Monday, August 20, 2012

Success, er, maybe

My most healthy pregnancy.  I weighed within 5 lbs when I delivered of what I weighed when I got pregnant.  I achieved my goals of getting to have a spontaneous, epidural free, pitocin free delivery.  It was marvelous.

As a result, I now weigh the least I've weighed in at least 15 years.  I put on a pair of shorts today that were my "goal" shorts 2 years ago.  A week after having a baby, I could button them.  (I didn't look good, but I got them on easily) 

Now I'm in that difficult phase of what is next.  I am still in the continuous straddle between being a healthy eater and a binge ridden fool.  I still am sometimes full of self control and am sometimes full of weakness, eating whatever I can get my hands on.  Sometimes forsaking the things I'm not eating are my license to eat too much of what I am.  Not having any chocolate chip cake?  I'll have 4 pieces of Ezekiel bread with plenty of butter.  Not having coffee?  How about a large glass of whole milk? 

You can get fat that way.  Trust me, I know. 

I waver between trusting my Maker to supply all my needs and the snarky desire to meet my emotional needs myself, my way.  And that is hard to stop, once I start.

And it seems that when my eating is out of control, so is my mouth, in other ways.  I am less kind with my words and my tone.  I flap too much and pray too little. 

And then being under 200 lbs doesn't really mean anything.  I have to have discipline today.  I have to walk in submission now.  There is no coasting in the spirit.  If my face and heart are turned toward Him, I have peace and rest.  If they are not, I need to repent. 

I repent.  Change my heart God.  Turn my spirit, fix my gaze on Your beauty.  Draw me after You.  Fill me with You until I want nothing else.  Only You satisfy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My 13th birth story

Sunday evening, three days prior to my lmp due date, I was having contractions.  Not at all regular or frequent.  Not strong either.  Strong enough to get my attention, but not strong enough to make me think a baby was on the way.  I thought, this stupid red raspberry leaf tea stuff is for the birds.  It makes false (pre) labor hurt.  That is what I thought Sunday night.

I went out to dinner with my brother, my sister, my husband, and my parents.  Cheesecake Factory (you know, the place people go to try to go into labor) (not).  I got full and ate half my food.  Had low carb cheesecake.  Yum.  Ate all my cheesecake.

I had contractions through dinner, maybe 6.  Didn't clock them, but they got my attention. 

On a notebook by my bed, I have a list of times that contractions started.  10:32, 10:47, 10:55.  Went to sleep.  Either they went away or weren't enough to wake me.  Before I went to sleep I wrote the following in a journal entry, "I think I will not be pregnant for more than 17 more days."

And when I woke up sixty eleven times through the night (standard operating procedure for 9ish months pregnant) with contractions and the thorough emptying of my bowels and other possible clues, I thought, hmmn, maybe this will happen sooner than I think.  But still, I mostly thought it would be a while. 

So between 4 and 6a.m. I began to think, and say to my half asleep husband, if we are at the beginning of early labor, it would be good to confirm that the baby is pointing the right direction still.  I couldn't tell.  I was pretty sure the head was down, but wanted to confirm it.  I also wanted to make sure the placenta was doing ok, because my only other experience with going into labor early was because of some early separation. 

At 6 I called my doc and he agreed with my thoughts about making sure.  My contractions were, I thought, about 15 minutes apart (I was only counting the REAL ones).  So my husband finished a couple things, we told my family (who God had provided to be with my children during this time, He's so good to me) that we would be back in a couple hours, and we went to the hospital with this prepared statement:  I know I'm probably just in very early labor, but we had a breech position before and wanted to make sure the baby is still right, and I wanted to make sure the placenta is ok. 

I was 6-7 centimeters dilated.

Unbelievable.  Sitting there a few minutes in the women's evaluation unit (the W.E.U., affectionately pronounced Wee-U) we learned a couple other interesting things.  One, my contractions were really more like 4 minutes apart (and stayed like that through delivery) and two, my blood pressure was through the roof (and stayed like that through delivery).  I was not going anywhere.

(Baby was still head down, and my labor did not indicate issues with the placenta, by the way.)

So that was around 7:30 in the morning.  My water was broken maybe around 9, 9:30? and he was born at 10:11 a.m. 

So, I owe a profound apology to red raspberry leaf tea.  I think it probably does actually tone the uterus and make contractions more effective.  I also think the couple week's worth of evening primrose oil I took helped soften the cervix (and maybe helped my rosacea, which is why I told myself I was taking it).  I'm sure it helps that I gained 6 or so lbs instead of 30 some.  And mostly, I feel the favor of the Lord who has blessed me again and again and again.

Little guy is healthy, no blood sugar or temperature issues, no jaundice, nursing well, and looks as different as can be from previous baby boy (who had fair skin, spikey blond hair and blue eyes, this one has lots of dark hair, a darker complexion, and will likely have brown eyes).  We are in a state of stunned happiness here.  I am 4 days postpartem, wearing my skinny pants, and feeling pretty great.  The fam is helping grandly, and I have had minimal hormonal blowups (like when I found a full laundry basket of damp stinky clothes).  I am enjoying the ability to go fall asleep when the need strikes me, which is less and less.  I've taken less drugs for this post partem time, pooped sooner, and feel my humanity returning to me. 

Thank You Jesus for a seventh son, for a healthy nursing and pooping and peeing baby boy, for elder children helping with diaper changing and food prep, for baby amazingly born with out of state family in town to welcome him, and for other gifts so wonderful besides.  How delightful is Your favor Lord.  Help me remember on hard days how wonderful Your love is, and how worthy You are of all my confidence.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Unknown

The baby's head is down.  Or was, yesterday at around 12:45.  This was, I thought, somewhat miraculous, since early that morning I'm pretty sure there were all the wrong parts busy in all the wrong places.  I now recognize (or at least I believe I do) what head down feels like, or at least what butt up feels like.  And I don't know for sure that the baby is committed to staying there, but I am hopeful, since the child at least found it once, and not because I helped.  I didn't really. 

I tried.  I went swimming and was upside down as much as I could be without passing out (didn't have a scuba tank on hand).  I did pelvic elevations and inversions and mostly got a headache and felt like I was strangling.  And we prayed.  I didn't put bags of frozen peas on top of my stomach or burn incense between my toes.  I didn't play classical music or shine a flash light on the bottom of my abdomen.  We didn't really talk to the baby either because, well, frankly, I have children on the outside of me who speak English that don't necessarily do what I tell them to do.  But we did pray.  And that is what I think made the difference. 

And we will continue to pray.  In fact, we will pray often, without ceasing, so to speak.  Because that is really what we can do. 

I've been struggling with the UNKNOWN. 

As a rule, I do not handle suspense well.  I don't enjoy movies or television if I don't know what is going to happen at the end (I look up spoilers on my smart phone).  My favorite movie to watch is one I just saw.  Then I can enjoy the details.  The first time for me is torture.  I don't even really deal well with stupid kid tv.  I like re-runs because I know the characters all survive. 

So real life is sometimes overwhelming.  To make it worse, I try to figure it out.  By the calendar, my due date should have been August 15th.  By my first ultrasound, the baby is due 8/22.  By the second one, 8/17.  My doctor, for my sake, went with the latest date so that we can wait as long as possible for me to go into labor spontaneously, which is what I truly want. 

My blood pressure started to go up about a week and a half ago, but I started the medicine for that, so it's under control now, which should, in turn, keep the complications that go with high blood pressure at bay - placental abruption and liver enzyme problems.  So far, so good.

But at 31 and 35 weeks baby is frank breech.  "Come back in 2 weeks, if the baby is still breech, we'll do an external cephalic version."  Week 37 baby is transverse.  "This is much better, let's wait another week and see if baby figures it out."  Week 38 (which might be week 39) baby is head down.

The All Wise, All Knowing, All Seeing Internet says the e.c.v. is most effective at 37 weeks and gets less effective each week.  It also says once the baby is head down it will probably stay there, to the tune of 96%.  But IT doesn't mean me.  It doesn't mean when it's your 12th baby.  It doesn't know that I could take my uterus out and use it as a tent, it's so stretched out. 

And my doctor doesn't know for sure either.  We went from "normally we would do a version this week and an induction next week" to "if you come into the hospital in labor we can try to turn the baby then".  He isn't being unkind.  He just doesn't know. 

I don't know.  I don't know anything.  I make these weird chart/calendar things with all the possible dates I could have the baby, the 10th if the first version goes wrong, the 17th if an induction is necessary, as early as the 12th if I am really due the 15th, as late as the 30th if I am really due the 22nd. 

Will baby stay head down?  Would it be better to induce sometime when we know the head is down?  Or better to wait for labor to happen on its own and hope the head happens to be down when that day comes?  If the baby flips again and I'm sure of it, do I call and ask for a version at that point? 

You see what I mean.  Unknown. 

It isn't a lack of control.  It is the temptation to try to take control.  I can take control.  If the baby flips again I could call and say, please flip this kid and induce me.  I'm well within range of that being acceptable.  It would probably go fairly well and be as good as most of my labors.  I know how to do a week early induction.  Been there, done that.

But I have these desires for this pregnancy and labor and delivery.  And so much of it has happened.  My best pregnancy ever.  My rings are still loose.  I've NEVER worn my rings at the end of my pregnancy.  I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome.  Normally I have to wear my shoes or my feet hurt.  I have been happily barefoot and pregnant most of the last 8 months.  I can still wear my shoes too.  The heartburn hasn't been bad.  I feel great.  I look pretty good, for me.  I've gained something like 5 lbs, start to finish. 

And a big part of my motivation for staying very near my starting weight is having the opportunity to go into labor on my own and have labor and delivery like normal people, just having contractions because my baby is ready to be born, no bed rest, no bleeding, no pitocin. 

And no control.  No induction means no control.  It means suspense.  It means I have a range of at least 10 days during which I could go into labor.  And I don't know when it will be.  Probably August.  I don't think I will still be pregnant in September.  But I guess even that is possible. 

When it's all said and done (and me, being me, will have said it several more times prior to it being done), I'm leaning.  I am staying near to the One who knows.  I'm nearsighted and hard of hearing (figuratively)(okay, I really am nearsighted) and I have no choice but to stay very near to the One who sees and knows.  The only peace to be found is leaning on my Beloved.  I cannot know, I choose not to take control, all I can do is lean.