Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome, Maria Thérèse!

We welcomed our newest family member right on her due date - October 19, 2010.  She weighed in at 7 lbs 7oz and 20 inches long and was born at 1:48am.  Here's a little run-down of the labor and delivery:

I spent that previous evening on a shopping high at Jewel :).  Thanks to a good friend, I found a way to get a ridiculous amount of food for prices that you wouldn't believe if I told you!  So after my second trip to Jewel that evening, I decided to head to bed as my dear husband was still up working on homework.

Well, my time in bed was short-lived (lasted, oh, 20 minutes).  I got up because I was having gas pains (read: contractions).  Thanks to the progesterone injections I had been taking during the pregnancy, gas pains were quite common, and I assumed this night would not be different from the rest.  But then they persisted.  They wouldn't go away.  And I began feeling some intense pressure.  The. Baby. Was. Coming.

We put our plan into action: called some friends who offered to take Thomas (we literally drive by their house on the way to the hospital), called the on-call OB to tell her we were coming, called Drake's mom who would coordinate caring for Thomas, and called my parents to let them know we were on our way to the hospital.

As we found ourselves about 5 minutes from the hospital, I was starting to think this little lady was going to be born in the car.  Honestly.  The contractions were so close together, so intense, and I needed the baby OUT.  As Drake pulled up to the ER, someone came out with a wheelchair for me.  "How far along are you?" "40 weeks." "Do you feel like you need to push?" "Y.E.S."

I was brought into an ER room where there were what felt like at least half a dozen people plus Drake and I in a room made to comfortably fit two people.  They're all obviously in a panic as they could see the head was very far down, and I was complete plus three!  After moaning many times "I neeeeeeeed to push!" they saw that even though I was in some intense pain, I was able, by the grace of God, to control it.  They got me up to a delivery room asap.  

And within about 10 minutes of our arrival into the room, Maria Thérèse was born.  I gave three solid pushes for a total of five minutes.  We had arrived at the hospital at 1:25am, and she was born at 1:48am.  These Steed children sure do know how to get down to business!  I was in labor with Thomas for about an hour with a 30 minute delivery.  The OB suggested that Drake be ready to deliver Baby #3 when the time comes :).

Holding her in my arms right after delivery was surreal - that wasn't our experience with Thomas because he was whisked away to the NICU right after he was born.  It was several hours before we saw him.  So spending those very first minutes of life outside the womb with Maria was a beautiful relief. 

Moments after her birth


Proud Daddy

Loving. Baby. Hairbows.

Lots of Daddy lovin'

Little angel.

Thank you for all of your prayers. well-wishes, and support on our behalf.  The transition to two is proving to be a beautiful and exhausting adventure. We're so blessed, and God is so good!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Fun in the Fall

Despite the fact that it certainly didn't feel like  fall day with 80 degree temperatures, we still enjoyed some family time together.  And heck, we've got pictures (finally!) to prove it!

A ridiculously gigantic inflatable pumpkin


We went on a hay ride - unfortunately there wasn't enough off-roading to induce labor as I had hoped.

Still can't resist those cheeks!

Thomas continuing his trend of not looking at the camera for any photos whatsoever.


Strange lighting, but the tunnel sure was fun!

Fall is a favorite time around here -- we're all (well, Lauren in particular) looking forward to consistently cooler weather, pumpkin patches, warm beverages, crunching leaves, and everything in between!

Sunday Brunch

We love Sunday brunch. It has been a tradition since we have been married to celebrate our Lord's day by splurging a little bit, waiting a little longer to eat (usually after mass and cooking), and feasting. We have gone through stages: the frittata stage, omelet stage, gallo pinto stage, baked French toast stage, muffins, yogurt , and fruit matter what, we enjoy experimenting and sharing a meal together and with friends and family when possible.

Anyone who has kept up with our story knows that we are in a different kind of stage. We moved, I started school and part-time work, and we are preparing for our second child. Life is blessed, but our morale waxes and wanes. Lately, especially, it has waned. The day-in and day-out grind of work, serving Thomas and each other has led to a multi-layered exhaustion. Yesterday, it seemed like both of us woke up after an epic battle. We limped out of bed, making it barely to the couch. We dragged ourselves through the morning, fulfilling obligations of studying and serving our family. We had the joie de vivre of a paper clip (one of those regular metal kinds) and were ready to break. Pondering how we are going to make it through these next two months (until Christmas break), we decided that we needed to celebrate life more often. Our lives are so routined and packed with to-dos, and rightfully so. Nonetheless, we have felt entrapped by the mundane yet tenacious daily schedule, which has been gradually gnawing at our will to persist, much less to celebrate.

But celebrate we will. We brought back brunch today, and we celebrated: health, opportunity, love, family and friends. We are going to celebrate something at least once a week--some ideas we had were saints we particularly admire, church feast days, or something random. Food appears to be one obvious way to celebrate, but we are going to try other things too, like maybe practicing a special devotion on that day. Of course, adding celebration to our life does not undermine the gravity of keeping up with what we need to do to survive this stage in life. It does however remind us that we are children of God, heirs of life eternal, and we are invited to find joy in the Resurrection. Already today, the mood is lighter in our house (also due to opening up all the windows in our kitchen, S.T.). We have a lot to do today, but, with the enthusiasm with which Thomas says "truck," we will celebrate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

38 Weeks

By the grace of God, I've been pregnant for 38 weeks.  And now I would really. like. this. baby. out.

There's something (read: several things) about the very end of a pregnancy that puts a lot of strain on a mom.  Maybe it's the multiple trips to the bathroom and having few comfortable sleeping positions to choose from that result in consecutive poor nights of sleep.  Perhaps it's simply the physical strain/discomfort of being this pregnant.  Maybe it's the anticipation/worry of how the labor and delivery will go and clinging to hope that the baby will be healthy.  Maybe it's the humility that accompanies wearing maternity clothes yet again as I stare longingly at my pre-pregnancy clothes.  Plus, pregnancy is just even more draining when there's a young toddler to chase, teach, love, discipline, etc.  And ultimately, we simply want to meet this baby outside of the womb and get the anticipation over with!  Whatever it is, we're praying for a safe and joyful delivery along with a healthy baby, God willing.  We've even got a boy name picked out juuuust in case the ultrasound missed something.

Our bags are packed, a list of phone calls (in order of necessity) is on the fridge, car seat is installed in the van, camera is charged, nursing cover is finished...and now we wait.

Please pray with us and for this sweet baby!