Monday, April 25, 2011

Armadillidiidae (aka Roley Poley)

     Once again, my most wonderful man of a husband, Caleb, is transcribing my post.  How fun!  Please use your discernment in figuring out which parts of this post are truly Amber's words and which are Caleb's hilarious edits!  i.e. See 1st, 2nd and 3rd sentences. 

     While figuring out how to spell rolie polie, the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, revealed to us the scientific name of this creature... armadillidiidae (arm-a-dilley-de-day!!!).  Why, you ask, are we naming our post after this glorious insect?  Well, not only have we found two in our living room this past week, but our son has transformed into one as well.  Yes, at four weeks old, Emerson has conquered the tummy-to-back roll.  And here's the proof...

     We're continuing to enjoy each day that we have with our little boy.  It's so fun to watch him grow and learn new things, becoming more alert and interactive each week.  He has also learned to make the "goo" sound, so we've enjoyed doing that back and forth with each other.  Amber and Emerson are especially good at it!  Caleb is still working on it, but should have it down by the week's end.  I mean, he is only 1292 weeks old...

     In other news, Caleb has finished writing his thesis and will defend it a week from today!  We're so excited for this to be off his plate.  He'll start his job at Garver on May 16th, which also happens to be our 2 year anniversary!  We're really eager to enter this new phase of our lives.  

     On that note, we bid you farewell.  Have a most joyous week until we post again!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Little Buddy

I just wanted to give you a quick update on how we are surviving in the Gutshall household.  Actually things are going pretty well.  Emerson is getting more and more alert as the days go by.  He is 3 1/2 weeks now.  I just love this little boy so much!  Here are some of my favorite things that he does:

1.  When he cries, he sticks out his lower lip in a way that melts your heart.  I never want him to stop doing this, but I realize that a grown man who sticks out his lip when he cries might look a little pathetic. 
2.  When you open his swaddling blanket, he lifts up his tiny little arms and stretches in the most adorable way.
3.  When you pick him up after he has been lying down for awhile, he throws back his head, arches his back (which forces his little bottom out), while curling up his legs in a big stretch.  Makes you want to cuddle him right up.
4.  I love it when he is in a completely alert, content mood.
5.  I love it when he stops crying when his mommy picks him up.  It makes me feel like he knows me and loves me :)

Those are just a few things for now.  I try to really appreciate each moment I have with him, because I know he is going to be out of this newborn phase before I know it.  He already grew out of his newborn footie pajamas!  I also cannot end this post without saying how blessed I feel to have Caleb and my husband/life partner/co-parent.  He helps with all the little things... making the bed each day, taking care of Brody boy, getting up with me in the middle of the night to feed Emerson, all while finishing his thesis!  I am so blessed to have him while making this transition into parenthood.  Caleb is an excellent father and will be a fantastic example to our little boy.

Getting ready for a sponge bath

His new belly button after losing his cord

He really did enjoy his first bath before I got his head wet!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beautiful Song

If you are expecting a baby or have a special baby in your life, expect to cry when you hear this song.  This is my prayer for Emerson.

A Mother's Prayer (hannah's Song) lyrics

A Mother’s Prayer (HANNAH'S SONG) Words by Rachel Aldous
  Music by John Mandeville

My sweet baby on loan from above.
No better treasure could I more love.
I stand here beside your bed as I pray
Ilay my hand on your head and I say:

May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days.
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways.
May His hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast

I stare in wonder at your tiny frame.
Just to think that God knows you by name.
He knows every hair on your beautiful head.
He knows your thoughts before they are said.

May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways.
May His Hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast.

May God grant you peace
in the midst of a storm.
May God give you strength even
when you’re forlorn.
May you answer the door when
Jesus comes knocking.
May wisdom guide when
your mouth is talking.
May discretion protect you
and keep you pure.
May you never stumble
or fall for a lure.
May your heart remain humble
to the very end.
May uprightness and truth
be what you defend.
May the world not ensnare
or change who you are.
May the light that's within you
shine like the stars.
May angels surround you
body, spirit, mind.
May favor and peace be yours to find.
May rejection and pain
never reach you.
May your spirit grow bold
for what you’re called to.

May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways
May His Hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast.

As you rest in God’s care I will rest, too.
Knowing that Jesus is watching over you.

2 Weeks Already?!

I cannot believe Emerson is already 2 weeks old.  It doesn't seem that long at all.  He had his 2 week doctor appointment today and here are his stats.  He has grown an inch since his last appointment, putting him at 20.5 inches.  He has gained about 10 oz, weighing in at 8 lb 1 oz.  And the circumference of his head is just shy of 15 inches.  He grew in all areas :)  I just love this little guy so much.

We've made several outings the past week.  We went to the farmer's market last Saturday and Emerson was great.  Then I took my first trip by myself with Emerson to Wal-Mart and I was so nervous about how he would do, but he totally impressed me and slept through the entire trip!  Thursday I drove up to Bentonville to spend the day with my mom and sister and Emerson did well again for the 40 minute drive.  I am getting used to this new life... midnight feedings and all.  It is rewarding to see his weight gain at the appointments and is good motivation to keep up those late night feedings.  He is such a blessing and I thank the Lord daily for choosing to give him to us at this time.  Emerson was not a "planned" baby (at least in our plans), but if I could go back, I wouldn't do it any other way.  God knows I couldn't have planned it any better...Thank you, Lord, for this sweet baby boy!  Here are a few pics of the past couple weeks.
Love those eyes

My boys

Nana has a good start to her grandbaby collection

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Emerson... The Fruit of My Labor

Ok, so now that Emerson is sound asleep I am sitting down to write out my birth story.  I want to document this because it is such a big event in the life of our family and I don't want to ever forget it.  Hopefully you will enjoy reading it too :)  

Two days before my due date, March 24th, I had a doctor's appointment and left slightly disappointed because I was only dilated to 1 cm.  I was 90% effaced and Emerson had dropped very low, but hardly any dilation.  I was becoming more certain that I would be overdue and wouldn't be meeting my son for at least a week.  The next day, March 23rd, I woke up and had a little bit of "bloody show", which is a sign that you will be going into labor in a day or two.  So I was very excited and made sure everything we prepared to bring our little one home.  That day, Caleb and I tried some labor inducing tricks.  We went on a loong walk up "Labor Hill".  We named this hill "Labor Hill" previously after walking it in an attempt to go into labor, but it didn't work the first time.  We also tried pressing my pressure points that night.  Finally, I sat on the birthing ball for a long time, hoping it would help me dilate.  Who knows if any of these things helped.  But I did have some more bloody show that evening.  

We began to climb into bed at about 11 o'clock that night.  We read a Proverb together and said our nightly prayer.  As Caleb was praying, I began to feel some contractions that were slightly painful.  They quickly became more noticeably painful and I told Caleb that I thought I was going into labor.  We began timing the contractions and they averaged about 3 minutes apart, pretty close together!  So Caleb called his parents and notified them about it, since they live 4.5 hours away.  Then I jumped into the shower as Caleb began collecting our last minute items we wanted to bring to the hospital.  Caleb took a quick shower too.  

We wanted to labor for a long time at home, but when we realized how close together my contractions were, we decided it was the wisest thing for us head to the hospital.  On the way, I became more aware of how I did not like being asked questions or told to make decisions while in so much pain.  Caleb learned that very quickly too. 

We checked into the hospital around 12:30 AM.  They got me all settled in triage and measured me.  I was so relieved when they said I was 4 cm.  I feared going into the hospital only to be sent home, because I heard you get a $1000 fee for doing so.  My mom soon arrived (thirty minutes before expected, due to her speeding ;) and Caleb and I got into our groove of breathing and relaxing through each contraction.  After about an hour and a half we were moved into the labor and delivery room, which is much more homey and comfortable than triage. We dimmed the lights in this room and turned on some soothing classical music. 

The next 6ish hours are a blur.  All I remember is that I would try to relax my entire body as I experienced a contraction.  I think I even dozed off between some of the contractions.  It almost seemed like I would disconnect my mind from the pain my body was experiencing.  Hard to explain. The contractions got stronger and longer as time went on.  Sometimes I would look at the clock and an hour would have passed unnoticed.  Other times I would look at the clock only to find 5 minutes had passed.  Caleb and I tried various laboring positions (lying down, slow dancing, birthing ball, etc.) and the contractions felt more intense in some positions over the others. Caleb did a fantastic job of staying by my side the entire time and constantly speaking words of encouragement to me.  I seriously would not have been able to do it if he weren't by my side. 

After laboring for several hours, my water still had not broken.  The nurses said it would break with any contraction.  But it didn't.  At 5 AM I measured at 7 cm and I was 100% effaced.  At 8:15 AM I was only at an 8, meaning I only dilated 1 cm in over 3 hours.  But, thankfully, when the nurse checked me at 8:15, she accidentally broke my water.  This is what helped me finally progress.  But with progress comes pain... lots of pain.  Within 15 minutes the pain was so great that I was dry heaving to the side of the bed, clinging to the side of the bed for dear life and crying for an epidural.  I was truly in a state of panic.  I had been in control for the past 9 hours of labor, but I was not in control anymore.  Caleb didn't try to talk me into doing it without an epidural (smart move), but I did notice that there were tears in his eyes.  I wasn't sure why (because I wanted to quit or because Emerson was almost here?) but he told me later it was because he didn't like seeing me in so much pain.  

The nurse asked if I really wanted to throw in the towel after coming this far.  I decided I wanted her to measure me again and if I still hadn't progressed at all then I wanted an epidural.  She measured me and I was a 9!  She told me that I would soon start feeling the urge to push, rather than feeling contractions.  She was right; after a couple more contractions I began pushing.  It was like the urge to throw up... when you have the urge to throw up, you can't control it.  That's how I felt with pushing.  They usually like you to wait to push until they tell you to, but I was pushing and couldn't be stopped!  The nurse measured me and said I was pretty much a 10, so she let me keep pushing (like I could've stopped it or something). 

This next part might be a little graphic (just a warning for those of you with weaker stomachs.. or if you are a guy it might be awkward for you to read this).  As I began to push, my mom was on one side of me and Caleb was on the other.  They had to help me pull my legs back and my torso up into a pushing position with each push.  After pushing about 30 minutes, which felt like 10, they told me they could see Emerson's head.  This was the final motivation I needed to push with everything I had.  Let me tell you, this was a HUGE workout.  So intense.  The doctor came into the room, with a few minutes to spare.  Finally, with one final push, out came little Emerson's head and the rest of his body "shot out" afterward (Caleb's words).  It was the weirdest sensation feeling a squirmy, wet little person slip out of my full, round belly, only to leave my tummy flat/squishy.  Emerson was immediately placed on my tummy and I held his wiggly little body all the while crying out things like "I'm so happy!" "He's finally here!" "My baby!", etc.  Definitely an emotional moment.  As Emerson laid on my tummy, Caleb did the honor of cutting Emerson's umbilical cord. 

If you asked me right after our delivery if I would have my next baby naturally, I would've told you that I wasn't sure... maybe not.  However, as 10 days have passed now, I have decided I think I would try it again.  Out of the entire 10.5 hour labor, only 20 minutes of it felt unbearable.  It was nice to be in control of my body for the pushing and Emerson was so awake and alert for the next few hours after the delivery.  He was instantly a natural at breastfeeding.  My recovery has gone so smoothly and some attribute a quick recovery to a natural childbirth.  Either way, epidural or not, birthing a little human into the world is such a beautiful, emotion-filled moment.  How amazing it is that God created a woman's body to be able to do such a thing.  What a beautiful way to create new life and bring it into the world. 

Emerson is already such a joy to us.  Being a mom is a wonderful thing.  Emerson has already stolen my heart (times a billion) and I think I keep loving him more each day.  What a blessing.