Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I Was Doing 2 Years Ago

It's D.L.F.'s 2nd birthday tomorrow! Here is his birth story, if you missed it the first time around (it's slightly graphic, because, it's, well, you know, birth):

At 1:30 A.M. on Saturday, August 26 (one day before Baby’s official due date), I got out of bed to use the bathroom and discovered a bit of clear liquid trickling down my legs. I tested it with a nitrazine strip and found that it was amniotic fluid. It was the first sign in my body of any progression toward labor, and I was so excited I couldn’t go back to sleep for quite some time. Later that day, I began having bloody show. (I didn’t lose any more amniotic fluid until the pushing stage of labor.)

I began having contractions around 10 PM on Saturday. They didn’t seem much worse than bad menstrual cramps. I thought, wow, this isn’t so bad after all. I went to sleep, but woke up with a contraction every forty-five minutes or an hour all night.

Throughout Sunday, the contractions gradually got closer together. By nighttime, they were eight to ten minutes apart and extremely strong and painful. I mainly felt them in my lower back. Every time a contraction would start, I would start the timer, get on my hands and knees, and Hubby would rub my lower back for me, while one or both of us sang a few lines from whatever song came to mind to help distract me. We went back to sleep for eight to ten minutes until the next contraction started, and then went through the process again, all night long.

By Monday morning, I was pretty tired, but I assumed Baby would be arriving sometime that day, so I tried to stay cheerful and positive. Hubby and I finished packing our bags and gathering snacks for the birth center. We went for a walk at a park, which helped to bring the contractions closer together. By lunchtime, the contractions were four or five minutes apart. We called the midwives, and they told us to come on over to the birth center.

Hubby drove, of course. We took the freeway, and traffic was light, so we got to the birth center in about ten minutes. I only had one contraction along the way, but it was very uncomfortable to get through in a sitting position.

We arrived around 1:30 P.M. I was the only woman in labor when we arrived, so I was able to get the birth suite of my choice: a pink, feminine room with a double-wide birth tub. The midwives asked me a few questions and then allowed us to get settled in. They checked on us periodically to see if there was anything we needed, but for the next few hours, they mostly left us to labor on our own.

At 5:15 P.M., the supervising midwife asked if she could check my cervix. Because I was still pretty calm and collected, she was amazed to find that I was already 8 centimeters dilated. She told me I could get into the birth tub if I wanted. Hubby and I got in together and turned on the jets. The warm water and the jets really helped dull the pain of contractions. Hubby stayed in the water with me for a couple of hours, rubbing my lower back with each contraction. Then he got out, but he still came over to rub my back every time I had a contraction. The pain in my lower back was excruciating. I didn’t realize at the time that the baby was posterior, so all the contractions I had experienced to this point were “back labor.”

I really lost track of time after that, and with all the endorphins coursing through my system, I got a little spacey. I really wasn’t thinking clearly, and absolutely all I could focus on was the contractions. As it was getting dark outside, Hubby and I went for a walk around the block. I had two or three contractions along the way, which were hard to deal with after the milder birth tub contractions. I got back in the birth tub for a while, and then forced myself to get out and labor on the bed for a while, as I was concerned that the birth tub contractions weren’t “doing enough,” because they were nowhere near as painful as contractions outside the water. I was frustrated that I still felt no urge to push, and I was getting extremely tired.

I think the supervising midwife could tell at that point (around 4 AM on Tuesday) that I was becoming somewhat discouraged, so she took over. She had me lie on my side for contractions (even though I told her lying on my side hurt the worst), and put a “husband” back-support cushion between my legs, so that they were spread about two feet apart. She spoke soothingly during contractions, reminding me to keep my legs wide open to make room for the baby, which was difficult, as I just wanted to clamp them together to help deal with the pain. It was during this time that the baby finally rotated to a face-down position and I began to feel the urge to push. Also, I felt a lot of wetness between my legs and had the fleeting thought that the amniotic sac must have broken. I did a few gentle experimental pushes, but not too hard, because I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to be pushing yet.

After a while, the midwife checked my cervix again and said it was at 10 centimeters, and that I was free to push. This was encouraging news. I thought that I would give a few pushes and the baby would be out. I pushed on my hands and knees on the bed for a while. After maybe half an hour, I felt something start to slip out a tiny bit, and Hubby said he saw some membrane. One of the midwives suggested that I try sitting backward on the toilet to push, so I did. Hubby sat on a chair behind me, and with each push, I alternated between squeezing his knees as hard as I could and scratching and pounding the wall with my hands. I couldn’t help screaming with every push. After pushing on the toilet for about half an hour, I returned to the birth tub, where I was determined to be done with labor and meet my baby. I pushed super hard and fast on my hands and knees, and the baby was born in the water at 6:44 A.M. I heard Hubby exclaim, “Baby!” with astonishment and relief in his voice, and I knew I was done. One of the midwives immediately scooped the baby up and placed it on my chest. Hubby asked if it was a boy or a girl. He had to ask a couple of times, because I was too engrossed in just staring at the baby’s adorable face and marveling that the baby was finally outside me. Finally I processed what Hubby was asking, looked, and announced, “It’s a boy!” We greeted him, using the name we had chosen early in pregnancy for a boy.

Baby Boy’s head was perfectly round and not cone-shaped (thanks to my “roomy pelvis,” as the midwives put it), and his Apgar scores were 10 and 10. After a few moments of holding him in the tub, Hubby and the midwives helped me over to the bed, where I continued to hold Baby Boy to my chest. I was amazed how his sucking instinct kicked in right away, and that he was able to snuggle up to my breast and know what to do.

After a couple of pushes, the placenta came out, which felt good, as it was such a huge relief of pressure. After the cord stopped pulsing, Hubby cut it. The midwives left us alone for a while to bond with our baby. Later, the head midwife did an exam on me and found that I had torn pretty badly and needed stitches. Hubby gave Baby Boy his first bath and dressed him. Then we were given a breakfast menu from a nearby restaurant, and we both ordered omelettes.

Eventually, I got stitched up, and then Hubby and I watched the midwives gave Baby Boy his newborn exam. He was found to be normal and healthy. He was 7 pounds, 14 ounces (the exact same birth weight as his papa), and 21 1/8 inches long. His hair is light brown and his eyes are dark blue, at least for now.

Around noon, my parents came by the birth center for a few minutes to meet Baby Boy. Shortly after that, Hubby and I and our new baby went home.

I am very grateful to have given birth in a birth center instead of in a hospital. If I had been in a hospital, I’m sure the doctors would have wanted to give me drugs to help speed things up, as it was such a long labor, or pressured me to have an epidural and episiotomy. I was determined to have a natural birth with no interventions if at all possible, and I am pleased to say that I did, even though it was difficult. Baby Boy was very alert and content after his birth as a result of not being drugged up. I feel like he is my precious reward for all the hard work of labor. We prayed for this baby, and now we hold him in our arms. Thank You, Lord.

(Originally published September 2, 2006)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

You know your husband is a geek nerd multimedia technician when you hear him singing to your son, "You can't brush your teeth with a network cable...."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Beach

We took a family trip to the beach today. It was D.L.F.'s first time, and he loved the waves! In fact, he even roared at them (I think that's a compliment coming from him). He was sad when it was time to go, but we got cleaned up (D.L.F. was drenched from head to toe!) and then went to lunch at a seafood restaurant right on the beach. The kids slept all the way back home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family Antics

We managed to make it to storytime at the library today in between rain showers. D.L.F. is really getting into doing the motions of songs and rhymes. Ah, library. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Not really. I talk about the library enough as it is. But it's still my favorite use of tax dollars.

D.L.F. loves to help me wake up Cupcake. When I say it's time, he rattles the doorknob (with childproof cover) until I get there and open the door, then he runs into her room, grabs the side of the playpen where she sleeps, and says (loudly), "HI, BABY (her name)! DO YOU WANT SOME MAMA MILK?" Cupcake loves her big brother and doesn't seem to mind this rude awakening. She just smiles up at him. She is almost always happy and content and just takes things as they are and accepts them (even when D.L.F. roars at her, she just stares at him unflinchingly. When D.L.F. does this, he is just trying to be sweet and include her in his games. His favorite thing in the world right now is when he and T chase each other around the house on hands and knees ROARING at each other like lions.)

Also, I don't know how it started, but we've all started saying "ooga booga" to each other just to be silly. Sometimes D.L.F. will be in one room, stop what he's doing and pause as if suddenly struck by inspiration, and say, "Say 'ooga booga' to Baby (her name)!" Then he'll run to whatever part of the house she's in, get right in her face, and say, "ooga booga!" She thinks this is funny and laughs at him. I never knew it would be so fun to have two. I'm looking forward to having more children (eventually). We've even got some good names picked out already.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Staying Humble

The parking spaces at our apartment complex are extremely narrow. The problem is compounded by the fact that, although the spaces are clearly marked "compact," many of the vehicles parked there are anything but. I've had to get in through the passenger's side and slide and shimmy over to the driver's side on multiple occasions because someone parked too close. What makes this even trickier is that something is wrong with the passenger's side lock, so our keys don't work in it--the car can only be unlocked from the driver's side. So even if I'm planning to get in the passenger's side and crawl through, I still have to manage to wedge my hand in the driver's side far enough to hit the automatic lock to open the rest of the doors. At least once when I was pregnant I had to call T to back the car out for me because there was no way I could get in on either side.

Practically every time I need to drive somewhere I have to think skinny thoughts and plaster myself to the car in order to get in. So imagine the thrill in my heart when I went out to the parking lot yesterday morning and saw, much to my delight and relief, that there was no car parked to the left of ours! I would be able to walk straight up to it and get in a completely calm, dignified manner! I giddily flung open the door (you understand my joy if you've ever had long-term parking issues), and proceeded to bash my bicep on the doorframe and tumble awkwardly into the seat. No one saw that, right?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our Family


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Were It Not For Grace

This song has been running through my head today. It's a good reminder that: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us," and "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (from Titus 3 and Ephesians 2).

I've been thinking today how my life could have gone a completely different direction as a result of difficult circumstances in my past plus my own sin and foolishness, but God graciously had a better plan for my life and rescued me from a life without Him. Thank You, Lord, for saving me.

Were It Not For Grace

Time measured out my days
Life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God
But knew I'd never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace

So here is all my praise
Expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place
And ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full
Just how much it would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven
So I would not be lost

-by Larnelle Harris

Friday, August 01, 2008

T and Me

I found this meme on Stephanie's blog, Sojourner in a Strange Land. I thought it was cute and unique, so here goes:

1. Who is your man? T...philosopher, poet, and connoisseur of all things geeky

2. How long have you been together? 4+ years

3. How long dated? dated 5 months, engaged for 6 months after that

4. How old is your man? 32, almost 33

5. Who eats more? I do, especially when I'm pregnant or nursing (which has been most of the time we've been married!)

6. Who said "I love you" first? T

7. Who is taller? T is 6'4"; I'm 5'5".

8. Who sings better? I do.

9. Who is smarter? He is.

10. Whose temper is worse? Mine.

11. Who does the laundry? I do.

12. Who takes out the garbage? He does.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If you're standing at the foot of the bed, he's on the right.

14. Who pays the bills? He pays all the online bills. I write the rent check each month.

15. Who is better with the computer? Definitely T.

16. Who mows the lawn? We don't have a lawn.

17. Who cooks dinner? I do.

18. Who drives when you are together? He does.

19. Who pays when you go out? He does.

20. Who is most stubborn? Well, we're both pretty stubborn, but honestly, T is right about things more often than I am, so I usually end up giving in when I see he's right.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? He is.

22. Whose parents do you see the most? Mine.

23. Who kissed who first? Our first kiss was at the altar.

24. Who asked who out? He asked me out, but...I think I made it embarrassingly obvious that I liked him (another story for another day, or maybe not!)

25. Who proposed? He did, at the beach, on a ledge overlooking the water. He planned everything out to the second (literally). There was music, sparkling cider, a red rose, a beautiful poem he had written, my engagement ring in a special was very romantic!

26. Who is more sensitive? I am.

27. Who has more friends? It's probably about equal.

28. Who has more siblings? We each have one sibling.

29. Who wears the pants in the family? T does.

30. How did you meet? I was in college and he was in seminary at the same school. I was a singer in a small ensemble, and he was the sound guy. The group often went to a restaurant after our Sunday-evening concerts. One night I sat by him and listened to him talk about his master's thesis he was working on. Wow, I thought, he is really smart, and godly, and funny. I want to marry someone like him! So I did! :-)