Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ian Forrester

It's unbelievable to me that tomorrow marks one week since our sweet babe entered this world. As I lie here with him sleeping on my chest, my heart burns with a love and warmth I've never felt before.

Ian Forrester
Born September 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Weight: 8 lbs. & 14 oz.
Height: 21.5 inches
Head size: 13.5 inches

Labor started right on time, as my water broke at 1:30 AM on his due date, September 17th. Labor was a long, hard battle of thirty-four hours, but our little boy's heart rate was strong the entire time, never causing alarm for us or the midwives. 

Our birth team during the actual pushing included Mattie (midwife), Shalene (doula), Casey (nurse), Wenona (lactation consultant/nurse), and Jim (father). But Jim's role did not only fall into encourager and "cheerleader," as we had expected; Mattie offered Jim the opportunity to deliver our baby into this world. We both immediately jumped at this chance for Jim to be so involved in the birth and this went beyond our expectations. Jim's hands were the primary medical caretakers as Ian was born, while Mattie talked him through every step of the delivery, her hands were also working, but second to Jim's.

I pushed for an hour as the birth team praised, encouraged, and redirected my breath and moans. A few times they would tell me that he was so close and then I'd hear, "His head's a quarter of the way out!" What? That's not close! But it was and his head (all 13.5 inches in circumference!! That's BIG, by the way.) came out and then his whole body slid quickly into his Papa's hands.

Jim was the one who handed Ian to me for the first time, still attached with the umbilical cord, screaming that beautiful, full-of-life, newborn scream. He was so long, that Mattie and Jim thought he was all of the way out and thrust him up to me, only to learn that his ankles were still inside!

Then the most incredible moment of my life happened, as I got to hold my precious boy for the very first time. He was so aware and alert during those very first moments, looking at me, then Jim, then me.  Within the first five minutes he started nursing, but continued to scan his new surroundings the entire time. Our nurses called him the "marathon nurser" since he didn't stop for the next three hours or so, except for when they weighed him about an hour after birth.

He has a full head of hair that is a blonde-ish, light brown color, and his eyes are a bluish-grey, for now. He has long, slender fingers and long, slender feet. 

Our midwife & nurses told us that this was one of the most beautiful births they had ever attended. 

Ian's the Scottish name for John, which means " beloved" or "God's gracious gift." We chose this name because both of his grandfather's are named John and Ian has always been Jim's favorite boy name. I also really like the name Ian and tend to be drawn toward names with many vowels. This name's meaning is also very symbolic for me after going through a very difficult time in my life right before getting pregnant. Forrester is a family name on my mom's side of the family and we also like it because we love the outdoors and going to Cook Forest in the summer. We hope Ian will also enjoy spending time outside doing recreational activities! He also shares his middle name with my sister, Phoebe.  

Since coming home from the hospital on Friday, Ian has had two doctors appointments. On Saturday we learned that he does not have jaundice and that he had continued to lose weight, which is normal for newborns, weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. The doctor said, "I don't see many handsome babies, but this is one handsome baby!" We tend to agree that he is handsome, adorable, charming... I could go on & on.

On Monday his weight came in at 8 lbs. 7 oz!!! We are gaining weight, people! He's still a marathon nurser, so I was hopeful that his weight would be up now that my milk has really come in. Monday's appointment also included Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) in which Ian's full body had a few adjustments done. These are the skills Jim is learning in school and rotations and he wanted Ian to go to the best doctor for this in our area. She did a great job and Ian's suck as improved since she worked on a few things. 

Ian's had a few visitors since being born. In the hospital he met Joi, Stacy, Kristy, and Mike & Lindsay and their baby, Chappie.  While being home, he met his maternal grandparents for the first time. They stayed for two days and one night, and helped us with meals, dishes, groceries, and lots of cuddling with Ian. Grumps played the piano and Ian just loved that!! Uncle Willem came for one night and brought some cuddles. We also got to see Barb, when she brought us dinner.

There is a high and steep learning curve for all areas of taking care of a newborn, but we are enjoying every arching pee, explosive poop, and puddle of breast milk, to name a few.

Jim's the best papa I could ever imagine. He's incredibly tender with our little boy, enjoying his opportunities to soothe, cuddle, and sing to him. I must admit that in the hospital I did not change Ian's diaper or swaddle him once. Not even once. Papa swooped in every time to do the dirty work :) He is such a doting father already, involved in every step. My heart melts every time he's with him. So, this happens A LOT! After my little meltdown last night, I awoke to have a bar of chocolate placed where I tend to rest and the most beautiful, loving notes attached to the back for when I partook of the chocolate. Love him!

Other than that, Ian's probably the most photographed baby ever. We have a bizillion pictures, but not enough bandwidth to load them all! Thank goodness we got this camera to catch all of the moments we want, no matter what the light!

We are so in love with and enamored by our Ian Forrester. Life is full. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Unveiling THE NURSERY!

It's the day that you've all been waiting for! Okay, well maybe really just Marianne, my cousin, has been waiting for it. But, hey! Here it is!

The nursery is really the first room that Jim and I have ever made our own. We are pretty proud of it and spend just about as much time as we can in there. Jim's been studying in it every single day and dreaming about our baby, when he needs a break. This room was truly a labor of love for Jim. His impact can be found all over this room and that makes it extra special. 

The first project he tackled was an old, ugly dresser given to us by our neighbor. It was a darkly stained old dresser that he spent a longgg time sanding down to look like it does below.

Then he stained it two different colors, drawing the greens from the rug we got from IKEA.
Next he designed, made, and painted three shelves to put on the wall above the diaper changing station and the twin-size bed. I only snapped one picture of this work-in-progress. By the way, it's a hard life working with such a gorgeous view!

Lastly, we did not get a picture of his final project which was the twin-size bed. Back in July Jim and his dad were driving down the road in Lebanon, PA and spotted a bed frame for sale for $5. Yep! A solid wood, good conditioned frame for only five buckaroos. 

Jim took the whole thing apart, sanded it down, and covered it in coats of linseed oil. Now we have our first child's bed all ready to go!

DRUMROLL!!!!!!!! Here it is all together...

Jim's handiwork- dresser, shelf, & bed
IKEA- rug, leaf, rocking chair & blanket
Nanny (Jim's grandma who passed away)- basket on the shelf, courtesy of Aunt Sherri
Diana, our dear friend and landlord painted this mural on the wall for our baby. It's awesome!
Boppy pillow from Julie and lamb lovey from Judy.
An up-close shot of Jim's shelf design.
I did the chickadee wood cut when I was in middle school.
We collected this massive pine cone on a short trip to Mississippi, while we were living in Louisiana.
But here's the best wood cut of all!
My mom made this one during my early childhood. It totally fits the nature theme of this room!
Kathleen D. gave us the little birds for our wedding and they worked their way into our natural habitat.
The bears on the bed each hold significance to us. The blue one was made from one of my grandpa's shirts after he passed away last year and the brown one was given to Jim before he moved from Minnesota when he was in early elementary school. He's had it around ever since.
These two quilts were made by my cousin Marianne (blue) and my coworker, Vicki (yellow & green).
We'll cherish those forever.
And here's the side of the room that's not dedicated to baby. This is where all of my crafting, sewing, everything is stored. To the right is my grandpa's draft table, but you can't see it in this picture. On top of the shelf are my mom's woodcut, some animal baby slippers Rena K. got us from Nepal, and a knitting bowl (mine). And to the right is the belly cast we did at my most recent shower. I was 36 weeks, I believe, at that point. Eventually we might paint it but really I just think it will be neat to get a picture of the baby inside of it after he/she is born and also to be able to say, "Whoa... that was my body!?" We won't keep it forever.
As you can see by the captions, there are so many people who have a presence in this room. It takes a village to complete a nursery? We are enjoying just being in the room, but look forward to singing our baby to sleep in the rocking chair, laying him/her down to sleep in the crib, changing diapers (yes, at this point we are excited about this!), and stumbling to the twin bed for some much-needed sleep.

So, that's the nursery! Hope I didn't give it too much hype. But we LOVE it. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Last year an amazing family came into our lives. And when I say family, I mean a whole extended family of grandparents, children, and grandchildren. This family touches everyone in their path with kindness, generosity, friendship, encouragement, and many other blessings.

If you ask them, these compassionate qualities were instilled within them and modeled by their husband, father, and grandfather, Dennis Jaasma. A thermodynamics professor at Virginia Tech, Dennis made an impact on his students, friends, local mechanics, church youth in the nursery, those in Young Life, and on all others with whom he came into contact. He was also the world expert on wood stoves, I believe. Any case that needed an expert witness in this area called upon his expertise. He was a truly wonderful and inspirational man.

When I met him in September of last year, he deeply impacted me, as well. He was eight years into his journey with Alzheimers and was only 62 years old. Always smiling, laughing, and singing, Dennis was a true example of how our soul renews each day. I was fortunate to spend ten months by his side almost every day and he affected me for the better.

It's very hard for me to articulate his impact on me. I've been struggling to put words to my feelings for and time with Dennis and I think I've come to determine that it's just one of those un-speak-a-bles that can only be felt with the heart.

Tuesday, in the company of his wife, children, and grandchildren, Dennis went home. Our hearts ache for the life that ended too soon and for the disease that impacted those last years. Dennis leaves a beautiful legacy in his family and with those who came into contact with him during any of his sixty-two years. We can have HOPE that he is in heaven and now is reunited with his brother and parents.

Rest in peace, Dennis Roy Jaasma.
Blacksburg is missing one of its finest, kindest people.

And, his favorite song was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel. One of my favorite songs.... great taste and quite appropriate.

When you're weary 
Feeling small 
When tears are in your eyes 
I will dry them all 

I'm on your side 
When times get rough 
And friends just can't be found 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

When you're down and out 
When you're on the street 
When evening falls so hard 
I will comfort you 

I'll take your part 
When darkness comes 
And pain is all around 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

Sail on Silver Girl, 
Sail on by 
Your time has come to shine 
All your dreams are on their way 

See how they shine 
If you need a friend 
I'm sailing right behind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What I would tell my pre-pregnant self...

Since becoming pregnant, I have received great advice and spent a lot of time reading and researching, asking questions, and reading more. There are a few things I wish I'd known and before I have a babe in arms and forget all of those things, I wanted to jot them down. This is more for my own documentation than for anything else.

When rooting through clothes to give away last spring before the move, DON'T get rid of the clothes that make you "look pregnant." Those may be the only clothes that would have fit you during the third trimester. Now you live in a few that can still stretch over the belly and are ones that you liked. You could have stretched the old ones and they COULD have gone into a maternity bin to save for later.

You're going to be starving and nauseous throughout most of the first trimester, often having to get up for food once or twice during the night. The feelings of hunger will be bypassed and you'll skip straight to nausea. Make sure to eat every hour or so, even when you don't think it's necessary. Second trimester will be a breeze and flies by! Third trimester you will start to be quite drowsy and hungry again. Make sure to eat a protein-rich snack right before bed throughout the entire pregnancy!

Try not to eat anything you wouldn't want to feed your baby. There can be exceptions, but this should be the general rule of thumb ;)

At six weeks pregnant you'll have to get your first pair of maternity jeans. Crazy, I know!

Don't worry and fret over whether or not you need more things on the standard baby registries. You will go through a time during the second trimester when you feel like you have nothing ready... that's okay. Babies don't need much and certainly only need you and diapers. Choose a few items that are really necessary to research, read reviews, and then purchase. You can still make it to a store (or Amazon) after the baby is born :)

READ REVIEWS! Fortunately, your pregnant self did do this, but I'll tell you to do it again. We almost purchased a stroller with the back of the seat made out of formaldehyde! Supposedly it wreaks like this for months. Yuck. Others had issues with the wheels just coming off while jogging. You name it, it happened!

Write, write, and write. Write about what you're thinking, feeling, looking forward to. The pregnancy journal was written in a lot throughout the pregnancy, but it doesn't have enough space to really document everything. Get a journal that you'll actually like and want to write in! Write about the little things that nobody but you will want to remember in days to come. The baby journal will be for the baby and doesn't need all of that stuff!

The nursery will come together! It took until the eighth month, but it came together and you love it.

Feeling the baby move is absolutely amazing, just as everyone says it is! At first it will feel like a rolling pin is spinning inside, but then the kicks and thumps start, and eventually it feels like a human being is shoving, kicking, and somersaulting inside! You will love it.

You will gain almost one third of your previous weight. No joke. You ate healthily, so that wasn't the culprit. It just happens!

Drinking water all day won't quench the thirst at night, as they say. So, drink all of the time. Drink when you're thirsty and drink when you're not. At night, go ahead and take a few big gulps... let's be honest, you'll be getting up to use the bathroom multiple times anyway!

The pregnancy pillow kidney bean will be your best friend. Don't sleep anywhere without it! You'll regret it.

Wear sunscreen, as you always should! Your freckles from middle & high school start to come back.

Walk, walk, and walk. Hike as much as you can! Exercise while you have the energy boost, or cross those things off of your to-do list. 

Commit to doing more prenatal yoga and your Kegel exercises! Both were spotty areas and could have been better.

You'll get up three to five times during the night to use the bathroom. Surprisingly, it won't bother you as much as you'd think. Just keep reminding yourself that it's preparing you for waking up to feed your baby through the night.

Your pregnancy only lasts 9 months, so take the joys out of each moment that you can! Sleep often.

The overwhelming excitement you'll feel at arriving at 37 and 38 weeks will make you almost desperate to birth your baby! This excitement soon turns into peace, as you savor these last few days and dream of holding your baby soon. I only hope that this feeling remains until the baby's born.

Yup, that's what I'd tell pre-pregnant Käthe.

Our birth class!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


We attended our (perhaps) last Virginia Tech game today! Yesterday Jim was offered tickets by his attending and we couldn't pass them up. Even though I am 38.5 weeks pregnant, we couldn't resist a chance to go to the first home game. And while we're not big football fans, we both love to attend live sporting events and VT football definitely fits that description!

Both of us were secretly hoping that the crazy fans dressed in orange and maroon would somehow bounce our baby out, but it did not occur. If you've never been to a game, all of the fans bounce up and down, shaking the entire stadium, when the players are about ready to and are entering the field. It's absolutely incredible. When I brought my dad to a game two years ago he was in awe of the passion of these Hokie fans.

The game was between Virginia Tech and West Carolina University and we creamed them (45-3), which is why we were able to get the free tickets. Everyone knew it wasn't going to be a great match-up. But we enjoyed it anyway.

So Baby B, while you were not outside of my womb yet, you have officially attended your first college football game. There are no pictures to document the game, but we (you) were there!

While living in Blacksburg, we've really enjoyed the opportunities to go to games and live near a large college community. It will be something we miss when we move away, but we'll see where we end up!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Siblings!

There's something about spending time with my siblings that does my heart SO MUCH GOOD. It just so happened that both of them were able and willing to come and visit me on the same weekend. And, it was Willem's birthday weekend, so we had something to celebrate!

In typical sibling-style, we had to play a game and it may have been a bit competitive! The sheer desire to defeat our own kin runs strong in our blood and so our towers got pretty tall. 


We headed out for a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in town. Mom & Dad, though not able to join us, gifted Willem with this dinner out with us. Willem ordered a massive sicilian pizza for us to split. It was yummy! It's not often that the three of us sit and have purposeful conversations with each other, so this was a nice chance to move out of our usual sibling activities and really chat. Thanks, Mom & Dad!

So, I get some sister points for baking the cake, but I forgot the candles. We improvised & Willem was a good sport!

He was a happy guy.

The next day they indulged Leif & me by going on a walk with us at our favorite local park.

As a baby shower gift Phoebe gave me white baby onesies, a swim hat, and a swim diaper and a tie-dye kit! So, we had a little sibling craft afternoon and decorated Baby B's clothing.


They turned out really well! Baby B will have a bright and colorful wardrobe. It's so special to have onesies made by one of his/her aunts and uncles. Jim wasn't able to make any with us during this visit (due to continued night shifts), but we also had a mommy & daddy craft day later.

And it wouldn't summer for Willem without a watermelon in the fridge...

But what REALLY made his weekend was the fact that Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" was playing at The Lyric. He loved it. Happy birthday, Will!

Phoebe stayed a few extra days and it was so nice to have quality sister time. During her visit she got to hear the baby's heartbeat, which thrilled her, and she got to see a very quick ultrasound confirming that the baby's head is down.

I'm so bad at goodbyes, especially with these two. Thank you for a wonderful time! It was awesome to have you around. Looking forward to hosting you when your names have changed to Uncle Willem & Aunt Phoebe!!!!