Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 26, 2008 Eli's birthday:)

After having Braxton Hicks contractions over the past month (and praying that my water would break when I went into labor to avoid having to guess if it was true labor:)), I started having pretty painful contractions at around 1am Wednesday morning. I tried to time them, but some seemed like they were right on top of each other. Derek and I got up, got our stuff together, and left for the birth center. We called my midwife (Betty), and she said to call her back when they were 5 minutes apart and ALL at least a minute long. (She said that the 30 second contractions would not actually be dilating my cervix.) The birth center is 30 minutes from our house, so we decided to go ahead and drive there. We walked in the birth center at 3am. Betty listened to Eli's heartbeat, checked my vitals, and checked to see if I was dilated. I was at 3cm and 80% effaced. I birthed mostly on the floor, with the birthing ball, and leaning on the bed for awhile. Once I got into the birth tub, I stayed! Since this was my first time to use the tub, I wasn't sure how it would feel. I think the combination of the warm water and the jacuzzi jets on my back helped me through a lot of the contractions. During the contractions, I definitely had to rock my body and MOVE through them. The water was very helpful for that!

I could tell I was in transition when I started getting more vocal and felt like I couldn't handle the contractions as well. When I first felt the urge to push, Betty told me I was at 7 cm. She asked if I really felt my body telling me to push or if it was just me wanting it all to be "over!" I think it was mostly the latter:) My water had not broken at this point, but Betty broke it when I got to the point where I really couldn't keep from pushing. I got into position for Derek to be able to catch Eli. I pushed and contracted in that position for what felt like forever. When things got tougher, I leaned onto Derek's legs and hugged him around his waist. I was basically on my hands and knees at this point, and Derek wasn't going to be able to catch Eli...but I felt like this was the most helpful position for me to push in. (Derek unselfishly complied:) and said for me to do whatever I needed to do.) When I pushed Eli's head out, I apparently came up out of the water for a second, and he took a breath of air. Because of this, I had to stay up out of the water for the rest of his delivery. Once he was completely out, I flipped back around, sat in the tub in front of Derek and held Eli on my chest. I leaned back on Derek, and we held and stared at Eli while the cord was still pulsating. Once it stopped, Derek cut it and got out of the tub to hold Eli while I delivered the placenta.

After getting me settled in the bed and Eli bundled up in his blankets, Betty and Amy (the birth assistant) checked my and Eli's vitals. Derek and I were left alone in the room with Eli to hold him, feed him, and enjoy the peace and quiet. It was so wonderful to be left alone like that. I think that was one of my favorite things about birthing at the birth center. I had a small tear, so Betty came in a little while later to stitch me up. She weighed and measured Eli, and then he and I took an herbal bath together. I soaked in the tub for a few minutes by myself while Derek held Eli, then Eli got in with me and I bathed him. Betty checked Eli over after he got out of the tub while he laid on the heating pad. Finally, Derek dressed Eli in his going home clothes, I got dressed, we received our "discharge" instructions, and we left at 11:00am!!

Eli's stats:
Weight 7 lbs. 2 oz.
Length 20 inches
Head 13"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A cRy FoR HELP!!!

Not really, but here's my problem. I'm doing an Advent "Calendar" with Justus this year for the first time, and I'm trying to start many traditions with him and Titus (and Derek and Eli, too of course:)) Basically, I'm filling 24 envelopes with fun things to do/eat/see/experience during the Christmas season. Here's what I have so far.....please let me know of any of your personal family traditions (that you don't mind passing on:)) that I could add to our list or other random ideas I could add here:) Thanks!! (You can leave a comment or email me at Oh, and don't forget, we will have a newborn baby around, so no crazy ideas!! haha

1. Put up Christmas tree with ornaments and lights
2. Decorate house for Christmas (just the random decorations inside, nothing fancy:))
3. Tell/read Christmas story, go and buy little Nativity Scene and set up without baby Jesus
4. Make Christmas tree ornaments for school teachers, Bible study teachers, etc. (glass balls that we will paint on the inside)
5. Make a snowman with cotton balls, etc.
6. Go for a walk to collect pine cones...Make a bird feeder
7. ?????????
8. Make and decorate Christmas cookies
9. Make Christmas wreath(s) out of outer edge of paper plate, red/green tissue paper, etc. to hang on doorknobs around the house (etc.)
10. Watch a Christmas movie with Mommy and Daddy and drink hot chocolate
11. Christmas party at our local library (thanks to Hurst for planning that one for me:))
12. Make paper snowflakes for front windows and glass door
13. Make and take treats to neighbors
14. ?????
15. ??Christmas party with 2 of Justus' friends (Christmas-y food and exchange gifts)
16. ????
17. Christmas party at Justus' school (again, nicely planned for me!!)
18. ????
19. Drive/walk around neighborhood (etc.) to look at Christmas lights
20. Christmas party at family-friends' house (Thanks, Paula for planning that one:))
21. Make a Gingerbread house
22. Give the boys Christmas pajamas to wear
23. ????
24. ????Maybe another Christmas movie and hot chocolate night, but probably not since Derek and I will most likely be doing last-minute Christmas things to get ready for the morning
25. Put baby Jesus in the manger, open gifts, Christmas-y breakfast, etc.
One idea I don't have on here yet is to go to a story time where Mr/Mrs Claus will be telling the stories. I know malls have this sometimes, so if it's on a convenient day (i.e., when Derek can watch the 2 younger boys, or when Titus is prepared to sit and listen to a story - haha) I'll add that one in.

Please help me think of more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Car Seat Safety

I don't know why, but I have a passion for car seat safety. I wanted to share the information I have learned with you all. Maybe God has a plan in using this information in someone's life to protect their child...I don't know. I do know that I felt very convicted to look up all of these websites and articles and type up all of this information. You may think I'm crazy, but for some reason, I felt God tugging at my heart to do this.

There are so many "little" details involved in correctly installing a car seat and correctly buckling your child in his or her car seat. Some of these things are easy to do, but many people just don't know about them. If you are a parent and have ever installed your child's car seat, you know it can be a hassle. Whenever we have to move a car seat or two from one car to the other, I cannot help but let out an audible "UGH!!!" Please take the time to do it correctly, though. Your child's safety is determined by the little mistakes we have to avoid!

I've tried to organize all of this information as well as possible, so you can easily navigate through it. If you don't have kids and will never be faced with installing a car seat or buckling a child into one, skip this post. It's a doosey:) (NO idea how you would spell that!!)

HINT: If you don't want to read my ramblings, please just read this article. AND please take the time to look into everything to make sure your child's car seat is installed properly and to guarantee you are buckling them in correctly every single time.

This is for everyone:
"As many as 80 percent of all car seats are improperly installed and used. Eighty percent. It's a significant factor in why automobile accidents are the number-one killer of children under 14."
1. Why our 1.5 year old is still rear-facing (RF)
2. How to choose a car seat for your child
3. If you have a car with leather seats, you MUST use a seat cover (like this one) so the car seat doesn't slide around. You can even just use a non-slip rubber shelf liner for this!
4. Always read your car's manual and the manual that came with your specific car seat. Each car seat is different and requires different "little" things.
5. You know that weird ball thing on the side of your child's car seat? USE it!! It's so important that the seat is at the correct angle. If you need to, it's completely safe to roll up a towel or use a pool noodle under the car seat to make it the correct level. Remember, though, that the towel or noodle will eventually begin to flatten. You'll need to keep an eye on it and replace when necessary.
6. If you're using strap covers, they should be at the child's neck. They are designed to prevent the car seat straps from cutting into the baby's neck. Basically, slide them up as high on the car seat straps as they will go!!
7. A car seat is considered "expired" after 6 years. The straps can become frayed and will tear/twist easily.

*RF = Rear Facing; FF = Forward Facing
LATCH = Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children/Child Safety Seats

Installing your child's car seat:
1. GREAT how-to videos here
2. **NEVER use both seat belt and LATCH system. The LATCH system was not designed for this. Choose one or the other. **
3. Look at the next section to see if you need to use a locking clip when installing your child's car seat.

Using a locking clip:
1. This is a locking clip.
2. When and how to use a locking clip

Buckling an infant in car seat:
This baby is NOT buckled in correctly!!!
1. In any RF position, the straps should be in the inserts at or just below the child's shoulders.
2. Coming from a soon-to-be chiropractor's wife :), make sure the foam under the car seat pad goes from the top of your baby's head to at least their knees. If it stops in the middle of their back (like our Graco infant car seat foam did!), it will cause much discomfort to your baby, along with problems like acid reflux (The pressure in the middle of their back will cause their spine to be misaligned.) Buy a new car seat or replace the foam. Ask me if you need help replacing the foam safely:) Been there, done that!
3. The chest clip should be level with the child's armpits. (NOT below or above this!)
4. You should not be able to pinch the car seat straps between your fingers at all. (example)

This is just kind of a taste of all the information out there (and all the information you need to know when installing a carseat/buckling in a child.) I hope this encourages all of you with kids to stop, think, and pay attention to the details involved. I hope you will take the time to research and read more on your own, and I specifically hope that you will take the time to make sure you're doing everything correctly!! A few years ago, we witnessed a car accident. Derek ran to the car only to see a tragedy, involving 2 young children in car seats. I have no idea if everything was done correctly or not, but I know it was certainly devastating for the father who lost his family that day. Don't be in a rush to turn your kids FF in their car seat, and make sure you're buckling those little babies in tightly enough:)

38 weeks today!!

I had an appt. with my midwife today. Eli has moved UP to zero station...but she said that could change easily and often. I am 80% effaced, but that also doesn't mean much to me. I remember being 80% effaced with one of the boys and not going into labor anytime soon!! Everything seems like random information at this point to me. I think it all can just change and happen pretty quickly, but I was certainly hoping for a little more hope of him coming sooner than later:) Oh well, all in due time!!!! I definitely don't want him to come before he's ready! Due "dates" are kind of silly anyway. Maybe I'm just trying to talk myself out of expecting anything at a certain moment:) Labor will probably begin when I least expect it,and all of a sudden, I will be having a baby:) haha I AM a fingertip dilated, so I'll hang onto that for now! Meanwhile, here's a picture of Justus with his newfound hobby...catching caterpillars:) (Gotta love boys!!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

He's growing up...

A friend of mine gave Justus his first pair of shin guards. (Thank you, Dawn!!!!!) He was so excited when he saw them this morning. He wore them all day, playing soccer in the backyard with Derek and even when we went to play tennis later this afternoon. He loves them and thinks he is a true soccer player now. I told Dawn the shin guards must have brought out the testosterone in him, because he even answered "nature's call" for the first time in our backyard...haha, the fun begins! He is growing up so fast. He is into Knock-Knock jokes, helping around the house, and learning about, watching, and playing any and every sport possible. He makes us laugh constantly and is such a sweet big brother (well, usually:)) I have to say, though...I'm a little bit worried about the possible struggle tomorrow morning when we tell him he can't wear his shin guards to church! haha

Monday, November 3, 2008

Almost there!!!!!!!!

As of last Thursday, I am 36 weeks. Eli is engaged in my pelvis at a "Plus 1" (Plus 4 meaning he's out of there!! Here's a picture about that.) I've had a few Braxton Hicks contractions, and sometimes I feel like he's about to fall out of me!! SOOO, I'm just praying he doesn't come too early! Here's some pics to see my/his progression. We did the clothes/pictures the same way everytime so the change would be even cooler to look at...but I didn't realize how tight and silly my shirt would look at the end:) haha Anyway, here they are!
12 Weeks

20 Weeks

23 Weeks

27 Weeks

36 Weeks

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Sneezing

Well, snotty noses and all, we trekked over to the mall to do a quick run around for candy. Justus and Titus were both sick with a cold and cough, but we had been talking about trick or treating for some time now...and you know Justus wasn't going to just let that go!! Justus was Spiderman, and Titus was (of course) Superman...since that's the costume Justus wore LAST year!! They were a cute pair, and I actually saw a couple other Spiderman/Superman duos trick or treating together. The boys had fun looking at the other kids' costumes, and were a little overwhelmed by the crowd and craziness. We didn't stay that long, but we made it around to most of the stores handing out candy and took a few minutes to sit and people-watch while Justus ate a sucker:) We made it home for an almost on-time bedtime, so that was good! Here's some pics of the boys....

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