Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finding joy in just being

If there is one thing I am good at it is being BUSY!  I can put Superwoman to shame with all that I can accomplish in one day's time and I take pride in being able to accomplish everything at home AND still work part-time.

Unfortunately, as time goes on I realize that there is so much more to be said about just being still and being quiet.  This is something I am not good at but nursing V is forcing me to just sit down and enjoy the moment.  I have decided that I want more of that- time to reflect, prayer, meditate and just simply BE.  Time to listen to his coos, my other childrens' stories, how my husband's day was at work and listen to God's heart and what He wants me to know.  It is very hard to be fully present with my family and with my Lord when I am always so busy.  Pride swallowed, I repent and lesson learned but it will be a process.

Now, the baby is fussing and it is time to nurse.  I will grab my cup of tea and practice just being present with my baby, my 4 year old and my Lord.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding joy in special moments

This weekend is a weekend we have been looking forward to for a couple of months.  We have been working hard to have a retreat for our YoungLIVES mamas and their babies and it is finally coming to pass this Saturday and Sunday.  I am so excited to spend time with the mamas and their babies, as well as just have some one on one time with baby V (since the other kids will be at home with daddy).   Pray that all goes according to the Lord's will and that a good time is had by all.

I have not done any knitting- none.  I have been tired after cooking and cleaning and taking care of the children.  I am hoping to get my knitting groove back soon because I have a special gift I need to make for a special friend that I have not even cast on yet.

Have I mentioned that my sister got engaged?  I was so excited when I found out that I literally cried in the Fred Meyer grocery store!  I wish for her exactly what I have been blessed with- a great husband, children, health and happiness.  I am soo excited but nervous at the same time.  I am supposed to be the Matron of Honor and I have so much post partum weight to lose!!!  I am a little bit nervous about all of the responsibilites that go along with this role but I am honored and excited to be such an important part of this rite of passage.  I hope her husband-to-be realizes what an amazing treasure he has in my sister.  She is everything that any man in his right mind would want- smart, gorgeous, loving, giving, honest, loyal, funny, responsible, and has the best sister in the entire world!!!  :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finding joy with postpartum chaos

Life has been....busy.  I am tired but it is definitely not as bad as it could be.  V has a pretty great schedule.  At night he goes down around 10pm and wakes at 2am for a feed and then again at 5 or 6am.  Definitely nothing to complain about.

A's transition has been getting better and the attitude is much improved with little slip ups here and there.  He is an excellent big brother to the new baby- if we can just keep on with being a good brother with everyone.

J is still absolutely in love with his brother and beams with joy while playing with him or simply laying by him.  Such sweet moments.

T has been amazingly helpful and has even been looking for a job.  He has applied many places but I think follow-up is an issue and believe that he would actually GET a job if he went and spoke to the management to show inititive.

So, now you have an update on the kids- all are doing well and the "hump" of the adjustments to the new little life with us is finally over, I think.

Despite having a new baby and working on family dynamics we have been getting back into the full swing of school and life with a routine. This has been my saving grace.  It did occur to me that alone I was not getting into the Word enough so on top of all that is going on, I also signed up for a Bible Study on James (Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore).  We have added this into our Thursday schedule.

This coming weekend we are going on our YoungLIVES retreat.  I am so excited to be able to fellowship with such amazing women, mamas and babies.  I am trusting that God has some great plans.  I am bringing baby V- this should be interesting!  God is in control, God is in control...

It seems that I only have about 8 weeks left of my maternity leave and my heart is feeling very unsettled.  I long to be at home with my family cooking and cleaning but I know that for right now my job is also to work.  This is a hard realization for me and I am praying that God would grant me
peace, since this is not my will but His at this time.  I am thankful to only work part-time and realize that I could be working more, so I do not complain (too much).  I just love this staying at home gig so much and honestly, I am really good at it!  Even my husband said that he loves when I am home full time- things get done go by the wayside when I am rushing school, cleaning, cooking and work.  That is it for now, friends.  I wish I was not updating on my iPad because then I could add some photos of our life happenings.  Until next time.....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finding joy in unexpected birth plans- Welcome to this world, sweet baby V

I had my plans all written out- no/low intervention, no inductions, no pitocin, no epidural.  I was planning on trusting my body to do what it was created to do- birth my baby.  I had emailed m family and let everyone know that we would call after the baby was born and even the boys would not be present during the labor (unlike the parties in my previous births).  I had prayed, thought positive affirmations, and tried to turn my OP (sunny side up) baby for the past 3 months with different yoga positions.  I was told that he was not going to be my biggest baby and I was ready!  My biggest baby was 9 pounds 5 ounces so I was confident that this would be another 2 1/2 hour labor once things got started.

I had been talking with my good friend, Jen, who was going to be my "doula"- it can be a bit challenging for labor nurses to be put in the doula role but she was gracious enough to accept the task and I knew she would be the best labor support for me and my husband.  I told Jen that I had flurries of contractions for days on end lasting a couple of hours but I could never sustain the contractions.

Fast forward to Monday morning- August 13th.  I was awakened with some strong contractions but they fizzled out as they had for the past couple of weeks.  I was 40 3/7th weeks and very tired of being pregnant but really wanting to trust that I would go into labor on my own as I have done in the past without a problem.  I did buy some blue cohosh and after taking a couple of doses decided not to continue and to just trust my body.  The day before I had a wonderful prenatal massage and felt relaxed but still very irritable.  I called Jen and told her that I felt like today might be the day.  Then, I packed my 2 younger kids up and started walking around Fred Meyer because it was much too hot to be trekking outside.

My husband picked me up for a 1 pm appointment with my lovely doctor.  I still didn't think I had quite kicked into labor but since I was over 40 weeks and my contractions felt a bit different I figured the most prudent thing would be to have him accompany me to the doctor's office.

While at the office, my doctor was trying to convince me to come in the following day for an AROM induction (breaking of the water to start labor) since all of my favorite people were on that day- her, the midwife and my lovely friend/doula.  As she was trying to convince me (and I was thinking how great it would be to get the baby out) she was checking my cervix and said, "Oh no, Dawn- you are having this baby today!  You are 4-5 centimeters with a bulging bag.". She told me that she would call downstairs to prepare to get a room ready for me and I told her that Egui and I were going to go out to lunch before I had the baby.  Egui and I went to Denny's because I wanted the salad with the stawberries, chicken and oranges.  Then, we headed back to the hospital where my nurse began to check me in.

Jen showed up shortly after I was getting admitted and it turned out that staffing was short so she ended up being my nurse instead of doula for the first 6 hours.  She admitted me and everything was going according to plan thus far- no IV, intermittent monitoring and just my husband in the room.  He was resting on the daybed and Jen and I were chatting when Dr. A came into the room.  She checked me to see where we were and she said, "Wow, Dawn- when you go into labor you really mean business!". I was 8-9 centimeters and doing great.  Breathing a bit through contractions but they were all very tolerable.  This was at 4:30 pm.  She also broke my bag of waters at this time and I had meconium stained fluid so this meant that the NICU nurse and Respiratory Therapist would probsbly have to be present, much to my dismay since I wanted the least amount of people in the room as possible.  After discussion with the doctor and Jen they decided that calling NICU would not be needed unless we really needed them but the second nurse that was in the room would be one of our stablization nurses, just in case.

By 7:00pm it was time for Jen to transition back into my doula and I would get a new labor nurse.  It was a fantastic seasoned nurse and she was orienting someone who was thought to be a nurse previously so it was thought to have been a good match.  She was very green and I am so thankful that Jen never left my side because the other wonderful seasoned nurse was basically just acting as the new nurses resource at this point in her orientation.  I was a solid 9 centimeters from about 6pm and my baby continued to decent but he was not decending all the way- just enough to make me pushy and the contractions with the pressure became quite painful. The back labor was the most intense labor feelings I have ever had as the baby kept coming lower and lower but not coming out.  My husband was a great support and gave great back pressure as guided by Jen.  I bet he was glad he rested when he did because I really needed him during those strong contractions.  The new nurse tried to give me pressure in my back but it became very clear to me right away that she had not had any experience with back labor before and probably had never had a child by the way she was giving me pressure (or lack thereof).  I cried to Jen or my husband to PLEASE give me the counter pressure!  This went on for hours- moaning, groaning, grunting, cussing a couple of times, begging Agod to help me, and then telling my husband to "callate" when he asked me if I was sure I did not want an epidural.  I was told that on the outside I looked very well controlled and was doing everything right. I was also told (MANY times) that I was at the tail end and it was almost over.  This was told to me for hours.  Finally, Dr. A brought it the ultrasound machine.  I am assuming this was around 10 pm- 4 hours of being stuck at 9 cm with a swollen cervix.  She looked at my baby's head and sure enough, he was direct OP (sunny side up).  I was so discouraged because my labors are never this long!!  I had done so many positions to try and rotate this kiddo- hands and knees ,squatting during contractions, leaning over the bed, rocking inthe rocking chair, right and left lateral, and sitting on the toilet.  Now, Jen was asking me to do exagerated SIMS on both sides (despite alredy doing this and it was the WORST position EVER) but if it would rotate my baby then I would do it one more time.  I gave her 6 more contractions- the most painful ones I had experienced and at this point Dr. A checked me again and sure enough- I was still 9 cm with a swollen cervix that would not reduce!  My baby was not coming out!  I became so discouraged because I had been 9 cm for almost 5 hours.  I cried and told Jen that I knew it was time for an epidural (actually I told her this before the 6 contractions and she made me get through those contractions before I could get my IV).

The new nurse put in my IV and did a fine job.  I am sure I was not her favorite patient- the bossy nurse type that was not progressing.  She did tape my line in such a way that the fluid was ot draining which made calling the anethesiologist take a bit longer.  I was not very happy at this point.  When the anesthesiologist was paged he was doing an epidural in the wing over from me and I kept asking Jen how much longer he was going to take.  She answered me firmly and gave me boundaries that I could not give myself- this is why I knew she would be perfect for me.  Finally, Dr. K arrived and I said, "I consent, don't give the the speech, just put it in!" And he did.  My hudband stood in front of me and supported me while Jen was back with the doctor giving me back pressure as he was putting in my epidural.  She is a true friend because she is deathly afraid of needles and was fighting nausea and dizziness as she supported me with the back labor.  Jen never watches any of the epidural placements and always manages to position herself so that she can do her job but not watch these the placements.  I am so grateful for her and her back pressure.  When Dr. K was done I lifted my head and said, "Hi, it's me- thank you very much for placing my catheter.  I am glad it was you today.".

Once the catheter was placed the new nurse wanted to place my foley and she started to but ai was still a little jumpy since I could feel everything and asked her to wait and not place my foley quite yet.  Dr. A said she would come back in a few minutes once I was a little more comfortable.

The epidural never made me numb- I could move my legs the entire time, I could feel the foley being placed, I could feel my contractions and the pressure of my body trying to open and let my baby out but it DID take away that back pain that was so intolerable.  Dr. A came back and they set up the room for delivery.  She allowed patient led pushing and I was not directly on my back but was in a side lying positon.  She was able to reduce my cervix (and I am not sure if she rotated V or not) and I pushed through 6 or 7 contractions- no one counted and they just let me push which was awesome.  Jen also had me push towards her extended hand (which helped me focus) and I felt so much pressure.  Before long, I was feeling the ring of fire and I could hear the voices of everyone get xcited that they could see his head.  This gave me the encouragement to keep pushing and he was finally OUT!!!  What a relief!!!  I cried and I was so excited that I did it.  My little son was now in my arms!  He cried right away.  The new nurse called the NICU team despite the doctor saying that it was not needed but they stayed behind my curtain so I did not even see them.  I am so glad they did not come in my room since we did not need them.  My baby was perfect!

They weighed him and he was 9 pounds 10 ounces with a head circumference of 37cm.  He was my biggest baby and sunny side up but rotated at the very last moment.

While my birth did not go exactly as I expected I am very proud of myself and I know that I could tolerate a normal OA birth- the back labor was excrutiating!  I found out that I have a very high pain tolerance, that my husband was a great labor support and that Jen is an amazing friend and birth worker.  I do not regret having the epidural and everything else did go according to plan- no pitocin, skin to skin right away, quick first feeding and just my husband at my side.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finding joy in pregnancy and Easter Vigil

There has been so much going on that I really have not had time to sit down and blog. I am hoping to be able to get more accomplished with this blog but meanwhile I thought I would update about what has been going on in our life.

Easter Vigil was absolutely amazing. It was such a great moment and I was so blessed that all my children were present to share it with my husband and me. One of my closest friends also brought her kids (that I love like my own) and took pictures for us, along with my oldest. The pictures will come when I upload them onto the computer. We got confirmed together and had First Communion. It was wonderful.

Before Easter Vigil, my husband and I had our marriage blessed by the Church on April 4th. It was a very small ceremony- 2 of our children, a cousin and my mom. Fr. Bloom was wonderful and it was a special moment to renew our vows after being married for 8 1/2 years together 9 1/2.

After the ceremony my middle son had First Reconciliation and when he came out of the confessional a few minutes later, he was elated. He proclaimed that his soul felt "soo light" and he felt "sooo alive" and he wanted to know if he could come back to confess the next day. Maybe we have an upcoming priest on our hands.

As far as the pregnancy goes, I am 23 weeks 5 days today. I have had a fairly uneventful pregnancy and we are so blessed to be adding another boy to our family. The responses about having another boy(as opposed to a girl) have been mixed but my family is excited and that is what matters most. My 4 year old is obsessed with my belly and kisses and hugs it all of them time. He is very sweet spirited and cannot wait for his brother to be born. The oldest is getting more used to the idea but half the time I think his friends are more excited for a newborn in the bunch than he is.

I have been knitting like crazy for baby V. I am almost done with a little cabled vest and I already have a matching hat. I LOVE matching hats! I also have done a sweater with another matching hat, longies with a matching hat and had a set done in a trade with another mama. I love hand knits and after our youngest wore them almost exclusively even my husband likes them. I have been preparing and we do not need very many more things. We have been blessed with lots of hand-me-downs, a carseat and stroller from my mom, and I bought some things that looked new off of Craigslist. I am saving to make sure I have enough for the placenta encapsulation and maternity leave since this was quite a surprise for us!

I have also started practicing Hypnobabies and intend to have a natural labor and birth with just my husband in the room and my friend who will be acting as my doula. (She is a fellow L&D RN and was my nurse with my youngest, then my preceptor and now a dear friend). If I am going natural I cannot have the whole party going on like I have with all of my other childbirths. I would not be able to focus!

I think this is it for now- I will try and update more often as time allows.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finding joy in Lent

It has been quite a while since I have written. When we were in Mexico I found out that I was pregnant with another baby (I thought it was food poisoning and made my husband take me to the clinic- denial much?) Our trip was fantastic and the boys' baptism was absolutely beautiful. I do have pictures to upload but I am very sad that I did not take my Nikon so the quality of the pictures is not what they could have been.

Since the trip we have found out that this baby is a boy. We are thrilled- I think some friends and family are disappointed because I hear, "Oh, I really wish you were having a girl" more often than I would like to admit. I am so excited we are having another boy- we know how to do boys and God knows what He is doing.

So, Ash Wednesday started last week. We went to 2 great services (one at our Catholic parish and then another service at the wonderful Lutheran church across the street). The priest focused on the goals of lent and why we give up what we give up. He broke it down nicely and said that Lent is about making relationships better:

1) Self denial (giving up something you like) to help increase your relationship with yourself.
2) Alms giving (or acts of charity) to help increase your relationship with others.
3) Increase prayer/study time to help increase your relationship with God.

At the Lutheran Church the pastor focused on prayer and broke down the Our Father. I love praying this prayer in its entirety but also as a guide of how to pray in my daily life. Both services were excellent and I learned quite a bit from both.

So, for this Lent I have decided to decrease my internet time. I don't think that giving up tea or coffee is going to get me any closer to God this year but actual "time" activities will. I have also began working on my Daily Offices from a couple of books and doing my daily readings from the Catholic church. As far as alms giving, I have been very open and really concentrating on what I can do to help others. So far, it is going well.

Tonight is our Rite of Election. How special to remember that we went for our blessing from the Archbishop on a Leap Year. We all have our sponsors/padrinos/madrinas who are coming with us to the Cathedral in Seattle and after this, we will be able to have First Communion and the other sacraments during Easter Vigil.

This journey to the Catholic Church has been so amazing and wonderful. It has really opened up my eyes to notice that the Church is very active in so many aspects of social justice. It has also opened up my eyes to the will of God because those of you that know me, know that I would have never made this step into the Church without guidance from God. In fact, when I married my husband I told him, "You can try and change many things about me but don't you EVER try and change my religion!" Well, he didn't- God did and I don't see it as a religion change (after all- Catholic means "universal church" and, of course, it is 1 of 3 branches of Christianity) but a place of worship change instead. It has been so exciting to see my family grow together. It has also been a wonderful thing to have the boys see their daddy get involved and be an example. I was alone for many years and it feels so good to worship as a family.

I am hoping to get some pictures up of the boys' baptism eventually. Meanwhile- I wish you a happy Lenten season!