Sunday, September 29, 2013

What having 4 kids is like

Everyone seems to be asking me, "so what is it like having four kids?"  I don't know if they really care to know or if that is just the question you ask a mom with four kids, either way it is getting asked a lot!

Yes, I have 4 children, ages 5 and younger.
why don't we all just laugh at that statement for a few seconds..........

Yep, still funny and totally daunting! 

Who am I?

Remember, I totally threw out the idea out the window years ago of my "white picket fence" life with 2 children, but still to ever picture my life with 4 children ages 5 and younger, yeah I didn't picture that either.  I am "that mom"  The one you all look at  in the grocery store with wide open eyes in astonishment, thinking to yourself, "that mom is crazy, wow, does she have her hand full!"  Yep, that's me and I'm good with it, crazy stares and all.  I signed up for it, well most of it....

And I am not alone.  I know lots of families with 4 children.  Lots of my Omaha friends actually, many of them have 4 young children!  Maybe I should move back to Omaha........ 
Na,  I will just stay here and be ostracized

To answer the question,
"what is it like having 4 kids?"
I can't give you a realistic answer yet for 2 reasons.
One, my mom has been here for a whole month basically doing everything for me, including taking care of me while I am sick.  I am sure she has been thrilled to pieces basically taking care of 5 children while she has been here, a wonderful vacation. 
 She has truly been amazing though, a total rock star, and so many of my friends who have had babies have not had this great blessing like I have and I am so grateful!

Helping Grammy

Number 2 reason I don't know reality yet is just my sickness.  I haven't had a cough this bad since any of my children have been alive, so I don't think being sick like this is reality either.

My Mom leaves on Tuesday morning, yikes, sad, and exciting all at once. Anyone want to come live with us?  I am excited to get in my groove, and settle into a good routine.  I will miss my mom like crazy though, not just from her help, but just being near her and her daily company.   The girls love her to pieces so her presence in general will just be missed.

4 is harder, I mean that is the obvious answer.  Adding another child into the dynamic isn't going to be instantly easy, but I love having our little man here.  I love his presenceDSC_0987

I love the interaction that his sisters have with him.  They love him.  And do you know who is the most interested in Levi right now?  Baby Sarah.  She always points him out, brings me things while I am nursing and when he cries she says with concern, "broder crying." 

And Maya, she totally adores him and wants to hold him and have me take pictures of them
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And Norah just wants to hold, and squeeze and love Levi to death, which reminds me so much of her mommy Carrisa, but if she could she would be with him all day.

And then there is Brett, there is nothing like a father and son together .....sleepingDSC_0994

But I will let you know in about another month, how it is "really" going, you know without a built in Grammy.

Yep we have 4 kids, 5 and under, and I love them all!





Tuesday, September 24, 2013

alive (ish)

I am still here, but I have been really sick for almost 2 weeks, up coughing all night, oh and i have a newborn and my i photo wont open so i cant do much with pictures......and I have 3 other kids.  I will be up and running soon, or at least breathing normal and will get back to blogging.  I just need to get into my new groove.  Thanks for your patience! 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dear Levi

Dear Levi

This letter was suppose to be written before your arrival, but you came a little early, so now this letter is a little late, sorry buddy.

Before you were born I thought it would be nice for you to have your own birth month and not have to share it with your sister Sarah and both have September birthdays, but then I would always think to myself, that would make you a bit early (like 2 weeks), so probably not.  And the morning I new you were coming, Aug 31, all your dad and I could think was that your little personality was already saying, "I ain't sharing nothin with my sisters!" Ha!

I already miss you being in my belly, your little kicks (well actually big kicks), your hiccups, that special time we had...... you are/were probably the last baby to be in my belly and that is so very special, and something I will always remember and hold close to my heart.


Levi, before you were ever born, before I even knew what you looked like, I couldn't imagine our family without you.  You have such a special and unique place in our hearts,  you are our first son.

Yes, you have 3 older sisters, crazy and scarey, huh?!?!  I used to think you would be doomed, doomed to have so many girls around you, older than you, bombarding you!  But, you know, now I think that you are going to make the best husband someday.  You will know women better than anyone!  You will be loved and cared for like no one else.

Entering our Goodlin family dynamic is a unique situation.  I often wonder how I will explain to you how our family was formed, when you will be old enough to tell and to understand.  Our family has suffered a great deal of loss and heartache, and I pray you will never have the same heartache in your life, but as Wes Stafford prayed over you, "that you will have just enough heartache to rely on the Lord."  I will never forget those words, from the Compassion International president, it was like he already knew the thoughts and prayers I had for you.

I wish so badly that your grandma Fran were here,  she left this world so suddenly and was just shy of meeting your oldest sister Maya.  I can't express to you how much she would have loved you, cuddled you and been a close part of your life.  She would have been so excited to have a grandson living so close.!  And my Dad, Eugene Paul, he would have been your grandpa, and you were partly name after him Levi Paul.  He was the most joyful person I have ever know.  I pray that although you will never meet him on earth that part of his spirit will alreays live with you.  He is the one who told me, in a dream, that you were a boy.  I would like to think that he knows, he knows you are here, that you were his first grandson, that you are so very special.  He would be so proud.  And then there are my brother and sister, your uncle Darren and aunt Carrisa,  you won't get to meet them on earth either, and their lives have touched and changed so many people, I wish you could just know a tiny bit of who they were.

But for each loss there is also a gift, a person that you do get to meet and share part of your earthly life with instead.  Now you get meet Grandpa Ed, he will love you unconditionally and teach you how to be the best runner!  And Grandma Yami, she has already spoiled you, she outfitted you for your entire first year of life!  And Norah, one of your older sisters, you are blessed to have her as a sister in your life now, not just a cousin and she adores and loves you soooo much!

There are many people who look at our life, and our family and think it is too much, that we have to many small children and now another?  Levi, please know you are never to much, that God set a perfect and special place for you in our family in His timing.  We are so blessed and excited to have you.

And although I am sad that you are not in my belly anymore, I am so excited that I have gotten to meet you!! My sweet little boy.  I can't wait to get to know your personality, your unique quirks and ways about you.  I already love you so much and never want to let you go.

Welcome to this world son IMG_6742-2740669745-O

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Day Levi Paul Came

Birth Stories aren't for everyone, so if you don't like them you can stop reading this post right about now :O)

Disclaimer:  this is a birth story, I don't like when people give horror stories, because birth is such a wonderful miracle and horror stories don't help.  Not all parts of my story are flowers and daisies, and some of it was very hard,  but I just want to give you the realness of my day, good and bad and the miracle in the end. 
Oh yes, and lots of photos!

We will start with the day before Levi Arrived,  FridayAugust 30th.

It was a great day! a very relaxing one at the pool with my girls and my friend Heather.  Did I mention how great being in the pool felt while being pregnant, it was pretty amazing!

I had a Dr.s appt in the afternoon, everything looked great, no early labor signs.  Just already dilated to a 3.5, but that didn't seem like a big deal since I was dilated to a 4 for like 3 weeks with Sarah.  
My midwife advises that I should not take my time getting to the hospital, I agree.

Brett and I got to go on a date with baby Sarah, since the older girls were at a friends house.  It was so special and perfect spending time with just her.  We snapped a quick photo, and right when I saw it I thought to myself, "I look swollen.......hopefully that doesn't mean baby is coming tonight"
See, swollen!
 We invited Mallorie, our nanny to stay the night since we were getting up at 6am to go to the balloon classic.  I jokingly said to her, "wouldn't it be funny if I went into labor tonight?" 
 haha, hilarious, right?

Go to bed at 10:30
Wake up at 11:30 because I thought I peed myself. 
 If you are pregnant, you know that it is not uncommon to have a little leak, I mean your bladder is basically out of control.  It did seem a bit early in the night for me to already have to use the restroom and I thought to myself, "I hope that wasn't my water breaking"..... but it was such a small amount I went back to sleep...... for like 10 minutes..... and then another gush.......uhhhhh I couldn't possibly have peed myself again.

I stand up and walk into the bathroom and whoosh water leaking all over the bathroom floor. Yep, that would be my water breaking folks.  Here we go!

I call for brett, like 10 times, and finally have to yell, "BRETT, WAKE UP, MY WATER BROKE!"  Brett responds by bursting out in laughter.

I text and call  Celine, who is a friend/photographer who is going to be capturing this special moment of Levi being born.  She lives about an hour away so I don't want to hesitate in letting her know 
This is Happening!

But actually not much is happening.  
I was not going into labor, I am just leaking everywhere.  I start some laundry, finish packing up, eat an apple, wake up Mallorie, and even go for a midnight stroll in the neighborhood with Brett.

Still nothing, no active labor, I don't even know if I had one contraction.  Mallorie is awake with us and probably thinking to herself, "this is what labor is like?" as I laugh and do laundry.

 I was so thankful Mallorie was at our house, seriously, the Lord knew!

Finally, at about 1:30 we decide to head to the hospital, Celine is already there and it has been 2 hours since my water broke.


We check in 

they confirm my water is broken and I am still at about 3.5cm dilated.  Ok, great!

So I walk

bounce on a ball

stair out the window

hang out
chat with celine, walk more.  
Still nothing....... hours go by.

We all try to rest

Except for I can't.  Seriously who can fall asleep when they know a baby is coming!!!!!  
I feel bad, Brett and Celine have basically gotten NO sleep all night and here I am NOT going into labor.

Night turns to morning. It is such a beautiful morning! We can see the balloons lift off for the balloon classic,  my girls are there, without me!

Oh and another thing, once your water breaks, they can't really keep checking your cervix to see if you are progressing, it puts you at risk of infection, so I have no idea if there has been an ounce of progression throughout the night.

The Midwife comes in around 7, asking how labor is going and I pretty much tell her I am not in labor.  That is when she tells me the "P" word....... she is going to have to put me on pitocin because it has been to many hours since my water broke and no labor..... My heart sinks a bit, I really don't want to be induced, but I also know that with each hour my risk and the babies risk of infection go up as I am not laboring.  (I know I know, there are women who have gone a week with their water broken, at home. but I am in a hospital and that is not an option, and even if I was at home, I am not going to walk around for a week leaking amniotic fluid taking care of my other 3 kids, praying I don't get an infection just so I don't have to be induced).

At this point my only pains are hunger pains!  My midwife allows me to order breakfast, halleluiah!  She tells me after I eat that she will start me on just a little pitocin, she doesn't think I will need much, since I am pretty far dilated, just a little to kick my body into gear.  As my friend Celine put it, "you just need a whiff Jenni'"  
Celine was so sweet and encouraging, she knew I did not want to be induced.

OH and my labor and delivery nurse was the same nurse who helped deliver Maya, so special and fun, she actually shares Maya's birthday, that is why we remembered her and now she was getting to
share this joyous day with us again, blessed

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At about 9am, I finish breakfast, I have tried to walk around, and bounce on the ball more hoping my body will do something before they start the pitocin, but still nothing.......

 we also get some laughter in.  
Did I mention I was laughing really hard at the women next store in labor, her yelling and screaming was so weird and sporadic..... it didn't make sense. I felt terrible laughing, knowing I would be in her place in a few short hours, but I seriously could not control the laughing, either could Celine or Brett!

Pitocin starts just after 9 am Here we Go!
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and slowly but surely I go into labor.  The contractions become a little stronger, but totally

I know most people think once you have pitocin you must get an epidural, but that is not always the case.  I did not get an epidural, and the contractions were not any stronger that what I had had with Maya or Sarah, they were painful and uncomfortable at times, but still totally managable.
IMG_6362-2740656993-O IMG_6414-2740659257-O

My friend Celine, was amazing support and encouragement, she was even giving me counter pressure on my back to help!  She was basically a friend/photographer/doula!

Dr. Checks me at around 12:00, and I am dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced!! Wahooo, I can do this!  She then turns off the pitocin since I am in labor.

 A little after 1:00 I am at a 9!  Yes, baby is coming soon!

or not so soon......

I think everyone one of us in that room believed that Levi was coming with in the hour...... that is why the next 2.5 hours were so terrible.  I got stuck, stuck at a 9 for 2.5 hours!

It was the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my whole life!!

I was shaking the whole 2.5 hours, I felt like I had pregnancy induced MS.
I was stuck in Transition for 2.5 hours

My contractions were so strong, but sooo far apart.  Every time I would have one I would get so
 nauseous and want to pass out.

I was so hot, but Brett said my head was so cool IMG_6536-2-2740663213-O

 My body was so completely exhausted that I was falling asleep in between contractions, which didn't help bc I was totally not motivated to move my body in different positions that would be helpful.
Asleep in this photo
In my head I thought I was never going to meet my baby boy
I thought and even said, " I can't do it....."
It became very emotional
I began to cry
IMG_6515-2740662162-O IMG_6517-2740662323-O

...... it was very hard

and I just felt like a leaky mess
everytime the Dr. would check me and I was still 9, I wanted to die and wished I had an epidural...... to late at this point though.

I prayed, prayed a lot.  I told Brett to pray for me.  IMG_6382-3-2740657774-O

" I can do all things through Christ who strengths me" kept me going.  
I remember hearing from the Lord, "my yolk is easy, my burden is light, give me your burden I am here to carry it for you"

Brett was right by my side, encouraging me, breathing with me, rubbing my back, and walking me to the bathroom a million times.
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It was such a mental and physical battle like nothing I have ever experienced.
I really wanted my midwife to be more vocal, give suggestions and encouragement, but she really didn't do a whole lot of that.

Finally she started making me sit a be in positions that were really horrific feeling but made me progress further.  She could see the babies head was caulked just so my body couldn't dilate further, so I had to lay on my side with a ball that literally looked like a minion between my knees.  I didn't think I was going to make it.... my biggest hope was coming from the nurse who told me that Levi was doing great despite my circumstance.
if you look in the botton left corner you can see the minion ball
At about 3:40, after 2.5 hours at a 9, I got the best news EVER. I was dilated to a 10 and could push!

Since my contractions were so far apart still I new I couldn't make it if I didn't not get him out soon, my body was just done and I couldn't handle hours of pushing.

I think one of the main benefits of not having the epidural came in at this point.  My body could feel exactly how I needed to push him out, I know it sounds weird, but I could feel where he was and how to maneuver to get him out!  So 2 pushes later Levi Paul Goodlin was born at 3:49pm.

Words cannot express the emotion I felt when I met him IMG_6582-2740665291-O IMG_6583-2-2740665324-O IMG_6600-2740666211-O IMG_6621-2-2740667062-O IMG_6656-2-2740667777-O IMG_6682-2740668508-O

Daddy getting to hold his son for the first time
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 And the 2nd specialist part of the day, the girls and Mallorie meeting Levi
  IMG_6775-2740670351-O IMG_6784-2740670548-O IMG_6821-2740670975-O IMG_6800-2740670796-O IMG_6810-2740670944-O IMG_6904-2740672870-O IMG_6921-2740673152-O

This girl, I tell ya, she is so amazing and took such wonderful care of the girls.  I did not worry about them for 1 minute.  I am so glad she was part of this special day!

And Celine.... there are really few people in life I would ever allow in a room with me while giving birth, she is one though.  I don't know what it is, but she has experienced this herself, she has such grace, encouragement and discretion.  I cannot even tell you how special it was that she was there to share this amazing day with us.  She will forever be a special part of our lives and little Levi's!

We have a son!

OUr amazing little gift

And although the story was not the same, or nearly as easy as the birth of baby Sarah
the outcome was the same.
A healthy baby, a tiny miracle

Our son. 
We love him so much!