Monday, December 10, 2012

Nolan's Birth Story

Here is Nolan's story! :)

Last picture of me pregnant! Taking a walk to the park
I was "officially" due on December 15, but am so thankful he came earlier. I was feeling so huge and uncomfortable and felt it a blessing to welcome Nolan a tad early. December 6 is my mom's birthday and so it is special that he now shares it!

Here is my story from start to finish... gory pregnant details and all so be warned!

For those of you who know me I'm a huge advocate of natural birth. I was ready to do it again without interventions and was excited to see what my body could do again. I was a bit anxious because my first birth was so incredible and I didn't want it to be the bar I needed to reach. Thankfully I didn't have anything to worry about!

I woke up at 1am on Monday December 3 to a major contraction and again at 3am. I thought they felt much different than the Braxton Hicks I had been getting, and along with some "bloody show," I thought for sure this was it! My mind would not let me fall asleep through the random contractions because I kept thinking of all of things that we had to do the next day. 

That next morning Dhrumil stayed home and we put my sister on alert to get Mikayla at any moment. The day progressed with random contractions, but nothing else was happening. It was driving me a bit nuts and I was thinking to much into it. That night my brother in law came to pick Mikayla up because we were sure we'd have a baby by the morning.

Well night came and went... again I was woken by strong contractions, again my mind was going non stop and again nothing came of it. Discouragement to say the least. In the back of my mind I was telling myself that he was not going to come until I let go of control and just went with it.

So after talking to my doula on Wednesday morning and determining I was having prodermal labor (or "false" labor) I decided enough was enough... this day was going to be normal. Dhrumil went to pick up Mikayla at my sister's and went to work, I told my sister to not worry and Mikayla and I went about the day as normal. I stopped thinking and we had a fun morning doing crafts and playing. Throughout I was still having random contractions and lost my mucus plug, but did not for a second think into it.

That afternoon I was exhausted by the lack of sleepless nights and took a nap while Mikayla napped praying that God would help me dodge some random contractions for a while and just sleep. He answered my prayers and after one solid hour of sleep I was woken by a strong contraction... THIS time it was a contraction that started in my back and reminded me exactly of what they felt like during my labor with Mikayla. It was like a lightbulb turned on... "oh right this is what it feels like"

Took this picture right before Mikayla left in between contractions
This was about 2:30 and by 3:30 I called Dhrumil to come  home because I was pretty sure something was happening this time. I knew it was different not only by the physical feeling, but also because I was extremely calm and my mind was only going one moment at a time and not freaking out over logistical details. 

Dhrumil came home and made dinner, the three of us played together and right before my sister came to pick Mikayla up my contractions started getting stronger and regular. A few precious moments before Mikayla left... to get through contractions I just started dancing around the house singing a song with Mikayla following behind thinking we were playing a game. :) Another, when it was getting more intense, I had to sway and say oooooooo... Mikayla kept asking "why you saying oooo mama?" all the while running around me, her head bumping into my contracting belly, she then proceeded to say "ho ho ho" and I couldn't help but laugh... laughter during contractions are useful! 

After Mikayla left it was close to 7pm and Dhrumil decided to start timing (though I kept telling him it was to early to do so) well good thing he did since the contractions were getting close together and longer... we knew it was happening! I spent an hour in the tub while Dhrumil slept a bit, I also tried to rest myself which made the contractions even more intense when they came. Dhrumil was amazing again, putting pressure on my back, swaying with me, letting me hold him tight. I also watched half of Gone With the Wind while my contractions became 5 minutes apart and pretty long. After a particularly strong contraction at 11pm I decided it was time to call the doula to come over.

While waiting for the doula Dhrumil and I stood in front of the TV which was playing relaxation music from Pandora and we continued our team work of back rubbing, oooing or mooing and so on. Dhrumil, though remaining pretty calm, thought we should call the Dr. but I thought I still had hours to go... my contractions weren't getting closer than 5 minutes... I wanted to just continue going with it. Dhrumil, though still wanting to call the Dr. knew better than to argue and just went with me.

When our doula Wendy arrived and I labored through a few contractions with her and Dhrumil, I mentioned that I was feeling pressure... to which she replied "um we should probably go, though you seem so calm and with it so we don't need to rush." I told Dhrumil to call the Dr. which made him very happy and then he prepared the van and I told him not to rush since I still thought I had tons of time.

Well I got into the van and leaned over the back seat staring out the back window while Dhrumil drove out of our neighborhood... and THAT is when the true action began. 

I was already dreading the car ride because I remember that as the worst part during labor with Mikayla. Trying not to let my mind psych me out I hung over the seat keeping my mind from going anywhere but in the moment. It was only about two minutes into our ride when I got an extremely powerful contraction... and POP my water broke. After that the contractions kept on coming... all the while I was trying to keep from going into panic mode. I yelled from Dhrumil to roll down on the windows (the outside smelled like cows... go figure), I hit the back window continuously and at one point I kept saying "helicopter" because that is what it sounded like with the windows down. :) Staring at the headlights of the doula's car speeding behind us I knew that this baby was ready to come and I yelled out to Dhrumil "HE IS COMING!" To which Dhrumil replied "we are almost there."

Dhrumil later told me that he was just concentrating on driving and taking the country road turns that would pop out of no where. He was also praying that he wouldn't get lost as he had only driven to the hospital once. As we were pulling into the hospital I felt a major urge to push and I almost started the panic... that is when I called out to God to give me strength and in that moment I felt God say "Be still, I am with you"to which my mind calmed, I felt no fear and my body relaxed.

After we pulled into the parking spot I literally ran out of the back seat and the doula and Dhrumil basically dragged me into the hospital. The van was left running and open. :) We "ran" past the check in after the doula yelled that I was about to give birth, she helped me stay calm by making a motor sound with my mouth. I must have looked like a crazed woman, though I passed one nurse, smiled and said hi, so I wasn't too far gone.

We got into the room, the nurses hooked me up to the monitor while I stood, the somehow got me on the bed, the midwife showed up and checked me and said only the lip of my cervix was left. That is when I started singing 'It is Well With My Soul'... I needed something to calm me and that was the key. The midwife let me squeeze her hand tight while I was singing and all of the sudden I heard someone singing with me... I was later told it was the midwife. Singing praises to God right before my little boy came into the World! I did the same with Mikayla right before she was born... but I sang 'I Have a Maker'. So amazing how God is right there and I go right to Him in the midst of not thinking.

After I finished singing I began pushing... this time was so different from Mikayla. I was in a different position, I took it slow and they didn't do the counting or having me push the "wrong" way. The midwife had me pause when the contractions would pause, only going with what I was feeling and not the way she thought I should do it. My body just did it's thing and I pushed the way the body intends. Within about 10 minutes I looked down and watched my baby boy being born. They placed him on me right away and the experience was again incredible... they didn't take him away for a long time... doing all the checks while we snuggled. He nursed soon after like a champ and it helped me take my mind off of the icky stuff going on with my body that happens at the end.

Dhrumil and I just kept looking at each other in shock... it happened so fast and we couldn't believe he was already here. I was at the hospital a total of 25 minutes before having the baby!

Nolan Ira Shah was born at 1:13am on December 6, 2012 weighing 8 pounds 2 ounces and being 21 inches long. Nolan is a name Dhrumil and I have liked since before Mikayla was born and Ira is in honor of my grandpa who passed away last year. It was particularly special for him to be named after my grandpa soon after my grandmother's death because I feel like this will help keep the legacy of them alive.

I praise God for another amazing experience of birth. He was with me every step of the way and I was again reminded of His love. The love I have for my children doesn't even compare to the amazing love He has for each of us!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comments to a 9 Month Pregnant Me

Had to record some of what has been said to me in the past few weeks...

My daughter - "That pumpkin isn't as big as mama" (referring to a HUGE HUGE pumpkin sitting in front of a restaurant)

My husband - "Ha ha" (When he couldn't find Mikayla because she was on the other side of my belly)

My mother - "You should stop eating sugar"

Stranger at church - "So are you pregnant?"

Post office man - "Ok you need stamps... how many?" (Said in a rude tone... EVERYONE should be nice to me right now)

Midwife - "You just carry larger" (In reference to me measuring 2 weeks over what I am)

Me - "It's just like riding a bike isn't it?" (To myself when I think of labor)

My dad - "Look its your little head and then BOOM baby, are you sure you aren't going to fall over?"

Violinist in church - "Ok you are done playing" (Now that my belly is in the way of my bow)

My grandpa - "How come maternity clothes are so tight fitting now?"

Starbucks woman - "Oh how nice, a Christmas surprise"

Ok... time to come out little man. I'm officially over being pregnant.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mikayla Rose - a big (SNIFF) girl!

Picking a Christmas Tree!
Is my baby girl seriously only 3 months and a some days away from being 3!?  I haven't written an update on Mikayla for sometime and wanted to make sure I did so before my brain is taken over by sleep deprivation.

A few days ago I was watching Mikayla play with my parents and had to hold back tears... I can't believe how big she is now. She has turned into a little kid right in front of my eyes... I have to stop myself and just stare or I am going to miss her transformation!

I will always treasure the past three months we have shared... being together all day, every day! My quitting work could not have come at a better time and I am so so glad to have had so much alone time with her before baby brother makes his voice known. The beginning of our journey was difficult here in PA... I think we were trying to figure out how being at home together worked... but now we in sync and I couldn't ask for a sweeter or smarter little girl!

Mikayla has been extremely perceptive from the start and this has grown with her. She is very aware of everything around her and you really can't pull anything past her. Her latest question that she asks ALL the time "Mama what you talking about?" Whether I am on the phone or talking with Dhrumil or to a friend... she wants to know everything.

Along with her perception comes her very sensitive and loving heart. She always wants to make sure everyone is ok, that everyone is having a good time. She gives long hugs and random kisses. She tells me she loves me in such a voice that melts my heart.

Mikayla loves to learn and one of our new games is to say a word, have her repeat it back and then explain the meaning. It is very funny when she says a word because it is usually made up... and her definitions always make us bite back grins.

Mikayla knows what she wants... and is very direct in saying so. She is a leader for sure and I think it will be interesting to watch her lead her brother. :) I think she takes after me in this respect.

She is now potty trained! HOORAY only one in diapers in a few weeks. The first time we tried it just wasn't working (more me than anything) and so we waited a few weeks, I prayed for patience... and after two days we had a major success! It has now been a little more than a month and she is doing so good!

Some of Mikayla's interests right now...

- Playing pretend (this just started and is so fun to watch her mind work!)
- Puzzles
- Reading together
- Cooking with us
- Playing with stickers
- Filling in her sticker charts
- Helping around the house
- Singing
- Walking Willoughby
- Playing at the park
- Crafts
- Coloring
- Dressing her "friends" (stuffed animals)

She also loves to talk about "baby brother" as she calls him and is very excited for him to come out of my tummy. I can't wait to see her as a big sister. She randomly puts her hand on my tummy and says "oh he's moving" or runs over to me and kisses my tummy.

There is so much more to say about my sweet one... but I am going to leave with one of her latest quotes. "Mama to get bigger I have to eat cookies, play in the leaves, drink water and sleep."

The End

36 weeks (last Saturday)
I can't believe I am now in the remaining weeks of my pregnancy!! I feel like I have been pregnant forever and as I think back on events, most of which were in Connecticut, I realize... "oh yup, I was pregnant then." 9/10 months really is a long time when you think about it.

I am now ready for this little man to make his appearance and yet am struggling with the feelings of wanting our sweet family of three to stay just us. I know the moment he is born he will fit right in, like he was always here... but I am hugging Mikayla just a little longer these last few days while she is my one and only baby.

This pregnancy has been SO much easier than my first, but the circumstances of life have been a little tougher to navigate. However, I do believe I have done a good job and can't believe everything that has happened in the past nine months.

Some of the majors...
- Bat in our room and the decision of the rabies vaccine (continuing to pray this hasn't affected the baby)
- Ending my career (for now) and leaving a wonderful company
- Saying goodbye to amazing friends and a place that had truly become home
- Moving to the farmlands of PA
- Becoming a stay at home mom
- Buying our first house
- Having a Rottweiler chase me and Willoughby and having me fall and go to the hospital
- Switching Drs and hospitals at 35 weeks

So I guess it was more mental challenges than physical this time around. But I made it through and am now looking at a ginormous belly and can't wait to meet the little guy who is inside.

Family of three for just a few more weeks
Physically at this point it is hard to move around. I feel like a HUGE hippo and feel like everyone is staring at me. :) I can hardly tie my shoes and find myself waddling. I am also starting to have problems playing the violin as my belly is getting in the way. Tomorrow is going to be my last time in the church orchestra because I am only going to get bigger. I just have to laugh at myself and know that this to will come to an end. Thank God I haven't gotten PUPPS again (a horrible itchy rash I had last time). The one thing that is a bit uncomfortable is how this baby is just all over the place. My belly makes contortions I never thought possible and I keep feeling like he is going to jump out... a preview of what is to come? Oh dear!

So there you have it... hopefully my last post on being pregnant. Looking forward to having my body back, though it will look like it has been through a war. I know it will have all been worth it of course the moment my hearts grows and I fall in love with another sweet baby of mine!

37 Weeks today!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Grandma

Meeting Mikayla for the first time
It is hard to know how to begin this post. I know we all grieve differently and I have found that for me, I become somewhat numb, and it is hard for my mind to wrap itself around the fact of life being a circle that begins and ends... I become emotionally stuck in a way.

My grandma passed away yesterday... almost a year to date after my grandpa.

Last night while I was trying to fall asleep I kept picturing her smiling, holding hands with my grandpa, meeting Jesus and celebrating in Heaven. Her mind was once again clear, no longer held captive by the dementia. Her body was no longer frail, but strong and healthy and she no longer knew the pain and hardship of the world.

What an amazing image, what amazing God we serve.

I still miss her though... she had been a fixture in my life... always there. Not until recently, after becoming a mother myself, have I truly appreciated all she taught me growing up. The stories she would write down for me in journals about her life, the cooking we would do together, the sewing, the crafts... the prayer. Living in Pennsylvania (she lived most of her life here) now has made me appreciate her all the more. She was the only grandma I knew (my maternal grandma died when I was three) and though not perfect, she was ever present in my life.

Our last visit
This morning as I was playing with Mikayla and helping her dress up all of her stuffed animals I couldn't help but know that her presence will linger... the doll quilts we were using to cover the animals were made by her, the crocheted doll sweaters, the little pillows... they were all her. So special to have these items and to share them with my daughter.

Of course God knew how this would all play out... but it still amazes me. We were able to go on a short road trip to see her just a month ago. I am so glad we did... I am so glad that Mikayla was able to come and be with her. Those special moments that we spent together and that hour that I spent just talking to her... my dad was also able to fly down shortly after us and then again he was with her right before she passed... and she knew he was there.

Soon I will write a post on my favorite stories about grandma. Something I can read back on and smile, something I can share with my children. But right now I am just going to be... just going to reflect on the impact she had on me, on the love she showed me.

I am at a loss... Lord help me make the most of my days here on earth and help me be a blessing to those who I pass by. Thank you for Judy Yoder and for all she taught me. Thank you that one day I will be held in her arms once again.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Memory

A surprise Christmas visit about 6 years ago
Walking down the hallways of the retirement village my grandparents had lived in for a decade filled me with sadness. I hadn't been back since my grandpa died last November and I was hit with how different things are now that he is gone. Flooded with memories of happier times... it was hard to be in the reality of what was.

Both of my grandparents had been so actively involved in the community there. They played the piano and organ in chapel, my grandpa was on the pool team and my grandma helped out at the goody shop. They were both very alive and... though previously I had thought they were just waiting to go to heaven... they had been revived in a way.

Reminding grandma about the recipe book she made 
My grandpa was now gone and instead of taking the elevator to their apartment I was taking it to the memory ward... the area for patients who suffer from dementia. My beloved grandmother who I always believed would live for a very long time accompanied by her wit and sharp memory was now more than ever lost in a sea of forgetfulness.

When she first saw Mikayla she said she knew who she was... but a few minutes later we had to remind her who we all were. Her tiny room void of all memories of the past made it hard to feel cheerful at all, but we all did our best to have large smiles on our faces and to treasure the precious moments we had with her.

Mikayla was the brightest light while we were together. Being her sweet self she kept making my grandma smile, especially when she kept calling her Great Grandma Yogurt. Grandma also kept asking me why I was so fat... I had to continually remind her that I was pregnant. :)

I ended up getting to sit with her alone for about an hour... reading to her out of the cookbook she wrote for my sister I told her how she used to make amazing food and how she taught us to bake. I shared what was going on in my life although I had to continually remind her who I was. I then sat with her while she ate dinner and watching her struggle to bring a spoon to her mouth was so hard to watch. This was the woman who would always tell my sister and I to clean our plates, to chew with our mouths closed and to slowly enjoy the food we were eating. This woman could now hardly feed herself. Her sassiness every present... I kept asking if I could help her and she kept saying "no thanks mother"
Christina playing music for grandma

Growing old... it's hard. But everyday the older we get the more we are taught and the more we try to apply what we learn. Even though we continue to fail one moment after the next... we need to keep trying. I wish I had told my grandma what an influence she had on my life when she could still comprehend things... but that moment is gone. Instead I will tell her now and hope that she feels loved and appreciated.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Only Child

Today something very random happened to me while sitting in story time with Mikayla. She was snuggled up against me and we were listening to a story about a little lamb and butterfly. I was  loving the cuddle time and then it hit me... soon it would no longer be just the two of us. It was very difficult to not just start sobbing right then and there.

I guess I haven't really thought about the fact that Mikayla will no longer be an only child. In these past two months of being a stay at home mom the challenges have been daily, but looking back the rewards have been great. I have been given a gift to spend these last months with Mikayla in tons of one on one time and undivided attention. I am going to try dwell on this fact in the remaining weeks that follow and make the most of mama and Mimi time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To My Former Self

Dear Former Pre-Parent Self,

Hello. I thought I would write you a letter because I have some knowledge to share after being a parent for the past 2.5 years. I would share this knowledge with others who are not yet parents, but would they really listen? No. Why do you ask? Because you wouldn't have listened... and you also wouldn't have "gotten" it either. Why does the world work that way? Why do we learn the lessons AFTER the fact. Why does experience hold such a weight in everything we do? I guess it just goes to show that each phase in life will have its own difficulties, but will also have its own wonderfulness that we should truly embrace. Because if we don't... it will be gone. AND we will be writing our former selves letters.

Ok listen self... the list below is supposed to be comical. I wouldn't change where I am at in my life for a moment. But sometimes I just stop and think... what DID I do before my little pumpkin girl was following me everywhere? How DID it feel to not have someone staring at your while you went the bathroom? How was it that I got to places on time? And how come I took the smallest things for granted?

So I bring you this list of tidbits...

1. Before when you cleaned the kitchen, which I know wasn't a horribly daunting task, you should have ENJOYED it more. Enjoyed the yogurt and crumbs that were not all over the floor. Enjoyed the silence while you rinsed off the plates and placed them in the dishwasher. Enjoyed the fact that you could clean it quite quickly without numerous stops along the way to go color a picture, change a diaper, wipe a nose or try to get a certain little person to stop asking for another snack. EMBRACE the quiet kitchen. EMBRACE the fact that you are not exhausted (at least you may think you are exhausted, but listen YOU AREN'T) and clean those pots with a vengeance!

2. Your body... what can I say? Going through pregnancy is really going to do a number on it. Listen to what our mother told us FOREVER... seriously listen to her and LOVE how your body is now. Because it will never be the same again. Of course you can get back to the size you were before the baby, even smaller, BUT if you are one of the unfortunate souls like us... you will have battle scars. Enough said.

3. WHY are you sitting on the couch!? Get out! Enjoy running out of the house on a whim because you want to eat at the cute Thai place down the road. It is so so much easier now to get out because you don't have to worry about anyone BUT yourself! Ah... what that must feel like. Remind me would you, please?

4. Give Willoughby another hug. Your sweet child-dog is going to turn into an actual dog the moment you have a child. Seriously... I know it is so hard to comprehend, but he will. Don't be such a stickler about who watches him if you go away for the weekend because when you become a parent you won't care as much... you have larger things to worry about.

5. You will have THAT child. Yes I know... you think you will never have "THAT" child, but you will! I am not talking about anything in particular right now, just know that your child will not always be a perfect angel. Yes your child will scream at some point in a store, yes she will have a fit while you are eating in a restaurant, yes she will not sleep very well at times and YES the only vegetable she will like for a year will be peas. My advice? Practice on not sweating the small stuff... it will come in handy.

6. Give you husband a kiss... ok now give him another one. Yes you can still give your husband a kiss now, but you might be too distracted at times or too exhausted to even fathom the idea of getting off of the couch at the end of a long hard day, covered in snot, to walk over to him and give him a kiss. So do it now. Treasure the time that you have alone... again yes you will be alone, at night after bedtime, but now you are alone alone and you will never be young and alone again. So drink it in! And that grocery shopping you do together that seems like a pain? Have FUN because you just have to worry about yourselves and not about the little person that may be yelling "YOGURT" the whole time.

You know, I am sure I could think of some other really silly things to tell you to enjoy now... but I can't think of them right now.  That's because a cute little mini you and Dhrumil is waking up from her nap and talking to herself right now, waiting for her mommy to come get her. The fact is that once you reach this stage in life, you will truly enjoy having your sweet little girl around. You will understand a love that is so different than you have ever felt before and you will marvel at the fact that even though you can't clean the kitchen in peace you feel more blessed than ever before. So now I guess I speak to my future self of tomorrow. ENJOY these moments even though some days may feel to be the hardest you have ever had. Being a mom is tough work, I know that, but guess what? You have had tough days before and in the end what matters is these times... easy or tough...will be gone in an INSTANT so embrace what comes... even if it is tinkle and poop on the floor.

Your wiser-by-the-moment self

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Country Living

So I am not sure if you would consider where I live the "country" per se. BUT it does take me twenty minutes to get anywhere and I live smack in the middle of fields so I say it is the country. Actually I believe this whole county in Pennsylvania is just like this... except for the "city" and so I just need to get used to it. Living in Connecticut and being able to go into New York City anytime I wanted has turned me into one major city mouse. Also a local commented on how we are smack in the middle of Amishville... so that is saying how different this area is from where we just moved.

I NEVER thought my heart would ache so for our former home... I guess most of all it is the friends and also the familiarity that I miss most.

Here is what I have learned so far about living in the "country"

This road is a mile from our house

- If you open the door for a SECOND 10 flies will come in. I have become QUITE the expert in killing them with a wad of newspaper. So much so that Mikayla now says... "mommy will get that with a paper"

- If you sleep with the windows open... be prepared to be awaken by the smell of animal poo. The other night both Dhrumil and I woke up at 3am and said to each other "AHHHH WHAT IS THAT SMELL, IT IS DROWNING ME" we tried to cover our noses with the blankets and that wouldn't even help... not pleasant.

- You have to plan to leave a little early wherever you go least you get stuck behind a... buggy, horse and large wagon, tractor... any kind of farm machinery.

- It is beautiful seeing the scenery here every day... especially the Amish working in the fields or the hot air balloons drifting over our house.

- There is produce at the end of almost every farm's driveway for DIRT cheap... now I just need to carry cash around.

- Following a GPS on country roads is not fun... the turns come quick and I have turned around in many an Amish driveway... or maybe it's called horseway ;-)

That's all I have for now. We are adjusting as much as we can for having been here only 6 weeks. This past weekend we experienced seeing Thomas the Train and also the whoopie pie festival which is where we saw the world's largest whoopie pie... What is a whoopie pie you ask? Pieces of cake with icing in the middle which amish women made "popular" when they created these treats with leftover cake. These people are serious about their whoopie pies and the were leaving the festival with BAGS full of these things.
Excited to be on Thomas!
Mikayla and Dhrumil's favorite thing to do... puzzles!
There he is!
First encounter
And this is why I gained 6 pounds my first month in PA....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Baby Brother

It is hard to believe that there are only three and half months left before we meet our little man. We still do not have a name for him as Dhrumil and I can not yet agree. :) We have just been calling him baby brother since that is what we refer to him with Mikayla.

I think Mikayla is now used to the idea of there being a baby in mommy's tummy, though I know that she will not understand that magnitude of a new person coming to live with us until the day arrives. This morning Mikayla wanted me to get her ball that fell under the tv hutch... Dhrumil replied that mommy can't get it because of baby brother and she replied "take baby brother out" to which Dhrumil and I replied he can't come out until Christmas time.

My pregnancy is still going much smoother than the last though I am starting to feel very huge. So huge that I feel like my belly is leading me wherever I go. Since I have moved to Pennsylvania I have gained 6 pounds.... yes 6 POUNDS in 4 weeks. The tasty cakes, turkey hill ice cream, pretzels... well let's just say I do not want a huge baby if I can help it and ice cream has been replaced with cottage cheese and berries and the tasty cakes have been replace with celery and peanut butter. Blah.

My last appointment I had an ultrasound to follow up on everything with the rabies shot and I got to see him in 4d. Pretty incredible! He is quite the mover and my stomach is already making strange contortions.

At the moment I am measuring a week and a half ahead and the baby is a little over 2 pounds... in the 80%. I know that these things aren't completely accurate, so I guess we will just see. I am hoping that this birth will go as my first, but I know anything can happen. We just hired a doula and I am starting to realize I need to get moving on preparing my "nest"! I am also trying to prepare my mind once again with re-educating myself on natural birth. I feel like giving birth should be like jumping on a bicycle again, but I want to try to be as ready as possible.
26 Weeks and 2 days
We are so excited to meet baby brother. Now I just need to get moving on getting things that are not pink into our house!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Night Night Story

When Mikayla was nine months old she started going to day care a few hours a day. They had recommended to send along a stuffed animal of sorts that could act as her link to home and be a comfort to her. Up to that point she really hadn't attached herself to anything in particular. I decided to send along a pink bunny from my mom that was half stuffed animal and half blanket. 

Mikayla attached herself to this bunny rather quickly. Soon she had named it... unbeknownst to us. I can't remember how old she was, but I remember she said to me "night night" and I was so impressed that my daughter was asking to go to sleep! After I put her down, she wasn't really into it... I ended up realizing that she was asking for her bunny. And thus "Night Night" was born.

Night Night slept with Mikayla every night tightly clutched in her arms. If Mikayla was upset, she would hold Night Night and all would be ok. Night Night even accompanied her to her adenoid surgery. Such a sweet a special bond was formed between girl and pink bunny.

That is until Night Night was lost...

After Night Night had been SO many different places with us it was hard to fathom it was lost. 

Dhrumil and Mikayla went on a walk around our new neighborhood... something Mikayla loves to do now that she is free to walk alone because we have sidewalks. She always puts her favorite animals in her little stroller and likes to push them around. That day Dhrumil decided they would run for a portion... something I am still not sure how was accomplished... large man, little dog, two year old and doll stroller... all running down the sidewalk. Anyways they ran and Night Night fell out.

We didn't discover it was gone until bedtime... Dhrumil and I looked everywhere. Dhrumil even knocked on the doors of our new neighbors to ask if they had picked it up. But no Night Night to be found. I think I was even more sad than Mikayla... it was the end of her babyhood in my eyes... 

What to do that night!? How would she sleep? Well Dhrumil... having the mind that he has... spun a story. Night Night went to Never Land and would be back in a few days. It went there to get its "magic"... WHAT I said to him later... were you thinking? Why not to some pretty flower field in another country on vacation? Anyways Mikayla bought it and held onto a small pillow for the next few nights. Occasionally she would ask about Night Night and also when it was coming back from Never Land. 

Thank the LORD I found a Night Night replacement on Amazon and it came in the mail three days later. I have never seen such a happy girl when I brought Night Night to her before bed.

I was worried that she would see the pinkness was back and also the fluffiness... something the countless laundry cycles had erased long ago from "original" Night Night. Dhrumil and I both know how smart our little girl is and she said the following after I handed her Night Night...

"Night Night so FUZZY!"
"Night Night from mommy"
"Night Night different... two Night Nights"
"Night Night's face looks funny"
"Mimi SO happy Night Night is here"
And then she giggled uncontrollably... as IF she were saying... "aren't my parents cute, they think they are putting one past me, but they aren't, but I am just going to go along with it because this kinda looks like Night Night and they really tried so I don't want to hurt their feelings"

Maybe she wasn't really saying the last bit... but she knew something was up... though still insanely happy her best friend was back. Dhrumil spurted out... "Night Night got its magic from Never Land and that is what made it so pink and fuzzy!" Gotta love the guy... :)

I am just happy that my little girl is happy and that she still loves her little bunny... a small part of her babyhood is still clinging on!

Such a happy girl playing with her "new" Night Night

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A New Life

I chose this post title because on my last day of work someone said to me "enjoy your new life" I kind of chuckled at the thought, but when I stopped to think about it, realized that this really is a new life. New state, new "career", new house, new friends, new baby to come. It is kind of a lot and my time so far in Pennsylvania has been me dealing with all of this change... I knew I was about to step into everything, but it didn't hit me until I was here.

And so apart from the overwhelming feelings that come with massive changes, sometimes so overwhelming I feel a bit under water, I have had moments that have been very special. I have seen God in those times of feeling isolated, as if He is saying... "you are not alone!"

So begins my journey into a new life...

The morning the moving truck was delivering our furniture I took Willoughby for a walk. It was a gorgeous morning and it was silent. All of the sudden I heard the clip clop of horses and saw an Amish family drive by... there is something so peaceful about seeing this and I realized I was definitely NOT in Fairfield County anymore! My experience with the Amish so far has been passing multiple buggies daily, driving past their gorgeous farms to get anywhere (say Target), buying furniture from them and seeing horse poop all over the streets.

One other unique experience I had was last weekend when I went to a furniture shop in the middle of no where with my sister's mother in law. When purchasing our items we got to talking to the Amish lady who ran the shop with her husband... she had three beautiful children running around and looked younger than me. She shared with us the heart wrenching story about just losing her newborn the week before. She said seeing me pregnant was making her think about it... she was so gracious and lovely in the way she spoke of the whole experience, but I can not imagine. Having friends who have lost babies of their own I tried to convey my heartfelt sympathy for her... I can't get the image of her striking blue eyes filled with sadness as she told us the story.
man plowing his fields

Buggies all over!
Our plunge into homeownership has been a learning experience already. From trying to figure out how the garbage/recycling works here (seriously), to mowing the lawn and yard work, to finding a large crack in one of our windows, to the insane frustration of studs when trying to hang things... the list goes on. I know it is only the beginning, but I believe we have done a pretty good job so far. I just love those moments when Dhrumil looks at me with some house question and I look back at him with the same question and we just shrug our shoulders and say... guess we should google that. :) Here are a few pictures of one of the first rooms almost done. (side note... we had the whole house painted and picking colors WAS so nerve wracking for me since I couldn't look at it in the house, but everything turned out beautifully!)
This room used to be the dinning room, but I turned it into the living room 
Thanks to my parents for the "on loan" armoire for the tv
Stay at home mommy-hood thus far in PA has been challenging. Mikayla is also facing many changes and those changes have left her a bit irritable at times, though maybe it is called being a two year old. It hasn't helped that being pregnant has seemingly made me more impatient and many deep breaths have helped me get through an afternoon. Mikayla asks everyday when can we go back to our old house and everyday I have to explain that we live here now. It has also been difficult not knowing anyone, but hopefully that will change soon.

We have had some fun times together so far... taking drives to discover Target and Walmart, checking out the town library (it was ONE room) checking out another library (slightly bigger), baking together, decorating Mikayla's room together, going to the park, taking walks to see the cows (it's a 3 minute walk from our house) and also snuggling during thunderstorms (my favorite!)

She now asks me to take her picture so she can pose
Ready for breakfast

Enjoying lunch outside while watching the buggies drive by
A WONDERFUL part about living in PA now is that we are close to my sister and her husband! They lived in Ecuador the past two years and just moved back to the States this summer. They just moved into their own place a week ago and are only 30 minutes from us. It is fun seeing Mikayla re-develop her relationship with them. We are all looking forward to many special times to come with them. 
Enjoying a shoulder ride with Uncle Clinton
She loves her aunt and uncle!
And finally I will end this post with this picture... my parents have been visiting this week and we all decided to drive a few miles to Intercourse PA...