Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Pants Don't Fit...

You heard me. My pants don't fit today. Don't worry, this isn't a pregnancy announcement or something you missed, I am simply stating that my pants don't fit.

My weight has always seemed to bounce around. After getting married, I was so darn happy that I gained weight. Surprise! I lost it and became a workout nut. A gym rat, really. After the baby came, who has time to make it to the gym? Get out the door on time, make a baby appointment, get called out for diapers and crying... I canceled the membership.And then I got it back.

In the past year, my weight has bounced around. I have done a few crash diets, home workouts, TRIED to eat well, ya know. And today as I sit here in my shorts that are a little too tight (maybe wearing them will help them stretch out a bit?), I'm just tired of it. I'm not looking for pity, a workout coach, or a nutritionist. I thought you all might just appreciate me being real today.

I have had a baby. My husband will still say to me "Don't forget honey, that your hips may have widened from the baby". Thanks. It depends on the day how I react to that one. He is definitely well meaning, and if I'm 5 pounds up, he is completely oblivious.

Having a baby is not an excuse to be overweight or lazy, but it does finally provide that 'out' to come to terms with the body God has given me. No matter how hard I pray or how much I workout or how 'clean' I eat, I will never be a 6-foot-tall Victoria's Secret model. Believe me, I've tried! And my baby is a little GIRL. Which means that she watches my every move, every face I make, every comment I say, every eye roll. She recently learned how to suck her tummy in- I hope that's not from me!

I am working towards the freedom of accepting my body. My husband loves it and my child is enthralled by it. There is nothing that she loves more that putting lotion on my legs for me when I get out of the shower. Or pointing out my body parts (fun toddlerhood!). Or talking about her body parts. Or feeling my leg after I've shaved. She does all of these things!

So as I sit here in my tight shorts (I think they're stretching...), I give up. I don't want my day to be controlled by how I look. And basically this just means that these shorts don't make the cut for vacation next week. There are other shorts that DO fit! 

Give up with me. Workout to be healthy and strong, and eat well (unless there's ice cream. Then eat the ice cream). This is why I'm not a health coach.

Happy Saturday! I hope your pants fit today.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why Moms Are Awesome

First off... Happy Mother's Day!

This is intended to be a funny, feel-good look at the life of a mom. And why moms are awesome. I was thinking about it a little bit today, and as I pictured moments and conversations in my head, I laughed at myself for the things that mothers do and endure for their offspring. By the way- offspring is one of my favorite words. I use it almost daily. Anyway, I hope these put a smile on your face and a "yes!" in your heart!

We have ninja-like reflexes.  How many of you have bolted out of bed at the speed of light the second you hear a cough, cry, or rustle? Or worse, the sound of vomit? Yeah, they can't measure that speed, and don't forget that it's from dead sleep! Have you even jumped the moment you hear the dog peeing on the carpet? This mommy speed it about 10x faster. Not to mention, the hands that go out the moment you hear the vomit (why do we do that?), the arm that catches the kid that tripped, diving to catch the kid falling off the stool, or catching the kid running in the mall. I'm telling you, it's like magical powers. Speaking of powers....

We can see the future. Not literally, but we do have a pretty good idea of what will happen... we watch our child climb a tree or stand over a water fountain or stand up on the chair... yep, I saw that coming. Sometimes the ninja reflexes can prevent it, and other times the ground teaches the child a hard lesson (pun intended). We can usually assess a situation and guess what the outcome will be for our child. That's pretty awesome.

We can understand them. When babies start talking, it seems like another special power to understand any of their 'words'! Who else could know that "da-dur" means water, "nunna" means funny, and "NiNi" means Brittni? If you come across someone who does not have children, they are like "what on earth is that kid saying?", but we just had a full conversation with them.

We get super-strength when alone. You know, that mom who is carrying two babies under 2 years old through the airport while also holding a carseat, diaper bag, and two suitcases.... oh, and one of the kids is crying. THAT'S super strength. It's gotta get done and you seem to be the only one around to do it! Somehow we also manage to move furniture, lift heavy toys, put together large toys (swingset, anyone?) and do almost anything with one hand. Special shout-out to my sister-in-law Kylee for braving the airport like this to come see us...

We can multi-task like no other. We can sit down to have coffee with a friend, and focus on everything she is saying while simultaneously watching and correcting the child. She's like "do you want me to start over?" but you can be like "no no! I got it all! Keep going". And you really do! You also just got a glimpse into mommy playdates. There isn't a minute that goes by without someone whining, crying, thirsty, hungry, wanting to sit in your lap, wanting outside, pinching another kid, wanting a toy another kid has... must I go on? And yet we love them and keep doing them, and somehow we also remember all of our conversations!

We can survive on practically no sleep. Parenthood includes many a sleepless night- which I gravely discovered does not end with the newborn days, but also holds on through teething, fevers, illnesses, night terrors, and just plain ol' not tired. Sometimes, you literally feel like a zombie walking around, not sure how you got there or what you were doing. And we still manage to get through the day and keep the kids alive! This stuff is like military training...

We can eat a hamburger and change a diaper at the same time. Okay, that may be a little graphic, but it's pretty close. My mom used to say this all the time when describing motherhood. The smell or presence of pee and poo are no longer nasty, they are exciting! The baby is digesting properly! I have never been this excited about my own....body movements. Every once in awhile there is a really good diaper that gets you, but most of the time we can go about what we were doing while changing a diaper that shouldn't be allowed to exist. Even the Daddies have trouble with these ones.

We made a baby. We made a baby! Need I say more?

Happy Mother's Day. 

And Mom, thank you for always catching me (or attempting to), losing sleep over me, understanding me, and being excited about my poo. And thanks for making me- pass it on to Dad too, he'll like to hear that :).

And just for fun... here's a cute picture of the one who made me Mommy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Birth of Harvey Andrew Errol

Samantha is a friend of mine that I have known for the last 8 years or so. I was able to mentor her in YoungLife and take part in school dances and important moments in her life. Most recently, Samantha married and became a mother, all of which I have been able to identify with and walk beside her. This is the story of her second birth (her first is featured here), and it was a short two weeks ago! Thank you for sharing this awesome story, Sam. You're a rock star.
 Harvey Andrew Errol
We always wanted our kiddos to be two years apart. We thought that it would be a good age gap and that it would allow them to get along well and play well as they grew up. So we did the math and started trying around the time where we knew Raegan would be two years old when the baby came. After trying for what felt like forever (it was only four months), we discovered we were pregnant! Josh was at a men’s retreat and it was just Raegan and I at home. I had a funny feeling, so I picked up a pregnancy test and took it just for giggles. Much to my surprise, there were two bright pink lines. I began to dance around the house, praising Jesus and streaming tears of joy. Little Raegan danced with me and laughed at how silly I looked. We called Josh right away and he was just as ecstatic.

At our 20 week appointment and ultrasound, we discovered that we were having a BOY! Not only were we having a boy, but our boy was measuring in the 80th percentile in everything, much different that his 11th percentile big sister. We were totally shocked, a boy and a BIG boy! After letting it sink in for a week, we were ecstatic and we decided he would be named Harvey - battle-worthy, strong, passionate, one who fights for what he believes.

I had a relatively normal pregnancy. We had a couple pre-term labor scares courtesy of my “irritable uterus,” but we managed to get out of the hospital each time after only a few hours. Thankfully I was never put on long term meds or bed rest, other than a little extra progesterone to keep my pregnancy hormones flowing properly.

At 34 weeks we had another preterm labor scare, this one landing us in the hospital for almost an entire night. It was discovered that my cervix was already dilated to 3cm and was 50% effaced. Not a cause for concern in most second time moms, but since Raegan actually tried to escape at 34 weeks, there was some worry. I was told to take it easy and that I could expect to have our boy by 37-38 weeks.

Fast forward to 36 weeks. I started having relatively consistent and uncomfortable contractions late one evening. We decided to play it safe and called our families so that Raegan could be taken care of while we went down to the hospital. Being that I wasn’t “term” quite yet, they had me walk around a bit and see if labor would progress or not. After walking for almost two hours, the contractions subsided and we were sent home.

One and a half weeks later we were in the same situation. Consistent contractions, more uncomfortable than the last time. We headed to the hospital only to have the same thing happen again. This time I was in much more pain so when I discovered we hadn’t progressed and I was devastated. I was so sure that this would definitely be the day. I cried the whole way home and vowed we would not return until I was dying in pain.

I spent the next two and a half weeks with many “this could be it” nights. Some nights contractions lasted for 6 hours, some nights 8, some nights 11. Each set would become more and more uncomfortable, but Mr. Harvey was showing no signs of making his debute. I felt defeated, confused, angry. Then some days I was sad, miserable, and doubtful that I knew my body. I spent almost 4 weeks in early labor and I was emotionally and physically spent.

My due date came and I expected to be extremely upset that day. Instead, I had a strange peace that I hadn’t had in weeks. It was a Monday, so we spent the day together as a family. I got to hold my Raegan close and give her all of me one last time. I got to have dinner with my family of three and watch Josh and Raegan giggle over the silliest things. I got to watch a movie with my husband, uninterrupted. I got to sleep and rest whenever I wanted. It was seriously the best day. It was a perfect day.

I woke up the next morning to the sound of Raegan calling for me. I sent Josh to get her, since I was feeling rather crampy. I just dismissed the feeling because it was nothing compared to some of the long nights I had spent in labor for many weeks prior. Raegan came and snuggled in bed with us and after an hour or so, we decided to start our day. I was getting Raegan some breakfast when Josh decided to make a Dutch Bro’s run before he got started working. I was so excited because I had been craving their oatmeal for a week and he was going to go get me some. I heard the garage door shut and that’s when I felt my first contraction.

I turned on a show for Raegan and tried not to focus on the growing pain. I figured it was just another false alarm and was afraid to get excited just to be disappointed again. But when the next contraction hit, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind. This was definitely, without a doubt, the day we would meet our son. I called Josh to try to hurry him along. He got home and gave me my oatmeal which at this point, I was too uncomfortable and excited to eat it (go figure). I got Raegan packed up, took a quick shower, ran through our check list one last time, and sent Raegan to my in-laws.

When we got to the hospital, my midwife Ashley was already in triage, which was wonderful because I didn’t have to wait to be checked. She decided I was 5cm, (which was a HUGE relief on it’s own since I had been stuck between 3-4 for 3 weeks) 80% effaced, but baby was still sitting at -2. She told us to take a walk to see if we could see some progress. After about 45 minutes of walking, I was in enough pain to where I wanted to be checked again. My cervix hadn’t dilated any more, but I was 100% effaced and baby was moving down. We were FINALLY, finally, finally finally, after 3 long weeks of early labor, admitted to the hospital. I gave Ashley a big hug and thanked her for letting us stay. She laughed, but I don’t think she understood just how long I had been waiting for that moment. It was such a relief to know that I was finally in labor enough and that today we would finally meet our boy.

We settled into our room and I wanted to get in the bath immediately. Harvey was posterior up until the last little bit before he was born, so my back labor was terrible. I quickly realized that even the bath wasn’t going to help all that much this time, so I abandoned that plan and just began pacing the room. As long as I kept moving, I was able to bear the contractions. I never bothered timing them, as this always just stresses me out and ironically, causes me to lose focus. So I just took them as they came, breathed them out, sang them out (we had worship music playing in our room), rocked them out, so on and so forth.

My mom came in at some point, and she basically became a fly on the wall. Josh and I use the Bradley Method, meaning he is my main coach so my mom knew that to be in the room meant to simply do that; just be.

It had been about four hours since I was last checked, so Ashley came in to check me. Harvey was finally just about at 0 station, but I had barely made it to 6cm. I was a little discouraged. Four hours and one measly centimeter was pretty frustrating, especially since I was starting to get tired already. But, we pressed on.

An hour later I was really really started to question whether or not I would be able to manage the pain any longer. It was like I had a target or a bull’s-eye on my back. There was just this one spot, this big circle where the pain just radiated outwards. Ashley, being the rock star of a midwife that she is, came in to try to help us with some pain management. She had me lay on my side facing Josh and she sat behind me and massage the spot on my back. She sat with us and did that for an hour (midwives for the win, right?). It was a nice little break from the intensity of the pain and gave me the opportunity to regain a little strength and focus.

Two hours later I was checked again. To my surprise, I had only gone another centimeter. Again, totally frustrating and extremely discouraging this time. We began to talk about breaking my water, but if you know my history and have read Raegan’sbirth story, you know that once my water breaks, everything becomes pretty real pretty fast. I started to feel rather panicked and tried to hold off on making a decision. I ran (yes ran) through a very painful contraction into the bathroom where I just sobbed in fear. Josh came in and tried to talk me down. He was so sweet and just held me and let me cry out my worry and anxiety. Then I popped my head up and ran (yes ran) over to my phone. I immediately called Emily, one of our great friends and our doula (Read Emily's first birth story here, written by her husband). She walked us through our birth classes with Raegan but unfortunately missed Raegan’s actual birth. I remember her saying, “This is great! You are almost there! You have done this before, you know what to expect!” To which I responded, “Exactly! I know what’s about to happen and I’m terrified!” To which she responded, “Okay. I will be there in 15 minutes!” She’s awesome.

When Emily got there, Josh and I talked a little more and decided we were ready and that it was time to get the show on the road. I have already been in labor for 3 weeks, active labor for 11 hours, it was time. So Ashley came in and broke my water. This took a little longer then normal since my bag was apparently really thick. Once it finally broke, Ashley and the nurse were both strangely amazed at how much fluid came out. They had to change the sheets on my bed because I was wet up to my neck!

Ashley said she felt Harvey’s head “pop” down and as soon as it was resting on my cervix, I went from a 7 to an 8 in a matter of seconds. I started to get a knot in belly because I knew that meant transition was fast approaching. My transition with Raegan was the only time in her whole labor where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I remember thinking to myself in the middle of her transition “Is it is possible to die via pain? Can being in enough pain cause death?” So knowing that same pain was chasing after me had me freaked out.

I stood up from the bed and started pacing again. But now even moving wasn’t helping. Ashley stayed in the room the whole time knowing how quickly my labors progress after my water breaks. Josh sat on the bed and I positioned myself to where I was leaning on him. At this point I couldn’t talk, and it was all I could do to regulate my breathing. I didn’t feel like I did when I was in transition with Raegan so I wasn’t sure what to think. I wondered, “If this isn’t transition, just kill me now” and “Is it too late to get an epidural?” The contractions started to pile on, giving me only a minute break in between. I knew at this point that it was very likely that I was in transition after all. I remember yelling, “I don’t want to do this anymore! I am done! I just want to go home! This was a mistake!” To which Josh replied, “You are doing this! And you’re doing so good!” The entire time this is happening, Ashley is putting pressure on my back where the pain was absolutely unbearable. She stepped away to get prepped and Emily took over. Nothing was helping. Breathing hurt, groaning hurt, I felt like I wasn’t in the room at some points, I felt like I was going to hurl, I was dizzy, my legs and arms would not stop shaking; it was terrible. 

 Amazingly enough though, transition only last a few contractions, maybe 10 minutes total and I started to feel pressure. I then got on the bed on all fours to try to take the pressure off my back. Ashley checked my cervix, which was incredibly uncomfortable in the position I was in and we discovered I was pretty much a 10, I just had a little lip to work through. But at this point, I felt the urge to push and I just couldn’t help it, my body was taking over. So Ashley, again being the amazing lady that she is, held that lip down so that I could push at will. After a couple pushes, my cervix opened up the last little bit and it was show time.

I rolled over onto my left side, as this is how I delivered Raegan and the familiarity gave me confidence. Ashley put my leg up on her shoulder and I started pushing. There was immediately some concern with Harvey’s heart rate. He wasn’t tolerating me pushing very well.

At this point, things just start to get fuzzy. I remember all of a sudden there was an extra nurse or two in the room. I remember Ashley had Josh go wash his hands so he could catch Harvey like he caught Raegan. All the while I am pushing and hearing Ashley say things like, “Wow that is so good!” and “You are so great at this!” And then I could hear Emily say things like, “You are amazing! You are doing so good!” And Josh saying, “You’ve got this baby. I can see his head. You’re almost there!” I remember the song that was playing in the background because it felt SO perfect and echoed the meaning of Harvey’s name. As I pushed I heard, “Oh God, the glory is yours the Kingdom has come and the battle is over. Jesus in your name we rise and the glory is yours the glory is yours!” Our “battle-worthy” and “passionate” Harvey was being born while an anthem of victory played in the background. It was perfect. Then I remember the room getting really loud.

At this point I was in the zone and everything just sounds muffled, like it was in slow motion or I was underwater or something. I was trying so hard to focus on pushing, that I was in my own head and not hearing anything else. But the room kept getting louder and louder so I decided to open my eyes and focus in for a minute. The nurses looked worried as they tried to find his heartbeat and kept telling my to pull my legs up more. Ashley was rather quite and focused and I remember her pushing and pulling really hard between my legs. There was just too much going on. So I listened for Josh, I knew his voice would tell me what was going on and what needed to happen. I looked at the end of the bed and saw him waiting to catch Harvey, but I also saw the look on his face and I knew something wasn’t quite right. I saw his mouth moving, but it was like my brain was delayed. When I finally caught up to what he was saying, I knew something definitely wasn’t right. He kept saying, “You can’t stop now Samantha. You cannot stop. You have to keep pushing. Take a breath and keep pushing. You can’t take a break. This isn’t for you anymore, this is for him now!”

So I pushed, I pushed and didn’t breathe for as long and as hard as I could. Then I took a quick breath and I pushed long and hard again. I tuned back into Josh and heard, “There you go baby. Keep going! Don’t stop!” I was trying as hard as I could. I thought I was doing well. I looked at him and I said, “I’m trying! I can’t!” To which he responded, “You ARE doing it. You can do it! Keep going! He’s so close!”

So I took a deep deep breathe and pushed harder than I knew was possible. His head was out. I thought that would offer some peace, but instead, more yelling. I took another deep breath and gave it everything I had left. I remember Ashley doing a lot of pulling and turning and then there was a huge release and the pain was gone.

Josh didn’t get to catch Harvey like he caught Raegan. We quickly found out why Harvey never dropped and why he never turned to the proper position in the womb. His cord was short and it was wrapped around his neck once, then under his armpit and over his shoulder (kind of like a sash). He was very tangled and he was very big. I pushed for 19 minutes.

They put him on my tummy, because I had expressed in advance that I wanted to nurse and have skin to skin with him immediately, but it became clear that our boy wasn’t too happy with his fast, tangled delivery. He wasn’t breathing and he was very limp. The cord was cut immediately and the nurses scooped him off of me almost the second he was put on my tummy. Harvey was very bruised. His whole head and face were deep purple (and stayed that way for a week). I then realized why everyone in the room was pushing me towards such urgency.

I felt like it was my fault. I just kept saying, “I’m so sorry. I tried. I tried my best. Is he okay? Is he breathing?” Josh was over by the nurses as they tried to get his breathing going and Ashley just kept trying to reassure me that I did a great job and that Harvey would be okay. After a few seconds, but what felt like forever, Harvey cried. He cried and cried and cried. I felt like I had been holding my breath with him, as I took the best deep breath I’d taken all day. They then announced that he was a whopping 9lbs, 6oz, and 22in long. I thought they were joking with me, as everything had been so high stress until that point. Nope! I gave birth to a giant!

Josh came over to me and kissed my forehead and told me how proud he was. I kept apologizing to him, feeling like I could have done more. But a few minutes later, they brought Harvey over to me and put him on my belly, squirmy and loud, and I knew it was all going to be okay.

Ashley delivered the placenta and asked if I wanted to keep it. Apparently in my delirium I said, “No it’s all yours. Keep it as a consolation prize!” or something ridiculous like that. She stitched me up, which only took a few minutes. This was so funny to me because I just birthed an almost 10 pound baby and he did hardly any damage compared to Raegan! Once Ashley finished up, she had to rush off to another birth and the room was silent. It was just me, Josh, our Harvey, and a nurse. Josh handed him to me to be nursed and he immediately hooked on and went to town, no issue, no trouble, he was a pro right away! Total opposite of Raegan! Then they wheeled us into our postpartum room and the rest is history...

 Harvey Andrew Errol Davis
April 22, 2014
9lbs 6oz, 22 in

Just a little more insight into my friends Samantha, this is a status she wrote on Facebook shortly after Harvey's birth...

"I will look back and see that You are faithful..."

This is one of my favorite lines from a song by Elevation Worship right now. It's constantly playing in our house. While in church today, we sang a song that we sang the first Sunday I decided to come back to church after we lost our first pregnancy. I always feared I would not be able to have children. Then when we miscarried our first, I was completely convinced that all my years of worry were justified. Then singing that same song again today in church, holding my healthy newborn son, knowing my daughter was happily playing with her friends upstairs, I just laughed. How silly of me. How silly of me to place such limits on my God. I have two beautiful, healthy children. I had two healthy pregnancies. My God is faithful. My God is good. My God loves me. I deserve nothing, for I am of such little faith. Yet He gives me the deepest desires of my heart and then some.

"... And I'll look ahead, believing You are able."