Friday, June 27, 2014

Dear Tucker: {3rd Edition}

Dearest sweet Tucker Kreg:
Happy third birthday, sweets! What a joy it has been to get to know you better through another year of blessings.  You are a delight to everyone who knows you! 

You are quite charming and I'm pretty sure you're beginning to realize it.  You're not afraid to ask for something you KNOW you shouldn't have and you always throw that delightful impish grin in at just the right time-- we're going to have to work on that ;).  You can make anything in the world better with your sweetness and I'm pretty certain you give the best hugs in the world-- huge squeezes with both arms wrapped tightly around my neck.  I love watching your tenderness with others and am sometimes baffled at how one person can be so competitive and so compassionate at the same time. There is no doubt you are 100% boy and feel the need to be constantly moving, wielding a weapon, and winning at something. 

I'm so thankful every day that God chose me to be your mommy.  You are a blessing to our family and a joy to watch as you grow and learn.  Being a part of your world is a privilege and I pray that I will have what it takes and know what it takes to help you to become the man that you are capable of becoming-- the man God wants you to be. I pray that you will know His richest blessings and that you will always have a drive and an ability to love and take care of His people.  I pray that your life will be full of joy and love and that we will have many years together full of happy memories!

I can't wait to see what all this year has in store for you.  I love you with all my heart and am so thankful for the sweet relationship we share.  Have a great day, sweet boy, and always remember how loved you are!        

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brooks' Story

Brooks William Kell is here!!

Here's the quick scoop: 
born at home 6.11.2014 at 6:11pm, weighed 5 lb. 15 oz, 20 1/4 inches long

Here's the juicy details:

As many of you know, Kreg is in a 14-week training period for a new position which requires him to travel to Dallas for four one-week sessions, one of which fell directly over Brooks' due date.  I was very hopeful that Brooks would make his appearance while Kreg was home but was also trying to come to terms with the fact that he could very easily miss this birth.  We spent the last few days before his birthday walking and walking and walking, driving up washed out, bumpy roads, bouncing on the exercise ball, getting a pedicure... you know... all the things that probably don't actually work but make you feel like you're "doing" something! What I think *actually* worked was the fact that a) he was ready, b) I saw my fantastic chiropractor Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and he was on board working my ligaments and providing great adjustments to keep me balanced and ready-- and c) when I went in to see my midwife on Wednesday, I decided to have her check my cervix... which I typically don't do at all but at this point decided I was ready to know if anything was happening at all and if we had any chance of having a baby before Kreg left on Monday! I was 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced... nothing too exciting with baby #3, BUT... his head was soo low that she had to reach behind his head to find my cervix... sorry about that visual but its pertinent to his story ;). She said she could probably sweep a little of the membranes if I wanted her to and I told her to go ahead so she did what she could.  I left her office at 1:30pm with instructions to let her know if I felt anything at all because she figured his labor would go very quickly because of how low he was laying.  I went home and went about tackling my to-do list and shortly after 4pm noticed what I thought might be a short contraction... a few minutes later thought *maybe* another one? I find it hilarious that I've been in labor twice before & it still took me an hour and many consistent contractions to decide it was real labor!  Thankfully, I texted my midwife & my mom to let them know I thought I might have something going on & I'd keep them posted.  My mom, thankfully, canceled her dinner plans & brought dinner & the whole family to my house, and my midwife stopped by to check on me while she was in the area.  They all showed up about 5:40 pm.  I decided not to eat because I was now having consistent contractions that had a very strange 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off pattern.  I decided later that I actually liked that a lot more than 1.5 minute contractions every 2 minutes which is more typical of that stage of labor.  I'm wondering if the fact that I stayed on red raspberry leaf tea religiously this time may have contributed to that?  Supposedly it helps tone the uterus to make contractions more efficient.  I'm gonna say it worked ;).  I told Kreg around 5:50 that I think I was ready for him to fill the birth tub-- my goal was to get in earlier than I had with Tucker's birth because it was soo nice & relaxing.  I only gave myself about 20 minues with Tucker and I knew it would take a while to fill.  Kreg went to work on that right away & started filling it with both the hose that connects to the sink and the detachable shower head from our shower.  Once he got that set up he decided to make himself a taco (the meal my mom brought over)-- this was about 6pm and mom stayed with me & helped put pressure on my back to counter the back labor I was starting to feel.  I decided after 3 contractions to try to make it to the bathroom in between contractions & quickly decided that was a bad idea as I felt the distinct "ring of fire" and need to push.  I somehow made my way over to the tub which had about 6" of water in it & told everyone I was getting in & I was pushing... and actually I wasn't pushing, I was trying not to but your body takes over at this point & does it involuntarily! I heard my sister holler for Kreg from the kitchen who hollered back, "ask her if she can hold off til I finish my taco!"  I was actually able to laugh as he hurried back to our bathroom & made it in time for the next contraction when I pushed his head out-- I honestly am not even sure if I pushed again or if the contraction itself pushed the rest of his sweet little self into the water.  I remember my midwife saying to me "there's his head, he's just fine here until... oh, yep, there he is..." I was a little concerned about the water level being high enough but with my midwife there to catch him it was just fine!  And it all happened SO fast that I am beyond grateful that everything went so very smooth! 

I love that at this point, Kreg decides to turn off the water. Won't be needing any more...

 Less than a minute after he was born, his big brothers got to meet him!  Once everyone realized he was coming NOW, my dad took Westin & Tucker into the living room to play & distract them a bit.  One of my favorite things about home birth is that they were there the whole time-- in the comfort of our home, "involved" in the process as much as we wanted them to be, and right there to meet him once he was here! If we were planning on dropping them off somewhere & making it to the hospital... goodness, it wouldn't have happened because we wouldn't have had time!

 Another thing I love about home births... and water births... is how sweet and calm they are right off the bat.  Nothing traumatic about this kind of birth.  Brooks cried one little cry while my midwife was listening to his lungs and heart and then was right back to being calm and content in my arms.  I got to just sit there and love on him and catch my breath.  It was perfect.

 Another thing I love about home birth... there's no forcing the placenta out.  We waited patiently as it took its own sweet time... I would have expected it to be as quick as Brooks was but it wasn't.  I didn't complain as this just gave me a little more cuddle time in the warm water.  After we got that out of the way, my midwife checked his cord to be sure it had stopped pulsing and all the boys helped cut the cord-- something they had been looking forward to! It was an important job :) Interesting fact-- Brooks' placenta was TINY.  Compared to the other boys I would say it was almost half the size.  My midwife said this was probably directly related to where it attached and how much blood flow it got.  It's also why Brooks was a full two pounds smaller than my last baby!  Tiny placentas make skinny babies.  Brooks came out immediately wanting to nurse so we did just that while we waited to deliver the placenta and have spent nearly every waking moment since filling his little tummy!  He's a fantastic eater and I have no doubt he will make up those extra pounds quickly!

 First Daddy snuggles!

 My sweet, sweet Tucker making sure I was doing alright!  I'm so blessed by these sweet boys God gave me!

 It was such a blessing to share these next special moments with such special people! I really am amazed that everyone was able to get here when they did and am so thankful everything worked out exactly as it did!

I know this is not the kind of birth that everyone out there would choose-- and that's okay! However, I am a huge, huge advocate of doing it this way whenever possible! There's something about being in the comfort of your own environment, surrounded by people of your choosing, with very little poking and prodding that seems to make for very easy, complication-free births.  I also know that there are people out there who would love to choose this kind of birth and are unable to for either medical or personal reasons and my heart goes out to you!  I just can't express how thankful I am that I have been able to have my babies at home, that they have been healthy & safe, and that I have had such a great support system through it all!  Thank you, God, for my precious family you've given me.  Please help me to be the wife & mommy that each of them need and let there never be a doubt in any of their minds that they are loved.