Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our sweet newborn

We are settling into life with our sweet newborn, Zachary.  He really is a good baby and has been a blessing to our lives since the day he was born.  I have said to Zev on a few occasions "we are so blessed by God."  After I say this, the thought "I need to give something back to others to pass it on" pops into my head.  I do believe in passing on blessings whenever possible.....The pregnancy went well ("textbook perfect" as Zev would say) and Zachary's labor and delivery went well (again "textbook.").  We give thanks for this every day and do hope to glorify God through our lives.  Our parents headed home this past weekend and it was lovely having the extra help.  Howard and Zev basically re-landscaped the yard and it is such a pleasure to look out there from Zachary's nursery/ our kitchen window and spend time enjoying the yard.  My mum was a welcome help and washed clothes, cleaned the house etc without being asked.  We will miss them so much!  Here are some pictures from the past two weeks with Zachary.  We love you, son!
Zachary in Meme's arms.
First bath with Meme.
Visit from Ginny.
Ginny kindly took Zachary's pictures in our yard. 
We really like the way they turned out!
Here are some of our favorites...
 Father and son.
Sweet head.
Family of three!
Mummy and son.
With Meme and Howard.
With both grandmothers, Judy and Meme.
The family in our backyard.
Smiles from Zachary!
Zachary sent mummy her favorite flowers (pink Stargazer lillies) this week!
Zev is a wonderful grateful for him.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth... Psalm 135:15

Friday, April 13, 2012

And Baby Makes Three....Zachary Harrison!

Please meet our beautiful new baby boy, Zachary Harrison, 30 minutes old!
 I read our last post from Sunday, April 8th and I thought it was cool that our beautiful boy was born just over 24 hours from that post.  Zev and I are in love with him.  We think he is so beautiful, as I am sure all new parents do.  As I type this, I am watching him on the video monitor.  He is cute even when he sleeps.  We can't stop looking at him!  Life is very good for our family.  We are tired and learning new things about being parents every day but taking it one step at a time and counting our many blessings.
Zachary was born on Monday April 9, 2012 at 9.26pm.  His birth weight was 8.5lb or 3780 grams and he measured 20.5 inches or 52 centimetres.
His birth was a lovely experience.  I honestly never thought I would be describing my baby's birth as "lovely" but honestly, we give glory to God that this entire pregnancy, delivery and birth has been so blessed.  I started feeling mild to moderate cramps about 8.30pm on Sunday evening.  We timed them to determine if they were contractions or not (I now realize that they were!) and they were roughly 45 minutes apart. Nonetheless, I slept well that night!  Monday morning I woke up and said to Zev that I was still having menstrual like cramps, maybe contractions but that since this was my first baby, I didn't know if it was early labor pains or what not.  Zev said that he was taking the day off work.  I said that maybe a walk to our local park and lake would be nice and that if the cramps were indeed contractions, the walk might help things along.  So we had our breakfast smoothies and then headed out on our walk.  During the walk (which is just down the road from our house!), the cramps increased to about every 15 minutes and we had to stop a few times for me to catch my breath.  By the time we got home, I decided to bring my big excercise ball downstairs for relief when seated.  The cramps increased in sharpness and were taking my breath away.  We called the hospital to let them know that I could be coming in that day.  They said that when the cramps reached 2 to 3 minutes apart fo 2 hours to come in.  I must have been in some pain because I remember saying on the phone "well my doctor said to come in when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for 1 hour!"  They were thankfully ok with that and said that I could come in when I wanted to but warned that I would likely be sent home if I wasn't dilated or effaced (remember during my appt on Thursday, April 5th, I wasn't dilated or effaced and my doctor said that I would be scheduled for an induction on April 15th!)  Anyhoo, by about 10.30am the cramps increased in length and severity to the point where I was moaning and Zev was coming in to check on me.  At 12.40pm, I was sitting on the couch downstairs when Zev came in to help me during one of my contractions when all of a sudden my water broke!  This was a very long (maybe 2 to 3 minute long) contraction but I immediately knew what happened (and was thankfully wearing protection!).  Zev called the hospital and they said to come in, so we did.  We put some last minute (stuff that ended up not being used!) in our bags and off we went.  We were having a baby on this day!  The car ride was ok, I breathed through my contractions but I was not smiling at this point!  The contractions hurt.  I  remember thinking "I hope the hospital staff doesn't think I am going to be a mean patient because I am not smiling."  Crazy thing to think, I know.  We were admitted into room 8 at about 2pm and that's when all the fun began.  The whole experience is a bit of a blur because it happened relatively quickly.  By 9.26pm that evening, our little Zachary was born!  Basically, my contractions continued to increase in severity and length and when I was first examined, I think even the nurse midwife was surprised that I had dilated to 4cm and was 90% effaced AND that my water had broken!  I was certainly surprised.  I remember being presented with a bunch of forms to sign during my labor, which puzzled me because I had taken the time to pre-register/ pre-admit or however they call it and my legal mind kept thinking "don't they know how much pain I am in and that I have no idea what I am signing!??"  I remember asking for the "epidural person" I guess because the word "anesthesiologist" was too much to say at that point! I was given the epidural at 6cm dilation and Zev was allowed to stay in the room while it was administered.  Zev has been my rock during this whole birthing/ getting used to being a new mummy experience.  He is a true champ.  Not only did he comfort and soothe me during labor and whisper the right words of encouragement to me and kept me calm, but he listened to all the advice given, from breastfeeding to bodily care for the baby and I and has helped me so much. He is an awesome swaddler and it melts my heart to watch him play and interact with Zachary.  I don't know how this is possible, but I love him so much more now than ever before.  So after the epidural (which was a relief!) my wonderful doctor, Dr. Reed, came in for a visit. He said that I would likely have the baby but that evening! Zev and I were so excited to meet our little man. The nurses kept coming in to check on me and give me fluids and see how I was progressing. Since I had not progressed far in a few hours, I was given the option of having pitocin to help labor move along. The funny thing about my experience with the epidural and pitocin is that I could still feel and move my legs and body the entire time.  I did not experience the "totally numb" feeling that many women report.  I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, which I actually found good because it helped me to bear down and push when the time came. I think that helped me to push out Zachary in 50 minutes!  Another thing I remember is thinking how funny it was that I was saying all the way during my pregnancy how much I didn't want many people in the delivery room "watching" me when the time came, and looking around and seeing over 10 people in the room.  Zachary had meconium in uterus so the NICU infant care people were called to examine him and make sure that he was ok after birth. So yes- to all those people who told me that modesty goes out the door when you deliver a baby...that is so true! I am still modest now but at the point of delivery, I just wanted the best for my baby; I didn't care who was in the room. The hours after his delivery were so precious. I cried when he was born. Zev was over with the NICU nurses talking to Zachary and my heart melted when I saw our son turn towards his father's voice. He recognized all the times that Zev has talked to him in utero!! When they brought Zachary over to me was another amazing experience. His little eyes just stared up and I was amazed that I had given birth to this beautiful boy. I am tearing up right now. Oh my goodness. Ok let me go on! Birthing a baby IS the most amazing experience in the world. I remember looking at Zev and looking at Zachary and my heart swelling at how much alike they look. Zachary looks just like his daddy and a birth picture of Zev proves it. I like to think that Zachary has my brown curly hair (I straighten it!) :-)) Zachary is also a very good feeder. He has very strong jaws so breastfeeding was a challenge the first few days and honestly, it still is. Zachary is feeding every 2 hours and has a healthy appetite. A few times, usually during the 1am or 3am feedings, when my body is achy and pained and I am tired, I have actually considered the formula option, but then I place Zachary on my chest and watch his body completely relax after a good feed and his face smile (I am serious, he is smiling!) and I know that breastfeeding IS the best option. I feel like I have rambled on now. So much to say, but I know that those of you who like details will appreciate the little details. We arrived home yesterday afternoon and have been settling into a routine at home.  Thanks for everyone's sweet well wishes, visits, emails, phone calls and prayers. I know you will understand if I respond to you a later than normal....Here are some pictures to document our story! Can't wait for Zachary to read his birth story one day.
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27 

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!!

Happy Easter family and friends!  Christ is RISEN!
We went to a lovely Easter service at church this morning.  Meme and Howard have gone to NYC for a few days (since Baby Boy is running a little late on arriving!)  I called them today and they were at Battery Park, looking at the Statue of Liberty across the water.
We went for a nice walk along the beach yesterday afternoon.  I had to stop often but it was lovely to be out there.  There were lots of kids out and about too.  Still no baby you probably figured out!
My big belly.  Today during service, Zev watched and felt my belly move.  That is one of the best parts of pregnancy for me; having my husband interact with our baby boy.  I can't wait to see Zev's face when our son arrives!  So exciting.

What a glorious day!

And because I love this song...I will leave you with "God's not dead (he's roaring like a lion)."  PS: The band, "Newsboys" are from Moololaba, Australia!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

40 weeks and 1 day today!

I am "post date" pregnant which is a funny term but simply means that I am past my 40 weeks of gestation.  Baby Boy is comfy in my belly and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to make his way out into the world.  I don't mind actually; I like feeling him move around but of course can't wait for Zev and I to hold him and love on him and for our families to get to know him.
My induction has been scheduled for the evening of April 15th- Tax Day!  Maybe baby boy will arrive before then?
The picture above cracks me up because I was around 5 months pregnant (so only 4 months ago!); we had just found out the gender of our baby; and I was so excited to have somewhat of a belly clothes in this picture are maternity clothes!  My body feels so large right now; I have put on about 30 pounds (about 13 kilos)!  I love carrying my baby boy but am definitely feeling the aches and pains and uncomfortableness of carrying all this extra weight.  The joys of pregnancy!

Happy Easter to all our family and friends.  Tomorrow is Resurrection Day.  We are so grateful for Christ who died on the Cross for our sins.  He redeemed us and when I think of all the awful things I have said or done or thought or of all the stuff that goes on in this world, all the evil.... the impact of what Christ did for us, because he loved us, is just so amazing.  And the best part?  We don't have to pay Christ back or earn our thanks by works that we do...Believing that Christ is the son of God, sent to redeem us is free!  Now that is reason to celebrate!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Meme and Howard are here!

My mum and step-dad, Howard, arrived all the way from Sydney, Australia on Monday night!  The entire time traveling took them about 34 hours I think (they missed their connecting flight from Dallas to Charlotte). They looked great when they hopped off the airplane and surprisingly, didn't have any jet lag yesterday morning!  They were both dressed and raring to explore our local surroundings by 8am! 
It was fun for mum to see her only daughter pregnant! I am 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant today!  This Friday, the 6th is my due date!!
We had a gorgeous Virginia day yesterday.  I took Meme and Howard out to explore the local area and they loved the historic downtowns, the beautiful Colonial architecture and the general friendliness of the people here.  This is Howard's first time to America and he loved what he saw so far.  I can't believe that the last time we saw these guys was almost 2 years ago (June 2010)!!!
Like mother like daughter.  More pressies.  Mum loves giving gifts and so do I.  We had fun opening the pressies from the aunties and friends in Oz.  Zev even got a nice passport holder with a little kangaroo on it. 
EMPANADAS (Peruvian style which means they are baked and include some different ingredients like Kalamata olives and raisins and eggs).  Zev was very happy to see these when he got home! 
Mum gave me step by step instructions.  First we made the "Tuco" or meat filling with beef chuck, onions, garlic, red peppers. 
Then the assembly with the raisins, kalamata olives and egg slices.
Mum and Howard had a good production line going.
Daddy's home!!
This picture was taken last Friday, when I was right at 39 weeks pregnant.  I feel like I look HUGE but I am putting this picture on the blog so our son can flick through the pages of the blog book and track the journey of his gestation.  I am also including the next picture, taken when I was barely awake, to remember how Zev liked to "set things down" on my big belly.  He thinks it is so funny!
Zev has been checking on me during the day to see if I am "contrapting" or not.  (He mispronounces it on purpose).  Yesterday he called right before going on his lunch time run to see if I was in labor and delivery.  I know he says this jokingly, but I think it is cute.  Only God knows the day and the time that our son will make his debut into this world!  We are treasuring these "last few days" of a family of two, but are so ready for our son to arrive and make us a family of three!
"The LORD watches over you- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night."  Psalm 121: 5-6.