Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Noah Walker- The Birth Story

Noah Walker Clem born 5:19, 6 pounds 15 ounces, 20 inches long, 100% man

It’s funny-I’ve noticed recently that every woman who has had a baby loves to tell the story of their child’s birth. I now know why. It is truly a miracle and an experience I’ll never forget. It was the second best day of my life (besides marrying Matt), and one of those days I will relive over and over again. I’m still in awe by God’s grace and providence over Matt, Noah, and me on October 26th and 27th. We serve such a faithful and mighty God.
The story goes as so……
On October 25th Matt and I had my last check up with my OBGYN. At the appointment, I still hadn’t made much progress in “birthing” signs, so we decided to set up an induction date. I would go into the hospital October 31st, and I would have him sometime November 1st. That night, I started to feel really “crampy.” I thought it was something I’d eaten, turns out, it was contractions. I contracted all Tuesday night and headed into work Wednesday. At work, I still felt really realized these cramps were actually contractions. I was having them about every 30 minutes. I felt miserable. My co-workers could tell- they decided it was time for me to head home and not come back until Noah arrived. Two of my co-workers drove me home and this is where the fun would begin.
I got home and was having contractions that were now coming about every 10 to 12 minutes. They were bearable and I could semi walk them off. By the time we went to bed, they were getting stronger and occurring about every 7 minutes- they were painful- but still bearable. We decided to head into the hospital- I thought I’d have Noah sometime that night. We headed into the hospital and they checked me out. I hung out for about two hours and the doctor decided to send me home. The doctor told me I could contract for the next couple of days, but if she had to bet, I’ve have the baby by the weekend.
When we got home, I was exhausted and fell asleep. I think I slept for about an hour and started waking up in immense pain. The contractions were back with vengeance. I was able to endure it for about 3 hours (until 6 a.m.) and then woke up Matt. As Matt and I were talking, my parents called and my mom wanted to come take care of me. She’s pretty wonderful, and she wanted to make sure I was doing ok. I told her the contractions had gotten worse and I wasn’t feeling so great. She said she’d be over there shortly with my dad. We all agreed I was going into the hospital and I wasn’t coming home until Noah Walker was here. Around 7 am, we reached the hospital and at this point I was in so much pain I could not function. I had a hard time talking and walking- I was in full labor.
After I had my IV, they put the pain medicine in my drip. It was the best decision I ever made to take this medicine, it calmed all my anxiety and I had no problem with accepting that I was about to get many shots.  The epidural team came in after that and it wasn’t that bad at all. I was loving life with the pain meds, so I was of course asking their life stories and cracking jokes that I thought were hilarious. This was a night and day difference from how I’d been before the pain meds. During the worst of the contractions, I actually told Matt that Noah would be an only child and I wasn’t doing labor EVER again.  Matt replied “yes dear” and said that he was ok with that. To put it lightly, I was a royal mess. (Don’t worry- Noah will have siblings, all that pain was worth it and I’d do it again for all our other kids we hope to have).  
After the epidural was in place, I was now headed down a road of no return- Noah was coming. I felt great- my lower half felt completely asleep. It took four bags of fluid to get me hydrated while we waited for more dilation.
During the wait, Matt and my mom read Noah and me children’s books, Dad picked up Chick-fil-a, we told too many family stories, and Ashley Baker arrived. Ashley told me from the very beginning that she would be there. It was amazing and Matt and I feel very blessed to have both her and Luke’s love and support with Noah. We can’t wait to be there when Baby Boy Baker arrives in February.
Snuggle Bug
 Anyways, around 4 p.m., there was still no Noah so the nurse decided they may have to try a couple things to speed up the labor. When she checked, I’d actually went from 4 to 9 cms within 2 hours which is very unheard of. Noah would be there within the next hour and a half.  Ashley, Mom, and Dad left the room and it was time to push. I swear that within that hour I had a whole squad in my labor room helping with the delivery of Noah. Every time we looked a new nurse was coming in- not that I was at risk- there are just a lot of nurses that help assist with every labor. I pushed for about an hour and at 5:19 Noah Walker Clem arrived. It was not painful and the most amazing experience of my life. Matt and I both were speechless when he came out and I of course shed a couple tears. Matt was such an amazing encourager- he was the perfect cheerleader and I could not have done it without him.  Matt cut the umbilical cord and they cleaned Noah up. While cleaning him up, the nurses were got very excited. Noah received a 10 on the APGAR scale. One of the nurses said in her 10 year career, she could count on two hands the 10’s that had been given to new born babies. Most of them get 9’s because their feet and hands are still blue. Noah had PINK FEET.
After they did his weight and vitals, they handed Noah to Matt and I and we bonded as a family for the first time. It was a miraculous day and an experience that Matt and I give God all the glory for! Noah Walker is the most amazing little son and we cannot wait to raise him in a God fearing house where there will be nothing but love.

Me and My Boy!

Sidenote: I have more pictures on my camera. I will load later this week. All the pictures I have access to right now are just from the iphone.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

40 weeks: Baby Clem could be right on TIME!

Status: Contractions are here. Noah could be here in the next couple hours or next couple days. Right now we are at home- tracking the contractions.  Noah- WE ARE SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU!

Along: 40 weeks

Size of baby:  He is the size of a pumpkin. He is anywhere between 6 to 7 pounds and 17 to 22 inches. Interesting fact about Noah Nugget-his skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it's a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called "molding" is the reason his noggin may look a little cone/misshaped head when he comes out! If that’s the case, we have some pretty cute little hats to put on him to cover it up.

Weight gain:  26 -28 pounds. It differs every day. I’m thinking by the time it is all over I’ll be around 27 pounds. I’m perfectly comfortable with that amount, and I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble losing it. If I do, I do-I don’t really care as long as my boy is healthy.

Maternity Clothes:    Yes. At this point, any pressure on the belly is miserable, so I try to find the most loose and comfortable clothing as possible.

 Gender:  A BOY! Noah Walker Clem.

Movement:  Yes. It’s slowing down. *Another sign that labor is near* On Sunday he was going crazy as we watched the Browns play against the Seahawks. Today, he has been awfully quiet.

Sleep: It’s been tough. Last night, I had Braxton hicks/contractions about once every hour or two very irregularly. I did not sleep much. Needless to say, I treated myself to a decaf mocha from Starbucks. It was amazing and quite a nice way to start off my morning. We even got a free coupon for another drink if we filled out a survey. I have a feeling this might come to great use on a sleepless night with Noah.

What I miss:    Nothing at this point. I’m just ready to meet my little nugget!

Cravings:  Last night I craved Luby’s mac n cheese. I was even craving it for lunch this afternoon. This is super random because despite Jenna, Dan, and Whitney's love- I hate Luby’s!

Symptoms: Braxton hicks, Sciatica, Discomfort, and CONTRACTIONS. I was having them off and on last night and had them all day today. They went from about once an hour last night and we are at about once every ten minutes right now (7 pm). I’ve had some other symptoms as well that are signs of labor- I’ve decided not to give the blog details. If you are pregnant and want to know, we will talk. I think I’ll keep this blog G-rated.

Best Moment This Week:   There have been so many best moments.

Two of my sweet co-workers brought me home today after lunch because they could tell I wasn’t feeling too great. It’s amazing to have support from such wonderful people. Work is still busy and clients are always calling, but they were more worried about my safety. I work in a pretty special place!

Dad, Mom, Matt, and I all played putt-putt on Sunday. It was a blast and I ALMOST beat my dad. My family is very competitive. I think the belly was a hindrance- so a rematch will have to happen after Noah is born. A funny side note- we were trying our luck with golf because my mom actually played golf the day before I was born. We were hoping that this would induce labor for Noah too. Obviously, we were unsuccessful, but it was a special moment and a great last weekend to spend with my family before Noah comes!

Matt set up all Noah’s decorations yesterday and got the house all tidied up. See the pictures below.
Matt's cute little set up for Noah's nook.

His Ark Awaits!

The hot spot on the apartment. :)

There will be more pictures to come and stories to follow. Stay tuned- our Noah nugget should arrive here in the next day or two! We are praying for an easy delivery and a healthy boy. God has already been so gracious. We could not be more thankful! :)
Peace, Love, and Noah,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anticipating Noah's Arrival

Noah Update:
Yes! He’s coming! When? Well, we don’t really know-time will tell. Matt and I headed to the doctor’s this morning to see how I was progressing. Everything is looking great, but not too much progress that would suggest he’s coming today or tomorrow. After discussion with the doctor, she gave us the option to induce tonight and have him tomorrow or wait it out a little longer. Matt and I both agreed we thought it’d be best to continue to wait it out. We want him to come on his own timing, not ours. NOW, this is the game plan for this week. This time next week if he has not arrived, I will be induced. This will be a two day process that will have me at the hospital two nights rather than one (if I have him v-back). I will have some medicine the night before that will help further along the process and should expect to see him sometime that morning or afternoon. His birthday could potentially be 11-1-11! Matt and I have been singing the song by Nelly  “I am #1” to Noah to inspire him. Maybe I should put this on the pregnancy mix for the ipod. Anyways, if we induce, he’d be an 11-1-11 saint! (He’d also be born on All Saint’s Day!)

Some fun things that have been happening while anticipating his arrival:

Matt and I have finished all the initial shopping and the nursery/nook is complete. Pictures up tomorrow.

Matt put together the amazing glider we were given. It is Matt’s new favorite chair and where I find him most often studying. Noah and I are going to have some competition when we want to use it!

I have washed the clothes, towels, blankets, etc. with no-scent, no dye detergent. I love looking through all his little outfits. It seems unreal that a little body will fit into them. They are SO cute. He’s going to be quite the little GQ man if I do say so myself.

My work has put together a betting pool on when he will arrive and how much Noah will weigh. The winner will be $20 richer and receive bragging rights until the next baby is due to arrive. My co-worker’s wife is due in January. They aren’t finding out the gender, so the pot will even be bigger when this little nugget comes around.

Finally, my favorite moment of the day was when my dad called to check on me after my appointment today. I gave him the update and he said that it all sounded good. I told my dad how I could have had Noah tomorrow, but we decided to wait and let nature run its’ course- well, at least for a week. He then asked me to wait to have the baby until this Friday. He was dead serious, like I had some control over it. It was just a cute request (you might have to know my dad to appreciate this story- he’s all business most of the time), so I told him I’d do my best.

That’s all for now! I’ll do the 40 week post tomorrow unless the nugget surprises us tonight!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Noah's Ark Baby Shower

On October 9th, four of my wonderful friends threw me a Noah's Ark themed shower. This shower had so many cute details- I'm serious when I say that these girls are some of the most artistic, creative, thoughtful people I know. God has blessed these girls with so many amazing gifts and talents. They know how to throw a PARTY!

The wonderful hosts of Noah's shower- Leeann, Alissa, Leeann, and Ashley

They worked so hard to get everything to come together! And it did-PERFECTLY!

Noah's Cream Pie Boat/Arks

Close up on all the wonderful baked desserts and tasty goodies!

This shower consisted of laughter, laughter, and more laughter! I'm serious when I say that my face hurt from smiling so much these three hours. They drove from all over Texas to celebrate Noah's coming and I could not have felt more loved. I had friends from elementary, high school, college, and Austin Stone all join together and pour out their love on Noah. He is seriously such a spoiled little nugget. I know when he meets all these girls, they will keep him busy and on his toes. I'm sure his face will hurt from smiling and laughing too! They will be the best aunties!

Noah received so many wonderful gifts. Here are some of the neat things below!

The BOB! These girls plus Caroline, Kelsey and Kimmie went together and made sure I had the best jogging stroller around! Townlake watch out!

Precious letters Brittany painted for Noah's nook. They match perfectly. On the fireplace is a diaper cake Ashley made- so cool! I can't wait to make one for her little boy!

This is to illustrate the laughter! This is me opening the baby carrier from Leeann and John! We are STOKED to take him around Central Market in this little number!

Group picture!

God has been so good to provide me with such amazing girls along my life. Each gift and card were so special. I'm so thankful for all of them.

Peace, Love, and Baby Diaper Cakes,


39 weeks: One Week Away!

Along: 39 weeks

Size of baby:  He is the size of a mini watermelon. He is somewhere around 6 pounds. He’s a cute little peanut! The placenta is providing him with critical antibodies to help protect him from infections once he comes into this world. He is still building a layer of fat and packing on the chub.

Weight gain:  26 pounds. It might be more, I’ll know on Thursday. There have been lots of sweets around the office plus delicious meals provided by the firm and my mom. Let’s just say Matt and I have not gone hungry this past week. Noah is getting to try lots of different delicious food.  

Maternity Clothes:    Yes. I love maternity clothes especially pants. Pants with stretchy belly bands are a gift from God. It’s nice because at the end of the day, the pants expand with you. I never have to worry about not being able to button them or too much pressure on the belly due to a zipper and a button. I seriously wish it was socially acceptable to wear them all the time.

 Gender:  A BOY! Noah Walker Clem.

Movement:  Yes. It’s painful. He is jabbing my ribs and keeping up the boxing moves. He moves all over the place all the time. I feel him get hiccups once or twice a day. It’s a the CUTEST thing ever.

Sleep: I’ve been exhausted at night. I’m ready for bed by 9. I have to get up all the time to use the restroom, so I don’t’ think I really have a full restful night sleep. I can’t complain though, I am sleeping at least 7 to 8 hours. The mornings are always exciting. Every morning this week, Noah has liked getting his exercise on. It usually wakes me up around 6. I think he’s going to be a morning nugget like his mom.   

What I miss:     I miss being able to go for walks and exercise. I’m officially on the bench for walking. I have way too much pressure for it to be comfortable and worth the pain. I’m very excited to get Noah out on the BOB and toodle around Townlake.

Cravings:  Chocolate Milk and Pineapple

Symptoms: Fatigue, Braxton hicks, Sciatica, and Discomfort. He’s due in a week. Ladies and Gentlemen- the bun is ready to come out of the oven! With that being said, I realize that all these symptoms are worth it and good signs of growth! They will be gone before I know it.

Best Moment This Week:   Yesterday, my co-workers surprised me with a lunch shower. They planned it all behind my back and I had NO idea.   They said we were having a post 10/17 lunch, but when we arrived at Z Tejas, they had reserved a table and even invited Matt to celebrate with us.  It was so thoughtful, and Matt and I feel so blessed for me to be in a workplace that is so supportive of Noah. Noah received some super cute clothes and a gift card to Baby R Us. Matt and I plan to head over there Thursday to pick up last minute little baby goodies.
Matt and I before my co-workers wedding! He cleans up nicely!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh Boy Oh Boy! Shower #1

Forgive me, I missed the mark. I didn’t get the baby shower blog posts entered this weekend- too much football, family, friends, and cleaning to do before our little nugget arrives. Two weeks after the first shower, I’m now posting . Sorry for the delay!

This amazing shower was thrown by Grandma Pat, my mom, and Matt’s mom. Let me just say- it was WONDERFUL- food, decorations, games -ALL of it.

Laurie and me with the puppies. She was the game Emcee for the afternoon!
Grandma, Sisters, Natalie, and Noah :)
 The decorations were beyond precious. My grandma found the cutest little plates, napkins, etc. that said “sweet prince” with little blue sneakers. My mom had beautiful fall flower arrangements everywhere plus God gave us perfect fall weather. It was such a treat to actually be able to be both inside and outside during this shower. Everything went so smoothly- even Mayberry enjoyed socializing with all the girls!

Sooooooo cute!

Matt’s mom did all the shower games. They were all a hit. We first played “What’s in your purse”. It was a game that involved everybody going through their purse and getting points for certain items. The big points came if you carried a flash drive. My Aunt Angie smoked us all- she had over 100 points. I had a measly 13 points mostly from some grocery reward point cards and a compact mirror. I’m a competitor, but obviously I do not stock my purse correctly. Maybe next time I'll make sure to throw everything I own in my purse- Angie obviously has the right idea. :)

Big Game Winner (Did she cheat? That is what I'd like to know)

The next game Matt’s mom introduced  to the group was “Name that Baby Food.” She took the labels off of ten different baby foods and we had to go through and guess what each jar looked like. (No, we did not try them. It was all a matter of sight). I actually won this game. I got three out of the ten correct. It was quite the shocker since most of the woman there have kids or have taken care of infants much more than I have.

My old babysitters and their mom plus baby Ben! :) They were working on their baby food lists!

Funny side note, my dad and Matt took the test after everybody had gone home, they each got 6 out of 10 correct. I guess men have a better eye for mashed up food. My dad did comment on how one of the foods looked like something that came from an abscess.  Thanks dad, way to let us all keep our appetite.

Anyways, after that game we played Baby Gift Bingo. Matt’s mom drew up cards that had different gift items in each box. When I’d open a gift, they would check their list and if they had it, mark an X. Six in a row would make BINGO! My old neighbor/babysitter/life time family friend received the victor’s crown in this game.
All in all, I felt so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful women. Noah truly is already so spoiled. I say this all the time, but we are time and time again blown away by people’s generosity. Noah seriously owes a lot of thank you’s, hugs, and kisses to our family and friends. Matt and I can’t wait to tell him about all the people who loved him while he was still in my tummy.

Small glimpse of the sweet, sweet gifts we are received for Noah. The bib was a hit!

Baby Shower #2 post to come soon! :)
Love, Natalie and Noah

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

38 weeks: Lots of Tummy Love!

Along: 38 weeks

Size of baby:  He is the size of a leek. Noah is around six pounds. He has grown a lot this past week. I swear every morning I wake up- I look bigger. My belly button is also about to pop. I will have an outie by the end of these 40 weeks if I carry him full term. I could possibly carry him two weeks over- I’m afraid to even think what my belly button will look like by then. Let’s just hope it pops right back in after Noah arrives!

Weight gain: 25 pounds give or take. I think this is the time where women can lose some weight. It’s not because the baby isn’t getting bigger, it’s because the woman’s stomach is so smashed that it’s hard to fit a lot of food in there. I can tell a decrease in my appetite sometimes, but I expect that when I go to the doctor tomorrow, I probably will weigh the same.

Maternity Clothes:    Yes. I wear a mixture of both. A lot of the dresses are now too short because the belly makes the dress hike up. It’s funny to see how different clothes fit from the beginning of this pregnancy to the end. I am all belly so anything that was a kind of tight a month ago now fights like a glove.

 Gender:  Noah Walker Clem- A BOY!

Movement:  Yes! Boy oh Boy! I feel like he doesn’t stop most of the time. I’m now one of those ladies whose hand is usually on her belly. A couple times I have poked him and he will poke me back.

Sleep: I’ve had trouble sleeping more this week. I have been really warm at night and my mind races about 100 miles per hour. I’m not sure what has changed but I have all this energy while trying to sleep and then feel like a zombie with little energy during the day. Maybe my body is getting ready for no sleep for a while. I guess we shall see. 

What I miss:     I miss being able to fit between cracks- what I mean by this is at restaurants with tables or something like that, I can’t just squeeze by to get around. I sometimes have to map a longer way in order to get to my destination because I can’t get between two tables. I’ve also had this problem with cars. Sometimes if someone parks really close to me, I have trouble fitting between the two cars. I’ll be glad to have a smaller stomach in a couple weeks or days depending on when this little nugget Noah arrives.  

Cravings:  Chocolate Milk, Pineapple, Peaches, Salads, and Ice Water

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, Sciatica, Bathroom Breaks about 20,000 a day, Swollen Feet, Back pain, and so much more! It’s all manageable. He is growing and my body is adjusting with these types of symptoms. I’m not complaining- I’m just glad he’s healthy.

Best Moment This Week:   On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to celebrate my friend Sharmada’s 25th birthday at an Indian restaurant downtown. It was a great little venue and all the girls seemed to love the food. For most of the night, the girls kept trying to get Noah to move for them. They’d put their hands on the belly and try to get him to stir but he wasn’t performing- maybe a little stage fright- there was a lot of laughing going on. Anyways, at the very end he decided to start doing the tootsie roll. I grabbed Katie’s hand and she really felt him go. Within two second, all of the girls had their hands on the belly and they all felt him doing his little nugget moves.  See the picture below.  I will never forget it. Noah is very excited to meet all these adopted aunties! 
They all felt Noah kick exactly like this!

The dinner bunch in front on the sign! :)

Ashley and Matt came to pick me up! She got to join the bunch for a bit!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

37 weeks: Yes, I'm Still Here!

Along: 37 weeks

Size of baby:  Noah is the size of a watermelon. He is gaining about ½ an ounce a day. He's also brushing up on skills for the outside world: blinking, sucking, inhaling, exhaling, and gripping (it's getting strong!).

Weight gain: 25 pounds ( I had a check up last Thursday). I look like quite the pumpkin. 

Maternity Clothes:   A mixture of both. I have a lot of tops that used to fit two weeks ago that have gotten too tight.  My belly is popping out of the bottom. 

 Gender:  Noah Walker Clem- A BOY! 

Movement:  All the time. He’s a little tumbler. Matt’s mom got to feel him kick while we were waiting to see him at the third sonogram. It truly is amazing to watch my belly roll with a little munchkin inside.  

Sleep: It depends on the night. I have streaks of 10 hour a night sleeps and others that look like about 4 hours. He is very active and likes to sucker punch me in the ribs when I’m lying trying to catch some shut eye. I think he is ready to get out- too cramped in my belly. 

What I miss:     I miss being able to see my toes! I also miss being able to get up and out of bed easily. Things that were once easy are now uncomfortable and difficult.   

Cravings:  Chocolate milk, ice water, Chick-fil-a. Aversions:  I have an aversion to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Symptoms: I have had a lot of problems with my sciatic nerve. Sometimes I have a limp because it’s pinching it just right. Other times I random have this twitch movement in my leg due to the jolt of the pain. I am not loving the sciatica at all, but he will be here sooner than later. 

Best Moment This Week:   At my baby shower thrown by my grandma, Matt’s mom, and my mom, there were these delicious little cakes for dessert. They were super cute and had green little shoes on top. Little did we know, this green icing turns all teeth green. Not just a little bit green- like Hulk the monster green.  When my cousin got home from hanging out with my dad and Matt (they didn’t want to be around for the baby shower), we convinced him to eat one. He knew something suspicious was going on, but it was hilarious to watch his reaction after he saw his teeth. Boomer is now 5’8 and towers over me at the age of 13. It’s amazing how fast boys grow. I felt him kick in his mom’s tummy when I was in sixth grade. See his teeth below!

You might be asking yourself- where has Natalie been? This post is 6 days late. I know, I know. Life got busy and I got distracted. We house sat for my parents last Wednesday through Friday and since then have been going 100 mph. Here is what I plan on doing for the next week. I have the normal 38 week update and 3 more posts that I’m going to try to do. Here are some sneak peak of some pictures to come. 

Thursday: Baby Shower #1 with family and friends

Friday: Baby Shower #2 with elementary, high school, college, and after friends

Saturday/Sunday: Update on what Matt and I have been doing/ how we are preparing for Noah

Hold me accountable! This is my goal!