Friday, April 22, 2016

Lucía Joy

While she arrived April 6th, I'm finally getting a chance to tell you all the details about Lucía's birth.  And before we get to far ahead, let's just clear up how we say her name, shall we?  It sounds like Lucy with an "ahh" sound at the end.  It's the Spanish pronunciation of the name and believe it or not I actually found a youtube video that gives you the audio.

Ok, on to the birth story.  Because of past c sections (Elliot's started the whole thing off with a bang and then Quinn's was a much more peaceful planned c section.)  We had scheduled the c section for 39 1/2 weeks, and for a while it looked like we might not make it to that date.  Starting about around 34 weeks, I began to have a lot of contractions. Since I've never gone into labor on my own, this was a bit of a surprise.  My doctor had me come in for monitoring and told me stay off my feet.  And just to make sure I knew he was serious, he added "or you can rest in the hospital for the next couple of weeks."  Yeah, no.

Two days before the scheduled c section I had my last pre natal appointment.  There was a quick ultrasound to make sure baby was doing well and fluid levels were good.  We were given a "Everything looks great!  See you Wednesday!"  and we were off to pick up my mom from the airport (insert a huge sigh of relief that we made it to then without having to use plan B or C or D!)

Wednesday morning Noah and I headed to the hospital before dawn.  We got all checked in at the hospital and they wheeled me down to the pre op room.  I had joked with my OB that all of my Spanish went to the baby, and he was great about it!  He told the surgical team that while my Spanish is perfect (bwhahah, he was being far to kind and lying!) to use English with me.  Our family doctor was there as well, which was a huge help as he is bilingual and works with missionary families all the time.

In the operating room, it took a while for Noah to be brought in, but he was in time for Lucía's birth.  Except her birth wasn't quite right.  Remember, I couldn't see anything and had a spinal so things were a bit fuzzy, but I remember her not crying.  And not crying and not crying.  I asked again and again if she was ok, and the doctors and Noah did a good job at downplaying what was really going on.  When Lucía was born she wasn't breathing and had no tone or movement.  Her heart was beating, but that was about it.

Our OB told us afterwards that it was a miracle she was alive.  He thinks that early that morning the placenta had started to detach, something they call placenta abruption.  This caused bleeding into the uterus, which meant Lucía was not getting the life support she needed from the placenta anymore.  It also meant that as she swallowed amniotic fluid (something babies do) she was swallowing blood as well.  Most of the time, if a woman has a placenta abruption, she has a lot of abdominal pain and she starts to bleed.  I had none of that.  It wasn't until the doctors started the procedure that they knew anything was wrong.

As soon as Lucía was born, the pediatrician used a CPR mask and bag to breath for her.  She didn't breath on her own for around 7 minutes.  Once she started to breath, the pediatrician brought her to my face so I could touch her and then it was off to the NICU.  She was given oxygen, they put a glucose IV into her belly button, and began to monitor her.  I went to the recovery room and Noah went with Lucía.  He spent a lot of time in the NICU with her, singing and praying.

Because they had her under a plexiglass tent for the oxygen, we weren't able to hold her until the next day at around 1pm.  I think that was one of the longest 30 hours of my life.  And because I was recovering from a c section it was around 5pm the night she was born before I really got to see her when the nurses took me in a wheel chair to the NICU.

The doctors and nurses were amazed at how well Lucía did.  When the OB came to check on me the next day he said "It was only God!  Everything was fine on Monday and had the c section been scheduled for the next day or even a few hours later, she probably would have been a stillborn."  He also told me that he was able to hold it together while he saw patients that day, but when he got home that night he just started crying and praying for us.  He said "sometimes this job is really hard." There is something very nice about having doctors that acknowledge that it was God.

It was interesting, in all of the time of bed rest, a friend of mine said she was praying for God's timing for Lucía's birth, not the doctors.  We started to pray that way too, which is sort of a strange prayer for a planned c section, but my goodness, did God answer!!  That morning when I was getting ready to head to the hospital I asked the Lord for something to get me through the day.  He started to talk to me from Isaiah 43
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

Except I stopped listening as soon as He said "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you." It scared me.  I was afraid of what might be coming.  But He did exactly what He said!  He was right there in the midst of something that could have been so very, very bad.  He kept the waters from overcoming us and Lucía.   He had us surrounded by doctors and nurses who kept Lucía breathing and did what it took to get her stable.

All of Lucía's test have come back saying she is just fine.  She is acting just like any other new born, eating and sleeping like a it's no big deal.  Her name means Light and her little life is already a testament to how great our God is!  We're thankful, very, very thankful!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Forrest's Birthday

Hard to believe we now have a 9 year old!!  While Forrest's actual birthday is today, we celebrated last week.  Something about having a party 5 days before another baby being born seems like a risky move.  So instead we had his party on his due date!

This year he really wanted to invite his two best buddies from school over, which seemed like a great idea.  Here the whole family comes to the party, so it was Forrest's two friends, their sisters, and their moms and dads.

Forrest wanted fish and rice and beans for lunch (a very typical meal you would order for lunch in a restaurant here).  He also wanted a chocolate cake with strawberries in the middle, and since it was his birthday after all, we used the homemade strawberry jam from Michigan Buela made last summer!  So good!

We're so thankful for what a neat kid Forrest is.  He's full of ideas, and is curious about the world around him (thus the cake) and has a strong sense of the Truth, which he isn't afraid to tell you all about it!  God is going to do big things with that!! Happy Birthday Forrest!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The All Consuming Wait

So.  I still have a back log of things to tell you about, and want to really devote a whole post to a few things, like the time all my aunts and uncles came to visit, or the baby shower our church here threw us.  Or how amazing Easter was this year.

But the all consuming thing right now is the impending arrival of Baby Girl!  We're down to 7 days if all goes according to plan, which we all know how these things behave in regards to plans.

About 3 weeks ago the doctor told me I really needed to take it easy.  It's the height of dry season and I've been having contractions off and on, which with this being the third baby to be born by c section, doctors don't like you to actually go into labor.   Then just to be sure that I understood he really meant it, he said "Or you can stay in the hospital for the next couple of weeks".  Ummm, yeah, we'll work on me taking it easy at home, thank you very much. 

So, I've been  off my feet a lot.  And frankly that's driving me nuts!  There are lots of things that need to be done to make a household run well that require mom being on her feet.  But can I just tell you all, God has answered so many prayers that we prayed for years in regards to community here?  A neighbor has come once a week to clean my house!  A friend had dropped by about once a week just to fold laundry.  Another friend planned, and cooked an amazing Easter dinner, which they brought to our house, and then brought us some of the leftovers while another friend cleaned up from the meal
!  Other people have offered to help with Quinn, and to drive the big boys to and from school.  Guys, 5 years ago we didn't have any sort of support network like this here! 

I've been able to go to church still, and be up enough to cook dinner most days (if I do it in the morning).  Maybe because it's been so hot, or because I am  older this time, or the altitude (I blame almost anything on the altitude)  This last month of pregnancy has just wiped me out.  When people ask me how I am feeling I tell them "pregnant. I feel very pregnant." 

So, we're in the home stretch now.  I've planned something each day, just to keep my mind off of the waiting and to keep Quinn occupied.  My mom comes in Monday and then Wednesday we head in to have this baby! Can't wait for her to live on the outside.

Monday, February 29, 2016

New Room

Well, I have a backlog of things to tell you all about, but frankly that feels overwhelming. So, instead of trying to get all caught up at once, I am going to pick one thing.

The New Baby's Room.

When we moved into this house 3 1/2 years ago, we loved it for a lot of reasons.  It had 4 bedrooms, a real yard and just a lot of things that were us.

But one of the bedrooms was strange.  It was big enough to hold 2 queen size bed, comfortably.  No really.  That was ok.  Elliot used the room and it had a spare bed for when guests came.  But it seemed like a silly waste of space really. 

For whatever reason, I don't have a good before photo, but this one gives you somewhat of an idea.  That's a queen bed and a set of bunk beds in the same room and there is still a desk and a rug behind the camera!

So we got to thinking, "What if we put a wall up in the middle of the room and cut a door to the hallway?"  We talked about it when our friend Jamie was here and helped us build all sorts of hobbit shelves.  She thought it was doable.  We talked to other friends and finally our landlord.  He was a bit skeptical about it, but when we said we'd pay for it and that our architect friend thought it would be fine, he was good.

So, in mid January, we finally were able to hire two guys to come and build the new baby's room! 

It was a simple project as these things go.  It was just putting a drywall wall up to split the room in half and cutting a door in the existing hallway wall.  I say simple.  We still hired someone to do it.  But there was already separate wiring for lights and outlets, and a window on that side of the room, almost as if this had been the plan all along but they just never got to it. 

So now Elliot's room is much more manageable.  I think he feels not so overwhelmed by it.  He's got new green everything (his favorite color).  I would show you a lovely photo, but honestly, when I went up to take one, I realized he managed to leave the house this morning with a lego explosion everywhere.  So instead I'll just show you pictures of the Baby's room because she can't mess it up...yet. 

There are still some things that I want to do in here, like paint her name on a sign above her changing table, but that requires that we know her name, which still isn't certain yet.  Yeah, yeah, I know.

I love how the furniture came together in this room.  The changing table and the rocking chair came from our church here.  We did some updating of the nursery there and those things needed to be moved out.  So we got to give them a home.  The changing table is the same style as one we had in the states with the two biggest kids.  It's sweet when God gives you gifts like that.  The red pillow on the rocker is one that my great grandmother made. The crib is one we used with Quinn.  There is something sweet about reusing all the baby things.  There is even a walker up on the shelf above the changing table that at least three of my siblings used along with my boys. 

The little table with the light came from the garbage and I sanded it down and painted it.  I love how it turned out. 

The book shelves Noah found on a sale site and they needed some love. So we sanded those down too and painted them.  There isn't much on them, yet, but I am sure they will fill up in the years to come.  I am thinking baby needs a rag doll soon.

So there you have it.  The new room.  I am sure it will morph over the next while, and baby probably won't sleep in it for several months after she is born, but it feels good to have that huge project checked off the "To Do Before Baby Comes" list!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Beginnings

Humph....I guess that six month break broke my writing habit. 

Whatever.  We're going to pick up and move along.  Because every day is a new beginning, even if it's 21 days after a new beginning.  God's been reminding me "Every Morning is New.  Throw away yesterday's half completed list and let's start fresh."

The big boys are back at school, with some changes to teachers that were unexpected and hard, but have turned out to be good.  Quinn is fully 3 1/2 with all that means, the good and the bad.

Over the Christmas break we moved around beds and are now getting ready to build a wall and frame out a door to make another bedroom for Baby Girl, who should be coming in just about 10 weeks!

Speaking of that, how can 10 weeks feel like way not enough time to get everything done and yet and eternity away?  Time and pregnancy have a weird relationship. 

So that's where I am living.  Not always gracefully, but that's the whole thing right?  That He has compassion and new mercies for me everyday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

As Per Tradition...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Baby Update with Some Cultural Oberservations Thrown In

We're almost to 24 weeks with this new baby.  Feels like it's been a lot longer than that.  For whatever reason, I had that aweful wanna puke but can't but that doesn't mean I can function all day sickness with this one for close to 17 weeks.  Quinn was this bad, but it only lasted, well, 15 weeks.  Whatever.  We'll blame it on the altitude.

While most of my pregnancy with Quinn was here in Costa Rica (we were in language school, remember that year?  ) this pregnancy has been even more Costa Rican, if that makes sense.  We live here now.  We have friends here, close friends.  My doctor this time around is Tico.  It just feels more Tico.  Add to that the fact that this baby will be born here (Quinn was born stateside)  it's just been different.

There are subtle differences in how the culture approaches pregnancy.  For example:  Ticos have absolutely no qualms about touching a pregnant belly.  No thought at all. I am not a touchy person to begin with and then to have 25 year old guys (yes, guys do it all the time!) rubbing my belly,'s just strange.

Something else I've noticed that is so very different is people don't ask how I am doing, they ask how the baby is doing.  The conversation typically goes something like this

I walk into a room
Tico friend:"How's the baby today?"

Which I never really know what to say. 
"Ummm, she's fine?" 
"Ummm, she really like dinner last night?"
 I don't know. I usually just say "she's growing!"

I think this points to a very big difference in how children are viewed in this culture.  Here, they are cherished and loved, to a fault some times. As in when one of mine throws a fit, someone is usually there to give them a piece of candy or a cookie to keep them from crying.

Kids aren't considered an inconvenience or annoyance.  We feel this even in the airports as we travel back and forth.  If we are sitting at the gate waiting to board a flight in Latin America, our kids get help putting shoes on, they are given cookies by strangers, no one bats an eye when one cries or gets wiggly.  That help and grace continues though the flight, but once we hit the ground in the US, the attitude is totally different.  Children are viewed as an inconvenience and people often give us looks and rolled eyes.  It's so striking the difference.  I've even heard people say in the US things like "kids shouldn't even be allowed on airplanes."  Here, if you have an infant with you, you are usually bumped to the front of whatever line you are in.

Everyone asks me if the baby is a boy or girl and once they find out it's a girl, they immediately want to know her name.  As in the doctor asked me this last week so he could write it down in my medical records.  I've heard him call babies by their name while he's doing the ultrasounds.   I mentioned to a friend that one of our boys was a couple hours old before he had a name and look of shock on her face was priceless!  She said "OH!! You CAN NOT do that to your daughter!!" 

Nombre Bebé:  Baby's Name

For the record, we haven't settled on a name just yet, and I doubt we'll share it before this little one is born, but you never know, we might cave to cultural norms here.

Speaking of cultural norms...earrings.  Yeah, here they do it at the hospital within the first 24 hours or so.  It was comical to me when I asked on Facebook for moms' opinions on this cultural custom.  Most of the responses were from friends and family in the States and the overwhelming response was "DON"T DO IT!  Let her choose."  The response from my Tica friends was "DO IT!  It won't be as painful and she won't remember the pain.  Plus she's a girl!"  I am not sure I've ever seen a little Tica without earrings.  So we'll see, not sure what we'll end up deciding. This is defiantly ones of those "it's not right or wrong, it's just different" cultural things.

So you never know, after living here almost 5 years, you just might know this little girl's name well before she's born and she might end up with earrings within the first hours of her life.