Friday, November 21, 2014

The best things you can do to help new mommys.

Don't ask what they need. Instead of asking new moms what they need or what they need help with, offer specific tasks.  When we were in the hospital a group of our amazing friends came over and cleaned our entire house. They even scrubbed my toilets & shower. -Embarrassing.  However, it was one of the BEST things they could have done for us. We came home to an amazingly clean house & a basket full of necessities like new toothbrushes, Dreft laundry detergent, hand soap & gift cards to restaurants! 

Be really wise with your words & be sure what you're saying is loving. I know a lot of people mean well.. But be careful what you say to a new mama. For me, even talking about my birth used to bring me to tears because of how traumatic it was for me. So when people said things like "I had a friend who's baby was stuck too but she still delivered at home and it was a beautiful birth," can leave a new mom feeling even worse about sharing her story. So be gentle & think twice about what you're about to say to a fragile new mom. 

Don't ask if you can bring your kids. OR don't NOT ask & bring them anyways. (Obviously there are exceptions for close family) I always felt trapped whenever anyone asked me this. With Elle being so new, I really preferred that other children not be around her until she had time to get some of my immunities. 

Stop with the advice. I promise, if we have questions, we will ask. When we posted that our baby slept 8 hours last night (fist pump!) we aren't looking to start WWIII about all the different sleep techniques and what you did. Chances are we have a very close group of people we trust & are able to ask our most ridiculous questions to. So please, unless we ask, don't be so quick to tell us how to parent. 

Don't make it about you. I know this one is tough. You hear a new mom telling her story or what's she's struggling with & you want to chime in with, "oh when I had my baby..." Or " that is rough but you should hear so & so's story..." As new mom's we need to be heard and if we're vulnerable enough to openly talk about this stuff with you, take the opportunity to encourage us, not turn the story around on yourself. 

With that said .. DO relate! When a new mom says she feels terrible because she let my baby sleep & didn't wake her to feed her or she accidentally dropped her phone on her baby's little head while trying to nurse & scroll through facebook (I don't think it's important to know if I did this or not), it's perfectly acceptable to then divulge that you too did those same exact things & she has nothing to worry about and she's a great mom! My sister was my BIGGEST encourager with this and I will be forever grateful. 

Don't assume. I had so many people say things like "don't you just feel_____ or aren't you just so _____.  I recently read this article about how when we don't really ask a question but pretend we already know the answer, it makes people feel like they can't be honest. Instead she suggests asking things like, how are you doing? Instead of "isn't being a mommy just the best thing in the whole world?" This can leave a new mom feeling like something is wrong with them if they just haven't gotten the hang of things yet & aren't really sure how they feel about this new little creature who is constantly attached to one of of their nipples.  

New moms, old moms, all the moms... Anything to add??? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

10 signs you're a new mama

Your baby is 4 months old and anyone who comes near her must have clean hands. If they want to hold the baby, you must actually see the hand washing take place. You don't anticipate this not being required until they're about a year old. 

You never put your baby down. After all, you only have one, why put her down when she is much better soothed in your arms. 

You & your husband are able to stare at, talk to & make all sorts of sounds at your baby for at least an hour without getting bored. You have no place to be and no toddler telling you they "poo pooed in their pants." 

Trips to the store are fairly easy considering you only have one in tow. I should know, I nannied multiples. That stuff is hard! 

Your iPhone is always giving you the "memory is full, please check your settings" message when attempting the a fourtheenth video to get that laugh recorded. 

When your baby reaches a milestone, You tweet, facebook, and Instragram the cuse out of it. 

You've called your pediatricians office more times than you would care to admit & about things you would really not care to admit. 

You're texting your sister, mom, aunt, BFFL, and anyone else who will respond promptly, an unheard of amount of times a minute. Sending info about your baby's poop, asking questions like "she keeps farting in her sleep, is that normal??" & maybe just a success story about how your baby just fell asleep in the car ON HER OWN. *fist pump! 

Your husband has banned you from google because you always come to the conclusion that your child must have Ebola & that's why she spit up last night. 

You're still really careful about nursing in public and take drastic measures to make sure your baby doesn't kick that cover off because you don't need the whole world seeing that. I've heard it gets easier with more & many are willing to just "whip it out" when they're little love is hungry. 

New mamas, anything you might add?! 

Baby Elle's Birth story

I'm actually started writing this part in the early stages of labor. . I don't know what I was thinking but I was totally calm when it was time to go & I felt like it might be easier to remember if I start writing it down. . 

Thursday night around 5:30 my back started hurting. It was an Achey, menstural like cramp that was pretty consistent. We decided to pull out all the stops and went to grab some spicy chinese. By this point I was pretty uncomfortable sitting in a booth and we needed to drive about 15 min to drop off something to some friends. The car was making it very uncomfortable so we stopped at Target so I could use the restroom and take a couple laps. We made it once around & I just wanted to go home. Once home, I lied down for about an hour & my back was still hurting. I had noticed my tummy would tighten at times but it was very sporadic so I decided to jump in the shower which helped tremendously. We stayed up & talked until about 11 then headed to bed. I woke up at 1 having bad heartburn & then realized I was having the same back pain and tummy tightening so I decided to start monitoring it. For an hour they were about every 7 min and lasting for about 40 sec each. I had been having BH  for about a week an a half before this which was just a strange tightening but this time my back hurt as well. My upper back was also hurting due to other things I'm sure & I had a wicked headache from lack of sleep. I text my sister to update her and ask her some questions and she said she thought I was probably in the early stages. I finally decided to get out of bed & accidentally woke up my husband who decided it was time to get up clean & the whole house. No, I'm serious, he did the laundry, the dishes & was wiping counters and cleaning up our living room. He even made the bed at one point. He came out and caught me stuffing my face with an icee cup from our freezer. While he was cleaning,  I had some tea and decided to lie back down on the couch & begin monitoring again since I was up and moving I didn't seem to feel them as much. 

 Finally Nathan decided to join me on the couch and we were talking about it possibly being the day. I got up to use the restroom and as soon as I got to the hallway, water started pouring down my legs. I looked up at Nathan and told him I thought I was peeing. He laughed and said no honey your water broke. So he grabbed some towels and helped me clean it up. He started packing his bag and I added a couple toiletries to mine. Nathan grabbed everything and put it in the car. He was certainly excited it was really cute how he was rushing to make sure we had everything. We then agreed it would be good to go get some donuts and I ate 2 knowing I wouldn't be able to eat for a while ;) 

I had put a panty liner on because,
Well because I'm so smart and thought if my water broke any more, that would hold it. Well, as soon as we got to the hospital, I stepped out of the car and it started gushing out again. Nathan grabbed some necessities & we started walking to the entrance. A nurse who was leaving saw me soaking wet and waddling and was wanting to know if she could help or get a wheelchair. I told her I was fine (my contractions still weren't hurting at this point) and we made our way to labor & delivery. 

I had pre-registered so imagine my surprise when I was standing there soaking wet explaining my water broke and they're asking me a ton of questions. I just kept thinking.. Is this necessary? I'm soaking wet! Finally they got me into a triage room. They then asked Nathan to wait outside so they could ask me the typical questions and then left me alone for what seemed like forever. I wanted to walk out and ask for my husband but he came in shortly after.

 Soon after that,  I stated to feel the contractions. They were totally bearable but did hurt a little at this point. I decided to start practice breathing through them to help when they got more Intense & my triage nurse encouraged me to try humming. This actually proved to help me sooo much thoughout my Labor! I had Nathan turn our playlist on and I began humming through the songs. The triage nurse then checked me.. I was a 3 (was a 2 at my last appt). I should mention that my next appt was actually supposed to be that morning at 8:30am. At this point I think it was around 7:30 when they admitted me & began preparing a room for me in L&D. 

At this point some lady came in to get some blood from me and put my IV in. She clearly didn't know what she was doing and was shaking the whole time I couldn't even look. It hurt so bad already and then she dropped a vile and it starting shooting everywhere. I then threw up. She then kept getting blood & then ended up THROWING IT AWAY. I have no idea what the heck but I was all done with her. 

Upon arrival all they would talk about was putting me on pitocin. They had only checked me ONE time & immediately wanted to start it. We said no. We started walking the halls and I was having contractions every 30 sec in my back. We began praying that I would get to a certain point so they would quit pushing the pitocin. We walked the whole time unless they wanted to monitor me and baby for 20 min and then after they were done we were right back out walking the halls. I took the advice from the triage nurse and hummed during contractions. We had made a play list well in advance and I hummed through old hymns and hillsong and elevation worship. This might be surprising to some people but this was my favorite time. Nathan walked with me the whole time and would stop and hold me and rub my back during each one. Although they hurt, I knew The Lord was with me and I kept getting emotional during some of my favorite worship songs knowing that He had such good things in store for us & already had given us so much. If they wouldn't have pushed pitocin, and this may be me being naive, but I honestly think I could have stuck to my plan to not have medication at all. 

So, the nurse had told us if we could get to a 5 on our own within a certain amount of time, we could keep pushing the pitocin back. After hours and many other answered prayers she came back in, put me on the monitor for 20 minutes then let me know she would give me another hour or so because she was going to get some lunch. When she got back and checked me I was almost a 5 but not totally there. By that point we had been there for 7 hours and they were getting antsy about me not progressing as fast as they would like (So annoying). Our nurse was pushing us telling us the dr on call would only give me so much longer so we asked her to leave so we could talk about it. I told Nathan there was no way I was getting on pitocin without an epidural. Which scared me. More than anything else, the epidural freaked me out. I was so worried I would be the small percentage that was paralyzed from it or something. My sweet husband was so amazing. He prayed for us then I asked him to please make a decision.  We decided I would get the pitocin but also the epidural. The reason we had to talk about it was because I was really aiming for a natural birth & up until then, I thought it just might happen. Even as I look back now, I can see the Lord in this decision. 

We let the nurse know and the anesthesiologist came in shortly after. We had our worship music still playing and he walked in and immediately sneered "can you turn that noise off?!" So Nathan gave me a look & walked over to turn it down. I just smiled and said "that's our music." He then asked if I wanted an epidural and I responded that I had some questions (remember I'm terrified at this point). He stormed to the door and said "well you either want one or don't, I was told you did!" At which point my nurse walked back in and asked what was going on. Then I immediately started crying out of fear and my nurse asked if he would stay and answer my questions. He was very short with me & basically said suck it up, I've never seen that happen in all my years. After that, through hysteria, they gave me the epidural, which didn't hurt at all. The IV hurt worse! All the while he was talking to Nathan asking about his job. When he started telling him he worked for a church he rudely asked if he went to school for that then was surprised you could even go to school for something like that. Looking back, I can't even believe how rude he was but brushed it off then because I was drugged and happy now. Right after, they started me on pitocin and we had a shift change so I got a new nurse. 

At some point, my sweet dr eventually came in to visit me. My office has on call doctors so you basically get who you get & unfortunately it wasn't her shift that night. But She did come to check on me and look over my chart.. Said she knew something must be up since I missed my appt. She also mentioned that we might not have a baby that night which actually brought me comfort. I was glad my doctor wasn't pushing me to have the baby and hurry up and get out. She talked to us for a little while longer & I was so glad I got to see her. She even made a joke about how my blood pressure was actually low because every time I would see her, it was elevated. 

Eventually they upped my pitocin to the highest, because I guess to them, why not? I was drugged. I also had a new nurse, 1 of 4 just in my time of being in labor and delivery, who proved to be the best nurse I could have ever asked for and was really amazing with me, even at my worst. After that, everything started moving really fast. I was at a 7 when she checked me around 8 I believe and By 10pm I was almost fully dilated with a tiny bit of cervix left. She let me know I could labor down & anticipated a quick birth because  she could feel the baby. My mom & sister left assuming I would have a baby within 2 hours tops...unfortunately that was not the case. From there.. Everything is kind of a blur. 

I started to push at around 10:30. My nurse kept encouraging me that it wouldn't be long. At one point we joked that we were in a race with another couple down the hall. She beat me. 
I pushed for about 2 hours and I could feel my epidural wearing off. At first, I was glad. I could feel more of something and it was easier to push while feeling the contractions. I literally told her to turn off my medicine and that I would be fine. I was delirious, I am telling you. I don't know how I thought I would be OK on the highest drip of pitocin without some sort of pain medication but I was determined. My nurse had even told Nathan to get ready to call the Dr. soon because Elle should be making her arrival soon, so I thought, I can handle this pain.. Especially since she says it's going to happen really soon. She was helping the baby down while I pushed and said I was at -3. Which is right before the baby comes out. I think you can get to the -4 station which is when baby will come out.

anyways - fast forward to TWO MORE HOURS of pushing .. WITHOUT an epidural. Looking back I don't know what I was thinking ..I guess that my dream to give birth naturally might actually come true? The Dr. on call came in and asked what was wrong as I don't think he was aware of my decision to stop my epidural. He then checked me himself to see how far I had progressed. By this time I was in such bad pain I was praying & hoping he would say she was really close. When he said I was at a -1, I LOST it. Somehow I had gone backwards?!! I remember the pain was so bad I was screaming for medicine. I heard him say after I got meds again, I could push for another HOUR if I wanted before he had to take me back to the OR. After all, Elle was doing great & wasn't in any distress (Thank God!) At first I thought, OK, I could do that, but the medication took what seemed like forever & it wasn't kicking in right away. Did I mention they had performed 12 C-sections that day and the Dr on call had joked with me earlier that I better not be his 13th. Reallllyy comforting at this point. 

My nurse & jerk anesthesiologist were arguing about what to give me and I am pretty sure I turned to Nathan and cursed.. something about they needed to shut up & just give me something. At this point my body just kind of shut down. I could no longer push through the contractions as they were coming on so strong & fast, I couldn't even take a small break. I looked at Nathan and said "I can't do this, I feel like I am going to die." and I was crying & begging for him to make a decision because I was terrified of going through a c-section but knew it may be my only choice at this point.. my poor husband y'all. But how brave he was for me & I will never forget the way he looked at me and comforted me in those moments. If I have ever seen Jesus in someone, it was in that moment when my husband told me everything was going to be okay and how much he loved me. He looked at the Dr and just stated that we would like to go back now. & everything began to be prepped. He called my mom and asked her to please come down as we were hoping she could stay in the OR with me once he went with Elle to the nursery. They wouldn't allow it. 

They gave me some gross drink which I threw up and my medicine had just started to kick in. I had been awake for 26 hours & began to fall asleep as they pushed me into the OR. I was so afraid that I would fall asleep and miss her birth but how naive I was to think C-sections don't hurt. I cried the whole way into that OR room and continued to until my anesthesiologist said " Jessica, you need to stop crying. If you come in this room upset and crying, you're going to leave this room upset and crying." It took everything in me to not burst into tears even more than I was after he was so cold with me. How could you look at someone in the situation I was in and not have an ounce of sympathy? Nathan wasn't with me yet and I remember feeling so alone but remembered that Nathan asked the nurse to please let me take in my phone as it was playing our worship list we had created for birth. I don't remember what song was playing but I remember being so thankful my husband thought to ask that & how comforting that the Lord was still speaking to me through that even though I was too upset to pay attention. 
I remember the anesthesiologist trying to give me more medicine through my IV and mentioning it wasn't in right. I was thinking he better get it working or give me a new one because I didn't want to feel them cutting into me. The first time they tested if I could feel it, I could. The second I could feel but it didn't hurt. They started to cut and there was a lot of jerking me around and I could feel some things. Nathan came in shortly after and sat down right by me stroking my hair and holding my hand. I was gripping his hand so tight I am surprised he didn't wince. I felt burning at one point and asked him if it were normal. He replied " it's not normal but there is nothing I can do about it." UM ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I thought for sure Nathan was going to lose it. He then began asking about Elle's name and what it meant. Nathan explained it meant God's promise in Hebrew & He started questioning if we knew what it really meant.. I couldn't understand why he kept attacking us..

The next thing I knew someone said, OK you're going to feel a lot of pressure & at 2:48 am on Saturday, July 26th, I felt them pull Elle from my body. I was saying "cry baby, cry" just wanting to hear her little cry and then there it was. I was so happy to hear her scream & let us know she was OK. I heard the nurses saying how huge she was and I was thinking what in the world, how big of a baby did I have?! (She was only 7 pounds 14 oz so I don't know what they were talking about.) I then began asking Nathan "is she cute, is she cute?!" to which he responded "she's so beautiful." I told him to go be with her so she didn't have to be without us. He walked over to her and she was still wailing, so he gently said "hi baby" and she immediately stopped & just looked up at her daddy. Within 5 minutes, Nathan brought her to me and even though  I wasn't able to hold her, I snuggled her little face with mine while crying happy tears & I was pulling her hat off so I could see her hair & telling her I loved her & giving her kisses. They took her shortly after and Nathan went with them & was able to hold her skin to skin. She tried nursing on him & we still laugh about it. 

Turns out, Elle was stuck in my pubic bone and he had to yank her out. Upon yanking her out, he almost dropped her because lo and behold, she had the cord wrapped around her little leg.. explaining why each time after I pushed, she would just go right back to where she was. Nathan didn't get to cut the cord because the DR had to untangle it from her leg & cut it to get it off.  Basically, she wasn't coming out any other way except via C-Section. She had a little bubble type thing on her head filled with fluids (forgot what they called it) because she was so stuck in there! 

They wheeled me into recovery & I was shaking horribly. I immediately started asking when I could see Elle & Nathan. My nurse asked if I was sure I was ready and I told her I was. She called down and a couple minutes later Nathan came in pushing Elle in her bassinet. He picked her up & snuggled her close while walking her over to me. I remember asking for my phone because this moment was so precious & I started snapping pictures. They handed her to me while Nathan helped hold her up (because I was still shaking) and she began nursing immediately. I am so, SO thankful she latched on so quickly and effortlessly in that moment. It was an incredible answer to prayer after what we had just been through. 
It took me a while to type all of this out (hello! She was born almost 4 months ago!) because I felt robbed. Robbed of the perfect birth story. The perfect experience. The perfect feelings. If I can be honest, I was mad at God for the way things turned out (more on that in another post) But I realized that none of those things matter. My birth story wasn't even close to perfect, in fact I would argue that it was traumatic. But it was MY story. It was how that sweet baby girl of mine was brought into this world & the Lord has a plan and purpose even in our messy story. And ultimately I thank God every day that He kept Elle safe & that she IS perfect. And amazing, and the best thing that's ever happened to Nathan & I. 

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