Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Jace Ephriam's Birth Story!

Friday July8th
I was one day past my due date (but 4 days according to the midwife’s office). I had a non-stress test and amniotic fluid level check that morning, which that baby passed just great.

I went in at 2:00 for my appointment. All looked good, and I was told I could easily go to 41 weeks and they were not concerned, but would want another NST next week were that the case. Charlene (my midwife) told me she was going out of town midnight Tuesday. This would mean if I went into labor (or was still in labor) after that point, I would be delivering with Angela, the other office’s midwife. I felt concerned – I really liked Charlene and had never met Angela! While they spoke highly of her, I really did not want to deliver with someone I hadn’t met nor knew my birth preference (other than what I had on my birth plan). All the months of going to Charlene I did not want to see “wasted”. I was given a few options , from doing nothing to trying to jump-start labor with stripping my membranes to even trying some pitocin. While I wasn’t going the pitocin route, I was actually comfortable with having her strip my membranes and see if I was “ready.” Since stripping the membranes releases the prostaglandins, the same way “other” activities do, it will not start labor if your body isn’t ready. The evening before, I had half hour of 30-45 second contractions every 6 minutes from those attempts, but then they’d stopped. So I was confident this was not preemptive. (Also, let me say here I had been Group-B Strep positive, so my midwife had told me to plan to arrive at the hospital with at least 4 hours of labor, because they needed to administer 2 doses of IV antibiotics to me for the baby, and they had to be that far apart. I had laughed and told her there was no way I’d plan to cut it that close, that my expectation was to be there somewhere around 12 hours prior to birth.)

I left her office near 2:40 and went grocery shopping. It is a rare trip I’m without Elyana, so I was making the most of it and trying to stock up if the baby were going to come. While in the store, I had strong contractions, every 10 minutes and less than 30 seconds long. I did have to stop, breathe and concentrate through them, but then went happily on my way.

At home, they continued. We decided to go to the mall and Disney store once Elyana woke up. I was still having steady contractions, and I hoped this would be the night. In the mall, I had to give them attention, but they stayed about 10 minutes apart (not really sure, I wasn’t timing them so I wouldn’t be too absorbed with if they were getting closer or not). After about an hour, we went to eat (well, J and E did, I just had water). Jonathan, having learned from the first long labor, was trying to stock up his energy so he wouldn’t be too hungry.

Once we got home and got Elyana put to bed, while I lay on her bed all my contractions stopped – for almost 20 minutes! I had to stay sitting or standing to keep them going, but once I would lie down, they would stop. I tried running up and down the stairs to increase their intensity. I thought it was ironic that the main position the Bradley book tells you to labor in was not feasible. I was concerned the contractions would stop, and I really wanted to have the baby, so since my husband didn't want to “help” (haha), I decided to take a small dose of castor oil (1 TBSP) about now. (Hindsight, all that seemed to do was make contractions more intense, without speeding up anything.)

I started timing my contractions at 9pm. For that first hour, they averaged 45 seconds long, 5 minutes apart.  While I had to give them my attention and they were hard, I was still in doubt whether this would be “the night”. I labored best sitting on the couch on my knees or in the bath. The next hour (10 to 11) things ramped up in intensity and pain and my contractions averaged a minute long and 2:45 apart. Close to 11, I started a text to my family saying, “I think this is it, the baby probably will be born tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.” But I did not hit “send” because there was still the niggling doubt that my labor would go close to 36 hours again, which in this case would mean nothing until Sunday early morning. I know when we told everyone the first time, they were very anxious to know what was going on, and Jonathan just continued having to send updates about how slow it all was. I guess I didn’t want to worry them. And I suppose, even when you’ve experienced labor already, you as a woman are prone to doubt yourself about when it’s REALLY time (especially if there has been prodromal labor).

For that next hour, from 11:30 to 12:30, I have huge gaps in my timing of the contractions – a 30 minute gap and a 20 minute gap… so that leaves only 10 minutes really timed. This was due to a lot of intensity and my inability to find a good way to labor without a lot of pain. These averaged 1 minute long, 2:13 apart. So, they were a good 30 seconds closer than the previous hour, but the same duration.  Understand, the application I downloaded on my iPhone to track these did not give averages. I only know now by exporting them to Excel. At the time, I would look and see some 45 seconds, some 1:15, and that’s what really caused me to doubt myself. I was reading the Bradley book on labor in between contractions and I had clearly read that contractions that weren’t longer than 45 seconds just were not effective in opening the cervix (dilation).  So this contributed to my lack of surety.

I labored a lot in the tub. I kept the water hot and would just drape myself over the edge. I got my clothes all wet and didn't care. I thougtht of all the things I needed to do (like put my daily makeup, and some more comfortable clothes in my hospital suitcase). I had much done ahead of time, but a few things had escaped me. I knew I could never make it upstairs and get it all done without having a few contractions, and I just did not want to have them take me by surprise. Somewhere here I did manage to grab what I could, and throw it on the couch downstairs. I told Jonathan he needed to get all that stuff when it was time. He encouraged me, but mostly he was just staying occupied but in very close proximity to me, as we both were really thought this was the beginning of a long ~24 hour event. I had wanted to look “pretty” going to the hospital, but at this point all I could do was wash my face and keep laboring - Hard.

Close to midnight, I started having occasional contractions that were 1:15 to 1:30 long. They were odd, because they were like two rolled into one. The wave of a contraction would start: a gripping of the uterine muscles that works its way tighter and tighter and then the loosening and gradual subsiding that occurs. But these would have the gradual subsiding eclipsed by an oncoming wave of a follow-up contraction! These were incredibly hard to manage concerning the intensity, because there was not a rest for my body.  I remember telling Jonathan how incredibly hard these were to endure.

From 12:30 to 1:30 I had 5 of these “double contractions”.  At this point, my labor was so intense, I was crying out very loudly at some of them (things like, “God, help me!”).  I told onathan a little after midnight that I felt this was serious and I needed to go – and I begging for his input. He told me he really didn’t think it was time. He felt it would be good if we could hold off until 5-6am, when Elyana got up, and we could take her to our friend Stacy’s house. I saw the wisdom in this, and thought, “If I can just make it until 6…” With Elyana’s birth, I told him I thought it was time, and he continued to tell me it wasn’t – and sure enough we went too early. So I was really trying to listen to him. After some of these double contractions, and how much pain I felt, I begged him not to even leave the room where I was.  I felt I needed him right there as I labored in the tub, and I needed him to do the timing for me, as pressing the iPhone’s timer once a contraction started was now too much distraction for the amount of intense concentration I needed. I was seeing bright red blood at this point, which I never ever had with Elyana. Honestly, it scared me. I didn’t know for sure what it was from. I wanted the safety and assurance of the hospital.

I went back on the couch maybe 1:00 am and told Jonathan I really thought this was time to go. He then suggested turning on music or watching something on tv. I was so angry and snapped at him, “If you think I’m at the point where I need distraction, that just shows how disconnected you are from what I’m feeling!” (Something like that.) I was really upset that he was not more in tune with the stage of labor I was in… my emotional signpost was SERIOUSNESS, not excitement.  I left to retreat to the bathroom, somehow just sure I’d have to labor this intensely, but I shouldn’t be here. In fact, soon afterward I reached the self-doubt and told Jonathan I couldn’t do this. In fact, from 1 to 2am, my contractions continued to be 1 minute long, but 1:50 apart.

At this point, Jonathan must have been watching me, and I was really, really struggling with the pain (yes, I’m using that word). I honestly felt overwhelmed with how very intense this all was – very unlike my experience with Elyana. At 2:19, which is my last timed contraction on my iPhone, Jonathan said, “We’re calling Stacy, it’s time to go.” I felt relief! Finally, finally. I told him, “And when we get there, I can get drugs. I can have something. Right?” I remember thinking it sounded silly, and almost that I just was asking so I didn’t feel like I didn’t have a choice. But I also know I felt like I was going to die if it got much worse. I felt so, so much pain. I think it may have taken Stacy 15 minutes to get to the house, and in that time Jonathan scurried around loading up the car. I pulled out the exercise ball to try to labor on, just for something different. It helped, some. Things were very serious – I was crying out a lot, and using all my might to grab onto things (like the couch, towel-bar rack, etc). Stacy came in, and I had been closing my eyes for each contraction for a while, and I couldn’t look at her. I couldn’t even hold myself back (which with Elyana’s labor, I was in control the whole time)! I felt everything was greater than I was – the pressure, the unrelenting feeling of it all. I felt just barely in control at the peak of contractions. I snapped at Jonathan things like, “I want THIS pillow…” and at his grabbing the wrong one 2 times I was undaunted in my fervency.
We left for the hospital, only 10 minutes away. I opened my eyes what felt like 30 minutes into the drive and saw we were only halfway there. I was so discouraged. Laboring in the car, at this point, felt unbearable. When Jonathan pulled up, I wanted to scream at the idea that I’d have to either walk the whole way (and up one flight of stairs) or else take a wheelchair. Both seemed horrible. As we pulled under the awning, I told him, “I am feeling a pushing urge.” It was not a true I-Can’t-Not-Push  urge, but just feeling the urge let me know the seriousness of where I was in my labor. Even if I had the 3 hours of pushing like I did with Elyana, I would still see this baby before the sun came up!

The wheelchair ride was awful. The nurse taking me seemed to not care when I was contracting (“Get in, Get Out.”) I went to assessment and was commanded to put on a gown. I had cleared it ahead of time that I could labor in my own clothes, and this first “bump” was aggravating to say that least! And in the midst of such serious contractions, the last thing I needed was to worry about undressing/dressing and fighting some nurses! I refused and rolled my eyes at them – and then finally agreeing very begrudgingly. I was so irritated but just wanted to get out of there! Sure enough, I was 7 cm. They were asking all kinds of horribly annoying and ridiculous questions. Jonathan blanked on the name of my midwife!! I walked to my room, which was only across the way, but it was a horrible walk, and I stopped just feet from the bed with a contraction. I didn’t care that I was contracting on the floor, but the nurse seemed jolly-well-unhappy with it, and intent on getting me in the bed ASAP. I knew I’d need the penicillin in the IV, but then could walk around. The nurses couldn’t understand that I had permission from my midwife to just get the IV for that, and then not be hooked up to it for fluids or anything. I was  so irritated they were so confused. I couldn’t wait for Charlene to come. At this point they also asked Jonathan for my papers from my midwife. They were in the car. I panicked at his leaving me, as he’d been holding my hand at my side since we arrived. I felt he was the ONLY one protecting me and looking out for me, since Charlene wasn’t there yet. It was a very vulnerable feeling, because being in the deepest intensity of the contractions, I had no idea what was really happening around me, nor much of a voice to use. He reassured me he’d fly.

They called my midwife at 3:09. I’d probably been there 10 minutes. Angela, the midwife from my office that was on-call, came over and started to coach me through breathing through these hard contractions. She told me to look at her and instructed my breathing. Just having to focus on her face and my breathing helped those next few contractions. Jonathan took over her place, and I was clawing into him and grabbing him. He said, “Don’t use your nails” and I said, “If I can stand this, you can stand a little scratching!” (To be fair, there was blood being drawn as well. He did suffer.) I was incredibly vocal and aggressive (in my opinion). This was drastically different than my labor with Elyana. I had been calm and controlled the whole 35 hours and here I felt unable to restrain my tone of voice or aggression. I felt like I writhed with each contraction. A nurse was placing the monitors on my belly during a contraction, and I roughly said, “You’re hurting me!” to which she said it wasn’t her it was the contraction. (Not appreciated at the time.)

Thankfully, Charlene arrived soon; her presence was most welcome and reassuring. She checked me and I was a 9. I told her I felt I needed to push and she told me to hold off for another 5 minutes to get the last of the IV in me. I knew I could. After that, with the impending birth obviously not 4 hours away, I was fully dilated and she asked if I wanted my water broken – and at this point I was ready to get the contractions done and the baby out! She told me it could help with some of the pressure I was experiencing and perhaps speed along baby’s entrance. I readily agreed. It was a relief!

Then began the pushing. Sure enough, like my first time, I would start a strong push, but then fight the follow-through. While in the 45 degree position, I was using my feet to push down to bear the pain – basically thwarting my true pushing progress. I knew this, I felt this. So I got into a full squat on the bed position (bless Charlene for telling me I could do what I wanted!). This at least helped me truly push, but it seemed more painful, so I reverted to the 45 degree sit/lay. Charlene pointed out how I was pushing with my feet, and that it was putting me out of reach of her and not helping. I begged for guidance and this is the only part I felt I wish she’d been more instructive on, because I don’t think she said much except not to use my feet.

It finally got to the point of a contraction that I pushed hard enough that the baby’s head must have been crowning – because I got what’s called the “Eject Reflex”. This was the most revealing and surprising thing about my whole labor. I didn’t know what I should do, but I was too involved to even ask. I knew my pushing contraction was over, but the eject reflex basically makes you want to push out whatever is causing such discomfort. I did not experience this my first time, and I didn’t know whether I should trust this and just respond, or if I needed to wait as much as possible until my next contraction. I just went with what was natural – which was to “get it out”. I cried out, “Charlene, help me!” to which she said, “You have to do this yourself, I need your help.” (or something like that) As basic as it sounded, having her tell me I was in control was exactly what I required. I think since I reverted to vacuum assistance with Elyana’s birth, I had residual ideas of an inability to do this on my own. How I needed her words!

So, I pushed through, and asked, “is the baby crowning” to which I got a YES. I was surprised I hadn’t been given more “progress” stats, feeling like that would have encouraged me. (Side note: I’d wanted to deliver with a mirror, and just forgot to ask, but I don’t know how I’d have seen it since the midwife was right where it would go.) Jonathan was still at my right side, coaching and encouraging. I talked to him and leaned heavily on him physically through every contraction and push. He was so excited and encouraging – exactly what I needed to see in order to continue with energy. It's exactly what the Bradley book tells the coach to do - to be very careful to be encouraging and eager with their words/face so that the laboring woman can see through what she is feeling to how close she really is (in the big picture).

As I got the “eject reflex” and pushed through it, I pushed and pushed and I knew “this is it”. You get a knowing that there is no turning back, your body feels it. But the difficult part is not knowing how long you’ll be in that state, or how painful it will be. I could feel the stretching and a bit of tearing (very tiny) but I just kept pushing, but I screamed. Yes, I did. I’m horrified now. It wasn’t bloodcurdling, but I was so controlled and polite and “normal” through my first delivery, I didn’t even recognize myself at this point (ok, Jonathan says it was bloodcurdling). With only maybe 10 minutes pushing (I have no idea), I finally pushed my beautiful son’s body out: oh the relief! That’s the most amazing thing: the intensity, the violence if you will, the pain, it’s all over and there in front of you is a human being! I cannot describe the emotion. Overwhelming. It was 3:55. I’d been there maybe an hour. Wow. (With Elyana, I was there 19 hours.)

The cord was cut, my son wiped and swaddled and placed on me. I held my son. Jace Ephraim. I loved him, but I was exhausted. I handed him to his daddy after a few minutes, as they were delivering the placenta and that had some pain accompanying it. When I got our son back, I tried to get him to nurse, but he was not very interested (unlike Elyana!). Jonathan accompanied him to get his vitamin K shot and vitals taken. I will say I felt strange, I was ashamed at how I’d lost my controlled self. I apologized many times, because I just felt the person who came in just an hour before was not me. I was disappointed in myself. I also felt dumbstruck that this was “over.” Mentally and emotionally I was not prepared to be done with labor. It was a hard thing to grasp. I felt sad actually at the overarching hospital experience (the labor at home was fine). I was overjoyed to have my son here, but it just took time for my emotions to catch up. I also said, “I never want to do this again!” whereas with Elyana, as soon as she was out, I told Jonathan I would love to birth more children! I also learned that I would have to stay 2 days automatically since the baby did not get 2 doses of antibiotic. This contributed a lot to my feelings of having not done well – I felt I’d failed the baby by not coming soon enough. My midwife visited with me for what felt like 30 minutes (I don’t know how long), and talking to her helped some, as I shared how conflicted I was feeling. Charlene offered a lot of encouragement and told me there wasn’t any way I’d have come that early (sure enough, thinking back to 11pm, I wasn’t even sure the labor was here to stay).

Jonathan stayed with me for a few hours, sleeping in the bed next to me, and I slept a little off and on. A little sleep, nursing and holding my precious baby, and getting a shower turned everything around. In just a few hours, I had dealt with those feelings and was enjoying my son and what I’d accomplished to bring him in! I was ready to say, “I can do this again and I want to.” I was seeing the beauty of his labor in its own light, no matter how it surprised me. I was elated at his life! I had my little Elyana visit me and having all 4 of us together was a very sweet time. Welcome to the world, my Beloved, Precious Jace Ephraim! I delight in your life and your arrival.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Awaiting Baby Boy's Arrival. :)

So... I'm just 5-8 days from my official due dates with Baby Boy (I only had two ultrasounds, and one dated him at 7/4, the other at 7/7 - since I did not really know my LMP).

I wanted to take a moment, to gather my thoughts here as I'm in the waiting mode.

I am so excited to meet my son. I cannot wait to see that beautiful newborn, to smell his skin, to nurse him, to hold him and watch him in person.

But I'm actually grateful for every single day I get with Elyana alone. I am savoring each hug, each book, each time putting her to bed. I'm savoring the moments before I'm exhausted, listening out for another baby crying, or nursing and unable to chase her or work puzzles with her. She has been so affectionate lately too, I really think it's rather a cyclical thing: the more you love on your child and savor them, the more they feel loved and reciprocate. The truth is, as real life moves on, it's hard to keep that in front of you. But with being on the edge of something life-changing for us, I find it easy to realize this could be my "last" uninterrupted whatever with her, and I savor it. I tell her over and over how much I love her, and how she's my firstborn and she holds such a special place in my heart.

I go back and forth between being very exited about experiencing another birth, and with feeling a bit scared and wondering, "Can I do it again?" (naturally) It's weird, since I never doubted myself the first time. I have even had times of contractions and prodromal labor, where I silently prayed "Not yet, not now..." I didn't feel ready physically (as in, these were always at night, when I was already sleep-deprived and tired). This will sound silly, but I also did not feel ready with the state-of-my-house. I just wanted to get my floors swept/mopped and my bathrooms all cleaned one more time before the baby comes. I have accomplished the floors, not yet all 3 bathrooms (1/3 so far). I know that's ridiculous.

We've got Elyana's schedule taken care of, as she'll be with some dear friends we were in training at Holloman with - friends with 3 girls who Elyana adores, and they live 2-3 minutes away (on the way to the hospital even)! Her bag is packed, she's been told many times what will happen. My bag is packed, although I hope to only be there one night!

So for now, I wait on the date of his birth. Each night, I use an iPhone app to do his kick-count. I have learned a lot more since having Elyana, and one thing that I did learn was how important it is to monitor you baby's routine and what is normal for them in regard to movement. Just a simple count to 10 movements/kicks recorded each day could help alert you as the mother to potential problems (such as cord accidents, which apparently happen very slowly). No, I'm not worried about it, but it's one more thing you can do to protect your unborn baby - like taking folic acid or a prenatal vitamin before you TTC so that the neural tube develops properly. I love knowing I am the one person in the world who knows this child better than anyone else, and therefore it is entrusted to me to do everything in my power to take care of him and protect him.

The one thing I am ready to be rid of is how difficult it is to sleep well, walk and in general just get around. Carrying around 25 extra pounds right on your middle of a wiggly little one and everything that entails is tough. I remember so clearly with Elyana how some things magically resolve as soon as the baby is out... Heartburn literally disappears. And sleep, though it's broken up now, becomes deep and refreshing. Those things, I am excited to embrace.

So I am at peace. Excited for what is to come, but absolutely sure that each day is a Gift to us of just Us Three. So with a grateful heart, I head to bed....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tacking a Not Fun Topic: Breath-Holding Spells

First, as a precursor, I'm just going to post the most relevant pieces of info from the following 3 articles/fact-sheets. Better than my trying to explain upfront...

Breath-holding is very common in toddlers and can sometimes occur in young babies. It affects about one in twenty children. A breath-holding spell may happen after a child has a minor accident, has a fright or gets upset. The child will then cry and hold their breath. Breath-holding spells often occur as part of toddler tantrums although the spell is a reflex reaction to an unpleasant stimulus and not a deliberate behaviour on the child's part

A breath-holding spell is when your child holds his breath when he is suddenly injured, frustrated, angry, or frightened. Breath-holding spells begin between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. They occur only while the child is awake

Breath-holding spells are usually caused by either a change in the usual breathing pattern or a slowing of the heart rate. These reactions may be brought on by pain or by strong emotions, such as fear or frustration.

• Your child may make 1 or 2 cries and then hold his breath in expiration until he becomes blue around the lips and passes out.
• Your child may stiffen and may have a few twitches or muscle jerks.
• Your child will breathe normally again and become fully alert in less than 1 minute.

*References at bottom of entry*

Now, why am I writing this? Well, let me go back to Elyana at ~14 months old. She was running around the house, Jonathan was watching her, I was making dinner. She, still being a clumsy walker, fell right into an outer-facing corner, hitting her temple directly on the baseboard. Jonathan ran to scoop her up, I was in the next room waiting for her loud cry/wail that would come... And didn't. Too many seconds of silence, and Jonathan was rushing her into the kitchen as I was rushing to them. He was cradling her head, and and she was limp and pale and passed out. We absolutely freaked! We yelled her name at her, and firmly patted her face (I think!)... What seems like forever, but maybe was 15-20 seconds (?), she finally took a startled breath and cried. Weakly. NOT what we were expecting. I held her as we rushed her into the car to take to the ER. But less than 3 minutes down the road (if that), she was pointing out birds out the car door, acting normal as ever. We (rationally) drove back home, and I called the after-hours pediatrician. The recommendation was for her to get a CAT scan of her head, since we weren't sure whether the fall caused her to be unconscious, or whether the pain triggered her to intake her breath so sharply that she could not breathe out, and thus she passed out. So we gathered our things and spent the next few hours getting her examined. Praise God, everything looked fine and she acted absolutely normal!!! We "forgot" the incident, or rather, dismissed it as a random occurrence...

Now, right at the 2 year mark, just 2 days after starting antibiotics for her ear infection this January, we were all 3 in the kitchen, and Elyana was playing with a drawer. Jonathan scolded her for something and she made a little cry, then in-took her breath for a real loud wail... that never came! Jonathan scooped her up, cradling her head and holding her semi-upright, and we were terrified. We yelled things like, "Call 911, where's your phone!" in the space of 15-25 seconds. We didn't know what was going on, but it seemed so random, it seemed like a real threat! As I ran to get the phone and Jonathan close behind me with her, she started to breathe and cry (loudly) this time. We were so relieved, and crying, and had that kicked-in-the-gut feeling. Like, "What was that?!" Jonathan especially, since he felt the initiator. Obviously, when a child is sick, they fall apart at the littlest thing, but we expected nothing like that. While we loved on her and watched her closely, I scoured the baby health books/internet for answers. And came to the sites/articles above. It really described to a "t" what we saw. But it never takes the fear away! She in no way acted odd after that at all - and we were careful to be very gentle and non-corrective the next few days/weeks.

But it bothered us so "little" - in terms of needing an explanation - that I never mentioned it at her 2 year well baby checkup.

Then, weeks later, sometime in February, Elyana was walking up the stairs, and she hit her chin against the carpeted stair . (For the record, she's walked up stairs proficiently since she was 21 months, and we have split-level stairs anyway.) I was at the top, Jonathan was walking with her, carrying something (a laptop?). It was bedtime, so she was obviously more tired/cranky. Jonathan said something to her about, "Oh, it's ok, come on baby." (He said it was a very easy bump, which she always takes in stride.) As he walked up, and I was at the top, it was silent enough and without a cry (again, maybe 3 seconds, but enough when you're expecting it!) that we both rushed to her... Jonathan of course, being closer, got there first. She was on the split-level, but passing out. Only God's grace, as she *could* have fallen. He scooped her up, cradled her head, and held her rigid body as her lips were blue. This time, I felt only slightly calmer, trying to remember the techniques (breathing in her face, calling her name) to try to bring her about. I think it was maybe 10 seconds, not a lot, but enough to cause a parent to absolutely panic inwardly still. We loved on her and made sure she was ok, played with her extra long and delayed bed.

And that's it. Since then, I've pieced the first piece of the puzzle together, meaning that first fall at 14 months. I think it's a proclivity for her. I do want to get her checked for iron-deficient anemia, since I struggled with that at least during pregnancy. But we have been extra, extra careful to watch that all emotional situations for her (pain, anger) are treated very pro-actively. When she gets hurt, I especially make sure she feels comforted as fast as possible. It seems the quicker I can head off her getting that upset, the better. I've seen her lips turn blue as she cried and I just work my best on comfort. Same thing when I have to correct her for something, I make sure I'm loving on her, touching or holding her, as I have to tell her what's wrong with what she's done.

I guess I'm posting because I want this documented, but I also want any other mothers to see this if they need it. I also think it's good to be real, and although I think we live a very wonderful life, it's not without its challenges and fears......

I thank God everyday for our precious baby girl, and her life, and her health. I think this is so minor compared to so many things I could be writing about in regards to her. God has gifted us more than we deserve. My heart is filled to bursting with love for her so many times, and I am just grateful He's entrusted her to us.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Catch up!

Just two months since my last post. Time has flown. And dragged. And flown.

I am so grateful for the stage God has us in now. Grateful. One reason I did not blog (aside from morning sickness, exhaustion, and so much unpacking/settling to do) was things were really rough here. Specifically, with mothering Elyana. Remember how I posted Elyana's 20 month update and explained how it was like being in a "honeymoon" stage with her??? Well, as with all stages, that one seemed to end as soon as we moved here.

We moved here on Oct 28th, flew out on the 29th, and were gone for 2 weeks to NC, followed by a 4-day cross-country drive in our truck while we towed our Mustang. All the travel, being in so many different places an beds and room set-ups, obviously was hard on her. In one hotel where we had an expected 5-hours of sleep before absolutely having to get up the next morning, after midnight when Elyana couldn't sleep and was in bed with us since the peapod was hopeless that night, she was crying "home, home" because I think she just didn't even know what that was anymore!!! :( So, when we finally got here on the 16th of November, we were bone-weary yet with a full house to unpack. And the next morning of course, I discovered one reason I was especially weary - our little one!!! (Can't help but smile!) What followed was 21 days exactly of Elyana waking between 2-10 times every single night, and not napping some days (she has always been so predictable and easily sleep-trained). Sometimes, it would start within 5 minutes of being laid down for the night, and she would call me every few minutes. Other times, she'd sleep peacefully for hours, and it would start in the wee morning hours. She would ask for very specific "stalling" type things like more water (of course that's fine!), crackers, me to sing to her, rock her, sleep in our bed, etc. I really did not feel there should be one firm answer (like always give water, but never sing to her any more than our usual pre-bedtime). I just really thought I should be understanding, gentle, but firmly continue to impress upon her "Ok, but it's night-night time right now. No more calling Momma just to ask me to sing." Of course, some nights I sang over and over. Some nights I told her "no more asking Momma to sing, if you ask again, I won't do it until morning." And I'd stick to that. After a couple weeks of that not working, we tried Jonathan going in instead of me (fail!). I tried telling her if she called again (after a bunch of times) that I would not come back. Different things worked different times. I prayed SO much those weeks. I prayed and prayed for wisdom, patience, discernment, and for her to have peace mostly!!! I just felt it was mostly an unsettledness in her spirit, and perhaps a bit of her learning how to start "bedtime excuses". But I felt she was really too young for that.

Anyway, I have heard over and over that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I honestly will say on night 22 here in this house, she slept through the night, without ever calling me, for the first time. And it continued for days. Now, we're more of 1-3 wake-ups per week, which is fairly normal for us. All I have to do is cover her, give her water, or just love on her. Half the time I think she's not really awake! I just want to say, children need and crave schedules and consistency so very much! I know the Lord has equipped me to be her mother specifically, and gives me wisdom when I ask (James 1:5,6).

Throughout all that, I was in the very hard stages of pregnancy sickness and exhaustion. I'm sure I was anemic, at once point I had to crawl up the stairs because I literally felt walking required too much exertion. :( (Thankfully, that was a day Jonathan had off and had taken Elyana out for a few hours so I could sleep.) But add my exhaustion to her lack of sleep, and there were nights I was just thinking "How can I ever, ever manage two children?"

Then, add to it Elyana starting (in December?) a very difficult willful, fussy/whiny, clingy-to-momma, unable to play by herself, and demanding stage. I really think it only just now ended, with the start of February (so three weeks of bliss). I know it's not easy being her, but it's also confusing being a parent to an angel one day and a little tyrant the next. :) We love her so very much, but that doesn't mean we have unlimited patience with every stage. Anyway, God is gracious and all I can say is, Thank You Jesus for this current phase.

It's not perfect. Certainly it's not like the honeymoon 20-month stage. But it's good! She makes up the cutest stories, is so interactive, has her favorite pastimes and books, loves crafting time, is eager to learn, and just melts our hearts with her outright singing and cracking jokes to herself. Even her mischief cracks me up. (For example, she currently thinks the words poop, toot, and pee are very funny. But she knows she's not suppose to say them casually. So she's taken to singing songs like "Winnie the Pooh" and instead saying "Winnie the Foop" because it rhymes with poop and therefore makes her giggle. See?!?!)

Now, what I haven't announced on here, since most of you all are facebook friends, is that we found out Baby #2 is a BOY!!!!! We are so very excited. We did not care, but what a joy it's been planning/dreaming for a boy. And I finally am really bonding to this child in a special way now that I know the gender. There's something that makes each kick and hiccup personal when I think "that's my son" or "that's my little guy." We talk to Elyana about her "baby brother" and it's been wonderful feeling like I am getting months to prepare her in a mental and tangible way for his arrival. And how very excited I am to be halfway now, halfway to meeting him, our surprise, miracle, baby boy!

Ok, I apologize for the novel. Love you all very much!!!!