20 October 2011

Another Daphne update

I just want to give another quick Daphne update before I head to bed.

We went to see the nephrologist (kidney doctor) a few weeks back to follow up for the ultrasound she had the day she was born. The doctor thought she might have a horse shoe kidney and wanted to do another ultrasound a test called a VCUG to see if she had any urine backing up into her kidneys. It was just kind of a ruling out thing for both.

He said that if she had a horse shoe kidney, basically it would mean that her kidneys would be attached at the bottom, essentially giving her one kidney, but with the function of two. She wouldn't be able to do contact sports like football or hockey in her life (which I don't want her doing anyway . . .) He didn't seem too worried and I wasn't really worried either. The possible horse shoe kidney seemed kind of like an after thought since it wasn't confirmed or anything.

So last Thursday we had the ultrasound and the VCUG at Presbyterian Hospital.

She did great during the ultrasound and actually nursed while the tech did the ultrasound. She said her right kidney looked fine, but then got a bit quieter when she scanned her left kidney. I was a bit preoccupied with Daphne, so I wasn't watching the screen when she scanned the left kidney.

I asked if she thought they were connected and she didn't, but she said that her left kidney had some kind of abnormality - it didn't end where it was supposed to. She said she couldn't really say anything though because she wasn't a doctor. I understand that.

I asked her how the VCUG was done and she was surprised that the doctor had ordered one, especially when I said that Daphne had not had a bladder infection or anything. She said it if were her, she would wait until she got a bladder infection or something since the test is a bit invasive.

She took me back out to the waiting area (I wasn't going to skip out on a test the doctor ordered) and we waited for the x-ray tech to call us back to the VCUG.

Basically for the VCUG, they put a catheter in her bladder, and then fill her bladder with a fluid with a special dye in it, and then they take x-rays (fluroscopy) of her bladder and kidneys and then they take the catheter out and have her urinate to see if she has any urine backing up into the kidneys.

None of this is pleasant to an adult who can reason and be patient and deal with the discomfort and pain. To an infant - it's just invasive and they don't understand. I asked if they would give her a mild sedative and the tech said no because she was too small and "she wouldn't remember the pain anyway".

Not something a mother wants to hear.

So of course Daphne cried and cried the whole time. I thing once the catheter was in she was crying more because she couldn't move her legs (I had to keep them still) more than anything else.

After what seemed like so long, but was probably 15-20 minutes, the radiologist (an MD) finally came in to do the x-rays and the rest of the test. She was really good, very quick and it seemed like it hardly took any time at all.

Daphne really cried and cried when she couldn't see me (I was now standing at the head of the bed behind her) and when the doc was positioning her for all the x-rays and such.

When we were all finished and I had picked up Daphne to comfort her, the radiologist showed me on the screen where the urine was backing up.

It was backing up all the way up into her kidneys on both sides. The dye lit up the screen.

"This is not what we want to see. She has Grade 4 kidney reflux. We'll be seeing her again."

I was just shocked. I don't think anyone, including the kidney doc, had expected to see anything out of the ordinary. I was really just down about the whole thing. My poor little baby.

I did some research when I went home and from what I've read on the internet, Grade 4 is severe (Grade 5 being the worst) and is usually corrected with surgery. The rest of what I read, (lots of infections, being on constant antibiotics, etc) was not fun to read either.

I am glad that we caught this problem really early so that we can treat it. And I am very grateful that it is treatable, even if the treatment is surgery. I just hope and pray that Daphne isn't in pain from this.

We follow up with the kidney doc in two weeks so I'll have more definite answers then.

Worst Mom Ever??

Yesterday my friend Karen came over and we finally got to hang out. It was really great getting to hang out with Karen, especially since we've been trying to get together literally for months, but someone always gets sick or something comes up last minute.

So Karen was getting her baby fix holding Daphne and Daphne needed a diaper change, so Karen offered while I took care of Sophie and Edward. While Karen was changing Daphne's diaper, she noticed that Daphne turned a bit blue around the mouth area. She called me over to have a look and I just kind of waived it off as being because of the altitude. I thought this because a nurse at the hospital said that high altitude babies can sometimes be a bit blue as infants . . .

Fast forward to this afternoon. It had been a long day for some reason. I just was in a zombie-tired state most of the day, mixing up people's names at PWOC and everything. I didn't nap because I had a ton of things to do around the house, so around 1500, I take a break from the house cleaning and go upstairs to nurse Daphne in the bed room. I lay her down on the bed next to me as I'm getting ready to nurse her and I'm looking at her all smiling and bright-eyed, and there it is again. She's all blue around the mouth. Basically from her nostrils down to her chin. And her hands are bluish too.

So feeling like maybe I should be a responsible mother I should call the pediatrician and talk to the nurse and I'm sure it will be no big deal. I was honestly looking forward to just relaxing for a little bit nursing Daphne and reading. So I get the message-taker guy on the line and after I say "blue", he's says, "Oh, let me get someone to talk to you right now."

So I hold for a few more minutes and a lady comes on the line and I explain why I'm calling again and she's asks me to hold so she can transfer me.

Another lady comes on the line and I explain again why I'm calling. I'm still calm, not very concerned, although getting a bit there. After I say "blue" however, the lady on the other end of the line is VERY concerned. She asks me questions in a clipped, hurried voice: "Is her chest sunken in? Is she having trouble breathing."

Um, no and let me check. No. Is her chest sunken in?? Really??

She says that I need to go to Urgent Care immediately, the one at the hospital. And then call for a follow up appointment if I need to. And she didn't say it a nice, laid back tone either. Her tone implied urgency. Emergency urgency.

Now I'm worried. And I feel horrible because this started yesterday and I blew it off.

I called a few friends and my friend Mindy was able to come over. She was literally over in three minutes. (She does live next door.) I was so thankful that she was able to come over so quickly.

I already had Daphne in the carrier so I headed out. Mike called as I was walking out the door so I filled him in.

And of course it's the time of the day when a lot of people are leaving the base. That means a long line of cars all the way to the interstate. ::sigh:: I was so afraid that something was seriously wrong with Daphne and what is something happened to her because I blew off what was going on yesterday?? I was holding back tears and I just decided I needed to put on my brave face. And of course I was in the slow lane and all these cars were passing me on the middle lane so I couldn't change lanes.

The irony that I was now trying to rush when I had waited a whole day to call did not escape me. It was as if a few minutes were going to make a difference now that I knew that something could be wrong.

I finally made it to urgent care and got checked in. I changed Daphne's diaper and she was a bit upset, so I thought she might want to nurse.

I was so tense and she was so upset with the nursing cover I actually ended up taking it off. I really didn't care. And it was pretty much all moms in the waiting area and they all seemed to have this knowing look of mutual concern and understanding and gave me privacy. I appreciated it. Daphne pretty much fought me for 5 or so minutes, so I gave up and she cried for another 15 minutes and finally went to sleep. Immediately after she fell asleep on my chest, we got called back for triage. She actually slept through it though. Her pulse ox was normal, so that was a relief.

Then we waited another hour and a half and we were finally called back. She slept the whole time we waited and then nursed after we got moved back into the exam room.

Luckily about two minutes after she finished nursing, the doctor came in. He got her history (I was so tired I couldn't remember the names of things - it was that thing coming off her aorta went away type of explanations). Then he did the exam. She did the turning blue thing while he was doing the exam, so I was glad he was able to see what I was talking about.

He said she had a normal exam and that he thought that she had peripheral cyanosis.

Basically, she was getting blue because she was cold.

Yes, cold.

Yes, the diagnosis was: your baby is cold. You need to dress her more warmly, have her wear a hat, etc.

I didn't know if I felt worse because she was turning blue because she was cold, like I keep my house at frigid temperatures or something (I don't) or don't dress her (I do), or because I waited so long to take her to urgent care when it could have been something serious.

I feel like some kind of terrible mom. I do dress Daphne in what I thought was warm clothes: a long sleeved onesie with pants and socks or a sleeper, usually with a short sleeved onesie underneath. And she almost always has at least a receiving blanket on. I double swaddle her at night.

She is really tiny though - still only 9#12oz (which means she hasn't gained any weight in two weeks since her well child check - sigh).

I could plead ignorance, as my other two babies were spring babies, but that would be wrong. Ignorance is a great killer and ignorant though I may be, it is no excuse.

I just feel awful. I don't think the doctor thought very much of me as a mom. I don't blame him.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still in such a brain fog that I just kind of slide through my day without noticing things. It really drives me crazy. I don't want to be oblivious to my children, or their needs. I had one parent who was like that and it really drove me crazy. I don't want to be so introverted that I'm not aware of what's going on around me.

I would really appreciate any suggestions to cure this brain fog thing so that I can be a better mom to my kids. They deserve a better mom.

19 October 2011

Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd

Conviction is not something that any person can make another person feel. True conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. Ronnie Floyd’s book Our Last Great Hope is a book with the mark of the conviction of the Holy Spirit woven throughout. Floyd’s book is about Matthew 28:19-20: the Great Commission.  Floyd’s message is loud and clear: Christians need to be about the business of making disciples of peoples of all nations; that it is a command for all, not just a special few. Floyd outlines in his book the various ways that Christians can go and made disciples, starting with making sure that we are in God’s Word and being disciple ourselves. Floyd goes on to share how parents can disciple their children, how churches can get out and make disciples and the people of God can reach every person in the world for the glory of God.

I found Our Last Great Hope to be a well written, well thought out and well planned book that addresses how the church can go about making disciples on a personal level, a local level, a national level and a global level. The Great Commission was Jesus’ last command to us and I personally am very glad to see how serious it is being taken by the some of the great mission boards of our time (as written about by Floyd). I was also challenged by his book: am I doing what I should be doing in making fellow disciples? Any book that causes thoughtful self reflection and evaluation is a book that is worth reading.  I would recommend this book to any Christian because as Christians we need to be serious about carrying out the Lord’s purpose for us here on this Earth. Floyd captures the essence and urgency of that purpose throughout his book, and he has an action plan.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html>: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

16 October 2011

First days

After Daphne was born, and after the blissful time of holding her after and getting to know her face to face, I was able to eat a sandwich and chips while the nurse got Daphne's measurements and took her footprints and all that.

I am telling you, the best food you'll ever have is whatever you eat after you give birth, which in my experience has been ham or turkey sandwiches with chips. Nothing tastes as good as that when you've been in labor!

On with the story .  . . it didn't seem like very long passed before we were taken down to the 4th floor to the post partum wing. (I thought it was interesting that Daphne was born on a 5th floor and we went down a 4th floor and Sophie and Edward it was the opposite at OUMC - they were born on the 4th floor and we went up to the 5th floor.) Apparently a lot of women had given birth the day before and that day, so they were really full. Our room was at the very end of the hall and it was pretty small, but there was a bed for Mike too, so it was perfect. :) We got there maybe about 0400 or so and got situated. I was pretty swollen after giving birth, so the midwife had suggested I have a catheter put in while I still had the effects of the epidural, so I had that there. In hindsight, I probably didn't need it. I was more swollen after I had Edward and I don't remember having one then. Anyway . . . Daphne slept for quite a while, as infants do in the first eight to ten hours, and I tried to get some sleep. I don't remember what time I woke up, maybe 0600 or 0700, but I ordered breakfast. Mike was still asleep. Sometime in the eight o'clock hour, Daphne woke up and I tried nursing her. The nurse had brought me a nipple shield at my request earlier in the morning.

Sometime around 0830, Daphne was spitting up some of that fluid they get in their stomach and lungs and at one point she turned blue. And not just her face, but her chest too. I called the nurse as I was turning her over and patting her on the back. While I was on the phone with the nurse Daphne did let out a loud cry, so I knew she could get air in and out. The nurse was there within 30 seconds and took her to the nursery. She said there were a lot nurses in the nursery and that she would be right back to get me and take me down there. I still had the catheter in, so I just waited for her to come back like she said she would.

Two minutes went by. Then five.

Then ten. Then fifteen.

Then I started to freak out and think that something had happened. I kept listening for the loud speaker to call a code blue. I looked around the room while I was thinking and all of sudden a dream I had in the first trimester came back to me, where I had given birth to Daphne but she had died and the room in the dream looked exactly like the one I was in.

Then I really freaked out. I started to cry even though I was trying to be brave and strong and pray and rely on the Lord but the fear of losing my child and seeing her so blue when she was already seven hours old was so scary. I prayed and I tried to read a psalm or two but I couldn't see through my tears, so I texted a few close friends and asked them to pray for Daphne and I just prayed for the Lord to have mercy on her.

Mike woke up about that time and I explained to him what had happened as calmly as I could (I left out the part about the dream and the room looking the same), and by then I was starting to calm down a bit, and asked him if he could help me go to the nursery. I didn't want to call the nurse to come and get me because I was afraid of what might have happened - I wanted to see for myself, not hear about it on the phone.

I hadn't gotten up since I had arrived, so I had to change my pad and I had to figure out to unhook the catheter from the bed rail and carry it and walk with the catheter in to the nursery. So very slowly, although as fast as I could, but still much too slowly, I got ready to walk to the nursery.

As I said, I hadn't been up since I had arrived in that room, and hadn't stood since I had given birth. I was pretty weak and had to lean on Mike for support. So we walked all the way down the hall, from my room at the very end of the hall on one side of the hospital, all the way to the nursery, at the opposite end of the hall, at the other end of the hospital (same hallway). I carried my catheter bag in my hand as obscurely as I could, not that I cared all that much. I just wanted to get to my baby.

We stepped through the double security doors into the nursery and there were so many babies in the room! And over half of them had a full head of dark hair like Daphne. I peered from one bassinette to another, looking for my newborn baby. Mike spotted her before I did on the other side of the room under one of the lamps. She was alive! I was relieved. I prayed thanks to the Lord for sparing her, for His mercy. I asked the nurse is she was okay and she said she was, but she had some fluid in her stomach from the birth, which was normal. The nurse ended up lavaging her stomach (when I wasn't around) to get the fluid out. While we were there though, the nurse gave Daphne her bath. They gave me a chair to sit on since I was rather wobbly, and probably not looking so good, as I stood there holding my cath bag. After Daphne had her bath, the nurse got her swaddled up like a little burrito (you have to say it with an accent like one of Sophie's first nurses did two years ago) and back under the lights to get her temperature up.

Mike and I walked very slowly the long walk down the hall to our room and I ate some breakfast while we waited for the nurse to bring Daphne back. The pediatrician wanted to do her examination while Daphne was down there in the nursery. Mike had to go get some breakfast from the cafeteria.

The pediatrician did ask me about her history in the womb and her enlarged liver and said that she wanted to do an ultrasound of her heart and liver and also her sacrum, since she had a really deep sacral dimple.

The ultrasounds were done later in the afternoon and her heart and liver were fine. They were worried about her kidneys since they couldn't see the bottom of them. We were referred to the pediatric nephrologist, Dr. Miller, for follow up.

During the first few days of an infants life, it seems like there isn't a lot of sleeping, but in some ways, there is more than when you get home. So I napped when I could and whenever I was awake, except for when I was eating or taking a shower, I was holding Daphne. I think I held her a lot more than I did Sophie or Edward in the hospital. I did fall asleep holding her, which you aren't supposed to do, but I was just so grateful to have her and wanted to hold her as much as I could and bond with her as much as I could before I got home, where I knew my time would be divided.

The second day when the pediatrician did her examination, she heard a heart murmur that hadn't been there the day before, she ordered an echocardiogram to be done. That was done later that day. Dr. Raisher was the cardiologist who saw Daphne. More on that in a minute.

When my midwife, Gail, who was at the hospital on Saturday, came by, she said that I had the option of getting my tubes tied while I was in the hospital. I didn't know this before. I had already signed the consent in case I had to have a C-section to have my tubes tied, so I agreed to get them tied before I left the hospital. So that was scheduled for the following day. Normally I would have gone home that day (Sunday), but since I was going to get my tubes tied, I would be staying with Daphne until Monday night.

Sunday night we were moved down the other end of the hall (to a room twice the size) to be nearer to the nurse station so the nurse would have walk the length of the hospital just to come down to my room. Over 40 women had been discharged from the floor that Sunday, so I was the only patient left on that side of the hospital. (I did say there had been a lot of births the day before and the day Daphne was born!) It wasn't a big deal to move and I was glad to help my nurse out. She seemed quite relieved when I agreed! I don't blame her.

IV fluids were started at midnight so I wouldn't get dehydrated since I was NPO for the tubal after midnight. In the morning though when the midwife on call came for rounds, she said something about "since they canceled your tubal .. ." and I was like "whoa, wait a minute, I hadn't heard that." Apparently my platelets were low (this wasn't news to me, they had been low during my pregnancy), the doctor didn't want to do any unneeded cutting and putting more holes in me. I can appreciate that. So my tubal was canceled. And I had to follow up with hematology to make sure I didn't have something going on with my blood. (Long story short they thought I had a platelet immune disorder, I had some tests done and I don't have it and everything is back to normal now.)

The cardiologist, Dr. Raisher, came in a little bit later and explained the findings of Daphne's echo. The three holes in her heart that are normally open in the womb and close upon birth didn't close and she had something coming off of her aorta. So she had to follow up in a month or so. Long story short on that - we went to the follow up, she had another echocardiogram and all but one hole had closed and the one that didn't got smaller and the thing off of her aorta was gone. Praise the Lord!

We did have some visitors. Mike's parents arrived from South Dakota and came straight to the hospital, and they happened to arrive at the exact same time as my good friend Sierra, who brought Sophie and Edward to visit. So we all got to visit at the same time. It was so great to have family and close friends come to visit and meet Daphne. I'm so glad that Ruth and Paul were able to come be apart of Daphne's first days. I know Daphne won't remember, but I feel sure she will appreciate it one day. :)

During my hospital stay the food was great. Enough said about that. If you have to stay at Presbyterian, everything is really good. :) Not kidding. Especially the enchiladas. And the steak. Yes, steak.

The nursing staff was awesome. I don't have one bad thing to say about any of the nurses. They were so swamped, but they never made you feel like they didn't have time for you or that they were rushing. They were all wonderful.

I had a lot of help from the lactation consultants and they were all really awesome. I am so grateful for all their help and for getting Daphne and I off to a great start with nursing.

Overall, except for the blue scare, it was a great birth experience with Daphne. I didn't have her naturally (no drugs), but she came out healthy and that's the best I can ask and hope for. Presbyterian was a great place to have Daphne and if I have another child (which I sincerely doubt I will), I hope to have them there.

And then we got to go home, late Monday afternoon. And that's a whole other story. :)

Flower's Birth Story

I'm finally going to get Flower's birth story written out. Yay! :) It's only taken me two months . . . anyway, if you're not into those kind of stories (and I don't leave out much details), you might want to skip this post. :) Unfortunately because I waited so long to write out Flower's birth story, some of the details have been lost, to which I am remorseful about. I should have made the time to write it out a lot sooner. Email could have waited. Oh well. Here is what I have remembered:

To back up a bit for refresher for my readers, I had quite a few complications during Flower's pregnancy. There were the multiple times of early onset of contractions, the hospitalization for pre-term labor at 31 weeks gestation, the polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) and multiple visits to the OB urgent care to stop contractions. After all that (and two ultrasounds a week), I made it to full term - praise the Lord! I was free and clear to go into labor. Only I didn't.

And I didn't. I was still contracting, but not enough.

Week 38. Contractions actually started stopping. The polyhydramnios, as evidenced on ultrasound, got significantly worse, going from 25 cm to 33cm (or was it 35cm, I can't remember now) and so it was decided that I should be induced. There was a lot of worry about shoulder distocia. . . .

So I show up at the hospital at 7am on Friday, August 5th, exactly 39 weeks pregnant. Apparently I was the only one being induced that day and I was taken back to OB triage from OB admitting. After a little bit a nurse came into to admit me officially and said that there were a lot of patients coming in in active labor that morning, so it might be a little bit (a few hours) before they could get things started.

I wasn't too worried though, I knew everything would work out in God's perfect timing. And I had a really good book to read. :)

While I waited, I did get in a nice nap, which I was really glad about. I was so grateful that I had made it to 39 weeks, although the irony that I had to be induced after all the times that my labor had to be stopped did not escape me. The midwife also came in during that time and explained what was going to happen and said that they would get started with the induction as soon as they had a room open up in labor and delivery.

The plan was to do dilate my cervix manually with a balloon (I was a little afraid of what that would feel like), then once the balloon came out (which it would do on its' own once I made it to 4cm), then they would start the pitocin. I asked if they would start the pitocin if my body went into labor on its' own, and they said it depended on what my contractions looked like. I had hope that the balloon would jump start my body into labor and then my body would take over naturally on its' own.

So around noon or so, I was moved to labor and delivery and at 1300 the midwife and nurse came in to put in the balloon catheter. My IV was also put in at this point. So for the next few hours, I just waited for my cervix to dilate and read by book. As long as I didn't move, it wasn't bad at all. Moving was rather uncomfortable and I had to empty my bladder pretty often or that would get painful.

The last time I emptied my bladder with the balloon catheter in, it just fell right out, which meant that I was dilated to 4 cm. I was really surprised to see how big 4cm was, since the balloon was inflated to that. Although in hindsight, I shouldn't really have been, after all, I've two babies already come out that way!

The nurse came in just as I was coming out of the bathroom. My body was contracting, but not regular enough or strong enough to be in labor, so the nurse started me on the pitocin. I did ask if they could do the lowest amount possible and not turn it up too frequently, which the midwife agreed to the first. I was still really hoping my body would get going with things on its' own after a little pushing.

No such luck though.

So the pitocin was started about 1600. It actually wasn't too bad the first couple of hours. I continued to read my book. Mike had arrived sometime in the early afternoon after the balloon catheter was placed, so he was there now, so we talked a bit. I was only allowed to have clear liquids, so I did have some broth in the afternoon as well. The pitocin got my contractions going regularly and stronger than before, as it should have. At one point, when I was up to go the restroom, the battery on the pump with the pitocin died, and it took about 15 minutes or so before the nurse could come in to put in a new battery. (After the battery died, it wouldn't even turn back on when I plugged it back into the wall.) During that time, my contractions completely stopped. Completely. Not a single one. Which means that my body was completely relying on the pitocin drug to contract. I wasn't in labor of my own accord, physically. Again, the irony does not escape me.

The midwife and a doctor came in to break my water maybe an hour or two after the pitocin was started. Unfortunately once my water was broken, I wasn't really able to labor in the tub. I could have, but they didn't really want me to because of the risk of infection. So I didn't get to labor in the tub.

The contractions didn't get hard enough to have to breathe through until maybe 2000. But once they got that strong, they just got stronger and stronger more and more quickly. Mike was really great about rubbing my back and talking me through the contractions. I said a few memory verses over and over in my head during each contraction. Laboring on my hands and knees made the contractions easier to bare, but I found after an hour or so that I was quickly running out of strength. It was getting harder and harder just to stay on my knees, leaning on the raised head of the bed, gripping the pillow during each contraction. My legs started to really shake and felt like they were going to give out under me. And I knew I would still have to have strength to push Daphne out once the time came. I tried to lay on my side to get a little bit of rest, but when I returned to my knees leaning on the head of the bed, I had even less strength.

I talked this over with Mike (between contractions) and also the nurse and I really just felt in my gut that if I didn't get some rest, I might not have the strength to push Daphne out. I was really afraid I would come to that point and be too exhausted and that would be really bad, especially for Daphne. So around 2200 or 2230, I ended up getting an epidural. It took about half an hour to put in and Presbyterian Hospital (unlike OU Med Center) has a policy where the husband has to leave the room when the epidural gets placed. The nurse that was there was really awesome though. I had to sit on the edge of the bed while the anaethesiologist got the epidural ready and prepped my back, and the nurse held me (while I held the pillow) during each contraction. By this point I was shaking pretty badly during each contraction.

Once the epidural was in, Mike was allowed to come back in the room, and I was able to get some rest. Unlike the epidural I had with Edward (which was apparently a "dense epidural"), I could feel pressure when Daphne came down and prepared to come through the birth canal.

When I felt a lot of pressure, which was painful in a way, I told the nurse and she checked me and said that the baby was there. The midwife was called and I got into position and started pushing. After a few pushes, I asked for the birthing bar, which I thought helped a little bit. After maybe 20 or 30 minutes, I'm not really for sure (what laboring woman is totally aware of time??), the midwife thought that Flower was facing up, so she suggested that I turn onto my side for a while to get Flower to turn. The nurse and the midwife positioned me on my right side, but Flower really did not like that and her heart rate dropped quite a bit. So the nurse and the midwife positioned me on left side, which my leg on a pillow on the little table that they have in the room. With the epidural in, there wasn't too much I could do to help them get me into any position.

I tried to use this time to get some extra rest and prepare myself mentally for pushing Flower out. The ultrasound I had a day or two before had suggested that Flower was going to be close to nine pounds. I pushed for four hours with Little Man, who was eight pounds, so I was expecting to be pushing for quite a while. It was hard to rest with the painful pressure, but I tried to focus and block that out.

When the pressure was so great I thought I wouldn't be able to stand it for much longer, I told the nurse and she checked me and Flower was definitely all set to come out. She paged the midwife. And the midwife didn't come. I got into a different position than before, this time very similar to the one I was in when I birthed Butterfly - slightly on my back and side, holding my legs behind the knees. The nurse shadow (who was there with the nurse the whole time) paged the midwife again. After what seemed like a really long time but was probably only a few minutes, the midwife rushed in breathless. Apparently she had been down in the basement getting something . . .

So I was all set to push. I don't know how long I pushed, maybe a half hour, which isn't really very long. I do know that I was right about saving my strength because I definitely did not have much of that. There was a huge difference in the strength I had pushing Butterfly and Little Man out than what I had pushing Flower out. During each push, I really had to pray really hard for enough strength for the next push. I had a pretty hard time pushing the way I knew that I needed to. And then just like that Flower's head was out and one more push and she was completely out. I hardly had time to think except for "Wow! That was really fast! A lot faster than I thought it would be!" and the midwife was putting Flower on my stomach.

On my stomach! What joy! What surprise! Flower got to go right to my tummy! At first she was facing away from me, but she was pink! Pink! I don't know who cut the cord or what was going on because I was staring at my baby who could go right onto my stomach. I couldn't believe it. After a minute or two, but seemed like much longer, the midwife turned her around so I could look at Flower's beautiful face.

She was so tiny, so beautiful and with a mess of dark hair. She was all slippery and warm and wet from being inside of me. I moved her up closer to my breasts and within a few minutes she was actually rooting around for my breast. I helped her to find my nipple and she latched on within a few minutes. Tears came to my eyes at the wonder of all this. At the ecstasy of having my newborn baby go right from the womb to my stomach to my breast. I remember looking at the midwife and saying that she got to go to my stomach; I just couldn't believe it and I was so joyful that I got to finally experience this beautiful moment.

Sometime during all this I passed my placenta and the midwife showed it to me. It was really neat, but I was totally engrossed in staring at Flower and giving her kisses and holding her to me. My midwife said that I didn't tear at all, which I was relieved to hear.

The nurse brought blankets to cover Flower and I with and after Flower had nursed for a few minutes she went to sleep. I just stared at her and kissed her and told her how much I loved her and held her and cuddled with her. We got to stay like that for an hour or so, and the nurse had to take her to get her measurements and take her footprints and all that necessities that must be done after a baby is born in the hospital.

Truly words cannot adequately describe for me the emotions that I felt at having my daughter go to my tummy after she was born and then having her go to the breast. I wasn't able to experience that with Butterfly or Little Man because they both came out blue and needed to be worked on to get them breathing right after they were born. I am so incredibly grateful to the Lord that He allowed me to experience that with one of my children and what a beautiful experience it was. The Lord is so incredibly amazing in what He has created - not just in His creation of human beings, but in the experiences that He creates that we get to experience. Each one is such a gift. Who can say there is no God after having a child be born out of them? The way everything fits together when it all goes as it should. It is utterly amazing and truly a miracle each time a child makes its' way into the world.

From Psalm 8:1-4 (NIV)
LORD, our Lord,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!
   You have set your glory
   in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
   you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
   to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
   the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
   which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
   human beings that you care for them?[c]

And thus, Flower was brought into the world at 1:36 AM, August 6th. :)

Writing, writing, writing

I feel like I have such a longing to write (and read, but I've been able to do plenty of that), and I don't have a lot of time. Of course, who does with three children under three years old?

And not just blogging. I want to write a book. I've wanted to write a book since I was little, but I'm not good at telling stories. Now my brother, he could write stories for a living. (And he doesn't!) Anyway, that thought has never gone away. And in the past few months, I feel that I have a story to tell. A story that I know a lot of young women will identify with. Once again, there's that whole time thing . . .

On top of that, I keep having all these opportunities to publish a book come up. Well, I see them as opportunities. I got an email from Women of Faith about their author contest. And I got an email from Thomas Nelson Publishers to advertise Westbow Press on my blog (you'll see that soon) and Westbow, from what I can tell so far from their website, is all about publishing Christian themed books from people like me. (That is, ordinary people. I don't fancy myself to be a Francine Rivers or Kristen Hannah or anything.)

I do really love to write; that's one reason I started this blog all those years ago.

I get back to the time thing. I only have 24 hours in a day. Yes, the same as everyone else - it is a level playing field from there. It seems like I'm on the go, constantly moving, all day long though. That goes back to the three children under three years of age thing. I love my children and I love my life (well, maybe not the really chaotic moments - who likes a corticosteroid rush to the brain??), but I do yearn for some time to write. Maybe I should stop checking my emails first when I get on my computer. :)

As for what to write about - well, I've always had a few ideas swirling around in my head . . . And I will admit that part of it is getting the courage to put those thoughts of stories onto paper, or screen, I should say. Will they be good enough? Will people want to read them? I know that I'm not a natural story teller. And I know that I often lack vision.  I've done better at writing when someone told me what to write about (i.e. a teacher at school or a college professor). I'm really hoping that I can start to get some things out and put together. :)