7.29.2015

introducing theodore scott



He's here! He's finally here! The eternal pregnancy is over! (In truth, it only felt eternal for the last month or so.)

Theodore Scott Krause
born July 21, 2015 at 8:42 a.m.
8 lbs 10 oz, 19 in long

Justin and I keep looking at each other, wondering if this has all been too easy. If it's all going too smoothly. Teddy's birth and hospital stay were blessedly uneventful and peaceful. He is a world champion eater, and so far he is a wonderful sleeper. I have high expectations for him, but I'm also aware that this could easily change after the first few weeks.


As for big sister Pippa, she vacillates between smothering her little Teddy Bear with affection and ignoring him completely. She will occasionally rub his head softly while whispering, "Sweet baby," over and over, at which point my heart becomes a puddle.



It's officially been one week since he came into the world, and it's been a blur of naps, feedings, swaddles, and endless loads of laundry. It may sound strange to say, but I kind of love the laundry part. When Pippa was a newborn, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with a community coin-operated washer and drier, so we tried to keep laundry to once or twice a week. This is no small feat when you have a baby as spitty as Pippa was! Now that we have an in-unit washer and drier, I love the freedom to throw a small load in just as soon as enough of Teddy's and Mama's clothes are covered in spit up.


I did end up having a C-Section (I'll write up Teddy's birth story later), but it went as smoothly as it could possibly have gone. Recovery has been surprisingly quick and easy, with the exception of some air from the surgery trapped in my back and shoulders - ouch! It seems to be getting better by the day, though. Some days I feel like the recovery is going a little too well! I feel so good that I want to "get stuff done" and "be productive," then I end up exhausted and sore. I just have to remind myself that I just had surgery one week ago, and I have to take it easy!

I have so much gratitude right now for the community of people around me who have made this transition so easy. First and foremost, I can't say thank you enough to my mom who has been staying with us for the past week and a half. I felt no anxiety leaving Pippa when I stayed in the hospital, because I knew she would have so much fun getting special attention from her Nanny! I can't even begin to describe how nice it has been to have an extra set of hands to hold a baby, play with a toddler, and do the dishes and laundry while I recover from surgery.

We had both sets of parents, Teddy's uncle/godfather, and my sister Annie stay with use for varying amounts of time this past weekend for the the baptism. Everyone was amazing, and I felt no pressure to entertain because they were all so helpful around the house! Not to mention our church community who pulled together to provide hot meals for us almost every night since we brought Teddy home from the hospital. It's sometimes hard to accept help, because I like to feel strong and independent. But there are times in life where we need to lean on each other a little bit, and just pray we can return the favor at some point! I'm thankful and humbled by the kindness that has surrounded us the past few days.








Justin has been an amazing husband, dad, and caretaker to me. I think the job of new dad is sometimes downplayed and forgotten, but I can't imagine doing this without him. Every middle of the night diaper change and swaddle, every foot massage in the last few weeks of pregnancy, every meal he has served me, every extra chore he has done without complaint has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by me - even if I haven't been the best about expressing it.




Yesterday was Teddy's 1 week checkup, and everything went so perfectly! He's already surpassed his birth weight, which is a welcome change from Pippa, who struggled to gain weight in the first few months of life.
Teddy is such a content little boy so far. He hardly every cries - just grunts and squeaks when he's not happy. He loves laying on his changing table with a mirror next to it. He explores stretching his limbs and taking in the world around him. He actually stays awake between one of his feedings now, and it's so incredible to watch his wide open eyes take in the action.

In short, life is good right now. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

7.14.2015

pippa's birth story

It might seem strange to be typing up my 2-year-old's birth story just days before her baby brother is due to arrive. On my walk this morning, however, I thought about this waiting game. This time of being full term, hoping that every cramp is a sure sign of labor. I thought of how miserable it feels to even go for a slow walk (the pressure on my hips, pelvis, and back is insane right now). But I'm working on gratitude, and realized what a miracle it is to be experiencing this at all!

You see, with Pippa, I knew I would be having a C-Section. The kid was breech for pretty much the last 1/3 of my pregnancy, and nothing I tried would change that. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that I tried almost every suggestion that a Google search yielded to get baby to "flip." I laid upside down hanging off the couch. I crawled around the living room. I purchased a hypnosis track on iTunes to flip breech babies. I tried the ice cube and the music and the flashlight tricks. But Pippa stayed put.

I got really sad for awhile when my doctor gently suggested that it was time to schedule a C-section, assuring me we could always cancel it if baby decided to flip. I read through the internet horror stories of long, painful recoveries. I put away the borrowed Hypnobirthing book, filled with disappointment that I wouldn't get to try a natural birth. But most of all, the sadness I was feeling came from the fact that my baby wouldn't have a proper birth story.

Each year on our birthdays, after the cake has been demolished and the presents unwrapped, my mom will clear her throat and tell the story, our story, that always begins the same way. "10 years ago today..." "18 years ago today..." "27 years ago today..." I get to hear about how it was the Sunday a week past my due date, how my parents went to church, made a roast, watched football, and then when it was clear my mom was in labor, how they sat in the hospital parking lot until after midnight (to save money of course). I get to hear about how I made my mother pass out, how long the labor was, how I got kicked out of the nursery for crying so much. We kids always pretend to be annoyed, rolling our eyes and exchanging looks with the sisters. But deep down we each love it. It's our story. It's how we entered the world.

I was really sad that Pippa wouldn't get an exciting "how I knew I was in labor" story. But after much prayer and introspection, I knew that it was most important for her to arrive safely - not dramatically. I realized that it was still a story, her story, of how she entered the world.

It was the first Sunday in June, and my parents had just arrived in Minnesota. That's one advantage of a planned C-Section - you know exactly when to invite family into town, when the baptism will be, and how much time you have left to wash and fold little onesies. 
that's Pippa's head poking out! the joys of a breech baby...

I had worked up until the Friday before, the last day of exams, the last day of the school year. I excused myself from coaching in the state track meet, and had coached my last club volleyball game a month prior. There was no time to nest, no time to think about everything was about to change. A true blessing in retrospect, not to have time to come up with things to worry about.

My parents generously offered to take us out for a "last supper" of sorts, and I chose an authentic local Mexican restaurant: Boca Chica in West Saint Paul, MN. I wasn't allowed to eat after midnight, as I was having abdominal surgery the next day, so I knew I had to make my last meal a good one. I remember feeling content, excited, clueless. Oddly, the one thing that kept running through my head was, 'I'm never going to just sit and watch Netflix again! There will always be another little life I'm responsible for, so there probably won't be time for that...' (Wrong. There is a lot of time to watch Netflix when you're breastfeeding. And babies sleep...a lot.)

packed and ready to leave for the hospital

The next morning we woke up early. The C-Section was schedule for noon on June 3rd, 2013 (incidentally Pippa's due date), but we had to arrive early to check in and get prepped for surgery. I remember being famished, and grumpy at my parents and Justin as they ate their breakfasts. 

I was in a great mood the whole time at the hospital, focusing on anything but the fact that I was about to have a giant needle inserted into my spine, and my abdomen cut open. If I acted brave, I would feel brave. If I acted relaxed, I wouldn't be nervous. I tried to focus on the fact that we would soon be meeting our baby girl, but that seemed so surreal - like nothing I could dream up - so I focused on the How I Met Your Mother rerun playing in the hospital room. Oddly enough, the nurses told me that according to the machines I was hooked up to, I was experiencing contractions! To me, they just felt like mild menstrual cramps, and I hadn't thought much about them. Now I wonder if I would have gone into labor that day, or if that was just the start...

Naturally, they were running a bit behind, so we waited and joked to keep our minds off our nerves. When they finally led me into the sterile room where the surgery would take place, I felt a mixture of relief and terror...especially when they asked Justin to leave so he could put on the super attractive cap and robe, and I could get the anesthesia. I would categorize that moment as more uncomfortable than painful, but needles have never bothered me. The hard part was trying to hunch over my huge baby bump so they could insert the needle in my spine. I couldn't believe how nonchalantly the nurses were chatting about their weekends on this most transformative day of my life. I remember getting frustrated when they asked if the anesthesia had worked yet. I knew from getting stitches at a young age that topical anesthesia did not work on me, so I was terrified I would think everything was numb, only to feel them slice through my skin. I was so afraid to say that yes it worked, and no I couldn't feel anything. 

Once Justin came into the room, and I heard the familiar voice of my OB, I relaxed, and prayed the surgery would go smoothly and quickly. The very worst part of the C-Section itself for me was the nausea. I was trapped in a spread-eagle position, and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and try to throw up. (For some reason I was afraid to tell the doctor or nurse standing by my head...I didn't want them to think I was a wimp). When I whispered to Justin how miserable I felt, he helped me speak up, and I was mercifully given medication to counteract the nausea. There was the odd sensation of a baby being forcefully (and I mean really forcefully) removed from my body, some pushing and pulling and pressure, but no pain. And then there was the most beautiful sound in the world - my baby's cry. It was 1:09 p.m. Philippa Florence had arrived!

I watched from the table as they cleaned her, weighed her, and measured her - too excited to care that I was being stitched back up. I was astounded by how much dark hair she had. I know I shed a few tears as I watched my husband become a father, holding our baby girl, and bringing her close to my face so I could say hi and meet her, too. 

It felt like forever before they closed me up and we were ready to  be wheeled back upstairs to our hospital room where my parents were waiting. All I wanted to do was sit up and hold my baby girl! I thank God every day that our hospital in Minnesota was so willing to make a C-Section birth as natural as possible for us. Even though it felt like forever, they really were so quick about getting us back into our corner suite, and getting skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible. Within that first hour they even helped me try breastfeeding for the first time - an awkward and painful experience if we're being honest. 

The next few days were a blur of medications, nurses scurrying in and out of our hospital room, talk of colostrum and football holds, photographs, firsts, and lack of sleep. The lack of sleep was my own fault, not Pippa's. She was a good sleeper from the day she was born. I was the one who wanted to stay up all night holding her. By the second night, though, I was more than willing to let the nurses whisk her off to the nursery so I could get some shut-eye. There were the "complications"...she was slightly jaundiced, not gaining as much weight as we wanted, and had a case of froggy legs - hip displaysia from being breech. But overall she was here, she was ours, she was healthy. All in all, we were kept in the hospital for 4 nights - the maximum our insurance would allow, so by that Friday morning, I was more than ready to take Philippa home to our one bedroom apartment about 4 blocks from the hospital. 

So that's Pippa's birth story. There is no dramatic water breaking, contractions, or arriving at the hospital only to be sent home. It was as planned a birth as it could be. It almost felt too easy - but I'm grateful for that in every way. It wasn't the story I had imagined and dreamed of, but I love it. It's her story. It's our story.

7.07.2015

morning routine


Ever since reading this article I have been crafting my perfect morning routine. 

Full disclosure: I'm pregnant, and have a 2 year old, so there are many mornings where I can't start my morning routine until I get some food in my stomach, because I'm simply too nauseous. There are many other mornings where I set my alarm for the crack of dawn, only to find that my 2 year old also set her internal alarm for that time. 

So yeah, every morning doesn't end up being a serene hour of meditation, candles, and soft music, but that's the season of life I'm in right now! And that's ok. I'll take a 5 minute devotion if that's all I can get. And at 38 weeks 4 days pregnant, we'll be adding a newborn to the mix any day now...that means my morning routine is in for another shake up. 

Anyway, here are the elements of my morning routine as it stands right now. 

Devotion and Bible Study

Each morning I read a short devotion, followed by 1-3 chapters of the Bible. My favorite devotions come from Proverbs 31 Ministries, especially if I'm on the road and all I have is my phone. I also use the WELS app to find devotions. I'm on the hunt for a new favorite women's or mother's devotion book. Open to suggestions! 

As for my Bible study, I recently finished reading the Bible cover to cover, so I have been kind of "floating" with no particular plan in mind. Some days I do a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs, and a few chapters in the New Testament gospel and epistles - they're just packed with good news, good advice, and good examples. I really would like to dig in to some of the prophets again, but always feel like I need some guidance from the People's Bible.

This portion of my morning always comes first, and usually ends up taking anywhere from 5-15 minutes...depending upon if a child wakes up.

Meditation and Prayer

Don't laugh. Well, ok, you can laugh if you want. I always think of the episode of Parks and Rec where Ron Swanson is forced to try meditating:

"All told we were in there about 6 hours, and no, I was not meditating. I just stood there, quietly breathing. There were no thoughts in my head whatsoever. My mind was blank. I don’t know what the hell these other crack pots are doing."

During this time I pray, then I follow up with quiet focus on my goals as though I have already achieved them. I always thought meditation was ridiculous witchcraft, until I started listening to the Mechanic to Millionaire podcasts. From there, it was like when you buy a car, and you start seeing that car everywhere on the road. Every successful person I listened to or read about suggested getting up early to focus on your goals, your vision board, and do affirmations. I have now written my goals on a 3x5 notecard in the present tense ("I am so happy and grateful now that..."), and use my imagination to create vivid detail of what life i like once these goals are achieved.

Time: 10-15 minutes

To Do List

If I haven't already done this the night before, I take a moment to write down the 5 most important things I want to get done that day. It can be for my business, house cleaning or organization, preparation for teaching Spanish class, or boring adult things like making doctor's appointments.

Time: 3 minutes

Coffee and Pleasure Reading

If Pippa has not woken up yet by this point in my morning routine, it feels like the most luxurious spa time I could imagine. I pour a hot cup of coffee and open whatever book I'm reading, or peruse a few of my favorite blogs.

Time: however long it takes to drink a cup of coffee, or until Pippa decides to wake up.

Exercise

I would like to say this is a consistent thing I do before my child wakes up, but pregnancy nausea requires that I eat first, and let my food settle before any activity. Maybe once Baby #2 comes along and we're settled into a good routine, I could include this before breakfast.

Now that we're in Florida, I like taking the dog for a walk in the morning before it gets too hot out, which is also a great time for me to do some personal development by listening to a podcast or team call.

For now, I'll settle for a workout with my 2-year-old fitness buddy. She actually loves working out with me, and even does push-ups and squats! I got her a dumbbell for her birthday so she could lift free weights with me, too. The only downside is that she's really picky about the music I play (I don't find the Itzy Bitzy Spider in Spanish to be that motivating).

Starting my morning with some quiet time with God and my goals ensures that I face the day with a positive mindset. I no longer get annoyed when I hear Pippa stirring for the first time, because she's not interrupting cozy sleep. I can be more generous with my time, and more present with those I love because I have gotten my mind right for the day.

Most days this means getting up in the 5 a.m. hour, but I am learning to love the freedom getting up early gives me more than the extra hour of sleep.

What elements make up your morning routine?