Sunday, June 22, 2014


Daddy and his girls.  We were getting ready for church.  The funny thing is that if we don't get ready in time for the early service, then we often have a little time to spare while waiting for time to leave for the second service.

 Eva at 6 weeks.  She weighs 10 lbs 13 oz.  She's becoming much more social. Smiling and responding to us when we talk to her.  She's a good baby but not really on a predictable schedule so we are still in survival mode just getting things done when we can and going with the flow. Sometimes she sleeps well. Sometimes she won't sleep unless I'm holding her.   I never know.

Today we went to a community event where they blocked off a bunch of the streets and had lots of activities and booths promoting fitness and health.  I'm not sure why the humane society was there. I guess pets are good stress relievers and dogs get you out walking.  It was the first thing that captured the girls attention.
 The next thing was the climbing wall and bounce house. Amanda went on the climbing wall while Tali and Julia went with Mike to the bounce house.  I was wearing Eva and Ana just wanted to stay close to me.
 Amanda looks a little nervous.  She climbed very cautiously.  You can see how she is almost to the top alone and very shortly, my cousin's daughter had climbed up to the same level. The company that brought this wall is from Duluth and they have courses set up along the North Shore.  Definitely on my list of things to do soon!  I'm including the link for my own reference.

 I'm trying to get the pictures on my side bar updated and the ones in my living room since the ones that are there are from two years ago.  Here are the photos from Picture Day Attempt No. 1.

My girls are cute no matter what but I'm going to try again another day.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pine Trees

Three sides of our property are lined with pine trees. I have no love for them. In the back, they shade the garden. They attract the mosquitoes and they give us a lot of work raking up sticks, needles and pine cones.  Pine needle piles really aren't very nice to jump into.  But they are here so we deal with them.  Today we went outside right after breakfast since it was supposed to rain later in the day.  I had worked on raking  piles over the last few days so my mom and the girls got ready to load them on the tarp to haul back to the compost pile.  But first they went for a little train ride.
 I didn't get any pictures of the actually work being done, but here's how they rode back home after the final load got dumped.
We also got a start cleaning and organizing the garage.  Much of the seasonal organization and clean-up didn't get done at the end of last year because I was dealing with morning sickness. A long cold winter filled with constructions projects also contributed to the mess.  It was a very productive morning and we were all ready for a nap by 11 am. ;)

Friday, May 16, 2014

One month Eva

 Ana practicing baby wearing.  She figured out how to tie these babies on by herself.  A significant milestone which means I don't have to wrap and unwrap her baby a dozen times an hour. She can do it herself.
 We had some great weather on the weekend and Mike and the girls spent most of the days outside.

 And then winter came back but we didn't let that stop us from getting outside.  Quite frankly, the girls drive me bonkers in the house. We have to go outside.

 Ana was so excited to go roller blading. "We haven't going roller blading for a long time."  Yes, Dear, all winter, no roller blading.
 Amanda made cup cakes to celebrate Eva's one month anniversary.
 Gotta love those squishy cheeks!  She was really alert today and paying attention.
 These pictures were from yesterday and she wouldn't look at me or the camera.
She is also very fussy today.  There seems to be a strong correlation between me eating chocolate and her be alert and then fussy. So sad!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Eva's first day outdoors.

Three weeks old. Newborness disappears three hours at a time.  Day and night, the cycles of eat, burp, change and sleep guide our days and then all of a sudden, three weeks have gone by.
 And it's finally warm enough to spend some time outside! Yay!
 It's been cold, wet, rainy and snowy so Eva and I have stayed inside. But I'm starting to get anxious to plant things so we headed out today and dug up some of the gardens before it was time for Eva to wake up and come outside.
 It wasn't quite warm enough for no jackets but once one girls get hot, they all are hot and need to take their jackets off.  They were quite thrilled to have Eva outside too and kept coming over and trying to touch her with their COLD hands.
 Julia is enjoying the outdoors more these days and is more independent when exploring and running around the yard.  She seems to have forgotten what swinging feels like and doesn't like it any more.

 We dug up this little guy while turning over one of the gardens.  Amanda's new best friend. *shudder*

They are so sweet when they are all getting along.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eva's Baptism

April 27th marked one year since my grandmother's passing.  Since Julia and Tali had both been born passed their due dates there was some speculation that Eva could be born on Grandma's heavenly birthday.  I decided to be more optimistic and asked if we could schedule her baptism for that day.  I'm glad she was born two days before her due date instead of being later.  As it was, I was still pretty sore and wiped out.

 The girls remember Julia getting this "burp rag" at her baptism too. I think they have a better understanding of the meaning of getting a new white garment at baptism now.

Eva's godparents are our friends Craig and Theresa.  They are also Julia's godparents.  We wanted to chose people for god parents that we knew would be a regular part of our child's life.  We chose my siblings for the other girls' godparents. They each are godparents of two of our kids. We had just moved here when it was time to have Julia baptized so we didn't really know many people from the church but we've know Craig and Theresa for years. I didn't realize how connected they have been to our family until we were out for dinner after Mass one night when my sister told the story about her son asking, "Now, how are Craig and Theresa related to us?"  That's when I knew they'd be a good choice for Julia's godparents. When Eva came along we thought we'd just continue the tradition of having repeat godparents.

Only a Mom of Seven...

Since day One, Eva has been a challenge to nurse.  She wasn't interested in nursing right after delivery and all throughout our hospital stay, she was difficult to wake up to nurse. I would have the nurses come and do theirs cares and assessments of her before feedings hoping they would wake her up. Eva might complain a little but then she would just fall back asleep. Even two heel pokes to test her PKU and bilirubin did not upset her enough to keep her awake.  When we were all ready to leave the hospital, I looked at the clock and realized that I should really feed her before we went home. I could not get her to wake up and decided to just try again when we got home.  It certainly was not any easier to try to wake her up and get her to latch on with eight more little hands poking, pulling, grabbing, touching.

Within a few days, I was very sore and had a woman from the La Leche League come and help me assess Eva's latch.  She was not opening her mouth wide enough and sucking her lips inward. Every feeding was a challenge to pull her lips open and her chin down. I found it best to just hide out in my room.  All the girls were quite sick by Friday and so we kept them all out of the room.

I continued to need to wake Eva up to get her fed and she would only nurse slowly for a short time before falling back asleep. I would change her diaper and do whatever I could to get her to wake up and nurse some more.  She never cried, never spit up, never fussed about burps, hiccups or dirty diapers. Eva never had messy blow out diapers. She was like a wet noodle even when she was all undressed and I was posing her for photos.

On Monday, I brought her into the clinic to have her weight checked. The OB nurse wanted me to bring her back to the nursery so they could use the same scale they had used when she was born and therefore get a better idea of what her birth weight had been.  However, they said they would have to admit her as an outpatient just to weigh her. So they just sent me to the clinic.  She was 8 lbs 13 oz which meant she had gained 9 oz since her discharge from the hospital.  I asked the nurse if Eva looked jaundiced and whether or not I should be concerned. Her response was that she wasn't an expert and that I should talk to my doctor about that at our appointment the following week.

On Wednesday, we had a really rough day.  Eva was so difficult to wake up and it seemed like she never nursed very long all day. She also had fewer wet and dirty diapers and she looked a little yellow. Not any more yellow than any of my other kids but they were all eating and pooping well at this point and so I wasn't concerned.  After the rest of the girls went to bed, I finally had a chance to do some reading about jaundice.  Of course, extreme sleepiness and poor nursing were symptoms. I called the OB nurses and they said it should be fine to wait until morning to have her levels checked unless something changed.  Well, at 3 am, she spit up (projectile vomited) her entire feeding and I couldn't get her to wake up and eat again.  Now spitting an entire feeding is not uncommon for my babies but it usually happens after 3 hours of evening fussiness and constant nursing.  Because of her poor nursing during the day, fewer wet and dirty diapers and losing that 3 am feeding, I was worried she was getting dehydrated, so I brought her into the ER.

I was comforted to see that she had gained more weight. She was up to 9 lbs.  She didn't have a fever and her oxygen stats were fine. The doctor came in right away and listened while the nurse did her assessment so I wouldn't have to go through all the information again. So nice! The doctor said she looked good. Her color was fine and by this time she was alert, looking around and had nursed. She wanted to test her bilirubin, her blood sugar and  do a few tests to rule out infection. When the lab tech arrived, he looked at Eva and then looked at the sheet of stickers for all the tests that had been ordered for her. He said he'd be lucky to draw enough blood for one of the blood cultures. It's pretty horrible to watch your 9 day old baby have a blood draw and to feel like it's unnecessary.  Of course, they hardly got any blood and needed to do a heal stick as well.  And then another heal stick because the machine was plugged and had used up the first sample before they figured that out.

Her blood sugar was 104, her bilirubin was 11.9, and her initial tests for infection came back negative. Her bilirubin was high but not high enough to treat at her age.  This was all good news, of course. I'm glad they didn't find anything wrong but I hate to think I put her through all that for nothing.  The ER doctor recommended following up with my doctor on Friday. It was Thursday morning at this point.

I spent Thursday hiding out in my room again just resting and working on waking her up every three hours to nurse.  On Thursday night, she wretched another entire feeding all over Julia who was holding her. Turned out to be a burping issue. I need to make sure she's well burped before she's laid down.  Nursing had been getting better but now I was starting to feel sore again.  Friday morning, I called to set up an appointment with the lactation consultant at the hospital.  The OB nurses usually schedule an appointment with the LC for new moms for the week after birth but the nurse asked me and said she assumed I didn't need it since I had nursed some many kids already. I agreed but now I know better. I may have nursed other babies but this baby had never nursed before. I also checked with my doctor and she said if Eva seemed to be nursing and voiding better, it was ok to wait until our two week appointment to bring her in.

The lactation consultant was very helpful.  She weighed her and she had gained another 1.5 oz since our ER visit early the previous morning. She then had me nurse Eva until she slowed down and dozed off and weighed her again. Eva had taken in 1.6 oz which is a good feeding for a baby her age.  Usually, I would work hard to wake her up and get her to take more milk because she had nursed very slowly for less than 15 mins.  The LC said that she probably wasn't waking up after three hours because she was probably still full and not hungry.  She said it was ok to let her sleep for longer stretches and let her wake up on her own.

She talked to me about mastitis and said that if I had any flu-like symptoms along with soreness, it could be mastitis. I told her that I was feeling a bit feverish, achy and was more sore in one breast. She took a look and since I didn't have any redness, she didn't think it was mastitis but told me what to look for.

Well, by Saturday, I felt like death.  Chills, fever, achy, headache, couldn't move off the couch.  Nursing was so painful.  I started to see a little bit of redness on part of my sore side. But my only option for medical care was the ER. And I really didn't want to go on antibiotics unnecessarily.  The good thing was that ibprofen kept the discomfort under control and I was ok between doses. I did what I could to boost my immune system with lots of Vitamin C, Viracillin and small doses of colloidal silver.  I also rested as much as I could and used massage with Emu oil and pumping to keeping things flowing.

Sunday, I felt a little better and we had Eva's baptism.  I would normally have waited until she was older but it was the anniversary of Grammie's heavenly birthday and so it was a special day.  Eva had been nursing better at home but the whole time we were at the church, I could not get her to wake up and nurse. It was well over 4 hours before we got home and I could get her to wake up to nurse again.

Monday I wasn't feeling great but I could go longer between medicine and didn't seem to be getting worse so I decided to wait to talk to the doctor until Eva's 2 week appointment on Tuesday.  My doctor said that I did probably have mastitis but it wasn't bad enough to treat with antibiotics and I was able to fight it off. She gave me some suggestions for preventing plugged ducts which can lead to infection. One of the recommendations is consuming soy lecithin which is found in chocolate. :) She said a supplement would probably be a better option though.

At the clinic on Tuesday, Eva weighed 9 lbs 9 oz with a diaper. The other times she had been weighed without a diaper.  The doctor checked her muscle tone and behavior and all that stuff and said she was perfectly normal.  The doctor said that she just has a quiet and calm temperament and she's more efficient at eating because she doesn't spit up half of every feeding. So different than my other babies.  Only a mom of seven would bring her baby to the ER because "She's just so good! Something must be wrong with her."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bye-bye, belly button.

At 7 days old, Rosie's belly button fell off.   Yay!  And she is so sleepy!  I'm taking full advantage and taking lots of fun photos but it's a lot of work to make sure she stays awake long enough to get a full feeding.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

So much sweetness

On my discharge instructions, my doctor wrote, "For two weeks don't anything except care for yourself and the baby."  Mike and my mom have been doing a great job of taking care of the girls and keeping them busy.  They were all starting to get sick about the time that we came home so I've been hiding out in my room avoiding their sickness.  Julia was so sad when she didn't get the hold the baby and would just sob, "Hug the baby! Hug the baby!"  Thankfully every one is feeling better but I still only let one girl in the bedroom with us at a time.  

 Rosie is such an incredible baby. I've never had a baby so quiet. She rarely cries. I have to wake her up to eat. She nurses very slowly but she doesn't spit up and she doesn't wake up with tummy complaints.  She falls asleep peaceful and stays asleep until I pick her up and change or unwrap her.  After eating she's calm, quiet and relaxed.  Which is why I'm able to take so many photos. :)

It took about four days for me to feel well enough to really enjoy Rosie but now I'm just savoring these days when I have extra help and can just enjoy this sweet little one.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Almost Day Four- Eva Rose Marie Violet Patience

When we were discussing what to name Julia, Mike suggested Eva.  Eva was my mother's father's mother. She lived with my grandparents and she lived to be almost 101.  She passed away when I was in elementary school. I remember her fondly. Especially, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream." Which was our cue that we should get her a bowl of ice cream and have one ourselves. Occasionally, I remember staying overnight to "babysit" Big Grammy. I remember once I was hiding behind the couch painting my finger nails when my aunt and uncle stopped by to check on us. I'm not sure why I was being sneaky about the polish but I was. :)  Anyway, I liked the name, but it wasn't Julia's name.
We waited a long time to tell the girls about the pregnancy. Jamie's loss was very hard on Amanda. She is very sensitive to the pain of loss. When we did, they immediate asked about getting to name the baby.  Amanda wanted to call her Rose.
Then she asked Tali what the should name the baby if it's a boy.  Tali said, "Violet!"

Mike has been saying for a while that we needed to name our next baby Patience since I was always telling the girls to "Wait with Patience."  He would say, "I don't know who Patience is but we're always telling the girls to go wait with her."
I really liked Eva Rose Marie but as the person responsible for filling out forms, I wanted to keep the name short.  But I would really like to just call her Rosie.  Mike grandma's name was Nelda but everyone always called her Bunny. It was sort of officially part of her name. I'm going to have to consult with all parties involved but hopefully they will agree to call her Rosie.