Thursday, February 4, 2016

Luke's Birth Story

i don't normally write here anymore, as evidenced by the fact that my last post was when j was 18 months old. now he's 3.5 years old. is that possible? i want to write here now because i want to have luke's birth story written somewhere and typing is so much easier than handwriting at the moment. so here we go...

luke's story starts surprisingly similar to j's. i was scheduled for a non stress test and ultrasound because my children like to stay put for a good long while after their due dates. the tests were scheduled on day 8 post due date, so i had my step-mom come watch j and off i went. i started having contractions on the way to my tests, but had been having them over the past couple weeks, so i just figured they were more practice. the non stress test didn't show anything significant besides the fact that baby's heart beat was fine and contractions were happening, just irregularly. then off to the ultrasound, which showed plenty of fluid in there, so they sent me on my way. i left and stopped at my friend allison's house since it is right around the corner from the office. we chatted, and the contractions continued a bit, but i still didn't think anything of it. i left there, stopped for a mcdonald's chocolate milkshake ((gross pregnancy habit alert - i had a lot of those)), and headed home. once i got home and got j to nap, my contractions started to get a little bit more regular. ry was at work trying to get in as many hours as possible because of tax season, knowing he was taking a week off once this baby came. i tried to lie down to see if the contractions went away, but no such luck, so I had ry come home just in case we would need to head to the hospital. Around four i had been having regular contractions about 4-5 minutes apart for an hour or so, so i called the midwives. since the contractions weren't too painful yet, they thought it better to labor at home for a while longer. i tried to eat and drink, but i wasn't feeling great, so Ry turned off his computer and tended to j as i wandered around the house having contractions. around 7:30, the contractions were three minutes apart and decently painful, so i called the midwives back. since they were seemingly only 30 seconds long, midwife thought i could stay home for a bit longer and try laboring in the tub, but she wanted me to call back in an hour or if i felt like things were progressing along faster. we tucked j in and i tried laboring in the tub. by this time, the contractions felt like they were two to three minutes apart and rather painful, so we called my step-mom to come over and we hopped in the car to head for the hospital. hands down, the two worst car rides i've ever had were the car rides to the hospital while in labor. contractions while sitting are just not ideal.

we checked into triage around 9 pm, got hooked up to the monitor, and waited for the midwife to arrive. apparently my contractions were three minutes apart and lasting for a minute and a half. I had only been feeling the peaks of them, which is why we thought they were only 30 seconds long. once the midwife arrived, she checked and i was at 6 1/2 cm, so they admitted me! i was so excited that we were at 6 1/2 cm, because that was not the case with j when we went in. his labor i was at 3 cm when we went in, but we only went in because i had been puking so much. This labor seemed to be off to a MUCH better start so i had high hopes this kiddo would be joining us sooner rather than later. HA! i was wrong.

we got settled into our room and met our nurse, Laura (i'll get back to her--one of my favorite people on the planet). they hooked me up to a monitor (prior c section = constant monitoring) and we chatted and contracted for a while. the contractions started to get stronger and back labor set in. someone suggested rubbing my back with a heat pack during contractions, which was the best idea ever. finally i realized we didn't have any music on yet. give me some good hymns and i can keep going, so ry turned on our indelible grace pandora station. all of a sudden i noticed someone was singing along...and it wasn't me or was our nurse! ah - God works in all the things. a Christian! how cool. anyways, we kept working through contractions, but they were getting extremely painful and the back labor was getting more intense. midwife thought it would be a good idea to check where things were at, and we were at 8 cm with the majority of my cervix on one side. because of that, we decided to lie down and see if we could thin things on the one side. i think that was around 2 am. as the contractions got stronger, our fabulous nurse suggested riding out contractions like i was riding a wave. GENIUS. ryan admitted that he thought i wouldn't go for the whole visualization thing, but it was exactly the thing to do. there i was, in the ocean on our favorite rockport beach. i could picture it so vividly and was able to breath in and out as i saw the waves coming. it couldn't have been a more perfect suggestion. laura, you are a genius. being able to breathe through the contractions was wonderful. we checked again and i was at 9 cm, which was awesome, but the contractions were 9 cm contractions and back labor was bad...but only 1 cm to go, we could totally do this. we labored for quite some time longer (3 hours or so) and checked again. i was so tired and could feel contractions starting to slow and weaken. it was 6 am. i was at 9 cm...still. talk about discouraging. this is exactly what happened with j, except i stalled at 7 cm with him. all those hard contractions for so long and nothing. i was so bummed, shift change was coming and i was liking the team we had with us, but this kid was not going to come out before we had to say goodbye to laura.

so stalled out at 9 cm...we had a decision to make. my water still had not broken. we had the choice of breaking my water and continuing to labor to see what happened, or i could get an epidural, break my water, rest, and hope things progressed. at this point i was so exhausted and my back hurt so bad even when i wasn't contracting. i was tired, both physically and mentally, and discouraged and feeling like we were headed down the same path that we went down with j. i also knew that my best bet for pushing this kid out would require energy, which would require, as hard of a decision as it was, we opted for the epidural. vbac was our number one goal, so if we had to make decisions we wanted to avoid to get there, we were okay with it. we had that placed and they broke my water, and immediately i hit 10 cm. baby was still pretty high, and i was exhausted, so we rested for a while. we had to say goodbye to our amazing nurse, and were introduced to our new nurse, mariah. another one of my most favorite people on this earth. She had a student with her, which i was super skeptical about, but you will see how amazing she was. 7 am also brought a midwife change. i had never seen the first one before labor, and she wasn't my favorite, and i had only seen the new one early on in pregnancy, so i was skeptical...but there could not have been a more perfect midwife to deliver this kiddo.

anyways, shift change happened and the epidural decided to not take effect on my left side. we had to up the dose and i soon could not feel ANYTHING from the epidural spot down. i almost panicked when i couldn't move my toes, but i knew that panicking would not help anything. i was able to get a couple hours of sleep and we were hoping to start pushing around 10 am. At 10, our midwife came back in and explained that contractions had slowed down again. talk about discouraging. here we were with our epidural and slowing contractions. same situation with j. now this midwife was super awesome because she told it how it was and basically told us what our best options were for a successful vbac. she said pitocin was the way to go, otherwise contractions would not be effective enough to push. again, not our ideal, but we had to keep in mind our ultimate goal was vbac, so we said yes. we waited another hour, and were getting anxious because i wanted to just get this kid out, and even with the epidural my back was KILLING me.

just as we were starting to get frustrated because we hadn't been able to push yet, the midwife came in and said we needed to push. i am pretty sure it was because baby's heartbeat kept dropping, but i was so deliriously out of it, that i did not register that at the time. It was about 11;30 and i still had absolutely no feeling in my legs...but i had to push. this was one of the hardest things i've done because not feeling your legs makes it near impossible to push. ryan had to hold one leg and our nursing student held the other (for a very long time...ROCK STAR STUDENT ALERT!). i also had to have oxygen on because baby's heartbeat kept dropping. i could tell when i was having contractions because my back started to hurt, so i would say something and the student nurse would take the oxygen off, and the nurse would feel on my stomach for the peak of the contraction and tell me when to push. this was a completly different experience than with j. with him i was just pushing without using the contractions properly. we are so thankful that this nurse knew exactly when to have me push and was such a calm and steady presence while doing so. about 30 minutes in i started to feel exhausted and then i felt it. i knew i was going to puke. baby had made some progress up until this point, but not a ton. well, i puked, and that was my most efficient pushing yet! how awesome is that?? i didn't even have to work for it, i just puked and down baby came a bit further! you might think i'm joking, and puking while in the middle of pushing a baby out is straight up exhausting, but i am serious when i say puking is better than pushing. so i pushed for another half an hour and then the feeling in my legs started to come back a little. PHEW! this made it much easier to push and we started to make good progress. about an hour in, i kept asking how much longer it would be because i was so tired from being in active labor since 4 pm the day before (it was now 12:30 pm -- really, for a second labor -- going on 20.5 hours and counting...). The midwife estimated another half an hour...that i could do. that's less than a half on the soccer field - easy peasy. oh, and every time i pushed baby's heartbeat dropped, so our midwife had to rub his head to get it to come back up. again, thankful for a team surrounding us that was on our side for vbac and was doing everything in their power to keep me out of the OR. so we kept pushing and all of a sudden i knew i was going to puke again. the student nurse grabbed the bucket and i threw my arms around her neck and puked and puked and puked some more. the poor girl was basically in my puke bucket, but she took it like a champ. well, all of the puking was not in vain. baby almost came all the way out while i was puking, so we waited for one more contraction and i pushed and out baby came!!!! thank the Lord for puking while pushing. i was so tired that i needed to puke the poor kid out.

so baby was out and i sat there in shock that we had just done that. it was the most incredible feeling in the entire world. i wish there were words to accurately name my feelings - it was a sense of relief, and shock, and awe, and excitement all rolled into one. after baby cried the first thing out of my mouth was "WHAT IS IT!!" poor ry couldn't see because of everything going on, and then he finally was able to say "it's a BOY!" as they handed him up to me to lie on my chest. Luke Ryan was finally in my arms after a very long pregnancy and a very long labor. it was incredible.

we are so thankful that we were given the opportunity to vbac and that we had the most incredible and supportive team around us to get us there. The Lord was certainly in ALL of the details of Luke's birth, from start to finish, and for that we are grateful.

Luke Ryan, you are so very dearly loved.

Friday, December 27, 2013

jacob jay: 18 months.

eek. 18 months. this sweet boy brings so much joy to our lives.

lately j has been all about being with his daddy wherever he goes. from the second ry walks in from work to the moment j goes to bed, he wants daddy. it doesn't matter what they are doing, as long as it's together. i love watching their relationship grow.

((helping daddy put together his wagon from gramma and tuffy--my absolute new favorite pic))

he thinks he's hilarious. he loves laughing and making other people laugh. hearing that little laugh is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world.

 he's been sticking his tongue out when concentrating lately. it's something both me and ry do, so it's no surprise he picked that up.

((it takes lots of concentration to put the wise man in the truck bed...))

oh our sweet boy. he is so dearly loved by so many and that makes our hearts so happy. j is so full of life and he is oh so curious. he loves his trucks and he loves tormenting beans. he loves running to the pantry or fridge and he has learned what each of his snacks are, so he inspects each snack carefully before choosing what it is that he wants. every morning he won't let us set him down until we've held him for whatever length of time he's determined is necessary to wake up. he must not be a morning person - that's mama's fault. when we ask for kisses he leans his head in and lets us kiss him instead of giving us kisses, and he thinks it's pretty funny. his bedtime routine has changed more times than i can count. from snuggling in our bed, to sitting on the couch and reading stories, to sitting on the ground and flipping through books faster than we can read. one sure thing we can count on, though, is that telling him it's time to brush his teeth gets him up the stairs faster than anything else - he loves it! sometimes i want to keep our sweet boy little forever, but it sure is fun watching him grow. we do so love our j.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


oops. about updating the happened and happened fast here. well, not fast, since j was sick from just about halloween through thanksgiving. that's a lot of sick. and a lot of tiredness and a lot of not sleeping-ness. here's a quick recap from thanksgiving to now:

+ we hosted thanksgiving in our new home! yay! it's fun hosting and putting everything together. the in-laws trekked from VT and were here wednesday to saturday. unfortunately, jacob got sick starting on friday, so that put a damper on things. poor bugger ended up with a 102 fever for four days. no sleep for anyone. luckily he kicked it before we had to make an adventure to the good ole pediatrician and before we all lost our sanity. i didn't take many pics because i was either cooking, cleaning or snuggling the sickling, but i did manage to catch this moment...beans snuggling in with his gamp. there probably was no room on the couch due to the snuggle j fest, so he had to find his snuggles elsewhere:

+oh we took a fam photo that ended up being our christmas card! getting j to smile in a pic is the hardest task EVER.

+lots of snuggles for our sweet boy:

+ good thing j got better, because we had planned on our friends chris and jamie adventuring from MA the next weekend to usher in some Christmas cheer! they arrived saturday and we ran off to the christmas tree farm to pick out a tree. she's a beauty and her name is rosie. we decorated and made sugar cookies and played pandemic. it was perfect. we even had a big christmas morning breakfast and stocking opening. we thought about sabotaging their car so they couldn't leave, but we thought that'd be mean.

+then it was another short week and i was off to nyc with my mom and her bff/my god mother. so fun! i'd never been to nyc at christmas time, so it was quite a treat. there were lights everywhere and the tree was huuuuuge. we went to dinner in eataly the first night -- if you are ever in nyc, go there! so fun. we decided against a cab and walked 25 blocks back to a cute little wine bar. my mom's friend lives across the street and it's a cute neighborhood place that we ended up at both nights. the next day we saw the christmas spectacular - what a show! so fun. and then we walked and shopped. i'm a big fan of walking in cities - there's just always so much to take in! it was a fab weekend and we should probably start planning next year's trip :) and j could have cared less when i returned. i do believe him and daddy had WAY too much fun without me!

+we've received 30 inches of snow so far this winter. this compares to less than one inch at this time last year. crazy! j is loving it.

+uncle ricky is in town for ten days and has been stopping over to see the little man every day - j loves it!

+and the little bugger was sick again. luckily this seemed to be a 24 hour little bug and he's back on his feet...i was bummed because we were going on two whole weeks of health! i couldn't even believe it. i guess the streak had to end sometime ;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

just a little trip to MA...

 this weekend was fabulous. exhausting, but fabulous. i had the privilege of making a very quick trip to the north shore to catch the gordon women's championship game...and of course see a few favorites while i was there. 

i promised one of the goalkeepers that i coached for two years that i would make the trip if they made the finals...and when they won in pk's in the semi-finals i could not go back on my word! so i got up saturday morning at 4:45 and was on the road by 5:15. it took me 6 1/2 hours thanks to some traffic once i hit MA (surprise). i got to have a quick starbucks date with a former player who is now a dear friend and then off we went to endicott to cheer on the girls. i am still oh so invested in this team since i coached the now juniors and seniors. i wanted them to win SO bad...for them, for coach, for gordon. and they played SO well. they fought so hard. they pushed and pushed through regulation, through both overtimes, and then pk's. unfortunately pk's can go either way and they didn't go gordon's way on saturday. it was heartbreaking, but they should be so proud of themselves. i'm so gosh darn proud of them and the work they did this season.

after the game i was off to another game, this time for some dear family friends. after that game it was out to dinner with them, which was full of fun, good conversation and laughter, as always. and then it was off to my home for the evening: jamie and chris' new home! HURRAY! there were more favorites waiting when i got there, too!

and then, before i knew it, it was 6 am sunday morning and i was back on the road headed home to my boys. oh how i missed them and wished they could have been with me this weekend (along with everyone i saw...yes ryan and j are far more interesting than i am!)...but it was a great weekend for all of us! ry and j had a daddy son date day filled with the zoo and eating junk food and this mama got plenty of alone time (i am really loving some good alone time since becoming a mama...) and lots of needed hugs. a refreshing time for us all.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


1. i decided to blog more. remember that declaration? well, as soon as i made that decision, all three of us came down with the plague. and it lasted two whole weeks. two. whole. weeks. do you know what this means? no regular schedule. no eating real meals. no time to clean. no sleeping. because when you have a sick child, he wants nothing but to be attached to your hip. but, goodness, isn't he cute when he's sick?? we've seemed to finally kick the bug that was floating around here, for which i am thankful.

2. fall has been lingering around here. the colors are still so vibrant. it's fantastic. j and i have thoroughly enjoyed playing in the leaves so far this week. hopefully the sunny days and bright colors continue for a little longer.

3. the sox won the world series. it was fantastic on so many different levels. the fact that they won this year. after what happened. the way they did it. the beards. papi's batting average. it was all too perfect. thank you, red sox. 

4. halloween. yippee! i don't like halloween. it's not that i have any reason, i just thought it was kind of silly and pointless. not to mention we were around salem, ma at halloween for one year too many ((read: it's a t'here are crazy people everywhere' kind of way)). then we had a child. and then said child turned old enough to trick or treat. cue the liking of halloween! oh me, oh my, i had so much fun making j's costume and dressing him up in it! he wore it four times: to the zoo, to library class, to daddy's work and trick or treating. i was fully convinced that this holiday was invented so parents could dress their cute little monsters up.........and then came trick or treating. j LOVED it. the first house he didn't know what to do, but as soon as our neighbor put a treat in his bucket, something clicked. each house he got so excited to hold out his bucket and have candy dropped in. it was so fun and i could have watched him do it all night long. there is nothing like watching your kiddo fully enjoy what he's doing, no matter what it is. my heart was so happy.

5. we have the greatest neighbors. the greatest. the kind of neighbors who dress up for halloween with their cowboy hats and flannel on because they knew j would be trick or treating there. and yes, he probably was the only trick or treater they had. and the kind of neighbors who get pictures of your kid printed for you before you even have the chance to do it yourself. it's so fantastic knowing that we have such wonderful people living next door to us, especially since they delight in j (mrs.) and beans (mr.). nothing like having your kid(s) loved on. 

6. i've been failing on the gluten free adventures. everything i make just seems to be lacking, well, flavor. i guess i'm not picking out good recipes. but then i made this tonight, and it was delicious (okay, fine i just typed this sentence and i haven't even made dinner...but i'm sure hoping it's delicious!). okay, i just lied. dinner was not delicious. in fact, it was disgusting. and therefore i fed my child cereal and cookies for dinner...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

what. a. year.

last year on october 17, we packed up our things and moved from vt to ny. ry had gotten a new job, less than one year after we had moved to vt. crazy. 

and the crazy didn't stop once we got here. we did things like:

- move all our stuff into an apartment. buy a house mid-tax season that we couldn't move into right away. move out of said apartment and into my dad and step-mom's house temporarily while we made the house liveable (DURING TAX SEASON...are we CRAZY?). moved into a new house that needed hours upon hours of work. continued to put hours of work into the house. it is starting to feel like a home, and that makes my heart happy.

the house looked like this when we bought it. well, almost. imagine puke green carpets, too!:

dining room

j's room

living room

and now it looks more like this:

dining room 

j's room

living room

the work we've done (and by we, i mean mostly ryan) includes: ripping out carpets, replacing every window in the house, cleaning ((this was no small task)), priming and painting every inch of the walls and ceiling, redoing the porch ceiling and floor, tiling the hallway and kitchen....etc. it's been a crazy latter half of the year, but we're slowing down...just in time for tax season.

- we finally found a church. i wrote about that not long ago, but it still is making my heart so happy to have found somewhere that feels right...somewhere we can learn, grow and be challenged. we've even started making friends! crazy, i know.

- i've adjusted to living back where i grew up. it's weird. being a grown up in the place you grew up in is definitely weird. it's all sorts of familiar and all sorts of unfamiliar all at the same time.

- j was 3.5 months old when we moved. now he's 15.5 months. the difference is crazy. he's a ball of endless energy, which leaves us with not a lot of energy, but he is just so awesome. so awesome.



- little man has found himself a bff. it's precious. it's so fun watching our boy growing up alongside another sweet little boy. we had him and his wonderful parents over last night and the boys were running around laughing and having fun while we sat and laughed and watched our boys. it was relaxing and so nice to have our home filled with friends and laughter.

and this we can say for certain: God is good. He is faithful. it is not easy moving away from everything you know, like we did when we left MA two years ago, but we have learned through it all and continue to see the Lord at work in our lives. He is good. So good. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

more gluten free: end of summer harvest soup

i'm continuing on my quest to find gluten free dinners. it's not terribly hard to do, but it does take a little more effort since i can't go to many of my "go-to's." i've been following a lot of different foodie blogs to find recipes that will work for us, and i stumbled upon this soup recipe. it's full of veggies, which jacob USED to eat. apparently he doesn't like vegetables any more. and i guess he doesn't love beans anymore, either. yeah, he didn't like this soup, but we loved it - especially the second night! oh - there is pasta in the picture, but i put that in after it was dished out for those of us who can eat gluten. bonus, it's a crock pot recipe! 

end of summer harvest soup
adapted from here

+1 box chicken broth (we use trader joe's...cheaper than wegmans!)
+1 cup pasta sauce (we used wegmans)
+1 cup water
+1 medium yellow onion, diced
+2 large zucchini, in bite size pieces
+1 large summer squash, in bite size pieces
+ 2 cups roma tomatoes, chopped
+1 tsp parsley
+1 tsp oregano
+1 tsp basil
+1/3 cup dried white beans (i soaked these overnight the day before i made the soup)
+pasta if you so desire

1. put all the veggies into the crock pot, along with the beans.
2. cover with chicken broth, pasta sauce and water.
3. stir in the spices.
4. cook on low for 8-10 hours
5. cook pasta during last 1/2 hour of soup cooking...if you're planning on adding it.
6. enjoy!