Monday, May 27, 2013


For those of you still interested in participating in the #100inJuneChallenge, I will probably post updates on Mondays and Fridays.  Maybe that will create some sort of accountability for all of us!  (On a side note, I realized last night how difficult this is going to be with a not-always-agreeable infant.  Nothing like making a commitment before counting the cost, eh?)

Today, I have the privilege to be featured here.  While there are few topics I shy away from here, infertility and loss aren't subjects I approach regularly outside of the blogosphere. 

That said, I'm thankful there was a community that could easily connect me to other women who also struggled with many of the same issues.  I've heard a friendship is born when someone says, "What?  You too?  But I thought that was only me..."  And that's promising for any woman who has felt the isolation infertility and loss can cause.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The One Where I Develop a HashTag

Ryan is almost two months old and I still feel like I'm trying to get my bearings.  Some of that may be due to the fact that I had a few tiny unrealistic expectations.  Miniscule, really.

Like I thought losing the baby weight would be no problem.  I mean, my body was awesome during pregnancy.  My blood sugar got progressively lower as my pregnancy continued.  I felt good.  I slept well.  And until the last few weeks, my blood pressure was beautiful.  Oh, and I managed a reasonable weight gain--25 lbs.  (At least, that was my gain before being admitted to the hospital.  I was pumped full of fluid there so I have no way of knowing what my final gain was before Ryan was born.)

So I assumed people were crazy when they told me it would take some time to lose the weight.  I mean, yeah...time.  Like, 3 weeks?  4?  Surely by the time I returned to my classroom I would be able to button my pants again.  After all, I could still slide all of them over my hips and my legs stayed the same size.

De.  Lu.  Sional.

I have always been a chubby girl.  Rotund, even.  But at my fattest, the roles on my stomach were always relatively flat.  To quote Jen Lancaster, "A pretty fat."  I didn't realize when people told me to take loose clothing to hospital what they were actually saying was "You may look four months pregnant for a while.  Get used to it."

True to form, I look like I'm getting ready to identify the gender of my next baby.  And I'm seriously struggling to keep from beating myself up over all the progress I made last summer in the exercise/weight loss department.

I mean, I wanted this.  I wanted a baby more than anything in the world, and I am SO grateful for him.  So why I am a little depressed over this development?  Because I'm a girl.  And there's something in girl code that says, "Oh things are going too well in my life.  I have to find something to piss and moan about."

So before I get all look-at-my-baby's-two-month-pictures-and-how-much-he's-grown-and-why-can't-he-stay-a-baby-forever-how-does-time-go-this-fast, I thought I'd get this out of my system.

When people said, "Oh, you totally lose weight breast feeding," I heard, "You might become an international model if he nurses for longer than 10 seconds."

Epic fail, that one.

Even though nursing is supposed to filter most of the sugar out of my body, I still seem to struggle with my lady lumps (and not just the ones producing food).  Weird, right?  So now I'm back to really limiting sugar in my diet and I'm working toward cutting white flour completely (again).

Actually, that's the upside of this whole story: I found a wagon and I chased it down so I could get on.  And that is largely due to the fact that I returned to my school about the time the faculty has logged a joint 400 lb weight loss. 

It was like getting a kick in the teeth...but the kind that makes excited because now you can get veneers.

So in the footsteps of my friend, Morgan, who set a goal to walk 100 miles in 50 days, I'm pledging to walk/run 100 miles in the month of June.

Anyone else up for the challenge?  Let's hashtag it in twitter:  #100inJuneChallenge

What else do you do to get back on the proverbial wagon?  I'll take all the advice I can get.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ryan's Birth Story: Part 3 (The Final Frontier)

Part 1

Part 2

I specifically waited until Grandma had left the room and Daddy was sleeping to have my break down.  I didn't want to add stress to an already stressful situation, but those hot tears and sobs needed to be spent before I completely imploded.

I didn't really expect crying to help; I was just fighting frustration.  After an almost perfect pregnancy, I found myself without much faith that my body was capable of doing something that came naturally to many women.  I could almost taste the c-section that would be required, and, to be honest, I was afraid.

I wasn't two minutes into my tear fest when my replacement nurse came in to check the monitors and had her own panic attack.  She was sure something was really wrong.  Unfortunately, Grandma chose that exact moment to return to the room. 

The nurse was scared.  Grandma thought the nurse made me cry. 

And here is where you get a few notes about Grandma.  Before you were born, Grandma was a social worker with the Department of Health and Human services.  She regularly dealt with insurance companies and often had the privilege of dealing with people who were less than forthcoming with information.

Because of this background, Grandma developed what your uncles and I like to call Mom personality #1 and Mom personality #2.

#1=An extremely naive woman who is non-confrontational and usually in a good mood.

#2=You know how National Geographic says more people are killed every year by angry hippos than any other animal?  Well, your Grandma can channel her own angry hippo.  And it ain't pretty.

Typically, Angry Hippo is reserved for insurance companies and lazy people; however, in the 5 nanoseconds that passed between your Grandma coming back into the room, registering my tears and turning to my nurse, I saw that Angry Hippo had swallowed whatever part of Mom Personality #1 had been present.

For the rest of the day, your Grandma (who I learned is extremely agile and protective) hawk-eyed every.single.procedure.  And while I never would've described her as a terrifying woman, I certainly wasn't going to poke the bear.  My nurse must have sensed the change in atmosphere because she was pretty low-key for the rest of her shift.

Around 9 am, Dr. S came in to check the progress of our through-the-night-Pitocin-gamble.  We were all frustrated to learn I had only dilated to 2.5 centimeters.  Dr. S scratched her head and said, "Well, I'm inclined to suggest we break your water and see what happens from there.  Though, we can take you for a c-section if you'd rather."

I explained that I really wanted to avoid a c-section, and she responded, "I really think your body can do this, and we have some time.  Let's break your water and see what happens."

Now I had read three different pregnancy books in the last nine months.  Not one of them indicated what would happen if the doctor broke my water.  So if you are ever planning to get pregnant ever (your wife, I mean), read carefully:

As soon as the doctor breaks your water, every muscle in your body is going to relocate to your uterus and spasm like you've been running from some crazed man trying to kill you.  Truthfully, though, it's just your uterus trying to kill you.  No worries.

For those of you who have never experienced a contraction, imagine some invisible force has reached inside your body and gripped your uterus.  Then, in order maximize your pain, the force grows tentacles and wraps them around every available muscle in the tri-state area.

Thankfully, I reacted with the strength and grace that begets my personality.  In other words?  I panicked.  Panicking is my spiritual gift, you know...or you'll learn sometime before you turn 18.

I don't mean to blow things out of proportion here because once I got my bearings and could focus on breathing, the contractions were manageable.  But that first one?  I just wasn't prepared.  Call it a theme in this story.

My day nurse, Megan, said the average dilation activity after a woman's water breaks is a centimeter an hour.  But us?  We spit in the face of average.  So when I still refused to dilate much in the hours following my water breaking, my doctor began discussing the options. 

And by options?  I mean our lack of them. 

But you know us.  Dad and I definitely reveled in the hilarious before those decisions were made.

When I'd labored for several hours, my nurse asked if I was ready for some pain medication.  I wasn't quite ready for the epidural, but I was tired enough to need something to take the edge off of each contraction--mostly because in order to manage them I needed to sit straight up, propping myself on my arms with the soles of my feet touching.  I was tense and there was no way of knowing how much longer it would take before I got to look at your sweet face.

So my nurse brought me Stadol.

As soon as the drug hit my IV, I learned that it is possible to hallucinate while maintaining a firm grasp of reality.  Any time I closed my eyes, I felt like I was being transported to an alternate reality.  Everything looked as real as it did if my eyes were open, but I knew it couldn't be real.  For example, there was a squirrel who kept pulling on my underwear.  When I opened my eyes, I could still feel that stupid squirrel pulling on my underwear, but I also knew, laboring like I was, that I wasn't wearing underwear.

For a full report of all the hilarious things I saw, you'll have to contact Grandma.  She wrote it down, blessed soul that she is.

Most of the day felt 15 minutes long to me--mostly because it was tedious.  There was little change until late into the evening when I finally started to dilate.  My body, trying to make up for lost time, seemed to dilate three centimeters at a time.  And that was really promising.

Until my temperature spiked.

For some unknown reason, I developed a 102.4 degree fever and that was a definite cause for concern.  We didn't know what was causing the fever and any sort of infection would impact you negatively.  Immediately, the doctor started pushing antibiotics and discussing a C-section.  She told me we had a limited amount of time before this situation was serious, and then left Daddy and I to talk.

Something far worse than contractions grabbed me after that conversation.  Daddy and I both cried and tried to figure out what we should do before God reminded me of my word for the year:  peace.  So with little recourse, and no ability to make an informed decision, we called PastorJosh and asked for prayer.

It was around 10:30 in the evening and most of the people in the waiting room were clearing out and heading home in hopes of getting some sleep before returning to meet you.  A few minutes after that call, many of those same people returned to that waiting room to pray for us...for you.  Even more received a call or text from PastorJosh and got out of bed (even though Easter Sunday was the very next day) to pray until we were holding you in our arms.

Thirty minutes later?  I was pushing.

Our first meeting, Baby Boy.
Nurses warned us that first time mommies can push for hours before a birth occurs.  I smiled and told my nurse you were going to be born today.  Since it was after 11 pm, my nurse smiled and nodded, but she didn't look convinced.

Daddy snapped all sorts of pictures.  You were perfect even
directly after birth.  Most babies aren't cute at this stage.
Forty minutes later, at 11:46 pm, you were here.

Ryan Christopher
March 30th, 2013
8 lbs, 0.8 oz.
22 inches
People think I'm weird when I say this, but the actual birthing experience was one of the best experiences of my life.  By the time I was pushing, I was so excited to hold you.  The nurse commented she'd never seen anyone smile while pushing (and it was freaking her out a little).  But I couldn't help myself.  I grinned the entire time.  The doctor told funny stories.  We laughed like family.

And partially, I think that's how it was meant to be.

Peaceful.  Hopeful.  And the complete fulfillment of what I'd waited 8 years for.

Total, it took 97 months to meet you.

And every single second was worth it.

So many people have waited for you.

And loved you.

This is just the beginning of your story, Ryan.

I think there's probably a lot of laughter to come.  (Including a few hilarious stories about Daddy and putting your stroller in the car for the first time...)

And I'm so excited to tell every single one until you can tell your own.

I'll love you forever; I'll like you for always.