Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Things We Do For Love

I'm sure some day my daughter will forgive me for dressing her up like a pumpkin complete with a hat with a stem on top.
This being my first Halloween as a parent I find myself thinking about what traditions I want to start once Layla is old enough to remember them. The picture evidence of costumes we'd be embarrassed about will have to last till then.

What Halloween traditions do you and your family have?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

To Layla @ One Month Old

My Little Layla-bug,

It's baffling to mommy that you could already be one month old but I look at the calendar today and sure enough here it is the first month anniversary of your birth. You have been around only one month and already you are the most important thing in my life. You have become my center of gravity and I revolve around you changing your diapers, feeding you and letting you nestle next to me in bed to sleep.

Daddy mentioned last night that eventually you will have to go to your own crib. I laid in bed after he fell asleep and my heart broke. I love daddy very much and sharing a bed with him is one of my favorite parts of being married but I know a little part of our relationship will shatter when you move to the other room in the near future. I awaken sometimes in the middle of the night and the light from the closet (which we leave on so I can see you when you make noises) casts a little shadow across the bed where you and daddy lay in the exact same position snoring in chorus.

I feel your breath against my chest as I sleep because you always roll yourself on your right side when we lay you down. You're a strong little girl, already kicking and holding your head up, grabbing onto things to inspect them and rolling yourself around to get to where you want to go. Right now you want to go next to me and it makes my heart swell.

You are a determined and stubborn child. You hardly ever cry but you are more than willing to scream a protest at anyone who attempts to make you wear socks. You hate socks. You spend a good deal of your day trying to keep things away from your feet because you are very ticklish just like your father. You give people stink eye when they try to wrestle you into footwear. It's very funny to watch.

When we laugh you laugh. Strike that. When daddy laughs or Grandpa Glen laughs you laugh. When mommy laughs you look at her like she's crazy. You have a great little laugh and an impish grin that makes grown men melt like butter. You are quite the little charmer.

In addition to winning over your family, god parents and most our friends you have an uncanny ability to be the center of attention in public places. You lay there, peacefully sleeping in your car seat, and perfect strangers will walk up to mommy and comment on how lucky she is and how beautiful you are. Mommy always agrees because she's bias but the truth of the matter is that you are beautiful because of your uncanny ability to love everyone already.

When we hand you to someone you immediately trust them, you slip into their arms and drift ever so slowly to sleep until you overflow on to their lap or chest and you make little happy noises and you slumber. Your purity of heart makes people feel loved and they hug you and sigh. Don't get me wrong I'm not handing you to strangers but I have yet to introduce you to a family member or friend who wasn't warmed with your charming little spirit.

It's only been a month and it seems as though somehow at the same time you have always been here and like you've only just arrived. You're like watching fireworks, my own little pyrotechnic show. You burst with life, you explode with love, you glitter with newness of life and you are a startling reminder of how dramatic lives best changes can be.

Daddy and I love you more than you could possibly imagine.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Interview by Cheryl @ Red Pens & Diapers

Cheryl over at Red Pens & Diapers (link in the sidebar) got interviewed by another blogger on her site and she asked if any of us would like to be interviewed by her. I volunteered because it sounded like fun and these are the questions she asked me. If anyone would like to be interviewed by me I'm offering up the same deal just email me or leave something in the comments section and I'll send you 5 questions as well.

1) I know you're a talented chef. What is your most hated food that you would never prepare?

I really dislike brussel sprouts. I even hate the way they smell so I would never ever cook a brussel sprout in my own home or anyone else's for that matter. I also have never had great luck with home-made corn bread so I try to avoid that one whenever possible and use a mix. I'm allergic to oranges so we hate those around here too.

2) What do you see happening with your career over the next five years?

I recently got terminated from my job (and no I'm not going to talk about it so don't ask). In the next five years I'll be developing myself in a new career that has yet to be determined and won't be until the end of my SDI for the C- Section I just had. But, I know this much... you learn something from everything you do and I learned a lot from this job...both doing it and leaving it that will be helpful no matter where I go.

3) What is one thing you are craving today?

I am a huge pepsi with ice person and most of my readers know that. What you don't know is that I always want one. It's like be an addict. I'm always thinking about my next pepsi with ice. But not food related today I crave forgiveness and grace. Which I think all of us crave at one time or another in our life.

4) You've had an interesting spiritual path, to say the least. What are you going to tell Layla about it?

Actually this topic comes up a lot in my family. I'm going to be telling my daughter the truth...from a very young age about all the things I've gone through spiritually and how they developed me as a person. If it weren't for some of the pagan things I did my belief would be different and I think that's important for her to understand. I'll tell her to focus on loving well because I think that's the most important part of any religion. And I'll tell her that the grace in Christianity appealed to a broken part of my soul and so I choose to be filled with it. I will tell her that I still struggle daily and that I still sin. And then I will tell her that no matter what path she walks me, daddy and God will always love her.

5) If you suddenly found yourself to be the Queen of the World, what five rules would you immediately impose on your kingdom?

Rule #1- Love others well. Forgive them without question. Accept them without judgment. Help them without asking for something in return.
Rule #2- Be yourself. You are perfect just the way God created you. A brilliant mix of imperfection and chaos. You may not believe it but you will if you just focus on being who you really are.
Rule #3- Learn from your mistakes and from the things you did right. You will fail. You will have shame. You will succeed. You will know joy. No matter what you do right or wrong you can learn so much more from doing things than you can from judging them or watching them from a distance.
Rule #4- Live life like it is something you can't do over because you can't do it over. My mother used to say it was better to be odd than boring. I don't know that I'm odd but I'm definitely willing to make an ass of myself in order to try something and I've gained a lot from can you.
Rule #5- If in doubt...see rule number one... it's the most important.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tom Cruise Can Kiss My Ass

Day by day you learn things you didn't know as your pregnancy progresses and then after you become a mom you learn things you didn't know you didn't know. For instance I didn't know that there was such a thing as post partum anxiety. Everyone talks about PP depression but PPA is just as common. I'm not sad and I have never wanted to leave or to go back to pre-baby... I'm anxious and worried all the time.

Worried about my daughter, my job, worried the dishwasher will break, worried I'll be hot when I get there, worried that I'm worrying too much, worried I haven't worried in awhile. And then I cry not because I'm sad but because I'm seriously stressed the f*ck out and my heart is racing and I don't feel like I'm bonding correctly because I'm too busy worrying I'll forget something or remember something or something will change or not change.

Then the baby wakes up because she realizes I have left the room and she cries. She is worried. I pick her up and she is instantly calm and smiles at me and I think "yea this is the good life" but soon she drifts off to sleep and my mind wanders off to the land were things are unsettled.

Today I called my mother and unloaded the kind of stress only a mother will listen to without telling you to "buck up cowboy" and when I finished she advised me it was time to call my Dr and start enjoying my maternity leave.

I don't believe in magic little pills or maybe it's just that I don't want to believe that everything will be ok because then if it isn't I'll be worried again but I'm ordering my little pills because I couldn't pray my way through this one. Sometimes when you give it to God he tells you to call in reinforcements.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

8 Hour Nights

The last two nights Layla has slept from 11 pm until just before 7 am. That's 8 hours for those of you that are bad at math. People often wonder why a person would want to co-habitationally sleep with their kids in their bed... well that's why people... 8 glorious hours.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Looking Back

I vividly remember the day of my ultrasound. I remember the anxiety of waiting for the heartbeat and the anticipation of finding out the sex of our baby and I remember the ultra sound of little tiny feet. Out of all the pictures for some reason those little tiny feet became my symbol of hope... ten perfect little toes and two tiny little heels. They were done... completely made...the way God intended them to be...the first fully baked part of my baby.
She's two weeks old now and I find myself still fascinated by her little tiny feet. Tiny little perfect arches, perfect ten little toes- all if it so pink and little. Some day these feet will walk, some year down the road they will dance her through her prom and years after that they will carry her down the aisle. They've stopped being a little sign of hope and have started being a tool. They will be a part of her future she takes for granted.
I'll tell her. I'll tell her about how she used to kick anything that touched my stomach while she was in the womb. I'll tell her about the blue bruise I had for the last two months of my pregnancy from her kicking the table when I sat too close to it. I'll tell her about the little picture of her ultra sound and how those little toes meant so much to me. I'll show her this picture of her little perfect feet just days after she was born and I'll tell her how she was so ticklish when we got her home we couldn't put socks on her and sometimes she'd cry when her blankie rubbed her feet wrong.

She'll think I'm a silly old woman when I talk about her feet and maybe I will be a silly old woman. But I walked a long path, I'll tell her, I walked the halls of the Drs office and the corridors of the hospital, I walked the tile floors in the living room when she cried and I'll walk with her down to every memory she'll let me. And I'll be the silly old woman who loves her from the top of her head to the bottom of the perfect little feet we all prayed so hard for.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Ticker

The little ticker in the sidebar of this blog says that Layla should be 3 days old. According to the powers that be she would be coming on the 12th of October but she had plans of her own and instead of celebrating her birth last night we celebrated her umbilical cord falling off with a real in the bath tub bath. A bath that made her already slightly unruly hair even more wild and unpredictable.

My little Libra born at the end of September when she was the least expected already lives up to her sign. The Libra is the only astrological sign that is not an animal or a human. It is based on the constellation Libra... the scales.

Little Libra if your sign holds true you will be clever, articulate, outgoing, fair, artistic, social, refined, diplomatic, sensual, even-tempered character. Your friends will find you co-operative, demonstrative, playful, open-minded, self-sufficent, pleasant, partnership oriented, graceful, idealistic, charismatic, and peaceful. You might be prone to rationalize, indecisive, are also thought to be flirtatious, extravagant, frivolous, impatient.

From best I can tell you got the best of your father and myself. You are laid back and gentle like he is but fiesty and playful like I am. And you already have a little of the worst of us... you are quick to temper like I am and quick to let things roll off your back like your father (while some think that's a great trait it has it's faults).

You'll be your own little person soon enough. Your personality blossoms every day. Your little smiles have purpose already and you've taken rolling onto your right side on as a personal goal which you often conquer on the first try.

You are beautiful, everyone says so, strangers tell us when we go out to eat. People stop to look at you. But they don't know the truth... the beauty of your wavy hair and tiny body someday will be so unimportant and mommy knows the truth...your real beauty lies within.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Meeting Your Match

There comes a point around 4:30 a.m. when your child is enjoying her awake time once again during the wrong time of the day that a new mom has to admit it. She's met her match.

I should have known a few days earlier when she flashed the devilish grin above at her uncle or the day she held her breath when I tried to put socks on her but I didn't figure it out until last night.

Perhaps it was the fact that she refused to eat at her normal time, or the fact that it took an extra hour to rock her to sleep that clued me in. Maybe is was the way she laid awake on the bed between myself and my husband cooing ever so slightly and wiggling to remind me to stay awake.

Or perhaps it was the fact that when I picked her up she melted into my arms, buried her head into my chest and sighed her whole body weight into my breast...relaxing finally... looking into my eyes with her little blue baby eyes, letting her lips curl up into a gentle grin and reaching out an outstretched hand and giving me a nipple twister with her right hand.

And as I gasp for air and swear under my breath arching my body to get away from the worlds smallest purple nurple grip... she then gently slipped off to sleep with her other hand placed ever so innocently on the side of her head like a little cherub in a pink onsie.

I'm so proud.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Get the Memo

Dear Boobs,

We are not breast feeding. Please stop leaking milk. It's been over a week and no one has drank from you. Please take the hint. The tenants are tired of waking up in a puddle every morning. We understand you're disappointed but we assure you, you do have other purposes... like holding up great tops and helping us determine when it is cold. Not producing milk will not effect your employment.

Thank you,
The Management

When there isn't a lot to blog about

So recovering from a C Section is pretty easy if you have to get up and walk around right away. The baby sleeps a good 5 hours a time at night and Jon goes back to work tomorrow. Yep. That's it.

We've had a few visitors but mostly I sit around watching TV and feeding on demand. That's pretty normal from what I hear. Tomorrow I have a Drs appt so my mom is coming over to take me and the day after Layla has another well baby check.

That's about it...sorry... wish I could give you more.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Five Things I learned in my First 5 Days Home

There are a lot of things people tell you about being home the first week with a baby. Here are 5 things people cleverly forgot to mention ...

1. The bible doesn't talk about when Hannah got Samuel home. It doesn't tell you she checked to see if he was breathing 350 times the first day or that she had to be holding him most of the time. They don't tell you that because they don't want you to worry... but it's normal...or so I've been informed to have to hold your own child a lot in the beginning.

2. Newborn diapers don't fit newborns. They are a waste of money. My daughter is a week old and they are too small. Now if only I didn't have 2 packs of them left. Good thing she was early or we would have thrown away4 packs of diapers.

3. A child 3 hours old can take off a hat or socks if she doesn't like them. She can't hold up her own head but she can sure as shit get something off it if she doesn't want it there.

4. Anxiety sucks at bed time. Turns out it's so normal with NICU baby moms that the have a term for it called "extreme birth anxiety"... but they aren't going to tell you about it. Oh no. They are going to send you home. Let you wake up at 2 am unable to breath. Panick. When you call in and go see a Dr they will shrug it off. This is not a good time to threaten to hit someone in the baby maker... but you'll think about it.

5. If perhaps, during labor your husband should make a joke about the fact that you are hurting his hands during contractions. If you tell him to breath through it everyone will laugh...mainly because he's been saying that for 25 hours straight. But the moment you get home... that man... he's a different one than the one you married because you've seen him in crisis and it makes him the most handsome person you've ever known... even when he's swearing at a video game while you do the dishes...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Layla Grace's Birth Story

Thursday afternoon was just like all the appointment days before it. I waited impatiently for my appointment time, talking to friends, stopping by work and hanging out with family. Jon went to work and I went to my appoint at 2:15 fully expecting what I had been getting for the last several weeks, an NST... and more waiting.

Within minutes of seeing the midwife my view of the afternoon was changed. My blood pressure was high, the baby was tacky and with my yellow skin and itchy complex the midwife decided it was time to meet our baby. She found the OBGYN and got the clear to have me induced.

We went to her office and while she called make sure there was a bed for me in the Labor and Delivery Ward I called my husband to tell him it was go time and to leave work and meet me at the hospital. In the time it took me to cross the street to the hospital and find a parking spot the bed in Labor and Delivery had been given away but while I filled out paperwork they found an OB check room to put me in.

In the OB check room with my husband (this room is like a closet with a bed in it people...seriously) he started calling family and telling them what we had been told. I would be induced with gel... if I didn't progress I'd go home and come back Monday... if I progressed we'd have a baby before the next morning.

Our mothers both decided to come to the hospital. While we waited for them in the tiny room I was induced and hooked up to the monitors, and an IV. After a few hours I was checked and I had progressed from 2-3 centimeters to 4-5 centimeters so more gel was applied and I was moved to another room to wait a few more hours.

When the midwife came back I had progressed again... so more gel... and this time they broke my bag of waters, hooked a monitor up for the baby and my contractions internally and told me she'd be back in another couple hours. We were super excited when she came back... I had been having strong regular contractions, breathing through them with my husband for hours and I had dialated to 7 centimeters.

Here is where the story gets complicated. At this point it was probably 10 pm. By midnight I was still at 7 centimeters but my contractions were getting stronger so I kept waiting. I had been ruptured so we were having a baby and I kept telling myself I just had to make it awhile longer.

People came and went visiting when they could between the contractions and I labored on... I lost track of time and day. I lost track of morning. I panicked and my husband ever the strong and unwaivering man of my dreams talked me through each and every pain.

For 25 hours we labored...naturally...breathing together, cursing together, screaming together... I moaned and waited. I eventually let a nurse talk me into an epidural at about hour 20 which didn't work and then about an hour after that I got a "tickler" which made my whole body numb like novicaine. It was a last ditch effort. I had lost my ability to communicate and function well... but I progressed at some point to 10 centimeters and the babies head had engaged...then she just stopped progressing. The tickler was an attempt to get me to relax enough to get her to start moving again.

I had good nurses and had horrible nurses. Near the end I had a nurse who kept telling me she knew labor was hard and that I wasn't progressing because I wasn't relaxing. I kept telling her it didn't feel right. I had an urge to push but if I pushed or relaxed with each contraction I felt as if the baby was being pushed into my pelvic bone and hip. She kept telling me I was being irrational. If I ever find her in a dark alley I'm going to kick her ass.

At the 25 hour mark the actual OBGYN came in. At this point, 2 ticklers, an epidural and many many hours of natural labor before that he was worried about the baby and my blood pressure. He said I needed a C-Section and he (and my husband) looked honestly shocked when I agreed.

Within 20 minutes we were in procedure room and they slowly made me numb while explaining what would happen. Nurses calmed me and the Dr reassured me till my husband came to sit by my side and then they retrieved my darling daughter from my womb.

The baby it appears had been stuck in my cervix like a mayo jar lid twisted on at the wrong angle. She was also face up. She would have never made it out on her own. As they pulled her out my husband took pictures and I told him to stay with her as they rushed her to the NICU for treatment.

Despite being 8 lbs 2 oz she was 3 weeks early and the combination of my being in labor for over a full day without eating anything, her early little lungs and all those tickler drugs she wasn't breathing well. They let me see her for about 2 seconds before they took her off. As my husband left with her I yelled don't let anyone see her till I see her. He didn't.

After I was stitched up I was taken to a post op room where my husband and eventually my family joined me. High on pain killers I was happy as a lark. They told me the baby was ok and just in the NICU for the night and I sighed in relief. It was 6:28 on Friday night.

It took a few hours to get me to a bed in the Mother Baby ward. On the way I was allowed to stop by the NICU where a nurse brought my daughter out for 5 minutes to show her to me. I wasn't able to move because of the drugs so I just cried and looked at her. I was given pain killers and put to bed. My family and my husband went home around 10:30.

The next morning I awoke to find out my daughter would not be in my room. Her suck, swallow & breath reflex wasn't fully developed and she kept turning blue when she tried to eat. Her blood sugar was low and they had her on IV's and monitors. She was down the hall and I couldn't get to her. I was stuck in bed.

The nurses marveled. By the end of the first day I was down the hall in a wheelchair and by the end of the first night I could walk there. I was the fasted they had ever seen a person get out of bed after a C- Section. For 2 days I made the trip for every feeding I could. If I couldn't go I sent my husband. I talked to peds drs and I refused pain meds if I thought they would make my head foggy.

But on day 3 my daughter and I were both discharged home...together. Her first night in our house the first night I spent with her.

All in all the story won't matter some day. How she got here is already so unimportant to me. I know people prayed her here from start to finish and it was God's blessing alone that got us through.

I prayed each day as I got out of the recovery bed and each night as I walked away from the NICU but I always new in my heart that she was going to be OK.

Today was her first well baby check with our peditrician. Since coming home she has developed excellent eating skills, her color has changed and she is a wonderful healthy...premature... 8 lb baby.

I bet you never thought you'd see an 8 lb NICU baby...

A special thanks to God who gave me this precious gift, my husband who kept me focused and kept providing even when he didn't know what to provide, my family who loved unconditionally and to those of you who prayed...and continue to pray still.

Monday, October 01, 2007

25 hours of natural labor + 2 Drs doing a 2 hour C- Section = 1 Layla Grace

I'm finally home from the hospital today. It was a rough ride. Here is one picture to hold you over. More pictures will go up on Layla's site over the next couple days & I'll post the story once I'm up to it.