General State of the Union…

Jeffrey is sitting on the potty tonight, chubby legs dangling, cheeks flushed from being outside all day courtesy of a friend, looks up at me and says: “Mommy, you’re very beautiful today. You love me the best, right?” I just kissed his little face and told him I love him forever. My little narcissist.

I got to leave the house earlier! While that may not be a big deal in most of your worlds, I haven’t gone anywhere except the doctors since The Fainting episode however many weeks ago. Mo Mommy and her hijinxing friend Heathen came and kidnapped me for a pancake dinner- none of us had pancakes, but that’s not the point. The point is, I got to go somewhere- I actually got dressed and put on a dab of make-up- I took my hair out of it’s natty bun and pinned it back. Other than the beach ball taking up most of my profile, I felt almost human. And, I even managed to keep my dinner down, aside from a minor tiny little barf on the way to the car. Whoo-hooo!

My entire extended family is in Virginia tonight. My grandpa’s funeral is tomorrow. I know it’s probably totally uncool and bad manners to take pictures at a funeral, but I’m hoping at least one of my brothers utilizes his camera phone or some other discreet device to take few photo’s for me- it might be years before I get to Arlington, in all honesty. I so wish I could be there…

Eric was so cute this morning- he was rubbing my gigantic belly, talking about the baby, and he pulled up his little shirt and asked me to rub his baby. Jeffrey was quick to point out to him that only mama’s can have babies, but sweet little Eric didn’t care. He wanted me to rub his tummy, so rub I did. And he bounced away all happy and pink cheeked, baby forgotten, pretending he’s a frog. Boing… boing… boing… Just like mommy….

Newsflash! Pregnancy From Hell Adds Cruel Joke to Accolades

Sitting on my desk is a print-out from a baby and contraction monitoring thing. You’ve seen them. This one is over nine hours long, with contractions in the 2-3 minute range for most of it. It’s mine. From last night. And I’m still pregnant.

Oh, yes, people. Just when I think it can’t get any worse, *BAM!* smack down! Yesterday my contractions had been irregular but noticeable, all day. Around 5 p.m., we started timing them- and they were about 5 minutes apart. Being a veteran mom, I knew better than to run off to the hospital yet- so I waited. At about 8:30, still regular and getting stronger, I called my doctor- and he said to go in to get checked. But no, I still waited. I wanted to be darn sure if I went in, it was the real thing. I waited until 10:30, with more than five hours of timeable contractions, when they were coming closer and much stronger, before I told the DH “Hey, maybe we should go”. DH’s auntie comes over, kids stay asleep, we head off to the hospital.

At 11, we are checked into our room, hooked to the monitor and having some serious pain. In the consideration of TMI, several other things were also pointing us towards ‘this is the real thing’ including the mucus-plug thingy surprising me (grooooossssss) and diarrhea with the crazy strong contraction. Oh, and of course, since it is me, more vomiting. TMI over.

At 2 a.m, the contractions were just over 2 minutes apart, and were hard enough that I couldn’t talk or move through them anymore. Nurse comes in to check me again, and if you can believe this, I have made no progress. Whatsoever. None. Still dilated to exactly where I was.

Nice Nurse suggests she unhook the monitors for a while and give me something to help me sleep. I’m not wild about the idea, how ’bout we get the baby out instead? But no, she insists sleep is a good idea, and I capitulate. From 2:30 to 5:30, I lay in a semi-sleepy state, and whatever she gave me made me dopey, and took the edge off the contractions, but they were still big enough to keep me from falling asleep. Now I have been up all night, too.

At 6 a.m., she checks me again. No change. I start to cry. Lets hook the monitors back up and see what’s happening. Shifts change, Nice Nurse leaves. I am exhausted, in pain, and they are talking about sending me home if things don’t get moving. This makes me cry more. How, I wonder aloud, was my last baby two days old by now, but you wont help things get rolling with this one? I get lame excuses and am told my doctor is on vacation all week, and the on-call will come see me and explain things.

At 8 a.m. guess who walks in? The Drug Nazi! And it just keeps getting better. She tries to explain to me, through the gagging cloud of her perfume, that “Dear, there is a difference between real contractions and braxton hicks…” I glare daggers at her. “DUH! DO you think this is my first baby? DO YOU THINK I DON”T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?? Why do you think I stayed home for FIVE hours? THESE babies have been BIG! THESE babies have not been BRAXTON HICKS- I KNOW WHAT A REAL CONTRACTION FEELS LIKE!!!” It was pretty.

She says that she sees she isn’t helping me ( maybe the fact that I was looking at the wall instead of acknowledging her in any way was a clue?) and that we should go home, and come back when it’s the real thing. Incredulously I gape at her- “What exactly shall I look for to know it’s the real thing? Contractions strong and close together? Check! Contractions sustained over a period of hours? Check! Loosing of mucus and bloody show? Check! Emptying of bowels? Check! Uh, what, exactly, should I look for instead of what I did? AND WHY CAN”T I HAVE THIS BABY NOW???

She looks at me like I am a big ugly bug, and offers to send me home with some sedatives to help me sleep. ARE YOU NUTS? I have a 2 and 4 year old! I don’t need narcotics- I need this pregnancy to be over, and I completely DO NOT understand why it is not. Eric was two days old now, and my labor was not as long nor the contractions as big as last night, and my water was broken and the pit started. Bingo, out came baby.

So at 8:30, we clean up, get dressed and leave. I have not eaten since yesterday afternoon, and am hungry, so we stop in the cafeteria (for some reason, I like hospital cafeterias). My breakfast is yummy, but half way through, I realize it’s not going to stay down- and I don’t want to loose it in the middle of the dining room and ruin other peoples’ breakfasts… I run (waddle- still contracting, about 5 min. apart, now) to the hallway with my hands over my mouth. There is nowhere, but there is the window where people put their used dishes and trays- and I grab a used tray full of dirty dishes and loose my cookies. And I have a contraction at the same time. And I pee myself. So I stand in the hallway of the hospital, cramping stomach, cramping uterus, pee running down my legs into my socks, and tears running down my face. The cafeteria lady looks at my DH and asks if we need a wheelchair to help getting to Labor and Delivery. The irony… ah, the irony.

So, here I sit. Boing…boing…boing… Having contractions about every 5 minutes. They are not bombers, and I can mostly function with them. But what do I do next? What do I look for? When do I go back and not have another nightmare, but a baby? I’m thinking right about as the head is crowning. I’m going to go upstairs, lay back down, and cry some more. How much can one woman take?

Happy Easter

Yes, I’m still here. Let’s don’t talk about it anymore. A friend gave me some pointers on how to get things rolling today, but I may be too chicken to try them… Let’s just see how desperate I really am!

Tonite at dinner I made a really lame attempt at explaining Easter to Jeffrey. Bunnies and eggs and all just seem to crowd out everything else… I suppose we aren’t any different than many families. My plan had been to bake those special Easter rolls that are hollow to show how Christ wasn’t in the tomb any longer- but like so many things lately, it just didn’t happen. We didn’t even dye eggs this year (hanging head in shame…) and I really like to dye eggs. Don’t ask me why- I even dye the raw ones- they’re just so pretty in the ‘fridge. Plastic eggs are gonna have to do… The kids won’t even notice!

I have been thinking of what Easter means to me- and I think it’s akin to the atonement- wrapping our little mortal brains around what it is for us is just soooooo big, it becomes incomprehensible. Growing up, I had no idea what the gospel meaning of Easter was- we just did eggs and chocolate- never even a family dinner. It just wasn’t a big deal day.

For me, as I go through my own mini-hell right now, and I find myself struggling and feeling my faith in fits and starts, I realize that I am the flux and flow. If Christ seems far from me at any time, it because I am the one who moved away. The Savior is always there, exactly where he said he would be- immovable and constant, it is only up to me to open my eyes and see him. So when I feel cut off or adrift or lost or disregarded, those things are only my perceptions. I am never lost to the Savior- he knows exactly where I am, and faith is remembering that.

Knickers in a Knot

Why is the day Christ was crucified called Good Friday? I did a quick Google on it, and no one seems to know for sure- the answer that best satisfied is it’s a misinterpretation of the archaic Gottes Freitag, German for God’s Friday. But even the Germans don’t call it that anymore- this day is known as Charfreitag, Sorrowful Friday. Seems a little more appropriate, if you ask me, a hormonal, impatient super pregnant woman totally annoyed by everything.

Contractions are about 10 minutes apart. Don’t get all excited- this happens all the time. But I’m going to go walk up and down the stairs, just in case. Most women have their epidurals by now- dilated to 5 cm (I’m sneering), yet here I am, bouncing on my ball, tending my kids (well, ignoring them while they watch Franklin and I type) and wondering what’s the hang up… She’s got ’till tomorrow, then she’s officially later than her 2nd brother…

What was it I said about the first rule of parenting?? Oh yeah. Things seldom go how you plan, and you better be flexible… *sigh* To be taken apart by my own brilliance. Isn’t it enough flexibility that my body is about to accommodate stretching enough to pass another human being?? Boing…. boing…. boing….

Nope

Yeah, um, nope. Turns out I’m a little of both- wishful and in-tune, that is. Definitely progressing along; maybe this is just going to be a three-week long cruel joke of a slow-labor, and the baby will just slide out one day, voila! Sure is draggin’ along. Baby has dropped, head’s engaged, effaced and all that good stuff- there is nothing keeping this child inside, according to the doctor. I’m dilated to almost 5 cm. Half-way there, and here I sit… boing… boing…. boing… Boy, it’s gonna be fast when the time comes. Good thing we live really close to the hospital! How ’bout an Easter baby? Or tax-day baby? At this point, either/or is good by me!

Wishful Thinking or In-Tune Mama?

Fidgeting. Restless. I’m restless. And it hurts to walk, like deep down low, hurts. Today is my doctor appointment, and someone has been picking the kids up every Wednesday, and the DH comes home to take my to my appointment (the whole ‘no driving’ thing…). No one has shown up today, and for all the calls I’ve made, I can’t find anyone to even answer their phone.

Not the day to take the kids with us to the appointment, aside from the bad idea them seeing a doctor check me- no thanks. It just feels like things are about to get rolling. I have that still, tiny bit apprehensive place inside, wrapped up in fidgeting and restlessness. Soon, it will be soon…

Tiny Gems Wherever You Can Find Them…

Per another mama’s suggestion, now when I write at my computer, I sit on the birthing ball. It’s my chair. Boing, boing, boing, come on out, baby….

Last night while I was futzing around in my room, I came across a book I just love, and hadn’t seen in a long time. Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kennison is one of my all time favorite parenting books- it is charming, beautifully written, thoughtful and just all around graceful- she paints her pictures with a very fine brush. It’s not your typical parenting book- there are no chapters on “What to do when…”, rather it’s a compilation of essays about her children, the rhythms of life within a family, the passing of days and the beauty of being a mother. I used to give it to everyone I knew who was becoming a mother- and my copy is well worn and dog-eared now. She gently and quietly reminds me how to be a good mother, and how to cherish what I have each day.

So here I sit, bouncing my unborn, trying to pay attention to the rhythms of MY life, listening to the sweet breathing and sighs of my sleeping boys, and enjoying the baby sitting on my bladder and making me pee every ten minutes. I have much to be grateful for, and really, how much longer can Maybe stall? A blink of an eye, in the grand scheme of things- I have a peace and harmony I will probably hold onto, until the next time I sneeze.

I’m still pregnant.

…Still Pregnant

Ok, I’m really for all the folk remedies to cure pregnancy. Castor oil is out, and I’ve eaten enough licorice to kill a cow, so on with the new ideas. Maybe has ’till this weekend, then I’m done. So someone help, please….

I’m going to be pregnant forever, I just know it….

Birth Story: Eric

Everything about Eric’s arrival was different from his brother’s. At 29 weeks with Eric, I was dilated to 3 cm already, so I was put on bedrest. For 7 weeks, I was supposed to do nothing, and I had a not quite 2 year-old. Uh-huh, sure, I can do nothing! Actually, I had a lot of help from friends, since we now lived 1200 miles from all the wonderful family that had been present and helpful with Jeffrey. The last thing I wanted was a tiny preemie who needed help breathing, so I listened to the doctor. But at 36 weeks, when he said I could get up, the first thing I did was mop the kitchen floor!

Exactly 7 days after I was given the go-ahead to get up and move, my labor started. Heck, since I was already at 3, I was almost finished with stage one! I woke up about 5 a.m. with small contractions, and waddled out to the living room to sit in the recliner- the only comfortable chair for a very preggo woman, in my humble opinion. I told the DH that maybe he should start timing them, since they were sort of regular. At about 8 a.m., after three hours of 4-5 minutes apart, we thought maybe we should call the doctor. I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing, and in no hurry. My water had not broken yet, and I wasn’t in a rush to get to LDR- I kind of felt like it was a false alarm, and didn’t want to bother with all the fuss, just to be sent home later.

The doctor said we should come in, especially since I was already at 3 cm, but again, I was in no hurry. At around 10, we called a friend and dropped Jeffrey off at their house, visited for a minute, and eventually made it to hospital, about 10:30. The admitted me, and around noon, my doctor came in- I was still having regular contractions, but they were still totally manageable. He asked me what I wanted to do. Did I want to go home and wait it out, or did I want him to break my water and get the show on the road? I remember looking at him like he was insane- go home? When I can have this baby today? Over my dead body, get the party started, man! So he broke my water.

Because of what happened with Jeffrey, and the exhaustion and stalled labor and all the natural techniques that failed us, I asked him to start a pit drip if I hadn’t gotten really rolling by 3 p.m.- and he agreed. For three hours we tried the natural crap again, and for three hours, nada. Baby was at +1, dilated to 4 cm, contractions for 10 hours, and no progress. It would seem I just suck at the labor part- I’m 0-2 on getting the babies out myself.

At 3 p.m. the pit drip was started, and around 4:30 I asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist was a beginner, and so it took him several tries to get it in right- all while I was having pit contractions. Lots of fun. But, he did, and it worked just as wonderfully as it had the first time. In an hour and half, I went from 4 to 10, and was ready to push. Again, good feeling in my legs, felt my contractions, and felt the urge to push. DH called my mom and family in California, and everyone gathered at my mom’s house, and they put us on speaker-phone.

The doctor actually had to ask me to wait, to slow down, because the baby was coming so fast. I pushed two times, and Eric was born. It was about 6:30 in the evening, and my whole family was listening-in from two states away. He came out madder than a wet hen, screaming his little red head off. He looked so small to me, and I remember saying so, and the nurses laughed- he was three weeks early, 8 1/2 pounds, the same weight and length as his brother- but I was just so used to a gigantic two-year old- you forget how small a newborn actually is.

It was such a different experience than the first birth- about a million times easier, and I was nowhere near exhausted, like before. I think you are more confident, too, with the next babies. I knew what was happening with my body, what to expect, what was normal, and I was so much more relaxed.

Eric didn’t actually have a name for a while- none of the names on our list fit him. We kept trying different things, and they just bounced off. It wasn’t until about midnight, when my brother called and we were just talking quietly, I looked over at sweet little No-Name, and he became Eric. We hadn’t even considered it before, but sure enough, when I called to DH, who was in the bathroom, what I thought baby’s name should be, he popped his head out, looked at me, and said, “Yeah, that’s it.” Our naming method is a little unorthodox, but oh well- it works for us! So my second son is named for both of my brothers- we figured since his first name was my older brother’s, we ought to give his middle name as the younger’s. And it is.

The next morning, DH went to go get Jeffrey and bring him to see his new baby brother. I will never forget watching him tear around the corner of the hospital, so excited to see his baby, like a Mac-truck in tennis shoes. He had turned two the week before. He was so happy and sweet and gentle- he loved the baby from the moment he saw him- and he’s still pretty protective of his brother, now that I think about it…

We had to stay in the hospital an extra day-Eric had a little trouble with his blood sugar, and he had a hard time coordinating his suck. It isn’t that unusual in a baby 21 days early- the nurses informed me that the suck is one of the last things to develop before a baby is born. Who knew?

So with this next one- I’m not even messing around. Hook me up, get the show on the road. Eric came fast, and I probably could have done it without the epidural, but I didn’t. And if I have time to have one again this time, I will, and I refuse to feel bad about it!

The Look…

Last night, as I was miserably waddling towards the kitchen, the DH glanced at me, wearily smiled, and said “You’ve got the look”- and I was elated and annoyed at the same time. Up until yesterday, he has insisted that I didn’t yet look like I was near giving birth- but something changed, and now, according to him, I have “the look”. He has been right within days on our previous children- heck, within hours on Jeffrey- so he better be right this time. That’s just not a carrot you dangle in front of a very pregnant, very weary woman!