My big boy

Thankfully, my parents have done a remarkable job of taking pictures of Nathanael this past week. This post is devoted to my big boy Nathanael. We're so proud of the boy he is becoming and how great of a big brother he already is!

The many faces of Evangeline

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our doll in her first few days of life.


First few days in pictures

In the lavender labor and delivery room at our hospital, Goldenes Kreuz. They let me choose which room, so of course, I chose purple for our little princess!
After a couple short hours of labor and a few minutes of pushing, this little miracle was born!
 First time in Dad's arms
 Early morning hours on her first full day of life.  (Gregory had to leave the hospital a couple hours after birth and wait until visiting hours to return in the morning. I sent him this photo to say good morning!)
 Skyping with Nathanael to introduce his sister.
He was all smiles and wanted her to wake up and open her eyes for him.
Grandpa and Grandma meet Evangeline!
They came while Nathanael was at Kindergarten and brought our overnight bags.
First photo with the three of us
Coming home from the hospital less than 36 hours after birth
Nathanael's first glimpse of his sister in person
Proud brother, proud parents
First time holding his sister
Mom and Nathanael made pumpkin muffins together to celebrate Evangeline's birthday and get some special mother-son time.
We celebrated with champagne after the kids were in bed!
Eva's first bath

We're all doing well, but we are quite tired and not sure how this is going to work once family leaves and it's just the four of us!  We are so thankful for the extra hands, especially to play with Nathanael and help around the house.  And we're thankful that we have a loving God who is sustaining us and will sustain us in the days to come!

Meeting Evangeline

We had some friends come by this week to meet Evangeline.

Jim and Lynette
Stan and Deb came all the way from Kansas!
(They're in Austria this week for work and leisure.)
Eric, Christy, Kati, and Elena
Nate and Bethany

We'll take little Miss Eva to church tomorrow, and that should be quite an entertaining endeavor!


Evangeline's 5 Day Report

To record Nathanael's growth in the first year of his life, we took pictures each month with his special stuffed bear ("Mr. Bear"), lovingly created for him by his great aunt Ann.  We're thrilled to continue the tradition for Evangeline, this time with a suiting "Ms. Bear" which Aunt Ann created for her!

But first a quick report.  Our midwife visited again today, and we're happy to report that Evangeline is now weighing in at 3.42kg, already well over her birth weight of 3.33kg.  What a blessing to know she's thriving so well already!  She's a great eater (we call her "our ravenous princess") and subsequently seems to sleep much more solidly and longer than Nathanael did at this age.  We don't know how long this will last, but we'll take every day of great sleep that she'll give us!

We had our first outing with Evangeline this morning, a walk to the grocery store in the stroller with Dad and Mom.  The grocery clerk was so excited to see she'd been born and was curious to hear what her big brother thinks.  We ran into our neighbor across the hall and had a wonderful chat with her about our new little princess.  And of course a few older ladies stopped us to admire little Eva along the way.

Nathanael continues to enjoy kissing and holding Evangeline and learning how to care for an infant, though he really wants her to be awake more to play and doesn't quite like how much time Mom needs to be with her right now.  We are quite in awe of being a family of four.  We feel incredibly blessed by these two treasures.


Motherly Musings

I was going to rest for twenty minutes, but my heart and mind are so active and full right now, that I decided to rest in another way -- by putting my thoughts to paper (or rather, a blogpost).  Nathanael just awoke from his afternoon nap, and I can hear his happy chatter with Grandpa and Grandma as they talk and read together in the next room.  Evangeline is sleeping peacefully beside me, once in a while letting out an adorable little infant squeak.  I might have to start calling her my mouse, which is fun since that's a common term of endearment for little ones here in Austria.

God has graced us with an amazing first four days.

Our birth experience with Nathanael was such a strange one, though the actual labor and deliver went exceptionally well.  My recovery from delivery with Nathanael was a long and difficult and painful one, for reasons I won't detail here.  And Nathanael and I had some significant challenges to overcome with nursing, which increased the struggle of the first six weeks.

In contrast, Evangeline's birth was as I never could have imagined or expected, and it was a true gift from God.  My need to recover physically has been almost completely absent, and Evangeline seems to have been born knowing how to nurse, especially free of the physical challenges Nathanael had.  I've been able to focus on resting and getting special moments with both children and Gregory as well.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for the gift of these first few days.  They are not wholly without pain or struggle, but they have gone much better than I could have even dreamed to ask for.

Thank you, Father, for these unexpected moments and days to rest and reflect and bow before You in awe that You would gift me with these precious treasures.  They are Yours, Lord.  Lead me in mothering them that they may see and know You.

The story of her birth

Birth details to follow; don't read if you don't like this kind of thing. ;)  (This blog post was actually written out in December 2015.)

My dad arrived in Vienna on June 19th.  I remember riding home from the airport in the taxi with him, and the taxi driver asked when my baby was due.  "Tomorrow," I replied.  What a shock for him!

Earlier that day, I met with my doctor.  All looked well, and she was quite certain labor would begin very soon, as my cervix was already at 3cm and soft and malleable.  I just smiled skeptically.  We'd heard that for almost a month before Nathanael had to be induced!  She spoke with my mid-wife and scheduled a fetal heart monitor for the evening of June 20th, mentioning that she thought my body might be ready to respond if the mid-wife agreed to attempt a few homeopathic methods to activate labor.

That afternoon, Gregory and Nathanael and I walked half an hour to his Kindergarten Summer Sports Festival.  It was a rediculously sweltering hot day.  I was miserable, but I enjoyed watching Nathanael participate in activities with his Kindergarten friends.  The pre-labor contractions were as active as ever in the heat and activity, but I didn't think much of it.

The next day, June 20th, was Evangeline's due date.  Gregory and I picked up some groceries, stocking up the home, just in case we didn't come back right away from the appointment in the evening.  We made sure we had everything packed, and we tried to survive the heat.  The apartment's internal temperature reached 85 degrees!  Ugh!  And Gregory's allergies were acting up big-time.

We said goodbye to Nathanael and Grandpa and Grandma at 5:00pm, letting Nathanael know that if we didn't come home, Evangeline would have been born!  We arrived at the hospital (Goldenes Kreuz) at 6:00pm and were set up with the fetal heart monitor.

At 7:00pm, my mid-wife, Elisabeth, inserted some gel onto my cervix and massaged it a bit.  She told me that if it were to successfully stimulate labor, we would know within 30 minutes, likely beginning with mild cramping and then contractions at regular intervals.  She was right, of course!  At 8pm, after just that, I asked her how likely she thought it was that Evangeline would be born that evening, and she responded that she'd already completely the check-in procedures for us!  We would be meeting our daughter that evening!

They moved me into a Labor and Delivery room then; they let me choose which room I liked best, so I chose the violet room.  At 8:45, I received an enima, and while going through that torturous experience, I threw up while bawling from the pain.  My midwife was so pleased, explaining that throwing up was a kind of emotional release, showing that my mind and body were ready to have this baby.  She checked my cervix and found it to be at 7cm.

The next hour of events happened quite quickly.  My water broke, but I had no idea as it was simply a gentle trickle.  I was having a lot of back labor due to Eva's positioning, so the mid-wife had me lie somewhat inverted on my knees with most of my weight on my shoulders in order to move Eva's chin down to be resting more deeply in the birth canal.  After this, the intensity of the contractions increased significantly, and speaking through them was difficult.  I asked my mid-wife when transition would begin and when she would suggest I get an epidural.  She was a little surprised by my question and informed me that she could probably count the remaining contractions on one hand!  (She was exactly right!)  She said she'd speak with my doctor when she arrived.

At that point, I went through three extremely intense contractions.  The doctor arrived after the second.  I couldn't relax between them as they were so intense, so my doctor suggested I try pushing on the next one.  I pushed through one contraction, and Evangeline's head came half-way out!  I pushed through a second contraction, and she was born!  10:49pm.  And no tearing!  Praise God!  (And thanks to the amazing Epino device the mid-wife had me use the month prior to prepare my body for delivery.)

I pushed through two more contractions a few minutes later to deliver the placenta.  That part was a bit more painful than I expected or liked.  The placenta was huge; both my doctor and mid-wife were amazed!  Haha!  Then my mid-wife pushed out a couple blood clots by pressing with her fist on my uterus/mid-section, and it hurt so much that I grabbed her hand to stop her and yelled, "Ow!"  I imagine that was quite humerous to her.  (Evangeline was in my arms at this point!)

Evangeline was in great health.  She nursed for about 10 minutes within the first hour.  As opposed to Nathanael just after birth, Eva opened her mouth widely and nursed easily from the beginning on.  Interestingly, she was never cleaned off from birth; they simply allowed everything to remain on her skin and soak in to keep it from drying out.  Gregory and I were a bit surprised by that; we kept thinking they would take her away to take all the measurements and wipe her off!  I didn't mind keeping her with us the entire time though.

I am so thankful for my wonderful doctor and mid-wife and for my husband who held my hand through it all.  Each one of them played a crucial role during the delivery, and I couldn't imagine it having gone more splendidly!


She's here!

Welcome Evangeline Elif King!
Born June 20th at 10:49pm
3.33 kilograms, 51 centimeters
(7 pounds 5 ounces, 20 inches)

Compare her first picture to Nathanael's here.


And we wait

Today is Tuesday, June 11th.  Little Evangeline is due in nine days, and I can hardly wait to meet her.  For so long, we were simply praying that she'd not be born before my mom arrived, four days ago.  Now Mom is here, adjusted and oriented.  Ready.  We visited the hospital today, confirmed that Evangeline's still doing marvelously well and met with the billing department to figure out how to pay these crazy medical bills until we can be reimbursed by our insurance.  Check.  I finished a few administrative things that I wanted to attend to before birth.  Done.  Gregory's getting his hospital bag packed as I write.  And so we wait.  We're praying she'll come this week.  Tonight would be fine with me!


Phone photos

I downloaded these from my phone and had to share.  They're from the last few months.

Strong boy
Sick boy
Posing boy
Boy's new wheels
New hat (a sweet gift from a friend, so he wouldn't feel left out since she made Evangeline a pink sweater!)