Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Flying Solo

Well, today was the day. It was three against one. The moment of truth. How would I fair doing this mommy of three thing by myself?

It was definitely baptism by fire today. Last night, Charleigh, was your worst night to date (still not bad - as of now, you are a dream baby!). From two to six, you were up every hour, on the hour, to feed. So, while I desperately wanted to go back to bed at 6:30 after nursing you, two little boys were already awake...15 minutes before the clock turns green.

So, still half asleep, it was time to start our day! Charleigh, you typically go back to bed from 6-9, but again...not today! So, the four of us had breakfast together and began to get ready for school. Even though our day started earlier than anticipated, we all recovered nicely and had a calm and peaceful morning. Our goal: be in the car by 8:30. I must say, I was very proud that we were pulling out of the driveway, all dressed and looking fairly presentable, by 8:29.
Test number two: could I handle the preschool drop-off with three kiddos and just two arms? I hope it wasn't a fluke, but again, things went pretty smoothly.

It's amazing how quickly three hours can go, and before we knew it, Charleigh and I were headed back to school to pick you boys up. A little more challenging than drop-off, but still a success.

After lunch, it was the moment I had been dreading all day. We were going to attempt naptime yet again (not sure if you've really napped in your beds since Charleigh was born! I hope this is another naptime strike and not the end of naptimes completely yet). This weekend, Pinterest suggested an article on how to successfully get your kids to stay in bed  (side note: how does Pinterest know me so well?! I have never searched for any articles on this topic...little bit creepy). But we were desperate; so we took the Super Nanny's advice (per this article) and have implemented a new bedtime routine. Shockingly, it is working...slowly, but surely. Today was our first chance to try it at naptime. After 49 minutes (an hour was my cutoff), I had two sleeping boys and didn't have to raise my voice once. Thank you, Lord!!

It was just what I needed after a fairly sleepless night. I was so excited to plop onto the couch and snooze right along with you kiddos. However, you had other plans, Ms. Charleigh Jo. You were wide awake and ready to interact. So while I desperately needed the sleep, I was happy to welcome some one-on-one time with you.

After naptime, it was outside for some vitamin D and playtime!
By the time Daddy got home, we were all a little exhausted. So, it was dinner, time to read some books (sorry Charleigh, you just couldn't hang with your brothers for story-time tonight - and finally crashed after fighting your naps most of the afternoon), and bedtime (which included a surprise: new PJ mask jammies, which were quite the hit!). After an hour of fighting it, you boys finally fell asleep.


Shew. We did it. We may be a little tired and a tad cranky, but we did it! All-in-all, it was actually a really fun day. We had our moments of stress, but it was a good first day flying solo.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hello Spring

Today was Daddy's last day at home before returning to work (we were so lucky to have him home for over a week!) and the first day of spring. After a lazy morning, we decided to all take a drive to get out of the house (even if it meant the four of us just stayed in the car) so he could get fitted for his tux for Uncle Kye and Aunt Yaya's wedding. After a quick fitting, we decided to make a little pit stop...we were just five minutes from the zoo and thought it would be a nice surprise for you two boys.

While the forecast called for the 70s, it definitely wasn't there yet around noon. So it was a very quick trip! A spin around the zoo on the train, a ride on the merry-go-round, and then back home it was. Though quick, the fresh air felt great and was much needed for us all.
After a family snuggle / rest session (since you are still boycotting naps!), the sun came out and temperature finally did rise. So, what better way to welcome in the first day of spring, with a trip to "our" park. You boys got to run around and burn some energy, while you kept close watch over them Charleigh Jo.

Sometimes the best days are those that are unplanned and just happen as you go. We enjoyed a lot of family time today and really soaked up our finally day with Daddy. He has been so helpful the past week and a half. It is going to be quite the adjustment saying goodbye to him tomorrow morning as he heads to work. You three are so lucky to have a daddy that works so hard for you, both at his job and when he is home. So while we are thankful for his job and the fact that he provides for us all so that I can stay home with you three; we sure are going to miss him!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

One Week Old

I can't believe that one week ago, I was laying in a hospital bed waiting to meet you! What a wonderful whirlwind ride it has been, too.

Saturday afternoon, the three of us headed home. We keep saying how completely opposite the two pregnancies and deliveries have been, so it was a little surreal to have a "normal" hospital stay. You were able to stay in our room (and not the NICU) and you were released from the hospital as the same time as your momma. We were so excited to get you home to your big brothers who we were missing terribly.
As we pulled into the driveway, we saw two beaming boys waiting on the front porch singing, "Where's our sister? Where's our sister? Charleigh Jo! Charleigh Jo!" You have both been so excited to meet your baby sister, but we've been anxious to see if that would transfer once she really arrived. Not only did it transfer, but you are even more proud of her now that she is here! The smiles and kisses you wanted to give her were wonderful. Ryan, while we were all in the living room, you proclaimed, "I so happy baby sister home and we all together in our house." So true little boy! From the moment we got home, we all four just knew, she belonged and our family was now complete.
Saturday evening, our first night home, we discovered you had spiked a fever, Wiley. I instantly went into panic mode, fearing that you would get sick too and would end up back in the PICU (we had worked so hard to keep you from there -- you couldn't end up going back to the hospital!). I am so thankful we had close family friends in town this weekend and they were at our house Saturday night. Them being over helped my anxiety not spike too bad, as well as allowed you to receive your first annointing. Patrick and Paka prayed over the entire family. The moment, "Amen," was whispered, I felt such a peace. I knew we would have to keep you boys away from your sister, but my anxiety was gone and I trusted completely the Lord would protect you, Charleigh.

Sunday morning, Wiley you woke up fever free and we celebrated! ...Ryan, however, you woke up with the fever. I am thankful that my peace wasn't stolen though and I still trusted you'd stay healthy, Charleigh.

We enjoyed some quiet family time over the next few days, both of you boys now developing colds and still having to be separated from your sister (torture for us all!).

On Tuesday, you had your first check-up, Charleigh Jo. You weighed in at 7 pounds 10 ounces -- one ounce away from your birth weight already! You were in the 97th percentile for your height and 56th percentile for your weight. And again, I say, complete opposite of your brothers who struggled to ever even get on the chart! I just love the differences between these two experiences - both wonderful! In fact, you are doing so well, the doctor told us you didn't need to come back for your two week checkup!

We will see how things go next week once Daddy returns to work, but so far, life seems pretty complete with you coming home. It'll definitely be a challenge juggling three of you now, but we are just over the moon to welcome you to our family, Charleigh. It's so exciting to think of all the future holds for us, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we are going to soak up all the snuggles and cuddles we can.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

On Your Birth-Day

Well sweet Peanut, today was the day! After 40 weeks and 2 days, we were finally going to meet you!

The day began for us at 5 AM with a phone call to Labor and Delivery to see if they would have a bed ready for us for our tentatively planned 7 AM induction. We were quickly told no beds would be available, but that one woman had just delivered and when she was finished recovering and her room cleaned, they would call us and get us into a room. Until then, we should go back to bed and rest.
Ha! There was no way I was going to go back to bed, but oddly, I was able to relax and rest. I wasn't worried or anxious. I was in a a state of peace and calmness that is not always like myself, but a feeling I was so thankful for. We started our day slowly with an unrushed shower, quiet breakfast just Daddy and I, and cuddling on the couch. Around 6:45, we heard the familiar knocks of your brothers on their bedroom doors, calling down, "Mommy, Daddy, our clocks green!" (meaning they were allowed to get out of bed now). So down came your brothers for some more snuggles, breakfast with them, and "patiently" waiting for our phone to ring.

While waiting, your school time was approaching. All along, we planned on keeping you home from school, thinking we'd be long gone by school time. At 7:45, we decided we would likely have time and were going to take you to school where Nenny could pick you up at noon.

Of course, as soon as you make a plan, things change! As we began to get you dressed and ready for school, my phone rang and we were told, "Come on down! We have a bed waiting for you." So frantically we called both Zsu Zsu and Nenny to help us out! Zsu Zsu would be here in 5 minutes to take you to school and Nenny would still pick you up, allowing your Daddy and I head to the hospital.

Clothes flying and directions being hollered at Zsu Zsu, we were all trying to get out the door by 8:30 (and succeeded too!).
In route to the hospital, we were grateful for a phone call from Tse Tse letting us know the highway was a mess (thank goodness I wasn't in labor yet!). So, it was a detour for us, but 40 or so minutes later we had arrived and were ready to meet you!
As we pulled into the parking lot, I turned to your daddy and asked, "Could you imagine if Terri were working today?! That would just be the icing on the cake." He agreed, but we both knew it was a long shot and didn't truly have any hope in these words, so that we wouldn't be disappointed. (Terri was our angel nurse from our pregnancy with your brothers. She was there on our darkest days, giving us hope and lifting us up in prayer along the way. She was also there when they were born and my nurse, holding my hand through each scary unknown turn. We know without a doubt that God put this woman into our lives and we still thank Him for the peace she brought to us three years ago. Amazing how circumstances can bring certain people into our lives that change us for the better.)

As we walked into Labor and Delivery, we were blown away to see Terri standing there smiling! I could've burst into tears right then and there. How great is our God?! Our dear nurse and friend, would be there for the birth of all three our children.

After getting checked in and into our room, it was time to get settled -- hospital gown on, baby and contraction monitors on, IV started, and questions answered. It was a routine we were used to with your brothers, but still a completely different experience this time around knowing we were giving birth to a full-term (and prayerfully healthy) baby!

We were soon settled and by 10 AM my water had been broken and still measuring 4 cm dilated (we were told typically it's about an hour to an hour and a half per centimeter. So we anticipated 6-9 hours of labor before go-time).

10:30, Zsu Zsu and Tse Tse had arrived and the waiting was officially underway. I was shocked at how quickly the contractions picked up and intensified after breaking my water and by 11:15, I had had my epidural.

Sidenote: Let me just say, I had been so concerned about the breaking of my water and the epidural, after a not so pleasant spinal block with your brothers' delivery. The breaking of my water was absolutely nothing to be stressed about. It wasn't even uncomfortable, let alone painful! It was definitely a bizarre sensation though - one I handled with maturity by giggling as it happened. The epidural was also equally less painful than I anticipated. The numbing shot was uncomfortable, and there was an odd feeling of pressure when the epidural was inserted, but definitely wasted energy in worrying over it.

An hour later, I was now measuring 6.5 centimeters (2 centimeters in 2 hours, so right on schedule as predicted), much more comfortable thanks to the epidural, and playing cards to help pass the time while watching some basketball.
Contractions were really picking up and getting closer together (thank you Lord for creating the brains that developed the epidural, for while I could feel pressure, the pain was so much better! I can't imagine experiencing that pain every minute with each contraction!), so they measured me again at 1:15....10 cm!!! In an hour, we had gone from 6.5 cm to 10 cm. I'm not sure how that happened, but there was instantly a buzz in the room as it became very clear that you would be with us much sooner than we anticipated!

Around 1:30, I gave a couple practice pushes through 2 contractions to see how you would progress. I was grateful for the decision to continue laboring for another 45 minutes or so, in hopes that you would drop more, cutting down on time (and energy) spent pushing.

2:30 and it was go time! I was so excited to try and deliver you without needing a c-section and prayed I would be strong enough to do so. Forty minutes later and a beautiful little (big!) girl was placed on my chest.
We had had your name picked out since December, but just last week, Daddy threw a curve ball at me, which had us questioning who you were! So, we combined them both, sweet Charleigh Jo Evelyn! You have been named after two incredible women who I know you will represent well. My grandma, Letti "Paugh" Jo, was one of the most intelligent women I have ever known. She put her career on hold to first raise her family and then went back to college in her 40s. At 55 years old, she earned her doctorate degree in education. She went on to impact and change countless lives as a teacher. Not only was she such an intelligent woman, she was witty and funny. I wished I had had more days just sitting and listening to her talk. And while all these traits are amazing, the strongest and most valuable trait she had was her faith in God. Prayer was her answer to everything -- from the biggest of thing to the smallest of need. I could name experience after experience that was delivered due to her faith. One of my favorite stories of her faith: she had a planter on her porch that was impossibly too heavy for her to lift. Something that most would never think to pray about, but not Paugh. She prayed. And sure enough, she was able to move the plant! I can't wait to tell you more stories about Paugh. I hope you carry this quality on, sweet Charleigh Jo. I hope you always know there is never anything too small to bring to God. If it is important to you, it is important to Him. Let your faith grow in Him, sweet baby girl, and He will work great miracles in your life. It was because of faith that you are even here, Little Girl. Take that faith and continue to grow with it in your own life. I can't wait to watch the brilliant, Dr. Letti "Paugh" Jo live on in you.

From one spiritual leader, to another, you are also named after your Daddy's selfless, great-aunt Evelyn. A spiritual rock in his life, Evelyn was a woman who lived by example, emulating what it means to "love God and love others." She put her Lord and her work for Him first in all things that she did. She taught your daddy what it means to be a Christian and how to serve Him in all things. I know you will wear her name proudly and pray you continue to serve the Lord just as she did.
Now that we had had over an hour of kangaroo care, you were named, and had been examined, it was time to head upstairs to our new room. We were so excited because that meant you could finally meet the rest of your family (Nenny, Papa Donnie, Boo, Uncle Kye and Aunt Yaya, Uncle Aaron, and of course...your big brothers!!)

I have never seen more proud smiles as they both walked through that door. Your brothers have been so excited to meet you and I hoped the feeling would continue once they actually met you in person. They beamed with pride as they peeked over your bed. "Can I kiss her? May I kiss baby sister?" you asked, Wiley. As you and Ryan both bent down to kiss her head. Aside from your affection with Baby Sister, you were also very concerned about me and made sure I was doing okay too. Wiley, you were especially concerned with the "pinch" I had in my hand (pinch is what you call a shot and you couldn't understand why a shot would stay in my hand). "Mommy, may I kiss your pinch please? It all better now?"
What a long and beautiful day. It's amazing how the second you meet your child, it has been as if you have always known them and they have always been. You've only been in our family for a few hours now, sweet Charleigh Jo, but you immediately fit just so perfectly. Even the boys can feel it; you have completed our family and we can't wait to watch you grow with us. Thank you Lord, for entrusting us with yet another miracle baby. We know you have great things in store for her, just as you do for our boys and can't wait to see what those things are. Happy Birthday, sweet Charleigh Jo!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's the Final Countdown

Today was our last day as a family of four! I had a picture perfect day planned out in my head and it was going to go smoothly and just as I expected (Ha! Have I learned nothing? Nothing ever goes as you plan - especially with unpredictable toddlers).

The day started out heavenly -- you were both extra snuggly and lovey dovey. So we soaked it up! Snuggled up on the couch, we enjoyed a slow, easy morning, cuddling and watching some Mickey Mouse.

After breakfast and some playtime inside (...so that Mommy could clean the house for Baby Sister's arrival tomorrow) we headed outside for some Vitamin D therapy and to enjoy the gorgeous day we were having. We had a blast burying toys and playing in the dirt, racing trucks, eating snacks, and dancing away.
And as heavenly as our morning was, that's how awful the afternoon went. Naptime was about as horrendous as it's ever been. Screaming, running around, not listening, just awful. After too many timeouts and feeling like a horrible mother, it was time to step away, cool down, and regroup. So, I gave you each a couple books, asked you to lay in bed and either sleep or read. Five minutes later I came back in to check on you. What did I find?? Every article of clothing you owned (that had been so neatly organized by size and style), dumped out of dressers in one large pile in the middle of your room. So, the mature and hormonal pregnant mother that I am did the most logical thing...cried. What a mess!! After a morning of cleaning and organizing the house, I did not want to refold all of your clothes. I just wanted an hour or two to relax during naptime.
After cleaning up the mess, we threw in the naptime towel and headed back downstairs. (It was at this time that we were supposed to be heading to the park to meet Daddy to play, but no nap meant no park for two little boys. Which you knew this punishment, making your moods even grumpier). I had spent most of the day asking you to please not play in the kitchen, that I had just cleaned it all. I went to the bathroom for 30 seconds max and came back to find you both back in the kitchen staring at the newest mess you had made -- our leftovers for the night's dinner dumped onto my freshly mopped floor. Not nearly as big of a mess, but enough to again cue the pregnant tears! Thank goodness it was as I was sitting on the floor, crying, cleaning up the food that your daddy walked in from work (had he known the train-wreck that awaited him, he probably would've stalled his return!)
Thank goodness, he was the glue that we all needed -- calming me and you boys all down. While we still couldn't go to the park, we were able to recover the evening and enjoy our final night as a family of four. Snuggles were had by all, bedtime stories read, apologies made by mommy and boys, and lots of love given.

The day may not have gone as I had hoped, but that's real life and just a glimpse of what is to come when we add another member to this wonderful madness that is our family!