Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How many more days?!? now we are down to 20 days before we meet little (or shall I say big) baby Grant? This week has been a flurry of pre-baby activity. Monday I went in for a BPP (biophysical profile) to check fluid levels, baby's growth, movement, etc. He didn't move at all until they put a buzzer on my tummy twice. It was a little weird. After being buzzed twice, he did move just a hair. Obviously Mr. Grant was in a good sleep and didn't want to be disturbed! Everything looked great. He is measuring about a week ahead, and he weighs 6 lb. 6 oz. so far. That means if we go another 20 days, he'll probably be a good 9 pounds like his big sis.

Monday night I was up until 3 a.m. with heavy contractions and intense uterine pressure. I really thought I was in the beginning stages of labor. I woke Matt up at 1:30 and told him that if it didn't stop by 3:30 we were going to the hospital. No matter what I did (lay down, sit up, walk around) the pain would not subside. I was miserable. I couldn't get comfortable at all. Then yesterday it all continued intermittently throughout the day. I had lots of strong contractions, back pain, and lower pressure. I went in at 3 to be checked, and nothing at all was happening. Dr. Sullivant actually seemed apologetic when he told me that I wasn't dilated at all. Let me just say that if all that pain didn't make anything happen, I don't want to know what pain is necessary to cause me to dilate. I really did feel like I remember feeling when I went into labor with Isabella. That's why I was convinced that this baby was beginning his arrival. But Grant obviously has other plans.

Anyway, I asked the doctor how I'm going to really know when I'm actually in labor (since I thought I was yesterday), and he said that there's no surefire way of knowing. He told me to come in as often as I felt like I needed to. That won't be happening. I pray my water breaks if I do go into labor before my scheduled date because it's so hard to decide what's true labor if yesterday's pain wasn't. Anyway, Dr. Peeler wants me to be checked and do a NST Friday, so we'll do that. Maybe he'll decide to take Grant the 13th. I'd be so grateful. Of course, if he needs to wait longer, we'll wait. We want him to be 100% healthy.

Today I feel pretty good. I took a Darvaset and Ambien last night to dull the pain and help me sleep. I slept until 8 this morning with only one night-time bathroom trip. I haven't slept like that in ages. I won't do this very often, but I needed the peaceful sleep. Matt took the entire night by himself. Thanks, honey! I've had some contractions today but not ones worth any attention. Just the usual ones. we've got 20 days left....we can do this! In a way, I'm so ready for him to be here. In another, I could wait forever because I know things are going to be hard for a while with four little ones. I also don't know what it will be like to know that I will never once again feel a baby in my belly. That's going to be a hard thing to accept because I love being pregnant (except these last few weeks!).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Countdown Continues

As I sit here with a bulging belly and intense pressure that only pregnant women understand, I am really counting down the days until Grant's arrival. I went to the doctor Monday, and we did another fetal monitor for about 15 minutes. I had regular contractions the entire time, but they were not painful ones at all. The doctor came in and said, "Oh, look at all that activity." I then told him that that activity was restful and mild compared to what I'd experienced all weekend. It's hard explaining these things to a man who has never actually had a contraction, much less four babies. When I'm moaning to Matt about intense pain (as I did at 4 a.m. this morning), I know he doesn't know if this episode is really worse than the last. I can't even begin to paint a picture of how this feels. This weekend I really thought we were going to have a baby. I was in that much pain despite literally laying on the couch or in the bed for three full days.

As of my appointment Monday, Dr. Peeler's plan is to deliver May 20th (which will be 38 weeks, 4 days) unless he finds a reason to move it up a week. We are doing a full ultrasound and biophysical profile Monday to see how large Grant is, what my fluid levels are like, etc. He said that we'll take him at 37 weeks, 4 days if there is any reason to move it up. He realizes that this has been a very difficult journey the past three weeks. So we'll take a peek at Grant Monday and maybe have a definite date down. I think Dr. Peeler is concerned about the risk of me going into labor since I've had 3 previous C-sections. With Isabella, I was already 5 cm when I got to the hospital. So we want to avoid that....but make sure that we don't take him too early. I want a big, healthy baby that can breathe totally on his own. So we'll only deliver on the 13th if we're sure that he's ready to come. That will be only 3 days earlier in the pregnancy than when we delivered Ali Kate....and two weeks later than I delivered Abby and Isabella. So I'm comfortable with either decision.

So as for right now, we have either 26 or 19 days left to go before we meet Grant Dawson Stine. I can't wait! We're really not bags packed or anything....but I want to meet him. I'm not sure how it'll feel to know that he's our last one and that my last day of pregnancy has come and gone. It'll be bittersweet for sure. I feel like God has given us a full house, and I thank Him for all four of my little blessings!

Talking up a storm

In a house full of women, one would guess that it's a little hard to get a word in oftentimes. Anyone who thinks that in our house would be right! Abby, Isabella, and I use up gallons of words a day. So that doesn't leave room for anyone else to add to the conversation. Well....

Ali Kate has decided in the last two weeks that she wants to get a word in edgewise. She has become a blossoming linguist over the last several days. In less than two weeks, she's added apple, head, Paw-paw, mouth, peez (please), moo, bear, bunny, book, Abby, Bella, and cup to her stash of words. I'm sure I'm forgetting at least a half dozen more words, but those are the first ones that come to mind. Oh yeah...she also says "ew" all the time (Thanks to Sandra Boynton's bunny who eats broccoli'll have to read the book to understand!). Anyway, we are at the point where we can identify objects in books and around the house (since we're still stuck here day after day), and she will pick up on new words after a try or two. She's really enthusiastic about learning them, and we cheer her on with lots of praise. That baby gets more "yays" in a day than I may have gotten in the last ten years! She just lights up when you cheer for her like that.

At dinner last week, Ali Kate was devouring our meal. I have no idea what we were eating (my mind is sapped by this pregnancy), but she obviously loved it. At one point, Abby looks at Ali Kate and says, "Ali, you're eating like a horse." Ali Kate so promptly and appropriately replied, "Neigh." We laughed until our bellies hurt! Her timing couldn't have been better.

Other than thinking that both cows and horses say neigh, she's really coming along with her animal sounds. She knows the sounds for cows, horses, dogs, cats, sheep, and monkeys. Her monkey sounds is the cutest by far. She loves to neigh though for no reason at all, so we have an in-house horse on our hands!

I'm loving this stage with Ali Kate. She just melts my heart every day. She loves to cruise on the couch to me (where I've been spending lots of time the past two weeks) and just cuddle against me. She pops that thumb into her mouth and sucks it while she cuddles. It's so adorable. She also just rests beside her baby brother (who takes up my entire lap) and snuggles. She's going to have a rough transition when Grant arrives. She is very good at being the baby, and I don't know if she's ready to relinquish that role quite yet. I'm not ready for her I guess we'll just have two babies!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I've now officially been on bedrest for a full week, and this is not for me. I am very much a hands-on, do-it-yourself kind of woman. So having other people clean, cook, and care for my children is so foreign. Isabella and Ali Kate have been in Jackson with Granny and Paw-paw since Sunday night. I know they are having a great time, but I miss them so badly. I want to just hold them and cuddle them with all my might! Ali Kate came home for a day yesterday so that she could go to the neurologist, and I didn't want her to go back to Jackson at all. It was so good to kiss her and snuggle with her. She's even picked up a couple of new words while she was gone. Isabella is having a grand time playing with her cousin, keeping him on his toes I'm sure. She's apparently been on good behavior which is exciting. I guess without Abby there to fight with....

Abby and I have had some great one-on-one time. We're using this week to spend time just the two of us. We've colored, had pajama movie night, done a makeover, played games, read books, snuggled, taken naps together. It's been so nice. I'm loving having just her although it comes at the cost of missing my other two so very much. I hope Abby really remembers and appreciates our time together. Too bad it happened due to bedrest. I would love instead to be taking her to all kinds of neat places and doing unusual things....but this time at home has been really special.

Abby and I went to Dale's Sunday night for dinner (I figured that would be less work than cooking myself), and we had a delightful date. Abby told everyone from the hostess to the waitress that we didn't have our family with us. She told them about her sisters being in Jackson and about how she was out with Mommy. She told them that she was four and that she was having a baby brother named Grant. It was adorable. She ordered for herself, put her napkin in her lap, and thanked them each time they brought something. She was very polite and well-behaved. When the waitress asked how we were, Abby said, "Oh, just fine. Thank you." So prim and proper! The man beside us stopped on his way out and complimented her behavior and her beautiful appearance. He really went on and on about how cute she was. She ate up every word! At another point during dinner, Abby said, "Mom, we can actually talk. I like this alot." I've really talked more to her in great depth about things than normal because no one else is clamoring for my attention. I've loved every minute of her big girl conversations.

Today Emily Rainey came to the house to take maternity photos. I am really excited about them. I've never done these, so this is a huge step for me. I've never wanted a camera near me during pregnancy (and I'm much larger this time than ever), but I was super-excited about capturing this time in my life. This is our last baby, and I want to remember how I looked and felt. I wish I'd been journaling this entire pregnancy, but I've been raising three beautiful daughters instead. Something has to give somewhere! I have learned that I can't do it all! While I do hope that Grant makes it to at least 37 weeks, I am so ready to meet him and hold him. I love the feel of a newborn baby.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cows, Cows, and More Cows

So will this cow thing with Isabella ever end? That poor thing is plagued by cows every day of her life. This whole thing started several months ago when she got scared of a cow sound at the Olive Branch Chick-Fil-A. Now she freaks out around cows and the "moo" sound. We did go to the zoo several days ago, and I had her walk up to a real cow. I talked her through the encounter, assuring her that they are not scary at all. She repeated that. But then we got to the car and she kept telling me how scary the cows were. Then she found a small red spot on her leg and claimed that the cow at the zoo bit her. She pulled up her capris for two days everywhere we went to show people her cow bite marks! It was hysterical.

She has a See N Say toy that has farm animals, and now we've had to remove it from her room because that cow was going to "get her." Yesterday we went to the new playground they built at Central Park (which is not a toddler-friendly playground), and guess what? They had a picture of a cow at the top of the only slide that was safe for toddlers. I was able to talk her through sliding a few times before she absolutely refused to go back on the slide. She talked about the cow on the slide for about 30 minutes after we left.

Anyway, besides cow phobia, not too much is going on with Isabella. Her current phobia is obviously cows, and her current passion is ballet. She is dying to get into Abby's dance class at the Little Gym. She throws major tantrums when we let Abby go in, and she just stands at the glass door and watches with want in her little eyes. We've even gone so far as to let her have Abby's tap shoes when she's done so that Isabella can tap in the lobby. We tried to get them to take her, but they won't until she's 3. So we've promised her she can dance on June 13th. Now she'll tell you that she's going to dance when she turns "free" on "June firteenth." She has no clue when June 13th is, but she's waiting anxiously for her time to twirl and tap. I haven't decided if I'm sending her there or to Stars in Motion this summer, but she's going somewhere. We're probably going to do Stars in Motion this fall because the owner actually teaches lessons during preschool once a week. That would be so ideal for us. Both girls could take, and I wouldn't have to make two extra trips during the week to dance lessons with all the kids in tow.

Isabella is still the center of my prayer life many nights. Her behavior has gotten so difficult that I really think I'm going to lose my mind most days. Matt and I have conversation after conversation about how to address her rebellion. She can truly be the most loving, cuddly bug in this house...but she can be the most demanding, mean, trying child too. We are going through a phase where she tells me "NO" in a very defiant way about everything from going potty to getting dressed to wearing a certain pair of shoes. She screams "no" at me at the top of her lungs. We've spanked, taken away priviliges, used time out, and rewarded good choices with candy....with no real solutions in sight. I know this is a marathon, but it is a very long marathon. She's also really rough with Ali Kate, and that's can't be tolerated. So I spend a very large portion of each day trying to discipline and teach her. It's exhausting. I pray that one day my teaching will sink in with her.

Oh my goodness....I almost forgot to mention her current obsession with shoes! Isabella got these yellow polka dot flip flops from Little Lambs and Ivy on a whim about a month ago. I wanted to get her some really cute flip flops, but they were sold out of her size. The ones we bought were the only ones in the entire store left in her size. She immediately fell in love with them, so I had to get them. Luckily, I had a $20 off coupon which made these shoes free (at least that's how I justified the purchase). Anyway, for days she wouldn't wear another shoe at all. We wore them to church with brown and pink. Now that's a fashion statement. We wore them with pants, capris, you name it. It's just one of those things that's not worth the battle. I believe parents should choose their battles wisely, and this was just not worth the struggle. No harm (other than people thinking I can't coordinate clothing and shoes) was done at all. I have now at least gotten her to wear her white sandals, but she yanks them off the minute we get home so that she can put on her yellow flip flops. When she's not in those, she's in some oversized dress-up shoe that belongs to Abby. I can't remember the last time she wore a non-dress-up shoe to the gym. She always makes a fashion statement there.

Baby Boy Update

So, I haven't blogged in forever....but that's ok. I'm giving myself an "out." I'm now 32 weeks 2 days pregnant with our blue bundle of joy. And I do have three very boisterous young girls keeping me busy around the clock (literally). So I'm going to try to journal some about everyone if the girls don't wake up from nap before I finish.

We have a name! We finally decided on Grant Dawson Stine. We actually narrowed it down to Grant, Jack Dawson, Dawson, or Jackson Grant several weeks ago. We knew that Grant would be some combination of those names. Even though we think Grant flows better as a middle name, we both wanted to name our son Grant. Matt suggested naming him Dawson Grant and calling him Grant, but I wanted to name him what he was going to be called. So we just decided to choose a middle name that we liked even if it didn't flow beautifully. We both love the name Grant, and I think it's a good strong man's man name. This was a major decision for us because this is the only son we'll ever have and because we differ so much in our opinions. Matt likes more common names; I like more unusual names. We're super excited to finally have a son with a name. YAY!

I had an ultrasound at 29 weeks for minor complications, and Grant already weighed 3 lb. 14 oz. The tech looked at me and asked if my other babies were big. I told her yes, and she said, "Well, this one's huge too. Not abnormally large to where we think there's a medical problem, but very large." Thanks. So we're getting only 3-6 month clothes with the exception of one or two gowns that were newborn that I just loved. If we go full term (and I'm praying we do), we can expect a big boy. That's fine with us. Ali Kate definitely prepared us for that possibility!

We've set a C-section date provided that there are no problems before then. We've tentatively decided on May 20th (10 days before my due date) to bring Grant into the world. God may have other plans for an earlier arrival, and we'll adjust if He does. I'm so hoping that our house sells before then so that we can be settled in a larger home before Grant gets here. I'll be glad to be home from the hospital by my birthday, and I'll have plenty of time to recuperate before it's time to throw Isabella's 3rd birthday party.

I'm huge....I'll post pictures with Matt's help later. I actually got asked the other day if I was having twins. I very quickly replied, "No, number four. I've gotten much bigger each pregnancy." The lady then continued to look at another lady and say, "Don't you think she looks like she's having twins?" I wanted to crawl under the table....well, not really because then I wouldn't have been able to get back up. Very few clothing items fit right now, but I'm okay with that. May 20th is 6 weeks from Tuesday; I can make it that long for sure.

Well, I'll go to the doctor Friday for another checkup. Hope all goes well. He told me last visit to start resting....or I was going to end up on bedrest. I've had lots of cramping and contractions, and I think that scared him since I've had two preemies already. He said it was time to call in the troops and get some help with the kids. So far I think I'm okay, but we may have to call in family if I get put on bedrest. Let's hope I don't. I'd be miserable, and so would my girls. Hopefully he'll tell me he feels like all is ok this visit.