One Day at a Time

I will probably be saying this for at least the next year, if not forever, but four kids is not for the faint of heart.

I don’t believe in playing the “who has a harder game,” but J and I definitely sit and reminisce about those 17 months we had with only one child.


I mean, it was complete chaos and mayhem then. We had no idea what we were doing. We still don’t. But in that moment, we only had one child waking up in the middle of the night, one child with dirty diapers, one child throwing up when a stomach bug came around, one child who wanted our undivided attention, you get the point. Although it’s funny, because in those moments, it definitely didn’t seem any easier with just that one baby than it does now with four.  Probably because it wasn’t easier. It was just different. I think that’s why you start out with one kid at a time. OK, most people start out with one baby at a time. Some are blessed with more than that on their first go, whether through giving birth to multiples, or adopting multiple children at once.

But this fourth baby has made me take learning to give myself grace to a whole new level.


It’s trickier in a lot of ways, I think mostly because we are in Hawaii, and not back where we had our feet firmly on the ground. We’re still figuring things out. And then we threw in this other child.

I wouldn’t trade her, or this experience, for the world, but it’s definitely a learning curve.

I finally had to tell H today that this was her last month of gymnastics. Not because we can’t afford it, or because it’s too much time, but because it’s too much time in the car for Bean. We spend just as much time in the car with this god awful Honolulu traffic as she does in her class. And Bean literally screams her heart out the whole time we’re in traffic.

Not that I enjoy hearing any of my kids cry or complain, but a toddler or preschooler thatbis unhappy in the car is a lot less heartbreaking than an itsy-bitsy baby who just doesn’t understand and can’t be reasoned with. OK, so toddlers and preschoolers can’t really be reasoned with either. I mean, I like to think they can… But we all know better.


As I was cursing myself for having apparently lost one of Sweet M’s shoes in Costco this evening and forgetting to get gas, while trying to dice up onions while H held her sister so that maybe dinner wouldn’t be on the table too much past bedtime, H started reading to me magnets on the refrigerator that were given to us long ago by her godparents.

“Momma,”she said, “children are a gift from the Lord.” 


We are just going to pretend in that moment the tears that spraig into my eyes were from the onion I was chopping. After an afternoon that’s been a little hectic, and moments when I’ve probably been more frustrated and exasperated with these sweet people than I should be, it was exactly the reminder I needed.

They are a gift. Regardless of whether you believe in a higher being or not. These children are a gift. And somehow, I got them. I get to be the momma to these four amazing people.


And even in the most chaotic of days, it is obviously not crazy enough. Because I definitely fall asleep dreaming about what life would be if we added another… Don’t tell my husband. 😬

Mr. B is starting to read. It’s kind of the most beautiful and frustrating thing to witness. Yes, I won’t sugarcoat it and say it’s not frustrating. For me. He’s doing amazing and isn’t frustrated in the least bit. But I can never quite figure out how he sounds out the word “nut” and then yells “big!” I’m left scratching my chin wondering if we’ve been looking at the same book. But he is unphased. And over all, he is sailing through his reading lessons beautifully. And most importantly, he is so proud of himself, which is kind of one of the most amazing things in parenting to witness. Your child reading. At least it is for me. 


I had really feared we were behind in their homeschooling until I sat down over the weekend and started to really look at where we were at in the curriculum. And we just finished week 21 out of 36. So I think we’re going to be OK. That was a huge weight off my shoulders.

I’m really loving homeschooling them. But I’m also kind of looking forward to the day that there is another awesome school I can send them to and feel good about it. Miss H thrives in big environments. Me, not so much. B is a lot like me in that aspect and currently expresses no interest in ever attending school unless it’s college, but I suspect he’d change his mind if his sister were gone each day. We will see. Right now, we’re just taking it day by day.

I got brave enough this past week to take them to the beach without J. I had friends there to help, which was nice, but I also feel pretty confident that I can now do it by myself. As long as we are at the right toddler-friendly beach.


Bean enjoyed her first full dip in the ocean. And then yesterday we took her to the pool for the first time and she just ate that up. She is truly a water baby through and through. 

I’ve been re-reading “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn (if you have a kid, are around kids, or know a kid, I can’t recommend this book enough!). It revolutionized my parenting years ago, and in the thick of things I’ve found myself falling back on old habits because they’re easier sometimes. 


But I keep talking to my kids. I keep telling them the kind of momma I want to be and apologizing when I’ve acted poorly myself because I want them to learn that even adults make mistakes and it’s okay to admit that and tell people you’re sorry. I also find myself muttering “I could be a nicer mom if my kids were crazy lunatics” sometimes, but…really, they’re pretty darn good kids. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the unattainable bar I set for myself isn’t fair to set for my kiddos, too. 

We also just got Bean a crib and side-carred it to my bed. And we bought her a new car seat. There are not words enough out there to praise my husband for putting up with his wife’s crazy. I’m not even gonna tell you how many car seats we have purchased since becoming parents.


Anyway, we have friends and family coming in over the next few weeks and I am so looking forward to my little niece or nephew to be born any day now! Time is flying out here.

Oh, and Sweet M stuck a giant pearl bead up his nose tonight. He was quite proud.  This is my life, yo. 

Yes, My Kids Eat Candy. No, They Are Not Unhealthy.

First, let me start off by apologizing about how pretentious I know I was when I had only one child. That first, sweet baby who would never eat candy, fast food, watch television, play with plastic toys, you get the gist.

The thing is, she’s done all those, and more. Lots of people would be horrified I’m sure. I admit, I have days where I am.

Sweet M it’s only 20 months old, and let me tell you, he definitely got in the spirit of Halloween last night. That kid will do just about anything for a lollipop or a piece of chocolate. And the fact that people would hand them out to him just for smiling and being cute: this is his holiday!

Miss H was like four before I ever took her trick-or-treating. Because, again, the horrors! 

I grew up in a world of fad diets, fat shaming, food restrictions, and lots of binge eating. I have always had a very tumultuous relationship with food because there never was balance. 

I want my kids to be healthy. I want them to be strong. And I don’t want them to struggle with food the way I have.

We buy healthy food (or what my generation knows to be healthy food anyway). Nearly all the food that we purchase at the grocery store is organic, non-GMO, grass fed, free range, etc. Unprocessed foods.

Snacks for kids are typically fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Applesauce, dried fruit, and organic beef jerky when we’re on the go.

I make it a priority to feed them well.

But you know what? Sometimes we eat at McDonald’s.

Sometimes we grab a donut or pastry.

I even let them try soda pop for the first time this year.

And I even let them eat the candy they received while trick-or-treating.

Yep. 

All that processed, artificial, corn syrup-laden junk.

They love it.

We always remove all the candy that has food dye. Miss H used to have a fairly severe allergy to food dye, and although she seems to have mostly outgrown it, we still go ahead and avoid it because it’s easy to do so and it’s gross anyway. (They did each keep three pieces of food-dye candy though.)

And they will spend the next day or two eating pieces of candy throughout the day. And then they will be over it, they will forget about it. I will probably binge eat most of it in the middle of the night and then insist J take it to work to get it out of the house because I have zero will-power and know that, and the world will keep turning.

And my kids?

They will still be healthy little beings who know which foods make them healthy, which foods make your body strong. They will still choose a fruit over a candy 99% of the time.

They were still play hard in nature and do yoga videos.

And they will grow up to have a healthy relationship with food because they will know that the occasional sweet treat or drive-thru French fries won’t be the end of the world when they’re still making healthy choices the other 95% of the time. They won’t binge-eat forbidden foods or feel deep guilt when they ruin whatever diet they think they should be on. 

They will be strong, healthy humans. 

Who eat trick-or-treat candy.

The Meltdown

Oh boy. Yesterday this sweet babe had his first mega meltdown. 

I mean, hysterics there was no hushing or helping. It was equal parts heartbreaking and frustrating. 

Why the meltdown? 

His papa had to go to work. 

I love how attached this little guy is to his papa; I mean, we’ve worked hard to create those healthy attachments with our kids. And after a week of papa on travel, he just couldn’t handle watching him walk out that door again. I get it. Sometimes I want to scream and rage when I watch him leave too. 

J came back inside four times to hug and kiss him and try to make things easier, but eventually he just had to go. And Sweet M wasn’t having it. And it broke my heart to see him so upset. And frustrated me to no ends because there was nothing I could do to “fix” it. 

I am, by nature, a fixer. It has been the most challenging part of motherhood for me: the inability to fix my children’s unhappiness. The second most challenging part has been accepting that it’s not my job to fix it either. 

Motherhood is a doozy. Complicated and messy and so unexplainably beautiful. And each day as I love and help to guide and teach these tiny humans, I also help to heal the broken parts of me. And I wouldn’t change a single part of the challenge and mess and joy for anything.  

Other than maybe the meltdowns. I could do without those if we are being honest, ha.

Bellows Beach

We are trying to see all the beaches here. It’s not a huge island, you would think this is easy. But you can literally go less than half a mile and have a brand new, totally different beach. So its slightly more challenging than expected. 

On the upside, when I say we are trying to see all the beaches here, I really mean we are trying to see all the kid friendly beaches here, which makes our goal a little easier. Because it doesn’t make sense for us to go to a beach where it is immediately deep, or  the waves are so big that we’re going to lose a kid or two. We’re a little attached to them.


We recently made it out to Bellows Beach, which is probably going on my list as one of my favorite beaches now.

Of course, the beach scene is much more difficult now, that there are four kids. As in, I haven’t yet tried to do it by myself. And I’m still very apprehensive about that. So we currently only doing the beach on the weekends when J is around. 

But our holiday weekend at Bellows was pretty ideal. Bean and I hung out in the tent, her mostly nursing and dozing off and on, I got to read a book (like a real, tangible book!).


The ocean was calm and shallow enough that we didn’t have to worry too much about our big kids. But there were enough waves for them to get their boogie boarding on. Which delighted them, because that’s all they ever want to do.


And J hung out with Sweet M. They built sandcastles and played in the waves. Literally for hours. 

The sand at this beach is so fabulously sweet that even I enjoyed it; and I don’t particularly love sand (because guess who has to clean up all that sand?).


We packed a feast so that we could be there all day, and even Sweet M napped on the beach.


I’d be a liar if I said this motherhood gig wasn’t challenging sometimes. There are days I literally think I’m going to lose my mind. But then I look at all these sweet people who I adore more than words could ever possibly articulate, and I am so, so thankful for this beautiful life of mine.

Things don’t always go as planned. Days dissolve in a matter of seconds. Kids fight, toddlers have meltdowns, babies have colic. But for every single exasperating moment, we make up for it tenfold in the calm, happy moments.


It’s not a glamorous life I lead. But it’s a good life. A happy life. And always, an entertaining life.

Cooking With Keiki

Okay, keiki is definitely my favorite Hawaiian word thus far. It’s pronounced “cake-ee” and means “kid/kids.” 

So anytime I say it I think of it as if I’m saying “cakey,” which, um, delish! And my little keiki are cakey and most of the time I really just want to eat them up. I mean, have you seen them? 

 

We’ve always kept our kids involved in the kitchen. It horrifies some people but I open the oven with Sweet M at my legs, and he stands on the stool and helps cook on the stove, etc. Our big kids did the same. But because they’ve always been involved, they learn kitchen safety early on.


This, of course, doesn’t mean they’re immune to accidents; they can occur to anyone. But in general, I don’t worry too much about letting them go about the kitchen on their own.

And since we’ve been in Oahu I’ve been trying to give them even more reign in the kitchen. 


Miss H often makes breakfast for everyone – pancakes are her specialty, and her brothers definitely appreciate the end results. Though Mr. B can make a mean pancake himself. 

They can both scramble eggs on their own. They cut up veggies like old pros and slice their brother’s grapes in half (yep, I’m one of those moms).

They cut up all the topping and shred chicken and compose their own pizzas for dinner. 


Basically, they’re well on their way to being fully self-reliant. Someday they’ll know how to cook for themselves and not rely on microwave meals and fast food (although, we don’t even have a microwave, so maybe they will. It’s always a novelty they marvel over when on travel).

I really don’t want them to grow up to be the young adults who live off of cereal and ramen because that’s all they know how to cook.

I get it. It’s daunting to hand your 3-year-old a pairing knife, but if you teach them early about kitchen safety, then it’s really not quite so scary. And they will be so prod of themselves and much more fulfilled; I swear it.


Plus, it’s really handy and helpful to be able to ask kiddos to help out in the kitchen when you’re busy changing diapers or feeding a baby or scrubbing a toilet; and they don’t feel like it’s work because it’s something they enjoy!

Cooking with your keiki from day one is a win-win for everyone! 

Driving home, mind racing a million miles a second as a Momma’s mind does. 

So much of the world is hurting right now. 

And we aren’t talking scraped knees, we are talking full on heart attacks and kidney failure; possibilities that it may not be able to be repaired, and if it can be, it will take a long time. No easy fix. 

I’ve got four small humans who depend on me. For everything. Not just to feed and clothe them, but to guide them in good morals and teach them empathy. 

To love them so fully and unconditionally that they learn to love themselves equally so. 

I also really suck at cooking and I’m sick of trying to figure this food business out Every. Single. Day. 

And maybe I want to go back to school. Not to work, but maybe to school. 

And there I am when suddenly the voice on the radio sings to me, “She’s a good girl, loves her mama…” and that’s when it starts. 

Free fallin’. 

Those tears are unstoppable and I don’t know why it’s this moment that they finally fall. The cathartic letdown in the midst of so much pain. 

So much uncertainty. 

So much beauty.

3 Weeks and Then Some

Bean is 3 weeks old! Okay, okay. She’s closer to 4 weeks at this point. It’s s good thing I don’t do this for a living, haha.

Four kiddos…crazy. Chaotic. A wee bit stressful. 

Beautiful. Amazing. Lovely. 

I really can’t imagine it any other way. Bean is the baby I didn’t even know was missing, and yet with her here I realize how we were missing her this whole time.


She’s a dream baby. 

I mean, she doesn’t sleep through the night and breastfeeding was not without its challenges. She seems sensitive to cloth diapers which makes the frugal person in me die a little. And as long as someone holds her she’s pleased.

She’s wonderful. 


Her birth has really made me appreciate how loved we all are.

A dear friend from college came out at the end of August and only just left this past Tuesday. 

She was here for Bean’s birth. She was corralling kids all month and teaching classes online while my toddler squeaked “Yay Yay” outside her window (because “JJ” is challenging to say).

She taught my big kids to crochet and played board games and read books. 

There are not words to express how much I appreciate her having been here; taking kids to activities, cleaning my house, feeding me and my family.

A few days after Bean was born, I received a large package in the mail from friends back home. A beautiful muslin quilted blanket (with Narwhals!) for Bean, a sunbonnet she’s gotten so much use out of already, and an adorable Les Mis board book that Sweet M has been taking around everywhere with him. And a beautiful card, with the names of so many people we left behind, but are still thinking of us. Just the fact that they were still thinking of us meant the world to me.

A friend on the island was so helpful by taking the big kids to co-op and dance classes and home to play for a while. It helped the transition so much for everyone. I’m so thankful that I have found friends here that I can rely on. 

And another friend came bearing coffee, and croissants and homemade jelly. That lady knows the way to my heart, ha ha.

We opted against having Bean’s lip and tongue tie revised for the time being. I hope it was the right decision. But I guess it’s one we can always change our mind on later on down the road if we see a need. She has taken a bottle semi-decently the few times it’s been offered, which is good, because it will make J’s life easier when I run that marathon in December (what was I thinking?).

This week, JJ return to the mainland, and J returned to work (after being on the mainland the week before anyway for meetings). So I got to fully immerse myself in caring for 4 children 12+ hours a day by myself. 

Tuesday, my first day being solo, things went fairly well. We made it to co-op on time, and all even looked mostly human with brushed hair and teeth. Clean clothes.

And then that evening…Mr. B stabbed himself in the forehead with a pair scissors. Blood everywhere. Fortunately, it was a small cut and it didn’t need stitches; butterfly bandages sufficed. But oh my goodness, the blood. Thank God he wears glasses, or he might’ve taken an eye out. This boy, I tell you.

Wednesday was uneventful and then yesterday we ventured out for a solar system event where the kids had fun learning about planets and making their own planet mobiles. 

After we grabbed lunch with a friend and let the kids splash in the fountain. Sweet M was acting more somber than normal and having some strange breathing noises. I didn’t think too, too much about it. 

By the evening though, we’d been to the pediatrician with him diagnosed with croup and watched him have some scary breathing episodes.

Obviously, J nor I slept a wink last night, keeping a vigilant eye on that sweet boy. 

Sweet M has been in good spirits today. Still sick. His breathing was good this morningthough  seems to be getting worse as the day progresses. Oy.


The big kids got to watch the first seven episodes of the new Magic School Bus (forgive me, I don’t know the official name, but the big kids were stoked and I can totally count that as a science lesson, right?) this morning while trying to keep Sweet M contained and entertained in my bedroom, since it’s the only part of the house with A/C and I was told to keep him out of heat. 


Nothing in parenthood is harder than watching your babe be sick. I’d do anything to trade places with him.

But overall, despite some hiccups, I think we’ve done pretty good these past 3 weeks. We still have some kinks to work out, and we are still finding our groove as a family of 6, but my goodness, with the arrival of each new sweet babe I’m always a little overwhelmed by how much love I have to give them all (though I think the more I love, the less patience I have…).

He is preparing for the zombie apocalypse
Captain Morgan




We named him Mayhem. But oy! I wasn’t prepared to buy a new camera lens while living on the island.
Peace
Co-op
Sugar cane!









Gah! Sweet perfection! They make the crazy so very worth it!

Toddler Bed Hack: Keeping Your Toddler From Falling Out Of Bed

Sweet M has been sleeping in his toddler bed at night pretty much since we received our household goods here in Oahu. 

We weren’t totally sure how it would go since he’s always been a co-sleeper, but it was a pretty smooth transition. 

He typically falls asleep in our bed, then we put him in his bed, and most nights he’d sleep there until somewhere between 3am-5am and then crawl into bed with us. It works.

But.

He falls out of bed a million times sometimes. We have a ruggie right next to his bed, and put pillows all around the floor. Falling out of bed doesn’t even wake him up 9 times out of 10 – just J and I. He’s typically pretty graceful about it, actually.

Well, J leaves today for work travel today (yes, you read that correctly. We have a 12 day old and he’s leaving for work for a week. You can just call me Wonder Woman. Or, if we’re being honest, Sleep-Deprived-Disheveled-Caffeine-and-Sugar-Addict Woman. Basically the same thing, right?).

Anyway, I knew we had to do something about this sleep arrangement because no way I’d survive nursing a baby all night and  constantly putting M into his bed throughout the night if he continuously swan dives out.

And yes, yes, I could just sleep with him in my bed, too, but he kind of needs someone to hold him in place so he doesn’t fall out. He’s that wriggly in his sleep (except when he shoves himself in his too-small Dock-a-Tot, haha). Which is hard to do when also trying to have a safe sleep space for Bean, and Sweet M not all up in her business (have I mentioned that he really loves her?).

So off I went to buy a mesh rail for his bed. Yes, his cute little toddler bed has a built-in side rail, but let’s be honest, it does nada because it’s not remotely high enough. 

Well, all the reviews for the mesh bed rail I purchased declared it was not possible to install this on a toddler bed. In all fairness, the box even clearly states it’s intended for a twin or queen sized bed. 

But you know what? Wonder Woman is too smart for that. Or SDDCSA Woman. I’ll leave that up to you. 

I took a few screws out of Sweet M’s bed, removed the built-in rail, and voila!  The rail that many reviewers claimed wouldn’t fit on a toddler bed suddenly fit perfectly. 

And my sweet toddler slept peacefully and safely in his bed throughout the night, and still had the means the get out on his own and come cuddle J at 5am.

That folks, is how we are going to survive the upcoming week.

One Week Old

Our darling Bean girl is one week old. 

It seems like she’s always been a part of this chaos. It equally seems like she was born just seconds ago. 

It’s crazy how quickly a week can fly by.

She sleeps soundly at night (as in, she doesn’t wake inconsolable or cry, she just roots around, I put a boob in her mouth, and we both fall back to sleep), I’m not really certain why I’m so exhausted. You know, other than having just given birth and having three other kiddos who, let’s be honest, demand a lot of attention. As they should. 

Miss H seems to love having a baby sister. The transition has definitely been challenging for her; I know she’s feeling incredibly displaced and unsure of how exactly she will fit into this family. It’s emotionally depleting on a lot of levels; I just hope if I love her enough she’ll pull through okay. 


Mr. B seems wholeheartedly unaffected by our newest family member. He’s so easy going, he just seems to truck along at his normal happy-go-lucky pace, regardless of what we throw at him. He asks to hold Bean a few times throughout the day, and will pause to kiss her head running from one place to the other. But otherwise, you’d never know he’d just had a huge life changing event occur in the shape of his new baby sister.


And dear Sweet M. Oh boy! He loves “Beebee!” as he calls her. He loves her a bit too much most of the time. He’s also deep in the throes of testing limits; cutely asking if he can hit or kick her. He clearly knows that he cannot, but he cannot resist asking anyway. I mean, at least he asks, right? And typically accepts “no” as an answer. But we definitely aren’t leaving him unattended with her anytime in the near future, haha. 

She is the first person he wants to see when he wakes up in the morning, and the person he wants to fall asleep next to at night. He always wants to hold her and kiss her and have her right where he can see her at all times. I think they’re going to get along beautifully as they grow. 


J snuck off to work on Friday and we all survived somehow. He’s home this week though, as he departs Saturday for a week on the mainland. I’m kind of past the lounge around stage, but I’m trying to still just rest and heal because I know my body needs it. But I’m a doer, so it’s always kind of challenging. 

Bean is tongue and lip tied with a very high palate. The first few days of breastfeeding were rather challenging and I was pretty set on having her ties revised, but it’s getting better so I’m leaning toward canceling that appointment at this point. She still clicks and gets a lot of air, but with her high palate that’s unlikely to go away with revision anyway. I figure I managed to breatfeed her big sister who had all the same issues (unknowingly at the time) until age 4; so I can do it with her. 


Unexpectedly, it seems Sweet M has weaned cold turkey with Bean’s birth. I was so looking forward to having a toddler nursing to help mitigate oversupply and plugged ducts, but alas. 

At her pediatrician appointment at 4 days old she was only an ounce shy of her birth weight, so I think she’s doing just fine.

I’m tired, but not the level of exhausted I anticipated. Probably because I have good help. I smell like sweat and stale milk; thank you Hawaii heat and humidity for ensuring I never smell decent again. 

We’ve made it one whole week as a family of 6. I couldn’t be more thrilled or more in love with these crazy people, no matter how challenging some moments may be. Nothing good comes without some sort of challenge, and challenge is not equivalent to bad. 

Happy one week, Bean! You are loved beyond measure! And it is a very good thing you can sleep through loud. Because your siblings are the walking definition of “loud.”

The Birth of Darling Freja

I never imagined that I would give birth to a baby before 40 weeks. And I was right, ha ha.

I had joked a week or two ago that it would be funny if she came on Labor Day. Not only was it such fitting day, but it is also my older sisters birthday.

So as I crawled into bed Sunday night, I told J I was pretty sure this baby would be here within the next 24 hours. I didn’t have any signs, symptoms, or early labor, just a very strong intuitive feeling that I would be holding my baby soon.

I woke up that morning at 2:40 AM and went to the restroom. At which point I realized I had lost part of my mucous plug. I went back to bed, and woke again at 4 AM. This time, I had lost all of my mucous plug. I tried to go back to bed, but sleep would not come. 

I was having mild, early labor contractions. I knew it was game day.

And Labor Day.

I bounced on my birthing ball in the living room looking at the beautiful city of Honolulu before the sun rose.


Throughout the morning, I had irregular contractions. Sometimes they would be seven minutes apart lasting for over a minute, other times I’d only have one in the entire hour.

My other births were pretty progressive. Once I started having contractions, it was game on and study and rhythmic and I had a baby in my arms few hours later. As I passed the time durations of each boy’s birth, I felt myself growing more and more frustrated and disheartened.

I tried to nap for a bit with Sweet M, but it was futile.


When it hit 2:40 PM, officially making it longer than any of my other labors, I broke down crying to J. 

Of course, he was ever wise, and supportive, telling me that I could do this, that I was strong, that the end result would be amazing.

Per usual, he was correct. 

A little after 3pm, still with nothing steady or strong enough to really feel like the end was near, I went ahead and texted my photographer to head on over as she was an hour away. I also called my midwife as she was bringing the birth tub and I figured maybe if I had the tub it’d take my mind off things. 

I labored in water with Miss H, but ultimately brought her into the world on land. I never desired to climb into the tub with B, so it became a swimming pool for Miss H. I assumed I’d never want the water with M and didn’t bother (and that’s all I wanted in the moment.) But with this baby I’d been envisioning bringing her right into the world in the water. Finally. 

My midwife and her assistant arrived a bit after 4pm. I continued to labor on as my midwife and her assistant, as well as J, set up the birthing tub. 


My photographer arrived at 4:25pm, followed within minutes by my friend JJ who is here for the month. She gracefully took over kid duty like a pro. 


At a little after 5pm I needed to pee. I had to stop three times before making it to the bathroom for the three most intense contractions. 

I sat on the toilet to pee and had another contraction, and I felt the baby move down involuntarily. It was no longer my ball game, my body and baby were in full control. 

“I think I need to push,” I said calmly. I learned later that my midwife and her assistant didn’t think I was anywhere close to being ready to push because I was so calm and composed. 

I climbed into the birth tub and had one mild contraction, which pushed her down further and my waters burst, chunks of vernix flying through the water. It was followed closely by another mellow contraction that I would never have imagined had the power to do anything, but pushed her right down to crowning with nearly no effort from me. This was, of course, the least pleasant part because the ring of fire had been created. 


I held my hand over her head and sat like that for a few minutes, stroking her hair, prepping myself to push her into the world. At this point no one even realized she was crowning as it was a completely hands off birth; I wanted to do everything myself. 

“Okay,” I whispered, and the next contraction pushed her little head out. Miss H held a flashlight pointed into the water, J and the boys gathered by; Sweet M safely in JJ’s arms.  

I reached down, pushing her shoulders out and bringing her onto my chest. 

It was 5:25pm.


I’d done it. I did it. I brought her into the world just as I’d hoped, virtually all by myself. And it was literally the easiest and most pain free birth I’d ever experienced.


There are no words to fully explain how amazing and empowering this birth was. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have great birthing experiences with all my babies, but this one takes the cake. 

I experienced less than half a dozen intense contractions. I barely pushed my body at all to bring her into the world. It was the calm and peaceful water birth I’d wanted forever. And I did it all myself. 


After I birthed the placenta, J took the baby, whom we had finally confirmed was indeed a little girl, into the bedroom. 


Mr. B had wanted to cut the cord from day one, so he was given the honors once everyone was calm and things had settled. 


It’s safe to say she has melded into our family instantaneously. Her older siblings are madly in love with her. 



Once finally measured and weighed, she came in at a whopping 7 pounds and 9 3/4 ounces and 20 inches long. Much smaller than both of her brothers, but only a hair bigger than her sister. 

Absolute perfection, of course. 

And her name? Seriously the easiest and also most difficult baby’s name to come up with.

Freja Lorelai Endellion

We’d decided on Freja (Fray-ah) when I was preggo with M. I always have my heart set on Spanish names for our kids, but then we never have any that we both love. Other than Mr. B’s name, of course.

But the name Freja just kind of fell into our laps and was perfect. It’s from Norse mythology, and the Norwegian blood in me runs thick (or at least it feels that way in this Hawaiian heat!). The Anglicized version of Freya is fairly common in most of Europe, so it’s not a completely out there name either. It’s strong and feminine and we both loved it immediately.

J chose Lorelai. I think it’s a given where he got that from. And I wasn’t protesting. 

I flip flopped the whole pregnancy for her second middle name (all our kidlets have two middle names). In the end I went with Endellion (En-del-lee-en), which hadn’t been on my short list at all, but just felt right. It means “fire soul” and is also a Saint name. 

And so she is our little love goddess. Our perfect 4th baby. The very person we needed to make our family complete.