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Luke Matthias

Baby boy decided to surprise us all and come 4 weeks early! Here are the details...

I had gone in for my first internal exam on Friday, May 23rd. I was having contractions at the appointment but all other signs indicated that labor was still a ways off. I wasn't dialated at all and there was no reason to believe that I'd go into labor THAT NIGHT. 

We weren't ready at all. The nursery hadn't been set up, the baby clothes hadn't been washed, and all of my little nesting projects were still waiting to be checked off the list. We had arranged for a babysitter for the twins for the following day (Saturday) so that we could finish my list and finally take time to get ready for the baby. I remember looking at the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink on Friday night and thinking, "I'll have plenty of time to clean up the house tomorrow since the boys will be gone all morning."

Of course, that night around 1:30 I woke up and my water had broken. I didn't really believe that it could have happened, but pretty soon it became obvious that labor had started. I called my doctor who advised that we go in and get checked out. We got to the hospital around 2:30 and they confirmed that my water had broken and that I was having contractions about 3-5 minutes apart. It took awhile to get over the fact that my house was messy, the nursery wasn't ready, baby clothes weren't washed, etc. but I had to let it go, and thankfully my in-laws and my mom came in and saved the day and took care of everything!

Some of the details are already gone from my memory, but the main thing I remember is that it was VERY SLOW going and hard. I was in labor for 21 hours before baby boy came and even though I had an epidural, which greatly reduced the pain, it was still an arduous process! One of the hardest parts for me was the emotional toll of being in labor for so long with little progress. Every time I was checked, it was as if my body was just inching along even though several hours had passed. I was tired, both physically and emotionally, and hungry and just overall weary by the time the doctor told me I could start pushing. I remember praying and asking God that the pushing would go fast because I felt like I couldn't go on much longer. Thankfully, that part was only about 30 minutes, and at 9:30 Saturday night Luke Matthias was born. 

We hadn't decided on a name (we thought we had more time!), so for the first night we went back and forth a little before making the final decision Sunday morning. 

There are so many more details I could share about the time in the hospital and the first hard weeks with nursing and being up all hours of the night (Luke had his days/nights totally switched for the the first 5.5 weeks- he's just now starting to distinguish day and night a little better), but the main things I'll remember are the answered prayers:

* We're thanking God for a healthy delivery for me and for Luke. 
We're thanking God for a healthy baby. 
* We're thanking God for a BABY (when we thought we'd never have one biologically). 
* We're thanking God for a smooth transition for the twins, who are doing great and really love Luke. 
* We're thanking God for huge improvements in nursing and in sleep for us all. 

Here are some pictures of our little man...

(He looks horribly squashed and uncomfortable, but he wasn't- I checked him before snapping the picture!)


Life with Twins

Sometime back in the fall, they realized they could climb out of their cribs. We experienced one casualty, for which the boys requested ice. 

I thought maybe our lives were over and we were going to have to make the transition to big boy beds, but it seems the combination of the fall and our telling them that they weren't allowed to climb out served to keep them in a little longer. For the most part, they really stayed in their cribs for the next couple of months, but starting in January they began to climb out regularly (and have gotten quite skilled at it). Then after naps or in the morning, we would regularly find them in one crib together. It's funny to me that they didn't try to come out of their room, they would climb out and then climb back into one crib together and play in the crib (though they could have been playing in their room or venturing into the rest of the house). 

This is how I found them one afternoon and how we started to find them most mornings, though usually they were both standing and bouncing around. And this (below) is how Don found them one night when he went to check on them. Sweet boys. 

So now they're in big boy beds and can get out whenever they want... we have had a few middle of the night visitors but mostly they go right to sleep without doing too much playing or bouncing. One time after reading to the boys about Jonah, Josiah woke up sometime in the middle of the night and told us, "I not want there to be sharks in my bed." I'm not sure if it was the result of Jonah or just a random bad dream, but now we're more careful with bedtime stories! Just last night, Jacob woke up and when Don went to put him back in bed, he informed him that a ladybug had stung him. Hmmm... 

In other news, they are potty-trained! I never thought we'd survive, but we did and they're doing great. We started between Thanksgiving and Christmas but because of the holidays we didn't get really serious about it until January. We certainly had our share of accidents (times two) and I felt like I was constantly doing laundry. Not to mention, the ridiculous battles over who got to sit on the big potty (or the little potty depending on the day). We'd have the occasional thief who would sneak in and flush his brother's pee, thus robbing him of the most exciting part of the whole deal. Tears would ensue and I'd have to promise future opportunities to flush and to watch the pee go down. Training twins is no joke and the three of us spent more time huddled in the 2x3 corner of our bathroom than I care to remember. You see with twins, when one has to go, the other does too (whether they have to or not). Just madness, I tell you. But they're trained and I'm thankful!

I generally don't like potty humor (blame it on my mother who wouldn't even let us use the F word, and by that I mean FART- I feel guilty and a little dirty even typing it), but here are some of my favorite lines from our bathroom escapades. 

-  At the beginning, they wanted to point out what each thing in the toilet was, including toots. On a couple of occasions, they 'd point to an empty toilet and announce, "Hey, my toot is in there"
- When one goes "poo" he usually calls his brother in (if he's not in there already) and says "Look!" and the other one usually says "Cool!" 
- Since they used to crowd each other (and me!) all the time, I started saying, "Give him a little space." and now they'll say, "Mommy, you give me a little space." which is fine by me since I've already clocked lots of hours sitting on the tub "watching" them go.
- One time I asked Don if he could get one of the boys started after he had announced he had to use the bathroom and now they'll ask each other to help get them started. Josiah will say, "Jacob, you get me started." which really means he wants Jacob to come and sit on the tub and wait for him. 

The whole potty training experience was exhausting and exasperating and also quite hilarious. 

Most recently, they've learned to ride bikes. At 2 years, 9 months. Two wheels, no training wheels. They've had their balance bikes for about a year and were doing really good on them, so we thought we'd try them on bikes. We picked one up on craigslist and borrowed a neighbor's and after two days of teaching them how to pedal, they had it down. 

They really are the best of friends and (sometimes) the worst of enemies. And they'd be lost without each other. In fact, one night when we were staying at my mom's house, Jacob woke up early in the morning and couldn't find Josiah and ran up the stairs crying and calling for him. He wasn't calling for Mommy or Daddy, he was yelling, "Siah, where's Siah??" through tears.  

We love our little twins- they always keep life interesting and fun!


Long Overdue

We're still here! There's been a lot going on in our house over the past months, and while most of you probably know from Facebook, this is our official family blog and it feels right to update it. Also, it's the only place that I ever record anything significant, despite my good intentions to journal and record important milestones for our children. Sorry boys and future babies, I'm doing the best I can...

So, what's new? Well, the biggest news is that we're expecting our first biological baby in June (and it's another boy!). People always ask if we were surprised. Yes. We were surprised. After 6.5 years of unexplained infertility, we didn't expect or anticipate a pregnancy anymore. We had long since let that go, and honestly were quite content, and thankful even, that we'd be building our family through adoption. 

I actually started to write all of the details of how we found out and what our initial reactions were, but it was getting long so I'll save it for another time. Plus, there's a lot I want to say about pregnancy and adoption and building a family, but it's just going to have to wait. I'll just say that the most emotional I've been about the pregnancy was when I got the boys out of their cribs the morning we found out. I almost cried just looking at them because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the way God had ordered our lives. I can't imagine not having Jacob and Josiah as our sons and had we gotten pregnant many years ago, we might have missed them and I'm so thankful that God didn't let us miss out on them or the joy of adoption. 

This is me at 22.5 weeks. It felt like I wasn't showing for the longest time and now it looks more like a pregnant belly than a bloated one. Overall, I've felt really good. The first trimester I'm assuming was typical with almost daily nausea and being tired all the time. Thankfully the boys still nap and I was able to lay down most afternoons to rest. Now that I'm in my second trimester, I definitely feel better in terms of sickness, but the tiredness hasn't let up too much. Should I blame that on pregnancy or having twin boys that are 2.5? 

Have I had any cravings? Not really. But I do allow myself some pretty good treats nowadays that before I at least would have hesitated slightly on. Sure, I'll have a large order of french fries and a chocolate shake (when I'm swinging through McDonalds for the boys). And why not add a cookies-n-cream shake to my normal order at Chic-Fil-A. And yes, thank you, I will have a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream after dinner tonight. I wouldn't call these cravings as much as just allowing myself to indulge in whatever sounds good at the time. 

As for the boys? They're great. And they've had a lot of things going on in their lives as well, like potty training and big boy beds (more on that later)!

They say and do so many funny and adorable things and I wish I could record their sweet voices and capture them forever. Lately, they've been really into snuggling and will often say things like, "Mommy, I want to snuggle you" or "I want you to snuggle me when we get home." I don't know when they turned this corner, but I hope it goes on for a very long time because it's awfully sweet. They really are little lovers and enjoy talking about how much Mommy and Daddy love them. Just today in the car, the boys were talking about how much Mommy loves them. "It's not little, like this {hands held close together}," they said. "It's big, kind of like this {hands spread wide}. All the way up to the moon and the sun and the twinkle stars." 

Yes, boys, all the way to the moon and the twinkle stars and the sun and more than you'll ever know. 

And though I have much more to say and update on the boys and the adoption and the pregnancy, I'll end with a final picture. 

Every night before bed, Josiah puts his favorite toys upside down under his crib. He's putting them "nigh nigh". Whoever said little boys weren't sweet?! And we're happy to be adding another!

The Pregnancy Details

****** I typed this up the week before baby boy came, and I never published it, so here are the pregnancy details with birth details to follow!

Since people have asked and I want to remember, I'll go ahead and share how we found out we were pregnant and our first reactions. Basically, I knew I was late and Don suggested that I take a  pregnancy test "just to see" and I said no. I had long ago stopped taking tests and I didn't want to go down that road again. I was afraid that just taking the test would give that little glimmer of hope and then I'd be disappointed when the test said negative. I decided I'd wait at least a week. But then I had a few dreams back to back that I was taking a pregnancy test and it was coming back positive. It all seemed so strange that one morning after another pregnancy dream I found an old expired test in the bathroom and decided to take it so that I could put the whole thing to rest. To my surprise, it came back positive! I had so convinced myself that I wasn't pregnant that I could barely process that the test was telling me we were pregnant. Thankfully Don was still home and I basically just brought the test to him and showed him the results. Of course, he was like, "is this line supposed to be here?" "what does this mean?" "is this line supposed to be darker?"... he was just as stunned as I was. 

I don't think I really even believed it was true until my appointment at 10 weeks. After the initial test was taken, I called my doctor and had the blood tests done that determined a positive pregnancy and then I went in for my first appointment. I distinctly remember the doctor saying, "So, you're pregnant." and I responded with "I think so."

It's hard to explain but I think it was a combination of wanting to protect myself in case we lost the baby (so I didn't even really let myself get attached to the idea) and really being at a place where I didn't think we'd get pregnant and I was okay with that. This isn't to say that we weren't excited or that we didn't still desire to get pregnant, we just had peace that it might never happen. So, maybe in some ways it felt extra surprising?

Add to that, since we were in the midst of our adoption, we had some initial fears right away about whether or not we'd be able to stay in our adoption program and what that would look like. We never, not even once, considered stopping the adoption. Our hearts were already knit to a yet unknown little girl in Ethiopia, and we didn't want to stop pursuing her, even though we we were adding a third little one. 

So, the status of the adoption right now is that we're "on hold" until the baby is born in June. After the baby is born, we'll update all of our paperwork and re-enter the program. Thankfully, we'll still be at the top of the list, which means we could receive our referral at any point. It also means that this baby and our Ethiopian daughter could be about the same age and may end up "artificial twins"- hey, all we know is raising twins, so possibly raising another set of same-aged children shouldn't be anything new, right? And we just bough a minivan last week, so we have plenty of room! (And I feel no shame in the minivan, no shame at all- every time I get in it, I feel so happy to have sliding doors and easy access to buckling little people and 8 cup holders all to myself!)

Back to the pregnancy...

I think this was maybe at 30 weeks- I've only taken a few pictures and I don't remember when this one was, thinking it was about 30 though.  

Here is 32 weeks. Now I'm at 35 weeks and hopefully Little Bean will be here in about a month. I feel like I'm about twice the size now as I was a few weeks ago and my belly seems to be expanding daily. I've gained somewhere between 15-20 lbs; it was 15 a couple weeks ago but I'm guessing it's higher now!

I have the typical up a few times a night to go to the bathroom and can't really roll over or get comfortable, but otherwise everything has gone great! We had just a little scare a couple of weeks ago because the doctor said he thought my fluids were a little low, not dangerous, just lower than he wanted to see. This was also right after we had taught the boys to ride their bikes and I was clocking some serious mileage running/waddling up the street with them each day while they practiced their new obsession. Now, I'm taking it pretty easy, I reserve the bike riding for when Don is home and I usually take a nap each afternoon.

We're busy preparing for Baby Bean in whatever ways we can- I had big plans to paint and decorate his nursery but it just isn't going to happen. My main preparation has been prayer for a "smooth as possible" transition. We've never had a newborn, so things like cleaning belly buttons and nursing are a little intimidating. On top of that, caring for a newborn, getting little sleep, and having two very active 2 (almost 3) year olds is a little scary, but I'm trying not to borrow trouble and just trust that God will provide all of the strength and patience and help that we need when the time comes. Plus, I know that having a newborn will mean that the boys are going to have to learn to share Mommy and Daddy and I want that transition to go as well as possible for them.  

I ordered a new blanket for the baby and have picked up a few cute little sleepers. He's starting to move and kick and wiggle around a lot lately and we're both getting more and more excited to meet the little man!