Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why I'm not a fan of Saturdays

Exactly four weeks ago, my father passed away. Exactly four weeks after my sweet baby girl was born. I very vividly remember laying down for the evening (Paul and Baby Tres were still up), I had just laid down and cracked my Nook open, hoping to make headway with my book club book. I heard my cell phone ringing downstairs and I figured that Paul would answer it, and when he did, I remember getting a funny feeling in my stomach, because really, what good comes from phone calls at 11PM? Except maybe a baby being born? Well, we had already scratched that off of our list.

I remember Paul stuttering in to the phone. He couldn't even speak properly, he finally just said to hold on and he handed it to me. That was when my mom told me that my father had a heart attack and that they were in the process of reviving him. I remember scrambling around, getting dressed, trying to find someone to come over and watch the kids. I remember the drive over to my parents house, a drive that I have probably made thousands of times before, and now I can't even do without getting a pit in my stomach.

That whole way to my parents' house I kept thinking, "This isn't good, no one has called us yet with which hospital they are taking him to." Just the feeling of knowing that the longer it takes to revive him, the less likely he will survive. Unfortunately, I know way too much about heart attacks and post codes and survival rates through my job. I knew that this was just awful.

The minute we pulled up, I bolted out of the van and ran inside. And I remember just sobbing on the floor next to my mom while she sat quietly on the couch in the living room. A room that we didn't really use too often. I remember having to tell one of my brothers over the the phone that Dad didn't make it. Having to hear him softly cry over the phone.

I have all of these bad memories that just keep flashing through my mind. And each time I feel like I can't possibly sink any deeper. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself of all of the wonderful memories of my dad. How funny and sweet and crazy he was. That's how he will live on, by how we remember him and how we choose to live our lives from this point forward.

I try to be thankful each and every day. I'm thankful that even though my dad is gone, that I have my mom and my three brothers. We all love each other and get along. I'm so very thankful for my husband and my three beautiful children--and that my dad met them and held them. Like my mom says, "This is part of the deal." But it still royally sucks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Birth Story: Part Tres

It's been a long, long time and a lot of things have changed. Some of my recent experiences in my life have brought me such joy, like the birth of my daughter. And, unfortunately, I've experienced the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I am feeling such pain right now, but I just don't have the words to write about that yet. So I will focus on the birth of my daughter and hopefully I will be able to process my grief and share that at a later time.

Rewind to ten months husband and I were on possibly the most glorious vacation and we thought maybe we should have another baby. We had been entertaining the idea, and life seemed like it was going well, so why not try for a third? We were fortunate that we got pregnant right away. We were completely over the moon. I had a very uneventful pregnancy and (like the first two) we decided that we wanted to be surprised with the gender. I would often refer to this baby as the "tie breaker baby." The baby that could really change the course of the family, swaying life to be more girl-centric or all about the boys.

I really didn't have a huge preference...maybe leaning more towards having a girl. But the reality is having a boy, especially close in age with my bruiser of a toddler, could prove to be a good thing too. As you have more children, and experience how kids start growing up, you realize--there is no perfect way to have a family. There will always be pros and cons to how life shapes up. Just because you have two little boys does not always make them the best of friends. And just because you have a boy and a girl does not mean that competition and jealousy will be absent from your life. You have your kids close together (three in a four year period--eek!) and that might mean you hardly get any sleep. BUT then you probably have an easier time finding activities for everyone to enjoy.

Anyways, my one big hope (aside from a healthy baby) was that I really wanted to experience going in to labor on my own. I was induced for A & D and I thought that this time I wanted to wait. My due date was March 27 and it came and went without a contraction to be felt. This was no surprise for me. I didn't even care. A dear close friend and family member was due two days after me...and she delivered two weeks before her due date. It didn't even phase me.

Exactly one week after my due date I started feeling crampy. I was actually considering going in to work for four hours, luckily we were overstaffed. At about 5:30 that evening I started having contractions. Not painful, but I was able to time them. I was so excited to get to use my iPhone App. Serious nerd. My sweet hubby took the kids outside and played with them then we ate pizza for dinner, all the while I was starting to labor. I remember my daughter shouting to me, "Mom! How are your Michael Jacksons?" or "Mama! How are your questions?" She still had no clue what was going on. I was even able to lie down with her before she drifted off to sleep and still keep track of the contractions.

I had alerted my parents that this might be the real deal and to have a bag packed. At 9:30 that night it became too much and I told them to come over and that I was going to call the triage line. It sounds incredibly dumb now as I type it, but in my defense I had never been in labor naturally before, but I thought then I would just be able to get up and grab my toiletries and walk out the door. Well, I tried to walk and I couldn't. And then the speed and intensity of my contractions escalated. That was my first "Oh shit" moment of the evening. Then I lost my mucous plug and started having bloody show and I became completely terrified that I waited too long and we were going to have the baby in the house.

My sweet parents showed up and my mom was massaging my lower back. Her icy cold fingers were such a relief. My dad just stood there so stoic and then he said, "How is the freeway construction? Can you get there ok?" These moments will hopefully stand out forever in my mind.

I had called the triage line and talked with a VERY bubbly nurse. She was perusing my chart and I think she clapped when she read that at my last check I was 3 cm and 70% effaced. Yeahhhh, my OB sort of neglected to tell me that I was 70%. So with all of the calling the triage line and having to wait for the nurse to call me back and then talking with the nurse and then having to wait while the on call doctor called me back...this all amounted up to an additional 30 minutes. I guess my mom was motioning to my husband that we should just get up and go--we have cell phones. We can talk to people in the car. Again, I'd never been in labor before and I really wasn't thinking clearly. My second "Oh shit" moment: Having the triage nurse tell me to pack a towel and a garbage bag. And that if I become unconscious or felt the need to push, have my husband pull over and call 911. Lets just say I had never been so happy to see the hospital in my entire life.

We show up to labor and delivery and I walked down the looooonnnnggggg hallway and sit down and get banded and answer some basic questions. My L&D nurse comes out, takes one look at me and says, "So if you haven't had any cervical changes, do you just want to be admitted and induced?" I honestly didn't even know what to say to that. I couldn't even process that comment. And then I thought, "Well, shit, if I'm in this much pain and I haven't had any cervical changes then I'm going to need to be intubated and sedated to handle this." I think that the reality was that she didn't want to get both the triage room and the labor room dirty when she could just admit me to one room. So after 20 min of sitting in triage answering questions, when I was checked I was at a six, almost a seven. Three tries to get an IV in and then I walked to my new room.

I was perched on the end of the bed when my nurse told me that 1) I could not get into the tub. I would relax too much and then my water would break and the hospital isn't licensed for a tub birth. 2) No IV pain meds. Too close to delivery and they prefer it if my baby doesn't forget to breathe. So it was either epidural or no epidural. I think I did say at this point, "So propofol is out of the question?"** She did not find this funny. Our nurse (who by this time I had actually really started to like) was very encouraging. She thought I could totally do this without the epidural. Well then I started to ugly cry and flopped over on the bed. So after a LOOOONNNNGGG discussion about my third degree tear with my second and my fear of tearing, she suggested an epidural so we could control my pushing.

Well lo and behold while she was pressure bagging fluids in, my water broke. There was a lot of rushing around for the doctor to get an epidural in and seriously once it was in, they flipped my legs back into bed and started breaking the bed down to prepare for delivery. I'm pretty sure I felt everything. Or at least 80% of everything. I mean maybe my left toes started to tingle? I vaguely remember looking over at my nurse and saying "I feel everything?!" and she sort of shrugged and made a face and said, "Well, it sometimes takes time to catch up. Those pain receptors are saturated right now and the drugs have to play catch up." So literally 10 minutes after the epidural was in, I was pushing. And it felt like the end scene of the movie Braveheart. You know, where Mel Gibson is being drawn and quartered or whatever it was that was so horrifying.

My sweet little girl was born shortly before 1 AM on April 4. So by the time we arrived at the hospital up until delivery was just short of two hours. So about an 8 hour labor. What a whirlwind. I actually spent most of that Saturday shell shocked. That and I was pretty convinced I was going to break my daughter every time I picked her up. I was too used to slinging my chunky toddler over my shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

So that's pretty much my third baby's birth story. What a wonderful day! She continues to be a sweet baby. Which I imagine sets us up for the teenage years to be pretty rough. I'm loving watching my first two kiddos interact with her as we sort of adjust to our new normal of a family of five and I feel blessed that I get to be their mama.

**Propofol. Michael Jackson drug. I cannot believe I have two Michael Jackson references in this post.