Sunday, October 31, 2010

Svea is 5 1/2 weeks!

There is something so sweet and strong about a mother's love for her baby. Or, using one of Mara's new favorite words, a mother's love for her baby is FIERCE! I feel such love for precious Svea and I thank God for our third baby girl. She is an amazing gift.
The baby doll beds above were made by Jedd for Mara's 5th and Sonna's 3rd birthdays.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Preparing for Baby

This picture was taken two days before Svea was born. The girls love to help Jedd. Jedd didn't want to put the crib up until Svea arrived - he was worried about the girls jumping in the crib and breaking it - but even he got impatient and figured maybe the baby wouldn't come until the crib was up.
Some quotes from the week:
Mara: "Mom, you're kinda bad with toast." (After I burned her toast)

Sonna: "I'm gonna trace my hand."

Mom: "Do you want me to do it for you?"

Sonna: "No thanks. I've got two."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mara, Svea, and Mom

These pictures speak for themselves! We love our expressive Mara!

Studying Each Other

(I wanted to be sure to post this picture of Sonna. Jedd took the girls to the pumpkin patch on Saturday and took this picture.)
Sonna loves talking on the phone. She loves to have pretend conversations on her Dora toy cell phone as well as real conversations on the telephone. She's even gesturing here! Svea looks rather interested in her big sister.

The First Few Days Home

Just arrived home from the hospital.
Precious sleeping beauty Svea.
Not the eyes, Sonna!
Just the beginning. Svea will learn self defense as an infant.
There, that's better.
Well, sort of.

I remember when we first got back from the hospital after Mara was born Jedd and I both looked at my mom and said, "Now what?" Mom advised us to go take a nap. Smart advice. This time around, we took some pictures, helped Sonna get acquainted with her baby sister, and I sat on the couch while Jedd went to pick up Mara at the bus stop. And Grandma Joan made us a nourishing meal. We will be settling into being a family of five and figuring out our new normal.

Little Strawberry Shortcake

Svea was nearly 3 weeks old in this set of photos. A friend of mine from knitting group, Sue, knit this for Svea. What a special gift! I had fun positioning her and she was remarkably cooperative. :)

Meeting Her Wonderful Grandmas

We are immensely blessed with wonderful mothers and grandmas! Grandma Joan came the first week and Grandma Margaret came the next two. The time flew by. We were so well cared for. Lots of love and attention to go around for the girls, Jedd and I, and Baby Svea, of course. We ate well, enjoyed a clean house and appreciated support during the night. It was so sad to see them leave! The first week without a grandma actually went pretty well. We still had meals in the freezer, food in the fridge and the laundry was all washed. Second week was a little more stressful for lots of reasons but even so, everyone was fed and dressed each day!
Svea will be blessed to meet both her Grandpas in Minnesota at Thanksgiving! We are all looking forward to that trip.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Three Sisters

Mara looks angelic in this picture!

Sonna is so pleased to hold her baby. She's got a wad of gum in her cheek!

It was very special to see Mara and Sonna meet their baby sister. Mara was so happy and proud. Look at her holding Svea in this picture! Her face says it all! Sonna greeted Svea with a bop to the head. Protecting Svea has been a full time job ever since. Grandma Joan came the Saturday before Svea was born and the timing was just perfect. So the girls were well cared for while Jedd and I were at the hospital. That was a real blessing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome Baby Svea!

Svea Rebecca Liv was born at 3:22 PM on Tuesday, September 21. She weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. and measured 19 1/2 inches long (a few days later she measured 20 1/4 inches so probably somewhere in between). Svea is such a peaceful baby and so beautiful. I like to call her our water baby because she was born in the tub at the birth center. But I'll start from the beginning. My contractions started while sitting on our couch talking with Jedd and Grandma Joan late Monday night. I labored throughout the night with contractions about 20 minutes apart initially and then 10 minutes apart by 5 AM. At that point I woke up Jedd for support and asked him to time them. We met my midwife, Julie, at the birth center at 9 AM and I was 5-6 cm dilated. She advised that I didn't go back home (Somers is 35 minutes from North Valley Hospital in Whitefish) but she also said I didn't really need to be there yet. So I said, "I'm hungry. Can we go have breakfast?" and Julie thought that was a good idea and my nurse said "this is a woman after my own heart!". Julie said she'd meet me back at the birth center at noon to see how I was progressing. So we had an amazing breakfast at The Buffalo in Whitefish and then spent an hour at a great bookstore picking out books for the girls and ourselves. My contractions were rather intense but I found walking through them really helped. My goal with both Sonna and Svea was to stay away from the hospital as long as possible. (When I had Mara I went to the hospital too soon and it resulted in lots of interventions that ultimately slowed labor down. In retrospect, I should have been sent home rather than starting Pitocin but in the end, it all worked out and beautiful Mara was born. No regrets.) Back to Svea. I would say this was a labor of movement/motion. This seems fitting since my pregnancy was one of near constant movement while keeping up with the girls, especially this summer. By noon I was dilated 7-8 cm and decided to take a shower. I hadn't washed my hair in a few days and wanted to get that done. My nurse looked at the student nurse at that point and said, "This is not typical of a woman in labor at 7 cm". I was able to hold the railings in the shower and point the shower head directly on my lower back for pain relief and that felt good for a while. Then suddenly the contractions got harder, longer, and more intense. I then labored on the birth ball while leaning over Jedd and breathing deeply. He was a fabulous support. He even washed off his deodorant when the smell was bothering me. :) Somewhere in here my midwife broke my water to help move labor along. I got stuck at 9 cm and was exhausted. I got in the bed for a little while and then recognized that it wasn't helping me to be in the hospital bed. I said, "This isn't working. I need to try something else". My midwife said, "You're right. Let's try the tub and maybe you'll have your baby in the water". I was open to anything at that point and had been interested in a water birth ever since seeing an empowering video of women giving birth in the Black Sea. Julie had several patients at the office who had already been rescheduled from the day before so she called her partner, Jeanne, the other midwife and she came right away. I was completely in my zone at that point. I was also starting to wonder when this baby was going to come out and how much more pain I could handle. This was a normal size bathroom bathtub. Jedd was at my head, Jeanne at my middle, and Jill reaching over securing my shaky legs. Jeanne had to help my body get to 10 cm and then it was several pushes later that Svea's full head of dark hair emerged. I was in the water the last 45 minutes of labor. They put Svea on my chest right away and she was amazing! Jedd was so proud and happy and loving. He cut her cord and held Svea as they suctioned her nose and mouth and helped me in the hospital bed. Such a beautiful sight and sound to see her and hear her first cry. It is a wonderful thing to be part of such a miracle, from conception through pregnancy, labor and then delivering this precious little life! I feel tremendously blessed to have experienced this three times and have our three girls. I am also immensely blessed to have shared the whole experience with my Jedd.
*I went back and forth about whether or not to include the tub picture. I'm fully covered but still . . . I wanted it to be in Svea's book once I print out the blog and I don't plan to be famous so I decided to post it.
I treasure these pictures because they represent the joy and blessings of Svea's birth. The days following her birth felt very sacred to me. Our hospital stay in the birth center was very peaceful and quiet. While I know the rest of the world continued to race around in spite of Svea's birth, my world slowed down so I could treasure our little baby girl. And that is a rare gift.