Search this Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mom-Guilt for the WIN!

I could probably use a nap. No, scratch that, I could MOST DEFINITELY, UNDENIABLY, USE. A. NAP. But... Because my kid is sleeping for longer than forty minutes right now, and I hit an awful and unavoidable Mommy-milestone this morning, I know that if I don't write about it now I probably never will. And I know that I'll want to remember this bad day for the future worse days (and when I'm considering future additions to the family and need to be reminded of what I'm getting into, again). Or the future days when I'm missing my baby because he has grown up and left the house and I'd give anything for a "bad day" with his little baby self. Or so I'm told.

I have no idea how Mom's keep journals, baby books, photo books, or even little notes about the early days and events of their babies lives. Aside from what makes it to Facebook, there is less and less likely to be a "Keller Book". Let alone a second child, third child or beyond baby book! It is highly likely my future children might only have record of their birth thanks to the certificate we receive proving it happened, because I can barely make notes about ONE kid! And yet, at the end of the day, I do still want more... Proof I'm crazy.

I'd love to post about life with Keller that first month. And this second one. I have a draft dedicated to what a wonderful father Tom is and how I would not survive this new process without him. I've been meaning to chronicle Keller's first love affair with the toy Dragonfly who hangs from his baby swing. It's my favorite memory and story thus far. For the record, there are so many happy things to share! I'll get them out, at some point. For today, there is mostly just misery and, for the first time, guilt. Mommy Guilt punched me in the gut this morning, bright and early, at 5 A.M.

Week seven of Motherhood and newborn life has been rough. Since I haven't been married seven years yet to know what that "itch" is like, I am dubbing this the seven week itch for normalcy. Prior to this week, things have been pretty smooth and sleep has been prominently in existence. Then, week seven came along and Keller started napping for only forty minutes at a time, on the dot, making the days long and crabby and hard on both of us. In the stroller it's worse and he'll only go for twenty six minutes. Thankfully, his night time sleep remained consistent, and I was still able to move forward with preparations for sleep training by getting his feedings on a consistent four hour schedule. But the day times of fussing and needing to be held constantly when not asleep (for those forty minuscule minutes when I was rushing to feed myself and maybe shower) and having a hundred one way conversations, and not interacting with a single adult until seven o'clock at night, have been tough to say the least. I managed to find and join a New Moms Group, which helped tremendously with my stir-crazy-ness, but socializing isn't a viable solution for this killer schedule Keller has come up with. And THEN, Keller's night times started going wonky. So help me.

The sleep books talk about how these are the weeks where babies will start going to bed earlier (check!) and stretch their sleep times longer, of their own accord. Keller has done five to six hour stretches on various nights since he was four weeks old, so I was very much looking forward to, and planning on, the consistency and increased length of night time sleep for us both. Fellow Mom-friends a week or so ahead of us had just started getting this, so I thought we would be there soon too. And then, Keller suddenly got gassy and uncomfortable, which is also typical at this age, and things changed at night too. He'd go down fine, and everything would seem normal and promising, but after his first feed he'd be up a couple hours later (well before the next feed time and not hungry or interested in boobfood). The grunting, crying, twitching, and uncomfortable leg kicks were obvious signs that he was struggling internally. So I would spend the next forty five minutes to an hour consoling, pacifying, medicating, holding, shushing, changing, patting, bicycling, and pleading for relief and sleep. The discomfort would finally pass, and he would go right back down like he usually does. But then, of course, in an hour it would be time to eat again. And two hours after that it would be time to be uncomfortable again. And so the cycle repeats until 8 A.M., when our day starts, and I am 

Last night was one of those nights where I saw more of my sweet baby than I wanted, after seeing plenty of my sweet baby all day long (although I did get in some legit human interaction, which helped). We were up and down repeating the gassy-dance, and I was cursing my over-supply of milk, anything wrong I may have eaten, digestive systems, intestines, ineffective gas drops, and anything else that could possibly be blamed for why I was up at such ungodly hours more than I wanted or was "supposed" to be.

At 5 A.M. I heard the grunt and sigh. The swish of swaddled little legs moving up and down. More grunting. I plopped in the pacifier. Suck...suck...silence. Stillness. I closed my eyes. Grunt. Swish. Grunt. Plop of pacifier out of the mouth. Whine. Sigh. Put pacifier back in. Eyes closed. Suck...Suck...silence. Plop of pacifier out of the mouth. Painful scream. Lip pout. Scrunched face. Twisting body. WAILING. And we're up.

And that's when I snapped. As I began un-swaddling and preparing to comfort this sweet, innocent little boy of mine, my eyes were burning with the desire to be shut, my nerves were on edge and my patience was still trying to muster itself and crawl out of bed to join me. And then I said, "Oh,  just SHUT UP already!".

I instantly regretted it while my husband's head shot up off the pillow in horror and protective instinct. A rush of regret, sorrow, pain, and guilt, so much guilt, came over me. Never in my adult life have I said anything deliberately mean or harsh to a child. Never in my career. Never as a mother. Until today. It only took seven short weeks for me to achieve my first regret as a Mother. I was horrified. Of course there are worse things to say or do. Of course there will be many times I say or do something worse. But this was the first, and man did it sting.

My kid was still screaming, and my husband was probably reconsidering all the compliments of "best Mom ever" he so generously gives. The uttered words hung in the air like the thick stank of foul garbage when it smells so bad you can taste it. I could taste my nasty sentence, and how much I had meant it. I wished I could throw it out, but it had already been said and was hovering in its stink cloud. The reality was, my kid was still in pain and now was not the time to feel sorry for myself. But I did feel sorry. Oh so sorry. Not for myself, but for what I had said. For my uncomfortable baby and the wits-ended-mean-mouthed-Mama he had to deal with.

After I gingerly changed his diaper, and bicycled those chubby legs, I lifted my whimpering boy and gave him a big snuggle. I whispered in his ear, "I'm sorry I said 'shut up'. I love you." And then he farted. For reals. And I couldn't help but feel great pride and relief, and even farted forgiveness.

I hope, and am pretty sure, his memory isn't developed enough to remember any of this, but I will. I will remember this day. This morning. I will remember what I said, when I said it, why I said it. But mostly I will remember the guilt. The weight of the feelings of total failure, utter regret, and deep sorrow that I have never ever felt to this magnitude before. The absolute Mom-Guilt. Even if it's a milestone of motherhood that comes around to us all, it was still one I had hoped to escape a little while longer.

Amazingly, this day does have a better ending than beginning. The happiest plot twist is that, at the point of despair, I did figure out how to soothe and console my child so we could both thrive and survive today. It took a bouncy seat in his crib and a special gas relieving device up his butt, but I figured it out! And he took a two hour nap. And we are both better rested for it. For now, at least.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby Naming

Naming a human is serious business. Which is why, when we first found out my eggo was preggo we, of course, immediately began name-tossing out of sheer excitement and necessary preparation. We had actually settled on girl names (TWO even!) long ago, but a boy? We were at a total loss.

So much goes into a name. Family history, popularity or lack thereof, personal preference and, hopefully, consideration for the little person themselves. This would be a moniker (s)he would always carry. Something (s)he would always be associated with, have to learn how to say and spell and explain. It wasn't something we could take lightly or choose without a lot of thought. And so we did just that. We thought, and thought, and thought... and we also had some ground rules.

RULE #1: It had to look good on a resume. I once had a roommate who was a high school teacher in the Bronx, NY and she would come home with the craziest names on her students papers. Like "ABCD". The name of her seventeen year old pupil whose name was "Ab-si-dee", spelled "Abcd". I'm pretty sure that poor girl's resume is going straight into the shredder with a header like that, because who wouldn't think that was joke? Not to mention the time I volunteered at a care center and met a toddler named Tako (taco). Not okay, people, not okay!

RULE #2: It had to be easy to read, say and spell. When future teachers are doing role call, our child wouldn't have to correct their first name or cringe when it was said aloud. We have a last name that causes enough of that already, the correction not the cringing, and it's not even that hard! People are easily befuddled in general, so a simple first name was only fair.

RULE #3: It couldn't be gender neutral -- although pretty much all names are these days -- or be a last name, per Daddy's request. Tom wanted a name that people would associate as a "boy name". Even if there were girls in the world that had the name, the Boy : Girl ratio of it had to heavily lean toward boy. He also wasn't a fan of last names like Smith, Carson, Carter etc as first names. Which made things even harder, because I liked all of those!

RULE #4: It had to sound cute for a baby / child, attractive for an adolescent / adult, and comforting / wise with the title"Grandpa" in front of it. All stages of life needed to be considered.

There were other nuances of naming such as how unique or classic we wanted it to be, if we wanted family ties or a certain meaning to the name etc. I also really wanted there to be some connection to New York, be it obvious or not, if possible. Mainly, though, we just wanted a good, solid name that we both liked.

One night, shortly after we had established these rules, but had yet to tell anyone we were pregnant let alone knew the gender, I suddenly had a name pop into my head. I think I even heard a "Pop" when it entered. I tried to push it out, because it broke one of the rules, but it kept popping back in. Since rules were made to be broken, I decided I'd let it have a chance.

"Hey, what do you think about Keller?" I asked Tom.
"Keller." He repeated. "Yeah. I really like it."
"You do?!" I said, surprised. "But it's a last name. Rule #3!"
"Yeah... I know." he said. "But I really do like it."

We didn't settle right then, but we kept it on the table. It stayed in the lead as we entertained other "legitimate" first names. Yet over months of name-gaming, once we learned the baby was a boy, we continued to circle back to Keller, until finally we just started referring to him as "Keller", only between us, by the time I was five months pregnant. At this point, we figured we better do some research on the name. We took to Google, Facebook and the Social Security website to see what they could dish out that might dis-sway us.

Ironically, the first things that came up on Google thrilled me. Not one, but TWO ties to NYC! Things that weren't obvious, things that I never knew existed, but that were real New York connections. The first being the Keller Grad School of Management, a branch of DeVry University located in Manhattan. The second, a clothing brand in Brooklyn. Both were a stretch, and neither mattered or were things I'd name a baby after, but a connection with this name and New York existed and that was enough!

Lots of results brought Keller up as a last name, but it was hard to find first names without really digging. We liked that, while it was an obvious last name, it wasn't a common last-turned-first name. And we did find a few first named Keller's such as Keller Chryst, one of the most sought after Quarterback recruits of 2014 (for Tom, this was immediately seen as a good omen for our son's sport potential) and Keller Foley, actor Scott Foley's 2yr old son (good news to me because I love the TV shows Scandal and Felicity and would in no way mind having something in common with that handsome and talented actor). Finally, the meaning of the name was discovered to be "companion" or "little champion", which we both found appropriate since he already felt like our little buddy and was the champion of our hearts.

Last but not least, we had to make fun it. To fairly look out for our little boy we came up with all the teasing we could think of so we could gauge how bad it may or may not be. There's the obvious association with Helen Keller, but for what's it's worth we really hope he finds his "Helen". "Killer" is pretty bad-A, if he's killer AT something. It's a headline waiting to happen if he's killer TO something. We very much hope it's the prior! "Kelly" was our least favorite, but if it happens it happens. This nickname gave us the most pause because my (male) cousin's name is Kelly, and we would also be using the same middle name (after my Grandpa) making Kelly and Keller's names nearly the same. We debated this up until days before Keller was born. Should we change the middle name? Do we like any other first names better? We didn't. Finally, we decided it didn't matter. Plenty of people have similar family names, or identical ones! Kelly is in his 20s, he lives across the country, and he's a really amazing guy; we could do much worse.

Then, my favorite part of naming Keller occurred. And this is why I think his name just came to me early on in the first place. The day after my baby shower, I was eight months along and still in much debate over the near-identical naming of Keller and Kelly. I called my Mom and asked her if she would read some names off of our family tree, which she has going back and back and back. Since we were planning to name Keller after my Grandpa Joe, I figured if we had to change then at least it could be after someone on that side of the family. William, Henry, Carl, and many classically older names were on the list. And then Mom said, "George Keller." We had kept Keller's name between us, so I was shocked not only to hear it come up but to hear it was a family name. My Great Great Grandfather's on my Grandma's side, to be exact. I got chills and I just knew we had chosen the right name. Keller would hold meaning to my Grandma, and Joseph would hold meaning to my Grandpa. It was perfect.

And so, the name game was over. It stood the rule test (except for #3, which Daddy made and Daddy broke so I can't be held responsible!) and turned out to be so much more than just a random idea. It was a long, time consuming, thought filled process from the moment I had that extra heart beat inside me. Which is why we could not have been more certain we made the right choice when Keller Joseph was born.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thursday at Five: A Birth Story

It has been five days since I became a Mama. For nine whole months I carried this little being inside of my body. I had two free hands and a full eight or more hours of sleep every night (give or take a few insomnia moments around week thirty eight, and those first twelve weeks where I Sleeping Beauty-ied through life functioning only if I got twelve to fourteen). And for the life of me I could not "find the time" to blog (its been over two years since I blogged anything!) or journal or Post-It note any solid record of pregnancy, aside from snippets posted to Facebook to ensure there was something to look back on. Something to include family and friends scattered across the country and something to remind me of that one time, that very first time, I grew a human.

And now... He's HERE! And my hands are hardly ever free, and when they are I'm trying to capture and savor every moment or take a shower and clothe myself. At the very least, I try to apply deodorant. I get by on quick naps when he's napping and various chunks of night time sleep, depending on the night. The first couple nights I was up every hour. Now it's usually every three (thank you breast milk for finally coming in and bringing happiness to all!). The other night I got FOUR BLESSED HOURS and I was almost certain I had crossed over into an out-of-body experience. And yet, despite really not having the time now, I have this urgency, a vital need, to make sure that I get this part right. That I record every detail I can possibly remember of how my son, (my son!?) came into this world. Not for me, not for scattered family, not for curious friends or neighbors, but for HIM. For my baby. Because he'll want to know, and because I never want to forget. And because everything I do now, is for him. And I wouldn't have it any other way. So this is for Keller. Who is sleeping on my husband's chest and will probably need to be re-attached to my boobs again in about twenty-five minutes. For Keller, who changed our lives and stole our hearts in the wee hours of a Friday morning. BUT... it all started with "Thursday at Five."

Once upon a growing belly, was my first baby. He fit perfectly. He never made me sick. He grew steady and strong. He hiccoughed routinely (and still does) and kicked like a soccer champ. He never popped my belly button, but he did make it go completely flat, which was fascinating. He gave me a tiny patch of stretch marks on the underside of my belly, at thirty nine weeks, that remind me of a homemade tattoo; only way more personal and meaningful. He brought perfect joy the day he was born.

We thought / had been told it was very likely I'd have to have the baby a couple weeks early because, due to the extra hormones my placenta produced, I surprisingly ended up with Gestational Diabetes (a story for another time), and most babies need to come out a bit sooner when that happens. Most GD babies don't see their due date. Some babies get close. A slim few get past. Luckily, he remained healthy and happy in there, grew on his own, and I controlled the GD ever so strictly and he remained unaffected. So when thirty eight weeks rolled around and we prepared to meet him, the Dr's said we could wait one more week! We were thrilled (anything to avoid a C-section)! And after that week, we got another week! We were a little bummed from anticipation, but thankful. And then at forty weeks, when we were assured we would be induced on my due date, and it was the third time we'd been scheduled for induction, we were very ready to meet the little guy! But guess what? The Doctors said we could have two more days, because he was just fine. We knew just how fine he was because at thirty nine weeks I was being seen at my OB's office EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Including weekends he was closed, but would open just for us to do an Ultrasound and Non-Stress Test (which I'd been getting frequently at thirty four weeks already). In addition, I also received growth ultrasounds at the hospital to ensure the highest possible accuracy. Everything was good and we all wanted him to come on his own if possible to increase my chances of a healthy, vaginal delivery. So by my due date, when we weren't being induced (AGAIN) after all, Tom & I thought maybe he'd just stay in there forever and I would never get to eat a donut again. Even the hospital receptionist couldn't believe how on earth we hadn't had a baby yet!? The amazing Doctors looking after us were champions in making sure they held out as long as possible (even when I thought I couldn't) so he could come when he was ready. However, there was a no-matter-what deadline, and that was Thursday, June 5th, at five o'clock.

I woke up on Thursday morning with some cramping, but I had had that for the last two days since having my membranes stripped (twice -- and yes, OW) to hopefully kick my body into gear before the induction. It was 7am. I ate my routine 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter while Tom had a bowl of cereal. We excitedly chatted about how in a mere 24hrs I could have a bowl of cereal again too! We wondered what kind of cereal the baby would like when he got older? I began having contractions sporadically, but often, and we got excited thinking that we had all day, until five o'clock, to let things play out. I was in denial that anything was actually happening, but Tom was sure I was in labor. Maybe this kid really was coming on his own?! At 7:30am my phone rang, and it was our fairy-God-Doctor (or OB/GYN if you wanna be technical), Dr. Fahmy.

"Hey guys, where are you?" he asked. "We're home...", said Tom, "are we supposed to be somewhere?" "Yes! You were supposed to be at the hospital at FIVE!" Dr. Fahmy said.
"FIVE A.M.!?!" We screeched at the same time.
"Who schedules an induction at FIVE A.M. and forgets to mention the A.M. part!?" I exclaimed.
We couldn't believe it. We thought we would for sure be black listed at the hospital now for not coming in for our fourth scheduled induction. Oops.
"Well, just head down now, there will probably be a wait so it's best to get there as soon as possible. I'll see you there in a bit." said Dr. F.
We laughed about the silly miscommunication, got dressed, called our Super-Doula Johanna to let her know to meet us, grabbed all our pre-packed things, and headed out the door. It was gloomy, rainy and in the middle of rush hour, yet somehow we caught a cab right off the bat and were on our way. The stars were aligning!

By the time we were in the cab, at 8:30am, I was really having contractions. Tom had started timing them just before we left the house and they were anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 minutes apart, and not letting up. When we arrived at the hospital it was 9am and my contractions were now steady at 2 minutes apart and getting stronger as they came. So strong that my body would shake and I felt like throwing up and pooping myself all at the same time as they peaked, and then I'd be starving at the end. It was intense! Dr. Fahmy called to check-in with us and when he heard I was having contractions so close together he said he would come in right away and check me himself to see how things were progressing. He called the nurses himself directly after and got us straight in to be seen. I love that man and his hospital powers.

Triage was one of the rougher parts of the whole experience. Having to lie in a bed for 20 minutes to be monitored and not be able to move around is not how one wants to go through contractions every two minutes! The nurses and residents were all really nice, but they had a tendency to state the obvious that I really didn't appreciate in the moment.
"Oh wow! You're really having some contractions my dear. And so close together!" they would say. I was quite aware, thankyouverymuch.
Dr. Fahmy arrived in no time and I was dilated to 4cm, and 80% effaced. "Well, you are certainly in active labor," he said, "and I am very happy. See everything happens for a reason!"
He asked the nurses to find me a room as soon as one was available, and I asked Tom to get me some fruit to help keep my energy up. I had one piece of pineapple, and that was the last thing I ate before I became a Mama. As soon as I was allowed off the bed, a contraction hit hard and I knew breakfast was on it's way back up.

"Where's the bathroom? I'm going to throw up." I asked the nurses station.
"Oh just down the hall" they vaguely replied, pointing to three different hallways. Followed by, "How far dilated are you? Are you effaced yet? What's your status?" in gentle, almost patronizing tones.
"Bathroom. Throw up. Which. Way?!" I could barely get out.
"Oh, right down there..." they pointed to one about fifteen steps away.
I took three steps and covered the entire triage floor with my two pieces of peanut butter toast and a pineapple chunk.
"Ssssoooorrrrryyyy..." I moaned to simultaneously sympathetic reactions of "Ohhhhhh honeyyyyyy!"
I stood frozen, having another contraction, bleeding a little on the floor (because I wasn't wearing underwear anymore and had had my membranes stripped twice, remember). Everyone was really nice about it, re-assuring me it was quite routine and to just let it all out. So I did, and I threw up again! They got some towels laid down so I could maneuver around to the bathroom and handed Tom all kinds of things to help get me cleaned up.
"Oh the poor girl, she's not even tied up in the back. Dad tie Mom up, her tush is hanging out!" one nurse exclaimed as we made our way to the bathroom, finally.
"Least of my worries!" I shouted behind me. "It's a let it all hang out kinda day!"

Tom helped get me cleaned up with all kinds of comfy hospital accessories. Seriously, I love the mesh undies! They are really, truly the best things I've ever worn. I took multiple pairs with me when we left the hospital. Anyway, three minutes later we came out of the bathroom and the nurse said, "We found you a room!" The lesson here is, when hospitals are really busy and full, excrete bodily fluids all over the place and they will make things happen for you.

We got into a room at 10:30am, and Johanna (SuperDoula) had arrived and was already helping me with contractions while I got my IVs, answered questions (which is really hard when you don't have much down time between contractions -- you learn to speak very clearly and quickly), and waited for epidural paperwork. I was getting slammed every minute and a half at this point, and all I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap. However, laying and sitting are not appealing contraction positions and there was no way I'd be sleeping through any of this. I used the bathroom and debated filling up the tub to sit in and let the water soothe me, until I heard the anesthesiologist come in and say "Does she want the epidural now, or just the paperwork?" It was 11:40am at this point and I felt that four and a half hours of contractions that were never more than three minutes apart from the start had been plenty of an experience. If I sent this "Angel"-thesiologist away now, knowing how busy things were, I knew I wouldn't see her again for quite awhile. So I bounded out of the bathroom and said "NOW WOULD BE GREAT!". I could've gone longer, and had planned to had we labored at home, but I had been told I would know when I was ready for it and I was ready! Or at least I was no fool to pass up the opportunity to feel better, and get that nap. The epidural was quickly and painlessly inserted and the end result was immediate and total comfort. Sweet relief! (Later, when all was said and done, the most painful part was actually getting the tape ripped off. THAT hurt!) As I watched contraction after contraction sky-rocket one after another on the monitor, while I couldn't feel a thing, I had absolutely no doubt I had made the right decision at the right time. Sooooo worth it. That Epidural now ranks among the Top Five best decisions I have ever made.
Once the Epidural was going, the whole labor process became much more calm and, dare I say, enjoyable. We played cards, took naps, chatted up the nurses, and Dr. Fahmy called me periodically to check in from his office and let me know what / who to expect next and when he would be back in himself. Tom & Johanna took turns getting lunch and I discovered a true love for ice chips. Again, not kidding. I absolutely LOVED the ice chips. They were so cold and crunchy and perfectly sized. I happily ate cup fulls and stayed nice and hydrated. I threw up again mid-afternoon, but just water obviously. It was the weirdest thing too, my mouth started watering and I felt immediately nauseous and knew I had seconds before I was going to throw up. Obviously something was going on with my body that I couldn't feel, but things were happening! I threw up so quickly and so powerfully that my eyes were gushing water like a waterfall, and then I was fine again. Funny how, when you're in labor, it's the one time people are super thrilled and excited, and not at all concerned, when bodily fluids are coming out everywhere. Not just excited, but actually cheering for you. You're throwing up?! YAY! You're bleeding?! AWESOME! You've got water leaking out of you?! FANTASTIC! All of these things are signs of progression and transition into various stages of labor, so it gets people, like doulas and Doctors and nurses, excited. I'm pretty sure it's the only time in life I'll be "happy" about such encouragement.

We took it easy until about 2:30pm when all kinds of alarms started going off on my Epidural machine and it turned out the battery had died. So they switched out the battery and we were back to hanging out. An hour later though I started feeling things and even though I'd press the button to "top off", the contractions continued getting stronger. I asked the nurse if I was doing something wrong and she realized that when the battery on the machine had been changed, it hadn't been turned back on! So the meds had fallen an hour behind and I had to play catch up to the pain by topping off every ten minutes while getting through more steady contractions for a bit. I was quickly reminded of my earlier laboring and I certainly hadn't been missing it. I spent the next hour laboring a bit more and making good use of my husband and doula who both helped enormously with pressure points and massage until the drugs caught up to where they needed to be again.

At 5:15pm a resident came in to check me. I was still 4cm, and my water hadn't broken, but the baby was dropping down and was at a -1 station. Progress was being made, but we were asked to consider breaking my water in about an hour to speed things up a little. I spoke to Dr. Fahmy over the phone & he said to see where we were at in an hour because the resident had checked me a little earlier than he had wanted. An hour later, at 6:15pm, I was checked again and had dilated to 6.5/7cm and my water was breaking (had begun leaking) on its own! Everyone was amazed. Clearly my body was just doing its own thing on its own terms. Whatever those terms were, it was working! So we were left to hang out some more.

At 9pm Dr. Fahmy was back and came in to check me. Oddly, my body had chilled way out and I was at the exact same place I'd been two and a half hours ago. In addition, there was moderate meconium in my water, which meant that the baby had pooped a little in his womb-home and we would need to monitor him more closely to make sure all continued to be fine. Also, a Pediatrician would now be present in the room for delivery and he or she would be the first to hold the baby and immediately ensure that you he didn't aspirate (breathe) poo into his lungs at birth. Dr. Fahmy decided the best way to monitor the baby was internally now, which meant he attached a little monitor to his head so he could get exact heart rate readings directly from the baby's body, instead of through my belly. Baby maintained his healthy heart rate and everything remained fine so there wasn't any further concern. However, since I wasn't progressing anymore for some reason, Dr. Fahmy advised we start some pitocin to strengthen the contractions and keep the kid moving on out. We agreed and that came along at 9:30pm, and then we all took another nap. All hail the Epidural!

For the next few hours, between sleep or massage or just enjoying each other's company, Tom, Johanna, the nurses and I continued to glance at the contraction monitor to see how things were going. Weirdly, my contractions remained very spread out and were often "coupling", as they had earlier, coming back to back but not being as strong or effective as the ones that come on their own in a more routine manner. We were pretty sure I wasn't progressing, and with Pitocin going that was worrying us a bit because I certainly should have been. I was also starting to feel things again, and my Epidural needed to be re-filled, so I labored through some more contractions and topped off as needed. Topping off had it's pros and cons. PRO: no pain. CON: eventually I couldn't feel my legs. I had been able to feel them the whole time, which allowed me to adjust my body easily and move in the bed as needed. However, when my legs became more numb, that became impossible, and quite frustrating. Luckily Johanna and Tom were super helpful in assisting me in adjusting my body so I could continue to rest as comfortably as possible.

At midnight, Tom and I were getting a little worried as we watched the contractions on the monitor remain slow, spread out, and not very intense. When the nurses would come in to check things they were also puzzled at how the contractions appeared un-phased by the pitocin and were still doing what they had been doing prior. We had an hour left before Dr. F would be back to check my progress, so I asked Tom to give me a blessing. A blessing is essentially a special prayer given by a worthy Priesthood holder who listens to the Spirit in order to provide guidance and comfort from Heavenly Father. I honestly don't remember what the blessing said, but I do remember feeling completely at peace afterward and knowing things would be fine and that we were very close to meeting our baby boy.

An hour later, at 1am, the contractions on the monitor were still looking ineffective, but it turned out I was dilated to 9cm and the baby was at a +1 station! Again we were reminded that my body apparently just does its own thing, and whatever that is it works just fine. Everyone was shocked, and thrilled, and I was exhausted and went right back to sleep. At this point, although I couldn't feel anything, I was clearly at a point of transition and my whole demeanor had changed. I was very short and direct about what I wanted, which was mostly to be left alone with my eye mask on so I could tune out the world, and to be fed ice chips, which were still so delicious. I could sense a change in my body that I can only describe as getting into the zone. I threw up one more time, though barely anything, and it wasn't even bothersome just something I needed to do. I didn't even take off my eye mask. My doula was very in tune with me and the major change from perky to "zone-y" and often asked me if I was feeling any pressure or need to push. I wasn't, or didn't think I was. I was just feeling the pressure / pain I had had in my right side for most of the night and it was still  manageable. I don't think I ever felt the pressure people describe. I just knew the baby was moving down and would soon be coming out.

Dr. Fahmy returned a couple hours later and said "Alright! You're at 10cm. I can see the head. Lets start pushing!" To which I replied, "Really? Ok... But... I'm so tired. I don't know if I want to have a baby right now." Such sweet words from someone who is about to become a Mother, right!? Here I've been waiting my whole life to become a Mom, plus the past nine months nurturing and growing this little baby, and it's finally time to meet him and I STILL just wanted to sleep! I think I was feeling a little scared and in denial and couldn't believe it was actually time. Dr. Fahmy helped me rally though and said, "Well, if you don't push this baby out your body will anyway, so gather your energy and lets go!" So I did. Tom held a leg, Johanna held a leg, Dr. Fahmy gave perfect instructions on how to push, and suddenly I had plenty of energy!

I pushed for ten minutes to cheers and encouragement from all, and then at 3:59am on Friday June 6th, 2014 we had a baby boy!
Almost exactly twenty one hours from the first contraction. About nineteen hours from hospital check-in. It sounds like a long time, and Tom said it felt long toward the end, but to me it seemed to pass pretty leisurely  (thanks epidural) and quickly. We had prepared ourselves for a twenty four to thirty six hour labor, this being my first baby and all, so to have it be less than that was a win! 

The best part, for me, was being able to watch as he was born. I was instructed to push his head out and then stop pushing and let my body do the rest. It was INCREDIBLE. I'll never forget it. Out came his head and then there was a sudden calm and quiet, total peace, as his little body emerged into the world, practically in slow motion, as my body did the work on its own. Again, thank you Epidural for allowing me to enjoy that moment, stress and pain free. It was the best moment of my life. I felt the same quiet calm I felt when Tom proposed to me. The feeling of the Spirit was totally in the room, though honestly I didn't recognize it at the time. I only realized it when reliving the moment later on. The baby cried immediately and my instinct was to talk to him and comfort him, so I just started shushing and saying "Hi. It's okay. You're okay." I held his long little body, covered in goo, as he was quickly being wiped and suctioned and cord-cut so they could get him to the warmer with the pediatrician. Since Tom didn't get to cut the cord due to the quick manner in which things needed to get done, Dr. Fahmy clamped some of the cord right after and said, "Here, cut this, so that you did cut some of the cord." It was very thoughtful and meant a lot to Tom. The baby was still screaming on the warmer, while being assessed, so Tom walked over and held his hand and said, "Hey buddy, don't worry, you're okay." Immediately, the crying stopped. And Tom's started. It was a very precious moment to witness the instant bond of father and son. "It's okay babe!", he called over to me. "He really IS cute!" Which is a testament to his parent-goggles at the moment because really, the little guy looked like a Mexican-Asian monkey who had been punched in the face a few times. But we still loved him! He was perfectly healthy, weighed an even eight pounds, twenty one inches long, and was covered in soft fuzz. He really was a hairy little monkey! He had side burns that would make Wolverine proud and his eyebrows stretched across his whole face. We totally loved him.

"What's his name?" asked Dr. Fahmy. And that's when I got choked up (finally). His name. He was a real person, and he had a name, and we could share it out loud with the world! "His name is Keller", I said proudly. And everything was perfect.

P.S. It actually took me twenty five days to write this one blog post. Mom life in full swing over here!

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Believe...

Crazy, busy, changing times these past few months that I haven't quite been able to bring myself to write about (because that would make them even more real), but I love this quote (thanks Sara!):

"I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom."

- Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A few thoughts and updates

I started this post on 11/18/2011. That's how busy / lazy / consumed I have been. So before I ring in the New Year with a new(er) post, I feel it only fitting to at least finish what I started in the "old" year....

I haven't blogged in oh so long. I just don't feel like it. I'm so busy that when I do have a moment, I want to:
A) Veg out in front of the TV
B) Sleep all day in my welcoming and cozy bed
C) Clean and catch up on all the things I purposefully ignore and put off when doing A and B!

Updates should include...

Tom and I celebrated 2yrs of dating on November 13th! Tom made an amazing Korean dinner for us that I really enjoyed. One of the things Tom would love to change my mind about is my less than enthusiastic approach to Korean food. It's special to him, since he spent two years living in Korea, and he wishes he could share more of the culinary delights with me. I may not be a huge fan in general, but the dish he made was YUM! 

Then we dropped by Serendipity for dessert to rekindle memories of our super awesome (and unintentionally romantic) first date. Sitting there with 2yrs of history (and growing) felt really special. 
This year had a few more challenges than last year, so it felt really good to celebrate another 365 days together. I'm proud of us! We had some harder parts compared to our first year of non-stop adventures and fun, and we definitely went through that "getting to know you under all that fabulous-ness" on both our parts. Sometimes it ain't pretty! I'm thankful to have such a committed partner to sit next during the ups and downs and twists and turns of the relationship ride.

I hope the ride continues so that maybe we'll end up needing these:
Hello awesome!

For Halloween we channeled our potential Mr and Mrs with costumes I have always wanted to be!
 That's right. We rocked our stylish inner-potato heads in an outer way. So. Much. FUN! 

Last but not least... Work has been all-consuming and I have sort of begun to lose sight of myself and my passion for what I do. Plus there's school (except I do continue to enjoy that quite a bit and have been enthralled in my course this semester and SO THANKFUL I'm only taking one and it's one that I can really enjoy and want to be at after a long day of work). Things have just been rough lately and I'm not really sure what to do about it... But I wanted to shed a little light on why I haven't been blogging (or reading blogs), socializing, or being much of myself lately. Changes must be made, I know. Until then, thanks for hanging around while I figure it out and sending messages, texts, notes, etc. to make sure I don't slack off completely at keeping in touch! Be back to myself soon I hope! XOXO