Saturday, January 9, 2010

Judah Ryker

2-3 weeks

5 weeks

I was going to write about the whole family and what we are up to and what we did in 2009 but I fear that is too big a task for someone who doesn't get much block time to write!! So I thought I would do individual posts of us all, starting with the youngest.

Judah has grown a lot (needless to say) since my last post! He is now 12 weeks old. It really has gone incredibly fast. People always ask the ridiculous question 'is he a good baby?' My answer, 'He's a baby!' He cries, he feeds regularly, he smiles, he sleeps - sometimes soundly and sometimes not so soundly! He kicks around, watches the goings on around him.

8 weeks

We are still not in any sort of routine yet - my experience is that doesn't really kick in until they drop some sleeps and start on solids. However, he has always been pretty good at night (bar night 4 & 5). He fed regularly at night (every 2-3hrs) in the beginning which was hard, but slept between feeds and usually was easy to settle. He went to 3-4hrs at night after awhile and now will often settle for the night between 7-8pm and feed between 12-1am and then between 4-5am. So pretty good all round. He has even thrown in a few 'sleep throughs' just to get my hopes up!! But they don't seem to hang around for too long.

Daytime sleeps are a completely different story and each day is unique. Some days he sleeps really well (2-3 long sleeps) and other days I spend half the day trying to get him to go to sleep, so he ends up with only one long sleep in the afternoon. There are days when I feel like I don't get anything done at all!!

Christmas Day


Some things about Judah:
  • He smiled at 2weeks and hasn't really stopped smiling since
  • He is batting at hanging toys with his fist and focusing on some toys.
  • Like most bubs, is loving close face contact and it produces a mulitude of smiles, a little laughter and much cooing, gooing and gaaing!
  • He is very happy in his rocker just looking around and watching his brothers play.
  • He recognises his brothers, particularly Caelan, who gives him a lot of attention.
  • He has dimples (no one else in the family or extended family does!), the right more pronounced than the left.
  • He is a pretty happy kid on the whole.
  • At 8 weeks weighed 6.1kg and 62cm long (90 percentile). Early indications are he might be the youngest but definately won't be the smallest!
  • He is in 00 clothing and chubbing up fast.
  • He vomits a lot, although it is starting to lessen now.
  • He has very good neck control (has done since birth)
  • When he gets overtired he doesn't feed well.
  • He doesn't like sleeping while out and about. Rarely sleeps in the car and doesn't like to sleep in the pram. So this is quite frustrating if I want to go out for the day.
  • Loves to be cuddled/rocked to sleep with his dummy.
  • Loves to be wrapped (tricky on the really hot days).
  • Transitioned from the bassinet to the cot (at least for night time), this last week.
  • Just like his brothers he last long, thick eyelashes.
  • I think he is stunning and gorgeous (but I am his mother!!)
  • We all love him very much!
All three at similar ages:




Sunday, October 25, 2009

The wait is over!

Welcome to my beautiful third son
Judah Ryker Schepel.
Born Sunday 18th October at 3:02pm
4.08kg/ 9lb. 50cm long

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster week in terms of emotions. Incredible joy, wonder and relief at the birth of another child, another precious gift from our amazing and creative God. The pain and trauma of labour and delivery and then the worry and sadness as our little one was whisked off to the special care nursery. The tears shed at the final end of the delivery process after some complications with the birth of the placenta and the horrid process of being stitched up. The grief of only holding my little boy for a few moments, not being able to breastfeed him or be with him in his first hours of life. More tears as we visited him in the special care nursery and seeing him with tubes, wires, a canula and in a humidity crib. Thankfulness that his condition was stable and that we were able to hold him then. Loneliness as I lay in the postnatal ward alone without my little one. Joy and warmth as Judah was able to breastfeed the next morning, his stomach tube came out and he moved out out of the humidity crib and into the cot. Rejoicing when Judah was able to be with me on the ward on day 3. Incredible tiredness of sleepness nights once we were home. The warm fuzzies of watching my older two play together and imagining the three of them together as they grow. How blessed I am and how good is God to give me three precious sons.

Labour in the end came spontaneously on the Sunday morning (after a nice hot curry from our Indian neighbours and some acupuncture the evening before!) So I was thankful not to have to face an induction, even though we had gone against doctor advice and opted to move the date for an induction till Thursday. Established labour was only one hour, so Judah came out very quickly. This is the reason he ended up in special care - there was no time for him to transition, so he gulped a whole lot of fluid on his way out, making it difficult for him to breathe and filling his stomach with mucus.

In the last few weeks of pregnancy I was pondering what life would be like with 2 boys and one girl or 3 boys. It dawned on me that whomever was growing inside would shape our family very differently from the other. This filled me with great anticipation about what God might/could do with our family depending on whether he had given us a girl or a boy. So this is the first step in the journey that God has mapped out for our family of five. I look forward to the relationships that will develop between our sons and with Adriaan and myself. I look forward to seeing a special bond develop between the three of them due to their closeness in age and the fact that they are of the same gender. And of course I suppose, the inevitable fisty cuffs which will ensue at some point!

So now I have the privilege of raising 3 gorgeous boys and the challenge of growing them into strong, righteous men who walk with Jesus. Some have already pitied me for not having a daughter. Don't pity me. Pray for me. I do feel completely inadequate for the job - not having any brothers to at least know what it is like to have boys in the house! But what joy I feel. What a fabulous journey to anticipate. I am so proud of my three little men. My cup overflows with thankfulness to our maker and keeper.

Unless the Lord builds the house

its builders labour in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,

the watchmen stand guard in vain,

In vain you rise early and stay up late

toiling for food to eat -

for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,

children a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior

are sons born in one's youth.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame

when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Induction of Labour

I am officially 10 days 'overdue'. This is the standard time that most hospitals will induce labour. I have opted to wait until 42 weeks ( and even then I am considering allowing more time for a spontaneous onset of labour).

Having to face these issues has been quite eye opening. I was 'overdue' with both Caelan (1 week) and Elisha (4 days) but never had to face the prospect of an induction. So with two previous spontaneous labours, one wonders why my body won't do the same this time around? I have been doing quite a lot of reading about inductions, what is involved, why it is encouraged and why others think for the most part it is often unnecessary.

As I stated in my last post there is a disagreement between myself and the hospital about my 'due' date. I went for another check up today and tried unsuccessfully again to have my dates reviewed. It seems nowadays hospital systems opt for the computer generated date over and above all other information available. The computer is wired to spit out the most reliable date. Evidence does suggest that the ultrasound provides the most accurate date especially if the woman's menstrual cycle was not regular and unreliable. I had two cycles prior to falling pregnant, both of which were 38 days. The date given to me by the computer would have given me a cycle of 25days!! Just a small discrepancy! Yet no matter how much I call to review my cycles, my past history with both boys as well as my history of cycles in between previous pregnancies - the computer can't be told. And thus, I assume in this era of litigation and reducing risk at all cost, the hospital must uphold what technology says over and above common sense and a woman's understanding of her own physiology.

I don't have a problem with induction if there is a medical reason for it. But at this stage no one can give me a medical reason why this bub should be induced. I have had no health issues during the pregnancy, the baby's feotal monitoring is giving good results and he/she has stacks of fluid showing that the placenta is still working well. The only reason they can give is 'research shows an increased exponential risk of still birth if pregnancy continues past 42weeks.'

What they don't tell you is this:

  • Full term gestation varies from 37wks-42wks (not 40wks). So technically I am not yet overdue!
  • Yes, the risk doubles: from 1:1000 to 2:1000 or 0.01% to 0.02% - so the risk in the first place is very small!
  • Also, most of these stillbirths have been babies with congenial diseases or other health issues and a very small number have been healthy babies.
  • If my waters are artifically broken, there is an increased risk of infection to the baby.The induction techniques may not be effective straight off, leaving a more fatigued mother at the start of the labour process.
  • Labour contractions can be more painful and thus increasing the need in some women to opt for pain relief such as an epidural which can then lead to further complications.
  • At the end of the day, you are forcing your body into a process that it is not yet ready for - so why not wait for the natural onset?

As I said before, if there is a medical reason, then I would choose the appropriate medical intervention. However, it is infuriating that even in places like birth centres which are meant to support a more natural approach to birthing will still not support a woman in their choice to wait. Of course, they can't make me have the induction, but have made it very clear that that decision 'is on my own head.'

In saying all of this, I don't yet know what I will do. I am pretty sick of waiting and just want this baby to come. I also don't know if I have the energy and willpower to 'fight' the system. They make you feel so guilty and bad and I can't stop thinking about the whole thing. Instead of being content in my last days of carrying this baby, I am constantly worried about being 'overdue', the potential disastrous consequences of the decision I might make, whether I am just being too stubborn and should just get over it and how I might form my arguements to make my case at the hospital. I was awake for hours last night thinking this stuff through, instead of getting the rest I should be getting.

So we really need wisdom. My hope is this baby comes before Sunday (when I'd need to get the gel) so I don't really have to make this decision. We need the wisdom of the All Wise.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Waiting... waiting... waiting

Yes, for those who are wondering I am still waiting... this is no surprise given my past track record. I was commenting to Adriaan yesterday how I think 'due dates' are mostly unhelpful to pregnant women (well for me anyway, who is always 'late'). Why can't we be given a range of dates to expect labour rather than just one. The term 'late' has negative overtones - so those of us who are left waiting at 40+ weeks feel a small sense of disappointment and failure. Completely irrational, I know.

And then there is the whole debate about what a correct due date is in the beginning. My original date was 12th October (which would at this stage make me only 39wks!). I had long cycles before I conceived so this date was a bit later than what the calendar offered. Then my date was moved to the 5th after the ultrasound results. I found out yesterday at my checkup that the 5th is actually 4 days earlier then my calendar date which is the 9th! So when I am actually due? It's anybody's guess. I am just glad to know that God knows when this baby is going to make an appearance!

Of course, the result of mucking around with the dates is a possible early and unnecessary induction of labour, which I am quite opposed to unless really necessary. So I am booked in for my assessment on Friday (which could be my proper due date) with a tentative induction booking on the 15th! If the 9th or 12th are closer to my actual due date, then this is a very unnecessary intervention (especially since both other boys have come spontaneously). So if everything looks good and healthy on Friday I will be asking for a review of my dates.

This is a bittersweet approach, however. I don't really like the idea that this bub could be inside for another 2 weeks! That seems like an awfully long time at this point in the pregnancy... but I also don't want to be induced when bub will most likely come happily and healthily in its own good time.

It's definitely the hardest last few weeks of pregnancy yet. With two others to look after during the day, only the occasional opportunity for a nap, another bub who still wakes most nights' at least once (and only wants mummy) and who insists on waking before 5.30am - even with daylight saving... I am pretty worn out. The constant thoughts of 'how am I going to cope?' keep running through my mind - especially as I look at my 20 month old, who still acts like a baby so much of the time and is VERY mummy clingy and jealous.

So, I can only look to God in my helpless and tired state and remind myself of what my mum keeps telling me - that he will strengthen me for every task ahead and provide all I need to get through. I am constantly thankful for a caring, helpful, supportive and generous family and don't know what I'd do without them!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Faithfulness and Thankfulness

I am sitting here on this warm winter evening, enjoying the night air coming through our front door, the sounds of neighbours across the road 'doing up' their car, the silence from our boys' bedrooms and the delightful strumming of my husband on his guitar.

I am thankful for God's faithfulness. We had a wonderful time with our church family today. We enjoyed each other, watched the kids play, sung praises to God, wrestled with concepts of heaven and earth and broke bread together. As someone in our family said; today was a time when heaven and earth overlapped.

As my last blog indicated, the last few months have been rather emotionally up and down. The last couple of weeks, I have seen God's faithfulness towards me and our family. It has been a real time of learning and growing for everyone. We have seen progress in Caelan the last couple of weeks and for the most part I think that is a result of us growing and changing as parents rather than Caelan changing. We have learnt to spend more time listening to Caelan, his needs, his personality and trying to understand where he is coming from. We have come to understand that just because we aren't 'smacking' Caelan nearly as much doesn't mean that the rod is being spared. We have learnt to use play and imagination more in responding to him. As a dear friend once shared - learning to be a thermostat device rather than a thermometer. In other words, don't just state what the temperature is in the room but actively and imaginatively raise or lower the temperature accordingly. This can sometimes be very draining as it calls on more energy reserves than just shouting or commanding... but the results are dramatically different.

I am learning more about my own sin and weakness as I parent. Realising that when Caelan tells me to 'shush' it is usually in response to a harsh tone or a raised voice. I tell him not to be rude - it has only dawned on me recently, that although he needs to learn to not respond like that, I have usually been rude myself in the way I have asked him to do something.

There are still daily challenges and still much growth needed. I am thankful that God answered prayers of mine and many of you who prayed. I am thankful that God has given me some hope for the future - that we as parents will grow and mature and so will our children. That God has not abandoned us but he walks so very closely with us, giving wisdom to the foolish and strength to the weak.

I keep praying for these things as the time draws nearer to bringing another precious bundle into this world. I constantly wonder how I will cope - I need to throw my burdens on him who cares and whose shoulders are much wider than mine.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The loneliness of parenthood

Over recent months I have discovered a depth to the feeling of loneliness that I have never felt before.

A depth of grief, anger and frustration over a child I feel I can't reach.

Overwhelming tears from a well not drawn from before.

Who can help? Who can understand? Who can truly offer advice which suits me, my child and our context?

Playdates, playgroups, mothers groups, cups of coffee. The triumphs, the successes, the developments are forthcoming. But what about fear, failure, distrust, weakness, helplessness?

I suspect I am not alone... but I feel so alone.

My child doesn't fit the mould. The discipline regimes don't seem to work. There is stuff going on inside of him that I can't understand. His emotions run wild, out of control. His fears surface instantly. My heart breaks. I am his mother. I should be able to reach him. But I can't.

Surely at 3 and a half his burden is too great. Did I cause this in him? The sense of failure is great. I am gripped by a fear of the future. Each day is a challenge. I am confused. I lack wisdom. Many days I lack patience. The anger scares me. At times, I muster everything to restrain from shaking, hitting or just screaming at him. Oh Lord, what if one day... one day?

This depth of love and grief cannot be understood until a child is born to you. I didn't understand it before. I wonder at the pain and burden so many parents carry for their children... often alone.

Gracious Saviour, I look to you.
With teary eyes and heart, I cry out.
Who can help?
Who can understand?
I long for answers.
I long for solutions.
Spirit, help me walk this road.
As long and as windy as it may be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Little Tigger

Well, he's not quite so little anymore. Caelan is now almost 3.5 years old. However, he is our jumping tigger - he loves to jump and can get very excited about certain things like people coming over to his house. He announces 'Welcome to my house' and doesn't stop jumping and running until they have left! He is very energetic - loves to run, kick a ball, jump and dance to music. He enjoys playing with Elisha (most of the time) especially when they can chase each other, squeal and rumble together.

Caelan has always been a 'people' person and continues to display these tendancies. He will talk to strangers very easily, chat and ask many questions of tradesmen we have had at our place over recent months. He loves to give kisses to people when he says goodbye (not such an attractive idea to the 6yr old boy!) He is quite sensitive to people's moods and can be quite caring when someone is sad or has hurt themselves. Other kids can sometimes find him a bit in their face as he can talk to people with quite a lot of intensity sometimes.

We have recently put sand in our shell pool Caelan will spend quite a lot of time out there making all sorts of stories up - mostly involving cars and trucks of course. He is lover of numbers and patterns. He can count up to about 50 and loves loves loves puzzles. Everytime I think a puzzle might be too hard for him he proves me wrong. He will easily do a 60 piece puzzle all on his own. He even does puzzles upside down (as in the underside facing up.) He doesn't turn the piece over to look at the picture but just matches the shapes. This continues to amaze me because I don't think I could do it with as much ease as he does! He is also beginning to write numbers and letters.

He is love for books is developing more and more. His interest in books was slow to develop but now we have to have 2 or 3 each bedtime. His favourites at the moment are the books in the Dr Seuss series, which of course have the added benefit of giving mum and dad tongue tie.

Food with Caelan has been a source of contention since he was about one. Thankfully, we are making slow slow slow progress. His diet consists of more than just weet bix, avocado and pasta (as it did from from about 1- 2.5yrs). He now eats most meats and carbs and with some coaxing a few veggies. Fruit is still a no goer. Of course, all this means that at meal times we are still doing 'aeroplanes' or 'diggers' or something similar - but hey, the boy is eating!!

We continue to struggle through Caelan's tendancy towards high anxiety. It's challenges change from day to day, depending on his mood, how much sleep he has had and the weather (yes, Caelan doesn't like the wind). We had many victories earlier this year, seeing great progress in him. However, the last few months his anxieties have been on the rise again, which is terribly disheartening and often heartbreaking. Prayers for wisdom are constant as is pulling my hair out in frustration some days. The last few months have seen us go from 6months out of nappies to back into them full time. I know this was the right decision to make for him and me - it took one less stress out of our day... but it was such a hard decision to make.

Caelan is very excited about having another brother or sister. It changes constantly as to whether he'd like a brother or a sister. He loves babies in general and is so gentle around them. He frequently asks 'Are you going to pop, mummy?' (I can thank Adriaan for introducing him to such a romantic term). But he knows that 'When God says it's time, the baby will come'.
It has been particularly delightful over the last year and a half to watch Caelan grow in his knowledge, understanding and relationship with Jesus. He loves his bible stories of an evening and loves singing and playing his guitar along with daddy during our church gatherings. So we continue to hope in the one who changes hearts to walk with our precious Caelan and lead him into a life of love, hope, faithfulness and joy.