So, here I am, just jumping right back in like I said I would. There’s so much to catch up on, old friends, but I feel first that I must talk about the biggest life change in the past year – having another son!
My blog died some time in the last week of June 2016 and we found out we were pregnant on July 9th. We had just spent the week, a glorious week, at Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch camp. Skyler was serving on the medic team and we spent the week bunking up with 6 other families in the old ranch house at camp. Somewhere in the middle of the week was a special carnival night set up for the camp kids. It wasn’t set to start until some time after 9 pm and my kids go to bed about 7. Skyler was determined that we would be taking our kids to enjoy this carnival (which only lasts about 20 minutes) and I was determined that 20 minutes of fun wasn’t worth keeping our kids awake an extra 2+ hours. We bounced back and forth (while our other nurse friend Jodie listened to our silly argument). Finally, Skyler just said, “enough! What’s with you? You must be pregnant. You’re never this ridiculous unless you’re pregnant!” Jodie was rather too quick to pipe in with, “yes! We have tests here! I’ll go get you one.”
Typically, I would’ve been pregnant by this time of year already (with having 2 January babies and one beginning of February baby already) and I had already been getting texts and questions from friends asking if was with child yet – but several months prior, Skyler and I had a conversation about me wanting to not get pregnant until after summer, or at least after our 2 weeks spent at camp because I had already spent 6 summers either being nauseous and pregnant, or nursing and caring for a 6 month old. I just wanted to be able to enjoy a summer without either of those things.
Because I was SO set on not being pregnant at camp, I politely told Jodie and Skyler to suck it and nope, I wouldn’t be taking a test at camp. I would not be pregnant at camp, dang it.
Also, we did take the kids to the carnival. They loved it and Skyler was right.
A couple days later as we were nearing the end of camp, I told Jodie that she could go ahead and get me a test and I would take the test the morning of departure from camp as my parting gift to the medic team. (Aren’t I so thoughtful and don’t ya want one of my party favors?!) So I took the test.
Well, that was a big, fat, pregnant YEP! Pregnant. Pregnant. On the last day of our two weeks of camp. (That’s funny, God. I see what you did there.) And that officially made for 4/4 pregnancies that Skyler detected I was pregnant before I did. (How DOES he do that?!)
And so we told the medic team that we’d see them back at camp in a year with a 3 month old in tow.
Shortly after, we made our announcement to friends and family and on the internets.
We announced right away (as we always do, generally around 7 weeks) because especially with this 4th child, I started growing a bump about 30 seconds after I peed on the test.
I hardly took belly shots, but here are the few I have:
10 weeks and had just returned from visiting the Magnolia Silos!
And then a long pause because I just couldn’t seem to get my act together enough to just snap a photo. I believe this was 28 weeks?!
All my babies have always favored my right side which makes for a lopsided belly.
About 33ish weeks, celebrating Ellery’s 2nd birthday.
37 weeks – always the week I realize that soon and very soon I will have to push a little human out of my body.
My last appointment, my sweet midwife Joanne did a belly painting. I hadn’t had one since I was pregnant with Zeek so it was a fun full circle of my 4 pregnancies.
The night, maybe 2 nights, before Alder was born. Feeling large and saggy!
This pregnancy was beautiful, as they all are, but it was hard to feel like it wasn’t going to kill me also. With each pregnancy, I’ve gotten worse and worse veins on my right leg (my babies always favored laying on my right side, remember?) which was very painful and would make my leg go numb. This started about 18 weeks along and persisted throughout the pregnancy.
In January, about 30 weeks pregnant, I was walking down the hallway one morning when something just snapped inside me. It felt like my uterus had suddenly ripped and I crumpled like a little ball and couldn’t get up. I spent about 30 minutes curled in a ball and weeping before Skyler decided “enough” and he loaded me up to take me to the ER. They sent me straight to Labor & Delivery since I was 30 weeks. A few hours of tests and monitors and a declined CAT scan and MRI later – the cause of the pain was inconclusive but it was starting to subside so I went home on unofficial bed rest for a couple days.
In February, at 34 weeks, after all three children went through a week of chicken pox each, I ended up with shingles. SHINGLES. Holy smokes, people. I’d had 3 pain-med free births by that point, gall stone attacks, and numerous other ailments, but shingles? That is some painful stuff. It developed right across the top of my belly – right where Alder could kick from the inside which would shoot intense pain throughout and there wasn’t a darn I could do about it. The exhaustion from it was unreal. I literally could not even make my bed without being so purely exhausted that I would have to lay down on the made bed for 10-15 minutes after. This lasted until about 38 weeks.
And at 38 weeks – I felt like I finally had a break. Like I could catch up on life and finally prepare for this baby. We made tons of freezer food and the boys each had jobs to help with in the preparation.
Also, Zeek drew a family portrait of us (him holding the new baby), and I fell in love with kid art.
At 39 weeks, we finally transitioned Ellery out of the crib so that we could move it into our room for the baby and we gave Elle a big girl bed.
At 40 weeks, we decided it was probably time to install that car seat in the car…
I also had my last midwife appointment which I took Ellery to for one last special mom and baby date. We headed to the White Rabbit Bakery next door to the birth center and we got some gluten free, dairy free donuts – which is basically a waste of a donut but hey, they at least still had frosting.
And at 40 weeks and 2 days, I pulled this joke on my mom (and any friend who texted me to see how I was doing that day), which she was not thrilled about:
And at 40 weeks and 3 days, Alder Hawken was born!