Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Gem of an Author

Do you know Lorilee Craker? She is an author that I have only recently (as in, during the past few years) discovered; but, wow, do I ever enjoy her books!

The first one I read was We Should Do This More Often: A Parents' Guide to Romance, Passion, and Other Prechild Activities You Vaguely Recall. I can't think of another book to compare it to, but suffice it to say that it was really good and I highly recommend it!

After that, I read When the Belly Button Pops, the Baby's Done: A Month-by-Month Guide to Surviving (and Loving) Your Pregnancy. I read that early in my last pregnancy and thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine, except I liked Craker's book much better because it lacked the one huge flaw I found in Iovine's book: a significant amount of disrespect to husbands. (I know it's easy, common, and completely "normal," as pregnant women, to make fun of how husbands relate to pregnancy, but I also feel strongly that it's incredibly worldly and disrespectful; and when I read The Girlfriends' Guide..., I was really bothered by the way the author seemed to tear down husbands, rather than encouraging her readers to build up and respect their God-given partners.)

The latest Craker book I've gobbled up is O for a Thousand Nights to Sleep: An Eye-Opening Guide to the Wonder-Filled Months of Baby's First Year. I've been reading it while nursing Tobin; and even though the book is laid out month-by-month and I technically should have waited for the corresponding month of Tobin's life, I couldn't help but read ahead and finish the book as fast as I could. Since I'm going through all of these stages of mothering for the 3rd time, it wasn't as if I learned so much brand-new information; but it was truly delightful to read Lorilee's take on mothering an infant from birth to a year of age. She is so down-to-earth, spiritual without being the least bit stuffy, and able to present both sides of the often divisive issues of parenting (like breast- v. bottle-feeding or child-directed v. parent-directed feeding, etc.) without animosity. Plus, she's so funny that several times I literally had to laugh out loud...which is an odd thing in the middle of the night when no one else in the house is awake except for me and the little bundle of joy drinking my milk (who is only half-awake but is really drinking in his sleep). When the laughter bubbled up in me, I knew I should probably contain it so I didn't startle Tobin too badly...but when I stayed quiet, the laughter made my whole body shake so badly that he probably wondered what in the world was going on and why this crazy lady didn't let him eat in peace as he bobbed his head back and forth, trying to stay attached to the convulsing source of his milk. That is what Lorilee Craker's books do to me!

On a more serious note, in the section called "You Hold the Baby; Let Jesus Hold You," Lorilee included a verse that I had heard before but had not read or thought of for a while. "Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children." - Lamentations 2:19 I needed to be reminded of this as I deal with strange, senseless, new-mom anxieties about the health of my newborn (like whether or not Tobin is blind or will go blind), as well as not-so-new-mom anxieties about the spiritual condition of my children (like whether or not David will ever learn to obey and stay in his bed when it's time to sleep and whether or not Josiah will ever be willing to bow his head to God and give up his intense desire to be in control of his own life). I hope a year from now, if I read back over this list, I'll laugh out loud about it and think, "Why did I ever worry about that???" But for now, in the moments of unfounded fear that creep up on me, it's comforting to do like the above verse says: to pour out my heart and to lift up my hands to the One who holds me close to His heart.

First Haircut

Tobin had his first haircut yesterday. "So soon?" you might wonder. "At only 18 days old???" Well, what can I say? That's what happens when your daddy is a barber. :)

Actually, Jeff has given all of our boys haircuts when they were very young; and it's a deliberate (and wise) strategy: this way, when they're a year or two or three old, they'll be so familiar with the feel and sound of scissors and clippers that they won't be scared of or fight against haircuts! So far, it's worked very well with Josiah and David; and they both think it's a treat to go to the barbershop and have Daddy cut their hair--unlike some children Jeff has to deal with.

With Tobin yesterday, Jeff trimmed the hair around his ears and cut some off the back--just enough to make it a little neater. Tobin still has quite a head of hair though! And, by the way, Tobin did great through the haircut. I think he cried once, but quickly quieted down and relaxed in his daddy's arms and lap.


If you looked around and thought something was missing on this blog, you were right. After much deliberation, I decided to simply delete the last post because of the unforeseen and completely unintended controversy that it generated. It's not that I think all controversy is bad; but when I offend someone, I at least want it to be about some deep conviction of mine, not simply a joke! :) In this case, the last thing that I wanted to do was cause offense to anyone or misrepresent my devotion to my Lord so it seemed the prudent choice was to simply erase those words.

For those who were offended, I'm sorry; and I ask your forgiveness.

For those who rushed to my defense, thank you. I'm glad you see the love of Jesus in my life.

And for my husband, you're a funny guy. The one reason I did NOT want to erase the post was because of your comment. That was obviously the best part of the whole thing!

Now, on to happier things... :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

His Name

Tobin Ezra, 16 days old...
New Mom, in a comment left on the post Q & A, asked a very good question (actually, two)--the meaning of Tobin's name and our process for choosing it. I had been intending to write a post specifically about this, so I'm glad she asked that question and nudged me to do it now!

The easy part of his name to decide on was his middle name: Ezra. Ezra is my dad's middle name, and also the middle name of my brother Doug. In Jeff's family, the tradition is that the firstborn son carries the father's first name as his middle name--hence, Josiah Jeffrey. The second son gets the paternal grandfather's first name for his middle name--David Wallace, since Jeff's dad's name was Wallace. The third son, according to family tradition, gets the maternal grandfather's first name as his middle name...but we decided to change it a bit and give Tobin his grandpa's middle name instead.

The name "Ezra" is from the Hebrew; in fact, it is a very literal transliteration of the Hebrew word for "help"--the only difference is that, in English, we put the accent on the first syllable and, in Hebrew, it's put on the second syllable. The same Hebrew root word is used in Genesis 2:18 to describe the role of a woman for her man, and it is also used in Psalm 46:1 to describe God's role of being a helper for us. It's NOT a "lowly" word; and ever since I learned from one of my professors in college about that connection between God's role and a woman's role, I have taken even greater delight in functioning in that way for my husband.

When we thought about our 3rd son, we were thrilled to have him carry on this family name (which actually began with my great-grandfather, I believe)--and thrilled to have such a special, significant meaning for his middle name.

And now for in the world did we ever come up with that name??? :)

If you've been following along with this blog, you might remember this post, written back on September 11 when I was 21 weeks pregnant, in which I described the process of searching for a name. I also included a list of possible names that Jeff had sent to me one night after he searched the internet for possiblities...after he figured out that 1) we liked names that originated from Hebrew (even if they weren't technically in the Bible), 2) I favored names that ended in "n", and 3) I usually liked 2 syllable names. Jeff searched--and one of the names he found that night was Tobin. In that previous post, I mentioned that one of the names on that list stood out to me and I went to bed that night thinking that we had a name!!! That name was Tobin. The next day I discovered Jeff wasn't so sure...

For weeks Jeff vascillated on his choice of a name, and it finally came down to Tobin and a name beginning in B. I was rooting for Tobin, but trying to be a supreme example of a submissive wife...and I really would have been OK with the other name. But I was so happy when Jeff came home with Josiah and David one night and told me about a conversation they had in the car. When Jeff asked them which name they liked, David said immediately (and repeatedly, in the days to come), "I like Tobin. I like Toby." Well, "Toby" wasn't what we were after; but I wasn't surprised that he liked that name because one of the engines in the Thomas the Tank Engine series is named Toby. :) But his declaration that he liked Tobin did seem to sway Jeff's opinion somewhat (thank you, David!); and in my pregnancy journal for Week 30, I wrote this: "Nov. 12 - Jeff sent me an email from work on this Monday morning, saying, 'I think I have decided that Tobin is the name...can we make it a decision?' Oh, yes, we absolutely can!!!!! I love, love, love your name, little Tobin Ezra Fisher!!" :)

Tobin means "God is good." In Hebrew, the word for good is "tov," and since the "b" and "v" sounds are somewhat interchangeable when dealing with Hebrew and English, when I hear the name "Tobin," it immediately reminds me of the word for "good." The form of this name found in the Bible is "Tobiah" which is the Hebrew form--and literally means "God is good"--and the Greek form "Tobias" comes from that. "Tobin" is actually an Irish form of this name which made it even more special to me because, after Hebrew names, Irish ones are what I like best (maybe because of the good Irish blood on my mother's side!).

Besides the origin and the meaning of this name, I fell in love with it because it's different but not so weird that people will forever be asking how to pronounce or spell it. When my parents gave me an unusual name, I think they predestined me to like and seek out other unusual names. :) The fact that we don't actually know any other Tobins made me like the name even more.

One of the interesting things about the past two weeks is that as I look at Tobin, I occasionally think, "He could have been B-----" or another name. With both Josiah and David, there was never any question about what their names would be, so I never had that kind of thought with either of them. But with Tobin, I realize that for a while, his name really was up in the air, and it really could have been something else. But I am so very grateful and satisfied--unspeakably so--that his name is Tobin. He is a constant reminder of the goodness of God.

Sweet Slippers

Since Tobin is our first winter baby, I finally have a good reason to put tiny little slippers on a baby's feet. And, boy, am I ever having fun with this! Now I realize that there is actually a purpose for these slippers--not just for decoration, but to actually keep Tobin's toes warm...although it doesn't hurt that his feet are just as cute as a button in these. :)
~ this pair is from our very thoughtful friend Valerie, who sent us these as soon as she found out we were having a boy...the words on the slippers say, "Thank heaven for little boys," and we sure do!!!
~ this pair is from Millie, the kind and talented lady who works at Jeff's barbershop and who made the afghan for Tobin...they are soooo soft and cuddly that we all wish we had a pair like them! :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Q & A

In the days since Tobin's birth, I realize that I have not responded to some of the comments and questions that have been left for recent tonight is catch-up time!

~ About the pics in A Wasted Day... No, I did not Photoshop them; but thanks for asking! :) If I did know how to use that program and if I had edited the photos, I would have taken a wee bit more off my tummy!!! I have been grateful for my diminishing size though. Even though I have about 15 pounds I'd like to lose, I was able to squeeze myself into a pair of my non-maternity jeans today, for the first time. It wasn't exactly the most comfortable thing in the world for my body, but it was very comforting for my mentality! :)

~ In The Story, Part Three... Foxy5 asked some questions--first, if Tobin looks like either Josiah or David. First of all, I'd have to say that I'm not very good at figuring that out, especially when it's my own children. But here's what we're thinking at this point. Jeff thinks Tobin has his own unique look which I think is kind of a surprise to Jeff because he was expecting Tobin to favor one or the other of the boys in his looks. My neighbor Wilma says that Tobin looks like Josiah in the eyes and bridge of the nose--and like David in his mouth and chin. I think Tobin definitely does not look like David in the eyes; David had such BIG eyes that it was almost all I noticed about him when I looked at him as a baby. And that's all I have figured out!

Second, she asked whether Josiah and David had hair like Tobin's when they were born. All of them were born with hair so we've never had any baldies, and all of their hair was relatively dark at birth. But neither Josiah nor David had hair as thick as Tobin's. As you can tell from the pictures on the blog, Josiah's hair has lightened since birth...and David's hair definitely has! In fact, I remember vividly how all his dark hair fell out and his new light blonde hair started coming in. So I don't expect Tobin to keep his dark hair forever, but who knows? Isn't genetics a funny thing though--how offspring from the same gene pool can be so unique??? :)

Third, she asked how nursing is going. On the one hand, it's going really well. Tobin latches on great, sucks very strongly, pees and poops plentifully :), and is gaining weight just fine. I don't take those things for granted so I'm very, very grateful for that. However...on the other hand...nursing HURTS. It was this way with Josiah and with David, so I didn't expect anything different this time around. But wowie, when he latches on, I have about a minute or two of intense pain which, fortunately, subsides after that point. When I was learning how to breastfeed Josiah, I thought I must be doing something wrong because of the pain; but after numerous consultations with laction consultants and regular attendance at a very helpful breastfeeding support group, I realized that even though I was doing everything correctly, it just flat-out hurt for me, and that's the way it would be. Fortunately, after a few months of nursing Josiah, the pain went away. Same with David. So I'm looking forward to that with Tobin, too! But for now, I grit my teeth and bear it, knowing that a moment of pain is worth it for all the benefits of breastfeeding. I hope someday my children thank me for this!!! :)

~ In The Big Brothers, I alluded to the fact that Josiah and David were going through some "adjustment" to the changes in our family. In brief, this is how we saw them deal with it (and this was primarily during the first week). Josiah, always Mr. Command Man, became even more determined to be in control and tell everyone what to do. For example, one evening shortly after Tobin was born, we were heating some food in the oven and some juice spilled onto the bottom of the oven and started smoking, causing the smoke alarm to go off. Josiah raced around, shouting orders, telling us exactly how we should handle the situation...and I, upstairs feeding Tobin, heard Josiah doing this and thought, "Dear boy, don't you think we will take care of this? You don't have to carry this burden on your shoulders!" David, on the other hand, in the week after Tobin's birth, suddenly developed the whiniest voice imaginable. When I listened to him talk, I thought to myself, "Was his voice this whiny a week ago? Has it been this way all along, and I just didn't realize it? Because this is really annoying!" So that's how we saw the boys deal with the adjustment. :)

Enough for now...I've got a hungry little guy upstairs who needs his last drink of milk before settling in for the night...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two Weeks, Too Precious

Happy two-week birthday, dearest Tobin!
One of the women who works at Jeff's barbershop, Millie, made this beautiful crocheted blanket for Tobin. I love it!!! It's so special to have a hand-made, just-for-Tobin baby afghan...and of course, blue IS my favorite color. ;)

~ Tobin wasn't too thrilled about his photo shoot this morning, so I tried to take pictures when his dear face wasn't too contorted from crying :)

~ I love these wee little socks, with stars on them

~ he wasn't sure whether to open his eyes or not for this picture~ of course, the big brothers had to get in on the action :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Guests and Gifts

We have been richly blessed during the past week and a half with friends who have come to visit and have brought dinners and/or other gifts. When I have time, I want to backtrack a little and post about previous visitors...but for now, I'll just put up these pictures from today.
~ Janet Blosser, the director of children's ministry at our church...she came bearing flowers for me (well, for all of us, but mostly me!) and a sticker/activity book for Josiah and one for David...the boys thoroughly enjoyed their new books and stayed occupied with them most of the afternoon and early evening after naptime
~ the beautiful flowers from Janet
~ I love the container that the flowers are in!
~ Josiah and David working on a sticker book together...Josiah offered to help David with his; and for quite a long time, they worked very peacefully together...moments like that are treasured by this mommy! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow Pictures

I'm seizing some quiet moments this afternoon to work on catching up with our digital pictures. Staying on top of organizing them is a constant challenge for me, it seems! In any case, as I came across these pictures from our snow last week, I realized I had not posted any, so even though they're not current, here they are anyway. :)

~ Josiah wanted to help me on this afternoon, and he suggested that he could shovel the snow off the front walk for me with his very own small snow shovel that my parents had gotten for him...this was a first for him, but only a taste of what he will do in future years, I'm sure! :)
~ when Jeff got home from work (and finished shoveling our walk and the front walk at my dad's office), he took two eager boys for some sled rides
~ and then it was time to build a snowman...see how David "helps" Jeff roll the base...Josiah was lagging behind to scoop up snowballs and throw them at Jeff's back :)
~ Josiah went off to gather gravel for the snowman's face...I love how David is stretching up as high as he can, trying to see exactly what his daddy is doing up at the top of the snowman
~ the finished snowman!

A Cradle for Tobin

Some years ago, while our Old Order Mennonite neighbor was recovering from back surgery, he made a cradle for his youngest daughter who used it for the first few months of her life until she grew out of it, and then the cradle was stored in their attic. When our neighbors found out we were expecting, they offered to lend us this cradle, if we were interested...and since we said yes, they tromped through the snow one night last week to deliver it. It is a beautiful piece of handcrafted furniture; and even more than that, there's LOVE in it. We're very glad to add to the loving memories of a little baby sleeping sweetly and playing cheerily in this cradle!

~ Josiah rocking the cradle gently while Tobin slept yesterday

Details, Details

First, a silly picture of my painted toenails shortly after delivery. I can't say that I thought about them much as I was pushing Tobin out, but I do believe I noticed them when I was relaxing in the jacuzzi shortly before his birth. :)

And now, the "important" stuff...

For the past week and a half, I've been jotting down notes about various random details from the delivery and the days following. These are things which may not mean much to other people, but I don't want to forget them! I wish now that I had written more of these things down after the births of Josiah and David, so I guess I'm trying to make up for that now by recording every little piece of the play-by-play account of Tobin's birth that I can possibly think of!


On Saturday morning, the day Tobin was born, as Jeff was dressing to go to work, he asked me if the clothes he was wearing would be OK if Tobin was born that day. At that point, of course, there was no indication that this was THE DAY, so I thought it funny that Jeff asked that question. But he knew that, when the day came, I would think about what he was wearing and would want it to be clothes that I liked for the pictures we would take. I gave him my wifely seal of approval on his clothes, and he headed off to work. Little did we know those would really be the clothes in the all-important first pictures with Tobin. :)


In the week(s) preceding Tobin's birth, we had all been trying to figure out when I would give birth based on my behavior. If I was energetic and accomplished much of anything, it was labeled "nesting"--and surely, a baby would soon follow. When this had happened a few times, I gave up all hope of that being any sort of clue! But, as it turns out, the week before his birth, I had a very energetic day on Monday and got a lot of stuff done, followed by tired days the rest of the week...until Friday when I had an urge to work hard and finish some projects. That morning, I called my mother and said, "I feel selfish for asking this, but do you think you could come up and help me some today?" She said she'd be delighted to do that. :) So we tackled my huge mountain of laundry and got that done, as well as some other little projects I'd been wanting to do. It was nice to go to bed that evening with a real sense of accomplishment. The next day was Saturday, and I had an urge to hard-boil more than a dozen eggs, just to have on hand for quick meals. Before I could even get them peeled after they cooked, my water broke and labor began and Tobin was born. My mother had to finish that project for me when she got back here from the hospital after his birth; and when I came home the next day, I was glad to see a big bowl of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator. During that first busy, hormonal week, it was so nice to be able to grab one or two of those for a easy, nutritious meal.

Anyway, between the laundry and the eggs, was that nesting? Or was I just being myself??? :)


When I went into labor with Josiah, Jeff took fairly extensive notes about when exactly I had contractions and how long they lasted. I'm sure I still have that paper somewhere which he used to record all that data. For this labor however, these were the only notes he took:
And that's it! I was so completely NOT focused on the contractions that he would have to ask me whether I was having one and I'd have to stop and think about whether I was or not. It was really nice to not be obsessed with them this time around. :)


When I got into the first position to push (kneeling on the lowered bottom part of the bed), we were interrupted by a cheery voice at the door of my room, calling out, "Room service!" (Hmm...anybody want to take a break and grab some dinner? It's OK--really--we can have this baby later!) I was glad that interruption didn't occur about a half an hour later when I was REALLY pushing!


As I had read other women's birth stories, I had often seen mention of the "ring of fire" that many women feel as they push; but I had never consciously experienced that with my other deliveries. Notice I said "consciously," because obviously I must have felt it...but didn't realize it or think about it in terms of a "ring of fire." Now however, I can definitely say that I know exactly what that means--and how that feels!

If I remember correctly from what I've read, some women experience a sense of relief when they hit the ring of fire stage--almost as if the pain goes away and they simply feel this intense drive to push. I can't say that I felt it exactly like that, since it was all pretty unbearable at that point. But I did feel encouraged that the end was near.


I had mentioned earlier about the cord position when Tobin was born--across his shoulder and around his waist. The technical term for that is "bandolier," so my father informed me...and it seems to be fairly rare. Dad said that in his 700+ deliveries (when he was delivering babies years ago), he had never delivered a baby with the cord in that position. At my 6-week follow-up visit, I want to ask the midwife about her experiences with that.


Speaking of my dad, he called us about 10 minutes after Tobin was born. He was at home with Josiah and David, and I'm sure he was just as curious as could be to know what was going on at the hospital and how things were progressing. Jeff took the call and was able to pass along the good news to him, and Dad and the boys were able to come into the hospital that evening to meet Tobin for the first time which was really special. Just like with the room service call, I was very glad that Dad called when he did and not 12 or so minutes earlier! :)


For the first time during one of my deliveries, I was able to listen to music that we took with us. We planned to do that during Josiah's birth; but about half the supplies I had packed for that delivery ended up staying in the car and never being brought into the hospital because once we were admitted, I didn't want Jeff leaving me for a minute to go out to the car again! But this time, we carried in a small CD player and a few CDs; and I LOVED having that music during the labor and for the rest of my time in the hospital. The first CD that I asked Jeff to put on was one of the Christmas gifts he gave me this past year: Dark Yet Lovely by Heather Clark. It is all music from the Song of Songs, and I first became acquainted with it earlier this year at the wedding of a very good friend. The first song on the CD is called "Kisses of Your Mouth," and one of the lines says, "Take me away with You...let's hurry...take me away with You." That was the first song I heard during labor in the hospital, and I did feel "carried away"--it was perfect.

By the time I was ready to push, we were listening to Sara Groves' CD called "Conversations." When the music first started, the midwife remarked about what a beautiful voice Sara has, and I told her who the singer was. Oddly enough, when I was deep in "the zone," focusing on labor and actually wishing I wasn't in it :), the song "Painting Pictures of Egypt" happened to be playing. Here are some of the words from that:

I've been painting pictures of Egypt,
Leaving out what it lacks.
The future feels so hard,
And I wanna go back!
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned.
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned!

Even in my mental fog, I could totally relate to this song!!!
And then these words:

If it comes too quick,
I may not appreciate it.
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
And if it comes too quick,
I may not recognize it.
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

At this point I was hoping with all my might that "it" would come a little quicker! But looking back, I do have to smile at the timing of these words with what I was going through. :)

Later, after Tobin's birth, when I was filled with joy and relief, these words from another Sara Groves song that happened to be playing penetrated my brain:

I love my husband, my house, my job.
Couldn't be any better...

The next day while I was relishing my time with Tobin in the hospital, I enjoyed listening to my "Morning Light" CD by Steve Green, as well as my "Hiding Place" CD by Selah. Overall, it added so much to my experience to have music that I had lovingly chosen weeks in advance as part of it.


And speaking of music, when I awoke in the night--that first precious night--another song was running through my head. It was from a Hermie and Friends Scripture Memory Songs CD that we gave David for Christmas and (I think) we had been listening to over lunch shortly before my water broke. The song is from Psalm 139:13-14--what could be more perfect for a baby's birth?--and the phrase that kept running through my head that night was the chorus of the song, "What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well!" That was a very special time of rejoicing for me.


Another predominant theme in my thoughts that night was thanking God that I was "on the other side." I think my friend Julie has used that phrase to describe being safely through childbirth, and it was exactly what I was feeling. After so much eager anticipation, to finally have given birth and now to have the joy of getting to know Tobin and nurturing him through each day--well, I couldn't stop thanking God for bringing me to the other side!


Tobin was the only baby delivered in our hospital on January 12.

After the delivery, I walked from the birthing room past the nursery to see them giving him a bath and checking him and then on to my recovery room. As we passed the big whiteboard that had the pertinent info for all the patients delivering babies, it was a funny feeling to see only one name on the board: mine. :)

According to the nurses and the midwife, it's either feast or famine in the maternity ward. Sometimes they are simply swamped with delivering moms, and other times it is very slow. I was glad to be there during a slow day!

When I was in my intense half-hour before Tobin's birth, I had worried that I was making too much noise. Jeff told me later that I wasn't actually very loud at all. And as it turns out, there weren't any other delivering moms around for me to disturb even if I had been noisy!

When Josiah was born, I was so worried (irrationally, I know) that he would get switched with another baby. With Tobin's birth, I didn't have to worry about that! (Although, there were two other babies in the hospital that had been born the day before him; but when he was taken to the nursery for a bath and check-up the night he was born, he was the only one in there, so no possiblity of a mix-up!)


While I was having a peaceful first night with Tobin in the hospital, Jeff had come home to a sick boy, David. Unbeknownst to us, after my parents had brought the boys home from seeing us in the hospital, David had thrown up a few times in the kitchen; and my dear mother had gone from the euphoria of seeing a new grandson born to the hands-and-knees drudgery of cleaning up after another grandson. During that night, David continued to throw up--I think it was at least 3 more times--so Jeff was kept busy cleaning up David, putting sheets and blankets in the washing machine and finding new ones for the bed, and cleaning up the couch since David threw up on that, too. The funny thing is that David was basically a happy camper, I'm told, through this whole process. He'd be happy, then throw up, then be happy again. And he got 3 baths in the middle of the night, so what's not to be joyful about??? Poor Jeff. He wasn't feeling well himself, yet had no choice but to care for a sick son. In comparison, I had it easy, although I too threw up that night--actually, early the next morning. It seems an abdominal bug attacked our family, hitting Josiah very lightly first (2 nights before Tobin's birth), then hitting the rest of us. Maybe part of the reason that first week was so hard was because of the added burden of sickness. Even though by that time the boys seemed fine, Jeff and I had to deal with being sick ourselves, and that was no fun.

But, boy, was I ever glad to miss out on that first night of David's sickness! ;)


I actually have a few other things I'd like to write about, but it's time to feed Tobin again...and I think this post is long enough already. ;) The other details I want to record are things that I've noticed during this past week and a half at home, so I'll end this section about hospital stuff and go feed my precious baby!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back to School

Today was back to school day in the Fisher household.

It wasn't that I felt the least bit of pressure to jump back into homeschooling. I did realize, however, that my firstborn, who is even more schedule-oriented than I (if that were possible), would probably adjust to the new baby in the house better if some semblance of normality would return quickly to our routine. So today we pulled out a few books and had such fun together: lots of good reading time, snuggle time, doing geography puzzle time, etc. Not a bit of stress attached to it...not a hint of "I must get through this kindergarten work before the end of May"...simply pleasant learning time.
Tomorrow we have a friend coming to visit in the morning, so we may or may not do any schoolwork. But either way is fine! We're flexible...
And, by the way, I've had two good days in a row, so already this week is looking brighter than last week! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Wasted Day...

~ 8 days old, and life is good
A wasted day is one in which I did not...

~ stroke Tobin's soft, soft hair...and smell repeatedly his sweet baby scent

~ take advantage of David's new ability to give kisses to have him kiss my cheek

~ pause to really listen to Josiah and have an in-depth conversation with him about something

~ cuddle with Jeff, now that the (wonderful, extremely helpful) beast of a maternity pillow is not in our bed any longer

Fortunately, today was NOT a wasted day. I think I can put a check mark by all the items on the above list--the most important to-do list I have. :)

Beauty All Around

Jeff took these pictures early this frosty morning. We are in the middle of a cold snap--so different than last weekend's weather. The last time I checked our thermometer, it was 8 degrees outside...makes me just want to stay inside by the woodstove and hibernate with my cubs. :) But even the cold brings beauty to us...
~ frost on our porch window
~ crepe myrtle branches and frost on the windowpane

Who Says Men Can't Multitask?

Jeff proves he can do it all as he simultaneously lies on the couch, keeps Tobin "happy as a clam" on his chest, and reads a story to his two older boys. :)

Jeff's help has been invaluable, and I really cherish the extra dose of family time and togetherness we've had this past week.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Week in Review

Tobin is one week old today.

All day, I've been remembering last Saturday and following the events of that day in my mind. Sitting at the table eating lunch with Josiah and David, I remembered that a week ago, I had no clue that within a short time, my water would break and off we would go to the hospital. Over supper tonight at 6:10 p.m., we talked about how a week ago, I was in the "intense" stage right before Tobin's birth. Such vivid memories...

This week has been a week of adjustment for all of us, and it has certainly had its high points and low points. My personal cycle seems to be one happy day, followed by one sad day, followed by another happy day--back and forth, I've gone all week.

Monday--happy day: first day at home...and other than the fact that Jeff was dealing with the abdominal virus that plagued our family this week, everything was good
Tuesday--sad day: started out at 4:00 a.m. with Tobin spitting up blood--BLOOD!...I called my dad who calmly said it probably came from a burst capillary from breastfeeding and wasn't Tobin's blood...whew! but still...then a trip to town for a doctor's appointment and a few other errands; not a relaxing day...the day ended with David throwing up after dinner and then pooping in the bathtub, and Josiah and I crying in each other's arms on the bathroom floor
Wednesday--happy day: great day, in fact...Jeff was home from work, and his help with the bigger boys was invaluable
Thursday--sad day: because of the snow, Jeff had to go to work because none of the other barbers (except the new girl who came in for a few hours) were able/willing to drive in it...we really missed him that day
Friday--happy day: Jeff had to work part of this day, too...but somehow I was able to feel more confident and successful in taking care of the 3 boys by myself...I think this was the day that Josiah and David spent some time in the morning at my parents' house; maybe that's what made it an easier day for me :)
Today--sad day: inexplicable emotions...tears on the phone with my friend Julie this morning...tears here at home when she brought dinner for us tonight...I am so blessed and very, very grateful...but I'm still a woman with raging postpartum hormones, and sometimes those pesky ole hormones just have to come out in the form of tears, right?

Based on this cycle, tomorrow should be a good day! :)

I forget what day this happened, but one day when Josiah and David were sitting at the table eating lunch, I sat down to feed Tobin...and sure enough, Josiah suddenly needed more milk in his cup. I sighed heavily as I got up to get it for him, and Josiah said, "Maybe we shouldn't have asked God for another baby." Oh, what pain in my heart! To not have Tobin? Unthinkable!

On the other hand, Josiah and David have been unceasingly loving with Tobin. Tonight, we put Tobin in his bouncy seat while we ate dinner; and Tobin was very alert with eyes open, soaking in everything around him. It was his longest, most alert period of time yet; and before they sat down at the table, Josiah and David got down on the floor beside Tobin's seat and talked to him. Then Josiah exclaimed, "He's like a real person!" And later during dinner, David burst out with, "I don't believe it; he's a big white boy!" :)

Ups and downs...highs and lows...and so the rollercoaster continues...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Birthday... this blog. One year old, and counting!!!

It was a year ago to the day that I first began this blog. What a year! So many good times...some hard times...lots of moments to treasure...some puzzling situations to ponder. I'm so glad to have the memories saved in this way.

And I'm even more glad for those of you who have walked this path with me, offering encouragement, insight, laughter, camaraderie, prayers, and the joy of companionship along the way. Thank you with all my heart!

Here's to the next blogging year... :)

The Pictures, Part Three

These pictures are from Sunday night..."welcome home" night. Before Jeff had even carried Tobin up the steps from the garage, both Josiah and David were EAGERLY awaiting them. David kept saying, "I don't believe it!" A very enthusiastic welcome for their little brother... :)
~ the first greeting at home
~ Tobin, bundled up for a winter evening's ride home
~ Josiah was so excited to hold Tobin, something he had been talking about during the last months of my pregnancy
~ of course, David had to hold him, too...even now, David likes to do more than just hold him; he likes to bend his ears, rub his head, touch his mouth, pat his nose, touch his eyes ("David, we don't touch eyes!"), etc...such hands-on love--or maybe just curiosity :)

The Story, Part Three

This is the part where I stop saying "GREAT..." So Bek, Crystal, and Julie (my pregnant readers), if you need to read an easy birth story today, this might not be a good one for you. But the bad pain only lasted about 30 minutes. Is that encouraging? :)

The next position I tried was sitting on a birthing ball, leaning against the bed. At this point, things started getting intense--finally. Until this point, my contractions had been coming pretty far apart still; and even though I enjoyed that, I realized that things needed to escalate a bit in intensity before I would really be able to deliver Tobin. I remember praying that God would even give me more "pain?" or more intensity or more whatever-I-needed so I could finish the job...but I also prayed that His will would be done and that He would guide the timing of it all, because I really was enjoying the break between contractions and the ease of it all. :)

Apparently God thought it was time to turn up the heat; and at this point while I was on the birthing ball, I reached that familiar-to-me phase of craziness from the contractions. I think the midwife and nurses had left the room to give us some time alone...Jeff was rubbing my back with apple-scented lotion...I think my mom was fanning me. And I was thinking--and occasionally, saying--things like...

~ Can I please have some pain medicine now? (Too late for that...)

~ I'd like to pause everything and just have a break. Is that OK with everyone? (Not really...)

~ Maybe if I got back in the tub, this pain would go away. Or maybe I could kneel on the bed again; that was really relaxing. (Don't think it would help...)

~ In any case, I'm just not really ready to do this now, OK? (Sorry, honey, the only way through it is THROUGH it...)

Oh, another thing that was happening during this stage was that I kept yawning, and Jeff commented on it. I really did feel tired and ready for a nap, but I also realized that I was yawning from nervousness. I did the same thing before our wedding--and before my senior recital in college--and when I mentioned this after Jeff noticed my yawns, my mother said that she does the same thing, too, when she's nervous.

The details are a little fuzzy in my head now; but at some point, the midwife and nurses returned, and I asked to try the birthing stool. I was convinced that being in that upright position would help me with the pushing, and it truly did. Jeff sat on the edge of the bed...I was on the birthing stool in front of him, facing away from him...and Barbara was sitting on a low stool on the floor in front of me. I can't imagine that it was a very comfortable position for her, especially when I curled my body around so far that I was practically head-butting her; but of course, she didn't utter a word of complaint. She was AMAZING at having helpful suggestions, but letting me guide this birth experience. I think my mother was standing up to my right, probably still fanning me; but I think she also rubbed my head and hair sometimes. Somebody did, anyway. :) I even remember specifically asking for someone to do that, because that extra touch helped distract me from the pain.

By this point, I was in "the zone"--eyes closed, completely focused internally, hearing voices as from a distance (but definitely being grateful for the encouraging comments that were being made), making laughable comments like: Can you suction him out?...Can you cut me now to get him out faster? (And when Barbara replied that it was too early for that, I thought, "Early??? Haven't we been doing this for hours and hours already?" I had absolutely no concept of time by that point, and I remember feeling bad because I was taking so long to birth this baby and holding up everyone's schedule!) I think one time I even said, "I can't..." or "I don't...", but then I consciously stopped myself because I was trying hard to stay positive about the process. :)

I do remember feeling though that I wished I could be anywhere but there, and I just DID NOT WANT to go through this!!!

Because I was so crazy at this point, I could not even tell when I was having a contraction because the feelings were so strong all the time. At certain times, when I tried to push, I knew I "lost" it because the pain had been so great that I had stopped pushing. But other times, I could definitely feel myself making progress...and that was so encouraging.

I'm being totally honest here, so if this is too much for you, feel free to skip this paragraph. :) When I sat on the birthing stool, I had a hospital gown on...but it kept getting in the way, so Barbara suggested I just take it completely off. So I got to experience a "primitive" birth as far as what I was wearing, so to speak. :) The other silly thing is that I said at one point, "I just feel like I need to poop." And they said, "That's the BABY!" In my head, I thought, "Ahhhh, so that's what it is!" For some reason, I had been feeling like I was going to have to poop, and THEN push the baby out. It seemed easier when I realized that the baby was what I was feeling. :)

Barbara suggested, at one point, that I reach down and touch Tobin's head, which I did, and was shocked by how soft it was. I think somebody commented on how much hair he had. It seemed like FOREVER that I was pushing him out...and Jeff had to practically hold me on the stool sometimes because I just wanted to get off it to get away from the pain! In reality, it was about 15 minutes of pushing (so, so, SO much better than the 2 and 1/2 hours of pushing I had with Josiah, and the 1 and 1/2 hours I had with David), and then...

HE WAS BORN!!! I can't even write that without crying...

I finally managed to open my eyes--and realized I was chanting, "Thank You, God, Thank You, God" over and over--and I noticed that Barbara was quickly clamping his cord, then cutting it, then passing him off to the nurse who took him to the warmer and gave him oxygen (I think that's what was going on). Apparently, the cord had been wrapped, not around his neck, but around his chest--maybe diagonally? There's a technical term for the position it was in, but I wasn't familiar with it and can't remember it now. I guess during the birth, the cord had gotten squeezed so Tobin wasn't very pink at birth and he didn't cry at first; in fact, his Apgar score at 1 minute was only a 4. I remember waiting for what seemed like an eternity to hear him cry; what a sweet, sweet sound when he did! The nurses got him going, he "pinked up" (their terminology) right away, and by 5 minutes, his Apgar was 9.

Meanwhile, I managed to crawl up into the bed, where Barbara delivered the placenta. She took the time to show it to Mother and I and explained a few things about it while she was examining it. She remarked about how big both the cord and the placenta were, and then came the announcement from the nurse about how much Tobin weighed: 8 lbs, 14 oz! I was so surprised! I think the midwife said something right after he was born about what a big boy he was, but I didn't really pay attention or believe her until they told me his weight. Josiah (born at 39 weeks, 6 days) was 7 lbs, 14 oz...and David (born at 38 weeks, 2 days) was 6 lbs, 10 oz...but I really had not thought much about Tobin's weight and did not expect to have an almost-9 pound baby! No wonder I felt huge. :)

My one concern about using the birthing stool had been that several people told me that tears were more likely to occur in that position, so I was eager to hear my condition when Barbara examined me after the birth. I was so happy when she reported that there was only one tiny tear which didn't even need a stitch--unless I particularly wanted to have one (I didn't!). The nurse entered it into my medical record as a "skid mark"--their term for tears that aren't big enough to sew up. With Josiah's birth, I had torn, then had an episiotomy, then tore some more, so had to have stitches, of course...with David, I tore some, and again had some stitches...I was glad this time around to be able to avoid all of that.

One surprise shortly after delivery was that the nurse came at me with a syringe, clearly intending to give me a shot in my leg. I did manage to ask her what it was before she plunged it in. It was Pitocin, given to help my uterus contract. As if I needed help in that department! Wow, those contractions AFTER birth were powerful. I was told that with each successive birth, they get stronger and stronger since the uterus has to work that much harder to return to its original shape. Even this whole week, I've had to deal with some fairly strong contractions when I nurse Tobin, which I know is perfectly normal, but undoubtedly uncomfortable. By today, however, they seem to be less frequent and less intense.

After I got cleaned up and Tobin got thoroughly examined and swaddled, he was brought to me. I always envy Jeff a little because he gets to go over and get the very first glimpses of our babies as he watches all the procedures the nurses do. But when that little blanketed bundle was brought to me and I held Tobin in my arms for the first time...well...there's just nothing like that feeling... Tears again...happy, happy tears...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Big Brothers

During this week of adjustment, it's been "interesting" to see how Josiah and David have responded. That's a whole other topic that I don't have time to write about here...

But one of the very fun things that Jeff did for the big boys was to set up our tent in the middle of the living room--a simple idea, but a great one, because it's given them a new area in which to play and new adventures to enjoy. For example, one day I showed up in the living room and noticed two of my kitchen pans with dinosaurs in them. I guess the boys had been cooking a meal for their camp-out and decided to have a little dinosaur meat. Wonder what that would have tasted like... :)

~ David wrote this all by himself...can you tell what it is?...J-O-S-I-A-H...the first word David wrote...I'm so proud, but David was tearily disappointed because the "H" didn't turn out the way he wanted because of the way the erasing mechanism on this board was blocking his room to write...but I think it's fantastic

Winter Wonderland

I wanted a winter baby; and, boy, did I get one! It seems like now that Tobin has been born, winter has arrived, too. On Monday, the day after we got home from the hospital, we awoke to a skiff of snow covering everything. It soon melted; but the next day, we had a brief period of snow which fell fast and furiously, but again melted away within a short amount of time.

Today, however, we got our first sizable snow of the year, and these pictures show some of the views from our house. Josiah and David can hardly wait to get out in it and play!!!
~ birdhouse on a fencepost, with a chewed-on-by-calves Christmas tree beside it
~ from our front window
~ looking towards the neighbor's pasture and forest
~ our snow-covered holly

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Pictures, Part Two

~ I loved this little cap Tobin wore in the hospital, with its cheerful tuft of blue yarn :)
~ dressing Tobin to go home
~ in his own clothes for the first time
~ one happy mama leaving the hospital with one amazing bundle of joy

The Story, Part Two

When we got to the hospital, we parked in the lot across the street and walked to the emergency room entrance (the entrance we had been instructed to use). I was enjoying the sunshiny air and was feeling GREAT.

Inside, one of the workers quickly got me into a wheelchair; and when I explained that I really could walk, she insisted that she would really prefer if I rode! I noticed--and Jeff commented on--the fact that the wheelchairs are LARGE to accommodate all sizes of people. I actually felt small in it--a strange feeling for me after so many months of pregnancy growth. After a brief check-in process, I was wheeled through the hospital and up the elevator to the family birthplace where I was allowed to walk the last few steps into the birthing room (#324).

All this time, I was having contractions but not timing them at all...and in fact, not even paying much attention to them. I continued to feel GREAT.

When we got to the room, we met our nurse Becky; but actually, before we even heard her name, another nurse, Cindy, came up to us and said, "You look familiar." And we realized how we knew each other (I first met her and her daughter in the library when they had just moved to town, several years ago...her family had come to our house for dinner a very long time ago...the boys and I had gone to her house for a playdate once...but we had lost touch, and I had always felt a pang of regret about that...since then, she had had a baby, and I was about to have one!). Barbara, the midwife, showed up; and we all had a jolly time standing around the room meeting each other and chatting. It was really fun--and didn't feel at all like I was soon going to deliver a baby. :)

Eventually, we got down to business. I changed into a hospital gown, and Barbara examined me. I was delighted to hear that I was already at 8 centimeters dilated. I still felt GREAT (and I'm consciously repetitively capitalizing it because that's really how I felt--"GREAT"--not just "great"!). The only hard part of this stage of labor was when the nurses tried to stick me to draw some blood and insert a hep-lock (I think it's called) in case I needed an IV (which I never did need). First, Cindy tried, after commenting about how great my veins were and how nicely they stood out. She got the needle in, but no blood came out. So then she remarked about how many valves my veins have and how that makes it difficult. So Becky tried, with no better results. Meanwhile, I'm watching all of this as I sat in a rocking chair...then suddenly realizing, "I don't feel very well!" I thought I might pass out, but with the help of some ice to suck on and my mother fanning me with Grandma's fan (that fan has history!), I pulled through. Jeff said later, "I saw you watching them and wondered why you were doing that!" :) After that, another nurse, Tammie, came in who seemed to be the pro at sticking people. She switched hands to stick me (in my left instead of my right)...I didn't watch...and she got it. Whew!

Then I was free to choose my next activity. I thought about walking the halls a little bit; but when someone suggested getting in the jacuzzi, I quickly decided that sounded even better! The nurse drew the water for me, and I got in and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I felt--you guessed it--GREAT! Jeff sat in the bathroom, too, since someone had to stay in there with me to make sure I was OK; and we had such fun talking about random things. My mother was reading a book I had brought along with me. I don't know what the nurses and midwife were up to, but eventually the midwife came and examined me--while I was in the tub (that was a funny moment!)--and said I was at 10! Wow!!! I didn't have a strong urge to push--and I did NOT want to get out of the tub yet--so she let me stay in there. Then she sat in the bathroom with us, too, and we all had a nice chat. Such fun! :)

Eventually, I realized that I was probably only postponing the inevitable, so I decided I'd better get out of the tub and get the show on the road. Barbara suggested that I try a position where I could kneel on the bottom part of the bed which had been lowered, and lean against the rest of the bed. It was a very comfortable position--so comfortable, in fact, that I could only relax and not really push at all. That wasn't exactly what I was aiming for! At some point, I remember remarking about how surreal all of this seemed. It still honestly did not seem like soon I would deliver my son.

And, oh, by the way, I felt GREAT.


I have every intention of writing the next installment of Tobin's birth story tonight. Of course, I had that same intention yesterday; and look where it got me: nowhere near the computer! But I think I'll have time tonight...

Before I do that, I thought I'd share the current state of events.
~ Jeff, Josiah, David, and my parents are at a meal and conversation at our church
~ Tobin and I are enjoying the peace and quiet here at home
~ Tobin is hanging out in this bouncy seat, resisting all efforts to wake him many babies, he seems to have his days and nights mixed up...which makes for easy days, but oh, the nights!
~ I could stare at him for hours, and just thinking about him makes me cry--what an indescribably precious gift

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Pictures, Part One

~ no lengthy captions tonight: just names...Barbara, the wonderful midwife, Tobin, and me

~ the proud papa with his littlest son

~ Grandma, an extremely important part of our support team

~ Josiah and David meeting Tobin for the first time
~ the proud grandpa who did a great job of caring for Josiah and David while we were at the hospital giving birth...and who got to live up to his name (being a "herald" of good news) the following day when the rest of us were either too sick or too tired or too preoccupied to spread the news much! but more about all of that later...

The Story, Part One

I'm certain I will not have time to write the complete story of Tobin's birth in one sitting, but little by little, I'll get it out. :)

On Saturday afternoon, I was planning to take a nap while the boys slept; but about 1:30 p.m., Jeff had a customer that didn't show up for his appointment so Jeff took the opportunity to call me just to see how things were going. On my way to answer the phone, my water broke. (Although, because it's never happened to me that way before, I wasn't exactly sure if that was really it or not because it didn't all gush out at once, so I told Jeff, "I think my water just broke, but I'm not really sure!")

After that, I talked to the midwife, Barbara; and that's when she said I could wait at home for a while to see what would happen. I remember asking her, "Do you think I should lie down and try to get some rest or stay active?" And she answered by predicting that things would move along fairly quickly, and she didn't think I'd have time for a nap. She was right. :)

My parents were in town that afternoon, doing some shopping, so I called them and told them what was going on, just to keep them updated. But I urged them to go ahead with their plans: "You can still go to Costco; don't worry about coming home yet." They didn't follow my advice, but instead came home fairly quickly, arriving about 2:10 p.m. They were right. :)

Jeff cancelled his last few appointments of the day and got home around 2:15 p.m. I took a shower, and my parents and Jeff were busy talking about arrangements for transportation, childcare details for Josiah and David, etc. By this time, I was starting to notice some contractions; but they weren't difficult at worse than the many contractions I had in the lead-up to Saturday. But for some reason, I was starting to have a mild sense of urgency about getting in to the hospital--and my dad was beginning to have a much stronger sense of urgency about it! :) I really wasn't planning to go to the hospital that early at all, but as it turned out, it was perfect timing. Around 3:00 p.m. we left here for the 10-15 minute drive to the hospital.

Before we left, I jotted down a few of my thoughts:
~ Jeff had been short-staffed at work recently and had a "help wanted" sign posted for a while...on Thursday, a woman had come in, inquiring about a job; and she was very qualified and had actually started working on Friday...things were going so well with her, and the timing couldn't have been better as far as her being available to cover some of the gap left by Jeff taking off work
~ a year ago on January 12, my brother Doug's mother-in-law, Marie, died from a brain tumor...and now on this year, our baby was apparently about to be born (when I was first thinking about this) interesting juxtaposition...earlier in the day on Saturday, Josiah and I had been talking about the cycle of life, and how someday, when he has children, Jeff and I will be grandparents--and then someday, when Josiah's children have children, Josiah will be a grandpa, have had that conversation, and then be reminded so forcefully about the cycle of life, was very interesting to me
~ the last food and drink I had before leaving home for the hospital was salt & vinegar potato chips and sweet, cold mint tea--a great pregnancy combo, kind of like pickles and ice cream :)

Since we went to the hospital in my parents' car (so my dad would have the minivan with the car seats to bring Josiah and David to the hospital later), my mother drove; and I sat on a seat covered with plastic and a towel, since I was still leaking amniotic fluid--a strange sensation. :) The day was sunny, beautiful, and warm for January. It was the first time I have ever made that all-significant trip to the hospital during daylight hours; and I was amazed that people were out and about, going about their business, completely unaware that I was going to the hospital TO HAVE A BABY!!! :)

More later...

Sunday, January 13, 2008


We are OVERJOYED at the birth of Tobin Ezra Fisher!!!

Birthday: January 12
Time: 6:37 p.m.
Weight: 8 lbs. 14 oz.
Length: 19 3/4 inches

There is so much more to many more pictures to share. But for tonight, I'm just going to enjoy this little miracle! Hopefully, the birth story will follow tomorrow... :)