Thursday, February 26, 2015

Julia {One Month}

How has a month already passed?  I can feel time slipping through my fingers with this baby.  It's been a blissful month as a family of five.  Julia fits right in and it's hard to imagine life without her presence.  With each child we've discovered a new completeness.  

The big brother and sister are still so smitten with her and Bennett loves to tell people about his new baby sister.  Doesn't matter if you've already met her, he's eager to show her off.  Just yesterday Lakin and Ben were displaying Julia to a Target employee while I searched for wood polish.   It usually involves Bennett cornering a stranger, while they try to decipher what he's saying, ("new baya seester, Joo-ya") Lakin swoops in with an explanation, "He's trying to tell you we have a baby sister.  Her name is Julia."  Then Bennett dramatically flips her carseat blanket up and points with great emphasis at his sleeping sis.  Julia girl, you are your brother's greatest treasure.  Your sister is quite fond of you too.

Julia is a good little baby.  Starting to fall into a predictable routine.  Wakes twice each night to eat and then back to sleep.  You could set your watch to her eating schedule.  Every 3 hours she's ready for her next meal.  She is not a fan of being cold (sorry about the climate here, babe) and cries when she takes a bath, has to change clothes or is being tortured by a cold wet wipe.  Otherwise, she's mostly content and easily consoled when picked up and snuggled.  She's still in Newborn clothes and diapers, but not for much longer.  Tear.

The chaos of our house is her norm but there are times where brother and sister are too much for this little one and she squawks for me to pick her up and get her out of their clutches.  She never does tummy time alone, there are two eager friends laying by her side on the play mat.  I'm alerted by two concerned citizens each time she cries and I am not in the room.  She's very protected, very loved and probably ready for a little SPACE.  I understand the predicament since it's been about 4.5 years since I've peed in peace.

We love her more and more each day.  Jules Bear, you are such a sweet addition to our lives.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Around Here, Lately

Crazy to think that Julia's been here a little over a week.  We've adjusted quickly and are thriving as a family of five.  I've been snapping phone photos like the momarrazi and have exercised self-control to not bombard people's Instagram feeds with my plethora of baby sleeping photos.  I mean, some people can only stomach so much of that before they decide to peace out.

So without further adieu, our week in photos.

 Julia takes a relaxing nap in her "nursery" while her greatest admirers look on and drive cars all over her little head.
 Lots of snuggles and naps for mom and J.
 Oh look, she's sleeping.
 Playing dinos with Bennett.  Julia is loving it.  Clearly.

 Lakin sings sweet nothings to Julia.
 A little snow slide at the end of the driveway gets some of the extra wiggles out for the big kids.

 Lakin's class valentines.  We're STILL writing her name on all of them.  Because name writing is exhausting... for everyone involved.
 Lakin and Ben received a special cookie treat from a friend who delivered a meal.
 And for me, a tiny piece of Heaven.  It was a multi-layer chocolate cake inside.  I ate it ALL.
 A couple sneak peeks from Julia's newborn session by Midwest LifeShots Photography.

 Below is my view almost every time I sit down to feed Julia.  Wrestling that always starts with giggles and typically ends in tears.

 Julia rocking her new onesie from one of Chris' co-workers.

 Lake and Ben giving a big cheesy grin.
 Julia's happy place.
 Donuts from Cathy Saturday morning.
 Amanda came in town to meet Julia.  She brought some hair accessories.
 Cathy juggles all the Jaeger children.

 Chris and I spent the weekend rearranging the house, cleaning windows since it was a balmy 30 degrees and packing up excess.  We're hitting the housing market March 1st.
 Lakin claims that she looks six years old in the photo.
 The best little view as I exit the shower.
Lakin finds a way to wear Julia's newborn vest.  Many years of sharing clothes are ahead of these girls.

There you have it.  A week in review.  Lots of love and a slightly slower pace.  Thanks for tuning in.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Julia Kate Jaeger and Her Fast and Furious Entry into the World

A day after I shared that I was just waiting on baby, she decided it was time to arrive.  Thursday, January 29th, 2015, we welcomed Julia Kate Jaeger into the world at 4:47AM.  Girl was in a hurry.

The night before she arrived Chris and I ate dinner and watched the final episode of Hard Time on Netflix and I had a sense that we might meet our girl soon.  I had felt uncomfortable but not terribly painful contractions the whole time we were seated on the couch watching the finale of our prison documentary that had been consuming our evening viewing for the last two weeks.  

I was up a few times that night with a contraction but nothing was regular and thankfully they were not all that painful.  At 2:40 am I woke up with some cramping and went to the rest room to discover that my water had broke.  I decided I needed to get into the shower and get Chris up and packing since my water breaking has always been the catalyst for serious labor in the past.

Chris called Cathy and she graciously arrived at our house by 3 am.  We packed a lunch and school bag for Lakin, set out the kids overnight bag and got their carseats moved over to Cathy's vehicle and made our way to the hospital.  Still feeling good, we even parked in the employee lot and walked the three blocks to the hospital.

By the time we checked into triage my contractions were probably two minutes apart and I was starting to feel seriously uncomfortable.  The desk secretary had trouble finding me in the system and after multiple attempts was able to secure my medical records and get us checked in.  In my head I was praying that we could move it along so that I could be admitted and start the epidural process.  My body does not mess around once labor begins and I did not want to miss this valuable window of opportunity.  

I got situated in triage and my midwife came to check our progress.  I was contracting every minute and just barely able to talk through the pain.  I knew we were losing daylight on the epidural.  I was 6 cm, fully effaced and in stage zero - meaning baby was in the gate and we simply needed to dilate 4 more centimeters before the urge to push would hit.  Cue a tiny bit of panic in my mind but I remained optimistic and hopeful about that coveted epidural.

This was my ticket into a delivery room and anesthesia was called to come and make all my birthing dreams come true.  My anesthesiologist was quick to arrive and began prepping me for the epidural.  There were a series of questions I needed to answer to make sure I was a good candidate for the epidural and I had to basically agree that if it killed me, I understood it would be my own fault.... I would have told that man whatever he wanted to hear to get some pain relief so I nodded my head in agreement and gave the wave to move it along.  My IV was placed, my back marked and the spot prepped where my needle would be placed.

As I sat on the edge of the bed and waited out a difficult contraction the urge to push hit like a ton of bricks.  There was no way I was going to get this epidural, this babe was coming and she was waiting for no one.  I told the team I needed to push, they rushed me into position, asking me to hold any pushing until the team was in place and I was in a good position for delivery.  I was pretty panicked and it was a tense moment as staff worked to deliver our baby.  After four pushes, Julia emerged and we heard the sweet cries of life as I laid back in relief that this insane moment was done and our baby girl was born.

Julia was laid on my chest and Chris and I were lost in the moment as we met this little one we've loved for so long and had never met.  Birth is a lot of things... but it is easily the most beautiful thing I have the privilege to experience.

I laughed through tears and told Chris that our dreams of eating one of Jason's omelets from the hospital cafeteria could be a reality since it was just shy of 5 am and breakfast would be served in the next couple of hours.  We began to alert family and friends that our baby had arrived and spent the next couple hours soaking up our third child and magic of her arrival.

I think these kids and their quick deliveries might kill me.  But I do have to give them credit.  All three have been thoughtful enough to arrive at a time when Chris is home and able to be with me each moment of labor.  While I obviously prefer the benefit of modern medicine and any comfort it might offer me, I'm terribly thankful that the process is quick.  I would change nothing.  I am so thankful that she was born in a hospital, with Chris as a witness and while Lakin and Bennett were in the loving care of someone who could help them process and savor the sweet reality of meeting their sibling.  Miss Cathy, we are so thankful for you!

Due to the speedy arrival, there's not a single picture from Julia's birth - not that you would have really wanted too much documentation of me freaking out and probably the irritated eye roll of the anesthesia resident who was urgently called to the room,  took time to prep me and then sent out as quickly as he came because there wasn't enough time to do his job.  About that, sorry.

But we had lots of visitors all day Thursday and I do have some documentation of all the love our sweet girl was offered as our friends came to meet her in the hospital.

 Brynn and Lindy were our first visitors of the morning.  Brynn told Julia, "happy birthday," in the sweetest little voice.

Molly came over on her lunch break and again at the end of her work day.  She promised to come over regularly and hold the baby as soon as we were home.

Chris and Julia spent lots of quality time snuggling.  Thanks to Chris' amazing department and fellow residents, he was able to be completely present for the two days we were in the hospital.  Our Rochester friends generously covered his patients, cases and all the details of the days so he could just enjoy his newest daughter.

After Lakin finished preschool Cathy brought the kids by to meet their sister.  They were so proud, beaming as they entered the room and made a beeline for Julia's bassinet.  Lakin was literally speechless as she met her sister for the first time and has been so good to snuggle, kiss, and provide for her baby sister.  These two already have such a special bond.

Bennett also has embraced our newest arrival and there seems to be no jealousy or resentment.  He is very somewhat gentle with her and obsessed with making sure she has a lovey with her at all times.  He kept saying, "the baby is cute."  He calls her "Jeu-a. " His excitement and lack of control over his own body is Julia's greatest physical threat right now.

Cathy is such a treasure to our family.  She's known each of our babies since the beginning.  She understands the unique breed of children we make and loves us and them anyway.  :)  She will always hold such a significant place in the lives of our kids and our family.  Not sure what we would have done without her and the Shupert family.

Bennett was like a bull in a china shop in the tiny hospital room.  He snacked on Oreos and got chocolate drool on any surface not covered.  He climbed my bed, touched every tool attached to the wall and ran laps around the room.  He was very excited to be there!

 Casey and Isaac came and gave Julia some love.  They happened to be there at the same time as the kids and I have to give Isaac major props for sitting so sweet and quiet, watching the insanity unfold as Julia's siblings moved about the room.

Party of five.

Bennett held Julia and was pretty good up until the hand off.  We have to watch these kids and their well-intentioned touches.  I think I have used the word, "gentle," about a million times in the last 48 hours.

Sara and Isla brought me a Chipotle bowl for dinner.  She knows my heart so well.  Won't be long and I'll be bringing my circus to her hospital room to welcome baby Rivera since her due date is one week after mine.

Erica came by and brought us her famous chocolate chip cookies.  This dear friend has been such a gift.

Lakin and Bennett brought us some flowers (thanks Cathy).

 Here's Julia a few hours after her birth.  Such sweet peace she will never know again once she makes her way home.  The hospital is so quiet.  So, so quiet.

Chris and I used our time in the hospital to savor our baby and knock a few things off our to do list.  We never have this much uninterrupted time together.  I watched as much Bravo TV as my brain could handle.  Somethings never change, Real Housewives of Atlanta.

We left the hospital Friday at noon.  Our transition home has been pretty flawless.  I have forgotten all the time it takes to nurse a baby and I have answered more questions than I ever imagined about lactation from two inquiring minds.  Bringing home baby is an education for all.

Thank you for all the congratulations and well wishes on Instagram and Facebook.  We are feeling the love!