Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year 2013

Wow, I can't believe 2012 has already come to a close.  It has been exactly 1 year since I found out that we would be expecting a new addition, and that new addition is just 4 days shy of 4 months.  2012 brought us a lot of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, but one thing remained constant-God's love.  He has blessed us beyond measure and continued to be there with us every step of our journey.

We have come so far this year as a family, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  I have watched my children grow and learn, embrace change and thrive from it, and I have watched my son gain so much confidence and take charge over his emotions.

Joshua has always been my sensitive one. From the time he was an infant loud noise, crowded places and over stimulation would send him into a tizzy.  When he was 3 these 'fears' presented themselves in the form of hives and anaphylaxtic reactions that had us racing to Children's hospital often and we kept a large stash of epi-pens on hand.  Then came 2012 and I am happy to announce that it has been a SOLID YEAR of NO HOSPITAL TRIPS for Joshua!!!  He still battles with hives and fears, but they have gotten SO MUCH BETTER now that he is able to communicate and work through his emotions better. It has been such a joy to watch Joshua emerge from his shell and embrace change, new environments, crowds and people.  He even got up in front of every Harrison family member on Christmas Eve and played the piano-a HUGE step!! In 2012, Joshua learned all of his letters, capital and lowercase, the sound the made, learned simple math, a few simple sight words and learned how to color inside the lines.  He can now take showers by himself, can assist in putting together legos and learned how to ride a 2 wheeler briefly. He is now 38lbs and wears size 5 clothing.  Joshua goes out of his way to pray for family members and friends when they are sick or hurt and is always good about reminding us to pray before we eat.  He wants to be a drummer when he grows up and his prayer for 2013 is that Jesus will take him to Heaven again in this dreams. He loves star wars, legos, skylanders, books, fighter pods, the color green and playing rough with the boys.

Madelynn has also grown and changed so much in 2012.  She went from sleeping in a crib/side car crib to sleeping in her own bed (bunk bed that she shares with Joshua) and is now fully potty trained day and night.  Madelynn started 2012 with a 5day stay in Children's hospital for RSV but has kicked butt this year and other than a bought of bronchitis just before Christmas she has been pretty healthy.  Like her brother, though, she now battles with hives but we have not found a link for her. She's a tough cookie about it though, she is a true fighter!!  Madelynn is a sweet heart but very stubborn, Dan jokes that she is a lot like me :)  She is now 26lbs and wears size 3T/4T clothing.  She loves her babies, books, dress up, princesses, the color purple, dragons and snuggles.  She also still craves a ton of skin to skin contact.  When she grows up she wants to work at the zoo with dragons and her prayer for 2013 is that Jesus will make her a real princess.

Emma Lou has changed our world in so many ways.  She is a pure joy, always happy, and a delight to all who see her. We get stopped often from people passing us by who tell us how cute she is and then they completely melt when she smiles at them.  She is now nearly 4m old and weighs 17lbs and now wears 9m clothing.  She has rolled over a handful of times from her belly to her back, sleeps 10-12hrs straight a night and takes 3 2hr naps daily.  She sucks her middle and ring finger on her left hand when she is tired, looks for any and all chances to nurse, loves her bath and loves to be carried or worn in the Ergo.  My prayer for Emma in 2013 is that she will grow, thrive and enjoy the new adventures and milestones ahead and that she will continue to be a joy to others, a light in the darkness.

As I end this last blog post of 2012 I pray that you find delight in the Lord this coming year. That you break through the confines of religion and find a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  I pray that you reach out to those who are hurting around your and find ways to bless them, even in the smallest and simplest of ways.  I pray that you find time to get on your knees before your God.

Jeremiah 29:11 

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Emma Lou and Pumpkins too

 My Emma Lou is already 2months old-boy the times flies!  She recently had a sick dr visit and she weighed 12lbs 13.5oz.  They also said she had an ear infection in both ears and bronchitis :(  Poor baby!  It's been one thing after another (found out she has a dairy allergy/sensitivity, I got mastitis, and now this).  She's growing so fast and she's a pure delight! She smiles and coos now and loves to snuggle.  Here are a few new pics!

Now on to the pumpkins! 

 Scooping out the PUMPKIN GUTS

Joshua carving his pumpkins-both kids
he did nearly the entire thing by himself


Madelynn carving her pumpkin 
 the face she had help with from Miss Shelley

 The kids' finished pumpkins

Joshua's vampire...Madelynn's smile...Joshua's pirate

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Birth of Emma Lou

So lets start at the beginning...Pregnancy.  If you read any of my other posts about this pregnancy you'll know that it started off as twins.  We found out at 13weeks we had one surviving miracle and at 20weeks found out we were expecting a little girl.  Right away we knew her name would be Emma Lou-which means All Consuming Warrior in German :)

The pregnancy was your typical pregnancy with morning sickness in the beginning (22weeks for me!) and then the rest of the 2nd trimester was pretty uneventful aside from Emma laying on my sciatic nerve.  The 3rd trimester brought on contractions and I dealt with preterm labor at 33weeks and 34.5weeks-making for trips to the hospital and medication shots to stop contractions.  Then little miss Emma decided she would drag out the final weeks of pregnancy.  I dealt with contractions for days on end, every 5mins apart, and was unable to sleep through them.  Then they would stop and I would resume normal life for a few more days, then it would start up again. This was normal for the end of this pregnancy, so when contractions started up again on August 30th I figured we were still going through the steps of weeks before.

Contractions started that morning and with it came vomiting and diarrhea.  It continued all day and through the Saturday morning and then the contractions were coming every 5mins apart.  Friday night I had gone on a long walk with the kids and then when contractions got closer on Saturday, Sept 1st, I  touched based with me midwife and went hiking with a friend.  Contractions continued and kept me awake, I was unable to sleep. Sunday morning we walked to church and contractions had moved to 3-5mins apart and getting stronger.  Dan was getting excited as things continued to progress but I was not yet convinced things were progressing.  Monday morning came, September 3rd-Labor Day, and I was hoping for a baby.  I was not sleeping, contractions were regular and I was both emotionally and physically  exhausted.  I wanted to be done. I wanted my baby girl to be here, but she wasn't ready yet...

Tuesday morning I woke up at 2:30am with some REALLY STRONG contractions and they were different then I had been having.  These were making me nauseous with every wave and they were were more uncomfortable and lots of pressure.  At 4:30am I woke Dan and told him he could not go to work, I thought that it was baby day.  He rolled back over and went to sleep/  I climbed in the bath and waited a bit longer before calling my midwife.  At 6:30am Dan came into the bathroom and asked me if he could go to work-I could have killed him.  At 8am we started making phone calls to my midwife and we called Dan's mom to let her know that she should get things together and head this way.  Contractions were regular in intensity and spacing, and I knew we were going to have a baby.

Dan's mom arrived at 10:40am and once she walked into the house and saw me in labor she said we needed to head to the dr.  I called my midwife and she said she'd check me at the clinic and see what was going on.  I arrived at 11:30 and she said I was dilated to 4cm and contractions looked good.  However Emma's heartrate was concerning to the dr.  It was 140 but it was not 'active'.  After more monitoring my midwife suggested I go load up on sugary treats-she suggested a large mocha latte and some cinnamon rolls, but I opted for Godfather's pizza buffet, complete with a coke and dessert pizza.  After lunch we headed to the hospital where my midwife met us.

 Heading up to the labor and delivery floor at Abbott Northwestern Hospital
 Checking in and filling out paper work

 We arrived into our room, along with our midwife and got hooked up to the monitors to see what Emma's heartrate was doing.  

 She was doing great and Kathrine (my midwife) was no longer worried about her at that point.  What a relief!!  It was 1:30 when we arrived in our room and I was dilated to 5cm.  After the monitors were off  I labored in the room, walking around and then at 3:00pm I had a VERY STRONG contraction that made my midwife suggest we get in the tub-it was "the big one!"  
 I was in the birthing tub by 3:30 and contractions were getting stronger...I was excited and I was really proud of myself that I was doing this...and I was getting my water birth!


My MIL helped me with some contractions by applying cold wash cloths.  
I was given oxygen a few times while I was in the tub because the contractions were rolling on top of each other and combined with the heat of the water I was not doing a good job of breathing correctly, making myself hyperventilate. 

The kids and Dan were in and out of the room during the 'routine' stuff of labor, contractions, repositions, checks, but when they came in they were able to offer great support

This is my all time favorite labor pic I have!  My dear friend, and photographer, Shelley Brooks, took all these photos and this one is so precious to me! 

At 5:10pm I was checked again and was dilated to 7cm.  My midwife broke my water, but at the time I didn't know she was doing it, I just knew I had so much pressure during her check.  I'm sure I consented to it at the time, but I don't remember it at all. I must have been in my zone.  At 6:25pm I was dilated to 8.5.  Labor was progressing a lot slower than it had with my other kids and it was starting to become VERY exhausting emotionally-I hadn't slept more than an hour here and there since Saturday and it was now Tuesday evening.

At 7:30 I was dilated to 9cm and I was doubting myself in this labor process.  I had been throwing up with the contractions, I had diarrhea and was on and off oxygen and had been shaking uncontrollably for nearly 2hrs at this point.  I had reached my limit and I was feeling the stress of having the kids with us at the hospital (Nana and Papa were doing a great job though watching them). At 8:00pm I asked, begged rather, for pain meds.  I was dilated to 9.5 and I just couldn't do it anymore.  I was told I could do IV meds, something I had never had before, but if I had an allergic reaction to it I would end up with a c-section, or I could do an epidural. I chose to do the epidural.

We got moved into a different room and the epidural was put in at 8:10. It took until 9:30pm for my shaking to stop and to me to feel some relief. and I knew we were getting close.  At 10:10 my midwife (now Kristin), came in and checked me and turned off my epidural.  She told me to give a practice push and as soon as I did a huge gush of water moved from around Emma's head, nearly nailing her :)  She told Dan he needed to come, it was time to push and he arrived at 10:15 with his mom.  I started pushing right away and Emma Lou was born at 10:23pm
Look at that vernix all over her!! 

 She was so calm after birth that it took a bit to get her crying. She looked around the room once then laid her head on my chest, attempted to suck on my shirt, but later found her thumb instead. Dan was so excited to see Emma.
 And even more excited to cut the cord. We waited until the placenta was delivered and everything had stopped pulsating.  I also took the placenta home with me and had it encapsulated.

After daddy and Nana had a chance to hold Emma we had her weighed as we waited for Joshua and Madelynn to return with Papa.
Here are her stats:
Born September 4th, 2012
at 10:23pm
weighing 7lbs 15oz
and measuring 19.5" long
with a 13.25" head (TINY!)

When the kids came in they were SO excited! Joshua was instantly in love but Moo was more cautious, however it was close to midnight by the time they came to meet their new baby sister and they had been at the hospital since 1:30pm, without naps.

Joshua meeting Emma Lou for the first time...look at his face!!  He was SO happy to have her here, "she's ours for all the days" 

This was the extent of Madelynn's reaction to Emma.  However she told everyone who came into the room that "Emma came out of mommy's tummy"

 Look at these chubby cheeks on my Emma Lou!!

After the kids looked over Emma, the kids checked on me to make sure I was doing ok.  They are such a blessing to me
 Here is the midwife who assisted in helping me catch Emma.  I was actually able to pull Emma out, once her arms were free, and onto my chest, but Kristin was a great support:

 Here is a picture of Dan, Emma and I.  Just the 3 of us...Dan and I have been blessed so much!!

And here is our PERFECT first family photo.  Joshua was SO tired and sad that he was not able to stay the night with me and Emma so he was in tears here.  Madelynn was deeply engaged in a game on my phone, and then there is Dan and I, Emma too, all looking perfectly happy after midnight!!

Everyone left by 1:30am and then it was just Emma and I until morning, when Dan would return with the kids after they woke up.  Around 4:30 am Emma was taken to the nursery, with me, to have her hearing checked. Her left ear passed with flying colors but her right ear took nearly 45mins to clear.  They said she passed but Joshua had told me when I was pregnant with Emma that he ears wouldn't work like his do and he needed to learn more ASL so he could talk with her, I wonder if this will come to pass or not (since he was right on so many aspects of my pregnancy from the get go).  Here are a few photos of Emma during her hearing test:

The next morning the kids arrived around 10am and Joshua couldn't wait to get his hands on Emma.  He loved her so much and he continues to love her so much now.  He can't get enough of her!!
After Joshua got all of his snuggles in with Emma, daddy got his turn with his new little girl 
By 11am (just 11hrs after her birth) Emma and I were discharged and sent home-we asked to be sent home as early as possible.  This was our final picture together before we put her in the carseat to go home!  
All buckled in and ready to go...she slept the whole way home and it was such a blessing, since our backseat was full of kids in carseats and I was not able to sit in the back with her.

So there you have it...Emma's birth story.  It has only taken me a little over a month to find the time to get this all written out but that is how life goes with 3!!

Before I conclude this blog post, I had to give a shout out to my dear SHELLEY! She stuck with me every step of the way through this pregnancy and delivery, camera in hand, ready to capture every moment as it happened, capturing the perfect visual timeline.  Over the past 3 years we have gotten extremely close and it has been a joy to have her by my side, not only as a friend but as a sister in Christ.  Thank you Shelley for everything and all that you do. For your prayers, support, friendship and love.
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.