Monday, May 21, 2012

When They Become Mothers...

Most moms will agree that God gives us a special blessing - the ability to forget. We forget about the screaming, the sleepless nights, the defiant toddlers, and all of the hundreds of daily "battles" that we fight as moms. But there are a few things I really want to remember: so I can tell my girls that I've been there, so I can remember to keep my sense of humor, and so I can "ponder" the special moments.

First of all, nursing is hard. It's worth it, but it's hard. It's an incredible joy and the most exhausting thing, all at the same time. I never knew my body could exist (semi-successfully!) on such little sleep, and then there's all of the uncertainty - is she eating enough? is this normal? will she ever be on a schedule? will it always be like this? I would almost say that nursing is more mentally exhausting than physically. On the other hand, my favorite moment of motherhood has been looking down and seeing Evie tucked against me in bed. It has made me feel like a mother more than anything else in the last month...even a natural birth!

Potty training sucks. Bella darling, wait until you are old enough to understand the stories! Your Daddy and I are going to have your kids laughing hysterically when we tell them about all of the drama and stress you have caused in the journey to poop on the potty. We will tell them about "yuckies", princess pull-ups, using Sweet Tarts as special treats, and the wonderful moment when you pooped in your big girl underwear at church and all I could do was sit there and tell you how proud I was that you went on your own. Just wait, little girl.

I was worried that being so absorbed in the newborn stage would make me treat Bella differently. I've been happy that having Evie seems to make me enjoy Bella even's like having the best of both worlds - we get to soak in the wonders of this new little person in our lives and also marvel at the fact new thing that Bella will say or do that day. I'll be the first one to admit that not every moment's a picnic, but in the big picture, we know we're blessed beyond measure!

And then there's the poop. Between Bella's screaming refusal to poop anywhere, the countless newborn diapers we've been changing, and my own physical..."ailments" left over from labor and birth, we are a poop-obsessed family lately. I don't see it ending anytime soon. One day, I will be able to sympathize with my girls when they have their own poop trials!

Friday, May 18, 2012

This Happened Way Too Fast

How is it possible that we've just celebrated Bella's last day of preschool? She seemed so little when we started in the Fall, and now she's such a big girl! I can't believe how much she has learned this year and how independent she has become! It's always a little bittersweet to see her in her school setting - it's so much fun to see her run around and respond to her teachers, but it's also a little sad to see her so grown up.

Swinging on the swings with a friend. I was trying to do double-duty and push them both while talking to Whitney at the same time. It was a little tricky.

Bella and Grandma celebrating with popsicles!

I promise I wasn't yelling at a child. We were reading and I asked the kids what a lion sounded like.

Let The Spoiling Begin!

Grandma and Grandpa Wires are here this week to meet Evie for the first time, and Bella wasted no time in making sure she was the center of attention! She has had a blast with them here and wasn't shy with them at all! They took her to go get a red wagon for her birthday, and she loves it! Grandma even got to go to Bella's last day of preschool and enjoy the party! There have been lots of giraffes built out of blocks, afternoons on the swings, and books being read. I'm not sure what Bells is going to do when they leave...she'll be stuck with just me and Evie...not nearly as much fun as Grandma and Grandpa!

Grandma and Evie, for the first time!

Being driven around the house in her new red wagon!

Tickle fights with Grandpa!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

My last post for today, I promise! I had to write about last week and the weekend, and now I'm finally writing a post that actually happened today. Today was our first Sunday taking Evie to church. It was pouring down rain all morning, but we didn't want to miss going to church on Mother's Day. We even managed to take some pictures before we left!

Me and my girls! I am so blessed to be a Mama to these two little girls!

How cute is this picture! i couldn't believe Bella actually kissed on-demand! A Mother's Day miracle!

The whole family! Any strength or talent I have as a Mama comes from the amazing, godly husband who supports me! I am so thankful that Steve knows and understands my heart's desire to be a stay-at-home mom. He is an incredible support structure that I couldn't do without!

All of the ladies of the family...Mel is our surrogate mom on many days, so we took her out to lunch, too! I don't know what we'd do without her! We love having her in the same house, and Bella adores her completely!

Evelyn's First Bathtime!

We waited for a few weeks before giving Evie a bath; it just didn't seem like a priority when so many other things were going on. We finally had to bathe her on Saturday since we were planning on taking her to church on Sunday for Mother's Day. She was seriously annoyed at us! I've heard that sometimes when a baby is born in a waterbirth, they can have a natural love for the water. This is definitely not the case with our child; maybe we should have made her float around a little more when she first came out. :)

Venturing Outside!

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be like this for a little while...multiple posts written on the same day. I've tried to put little notes in the back of my mind that I want to write about and remember them for when I have a chance to sit down.

We decided to take Bella and Evelyn to the park on Saturday to let Bells work off some steam. It still takes a lot of practice getting everyone out of the house in one piece. Evie is still nursing at odd times - sometimes she can go 4 hours and sometimes it's every hour and a half. At least it's giving lots of chances to practice nursing in public with a blanket draped over my shoulder! Not an easy task for me yet!

Chilling with her main man while Bella played with Auntie Mel on the swings.

Nursing on a "secluded" picnic bench while another man was eating his sandwich at the next table over. I was very thankful to have Steve there, holding onto the corner of the blanket!

Mimi's First Visit

 We are so thankful to have family coming in over the next couple of weeks to help us out! This past week, my mom came in for a few days. She made breakfast, cleaned up, and had a great time with Bella while I was still getting the hang of nursing. Bella was thrilled to have Mimi's attention for building blocks and taking walks!

Mimi filled up the pool for Bella one afternoon and let Bella play and splash in the water. Good spoiling!

Enjoying some cuddle time with the baby...I didn't get many pictures of Mimi and Bella playing; they were going too fast!

One last chance to snuggle with Evelyn before leaving!

Trying to fit all four of us in a picture! Bella wasn't too happy, but she cooperated.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pictures With The Girls

Bella and Evie both woke up on Friday morning in really good moods, so we decided to take some of our own pictures while we were waiting for Ellen's to arrive. We had a lot of fun putting Evie in different hats, and Bella even smiled for the camera! The first four are ones that Ellen sent us (She got some amazing shots!) and the rest are ones that we took.

 Love our beautiful girls! And love getting to say "girlS"...plural!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Pediatrcian Visit

Wednesday was Evie's first car ride and first visit to the pediatrician's office! She has gained almost an entire pound since her birth! (Score one for breastfeeding!) The doctor said she was perfect and healthy, which was a little reassuring since she was born at home and didn't have all of the regular screenings that a newborn would in a hospital. We took Bella with us, because there's no way I could have done the visit without Steve, and Bella was on her best behavior! She wanted to know when it was her turn to get checked out and she was very concerned for Evie when the nurse gave her a shot.

I love seeing her in outfits that Bella wore!

Summer Fun With The Hose

I finally have a few quiet moments when both girls are sleeping, so I'm writing a couple of posts in the same day...

Steve has done such an awesome job making sure Bella has had special attention this week and not felt too left out. He has taken her around on errands and for "special treats" at the little cafe in Target. The last few afternoons, they've had a great time, playing in the front yard with a sprinkler!

Cathy stopped by with dinner and brought matching swimsuits for Bella and Evie...they're adorable! Bella LOVED chasing Steve around the yard with the hose! He tried to teach her how to drink our of it, but she's not quite brave enough for that yet.

I love the little attitude with her tongue sticking out! And her bottom, too!

Evie and I supervised in the cute is she?!?

Evie's Birth Story

I finally got a chance to write this post! I loved having a homebirth! There are definitely things I would change next time, but the simple joy of being in your own bed 30 minutes after giving birth was just amazing. The women that were in the room to support me were such an amazing blessing. I'm happy that I have very distinct memories of each one of them throughout the labor. Steve was exactly what I knew he would be; calm, supportive, everywhere at once. He was my rock. So here's the story...

Labor And Birth...

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, I had been having consistent contractions throughout the morning that would stop when I laid down for a nap. It was frustrating to feel like something was finally happening only to have them stop a few hours later.  When contractions started again on Thursday afternoon, I was hesitant to make the call that these were for real. I started having consistent contractions at 2:00 PM and called Steve around 3:30 PM to let him know that he probably needed to come home. At this point, I was still able to walk around and do things in between contractions. I called Margaret, our midwife, after I called Steve, and filled her in on what was going on. She said she would head right over to check on the baby.

Long story short, labor was nothing like I anticipated. I expected them to build slowly and take hours to progress. I waited to call everyone coming to the birth, because I didn't want them sitting around, bored, for hours on end. We ended up being worried that all of them would make it in time! Labor just took off; when Margaret checked me around 5:00, I was dilated about 3 cm. She didn't check again till around 7:00, and I was at 9 cm! The pool had just finished being filled, so I was able to get in and do the heavy pushing in the water. In my opinion, the water really helped. It was a little bit physical and a little bit mental, but I felt instantly calmer once I was in the pool.

This is Whitney and I...I had already had some big pushes and Margaret wanted me to move into a squatting position to allow the baby to move a little lower. Whitney was so amazing! She just held onto me and kept saying I was almost done!

I'm hoping I cropped this picture enough so that it's not inappropriate! I like to think that this picture would win me a spot on a soap opera based on my facial expression alone! Cathy and Mel took turns supporting me from behind. I'm pretty sure both of them ended up with bruises on their arms; I was holding on so tightly! Mel was holding me when the baby actually came out and that is a special memory I will have of us.

When Evie finally came out, there was no pause between her head and her whole body; she just kind of shot out! I'm sure that was my fault because I was desperate to have her out of me. Luckily, Steve was standing in the pool with me, and he was able to catch her and scoop her onto my stomach.

These black and white photos are all ones that Ellen Adkins took. She did a great job of being present and invisible at the same time, and I'm so incredibly thankful that she was there! I can't wait to see her entire collection of the birth and newborn pictures!

Our First Night..

Our first night with the baby was very...real. :) [This picture was actually taken the next morning, when Ms. Betty brought Bella back to the house, but I loved it, so I had to include it.] That first night felt like non-stop nursing, but I was still on such an adrenaline rush, that I was awake more than Evie was. I have always been a "why would you wake a sleeping baby?" kind of person, but problems nursing Bella and the decision to stop nursing after 2 weeks ended up being really emotional for me. With Evie, Steve and I decided that we would accept whatever Margaret suggested.

Margaret recommended keeping the baby in bed with us through the night and nursing every two hours. If Evie was asleep, we woke her up. That was definitely the most frustrating aspect of it. For some feedings, it took me 15 minutes to wake her up and another 30 to feed her - by the time you're done and both of you are back to sleep, you only have an hour before it's all supposed to start again. So, yes...very real.

Settling In...

Overall, I would do a homebirth again in a heartbeat. I would definitely be mentally prepared to have labor move so quickly, and I would make sure that the pool was filled right away, but besides the crazy pain (I mean, craaaaazy, gut-wrenching, you have got to be kidding me! kind of pain), there was no downside. Everything moved so quickly, there was no time to be nervous or wonder if this was the right decision. We are so thankful that Evie and I are safe! There were zero complications and everything went exactly like we hoped and prayed they would!

Bella has definitely had some adjusting to do, but we knew to expect that. At first, she did not like it at all that there was someone else in the bed next to Mama. She would wake up in the morning, and come over to my side saying, "Move the baby. Mama, make baby move." But she has come a long way in just a few days and really likes being involved in helping out! Since I have watched so many different children in our home, I think she's still secretly hoping that someone will be coming to take the baby home soon! Whenever one of our friends have come to bring dinner over, she points to the woman and asks if she is the baby's Mama.

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed! Evie is already an incredible blessing in our home, and Steve and I are so grateful for a healthy baby girl!

Evelyn Scout Wires
8 lbs; 21 inches
Born on Thursday, April 26th at 8:06 PM