January 31, 2009

I Can Do This. (I Think.)







This is a sampling of photos that my friend Samantha Lamb came and took a couple of days ago. She is an amazing artist and photographer... check out her site and keep your eyes peeled for her shows here in the OKC area! Thanks, Sam!

*******************************************************


Yesterday was my first day alone with both kids, and I was kindof freaking out about it the night before. I didn't have any confidence in myself and I felt like a little kid lost in the never-ending isles of a grocery store. I felt scared and I really didn't think I could do it.

But, when Monday rolled around, I did just fine. I got up and took a shower and got dressed. I put on makeup. I took the boys out to lunch before our playgroup date, and started to freak out a little when I realized I'd have to figure out a way to carry my drink and the carseat (BEAST heavy!) and the food back out the door- all while trying to keep Ezra out of traffic and harm's way. But it was easy. I carefully put my drink in the food bag so that it only took one hand to carry it all. I grabbed the carseat and realized that all those years of training and disciplining my son are sooooo paying off now, because he listens to what I say and he stays close by me when I ask him to. Easy Breezy.

Playgroup was wonderful- and getting to spend time talking with other mommies was exactly what I needed. I felt my confidence growing stronger as the day rolled on. In the evening, we took the kids to our friend Joel's birthday party (HAPPY 31rst, bestest buddy!!) and I was reminded of how utterly ADAPTABLE kids really are. Ezra was asleep on the couch most of the night, and Myer was totally chill as we passed him around to our friends to hold. When others weren't cuddling him, he hung out in the sling and slept. It was so fun.

I can do this.

{I think.}

Today, Ezra is in school till 2:00, and Chris took him this morning, so I didn't even have to worry about getting both kids out of the house. Myer and I have been chilling at home and cleaning the bedroom/doing laundry. Later, we'll all go to the library and then it's yummy pizza dinner with Chris' parents tonight.

It's so strange how life just rolls right on... how it feels like Myer was born AGES and AGES ago...

Almost like he's been here all along.

I can totally do this.

January 29, 2009

January 27, 2009

Iced In.

We are all snowed/iced in today.

And I could not be happier about that if I tried.





The babe is two weeks old now. Ezra has been just what I expected him to be- an extremely dedicated helper to momma and a passionate brother to Myer. He loves to hold the baby, kiss the baby, "pet" the baby. When Myer makes any sort of noise he is immediately engrossed in finding a solution for all of Myer's problems...

"Maybe he's hungry, or somefing, mamma?"

"Maybe he wants his pacifier, or somefing, mamma?" (which he will then run and retrieve.)

He is fantastic.



*******************************************


In other news, it seems this little blog has been nominated for An Okie Blog Award! How fun! I am in the 'Best Family Blog' category, pitted against my friend Piper (who I would personally vote for).

Here's the catch: you've got to be an Oklahoma blogger to cast your vote. So, if you live in Oklahoma and have a blog, click that link and vote away! While you're there, check out all the other amazing blogs this state has to offer!

Thank you thank you!

January 24, 2009

It Takes a Village.



First of all, I'm ridiculously in love. Like... head in the clouds, butterflies in the tummy, 'I'm gonna write you love poems all day' IN LOVE.

Today is Myer's official due date. I CANNOT even fathom still being pregnant today... I am so SO glad that this goober decided to show up 12 days early. Happy Due Date, Myer Bean!

He's such a good baby. It takes a lot to get this guy to cry. He mostly grunts. And when he locks eyes with you, you feel like you're looking wisdom in the face. He likes to just look around and chill when he's awake. Like he's taking in the scene and wondering who these wacky people are that hover over him all day- cooing like smitten doves.

My mom has been here since the 16th. I can't even begin to relate how wonderful this has been. She is taking very good care of us... cleaning the house and doing all the laundry and dishes... entertaining Ezra for hours on end and handling most of the bedtimes. She's put her life completely on hold to come care for us, and there is NO WAY the transition back home with two children would be going so smoothly if it weren't for her. She's Wonder Woman. She's a power house. She's full of life and enegry. She's... MoMar!

Having a child really forces you to look at the community and support system that you have created for yourself- that you have spent years or months or decades building up around you. And, having another child, for Chris and I, has opened our eyes to see exactly how loved and cared for we really are. It has felt like a big, smooshy hug. Like a safety net of sorts. Like the best feeling in the world.

For the past twelve nights, we have had a home cooked, AMAZING meal delivered to our door by people who love us. And the food is still coming! Chris has been able to come home from work and just sit and hold his son, because we have not had to worry about making meals. Also? The leftovers are to DIE for.

I believe in the old truism that says "it takes a village to raise a child". I really do. I am aware that I need help and support to make it through the tough times. I am aware that life is much richer when you can celebrate personal joys with a multitude. I am fully conscious of the fact that we need each other in this life.

And I am so grateful to my friends and family for gathering around us during this precious time with our new son... I couldn't ask for anything more. We are so very blessed.

January 20, 2009

Myer Elliot's Birth Story.

The day before Myer was born (Sunday), I was having irregular contractions- anywhere from 9 to 20 minutes apart. Then they would stop completely for awhile. They were nothing more than slightly uncomfortable, so I wasn't sure that anything was happening. I went to bed that night and slept comfortably, only waking up a few times to whimper through a contraction before falling right back to sleep again.

At 6:00 am, I had a couple of contractions that felt a little bit stronger. I was up and out of bed around 7:00. Contractions were still sporadic.

Then 7:30AM came along. Suddenly, my contractions were only 5 minutes apart and I couldn't talk through them anymore. We timed these contractions for about 45 minutes before my husband's gut instinct told him he needed to get me to the hospital... much sooner than later.

video


He scooped Ezra up in one arm, still in his PJs, scooping his bowl of cereal up in the other hand, and jogged down the street to my neighbor Nikki's house. All I can say about this is THANK GOD FOR NIKKI. Yes, indeed.

He jogged back to the house and grabbed a few last minute things, all the while I'm squatting and working my way through intense contractions. Then we get in the car and drive the 20 minutes to the hospital. It only felt like 2 minutes to me.

We got up to the labor & delivery floor and went up to the check-in desk. There was another woman waiting in front of me- also in labor- but there was no one behind the desk. NO ONE BEHIND THE DESK! For a good 5 minutes, I writhed on the floor and moaned. FINALLY, a woman stuck her head around the corner and was all, "Can I help you? I've been sitting right here the whole time." THE WHOLE TIME. I was soooo pissed.

This woman proceeded to take me to a room so that she could enter all my information into the computer system. I couldn't answer her questions- the contractions were too intense to talk through. Thankfully, another nurse came in and said she thought she needed to check how dilated I was right then because I was "looking serious". I thanked her profusely. She checked me and I was already 8 centimeters dilated. Say what?!

I cried tears of joy. I really did.

They quickly wheeled in a bed, plopped me on it, and took me straight to a labor room. All the while the nurse was yelling "History of rapid delivery! History of rapid delivery!" as everyone scrambled to get everything ready around me.

At this point, I was still smiling and talking between every contraction. My friend Leanne showed up to help us through the labor, and we were all chatting away and excited and making calls. When a contraction would come, I would breathe through it and I felt like I was totally in control and able to manage each one as it came. After each contraction, I was able to relax.

When my midwife, Leeanna, walked in I was totally THRILLED. She happened to be on the labor floor that day, which meant that the woman who had handled all of my prenatal care was going to be delivering my baby. If she hadn't been on call that day, she wouldn't have made it in time. I was overjoyed when I saw her face! We laughed at how craaaazy fast everything was happening and we tried to get my antibiotic IV drip started for the Group Strep B.

Somewhere around this time, my contractions started getting even more intense. In between each contraction I closed my eyes and tried to relax. I was still able to breathe through them and stay on top of them, but I could tell things were REALLY happening.

Chris held my hand and told me how flushed and beautiful I looked. He said I had that 'far away look in my eyes' like I was about to give birth to a baby. He cheered me through every contraction- telling me I was doing amazing- and helped guide my breathing and encouraged me to relax. In the midst of all of this insanity, I felt peaceful inside. I knew I was doing well... that everything was okay.

I could feel Myer making his way down the birth canal, and the pressure on my tailbone became very, very intense. It felt good to apply counter-pressure with my hand, and my midwife was laughing because she couldn't get me to move it out of her way for anything. So, she let it be. Did I mention I love her?

I was moaning and breathing and crying out as it came nearer to the time to push. It just felt good to make some noise. So I did. I think I remember saying 'Jesus' a lot. Because... well... OW. Jesus HELP ME.

My water broke. People scrambled around again. Not long after that, I managed to say "puu-shing!" I was fully dilated and his head was right there. Pushing was quite a bit more painful this time around, because it took longer (about 30 minutes) and my midwife was there guiding me- telling me when to push gently and when to bear down. I definitely felt the 'ring of fire' more this time around, but I was completely able to follow her direction... I was still in control. She used warm compresses and massage and Chris got to help guide Myer out. After a primal scream or two, all EIGHT POUNDS of Myer came roaring into the world. His head was 14.25 inches... and I didn't tear even one little bit.

That's the sign of an amazing midwife. (I tore with Ezra and he was only 6 lbs!)

I remember verbally praising God as they laid him on my belly. I felt nothing but joy and relief and nearly unbearable pride. It was 10:32AM. Less than two hours after we'd arrived at the hospital.



I was SO glad to be done, and I was INSTANTLY in love.

I'm still wading through the effects that such an amazing and empowering labor have had on me personally... as a woman, as a mother... but I know this much for certain: I am forever changed by his birth. I feel somehow... unshackled. Strong. Focused. Surefooted. When I think of his birth, I am completely blown away by God's goodness to me and my growing family.

He's an amazing, amazing boy.

January 18, 2009

Newborn House Arrest? NO THANK YOU.



*********Baby Pool Announcement!!**********

Can you believe that out of FORTY baby pool guesses, the winner would be my very own wonderful sister-in-law?? Candace took the prize-- barely winning out (by one hour!) over my bestie Rebecca. She guessed his height exactly as well. So, CONGRATULATIONS, Candace! I will be sending you something fun in the mail shortly. Also- I love yoooooo! smooch smooch!

*****************************************


I've been wanting to do that thing where you compare your kids' newborn pictures, but am not nearly organized enough to get a "same outfit, same hat, same background, same pose" capture like so many bloggers seem so able to do. I found these two poses somewhat similar, however, so I thought I'd do a side-by-side comparison of the boys at just a few days old:



Myer is on the left, and Ezra is on the right.

They look somewhat similar in these photos, although in real life I think they look really different. Myer is obviously much BEEFIER than Ezra was (hello, two extra pounds! Owww!) Ezra DEFINITELY had my eyes & dark eyelashes when he was born, while Myer seems to have his daddy's brow & eyes. He also has Chris' head shape and bigger lips. I'm thinking we might have a mini-daddy on our hands, while Ezra was a mini-mommy. How fun!

We are all doing incredibly well, and Myer has still been sleeping pretty much all the time. He sleeps for 4 hour stretches at night, so we're getting plenty of rest so far, and he eats like a champ!

Chris and I have been out & about quite a few times, because we don't particularly agree with the "LOCK DOWN" theory if momma and baby are doing well and feeling up for some fresh air and company. Also, GASP! WE ARE NOT TERRIFIED OF GERMS! So, there's that.

So far, everywhere we've been, people react with shock and stifled horror that we have had the audacity to walk out our front door with our newborn baby. Maybe it's an Oklahoma thing? I don't know. Anyways, it's annoying. For me personally, it's much healthier to be out of the house every now and again- grabbing coffee or sitting at church- rather than being cooped up in my bedroom. I feel amazing physically, and the air and company have done me good. I don't remember such reactions after we had Ezra. (We were out & about just as much with him too.) Maybe it was the laid-back California mentality or the fact that none of our friends had ever been around babies before so they didn't know most people stayed home for WEEKS after giving birth... I don't know.

Since I feel great, and Myer is doing great, we do things. We go places. And we don't think that makes us bad parents.

ANYWHO, I've started writing down Myer's birth story since it is still so fresh in my mind. Every single time I close my eyes, I see a replay of the events of his birth. Funny how life-changing events seem to hunker down behind your eyelids like that. I absolutely love it, and I'm trying to capture the day before it starts to fade away. I'll post that soon.

Happy Monday, all! Myer has his first doctor's check-up today... wish us luck!

Myer has BIG HANDS.

January 16, 2009

New Life.



I know it's a little early to be making sweeping, grandiose statements about how wonderful life has suddenly become, but I just can't help it. There is new life bursting from the seams of this little house of ours... new life that eats and sleeps and poops! But, also, new life in the hearts of those changing all these tiny dirty diapers...

January 14, 2009

Sleep is for Babies.

I'm supposed to be napping in the bedroom but SHHHHH I am blogging and looking at pictures of mah new baybeeee instead.

We got home yesterday afternoon and I have been floating around in a cloud of pure bliss & happiness ever since. I'm too happy to sleep.

But Myer sleeps a lot! One time he did this:



Oh! And then later he did this:



And then... you will not believe this... but, look! He slept some more!



Then we all went out for some tea and coffee and cupcakes. Myer will not remember this outing, however, because guess what? He slept all the way through it.



I am feeling pretty much amazing- like I didn't even birth a child two days ago- and you guys may not believe me when I say this, but the only part of me that is currently in any discomfort is my LEFT BICEP MUSCLE. I've never had such a sore muscle before. It hurts when I even glance at it too forcefully.

Apparently, I was using that arm as counter-pressure on my tailbone during the 'pushing' stage of my labor. I've injured my tailbone pretty badly a few times in my life, and during transition/pushing it felt like that bone was going to re-break unless I pushed on it with all my strength. So... YEAH. My arm is sore.

Anywho... life is good and we're pretty much all just drowning in love. It feels so so good to be home!

January 13, 2009

My Baby is A Rockstar (And less than one day old!)

Thank you all so much for your well wishes & welcomes to the newest member of our family! We are set to go home today from the hospital, and I cannot wait to have all of us together in our cozy little house again. (That's probably the BIGGEST appeal to homebirthing for me... once you're done, you're at HOME!) All this time in the hospital seems unnecessary (AND BORING) to me, although I DO enjoy some of the perks of as well...

i.e:

-Room Service
-House Keeping
-Prescription strength ibuprofen (those after pains are a doozie...)
-those great hospital swaddling blankets
-Constant free drink refills and snack accessibility
-and great views of the city from this room of ours!

Everything has gone really smoothly and perfectly since we've been here, so I am very thankful for that. I will write more about the birth later, but it was a very different experience from Ezra's birth because my midwife was actually THERE this time, and we had so much help and support from the moment we walked in... it felt incredible.

Wanted to share a few more pictures for all of you out there, but especially for my family far away that can't be here with us during this extra special time...
















Oh, yes! Re: The mohawk... these really hip and stylish nurses came to give myer his first bath yesterday, and when they brought him back they said they just couldn't resist "hawking" him because he had the perfect hair for it. HAHA. I (obviously) almost died from the cuteness, and his hair is STILL standing up like that even after an entire night of wearing a baby beanie.

Such a rockstar already.

January 12, 2009

Introducing.....

myer elliot clark
"bringer of light to the Lord"


born January 12th, 10:32 AM

21" 8 lbs. 1 oz.






We are all doing GREAT!!!!

I started having contractions around 7:00AM this morning. We got to the hospital at 8:45 AM, and he was here at 10:30 AM!!

We feel so blessed and are over-the-moon in love with this little guy. He's very mellow and quiet so far, and has us all wrapped around his microscopic little pinky finger already.

Thank you, Jesus!!!

January 10, 2009

Ring Sling!

Nothing new to report today... I still feel really good and am enjoying these final days of pregnancy! I know I am going to miss being pregnant once this little guy makes his arrival, so I am trying to soak up these moments like the last days of Summer Vacation... the last days of rest before the whirlwind begins.

I must confess, I was secretly hoping (and praying) that he would be born on the 9th (yesterday). 1.9.09. That's just a cool day to be born. PLUS, it was a full moon, so my chances were good! But, no such luck. Now, I'm aiming for the 12th because it's my best friend's birthday. (Hi, R-Tron!)

I spent part of the day making a sling out of some fabric I fell in love with and some rings I ordered from slingrings.com. The fabric was originally $24 a yard, but I got it for $6. The rings were about $3, so the whole thing cost me less than $20! Also, a friend of mine from California was kind enough to let me borrow her Maya Wrap Sling for awhile, so I'm finally feeling covered as far as carriers go. (Thanks, Debra!!!) Now I am totally ready!

Here's the fabric:



And here's the sling:



Now all I need is a yummy munchkin butt-butt to fill it... woo woo!

January 8, 2009

Golden Thread.



I'm still here... still feeling excited and like I want to meet my baby soon! This morning I woke up to the "show" (I'm trying to be discreet here, but if you've had a baby before you will know what I am referring to) and have felt pretty normal all day since then. I am just SO thrilled to know that my body has been busy without me even really knowing it. I am ECSTATIC to know that I am already at 3 cm... that's way more progress than when I showed up at the hospital (in pain) to have Ezra, and I have been pretty darn comfortable up to this point, so I'm over the moon! Go body, go! I am so proud of its progress.

I am feeling empowered and in awe of this process once again. Our bodies are unbelievable, aren't they? I am excited about the pain, the triumph, the awakening of labor. I am yearning to see my husband fall head over heels in love again... overcome by a boy no bigger than his forearm. A "David & Goliath" conquest played out before my very own eyes...

This baby has already accomplished much in his life without ever even taking a breath. In the throes of loss and suffocating depression... A light! A light!

On the heels of God-induced joy came the knowledge of new life... almost like our little family had stopped in the desert to build an altar for what God had done in our hearts. A remembrance. A symbol of His goodness and love for us. A baby... and now he's almost here!

I'm praying that things will kick into gear sooner than later, but I am also well aware of the fact that this baby will get born at the EXACT moment he is meant to. It could be tonight, or it could be two weeks from now. My heart and my home are ready... the rest I will leave in Good Hands- The very same hands that have been busy slowly knitting this child together and stitching up my broken heart with strings of golden thread.



Oh, the anticipation and joy of it all! There's nothing like it in the world!

January 7, 2009

UPDATE: Good News & Bad News.

**UPDATE**

--My midwife checked me this AM, and I am currently 3 cm dilated (measuring 4-5 cm on the outside) and I still haven't really felt any "contractions" as of yet. This is great because when I had Ezra, I was only dilated to a 1 when I showed up at the hospital. I had him 5 hours later, but I'm already farther along now than I was with him then... Wahoo!!

--I tested positive for Group B Strep... meaning I won't be able to labor at home like I'd hoped, but will need to head to the hospital as soon as my contractions become regular or my water breaks so they can give me antibiotics. The thought of this baby getting a dose of antibiotics before he's even born is a bit unsettling to me, but I'm going to do my research and make sure I know my options before I agree to anything for sure. I don't want this little guy to get sick!

So.... ANY TIME NOW!! Stay tuned!

January 6, 2009

Place Your Bets! It's Baby Pool Time!


Dearest Darling Uterus,

Take a long hard look, if you would, at this picture of the last child you nurtured within your walls four years ago. Isn't he amazing? Look at those eyelashes!


photo by the amazing cameron ingalls!


Now, the way I see it, this current baby is pretty much ready to go. At this point, he's only getting BIGGER and creating deeper and itchier and stranger-looking stretch marks around my poor belly button by the hour. So...

LET'S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD, SHALL WE?!?!?! HMMMM&*^!%*&^%!? RAWR!!!

Love,
Excessively Eager Em Jo


**************************************************


Dearest Darling Husband,

How do you know me so well? On New Years day, you announced you were ready for a change. A "mixing it up" of sorts. I agreed absent-mindedly, although I had no idea what you could mean by it all.

Later that evening, after Ezra was asleep, and I in my perpetual bath, you carried out your plan of action.

YOU REARRANGED THE LIVING ROOM FURNITURE.

I knew then, more than I ever had before, that God created you just for me.

Rearranging furniture is like crack cocaine to me. I would do it every day if I weren't aware of the social implications for such behavior. (Read: One way ticket to the Looney Bin.)

I LOVE my new living room. I feel like I can breathe again.

And I love you.



Forever Your
Furniture Flingin' Wife


**************************************************


Dearest Darling Ezzie Bug,

I LOVE the way you talk about meeting your brother. I love hearing you tell him all the things you are going to teach him. And I love the way you want to 'rub my belly' almost constantly throughout the day.

But I DO NOT love how you keep saying this baby is going to be born on your birthday. That would make him two weeks late.

Just the THOUGHT of that possibility causes mommy to daily eat her weight in peanut M&M's... and wonder warily if she has a little prophet of doom on her hands.

You're officially banned from the baby guessing pool.



Love,
Your Massive Mamma

**************************************************


Okay! So... speaking of date guessing...
let's Baby Pool it up!


Leave a comment with your best guess of the date of birth, the time, the weight, and the height of this little guy, and the winner will receive... something! That I haven't decided upon yet! But it will be great!

Here's the info I can give you:

The official due date is January 24th.

Ezra came 10 days early at 4:24 AM and weighed 6 lbs 4 oz. He was 20 inches long.


Good Luck, all!

January 3, 2009

37 Weeks and BORED.

37 Weeks.


If I haven't mentioned it here before, it's probably because I ran out of babies to wear about 3 years ago, but... I'm very into "baby wearing". If there's a way to strap a baby to yourself out there, I know about it and have probably tried it. I know how to make a baby sling using nothing but a bedsheet and a slipknot. I know the kangaroo carry and the hip carry and the cross carry and the rucksack carry. I know how to strap a baby to my back or create a hands-free cradle sleep carry with nothing but a piece of long stretchy fabric, and I know that my baby carriers have gotten much more use than any of my strollers ever did.

On the cusp of this baby arriving, I have found that my brain has been completely hijacked by the subject once again. I have been touching up on my baby-wearin' skillz and making sure I have everything I need to start wearing this guy right away. I'm suddenly obsessed, is all I'm saying.

Here are the current carriers that I have:

The Ultimate Baby Wrap, in Navy Blue.

The Sleepy Wrap, in Slate Gray.

and the New Native Baby Sling in Black.


I also have two other pieces of fabric that I use as wraps. So... FIVE options. That seems like plenty, no?

Apparently, five is not enough. I am suddenly convinced that I MUST have an adjustable ring sling to make my life complete.

Here's an example of my dream sling:



...from this etsy shop, but it's a bit on the pricey side and I will probably just end up borrowing one or getting some fabric and making my own.

So... yeah. This baby needs to come soon because I am bored and have been spending way too much time thinking about all this. BOOORRED.

In other news, I had an appointment on Friday and everything is going great. Baby's heart sounds excellent, and the little guy is head down just like he should be. I'm feeling good and my hospital bag is FINALLY packed. The car seat is ready, the nursery is ready, the closet is ready, and I've even been getting lots of fun goodies in the mail from our amazon baby registry the last couple of weeks. My mom is flying out on the 20th to stay for awhile, and we are hoping the baby will be here by then or by the time she has to leave again... After that, the rest of my family is coming out in mid-February to meet the little guy. Wahoo!

Here are a couple photos of the closet and the nursery as it stands right now:

Chris BUILT these closet shelves from scratch. He never ceases to amaze...



The changing table.


It seems that everything is in order and all that's left to do is wait. (NOT A STRONG POINT OF MINE.)

PS. Do you like my new blog banner? I rang in the New Year by crouching over my laptop and creating it. I didn't realize it was a New Year until 12:15 or so. ***MASSIVE BLOG NERD ALERT***