Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lucy Jo :: A Birth Story

Well, well, now that the shock of the news of another adorable Vander Ley inhabiting the world is over, come read all about how she came to be! It's another good one!

Wonderings at her existence started in my thoughts last August. I was experiencing some heightened emotions and general unwell feelings, and thought that perhaps God said that it was time for another one. I started taking pregnancy tests like crazy, but they all came up negative.

Finally, after a whirlwind weekend of family and the baptism of our two boys, I took one more test on a Monday morning in September. And there it was, clear as could be:

Luke and I shared a quick 'awe/ahhh!' before he went off to work and I went back to sleep.

(what? it was way early in the morning and I was knocked up - I needed all the sleep I could get!)

The pregnancy took off in the normal way and I soon began puking and laying around all day due to nausea. It was a fun little treat that instead of my typical 12 weeks of sickness, I got a full 16 weeks of puking glory. 

Of course I still had 2 little munchkins running/crawling around, so it wasn't like I was on my bum 24/7. More like 22/7. 

We told our families much earlier with this one, because, let's face it, there is only so much hiding of the puking I could do. They were all lovely and very excited. 

Soon enough, Christmas rolled around, as did my 20 week point. 

We were heading to MN for the last weekend in December, so we nabbed an ultrasound appt that Friday. After all the measuring, she asked if we wanted to know. 

Of course!

And, there it was, a girl. So exciting! Especially since we actually had a name picked out, which if you've been following any of our birth stories, you know is SO rare. 

It was a fun thing to share with our families and friends for the holidays. 

Time went on, and I got bigger and bigger. I had a questionable glucose test, and I was gaining weight rather rapidly. And the day I took the test, I had a suuuper high blood pressure, which was no bueno because the reason Drew came when he did was because pre-eclampsia. So, that won me some closer monitoring. 

And then week 32 came. And the contractions started. And they were every 10-15 minutes. And they weren't going away. And they didn't go away for the rest of the pregnancy. 

I was put on some medicine to help the contractions go away, which helped for a couple of weeks. And then it didn't help anymore. I was spending more and more time on basically non-dr ordered bedrest, just to calm my body down. We REALLY didn't want to end up in Sioux Falls with a preemie, so Luke started picking up a lot of slack and I spent a lot of time on the couch.

And then one day I went to see the doctor, and after talking to me about a lot of different symptoms and checking me, he casually threw in at the end of the appointment that from then on I was on total bed rest. I could only get up to pee. 

Ok then.

Not sure if you know this, but complete and total bed rest with 2 little kids at home? Not easy. We are super lucky in Luke's work schedule that he works 6-2, and we are late night people, so our kids sleep late in the morning, so I was really only on my own for a couple of hours, but its impossible to be fully down with a 2 year old and a 1 year old. 

After a couple weeks of that, and lots more doctors appointments, he reiterated how important it was that I stay down, so my MIL and SIL started taking turns coming to help me out in the morning. Family is such a wonderful thing!

It seemed that every time I went to the doctor, he would give me a plausible day we would do the c-section. So, I would plan on that. But, then things would interfere. For example, one time we were there talking about doing the c-section that weekend (which worked perfectly in our schedule because of family things), but then he talked to perinatologist, and he said don't do it. So, we waited, and waited, and planned mentally for one day, and then another. 

Finally, we went in on a Monday morning. Luke had stayed home from work so he could go with, on the off chance that we were going to do it that day. And the doctor did one last check of my cervix, one last symptom check-off, and told me to be in the hospital at 5:30 the next morning because this was it. 

So, we went home, did the last of the packing, sent the kiddos to his parents' for the night, and got ready to add another to our brood. Of course that night had to the night that our landlord broke a water line, and we were without water. It came back on briefly, but when I got up in the morning hoping for a shower, I was out of luck. Luckily we have the BEST hospital ever, so when we got there they let me hop in the shower before prepping me. 

Getting prepped was AWFUL. I got poked and prodded and a catheter placed. I was literally arching off the bed in pain. It made me feel all shaky and terrible before the surgery even started. But, they finally got me ready and I thought the worst was over.

Ha. Ha ha, and triple ha.

The worst was yet to come.

Because you see, part of having a c-section is having a spinal block. Not the most fun part, but doable right? Yeah, 45 (that's FORTY-FIVE!!) minutes later, the 3rd (THIRD!!) doctor to try finally got my block placed. The nurse that was holding me had to switch out with someone else because it got too hard to hold me up. My other nurse kept going out to update Luke on what was going on and to compose herself, because it was so awful to watch. I was one more try away from having to go completely under for the surgery, which would have been a huge bummer!

Afterwards my back was full of poke holes from failed tries and I spent the first two days sitting on ice packs. But, no harm,  no foul, and my back is totally fine now. 

Our nurse took our camera and took pictures of the process so we could see what happens on the other side of the curtain. I was so excited!

The little miss had a lot to say from the get-go as she started squawking before they even got her fully out of my tummy. Grandma B insists that what she said was she wanted a pony, which I am sure is exactly what every newborn is thinking about!

She came out a little low on her sugars, so the doctor wanted her to have some sugar water. I was still really shaky, because I had spent most of the surgery throwing up, so daddy got to give her the bottle.

After a couple of hours of recovery, she got to meet a bunch of her new family including her brothers, grandparents, two aunts and a cousin. It was a busy day for the little miss!

Drew being thrilled

Auntie Amber

Will showing supreme enthusiasm

Telling Auntie Jourdan all about it!

family of 5!

snuggle time with daddy, which is just the best!

showing off her little peepers

mommy and Lucy selfies

ready to go home!
(I am still mildly obsessed with her coming home outfit)

ready to head home as a family of 5!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

tap tap :: is this thing still on??

hello all and sundry.

yes, yes, contrary to popular belief, I am still around. just ... not here.

you see, soon after my last post (ummm, a little under a year ago), I took on a momentous task, a task that consumed all of my fall, winter and spring.

would you like to see the result?

Miss Lucy Jo Vander Ley 
May 6, 2014  7:36 AM
7lbs 15 oz  19 1/2 in

that's right. we're THOSE people. the ones who decide the 3 kids in under 3 years is a wise idea. 

fun? a little crazy-making? full of diapers, cuddles, sneezes and tantrums? rewarding, frustrating, wonderful?

yes, yes, all of those things. 

wise? well, we'll see.

our little girl is now almost 3 months old, full of smiles and giggles, especially for her daddy. Will is 1 1/2, walking, talking, leaving a trail of destruction behind him wherever he goes. Drew is 3, an older brother extraordinaire, who takes the concept of being 3 very seriously. 

Luke and I are still here, perhaps a little more tired, but a lot more blessed. 

I will be back soon with a birth story, and pictures of the boys, and just general updates. 

Friday, August 30, 2013


So, after my last post, I did some thinking. And celebrated my birthday.

And, an epiphany has come to me.

I was putting so much pressure on this single day to be AH-MAZING, when in reality, there was no way I could make everything happen that I want to happen. It put so much pressure on me, so much pressure on Luke and those around me, and it left me in a puddle of tears at the end of the day from broken expectations (sometimes figuratively, but sometimes literally. poor poor Luke).

So, anyways, the epiphany. I was thinking about this last night on our way home from a very fun dinner with my in-laws. My birthday just happens to fall on the same day as my father-in-law's, so we celebrated together at Ruby Tuesdays, which was special and fun. But, it wasn't a huge gesture, and there were no fireworks. And I had spent the day wrangling 2 very precious, but very rambunctious boys (let's talk about the biting and toy throwing another day mmmkay?), so it really had been just another day.

But, what if I stopped putting my focus on just that one day? What if instead I made a list for the coming year, and simply saw that day as a beginning, a fun opening sentence on what is sure to be a great story? Instead of having all sorts of expectations for one day, I put together a list of expectations for that year. And, then, here's the kicker, I make them happen.

A dinner party outside with friends? Well, let's get on that. Buy some twinkle lights, make Luke build me a table, and blam. Go forward with that.

Get a tattoo? Well, I need to finalize a design and find a tattoo artist and make an appointment. And screw up my courage, but you know.

Volunteer somewhere. Learn some more about web design. Etc, etc, etc.

Instead of having a golden birthday, I have decided to have a golden year.

And really, I think that just sounds much more fun.

(oh, and for the record, Luke did come through. he always comes through. he got me some fun presents, let me order the steak I wanted at supper, and he picked me the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and wild grasses. what more does a girl need?)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

expectations and the wreck they havoc

It's my birthday this week.

Not just my birthday, but my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY.

Yup, that's right. I turn 29 on the 29th.

I remember being a little girl, and hearing about golden birthdays for the first time. My brain really likes doubles like that, numerically speaking, so it became a big thing to me. Buuuuuut it was FOREVER away. Like years and years away.

And now it's not. It's only days away. And so I want it to be a big deal. I want it to be a big thing. It's a once in a lifetime thing. I'll have big decade birthdays, well, once a decade. But a golden birthday? I only get one shot.

It should be a day speckled with light, and love, and laughter, and that should Instagram perfectly (if I had Instagram), and I should be wearing an outfit that makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, and everything should fall into place, and it should be suffused with this wonderful glowy light so it looks just like all those pictures you see on Pinterest of perfect days and perfect moments.


Poor, poor Luke.

But that's not real life is it? My birthday is during the week, so my husband will have to go to work, meaning I'll be home with the kids. I'll still have to feed them, and me. I will have to wash the dishes, do the laundry, change diapers, and keep children alive, for pete's sake! (well, not really for Pete. but, since he is my brother, I'm sure he would like his nephews to keep on keeping on).

We don't have anything in our life that looks like the pictures. No table sitting under the trees lit with Christmas lights, and canning jar lanterns, surrounded by beautifully and perfectly done decorations. A meal that just happens to take place during that perfectly glowy part of the evening when everything is soft and magnificent.

We don't live anywhere close to a city that has the 'it' place to be for dinner, where we can get dressed up in our finest pearls and suits, and head out for a night of drinks and dinner. Then someone can take a picture of me laughing, slightly blurry because I am moving with joy over the fact that someone set a plate of food down in front of me (that's why they're always so joyous in those pictures isn't it?).

It's not winter so I can't be bombing down a mountain wearing the perfect combination of warm clothes that are cutely adorable while my cheeks glow and my hair magically becomes long, flowing, and curly.

My life isn't a photo op. And it's a hard thing to reconcile.

Expectations really aren't your friend are they?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

a random Wednesday in August

we have been taken down by the plague. it has been two weeks of coughs, cries, fevers, and runny noses. I succumbed a week ago, and it has been rough. last night I spent most of the night coughing, which means I don't sleep well, and neither does Luke.

it's not a great way to end a summer.

and as a result, I feel behind on everything. my house suffers, my eating habits suffer, working out is a joke, the bookwork I do for my brother is not done promptly or extremely thoroughly, and it's all I can to keep the boys alive, let alone keep them on a prompt schedule and diet.

and the worst thing? I don't get to interact with many people. my in-laws are stuck with us, so they get to share in our germs. but, I was raised that if you're contagious, you don't go anywhere unless you have to. not to church, not to hang out with people, etc. I had to cancel a playdate I had really been looking forward to two weeks ago, and I haven't been able to reschedule because she has a wee one I don't want exposed to this. and our good friends just had a brand new baby girl I can't wait to get my baby-craving mitts on, but I had to stay a good 5 feet away when we went to see her. I want to be able to bring them meals and help out, but I can't. and there's another little baby I need to get myself up to MN to see pronto, but can't, because, once again, plague.


so, we have been spending lots of time watching Gilmore Girls and Curious George (watch da monkey! is a common refrain heard from my 2 year old), drinking hot Chai, and just feeling cruddy.

I'm over it. time to get well, time to finally enjoy the last vestiges of this summer, weird weather and all.

speaking of weird weather, my toddler is all confused as to proper weather attire. last week it was quite chilly, which maaaaaybe explains his choice of wearing two winter hats on a 90 degree day?

the boots are an all weather accessory however. he can put them on himself, and mommy is all over that!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Facebook No More

About a month ago I made a decision I never thought I would make: I deactivated my Facebook.

Those of you who know me, know this is a very big deal. I signed up for Facebook eons and eons ago, pretty much as soon as it became a 'thing'. In fact, I had to pretend I went to the college I went to my freshman year, because the community college I was at for my sophomore year didn't count, and back then it was only for college students.

I have hours upon hours trolling the site. In fact, I shudder to think how many days, weeks, and potentially months of my life I have spent looking at pictures, reading status updates and finding people I used to know.

But, when I moved away from all family and friends to live in small town Montana, hours from the nearest Walmart or fast food, it was a blessing. I was able to share pictures of my life, and my friends were able to share pictures of theirs. As I developed friendships with camp staff that came and went every summer, we were able to keep in touch.

Then my new husband and I left Montana and went to Alaska. Then we left Alaska and went to South Dakota. Then we left South Dakota and went to North Dakota. Then we left North Dakota and went back to South Dakota.

And everywhere we moved, Facebook came with. Grandparents could see their adorable grandchildren we produced, and I could see all the adorable children of my nearest and dearest. It made me feel like a part of their family, even though I didn't get to see them enough, and they don't know their Tante Rachie on sight.

Wow, I'm quickly typing myself back into reactivating my account!

But, it might be awhile yet. While I am sad that I am missing out on the news of babies, engagements, or just their average Tuesday night, I am amazed at how much more boring the Internet has become. I still have my blogs that I read, and those are wonderful, but there aren't as many links to click, or picture albums to browse, and that means I get to walk away that much sooner from my computer. Perhaps not as soon as my children would like, but I can tell a difference.


Pictures that have nothing to do with the subject matter, but what is a post without pictures? Especially now that I don't have a Facebook account to share them on!

Friday, July 26, 2013

What I Want To Remember

 All those cliches are cliches for a reason right?

Time is fleeting. They grow up so fast. The days are long but the years are short. 

Yada yada yada.

So, these are the things I want to remember about my kiddos right now.

Drew (2 yrs and 2 months):

Daddy teaching him to ride his 'micycle'

 -the way he says 'fuve you' when we tell him we love him
-the cuddles he needs with mommy in the morning when he's trying to wake up
-how much he loves his lovey, who he calls 'fuvey'
-how much he loves his 'papa' 'mas' and 'dranma' 'dranpa' (Luke's parents and my parents respectively)
-how he will happily watch 'horsies' for hours, which is what he calls my mom's eventing DVDs. 1998 Rolex is his current favorite.
-his '1,2, 3 GO' before he takes off running or jumping
-the way he runs with his shoulders all scrunched up, pumping his arms and swinging his little bum from side to side


-listening to him learn new words everyday, and start to use them in his sentences. we currently hear about how he 'throbs up' (throws up) several times a day (he really doesn't do that much anymore. but enough that he knows what its called).
-his extreme love for 'movies'. he loves Baby Einstein Baby MacDonald and World Animals and Curious George.
-his little peanut size. he is still about 6 months behind, so he's the size of an 18 month old.
-his love for all things farm, and watching him 'feed my cows hay with tractor and wagon' multiple times a day or listening to him ask to 'milk tows' with 'papa and daddee'
-how he is super outgoing/talkative at home, but stares down strangers with a death glare
-listening to him greet daddy when he comes home 'hi daddee!'
-how much he LOVES being outside, and will happily bomb around for hours at a time
-his excitement about life

Will (9 1/2 months):


-his big blue eyes that capture everyone he meets
-his big smile and contagious giggles
-the way he sucks in air over and over again very loudly when he gets really happy
-the way he books it crawling to get to whoever he is excited to see, who is mostly daddy right now
-his sweet cuddles
-the way he eats and eats and eats
-his easy going personality, unless Drew takes his toy
-listening to his motor run
-the way he burrows into his lovey or our shoulder and then comes out with a big ole' shy grin
-how much he loves hanging out outside, eating dirt, rocks and grass  
-the way he has conversations with you - he'll say a syllable (ta or ba), you repeat it to him, and he'll repeat it back to you. again and again and again.


I really am the luckiest. These two little boys are my constant companions, the ache in my heart, the joy and laughter in my day, the frustration and exhaustion behind the bags under my eyes. 

I know everyone thinks this about their kids, but the world really is better by having these 2 little munchkins running around.

a classic 'in front of the peonies' shot taken in the backyard of the house where my grandparents lived, where my dad grew up and where I spent much of my childhood. my grandma Myrtle always posed us in front of this exact bush.
 just carrying on tradition! the house is about to leave the family, so I insisted we take pictures before we didn't have a chance anymore.