Saturday, March 27, 2010

Auralee's version of Sleeping Beauty

She's supposed to be singing the song from Sleeping know, "I know you, I've walked with you once upon a dream." If she's singing the wrong words, however, you can't hold her completely responsible, since she's never actually seen the movie. And she learned the song from me. And I've never actually seen the movie. So, all things considered, she does a pretty good job.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soccer Season

Soccer season is upon us once again. And after waiting two years and four soccer seasons, Priya is finally old enough to participate instead of watch her older brother. It's funny, however, the motivations our children have for the things they do. Joe is a pretty good soccer player--i.e., he usually stays focused on the game, often defends well, and sometimes even scores. I think, however, that his favorite part is not actually playing in the game but, rather, sitting on the bench flirting with the girls on his team.

Priya, on the other hand, loves to be on the field. Once in a while, she kicks (at) the ball.

Most of the time, however, she focuses on looking good on the field...

or relaxing on the bench and cheering on her team.

Ahhh. There's nothing like two months worth of Saturdays spent sitting in the Florida sun, watching your children exercise!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

*WARNING: Graphic birth story*

I've been thinking a lot about yelling lately. Not that I've been thinking about yelling at someone, but just about yelling in general. Because it seems that, with each successive birth, I've gotten just a little bit louder. And my perspective about yelling has also changed because I've got a new baby at home, which can be, at times, noisy. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

I woke up on Friday morning (March 5) in labor. It took me a while to wake up and realize what was going on, partially because the contractions, at first, just felt like menstrual cramps, and also because I honestly did not expect to go into labor on my own so early (only six days past due!) I had a pre-natal and a non-stress test scheduled for that morning, and I planned on asking my OB to strip my membranes during the exam because that seemed to work for Auralee's birth and I was sick of being pregnant. But then I woke up in the morning and all of that was unnecessary.

I labored patiently all morning. I figured it would take a while, since all of my labors do, and because the contractions weren't really that bad yet anyway. I went to Target for pacifiers and burp rags. A lady in the parking lot asked me if I was okay when she saw me sitting on the back bumper of the car, waiting for a contraction to end before putting my bags in the trunk. I smiled and said, "I'm fine; I'm just in labor." Ha. I was really excited to say it, and even more excited when John called Dr. Seltzer to cancel my appointment and let him know that I would probably deliver later that day.

I cleaned out the van and packed a backpack for the hospital (weird!) I laid down at about 2 p.m. The contractions were pretty strong by then, but I didn't think they were really doing that much, because they were still averaging about seven minutes apart and lasting only 40 seconds at best. When I got up, I called around until I found someone to come and stay with the kids while John and I went to the hospital. Then, at about 4:00 p.m., I had John check my cervix (one perk of having a doctor for a husband) to see how much longer I had before I needed to go to the hospital. He was on call at 5 p.m., so we thought that, if I was getting close, I might go with him to the hospital and labor in the on-call room until I was ready to check into L&D. He said I was 6-7 cm, very stretchy, and almost completely effaced. We figured that I'd better go with him to the hospital at that point.

We had Steve Jordan come over to help John give me a blessing, and as soon as my friend, Michelle Reed, arrived with her kids for a slumber party, John and I got in the car and left. On the way to the hospital, the contractions got closer together and some of them were, as I told John, "real doozies," although I still didn't think they were strong enough to be what I consider transition contractions. They were 3 to 5 minutes apart, though, and we decided that I ought to check into the labor and delivery ward as soon as we arrived. He called Dr. Seltzer, who was already at the hospital, and the nurses at L&D to let them know we were coming (another perk of having a doctor for a husband).

We walked through the hospital to the maternity floor, pausing a couple of times for strong contractions. They had the room all set up for us--all their silly instruments and the strange bed and obnoxiously breezy hospital gown. I disrobed and put on the gown, then climbed into the bed so they could poke and prod me. This was the part I most feared about the entire process. When I found out that my insurance wouldn't pay for a midwife and a home birth, I spent a lot of time agonizing over the hospital experience. I think it helped having John running around behind the scenes orchestrating everything so that I got the nurses to leave me alone as much as possible. They took my blood pressure and put the external fetal monitor on my belly. They needed fifteen minutes of monitoring, during which time I had to lie on my back. Ugh!

The worst part was getting the stupid IV in. I didn't need fluids or anything, but it was one hospital protocol that my OB was unwilling to dispense with, so after cycling through three different nurses and five sticks, they finally got one in. It didn't give enough blood for the tests they needed, though, so they still had to take blood from a vein in my arm for the CBC and the rest.

By that time, they had the monitoring they needed, so they took off the belt and the blood pressure cuff and, after checking my cervix to report to Dr. Seltzer, said I could turn onto my side. As soon as I did, I had one of those contractions that makes you grab at anything you can just to keep your body from tearing in half. The nurse said that I was completely dilated--a rim and a bulging sack, she said--and that if they broke my water, the baby would be born within ten minutes. I hesitated for a moment. Dr. Seltzer came in and assured me that this was true. I had another one of those mind-blowing, just-kill-me-now contractions and told them to go ahead and break my water.

As soon as my water broke, I felt like some had set a 20-lb. bag of rice on my abdomen. The contraction which followed lasted FOREVER, it seemed, and I was beginning to wonder if it was worth it break my water. But then everything happened so quickly. I started feeling the urge to push and the urge to yell, so I did both, which, I think, hurt the ears of everyone in the labor room except me. They kept telling me to quiet down and convert some of that energy into pushing, but the pain had to go somewhere, and I was not really conscious that I was screaming.

I didn't curse or yell at my husband or get angry at anybody. I just wanted the baby out so that the pain would end. So when Dr. Seltzer told me to wait until the contraction ended and then push between contractions, I did so, and it hurt, but the head was out and then everybody kept telling me to look down, but I wasn't going to look down, I was just going to finish birthing this baby so that I could be done with it, and the next thing I knew, he was lying on my stomach, all warm and wet, and purple, and it was OVER!

I don't know what kind of a rush you get when you have an epidural. When you don't, it's absolutely amazing; it hits you all at once. You're not pregnant anymore, you're not in labor anymore, you're not pushing anymore. All the pain is over, instantly, and you feel light and airy and SO AWESOME, like you just learned how to fly or saved the human race or helped create life.

So that's why I don't worry about it when my newborn baby yells at me a little bit--he doesn't want to go to sleep on his own or he doesn't like getting his diaper changed or whatever. I know what it's like to find your way through something however you can. He's so beautiful (see for yourself), and we all love him instantly.