Sweet baby Nathaniel made his grand appearance a week late on August 16. This was my first summer pregnancy and it was rough! Not a fan. But he is oh so worth it. Summer meant feeling really hot, swollen, huge, lethargic, sore, and miserable. I have to wear closed-toe shoes to work and none of mine fit...he was also our biggest baby coming in at 23", 9 lb 10 oz. Also our only late baby. Alexa was 2 days early, Tyler was 10, Tad was born at 3 hours after his due date, Liam was 5 days early. I stayed at work up until Nathan was born.
We went down the checklist to try and get baby Nathan out, but nothing worked. Stripped membranes, bouncing on our trampoline, doing laps up and down the stairs, spicy food, etc. etc. Finally on Saturday afternoon (August 15) I lost my mucus plug and by dinner I started having really mild contractions. By 10:30ish they were getting more frequent and I started timing them. Kyle was gone at a game night and by the time he came home at 11:30pm they were still frequent but not very painful. Apollo (Alexa's cat) and her kittens were living in our master bathroom so we moved them out and disinfected everything to get ready for baby's arrival. I sat in the tub to see if contractions continued when I wasn't moving around. By 1:15am we called the midwife and the team (2 midwives, 1 student) arrived at our house just before 2:00am. Nathaniel was born just past 3am. I was in the bath tub when they came and they immediately started monitoring me and baby, as well as put in an IV for Group B Strep. I got out of the tub after a while and with the very next contraction my water broke and I started pushing.
Nathan took the record for hardest / longest pushing, likely due to his tremendous size and big head, as well as the fact that the cord was wrapped around him twice and had to take time to stretch. Alexa asked to be there for delivery. We talked through it in the months leading up to his due date and explained that there would be lots of blood and fluid, I would be in a lot of pain and she couldn't talk to me or ask me questions, she had to stay with Kyle and be very quiet, that it was very painful, and so on. She was an absolute champ. Kyle woke her up as I was pushing and she was a great helper. She ran and got supplies like extra towels for the midwives and was fascinated, quiet, and attentive. She said she was excited to see he had hair, thought it was weird that he came out blue (we forgot to tell her that babies change color...), and said she could tell I was in pain. She said at one point "wow, that's a lot of blood" and the midwives told her that was normal. After he was born, Alexa got to hold him while his cord was still attached to the placenta and he was brand new. Then she loved helping the midwives clean up and talking to them. She walked them around the house and showed them the baby kittens and they became instant friends.
I delivered Nathan by kneeling against a chair in our room. He came out very blue due to the cord around his neck and he swallowed a bit of amniotic fluid and meconium that he spit out over the next couple of days. Once they cleared his airways he started to do ok, but Kyle admitted he was really worried for a minute.
Right from the time he was born, Nathaniel was incredibly alert and calm. Instead of screaming or just going straight to sleep after he was swaddled, Nathan had his eyes wide open and was cooing for a couple of hours. It was the cutest! He has also been a fabulous sleeper from the beginning. We attribute it to the fact that he's so chubby :). He would do a 6+ hour stint at night about 50% of the time from the time he was born until 1 month, and then from 1 month to 6 weeks about 75% of the time, and by 2 months he does an 8+ hour stint most of the time as long as he is kept awake in the evening and filled up before he goes to bed. And even during the day he is so calm and sweet. He is a happy, calm baby. We love him so much!
The delivery was quiet enough that the rest of the house slept through it. The other boys woke up the next morning (Sunday) as if it was a normal day and turned on cartoons. We did wake up Grandma Sweeny around 4am to come meet her new grandson. When we came out the next morning to grab the little boys, we told them to come upstairs for a surprise. I wish I had videoed their faces when they heard that we had the baby. They were sooo excited and happy. All of them came running. The very first thing Tad said was, "Can I please take care of him forever?" And then he later asked if we could make baby some cupcakes for his birthday :). Tyler said he loooooves his soft hair.
Emily and Sara were kind enough to take care of the kids and let them have a sleepover Sunday night. Then they came back late Monday to get ready for their first day of school on Tuesday. What a fun 48 hours!
By 2 months Nathan has started smiling. The other kids love trying to get him to smile. I was blessed to be off work for just over 6 weeks and it was hard to go back to real life.
The name Nathaniel means gift of God. I was originally pushing for the name Nathan because Nathaniel is so long and I knew we wouldn't really call him that, but it turns out that it changes the meaning. The "iel" at the end is what makes the name mean "of God." Kyle felt strongly that his name should be Nathaniel. This sweet baby boy is such a special gift, even more so after the loss of our sweet Joshua. His middle name is Richard, named after Kyle's paternal grandfather, Richard Swingle.In summary:
Born August 16 at 3:00am
Grandma Sweeny stayed for a week after Nathaniel was born and took great care of all of us. The dishes and laundry were always done, she took kids to school, and we were well fed. She spoiled Tad and Liam with lots of visits to the park and museums. After she left they forgot how to entertain themselves haha.
Other things that happened in August...
We lost Aunt Sandra in August and Mom flew out for the funeral. It was strange to be able to watch the service on Zoom, what a unique time this is with COVID....It was nice of Michelle and Garr to host a Ludlow family gathering at their home after the funeral service. Mark Smith bought a crate of carrots and the kids loved being able to feed them to the horses.
The kids started school 2 days after Nathan was born! Alexa is in 4th grade, Tyler is in 2nd, and Tad is in preschool. The school district gave the option to go in person (with masks and other precautions), do virtual learning from home, or homeschool. We discussed it and really felt it was best for our kids to be in person. Alexa has had a hard time socially being so isolated from people, it really impacts her emotionally. Tyler would more happily stay home, but in his case it's good to force that social interaction a little and have him be around other kids. He's super friendly and has lots of friends at school, but doesn't necessary crave it the way Alexa does. And Tad thinks preschool is the best thing ever invented.
Tad lost his first tooth! He was play fighting with Alexa and her foam shield hit his mouth and it popped right out. He said it was loose but I'm not so sure...either way he was excited to write a note to the tooth fairy and get some sparkly money under his pillow. His note and drawings of the tooth fairy (top right) and him sleeping (bottom right) are the cutest thing ever.
We were sad to lose 2 kittens pretty suddenly. They were both much smaller and wouldn't go for food on their own. They declined quickly and Kyle held them with heating pads and fed them with an eye dropper but they passed away in his arms. It was very sad. They had seemed to be doing better but didn't make it. Another kitten (who thankfully survived) fell from the banister at the top of the stairs by our bedroom straight down to the first floor, onto the hard floor below. It did NOT land on its feet and we were so worried it wouldn't make it, but thankfully it was ok. I was amazed at how good of climbers they were at such a young age. Mama would climb to the top of her scratching post when she needed a break and they would climb up to the top right after her when they were really tiny, just a few weeks old. And we tried to keep them in the room with a baby gate but they quickly just started climbing it (and then falling over the other side).
Alexa started taking virtual ukulele lessons from Aunt Michelle, which has been really fun. She has enjoyed doing violin, ukulele, and then practicing her new violin songs on the piano. Grandma Sweeny practiced piano quite a bit with Alexa while she was visiting.
Liam: Ahh! The sun is looking at me! (bright and shining in his eyes while driving in the car)