Jan 16, 2015

Ezra Paul: The Birth Story

On the morning of January 2, 2015, we proudly welcomed our third son, Ezra Paul, into the world. 

8 lbs. 12 oz. 
20 inches long

I can hardly believe it's only been 2 weeks since our newest little guy made his appearance. Anyone who has experience with a newborn knows that 2 weeks can feel like an eternity when you're living in the land of eat-sleep (maybe)-poop-cry-repeat. This being my third time experiencing the newborn twilight zone, I knew what to expect and, for the most part, I have taken each day in stride with the help of my amazing husband and extended family.

So before my brain goes to complete mush and I forget everything that has transpired over the past couple of weeks, I want to document the events surrounding Ezra's birth. Because during my pregnancy with Ezra I told people that I was three centimeters dilated when I went into the hospital with Liam, but I was actually only one... and they almost sent me home (read Liam's birth story here). How could I forget that? Well, because it all becomes a blur after a few years. That's why I write.

So here we go...

The Birth Story

As you can imagine, when December 30th rolled around and baby boy was still chilling in my belly, I began believing the lie that he was just going to take up residence in there forever. Because the mind starts playing tricks on you when you get to your due date with no signs of a baby coming. And, y'all, my body was done. D.O.N.E. I wasn't sleeping at night, I was extremely swollen, and I was just overall achy and exhausted.

My bags had been packed and in the car for several days, and I had been keeping the house as clean and newborn-ready as possible. So when we decided to head to my parent's house on New Year's Eve, I did so without hesitation. I needed a change of scenery, but mostly I needed to take my mind off of the fact that I hadn't had a baby yet! So off we went...

The good thing about being with grandparents is that we had plenty of extra help with the big boys so that I could sit and put my feet up. And that I did. I brought in the New Year in bed listening to the fireworks outside my window.

New Year's Day I woke up to discover that I was losing my mucus plug. It was the first sign of the day that maybe Ezra would indeed come out after all.  All throughout New Year's day I could feel subtle changes in my body. By the end of the day, through teary eyes, I told my mom that I really felt like labor was close at hand. I hadn't had a contraction yet, but I could just feel it coming. We were packing up our bags to head home when my mom suggested that I leave the boys with her for the night just in case. I was hesitant, but Kevin and I decided it was probably best so that at least I could get some rest.

About 20 minutes into our ride home I had my first contraction. I wasn't sure if it was the real deal, but I decided to start timing anyway. Well, it turns out it WAS the real deal. By the time we got home my contractions were averaging 7 minutes apart and getting stronger. We stayed home for about 30 minutes, enough time for me to call the hospital (and my mom) and for Kevin to throw a few things into an overnight bag. And off we went. 

We arrived at the hospital close to midnight. We got checked in, and I got wheeled to a room. A nurse came in to check me, and much to my surprise, I was already 6 centimeters dilated. 30 minutes later I had progressed to an 8/9 (two nurses with two different opinions). I was in P.A.I.N. and things were moving very quickly. Everything except the epidural!  The nurses were beginning to hint that it may be too late to get the epidural. That's about the time they wheeled in the medical supply cart and a baby bassinet. And that's when I panicked!! I recall saying something like, "Am I gonna have a baby right now?!?!" And then started chanting, "I can't do this! I can't do this!" Kevin and my mom immediately went into cheerleader mode and began assuring me that I could. But I really didn't want to find out!! So I made one final plea to the nurses, and they agreed to call the anesthesiologist.

Twenty minutes later they checked me again, and I was the same. The anesthesiologist arrived shortly after, and he said if I could sit still long enough he would give me a good dose of pain relief. I assured him that I could, and within minutes I was pain-free with no regrets! {I know all of the all-natural Mama's out there are probably cringing right about now, but, seriously, I have NO regrets! haha}

Of course, the epidural slowed down my labor quite a bit, but the good news is that I was able to rest during the early morning hours. Unlike my epidurals with Silas and Liam, this one actually worked! So things were pretty uneventful for a few hours. 

When the doctor made her rounds the next morning my water still hadn't broken, so she broke it to get things moving. She also gave me some pitocin to help strengthen contractions. Not long after, I began feeling the pressure and urge to push. The nurses set me up for delivery, and 2 pushes later, the most beautiful cry filled the room. Ezra Paul made his grand entrance.

And I was in love all over again.

More on my recovery and our family's adjustment to come...

Sep 30, 2014

Baby Boy #3 Week 27 Pregnancy Update

My 26 week belly! It doesn't look as big in the laying down position- hehe :)

13 weeks and counting until baby boy's due date! It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating 13 weeks of pregnancy, and now I'm rejoicing at 13 weeks left! Each stage has had it's challenges, but overall it's been a pleasant journey this go round.

I guess I should mention that baby boy does have a name. A couple of months ago we decided on the name Ezra Paul. We had bounced around several names, but Ezra is the one that stuck. It seemed to go well with the names Silas and Liam, and we loved the meaning: "helper." Although I do hope that Ezra becomes a great helper as he grows and matures, I feel like the name fits this pregnancy in that God has been my helper along this journey.

Symptoms: I can still say that I've only thrown up twice this pregnancy! And both were much earlier on in the pregnancy. There has been no nausea to speak of lately, and since starting Nexium I've avoided heartburn. Other things I've noticed: my appetite has gone down some, I get winded really fast, and my feet are beginning to swell. Also, last week I was extremely hormonal. I had a few random unreasonable crying episodes, which my husband very patiently endured. Things are much better this week, thank God!

Movement: Aaahh, movement. I love feeling Ezra move around inside of me. I feel like it's a gift I get to open every day. When we were considering whether or not to have another child, the one thing that I couldn't bear to think about was never feeling a baby move inside of me again. When I found out I was pregnant I told myself to enjoy every kick and every movement, even the ones at 2am and even the ones that cause my bladder to run at inopportune times!

I should mention here that at 20 weeks Ezra was breech, and we (my doctor and I) have good reason to believe that he still is at this point. As you can imagine, the breech position makes for some very interesting and often uncomfortable aches and pains for mom. I'm praying that he figures things out soon!

Also in movement news, Silas felt Ezra move about a week ago! It was the sweetest moment! Silas' eyes got really wide when he felt the kick, and immediately a huge smile lit up his face. Hearing Silas retell the story makes me laugh. Liam hasn't yet been patient enough to feel Ezra move, but I'm sure in the coming weeks he'll be able to feel him without having to wait so long.

Maternity Clothes: All of my pants/shorts are maternity, but I'm still able to get away with wearing some of my bigger t-shirts and Kevin's t-shirts. If I need to dress a little less casual, I wear my maternity shirts. Also, since the day I found out I was pregnant I've been wearing non-maternity maxi dresses to church every Sunday. I had a couple, and I bought a couple that I rotate every week. This past week I noticed that the maxi dress I had on was a tad bit tighter around my belly, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to pull that trick off. I may need to trade in my maxi's for maternity dress pants soon.

Cravings: Nothing really.

Aversions: I can eat cheese crackers again! Haha :) There's really nothing I'm averse to eating. I think I just have an aversion to cooking in general right now! I try to have cooking marathons every now and then so I don't have to be in the kitchen every evening. I'll make 2 or 3 meals at a time to fill the fridge and freezer for the week.

Sleep: My sleep has been pretty good so far. I'm usually really tired by the end of the day, which helps. Nightly bathroom trips have stayed to a minimum, and Ezra's movement doesn't seem to keep me up once I've fallen asleep. I have found that I need the room to be a little cooler than usual lately, and just last night I needed an extra pillow to help ease the aches in my hips. I know sleep will become less and less as I near the end, but so far nothing to complain about!

Nesting: I finally moved all of the office furniture out of the office in order to make room for Ezra's crib and changing table. I still need a small dresser for his room, which I hope to find used. I snatched a used rock 'n play sleeper a couple of weeks ago, which I've heard great things about. Other things I've purchased recently are: a sling, reusable nursing pads, nursing tanks, and a diaper bag. I feel pretty good about the progress I've made so far, but we still have several things to check off the list.  My next order of business is tackling the clothes!

Looking forward to: Delivery! haha :) But in the meantime, I'm REALLY looking forward to the birth of my first nephew!! He's due at the beginning of October. I can't wait to meet him and experience the joy I know he will bring to our family!

Sep 29, 2014

Smothered Pork Chops & Cabbage

Once a meal is served regularly in our home and enjoyed by at least three family members, I deem it blog-worthy. This dish of smothered pork chops and cabbage definitely makes the cut. And even though I have a non-cabbage lover in the family, the non-cabbage lover still tolerates the pork chop minus the cabbage plus a little fruit on the side :) The rest of us enjoy the chops and cabbage over rice, but the rice can easily be omitted for a low-carb option. I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as we do!

Smothered Pork Chops & Cabbage

2 lbs. Pork Loin Chops
1 medium onion
1 medium head of cabbage
2 Tablespoons parsley
15 ounces beef broth
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 cups hot cooked rice
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Chop cabbage and onion and set aside. Coat a large pot with non-stick spray and set to medium heat. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning (or your regular seasoning of choice). Place a single layer of pork chops into the pot and brown on one side, waiting to flip until pork chops stick slightly to the pot. Flip chops and brown the other side the same way. Remove chops and place into a bowl with a lid to keep warm. Repeat browning process with additional pork chops. Once all the pork chops are removed from the pot, pour beef broth and apple cider vinegar into the pot and scrape the bottom to pick up all the flavor from the pork chops. Add chopped cabbage, chopped onion, and parsley to pot. Layer all pork chops on top of  the cabbage mixture. Cover the pot and let the pork chops and cabbage smother over medium low heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. When the cabbage is wilted and the pork chops are cooked through and tender, turn off the heat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve pork chop with cabbage on top or serve pork chop and cabbage over rice. Enjoy!


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