Friday, September 7, 2007

Blog-Worthy

Hello.

I'm Big Red, the other newbee. You have never seen my posts because ordinarily I don't like to write. I'm not much for correspondence of any kind for that matter. My major motivation to graduate school and college was to end the constant demand for reports and essays. Writing has always been a chore. Therefore, there has to be a really good reason for me to sit down and write. And for me to actually blog...well... something must be Blog-Worthy!

When Mama K and I will talk about something of interest, I sometimes ask her jokingly whether that item of interest is blog-worthy. Not just any item can be mentioned on the blog. Such an item must be poignant, satirical, funny, precious, etc. Blogging about an item or thought gives it value. Someone, somewhere spent the time writing about it, so it must have some importance. For us, if an item of interest meets the grade, Mama K will be typing away a few minutes later. And here it soon appears for your reading pleasure.

Mama K is just such one those few blog-worthy parts of my life. I look at her and thank God for giving me such a great friend and companion; now more than ever. I am so proud of her for everything she did to give our Karrots the best start possible. She gave up coffee during the pregnancy. She spent hours researching all the medical implications of different decisions. And she popped out an 8lb beauty without any drugs. Wow! I can't even spend an hour or two with a toothache without considering grabbing a pair of pliers. Throughout our birthing adventure, she looked as beautiful as ever (not just my thought; others said so too), and acted like the lady she is. She never backed down for what she believed. What a woman! To bad guys; she doesn't have a sister.

So, I hope you will all continue to support and read the blog of my love. And if you don't see any post from me anytime soon, don't fret. Chances are I haven't fallen in a hole somewhere; I'm just not in the mood to write.

Yours truly,

~Big Red

Breastfeeding...

Karrots and I have not had the easiest road when it comes to feeding. My nipples started hurting in the hospital, which I figured was because they weren't used to all the stimulation. Well, we got home and things have gotten worse. My right nipple has been bleeding so I'm trying to keep her off of it until it heals. The only conclusion I have is that it was due to improper latching.

Last night it took a turn for the worse...and then the better! I had pumped my right breast as it's been engorged and it seems like I feel the opposite breast filling up as the other is emptied. Karrots fed on the left one until it was dry and was still hungry, especially after exploding in her pants. After reading a bit of a book a friend let me borrow, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I decided to try to spoon feed her the milk. Yes, she was just under a week old, but I'd rather try that first than a bottle. So, as Big Red held her, I spoon fed our crying beauty. She chocked on it a bit, but seemed to settle down for a while as she realized it was food.

Then it just wouldn't do...

The last straw was to try the bottle. This broke my heart. I heated up the milk and, because of the shape of the bottle nipple, hoped she'd be able to drink it as a breast. It has a huge nipple and I believe it's meant to be the most natural.

She got to feeding with it but would gag. I think it had a quicker flow. She ended up having to suck it like a normal bottle. I was heart broken. I couldn't help but think of myself as a failure. I had worked all this time and endured the sore nipples, learning that the true reason breastfeeding is best is the bonding that occurs between the baby and mother. Not only is the baby getting really good nutrition from the milk, but she relaxes as she listens to her mom's heart beat and is warmed by her body. Breastfeeding is an intimate thing and watching her feed on a plastic nipple tore me up inside. I couldn't stop crying.

She was satisfied for a while so I was able to read a little more. The book suggested that I use a different position as it would put pressure on a different part of the nipple and allow for the rest to heal. I also read about latching to ensure I was doing it correctly - the nipple needs to be as far back as possible, grab you breast to position it for the best latch, watch for the tongue, make sure the chin and nose have contact with the breast, aim for the baby's nose with the nipple...

Karrots started crying again so I tried it...and to much success, praise God! It didn't hurt nearly as much and she got satisfied. I was able to use this position for the rest of the night. My husband had prayed for me - for wisdom - and God provided!

Not only was this a learning experience with Karrots, but it gave Big Red an opportunity to support me. I'm sure he didn't quite understand my heartache, but he loved on me and stayed by me. I love marriage and family!

Praise God!

I finally pooped!

Take some time to thank God for the little things in life that you take advantage of every day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hiccup!

What was once our little secret...

The tiny pulsing from deep within my womb that was only shared with me...

Has now been exposed for all to experience...

Innocence in a "hic!"...

Gloriously Made

After Karrots, the words to this song have become so real...just watching her. She was gloriously made...knit in my womb...WOW!

The day is brighter here with You

The night is lighter than it's hue

Would lead me to believe

Which leads me to believe

(chorus)

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

And I am Yours

What does that make me?

My eyes are small but they have seen

the beauty of enormous things

Which leads me to believe

there's light enough to see that

(chorus)

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

And I am Yours

From glory to glory

You are glorious You are glorious

From glory to glory

You are glorious. You are glorious

Which leads me to believe

why I can believe that

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

And I am Yours

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

And I am Yours

From glory to glory From glory to glory

You are glorious. You are glorious.

You are glorious. You are glorious.

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

You make everything glorious

And I am Yours

Nap Time!

I love the many faces of my daughter...even in her sleep she never stops expressing herself...



















Monday, September 3, 2007

Daddy Red

This morning I caught Big Red trying to burp a pillow in his sleep. Hilarious and adorable!

When I asked him last night if it kicked in yet that he has a dauhter he said it kicked in at the hospital when he was up late with her walking the room to calm her.

I'm so proud of who he is as a daddy. I couldn't have survived labor or birthing without him and I'm sure parenting won't be any different...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More Pictures of Karrots


Here are some shots from this morning's nap after feeding. I must say, I love her long toes!



Our Birth Story

Last Updated: 9/12/07 - Final

First off, thank you to everyone who has followed us thus far and for all the love and congrats! It's always nice to know we're loved and being prayed for - without prayer, this couldn't have been possible!



I have decided not to write this in parts, but to keep updating this specific post so as to get a whole story at the end. I'll be updating the date on the top so you don't have to reread the whole thing to find out nothing has changed. *;o) Right now I'm just trying to get it all out and don't want to miss anything so it may be a little detailed!



Birth Story of Karrots

I started contractions, the ones that actually hurt and aren't just some tense sensation, around 10:39pm Tues. night after spotting blood from our walk. I sorta timed them on my own until a little after 1am when I woke Big Red up and let him know they'd been regular intervals, between 3 and 4 minutes apart. He got up and helped me time them. We were a little shocked at how close they were coming. We remember reading and hearing they'll start around 15-20 mins. apart and get closer and more intense as labor picks up.

A few hours later we thought we'd better head out to my parents' place and labor there. We called Daja, our doula, and let her know what was going on. She said to keep her updated and let her know when things pick up.

We got to my parents' a bit after 4am and decided to try to get some sleep. I couldn't sleep laying down because the contractions hurt a lot more so Big Red got the bed as I slept sitting up on the couch, checking the clock when the pain hit and trying to sleep inbetween.

We spent the whole day there. I walked around the house, my mom made us lunch, we walked in the heat, and waited for things to change. It wasn't until after 9pm Wed. that we felt we should call our midwife, Simona, and Daja and let them know. We met Simona at the birthing center around 10:15pm. She gave me an exam and let us know I was definitely in labor and was around 1 cm and that I should be having this baby some time tomorrow, with all hope, before 9am.

Daja made it out just after we left and met us at my parents'. She suggested getting rest and decided to go home instead of watching us sleep. So, Big Red spent the night sleeping and I spent the night trying. The whole night we left on the worship CD and lit the sage candle we bought for labor.

Simona called in the morning to see how things were going and asked us to come in around 8am. At this point we met her midwife friend, Marie. Simona gave me another exam and I was 2 cm dialated and I believe 50 or 60% effaced. I wasn't super psyched about getting any of these vaginal exams, even though they didn't hurt as much since I was riper, but what she did during this exam really upset me. We had filled out a waiver stating we didn't want any kind of induction, including breaking my bag of water, etc. Well, this last exam took a lot longer and hurt a lot more. When she finished, her colleague explained that Simona had just swept my membranes and that I should expect my bag of water to break any time now. Needless to say, I was pissed! When they left the room I started crying and telling Big Red it wasn't fair and complained that she didn't even ask before doing it. This is NOT what I wanted...but it was too late to do anything about it. She sent us home and said to stop in around 2pm.

On our way out Simona told me that now would be a good time to call our doula. When we got home I took some contractions in the shower hoping the water would help the pain. It did a little, but only my back or tummy at one time.

While sitting on the couch after the shower, I started throwing up. The pressure broke my bag of water and I could feel it rushing out with each spew. I was bleeding all day so I still had a pad on, so it wasn't EVERYWHERE. I made it to the shower after that hoping it would leak mostly in there. It was then that Big Red called Daja to come over.

Daja helped immensely, reminding me to bring my belly up with each contraction in a deep breath and that's it's good to be vocal. This helped me relax through them. Her and Big Red also gave me massages and made sure I was trying to stay hydrated.


The rest of the day I couldn't keep anything down and leaked amniotic fluid every time I threw up. It was very uncomfortable and eventually lead to my need for an IV...more on that later.


Eventually I got to the point where I wanted to try the birthing tub and, thankfully, it was around 2, when Simona wanted us there. (My mom came with us and watched Daja's baby.)

When we got there they insisted on a vaginal exam stating that they need to know where we're starting. Big Red and I explained that my bag of water had broken and that we didn't want any exams because we hear it can cause infections and puts a time limit on the birth. Simona insisted on it and said that she wouldn't let us stay until she knew our progress. As I was dying to try the tub, we let her. Plus, she told us this was the last exam. I was 4 cm dialated, which was the limit for the tub, so they started filling it up.

I got in and had the jets on for about 10 mins. My labor seemed to pick up a little, but they didn't want me in there too long so I got out and labored sitting on the bed. I got in the tub one more time while there. The whole time Maria kept checking the baby's heart rate with the doppler and timing my pulse and checking my temperature. Some time after 8pm they noticed my temperature was a little high - 100.4 - and started talking about going to the hospital and needing another vaginal exam, etc.

This is the part of our story where the word we received at church came to life. Simona kept insisting that I lay on the bed to be checked. Big Red avoided her saying we'd like to try walking around a while first. My labor picked up in walking and I could feel the baby descending. When Simona insisted that she do an exam Big Red argued with her stating she told us we'd only need the one exam, which she denied, and stood his ground when I asked to be able to sleep before making any decision. I even chimed in letting her know she lost a lot of my trust be sweeping my membranes when we specifically signed a paper to avoid it and that we knew of another birthing center who would respect our wishes. She agreed to letting me sleep, but said she'd have to check me eventually.

I slept for the half hour, getting only 3 contractions during that time (a sign to me that my body knew it needed rest). I felt that if I could get some rest that maybe the temperature would go down. There are simply ways of curing "complications", it doesn't always take medical intervention.

After the nap my temperature was 100.6 and Simona insisted we go to the hospital for an IV because I was so dehydrated and this wasn't good for the baby or the labor (even though the baby's readings were fine), plus she wanted me to take antibiotics for the fever. She left Big Red and I to discuss it.

One of her midwifes in training stopped in to give us the antibiotic pill and to see if she could do anything. She helped me through a few contractions, explaining where to push on my back, etc. Daja took the pills and thanks her. (No, I didn't take them. How can I get those down when I can't keep water down?) She prayed for us and said she'd never gotten to this point of "needing" the hosital so she didn't feel she could help much.

We decided to go as it too late to go somewhere else this far in labor. They wheeled me down in the wheel chair to the car and we drove across the street to the emergency room. Big Red parked across the street from the hospital as we saw my parents and their friend waiting for us. When we got inside the hospital the midwives wouldn't let Daja stay because she still had her baby with her. (No babies in the hospital maternity ward? Weird!)

We got a room and got hooked up. Big Red directly told the nurse that we didn't want all this, we were expecting a natural birth and probably would be difficult. She laughed and thanked him for letting her know. She hooked my IV up and asked me to pee in a cup. I let her know I couldn't possibly aim at this point and that it was checked at the birthing center and it's always good. I made sure they checked my temperature before giving me the antibiotics. It had gone down to normal so Simona said I didn't need them. (FYI - the birthing room was hot so we're guessing that's why I had the temperature...once I got outside walking it went down - funny how such common sense tactics work!)

The nurse also hooked up the fetal monitors on my belly and the blood pressure band (which we took off a few times). She also gave us a vaginal exam (yes, we tried to fight it) and I was at 8cm. We were mostly left alone. I laid there grunting during contractions with Big Red holding my hands and talking to me, reminding me to relax and let my body do what it needed. The shooting pain of the baby coming down got me screaming a few times. Simona came in at one point and said I was at 9-1/2 cm. Eventually, I felt the urge to push and scream louder. The nurse said she saw the head. This is when my mom stayed with us and started taking pictures.

I started pushing while laying on the bed, using the stirrups and the handle bars attached to the bed. Simona disappeared most of the time. Remembering my research, I eventually decided to try the squatting position, since pushing on your back was one of the most inefficient methods. I had my mom on one side and Big Red on the other holding me up. I didn't have the urge to push very often, but for some reason, I did anyway. My legs started to cramp so I got off the bed to walk, stopping to have my husband hold me up while I pushed. He'd hold me under my arms as I squatted and pushed through contractions. This gave us the most progress. I only did consistent pushed when it still hurt after the first.

The baby's head was showing and it was getting more uncomfortable to stand up as the head was between my legs. At that point Simona told me to get back on the bed to finish as the baby was ready. They set up a mirror so I could see. The whole time the nurse kept insisting to push with all my might as Big Red would push me forward during the contractions and count to 10. This wasn't the gentle birth I had pictured, but by this time I was too tired to argue and wanted to get the baby out.

It felt like forever, but the head was coming little by little. At some point Simona mentioned that I was getting a tear and to push gentle, without the handle bars. The head came out and she kept saying to push gentle as the body started to come out on its own. Once the shoulders were through Simona had me reach down and pull the baby out. I placed her on my tummy as they toweled her off. Big Red made sure Simona didn't clamp the cord until it stopped pulsing. Big Red declared her a girl (which, at that point, the idea of gender had TOTALLY slipped my mind) and cut the cord. You could tell right away her hair had red in it. She wiggled around until she latched on and ate for 15 minutes as everyone else ran around.

It was awesome and surreal! They left us alone to bond for a while, eventually coming in to weigh her. She was 8 lbs. 11.8 oz. and 21 inches (same length as I was, but I was 7 lb. 6 oz.). I didn't know what to think of her size as she didn't seem to have a problem coming out! Some "huge" baby, eh?

For the next hour or so (it felt like forever!) Simona stitched me up. She noted that I had a 2nd degree tear that went down pretty far. By the time she finished the stitches, the numbing shots she gave me had worn off.

During this time they told us they had to take her to the nursery. I asked why and if Big Red could go. Our nurse said she'd ask the head nurse of the nursery, who came in and double checked that we didn't want any shots or eye ointment. We originally were contemplating the eye ointment, but since it was a dry birth and I don't have any diseases, no ointment! She was totally sweet and let Big Red go in and give Karrots her first bath, even though it's not typical hospital procedure, taking pictures so we could remember the momentous event.

When Big Red got back he helped me to the bathroom. After passing out on the toilet (I wasn't supposed to get up?!) we were moved to a postpartum room. My girlfriend came and visited that night/morning around 6am and then we tried to get some sleep. I say try because nurses and such kept coming in. "You can't sleep in the hospital!"

We found out Karrots is Rh+ (yeah for her! She won't have to worry when she gets pregnant!) and so I got the Rhogam shot. A woman had come in to take my blood, which I had all sorts of questions as to why, and found it was to personalize the dose of Rhogam I was to receive. It was a short shot in the butt.

We got her pictures taken and ended up staying at the hospital until Saturday afternoon.

Thank you to all the many visitors we had and for all the gender specific gifts we received. Also, to our church family for bringing us meals and company. It's great to know how much we are loved - all three of us!