Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cordelia's Birth Story


Five days later, I am still completely in awe of the amazing birth that the Lord allowed me to have with Cordelia Mae.  I was so blessed to have a WONDERFUL natural birth even after being induced (as directed by the doctor after the concern over low fluid levels).  I was supported through the labor and delivery by my husband, my mom, a great nurse, and a wonderful midwife.  I delivered at a hospital that supported my desires for as little intervention as possible, and I received great support from the lactation consultants.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

All day the Wednesday before I was to be induced, I did whatever I could think of to try and get labor started.  I sat on an exercise ball anytime I sat down, but I stayed really active all day and did squats and other stretches to try and get the baby to move into a good position (not sunny side up).  We got everything in order for the next day (talk about a weird feeling... knowing I was going to have a baby the next day!).  I even went to church that night.  My mom got into town that night so that she could be present for the birth the next day.
Thursday morning Tad and I drove to the hospital really early (we had to leave at 5AM).  My mom stayed at the house with Vera until a friend from church came over to relieve her.  It took a while to get all checked in and everything, so I wasn't actually started on the Pitocin drip until about 8AM.  Our hospital has ambulatory monitoring, so I was able to walk around the halls of the floor to help get things moving.  They started me out on a really low amount of Pitocin (at my request) and they increased it every half hour or so all morning.  I walked and walked and walked until probably 10:30AM (around the time my mom arrived).  At this point I started to notice that my contractions were getting regular.  They were very mild and didn't last long (30 seconds?) and came every 3 minutes or so.
Tad and I actually played Dutch Blitz for a little while as I experienced contractions.  I sat on a birthing ball by the bedside while he, my mom, and I chatted and laughed.
 
At 11:00AM my midwife came in to check my cervix.  I had not been checked since my appointment two days ago (where I had been 2 cm).  I was at -1 station and 4 cm, and she told me I was in active labor.  I was surprised, since I didn't feel like the contractions were very strong at all.  She recommended that we break my water, which I was fine with since labor was progressing well.  I think that really helped my body to "kick it into gear."

I sat on the birthing ball a lot after that point.  I don't think I ever got back into the bed after that.  I spent a little bit of time in the birthing chair until I felt a little uncomfortable.  My back hurt and I wanted Tad to be able to rub it.  As I labored on the birthing ball, Tad rubbed my back and read Scripture verses over me as I labored.  We had hymns and worship music playing for my whole labor.  It was so uplifting!

I almost feel like I can't describe this as "labor" compared with what it felt like with Vera.  This time, I was much less fearful, and with each contraction I opened up instead of clenching or fighting the pain.  As every contraction came, I thought, "This is not pain, this is progress."  I literally did not feel like I was in pain.  I kept a very open posture, with my legs spread open over the birthing ball, my arms open wide at my sides, my mouth open as I breathed, and my head raised.  I mediated on verses about not being afraid.  In between contractions I was still talking and smiling (I promise!).

My nurse and my midwife kept telling me how I was doing great and that I was getting close.  I truly didn't believe them because I was not in pain and did not feel that "hopeless, out-of-control" feeling I felt with Vera as I got into hard labor.  I remember laboring on the birthing ball and bouncing/swaying to the music playing and just worshiping God in my heart as I contracted.

Tad placed heating pads on my lower back while I started to have much stronger contractions (around 2:15PM).  I started vocalizing at this point (oohhhhhh sounds).  I felt a little nauseous and began to get more focused.  I wasn't smiling in between contractions anymore, but I still thought I had a few more hours to go.  My mom described me at this time as "in the zone."
 
Around 2:35PM I felt like I wanted to move to the birthing chair.  My lower back hurt and I wanted the strong counter-pressure that the hard, curved back of the chair provided.  My midwife asked me if I felt like I needed to push, but I said not yet.  A few contractions later, I changed my answer to maybe.  I tried a push with my next contraction, but it still didn't feel like "time."  My midwife encouraged me to feel for the head, but I reached up there and didn't feel anything.  With the next contraction, I pushed and literally felt her head move down the canal.  At this point, I knew I HAD to push, no matter what.  I knew she was coming fast, so that really motivated me to push.  I pushed hard, but because I was in the birthing chair, it wasn't that painful.  I could feel the progress happening so quickly.  Even the "ring of fire" wasn't too bad!  I had absolutely no tearing, which was a tremendous blessing.  I pushed her head out and gave one more strong push for her shoulders.  My midwife told me to look down (I had been pushing with my eyes closed) and there she was!  I picked her up (blood, vernix, and all!) and put her on my chest.  The first thing I said to her was, "Oh, I love you so much!"  I just hugged her and praised God for a beautiful, healthy baby!  She was born at 2:48PM.


 
 
We waited probably 45 minutes to clamp and cut the cord.  She was all mine :) and no one else could hold her.  I am so glad we didn't cut the cord until it had stopped pulsing.  My midwife didn't rush me to birth the placenta, but when I was ready, I pushed that out without a problem.  It was all intact and she explained the parts of it to me (much to Tad's disgust).  :)


We announced Cordelia Mae's name and called a few family members.  They wanted to know her stats, but Tad said "um... she's still connected!"  After a while, they did clean her up and prepare to weigh her.  Everyone in the room took a guess at her weight (I said 8 lbs. even).  My mom, who hadn't held her yet, said 8lbs. 3 oz., which was exactly right!  Cordelia was 20.5 inches long, which was Vera's exact length too. She has dark hair also like her big sister.
 


I am still SO incredibly thankful to God for an amazing (truly worshipful) birthing experience!  I had the best support I could ever have asked for in Tad, my mom, my midwife, and my nurse.  I am serious when I say that this natural birth was virtually pain-free (thank you, Lord!).  I wouldn't change anything about it at all.  Cordelia Mae is a precious blessing and we are so thankful to be her parents!  She is nursing great (my milk came in less than 48 hours after her birth) and we are thankful for that too.

We appreciate your prayers for this pregnancy and delivery... they were definitely answered!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Comfy

Our sweet girl is bringing lots of sunshine into our lives! She slept for a little while in her papasan earlier this afternoon. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Her Name


We chose the name Cordelia Mae because we love it, but also because we love what it means!

Cordelia (edit: pronounced "cor-DEEL-yuh") - "tenderhearted"
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

Mae - "pearl"
Matthew 13:45-46, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Announcing...

We are so blessed and thankful to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful baby girl, Cordelia Mae!

She was born on Thursday, February 23 at 2:48PM after a rather short labor!
She weighed in at 8lbs. 3oz. and is 20.5 inches long!

Cordelia is absolutely beautiful and we are so blessed beyond belief! Doesn't she look like Vera?

Thank you for your prayers for a safe delivery!  We hope to post more pictures for you soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week Forty-One

Well, I made it to week forty-one again!  In keeping with tradition, I'll forgo a picture this week (not because I care that much, but because my camera is already packed for the hospital).  All our bags are ready to go!

As I explained yesterday, I am scheduled for an induction tomorrow morning.  It is still my prayer that labor would start naturally before then, but I am at peace knowing God will take care of us no matter what!  I am meditating on lots of encouraging and uplifting passages of Scripture, like these.  Thank you to all of you who left such sweet and encouraging comments on yesterday's post.  It's wonderful having friends like you to support me with love and prayers right now!

I've been getting things ready today (laundry, etc.) and just enjoying my time with Vera.  We took a walk together earlier (the weather is gorgeous!).  My mom is coming into town tonight, and I can't wait to see her!

In other news, I measured my belly because I was curious.  I'm 38 inches around at the widest point!  I really wish I had measured with Vera because I'd like to know if I'm bigger/smaller/the same size this time.  For some reason, I felt bigger with her, but that could have been due to the summer heat and all of the swelling in my legs/feet. 

So... I'M HAVING A BABY TOMORROW!  Can't wait for you all to "meet" her!!!!

Week forty-one with Vera.

Kindle Fire Review

I'm blogging over at She {hearts} It today!

I'm reviewing my Kindle Fire.  Check it out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Induction

Wanted to drop in with a brief baby update...

At my appointment today, we did a non-stress test and Baby Mango is doing great... her heart-rate is perfect and she is active.  My blood pressure is fine.  They also did an ultrasound and found that my amniotic fluid levels are unfortunately lower than they would like them to be.

Because of this (out of concern for the baby's safety), the doctor scheduled me for an induction Thursday morning. 

I really would appreciate your prayers that my labor would start naturally before then!  If it does not, I would ask that you pray that I be at peace with letting go of my ideal birth experience.  This is an opportunity for me to grow in my trust of the Lord!  I am fighting against fear, so I appreciate your prayers for peace in my heart.

Thank you!

On my "to-do" list for the day:
-get a pedicure (some women swear this puts them in labor)
-eat a whole pineapple (ditto)
-walk, walk, walk!
-get last minute things together
-get a good night's sleep!

Monday, February 20, 2012

18 Months

Vera turned 18 months old yesterday!  We are constantly amazed at what a unique, fun little person she is becoming!  
She has so much personality and is simply delightful.
We are also very thankful for all of the milestones she has hit and for how smart she is.
She also is developing a unique sense of humor which keeps us laughing!
Some milestones:
-vocabulary includes: kitty, cat, doggie, dada, daddy, mama, mommy, baby, bad kitty, cheese, water, bread, please, thank you, cookie, bye-bye, hi, tickle-tickle, nose, read, hair, bow, brush, teeth, belly button, night night, banana, up, down, no, go, what, see, that, do, bath, uh-oh, tea, socks, shoes, rock-rock, lion, bear, me, clean up, etc. (I'm probably forgetting some!)
-puts some phrases together (i.e. "dada go bye-bye" or "bad kitty cat!")
-understands and follows directives (i.e. "go find your sock and bring it here so we can put it on!")
-can identify these body parts: eyes, ears, nose, lips, tongue, toes, head, hair, belly button
-knows some animal noises (cat, dog, cow, sheep, lion, bear, etc.)
-is becoming quite a little climber (and is getting better at climbing stairs)
-loves to read books (will bring them to us and sit down in our laps so we read to her, but will also "read" them to herself on her own)
-eats a wide variety of foods, including: bananas, whole wheat bread, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, oatmeal, animal crackers, spaghetti, homemade pizza, cheese (almost all kinds), yogurt, beans, quesadillas, baked potatoes, couscous, rice, macaroni & cheese, garlic bread, cornbread, tortellini, salmon, green beans, broccoli, hummus, waffles, grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, pasta, stir fry, etc.!
-sleeps 7pm-8:30am most nights
-takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap (but seems like she might be cutting it back to one nap a day soon)
-loves to brush her teeth (well, with help!)
-loves having "tea parties" and often engages in pretend play
-takes care of her baby doll (rocks her, changes her diaper, feeds her, puts her in the crib for night-night, etc.)
-is very attached to several stuffed animals and her crocheted blanket
-has six teeth, with two more almost through
-can take her clothes (and diaper) off all by herself!
-still won't sit down for bath time
-is about 30 inches tall
-weighs: __? (need to check... can't remember!)
-wears some 18 month and some 24 month clothing
-dances to music
-sings (nothing completely recognizable yet)
-is going to be a big sister any day now (and we know she's going to be great at it!)

We are blessed!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

26 Favorite Free Fonts

I consider myself to be somewhat of a "fontaholic." I guess you could say I collect fonts! I'm also more than a little snobby/overcritical about font choices (you do NOT want to get me started on Comic Sans or Papyrus!).

I always love discovering fun new fonts, so I thought today I would share just a few of my favorites with you! Some of these are old, some are new, but hopefully some of them are ones you haven't seen before. The source list is below! Enjoy!
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, & 26.

Where are your favorite sources to find great free fonts?
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week Forty

I'm feeling pretty good this week, even though I'm hardly sleeping at night.  I think some of the birth adrenaline might be starting to kick in early (or maybe this is still the nesting instinct)!  I feel pretty energetic during the day and have trouble winding down at night.  I'm still trying to take naps in the afternoon when I can.

At my appointment yesterday my midwives and nurses were so encouraging.  They told me I look great, which made me feel good, since I'm practically popping out of my maternity clothes now.  They also reminded me of what a good birth experience I had with Vera because we waited and let things start naturally.  Mango's heartbeat is strong, and all of my levels (iron, blood pressure, etc.) are good too.  She's healthy and happy and obviously content to stay in there a little longer!

If you haven't read my post about due dates yet, you should go read it!  According to some new (better) calculations, I really don't think Mango is "due" until Saturday or Sunday (or even possibly Monday).  Even if she decides to come past those dates, it will be okay, since the Lord has a perfect birthday picked out for her!

Ways you can pray for us:
-for peace of mind and heart as we wait (some days more patiently than others!)
-for Mango's health and safety
-for support from my midwives/doctors in my hopes/plans to have a natural start to the birth
-for labor to start soon and progress quickly, if that be the Lord's will
-for another great natural birth experience
-for Vera as she adjusts to being a big sister

Week forty with Vera.

What's so Magical about Forty Weeks?

(My real "Week Forty" pregnancy post is coming later.  This is just an informational post about due dates for those who are interested.)

As many of you know, I went past 40 weeks with Vera.  Thirteen days past, actually.  Many of us rely on that "magical due date" to predict when our little sweetie will arrive, but the system for calculating it is actually rather flawed.  First of all, this method (which dates back to the 1700's) assumes that each woman's cycle is the same length (28 days).  A woman with shorter cycles is going to have a shorter gestation, and likewise, a woman with longer cycles will have a longer gestation.  Secondly, this method incorrectly represents a lunar month as 280 days rather than the actual 295 days (yep... a 15 day difference!).(1)

A more accurate method for determining one's due date (Mittendorf, et. al. 1990 study) is to take the date of your last cycle, subtract 3 months, and add 15 days (for first time moms) or 10 days (for moms who have previously given birth).(2)  According to this way of calculating, I am not actually even "due" until February 18 or 19.

Another source suggested taking the doctor's calculated due date for you (280 days) and adding or subtracting days based on the average length of your cycle.  Add or subtract 2 days for every day difference there is between your cycle length and the standard 28 days.  If you typically have a cycle that lasts 30 days, add 4 days to the end of your "due date" (from the doctor), and if you normally have  a shorter cycle (like 27 days), subtract 2 days.(3)  According to this way of figuring the due date, I am due February 19 or 20.

I also found some really interesting information about inductions.  You may have heard that it is important to be induced at 41 weeks (I was told last time by my doctor that after 41 weeks the risk of stillbirth doubles), yet did you know that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend labor induction until 42 weeks?  In a study done of over 56,000 pregnancies, the ACOG concluded: "Routine labor induction at 41 weeks likely increases labor complications and operative delivery without significantly improving neonatal outcomes."(4)  Interesting!  I'll definitely be pushing for a late induction date (right at 42 weeks, if possible) if I am still pregnant at that point.

I hope that this post has been informative for you.  I feel like I'm learning a lot right now... not just about pregnancy/delivery, but about patience and trusting in God for HIS perfect timing!

When our family went through a difficult time when I was in middle school, we clung to this verse:  "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7). We filled in "chariots" and "horses" with what we were tempted to trust in at the time, and determined to trust in GOD, not in those things!  Some may trust in doctors and due dates, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God!  :)

Sources:
(1) The Lie of the EDD
(2) Ibid.
(3) gentlebirth.org
(4) Forty Weeks and Beyond

Cease Striving

via
This morning as I was doing my devotions, I came across a verse that really encouraged me!

"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10, NASB

I hope that this verse will encourage you where you are today as well!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Look how much Vera has changed since last year!
Hope you've had a sweet Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Beautiful Girl

As excited as I am to meet my second baby girl, I am really enjoying this season with just my firstborn, Vera.  Whether it's for another day or a few more weeks, I know the time the two of us have alone together is fleeting.  I keep telling her that I am having another baby, but that she will always be my first baby.
She is beautiful, and I am delighted by her charming and sweet personality!

*Darling coat made with love by Mimi.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Easy, Non-Candy Valentines for Kids

Vera's little Cuddles class at church had a Valentine's Day party this past Wednesday night, so I wanted to send some Valentines for her to hand out.  The age range is between 14 months and 2.5 years, plus there are some children with allergies, so I wanted to stick with a non-candy Valentine.
 
Tad picked up some heart straws for me at Wal-mart (4/$.97) and I made some cute little "flags" to attach to them.  I printed directly on heart scrapbooking paper (had on hand) and went ahead and typed each child's name on the flags.  On the other side, I typed, "Hope your Valentine's Day is 'strawesome'!!"

I cut the paper into strips, folded it in half, and stuck it around the straw using roll-on adhesive (double-sided tape would work too).  The packages came with white/red straws and pink/white straws, so I gave the white ones to the boys and the pink ones to the girls.  I trimmed the ends of the flags to help with the cuteness factor, and they were done!

Very quick and easy to do, yet still a fun gift to give and get.

Here are a couple of other non-candy Valentine ideas I love:
(click on each image to go to the respective blog)





What are your kids giving to their friends/classmates this year for Valentine's Day?
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