Posts Tagged ‘celebrations’

Happy Birthday to Hannah

My day three years ago actually started two weeks before that… (Warning: birth story following)

I woke up on Easter morning, nearly nine months pregnant, the day after my sister’s wedding, to a little trickle that sure felt like my water breaking. I got up, more water. Then I had some bloody show. Anytime I moved around, more water. We called the midwife. She was unsure. “Sometimes this happens and your water isn’t really broken.” So, she came and checked. It certainly SEEMED like my water was broken, but there was no confirmation from that little paper test.

We had two options: 1, go to the hospital and have a more complex test done. If I tested positive, I would be admitted and induced within 24 hours to be safe from infection. I was 35 weeks pregnant (of 40). I would have a preemie. Or 2, I could wait, and hope to go into labor. Midwives in Colorado can deliver babies at home at 37 weeks, but due dates are always a little iffy (although I personally was positive of both of mine) She said every day made a difference, each day I could keep Hannah safely inside is another day for her lungs to develop. I was at a low risk for infection – no internal exams, no ahem…intimacy (don’t want weirdos finding my site), and no baths. I should say here, especially because of the bloody show, everyone expected me to go into labor within a couple of days.

After that everything became a blur. I would absolutely soak a pad an hour, sometimes through my pants. I was vaguely aware that my water must have broken for real, but didn’t know what to do differently. My belly was smaller than it had been. We did an ultrasound every couple days to make sure there was enough fluid. We were fine. I drank more water than I’ve ever drank in my life, to keep those fluid levels up. I would begin having contractions in the middle of the night every other night, and they would get to 5 minutes apart and then stop as the sun came up. Finally, after nearly TWO WEEKS of this, we drove the 45 minutes to Dr P for acupuncture to start my labor.

Dr P does electro-acupuncture, meaning he hooks up a faint electric charge to the needles. It is more powerful stimulation. During that process (which I’d had before and have had since – it started my labor with Audrey, finally), I blacked out. With my history of seizures, everybody got really scared. My blood sugar was low because I hadn’t eaten recently, and I was just so wiped out.

Then we went home and waited. We called the midwife who said since we had done acupuncture, maybe (intimacy) would help speed the process along? That was Saturday.

At 3am Monday morning, I woke up with a bit of a start. It took a while to figure out what had woken me. I got up and went to the bathroom and realized I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably. I was also having contractions that felt stronger than they had before – still not painful, but strong. I took my temperature and it was 103.5! We called the midwife, panicking a little. She had me take some tylenol and get in the bath to hopefully calm things down. An hour later I still had high fever and solid contractions. It was time to go to the hospital.

The day before, we had a spring blizzard. There was about a foot of snow in our apartment parking lot. We weren’t at all sure we could even get out. Nick went and started the car (it was around 5:30am by this point) and worked to clear the car off. In his hurry he didn’t take any gloves. By now my contractions were 3 minutes apart for the first time. I was finally in labor.

We had a normally 15 minute drive to the hospital. The streets were solid ice so it took us nearly 30. Nick’s hands were so cold he was practically yelling with the pain. I continued to have contractions. On the way I vividly remember seeing a picture in my head of me having a c-section. I didn’t know what that would look like, but that was it, and I had a feeling that was what was going to happen. I tried to push the thought aside, but there was also some comfort in knowing ahead of time that’s what might happen.

When we got to the hospital, I walked in and told them I was in labor. I was more afraid of the hospital than the labor. I was very calm so they took their time. When they hooked me up to the machine, there were my contractions. The nurse actually had the nerve to say to me, “do you know you’re having contractions every three minutes?” Duh.

I was on the monitor for about an hour when the doctor came in. Hannah’s heart rate was not doing well with the contractions. I was dilated only to 3. It was time for the c-section.

They wheeled me into the OR, put in the epidural (which hurts like anything when you’re not already hurting) and Hannah was out in seconds with the cord wrapped around her neck. They held her next to my head for a few seconds, and then whisked her away. Nick walked over to see her while they were bathing her and happened to look behind him at my opened-up body. I did not want her to be alone, so Nick went with her while I went to recovery. While in recovery, with the sudden sensation of my empty body, no baby, and no husband, I went into shock. I was shaking uncontrollably again, and crying. They sedated me and I went to sleep.

The midwife finally arrived while I slept. She had been snowed in, unable to get out of her driveway. My family came and I woke up a little, enough to say things that made no sense and make everybody laugh. Five hours later I finally came to and began asking about my baby, who was in the NICU. It took an hour to find a nurse who would say, “oh yeah, as soon as she can get into a wheelchair she can go see the baby.” I was PAINFULLY in a wheelchair in 2 minutes.

Nursing was tough. Hannah was only 6 lbs, 2 oz, and she just didn’t get it. It didn’t help that I had to try to nurse for the first time in the NICU, with screens set up for privacy. The lactation consultant kept hovering saying things like, “if she doesn’t get it, we can always give her a bottle of formula.” I know she was trying to help, but I eventually snapped, “This is how we’re doing it.” After that she left me alone. My mom was there helping coach me. I couldn’t sit there all day, so I had to leave my baby alone in that room. They kept telling me to sleep and let them take care of her, but I got up every 2 hours while we were there and went to the NICU to nurse her. When I couldn’t, I was pumping with the awful hospital pump. (Crying for the first time here.) We had lots of wonderful visitors and flowers and the nurses were kind for the most part.

On the third day we were going to go home. They had to take the staples out of my incision. They were training a nurse who was in school and she pinched me with the pliers and I screamed. Repeatedly. Then the results of Hannah’s culture and the placenta’s culture came back. The placenta was totally infected, which was the reason for the fever. Hannah had no infection whatsoever. That was a miracle. They had given her antibiotics preemptively but took her off when she turned out to be okay. We went home, finally. C-sections and particularly recovering from them, stinks. We slept a lot. With all that trauma, bonding with Hannah was tough. I remember the feeling, “where did this baby come from and why do I have to take care of her?” I missed being pregnant! It was many months before I didn’t cry every time I thought about it, and I don’t think I fully healed until Audrey was born – a VBAC at home. I still wish it had been different. I am thankful though, that we were healthy and safe. It was quite the ordeal. And it didn’t really end there. Hannah was back in the hospital with RSV at 5 weeks old. But that’s another story.

This is a long story – I had lots to tell! Thanks for reading it.

So, happy birthday to our Hannah. In spite of her tough beginnings, she is an incredibly sensitive, thoughtful little girl. She watches out for other people. She loves to think about things and do projects. She is already a worshipper. She is the baby I prayed for and longed for. We knew her name was Hannah Kay before she was even conceived. Her name means Grace of God, rejoice!

Today we are opening presents and having cake. Tomorrow (when the snow melts) we’re setting up her new swing set and playing outside hopefully. Happy Birthday Hannah!


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Everyone’s Doing It

OK, so this is my New Year’s post.

The idea of a resolution at the beginning of the year is a little funny to me. Because, after all, shouldn’t we be working on our lives year round? On the other hand, the beginning of a new year is a great time to think about life, evaluate where you are, think about things that could be better. So, although it sounds trite to me, here is my list:

-Exercise regularly (I gotta get stronger and have more energy than this. I’m only 27.)
-Turn off the tv more and play with the kids more. (I have a tendency to rely on the tv to help with the girls on hard days. I’m beginning to see that the longer it’s on, the worse things get.)
-Learn more about business administration and marketing
-Make money at business
-Plant a garden
-Make our date night a weekly occurrence
-Paint the bathroom (no, we still don’t have this done)
-Stick to our budget and pay off significant debt
-Write my piano curriculum
-Continue with time with God
-Love people better, even when it’s inconvenient. (I hate that I’m flaky sometimes)

Interesting to me the things that aren’t a huge priority – things like having a spotless house, spending more time reading stuff on the internet, etc.

What’s on your list?

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Our little Audrey is getting so big.
Audrey and my youngest sister Amy. (Amy has mono and wasn’t feeling too hot)

Hannah Kay

Hannah and Moses are buddies.

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Santa Comes to Black Forest

Tonight we had one of my favorite experiences in a while.

*Truth in advertising statement: We tried to do too many things today. This led to cranky kids, rather burnt out parents, late dinner, and a few things I wish I could do over. It was not a perfect day, far from it. However, I don’t feel like talking about that. And this is my blog. And you probably don’t want to hear about that anyway. So I’m going to tell you this cute little story which was the best part of the day. Thank you.

About two minutes from where we live, is the center of the old “town.” It has a fire station, a one room schoolhouse, a general store, a couple other small store buildings, a feed store, a church, and a community center. Most of these are actual log buildings, close to 100 years old. The community center actually hosts an “acoustic society” every other Friday night. People bring their banjos and things of that nature and they do a sing-along from what I can tell. We totally need to go sometime.

On the sign for the community center this week, it said, “Santa arrives, Dec. 1, 7pm.” Well, a quaint little town gathering with Santa was right up my alley. We would have forgotten to go, except that we drove by there right at 6:50, heading to get our tree. We decided to stop.

A group of probably 150-200 people of all ages – babies to 90 year olds, waited in the center of town to light the Christmas tree. A choir of probably 10 people, complete with the warbly soprano, and the very low bass led us in Christmas carols. Their director was a fireball of a lady with white hair who was probably 75. The older couple who has the “keys to the forest” got to plug in the lights on the tree, and everyone “oohed and ahhed.” Then, lights flashing, came the fire engine. Santa and Mrs. Claus were riding in the top, waving to everyone. They pulled into the community center and all the kids lined up to see them.

We reached the front of the line and Hannah buried her head in my shoulder when Santa talked to her. Mrs. Claus said, “Sometimes they’ll come to me?” And Hannah gladly sat on her lap, and told her what she wanted for Christmas. A baby, she said. This is news to me. The whole time, the choir continued to sing carols. A guy with a banjo stood in the back and played occasionally. The director played a few chords at a time on the old upright piano, alternating with waving her arms to keep tempo. There were hot drinks and cookies, and the firefighters and paramedics hung around in the back, enjoying the festivities.

It was just the cutest thing. Like something from a movie. I could almost imagine being there when they did that long ago, for the children…who still come…70 years later.

So, Nick and I have decided that when we’re 75 or 80 years old, he’s going to grow a beard and we’ll go around as Santa and Mrs. Claus. He likes to remind me that he is, after all, St. Nick. Oh, brother.

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Thanksgiving Dinner

Dinner was a smashing success, I must say. I should have followed my instinct and turned the heat up on the sweet potatoes so they were a little softer, and it was difficult to have everything more than just lukewarm by the time it was on the table, but it was….delicious. And completely gluten-free!

Turkey, gluten-free bread stuffing with dried cranberries and water chestnuts, fresh cranberry sauce, green beans with sauteed almonds, maple-orange mashed sweet potatoes, and gravy with thyme and thickened with rice flour. Not pictured here was another dish – maple thyme acorn squash.

The most amazing thing about all of this is, Nick and I keep saying how we can eat a ridiculously full plate and we don’t feel sick! Thanksgiving is a day to be sick, right? I mean, what’s Thanksgiving without feeling bloated and gross and almost achy afterward? You can make delicious food that is good for you!

Anyway, if there are certain recipes you’re interested in, let me know. I almost always find things online and then adapt them.

Hope you all had a great dinner, and great time together as a family!

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Happy Thanksgiving

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863

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Quiet day

I suppose it’s the calm before the proverbial storm, but today is a quiet day. There are tiny snow crystals falling silently out my picture window. All my usual blogs to read are relatively quiet with holiday preparations. I need to do dishes, bake, clean my kitchen, and vacuum today. The three inches of snow and my Jetta’s older tires will probably deter me from coming up with an excuse to leave the house. I’m beginning to really value this kind of peace. The girls thrive on it, when I keep my tone and attitude positive. They get nice, long naps and lots of personal attention on days like this.

Tomorrow we get to enjoy the bustle of my parents’ house and cooking with my mom and sisters. The boys will either play guitar hero or go out to shoot air soft guns, or both (these are “brother activities” that Nick finally gets to participate in, since he doesn’t have any brothers), the girls will run around eating, chasing dogs and cats, watching Pooh, and generally getting underfoot.

Friday I’m making dinner here, and it looks like Luis and Elya will be joining us. Luis was the best man in our wedding, and Luis and Elya are engaged to be married 08.08.08. 🙂 Elya is early in the Dr P diet, and a diagnosed celiac, so I am happy to provide a place where she can safely eat Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday and Sunday we get two more days to be together as a family! The girls are pretty much well, so church might actually happen this week.

Off to go start my day. Peace and thankfulness…

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