Celebrate Kate Giveaway:Hugs & Kisses

It’s my birthday week, so I am celebrating stuff I love…and I love YOU guys!

So for my birthday?  I am giving YOU presents with GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS!

So let’s get started, shall we?  There are FOUR and they will be posting EVERY hour starting NOW!

We are starting with some Hugs and Kisses because that is the BEST way to start a birthday!

Hugs and Kisses is the result of the lovely Becca!  And here she is to tell you about her shop:

True story: Sewing machines used to scare me.

Once my son was born, I realized that I should pull out the sewing machine that had been buried in a closet for several years. I started with making a bib. And then a burp cloth. And a blanket. And a paci clip. And all of a sudden, hugs & kisses was born!

I became fascinated with sewing and fabric and all things baby. I mean, there’s some really gorgeous fabric out there and inspiration to be found anywhere. Sewing soon became a therapeutic hobby for me. I’m a creative person by nature, so having that outlet to focus my creative energy on has been wonderful!

Since the shop’s opening, it’s matured and progressed into what it is today. I customize in diaper clutches, bibs and burp cloths. Most recently I’ve added some fun totes and clutches. Also you’ll  find some really great custom art pieces listed in the shop. Please take a look around hugs & kisses. I think you might like what you see.

You will totally LOVE what you see!  Check out a peek…

I am in LOVE with the silhouettes.  I REALLY want to get Eddie’s chubby profile immortalized by her one of these days.

You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.

You COULD go shopping right now!  Becca is generously offering ALL of us 25% off until Monday!  That is amazing!  All you have to do is enter the code HAPPYKATIE at checkout to get your discount!

Wait!  There’s more!

Becca is giving one of you $25 shop credit to Hugs and Kisses toward anything your heart desires!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me when your birthday is and what you love about it!

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

Say happy birthday to @ksluiter and enter to win Hugs and Kisses shop credit from @becca7903 Enter now: http://wp.me/p1qChn-vl

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog!

This giveaway ends on my BIRTHDAY: Sunday, March 27 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

 

The fine print: Hugs and Kisses is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something on my birthday.

Secret Mommyhood Confession

I love my birthday.

I know some women like their birthday, but they are not really all that excited about turning another year older.

I am seriously like a child about my birthday.

As soon as the calendar says March, I start thinking about that day at the end of the month that is MINE!

MINE!

Yes, I turn 33 on my birthday, and no I am not ashamed to say that.  Some people don’t like to admit their age, but I have no problem telling it to you, my students, or a random person on the street.

So what?  I am 33…or almost 33.

No, I don’t LIKE that I am getting older, but as my dad says, “it’s better than the alternative.”

So true, dad.  So true.

And that is why my birthday is so awesome.

Not only is it my very own special day when I entered this world, but it means I am still here.  I made it another year.

I have made it through another year of crap and celebration.  Of mountains and valleys.  Of anxiety and joys.

I know I spend a LOT of time hating on myself and seeing my downfalls…but for some reason?  Every year, my birthday is the day I have no problem celebrating me.  Of finding the happy in who I am.

I think it’s because for people to celebrate you on your birthday is natural.  It’s easy to take people for granted throughout the year, but birthdays are days we think about the special people in our lives.

And that works for me as well.  I mean, it works for me to think about ME that way too.

It’s funny because birthdays were really overemphasized in my family.  Yes, my mom and dad made a point of making us the “special kid” on that day because it was our day, but we never had extravagant parties or got out of chores or were allowed to stay home from school or any of that.

We were celebrated simply.

But somehow, out of that simple love, grew a HUGE love of my birthday.

In high school and college I used to remind everyone in my life of how many days there were until my birthday starting at LEAST a month ahead of time.

I don’t go to those extremes anymore, but I do love the people who take the time to really remember that I love my birthday.

Cort is really great at that.  He is not that overly attached to his birthday, but he knows it’s a big deal for me and always works extra special hard to make me feel special. As do my parents and some super awesome friends.

(by the way?  I LOVE that facebook advertises your birthday…getting a trillion birthday wishes from people who probably don’t even talk to you the rest of the year?  I’ll take it!)

So.  I love my birthday.  March 27, 1978…the day I arrived here from my momma’s tummy.

This whole week coming up is full of birthday wonder and excitement (yes, I even have some pretty awesome giveaways for YOU!!).

As if this whole blog thing isn’t about me enough already?  It’s about to get a whole LOT more all about me!

So get ready!

Thus begins…The Week of Kate!!!  ::insert me doing my tappity tappity birthday dance…or perhaps shaking what my momma gave me::

Get ready to party, people. And yes, this is me with blond hair again.

Do you love your birthday?  Are you a fellow March birthday?  Tell me some birthday stuff about YOU!

did someone say “birthday extravaganza”?

Birthdays are sort of a big deal in Sluiter Nation.  I have always thought that your birthday is your own special day and it needs to be GOOD.  It has nothing to do with age…all about it being YOUR day.

Since Cort’s birthday is in December, I try extra hard to make it all about his birthday since I know that in the past it has gotten lost in the shuffle of Christmas.

Thus started the tradition of the BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA in Sluiter Nation.

Friday I had the day off work (for various reasons, Cort’s birthday was a bonus), so we did some errands, had birthday lunch out, and saw Santa (totally a different post, since you know…that has to do with Christmas).

So anyway, Friday on his birthday we had to have birthday brownies.  because that is what Cort loves best.

We also had dinner at his mom and step-dad’s house.  Orange chicken and rice and egg rolls…um?  YUM!  And cupcakes for dessert!  Of course there were presents as well, and now Cort has his own wheelbarrow to push Eddie lawn stuff around in this spring.

Saturday was date night, so this is my version of Steppin’ Out Saturday:

Eddie went to Grandpa and Grandma Riemersma’s house so we could have our birthday date.

On Eddie:

Onsie and jeans = Osh Kosh

vest = Baby Gap

socks = target

Cortney and I went to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit (VERY AWESOME) and then to Six One Six for a swanky meal and cocktails.

On Cort:

Button Down Shirt = Old Navy

Jeans = Gap

Socks = Hanes

Belt = from Younkers

On Me:

cami = Gap

Sweater = Old Navy

Jeans = Gap

Boots = Shoe Carnival

Necklace = Cap Creations

Earrings = Vintage Pearl

And today to round out all the fun, we gathered at my parents’ house again to celebrate December birthdays:  Cort and our nephew Jack.  There was lasagna dinner, presents galore, and cakes for every birthday boy!

It’s been a jam-packed weekend here in Sluiter Nation, but it’s been super fun!  We do love birthdays!

Stop by for Top Ten Tuesdays this week:  Top Ten Holiday Foods!

This Guy

Today is this guy’s birthday.

This guy is…

my best friend

a dad-do

logical

a brother

a son

witty

a survivor

my rock

strong

trustworthy

a ball of laughs

a house husband

my lover

a student

handy

gentle

a great secret-keeper

intelligent in ways I could never be

a music lover

thoughtful

quiet

a fighter

a nephew

friendly

a Pearl Jam fan(atic)

my crush

loyal

my support

sweet

a grandson

an uncle

honest

an in-law

a bowler

a golfer

an ex-soccer player

a teacher

full of shit (sometimes)

a reader

a writer

inquisitive

wise

a problem-solver

persistent

a giver

warm

a husband

loving

snuggly

short one appendix

kind

reserved

a friend

silly

a hard-worker

calm

a great smiler

an Afro-grower

scruffy

choosy

a hugger

patient

and today?  This guy is 32.

Give him some love in the comments, you guys.  He deserves it.

Our family wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t taken that first step to tell me he liked me. So let’s tel him how much we like him!

(and if you are on twitter, you can send him love there too.  He is @csluiter)

He’s HOW Old?

My little brother turned 30 on Thursday. 

It’s still weird to me to think of my brothers as adults.  It’s even weirder than thinking of myself as an adult.

My little brother, Chris–the middle child–was my first playmate.

We are 2 and a half years apart.

He was the daddy when we played house.

He was my student when we played school.

He was the customer when we played bank/post office/grocery store/etc.

And now he’s 30.

His girlfriend, Sarah (who is also the mother of his little boy and who he has just recently gotten back together with after a six year hiatus…but that is another post), wanted to throw him a surprise party.  So she emailed me.

I didn’t even hesitate!  YES!  My little brother should have a great party!  He has been through a lot in his 30 years and he is finally happy…and yes, there should be a party for that.

We got my mom and sister-in-law, Ashley involved and turned my parents’ garage into party central.  My brother, Mike, Ashley, and I put up the decorations in the garage.  My dad blew up a bunch of balloons with the air compressor.

Then a bunch of Chris and Sarah’s friends and family came over.  And we waited….

He was expecting a small dinner get together with Sarah’s parents and our parents and my little family.  But what he walked into was everyone!  He was pretty shocked.

Chris is not a fan of being the center of attention.  He doesn’t really like surprises.  But I think he was happy with this one–once the shock wore off, of course.

My mom ordered him a Dairy Queen ice cream cake…his favorite.  He was a little annoyed that we all were going to sing to him–putting him at the center of attention yet again, but we did it anyway.

And yes, we put 30 candles on that cake!  Jack helped his daddy blow them out as Sarah watched.  It was so great.

Everyone enjoyed each other’s company, the yummy food and cake, and most of all, Chris and Sarah and Jack being together as a family again.

This day made me emotional and happy for so many reasons.  My little brother who I have always fiercely protected is a thirty-year old man, but also?  He has his family.  I know our family and Sarah’s family have been praying for this for six years.  And now it’s coming to fruition.

So I say happy birthday, little brother.  And happy family.  We love you guys very, very much!

A Happy Day

Today, somewhere in Heaven, two guys are having birthdays…

Eddie’s Great Great Grandpa Edward Koops…
and Eddie’s Papa Steve Sluiter
These two are Eddie’s namesakes.  They shared a LOT, so it was only fitting that they shared Eddie.
And last year on their birthday…
Eddie was baptized in Papa Steve’s baptismal outfit.
Just because they aren’t around anymore,
doesn’t mean they aren’t around anymore.
We celebrate their birthdays by remembering the good times…
The love of a father and a son…
has been passed on and is celebrated again.
Today, somewhere in Heaven, someone is cracking a Busch Light and eating peach pie…
and smiling down on us and on Edward Steven Sluiter.
You can read Cortney’s birthday post to his dad at his blog, Tasty Buttered Toast

Happy Birthday, Bloggy Blog! {and giveaway, of course}

**UPDATE: The giveaway portion of this post is closed, so the comments are closed.  Stay tuned for a winner being announced tomorrow, Sunday, July 11!

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Holy Cow, Sluiter Nation is THREE today!  Well, the blog Sluiter Nation, anyway.

When I stop and think about it, I can hardly remember not blogging.  I started this blog on July 7, 2007 after seeing my friend Trisha’s blog about her family. Back then hers was on blogger and she had started it to sort of keep people afloat of the goings on of her family.  I thought it was a GREAT idea since almost all of our friends from high school have moved out of state and our extended family is so big it’s hard to keep everyone up on all the information without hundreds of phone calls, emails, or visits.  And that just means repeating ourselves a thousand times.

So, Sluiter Nation was born.

My first post was about our trip to Montana.  I had no idea what I was doing. My pictures were all over the place and the writing was blah. I had no idea there was a whole “blogesphere” out there of other women and men who were recording all their thoughts and doings for the internets to see.  In fact, I was pretty sure the internets were not even paying the slightest attention to Sluiter Nation.

It wasn’t until this spring, when I got a comment from someone I didn’t know, that I realized that the internets might just be checking in on me every now and then.  And I did have some bloggy friends already.  I had never really been one to leave comments, but by this time, I was definitely a regular on a LOT of blogs.

The blog world is where I read symptoms of PPD for the first time and realized I was looking in a mirror.

With the support of Emily (DesignHerMomma), I was able to tell about my PPD.  I knew from the minute I found her blog that we were being thrown back together after all these years for a reason…and it wasn’t long before one of those reasons was apparent.  She has been a HUGE supporter of mine.

I have LOTS of bloggy friends now who I feel have helped me be a better (more frequent for sure) writer here in this “little” space.  All of your comments and all of your tweets and all of your blogs inspire me to keep writing here every day.  But really, Missy, you have been my number one fan (at least as evidenced by the sheer number of comments you leave) since the beginning.  You never fail to comment on my posts…I know I will NEVER have a post that says “0 comments” because of you!  You are THE Sluiter Nation groupie and I LOVE it!

This blog has gone from seven followers for about two and a half years to 101 Google Friend Connect followers and 107 Network Blog Followers! Woot to all of YOU!

{Giveaway!!!}

And to THANK YOU for reading faithfully, my wonderful twitter friend, Tricia of g6 scrapped and I are going to give one of YOU something!

Tricia is a graphic designer who creates the COOLEST scrapbook  layouts and card designs ever!  My favorite is the Punk Rock Daddy layout–you know I have a soft spot for all things rock n roll! So what is she so graciously offering to one of you?

  • One card design of your choice (It can be birthday cards, thank you cards, invitations, announcements, all-occasion cards, really ANYTHING!) using YOUR pictures!
  • 25 cards printed of the design she creates for you.

This is an AMAZING deal!  You KNOW you want to win this!  Seriously?  I WANT TO WIN THIS!  So…how to enter?

MANDATORY: Go to Tricia’s blog OR her etsy shop and find what you like best about her work and come back and tell me.

What?  You want to enter more than once?  Ok….
 In order for the following “extra” entries to count, they MUST each be left in individual comments.  It’s like putting your name in the raffle more than once that way!

  • Follow Tricia’s blog via Google Connect and come back here and leave a comment that you did.
  • Follow Sluiter Nation via Google Connect and come back here and leave a comment that you are.
  • Tweet this:  “GIVEAWAY! card design and print giveaway by @ksluiter and @g6scrapped at http://bit.ly/cWVr4e” and come back here and leave a comment that you did.

That is it!  Four chances to throw your name in the hat for this awesome giveaway!  So what are you waiting for?

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:  Anyone can win this giveaway as long as you have a valid email address for notification of win.  If you leave an anonymous comment or your comment is not a valid entry, I reserve the right to delete your comment/entry.  Please read directions.  Giveaway will run from Wednesday, July 7 until Saturday, July 10 at 6pm est.winner will be announced and contacted on Sunday, July 11.

Disclaimer:  I received warm fuzzies and a new friend by doing this giveaway.  I am so grateful to Tricia for wanting to team up with me on this!  Show her some love!

The First of Many…

As you all know, my wee little Eddie Bear turned the big ONE last week.  We did a little celebration at home: presents, cake, out for dinner, but the BIG party was this past Saturday.

Um, you guys?  I did NOT know how much work, money, or effort went into a first birthday party.  (Cue the laughter of all my friends who “told me so” for the past seven years of them having kids.)  Seriously, the morning of the party I felt like when I was in the role of “fixer” or “mistress of ceremony” or “personal attendant” at weddings.  Frantic.  I had a clipboard and lists.  I had to pick up a cake, balloons, and Jimmy Johns.  We had all our tables and chairs and the decor there already, we just had to set up.  Eddie had to be on schedule to get there.  Good grief!

Anyway…the party!  My parents were SO kind to let us have the party at their house.  They have a MUCH bigger outdoor area than we do, but more importantly, they had room INSIDE in case of rain.  Which didn’t happen, THANK YOU WEATHER!  It was humid and hot, but at least rain wasn’t thrown in the mix.

So…before the peeps got there, we set up:

All of my mom and dad’s tables and chairs (and some of ours) set up in the driveway.
Rock star themed decor for my little rock star.
Swag for the 10 and under crowd
The swag:  up close.  Eddie’s A-list friends got a sand bucket filled with noise makers, sunglasses, bubble necklaces in the shape of a guitar, and some temporary tattoos.
As Cort says, “balloons are the international sign for ‘the party’s here’.”
We had a rock star cake and cup cakes.
And a place for people to write Eddie a birthday wish (totally thanks to my twitter friends for this idea!)
And of course the food.  We got Jimmy Johns sandwich platters and some salads and chips.  Easy peasy and oh so yummy!
After lunch it was time for present opening!  Twelve of Eddie’s little friends were there with their parents along with all his aunties and uncles and grandparents.  They were all MORE than generous to our little guy.  His Granny and Gramps bought him a trike (which he has already tried out and loves) and his Grandma and Grandpa R bought him a wagon and bike helmet.  He likes the wagon better than the bike helmet so far.
After Eddie opened his gifts, he (ok, I) directed his friends to their gifts…you remember the buckets.
The swag was a clear party hit.
Everyone was excited to dig into their buckets!
Or spill them on the ground.
Even the littlest of Eddie’s friends (Ethan, his BFF) sat and picked out which tat he would like on his arm.
Oh yeah.
Then it was time to sing to the birthday boy.  He LOVES being the center of attention.  I have NO idea where that came from.  ahem.
He blew out his candles and hopefully made a great wish.
And this happened.  What can I say?  The boy LOVES cake and frosting.  Can you blame him?
After a long day, we got home and Eddie went straight to bed and took a MONDO nap.  The boy was whipped.  But when he awoke…oh the new toys!  Birthday fun clearly vomited all over our house.  And he LOVES it! They are all so fun and exciting!
It has taken me a while to write this post 1) because there were so many pictures and 2) because I just didn’t know how to express my thanks to all the people that put us on their priority list for the day.  I didn’t do the party because Eddie needed toys, but I always want him to know people love him.  
And yes, I did realize that in 139 pictures of the day, there were none of Eddie with his dad-do.  Daddy was behind the camera all day because he says there aren’t enough pictures of me with Eddie.  But don’t you worry….
I snuck a picture of Cort enjoying a post-birthday party cupcake.  Yes, we all had a grand time celebrating this first year of Eddie’s life.  We can’t wait to do this many, many more times…well, maybe without the monster party every year, but definitely with the love!

Then and Now {and a Giveaway!}

Dear Eddie,
Then, you were so very small.  Daddy and I tried to prepare for you as best as we could, but we had no idea what it would be like to have such a tiny little person in our house with us.  You were just so small (even if EVERYONE kept calling you huge, you were tiny to us).

You stayed bundled up like a little burrito in your receiving blankets in your swing.  Your hair was so brown.

Your pipey was almost as big as your face. Your hands and feet had all that new baby dry skin.  I couldn’t stop holding your little fingers.

Your eyes were so dark and beautiful.  You seemed to know something.  You seemed wise.  But at the same time…

…you were so little.  Your bib was as big as the rest of you!  The car seat seemed to eat you alive.  Hats swallowed your little face.

You needed LOTS of cuddling because your tummy was not happy.  The formula we had just didn’t agree with you and you had so many bubbles in your little tummy.

you were so relaxed at bath time, though, that you would pee and then fall asleep.  With your chubby little tummy sticking out of the tub.

You seemed to weigh nothing.  I loved to show you off and dress you in cute outfits.  I mean, those shoes?  Awesome.

Every morning for the first two weeks at home this is what we did.  I got up with you around 4:00 or 5:00 and gave you your bottle and we would snuggle together until daddy woke us up just after 9:00 with Starbucks for me, and another bottle for you.  Every. Morning.

Back then we could lay you down and you didn’t move.  You did cry though.  a LOT.  even after we switched you to soy, you were a mad little man.  An angerball.  But what a cute little angerball.

And your pooping was about once or twice a week.  And humorous because your whole face head turned red and you got a dimple when you grunted.

Did I mention that you were squishy and wonderful?  Our lives had changed.  The kitchen counter was now set up as a feeding station. There was a little blue tub IN our regular tub.  Swings and bouncey seats and boppys and bumbos and receiving blankets and burp clothes took over our whole house.  We had a baby.

And then…just like that, I blinked.  Eddie, I blinked and you were one year old.  You were not a baby anymore.  You are now a toddler with QUITE a personality.

Every morning daddy helps you brush your eight teeth.  EIGHT!  And you are so good at it!  You can even hold the toothbrush–although you tend to suck on it more than brush.

You can open your own gifts.  A year ago you laid in a little baby cart in the hospital and I opened all your gifts.  Now you are a big boy and can do it yourself.  You tear the paper and play with the bow!  It’s all so exciting!

and you can even eat cake!  You are messy when you do it, but you can feed yourself AND digest the sweets!  and have FUN doing it!

You can sit up in your booster and eat a birthday dinner of fruit and chicken fingers in a restaurant with water in your sippy.  No more bottles for you, big guy!

You even charm all the waitresses into singing for you!  That is right, our waitress thought you were the cutest thing and you were most definitely flirting with her.  Flirting your way into another piece of chocolate cake for the day!

Our house is rarely picked up anymore.  Then we could set you in your bouncy and you didn’t do much.  Now we set you down and off you go to explore!

There are so many things you can do NOW.  You can walk.  You can squat and pick up toys (like your new John Deere radio from the Eiks in Montana!).  You can bring it over to us.  And you LOVE to point everything out to us.

And now you are so mobile that I can’t even get a good picture of you!  They are all blurry because, big boy, you’ve got places to GO!

And you want the world to know you are ON YOUR WAY!  Eddie, I am pretty sure you will go far with your powerful voice, your command of attention, your amazing blue eyes, and your devilishly handsome smile.

You’ve already got your momma wrapped around your finger with all those qualities and more. I love to listen to the stories you tell me, and spend our special momma/Eddie time together at night when I read you a book, sing you a song, and rock you to sleep.  I am trying so hard to be a good momma to you.  There are lots of battles I have had to fight for myself and for you and for our momma/son bond, but I know it will all be worth it.  You are worth it.  And I won’t stop fighting for you EVER.  Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet boy.

I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby YOU’LL be,
Love,
Your momma

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now, because he is officially a big boy, Eddie would LOVE to give YOU something in honor of his birthday!
Eddie loves to read.  I think he got that quality from his momma who ALSO loves to read.  
SIDE NOTE: In fact, I have a book blog over here that is going to have a mad awesome series called “July is SUMMER Reading Month” that will feature lots of great guest bloggers and some fun giveaways!  So stay tuned.
Ahem…the giveaway…right.
As I was saying, Eddie and I love to read.  We hope you do too.  Because of our love, we are giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to Barnes and Noble!
Anyone can win this!  All you have to do to enter is the following:
Mandatory to enter:  Leave me a comment here.  Any old comment will do.
Extra entries (please leave extra entries in their own comment space. That means use a SEPARATE comment for each entry.  If you don’t, your extra entries WON’T be counted):
1. “like” Sluiter Nation on facebook and come back and tell me you did (or if you do already, tell me that)
2. become a follower using the Google Friend Connect on the side of my blog and comment that you did (or tell me if you already are a follower…and thank you, by the way)

3. Tweet the following:  “Giveaway!!@ksluiter is giving away the gift of reading at http://bit.ly/ctS3lp!  Enter now!” Make sure to come back and tell me that you did! (one tweet per day)

That is it!  This giveaway will end Sunday, June 27 at 6:00 pm.  A winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced Monday morning.

The disclaimer stuff:  You must have a valid email address to win.  You don’t need to be a blogger, but you need to leave some sort of way for me to get a hold of you if you win.  Also, Barnes and Nobles did not give me a darn thing to do this.  How lovely it would be to have them as a sponsor, but alas, this one is from my own pocket because Sluiter Nation appreciates it’s readers that much.

Becoming Ma Ma Ma Ma: Eddie’s Day

I’ve been chronicling Eddie’s arrival in this world in a three part series called Becoming Ma Ma Ma Ma.  Part I: The Storm can be found here, and Part II: The Wedding can be found here.  I felt like I needed to do this because looking back, that kid certainly decided to make everyone stay on the edge of their seats about his arrival.  So anyway, he was due Tuesday, June 23, 2009.  Sunday was Father’s Day (which I talk about here).

Which puts us on the day before his due date:  Monday, June 22, 2009.  I was supposed to have my 40 week OB appointment that day.  I woke up completely uncomfortable.  I was big, sluggish, and I sort of had a crampy thing going on.  I figured the out of control weekend had really done a number on my poor overworked body.

Oh, and my feet looked like this:

I wasn’t comfortable AT ALL.  So anyway, those cramps.  I really thought nothing of them.  However, my lunch I was bitching about them a lot.  Cort came home from the office to eat with me and told me just to ask the doc about it that afternoon and he would see me there.

About an hour before my appointment, I called my mom to ask what a contraction felt like.  She was not helpful.  She couldn’t remember but said she didn’t think I was having them.  I was feeling sort of icky still though so I called Cort to pick me up rather than meet me at the appointment.

The doctor had the good news that I was 1.5 cm dilated and about 75% effaced, but he also didn’t really think I was in labor either because I wasn’t having any tightening of my tummy (I had had TONS of BH contractions throughout my pregnancy and NONE of that tightening at this point).  So he sent me home telling me that the next day (Tuesday) they would do a baby stress test and possibly induce by the weekend since Eddie was measuring over 8 pounds already.  Great.

The rest of the day the cramping just got worse, but no tightening.  So I just thought my body was mad at me.  Looking back I laugh because BOY WAS I DUMB!  But how was I supposed to know?  So I just tried to tough it out.  All night.  Sometime around midnight Cort did some investigating on the good old internet and decided that I must be dehydrated.  So I chugged one (plus some) bottles of water.  So now I was crampy and needing to pee every second (as if that wasn’t happening already).

Finally at 2:00am, I moved out of the bedroom to my chair in the living room and for a good hour tried to feel better/sleep.  But apparently when I am in pain like that?  I am loud.  Around 3:30 Cort came out and asked me what we should do.  The doc was called.  Cort asked if I wanted to talk to him.  I gave the stink-eye and MAY have sworn. It was decided I should be checked out.

So, STILL under the impression that this is not real labor, we pile me into the truck.  Now keep in mind I had this packed for two weeks:

but did we bring it?  NOOOOO.  Or the camera.  Or anything.  And what was I wearing?  Please picture this:  old non-maternity jammy pants that had a rip from the inside of my right thigh right on up to the crotch, a wife-beater-esque shirt that was supposedly maternity (it did NOT cover my whole tummy) that said “Got Male” on the front, and black flip flops that barely fit on my HUGE swollen feet.  And my hair was a greasy, messy knot on the top of my head.  I. was. hot.

Oh, and it was 90 degrees.  At 4:00 in the morning.  Awesome.  The only heat wave we had ALL SUMMER.

So recap:  It is hot, I am hot, it is now Tuesday, June 23, 2009.  The due date. just after 4:00 am with ZERO sleep all night.  No showers.  Following me?  Good.

We get to the hospital.  This is when things start to blur for me.  I distinctly remember telling the triage nurse at the ER door that I did NOT need a wheelchair, and then I distinctly remember a nurse named Katherine (oh hey, sweet name) whisking me to a birthing suite IN a wheelchair.  We were in the bathroom.  I was suddenly in a gown.

Oh, and I remember that at that point, I did not care about my fat, naked body.  It was the first time EVER that I wasn’t self-conscious.  I knew this was the nurse’s job–to deal with fat, naked pregnant ladies and their fluids.  So from that moment on, I just wanted the pain to STOP.

Then I remember being told, “oh, you’re 4.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced and having very regular contractions.”  What?  I’m in labor?  And over 4 cm?  BRING ME THE DRUGS!

The anesthesiologist showed up and had  not been concentrating so hard on the stupid decorative tile of a garden pond scene (which seemed humid to me…probably because it was 90 degrees outside) above me in the bed and breathing through those contractions, I would have kissed that man. Cort was immediately impressed with  my ability to get through the contractions and just welcome that big needle (I didn’t have to SEE the needle, so who cared.  It made me feel better!)

So good in fact that I sent Cortney home to get my bag and the camera, and I sat and texted to people that I was in the hospital.  It was only just before 7:00am, so most people were just getting to work or on their way to work.

The nurse implied to us that Cort should hurry since I was moving along quite nicely.  Yeah, that’s what I like to hear!  Let’s get our guy here!

We only live about 5 minutes away, so Cort was back by 7:30 and I was watching the Today show.  Huh.  I am never up early enough to watch this.

So we spent the next few hours progressing QUICKLY!  I was all the way to 9.5cm by 11:15 and was about 99.9% effaced.  Eddie was coming down slowly, but surely.  Everyone figured he would be born by lunch time.

By 12:30 I am told they would give me three more hours before C-section became a real issue on the table. Also by this time I am told Cort could eat my lunch and I could have some sips of 7-up and a couple soda crackers.  thanks. My mom also stopped in because she couldn’t stand to stay at work while I was in labor.  She is cute that way.

Right around 2:00 I started feeling all yucky again and realized I just wanted to push.  Ok, I may have said I felt like grunting.  My nurse (the WONDERFUL Nurse Vikki), said, “you do?  let’s do this!” and just like that I was all set up ready to get moving. I pushed and pushed for what felt like 15 minutes, but was really the quickest two hours of my life.

I was so warm.  I just couldn’t get enough COLD on my forehead.  Cort kept a cold wet washcloth on my head, but it seemed like it just wasn’t enough.  And I was getting SOOOO tired.  All of a sudden Nurse Vikki stepped out in the hall, came back and said I had a C-Section scheduled at 4:30.  I looked up and the clock said 4:22.

WHAT!?!?!  No!  Wait!  I told her, “I think I am afraid of that!”  And she said, “oh no honey, it’s just like if he was born in here.  I will be there with all my stuff ready to catch him clean him up!  It’s going to be great!”  I signed a couple things and was whisked out of my lovely suite and down the hall.

I remember then letting me keep the washcloth on my forehead.  I also remember, as they brought me down the hall to the elevator, seeing the double doors that separated the birth floor from the lobby.  In one of the door windows was my mom giving me a thumbs up and in the other was my baby brother looking terrified.  Lovely.

Then I remember Cortney leaving my side and them telling me NOT TO PUSH.  Holy cow was that hard!  The only relief from the pain (they gave me just enough in my epidural so that I could feel when to push) was pushing!  So now I had to breath through it ALL OVER AGAIN.  I don’t remember a lot of the prep.  I was SOO tired.  I know they did a “prick test” to see if my meds were working.  When the anesthesiologist asked me if I could “feel anything”, I wasn’t sure what to say because yes, I could feel SOMETHING touching me. His response?  Well we were pulling some pretty sharp objects over your belly, so I guess we are ready to go!

Awesome.  or something.  I told him maybe I would just take a quick nap.  He told me to do whatever I wanted.

Cort was in a little room during this time getting his scrubs on.  He was cute.

Anyway, after what seemed like forever, Cortney was allowed to come in and sit by my head.  I told him not to look at my guts.  So my tummy was opened up.  Again, my anesthesiologist (who by the way was SUPER enthusiastic) exclaimed, he’s got brown hair!  Thanks, guy.

LOTS of tugging and pulling (and apparently elbow throwing) later, Eddie is popped out.

What a big boy!  He weighed in at 9 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20 inches long. I later found out that a number of elements lead to the C-section.  Apparently my OB and Nurse Vikki were pretty sure by the size of his head and the structure of my pelvis, that he wasn’t going to come out vaginally, but they were going to let me try.  However, after more than two hours of pushing, his heart rate suddenly plummeted (he was pooped) and I spiked a big old fever of around 103 degrees (and was EXTREMELY tired).  But none of that mattered to me.  I didn’t even care that he was a C-Section baby. He was perfect.

After they stapled me back up, Cort took Eddie up with the doc to have all his whatevers done, and the nurses asked me if I wanted to recover in my room or in the recovery room.  I knew all our family was upstairs, so I asked if I could just take a little nap.  The nurses were SO kind and loving to me.  The took me to the recovery room and gently tucked me in and made me comfy.  I took a lovely hour snooze.  Then I was taken up to my room (where my whole family was waiting), and I was handed my little son.  On his due date.

My little Eddie Bear.  One year ago.  How has it been a whole year?  How?

Ok, now cue the picture montage.  Because I know that is what you all REALLY want.

After a night’s sleep, Eddie’s second day in the world
 Getting ready to go home from the hospital.  NOT liking the car seat.  This changes QUICKLY.
at home.  he didn’t like the big, lonely crib.  the swing was more snuggly.
 Talking with Daddy

Not yet a fan of bath.  This will also change.
Burping.  This happens a lot.
During Eddie’s first week.
There it is.  Eddie’s birth story.  Stay tuned tomorrow for how his birthday went and what he wants to giveaway to one of YOU in honor of his first year of life!

By the way, it should be noted that each night I was in the hospital (june 23, 24, and 25)?  The Detroit Tigers beat the Cubs.  Yup.  Full sweep.  And we dubbed Ryan Raburn Eddie’s tiger.  Atta boy, Raburn.  And welcome to our obsession, Eddie.

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