Nicholas James: A birth story


Nicholas James

I promised a few weeks back I would try and write up a birth story for baby Nicholas. And I have a *very few* precious moments this afternoon, so we’ll see how far we get. Also, going to link it up to Michaela’s Theme Thursday post as this week’s theme is “New Life” and… well… this is new life… so….. Two birds, one stone or something like that (although, there really should be a less morbid analogy).

To start this story I need to back up to a few days before. We had decided to go with my family (parents, siblings, etc…) for a family weekend (Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) to an Abbey about 45 minutes from our house. Now, when plans were made to go up there (about a month previous), I knew that it could potentially be cutting it close to the due date.


I figured I wouldn’t go that early, since I never have in the past. Anywhere from two days to six days early has been my norm (with three out of the previous four babies going at two days  “early”).

{You know where this story is headed right?}

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Anyways, so there we were at this Abbey having a great weekend. Romping around the grounds, visiting the farm, visiting the gift shop, exploring the huge guest house we had to ourselves. We even managed to get in a busted chin, archery practice, and a family meeting. All in all a full weekend.

Saturday night I decided to take a bath in one of the absolutely amazing bath tubs. I clearly remember thinking, when I was crawling into bed soon after that “well, we made it through the weekend, and I guess no baby. I haven’t even had a contraction all day, with all this walking around”.

Sunday morning 4:30 AM.

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Woke to my water breaking. Not a trickle. But, what felt like buckets of water. I made it out of bed and managed to grab a towel without totally drenching/ruining the bed, carpet or anything else. (Remember, we were still at the guest house, and I definitely didn’t want to ruin anything there… But, I found out later that if I had managed to ruin the mattress it would have been fine, because they would have loved an excuse to get a new one…)

I should at this point mention that my water has never broken early in labor (except with Katherine where it supposedly broke at some point, but I didn’t feel it). My water has always broken minutes, minutes (like less than ten) before my babies have arrived. So, to say I freaked out a little would be an understatement.

But, I gave myself a quick “assessment” and realized that I actually still wasn’t feeling any contractions, so it was probably very unlikely that baby would just pop out in the next few minutes. I placed a call to the midwife and woke Jared up, both those helped to calm me down, but I still ended up just sitting on the bed bawling because… I don’t know… pent up emotions I think.

Midwife suggested to come in, since I had tested positive for Group B Strep, AND since we were 45 minutes away AND since we didn’t know how fast I would progress. Woke up my parents, and let them know what was going on. We drove their car back home, dropped off a few things we didn’t need, picked up a few things we did, switched the car for Jared’s truck and headed the five minutes down the road to the hospital.

We did our triage stuff (I was about 3-4 cm at that point). They did one more quick ultrasound to check baby’s position since she couldn’t feel the head. He was head down, he was just so far down and towards the back that I guess it was hard to tell.

I walked myself up to the delivery room, was tired of sitting by that point as it was getting on towards 6:30/7:00. I did a little bit of walking, swaying, moving stuff once I was in the room. I knew I wanted to have an epidural, but decided since I wasn’t so far along that I would move around and much as I could before to get things more progressed.

{And here’s where things just get very uneventful and “boring”}

Around 10:30 I asked for the epidural. After doing it twice, since it didn’t go in the right spot the first time (I think he said it got into a blood vessel instead of the space?), I got comfy and tried to rest. At some point around noon the nurse checked me (she was trying to learn cervical checks), and said I was about a 7. (Yay! only a few more hours I thought).

About 1:30 they checked me again, said I was at a 10. They got themselves ready and started pushing around 1:45.

Nicholas was born at 2:01 PM.

minutes after birth
minutes after birth

I remember grabbing at him almost before he was out to pull him up to my chest. And the only thing I could think was “he’s so tiny!!!” He weighed 7lbs 5oz. so compared to Zachary (who was 10lbs at birth) he was just so, so scrawny.

(These were taken a few days after we go home… Now, my brothers hands are by no means slender, but…. these are still some skinny legs..).

If you recall a few months ago I wrote about not being super excited for this pregnancy, and if I’m perfectly honest I was still very nervous at the thought of having another baby up until we were on our way to the hospital.

Now, you could say I’ve come around. I find myself gazing at this little guy, kinda wondering why God allowed us to have another baby when we already had one, but also so happy and excited and full of incredible joy.

Of course, that’s all helped along by the fact that he’s an absolutely GREAT night-time sleeper 🙂

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Just a tiny bit of Easter

Easter 2016-12

Happiest of Easter to you all on this fifth day of the Octave!

We had a super duper low key Easter Day celebration. Meaning, we made it to Mass (all five kids and only one almost melt down!) and had dinner with my parents and family a little later in the afternoon.

I had halfway thought about trying to attend some of the services of the Triduum, but….. given that was falling asleep at the time they were starting, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t try this year. I was a little bummed about not attending (because they’re some of my favorite services), but I’ll just have to make plans for next year :).

Anyways. Mass was very nice.

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Pre-Mass. Nicholas’s first Easter!!

(Note: I said we made it to Mass… clearly not everyone was dressed up.}

Easter 2016-11
(during the removal of his next oldest brother, who was having a rough morning for some reason)

At my parents my sister in law put on an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids.

Easter 2016

VERY excited…

No Clue…

Second dress of the day…
{A note: she was so, so excited to have her hair curled for Easter. My sister was going to do it, but then couldn’t make it, so I ended up with the honors. Have to say for my total lack of “doing hair” ability, it came out passably well, and she was SOOOO happy to have curled hair.)

“I think that’s it…”

Easter 2016-9

Baby N. did not participate. I did not get any family photos. Or… actually any photos of the kids all together or all dressed up.

But, they had fun on the egg hunt. And at least by the end of the day and multiple discussions they had some idea what we were celebrating. I mean, at least I got the answer switched from “chocolate” to “Jesus coming alive again”/”Jesus coming out of the tomb”.


Linking with Michaela for Theme Thursday


Outdoors: in B&W

I’ll start out this post with honesty: These pictures are from last week (or maybe even the week before… I can’t remember at this point). I *meant* to get them into a post, but, well that clearly didn’t happen.

Outdoors in BW

We’ve had a couple of days where it felt very spring-like. (Not today. Today it snowed. Didn’t stick, but snow flurried down. And it was cold…)

Little Z has completely and totally been enraptured by being out of doors. He’s taken to bringing people his shoes and jacket (and sometime *their* shoes and jackets) in hopes of going out. He’ll also pretty much drop anything anytime he hears the door open, we have a chime on it so it’s very obvious.

Outdoors in BW-2

This particular day the big kids found the old PlaySchool cars and got very involved in making up a game or two. I lost track after a while. I think they may be finally getting too big for them. And the car in the front (all the way to the right in the photo above) has lost both its front poles and has been affectionately dubbed a “backhoe”.

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{The reason why Z just doesn’t get to go out as much as his little heart would like. C’mon new baby, lets get things going here}

Outdoors in BW-4

This day offered another treat when my dad stopped by for a few minutes and everyone had a blast hanging over the fence. The other treat for this day was that the big kids got to eat lunch out side (forgot to take a picture). I was glad because that mess stayed there. And they love it just because.

I’ve heard more good weather is in our future, so maybe we’ll venture a little further next week? Or maybe not, I’m so not motivated to walk anywhere at this point, although I know it could help things along.

I’m also joining in with Michaela @ California to Korea for this week’s Theme Thursday, which is Black and White. I love, love, LOVE B&W photos, although I don’t know that these are super duper spectacular. I mean, they’re alright. They were taken around mid-day so the lighting was a bit harsh (and they were with my phone), and they were originally in color, and no, I didn’t intentionally think to use them in B&W. When I decided to edit them it felt very photojournalistic. Like… so much activity in the photos. But, really, I guess that’s what our outside times are like: constant movement, constant kids, constant stuff everywhere 🙂


Also linking with Coombe Mills for Country Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Just things… {7QT #28}


In which I attempt to highlight a few things I meant to highlight over the past week, but then lost energy to do and forgot about…

Siblings February

Siblings Feb

Completely forgot to do this post until I saw another blog’s post on the topic show up in my inbox. Whoops. I really do try to make an effort to get at least one photo of them all together every month.

And, these kids and apples. The bag I bought yesterday morning is gone. All gone.

{This portion of the post is part of a project to take at least one photo a month of them all together. Intro’s here}

dear beautiful
Cardiologist Update
Katherine had her annual cardiologist visit. EKG and ultrasound. All continues to look good. The main thing they are watching now is the aortic valve. Because of the location of the hole (right under the aortic valve) I guess it *could* cause there to be weakening in the valve and cause there to be back flow of blood into the heart. They didn’t see any of that, but that’s what they’re most “concerned” about. {And I use that word only because I can’t find a less scary word to use}. So we’ll just continue with yearly visits to see if it does anything.
For those that like these details the Z value for her hole is just above 2, which from what I understand is just a little above normal.
Katherine did great. She was most excited to watch “Elsa” during the ultrasound and to get stickers after.

Last Week for Me…

So, I posted on FB asking for prayers that I would be able to sleep because Baby’s position was such that it was nearly impossible for me to lay down.

I should have clarified (because many thought that baby was breech) that baby is already head down, and fully engaged. It seemed to be better from this Sunday night through Wednesday/Thursday night, but then last night things started to get uncomfortable again.

So… we’ll see what happens. There isn’t a whole lot that can actually be done at this point. I may try to get another PT appointment if things get really bad again (there was one day last week where I could barely move), but we aren’t there at the moment.

I had decided at the time to offer these all up for your intentions, so leave ’em in the comments or send me and email (address to the right), or find me on FB or somewhere and I’ll add them to my list!

Also last week…

My grandpa (my mom’s dad) passed away. He passed on Ash Wednesday, which really kinda made the entire Ash Wednesday service seem very real and “in your face”.

I was never horribly close to him, but I still feel his loss. I’ve become closer to my grandmother these last few years and I think I feel more for her loss of a husband of 65 years (please forgive me if I’ve gotten the wrong number of years, couldn’t remember what year you were married).

A cousin of mine put together a video slide show of his life. It can be found here. It’s a little lengthy, but was very nicely done. (His name is Aziel for those that are wanting to pray for him.)

Theme Thursday contribution
With Michaela @ California to Korea


exposure-contrast cherries (orig)


Upped exposure a little bit, the contrast just a little less.
Also upped the shadows exposure and must have added just a little vibrance.

exposure-contrast cherries

As I stated in a previous post, I edit nearly all the photos that pass through the blog. Or, actually anywhere on the internet for that matter.

Micaela was talking about Instagram tips over on this week’s TT post. I actually find that if I’m going to be doing almost any editing on my phone I prefer to use a few different apps VSCO and Snapseed are my first choices, and Little Moments and ABM (A Beautiful Mess) are my secondaries. I personally feel they offer more control than IG, and that’s just a personal preference. But, I like editing. If I’m not going to edit a picture too much I’m more likely to just throw it up to IG!

And just because every now and then your kids do something that makes perfectly good sense…. ????

Now I’m off folks to find my second “after dinner” snack.

And, yes, I know. Totally fudging this last take. But, I’m out of words. And hungry. And tired. So to bed after this 🙂


Linking with Kelly for Quick Takes

Life with toddlers {p,h,f,r AND tt}

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

And also linking up with Michaela for Theme Thursday: Crop
(I’m putting my comments on cropping/editing at the end of the post so if you’d like to see them, that’s where they’ll be)

The post should be titled “Life with toddlers.. and a 5-yo”

I’ve been thinking about getting back into trying to photograph those little moments/messes that the kids make. Not really as a way to keep much specific memory of them. But more of a way to try and take a more positive outlook on this stage of life.

I wrote this post a few years back (Dear Mama of a Toddler: take a picture) but I’ve really kinda moved away from that. Maybe because the toddler at the time got just a bit older, I dunno.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now (when I remember) and I noticed something. I’ve been just a little bit calmer. Maybe coincidence, maybe not. And I can’t say that things have been all… what’s the line?… unicorns and rainbows, but internally at least things seem to be a little bit calm. At least for the moment.

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Zachary very deliberately took books out of the shelves in the boys room and lined them up on the bathroom floor.

He’s actually been doing this a lot, all over the house with various items (magnets, blocks, other books, etc…). I love watching his concentration while he’s doing it. So deliberate!

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Z has also taken to putting things into shoes. This one just happened to be mine so I noticed it. The other day someone spilled some Cheerios on the floor. I didn’t think much of it until I realized that I had swept the floor, but not the Cheerios (I assumed they had been eaten). Then… not one, but two children went to put on boots today only to take them off again and dump out a pile of Cheerios.

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Another favorite past time of Z’s is to hide toys and other things, like his milk bottle, in cabinets (and that little drawer under the stove that isn’t used all that much – that was the milk bottle – yuck!). Iron Man hung out with the cutting boards for a few days.

I wonder sometimes what passes through his mind when he puts things places. Like, what connections is he making?

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This last one was made by Johny. We recently opened this package of word magnets and for some reason it made sense to him to line them up on the freezer/fridge crack. He was very intentional about it. And also very happy to have accomplished it. Spent a good 5-10 minutes getting them all lined up just so. Of course it only lasted a few minutes as someone is always going in the fridge around here.

As I said at the beginning, I have loved being on the lookout for these little things the kids do. Things that in a couple of years they’ll no longer do. Things that I know someday I’ll miss, even if I don’t necessarily miss them now.


Onto the cropping stuff… So, I should probably just go out and say it:

I edit every photo that goes on the blog
(with very, very few exceptions)

Maybe not a lot, but all the photos are in some way edited. The main reason is space. I put a lot of pictures up here….. ok…. mostly only pictures up here lately, and if I used them full sized, I’d run out of room real fast, plus I also hope that the poorer resolution will keep them from being stolen.
So, I have Lightroom (the main editor I use on the computer) set up to resize and add a watermark to all the pictures that I export from there.

And… since I have all the pictures in Lr already it’s pretty simple to tweak them just a little to get them how I’d like. Usually I do simple adjusting to exposure, especially for phone pictures that always seem to be just a little “off”. Most of the time I’ll also crop a little.

A final note about editing. I read somewhere quite a while back, if you have to spend more than 60 seconds to make a picture “better” then it’s probably not worth saving. So I try to keep that in mind and I don’t spend much time editing a good portion of the daily photos that are up here.

Also, this all refers to the “regular” pictures I put up. Some of the more “artsy” ones that are floating around here, or Instagram, or the other photo blog are way more worked on, since those are the effects I’m after.

And here’s the photos that I put up today, straight out of camera:

phfr-tt 2-4 originals-2phfr-tt 2-4 originals phfr-tt 2-4 originals-3 phfr-tt 2-4 originals-4