Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Emmitt Wesley Smith

I posted the birth story but if you’re uninterested in all those details this is just a post of pictures 😉
Emmitt Wesley Smith
02/23/18 - 6:30PM
8lbs 2oz, 20 3/4”

Emmitt Wesley’s Birth

Emmitt Wesley Smith arrived Friday, February 22nd, 2018 at 6:30PM. He weighed 8lbs 2oz and was 20 3/4” long. 
I was so nervous that I would think I might be in labor and call Wesley home from work 2 and a 1/2 hours away in IL only for it to be a false alarm. So Thursday after having pretty regular contractions throughout the day I told him I thought he should come home and I hoped and prayed it would turn into labor. Disappointingly enough I was able to fall asleep and sleep pretty well in spite of now inconsistent contractions through the night. 
In the morning Wesley took me to my already scheduled midwife appointment. I was back to  having regular contractions and was dilated to 4 so I was hopeful it could turn into labor and had a membrane sweep in the hopes of turning the corner to true labor.
Between one and two the contractions really picked up and I decided it was labor but kept bouncing on my ball, walking around, and leaning on Wesley’s support through them, holding off on calling the midwife until, I hoped, closer to delivery time. I had chosen to try a water birth this time so at the time I decided I was in labor I had Wesley start filling the pool. I kept holding off on calling my midwife because with both my past labors I feel like everyone was here waiting far too long. At 4:15 I called and told her my contractions were still manageable but getting really hard and I was hoping to start laboring in the pool soon. She and her assistant were here by 5 and said I was almost to 9.  I didn’t really believe her because in the past by the time I reached 9 I was fighting the urge to push. I got in the pool and really enjoyed it for the rest of my labor. Shay, my friend who is equal to a sister and now training under my midwife arrived  and started serving me snacks, juice, and water on my whim and demand. Wesley sat on the edge of our bed and could hold my hands or let me cling to his arms through each contraction. Soon our moms were called and arrived.
My midwife checked me again and I was complete but my cervical lip was still hard, the same problem I’ve had with each of the girls. She said to just holler when I had the urge to push, which I still wasn’t fighting so I nodded and continued to labor. The very next contraction as I visualized my uterus squeezing my baby down through my pelvic bones I realized the baby was coming. I believe I screamed “it’s coming, I’m not even pushing, its coming” along with a lot of other inaudible noises. My midwife was beside me and said “I’m just going to help hold back the cervical lip, keep pushing”. With my next contraction I heard her saying “crown” “head” “it’s tight, really tight.” I missed the part that the cord was the issue and thought she was just referring to the fact that a whole baby coming out of me was really tight and well, heck yeah, time and time again it’ll seem like a miracle. But no, the contraction stopped so I stopped pushing but she yelled at me to keep pushing which was confusing to me because I’d struggled with my last two deliveries when it came to pushing because in my logic the more I pushed the faster the baby would exit but my midwife would continually tell me “you’re not contracting any more, stop pushing.” So here she was telling me to push while not contracting.. push I did and out came my baby at 6:30PM. Merely an hour and a half after my midwives arrived, and less than forty minutes since the moms came.
I gave birth on my knees, holding Wesley’s hands, but as soon as the baby arrived I turned over and sat down holding my lifeless baby, a fact I still didn’t note. Wesley has said that the instant transformation that takes place in me at the point of birth is a mystery to him. I go from agony and pain to simple childlike joy. I repeat myself and use simple words, and just sound giddy and in awe. I immediately noticed the baby was a boy and I vaguely recall repeating “it’s a boy, we have a son, Emmitt, our little Emmitt, we have a boy.” Over and over and leaning back to kiss Wesley and say “thank you, he’s perfect, isn’t he perfect?” All the while I noticed my midwives stimulating our little Emmitt and trying to get him to cry although I took little note of it. He was here, his eyes were wide open, nothing seemed wrong to me, and in the end nothing was, he perked right up within a minute and was happy to join our world. Apparently his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and arm, so tightly in fact it had already collapsed and was therefore not delivering blood to him but it doesn’t seem to have caused any problem.
Following delivering the placenta and  my moving to the bed from the pool and getting us both dried off I kept saying “I’m bleeding a lot” and my midwife checked and said it was a normal amount but I kept insisting that it was a lot and it was pooling up under my back, so my midwife checked again and sure enough it was too much. She stuffed some pills into my mouth (that I signed a consent form to early on in my pregnancy)  to be dissolved and absorbed under my tongue then she poked my uterus and it was filled with blood clots. She tried to encourage them out on their own but it wasn’t happening so she had to manually remove them. It was a pretty uncomfortable experience but worth saving my life. So not only have I now survived birthing three children but also hemorrhaging. It has caused me to be a little slower at recovering but I am finally starting to feel back to normal.

Emmitt weighed in at 8lbs 2oz, and was 20 3/4” long.

Emmitt hasn’t been my easiest baby but at the price of easiest Labor and Delivery, I’ll take the rough start we’re having. He struggles with breathing, could be genetic from his daddy, or he may have caught his sisters colds right out of the womb. He also throws up. A lot. I try to burp him after even the tiniest little feeding but even then sometimes he’ll throw it all up. I also have way too much milk so I may be over feeding him and causing the throwing up issue. Some nights he sleeps okay, some nights he likes to sit up for a couple of hours with me and stare at the bedroom wall. He rarely cries but does need more of my attention than I remember the girls needing this early on.

So there you have, in probably too much detail, little Emmitt Wesley’s birth story. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Before Baby

(Written Thursday, February 23rd during what turned out to be predominal labor)

I've been trying to stay busy, partially to be productive and accomplish things before having three kids to work around, and partially to keep me preoccupied from just sitting around waiting on this baby.
Leading up to the actual “waiting” time period I made a few freezer meals; 6-8 meals of Salisbury Steak, a couple containers of mashed potatoes, several meals worth of Chicken Parmesan, a ton of Miner’s Griddle Cakes for quick easy breakfasts, some BBQ Chicken and some Taco Chicken, and some muffins and cookies. We’ve already started using my meals because at 40 weeks pregnant, home alone with a 1 and 2 year old I’m pretty worn out by dinner time.

I had a couple of projects I wanted to do before I have three children to split my time between. I made a traditional BengKung wrap to use for postpartum healing. I had been working for awhile on a canvas growth chart which I finally buckled down on and finished (that will get its own blog post shortly, I hope..). I needed to make out 2017 Family Photobook.. which I still need to make but I’ve gotten started and made it to May so.. there’s something. I’ve picked out baby announcement cards for when this one does arrive (we’ve only sent them to grandparents, I really do it for myself because I think they’re so cute and want to keep one in my children’s keepsakes). I had a few gifts for friends and family to purchase or make.

I also had some general household work to do; closets to organize, kids clothes to switch out, some declhttering and deeper cleaning to do.

I also had a couple away from home things I hoped to do pre-baby. We went to the Children’s Museum of Terre Haute with the girls one Saturday, I’ve visited the chiropractor regularly, and some Goodwill shopping trips before the hassle of a baby to carry around, well, the hassle of carrying it in my arms ;)

I’ve eaten lots of pineapples and dates in hopes that would prepare my cervix for labor.. I’ve been drinking two cups of pregnancy tea and two cups of red raspberry leaf tea a day. I’ve become reliably regular with my iron, alfalfa, prenatal, vitamins E, C, and fish oil taking, thanks in great part to my girls who have gummy vitamins that the always remember need taking.

Thanks again to my sister-in-law Suzannah for walking three miles with me along with a walking video most weeks, I hope I have endurance for labor and delivery.

I have everything done I intended to get done, so, now we wait..

Thursday, February 15, 2018

{Foodie Post No. 14} Cranberry Relish

I love cranberries, ever since Thanksgiving season I had been waiting for their price to drop so I could stock up for the upcoming cranberry-less season. Finally, two or three weeks ago, it did. I bought 3 32ounce bags for $6.00. Most of them went straight into the freezer or into recipes I’d been waiting to try but I kept one bag out with the intention of making jellied Relish.
My family’s only traditional Cranberry Relish recipe involves jello. I’m not really a fan of hello. I always eat it on thanksgiving because, well, tradition, but Wesley’s family’s traditional Relish is what seems to be the more popular among “my group” as well as on Pinterest. It’s the one orange, one bag of cranberries, and a cup of sugar ground together. I love that stuff, I’ve even taken to adding pineapple, coconut, nuts, or whatever I’m in the mood for to it.
But no, I wanted to try making and canning jellied Relish. I’m not a huge fan of the canned stuff, it’s odd to eat jelly by the disc? Scoop? But I thought homemade would be better. I searched Pinterest, got a few ideas, and tried my hand at it. The result was super yummy, even Wesley who straight up hates the store bought canned version, sang it’s praises. But that could be because it didn’t turn out a whole lot like the jellied kind. ;P

I boiled my berries in sugar water until they popped and got a little syrupy. Next I puréed them in my ninja blender then added a few essential oils and boiled it down a bit more before putting it into pint jars for water bathing. From my research it would appear it (1) didn’t reach a high enough temp to “gel” or (2) needed more sugar and more boiling to make it gel like typical jams. Either way, it didnt gel. It did thicken nicely and could be served in a puddle and eaten but we’ve enjoyed it more like jelly. We’ve put it in yogurt, on biscuits, and spread over creme filled crepes.

32 ounces Cranberries
4 cups water
3-4 cups Sugar
2 drops Orange EO
1 drop Clove EO
1 drop Nutmeg EO

Boil cranberries in water and sugar until they pop. Cool slightly. Purée in blender if you want smooth jelly, smash with potato masher for more texture.
Add essential oils.
Boil until desired consistency. Boil to 220 to gelling point if you have a candy thermometer and want to attempt to get the bellies version that I didn’t succeed in.
Fill jars.
Water bath for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Goodbye 2017

2017 really was a good year for us. When I contemplated sending out holiday cards I couldn’t come up with enough interesting details to enclose a note, it was a sort of mundane year with just a few blips of excitement.
A few of my favorite memories are:

Having my kitchen floor tiled, an outlet added, and the cabinets and counters leveled and anchored. That is something I still appreciate each and every day and will until we move on to a different home.

Celebrating Jerusha’s 2nd birthday. She was so excited and adorable both on her actual birthday and a couple days later when her daddy was home to celebrate.

Our 3rd anniversary. Wesley was on the road for work but still managed to make me feel loved and cared for. We had a fun fun get away to Indy which fulfilled what my expectations for our honeymoon had been; he surprised me with a cruise so no complaints. ;)

Finding out I was pregnant with our third child. I was so longing for another baby and was extra thrilled that I found out on Wesley's birthday and could share the news with him on a special day :)

The week we spent with my family exploring the Upper Peninsula.

Our grand adventure out to Colorado. Looking back it seems like that was such a huge endeavor but I'm sure that's just because of my incredibly pregnant state as I don't remember it being too overwhelming at the time. It did take a lot of planning and work but we had such a fun time! I also loved doing my review of it for the blog :)

My birthday was so full this year and I certainly count that as a highlight of the year.

In September of this past year one of my oldest closest friends got married and I was honored to share in that day with her as a bridesmaid. It was her heart's desire to join the wife-club so I was very happy for her and rank those wedding prep and wedding day memories on this list.

Thanksgiving season will each and every year make this list. It doesn't even matter how many things might go wrong or how hectic and stressful the week of Thanksgiving may end up, dedicating so much time to loving family, rejoicing and reminiscing over God's blessings will always be the best.

As I've tried compiling this post I've had to narrow down the memories.. I'm such a nostalgic person and loved the whole year! I am just loving this life I am living, most of all because I love the Leader of my life and the one's He has given me to love and care for (or be cared for by!) along the way.

The day after Thanksgiving my brother Daniel took some family pictures for us so I'll share a few of them here.

 Happy 2018! I hope this year is filled with blessings, the grace to overcome the trials you'll face, and the strength to trust God during those times. ~Haley

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Local Blessings

Tonight I'm in a particularly pregnancy-hormone-induced thankful and reflectively mindset. The frame of mind where I find myself crying about the good little things of life, not the pregnancy-hormone-induced-sister-version that has me lonely, sad, and depressed crying.
Today I'm most thankful that I live close to family and not only that but close to family who will, at the drop of a hat, interrupt their schedule to take care of me and mine.

It was -4 with a -18 windchill and I had a plan. I was going to bundle the girls up, run over to the post office, have a quick shopping trip to the Dollar General here in town, then head to my mom's. She broke her arm Monday and I was going to 'baby-sit' and decorate my baby brother's birthday cake while she went to see the surgeon and schedule surgery.

I got the first part of my plan locked in; kids were bundled, then buckled into their seats. I started scraping my windshield before I realized it'd be more effective if I started the car first to make use of the defroster.. And that's when my house of cards fell. My car, beloved Ford Expedition, wouldn't start. The kids were already in it, what a pain to undo and take them back inside. What to do? I climbed in with them and called my mom. She was able to tell me I didn't need to undo the girls yet because she'd send my brother Daniel to try and start my car. He was at my house in well under five minutes. Not being sure how much effort it would take to get my car going and because he discovered his jumper cables weren't in his truck, he just transferred the girls to his toasty cab and drove us to mommy's, plus that would save me the effort of taking them out for our little shopping trip and post office visit. The girls stayed there to play and we went back. He jumped my car and it started right up. I guess it just doesn't like the cold, or is going to need a new battery..
I went my way and he went his. I left the car running during my errands hoping to charge the battery some.

This evening when I was ready to leave my family's I went to start the car before I loaded the girls up and it wouldn't even turn over. Instead of going through the effort of standing out in the cold to jump it Daniel, once again, just loaded us up in his truck and dropped us off at home. He said he would try to charge my battery in the morning and see if it is the problem.

So there you have the story of my day.

Sometimes I would struggle to see good on a day like today; I would just focus on the nasty miserable cold, the hopelessness of a future without my car reliably starting, the time shift in my plans, and etc. but today, I am just thankful and blessed.
And I am so very blessed by family, specifically Daniel, today.

I hope you are given the grace to see the little blessings and find reasons to rejoice, even in this nearly unbearable cold midwest weather, or wherever you are and whatever sort of weather you've got ;) ~Haley

The only pictures I have of the day are from Silas' "party".
Silas is very into all things with motors so this is the cake I made him

Wyn hopped right on the back of his new toy :)

Eowyn having fun with an over sized bow

Monday, December 18, 2017

Lunch Adventures

(Posted a week late because - life.)

Today's lunch was an adventure.
The day started hard for me. I had no energy, I stayed up late working on an alteration and then once I went to bed it was up a couple times to comfort the girls, a couple times for pregnancy discomfort.. just very little sleep. When the girls woke up I was dragging, we had power bars for breakfast because we're out of cereal and I just wasn't fixing breakfast.
Finally when lunch time rolled around I was feeling a little more alive and as Jerusha brought me a red potato asking if we could play baseball with it I decided, "no, but let's cook it for lunch, okay?" And that became the plan;  we'd make breakfast for lunch.

We diced up a couple red potatoes and put them in the skillet with butter, olive oil, and some seasonings. I pulled the eggs out of the refrigerator. So I had the start to a decent breakfast for lunch but it needed the “fluff”. I needed to whip up a batch of pancakes.. or biscuits.. or something.. something like doughnuts. (Doughnuts? Donuts? I never know..)

I’d been wanting to try doughnuts out for awhile so I pulled up Pinterest on my phone looking for a ‘quick cake donut recipe’ and thumbed through the donut section of my go-to recipe book. I quickly discovered donuts aren’t a ‘quick’ recipe but since I’m not one to let following exact instructions stand in my way I settled on a recipe and went for it, skipping the ‘refrigeraterate for one hour’ part.

They really turned out okay. No thanks to Éowyn who kept pulling a chair up and hanging on me as I tried to quickly cut and fry three at a time. My oil kept getting too hot because I was using such a tiny pan and being inconsistent with my timing. I was frustrated with Wyn and kept putting her down telling her to “just leave me alone for a few minutes”. Jerusha, ever the wonderful sensitive sister stood up on the chair and yelled at me “hey, don’t be angry at my Wyn sister” then she leaned her head on to my arm and began petting me “You is awesome at this Mommy, You is just awesome at making  food. Wyn is okay, okay?”
The failings of my donuts were (1) the oil temperature fluctuating too much and (2) the dough not being chilled so being difficult to work with and being dense from lack of proper rising. A couple soaked up a little too much grease but over all I was happy with them.
On another day, with proper planning ahead, I’d like to do it again.