Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Came After

...a follow up to Sammy's birth story.

I wish I could tell you that after Sam was born I kissed his head, cuddled him tight and he drifted off into an unencumbered slumber for hours.  I wish I could tell you that he latched perfectly with little effort and breastfeeding was painless and luxurious.  I wish I could tell you that I hopped out of my hospital bed into the shower, cleaned up, put on make-up, and welcomed hundreds of guests with open arms.  I wish I could tell you life became blissful.

...but alas.  I can not tell you those things.  I am not a liar.

Becoming a parent was nothing like I imagined when I was a 'Still in the Belly Baby Mama.'  I struggled to get out of my hospital bed because of the magnesium and being bed ridden for three days.  I struggled to stand in the shower and clean off and I really didn't like the idea of visitors while I was still swollen, exhausted, and getting into the swing of nursing.

Sam's second night in the hospital was long!  He had stayed in the nursery the previous night and his second night, he was by my side.  By Divine intervention, most of the night is a hazy memory, but I remember a lot of crying.  At one point, Lee J, who is not used to hearing kids cry like I am from my child care days, hopped up from his sleeping and was so frustrated because of the crying.  He was mad.  At one point I really thought he was going to walk out on Sam and me for good (not that he would EVER do that, but sleep deprivation is a crazy thing.)  Thankfully, I talked him down and he then, consoled me too.  Marriage is awesome like that.  We ended up taking turns holding Sam while sleeping and miraculously made it through the night!  Praise the Lord.

Four days after we initially checked into the hospital, we were discharged.  We were very relieved to finally be able to go home.  Home was a struggle, we had a big learning curve ahead of us, but it was home none-the-less.  Family was there to greet us and help us get settled and our dog, Truck, finally got to meet Sam.
If you're wondering about our dog introduction, we had my parents bring home a blanket with Sam's scent on it ahead of time and let Truck have it and get used to it.  Then when we brought him home, we let Truck sniff him for awhile and he seemed to be satisfied.  He did really well with the adjustment.

The days to follow were very hard.  I never realized that such a tiny thing could make such gigantic noises--and at all hours of the day and night.

Now that I am out of the fog of caring for a colicky baby, I am able to admit that my baby was colicky.  In a way, I'm glad I didn't admit it while it was happening because I don't think I would have worked so hard to stop his crying.  By not admitting it, I was always trying to help him feel better and be at peace...so...as terrible as the beginning was, I'm grateful it turned out the way it did.

When I was working at the day care, I had some SUPER challenging kids in my very first class.  I was able to survive those days through blood, sweat, and tears (literally) and every other class seemed like a breeze.  That's kind of how it has turned out with Sam, too.  Once we made it through the super challenging first few months, everything else has seemed doubly good.  And we are still indescribably grateful for the mercy and grace that God pours into our home and hearts each and every day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sammy's Birth Story

It has been 9 and a half months since Sam came into the world--a perfect time as any to document Sammy's birth story.  So, here goes!
(WARNING:  This story is really long.  I didn't try to shorten it, because, well, I want to remember it!)

Friday:  Here I am on December 30th--my due date (Friday, 40 weeks.)  Notice something?  That's right, I'm not at the hospital...I'm at home, in my gym shorts, taking pictures, NOT in labor.  Fast forward to Monday at my 'baby doctor' appointment where I am still showing very few signs of labor.  My very kind doctor tells me if I don't go into labor before Wednesday, then he will induce me Wednesday night.  I am happy to finally have a definite time to get this baby out.

Wednesday night:  I still had not had anything close to labor pains.  And once I finally did realize what a contraction felt like, I knew I had only had a few in the past week--like maybe three.  Lee J & I eat some dinner, (what will turn out to be the only solid food I have until Saturday!) calmly pack our bag into the car and head to the hospital to be admitted and induced.  I check in and get settled into my room.  The nurse checks me to see if I'm dilated and notices my blood pressure is a little high.  My doctor comes in about 9:00pm and separates the membrane that connects the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus (strips the membranes) in hopes to begin labor.  And the only thing that happens is my blood pressure continues to be a little high and labor does not begin.  I am started on a slow Pitocin drip--a small amount.  And oh yeah, my contractions are now present, but pathetically tiny.

Thursday morning:  My doctor revisits me in the morning and breaks my water.  Because my blood pressure remains high, they decide to put me on a magnesium drip.  Had I known the ramifications of that, I would have begged and pleaded they not use it.  "Mag" (Magnesium) is a soft muscle relaxer and from this point until delivery, I had to have a catheter.  YUCK!
So just to be clear.  At this point, I am now in a hospital gown with a central line IV in my arm pumping me with "Pit" and "Mag."  I have two monitors on my gigantic belly monitoring the fetal heart beat and the contractions.  I also have a blood pressure cuff on my arm automatically taking my BP every 30 minutes and a catheter taped down my leg.  I pretty much look like Frankenstein(ish).
 My birth plan is not going as planned, but we're just rollin' with it.  By now my contractions are moderate but the Mag and Pit are doing a decent job cancelling each other out and nothing much is changing.  The nurse increases the Pit and it actually starts making the contractions become smaller, rather than larger.  My body is just really not wanting to have this baby yet!!!

Thursday evening:  The push and pull of the Mag and Pit have finally made some progress on the contractions and my blood pressure is being managed well, too.  However, the pain is increasing more and more.  Due to all the aforementioned things attached to me, I am not able to do much of anything to work through the pain on my own.  I request an epidural.
The downside of being at a teaching hospital is I allowed a student to administer my epidural.  She didn't get it on the first try--and I swear I heard the needle scraping on my vertebrae.  It was slightly horrible, but once it was in place, life was good.
Thursday night: The night was long, but I was able to get more sleep than I did Wednesday night because I had gotten use to my environment.  The hard part was the continuous BP monitoring and now, I had the added bonus of med students doing "Mag" tests every few hours.  However, sometime during the middle of my foggy, hazy night, I began writhing in pain from back labor.  My favorite person in the hospital, the anesthesiologist, came to relieve the pain I was having in my back.  I don't remember what it felt like, but I remember it felt awful.  I was moaning and groaning and I think I was scaring Lee J a little bit.  It was not fun.

Friday morning:  This day was just a continuation of waiting and trying to get dilated to the full 10 cm.  Each time they increased my Pitocin drip my contractions would become erratic.  I would have crazy-big contractions close together and then they would spread out and get smaller.  I really had the nurses stumped!  During this time, I wanted to give my family something excited to think about since they had been waiting patiently in the lobby for the large majority of this time.  We announced the name of our baby which we had previously kept private: Samuel James--they were thrilled to have a name to begin praying over as we all eagerly awaited our son's arrival.

Friday afternoon:  By this point things were starting to get exciting.  My doctor had come to check on me a few times and I am dilating more and more.  At about 4:30 I am told it is time to push.  I have been easing up on the epidural a little and can feel the contractions pretty well.  I push and push.  And at one point I remember telling the nurse that I am done and that I don't want to do it anymore.  I am mostly serious.  But, alas, I continue to push.  This is largely in part because the nurse agrees to get me a Popsicle as soon as he comes out.  All I have eaten since Wednesday evening is ice chips and a Popsicle sounds like fine dining to me!

Friday evening:  During the pushing my nurse says she can see his hair!  And she lets Lee J touch his little folded ear!  (She offers me a mirror and I politely decline!)  A few more pushes and an hour and a half later and Sammy J breathes his first breath at 5:56pm!  I get to hold him for a little bit and then they take him to clean him off, weigh him, stamp his feet, take his blood, poke him, and prod him.  They have to monitor him a little bit closer because of me being on the magnesium drip.  Thankfully, everything checks out just fine!  Eight pounds, five ounces, twenty one and a half inches long.  Perfect.  Thank you, Jesus.  Our family is one larger.

I'm considering writing my next post on what happens next--that is if I can get permission from my husband to tell his side of the story!
Here it is!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dear Still-in-the-Belly Baby Mama

Dear Still-in-the-Belly Baby Mama,

I'm writing you to tell you a few things--things I wish I'd realized during pregnancy or even before so that I would have been ready and more aware as my body slowly began to resemble the body of Violet Beauregarde.

The first thing is this:  Your body will never actually resemble anything close to Violet's, no matter how much you think it does when you look in the mirror.  In fact, even though it seems to be trendy to have a 'baby bump' and you can feel LOTS of changes in your body, in reality, your body looks relatively unchanged...at least for your first trimester and even into the second one.  I've heard that after your first kid, you start showing much sooner, but I'm sure that I could have concealed my belly very easy for a long time if I wasn't so excited about having a 'bump' and didn't feel so bloated and not like myself.

Still-in-the-Belly Baby Mama, you might find yourself gravitating to the internet to look up every strange thing happening with your body. Be careful, mama.  Don't let the Devil get a foothold on you by filling you with fear.  The internet can be helpful, but it can also fill you with unnecessary anxiety.  It can also cause you to play a comparison game with other mamas.  You're an awesome mama--and you're the best mama for your child!  Avoid being dragged down the road of comparison and being beat up along the way.

Still-in-the-Belly Baby Mama, this is a hard tip, but it's one I will try to follow more next time.
Don't eat for two!  [gasp] I know, I know!  But it's true.  
Here's a quick calorie lesson.  Pregnant mamas need about 500 extra calories.  So if you're like me and couldn't keep up any cardio during the nauseous first trimester and didn't resume once you stoped being nauseous, you shouldn't continue eating like an exercising person AND add 500 additional calories.  If you find yourself constantly hungry, look at your calories.  Are they mainly made up of junk?  Or are they high protein, vitamin rich foods?  Think carrot sticks, peanut butter, and meat.  You're post-baby hips will thank me because, believe it or not, that's not your baby asking for a dozen doughnuts.

Still-in-the-Belly Baby Mama, have you noticed that your emotions have gone hay wire!?  This aspect of pregnancy was one of the most crazy for me!  I would get offended about the smallest things and when the Wendy's employee put mayonnaise on my sandwich and I didn't notice until a few minutes down the road, I burst into sobs.  Really!?  Yeah, really.  Remember to cut people some slack and, if you're able, remind yourself that it's probably not as big of a deal as it feels like to you.

And don't forget to enjoy every moment you can before your life changes dramatically!  You're going to be a great mama--even if you feel like you have no idea what you're doing.  Don't worry, most all of us feel that way!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

my bags are packed and i'm ready to go

Well with FOUR ladies I know having babies this November, I thought it seemed appropriate for me to recount my days in the hospital and the first few days postpartum.  Well, not the days, so much, as the STUFF I used during those days.

With out further ado, here are two lists.
Things marked with an asterisk (*) are those items which I did not bring/have, but will bring or have ready next time!

for the hospital

  • chapstick
  • hair ties 
  • sweatpants/t-shirt/flip-flops (going home outfit for your not-yet-normal body)
  • an extra bag for all the things the hospital sends home
  • a "going home" outfit for baby (a warm one!)
  • a laptop for music/social media/entertainment (Netflix)
  • hairbrush (and other toiletries, though my hospital provided the basic ones--you may want your own)
  • breath mints
  • food for hubby (or 'coach'...you can't eat, but your spouse needs to so he can be strong for you!)
  • Depends adult diapers or large-super heavy flow pads* (in case you haven't been informed, there's a lot of blood during and after--a lot)
  • nursing sleep bra (next time I will probably bring a nursing tank instead)
  • button down flannel shirt for me, the mama, for convenient nursing and modest visitations*
  • Boppy pillow* (...meant to, but forgot...it wasn't a must-have, though)
  • a baby blanket!*
  • a fun baby hat* (yes, the hospital provides a hat, but I wish I had pictures with a cute hat)
  • a fun blanket for me, the mama, so that I don't feel so hospital-y and exposed in my gown*
  • possibly a robe* (I could take it or leave it, but most people take it!)
My hospital provided a baby shirt, baby hat, baby blanket (not to keep), diapers, wipes, tiny baby bath, Vaseline, nursing pads, Lanolin cream, a manual breast pump, Sitz bath, squirt bottles, ice packs, mesh panties (ask for extra, esp. if you have a c-section, so I'm told), and socks (along with more stuff I'm sure I'm not remembering).

for the master bathroom

  • towels that are not your fancy ones--a stack of them
  • a nail or hook in the wall to hang aforementioned Sitz bath bag!
  • witch hazel pads 
  • the Sitz bath you brought from the hospital
  • the squirt bottle you brought from the hospital
  • flushable wipes
  • more giant pads or Depends and then eventually long panty liners
  • good quality toilet paper
Childbirth can be a bit traumatic for your body (go figure!) and pushing a baby out of it, leaves it a bit of a mess.  The better you take care of business, the quicker you heal and the faster you get back to feeling like you.  Do your Sitz bath!  You'll thank me later.

What other things did you find to be "must haves" at the hospital?

We're praying for you Kelly, Sarah, Christina, & Meagan!  Good luck next month!

Monday, October 1, 2012

...when I lose my focus

When I started college, I changed.  When I started dating my husband I felt myself changing.  When we had been married for a few months I felt myself still changing.  When we had our first baby 9 months ago, I felt changed.

And it wasn't until yesterday that I realized change isn't compromise.  Previously I felt like my
identity was being taken by all these changes.  I didn't like it.  I even felt myself becoming a little bitter about what these changes had made my life.
Yesterday something good happened.  While I was sitting in the sanctuary listening to the sermon, this simple truth hit me.  Ready?  My identity is in Christ Jesus.  It will never be changed.

My interests have changed.  The way I spend my time has changed.  The things that consume my mind are not the same as they were when I was carefree and single--but that's ok.  I am rooted in Christ. 

When I lose my focus and forget my purpose in life, I start letting other things take over my purpose.  When I remember my true purpose, then cradling my son becomes ministry.  When I remember why I'm here, loading the dishwasher for the thousandth time becomes service to God. 

Love God.  Love people.

...even when those people are slobbering, screaming babies.

Ephesians 3:14-19
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

I stumbled upon a cool graphic that I had pinned on Pinterest 4 months ago!  I couldn't find the original source, but I will link it to what it's linked to on my pin board.