Friday, December 10, 2010

How's it going?

I thought I'd post a short update on how our journey to a family mission statement is going.

So far, I'd say it's going well, if more slowly that I expected. While we haven't had a quiet time everyday, we've been having them about 5/7 days each week. The first few nights are always the hardest to get rolling. It's like trying to have a phone conversation with someone you haven't spoken to in a while, it takes time to get reacquainted. I remember saying to David a few nights ago, "Tonight I'm looking forward to quiet time." That's when I finally felt like we were making progress. I'm pretty good at remembering to "behave", I'm not very good at fostering my joy in my relationship with God. How sad it is when I trade the Good News for living a moral life!

I got so discouraged by this tendency of mine to settle for "being good" over actually relating to God that I began to question whether I really knew God at all. If I could be so callous to the Gospel, had it really penetrated my heart? As I sought God in prayer about this I felt peace and reassurance that all the callousness of my heart is a reminder of how dear His grace should be and all the good works I can become so prideful of are only a reflection of the work he's doing in me.

So what does all this have to do with our family mission statement? Our days will be defined by what we value most, and I'm grateful that God is moving my head knowledge to my heart so that he can truly become my treasure.

Caleb: 23/24 Weeks

Can I just say, my little boy is growing up to fast? He is now a champion at sitting up. Yes, he still falls backwards at time, but he needs his hands to steady him less and less and can easily play with toys, reach for things, etc. from this new position. It really is amazing. He's also learning how to scoot around. Through a combination of inch-worming and rolling he has figured out he can get places!

I've started reading up on solids for "the big introduction" after Christmas. This more than anything else has made me realize how quickly these baby days are going. While I look forward to all the fun crafts, stories and learning that awaits us, I truly treasure this simple time. Of course, I still have a passing thought here or there when I think, "I've lost all my freedom as an adult to a 15lb tyrant" but those moments are few and far between.

I felt terribly guilty for moments like those for a long time, when my wise husband helped me by saying this, "It's very similar to just after we got married. We had to learn to put our selfishness aside and put the other person first. It was hard sometimes, but it NEVER meant we regretted getting married. Now, you have to be even more selfless, and yes it's hard sometimes, but it doesn't mean you're a bad mom or that you wish we didn't have Caleb."

And he is so right. I've learned more about how to be selfless from Caleb that from anything else God could have possibly brought into my life and I love the new person I see in the mirror (even the stretch marks, but that's a different topic...). And of course I LOVE LOVE LOVE our son. He makes every day an adventure!

Caleb: 22 Weeks

What an awesome week of time with family. We spent this Thanksgiving with the Gainey side of the family. It was such a joy to get to see Caleb interacting with all his grandparents, but I must admit, my favorite part was getting to spend "adult time" after he went to bed.

Thanksgiving day was wonderful and relaxed. Everyone contributed their holiday specialties and Brian and Amy (David's brother and sister in law) once again did an amazing job hosting such a huge crowd (17 this year, I believe!). I feel so blessed to be a part of this loving family.

Headline News:
-Each day Caleb gets more and more steady sitting upright. He still falls backwards a lot though so mommy stays right behind him!
-Caleb begins showing lots of interest in cups, so I give him a few sips of water. We'll be starting solids after Christmas.
-Caleb has become an expert at pulling the cord on his cow toy (which makes it vibrate). We think he may be a lefty...
-David teaches Caleb a very important life skill: How to eat his toes.

Of course the 'Nole win was the icing on the cake!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Caleb: 21 weeks

It's been an awesome week, and not just because everyone is finally sleeping : )

Sleep training seems to have helped Caleb in so many ways. Not only is he happier now, but his attention span is longer and his frustration is lower so we've seen some really cool new behaviors. He now rolls to play on both his back and stomach. It's so cute to see him scooting all around his play mat. If he gets too much better at scooting we are going to have to get the Pack-and-Play out! He also decided now that he can roll, he likes sleeping on his tummy, thank you very much! He is starting to really like bath time. He has figured out to splash, but gets upset if the water gets into his face : ) He also likes to watch and try anything we do. He loves watching me cook dinner especially. In the tub, we have to have two rags because if I don't give him his own, he steals mine! Of course, we still have to encourage him not to try and suck the water out of his rag!

In other news, it was a great weekend. I found a big kids consignment sale they have 3x's/year at a church down the road from us. For about $50 I got bags of clothes, books and shoes. My favorite finds were a set of Alphabet books from Baby Einstein for $3 and a pair of OshKosh flannel lined overalls with a flannel Carters shirt for $5 (too bad we aren't in PA to use that outfit, but it does occasionally get cold here too hehe). Then David's mom and brother, Isaac, came to visit us for the weekend. We had a great time with them and they even babysat for us while David and I had our first baby-free date since Caleb was born. We went to Starbucks armed with coupons and got a tall coffee, tall latte, and danish for $2.60. If you can't tell, we love finding good deals : )

Headline News:

-Caleb continues to think he feet are the coolest toy ever made
-With just a little help on the side-to-side sway, Caleb is able to sit up, using his hands in front of him like a tripod
-Although still crying before most daytime naps, when Caleb eats at night he goes back to sleep with NO crying : )
-We have officially moved up to 6-9 month sleepers (oh my!)
-Caleb says "mama" when he's not angry for the first time (He's been saying "mama" when he cries for a few weeks now

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where Are We Going?

If you're familiar with the amount of change our family has seen in the past couple years, you might naturally assume that title is a musing about where God might move us next. In a way you'd be right.

Lately, David and I have been much less concerned about the physical location of our family, but the spiritual one. It's become clear to us that our lives too often revolve around enjoying this life and focus much less on the simple question, "What work does God have for me today?"

So we've decided to begin a journey from now until the new year of delving into our family mission statement. What gifts have we been given, what are our goals in the long term, and what steps do we need to take today? We see the daily routines such as work and meeting Caleb's needs define our days now, with most of our free time spent on entertainment or relaxing. I feel like God has more for us. When I spend time as a family, I want to be intentional about it, not zoned in front of the TV. When I have a free Saturday I want to do more than laundry. I want to serve, learn, do.

I have no idea where this journey will lead us, but I'm looking forward to the ride. Right now the only "new" habit we are instituting is daily Word and prayer time. We are trusting God to lead us to the rest.

We'll be sharing more as the story continues. If you've done something similar I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you're interested in doing something similar this is our springboard:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Special Report: Our Sleep Training Journey

So many things change once you become a parent. Before Caleb was born, I never thought I’d have a problem letting him cry some. I’d babysat plenty of kids and knew bedtime and a few tears tend to go together. Once he was in my arms though, I realized this was a whole new rodeo : )

From the beginning, Caleb was colicy, crying almost constantly for the first 8 weeks of life. I say this because I learned later that research shows colicy kids tend to have sleep problems that linger long past when colic has ended. In Caleb’s earliest days, we just didn’t sleep. Later, around 7 weeks, we began cosleeping, which worked wonderfully. When he woke to nurse, I was able to barely awaken and we both drifted off to sleep much faster. At around 10 weeks Caleb was sleeping 5-7 hour stretches most nights so we moved him into the crib for the big stretch of sleep and continued cosleeping after that.

Then around 3 months, Caleb’s sleep started deteriorating. He no longer woke just to nurse, he woke many times throughout the night, each time needing our help to return to sleep. So back to cosleeping we went. Except, this didn’t stop the night wakings. They continued to increase until Caleb was literally waking every hour. Sometimes nursing would even fail to put him back to sleep and I needed to get out of bed and rock him. We kept this difficult routine up for a month because I just couldn’t bear the idea of sleep training him so young. Because his sleep was so fragmented he became increasingly fussier during the day, and by the time we were rocking him to sleep he was scratching us and himself, pinching us and screaming at the top of his lungs. We tried earlier bed times, soothing him sooner, routines, but each night he ended up in our bed, waking every 45-90 minutes.

After talking to his pediatrician and explaining how…persistent…Caleb can be, she recommended we try using the “fading” approach. The first night we would do his routine (bath, diaper, PJs, nurse, song/rocking), put him down drowsy but awake and stand right over him offering any comfort other than picking up and pacifiers. Each night we’d move further away until we were out of the room. I felt ok with this, at least he would know we were still there. However, I continued to put actually doing it off. How can you choose the night to let your baby cry? I knew he needed to learn to sleep, but I was just hoping it would happen “on it’s own”.

Finally, Tuesday night he was beside himself. Screaming, flailing, pinching, scratching for 2 hours (that would be with us rocking him, swaddled, with a pacifier). David and I looked into each other’s eyes and knew the night had come. The next 2 hours were the hardest of my life. We sat next to him as he cried and cried. Amazingly, he rarely screamed the way he had in our arms. In the end, he stopped, put his finger in his mouth for about 2 seconds, stretched, rubbed his eyes and went to sleep.

Lest you think letting your baby cry for 2 hours is horrible, I can assure you…it is. However, until you have heard the piercing scream of a baby who doesn’t understand why he keeps waking up in the middle of the night every 45-90 minutes for a month, bear the bruises and scratches all over your upper body from him fighting the exhaustion, and felt your heart break as you see the same scratches on his legs and face (despite me cutting his nails almost to the quick) then you have not been in the place we were in. I’m sure there are still some hardcore people who would say we had other options, but I can honestly say, I have no regrets.

For the rest of the first night, Caleb continued to wake every 45-90 minutes, which we were told to expect because he is still one overtired baby (overtiredness leads to night waking). Each time however, the amount of crying cut in half, until by his 3am wake up he didn’t cry at all, but merely fussed quietly while he sucked on his hands. It was amazing to see him actually learning how to go back to sleep on his own. By 5:00 that morning he cried for 10 minutes and soothed himself before I could respond! I was so proud of him. Oh and don’t worry, he still got 3 night feedings in the midst of all this.

Throughout the whole next day, he was so tired he napped 1 hour out of every 2. At this point, he was doing so well using his hands to put himself to sleep I let him cry by himself. He never took longer than 25 mins to put himself to sleep, many times as short as 9 minutes. And this crying wasn’t the piercing over tired cry, more of a heavy fuss.

Then evening came, we started his bedtime routine nice and early as the book recommended during this time. We laid him down at 5:30p. He cried lightly until 6:30p and went to sleep. He woke at 8:45p and cried for 15 minutes, as I was getting ready to respond to him (David and I were already in bed trying to catch up on our sleep!), he stopped and fell asleep. The next time I heard him was at 1am. He cried less than a minute and fell back asleep. Then at 3am he cried and I could tell it was for food, I responded promptly and he looked up at me, all smiles. I haven’t seen him so happy and alert in a long time! In fact, after I nursed him, I was scared he wouldn’t go back to sleep, but I sang his song, laid him down and amazingly, he just started talking to himself. I listened to him happily talk to himself on the baby monitor for 5 minutes, and then he fell asleep: NO crying! I couldn’t believe it, he’d never done that before! How different being well rested makes things. The next time he woke up was at 6:25a, all smiles and ready to start the day.

I could not be more proud of our little guy or of us. It was such a hard decision to make, but I know we did what was best for him. All babies and all parents are different, but I have no doubt that we found the right path for our family.

Caleb: 18/19/20 Weeks

Well everyone we have officially arrived in our new home for the next 6 months. We had a great trip. Granny Robin kept Caleb entertained in the back seat. We spent an all-to-brief 2 day visit with the Tews. It was so neat to see the kids meet Caleb for the first time. James nicknamed him "Cocoon Boy" because of his swaddle : )

David is enjoying his new job, the apartment they set us up in is beautiful and close to everything (as long as it isn't rush hour, but hey, that's city life!). We have a small screened balcony that looks out over a pond. I love to watch the egrets and ducks and Caleb is fascinated by the big palm tree- don't have any of those in PA! Of course, our favorite part has been actually getting to spend time with our wonderful family.

Caleb is doing wonderfully. He has changed so much over the past 3 weeks. He has found his toes, rolled from back to tummy and tummy to back, and, the best news ever: His poop is normal! I had to go off my special diet on the trip because I found it almost impossible to follow on the road. Amazingly, during our trip his symptoms resolved. Talking to his pediatrician down here (whom I love as much as the one in PA) he said the bowels are the last system to mature and he probably just needed some extra time. So yay, Caleb is all better and I can drink milk again!

Caleb did wonderfully at his 4 month check up. Again, he barely let out a whimper when they gave him the DTaP. He now measure's a whopping 26 and 1/8 inches, putting him in the 90th percentile yet again. His weight gain has slowed down. He's 14lbs and in between the 25th-50th percentile. As the doctor says, we have a long and lean one : )

Check out our cute lil' Cowboy- thanks Brian and Amy for his 1st Halloween outfit : )

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caleb: 16/17 Weeks

Headline News:

-Caleb has a new favorite noise: the squeal. I'm sure he's looking forward to practicing it during community prayer time at church...
- Caleb is using his hands much more intentionally, sucking on his fingers almost constantly and putting all toys directly into his mouth. He's also used them to discover another fascinating toy...his feet!
-Still not rolling yet, but he is spending more and more time on his side both awake and asleep.

Other news- On the trip following my special diet was almost impossible so I decided to take a break and resume in FL if necessary. So far there has been no change in his stool or behavior. So I guess I will talk to our new pediatrician and see what he thinks. It's certainly been nice to eat freely again. I have a new respect for everyone who lives with food allergies. His sleep is still unpredictable. Some nights he's up every hour, others he sleeps 4-5 hour stretches at a time. David has been amazing about helping us through the nights where he is up every hour, I am so blessed!

Caleb: 14/15 Weeks

Headline News:

-Caleb has amazing head control now. He can hold his head up and turn it in all directions while we hold him. When I pull him into a sitting position he can keep his head level with his body (instead of flopping backwards).
-His hands are still his favorite toys. He's discovered they can be used to put things into his mouth and his aim improves each day. Still not quite sucking his thumb yet, but he's trying!
-I think he has at least 2 new facial expressions everyday, he is also getting more "chatty" each week.
-We started having some late night fussiness issues and realized he just needed to go to bed earlier. We just started the new routine last night, but signs are good that it's a winner.
-Caleb still has trouble sleeping more than 45 minutes during naps in his crib, but we've discovered that if he's cuddled up to mom, 1.5 hour naps are the norm. This has been great for getting a little extra zzzz's on the days where we are both painfully short.
-Last week Caleb tipped the scale at 13lbs 8oz at the pediatricians
-Mommy has let him stay in church nursery the last 3 Sundays with only 1 check-up each time.

Caleb: 13 Weeks

Headline News:

-Caleb is starting to make *some* peace with the carseat. If I can time our trip around his naptime and hold the pacifier in this mouth for a few minutes (no easy trick while driving) he goes to sleep.
-Bedtimes and naptimes are getting much easier. We still put him to sleep before laying him down, but it takes much less time and he doesn't wake back up after being set down very often any more.
-Caleb even put himself to sleep in the swing one morning, which made daddy (who was on duty at the time) feel sad that his little boy is getting so grown up. Caleb made up for it by falling asleep on David's shoulder at Moe's that night : )
-Caleb has started stretching out his legs to "stand" on our laps (with out hands supporting his underarms). He loves doing this over and over again (more mommy muscles!).

He continues to get better at getting his hands into his mouth, although he still hasn't learned he can close his lips around his fingers. It is so amazing to see him grow and change each day.

Caleb: 12 Weeks

This week was like A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The best of times part is that Caleb gets to be more and more fun each week. He is really getting good at getting his hands into his mouth and it is the cutest thing ever! He also enjoys sitting propped up on the couch (as you can see from the pics), and he is getting better at going down for bed at night with much less help from us.

The worst of times part...We found out Caleb most likely has a dairy allergy when he passed some blood in his stool. It would also explain some of the fussiness. So after a fun farewell-to-dairy dinner at chick-fil-a, I am now a dairy free mommy. So far it has been a little inconvenient, but not too bad. I have a feeling I will be really sad around the holidays though! No huge changes in Caleb, but no more blood either, so we shall see.

The other not-so-good news is that my doctor found a small 1cm lump where I've been having pain in my abdomen for the last 5 months. CT scan on Thurs should tell us more. Fortunately, it looks like I have enough pumped milk in the freezer to last Caleb the whole 24 hours I need to pump and dump to get the contrast out of my system.

So that is where we are at right now. David has taken some extra days off at the end of this week and we've committed to minimal housework, no visitors and lots and lots of bonding as just the 3 of us. I'm really looking forward to it, it's been a busy time.

***Update: CT scan found nothing, apparently I'm just lumpy. Unfortunately, as of 11/4, I'm still having pain, so prayers are appreciated.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Caleb: 11 Weeks

Headline News:

* Caleb sets a sleep record 8:30pm-5:30am and mommy sets a record by not checking on him once during that time!
* Caleb is really learning how to work those hands of his! I frequently catch him stuffing his fist in his mouth, moving blankets a bit closer to be gnawed on and deliberately batting at the toys in his floor gym. It's amazing how much more he can do each day.
* The variety of sounds he can make is exploding. He enjoys "talking" to us when he doesn't like something rather than immediately crying.
* We officially move him into his room. He's been sleeping there for over a week, but now his bassinet in our room is put away, the nursing chair has moved to the nursery and once I clean off his dresser, the changing table is leaving our room too. It's bittersweet for sure. Our baby is growing up, but we are getting some adult space again!

Caleb:10 Weeks

Wow, the changes in Caleb are coming almost faster than I can write about them now. He is sleeping tons more, usually 7/8 hours at night in his pack and play and then (sometimes) another 2 hour nap in the morning snuggled up next to mommy in bed. Perhaps, not coincidentally, he's also much happier now. Smiles and coos are much more frequent, although he still leans towards the serious side as he gazes all around checking out his surroundings. He's able to play by himself for 10-20 minutes in the floor gym, and will play up to an hour when we are with him talking, reading, and singing.

Headline News:

* Caleb moved out of 0-3 month onesies and sleepers (anything that has to fit him lengthwise) and into 3-6 month sizes, which already fit him quite nicely!
* We all start sleeping through the night from about 10/11p to 5/6a. Such a huge and sudden change from nursing every 2/3 hours! Caleb even goes to sleep as early as 8:15 one night!
* I start putting Caleb down for naps in his crib to get him used to sleeping there. If he keeps sleeping through the night we will be making the move soon. I'm looking forward to not having to tiptoe as we get ready for bed, but it still feels a little bittersweet to be letting this little one, who has scarcely left my side since he was born sleep in his own room.
* Uncle Brian and Aunt Amy come to visit and spoil him rotten. Looks like he's going to be a cowboy for Halloween : ) Amy's great at putting him to sleep, I told her she's hired!
* Caleb's discovered he can use his mouth to explore his world. Stuffed animals, blankets and his own fingers are no longer safe!
* In the past, we used to always have to pick him up to soothe him. Now, often just hearing our voice and seeing us enter the room stops the crying and causes a big smile. It's such a joy to see him recognize us!

Caleb: 9 Weeks

Headline News:

-Tues Caleb sleeps 5 straight, nurses and sleeps for 3 more.
-During Caleb's happy play time in the morning he now "listens" to 1-2 books, watches the ceiling fan and is able to play happily for about 30 mins
-The cool weather we've been having has meant a lot more walks. He loves his time in the stroller and hardly ever falls asleep during this time because he is so busy looking all around checking his world out.
- He is really cooing a lot now "aaaah" and "owwww" are his two favorites.

Caleb: 8 Weeks

Headline News:

* Caleb finally sleeps through an entire church service (never thought I'd be proud of that accomplishment!)
* Lots of friends come to visit Caleb this week and give mommy a break so he's gotten to make some new friends
* He has finally started to enjoy the swing as long as he's mostly asleep when I put him in it
* He will also spend some time in the sling each day now
* Tummy time is getting more and more exciting. We always do it in the morning, which is his happiest time of day. Check out the picture!

Caleb: 7 Weeks

Headline News:

* David feeds Caleb his first bottle, which goes wonderfully. That will make church time much easier not to mention our trips down to Florida!
* This kid is growing like a weed. We moved his carseat straps up to the next notch last night and he's already outgrown a few 0-3 month items in length
* He continues to make more cooing sounds and is now definitely giving us the occasional social smile. We are still waiting for a really big one that shows off his gums and is accompanied by a gurgle though.

Caleb: 6 Weeks

I am finally getting around to adding the weekly updates we send the family to the blog. It's really neat looking back at how much has changed in just a short time.

Headline News this week:

* We survive his 6-week growth spurt, which began with a 4-feeding night and culminated with a 24 hour cycle where I fed him 15 times! He gave us a nice break the next day by sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. We even got to catch up on a few of our favorite TV shows.
* He is getting to be more and more engaged with the world. Not only does he pay attention to his mobile and enjoy knocking Mr. Bear over, he looks at the pages in a book when I read to him and seems to be listening to music. Each morning around 10/10:30 he seems to like a bit of play time on his mat. I sing, clap and dance for him and he just loves it. After about 20 minutes or so he usually lets me know it's time to be held again.
* The swing and sling are taking some warming up to, but he has spent up to 20 minutes in both happily. I'm also able to lay him down for a few 30 minute naps each day which helps me catch up on chores and write emails : ) I still get lots of rest though, since the first half of his nap is usually spent snuggling on my chest while I read and he falls into a deep sleep.
* Yesterday we took him out on a few errands (we needed to get them done, but we also needed to get out of our 90 degree house) and Caleb had a poop-splosion all over mommy's shirt and his onesie. Good thing I carry spares of each!
* Another big milestone yesterday was Caleb giving us his first practice smiles. They weren't milk related, but they don't seem to be true social smiles yet. I have a feeling we'll be seeing one soon though!
* News from the parent side of life: Our AC is getting fixed this coming Weds, yay! And Caleb and I are going to stay with friends on the 2 days the workmen are here so A.) We don't have to worry about lead paint exposure and B.) We don't have to worry about Caleb not getting to sleep with all the noise (the downside of him being more aware of his environment).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caleb's Birth: June 25, 2010

Wednesday night, 6/23 I started having some signs that labor might be near, maybe the next 24-48 hours. I asked David if he could work from home just in case and his boss was supportive. The next morning I had a regular OB check up (on my due date, 6/24). My doctor said I was 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced and agreed that with the other signs I was seeing labor was probably near, but when she couldn’t say. She encouraged me to walk, walk, walk and told me she was on call all weekend, starting Friday at 7:30am. Out of my 4 OB’s she’s the one I most wanted to deliver with so I was definitely hoping labor was on it’s way!

That day I made some extra meals, got thank you notes caught up, and waited for David to get off work so we could walk the mall together, since it was a little too warm to walk outside. Around 5:30 we headed for the mall and walked around for two hours. My contractions were stronger than they had been, but nothing time-able or painful so, thinking I might be waiting another day we headed home. Around 10pm I started having some labor signs that concerned me so I called my OB’s office and she agreed that I should be checked. So we went into labor and delivery, found out all was fine, but that I was now 3cms and 80% effaced. She had me walk the halls for an hour to see if that made any change. When it didn’t, I asked to go home since I wanted to do most of my laboring there if possible. She encouraged me to take an ambien to sleep since my contractions were a little too strong to sleep through (we compromised on 2 tylenol PM instead).

With the Tylenol I was able to sleep in between contractions from 12am-4am, but after that they were uncomfortable enough I was just ready to get up. I went and ate a light breakfast, poured a glass of water and focused on staying relaxed as I went about my morning routine (quietly, as I didn’t want to wake David yet). My contractions were 10-12 minutes apart and I suspected it was definitely early labor, but I wanted to wait until more active labor to let family know. David got up around 6:30 and asked what he should do about work that day. I asked him not to work, but stay with me. So from 6:30-8:30 he read to me (A Walk In the Woods, by Bill Bryson was my request) and timed my contractions as I labored (leaning on the couch, in the tub, walking around). Finally, by 8:30, my contractions were still 8 minutes apart and I was feeling pretty discouraged. I had no idea early labor would hurt sooo much!

I called my mother in law, a labor and delivery nurse, for some encouragement. I really wanted an unmedicated delivery, but if I was hurting this much already I couldn’t imagine how much I’d want an epidural by the end! She encouraged me that early labor is the longest and that whatever I chose to do at the end would be fine. Not 10 minutes after we hung up, around 9am, my contractions jumped from 8 minutes apart “need to concentrate on breathing and relaxing” pain to 3 minutes apart, “can’t breath without my husband breathing with me, need to “slow dance” through the contraction” pain. After 20 minutes of that I told David it was Time. To. Go. He was a little skeptical and asked if we shouldn’t wait for them to be that way for an hour first. To which I replied, “That was when they were supposed to be 5 minutes apart!”

So I called the OB office, David frantically finished packing the bag (sandwiches, cell chargers, etc) while helping me breathe every 3 minutes. By the time the office picked up and the suitcase was packed I had been 3 minutes apart for 45 minutes. Just as we went to walk down the stairs, my water broke. In the car my contractions paused for 6 minutes, causing David to wonder even more if perhaps we’d left to early. By the time we hit downtown though, they were 3 minutes apart again. So we “slow danced” through them in the parking lot, in the hallway, and in the elevator until we finally reached labor and delivery. It was a busy weekend for babies to arrive so the only room they had open was a triage room. I’ll never forget the nurse’s words as she checked to see how dilated I was, “Oh girl. OH GIRL. You are 5, 6, 7, EIGHT centimeters dilated!” I had walked to labor and delivery in transition. I cried a few tears of joy. I’d been so worried they were going to tell me I was only 4-5 cms, instead I was close to being ready to push!

The nurse quickly had a patient who’d already delivered moved into a recovery room and I moved into a labor and delivery room. I still had a tiny bit of cervix that hadn’t fully effaced on my right side, so the nurse had me lay on my right side. The contractions were really intense at this point. I found it impossible to breathe/relax through the peak, but fortunately that only lasted a few seconds, during which time I usually said something like “I can’t do this” to which the nurse replied, “You ARE doing this!” which was tremendously encouraging. David was holding my hand the whole time and didn’t even begrudge me when I head butted him at the peak of one of the worst contractions. After about 30-45 minutes of these really intense contractions I suddenly NEEDED TO PUSH!

Fortunately my OB had arrived by then (and teased me saying, “When you asked me what time my shift started I didn’t realize you meant you’d be in just a few hours after that!”). I remember telling her, “I am so sorry, I HAVE to push.” I was just sure it couldn’t really be time to push yet, I’d only been in the hospital just over an hour! They had just put me on IV fluids a few minutes before! However a quick peek from my doctor and I was cleared to push. After just a few pushes they could see his head appearing and 30 minutes later he was born. I couldn’t believe how naturally it came. David was an amazing coach. He counted each push for me and was my cheerleader the whole way.

Afterwards I can say, I’ve never been so exhausted in my life! All my muscles felt like jelly, but holding him in my arms for the first time ever was the most amazing feeling ever. With him on my chest, I barely felt the stitches my OB was giving me for a tiny (2cm) tear.

Because of how quickly everything went once we reached the hospital we didn’t get to let many people know in advance that he was coming (my own parents, in fact, found out I was in labor about 10 minutes before he arrived!). I still can’t believe how amazingly it all went. God is so good.

And the result of all that effort:

April, May, June 2010

Where has the time gone? As David and I prepare for yet another move (a temporary one at least!) I know many people will be wanting to see Caleb's progress while we are away. So I'm quickly updating the last few months of pregnancy, adding Caleb's birth story and the newsletters I've been sending to family so that everyone who would like too can find out about our lives through the blog.

Starting with...April:

This was a busy month. We took our birth class and I began reading up on all things natural childbirth, interviewing my mom friends who had unmedicated deliveries and generally psyching myself up for "the big day". Bi-weekly OB appointments began and assured me that "Baby Gainey" was growing well.

And onto...May:

May was a really fun month. David had a month straight of training in Baltimore. I joined him on the weeks I didn't have OB appointments. We got together with friends for some last uninterrupted games of Settlers, visited the inner harbor (beautiful!) and savored our last weeks of being a couple. We also took one weekend to go enjoy a local state park, have a picnic and celebrate one incredibly joyful year of marriage. We took lots of rests on our walk as by now my 8 month belly was adding quite a bit of weight!

We also defrosted and ate the top tier of our wedding cake, which I predicted would be totally gross, but was pleasantly surprised to find was still AMAZING (pregnant women get very excited about cake...)

Finally it was June:

Although I was quite uncomfortable by this point, I still wanted my little guy to bake as long as he needed to. I focused what little energy I had on last minute preparations like freezing meals, organizing his clothes and preparing the guestroom (which had become our storage closet) to receive family. Mostly I was just huge, and I have the picture to prove it! This was taken 2-3 days before Caleb's birth:

About the last week, I started to be REALLY ready for Caleb to arrive. Fortunately I didn't have long to wait. On midnight of my due date labor began : )

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Edition: 39 weeks

Obviously I am pretty far behind on our month-by-month updates, but right now is such a special time in our lives I couldn't bring myself to go back through the notes on my calendar and write about the past before I wrote about today.

Thursday marks 39 weeks that our little guy has been making his home in my tummy and while I continue to make plans with friends, plan a weeks worth of meals, and continue my normal routines I am definitely starting to feel a sense of how close his arrival is. David and I have really enjoyed getting our home ready for him. In fact, we've discovered an excellent way to motivate our home-making efforts:

Step 1: Join your church's supper club
Step 2: Volunteer to host dinner for 8 when you are 38 weeks pregnant (don't worry, no gourmet here, they got tacos!)
Step 3: Make sure none of them have ever seen your home before so that you want to make the best impression possible

Voila, at 38 weeks we had a sparkling clean, well organized home. We even hung pictures and art work! It was a busy week, but I feel like I can breathe easy knowing the house is clean for baby to come home to and family to stay in. I'm also making sure to soak it in since it probably won't be this clean again for another 18 years or so...

So now the crib is built, his clothes are washed and put away, the carseat is installed, I'm eating twice my weight in watermelon everyday, all our invitations are accepted with the caveat: "unless the baby gets here first" and we are so incredibly ready to meet this little person whose kicks and wiggles have been delighting us these past few months.

As much as I'm anticipating this little guy's arrival, I often find myself wondering how much our life as a couple is going to change in both the short and long term. And the fact is, it will change. Some changes I'm excited about, others less so, and I'm sure there are many I haven't thought of yet. One thing God keeps reminding me of though is that, whether we invite children into our lives or not, life changes. Some I've already experienced like moving out of state or buying a home. Others will come later: family illness, job change, financial challenges, etc. I know God is faithful and I'm looking forward to meeting this little life he is blessing us with, seeing David become a Dad, and becoming a family of 3 instead of 2.

So these are my thoughts as I sit on the threshold of parenthood. I am so blessed to have an amazing husband who ignores my crankiness and reminds me to sleep and eat even when I think I don't need to, family and friends who are almost as excited as we are to be able to welcome this little one, and a loving heavenly Father I can trust to work all things out in his good timing!

38 week belly picture:

Friday, May 14, 2010

March 2010

March finally brought us some warmer weather, despite the dark predictions of yet another blizzard from the oft-quoted farmer's almanac. In fairness, it had (apparently) predicted the last 3! As the snow melted, I noticed the yard looked like something left in the back of the fridge to long! And so, through google, I learned about "snow mold". Apparently when the ground is covered with snow for a long time (like say from two back-to-back blizzards!) mold can grow in the grass beneath it. Fortunately a few sunny days kills it. Yet another thing I never knew before moving to the north. And sorry, I didn't take any pictures of this oh-so-attractive phenomenon!

As the weather continued to warm up we spent our weekends getting the yard (now mold free) back in order. We raked leaves, picked up branches that had fallen under the weight of the snow and started a compost pile. Then, on one especially warm weekend, we (and by we, I mean David) decided to paint the nursery. What a difference a coat of paint makes!!! The room went from dark and small looking to a bright cheerful place I can actually imagine being our son's room!

Before (and a bonus shot of my prego belly!)

After : )

It was wonderful to get the little guy's room painted because each day, as his kicks grew stronger (even his daddy could feel them all the time now!) it became more of a reality that he really would be joining us in a few months. Each OB appointment told me he was growing right on track for our estimated due date (June 24th). At the end of the month I had my gestational diabetes screening, which I passed, but my iron (which was also tested at this time) was a little low so we added an extra supplement on top of the prenatal. I hadn't realized how tired I was feeling until that extra iron kicked in and I felt my energy jump 100%!

Of course David also had to travel for work some, but instead of the loneliness I used to feel when he traveled, all the girls who were still in Chambersburg (some co-workers, some co-worker's wives) got together for a pot-luck style dinner. I feel so blessed that David works for such a tight knit group, it really does make the time apart much easier!

We also had the blessing of receiving a visit from Jeff, one of David's college room mates. He came for the weekend and I was able to make him some of my (unhealthy!) favorites like breakfast hash-brown casserole and chicken parmesan (not in the same meal hehe). David is always amazed by how much joy I get from cooking for visitors, but I know it's just my mom's genetics (and recipes) coming out! While he was here, we got Jeff hooked on Settler's of Catan so I'm sure we'll be seeing him back this way again : )

At the end of the month, David and I got to combine work and play and took a mini-babymoon. He had a training in DC that let out early on the last day. So 3/31, we took the metro down to the Smithsonian station and this almost 7 month pregnant chica hiked all the way down the national mall, past the Washington monument and down to the tidal basin to see one of the most beautiful sights I've had the pleasure to see. We had arrived at the cherry blossom festival on peak bloom day. We walked around the basin, took pictures, explored the Jefferson Memorial and overall just savored being a couple. It was a really special day and I'm so thankful for David's thoughtfulness in planning it and the care he took to make sure I didn't get too worn out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

February 2010

The month of February began with travel, as so many of our months seems to! David had a job in Columbus, OH for 2 weeks. Since he and his coworker, Denise, were driving, it was easy for me to tag along. While we were there our home in PA got pummeled with 2 back-to-back blizzards. Fortunately our neighbor cleared our driveway after the first one, and David's boss and another coworker cleared it after the second. We are well looked after! In Columbus we got to peacefully watch about 6 inches fall. It was beautiful and the roads were still clear. Clear roads meant I got an extra special treat...the 3 of us went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory...Godiva chocolate cheesecake is my weakness! David was sad to have missed his sledding opportunity though. The trip to Ohio was special for another reason, both David and I felt the baby kick on the outside for the first time that week (at 20 weeks pregnant).

I spent some of the downtime I had while we were there to partially re-read Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I was yet again convicted about how often I let my faith become a passive moralism rather than delighting in Christ and exalting him in all things. Especially when juxtaposed with teaching, it can be challenging at times to see how dishes, laundry and sweeping show my delight in Christ, but I know they are a blessing to my husband, our guests, and myself. I'm looking forward to having a little one to nurture again though, because that's certainly the passion God has placed in my heart.

Despite being with David on the trip, the long hours meant I still felt I hadn't seen him much in the two weeks. While it was hard at the time, it made Valentine's Day especially sweet. Our first Valentine's Day as a married couple was very low key. I made homemade sauce and we had spaghetti, garlic bread and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. David blessed me by giving me two bags of my favorite chocolate and an amazingly sweet card the basically told me he notices all the little things I do around the house to make life nicer for us : ) What a sweetheart!

After a week at home, David was on the road (or rather, in the air) again, this time to New Mexico for a training. He really enjoyed the conference and even won a trophy in a capture the flag (hacker style) contest. He also took some beautiful pictures to bring home to me.

By the end of February my baby bump had expanded to an even more noticeable size : )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

January 2010

After so much travel, it was nice to be home for a little while. Most days the high's were in the low to mid 30's so we spent most of our free time indoors. David got Lego Rockband and Lego Starwars for Christmas so the Wii became one of our favorite forms of entertainment.

We also relished our more predictable schedule for another reason. We were finally able to get more plugged into our new church. In November and December we attended morning worship and learned names : ) In January we started attending Sunday school and a small group as well and began to get to know the people around us. There are a lot of wonderful older women in the church who have children my age and are eager to share their wisdom about pregnancy, parenting, and home making. There are also two other young women at church who are expecting either in May or June. The pastor began a new sermon series in January called "The Big Picture". Basically, looking at the Bible as one large story about God's grace in redeeming his sinful people rather than a grouping of stories about morality. It's really helped me recognize the Gospel in each passage of scripture. The Old Testament is so full of foreshadowing of what's to come. God has been so faithful to provide a good teacher where ever we've lived.

Not traveling in January also meant we got to know people outside the church better. While I had met all of David's coworkers, we hadn't spent much time together outside of work lunches. This month we finally had a big group over for Lunch, went over to another couple's home for game night and went to the Ice Festival with a coworker who lives near us. It was awesome to get to know people in other settings. I felt especially blessed to have the game night with Tim and Jen. They got married the month after David and I and are pretty much in the same stage of life as us (except they're not expecting a little one just yet). Jen teaches pre-k so when the boys start talking tech or using acronyms we've never heard of we still have each other to talk to : ) The ice festival was wonderful too! A balmy 20 degrees, the outdoor ice sculptures were in no danger of melting. We walked around with Denise who was there before us and was able to point out the highlights. We watched local artists paint, smelled the wonderful aroma coming from the chili cook off tent and of course, looked at the variety of ice sculptures that lined the street. I forgot the camera, but this photo from the newspaper shows one of the sculptures sponsored by a local company that builds armored vehicles for the military:

Our biggest news in January came just as the month was ending. At 19 weeks pregnant, it was time to get the anatomy scan and make sure all of our little one's organs were present and accounted for. We'd also be finding out if we would be welcoming a boy or girl in June (assuming he or she was cooperative). I had been thinking it was a girl early in the pregnancy, but for the last month had been dreaming of a boy. I knew I'd be surprised (and excited either way). David also thought girl, but really wasn't sure. There was no doubt about it on the ultrasound, our little one is all BOY! The feelings from seeing him squirming on the screen, watching his heart beat and hearing that everything looks healthy were indescribable. It was joyful, but also overwhelming that God has entrusted us with this little person. Fortunately, God is faithful and recognizing my inadequacy only helps me to lean on Him more!

Of course, baby wasn't the only one getting bigger:

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Where did 2009 go? Not that it was a busy year for us or anything...Student teaching (for me), graduation (me again), marriage, moving, a new home, and finding out we're having a big news this year!

Now that the morning sickness was ebbing away, I started to love being a wife again. Cooking, cleaning and especially eating were all exciting tasks rather than torture. David was definitely happy to have me back : ) With my new-found energy, the first half of December was consumed with all the unpacking that had gone undone in November. We also had extra motivation to get the house in order, we were about to receive our first overnight guests. Our friends Stephen and Kelly who we'd met up here, but had since relocated to the South came up for a weekend so Stephen could preach at a former church member's funeral. Although it was a sad reason for them to have to travel, we were delighted to see our friends again! Accompanying them was their one year old daughter, which led to our very first baby gift...a pack-and-play! Audrey had a safe place to sleep and our own baby started seeming a little less surreal with this addition of furniture. The first weekend of December brought another welcome surprise...the first snowfall! It was beautiful, but I think Audrey enjoyed it the most : )

December 14th brought us another exciting milestone. We got to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time. The doctor cautioned me before she put the doppler on that sometimes it was hard to hear the beat at 12 weeks. It might take a while, or we might not hear it at all. However, the moment she placed it on my belly the room was filled with a whoom, whoom, whoom. Our baby's heart was beating quite nicely : )

Of course, what month in our home would be complete without some travel? We had planned to head to my parents on Saturday the 19th. However, a blizzard was on the way and although it appeared I-95 would stay clear (since it wasn't going to get that far west until further north than our route would take us) we decided to leave Friday after work instead. David's boss told him to go home at noon and get on the road. We managed to get the oil changed and car packed in time to be on the interstate by 2pm. The original plan when we were leaving Saturday was to make the 14 hour drive in one trip, but that was starting to come into question. Halfway down Virginia, at about 4pm, we noticed it seemed to be foggy ahead of us...was it snow? Why, yes, it was! By 5pm we were driving 30 mph on the interstate with several inches of snow accumulating on the road as we passed signs that read, "Avoid Travel Saturday. Heavy snow expected Sat." SATURDAY...not Friday at 5pm! Oh well, hopefully once we reached I-95 all would be clear. By the time we hit Richmond (5 hours later) 8 inches had already fallen and we continued to go 30mph on I-95. David did an incredible job driving in the snow. Around midnight, we felt we were far enough south that the blizzard wouldn't leave us snowbound the next morning so we stopped in a hotel for the night. The forecasters may have been wrong about how fast the blizzard would travel, but they turned out to be right about where the snowfall would end. The next morning we got on clear roads and made great time the rest of the way to mom and dads, whew! In total our 14 hour trip turned into 20.5 hours.

The time at mom and dad's was wonderful. I felt even better than I had felt over thanksgiving. We cooked, talked, played games, ate on the back porch (which felt very strange after all that snow!) and enjoyed being together. Mom, aka ebay jedi,got to show off Baby Gainey's cloth diaper stash, as well as some adorable swaddlers she found. We had fun testing these out on my stuffed animals, while David tried to ignore his eccentric wife : )

We also got to visit several other special people while we were in the area. We spent a day or two in Tallahassee and visited Jen and Jimmy who were about a month away from meeting Samuel, their first little one! It was great to talk to another couple who is just a few steps ahead of us in this process. Speaking of a few steps ahead, we got to meet Jim and Crissa's 4th child, who was just 8 weeks old at the time. I'm so thankful I got to spend time around him because newborns do weird things! They grunt, the turn colors, they flail and twitch. Not that I'm saying their kid is weird. That's all normal...and I'm glad I know that now! They were even really brave and let me change a diaper. I'd forgot how different infant poo is, it gets everywhere...ah fun times ahead! Aside from getting a newborn refresher course, it was great to hang out with them and their other kids. I learned that if you want to know something about anyone in the family, ask Emma. Oldest children are like the secretaries of the family, they know what's up. She handily beat us in a game of guessing players "favorites" from a given set of choices, lots of fun : ) I now know that Lindsey loves monkeys and that Jim is a nerd. Not sure how I missed that last one before...

Before we left Tallahassee we made one more very special visit and had a lunch date with David's Grandfather. It was wonderful to get to visit with him and show him sonogram pictures of his great grandchild (who looked like an amoeba, but hey, you take what you can get!)

No matter how much we tried to slow time down, it was time leave mom and dad's and head to destination #2, Sarah and Eric's house in South Carolina. After a crazy busy year where vacations were mostly dedicated to splitting time between my parents, getting to know soon-to-be in laws and wedding planning, I saw a lot less of my sister-by-love this year than ever in the past. I was really excited to finally be getting a decent length visit with her, Eric and the kids. We had a wonderful time playing games, running around with the kids, celebrating Eric's birthday, and ringing in the new year with new and old friends. I ate like Sarah has never seen me eat before, going back for seconds, and often 3rds : ) So although it was sad to say goodbye, I'm not sure how much more their pantry could take!

So we drove back to PA, where the snow was piled up into mini mountains in every available grassy space, but the roads were clear, our driveway had been plowed by a sweet neighbor and although I missed everyone, I still felt in my heart, that this was home.

December's Belly Pic/Baby's 1st Christmas

Monday, February 1, 2010


The first two weeks of November were all about getting moved into our new home. First,we finished packing up our tiny town home. Then we gave our new home a head-to-toe cleaning and painted our bedroom. Finally, the house seemed ready for move in and ready-or-not, our time in the town home had come to an end.

We sent out an email to David's coworkers requesting help and offering a free lunch in return. I expected a few people would come, but their kindness blew us away when every single coworker arrived early Saturday morning to help us move furniture and boxes across town. At this point my "morning" (and noon and night) sickness was in full swing so even the smell of the soup cooking was nauseating and I was completely exhausted feeling all the time. Without the help of his office moving would have been pretty tough on David.

Unpacking went slowly as I continued to feel like I was running a marathon...on a ship...during a nor'easter... David often came home from work to find me laying on the couch, dishes undone, and not even wanting to talk about dinner. The only thing I did manage to keep up with during this time was laundry. The clean smell was wonderful at a time when even "good smells" seemed offensive to my newly installed "pregnant" nose. David took this all with a wonderful "one-day-at-a-time" attitude and even joked that my new ultra-sensitive sense of smell was developing to one day alert me from miles away if our child was even thinking of playing with matches, opening a bottle of household cleaner or burning unattended toast.

I had always heard that pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman's life, but honestly, I was definitely having trouble appreciating it, despite how excited I was at the prospect of being a mom. November 18th, however, David and I got to see our baby on ultrasound for the first time. Although Baby Gainey's heart was still to small to hear, we could see it beating on the black and white screen. I cried. I still hated being sick constantly and having no energy, but there was no doubt, it was worth it!

Shortly after that we flew to Ft. Myers to spend Thanksgiving to David's family. I was starting to have some good days and was getting a little energy back so I was crossing my fingers that I'd be able to eat and enjoy the Thanksgiving meal! As it turned out, that's exactly what happened. Brian and Amy (David's next youngest brother, and his wife) very bravely volunteered to host Thanksgiving for 18! They did an amazing job and I relished each bite! We had a great time visiting with everyone and I was truly sad to be getting back on the plane to Pennsylvania.

This was Baby Gainey's first trip to the beach and my first official belly picture : )

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Now that it's 2010, I'm finally getting around to updating the last 3 months of 2009 : ) After reading through them, you'll probably see why it's taken so long!

October was the month of giving and receiving visits. We kicked off the month by driving up to State College, PA for the weekend and visiting with Becca Sharpless. After eating breakfast together, David and I went for a hike Becca recommended and got a great view of the city.

Becca went shopping for supplies for the Chinese Moon Festival the China Outreach Ministry was hosting that night. We spent the afternoon filling up water balloons (and getting quite wet in the process!). That evening we got to meet many of the students Becca has been building relationships with through her class and Bible study. We also got to try moon cakes, which have an egg yolk in the center of a sweet cake. It was sad to say goodbye, but wonderful to see the impact she is having on the students there.

The very next weekend we got a surprise visit from my Aunt Lana and Uncle Ron.
You never know when RVer's will roll into your part of the country : ) Uncle Ron was doing some research on his genealogy, which led him to Gettysburg where one of his ancestors was an indentured servant who eventually acquired some land. We had a wonderful time exploring the battlefield, checking out the shops in downtown Gettysburg, eating Uncle Ron's delicious pork & potatoes on the grill and soaking in the local culture at the Apple Festival. It was a great visit and we were sad they couldn't stay long enough to spend time with our next visitors...My parents : )

Mom and Dad wanted to squeeze a visit in before the cold weather set in. They couldn't have timed it better. The fall color was at it's peak the entire two weeks they were with us.
David had to work during the day so I gave Mom and Dad the South Central PA tour : )It was a great time of cooking together, exploring new bookshops and farmstands and of course, finally getting to show them the house David and I would be closing on at the end of the month. Mom and Dad didn't realize when they planned the trip they'd get to help us pack yet again!I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I have to move and don't have mom to pack the china for me! So far she's been the one to assure it made each one of my moves safely.

As if buying a home weren't exciting enough, I was beginning to have suspicions that I might be giving my parents some more exciting news during their visit. Sure enough, on October 24th, we got our big-fat-positive on the home pregnancy test! David and I were thrilled and proceeded to share the news with my parents. Guess what guys, you're going to be grandparents! David's family got the call next and everyone was very excited about our good news. We tried to keep it on the down low, but I think by week 9 basically everyone knew, including our Realtor and mortgage officer who we told the day we closed on the house. Of course, in true small town fashion, they had become more like friends than people we were doing business with by that time. Closing went smoothly and we were very thankful we were going to actually have space for our little one to run around in (not to mention all those bookshelves that were cluttering up our two bedroom town home...two bibliophiles under one roof gets interesting at times : ) Saying good bye to Dad and Mom just two days later was especially hard. I had already started to feel the first trimester side effects of pregnancy like exhaustion and nausea and having their extra hands had a been a huge blessing.

So David and I waved goodbye and got packing,
but that's next month's story : )