Mother’s Day Thoughts

May is here, and the outdoors are alive with tree buds, tulips, and fresh cut grass. Just as exciting, as of today we can gaze thankfully across our newly finished planted fields. They may not look very alive to the average passerby, but buried in the black soil I know little seeds are starting to germinate. It won’t be long before straight green rows appear.

May also means Mother’s Day. Of course for me this is the first time I will experience it as a mom. 

As a new #dairymom I was asked to share some of my thoughts along with other dairy moms and grandmas. The result is some touching words and pictures. I hope you’ll check out the full post below.

Dairy Moms Make Mother’s Day Memories
  
Did you pick out my baby above on the top right??

 

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DIY Newborn Photos

Before our little man was born multiple people suggested we do newborn photos with a baby calf. I wasn’t totally sure about the logistics, but I filed it away in my brain as a good idea. It could be fun when the time came. Right??

Shortly after the little man arrived JR’s sister gifted us a knit cow hat and bottom. This sealed the deal on what he would wear for said newborn calf photos. We didn’t schedule any professional maternity or newborn pictures, so I hoped these would be nice. Or at least that they wouldn’t turn into a complete disaster. Given the animal component on the farm I felt as confident in our ability to get good pictures as anybody. 

While JR and I carefully managed calf and baby we took turns snapping away from different angles. We did the pictures on April 15th with a heifer calf born the night before and our 19 day old son. 

Some notes: The calf needed to poop several times, and calves don’t do diapers. At least not well.  Calves also do not know what to make of a baby crying. Fortunately their instinct at this age is to burrow down further and hide. Once the tears intensified all parties were ready to be done. 

First, a few candids:

    

 
 Now for some of my favorites:

     
  

   
The most wrinkly baby!   

 
(1 new baby + 1 new calf) x (lots of patience + a little luck) = numerous images & newborn photoshoot success.

And that is the story of how we did newborn photos. 

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Visiting the farm and other outings

After a few days at home it was time for me to check on things at the farm – and more importantly – for Griffin to make his first visit. 

I promise I didn’t do any heavy lifting. We went on Friday, April 1st, and I checked on newborn calf records, caught up on entering data in the computer, walked through the calf barns, and talked to several employees. It felt weird to be in the barn as though everything was normal. These days almost seem like a dream, but then I look at my sweet boy resting in his car seat and know it is real. I am a mom now and forever. 

The real fun of our visit was walking around the farm with Griffin and showing him things. I know you’re looking forward to this picture tour too… 

   
 Thumbs up! 

   

    

Calvin was proud to lead the way around the farm and stay close to baby. Both he and Boo are settling in really well with the newest member of the family. We still watch them closely and we’ve laid down a lot of ground rules, but you can tell they already respect him as part of our little ‘pack.’ 

     
  

I hope our little guy likes animals! I feel truly fortunate that Griffin is also happy in the car. Even on trips home when he is impatient and hungry he will usually ride quietly as long as the car is moving. 

Yesterday both JR and I took him shopping, and he handled the noise and activity like a pro. Until he got wet and hungry. I took a quick break to nurse and change him – in the backseat of the car no less – and he was happy enough until we got to the checkout line. I think we were both terrified he would cry the whole forty minute drive home, but once the wheels were in motion he  settled right in. Until we hit a stoplight. On cue he would start fussing each time we stopped at a red but calm down as we started moving again. We are lucky most of the drive was uninterrupted four lane! 

He is now two weeks old and we’ve actually done quite a bit of traveling including multiple trips to the farm, two doctor’s appointments, church, and a few shopping trips. 

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around everything that’s changed in the past two weeks or even articulate how I feel. The tiredness is definitely real, especially because he’s such a night owl. I am sore and jiggly, and that is also real. I didn’t realize what a luxury it was to shower, brush my teeth, and pee without being interrupted. These things are basically non-issues compared to the magic of snuggling my little baby. Or just as good, watching him snuggled up and happy on JR’s chest. 

There is a lot to do at home, at the farm, and everywhere, but I know I won’t get these precious days back. I could simply hold this baby all day long and never tire of it. So for now I’m working on striking a balance between doing enough of the basics and soaking up every happy second with my son. 

Posted in Baby Calf Care, Being a Mom, Boo the bulldog, Calvin, Family Fun | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

An Easter Baby

Easter morning this year dawned white and crisp. A few inches of fresh snow fell overnight, and it was beautiful. The ground was wet, not frozen, temperatures were expected to warm up throughout the day, and I knew the snow wouldn’t last long. We had several new calves born at the farm, and I tried my best to hustle through chores so we wouldn’t be late for Easter church.

I made a few notes of animals to check on when I got back to the farm, and then I showered and put on my only still fitting long cotton maternity dress.

Sitting quietly in the pews at church I took in the music and the sermon, but I kept thinking about how my belly was getting more and more painful. I’d been having more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions the past week, and I wondered how much different they felt than the real thing. 

As JR and I climbed into the car he remarked I seemed pretty uncomfortable during church. I told him I’d call the clinic Monday if it kept up, and we pulled out of the parking lot. 

Several minutes later I knew I wouldn’t be calling the clinic on Monday. We were going to the hospital. Now. My water had broken.

Less than five minutes later I walked into the hospital entrance with JR close behind. They asked me how far along I was, and I nervously answered, “38 weeks 2 days,” as I tried to process the situation. I was going to have a baby very soon. Maybe even an Easter baby.

They got me settled in a room  and started taking vitals and hooking me up to monitors. JR left to get my (mostly packed) hospital bag. Contractions got intense pretty quickly, which makes sense since my water was broken. Everything was going fine except my blood pressure. I haven’t had anything but normal readings my entire pregnancy, and somehow now it was through the roof. I didn’t realize how high it was until later when I wanted to trying walking around during labor. They apologized that I had to stay in bed, but I needed constant monitoring because I was on a magnesium sulfate IV. 

JR was back soon, and we talked through a few things to check on at the farm and he made some phone calls. While not exactly convenient, everything would get taken care of! 

Between the worsening contractions, the side effects from the IV, and my confinement to bed I decided after several hours I would get an epidural. JR and the nurses were helpful and encouraging, but I simply wanted and needed some relief.

The epidural stung going in, but it was amazing how quickly I felt like a human again. I watched some TV, tried to take a quick nap, and I texted our families I was in the hospital. I had been to my parents just one day earlier, and I was sure it would be a little while before baby showed up. Needless to say I think everyone was surprised.

  
My last full day pregnant

Things progressed pretty quickly at the hospital in the late afternoon, but then stalled for a few hours. My oldest sister stopped by the hospital to check on me on her way home from Easter, and when she left I was back to wondering if baby would come before midnight.

After several more starts and stops my doctor announced at about 10:45 I was finally ready to push. I’d had to get my epidural drugs refilled about an hour earlier, and I was left with a searing, painful spot on my right side that never numbed up. Still, I focused on the job I needed to do because I couldn’t wait to meet baby. 

The sound of finally hearing your baby cry as he enters the world is beyond even what I imagined. My doctor kept assuring me I was, “So close” and eventually I could tell I really was. My heart and lungs were working hard, my whole body exhausted, and I prayed out of faith and frustration for baby to please come.

I remember looking at the clock continually as the minutes ticked by, and finally I was also sure the next push would bring baby. I heard a sweet, sharp cry, and my doctor proclaimed, “It’s a boy!”

   
 First pictures with Mom and Dad.

Our little Easter baby boy arrived healthy and well at 11:43 p.m. on March 27, 2016.

    

Griffin Edward. 7 lbs 9 oz. 21 inches. 

   
We came home on Tuesday with our little Easter miracle, and it’s true life will never be the same. Lots of joy, love, and tired nights await, but I am grateful to the point of bursting for our son. 

Posted in Christian Reflections, Family Fun | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Vernal Equinox and Holy Week

Spring officially sprung today, and I was struck by the irony of my view the past two mornings. We had a few inches of snow Friday night, and we woke up to a white world on Saturday. It got just warm enough on Saturday afternoon to melt most of the evidence. This first morning of spring dawned crisp and cool but snow-free with hues of gold, brown, and hints of green.

  
In other news, I am still pregnant and happily waiting for baby. In spite of my sore back and heavy belly I hope baby stays put for a few more weeks! The carpet for the freshly painted nursery is coming tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have a (mostly) finished room to show you all soon. 

Wishing you and yours happy spring and a blessed Palm Sunday. As we enter Holy Week I hope you can take some time to ponder both the solemnity of the journey to the cross and the amazing joy that Easter brings. 

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