My Birth Story: Helping Han Out, Part 2

Disclaimer: this is a birth story, and for the purpose of clarity, rememberance, and usefulness to readers who might be pregnant, it might get a little gross. No promises. Do not read if you wish to stay clear of medical descriptions and possibly gross and/or graphic pictures. Do not read if you are pregnant and nervous about your birth experience, because I’m going to be transparent.

(I don’t have any pictures for this post because we were busy. Obviously.)

I had a large ziplock bag of ice on my crotch for the car ride, and it was the only thing keeping me at all sane or focused. Getting to our stuffed little green Honda with the carseat installed in back was very difficult, and there was wobble-running involved. I had to keep towels under the seat to prevent more cervical fluid leaking. I was in active labor and, truth be told, I really should have made the trek to the hospital sooner than I did. I ended up making it more difficult on myself.

Every piece of gravel our tires went over felt like a baseball bat beating against my lower body and reverberating all through me. Very close to our house there are train tracks and I held my breath and braced myself as we rode over them, as slowly as Alex could go while still trying to get me to the hospital as quickly as possible. He was strangely calm, but I expected that. He was focused. Halfway there, I started screaming. I remember being at stoplights and knowing that people in the cars beside us could see me and hear me very well, even with everyone’s windows closed, and I considered being embarrassed, but pain has a way of encompassing everything, including our core nature. I hardly had any shame left.

When we got to the hospital, Alex parked by the door and got me a wheelchair. I thought I might not make it even like that. Sitting down was awful, especially on that hard plastic. All of those bumps and the uneven floors… Don’t believe what people tell you. Wheelchairs are uncomfortable, and not fun. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

Labor and Delivery was on the fourth floor, as I recall. It’s been a few months at this point, but at the time I was VERY familiar with making my way in. I had been there at least four or five times at that point. I don’t remember much about the trip up except that I was in massive pain and I do remember getting into the elevator and fearing the worst. Thoughts of it breaking flashed through my head. When I was about eleven I was trapped in an elevator, all alone. It was one of those super old ones that’s about five by five feet. I wasn’t scared or anxious about it at the time, and I had never given it much worry since, but every time I went up to labor and delivery I always thought “This would be the time. This would be the time it breaks on me again. This is when I would get truly stuck, like firemen rescue level stuck.” All while breathing through contractions. This time was worse, because the labor was like a hellish inferno in my crotch. I’m just being real, y’all. Although momentarily I did think “It would be almost convenient if the elevator broke down, because then I would be forced into a natural delivery, which is what I want.” But I can’t even explain how briefly this thought came and went. Immediately I thought “I can’t handle this at all, and I definitely can’t handle it without medicine or doctors and on an elevator floor,” which I would obviously have flung myself upon in anguish and writhing in pain. My second thought, almost simultaneous, was of the guilt variety: “I love my baby, I love this child, how could I for even a moment think it would be cool to deliver him on this filthy floor with no medical intervention and no emergency backup plan in case something goes wrong? I am awful. I am a terrible mother. This is a disaster why did I do this how did I think I could be a mom oh my gosh–” My third thought as I felt his hand on my shoulder was “I could do it. With Alex I could do anything. This pain is from hell, but Alex is completely and totally straight from God, and he’s here, they’re both here. I could do it.”

When we got to the desk, I don’t remember much, except being very furious that they were making me put on a gown. I was screaming. My contractions were still about a minute and a half to a minute apart and they were making me scream bloody murder. How dare these freaking monsters make me go into their stupid bathroom all by myself and take off my dumb clothes and put on their way dumber buttless hospital gown? “How freaking dare they? This is utter crap.” I was much kinder in real life. In this case kinder probably means that I didn’t say any of that out loud. This moment was not my finest. I pride myself on typically being pretty chill, but at this time I was super not chill. I was a having a hard time. I do not remember if they made Alex fill out the annoying paperwork or not, but history suggests that they would have, and I know that that would have caused me further angst.

I also don’t remember if I got a real doctor or a student in the checkup room. The checkup room! I don’t think they even believed I was in active labor, I think they just thought I was being a drama queen. Oh I am WAY more fun when I’m being a drama queen. Then one of the two doctor-y people (the one of whom I was certain was a student and who did not seem to know what to do with my screaming) started trying to check my cervix. Normally, you should understand, I am incredibly obliging. I let doctors do whatever they have to do. I don’t mind saying that I am a trooper and a class act in the being a medical patient sense. But a cervical exam at that time was too much. I didn’t even try to oblige. I just let him worry about it and hoped that it would be annoying enough for him that he would just give up. He kind of did, but he said that I was at five centimeters. Active enough for science, I guess.

My pain got worse, somehow. They wheeled me into the room directly across from the front desk. I was glad that it was so close, but I was also peeved that it was kind of in the middle of everything. I wanted a room away from everything, where no one could hear my screams. Honestly, I wanted to be in a castle somewhere in European mountains, where people are typically tortured and where no one would hear me. For some reason, this seemed important at the time. But not enough for me to think on it for more than a second. I was put on the table. Things were bad. Things were very bad.

My nurse was great. She was nice, but not too nice. She was in action mode. Efficient, to the point. I needed that. She made me feel normal about my pain and the amount of screaming I was getting out (even though she remarked later that she wondered how Alex hadn’t completely lost his hearing, and also she told me when it was all over that things had been unusually bad for me, even though she probably says that to all the girls). She was acting just as though she were checking me out at the grocery store. Talking at a normal speed, a normal volume, everything being normal. It made me feel reassured, because in my head I knew that they do this for a living and it’s completely normal and natural, but I was having a baby and that was completely alien to me at the time and I couldn’t help but feel like the only person in the world with my particular circumstance.

I think (I am sure) that I was hooked up to a lot of things. I kept telling myself “Hold out, hold out, go natural”. I asked for laughing gas, which was part of our original plan in case I needed something. A sort of first resort. I used it as best I could, but I found that I couldn’t breathe in the gas because I couldn’t breathe at all. Things just got worse.

I know I keep saying that things got worse, but I don’t feel as though I’ve fully communicated how bad it was. I truly thought that dying was just around the corner, even though I knew logically that I was not dying. There is no way to accurately describe my pain, but it felt, relatively, as though giant knives and swords were being run through me from the bottom and up through the top of my torso, and also like a giant hammer was pounding away at my pubic bone, spreading the bone, cracking it into bits, magically repairing it so that the process could repeat. At this point, I was sitting on the left side of the table with my legs dangling off the edge, and holding onto Alex for dear life. I know I must have screamed in his ear dozens of times and nearly cut off his circulation with my squeezing. But, then again, I don’t quite know what I did. I started passing out. Every time a contraction came it was just this horrible, excruciating, visceral buildup and a crescendo, or perhaps more like a climax. The climax would just barely come and I would feel the lightheadedness and see white and then stars and then black and blurs and my ears would go all whooshy and then silent. It was like my brain was saying “Okay, come on guys, enough is enough, she can’t take anymore. We’ve got to make her feel like she’s away from it all for a few seconds, or she might die.” Or maybe it was my heart saying “I can’t handle it, it’s too terrible! Save her! Save her!” Alex was the only thing keeping me on the table when I would pass out. He had to hold me up. And then the climax would hit and it would jolt me back into consciousness. And then it would happen all again, every sixty seconds, on a horrid loop. Alex later told me that I was screaming the word no a lot.

Please thank your mother. She is the strongest person you will ever know.

So yes, I felt like I held out for an eternity. The nitrous oxide just wasn’t working for me. When the man came in giving me his spiel about my options for medication and pain relief, he annoyed me so much because he was acting so normal in a way that just was stressful somehow, even though I am totally aware that that was just me being unreasonable and touchy at the time. I know he is probably a nice man. He told me so. He told me that he would soon be my favorite person, just like they always say.  (He was right, of course. I loved him very soon after.) I just kept screaming, and I kept passing out. And he kept on talking, because he was legally required to do so, I assume.

Alex looked at me, a little uncertainly. I was groaning, and my face was scrunched up into what I must assume was a very ugly sight. “I think I need an epidural,” I gasped, very quietly. He made me repeat myself because I was so quiet. I had to force the words out with what felt like actual muscle strain. I felt no shame in my choice. It was either try something unnatural, or die a natural death. That is how I felt. I wanted so, so badly to crawl my poor little soul out of my body on its hands and knees and then to float somewhere safe, somewhere without the pain. The pain that I tried to describe, but can’t. The pain that was worse than migraines, worse than gallstones, worse than anything I could possibly imagine.

It was very difficult for them to get the epidural in. It took absolutely every bit of strength and concentration I had to brace myself against my husband and hold still long enough for them to put the needle in the right place. My body was spasming beyond anything I could control, but for a few seconds I finally was able to brace myself enough. I think that when you are given an epidural they have to sanitize your back. I felt nothing. Maybe they numbed it, but I wouldn’t know. I felt not air on my bare back, I felt no sanitization, and I felt no needle. All I could feel was everything else. I kept holding on clumsily to the gas mask and trying my best to breathe it in. My nurse kept instructing me on how to use it, as if repeating it would make me breathe better, or at all. I tried. I kept trying. She also kept telling me how to breathe, as if that, in turn, would help me to breathe better, or at all.

They checked my cervix again after the epidural was administered, but I really don’t remember them doing it, or even changing positions. I must have been on my back at that point, Alex to the right of me, holding my hand. They informed me that I was dilated to a nine and a half. I made them repeat it. I was a first time mother, and I had heard the stories. The first time can take even days of laboring. I knew it wouldn’t be days for me, but I assumed it would be longer. It had been thirty minutes since they had checked me last. A five to a nine and a half in thirty minutes. I looked at Alex then, I think, wide eyes, communicating silently “Isn’t that crazy?” and his eyes responded “Whoa, babe.” I knew that’s what he was thinking. The epidural was kicking in, I was gaining a tiny bit of sanity, and we were having our baby. Soon.

To be continued. (I know this is taking me forever but cut me some slack, this is detailed! Like I know none of you people want to know all of this, but you have to admire my dedication.)

Three Years Ago

Three years ago Alex hid a ring box in his pocket and stealthily snuck it out of the car. We were going swing dancing and I knew he would be proposing that night, but I just assumed it would be at the end of the night after the dancing and revelry was over. Instead, he bossily shuffled me beside the fountain on our way in and proposed there, at the beginning of our night. We got to be engaged all night! I love Alex so much and it’s so crazy that we’ve been together for four years, and that he proposed three years ago!

  
Milestones are cool. I’m glad I married you, Alex, and it’s cool we have a baby now. I love you with all of my heart! Thanks for picking me.

My Birth Story: Helping Han Out, Part 1

Disclaimer: this is a birth story, and for the purpose of clarity, rememberance, and usefulness to readers who might be pregnant, it might get a little gross. No promises. Do not read if you wish to stay clear of medical descriptions and possibly gross and/or graphic pictures. Do not read if you are pregnant and nervous about your birth experience, because I’m going to be transparent.

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I was very nervous about being chemically induced, especially since it increased my chances for pain medication and a cesarean, and my chances went up every day that I remained pregnant. It was ironic to me that after spending months doing everything in my power to stay pregnant and keep my son baking, I was now within a small window where it was safe to stay pregnant. I was hardly overdue, but another two weeks or so and problems might arise, such as petrifaction of my placenta.

 

And so, nervously and anxiously and with much deliberation, I opted to drink the koolaid. The koolaid being an induction cocktail that my midwife had given me the recipe for. I decided to take it on Saturday, April ninth. It was only four days past my due date, April fifth, but my doctor was free that evening and I had had a very uncomfortable third trimester, riddled with prodromal labor.  It seemed like a good time.

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I should have taken it early that morning, but I was having a great time sleeping, and I thought it might be my last chance before a lifetime of potentially sleepless nights. I ended up getting to it around two o’clock, if I’m remembering correctly. My doctor promised me it would be one of the most unpleasant things I had ever tasted. I won’t give the recipe, but it had champagne and almond butter, among other things, and all of the gross ingredients were to be put in a blender. I was surprised at how easily drinkable it was. Alex even tried it and agreed that he would not order it at a bar, but it was definitely not horrific. I drank it over the course of an hour.

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I remember sitting downstairs on the couch with Alex and Cordy, very underwhelmed with the results, even though I knew that the cocktail could take six to twelve hours to take effect. We were probably watching something, but I can’t remember what it might have been. I was very preoccupied. My family was texting me a lot, for one thing, trying to decide when to come (my sister from two hours away and my parents from three). I couldn’t seem to care about what was on the tv or Facebook and I couldn’t seem to concentrate. I felt antsy and heart fluttery. Perhaps it was the cocktail, but let’s be real: I was going to be having a baby, if not that night then in the next week and a half. But at the time, it really didn’t feel like my body was doing anything at all.

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Alex and I continued to hang out, and I think I started doing some cleaning and laundry and making sure everything was packed completely for the hospital. I had a very exhaustive list, ranging from essentials like deodorant and a toothbrush to things like essential oils, a diffuser, and a yoga ball.

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As I recall, it was around six o’clock that things started happening. The concoction that I had taken is known for cleaning people out, and that’s exactly what happened to me. It wasn’t a big deal at all, but I remember thinking about how it was actually working, it was doing what it was supposed to do, and that meant that it would likely give me contractions and likely send me into labor that night or the next morning. I was trying to stay calm, but my heart was pounding furiously and my breathing was probably more rapid than I should have allowed, and my emotions were just as rapid and pounding. I kept holding my stomach, thinking that I would lose the rotunda soon.

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And then things started to get uncomfortable. The contractions started like they always did, pain free but two minutes apart and lasting for at least thirty seconds. Within fifteen minutes or so, they started to get painful, similar to a week or two previous when I spent the night on my yoga ball and thought that I was going to have the baby. The pain just got progressively worse until I was groaning like in movies. The pain was that perfect combination of “bad enough to be groaning” and “not bad enough to not feel dumb for groaning”. It quickly progressed to worse pain. My embarrassment did not last long. I had already told Alex that this was probably heading toward the real deal, but he didn’t seem to be too concerned; he continued to sit in the lazy boy for the next hour or so, doing whatever on his computer and ignoring me while I agonized and tried to survive, crawling around like a dying upside down turtle and yelling and grunting like, roughly, a mountain goat and a rodent of unusual size.

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I bounced on the yoga ball as I could, but everything I did only helped for about two or three minutes. So I went from the yoga ball to all fours on the floor, to the bath, to the shower, to the bed on my back, to the bed on my side, and repeated. I mostly just wanted to rest but needed to move. Around seven o’clock I was on the floor just kind of swaying and wriggling and twerking and whatnot, and I heard a little pop and felt it in my upper left side, almost under my ribcage. I assumed that it was my bag of waters, even though I honestly had it in my head that they would end up having to break that manually. Nothing came out when I stood up so I thought maybe I was wrong, but I guess my muscles are pretty strong because when I went to the toilet I kind of let it out, and I could tell it was cervical fluid. It was clear and cloudy at the same time. They say it smells sweet, but I didn’t care to test the theory.

 

“Hey Alex?”

“Yeah babe?”

“I’m pretty sure my water just broke.”

“Okay.”

Pause.

“So… Should we go to the hospital?”

“Umm,” <typing intermittently>, “Up to you.”

 

Okay then.

 

Well my water breaking was what really got the pain going, and I ended up screaming a lot in short order. I really didn’t think that it would go so quickly. I kept standing in the shower and taking advantage of the heat, and my water continued to trickle as I let it. I kept dragging a towel around to keep underneath me.

 

I had been told to stay at home for as long as possible, but by around seven forty-five I decided it was time. I couldn’t even take baths anymore because my water had broken, so I was basically doomed. The pain was getting excruciating. I’m glad I decided to go when I did, because it took me about ten minutes just to get a shirt on because I had to do it in between contractions. I wore my yoga pants and a t shirt. Then I had to get down the stairs, and I had to wait on the couch for the next contraction to subside. They were about fifty seconds apart at this point, so I had very brief windows. Then I had to wait longer to rest and recover from the last one. Alex was getting a towel in the car, making sure the car seat was secure, putting my yoga ball in the trunk, and all that. I was continuing to pray, mostly to keep God close to make myself feel better. Eventually I caught the back end of a contraction and booked it out to the car.

 

Below is a picture of a contraction. It always made him scrunch up into a ball on the right side of my stomach.

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To be continued.

My Lil Offspring

Since early on in my pregnancy, I knew that he was a boy. I felt it from the first day I knew I was pregnant, and people may call it a coincidence (I know that there are only two options and my chances were good) but my instincts were strong. I have sensed since about month two or three that my baby has some kind of peaceful aspect to him, and he has made me feel happy and peaceful in a unique way while I’ve carried him. In my third trimester, I have felt several other aspects. He is stubborn, he is mischievous, he is bright and agile and intelligent. I think he’s smart. I really feel that he has a sharp sense of humor. Sometimes I feel that he’s mocking me from my own womb.

I could be wrong about all of these things, so I guess time will tell, but I wanted a little record of how he’s made me feel so far. But he’s for sure going to be the cutest, and I think I’m definitely right about him being a rascal.

I’m writing this at two in the morning, so it’s technically going out on March sixth, but it still feels like the fifth, and he’s due exactly one month from now. According to my countdown, he’s due in

29 days

22 hours

5 minutes

26 seconds.

I am so thankful to have made it this far and not had to have a super preemie child, but I’m really hoping he doesn’t go OVER his due date to much either. Maybe it’s just the four day long “24 hour” stomach bug that I just survived, but I’m feeling pretty ready to not be pregnant anymore. Breathing again and eating lots of cookie dough sounds pretty great.

Oh and I’m out of lotion, so I guess it could be any time now.

On a more spiritual note, here’s a verse from Psalm 76 that I’ve been staring at for a  bit. And on a less spiritual but super cute note there’s my child’s father constructing a baby swing for him.

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Being Happy With Normal

  

Alex proposed to me on June 14th, 2013, and I was so, so happy. We got married on January 4th, 2014, and I was even happier. But my wedding day was not the happiest day of my life. That might seem odd to say, but it’s true. There have been happier days for me, and days that I cherish more. For instance, every day since. I’m so thankful that every day I am able to appreciate more. My love for Alex as a husband and as a friend just grows with every day that passes. That doesn’t mean that days aren’t mundane, but the event of a first date, a first kiss, getting engaged, or getting married do not make up my love for him or the difficult task that is daily love lived as a verb. I don’t think I had a huge fantasy of a wedding. I had a fantasy of my life with the man I love, and it may be hard at times, but it’s not disappointing because we work hard against disillusionment. Sometimes eating dinner with him or watching a movie shoulder to shoulder is just as heartwarming as looking at him when I walked down the aisle. I don’t think your wedding day should be your happiest day in your life. I think the normal days with the people you love should be. And you’ll never run out of those.
  

I Went Into Preterm Labor But Then Nothing Happened

Alex and I go to a home church that rotates locations every month, and February is our month to host. On Saturday, our house was actually a wreck because I had just come back from seeing my parents and my sister and I had brought back a ton of clothes, baby items, and furniture. We were planning on spending all day Saturday cleaning and putting things where they needed to go, but alas, ’twas not in the cards.

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First off, let me say that I can be a clumsy person. Not in an unusual sense, just in the sense that sometimes my equilibrium doesn’t sync up with the rest of me. So yeah, I fell down the stairs. And no, it wasn’t because I’m pregnant, it was just because I slipped on my yoga pants, which could happen to anyone, right? It really wasn’t a big deal, but about an hour later I started having contractions. So I guess it was a big deal, except that I first started having contractions about three weeks ago and I went in and they said not to worry, but to keep an eye on them.

This time, I waited and timed them, while stressing out about all of the things that I needed to do, and I waited, and my app was telling me that they were an average of two minutes apart and lasting about 50 seconds. They weren’t painful, but I was having a hard time getting good oxygen when I breathed. But again, since this had happened already, I decided to take an Epsom salt and lavender oil bath before calling the hospital, just to see if I could get them to go away on their own. This has worked a couple of times. Plus, my lower back was hurting. Which I guess was back labor. Oops?

At this point I realized that we probably weren’t going to be having church at our house the next morning.

The bath was pretty great, but baths are always great. It didn’t stop the contractions. It didn’t even slow them down. So I called labor and delivery, and they obviously said that I should come in, so I did. We got there at about 6:00 or 6:30, and between the first contraction at 4:01 and 6:00 ish when I stopped keeping track, I had a total of 67 contractions, which seems like a whole lot. The nurse told me to just not bother anymore since they were going to have to put me on the monitor, so I stopped recording them.

When they established that I was having real contractions about two and three minutes apart, the doctor on call came to check things out. I was really surprised and a little weirded out to hear that I was one centimeter dilated. Sure, that’s the lowest number you can be dilated, but I was 31 weeks and 4 days pregnant, so it just felt way too early. It made me feel like a possible early birth was imminent, especially since I had not been dilated before when this happened at 29 weeks.

I know that this kind of thing happens to a lot of people, which is disturbing as well as comforting, but I now know from experience that it is a time full of questions and confusion. Even now, as I sit here writing this, I have no idea if I’ll deliver my baby on April 5th or later, or if it will be tonight, or tomorrow. That’s nerve-wracking. No one can tell you the answer, not even the doctors, because some women stay dilated for weeks and weeks, and some women who go into early labor end up having to deliver early and they just can’t stop it.

This is what they told us when they admitted me to a room and started me on an IV to give me fluids. I told the nurse that I don’t do well with IVs and that the last time someone tried they went in both of my hands and dug around for about five minutes each hand and ended up having to use my arm because my veins are so small and they move around. I mentioned this hoping that she would go directly for my arm and save us all some heartache. But I’m the youngest of four kids, so I’m used to no one ever listening to me. They stuck me in my left hand and the nurse literally said “oops” and “uh oh” and “whoops” and “well…” several times under her breath while fishing and scraping around inside of me for about three minutes. Oh well, I guess maybe I warned you, but whatever, my bad. I was rolling my eyes and Alex was grimacing and nodding sympathetically at me. At least he was there to see how gross it was and how long it took, since I’ve been known to exaggerate in the past.

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Anyways, they started giving me fluids, still monitoring my very active child. I think nurses must be trained to say this, because at least five of them said “you have a really happy baby”. I guess it’s bedside-manners code for “your kid is cray”. Anyway. Things get a little fuzzy here, since it was a few days ago (one of my reasons for wanting to write about it while it’s as fresh as it will ever be) but eventually they started to give me magnesium as well, also through the IV. The magnesium supposedly can make you drowsy, loopy, and nauseous. I have a pretty good pain tolerance but for some reason nausea and puking has always been my least favorite thing, so I braced myself, but thankfully I only experienced the two symptoms that I have a healthy appreciation for: drowsy and loopy. Yes. Those symptoms are my symptom jam. Of all of the symptoms, I can definitely work with sleepy and wacky.

Because of the symptoms, my memory is a little foggy here. I remember asking Alex how he was doing, since I know it can be stressful to be the one who’s worried and who just has to sit by helplessly while his wife is getting accosted by needles and medications. He said he was okay, and he seemed to be. He tends to just buckle down and do what he needs to do under stress or in emergencies. It’s convenient. I remember thinking how smart I had been to wear my yoga pants and my Toms instead of maternity jeans and boots like last time, because that was inconvenient, and also how smart I was to bring my own blanket because the room was about 12 degrees and they never gave me one. I remember thinking that it was strange for them to have me sign all of the permission papers and initial official documents about my desires for my health and privacy while I was clearly medicated and unable to focus my eyes much less my brains. I was thankful that I had showered before coming. I was thankful for fuzzy socks when my circulation was not up to par.

The magnesium that they gave me was really painful in the IV site. It stung, and there’s something about IVs that just aren’t very natural to me. I mean they aren’t natural, and I know I’m not special for not liking them. I just think that it can be more difficult to deal with pain that I feel is external. If my own body is doing something to put me in pain, it just feels easier sometimes. Maybe partially because you can’t as easily imagine ripping your own organs out to put yourself out of misery as you can imagine ripping a gross needle out of your appendage. For me, when I’m in pain, my mind starts working a little bit more savagely than usual. Unfortunately, I will have to have an IV with antibiotics when I give birth, and that’s a huge bummer. It was truly one of my least favorite parts about this entire experience.

I don’t remember when they gave me steroids for the first round, but I think it was before the magnesium. The first steroid shot that they gave me went in my right glute. I had heard that it was very painful, but it was incredibly mild. I hardly felt it going in, and it only stung a little when I would flex the muscle, but it was hardly noticeable. Twenty-four hours later, after I had been transferred to the antenatal ward, a new nurse gave me the second round, and it was the most painful shot I have ever gotten in my life. I was told (and even the nurse giving me the shot said) that it would be going in my left glute this time, but instead she had me lay on my side and she stuck it right into my floating rib area, in the smallest and least meaty part of my waist. My main question is “why?!?!” And I guess I’ll just never know. I honestly think my rib might have gone out as a result. So painful. I wish I had said something beforehand, because I had a bad feeling about it, but I usually just let people do their jobs, especially when I really have no knowledge of what their jobs are. Maybe I’ll be more assertive when there’s a baby issuing forth from my body.

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Timelines being fuzzy, at some point they decided that I was ready to be taken off of the IV and put in the antenatal unit, and finally be allowed to use the bathroom and eat some food. I hadn’t eaten in thirty hours and I was starting to get very shaky and crazy. Alex got me pad thai and thai bubble tea from Fire, and it really was a great decision. For some reason, though, that was the last thing I ate for a good while that seemed to taste even remotely normal to me. In any case, it was a good way to break the fast, especially the boba, because of how slowly it digests. I felt so much better after eating, and it helped me to sleep through the night. Being taken off of the magnesium was also strangely glorious and exhilarating, even though being put on it was pretty much relaxing and not bad at all, despite the aforementioned sting in the insertion site.

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Alex kept going home to check on Cordy, who I missed excruciatingly, and to pick up various things. I was so grateful for the friends we had who came and fed her and took her on walks. It made me worry about her so much less. Some of our friends brought us meals, too, which was the kindest thing and warms my heart. Alex slept every night at the hospital with me, which I told him was not necessary, but despite the little cramped couch, he insisted. I was unable to sleep as much as I would have liked, so I got several boredom pictures of him sleeping.

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My nephew got my sister to send some pictures of him being happy, because he knew I was sick, so that was cute, and then Alex and I sent back one of us smiling, and then my nieces sent their versions. That was a fun distraction.

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Later on, my test results came back positive for a UTI and strep b. This was annoying and made me rather crestfallen, especially when I found out that it meant I would need an IV of antibiotics while giving birth, no bargaining. UTIs can cause contractions and early labor, so I do wonder if that was what happened or if it would have happened either way, since my first contractions occurred before the UTI ever came. I guess I can’t know that.

After many false hopes of going home much sooner, I was finally discharged today, Tuesday, after four days and three nights hospitalized. Going home was so exciting it’s almost embarrassing. I was so ready to take a shower and be in my own bed with clothes on and no hospital gown. Seeing Cordy again is great, and it makes me feel so much better. I can tell that she was insecure about us being gone for so long, even with Alex checking on her frequently.

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Today my child is thirty-two weeks old exactly, and I am so proud of every milestone he makes since every day counts for so much at this point. I keep making new goals for myself. Before, it was thirty-two weeks, and now it’s thirty-four, and after that my goal will be thirty-six weeks. At this stage, every minute in the womb counts towards his growth and development and overall health, so it’s exciting when a new day comes. Every night in the hospital I would look at my phone as the clock turned from 11:59 pm to 12:00 am and I would thank God that today had not been his birthday. When you expect your son to come in April and he threatens to come in February, it’s sobering. Things can happen so quickly. I’m just so thankful that he’s okay, and that he’s “such a happy baby”. I’m thankful that whenever they tried to monitor him they could barely keep up with him because he was moving so much, and that his heart rate was at a healthy pace constantly.

If you made it this far, good for you. Plenty of people write about experiences that they have during pregnancy and childbirth, and now I understand wanting to remember the way that things happened for posterity. I wish my memory was better.

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Please keep us in your prayers as we take the next eight weeks or so to be very cautious and aware that anything could happen at any time. I could go full term at this point, or I could continue to dilate and have more contractions, going into active labor at the drop of a hat. Not knowing is extremely confusing for me, but no one can tell me when I might have the baby. I just have to be careful and watch out for signs of impending labor.

It’s comforting to know that God has decided to give us a stubborn baby. I wonder where he gets that from. (No I don’t, he gets it from Alex.)

New Years Resolutions Etc.

First off, since this is my first post in over a year, a few things to catch you up in case you (for whatever weird and random reason) are a person who does not know me but is still reading my blog.

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1. In March of last year, after months of sadness and pleading and fluttering of my eyelashes and mostly artful manipulating, Alex decided to let me have a dog, because life isn’t worth living if you don’t have a dog. We got her from Craigslist, which in retrospect seems like maybe a very risky and reckless decision, but we really lucked out big time. Our little 30 pound weirdo mutt is just about the best dog we could have picked out, and we feel like we won the lottery of risky craigslist purchases. I am so much happier now that I have a dog again, and it is definitely my favorite thing that we did last year.

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2. We are very soon (so soon that I can’t even believe what’s going on, exclamation point exclamation point) going to be new parents. Our first child is due on April 5th, which is only two months away. Every day he moves more and more and spreads further into the outer regions of my stomach, and every day his growth and my discomfort makes this far more real to me. I can tell how cute he is, and I think he gets grumpy when he’s sleeping, just like his dad, and he already has hair and eyebrows, and every time he tickles my rib cage or pushes my stomach out, or when he hides his face in the placenta every time the ultrasound technician tries to get a look at him, I think about how cute and fiesty he must be. We found out in November that he is a boy, but I’ve known since the day I found out I was pregnant. I just felt it, and I can’t wait to meet him. It seems like I’ve been waiting a long time. But don’t get me wrong: despite my early contractions, my intention is NOT for him to come early. That would not be optimal.

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3. Because of the impending baby and other situations, I am no longer working, and Alex has also left Apple and moved on to a really wonderful startup company called PokitDok. Their intention is to change the face of the medical industry, and, as a type 1 diabetic, this is very important to Alex, and something that he is passionate about. I am very thankful that the Lord was so generous and gave him a good, solid job that he is able to love and care about and grow in.

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4. We have moved into our new home at last, and it is cheaper and bigger than the apartment that we used to have. I love having two floors. I love it. Hopefully this will be a beautiful place for a beautiful time in our lives. After all, it will be our firstborn’s first home. He may not care or remember it, but I know that we will.

Obviously there are other things that have happened to us over the past year, but I think this is sufficient for now. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the subject of the post.

New Years Resolutions

This year, as in nearly every other year, I have created an idealistic list of New Years resolutions. I say idealistic because I will definitely not be able to accomplish all of these resolutions, but people really seem to speak negatively about goals that people do not follow through with, as if the goals themselves were a stupid idea. I think it’s good to have goals, even if they’re idealistic or even downright unrealistic. Personally, it keeps me feeling calm and motivated to keep lists, and to have a really lofty expectation for the way that my year is going to go, or even my month, week, or day. It doesn’t mean I’ll magically accomplish everything, but I get a whole lot more done than I would if I were to skip planning entirely. Here are some of my goals for this year.

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1. Read one book a month, or twelve in the year, however I am able to fit them in. Despite sounding very pathetic for people who read all of the time, and read voraciously, this is actually one of the most unrealistic to me, mostly because I’m having a baby in April. Who knows whether or not I’ll make it, but isn’t it a good and lofty goal?

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2. Learn how to cook things that I don’t usually think to make. Also, bake more.

3.  Memorize a chapter of the Bible. I hope to do more than a chapter this year, but it’s more than I’ve memorized in a really long time, so it seems like a reasonable ambition. Right now I am thinking about memorizing Ephesians 4.

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4. Read the entire Bible with Alex. This is a huge one, and it’s going to be really hard, but it’s also the most important one on my whole list. It would be a really intense goal if it were just me doing it, but committing to do this with another person, even someone I live with, is very intimidating. To be honest, it’s more than likely that we won’t do this in a calendar year, but doing it is very important to me. So far it has been really good, and I’ve enjoyed it.

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5. Art journal more. At first, my goal was to do an art journal entry every single day during January, and then see what I thought was feasible after that. I was thinking maybe twice a week mandatory, and anything else would just be icing on the “you go girl” cake. January did not go well. I was really getting into it and it was going flawlessly until we had to move and all of our time was sucked up for days and days, as well as my art supplies getting packed away temporarily. Some of them were straight up lost for like three weeks, and they were important supplies that I wasn’t really able to get by without. And then I got really sick and was totally bedridden for over a week. In the end, I got in a solid two weeks and then a couple of days added on afterwards, so I guess I could call that a half success-half failure. Still better than nothing, and I felt good about it. I also think that my art journal might turn into my version of a baby book, since I try to do entries about my life day to day, and I’m sure that my son will end up being the most prevalent part of my life. That’s inevitable, right?

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6. Blog more! Self explanatory. We’ll see how that goes. I should add to that “Facebook less”, because I’m planning on deactivating my Facebook, or at least deleting the app for a while, while I get into better habits that I hate less. Habits like creative writing. Writing on a blog rather than doing nonsense things on a site that I hate is a good goal. Plus, if you want to see my dog and my baby and read about my life, you can do it here! But if you straight up don’t care, then YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEE IT ON YOUR FEED. It’s a win-win for everyone!

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7. I want to go on a road trip somewhere cool this year. This is kind of out of the question at this point until after the baby comes, but then we’ll have a baby, so it’ll be trickier to take a road trip, so I’m not sure how this will work out, or if it will at all, but I really want to explore different parts of the southeast and see things that I’ve never seen. There is so much history and beauty in this part of the country, and I live pretty close to some really cool areas and historical landmarks that I’ve never even seen before. If not this year, then certainly later I will do this. Even if it’s when the baby is old enough to remember it. Hopefully sooner, though.

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8. This kind of goes without saying, but I need to learn how to be a good mom practically, like not letting my child die by accident, but also emotionally and spiritually. There are so many things that go into being responsible for another person, and I have to think about his body, his mind, and his spirit. I’m going to be the main influence in his life, and on top of literally keeping him alive, I have to genuinely nourish him on every level, and that’s intimidating. I can’t rely on myself. So one of my biggest (my biggest?) goals this year is to focus on learning to be a good parent, which starts with being a solid person. I have to rely on God and his strength or my little person is going to pay for it, and that’s not an option. It’s exciting to know that I get to have a cute baby, but more than anything it’s sobering.

Well I certainly think that’s more than enough for now. Maybe I will add more later. I wrote down a list in my art journal, initially, so maybe I’m forgetting something. And maybe it’s something important. I’m in a coffee shop right now being an extra in a commercial,

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so my bum is sore from sitting on a barstool for three hours and I’m trying to look busy and I might be a little bit distracted. But either way, there you have it.

Tidying Up

This past week has been pretty busy, awkwardly so. A lot has happened, but there has been one particularly satisfying thing. Alex and I straightened up our apartment and, thanks to our brother and sister in law, finally got an actual couch! Plus some very wafting bedroom curtains. It makes me happy. We also had our very first bout of company over, which is long overdo and a first that should have happened months ago. In any case, I am very glad to have things a bit straightened up and easier to keep tidy.

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Where I Have Been And Why

I have not written a post in a long time, and I have what I consider to be a very good excuse.

This past month, I have been participating in National Novel Writing Month, which is a global event for writers and peasants and the lay person alike. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days in November, which is, for the overachiever, 2,000 words a day or more, and, for the peasant or lay person it comes to around 1,667 words per day. It seems pretty simple and straight forward, true, but actually committing to this challenge is one of the most intense things that I have ever done.

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Some of you may be saying, “Good grief, it’s not that big of a deal, get over yourself.” The rest of you might be saying, “Wow, that sounds way too hard and unpleasant, what is wrong with you?”

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To the first group, let me just tell you something real fast, man. Stories are what life is all about. For one thing, I am a Christian, and the stories in the Bible of creation and Jesus and the crucifixion and what God has done and how He has saved me is more than paramount to who I am, and there is no way that I can ever even express that fully, not even if I were the best writer in all the land. Even Jesus told stories, and they were fiction stories, and His parables were so important. So don’t anyone even try to tell me that stories, non-fictional or otherwise, are not important, because if you really think that that is true then you aren’t paying any attention to the world around you. Stories are in our bodies, in nature, in music, in history, in our hearts and minds, and everywhere in our lives. Stories are important, and ever since I was little I have felt called to tell them.

To the second group, I would say: Yes, it is incredibly hard. Especially if you are trying to make every single one of those 5,000 words perfect and beautiful. It is also unpleasant sometimes, without a doubt. Anything, even dessert or watching a movie, can become unpleasant if you have committed to doing what might be considered “way too much of it” in a month. Just because it is difficult and sometimes unpleasant does not mean that it is not worth doing. Here are some of the things that I learned during the experience of doing National Novel Writing Month. And yes, by the way, I did finish, and it was such a sweet relief.

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1. Inspiration does not have to strike for you to do what you love or what you feel led to do. Sometimes you just have to commit and do it. Even if the end product is garbage. I would rather have 5,000 words of garbage to sort through than have what I had before November, which was essentially nothing at all.

2. Being passionate about something does not mean that you can get out of doing the work. There is no great writer, or great anything, that got to be what they are without the work that they put in.

3. The work is what is most rewarding.

4. The process is beautiful, even if the end product is not.

5. Fear of failure is nowhere near as terrible as the failure that is never trying in the first place because of your fear of failure.

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6. The more that I put into my stories and characters, the less I feel the need to scream every waking thought into the universe, or the internet, or whoever will listen to me. I have become a lot more peaceful during this process, and less needy, I think.

7. When you apply yourself to the things that God created you to do, everything else in the world seems to become a little bit better and a little bit easier to deal with. It also gives me the satisfaction that, even if I accomplished nothing else during the day, I at least did this one thing that, even if never published, is important.

8. Investing in myself is worth it. I don’t know why I have neglected my passion of writing for so long, but now that I am doing it again, I feel so much more myself than I have in years. It is something that has always made me happy, and it is okay if I make it a priority. Some things are worth making room for in your life.

9. It is extremely important to have friends who care just as deeply about your passion as you do. I think that it is wonderful that I have always had friends who have different interests than I do, but making a few writing friends has been so amazing for me in this past month. I need that common ground, and the support system is crucial as well.

10. Being disciplined is a habit, and writing 2,000 words a day has helped me to create a habit of discipline in other areas of my life also. For one thing, I decided to drink 3 quarts of water during November, which is probably about 2.5 more quarts than I usually drink in a day, because I have been dehydrated for my entire life. It was difficult, but it helped that I was simply adding another discipline into my already established daily discipline of writing.

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So nothing groundbreaking for anyone reading this, but November was a really great month for me in a lot of ways. I learned a lot, and so did my characters in my story. It’s nice that I can be schizo as a writer and that my characters and I can all teach eachother things and we can be so helpful, like insane people. I may be crazy, but they are crazy too. That’s oddly comforting.

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Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the post. Think about doing this with me next year! It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and it does not require you to be a good writer, or a writer at all. I can almost promise that you will get something wonderful out of it.