Countdown…

A year ago today, I looked like this!

39 weeks!

39 weeks!

Living in the New House

We have now been in our new house for 12 days. 12 whole days!! It’s hard to believe how the time has flown.

While the journey it took to get here was miserable (I officially hate house hunting!), it is SOO worth it now. I’ve never known the wonderful feeling of actually owning where we live, and it’s incredible. Jesse feels it too. He’s been Mr. Fixit man around here, installing curtains, our washer and dryer, our BRAND NEW stove (yay!), brackets, shelves, you name it. In fact, he did so much work last Monday that the power drill, fully charged at the beginning of the day, had run out of battery by the evening. And he kept going anyways, doing things by hand. Seriously!

Also, our place looks good. Really good. I’ve been dreaming it up in my head for a long time now, and I was afraid that all of the calculations wouldn’t turn out how I’d envisioned. Nope, it’s all more awesome than I could’ve realized. I’ll post pictures as soon as I get a chance!

We’ve met a few neighbors, and love that we have 10-15 kids living all around us! What a cool neighborhood this is!

Deer in yard

If you can see past the sprinkler stains on the window, you can see our deer family!

And then there’s the wildlife…we are only a TWO MINUTE drive from the largest street and shopping center in our city, a THREE MINUTE drive from the freeway, and only a FIVE minute drive from where we both work, and yet….it feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere. It’s so quiet, so peaceful, with just woods and trees all around us. Our house is on a little over 1/2 an acre, and we have so many deer and squirrels that come to play in our front yard. Every morning, Gregory eats breakfast while watching the family of deer that comes to rest on our lawn. It’s adorable (also, we will be building a deer fence around some of it so I can have my garden! Stay tuned!).

Basically, we love it here. We couldn’t be more grateful for God handing us this wonderful place after so much searching and heartache.

7 months postpartum

I haven’t done any updates on postpartum progress in a while.

Due to all the stress and crazy shenanigans in my life, I have only exercised once in the last month. So that belly bump isn’t quite gone yet. Oh well, perhaps when my life calms down? Or maybe I’ll just buy some Spanx.

Impatience

Yesterday marked “9 weeks postpartum” for me.

Here’s a bit of a true confession– just like with Gregory, I’m starting to get impatient. I want my “old body” back.

Anybody who’s had a kid can tell you the real hard truth: although the numbers may go back to normal, everything has shifted. Nothing looks the same, which makes perfect sense! Having a baby requires your ab muscles to virtually separate and disappear. Your organs have to rearrange themselves (at the very end of my pregnancy, I felt my stomach growl, and it was under my rib cage, near my back! Tell me that isn’t some serious shifting!).

I’ve avoided working out based on my experience last time. I started exercising waaayyy too soon, and, as a result, not only re-injured my tailbone (stupid Pilates…) but also started losing weight like crazy. I vowed that I would not make the same mistake again.

But it’s a definite temptation of mine. When I see my post-partum tummy, I want to hit the gym HARD, eat only lean meats and veggies, and never look back. It has nothing to do with numbers on a scale or clothes I want to wear. I just remember and miss my old stomach, even the one I had post-Gregory (yes, after 7-8 weeks my abs did go back to a semi-normal “flat” state).

Knowing this temptation of mine, I purposely put an extended “hold” on my gym membership until July. I knew that if I set foot inside, I would be unable to hold back.

Because I’ve realized something– knowing what I know about myself and my metabolism, it would be pure selfishness to do any sort of hard exercising right now. I know, almost without a doubt, what it will do to my milk supply, and, therefore, Anthony’s health.

The impatient part of me that almost doesn’t care?

My strong sense of entitlement and selfishness, front and center.

But this is just another area of my heart that I get to see the Lord change in me. I get to realize that my body is no longer mine, but an offering to God for His service. That part in the Romans where Paul says to “offer yourself as a living sacrifice”? Totally starting to get that now. I don’t get to decide what I do with my body apart from God’s plan for it, or I am clearly no better than Jonah, running away in the hull of some ship.

I’ve mentioned on this blog the  huge struggles I had with eating disorders in high school. While peer pressure is definitely a factor for many teens, I think the biggest factor is control– we like to pretend we are mini-gods, masters of our own universe. Our culture tells us that we can have anything we want if we just want it badly enough, and eating disorders are no different. Genetics? Who cares. Proper health measures? Forget about it. I’m young and invincible, and if I want to eat in a way that defies the natural way of things, so be it!

I’ve tried “playing god” with my body, and I’ve never been so miserable in all my life.

Which brings me to another lesson God’s been teaching me.

When I stop taking control away from Him, I get to see, no, experience His plan.

For instance, instead of having rock hard abs for my own vanity (my plan), I grew two human beings! It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my body was able to grow and keep three people (myself included) alive for the past 2.5 years!! That’s so incredible! I still haven’t comprehended how cool God made a woman’s body– in January, 2010, Gregory was just an embryo, no bigger than a pea. Now, he can walk, talk and throw a baseball, largely due to my body and the miracle it was able to produce! Not to mention being responsible for  keeping him alive with breastmilk!

Suppose I was stuck on Mount Everest for 3 days and I somehow, by the grace of God, managed to keep myself and two others alive, despite the dangers all around us. That would be an accomplishment, no? And wouldn’t it be wrong for someone to look at all the bruises and frost-bitten limbs and say, “You look terrible!” Wouldn’t that totally be missing the point of the miracle that just took place?

I think postpartum women (especially myself) need to give ourselves a break. We didn’t just keep someone alive for a few days, we did it for months, even years! For me to look at myself and “want” my body back is to do serious injury to the miracle that God did. Who am I to say that this miracle isn’t enough for a lifetime?

10 days

Although my body still seems to hate me from the uterus-healing side of things, my whale belly (my name for it, not Jesse’s, because he does, in fact, enjoy living) has been shrinking! Here’s to looking at the bright side of things, right?

The Saga Continues

To mark the 1-week-anniversary of Anthony’s birth, my body decided to give me a bit of a scare.

Jesse was set to leave for work at 10:30 (our school has had testing every morning this week, so he hasn’t had to be there until right before lunch– a gentle way to ease back into the “everyday” after Easter Break and having a baby!). My mom was supposed to be home from a work meeting at 11:15– less than an hour, right? I was a bit nervous about being alone with both the babes for the first time, even if it was just 45 minutes. Even if I hadn’t had bleeding issues after the birth, I would still be forbidden to lift Gregory for a few weeks (it can cause hemorrhaging in a normal post-partum woman)– not a big deal unless you realize that this rules out lifting him into his crib for naps, putting him in or out of the carseat or high chair….the list goes on.

But 45 minutes. No big deal, right? That’s what I’d been telling myself all morning.

Jesse left for work, and G had a bit of a meltdown, screaming and crying, “Daddaaaaa!!!” at the door. Poor little guy, he’s going through such a rough transition since he had Jesse all to himself over the 2 weeks of break, only to have him go back to work AND be distracted by another baby.

I was sitting on the couch, Anthony in the Moby wrap, and coaxed G over with the promise of reading books. After a few minutes of crying, he finally gave in and sat next to me.

Somewhere around the 3rd book, I felt it– a huge gush of blood.

Oh well, I thought. It takes almost a month for the bleeding to fully subside after having a baby.

I kept reading. Another gush.

And another, and another, and another.

When I left the hospital, they told me that if I filled a pad within an hour, that was too much bleeding and I needed to go to the Urgent Care or ER. Any more than that required an ambulance (if your veins collapse from blood loss on the way to the hospital, there’s no way for them to get an IV in for a transfusion).

Hmmmm. I got up, put Anthony in his bassinet/rocker, and made it to the bathroom while the gushing continued. Sure enough. I had filled that entire pad in a little over 5 minutes.

Crap, oh crap. I thought. Jesse had only been gone for 10 minutes, which meant that my mom wouldn’t be home for at least another 30.

I went back out to watch over Anthony, since G was running all over the house like any normal toddler. And the bleeding continued. Despite my efforts, I started to panic. Here I was alone with 2 kids, getting ready to hemorrhage.

I called my mom, and thankfully, she answered. I asked if she could come home as quickly as possible since I was bleeding a lot. She said that she would do the best she could.

I then texted Jesse, who was about to start class. He called back right away.

Just hearing his voice made me lose it. I started sobbing on the phone, I was so scared. He said that he would be home ASAP and that he wanted me to lie down until then. Easier said than done– Gregory was intent on causing mayhem, but I let him rip apart our bedroom while I watched Anthony in the bassinet beside me. Within a few minutes, Gregory was leaving all sorts of objects for Anthony….a slice of bread on his head (where did he even GET that?), the dropper that goes with the gripe water, the nose suction bulb….

Jesse was home within 10 minutes. We are OFFICIALLY BLESSED to live within a 5 minute drive from school and to have such caring co workers willing to step in and substitute teach in an emergency!

Jesse took the babies while I called the midwife. She was in an appt., but the nurse on call said that if we didn’t hear back within 15 minutes to head to the ER. My mom got home a few minutes after that. Anthony was hungry, so I nursed him and since we still hadn’t heard anything, we left both boys with my mom and headed for the Twin Cities Hospital ER.

I was pretty much losing it, by this point. I kept thinking, “WHERE ARE YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS? STOP CRYING AND BE STRONG!”, but I couldn’t. I just kept thinking about how I didn’t want to spend another night in the hospital, away from my babies.

Luckily, my mom had called ahead to her friend that works the front desk at the ER and had found that there was NO wait (an ER miracle!). We checked right in and were shown to a room.

What followed was a series of tests– first, a vaginal exam (SO NOT FUN after having a baby a week prior!), then 2 types of ultrasounds, then a blood test. Ugh, it’s amazing how calloused I’ve become to needles just within the past week. She had to use my other arm since my right arm was already covered in holes and bruises (I bruise easily).

And then…Jesse and I waited. We answered questions here and there, but mostly tried to talk about other things. Jesse has been pretty obsessed with T.S. Eliot lately, since he’s discussing his poetry with his seniors right now, so he read me some.

And then, the news: the ultrasound was inconclusive, but they thought that they could still detect tissue left over from the birth. It needed to come out, or I would continue to bleed. If they couldn’t get it out through medication, surgery (a D+C) would be necessary.

So, they decided to give me another shot of Methylergonovine (a drug similar to what they give to induce an abortion), one of the three that they gave me right after Anthony’s birth (the one that went really deep into the muscle), only this time they shot it into my butt  instead of leg– a LOT less painful, actually. They said that they were also sending me home with a bunch of pills to keep it going.

But right before they gave it to me, the Dr. said offhandedly, “Oh, and you’re not going to be able to breastfeed while you’re on it.”

I started crying again at that, explaining my baby was just days old and I’d only saved up one bottle of milk! Not to mention the fact that I don’t want to introduce either a pacifier or a bottle for the first 3 weeks, since it can get in the way of breastfeeding.

She said it was no big deal, I’d just have to give him formula for a day.

Okay, so I understand that for an ER doc trying to keep someone from a life-threatening emergency like bleeding to death, giving formula to a baby means nothing. But I was in a very vulnerable place, and this was the last emotional straw. I asked if they could wait to give the drug until my mom could bring the baby to nurse one more time. She agreed, so we called my mom who immediately packed up the boys and my breast pump (in case Anthony decided he wasn’t terribly hungry).

Luckily, one of the nurses who was a bit more “OB” minded, called up to the maternity ward and asked them to check in their database. Whaddya know, it’s relatively safe (as safe as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, anyways).

So, they started me on the drug and sent me home. Since I wasn’t given two other cramping drugs at the same time (like after Anthony’s birth) the cramps were not nearly as bad– just like being on a painful period.

And, after about 6 hours, I passed a pretty large clot (about the size of a pack of gum– sorry to be graphic!).  I had a follow up appt. with Lisa yesterday, and she said that we’d just keep an eye on it, but for right now, things are back to normal.

Hopefully, the road to recovery is finally drawing to a close!

Anthony James!

Here he is, our sweet as can be little Anthony James.

The Stats:

* Born April 11th, 10:10pm, 2 hrs ahead of his due date.

* 5 hours of active labor, 10 min. of pushing

* 8 lb., 2 oz., 21.5″ long (1″ longer than G! And we thought he was a lanky beanpole!)

* Dark dark hair and dark dark eyes

* A strawberry birthmark shaped like Australia on his right butt cheek!

* Soooo very loved and soooo very worth every minute of that last trimester.

 

Gregory, at the same exact age. Do they look similar?

39.5 week feet

I cannot believe they haven't swelled up yet! Anthony must be one thirsty kid-- he's not letting a drop of water get away from him, apparently.

Two Days

The last two days have been…different, to say the least!

Yesterday, we officially found out that our financing on the house fell through in the last stage of underwriting. In our price bracket (mid 200s) it’s hard to get approved, especially when my income is largely based on self employment– bad news if it looks like, on paper, that I left my entire clientele in Dallas! There are a couple other factors, but we’ve made the decision to stop hacking away at this for the immediate future and spend the next 6 months letting residency and other things settle in.

There are some huge blessings to this, and I’m so happy that they are easy to see (aka, I’m not having to force myself to “think on the bright side”). First of all, our moving timeline was starting to seriously stress me out. Moving into a house in May, after having had a baby 3 weeks prior? Crazy, mostly because there were a few significant changes (mostly painting) I wanted to make to the house before we moved in. Also, every weekend of May (other than one) is booked: the first weekend, we are chaperoning the high school’s Spring Formal at Pismo Beach, the second weekend is the school’s auction, at which Jesse is speaking and the fourth weekend is Anthony’s baptism (provided he’s OUT). Also, the first weekend of June is graduation, at which Jesse is, once again, speaking (notice a pattern?).

Secondly, the thought of 90% of our savings disappearing, right as I’m about to have a baby, is a bit alarming. In just the past 2 weeks, it was really starting to stress me out. What if (God forbid, obviously, but it’s unknown) Anthony has special needs and I’m unable to work? We shouldn’t have any medical bills to worry about, even if things do go awry, but my income is a HUGE part of this equation, and the boys will always come first. Having at least a few more weeks to “wait and see” will be nice. And, I’m not gonna lie, having all that money back in our savings account is a NICE feeling.

Lastly, Jesse can probably take the summer off, instead of working 20-30 hrs. a week doing random jobs for extra pay, like we were discussing. Home ownership takes a lot of extra funds– we were “prepared” on paper, but no one’s ever really prepared to all of a sudden buy $1,000 worth of extra necessities, such as a lawn mower, ceiling fans, even minor things such as shelves in the garage so that things don’t just lay around on the floor (one shelving unit is $70!). Again, they are all expenses we will gladly pay when the time is right, but I gotta admit, not having to worry about $ and instead having Jesse at home for the 3 months after having a baby? Not many people get that blessing.

So, we are going to take our down payment funds, lock them away somewhere, and start looking around for somewhere nice to rent for the next 6+ months. In the past, we’d toyed with the idea of renting a semi-furnished beach house in Morro Bay or Shell Beach, since we won’t have to go to work for the summer. And, come to find, Jesse and I are becoming beach people. Not in the “surfer” way, but in the “evening stroll at sunset” sort of way. And, yes, I’m completely aware that I just sounded like I am 26 going on 55.

It’s just a thought though. More than likely, we’ll rent somewhere close nearby 🙂

Anyways, that was yesterday. Since we needed a bit of a break and had cabin fever, we went to SLO for my chiropractor appt., went out to dinner, put G to bed, and then finally went on a much needed movie date 🙂

TODAY commenced a little earlier than I would’ve liked. You see, I woke up at 4am with contractions. Blah blah blah, nothing new, nothing new, that’s been going on for nearly 4 weeks now (I know, seriously, shoot me). But then these started getting harder, closer together, and kinda sorta miserable. Somewhere, I could hear that Celine Dion song, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. I was like, “Yay! I’m in labor”, immediately followed by, “Oh CRAP I’M IN LABOR AND THIS REALLY HURTS.”

I dealt with things on my own until around 8am, when I heard G squawking away on the baby monitor. I woke Jesse up, told him the situation, and then spent a wonderful 1/2 hr. in the hottest shower I could stand. Really miserable 2 minute contractions continued, so Jesse made me a little makeshift bed on the living room couch. I watched the family slowly wake up– my mom making her coffee, Jesse cooking steel cut oats for G, Janelle and her teenage ninja turtle friends stumble out from their sleepover in the family room…at one point, G saw that I was in pain and came over to give me “snuggles and lovies”. He is the sweetest boy, I tell you!

And then? At 10am, I fell asleep. At 10:30, I woke up, no contractions. 11am, no contractions.

I had texted my doula at around 9am, mainly because we had a prenatal massage appt. scheduled for today, but also because I wanted to give her the heads up. She made the choice to drive up and see how I was doing, and she arrived a little after 11. We talked and relaxed for about 45 minutes, and then we decided to take a walk. The walking started contractions again, but still 10-12 minutes apart. Discouraging, but also mildly better than when this happened with G. At least they were semi-predictable, instead of all over the map– with G, it was every 27 minutes, then every 5, then every 12, then every 45…craziness.

So, Kelly’s advice was to do 4 things for the remainder of the day– sleep, eat, walk, sleep. She went to hang out at a family friend’s house a few minutes away, just to make sure I didn’t feel “pressured” to have more contractions (bless her, this is actually exactly what I needed! Even though I couldn’t do anything about it, I felt guilty). Just a few minutes ago, she told me she was going to go home but would be right next to her phone. I’ve had contractions start again every time I get up and walk, but they stop when I relax.

So….that’s all I’ve been doing all day! Eating yummy foods (my mom made cinnamon rolls, Jesse made me mac n cheese!), sleeping as much as possible, walking in the beautiful neighborhood clothed in spring (my fav season, definitely). Now that G’s asleep, Jesse and I have plans to go out to eat at our favorite Mexican food place, then maybe walk around Target, who knows?

Long and short, I guess Anthony is waiting for now. Le sigh.

But for now, I get to enjoy the 70 degree sunshine!

The field a few houses down from my parents

39 Weeks

Aka., re-defining the word, “uncomfortable”.

Everywhere I go, people say, “WOW! From the back, I’d never even guess you were pregnant!” Even my mom commented tonight that she’d never seen a “baby bump” be so narrow, without spreading anywhere else. I don’t think it was even this bad with Gregory, because beginning at 37 weeks, I had significant swelling with him. Not so with Mr. Anthony– no swelling anywhere, no carpal tunnel. Those are definite blessings, to be sure.

But the significant, and I mean SIGNIFICANT downside? It hurts a whole lot more, especially in my back. There are only 2 parts of me taking the entire brunt of that extra 30 pounds, which is tough work, I tell you! I think my hips and lower back deserve a medal when this is all through.

My first ever 39 weeks picture. Gregory had already been born by this time.

Jesse had to help me put on my shoes tonight. For obvious reasons.