I've always liked the month of June ~ school is out, summer sun officially begins, wedding bells often ringing, the beautiful pearl birthstone, and now the arrival month of our daughter.
Her birthstone of the pearl seems especially fitting since I've been wearing my mother's pearl ring on my ring finger (due to swelling) since June and I've always treasured my Grandma Betty's pearls (even wore them on my wedding day). When googling pearls for the above image (click here for full article) I learned this about them: "Ancient civilizations had many stories to explain the origin of June's birthstone, such as the Greek belief that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that the goddess of love shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea."
While pregnant with Elyse I cried at least once a month. I do my fair share of crying but usually not this much. At first I just wrote off my little episodes due to hormones but towards the end of this pregnancy I realized something: crying is not such a bad thing. Crying is a healthy, natural release.
All I ever wanted while pregnant is to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. While pregnant with our first child I felt great for the most part other than a bit of sciatic nerve pain (which I learned how to cure thanks to a great physical therapist). No morning sickness, no major aches and pains until the very end, and a successful all-natural delivery. Really the hardest part of it all was the waiting. 11 months later...pregnant again! This time pregnancy started off a little rockier with migraines, blurry vision, and major hunger. We figured it was just because I'm a vegetarian and I was still nursing our toddler but even after he weened, I had a picky stomach, case of food poisoning, a UTI, and dental work to deal with. Whew! Come 7 months along I was getting pretty sore (baby weighing in at 9 lbs. explained a lot + toddler to chase around) but had a pretty quick all-natural labor of only 3 hrs. Wahoo!
SO, come our third child I thought I knew what to expect from the best to the worst and could don that been there, done that attitude. At first. Then I found things to worry about (so so so easy to do). Worries like gestational diabetes (I've never had this but this time around was convinced I did), spotting for pretty much the entire pregnancy, 24 hr flu (this was brutal since Tylenol does nothing for me), PSD (Pubis Symphasis Diastasis which thankfully only lasted a little over a week thanks again to my physical therapist), another fun UTI, contractions starting at 5 months!, colds galore (thanks to those kiddos!), and at 38 weeks along? A nasty stomach virus. But- our little pearl and I miraculously made it through to 39 weeks!
I'm not sure why I just went through summaries of all my pregnancies but I think it's because after having 3 children I feel I've come full circle. Each one has had its hard times but each one led up to joyous arrival of a child. As I look at Elyse, I see resemblance to our first born as a baby and oddly enough, we even had the same delivery nurse for Elyse as we did with him. As I've been parenting three, I'm finding myself at ease as I slip into a deeper degree of motherhood...one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. I've heard people compare mothering multiple little ones as a juggle (myself included) but I now think that that reference implies that the balls aren't ever suppose to hit the ground. When dancing, your mind and body have to flow as one to perform the required combination of quick and slow fluid movements. No rush. No urgency to prove anything to anyone, making it all okay when things drop, you just have to find a new rhythm.
Now back to Elyse. Our beautiful daughter who arrived last month....
At 38 weeks pregnant Bart, the boys, and I were all sick with a stomach virus. Yuck! The week before that boys had the croup (turns out, it's not so bad), and Bart and I colds. "Who gets sick in June?!" I kept saying but our dr.'s reminded me that whatever I had, the baby was getting all of my antibodies which would therefore help him/her fight it too. Anyway- close to 2 weeks of being sick wasn't fun and taking care of our sicky boys was really wearing on me. Two days before Elyse was born my mom called and could just hear it in my voice that I needed her. The next day she was there....she's quite the lady I tell ya! When she arrived, she told me she packed her bag just in case and asked if she should stay the night "Yes!" I cried.
That night at around 3 a.m. I woke up to pains in my stomach.
I tried and tried to go back to sleep but I was pretty uncomfortable. I finally got up and walked around downstairs, got a little something to eat, but after another hour I was still in pain so I decided I needed to wake up Bart. He came downstairs, poured me some apple juice and about a half hour later I was feeling better and told him "I think I'm finally over that stomach virus....now I just want to relax."
Then (now 5:00 a.m.) my contractions started.
"Are we having a baby today?!" Bart asked excitedly. "I don't know yet but I think you should start timing these." I replied. So he timed them for a good 20 minutes....they were 6 minutes apart. I looked at the clock and told him I'd like to leave for the hospital by 6:00 a.m. He waited until I finished up with another contraction then began getting everything ready while I went upstairs to wake up my mom.
I remember the startled look on her face, then her asking me if I needed to lie down. "Nope, I'm ready!" I said, because really I was. As much as I had been wanting to feel completely better from being sick, today felt like a great day. Plus my mom was already here and the boys were still sleeping = sneak out success!
While driving to the hospital I remember looking at the clock again....6:18. Now contractions were getting closer, like 3 min. apart. I started to worry....Grant came in 3 hrs...what if we don't make it there in time? (this is funny because we only live like 15 minutes away). I then made some snappy comment to Bart about how I wanted to leave right at 6:00 (gotta love a laboring mama) and now we were going to be pushing it (literally). He responded in his normal cool, calm, and collected Bart way ~ "Everything's going to be just fine, we're almost there."
We pulled in to the hospital and the parking lot was pretty much empty. We therefore had the perfect parking spot and got everything unloaded pretty fast. After one stop on the elevator, we were there and when the nurse greeted us she even offered us a couple rooms to pick from. We chose a nice big one with a great view of the mountains. I like how all of our rooms have been on the same side of the hospital for all of our births.
After we had our room I was hoping to be left alone, but the questions continued along with more introductions to staff members. Bart let them all know the way we like things to go while I changed in the bathroom and a few minutes later I was given a heplock (start of an IV but not actually connected to anything). I had one done with Benjamin but not with Grant which was fine by me since I'm not really a fan of needles. But during this pregnancy, I talked to my dr about it she really recommended that I do one this time since there's a higher likelihood for hemorrhaging for each subsequent pregnancy. The thing I forgot about is how I since I opt for a natural delivery, I therefore use my hands whether it be to squeeze Bart's hand or some kind of railing, so I end up with
my contractions had stopped.
I took one look at Bart who was now studying the timer on this phone a bit too intently and told him we were going to walk the halls (what I read to do if something like this ever happened). We did and it was nice because again, no one was there. After about 10 min. I had a contraction about the same intensity as the ones before so we headed back to the room where they continued. We hung out there for about a hour but my contractions weren't intensifying like I expected them to. I tried relaxing on our birthing ball, rocking in the chair, and walking around the room until I looked up at Bart and said "Maybe we should just go home." After all, we were 5 days before our due date and in the past all of our babies have come past their due dates. "We can, that's no problem." he said. Just then a strong wave of a contraction hit me and I gripped his forearms for balance. "Nope, we're staying here!" I declared.
To pass the time we played the card game 21, snacked on ice chips, grape Powerade over ice, wheat thins, and granola bars. Jack Johnson played in the background and my husband was there for me every second with massage when needed. We decided after 2 hrs it was a good time to get checked again. I really like how this nurse was allowing us to do our own thing and let us tell her when we were ready to get checked. They also didn't need to do any monitoring on me and I was even able to stand when she took the baby's heart rate. Basically I'm fine in labor until I have to lie down on that bed....that's when I make sure things happen as quickly as possible!
So, after I was checked this time I decided I wanted to go for a walk again. This walk was pretty quick because I again got a really intense contraction. I could feel my body entering stage 2 of labor and wanted to be back in our room but once we there I felt like we were just there, so I paced until I found a good spot behind the chair to lean over on and sway my hips. Sometimes all you need is a new focal point! We talked again about baby names (always good to confirm top picks) and were so in tune with one another that we were able to answer each other's questions before they were even said out loud.
A little after 10:00 a.m. the nurse said our dr. (the same one who's delivered our other two) would be ready to deliver for us, just to give her a 15 minutes heads up. I knew I wasn't ready for her yet but could be in about an hour. It really helps me to think backwards and not know where I am in the whole dialation process, just in touch with how my body feels. I remember the hour from 10 to 11:00 a.m. is when things got pretty intense....time to pull out the hand held fan! Honestly, if I could give one of these Brookstone Cool It Fans to every pregnant woman, I would! Basically you just need one that let's you control the power intensity. I decided the feature of how it lets you control the air flow intensity is really, really important because when those contractions intensify your body becomes like this machine and having control over another machine that you can direct in your face with that constant, strong blowing motor sound and chill of cold air can really, and I mean really help you work through it.
By 11:00 a.m. I knew stage 3 was near. I told Bart to tell the nurse to call the dr. Then I cried. Good tears though....they were "hardened tears of joy." I saw a vision of my Grandma Marie and thought about how I always wanted to meet her (she passed away when I was very young) and how I couldn't wait to meet our little girl.
That's right. At that moment I knew we were going to have a girl.
All throughout this pregnancy I was ready for either a boy or a girl ~ if another boy, I pictured our family like the ones on the t.v. shows Home Improvement or My 3 Sons. If a girl, well, then I'd have some major shopping sprees ahead. ;) My doctor and I had been suspecting it was a girl since I had been measuring smaller since about week 36, her heart rate was slightly slower, and I was carrying this one higher (all old wives tales we know!), but now I could just feel it.
By about 11:20 our doctor was there and she was all smiles. We chatted for a bit about what great timing this was (she was about to leave on a week long vacation) and how I just started feeling better- today! She then left to get suited up and before I knew it all the real stuff (you know, the rolly table, baby bed, baby scale, etc.) started to get wheeled in. I was now in the bathroom (I liked how it was cool and dark in there) and was really feeling ready to push so at about 11:45 I came out, she checked me and asked if I wanted my water to be broken, I said "YES!" and 15 minutes later, just like a pearl wondrously presents itself out of an oyster - a beautiful little girl was there lying on my tummy. I was truly speechless. All I could think to say was "Thank You" but all I could do was mouth the words because I was so exhausted and happy.
This labor was harder than I expected it to be (they say each labor is suppose to be easier!), but like all of my children I know we worked on it together. There is also something so sweet about going through it all with my husband right there by my side. We just shared the other day how complete we feel as a family right now and how much we like having our little troop of kids all close together in age. :)
I always said if we had a girl I would do everything I could to raise her as a strong, capable, sophisticated, and intelligent young lady. I believe we as women are given such a honor to be able to bring children into this world and nurture them with our one-of-a-kind motherly love. No one said it was easy, but motherhood does hold rewards beyond compare.....and when the going gets tough I'll tell her to remember what my Godmother once told me: "You come from tough stuff." And that she does with her namesake of Elyse Marie coming from her Great, Great, Great Grandma Elise and her Great Grandma Marie's on both mine and Bart's side.
So overall I'd say our family of 5 is doing really well. Baby and I are eating and sleeping a lot and the boys are beyond adorable with her. Just the other day while I was putting her in one of numerous cute little outfits, Benjamin ran downstairs and came back up with a pair of a socks that matched her outfit perfectly. "Here, I think these will look beautiful on her." I melted. He often comments that she's the cutest baby in the entire world and Grant's cute little voice has the sweetest tone to it whenever he talks or sings to her. They both eagerly ask to hold her all the time and after I get everyone all set up, I just stare at our three beautiful children and smile.
Welcome Elyse Marie to this wonderful world. We are thrilled that you are here and feel so blessed to have you as a part of our family!