Friday, April 29, 2011

Guilty Pleasures.

I'm just gonna' come out and say it. Just one sentence about the matter and then I'll be done.


She really is stunning, isn't she?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


We're in baby mode here, which means that other than trying to stay on our schedule and function as a family, there's not a whole lot of other objectives. 

A new baby calls for some new iPod music, and one of my accomplishments in the last two weeks was to create a new playlist that we could keep on while I nurse the baby and the big boys color, play, pull off all the couch cushions, etc. I'm happy to share my favorite new song!

Michael is now two weeks old and has been a sweetheart of a baby. He wants to be close all the time, which I'm trying to enjoy as much as I can, but I can't complain, because he has been an easy baby to console. In a few weeks he'll be big enough for his cloth diapers, which I am looking forward to using with him. The title of this post is "Redirect," and that I'm doing. I absolutely LOVE this post by Elizabeth Foss on the subject of cloth diapering. Her thoughts reflect my sentiments perfectly. One of the lines reads "Baby lives here..." and how I love those three words. Yes, a baby lives here, too, and we are so happy for it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Charm: A Birth Story

I'll start by saying that the last few weeks of this pregnancy were not fun. In fact, I was in a great deal of pain. My hands did not work, and they hurt all of the time. My hips and pelvis were pained to the extent that getting out of bed or up and down from chairs was excruciating. Yes, excruciating. There were times in the night Mark thought I was in labor because of how much groaning and moaning it took to get in and out of bed. I tried as hard as I could not to complain about it, but it was definitely taking its emotional toll on me, and my family.

Exactly a week before labor, I began to show more significant signs of impending labor. I was only 37 weeks, but I was feeling so incredibly awful, that I believed the signs whole-heartedly and hung on for what I believed to be the last few days or week of pregnancy. Each night, in addition to the signs of labor, I had painless but very intense contractions for hours at a time, fizzling out as I went to bed. Inevitably, the progress these contractions were making only made me more miserable moving around during the day.

I emailed my mom, who was on call for the birth. I warned that although I might be getting my hopes up, that I didn't think I was going to hold on to this baby much longer. Reaching a breaking point, I even emailed Mark to possibly take a sick day BEFORE the baby came to help me care for the kids because I was having such a difficult time. After a few emotional breakdowns, an incredible day-long burst of energy where not only the house got cleaned but the freezer and pantry got stocked, and finally, a last dinner night out, Monday night came.

I went to bed and began to pray a Rosary. I had just  finished the third Joyful Mystery, The Nativity of our Lord, when I felt a small pop on the top of my belly. I smiled and said to myself, "So, this, is how it's going to happen." Mark was upstairs exercising, and I took twenty minutes or more downstairs collecting my thoughts, changing my clothes, slowing my mind down and preparing for all that lay ahead in the night to come. I even blogged ;-) .

"Mark," I said as I interrupted his workout. He looked confused. It's rare for me to be up this late. "The baby's coming," I said calmly. After some disbelief, we got down to business. Contractions hadn't started yet, and we had some work to do. I called the midwife, and Mark began inflating the birthing pool and arranging the birth kit on the dresser. We had the sheets changed and ready to. After an hour or so, we began to time contractions, which were starting to come more frequently and requiring more concentration.

By the way, there's an iPhone contraction app. There's an app for that!

In the two hours it took for the midwife to arrive, contractions went from 6 minutes apart to two. When she arrived the room was dark, and I was being kept warm on the bed. The mood would have had you thinking there was a sleeping baby, not a laboring woman, in the room. She whispered tender words to me, encouraged Mark, and got me moving around for the last stretch of labor. I focused intently on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, and, taking every bit of Bradley knowledge in my head, worked tirelessly at relaxing every bit of tension in my body. It was strong, hard work, and very intense, but at the same time relaxing, peaceful and productive. The contractions came every minute now, and I accepted them with imagery of peddling up a hill and then coasting down. Every part of it was controlled and calm.

I got in the tub an hour after the midwife arrived. Afraid to know, I finally asked her how far she thought I had progressed (she hadn't checked). She smiled and said, "Mallory, you were fully dilated before you got in the tub." I could hardly believe it. What? The hard part was over? That quickly? With no yelling or screaming or moaning and groaning, packing and pacing and craziness? What? It's over that easily? Wow!

The next twenty minutes were the most difficult part of the labor. Baby was descending, but I couldn't push him. Trying to push was very painful, as if I was pushing against a strong, painful resistance. I couldn't do it, and I even said out loud that I couldn't do it. Having been able to push two previous children out rapidly, this was very frustrating. My midwife was constantly reassuring, saying that even though I wasn't able to push, that I making progress nonetheless. She was right, and twenty minutes later, even without me pushing, the baby was visible and I was finally able to productively push. (Baby came out with a blister on his finger and immediately sucked on his fingers after birth. Although we can't be certain, we think he may have been sucking on his hand during his descent and was somewhat lodged, which is why I couldn't effectively push during that phase).

For a small moment I lost my focus, clenched my teeth and let out a high-pitched "Eek." My midwife calmly reminded me to relax my mouth, to make low groans and grunts, and I was back on track. Before I knew it I heard the words, "Grab your baby," and Michael came up from the water and onto my chest. Mark and I were overcome with emotion. For the next twenty minutes we sat, me in the tub with the baby, and Mark right outside of it, gazing and loving our precious son. After that, we cleaned up while the midwife examined the baby, we crawled into bed and shut our eyes when the older boys woke up to their new brother.

What a positive experience this was! My first birth was full of necessary interventions and I was very grateful to have the medication that the hospital provided me. It was a difficult labor though, and fear of labor is what caused me to delay so badly in getting to the hospital with the second delivery. Through my own fault, the second delivery ended up being more traumatic than the first because of how quickly it went and how uncontrolled and hectic it was. Everyone was in a panic and the recovery took months. This, my third delivery, was not only an incredible confirmation of how my body was capable of having a child without emotional trauma, but it also forced me to face my fears and accept them. I've been healed of old wounds and left with only peace and excitement over our new baby.

Another quick labor for me (from the start of contractions to delivery was less than 3 hours, closer to five from the start of my water breaking), but I can't complain. All went well and better than I could have imagined.

In this case, the third time really was the charm :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Michael Andrew
 Welcome to the world, Little Buddy. 

Our midwife doing a two day weight check. We have are so blessed to have a healthy and growing baby!

 Daddy and his brood of boys. 

"My Three Sons" 
As you can see, one is a little out of sorts. We all are, just look out my window carefully and check the date again. It's April 17th and we just had a snowfall of over 5 inches. 

Luke giving his baby brother a snuggle. This little one likes to be held. 

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments and support in welcoming our new baby. We feel such an outpouring of love. This has been a truly happy time for us! I'll hope to be back to blogging after Easter. Until then we'll be busy with Holy Week and adjusting to our life as a family of five. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Ever heard of a 'Runners High'? Well, I have a "Mother's High."

We welcomed our son Michael at 4am this morning after a peaceful and quick labor at home, as planned, with a midwife.

Our little boy was 7lbs, 12oz and 22 inches long. Quite the size for a baby two weeks early, covered with white vernix, without a single wrinkle on his feet! I think the boy ran out of room!

I'm a little spent, a little wired, a little sore, and a little on top of the world. There isn't a crazy story to share other than my water broke after finishing the "Nativity" decade of the Rosary at 11pm (how fitting). Contractions started an hour later, our midwife arrived an hour after that, and two hours later we were holding our baby in a big, blue, birthing pool.

Our homebirth may have come as a surprise to some of the readers. It's something I decided not to share for many reasons. It was our "plan," but with things like birth that are impossible to plan, I thought it better to play things out as they went and then to share my soapbox later. All I have to say for now is that I'm incredibly grateful that I didn't have to go through transition in a car going 90mph, and that for how quickly my last two deliveries have been, that this one was calm, controlled, and concentrated--all things needed for an intense and fast labor.

I've just carbo-loaded, Nonna is here to put kids down for a nap, and I'm going to try to get my racing brain and swelling heart to rest.

Pictures to come when I'm able to walk up the stairs :-).
Yeah for life! Praise God for these beautiful children we are given to love!!!!


The next time I post I will be posting about the birth of our baby.

Labor, here we come. Please pray for us, I'm trying to keep calm and not to worry about the intensity of the night ahead of us.

Funny, I just deleted I was writing a few hours about how awful I felt, and how the baby had to be coming soon because of how terrible I was feeling. Well, here we go!

Friday, April 8, 2011


 You have to take what you can get...
 Wherever you can get it...
 And worry about the consequences...
And the mess....
 Much, much, later...
All for the sake of a little fun. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bizarro World.

Last night I dreamt that I went to get a manicure, a full set. A full set meaning and full set of fake, acrylic nails. Bizarre. I've never had fake nails. I think they look pretty on people, but they're not for me....right now at least. On second thought, maybe I should go get a manicure anyway...

More bizarrely, I dreamt that I delivered a bald baby boy. Let me clarify: a 9lb, 18 inch long, bald baby boy.

That's not a baby, that's a bowling ball.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Me: "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse."

Luke: "I'm so hungry I could eat an infinity foot long Brachiosaurus."


Small Blessings.

We went outside this morning! Wow! For those in more favorable geographies, you might not understand the significance of our outing, but for us, it was a small piece of heaven.

Yes, there is still snow on the ground, and yes, we still needed to wear our jackets, but the sun was SHINING for the first time in a LONG time, and the boys were able to kick a ball on the driveway and ride their bikes. Even more fun, the boys explored around our wooded acreage and spent an hour collecting rocks, sticks and pine cones. They were having a "nature party."

Me, I was satisfied with the sun and perfectly content raking up a winter's worth of dog poo and pine needles. Of course, I'm paying for it now and promptly had to put a movie on for the kids when we went inside so that I could sit, but still, the time outdoors was priceless, and definitely worth the soreness I will feel for the rest of the day.

Minnesota seasons are a tricky love/hate relationship. The winters (especially this last one) can be extremely difficult to get through, but when the weather begins to warm, every nice day is taken advantage of and truly appreciated. On a single nice Minnesota day, it's not uncommon to ride bikes, take a walk, roller blade, swim in the lake, take a boat ride, grill outside and stay up until the last bit of sunlight leaves the sky (often close to 10pm in the summer months), just because we can.

Even though I'll be busy taking care of my little boys all summer, this is one mother who will truly appreciate every day we get outside.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Full-Term, Baby!!!!!!

Which means that having this baby is the absolute only thing on my mind. Which means that I am useless with anything else other than pondering the imminent arrival of Baby Boy. Which means that if I bring home two pounds of bacon from the store and accidentally put it in the spare bathtub overnight where the Easter toys are hidden that you'll just understand. Which mean that when the Wal-Mart cashier asks me "When are you going to pop," that I just humor him, because why would I cry about that when I can cry about the glass that I dropped on the counter and shattered into the dishwasher full of clean dishes. Perspective, people! 

Just stick with me these next one...two...three weeks...whatever it takes. We're gonna' get there!

Friday, April 1, 2011

End of the week thoughts...

~I spend a ridiculous amount of time and money at the grocery store. I don't know how I do it, but it seems that every week my family consumes more. We're big time Wal-Mart shoppers. Lately, since I'm not up for pushing a cart around a huge store, as long as I'm out and about I'll get double or triple of anything I can think of to freeze. A kind check-out lady was commenting on my massive grocery cart and said, "Wow, you must have a big family." I thought for a second, "No," I said, "We just eat a lot."

~The boys and I spent all afternoon at a church gym with a group of other mothers who had organized a play group. It was absolutely wonderful. For the first 20 minutes they didn't play with any of the toys, they just ran and ran and ran. It made me so happy to see them having so much fun.

~I love my faith, and this isn't a criticism of my faith, but more of the establishment of church government. Many of the mothers I've met here are evangelical. Their churches are like little community centers unto themselves, with gyms, kitchens, nurseries, toy rooms, classrooms, playgrounds, on-staff nurse etc. The Catholic parish in our community is very large and supports it's own school, but week after week and month after month I keep scouring the bulletin for FAMILY activities, hoping to meet SOMEONE who shares our faith, and there is nothing. After attending Mass there almost exclusively for the past seven months, we haven't received so much as an introduction. We are not "Church Hoppers," but I grieve for those families who are "on the fence" about their faith and then abandon it for more welcoming waters in another denomination. I realize that it is our obligation to put ourselves out there, so to speak, we just need an opportunity to do so.

~The carpal tunnel in my hands gets more painful by the day. Today, I thought I was being pretty clever when I wrapped my hand up in a biker glove and then covered it in electrical tape. With both boys taking a nap, I wasn't going to let my hands keep me from getting a much wanted nap. It worked!

~I am reading Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue. It's old news, but I finally got it at the library. It's honestly really interesting. I'm semi-political, and while I'm a Palin fan, I'm not necessarily a Palin supporter, meaning that I would love it if she were the governor of my state, just not the president. The book is painful though, and the way her and her family were treated during the campaign was absolutely despicable. A lot of people, including myself, saw how unfairly she was portrayed by the media and decided that public office is full of the most slimy and evil people in this country. 

~I love bleach. After a few days of renegade body fluids, I am finally confident with the cleanliness of our floors.

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!