Sunday, May 31, 2009

His grand entrance

Two weeks ago, God blessed us with another sweet baby boy.

If I concentrate too much on the fact that it has already been two weeks, my mind will start to fast forward through his life.

When all I really want to do is press "pause".

He entered the world much like his sister and brother.

Requiring encouragement!

I had high hopes for it to be different this time, but alas, he followed in their footsteps.

(pre-p.s. I didn't "blog" when I had my other two kids, so this is really just an extra way for me to journal before I forget. Just skip the boring parts!)

We stayed at the hospital that Wednesday night so I could use medication for cervical softening. I was already 2 cm, so I just knew it would work miracles. My nurses were nice, but we started off badly when it required 3 attempts to get an IV in my vein! Apparently, I have "rolling" veins in my wrists but the one they finally got in my hand wasn't much better. I was SO happy to get that sucker out the next day!

On Thursday morning, I headed up to L&D at 6 AM without much change in my cervix. I found out later that they did not use my second dose which kinda irked me, but it was what it was. We had decided to break my water because I was still holding out on the Pitocin. My doctor was very patient with me! Unfortunately, the water breaking did not go well the first time. No fun. No luck. I was still too high and apparently my bag was so tough that I could patent it for a new brand of non-tear trash bags!

So we waited a few hours more. I walked and rocked. Finally, with no changes, I relented to the smallest dose of Pitocin. My day nurse was really nice. She was originally from Australia and she did a great job of taking care of me and keeping me preoccupied with conversation. My husband was pretty bored at this point; just reading and eating. It didn't help that the "beds" (his and mine) were awful the night before. So, he AND my doctor were happy to see the "Vitamin P" drip get started.

Things moved forward slowly and eventually we did get my water broke. And the Vitamin P kept doing its job. Pretty soon, I was about a 5 and debating how much longer I wanted to wait before the epidural. I always think I am going to be that woman, but alas, I never am. With my dtr, I had already labored 24 hours and was just too tired not to get an epidural. With my son, I realized that 5 was about my limit again. It doesn't seem to be the intensity/pain of the contractions, but more dealing with how quickly they come without a break. And I have been blessed in that all my epidurals have not slowed my labor, which was always my fear.

So, the medicine man came to see me and I knew I was in good hands because his scrub hat said OU. As in OU Sooners. I told him I wanted a low-dose epidural and it was perfect.

Pretty soon after my epidural, my friend Golda got there around 7:30 PM. She was the perfect distraction from the four walls my husband and I had stared at all day. She brought me the sweetest gifts and kept me preoccupied. I progressed to a 7 pretty quickly. About 15 minutes after that, the feeling changed and I was pretty sure that the time had arrived. The nurse checked me and confirmed that we needed to prep quickly. Yay me!

Although preparations were swirling around me, my mind seemed to be in slow-motion. Maybe it was my mind's way of taking it all in~ the last moments of my last pregnancy, the wonderment of how the time went by so fast, being thankful for a healthy pregnancy, that someone new would be joining our family, wondering what the kids would really think the first time they met him; swirling, swirling, swirling.

Despite the fact that he was my largest baby, I found the delivery my easiest. The epidural was just right (not too much, not too little), my body wasn't overly tired, and I had this incredible feeling of peace and control.

Ten minutes and about 4 pushes later, our little man joined us.

My friend took pictures, my husband watched over the baby, and I relaxed.

One little miracle that we discovered after some point in his 9 months of growing inside me, he had acrobated enough to get a knot in the cord. A knot that could have changed our story. But it didn't. Thank you Jesus!

As we ended our evening with a meal and our sweet baby by our side, we had much for which to be thankful.

And I suspect much more with each passing day!

My big sweet boy!

Those that knew him from his first breath.

A sweet man brought by this pillow while we were at the hospital. A church group makes these for the newborns. Golda increased his coolness with the bib and shoes!

And then she presented me with this awesome work of her hands! She ordered the same fabric I was using and made this for him. I can't wait to take his pictures with it!

The trio!

The kids presenting little brother with his "welcome to the world" gifts.

Little brother knew just what little man wanted!

A "sister" necklace for his #1 big sis!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our little glow worm

After our trip to the doctor on Monday, which included our first heel prick of the week, his bilirubin was a 17. I hadn't really suspected that his jaundice was that high as our house lighting didn't reveal his yellowishness. Plus, I wasn't overly concerned simply because my milk didn't come in good until Monday morning and I knew he would be eating and such much more after that. His weight had dropped from 8.9 to 8.2 which was another reason I knew eating would help.

But it was high enough that they made us do a bilirubin "blanket" thing starting Monday night.

We had to go back Tuesday and Wednesday to weigh and get heel pricks. Both days, his bilirubin number was 15, but he was looking better, as well as eating, peeing, and pooping much better.

Who knew poop would ever look so good! :)

Yes, I am sure I will regret those words some day!

His weight shot to 8.6 on Tuesday and 8.75 on Wednesday. He will be another chunky boy like his brother was before we know it!

He was such a trooper too! Just one little squeal with each heel prick than back to lala land with his pacifier. Thank goodness!

Thankfully, despite his 15, she gave us a break today and just said keep on with the biliblanket. We go back Friday for another check. At that point, I am totally sure his number will be low enough to quit for good. He is eating like crazy and that will help.

It is funny as we look at pictures of the other two, especially big brother. Frankly, he looks just as "yellow" in his first days back home but I know we did not go through this. Did I just not take him back for his second check and not remember or were his numbers never that high?! Who knows!

Here he is glowing away. The "blanket" is a pain to deal with and I might have preferred the lights, but it is all the home health company had.

When we get tired of the blanket, we sit him in our office with our skylight.

Already perfecting his baby yoga positions!

That is all for now! I will try to put together "his" story for next week. Gotta pace myself!


Monday, May 18, 2009

I found my toes

And picked up this cute bundle along the way!

Brax Garrett
9:36 PM
9 pounds, 21 3/4 inches

Proud brother and sister are enjoying him as well.

We truly appreciate all your thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers during this time.

We are very blessed!

More later once I find my lost sleep! Apparently it is harder to find than my toes!


*Update #1- I totally thought I posted this on Sunday afternoon. Guess I really did push out some brains with the baby!

*Update #2- Bilirubin was high enough for phototherapy starting late today. We hope after some good nursing all day and the light therapy, that his number will be lower on Tuesday when we go back.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Big hair is one thing!

My husband chauffeured me to my doctor's appointment today.

Once there, they really wanted to do a sonogram to check on things. Amniotic fluid and stuff like that. So we did.

My husband could hardly wait to see if his weight predictions would be right. He has been teasing me for awhile that this baby would be at least 9.1#.

Big ole meanie!

The "little" guy was so scrunched up in there that it was hard for her to get all the best measurements for an average weight prediction. Seriously, his face was so fat that his cheek was just pressed up against the side like he was staring through a window at a puppy!

First indication was 9.61#.

I must have blacked out at that point because I don't recall that number ever discussed.

She kept moving that magic wand around and tried measuring some more.

Second indication was 9.04#.

My husband called it "fixin' the books".

But whatever! Let's see him push a bowling ball through a straw!

For my sake I am sure, she measured some more.

Third indication was 8.9#.

When it was all said and done, both the sonogram gal and my doctor assured me that her measurements/averages really do run higher than the actual birth weights end up being.

My daughter was 8# and my son 8.4#. He gave me an 8.5-8.6# prediction.

I am not sure what has me more anxious at this point. The fact that I am actually having a baby this week or that I am actually having a BIG baby this week.

In discussing our possible scenarios, we concluded that since

~he is obviously healthy
~I am almost 2 hours away from the hospital
~I am currently 2 cm dilated
~we want to anticipate a safe and uncomplicated delivery
~and did I mention BIG?

that we would encourage him to join us.

That is unless he decides to surprise us before Wednesday.

I am having some interesting, yet mild, back pains as I type.

We are headed to the hospital late Wednesday evening and starting off with a cervical softener. I am praying that it will be enough to set off labor with my experienced cervix already being dilated. I want to avoid Pitocin if at all possible this time.

Please pray for a safe and uncomplicated delivery for my sweet boy and me.

I will be scarce the rest of the week because as you can imagine there are many things I need to get in place before he arrives!

I can't wait to share him with everyone once we return home and get settled.


Friday, May 8, 2009

For such a time as this

Most important, no, no baby yet.

Just been spending my time nesting and resting.

And then there was the stress of what to write for my 500th post.

Something other than the fact that my dentist will love me at my next visit.

I am officially addicted to lime water with crushed ice.

That I like to chew.

In fact, I am out of limes right now and the withdrawals are killing me.

Thankfully, I put off the post long enough to have an inspiration the other night. I had already considered my thoughts below, but then I gathered even more insight as I finished up my Esther study this past Tuesday.

May marks the 1st anniversary of our move to small town east Texas. A move that I fretted and pouted over for almost 2 years. If you count the time my husband spent commuting before our move could happen. A move that had me leave behind everything that I had had long enough to make leaving incredibly difficult. Church, friends, neighborhood, kids' school, job.

While I do understand the value of a small town in general, for the most part, this small town doesn't really do much for me. Other than the fact that we live .7 miles from my husband's parents and that my kids soak up much attention as their only grandkids. I also understand the value coming here holds for my husband and his growth with his company.

But the indefiniteness of how long we will be here leaves me with a continuous restless feeling. I want the short-term plan. He would be happy with the long-term plan.

Leaving there and coming here left me pretty low for months. I am not afraid to call it by its name. Depression. The really low kind. The kind that found me close to taking medication for. I didn't, but only because my mind was clear enough to be thinking about another possible pregnancy in the very near future.

Imagine that?!

I can't remember a day that I didn't cry for at least 6 months. Although less frequent, it still happens even now.

Church was almost the hardest place to be. It was as if Satan met me at the door each time. And here in small town east Texas, that means 3 times a week. The feeling of being stuck in a time warp. The stagnant aroma of worship. The lack of relationships among couples/families our age. What made it harder, is that I have known and been loved by many in that church for 10 years. I just never had to worship there longer than a weekend before. It has been a suffocating experience for me.

I had pretty much shut off my direct line to God as well. I felt abandoned in Him allowing circumstances to work out that brought us here. What had happened to all my prayers about it working out a different way?

And when you are doing work you don't particularly enjoy, have a church that doesn't feel comfortable, and don't really have anyone to call a friend, you wallow. You wallow in self-pity, self-doubt, self-anything.

In October, I did get a job working with kids in a school district. I don't find it ideal because working for a school district means your hands are tied at times by policies and regulations. Plus, it was a whole learning curve for me. But I have been welcomed there and given the opportunity to continue my 2 day per week work schedule that I prefer. So, I do my best to give the kids what I can offer and try to feel good about that.

My kids have settled into their schools. There is always seems to be a birthday party to attend for my son. And my daughter has secured a few good friends. One that has allowed me to make a friend. A friend that completely understands how I feel as they moved here from California this past December.

Church still feels hard. I still tear up from time to time while there. But along the way, I felt the nudging. The nudging that means if you want things to change then you have to do it yourself. Believe me, I ignored it as long as I could. I fought it. I argued against it.

And then I even accepted the nudge. But very begrudgingly.

We spent a little time with another couple at church. We shared similar reservations and struggles and I felt pretty comfortable talking to her. Beginnings are always hard. What do you share? What do you not? Who is safe? Who isn't? And all that goes with beginnings.

In the end, the nudge was a clear directive from God.

Start a bible study. Make the effort. Fake it until you make it.

Well, maybe that last one is mine! :)

So, I initiated a bible study. I chose my all time favorite. Beth Moore.

God chose Esther for me.

I even prevailed through announcements like "Stacey will be teaching a class on Esther." (my goal was to get people out of the mindset that this was a class) or questions of "Is it a (our denomination) study/author?". That last one was the hardest to bite my tongue on, but I did.

I was determined to bring bible study to life for some people. Determined to help some people realize that this was about a relationship with Jesus, with God, with each other and not about doctrine or facts.

Don't get me wrong. One of the things I love most about Beth's studies are all the wonderful facts that I would probably never discover on my own. But what I love most is how rich they are in both learning the facts and discovering the message. The message God has just for me. Just for you.

And frankly, I was feeling every bit of "It's tough being a woman" and was ready to know why!

Of course, I learned so so very much. But the obvious A HA moment for me was Esther 4:14, ...."And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?".

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that this is about me. It is about what God can do. If I let Him. What would happen if I refused "such a time as this"?

Let me share with you some the things that revealed the most to me over the last nine weeks and see if it makes more sense. Everything below is either taken directly from the study book or from the DVD sessions. None of it is mine to claim.

* Sometimes we expect the path of our destiny to feel different; revealed differently.

* You want to fulfill your dreams. God wants to you to fulfill His destiny for you.

* God is as purposeful in what He does not reveal as He is in what He does-He is intentional.

* You are one decision away from changing your destiny or story.

* God's patience always involves His passion.

* Esther shows us that ordinary events are never coincidental in the lives of God's people.

* Try to grasp that we are the only reminder some people ever get that God lives, forgives, loves, and remains in control.

* Ephesians 1:11, Philippians 2:13 & Romans 8:28

* Jesus is never overwhelmed by you.
(thank goodness!)

So, life here is not perfect. It is not my heart's desire. I still miss terribly everything and everyone I left.

But I am trying to be a little bit happy. My kids are happy. I get to love on one more very soon. We have some security in very unsecure times. I have a friend or two to talk with. I am trying to be optimistic that God is using me to encourage relationships at church and not using my situation as my punishment.

And I am frequently reminded that although I left a place I would rather be, my friendships are still constant.

God is still constant.

Did I forget to mention that this would be a long one?! :)