Tuesday, April 26, 2011

week 2 snapshots.

filed under "new developments": 

one more 3am meltdown because baby girl wouldn't latch or wouldn't eat (i can't remember which, to be honest with you) meant i gave up actually breastfeeding. me and my breast pump, though, are super good friends.  breast pump is the kind of friend you can count on in a pinch--there at all hours, loyal, true. 

and i'm getting heaps more than i used to.  if by heaps you mean i'm pumping more than an ounce from both at a time. considering i used to barely get .5 ounces, this is happy news.


i got pooped on.  i've been peed on and spit up on. those i can deal with.  but the poop--man.  that was nasty. 

but i prayed for poop, and boy did she hand it to me.

file this under "be careful what you pray for" category or, perhaps better, "be grateful even when your answers aren't QUITE what you had anticipated."


gas.  spit up.  i used to think these things were totally normal. and apparently they are.  but when your baby is the one who is spitting up, without a care in the world like it doesn't matter that she does it routinely when she's sleeping so that her little face is in a wet stain, it begins to feel far from normal.

(although apparently like 60% of babies spit up, and there's nothing wrong with her, and it's totally normal and just get used to the extra laundry, mom). 


according to my non-scientific "get on the scale with the baby, put the baby down, get back on the scale," my girl has gained 13 ounces in a week, to just about 8 pounds.  that would be MORE than what she's supposed to be gaining.  that would thriving, folks. 

and we may be moving out of newborn diapers.  after the poosplosion, i'm definitely not a fan of one brand of newborn diapers. 

she's got to be doing well if she's gaining weight so well.  and i swear she's looking more like a person. must be all that extra meat on her bones. her wrinkled old man brow is hardly noticeable anymore.  she's still got the expressive forehead (that's from me), but it's much less old man like.

i'm so glad we captured it so well in pictures.

filed under "things that melt my heart": 

sometimes, when she wakes up content or when she has just eaten, i swear baby girl has smiles in her eyes.  over the past week, she just seems so much...happier.  this is, of course, contrasted by her frustrating screamfests at night, when she just won't go to sleep even though she is exhausted and soothing her requires an act of congress or a combination of at least three of the Happiest Baby S's (do you know this? it works, i swear). 

but sometimes, as she's drifting off to sleep, she gives these huge grins that show her little baby gums and i feel myself grin too.  she's just so cute.

and other times, she'll smile just for the heck of it.  i know they're not at me, but more and more i think they might be getting close.


this morning, operating on 3 hours of sleep and facing a pretty wild day ahead, i brought baby girl upstairs and put her next to her semi-awake daddy in the big bed.  she wasn't yet asleep, so i knew if i put her in her bassinette, she'd cry and that would be problematic since i needed to go do stuff. 

i came back about 30 minutes later to find my baby and my husband both asleep and both snoring just a little bit, that sort of deep breathing snore you do when you're asleep.

anyone who says this child isn't her daddy's girl is CRAZY. i would invite them to see any one of her many mannerisms that match her dad's. 

seeing that made my morning. those are the moments that make the long days worthwhile.


on sunday, musicboy and i found some time to just be us again.  it's hard when you're new parents, because you're strapping on these weighty new roles and there's this little person who is exceptionally demanding in the sense that the needs are neverending and constant.  i don't say that to complain or begrudge, but only to articulate that, yes, it never ends.

that can be hard sometimes, especially if you're accustomed to having stretches of time when you can just be with the person that you love most, uninterrupted.

babies are nothing if not an adorable, loved, welcomed interruption.

but on sunday, feeling a bit battleweary from the past week and a bit frightened by the looming week ahead, we found time to remember who we are.  there's something about sundays that let this happen--i consider it a tender mercy of the Lord on His day.  He helps us refocus and recenter ourselves in every way, if we let him. 

so musicboy and i camped out on the couch while maggie blissfully slept a few feet away.  it was lovely, it was peaceful, it was exactly what we needed.

i think we need more of it, actually.


i have begun trying to sing to maggie to soothe her when she's fussy. there is major power in "I Am a Child of God"--it works almost every time to get her to start to close her eyes and drift off to sleep.

as i was singing it last night for the fifth time, i think, i realized that the third verse really captured how i felt last night: "I am a child of God / His promises are sure / Celestial glory shall be mine / If I can but endure."

sometimes i feel like i have to know everything right now. sometimes i feel like i have to be perfect at everything right now. some nights, like last night, though, are about endurance. they're about enduring well and doing your best as you do.  they're about realizing when you're in the red zone of frustration, and being grateful that your husband came upstairs because he knew you were too. they're about crying a little and praying a lot and then getting back at it because you can.  they're about realizing that, even when you're tired and feel like you don't have much left to give, you do. and you're not alone.

realizing, as i was singing to this tiny child of God, that i was one too and that i was just as loved and cared for by that God as she was helped a lot.  i suddenly felt very much like i was not alone, and it gave me strength.

filed under "things i'm struggling with":

cabin fever.  i have been out of the house five times since i came home from the hospital. three of those were doctor's visits and two were very short trips to a store to purchase either food or baby necessities. 

this is not okay, but i only realized how not okay it was yesterday.  somehow the days just happen and before i know it, it's 5pm and it's really too late to go on a walk or it's too late to plan to go anywhere.

and the reason i haven't gone anywhere, really, is because she's too little. i don't want to expose her to the germs that are inherent in a place like the grocery store. (listen, i know when i've gone to the grocery store--bad times.  babies don't need that.) so i have felt, to a certain extent, chained to the house.  unless musicboy is there, i can't leave.

i think, for my own sanity, i need to amend that.  today, i think we're going to go to the local copy center to fax an insurance form.  it seems like a baby step but an important one.  then maybe we'll just drive around with the windows down. baby girl loves the car.  i don't think she'll mind.

mom might do well with a little sunshine.

and tomorrow, when we have musicboy home a bit more, we're going to get out the stroller and take a little walk. 

i think it's all doable--it's just...difficult to find ways to make it all work in our day. i'm still new at this, so trying to find ways to include everything is challenging.  i still haven't really figured out the dishes/laundry/clean up the house/cooking thing with a baby.  but i'm working on it.


my body.

i get that it's been 20 days since i gave birth, and that i was pregnant for something like 275.  i get that it took a while for the weight to pack on, and that it will take a while to go back. i'm fine, actually, with that.

what i'm not fine with is that i have no clothes to wear.  none of my pants fit.  seriously. they don't fit.  and i didn't like my maternity pants particularly when i had to wear them.  so here i am, with like two pairs of shorts and some pajama pants that fit. i would imagine my skirts and dresses fit, since they fit when i was pregnant, but i have no pants.

(remember when baby girl didn't have any pants? now it's my turn.)

this depresses me in ways that i can't even articulate.  the scale has totally plateaued for about a week now, which i suppose i'm glad that it's not going up (since i haven't been eating as well as i should) but i don't know how to make it go down. i'm not sure if i'm not eating enough (i'm not sure if my abysmal milk production actually counts as "breastfeeding" in terms of calories) or if the lack of sleep for ages and ages is contributing (i tend to hold on to my weight if i'm not sleeping at least 7 hours a night, and i'm pretty sure it was still 2010 when that happened last).  i know i'm not drinking as much as i should, because i'm really thirsty when i'm not pushing the water down (that, i know, is breastfeeding). 

yesterday, when i went to target, i had to wear brent's athletic shorts because mine had been pooped on and were in the washer.  i felt HUGE and self-conscious the whole time.  i felt huge when i was pregnant, but i was proud of my hugeness. now i feel like i've slingshotted back to where i was before i lost all of my weight, and i hate the way that makes me feel.

it sent me into a royal funk that made last night, with maggie's fussiness and musicboy's need to study, very difficult for me.  i may have melted down a little bit. i may have been stuck in a bit of a woe-is-me attitude.  i may have been bluesing a little bit (though i have been SO together lately!). 

i just hate it.  i know i'll have to work hard to get my body back. i know it. i'm okay with that--i really am. i just wish my body could throw me a bone and let me back into my clothes while i do.  it's a lot easier to work hard on yourself when a heaping dose of self-loathing isn't poisoning your proverbial kool-aid.


maggie's nap schedule.  she sleeps like a champ in the night and in the mornings. once about 6pm rolls around, she starts fighting it big time.  so she'll spend the entire time between feedings either being totally alert and awake or fussing, making her even more tired when the next feeding comes around, and eventually she gets so overtired that she's a little beast child to try to get to sleep.

we're working on getting her to sleep as much as we can, but it's a struggle.  some days are better than others. i see nap tantrums in my future.  i'm already planning how to deal.  :) 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

trusting your gut.

i have a problem.

my problem is that i read too much.  and when i read, i run into conflicting information.  and when i do, i'm in a quandry--who do i believe? how do i decide what to do?

i've already encountered this. in our approximately 36 hours in the hospital post-delivery, we encountered at least three conflicting opinions about breastfeeding.  that was interesting.

(and by interesting, i mean infuriating.)

now we're working on sleep. i think we've got the feeding thing down for now, and she's seeming to settle into a 2 1/2 hour pattern, which is apparently what we're striving for.  actually, i'm just striving for consistency. i'm fine with whatever she wants to do, but the 2 1/2 hour pattern seems to be what's regulating her metabolism.  i like it. i'll take it. 

she's sleeping 4 hour stretches at night, which is wonderful.  she goes back down after her 3:30 or 4:00 feeding really well.  nights are manageable right now (though i just knocked on wood because i don't want that to change at all--but she's almost always been that way, since she was born).  we've got a rhythm and a system and i like how it's all going.

but naps, man.  naps are evil.  she's gotten into this habit where she won't go down easily, she won't stay in her bed, she has to sleep on or near one of us, and she certainly won't go to sleep without us holding or swaying with her to get her to go to sleep.

apparently, this is the Worst Thing Ever to instill in your child--bad sleep habits. BAD parents.

so here's the thing.  we're not supposed to rock her to sleep. we're supposed to put her in her bed while she's still awake.


we're also not supposed to let her cry too much, because now is when her sense of trust is being established.  now is when she's figuring out that the big lady and the big guy are the ones who take care of her, who protect her, who love her.

so i'm like...uhm, i'm seeing a rock and a hard place here.  she's a cuddler. she likes to be with us.  she's nearly 3 weeks old--far too young to sleep train at this point. i'd love to be able to put her in her bed and have her stay there and go to sleep, but most of the time she just wails.  it becomes counterproductive to our goal, really, because we want her to sleep, not get excessively overexcited and impossible to soothe for minutes at a time.

the whole point of this is to get her to sleep MORE, not less. 

so information a: train your baby to sleep by herself.  information b: don't let her cry too much. attend to her needs as soon as possible.

well, when a creates b, what does one do?

here's where my problem comes in, and here's where the advice of many moms, but one in particular, keeps ringing in my mind: trust your instincts.

i want baby girl to be able to sleep by herself. of course i do. she doesn't sleep in our bed, and we'll be moving her to her crib in a few weeks. i want her to be independent, to self-soothe, to do all of those things that every parent wants their child to do.  i don't have any personal need for her to sleep on my chest every night or to fall asleep in my arms for every nap. i really don't. my ego is not involved here, i promise.

but i also know that she's not ready for that. for whatever reason, she's just not ready.  six weeks keeps ringing in my mind--it really seems to be reverberating, and has since she was born--as the beginning o the window of when it might be possible for us to start.  in the meantime, it seems to me, her successful sleep is more important. when they're asleep, that's when they grow.  when they're asleep, that's when their brains make their paths with all the learning that they've been doing. 

but see, it feels like she's been with us forever, and so sometimes i expect and want her to behave like more than the newborn she is.  for a kid who just came to this world and has to figure out a whole host of really confusing things, she's doing really well. 

i wish i was doing as well at trusting what my instincts tell me.  sometimes, i just want to know that it's the right thing to do.  reaching outside of myself, outside of our family, outside of the Lord--it's just not the best way to do it.

i keep doing it though.  i keep looking for that reassurance.  i'm so new at this, just like baby girl.  sometimes i just want someone who knows for sure to nod and say "yep. you got this."

i know where that nod could come from, if i would just ask Him more often.  sometimes i ask, and then i feel it.   i should do it more often and i should trust what i feel more often.  i think i'm learning.

in the meantime, we keep on. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Baby Story, Part 4: Angels All Around Me

Read part one, part two, and part three.
We started pushing, after a brief tutorial on how. My doctor and nurse were awesome coaches. I had a bit of trouble sustaining the second and third pushes per contraction because I wasn’t breathing right.  They told me what to do differently, and I did it, and it went pretty well.

Musicboy had never planned on being right there, to see everything, but he was in charge of holding my right leg, so he got a birds eye view.  He kept telling me “she’s right there! I see her hair!” and things like that. I was really just supremely focused on pushing. 

It was all totally surreal.

I pushed for maybe 10 minutes.  Apparently, after all of that, I am a really effective pusher.  I was glad that wasn’t belabored, especially when the baby’s heartrate started to do something funky. I’m still not sure, but they wanted me to push harder and have the baby. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t a drama, it was just a “let’s do this thing.”

I was on board.

My mom and musicboy’s mom were on my right, in the corner. They could see what was going on. I found it somewhat strange that everyone else could see everything, but I couldn’t.  I still find that slightly strange. Perhaps next time, I’ll want to see. I’m not sure though.

We pushed and pushed and pushed. I think it might have been three or five contractions. Then we got to the phase where the baby was right there but the doctor wanted me to breathe through them and not push.  That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Then she got these giant scissors out and I thought “oh good grief. seriously? she’s going to cut me?” but then she asked musicboy if he was going to cut the cord and I realized that we really were that close.

We pushed and everyone could see her head. I remember musicboy saying that she was moving around, which seemed rather impossible to me but, again, concentrating on the task at hand.  They were all crying at the wonder of it all.

I was in a zone. 

And then she was here.  And it was surreal.

She was sort of blueish, but not scary blue. More like purply pink.  She apparently had the cord wrapped around her neck twice.  I didn’t see that, but musicboy did.  I just was looking at her thinking “this is her” and thinking how surreal it all was.

I didn’t have that huge moment of “I’m totally in love with her” then.  It was just…surreal. I don’t know how else to put it, and that’s my completely honest take.  I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know what to say or to do.  I just…looked at her, on my belly, and was completely blown away by the reactions of everyone else. I think I was in a fog of a kind, which makes sense given what happened later, that sort of prevented me from really knowing what was going on.  Plus, when you give birth to your first child, and suddenly there’s this person that has been kicking you and headbutting you and hiccupping for nine months, it’s a little overwhelming.

I don’t regret that feeling of overwhelming. I actually think I appreciate very much having my emotional memories of that moment be proxy ones, as I watched my husband fall in love with our daughter and my mom and mother-in-law beam with pride. They all quickly went over to the baby warmer across the room and kept giving me updates.

“She has my webbed toes!”

“She’s sucking her fingers!”

“She hates the light!”

“She has BLUE eyes!”

“She has your nose and my mouth.”

“She’s perfect.”

In the meantime, the doctor and I were working on the cleanup.  I’m going to get really specific here, because I’m recording this not just for you but for myself and I don’t want to forget anything.  It might be a little gruesome for those of you who are squeamish, but I don’t particularly think so.  Of course, I also don’t think getting peed on is a big deal anymore and thought that gushing amniotic fluid was comedy gold, so use that as your barometer.

The placenta came out intact, or so the doctor thought. But there was blood. A LOT of blood, and it wasn’t stopping.  We had begun to repair a small tear (barely anything, because the doctor was AWESOME at getting me to go slow and because my baby was smallish, I think), but that was soon diverted into what can only be described as uterine spelunking.  My doctor told me to grab the button that would give me extra doses for my epidural and to keep hitting it.

And then she went exploring.  The bleeding wasn’t stopping, and she was looking for the source. It hurt, but I can’t IMAGINE how much it would have hurt without the epidural. 

She finally told me what was going on. 

“The placenta came out intact, but I feel something attached. It could be a piece of endometrium, but I don’t want to pull it in case it’s something else. I’m going to get Dr. Head Honcho to come look at it.”

One thing I truly loved about the doctor who delivered my baby—she had heart, and she always told me what was going on. Somehow, I wasn’t afraid.  I don’t know why I wasn’t afraid. I felt slightly detached. I kept looking over at the baby and my family surrounding her, and I felt detached.

Of course, I was losing copious amounts of blood, so that may have had something to do with it.  I didn’t really know that at the time. 

Dr. Head Honcho came in and examined me.  I remember that he was kind.  And I remember him telling me that if we couldn’t get the bleeding stopped, they were going to have to take me to the OR to do a D&C.

I might have been a little bit scared then, but I don’t remember being so. I just remember feeling safe in the hands of these people who had cared for me and knowing that everything was going to be okay.

Then I remember these words: “I want her in the OR in 7 minutes.”

Things became a bit of a rush then. My nurse was constantly calling for things using my call button. I remember her being really annoyed that they took so long to answer, though it was probably only 30 seconds. I remember tubes and IV poles and getting things ready for transport.  I remember my doctor telling me that everything was going to be okay. I remember signing some forms.   I remember realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to hold my baby before we went. As they were wheeling me out, I had musicboy hold her out to me so that I could kiss her.

I think that’s when I started to be scared.

As they were wheeling me down the hall, my delivery doctor told me that she was staying with me and that she was going to tell me what was happening.  She ran down what was going to happen: the bleeding hadn’t stopped, so they were going to do a D&C. Hopefully, they could use my epidural so that they wouldn’t have to put me under, but they would put me under if they had to.  If they couldn’t stop the bleeding that way, they would take me down to radiology to try to stop the blood supply to my uterus. If there was a chance that I would die, they would take my uterus.

That’s when I started to cry, as visions of my girl being the only one I’d get to have ran through my mind.  It was the first time I’d cried since the whole emergency began.

The doctor saw and was very comforting, telling me that that was incredibly rare, that more than likely everything would be fine, that she just had to tell me the options.

She told me that I would be receiving a blood transfusion and that in 1 in 100 cases, I might catch something from it. 

She said that she would be there the whole time, and would tell me what was going on.

The OR was a flurry of activity, with kind faces everywhere. I was scared, but mainly scared that I was going to feel it.  My epidural felt like it was beginning to wear off, but soon they were dosing me and positioning me and I just was so scared that I was going to feel it. I just didn’t think I could handle that.

They asked me if I wanted a sedative, and I said yes after thinking about it. It seemed like a wise course of action.

Then I either fell asleep or passed out, because I didn’t come to until they were done. If you want to catalog the tender mercies of that day, from top to bottom, there are probably too many to mention. My selfish one, though, is that I was unconscious for the whole thing. I woke up and they were waiting to see if the bleeding really had stopped—because it had, and everything had gone beautifully, and they were just waiting to see.

In the meantime, my hips were KILLING me from the position I was in.  I asked them if it was normal to feel like this was just the worst inner thigh workout ever. They sort of laughed and said yes.  I also felt like it was really important to tell them that I was really thirsty. I blame the sedative for that.

Dr. Head Honcho was wonderfully kind and very in control. It was rather fascinating to watch how everyone jumped when he said to do something.  I felt totally taken care of, even though I was desperate to move.  Soon it was over and they were wheeling me into recovery, amid promises that my husband would be there.  I was also told that I would spend the night in my L&D room—and that I could see my baby.

That was good.

I don’t really know what it was like for everyone I left in the room. I know that musicboy held our girl for as long as they would let him.  I know that the parents let him be, knowing that he was worried about me. That meant that, for the parents, they didn’t get to hold her at all that day.  But I know that, from the time the whole hemorrhage started, I knew that this was why I was prompted to get the epidural.  I knew that the decision was the right one, for so many reasons.  I knew that I was cradled in the hollow of the Lord’s hand the whole time. 

At no point did I not feel anything but taken care of, both by the human angels that surrounded me and saw a problem and fixed it immediately, who took care to make me feel better, who showed me kindness in such huge measure, but also of the unseen angels who comforted me and buoyed me up and helped me to get through what was a very hard day.

Birth is a miracle. Of course it is.  Our birth story, for me, is full of lots of other kinds of miracles.  It’s the kind of story that reminds me of just who Heavenly Father is and how He works. It’s the kind of story that reminds me that prayer works, that the Spirit does prompt us, and that we are blessed when we listen.  It’s the kind of story that helps me to remember that I am important, individually, to my Heavenly Father and that this work of parenthood is sacred.  It’s the kind of story that renews my faith in humanity. It’s a story of the partnership between musicboy and me, of encountering hurdles and overcoming them, of grabbing on to each other and holding tight. It’s the story of love, every kind of love, and that’s the greatest miracle of all.

Margaret Joan was born on April 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm.  She is a blessing, she is a treasure, she is a miracle. Her story is a miracle. So many things could have gone so terribly wrong. So many things went so differently than I had anticipated them going. Yet, she is here and she is beautiful and we are blessed.  We are healthy.  We are unscathed.  We are whole.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. She’s worth it. 

We are a family. 

A Baby Story, Part Three: Darkest before the Dawn.

Part two is here, and part one is here.

Three hours later, we were still waiting.  I wasn’t upset. They were updating me—there were something like three crash c-sections, some woman who was having her fifth child next door was farther ahead of me and needed it, and they were obviously shorthanded. The contractions weren’t much worse, so we were just laboring through them.  They did, however, kick everyone out when they were coming, so my mom and musicboy’s parents had to keep poking their heads in to see if it was all clear.

Eventually, they came.  The whole process wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I never saw the ginormous needle everyone fears, and the worst part was the numbing stuff (I know everyone says that, but it really was true).  It was an odd sensation, the whole thing, but they got me all set up and back in bed and the nurse said she was going to wait until I was good and numb before catheterizing me (oh yay).

I began to notice, though, that on my left side, in the lower part of my abdomen, I could still feel some pretty impressive contractions. My right side seemed good—I couldn’t feel them, and my leg felt tingly but not completely dead.  I just figured it was going to take a while to get numb.

Meantwhile, back at the ranch, the doctor who had triaged me at 5 that morning came back in, saying “I went home and slept and you’re still here. Let’s have a baby, shall we?”  I liked her then, and I definitely liked her now, though her forceful assertion that I needed pitocin and to break my water was a bit overwhelming. Then she checked me, and said I was still at 5.  I was pretty much on board then.  So they hooked me up to Pitocin and broke my water (not much came out—you’re welcome, but that becomes important later in a more hilarious portion of our tale). 

Then everyone left but musicboy. 

That’s when it hit.

For something like 10 minutes, I had the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. It was all-encompassing, all-consuming, completely maddening pain. I was writhing, feeling everything because somehow it seemed like the contraction overwhelmed what epidural I had been feeling, starting from that patchy left side and moving over to the right. I could feel it everywhere, and it was not letting up.

I was sobbing, begging for it to stop—begging anyone, everyone. I literally begged Heavenly Father to make it stop. I begged musicboy to help me. I begged and pleaded and sobbed and it wouldn’t go away. 

Something was definitely wrong.

My eyes were closed, but I could hear musicboy begin to cry. I think that’s when I knew that it was bad. He’d been so strong, so tough, so able to see me work through pain. But this was worse than anything we’d experienced before, and it WOULDN’T STOP. 

My nurse, who’d watched my labor for nearly 12 hours and do it pretty well, walked in and realized something was really wrong. She called for anesthesiology, and they came in and realized something was really, really wrong.

Apparently, my epidural didn’t really take.  And apparently, the Pitocin, at the same time, had caused my uterus to get a bit hyperexcited.  That combined into the worst 10 minutes I can remember.

And at the same time, the parents wanted to come back in. At this point, the anesthesiologist was actively working on getting my dose right and the massive contraction had finally stopped.  Every contraction got a little bit better, but we told them to stay out until I wasn’t writhing anymore. 

It got better, but that was scary. 

The doctor had said that she would come back in four hours to check me, but she was impatient or perhaps knew that I was moving.  After the anesthesiologist, great man that he was, got me all set, I was fine. I could still feel my legs, but I couldn’t feel the contraction pain.  I had a lot of control, actually, over my body, which was good because they kept moving me from side to side because Baby Girl’s heart variables kept them hopping. 

I got my epidural at 6:30. The massive contraction hit around 7, I would guess.  Once I was comfortable and settled, I sent musicboy with his parents to eat something. He hadn’t really left me all day, and after what we had been through, I figured he needed a breather. My mom was very happy to stay with me; it was good to have her there.  When they returned, around 8:30, I was at 8.  Musicboy went out to update his parents of my progress (finally! progress!) and the doctor had me push a little.  Suddenly, I was at a 9 and musicboy said he was glad he came back when he did. 

As we got closer, I started to feel gushing every time I would have a contraction.  It was HILARIOUS to me.  It was amniotic fluid coming out as the baby’s head descended and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I so wanted to know what it felt like to have your water break. Every 2 or 3 minutes, I felt it. It was bizarre.

When I told them, and they checked it, there was meconium in the fluid, which had been clear previously. It was just more things to keep them a bit concerned about the baby.  They wanted to put an internal monitor on me to check the contractions, but I was progressing so fast that it wasn’t necessary.

I think I surprised them. I don’t think I was surprised. 

By 9:25 or so, I was pushing. I knew I would fly through those last few centimeters if I got the epidural. I just knew it.

I had no idea, though, how it would all finish.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

thing number one of a million, at least.

today, maggie and i walked out to get the mail. it was our first trip outside when she was not already in her car seat. it was our first "walk."

it was bright, which she didn't love, but i narrated as we went.  and as we were getting back to our door, mail in hand, the wind blew and she felt it for the first time. i could see the look on her face, trying to figure out what that new and lovely sensation was, and i told her it was the wind.

and it struck me that i just introduced her to something she didn't know.

and i cried, just a little, at the magnitude of it all.

my baby just felt the wind for the first time. and i got to be a part of it. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

stalwart and true.

my husband is my rock.

i know people say that, and i have even said it before, but i've seen a side of him lately that i don't think i even realized i would see.

he is my defender. he is my shield.

because the baby is so young, we're not taking her to church yet.  but, because he has responsibilities, musicboy needed to go. so he went to the first hour and then he came home to help me and to be with us, and then he went back to choir (because he is necessary there--he's not named musicboy for nothing). 

now before i tell this story, please understand that i am not upset by it. i understand it, and i'm not even really that surprised by it.  i think there's just something about pregnancy and new motherhood that makes people think that they have the right and/or privilege to interject opinions about anything and everything. i didn't get too terribly much of that when i was pregnant, so it's entirely possible that now is the time that i'll get to experience this.

however, on sunday, it was musicboy who did.

let me say, also, that breastfeeding is basically at a standstill. i am taking my magical herbs and i am drinking my water and i am trying to get enough rest (ha--i believe the bags under my eyes are there to stay now), but the supply is just not increasing. the lactation consultant told me to breast feed first, then supplement.  so we are.  that's what we're doing.  and it's working pretty well.  but there's no way on this earth that i have enough milk to give maggie what she needs to grow.  in fact, i have a abysmal amount of milk.  but i'm still trying and we're still going at it and i don't know how long that will continue, but it's what's happening for now.

(the pediatrician basically told me today that there's no real way for me to be an exclusive breastfeeder. this news was far from depressing for me; it's what i've been feeling for a long time, and it's nice to have it confirmed by the guy who is In Charge of Maggie's Health.  so we're supplementers for now and that's fine.  i'm going to try to make it to six weeks. we'll see.)


this has been terribly difficult for me.  it's not that it's a pride thing--it's a frustration thing. it's a "why can't i do it?" thing. it's a "i wish i could do it" thing. it's a "why can't anything go the way i think it should thing?" it's a "why won't you latch?" and "why won't you eat?" and, at times, an hourly struggle to get through feedings and hopefully give her enough so that she is happy and contented and will sleep.

i have cried tears over nipple shields and an obviously hungry baby and a baby who won't latch on and a whole host of other things. i have prayed prayers to figure out what to do. musicboy and i have both felt really good about what we're doing. as musicboy said, much of parenthood is winging it. i think we're winging it quite well.

(confirmed by awesome pediatrician, who gave maggie an a+ today, and said we're doing great. he told me to do what will not stress me out, because it's very hard to do both breastfeeding and supplementing [word--each feeding takes about an hour, start to finish], and that we should do what works for us because she will do equally well on either.  he wants us to be able to enjoy her, because, and i quote, "she'll only be this age once." wise man, that one.)

on sunday, he went to choir. one of the older women in our ward, who i dearly love but who i think sometimes doesn't think before she speaks, asked him if i was breastfeeding. he, honest as he is, told her that we were both breastfeeding and supplementing.  and she basically told him that was wrong, that the baby needed the breastmilk, and on and on.  when told that my supply was quite limited, she said something about supply and demand.  she said something to the effect that maybe she should just talk to me, which he suggested would NOT be a good idea.  at that point, her husband told her they had to go (not out of any sense that she was being inappropriate, but because of some prior engagement).

and my husband came home upset. when he walked through the door, i could tell.

he didn't want to tell me. but he did, because i made him.  and he was upset.  he was as close to angry as he ever gets.  and i think, mainly, it was because of how it might have affected me.  but also, i think it was a small taste, for him, of what women deal with all of the time related to this issue--judgment of parenting styles and choices because someone thinks they know better.

i have been guilty, 100%, of this.  not of judging someone who doesn't breastfeed, but of a whole host of other judgments that were not warranted or fair or even any of my business.

(no one has elected me judge and jury. i like to wear the robe, sometimes, but i'm learning that it doesn't fit well.)

i was struck, through this whole interchange when he was telling me about it, at how musicboy stepped up to shield me from what he knew would have broken me a little. someone that i genuinely like, essentially saying that we were making the wrong decision, that we were putting our child in some sort of jeopardy?

he stepped up, and he took the blow for me.  that's what it felt like, anyways, and i was struck once again at what a fantastic husband and father he is and will continue to be. his instincts are so good.

even the instinct he said he had that, if she had continued, he would have told her that we have stewardship over our little girl. she is our gift, our blessing, our responsibility. that means she comes with revelation--and that nothing we have done yet has been without prayerful consideration. 

nobody gets to question that. NOBODY.

anyways.  i'm sort of sorry to say that i've entered the ranks of Women With Breastfeeding Issues, but i'm proud to say i'm married to the very best man in the world.  he listens to me. he gives me confidence. he takes the baby, even when he has to get up in the morning for school, so that i can sleep an extra hour or so.  he lets me cry on his shoulder about the same things i keep crying on his shoulder about, and he doesn't once tell me to suck it up or that life is hard or that it's not that big of a deal.  he just weathers the storm and holds my hand through it, telling me all of the things that i forget to tell myself--that i'm doing great, that we're doing well, that maggie is healthy and happy, that we will be given all that we need.

for that, i am so grateful.  i am so blessed, and i know it.  even through the hard stuff, it's worth it to see our family begin to take a new shape.  we're all changing over here. i think i'm being humbled. i think musicboy is being elevated, being strengthened, becoming the head of our family.

i think this is a beautiful thing to see.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

week 1: word snapshots.

feeding, feeding, feeding.  recording amounts and diaper changes and times.  my girl's days are recorded in ounces and wipes because every time i go somewhere, they ask me for the stats.


weird and perplexing postpartum symptom: swollen feet.  at first it was both feet and hands, but then it pretty much settled into my right foot.  one night, i joked that i was always going to have an elephant foot.  it's almost become a barometer of how much sleep i've gotten. when i hit four or five hours, the swelling goes down.


sweet dreamy dreaming smiles.  she, like her daddy, has an active sleep life.  those smiles make everyone laugh, promising mischievous and sweet conscious ones to come.


bad day, two days home: maggie refuses to eat from me.  pumping doesn't seem to work very well, since i have a manual pump, and she spits up most of the formula that we feed her.  i've never felt so desperate, so helpless, so anxious in my life.

we pray.  fervently. help us find an answer. 

knock on the door, not five minutes later.  someone with a pump to help us, someone with a story just like ours, someone with a can of formula in their car that worked for them.  someone who listened, someone who served, someone who literally answered our prayers.

my testimony grows. my gratitude exponentially increases.  hope returns.


rocking, swaying, soothing, trying to avoid the creaks in the floor. static on the radio all night long, husband asleep because class cones too early, light on, finally sleep for me.  soon a stereo sound of family love--baby fast breathing and settling into sleep sighs, husband with small snores.  i smile. 


fine baby hair, nearly mullet-y in the back, nuzzling up to my chin.  calm when she's near me, making me realize i have mommy magic.  best thing ever: my girl asleep on my chest.  bad sleep habits be darned: she does it every once in a while and when she does, the world seems a better place to be in.


falling asleep sitting up, shaken into consciousness, have never been so tired and yet still so able to carry on.  so tired of hearing people tell me to sleep.  "no one can sleep for you," someone said. yes.  no one can grade my papers or feed my baby either.  when i'm home alone, no one else can take care of my daughter.  so, exactly how am i supposed to sleep all of the time?  people need to learn to be quiet. 

but i still try to sleep more than i was.  averaging 2 hours a day is just not sustainable. 


milk production, fenugreek, nipple shields, lactation consultant.  deciding to just do the best we can, supplementing and praying for guidance.  finally, unexpected re-success: latching on without props! she did it almost herself, and we're still doing it.  we relearn things here, over and over, from how to eat to how to trust in ourselves and in Heavenly Father.


family scripture time, baby in the big bed, melting heart with the reality that this is what life is made for.


sometimes i forget how hard my delivery was.  sometimes when i get up, my body reminds me.  i'm still trying to figure out how to recover. logistically, it seems nearly impossible. yet, i think it's happening.


big bright violet eyes, looking all around, conversations about everything and anything, hoping to stimulate her brain.  singing songs with made-up lyrics, carrying on a family tradition.  i see myself literally reflected in her big eyes. i wonder what she thinks about me being the mom.  it still blows my mind.


late night rocking, hoping to get some sleep, but every night i say a prayer more fervent than the last night's.  bless my maggie. help her be healthy. help me to be strong. help me to be confident. help us to know what to do. help us to feel the Spirit. bring us peace.  my tears are always there, though not because i'm hormonal. something about late nights with a baby brings you closer to God than nearly anything else can. 

every night i feel the peace, every night my girl sleeps. every morning my girl wakes up and we do it again.


baby girl loves the car. she loved it when she was in my belly, and she loves it out of it too.  she cries only if she's hungry, and even then...she's still lulled to sleep by its rhythm. i am so grateful. trips to see grandma will be so much easier.


grandma here for two weeks. grandma here for maggie's birth.  grandma here to make memories and grandma here to be the voice of great wisdom.  grandma here to make sure we have all we need, from pizza to bottles to breast pumps to baked chicken.  we couldn't have done it without her. 

it's a miracle that she was able to be here as long as she was. i will never see it as anything other than that.  Someone knew, much better than i, how it was all going to go down...and made it infinitely easier for all of us. 


alone for not too terribly long, took too long to get a text to send my mom to pick up my husband.  baby screaming, for no apparent reason, can't even talk to my husband on the phone.  soon, we're both crying on the couch, though as soon as i do, my girl stops.  i pray, feel incredible peace that stops the tears, but when my mom and husband walk in, the waterworks begin again.

"there's not enough of me" i say through quiet sobs that are as much hormonal as they are a result of being overwhelmed.  too much to worry about, it seems--keeping musicboy well-rested for finals, finding time to grade a million things before the end of the semester, dealing with feeding issues and trying to increase my milk production, being told to sleep when it seems absolutely impossible to do so--and feeling alone and inadequate even though i am surrounded by people who love and care for and serve me every day. 

musicboy takes me in his arms, along with baby, and tells me that we're in it together.  no matter what, no matter how much he has to do, we come first.  he reminds me of our motto: we're going to make it.

knowing that makes me feel more secure. mom says, quietly, that we know what we're doing--and to trust ourselves.

it is a formative moment, i think. i feel myself turn a bit of a corner.  we are the parents.  we know what to do, even when we have no idea what to do.  we are the parents.  we know her best.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

this junk is hard.

motherhood is hard. i love it, and i love doing it, but i've never been more anxious in my life.  i'm CERTAIN some of it is hormonal, but we're having feeding issues and nothing spells anxious like a mom who thinks her kid is starving.

(she's not. we went to the pediatrician yesterday. she's fine. but my milk production is like laughable (working on pumping and amping up the water intake and actually getting some sleep and taking fenugreek is supposed to help) and maggie won't latch on anymore after doing supremely well for days.  now she's been eating with a bottle so long that i don't know what will happen, but if i have to exclusively pump, that's fine. i just hate formula, not because i'm philosophically against it (i am a formula baby) but because she seems to spit up and have more gas with it.  oy. see what i'm saying?)

she wasn't pooping or peeing enough, according to the books and the many contradictory numbers we heard.  then she both pooped and peed AT THE DOCTOR on the exam table.

i swear the kid has a serious sense of humor.

she spit up through her nose today.  yeah, i called the pediatrician.  the nicest nurse called back.  his final question to me, after i asked him if that was normal (yes), how much she should be eating (more than she will, really, at any one time), etc., was "is she cute? do you like her?" and i laughed and said "absolutely. i love her--that's why i worry so much." and he laughed and said to call anytime with question.

this after we accidentally ran into our pediatrician in the hall of his office building, after he heard us say his name.  he said "oh, did you bring me a present today?"

i've never been around a person who put me so completely at ease.  i'm so grateful for all of the ways that we've been blessed.

i just wish i would stop worrying so much. it's hard to know that you're doing the right things, you know? it's hard to know what's most important? it's hard to relax, though every day i get a little bit more confident and a little bit less anxious.  but i can't tell you what a freakin' hassle it's been to find a bottle that doesn't make her throw up everything.  and i so want to breastfeed.

but, as i'm learning quickly, my plans are not always anything whatsoever like what actually will happen.  i just want her to be healthy.

and i want her to poop. i've never been so invested in poop before in my life.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Baby Story: Surprising Myself (Part II)

Part one can be found here

Everyone who’s been around here knows that my intention was always to do labor naturally. I’d read the books, watched the DVDs, criticized women who seemed so attached to their immediate pain relief, and decided what I was going to do.

It did not take me long to repent, in my heart, for all of my criticisms of anyone who chose immediate relief over laboring without help.  I suddenly understood, and no longer saw it as an either/or, but just a different choice.  I realized that, sincerely, every one is different and every labor is different and you can’t possibly say that what is right for you is the absolute right thing for everyone else. 

That’s probably the best of my “still preparing for parenthood” moments, as I mentioned before.

We were admitted and transferred into our room at around 9:30am; our families were there for our labor, and there was a lot of adjusting of monitors—Baby Girl just DID NOT want to be monitored.  I was hooked up to fluids and to the monitors, but able to be out of bed in what was perhaps the most comfortable and wonderful rocking chair ever. 

Musicboy and I worked through the contractions together.  I would grab for his hand and, on the particularly tough ones, ask him to just count through them. Somehow, hearing “1, 2, 3, 4…” helped me focus and made it seem much less interminable. I never really looked at the contraction screen until the very end of labor—I was always turned away from it or in front of it.  My mom was there and helped me too, tag teaming with Musicboy so that he could get some rest, if even for just a few minutes.  

They were rough at times, less so in others.  The nurse and everyone in the room kept telling me how well I was doing with the contractions and managing the pain. At some point during this time, the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about epidurals just in case. They consent you so that they can just do it when and if the time comes, rather than having to try to reason with and explain details to a woman in serious active labor.
This is a very wise plan, I feel. I've only been through one serious active labor, but I'll tell you that I wasn't my sharpest.

At about 1:30, which was 4 hours after we got admitted, the doctor came in to examine me.  I was initially excited, as I thought we would see progress and that was good.  The exam, however, was horrific. It was long, intense, and INCREDIBLY painful.

That was the moment that I really broke down. 

I’d been handling things pretty well up until then. I was breathing, I was hopeful, I was moving through the pain as best I could.  The unrelenting nature of the contractions made me wonder, at times, if I could do it. True to his word, Musicboy told me that I could. 

But that exam—I can’t explain how bad it was.  It was HORRIBLE.  I was sobbing by the end of it.

And the results? We were at 5, 90% effaced (went backward), and -1.  She wanted to check me again in 4 hours to see where we were. There was some talk of breaking my water but she said, and I quote, “it will make her pain skyrocket” and that was one of the things that just sent me reeling.

It was about this time that I started thinking about the epidural. When you read that, you’ll think it’s because of the pain. It really wasn’t. During this time, the fetal heart rate monitor showed more “variables,” as they called them, and there was a lot of finagling to try to hear her and monitor her. I was asked to lay on my left side, etc. I was very aware of what was going on with the baby, even though no one was really talking to me about the details.

I just started feeling like there was a reason that I needed to get it. Oddly, it wasn’t only because of the pain.  You can not believe me if you wish, but I can only describe it as an impression, one that certainly predicted what would eventually happen, that I needed to be prepared. 

It surprised me, honestly, how receptive I was to that impression, and more how little I felt guilty or upset about it.  I just…felt like it was right.  But it was so against what my plan was that it surprised me.

I had surprised myself by how much I had been able to handle thus far, but I think acting on faith and making the decision to get the epidural because I felt like I needed to (not because I couldn’t do it, per se, though my feelings about the pain were certainly part of it) would have been harder in my mind.  Surprisingly, it wasn't because I knew a few things.  The thing I knew most was that I needed to get it.  Two reasons kept going through my mind: a) I felt like, down the road, it was going to be really important to have and b) I would progress like CRAZY when I did. 

So Musicboy and I talked about it. He told me he still thought that I could do it the way that we had planned, the way that we had hoped.  I told him of my feelings, of what I was feeling impressed to do, and we prayed.  I felt the same way after the prayer as I did before—no real doubt, no real feeling like I was giving up. It was more like I was trusting in a voice more knowledgeable than my own, which is actually sometimes harder than it seems.

At around 3 pm, I pushed the call button and requested the epidural. 

A Baby Story: We have contractions! (Part I)

Let me first say that, for the most part, I’m writing this for myself. If I don’t write it now, I won’t remember all of the details, and I feel like the details are so important.  I hope that, for some of you, it will be interesting, engaging, and/or helpful in some way. Maybe it’ll give you a snapshot into my life, or maybe it’ll give you a snapshot into your own. But it’s going to be detailed, and probably long.  If you don’t want the details, don’t read it.

Secondly, let me also say that in NO WAY is this meant to be a scary or woe-is-me tale. I don’t consider it that, though someone else in the same circumstances might. I consider it a tale of miracles, big and small, and of a Father in Heaven who loves, cares for, and directs his children in all ways if they but exercise faith in Him.  Please hear that in my story. Please read the joy in my story, even as I describe the things that went absolutely the opposite of what I thought would happen. 

I caught you up to through the false labor—about three or four days of fairly consistent contractions, but contractions that never really materialized into anything but sporadic 15 to 20 minute spurts that were exhausting in their frustrating teasing but not really very helpful in making labor happen. As I know now, they were NOTHING like real contractions.

I told you about my mental and emotional breakdown, and about how real contractions began on Tuesday. They woke me up at 4:45a.m., and I had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  I was sure we were getting somewhere, because these ones were regular and hard and I was beginning to have to breathe through a few of them.  When I was checked at 9:15, I was still 2 cm, but I had thinned out significantly.

So thus began the day of timing. We spent time playing Guitar Hero, walking, and doing pretty much whatever else I could think of that would help us to get things going. We were looking for some progression, and we saw some. Eventually the trend was more toward 8 minutes apart, and that was about the time that we went to bed.  I think I slept from about 1:30 to about 3:30, when contractions that were intense and seemingly back-to-back woke me up.  After every single contraction, which each came about 5 minutes apart, I had to go to the bathroom.  It was weird, but it was also tough because everything took too long.  I didn’t feel like I had any time to relax, because I had to go to the bathroom, which meant that another contraction would hit before I could find a place to relax.  Eventually I woke Brent up, because I needed him to help me get through the contractions. 

I cannot tell you how amazing he was. Everything and anything I needed, he was there.  Knowing we were going to the hospital, as we were exactly where my doctor had said we needed to be in order to get to labor and delivery, he helped me take a shower and get ready. Though we began to get ready to go around 4, it took us until about 6 to get there.  You move slow when you’re labor, let me tell you. I think, actually, I had to stop on the stairs. We have 14 of them. I’m just sayin’.

We got to triage and there was basically no one there.  They checked me and I was at 3 and 90% effaced and -2.  Basically, I hadn’t changed much.  They stripped my membranes and left me for two hours to labor to see if I could make a change. If I made a change, they would keep me.

That was a tough two hours. It seemed like forever and no time at all, and everything seemed harder because there was so much pressure.  All I wanted was to progress. All I wanted to do was know that this was the day we were having a baby. 

There were some really rough moments in that triage room.  I was scared by the pain—it was all encompassing at times and manageable at others, but it was everywhere and sometimes it didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, it was just THERE.  It wasn’t what I expected (though I don’t think that I knew that I expected anything, to be honest with you), and I think the surprise of that surprised me.   I broke down a little again, but eventually found that, somehow, when I would sing a particular hymn (one that just came to my mind, basically because of the lyrics), the pain would diminish and my ability to deal with it was infinitely increased: “Fear not, though the enemy deride / Courage, for the Lord is on our side / We will heed not what the wicked may say / But the Lord alone we will obey.”  I have no idea where it came from, but it worked.

Time started to move more quickly. In fact, I would say that this is when time largely stopped, as I knew, replaced instead with contraction by contraction. I lived not on Tuesday at 10am, but in 5 minutes and 3 cm. 

They checked me again and I was 4 cm.  They decided to admit me, but mainly because the monitors showed that the baby wasn’t as reactive as they’d like. They admitted me because they didn’t love how she looked in labor, but they didn’t really tell me that.  It was okay. I just knew, finally, that this was the day.

We weren’t leaving without a baby.

I was suddenly infused with peace, hope, and strength. I could see that we were actually getting somewhere.  It meant everything to me, and I found my smile again.  The contractions were easier to manage and we were admitted.

Friday, April 8, 2011

the bottom lines, so far (followed by the details, i promise).

in every journey, you would hope that there would be a bottom line. the moral of a story, so to speak, or the thing that the journeyer comes away understanding better. 

i'm on day 2 of my daughter's life, and so far my bottom lines have been these:

  • nothing, and i do mean NOTHING, has turned out the way that i expected.  everything from breastfeeding to labor to choices to the way i have handled it all have been a complete surprise, and yet they have been right.
  • thus, i have learned this: i have been a very judgmental person in my life. i come from a space, often, of black and white. sometimes, that is appropriate. oftentimes, it is not.  i sincerely repent of this in my heart, and yet i know that i will likely face the same sort of treatment from kindly intentioned others who share my same particular human foible. being the same, i think i will understand. however, i truly see life a little bit differently. nobody knows the shoes you walk in, and nobody can make your choices for you.
  • this week has been a love letter to me from my Heavenly Father and from me to my husband. i have never felt more loved, cared for, or supported in my ENTIRE life.
  • i am already learning to let go of what could be, what "should" have been, what might be, and instead learning to really love the moments when i get to try to get to know this precious spirit who has come to our family.  everything else is just...good ideas or nonsense.
  • i am exhausted (probably a sum total of about 8 hours sleep over the past 72 hours or so) and i am surprised at how well i am handling it. i am thrashed physically, and i am surprised how well i am handling it. i feel very keenly my responsibilities, and sometimes that brings me to tears, but i am also more often than not a little bit kinder, a little bit more generous, a little bit more aware of how much others have done for me and how much kindness is bestowed upon me.  i more often have a smile on my face than i ever have before.
all of this because of a girl named maggie, who very much likes to suck everything in sight and who sounds like a little baby frog while she does it.  she hates getting her diaper changed but loves her daddy with all of her heart.  my favorite thing, thus far, has been having her nestle her little head near my neck and go to sleep. i am intoxicated by her sweet smell and fascinated by the fact that i have no idea if she remotely looks like me, other than her nose, but am positive that she has her daddy's mouth. 

i am in love with my life. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

week 39, day 2: for reals now.

i'm not doing this to be a tease--i think, actually, i'm doing it more for me so that i remember what to go back and remember and record about these past few days. i'll never do it, or i'll lose parts of it, if i don't jog my memory a bit with these little teasing updates.

yesterday was hard. mom arrived, and i felt under the gun. for lots of reasons, we were all just tired--tired of not knowing, tired of not being sure--and i was very, very tired of being frustrated. i don't mean mentally frustrated. i mean frustrated in the literal meaning--stymied, stopped, and thwarted.

i am not a person who takes to a thwarting well.

so i had what has to be the largest emotional breakdown i've had in our married life on my husband's shoulder last night. i sobbed the really ugly kind of sobs, where you are crying from your gut and you are just a snot factory, worried that i was broken, that i was not faithful enough, that i was doing something wrong, and desiring only really one thing. it wasn't a selfish desire. it wasn't because i was tired of contracting or tired of being pregnant or anything like that. i just wanted everything to work out for everyone.

(again--there's more to the story, but i don't think it matters much.)

my husband did his rockstar husband show, knew exactly what to say to me, didn't mind that i had snot running down my face at times, and held me until my crying stopped and my breathing became more like normal breathing.

i felt better already then, realizing that there's only so much that i have control over, and then i asked him to give me a blessing. and he did and it was amazing and it confirmed to me that, yes, i do know what's going on in my body and, yes, i do know what i know. no matter what anyone says, there's not anything else i need to know.  the answers that i felt that had come HAD come. no doubt needed. 

i went to sleep slightly uncomfortable, having had a few WICKED contractions, but there were only a couple, so i decided that exhaustion won the day. having walked for several hours (mall and walmart), my body was quite tired. having cried from the depths of everything i am, my eyes were quite tired too.

(too much information alert ahead--i'll try to keep it less than gruesome)

i woke up around 4:45 having to pee. this is not new.  there were, however, some tell-tale signs of impending labor present, though. i had to look a couple of times to really identify what was going on (see: 4:45, tired eyes, bleary exhaustion).  but there was no doubt.

hot dog, i thought.  and i went to go back to bed.

i was there for probably 2 minutes before another wicked contraction hit.  had those before, they were sort of like the ones the night before, but i thought, well, okay. we'll see what happens with them.  10 minutes later, another one.

we'd never hit 10 minutes before.

then i had to pee again.  (i kept thinking "woot! losing weight as we SPEAK!" then i got on the scale this morning. hahahahahah. my body mocks me.)

and there more tell tale signs, but more like "oh dang. for reals this time. that just doesn't happen."

so i went back to bed and laid down, watching the clock. i was afraid to hope. i'll admit it.  but every 10 minutes for the next hour and a half, they were there.  they weren't always supertough, but they were there and they were different and they were definitely challenging.

when it was time for the alarm to go off, i told musicboy. i thought about waking him up earlier, but i thought somebody should get some sleep.

the contractions have continued, relatively regularly, since. i had my regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor, who i kid you not is leaving town this afternoon to return next week, at 915.  he checked me (OUCH. SWEET MOTHER.) and said i'm at 2 cm and much thinner.  he gave me the standard answers--when they're 5 to 7 minutes apart and i'm having to breathe through them to survive, go to the hospital; if your water breaks in a big gush, go to the hospital.  he felt badly that he wouldn't be there. 

i think it's rather appropriate, actually. i think i always knew that he wouldn't. weird, eh?

so here we are, musicboy and i and my mom, hanging out through the first stages of labor.  they're getting a bit more intense and i think possibly getting a bit closer together, but we're breathing through them and relaxing into them and, as they get more intense, it's okay. i'm trying to remember to take it one contraction at a time, and i'm learning to really love the relief that comes after a particularly intense one. endorphins for the win!

so there you go.  i suppose it's possible that i could be contracting like this for days, but i don't think so. and since i've been told that i know what i need to know, that the wisdom and the guidance that i've been given are all i need to know, i'll tell you that i don't think so. 

we're still here, but we're moving. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

week 39: sounding the alarm.

i've been contracting, off and on, for about 3 days.  they're not the same as braxton-hicks, and they are definitely more regular than any other contractions that i've had.  though i'd heard the long and lauded story of my mom being in labor for three days with me, i didn't realize that it was like this--hours of fairly regular contractions (though mine never really got beyond 15 minutes, they change in intensity and type and all sorts of craziness), and then taper off during the night to let me get some sleep, and then back again.

that's literally the story of my mom's labor.

and apparently my aunt's first labor too, which i didn't know about until yesterday.

so after day 3 of this, mom decided it was time to come down. because, really, the contractions haven't stopped. they just hit pause for a while and then resume in a new fashion. today, they have resumed in a more intense fashion, though not yet quite regular.  sometimes they flirt with that regularity. 

so my mom will arrive in a few hours.  musicboy called his family, letting them know that we're on babywatch.  his sister got this upcoming weekend off.

i think that makes me nervous and peaceful at the same time.  it's hard to explain. someday i'll try to explain what these past three days have been like for me. one word: pressure.  it's difficult to try to be the gauge of everyone's plan when you, yourself, have no idea what's going on.  nevertheless, this all feels pretty right, even if it doesn't seem like it to anyone else.

sometimes it's hard to follow your instincts. 

there's a story about how musicboy and i decided that we would exercise our faith and ask for the labor to progress, to become regular, for maggie to come.  it is a beautiful story that i don't think that i could ever do real justice to in words, except to say that sometimes, i think, you have to decide that you are ready and then you have to pray for the thing that you are almost afraid to pray for because it will be hard and long and tough work and, though you're not sure you're ready, you really are ready.

sometimes you have to pray for the mountain to move, waxing bold in that prayer, and then get out of the way of the miracle.

since we prayed, the contractions have been more intense.  i have felt more peace. and i have exercised my faith multiple times, asking for the blessing that we so want.

as musicboy said, "i just want her."

me too.  commitment seems like it's necessary here. i have to believe that we're ready. i have to believe it so that when i talk to my belly and tell her that it's okay to come, i really believe it. 

now i really believe it.  and i think it's a magical thing to actually really believe.

we're ready, in all of the ways that we can be ready, and we've already both felt impressed that she would come early.  i wasn't sure i was ready.  but i am.

i am ready for whatever comes, come what may. i wasn't ready before this weekend's general conference, but so much of it taught me that you don't have to be perfect for any of this life, to teach anyone anything--you just have to be remember what you know, teach it, and take advantage of the opportunities for those teaching opportunities to build your own testimony at the same time.

i think that's extraordinary. i think that magical cycle is what knits us together, as families, in love and faith. we're always teaching each other--even the little tiny ones who come so needy.


if you are a praying kind, please pray for us.  i'm not scared--i'm just ready.  i believe in the power and capacity of prayer to buoy up those that you hold in it, in whatever way they need.  i believe that we are already beneficiaries of this, but more couldn't hurt.  :)

i'll keep you updated.  i promise.

Friday, April 1, 2011

bargaining, part 487.

i've decided that Baby Girl is waiting until i am more caught up with grading and her daddy has done several of the four hundred assignments that are due next week.  i also think she wants me to get an iphone so i can more easily post pictures of her everywhere and also so that i can send them to her grandma.

i'm working on the grading thing and seriously considering doing the iphone thing this weekend.

also, it might be because i didn't want an april fool's baby.