Ski Bunnies

Friday, February 28, 2014
Some bunnies are eager to start their ski lessons. We're just waiting until the weather gets warmer. Today it felt like -6° with the wind chill factor. Tomorrow it heats up to a balmy 32° degrees.

Counting down the days until our trip to Santa Barbara...in June.





Baby Name Link-Up

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 
-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

Like most mothers, I am a baby name aficionado. When I was younger, I loved dreaming up baby names and what I would call my future children. When I was a teenager I loved names like Bailey and Parker. My teenaged self would probably be horrified that I ended up giving my children "old-people" names.  But now that I'm a tad more mature, I really love classic names and names that have withstood the test of time.

We take naming our children pretty seriously. After all, this will be a person's name for the rest of their life! Because of this, we stick to pretty traditional names. We try to choose names that will be cute enough for a child, but sophisticated enough for an adult. The names of our children all have significant meaning behind them. So without further ado, why we decided to name our children what we did.
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Hannah Claire
When we got married I thought for sure we would have a honeymoon baby, or at least find out we were expecting shortly thereafter. I really wanted that to happen. But when a few months went by and then a few more and still no baby, I started to worry a bit. What if we couldn't have children? What if something was wrong? I prayed and prayed and prayed for a baby and hoped that God was not asking us to carry the cross of infertility. And He wasn't. He was just asking us to wait. 

Although that waiting time was very difficult, for me especially, I am so thankful for it. It gave me a new perspective on the blessing of children and a small insight into what women with infertility suffer. We are not owed a child simply because we want one. We cannot plan for a child the way we plan to buy a new sweater. To have a child is to be incredibly blessed. Children truly are a blessing and a miracle, each and every one of them.

As I prayed and pleaded with God for a child, I began to notice how the burden of bareness weaves its way through the Bible.  Many of the women who played an important role in salvation history suffered the cross of infertility. Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth, to name a few. 

Each of these women reacted differently to bearing that burden. Sarah laughed when she was told she would have a child in her old age. She seemed a bit skeptical and perhaps slightly cynical. Rachel appeared desperate, "give me children, or I shall die." St. Elizabeth, like Sarah, was also "advanced in years." Despite my admiration for these biblical women, I had difficulty identifying with them. Except for Hannah. 

Hannah, who was known for her beauty and intelligence, also possessed a quiet steadfastness and faith. She longed for a child, yet she chose the path of petition and prayer and a promise. Her patience was rewarded. She vowed she would dedicate her child to the service of the Lord. And she kept her promise! She brought Samuel to the temple when he was three years old to be brought up as a man of God. I cannot imagine keeping a promise like that, but she did. Her faith and strength was and is impressive. 

In her song of thanksgiving in 1 Samuel 2, Hannah praises God.
“My heart rejoices in the Lord
   in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.
There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God."

Her prayer mirrors Mary's Magnificat:
"My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name."
(Luke 1:46-55)
 I love that Hannah can be seen as a precursor to Mary. 

When we finally did become pregnant, I knew that I wanted to name the baby Hannah if she was a girl. I pray that our Hannah grows to be just like her namesake: smart, beautiful and holy. 

We played around with a few middle names for Hannah, but ultimately decided on Claire. Hannah Claire had a nice ring to it. We didn't intend on it, but we (especially Matthew) often call her Hannah Claire. 

After she was born, it dawned on me that Mary's mother (Jesus's grandmother) was named Hannah. She is often referred to by her Anglicized name, Ann, but she would have been called Hannah in Hebrew. Our Hannah likes that connection she has to Mary.

Well, that was a long explanation, but there you have it. 

*If Hannah had been a boy, she would have been named John.
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Abigail Elizabeth
As soon as we found out we were expecting again, Matthew was convinced the baby was a girl. He pretty much chose her name from the start. The name 'Abigail' means "my father's joy," which we liked and it went well with Hannah, so Abigail it was. We also liked the tie to Abigail Adams since we live in Quincy. 

Abby and I share a middle name. There are so many great St. Elizabeths. Matthew likes to think she is named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, but I'm somewhat partial to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

We love Abby's name, but when she was born and I was filling out the birth certificate at the hospital, the hospital administrator commented "Abigail, that's a popular name this month," which bummed me out. I didn't want her name to be too popular, although it is in the top 10 baby names. Oh well. We often call her Abigail rather than Abby, so I feel like that's a little more unique. Right? 

*If Abby had been a boy, her name would have been Charles.
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 Lucas Francis
With our third child we decided to find out the baby's gender in utero. Since we found out we were having a boy, we knew we only needed to focus on boys names this time around. 

We actually decided on Lucas's middle name before his first. We knew we wanted to name the baby after my grandfather. He passed away a few months before Lucas was born. He meant a lot to both of us and it seemed fitting. So, Francis it was. It was a happy coincidence that the new Pope took the name Francis as well.

For first names we had a little more trouble agreeing. A major naming problem is that Matthew went to an all boys high school and so has a lot of (mostly negative) associations with boy's names. 

I've always liked the name Luke, but Matthew wasn't too keen on it. Yet, in gallant fashion, Matthew's birthday gift to me was to let me choose the baby's name. So again I threw out Luke. He suggested Lucas. Lucas it was. We liked that Lucas had a little more versatility than Luke. He can be Luke on the football field and Lucas in the classroom. Not that I'll ever let him play football...

I love Lucas's name. We really like that he is named after my grandfather. My Grandpa was also a doctor and St.Luke is the patron saint of physicians. It is also believed that St. Luke knew the Blessed Mother well and had a deep devotion and love for her. The Magnificat only appears in the Gospel according to Luke. I pray our Luke has the same devotion.

We also like that St. Francis and St. Clare were such good friends, so it's nice that our first and third children's names tie together in that way.

*Although we knew Lucas was going to be a boy, we were considering Nora for a girl's name.

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Other names we liked and considered: Peter, Leo, James, Nora, Isabella

How and why did you choose your child's name? 

Linking up with Kathryn at Team Whittaker for the Baby Name Linkup. Love this! 

7 Posts in 7 Days: Day 3

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
It's only Day 3 on this thing and already this afternoon I was planning on bailing out. As Lucille Bluth would say, "this does not bode well." But I'm here, I made it. 
 http://www.quickmeme.com/img/a7/a70b0aade887005c323afee8aeb40bbc490c645947a2f2a53193dc45dcd1135d.jpg

My problem is I have a lot of good blog ideas (at least I think they're good), but not a lot of time to actually write a well-thought out post. I'm working on carving out a time each day where I try to blog, either early in the morning or late at night. We'll see how it goes. 

Anyways, I just now came across this article in Yahoo News: Breastfeeding Just Might Be Overrated, Study Finds. Now, I know, it's Yahoo News, not exactly a beacon of truth and journalistic integrity, but bear with me. I actually liked the article and the idea behind it--that previous studies might have overemphasized the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big supporter of breastfeeding. I do think "breast is best," and I've mostly enjoyed the breastfeeding experiences I've had, at least until Lucas was born. 

Lucas was born with a tongue-tie, which really affected his ability to breastfeed. It took until he was a few weeks old and him beginning to lose weight for me to realize that his tongue-tie might actually be a real problem. I consulted good old Dr. Google and sure enough, our nursing relationship seemed to resemble all the classic tongue-tie symptoms: baby failing to gain weight, improper latch, poor milk production, and long and difficult nursing sessions, to name a few.

I immediately scheduled an appointment to have his tongue-tie clipped, or a frenotomy, as it is medically referred to. This made a huge difference in his ability to latch properly. However, he was still underweight and scheduled to have surgery in a few short weeks.  

Due to his impending surgery, I was desperate to get his weight up, which is when I started supplementing with formula. The formula worked. He finally started to gain weight and was sufficiently chubby to undergo surgery at the ripe old age of a month and a half. 

I should have been happy. But I wasn't. I felt so, so guilty for feeding him formula. I worried constantly that I was compromising his immune system and that he wasn't getting enough nutrients and that now he wasn't going to be as smart because he wasn't being solely breastfed. A tad dramatic, I know. But I was totally beating myself up about it. 

The problem was that I had read all the breastfeeding books and unfortunately/fortunately knew all the wonderful benefits of breastmilk. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I had to continually remind myself of all the smart and well-adjusted people I knew who were fed formula as babies. They all turned out fine! I just needed to get over it. And eventually I did. Praying to Our Lady of La Leche helped tremendously.

I also came across some advice from another mom who had difficulty breastfeeding her little one. She said "regardless of how you feed your baby, be sure to enjoy him." That really resonated with me because up until that point I had been focusing on Lucas as a problem to be fixed. I needed to stop all my worrying and griping and remember to enjoy his perfect little wonderfulness.

Lucas and I have now settled into a nice little routine where his daily intake is about 3/4 breastmilk and the rest formula. For a while the ratio was the reverse, so I'm pretty proud of myself that I was able to turn it around. Unfortunately, I have to pump about 4 times a day to feed him because with all the bottle feeding he developed nipple confusion. I'm still able to breastfeed him occasionally, but he is mostly bottle fed. And I'm okay with that now.

I've learned an important parenting/life lesson amidst all of this. Sometimes you just have to do what you can and let the rest go. Each time I'm riding high on my horse about some parenting issue or other, I get a gentle little reminder that maybe I don't know it all after all. I thought breastfeeding was the only possible way a responsible and knowledgeable parent would feed her child. Now I know better. Some moms just have to formula feed their babies and that is okay. 

Breastfeeding can be overrated anyways.

An excerpt from the author of the study:

“I wanted to address the discourse out there of what women were expected to do. We need to take a much more careful look at what happens past that first year of life and understand that breastfeeding might be very difficult, even untenable, for certain groups of women. Rather than placing the blame at their feet, let’s be more realistic about what breastfeeding does and doesn’t do.”

The Big Purse Dump

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

 
Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a fun link-up: The Big Purse Dump. This was perfect timing for me because I really did need to clean out my purse, or tote bag as you would have it.

Before:
After:
 Let's see, we have:
* My red wallet.
* Some diapers for both Abby and Lucas (sizes 2 and 4).
* Some wipes too, naturally.
* Some gum and mints. Always carry those. I'm paranoid about coffee breath.
* The lid to a bottle.
* An empty water bottle.
* My New Testament, which makes me look really holy and together, but truth: I haven't   cracked that thing open in about three years. 
* My sunglasses case and my fake eyeglasses case.
* A receipt from this morning's grocery shop.
* A Christmas ornament. I don't even know...
* A pad. Somewhat moot with breastfeeding and all. Keeping things real.
* A card about Samson (from the Bible).
* My Valentine's day card from Matthew. I love what he wrote to me this year, so I carry it around with me. Aww.
 * And lots of crumbs.
Close up of the crumbs.
My Valentine's Day card. Love.
What's in your bag?

7 Posts in 7 Days: Day 1

Monday, February 24, 2014
7 day blog challenge 7 posts, 7 days
Conversion Diary: 7 Posts, 7 Days
Jennifer at Conversion Diary is hosting a 7 blog posts in 7 days challenge. The idea is to (obviously) write 7 blog posts, 7 days in a row. Considering I want to try to start blogging regularly again, I figure this is my chance. Here goes nothing.  

Now I just have to figure what to write about...

Any Bachelor fans out there? I admit it, I'm a sucker for the show. Although this season has been not so great. Juan Pablo is kind of a dud and there is very little drama amongst the girls, so that doesn't exactly make for an exciting season. I don't know what it says about me that I'm into the show as much as I am, but I don't really care. What can I say? I like to sit in my baggy sweat pants, eating my ice cream, 3 months post-partum and 20 lbs overweight, as I watch bikini clad skinny minis duke it out for some guy they just met. Matthew is a lucky guy, let me tell you.

Speaking of being overweight, I'm really embarrassed to tell you that I've...joined Weight Watchers. It's about that time again to jump on the baby-weight-loss train. I generally eat pretty healthy, but I just cannot, cannot give up my sweets. I love me some sugar. It's only been two days since I've joined, but I do notice that I am paying a lot more attention to what I'm eating. Being accountable, if only to an online system, has been a motivator to me, at least so far. 

Like I mentioned, I have about 20lbs to lose to be back at my pre-baby weight. That's a lot of weight. It's hard for me to not feel totally self-conscious about my appearance and to not be completely obsessed about losing weight. I'm trying to not be so hard on myself, but it isn't easy. Wish me luck.

Fortunately for my weight loss endeavors, Lent is coming. Since Lent starts a bit later this year, I've had a lot of time to think about what I want to do this year. More about that tomorrow.
Funny Ramadan Ecard: I'm jealous that your religion has a built-in weight-loss program.

One day down, six to go.

Surprise!

Friday, February 21, 2014
I was given the greatest Valentine's day gift this year. Of course, Matthew came through as always, but one of my best gifts was actually from my friend's husband. That's sounds weird. But he gave his wife, my dearest friend Kerry, a surprise trip to come visit me!

Kerry and I are friends from college. College...that seems a lifetime ago. She and her family recently moved to Georgia from DC and although we are practically in constant touch, we haven't seen each other in person in three years. That seems so crazy, but such is life. 

When her husband first texted me to plan the surprise trip, I thought it was a joke. I forgot to tell you that, Kerry. I thought it might be some stranger playing a prank on me. But then I was like, what kind of weirdo would know all our names and be trying to plan something nice? So I quickly got over my suspicions and started to get so excited for her visit. It was difficult not to mention it and ruin the surprise over the next few weeks, but also fun to keep it a secret.

She and her adorable daughter (who I was able to meet for the very first time) were able to come for the long weekend and arrived just in time for a nice New England blizzard. Many of my best laid plans to tour Boston and Concord were dashed with the snow. Not to mention that I often forget that I still have a newbornish baby, and he tends to complicate my social plans. 

We ended up spending much of our time indoors talking and talking and talking. We talked about everything from birth stories and bras to polygamy and natural law. And then we watched some Sister Wives for good measure.

We were able to take a driving tour of Quincy and parts of Boston and we did try some authentic Boston baked beans. But I did feel a little bad that we couldn't do and see more. Next time!

There's a quote on my calendar for this month that says, "there are some people who take the heart out of you and there are people who put it back." Kerry is one of those friends who "puts it back." I am so blessed to call her a friend. Thank you Kerry for your visit and a special thanks to Ryan for planning the whole thing!
In front of one of the Adams' houses.
Tired babies

Buddies.
Beautiful girls and chubby baby boy.
You can tell I had a good time because I don't have that many pictures. I was enjoying myself too much to stop and document it.

Love you Kerry!

At Least They're Being Quiet

Sometimes when your children are playing and then things seem to get eerily quiet and you stumble upon them doing something they shouldn't, do you just simply let them carry on because their activity was keeping them occupied and quiet?

No? Me neither. 
Hey, I figured they were coloring the underside of the table and who is ever going to see that?
Carry on children.

It will come off in the shower.
Or maybe she can just wear leggings tomorrow.

Some Family Updates

Monday, February 10, 2014
Besides adding a whole new member to our little familia, we've had a lot going on these last few months. I thought I'd post some bullet point updates to keep everyone in the loop.


1) The biggie- We are considering/planning a move back to California. I say "planning" because as I've learned well these last few years, nothing is certain. If it were up to Matthew we would have been on the first plan to California the day Lucas came home from the hospital.But truth be told, I'm in no rush. We have a lot of loose ends, namely medical care, that we must take care of here before we head out West.

2) Lucas was born with craniosynostosis and had surgery when he was 6 weeks old. Thank you to everyone for the prayers for our Luke, by the way. Our family is a medical anomaly and semi-famous because no one has ever heard of a family with three cranio kids. We're practically on a first name basis with all the kids' doctors. Well, not really, but we should be,

3) It amazed everyone how quickly Lucas's head shaped improved following the surgery. With the bone release his brain was able to expand and it completely changed and improved everything.

4) Following his surgery, Lucas had to wear a helmet 23 hours a day. However, and this is a big however, after only 1 month of helmet wear his head shaped measurements have reached a "normal range." So basically his head is more or less fixed! Already! Amazing! He still has to wear his helmet at night and we still have to go in for helmet appointments nearly every week and he will continue to be monitored for the next few months to make sure his head shape stays within in the normal measurements. But he doesn't have to wear the helmet during the day so I feel like I have a normal baby. I can't wait until we get the all clear for him, which will hopefully happen in the spring. 

5) Abby went in for her 1 year post-surgical appointment with Dr. Butler and although she looks so much better than she did before her cranio-facial surgery a year and a half ago, her eyebrow shape still needs improvement. We have an appointment to see her plastic surgeon at the end of this month. Dr. Butler said the surgery to move the eyebrow bone is pretty simple, which is a relief. I was worried she would need the complete CVR surgery again, which would pretty much be a worst case scenario.

6) Along with improving her eyebrow bone, it's looking like Abby may need another eye surgery.  I've noticed both of her eyes starting to wander a little. We see her ophthalmologist next month. I don't know if this is something that can be fixed with surgery or if she will need glasses after all. Poor Abby, we thought we were in the clear with her. 

7) Okay, for a non-medical update: we pulled Hannah out of pre-school over the Christmas break. Between juggling three kids and Lucas's surgery and helmet appointments, the twice weekly afternoon school days were just too much for me. It was a cute little school, but it wasn't like it was really adding to her academic knowledge (not that I really expected it to). Plus, they had a little "holiday" concert and sang "we wish you a happy holidays," instead of "merry Christmas." That pretty much sealed the deal for Matthew. 

8) I'm kinda "homeschooling" Hannah and I use that term loosely. We do some reading lessons and some Math every once in a while. She's very curious and enjoys learning, so she's a pretty easy student to teach. For now.

9) After we pulled Hannah out of her pre-school we told her very excitedly that she was going to be going to a new school- a swim school. I signed her up for swim lessons and she goes two mornings a week. My goal is to have her swimming independently by the summer. We made swim school sound like a big deal and she totally went for it. She never looked back on pre-school.

10) We hired a "mother's helper" for me to come twice a week. Her name is Hannah, so we call her "big Hannah" and she's a student at our nearby Christian college. She's really cute and the girls love her. She comes for a couple hours a week to basically play with the girls or take the girls outside so I can do some things around the house or run some errands.  I felt a little spoiled and somewhat guilty for needing the extra help, but I recently read this blog post by a mother of 7 and what she said really resonated with me.  

"If you are doing it all on your own because you must or because you are some kind of domestic superwoman, then you have my utmost respect. But if you could have help, but you don't because you think you ought to be able to manage it all on your own -- Knock It Off and get some help, woman. I wish someone had talked me into it earlier.

Because I really believe now that what we are trying to do currently in the western world is unprecedented in history and nearly impossible. Rich and middle class women ALWAYS had help around the house. Poorer women lived multi-generationally and had the help of neighbors and friends. No one thought that they could grow and feed and clothe and educate and interact with and clean up after their children all by themselves. (And occasionally also pay attention to their darling husbands.)"

-Kendra at Catholic All Year

She's right, of course, so I happily enjoy my two afternoons a week help, more or less guilt free. 

All righty, I think that's enough updates for now. If you've read through that whole post, you deserve some sort of reward, so here you go.
Oh man, look at his spikey hair! I love him, even when he wakes me up at 4:00 in the morning. 

My Sweet Abigail

Friday, February 7, 2014
Oh my Abigail, sweet Abigail, she's growing up so fast. I wish she would let me do her hair like this all the time. Doesn't she look cute? And old?
She and I have a little routine where she comes up behind me and gives me a hug and then I say, "Who's there?"
She says, "it's me!"
"Who's me?" I ask.
"It's me, Gah bell!"
"Oh, Gah bell! I missed you!"

I love it mostly because I love to hear her try to say her name. "Gahbel." Truth be told, I'll be a little sad when she learns how to say her name correctly. 
 Of course, now she's started calling Hannah "Gah bell" too. She'll say "c'mon Gahbell" when she wants Hannah to play with her.
 One of her favorite things right now is to jump. She loves to jump on the couch, jump on the bed and her "dancing" is mostly just jumping.
We were in Target last week and she saw this little dog Scout. He's a character in the Leapfrog series, which is currently a favorite show around here. While we were in the store she wouldn't put it down. She brought it up to me asking "please, please?" She wanted me to buy it for her. She never asks for anything, but I said no. It was a bit expensive.
Later when we were home I started thinking more about how sweetly she had asked for Scout. I hated saying no to her. We had some Target gift cards from Christmas and so I decided that the next time we were in Target I would let her get him.

It was so fun to see how excited she was with her new toy. We took Scout home and she couldn't stop playing with him. Scout slept in her arms that night.
I typically don't indulge my children's whims for a toy, but I'd hate to always be the one to say no. It was fun to say "yes" this time. And totally worth it too.

Five Favorites

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Amazon Prime TV

http://img0074.popscreencdn.com/95327975_amazoncom-sister-wives-season-3-episode-3-4-houses-4.jpgI've been trying to catch up on some of my TV watching lately and we don't have cable, so enter Amazon Prime TV.  TLC's Sister Wives is one show I just can't stop watching. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I dole out $1.99 for each episode I watch, which I know, I know, is a total ripoff, but I just can't help myself. 




(2)
Trader Joe's

This isn't exactly a new favorite. I've loved TJ's for a while, but now that I have three little kiddos I love it all the more. The people who work there and the people who shop there are just so darn nice. I go there a few times a week just so I can hear people tell me how cute my kids are.


(3)
Some of these make me laugh until I cry. That would so be our family, the one in the bottom pic, obvs.
funny, funny pictures, funny photos, hilarious, fail, pinterest, 16 Hilarious Pinterest FAILs - Nailed It
 


     (4)
photo: L.L.Bean Ultrawarm Coat, Three-Quarter Length down insulated ...L.L. Bean


 My "ultrawarm jacket" from LL Bean is, you guessed it, ultra warm. It's designed to work in -40 degree weather. Fortunately, I've never had to test that theory, but it's good to know, just in case. What I do know is that I can wear a t-shirt under this jacket and stay warm. Awesome.









(5)
This picture of Hannah:

The Birth Story of Mr. Lucas Francis

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Long story short: Lucas was delivered by c-section on Sunday, November 3rd at 6:35am. His labor and delivery were mostly easy and we immediately fell in love with our little guy.

Now for the long story.

With both girls I ended up with c-sections and so I was really hoping to have a natural birth this time around. Both of our girls were also born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which causes the premature fusion of one or more of the skull sutures.  Basically it means the bones in the skull fuse together too soon making it difficult or nearly impossible for the head to mold through the birth canal. The geneticists gave us a 5-50% chance that a third baby would be born with cranio. In all honesty, it's probably more like a 50/50 chance with each child. 

I was convinced that the odds must be in our favor this time around and that there just would be no way that we'd have three cranio kids in a row. The OB even performed an ultrasound at 32 weeks to specifically check the skull sutures and at that point, all looked well. As it turns out, the OB did not check the lamboid suture, which is in the back of the head, and of course, that was the type of cranio Lucas ended up having.

Anyways.

Around my due date the midwives and doctors started talking about scheduling a c-section. Since I was attempting a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 c-sections)  they couldn't really induce me for fear of uterine rupture. All we could really do was hope that my body would go into labor on its own.  

The evening of All Saints Day I went to Mass and pleaded with Lucas’s patron saints to “please, please get this party started.” St. Luke, St. Francis, Ven. Fulton Sheen and my grandfather really came through because later that night the contractions started. Those prayers worked fast.

Early the next morning I awoke to discover that my water had partially broken. I was having some contractions, but nothing too serious, so I got up and did some laundry, and started packing for the girls and for myself. Matthew woke up a couple hours later around 4am. I told  him not to worry, but my water had broken and he should try to go back to sleep for a little while. He was like “yeah right, like I can sleep after you tell me your water has broken.” After that we were both up and getting ready. My contractions were increasing in frequency, but still not too painful.

Matthew’s mom came over later that morning to pick up the girls. After the girls left my contractions started to become more uncomfortable so Matthew encouraged me to call the midwife to see what she wanted  me to do. I was really delaying going to the hospital because I knew the pressure would be on, so to speak, once I got there. But since my water had broken, the midwife encouraged me to come in. 

It was Saturday afternoon and much of the city of Boston was shut down due to the Red Sox parade. (They had won the World Series a few days earlier).  I was worried that there would be tons of traffic and it would take forever to get to Cambridge, but we made it to the hospital in no time. It's kinda fun that there was a parade going on at the same time we were getting ready to welcome our baby. Maybe Lucas will be a Red Sox player some day. Ha!

Once we arrived at the hospital, the midwife on call checked me and discovered I was only 1cm dilated.  That was really disheartening. My contractions were not that strong or that close together and I knew these things did not bode well for a natural delivery. I think I probably started preparing myself then for another c-section, but I was still determined to do my best. 

Once we were checked in I walked around a bunch, sat on the birthing ball, took a shower and tried to get my labor to pick up. The contractions were getting stronger, but still only around 6-8 minutes apart, so not close enough together to really be doing anything. 

After a few hours of not a whole lot happening, we ordered some dinner and ate a little something. The midwives suggested I try to rest a little, so we watched some TV. After a little rest we tried walking some more. Then we rested again, then walked some more. It seemed I couldn't do anything to get my labor going. The midwife checked me again around 11pm and I was at 3cm. I was beginning to lose my enthusiasm and had a sinking feeling we were going to end up with another c-section. 

Around 2am, I said enough and asked for an epidural. I reasoned that it was starting to look highly likely that I was going to end up with another c-section and in my mind there was no point in enduring the pain of the contractions if I was only going to end up with another c-section. I wanted to be rested for the surgery. Looking back, I am so glad I made that decision. It gave my body time to rest and my mind time to prepare for another surgery. 

After the epidural, they put me on Pitocin. Being on Pitocin made me a little nervous because you hear all these horror stories about uterine ruptures and what-not, but apparently it’s okay for women with previous c-sections to receive pitcoin to augment labor, just not to induce labor. The hope was that the pitocin would cause me to contract more and help my cervix to dilate.

Around 5am, the midwives checked me for the last time and I was still only 3cm dilated. We made the decision then to schedule the surgery. I’m always amazed that once the decision to go ahead with a c-section is made, everything happens so quickly. They prepped me for surgery and I was wheeled into the OR. Even though I had been through it before, being wheeled into the OR is always a scary thing for me. I don’t like it. But I remember offering it up and again asking for the intercession of my baby's saints.

Just before she started the surgery, the OB warned me that the c-section might take a little longer than usual because there might be some scar tissue that she would have to cut through. As it turns out there was absolutely no scar tissue, and she said everything looked really, really good internally. This was a huge relief and bodes well for future pregnancies and future c-sections. 

The surgery itself went smoothly. A hop, skip and a cut later, Mr. Lucas Francis Richer was delivered.

I heard him cry and then I started crying. I think I asked Matthew if the baby was still a boy.

The pediatricians immediately started looking him over and one doctor said “it looks like he doesn’t have cranio!” Then another said, “oh there is a ridge here.” They spent what felt like forever examining his head. I was like, "I really don’t care right now, can you just bring him to me?"


Matthew was able to cut the cord and they brought him over to me and actually laid him on my chest while I was still being operated on.

 And just like that, there he was, my son. He was so beautiful and looked just like Hannah.

The OB did a really fantastic job with the section. The surgery went so smoothly and was really easy and the recovery has been the best yet. I think being in good physical shape going into the surgery helped a ton and has made all the difference.



Despite ending up with a third c-section, this labor and delivery really couldn’t have gone better. I am so happy with how everything went, especially considering Lucas did end up having cranio and
therefore unlikely that he could have been delivered naturally. The Saints really did come through for us.

We love having Lucas in our family and the girls are absolutely smitten with him. It amazes me that with more children there is only more love. Definitely less sanity, but more love. 
What's in a name?

Lucas Francis
We named Lucas after my grandfather, Francis (Frank), who meant a great deal to Matthew and me. He passed away in July and we felt it was only fitting to give our baby boy his name.  We just couldn't agree on a first name. We floated around a few possibilities, but ultimately decided on Luke or Lucas.  My grandfather was a doctor and St. Luke is the patron saint of physicians, Luke and Francis just seemed to be the right fit for this baby. Matthew preferred Lucas to Luke, and so there it was. We can only hope our little guy lives a life worthy of his name. And who knows, maybe he’ll have a career in medicine. We could certainly use a doctor in this family, that’s for sure.  

Budgeting

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to be a lot more financially savvy. This means a lot more saving and a lot less spending. Honestly, I don't think I'm that spendthrift to begin with, but I could do a much better job at sticking to a budget.

Dave Ramsey suggests the envelope system to better manage money and limit spending. He advises putting a set amount of money in an envelope for the month for various spending habits like food, clothes, gas, entertainment, etc. and when the money is gone for the month, it's gone. I like the idea of "once it's gone, it's gone," but honestly it sounds like a lot of envelopes to keep track of.

So for me, I'm thinking of keeping a simple "spending money" envelope for the month. This includes clothes, toiletries, eyebrow maintenance and whatever I usually spend money on during the month. I've decided to limit myself to $50/month. What do you think? Is that too little? Too much? Already for this month, I feel myself starting to backpedal and trying to add a few dollars to that amount. I need to buy a few things for our Mothers Rosary group and would like to send a small gift to my sister's baby shower and getting my eyebrows waxed costs $20 including a tip. Ack! Am I crazy? Do you think I can do it?

My Little Guy

Monday, February 3, 2014
I am so smitten with my new little guy. He is the cutest baby (not that I'm biased or anything) and so smiley. We just love him.

The first two months of his life were a little crazy, but now we're settling into a nice little routine and dare I say it, thriving. I've probably just jinxed myself, but so be it.
It's been fun getting to know his personality. He's fairly easy going. As long as he's fed when he's hungry and picked up when he wants to be, he's happy. He's so cuddly. He loves being held and loves to snuggle.
The girls are quite taken with him and he adores them. It's so sweet.
So glad this little boy is part of our family.



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