She has been blessed with an abundance of breast milk for her 9 month old son Jude.  She came to our house last night with three bags full of frozen breast milk and jokingly called herself the breast milk fairy.  Breane Breidert has been my best friend since the day we met in October of 2000.  She is such a special person to me, and I don't know if I will ever be able to repay her for this great gift!  I am so grateful that she has been willing to share with Avery the best nutrients nature makes!!  We are so lucky!  Thank you Aunt Breane, from the bottom of my heart!! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Breastfeeding highs and lows....

  What a roller coaster these past two weeks have been.  Mothering three has been harder and more joyful than I could have imagined.  Its funny how hard it is to accept the things God has put in my path.  I wanted so badly to have a son, but God saw fit to give me another daughter, and now I can't fathom any other baby in her place.  She has this beautiful disposition with dark eyes so expressive sometimes I feel like I can see her tiny baby soul.  So far, she seems to have a very laid back spirit and I love how the chaos of our lives doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest.  Carl and I joke she seems more restless at night, not because she has her days and nights confused, but because its too quiet in the house and she can't sleep!!  I also wanted so badly a natural birth, and of course you know, I didn't get that either.  I am healing pretty well from surgery, so its easier not to be disgruntled about the loss of that dream.  Perhaps my biggest wish, was to be successful at breastfeeding #3.  I struggled with both the other girls and I gave up very early on.  I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work.

  At 5 days old, we had our first check-up and the doctor noted she had lost weight (which is expected) but not too much.  We met with a lactation consultant, who really boosted my confidence as she watched us nurse.  She praised Avery's latch and at the time she ate very eagerly.  The next two days started a downhill slide that I didn't really see happening.  I was worried because Avery wasn't really having as many wet or dirty diapers as I thought she should.  When she did have a wet diaper I was even more concerned because I could tell the urine was way more concentrated than it should be.  I continued to nurse on demand and she latched and ate well, though she tired easily and I had to try to wake her a lot.  We spent a large part of those two days skin to skin, hoping her nakedness would encourage her to eat!  Seems she is a typical Breidert with a good body temperature and enjoyed her nakedness!  Two days later, we saw a different doc who was immediately discouraged.  She checked Avery's diaper and said bad news.  "That is "day 2" baby poop, and she should be having "day 7" baby poop"-basically she was getting dehydrated and not taking in enough fluids.  She watched us nurse in office, watched us struggle to wake her.  She gave us tips on waking her, supplementing her, etc and sent us home with the plan to force her to nurse every two hours round the clock and when finished nursing Dad should give her supplemented formula  (1-3 ounces) and I should pump at the same time to help establish my milk supply.  She said I was dangerously close to "drying up", unbeknownst to me.  So we did this.  The next 12 hours were horrible.  Her dehydration had gotten so bad, not only could I not rouse her to nurse, we could barely rouse her to take a bottle.  We had her naked, with a wet cold wash cloth and still it was hard to get her to take in more than a swallow or two.  Still no pee or poop, and we nearly took her to the hospital.  Carl and I diligently spent the next day setting alarms and force feeding Avery, and eventually she perked up and filled up some diapers for us.  It was pretty scary, and made worse by my misplaced feelings of failure.  I continued to pump, getting out a whopping 5 ml total every two hours.  I know babies are more efficient at removing milk than a pump, but a teaspoon just seemed so disheartening! 

  Fast forward to this past Monday.  I was sent a link to an article by a friend suggesting a link between women with PCOS and a low milk supply. 

  Thanks for reading if you made it this far into my very long vent.  Its just been weighing so hard on my mind and spirit, it feels good to get it all out.  Also, I know PCOS effects up to 15% of the population, and I know sometimes a third of those moms have issues with low milk supply.  I wish I'd known that when I was struggling to breastfeed Lilly five years ago.  I hope the information is helpful to anyone else who could be effected. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome to the world Avery Pearl!

  I figure I should be allowed a few weeks leeway for catching up on my blog, since I have a new baby and three kids now.  I thought, since today was Avery's actual due date, it was an appropriate day to write a quick post about Avery's birth story.
  As you may have read here before, I had a huge desire for a natural, vaginal delivery.  As you also may have read, towards the end of pregnancy, I had a rather uncooperative daughter who refused to stay head down and preferred the breech position.   On Thursday Feb 23rd, I saw my midwife Emily who again confirmed Avery was still head up, complete breech.  I felt pretty defeated, I had huge hopes that she would turn again, and though I knew there was technically still time for her to turn, it just felt like a huge loss. 
  Fast forward to the next morning, 4 am, I was awakened by my first labor contraction.  I tried to go back to sleep, and was unable to because of contractions but also because of the thoughts running through my head.  Slowly but surely, the contractions became closer together and stronger, lasting longer and longer.  I knew in my heart it was the beginning of the real deal.  Sadly, at 38 weeks and 3 days, this should be a wonderful thing, but I was torn.  If labor didn't stop and Avery didn't turn, it meant another c-section.  I knew if I showed up at the hospital with her in the same position as the day before, I would be under the knife in an hour or two.  I just wasn't ready to give in to that yet, and I kept hoping either labor would back down or she would miraculously turn around while in labor (it has been known to happen!).  On the flip side, however, I had NO desire to get to active hard labor if she was still breech.  Why be in pain if the end result is the same?  Eventually, when it because obvious that labor was increasing and not backing down, I summoned Carl home from work and we trekked to the hospital.  I was glad to see Dr. Horn on call, he is a wonderful Christian man, and in prior appointments he had been supportive in my desire for a trial of labor.  However, he confirmed what I already knew, Avery was still breech.  He even agreed to let me labor a while longer at the hospital to see if anything changed.  We did so, but eventually, I decided to throw in the towel.  I won't lie, I was disappointed in the outcome, I wanted so badly to prove I could do it and to have that experience.  However, I am thrilled that I advocated for my wishes during pregnancy, and even more thrilled that Avery got to pick her own birthday!  I had piece of mind knowing that she would be ready to enter the world since my body had started the process all on its own.
  Dr. Horn prayed over myself and Avery, and Carl and my sister Melissa gowned up to join us in the OR.  It is always an awesome day when you welcome a life into the world, but it was extra special to share it with my little sister, who wasn't able to be present at the birth of either of my other girls.  I have some wicked cool pictures and videos of the surgery, which not everyone would appreciate (if you are into that sort of thing, feel free to stop by and check them out-they are a bit gruesome for your average Joe).  I also have some amazing pictures of Avery's birth and the moments that followed, and the feeling of hearing her new born cry won't wear off for some time.  She is quite a sweetheart and really completes our little family.  Avery Pearl was born 2-24-12 at 5:27 pm.  She was 7 lbs, 2 oz, 20 in, and has a TON of dark hair!  Her sisters are so smitten!!  I hope you enjoy her pictures below, I wish blogspot wasn't so slow to upload pictures or I would post a ton more!!

Just after birth!

One week old!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Look on the bright side, 38w 3d.

  Well, I've been up since about 4am.  Ryley woke me up calling for me, and I couldn't go back to sleep because I am having some small contractions.  So, now I've done two loads of laundry and been packing a bag for the girls to take for their overnight stay when the baby is born.  I know the tired is going to hit hard later on today, but its such a pain to lie in bed listening to Carl breath with a thousand thoughts running through my head.
  The end of pregnancy is really coming down to the wire.  I wish I could say yesterday's 38+ week checkup went great, but unfortunately baby Avery is still breech.  I did a lot of crying yesterday, even though I know everything about this outcome is truly out of my hands.  I feel better about it this morning, I know I have done (am doing) everything I can to help her turn and come out as naturally as possible.  I am trying hard to accept whatever path of delivery comes my way.  Yesterday, I was so frustrated and I did a lot of venting about all the research, planning and advocating for myself and a VBAC, just to end up with a breech baby and c-section anyway!  I read only about 2% of babies are still breech at 38 weeks, yet its happened to me twice now!  After some reflection, today I feel good about standing up for myself and insisting on giving labor a shot.  It may not work out for me, but I am proud for giving it a shot.  I go back and see an actual doctor (not my midwife) on Monday and talk about our options.  Basically, if she is still breech by Thursday March 1 (and if I don't go into active labor before then), I am not going to have a whole lot of choice except accept the repeat c-section.  I am still praying hard about it, and I am not going to give up hope yet!  This whole process has been frustrating and liberating, all at the same time!!  Thankfully, no matter what, we will meet our daughter in 6 days or less, so there's something to seriously look forward to!!

  On a lighter, ending note, my sister found the funniest thing and sent it to me.  Seeing as how we are about to welcome a third daughter, it seemed appropriate to share!  Melissa says we should print these off in triplicate! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Third Birthday Ryley!

   Three years ago today, Carl and I were cuddling our newest little bundle, Ryley Jane.  She was born at 3:58 am, after laboring all day the day before, only to come to the hospital a little after midnight to discover she was breech.  Hard to believe three years has gone by, and its totally surreal to be expecting Ryley a little sister any day now.  I can't believe my baby is going to be a big sister. 
  We hosted a family party last Saturday, to ensure we wouldn't "miss" her birthday by being in the hospital with Avery.  Ryley had so much fun celebrating Toy Story style!  I love her sweet, stubborn spirit and intelligent, observant mind.  She is such a joy to raise!!  Here are some highlights of our birthday celebration!

Her cake mommy and Aunt Rye made!  She was so proud!

Her Toy Story sidewalk chalks from Payton and Paxton!

 One of her favorite presents, a balloon bouquet from her Aunt Lissa (courtesy of her job at Select Suzuki)

Happy third birthday to my blue eyed girl!  Dad and I love you so much!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A horrible week!

What a week it has been!  This past weekend we celebrated Ryley's birthday (a week early) with a small family party Saturday evening, and she had so much fun!  We were slated to take her swimming with her buddies Sunday afternoon, but Saturday night, I started into a stomach bug that left me very depleted!  Lilly started getting sick Sunday morning, so Daddy stayed home with the sickos and Aunt Lissa saved the day and took Ryley swimming anyways!  I missed work Monday, then MOPS and an appointment on Tuesday, and I thought for sure I would be getting back to normal!  But no!  Still sick all night Tuesday night and into Wednesday, still miserable!  So no work for me Wednesday, so next week I am going to have a blank paycheck! :(  Bummer!  Thursday I was starting to feel more human, and was able to make it to my doctors appointment.  I saw a student midwife first who said she thought the baby was still head down and that my cervix was dilated 1cm and 50% effaced.  However, she found baby's heart rate very high in my abdomen, which usually only means one thing.  Yup.  That's right.  She's breech again.  The regular midwife came in afterwards with a hand held ultrasound and confirmed the news.  How can this be my luck?!  I prayed so hard for her to turn so I could have a chance at a vaginal birth, and after all the elation from last week, I felt so down and upset.  I know she still has time to turn (again) but I am just so frustrated.  I am feeling pressured from the doctors office to go on and schedule a c-section for March 1st, and I guess I just have to hope and pray that Avery decides to turn again AND that I go into labor pretty much on my own before then so I don't have to fight them over it!  Before, I was hoping and praying for labor to start any minute, now I am afraid to wish for it, because if she is still breech, I am going to end up in surgery anyhow.  I am going to keep going to the chiropractor and keep doing the stretches and exercises that helped her turn the first time.  I am just really having trouble staying positive, and I can't seem to get this sense of dread I have developed about the whole situation.  My resolve is crumbling, and I don't know what else to do except pray. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An update!

Likely, you are tired of hearing all about baby Avery.  When you aren't expecting a baby, it kind of gets old when someone is constantly posting or talking about it.  However, we have so many friends and family "rooting" for us and praying for us, I just wanted to share with you an update after my appointment today.  We waited forever for the ultrasound today, but turns out, the wait was well worth it!  Miraculously, today Avery was vertex and posterior, meaning she was not breech, head down and facing my back!  The perfect position for labor!!  I was super thrilled!  The tech actually apologized about not being able to get good pictures of her face.  I told her I thought it was a trade-off I'd make any day, you can't see her face because she's engaged where she needs to be!  Two nights ago, the baby was making some pretty big movements but nothing that had me convinced she had flipped.  She measured 6 pounds, 7 ounces today, and with the 37 week mark fast approaching, its so nice to be able to think about her being healthy and full term now!  Its so wonderful to be able to start pushing the worry of a preemie baby out of your head and focus on safe delivery.  In fact, the day before my water broke with Lilly, Carl took me on a four wheeler ride.  Sounds like pretty brutal way to help labor along, and it was mighty uncomfortable!  However, my water broke the next day and Lilly was born the day after that!  So today, when we left the doctors office, Carl says, "sounds like it's time to head out the farm for a ride on the gator."  I've said for so long, I want this pregnancy to last "forever" just to enjoy my last moments of this stage of my life.  But now, I am finally getting uncomfortable enough to say, its time to start trying to move things along!  Its so exciting to think about meeting her in just a few short weeks!!  And for anyone who maybe curious, myself included, she is still a she! :)  No surprise boy parts the tech assures me!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An overview of life!

  We've had so much going on in our lives lately, and add to that, an increase in general exhaustion from baby, I've really made no time to update my blog.  I've had a lot of thoughts and good topics to write about, just no time or energy to do so!  So here we go, a random burst of updates from my mommyhood! :)

Baby update.  I am 36 weeks today, and lately thoughts about the next few weeks have been fairly consuming, so its been nice to stay busy and try to keep my mind off all the possibilities.  As of last Thursday (35w2d) little Avery was still breech.  The midwife assures me its still early to worry, yet I am scheduled for an ultrasound this Thursday to re-check her position.  My right hip has been bothering me anyhow, and since I know Chiropractic care can assist in helping the baby move into the correct position for labor, I went to a local Chiro.  He was really great, it helped my hip tremendously, and I am going back again tomorrow.  The baby still feels breech to me, but what do I know?  Ryley didn't feel breech and she was....  I am also considering the possibility of having a version at the hospital if she doesn't turn on her own.  This is a procedure where a doctor will manually turn her, and I think it scares Carl.  Maybe I won't invite him in the room for that one, LOL!  I am going to stick to my guns and hold out for a vaginal delivery, but if I can't get this little lady in the right position, what I want won't hold much water!  I am just feeling a bit panicky about the uncertainty of it all.  If she was in the right position, all I would have left to worry about would be labor starting and progressing on its it feels like I have this extra set of worries.  My constant prayers boil down to this: ," Please Lord, help me be okay with whatever path you have set forth for the delivery of baby Avery.  I am trying so hard to relent control to you, and I am finding that hard to do."  No matter what, we are all anxiously awaiting her arrival, the girls especially!

We've also been planning a birthday for Ryley.  On the 18th, she turns 3!  This coming weekend, we are going to celebrate.  I figured if we did it early, we would increase our chances of not having to rearrange because of baby!  We are having a "small" family only party at home Saturday, and then we've invited her buddies to go swimming with us Sunday at a local indoor pool.  Ryley-bug is stoked about her Toy Story party, cake and sliding down the froggy water slide!  Its hard to believe three years ago (almost to the day!) we were awaiting her impending arrival!

Lilly continues to grow, change, learn and amaze me.  Sometimes its a bit shocking how much she notices and pays attention!  Apparently the saying, "little pitchers have big ears" is very very true!  Also, a funny story from recently.  One morning, I let Lilly watch a cartoon while I was in the shower and her sister was still sleeping.  Murphy's Law says, my head will be full of suds when I hear my child screaming bloody murder from the other room.  Quite honestly, I think my heart may have stopped beating.  She continued to scream and I was getting out of the shower, when I heard her footsteps flying into the bathroom.  She has huge tears streaming down her face and she screams, " a HUGE spider dropped down from the ceiling and onto my arm!!!!!!!"  I was so relieved, I started laughing and she was mad at me for laughing at her!  All the commotion woke up Ryley, so then I had a bathroom full of kiddos and shampoo still in my hair.  Yeesh!

Lastly, a huge change in our lives, Carl is finally working first shift again!  I was never comfortable writing about how he worked third shift before, I suppose it's not so smart to advertise how you've been home alone at night.  However, now since he is not, I can't tell you how great its been for our family dynamic!  He is happier, sleeping better, and super stoked about the changes and things he is doing at work!  I was so relieved it happened in the time frame it did, I was getting anxious about having a baby at home if he was on third shift still!  It does kind of stink, however, that we will finally get into a good sleeping routine together, only to have a small bundle come along soon and shake that up again!

That doesn't begin to encompass everything, but its a great start!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time crunch!

  Yesterday, I realized that today would be January 18th.  In one month, my little Ryley is going to turn three!  This is unbelievable by itself, but then I realized that Ryley was due on almost exactly the same day baby Avery is.  Know what that means?  She could be born in one month from today?!  Or earlier, or later, depending, but it really freaked me out a little!  Its not as if we haven't been preparing for her arrival, and its not like a surprise or something, it just really hit home how close it is getting!  Both girls were born at or right around 38 weeks, so I wonder what the odds are that Avery will be born around then too?  Or will she keep me waiting for another two weeks?  I am getting excited and a little nervous!  Its still hard to believe I am going to be mommy to three little princesses in such a short period of time!  I also can't believe my "baby" isn't really a baby anymore and is going to be three years old.  I just don't like how fast its all going by!