by Bethany McDonnell
We are enjoying our sweet little boy. These past three months have flown by and yet at the same time, it seems like forever ago that he was born.
A few facts about our little Ronan...
by Bethany McDonnell
It is so fun this past Christmas that we could say we were a family and no longer just a couple! This is a great new phase of life for us!
We had a great Christmas day with my family in Georgia. Ronan slept through most of the gift-giving but overall, I think he enjoyed Christmas. Next year, he will probably be walking and wanting to touch everything and rip open his presents. What fun!
We hope you had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Jesus is the reason we can celebrate! We hope you know His presences in 2015.
by Bethany McDonnell
When Rick and I found out in February that we were expecting, we began to look into the home birth options. I chose a home birth because I believe that birth for a healthy mama is natural and I wanted to be in a place where I felt comfortable and safe. We got some counsel from Rick's mom, who had several successful home births and knew what questions and qualifications to look for in a midwife. Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I found Lauren Osborne-Bibin at Serendipity Midwifery. When I met Lauren, I knew that we would get along and that she was super qualified.
So...the birth story...
My due date was Saturday, October 11. Since I had been on almost-bed-rest for three weeks due to elevated blood pressure, I was hoping so much that Ronan would come early. But he didn't. His due date past and I began to think that I was going to have to be induced at the hospital and my dreams of a home birth weren't going to come true.
But on Wednesday morning October 15, I woke up at 5:30 with labor pains. I had been having contractions on and off since Monday, but they didn't hurt. After I gave the contractions some time to make sure this was it, I woke Rick up, called my mom, and called the midwife.
My mom arrived around 8:30 a.m. and by this point I was pacing through the house to make it through each contraction. I think they were about three or so minutes apart. I recited Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 (my favorite psalms) during most of the contractions, because it took my mind off the pain, helped me have positive thoughts, and helped me depend on the Lord for strength.
My midwife, Lauren, and her birth assistant, Cassie, arrived around 10:30 a.m. I don't remember how far apart the contractions were. I was mostly just focused on making it through each one and trying not to go insane. When Lauren arrived, she told me she would see how much I had dilated soon...maybe in 30 minutes...when she had all her things ready. She told me that since I was smiling in between contractions, that I probably wasn't far along and that I needed to remain focused since this would be a long labor (a first baby usually is longer!).
After about 20-30 minutes, I asked Lauren to check me (actually I was inwardly begging!). I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and starting to regret my choice to have a birth with no pain medication. Before she checked me, Lauren said she wouldn't tell me how much I was dilated because she didn't want me to be discouraged. After she checked, Lauren said, "Or I can tell you. You are 6-7 cm! You are going to have a baby very soon!"
I could not believe it, but I was so thankful! I had already had a few fleeting thoughts of saying to Lauren, "Let's go to the hospital now and get an epidural. I can't do this!" Thankfully, Lauren, had warned me before this that at some point during the labor I would feel like this, so I was prepared.
Lauren, Cassie, and Mom prepared the birth pool while I continued to work through contractions. The pain was mainly in my lower back and upper thighs. Rick put pressure on my back and I rubbed my thighs. Oh, I could not have made it through without Rick. Later, Rick told me he was tearing up seeing me in pain.
I kept asking, "Is the birth pool ready yet?" I wanted the warm water sooo badly! Finally, when it was ready and I got in. The warm water felt amazing! Yet, I was already at 10 cm and ready to push. I had made it through the most difficult part of the labor without the warm water, which was NOT what I had planned, but oh well! I pushed for a while in the birth pool. The plan was to have a water birth. I felt like I pushed and pushed and was getting no where. I was getting quite warm in the water, I was exhausted, and I was hungry (I wasn't able to keep down my breakfast that morning!).
Lauren and Cassie kept monitoring the baby's heartbeat, and then at some point, Lauren said, "You are going to need to get out of the tub and move to the bed." I was a little disappointed for no water birth, but at that point, I was ready for it to all be over.
We moved to the bed and I began to push again. Rick was going to catch the baby, but as the baby started to come, Lauren realized that he was a big baby and that his shoulder was stuck. She said to Rick, "Sorry, dad, but I'm going to have to do this one."
The end was very intense. Lauren, Cassie, Mom, and Rick were all screaming at me--"Push!!! Push!!!" I was so scared that something was wrong so I prayed that the Lord would give me strength and I gave it everything I had. Lauren maneuvered the baby's head and shoulder and then at 12:46 pm, he just popped right out. :) We were all amazed at his full head of hair and his size, 10 lbs. 7 oz.!!!
My midwife and her birth assistant were amazing! They were so qualified, encouraging, and helpful! I would NOT have been able to have a home birth without them.
The whole labor took about 7 hours. God was so good to me. Until the very end, I didn't felt afraid. He gave me strength and peace through the whole process. And He gave us a handsome, big, healthy boy--Ronan Timothy McDonnell. We are blessed.
Well, our sweet little boy turned one-month old this past Saturday. We haven't introduced him yet on the blog, but if you follow us on facebook, you have already seen many pictures of him. Meet Ronan Timothy McDonnell, born on October 15th at 12:46 p.m. weighing 10 lbs. 7 oz. Yes, he was a big baby!
Be prepared to see lots of cuteness on this blog from now on. Birth story coming soon!
Happy One-Month Birthday, Ronan! We love you!
by Bethany McDonnell
I have spent the last 20 something years of my life not being able to relate to pregnant women. In fact, I'm not sure if I gave relating to them much thought. But expecting a baby this year, I now understand that a big obstacle that you have to overcome is the comments and questions.
During the time when a woman is expecting, you could have the great opportunity to say something wonderful to her and make her day. You could try things like a few of the sweet things I've gotten...
Or...you could be one of those crazy people that says strange things like...
All I can say is...
Bless all of you who have said something sweet to me. And...
If you do say something crazy, I will--after I get over the shock of it--definitely be having a good laugh over it!
Anyone want to share something crazy that someone said to you while pregnant? No need to complain, just share.
We are looking forward to meeting our little boy very soon! Only a few weeks til his due date (October 11). We decided to get a few maternity shots before our little boy made his entrance. Enjoy!
Both Rick and I have a special love for biscuits and gravy. I found/modified a recipe that we really love and would like to share with you.
For the biscuits, we use this Fluffy Biscuit recipe from Taste of Home. To me, they turn out too crumbly for an every day biscuit, but they are perfect for biscuits and gravy.
For the gravy, we use a modified version of this Super Sausage Gravy recipe from All Recipes.
1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage (we like sage)
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain sausage, if preferred. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. You can add one more cup of milk to make more gravy. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot biscuits. Refrigerate leftovers.
2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
2/3 c. milk
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk egg and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or drinking glass works too!). Place on a lightly greased baking sheet (or pizza pan). Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
If you try this recipe and like it, let us know.
by Bethany McDonnell
We're back into the world of blogging! We have been super busy these last several months, with work, a little bit of travel, and getting ready for our new baby. It's been nice to take a break from blogging, but now it's time to get back in to it (especially since we will want to share pictures of our baby when he comes.)
In February, we got to see Rick's college roommate and his family. Nate, Kate, and baby William are missionaries to the Czech Republic. We enjoyed hearing about the Czech culture and see their excitement to serve the people of the Czech. I especially enjoyed getting to hear about this country since my grandpa is full Czech descent. (Thank you Kate for taking pictures of your visit!)
In April, we got to see my best friend from college, Jenny, her son Isaac, and family on their way back to Michigan after vacationing in Florida. We met them over in Valdosta for a delightful lunch at Cracker Barrel. This is the first time we got to meet Isaac--and he is such a cutie! (Thank you, Mrs. Patty, for taking pictures!)
In May, Rick had the opportunity to return to his alma mater and perform as Bel Core in opera The Elixir of Love by Don Giovanni. He drove down to Pensacola several weekends in May and April, and then we stayed a week and a half in Pensacola before the three performances. (Pictures from the performance coming in a later blog post.)
We also survived the crazy flooding that Pensacola had during that time. After one evening rehearsal, Rick got stranded at the college because of all the water and had to spend the night with a college buddy who had an apartment on campus. Thankfully, I stayed in the hotel and didn't venture out in the rain.
On our first night in Pensacola, we decided to join our siblings at college for a 5K walk/run in support of missions. We enjoyed seeing all the students come out for fireworks, glow necklaces, and to finish the race.
We were able to have a great little vacation hanging out with our siblings, my cousin, and a few friends. When Rick wasn't rehearsing, we visited a few coffee local coffee shops--the Bodacious Brew and the Drowsy Poet.
We took one afternoon and went to the Naval Air Museum.
We were so thankful that both Rick's parents and my parents got to see one of the three performances.
At the end of May, we scheduled an ultrasound to find out the gender of our baby. We asked our family members to wear blue if they thought it was a boy and pink/purple if they thought it was a girl.
In June, I went with my sis, cousin, and family to Saint George Island for a few days. Rick had to work :( We laid out on the beach, visited some local shops (and grabbed some ice cream, of course), and relaxed.
We realize that there won't be many opportunities in our near future to go on dates with just us. Our lives are about to change with the addition of a new baby, but we are looking forward to the change. :)
Rick has really enjoyed being a part of the Red Hills Players. The Red Hills Players is a not for profit theatre company comprised of multi-talented individuals and families from all across the world who have made a home in the Red Hills region of Southwest Georgia and North Florida. Last fall, Rick participated in their first production, Jane Eyre the Musical. Rick played the part of Sin-jin as well as other supporting roles since it was a small cast. You can watch the entire musical for free on Youtube (see bottom of this post).
Last month, the Red Hills Players held their Winter Revue--once in Thomasville and once in our very own Boston. They sang several musical selections from Broadway musicals, mostly about women and the different struggles and successes they have. They ended the performance with a quartet of "Climb Every Mountain"--beautiful. We, the audience, left encouraged to find beauty in the little things of life and to pursue our dreams despite the difficulties that may come our way.