Friday, May 18, 2018

Isla May and Juniper Rose: Birth Story

This was the longest and hardest pregnancy I have had, and the fact that a baby finally coming and joining their family is termed "delivery" only fits my sentiments too well. As it does every time! Ha. But, this time even more so.

We found out we were having twins towards the end of January and in the middle of that horrible flu that it seems every person and their dog caught. My feeling more sick than in other pregnancies now made sense, and to say Karey and I felt overwhelmed with everything at the time is an understatement. But, it also MADE MY LIFE that I was going to get five kids out of four pregnancies. And, it still does :D

The doctor that I wanted to deliver with, Dr. Chalmers, shares his practice with another doctor, Dr. Walker. I delivered my last two babies with a midwife in a birthing suite and HAVE LOVED that experience because I HATE the hospital and the papers and how many people you have to talk to and how they basically just tell you what to do the entire time and that if you want anything to go different than their plans, you better have the character to back yourself up. Anyways, so when we found out we were having twins, I did want to deliver them in the hospital, but I was pretty dang sad I was giving up that great experience of delivering with my midwife again and how much less hectic and stressful and natural it all is. My midwife recommended Dr. Chalmers because he is basically the only doctor in my area who will deliver your baby breach instead of sending you into C-section. Dr. Walker on the other hand (who in character is a lovely and kind lady) doesn't feel comfortable with delivering breach because of the risk (I don't understand what risk, but I know there is some).Dr. Chalmers is also just more open minded and listens to you and what you want and doesn't act like every little thing you want is making their his life hard as an OBGYN.All of this is a long way of saying, I wanted Dr. Chalmers to do my delivery. I trusted him more to do what was best for my babies AND me. The doctors switch off every other week. So I was hoping my entire pregnancy to make it to my week 37 which is when Dr. Chalmers was on call. If I didn't go by week 37 he would induce me, still during his on week, once I hit week 38. Week 36 passed and then week 37 started too and I found he was going out of town IN THE MIDDLE of his on call week. So he would only be on call for about three days during my week 37.

So, my midwife swept me when I was 37.2 days in. Nothing happened. I walked and walked. Nothing happened. I called my doctor and got an extra appointment on Wednesday and he swept me again. He said "I bet you a nickle I'll see you in labor and delivery before 5 (I was 80% effaced and dilated to a five), and nothing happened. I went back in on Thursday morning at 8 at 37.5 days, and he swept me AGAIN. At this point I'm pretty darn sick of people sticking their hands up me, but it pales in comparison to the delivery. He said to walk around for a couple of hours and go back in so he can check me, because if I have moved to a 6 and have semi regular contractions, labor and delivery will keep me(since I have twins and live 30 minutes away). My other babies come incredibly fast and once labor starts, it starts and there is no stopping it. So it was funny to Karey and I that we were walking around a park trying to get my contractions to become more regular and strong. That had NEVER been a problem. But these girls sure wanted to chill in there as long as they could. My contractions would come and were semi-regular so we went back in. He said I was almost at a 6, so to go over to labor and delivery and he would break my water. HALLELUJAH. I had asked him to do that the day before but I wasn't dilated enough for it to be a "medical" reason for him to break my water. Karey and I went over and I put the not fun hospital robe on and they hooked me up to all the machines I dislike and gave me the good old i.v. that I hate, and then a few hours later Chalmers came and broke my water. My contractions had been about every four minutes up to that point and were just mildly uncomfortable. Within fifteen minutes of my water breaking they were coming on much stronger, but still not transition contractions. My midwife got there (she was acting as my doula) and started putting hot towels on my stomach and squeezing my feet (which for some reason feels awesome). I was breathing and relaxing through them pretty dang well. And then I felt transition hit. I was opening up pretty quickly, as usual. And the contractions that make your body feel like its a heat generator were now there. I was sweating like crazy through each one. And they were long, hard, "good" "progressive" contractions. The ones when you start thinking, "Should I get the epidural? Then I could just enjoy this." I delivered my first with an epidural and I knew what I liked and didn't like about it. The two after her were natural and I knew what I did and didn't like about that too. And the only thing any woman doesn't like about natural birth is the pain. HAHA! I told Karey and my midwife that I wanted the epidural and they looked at each other and me curiously. My midwife asked, "Do you want us to try to talk you out of it? Because I seriously don't think you even have time to get one." "NO. I don't want you to talk me out of it. I just want you to go get the guy." Well,she did, even though she didn't want to. For the epidural you have to sit up and hang your legs over the side of the bed and slump forward. Positions can do INSANE things to your birth progress or delay when in labor. Well as soon as I got in position my contractions got insanely intense and my body started trying to push. It feels like when you are heaving and about to throw up, except on the other end and your about to birth a human. There is no stopping it once you are opened up. I was trying to hold her in so badly because I just wanted that freaking epidural that I had decided on, regaurdless of the fact that she was going to come out any second. My midwife started saying to the epi guy, "She's pushing. She's pushing. You see her pushing!" karey was like "she's pushing!" I was like "are you done yet?! He said "I have to re-do it I hit a blood vessel." I was like holy freaking MOTHERRRRR ( in my mind).I was trying as hard as I could to hold my pushing back but when you're open YOU'RE OPEN and the baby is coming. THANK GOODNESS the needle had come out of my back because I shot back and the epi guy caught me, and with a couple of throat tearing good screams baby A (Isla) SHOT OUT and Karey caught her. There was no doctor in the room, and up to that point I had been pretty quiet through my contractions. Then fifty million people ran in, and Dr. Chalmers ran in a few minutes later. Isla was BEATUFIL. She looked perfect. But I still had one more baby to deliver. AND, the epi guy had never taped the tube into my back and so it had slipped out when I shot back on top of him. So, no epidural for me.Chalmers checked me and said Baby B (Juniper) had flipped breach. Surprise surprise (not.). Isla was born at 2:56 and Juniper was delivered breach at 3:06. He reached up and grabbed her by the feet and pulled her down and broke her water and I pushed her out in about four pushes. It's kind of different delivering the head last. Either way, there is NO BETTER FEELING than finally pushing the baby out and the contractions and pressure stopping. Two beautiful babies. Isla May at 6.2 pounds and Juniper Rose at 6.12 pounds. AND I didn't have a c-section!!!! Which I would have, had I delivered them after 5:00 that day. Ha ha.

This part feels weird to write about because it is just so weird to write facts about something so traumatic at the time it is happening. But, in the end it is just facts and I am just happy for, say what? Yes. HOSPITALS and people that take care of you when things go wrong.
I started bleeding too much and my contractions WERE KILLER. They had put me on pitocin without telling me hoping it would slow my bleeding. I had major clots building up inside of my uterus, which was making it so the uterus couldn't contract back down to size and stop the bleeding. It's horrible to have non stop labor contractions and no baby coming out, just blood. They had to call Chalmers back (he has to leave at 5 to catch a flight). All of a sudden I'm freezing and they are stacking hot blankets all of my body and around my head and I have an oxygen mask. They give me more pitocin which does nothing, then they give me a shot in my inner thigh to make me contract more which doesn't work, then they stick a bunch of pills up in me, and those don't do anything. The goal of all the medications is to get my contractions strong enough to push out the clots and harden the uterus. But the clots weren't coming. So Chalmers reached up in me and cleaned it all out. I am pretty sure I traumatized every other woman on that floor with first my couple of delivery screams and then even more so with how badly I was yelling. Karey said the biggest clot he pulled out was like the size of a cantaloupe. But, there were plenty of other smaller ones he got out, too. Then Chalmers came to me and said " We don't let people bleed to death anymore. So if that doesn't get you to stop bleeding we will need to take you into the O.R. and open you up and clean you out, and possible do a hysterectomy." Then he turns to Karey and says "Were you guys planning on having anymore kids?" In my head I'm like "No" but I still couldn't stop crying. But I had been crying the whole time. My bleeding slowed! In the end they said a normal person loses about 500 SOMETHING of blood in delivery and that they start to get worried if they lose 1000 Something. I lost 2,700 of that something. And, in other words, they told me I lost 2.5 liters of blood when for my body type you have on average 4.5 liters of blood. So I lost a lot.

They wanted to see if my blood would start to build up over night, but my red blood cell count wouldn't go up and either would my blood pressure. So early Friday morning they gave me two bags of blood (GO BLOOD DONORS!!!) and it helped me feel much better. I was at the hospital for two days and two night, which I still don't consider bad at all. My two baby girls are beautifully healthy!And my parents are here helping for two weeks while my blood volume builds back up which they said takes about two weeks.

I am SO grateful for everyone that helped at the hospital. SO grateful to my midwife for staying there through the WHOLE thing.And for Chalmers keeping me alive and not giving me a c-section!!!!! He's the best. And I'm thankful for the the best huband ever, Karey, for shedding a few tears during the whole ordeal just to remind me that he DOES have feelings and loves me like crazy!!!! HA HA. I will add some pictures later.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Stand Up and Shine Challenge #2

Here goes the challenge for day two....
1- What are patterns of actions you notice that you frequently do to fill a void, escape reality, or to try to mask over uncomfortable feelings?
 Well, I'd say the ones that are most common. Look at instagram is probably what I do most. FB----sometimes. But it usually stresses me out. Netflix----sometimes. It just depends if there is actually a show I like and I am pretty picky about shows. Most of the time I think they are all pretty horrible. But, if I find one I like I'll watch an episode or two a night. As of late, mostly I just lie down on the couch and close my eyes or sleep. I best escape reality in a show, though. Or through instagram (in ten minute increments throughout the day ha)

2- What could you fill the void you feel with instead?
I think one thing I could do more of is what I'm doing right now----writing. Time is spent better writing because my brain can actually release some steam and some thoughts and exercise a bit. I think reading would also be great. I have had a hard time reading since having kids because I used to be able to sit down and read for however long I want, but kids seeing their mom open a book = I NEED MOM NOW. But still, I think reading a book in increments of ten minutes a day would be more refreshing. Going to bed earlier would also always be a great option. Practicing the bass/guitar.

3- How would your world change if you filled the voids you feel with more positive and self improving choices?
 It would definitely feel more happy! I think that I'd feel more happy because I'd feel more whole instead of just more distracted. The fillers that just distract you and take up your time add nothing to you and leave you more worn out over time. I think other things that are positive and self-improving help build you up.

4- I want to fill my cracks with light because... (finish the sentence) At the end of my life I want to look back on it and see LIGHT and joy. Not survival, not tiredness, not years upon years of pessimistic brain fog. I want to look back and see things clearly in the light that they were. That's up to me and no one else. And boy, is it hard.

Below I've picked 4 things to do tomorrow that will replace ten minutes that I would normally spend checking social media. That's 40 minutes of positive energy brought into the world that would have otherwise been lost.

1- Send a text to a friend to brighten their day
2- Write a quick note to encourage someone
3- Make a phone call to that person you’ve been putting off catching up with
4- Spend more time with your kids, spouse, friend, or someone you love
5- Go for a walk
6- Plant a flower
7- Read a chapter of a book
8- Take your neighbor a treat
9- Create something (draw, color, paint, etc)
10- Journal

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My struggle and the Stand Up and Shine Challenge #1

So, I have been struggling people. Physically mentally and mostly just those two, ha. I think back to last year before October hit, and I was FLYING HIGH. Dahlia was old enough that she was gaining some independence. Aida was now in Kindergarten, Cypress was also gaining more independence and was doing better health-wise.I was getting my body back! I was feeling better health-wise. I felt like my mind and creativity was coming back to me. I felt like my old self was coming back to me, new and improved. And I also knew, I wanted one more kid. Karey and I both. And that was so intimidating to me because everything was flowing if you know what I mean. The kind of flow that just makes you straight up content every day (almost). The kind of content where you sit back and are like, "My family is the bomb. I'm the bomb. Life is the bomb." And then the truth bomb hits. This family isn't complete, no matter how bad I wanted it to be because of its flow and the feelings of being done I had, and how I just wanted it to stay easy, and get easier and easier. But, when I thought of my family in the future, with teenagers, I still wanted more.

When Karey and I were engaged, we said we wanted six kids. After our first-born, that dropped to five. After our second, we said 3-4. Once our third was born, it was like, "Hey, this is nice. We could be done!.....?" Having a family is not this big smiling picture frame that just stays happy and energetic and fun all the time. It is work ALL THE TIME. Work that is not about you, unless you're looking for some imperfections to perfect. And for someone who considers herself a realist (which others consider a pessimist), it sure is exhausting to be expecting reality all the time, which usually isn't what you want or what you planned it to be. But, what having a family IS, is worth it. It fills in all the cracks of life. It creates cracks too, but they are MINOR compared to life without family. Family is life. You can't even be born without a family. Whether they or you are a part of eachothers' life, every single living human has a family tree. Families create society. They create communities. They create CULTURES. They create citizens, nations. Together, we all make up the world. How can something so large and so vital, be thought to be so easy? The funny thing is there are some people that think it will just be fun and easy (like I did). And, there are the ones who recognize it for what it is. A life that no longer is about you. Instead, it is about everyone around you. But what they don't see is everything it fills in an empty soul. Loving people to the extent that you would give yourself up is something too intense to explain.And too beautiful to explain. It creates humility, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, understanding and SO many more characteristics that, quite frankly, I think are dying out of society. Yes, they are there in small things and in small ways, but what about in deep ways? In the ways that matter when everything is stripped away from you and you really have to see yourself for who you are and who you have let yourself become deep inside? Scary stuff, that is. BUT, back to the point. Families are worth the exhaustion. Back before the boom in technology and  mass production, family was  the pride of people's lives. That has faded now. But it doesn't change the families undying necessity in the plot of  our lives and the building of societies. So, when I thought about how at the moment, I really was too anxious to want another kid, but how in the future, I wanted one more. I knew I just had to jump in, or stay content with my decision of three kids. I didn't want to do the latter (see note*) So, beginning of October is when the flow turned into a brick wall and the content feeling was straight up gone. I had never had morning sickness as bad as this time around, and I could barely function throughout the day. I told myself I just needed to make it to middle of November, because usually I start to feel good around twelve weeks. Well that passed and I still wasn't back to functioning status. My husband was overworked from doing EVERYTHING including his work while I laid on the couch wondering if I was actually maybe just dying. Thanksgiving passed, which we skipped because everyone was sick, I had thrown up and peed my pants, and felt horrible and not very thankful (WHAT?!selfish. I know.)Christmas came and passed and I was just glad that I made it through it. The house was a mess and it was probably the least Christmas-y Christmas my kids will have experienced in their lives, so good thing they're too young to remember anyways.Then the first week of January came. The NEW YEAR, bringing with it promises of sunshine and happiness and hopefully feeling better. And I did start to feel better for a week, until the whole family got hit with the flu. Fast forward two weeks later and we're all just barely recouping AND we finally have our ultrasound! Well, a day before the ultra-sound right when I was seeing the light after one of the most horrible flues ever, I got a horrible horrible sinus infection (and could only take acetametaphin! That's like taking water pills!!). At that ultra-sound, we found out we were having twins. Woooooooo. That's about as far as my excitement went at the time. I was so exhausted from being exhausted all fall, and then so exhausted and emotionally shot from sick kids and sick me and sick husband for the last two weeks, and exhausted from the left side of my face and head throbbing unceasingly, I honestly couldn't even REGISTER twins. If I pictured myself watching myself in a out-of-body type of experience I could kind of disconnect enough to be like "What?!Twins?!" and that was all. Fast forward to now, and everyone has been healthy for a total of like 5 days now. I'm still exhausted but maybe seeing the light at the end of this horrible flu season that I would kill if I could! And we've got about two months before these two little angels come and join us. And  now that I've gotten a bit more sleep and am emotionally a bit more stable I can feel excited! Or at least I can see the time coming where I feel really excited. But I definitely have a lot of energy work to do on myself mentally and emotionally before these two sweet babes come. What I can say is I in no way regret choosing to have one more and getting two! It makes me emotional thinking about how in the end I will get what I always wanted, a big family! And I will have put in the work for it. And that makes me feel good about myself. Does that mean I'll be the best kindest awesomest mom ever? No. But I don't care, I'm just going to do my best. And one thing you learn quickly is, yes, you teach your kids, but they are already a grown soul inside of that small body. They know who they are, and who they'll be come, all you can do is teach them right from wrong and give them someone who loves them the entire way through life! And that is beautiful.

So, to help me have more energy and fix myself a bit mentally and emotionally, I chose to do this Stand Up and Shine challenge. I follow Ashley Lemieux on Instagram and love her force for good. She has helped so so many people through The Shine Project (an organization she created that I love) and she also has been going through a major loss right now that no one would ever want to experience, the loss of her two children. That hits home hard for me. I'm not the girl that naturally wanted to be a mom and being a mom didn't and still doesn't come natural, but I would never ever in my life wish it away. It's too precious.Anyways, she is suffering but trying hard to push through and still be strong and still be productive and still shine and still find joy in life regardless of her pains. I want to do that too. The Day 1 challenge is "yes, you can!" or "yes, I can!" Everyone has their things that they feel like they can't do. And currently for me, I am having a hard time feeling like I have enough energy to think I can do anything. Literally. But I want to make this more emotional and mental for myself. So, I have been having a hard time feeling like I have enough energy to feel or act happy. I've been having a hard time feeling like I have enough energy to put POSITIVE energy back into my kids. I've been having a hard time feeling like I have enough mental energy to just be hopeful or optimistic about the future. When you are so shot physically, it  takes your mental and emotional state right along with it. But, I CAN BE HOPEFUL and I CAN be optimistic about the future. It's my choice. What my brain doesn't want to let me realize is how draining  it is to be down and not hopeful and pessimistic. I don't know if it drains me more quickly than if I were to be hopeful, because I've never tried it before. So here is to testing.So, this is my "i can" statement.

Yes. I can be a hopeful optimistic person.
Yes, I can make it through hard things, even if I don't want to go through them.

* This post is completely personal, meaning personal to my life. I don't think having one or five kids is better. I just have always wanted more, and was having a hard time committing to it because I was feeling content, as stated. What I DO think, is that having one kid is better than having none. Kids are the best!