11 August 2011

Introducing "Flower"!

Flower has arrived! 
She was born 6 Aug 2011, at 39 weeks and 1 day, at 1:36 am.
She was . . . 
7 lb 12 oz
20.5 inches long
was born at Presbyterian Hospital
in
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She has lots and lots of thick, soft black hair and bluish - brown eyes.
She has M's long fingers and toes
and my nose (well, actually she looks a lot like I did when I was born) :)
She is very strong and can already hold her head up fairly well for a few seconds; 
she definitely has a lot of spirit!
The birth went really well, and I will blog about the birth story in a later post (not tonight, because Flower will be waking up to eat pretty soon). 

As when Butterfly and Little Man were born, my love for M has just multiplied so much. I love to look at him as he holds Flower and looks at her and I can see the love for her in his eyes and face and the gentle way the has with her. Truly, just when you think you can't love someone any more, you learn that you can.
I absolutely love the way that the Lord multiplies love when you have children. When you have your first child, you think how can I possibly love another child as much as this one? Then you have another child, and you find that your love multiplies and you love two children so much that you think sometimes your heart might burst with the joy of it. And you think, how can I possibly love a third the way I love the first two? And then you have a third child and wow, boy you love that child just as much as you loved the first one when they arrived into the world. 
I never knew how much love I could possess and give for another person until I loved M, and then had children with him. And I think about the Lord, and how He loves us so much more than that - it truly is unfathomable how much He loves us. And what a beautiful example of His love that He gives us in our spouses and children. A love so amazing indeed! :)

Adoring Daddy :)

Very tired, but very content. Flower is about 13 hours old in this picture.
Butterfly and Little Man are quite excited about their baby sister and are very interested in her. 
The first time Butterfly met her, she said "Mommy's baby!".  And
Little Man laid his head very gently down on Flower in the sweetest way (while M was holding her) and was all smiles and excited about her. Even though he is only 16 months old, I think he knows exactly what is going on and that he is a big brother now. I am so grateful that they have accepted her and are interested in her. I am really looking forward to watching the three of them grow up together. :)
We're a family of five! The very first family picture, of many to come!
Flower, five days old. She always had a hand up by her face in her ultrasound pics, and she still loves to have it up there now. :)

Flower, 4 days old. :)
My amazing friend Sierra watched Butterfly and Little Man for us again when I was in the hospital giving birth to Flower. I am so incredibly thankful for this wonderful woman who continually gives so selflessly! Thank you so much Sierra! :D

I am so incredibly grateful to all the people who were praying for Flower and I the past few months. The Lord has been so faithful in hearing your prayers and has answered them so mercifully! Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us - I truly can not express how grateful I am for your faithfulness as prayer warriors. Thank you for praying Flower into the world! :)

Here's an update on Flower's health, since there were some concerns when I was pregnant:

After she was born, she had an ultrasound of her heart, abdomen (for her liver) and sacrum (she has a really deep sacral dimple) and everything looked good. Her liver is slightly enlarged, but within normal limits. Her heart is where it is supposed to be and her sacrum is fine (no opening).

She does have a slight heart murmur and her echocardiogram showed some "transitional normalities", which basically means all the holes in her heart that are open while in utero (that's normal) that are supposed to close after birth are still open. So we have to follow up with the cardiologist in a month just to watch them. This is hereditary and I was born with the same thing (and I'm fine and never had any problems). We're also following up with the kidney doc in a month to do another ultrasound because they couldn't see the bottom of her kidneys on the abdominal ultrasound, so they just want to repeat it to make sure nothing is going on. 
She also lost more weight than they would like (9% instead of 5%), so we're working on that . . . more on the breastfeeding issues in another post . . .
Overall though, she is a healthy and very strong little girl! I am so grateful to the Lord for this amazing and precious gift of a daughter! Thank you Lord for a healthy baby! :D

Psalm 92:1-5 (italics mine)
 1 It is good to praise the LORD
   and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
   and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
   and the melody of the harp.
 4 For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD;
   I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, LORD,
   how profound your thoughts!

04 August 2011

Hearth & Soul Blog Hop - Shepherd's Pie

I'm a little late for the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, but not too late! :) If you'd like to swap some great recipes with fellow bloggers, head on over to Premeditated Leftovers, who co-hosts this wonderful blog hop every week! :) Enjoy!

This week I am going to do Shepherd's Pie. I know it's summer and it's really hot and this is a dish that sounds more like a winter dish (that you have to bake in the oven), but I wanted to share it. Why? Because I am really excited about it! I made this for the first time (I think) last night and it was just so good and packed with veggies. Since a lot of people have beautiful gardens producing bountifully by now, I think this would be a good dish to make with some of those fresh veggies from the garden. (My garden is limited to tomatoes this year, so I couldn't do that - but I have plans for next summer!) :) Of course, six months from now, this would be a great dish to warm up after a cold day with.

As I said, it was the first time (that I can remember) making this, so I had to look up a recipe. I used the first recipe I came to online, which happened to be from Better Homes and Gardens. However, I didn't have a lot of the ingredients that they called for, so I improvised. Have I mentioned how much I love to improvise and experiment in the kitchen before?? So here is the recipe, which I got from here. I will write how I improvised in parenthesis next to the ingredients.

Enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie:

Ingredients:
-->
  • 1 17-ounce package refrigerated cooked beef tips with gravy (I used ground hamburder)
  • 2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables (I used a lot more veggies than the amount called for and I threw in some mushrooms, chunked, that I had in the fridge that needed to be eaten)
  • 1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed tomato bisque soup (I used regular tomato soup)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I didn't measure and probably used a lot more than that)
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion (I used a quarter of a large onion, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed (I didn't measure and probably used a lot more)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (I used a lot more than 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 20-ounce package refrigerated mashed potatoes (I made mashed potatoes from real potatoes) 
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I grated the cheese on right from the block, so I don't know how much I used - enough to loosely cover the top of the casserole)
-->  
Preparation:
-->
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. (Oops! I missed that part!) In a large saucepan combine beef tips with gravy, mixed vegetables, tomato bisque soup, Worcestershire sauce, dried minced onion, thyme, and pepper. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Transfer to prepared baking dish. (I browned the hamburger with the onion and mushroom, spices and Worcestershire sauce.) After the hamburger was browned, I drained the grease and then added the vegetables and soup. I simply mixed it together and then spooned it into the baking dish.
  2. Place potatoes in a large bowl; stir until nearly smooth. Spoon potatoes into 6 mounds on top of meat mixture. (I made the mashed potatoes and then spooned them onto the meat mixture. I smoothed it all down so that it covered the meat and veggies.)
  3. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly on edges. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings

Tomorrow's the Day - Baby Update

Tomorrow is the day!

It's a little weird knowing that ahead of time. Of course, I am speaking of Daphne's long-awaited arrival. I am scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning.

This pregnancy has been very trying on many levels: physically, spiritually, psychologically. For weeks, daily prayers of many were answered as I made it another week without having Daphne. I feel so incredibly grateful to the Lord that He has had mercy on myself and Daphne during this pregnancy. I am so incredibly grateful for all of those who prayed for Daphne and I throughout this pregnancy. The Lord has certainly been faithful to hear those prayers! :)

So why am I being induced after all this time of trying not to have Daphne? Well, the last two ultrasounds (one biophysical profile and one fetal growth assessment) measured my amniotic fluid to be 34 cm, up from 25cm where it had previously been hovering. Because my fluid is so high, there are a lot of possible complications that could happen during labor and delivery. The biggest would be that if my water breaks, the cord could come out before Daphne and then Daphne would come down on the cord. If this happens in the hospital, they would do an emergency C-Section. If that were to happen outside of a hospital setting, then everything could end in still birth. (Same reason I was induced with Edward.) Lord willing that won't happen.

Daphne is also measuring at an estimated 8#13 oz - big girl! Ultrasound growth measurements can be off up to a pound either way. I'm really hoping it's off in the smaller direction! I'm praying that we won't have to deal with shoulder dystocia. That would be bad for Daphne.

Unlike with Edward's induction, where I went into the induction dilated to 3cm, I am only dilated to 2cm. So my cervix will have be dilated either with drugs or manually, most likely manually since you can't get the drug they give if you are contracting more than 3 times in 10 minutes. Not really looking forward to that. After my cervix is dilated to 4cm, they will start the pitocin and we'll go from there. Even though I know I'll be getting pitocin, I'm still hoping I won't have to get an epidural. We'll see how that goes. Pitocin is so much rougher on the mom and the baby. However, I have to be induced for medical reasons, so Pitocin it is. The goal should always be to have a healthy mom and a healthy baby. There are times when that just can't happen with nature taking care of things on its own. This is one of those times. When there is a chance that the baby could die, I definitely think it's worth taking matters into your own (or well, the doctors) hands.

Even though I really don't like being induced, I am very excited to meet this precious gift from the Lord who has been so prayed over and will have been borne into the world through the intersession of the prayers of many around the world. There is no other experience like looking into the face of the child you have carried in your womb for the first time. Hearing them make a noise, like a sigh, for the first time. Watching them breathe. Kissing their tiny, precious face. Holding their tiny fingers as they wrap around your finger. Being reminded of how humbling an entrance Jesus Christ made into this world. Being reminded of the fragility and absolute miracle of life. Seeing the man you love most in the world being mixed with you physically and psychology in the form of this tiny precious child. A truly amazing, joyful, wondrous experience. Words simply cannot adequately describe that feeling - it is overwhelming.

So the next I get on my blog (most likely) I will have a new daughter! I will blog about her birth as I did for Sophie and Edward. :)