Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fix Me

I remember when I was in the 4th or 5th grade, my older sister and I were at my biological dad’s house for our weekend visitation. I remember that in the midst of an evening that had gotten out of control, I sat on the top bunk of our bed crying so hard and talking to my sister. She hugged me and said, “It’s going to be alright. I promise.”

It was the first time anyone had ever said that it would alright. I distinctly remember it and how important that moment was to me. I believed her too…and it was.

There have been many times along the way that I’ve wished someone would hug me and say that. At times, when I’ve deeply needed someone to tell me that it’s all going to be ok, I’ve had friends that have done that. They have no idea the impact that simple statement made.

Right now, I really need someone to hug me and promise me that it’s going to be alright. And, I really need to believe them.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gibber Gabber

What a great day to be alive! The sun is still shining when I close my eyes! :)

It’s not quite 11:30am and I’ve completed a mostly full night of sleep, cooed with Kara, done a boatload of laundry, did a mini workout (YAY!) and have showered. Now that’s productivity, people!

Justin has been working out every morning during the week and I can tell quite a difference. (woo hoo) Me, on the otherhand, I’m still 20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I knew this pregnancy was going to do me in. I know, I’m only 4 weeks postpartum, but I’ve never been this heavy at 4 weeks postpartum. This is not going to drop off of me like it has in the past. This will only come with prayer and fasting, kidding, hard work and determination. I’m not cutting into my diet because I need the calories for breastfeeding, so I have to attack this every other way.

Why does Jaden insist on standing on my feet???

Oh yeah, I got a quarter of Kristen’s hair braided this morning too.

Alright, I’m done telling you how fabulous I am because if you walked into my house right now, you’d know differently, considering there is stuff everywhere. I cannot figure out how so many toys get in the bathroom. I never find children playing there, but I picked up half a dozen a little bit ago and when I went back in, I discovered Jaden’s ball mitt was still there. Why? How? He doesn't even pee in there!

Something else that makes me happy today. I’m pretty sure I’ve made friends. It took me 2 1/2 years to make friends in Wichita. I take that back, I did have a couple, but none that I saw regularly or talked to regularly. It wasn’t until we found our last church that I really felt like I was making friends. We found a church here two weeks ago and I love the people! They have been bringing meals by all week, and it was nice because I got to actually meet and talk with a few couples. It feels like we’ve made friends! I’m excited about that! Couples that we can go to dinner with or to the park or to the zoo or enjoy church service together! That feels so good!

Now, to just get my 9-year-old not to roll his eyes at me again today…. Oh, he just told me that I was mean!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Simple Things

I love toddler scribbles.

That is all.

This Girl!

She’s my it. I love this girl! She is so amazing!

You always wonder if you will have enough love to give another one, and boy, I didn’t know I had that much love. It’s not just that she is a good baby, which she is. I think it’s a combination of everything.

Jaden was so hard! You never knew what was wrong with him. He just cried and cried and cried and I always felt inadequate. Kara is not only normal, but she just looks at me. She always wants to be staring at me. I tell her it’s stalkerish all of the time. She will even move her head around to the front of my face if I’m not looking at her. She is snuggly. She is BEAUTIFUL!

The shine on her hair. The dimples on her cheeks. The mark on her forehead. Her long toes. Her chubby arms. She’s just amazing!

She loves me well. And I love her more.

Birth Disappointments

I don’t want to include any of this in the original story because it was a joyful and amazing birth. I’ve had 4 amazing births, but really, I think this one topped them all, and I don’t want to take away from that. There were a couple of things that hurt though too.

When we left the hospital, we were eager to go home. They have hospital workers that are not nurses and are not privy to what is happening on any particular floor. These are the workers that come get you with a wheel chair and wheel you, grinning from ear-to-ear, with your new baby in your arms, down the hall and out the door. It is an experience to gloat as you are wheeled past on-lookers oh-ing over the new baby. I have tears in my eyes and a sickening stomach as I remember this moment with Kara.

The hospital worker came to get us and sent Justin down one way to get the car and pull it around, and she wheeled me another way to a back elevator. As she wheeled me down the hall, with my brand new baby girl in my arms, grinning, I notice a lot of people standing in the hallway just ahead of me. I instantly made eye contact with a few of the people and saw pain. It took me all of about 3 seconds to realize that something was wrong. As I passed through them in the hallway, standing outside a room in the maternity ward, watching me leave with my brand new baby girl, I heard a woman on the telephone say, “I don’t know if they are going to do a burial or a cremation.”

I instantly bawled and cried most of the way home. By the time I got to the car, I was falling apart and Justin was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I just could not believe they would put that family through the torture of wheeling me passed them, going home with my baby. It didn’t seem fair. There wasn’t a lot of talking on the way home because neither of us could get our minds off of those parents. I felt guilty and wished that the worker had never taken me down that hallway.

The other disappointed was that we didn’t have visitors. My mom and Justin’s dad, stepmom and little brother were there immediately after the birth, and we were so grateful that they got to experience those moments with us. My mom kept the kids overnight, so she came up the next day too, but other than that, we didn’t have a single visitor. Except for Justin’s youngest brother, none of our brothers or sisters came. None of our friends came. It was disappointing for us. Even now, few have even attempted to meet her.

Missing Birth Details

There are details that I forgot to include in the original story. I haven’t had time to get back here to update it either. I will write them up here, then edit my original story to include the details.


After I got out of the bath and sat on the bed chatting for a minute before I got to the real work of labor, soft rain started pitter pattering on the window of the hospital room. It was one of those slight rains that you know smells so good. I was reminded of Hawaii and how I learned while I was there that rain is a blessing. After learning that, I always wanted it to rain on really important days. This was the first.


Later, Justin told me that just as Kara was born, the clouds parted and the sun shone bright. He said it was amazing. Also, when Chantel left after the birth, she captured a photo of a rainbow right across the street from the hospital. She gave Kara the name “The Rainbow Baby”.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Tuesday was Kara’s first official doctor’s appointment and it did not go down without excitement.

I was successfully able to get both Kara and Jaden down for a nap so that I could get a shower, and I even had time to put make-up on and blow dry (mostly) my hair.

I had planned to get Jaden up in time to have a quick lunch, get him and Kara ready and head out the door in plenty of time. About 30 seconds before I went to wake Jaden up, I heard him awake. “Perfect", I thought. I open his bedroom door and find him sitting on his bed, holding his nose, saying “Owwie Owwie Owwie”. He had been playing with 4 or 5 of Migc’s plastic BBs before he went to bed and I knew immediately what he had done. I push on his nose and pop one BB out. He is still holding his nose. I look and there is another one. With him screaming and pushing me away by this time, I push out another one. In spite of looking everywhere, I cannot find the others and assume they are even further up his nose, but he won’t let me near it. His nose was still bulging and I didn’t know what to do.

I called Justin and he said it would be fine until I got to Kara’s appointment to ask the doctor. He was still sneezing and his nose was still bulging and every time I asked him if there were more in there, he just hung his head and wouldn’t look at me.

I got Kara up, quickly nursed her enough to get by, rushed around and got us out the door. By this time we were late. Jaden hadn’t eaten lunch, so I grabbed some crackers and took off.

We got to the doctor’s office and only made it in the door after Jaden jumped in a water puddle. Remember how I’d gotten make-up on and my hair blown dry? Well, because I was carrying a carseat and holding a toddler’s hand, when I walked through the door, my hair was stuck to my lipstick and I’m sure I looked very well put together, but alas, we got checked in. We got seated to wait and I got Kara out and everything set just to pick up when they call us, then she started crying, so I began to nurse her again, only to have the nurse walk in and call us. I got myself together and begged Jaden to tear himself away from the fish tank and walk with me.

At our old doctor’s office, we would go into a room to undress the baby then take them to get weighed. Not this one! We have to undress them, keep all of our stuff together and out of passerby’s way and keep our other children near while standing in a hallway with a screaming, naked baby just to get a weight and length. *Whew*

Then they take us to a room, start to ask questions and Kara is screaming, so I sit to nurse her. The nurse needs a head circumference and asks if she can do it while I’m nursing. I respond, “Go ahead. This is #4, I don’t really care what you see.” In the meantime, I’ve told her about Jaden’s BBs and because they don’t have his records or anything yet, staff is coming in and out to fill out paperwork for him and consulting the doctor to see if he will even see him while we are there. Oh yeah, we’re still nursing and filling out paperwork and Jaden is climbing on chairs and attempting to climb on the counter. Then Kara poops. Wait, back up. When we were naked at the scale, I threw the wet diaper she was wearing back on and didn’t worry about it being tight enough or on right or anything like that. I just needed it on so that we could get to the room. So, she poops, right? She poops a lot. I keep nursing until she’s ok (not screaming anymore) then I get her up to change her.

She pooped out of everything. By the time we left the office, I found poop still on her butt after cleaning her and putting a new diaper on. I found poop on my sweatshirt. The nurse pointed out poop on my pants (this, after I saw the doctor), and while the doctor was looking in Jaden’s nose, I found poop on his forehead and his cheek. There was poop on the exam bed. Poop, poop, everywhere was yellow baby poop!

Oh yes, and spit up too. The nurse came in after I changed her and was saying, “oh, more spit up. She has more spit up coming out onto the bed.” Like spit up was my biggest concern at the moment.

The appointment itself went well. The doctor was nice. Kara is growing well. She’s up to 8 lbs 5 ozs and has grown to 19 1/2 inches. He also checked out Jaden who was completely BB-free.

The doctor left. I went to put Kara’s clothes back on her. Jaden was climbing up on the bed. I was trying to juggle him to make sure he didn’t step on Kara’s head and helping him get his footing, when he lost his footing and fell backwards. I caught him just as his head barely touched the wall, saving him from falling straight backwards onto the floor. Now, I have both babies crying…loudly. I’m saying, “Mommy fails. Mommy fails.” The nurse comes in to see if everyone is ok and I’m flabbergasted and I’m sure she is wondering how in the world I’ve raised 3 before this one.

We successfully get to the car. I look in the rearview mirror and I have a booger hanging from my nose. Great. I made a great impression, I’m sure of it!

I’d like to say that was the end of my day, but it wasn’t. It took 2 Sonic visits to get  a drink, then Jaden’s spilled his drink all over the back of the SUV, and I picked the kids up to find that Migc had broken his glasses.

I previously viewed myself as a pretty darn good parent. I’m not so sure about that anymore….

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kara’s Birth Story

First, let me apologize for the lack of pictures to break this up, but since we hired a birth photographer (who was AMAZING – check it out here), we didn’t take any pictures and I haven’t gotten Chantel’s back yet.

I’ve been contemplating Kara’s birth story. My hang-up has not been with the details; it is the “where do I begin?” Do I begin the story with the days and days of braxton hicks contractions that were always 4 to 10 minutes apart, but never actually doing anything? Or I start on Earth Day, when all signs of imminent labor completely disappeared? Or do I start the next morning, when I awoke to signs of cervical change? Or wait, should I start when contractions started? Then again…I could go on and on here. The beginning of this story is the hard part.

Well, yes, I awoke Friday morning the 23rd to signs of cervical change, but no contractions. This morning was followed by 3 to 4 days of various labor signs that never culminated into anything, but left me worried that my uterus was getting over-worked even before labor started. I went for a couple of walks, did squatting, and awaited a contraction, come on, give me one. Around lunchtime, I did get a few contractions and more signs of cervical change, then it got confusing again. Wait, was that a contraction? Hm, not sure, maybe. Did it go all the way around? Maybe. Maybe not.

Around 3pm, I called Justin, who was on the range, and told him that I thought it would be a good idea if he came home, we got things loaded up and headed South to the hotel. In retrospect, I’m glad we did it that way because by the time we actually got to the hotel, it was 5 hours after that initial phone call. I was exhausted, stressed and praying that real labor would continue to hold off until I could get some rest. My phone was blowing up because I had announced that we were heading South and I was having contractions. How far apart? Are you still having them? Any idea when you’re going to the hospital? I announced to my best friend that I thought I might have stalled labor by 2 days! Everyone was excited and ready to get this moving and by this time, I just wanted bed and to stop feeling like I was the center of attention and everyone was waiting on me. Oh boy, did I make that even worse!

The kids stayed in a room next door with my mom and Justin and I crashed at between 9 and 10pm. I started waking up at about 1am with contractions. I would think, “I need to time that.” Then I’d fall back asleep. I woke up a little before 3am with regular contractions 3 minutes apart. I monitored them for about 20 minutes before I woke Justin up and told him that he should call his dad because it would take them more than an hour to get there and if I was having them every 3 minutes laying in my bed completely asleep, what would happen when I got up? I also called my birth photographer because I knew it would take her a while to get child care lined up and things in order.

We got up, showered, went to get breakfast and by 6am, they were still every 2-3 minutes and though they weren’t intense, I was having to stop walking and talking. We woke the kids up and realized pretty soon there after that the contractions were tapering off. Justin and I went for a walk and they continued to taper off, as we were walking, to about every 8 minutes and lacking in intensity. Justin’s dad, stepmom and little sister came to the hotel and by then, I wasn’t really even having contractions. I would have one here and there and could walk and talk through them. Talk about drawing attention to yourself…for nothing at all. The strangest thing though was that when I’d lay down, they’d get closer together and more intense.

This shirt has been present for 4 labors and is now retired!

His dad and family decided to head back home and we went garage sale-ing. By 11:30am, the contractions were back and they weren’t lacking in intensity. We picked up lunch and headed back to the hotel. By this time, it was around 1pm. Mom and the kids went swimming, while Justin and I took a very short rest, trying to determine if this was really the real thing this time! About 15-20 minutes later, we decided to head to the hospital.

I knew I was getting there early, but I hadn’t registered yet and I didn’t want to be stuck in the birth admission room in active labor like last time. Contractions were 3 minutes apart or less and they were lasting a long time, but I knew that I wasn’t dilated to 5 yet. For me, 5 is transition and everyone needs to be in place because I’m delivering very soon. I know this about myself.

I don’t want to sound arrogant or prideful, but I’m extremely aware of my body and know well how my body births babies.

We got to the admission room at 2pm. We came in, they put the monitor on me to monitor contractions and I went 20 minutes without one sitting on the bed. As soon as I got up, they were back-to-back and intense. I was dilated to 3-4, 80% effaced and –2 station. Dilation, I expected that. Effaced, ok. The station was a surprise to me! While the nurse was monitoring me, I asked for some water and she told me that I could have ice chips but that if I was in active labor, they wouldn’t let me have anything. I laughed and said, “oh yes they will!” When she returned, she brought ice with water and said she snuck me some. ha! This nurse was very hot and cold. She was fine one minute and being weird another. She just knew I was going to be a problem.

The nurse went to call my doctor, who does not allow others to attend his births and who is 100% on board with my birth plan. She returned to tell me that my doctor was out of town and Dr. Kendil would be attending. Who is Dr. Kendil? Is she natural birth minded? The nurse didn’t know. I fretted for a minute, then let it go. This doctor said that she wanted me monitored for another hour before she made a decision about giving me a room. I didn’t see a problem with this as I knew I wasn’t in active labor yet and really, I wasn’t going to let myself get there until they gave me a room, but I’d do my best to show them signs of progress, so that they would give me a room.

She came back at about 3pm, saw that I was contracting more (only when standing, I might add) and called the doctor. She came back into the entry-way of the room with the phone to her ear and asked if I was planning to have an epidural. I told her no that I would not be having any interventions whatsoever. She relayed that to the doctor and told me that the doctor required a saline IV. I told her no. She handed me the phone. The doctor told me how she required that I have one in the same way that a seat belt is necessary because if I hemorrhage after birth, my veins will collapse and they won’t be able to get it in. I very nicely, very calmly explained to her that this was my 4th natural birth. I’ve had 100% complication-free pregnancies and births and am certain that my body can birth this baby naturally without interventions as well. She began to get a bit hostile and told me that she didn’t know who would attend my birth then. I told her that was fine, she could find someone else, or someone at the hospital could catch, I was ok with that, but I would not be getting an IV. I explained that Dr. Jensen was ok with that and she let me know that she was not Dr. Jensen. I stuck my ground without ever being rude or mean and she told me that I would have to sign a non-consent form and I agreed to do that.

At 4pm, I got a room! Turns out the hot and cold nurse was my nurse for the birth. I’m not so sure she was happy about that. She asked for my birth plan. I assured her that it wasn’t crazy; it basically said to just leave me alone. I joked and tried to make her more comfortable and told her that it was going to be easy and she didn’t need to worry. We went over a few things in the birth plan and she said that she was fine with all of that as long as I would allow her to monitor the baby every 30 minutes. I told her that was perfectly fine and she seemed to relax after that.

Sometimes those of us that are natural birthers come in so dead-set on our own ways that we alienate the doctors and nurses. That is not my intention. I know they feel better if they can monitor the baby. My midwife monitored the baby. As long as it isn’t tying me down to the bed and isn’t constant, I have no problem with that!

The nurses had paperwork for me and questions to ask and all of that. I sat in the bed, laughing, joking, answering questions and texting my sister. Finally, the questions seemed to die down and I asked if she was done. At 4:15, I told the nurse that I was going to get in the bath and when I got out, we were going to have a baby. Remember, I’m currently dilated to 3-4, 80% effaced and –2 station.

I went to the bath for about 45 minutes. I love the bath when I’m in labor! Not only does it make the contractions feel better, but it passes time without me having to do much and it gives me time to focus my mind in. I sat with Justin and talked about how I needed that time to get up the courage and determination to finish it. I really just wanted to sit in that bath and let it take all the time in the world and not face the hard part. I knew that I had to though and stepping out of that bath was the moment it all started. As long as I stalled in the bath, I wasn’t facing what was to come. I also determined while I was in there that that was my time. I knew my photographer was sitting out there and our families were waiting. That was my moment to let them all wait while I mustered all the courage I could find. Justin talked me through all of it and finally, I stood, dried off and put my robe on. My trusty robe.

As I left the bathroom, the nurse came in. She checked my dilation and I could have told her that I was at a 4-5. Transition was NEAR! She left and returned to tell me that she’d called the doctor and the doctor was on the way, so that she wouldn’t miss the birth. This was big to me! Never had they listened to me so well! I told them transition was at 5 and they listened!

I chatted for a minute then took to lowering the bed and getting on my knees. Things were heating up and I crossed over into active labor at around 5pm. The doctor was there within 10 minutes. She walked in during a contraction and saw me breathing, though not audibly, as I’m very quiet in birth. She came over and rubbed my back (ewwww) and said, “Oh poor girl” as if I were experiencing something that she found totally unnecessary. She continued to talk, loudly, about the soft hymns playing and yada yada yada. She pulled my chart and started asking about if the baby had flipped because it was footling breach. WHAT? I never heard that from anyone, if it were true, I certainly didn’t know it! The nurse told her that she felt fontanel. Of course, the doctor did not believe her. I was contracting and not able to talk much.

I will tell you that in the previous 3 births pushing came so quickly that no one ever had a chance to check to see if I was dilated to 10. The latest I’ve ever been checked was at a 7. The doctor said, “can I check to see where you are?” I was there and I knew it. She checked and sure thing, I was at a 10! I’ve always wondered if I pushed through a 9 or not quite there or whatever, so that was uncomfortable but kind of cool!

I’m not quite sure what she expected to happen from there, but she went back to her chair and I went back to the foot of the bed and at the end of the next contraction, I couldn’t not bear down and began to vocalize. Justin came in close as he knew what was happening, the photographer later said she knew I was pushing, but the doctor and the nurse apparently hadn’t a clue! As the contraction ended, I said something like, “It’s time.” I paid no attention to what the others were doing and when the next contraction hit, I pushed, felt the bag pop slightly, heard the doctor say “there’s the bag”, then heard the photographer say, “BABY’S HEAD”. Ha – all of which i knew. The doctor, with one boot cover on and no gloves dove half way across the room to catch my daughter as she slid easily into this world at 5:27pm, roughly about 15-20 minutes after the doctor’s arrival.

She was covered with thick vernix on her back and head and it took several attempts at clearing her throat to remove the mucous, which I’m certain actually took several days to clear. She nursed like a champ right away though!

Kara Lilliann weighed 7lbs 4.8ozs and measured 18 1/2 inches – my smallest baby!

Overall, I was impressed with the staff. They did not agree with my way of birthing, but they respected and honored my every wish. I handed out 1 birth plan and, by word of mouth, every person I encountered throughout our entire stay honored it. And, my nurse openly admitted that it was a very easy birth and expressed that shw wished all non-medicated moms birthed like that.

I requested limited postpartum visits and only necessary ones. Every 4 hours, my nurse would come in to handle everything she needed and the other necessary visitors followed directly behind her.

020 Migc, Kristen and Jaden adored her!

Twenty-four hours after her arrival, we left the hospital and drove a sleeping baby 1 1/2 hours home to join our family!

Yes, this beautiful child has a lasting and beautiful mark on her forehead! They say it will disappear as she gets older, only to return as she gets angry or upset. I’m certain that she will love the fact that she’ll never be able to hide her emotions!

I am one blessed mama!