Monday, November 25, 2019

Fiona is TWO Months Old

Dear Fiona, 

You are TWO months old. Much to Mama's sadness, you have transitioned out of newborn clothes into 0-3, and slowly getting into 3 months clothes. Mama is reminded by how quickly infants grow during their first year, and with you being her last, it is not an easy thing to accept. Nonetheless, it is a joy to watch you fatten up, and grow. 

You had a couple trips to see Dr. Karbon regarding your health. Your skin was inspected, and it was confirmed that you had a bad case of newborn acne. Mama also felt you had eczema based on her experience with your older brothers, and she started using Aveeno Ecezma cream. Behold and Lo, your newborn acne was drastically reduced, especially on your face, and she also had to experiment with detergent to help offset flare ups all over your body.  

You are exactly 9 pounds from your last check up, though you may have gained more since, and Mama will find out exactly soon with your doctor appointment coming up. It is a different experience with you, because your brothers beefed up so quickly, and you are slower at gaining weight. Dr. Karbon assures Mama that as long as you follow the growth curve, then you're all good! Mama is always drinking lactation shakes to maintain her milk supply to be able to nurse you. It is in her goal to nurse you for a year, and beyond that will be determined later.

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You are a particular baby. You have specific expectations when it comes to taking care of your needs. You can be diva-like, and that's okay! Some babies are more needy than others. You love to be held either in a wrap, or on the lap. Gramma Theresa bought a ring sling for Mama to babywear you. It is magic for you. The minute you go into it, you pass out, and stay asleep...that is until Mama tries to take you out of it! Then you wake up, and fuss again. Mama is content to just keep you on her, and she thinks you are too. It also makes it easier for Mama to take care of the older ones.

You aren't a great napper during the day. You either sleep away the day (and still sleep all night long at that), or you're up all day long. When you do stay up all day long, you tend to get extremely fussy, and cranky. It can be tiring at times for both you, and Mama. However, babywearing does enable you to calm down, and rest your eyes for as long as a half hour at time, which is better than absolutely none. You prefer to sleep on someone than by yourself. However, at night you are able to sleep in your bassinet without any problem as long as you are swaddled tightly, and you feel cosy enough to drift into sleep.

 You prefer constant motion over none. You dislike stillness. You dislike it when Mama eats too much spicy food. Dairy upsets your stomach. You like continuation of sounds. When the house gets too quiet, you struggle to sleep, but with the house being noisy with your older brothers causing rucukus, you happily sleep! Mama often leaves TV on all night long just to have sounds going in the background (and to be able to see while she is nursing you, and for diaper changes during the wee hours). You are okay with music playing in the background, but you seem to prefer heartbeat lulling you to sleep than the music itself. You are fairly a good sleeper. You sleep between 4-7 hours during the night, and wake up for one or two feedings. More often than not, Mama is tired only because she ends up watching an episode or two instead of going back to sleep, because it's only time she has to herself to watch her shows!You tend to go into clusterfeeding phase once or twice a month, and when this does happen, you wake up more frequently to nurse. Then before Mama knows it, you've beefed up even more!

Mama had to reduce dairy consumption in her diet, and add probotics to your daily dose of vitamin D. With those those in the place, your skin cleared up, and you became less fussy. Having said that you became less fussy, it meant it became easier for Mama to distinguish what was causing you to be fussy. The majority of the time, it was just because you wanted to be held close to Mama's chest.

You have your first cold. It is a sad thing to see such a little baby to be sick this young. Cold/flu season is in a full force so early this year, and with older three being in school, germs are bound to show up sooner or later. Thank goodness for a nasal aspirator, because it helps to clear up your nostrils, and make you feel better. Thankfully, your congestion is not terrible. You just prefer to be propped up, and nurse more often, because nursing at a length in one sitting can be difficult for you with a congestion.

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Mama is enjoying dressing you up in all of the cute clothes, and you do happen to have A LOT of cute outfits that are somewhat overflowing your drawers. Mama loves kimono, ruffles, polka dots, and of course, Llama outfits for you. You also have a lot of cute headbands. Unfortunately, you aren't a fan of headbands, but Mama keeps having you wear them in short intervals. Hopefully, you will grow to like them, because there are sure a lot of cute headbands! She is looking forward to having your hair grow out, so she can do your hair, and put bows in them! You may or may not come to like having those when you are a bit older, so Mama might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

You are already being introduced to dinosaurs by your older brothers. In no time, you will be saying RAWR, and loving dinosaurs as much as they do. There are so many dinosaur toys for you to play with when you are a bit older, and you'll most likely be introduced to Dino Dan, Adventures of Trek, and Dino Dana. You will probably learn the difference between Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Europosaurus even though they all look similar! You may come to love Velociraptors, because Forrest says who does not like raptors? Or you will love gentle Stegosaurus like Franklin and Mama does. Or you may be fascinated by T-Rex, the king of them all, and it won't be surprising given your feisty personality!

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You will be experiencing your first Thanksgiving, and Christmas, which is pretty exciting. Mama is betting that you will be passed around like a hot potato to be held, and have the rest of family to finally meet you! You're quite popular around the holidays this year, aren't you?

We are so thankful to have you in our lives. The boys continue to be fascinated by you, and are always wanting to kiss, hold, and touch you. Forrest loves telling people how he JUST KNEW you were a girl from the very start, and Frank is rather protective of you. Fox is looking forward to be able to play with you (in no time, he should)! We all are in love with you.

Mama and Daddy are looking forward to what month two will bring for you, our dear Fiona.


Mama, Daddy, and the boys

Saturday, November 23, 2019

FDR is FIVE Year Old

Dear Franklin,

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You are FIVE year old. Time has come again for a letter to be penned for you. It is perhaps becoming repetitive among you, and your brothers for Mama to bring this up, however, as a parent, one cannot help, but muster, and lament how quickly time has gone by in the past years. It is a blink of an eye, and suddenly, you are five?

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You are joyous, adventurous, beautiful, stubborn, challenging, tenacious, strong-willed, intelligent, sweet, sensitive, loving, and funny boy. You may be the hardest child out of four, but fear not, this is not to be interpreted as a negative remark regarding you as a person. It is to show that you are destined for a great things, because you already have an innate drive to not give in, and that you are not easily swayed. Once you have something in the mind, you will not let go of it until you are satisfied. This can be challenging for Mama and Daddy, because they must strike a perfect balance of guiding you to follow the established boundaries, and to allow you flourish as a personal leader. 

You've gone through a big change in the past year with schools, moving into a new home, and watching your mama's belly grow. You handled the changes like a pro! You loved the new home, with all of the additional space, and new neighbors with children for you to play with. You transitioned into a role of a big brother once again like a champ. You lost your status as a middle child, and stepped into the role of a second oldest. Just like rest of your siblings, Mama and Daddy were always mindful of making sure your needs are met as an individual, and to make you feel valued, because you are cherished. When you found out you were having a little sister, you were excited, and wanted to meet her already. You were disappointed when you realized that Mama had a few more months to grow your sister before meeting her! 

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We went on our first family vacation to Iowa. You handled the long road trip like an old pro. You loved having "free for all" snacks, and watching the movies in the van. Your favorite part of the whole trip was "seeing all of the fishes" at the Aquarium museum! Mama and Daddy could not be any more prouder of you and your brothers with how well you all behaved. The trip left a lot of amazing memories to be remembered. Mama and Daddy hoped to be able to take you and your siblings on more vacations in the years yet to come!  

You and Forrest went to Camp Grandma. You both had a blast spending time with Gramma Theresa and Grandaunt Rosalie! You also went up north to the Farm several times with Daddy. Matter of fact, Daddy, Forrest, and you got to see a Big Foot rampaging through the corn field. It was a bit scary for you to witness, and you had trouble sleeping in your bed for several weeks after! Fortunately, Daddy was able to defuse the situation, and you felt safer to sleep in your own bed. 

One day, you will look back at this, and laugh about the whole thing...Mama promise you that. 

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Over the summer, you learned how to ride your bicycle! It was a bit difficult for you to find the right balance, and how to steer the bicycle. You had a lot of tears, and words to be said about not being able to successfully ride your bicycle. Daddy and Mama kept encouraging you to not give up, and to keep trying. You eventually got a hang of it! Go you! 

You also spent most of your summer fishing with Daddy and Forrest. It had been a learning curve for you to put a worm on the hook, and to catch a fish. There were some days that left you frustrated that you struggled to grasp the concept of fishing. Daddy kept assuring you that you WILL get a hang of it by the next summer! You weren't a fan of touching a slimy fish, and often left that task up to Daddy to release the fish back to the water. You also went to a few football games with Daddy before school began! 

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You are an amazing boy with such a big heart. It cannot be emphasized enough on how loving you are. You continue to fit your nickname, the one Mama bestowed upon you from when she carried you, Sunshine, after the song, "You are my only Sunshine".

Mama and Daddy recently welcomed your littlest sibling into the family. You have done nothing, but lavish love on your sister. You are always helping with bringing the wipes, or diapers to Mama for Fiona's changes. You desperately want to cover her with kisses, and to hold her against your chest. You literally puff out your chest when you are allowed to hold Fiona in your arms. You gently pat her on top of her head, and stroke her soft baby hair. When Fiona cries, you quickly alert Mama, and guard over her until she is attended to. You are in an awe of her. You are a phenomenal big brother, even though it is not surprising, because of your beautiful heart. 

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It is not just toward her that you show so much love toward, but to your brothers, and Mama and Daddy. You love to just sit next to Mama, and cuddle against her. You hold Fox, when he allows you to (a toddler can be funny like that), and tell him what a good boy he is. You chase around after Forrest, and admire him so. You love sitting in the bed with Forrest while he reads to you. You laugh rather boisterously as you roughhouse with Daddy. Your favorite pastime activity is to tackle, climb, and playfully punch Daddy as you and the boys wrestle.  You are a wonderful brother, and an amazing son.

You have close bond with both Forrest, and Fox. In a way, you have the best of both worlds; you get to do "older" kid stuff with Forrest, yet be able to resort to "younger" kid things with Fox. You love the balance of both. When Forrest gets to be too bossy or want his own space, you play with Fox, and Fox loves it so. Just like how you look up to Forrest, Fox looks up to you, and admire you. Sometimes, you and Forrest can have a love and hate relationship. It boggles Mama's mind how you two can fight so fiercely like a cat and a dog, then be loving toward each other the next minute like nothing has happened! Fox and you don't have that relationship just yet, and maybe you won't or you may. Who knows? Right now, Fox is so happy to just have your company when you do spend time with him. 

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You still love school. You've recently started 4K at Hillcrest, and it is so exciting for you to attend the same school with Forrest! You adjusted easily to being in a different school, and enjoy attending. Mama and Daddy do feel lucky that both of you and Forrest enjoy school so much, and have no real pressing problems there. Mrs. Dombrowski, your teacher, has said that you are such a social butterfly, and everyone adores you. You are people person. You go to everyone for playtime, and they all love playing with you. You have many friends. It makes Daddy and Mama happy to learn this about you.

At the conference with your teacher, you shared that you wanted to learn how to read! What an amazing goal you have for yourself! Always strive for challenging goals, and you will feel so accomplished once you achieve them. You love bringing artwork home to show off, and you have a quite talent with art. Mama loves looking over them, and often praise you for doing such a wonderful job. You know how to count up to 30, can recite 26 uppercase letters and 21 lower cases from alphabet, know your shapes and colors, recognize that you must underline words to create a sentence, read your name, and know your place in a line up. You are such a great student.

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You've transitioned from being dropped off for afternoon speech therapy to in-school service. You are still receiving speech at school. It is now almost unnoticeable that you ever had a speech delay! Erin has been working hard with you, and it shows. IEP meetings is now no longer something that Mama dreads going, because positives far outweighs the negativity in your therapy. You're constantly talking, and turning you into quite a chatterbox. Daddy jokingly says that there is once a point in your life when you are quiet, and now you won't be quiet ever. It's great to know what thoughts are churning in your head. Sometimes, you do get tired of sharing what is on your mind. When that happens, you have a tendency to say, "I don't know", or "I forgot". You can be a bit flippant when it comes to certain things, and it is hard to say if it's your personality, or because you're just tired. Mama thinks it is most likely a combination of both.

You love using your hands to build, and create things. You enjoy creating towers, robots, and aliens from duplo blocks. You enjoy crafting by cutting construction papers, then gluing them to create whatever you're imagining at that time! You like to draw people, monsters, and animals. You proudly show off your creations, and beam when you get compliments on your creations. Matter of fact, you created a giant replica of yourself by using paper plate, googly eyes, twisties, and construction paper. It was too cool to see! This is also great for your fine motor skills by learning how to use scissors, how to draw with a crayons, markers, or coloring pens of different sizes. When you run into an obstacle, you do get quite frustrated, and start to melt down, then with guidance, you are able to overcome the obstacle, and you get quite proud of yourself, which you should be!

Mama has been teaching you how to use your grit to overcome your frustrations, and to be reminded to ask for help when it is needed. You are reminded to say thank you and please. You are encouraged to work through your angry feelings in a safe space, and to find a solution without resorting to screaming about it. You've been doing really well with this! It helps that you are able to associate your big feelings with labels, and to understand what those feelings mean to you. Sometimes your feelings can be too big for a 5-year old, so you are often encouraged to find an alternative to dispel your anger, such as dancing, running around the house, or jump up and down until your mad feelings are a lot less. Sometimes, none of these works, and sleep is what you need. Once you are rested, you usually feel a lot better, and able to try again. Isn't that awesome, or what, about you not giving up, right? 

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You're picking up on signing more now Forrest is in school full-time, and you are becoming more cognizant of needing to use your hands to communicate with Mama. You are able to put aside your stubborn nature, and to be willing to learn. Your language development has exploded in both speech, and signing. You love learning signing by using flashcards, and ask to practice daily. You work quite hard at this. You're able to start have conversations without relying on Forrest (which is something we have been working on for a long while now for you to break the habit). You love making a game out of signing alphabet, and numbers to try beat your previous record. It makes Mama's heart warm just seeing you being so determined to learn. Mama's culture is extremely important to her, and to have you boys to be a part of such a beautiful culture is one of her gifts to all of you kids.

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With you just turning five, you are learning what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate to say. You test the boundaries by saying naughty words to get a rise out of anyone. It often earns you a serious conversation, and a time-out. Thankfully, you are phasing out from this! You are still working on not putting fingers in your mouth. It is a sensory thing for you. Because of this, Mama is looking into a chewy for you to replace your fingers with, especially with the winter season being here, and all of the germs floating around in the air.

This can be a bit challenging, because you are so independent, and stubborn. You prefer getting your way than agreeing with what is given to you, which is not always feasible. It often leads to a lot of tough lessons for you to learn from. Mama and Daddy are hoping to enable your nature of stubbornness into a form of persistence for when you are older, and you will not give up as easily to achieve what you need to get done. Mama and Daddy don't expect perfection from you, and never will. You are uniquely you, and it should remain so. At the same time, it is expected from you to obey rules, and follow them. After all, it is what enables you to become a responsible, and courteous adult that knows when to stand his ground, and when to be a team player.

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You are hilarious! You always crack people up with being silly, and sharing your funny thoughts. Sometimes, Mama can't repress a laughter, or smile, because you're attempting to distract her from what is happening at the moment. You are definitely a ray of sunshine. You have such a beautiful smile. Mama loves it when you smile. It is genuine, and real. It comes directly from your heart, and is also seen in your eyes. You are truly an amazing boy. Always remember that. 

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You are a very affectionate child. You are always demanding to be hugged, and kissed at least 4 times every night at bedtime. Mama always obliges, even if she is tired, and desperately wants to sleep, because she knows that there will be a day when you stop asking for your hugs and kisses (it is something she doesn't want to think about right now). You love snuggles, and cuddles. You are constantly seeking for touches with your toes, and feet. You don't really like to go without hugs after every argument. You get a lot of assurance from being hugged after having a serious discussion. It helps you to feel more grounded, and know that you are still loved in despite of what happens.

You are in a fairly good health. You did end up with a cavity that was thankfully filled! Mama think it is because you're always eating fruit, and fruit has a high acidity content, because you really do not eat much of junk food to begin with! Your 5-year old wellness check is scheduled on December 10th with Dr. Karbon. Mama is curious to see how much you've grown since last year! You're on the verge of outgrowing size 5 pants, and transitioning into size 6 pants! A perfect timing, because Forrest has recently gone up a size, and you'll be getting his pants. Mama also has bought you some new pants, because you deserve some new clothes in amidst of hand-down clothes!

Your favorite food right now is pizza, hot dogs, oranges, and bananas. You love ketcup. If you could, then you'd eat it straight from the bottle! Mama is not sure why, but it is what you like. You often prefer eating a fruit for a snack instead of a bag of chips. You have been asking to try cherries lately! So you will be getting a cherry cheesecake instead of a cake for your birthday. It is one nice thing about you; you are always so willing to try new food, and more often than not, you do like what it is given to you.

It is hard to believe that five years ago you came into the world during a blizzard, which is just fitting with your relentless personality, and how you want to take on the world! You are a blessing, and a ray of sunshine in our lives, sweet Franklin. We love you so much.


Mama, Daddy, Forrest, Fox, and Fiona 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fiona is ONE Month Old

Dear Fiona, 

You are ONE month old! It has been a blur since you arrived into our family four weeks ago. It is such a dream that you are here with us. Mama has always wanted a brood of boys with a touch of gem in the bunch. Then she got just exactly that, and it was akin to winning a lottery. 

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Ever since Mama got pregnant with you, she knew that it was going to be her last pregnancy for a several reasons, and it had been bittersweet experience to come to term with the finality of having more children. It was difficult to put away maternity clothes to be donated with knowing that they were not going to be worn again. Mama's heart ached a little bit when she saw that you were gradually outgrowing your newborn clothes. With those feelings in the motion, it was the right decision for the family, since there was a feeling of completeness, and wanting to enjoy the next stage in life. Despite it being the right decision, it was still an emotional one, because it meant an end to an identity in Mama's life regarding pregnancy, and having a sweet squishy newborn in her arms. All of this simply meant Mama got to cherish you a bit extra during your early days of life.

You recently visited Dr. Karbon for your two week wellness check. You gained one pound since your birth! It was a big change from your brothers packing on weight quickly, and Dr. Karbon assured Mama that it was all good, since you maintained your growth on a steady curve. You measured at 20 inches tall. Mama had a few questions answered, mainly with you being a girl and how some of care approach differed from the boys, and not much was really needed to be added to the discussion. Dr. Karbon knowingly chuckled, and made a comment that Mama was already an old pro at this. After all, your older brothers were buzzing around in the exam room, and Mama could only imagine what went through the doctor's mind! She knew that chaos was going to rule the roost for an extremely long time after, and they all might as well get used to it! Dr. Karbon looked you over, and declared you to be in a good health.

You are far more sleepy than you are alert. It could be because you are still so young, or it could be just your personality. Only time will tell! Mama sure hope you will always love to sleep! You love to snuggle with Mama or Daddy while sleeping. You often need to be woken up in order to eat during the day. You have a long stretch of periods of sleeping during both day and night, usually about 4 hours, then after that long nap; you tend to have shorter naps, and more frequent feedings in the between. Mama feel pretty lucky to have such a good, easy going baby who loves to sleep! You go to bed fairly easy after your witching hour, which usually begins around 5 PM and ends at 10:00-10:30 PM. Even with your witching hour, you are not that terrible with your fussing.

Having mentioned your witching hour, you tend to fuss if Mama eats something that disagrees with your belly, and she has been careful with what she eats. You fuss if you are not being held enough, which means you simply get wrapped, and be babyworn! When it comes to the bath time or changing your clothes, you fuss because you don't like the sensation of being naked! You fuss when you are overtired, and that part is still a challenge, because time management with the schedule has not been mastered yet. There is usually a lot of chaos after school until bedtime with kids' needs to be met for eating, homework, bathing/showering, preparing for the next day, and trying to survive the evening pretty much! It can be quite hard on you, because you just want to be either held while you are not feeling the best, or to be able to sleep without so much interruptions. Hopefully, this will be solved in few months when a routine is better established.

Nursing is going well with you. You are not a big eater. More often than not, you don't like it when milk is forceful, and you spit up, or you let milk dribble out of your mouth without swallowing it. It has been a learning curve for both Mama and you to perfect nursing. With you gaining weight, and doing well, Mama isn't very worried, and know that you will get hang of it. It is her favorite time with you, just you and her together (sometimes with Fox by her side), and enjoying your sweet baby self during this time. Nursing you while babywearing is still a work in process. She hopes that you will get a hang of it, which will help to free up some of her time to be there for older kids, or to cook meals. You wake up two to three times during the night, which is not too bad considering, and your feedings increased only when you are going through a growth spurt.

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Your older brothers are absolutely in love with you. They are so gentle, patient, loving, and cautious around you. They are great with hand washing practice before touching you. Each boy express their own way of love toward you, and it's extremely sweet. Forrest often wants to hold you, to make sure you're well protected from the littler brothers, sweet talks to you, tucks you in, and making sure you stay warm. Franklin is the affectionate one; he loves to look at you, rub his cheek against your soft fuzz hair on top of your head, pat your belly, and wants to kiss you. Fox is fascinated by you, and is always looking at you. He enjoys sitting next to Mama while she is nursing you, and tries to nurse his dinosaur toys as well! It's ridiculously sweet to witness. He's learning how to be a wonderful parent by observing you with Mama or Daddy. You are quite lucky to have such loving brothers looking over you.

You had your first family trip to a pumpkin patch! It was a rather chilly day, so you spent your time tucked against Mama's chest while the boys hunted for their perfect pumpkins. You contently slept away the whole thing. The boys had a wonderful time. It was a successful outing as a family of six, Mama thought! She looked forward to making more memories with you kids in the years yet to come.

The transition from a family of five to six may continue to hold some challenges that needs to be smoothed over. Mama knows that this is but a season. Just like every season, it will come to pass, and it will always be appreciated for what it is in time. With each child joining our family, it feels like you always have been a part of our family, and it is hard to imagine a life before you came along. Mama's heart has so much love flowing out for all of you kids. Being a mother is the best role that Mama has in her life, and she hopes that she does a good job of being a mother, because you all are so important to her.

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With each child, a lesson has been taught to Mama, and she will always hold them dear to her heart. Forrest taught Mama how powerful love is. With him, Mama became a mother for the first time. Before Franklin came along, Mama did worry about her heart having enough room to love another. Suddenly, Franklin eased the worry by showing her that love grows, and expands. Love never has a limit. Soon after, Fox arrived after a storm, and he healed Mama's broken heart. Fox showed that love is an anchor, and holds a family together during difficult time. Then you, my dear, came along, and you cemented the love in our family. You completed the circle, and glued us together. Love is what protects, contains, and allows a family to flourish throughout the years.

We love you so much, sweet Fiona.


Mama, Daddy, and the boys

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Welcome to the World, Fiona Evelyn!

After a long pregnancy with a lot of roadblocks, iffy first trimester test result, prodormal labor constantly starting and stopping, two months of non-stress fetal testing, alternating between a regular OB and consulting high risk OB, seven ultrasounds, one false alarm, three trips to Labor and Delivery, a lot of worrying; Fiona Evelyn, an ever firecracker of ours, decided to make her debut on Thursday September 26th at 10:41 PM. 

I woke up at 3 am on Thursday with an anxiety about deciding to go with an elective induction on October second. I had some guilt about booking an induction, because our older two boys resulted from having a spontaneous labor, and I felt it was easier to deal with than being induced. Even though my induction with Forrest was a very positive one, it was still an intense labor experience, and I was not sure if I wanted pitocin based labor again after having him. However, with so many challenges with my pregnancy, I was mentally, and physically done. It had been a hard pregnancy, and I was eager NOT to go too overdue with her. Dr. Mbah was on the board. Nonetheless, I harbored some guilt for having an induction booked, and I was pretty sure that my membrane sweep failed, because Dr. Mbah had some difficulty with trying the procedure due to my cervix being still high. I spent some time searching online about kick-starting labor naturally, then my mind calmed down some for me to go to sleep. I managed to get some light rest until I had to get up to use bathroom at 4 am. 

I noticed I had a lot of mucus-like discharge with pink tinge. I was not sure if it was the beginning of a bloody show, which was what I had with Fox before I went into labor with him, or if it was a result of spotting due to a rough procedure I had the day before. I noticed I had some back ache as well. Stu was already up to get ready for his work out, and I told him about what I had noticed. He asked me if I thought I was going to have a baby today, and I told him that I doubted it. He decided against going out of town that day for a conference, and to stay locally...just in case. I could not sleep, so I decided to just stay up, and cuddled with Fox until it was an acceptable time for us to get up for the day. 

I dropped off the older two at the school, and decided to go on 2-mile walk with Fox and Beatrice to see if it made any difference. There was none, except for a continual pinkish discharge. I went on with the day. Around 1 PM, I had a strong contraction out of the blue, then it stopped. I didn't think anything of it, and bounced on my yoga exercise ball all afternoon. I noticed I had 1-2 contractions every hour, but having had prodormal labor, I felt it was not worthy to be worried about. I was more concerned about the bleeding picking up, especially with the sporadic contractions. Fox had a speech therapy at 4:30 PM, and after it concluded, I decided to check on the bleeding. It became reddish, and darker. Concerned, I called Labor and Delivery. They recommended me to come in, and advised me not to eat or drink. Stu and I called Spencer and Wally to have them watch our boys, and ordered Domino's pizza for dinner. While we waited for both to arrive, I finished last minute packing for my bag. If anything else, I felt more frustrated, because it was yet one more roadblock to deal with before being sent home again. 

We left to go to the hospital. On the drive over, I noticed I had 5 contractions, even though they were not causing any pain, and we arrived at Bellin Memorial Hospital by 7:00 PM. We got admitted in the triage for monitoring. Sara, our attending Labor and Delivery nurse, decided to perform a cervix check, and found that I was at 4 CM. I noticed she had blood on her glove, and I asked her if it was normal. She assured me it was at the moment, and it was going to be monitored. She felt that membrane sweep was the cause of the bleeding. During an hour of monitoring, my occasional bout of contraction intensity grew stronger, and I had to breath through them. Sara returned to inform us that we would be getting admitted. 

We got transferred to our suite while Stu brought up our hospital bags from the van. I asked Sara if I could walk around the floor, because walking was my preferred method of laboring, and it was how I dealt with the pain in the past. Sara told me that I was not allowed to walk the hallways that evening, which left me feeling bummed, and I later learned it was because of my history of fast delivery, needing to have my bleeding to be monitored, and to stay on top of Fiona's heart rate while I was laboring. Sara was a wonderful nurse. She was very hand off, and got IV in my hand quickly without any struggle (I have an icky veins, so a huge round of applause goes to her for that). 

I requested for a yoga ball in hope that it will help with the waves. The contractions were still manageable, and becoming closer together. It helped that I had a lot of relief in between of my contractions, and I had been messaging with my best friend, who had been sending me plethora of funny memes and GIFs. Stu was watching Packers play, and let me do my thing until I needed him. I was just laboring along, and doing well. 

Sara had to adjust my fetal monitor strap often, because the fetal doppler kept sliding off my belly from me bouncing through my contractions, especially the stronger ones. I kept visualizing myself as a Viking warrior wielding a sword working her way through calamity, and chaos. Sara kept a track of my contractions by logging the strength, intensity, and frequency. My contractions continued to pile up on each other. It became more difficult to cope with the pain. I began to feel very sick, and warned Sara that I may puke. She quickly gave me blue airport bags to vomit in. The nausea did pass without me throwing up, and I was relieved (I hated the thought of throwing up)! 

With my previous labors, I was able to take those contractions on my chin, and power through them. With this labor, they came on very fast, and furious so quickly. Every time I thought I had a breather, other one hit. I had been in active labor for 2 hours and half.

After a brutal contraction that resulted me vocalizing through it, and putting down the phone, because the pain became too overwhelming for me to focus anything else; Sara decided to perform a check to see where I was at, and waited for me to finish a powerful wave. Once it ended at 10:37 PM, she checked me, and found that I was only at 6 CM. The feeling I had was akin to a balloon being popped. Everything went out of me. Only 6 CM? And I was already in the world of intense, godawful, kill me now pain. I had never experienced that so early on in labor with any of my boys until I was in transition. I was so sure that this phase was transition...only to be told it was not. 

I had been up since roughly 3 am, and began to seriously regret not napping earlier that day. Exhausted. Beaten down. Seriously discouraged, because I was only at freaking 6 CM, and god knows how long I had to go left before delivering our baby. I lamented to Stu that I was just too old for this "shit", and I no longer had a stamina for laboring like that anymore. I began crying, and was unable to stop sobbing, because I was oh, so tired, and had no more left in me to continue. My body was shaking terribly between my sobbing, and from the pain. In that very moment, I was afraid that the pain was going to be everlasting, and there was not going to be any respite for the next few hours. And this was coming from someone with ridiculously HIGH pain tolerance. Stu held my hand to try get my attention, and to tell me to breath. All I could remember in between the pain was him telling me to look at him, and to breath. Everything overwhelmed me in that very moment. 

Suddenly, I felt a lot of pressure at 10:40 PM, and told Sara this. As she went to check, my water broke, and she declared that my water bag ruptured. I had a relief from pain only for an instant, and then the pressure returned. Suddenly, Stu exclaimed, the baby's head is crowning! Chaos ensued. Sara called out to the other nurse that I had gone from 6 CM to 10 CM in 3 minutes flat, and it was time to push. I hadn't began to process that I was going to deliver like NOW. 

Sara gloved up while the other nurse swiftly set up the stir-up. The room was suddenly swarmed by a team of nurses running around. Someone grabbed my legs, and pushed them back. Stu continued to cheer me on. All I could think in that moment was, do I really have to push? It was funny looking back at that moment! In that moment, it was just so much pressure, and it freaked me out, like am I supposed to deliver a giant baby out of me? My previous boys barely had to be pushed out. This one was going to make me really work for it. 

Dr. Massee, an attending OB on the call, rushed in as Sara slowly rotated our baby's head out, and took over. Fiona's head had emerged sideways, and had to be rotated around. Dr. Massee guided Fiona's body out. We later joked that he had only delivered X number and half babies that day, because he had arrived just in time to deliver the rest of Fiona. At exactly 10:41 PM, he lifted up our baby for us to see, and said congratulations! Just like that, it was over. No pain. I had given birth four times. With each time, it blew my mind how labor pain abruptly could end just like that. 

Stu snapped photos of me shortly after giving birth, and I was glad he did, despite me looking exhausted, because I had always felt that it was a special moment. I asked, as he cut the cord if our baby was indeed a girl. Despite having countless ultrasounds confirming that Fiona was a girl, I had to SEE her to believe it, and I got a visual confirmation that we did have a daughter. It was extremely fitting that Fiona was born on National Daughter Day! Fiona Evelyn weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces, making her our second biggest baby out of our brood of kids for weight, and measured at 19 inches  long!


The rest of the birth went rather uneventful, and I was told I had some abrasions as well as a second to almost third degree tears from having a quick delivery. Aside from those, I was in a pretty decent shape from laboring, and giving birth to Fiona. It was worth all the pain to have her. We were thankful that the bleeding remained under control for the entire time, and that Fiona was healthy. She did swallow amniotic fluid during birth, which was very common with a precipitated delivery, and it made nursing a bit difficult in the beginning. Once she was able to regurgitate the fluid over the course of 24 hours, she became more effective at nursing, and it helped with her Jaundice level to go down as well.  

The first 48 hours were honestly a blur. I was so thankful that our family, and moms were able to help while we were in the hospital, and when we came home. We had several appointments to monitor Jaundice level in Fiona, and the numbers decreased over the hours. Dr. Karbon looked over Fiona, and said she was in a good health. My recovery continued to be on the right path. Our boys were introduced to their littlest sibling, and they all were enamored by her. We couldn't have been any more pleased with how well the introductions went among the kids, and they all were so gentle with sweet Fiona. We could tell that Fiona was going to be very loved, and cherished by her older brothers. All was right in the world, knowing that we were completed as a family of six, and it was immeasurably perfect to be at peace with concluding the chapter of pregnancy in my journey into motherhood.  

And though she be but little, she is fierce. Welcome to the world, our sweet little girl. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019


How Far Along: 38 weeks! 

I am Feeling: Oh man, I am exhausted, and want to be done with being pregnant. It is not that I am not liking the pregnancy experience. It is because it has been difficult dealing with a lot of NST dramatics leading to a long day afterward. I am trying hard not to keep my hope up that our little firecracker will be here next week just like her two older brothers, because it is possible that she won't come next week, and I don't want to end up feeling super discouraged. I am anxious to meet Pumpkin, and to confirm that she's a healthy baby girl. I am more emotional these days, and everything makes me cry. Hungry? I cry. Tired? I cry. Frustrated? I cry. In pain? I cry. It's crazy!! The hormones are REAL. I am excited to meet our baby, and to finally welcome her into the world! I'm impatient, because waiting is such a hard thing to do!! 

Movements: Pumpkin have her certain time of the day when she's more active, usually in the evenings. Sometimes she likes to snuggle in a position that leaves me super sore, and I have to nudge her out of that position! I can tell that she's out of room though. She can't do anything much except kick, punch, feel her way around, and hiccup. 

Symptoms: Increasing contractions. Feeling sore, and tired. Sore pubis bone and pelvis. Waddling a lot too! Heartburn is back in the full force. Nausea, and fatigue. Sore lower back. 

Labor Signs: At my NST appointment yesterday, I had 6 contractions in 20 minutes, which surprised me because I did not feel those, and tested positive for UTI. I was told that UTI can aggravate contractions. That also surprised me, because I didn't have symptoms that pointed to UTI!  I ended up being sent to L&D for further monitoring. I continued to have a lot of contractions that ended up being irregular, and I was told that it was not a result of UTI, but rather increasing symptoms of going into labor! I was checked, and said to be at 2.5-3 CM, and 75 percent effaced. I did end up feeling frustrated, because it ended up being a false alarm, and I just wanted to be done with all the NST stress (they were supposed to help reduce stress yet in my case, it just increased stress for me). 

Best Moments of the Week: I was able to finish my nephew's gift! It made me so happy, because that was one final checklist to be marked off before our little one arrived! It was one final thing on my nesting list to be done, and it was finally done! The older two boys, Forrest and Franklin, did great at their school for conferences. Their hopes and dreams made me pretty happy to hear (Forrest wanted to be a DNA researcher and Franklin wanted to learn how to read). I think both boys have wonderful aspirations, and I am excited to see where their lives will bring them to! 

Looking Forward to: My nephew will be here next week hopefully on Tuesday or early Wednesday! I am SO excited, and cannot wait!!! I am excited about entering my 39th week, and I am PRAYING our little one will join us next week, and I don't have to make an appointment on her due date! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday September 25th at 9 am. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019


How Far Along: 37 weeks! We are getting closer, and closer to the finish line!!! 

I am Feeling: O-M-G. I am so done both emotionally, and physically. Everything is making me so crabby, and everybody are annoying me, even though I know it's not their intention. It is just my hormones making me that way. I've been limiting my human interaction these days, and trying to focus a day at time. It's getting physically harder to do chores around the house, and it often leaves me feeling sore. It also triggers a lot of contractions that are unproductive. I am anxious, because I'm aware that the days are ticking down to when we will meet our Pumpkin. I've been experiencing a lot of burst of little energy, resulting in a lot of cleaning, organizing, and preparing for the new baby. My hospital bag is pretty much packed! I just need a few last minute things, and they can wait. I wrote an instruction care sheets for our kids while we are in the hospital at least like 3 times already! I forgot how hard it is to wait in those final few weeks!! 

Movements: Baby Girl has her crazy moments of kicking, and shaking my belly. It's usually at the evening when she goes crazy. Some days, she's more chill, and don't want to move as much. Thank goodness for the kick counts. It assures me a lot, especially on her lazy days. She stretches out a lot, and favors my right side, which I don't like, because it end up being really sore. I have to nudge her away from that spot! 

Symptoms: Heartburn, a lot of contractions, sore hip, sore pubis bone, achy lower back, fatigue, and the space is running out inside my belly. If I slouch, then I can feel her butt pressing up against my lungs. It's not comfortable for both of us! 

Labor Signs: A lot of contractions. It's mostly tightening in my belly. It is often triggered by me doing too much around the house, but I can't really afford to rest with three kids! I am planning on declining cervical check this week, because I don't think there is any change, and it's hard to know how much I have progressed with nothing happening. For my mentality sake, I think I am going to wait until next appointment to be checked. 

Best Moments of the Week: Getting a surprise gift from my pregnancy buddy, and a sister in law, she bought Pumpkin a really cute pumpkin outfit! Passing NST test (I felt we always had something happen every time I go in, and it was a really good feeling to be able to have a positive NST). Knowing that we were getting closer, and closer to the finish line! 

Looking Forward to: Meeting our baby Girl in a couple weeks, hopefully! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday September 18th at 1:00 PM. 

Update: I tested negative for Group Strep B! This did not surprise me, because I tested negative for the last three pregnancies. I had my platelets checked, and unfortunately, they were low. So I got diagnosed with Gestational Throcemenyentia. It basically meant no drugs for birth, and longer postpartrum bleeding. It wasn't my first rodeo, so oh well! 

Thursday, September 5, 2019


How Far Along: 36 weeks! 30 more days until my due date! 

I am Feeling: Tired, emotional, anxious, ready, excited, happy, overwhelmed, impatient, and eager. It is a jumble of emotions happening right now. We are finally in the home stretch!! I am anxious to make sure that everything works out for child care for our kids, and making sure that the transition is smooth as possible for them. It's a lot for them to take in between new routine for school, school starting, and having a baby sister come home! I've been cleaning a lot, organizing everything, and making sure that the note is available for Bobbie so she knows the boys' schedules. I am anxious to just make sure final arrangements are in its place, and everything is READY. When I had the NST scheduled for rest of September, I told both my interpreter, and the receptionist that I BETTER NOT to be scheduling NST for October first! I am definitely struggling with my emotions being all over the place, and I can't wait to return back to normal. I am not kidding myself; I know it will be an adjustment once Pumpkin is here, and it will be crazy, but I just want to be functional. 

Movements: It is definitely getting harder for me to feel Pumpkin move, because of two reasons: she's cramped as heck, and I've been having a lot of prodromal labor. When I'm experiencing false labor contractions, it's hard for me to feel her movements, and I've been having to do a lot of kick count to make sure she's doing well. 

Symptoms: My body is DONE. My back hurts, my hips hurt, and I'm tired. I'm not hungry as I used to be, and it's getting uncomfortable to do anything now. My pregnancy brain is UNREAL. I just feel scatter-brained lately. My pubis bone feels like it's going to break in half. My patience level is extremely low. 

Labor Signs: A lot of contractions. They're irregular, which makes it even more annoying, because I just want it to kick start into a real deal. At the same time, I need to be patient, because my body knows what it is doing, and when to evict Pumpkin Latte. So she will come when she is ready. 

Best Moments of the week: The older two started school, and it was exciting, because they were finally housed in the same school! We finished the final preparations for Pumpkin. I had her bassinet set up next our bed, and car seat installed, It was a hassle at first, because due to my pregnancy brain, I was confused why the inclination was off for the rear facing car seat, then I realized that I was trying to install it forward facing! Oops. It was quickly remedied once I turned it around, and the inclination was at the right angle. I had a cute laundry basket that my mom gave to us set up next to the bassinet, and all we needed was to have Pumpkin here! 

Looking Forward to: I am anxious to be meeting Pumpkin. Everything is READY. It is just a matter of waiting!!! 

Next appointment: Wednesday September 11th at 10:30 am. 

Update: I had NST done recently, and we failed it. It resulted in yet another biophysical scan. As it had turned out, Pumpkin was just sleeping, and she was doing great. Dr. Mbah wanted me to start kick count every day from now on. Well, I had her beat at that, because I've been doing it since the beginning of August! I had Group Strep B test done (I'm expecting to pass it), and measured small once again. Dr. Mbah performed a cervical check, and said that I was at 2 CM, and 50 percent effaced! Of course, I knew it meant I could sit like that until week 39 or 40, but man, it was good to know that I had some progression made! Fingers crossed that stuff continued to progress!! 

Sunday, September 1, 2019


How Far Along: 35 weeks!! Holy batman. If she will come at 39 weeks, then that means 4 more weeks left of being pregnant. She's welcome to join us anytime after Labor Day weekend, even though I'd prefer her to cook a bit long as long as possible. 

I am Feeling: Tired. Ready to have our pumpkin. It is such a surreal feeling to know that we may have only 4 to 5 weeks left of being pregnant. In a way, it is a sad feeling, because this is my last pregnancy, and I will never get to experience this anymore. It's almost an end of the era of me being pregnant, and I've been pregnant on and off for the past 7 years. With every pregnancy, I have more complications, and it is getting to the point where I have made peace with the idea of my body needing to be done with this chapter. I am ready mentally, and physically, but it doesn't mean I am any less sad about that. I am excited to be meeting our baby, and getting to know her, to see how our family mesh, and how the dynamics will be. I'm nervous about the postpartum journey with balancing a newborn with 3 older kids, and how Fox will adjust from being the "baby" of the family to being a big brother. It is a big change coming once again, and it will be a big adjustment for all of us. It is amazing how FAST time has flown since we found out we were pregnant. The anticipation of meeting our baby is exciting. 

Movements: Getting crowded! Pumpkin has been stretching out a lot, and stroking her way around. She no longer does crazy flips, and crashes into the uterus walls. I can tell that she's getting cramped, and is slowly running out of the space. I enjoy feeling her little hiccups, and movements throughout the day, and night. I do kick counts a lot with her, especially when she gets quiet, and it is usually during my contractions that she doesn't move as much. 

Symptoms: My belly button is out! It's a weird feeling. Nausea is annoying as always. It gets worse when I have a heartburn. I get headaches when I don't drink enough water. My sciatica pain is AWFUL. It's crazy; I don't recall having this kind of pain with my previous pregnancies, and yet with this one, I do. Constipation is awful. I've been eating activia yogurt (Yay Jamie Lee Curtis would be proud of me), and adding Benefiber powder to my water. I have a feeling it won't be completely resolved until this baby is OUT though. 

Labor Signs: Ugh, I had a prodromal labor on Sunday evening. I had contractions with lower back pain that were coming in intervals. I ended up laying down, and drinking a lot of water. Thankfully it stopped after an hour. Apparently, this was quite common in women who have had several previous pregnancies. 

Best Moments of the Week: Getting the CD in the mail from my photographer for my maternity pictures. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Can't wait to print the pictures, and hang them up! Having my mom visit for a week. It is so nice having her here to help out with errands, and chores around the home, and for the boys to spend time with her. 

Looking Forward to: September! It's hard to believe that I will be entering the last month of my pregnancy next Monday. Already! Fall. I love fall, and it's my favorite time of the year. Sending my older 2 to school, and seeing how they love their grades, especially Franklin. Having Fox just to myself for a bit before Pumpkin comes. Installing both bassinet in our bedroom, and car seat in our van! I will feel better once those two are set up. I am starting to feel antsy about packing more in our hospital bag, but it's still too early yet! I tend to add more things between 37-39 weeks to my hospital bag. 

Next Appointment: Tuesday September 3rd at 9:30 am. 

Update: I scheduled NST appointments for rest of September. It was crazy to see that I MAY only have 4 appointments left before Pumpkin arrives. I also was told that next week, I needed to have Group Strep B test done, and platelet checked. I had a feeling that both should be clear. I haven't decided if I wanted to do a cervical check or not. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


How Far Along: 34 weeks! It is hard to believe that I am 8 and half months pregnant already. It feels like this pregnancy has been flying by so quickly. It is both good, and bad thing. It is a good thing, because I would feel better with our pumpkin out instead of in and to meet her! It's bad, because I feel like I don't get to enjoy it as much as I should. 

I am Feeling: Moody. It has been up, and down with my emotions. It ranges from impatience to annoyance to being happy. It's just a roller coaster of emotions! Third trimester is hard in this sense where you are physically struggling, then throw in emotional challenges too. I have found first, and third trimesters to be difficult in their own rights. Stu asked me the other night if I would miss this as I laboriously rolled over the bed with my big belly. I told him that I was MORE THAN ready to have our pumpkin. But will I miss this? Most likely, yes. 

Movements: The same old. She's running out of space, and her movements are getting more painful than not. I keep telling myself that we gotta hang in there, and she will be here before we know it. 

Symptoms: Lessening appetite. I am just not very hungry these days. Sore hips. Constipation. Yay! It is back! Time to pull out Benefiber again. Breathless. Frequent BH contractions. Sunday was a tough one---contractions lasted all day long non-stop, and it tired me out. Sore lower back. Just feeling very pregnant. 

Labor Signs: Just a lot of BH contractions. Stu thinks that pumpkin won't make it to her due date. We shall see! 

Best Moments of the Week: Celebrating Forrest's birthday! Loving seeing Forrest being happy with all of the gifts, and being loved on. Getting even more of our maternity sneak peek pictures. Seeing Pumpkin again via ultrasound. Just spending time with the boys, and Stu. 

Looking Forward to: Gosh, I am eager to set up the bassinet, and car seat in our van. First, I need to get the seat belt extender in the mail, then I will be able to install the car seat. Selling off remaining of our cloth diapers. I've decided to not cloth diaper Pumpkin due to time constraint, and the mounting laundry! I already do 8-10 loads of laundry on our laundry days, and adding cloth diapers to that is just too overwhelming. Getting a CD of our maternity pictures. I can't wait to be able to see all of the pictures, and print pictures to be hung up in our home! Going to Wausaukee Fair this weekend. I'm hoping to find out which teachers our boys will get for school this year soon, and I will be able to introduce myself to them, then have a firm schedule for the school year! 

Next Appointment: Tuesday August 27th at 2 pm. Hopefully NST will go well this time! 

Update: Pumpkin is officially head down. She's in a perfect delivery position (fetal position with her arms tucked by her face). Everything looked really good with her measurement-wise, and at this point now, it's just a matter of fattening her up for birth. She's currently in 4 LB range; if this estimate is correct, and she makes it to 39 weeks, then I think she might be between 7-8 pounds. It's average for a newborn!