Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Part Three- The Birth

**Bradley friends- reading this part will take away the excitement come story hour at the reunion! I don’t mind if you don’t, but just in case you wanted to be surprised! J
On Thanksgiving day (three days before my due date), I joked with family that my plan was to eat as much as possible to force him out! I figured if I ate a ton, he'd run out of room, and I'd get to eat as much as I wanted without being judged!! We got home from the family dinner at about 5:30pm and I was exhausted so I took a nap. I woke up at about 7:30pm and was still exhausted, and even though I knew I'd end up messing up my sleep pattern by going back to bed, I had no choice because I could barely keep my eyes open. I woke up at about 3am, and felt rested, but was frustrated that I was wide awake at 3am. I picked up a book and started reading and at about 3:30am I had my first contraction. I knew instantly that it was the real deal because it felt so much more intense than the Braxton hicks contractions I'd been having off and on. I figured I'd labor for quite a while (being that it was my first) so I just kept reading. Only what seemed like a few minutes passed by and I had another, so I decided to follow the advice from my Bradley class- drink a glass of water, take a walk, take a bath, and try to sleep and see if labor speeds up, slows down, or stops all together. I didn't feel up to a walk (and it was 3am!), but I grabbed a bottle of water and drew a bath. It seemed like the bath made things worse, and I was uncomfortable so I got out and tried laying down in bed. I couldn't even begin to get comfortable, and it seemed like my contractions were a lot closer together than they should be this early on- so I grabbed my phone to time them. They were 5 minutes apart, but only lasting 45 seconds so I figured I still had a ways to go. I drew another bath and climbed in with my book, but with the first contraction tossed the book across the bathroom. I did my best to relax, and after a while I got out of the tub to time my contractions again, but I had to concentrate so hard on relaxing through the contractions that I couldn't time them myself. Joey was at work and was supposed to get off at 7am, but at 5:30am (after 2 hours of laboring alone) I gave in and called him. He got home a little after 6, and started timing my contractions as soon as he got there- only 45 seconds long, and the first few were 4 and 5 min apart. (We had learned in class that for most, it was best to follow the 5-1-1 rule: wait to go to the hospital until your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting one minute for one hour.) My contractions were REALLY intense and Joey could tell I was having trouble relaxing- something I'd been practicing for months. So he asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. Our hospital was 45 minutes away and my biggest fear was getting there too soon. Knowing that I would be more comfortable laboring at home as long as possible, I told him that they needed to be longer than 45 seconds before we left. Right after our hospital conversation my contractions seemed to be coming one on top of another so he timed them- TWO minutes apart! So he then got real serious about going to the hospital and I agreed to go only if he'd promise that we would leave if I wasn't dilated to at least a 5. He agreed and off we went (it was about 7am). I was very restless in the car, but because Joey had just left work he asked if he could swing through McDonalds and get something to eat. I wanted to say no, but I knew that he'd need the energy (he had been at work for over 10 hours!) so I agreed. We got on the highway and I turned around in the seat, took the headrest off, and hugged the seat while up on my knees. My contractions bounced back and forth between being 4-5 minutes apart to being one right after the other. I so desperately wanted out of that car! We reached the first of two tolls we needed to go through before reaching the hospital. I instructed Joey to just drive through the pike pass lane (even though we didn’t have a pass). He didn’t seem to think that slowing down and paying the toll was a big deal- plus he’s an honest man J so I bit my tongue. By the time we reached the second toll I was so desperate to get there that I shouted, “Don’t you dare stop and pay the toll!“ Joey did as he was told, and went on through. (Nothing happened to us by the way… so I guess they don’t monitor that in Oklahoma?) We finally got to the hospital a little after 8am, and it took quite a while for me to walk to the elevator, ride up to the 3rd floor, and over to L&D. Why didn't I get a wheelchair everyone asks? I couldn't stand the thought of sitting so I walked ever so slowly stopping numerous times to get through contractions. They got me into a room, made me lay down to strap a monitor on me (GRRR!), and checked me- I was a 7! They told me they were calling my midwife, going to get me the wireless monitor so that I could get up from the bed, and that I needed to let them know if my water broke or if I had an urge to push. I looked at Joey and said, "You better call everyone!" So he made a few phone calls, they took some blood, and in about 45 min the midwife was there. She checked me again- I was an 8 and baby was at +1 station! She recommended breaking my water, and left us to think it over. Joey insisted it wouldn't cause problems at this point in the game (I didn't want any interventions) and when she returned we agreed to let her. She gathered her stuff, broke my water, and told me that I should let her know when I felt the urge to push. I still didn't have the wireless monitor and she could tell I was suffering in the bed so she told me I could get up and could move as far as the cords would reach. So Joey helped me up, and the second my feet hit the floor I felt the urge! They had me lay back down, told me to bear down a little, and let them know if that made it feel better. When I screamed YES, my midwife checked me- only a small lip left- and everyone went crazy rushing around grabbing things and throwing on paper outfits!! I was turned over on my side hugging the rail on the side of the bed. There wasn’t much time in between each of my contractions, and I was struggling to regain my composure. I remember losing my focus and Joey bringing me back down to earth by getting right next to my head and saying directly into my ear, “You HAVE to breathe. Remember to breathe. Slow, deep breaths.” Joey encouraged me every second, and at times it seemed like he was the only one in the room. The entire pushing phase is really a blur to me- it was even right afterward. I do remember feeling like nothing was happening through many contractions. My nurse, Francis, kept saying, “Push Push Push! You’ve almost got it! You’ve almost got it!“ I was so frustrated by her saying that because I could tell that wasn’t the case at all. I was pushing with all my might and he wasn’t budging. I imagine that was her way of encouraging me, but I didn’t like that she was insinuating that he was almost out- I knew that wasn’t true. When things started moving again they told me to feel Gabriel crowning and Joey said when I did that I started sobbing uncontrollably (I don't remember the sobbing at all), and then got down to business! I knew we were almost there when my midwife’s voice got more excited and Joey leaned in real close and said into my ear, “Don’t stop pushing!” He was out that very contraction! I only pushed for 35 minutes total (so lucky!) and got to cut the cord myself. They laid my 6 pound 10 ounce bluish colored baby boy on my stomach and I just stared at him in a state of shock.

I had imagined feeling an overwhelming sense of love and emotion in that moment, but the truth was that all I really felt was relieved that he was finally out of me! They took him across the room to clean him up, and when they brought him back to me I got to experience that whirlwind of emotion holding my precious baby boy. His little swollen blue eyes looked up at me and I melted into the bed. Years of planning, praying, daydreaming, and crying myself to sleep had all brought me to this moment. I was holding MY SON…and he was perfect.

For those of you that need the details- Gabriel David was born November 26, 2010 at 9:43am. He weighed 6 lbs 10 oz and was 19.25in long. His apgar was an 8/9- docked for color both times. He was a lovely shade of blue! J We were in fact successful with our natural childbirth, and my labor from first contraction to his arrival was just over 6 hours. They told me the next time that I should labor on the steps of the hospital instead of at home!
For those of you in the Tulsa, OK area that are now or may be pregnant soon- look into seeing my midwife, Kim Kmita. (South Tulsa Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates 918-858-0008) She was amazing!! We delivered at Saint Francis South and I could not say enough about the incredible care we received there. Every single nurse was very friendly and helpful, the food was great, the rooms nice- all around great experience! We took Bradley classes from Katherine (Kathy) Taylor. She was a terrific instructor, and is also a doula as well!!
( or 918-494-2804)

Part Two- Carrying Gabriel

So as you can imagine, we were quite nervous this time around. There wasn’t a trip home to share the news (although my mom did happen to be up for a visit then) and we only told our immediate family and closest friends. Instead of excitement, most of our family’s reactions were those of concern. Was it ok for me to be pregnant so soon? We assured everyone that it was fine, and on the inside wished that they would have shown more excitement about our news. Not wanting my nerves to get the best of me, I called my OB’s office and requested to have some bloodwork done. I knew that HCG levels should double over a 48 hour period, and thought that learning that mine had doubled would provide some piece of mind. The nurse agreed, and blood was drawn the next day and then again two days after that. They did in fact double, and I felt that it was easier to breathe the next few weeks before I had my first appointment. At nine weeks we went to the appointment and I cringed as I walked past the exam room where I had my follow up appointment from my miscarriage. Luckily, I had requested the same nurse practitioner that had seen me for my follow up appointment- Joan. She had been so kind to us, and offered both words of comfort and encouragement. She had even hugged both of us before we left, so I knew she would take a very calming approach to caring for us. After all the routine questions were out of the way, Joan went to listen for the heartbeat. Now I had warned Joey ahead of time that it was very common to not be able to hear the heartbeat this early on. If we weren’t able to hear it this time, we would be able to the next. Joan slid the wand back and forth, up and down- no heartbeat. She applied more pressure. Back and forth, up and down- nothing. Seeing the panic in both of our eyes, she quickly announced that she was going to grab the portable ultrasound and rushed out of the room. I looked over at Joey and it looked like his stomach was churning. I smiled and assured him that everything was fine, and in walked Joan with the ultrasound. A quick blob of jelly, a touch of the wand- and there he was! Our teeny tiny peanut. He was moving around like crazy, and had a good strong heartbeat- 162. We floated out of the office clutching a picture of our little creation.

Shortly after, my “morning” sickness set it. If you could see me say what I just typed, you’d see me using air quotes and rolling my eyes simultaneously. I’ve heard it referred to as all day sickness, and I consider that a more realistic description. It could also be called near death sickness, never ending sickness, or bowl worshiping sickness. For those of you that have seen Bill Cosby Himself, his bit on the drunk getting sick and saying to the toilet bowl, “Ohhhh toilet bowl. Thank you for being so cool on the side. You’re my only friend toilet bowl.” This was me every day. I couldn’t even keep down a sip of water. So my doctor put me on a medication for it. This same medication is also used to treat extreme nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients!! That’s how bad it was. The medication helped, it didn’t make it go away, but it did allow me to retain some of the things I ate and drank. (by the way- I lost 17 pounds before I gained an ounce, and this so called morning sickness continued well into my third trimester!) The months drudged on, and I kept my mind off my misery by reading. I read countless pregnancy books, and constantly taught those around me the wonders of the human body. How anyone could experience pregnancy and not know there is a God is beyond me. When I first started reading about labor, I was searching for an alternative to an epidural. I knew I didn’t want one, and although I was laughed out of town- I really thought I wanted to attempt natural birth. So in doing some research I came across the Bradley Method- Husband Coached Childbirth. It was based on a healthy diet, exercise, and natural childbirth through relaxation coached by- you guessed it- the husband! I knew after reading just a little that this method was for me! So I signed up. The course was 12 weeks long, and although that was much more than all the other types of classes I’d seen, it also boasted very high success rates. Practice makes perfect, so I made the commitment to learn and practice for 12 straight weeks. To my utter disappointment and humiliation, Joey ended up not being able to attend class with me. His new job didn’t allow for shift changes, and the nights I had class were nights he had to work. (I might quickly mention that Joey had a new job because we had moved from Minnesota back to our hometown…you should thank me for sparing you that saga!) My saint of a sister-in-law, Staci, stepped up to the plate though and went with me to class each week so I wouldn‘t be there alone. Now the funny thing about this was that she was also pregnant and only a few weeks behind me! We were quite the sight wobbling into class each week, and doing an awkward dance around our bellies each time we tried to practice relaxation techniques or labor positions. We did our best though, and I was able to bring home a lot of great info to Joey. I decided on using a midwife instead of a doctor, in order to feel less pressure to receive unnecessary medical interventions during labor. The one I used came very highly recommended to me by a close friend, and my Bradley instructor mentioned hearing great things about her as well. Now she’s not at all the midwife you may be imagining- a lady with hot water and towels, right? Admit it, that’s what you pictured! She works in a doctor’s office, and delivers in hospitals. This sort of in between option was exactly what Joey and I were looking for. A midwife that supported natural labor, and a hospital just in case things didn’t go as planned. The end of pregnancy was much more challenging than I had expected. Now don’t get me wrong- I DID expect to be tired, uncomfortable, and miserable. I just had no idea how extreme all of those feelings would be. I tried to prepare myself mentally to go past my due date, but I admit that I did count down days to myself. Others counting down the days to me however, were considered the spawn of Satan! A bit of advice to those with little experience around a pregnant woman about to pop- don’t let yourself utter any of the following- “You’re ALMOST there!” “Any day now!” “Only ___ more days!”, “When’s that baby coming?” or “No baby YET?“ Oh if you only knew the hateful things I said to Joey about people I truly love and care for! J At least during the last few weeks I had a lot to keep me busy- an appointment with my midwife each week, the last few Bradley classes, a class on breastfeeding, one last baby shower, and the long awaited family Thanksgiving.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gabriel's Birth Story- Part One

My first order of business on this blog of mine is to finally get around to writing my Peanut's birth story.
First, I think it’s important to tell the back story. So here it goes...
The road to parenthood was long and very trying, but through those trials Joey and I learned many lessens and grew our marriage by leaps and bounds. The story really starts years ago when after a discussion on kids, we decided to no longer prevent pregnancy and adopted an “if it happens, it happens” attitude. This time period was spent like any other in our married life- no worries, carefree and just enjoying each other. Until I felt the tug. An immense desire from deep down in my soul that I NEEDED a baby, and I needed it now. My body picked up this idea and ran with it, sending constant nagging signals to my brain- “MAKE A BABY! MAKE A BABY!” When I discussed this with Joey, I was devastated when he told me he didn’t feel prepared to commit to actually trying just yet. I find it funny now that we actually thought our deciding it was time equaled getting pregnant! I did my best to ignore the foghorn that blew in my heart each day, and it was truly challenging. About two years after first adopting our if it happens attitude, I brought up the subject once again. This time I couldn’t believe how nonchalant Joey was when he told me he was feeling ready to start a family. So it began- “trying” that is. It started out extremely exciting. Every time we would say, “We could have just made our baby!” It was thrilling! Though after months of charting my cycle, waking at 6am to take my temperature before getting out of bed, peeing on countless sticks that inevitably ended up in the trash or thrown against the wall- we started to worry. We decided that after six cycles if we weren’t pregnant that we should probably visit a doctor. (the usual practice is to go after a year with no success, but because we had spent two years having unprotected sex prior to really trying, we figured this was the better route.) On our sixth cycle- seven months in and our last chance before seeing the doctor- I decided I had had enough of the stress associated with trying. I tossed my ovulation sticks, quit waking to temp, and threw my worries out as well. I wanted to make one last effort to conceive a baby with a clear mind and a positive attitude. In doing so I was able to revisit the good ol’ days when trying was fun and exciting. I left our family’s future to God and enjoyed my husband in the meantime. To our surprise- that did the trick! (You know praying about it, leaving it to God, trusting his timing- little things like that!) After seeing that beautiful word pop up, we both cried and laughed and jumped up and down and hugged and hugged and kissed and hugged some more. J We spent weeks planning and dreaming of things to come. A trip to visit family was in order- news like this is face to face news! So we took the twelve hour drive home, shared the news, and floated around on cloud nine with our family. All of that excitement came to a sudden halt on the ride back. My back was hurting badly, I had noticed some spotting after using the restroom, and I just had an overall feeling that something was wrong. The spotting wasn’t a lot, and from what I had read could have been nothing at all, but I just felt like something wasn‘t right- but assured Joey otherwise. After we returned home, the spotting picked up, and my back pain became worse. I screamed when I knew it was all over, and Joey came rushing into the bathroom. The spotting had turned into bleeding- and lots of it- and I was in more pain than I had ever been in. Through gushing tears I asked Joey to take me to the emergency room. I hoped that it wasn’t really happening, and tried to talk myself into it being something else. Only I couldn’t think of anything else it could be. I was losing the one thing I wanted more than life itself. The hospital confirmed our fears, and we went home broken. I still tear upwhen I think of Joey on that day. He was doing his best to hide his feelings and support me. I’ll never forget the look on his face. Seeing that was harder than hearing the news. Healing was difficult to say the least. Our styles of grief and coping were polar opposite, and it was challenging to coexist during that time. I couldn’t understand how he could just forget about what happened- or at least that’s what it seemed like to me. When I would talk to others and mention “losing the baby”, Joey would get angry and tell me not to say that and instead to refer to it as my miscarriage. He wanted to separate himself from all that had happened, and I desperately needed to talk about all the hurt I was feeling and the fear I had that we would never have a family to call our own. We took a giant leap forward in the healing process when we finally talked it out and had a better understanding of how the other one needed to deal with their feelings. Joey let me spew all my emotions, and I in turn avoided speaking about our loss to or around him afterward. We did our best to carry on, and found that with each new day, it hurt a little less. Just two months after our loss I made a trip to the doctor for what I thought to be a bladder infection. I was having some pain in my abdomen every time I used the restroom. After peeing in the cup, I was told that I didn’t have any infections and that my urine seemed just fine. Puzzled by those results, I asked my doctor what else it could be. He went into a few things and explained that looking into those things would take larger procedures like an ultrasound. I didn’t want to be a crazy person and have all kinds of unnecessary tests and told my doctor so. He agreed that giving it a week or so first may be a good idea- seeing as it could just be something that would go away on it’s own. We decided to go ahead and set up an ultrasound for a week away that I would cancel if I didn’t end up needing it. He told me that before sending me for an ultrasound that it was necessary for him to run a pregnancy test- it was procedure. His exact words to me were, “I’m sure that’s not the issue, but…” I could tell that he was nervous even mentioning pregnancy tests to me, knowing my recent loss. He asked me to wait while they ran the test and set up the appointment for my ultrasound. Now I know the purpose of this post kind of gives away what those test results were, but I like to tell the story anyway- so just read! Shortly after, my doctor returned holding a piece of paper that he just handed to me without a word. I found this very odd and looked at him like he was loco. When I looked down to read the report he had handed me, my eyes immediately focused in on the word POSITIVE. Confused I read the entire report- Specimen collected 03/25/10, Pregnancy Testing, Urine HCG, Result- Positive. I looked up at my doctor that was grinning from ear to ear and exclaimed, “I’M PREGNANT?!” He laughed and said, “It looks that way. Congratulations!” I was elated. I grabbed my purse and headed home as fast as I could. Joey was leaving for work and there was no way I could wait until he got off to share the news. I called him and asked him to wait on me to get back before he left. He was a little agitated (the man HATES to be late!), but my doctor’s office was only a block away from our house so I was there in less than a minute. I might have slightly exceeded the speed limit J I told Joey the same way my doctor had told me- not a word, just handed him the paper. He read it and smiled his gigantic smile I love, and laughed as he said, “Your pregnant?! How’d that happen?“ We laughed about it, hugged, and Joey rushed off to work. We were both baffled. Baffled and beyond excited!  

Welcome to my blog!

I've wanted to start a blog for a long time now, but for many years my hectic life didn't allow for it. There was also the problem of a lack of interesting things to write about. (who wants to hear about my job day in and day out?) My life is still hectic, but in a new way... and my new little bundle of joy I'm sure will provide plenty of interesting writing points. So with inspiration from my friend, Shelley Clem, I've up and created a blog. Jump in if you're prepared to read about all things Gabriel, my new life as a stay at home mom, our adventures preparing for and entering the Navy life, and any other ramblings that spill out!

So to explain the title of my blog...
It's a lyric from one of my favorite songs- Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson. (click on the link to hear it!)

It's a whimsical song that always puts me in a good mood. He sings of forgetting the world outside, sleeping in, and pretending it's the weekend. I used to feel the urge to call in sick and spend the day carefree just lazing around with Joey after listening to it. What a magical daydream when you're faced with a day of irate customers and associates that thought they deserved a paycheck for showing up late and then standing around! Well now that I don't have a "job", I've come to discover this feeling of enjoying my days as if it were the weekend each and every day. I truly enjoy being the caretaker of our family and home. It doesn't matter what chore awaits me- stinky diaper, messy bathroom, making dinner, packing lunch for Joey- I feel a great sense of pleasure and pride doing so. I do believe I'm called to do this. I've also begun to consider weekends the highlight of my week. When I managed retail stores, weekends didn't exist for us. I almost always worked, and for years mine and Joey's schedules never really seemed to match up. We rarely had the same days off, and never a weekend unless we were on vacation. Now Joey has every weekend off, and we spend them as one big happy family. I also know that soon our weekends will be few and far between, and Gabriel and I will look forward to those weekend visits to Joey as he is training for the Navy. I expect this period of our lives to be very trying, and know that concentrating on the time we do have together- the weekends- will get us through.

Hope you enjoying following our challenging, fun-filled, non-stop, new and improved, blessed lives!