Dear Sean,

First and foremost—it’s no secret that Daddy and I were on the fence for a while about a third child. It was a drawn-out “do we or don’t we?” debate (although deep down, I think we were always going to go for it). And although I was not a huge fan of the third pregnancy—nor the second one, for that matter—I will say this: Now that we have YOU? I’m so glad we went for it. Oh, I love you so.

You have a rather large fan club. Your daddy is another card-carrying member, obviously. And your sisters? Well, you basically have three mommies. (You’re welcome.) Nora and Vivienne adore you. They are constantly asking to hold you, kiss you, play with you. They’ve fought over you. But above all, they are actually great helpers, so it’s been fun.

Over the last month, Nora has repeatedly told me, “I can’t believe it’s a brudder, I really thought it would be another sister.” But don’t worry, because she also says, “I’m so happy I have a brudder. He’s the best brudder in the whole world. Sean is the cutest brudder in my life.” She loves you a whole lot.

Vivienne claims you as her own. She routinely says “my boy” in reference to you. She’ll actually look right at Nora sometimes when she says it, implying that you don’t at all belong to Nora—ONLY to her. To ask to hold you, she’ll say “I hold it.” Haha! She has only just very recently started saying “I hold him,” and it’s definitely not consistent. And she won’t take no for an answer, either! I can be nursing you or you can be sleeping peacefully or you may be screaming your head off and she will still say “I hold it. I hold it. I hold it.” over and over again until we oblige. She’s persistent, that one. Prepare yourself, because I’m pretty sure she’s going to boss you around as you guys grow. When she isn’t calling you “my boy,” she calls you “Baby Sean.” Always with the “Baby” in front of it. And when she sees other babies in the grocery store when we go, she’ll say “TWO BABY SEANS!” in reference to you and the other baby. It’s cute.

But bringing you home and into our family has been a dream. A breeze. Totally natural. Daddy and I are sometimes a little overwhelmed at having another human being to care for, but typically, it’s your sisters driving us crazy at this stage—not you. You’re the simple one. Eat, sleep, poop, snuggle. That’s really all that’s needed to keep you happy these days.

I’m still kind of amazed I have a son. I was very comfortable with the idea of a third girl, but out you came, ready to give me a new adventure. It was love at first sight, you know. And now I can’t imagine it any other way.

I can’t believe how much you’ve grown already. I mean, I can—since I’ve done this before—but it’s still so hard to see your precious, teeny tiny baby grow so quickly! Your newborn clothes are getting small, but you’re still swimming in 3-month sizes, so I’ll keep living in denial for a bit longer and stuff you into the newborn things. :) I know it won’t be long, though!

When Vivienne was a newborn, I wrote about the bittersweet feelings over her being our (probable) last child. Now, I’m feeling all of that again, but for real this time. Because you are the last, completing our family—not because you’re a boy, but because you’re a third child. We are blessed, and we know it. We’re looking forward to watching you and your sisters grow up together. The future looks bright. But as much as I look ahead, I also am just savoring it all. Seriously savoring it. So much so that I extended my maternity leave.

With Nora and Vivienne, I “only” took 12 weeks off of work. Although I know it’s more than a lot of people get, it still was never enough. This time, 12 weeks off would have put me back at work on August 8, but I’m not going back until September 1. I am so excited. It was something I had considered before you were born—extending leave through the end of the summer, because of the nice timing—but we had decided we would evaluate later, depending on your actual birthdate, finances, and such. And although not receiving a paycheck is not fun, I knew shortly after you were born that I wanted to do whatever we needed to do to extend the leave. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. This is the last time I will have the opportunity to do this. And not only will it give me extra time with you, but some extra time with your sisters as well. Above all, I knew I would never regret it.

For this first month, your sisters’ schedules have remained status quo, which has been nice because it has meant that you and I have had a good deal of quiet time together. Nora still goes to school in the mornings, obviously, although now she gets to take the bus home to me every day instead of only twice a week. Vivienne has continued going to Mary’s. But in a few more days, when school lets out for the summer, we’ll be adjusting a bit. Nora and Vivienne with both go to Mary’s, but only three days a week. It will be beneficial to them to get out of the house, spend time with friends, keep some semblance of normalcy, etc., and nice for you and I to have the bonding time just the two of us. On the other two days, I’ll have all three of you with me. You’ll undoubtedly be carted all over the place as I try to keep your sisters busy on those days. You’ve already been very well traveled during this last month—since I’m room mom for Nora’s class, I’ve had you at her school more times than I can count! It’s been really busy with all of the end-of-the-year activities. You garner a lot of attention every time we go in, from teachers, staff, AND students. Because you’re so tiny, but also because you’re (usually) so good!

You have a pretty easy temperament so far. You typically only cry if you’re hungry (which is often) or if you’re really uncomfortable (gassy sometimes, which seems within normal “range” for your age). The funny thing is that you will go from content to FREAKING OUT in about five seconds. Once you decide you want to eat, you want to eat NOW. Which would be fine for a first baby, but unfortunately, as a third, you sometimes have to wait it out for a few minutes. That sometimes means I have to listen to several minutes of really loud screaming. Still, can’t complain at all. I hope you continue to be this easygoing.

So, eating—you enjoy it. A lot. You eat more often than your sisters ever did, at least as far as I remember. There were nights during that first week at home when you ate nearly every hour. That wasn’t fun. Thankfully, you figured it out relatively quickly and TYPICALLY you only get up once or twice (more often twice) a night now. Once a night is a real treat, I’ll tell you that! You will usually cluster feed at points during the day to make up for it. During the night, you will most often wake up between 1:30-3:00, and then again between 4:00-6:00. If you make it until between 3:00-4:00 for that first wakeup, then sometimes you won’t wake up again until 6:30-7:30, which is glorious. That’s still rare at this point, though. But I know how bad it could be so I am thankful, believe me. You’re doing great. You’re only a month old!

I’m not sure what you weigh now. You won’t go to the pediatrician again until two months. At two weeks old, you were 7 lbs., 8 oz., up from your birth weight of 6 lbs., 15 oz. You were down to 6 lbs., 8 oz. when we left the hospital, and by four days old, you were back up to 6 lbs., 14 oz., so weight gain has not been an issue for you so far. You’ve got a cute little double chin going now, too. :)

You’ve developed some good nicknames, even just in the first few weeks. The aforementioned “Baby Sean,” Seanie, Buddy, Bud, and Big Guy, to name a few.

We’re all pretty obsessed with you when you’re awake (and content). You are just the cutest and I love looking into your beautiful blue-gray eyes. I think you are just beginning to start to REALLY see/focus, and I know that’ll continue improving over the next few weeks. I am anxiously awaiting those first real smiles! Your sleepy/gassy smiles are already adorable—the real thing is bound to kill me with cuteness. Your little face is so cute, I could smooch it all day long (and I do).

I will never cease to be amazed by how quickly and easily it’s possible to fall in love with your child. I’ve been lucky enough to experience it three times now, and my heart has only expanded each time. The moment you entered into the world is etched into my mind for eternity, a joy I will carry with me through all of my life.

Nora keeps saying, semi-jokingly, that she would never trade you for another brother. And hey, it’s true—you are all ours and will be forever. I love who you are already, and can’t wait to get to know you even better as you grow.

Thanks for choosing our family, Bud.

Love you always and forever,
Mommy

 

The last three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. A really happy whirlwind. I’ve been working on this birth story little by little, in the few free moments I can find in between all of the BUSY. I need to get it down before I start to forget some of the details. I still love going back to read Nora’s and Vivienne’s stories, so I know I’ll love coming back to Sean’s some day, too.

Warning: This is a birth story, so there are details and such that go along with that. If that’s not your cup of tea, you should probably stop reading now.

The story of Sean’s arrival kind of begins on Thursday, May 12. I had my 38-week appointment (a couple of days late) that morning. I had been feeling some inconsistent yet somewhat uncomfortable contractions in the days before, so when they gave me the option to have my cervix checked, I opted to do it. While the doctor was examining my belly, she said she could see my uterus contracting around the baby, confirming that I wasn’t nuts—my body really was doing something. And I was 2 cm and 60% effaced. Not too shabby, considering 2 cm was the most I ever dilated before going into labor with my previous pregnancies. Unfortunately, the cervical check caused me to bleed pretty good, which was new for me. I’ve had my doctor strip membranes and such in the past and I’ve never bled, and this was just a simple check—not as aggressive as a membrane strip. My doctor sent me home with reassurance that the bleeding was okay. She also casually mentioned that she would be on call on Monday, so hey, that might be a good day to have a baby…

I worked from home, dealing with the discomfort of whatever contractions I was having (real ones? Braxton Hicks? I wasn’t sure). A few hours later, a trip to the bathroom resulted in my losing my mucus plug. I’ll admit, after that? My hopes were kind of high that maybe I would be having a baby sooner rather than later. But as the day turned to night, nothing of note happened. And by the time I woke up on Friday morning, things seemed more quiet. I wasn’t feeling as much discomfort, and I hadn’t had any other signs of labor.

I cranked through work on Friday and got as much as possible done in case I wouldn’t be back. The weekend was productive. Michael and I got a bunch more stuff checked off of our “pre-baby to-do list,” including some deep cleaning, which felt really, really good. Still, as Saturday passed and we were living Sunday, I started to feel myself fall into a little bit of a funk. I was discouraged by the lack of activity, thinking that I was likely going to be pregnant for another week. Blah. The end of pregnancy is so hard—even though you KNOW it is going to be over so, so soon, it feels never-ending. Plus, the weather was so crappy on Sunday (like 40 degrees as the high, we had snow/hail… on May 15th!), which never helps my mood.

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to pull out the Clary Sage essential oil. I knew that it can supposedly help “induce” labor by encouraging/strengthening contractions. (So, let that be a warning to all of you pregnant ladies—stay far away from the Clary Sage until your baby is fully cooked!) I diffused it in our kitchen while I did some dinner prep work, and I’m not going to lie… I definitely felt some good tightening in the belly during that time. I took a shower, mixed a couple of drops of Clary Sage oil into my lotion, and rubbed it into my belly for good measure. Later, I diffused it a little longer in the kitchen, too.

When I headed to bed on Sunday night, I still felt some increasing tightening in the belly but nothing that was concrete or timeable. I decided to put a few drops of Clary Sage in the diffuser next to the bed and put it on interval for the night (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, I think?). I figured it certainly couldn’t hurt. I woke up at maybe 1:30-2:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and turned off the diffuser. I was kind of sick of the aroma, and also didn’t want to overdo it.

On Monday morning, May 16th, I heard Michael get up for the gym and leave the house shortly before 5:00 a.m. As I laid there, trying to drift back to sleep, I felt some cramping in my abdomen. I made note of it but continued to lie there. Sure enough, it came again. At some point, I pulled my phone off the nightstand and started using a contraction timer app. They were kind of all over the place—8 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes—and lasting varying lengths of time as well. I wasn’t feeling very sure that this was it. But around 6:00 a.m., I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. This was a bit suspicious to me because this is how my labor started with Nora (I’ve always told people that my initial contractions felt like diarrhea cramps!), but I had also had bouts of this in the days prior, so I was definitely not sold. I got back into bed afterward and expected that the cramps would likely be gone after the bathroom trip.

I was wrong.

Michael came home shortly after 6:00 to find me awake in bed. I told him that I was feeling like something could be up, but wasn’t sure. He showered and laid back down into bed for a while. I had continued to time contractions and by 6:30, they seemed to be getting more regular and more uncomfortable. I was pretty sure this was the real deal, and I told Michael as much. I got up to get in the shower and Michael started to wake the girls and get them ready so we could leave for the hospital. I made arrangements for Nora to go over to our neighbor friends’ house to catch the bus with their son. I also texted my mom, who was due to drive to Connecticut that morning for a business trip. Her travel schedule is typically not flexible, but given she was driving, I wondered if she might be able to hold off. She said she didn’t have any appointments in Connecticut to get to—Monday was strictly a travel day for her. As such, she decided to postpone leaving and come to the hospital instead.

After showering, I got dressed and quickly packed a bag. I went downstairs to be with the girls for a little bit while we finished getting things together. Vivienne was eating some dry cereal out of a cup (no time to sit them down for breakfast!) and I had just sent Nora upstairs to get herself some socks. I was standing at the end of our kitchen counter, texting my dad with an update when I felt the first small gush.

(Notice the time stamps on the texts about not hitting the road yet, and getting the girls to school and daycare? I sent those to him at 7:32 a.m. Literally as soon as I pressed send, my water broke. That next one—”okay and my water just broke”—was at 7:33 a.m. LOL.)

“UH OH,” I said aloud.
“What happened?” Vivienne asked.
I yelled out to Michael (who was also upstairs), “MY WATER JUST BROKE!”

I took two steps backward from the counter and began to feel water soaking through my pants and dripping down my legs. Crap. “BRING TOWELS!” I yelled to Michael again. He came down the stairs quickly with an armful of towels and thank god, because the amount of water was INSANE.

Third pregnancy, but this is the first time this had ever happened to me. With Nora, my water broke in my bed in the hospital, so I never really realized how much water came out. With Vivienne, my water spontaneously broke at home—it was what marked the beginning of my labor—but come to find out later that it was a “slow leak,” since they had to break it as I was pushing her out. So the massive, gushing water? I had never experienced that before. I later told my mom and Michael that if I had known how much water there really was, I would’ve started carrying around towels and extra clothes weeks ago. I mean, if that had happened at work, or in public? I don’t even know what I would have done.

I threw the towels down at my feet and stood on top of them as the water just kept coming. Every time I thought it was going to stop, I would move a muscle and it would come pouring out again. I started to panic a little bit because with Nora, once my water broke, she was born very shortly after. I wanted to leave for the hospital NOW, but I also didn’t know what the heck to do with all of the fluid. I stood just waiting for it to stop. Michael took the girls out to the car. Finally, I stripped off my wet pants and put a dry towel between my legs as I waddled upstairs to grab a pair of clean, dry pajama pants. I managed to get out to the car without too much more leakage, and I brought more towels to sit on for the ride.

The girls were SO GOOD through all of the chaos, just really cooperative—and super excited. We dropped Nora off at the neighbors’, then took Vivienne to daycare. I called my doctor’s office on the way.

We arrived at the hospital around 8:30 a.m. As soon as I stood up out of the car… you guessed it… more water. It again soaked my pants and continuously dripped down my legs and I had no choice but to walk up to the L&D floor looking like I had just wet myself. Well, actually, an employee in the lobby offered me a wheel chair, but I told her that I was so soaked that I would rather not sit. LOL.

The L&D ward was quiet, which was something else new for me. My previous two times, it was a madhouse. In fact, with Vivienne, they didn’t have beds in triage or in L&D so I had to labor for a while in an “overflow room” on the high-risk ward. Anyway, it was quiet, and that was nice. I got checked into triage at 8:45 a.m. and they hooked me up to the monitors. My contractions had grown more intense but I was still managing just fine. They took my blood pressure and observed that it was high—unusual for me, as my whole pregnancy I was hanging out in the 100-105/65-70 range. They asked me questions to screen for other potential pre-eclampsia symptoms but aside from the blood pressure, I was fine.

My sister-in-law arrived at 9:00 a.m., as we had asked her to join us again to take photos (like she did with Vivienne).

Just before 9:30 a.m., a doctor came in to check me. I expected to be 4-5 cm but was surprised when they said I was already at 6 cm! Woohoo! But also OHMYGOD because with my previous two labors, moving from 6-10 cm has been the fastest part of labor for me (less than an hour). I was just so grateful to be at the hospital, as one of my fears for both my second and third deliveries was that I wouldn’t make it. Once they told me I was 6 cm, I said to them, “Just so you’re aware, I’ve gone from 6-10 cm VERY quickly in the past.” I texted my mom to tell her to get a freakin’ move on as well. The nurses and doctors said, “No worries, we’re going to move you to a room right away!” And they did. They packed me up and wheeled me down into an L&D room where I was now free to move about. My IV was started, and they took some blood samples. I met my first nurse, Ashley, who was only with me for an hour (and also my LPN, Sarah, who was with us until the end). Ashley was excited that our baby’s sex was a surprise and asked me to deliver quickly so she could find out what it would be. Haha! Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be.

Things were relaxed. I was again allowed to labor on my feet, which is my favorite. My mom arrived sometime after 10:00 a.m. and we just… hung out. I dealt with contractions, which were very uncomfortable but manageable, especially since they were still a good 3 minutes apart and lasting only about 45-60 seconds. In other words, I got good “breaks” in between. Since I was laboring on a “mobile” basis, I was not continuously monitored—my nurse just held the heart rate monitor up to my belly every 10 minutes or so to take a quick listen. Therefore, I was also not on a contraction monitor. Instead, I was timing my contractions via my app on my phone (which is why you see me holding and/or looking at my phone in so many of these photos—I was not on Facebook, I was just constantly hitting “start” or “stop” on my contraction app!).

The nurses soon did a shift change, and I bid farewell to Ashley and met my new nurse, Cate. Everyone who attended to me was really nice, I loved everyone. In fact, the nurse who had taken care of me during my brief time in triage stopped in a few times just to see how things were going for us. While I was working through a contraction, I heard her chatting with Cate about how they had been “shocked” when I was 6 cm in triage. “She was too happy to be a 6!” she joked.

As I mentioned in the beginning, my OB was scheduled to be on call on Monday, and well, here I was in L&D on Monday morning. So fun that the stars aligned for her to deliver our third child! She stopped in periodically to visit me once I was in my L&D room. Around 11:30 a.m., she came in to check on me, saying she had to go down to the operating room to perform a procedure on another patient but that she would be back upstairs within an hour or so. Out of curiosity, she wanted to check my cervix to see where we were at, so I agreed to that. I was kind of disappointed to find out I was only 7 cm. Only one centimeter of progress in about two hours? Whaaaat? This was not how my past labors went at all. My OB asked my nurse to keep her posted if things progressed to the point of pushing.

I just continued to labor, hunched over the bed for contractions. I did try the birthing ball for a couple stretches of time as well. They offered me the tub—part of me wanted to get in, thinking maybe it would speed things up the way it did for Vivienne’s birth, but I was also apprehensive to do so since it had caused a bit of panic among everyone during her delivery. I decided to stick it out “on dry land.” :)

Around noon, we saw (and I felt!) a shift in my contractions to longer, more intense contractions, and sometimes a bit closer together, too. Now, they were lasting at least a minute.

My brother, Trevor, is actually in the accelerated nursing program at the same hospital/university at which I delivered. He had lecture that day, right across the street, so he actually came over on his lunch break to visit. The five of us—Michael, my mom, Marie, Trevor, and me—all just chatted to pass the time. I had to withdraw from conversation every couple of minutes to work through contractions but all in all, it was a good time. They had me laughing and joking, which helped a lot.

Trevor had to get back to class so he left. A little before 1:00 p.m., it had been a while since I had felt that shift in intensity of contractions and now I was feeling some additional pressure. I commented to my nurse that something felt like it had changed, so she requested another cervix check. Only 8 cm. Sigh. Things were definitely going slow (for me, anyway), but Cate was concerned about me continuing to stand, as she said that it was very possible that I would feel the urge to push and then the baby would basically slide right out as I was trying to get into bed. She urged me not to wait too long to get into the bed, but I also REALLY didn’t want to labor in the bed… so we were at a little bit of an impasse. I promised to really listen to my body and be in tune with what I was feeling, hopefully giving myself enough time to at least climb into the bed!

Around 1:30 p.m., I felt it. I started to feel that familiar, horrible pressure with a teeny urge to push as well. Cate suggested I get up into the bed on all fours, then lean over a little ball on the back of the bed. And then I had this long break between contractions—five minutes! I said something about how long it had been, and Cate said, “That usually means a BIG one is coming.” (Side note: Good to know! The same exact thing happened to me with Vivienne, when I was in the tub. I thought contractions had “stopped,” and then all of a sudden they returned with a vengeance and I was involuntarily pushing!)

And, well, Cate was right. When that next contraction finally hit, I started groaning loudly from the pain and pressure, and I definitely felt the urge to push now. My OB came in and managed to check my cervix in the position I was in. She said I was 9.5 cm with just a little cervix left that she could “hold back” while I started to push. The pain at this point was horrendous.

When I had a break in contractions, I flipped over for pushing. With that next contraction, I pushed, pushed, pushed. I wanted the baby out NOW because I knew that was the only way I was going to feel any relief from the pain I was feeling. Maybe my memory is fuzzy, but pushing seemed to hurt way worse this time than it did with Vivienne. It reminded me more of Nora’s delivery, when I was convinced I was going to die. Of course, this time I knew that this was par for the course, but still, OUCH. It hurt so bad, and seemed like it was taking forever. I was begging the doctors, “Get it out! Get it out!”

I pushed as hard as I could and then at one point they told me to try to slow down to “grunty pushes.” I wasn’t even certain what that meant but I obliged best I could, which apparently helped. The pressure was unreal and I was definitely letting out little screams between pushes. GET.IT.OUT. was really the extent of all of my thoughts.

And then they were telling me to look down, because the head was out, and here comes baby. Another big push or two and out came the shoulders, followed quickly by the rest of the baby. I looked down, and just like Vivienne, I had a perfect view of the area between baby’s legs. Apparently everyone else did, too, though, because we all seemingly yelled at the same time, “IT’S A BOY!!”

Sean Sebastian was born at 1:47 p.m., apparently after only six minutes of pushing. Six minutes that felt like an eternity, I assure you. I give major props to ladies who have to push for hours. I have no idea how you do it, honestly.

I was seriously so shocked to have a boy. Even though I had thought for a good part of my pregnancy that he was a boy, I guess I had convinced myself toward the end that it was likely a girl… and I just had this feeling like WOW, it’s ACTUALLY a boy!

They put him right up on my chest and I got to keep him there for a good long while. Michael cut the cord. I cried while they gave me a couple of stitches, just because the experience was (rightfully!) so emotional.

For inquiring minds, Sean has always been our boy name. Nora would’ve been Sean if she had been a boy. Sebastian is after Michael’s grandfather, Poppy, whom we lost in 2012. He played a really special role in Michael’s life and during our years together, he became really special to me as well. We really wanted to give the baby his name to honor him.

Sean nursed for a bit and we just snuggled. Took photos, basked in the happiness of our new baby boy.

When they did finally take Sean to examine him, we found out he weighed in at 6 lbs., 15 oz. Very similar to Nora and Vivienne (Nora was 6 lbs., 10 oz. and Vivienne was 6 lbs., 11 oz.) but my biggest baby. He was 8 days early, too! (Nora was 7 days early, Vivienne only 4 days early.) My body does seem to like “cooking” this size baby, though. So funny.

Also, when Cate brought him back to me, she removed his little hat and showed me the top of his head. He had a little indent/ridge on the top, and some bruising on his crown. She said that based on that, it looked like he had been hung up a little bit in the birth canal—perhaps on the pelvic bone—which she said is very likely what slowed him down, resulting in the extra hours of labor. She said it’s likely his head was not in the exact correct position to pass down through, and we had to wait for him to move/adjust. Really interesting. She also warned us that the bruising put him at higher risk for jaundice—which we did deal with. (Thankfully, my milk came in while I was still in the hospital and Sean proved to be a champion eater/pooper so we were still able to go home on time, and after a follow-up bilirubin blood draw and appointment with our pediatrician the next day, he was cleared.)

In the end, I had another great experience. It is true what they say, though, that every labor and delivery is different. I am proof of that. I was so concerned about potentially giving birth to my third baby on the side of the road, yet it turned out he took the longest to come out of the three! If I’m ranking birth experiences, Vivienne’s would still be 1st… it was the most ideal, relaxed, and still quick. Sean’s would be second, and Nora’s would be my least favorite, just because of how out of control I felt due to the circumstances and not knowing what was happening since she was my first. Plus, breaking my tailbone during Nora’s delivery was no bueno.

Shortly after he was born (and getting a chance to hold him briefly), my mom set out for her drive to Connecticut for work. We all couldn’t believe the timing worked out again that she was able to be there. My kids (and my body) are so crazy accommodating to her schedule. ;)

A few hours later, Michael left to go pick up the girls to tell them the news of their baby BROTHER. I was a little worried that Nora was going to be disappointed. She had been saying the entire pregnancy that she wanted another sister. I did everything I could to prepare her for the possibility of a brother—even reviewed reasons why having a brother would be fun—but I wasn’t sure how she would take the news. Thankfully, she reacted wonderfully and has been nothing but happy about it. She’s told me numerous times in the past few weeks that she’s “so glad it turned out to be a brother.” Phew! Vivienne has been great as well (in the video, she’s just being her typical moody self, LOL).

That’s it! That’s Sean’s birth story. We’re so glad to have him here with us. I’m definitely feeling blessed. Thanks to all who commented and/or sent well wishes. It’s crazy to me that I’ll be writing his 1-month letter in a week or so. I should probably get started on it sooner rather than later, given how hard it is to blog these days.

Welcome, Sean Sebastian!

 

That’s right… IT’S A BOY!

Sean Sebastian
May 16, 2016
1:47 p.m.
6 lbs., 15 oz.
20 inches long

We were really shocked when a boy popped out. We obviously knew it could be a boy, but I guess both of us figured we’d probably end up with three girls. The first day or two was really surreal, I kept finding myself having to really think about referring to him as “him” and “he.” So bizarre. And changing boy diapers has been quite the adjustment! We’re so happy that we have been given the opportunity to parent a boy now—we get to experience both sides! :)

Since he’s my third (and last) baby, I’m really finding myself soaking it all in. I want him to stay this small forever. Even if he is eating every 1.5-2 hours these days. (Ouch.)

The girls are obsessed with him. Nora asks to hold him multiple times a day and you can tell from the look on her face that the baby snuggles warm her heart just as much as they do mine. She also visibly fights back to the urge to squeeze him as hard as she can, and who can’t relate to that?? :) ”You’re the best brudder in the world,” she coos.

“I was surprised we had a boy,” Nora admitted to me the other night. “I thought we would have a girl.”
“I know, but it’s fun to have a brother, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s so fun to have a brudder,” she said as she squeezed him. “Because they’re so cutie. And they get to wear cute clothes!”

You know when you have conversations like that with your kids, and you think to yourself, “Damn, I wish I could’ve gotten that on video.” You may even try to recreate parts of it so that you can, in a way. Well, as luck would have it, I was actually recording her when she said all of that. She thought I was only taking photos, not video, so she was her complete natural self. It’s now a priceless clip to me. I’ve watched it a couple dozen times already, it’s so stinking cute.

Vivienne is constantly saying, “I hold it” referring to the baby. She loves to hold him and pet him and bring him his pacifiers and other things. When he cries, she says “buddy bear” and runs off to bring him a stuffed animal. This morning, she evidently forgot his name for a moment because she pointed to the baby and said, “Name.” I told her, “Sean.” She hilariously answered, “Sean. Riiight!”

We are adjusting to being a family of five. It’s been fine so far, honestly, but I know that the real test won’t come until I go back to work at the end of the summer. I imagine that’s when life will get crazy. So I’ll enjoy this honeymoon period as long as possible, thankyouverymuch.

Welcome to the world, Sean. Thanks for joining our family. We’re calling it—we’re officially complete!

 

With both Nora and Vivienne, I did baby pools on the blog for which readers entered guesses and then there was a prize. Obviously, I don’t have my crap together this time around (for lots of reasons—see previous post!), but the baby pools have always been fun. So even though this is last minute and decidedly less organized than my previous contests, I figured I would go ahead and create a quick baby pool and throw it on here for you all.

Go ahead. Take a guess. It only takes a minute and there will be a prize of some kind (probably pretty unimpressive in nature but HEY, a prize is a prize).

I’ll leave it open until next Friday, April 29. Guesses must be in before then, as we’ll shut it down to await baby’s delivery.

IF WE ARE FRIENDS/YOU KNOW ME IN REAL LIFE: We have a separate baby pool going for family/friends that you should participate in. Send me a Facebook message or text and I will send you the link. :)

So, a few facts and pics and such that may or may not “help” you with guessing:

The due date is May 24.
Nora was 7 days early and weighed 6 lbs., 10 oz.
Vivienne was 4 days early and weighed 6 lbs., 11 oz.

{Quick belly comparison I threw together on Instagram at 32 weeks (Nora, Vivienne, Baby #3)}

{Ultrasound at 12-13 weeks}

{Growth ultrasound at 34w3d – baby supposedly in the 54th percentile based on their estimates. Heart rate was 138 bpm}

And here’s a cool video of him/her in action last week at the growth ultrasound. Baby blinks! The face is looking straight at the “camera,” with top of the head pointing toward the right of your screen. See it? Pretty cool, right?

OK, so are you ready to guess?

We’ve always used ExpectNet.com, which utilizes a scoring system based on the baby’s stats to calculate a winner for us at the end. Once baby is born, I enter the details and boom—winner, winner, chicken dinner.

A couple of important things to note:

1) You do NOT need to register to enter a guess with Expectnet.com, so no worries. It is super simple! Enter on our Heather Drive Baby Pool page. There is a link in a little orange box at the top right corner that says “Enter a guess.” Click that and the rest is self-explanatory.

2) When you enter through ExpectNet.com, PLEASE ENTER A VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS in the “A phrase or two describing how you know the parents” field. If you choose not to, that’s fine, but then your entry will be just for fun and not eligible for a prize, simply because we will have no way of validating who “Karen” or “Anne” is and will have no way of contacting you to let you know you have won.

3) If you are determined to be the winner, you’ll hear from me at some point after the baby is born. :) And check back here, too, as I’ll post an update on the winner as well.

4) Only one entry per person, please. Duplicate entries will be deleted.

5) Make sure to enter a guess for ALL of the fields (sex, birthday, time, weight, height). There are points awarded (or deducted) for every element, so if you skip a field, you will be hurting your chances at winning!

6) The contest is open to all, whether you live here in the U.S., or outside of it. My international readers are more than welcome to participate! :)

7) Again, all entries MUST be entered into the Expectnet.com system by Friday, April 29. The contest will be closed to entries at that time.

Questions? Please ask in the comments. Also, if you just HAVE to know whether I’m craving salty or sweet, which side I’m more likely to sleep on, etc., feel free to ask those types of things in the comments as well. ;) I’ll answer everything in the comments so everyone is privy to the same information!

Here’s the link again: http://www.expectnet.com/games/HeatherDriveBaby3

Have fun!

 

Longest blog drought ever. Life? It has been crazy.

I’ve been telling friends that you know it’s bad when having a newborn sounds like a vacation.

Where should I even begin? I guess with the one who will be giving me a “vacation.”

PREGNANCY

My poor, neglected third baby. Least documented pregnancy ever. I’ve been managing to snap selfies in the bathroom mirror at least every couple of weeks at least, and usually sharing on Instagram. Hopefully I get some credit for that.

I’m 35 weeks now. And while this whole pregnancy has seemingly CRAWLED by for me, the birth of baby #3 suddenly seems really… close. I only have one more doctor’s appointment (at 36 weeks) before I am onto weekly appointments, which just seems nuts. Plus, I get the honor of having a pelvic exam at the appointment next week for the Group B strep test, at which point my doctor also begins checking for “progress.” THAT.IS.INSANE.

My coworkers threw a surprise “sprinkle” for me a couple weeks ago and they totally got me. The lies/setup were good, but more than anything, I just barely have time to think about baby preparation these days so even after I saw the yellow and white balloons and cake and everything set out just so, I still had to ask, “What’s going on?” YOU’RE HAVING A BABY AND PEOPLE ARE CELEBRATING IT, HEATHER. GET WITH THE PROGRAM. It was nice to sit around for an hour or two and take a chill pill for once. Open a few gifts, eat some cookies and cake, sip some lemonade. Talk about the baby and our family. Michael was in on the surprise so he brought the girls in and we got to enjoy all of it together.

I am getting really excited to meet this new little person. The anticipation of the last few weeks of pregnancy—particularly when you are “Team Green” and the baby’s sex is a surprise!—is beginning. At this point, I’m just assuming I’m going to go to at least 39 weeks (Nora born at 39 weeks, Vivienne born at 39 weeks, 3 days), but then I have moments of slight panic like “Every pregnancy is different. YOU NEVER KNOW.” It is nerve wracking to think about a baby coming “earlier than expected,” but of course, even more horrifying to think about going late. LOL.

Names? We don’t really have them. Oops. Time to get serious about that. We have a few we’ve been tossing around casually, nothing that we are truly committed to in any way. Girls’ names are especially difficult at this point since we’ve already named two girls and naming humans is hard, y’all.

Big shocker: I’m measuring small again. I myself have gained about 22-23 lbs. thus far. Despite feeling enormous, I started measuring behind at 30 weeks. Right on schedule, according to my first two pregnancies. My doctor barely blinked about it this time, since clearly this is just how I carry babies. Still, she found at my appointment last week that I am already measuring 2.5 weeks behind (31.5 cm instead of 34 cm) so I got sent for the ol’ growth ultrasound to check on things on Friday. Baby looked great and was estimated over 5 lbs., right on target.

Chief complaints? Bad lower back pain and raging heartburn. I’ve never experienced pregnancy-induced back pain like this before, but this baby has been giving me problems with it since the middle of the second trimester. I can’t really do anything without my back feeling like I’ve “overdone” it. I’m still working out, so that aggravates it sometimes, but mostly it is just the normal act of living my life (and nesting!) that is killing me. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor (who happens to be a friend of mine) every two weeks, which seems to help but I do still get annoying, sometimes somewhat debilitating pain in between. Probably time to start going weekly. Sigh. And the heartburn is insane. It can strike at any time of day, and seemingly after eating pretty much anything. I remember having really bad heartburn with Nora, but with Vivienne, my memory is that it wasn’t that bad. Oddly enough, Nora came out with a good bit of hair and Vivi had hardly any, soooo… if that Old Wives’ Tale is holding true for me, it means this one will once again have hair. Because OUCH, FIRE IN MY CHEST AND THROAT. It is so fun to regularly taste vomit at the back of your throat, obviously. (Not really.) Actually, at my growth ultrasound last week, the tech said “Look, it has hair” and showed us some spiky looking areas coming off the head. We shall see how much hair it actually is when we meet in real life. :)

Speaking of working out… yeah, CrossFit. It almost feels like a joke at this point. These days, I go and then the entire time I’m there, I question why I’m doing this to myself. LOL. Everything is super light or modified. Yet everything is hard. Going to CrossFit and struggling through it all might make me feel even more out of shape than doing nothing. I’m really curious, though, to see how my labor/birth/recovery might differ this time than in the past. Soooo I’ve been sticking it out. I mean, I’ve still been jump-roping, people! And not peeing my pants in the process. That has to count for something. After Friday’s workout, I was really hurting, though. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be able to handle it. I may take it day by day through the end of April since my dues are paid up through then, and then just switch over to some good old-fashioned walking until baby decides to make its entrance.

The girls are excited. Well, Nora is. Vivienne doesn’t really understand, though she will point to, hug, and kiss my belly when we talk about it or we prompt her to. But the other night, I asked her if the baby was going to come out and she said “no.” Haha. But then I asked her if she was going to help me with the baby—holding, rocking, feeding, diapers—and she said yes. So who knows. When my niece was born last summer, Vivienne was OBSESSED with her so it will be interesting to see how she reacts when our baby is finally here. Although making fantastic strides, Vivienne is decidedly less verbal (or less understandable, let’s say) than Nora was at this same age/stage of my pregnancy, so it makes it a little more difficult to gather what she understands and what she doesn’t.

After the ultrasound on Friday, I took Nora with me to Carter’s and let her pick out a bunch of baby clothes. She was SO into it. We got going-home outfits (and alternates, since May weather can really be extreme around here!), and a few extras—for both boy and girl. She had so much fun with it. When I praised her for being SUCH a good baby shopper, she told me on the way out of the store, “It’s because I’m an expert on babies. I have experience being a big sister.” Alright then.

Baby #3 doesn’t yet have any semblance of a nursery, but we’re hoping to make some good progress on that over the next month. We’re making our fourth bedroom—the current guest room—into the nursery, so we need to move out the guest room furniture, paint, then move nursery furniture in. That’s really it, since we tend to keep the nurseries pretty “bland” until after the baby is born and we know the sex. Then we get going with the accessories and finishing touches type stuff.

Speaking of the sex again… any feelings? Not really anymore. I had stronger boy feelings the first half of the pregnancy, but now I’ve started swaying back the other way, if I listen to my gut. But then I think that it probably IS a little boy this time, so who knows. I’m unreliable anyway, since I totally thought Vivi was going to be a boy. I feel like I’m totally going to be surprised this time, regardless of which way it turns out. So that’s fun!

I think that’s a pretty good pregnancy update since the last time I updated. Now, onto other things in life that have not allowed me much time to think about the fact that I’M HAVING A BABY IN FIVE(ish) WEEKS.

WORK / PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Work itself has been really busy, just because. I’ve had a lot going on (all of my coworkers have, as well) and it makes for short workdays, feeling like there are not enough hours in the day.

The other thing is that I have been working on my accreditation in public relations (APR). BECAUSE I’M CRAZY. I first set out to do this in January 2015 but procrastination won over and then it wasn’t until November that I was like “Wait, I’m expecting my third child. If this is going to happen, I should probably get it done before I actually HAVE three children.” I knew that the amount of free time in my life is not going to get any bigger once #3 comes along, so that lit a fire under my ass to get this process done, once and for all.

It’s a pretty involved process. I had to answer a really lengthy and thorough questionnaire about my work history, experiences, thoughts/ideas/knowledge about the field, etc. Thankfully, I had a good start on that early last year, but I still needed to spend a good chunk of time buttoning it up. Then I had to prepare a case study of my work + a portfolio and present it before a panel of already accredited PR professionals for them to judge whether I have the experience and knowledge necessary to become accredited. I sat for that in early March, and thankfully found out I passed a few days later. THAT meant that I could schedule my exam.

All along, since I picked this back up in November, I’ve been reading a textbook and creating flashcards for this exam. It’s 132 questions, multiple choice, but very “tricky” in nature and a lot of the questions are scenario based—you have to read a substantial paragraph/situation and then answer a question about it. Some questions require you pick TWO correct answers instead of just one. There aren’t any practice exams for me to take to get a feel for it or gauge my performance so it makes me so nervous. I’m doing what I can with the textbook (do you know how much information is actually in a textbook?? soooo much) and study guide. I was always a good student and a good test-taker but let’s be real: I haven’t taken a test in 12 years, and even when I did, it wasn’t a monster like this one is. There were a lot of smaller tests and quizzes throughout the semester to help you learn before you had to take a final exam. With this? Not so much.

Anyway, my exam is now about nine days away and I am in full-blown study mode. Flash cards every night after the kids are in bed. I have like 300 flash cards, it makes me want to cry. I’ve been breaking them up into smaller chunks and reviewing them until I “know” most of them, then moving onto the next stack. Then once I’ve learned THAT stack, I go back to the previous stack to re-test myself on that. Lots and lots and lots of review. I just really hope I pass. Mostly because it will be super embarrassing if I don’t, but also because I don’t want to continue having this thing hang over my head. I want to be done with it so I can move on and just focus on having a baby. LOL. Thankfully, you find out whether you passed or failed immediately after finishing the test so at least I won’t have to stew over how I did for weeks or anything. WISH ME LUCK, you guys. This process has been very time-consuming and stressful. Valuable and enlightening, too, but it is just a lot to have this on my plate right now. I want to kick this test’s ass. I hope I have it in me.

MOM / HOME LIFE

Obviously, aside from being pregnant and working full-time, I’m also busy at home, doing regular “life” stuff and being mom to these two angels.

Nora is in dance and swimming. And doing really well in kindergarten. As if I don’t already have enough going on in life, I am also “room parent” for her classroom. It’s been an awesome experience and I’m so glad I’m doing it—I would love to always be this involved in my kids’ classrooms. Overall, it hasn’t been THAT much extra work on my plate, but Nora’s teacher is getting married next month (her wedding and my due date are only a few days apart) and I’m currently working on a class gift for her. It’s something very personal and special, a huge project that is very time consuming. I am so happy to do it (it was my idea!) but it’s just one more thing that I am trying to squeeze in right now. Just like with baby #3, I am running out of time and need to get it done!

In preparation for the baby, as I mentioned, we are turning the guest room into the nursery. Well, in order to move the guest room furniture out, we needed to have space in the basement for it. We plan to set up the bed on our finished side so we still have a place for my dad or whomever else to stay. The basement, up until a few weeks ago, was a freaking DISASTER. Honestly, the unfinished side had NEVER been in good shape—it was mostly a dumping ground for stuff, ever since we moved in. The finished side has had its fine moments, but we had really let it go since last fall and that, too, had become a dumping ground. Crap everywhere, no organization of anything. So the first step in “project nursery” was actually to organize the basement. Go figure.

We chipped away at it during weekend nap times for Vivienne the last few weeks, and we finally got it “done” on Sunday. Now we just have to get upstairs and start moving the guest room furniture down.

I did also manage to order big girl furniture for Vivienne last month, and a few weeks ago, it was delivered and we put it all together over Easter weekend. Got the nursery furniture moved out of her room and the big girl furniture in. She did FANTASTIC with the transition, my sweet girl. Her new bed is a daybed and the edge of it wasn’t ideal for using the bed rails we have. We decided to give it a go without the rails and she has “only” fallen out of bed twice since we moved her. Both times, she continued sleeping on the floor until we found her. LOL. So clearly it didn’t phase her much! It happened within the first few days but now we are on a good stretch with it so I’m hopeful she has “adjusted.”

In other “big girl” news, I was home with the girls on April 1 (no daycare) so I decided to give potty training a try with Vivienne. We went cold turkey into underwear—as we had done with Nora—and the first day was kind of disaster. I sat her on the potty every 10-15 minutes all day but she never peed on it. Instead, she peed on the floor three times. Gaaaah. That’s actually similar to how the first day went with Nora, too, so I wasn’t sweating it too much. But on Saturday morning, Vivienne refused to put on underwear, saying she wanted a diaper. Okaaaaay. That was discouraging. But then she kept insisting on continuing to sit on the potty. BUT SHE STILL WOULDN’T PEE. Between that and the diaper and a tantrum she threw, I wanted to give up.

Somehow, she “accidentally” peed on the potty mid-tantrum that morning. After that, she asked to sit like 50 times throughout the day but still wouldn’t go. Or COULDN’T go. That evening, she kept sitting but not peeing, but then the minute she would get up, she would be doing a very clear “pee-pee dance.” And, mind you, she had a diaper on, so it wasn’t like she couldn’t have peed in that if she wanted/needed to! She was holding it but physically/mentally could not release on the potty. Eventually, I had the idea to tickle her while she sat on the potty and lo and behold, out it came. Same exact challenge when she woke up dry on Sunday morning. She WANTED to go, but couldn’t. Got her to go again using the tickling trick. And then? She stayed dry all day and actually TOLD US when she wanted/needed to go. In total, she peed four times on the potty that day. She had a little trouble the following day at daycare, but then by Tuesday, she had that down, too. She has kept her diapers (well, we compromised and are now using Pull-ups) dry ever since. We’re so proud of her! And surprised. Really, really surprised. :)

Poop is a separate issue. Only one success with that so far, and it was yesterday morning. Hence why I haven’t insisted she switch to underwear yet. Because seriously, who wants to clean poop out of underwear? Not I. It’s been tough to even get the opportunity to get Viv on the potty for poop, as she’s been “saving” it for nap time or the 15 minutes we’re getting ourselves ready in the morning, making dinner, or whatever. Always when we aren’t paying attention! Obviously I don’t know for sure, but I feel like once she has a few more successes there, she will pick that up quickly, too. She seems to LOVE the praise—she cheers for herself and wants the whole family to cheer for her every time she goes. She even calls Tessa into the bathroom to “look.” LOL, it’s hilarious and too cute. She has also been very motivated by candy, so we are continuing to try to use that to our advantage, too. Just need to finally catch her in the act and get her on that potty!

Fingers crossed that we actually avoid having two in diapers.

Other than those “highlights,” it’s been mostly normal life on the home front. Time with family, time with friends, birthday parties, errands, chores, etc.

I don’t know if anyone is really still out there reading, but I’m still here, behind the scenes. I just really, really don’t have time to blog. I’m not sure that’s ever going to get easier again, especially after welcoming another person to our family. As I’ve said before, I post way more often on Instagram, so if you have interest in keeping up with me there, I’m @heatherkj.

I would love to make promises that I’ll come back and update in a few days or next week or next month or whatever, but I can’t! I do hope to at least make it back to share Baby #3′s birth story, since Nora’s and Vivienne’s birth stories are two of my favorite blog posts to revisit. In the meantime, thanks for any thoughts you’ve sent my way and may continue to. I appreciate that you care that I’ve been “missing.”

And thanks for checking in.