Ben's dad was in Missoula this weekend and went by our old first house.  Kind of a strange sensation seeing the picture - it was like this house didn't exist anymore except for in my memory, but there it is! I imagine still the tiniest and most humble house on the block.  We only lived there one short year, but there are enough memories to fill many more years than that!  Bittersweet - wish sometimes we could go back to that time of riding our bikes everywhere, dinners and shifts at Scotty's Table, friends over for dinner and lots of wine, Boone a little pup, the river... Isn't it amazing to look back and think if only you knew -for instance- you'd be living outside of Boston, Massachusetts with three little daughters??


*new daily

Yesterday went really well. Maybe I was on an oxytocin high, but it was just a warm and fuzzy wonderful kind of day. We had a friend and her little guy over in the morning - the conversation, kids' play, mocha, bouquet of flowers and washing of my dishes was enough to make it a great day. Then Vera came home and the girls got along really well, playing and finishing homework and being so kind to each other. They even collaborated on a little thank you note project that I'd asked Edie to work on.  Ruth of course didn't sleep anywhere but in arms most of the day, but I am *almost* completely ok with it this time around. I know it won't last and I've resolved to keep my expectations for the day pretty low.  While the girls watched a much deserved show, I made a really delicious and easy pinterest inspired dinner [such a suburban housewife!] while Ruth fell asleep in the sling and then for a minute in her little chair.  Ben came home and we ate as a family and it was a good day.  I planned to write about it here.  

Of course, I do like to keep it real, so I will share that it took well over an hour of nursing and rocking and bouncing to get Ruth to sleep. I think *the colic* is making its approach. I recognized that same restlessness that both Vera and Edie showed at that hour.  It did end though and I got decent sleep [she woke at 2:00, 5:00 and 7:00!]  This morning, I thought we would take an easy trip to Kinkos to finish the thank you note project ... but Ruth is proving to be like Edie was and won't stay asleep in her carseat! Isn't it supposed to have the magic touch?? I never liked using it with baby Vera, but when it's 25 and windy out, you kinda just want to keep them bundled up in there.  Anyway I had to hold her while we made our copies and then for some reason Edie started getting all freaky wanting to be held and not wanting to walk to the car. She screamed the whole way home and went right into time out. THANKfully Ruth then did stay asleep in the carseat and I was able to go upstairs and hug Eden with tears in both our eyes telling her how much I love her and that I know it's hard having a new baby, but that I love her and she needs to be considerate and loving too.  We've had lots of these emotional moments - well us girls, poor Ben :)  I'm one of those new moms with raging and crashing hormones, so the tears are more often than not on my side.

So anyway, there's a picture of our new normal.  Some really good moments and some low ones. Thankfully God was gracious and answered my prayers for patience today - I definitely don't always handle it like today!!  

I love this one :)


*Ruth's birth story

[sorry to any brothers/uncles/etc. this is a birth story, it's very long and there is blood]

Everything about this pregnancy was so different. I knew I shouldn't expect to have the baby a week early like the other two, but well... it's hard to not have expectations!  I finally was resigned to wait until 42 weeks as it didn't seem anything was happening at all. In fact, I didn't even feel miserable - can you imagine?

On Thursday night though (41 weeks), after dinner at our favorite seafood place, I started to have really painful nerve/sciatica-like pain in my hips, which is exactly what happened the night before I had Edie.  Also before bed I noticed a tiny bit of blood. In an effort to not believe in jinxing myself I even commented to Ben that I thought maybe something was happening.  That night I woke up at 1:15am and felt a little gush. Ben happened to be awake and I told him what I thought was happening.  I moved and felt another, then another, then a LOT. I got up and it just kept going. I knew from my experience with Vera to just relax and try to get some rest [with her I went directly to hospital]. Obviously though I couldn't fall back asleep again because of the excitement and nerves. I continued to feel the water coming out every time I got up and I was also feeling a lot of contractions - the kind that hurt enough you know they are real and you kind of relish them, but not so painful you can't handle it.  At 7am I finally got up to help Vera get ready for school - and they pretty much stopped.  It was like that throughout the day - if I laid down, I would start feeling them, if I was up and moving they became elusive.

I called the OB office in the morning and went in to get checked, baby monitored etc.  Baby was doing great and my nurse practitioner [kind of my midwife during the pregnancy, I rarely saw the OB who left a week before anyway] said to go home and see what happened/call by noon. Ben and I went for a long walk and then I just tried to keep busy cleaning up.. nothing.  The NP recommended I just get up to the hospital around 3:00 since we were on that "24 hour clock" from when your water breaks.

I was really pleased with everyone at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  I just had the midwives who were on call and they were both very professional, experienced and accommodating.  I expressed that I wanted to avoid pitocin, and they were ok with seeing if labor would get going.  I really wanted to try using a breast pump as I'd heard that it can really work wonders. The midwife confessed that she had used one for the one of her labors and that it had totally worked. I started it and one nurse came in and suggested I go for a walk instead... which I didn't really want to do. I'd been up since 1am and sitting down was really nice.  I got back dressed and we went for a long tiring walk which did nothing - wish I'd just stuck with my instincts.

Back in the room, I hooked myself back up to the pump.  It was crazy - a contraction would start about a minute into it!  I did what the midwife said - pump one side and then when a contraction starts, stop the pumping until a minute after contraction, then switch sides. I kept up at this for a short time when the same nurse started talking about getting on the pitocin drip. I was getting a little annoyed with her as the pumping was working - at least the contractions were becoming more regular! The midwife sat down to talk with me about it - I think it was around 8:00 or 9:00pm and she said that often the contractions will stop when you stop pumping. But during the 15 or so minutes that I had stopped, the contractions continued. I thought this was a good sign..  and she said I could even go past that 24 hour mark if baby was doing ok and there was no sign of infection. At the same time, I realized that I wouldn't have much stamina to labor all night like that.  It was hard to know if active labor had really started and I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Well as I talked with the midwife, I started to have to close my eyes during contractions and had a hard time staying in the conversation. I have no idea what the time table was here,  [remember I said this is a long story, I feel I have to apologize for rambling] but I continued to be annoyed that they -mostly that nurse- were talking about pitocin when I was obviously having regular and painful contractions!!   I laid on my side the whole time as I did with Edie - no desire whatsoever to be up and moving.  I needed Ben to lightly touch my lower back through a contraction - any pressure made it worse.  They were getting really close together and I had a hard time getting a great rhythm going.  I just tried to focus on breathing, sighing or voicing each exhale.  Finally she thought she'd check my progress as I hadn't been checked yet [bc of risk of introducing infection]. When she told me I was at FIVE centimeters, I felt so ... deflated and helpless. I was so incredibly tired, had started getting the shakes, was crying a little and it was really hurting badly.  I told them I wanted an epidural NOW PLEASE. I decided it wasn't worth it, I didn't need to make an "I did it drug free!" statement - I needed relief.  I could hear the midwife whispering to Ben whether I really wanted this and in a moment between contractions I hollered over YES I WANT IT, I can't do this another hour or two or who knows how long.  So the anaesthesiologist was summoned, and I could hear them talking to him in the hallway when I felt something move into the birth canal. It couldn't be the baby, I mean I was literally just at 5 cm??!  I felt an incredibly urge to push and yelled that the baby was there and everyone ran back into the room.  Wow is that part painful - I yelled for someone to take it out, Ben cheered me on that I could do it : )  She was born about 10 minutes after the midwife checked me at only halfway dilated. Isn't that crazy??  I couldn't believe it. They had her on my stomach cleaning her off and I was like what is it????!  Ben peered in and it was a girl!! Oh my goodness, I couldn't believe it :)  11:23 pm on February 7 - 8 lbs. 13 oz.  


I felt really good in the next ten minutes, alive and well, talking and laughing with everyone about how quickly it had all happened in the end.  This is one reason I like to do it without medication - you really feel so clear-headed and invigorated and able to move yourself around.  Well after 20 or 30 minutes it became clear that the placenta was not coming out on its own, just as it hadn't with Edie [or in retrospect, with Vera either, but that time the epidural had allowed them to quickly remove it].  They had to scramble around a bit to get me a pain med and then remove it manually. Ruth was on my chest skin to skin but wasn't able to really relax with all the commotion of needles and monitors, so Ben held her.  She was quiet for a bit but finally her cries were too much and they took her [poor babe :( ] The removal was excruciating, even with a narcotic!!  Ben passed out - or nearly did and had to remove himself for a few.

The OB wasn't able to remove everything, so I ended up having to go to the OR to have a D&C.  I was extremely foggy and sleepy from the fentanyl, from being up for 24 hours and from losing a couple liters of blood [I thought I heard someone say that #..] and kept falling asleep as they were talking to me. I took advantage of the OR to just close my eyes and go in and out of sleep, a weird experience with all the crazy bright lights and doctors and all.  I did end up getting a transfusion which helped me feel a little better, but I would say the first week of recovery was hard - I felt really weak, spacey and lightheaded in addition to all the other things you recover from.  I'd say now at almost 2 weeks I feel a whole lot better, but not quite normal.  Also, in case you're wondering - breastfeeding is going pretty well!! I got a lot of help from the two LCs at the hospital and really have tried to be vigilant in taking care of myself between feedings.  Not perfect yet...    

So that's how Ruth arrived!  Isn't it amazing how every story is different?  We are so thankful for our sweet baby - she is truly precious and it is so awesome to see Vera and Edie adore her.  and to see Ben the daddy of three little girls is pretty cute too :)  Long story, thanks to those who made it to the end ; )


*Ruth 'Alohilani Cater

Little Ruth was born last Friday night - just over a week old now!  What a surprise - we were all (especially me) convinced she was a little boy. But what a gift. Three Little Cater women :)

Ruth was a name we had considered when I was pregnant with Vera.  In high school I heard a life- forming sermon on the book of Ruth, and held it so dear I swore I'd name my daughter that some day [my college roommates probably remember my first-ever email password was Ruthie:)].  When the time came to name our first baby, I had over thought it and Ben wasn't really excited about it.  So this time in the delivery room when the names we'd considered just didn't fit right, I was surprised when he brought it up, saying he really did like the name Ruth.  His dad's mother was named Ruth (and my great-grandmother too), and we like that we can honor the family in that way.

'Alohilani means "brightness of heaven" or "bright sky" in Hawaiian.  It makes us think of God's goodness and beauty, of the Western skies we miss so much - and then it happened to be a bright blue-sky day on the 7th when she was born.

Here are some pictures from the first week.  Soon I'll write up just how Baby Ruth (yes, yes) came into the world.

first meeting, such an incredibly happy moment I really looked forward to :)