A stranger watching this video wouldn’t know that it’s been one of the toughest years for our family. After Penny fell into a fire while camping last summer it shook us to our core. After many doctors visits and uncertainty her arm and back are almost entirely healed now. Praise God! The emotional aspect of the accident has had its toll on each of us in different ways. It’s hard not to let that event overshadow the last year and dwell on the difficult parts.
And yet I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face as I was editing this video. My kids are so fun and goofy. Penny’s spirit is indomitable. Their faces light up the world around them. I am so thankful for Andrea, Nora and Penny. We’ve been “reclaiming” things this year like going camping again, and this is my small attempt to reclaim last year’s memories for the better.
It was a year of sisters learning to play together (a.k.a. fighting over toys), preschool programs, swimming lessons, learning to ride bikes, eating snow, good friends, cousins, and lots and lots of dancing.
Jesse and I are excitedly expecting our second child. Here are some answers to the most common questions.
When is the baby due?
Are you going to find out the baby’s gender?
Nora’s gender was a surprise until the very end. For Baby #2 we are planning a gender reveal at Thanksgiving. Every year my parents buy us a new ornament for our Christmas tree. My friend Anna from Make it Sweet is creating a gender reveal Christmas ornament that we will open with my family at Thanksgiving.
Did you return to the infertility specialist for this pregnancy?
We did not. This time the Lord has blessed us with a surprise pregnancy.
How are you feeling?
This pregnancy has been very different. I struggled most days with nausea day and night. At twenty-one weeks, I am finally starting to feel the return of my appetite and energy…and I am so grateful!
Where is the bump?
We decided to take a different strategy this time and have me wear the same shirt each week. Here is the progress from five weeks to eighteen weeks. If you want to compare, here are my pictures from Nora’s first trimester.
For 39 days I have spent every waking hour (and many sleeping hours) feeding, diapering, rocking, and caring for our new baby. In short, I have been a mother with all the jobs of a mother. Today I left Nora with Jesse for the first time and no one who saw me knew I was a mother.
It was hard…and weird. I drove the Camry instead of the minivan. I carried a clutch instead of a diaper bag. I got a pedicure without worrying that Nora would cry or need changed or need fed. In the past I always brought my own nail polish to be practical and be able to touch up my toes between pedicures. Today I used one of their colors…pink to remind me that I can be pretty…even when I smell like milk. I wore my hair down and curly not in a ponytail or bun. I went to Starbucks without carrying a heavy carseat. I relaxed…and tried to remember my other identities. I was a wife, a woman, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.
And feeling blessed, I came home to be a family with a sleeping daughter and a father who loves Nora and a husband who loves his wife.
I went into labor at 8 pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with Lil’ Sprout. I was sitting on an exercise ball playing Skip-Bo with Jesse (he let me choose the game). My first contractions were 5 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. I remember saying to Jesse, “I can’t believe this is happening so fast…” Three hours later we headed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. I was nervous about going to the hospital so early because I didn’t want my labor to stall, but Jesse was concerned that we were already in active labor and things were getting much more intense.
When we got to the hospital I was between 4 and 5 centimeters dilated, and the contractions were speeding up. My goal was to labor naturally without any pain medication and attempt a water birth. Two hours later I was 7 centimeters, so they started filling up the tub. My mom arrived from Wisconsin right as I got into the tub. At this point the midwife decided to break my water. Sadly, there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so I had to get out of the tub.
At this point I was 9.5 centimeters dilated and ready to begin pushing. For those of you wondering about Jesse, he did great. He was by my side the entire time and didn’t even faint! We pushed for 2 hours…with no progress. The baby was not descending into the birth canal. Pitocin was recommended to intensify my contractions (ha, ha, they were already intense).
This was when the baby’s heart rate began to show some stress. Next an epidural was recommended to help the baby rest. Getting the epidural was the most difficult part of my labor. My contractions were so close together and so intense that it was difficult to hold still while the medication was inserted. After resting for about 20 minutes, the midwife continued to notice issues with the baby’s heart rate, and a c-section was recommended. An OB/GYN was brought in and agreed with the recommendation. Nora Kate was born at 8:46 am on October 16, 2013 via c-section. She weighed 7 pounds and was 20.5 inches long.
The Other Side of the Story:
We were SO close. At many times throughout the night, it felt like the birth of our baby was imminent. I spent hours preparing for a natural childbirth. I read books and blogs, attended classes, and did prenatal yoga once a week (even at 40 weeks). I listened to people’s birth stories, practiced my breathing, and prepped my husband. I never prepared for a cesarean birth. It was very emotional for me AND for Jesse. A friend said it best, “Being sad about the birth process is perfectly okay-and being delighted with your baby at the exact same time is perfect too. You can be BOTH.” So, here I am…being both.