Friday, September 28, 2007

Catching up...

So, Israel is over 6 weeks old, and I'm finally done sharing his birth story with you. A lot has occurred in the mean time.

Over the past 3 days Eve has been almost totally potty trained, including one spontaneous trip to the bathroom to poop. Yay!! Of course, today she was still wearing her overnight diaper when she decided to poop, so I haven't seen the last of those yet. But progress is good and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Israel is smiling and has been since 3 and a half weeks or so...but we've yet to get a photo of it.

I realized that I was taking a ton of pictures today of him and Eve, in a pointless attempt to make up for not taking photos as frequently as I ought. And as I was looking through them, I noticed that he's wearing the same outfit he was in an earlier batch I took. I think I had a picture of every one of Eve's outfits...he'll be lucky to be pictured in more than two.

My sister got married...I'm not sure what day...but yesterday I got a text message from her that said, "Married". That cracked me up.

Tom is making progress in healing, but not so much that he can go without crutches without really paying for it.

I'm struggling. I know that there's some hormonal shift going on that is causing me to feel PMSy. I know that will pass, but it makes things tougher. I'm trying not to dwell on the thoughts and feelings elicited by my latest Doc appointment, but I can't help it. And I seem to be filled with anger toward Eve. I don't feel at all like I'm exhibiting Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. I haven't been doing much in the way of Bible study, or even Bible reading, I can't keep up on housework, and yet I really can't figure out where all the time is going. I rarely leave the house because Israel isn't a fan of the car (he's better than Eve, but it's just still so unpleasant) and not to mention I have to drive the beast. I'm feeling a bit isolated. All in all, it's been a tough few weeks for me.

But let's get on to some pictures.

These were taken in early September, so Peanut was around 3 weeks old.



Here's cousin Karl and Eve (sporting very similar hair styles) and Peanut.


Eve in brown...I think it may be her best color.




Thursday, September 27, 2007


Somehow, I'm not in the mood for detail. Me? I know, unbelievable.

I've written down the details of my conversation with my OB, and have decided though I want to share it, I also really do not. suffice it to say, next time, if there is a next time, I will be doing things somewhat differently. I look on Eve's birth with new appreciation, and will probably be sad over Israel's for some time--not just sad for Israel and myself, but sad for my doctor as well. He is a great doctor and I trust and respect him, and my dialog with him helped me to see I've been selfish and a bit reckless. Perhaps it is shame that makes me wish to keep this small event private. Goodness knows I share almost everything else, right? Perhaps too much.

I want to make it clear here that the doc was in no way attempting to cause me to feel guilty. It was a very respectful and constructive conversation.

As for my conversation with the Hospital Director, that was a much less memorable conversation, and a great deal less important. For one, it was mostly just an apology...which is nice but powerless. Nothing in our conversation will change me in the least, as I didn't need an apology to forgive. She did say those two nurses tend to be the worst offenders and that her goal is to "get to yes" with every mother. Her philosophy is pretty family friendly.

The policy of no "visitors" at shift change is due to HIPPA restrictions and no place for the nurses to congregate and speak privately and keep an eye on the babies at the same time.

There is no policy against parents being present when the IVs are placed.

She felt it was a communication issue, and felt very bad that I was caused so much distress by a couple of less sensitive nurses. I don't know that anything will change because of my letter, but the nurses will be spoken to. I guess that's enough.

The End?

It's possible that I've told enough of the story that this could be my last Birth Story/Hospital Saga post. Wouldn't that be nice?

So, what didn't make it into the letter....

I was exhausted by about 9 P.M....which is when they kicked me out of the nursery the second time, when Peanut needed a break. whatever.

I couldn't sleep, of course. so I rested from about 10 to 11, when they told me I could come back. Tom was resting too, and when I asked him if he wanted to come, he politely declined.

In addition to telling me I wasn't allowed in when I got there, they gave me some other bad news. When I told them I'd like to come back soon--because when I talked to the pediatrician the second time that evening, he'd said it would probably be okay to feed Israel at Midnight--they said something like "Oh no. Dr. so and so said you definitely may not feed him tonight." I burst into tears and went back to my room. I hope I never have to see that silly on-call doc for an office visit at the pediatrician's office, as I'd have a hard time not giving her a piece of my mind.

I'm sure if I could have gotten my pediatrician's opinion on the matter at that time, that he would have given the green light, because when I'd talked to him a little before 8 that night, he said that Israel was doing surprisingly well (no surprise to me, but anyway) and that in these matters it's important that you look to the patient and proceed accordingly, and that he may be ready to be fed as early as midnight. The doctor on call probably just didn't take a look at the situation when she was last in--probably not long after the last time my ped. saw him, quite honestly--and just read the report on what had happened and made the same call my ped. had to begin with.

At the time, I was really happy to be laboring during the day time and to have the baby at a time of day that would allow a fairly normal night's sleep to follow. However, looking back, since Israel wasn't okay enough to be with me, I really wish I'd had him in the early morning like I'd had Eve--that way my Ped. would have been working and available to assess Israel's state more than 4 or 5 hours after his birth.

Anyway...the postpartum nurses were concerned for me coming back from the nursery crying hysterically, and Tom got pretty freaked out when I got back in. I've only just now considered that Tom might have thought something much worse was going on than rude nurses and bad decisions by on-call doctors. (I hate that about all the clinics I go to for care--I don't trust other doctors the way I trust my doctors. I detest having to ever rely on them for advice or decisions, because I can never be sure they are as invested in the situation as my own doctors, and I know nothing about their judgment in general.) Poor Tom, I wonder what went through his mind. Once I got out what had happened, between sobs, I just cried in his arms for a while. He was very sweet and understanding. I have such a wonderful husband.

I had been avoiding the pump and the need to pump until that point, as I'd been hoping to just get to breastfeed soon. However, I decided that just possibly pumping would help me. I could maybe get enough stimulation to produce some good hormones and maybe even some uterine contractions. I pumped for the first time ever with a double electric, and it wasn't as awful as I thought it would be, although I still feel hand pumps are superior. I got probably two teaspoons worth of colostrum in about 15 minutes.

I was sore from sitting up and didn't really want to keep pumping, and of course, I was still really tired. I was also really angry. I let bitterness creep in, and honestly, I think it might still be there in my heart. I need to take care of that and forgive those lousy nurses and the lousy on call doctor, and probably my own pediatrician as well...and anyone else I might hold responsible for the way things went. sigh. That realization just hit me. It's funny...I might still need to forgive my previous OB...and both the nurses who placed IVs in me....I bet if I gave it some time, I could think of even more. I'll have to take care of that today. It could take a while to go through the list.

So, looking back, I think the nurses kicked me out at 9 partly because I was so tired, and gave me a bogus time to return because they didn't expect me to be conscious until much later.

After pumping I took Demerol because it wasn't time for the next dose of Ibuprofen and I was hurting. I'm not sure if I could have fallen asleep then without the influence of Demerol, but Demerol certainly didn't give me a good night's sleep. I woke up at least 3 times between whenever I actually fell asleep and 6:30 A.M. when the Ped. finally came back. And each time, my mind raced with repetitions of the events following Israel's birth, and my fear that this forced separation would adversely effect our nursing relationship grew. I couldn't keep myself from being worried that all those struggles I'd read about in the La Leche League magazine would become my own struggles, but that I wouldn't be able to face them or conquer them. Tom, as wonderful as he is, is not the biggest breastfeeding proponent. I had visions of myself hysterical over trying to feed my baby and Tom saying off-handedly to simply give him formula and be done with it. I had such any easy time initiating breastfeeding with Eve that I don't know if I'm equipped to handle breastfeeding obstacles combined with the same--or even more pronounced--lack of support at home that I experienced with Eve. I prayed and prayed that God would still my fears and give me peace. And he would, and I would sleep, but each waking brought a renewal of those fears and a disruption of peace.

With a clear mind, a weight-gaining son, and the period of breastfeeding initiation behind us, I cannot say what exactly I expected to go wrong, but the possibilities seemed endless.

I want to mention here as well, that Tom has been much more supportive this time around, in all ways really, but specifically in regards to breastfeeding. We are both in such a better place spiritually and in our life and marriage, it's amazing the difference that makes.

I woke up when the Pediatrician came, just like he said at like 6:30. He said I could breastfeed and that Israel was doing great. He encouraged me to go down to the nursery as soon as possible.

It's a good thing I got at least some sleep the night before, because I tried for quite some time to wake Israel up, and he simply wouldn't...I got him to suck literally once. If I'd been a bit more tired, I'm sure I would have been hysterical, because this simply seemed to confirm that breastfeeding was going to be an uphill battle. Discouraged and uncomfortable in the nursery (even though the staff was different and much more friendly), and still tired enough, I left the nursery and my baby by choice for the first time. I went back to sleep, had breakfast, and then saw my OB before heading back down for what I just knew would be a painful and failing attempt to breastfeed Israel again at around 10:30.

Happily, my fears were unfounded, because this time he was waking up and hungry and ready to go. He latched on well and stayed on for about 12 minutes before falling asleep again. I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear, because not only did this mean breastfeeding was not utterly doomed to failure, it also meant that we could take Israel to our room, and I wouldn't have to deal with the nursery staff anymore and I could hold him and breastfeed him all I wanted.

The rest of our hospital stay was fairly uneventful. Nursing continued to go well, although I rushed laying down to nurse with this lazy boy and ended up with one side blistered, cracked and bleeding because he wouldn't maintain a good latch in that position. I had to deal with that for a couple weeks.

My OB kept me in the hospital over concerns about elevated blood pressure, which looked significantly better once breastfeeding was initiated, so I'm sure it was all emotionally induced. Israel had to stay until 24 hours from his first feeding. We were discharged at 9:45 PM on the 16th--we had our 10th anniversary dinner in the hospital. Not quite what I'd have in mind for unforgettable, although it surely will be so.

Indeed, the end, although I still have some related posts regarding the call from the Hospital Director and my recent discussion with my OB.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The further adventures of Israel in the Nursery

If there was a way to change the font in the title there to make "Nursery" be in that halloween-y font, I'd be all over it. Come to think of it, there probably is, but I'm too lazy to spend that much time looking for something like that.

I really wanted to get this up yesterday, on International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Happy belated ITLAPD to ye anyway. ;)

So, due to what I felt was pretty awful treatment by the staff in the Nursery at the hospital, I wrote a letter. I'm usually a fairly...hmm, how shall I put this...I simply don't get real bent out of shape over things. However, I felt it was bad enough that something needed to be said. I got a call from the Director of the the Women and Children's care at the hospital yesterday in response to this letter. I'll tell you about that next time.

Dear Mr. Bosch,

I gave birth to my second child at the Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale, WA in the afternoon on August 14th, 2007. In my discharge papers, I received a card, signed by yourself, that states that “exceptional care” and “Service Excellence” are your priority at Harrison. I’m writing to give to you my thoughts on how well your hospital met my expectations.

I will begin by saying that the L&D nurse we had toward the end of my labor was truly excellent. Her name is Patti, and I was extremely pleased to have her be a part of my baby’s birth.

My baby needed extra care after birth because he did not begin to breathe on his own for around 5 minutes. Hospital policy required him to be transferred to the nursery. I did not get to hold my child until he was over an hour old.

It’s a well-documented fact that newborn babies and post-partum mothers fare better when they are not separated. At Harrison, knowledge of this fact is evident in the policies followed for healthy babies who need no special care or monitoring. I commend you and your staff for the general rooming-in policy you follow.

However, I’m deeply disappointed that the same policy is not followed for all babies at Harrison. By the time I reached the nursery, my son was merely being monitored, and did not need any artificial breathing support. It appeared to me that babies could be monitored from the in-room stations in which my child was initially cared for immediately after birth, leading me to believe that, at least in the case of my son, his presence in the nursery had more to do with the convenience of the neo-natal nurses than with his wellbeing. The very babies that could benefit most from close contact with their mother are denied that right. This doesn’t seem like baby-friendly care, let alone the best care.

I know that other hospitals in the area do all they can to keep mothers and babies together, even when the babies need extra care. Knowing that any baby with a truly serious condition is transferred to other area hospitals with NICUs, I would think with some extra effort to provide the “exceptional care” you promise, the need for a nursery at Harrison could be virtually eliminated.

Perhaps I would be less distressed by being physically separated from my son for the first 20 hours of his life had I found the nursery staff themselves and the nursery policies to be more mother/baby-friendly. Instead, I got the distinct impression that the nurses on duty the afternoon and evening of my son’s birth were more concerned with what they were doing than with who they were doing it for.

When I left the hospital, I took home a safe and healthy boy, so I assume the nurses were qualified and adept at the technical aspect of their jobs. However, they were completely lacking in compassion.

To begin with, I was only given about 40 minutes with my son before being told it was time for me to leave in order for them to give him an IV. We were given the impression that this would be a process that took an hour or so, however several hours later when my husband went to see his son with some visitors, he was denied entrance because they were still working on the IV. I am not a medical professional, but the IV placed during my labor took only a few minutes, why would it take several hours for my son? Additionally, the policy that parents not be allowed to be present when the IV is put in is unacceptable. Yes, it’s probably distressing to watch, but the baby does not belong to Harrison hospital, he belongs to his parents. That fact was completely ignored by the nurses on duty during my son’s first hours of life.

After finally being allowed back into the nursery after many hours and finding multiple poke-marks on my son, I was told to leave, again after less than an hour with my son. The nurses said he “needed a break” which is the silliest concept I’ve ever heard from the lips of someone who’s supposed to know about the needs of a newborn. My son needed to be skin to skin with me, since he wasn’t supposed to breastfeed, he needed to be held close to receive the benefits of Kangaroo care. But he wasn’t allowed to have me near him for any length of time.

I was told to come back in a few hours, specifically at 11:00 PM. When I arrived at that time, I was denied entrance because it was shift change and time for reports. Why should reports prohibit a mother from being with and caring for her baby? And why would I be told to return at the very time the nursery is “closed to visitors.” And when does a child’s mother count as a “visitor?”

The behavior of the nurses, and possibly the policies behind that behavior seemed cold and callous. If a mother is forced to be away from her newborn, she, not to mention the baby, deserves the utmost consideration and gentleness. It was devastating to me to not be able to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of my baby’s life, a situation that the hospital staff had no control over. The inconsiderate behavior of the nurses and the policies that kept me physically separated from my child for nearly a full day added greatly to my distress during a vulnerable emotional time, causing me to withdraw from even family visitors and making simple tasks seem insurmountable.

Luckily, my baby is resilient, and I think we are well bonded despite our forced separation. Your facility implies you hold the mother/baby relationship in high regard. But this mother was only allowed to even be near her baby for a few hours out of the first day of his life, a situation his “condition” did not warrant. The responsibility for that rests in the hands of those who work and determine policy in the nursery. I did not find Harrison to be friendly in that regard.

I’m disappointed that though I can praise my Obstetrician, your L&D department, and even my post-partum nurses for providing excellent care and consideration, I cannot praise the nursery staff for the same thing. I take pride in Kitsap County and love to support local businesses and facilities. I am sad to say that I do not believe I can continue to do so with Harrison. If another child is in our family’s future, I will likely be traveling to Seattle or Jefferson County in order to give birth in a location where I know my and my baby’s needs will be given more consideration, and where I can expect true mother/baby friendliness even in the face of difficulties.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Updates and ramblings

I'll do a post on more of my hospital stay next time...for now, here's the latest.

Tom's doing well, and trying to use a cane instead of crutches. I'm not actually sure that's advisable, but he's a grown man and I'm not his mother, and really, no amount of nagging or chastisment has ever gotten me anywhere with him.

Eve wore big girl panties all day after about 10 this morning until her bed time. She did great! Of course, she never had to do more than I think we lucked out on that one. Her behavior has been better though not perfect--I don't except perfection. However, I do find myself a lot less patient with her than I usually am. I'm sure that has something to do with lack of sleep. I think she's been waking up early (like around midnight last night...makes for a long night for me) is because she's falling out of bed. She fell out tonight about 45 minutes after she went to now she's back in bed far from the edge. Maybe that means I'll get my side of the bed mostly to myself for a while tonight. :)

This evening Tom took the van to his IT side job and was gone for about 5 hours. Why is it that dinner time is when everyone melts down? Israel and I had troubling communicating...I wasn't doing a great job of teaching him he can count on me, or teaching him he doesn't need to wail to get what he needs, and he was not being very clear about whether or not he was hungry.

I had this totally inconvenient convenience food thing to cook--it's a "kit" that comes with, essentially, noodles, a can of condensed cream soup, breadcrumbs and what I think was mostly powdered milk with some spices and garlic powder. You add your own chicken and veggies and it's supposed to take 35 minutes or so in the oven. Well...I think it took me closer to twice that amount of time. With lots of back and forth of trying to figure Israel out and keeping Eve from coloring on my embroidery pattern sheets and other such things. and all in all, though it wasn't bad, it wasn't great, and I would have been equally happy with soup, cheese and crackers, and it would have left me with much less to take me away from Israel.

I had to pray to keep from loosing my temper, because I just have a tendency to kind of blow up when I'm hungry and slightly sleep deprived. I wasn't mad at any body, just mad at the why does Israel have to have his most fussy and confusing night yet when my husband isn't home and I have to make dinner? It just seems unfair. I had the baby in my arms and was heading down stairs to get the bouncy seat in a last ditch effort to be able to open the 400 degree oven to check the chicken for done-ness, and I really wanted to just kind of yell, probably something along the lines of wondering why Tom has to choose the worst times to work and why does it always take 3 times longer than he expects? But instead, I prayed, and that helped.

And when I did pull the food out of the oven finally and could put Israel in the sling, I was able to eat and feed Eve and after that, things got smooth, because Israel was not hungry, he was tired and couldn't fall asleep on his own, and 2 minutes in the sling solved it. I wish there was some way to safely cook and sling. I could wear him on my back, and I did earlier today, but it simply isn't a quick enough process for me to be able to do while he's crying.

Tom got home earlier than I expected...that was a nice surprise.

I hate it when my babies cry. It's not just the normal mom thing either--unless all moms are neurotic. Now, I'm sure there's no factual basis to this, so I am trying to stop thinking this way, but I have this fantastical theory that if I could just keep my baby from every having to cry to get my attention in the early days, that they would basically only cry when in pain, because in order to get their needs met they've never needed to cry and so never do. Somehow, no matter how hard I try, or how good my intentions are, I never attain the responsive perfection. It frustrates me, but I know I can't be perfect, so I should just get over it. However, I do see it work the opposite way in the short term. Peanut got into a fever-pitch because he was hungry and I didn't realize it (because he'd filled up and then flat out refused a very short time before his tummy started eating its self--Tom's term for "he's hungry"). I fed him, and he relaxed. But then he needed his diaper changed and then he was tired and couldn't fall asleep. Normally, those things don't make him cry, but tonight they did. Sigh, poor little guy--and poor you too, if you could follow that paragraph, you deserve a gold star.

Monday, September 17, 2007

more tears

I shook and cried for most of the post-birth events. I never had another contraction after the head came out. That is, until the next day when the after pains started, and those were pretty darn uncomfortable.

I had a very minor tear on my episiotomy scar, 3 stitches. Yay! Except, I also had a fairly major and very high labial tear. The doc didn't mention how many stitches, but I'm still feeling some pain from it, so I know it wasn't just a scratch.

At some point during labor, but before transition, I'd had a HEPLOCK placed. Aside from mary paying no attention to the fact that my doc fully supported shorter time periods on the EFM at more frequent intervals, this was the worst part of the labor for me, because for one, the nurse did it wrong, and two, they insisted I get on the bed and lay down. I want them to get better at their jobs so that next time around, I can be where ever I'm at and get that silly thing put in. I told the nurse who placed it, as did Kim and probably Ashia, that it simply had to be in my arm rather than my hand, becuase last time, it hurt so much to hold my hand in any position but nutral that it drove me nuts, who needs added irritation during labor? I guess this nurse didn't get it (big surprise) and so it was in my wrist. Again, it was like a torture device meant to make labor just a tad more painful. I had to be careful the whole labor to rest on my forearm on the left side rather than brace myself with my hand, otherwise, I'd get a nice shooting pain in my arm. grrr.

Anyway, after the baby was out and I was in the hospital bed, I got hooked up to pitocin, seeing as there wouldn't be any natural nursing stimulation coming from my baby. And had that awful tummy punching--nurses can be so mean!

I pushed the placenta out and the glimpse I got of it looked pretty good. Although having seen none in real life before, I can't be entirely sure. The cord did look rather short, even accounting for the part that had already been cut off, but once again, I don't really know what normal looks like. I wish I could have gotten a closer look at everything, just because I'm curious that way.

It seemed like forever that I was getting stitched up. I kept apologizing that I couldn't stop shaking, but the doc and nurse both assured me that it wasn't causing him any difficulties. I wasn't so worried about making his job hard, I just wanted to be stitched up really well. :)

all the while, I was crying. Ashia and Kim were both so kind and encouraging through all of the scary times, and though Ashia had to leave fairly quickly, Kim assured me she would stay until I could see the baby. My wonderful big sister, Greta, came in. She was the only one of my family (aside from her own children) in the hospital when Israel was born. And of course, all of Tom's family was otherwise engaged in various emergencies and life. My sister was in awe of me, having heard my loud vocalizations during pushing. I did scream, but it wasn't so much a pained scream, as just what my body needed to do to facilitate and manage the powerful contractions. Saddly, rather than inspiring her to try natural birth for her own birth, coming in November, it confirmed her desire for another c-section. :( I was really happy she was there though. I longed for someone who would mother me, and my sister has always done so. She's the best person in the world to have around when you're ill or hurt, just full of kind compassion.

I really wanted Tom with me too, but I didn't want him to leave Israel, and he didn't.

I was really a mess--those of you who've done this yourself know what I'm talking about--so the nurse encouraged me to shower if I wanted to before I headed down to the nursery. A part of me wanted to get to the nursery as soon as possible, but I knew once I got there, I wouldn't want to leave, so Kim and Ashia helped me take a quick shower. They joked with me about how I probably never thought I'd have a couple women standing around holding the soap and the shower curtain while I showered in my birthday suit. Ha ha, I worked at a swimming pool when I was 15 doing life guard work and assisting swim instructors (it's where I met Tom), the women's staff locker room was a good introduction to becoming less inhibited about ones body around other women. This was something that really shocked my christian school sports team compatriots later on...he he.

Just as I finished dressing, the pediatrician came in. He told me Israel was doing well, and that his counts had stayed great the whole time and though he didn't say so, I knew he meant to reassure me that there was no concern about brain damage. He then said that the baby needed to be monitored because he still wasn't breathing as well as he should be. This was distressing, but the next thing he said was much worse. He told me that the baby had been really stressed, and that because under stress blood flow is diverted to vital organs (heart, lungs, brain, etc.) and away from less vital ones, like the digestive system, it was important not to feed the baby right away. I've never had my head buzz, except when extremely exerting myself physically (like running too hard for long periods of time) but it did so now. I felt dizzy and it was hard to hear. I sat down and willed myself not to cry.

Looking back with a clear head, I'm not sure following the pediatrician's advice was the best course of action. I have a lot of respect for this doctor, he has been great to work with, and he was Tom's pediatrician and Tom's parent's neighbor. He'd also really helped out with recent advice to Tom regarding his back injury and had assisted us when Tom had injured his hand a few years ago when Tom didn't have health insurance. In general, he's great. However, I know from reports from other moms that he's not fanaticly supportive of breastfeeding. He supports it, because, of course, the evidence of its benifits is overwhelming, but he is not a "breastfeeding at almost any cost" type.

He said that generally the concern with smaller babies is necratizing of the intestines, requiring surgery later and possibly causing life-long problems. I kind of asked what the concern for big babies was, and I think I didn't get a great answer, possibly because larger babies weren't as commonly stressed as the small ones. It was a very fuzzy conversation for me. I asked when I could breastfeed him, and the doctor said we needed to wait a bit and see how Israel did.

I just sat there when the doc left and cried. Ashia, who's a La Leche League leader, was so encouraging and supportive, as was Kim. And I know that they asked questions of the doc on my and Israel's behalf. well, this just meant I was going to have to stay in the nursery even more and hold him skin to skin and breastfeed him as soon as it was safe to do so.

It was about this time that I was getting ready to leave the room, drying my tears and heading for the nursery that my parent's arrived with Eve. Did I already mention that they had to take over Eve-sitting for the birth? Tom's parent's had to help with Hunter, Eve's 13 year old cousin and Tom's sister's son who had to be life-flight-ed to Seattle that morning. Anyway, as soon as I saw Eve, and knowing how much she was looking forward to meeting the baby, and how much I wanted to be cheerful for her, I started crying. My mom told me later that Eve told her that she doesn't like to see me sad. Such a sweet girl. But crying in front of her just added to my distress. It was worse that I couldn't hold and hug her like I really wanted to.


I did finally make it to the nursery. And he looked so good and was so wonderful to cuddle. I did feel a whole lot better with him in my arms.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Quick update


There's the post-op patient making a silly face. And the cute little guy actually awake! That pic was taken on Saturday of last week, some 30 hours after surgery.

Since I last updated you, we went to Seattle to have the stitches removed this past Thursday afternoon. Not a great time for traveling to and from Seattle, it made for a long, late night. But, everything looked good and I got to see Tom in some really cool shorts made of paper. :)

His patience with recovery is beginning to wear thin. Yesterday he was pretty down. Bored, frustrated, in pain.


Eve seems to be losing patience as well. Today she told my mom that she wanted to spend the night there again (second night in a row) because daddy is busy playing video games and mama is busy giving Peanut nummy nums.

Friday as I was fighting her to get her strapped into her carseat, she was totally uncooperative. It went through my mind that the way she was acting really motivated me to spank her hand to just get her to stop for a minute. the rational side of me of course knew that she wouldn't stop, she'd go farther into hysteria.

Just as I was thinking all this and telling her she needed to turn so I could get the strap over her shoulder, and physically attempting to help her do so, she wound up and slapped me so hard in the face that it didn't stop hurting for 30 minutes. my reaction was immediate, I gasped and smacked her right back. Angry and more angry at my reaction, I told her it was completely unacceptable to hit me, and then stepped back to say how angry I was, and take a few breaths. I had peanut in the wrap, and was driving Tom's beast of a van (because mine is having transmission problems), so the whole thing was more difficult to begin with. I was at a low level of frustration all day due to Eve's behaviors and having to drive this van, and because on our way to our errand I'd hit every red light possible, and Peanut cried hard whenever we weren't moving.

Ugh. I'm so frustrated with myself for that reaction. I felt terrible after I did it. And yet still really angry at her, and still wanting to do some sort of more correct discipline to teach her that hitting me is not okay. I did tell her it wasn't okay for me to hit her either, and I asked her forgiveness.

I'm definitely feeling somewhat hopeless. My only consolation is she hadn't had a nap and was more tired than usual. So, maybe her bad behavior was due to that more than anything, but she kind of woke up on the wrong side of bed that day anyway. Sigh. I know it's been tough for her to deal with Tom being chair-bound and mostly glued to the TV (I am not a fan of having a TV in our living room, but since Tom isn't much of a reader, it was important that we have something to keep him entertained. So he watched TV, movies, and plays the borrowed Xbox 360 his brother loaned us. And tends to tune everything else out, Eve included. And I've been just feeling haggard and busy, and part of the reason I hate the TV is because I get sucked in and distracted myself. And for the past few days, Peanut has been on a growth spurt and nursing a ton more.

I definitely need to show her some grace.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm a slacker

I admit it. I even slack on my slacking. Here's the thing, there's just so much to do during my "free time" that I simply can't keep up. I'm actually reading a novel. And you know how that can get--I'll just finish this page...uh, section...uh, chapter...and then I'll do the dishes (or, thank you cards :)) and all of a sudden, I'm halfway through the next chapter. So I chose not to even pick it up today. But having neglected my email and blogs and whatnot, I think I'm running short on time now anyway. So we'll just see how far we get.

I am going to just stick to the birth story in this post, and probably post later today (I hope) on family updates and that long forgotten subject I was so fond of before Israel...discipline, specifically of the toddler variety.

So, last time, I left myself laboring on the bed.

It was as I was staring at the mattress during or between a contraction that I had some, well, not very natural birthy thoughts. I thought...maybe I could just ask for a c-section...and, I bet the fact that I really feel like asking for drugs right now means that it's too late to get them anyway. I am pretty sure I kept these thoughts to myself. I never really wanted the drugs, because I kept telling myself that it's not as bad as it could possibly get. I'd only want drugs if it got the worst it was going to get...but I knew I didn't want drugs, period. Does any of that even make sense? The c-section on the other hand? Well, now that I've witnessed Tom's post-op discomfort from arthroscopic hip surgery, I'm pretty sure major abdominal surgery recovery is way more than I want to endure, pain-wise. But I was so concerned (that is, ahem, frightened) about a repeat of the pain I'd had from recovering from the episiotomy I'd had when Eve was born (and rightly so) that I genuinely thought I'd rather have a c-section. At least, that's what the irrational, emotional side of me wanted. The rational side who wrote my birth plan and went in to natural birth with eye's wide open, of course said, no, which is why I remained silent.

I took a potty break and had to endure a double peaking contraction with no one putting counter pressure on my back. That was kind of a tough one.

When I came back out I switched to the birth ball.


and labored there until I started to feel pushy...not full blown pushing, just a little at the peak of each contraction. At that point, there was enough pressure, that I had to stand up off the ball during contractions.

In between I would relax...totally. Good thing Ashia was behind me. :)


grrr...hated those straps.

Here's an interesting can see the shape of the baby on the lower left (your right) of my belly. Weird.


Transition was kind of, well, a blur. I don't remember anything really distinct about it. I had a general feeling of being sick...but not really intense, not like I was going to throw up at any moment or anything. And then I was sort of all of a sudden feeling that pushy at the peak feeling I mentioned.

Here's my awesome doctor checking up on me. He did chastise me a teensy bit for not coming in over the possibly broken water concern, but that just meant no checking, which was fine. He came in once early in order to officially admit me, but after I was on the ball, and then when I was feeling pushy. I'm pretty sure that's a picture of that second visit, he stayed. Everything seemed to happen quickly. That's really a good thing as far as I'm concerned.


So the first and only time I was checked was by my doc and at the point where I felt like pushing. All I had to do was roll forward on the forcing me back into the bed or anything awful like that.

My water broke as I was being checked. The doc told me not to push for the next few contractions because I was a very...I think he used the word floppy...9...but the very next contraction after my water broke was so intense, and I had such an overwhelming urge to push, that through the next two contractions I kind of screamed (more than kind of, I think) "I'm trying not to push! I can't help it!" at which point I would groan trying not to push but pushing anyway. After the second contraction like that, the doctor told me to relax and not worry about it and just push when I felt like it.

What a relief!

So, Kim saw that I wasn't comfortable during contractions on the ball, and since I was pushing they kind of asked what I wanted to do. I was pretty out of it, as far as conversation goes, so I just repeated that I didn't care as long as I didn't have to lay down.

Kim asked the doc if it was okay if I labored on the birth stool, and he was cool with it (isn't that awesome?! I told you!) as long as I turned around so he had room to get to me. So, between contractions, I turned and was switched, and at this point had a new nurse named Patti--who was totally great for all the reasons Mary was not. She was just what I needed, quiet and patient and encouraging.

I don't think I pushed very long, I think it was very few contractions, but the specifics like how many pushing contractions I had, or how many were on the birth stool are fuzzy.

The doctor was patient and quiet, and the baby's heart rate stayed great the whole time, unlike Eve, which at the time I thought meant we were golden.

I now know I never got to the really painful crowning part of pushing with Eve. They vacuumed her out as she was just beginning to crown. My memories of pushing with Eve is that it was a welcome relief after the intense, right-on-top-of-another contractions of transition.

This time around, I was really surprised by the pain. It was so much worse than I expected, and seemed to last so much longer. I guess I was expecting it only to be painful right before the head came all the way out. I was wrong. It hurt from the moment the baby started to crown and only felt better after the head was out. I know I said, "I don't know why I liked this part so much before." and, "This really hurts" and other such exclamations of surprise.

Kim made sure I touched the baby's head once just as he was beginning to crown. It was an important thing to me as I was planning for the birth, but when I was right there in it, I really didn't want to do it. Not so much because I didn't want to touch his head, but because it was a lot more comfortable to simply leave my hands where they were, bracing me and keeping me upright. Kim was firm though. :)

After I got his head more than half out, I had to keep pushing to get his chin out, at which point things got...less smooth.

The doctor was, again, very patient, but very firm in his instructions to me. The cord was very tight around Israel's neck, and the doc couldn't unloop it because it was too short. So, he cut the cord while baby was still mostly inside, and then he had me push, I think when I wasn't having a contraction, in order to get the baby all the way out. Israel paused kind of at his middle, and then slid out into the doctor's arms.

Did I mention that the doctor was on the floor in front of me? Yeah, he spread out some pads and pulled his table over and sat on the floor in front of the stool.


That shot is during crowning.

So, there's baby in the doc's lap, and he's suctioning baby and trying to stimulate him and I notice a few things:

Israel looks huge and his body is blue and his head is purple. And, he's really floppy.

I was feeling really great about how all of labor and delivery went, and kind of waiting to see what would happen, but I think I knew right away I wasn't going to have the baby handed to me. I think part of it was I couldn't just have him set on me, I was sitting upright completely, not reclining, and no where to recline to. This went through my head as I recalled my conversation with the doctor in which he said unless the baby was in really rough shape, and not at all responsive, he would give mom the baby and do what needed doing right there. But after half a minute or so during which I encouraged Israel, the doc struggled to stand up with the rolling cart beside him and the baby in his arms.

Israel was whisked away to the crash cart just as Eve had been, except Eve had been pink and crying.

You already know that the end of the story is a healthy little boy, but it was pretty scary at the time. I knew that if this doc took the baby, it was serious.

Tom says it took Israel 5 minutes to begin breathing on his own. So I figure it was at least 7 minutes from the time his cord was cut.


It was pretty awful as they transferred me to the bed to not hear my baby cry. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. And I did start to flip out and cry. It never really entered my mind that he wouldn't live, but I was pretty concerned that he would have brain damage, and just really upset that I couldn't hold him and bond with him and see him.

Tom, on the other hand, as he watched them bag him so his little chest would inflate and deflate, kept expecting the doc to turn to him and say, "I'm sorry." Poor Tom. No wonder he tells me he doesn't want to be in the labor and delivery room. And no wonder he says I have a lot of work to do to convince him to have another. I'll leave that in God's hands, because it will be quite a while before I'm ready for another anyway, and God can change Tom's heart and mind--I really don't have that kind of power.

After about 10 minutes they felt Israel was stable enough to move to the nursery, Tom held him up to me so I could see him and touch his face. It was so hard to just lay there as they took him away.


In my preparation for birth, and in all my prayers for specifics of the birth to go well, I did always ask that Israel come safely and healthy, but it never really entered my mind that his situation could be worse than Eve's. I just assumed he'd be okay, and with his heart rate so good the whole time (even after the cord was cut) I couldn't imagine there'd be anything that would keep him from being in my arms right away. I suppose that will be a big topic of my preparation and prayers for number 3 (if that happens).

In the end, he was safe and healthy. Both my doctor and the baby's doctor told me that all his stats were great, blood oxygen level and heart rate included, he just wouldn't breath.

I think that's more than enough for one post. Stay tuned for post-baby details.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another installment, but not the finale

So, Today was most certainly Peanut's roughest day. He actually cried because he was hungry. Except when I've deliberately put him off (I know, bad mama!) he's never cried when he's hungry. Today it seemed like he cried every darn time he wanted to nurse. I guess I didn't realize I was missing his early signals. I don't think I was that busy today.

I also finished writing the complaint letter to the hospital. I hope it comes across as reasonable rather than over-the-top dramatic and that it's not written off as just the result of postpartum emotionalism.

Complaint letter? Oh yeah. We'll get to that. That is kind of post-birth so we'll talk about that later.

Tom's doing well. He's expiramenting with not being on the meds constantly. This is giving him some painful moments, but it's definitely helped him get up a bit more and move around since he's not so light-headed and sleepy.

More labor story...

So the car ride wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. When I was in labor with Eve Tom packed some towels onto the front seat and I sat up there like I always would, but it was excruciatingly painful. One of my friends has shared with me that having been through labor, she now knows it's going to be pretty tough and has aprehension about it. Not me, I felt confident I could do it, and felt more like "bring it on--except the car ride." It's only a 10 minute drive or so from home to the hospital, and the first time around, it was one of the worst 10 minutes of my life.

This time, Kim rode with us, and her and I were stashed in the back among the luggage, me on a pile of blankets, and Kim rubbing my back during contractions. There was a great air vent right up by my face, which was soooo welcome. I hardly wanted to get out, quite honestly.

Based on some recorded times from Kim's notes on the labor, I think we got to the hospital right around 1 P.M.


If only there were some flattering pictures of me at this point in pregnancy. Anyway. Notice the orange skirt...and the orange drink in that water bottle! It was watered down Tang, and I drank quite a bit of it during labor. I've never been a big Tang fan, but it seemed like a good idea to drink something besides water to keep my electrolytes up as well as my energy. Now I've decided Tang's not so bad.


I'm all about fixing up those triceps....


There is where all the magic happens. ;-)

I started out having to fight with the Labor and Delivery nurse, Mary. Not my favorite person in the world. I wasn't sure what it was I didn't like about her. She was too perky, and a little condescending--treating me like a child rather than an adult. I know some people like that from a nurse, but I really only want my mom to treat me like that, and then only when I'm ill. Labor is not illness. And the perkiness, well, I like perky waitresses. A loud and overly cheerful person who's forcing Electronic Fetal Monitoring on me while I suffer bouts of intense pain is just not welcome. After a discussion with a friend who's also had this nurse during labor, she clarified for me a better explanation for why Mary bugged me. She is just plain fake. So...altogether, I wasn't happy with this nurse. However, I'm sure it could have been worse. I could have arrived much earlier in labor, or the old policy of the nurse checking dilation could have been in effect. Thank God for small blessings.

I labored first on the bed, with the back raised as high as it would go, on my hands and knees using the head of the bed for support.

I am, again, running short on time, so this will have to do. More later!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Well, I now have the pictures that Kim took of the birth in digital form, so we can finish off the birth story, but I have less than 10 minutes here, so instead of more birth story, you get some pre-birth pics.

Family photo:


I think this was about a week before Israel arrived.

And just two days before Israel came, Kim and Jeff brought Eli over for S'mores.





wow, thank goodness I'm not pregnant anymore!!

By the way, Tom is recovering well from surgery. Friday and Saturday were difficult days, but we've had a ton of help, and since Israel is such an easy little guy, God has just really blessed us.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pre-Op day and other things...

It's cold. Or rather, I'm cold. It's 73 in here. So is it all in my head? Does the cloudy sky simply make me think it's cold? Maybe it's knowing that in order to warm it up inside on demand we have to build a fire? Maybe it's the weight loss? ;) Or maybe I'm coming down with something (I think that a lot, just ask Tom). Just in case, I'm all Zicam-ed up and am drinking white tea with raw honey. Between that and the quadruple dose of probiotics I've been on since the naturopath visit, I shouldn't be able to get sick. Right? Let us hope.

Tom gets to have surgery tomorrow. So we have to commute at 0-dark-thirty in the morning over to Seattle. This should be the last surgery, and it should fix him all up. I sure hope it does. I want my husband to be able to enjoy his life a bit more than he has been lately. Don't get me wrong, he's been wonderfully chin-up about the whole thing, but no one can live with constant pain and not have it bring them down a bit.

Eve's napping. And for a change, I don't care how long her nap lasts. She's sleeping over at Grandma's!! Yay! That will make tomorrow morning so much easier. And it will be our first night without her here with us since the hospital visit.

Speaking of which, you're not here to hear about my hypochondria or Tom, right? You want birth story. And pictures.


Last time...

we went to sleep. And we didn't wake up until Tom's alarm went off. Talk about a let down. Especially for Tom, since we'd stayed up until like one in the morning, and now he had to get up at 7 to go to work.

I got up with him, and so did Eve and we just kinda sat around with nothing exciting happening.

I saw Tom out the door just before 8, and then visited the restroom. Men, if you don't want to know, close your eyes now and move on to the next paragraph. So, there was blood on the paper. Yay! Bloody show.

Shortly after, as in like, 10 minutes, I felt what was definitely a real contraction. It's funny how you just know. Of course, with bloody show, there's no going back, so there wasn't a question in my mind anyway.

I called Tom, I called Kim, I called Ashia.

Tom didn't believe me and told me unhappily to call him when I could say with more certainty that he needed to be home before his work day was over.

Kim was excited, and told me to keep her posted and that she would come when I was ready for her.

Ashia wasn't feeling real well. :( But, it was good timing day-wise because her husband was home to stay with the kids.

Then I took Eve for a walk. She wanted to be in the stroller, and it was a beautiful, sunny, warm morning. We walked to one end of the road, and while walking I called my mom and dad to let them know what was up. I also called my friends Tanna and Bridget. Then we walked to the other end of the road, and while I walked, I timed the contractions, which were coming roughly 3 minutes apart and lasting for 40 seconds or so. At the other end of the road there was a nice black berry patch, so I picked berries for Eve and had a few myself and called Tom to let him know he should come home, because the contractions were getting longer, stronger and closer together. It was close to 10 A.M.

We walked back home and Tom and his dad showed up just after we walked in the door. Eve would be going with Poppy for the day, since Grandma was busy with Cousin Hunter who had his own hospital trip to deal with.

I called Kim to let her know things were moving along and to come when she could, and then I hopped in the shower.

It's funny, I didn't really plan to wear my own clothes to labor in at the hospital, but that's what ended up happening, and my short orange (who would have thought I'd unwittingly take the chiropractor's advice?!) cotton jersey skirt and sleeveless white top were probably the most perfect things I could have chosen for comfort and utility. The skirt might have been better had it been a wrap skirt, but otherwise it was great. And orange! :)

When Kim arrived, we went for another walk. I had to stop walking when contractions came at this point, but they were still very manageable.

Back at home, I sat on an exercise ball in the kitchen for a very long time. Kim timed the contractions on her phone. We noticed that they sometimes were farther apart and sometimes shorter, but forward progress was definitely still being made.

I kind of wonder how Kim was feeling at this point. I know she was excited, but I wonder if she was scared too. At that point, I was just excited. I definitely had a few moments of...well, second thoughts, let's say, later on, but at this point, things were going really well.

I got quite a few calls while in the kitchen laboring. One from my mom who had called the hospital, who of course, hadn't heard from nor seen us. My mom kind of flipped out, not understanding why I wouldn't want to get to the hospital as quickly as humanly possible. You see, my mom LOVED her hospital births. She just thought the nurses were great, loved the free hospital food, and getting to kick her feet up and not have to do anything.

Me? My stay in the hospital with Eve was sheer torture. I couldn't stand the nurse visits. The nurses themselves were okay, but when they arrive at 4 AM to undress your peacefully sleeping baby, thereby making her cry, they really seemed to be trying to make themselves my enemy.

Plus, I knew the longer I labored at the hospital, the longer I'd have to endure the electronic fetal monitor straps, more torture! And I would be somewhat at the mercy of the staff. So, the longer I could stay home, the better.

Kim and Tom teased the cat with toys and a laser pointer and we moved to the living room, where I had to kneel on a crib pad. Tom was terrified of my water breaking in the bed or on the carpet or in the car. Heh.

It was in the living room that I decided the contractions were getting strong enough that I didn't want to take a ride in the car if they were much stronger. Out the window went my intention to try to stay home until my water broke.

We called Ashia to have to start making her way to the hospital and packed up the car.

I had a few very concrete goals for this labor and delivery: Stay upright as much as possible during labor. Stay positive. And finally, don't give birth while on my back. Stay tuned to see if it all works out.