Sunday, September 29, 2013

10 things I've learned about being a mom

Sitting on the couch at the end of our third weekend home with Aaron, I thought about how wonderful and different life has become. Empty plates from dinner sit on the coffee table, baby books are scattered, diaper bag is hanging open on the floor, boppy on my lap, and Aaron is dozing in Brandon's arms. This baby has certainly taken over our lives and our living room! :)
After almost 3 weeks of being a mom, I've learned a few things...
10. Our parents were right... one of the other perks of them becoming grandparents is getting to watch us learn the same lessons with our babies that they learned 20-30 years ago with us. 
9. Simple tasks become much more difficult... showers, bathroom trips, and household chores must be timed and scheduled.
8. Single parents are amazing. I couldn't imagine doing this alone.
7. Sleep quantity and quality will decrease with children. It's amazing how some of the smallest rustling noises will spring me into action.
6. The mother instinct is very real. There's a lot to learn when caring for children but it's amazing the intuition and instincts that kick in regarding your kids.
5. Each mother is the expert when it comes to her own kids. I had trouble with this idea before I had Aaron since I don't like gray areas. But it is very true! Unless it comes to extremes, it is a mother's perogative to do what is best for her kids. For one mom, scheduling is crucial, to another, responding to the baby's needs as they arise is the most important thing. Do what works best for mom and baby.
4. Goodbye purses... for now. I finally realized that the reason why you try to get a cute diaper bag is that you'll be using it for your purse in addition to carrying your baby's things. After a few days of trying to wrangle baby, diaper bag, and purse, I learned my lesson.
3. Support is crucial. Having people to connect with or to step in with help is necessary for moms to function at their optimal level. I'm so thankful to live near family and friends! My parents came to our rescue several times as I was recovering and taking care of a very new newborn.
2. Couple time becomes rare and treasured. Finding time alone with Brandon was easy before, now it is precious when we get to sit together without holding a baby or lay in bed without a baby nursing between us. 
1. I love being a mom. I was so scared about becoming a mom. I wondered if I could love him enough or if I would do a good job. Everything about it feels like I was made for this... I never realized it would be like this. I love him so much! He embodies a piece of our hearts now, leaving us vulnerable to any pain or sadness he may experience. However, that's no excuse to be fearful, he is a great motivator to seek courage. The safest place a child will experience (hopefully) is in the arms of his or her parents, so we must rely on God for strength and courage to dispel the fears of our children.

Back to our night on the couch. As we sat tired, not yet ready to clean up the remains of dinner, I thought about that Lincoln Brewster song... "this is real life, this is real good".

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Aaron's birth story

Sitting up in the early morning I just said happy 4 days old to little Aaron after we passed his time of birth. We still can't believe he's ours! We are so thankful to have him, he's so perfect!
Nearly everything about Aaron's birth was different than what I had planned... First of all, I was overdue despite trying every natural labor-inducing trick I'd heard of! I am convinced that those techniques don't work unless your body is close to starting the labor process itself. I tried spicy foods, prego pizza, miles of walking, pineapple, pregnancy tea, membrane stripping, foot reflexology, labor-inducing massage, bouncing on an exercise ball for hours and hours, etc. I thought we must be so close to labor, especially since I had been 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced since week 39. We went in with false labor three times.

The weekends since hitting my due date ended with disappointment. After climbing stairs at my parents' house for 4 hours on Sunday 9/8 and getting very regular contractions, I was convinced that this was it! Our bags had been in the car since the previous Wednesday and we were headed to labor and delivery! Once we were in triage, the contractions slowed down and the resident on call told us that we should go home unless we wanted to be induced. Knowing that the 42 week mark is the suggested deadline to get babies out since research shows a higher likelihood of stillbirth after that point, I knew we were up against the clock! With tears of frustration, I scheduled an induction for Tuesday morning. I went home that night and had a complete break down. It seemed like I would never reach the end of my pregnancy!

Monday, 9/9/13 
The following morning we had an appointment to see our OBGYN and I knew we would have the induction conversation. I almost cancelled since we had monitored baby's status the night before and had already scheduled an induction, but decided to go in since I had contractions overnight. As I was being checked in, I spilled my frustration to the nurse checking me in and she asked if I had had my membrane swept. I told her it had been done twice. She asked if our OB had done one and I said no. She smiled and said, "Oh, I'll make sure to tell him to do the sweep." I should have known... The OB came in, checked me (3-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced) and did a very vigorous sweep for several seconds. I almost scooted off the table in pain! He smiled and said he was working labor and delivery from 8pm-8am and said he planned on seeing me there that night since I would definitely start contractions by afternoon. I stood up and my water broke! It was 10:15am Brandon and I teared up from the relief! We went straight to labor and delivery and the nurses were all laughing about the patient whose water broke in clinic after a membrane sweep... Apparently he has a reputation. :)

Family was called to let them know we'd been admitted! My parents and sister Ashton came to support us during labor. A doctor came in and informed me that they would have to induce with pitocin if I had not progressed in 6 hours as the likelihood of infection increased over time due to the water breaking.  Slowly contractions were starting and Brandon and I went to work to help them continue.

After hours, they were becoming strong enough that I needed to use breathing techniques and positioning to get through them so the doctor allowed me to continue naturally since I appeared to be having effective contractions. My midwife was working that afternoon so she stopped by to greet us and check my progress at 6:30pm... 4 cm and 80% effaced after all that time. The contractions continued to get stronger. My mom and the rest of us thought I must be more dilated and closer to transition by the way I was acting.

My OB came in at 8pm to check and I was only at 4-5 cm! He reiterated the necessity of getting baby out, but understood my wish to have a natural labor and delivery. So he ordered internal monitoring to be completed to measure the strength of the contractions, if they were strong enough to make necessary progress he would allow me to continue, but if by 9:30pm they were not measuring strong enough, he would insist on pitocin. The contractions were unbelievably painful, I was barely managing.

In order to be strong enough, the contractions over 10 minutes needed to rate 180-205, despite all the pain, my contractions were measuring 105. I was exhausted and could not imagine going through pitocin with the pain I was barely tolerating doubling! I also knew that at the rate that I was exhausting myself, I would not have the strength to effectively push. Around 10pm, after 12 hours of labor and dilating only 1 cm, I decided to order an epidural and the pitocin. Not what I had planned... My family went home to rest until showtime. Brandon and I were able to rest as well. I kept the epidural low so I could still feel contractions but they weren't as sharp. I continued to focus on my breathing, mainly for that little heartbeat that would begin to race with each contraction. The nurse said we might be ready for delivery around 6am.

Tuesday, 9/10/13
I started to feel an urge to push but thought maybe I was wrong. I woke up Brandon and waited to see what I was feeling. I called the nurse in at 4am to check, I think she was reluctant since it seemed early. She came in and said I was ready! Baby was already at +3 position. Brandon called my family to let them know it was time. While the medical staff began assembling in my room, I breathed through each urge to push. I couldn't believe how strong the instinct was!

The other doctor on call was scrubbing in and was all set to begin, when our OB arrived from another delivery and took over. My family had arrived as well. After some additional prep, I started pushing at 4:40am. Watching progress in the mirror was incredible! All of a sudden, his head was out! The OB told me not to push anymore but to just breathe through the next contraction. Out came Aaron at 5:17am!!! They set him on my chest and this big baby boy began darting his eyes around the room as he cried. It was an incredible moment, unlike anything else.

Aaron measured 8lbs. 8oz., 21 in. long, and with a head circumference of 14.25 in.! He is the most amazing baby, making us a family of 3! From this point on, our lives are completely changed. I never knew I would love him this much! So even though things didn't go the way I planned, it was all perfect in retrospect since it brought Aaron to us safely and in excellent health!

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