Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fox is TWO Months Old

Dear Fox, 

You are two months old! You've graduated from wearing newborn clothes to clothes size ranging from 0-3 months to 3 months. Just like the other two boys, there is some sadness in putting away your newborn clothes. Mama is considering about taking several of each boys' favorite clothes to be stored away, then turning them into quilts. 

Mama is relieved to find a bunch of sleeping sacks for you to have when it is time for you to transition to your crib, which will happen when you are between 5-6 months old, or when you outgrow your bassinet. Unlike your older brothers, you will not be having blankets to sleep with in your crib, because the recent studies have shown that babies don't fare well with blankets until they are a year old. It will be an interesting learning experience to figure out how to keep you warm inside your sleeper sacks. 

You recently had a trip to Dr. Karbon's office, because Daddy and Mama noticed that you had a white blister cap on top of your big toe, and suspected an ingrown nail! You didn't like having your big toe inspected. Sure enough, Dr. Karbon confirmed that you, in fact, did have an ingrown nail. 

Apparently, it is quite common in newborn babies to have ingrown nails, because their nails are so thin, and it can interfere with how it grows with the skin. Who knew?! 

Anyway, Dr. Karbon assured that all was well, and that the nail was growing into the right direction. Whew! Mama and Daddy were told to be on an outlook for any signs of infection, and to call back if anything had changed with the ingrown nail. 

You are clocking at 10 pounds! It puts you at 33 percentile of weight. You may be small, but you are turning into a chunkster! You are still a good eater, and make it clear when you are done by pushing yourself off. It is amazing to see much of strength in something so small. You are not as small as Frank, and not quite as large as Forrest at this age! Mama still thinks you resemble Forrest the most.

You continue to lift your head, and prefer to propel your skinny legs off anything. It is obvious that you prefer to be in a standing position, but with you being so young yet, and becoming fatigued easily; it is not very often that you are able to keep yourself upright for so long. You are my most restless baby. The only time you are not wiggling around is when you are asleep. During your awake moments, your legs and arms are always shaking, wiggling, and grooving! It is very rare that you would be content with sitting still while watching the world unfold around you. With you always moving, it is almost as if you are impatient to be able to join with the world, and be on the go!

You're quite colicky. The witching hours begin at 4 pm, and usually don't end until between 9-11 pm. Fortunately, your crying fits are getting less, and less these days. You no longer feel a need to be held in the middle of the night to go back to sleep, and your crying fits has ceased in the night. However, Mama and Daddy are expecting this to resurge with your regressions yet to come. Nonetheless, it is a relief to have your crying fits to stop at the night, and to be able to put you down in your bassinet without you erupting into tears. Your colic should fade away between 3-4 months.

Your feedings are usually between 1-2 am, and 4-5 am in the night, which is not so quite bad, and it is nice to be able to just wake twice to nurse. By your 4-5 am feeding, you are usually ready to be up for the day! You do go back to sleep with a lot of holding, and prompting. Hopefully in time, you will learn to return to sleep after your 4-5 am feeding, and rest for at least an hour or two before the big brothers wake up for the day! It looks like you will be following your older brothers' tendency to get up EARLY for the day.

Unfortunately, with you turning 2 months old, this means you will be getting your first set of vaccinations, and it may or may not put you in a bad mood. You won't be getting your vaccinations by yourself though. Forrest also will need his 5-year old vaccinations, and he will be with you in a solidarity on that day! Hopefully you both won't be feeling out of sorts after getting your shots, but it all depends! It will be great to find out how much you've grown height-wise, head measurement, and weight.

You are settling into our family rather wonderfully. The older brothers are still fascinated by you, and they always want to hold you. If they are unable to hold you, then they are touching you. You are never without kisses, and hugs! They love helping you with your baths, but not so much with throwing your stinky poo-poo diapers in the trash. It will be so much fun to see you finally walking, and running to keep up with your older brothers just like how Mama had envisioned when she first got pregnant with you.

Mama is looking forward to buying the books from Shutterfly soon! With every boy, there is two books called The Day You Were Born, and Pregnancy Journal. It is a tradition that she has kept with each boy, and naturally, you will be receiving your books soon!

You are such a blessing, and darling. We look forward to all the new changes with you in this upcoming month!


Mama, Daddy, Forrest, & Frank

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fox is ONE month old!

Dear Fox,

You are ONE month old! Just like how it is with your other two older brothers, I am in a constant awe of how fast time flies, and those past four weeks have gone by in a blur. It does not feel like it is a long ago that I was pregnant with you, and waiting for your arrival. Yet here you are with us for a whole month. 

Our miracle, our rainbow baby, and our hope after the raging storm. Stu always tell me how amazing it is that you are already here with us, and amazing it indeed is. It has been a really long journey to have you arrive into our growing family's embrace. 

We used to be one of those couples that were untouched, separated, and outside of the realm of the loss. After all, we did have your older brothers, and we were naive to believe that we would not experience a heartache of a miscarriage. Unfortunately, our naivety was shaken up, and in that, we realized that life did not spare anybody from experiencing its thorns. 

The pain of our angel baby's loss is still very prominent. Somehow with having you here with us eases that pain, knowing that our angel baby has sent you to us, and having you here is profoundly healing. Having written these words, we also want you to realize that, while you are our blessing to our sadness, and that you are conductive in our healing as our rainbow baby, do know this: we love you dearly for who you are, for what you bring to our family even though we miss the chance and the possibility of the baby before you, you are set apart from our devastating loss, because you are uniquely YOU.  

You are clocking at 7 pounds, and 12 ounces! It is a surprise how fast you have gained since your birth. We jokingly call you our little piglet, since you are a champ at eating. Like Frank as a baby, you are quite small among your peers at only 20 percentile for weight. You are 20.75" tall, and that puts you in 54 percentile for height. You are an interesting mix of both Forrest, and Frank. You have Forrest's head shape, skin color tone, and nose, yet you have Franklin's lips, eye shape, and slim stature. Rest of your features is uniquely YOURS. It will be fun to watch you grow a bit more, and see who you resemble more.

The umbilical cord stump has fallen off. To my relief that the icky scab is gone, you now have a belly button! It is a bit hard to tell if it is an innie, or an outie. Time will tell once you get a bit older. The best part with having your belly button healed is that you are able to take baths instead of needing a sponge bath! Sadly, you are not a fan of baths! You're a voluble baby! You are definitely not afraid to let us know what is on your mind, little buddy. You scream, holler, and cry despite the water being warm, and the consistent room temperature. Once you are dried off, you are back to being a happy little baby. 

Your jaundice is slowly disappearing. The only sign left is a slightly touch of yellow-ness in your eyes. Nursing and sunlight are taking care of this for you. Before we know it, it will be gone. It does not affect how you nurse, or act on a day to day basis. Because of this, Dr. Karbon is not overly concerned. You are a healthy baby with no issues to worry about. This is a big change from our previous experience with Franklin when it comes to health, and care.

You wake up 2-3 times during the night to nurse, and be changed. It is not so terrible. Your witching hour begins at 2:30 am, and you tend to stay awake until 3:30-4:00 am. Darn the icky gas! You are more sensitive than your brothers when it comes to my diet going into the breast milk, and I often have to watch what kind of food I eat to reduce how often you have your 3 am party! I've learned that you don't like strong coffee late in the day, and because of that, I have to watch how much coffee I drink. You love to be bounced, and held, especially late in the night. Because of your late night shenanigans, it does take a bit of toll on me with sleep deprivation. However, what helps is knowing that this is only temporary. Before I know it, you will be sleeping through the night, and I will find myself missing those moments.

Bea, and the cats don't mind you. Bea is often too busy playing with Frank, and Forrest or sleeping to truly care. Missy Girl prefers to keep her company with me. Mr. Jinxy is most fascinated with you. He loves to rub his chin on your head! He is often sitting by your bassinet at the evening, watching over you. Mr. Jinxy enjoys having you near him...except when you start fussing, then he takes a refugee under the bed! 

Forrest, and Franklin love you so. With Forrest being a bit older, he is more engaged by helping giving me your diapers, clothes, and bathing! Franklin is still a bit too young to participate, and understand your vulnerability. Because of that, either Stu or I have to monitor Frank around you. Even so, Frank loves you so much, and always want to pet your hair (just like how Forrest is with Frank). Unlike Forrest, Frank does acknowledge your existence! We get a big laugh out remembering how it took Forrest a good year to acknowledge Franklin's existence. Thankfully, Frank is interested with your presence. He struggles more so with adjusting than Forrest is, and because of this, Stu and I make sure that Frank gets enough attention from us, and that if Frank is up for it, then Frank is able to help us out with your care. Frank gets a bit envious that Forrest holds you with limited assistance, and it is hard for him to understand that you are fragile to be left alone in his arms without an adult's help. We are grateful to have this problem though, because it goes to show how loved you are by your brothers!

Adjusting to having three of you is a continual process. Stu has been a huge help in taking the older two of boys off my hands so I'm able to shower, shop, and take care of you. It will be a challenge once Stu returns to work full-time, because it means I will have to learn how to juggle three of you until Forrest starts school again in fall! I have had small tastes of being on my own with three of you, and let me say this; it is an adventure! It is always chaotically fun, and sometimes, difficult to the point where I want to tear hair out of my head. Nonetheless, by the end of the day, I sit down, and realize that one day we will have a lot of stories to tell to you about your childhood with your older brothers! We have always wanted a big family of three to four kids, and we are so thankful for all the moments we have as a family. 

You don't mind tummy time too much. You like to be held against our chests, or to be babyworn. As a result, you are developing a strong neck already! It will be interesting to see when you hit your milestones. Will it be early, or on time, or late? We shall see, won't we?

Your personality is starting to emerge. For the most part, you are laid-back, which makes it easy for me to be able to attend other two boys' needs. You love your little swing. Being in a constant motion soothes you very much so. At the same time, you are not afraid to show your grumpiness. You can get quite fussy at times, which is a new territory for us, because we've been spoiled by other two not being overly fussy. Once you get fussy, it can be a bit hard to settle you down, and I have had often come up with tricks to soothe you. Among one of the tricks, I have discovered that you love to be bounced in my arms. Being wrapped against my chest is also one of your favorite ways to be held. I suspect it is to help to combat pressure in your belly from gas. Between babywearing, bouncing, and the little swinger, you are pretty set for the most part.


We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Words can't even begin to articulate how thankful we are to have your presence in our family. We look forward to what this month brings to you, and us.


Mama, Daddy, and the Boys 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome to the World, Fox Edward!

On June 19th of 2017, we welcomed our rainbow baby, and our third boy to our family, Fox Edward, into the world. Fox was just two days shy of his due date when he decided it was a perfect time to grace his presence. 

I had no signs of starting labor with Fox until 2:30 am on Monday. Forrest had woken up Stu from a deep sleep, and he was upset about wetting his bed. I joined Stu to help to clean up the mess, and assured Forrest that all was well. I noticed that I had a wet discharge running down my leg. For a moment, I wondered if it was my water breaking, and had to check. As it had turned out, I had some light spotting, and it was something new to me, since I had not had that symptom in my previous pregnancies. Since it was not threatening, or worrisome, I went back to bed, and got up with the boys for the day. It was when I started having a bloody show, which was a good indicator that a labor could start within 24 to 72 hours. 

I had no contractions to indicate that I was going into labor very soon. Nonetheless, I informed Stu about the latest development. He excitedly replied that "today was the day", which I had dismissed. I figured with a bloody show symptom that I might as well just do laundry, and do some light cleaning, because who knows when labor will start? 

Stu had a flat tire on his car, and he was busy working on that situation, then went to work while I spent all morning doing laundry, and light cleaning without a single contraction. Stu checked on me periodically through the morning without any change in my report. By noon, I had a contraction out of blue, and nothing happened afterward. I opted for a wait-and-see method instead of jumping to a conclusion. Frank and I went to pick up Forrest from summer school. By the time we got home, I had a second contraction. I told Stu about the contractions, and quickly added that it was nothing to worry about, because they were so far apart. Stu insisted on coming home anyway. 

I took a shower, and did some last minute packing for my hospital bag...just in the case. By 2:30 pm, I finally sat down to put my feet up, and downloaded a contraction timer app on my iPhone to keep a track of my contractions. Within an hour and half of tracking, I realized my contractions were progressively getting closer together with a couple strong ones thrown in the mix. I emailed Dr. Mbah to follow up whether how far apart the contractions had to be in order for me to go to the hospital. She replied that time between contractions meant nothing, and just to go in as soon as I had six contractions in an hour. It was when I realized I had more than 6 contractions from 3 pm to 4 pm! 

I told Stu what Dr. Mbah had informed me, and showed him my contractions on the timer app. Stu decided he would like to leave to go to the hospital. I was more reluctant. I wanted to labor as long as I could at home before heading in, because I worried I was not dilated enough to be admitted. After all, I was only 50 percent effaced a week prior! Stu still insisted, reasoning that he did not want to risk delivering our baby at home, and called Wally to have her come over to watch the boys. 

It was when chaos began at home! Stu could not get a hold of Wally, then Spencer. I tried texting Wally to get no answer from her. While Stu packed his bag, we debated if we should take the boys with us to the hospital, having Bobbie meet us there to pick up the boys, and I started putting shoes on the boys. I also texted Andrea, our birth photographer, only to discover she was not also not answering her phone! Suddenly, Forrest promptly threw up on the floor. I thought to myself, oh no, he's sick on this day out of all other days he could get sick?! As it had turned out, it was thankfully one time incident from the stress, and anxiety from us running around, failing to contact our birth photographer, and trying to get a hold of Wally and Spencer to watch the boys. 

We were about to leave the house when Stu finally got a hold of Wally and Spencer. Thank goodness! We said our good-byes to the boys, and left them in Wally and Spencer's hands. Unlike my previous experience from being in labor with Frank, I was not sad about leaving my boys behind to bring their baby brother into the world. I knew my heart was capable was growing even bigger to make a room for all of my children, and I knew they would be loved as much as we would love their baby brother.  I kissed the boys, then went out of the door with Stu. 

Stu called Andrea, and to my relief, she answered! She had not heard text notification going off on her phone, and thanked Stu for calling her. After all a phone call notification was louder than a text notification! Then she was finally on her way. I decided that I wanted an Iced Caramel Frappuccino coffee to celebrate the fact that *maybe* I was in labor. Stu grabbed a hamburger just in case if he had to miss dinner that night!  I texted my interpreter to let her know we were on our way. 

On the ride to the hospital, I kept back playing to the night I was in labor with Frank, and how the ride to the hospital was extremely uncomfortable. I did not feel that way this time. My contractions were getting stronger, but not closer together. I remained still unsure whether I would be admitted that night. Stu assured me that it was better to be checked out  even if it ended up being a false alarm. We arrived at Bellin Hospital without any hitch. The nurse put us in the triage to monitor my contractions, took a quick history of my pregnancy, and performed a cervical check. The nurse discovered that I was at 4 CM, and 100 percent effaced. It was enough to admit us at the hospital! We were pretty excited about the fact that we were getting closer to meeting Fox! My regular interpreter had to leave, and promised to return in two hours. In the meanwhile, my back-up interpreter was able to take in the place for those two hours. I had already met my back-up interpreter from a previous appointment for one of my kids, and liked her. I assured my regular interpreter that it was not my first rodeo, and that it was fine to work with someone different this time even for a short while. Andrea showed up about the same time when my back-up interpreter showed up. We relocated to my birthing suite. Andrea started snapping pictures, and she did a fantastic job of making herself a part of the background without making it feel like there was an intruder during such an intimate time in our lives.  

There in our birthing suite, the nurse took my vitals, our histories, and monitored the baby during this process. My contractions were becoming more bothersome. I wanted to walk around. My nurse assured me that once an IV was placed, then I was free to do whatever I wanted while laboring. Bobbie showed up around 6:30 pm to exchange her car for our van since she planned on taking over to watch the boys while we were at the hospital. Stu and Bobbie left to do this while the nurse attempted to put an IV into my left hand. My vein blew. She attempted again into my left wrist only to blow my vein again. Darn my icky veins! She decided to insert IV into my right hand, and I told her that the third time was a charm. Indeed I was right! My nurse was able to insert the IV with no problem this time. Stu  returned, and I got unhooked from the monitors. I was told to inform the nurses when I felt a pressure, or when my water bag broke. I was quite ecstatic to be able to get back on my feet to ride out the contractions. 

We spent about 40 minutes walking the laps around the maternity ward. My contractions got more painful, and stronger. Stu wanted us to return to my birthing suite, and we compromised on one more lap before heading in. I wanted to be able to keep moving until I could not anymore, because I had learned from laboring with Frank that motion was what helped me the most. 

Once we entered my room, Stu asked a nurse to check me, and the nurse explained that they didn't like performing checks so frequently in order to prevent from introducing an infection. By then, I insisted on swaying by the bed, and keep moving, because the idea of laying down did not sound appealing to me. A contraction after other kept hitting me. I closed my eyes, and focused on my entire being to ride through the pain. Unlike prior contractions, I had no breaks in the between the pain. 


Stu was quite amazing as a labor coach. He may not have thought so, but I digress. He made sure that I was supported, loved, and comforted. Stu often asked me where was the best place to rub me while experiencing a contraction. When I was unable to ask, or speak for something, Stu knew what to ask, or what to say. Stu knew when a contraction was on its way, and when it was ending. We were truly a team in bringing Fox into the world. I could not ever show him enough gratitude for what he had done for me. 

Stu constantly put a cold rag on my neck, which I really appreciated, because it felt so good against my sweaty skin. I started making sounds, because the contractions were so painful. Stu helped me to power through the transition phase. It was when everybody collectively decided to see where I was at in my labor.

The nurse requested me to lay on the bed to be checked. As soon as I sat down, my water bag broke! Now, this was my first time experiencing water bag breaking on its own. It was not small short gushes, but rather one big splash! I was stunned, and announced my water had broken. For a moment, the pain all but ceased. I was able to lay down on my back, and wondered when the next pain will hit me. 

The nurse checked, and confirmed that yes, the baby's head was right there. She paged Dr. Temp, and the birthing staff to make their haste, then told me to not push. For a moment there, I thought it was doable, since I did not feel any pressure yet. However, the pain crashed over me. This time, the pain was so much more intense than I have ever had experienced in my entire labor with Fox. Little did I know that it was a calm before the storm. 

Suddenly, my body just took over! I had no control over what was going on. I was just going along for a ride. All I remembered was intense, intense, intense amount of pain, and thinking, baby Jesus why didn't I get that damn epidural? Never mind that I never requested for one to start with, and had no desire to get one, but  sometimes when you are peering at the edge of darkness, you panic a little, and think you can't do it alone. I suspect that a lot of women feel this way right before their bodies take over to bring a baby into the world regardless how a baby is born.

Fox was not definitely waiting for Dr. Temp to come. I grabbed on a poor soul's arm, probably a nurse, on the left of me and on the right side, Stu's arm, and held on for my dear life. Stu became like a sport commentator; Oh the baby's head is right there. Oh! Oh! The head is out!...Now the body is coming out...Annnnndddd he's on the bed! 

Fox was born on the bed without it being converted into a pushing table with stir-ups. The nurse  was scrambling to glove up, picked up Fox, then placed him on my chest. She told me to wait for a doctor to show up to deliver the after birth. I looked at this baby on my chest in a stunned silence, then looked at Stu, and said, did this just happen? It all had happened so fast that I had not had time to process it all. 

Stu laughed, and said yes, yes! He cut the cord, and I asked the baby nurse to weigh Fox, because he felt so small. I was SO SURE that Fox was going to be the biggest one out of all boys I had. After all, I had been told that Fox was 65 percentile above average during my pregnancy. How wrong! As it had turned out, Fox was only 6 pounds 13 ounces! My mom later told me that he was close to my birth weight when I was born. Nonetheless, all 6 pounds and 13 ounces of Fox was blissfully perfect. 


 Dr. Temp finally showed up, and said, well, well! She and I had a good laugh about how quick the birth was.  She took care of the after birth, and made sure all was okay health-wise with me. Someone commented that Stu should be prepared next time, if we ever decided on having another, and bring a baseball catcher mitts! A baby nurse brought Fox back to us, and placed him into my arms. It was when it finally hit me that we had our rainbow baby in our arms at last. It was a very special moment, the very moment that Stu and I were waiting for so long, and I was so thankful that Andrea captured this exact moment for us.  

After such a difficult loss, having Fox finally in our arms was a healing moment for us, and it was a moment that we were always going to cherish. There were so many times, especially when a nurse brought Fox to me for nursing, where it just took my breath away to have Fox in our arms, because he was such a miracle. We had waited so, so long for him to complete our family. At last, we felt complete. 

Welcome to the world, little Fox. We love you so. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sixth Anniversary: Persistence is What Pays Off

It is hard to believe that a whole other year has passed. We are now the parents of three boys, a home owner for a year, owners of our crazy brood of animals (the cats, and Beatrice). It doesn't feel like this much of time has lapsed, but like we all have come to become very aware of: the busier you get, the  quicker life becomes. 

Our sixth wedding anniversary was celebrated with a new life entering into the world! Fox Edward Russ has arrived! His birth was healing for what had happened to our previous baby, even though a full closure have not quite happened yet. Our grief needed some more time in our lives to be processed, and accepted in order for a complete closure to occur, and we had not quite reached to that place yet. Nonetheless, with the healing that came with our rainbow baby, we have grown more appreciative, loving, and grateful for the lives that have touched us. 

The grief was also compounded by a passing of a wonderful friend who had long battled Breast Cancer. Never before have I been so personally impacted by someone with cancer until Brittany entered into our lives. 

Her illness, especially in her last few months, has made me realize that life is so fragile. I've always been a believer that what you put into the world will be returned double folded into your life. I've always tried to be a good person, to tell people I love them, and not to take life for granted. However, with Brittany's illness, it has made me realize how short life really is. Stu and I have not taken a real honeymoon after our wedding, and now I have realized that why should we wait until the perfect timing to do this? One day, life will pass us by, and we will still not have taken that trip together. I'm quite determined to start putting this in a plan before it is too late. Please do make sure you don't put things off until they are too late. If you have something to say, then say it. If you have always wanted to do something, then start planning for it! If you want a change, then start the change within yourself. Don't wait. 

While this might strike to some of you as bragging, I want to take my time to say this; I promise that this is not coming from the place of bragging, or by attempting to put others into a position to feel uncomfortable. I am writing about this, because it is a huge accomplishment for us, and I want to inspire others to achieve this accomplishment of their own! 

We have diligently stuck with our Dave Ramsey plan for budgeting for about a year. It has not been an easy feat, however, we stuck with our weekly budget meeting to discuss our spending, our debt buster, and where we were in term of money. We managed to pay off all of Stu's student loans, as well as several smaller debts! We  also crunched a huge number out of our van payments! In totality of how much we paid off was over 22 thousand dollars! Imagine that, all within a year, we have managed to pay off $22,500 worth of debt. What an accomplishment! 

We grew quite excited by the possibly that we will be able to pay off our van by next spring. It meant the only outstanding debt left we have will be our house! It was not always easy to stick with the budget, especially with so many wants in the world, and making some sacrifices to tackle on the debts we had. Fortunately, we never really had an issue when it came to talking about money, and being on the same page to complete our agenda. We persisted, persisted, and persisted along with communicating, and having a weekly budget meetings to stay on top of the spending we did for each month. And guess what? It. Paid. Off. It lifted a such heavy burden off our shoulders, and we were finally free from the shackles of worries. 

We are now aware how to spend wisely, be more comfortable with buying things, and knowing where our money is going to. For the first time since we have gotten married, we have saved a good amount of money for Christmas, and let me tell you; it is a great feeling to not have to stress about trying to come up with this or that to afford Christmas gifts (not that we never were able to in the past--it was just MORE stressful). We are also comfortable with the idea of being able to provide for our family for any crises that may come up down the road. 

The things we have been talking about, been wanting to do, and our hopes to see to be done can finally come to a fruition. We are planning on fixing up our backyard, to add raised boxed garden, put in a shed and a chicken coop for 4 hens for the near future! On top of this, it is also possible that we can start saving up for our honeymoon that we have wanted to take for so long. 

If we could do this, then YOU CAN DO THIS. I won't lie; it does take a lot of patience, sweat, and hard work as well as clear communication when it comes to spending, and saving. You will probably hit a wall, and start to slip back into old habits, especially when so much has been paid off. Don't. You have come this far!! 

Our boys have been doing really great. Forrest is quickly approaching his 5th birthday. Oh be still my heart. It is hard to believe that he will be 5! He will be enrolling in the same elementary school this fall into a LEADS program, which is a charter program designed for students to ask questions, and learn according to their pace, curiosity, and willingness to explore topics that are being discussed in the class. I predict a lot of dinosaur-related topics to be discussed this upcoming fall!

Frank is on the verge of being potty trained, and has expressed a great interest in taking action in attempting to poop on the toilet! I believe it is from watching Forrest doing his business, and wanting to mimic him. He has been working extremely hard with his speech therapist, Kim, in learning how to expand his vocabulary, and language development through early intervention program. He has testing boundaries by disliking the word, NO, and seeing what he can get away with!

With Fox joining our family, the older two boys have been adjusting beautifully to being a family of five. Forrest, and Franklin both love helping  out with Fox, and being big brothers. Bea, and the cats have also adjusted well to a life with three kids in the house! In time, I am sure Bea will find out what is the pay off (more food on the floor to clean up after)! With some normal adjustment bumps that the boys have with this new change, they have been doing extremely well, and we could not be any happier.

We have recently welcomed a new addition into our family, our niece Izzy this past December, and she has been a great joy to visit. I love seeing pictures of her, and seeing what is new with her. Izzy is such a sweet baby, and our boys are quite smitten by her. It is quite funny that Izzy is being mentioned, because for our 6th anniversary letter; it is penned by Izzy's own mother, Alex!

Don't worry, Alex, we have not opened this letter prior this year, and what a great message: with persistence, you will find happiness and joy. I can asset to this, especially with the majority of our debts paid off, a humbled lesson I've learned from the passing of Brittany, our boys' amazing strides in growth, the arrival of our new baby and our niece, Izabelle, surrounding ourselves in the love of our family, friends, and appreciating life.

I am looking forward to what our 6th year of marriage will bring to our lives. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017


How Far Along: 39 weeks! Baby Flash is as big as an American shorthair cat! His old fetal skin is shedding off, and the soft baby skin is coming in underneath. He is about 19-21 inches tall, and falls within 7-8 pounds range. Flash is now able to recognize my voice, and his fingernails are possibly long enough to be clipped when he is born! Flash is more than ready to be welcomed into the world. 

I am Feeling: Excited, apprehensive, impatient, tired, and more than ready to meet our baby. I've been feeling a lot more emotional than usual lately, because the end is so, so close. I find that I am also anxious to make sure that the baby is doing well, and worry about getting him into the world safely. It looks like this little guy will not be early like Frank was; Frank came into the world at 39 weeks 4 days, and well, I'm currently 39 weeks and 3 days!

Movements: The movements are getting very limited. The peak of the activity remains the same so I am able to keep track of how Flash is doing that way. Sorry, little buddy, you are about to be evicted very soon.

Symptoms: A lot of heartburn. I wonder if this guy will be born with a head full of hair? My other two boys are born with some good amount of hair, but not crazy amount. So I'm curious! I feel big. I now have cankles instead of ankles. My poor feet! Aside from that, I am feeling pretty good. 

Labor Signs: I am 50 percent effaced, but no dilation, according to the last check. I can't say that I am surprised. I don't think Flash will be here before week 40. My belly appear to have gotten even lower, but I'm not entirely sure if he has dropped, because I don't have an increased pressure yet. It is usually common for subsequent babies to drop while the mom is in labor, so I may be one of them. No loss of mucus plug. Increased braxton hicks contractions. Things are progressing. I suspect we should be able to meet Flash within the next two weeks!

Best Moments of the Week: Walking with the family, having Mom and RO visit us (they were doing Quilt Hop and stopped by to visit for a bit), finding out that my body is progressing closer to having Flash, cuddling with my boys, and enjoying the final few days or weeks as a family of four! I got the hospital bag that I've been wanting all along; an anchors colored in rainbow that I had given up on finding, but with karmic blessing, I am able to get it! I also got a glitter covered kindle case for my kindle fire tablet. So I feel more than ready to have everything packed, and to go for the hospital stay! I managed to paint my toe nails!!! And they turned out nicely for a woman being 39 weeks along! 

Looking Forward to: Gosh, meeting Flash finally! I imagine how he looks like, who he will resemble more like, how much he will weight, how tall he will be, and how we will react when he's born. I'm more than ready not to be pregnant (I love being pregnant, don't get me wrong, but I'm so, so ready to meet Flash). I am hoping he will come VERY SOON!! 

Next Appointment: Friday June 23rd at 9:45 am. I'm hoping I don't have to show up for that appointment, because I will be 40 weeks 2 days. I think I'm going to get a check to see where I am at that point. I'm hoping it will yield some more clues as to when Flash will show up if he has not already yet! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017


How Far Along: 38 weeks. Flash's eyes and hair both have pigments to them, even though they may change repeatedly throughout the first two years (I can vouch for this; Frank's hair went from red to blonde, then brown in his first two years of his life)! The melanin will continually change. Flash is now in 7-pound range, and is as big as a Pomeranian dog!

I am Feeling: Emotional, excited, anxious, apprehensive, and on my toes all at once! It's interesting, with my first baby; I remember feeling very apprehensive about the birthing experience, and becoming a mom for the first time, and with my second, I was also a bit worried about labor aspect, because I was not sure what to expect from having a natural birth. With this one, I'm like well, this ain't my first rodeo. I know what to expect, know what to look for from a natural labor process, when to go in, and a general estimate of how long my labor will be (barring any complications). I'm more anxious about the dynamic of our family changing once again, and how our boys will adjust to their new brother. I am a bit nervous about dealing with sleep deprivation, and dealing with TWO boys on top of it (who happens to like wake up at butt crack of dawn). I am also very emotional, because this is our rainbow baby, and it has been stirring up a lot of raw feelings about our loss. It is not a bad thing. It is just what it is. Honestly, I can't really explain what exactly it is, and why I am experiencing this emotion. It's a jumble of feelings...

Movements: Alien-like. Flash doesn't have very much space left. When he does stretch out, my whole belly rolls, distorts, and contorts itself. It's a crazy sight! I can tell that he is pretty cramped inside his little home. 

Symptoms: BH contractions are increasing. I feel very uncomfortable, not necessarily because I am very pregnant, but because there are subtle changes. I have a lightning crotch frequently (feels like shooting nerve pain but in your crotch), and my hips are loosening up even more. I can't really eat much either--if I do, then I feel nauseous, because there is not so much space left. I have heartburn quite often. It's when I know I am in home stretch, and that it's nearly over. I'm determined to ride this out though. 

Labor Signs: Very subtle signs...not really promising, or a guarantee that anything is starting. Like I had mentioned, I have lightning crotch, which may point to dilation and effacement. It may not either! I have been noticing more pressure in my bum, so maybe Flash is slowly making his way down. Again, it also could not be it. I'm not analyzing anything at this point. I will make an observation, and pay attention, and if nothing happens, then I just move on, which is usually the case these days. I have an increase of BH contractions. They are very painless. It just makes my belly rock hard, and it can be uncomfortable. They last very briefly. 

Best Moments of the Week: Knowing that all is done with the nesting! Everything is in its place, and set to go. The van is set up the way we want it to be. The boys are now sitting in the back row, and the baby car seat is installed. Getting a notification from my baby app that the "bun is DONE cooking", and counting down the days! All we have left is to finish packing the hospital bags with the last minute things, such as phone charger, and very basic necessities that can't be packed just yet. Cuddling with our boys. Frank telling people that there is a baby in my belly. How sweet is that boy? 

Looking Forward to: Enjoying these final few days to weeks before Flash makes his debut! Getting my 31 bag in the mail that I've been wanting (I thought this particular design was out of the stock, and one of the wonderful consultants were able to hunt it down to find it for me), and a case for my kindle fire! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday June 14th at 1 pm. I will be requesting a pelvis check, since I declined the check from my recent appointment, because I want to be prepared. I have a lot of things to do next week, and I am hoping the baby stays put in until after the 17th! 

Monday, June 5, 2017


How Far Along: 37 Weeks! Baby Flash is as big as a Striped Skunk! He is nearly maxed out at weight, and height. Flash is practicing breathing by sucking, and expelling amniotic fluid. His digestive system is waiting for the start-kick button to be pressed, which will happen as soon as he nurses after being born. His reflexes are quite strong (I can asset to that). 

I am Feeling: I am anxious, excited, and apprehensive all at once. I've been busy at work at preparing everything for the baby's arrival. I've changed the sheets on all of the beds (going from winter to summer bed set), finished up switching all early spring to summer clothes in boys' room, packed the baby's diaper bag with some necessities that I think we might need (just in case if Bellin doesn't provide), toiletries for our hospital bags, made a list for both of us parents to put in our bags at the last minute, wrote up care instruction sheet for pets and the boys, organized a lot of last minute things, and took care of the postpartum kit for myself. If this is not nesting, then I don't know what this is! I also feel a bit apprehensive about how my older boys will react to this change, especially Frank, who has no idea what he's in for! 

Movements: Flash is running out of the space. He really has nowhere to go except to contort my belly when he stretches out. It's fun to watch! He is also in a steady cycle of resting, and playing. He is most active in the evenings. Flash has hiccups from time to time!

Symptoms: Just feeling very, very pregnant. I have been experiencing a sore hip from sleeping in one spot for too long. I notice that I have a burst of energy these days, and it propels me to get through the days. It's probably why I'm able to get a lot of things done without feeling like I'm going to die! I'm doing fairly well, and staying active. So it's all good. 

Labor Signs: All is unchanged. I'm fingernail dilated, which is very common for women who have had babies because their cervix don't really close all way, and no change in effacement. I'm not disappointed, or in a hurry. Things will change real quick! I'm not honestly expecting to see any progress until after 38 or maybe even 39 weeks. I'm planning on waiting it out--I have no desire to evict the baby out until he's good and ready! 

Best Moments of the Week: The boys hearing Baby Flash's heart rate, and using doppler to pick up on his heart rate. Loving how my boys are so involved with my pregnancy. Getting things done for the baby's arrival. Finding out that a 31 bag I've been wanting for so long is available through a network of connections of consultants, and it has been offered to me! I can't wait to purchase it, and have it in my hands! It may not be here in time for the hospital bag as I had originally planned, but that's okay! Karma is always good to you when you are good to others. 

Looking Forward to: My next doctor appointment, finishing up my postpatrum kit, finishing up last minute things, and being WEEK 38! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday June 7th at 1:45 pm. Dr. Mbah wants to do a cervical check, and see how things are progressing. I'm not expecting any change; a part of this is because I've been telling this little one to stay put in until AFTER June 17th, and a part of this is due to my past experiences in having my boys (they did not arrive until after 39 weeks). I'm pretty laid-back in when the labor will start.