Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you all for being so supportive! Telling my birth-story was very difficult and I appreciate how supportive you all have been. I've gone through and read all of your comments many, many times this week when I've needed to refocus my thoughts and take captive my heart again.

It's not that I'm so Type-A that what upsets me is that I deviated from "my plan." I get that plans change. It's just that you make a plan according to what you think is best for you and your baby-for whatever reasons. The things I wanted were because I thought they'd be best for me and for Matthew. So it's been hard to accept that I felt like Matthew got second-best because my body couldn't do its job correctly. I realize now that those things were NOT second-best, but at the time, in the heat of the moment, and even now in really emotional times, it's hard to remember that. So I just have to keep speaking truth, keep reading the truth, and rest. You guys have provided me with such encouragement--I really, really appreciate it.

My mom goes home and DH goes back to work tomorrow. I'm a little overwhelmed at being on my own because I'm still so tired, and my physical mobility is still restricted. My mother in law is coming to help, so I won't be on my own all day, but I'm still overwhelmed to think about it. I just didn't realize it was possible to be this tired! Moms really are superheroes.

Matthew continues to be the cutest baby on the planet. We're slowly learning his habits and cues and routines and falling more in love with him every day. It's a pretty swell job to be mommy to the cutest baby in the world!

Nighty night--he's like every other baby in the world in that he sleeps in the day and is up at night, so I'm going to try to sneak in a few winks before he starts his nightly party!

Thank you again dear friends. Love you!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Birth Story

A lot of people have asked me about my birth story. I've been trying to work on it, and I just have a really hard time. I haven't really talked about it with many people in real life, either. I just don't have that happy birth story that everyone does. And the fact that it upsets me so much upsets me too. And, I'm honestly so tired that it is hard to spend time typing instead of sleeping when the baby is napping. But there are things I don't want to forget, and it's making me anxious to have much more time go by without getting things down.

I know I made a lot of choices that you all would not have made and some of you probably will think things could have been done differently and some of you will disagree with my doctor. I guess I'd just ask you to refrain from sharing those thoughts with me. The could-have, should-have, would-haves overwhelm me at times. Also, please know that the things I think about *myself* are not things I think about other people who made the same labor/procedural decisions. I wanted and didn't want various things for a lot of reasons, but not because I think the opposite of my choices are wrong. I don't ideologically object to IVs or epidurals or c-sections...I just wanted things differently.

So, with that disclaimer, here we go.

On Thursday I had another OB appointment and he said I was 5cm and 80% effaced. He also confirmed that baby was still face-up. He had been face-up on almost every ultrasound throughout the entire pregnancy. Thursday afternoon, I began having a lot of back pain and labor again. I had been going to the pool every night trying to float, squat, lunge, swim and do other exercises to relax, and to see if he would turn. I desperately wanted some relief from the back issues. It seemed that those weren't working, so I thought I'd try some other things. We went with some friends Thursday night to the mall and I walked up and down the flights of stairs, over and over again. I wasn't trying to bring on labor-I just wanted baby to move!

On Friday, I woke up feeling really pretty normal. Then at 8:50, I had my first contraction (I know because I still have the timer on my ipod). Then I had another about 20 minutes later. Then quickly, they were 5 minutes apart. My doctor said that if they got to 5 minutes apart for 2 minutes, to go to the hospital. In the meantime, I ate, and drank and then we took a 1/2 mile walk--all the things you're supposed to do to determine if contractions are false or real. 3/4 of the way through the walk, I knew that something was definitely different. We got home and I started vomiting pretty violently, and, problems from the other end started too. It had only been an hour and a half, but with the two new symptoms of active labor, as well as the persistence through activity, we decided to call the doctor. He said it did sound like active labor, and to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and they put me on the monitor in triage. The contractions were exactly the same. We decided to do a check--no change. They told me to go walk around the hospital for a while and come back. So I went and walked and climbed stairs for 2 hours. We went back and there was still no change, though the contractions were still intense and regular. We walked some more, and eventually I made it to "barely a 6."

My doctor came in and he said that he was concerned that my body was in active labor but not making any progress. He said clearly my body knew what to do, but something was holding up the process. He gave me options--go home and wait, rupture my waters, or start pitocin. He said the concern with going home to wait is that there wasn't a lot to wait ON. Labor HAD started, even if my waters hadn't broken. Contractions were regular and intense. He was concerned that there wouldn't be a good cue for when to come back. And he said that the fact that I'd been laboring that way all day with no movement meant that the only thing more time would do was make me more exhausted. He said that from everything he'd seen over the last 9 months and even at the appointment the day before, he thought that moving labor along was my best chance for a vaginal delivery. He knew how important that was to me. I asked him what he and his wife wanted for their own pregnancy and he said that his wife wanted a natural birth. I asked him that knowing that about her, what would he do if she was in that position. He said he'd break her waters. We talked and cried and prayed for a long time, and ultimately decided to break my waters, mostly for his thought that it would give me the best chance at a vaginal delivery.

So, they checked me in and moved me to my room. They came in to do my IV and I started crying all over again. I still just couldn't feel comfortable with artificially moving things along. All those things I learned in classes about the domino effect of intervention just overwhelmed me. And I was exhausted already so I wasn't feeling confident in my ability to make a decision. My mom and Todd and doctor gave me all the time I needed, and eventually I settled down. I told my doctor that I didn't want to be held to a schedule of progression and he said that I could labor as long as I wanted, so long as mine and baby's vitals looked fine. So, we decided to move forward.

I'll just say right now that you CAN fire your nurse. The first nurse they gave me had checked on me a couple of times during triage and I didn't care for her at all. But when she was assigned to me, I knew that she wasn't going to help me stay calm, or labor the way I wanted/needed to. I won't go into details; I'll just say that if you're in a position in labor where your medical staff isn't meeting your needs, ask for a new assignment. You absolutely have the right. We did, and every single hospital staff member I worked with for the rest of my labor/delivery/post-partum stay was incredible.

Anyway, they got me a new nurse and after many tries (apparently, my veins hate IVs!), we got my hep-lock in for an IV. My doctor came and broke my water and it wasn't long before the contractions picked up in intensity. The anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself and I told him that I hoped not to need his services. He was very sweet and kind and funny but respected my wishes. They asked me if I wanted to sign the consent papers "just in case" and I said no, because if I did change my mind, I wanted it to be slightly difficult and take a few minutes to do so. They said ok.

I labored for about 4 hours. The contractions quickly became double and then triple contractions. I'd have 1, then a 30 second delay, then another, then another 30 second break, and then a third, and then I'd have a break of 3-5 minutes. The contractions were intense but through them I'd just try to tell myself, "I can do anything for 30 seconds!" I labored mostly in my tub. Let me say this loud and clear--that was the best and most effective solution for pain management. If you can labor that way, absolutely do so! For me the best position was on my hands and knees in the water, doing this sort of hula-hoop swivel with my hips throughout the contraction. Then I'd lie down on my side between them. I did ok like this for a while. But pretty soon, the break between them went from 3-5 minutes to 2-3 minutes. I also started vomiting really violently and convulsing. Then I started hyperventilating. I finally told DH I wanted the epidural. He reminded me that I didn't want it and asked me to wait 15 minutes and see if I still felt the same way. I had 15 more minutes of awful contractions and I asked to be checked again. I was "barely a 7." I told DH at that point that I couldn't go through it for what could conceivably be 12 more hours (if I continued at a rate of 1 cm per 4 hours).

I knew that the anesthesiologist I'd met before was off soon, and I thought I'd be more comfortable with someone I'd met at least once, so I wanted to move forward before he was off. He came in and was very reassuring and kind. I was terrified, and I was sobbing for what I felt was "giving in" but he was patient to work through it with me. It was hard to get to a place where there was a long enough break between my contractions but he was very patient to wait. My nurse had wanted to do another 20 minute session on the monitor before administering it but I couldn't stop hyperventilating, so they let me go ahead with it.

I had printed out all the verses that I posted a couple posts back and my mom and Todd hung them all around the room. I kept looking at them, grieving that things weren't going the way I wanted, but still confident that God would bring us through a vaginal delivery. The verses comforted me. Todd and my mom did virtually anything I needed or wanted-helped me move positions, brought food and drink for me (thankfully, my doctor allowed clear foods and liquids in labor!) and were really just amazing.

Once the epidural kicked in, things were a totally different story. My epidural was pretty incredible. It didn't scare me or hurt to go in. And I couldn't feel pain, but I could still feel pressure and movement and sensation and stimulation. One very special gift God gave me was that occasionally, I could even still feel baby kicks. Oh, how I miss baby kicks! I think that those ones I felt throughout Friday's labor (both before and after the epidural) were God's gift to me because everything was happening so quickly. Those comforted me in a way that still brings me tears to think about. I'll always cherish just sitting there and feeling him.

Anyway, my contractions slowed to a more reasonable pace. The vomiting stopped, my heartrate and breathing slowed down and I overall calmed down. They checked me 2 hours after my epidural, and I'd moved to an 8! Woohoo! 2 hours later, and I'd moved to a 9! It seemed that all my body needed was to be able to relax and calm down for things to move along. We stalled out at 9 for a little while but at 4 hours, I'd hit 10 and full effacement. It was time to push! It was between 5:30 and 6:00 am.

I began pushing. My nurse at this time was pretty traditional in wanting me to push in the semi reclined position, pulling my knees to my chest. It worked for a while but I desperately wanted to try some other things. Shifts changed at 7 anyway, and my new nurse was awesome--we pushed on my side, in squat position, semi-reclined, and on my other side. We constantly alternated. Todd and my mom were amazing to provide whatever support I needed.

I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. Despite the epidural, my back still hurt really badly. At one point, the doctor tried to reach in and turn the baby, but couldn't. We did occasional checks and I wasn't moving stations. The doctor said that really only the head was moving down--almost getting squished and sucked. His whole body wasn't moving. At one point they had me sleep through some of the contractions to try to rebuild my strength to see if more forceful pushing would help. Near the end, I was falling asleep between contractions. They'd stopped letting me eat or drink, and we were now nearing noon the next day.

After about 6 hours of pushing, I started vomiting again, and convulsing. I spiked a fever quickly, and the baby's heart rate started to be erratic. At first, it would only be after the occasional contraction, so the doctor was still willing to let me wait a little longer.

However, he said I should start thinking about a c-section, because I had developed an infection, and the baby had started to show distress. He gave us some time and privacy, and at that point, I really lost my head. I was crying and yelling out to God. I looked at the verses on my wall and felt like I was being mocked. I felt abandoned. I felt like I'd just been through hell for nothing-if I was going to need a C-section anyway, why did I labor so long and hard? Why had every hope I had for labor failed? Did I make the wrong decision at the beginning? I was terrified of surgery.

Several times the doctor held the baby through a few contractions just to ensure that I was pushing properly, with enough force, etc, etc. The baby just wasn't moving.

While we talked and I yelled and cried, Matthew's heart rate spiked and stayed high, even when I was not contracting. We decided it was time to go for the c-section and at that point, I sort of shut down. I remember staring blankly as they talked to me about risks and consents. They tried to comfort me, but I was just numb. I felt like I was outside my body, watching this happen to someone else.

We got to the OR and they got everything ready. I asked them to turn on the Christian radio station and they did. Somehow, as angry as I was at God, that comforted me.

They did the procedure. I remember it feeling very odd. I could feel tugging and pulling. At one point, I think someone even laid across my chest to put some pressure on it. It felt like things were taking forever.

Then the anesthesiologist told Todd to stand up and look over the curtain and have the camera ready. And then it still took a few more minutes. Suddenly, I could feel that he was out. He was delivered at 12:59pm--30 hours of labor including over 6 hours of pushing. But things were silent. There were no cries-just a squeak. The nurses rushed him right past me to a table behind my head. I was screaming for someone to tell me what was happening and was the baby ok and no one would answer me. Finally someone told me that he was "stunned" but they wouldn't tell me what that meant.

Then I laid there thinking, "Oh my God, did I wait to long to consent to the stupid c-section? What did I do to my baby?" I cried and despaired some more.

Then I heard the best sound in the world-Matthew's first cry. They showed him to his daddy

And then they brought him to me. They held him down in front of me and I kissed him and talked to him. The moment he heard my voice, he stopped crying. That was the best moment of my life.

I asked if I could hold him longer but they said he needed to go to the nursery right away for medical assistance. DH went with him and I was alone again. I was being stitched up, and I was just alone with my thoughts. I tried to process everything that had happened, but couldn't. I missed my baby and my husband, and I was completely overwhelmed by what had happened.

They wheeled me to recovery and my doctor came in. He said that the baby was really really stuck and that's why I had so much back pain. He said the baby had a large abrasion on his head from the rubbing. He also said that in that position, they had a hard time even getting him out surgically--I wasn't imagining things when I thought they were taking long. DH told me tonight that he saw that they had to use this "pry-bar-like-tool" to get him out. The doctor also said that I could have pushed forever and Matthew never would have come out. He said that given the size/shape/position of my pelvis, it was unlikely that I will ever be able to give birth vaginally. He had double stitched me and did assure me that he practices VBACs and would let me try, but that's something we'll need to talk/think about in the future--I still really can't think about that right now.

Matthew was gone for what seemed like forever, and when he came in, he had an IV heplock in his hand. He also had a bruise on more than half of his head and a huge abrasion on top of the bruise. At that point, I knew we'd made the right decision in getting the c-section.

The rest of Saturday night and all day Sunday were perfect. We snuggled, enjoyed visits from family and friends, watched the Packer game, and just hung out.

Sunday night, they came to take him for his 30 minute IV infusion, and they came back shortly thereafter and said we had a problem. They said his bilirubin levels were very high risk and we needed to intervene immediately. They said our choices were phototherapy plus either IV hydration or formula supplementation. I really didn't want to do either, so I asked if we could do phototherapy and intense feedings overnight and see if that helped. The doctor consented. In the morning, they retested his levels, and they'd risen considerably. We had another decision to make and I had more tears. I'd wanted to exclusively breastfeed and here I was faced with giving that up, too.

We cried and prayed some more, and I went further into my hole that I was in. We decided to supplement with formula, but asked that we do it with a syringe instead of a bottle. We were told he needed to stay under the bili lights and we could only take him out for 30 minutes every 3 hours to feed him. I couldn't handle leaving him behind in the nursery, lying in a bed all alone, blindfolded, wondering where I was and why he was alone.

Monday was a very dark day for me. I lived for those 30 minutes. I'd sleep, get the call to come feed him, get to the nursery as fast as I could, and bask in my baby for the most precious half hour. A nice nurse figured out how to buy me a full hour each time by letting us wear our sunglasses for the second half hour and hold him under the lights. So I'd feed for 30 minutes and then DH would snuggle him and do the syringe feeding for 30 minutes. Like I said, we lived for those minutes. Matthew loves to snuggle right after his feedings. I hated having to put him down in a bed immediately thereafter. I told him that as soon as his levels came down, I'd snuggle him as long as he wanted.

Meanwhile, I hit a very dark place. I cried and cried and cried. I just couldn't get over feeling like I had failed Matthew in every way. I'd had a rough pregnancy and was unable to nourish him properly. I wasn't able to progress in labor on my own. I wasn't able to get through labor without medication I had wanted to avoid. Then I wasn't able to deliver him the way most of the rest of the world can, and then my nutrition wasn't enough for him either. I really despaired before God, and admittedly, I still really struggle with those things. My doctor came to check on me daily and said I could go home Tuesday or Wednesday. I asked if we could wait til Wednesday because I didn't want to go home without Matthew and waiting as long as possible gave me the greatest chance of getting to take him home. He agreed.

That was the longest day and a half of my life. He had gone in around midnight Sunday. On Tuesday morning, they tested his levels again and they were coming down. The doctor said he'd test again at 2:00 and if they were still down, we could take him back to our room--bust him out of what we called "baby jail." I held my breath almost all day.

In the mean time, my colostrum changed to milk and I produced a LOT. We were able to get in some really good feedings and toward the end, Matthew was refusing the formula because he was full. Around 3:00 we got the call--come and get Matthew out of baby jail! And, we could stop with the formula feeds! After all that agony, he'd only had 3 formula feeds.

Here we are, busting him out:

We took him back to our room, and we fed and we napped and we snuggled for hours. Things were righting with the world again.

I had refused to allow the nursery staff to give him a bath. I had missed out on a lot of his firsts because I was in recovery and he was in the nursery. I said I wanted to give him his first bath. The lady on duty at the time we took him out for the last time said that we could come to the nursery and do the bath there if we wanted, so that we could take advantage of the warmer. We thought that was a great idea. Here we are after his bath, and with him in his first clothes.

We came back to our room and just enjoyed the rest of the night snuggling.

Wednesday morning, they had to repeat his levels--if all were clear, we could go home. The doctor finally came in and said we were free to go! My doctor gave me the clear, too! So we spent the morning resting up, packing up, and finally checking out!

We came home and we've been spending our time sleeping and snuggling. I am in a lot of pain from my c-section. As such, all I'm really able to do is feed the baby and snuggle him. I can't lift him yet because I can't bend down enough. I can't do many things because movement is so hard. Truthfully, that's another part of my struggle. Todd and my mom literally have to do everything else. I just feel so--underqualified--to be his mommy. I still have moments where I lie in bed and cry.

I KNOW that the bottom line is that Matthew is here and that he's healthy. I KNOW that at the end of the day, how he got here doesn't matter. But these feelings of failure just haunt me. I did learn about myself that I need to stay far, far away from the natural birth community for any future births. The "your doctor and the hospital are out to get you" tactics really messed with my head when the rubber met the road. At the end of the day, my doctor of 7 years knows me and cares about me, and knows more about labor and delivery and me and my son than some woman who took a 3 day class and met me 12 weeks ago. I know she doesn't speak for the entire natural birth community, but she does speak for a lot of them. I constantly read the same things in books. But I had to trust that my doctor is a godly, educated, respectful man who truly had my best interests and safety at heart. He wasn't out to trick me or take the easy way out or subject me to unnecessary procedures. But the narrative that he was was (is!) really hard to turn off. So I'm struggling through that. The hard part is that I KNOW my narrative and self-criticism are illogical and unreasonable, so what's hard is knowing that I'm enslaved to these feelings in SPITE of those things. I know that most of it is a combination of pain, fatigue, and hormones, so I'm trying to just take it one step at a time. DH and my mom are both wonderful in helping me.

I know a lot of you have reached out to me. This is why I've not been able to reach back. Please just be patient with me. I do love you and your love means a lot to me but I'm just overwhelmed right now and I need time and space.

The happy part of the story is that Matthew is here. And he's healthy. We have his first post-hospital pediatrician appointment in the morning. We need his bili levels to have stayed down and I'm anxious to see how everything else is going.

Matthew is the sweetest, snuggliest, cutest baby on the planet. I'm just in love with him. Feeding is going WONDERFULLY, which is a huge answer to prayer because PCOS women often have nursing issues. I really do praise God for that. We're trying to figure out how to get on top of rest and still attend to his needs. I'm sure things will iron out soon. In the mean time, we're just enjoying getting to know each other. We snuggle all the time.

DH is incredible with him. He's just so cute! I love seeing this side of him and I'm so joyful that God has finally given me that privilege. He's been holding Matthew while I type this, and I think he's shot like 100 pictures in the past hour. It's so cute!

I need to feed him and we all need to get to bed, so I'll sign off now, and just leave you with the best part--more pictures! Thanks for reading this, for your support through this journey, and for your prayers as I heal, in all senses of the word. I know this will pass. Right now I'm just confused I think. But I know I'll understand it better some day, and I trust there is purpose in it all, despite my confusion. In the meantime, as has been the case with everything along this journey, God continues to use it to change and shape my relationship with Him. I am curious to see how/where this new journey will go.

Doesn't this just scream "kiss me!?" I kiss those cheeks and that nose all the time.

So sweet

Goodnight! Love to you all!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Matthew is Here!

Announcing Matthew Michael Jeremiah Wright
Born Saturday, January 22nd at 12:59pm
7lbs, 15oz
21.5" long

And absolutely perfect. We're positively in love.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slow boat to China!

I had another appointment this morning with another NST. Matthew's heart rate kept appearing to crash. They suspected it was just because he doesn't like being on the monitor (he doesn't! He hates it! He always moves when they try to get it on and he'll actually kick the little doppler part!) but the doctor did a detailed ultrasound just in case. As they suspected, he was just being squirrely with the monitor--everything looked great in terms of fluid, heart rate, breathing pattern, and size. U/S puts him at 7lbs 6 oz today-right smack dab in the middle of average :D The bummer is that he's still face up. We've tried a lot of things and he just seems to be content to be sitting sunny-side up.

I did let the doctor check me again (I know, I'm already a Bradley class failure!). I was 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced today but that still could mean hours or days. I know Bradley teaches against checks, but in my case, I'm glad to know WHAT is happening with my body, and I know it doesn't tell me WHEN. Knowing what's going on reassures me that yes, something is happening, I'm not imagining things, etc. I don't plan to do checks once admitted to the hospital.

The doctor did say that there's really no where else to go from here but active labor and he also said that if my water breaks, I basically need to go STRAIGHT to the hospital because things could go very quickly! We're specifically praying that Matthew comes by Friday, January 28 (and truthfully, much sooner!) because my own doctor is on every day til then, but then he's off for either the weekend or the week (can't recall which). I'd really really love to deliver with my own doctor--he's a sole practitioner so his relief is someone from another practice and I've never even met him-not a huge deal, but I'm so nervous already that I'd really just love my own doc if possible.

He did say that because I'm so dilated already, he feels pretty confident that I'll go into labor spontaneously and won't need an induction or anything-so we're grateful for that.

I had some more back labor today so tonight we climbed a bunch of stairs and did some walking. I'll basically do anything to get/keep him off my tailbone. Floating face-down in the pool with a snorkel is the best part of my day! Seriously mamas, you need to try it.

Anyway--off to bed! Night!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Praying this just means active labor will be really fast!

Still here, and Matthew's still playing peek-a-boo. I have tons and tons of contractions every day (and they're labor ones, not Braxton Hicks--by now I can DEFINITELY tell a difference) but I still haven't moved from "early" labor to "active" labor. The doctor said I can go to the hospital when contractions hit 5 minutes apart for 2 hours, or when my water breaks. The closest I've gotten so far is 6 minutes apart for an hour and my waters are still intact.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the contractions. I'll have them for many hours at increasing frequency and then they'll go away completely for like 12 hours or more.  I'm just hoping it means that he's working a little bit at a time, and that when things finally ARE "active," they'll go quickly.

I'm trying not to be anxious. I know he technically could be in there another 3 weeks...I'm anxious to meet him, and I'm anxious to be over the discomforts of pregnancy, but I want what's best for him and apparently he thinks that means hanging out inside a little while longer.

I *am* going to miss his baby kicks, so I'm just focusing on enjoying those right now. My mom came and cleaned my entire house for me this weekend. DH and our neighbor fixed the electricity! The hospital bags are packed. The carseat is installed. His clothes are washed. His bed is made. We have diapers and wipes and everything else we think we need for him right away. I finished my last day of work for now. There's literally nothing to do now except wait for him. DH has given me the gift of just telling me to sleep as much as I can in these last days, so that's what I'm doing.

I had another lovely baby shower this weekend. We 3 are so blessed and people are so generous with us. I was having so many contractions during it though that a few times I thought we might not get all the way through it. As a result, I was a little distracted and didn't remember to take a single picture! But there were many lovely ladies in attendance, the details from the hostess were just darling, and people blessed us with a lot of nice things for him. Today I'm going to work on writing thank you cards and I'm going to sit and read some of his new books to him but other than that, we're just hanging out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moving things along!

I had another doctor's appointment today. I told him about the couple of episodes I've had with the back labor and he said he wanted to check me. I was curious myself, so I consented. I think at first he expected to find me closed up tight, having misread or misunderstood those episodes, or mistaken them for Braxton Hicks, or whatever. He did a check and he sounded surprised and said "Wow! You're dilated. You're 4cm and 75% effaced! It sounds like those episodes really were the real thing!"

I know that 4cm doesn't tell me anything about when active labor is actually coming. I know that I could be at 4cm for weeks (I hope not!). But I was pleased to know that 1)No matter when labor happens, 4cm or the work is already done 2)I did correctly understand and identify what was happening, and 3) I made it through those episodes ok, so now knowing that WAS a shadow of the real thing, I feel a lot less scared/overwhelmed/unenlightened and 4)those two horrible episodes were not for nothing! So, we'll see. I'm increasingly uncomfortable every day and my chiropractor said that when he adjusted me today, he could feel/see that my hips/pelvis were all just different-things were lower, looser, and opening up! We'll see!

We got some maternity pictures done the other day. I think they turned out pretty cute!

We did others, but I think those are my favs.

A family friend that DH grew up knowing is throwing us a baby shower on Saturday! Hopefully Matthew won't decide to come AT the party--that would be something! The party is quite far from our hospital so that makes me a teensy bit nervous given how far things seem to be progressing, but other than that I'm looking forward to it! It should be a nice day. What's really incredible is that I don't even know many of the attendees. They are friends of my mother in law, and through her they've followed our story and prayed for us for many years. We and Baby Matthew are so blessed with so many wonderful, generous people in our lives!

I go to the gym pool every night and find that I don't want to come out, ever! I squat, I walk, I swim, I float (face down is super fun-only time I can be on my tummy!), I do this funny crab walk thing, and then I hang on the side of the pool and DH folds my legs back up over my head for a deep stretch--it's heaven! If you're having trouble with your back in pregnancy, see if you can find access to a pool--it's seriously the best hour or two of my day!

Anyway, gotta scoot! I'm pooped. Don't know how many more times I'll check in before he's here! Bye!

Monday, January 10, 2011


We are officially FULL TERM! Baby could be born now and be considered fully baked-not premature or high risk or anything! Wahoooooooooooooo! I know there's probably not a huge difference between yesterday and today, but having it "official" is just so COOL!

Matthew and I had another fight last night over who was going to get to occupy/control my back. Thankfully, it wasn't as intense or long-lived as the first episode, and it wasn't also accompanied by front contractions.

This is such a weird time. On the one hand, I'm just ITCHING for him to get here. On the other hand, I'm so overwhelmed by the thought of it that I think I could take another 9 months just wrapping my head around it! (Though to be clear, I never want to be pregnant for 18 consecutive months! Did you know that elephants are pregnant for 24 months?? I'm glad I'm not an elephant!)

It's the same thing with birth. After those two episodes, I was really proud of how much I was able to remember about pain management techniques, different positions, relaxation, focus, etc, even while in the heat of the moment and screaming in pain. And DH was a champ, making suggestions, doing anything I asked or needed, staying up with me, etc. And after the fact, I got a little bolster of self-confidence--"I can do this!" But on the other hand, while it was happening, it hurt so, so, SO badly, and it wasn't even the real thing. In the heat of the moment I was definitely thinking, "I can't do this!! Make it stop! Give me drugs!" So that overwhelms me a little. I'm trying to not think about it because it scares me. Do you ever get to a point before the first time where you're not afraid of birth?

I printed out a ton of scriptures on papers to tape around the wall in the hospital room during labor. I'm trying to focus on them now--I don't need to be trapped by this fear! Women do this every day and God designed our bodies for it...I don't know why it overwhelms me as much as it does!

These are the verses I printed out. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:13

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
~Psalm 91:2

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
~Psalm 118:1

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
~Exodus 33:14

In my anguish I cried to the Lord and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
~Psalm 118:5-6

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
~Psalm 20:4

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise...
~Psalm 18:1-3

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.
~1 Samuel 1: 27-28

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
~John 16:21

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
~Matthew 11:28

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generation. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
~Psalm 89:1-2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Be still, and know that I am God.
~Psalm 46:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
~Psalm 34:4

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
~Psalm 113:9

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
~Psalm 139:13-14

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
~Psalm 61:1-4

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
~Isaiah 40:28-29, 31

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart…”
~Jeremiah 1:5

Listen to this… stop and consider God’s wonders.
~Job 37:14

We have a praise on DH. He's finally starting to feel better. He still has no energy at all, but the violent coughing he was experiencing has mostly subsided, so he rests better, breaths better, and isn't so sore. He was able to work for a few hours today, which was a blessing because he's self-employed and he was starting to stress about all the weeks of work he's missed.

I'm partially packed for the hospital. Again, I keep going back and forth between "Oh my goodness, I have to get this done NOW" and "eh, I've got time." And I don't want to be THAT woman who bring EVERYTHING, but I also don't want to be "man, I really wish I had _________" either.

This is what's in my bag for labor. Do you have any additional suggestions?
Birthing Tub with pump
Cord Blood Kit
Birthing Ball (hospital said to bring your own because they don't have enough)
Camera with extra memory, and battery charger
Massage Aides with extra batteries
Spare Cell Charger
Corn Bag (bag full of corn kernels-you microwave the whole thing for heat)
Scriptures and scotch tape
Warm Socks (I hate cold feet!)
Flip Flops for Shower
Bra/Bikini Top to labor in
Bathing Suit for DH
Ipod with charger and little speaker
Baby Book to stamp his footprints and handprints in
My pillow
Water bottle for contraband water
Battery operated fan (I'm always hot!)
Disposable camera
ETA: Snacks (I had this on my list but forgot to type it)

For post-partum I have:
My meds, DH's meds
My own pjs, undergarments, etc
PJs and change of clothes for DH
Clothes for Matthew
Going home clothes for me and Matthew
Scrapbook paper for hospital visitors to sign
Receiving blanket
Phone numbers to call (in case we forget our cells)

Not much else is new here--trying to nest as I have energy, which is not much these days. We do have Matthew's room mostly done! Want to see?

Disclaimer--all the furniture is brown, though some of it looks black

His dresser will go on the far right wall, perpendicular to the window and will double as a changing table. When we are able, we'll buy his bedding set and the quilt will hang on the wall over the dresser until he's old enough to use it. We have a recliner that will actually replace that chair, but right now the recliner lives in our room and will until Matthew starts sleeping in his crib at night. I can't wait to sit in that corner with him and read to him, nurse him, snuggle him in our comfy chair.

His little toy/book shelf. It's just so happy! (Disclaimer, I know to take the plastic off the lampshade! We're just not sure if we're keeping it or not)

This is the bedding we chose. Isn't it cute?

We need to leave for class soon so I have to sign off so I'll just close by embarrassing myself:
37 weeks and a snapshot of how we spend most Sunday afternoons during football season:

And, I may regret or posting this for all the interwebs to see, but here we are in all our goofiness. Yes, I do wear my cheesehead IRL when we're going somewhere to watch the game. And my friend gave me that baby cheesehead for Matthew (though I don't actually wear it strapped to my belly). :D I wanted a picture of our silliness. Matthew better come out holding a "Go, Pack, Go!" sign! Last week, DH and my mom caught me singing to him in the bathtub. I didn't realize they could hear me. It normally wouldn't be so bad...I was singing "Jesus Loves Me" and "You are my Sunshine" and "Skittamarinkeedinkeydink" and "Arky Arky" but then I proceeded to sing him the NFL Song. I think that's when they lost it. Hey, what can I say. Like every other true Packer fan, I take my football seriously! So, without further ado, enjoy a laugh at my expense....Nobody send that to that uncomfortable family photos site!

I embarrass my dog, too.

Last but not least, the 37 week synopsis!

It’s the calm before the storm. Changes in your baby's weight have leveled off with only a few ounces of fat added this week. At this point your baby should weigh in at around 6.3 lbs and 19 inches (with boys somewhat heavier and longer than girls). Happily, as far as internal organs go, they are now developed enough to function in the outside world although the oh-so-important immune system is still developing and will continue to do so after birth. With a large boost of antibodies provided by breast milk when nursing begins. Fighting infection and staying healthy should be well within their physical capacity when your little fighter is born.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Dear Back Labor: I never wanted to meet you, ever. Move along.

Dear Back Labor:

Your reputation precedes you. I've heard that you're the most nasty, unrelenting, unapologetic nemesis of the laboring woman. I've heard you're a jerk, and frankly, I just don't like jerks in my life! I made up my mind that I never wanted to meet you. I pulled in the welcome mat, and was determined to be as standoffish to you as possible, hoping you'd decide I was too rude to you to make your acquaintance, and you'd move along.

You didn't get the memo! You decided to introduce yourself to me last night, and you know what, you ARE the jerk everyone says you are. So I'm telling you quite plainly, BUZZ OFF! I met you last night, I never want to encounter you again! Mmmkay? Thanks.

Matthew's Mommy

Whoooooboy was last night eventful. DH and I were sitting and watching a movie, and suddenly I sat straight up with the most intense back pain I've ever had in my life. It started square on my tailbone, and radiated a little up and down and then around my front like a belt and then like squeezed me together. I had weird cramps and spasms and overall pain. Then my front would contract forward. I'd be like this for several minutes and then the pain would shift to a dull ache until the next wave. I got a chance to put in to practice all the stuff I've been learning in class--I don't think I've ever been in so many creative positions as I was last night. I was on all fours, I was doing pelvic tilts, I was pacing the house, I was in the fetal position, I was in the shower, in the bath, over the birthing ball--anything to get a little relief. Poor DH was pulling out every massage aide and technique we know. This went on for many hours and the longer it lasted, the more I was thinking that this could actually be it. I talked to the doula, and she said that since they weren't increasing in intensity of frequency (goodness, could they get more intense than that??), it was probably just practice/preparation. This was DEFINITELY a dress rehearsal! YIKES! Am I really ready for this? All I kept thinking was "I'm not ready, I'm not ready!" Do you EVER feel ready?

I knew about Braxton Hicks and about false/practice labor. I DIDN'T know that you could have practice back labor! How NOT fun was THAT!

Things finally calmed down enough for me to fall asleep in the recliner on a heating pad but then about an hour later I woke up. The power in our house is really weird. It's been doing this thing where it just goes out in the middle of the night. (It's ALWAYS at night). Usually it comes back on right away which is super fun because it turns on all the devices and lights with it. Last night it went out and stayed out. Once the heating pad cooled off, I woke up. I had to wake DH because I don't know how to mess with the breaker and stuff. Poor thing was out there at 3 in the morning, trying to get it to come on. He tried again and again but it would flip out again immediately. But for some reason, part of our garage retained power. So then he's digging around in the middle of the night for extension cords to run from that outlet to our fridge and freezer, and then he ran one back to the back of the house to our room for my heating pad. Some time in the middle of the night things came back on (hence my ability to blog) but our poor house looks so sad right now! Thankfully, our neighbor is an electrician so he's going to come help us tonight and see if we can't figure out what's going on. We're really praying it's something small and inexpensive to fix but we also know our home is 40 years old with mostly original wiring, so it would be reasonable for this to be a major problem, too.

Not a lot of news on DH. The best they can figure is that he has viral bronchitis. They're going to re-run his bloodwork next week to see if anything has developed but that's their best guess. The bloodwork did say he was recently exposed to Legionella Pneumonia but recently could be a week ago or a year ago. One suspicion is that's what he had at the beginning of December, and then with his weakened immune system, he caught some kind of virus. Because it's a virus, it's impervious to antibiotics. So they've just told him to try to sleep/drown it out and he can't really go anywhere because they said his immune system is too weak to be out in public and risk catching something else. Poor guy is going stir crazy--tomorrow will be exactly 1 month since he first got sick! So we'd love your prayers for quick healing for him. I really really want him to be better before Matthew comes.

All the activity seemed to die down around 5:00 this morning and there's been no further labor-activity. Now my body is just tired and sore in a "what in the world just happened to me??" sort of way. So we're just taking it easy today and trying to rest a little. I may pack my hospital bag today too, just in case ;) I was just at the doctor yesterday--we're opting not to do cervical checks but we did spend time on the monitor yesterday and they did another ultrasound to check fluid levels (heart rate, fluid, and position were all fine!) Doc said he saw no indication of baby going anywhere soon....but last night sure made me think differently!

Anyway, that's the excitement from this end of the world!