Nov 24, 2009

July 2009

[While I was in labor early on Tuesday morning, I created several blog posts trying to bring the blog up to date. I got as far as September. Here is the first installment.]

At long last, here is the story behind our boy's stitches and pictures from July.

While we stayed with our friends Sam & Benjamin for a week, there were lots of occasions for scratches and bumps. But on the evening before Sam & Ben's parents returned, just before I was about to start dinner, I heard the front door close and then just a moment later, I heard James crying. Sam came bursting into the house yelling that James was bleeding. Thinking that he had probably just scraped his knee, I headed outside.

Poor James. His head was covered with blood and he gripped in his hand a small metal truck. He had tripped as he walked down the step, and that little truck had broken his fall - right over his eye.

Thankfully, just down the street from Sam & Benjamin live my mother's helper, Eliza, and her family. While I tried to comfort James and stop the bleeding, I sent Sam down to ask Eliza's mom & dad (Pete & Ashley) to come up. Right about the time they arrived, I started to feel faint. They had me lie down on the couch and then checked out James. Thankfully the bleeding had stopped. But they agreed that we should get to the Emergency Room. So Ashley took Sam & Benjamin back to her house and sent Eliza up to help me with James. Pete drove us all to the hospital where my Ben met us.

The doctor decided James needed 5 stitches and proceeded to use a numbing gel while we waited for Daddy to arrive. Once he came, Pete and Eliza headed home. And then the real drama began.

Ben tried to prepare James for what was about to come. He asked James if he was going to cry. James bravely said "No." And the nurse quietly said, "No. He's gonna scream bloody murder!"

Sure enough, they began to wrap him on the papoose board and James immediately lost it. Poor thing was terrified. I didn't watch them put in the stitches - I'm not brave enough for that! But I closed my eyes and put my head close to James and kept talking to him, despite the fact that he was indeed screaming bloody murder!

Finally the trauma was over and they unwrapped our sweaty boy. In no time at all, James settled down and was ready to go.

But it was well past dinner time, and I hadn't even started dinner yet. So guess where we stopped on our way home? California Tortilla!

Here is our boy with his stitches two days later:

That weekend, we celebrated Independence Day at a picnic hosted by old friends of my parents. We took our friend John with us. He had a great time! (And you can just begin to see my baby bump).

My mom & dad came at least once during July. James adores his grandparents. Here is one of very few pictures I have with both of my parents and James together.

And here is another picture of our boy with his guitar.

Sadly, I have no pictures of the "Fireman's Convention" that we got to attend in the middle of July. My brother is a volunteer fireman, and they participated in a fun day with a bunch of other stations from their area and beyond (we even saw trucks and stations from our area!). James had the time of his life that day - not only did we walk around and see all kinds of emergency vehicles, but the festival was set up in the shadow of a huge train bridge. At one point, a very large freight train headed across the bridge, much to our boy's delight! On our way to the car, various booth holders cleaned up, and one kindly gave us a fireman's hat for James.

A day or two later, while still in his jammies, we were outside saying goodbye to Ben. James had on his rain boots and the fireman's hat. But when I tried to take his picture, he took off his hat and posed for me. What a hoot!

We pulled out James' little pool again this summer. I was happy to see him getting wet. Other than the bathtub or shower, he hasn't been excited about water play. These pictures tell a different story. Yay!

And finally, before and after pictures of James' much-needed hair cut!

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Nov 18, 2009

The (Unabridged) Story

Although I didn't have any contractions after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, I awakened Wednesday morning around 5:30, praying that God would let them start again and that we would get to have my OB deliver our baby. He's only in the hospital on Wednesday mornings until 12 Noon (otherwise he's in the office), so I knew that things would have to progress pretty quickly if that was going to happen.

Ben decided that we should both shower and get ready for the day and see what it held. When I got out of the shower at 6:15, I had a very strong contraction (quite different from the contractions on Monday and Tuesday). At 6:18, I had another one. Ben commented that they were just three minutes apart. I thought, "Yay! I'm cooperating! Maybe Dr. K will get to deliver our baby after all!"

To go from no contractions at all for hours to these intense contractions made Ben think we shouldn't waste any time in heading for the hospital. Since it's at least 30 minutes away without traffic, we knew that at that time of morning, it was going to be a long drive.

Ben went down to get my parents up while I turned on the coffee pot, warmed up his baked oatmeal, put the rest of his lunch in his lunchbox and put a few things in a cooler for me to eat. Mom jumped in the shower. The plan was for Mom to be with us in the delivery room. But Ben thought that maybe we should leave and let my parents come in their car.

The contractions kept coming. I could take them while I was standing and walking. But I suddenly dreaded a long car ride.

I decided to use the bathroom right before we left. When I sat down, I couldn't go, and another contraction started. This time I thought I was going to pass out. I stood up and went out, and all at once felt serious pressure "down there." I told Mom and Ben. I really knew what that meant and I thought that Mom might stop us if she was concerned by it. And then I thought perhaps it would abate by my sitting still for the drive. (Right... You can see how much I really wanted Dr. K to deliver our baby.)

So Ben and I headed out the door. As I went to get in the van, another contraction came and I just kept walking. Poor Ben.

I had pulled out two towels to sit on in the van, just in case my water broke. So I put them on the seat, and carefully got in on top of them. We began to leave our neighborhood and another contraction came. We were stopped at a stop sign, and I almost burst out of the van to walk it off. Instead, I leaned the other direction, grabbed Ben's arm, and announced with great intensity, "I can't do this!"

Ben called his mom to let her know that we were on our way to the hospital. It was about 6:53 by this time. As another contraction ended, Ben sped through a yellow - oops - red light. "Calculated risk," he said as he turned to look at me with a grin.

Between road construction and dense population, traffic near us moves slowly during the morning rush. Wednesday morning was no exception. As we approached the next traffic signal, and it turned red, Ben began to turn into traffic anyway. "I guess these people are just going to have to think I'm rude." And another contraction overwhelmed me, fueling his resolve.

After another contraction, and the traffic ahead of us opened up, Ben picked up his cell phone to call my doctor's office so they knew to expect us at the hospital. Since the office was closed, the announcement said, "If you think you are in labor, press 2." The doctor who picked up talked with Ben briefly and then asked to speak with me. I didn't want to talk to anyone on the phone. But I did notice the clock read 7:02. I might have said four words when the most intense contraction yet seared through me. I threw the phone back in Ben's lap as I cried out, "I can't. I can't do this." And then all at once, the pressure changed. As Ben picked up the phone, I yelled, "It's coming! The baby is coming out."

Ben yelled into the phone to the poor doctor, "We are going to our community hospital," and hung up.

Ben leaned up into the steering wheel, looking behind him in traffic, looking ahead. Dead stop at a traffic light. Cars ahead. Busy intersection. Nowhere to go.

And another contraction came. I leaned back against Ben, flung my seat belt off, yanked down my pants, and felt the bag of waters come out. I fingered it, hoping that there was no cord in it. Just as I felt the relief of not feeling anything but fluid, the baby's head pushed down, and I yelled again, "The head... the baby's head." I could see dark hair.

Ben looked over and could see the bag of waters. He looked back as the light changed, and he headed through the intersection. He called 911 to have them radio our local hospital that we were on our way.

I pushed once and pulled our purple little baby out. The cord was loosely around its neck, so I unwrapped it quickly and started rubbing its back. It whimpered slightly and I heard an inhale.

Time slowed down. The baby was very peaceful. It opened its eyes and turned its head. I kept rubbing, pulling it up to my chest. And then I realized, I had no idea if it was a boy or girl. I lifted this precious one up, and as we turned left, onto the road the hospital is on, I announced, "It's a girl!"

Then I had two thoughts at once - one came out loudly, "Ben! Put the window up! The baby's cold!!" (Poor man; he had rolled the window down to make the left turn safely.) The other was, "James was right!"

I put our Madelene Kate on my lap and continued to rub her body to pink her up, smacking her back to help engage her lungs some more. We turned right into the hospital entrance. Ben wasn't sure where to go. I said, "Just go - straight - Main Entrance." He honked the horn as we approached, and jumped out, ran in yelling, "We just had a baby in the car! We need help!"

I looked up at him as he came back out of the hospital - his eyes were all red. And at that moment, the entrance burst open as people came rushing out.... Van doors flung open. Staff grabbed whatever they could to wrap the baby and warm her up - pillow cases off our pillows, a (not so fresh!) blanket that had been tossed in her carseat.

Then I heard a familiar voice. I looked up. The man with whom Ben had worked in security at that hospital 20 years ago, who had been there the day James needed stitches (and every other time we've been there this year), was the one giving orders. As my heart filled with gratitude for God's provision in that very moment, I said with joy, "George!" And he looked at me and then at Ben, and he told my dad later that after he heard me say his name, peace flooded him, and he knew everything was okay.

They put us on the stretcher, wrapped us in warm blankets, and wheeled me and our girlie into the ER. As we approached the examining room, someone started to take our baby off of me, and I said, "She's still attached! The placenta hasn't come out yet." Back into my arms she came. And I noticed that the cord was completely white and still (a very good thing for the baby!).

Orders were shouted all around. My clothes were all removed and tossed into a bag. Madelene's cord was cut. She was put back on my belly to warm up, and then she was taken to make sure she was okay. Graciously they allowed me to have her back very quickly when one of the doctors asked if I wanted to breastfeed. She latched on right away with a strong suck.

And then we were on our way upstairs to the Labor & Delivery ward.

At that point, everything slowed down as they prepared to stitch me up (about a 2-inch tear in the same place as the episiotomy from when James was born). My parents arrived. My mom came in to hold my hand while Ben continued to recover and Dad went to make phone calls.

An hour or so later, after Madelene Kate had warmed up sufficiently, the nurses gave her to me so she could nurse again. The only time she had cried was when they took her out from under the heater to weigh and measure her. Her lungs sounded strong and clear. I was so happy to hear her loud protest! And what delight as I once again held our baby girl close to my heart.

Looking back from this vantage point, I can't help but marvel at the kindness of God in all of our circumstances. I feel so small and helpless (because I am). And He is so great and mighty yet cares for us so tenderly.

It's a GIRL!

Miss Madelene Kate arrived at 7:05 a.m. with a bit of drama.

We didn't make it to the hospital before she made her appearance.

In fact we altered course from our original hospital destination to our local hospital. And in God's gracious providence, we were just a mile from our local hospital when I realized that this baby was coming out. Far from the calm and peaceful delivery in the hospital with James, Madelene Kate arrived to the honking of our van as Ben tried unsuccessfully to get cars ahead of us to move.

For those who don't want the graphic details, I will include those in the next post. Mommy & Baby are healthy and happy. Madelene Kate weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 19 inches long. She nursed right away. She has a beautiful head of hair. And we are amazed by God's kindness.

Thank you for praying!

Precious Sleep

Psalm 127:2b "for He gives to His beloved sleep."

God gave us sleep last night. 

And now after a shower, I am having very regular, very strong, and painful contractions. We have packed the car and will be heading to the hospital in just a moment.

Thank you for praying.

Nov 17, 2009

Pray for rest

We're going to try to sleep...

Maybe tomorrow?!

This baby sure seems happy to be hanging out... contractions slowed mid-day to once every 15 minutes even while I laid down to nap - but they remained strong. 

They picked up again when Ben and I went for a walk. And after Mom & Dad arrived, Mom and I went for another walk. Good strong contractions while we were out. But they slowed again once we came inside. But they are strong when they come.

God knows what this baby's birthday is supposed to be. It's a good thing to trust Him!

I'll definitely post again before we leave for the hospital. And there is wi-fi in the birthing rooms, so Ben can post even there.

Thank you for praying. 

So Much Like Labor With James

It's almost weird how much this labor is like my labor with James. 

I still remember that day three years ago as if it were yesterday... hanging out in the basement all night while Ben slept, taking a shower and having the contractions slow down, crawling back into bed only to have a phone call come that got me back up. 

Then I made a big breakfast for Ben. And around 11:00 I went to my neighbor's house to hang out. During that hour, Susan started timing my contractions. At 12:15, she sent me home to call the doctor - contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting a full minute each. We were in the car on the highway by 1:20. Ben was on the phone with his boss.

My doctor checked me, and I was 3 cm. He sent me next door to the hospital. They had a bed ready for me by 2:30, and I had progressed to 4-5 cm. My sister arrived. Ben's mom arrived. My parents arrived. The grandparents waited with my 10-month-old niece in the waiting room. Barbara joined us for the delivery.

Around 4:30, the OB checked me and I was 8 cm. She broke my water (hospital policy). And all at once, although my contractions up until then had not been very painful, suddenly everything hurt. Thankfully, in half an hour I was fully dilated and ready to push. Oddly, at that point, all pain melted away. I pushed for 20 minutes, and out came our precious son.

So far, things have been pretty similar... even to the timing. 

Around 9:30, we took James over to Eliza's house. My parents will probably be on the road pretty soon. I think I might go for a walk since Susan is now working and not home for me to go hang out with! 

My biggest disappointment is learning just now that the hospital has a new policy in place because of the swine flu that only two people are allowed in the delivery room (usually it's four). So this means that my sister isn't able to join us. I'm really sad that she won't be there, especially since it's her birthday. (We'll miss you, Dolly!)

Thanks for your continued prayers. If you would, please pray for things to pick up and keep progressing.

6 a.m.

Well, I've done a bunch of blog posts from pictures in July, August and September. I'm almost up to date... but I think I will stop now. It's 6 a.m. and our boy will soon be awakening. I'd like a shower before he gets up, so I should probably go upstairs.

Contractions have continued - but I've been nicely distracted, so I'm not sure how often they are coming. But they are more intense now than they were when I first got up.

Thankfully, Ben has slept for most of the night. I'm feeling sleepy... not my preference for heading into life with a newborn. But I know God will grace me for this season and be my strength when I am weak.

More later...

39 weeks 2 days

Good Morning!

(Happy Birthday, Bea! It seems like we are going to give you a special gift today. Now one question remains: will you receive a niece or another nephew? We eagerly await the announcement with you!)

I think I might officially be in labor.

Being "advanced maternal age" (since my 35th birthday fell one day before my due date), I have enjoyed weekly ultrasounds and 15-20 minute fetal monitoring at my doctor's office for the past month. Today, the tech noted that I was having "hard contractions" every 4 minutes. I felt them, but they didn't hurt at all. And the doctor didn't seem to think much of them.

After he checked me, he said I "remained unchanged from last week - still 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated." He told me to go into labor and come see him in the hospital on Wednesday.

So I came home to my boy and his Grammy, still having contractions, but not paying attention to them at all.

Right around 9 p.m., I noticed an intensity in the growing tightness of my belly. And I commented on it to Ben. I went into the kitchen to finish up the dishes and to make sure Ben's coffee and lunch were ready for Tuesday (now "today."). Then I sat down at the computer to send a few e-mails.

Ben went upstairs to bed, and I soon followed. I finally fell asleep around 10:30 but was awakened at 12:15 by another contraction. For an hour, I tried to go back to sleep while at the same time trying to time the contractions. Right.

So I decided to get up and blog about my labor.

It is now 2:15 a.m. I am still having regular, somewhat intense contractions. And I feel a bit nauseated. Maybe I've just moved to 3 cm!

I'll post again when anything changes.