Monday, May 9, 2016

Baby Leif's Birth Story

So, if you’ve read my previous two birth stories, this one is actually nothing like those. And don’t too excited – when I say this labor was longer, it just means it was longer than the lightning fast births of my previous children.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. My friends with multiple kids said their births were all different. Similar. But different. I have joined their ranks.

This little guy was due on April 18. I had been certain (absolutely certain!) a third child would come earlier and more rapidly than the previous two. Well, as many third borns do, this child reminded me over and over again that he is different than his siblings.

Well, Friday, April 22 rolled around and still nothing. After putting the kids to bed, I felt some contractions that seemed regular and we started timing. Nothing serious. About 9 or 10 that evening, I decided to get some rest, realizing that a middle of the night birth might very well be in my future. About 11, I moved to a more focused position, theorizing I very likely would have a middle of the night birth.

At 1, Rob made the call to go to the hospital. He reasoned that the contractions were now 5 min apart and he really wasn’t interested in the rapid change that resulted in his catching a baby.

Once at the hospital, I realized why I really didn’t want to go to the hospital too early. The room smelled funny. The lighting was weird. And the nurse kept interrupting me with paperwork and monitoring. I found it difficult to recreate my “zen” that I had with my previous two births. Anyway, we got all checked in and I settled into my new “zone.”

Contractions went pretty normal. Actually it was kind of boring.

So, boring contractions. Really boring. Progession made – 4 to 5 cm from 2am to 4:45am. I had some good ones after that, but she didn’t check me.

About 6, labor started to wane. I was a little confused. I kept preparing for more intense contractions and finding them way too easy to deal with. About 7, I was still having contractions, but they were nothing to focus on and I was thinking “Man, I wish I could get some big breakfast right now.”

Anyway, my doctor had thought she would be headed to the hospital for me about 4 (as I did!) but we didn’t see each other until she made her rounds at 8am. I was dilated to 8cm. We agreed for her to break my water. I was SO ready!

When contractions got more intense, I felt so GLAD to finally be in more serious labor!

The following takes place between 8:30 and 9:45am.

I finally tried a couple different positions and was just downright disappointed my favorite “zen” meditation position wasn’t working for me. I had some back labor and theorize baby wasn’t turning just the right way. Once I tried hanging over the back of the bed, I found it! Labor started progressing much more intensely. Finally!!!! I had asked Rob to be encouraging and a VERY short time later I was telling him “No words. Do not say ANY words to me!”

The nurse started asking if I felt like pushing and I remember thinking “Well, it feels like it did while driving to the hospital last time.” But I couldn’t actually articulate that into words so I think I might have said, “Sort of.”

A couple of contractions later, I hadn’t realized my filter from brain to mouth was completely and utterly gone when I apparently yelled “PUUUUSH!” My brain was thinking, “I should tell the people in the room that this feeling is most definitely pushing.” My mouth was not on board with the eloquence. Later, Rob was telling me about this big push and I said, “I yelled push??...” Rob: “Yes. Loudly.”

Well, baby’s head was out! Doctor came in and caught the rest of baby and I definitely remember yelling “YEESSSSS!” I was so happy the hard part of labor was over and baby was finally born!! I felt like I’d had a really good run and just stayed where I was, breathing like I’d had an intense workout (which science says I had). It felt so good to be done!!

Baby was born at 9:45am. I adore the hormones that occur with a natural childbirth! I felt happy and well and proud.

Was Rob happy to not be catching a baby? Yes. Yes, he was. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BabyGirl Cole's Birth Story

For those of you who would like to know some more details than “Rob caught the baby in the lobby of the ER” here it is!
I suppose it was wrong to assume labor would happen the same way it did before…
 Unlike with my first, for weeks I had been having minor contractions and my doctor had been saying “any day now.” Still, nothing.  Excited, Tuesday morning I woke up with some regular contractions and asked Rob to stay home from work, sure that we would be going to the hospital by mid-morning.
We waited. We waited. We watched a movie. At 2:30, we picked up Titus from Mother’s Day Out. Waited some more. IN RETROSPECT, there were some obvious signs that we now know should have spurred our trip to the hospital… but hindsight.
 About 4pm, I retreated to the bedroom for quiet. I emerged from the bedroom to quite articulately (sarcasm) tell Rob “TV bad!” in an effort to illicit more quiet in the house.
About 5:30 (she was born at 6:37pm), Rob started timing my contractions and they were not quite a minute long, about 5 min apart. The book tells you to go to the hospital when they are 1 min long, less than 5 min apart, and have been that way for an hour… or your water breaks. So we waited.
Gradually contractions got more intense and closer together (more like 3 min – YES, we should have gone then) and we both realized I was transitioning quickly when I tried to move from the chair and my body said, “Oh no. We are not going anywhere!” Rob’s face changed quickly and he asked, “Does one’s water always break before the baby comes?” Me: “It’s very rare that it doesn’t.” Rob took me to the truck.
As soon as we left the neighborhood, I said, “Whoa! That feels like pushing.” Rob drove faster while trying not to hit bumps. Unfortunately, the hospital is about 20 min away. Rob did the math in his mind, “20 min divided by 3 is about 6-7 contractions” and remembered that when I last started pushing until my first baby was delivered was about 15 min… so he was concerned. At one point he asked, “Do I need to stop?” I shouted, “No! Keep driving!”
Rob was driving toward the outline of what he thought was the hospital until he made a turn that took us the wrong way and shouted “Where is the hospital??” Me: “It’s behind us.” This is the part of the story I imagine would make a hilarious scene in a movie.
One block out of the way, Rob quickly righted his wrong turn and within seconds we were at the emergency room awning. Rob exited the vehicle with the speed and agility of a man whose wife is in labor and I sat wondering how I was going to get out of the truck without delivering a baby on the pavement. Adrenaline pumping through his veins Rob arrived at my door with a wheelchair which he had just grabbed and violently dragged out of the ER. I stepped down and sat in the chair, “Aaahhh.” The baby’s head was out entirely. Stretchy yoga pants, for those of you wondering. At this point I was feeling much better, relieved for the time being of the contractions pushing a baby out of my body. Rob speedy Gonzales-style wheeled me through the ER, past the check-in, past the waiting room, homing in on a nurse or doctor.
The waiting room residents looked a little bewildered but I only saw them for a second as we whizzed past!
The first person Rob sees with a badge he tells, “We’re having a baby! Look!” She looks and says, “I’ll get some help.” Rob’s thinking “WHAT? You’re a nurse! You ARE help!” We found out later she was the chaplain. Also a funny movie scene in my mind…
Well, the baby’s head may have been out and I was given a brief respite, but the rest of the baby still had to be born and I felt the next push coming. I simply said, “Rob catch the baby.” And he leaned down and stood up holding our daughter!
Now, we believe the ER is properly prepared for head trauma or heart attacks, compound fractures, and the like. But we figure most of the people who enter the ER saying, “I’m having a baby” will actually deliver said baby in a few hours. So the staff was on the phone with L&D asking them to send someone to get us when Rob stood up with the baby. The looks on their faces were priceless.
At this point, the ER staff started to move quicker. They wheeled me around the corner to the triage area where the Dr. took a relaxed look at us, saw the baby was breathing and we were fine, said “get me a clamp for the umbilical thingy” (paraphrased), and then sent us up to L&D.
Labor and Delivery is about a 300 yard jog from the ER and the nurse pushing me really did jog! But we missed the L&D team in transit so when we arrived, the team wasn’t there! So her and Rob helped me into the bed. The other nurses arrived, cleaned up the baby, finalized my delivery, and applauded my amazing husband. Job well done, Love. In all, it was an awesome experience and we certainly have a fun story to tell our daughter about her birth!
Questions I get:
“Were you screaming in the ER?” Oh there was screaming, but it was all in the truck on the way there.
“Did people in the waiting room see everything?” No, Rob pointed me at the wall, my back to the lobby and I was wearing pants for most of it. Then they covered me with a blanket. I don’t think we inflicted eye trauma on anyone who wasn’t qualified medical personnel.
“What about the…?” Yes, they had to call a janitor because my water broke all over the floor of the ER as the baby was born.
“What about the interior of Rob’s truck?” Yes, I was worried about that too, but it was fine. Baby’s head stopped anything messy.
“How was…?” The chaplain came to visit us later… and told us it was the most exciting thing that’s happened to her since she worked at the hospital!
“Do you…?” No, you don’t get tax benefits for being born on tax day.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

God blessed me last week. This is the story.

Our neighbor across the street runs an in-home day care. Last week, I moseyed across the street to check it out. Pleasantly surprised at how she ran things and THRILLED that she charged only $3 an hour, I decided to leave Titus the next day so I could try a yoga class. Turns out, childcare is TOTALLY worth it! I also asked her for some babysitter recommendations and she gave me three names! Now, babysitters in the military community are a precious commodity and not commonly shared – everyone tends to need a babysitter on the same night as all her friends because they’re all attending the same event – so the fact that I just received three names of sitters unlikely to be in the circle of military babysitters was a blessed gift!

I hired my first sitter Friday night. I must confess here that my expectations were fairly low. I figured kids these days were irresponsible and self-centered and I would just have to deal with it (and then I took a moment as I realized that thought made me pretty close to officially “old”). I chose to text her cell phone as I figured young kids nowadays don’t actually talk to people anyway and was pleased to see that she actually spelled out all her words and used correct grammar in her texts! Hmm, good sign. Still apprehensive, I actually put Titus down a tad early just I wouldn’t have to worry about the sitter doing my baby’s bedtime routine (hey, cut me a break – first time mom hiring her first sitter here).

Anyway, Caitlin wildly exceeded my expectations!! She is responsible, cares about school, is involved in sports, comes from a good family, and has another job at the frozen yogurt place. Plus, she drives. What’s more, she did my dishes, tidied up, and was overall a dream-come-true babysitter!! I was ready to pledge my devotion to her already, but when she said she didn’t want to take any money for that night because she “really didn’t do anything” I was completely sold. I obviously insisted she take money because I wanted to be sure she would be happy to come back and be my babysitter again.

So, thank you Lord for a completely amazing first babysitter-hiring experience!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Catching Up

We had a baby!


We finished the renovation!


And we drove down to Alabama for Rob to take SOS.

We are living in the Residence Inn by Marriott and it’s really very nice. There’s a lovely patio area with tables, umbrellas, and a grill, a basketball court, a pool, and a hot tub. Plus, a free breakfast every day. Two or three days  a week there’s a reception in the evening with free food. Plus, the staff is lovely and offer services akin to the Ritz Carlton (grocery pick up, dry cleaning, and other errands). If I liked Marriotts before, I love them now!

It feels a little like I’m on vacation. It’s really very nice to know that this weekend, all we have to do is watch the Aggie game on TV. With the renovation, every weekend and most evenings were devoted to the house. Since Easter, we haven’t had much of a break. From time to time, Rob would gaze off toward the horizon and sigh longingly, “One day, I’d like to go fishing again.” And even though he has homework and things to do with the school here, he will have more free time than if we were at home. Yay!

So here’s to a relaxing autumn in Alabama!

Birth Story

Note: Do not read this unless you are really interested. There is oversharing and plenty of TMI. I know I appreciate warnings from my friends before I start reading and realize what I’ve done far too late.

Another note: Readers shall not envy my labor and delivery.

Rob was TDY in Vegas for Red Flag until week 39. With my firm belief baby Moore would arrive after my due date I was absolutely behind his going to this training. And I think I would still make that decision today. Because I honestly think his presence was all I needed to start labor.

He came home a day or so early because he flew a jet home. So, Friday evening I welcomed my hubby as only a sexy preggo can.

Friday night I had some small labor pains that made sleeping a little difficult. But seeing as I had not had trouble sleeping previously during pregnancy, I figured this was the beginning of that.

Saturday, I continued some little labor pains. It didn’t impede me though – I just stopped what I was doing and breathed to relax and it passed fine.

Just as dinner was being served, though, at about 8 or 9pm (it was a late dinner because we were doing things around the house – renovation is never done) I entered into the active labor stage with contractions of increasing intensity. Consequently, I declined dinner (what previously smelled delicious assaulted my nostrils during this labor stage) and regretted later not having more to eat that day.

I tested positive for the bacteria that makes them give you an IV as soon as one’s water breaks. I wanted to avoid as many medical procedures as I could – I figured they’d give me an IV for the antibiotics, labor would slow, they’d give me something to speed it up, I’d end up with an epidural, then a c-section after 26 hours of labor. That was my worst case scenario and I feared it greatly.

Resolved to labor as long as I could at home, I sat in the comfy recliner just breathing and drowsily enduring contractions.

As they gradually got more intense, I asked Rob to rub my feet. Ahh! So good! We should have been doing this the whole time! Immediately after the first rub, at 1:38am, POP! my water broke! OH! Hospital! We have to go to the hospital!

Of course labor pains rapidly got more intense after that and my entry into the emergency room looked like this: “Okay ma’am welcome to the emergency room. Congratulations.” (they’re really friendly in South Dakota) “If you could come over here and fill out these forms…”  “Okay…. give me a minute. Oooooo…”

Once in the room, I gave them my birth plan and told them I didn’t want to know how far along I was. My thought process was this: when I’m running (and I hate running) I prefer not to know the distance as I cover it. So, when I’m laboring (and I rightly forecasted I would not really enjoy laboring) I just wanted to plod along. So, they honored that and whispered it to Rob. Later, I found out I was already six centimeters dilated.

Contractions rapidly got more intense but honestly there were only about two that would have made me think, “I can’t do this anymore.” And then my body decided it was ready to push.

I knew this because I had one big contraction and my body shot forward on the bed from my back to my hands and knees. The poor nurse freaked out a little bit and made me lie back so she could check my dilation. When she checked, she mouthed to Rob (out of my view), “I can see the head!” So the doctor was immediately called. This was only a little after 3am.

At this point, I was keeping my eyes closed to better concentrate on relaxing through the contractions but I did notice a lot more bustling about in the room and one of the nurses was setting up this big table with instruments and such. They kept assuring me the doctor was coming and he doesn’t live very far. I remember wondering why they were telling me this. I had no idea the baby was on his way!

I remember having energy that I didn’t know what to do with and appreciative one of the nurses started focusing me once again on breathing. I didn’t know at the time they were trying to prevent me from pushing until the doctor could arrive.

About 3:30am my doctor arrived and I was finally able to push! I remember it feeling good and painful at the same time. And at 3:47am Titus Walker was born!

Worried I would have an alien baby (you know the ones I mean, cone headed, eyes too big for their faces, blimp foreheads…) when they placed Titus on my chest, I was so pleasantly surprised  I exclaimed, “Wow, he’s actually kinda cute!” And he was. And he is.

So all that trauma putting the book in the freezer reading about the worst that can happen during pregnancy was needless. All the fears I had at having a horrifying birth experience were misdirected. I feel super blessed  to have had such an easy pregnancy and birth.

The first six weeks of having a baby are an ENTIRELY different story though!

Note: I actually tried to write a blog just now about the first six weeks of Titus’ life and starting crying just remembering how awful it was. While parts are funny in retrospect, I could not (at least not yet) make it lighthearted enough to be blog-appropriate. There’s a reason why none of that is in the “prepare you for having a baby” books!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Being Pregnant

Note: This blog entry was written while still pregnant so some of the verb tenses and such may be off slightly.

Pregnancy treated me very well and I really have very few complaints. I’m especially grateful because I’ve appreciated the energy and mobility amid the home renovation.

The following is a list of things I’ve observed in myself during my pregnancy.

I first noticed my body changing when the folds in my belly button became less deep. “That’s interesting, I thought.” Now, they are non-existent. I had no idea.

I first noticed my mind changing when Rob observed I have pregnancy-induced ADD. I left the room on a quest for a hammer from the garage and Rob found me pressure-washing the siding. Yikes.

Over the pregnancy, I have gained empathy for those with an ADD mindset (Rob included). Formerly, I was frustrated with others’ lack of linear thinking. “What do you mean you can’t trace your train of thought??” NOW, I get it. Thought is NOT linear to those with ADD, it’s like thought bubbles coming from all sides.

Having possessed a powerful ability to focus throughout my life, I must now make a concerted effort to keep my mind from being pulled into a curly-q by the assault of thought bubbles. But I can and do overcome with practice!

I continued to notice my body changing as my attempts to bend over and reach something were thwarted by a beach ball under my shirt that is far less squishy than an actual beach ball.

My mind never absorbed the transition from pregnancy to baby will happen and I constantly forgot that baby will be on the OUTSIDE of my body soon. For example: “Oh, we’d love to go to your destination wedding in in Hawaii in September!” “Uh, McKay, we’ll have a newborn baby.” “Oh RIIIIIIGHT!” Or… “We can’t bring kids to Alabama for the training in the fall.” “Why is that a problem? Oh. Riiiiight….” 

The baby in utero is really very convenient. He eats when I want to eat. He’s quiet. He doesn’t need any toys, soothers, or special equipment. It’s really a nice situation.

And now a note on what I’ve observed from others.

People LOVE a pregnant woman - total strangers will strike up conversations with me and ask sometimes rather personal questions about me and the baby. Why? That is so weird.

People compulsively touch my belly. I don’t mind as I’ve not been too picky about my personal space, but it’s just so amazing to watch – they actually can’t stop themselves.

Normally, I like researching and getting lots of information about places I’m about to go, etc. But my minimal reading (a lighthearted little book from my SIL – The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy) was so terrifying I wanted to put it in the freezer. Rob would frequently see me thrust the book aside with a look of horror on my face after reading about yet another awful symptom of growing a human. And this was lighthearted reading. I decided it was better not to know and just wait to learn about things as they affected me. I am much happier.

I noticed that women love looking at me with this all-knowing look that says “YOUR life is never going to be the same” and I honestly can’t tell if they mean it like a good or bad thing.

On that note, sometimes mothers trying to give me advice only make me never want to be a mother. “You’ll never sleep again.” “All the intimacy with your partner will be gone.” “Pregnancy brain doesn’t go away! Just wait for baby brain and motherhood brain.” You’re not selling me on motherhood, ladies.

Once it began to show that I was pregnant, I very often got looks from women (in the 50-65 age range) of a condemning nature. I receive these looks while lifting “heavy” things. Apparently, there are some people who believe VERY strongly that pregnant women will harm the baby if they do any of the following: lift more than 20 pounds, lift one’s arms above one’s head (seriously – people think that!), participate in any sort of strenuous activity, or linger outside in ANY kind of sun or heat.

By the way, I checked with my doctor and a pregnant woman can participate with peace in any activity she was doing prior to becoming pregnant… and she can CERTAINLY lift her arms above her head.

And the following are some things I vow never to do as a mother (although no guarantees).

I vow to never say the above awful things to a pregnant woman who clearly can not reverse her decision to be a mother and to only provide her with encouraging words that she might actually WANT to hear (NOT about getting no more sleep ever!).

I vow to NOT share with relish and delight, like a scary campfire story, the tales of 30-hour labors, tears from end to end, and awful complications in delivery.

I vow NOT to share with gloating and pride, tales of 2-hour labors and completely painless deliveries.

I vow to never put those family stickers on the back of my SUV. You know the ones I mean - the stick figures with the dad, mom, three kids, and a dog. Even though I heard they came out with Star Wars ones…. still never.

I vow to keep my facebook profile about me and not ALL about my baby. I scroll through my friends and at least 60% of them have their offspring as their profile pic. (Don’t worry, grandparents, you can learn all the details about baby’s life through another venue).

On Doing a Renovation

Now that Rob’s on TDY, I have a little more time for processing and thought. Here are some notes on doing a home renovation.

Take your timeline, multiply it by three. Then, multiply that by two. That will give you a more accurate idea of how long it will take.

I know you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t either. But it’s true.

If you’re doing a project that tears things all the way out, just take it all down to the studs! Don’t worry about saving the drywall. No drywall makes electrical a million times easier (no, really it’s actually a MILLION times easier).

Remember to support your dedicated husband as he’s crawling in the tiny spaces of the attic muttering to himself words you can’t understand through the ceiling (and probably don’t want to) while pulling electrical wire. That’s not a fun job.

Hire out the drywall!! It’s a big fat pain! And you still see your mistakes, even if you do it well.

Making concrete countertops sounds glamorous and creative, but that part is only a sixth of the actual time involved. The meat and bones of it is lots of math, lots of perfection, and lots of prep.

When doing a kitchen, you will be happy to have any type of functioning kitchen as much as possible. If that means balancing the old kitchen sink on the new cabinets and prepping dinner on a piece of tile, then do it. Frustration is thinking “I can cook this for dinner… oh wait. No I can’t. Well, I could make… nope, that won’t work either…” Funny and sad.

Overall, we’ve been SUPER happy with what we’ve done. We’ve learned a lot and it’s SO rewarding to see the progress and know that WE did that!