Today was lovely. The weather is gorgeous; I cannot express how thankful I am for this 70 degree weather! Nathanael and I spent hours outdoors today! We are both healthy, and -- praise God -- Nathanael is nursing better than he ever has. He has always had a pleasant demeanor, but the last few days seem to have exemplified that. I finished reading through 1-3 John this morning and was truly amazed with John's constant encouragement that the evidence of abiding in Christ is loving others. I also started exercising again this week; I'm sure those endorphins are working wonders.
How can it be that you are already five months old?! What a month we have had! We marvel at how quickly you change and develop each week. And every day, we thank God for the gift of you. You are dearly loved, our son.
According to our measurements (which might be a little off), you're measuring 26 and a quarter inches in length (58th percentile) and weighing 17 pounds (54th percentile). What a blessing your growth is to us! Since your last month birthday, we had a difficult first week or two with nursing, but thankfully you have continued your steady growth.
We feel like you have changed this month more than any other yet. You laugh much more frequently and for longer durations. You squeal or shriek multiple times every day, and you make sure everyone in the house can hear. You are fascinated with everything - textures, patterns, new places, animals, trees and leaves, food, books, toys, etc. You are trying to figure out how to make some new sounds, but you usually just end up sticking out your tongue and smiling. It's adorable. We haven't tried to do too much this month (we struggled with nursing for a week, and then you and Momma had a cold for awhile), but you did enjoy some visits from Boston friends - Odoi, Adam, and Robin. Unfortunately, stranger anxiety has definitely kicked in. You aren't a big fan of the church nursery now; it's not extremely conducive to a great morning nap for you, understandably.
You still love to stand but also enjoy sitting now, and it's amazing how that changes our lives. You can sit in our laps, and we don't have to hold you which means that we can play the piano with you and more easily read books to you! You have rolled over from stomach to back a few more times, but you still haven't discovered that you can do it. Your ability to grab items and hold on to items is much more developed and precise, and you have quite the strong pinch. You discovered that you can splash your bathwater with your feet; we never walk away dry anymore.
We can hardly believe it happened, but you have definitely matured in your daytime sleep, usually taking two nice naps each day (morning and early afternoon) and a very short catnap in the late afternoon. Your nighttime sleep remains amazing, ranging from 10.5 to 12.5 hours. You rarely cry when you awake anymore (unless you didn't take a good nap); instead you simply lie in your crib and either suck your fingers, talk, or squeal. And to Momma's delight, you recently transitioned to four feedings a day, and taking half the time to eat at that!
We marvel at your life, Nathanael. We pray every day that God will open your heart and mind to know and live in the abundant life He has provided only through Jesus Christ. Happy five-month birthday, son!
To read the first half of Nathanael's birth story, go here.
The delivery. At 3pm, after all of the normal medical questions were answered, my IV was placed. The nurses changed, and we were given the amazing Nurse Deb - God's awesome provision for us.
If you had asked me what type of nurse I thought would be best for me, I probably would have said a woman who would be calm and reassuring and full of helpful suggestions. Well, God knew better than me what I needed. Nurse Deb was boisterous and hilarious, full of jokes and stories and laughter. She was extremely experienced and knowledgeable and helped answer every question and more. And she and Greg engaged in playful banter back and forth for hours! I was completely entertained by the two of them which was a great distraction from the discomfort and waiting. She told me a few times when Greg was out of the room how much she liked him and how entertaining he was. haha
At 4pm, I was still sitting at 4-5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and Nathanael's head was at a -1 position. Per our requests, they began the pitocin drip (to get things going), and I received my epidural at 4:10pm (so that I wouldn't necessarily feel the intensity of pain associated with getting things going). A comment about getting the epidural: I had been somewhat nervous about holding still. To help calm me and keep me still, Greg was instructed to hold me so while I faced him on my side. But just as the anesthesiologist was doing the procedure, Greg and Nurse Deb were joking about something, and I was struggling not to laugh! I could have killed them both at that moment! (Thankfully, I was laughing though.) Of course, the epidural was fine, no issues at all.
At 5:45pm, Dr. McCrary ruptured the membranes (broke the "water"). The epidural was much better than I expected. I was still able to feel a lot, was completely aware of what was going on, and I had quite a bit of mobility. I definitely found myself hitting that button from time to time to increase the amount of medication though. ;)
By 7:30pm, I had reached 9cm dilation, was 90% effaced, and Nathanael's position was still -1. After another couple hours (full of chats with Nurse Deb and lots of HG TV - fun for a gal who doesn't have TV) and no progress, Dr. McCrary suggested that I try to get some rest and he would come and check on the progress in another hour or so. If I didn't progress, we would have to consider a c section. Nurse Deb turned off the lights and left us alone. Greg tried to sleep in the chair but ended up just lying on the hard floor (which completely cracked up Nurse Deb when she came in a couple times). I don't think I slept any, but it was quite relaxing to try.
When Dr. McCrary checked again, we were ready to get rolling. At 11:10pm, I began pushing. Nurse Deb and Dr. McCrary were amazing in guiding and directing me and giving me tips on making each push more effective. Using a mirror helped as well. Greg was hilarious, so intrigued by everything and taking pictures of teeny tiny bits of progress. (More than once, I had to ask him to focus on holding my leg instead of taking pictures! Nurse Deb continued to be entertained.)
Halfway through pushing, sadly Nurse Deb had to leave. She wanted to stay to meet Nathanael but had a ride waiting for her. :( (She came by to meet him the next day though.) Amazingly, the nurse given to us next was a friend of our pastor! She and her husband had moved to Boston from Dallas a couple years ago. We were amazed with how God allowed us to have two Christians assisting us in the delivery of our son - our doctor and our nurse.
After about 45 minutes of exhaustive pushing and a couple needed clips to give him space to progress (read, "ouch!"), Nathanael was delivered at 11:57pm. His apgar scores were a strong 8 & 9. He was absolutely amazing... Nothing could have prepared us for how amazing it would be to hold our son in our arms...
Labor and delivery were complete, and it really was an incredible experience for me, even easy if I may dare say. If I didn't have to go through the recovery process, I'd have been ready to do it again in a heartbeat.
Recovery. I had no idea that what I was experiencing for the first few weeks was abnormal. I thought that every mom who had to have an episiotomy experienced such excruciating pain for weeks. Apparently, that is NOT the case, as I learned when I called my doctor after five weeks with concern over what I thought might have been an infection. I went in that day, and he informed me that it appeared that I was allergic to the material the sutures were made of! Who would have known?! A couple weeks later, after my body didn't show any more progress recovering on its own from the horrible sutures, I had to be cauterized. Wow; now that was what I call pain. (This is when you say, "Ooooh, Kim, how awful!")
Since I'm writing this almost five months after Nathanael's birth, I have honestly forgotten how intensely awful those first two months were. I remember shedding many tears in the bathroom and constantly thinking, "HOW DO WOMEN DO THIS MORE THAN ONCE?!?!" But fortunately, the recovery is normally not that bad, and Nathanael was such a textbook baby. I had it really really easy for the labor and delivery. I guess I had it coming to have a painful delivery. ;)
A few days ago, some of our dear Boston friends who moved to California last summer stayed overnight on their way across the country. A couple weeks prior, another friend from Boston, moving to California, stayed overnight as well. And about a month ago, Greg and I drove up to Topeka to hang out with my former youth pastor and his dear family. Time with these friends was incredibly special! Here are a few pictures.
From Adam & Robin's visit this week
Odoi's visit (This was a phone photo so the quality's not the best.)
Hanging out at the Buskers' Festival in Lawrence with the Englishes
Camber was the most amazing babysitter! She held Nathanael in the sweltering heat for hours while he ate and slept!
I love this picture. I took it just before we left for his 4 month doctor's appointment a couple weeks ago. The little vest makes him look like a little boy instead of a baby!
I just came home from church and needed to look at a picture of Nathanael being his normal cute and happy self. Why not share the photo, right? The last two attempts at the church nursery have NOT gone well. I can't help but wonder if it's even worth trying? I was a nervous wreck the ENTIRE time I was away from him (remembering how badly the last nursery attempt went). And apparently he didn't fare too well either. The nursery workers and facility are great, but my little boy just prefers his home and his family and his bed and his normal routine. *big sigh* Right now, he's sleeping in his crib (after falling asleep eating and being completely un-rousable). Every ten seconds or so, I hear him pulling in a big breath of air, still obviously not over the traumatic experience. Okay, honestly, I know it wasn't traumatic for him. I know that when he wakes he'll likely be his normal pleasant self. Me on the other hand, it might take me a few days to recover. ;)