Leeland’s first bath

Leeland is 9 days old today. I was so ready to bathe the child, but had to wait until his umbilical cord stump fell off. This evening I gathered everything together and prepared to give him a sponge bath in the sink. I went to pick him up and voila! – off came the stump! So, he had his first real bath tonight. Here’s how it went.

We started off very calm. He likes the sound of the water flowing from the faucet. He was even calm when I first put his feet in the water. And then…

He lost it! Normally, I wouldn’t post a picture like this, but he is mostly covering everything that needs to be covered. And, I thought it was just too cute to see how upset he is. And, to see the absolute craziness that is my kitchen countertop!
One of Leeland’s many talents is his ability to turn completely red! Here is an example…
Once we moved from his back to facing forward, he was much happier and looked a lot less like a cherry. 🙂
He really chilled out.
It’s over! What a relief!
He definitely has the most hair of any of our babies and it’s the darkest as well. We may have a
tall, dark and handsome one on our hands with our LT.

What’s in a name?

At 20 weeks we found out that we were expecting a boy. It took us the next 18 weeks to decide on a name.

We have a little bit of a pattern going on with our children’s names. They all have one name that is either biblical or has a very strong meaning or both. And one name that is a family name.
First, there is Bakri Moustapha. Bakri and Moustapha are both family names. He shares his name with his Jiddy- grandfather and his great great grandfather and has the reverse name of his father and great grandfather. Bakri is an arabic name and means “founder.” Moustapha is an arabic name and means “chosen one of God.” Not too bad when it comes to meaning.
Next, we have Maddux Elijah. His first name is a family name, mommy’s maiden name. Maddux means “son of the Lord.” And, Elijah is a biblical name of hebrew origin and it means “the Lord is my God.”
Our third child, our daughter is named Trinity Rebekah. The name Trinity is of latin origin and means “triad” referring to the Holy Trinity in the Christian Faith. She is our third child so we felt that three was a very special meaning for her name. Her initials are TRE which also means “three.” Her middle name is Rebekah which is her mommy’s first name and is of hebrew origin and means “to bind.”
And then, there is Leeland Thaddeus- our third son and fourth child. Lee is my dad’s middle name. Leeland is of old english origin and means “one who lives by unseeded land” or “meadow land.” We loved the sound of the name Leeland and the uniqueness of it and that it incorporates Lee- part of my father’s name. “Leo” is also a very common name on my mother-in-law’s side of the family. And, Moustapha has a sister with a name that sounds very similar- Leila. We just absolutely love the name. After 18 weeks of talking about it, it was the one name that we always came back to. When he was born, there was never a doubt- he is Leeland. Leeland’s middle name is Thaddeus. It is of aramaic origin and means “heart.” Thaddeus was one of Jesus’s twelve disciples.
Our boys’ first names all ended up being two syllables and their middle names are all three syllables. I think they go really nicely together.
We believe they all ended up with the name they were meant to have. I’m so thankful that God gave us all of their names.

Birth Story- Leeland Thaddeus

This is the birth story of our fourth child, Leeland Thaddeus, July 15, 2010.

At 1am this morning, I was awakened by contractions. They were coming regularly and mild to painful. I decided to take a shower to see if they would stop or continue. While standing in the shower, I found the contractions to be more painful and to gain in strength. I made my way back to the bed to lay down. It was impossible to rest and the contractions kept coming, so I woke up my husband. “I think I am in labor.” He knew after nearly 8 weeks of contractions of various strength, I would know if I was in labor. He immediately got up and got ready. We called his sister and she made her way to our house so we could leave our two older sons asleep in their beds. I called the midwife on call- Titi and spoke with her at 3:25 am. After I explained what I was feeling to her, we agreed to meet at the hospital.

My husband’s sister arrived at our house and we headed out. We arrived at the hospital just after 4am. My midwife checked my cervix at 4:20am and I was dilated 3.5 cm, 80% effaced and the baby was at a -1 station. I was thrilled. This was the first time out of the 4 pregnancies, I had ever arrived to the hospital in labor and been that far along. I knew I was not going to take an epidural. And, I was excited to be able to labor in a completely different way than my previous babies- without constant monitoring, with minimal checking of the cervix and with the freedom to be able to move around.

My midwife gave me an area to walk in the hallway and encouraged me to walk for 30 minutes stopping periodically during a contraction to hold on to the railing, squat a little, moan a lot, and try to relax my muscles and let the baby move down. I tried this for a while and the contractions seemed to get stronger and closer together. I made my way back to my room a few times and after about an hour of laboring this way, I decided I was ready for a change.

My midwife ran the bath water for me and I tried laboring in the tub. It was great. The contractions were still painful and labor was still progressing, but it was so nice to be able to completely relax between contractions. After only 4 contractions, I felt like things had progressed quite a bit and I was nearing the point of needing to push. I got out of the tub and headed toward the bed. I labored there next to the bed for a couple of contractions so they could monitor the baby.

Since I told my midwife I was feeling the desire to push and I sounded like I was feeling this way, she checked my cervix again. This was only the second time for her to check. At this point, I was dilated 8 cm, completely effaced and the baby was at a 0 station. I immediately knew I didn’t have much longer. With my last baby, when I was 8 cm dilated, I actually was 10 cm dilated during a contraction and that meant I could push. I was hoping it was the same with this baby.

My 3 previous babies weighed 8 lbs 5 ounces, 7 lbs 13 ounces, and 8 lbs 10 ounces. When it came time to push with the second 2 babies, it literally took 2 pushes and they were out. It was complete relief from labor. However, this time that didn’t happen. I didn’t know it at the time, but Leeland being 1 lb 10 ounces larger than my previously largest baby made a big difference. I had no idea he was that big. Thank God. Because, that would have been just a little bit intimidating. After considerable effort and a lot of hard prayer, Leeland was born at 6:37am.

He was blue at first because the cord was compressed. But, they put him right to my chest and gave him oxygen and soon he pinked right up and cried loudly. It was a blessed sound!

He weighed 10 lbs, 4 ounces and is 22 inches long. He’s happy and alert.

Today feels like a dream come true. Leeland is perfectly perfect and he arrived at the perfect time he was meant to. I am thankful to all of you for your prayers and for thinking of us during this time. We’ve felt your love and it has meant so much to us. I am also grateful for my loving husband. He was my support today. He trusted my instincts and was there with me every step and moan and grown along the way. Thank you, Love!

Much love from the EL 6.

I think July 15 is the DAY!!!

I’ve been up since 1am with more painful and regular contractions. I took a shower and they are still coming.
Perhaps it was one of the many labor inducing activities I tried today. Maybe all I needed was to fall asleep in my own bedroom. Or, maybe today was going to be the day regardless. Either way, I’m nervous and
excited that this could be the day.

I’m going to try and rest more now. And, I will update soon.

40 weeks and 2 days

So, I think I am finally ready for this baby to come. I know that most of you, if you’re checking this, are also ready for him to come. You’ve probably been ready for a while. And, your probably losing patience with the waiting. I, on the other hand, didn’t want to go into labor until I could go home from the hospital. Home to my house. Home to my new bedroom. Home to a clean, dust-free, paint smell-free environment. That day has come. The painters are finished. Furniture is ready to be put in my new room and I don’t have to lift a finger to make sure that gets done. I can just go to the hospital, deliver a new baby boy and come home to it all done a couple of days later. Voila!

Now, I don’t know if my body had that much power- to actually keep me from going into labor. It’s possible, I guess. After hurricane Ike, I didn’t want to go into labor until we could move back home and have electricity. I went into labor 3 days after my due date and the second night we were home with the electricity back on.

What I am saying is this: Dear body, I am relaxed and ready now. Let’s go to it. July 12, 2010 sounds like a great day to be born, little El4! So, come on! Momma is R-E-A-D-Y!

39 weeks and 6 days

Tomorrow is our “due date!” I can’t believe we’re this close to meeting our newest little family member.

Did you know that fewer than 5% of babies are born on their due date? So, the odds are, we are not having a baby tomorrow. But, who knows? I have a tendency to try and go against the odds at times.

I’m feeling really well currently. I still have contractions a lot, but nothing REALLY painful has started yet. Trinity was born 3 days after her due date. I took the week off from yoga this week, because I really didn’t want to have the baby until I could come home to my new bedroom from the hospital. The painters finished today. So, I think I am in the clear to deliver and go home after! If I haven’t had him by Monday, I’ll resume my regular exercise routine (yoga 2-3 times a week) and running after small children. So, maybe that will convince him to come out and see us!

Me, our 21 month old daughter Trinity and Baby El4 at 39 weeks, 4 days

Have You Written a Birth Plan?

I went to visit the Midwives’ Office today and had my “birth plan” with me. Probably 5 or 6 weeks ago I met with one of the Midwives and she asked me if I had one and assured me that they would make every attempt to honor my birth plan if I provided it to them.

Well, I thought this was a wonderful idea.  So, shortly after, I sat down with several large index cards and began writing my birth plan. It was pretty simple. I decorated the top of the page for our fourth baby and wrote on the top that this was a plan with “lots of flexibility.”

The plan is simple:
I want a quiet space to labor with not a lot of chit chat.
I will bring my own music.
I want to try laboring in the tub.
I want to labor naturally with no epidural and no other medications.
I want to be able to move around as much as possible and be monitored intermittently.
I want to have the most support from my husband and depend on him.
I want to have it recorded from a non-invasive area in the room. (behind me somewhere where my husband doesn’t need to hold the camera.)

I think that completes the list. I’ve been carrying my “plan” around with me for weeks. Today, I remembered to give it to the Midwife I met with so she could make a copy and put in my chart. She was so touched and emotional about it. She said that she had never seen a handwritten birth plan. At first I thought she just meant that most people typed them up or had them on their iphones or blackberrys. But, she meant that people didn’t write them at all. She said most of the birth plans she saw were printed from a website and often times the mother hadn’t read the birth plan before bringing it to the midwife. This kind of surprised me. I didn’t really think that I had done anything particularly special.

But, she did. And, she was moved by it and asked if she could make a few copies of it to inspire others. I was happy to let her do that.

I feel really positive about my birth plan, because I know that it is just my plan and not God’s. And therefore, I don’t feel tied down to it. But, it does help me to have some kind of idea of how things may go. And, in the end, I’ll just go with the flow.

I hope you are all doing well. I know it won’t be long now until I am reporting labor and then the arrival of our precious baby boy! Good night, friends.

39 weeks and counting

Well, things are moving along here. I’m still pregnant and feeling pretty good. I had a rough day on Friday night and Saturday. I had so many contractions and I just couldn’t sleep at all. The hardest part is wondering if it’s going to increase and I’m going to meet my sweet baby boy soon or if it’s just more of the same. So far, it’s just more of the same. My parents took the boys for the weekend. And, after having no sleep, it was so nice to be able to rest most of the day yesterday. The boys had fun too. Grandmother took them to the mall to ride the carousel, play on the indoor playground, and they rode the water-taxi. They were so excited to tell me about it. I’m happy that they can go together now, but I miss them terribly.

I have lots planned this week. And, we’ll see how that works out. I know God has His own plan, so we’ll see how mine holds up. I have youth band rehearsal one evening, worship band rehearsal another evening and I’m leading Sunday morning worship at Church on Sunday. I also have an appointment with the Midwives Practice and this Saturday is my due date. I can’t believe it is actually here. I was 3 days past with Trinity. Hopefully we won’t go much longer with this little guy. At least I hope we don’t go more than 41 weeks.

Maddux took this photo of me….I think it is actually artistic… 🙂

My angels

So, as you probably gathered from my last post, me and the three Els have been staying away from home while our house work is being completed. Moustapha is still there and keeping an eye on things.

But, while we are away, the most amazing thing has been happening. All three Els are sleeping in the same room. Trinity- 21 months, is in the crib. Maddux- 3 1/2, is on a blowup bed on the floor. And, Bakri- 5, is sleeping on a twin bed. It’s not just the miracle of them sleeping together. Bakri and Maddux share a room, so they sleep together every night. But, adding Trinity to the mix and it being successful was a pleasant surprise to me.

Here’s are routine for the last 4 nights:

The kids eat dinner. The kids get a treat of watching a movie. The kids go to their room. We do all of our bathroom stuff and then everyone lays down in their beds and I turn out the lights. I sit in a rocking chair and tell them a quick story. Then I sing a lullaby to them and they each sing one to me….Maddux first, then Bakri, then Trinity. We pray and then I give them each a hug and a kiss and they say “goodnight, mommy” as I walk out the door………And……..that’s it.

After that, I don’t hear a peep from them. I am so blessed. Last night I actually slept all night long without any interruptions and didn’t wake until morning.

As for Baby El4….we’re still moving along. No activity yet. Tomorrow I will be 39 weeks pregnant. Yippee! Shouldn’t be more than 2 weeks before our baby arrives. I can’t wait.