Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sarah's Birth Story

On Monday, June 6th, Josh and I took the boys to Vacation Bible School at our church and then drove to the doctor's office to be checked again to see if there was any further dilation.  Even though I hoped there was some change, I knew most likely I would still be one centimeter dilated from past experience.  Sure enough I was still the same as the week before, but by this point I was ready to be induced.  My doctor agreed that induction would be wise because he didn't want me having a bigger baby than I already had with Josiah (8lbs 5oz). 

We scheduled the induction for Wednesday morning, June 8th, but he wanted me to go into the hospital on Tuesday evening to give me something to help the cervix "ripen" and help the induction go quicker. 

On Tuesday afternoon, my parents came up from Georgia to stay with the boys while we were in the hospital, and Josh and I left to get something to eat before going to the hospital.  I was having contractions off and on at dinner, but nothing too uncomfortable.  We arrived at the hospital around 6pm and I thought I would be able to wear my own clothes and not be hooked up to any monitors until the next morning, but I was wrong.  They immediately made me change and then put the monitors on to listen to Sarah's heartbeat as well as measure my contractions.  The worst part was inserting the IV needle (even though I didn't need it at the time), because it took 3 attempts and 2 nurses before they finally got it in...ouch!

My doctor finally arrived about 9pm to give me the medicine.  After giving me the medicine, he checked me again and I still was only one centimeter.  He told me the nurse would wake me up around 5:15am the next morning to get a shower before they began giving me pitocin at 6:00am.  Josh and I settled in watching some television and waiting until 11pm when I could get out of the bed again and the nurse said she would give me a snack since I couldn't eat after midnight.  A little after 10pm I noticed my contractions were getting much harder and by 10:30pm, they were painful.  I was confused because this wasn't supposed to happen until the next morning and we wanted to sleep. 

At midnight, my nurse decided to check me and see if I had dilated more.  Thankfully, I was at 3cm but you need to be at 5cm before you get an epidural, so she offered to give me some other pain medicine to take the edge off and maybe I could nap a little.  She came back with a shot and told me it was really going to burn because it had phenergan in it and boy was she right! It did work and I was able to sleep between contractions until about 2:30am.  My nurse checked me again and I was only about 4cm, so I told her I would hold out another hour to see if I could get to 5cm and have the epidural.  Around 3:45am she checked me and I was finally at 5cm and I told her I wanted the epidural (I had not slept since the night before and I really wanted some sleep before Sarah arrived thus the desire for the epidural). 

The anesthesiologist arrived a little after 4am and gave me the epidural.  The funny part about getting the epidural is that I was still so groggy from the shot of phenergan that I had a hard time keeping my head up while she was giving me the epidural!  Thankfully, it worked quickly and I don't remember anything until the nurse waking me up at 6:45am to check me again.  I was fully dilated as far as she could tell, but my water still hadn't broken and she needed the doctor to break it to be sure I was ready. 

My doctor finally arrived about 7:35am (the nurse thinks he fell back asleep after getting the call) and broke my water.  As soon as he broke my water, they could see the top of her head and all her hair!  They immediately started getting the room ready and one of the nurses was about to position me, when another nurse said, "Wait! The doctor isn't ready yet and if you do that the baby will fall right out!"  As soon as the doctor was ready he told me to gently push and her head was out and then said to gently push again and she was completely out!  It was by far the shortest labor I have had and the easiest delivery!

Thank you to all who prayed for us.  I was nervous about the induction, but technically I was never induced as I never received pitocin to start labor.  We are so thankful for a beautiful and healthy little girl! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Sarah Carolina!

Sarah Carolina Culbertson
Born on June 8 at 7:50 A.M.
7lbs. 9oz.
20 1/2 inches

Mama & Sarah are doing great! 
Daddy & Brothers are in love!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Only 9 Days!

I think the last time I gave a pregnancy update, I was 9 weeks away from my due date and now I'm 9 days from my due date!  However, I'm really hoping our baby girl makes her appearance this week.  Of course, I am more than ready for her to be here and she is definitely big enough to come.  I've had contractions off and on for the past couple of weeks, but nothing that is consistent or even that painful.  When I went to the doctor last week, he said that I had started to dilate and offered to induce me this week.  I have declined to be induced until I reach my due date, because I would much rather her come in her own time. 

The Lord has blessed us abundantly with two baby showers and I have everything I need for our sweet girl.  In fact, her closet is so full that I can't fit anything else!  People love to buy little girl's clothes and I'm not sure if she will be able to wear everything before she outgrows it.  The nursery is also completed and looks beautiful (I'll try to post pictures of it soon).  Now we are just waiting for her to make her appearance. 

We plan to take the laptop to the hospital again and post when she is born.  So keep checking back if you are interested! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tribute to Grandy (Again)

Three years ago, I wrote a tribute of my grandmother for Mother's Day.  I wanted to include it again this year for those of you who didn't read my blog back then.  She has been gone for almost 4 years now and I still miss her so much.  I miss her wise and godly counsel and her sweet laugh.  We talked on the phone weekly and she was such an encouragement to me.  There are so many times that I wished she was here to see her great-grandchildren and especially now that I am about to have her first great-granddaughter (she was hoping Thomas would be a girl!).  However, as much as I miss her and long to talk to her and spend time with her, I know that she does not miss me or this sinful earth.  She is at home with her Savior and that was what she wanted most.  Three years later, I'm even more thankful for her godly legacy and look forward to the day that I see my Savior and her again. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Pictures

I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures from Easter as I have been absent from the blog lately.  We had the wonderful joy of going on vacation for a week and then with the busyness of Easter and planning for baby's arrival, I just haven't gotten around to the blog.  Here are a few of my favorites: 


Today, I read a wonderful blog post on "10 Steps to Courageous Hospitality" and it really convicted and inspired me.  We know that Scripture commands for us to be hospitable, but often times my excuses outweigh my obedience.  Of course my main excuse is that my house just isn't clean enough or I'm too tired (which is definitely valid at only 5 weeks out from baby's due date), but I realize there will always be excuses for not practicing hospitality. 

Read the article and let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pregnancy Update

Last week, I realized two things:  I have failed to update on my pregnancy and we have not taken one picture of me pregnant! I told Josh our baby girl is going to think she was adopted, because there are no pictures of her in my belly.  Thankfully, my best friend took a couple of pictures of me last weekend at our girls' weekend and now I have one to share! 

I am officially 31 weeks as of today - only 9 weeks left until her due date!  This pregnancy really has been a blur and I can't believe she will be here in 2 months.  As I sit here typing, she is moving around quite a bit (may have something to do with that Krispy Kreme doughnut I just ate!), which is not unusual for her.  Thankfully, she is not quite as active in the womb as Josiah, but she definitely makes her presence known. 

My pregnancy has been very normal and easy thus far.  Weight gain is normal, no swelling, and other than my back hurting in the evenings, I feel fine.  I have had to ease up on some of my household chores, because I was getting winded very quickly and so tired by the afternoon that I was ready to go to bed at 7:30pm! I didn't realize until this weekend how tiring it is taking care of two small children as well.  The Lord blessed me with a weekend with college friends and for the first time, I wasn't taking care of my boys.  I was amazed at the amount of energy I had!  Routinely picking up a 27lb toddler probably isn't the best thing in my 3rd trimester, but the Lord gives me the strength to take care of them. 

When I went to the doctor yesterday, he mentioned that I could be induced at 39 weeks if I want.  I talked with Josh about it and right now we think it better just to wait.  My labors with the boys have been very slow and I would rather go into labor naturally and be able to stay at home as long as possible before submitting to the restrictions of the hospital  (no eating, drinking, walking around, etc).  Plus, Josh said he likes the excitement of wondering if this is going to be the day!  Even so, I would still be more than happy to go into labor naturally at 39 weeks!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschool Conference

Josh and I were able to attend a homeschooling conference a couple of weeks ago very close to home and it was such a blessing.  My parents came up and took the boys to their house for a couple of nights so we could just focus on the conference.  Thomas was super excited about going to Grandpa's house and didn't really care what we were doing because he knew the world was going to revolve around he and Josiah for a couple of days! 

While we aren't formally homeschooling yet, it was a good chance for us to explore what is out there, especially in terms of curriculum.  If you have never been to a curriculum hall, it is so overwhelming.  Who knew that so many people wrote curriculum for history, science, reading, spelling, writing, etc.?  And it seems like everyone has a different opinion on what they like best!  We are pretty set on wanting to give our children a classical education, so most of our sessions were geared at training our children classically.  We were able to hear Susan Wise Bauer a couple of times, as well as a seminar on helping children learn to read (which I am actually beginning to do now with Thomas!), traveling the Southeast with children, teaching history from a biblical worldview, and Josh went to a seminar from Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis

One of the most important realizations we came away with is that we want to make sure to buy curriculum that is in line with our worldview, especially as it relates to history and science.  So many of the history curriculums don't begin with creation and don't incorporate the biblical narrative into history.  Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum The Story of The World is hugely popular among classical homeschoolers, but Josh and I will not use it because she begins with the nomads and not with creation.  We may use it to supplement a primary history text, but it certainly won't be our main history curriculum.  We also want to be careful with science curriculums too, because so many assume evolution and not creation.  While we plan to expose our children to the theory of evolution, they will be much older when they can understand the difference between between fact and fiction.

I almost forgot one of the best parts of the conference: we got to see Tim Hawkins in concert!  And for those of you who know who he is, it was a treat!  We laughed until we cried and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The best part: it was only $5 for each ticket!  If you don't know who Tim Hawkins is, follow the link or look him up on YouTube. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin

When I was in high school we weren't required to read many books and especially classic literature.  I remember reading The Scarlet Letter in 11th grade and I think we read Of Mice and Men in 10th grade.  Some of the other classics were not read, but we just watched the movie.  Ten years later I really regret that I haven't read much classic literature and since we want to give our children a classical education, my goal has been to read more of the classics every year.  Thus far I have read Pride & Prejudice, Emma, The Tale of Two Cities, and yesterday I finished Uncle Tom's Cabin

Josh read it first and couldn't put it down.  When he finished it last week, I picked it up, but started reading it slowly.  I honestly wasn't sure I could read it because the opening chapters tell of one of the main characters escaping so she can save her four year old son from being sold to a slave trader.  I don't know if you read like I do, but I put myself in the shoes of the characters and all I could think about was someone trying to take one of my boys.  As I got further into the story (and Eliza and Harry were okay), I could not put the book down either. 

My emotions through reading Uncle Tom's Cabin were varied:  sadness, repulsion, anger, hope, and even elation.  Harriet Beecher Stowe did a great job of portraying slavery from the perspective of all people involved: benevolent owners, harsh owners, slave traders, abolitionists, and of course the slaves themselves.  I was struck with how slaves were treated as mere property and it didn't matter if an owner broke up a marriage or took children from their mothers (one of the hardest aspects of slavery for me).  There were some kind owners who were very good to their slaves, but it seems for every kind owner there were two who were harsh and inhumane in their treatment of their slaves. 

After reading this book, it really gives me a new perspective on the evils of slavery, but also on the faithfulness of God to His people.  Many slaves were introduced to the gospel for the first time through slavery and Uncle Tom (the main character) is such a godly man even through all his suffering.  The gospel is woven throughout the book and that's what gives hope to the slaves.  Uncle Tom repeatedly says, "They may kill my body, but my soul is with Jesus."  One quote from the book is especially moving:

Tom looked up to his master, and answered, "Mas'r, if you was sick, or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I'd give ye my heart's blood; and if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I'd give 'em freely, as the Lord gave his for me. O, Mas'r! don't bring this great sin on your soul! It will hurt you more than 'twill me! Do the worst you can, my trouble'll be over soon; but, if ye don't repent, yours won't never end."  (p. 407)

Josh and I have talked about what is comparable to American slavery in our modern world and we can think of two things: abortion and sex trafficking around the world.  Both the unborn babies and those enslaved now are not treated as persons, but as something you can treat and do with as the mother or owner wishes.  While sex trafficking is not legal in this country (hopefully, not any country) abortion is and it is truly horrendous.  Psalm 139 clearly tells me that the Lord knit together every baby in the womb and He is the creator and sustainer of life. 

If you haven't read Uncle Tom's Cabin or if it has been a long time, I would highly recommend it.  Not only did I learn much about slavery (it was written in 1852), but was so encouraged to persevere to the end no matter the circumstances of this life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Limping Josiah

In mid-February, we noticed that Josiah was limping with his left leg.  Not only was he limping, he was also crying when we put his left shoe on or sometimes even when we put his left pants leg on.  If he fell down on his left side, he would just cry and not want to get up.  We don't run to our kids and pick them up when they fall; instead we usually say, "You are okay. Come one let's get up."  We also aren't parents who are quick to take their kids to the doctor; we like to wait and see if they recover without medical intervention. After a week of continued limping and people at church sharing their concerns with us about it, we decided to call the pediatrician on Thursday morning.

Thankfully, I took Josiah to the pediatrician alone (Thomas went to work with Josh) because it ended up being a very long process.  We had to wait about 30 minutes to see the doctor, but when she came in Josiah was not happy if she was touching him.  Therefore, she really couldn't examine him to see where the pain might be because he cried at the sight of her!  Since he is too young to tell us what is wrong, the only choice was to have x-rays taken of his left leg.

Our pediatrician's office is located in a small hospital, so we didn't have to travel far for the x-rays.  We did have to go the business office of the hospital so they could get all our information, but thankfully the wait wasn't too long.  However, the same cannot be said for the waiting room for the x-rays.  We waited over an hour to be seen, but Josiah was a champ through it all.  He was so well-behaved and happy through it all (I think the goldfish I had in his bag certainly helped!).  I was really glad that Thomas was with Josh as it would have been much more difficult to take care of both of them for the long wait.

Once we were taken back for the x-rays, it wasn't long at all.  The worst part was that I could not hold Josiah or be with him while he had the x-rays because of my pregnancy.  Josiah cried and called my name and it took everything I had not to cry along with him.  Thankfully, they were quick and I could see him the whole time.      

The results didn't show anything, so the doctor thinks most likely he twisted his ankle or pulled a muscle.  He has been doing much better now and the limp is completely gone.  We are thankful he did not fracture a bone or anything more serious.  Somehow I think this won't be the last time one of my boys has to have an x-ray since they are so active and sometimes play rough.  Maybe this was just preparing me for the future! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Boys

I realized that I haven't updated on the boys in quite a while, and felt it was time to say a little something about each of them. 

Thomas - He is now officially three-and-a-half and really amazes me at all he understands and can communicate.  Josh and I spell a lot more around him now when we need to say something that he doesn't need to understand!  We are still working through a preschool curriculum that I found online and that he loves to do.  I have bought a couple of books from Barnes & Noble to practice numbers, as his letter recognition and sounds are way ahead of his numbers.  He can pretty much count to 20, but has a hard time going past 20.  He loves to look at the clock and tell me what time it is.  At breakfast, he will usually say, "Mama, it is eight oh eight," and then proceed to update every minute after! 

Discipline is much more frequent now than at any other time.  We know that he is constantly testing us to see who is in control.  Not only do we still deal with direct disobedience, but also defiance and disrespect.  The rule in our home is to obey happily, quickly, and totally.  If he does not obey in those ways (which rarely happens since whining is still such a big issue) then discipline follows.  One of the biggest areas of disobedience is sharing/being kind to Josiah.  I constantly tell him, "Thomas you have to share with Josiah," to which he says, "But I don't want to share!"  At least he is honest! 

Thomas is still a very happy and loving child. He is quick to express his love to us and is overjoyed to do something one-on-one with us.  Spending time with daddy is definitely at the top of his list and I love to see how much he adores Josh and wants to be just like him. 

Josiah - It is so hard for me to believe, but he is only 4 months away from turning 2!  Maybe it is so sudden for me since it took him forever to walk and I never felt like he was a "big boy" when he was crawling everywhere.  Josiah is definitely a mama's boy.  He prefers me over anyone else, and often will not be comforted unless I am the one holding him.  With that preference of me also comes his many demands of me.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I hear "Mama" during the day.  Since he doesn't say a lot of words right now, he calls my name anytime he wants something: get out of bed, milk, food, sit on the couch, reach a toy, tattle on Thomas, etc.  Some days it is overwhelming! 

Josiah has always been a very sweet child and continues to be very loving to us.  He laughs easily and still likes to sit in our laps while we read or watch television.  He loves to play with puzzles, cars (he says "car" with a Boston accent - so funny), trains, and read books. 

Of course, sharing isn't easy for him either.  He can take a toy just as quickly as Thomas and often resorts to pulling hair or biting to show his anger.  Sigh...the joys of close siblings who have to share toys! 

Just a little update on both of the boys.  I really would like to post more frequently, but often don't make the time.  I'm reading a lot these days and just trying to spend more time with my boys.  My goal is to blog once a week, but that hasn't been very consistent thus far!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Last night, Josh and I were in the car on the way to meet friends for dinner. He was flipping through the stations and one of the songs I heard was "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I told him I had heard the song the other day and thought of him and our yet to be born daughter. He went back to the song and listened to the first verse and then abruptly changed the station. As I was protesting the change of the radio, he said, "I can't listen to that," and as I looked over at him he had tears in his eyes! A good friend told me that he will never be the same after having a daughter, and I'm starting to believe her (especially since she isn't even here yet!).  Thankful to have a husband who loves his daughter so much already!

If you have never heard the song or would like to hear the story behind the song you can watch this:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finally - A Girl!

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you have already read about our great news.  Baby #3 is a girl!  We honestly couldn't believe it when we had our ultrasound on Tuesday.  Josh and I both were expecting another boy, so we were so surprised and elated when we saw that baby is a girl!  Thomas went with us to the ultrasound and when the ultrasound tech told us her gender, he wasn't the least bit surprised.  He has told us from the beginning that baby was a girl. 

Josh was skeptical when the ultrasound tech told us those were girl parts.  He said, "Are you sure?  Don't the boy parts hide sometimes and you just can't see until birth?"  The ultrasound tech replied, "You see this [pointing at the screen] her legs are wide open and she is definitely a girl!"  We both were teary eyed when we finally realized we are going to have a daughter.  Josh has already said, "She's mine.  I might let you hold her occasionally."  I told him I would remind him of that at 2am! 

As you other women know I'm busy thinking about all the little girl clothes and decor I need to buy.  I can finally have a feminine diaper bag and buy dresses, bows, tights, and girly shoes!  I have also been wanting a bassinet this time and Josh told me on Tues morning before the ultrasound that if baby was a girl, I could have a bassinet.  So I get one now! 

I'm including some pictures and a short video clip of baby.  The pictures are so great because I went to a specialist's office since my OB is in solo practice and doesn't have the latest technology for ultrasounds.  And of course, I think she is just beautiful! 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

He Walks!!!

Prayers have been answered today for Josiah, who is only 5 days away from 19 months, finally decided to walk independently!! You have no idea how much I have fretted, whined, and complained over his refusal to walk. I took him to the pediatrician this past week for his 18 months well-check and he told me that he would walk when he is ready. The doctor said that as long as he thinks it is faster to crawl from point A to point B, he is not going to walk. As much as I appreciate the doctor's lack of concern for his mobility, he isn't 4 months pregnant carrying around a 26 lb toddler!
Thankfully, today he just decided it was the day. Josh's parents came over for a little while to see the boys and Josh positioned Josiah to walk between him and his dad. He has done that plenty of times, so it wasn't that thrilling, except he seemed to have good balance and was walking more than two steps. Then Josh had him walk a little farther, until before we knew it, he had walked across the kitchen! He is still falling down quite a bit, partly because he is so interested in what his feet are doing and also because he is too busy socializing!
We are out of dvd's to record this momentous occasion (I will get some this evening), but I did snap a few pictures of my toddler!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just For Laughs

I thought I would share a couple of funny pictures with you just to make you laugh.  Josiah is 18 months and we put him on the potty when he has to do his business.  He is a very expressive child, so it is easy to recognize the signs of needing to use the potty.  Believe it or not, he actually likes to sit on the potty and has been doing it for a few months now.  He also likes to "read" while he is sitting there.  I usually ask, "Josiah, would you like a book?" And now he says, "Yeah, Yeah" and shakes his head.  So here are a couple of pictures of his recent "reading on the potty" :