It's a boy!

Introducing Elias Anton Groves. He decided to come on his own (no pitocin! my first baby that didn't need pitocin!) and was born on Sunday morning at 8:50. I had contractions off and on starting at midnight on Friday and irregularly all throughout Saturday. And then Saturday night it all kicked in and we checked into the hospital about 10:00.

I have so many thoughts.
First, newborns are so wonderful. I mean, so, so wonderful. Elias is darling and snuggly and squeaks a lot. We landed on his name just on Monday morning. We had been stumped for 9 months trying to come up with a name. My great uncle's name was Ellis, and that was in the running. Ivar like Elliot and Emmit was discussed. We thought about Elijah and then finally when Rory said, while brushing his teeth, 'how about Elias?' I felt my heart swell and knew we had finally landed on his name. We will likely call him Eli, but for now I am trying to use Elias, mostly so I remember it! It's that new of a name, and he's not named after anyone, so I have to go through my own foggy memory to remember...Elias. I have time though. Mostly we call him "Alden...I mean, Elias" and likely will the rest of his life. :)

And Rory's great grandfather was named Anton. And his grandpa's middle name was Anton.

We had a great stay at the hospital and were the only patients on the birthing floor the whole 36 hours we were there! The nurses that delivered Elias were the same two who delivered Alden two years ago and we all remembered each other. I ordered french toast four times after delivery, as well as three different omelets and bacon every time with everything. The hospital food service people kept saying to me, "it's just so nice to find someone who likes hospital food. we'll be sure to tell the workers in the kitchen."
My folks brought the kids on Sunday after they had all been to church. We facetimed the kids before their church service at Shepherd of the Valley so we could tell them that we had a boy. And then they came right to the hospital after service and lunch at McDonalds. Alden usually naps at 10 or 11, so when he arrived at 1, he was a disaster. Oh it was so funny to me. Poor boy. He just wanted to push every button on my bed, and say no, and cry and and cry some more. He was a wreck when Rory brought him out to the car and I don't know if he ever recovered. Well, more accurately, I don't know if my dad will ever recover! Ha! He looked pretty worn down himself!

And now we're back home, just the three of us. We just woke up from a good nap in our own bed which was wonderful. Rory said, "sure beats the school bus cushions I slept on the last two nights." The kids will come back from Mimi and Papa's tomorrow, and then life will pick right back up, I'd imagine. But we're ready for it.

So those are my scattered thoughts at the moment. I still want to write out the birth story and another thought before the kids come back. I just have this feeling if I don't get this stuff out now, it may be a while! We're going to have corn on the cob and tomatoes and mozerella for dinner now and then I'll go take a bath in my super clean tub. So glad I super-cleaned it! And then we'll try sleeping for a few hours at a time all night long, working on a good latch, trying to get a good burp. I feel seasoned at this newborn thing, and yet it is amazing how awkward it can all feel at the same time. I changed him into an outfit before we left the hospital and he flailed all around. It felt like I was getting my sea legs back. So that's what we'll do this week. Elias and I will work as a team, finding our rhythm. And the fab four will come back and we'll transform into a family of seven as we find our footing.

My heart is positively overflowing.

life and death

This morning we got the heartbreaking news that our dear friend Avis passed away early this morning. Avis goes to our church and she and her husband Fred, sit right behind us every Sunday. Some people are occasional attenders, but Fred and Avis are there Every Single Sunday. This past March Avis invited me to her 74th birthday party, a sweet breakfast with four of her best friends and me. I felt so honored to be there.

Just two weeks ago they got the news that Avis had stage 4 cancer. And it went that quickly.

It is sobering because in this season of waiting for the baby, I am once again amazed at how little control we have over birth and death. These are the two most mysterious of all events in a person's life, and in a world where we feel like we can control most things in between those two moments, it is always a shock to the system to realize how little control we actually do have. I think God uses birth and death to help us not forget that he is the giver of earthly life, the giver of eternal life and that he holds all time in his hands.

So birth and death. We don't have much say. But we trust the one who made us, the one who holds all time in his hands, the one who has formed this baby in my womb, the one who is holding Avis now, and the one who is most tenderly holding dear Fred.

still waiting...the beginning of a birth story

I was having some symptoms over the weekend so that when I called my doctor on Monday morning, her nurse wanted me to go to the Birthing Center immediately. We called Grandma and got the kids situated. Then Rory and I packed our suitcases and drove to the hospital.

They put me in a hospital gown, hooked me up to a monitor to hear the baby's heartbeat, took all my vitals and I got right to work looking through the cafeteria menu. This is always a highlight for me when giving birth. After the baby comes I eat off the breakfast menu for every meal until we go home: omelets, oatmeal, hash browns, bacon, sausage, orange juice and french toast. Over and over and over. I've been looking forward to this part of giving birth ever since getting pregnant again. I wanted to call in my order for oatmeal, but Rory insisted that we wait and make sure we're actually staying before calling room service.
So they checked to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. The test took a half an hour and I just kept feeling these swells of excitement to meet this baby. It was the exact enthusiasm I felt as a little girl looking forward to my birthday or to Christmas. I just was so, so excited. I knew that if it was amniotic, they would want to get things going immediately and I would be meeting this baby within hours.

You might remember in Elsie's birth story that I went to my 40 week appointment and told them, "Pregnancy is so weird. I just keep slowly peeing my pants..." And they rushed me to the hospital after testing that my water had actually broken.

So here I was, same boat, different kid. The nurse finally came back and said, "well, it's not amniotic fluid. you can go home."

And I laughed so hard, "oh my word. does this mean the baby is just on my bladder?" And she nodded.

I got dressed and Rory and I took what he later called The Walk of Shame. Four nurses all popped their heads over their computers to see the woman here to deliver her 5th baby, who came in because she'd just peed her pants. Oh dear.

Not coincidentally, we now both had a hankerin' for a big breakfast. We drove around for nearly an hour, every single diner closed once we got there, or had stopped serving breakfast. Finally we ended up at Perkins and I decided that I will now switch from Whole 30 to a new eating program called Whole Waiting, where I can make any food choice I want while waiting for baby. So we shared a mammoth muffin to begin our meal of omelets and eggs benedict and hash browns, and split the pancakes. All of it was so good.
Then we went home to nap for an hour so I could sleep off all that gluten.

We went to our doctor appointment later that afternoon, and she said we could induce Sunday night if things didn't begin before then. Rory and I left and went to walk around a nearby nature center for a few hours. It was a dreamy afternoon and full of really great conversation. Then we went to the grocery store to defeatedly stock up on meals for the week. My folks were ready to bring our kids back, but I asked if they could stay until after dinner. I just needed the whole day off. And I wanted my house to stay tidy for just another hour or two.

And now today we spent the day in a haze. All the excitement of yesterday wore off. I slept a lot. Hattie and I ran errands for a while and ended up at Culver's sharing another scoopie of peanut butter cup custard. I swung by my good friend Allyson's house who loaded me up with home cooked meals including a loaf of bluberry lemon bread.

Tonight Rory took the recycling bag out and told me he had it lifted over the chicken fence before he realized he was about to dump it into the chicken yard instead of the recycling bin. And that sort of sums us up right now.

What is strange is that we have been here before. We absolutely should be used to this and know how to handle these extra days. But it seems it doesn't work that way.

Birth and Death...it always amazes me how we truly have no control over the timing of both. There is a good kind of surrender that simply has to happen, knowing and trusting that God holds all time in his hands. And I trust him.

I just may eat a lot of ice cream and blueberry lemon loaf in the meantime...

you were made for this


I texted a bit this weekend with my friend Shannon. I don't know if I have ever written out my favorite story with Shannon on this blog...but I was with her when her water broke quite dramatically before her second child was born. That story is in my top three stories of all time, which is saying something, because I have a lot of stories (other two: Story City and the Water Skiing Story). If I have time today I'll look to see if I have already written my Shannon Story, or maybe I'll just write it out again because it's as good as it gets.

Anyway, Shannon is a supporter of mothers, of birth, of making sure women feel empowered and strong during pregnancy and postpartum. She has a studio on California that offers all sorts of classes and workshops and seminars that basically surround the new mama with resources and support and friendship.

So it is not a real surprise that the words I think about most often while in the throws of labor are Shannon's words to me, spoken before I had Ivar. She had two kids already and knew all that was ahead of me. When I was concerned about the pain of labor she said to me, "Becca, you are a strong Scandinavian woman built for giving birth."

Those encouraging words always come to mind while gripping some hallway railing, trying to breath through intensifying contractions. At the moments when I wonder if I will really survive this pain, I begin to remember that I am a strong woman, built for giving birth.

So that's what is ahead! I have a doctor's appointment today and I have a feeling they are going to want to get things started. So prayers would be so appreciated. Especially for the moments when I'm white-knuckle gripping the hallway railing! This isn't my first rodeo, and I am fully aware of what comes next... But I'm also aware that after that part, I HAVE A BABY!!!!

And I do want to just say this: I LOVE being pregnant. And I am going to miss this feeling. I love carrying a life in my womb. I love that I get the honor of feeling baby move and sway and kick and dance inside of me. The miracle of it all is not lost on me for a moment.

In an odd twist, this pregnancy has been my very best. I have felt healthy and strong and able the whole time, right up to the end. Take that Geriatric Pregnancy Pamphlet that told me all the things to worry and fear! I felt better at age 38 than I did at 30! And I don't take that for granted either. I know every pregnancy is different for every woman, but what a joy to have this one to leave me feeling so good and grateful.

So I'm off. I got up at 4:30 this morning and got a few more things situated. You'll be happy to know the inside of my microwave looks brand new. I do believe that means it is time to go and have a baby.


the good fruit app


I have this app idea called Good Fruit. I think about this app nearly every week. It's just a hub on your phone where you can report what fruit is awesome at what store and location on that day.

For example, last week I got peaches at Aldi and they were the best ever. Perfect in every way. I would have logged on and reported "The peaches called "Hollywood" that I purchased on Saturday August 3rd were exceptional. I got them at the Aldi with this zip code." And then if someone was at Aldi later that week, they can get the peaches too and leave their own comment. Because the kicker is that this week I bought the same peaches and now they're mealy and not worth it. I would quickly log on, enter the fruit, brand, date and description and tell others to forgo to the peaches.

That all sounds way more complicated than this nifty little app would be. It would be simple and fast. And it would mean you would know if the green grapes are good and firm or soft and lame.

I'd love to see this one available. I'd drive to a special grocery store if I knew the cherries there were fantastic and affordable.

Anyways, these are the things I am thinking about these days. Still no baby as of Saturday night, still no real contractions. But my official due date isn't until tomorrow, so I can't actually complain yet. It's just that I feel so ready! So I think about app ideas.

Yesterday our One Fun Thing was to cook hotdogs over the fire. I'll tell you it was not that fun. It was rather stressful and full of bugs. But that's okay. My clean bathroom continued to bring me joy all day long.

Today our One Fun Thing was homemade cheese curds (Those are cheese strands hanging from the kids mouths above). I had a hankerin' for some fair food and decided to make it at home. For dinner we had cheese curds, sweet corn, fried green tomatoes and watermelon. It was all delicious.

I'd get on the Good Fruit App and report that the watermelon I bought at Aldi today was awesome and only $3.99.