Saturday, October 28, 2006

4 Weeks Old Already?!

When I handed Andrew to a friend the other day her first words were, "My, he's thriving, isn't he?". He already weighs more than the girls did at two months! 

 And now I need to get back to my laundry. We've been without a dryer for a few days now so I have a lot of catching up to do. It was interesting but we made it. I just washed what was needed and we hung it up on a clothesline Lee rigged up for me inside. Just before we were really starting to run out of burp rags, etc. the neighbor lady told me to send a load to have dried when the girls went over to visit, that was such a blessing!!! Lee was able to get it fixed last night and it was so exciting to pull out that first dry load, I will never dread folding clothes again :)! I should be caught up by tomorrow morning. Bethani is going through a phase where she doesn't like to keep her diaper on in the mornings so I have a lot of bedding to wash...

Thursday, October 26, 2006


   We've been married for nearly a decade and I finally got the name on my social security card changed yesterday :). Since I go by my married name it's been a headache every year at tax time and when filling out birth certificate info, but those are the only times it ever comes up so I invariably forget to take care of it until the next time it becomes a headache. Andrew's birth reminded me about it again and I finally got it done. It was not exactly what I would call fun. I do not like downtown and I really dislike tall buildings, and the more windows the building has the less I like it. Of course the social security office down here just happens to be in a really tall building downtown with a good number of windows...but I did get a really sweet lady to take my information. She told me all about the problems her son was having with his teacher and reminded me to always be thankful for my husband because the life of a single mom is hard. It was a really different conversation to have with a perfect stranger but oddly inspiring. I am infinitely grateful for the love and support of my husband and the blessing of my children. Praise the Lord for the precious gifts He has bestowed!

   After we got that done Lee took us out for Mexican to "celebrate" (I'll take any excuse for some good Mexican food!). As we were leaving the restaurant afterwards Lee was helping Tori (our 4 year old) into her seat belt and he told her she had a messy face, to which Tori replied, "Is that why my lips taste so good?!". What a goose :)!

I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints. ~Psalm 52:9

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Day Loaded With Benefits :)

   I've been kind of slipping into the "Baby Blues" lately but today was a very good day. I can hardly function in a messy house and Andrew nurses so constantly that I have had to really let the house go. Lee knows how the mess distracts me so yesterday he and the girls cleaned the bathrooms and mopped floors and worked on laundry and dishes while Andrew and I napped. I can not tell you what it felt like to come out this morning and not have to think, "Boy, I've got to mop this floor!". On top of that Andrew smiled at me, twice! :) He actually smiled for the first time on Saturday but it is so early that I convinced myself it couldn't have been real. Lee saw it yesterday and Bri saw it today so I know I'm not just seeing things :). It isn't a little grin either, they are crinkled eyes and wide toothless grins :). Oh, I love it!!! He is such a sweet baby and I can already tell he is going to be a hoot as he grows. He is definitely melancholy and even at three weeks he seems to analyze everything! I'll have to post another picture soon, he is really chunking up :).

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. ~Psalm 68:19

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"I have gotten a man from the LORD." ~Genesis 4:1

Here is the long promised birth story! I can't believe Andrew is already three weeks old today. Those two+ weeks he was overdue moved a lot slower!!!

Andrew's Birth Story

   The morning of my appointment Cheryl came to be with the girls just in case we decided to go ahead and have the membranes stripped and labor kicked in really quickly. When we got there we did the whole ultrasound thing and I was glad that I was somewhat experienced, a first time mom would have been a bit unnerved by the (apparently new) ultrasound technician's hemming and hawing. Andrew had always strongly disliked to have those dopplers put up to my stomach and even in the hospital he kept darting away from the fetal monitor any time they had it around my waist, earning him the nickname of scooter. Well, during those last two ultrasounds they wanted him awake and moving to be able to do the "breathing" test. Wouldn't you know, the little stinker was sound asleep for both of them and wouldn't budge until they finally buzzed him awake with a really loud, um, buzzer. He was perfectly fine and we made our way down to see the midwife, and we were sent to the wrong one. The one I was supposed to see (and had specifically requested at her suggestion!) wasn't even in that day though they had assured me my appointment would be with her when we made it the week before. So, I had to see a new one that I'm really not very comfortable with, less now than ever! She was appalled that I had made it two weeks over and asked me what *I* was going to do about it! As if I had direct control over when I gave birth! I was quite stunned but explained that we had been considering having the membranes stripped and she decided right away that that was the only way to go. I had half a mind to say no simply for the fact she was being really pushy, but she then made it sound that I had absolutely no choice. I either had to go into labor before Monday or I would be induced if I wanted their services, implying that I not even bother seeing them for continued care if I chose otherwise. So, she stripped the membranes, saying afterwards that it should work because she had been "pretty aggressive" about it, and it HURT! Wow, I was not prepared even though I had read that some people found it painful. Some people?! I can't imagine the threshold of pain the rest must have! On our way out she handed me a paper that had me scheduled to "report" to the hospital the following Monday to be induced if nothing came of the membrane stripping and told she me they wouldn't see me in the office anymore, I was to go to the hospital maternity floor for any further care. She was just lovely. Anyway, the contractions started pretty hard as we were leaving the hospital parking lot and kept it up regularly during lunch and as we walked the local Wal Mart. We decided to go home because they weren't picking up very quickly and I had some things I would like to get done if possible. After I got everything done I went and laid down and read my new Hidden Wisdom Magazine that had come in the mail that afternoon, great timing! It was something besides contractions to focus on! About 6:00 that evening they went from every 8 minutes to every 10 and I thought, here we go again! I just knew they were going to stop...again! So, we went walking around the neighborhood. After just ten minutes or so the contractions were coming every four minutes! After about an hour of walking they were definitely "real" and only three minutes apart. We went home, Lee got the girls some supper and put them to bed more quickly than we've ever accomplished before. We were hoping to be able to make it until Cheryl could get there after work so we wouldn't have to bother Doris, who lives next door, so late though she had told us that she would be standing by just in case. After I posted my "we're going, again!" post they fell to every TWO minutes and I was really starting to worry that we wouldn't make it. Cheryl arrived just before I would have pleaded with Lee to get Doris! During the drive to the hospital the pain really picked up another notch and, considering the pain with Bethani, our last baby, was a lot less and the contractions were further apart by the time we got to the hospital and then found to our surprise that I was already at eight centimeters, I just knew that this time most of my work was going to be done by the time I got there, if we made it. You can not believe my dismay when we got there and the nurse told me I was at THREE centimeters!!! I just cried. She actually told me that she was going to fudge the paperwork and say I was at five centimeters because anything less was supposed to be sent home! But, she saw my absolute agony and said I would be at five before anyone else checked me. She was a nurse we had gotten on one of our false trips to the hospital and she hadn't impressed us too much because she kept making "sitcom dad" jokes at Lee that were getting really annoying ;). This time she was really sweet and gave me all kinds of advice that her grandmother had given her which relaxed me. She was at this point a grandmother herself and she had that "comfortable" feel about her. Her name was Marion and by the time it was all over I was sooo glad that we had gotten her, I'll never forget her! The first thing she said when we told her my membranes had been stripped was, "You poor thing, that is so mean. They do that and then half of the time it causes painful contractions that hardly accomplish anything." These were also the initial sentiments of the midwife who delivered me! I learned from the midwife that, contrary to what the other midwife had led me to believe earlier that afternoon, it isn't required practice in their office to force labor at any point unless the baby is in trouble. Labor didn't go so great for the next couple of hours, I was tired and completely overwhelmed. After a while I realized that if I didn't get it pulled together I was gong to have a repeat of my labor with Tori. I spent the rest of my labor in constant prayer (Oh ya, why didn't I think of that sooner?!). Lee was wonderful, as always :). The nurses have been so impressed every time because he knows exactly what to do and not to do and actually does it. My midwife said her husband sat and read the paper while she labored! The nurse told us that we should give childbirth classes but, like my husband said, there is really no way to teach what we do in a class like that. It comes as a part of our overall relationship. Lee can read my mind even when I'm not in labor :).

We had gotten to the hospital at about ten. Around two-fifty'ish (which seemed like an ETERNITY later) I started feeling some really uncomfortable pressure so she checked me again and you wouldn't believe my joy when she told me I was at seven centimeters!!! She started getting the baby warmer and camera, etc. ready. Just about three-twenty I told her I felt I was ready and she agreed, I was right at ten! It took me four weeks to accomplish the first three centimeters and I completed the last three in half an hour, Ha! She called the midwife and I started pushing. I had never pushed with my amniotic bag still intact and it was excruciating. We had to break my water (it's had to be broken every time) and afterwards she told me that my amniotic bag was one of the thickest she's ever come across. I also tried to escape an episiotomy this time, something else I've never gotten to try before. In the end I did tear but it did heal so much better and quicker than any cut they've ever done! I started pushing at about three-twenty with Andrew at 0 station, He was born at 3:48 A.M. My body was so sensitive to everything at this point that I felt her stitch me up no matter how much local anesthesia she tried to give me. But, it was over!!! and I could hear my baby :). They had had to whisk him across the room to check him out because there had been some meconium. After all of the initial stuff the nurses left us alone for awhile. As Lee first handed him to me I told him, "I didn't look, is it really a boy?" :). Nobody had said anything, probably because they knew we "knew" already. He assured me that it was definitely a boy, but I would have known myself had I only looked into his face first. Our girls have all looked so much like girls when they were born that I really wondered what a boy was going to look like, and he looks like a boy :). He's also got broader shoulders and a longer torso in comparison to his legs than the girls have had. We were amazed that they can look so different at birth! He nursed really well right off. Lee eventually took him down to the nursery for his first bath and Marion brought me a sandwich and told me she was really touched by the way Lee and I interacted and by my reliance on God through the "ordeal", she had tears in her eyes. Wow, there is never a time you can't be a witness for Christ! I have to admit that witnessing was the last thing on my mind during labor... I was so sorry to lose Marion when they moved me to recovery but I met a couple of other neat nurses, Emily was my favorite baby nurse. She came in once when the girls were there to meet the baby. After a while she said, "Wow, they are really good girls. Most of the time when I come into a room with children visiting they are bouncing off of the walls!". I told her she should see them at home... ;). Bri hit me with the reality of how mature she's getting when she brought me my Above Rubies magazine because she thought I might "want something to read" :). Bri's first reaction was, "Awww" with a frenzied, "I have to get my hands on that baby" sort of look :). Tori told us he was "Handsome, not pretty, he's not a girl!". And when Lee told Bethani, "There's your baby brother!" she shook her head no, haha :). BUT, her second reaction was, "Awww, baby", and she's been in love ever since ;). We have also found the secret to getting your baby back from the nursery quickly, go with them :). Lee goes with our babies wherever they go and our babies always ends up getting the VIP service and sent back to mommy's room with daddy as soon as possible. I guess it isn't as much fun when dad is standing there critiquing ;). My midwife approved an early discharge, Cheryl and Doris had been tag teaming it with the girls and the girls were loving it, but I was going through Bethi withdrawal!!! I had never been away from her overnight before.

   In the end I've learned things from this pregnancy and labor just as I have all of the others. I asked Lee how many he thought we had to go before I could pull together a "perfect" pregnancy and labor. I have learned that, short of danger to the baby, I never want to induce in any way ever again, even naturally!!! My body is just not the sort that can handle interference of any sort well apparently.

   When we got home Doris came over to see him and prayed Numbers 6:24-26 over him. It really touched me for many reasons. That is also one of my favorite bible verses, I had never thought of it as a baby's blessing before :).

   A few of my favorite pictures:

Just minutes old and not very happy. Can't you just hear him say, "I was comfy in there!".

After bath time.

His first nap...I used to be one of those mothers who obsessively recorded everything...I haven't started his baby book yet...

The proud biggest sister Bri, she's been waiting for this moment :).

Tori and Andrew. I love this picture, aren't they cute ?!

Bethani, Andrew, and one of the moments I've been waiting for...

Yes! She loves him :)! she doesn't want to give him back...

This was one of those moments when I had nothing but a prayer of gratitude in my heart. I know I don't deserve the gifts that God has given me and I am so indescribably grateful. I wish you could see Bethani snuggled up next to Lee, they are all priceless...

This was taken as we were packing up to leave the hospital. Bethani is trying on my shoes, look really closely...I call this one "I Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going..." ;).

Going home!

   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Our First Outing Without Hubby

   Wow, it went very well! I even made a couple of stops I really didn't have to make because I wanted to simulate a "real" shopping day. Andrew had his two week appointment yesterday and Lee couldn't get off so I just made the appointment really early so Lee could go with us. I prefer not to do doctor visits alone unless I have to. I planned on dropping him off at work afterward and keeping the car. Andrew is doing great! He's gained just over a pound in two weeks! I told you he ate all of the time... :). The pediatrician put a little something on his belly button to try to stop the oozing and bleeding that was still going on, even with the umbilical cord having come off. It seems to have worked, what a relief! I only got one comment that could be taken as rude in regard to the number of children in my "entourage" and it was only in her tone. "Wow", she said with *that* tone that makes you envision a wrinkled nose, "you only need about ten more". Quite to the contrary I was stopped even more than usual with positive comments and now there is a whole new category of people stopping us because we "finally got a boy?!", they are so thrilled for us ;). We stopped to eat and had to leave before I was done so I could go feed the baby. He was screaming as we went out the door and one of the cashiers congratulated me on our new boy and literally everybody in the restaurant (there were only about four other groups of people) added their congratulations, that was a tad embarrassing. Later we stopped at the grocery store. I had put Bethani in the cart and meant to put the baby in his sling but I forgot it in the van so I ended up holding him most of the time and steering one handed, if I had realized how cramped my arm was going to get I probably would have gone right back out to get the and learn. Anyway, it was, of course, raining yesterday, so I was carting four little ones in and out of the rain all day. On our way out of the grocery store an older gentleman stopped and asked us how far away we were parked, he was going to drive us to our car if it was very far. When I told him we were just about there he said, "You have a beautiful family Miss.", and he clapped. It was so cute and gave me that extra burst of energy to...get home :). I was pretty tired by that time and Andrew was long overdue for an unhurried feeding. He's not a snacker. We had to go back later to pick up Lee, and Andrew once again cried nearly the whole way there because he wanted to nurse (I did feed him before we left!). But on the whole, we survived and I am confident in my abilities to do it again, not that I would have had much choice otherwise... ;).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Never Dull With a Baby in the House...

Here are a few snippets of recent conversations from the Shaffer household:

 As I was calming the baby the other night he had my hair in his little hands and I offhandedly said, "You're pulling Mommy's hair, Andrew.". At that point Bri, my nine year old exclaimed, "Awww, how cute!!!". We'll see how cute she thinks it is when she's holding him ;)...hee hee.

During four year old Tori's "turn" to hold the baby the other night she commented, "I can't even pick his nose!". No, she wasn't attempting to, I was sitting right there so I know :). I'm assuming she was using it to make the point of how small his little nose is :). Creative, huh?

And my favorite, some of you will remember that we thought that Bethi was going to turn into a big time biter. Luckily she only accomplished it once and the memory of those ten minutes alone in her crib seems to have curbed her attempted habit. Anyway, as I was nursing the baby a couple of days after he was born Bethani came and sat next to me, watching him intently. After a minute she looks up at me and says, "Mommy, baby bites.". Oops :), how do you explain that one to a 17 month old?!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

She's Getting too Smart for My Own Good...

   Let me set the scene for you: It was just days after Andrew's birth and Lee, Bri, and I were all sitting on the couch when Lee asks, "What do you want for lunch?", which prompted the whole, "Whatever you want dear...", "I don't want anything in particular, what do you want...", etc., I'm sure you all know how it goes :). After awhile I attempt the catch-them-off-guard-by-batting-your-eyes-and-you'll-get-whatever-you-want trick, which in this case was for someone else to make the decision. I'm not sure why I bother, it has absolutely never worked before :). Anyway, at this point Bri (my nine year old) pops into the conversation with..."Mom, we might as well not try that anymore. I read in Proverbs that it says not to be fooled by batting eyes...". I was stunned at first, realizing she was right ("neither let her take thee with her eyelids" ~Proverbs 6:25), then I couldn't stop laughing...though apparently we need to discuss the difference between a strange woman and a wife ;). I actually can get away with it as his wife, it's just a waste of energy with my husband :)...
   Have I also mentioned that she's a great big sister?

We Have a Belly Button!!!

   Yeah!!! I know that may not be big news to you but it is thrilling to me...none of thegirls umbilical cords gave us such stress with bleeding and such. He also kept his longer than any of the girls. I told Lee I think he has attachment issues, he just can't seem to let go of anything ;). I am also FINALLY seeming to recover from an excruciating nursing issue that I have never experienced before. I am so giddy I can hardly contain myself! He is hanging out in his sling for the first time right now and seems to be liking it just fine, I guess. So far he's slept through the experience ;)...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Did I Say Things Should Be Settling Down?

   Updated to say: Thank you Diana!!! It worked! After posting my desperate plea for help I popped her in the tub, scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, let her soak a while and scrubbed some more. It lightened it up drastically but it wouldn't have taken a very clever person to figure out what had happened ;). I just tried out the suggestion Diana left in the comments and Bethi is now as good as new, and now I can truly appreciate the humor in the situation ;). Bethani thanks you as well, mommy won't be catching her every time she runs by to rub some more hoping to speed up the wearing off process :). My oldest daughter (who is really such a big help but can't quite remember that Bethani is not as short as she used to be and is often leaving such things as markers where it could be gotten by little fingers...) suggested using the Mr. Clean magic eraser because it did such a great job on the floor and chair but that just didn't sound healthy to me...

I find the tiny dot on the tip of her nose especially attractive.

That's permanent marker gals...any ideas?

I am trying to focus on the humor in this situation.


I'm Back!


   I can't believe he is already over a week old :(. It has been kind of a tough week with everything we have had going on but it should be settling down now. Lee is back to work full time and then coming home and fixing us gourmet meals, I could get used to that ;). I'm planning on "ruling" from the couch for the rest of the week and then we will start our transition back into schoolwork, etc.. I have no idea how I will accomplish a shower before five in the afternoon once we get back to a schedule but I'm determined to find a way ;). I'm still working on Andrew's birth story...haven't felt much like sitting at the desk this last week but I'm doing a bit better now :). I'll leave you with a taste of our current lifestyle...if he's not eating (and it seems he usually is!) then he's being admired. Good thing he doesn't seem to mind being the center of attention. Just don't change the diaper!!! He's not too crazy about that...

The little guy and his adoring fans :)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

I Think I'm Outnumbered...

   Well, this is it. I'm alone with all four of them. We had a practice run for a few hours the other day so I have an idea what to expect...that way if Bethani doesn't have a complete breakdown at the exact moment that the baby decides he absolutely must eat just minutes after Tori has shouted, "Mom, is this normal?!", at which I come to the rescue to find that the potty has overflowed, as happened the other day, I will know it has been a very succesful day.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I think It's the Start of a Beautiful Friendship...

Bethi's in love :). She was following me around this morning with her arms stretched out saying, "Hold baby? Hold Andrew?". Of course it sounded more like, "Hole bobby? Hole An-oo?".

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


   OK, perhaps I was a bit ambitious to think that I would be able to get much blogging time for a couple of days. After we got home yesterday from Andrew's 3 day check up (he has very mild jaundice, ha, I thought that was an early baby thing!), Tori's birthday meal at McDonalds, stopping by Lee's store so he could show off the little man, and a quick trip to Wal-Mart so Tori could pick out a cake (there was no way I was going to get it done this year!), I was exhausted! Lee and Tori are out on their father/daughter birthday date right now. Tori's birthday was actually yesterday but we had to divide up the festivities a bit, she doesn't mind having "two" birthdays this year :). While Bri and I wait for our supper to finish I thought I would post a couple of pictures really quick...

A very satisfied birthday girl :). Tori is "a whole hand" now!

Happy fifth birthday Tori, you've had such a great attitude about having to "share" your day this year with so much going on :).

Ohhh! I just can't get enough of that baby sweetness :).

   I promise I'll get my posts out of the draft stage in the near future! Right now I need to go scarf down my food because I know I'll be needed soon...isn't it great :)?! What a precious gift!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

I know What You're Thinking Ladies...

"What?! He is such a guy! How much did he weigh? Did he have a lot of hair?!", etc. etc.... :). I told Lee that's what you're all thinking. He said he knew I would want to be the one to share the news, so here it is ;)...

Andrew Kevin Lee was born September 30th at 3:48 in the morning (sorry Tanya, I tried...wink). He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces, is 22 inches long, and he does have a bit of hair but it is much lighter than any of his sisters has been.

Andrew 1 hour old

Andrew's name means, " A disciple of Christ, courageous, handsome, and prosperous". His verse is, "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples." ~ John 15:8

Andrew 34 hours old

We got home at about three this afternoon but we spent most of the day getting everyone resettled. I hope to post more of a birth story tomorrow while it is still fresh in my head. Right now I need to go feed the little guy and go to bed!!!