Kate As of Late – March 2017

Like most moms, the documentation of my youngest child’s growth and development is greatly lacking as compared to her older siblings. I have tons of photos of her, but there’s been no nicely bound book printed (to be fair, I’m 1+ years behind on that for all the kids). I started one of those baby milestone calendars (actually, two), but I don’t think any stickers were added after the first few months as the calendars got lost into the piles of papers that comprise our life (important tax receipts, school/daycare notes, bills to pay, etc.).

The more I’ve thought about this, the more my mommy guilt has grown. I know it’s not reasonable to think that I’m going to get caught up on my printed photo books (I mean I hope I will, but let’s be realistic, it’s not happening in the next month or two). So I’m setting a new goal; one that I can apply equally to all my kids and is hopefully more in line with my available resources. I’m going to schedule time on my calendar each quarter to write a blog post about each of the kids spotlighting the great (and not so great) happenings of the past few months. Hopefully that will allow me at some point to look back, and in better clarity, remember these moments and attribute them to the right kid (because sometimes even that’s a bit tricky!). And since Kate’s not had one of these posts written about her yet, she’s where I shall start.

  • My meatball. Kate’s in Toddler One class at daycare and is well liked by both her classmates and her teachers. So well liked, that they’ve given her a nickname – Meatball. I’m not 100% sure how this name came up. It’s possible that it’s due to her adorable chubbiness, but it may also be that she loves meatballs…? I don’t honestly know, but never the less, it’s stuck. I had considered dressing her as a meatball for Halloween this past year but thought maybe that was taking it too far. I don’t want her to look back as a teenager and have a complex about it.
  • The tides are starting to shift. Loveable, go-with-the-flow Kate is beginning to develop her own personality. We’re starting to see a bit of her temper flair as she’s playing with the boys. She’s not quick to cry, but she’s a fast draw with a slap and isn’t afraid to hit anyone that she thinks deserves it. When Kate does cry, you know she’s super pissed. And it’s not exactly a cry, it’s an all out, hold-my-breath-so-long-people-start-to-get-concerned blow up. She’ll turn bright red and throw herself backwards as she’s having her melt down. Even if it means she’s throwing herself into a wall, or back onto a concrete floor. I’m sure this one will get even worse before we get through this fun little phase.
  • Kate’s talkative. But at the same time, not exactly talking. She knows several words and uses them when she wants to. Mostly what you hear from her is babbling. She’s just talking away, but it’s not understandable. Yet. At this point her vocabulary is pretty large: mom, dad, brother, Alex, Leo, dog, cat, ball, milk, more, yeah, no, cracker, sit, etc. She’s able to repeat almost anything you ask her to say.
  • A tomboy, sort of. I can’t really tell if Kate’s really going to be a tomboy, or if she just doesn’t realize there’s so much girlie stuff out. I wouldn’t say we’re actively keeping her from girlie things (well, except the whole Disney princess concept), but with older brothers around, she’s just naturally surrounded by their toys and watches cartoons that I’d consider to be gender-neutral (Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Club are mainstays in our household). Kate loves her baby dolls, and can be seen carrying one around the house by the neck on a pretty regular basis. But she’s also quick to play with one of the hundreds of balls or grab a big handful of dirt from the back porch.
  • Hat girl. Well, bucket hat girl. Well, bucket girl, really. Kate simply loves to wear the Mr. Potato Head bucket around like a hat. She’ll put it on and walk around the house all morning/evening without a care in the world. I’m just glad she hasn’t insisted we wear it to daycare. Yet.

Kate’s Birth Story

Stahl women at the Birth CenterIf you’ve followed this blog, you know the weeks leading to Kate’s delivery were a bit crazy. She was transverse, then she was breech, then transverse and then breech again. Finally, after a weekend of bed rest with the occasional breech exercises, she moved heads down, and we (all three midwifes at the Birth & Women’s Center, myself and Tony) decided to induce at 39 weeks.

While the situation was much different, I had been induced with Cytotec for Leo’s birth six years ago so it was something I was comfortable with. At that time it very efficiently kicked me into labor, so I assumed it would happen like that again this time. But I was wrong.

Instead it took several days of induction meds. Each day I spent several hours laying down, waiting for something to happen. And each day, afternoon and night I had hours of contractions that resulted in nothing. It was starting to become a bit depressing, not to mention exhausting.

Finally, on Friday after the third day of inducing, I decided I wasn’t going to mention the contractions to anyone until I knew for sure I was actually in labor. (We’d had family come to Topeka several times before then thinking we were having the baby, only to have contractions come to a halt). My mom and I wrapped things up at the Birth Center and went to pick the boys up from day care. Little did I know at the time that I’d have Kate less than four hours later…

That evening Tony made dinner while I read the boys a book and sat on my exercise ball. My parents were with us, helping with the boys. As mom and Tony took them out on the deck to eat dinner, and I mentally noted that I had been having contractions every 2-3 minutes for about an hour. When Tony came inside I got up to start getting a few things gathered and told Tony he should probably call his parents.

As I walked around, contractions started coming faster and I was beginning to get a little nervous. The Birth Center is about 25 minutes from our house, and I was hoping I hadn’t waited too long. On the drive there, things didn’t slow any and I told Tony he needed to go a little faster.

Tony and me about an hour before Kate came
We made it to the Birth Center and got into the large birthing room around 7:30 p.m. By then contractions were coming pretty fast and were starting to get serious. I paced around for as long as I could (and stopped for a quick picture with Tony – a tradition we started with Alex’s delivery two years ago). Within about a half hour, I could tell I was getting close and got into the bathtub for a water birth.

From there, things went quickly. I was only in the tub for a few contractions before my water broke.

Working through a big contraction


Baby Kate fresh out of waterThen I started pushing and within a couple of pushes, I decided it was time.

I told Jodi with the next push I was going to deliver the baby. She gave me some last-minute instructions and Tony got ready to catch Kate as she came out. 

Sure enough, with one push her head was out. Mid-push I adjusted positioning and continued to push her body out too. Whew. I was glad that part was over. And then I realized I had delivered this tiny, perfect little girl with a beautiful head full of hair and dimples!

Kate finds her thumb

Shortly after I delivered (right before 9 p.m.), my Aunt Net arrived. (Tony’s mom made it there with about 10 minutes to spare, and my mom was there probably 20-30 minutes before that.)

It was so special to have so many influential women in my life present as I had my baby girl. I hope as she grows older Kate realizes what a great line of strong, caring women she comes from, and how much they love her!

Now we start life as a family of five. And while we’re all still in the midst of transitioning into this new configuration, the boys are totally in love with their little sister. Tony and I are too!

Our family of five