Friday, May 30, 2008

I think pregnancy is still weird . . . and parenting.

I am still feeling some effects from pregnancy. A few weeks ago, I noticed that my hair started to fall out by the fist full. If any of you know my husband, you know he is grossed out by thinks like excess hair (not connected to the head). I have tried to keep it swept up from the bathroom floor, rinsed out of the shower and the sink, and even pulled out of my hair brush, but it is nearly impossible. I was beginning to wonder what was happening to me, but then I read about postpartum hair loss. Apparently I'm not alone in this problem. Also, since giving birth, the side of my left leg (thigh really) has been numb. I wasn't terribly concerned about this. I figured I would mention it to my chiropractor if it didn't go away soon. It has taken 4 months but it is beginning to wake up! It gets tingly and painful at times. I suppose a nerve was pinched. And last but certainly not least, my wrists! A few weeks before Abigail's birth, my wrists began to be terribly painful. My chiro called it carpal tunnel, but it isn't in that joint of the hand, so I don't know what the issue is. Right now, if I extend my thumbs too far from my hand (like you do when picking up a baby by the arm pits. Yikes!) the joint pops out of place. Very very painful indeed! I'm trying not to see a doctor about any of these things because well . . . I just had a baby and weird things like this happen but also I am terribly cheap. I have a hard time even parting with the $20 co-pay. Anyone else had these physical problems?

I have been thinking a lot lately about expectations. I jokingly say, at times, that I set my expectations so low that I will always be pleasantly surprised by people. They will always meet my expectations. I don't think this is necessarily a good way to live! :) When I was a young girl, I loved to play make-believe. I mostly played princess, bride, and well . . . mother. One day it was a bit of a shock to me, I think, that I most certainly was not going to grow up to be queen someday and it was a bitter disappointment. My thoughts on reality swung the opposite direction and now I feel I am a very realistic person, perhaps too much so at times.

Sorry if this post is rambly. There are just weird random things I have been thinking about lately. Abigail has been asleep for almost two hours now, and I probably should have been as well. Oh well, I got the dishes washed, some pumping done (she eats SO much these days that it's hard to keep up), and some TV watched. Time for bed!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Abigail's Birth Story

I have wanted to post Abigail's birth story for so long but I keep forgetting. Here it is. I wrote this a week or two after she was born, so all the details would be correct. Beware, it's long! Enjoy!

Abigail’s Birth Story

On February 2, 2008, the day after my last day of work, I woke up at 1:00 am with cramps. I had been having cramps on and off for a few weeks, and even though these were painful, I thought they would just go away like they had before. I stayed in bed and tried to relax but had to get up about 15 minutes later. I decided to get into the bathtub. After about 10 minutes in the bathtub, and being unable to read my book (unthinkable!), I decided to get out and try sleeping again, since that had helped in my previous cramping experiences. So, I went downstairs and turned on Anne of Green Gables and tried to sleep while watching it. I was able to doze occasionally, but I was having regular cramps (now beginning to wonder if they were contractions) every 15 minutes. I laid there as long as I could and eventually went back upstairs to wake up Andrew at 2:30 am. I wanted him to sleep as long as possible, if this was the real thing. We had only gone to bed at 12:00 am because we had been at Wayne and Susan’s playing Monopoly with Jennie until then! :)

Andrew woke up very quickly. I simply had to say his name and “are you awake?” a few times and he woke right up. I told him I was having bad cramps but didn’t know if it was the real thing or not. He suggested that we both get up for a while and time them. After we finally found a clock with a second hand (in the office) and timed about six contractions, they were about 2 to 3 minutes apart! We had been planning to have a natural drug-free birth and had taken a wonderful 12 week Bradley class in preparation for the birth. We chose to use a midwife practice (they have one doctor) and to go to a birth center in a hospital for Abigail’s birth.

Andrew called the midwife, even though I thought we should wait awhile (after all, we learned in our class to stay home as much as possible). After talking with the midwife, we made the decision to go ahead and call Family Beginnings (the birth center) and head to the birth center in Dayton. It took us a while to gather our stuff (we weren’t expecting her quite so soon) and for me to make it to the car between contractions. The car ride was a bit painful for me, especially when we hit bumps during a contraction but I laid back and tried to relax as much as possible. Andrew called my mom on our way to the hospital so she could be my prayer warrior! We arrived at the hospital at 4:00 am. It was a long walk in from car to the hospital doors.

The nurse was waiting for us when we got there and we got to choose our room. I had pictured us in room 1 all along, so it was nice to get that, even though it was a little smaller than the others. I was concerned the whole way into the hospital that this was all a false alarm and that I would have to stand a painful ride home in the car. I was very relieved to discover that I was seven centimeters dilated when we arrived. I had tested positive for Group B Strep, so the nurse had to start an antibiotic right away, so I spent the first 15 or 20 minutes lying on the bed, getting the IV in and having the antibiotic administered. The nurse said that she was afraid they wouldn’t get the antibiotic in before the baby came. I was very surprised and encouraged to hear this! Since I was so far along I immediately asked if I could get in the bathtub (it was huge) so the nurse started running the water. I stayed in the tub for an hour or so. After I got out of the tub, we continued to practice relaxation techniques. I walked around the room a bit and sat on the birthing ball. Squatting was very painful for me, so I didn’t do that often. Looking back, that probably would have helped to speed up my labor and I should have kept it up. I laid down midmorning when they gave me my second dose of antibiotics and was able to doze for a while. I found the contractions to be more painful when resting like this because they woke me up and I was unprepared for the pain. This also slowed down my labor.

The midwife came by about 10:30 am to check my progress and I had only dilated to a 8 ½ or 9. My progress was stalling quite a bit, since I had been seven centimeters since arriving at the hospital six and a half hours earlier. She talked about breaking my water, but I wanted to give it a little more time before any intervention was performed. I asked her to come back again in an hour, so I spent an hour walking, swaying, and sitting on the birthing ball in my room. In retrospect, I should have walked further, perhaps some stairs, but I didn’t want to make noise or have my water break outside of my room, so I was uncomfortable to leave.

The midwife came back in at 11:30 am and broke my water. The water was clear, so that was a good sign that the baby was doing fine. I hadn’t progressed at all from an hour earlier. The contractions started to get pretty intense after she broke my water. The midwife explained that the worse the pain was, the better it was, because it meant the baby was moving down. She encouraged me to sway a lot during contractions, even though that was against everything in my being, because it would help move the baby down the birth canal. It was hard to do that, since it felt like I was inflicting more pain upon myself! She also had me lay down on my side with my leg up on the birthing ball. This position was supposed to help the last lip of my cervix pull back but in my case, it didn’t help. I also lost my “lunch” (cranberry juice) at this point. That was probably the most painful experience ever, throwing up while having a contraction. At about 1:30 pm (according to Andrew), my cervix was still not fully dilated so she suggested that since she could see the baby’s head pushing on the cervix, that she try and hold the lip back while I pushed the baby’s head into the birth canal. That was an extremely painful experience. Once I started pushing (no urge, but just pushing the baby past my cervix) it started to feel good to push against the contractions.

I got back into the bathtub, this time with Andrew supporting behind me, and pushed for some time. After about an hour and ½ of pushing, the nurse asked me to get out of the tub and see if a different position would help to speed things up. She asked me to sit on the toilet for a few contractions, even though sitting on the toilet felt excruciatingly painful. The pressure was intense. After just two or three contractions on the toilet, the baby had made significant progress. The nurse said that we’d better get set up for this baby to come. So I slowly made my way to the bed. I could now feel the baby’s head. I got set up on the bed and continued to push. I kept thinking how I wanted Andrew to sit behind me and help hold my legs (I was holding my own legs) but I couldn’t really vocalize this. He told me later that he asked me if I wanted him to sit behind me and I said no! :) I could feel the baby’s head crowning or getting ready to, and another nurse popped into our room and asked the midwife to come to room 2 to deliver a baby. Everyone left the room, except for Andrew. This made me extremely uncomfortable and I kept thinking that Andrew was going to have to catch the baby!

After about 10 minutes my nurse came back in and picked up the phone to call the midwife back into our room for the birth, but she came before the call was made. Abigail was born at 4:00 pm on February 2nd. I wish I could say that I was silently pushing her out but that wasn’t the case. I was making lots of noise and didn’t let up on the pushing at any point. I just wanted her out! My only regret at this point was that someone didn’t tell me to open my eyes to see her entrance into the world, so my eyes were closed when Abigail was born. She was born with her hand up by her face. I had a 2 degree tear. Abigail was placed directly on my chest for the first few minutes of her life. She let out about one lusty cry and then was quiet. I immediately asked if she was a girl for sure and Andrew told me “yes”. I also thought that she looked just like me but I could really only see the top of her head. Her apgar score was an 8 and a 9.

I wanted her to try and breastfeed right away but I was lying on my back and felt very unsure of how to pick her up. Her head and neck seemed so fragile. Eventually the nurse asked Andrew to hold Abigail, while I was being fixed up. Since we needed to regulate her body temperature for her for the first few hours of life, he took off his shirt, so they could be skin to skin. It took the midwife a good hour to fix me up. I immediately asked for motrin. The stitches hurt but I kept telling myself that at least it didn’t hurt as badly as labor and the birth did! We were absolutely enthralled by our daughter. I was also very hungry, so we called for some “room service”. At about 6:00 pm, I realized that we should probably call our parents. We just had simply forgotten before this point. We had our first visitors at about 8:00 pm. They were Great Grandma Myers, Great Aunt Carol, Aunt Jennie, Grandma Susan, and Grandpa Wayne.

The next day, Abigail was seen by the pediatrician and had her hearing test. Both visits went very well. We dozed and watched TV during the morning hours. We were finally able to go home about 4:00 pm after Abigail had her PKU test done. She slept all the way home. We learned a lot of things from this birth experience and there are several things on our list to do differently next time (if there is such a time). I think the most important thing we learned was patience. The birth process takes lots and lots of patience and even though we had a midwife (which helps with the patience aspect of birth) there was still mention of time and progression. In retrospect, there were many things I should have been doing to progress my labor but instead we chose an intervention, having my water broken. I'm not at all disappointed by this experience but it is good to look back and learn things that could be done differently.

This was definitely the most challenging, painful, empowering and beautiful experience of my life. I wanted to let my body do what God had designed it to do and that was an amazing feeling when everything was over. I also wanted to give my daughter the best possible start in life. We are so thankful to have our happy and healthy daughter with us. We both desire to raise her to share our faith in Jesus Christ and to be a blessing to those around her. We love you Abigail!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anniversaries

This past weekend was full of anniversaries. First of all, Andrew and I celebrated our 5th anniversary together. We went out to eat on Sunday for lunch to celebrate. It was nice. Sometimes I can't believe that 5 years have gone by and other times, I feel like I have known Andrew for a long time. This was a good reminder of just how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband. He is loving, patient, kind, very slow to anger, giving, a wonderful provider, and an amazing dad!!

The second anniversary that we celebrated this weekend was yesterday, May 26th, the day that I found out we were expecting Abigail. One year ago, I never knew how my life would be blessed by the addition of this sweet little girl. Since it was just on year ago, I remember so clearly how I felt when I took the test. We were camping in Eastern Ohio and I just had to know as soon as possible so I had brought a test (or two) with me. I took this one in a pit toilet (*lovely*). I also remember the expression on Andrew's face when I called him over to our tent to tell him. I don't think I heard a single word of the sermon that Sunday, as I was busy looking up Biblical names to name our baby! Of course, I thought at first that we were going to have a boy! :) I remember meeting Andrew's eyes several times that day and hardly being able to keep from squeeling with joy! We kept the news a secret for a few weeks and I'm glad we did. I remember with fondness just having that special knowledge between the two of us for a while. It was a day that definitely changed our lives forever!!

Here is a picture Andrew took of sweet Abigail this weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Miss Abigail has tea!

We have been very negligent in taking pictures of our little girl. We'll have to have a photo shoot this weekend! This is a picture Grandma Susan took of Abigail having "tea" at her grandma's tea parlor (http://www.theteaparlor.net/). Isn't it so cute?! She looks like such a proper little lady.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sleep Update

I am coming to the same conclusion over and over again . . . that Abigail is simply tired and worn out when she does her screaming in the evenings. After she went to bed last night (about 8:15 pm) she slept clear through until 6:00 am! That is almost 10 hours of straight sleep. She was her happy, smiley self this morning, so I guess she felt refreshed. Weird!

Other than concentrating on the baby this weekend, we also enjoyed going to a Red's game on Friday night, and seeing the May Festival on Saturday night. I certainly do miss singing with them but I keep telling myself that I will be able to do it again someday. Right now, I can't imagine adding one more thing to my life! As much fun as we had in Kansas and Chicago, it was nice to just have a quiet, relaxing weekend and get caught up (sort of) on laundry and cleaning.

We are looking forward to this coming weekend. We will be celebrating out 5th wedding anniversary. We keep debating what we should do to celebrate. Since we're new parents, we'll probably just do dinner and a movie and go on a trip another year, when it is easier to get away.

I'm enjoying the bright sunny day!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Change!

Our little girl is changing. The past few days she has been very cranky (very unusual) and has had evening melt downs (It's not just for Aunt Jennie. She did it again tonight)! We suspect that she may be starting to get some teeth but we're just not sure. I HATE not knowing how to comfort my little girl when she is screaming her head off. She did it tonight but actually calmed down enough to eat before bed. She went to sleep easily but then woke 1/2 hour later (which is unusual). Can I say it again? I really hate not knowing what is going on with her. I felt like we really had the hang of knowing what each cry meant. She usually only cried when she was tired, and occasionally fussed when she was bored or hungry. I don't know what these new screams mean. Andrew and I both think that she is just overly tired, or teething. Can you tell I don't like not knowing?!

She has also started crying/fussing when being given to other people. This started when we flew out to Kansas for the wedding. We just thought she was tired, in a new environment, and overwhelmed by so many people . . . but she is still doing it. This also makes me nervous because I hope she is ok when I leave her for work.

This baby thing is definitely harder than I thought. I'm sure in a few years (maybe months) I can look back on it and laugh, like I can now about the newborn stage. I've been doing a lot of adjusting myself lately. I guess it's just taking some time to figure out how to juggle being mom, wife, employee, housekeeper, friend, keeping up with church activities, and anything else I have forgotten.

Hopefully a good nights rest will do everyone in this house some good!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sleeeeeeeeep!!!!!

For the first time in her life, Abigail slept clear through the night! By comparison to other babies, she has technically slept through the night quite often, meaning from midnight to 5 am. However, if I have to get up at night to feed or care for her, I don't count this as sleeping through the night. It took her a while to fall asleep last night, so she probably drifted off around 10:00 pm. I went to bed at 10:30 pm and did not wake up until my alarm went off!! I wondered why I felt so rested this morning. She was awake in bed when I went into check on her at 6:00 am (when my alarm goes off) and so I fed her then. It was amazing people!! So, for the first time in a long time, I got a huge block of sleep. I didn't even sleep that much before Abigail arrived because I was pregnant and uncomfortable (not to mention the bathroom breaks), so yeah! I'm not getting my hopes up that she will do this every night but at least I know it is possible.

I will be honest: I'm sort of also sad in a weird sort of way. Since going back to work, I have felt like every moment I get to spend with her is precious and important. It didn't matter if it was in the middle of the night or not! Ah well. I will take the sleep while I can get it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

video

This is a video my mother-in-law, Abigail's Grandma Susie, took of her when she first rolled over (this is actually her second rolling over experience). She will be moving around sooner than we know! :) She looks so happy with herself in this video. Isn't it cute?!

Chicago Trip

We had a great trip to Chicago. I certainly am tired today but I'm so glad that we went to see my sister graduate. We will have to start calling her Dr. Jenny now! :) The trip was, again, way too short for my taste but at least we got to spend some time with my family. Part of the reason I may be extra tired is that Abigail has been waking up more than once at night for the past few nights. She got up twice last night and three times the night before that. I'm not sure why she is doing this. Last night, I went in for the second time at about 4:30 am and she was laying there making noise and kicking at her toy (playing). I moved the toy but she still didn't go back to sleep until she had some food!

Last week was a big week for my little family. Abigail had a new first . . . rolling over. I missed her first rolling over (and yes, I almost cried about that) but since then she has become a rolling maniac and has done it for me many times! She is only going from her stomach to her back. I don't think it will be too terribly long before she is going the other way. Also, my husband got a new job (and a second one may be on the way). I won't go into the details on here yet, mainly because I don't understand what he will be doing! :)

I don't have pictures of the weekend yet. We didn't have time to do anything yesterday, after we arrived home, but unpack, give Abigail a bath, and go to bed. I will hopefully post some soon. However, my main job this week is going to be trying to get our yard mowed! It has been two weeks since we have mowed (because we've been gone) and we've had lot of rain. It's a jungle!

Happy Monday!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Trip to Kansas

We had a wonderful trip to Kansas this past weekend. The only problem was that it was WAY too short! We left Thursday night about 4:00 pm and drove to Indianapolis for our flight. Abigail was an absolute doll on the flights. She fussed slightly a few times but mostly she just laid on her pillow (on our laps) and enjoyed a pacifier. She was a little fussy once we reached Manhattan. I think she was just overwhelmed with all the travel, different schedule, lack of sleep, and lots of new faces wanting to hold her. She always does better when she can sit/lay by herself without being held. She did a great job sleeping in some new beds (Pak n play) and was a joy to travel with on the way home too. We got back about 4:00 pm last night. It was a great weekend!

My cousin's wedding was very beautiful and everything went very smoothly (from what I could tell). We enjoyed wonderful hospitality and it was great to see my family again. It was the first time all of the Walter cousins had been together in such a long time. We got some great pictures.


The Walter Cousins. We haven't been together in a long time. When we used to line up like this, our heights would stair-step down. Not anymore!!



The bridesmaids waiting for the bride and groom to leave the church.

Abigail and Daddy all dressed up for the wedding. Abigail definitely preferred to be held by Andrew (even over me) all weekend long!


Me holding Abigail. She still has a runny nose! You can see it in this picture.


Abigail and Aunt Ronda (who sets a high standard for aunt "greatness"). Abigail really enjoyed hanging out with her Great Aunt Ronda!


This is an adorable picture of a happy Abigail and her Grammy (Gramie)! Abigail is so big as you can see in this picture next to my tiny mom!