Birth of Vienna Joy

IMG_0237In spite of my best efforts to get a natural labor going before my induction date of July 13th. Monday the 13th dawned without even a hint of anything beyond the random surges and bh contractions that I had been experiencing for weeks. But let me back up…maybe its best to start with an explaination of the choices we had made that lead us to where we were.

After Preston’s birth I was a little shaken in my ideas and beliefs about childbirth. In all the hundreds of birth videos I had seen none had been anything like what I experienced. I watched women TALKING while in labor, swaying gently back and forth and smiling at their husbands behind the camera. It baffled me. The pain I had experienced had hit like a sledge hammer and not let up until Preston was here. I couldn’t see how what these women were doing was even possible.

I also felt betrayed by my body. And I wondered if I had done something to bring it on myself. Maybe the panic that I felt that Preston was getting too big and that he needed to come out now was nothing more than the natural mama’s urge to not want to wait any more. Maybe all the “natural Induction” technics that I insisted we try inspite of my midwife’s reluctance had actually added to the trauma of his birth. I swore next time would be different. I would let nature take its course.

But Preston had been awfully big, the 4th degree tear I had sustained still caused me pain. And I felt caught between a rock and a hard spot. If I was listening to what my body was telling me my gut feeling and a strong one at that said it was time and he needed to come now natural or not. So what was I to do?

When I found out I was pregnant again I called Richelle, I had loved having her as my midwife before and wanted her again. She however was unable to take me so the search began for another midwife. I called and spoke to 3 or 4 and felt teary and unsettled about each one. The decision seamed huge and overwhelming. IMG_0215

We went in for our ultra sound to find out how far along we were. We were 7 weeks. Dr. Chappell sat us down after doing the ultra sound and talked to us about his philosophies about birth. Everything he said peaked my intrest and increased confidence in him. I decided to throw something at him to see if I could shock him with something “crunchy.” I plan to eat my placenta, I told him. Would you be ok with saving it for me?

“Absolutely! I wish more women knew the incredible benefits of doing that. The placenta contains everything a woman needs to recover from a birth. Its amazing stuff” His response baffled me and I threw out every other crunchy natural birth belief that I had to see if I could get a reaction. Nothing phased him, there was nothing he was unfamiliar with. The only thing he didn’t agree with me on was when an induction would be required.

“I think that since 42 weeks in technically full term, the baby deserves that long if its what she wants” I said.

“41 and 3 is as long as I am comfortable with going” he told me. I laughed a little. What was he going to do come to my house and drag the baby out of me?

We left the office and as we walked to the car I felt as though the matter was settled. I wanted a home birth, I wanted a nice warm, motherly midwife. I did not want a cold sterile hospital, medical procedures and a handsome young doctor who looked more like he should be chatting it up with some pretty nurse from Grey’s Anatomy than coaching me through the most difficult beautiful and sacred experience of life. And yet I felt at peace and as though the decision had already been made.

“I think he should be our doctor” Joseph and I said the words at the same time.

We laughed and that was that. A few weeks later I found myself crying over the decision. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I vented to Joseph. “WHo knows how many times I will get to experience childbirth?” I told him. “i don’t want to waste a birth experience on a hospital birth. I want a home birth, I want a midwife and I want to feel comfortable about my choice!”

His answer was simple “well then lets get a midwife! I will support you in whatever you decide.”

Again I called 5 or 6 midwives and each time I got off the phone feeling confused, flustered and teary. I simply couldn’t choose one. Finally I prayed about it. And the answer was simple. I already had the answer. I just hadn’t accepted it yet. Dr. Chappell was the best option for our doctor.

Fast forward to July. We continued to go back and forth about 42 vs 41+3 as an induction date and we finally decided that since we had felt strongly about him being our Dr. we should be willing to take his advice so we scheduled an induction for the 13th. In the mean time I did a lot of walking, relaxing and talking to the baby about what her needs were and listening to my own body and mind about what might be holding her up. On the morning of the 12th I woke up and took Preston for a walk we walked about 1 mile including going up and down the long steep hill by our house 3 times. It was Joseph’s birthday and I really wanted him to get his wish of having her born on his birthday.

But Sunday came and went and Monday morning we got the call to go to the hospital. They started the pitocin at 10 AM and the count down began. Our nurse Marianne was incredible. She started by going over our birthplan in complete detail with us and even asked if there was any wording we wanted her to use to help us with our hypno birthing. Dr. Chappell had agreed to only use pitocin to kick-start the labor and that we would turn it down or off as my own body took over creating the surges. Instead of the usual procedure of increasing the pitocin every 30 min. Marianne would ask me how I was feeling and together we would decide to increase, decrease or leave it.

The surges were rolling right along at a regular two minutes a part. They were comfortable and even exciting at times. I loved having the chance to work with my body. I found that there were things that I could do to make them easier. I found ways to move deeper and deeper into relaxation during the surges and I honestly looked forward to them.

My doula Natalie was there and she was amazing. Supportive as a doula, comforting and knowledgable as to what would help but there just as a friend to hang out and keep me company otherwise. My mom was there and Joseph was there and we just had a nice long visit. We listened to music and Natalie introduced me to a couple of songs titled Vienna. I thought how fun it would be to tell VIenna that this is what we listened to while I was in labor with her.

Mother brought us some lunch and then around 4 pm Marianne told me that Dr. Chappell would be coming soon and that he would break my water. I was a little annoyed that she would talk about it as though it wasn’t my choice and my body. It wasn’t a question to her but a statement. I let her know that I didn’t want my water broke and she dismissed it with a quick well the doctor will talk with you about it.

When Dr. Chappell arrived sure enough he told me he thought it would be a good idea tao break my water. I told him I was uncomfortable with that and would like to look at other options. He suggested that we could just continue with the pitocin but turn it up to get things moving since I was only at a 7. So we turned up the pit and the surges suddenly became waves washing over me, and threatening to swallow me. I got in the tub and labored for the next few hours there. THings got a lot more intense at that point. Natalie was teaching me how to go deep and dive under each surge moaning low and quietly and just let it wash over me. IT was helping and I was just starting to get the hang of it when two new nurses came and replaced my wonderful Marianne.

THey wanted to check me and although it seemed impossible to me at this point since I literally had almost no breaks between surges I agreed against my better judgement. The nurse put on a long plastic glove and shoved her hand at me blindly poking around trying to find what she was looking for. It hurt and I screamed (and maybe even swore) at her to get out of there. A few minutes later we tried again and she informed me that I was at a 10 and needed to get out of the water and start pushing. I didn’t want to, I didn’t feel the urge to push but once again against my better judgement I went along with it. I assumed that maybe my hesitation was fear of reaching the pushing stage.

Pushing hurt and left me unable to focus clearly on relaxing through the surges. I thought maybe I was pushing wrong so I suggested we get a scarf and Dr. Chappell did some tug of war pulling with me. IT helped but we still were making no progress. I was beginning to panic. I needed this to be over. I didn’t feel like I could go on much longer but we still weren’t even seeing the babies head.

Finally after an hour of pushing Dr. Chappell checked me again. I was expecting him to tell me that the babies head was right there and that a few more pushes and we would be done. INstead he looked a bit flustered and even disappointed. Well, you are actually just at a 7 and 90% effaced. I was shocked and wanted to cry. When we had started pitocin that morning I was 90% and at a 5. It was now almost 11 pm and I had apparently only progressed by two cm!

I asked everyone to leave so that JosephIMG_0197 and I could talk. I told him that I know we wanted a natural birth but I needed an epidural. I couldn’t go back to laboring for hours. I had told him before hand to remind me of all the reasons I wanted a natural birth when I asked for an epidural but when he tried I wouldn’t listen. I felt like I truly was beyond the point of no return and I COULDN”T do this any more. Dr. Chappell had turned off the pitocin to let me have a minute and THe surges had pretty much stopped. I insisted that I needed the epidural and asked for Dr. Chappell. He agreed and sent for the anesthesiologist. He was there within a few minutes and after a quick jab in the back I was pain free. It was really nice. REALLY NICE!!!

Here's Joseph cutting the cord. Obviously this was a new experience for him!

Here’s Joseph cutting the cord. Obviously this was a new experience for him!

We thought I could take a quick nap but when Dr. Chappell checked just 30 minutes later the baby was there ready to come. She’s got hair he told me. A few quick controlled pushes and she was out. I reached for her even as her legs and feet were still sliding out and Dr. Chappell let me pull her up on my chest. She was perfect and healthy. They left me alone with her as I had requested and after more than an hour when I had bonded and cuddled and loved on her they came to cut the cord, and measure her. She was 20 inches long and8lbs 4.5 oz.

It was a good birth. I got to experience a lot of the elements of birth that had been missing with Preston’s birth. And as crazy as it sounds…I cant wait to do it again! IMG_0242

10 Ways you will know you have reached (or exceeded) your due date

1.) When siting, standing, walking, laying down, kneeling, squatting, standing on one foot etc. just hurts.

2.) When sleeping with 6 pillows is no longer enough

3.) When you find yourself looking longingly at a bottle of castor oil

4.) When you no longer care what people think enough that you will sit down in the middle of an isle, road, or room full of people because….well you have to sit!

5.) When you watch your babies bottle of milk spilling on the floor of your car and don’t even make an effort to pick it up because you know there is no way your making it down that low.

6.) When all it takes is someone making a helpful suggestion of something that you might do to make the baby come or to make the wait more comfortable and you feel as though your inner monster has been unleashed and you just might take their head off.

7.) When you cry because…well insert pretty much anything here and it works.

8.) When you find yourself doing the toilet dance (if you’ve been there you know what I mean) in an effort to make each visit more productive and possibly give you a full twenty minutes between visits.

9.) When remaining pregnant another day becomes worse than all possibilities, fears and outcomes of giving birth.

10.) When despite the fact that your brain knows it’s an impossibility you find yourself in tears over the VERY REAL possibility of you being the first woman to ever remain pregnant FOREVER.

You will know you have reached your day. And if the baby doesn’t come today, than maybe tomorrow, or the next day… or….or…..

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A Letter To My One Year Old

Dearest Preston,

I just finished rocking you to sleep, kissed your baby lips and put you in your crib. Every night as I rock you I whisper to you “Do you know how much joy you bring to me?” every night you smile back at me as though somehow you do. I never could have imagined how wonderful being a mother truly is. I am so glad you came to bless our family!11200872_10152831746185658_8445851444419131524_n

I want you to have my memories from your first year so here is a quick summary. When you started to speak you really started with several words all at the same time so I don’t recall which was actually your very first. But the one you used the most was probably “More” which just means food to you. You say it when you are hungry. Just today you took Aunt Hannah by the hand pulled her to the kitchen stood in front of the fridge and kept repeating more more until she gave you something to eat. Sometimes you drive us a little crazy with this one!

Another word you love to say is Daddy. The first time you said it you were about 7 or 8 months old. Joseph walked in the door from work and you looked up said Daddy and crawled straight to him. He had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen. You have a special relationship with your Daddy and its obvious you think he can do just about anything. You sing his name over and over when he isn’t around and you almost always greet him enthusiastically when he comes home from work. Another word was Aunt Hannah, or as you say it “A nana.” IMG_0114

The first time you said Mama I was in the bathroom you crawled to the door and started scratching at the door and calling for me. That was the quickest shower I ever took as I was so excited to get out and hold you.

After that you said door, love you, thanks, Chloe, Esther, and Yeah. You say yeah all the time and you know what it means and use it accordingly. You also have said no a few times.

You love to laugh and will often laugh for no reason, you hold your hand over your mouth and bring your shoulders up and giggle, you love people and anyone who will give you attention and play with you. You love being outside and beg for me to take you out every day. You stand on your toes by the door and reach for the handle and plead with me until I have no choice but to take you. Your feet are always crossed. I don’t know why but ever since you were a baby your feet are always crossed, when you are sitting or laying down. It’s really cute. You have the most beautiful silver eyes and loads of soft curly hair. You have 4 teeth now and you like to use them to bite me. I haven’t been able to convince you that it’s not a good idea and that it hurts. You also like to pull my hair, although when you do I pull yours back a little to show you that it doesn’t feel good. You expression is always priceless! 11208649_10152831746290658_1848389675077023274_n

You are very sensitive to people’s moods and you try to make everyone around you smile and be happy. When you see someone sad you will go to them and try your best to make them smile by being silly or goofy. Everyone loves you and you are the light of my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel utterly overwhelmed with my love for you. YOu know your little sister is coming and you are clinging to me a little more than usual because of it, or maybe its me clinging to you, who really knows. But this time in your life has been so special to me. This time that you have spent together just you and I has been sweeter than words can express. 11168562_10152831745960658_6707997776141320493_n

I am so excited to see how another baby will change our lives and our relationship, because I know that she will. It may be hard to adjust to having another baby to care for, and it may be hard on you to grow up just a little faster as I do take care of her but one thing that you have taught me about babies is that the joy far out weighs the challenges. So, my sweet boy, as we head out on this new adventure know that your mommy has loved every moment of this year with you and is so looking forward to many more to come! I love you my Preston!

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The New Me!

When my husband was serving his mission in South Africa, Dr. Hartman from the Color Code came and gave each of the missionaries the color code test. He then talked to them about the colors that they were and how they had developed either strengths from those colors or weaknesses.

One day as we were discussing this together and talking about our various colors and how we exhibit them in our lives,  I realized that he saw me quite differently than I saw myself. It made me wonder if he actually knew me!

As we talked we both had a bit of an aha moment. Even though my husband had in the last year, married, moved away from his home country of Uganda and come to the US. become a father, started a new job and began attending University here I had actually under gone more changes in terms of identity and life style than he had.

He still was doing all those things that he loved and that made him who he was. He was learning, he was interacting with others on a daily basis, he was working to provide in a career that he loved and was passionate about and he was leading out in our family.

On the other hand, I had gone from having a fulfilling career to being a stay at home mom. I used to put on my heels and get ready for the day and go to the office where I was interacting with others, making decisions that affected a multi million dollar company, facilitating meetings, and managing a team etc. I made and spent my own money, I had time for friends, hobbies and relaxation. I played the piano, was writing a book, and directing musical programs. I was traveling the world, trying new things and having adventures.

Now I stay home. My husband takes the car and is gone all day and I stay home with our adorable baby. I rarely talk to anyone throughout the day. I often don’t even bother to get dressed properly because on a cold day we may not even leave our two bedroom apartment. I make decisions like should I do the dishes first or the laundry? I am completely dependent on my husband for all my needs. I have a few precious hours when my baby is sleeping that I can choose to either clean the house, cook, take a nap myself, or do something just for me. I usually choose to cook or clean because that is something that has to happen. Basically NOTHING in my life is the same. I often feel dull, old, fat, ugly and dumb. It’s no wonder then that I felt like my husband saw me that way. It’s because I actually saw myself that way. And its also no wonder that my husband felt like the woman he had fallen in love with had disappeared and left a knew one in her place.

As we talked my wonderful husband realized how devastating it can be to so completely lose your identity. He knew from the changes that he had experienced that it can be really hard so he could see how hard it had been for me. “It’s no wonder you have been so unhappy” he told me. “We need to do something to change that.”

We then talked about possible options of ways that we could bring back the girl that he had fallen in love with.

It’s funny because I had always heard women who choose to stay home with their children talk about feeling as though they had lost their identity. I thought I understood that and yet this was a huge awakening moment to me to realize that I was experiencing this.

10411160_1614386682115634_183894752115933670_n-1Now I have to say. I LOVE staying at home with my baby. It has been a dream come true. But that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly hard and that it doesn’t require some sacrifice and hard work. But I need to find a balance. As part of that we have decided that I would write more. I will explore new experiences and ideas associated with being a mother and I will find ways of bringing out the woman that I was in new ways. So you might say that the old me is back, but thats not at all true. The new me is coming and I am excited to share my journey with you on this blog!

Life is Hard; But Thats Not Why I’m Crying

I haven’t written in a while. I feel a little overwhelmed with my life at the moment. But there is so much that I want to say today that I just hope I can find the words to say it adequately.

When I was single I wrote more than one post about how hard it is to be single; how hard it is to feel like you have some how come to a dead end and don’t know what to do to change it. I wrote about feeling hopeless in my desire for children and family. I wrote about how lonely it feels to go to bed by myself every night, to go to church alone every Sunday. And it was hard, it was terribly hard and it was a burden I could never have carried on my own.

Last night as I put Preston down for the night I felt such relief to know that it would be hours before he would need me again. I closed his door so softly so that I wouldn’t wake him because  I didn’t feel like I could handle his squirming, crying, needyness one more minute. And then I sighed and went to bed. As I crawled in next to my husband too tired to even turn over and give him a proper goodnight, I pushed that body pillow between my legs to ease my aching hips and propped my ever growing pregnant belly on top so that it wouldn’t strain my back. I felt my husband’s warm body next to me and when he rubbed my feet with his and whispered goodnight, I just wanted to cry because I have so much and yet life is still hard.

I woke in the middle of the night because the pain in my throat and my ears was becoming too much to sleep through. Preston and I have both been sick with a bad cold, cough, fever and just feeling pretty plain miserable. I took a sip of water from the glass that Joseph always makes sure is on the nightstand next to my bed and I tried to sleep. It wasn’t long before Joseph started to stir. I didn’t feel like I could handle another day so soon. “We need to get going” he told me. we had a big day planned. “I know” I said although I couldn’t make it come out more than a whisper because my voice was so raspy. “I feel terrible” I com10417689_1577899402431029_5100755972080308831_nplained. Joseph leaned over and gently pushed the hair off my forehead. “Do you want to just rest this morning? I can go to work and come home early so that we can still get everything done that we have to do today” he told me. I gladly agreed and layed back down. He kissed me gently, not even worried about catching my germs and then left to go to one of his two jobs that he works so hard at to support us.

It was 9am when Preston woke up, I was glad he had let me sleep so long. We cuddled in bed and gazed in each others eyes for awhile before he insisted it was time for breakfast. I was preoccupied with something else and Preston was trying hard to get my attention. He was leaning forward in his highchair, a huge smile on his food covered face. He was giggling at nothing just to get me to look at him. I couldn’t help but smile back and that smile was followed by a flood of tears. Partially because I am pregnant and tears flow all too easily these days but also because I HAVE EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED. And life is still hard. Joseph and I have disagreements sometimes and I am here to tell you that the more you love someone the more mad you get at them. I am pregnant with another special blessing that I know will bring as much joy as Preston has. But between the intense morning sickness, and blinding headaches I haven’t really enjoyed this pregnancy much.

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Don’t worry those spots all over him are just lipstick kisses!

I don’t know wether this post is about complaining or about feeling blessed because I feel overwhelmed with both right now. All I know is that all morning I have felt like my old self, the one that ached after years and years of wondering if this time of life would ever come for me, has been looking over my shoulder smiling at all the things that I am enjoying and not enjoying so much about this time and she is pleased beyond words.

I am so lucky to have found someone that I love so deeply and intensely and who feels the same way about me. I am so lucky that two amazing spirits have chosen ME to be their mother! I get to be a stay at home mom. That doesn’t happen without a husband who is willing to work twice as hard and sacrifice to get by with less. I have laundry up to my eyeballs and dirty dishes enough to keep me occupied all day. And I have a silly giggling boy who inspite of being sick himself gently caresses my check and showers me with wet, (we hope its just slobbery) kisses.

Yes life is hard, incredibly so. But its so good that sometimes the only way to soak it all in is to just allow the tears to flow.

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And Then There Were Four

The fourth of July has always been a special day for me. I love that holiday. A year and a half ago it became that much more special when my husband proposed to me on that day. This year we are planning a new exciting way of celebrating that holiday. We thought it would be fitting to celebrate by adding a fourth member to our family!

Yep thats right I’m pregnant…again!

None of us have been very sure how to feel about this. When I first suspected that I might be I panicked because I didn’t think my body was ready to do it all over again. Then I started thinking about how much I love having a special gift from heaven kicking and stretching and moving around inside me, I thought of how much I adore Preston and how much joy he has brought into our lives and I desperately wanted that test to be positive.

I decided to surprise Joseph this time and not tell him I was taking the test until after I had seen the results. He was getting ready for work so I went in the bathroom took the test and waited anxiously to see what it would reveal. With in a few seconds a could see that plus sign emerging and I was so excited.

I went to the bathroom where Joseph was shaving and knocked on the door. He opened it and I said “So I have something to show you.” I held up the positive test.

He looked at it with a blank expression. What does that mean he said.

“It means we are going to have another baby!”

“Ill wait till I see it was his response. But he looked a little shaken and dazed.

In the next few days our roles kind of reversed. as morning sickness kind of took over my body and my life I became dazed and terrified of all that I knew lay in store for us.

Joseph became super excited.”Hows my girl?”He would ask me when he would get home from work.

“I’m sick.”I would answer.

“I’m sorry about that. But I meant my other girl” he would say with a little smile as he rubbed the spot that is just starting to grow.

Preston is another one who is not quite sure how he feels about this change.

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But in the end I think we are all very excited about the new little spirit that will be joining our family this coming July!

How I wish for Waterfall fingers!

I had an experience tonight that brought back some special memories. My husband took our baby for an hour or so tonight and let me just sit and play the piano. Its something I haven’t done in far too long. I was shocked at how much my fingers had forgotten. My heart and my brain wanted to play like not a day had gone by but my fingers seemed slow and rigid. As I played though it started to come back and I had a feeling that I’ve really missed. My cares and concerns, my aches and pains started to drift away as I got lost in old songs that I still somehow remembered.

As my husband and baby listened from the other room occasionally piping in with a comment it brought immense satisfaction and sweet memories of sitting in our living room in Aunt Hannah’s old house. (She had died and left her home to us but it would always be Aunt Hannah’s house.) I would play the piano and get lost in my feelings, in my hopes and dreams for the future, in the music itself, in the sweet feeling of feeling my fingers move effortlessly over the keys.

Then, my mother listened from the other room. I knew she was lying on the couch reading the newspaper. I could hear the pages turning and I knew she was listening. I would pick a song that I had practiced earlier in the day; one I knew she hadn’t heard me play before and I would play it waiting to hear what she would have to say about it. I always knew which songs she enjoyed and which ones she was just putting up with until I finished. Some times if I practiced a passage too many times over I would hear her sigh a little and I would switch to playing a song I knew she enjoyed like Breakers or Only You.

Sometimes I would get frustrated with a difficult passage and I would slam the key board with both hands and give up. Vilate…try it again I would hear her say from around the corner. Sometimes I would pound just to get a reaction out of her or to let her know I was annoyed at something. When my feelings where especially wound up and every song made me pound I would eventually give up and go soak away my cares in the tub.

I miss those days, and I will always be grateful to my mother for the part that she played in helping me to develop this talent. It was difficult to continue with it sometimes but she never let me quit and she always let me know how much she enjoyed hearing me play. It gave me a reason to practice and get better.

Those days are gone and now its my turn to be the mother and to foster those talents and others in my own children. But it felt good to go back tonight if only for an hour and enjoy the old songs and the old feelings. And even though my fingers fumble a little and trip over themselves when I try to play songs like Waterfall and All Of Me, the music and the memories will always be a part of who I am. 76178_449134880657_1450414_n

This photo was taken after a 10 piano concert. My favorite thing about this photo is that I had decided to ruin it by totally cheesing it up. Turns out everyone else had the same idea and all of our cheesy smiles look the same!