May Walker at 3 months

•September 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Oh my goodness I have a billion blog posts in my head I’m dying to get down and no time to actually do it because… three kids.

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A note on getting back to school- I was looking forward to a routine so much that I failed to think through the crazy drop off and pick up schedule and how that would make May’s naptimes and feedings realllyyyyy tricky. When Matt’s not in town to take Henry, we’re looking at a 7:15am drop off, 9am drop off, noon pick up and 2:10 pick up. So that’s a little crazy. I thought that school would HELP me get baby girl on a routine, and so far it’s meant a lot of waking her up from naps and feeding her at random times. May, we’re working hard on that, girl!

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Updates!

Here’s the basic “schedule” she’s been on… I say that loosely:

6:30am- wake up and eat

7:30-8:00- catnap

8:30am- eat

10-11:15- nap

11:30- eat

1-2pm- nap

2:30- eat

3:30-4:30/5- nap

5pm- eat

6:30- bath, nighttime routine

7- eat and in bed!

She’s slept through the night at least a dozen times til 6:30am, but also continues to mostly wake up once at night to nurse. She’ll go back down right away and so it’s not difficult for me to do that, but it’s still a night time interruption to my sleep. I’m pretty much ready now (at 15 weeks especially- right at 3 months I was more ok to wake up) to SLEEP all night again… to go to bed knowing that I will sleep all night. What does that even feel like? I truly cannot remember. Oye.

I moved her downstairs! She’s now 100% napping in the crib when she’s at home. I taped up a black trash bag behind her curtains to make it even darker. I have that sound machine cranking and that does seem to get her into the night time zone. If she’s ever going to fuss, it’s right as she’s going down for nap time or bedtime. I’m thinking that’s because she’s overtired, so I’ll be working on picking up on her sleep cues better and also on putting her down always at the same time every day. She’s a catnapper- great at falling asleep in the car, in the bjorn, etc when she’s tired but (probably because of that) she RARELY takes hour + naps. Working to get her into two SOLID naps a day that are 2 hours or so.

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She’s still in a swaddle. I tried to take her out because she was breaking through it but she looked like a fish out of water and couldn’t settle down. So I double swaddled her and my new game plan is to unswaddle her when she’s ready to sleep on her belly after learning how to roll.

She’s not rolling over yet, though we’ve been working on it a lot lately and she’s a lot happier on her tummy. It’s so funny that she doesn’t love being on her belly because henry and rhodes both LOVED it. No other real milestones- she’s still eating her hands a lot and can grab onto things, but doesn’t really reach out much and certainly doesn’t seem motivated to try to start crawling anywhere.

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She’s still a fantastic nurser. I have no idea how much she eats- maybe 4-6 oz every feeding, but she does it QUICK! She can easily nurse in 10 minutes, faster than both of my other babies. Thank you, sweet girl! She does spit up quite a bit- not so much when she’s eating but maybe 20 minutes later? Ewwwww. Lots of our house/my clothes/me smell like spoiled milk.

May is still a SWEETHEART. She’s the cutest little peanut and she gets so many compliments when we’re out and about on how smiley and happy she is. She is awesome at being toted around everywhere and can easily transfer from the baby bjorn to the car seat to laying on her back and just doing whatever. She loved to be held facing out and sitting up and I think she’s very observant already.

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Rhodes still enjoys her a lot and gives her LOTS of attention in the forms of rocking her car seat too hard and smothering her with hugs, but lately it’s been HENRY who has been showering her with affection. He’s said things like, “I’m glad we had a girl because she’s our little May baby and no other boy baby could be as cute as she is.” Sweetness. He also LOVES to rub head with her and his favorite is to see her swaddled up. He’s start to coo at her as soon as he sees her all “wrapped up,” as he calls it. I adore that sweet boy of mine so much.

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I have really enjoyed having so much time with her without work pressing down on me. I do not at all take for granted being able to stay at home with my baby. There’s still PLENTY to do, mind you- the housework and other kids schedules keep me busy from sun up to sun down, but I’d still be having to do all those things AND answer emails until 2am if I were still working! There are certainly certain moments of days where I’ll think, “Can I just get a 2 second break from being tethered to a baby” but for the very, very most part, I’m loving this time with my teeniest.

Matt summed her up perfectly this morning as he was telling her good-bye for the day- “May, you just make everyone you see so happy!” How true this is. She’s so joy-filled and is such a joy-giver. I am praying that she will always carry this happiness and lightness about her. I feel certain she’ll be one who will makes others lives better just by being a part of it. I pray she’ll have real, authentic relationships, that she’ll know her belovedness and find her identity in being a child of God. I pray that her lightheartedness won’t keep her from facing life’s challenges head on and with grace.

Her life is so precious that it feels almost fragile. My happiness feels so vulnerable to hers and it’s that terrifying and wonderful part of parenting! Every night I sing her several songs that glorify the Lord, including Amazing Grace, Father I Adore You and Incomparable Kindness. I also sing her Give Me Jesus, which goes like this:

In the morning, when I rise

In the morning, when I rise

In the morning, when I rise

Give me Jesus

 

Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus

You can have all this world

But give me Jesus

 

And when I am alone

Oh when I am alone

And when I am alone

Give me Jesus

 

Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus

You can have all this world

But give me Jesus

 

And when I go to die

Oh and when I go to die

And when I go to die

Give me Jesus

 

Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus

You can have all this world

But give me Jesus

 

It’s truly scary to sing those words, but I know and trust that it’s in Jesus arms- both here and in heaven- that she’s safest and kept best. I’m so grateful this darling one has been given to me and to Matt (and Henry and Rhodes). Her life has already added such beauty to ours, and we’re thankful.

May Baby, we ADORE you! xoxo!

 

Vacation on Kiawah, 2016

•August 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I would describe my family’s beach week as very fun chaos :) Between my brothers and I we have 6 kids and two more due this fall… and Lydia and Ted haven’t even gotten started! So there are lots of tiny kids who love one another and who also are crazy toddlers so there was no shortage of laughter or meltdowns. I LOVE getting to see our kids play with their cousins and of course, it’s always a dream to catch up with the grown-ups, too. We had a great home on Kiawah and that place is truly a dream land.

The Olympics were on that week which was so exciting! How relaxing to get the kids in bed and then watch the swimming and gymnastics at night with a cocktail. The best. Baby girl also slept through the night the whole time we were there giving this mama a true vacation for her weary body.

Some photos…

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^Look at these cuties! Rhodes- 3, Caroline- almost 4, Virginia- 2 and Henry-5

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^Baby May was a dreamboat! She loved all the attention!

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^She hates tummy time except when she’s on the sofa and she can see her mama at eye level!

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^We took the kids out after dinner to have one last swim most nights. This night Matt was playing “alligator” with them… he’d play “dead” in the water til they all came up to him, then would “wake up” and chase after them. You’ve never heard so much screeching laughter. I love that I’m married to a man who will play with kids like this!

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^Daniel and precious Andrew (18 months), who would run straight into the ocean and get knocked over and again and again and would keep coming back for more

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^Matt and Henry soaked up time together and spent most of the beach time boogie boarding!

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^Christine and Jennifer are both due with babies in the fall- Christine in October and Jen in November. What a beautiful mama with her babies.

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^Rhodes and Caroline at sunset!

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^Rhodes was a big helper walking to/from the beach.

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^My dad led devotions again this trip! This time he opened with Noah’s ark, then each day did a bible story involving an animal and the kids drew those animals and added them to a big ark we’d drawn on a poster. I’ve got to get more creative in my kids devotions like this! It was so awesome to see them soaking in those truths and having fun, too.

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^We saw many deer by the ocean- how amazing is it that these deer will let us get this close!!

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^We went back to the sweet little carnival that Kiawah puts on for guests on Wednesday evenings. They had a Photo Booth and I think Lulie and baby May win for cutest candids!!

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^This beauty and I took our nightly walks around a beautiful new landscape. She was so wide-eyed the entire time- she seemed to love all the trees!

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^Scooter rides galore!

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^I brought baking soda, vinegar and food coloring to do a little experiment with the kids- that was fun on an overcast morning.

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^Love this chick. She never tired of going out to the beach.

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^To the beach!

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^Henry found a cool tarpan-style vine that he enjoyed climbing all week :)

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^LOVING Lulie time all week!

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^Sweet May be found a cozy nap spot in the wagon. Bless her, she just went around wherever we went and napped on the go.

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^Beach time was pretty much just chasing the toddlers all around!

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^That beach breeze just put her right out.

Mom and Dad, thanks so much for hosting us on a fabulous vacation! Until next year, Kiawah!

 

 

Thoughts on life, August 2016

•August 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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*May is absolutely edible. She is the SWEETEST BABY EVER. I absolutely adore her at 12 weeks… she smiles and laughs so much, is content, can go all around, sleeps for extended periods of time and is so stinking cute I can truly hardly stand it. I absolutely make out with her at least 12 times a day. I’ve never felt so in love with my tiny babies… I think I always looked forward to the next step. But I cannot imagine any next steps getting better/easier with this one. She is just perfect.

*I love that my big kids are at the ages where they both find similar things funny. I love to hear them crack each other up. They recently discovered a new PBD+S show called Nature cat. There’s one episode where the cat says something funny, and now they will randomly say it and the other will just absolutely fall to the floor in laughter. It’s sweet. I think Rhodes is going to miss Henry big time during the day this year.

*I cannot believe we have only a week of summer left. It kinda is perfect because we’re about to go on vacation with my whole family and so the home stretch is the BEST ONE EVER. Also, the Olympics are on this week so there’s that. I don’t think it’s REALLY hit me that Henry’s about to be in kindergarten, but I’m hoping to keep my expectations in check and just take it all as it comes. It may be better than I think it will be, it may be more challenging. Jesus, take the wheel!

*Baby girl slept through the night last night, and I think it was the first night in nearly a year that I also slept through the entire night until morning. Though we began it pretty early (just before 6am), I have truly felt invincible all day because of this extra long sleep stretch.

*Been listening to a fantastic new podcast that my sister-in-laws told me about- The God Centered Mom. Yes, the name is awful. SO cheesy! But I listened to about 4 on the way home from Charlotte today and they are truly awesome. I have so many thoughts I want to record here on the blog, so many things I’ve been thinking about and so many spiritual updates from my life. Someday I’ll get past these general life updates and really get those down. Need to write about:

-Connecting with my kids

-My relationship with rhodes and my plans for working through our disagreements

-How reading scripture affects my parenting/life

-The discipline of silence

-Merging motherhood with creativity

-Cultivating soulful belief and getting back to where I’ve always heard God’s voice

*I haven’t been reading as much in the last few weeks. This makes me sad- I think I just haven’t hit any awesome book and I guess with the baby and big kids home I just haven’t had as much time. I have been listening to podcasts and that’s something, but to me nothing replaces books. I need some recommendations. My brain’s feeling mushy without them.

*Matt’s been gone this week and I MISS HIM. I know there are ebbs and flows in the “passion” side of every relationship, but it’s really fun to be in a really exciting and happy place, especially when I was gearing up to not feel like this at all during the postpartum phase. Plus, the kids just adore him. I had a moment the other night when he was playing with the kids on the bed… wrestling and throwing them around and everyone was laughing and being so silly and the baby and I were just sitting on the chair watching it all go down and I thought, “What would we do without him?” Not in a way of like, “I need his help with the kids” but in a “He’s so incredibly vital to the joy in our home” sense. The kids and I are very, very blessed to call him ours. Come home soon, Matt!

*I’ve been watching Veep as a little background show when I do the laundry… it’s absolutely hilarious. I actually laughed so hard I snorted my water up through my nose in the last episode (season 2, episode 2- the part with Jonah in front of the pig). I’d recommend it for sure.

All right, it’s 10pm so I better head on back to bed. Ha! Wild summer nights only over here.

Vacation with the Alexanders

•July 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Vacation last week with the Alexanders was just amazing. It’s always funny to me how much we love a beach vacation because you know… we live at the beach. For the kids, it’s absolutely all about having dad around all day every day for a week and getting to spend time with their Ebbie and Poppy.  We sat on the porch in the mornings, swam at 7am and 7pm, hit up the arcade (henry LOVED it- his favorite was the air hockey table and the candy pick up machine) and played in the tidal pools. We also ate lots of ice cream and about 1,000 popsicles. Oh, and Henry saw his first movie in the movie theater! I’d say that sums up a perfect vacation week right there!

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Month 2 with May- how we’re all doing

•July 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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**this was written 2 weeks ago… better updates soon! but posting for posterity :)

Hello there! Ok, time for a real life post here. May baby is 2 months old tomorrow (about 8.5 weeks) and I’m here to give an honest update on life. I’ve been pouring over my blog posts from when Henry and Rhodes were this age, and I wish I’d written even more on the specifics of what we were experiencing at each month. Here goes…

Nursing:

She’s doing great. She is a great nurser and I feel like she’s finally latching on a little more fully as she’s gotten bigger, which has led to a lot less gassiness. She eats about every 2-3 hours still during the day and once in the middle of the night. I haven’t really forced her to get on a strict 3 hours schedule because we are always so on the go, and she naturally eats mostly every 3+ hours anyways. But if she wakes up and wants to eat at 2.5 hours, I’m feeding her.

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Stats:

in nb and 0-3 month clothes, size 1 diapers and I’m guessing 10 lbs.

Sleep:

For May, this seems to be going fairly well. She’s basically waking up once at night but it’s sporadic as to when- last night it was 4:15am, the night before it was 1:30am. Ironically, it seems the later she sleeps the first time around, the earlier she wakes up in the morning! She usually wakes up around 6:30, but will sometimes be up more like 5:45, and sometimes a little later, closer to 7.

In the last few weeks, she has started getting fussy every evening- typical witching hour things. She’s not inconsolable, but just not her normal chill daytime self. For a while it seemed to be a gas issue, but now she doesn’t have much gas and I think is just tired. I read a fantastic book called Moms on Call — it’s written by christian nurse practitioners and I would describe it as a more flexible babywise. It’s given me lots of helpful tips and one thing I’ve taken away is to ALWAYS feel the baby between 5-5:30 no matter when they are fed before so that they will have enough time between that and the night time feeding to get hungry and eat well then.

I’m feeding her at 5 and then she typically stays awake til she goes to sleep. I’ll put her in the baby bjorn to play with the kids outside or take a walk, then will come in and make dinner around 6 as she gets increasingly fussy. Matt and the kids eat around 6:15/30 and I usually take off on a 30-minute walk with May which always calms her completely. We come back, I give her a bath, dress her and try to nurse around 7:30. Then I TRY to put her to bed around 8, but between fussing and me calming her a few times, I’d say she’s actually to sleep more 8:30/9. But then she’s out for the night!

(trying to figure out how myself to eat a normal dinner in here.. probably we just need to let her cry it out for 15 minutes in a swing or something while I eat)

I still have her swaddled up! She fights it a bit when she’s going to bed but seems to do great in it throughout the night- again the Moms on Call came to the rescue there with an AMAZING swaddling technique that she’s never been able to break! I will probably keep her in this until the recommended 12-14 weeks.

She’s still in the rock n play. I actually switched her to her crib last week and she did pretty well- woke up a little earlier but nothing totally off. Then we had to have her in our room and I just put her back in the rock in play since that will be easier to have anywhere during our vacation next week. But when we get back, it’s going to be 100% crib transition for this chickadee! I figure I might as well transition her before she is totally sleeping through the night so that she can adjust to the crib first.

She’s napping well but not on a schedule- we follow the eat, play sleep method but I’m not swaddling her and putting her in her crib for most naps- she naps in the bjorn, the car seat, her crib or a rocker downstairs.

Honestly our night time sleep as a family has not been fantastic. It  seems to be one thing after the next that is keeping us all from sleeping well, the baby being the LEAST of our sleep problems!

I was having really severe back pain up until about a week ago which was keeping me from sleeping…  I was in such discomfort from that and it was especially bad after I nursed the baby in the middle of the night. Then Rhodes has developed lots of fears lately… and HATES the dark. She gets scared every time she wakes up at night now and will call out for us. She’ll quickly go back to sleep, but it’s disruptive. She also got a cold which meant she had a hacking cough at night for about a week which, as mean as this is to say, is SO FREAKING OBNOXIOUS. Then Henry, our classically good sleeper, wet the bed two nights in a row. WHAT?? This is not something he’s ever done before! So it was just one thing after the next.

I guess that’s the crux of parenting little ones- learning to exist without sleep??

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Staying at home with three kids:

This has been surprisingly pleasant! I was a little (a lot) weary that I would get burnt out on being home with the kids all summer. I think I expected to be a lot more exhausted and a lot busier with the baby. But the juggle has been good! May is EXTREMELY good at being in her car seat (she seems to love it and falls asleep nearly every time she’s in it) and also very good with being in the baby carrier. This has allowed us to still be out and about a lot without feeling too worn out. It’s been refreshing to be able to get together with Henry’s friends and their sweet mamas for the adult conversation while the kids play amongst themselves most mornings.

Rhodes and Henry are also great at playing by themselves at the house. I LOVE to take the kids out and play while we’re out, but I don’t love to like…play dress up with them at home. So I’ll read books to them, draw with them, try to teach them things (henry is always wanting to learn things like how to count money, etc) but they’re also good with playing with each other and individually when I’m busy with the baby or getting things done around the house. I’m also being more lax on screen time- during the school year I’ve been doing no screen time after they leave for school in the morning (they are allowed to watch it at 6am when they wake up and I need coffee), but now we’re having a little afternoon rest time where they can watch the iPad, too. I’m ok with it. Neither naps anymore and they absolutely DESTROY their rooms if I make them do solo room time, so this is what works for now.

After that afternoon rest, we’ll normally go back out and do something like the waterpark or walk to a park by our house. Good times!

Rhodes is the kid who gives me the most grief every day. She has her fantastic days where she is fun and sweet and absolutely hilarious, but she also has her TERRIBLE days where she’s just a train wreck of emotions. It’s exhausting to parent her. She can be incredibly moody… i would say that you’re either laughing or crying with Rhodes. I’m currently trying to figure out what kind of discipline will actually change her behavior and not just make her mad/upset. She HATES to go to time out, but it almost seems to work her up so much that she’s WORSE after it and will absent-mindedly do the same thing she was just in time out for a few minutes after she gets out. There is no one like my Rhodie! Bless her, I love her with all my heart but she also gives that heart some grief :)

Henry has been steadfastly easy and mature, but he’s had his moments of boredom this summer which have given him an attitude. He was also super spoiled by new toys and treats right after the baby came (my bad) and developed quite a sense of entitlement. He would get pouty every time we’d go to a store and he didn’t get something. We had one day when we got a cookie at the grocery store, then went to ice cream after lunch and he had another treat that afternoon. An hour later, he asked me for another treat and told me that  he’d ONLY had three treats that day. AHHHH!!!! But he’s doing so much better now and he’s 90% of the time a dreamboat.

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(This is Rhodes’ room after her “quiet time”)

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(Every now and again, she tuckers out in the car…)

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(Rhodes picks out the baby’s clothes every day, and was THRILLED to discover they had “matching” strawberry dresses)

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The hardest part:

Rhodes :)

Here are the things I could/want to do better in the next month:

*Take time to work out- I have to take it slow because of my ab separation, but I need to work on my pelvic tilts, etc. on the daily to get my stomach back to feeling more normal.

*Dinners- I feel like I’m doing pretty well with making dinners, but not with actually making awesome, healthy, wholesome dinners. And summertime is perfect to make fresh, healthy things! So I’m going to get better about that.

*Sleep- I want to get more scheduled with a morning and afternoon nap for the baby, and try to get her down every night by 7:30-8pm to sleep.

*Cleaning- I need to tackle some deep cleaning- thinking about taking a room a day and just conquering that in a week.

 

Randoms, July 4th

•July 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Happy Independence Day! I’ve got to say, since having kids this holiday has not had as much “sparkle” as it did pre-kids. Insanely crowded beaches with a bunch of drunk folks? Get yo selves away from my kids. Late night fireworks? SHUT IT DOWN, JOKERS.

Still, we’re going to try to tolerate the traffic to get out to a beach house to spend time with friends for a bit, and I’m very, very thankful for America and and the beautiful life we have in it!

Some randoms…

Rhodes and Henry were in camps this past week from 9-noon every day- Henry in tennis camp, Rhodes in princess ballet camp. Yes, it was actually called Princess ballet camp. They had a blast! It threw our schedule off a bit, but I loved the chance to spend time with my baby alone and knock out some doctor appointments that would have been painful to drag the big kids along with us. Henry came home sweating and Rhodes came home twirling every day. On Friday the dance camp had a little “recital” to show off to the parents what they learned. Rhodes was RIDICULOUS. She basically stood like a limp fish and kinda lifted her arms and kinda started a spin one time, but mostly just stood there with a stink face while all her friends danced around her. Why is she such a booger sometimes?!?!? Here’s a video:

My west elm rug that I bought in March finally came in stock and was delivered! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it looks in our living room, but it’s a moroccan shag rug and it sheds. Like.. a lot. Like disrupts our life a lot. It’s like we got a new dog who sheds white hair- just when I feel like I finally got rid of all the actual dog hair we’d accumulated in our home over the last decade. It’s realllyyyyyyyy pretty though:

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Last week i had an afternoon where i had 6 kids! They had great time getting out every toy in our house and going on walk/scooter ride/doll baby stroller ride around the neighborhood. I love these sweet friends. When I see a photo like this, I know I will desperately miss these days with small kids when they are gone.

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Scooter rides are still hot around here. This time we went over to Henry’s kindergarten, which is less than a 1/2 mile from our house. We’ll be walking/bike riding to school every day next year… YAY! How cool is that?

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While we were in Charlotte, a store was giving away their promotional balloons to the kids… Henry got a huge “E” and Rhodes got a “3” – perfect for the girl who had just turned 3! She was so proud of this thing!

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Back in Charleston… one of my favorite things ever, ever, ever is to go out to the beach early to watch Matt and his friends (Shred Club) surf. There is something holy about the experience for me, something hallowed about the slowing down of time to thank the Lord for everything he’s done for us and given to us, and how vast his goodness is.

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After church yesterday we hit up the water fountains downtown. The kids had an absolute blast while Matt and I nearly died of heat exhaustion. it is H-O-T here (yesterday heat index of 115!).

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Baby bird wore her first little swimmy suit at the waterpark! She finally tolerated being in the pool for a bit… it was very cute :)

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The official indoor game of this summer: Zingo. I think we’ve played at least 45,000 times already. I actually enjoy playing, and the best player by far is RHODES! She must have some kind of photographic memory- she immediately memorizes her card’s contents and is always the first to grab the appropriate cards!

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Headphones in… I’ve found some sanity being at home with the kids all day every day in the summer by listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I listen to them while I’m doing chores and while I’m nursing if I’m not doing something with the big kids. My current favorite podcast is Undisclosed. It’s a follow up podcast to Serial about the Adnan Syed case… it’s three lawyers who discuss legal issues in the case with the investigation, prosecution and defense. It’s SOOOOO interesting! It’s actually borderline boring to listen to at times because they go into insane detail about every little thing, but it’s fascinating to me to hear it all. I’d highly recommend it… but only after you listen to Serial!

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The birth of May Walker

•June 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Though in some ways this has been my hardest pregnancy (mostly due to the crazy insomnia it caused!), it was also the one that I cherished the most. This is likely my last baby! So I did soak up the kicks and the movements and even loved to see my belly swell with this child who was about to complete our family. In many ways, not knowing the gender made me think about the pregnancy more often because I could not stop wondering if I was carrying a boy or a girl! Though nearly everyone was CONVINCED it was a boy (namely- Matt, Henry and Rhodes!) I knew that we all had a 50% chance of guessing right and mulled this over every day. It really was a special part of this pregnancy, and one I’ll be forever grateful to have experienced.

I suppose the birth story really begins at my 36-week appointment. I was 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant and SO EXCITED to have my first internal exam to see if I had begun dilating at all. Matt was able to come with me and we were both just so happy to be together again (he’d just come back home from Nicaragua that last week) and about to hear about my pregnancy progress.

When my wonderful doctor checked me, she said, “Well, you’re definitely already 2-3 cm dilated, but I’m not sure I’m feeling a head down here. Let’s do a quick ultrasound check and see about the positioning.” So we moved along to the next room and she got it going. Right away when she put the sensor on the top of my belly, we all saw the big round head pop up on the monitor. I’m pretty sure I actually shook my head and blinked in surprise. I was in SHOCK. The very next thing she said was, “Ok, so we need to talk scheduling a c-section with a breech baby.” And I’m pretty sure that’s when my brain was saying “No no no no no no no no” while I was trying to remain calm and listen to Dr. Fisher discuss planning for a surgery at 39 weeks.

I started to cry. My shock caught up with my senses and I couldn’t hold back the tears. A c-section? For me? But I do vaginal births! I’ve had 2 good ones! I was actually LOOKING FORWARD to childbirth. My body can do this, I know it can! I’m not supposed to be talking c-section!

My sweet husband and doctor swooped right in with kindness and assurances. She offered to try a manual version for me at the hospital later that week (where the doctor tries to turn the baby by manually pushing the baby around in your belly) and I agreed that I’d definitely want to try that out. She was clear that the success rate wasn’t great, but offered that I was a good candidate for it and she wanted to try to give me the birth I wanted.

You know, I didn’t even realize how attached I was to my birth “plan” until it seemed to be unraveling. I was totally undone by the news. It felt in the moment like the worst news I could have heard. I was mad at the baby. I wanted to just find out the gender and forget about trying to have a birth “experience.” I was mad that the doctors wouldn’t consider delivering breech. I was scared at the thought of surgery, and the thought of the recovery to follow. I was never scared for my safety, or for the health of well-being of the baby, but selfishly I felt like I’d been played a terrible hand, and I was ready to just fold.

Matt was so gentle with me as we walked out to the car and I broke down in tears again. I was just a bit inconsolable in my shock. I hated myself for feeling so entitled and yet couldn’t convince myself to have perspective on my self-pity. This is ok, I tried to tell myself. It’s not what you want, but it’s ok to not get what you want. But then more tears would come…

I called my mom who went through an emergency c-section to have me (!!) and called Calee, who also went through a c-section due to her breech baby. Of course both were positive about it all and it was wonderful to talk with them, but I still felt sad and a little angry. That night, I decided to do what I could to turn the baby at home (think handstands, laying nearly upside down, etc) and to not worry about it til I did the version attempt.

The version was a little crazy- it was definitely painful and unfortunately didn’t work. Apparently this baby’s booty AND foot were lodged down in the birth canal (baby was basically sitting indian style!), and so it looked like unless the baby decided to turn on it’s own, then he/she was coming on May 19th for a scheduled c-section. I was much calmer after the version attempt. I felt like we’d done what we could and that God could very easily have this baby turn if I was meant to have another natural birth. I was told to come to the hospital as soon as I started having any contractions that were about 5 minutes apart, even if they weren’t painful to avoid a more emergent c-section situation with labor that had progressed too far. I took this to heart, because there was something in me that absolutely, 100% KNEW that this baby was not going to be born on May 19th. Mama’s intuition maybe? Or wistful thinking?? :) I also had done some research and had seen the MUCH greater fatality risks to mamas and babies who are born breech. Thankfully I did have the protective sense to know that our health was the #1 priority, as I knew that it was for Dr. Fisher, too.

I’d also begun to realize that while this was unexpected (and perhaps unwanted) news, it wasn’t BAD news as far as news you can get in your pregnancy goes. A dear friend had a miscarriage just days after I found out about the breech, and another had placental previa at 39 weeks and their baby was having seizures and was on life support in the NICU. Talk about some perspective. I suddenly felt thankful to have the knowledge of the baby’s positioning so that he/she could be delivered safely. That gratefulness absolutely did take away some of the fear.

Tuesday, May 10th started out as a wonderful day. The night before, I’d taken a long bath and started reading a fantastic book (Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf) and had a restful night of sleep. I dropped the kids off at school and went to teach my very last bible study of the year! While there, I mentioned to everyone that I was having braxton hicks but that I felt good, etc. Everyone prayed over the baby and it was just a fun, sweet morning of Jesus and community and prayer. I picked up the kids, we played on the playground for a bit because it was an absolutely gorgeous day (sunny and 80), and then we headed off to a little lunch date. The kids had been begging me to go to Jason’s Deli and I’d promised it to them yesterday. What a fun little date I had with my two kiddos! We ate our food, got our ice cream and then decided to head up to Target. I offered that they could pick a toy out that I’d keep until Mom and Dad were going to the hospital to meet the baby. Oh, the foreshadowing!

(BTW- we prepped the kids for the birth by letting them know exactly what was going to happen.We said that mom and dad had to go to the hospital so the doctor could help Mommy’s baby come out, and that Pop and Lulie would come and stay with them in the house for a few nights while we were gone. They were PUMPED. SO EXCITED to have Pop and Lulie coming- no nervousness whatsoever. That made my heart feel so at ease, and I didn’t worry at all about their adjustment to the baby or the new life we’d be adapting.)

While in Target, I was letting the kids peruse the toys and I felt like my contractions were picking up. Not picking up in intensity necessarily, but they seemed to be coming pretty regularly. I’m not great at guestimating time so I pulled up my stopwatch on my phone. Sure enough, they seemed to be coming about 3-6 minutes apart. But then every now and again I’d have a slightly longer gap, so I thought maybe this is just how it always is and I’m just noticing it more? But I was really close to the hospital at Target, and because I didn’t want to be dumb, I called the doctor and they said to come on into the office to just get checked to be on the safe side. I called Matt and he was at his office, but able to take the kids while I went in. I dropped the kids off with him and headed into the doctor’s office, but not before asking Matt’s co-worked Tyler to take a few family photos of us in the OFF-CHANCE that I was actually in labor and would have the baby. I’m so thankful we have these… I am literally just about an hour and a half away from birthing a baby here!!

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The ride to the doctor’s office was a little comical. It was almost 4pm and schools must have just gotten out, because I was behind about 27 school buses and was stopping every 25 feet for kids to get out. It took me forever to get over there! On the way, Matt called to say he was just going to go ahead and take the kids home. This was another providential thing, though we didn’t know it then. I was ushered back to an exam room and waited a bit for the doctor, who came in and did an internal check. “Well,” she said, “You’re about 5-6 cm and so Hannah, you are having a baby today!” AHHHHHHHH I was in shock again, but this time GOOD shock! I looked at my phone to see the date- May 10th, and it just felt RIGHT. Dr. Fisher told me she still felt the booty down there, and to head to the hospital to get prepped for a c-section. She said she had a few more patients but that she’d come over to the hospital to deliver the baby for me. It was her night off, but to know she’d be there made me feel so calm and happy and truly excited even for the surgery. We were going to meet our baby today!

I went into the bathroom and called Matt- I think he was a little shocked, too! I called my friend Erica whose son Max is one of Henry’s best friends and asked if she could keep the kids tonight for us til my parents got here. I called my parents and then my dear friend Stephanie to see if she could pick up the kids from Erica and put them to bed at our house. She had to cancel a date to do it, but thank the Lord she also was available. My mind was SO AT EASE knowing that these kind friends who my kids loved and adored were going to keep them while we welcomed their new sibling.

I headed down the road to the hospital, praying for the baby and the delivery. I still didn’t FEEL like I was in labor (no labor pains yet) so I calmly walked into the hospital and to the L &D ward. I was greeted by several nurses who said, “We’ve been waiting for you, let’s go get you checked in ASAP!” I was ushered into the room and a flurry of nurses were in putting in my IV, gathering my insurance, putting my stats into the computer, taking blood samples and talking me through the c-section process. I had clearly miscalculated the urgency of it all- I asked the main nurse how long it would be until I went back for surgery and she said, “Oh, honey it’s going to be as soon as we get your blood results back from the lab, probably 20 minutes max.”

WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!?!??!?!!?!??!?!?!!?

Um… I knew Matt had left to go back to James Island not 20 minutes before. It was now 4:30/45 and rush hour traffic was strong. I truly thought- Matt is not going to make it back for this surgery! I texted him to COME QUICKLY THIS IS HAPPENING SOONER THAN WE THOUGHT and begged the nurse to please let me wait til my husband was here! The doctor had just come in to do an internal check (I was 6-7 cm, baby still breech sitting indian-style in there!) and she assured me that they would wait to deliver the baby til my husband was here, even if they needed to get me prepped and give me my spinal before.

It was honestly a blessing to have it all happen so quickly. I didn’t have time to get scared for the surgery itself- as soon as Matt arrived around 5pm, they wheeled me back while he changed into scrubs and suddenly I was in a bright, stark white, COLD room. The nurse who had scared me before with the rushing ended up getting me warm blankets and then rubbed my shoulders as I received my spinal.

That was such a weird feeling, nearly impossible to describe. I could still sense the lower half of my body, but I couldn’t feel anything at all. I could tell that they had laid we down with my knees out and were prepping me for the incision, but with the curtain up I couldn’t see a thing. They brought Matt in and he sat down to the left of my head… I can’t remember if we even said anything to one another…the last thing I remember was him praying for us before I was brought into the OR.

The doctors made everything very calm and happy. I wasn’t fearful for a moment! Dr. Fischer told me I was going to feel some tugging, and before I knew it, not 3 minutes after Matt came into the room, I heard the screams of the baby and felt a huge “whoosh” as she was pulled out.

A nurse brought her immediately around to where Matt was and held her upright… Matt looked over and said, “Oh my goodness, it’s a GIRL!” and we just cried and laughed and were in total SHOCK that we had just had another daughter!!! That was absolutely, without a doubt one of the most FUN moments of my entire life. While they cleaned her off and took her vitals we just laughed and laughed at the surprise. She looked so much like henry… I couldn’t get over how much she looked like baby henry when he was born. She was teeny and delicate and absolutely beautiful.

May Walker Alexander was born at 5:21pm at 6 lbs, 5 ounces and 18 inches long.

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I’ll write more about my recovery in another post… it was pretty intense, and not one of my favorite things I’ve ever been through. But even that couldn’t take away from the absolute happiness I felt in getting to know my daughter.

My parents brought the kids to meet Miss May the next day… oh, my goodness, it was THE BEST! I hated that I still felt a bit loopy and swollen and immobile, but I will never forget the sweetness of those two kiddos meeting their baby sister. They were as smitten as we were, asking to hold her, talking sweet nothings to her and showering her tiny head with kisses.

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Our precious May baby. We love you so much. We’re so thankful you came to us safely, and we cherish your life with us!