Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eli : week 1

This is just the beginning of what I'm sure will be a super-abundance of photos of my sweet new baby boy... the light in my bathroom is simply heavenly for this type of thing. Throw together a pillow and a blanket and I am pretty happy with the results. I hope to do a more "serious" photo-shoot in the next couple weeks.  All of these are are taken with my Nikon D700 with the 18-555mm f/3.5-f/5 lens and are all SOOC...  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the birth story... with LOTS of photos

July 18th
40 weeks + 4 days

Here you go - the birth story - with all of those details we mamas love to share. If birth stories aren't your thing feel free to just skim the post and enjoy the photos of my beautiful brand new baby boy! I've posted more photos on Google+

As most of you know - this last month has been CRAZY after a tree fell on the house we were renting we were able to quickly move into a wonderful new place... all while I was about 36 weeks pregnant!! After the stress of the move the last weeks before Eli's birth were as difficult mentally & emotionally as they were physically - trying to be patient with huge swollen feet, sleepless nights and contractions most days is so hard to do - even the fifth time around. I was hoping to have a 100% natural childbirth, but Eli never really dropped enough to send me into serious labor - so his due date came and went and I was scheduled to be induced on July 19th.

We went into the hospital at 5am feeling calm, if a little nervous. My mom was at home with our kids still asleep. I was fully prepared to walk back out of the hospital after a few hours to wait a few more weeks since I was only dilated to a 1 at my midwife's office and Eli was very high. I sat in the freezing cold room getting poked and prodded wishing I was back home in my big tub. Thankfully I was already dilated to about a 5 with contractions coming regularly about 20 minutes apart when they started the pitocin, but Eli was still quite high and in minus three station. I tried to get into a more positive frame of mind and hunkered down for what  I thought would be a long labor.

I asked them not to turn up the pitocin and to not break my water. I've been induced both ways - with and without my water and it makes all the difference in the world. They did end up turning up the dose three times just to kick off the contractions but then once my labor went into full swing I could barely catch my breath between contractions so I asked to have the pitocin turned down - they turned it off since I was obviously progressing quickly.

Daniel was an amazing support during the labor. He was so calm and coached me with my breathing - it made all the difference in the world to feel like he was right with me and we were working together.

It was easier to be in a positive frame of mind once I started feeling Eli drop and I had to really breath through the contractions. I remembered sitting up during my (quick, amazingly easy) labor with Emma so I tried that again and that helped a lot. I leaned against Daniel and he reminded me to take deep breaths (since I have a tendency to hyperventilate). It's so important for a pain-medicine free birth to be as relaxed as possible.

All of a sudden during one particularly strong contraction I realized I was starting to want to push! It was one of those "I hope you're ready to catch this baby!" kind of moments. I seriously thought the L&D nurses were going to have to deliver him! I blew through the contractions and my water broke. Finally the midwife got to the hospital and after only two hours of labor they said I could go ahead and push. I wanted to push him out slow and steady but he popped right out after just one push! 
I've posted this one before but it's one of my all-time favorite cell phone pics
I only tore a little bit at he site of the episiotomy I got during the delivery of my firstborn (I so hate having that - I tear there every time.) Getting those two little stitches hurt almost as much as delivering the baby but after a few minutes Eli was nursing and I felt mentally great, physically pretty wobbly and weak for the first few hours and so so happy to not be pregnant anymore.
coming home from the hospital
We only stayed at the hospital for 24 hours. It is SO freaking boring at the hospital and I could not wait to get back home! 
I always forget how big my belly is after I've given birth!
sweet brothers!
Once we got home it was a little bit overwhelming. All of the kids crowded around me wanting to hold their new brother. The littlest two didn't quite get why they couldn't climb all over me to get as close to Eli as humanly possible. Thankfully my mom was there to help and quickly got them all gathered at the table and started on little craft projects.

my mom with all of my kids

So far Eli has a very sweet, calm disposition. He hardly ever cries and is getting on an awesome rhythm of nursing and sleeping. Which has been great, since for the first week I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I won't even tell you how well he is sleeping at night for fear of jinxing myself. Let me just say that I've been pleasantly surprised. 

Eli has Hydronephrosis of his left kidney so we've had a bunch of doctors appointments and misc. medical insanity to deal with this last week. On Monday Eli had a VCU to rule out reflux. Thankfully that test came back negative for kidney reflux. We have appointments with specialists at the end of the week and hope to have a better idea of what is going on. Right now we aren't worried about it - Eli is really healthy and so far this issue has been presented to us as nothing urgent. I'm just so thankful that they found this on his prenatal ultrasound because I would never have guessed that there was anything wrong with him. 
I think that about does it. I probably forgot something... I think it's time for a nap!

Before & After: a photo of Eli

Original Image
{Edited with PhotoShop Elements 7.0}
Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color Cast 
Duplicate Layer
Change Layer style to "Soft Light"
Filter > Other > High Pass > set to 3.0
Crop to 8x10
Flatten the image
Run a quick Edge Burn from the Coffee Shop blog
Run My 4 Hens Action "Blueberry"
Reduce Opacity to 49%
Plus M4H "Blusher"
Plus M4H "Cherry Cream"
De-select "Cherry Cream" & "Whipped Haze" layers
Maybe it's a just a little over-edited but I really like it :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

a few quick pics

I sat down to blog and Eli woke up!! I guess this is the new normal for awhile :) So here are a couple pics from my cell: 
meet Eli Graham
my boys!

resting after the delivery

love this one 

taken and edited by the hubs :)

the best husband and labor partner EVER!

Eli & Emma

Beth & Eli
Katie-Abigail  & Eli
The kids are adjusting SO well - they all adore their new brother and are always asking to hold him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eli is here!

I'm blogging from the hosiptal on my phone. I've posted pics on Twitter but haven't been able to figure out how to post them here (just click on the Twitter link in the sidebar and you'll be able to see my Twitter stream).

Eli Graham was born Tuesday at 9:44am, after only two hours of active labor and only one push! I can hardly believe it was so quick! I'll be sure to write the "long version" of his birth story with all of the details that all of you othere mamas want to hear soon.

Eli is totally adorable in every way. He started nursing within minutes of his birth and I couldn't ask for a better eater. He's also sleeping and pooping well and peeing on all of the nurses :)

I think he looks most like Emma but I'm starting to see a lot of Katie-Abigail in him today. He has the perfect pouty lip like Beth and cute little sideburns like Josiah. The kids totally adore him and Josiah just wanted to hold him and hold him. I'm sure he is going to be an amazing big brother!

We hope to be able to go home today. I'm missing home so much! I'd like to be on my own couch with my littles. The boredom, quietness (and crappy food) here is driving me a little nuts.

I'll post pics ASAP!

Monday, July 18, 2011

waiting, blessings, and looking forward to tomorrow

I've been waiting


waiting for Eli to decide to make his appearance.

My due date was Friday July 15th and still no baby.

I'm going in bright and early tomorrow to be induced and I'm hopeful that it will go well - I've been induced before and it was a really good experience. I like the calm, being able to plan, not rushing, not stressing.

In the meantime I've been reading one thousand blessings and it's been perfect. I've been enjoying it tremendously. It's one of those books you want to rush out and buy for your mom and your sister and your best friend at Bible study. Sometimes I find her writing style obnoxious but the theme of the book is simply beautiful and the theme of gratitude no matter what is going on in life is quite timely.

One thing that I've really been impressed with in this the idea of asking myself what is blessing? So many things I might name "curse" is actually blessing - like a tree falling on my home. Everything turned out really well and I called it "blessing" but what if we were still trying to pick up the pieces? What if everything hadn't worked out so quickly and well? Would I still call it blessing? What about being overdue and being induced? I'd wanted him to come naturally - and before his due date. He didn't. Will I call it blessing too? So many things in my life that I haven't liked as it came in have proved to be blessings as I look back. It makes me think...

So anyway - I'm sure I'll be posting photos here as soon as I can and I'll be updating my status on Twitter if you'd like to follow me there. I appreciate your prayers and all of your comments, tweets and emails to let me know that you're thinking of me - y'all re the best!

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