Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anabel's Baby Blessing

Believe it or not, Anabel has already had her baby blessing! As my parents were visiting from America this month we were praying that the baby would be born earlier rather than later so that, 1) they would actually be here for her birth, and 2) my dad would be able to participate in the baby blessing. Well, as she was born one day early they had a lovely 10 day visit with her before they headed home. And thankfully her Grandfather was able to stand in a circle with her Uncles Glen, Jamie and Luke, and with Daddy holding her she was named and blessed.

The blessing was held the first Sunday after she was born, when she was 4 days old. The ward let out a small gasp when the Bishop announced not only that we had actually had the baby, but also that she would be blessed that day. Very exciting! 

I felt particularly blessed that Sunday as I felt somewhat energetic and alert, despite only coming out of hospital two days before, having woken numerous times the night before, and also after having made and decorated Anabel's blessing cake only a few hours before. For months I had planned on making the blessing cake for Anabel as I had for Tori and Eadith. Why wouldn't I? Of course this was planned with the idea in mind that the blessing would be held a fortnight or a month after the actual birth. But instead of thinking of another option, I simply went on ahead and make the two tier cake and decorated it without giving it much thought. It wasn't until 9pm Saturday night as I struggled to stand with an ACHING back and milk-engorged breasts that I felt like screaming "What the heck was I thinking!?" But it was too late to back out now, so I soldiered on and picked around my cake-boxes to see what I could find to throw on the cake. I came across a letter 'A' and some cute flowers which I stuck on as quickly as I could to get the job over with. In the end I stepped back and was happy and relieved with the result.

My prayers were definitely answered and I was blessed with enough energy and good health to get me through the special day. All in all it was a beautiful blessing and following church we had a small but lovely get-together with family at my sister's house. Delicious cake, beautiful blessing, perfect baby. What more could we want? Enjoy the pics!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome Baby Anabel Joy...

What a wonderful relief! Our precious baby Anabel Joy was born on March 16, 2011 at 3.45pm. She was slightly heavier then her sisters, weighing 7lbs but with the same length of 48cm. So much for my and Juan's predictions of a lighter skinned, lighter haired little girl - Anabel is darker and has more black hair than we could have imagined! She is just such a beautiful baby. She lets us know what she needs and she loves cuddles and kisses. I just cannot get enough of her, I am totally addicted to her in every way. Her cheeks just BEG to be kissed, and when I hold her to my chest she snuggles into my neck and makes a little noise that says "Ahh... I'm with my mummy.." I felt such a special bond with her from the moment I looked at her, and from the moment she was placed in my arms she was calm and knew that I was her mummy. Much to Juan's dismay I am still the only person who can settle her - at last, a Mummy's Girl! ;-) As for the delivery, this was definitely the most dramatic, but for different reasons than the others. With Vettoria the whole experience was very emotionally and mentally overwhelming and I thought at the time, physically terrifying. But it wasn't until I had Eadith that I fully understood what physically terrifying actually entailed. With Anabel, the experience was just crazy.. I'll give you the run down but promise to TRY not to go into too much detail! I was at the park with some friends from our ward Mother's Group when the contractions started. They were about 10 minutes apart but I wasn't too concerned because I had been having them for weeks. But by the time I left the park they were down to about 8 minutes so when I got home I called Juan to warn him he may need to leave work within the next few hours. Within another 15 minutes they were down to 6 minutes apart and that was when I realised things were not slowing down and it was all happening too fast for them to be braxton hicks. It had only been about 30 minutes since I had arrived home. So I called Alisha to come and take me the hospital, as Juan was not going to be able to get home in time to drive me. Meanwhile my parents made arrangements to pick up Juan from work. The contractions were now less than 3 minutes apart so I called the hospital, Redlands, where I was planning to deliver to let them know I was on my way there. While on the phone I breathed through the contractions and that was when the midwife timed that they were actually less then TWO minutes apart. By the time Alisha arrived at my house I couldn't walk more than a minute before feeling the pain. Poor Vettoria had no idea what was going on and all I could do was try to comfort her and tell her everything was fine. The hospital then told us to call an ambulance which Alisha did, and spoke with them as I sat and tried not to freak out. I called Juan and my mum answered. By now the pain was so intense I felt myself losing some control and I just wanted to ball my eyes out at the thought that I was going to have my baby in my lounge room. My mum got on the phone and sternly told me to "Calm down! You have to breath. I can hear that you're losing control. You need to keep calm and keep breathing!" I really needed that, and I tried harder to breathe and maintain that control. Meanwhile the ambulance people on the phone to Alisha told me to remove all my lower clothing and lay a towel on the floor as they were still quite a few minutes away. So Tori went and got me a towel from the bathroom and I tried to remain calm as I crawled on all fours on the towel placed on my living room floor. That was when my neighbour peeked her head in through the open front door and I realised not only was she looking at me in my half-naked glory, but so was my street! But instead of caring I told her I was ok and FINALLY after like 20 minutes, the ambulance arrived. I was so relieved that professionals would be there if necessary to deliver the baby. But thankfully she didn't come just yet, and the ambulance guy helped me up and I made my way to the front door. That was when he said "Let's just put the towel around you before you go out...". I flippantly wrapped it around my legs, but now it is only in hindsight that I realised I was fully prepared and ready to walk out onto my driveway for the whole street to see, completely naked from the waist down- No joke! I was so out of it I honestly wasn't even thinking. So, thank you Ambulance man!! The ambulance took me to the nearest hospital down the road which was not my original plan, but I really didn't care. Once there everyone expected the birth to be quick, most likely within the next 30 minutes. But after checking my dilation and seeing I was still only 8cm I asked for the epidural. As I was at a new hospital they had to order all my tests, pregnancy details, etc, so the process took a lot longer than normal to get the epidural process started. An hour later I still didn't have it in, and I was worried that Juan wasn't even going to be there for the birth. About a half hour later he arrived and he and the midwife helped me breathe and prepare. I was definitely handling this one better then my first two deliveries, nevertheless I still begged for that epidural, as I was STILL only 8cm dilated and I knew pushing was the hardest part of all. Finally the anesthetist arrived and began the preparations. Twenty-five minutes later I was asked to sit on the side of the bed with my legs resting on a chair in front of me. I was told to sit "very still" as the local anesthetic was put into my back, which I did, as hard as that was during a contraction that felt like her head was crowning... And then he said "now I need you to be VERY still" as he prepared to put in the epidural. But just as he was putting it in I felt the need to push so bad that I couldn't stop! All at once, Juan, the midwife and the anesthetist all began yelling at me "Don't move! Don't move!" but you try not moving as a baby's HEAD literally comes out and makes you rise off the bed you are sitting on! That's right, as I screamed out in pain and while everyone was telling me NOT to move, the baby's head came out onto the bed under me. Thankfully the epidural was not able to go in all the way, so I was able to position myself better for the final push and out came our baby girl. It was such a beautiful moment and for a minute we just enjoyed our new precious daughter. But then as doctors began rushing into the room and as I felt the extreme pain in my stomach I knew something wasn't right. That was when I was told that I had not fully dilated and my cervix was still only 8cm when I pushed out the baby, so part of my cervix was actually pulled out with the baby. This meant I was hemorrhaging, and also that my uterus was not contracting as it should have. So the doctors got to work manually contracting my uterus - FYI, SOOO PAINFUL!!!!! - and after about an hour of massaging and pulling and poking and prodding they hooked me up to an IV that manually brought on contractions to help my uterus do what it had to do. I was attached to the IV for about four hours with constant contractions before I was well enough to be moved into the mother's area. Thank heavens! Overall, I was really happy with my hospital experience, despite having to share a room with six other new mothers and their babies... now I fully understand how lucky I was to have my own room at my original hospital! But the staff at Logan Hospital were awesome and I was very pleased with the advice, help, and service I received from all the staff. I also was given great breast-feeding advice which I had not been given before, and it has made ALL the difference for me with my breast-feeding efforts. By this time I was an overwhelmed milk-engorged, teary-eyed mess with both Tori and Eadie, but with Anabel I have been able to get through the same trials and I am a lot more confident with my ability to successfully breastfeed. So, thank you Logan Hospital for making my birthing experience such a positive and uplifting one! Speaking of breastfeeding, guess who is drinking my abundance of expressed milk? Eadie! She loves it, and I am really hoping it will help with her bowel issues. Does this mean I can say I breastfed TWO of my babies??? ;-)
It is now 8 days later and Anabel is growing beautifully and we love her every minute of every day. The girls can't get enough of her - as FRUSTRATINGLY wonderful as that is - and she is eating and sleeping well. Don't get me wrong, she sometimes wakes up almost every hour for a feed much to my sleepy horror, but she is so darn cute even at 3am I just kiss her and place her tiny little body back in her cradle and just thank heaven for her; of course in the same prayer I also pray she will be out til morning! Meanwhile she has already put on almost 300g and people are already commenting that her face is changing and even her legs are "filling out". Could we have another Eadie McGreedie on our hands? Time will tell! To be perfectly honest, I'm really tired, my house is a mess, and the girls have been acting naughtier than ever. So right now I am making a big effort to give individual attention to both girls as their day now revolves around trying to get my attention one way or another (usually through being cheeky or fighting with eachother), which is often taken away from them as I feed, change and clean my way around the house with the baby. As easy as looking after a newborn actually is for me now, it's everything else that makes the day complete and utter chaos from start to finish. Now more than ever, from the moment the two girls run into our room at 6am, to 7pm when we threaten them to stay in their beds at night, it is non-stop. I really didn't appreciate how many hours I would have to dedicate to doing stuff for the baby when that time would normally have been dedicated to them. So I really feel it is important to make special time for them so they don't just see mummy running around frantically all day and telling them what not to do again and again. So I'll keep you updated on our special mummy-daughter adventures!

Meanwhile gradually I am getting myself out and about with trips to the shops or hanging out with friends. But as I discovered with my sister today, I am pretty much DONE and over walking by the first hour. I'm not getting any younger, and it has certainly shown with this pregnancy and birth! I am really looking forward to exercising and especially jogging again, so I await the day I'll feel well enough to walk faster than a tortoise, with great anticipation! Meanwhile, I am still hobbling like a pregnant woman, and make-up is still for those special occasions I want to look half decent. :-)

Seriously, being a mum is great. It's stinking hard work a lot of the time, and crazy chaos the rest of the time, but as every mum knows, you wouldn't trade it for the world. And little Anabel is just so gorgeous she makes all the poo, milk, and fatigue all worth it. Welcome home sweetheart!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm 30!!

I have heard many a disappointed "I'm now thirty..." over the years as my friends and family have gradually turned the Big 3.0. But for me, turning thirty is awesome! Although my 20s were great, ever since having children I have 'felt older' than in my late 20s. So as I turn 30 I actually feel like shouting, "At last! My wrinkles and grey hair are justified!"  ;-)

Having said this, my birthday was a wonderful day, surrounded with people I love and doing things that made me happy. It started around 6.30am as usual when Eadie and Tori came running into the bedroom shouting "Mummy! Daddy!" We then felt the familiar pounding as our bodies were crushed by our little toddlers - who I might add are both not so 'little' anymore!  With us all piled on the bed Juan gave me a gift he'd held back giving me for the entire last week. I have only ever seen him more nervous giving me a gift when he proposed! He wanted this to be one I loved, and I know he had spent many hours putting it all together, so I was not only excited but very intrigued...

I opened it and was blown away! I knew he had made a book with a collection of photos from our life together. But I had never expected something so special as what he had made for me. A beautiful book filled with words and photos of our special and funny memories. I had tears in my eyes as I flipped the pages and was speechless as I looked at the effort he had gone to for me from cover to cover. It is such a special book, I love to look at it again and again. Meanwhile, Juan looks on with not only joy at how much I like it, but a noticeable amount of sheer relief at the same time.  It's so cute. :-)

The girls then gave me 'their' gifts (lovingly selected by moi!), a beautiful pair of fancy earrings (above in the pic) and a pair of gorgeous sunglasses. Juan then made my morning by adding "Oh, and did I mention I've taken the day off work?" -- Yay!! Best present of all!

After all these fantastic surprises we had a normal morning between breakfast and putting down for naps, etc, and then got ready to go out. The girls and I had had nothing too exciting planned, just grocery shopping, but after such a great morning and with Juan sharing the day with us, it became fun-filled and continued to be a special day for me, despite the monotony of it. After grocery shopping we came home and I had a sleep while Juan watched the girls and tidied the house. Now THAT'S what I call the perfect gift for a pregnant mother of two toddlers! Thank you Babe! Throughout the day I received countless texts, phone calls and online messages from dozens of family and friends wishing me well, and it was so beautiful to feel of their love and kind words. It really made me feel special and reminded me of what a blessed life I have been given.

That night Juan and the girls sung me Happy Birthday while we munched on delicious hamburgers - mine even had a candle on top! And that was about the time the contractions started... painful, long and regular. they were so painful I had to go and lie down! Could it really happen tonight??? Just when I thought I might have to actually think about going to the hospital, they began slowing down and within an hour they had stopped altogether. Whoah! It was very unexpected but also very exciting at the same time.

The night of my birthday we also had a friend of Juan's from PNG come and stay with us so she could then attend the temple the next day - but that's another post!

The next night my great friend Kara took me out for a girls night at a local cafe for desert. I ate my first ever creme brulee and it was so delicious I have actually been telling people about it! I can't believe I lived in France for a year and a half and never had one. Well, I will certainly make sure I make up for it from now on! It was a fun night and such a nice relief to sit down with such a delicious desert and not have to share it with toddlers crawling all over me- thank you Kara!

Thanks to my beautiful family and great friends, I had a wonderful 30th birthday. It was filled with special gifts, happy moments, and the favorite people in my life. What more could I ask for? :-)  Thirty is looking good so far! Happy Birthday to me! xx