My poor blog is being neglected. There just aren't enough hours in the day right now. The problem is if I'm writing, something else is going by the wayside. Usually it's sleep because I tend to blog during naptime or after the kiddies are in bed. And sleep trumps most things.

Although I will say that the more children I have, the less sleep I need. Or I'm just getting used to it? There's a certain 3 year old who's sleeping patterns (if you can call them that--there's really no pattern) are LESS than desirable and have been since the day she was born. I can count on one hand how many times I've slept through the night in over 3 years. Oh well! It is what it is!

Enough about that! More about BABY! What a wonderful little guy he is. I hated really didn't like the newborn stage with either girl (they were both colicky and I thought I was going to lose my mind), but this time around I'm actually enjoying almost every minute. He's such a good baby. He's very easily contented is sleeping on a pretty normal schedule.

I could not have asked for a better baby.

I've stayed away from coffee (I'm drinking decaf) and a lot of dairy this time (I suspected a lactose sensitivity that maybe caused colic with Middlest) so I'm not sure if that is making a difference or not. But I'll take it! 

As a side note: you know you've had one (or two) colicky babies when people ask you how your new one is doing and you reply excitedly, "Great! He just wakes up every couple hours at night then goes right back to sleep!" If my former self could hear me now.

So the new guy is doing well and the girls are slowly adjusting. To me, not him. They adore their new baby brother. Too much sometimes, actually. ;) I have to remind them that the baby *may* want to breath sometimes and that they need to give him a little space. Especially Middlest. She. can't. get. enough. It's really cute actually. Most of the time.

They've had a difficult time with ME, however. Not having all of my time, that is. Especially Oldest. Which is to be expected, I know. I just didn't expect it to be so blatant. The first few weeks after we brought Littlest home were very difficult and we were having major behavioral issues, but as I'm able to spend more time with them and not lose my cool (which can be a major struggle, believe me!) they are getting better and better.

A few resources that have encouraged me are this one from Making Home (read the comments too!) and especially this one about loving your child. We've been trying to read a chapter from the book of Proverbs each morning at breakfast and I know that is helping all of us.

A few other random thoughts..

~ Like I mentioned, Littlest is such a good baby, but waking up every few hours is causing some major fogginess! I feel like I can barely finish sentences and I can't think of even the simplest words. Case in point: I was talking to a few friends last week and I couldn't remember what it's called when you learn by seeing things. The answer? VISUALLY. Der, Catie. So I apologize to those of you in real life who walk away from a conversation with me wondering what in the heck I was trying to say. So sorry. :(

~ I'm STILL so thankful to not be pregnant anymore! HA! I say it out loud at least once or twice a week. One can really take not being pregnant for granted!

~ The entire 10 seasons of The Duggars is on Netflix! I've just finished it and it's so good! I've seen it before (when we used to have cable) but it's been so great catching up on all that I've missed. I don't agree with all of their practices, but in general they're a wonderful family and a real inspiration. And it's one of the FEW shows that I can watch with the littles.

~ I really need a profile picture. I HATE the one I have right now. I really don't like the posed looks. I need to get some good candid pictures of myself. How does that happen??

~ Remember my Reading the Classics post? HA! I started Great Expectations. I started it. I haven't finished it yet. And that's as far as I've gotten, folks.

What have you been up to lately?


Birth Story #3: Littlest

Well, this has *only* taken me almost THREE MONTHS to finish. *rolling eyes at self*

Birth Story #3

I started having semi-painful contractions on Friday evening, Sept. 13th, at around 7pm-ish and they were coming fairly regularly, every 2-10 minutes. I wasn't too worried because I'd been having Braxton Hicks for most of the second and third trimester. I was hopeful though, since my due date (the 15th) was just around the corner!

When I woke up next morning the contractions were a little stronger and coming every 5-8 minutes. Mr. N had to go in to work for a few hours that morning and I told him to hurry! because I wasn't sure what would happen.

Well, he came home an hour earlier than expected so we could... wait. And wait some more. The contractions were still strong (but I could still mostly talk through them) and still coming about every 6 minutes, but that was it. All day we waited and waited. I wasn't sure it was going anywhere.

A few things happened this time around that didn't with the other two babies. The first was that I lost my mucus plug that afternoon. That was interesting. As a side note: you think by now they could come up with a better name for that? I mean, there are medical terms for everything else. Why is it called the MUCUS PLUG. Gross. I digress.

Losing the plug is something that can happen a week in advance so it didn't mean too much to me.

About 6pm I started thinking, What if I go into labor in the middle of the night? I had to call the midwife (I see a midwife at the hospital), my doula and a friend to come and watch the girls so I wanted everyone to be a little prepared and I wasn't sure what to do at that point, so I called my midwife to give her the heads up and to ask her advice.

She suggested that since contractions weren't getting any stronger, that I should just go to the hospital (35 min away) and have the nurses check to see if/how much I was dilated. Then, if I was dilated past 3cm, I could stay and if not, I could just go back home. She knew how much I wanted to labor mostly at home.

I called my doula at that time and my friend to come sit with the girls while we went to the hospital. At this point, I mostly thought we would just come back home. I had high hopes, though!

At the hospital they checked me and I was only 3cm dilated. Which most of you know, you can be dilated that much for a long time before you actually give birth. I still wasn't sure what to do, so the nurse suggested we stay for a couple of hours and if I wasn't continuing to dilate, I could just go home. She also suggested that we walk around or go get something to eat to pass the time. All I really wanted to do was rest though. So that's what I did. I laid in the uncomfortable hospital bed for a few hours while me and Mr. N watched HGTV in the hospital room. (The only thing I miss about cable!)

The nurse came back and checked me at 9pm and I was STILL only 3cm. Ugh! Frustrating! I really was tired and wanted to rest and wasn't feeling too comfortable at the hospital, so I made the decision to come back home to try and get some sleep. (Not before stopping at Culvers so Hubby could get a Butter Burger. ;) The nurses sent me home with an Ambien so I could for sure get some rest. (Note to self: If you suspect you might be going into labor in the next 12 hours, DO NOT take a sleeping pill!)

We got home and by then, my contractions were stronger (I couldn't talk through them but they were manageable), but since I was just checked I figured it would still be a while, so off to bed we went.

Thankfully my friend decided to stay the night with us instead of going home, because about 15 minutes after we got into bed the second thing happened that has never happened to me before--my water broke.

So.. we headed back to the hospital.

I have to say, I was a tiny bit surprised at how much fluid is actually in the uterus (placenta?). By the time we got to the hospital, I was DRENCHED from the waist down. Thankfully, I was sitting on a towel, had one on my lap and the seats in our van are leather! At that point, however, being wet was the least of my worries. The contractions were coming good and strong and I just wanted to get into the tub to try and manage the horrible, excruciating pain.

Mr. N wheeled me into the OB (quite fast, if I remember correctly) and they checked me and I was 4cm. I hopped into the tub and I *think* that helped with the pain. Quite honestly, though, it went so fast and with every contraction getting stronger and stronger, I'm not sure it made the difference I'd hoped it would. 

Before labor, I was DEAD SET on a non-medicated birth. But that's easy to say beforehand, isn't it? After about an hour and a half in the tub, you'd better believe I was asking for drugs. Anything to stop the pain! Oh, the pain!

Towards the end of being in the tub, the last few contractions and my screams of anguish  must've sounded different to my sweet doula, because she said to me, "That sounds like you're pushing... I don't think you should be pushing.. are you pushing?" And honestly, I didn't know. I was just along for the ride at that point. You all know what I'm talking about. If you're body starts pushing, it's near impossible to stop it. Which makes me think, have these women never been in labor?? Has anyone else been able to "stop pushing"? I'm curious..

It was then that a nurse came in and said in the most sweetest and calm voice, "Ok, I think it's time for Catie to get out of the tub now," I will always remember that. ;) (As a side note, the nurses at our hospital are WONDERFUL. Love 'em.)

I did start to feel like I needed to push so I told my midwife. Obviously, they needed to see how dilated I was first and HOORAY! I was between 8 and 9cm! Almost time to push! Apparently, my cervix wasn't cooperating very well though--one side wasn't getting out of the way. So my midwife wanted to wait a bit longer before I actually started pushing. Again.. how does anyone WAIT to push!?

After a few more mind-numbingly painful contractions on the bed, I heard the most wonderful news--Ok! You can push now!! (they might not have said it with such excitement, but that's how *I* heard it)

I should mention that despite my birth plan instructions to labor drug-free, I had convinced the staff to call the anesthesiologist and I remember a nurse coming in the room right around the time I was starting to push saying the blessed drug doctor was on her way and should she keep coming? Of course, it was too late then. Pooh. :(

I wish I could say that because this was my third baby, he was the easiest to push out. Unfortunately, it took an hour and a half to get that little big guy out. Partly because he was so big (9lbs 14oz!), partly because his head was crooked and partly because I had taken a sleeping pill 4 hours prior. (UGH! Don't do that!)

I won't go into too many details about the pushing (this post is already too long and a big Thank You to those who are still reading) but it was pretty awful. My legs were KILLING me and I was EXHAUSTED. Have I mentioned to NOT take a sleeping pill before going into labor?!

Here we are the morning after I gave birth. Oldest can be so goofy!

 Middlest with the new baby.

About half-way through pushing, I asked Mr. N to pray. I needed help! I meant for him to pray to himself for me, but that wonderful man started praying out loud. The room got silent and I think there were others praying with him. Thank you, Honey!

After Littlest finally came out, they put him on my chest. I just love that moment. It's the moment you've been waiting for for months and months. Sweet relief!

So, I got a drug-free labor after all. Hooray. Am I glad, you ask? Well, it's been almost 3 months since I gave birth to my sweet little man, and all I can say is... the JURY IS STILL OUT.

One of our wonderful nurses let the girls help give Littlest his first bath. :)

Washing his sweet little head.

 Leaving the hospital. He cried the whole way home. :)

Of course, I'm glad that my little guy didn't get any drugs. But, honestly, if I do it again, I might just get the intrathecal injection (the drugs they give you right before the epidural. they wear off pretty fast.) That's what I had with Baby #2 and it was just enough to give me a little break from the contractions so I could effectively push.

I don't know. Maybe I'd do it drug-free again. Maybe not. *shake it off*

If you had a drug-free labor, are you glad? If you've had several drug-free labors, HOW DO YOU DO IT?! I'm a wimp.