Friday, October 26, 2012

Catching Up

We had a baby!

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We finished the renovation!

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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!