Alianna’s first day of kindergarten was August 8. At 5 years old her career goals are to be a mommy, wife and teacher (like mommy).
First day self-portrait and a silly pose:
We’re homeschooling. I’ve been able to do most of the teaching myself the past 3 weeks but as I start back to work at my graphic design job, Jason and I will be doing some tag-teaming with her schooling. We’re working on a curriculum for reading sight words, writing letters and basic math. We also do lots of reading: Bible, poetry, picture books and I also read her novels aloud while she does art projects. She does chores to learn home economics. She gets social interaction with other kids at weekly dance lessons, church Sunday school, as well as at regular field trips and play dates with other homeschool friends. And of course she gets lots of time playing and interacting with her siblings. We’re also starting to add in piano and soon Spanish. So far we are really enjoying this new experience. Ali and I agree that our favorite part is the reading aloud of novels. We’ve finished Charlotte’s Web (which made me cry!), a Junie B Jones book, and now we’re reading the first book of The Bobbsey Twins series. Here are a few highlights from our first few weeks.
On Tuesday July 12, I headed to my OB’s office for my 39 week check up. My body showed no signs of progress from the previous week; still just 1 cm dilated and 40% effaced. I was thankful for a healthy baby and me and everything going well. Jason was scheduled to go out of town for a few days, leaving Wednesday night. He wouldn’t be more than a few hours away so we figured it would be fine for him to go. After all, I was in labor for 24 hours with Isaiah.
After my appointment I went to my parents house for lunch and to meet back up with Ali and Zay since my mom had been babysitting during my appointment. My friend Lisa who visiting from California joined us for an early afternoon swim. While in the pool I noticed I was having quite a few contractions. I had been having contractions around every 20-30 minutes since the beginning of June so it wasn’t too alarming but they did seem more frequent. After the kids’ afternoon naps, my mom, Ali and I went to the hospital for a tour of the labor and delivery area. I had just been there a year before, of course, but my mom had not so I wanted her to see where to go when she would come with Ali and Zay to meet JoJo. My mom drove and I timed my contractions. They were hovering around 10 minutes apart. All throughout the hour-long tour I continued timing contractions. Afterward we met Jason, Zay and our friend Matt for dinner at Calypso as I continued recording my contractions. I thoroughly enjoyed my black bean nachos, aware that it might be my last meal for a while.
As soon as we got home I finished packing Ali and Zay’s overnight bags and then we put them to bed as usual, still not confident that the contractions wouldn’t slow down and taper off when I went to bed like they had many other days prior. I took a shower and then meandered around the house packing the last things in my hospital bag. I started using an app to time my contractions. I bounced around on my exercise ball, doing my PT exercises, while I looked through the beautiful new baby book that had arrived in the mail that day from my sister. At 11:00 I decided we better let my parents know that we’d be going to the hospital at some point that night. My dad came over and got comfortable on our couch for the night. We left for the hospital around midnight, shortly after my app said this:
We arrived somewhere around 12:15 am and were back in triage around 1:00 am for me to be evaluated. I was 3 cm dilated at that point. I let the nurse know that I was planning on getting an epidural…soon. She left to call my doctor. Half an hour passed and my contractions were getting more intense. I needed to use the bathroom so Jason went out to the hall to find a nurse. My doctor had asked the nurse to check me again in an hour. For some reason she hadn’t come back to tell us that. When she checked me again at 2:00 am I was 4 cm. My contractions were getting painful. I was mentally prepared for an epidural and I was not enjoying the contractions at all. I focused on a cross on the wall above the doorway with a little metal Jesus with His arms raised up to Heaven, whispering for Jesus to help me and give me strength as I breathed through the contractions.
By the time we got back to the labor and delivery room it was close to 3:00 am. Jason went to get the rest of our bags from the van while the nurse connected my IV and got some things set up. The anesthesia team came around 3:45 and by 4:00 I finally had some relief! I thoroughly enjoyed watching my contractions on the monitor without having the intense pain with each one. They were 1-2 minutes apart, compared to my labor with Isaiah where they were never less than 5 minutes apart. When the nurse checked me again at 4:45, I was 8 cm dilated. She left to call my doctor who was on call but still at home. Less than 10 minutes later I heard a “Pop! Pop!” over Josephine’s heart rate monitor and felt a warm gush of water. I paged the nurse to let her know my water had broken. She came back quickly and check me again. “You’re complete!” she said. Complete? What?! 10 cm already. I couldn’t believe how much faster it was going this time. And my doctor was still at home…
“Try not to push,” the nurse told me when I confirmed that I was feeling a lot of pressure. “Let me know if you feel even more pressure and feel like you need to push.” As the nurse rushed to get the delivery equipment set up I started wondering if Josephine was going to slide right out onto the hospital bed. It felt like her feet were pushing against my ribs as her head was getting ready to emerge. My doctor came rushing in at 5:30 am. As she was putting on her gloves she told me to scoot down to the end of the bed. I told her I wasn’t scooting until her hands were ready to catch the baby! After a couple of test pushes, with the first contraction and one push her head came out. A second push and she was out! Josephine came out crying. (Isaiah never cried when he was born but I cried as soon as I held him.) I laughed! I could not believe how quickly and easily labor had gone this time. The cord had been around her neck twice and the doctor needed to clamp it off and cut it in order to get her loose. Jason still had an opportunity to cut the cord as well. The nurse put Josephine right on my chest as she wiped her off. Immediately Jo was trying to nurse. She was so ready to come out and get this party started. I let the nurse take her aside for a few minutes to finish cleaning her up and get her height and weight while my doctor finished stitching me up.
We ended up missing an entire night of sleep, just like with Isaiah’s birth, but thankfully the labor was so much faster. By late morning we were in our postpartum room ready to receive our first visitors: Grandma, Ali and Zay.
Jason’s parents, Nana and Papa, came next
My sister and her kids had planned a trip to visit during the week of my due date and ended up flying in from Philadelphia late the day Jo was born. It was so special to have her here! Aunt Jessica and cousin Iris came to visit on Thursday.
Uncle Dan (Jason’s brother), Aunt Ginger and cousin Eliza came to visit too.
We also had a handful of friends come by to meet her at the hospital. I love hospital visitors! Early Friday morning July 15 (on Josephine’s due date) we headed home.
Timehop made this easy for me. I’ll just repost what I said last year. 🙂
Before digital photography was common, before Facebook and iPhones existed, these two kids said “I do.” I met the love of my life when I was 14. A lot of people thought we were too young to get married (at 18 and 20) but our love only got deeper as we grew up together. For 13 years I’ve had the privilege of being Mrs. Jason Ahlbrandt. I thank God everyday for my best friend.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an examplefor the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
“May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”