Monday, December 23, 2013

Lauda's Thoughts on the Eve of Christmas Eve

It's been NINE months since I wrote here.  Erik has been out of the womb longer than he was in.  He has passed many milestones and keeps us on our toes & laughing.  Sometimes when we're bored we lay in bed and mimic him, and crack up.  Sleep-deprived parents?  Partly.  Overwhelming love for a child?  Definitely.  I think often about how I want to rear him, teach him, shape him.  And then I think about all the influences I had in my life, outside of my parents, and know that I will only be one of many for him.  Can Jake and I manage to respect him and yet teach him respect & discipline?  Can we harness the solid streak of perseverance he has and turn it to good things?  Will we remember that he is a wholly separate being from us, different and in need of discovery, not dictation?  I hope so.  This journey of parenthood is much like our walk with the Divine.  We too often are heedless, proud and independent, and then we are brought up short, reminded that we know very little and that our opinion is not law.  Last night we read an Advent reading about how Mary and Jesus related.  It left both of us a little breathless to think about the implications of the role of being Jesus' parent.  The writer said that Jesus, in His way, repeatedly pushed Mary away, the "sword piercing her soul", and yet Mary always followed, in faith.  This was her strength, this is how she was blessed - her iron faith.  And at the end Jesus severed his relationship with his mother completely.  "Woman, here is your son."  "Here is your mother."  He has John fill his role and he bows out to complete his earthly/heavenly mission.  What an ache!  To know, to be constantly reminded that your son is not really your son and that the mother-child relationship is not regarded as supremely important.  Ah, Mary, you were blessed.  But does blessing ever come without it's own form of aching?  Getting married means leaving single independence.  Having a child means self-sacrifice.  Believing means accepting that not everything can be understood or proven.  Not believing means accepting futility.  It is important to honor the blessing and just as important to honor the ache.  Living in dissonance, accepting both sides of the equation.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Erik's Birth Story - Proceed with caution!



The story of Erik’s birth and the events of our first week together:
Saturday, March 2 promised to be a lovely day.  Jake had planned to go golfing with a buddy from work and I had planned to have lunch with some friends, followed by pedicures.  We figured we should get in some time with friends before Erik made his appearance.  I got up at 5 a.m. for a routine bathroom trip, accompanied by the routine Braxton Hicks.  After climbing back into bed, however, the contractions (or surges) didn’t stop as they normally do.  I decided to start timing them.  They were irregular but persistent, coming every 7-10 minutes, but not painful.  I let Jake know I was timing them and he snoozed and I rested and wrote for the next two hours.  I finally fell asleep around 7 a.m. and slept til 8 a.m.  The contractions came back quickly after I woke up, but perhaps they had never left?  Jake decided to cancel his golf game but I said I was still going to lunch with the girls.  We got up, had breakfast and I gave Jake a haircut while having surges about 5-7 minutes apart.  They were starting to “pinch” at this time and I was making “OW” faces.  I left for lunch about 12 and by the time lunch was over I was squirming in my chair with each surge and feeling slightly nauseated.  We had already agreed to skip the nail salon J  I arrived home at 1:45 and my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart but only last 30 seconds.  I called the nurse triage line around 2:45 and asked what they thought I should do given the short nature of the contractions.  They advised I go to the hospital.  I hung around at home for another couple of surges because I didn’t want to get to the hospital and only be 3 or 4 cm.  We finally headed out the door at 3:15.  Between the car ride and the time we spent registering in the ER I had a few surges that brought tears to my eyes so the ER nurses took me up to OB triage quickly.  We did the required 20 minutes of fetal heart monitoring but I chose to lean over the bed instead of lying down.  I was 5 cm when she checked me.  We were soon in our labor room and I asked for the water tub to be filled. 
The next many hours were filled with increasing painful surges, many changes in position and a couple of episodes of vomiting.  We had taken the clock off the wall so I wouldn’t get discouraged by the slow passage of time so I don’t really know the timing of the rest of the labor.  I had surges on the toilet, in the birth tub, on the birth ball, leaning over the bed, on hands & knees on the bed, hanging around Jake’s neck, leaning on his back as he sat on the edge of the bed, lying down (very painful!), and hanging on the birth bar.  After several hours my midwife agreed to check me but I had told her not to tell me how many cms I was if I wasn’t at least 8.  She said, “Good job, you made your goal!  You’re 8 cm.”  In my estimation it took another two hours to get to 9 cm and another hour and a half to get to 9.5 cm.  My midwife said I had a large bag of “bulgy forewaters” and offered at 9 cm to break my water.  I declined but accepted when she offered again at 9.5 cm.  Erik immediately moved further down the birth canal and we got to the pushing stage pretty quickly.  But pushing lasted two hours and was the saddest part for me. 
Because I had vomited several times and was unable to keep anything down for long I lost my energy and my will to keep going by the time I got to 8 cm.  I started saying, “No more.  I don’t want to do this anymore.”  But I knew I didn’t have any choice.  By the time we got to pushing I had completely lost any desire to keep going and any energy I had left.  I kept saying, “I’m so tired.  I just want to sleep.”  I asked for pain medicine but everyone kept telling me, “You’re so close!  You said you wanted to do this without medication.”  They were sincerely trying to support my birth plan and I knew that and I didn’t push the issue because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of an epidural if I really was “so close”.  But I believe that had I insisted they would have listened to me. 
Between my lack of energy and having sort of “given up” emotionally & mentally, my midwife suggested that I push in a semi-reclined position.  She said, “I know you don’t like the idea of this position but you’ve said you’re really tired and I think you should lie down.”  I did try pushing while up on the birth bar but I really was too tired to stay upright.  I realized later that I should have had an IV put in and been given some sugar water long before I got to this point.  But somehow none of us, at that time, seemed to realize that would have been a big help to me.  So I pushed, quite ineffectively, for a while.  Then Erik started having variable decelerations with the pushing.  I had been trying not to hold my breath while pushing but when his decels started the midwife had the on-call OB notified and the midwife said, “Erik’s ok, but it would be better to get him out sooner rather than later.”  So they had me change to closed-mouth pushing, which Jake and I are both sad about because we wanted to avoid that.  I don’t know if the closed-mouth pushing caused Erik to continue with decels, or if it led directly to my post-birth complications but I didn’t know what else to do.  I wasn’t moving him down well at all and felt like my energy was being diffused rather than directed when pushing.  They got the mirror out for me to help me see what I was doing and that did help some, but I know that over and over in my head I was saying, “I don’t want to.  I don’t want to.”  And I know that that had a huge impact on how slowly things went.  Finally the midwife had the OB come in because we were beginning to discuss and episiotomy versus use of the suction.  Inside, I was actually relieved to think that I might get some help, although I did not want the episiotomy.  Well, the OB came in and assessed the situation and her reaction was, “Oh!  She doesn’t need help!  She’s got this!”  Those words were encouraging in a way because I assume that all OBs just want to intervene but she was confident in my ability to birth unaided.  In the end, with a lot of stretching from the OB and the midwife and with a lot of concentrated pushing and with lots of verbal encouragement from Jake and Kori (our hypnobirthing instructor who attended the birth) Erik finally came out at 2:03 a.m. on Sunday, 3/3/2013 and Jake cut the cord.  I had a 2nd degree tear and was so, so, so relieved that it was all over and I would never have to re-enact that birth ever again. Erik had his left hand up beside his head and the midwife doesn’t think that I would have torn if his hand hadn’t been there.  Erik cried immediately but settled down quickly.  He was very tired and didn’t attempt a crawl to the breast and didn’t want to nurse for a good while.  We did manage to nurse just before a full hour had passed.  In the meantime I gave him to Jake so I could concentrate on staying still for the midwife while she sewed me up.  By the time she was finishing I was saying, “Oh, man, I need to get off my butt!  It hurts a lot!”  (Jake was busy with helping Erik get weighed and cleaned up.) 
The pain in my buttocks continued to increase after my midwife had left and within an hour or two I couldn’t move with crying, despite having taken some Vicodin.  Also, every time I tried to get up my blood pressure would drop and I would get dizzy.  The nurse started IV fluids and checked my bottom but couldn’t see anything amiss.  She knew, however, from my behavior that something was wrong.  She called my midwife who immediately suspected a hematoma (A collection of blood in the tissues created by a ruptured blood vessel.  The growing mass of blood puts increasing pressure on the tissues and creates pain.)  The midwife came back to the hospital and as soon as she began an internal exam the hematoma, which was just on the other side of my vaginal wall, partially released.  It made my pain level go down dramatically but it made the midwife say, “I need a doctor in here.  NOW!”  So the OB who had been there during the delivery came back and I got loaded up with some IV pain medicine before being taken off to the OR for packing of the rupture in the vaginal wall and to provide pressure to stop the bleed.  I was told later that they took down the original stitches the midwife put in so they could get a better view of things, put the packing in and re-did the stitching of the tear.  Then I was sent for a CT scan to see if there was any active bleeding continuing.  There was not, but the CT showed why there wasn’t any external evidence of the hematoma.  The blood, instead of pooling with gravity in my butt, was pooling in my abdomen. 
By the way, Jake did a great job of being my labor partner and then staying calm throughout the following bit of chaos and taking care of Erik.  This next bit isn’t really funny because it shows how we medical personnel forget that others don’t always know what we’re talking about, but it is the most amusing thing of the entire story and that’s why I share it.  Jake thought when they said “packing” that they were going to use Styrofoam peanuts, like packing a box! 
So, after the OR and CT I was taken back to my room, given lots of fluids and three units of blood.  I finally got to just hold my little baby and loved snuggling with him.  Erik was discharged on Tuesday but he and Jake stayed in the hospital with me til I was discharged on Wednesday.  We had to wait for my blood counts to stabilize. 
By Friday morning, after only being home for one and a half days, my pain level was increasing and I made an early morning trip with Jake and Erik back to the midwives’ office.  The midwife who saw me was reluctant to examine me for fear that the hematoma might re-open.  She conferred with the backup OB in the office and they had me go to the ER and told me I would likely be re-admitted.  We spent most of the day in the ER trying to get my pain under control, doing another CT scan, realizing that I wasn’t fully emptying my bladder and having a catheter put in.  The full bladder, added to the hematoma, added to not having had a bowel movement in a week meant that I had too much matter in a very small space!  That was part of the reason for the increased pain.  I was admitted to a room later that evening and even though my OB saw me in the ER he didn’t examine me.  He said he wanted to keep me overnight for bladder rest and pain control.  Right before I left the ER for my overnight room the tech took my vitals and I was starting a fever.  The temperature reading was higher when my vital signs were checked later that evening and the on-call OB was notified.  She came and not only talked to me but did a gentle pelvic exam and said, “Oh, honey.  You have an odor.  You’re infected!”  She put me on three strong IV antibiotics because she was worried the hematoma might be becoming an abcess and we spent the next three days discussing whether or not they would and could drain the hematoma.  Finally I was sent home on oral antibiotics with a decompressed bladder and bowel, feeling much better.  (Thankfully, Jake’s mom was here over that time and kept Erik for three nights while Jake and I caught up on sleep.)

So what would I do differently and how have my opinions about birthing changed?
1.        I should have had the IV.
2.       I don’t know what I could have done differently with the pushing but I hope that next time it’s different.
3.       I completely understand why people get epidurals and I’m not sure I’ll tough it out “naturally” next time.
Now you know the rest of the story.








Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting ready for Babies

It is an interesting experience to be pregnant around Christmas when we are focused on the birth of Jesus.  I can definitely appreciate what Mary might have been experiencing.  And the truth is that around this time of year Mary would have only been about as far along in her pregnancy as I am because Jesus was born around April, not December.  That's only one of the inconsistencies in our "Christmas story".  There is no record of a donkey for Mary to ride on, the "manger" was a cave, not a wooden stable and the Magi didn't show up the night of Jesus birth, but about two years later!  So what are they doing in the manger scene? :)  Also, is it possible that Mary traveled to Bethlehem or gave birth without some other women being with her.   Did she have a midwife?  Did Joseph help?  Was she scared and lonely?  There are many ways I relate to Mary during this Advent season.  I am far from "home", far from my female support group, I have a new husband and am scared heading into labor and delivery, desperately wanting strong female support and not yet sure who that will be.  I am thankful for how involved my Jakers is though and what a great support he has been even when he is confused by all my emotions.

So last night we put out Christmas decorations, both religious and secular, and tonight we will get a small tree and decorate it.  I know it is disappointing for some family that we won't be with them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but I also think it's kind of neat that Jake and I get to try a holiday by ourselves in our first year of marriage.  This will be the only one we will ever have alone and I think we've already got a new tradition in place!  We made a Lego Christmas tree together and I can see us making something Christmas-y out of Legos each year with our kiddos.  We both enjoying piecing things together out of items that maybe had a different original purpose.  I don't think it would have been as much fun if we had had a Lego Christmas tree kit and instructions. :)   Hopefully we can also keep the gingerbread house decorating tradition alive that we got from the Morgans, which is also a kid-friendly activity :)  And now we have a Jesse tree that Sarah & LeGrande Iseley made us for our wedding.  Another family friendly activity that goes through the whole month!

A few nights ago we rearranged the guest room and our room to do some preparations for Baby Lurch.  Yes, it is definitely interesting thinking about the reality of our baby coming and seeing how that brings new meaning to the Advent season for us!

Why you don't store candles in the garage in Arizona.  Thankfully everything came apart rather easily!

No, the jester doll doesn't have much to do with Christmas in particular except that my brother gave it to me as a gift.  And it is the right colors.

Diffusing the red.  Notice the incorporated kung fu sash?  Look for another one in another picture!

Old Owl getting in the spirit :)

Thanks, Lin, for the placemats!  I was wondering how I was going to change out the table decos for Christmas.  We have the handtowels up in the bathrooms too.

Our Lego tree is now sitting on the red table with the white kung fu sash and Jake thinks it's cool that we again have a table with a kung fu sash and Legos, just like at our wedding :)

Our Lego tree

My creation


We've had this varied assortment of candlesticks on our piano since we moved in and I thought was awesome that we had just the right number for the Advent candles that Jake's mom sent us.



We have some catching up to do on our Jesse tree.  We should be on day 7 today :)

Nativity set from Aruba.  Who gave this to me?  Mom?  Need to fix some broken pieces.

Jake putting up greenery that his parents sent us from VA

Our tree

A wedding gift and Christmas ornament

Ditto
Rearranged guest room.  Trundle bed is put away.

Daddy!

Our rearranged room with the Moses basket and nightlight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Highlights, Lowlights and Christmas Lights

Highlights:
Jake's parents came to visit and we had some adventures.
A day trip to beautiful Sedona where they have deciduous trees and we got to crunch some leaves.  We also got to see a Christmas light display there.
A day trip to Cave Creek where we got to ride bikes and Lauda got to have a peanut butter shake!  Sonic stopped making them a long time ago :(
Jake's 31st birthday (Which we don't have any pictures of! But he got a pizza stone from his parents and wooden blocks from Lauda.  We discovered the blocks in Charleston on our honeymoon.)

Lowlight:  Lauda had a 24+ hour encounter with another kidney stone

The pictures are out of order time-wise.  We went to Cave Creek the day after we went to Sedona but the Cave Creek pictures are first.   Thanks, Blogger.


Looking great at 31!

Lin & Winston

This mama ain't sittin' on the porch while everyone else has fun!

L&W in Cave Creek, AZ

Great place for a peanut butter shake!

Lin, posing in a pic to send to Austin (her first grandson)

I didn't let Jake look at the other side of the billboard til after I took the picture :)

Jake and his mama



Red Rocks in Sedona, AZ


Lauda, Jake, Lin & Winston


Aloe plant



The Red Rock Fantasy Christmas Light Competition in Sedona, AZ



Snowmen humor



Jake's sentiments exactly
Ice Age
Penguin Fun
Same Harmon lineup, with jackets on
Mickey's Christmas Tree
I made Jake pose for this
Veggie Tales!
Pink Panther
Sparkles!!  I wish Julian and Sophia could been there!
Gross and funny!  Those are the mucous bugs from the Mucinex commercial!
Sneezin's Greetins!!