Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ready or Not...

here she comes!!

Going in tomorrow morning to start Cervidil. Hoping it will be enough to start labor without having to go on the Pit.

Still not 100% sure that I should...but I trust my doctor and he's convinced that this is the best thing for me and my baby girl.

Goodbye, pregnancy! Hello, Momma of four!

Deo Gratias.

To Be Induced, Or Not To Be Induced?

That is the question.
Doc called and suggests that if my body has not made any progress of going into labor on it's own by this evenings appointment, he would like me to go to the hospital TONIGHT and start the inducing process.
But it's completely up to me.
I don't know what to do.
And I'm extremely disappointed.

But then again, my baby's coming. I should be excited, right?

God help me make the right decision.

Friday, June 18, 2010

11 More Days! (or more? or less?)

Oh, My!
Wow, this pregnancy went fast. Soon I'll be holding my Little Miss Sunshine and The Shaffer's will start a new chapter in their lives. A new member will be added to our precious family and life as we know it will never be the same. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

But then again, I can. (Because I'd rather go on my own and not be induced!) I still have that wonderful image of what the perfect delivery would be like.
I would start going into labor at home while Mike is at work. By the time it started getting a little tough, he'd be home from work and could help do a last minute clean up of the house and kids and help pack the kids bags. My parents would be able to finish their work day as well before I would need to call them and ask them to come and get the kids. They would get here, and Mike and I would head off to the hospital because my water broke (on it's own!) and baby would be here any minute. I'd get situated in my hospital room, have music playing, lights dimmed and flameless candles scented with vanilla flickering their lights in a peaceful and relaxing manner. My doctor would arrive and I'd be ready to push. My beautiful baby would be born and the pain would be over and since it was a Friday (did I forget to mention that?) my brother Justin would be there and so would Ang. No one would have to worry about making it to work the next day. (It would be one of Angie's Saturdays off) And because I wasn't induced and went into labor on my own, I'm a bit past my due date but that worked out great because my sister could be here for the delivery. And she brought almond flavored champagne with her from CA and we're all sharing a glass and celebrating Little Miss Sunshine's life. The baby would be perfectly healthy and very eager to breastfeed. I would be very healthy too and didn't even need an episiotomy! In fact, there's no reason to stay long and my parents would be back Saturday afternoon to meet their new grand daughter and Mike and I would get to introduce her to her three older siblings. We'd get picture perfect photos of them all meeting for the first time and the kids would get to enjoy the free ice cream that the birthing center keeps stocked for patients. After getting more pictures of them in their Shaffer shirts, eating ice cream and hugging their baby sister, it would be time to take everyone home.
Doesn't that sound wonderful?
Instead, I got results for my Group B Strep test and they were positive. This means I need to be hooked up to an IV at least 4 hours before the birth so that I can get antibiotics to protect my baby from getting infected with the bacteria. If I don't, she could get pneumonia or meningitis.
I also had an ultrasound yesterday to determine how big the baby might be already because talk of being induced has been thrown around my latest doctor appointments.
She's already 8lbs. 6oz.
I expect to hear from my doctor any time now to discuss our options. I had decided a few days ago that I wasn't going to be induced even if the baby is big. I was determined to let my body do this on my own. To let my "natural" birth actually be natural! But babies supposedly gain one pound a week at the end. I have about 2 weeks to go. Maybe more if I went late. Do I really want to deliver a 10 or maybe even an 11 pound baby?? Surely, I do not. Do I want the risk of an emergency C-Section hanging over my head because they can't get the baby out? No. No, I don't. So what do I do? Get induced? Spend days in the hospital again because my body just isn't ready? Have my contractions be determined by pitocin? Be in more pain than I need to be? If I have to, then yes. I guess I need to just let go of my imaginary labor and except it the way it is. As long as I get my baby in the end, that's all that matters, right?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Light

I had a dream this week that I don't want to forget because I'd like to think that there is some significance to it.

In the dream, I was at my parent's home, in my old bedroom, with Little Miss Chatterbox. We were painting the room and I told her to make sure she didn't paint over the light switch cover. When she asked me why, I told her because Nana had written on it and that it was very special to me. She walked over to the light switch and read, "The light of the Son shines upon you."

When I woke up, I wrote it down right away because I didn't want to forget it. I thought it would actually be a pretty cool thing to have painted on a light switch cover and I thought it was interesting that in my dream Nana had written it.

Every morning I say my morning prayers and read a passage from the Bible. Right now I'm reading the Gospel of St. John and this was the passage of that morning:

"For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God." - John 3:20-21

I was pretty surprised that the passage had to do with light, just as my dream had. I hope to share this with Nana and see what she has to say about it!

T-Shirts Complete

Well, after not being able to come up with anything creative for each individual shirt for the kids, I came up with an idea for them to all have matching shirts. And since there's been so much softball going on around here, it's no surprise that my idea was to make them Team Shaffer jerseys with numbers on the back according to the order they were born. Here they are!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Talented Little Miss Chatterbox

Little Miss Chatterbox drew some lovely pictures of me and the boys today. I already shared the picture of me and now would like to show you the boys.
Here's Mr. Funny, sword and all:

And I just love the one she did of Mr. Tickle in his diaper:

She also took some lovely pregnancy photos of me and Little Miss Sunshine:
(You see that picture that's in color? That was a total candid shot. She said something that made me smile and then snapped the picture. A photo of my real smile. Girl's got talent!)

She never ceases to amaze me with her eye for beauty and how to create it.
Ever since schools been out, she's become a bit restless and irritable. It finally dawned on me that this girl needs to be working with her hands and be creative! Sure enough, as soon as I gave her some projects to do, she's been happily busy and much more pleasant. I'm on the hunt for more artsy projects that are suitable for her age. Yesterday she told me she wishes she knew how to sew. I'd love to let her try cross-stitching. Perhaps there's another project in the near future!

Big Foot

I've always been aware of my big feet.

Friends in school gave me lovely nicknames such as Chewbacca and I will always remember hearing a parent at one of my basketball games in middle school say, "Look at those boats!" as she passed by me, eyes focused on my feet.

When my first born came into this world, I'd hear comments like, "She's got big feet just like her mother!" (She's grown into those feet now and they aren't so big anymore) and one year my Nana gave me a stuffed animal bunny and told me that when she saw it she had to get it for me because it made her think of me right away. I wasn't sure if I should have been flattered or insulted because the only obvious part of that bunny was it's huge feet. Sure enough, she then said, "Isn't it cute? Just look at those feet!" :)
I've never let these things bother me though, and am more than willing to laugh with others at the funny and awkward feet that God decided to give me.
Sometimes I'll look at them and think, "They're really not that big." And I'll almost convince myself.
Until I get reminders like this picture that Little Miss Chatterbox drew today.
When your child draws a picture of you and your feet are bigger than your pregnant belly, there's no mistake. You've got to admit that your feet really are that big. And then you laugh and tell your daughter that it's perfect.
Hahaha. Gotta love it! (Do you think I can blame it on the pregnancy and say my hands and feet are just swollen?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thankful- A Lesson on Suffering

I am so very thankful today as I look and see how well I am taken care of.
When I first learned that our air conditioner wasn't working, I had high hopes that it would be a quick fix and that we would only need to try and stay cool for a day or two. As the days grew more and more, I realized that maybe we would need to be suffer through this just a little longer than planned. I admit that I was unhappy and complained in my head. I worried about the kids getting too hot (even though they seemed to handle the heat better than I did) and I worried about having to bring a newborn home before the air could get fixed. Worse than that, I grumbled about how uncomfortable it was to be almost nine months pregnant and having to sweat like a pig all day and be nauseous at night and unable to sleep because it was so stinkin' hot. I at least made sure to keep the whining to myself and not say anything in front of the kids. I did my best to keep the work flow going in the house by trying to do as much as possible downstairs where it was cooler. We ate a lot of Popsicles, filled up the baby pool for the kids to play in, ate cold dinners and wore cold, wet washcloths on our heads at bedtime. I kept water bottles in the freezer so we could drink ice water when we needed it and we all took cold showers before bedtime. It was more work than normal, but we were getting through each day and that was all that mattered. The only thing that kept me going was to tell myself that we would have air again soon.
When we finally had a professional come out to check on our unit and were told that the whole thing needed to be replaced, I foolishly expected Mike to go get the unit and have it fixed ASAP. I had no idea what a huge and costly project it would be. Or how long it would take to get done. When it was all laid out for me, we realized that being able to afford both AC and Montessori school for the kids became questionable and if we were able to get a new AC unit, it would take a lot of time. It definitely wasn't going to happen before Little Miss Sunshine was born.
Being the imperfect human that I am, I got angry. I didn't want to sweat through my last few weeks of this pregnancy. I didn't want to keep giving cold baths to the kids every. single. night. I wanted to fix something for dinner besides sandwiches and salad. I wanted to crawl into a nice cool bed at bedtime and actually be able to sleep with a blanket on. I wanted Mr. Tickle's heat rash to go away. I wanted to be able to drink a cup of hot coffee in the morning. I wanted to know that paying for Montessori was not a problem. I wanted the air conditioner to work because the basement was starting to smell moldy and I didn't want to re-live the nightmare from last summer. I didn't cry. But I wanted to do that too.
Instead, I became cranky and irritable. I got angry at Mike. My poor husband was doing all he could to fix the problem but I was angry that he still hadn't fixed it. I was also angry that he wasn't showing me more compassion. To tell the ugly truth, I was looking for pity. Didn't he see what I was going through everyday? His poor pregnant wife couldn't handle this kind of suffering and he needed to fix it! He also needed to tell me how horrible it was that I had to deal with this but also tell me that I was doing a great job. I know. It's pathetic.
Instead, he told me that things weren't that bad. Ugh! How dare he! Well, if I wasn't going to receive any pity from him, I was going to call my mother and get it from her.
Instead, she told me that at least I have a home. Things could be worse. My family and I could be spending these hot days living in a car.
When I got off the phone, I plopped onto my bed and felt so embarrassed by the way I had been feeling and acting. (Why is it that my husband can tell me something and I get angry, but then my mother tells me the same thing and I listen? There actually has been a study that found out that just hearing your mother's voice over the phone reduces a key stress hormone and releases oxytocin. You can read the whole article here.) I thought of all the reasons why I was angry and upset and realized that I was relying too heavily on comfort. Yes, it sucks having to be hot and sweaty for my last few weeks of pregnancy but at least I'm healthy. How thankful I am to be able to get pregnant. To have an anatomy perfectly built to carry and grow a child in my womb. To not have any medical problems keeping me from having a stress-free, low risk, normal pregnancy.
Yes, it's a pain in the butt having to find dinners that everyone will like that don't involve cooking in the oven or on the stove. But how thankful I am that we have food. That my husband is willing to wake up at the crack of dawn each morning and work his butt off to get us that food. That if one day I'm just too worn out to think and cook, we can afford to order pizza.
Yes, it's stressful to wonder if we can pay for a new AC unit AND Montessori school since the only money we have saved up is enough to pay for one. But how thankful I am that we have a savings. That my husband has a good paying job and that after the bills are paid and the family fed, we still have money left over to put in the savings. (well, sometimes.)
Yes, it's a lot of work having to find ways to keep the kids cool. Like dealing with wet bathing suits and kids dripping water throughout the house even though you told them 100 times to dry off before re-entering the house. Or cleaning up Popsicle juice off their sticky hands and faces and the numerous little pieces that they let drop on the floor. And having to bend over in the tub, every night, to wash the sweat off your heat rashed 2 year old who hates baths and wrestles with you the entire time while you yourself are sweating and your belly is getting squished against the tub and your back hurts and your ankles are swollen and you wish you could just put the kids to bed without having to add an extra bath in every night. But how thankful I am to have these kids. To be able to share each day with them. To see how happy a little baby pool can make them and listen to their giggling as they splash and play in it. To watch their face light up when they ask me if they can have a Popsicle and I say yes. To have a sweet little 2 year old to cuddle with in his towel after his bath is all done. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for and yet there I was, complaining about being hot. Getting angry at my husband who loves his family so much and was doing all he could to fix our air conditioner. I apologized to God for the way I had acted for He was the only one who really knew all the bickering I had done in my head and the self-pity I seeked. Then I remembered what I did a few days ago when Mike had bought a new motor for the AC. I had every bit of confidence that it was going to fix the problem. He had a terrible time getting the old motor off. I watched him struggle in the heat, sweat pouring off of him, working for two hours when he thought it would only take minutes. He was getting frustrated but I kept thinking: God will make this work. It will all be worth it.
After Mike finally got the new motor on and tried it out, it didn't work. I couldn't believe it. I got angry again and said to God, "Fine. You want to give me this cross to carry? I will. But I really don't want to!" After remembering that, I realized that God didn't make this happen. He didn't decide that He was going to pick on me that day and see how I handled it. Why was I so quick to blame Him? That AC unit out there is old. We had problems with it in past summers and had even been warned that it would eventually need to be replaced. I apologized to Him for that too. Then I humbly asked Him to help us. I knew I didn't deserve His help after the way I had acted. But I also knew how much He loves me despite my imperfections. I ended my prayer with, "Whatever happens, I trust in you."
On Wednesday, Mike talked to his dad who happened to have a window unit lying around. Mike picked it up, brought it home and installed it in our bedroom. I got to crawl into a cool bed that night.
On Thursday, my brother called and said he had a window unit in his basement that we could have.
On Friday, my dad told me that if we can get Justin's window unit and use that for the summer, he could get his buddy to order what we need for a new unit and then get his other buddy to install it AND that he would start saving up some money to loan to us so we can pay for it AND still send our kids to Montessori school. (Thank you Mr. Hev!!!!)
On Saturday, we went to a rummage sale at our Church and found a de-humidifier for $3. On our way home, Mike picked up my brothers window unit and installed it in our upstairs living room. I was finally able to use the oven for dinner that night and I could stop worrying about bringing Little Miss Sunshine home to a sweltering house.
Yes, life will sometimes throw you a curve ball. But how thankful I am to be surrounded by family members who coach me on how to hit those balls and a God who cheers me on even when I strike out. I know that He answered my prayer and has taken care of us. He will bring out some sort of good from any circumstance that is bad. In this case, He taught me a lesson on suffering. He also taught me that He is always willing to help. All I need to do is ask. Yes, I am very thankful, indeed.

"Pray, hope and don't worry." - St. Padre Pio

Friday, June 4, 2010


Little Miss Sunshine gets hiccups a couple times a week. How can I tell? Because she does little jerky movements every few seconds and they are all the exact same. It feels the same way when I have my own hiccups, but this feels like it's just my stomach that has the hiccups. :) She stops moving after a couple minutes of this and I can just picture her in there, floating around with her little hiccups.
The funny thing is, Little Miss Chatterbox also got hiccups a lot when she was in the womb. Could it be a girl thing? More likely just a coincidence, but pretty cool just the same! I keep telling myself it means she'll have hair. It makes absolutely no sense at all, but LMChatterbox had hiccups and she had hair, so I'm just hoping!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Knew Something Bad Was Coming

I told you, didn't I?
Yesterday we had an AC guy come take a look at our AC unit.
And found out that the entire outside unit is bad and needs to be replaced.
Except, since the unit is so old, it has now been banned in the US and we will need to get a new kind of unit which will also require us to change everything inside the house as well. It's going to be a huge project, cost lots of money and Little Miss Sunshine is due in 26 days. Maybe less. We're also approaching summer weather really fast. High 80's have been hard enough! On top of all that, our first payment for Montessori school is due August 1st. $2,500. Will we be able to pay for a new AC unit AND school? I don't know.
I guess this is the bad thing that I knew was coming because this is definitely not how I planned on spending my last few days of this pregnancy. I'll definitely take this over something bad happening to the baby though.
One day at a time...one day at a time...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting Closer

Lots of stuff crossed off my "Things To Do Before Baby Comes" list and feeling really good about it! I'm also coming to that point of the pregnancy where I don't want to be pregnant anymore. Yep.
I'm ready to carry her in my arms rather than this big belly!
Having the car seat ready was a big deal to me and I got that done today. Well, almost done. It's washed and drying but not put back together yet. Once I know that I have a car seat to bring her home in, I will be shouting, "C'mon, baby girl! We're ready for you!" I can't believe the time has come already. I will be so relieved when this is all over and I am home with my baby. There's this little part of me that is completely freaked out and worried that something bad is going to happen. Why? Well, because this pregnancy has been so perfect. And I know that things are not supposed to be perfect. Things are never perfect. And so I am waiting for something to happen. I know, I shouldn't be so pessimistic! But I think it's more realistic than anything else. As long as I walk out of that hospital healthy and with a healthy baby, I will be happy. Oh, and I'd like breastfeeding to go really well. The only time I had the "baby blues" was with Mr. Funny and I honestly think it had to do with my breastfeeding difficulties. I need that oxytocin!
Okay, so I'm thinking that maybe I'll end up having to be induced and go through another labor on pitocin. Or maybe Little Miss Sunshine will end up coming out a boy! (Not that a boy would be bad, but he'd have to wear a lot of pink!) Whatever it might be, I pray that I will have the strength to get through it.
Okay, enough of that. I'm going to go think about what I want the kids shirts to say.