February 7, 2018

miss arden rae


Miss Arden Rae
7 pounds 2 ounces  |  20 inches
January 12th, 2018  |  1:04pm

I apologize for not sharing sooner, I know most people who still occasionally read the blog also follow me on instagram (the blog killer of the universe).  But some of you do not, so here you go!  Miss Arden Rae was born on January 12th at 39 weeks after a successful elective induction.  I'm working on writing out her birth story, but until then, labor was mostly uneventful, delivery was intense but uncomplicated, and I couldn't be more in love with our new precious little one.

I first came across the name Arden from a sweet little girl in Elsie's dance class when we lived in Kansas City.  It was different, but not absurd.  We considered it when I was pregnant with Thea, but obviously opted for Thea instead.  During this pregnancy we toyed with several names, Gemma, Harlow, Genevieve, Penelope... but ultimately we loved Arden the most, and I love the fact that it currently isn't anywhere close to the social security top 100.  Her middle name, Rae, is after my mother.

With as much help as my mother has provided over the years, and even more so now as we have brought home baby number four, I think she earned a namesake.  :)  Both she and my father have been amazing, taking and picking up children from here and there, cooking, watching the big girls, helping with lots of tasks.  I feel like we've almost seamlessly transitioned to a family of six, all because they have been so helpful.  We've had other family and friends lend a hand or a meal as well, and truly it has made such a positive impact on this post partum period.  I'm so grateful.

The girls are all very much in love with their baby sister.  Thea acts as if she has always been a part of the family, and while there have been a few trying moments, they have been very very few.  She has been incredibly helpful when I ask for something (a diaper, wipes, burp cloths), and has basically continued on like nothing has changed.  And honestly any poor behavior she has can easily be chalked up to the fact that she is two and has old sisters who don't always model the best behavior.  As in, she has the eye roll and the "uggghhh MOM" down.  Oy.

Arden has been such a sweet little baby.  Evenings are the fussiest, and so far no dice on her just laying down and falling asleep on her own.  Typical of our children.  What on Earth do I do to ruin them from the get go?  She has given me a few nights with amazing stretches of sleep in her three weeks of life, and nurses like a champ.  And spits up like a champ too, also typical of our babies.  But more on her in less than a week when she'll already be a month old.  Hold me.  Time is going way too fast.

It's crazy to look at our family pictures now, and know this is it.  This is my family.  No more wondering and waiting how our puzzle will be put together.  It is complete.

photo by Adrienne Maples

January 10, 2018

thirty-eight weeks | baby five


Yesterday morning I had my very last OB appointment EVER.  EVVVVVEEERRRR.  That is the plan anyway.  All looked well, 2cm dilated, 40% effaced, and we're a go for an induction on Friday morning.  My doctor said something to the effect that I know what I'm doing, and the more I thought about it, the more this situation is completely foreign to me.  I've never had an elective induction, they've all been medically necessary.  Constant monitoring was needed for both baby and I.  I was pretty much chained to the bed.  This time?  Not so much.

Also, last Thursday night around 11pm I started having relatively regular real contractions.  They weren't incredibly painful, but definitely not just Braxton Hicks.  They were coming roughly every 5-7 minutes.  And I didn't have a damn clue what I was supposed to do.  I've never had a contraction outside of the hospital.  How the heck was I supposed to know if it was real labor?  I ended up wandering the house, gathering up some last minute things I hadn't put with my bags (my camera, a pillow, the boppy, etc).  Then I straightened my hair and put on a little make-up, lol.  Just passing the time.  The contractions were much less painful when I was up and moving around.  Finally around 2:30am I finished a cup of water and decided to lay down for a bit.  I managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up there weren't really any contractions to speak of.  I'm going to chalk it up to being dehydrated because I'd been sick, but it sure kicked my butt into gear as far as making sure all my stuff was easy to grab and go.

how far along:  38 weeks + 3 days (compare to 38 weeks with Ryann, and Elsie. I never made it to 38 weeks with Thea!)

size of baby:  A spaghetti squash. Possibly 19.5 inches long and over seven pounds.  I can't wait to see how much she weighs.  I'm betting on 7lbs 6oz as a birth weight.  But I'll likely be completely wrong.

weight gain: +25 pounds.  I had a touch of a stomach virus last Wednesday and Thursday, and it pretty much killed my appetite until about yesterday.

maternity clothes: Most maternity clothes can't contain the belly.

symptoms:  I've developed a bit of a waddle thanks to all the headbutts to the cervix.  And my skin is stupidly dry despite drinking as much water as I can tolerate and using body oil and body butter daily.  My back gets sore, my pelvis gets sore, but for the most part, I'm doing alright.

exercise:  Lugging around this belly.

cravings/aversions:  I NEED WHITE CHEESE DIP.  That is all.

movement:  We seem to be on an every other day trend of her being a complete crazy baby in there, to barely any movement at all.  There is no middle ground.

sleep:  I was dehydrated thanks to the stomach bug so I slept through the night a couple of times.

gender:  Girl

looking forward to:  Her birth, obviously.  And watching all the girls meet her.  And also sleeping on my stomach again.  I can't wait to lay on my stomach.

worries:  I just need her in my arms.  Then I'll stop worrying about her so much.  I am worried about how Thea is going to handle a baby coming home.  Or really, how I'm going to handle Thea not being the baby anymore.  The girl has NEVER cried when I've dropped her off at MMO.  In the beginning she'd affirm that "Mommy always comes back?", and when I'd tell her yes, she'd happily go in.  She runs into the church nursery no problem now.  But today of all days, the last day I'll be dropping her off at MMO for quite some time, she kicked and screamed and cried for me.  I felt terrible and I had no idea why she was acting like that.  I was in tears before I made it into my car.  Kind of put a damper on my last kid free morning for the next who knows how long.  I just felt so guilty.  The girl has plenty of people to love her and she has fun at 'school', but still.  #momguilt

best moment this week:  All my bags are packed and ready.  The house is freshly cleaned and mostly (ish) organized.  For the most part I feel ready.  It's a good feeling.


We're ready for you sister!  Time to come out and play!

January 2, 2018

thirty-seven weeks | baby five


Somehow over the last few days my blood pressure seems to have completely gone back to normal. We're surprised, my doctor is surprised, it is a mystery.  In theory that is a good thing, but I sure was hoping to meet baby girl sooner rather than later!  Everything checked out just fine at my appointment.  My doctor did struggle to find baby's heartbeat at first, and the silence in the room was painful.  It was maybe a total of two minutes?  But I think my heart stopped.  She did find it, and at first she thought it was tough to find because girlfriend was really low, but after she checked me decided that wasn't the case.  Baby is likely sunny side up.  Turn around girlie, I'd like you facing the appropriate way for delivery please!  At least she is head down though, I'll take that.

how far along:  37 weeks + 2 days (compare to 37 weeks with Ryann, Elsie and Thea)

size of baby:  A honeydew melon. Around 6 pounds and 19 inches long.

weight gain: +29 pounds. Going to see if I can hold steady for the next 10 days!

maternity clothes: Definitely.

symptoms:  Restless legs, back pain, constipation, swelling, and now I've somehow managed to pull the ligaments or muscles at the bottom of my belly.  Trying to lift my legs is near impossible.  But really, it could be much much worse.  I'd say I have a mild case of all of the above.  Do I waddle a bit when I walk?  Yes.  But I'm not dying.  :)

exercise:  I walked on the treadmill yesterday and this morning.  With the pain in my lower belly/pelvis area, I can't go more than 2.5mph.  It is kind of pathetic.  But it is better than nothing I hope.

cravings/aversions:  I really like the girahdelli dark chocolate chips with a handful of mixed nuts.  Still haven't gotten my white cheese dip fix.  If I'm not having this kid until next week, maybe we can accomplish that.

movement:  She just isn't moving as much.  I hate it, but I still would probably get the amount of kicks in that I needed if I was counting.

sleep:  Overall not too bad.  We've just been staying up too late in general!

gender:  Girl

looking forward to:  Baby's birth day.  Also everyone being back in school come Monday morning, lol.  I love my kids, but 2 glorious hours by myself in the house sounds fantastic.

worries:  Every day that goes by I get a little bit more worried that something will happen to our sweet girl before she is born.  A fairly irrational fear, I have no reason to believe anything will go wrong or that anything is wrong, but the anxiety is creeping back in.  The little incident this morning with the heartbeat certainly didn't help.  10 days or less, 10 days or less...

best moment this week:  Thea was sitting in my lap (or attempting to, not a lot of room there!) while I was reading her a book.  Baby sister was moving around and pushing on her.  Thea was giggling and saying "Stop it!  Stop it sister!  You tickling me!"  It was adorable.  Man I hope Thea doesn't hate me when we bring home this baby.

December 27, 2017

thirty-six weeks | baby five


My blood pressure has been all over the place with no real rhyme or reason to it, but everything else looks fine, so apparently no one cares?  Whatever.  I've had numbers between 120/80 to 160/95 over the last two weeks.  But more blood work came back just fine.  My family was all hoping I'd be induced this coming Friday (the 29th) but that isn't looking likely at all.  Maybe this will be the first time I actually make it to 39 weeks?  Whatever the case, I'm meeting baby girl in 16 days or less.  It is still pretty surreal.

how far along:  36 weeks + 3 days (compare to 36 weeks with Ryann, Elsie and Thea)

size of baby:  A ripe papaya.  She is likely nearing 19 inches and 6 pounds.

weight gain: +29 pounds.  I hadn't gained any weight in a few weeks, and then BAM.  Christmas happened.  Oh well.

maternity clothes: Definitely.

symptoms:  Restless legs, back pain, constipation, headaches, and now we can add swelling to the list.  I've had a few days of horrible swelling, but overall it isn't too bad.  But it is definitely pitting now which is awesome if I try to wear real shoes.

exercise:  Nothing really.  But now that I'm nearing the 37 week mark, I'm thinking I need to increase the walking again, encourage little miss to join us on the outside.  :)

cravings/aversions:  Truthfully nothing really.  Maybe white cheese dip still.  I really need to just eat some before I have this baby so I can say I did.  I'm pretty sure the dairy will make me feel like crap though.

movement:  She has actually slowed down over the last week.  Still a fair amount of movement in the evenings and middle of the night (which I'm sure will carry over after she is born, fantastic) but during the day I have to really concentrate on it.

sleep:  With all of the things on my to-do list and Christmas stuff, I didn't sleep much in the last week in general.  But overall I'm sleeping fine.

gender:  Girl

looking forward to:  Meeting this baby girl!  We're basically at that waiting stage point and I'm antsy.  It doesn't feel like it is going to happen any time soon, but it could!  Also call me Scrooge but I'm looking forward to taking down the Christmas decorations and getting my house back in order.  I love the decorations and the festiveness, but it always feels soooo good to get it down!

worries:  I'm a little anxious about changing up the family dynamic again.  I think Thea will be a good big sister, but she also plays the baby of the family pretty well, and as always, it breaks my heart to think of completely rocking her world.  I'm pretty sure Ryann and Elsie will be mostly unphased, and in general just enjoy the extra screen time they get when she is born.  HA.

best moment this week:  The wall paper and custom name sign we ordered arrived!  And they're on the wall and I'm in love.  And it was Christmas and I got a new computer and a new diaper bag and I've checked a few more things off my to-do list.  Just keep nesting, just keep nesting... :)


With the new wallpaper in the nursery and the belly in front of the Christmas tree.

December 12, 2017

thirty-four weeks | baby five


I think it is safe to say I'm in the home stretch!  An induction date of January 12th has been set if she doesn't decide to come on her own (or get evicted) before then.  Exactly one month or less to go!

To be honest though, I'll be surprised if we make it to the 12th.  Last Monday I was sitting at the counter (waiting shamelessly for my husband to bring me Sheridans, because PREGNANT), when all of the sudden I got a head rush, followed by a headache and nausea.  It was bizarre and I could tell something was off.  I asked Chris to take my blood pressure when he got home, and it was 150/90.  We rechecked in the morning and it was the same.  That evening it was down to 140/80, but Wednesday morning when we checked it was 160/95.  At that point I figured I better at least be seen to rule out pre-eclampsia.  But Wednesday wasn't convenient so I said I couldn't make it in until Thursday.  When the nurse called back she didn't seem amused, and said my doctor wanted me to head to triage in labor and delivery at some point to be evaluated.  I felt like that escalated quickly!  I didn't want to end up stuck in KC in the dark or driving back late at night so I convinced them (basically refused to come) to let me come in Thursday morning.  Wednesday evening my pressure was better and Thursday morning it was a normal 120/80.  I still went in and had labs drawn, but everything checked out just fine.  It was definitely bizarre.  I felt like an idiot for calling, but it was the right thing to do.

I had another doctor's appointment today, and for the most part all still looks well.  My blood pressure was 135/80, and I'm measuring two weeks ahead which seems to be freaking my doctor out for some reason (I've measure ahead with every pregnancy and not had large babies, stop trying to scare me!).  But otherwise, everything is fine.  She wants us to keep monitoring my blood pressure at home and call if I have any other crazy symptoms, or it gets to 150/90 again.

how far along:  34 weeks + 2 days (compare to 34 weeks with Ryann, Elsie and Thea)

size of baby:  A Savoy Cabbage.  This app and it's weird foods.  Baby girl should be around 18 inches and in the neighborhood of five pounds.

weight gain: +27 pounds.

maternity clothes: Yes.  A decent portion of my maternity shirts don't fully cover my belly.  Fail.

symptoms:  Restless legs, back pain, constipation, headaches, and a long list of other random crap that is annoying.  Really overall I feel 'fine', just pregnant.  I'm not miserable by any means, but I don't know very many people who could claim the last six weeks of pregnancy comfortable.

exercise:  Since my blood pressure has been weird I've been trying to take it easy.  So basically I feel like a lazy lump.  But on the days where my step count is under 7,000 my back hurts less and I have few to no braxton hicks.

cravings/aversions:  Light foods, nothing too greasy.  I can't eat very much before I'm uncomfortably full. 

movement:  I cannot begin to describe the amount of movement from this kid.  I posted a video on instagram of her shenanigans.  She is constantly moving all over the place.  Which leads me to believe she can't be as gigantic as my OB is making her out to be, she clearly has plenty of room to move around.  At church on Sunday she was moving and kicking throughout the entire hour.  It is just now starting to become slightly painful at times, but for the the most part it is just funny.

sleep:  Some nights are fine, some nights are more restless, but I'm not finding myself awake for hours at night so I'll take it.

gender:  Girl

looking forward to: The little blood pressure incident prompted me to start getting my butt in gear and I've been making lots of lists and crossing things off.  Thea made the transition to her new room and new bed over the weekend, and now there are itty bitty baby clothes hanging in the nursery closet.  I can't wait for the wall paper and custom sign I ordered to be delivered so we can get baby girl's room all set up!

worries:  That this girl actually will be a giant.  I think I'm in the minority, but I love my teeny tiny newborns.  And they come out pretty easy.

best moment this week:  Thea successfully switching to the new bed just feels pretty huge.  It wasn't seamless, but she is doing a great job!  Also the girls desperately want to know what baby sister's name will be, and just their excitement over all of it is fun.  A swaddle with her name on it was delivered yesterday so I think we'll share with them in the next couple of days!

November 29, 2017

thirty-two weeks | baby five


I really can't believe I'm already 32+ weeks.  Saw my doctor yesterday for a regular check-up yesterday.  All is looking well.  I'm measuring a week ahead, but she also noted it was difficult to really find the top of my uterus because baby girl was so high up.  She seemed surprised, but girlfriend is still head down so I'll take it!  My blood pressure still looks good.  For now we have scheduled an induction for 39 weeks, which by her calendar is January 12th.  Less than seven weeks until I'll have a newborn in my arms.  And reality is she could come in as little as 4.5 weeks.  Oh man...

how far along:  32 weeks + 3 days (compare to 32 weeks with Ryann, Elsie and Thea)

size of baby:  A Florida pomelo? I don't know what that is.  Possibly close to 18 inches long and about four pounds.

weight gain: +26 pounds the last time I checked over the weekend.

maternity clothes: Yes, and I swear I don't have any comfortable pants at all.

symptoms:  Restless legs, exhaustion and occasionally hormonal.  But none of that has been too bad.  My back muscles have just been getting incredibly tight.  Overall I can't complain too much, but I do long to remember what it feels like to not be pregnant.  Lol.

exercise:  Walking walking walking.  Not as much as I'd like because I haven't been sleeping as well so I can't always get up before the kids to get on the treadmill.  Still managing 90,000-100,000 steps a week.

cravings/aversions:  Something that I don't have to cook myself?  But nothing too heavy.  Food is just irritating.  Not a lot sounds good, and having to make anything really drives me nuts.

movement:  She is pretty much insane.

sleep:  I had a few really really rough nights.  So I took benadryl a couple of nights.  Last night and the night before I woke up once to go to the bathroom, but managed to quickly fall back asleep.  So that is nice.  But I usually have a headache in the middle of the night when I wake up which is just annoying.

gender:  Girl

looking forward to:  Lots of things.  I'd say there are more things that I am anxious to get accomplished than actually looking forward to.  I want to get Christmas gifts wrapped and cards made and mailed.  I need to finish organizing the big girls' room and buy a mattress for Thea's new bed.  I need to order the wall paper for the nursery and I can't wait to get that set up.  But to be perfectly honest I fantasize about when I can crawl in my bed and lie completely on my stomach.  No joke.  Ask Christopher.  I talk about it all the time.  I'm 100% a stomach sleeper and I miss it so so much towards the end of pregnancy.

worries:  I've started to worry a bit about the whole labor and delivery process.  Overall, I assume it will go pretty much as it has with the last three girls, and that isn't a big deal at all.  I'm more worried about something throwing me a curve ball, needing a c-section, something popping up that I'm not at all prepared for.  But I'm sure we'll survive.

best moment this week:  Chris's aunt gave me the blanket she crocheted for baby girl and it is so pretty.  I love it.  A little sneak peak...


Also we haven't told the girls the name we've chosen yet, and it is driving Ryann crazy.  Ryann said something about baby sister this morning, and then she followed up with "Ugh! I can't keep calling her baby sister!  I need to call her by HER NAME."  Lol, poor girl.  I'm waiting until the Trendy Timber sign I ordered comes in.  Do a little reveal.  But on the bright side I know Ryann likes the name so she'll be happy.  :)

my photo from 31 weeks

November 17, 2017

thea says

Me:  "Do you see the moon up there?"
Thea:  "Yeah, I wike it.  It's pitty awesome."

Me:  "What do you want to wear today?"
Thea:  "I want to wear a pitty dress!  I want to pin and twirl in it!"

Me:  "I love you Thea!"
Thea:  "I love you so much mama."
Me:  "I love YOU so much!"
Thea:  "Thanks mama."
Me:  "You're so sweet."
Thea:  "I not sweet.  I toot (cute)!"

Thea:  "Hey!  I've got a gweat idea!"

I've had most of those in a note on my phone since September.  To be perfectly honest I still can't understand what Thea says half the time.  She isn't 2.5 yet so I shouldn't be all that worried, but she talks so much that her inability to enunciate words is relatively prominent.  The other morning Chris and I were chatting before he left for work while Thea was sitting in her high chair with her breakfast.  She kept repeating the same thing, and I swear it sounded like "I want Sarah."  I wasn't sure who or what she was talking about, I thought maybe the dinosaur vitamins that we had a while back and the triceratops perhaps?  So I kind of nodded, brushed her off, etc.  I was getting frustrated that she wasn't eating her breakfast, we needed to get dressed and get moving.  Just as Chris was walking out the door, I finally got it.  "SYRUP!  You want some syrup for your waffle."  "Yes.  I want 'sarah'." It sounded so much like she was saying Sarah.  I gave her some syrup and the kid proceeded to chow down on her breakfast.  Mom fail.

A couple of other great phrases that Thea has picked up include "Just weave me awone!" and "Just don't talk to me wight now!"  Thank you, older sisters, for teaching her those.  Oy.

Overall Thea has become quite the stubborn, intense (for lack of a better word) child the last few weeks.  Tuesday night we had quite the 45 minute battle at bedtime, because she wanted to sleep in the Elsa dress-up costume.  Now normally I don't really care what my kids wear or sleep in, but in this case the sleeves were scratchy, and the cape could actually be a hazard, so it just wasn't going to happen.  There was lots of screaming, flailing, trying to climb out of her crib, ripping off her pajamas, etc. etc. etc...  It was rough.  Finally when she was somewhat calm she decided I needed to change her diaper.  The dang thing was dry, but at that point I did not want to set her off again so I changed the stupid thing.  The kid then rolls over and tells me she is going to sleep right there on the floor.  I may or may not have proceeded to tell her that was a bad idea because sometimes at night bugs come out and they would crawl all over her, but they don't crawl in the crib.  Mean mom much?  But it worked.  "I be safe in my cwib?" "Yes, your crib is safe." "The bug crawl on da floor, but not in my cwib?" "Yep, not in your crib." I felt like a jerk, but she got in her crib and went to bed after that.  You do what you gotta do?  Let's just hope she doesn't start having nightmares about bugs...