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I don't have time for a really long post, probably never will again! It's just on my heart recently to remember how incredibly priv...

Privileged

I don't have time for a really long post, probably never will again! It's just on my heart recently to remember how incredibly privileged I am. I don't mean it in a spoiled, rich, silver spoon kind of way. Right now I'm not even referring to living in luxury compared to most of the world, having the freedoms we enjoy in this country, running water, indoor plumbing, access to modern healthcare, antibiotics, vaccines, and all of the many things that I am incredibly privileged to have just because I was born to American parents on a continent full of developed countries (don't be confused, I was born in Germany). Those are beyond my scope for the moment.

Today I am stuck on how incredible of a privilege it is to have children. Maybe it is because Jason and I struggled to even get pregnant in the first place and then we had our entire ride in adopting our sweet Freddie. Maybe it is because I work in an environment where I see on a daily basis how completely ungrateful people are for their children. Perhaps God has gotten through to me on this one thing! It's just that children are such a blessing. They are hard work and often frustrating and sometimes maddening. I am sleep deprived at the moment and terribly inconvenienced by a 3 hour nursing rotation. Those things just seem like nothing compared to the joy and blessing children bring to our lives. It breaks my heart when parents are ungrateful and fail to see the honor they've been given to have a child. I am in awe that God would trust me, bless Jason and I, and walk with us on this journey to raise His children. I am not good enough. I do not deserve this anymore than I deserve salvation.

I am also grateful for the privilege of going on this journey with Jason. We have our arguments and shortcomings, but I am daily reminded of how incredibly wonderful he is. Jason and I have really grown up together and we have watched each other go from college students to young/struggling adults, graduate students, husband and wife, employees, on and on and all the way to PARENTS! We both know we're big posers though. We are both selfish, immature, and irresponsible but God helps us fight that spirit everyday so that we can put God, each other, and our kids before ourselves. We lose the battle sometimes, but God's mercy is bountiful! Our children's mercy and forgiveness is also bountiful, and Jason and I have to be merciful to each other (even if it is on a much longer delay! ;) Okay, I am done preachin' it for now. I am just watching my sweet Addie enjoying some PBS Kids this morning and I'm rocking little Charlie so she'll quit screaming at me, and missing Freddie while he's off enjoying VBS at our wonderful church today, and it just hit me. Here I am in the middle of this thing, this whole motherhood thing, and I am ever so grateful to be on number three and still completely blown away by the privilege!

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Is that a politically incorrect term...to call oneself an invalid (the noun version meaning an infirm or sickly person)? Dictionary.com doe...

Invalid

Is that a politically incorrect term...to call oneself an invalid (the noun version meaning an infirm or sickly person)? Dictionary.com does not tell me the social connotations of words, just definitions. Maybe I'm on to a new website!

Anyway, I am tired of feeling like an invalid. I was two weeks postpartum last Saturday when I woke up hurting. I nursed Charlie and during that I started cramping really badly. I thought it was just bad gas which I'd been suffering with since delivery. It got worse and worse though. I laid Charlie down when she finished eating and woke Jason up to share my pain. I was hurting so badly that I was convinced I had appendicitis. Jason was up and getting dressed. I called the midwife to ask her opinion and she thought I might have an obstructed bowel. There was no point stalling, I needed to go to the hospital. Seriously, it hurt so badly that I remember on the car ride just praying that I would pass out and wake up later after it was over. There were tears and lots of yelling and gripping things. We had a neighbor gal run over and sit in the house while the kids were asleep until Nana got here. Sweet Rachel canceled her trip to Russellville to come help with Charlie, and we ended up being admitted to the hospital after several tests and a blessed dose of Demerol.

I had a CT scan and an ultrasound which revealed no appendix problems, bowel issues, or gallbladder complications. Turns out that my uterus was "muddled" and it appeared that there was something still in there from the pregnancy, won't know exactly what those "products" were until I go back for my follow up appointment though. I also had a bladder infection which probably wasn't helping with the pain. I had another dose of Demerol before moving up to my room where we waited on the doctor. When she got there she did a pelvic exam and let me know that she felt we needed to do a D&C, dilation and curettage, where they go in and actually scrape/suction your uterus to clean out any infected, damaged, unwanted tissue. It is sadly the exact same procedure whether you have an issue like mine, had a miscarriage, or have an abortion. It makes the procedure seem scarier to me for reason, not to mention the worry I had over possible risks to my reproductive future. Our doctor was amazingly sweet though and talked to me about the risks and assured me that I did not fall into any of the high risk categories.

I had never had surgery before, only stitches! General anesthesia is weird folks! I luckily didn't have a bad reaction to it, just confused and very out of it. I also woke up in a lot of pain. I lost about a liter of blood during the procedure and apparently had an "angry, spitting uterus" according to the doctor. I didn't need a transfusion, but it did require that my entire vajayjay be packed to prevent more bleeding. Yes, I said packed. It was so painful! There is some special thick gauze that they used and honestly packed an entire roll of it in there to ensure that I didn't bleed out. That combined with a catheter made for a painful night despite morphine followed my hydrocodone. My nurse that evening must have thought I was such a whiner! Everything hurt, my catheter, the packing, my arms/shoulders, I was thirsty, my throat hurt from being intubated during surgery, and I came back to my room with tears streaming down my face for some unknown reason. I was so emotional from leaving the baby, worrying about myself, missing the kids, feeling like I put everyone out, having to pump and dump, Rachel having to stay the night with a newborn and feed her with the bottle (her first bottle!), etc. I was just bawling and I remember the nurse asking me if I was scared or in pain. Neither, both, I don't know!!

Thankfully I got to come home Sunday afternoon and once I got off the hydrocodone I started to feel a lot better. It was quite an ordeal. So, I am basically starting over with recovery. I feel a lot better than I did. Oh, and P.S. Jason asked the doctor. "Is this because we had a homebirth?" The doctor replied, "No, absolutely not. I have seen this happen in hospital births as well. I just put this type of thing in the 'bad luck' category." It made us both feel better because it had honestly been in the back of our minds. Did I mention that my sweet midwife came and sat with Jason while I was in surgery? Anyway, I'm back to the invalid thing.

My house is a wreck, the kids' closet looks like an isolated tornado went wild in there, there are baby things everywhere, my bathroom/bedroom still looks like a birth clinic, the dog hair is rampant, there's a layer of dust on all wooden surfaces, hairballs have collected in nearly every corner, and there's just so much stuff everywhere that I don't know what to do with it. Don't get me wrong, we've had lots of help from Rachel and the laundry and dishes are well kept up with, dinner has been provided pretty much nightly, and I did clean a toilet out! I want to cook a good meal for my kiddos, have a shiny floor, vacuum the couches, dust, have an orderly room so I can sew something, and just feel like a normal mom instead of a cabin fevered sickly lady in a very nice assisted living home! :) A sweet friend got me a gift certificate for a full house cleaning, so I think I'm going to take that up at the end of this week but I have to clear away all the clutter first so that someone could actually find a surface to spray cleaning supplies onto!

Did I mention that my big kids are going to Missouri this week/weekend? Yep, Nana is taking them to visit their cousin and aunt and uncle. They leave today and don't come back until Sunday afternoon. Freddie went last year, but this is the first time Addie will be away from home like that for so long. She's spent two nights away from us when we went to Dallas in May and that's it. I am a little heartbroken and very apprehensive about the whole thing, but everyone keeps reminding me that I need the rest and recuperation time. I hardly intend to rest..well maybe sleep in quite a bit :), but I hope to get things back in order around here so the kids can come home to a new normal for the rest of the summer. We've got things to accomplish and a baby to get incorporated into our lives, and I'm tired of being too weak to participate in things. I am stuck at home right now while the kids and Nana and Daddy are at the library for storytime. Granted, I am glad to be home with the baby...but I'm tired of my kids missing me and poor Addie being traumatized when I leave a room. So, pray for me to use good judgment, keep a good/safe pace as I work, keep myself healthy, and for this dern sweet baby to sleep before 12:30/1:00 am!

I am even going to make a grocery store list and ask Jason to go fill it! HAHAHAHA!! Ooh, or maybe I'll go with and just ride in one of those Wal-Mart motorized carts!

3 comments:

Yep, the ladies I'm referring to are my boobs! I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding and I intend to push on through, but I am not an...

The Ladies want to go on Strike!

Yep, the ladies I'm referring to are my boobs! I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding and I intend to push on through, but I am not an advocate for lying to women about the challenges that breastfeeding presents. I remember when the nurses came to 5th grade to have "the talk" with us. The girls were in one room and the boys another and we were allowed to ask questions about puberty, periods, pads, and pubes. :) Gross. Anyway, they completely lied to us. There would be no pain associated with having your period, there are only a couple of tablespoons of blood, no smell, no one will know or notice, on and on. Imagine my shock when I was doubled over with cramps, changing huge diaper pads every hour, and horrified that everyone in my family could see it coming a mile away!

So, breastfeeding was presented to me as this beautiful, natural, organic experience filled with love hormones, joy, pride, and ease. Um, nope. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but so is labor and birth. It is hard work, requires preparation, knowledge, strength, and dedication. It hurts, it takes away your control of your own body, it can be very difficult to fit in today's society, everyone has their own opinions about it, few are actually supportive, and you feel often like there is a big banner over your head announcing that your milk just let down, your breastpad is about to leak through your shirt, your boobs hurt, your nipple is cracked, the lanolin has left grease stains on your nursing tank, this stupid nursing cover is making me and the baby all sweaty, I'd rather just show the world my boob but my poor husband would likely be rather embarrassed, this baby won't stop eating, you feel like a human pacifier, and you would really with a lot of guilt and shame like to shove a bottle in your baby's mouth so you could sleep!

Too much honesty?? Sorry! Other days I feel like the best mother alive and that I'm providing my baby with the best start in life, my milk is actually changing not only the amount I produce but the actual calories, fat, and makeup of the entire substance to meet Charlie's nutritional needs. My milk is perfect in every way for her little body. She gets so much comfort when she latches on and can instantly relax her whole self and settle in for what seems like the most peaceful and enjoyable activity on the planet. I never have to go sterilize a bottle or mix up formula. Charlie's breath is sweet and her spit up doesn't smell at all, unlike that rotten potato smell of formula. Her poop is easy to clean, easy to pass, and hardly has a smell. She is content and there is always a supply on hand. I am reducing my chances for breast cancer while improving my baby's immune system, brain function, digestive functioning, and possibly increasing her sensitivity and intelligence. I am speeding my own recovery from childbirth and releasing powerful hormones that help me and Charlie bond with one another. Nursing is burning calories, allowing me to take in extra nourishment for myself while also speeding my metabolism and helping me lose the baby weight. I am a lovely picture of motherhood. God created me perfectly to nourish my child and grants me the strength and energy to do so daily.

Talk about some cognitive dissonance, folks! My advice to anyone who cares for it, try and focus on that second paragraph as often as you can but don't feel bad when the first one rears its ugly head. I just wish that women were nicer to each other, congratulated each other daily on even the small accomplishments we make, and found it impossible to judge each other for the choices we make or ways that we live that are different from our own. C'mon ladies, let's pat ourselves on the back and then go pat a friend on the back too!

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Where was I.... Oh yes, the fog! I was hanging in there and I remember folks coming to check on me, but I was very focused on my noises a...

Charlie's Birth Story - Part 2


Where was I....

Oh yes, the fog! I was hanging in there and I remember folks coming to check on me, but I was very focused on my noises and preparing for each contraction. At around 2:30, Mary arrived to find me in a 30 second break. I was sitting in the bathroom and she placed the birthstool on the floor between the foot of my bed and the bathroom door. My mom helped me move to the stool where Mary was able to check my cervix. I was seven centimeters! It had gone so fast I could barely believe it. With Adeline it took me like 20 hours to get to 6. I was amazed and not afraid. I could see the birth pool across the hall set up in the serene nursery. Our bedroom was not so serene, tossed about with towels, birth supplies, a glass of ginger ale, ice chips, clothes stripped off from the heat, etc. Mary asked me if I wanted to go to the pool, but I told her I wasn't sure if I could make it. Amy, Mary's sweet and wonderful apprentice told us that there wasn't quite enough water in it yet anyway. Oh well, I had 3 more centimeters to go before pushing, we'd make it.

All of this happened in about 30 seconds. Mary got up and walked around behind me to get something and all of the sudden another contraction hit, but this time at the peak of it I felt something new and kind of exciting. I needed to push! I started calling out, "Mary, Mary, I..I...I need to push." This look of shock crossed her face and she came directly back to me to check again and I was indeed 10 centimeters and ready! I asked for everyone that was missing, I think Rachel was outside the room waiting because she figured I still had awhile to go. Everyone crowded in and I started pushing with each contraction. It was not peaceful, lovely, gentle, etc. The sensation of needing to push was the most powerful thing I've ever felt and it was involuntary. The control I had was only with my breathing, my vocalization, and the strength I put behind each push. There were complete primal sounds coming out of me but I managed to keep my muscles in my face and torso as loose as I could while I beared down with my arms and legs. My mom held my hand as she stood in the doorway of the bathroom, I pulled my other hand against the footboard of my bed, and my sweet husband sat in a chair behind me and pushed on my lower back and put his head into the back of my neck so I could just use that base to push against. He told me I was doing great and that he loved me, which I could only hear because he was right next to my ear. Otherwise, my sounds definitely would have drown him out. There were very few breaks, but it seemed like no time before I felt that incredible pressure and stretching and burning referred to as the "ring of fire." It was her head! I could feel her come out with the push then recede a little and it burned oh it burned. I looked at the midwives and then up at my friends and shook my head and said, "It burns, it really burns." They smiled, Amy smiled so kindly and said, "That's good, you're just stretching. Feel your baby's head." I did, I reached down and touched her soft squishy hairy head and felt re-energized for the next push. It took about two more good pushes and her head was out, sweet relief!

I'd like to say what most moms do, that after that her body just oozed on out easily and then I had this amazing endorphin rush and everything was beautiful. That's not the case though. I took a small rest then resumed pushing but she wasn't coming. Her shoulders were stuck. At this point my eyes were closed in concentration, but I could feel that I wasn't making the same progress with each push. The midwives immediately told me to move to my hands and knees and in the moment I was thinking I couldn't do it, there I was on hands and knees to help open up my pelvis to get her out. I beared down and pushed with all my might as someone (probably my mom) was yelling at me to push hard. I replied near tears, "I'm pushing as hard as I can!" I felt a little more progress and didn't know at the time, but her little face was turning from blue to purple and her shoulders were actually stuck so tightly that it was cutting off her circulation. There was no cord in the way though, her little shoulders were just flexed all the way out instead of folded in like most babies. Then they needed me to roll onto my back and helped me do so. In an instant, Mary and Amy reached down and grabbed Charlie under her arms and pulled her free on my next push.

They laid her on my stomach and time stopped. I thought Mary said, "There's no pulse." Jason thought she said, "She's not breathing." Either way, not good. I had one hand behind Charlie's head and the other wrapped around her little chest. Mary immediately began CPR. I could feel Mary's breath going into Charlie's chest and then I could feel and hear a little wheeze from baby girl. Then she started chest compressions. I was just praying, "Dear Lord Jesus, be with her, help her breathe. Breathe life into her, Lord. Protect her and bring her to me God." I remember those words and this amazing faith that God gave me in that moment. Some may call it arrogance, but not once during those moments did I even consider or conceive that she would not make it. I much more truly understand the faith of a mustard seed now. It just takes really needing to move a mountain to get it I think. No doubt, just blessed assurance. Thank you, God, for giving me that gift in that moment. In two rounds of breaths and compressions, Charlie let out a little rattle and I began to cramp instantly knowing the placenta was coming. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as the third midwife had showed up and caught the placenta as Mary and Amy gave Charlie some oxygen and watched her turn pink. They dried her off and checked her heart and her breathing and she was okay. They managed to get me into bed and brought her to me and laid her sweet little swollen chunky body next to mine as I ate some watermelon chunks and drank water trying to regain some type of strength. All of that was foggy too, but I remember feeling so cared for, loved, blessed, and safe during that time. I was disoriented but not scared or confused.

Charlie weighed 10 lbs and .5 oz for real! No wonder her shoulders got stuck, which my consulting doctor warned me could happen especially with being diabetic and going 10 days overdue! We really didn't think it would though, but the midwives were prepared and did exactly the right thing. Soon after delivery I had to get up to use the bathroom but got dizzy and lightheaded. They had to help me down to the floor where I honestly laid with a pillow and a blanket for 45 minutes before they could convince me to move. Charlie was asleep peacefully in her bassinet and I was asleep peacefully on the cool tile of the bathroom floor! Jason said he tried to get me up and I replied, "I'm not getting in that bed." Our bed is really high people!

I was fine in a few hours, only needed three stitches (which I claim as a major victory after having a 10lb baby wrestled out of me!) The midwives took excellent care of me and my family and friends have been amazing. I had my very own postpartum doula named Rachel, who has been here every day helping since Charlie was born. I am so grateful.

So, here's my reflection after a week. I am broken hearted that her birth was labeled as "traumatic." I don't care at all that it went so fast, that I didn't make it to the pool, that there weren't candles and music (wait, my mom brought my candle in the room when it was time to push because she knew I had a dream so she tried to make it have one element!), or that I was a primal cave woman instead of one of those little "oh me, uuggh" and then there's a baby. Mary said, "Well, we talk about home birth as this beautiful peaceful event, not this railroad, super speed type of thing!" Oh well, there were some scary elements to her birth, but the overall experience for me was amazing. I felt and feel powerful and amazed. I feel completely reassured that my midwives are the most loving, competent, and prepared choice that I could have made for my care and Charlie's. I feel that if I'd been in a hospital, a very similar problem could have occurred but with much more invasive results ending in more pain and recovery for everyone. That could have been an emergency c-section, 10 nurses pushing on my belly to get her out, a broken clavicle or dislocated shoulder for Charlie, a crazy episiotomy that I may never have healed properly from, and fear, confusion, loss of control and dignity, and all that combined. I know some folks won't agree, but that's okay. We all have choices and decisions to make in our lives that nobody else can make for us. I heard on a documentary one time an OBGYN saying, "I don't understand the pride thing in natural childbirth. I mean, when you're walking down the street pushing your three month old in the stroller it won't really matter anymore if you pushed it out without drugs. It just doesn't matter." I never thought of this as a pride thing, and it isn't. However, I finally got out of the house the other day with the family and I felt like I had this secret. Someone will say Charlie is such a pretty baby and I would think to myself, "Yup, and I pushed her out without so much as an ibuprofen!" Isn't that terrible? :) I just maybe doubted myself until that moment, doubted I'd have the strength and kept it all in an open hand without concrete plans because who knew if I'd give up and beg to be sent to the hospital for an epidural. Now I know that I can do it, I did do it, God is amazing in his plan and perfection for our bodies and the gift of growing and bearing life into his children. I honestly don't even want to put clothes on Charlie's little rolls because it makes her look like a child of this world instead of my little infant from God, brought into the world with love and blessings, comfort, safety, and grace.

Thank you again for your support and love, or even just your curiosity. I have worked very hard to understand my feelings on natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and midwifery care as opinions...just that, my opinions. I do feel very passionately about it though. I've read about 10 books and dozens of articles, watched multiple videos and documentaries, and talked with lots of real folks, and prayed and received much validation in these choices for our family. Please know that I would encourage any woman that her body was made for this, pregnancy is a privilege and miraculous, children are a blessing from the Lord, and labor is not impossible, it is just hard work with an amazing reward. At the very least I hope to inspire people to just ask questions. If you're 36 weeks pregnant and your doctor wants to induce, ask why! If you have a plan and desires for your birth, don't be bullied, ask questions and take charge while you can. Labor is not the time that you can make choices and take a stand on things. I tried with my first birth, but was a wimp and got bulldozed by well meaning nurses and doctors and was lucky to have gotten out of there with a vaginal delivery and no episiotomy. Everything else I wanted/didn't want was ignored. We are strong women with choices and a right to the type of birth we want and deserve. Oh, and for all of you wondering....I don't think the Allens are "done" having kids. I just haven't gotten "birth amnesia" quite as quickly as I did with an epidural! HAHAHAHA!


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