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Oh, hey! I had a baby! Three weeks ago! Andrew “Drew” Jay joined us on June 8th. We are overcome with love and happiness. Here is his story.

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On Friday, June 6th, I felt off. I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt differently than I had the previous 39 week. I was also losing my mucus plug (Oops! Sorry! Gross TMI birth stuff a must.), and since the same thing happened the entire day before my labor started with Ryan, I had an inkling this baby’s birthday was not far off. At just four days from my due date and having experienced lots of false contractions near the end of this pregnancy, I didn’t expect much to happen, but I called my mom anyway and told her maybe it was a good idea if she made the 3.5 hour journey my way. She agreed, and I went off to get a much anticipated pre-baby pedicure. I left the appointment with pretty toes, and headed to the grocery store.

While I was in the checkout line, I started to feel tired. SO TIRED. Like, about to fall over with exhaustion tired. It frightened me for a second until it passed, but reiterated what I already knew: something was up. A few hours later my mom arrived and we spent a nice day with the boys playing, planting flowers, and just…waiting for something to start. I was REALLY grumpy all day, too. Just like before Ryan. It did not go unnoticed haha!

Friday came and went without incident. Saturday morning I heard Owen calling for me at 6 a.m. I stood up and had a very mild contraction. I didn’t think much of it (again, lots of false labor), and went about my morning. The contractions continued on and off, but were not very strong nor regular. Sometimes I would have one an hour. Then maybe three. Then none. I was frustrated. I wanted labor to either ramp up, or the contractions to stop. Not this in-between nonsense. I was grumpy and emotional. Michael was supposed to be at work but after lots of back and forth (and an emotional breakdown from me), he decided to stay home. I’m so glad he did, because it was one less thing for me to stress about.

By the afternoon the contractions were stronger, but still not regular. Ten minutes apart. Then 22. Then five. Then THEY WOULD STOP. I started to walk circles around our cul-de-sac, occasionally being stopped by neighbors wanting to chat about how I was doing. By seven p.m., 13 hours after the contractions started, I had fed the boys, given them a bath, and done their nighttime routine. In that way, I was glad the labor had progressed as it had, because I was able to give them that stability and say goodnight to them. I told Owen there was a good chance I wouldn’t be home in the morning and his grandmother would be here instead. He understood what that meant and happily kissed me goodnight.

After the boys went to bed, it was almost as though my brain allowed by body to really get going. I bounced on an exercise ball and the contractions got more intense and closer together. For the first time, I experienced back labor (OW), so my mom would push on my lower back during a contraction. It helped a ton. This went on from 8-10:30 when suddenly…the contractions stopped. Cold turkey. That’s it. I’m done. I’m going to bed, I thought. If I wasn’t going to have a baby tonight, I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted from laboring all day. Just before 11, I texted my sister who was almost at my house. I told her to let herself in, lock the door, and I would wake her if anything happened. I got ready for bed, climbed in next to Michael, and we heard the door open.

“Your sister is here,” he said.

“Yeah, I hear her,” I replied, grumpily.

And then my water broke.

YES!

I shuffled to the bathroom to get stuff together as Michael let the hospital know we were on our way, called his mom to come stay with the boys and gathered up last minute items. Those mild and irregular contractions had instantly turned into strong and regular ones after my water broke, so I didn’t feel like hanging around the house much longer. By 11:40 we were in the car and making the short, familiar drive to the hospital. All my babies began their labors at night, so there is something nostalgic about that middle of the night drive for me. Though, contractions in a car are hell. Pure hell.

We arrived in no time at all, and soon enough I was changing into a particularly difficult hospital gown. (It took three of us to figure out the snaps on it!) I was hooked up to the IV and the fetal heartbeat monitor, and tried to find a comfortable position, which proved difficult with the contractions now only seconds apart. Michael applied pressure to my back and I worked through some of them laboring on my hands and knees. When I was checked, I was dilated to about five centimeters, and decided to once again get the epidural. The anesthesiologist was already on the floor, so it wasn’t long before I was being prepped for what I knew would be sweet relief.

I leaned into my wonderful nurse as the epidural was put it, and tried to focus on the sound of my baby’s heart beat coming through the monitor. I told myself the pain was worth it. It was bringing him to me. And soon I would feel relief and could rest. There were no longer breaks between the contractions, and I began to wrestle with my thoughts. I didn’t feel like I could do it any more. The pain so so intense and so constant. I tried to tell myself it would be easier soon, but I didn’t believe my own words.

Finally the epidural was in, and I leaned back onto the bed. I knew from my previous births that relief would come shortly. Only, it didn’t. Suddenly I began to feel intense burning and shouted at the nurse that something was wrong. She calmly said she would check things out, and her check revealed I was fully dilated and the baby was on his way out. Looking back, I realize now I was going through transition while sitting absolutely still for the epidural. Which explains the crazy head games and also ALL THE PAIN.

I am told Andrew was born in just minutes, but it felt like hours. I now understand what women mean when they speak of the “ring of fire”. I had always wanted a natural birth, but changed my mind in the end. This time, I didn’t have a choice. Drew was born the fastest of all my babies at 1:01 a.m., just an hour and a half after my water broke and hard labor began. And…before the epidural kicked in. As a matter of fact, the only thing I got from the epidural before they took it out was tingly feet 10 minutes after he was born. I won’t lie. It was the most painful hour and a half of my life, but I felt amazing afterwards. Like a rock star!

He was placed on my chest and my heart once again filled with love for our new son. He had a full head of dark hair, the longest fingers and toes, and lungs that announced to all he was here. We lay skin-to-skin while I delivered the placenta, and soon he began to nurse.

A few hours later, Michael brought Owen and Ryan to meet their new brother. Suddenly we were a party of five. In the time he’s been here, I find myself delirious both with lack of sleep and love. Every day is more challenging than I thought it would be, but oh. My three little boys. I am so very lucky.

Heading home!

Heading home!

 

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If you don’t follow me on my other various forms of social media, you probably don’t know I’m pregnant again. So, surprise! I’m…21 weeks pregnant. With another boy. I feel as though I have failed you as a blogger in withholding this knowledge so long. My apologies! Here, I’ll summarize for you:

– thought I wasn’t pregnant. Peed on a stick to rule it out because I was meeting friends for drinks. Forgot about the test for 20 minutes. Went to throw out what was obviously a negative test…only it was positive.

– begin to show immediately. By the third pregnancy my abs just gave up.

– start to vomit on a multi-times-a-day basis for nearly three months. That was fun!

– finally start to feel better around December.

– find out we are having another boy, which shocks most people except me. I knew it! Owen cried when we told him because he wanted a girl to create his own version of The Fresh Beat Band, which has two boys and two girls. He sobs we already HAVE two boys. Explain the idea of an all-boy band and he converts to Team Blue. Ryan couldn’t care less, but likes to pat my belly and say, “baby!”

That pretty much brings us to now. Baby boy is kicking and squirming, landing some good punches right to my bladder. He has no name yet, but this time I feel little urgency about it. Can’t leave the hospital without one, so he will be named eventually.

I am overjoyed and totally unprepared for the reality of three children, but come early June that will be our reality!

Sorry for holding out on you, friends. Still love you!

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(Last week at 20 weeks. Complete with raging sinus infection and Breathe Right strip. Keeping it real, folks.)

Dear Ryan (Dear Little),

Before you were born, logically I knew I would fall in love with you instantly. Just like your brother. I knew this in my heart because how could I not? You are my baby. There was a small part of me that wondered, though, how I was going to love another child in the same capacity that I love your brother. How was I going to love you both enough?

That was a silly worry, Ryan, because from the moment you arrived you settled right into our hearts, and all was right with the world.

You fit right in to this silly family of yours. I feel like even though we are still getting to know you, you’ve been here all along. You are a great baby. Sure, you have moments of screaming and days where you will do anything in your power to elevate the level of suck, but mostly, you’re just so good.

You sleep — first and foremost — and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. Your brother dragged us through the mud in the sleep department, so the fact that most days you refuse to keep your eyes open later than 7 p.m. and often sleep all the way until the 5 o’clock hour is both a foreign and a brilliant concept to me. I’m not naive enough to think this will last forever (unless you feel like skipping over the 4-month sleep regression. I’m TOTALLY ok with that), but it sure has made these first few months easier than they could have been. You also sleep through basically everything — the dog barking, me vacuuming directly under you, your brother’s constant noise. I suppose it’s a matter of survival. You have no choice but to live in this established chaos.

I know I’m biased here, being your mother and all, but you’re a really beautiful boy. You came into this world so quickly (they told me to stop pushing because you were coming so fast, the doctor didn’t have his gloves on yet), so you were never really squished from being pushed out. You have big, dark eyes that were never really that newborn blue and lashes so long that they get stuck in the crease of your eyelids.  As you grow you are beginning to get chunky, and I now see a resemblance to your brother I didn’t see earlier.

Your big, gummy smiles make my day. You are most happy on the changing table. Maybe you are grateful for all those clean diapers? It is there I get the best belly laughs from you, especially if I tickle your armpits. You’re a big fan of your playmat, are not resistant to a little tummy time, will tolerate the Bumbo seat for a short while, and you like to nap in your swing. Since you still spend a fair amount of the day napping, I’m in no rush to stop your swing naps.

You are champion efficient nurser, but very different than how Owen was. When you’re done, you’re done. No attaching yourself to my chest with vice grips for the entire day. At first I kept trying to feed you more, thinking you must not be getting enough. But no, I should have just trusted your ability to get what you need quickly and happily.

You love your brother, Owen, and the feeling is mutual. He always wants to be near you and covers you with hugs and kisses. You tolerate this quite well, and often return his affection with smiles and coos. He sings to you and asks you if you had a great sleep and when you cry, he tries to give you toys or rock you to make you feel better. I really hope you two remain the best of friends throughout your life.

Your dislikes include taking a poop, your car seat (with a passion. I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re going to be in that seat for a pretty long time, so you best get used to it.), and 10:15 a.m. I’m not joking about that. For some reason, if you’re not in my arms at that time you are miserable. I’ll often find myself asking, “Really, Ryan? What is the problem?”, only to look at the clock and think, “Oh, right. 10:15.” Of course, this is usually a time of day where we need to be doing something out of the house, so I’ve spent many a 10:15 listening to you wail pathetically from the back seat.

According to our home scale, today you weigh 15.6 pounds. You little chunker, you.

I’m so glad you’ve joined our family, Little. You are a joy to have around and we love you to the moon and back. I am so excited to watch you grow and learn!

I love you through and through.

Love,

Mama

I received quite a few lovies as gifts for the baby while I was pregnant. For those of you not familiar with the term, a lovey is generally a square of a soft fabric, sometimes with the head of a stuffed animal on it. Babies tend to snuggle and hold them for comfort. A lovey can of course be anything — whatever the child deems to be their lovey. I’ve known kids who loved on burp clothes, for example. The security thing seems to last for years — I knew people in college still carrying around a tiny square of their childhood blankey.

Since I had all these lovies for Owen, once he was old enough not to smother himself with them, I started putting one in the crib with him at night. My aunt bought him the most adorable and soft black and white dog lovey, and I thought for sure this would be HIS lovey. Not the case.

Every morning I would come in and he had thrown the lovey (as well as a stuffed lobster, lion and bear) on the floor. It was a game. I’d pick them up, he’d throw them back down laughing. Fine by me. I didn’t care either way if he used a lovey or not, I just thought I would give him the option, you know? I had a baby doll — BeeBee — which I carried around for YEARS, so I understand finding comfort in an object when you’re small.

A few weeks ago, I was putting away some laundry and a sock happened to fall out of my drawer. When I was packing up my hospital bag before Owen was born, I included a pair of short, black athletic socks I had bought specifically to wear during labor. (Black hides everything, you know?) I was wearing them while he was born, but then I never wore them again, as well, they’re black, and they looked weird with my sneakers.

Anyway, Owen was playing at my feet when the sock fell, and he immediately went to check it out. He was still holding on to it a few minutes later when it was time for him to nap, so I just left it with him, and forgot about it in the crib when I took him out later.

That night, I placed him in his crib and he immediately grabbed the sock. He scrunched it up, put it by his face, and went to sleep. When I checked on him later that night, the sock was still clutched in his hand. Owen had found his first lovey.

A sock.

I told my mom about this and she didn’t seem surprised in the slightest. It’s probably the first thing he saw in the world, she told me. Ha! Maybe that’s true. Whatever the reason for the attachment to the sock, it’s super sweet. The sock has become an important piece in his sleep routine; he seeks it out as soon as he’s placed in the crib, and if he wakes in the middle of the night for a nurse, he usually holds on to it while he eats.

I love that he’s found comfort in something so non-traditional. It’s unique! (And really easy on my part. The sock came in a pack of three pairs. That leaves me with five extra lovies as backups!)

It warms my heart to see him snuggle up to it, knowing that it’s bringing him a sense of security. Even if that security did used to go on my foot.

Did you have a lovey growing up? What was it?

I think there is this misconception that to be a Mommy Blogger, you have to put your child’s picture on the blog. In our case, This Little Baby (This Little BOY!) will not be making photo appearances.

Long before I ever got pregnant, Michael and I discussed it and he was not comfortable with the idea of putting our baby’s face out on the Internet. I pouted about it a little, but realized that in the end, it doesn’t matter. I can still share with you the ups and downs of parenting without posting his face. And I can still get away with pictures of chubby little feet and long eyelashes.

I am hoping to maybe post a few new, new, newborn shots, when he’s really only distinguishable to us, but no promises on that either.

It’s funny. Before I was pregnant I thought this would be a big loss. That not sharing photos of our children would somehow diminish the words I wanted to say. And then we found out he was a boy, and the thought of posting his “boy parts” picture horrified me. Sure, he’s an itty, bitty baby in my womb, but those are his private parts! I’m hardly a prude, but I think I’ll try and avoid embarrassing him until at least the third grade.

And those words? The words that make this blog a blog? They’ll still be here. I think we’ll be just fine.

I will share his name with you, though. After he’s born. There’s a few options being tossed around and I’m excited to choose one.

Although, if you feel like tossing out some boy names, I’d be MORE than happy to look them over. Maybe we’re missing a gem!

On July 31, 2008 I wrote this post. In it I said:

“I have a very strong gut feeling my first child will be a boy. I’ve felt it for years. When the time comes we both agreed we want to be surprised. It will be all yellows and greens until the actual birth day. But I’ll tell you, if I have a girl first, I’ll be SHOCKED.

Unbelievably happy.

But completely and totally shocked.

Can you have mother’s intuition long before you’re even pregnant?”

Obviously, we decided not to wait to find out. It turns out that yes, in fact, you can have mother’s intuition before you’re a mother.

We’re having a BOY!!!!!!!!

I think this is the cutest little profile I’ve ever seen.