Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And baby makes 4!

CAUTION: Birth Story details...I wanted to write this down while it was still fresh. I am sure that Caleb and Diane remember more than I do!

We went to my midwife appointment yesterday morning at 8am. I was 9 days overdue and our midwife had already discussed breaking my water at this appointment. I was 5cm dilated and fully effaced. I was also strep B positive and she wanted me to get at least 1 round of anti-biotics before the baby was born. Well, the midwife had been on call all weekend so a brand new midwife walked in the office. She said that Margaret was sleeping and Anjeli was out of town. At over 41 weeks, I did not want to talk to another person about our birth "plan" (if you can call it that...hehe). Anyway, I got really sad. She left the room to get something and when we came back she said, "Margaret is here!" Seriously, HUGE answer to a pray that I didn't even specifically pray. Margaret had no doubt that she wanted to break my water and sent me over to the hospital to get my anti-biotics. She broke my water at 12:30 and realized there was Meconium in the fluid. This being the case, even the thought of a water birth wasn't an option (hospital policy). I was fine with that. She also breifly thought that the baby might be breach. Again, not awesome to hear. Around 3:00 I started feeling contractions. Once they started, they were fast and intense. I am not sure the progression from being 5cm at 12:30 and being 10 cm by about 4:30 because I only felt the contractions for about 1.5 hours before I started pushing and Margaret never really told me where I was at...I remember hearing her say "your in transition " after about an hour of feeling contractions. None of us can remember how long I pushed....somewhere between 30 min and an hour???? At 5:38 after about 2.5 hours of labor, we were able to meet baby Jay. He was not small! I did promise to never birth another child again so we will see if I change my mind. Having Margaret as the midwife and Caleb and Diane there for support was incredible. I had a bad experience getting the epidural with Ava and wanted to have a natural birth this time. Margaret did her thing and Caleb and Diane were just able to support me and it ended up that no epidural was needed (and I will be the first to admit that I probably wouldn't have survived a marathon labor without some drug intervention!). I feel great today and even though I have not slept much because of constant medical staff interruptions, I have a good amount of energy! Atlanta Medical was fabulous and the staff was amazing. I am grateful for a healthy baby boy and to be home after 24 hours.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting and Advent...

Advent...a time of expextant waiting and anticipation. I have been looking up ideas for Advent for our family this year. Last year, we tried to read with the girls every night for advent and talk through what Christmas is really about. They were old enough that Anniiyah would read her children's bible and Caleb and I would read out of another book. This year will look different having a 3 year old and a newborn, but we want to start our advent traditions while they are young. Thinking about what advent means at the end of pregnancy brings up many similarities...I am in one of the greatest periods of "expectant waiting and anticipation" that I ever feel. When I was pregnant with Ava, I was having her so close to Christmas that I read a lot about Mary. What must she have felt like? All the anticipation of your first child?! I thought about how I would feel if Caleb told me "Honey, I am going to take you on a long trip on a donkey...I mean I know you are 9 months pregnant, but we have to do this!" This time, being pregnant so close to the beginning of Advent, I think about how I prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ this year (and each year). Caleb and I tend to not be the most "prepared" people in general. I am just excited that it's two days before my due date and I actually have my stuff in a bag and we found the car seat (which I cleaned off from Ava finally)! I think about how I prepare my heart for this Advent season. Am I waiting in anticipation to celebrate Christ coming to this world as a baby? To be honest, my heart is pretty self focused and I am thinking more about "not being pregnant" than anything else. As I continue to wait for the arrival of baby Starr, I pray that I am able to prepare my heart a little more for the season that we are about to celebrate. NOTE: I am still VERY ready for the baby to be here and I am pretty sure he is never coming out...but why focus on that:) I found a picture from last Christmas when we set up our tree with the kids. They kept breaking things and would say "OH NO! Christmas is broken!" Excited to have new Christmas pics from this year...I really enjoy the Holidays!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Well, today was our 38+ week midwife appointment. Ava was so sweet at the appointment. They always let her hold the doppler thing to listen for the baby's heartbeat. Once we heard it today she looked up at Caleb and said "Daddy Daddy, that's my baby brother...it's his heart!" Caleb and I had been in serious discussion about if I should ask her to check my "progress." At the last minute, I decided to ask her...I am 3cm dilated, 80% effaced, and some other things I don't understand completely. Caleb's fear is that if I know how I am progressing, I will freak out and constantly think the baby is going to be born in the car (this may have been my reaction with Ava). Needless to say, I am not freaking out and know that I could still have a LOT longer before we get to meet baby boy Starr. It does however inspire me to get a little "responsible." I am going to sit down and make a list of things to do....such as...pack a bag, get the bassinet and car seat from friends, pack something for Ava, etc. I am grateful for friends who want to take walks and who bring dinner over when I am clearly not cooking, and take my child for a few hours so I can rest. We decided very last minute to have carpet installed in the bedrooms so in the next two days we need to move everything out of both rooms, paint the kids room (which involves picking out paint colors today), carpet needs installed, and then everything needs moved back. This may have been an ambitious project to try and accomplish in a 5 day period of time (Sunday we decided that we might want to get carpet, Monday the guy brought samples and we picked a color, Tuesday the carpet was purchased, and Friday it's being installed). I am very much looking forward to the arrival of baby boy Starr...after Friday:)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Conversations with my two year old...

Lately Ava has been saying funny things. Since I know I will forget them...I need to write them down.

Ava walks into the kitchen with something inside her pajamas. I ask her what it is and she says "It's my baby...want to feel him move?" Then a few minutes later she unzips her super cute footed jammers and says "Welcome baby brother....he's here!" And out comes Mr. Dog (posing as baby brother).
Later that night...
Ava was reading books to Mr. Dog on the floor before we were getting ready to leave. She wanted to bring the books (and the rest of her set-up of blankets and pillows) with us. She asked if I could carry the book and I agreed. She looked at me and said "Thank you Mommy, you are such a big helper!"
I had lunch with Ava and Caleb during my work day. Here is our conversation as we were driving back to the office:
Ava: Mommy are you coming home?
Ashlee: No, I need to go back to my office and work on a consent agreement.
Ava: Can I come help you?
Ashlee: I thought you just said you were tired...
Ava: Oh yeah...well, you can call someone else to come help you then...but not Carrie because I took her to the airport last morning...
Ashlee: That sounds good...(pulling up to the office now).
Ava: Don't forget to call someone if you need help...it's ok to get help.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2 more weeks...

Well, we are down to the end of the road on this pregnancy. Our bedroom is cleaned! We still don't have a name nor are we registered at the hospital...but we can have a water birth if we want to because we are certified in that! I am sure there are many other things that I haven't thought about for time #2 but I figure we can figure it out after he is here.

I have been sick a lot lately with stomach ailments but now feel a ton better! I have been processing a lot what a second baby will be like for our little family of three. Ava seems to adjust well to change but she is much older now than she was when the girls lived with us and has so many more opinions! She is excited about baby brother. Yesterday, she put her dog inside her footed pajamas and then told me she was having a baby and I could feel him because he was moving. Then she pulled him out and said "Welcome baby brother...he's here!" I have some anxiety about the actual "delivery" part because I know it will be very different this time than the first time (seeing the midwives is very different than the doctor I saw the first time). Regardless, in a few short weeks, we will again have a newborn and I am convinced that I will sleep more than I am sleeping now...even if he cries a lot at night! It's a good thing that I have a few years to figure out what to do with a boy!
Work has been so good lately and I continue to be grateful for me job. I am happy to have a good bit of time off to spend with Ava and the baby but will miss working with my clients. I continue to see so much injustice as it relates to housing. I wish that I could be a part of a bigger picture for change. I drive through my neighborhood and see so many empty houses and then I work with clients who are losing their housing and get calls every day from people who are homeless and need housing....why can't some of these things come together! I never run out of things that I would like to be a part of...I pray often for wisdom that I can discern where God has really called me to invest.
Speaking of....We have talked a lot about foster care lately. We are praying through what it would look like to be foster parents again. We don't have the option in the house we currently live in, but again as we drive around and see huge houses sitting empty I can't help but think about our future as parents for children who don't have anyone to care for them. We just need a bigger house:)!

I leave you with a few pictures from Halloween...a holiday that was not celebrated by my family growing up but that we have been able to have fun with as Ava was a little older this year. We don't want to take lightly some of the evil that is present in our world, but we don't have to be a part of that. Bring on the candy and cute costumes! This was actually the first time that Caleb or I had ever been trick or treating as well as Ava's first time! We enjoyed ourselves and were excited for the friends who invited us to tag along with their 2-3 year olds as well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No blog for a LONG time!

To describe the last 5 months....

Change. Adjustments. Joy. New Jobs. travel. potty training. tantrums. Lots of singing!

Going back to life with 1 child took more adjustment than I thought. At times I think it was harder to adjust back to 1 child than it was to adjust to having three instantly. We are excited that baby Starr #2 will be here in November. It's been a good year so far with Caleb, Ava and I. Our house is still filled with kids which makes life good for Ava. She misses the girls a lot but luckily, we have a couple girls that live next door who are about Anniiyah and Makayla's age that she gets to play with a lot.

Our newest challange has been potty training and the "2 year old attitude." If I survive Ava being two, it's a small miracle. She is more fun than I could have ever imagined but she has been become much more challenging than I thought. I keep telling myself "this will pass."

Caleb and I got a chance to go to Puerto Rico alone for 5 days. It was incredible to have so much time together. Soon I will post pictures of Ava and our beach trip with the Henley's.

I wrote the above post in May and never posted it. Oops! It's now October and it's been almost 10 months since I have updated. I miss posting on the blog because it's a great way for me to go back and read about what I was thinking and feeling at different points in time....and for the 4 other people who read it, you too can know what's been going on. hehe.

This year we made it through potty training, transition to a big girl bed, removal of the pacifier, 34 1/2 weeks of pregnancy (so far), Caleb being on disability for 2 months, a new program at my job that took insane amounts of energy, multiple short term service groups, and about 10 trips all over the country. Life has been good and full.

Ava continues to be full of energy. She tells stories and sings songs constantly. Her favorite story is about when she was born. She reads through her baby book and says "This is when I was crying and they gave me to mommy and I was so happy....and this is when Nana and Pops came to take care of me...and pops had a mustache!" She thinks that dad's mustache is hilarious and let's be honest, what mustache isn't hilarious! Yesterday she kept singing a song called "I'm a stick." We have no idea what she is talking about but she just keeps singing. She started preschool this year and gets to be in class with her best friend Zachary and another friend named Sam. We hear some other kids names mentioned but not often. Some days I feel like she is so easy and other days, I want to pull my hair out by her lack of listening. The girl always has an agenda and she will tell me what a good "plan" for the day is. I am nervous for her to grow up:).

Caleb has decided to apply to be a City of Atlanta Fireman. I have a LOT of mixed feelings about this but overall, I am excited for him. The application process was SUPER long and took us almost a month to compile all the documents needed but he got an email last week saying that he need to come to a mandatory orientation for the physical exam...so I guess that's a step in the right direction. We are both praying that God will lead him to know the best decision to make. He LOVES Habitat so much but it doesn't seem to be a sustainable place for the future (have I mentioned how much insurance for our family costs! blah!....the city provides great benefits).

I continue to love the Georgia Law Center more than I can describe. I knew pretty early on in Mission Year from working at Central that advocating for my clients was something that I loved doing. I am grateful to be able to enjoy work and also get plenty of great time with Ava since I am only part-time. I am anticipating meeting the newest member of our family in the next 5-6 weeks. These past few weeks have been really long and I am ready for pregnancy to be over. We still don't have a name so he continues to be "baby boy Starr." I am also excited to watch Ava get to be a big sister. She is very excited for "baby brother."

We have been able to continue our relationship with Anniiyah and Makayla and I love them so much. Continue to pray for their adjustment to home and lots of siblings and another new school (they moved again since being back with mom) and visitation with fathers. It's a lot for kids to handle.

And once again...we prepare to transition to a new phase of life...the newborn stage! I have a feeling that Ava will be all up in baby brothers business all the time! We have been working on being gentle. She told me the other day "I won't hurt baby brother...I will be careful!" She asked me yesterday if baby brother was crying in my stomach.

I will post some pics soon and hopefully update about baby brothers arrival!