Norah at One Month

Dear Norah,

You are one month old today and as Jonah would say "I can hardly believe it!" You were my tag along to the doctor a couple days ago and I remember sitting in the same office about a year ago talking with the doctor about what the next step would be in the journey to making you possible. I was trying hard to be optimistic but it wasn't easy. So sitting there holding you in my arms this time made me want to cry.

Wearing your "because mommy was pretty sure you were gonna be a girl" outfit. 

I may have to blame hormones but I also had to hold back tears when Lucy came up to me a few days ago, rubbed your head and said "Remember before Norah was even in your uterus how I prayed and prayed for her to come. Aren't you glad I prayed?" Yes! I am very glad your sister prayed for you and she wasn't the only one. We just all knew you were missing from our family.

And now that you are here, we all just adore you. Jonah and Lucy love to show you your black and white animal cards and now, as they have recently informed me, they know to wait for a time when your eyes are open all the way and not opening and closing a lot because you like it better that way. Jonah will hold them up over his face and make the right animal sound. It cracks me up and you really do seem to enjoy it too.

 They also love to help me out by talking to you if I have to put you down or by bring me wipes or telling me if you cry when I'm taking a shower. But they both love you so much. And they even have songs they like to sing you.

Jonah's is his own unique version of Skidamarink which goes something like:

Skidamarink a-dink, a a dink, a dink, a-dink, Skaramink a-doo. I wuff you!
I wuff you in the morning and after nap
I wuff you in the morning and underneath the moon!

Lucy's song is one I made up the first verse too and then she expanded:

Norah Jane, Norah Jane
We love you in the sunshine, we love you in the rain

Norah Jane, Norah Jane,
We love you in the car and we love you on a train

Norah Jane, Norah Jane,
We love you in St. Louis and they love you in Maine 
(I tried to suggest Missouri instead of St Louis but that was soundly rejected)

Norah Jane, Norah Jane
They love you in France and they love you in Spain.

They also "fight" over whose name is closet to yours. Jonah's shares three letters and his name and your middle name both start with J. But Lucy's middle name is almost the same as your first. They both think they win.

But how could they not love you, you are so sweet. And mellow. You just go with the flow. Kids screaming and running around doesn't faze you a bit. I'll cringe when you are sleeping and Jonah and Lucy decide to do something like, bang wooden blocks on various items around the house in what Lucy declared to be a "sound experiment," but you just keep sleeping. You've started to wake up a lot more these past few days and like to lay next to them while they play but you still seem to love sleep more than I'm used a baby (hope that sticks around!) and you've starting to get into a rhythm.

Sadly, this last week it seems like you have started to prefer napping in the swing or one your own, either laying in bed or on your sheepskin in the middle of the chaos in the living room. I'm not really used to this solo sleeping thing. And you love to eat and are a great nurser but unlike your siblings, you don't really seem to care much for comfort nursing, at least for now. So when you do fall asleep on me, like this morning, of course I have to let you so I can soak up my numbered tusb (trapped under a sleeping baby) days. I'm wondering if that will change with time or if you will always be miss independent. You do like to snuggle in the evenings though which makes me happy. And at night sometimes you'll start to stir next to me but I just hold out a finger for you to grab and you settle back down. So you're not quite ready for college yet, I guess. Which is good, you have to stay teeny-tiny forever.

I love seeing how you compare to your brother and sister. Most of the time I think you look more like Lucy but every once in a while, you'll make a more Jonah expression. But you also have this funny pouty expression that is unique to you. It's gonna be fun seeing how you change as you get bigger.

Looking a bit like Jonah

You've only had one bath but you really liked it (so perhaps I should do it again :-). You also like tummy time and just lying down in the quiet of naptime and looking around. But you don't like being swaddled unless you are totally overstimulated, but even then, I had better take it off you once you fall asleep because if you wake up swaddled, you let me know you aren't happy about it. It's one of the few times you cry.

Exactly what are you planning on doing here, mom?

Fresh and clean. That wasn't so bad. 

You are really loud, even for a newborn. I overheard Lucy and Jonah playing baby dolls a few days ago and Lucy (as the baby) was making all these grunting noises Jonah asked her if her baby was okay and she told him "Yes, but sometimes babies make loud noises even when they are sleeping"...I think she learned that from you! She's also asked me if it is a rule that you have to kiss a baby when you pick them up. Well, if it isn't, it should be.

And Jonah now wears green baby in his sling quite a bit and if he "starts to cry" he'll start patting him on the bottom. I love how much Lucy and Jonah are learning from you. In fact, even being number #3, I'm still learning stuff by being your mom. And loving it all.



Little Norah Jane just turned 4 weeks yesterday and very slowly we are starting to emerge from our baby moon period. I had planned to really cocoon ourselves away and my midwife was encouraged me to be even more strict that I had planned. For the first week, I literally only got out of bed to go to the bathroom or walk to the couch to sit there for a little while and get a change of scenery. And it was really really nice. The second week I walked around a bit more but I only left the house one time, to see a tongue tie specialist with Norah. (She has a lip tie and posterior tongue tie but as she and i are both doing well with nursing, we'll just be watching it for now) The midwife (and a CST adjustment) were all home visits and we had a few visitors bring meals and chat for a minute but mostly it was just the baby and I hanging out. Craig took over everything plus had lots of fun adventures planned for the big kids. They went to library story time, the magic house kids museum, the playground and even the symphony! I really think this helped our adjustment because I feel great and last week when we went to church, our first big social outting, I was really happy to be there and not just grinning through it while secretly wishing I was at home in bed.

I also probably feel good physically because my thyroids seem to have responded well to my not being pregnant too. And while I know I haven't felt good these past 2-3 years because of thyroid and hormone issues associated with my Hashimotos, I don't think I realized how bad I had been feeling until about 3 days after Norah was born, when I woke up feeling amazing. My two doctors suspected I'd feel better either during the pregnancy (did not happen!) or after and they were right. So while I certainly don't recommend feeling crappy for years so your postpartum period is nice in comparison, it is a nice benefit.

The kids are doing well adjusting too. We've had a few instances of feeling left out or a tad jealous but luckily Norah loves to sleep so far and I've been able to carve out enough one on one time to compensate. And we're starting to get back into our routine which Lucy really enjoys. It's been quite interesting to see exactly what fills up the "love tanks" of both kids. Apparently, Jonah needs snuggling and Lucy needs math. Hers would have been harder to guess but she's very self aware and finally just told me she didn't feel loved because we hadn't done math! Okay, lets do math today, problem solved! Okay, eboughbbad math puns.

My hand is getting better but not back to normal which is okay because our computer is also broken. I'm actually writing this on my phone* which is ridiculous but blogging is my processing so while I'm glad to have one less distraction, I still need to write sometimes. Hopefully i'll have a new computer soon as well as a healed hand/arm but somehow or another, I'm sure I'll be around.

*This should explain the lack of pictures. My new baby is, in fact, quite adorable and I'd love to show you if it wasn't such a pain right now.


2 weeks in...

and we are all doing well. The two to three transition has gone much smoother than I anticipated - at least so far. I'd love to tell you about it but alas, see that brace on my wrist?

Apparently, mommy thumb has struck! So I'm typing this by hunt and peck. Not fun - or fast. But I'm on the mend and hope to be able to type again before too long. Until then, enjoy some baby cuteness.


Welcome Norah! - A Birth Story

Men's version: Baby Norah arrived yesterday morning. Mom and baby are doing well. Everyone thinks she's the cutest thing they ever saw. The end.

Women's version: Baby Norah arrived yesterday morning. All along my guess was for her to be born between the 10th and the 15th but the three days of the 10th and beyond were so hard for me mentally. I had things planned for the 13th and 14th just in case but I went to bed on the 12th thinking this might be it. Then I woke up at around 4:30 and said to myself "you are in labor" except I hadn't had a contraction or anything to tell me that (unless one woke me up without my realizing that was what did it). It seemed weird to wake Craig up based on instinct. So I waited. And a few minutes later I had one, not horrible but much stronger than the previous weeks. I still felt weird waking him up so I waited about 10 minutes and once I had a second, I woke him up. Then I wandered aimlessly around the house not knowing what to do but really anxious to do it. After a third, he called our midwife to tell her I thought I was in labor but they weren't as intense or close together as I normally start with so I was unsure. I really have no idea what she told him, I never asked. But after that, they started coming more quickly so a little while later, he called her back and I guess she started on her way then.

I always see these different laboring positions like standing or leaning over a counter but for me, I've got one option. Laying down one my side, breathing through them. If I'm ever in a different position when one starts for some reason, its agony. That's been the case all three times. But this labor was also different in that I needed Craig a lot more. I really wanted him around for Lucy's birth but I didn't want him talking or touching me during a contraction. And he was obviously very important in Jonah's delivery but not as much as a support for me as for a baby catcher. But this time I needed him to be rubbing my back or touching me so I knew he was there. The few times he had to step away I really wanted him back. It's funny to me what things stay the same and what things change each time. Another thing that doesn't change is how protective the cat seems to be of me. She stayed right there even when all the midwives were first coming in and getting things ready. Even now, she's at the foot of the bed. Our little guard cat.

So by the time the midwives (I had two midwives and a student midwife here this time) started arriving I think they were 5-7 minutes apart but not very consistent. They would ask me how I was and I could do was complain about waiting in between the contractions and I think they tried not to laugh because, waiting between contractions is pretty normal, just not what I was used to. But I just wanted to move on to the pushing part and felt like it was taking forever - in reality, it really wasn't.

Lucy woke up around 6am I think but didn't want to leave so she stayed in bed talking to herself for a while. Once Jonah was up, Craig fed them and tried to hustle them out the door to Neighbor J's. I didn't mind them being around at first but as things got more intense, I needed them to be gone. Jonah was still half asleep, cranky and overwhelmed so I actually got out of bed to help Craig put clothes on him. I'm not sure if that was the best idea but I knew that they were slowing me down and I wanted to get things moving. Once they were gone, the midwives were all here and done prepping so they just hung out the in living room quietly while Craig helped me, only checking on me and baby every once in a while but there if I needed them. That's what I seem to like. And the calm and quiet helped me a lot, things got more intense but I felt like I was handling it okay as long as I didn't think about timing. They must have come in around 8am because I promised myself I wouldn't ask the time but I did then.

I had tried to prepare myself for a longer birth the past month or so because I didn't want to get discouraged and even thought it had only been 3.5 hours, this was the first time I had gone so long in labor before transitioning. I didn't have too many classic transition symptoms but I did start shaking a little while after that and I remember telling myself I'd probably have a baby by 9am.

I was still wondering when transition would start when all of a sudden the midwives came in and starting getting things ready for me to push. Honestly, I was a bit confused. Was I that far along? Then I realized, yes I was. The contractions had spaced out considerably. But again, I didn't feel the urge to push yet. I absolutely hated pushing without the urge with Lucy. I just felt lost and started to panic. We waited a bit, she checked me (the first time in the entire pregnancy) and said I didn't have a lip so whenever I wanted to, or didn't want to, they'd just wait on me. I pushed a bit then tried waiting I couldn't find a comfortable position and I wanted to be done but frankly, pushing hurt so that seemed like a bad idea too. Eventually, I had to have a little pep talk with myself. No really. I just told myself the only way out was through so I started pushing. After 2-3 pushes, I could really feel the baby descend and the instinct took over.

My one prayer with Jonah's birth is that I would feel the urge to push - and that certainly happened. My one prayer this time was that I wouldn't tear so I really wanted to try and breathe and relax through the end instead of just getting it over with and paying the price for it with stitches. And the midwives really helped me do that this time but it still wasn't too long before the water broke (first time on it's own, the first two needed breaking by midwife/Craig) and the head was out. At this point I thought I was almost done but I guess she had a bit of a sticky shoulder so all of a sudden I had some help and was moved about but they got the rest of her out too at 8:53 am. I had said before 9am and I guess I meant before 9am! So while it was my longest first stage labor, 4.5 hrs total is still pretty fast I guess.

I was on my hands and knees and they didn't immediately hand her up but after 30 seconds to a minute (timing is hard) they told me she was fine but just need a bit of help clearing out some fluid. Once I got her she was starting to pink up but still a bit raspy so she hung out on me with some oxygen for a bit while I bragged about how I was now three for three with knowing/guessing the gender. Eventually she nursed and I cut the cord. Yep, me! Craig never wants to and I hadn't thought about it but they offered and I thought, well, why not? Since they wanted to hang out with her a bit longer than normal I think, we just took our time getting things cleaned up and everyone checked. They first checked me and not only no stitches but no tears at all. I can already tell that recovery is going to be a lot easier this time around. And Craig's big prayer was that he wouldn't have to do it alone this time so we both got our prayers answered! By 11 am, we finally got around to measuring her - 8lbs, 7 ounces. Our biggest baby by 7 ounces! I was totally surprised by that.

Eventually everyone left and Craig brought the kids down to meet her. Lucy's first reaction was "she's so much littler than I expected!" and Jonah just started a bit confused then told me her name was Norah because Daddy told him before running off to play. He's having a bit of a rough time adjusting to daddy over mommy although he knows the rule is "Miss Alison said momma has to stay in bed" and following it but that doesn't mean he has to like it.

But by the end of the day, he was smitten too. He likes to touch her head with one finger or kiss her cheeks. And keeps saying "I'm the middle now! I'm the middle!" (in an excited way!). Lucy loves everything about having a sister. Norah was hardly awake in their presence yesterday (just all night when I was ready to sleep :-) but this morning they got so excited that they could see her eyes! And she kept turning her head towards them while they were playing and they starting shouting "it's because she recognized our voices, she knows us!" But she doesn't seem all phased by their loudness or Jonah's tantrums. For now, she just sleeps right through them even if they are only a few feet away. All in all, I think she's gonna fit in just fine around here.


A Mother's Daybook - October 12th

This is pretty much gonna be the still here, still pregnant edition of my mother's daybook but I will try and keep it from being a list of complaints.

Reading - Nothing. Well, technically I started Far from the Madding Crowd last week after I'd finished all my other reads and my poor goodreads currently reading pile was starting at me, all empty and sad. It's probably a fourth of the way into it and its good so far but I just can not read right now. I'm way to antsy.

Feeling - Antsy. I've always had lots of "Braxton Hicks" or pre-real-labor contractions and this time is no exception but what is new is the weird anxious, not really nesting but more walking aimlessly around the house feeling I've got. Not a fan. I think a good deal of it is being stuck in the house just sitting around waiting for the baby. That's not really the best way to handle the 39th/40th week but everyone had been sick so it's really the only choice. Lucy was feeling better and Jonah wasn't quite sick yet (but I could tell it was coming) so on Saturday we took a short hike and just let him ride in the stroller. Getting out of the house felt really good. The kids and I had to skip church yesterday because by then he was feverish and really sick but I was busy tending to his needs and distracted so that wasn't bad either (emotionally at least, having him repeated cough or sneeze on me wasn't the best). His fever broke last night and we all finally got some sleep but we're not quite up to getting out of the house so we canceled our pumpkin picking plans and its another sit around and wait day. Boo.

I'm also feeling annoyed. And annoyed by my annoyance. I do fine during the day but by the evening I'm so tired and antsy and contracting a fair amount (yes, every night I have contractions!) and can't really stand to be around anyone. Craig is great about handling most of the stuff from dinner to bedtime and I can normally come out of hibernating in my room to read them bedtime stories and tuck them in but anything more than that it too much. I can't stand the noise, I can't stand the touching and pushing on me. And I hate it. I really want to enjoy these last few evenings with my two bigger ones and use this time wisely but I can't. I do have nice mornings with them though and am trying to soak that all up.

Watching - Apparently I'm too antsy to even watch k-dramas right now so I've been alternating between  two other more "reality" type shows. The first is The Great British Baking Show which is now on Netflix. (H/T to Karen, thanks for the recommendation!) Although I am annoyed that they call it season one when its not and have changed the original British name of The Great British Bake-Off. Are we Americans too stupid to understand what that means? Why change the name? I've only got a few episodes of season one left on Netflix but I think I can watch season two on pbs.com. I'm really enjoying it. It's fast paced and fun and I love watching them cook all sorts of things I've never heard of. It does tend to make one hungry though.

The other show is Fixer Upper. I used to love HGTV back in high school but we don't have cable now and even when we can watch, like when I visit my dad, most of the shows are overly dramatic and have such ridiculous budgets that it has lost its appeal. But I'm really liking this one. I love fixer uppers to start with and seeing the potential in older homes. The married couple that stars in it is really cute and I appreciate seeing them work with budgets of $100,000 and $150,000 for a family of 4-5 with realistic expectations and doing really awesome stuff with that. Much more impressive than seeing someone take $500,000 and make a nice home for a retired couple. And it doesn't make me hungry - but being Waco based, it does kinda make me miss Texas. Can't have everything I guess.

Eating/Drinking - All the elderberries! Chugging down this elderberry syrup to hopefully ward off or lessen the effects of the cold the kids have been trying their best to share with me. I had a bit of tickle in my throat yesterday and I'm slightly snuffly today but nothing too bad - so far. Lucy's version was very mild, I kept her home to save others but she was full of energy and playing, just whinier than usual so if I do get sick, I hope I get sick like she did. Jonah got hit much harder and as much as it pains me to say it, I'd like baby to hold on at least another day or two so we can have a bit more separation between fevers and birth giving.

Enjoying - The kids pretend play. I'm not sure if its coincidental or because I've been less active in playing with them but they are playing some really fun involved pretend games together. They have their fair share of arguments but overall, it goes well (thanks mostly to Jonah's willingness to go with the flow). I just love watching them play the same game for hours over a day and then picking it up again the next day or talking to each other at meal or bed times about what they should do later and how they will change it.

Also, coloring. I printed some free adult coloring sheets I found on pinterest for the kids and I. They don't normally do much color book type coloring (as opposed to drawing, which they do a lot) except for when Jonah colors while Lucy is in her dance class every Wednesday but we all had fun. Lucy really enjoyed the challenge of the more intricate designs and both kids worked on it over multiple days for quite a while at a time. I thought it was quite relaxing as well so I think its something we'll try again.

Planning and Preparing - To not be pregnant! Okay, there isn't much preparing left to be done but I do plan on at some point in the near future being done with this pregnancy. I'm hoping I can tell you all about it in the next post!