Dear Sean,

Well, hello, little fella. You’ve officially “come alive” this month. Your eyes are more focused, it’s clear you can see us and the world around you, and you’re interacting—grabbing things, cooing, SMILING. Sometimes you give up smiles so easily, all we have to do is look at you or talk a little bit. Other times, we might work HARD for it and you still don’t give them up (like when I was taking these pictures)! But when you do smile, oh my gosh—my heart! You are so gosh darn cute, I can barely stand it.

And you’re huge. I knew you were, but it’s been confirmed. We took you to your two-month well baby appointment at the doctor’s a few days ago and you weighed in at a whopping 12 lbs., 8 oz. Now, that’s the 66th percentile, which means you’re actually pretty “average,” but considering you started off at only 6 lbs., 15 oz., it’s been a pretty steep period of growth for you. Plus, your sisters were only 9 lbs., 9 oz. (Nora) and 10 lbs., 7 oz. (Vivienne) at this same age, sooo… you’re huge to us. You still love to eat, so there’s no question how you’ve bulked up! :) The truth is that I weighed you when I was writing your 1-month letter last month. It was informal—I weighed myself, then weighed myself again while holding you, and subtracted my weight. Using that method, it looked like you were 10 lbs. already. You had only been 7.5 lbs. at two weeks, so I was honestly in disbelief. Or denial? I figured that method must not be too accurate. It seemed impossible you were growing that quickly. But knowing what I know now, yep… it was probably accurate. It’s just crazy having a 2-month-old baby boy who is roughly the same size now as Nora was at SIX MONTHS. Haha! But I’m loving it. Your plump little cheeks, arms, legs, and belly… I could nibble on them all day long! Even your little fingers are getting a little pudgy.

Needless to say, your newborn clothes no longer fit you. The 0-3 month sizes are good for now, but who knows for how long. Our pediatrician says that she expects your rate of growth to level out now, but only time will tell. We have only a few summer outfits in 3-6 months so I’m hoping the 0-3 month clothes will at least get us through the rest of the season! It’s been a really hot and dry summer so far, so you’ve been wearing a lot of rompers and onesies. You have some really cute shorts/t-shirt outfits as well. There are a few things in 0-3 month size that I don’t know if you’ll ever get a chance to wear unless we get some cooler days—footie pajamas, and outfits with pants. Hopefully we can squeeze in a wear or two before they have to be packed away!

A surprise at the pediatrician was to learn that you might have what’s called a congenital inguinal hernia. It’s apparently an opening in the groin that’s supposed to close up before birth (or shortly thereafter), but we have reason to believe yours didn’t. We are seeing a pediatric urologist next week to get you checked out and see what the deal is. It sounds like “worst case,” you may have to have a minor surgical procedure at some point, just to close the opening—and that likely wouldn’t happen until you’re 9-12 months old. We’re hoping it’ll turn out to be nothing to really worry about, just something to watch until you’re bigger.

Let’s see… sleep update? You are doing pretty well and being kind to me most nights now. You are still late to go to bed for the night—we go upstairs around 9:30, and I’ve usually fed you and you’re passed out by shortly after 10:00. Then I’m passed out shortly after that. On the really good nights, you’ll sleep through until 5-6 a.m. before you wake to eat. On good nights, sometime between 3-4 a.m. On the “ehhh” nights, you’ll sleep until 2 a.m. and then you’ll usually wake again at 5 or 6 a.m. Thankfully, in any of these scenarios, you’re really only waking to eat and then you typically go back down easily for me until your sisters inevitably wake you up between 7:30-8.

With your sisters, I remember it being pretty obvious when we needed to move up their bedtimes earlier. You do get fussy in the later evenings, but the time that happens varies. And it’s relatively mild. Your behavior hasn’t yet reached a point where it’s screaming, “I NEED TO GO TO BED.” The pediatrician says that transition will likely happen in the next several weeks (and at the latest, by four months?), so we’re watching for that.

We did transition you a week or so ago to the pack ‘n’ play for sleep. You’re still in our room (it’s just so much easier for me with the middle-of-the-night or early-morning feedings), but the next step toward getting you in your own room in your crib was to get you sleeping flat (as opposed to on an incline in the rock ‘n’ play), so we’ve done that. Dare I say that you’ve actually been sleeping better in the pack ‘n’ play? I think it’s probably more comfortable for you at this point since you can stretch out. You know, because you’re so big and all. ;)

Napping during the day is hit or miss. There’s no schedule for it. You sleep when you sleep and that’s all there is to it. Some days, it seems like all you do is sleep and eat, and others it seems I can’t get you to sleep for longer than 15 minutes here and there. Thankfully, you’re pretty content to be on the go, whether you’re sleeping or awake. It’s a big blessing for a third baby because, well, our lives require that you be on the go A LOT.

Your sisters love you to the moon and back. They really can’t get enough of you. Telling them to leave you alone because you’re sleeping is like straight-up TORTURE, especially for Vivienne. They’re always sure to give you kisses and hugs before bedtime or before leaving you for whatever reason (daycare, camp, friends’ houses, etc.). Nora loves to make you smile and continues to call you “the cutest brother in the world.” Vivienne excitedly squeals, “He’s looking at me!” anytime you focus on her. They are big helpers with diaper changes, getting you dressed, trying to calm you when you’re crying. I can’t give you a bath without two sisters glued to my sides with extra wash cloths in their hands, rubbing you down. You are a lucky little boy to have so many “mothers”!

When we carry you around, you’re now much more content when we face you outward so you can observe the world. You are starting to enjoy the play mat, and I just clipped a hanging toy to the handle of your car seat to give you something to bat at whenever you’d like.

I just finished your nursery. It’s the first nursery for which we’ve ever adopted a theme—a nautical theme. For your sisters’ rooms, we only ever chose color schemes. All there is left to do in your room is to put photos in the many frames, which I hope to do in the next week. I love the way it’s turned out and I hope you’ll enjoy it through your infancy and toddlerhood.

Earlier this month, you experienced a rite of passage in our family: Your first trip to the Poconos. We went down over 4th of July weekend with our family: Grammy, your uncles and aunt, and your cousins. We visited our life-long family friend, Susan, and it was a great time. It’ll be fun to see you there next year, toddling around with all of the big kids!

Thus far, you have been a really chill, “easy” baby. You really only ever cry when you’re hungry or sleepy. Or, occasionally when you’re bored/uncomfortable and just need a diaper change or a change of scenery. When you have a baby, you never know what “kind” you’re going to get. I always expect things to change at any moment with this whole parenthood thing. I know by now not to get too comfortable with routines, especially with babies. So, if things take a turn? I’ll be prepared. But if you keep on keepin’ on like you have? We’ll continue to know how lucky we are. Thank you for going with the flow! It’s a wonderful quality that perhaps you’ll keep through your life.

New nicknames this month: Bubba and Bubby. Those are probably the ones I use most often now!

You are another light in our lives and we couldn’t be more grateful for you. Sean, you’re so special to our family and you fit right in—into the groove, into the chaos, into the happy.

We love you more than you’ll ever know.

Onward to month #3!

Love you always,
Mommy

 

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!