Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The New Addition

I've heard stories of women who have mentally 'willed' themselves into labor.  And boy, did I try!

No matter what mental effort I took on, or what empathy my doctor tried (hooking me up to stress machine during my last two appointments - she couldn't believe I hadn't gone into labor with the contractions, dilation and how low baby was!), it was a no go.

We scheduled an induction for two reasons:
1.  We really wanted to buy some time before moving with the babe.  This gave me two weeks (!).
2.  Baby was really low, and the doc knew it'd be a fast labor.  She thought having a baby in a hospital instead of somewhere else (a car!), was probably a bit of a stress reliever.

Here I am at 39 weeks (and that's the LONGEST I've ever been pregnant!).

Having it scheduled worked well, as we were able to have a sweet friend come over and hang out with our kiddos for the day while we were at the hospital.  No crazy rush in the middle of the night.

It took about an hour for all the paperwork and everything to get set up.  Once the kickstart of the meds came in, we spent the first hour or so just walking the halls.  It's always a somewhat awkward time as your walking the same hallways over and over - full of eagerness, anticipation and impatience.  Choosing a natural delivery (for the third time around), it's also a time to mentally 'prep' for what is coming!

After about an hour, I definitely began to notice intensity pick up in contractions.  Not to the point of severe discomfort, but we'd walk and I'd need to slow down or stop for a moment.  It was great to have Mike's company.  His skill set consists of cracking endless jokes to keep things light.  Which is great, until I can't laugh anymore from the pain of contractions.  Then I just want to smack him for telling a joke at the worst time (to his credit, he really couldn't tell when they were coming quite yet).

We walked about :30 - :45 minutes, and then I knew I needed to stick to the hospital room.  This hospital does about 90 - 95% epidurals with vaginal deliveries, and they knew I was planning a natural delivery, so they gave me a nurse that is a bit of an 'expert' with the smaller percent.  She was a champ.  

My favorite "tool" when working through labor really is a stability ball.  It's awesome to sit on and rock in a circular direction to work through the contractions.  And it's a great place to sit for back rubs.  As the contractions intensify, I describe them as a building circle - I feel low in the abdomen, and then they carry forward and up in a circular direction.  It continues to build as it travels back and down through my back.  Eventually they get to an intensity where closing the eyes, breathing and repeating the phrase "the pain will eventually go away" is about all I can do until the pain actually does go away.

I lose all sense of time (tough to explain, but really happens!), but after hanging out on the stability ball, I just knew it was time to get into the bed.  And I also could totally tell that I was nearing delivery.  

Probably the biggest "trick" with a natural labor is the mental self talk.  Really committing to the breath, being present and constantly repeating "the pain will go away."  And then breathing some more!

The doc was in the room (along with a med student who was pumped to observe a natural delivery).  The pain intensified at this point, and I just went internal.  All focus on the breath and contraction until...the next contraction.  But I just knew we were almost done.

At this point, I had a momentary panic.  KNOWING what was coming suddenly burst into the realization that it was ACTUALLY happening again.  I remember in-between contractions looking at Mike and saying "what was I thinking?!"  But immediately was brought back into full concentration as the real deal was happening.  Excitement stirred in me as I knew I was about to meet our sweet baby.  I instantly felt a ton of pain and pressure.  

Unbelievable pain and pressure physically, but mentally I felt in total control.  I knew what was happening (I've done it twice before), and I knew the pain would go away.  I took all my effort and strength into the present moment, and knew it'd be just fine.

Knowing that I'd need to push, and knowing htat I didn't want to push for a long time, I really just used all my strength.  Literally.  

One push and all of baby was out.  The doc laughed a bit as she said "well, I'd hope to talk our med student through the delivery a bit, but that works too!"  and then she said, "that's one way for a fast delivery!"

Amazing to hold that sweet, sweet newborn.  What a miracle and gift of life.  I can't even write the euphoric feeling it is to hold a sweet child, and the tears of gratitude that flow.  Such a blessing to have.  So much gratitude for the gift and opportunity to be a parent.  

Yes, being a mom is hard.  Challenging.  I have good days and bad days.  As each kid enters a different phase my "mom routine" gets challenged and changed.  But I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn with them.  To "behold my little ones" as Christ taught.  These little ones really are what matter most, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be with them.  Even if it is hard.  And not glamorous!

Disclaimer:  I share my story of natural birth, because it is what worked for me and our situation.  While I think it really is the best fit for my body (I had an epidural the first time around and it was an all around negative experience), I don't think it's the best fit for EVERY body.  Get my drift?  If you're thinking about natural birth - talk to your doc! talk to those that have done it!  talk to me! and then find what will be the best fit for YOUR body.  I think modern medicine is a miracle and really can help!  But I also know my body, and the birth experience and recovery with a natural delivery is exactly what worked for us.

 I love this photo, and it shows our 2 year olds' clear reaction to having to "share" mom.  She wasn't too thrilled to say the least.  We had a rough few weeks together, but her heart softened as she realized how cool this new little thing really was.

Friday, June 12, 2015


These were our last pics we took as a family of five!

It was a roller coaster of a day.  I was terribly uncomfortable (what pregnant mom isn't at this point), and with the high levels of stress we'd been balancing, had really hoped I'd be in labor so that I'd have more time to recover before we moved.  

Because of all the contractions, we really couldn't plan anything "big" on the fourth.  After picking up some fireworks to light, and making a run to our favorite grocery store (HyVee), we enjoyed the sunshine and simplicity of the day. 

Sitting in the backyard as the evening approached, I remember just having tears as I looked at our home for the past two years.  I wasn't ready or interested in leaving it, and listening to the kids run around and around the playlet just brought tears to my eyes (even looking at this photo my eyes swell with tears of fond memories).  

At the time, Max was in love with football and baseball in the backyard.  We had the space to enjoy both (reasonably well), and it was such a fun evening tradition.  Hot and humid, the welcome shade from the trees we had planted was just wonderful.

I don't know if we will ever experience fireworks like we did in Omaha.  No need to travel anywhere for a show, as the show surrounds us in every direction (and actually carries on for many nights prior!).  Spectacular would be an understatement!  Watching the kiddos full of excitement and light was a gentle reminder that we will have happiness anywhere we choose.  That we will make wonderful memories where we choose.  And that we will have fond experiences to look back on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Terry the Turtle

We made it through June and entered July with another whirlwind.  Mike was in town indefinitely until the baby came.  And I was READY for baby to come any day.  I'd been having significant contractions since the beginning of week 37.  The real deal.  I was dilated, effaced, and baby had totally dropped.  My kids had all come between 37 and 38 weeks, so I felt like it was any day.

We were sitting on the front porch, and I vented to him.  A lot.  I just wanted to hit the fast forward button and not have to go through another month of crazy stress.  It was hot and humid.  I was terribly uncomfortable and ready to have a baby at any time.  I felt overwhelmed with the logistics of moving, enrolling the kids in a new school, trying to build a house from a different state, and trying to imagine doing it all with a newborn.  

For a brief moment, I paused and looked out on the street.  Crossing our street was a large turtle who’d just crawled out of the storm drain. 

Now, in Nebraska, the storms are big.  And the storm drains are huge to handle the flow of water.  No storm covers; the drains are long and wide.  I used to worry my daughter would fall in if she tripped!  This turtle must have been swept into the sewers during one of the recent storms.

We’d never seen an actual turtle just crawling along our street, and the events that followed – from gathering him into a bucket, to giving him a name (Terry the Turtle), to listening to my kids try to negotiate him into a family pet, to driving him to a nearby pond and letting him go, launched one of the best afternoons and evenings we had that summer.

Some may call it a coincidence, but I testify to you that the Lord was with me that day.  All of my concerns were valid, but they were beyond my control.  While the Lord knew the path ahead, it was not time for me to know or understand it.  It was my time to deepen my trust the Lord.  To practice faith and enjoy the journey a bit more.  I am so grateful he opened the door for us to create such a beautiful and simple family memory.


June was a bit of a whirlwind.  Going into it, I knew it was going to be tough.  While I was in it, I think was a grouchy/crazy/stressed lady.  Looking back, I have so much gratitude for it all.  While it was a lot to soak in, so many good things fell into place, moved forward as they needed, and really set us up for the next crazy month.

In summary:
*Mike was gone during the weeks, and some of the weekends of June.  Already working in his new position, and then house hunting. 
*I was prego.  And really wanted to just be prego.  So I was pretty grouchy.  Picked a realtor, got the house "show ready" and then showed the house like crazy for a solid 6 days.  And seriously, had an offer on the house by the 6th day.  Can't even express how stressful and crazy those 6 days were cleaning, showing, and corralling kids solo with a bun in the oven, finding things to do while we were "homeless" in the summer, and then doing it over and over.  At the same time, can't even express how much gratitude I have that the Lord helped us with the whole process.
*I kept our boy busy that month.  A week long cub scout camp was simply amazing for him.  And then a fun basketball camp.  
*We spent lots of time at the pool.  I loved being in the water and taking the baby weight off my hips!
*I stayed busy and taught my fitness classes through the end of June.  It felt good to feel relatively "normal" with all of the change going on.
*Tayler had A LOT of meltdowns.  And by a lot, I actually mean a lot.  Max and Alexis were huge helpers.  So were fruit snacks.
*We wrapped things up with doctors appointments, and Tayler's first dentist appointment.  So cute.
*We had plenty of "movie nights" together.  As by that time in the evening momma was so, so tired, and often on the phone talking to the hubby about the logistics of everything.
*Mike had success on his end as well (no photos), but actually found a house in a day.  Prior to leaving on the house trip, I checked with the doc to see if I'd be able to fly out, but I was just too far along.  So he was house hunting solo.  And promised he'd find a quick move in ready home.  You can imagine my excitement when he told me the house he'd found was only a foundation.  But that's a whole other story.
*Church was one of our favorite things.  All the Sundays but one, Mike was with us, so it was great to spend time together as a family.  And to be surrounded by so many great people.  I snapped this photo - Max and Mike had the weekly job of collecting the garbages at the end of the meetings.  This kid loved doing it, and I just can't get enough of him in that suit.

Sights around Omaha

Having family in town gave us a great excuse to get out and enjoy some of our favorite places.  The zoo, the safari, and a cool nature preserve we'd never actually been to before (but had wanted to check out).  It was so fun vacationing with our families, and while the chaos of relocating had begun at the same time as their visit (Mike actually had to leave while they were visiting as he was jumping into the new chapter that quickly), it was great to see their surprised smiles when we told them all we weren't going to visit this summer, but were moving instead.