Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Birth Story - A New Mom

FYI - Kinda Long. Hope You Have Time.

For nearly a month I tried to convince myself that I would go into labor early. My mom knew better. She said I would be pregnant forever. We did tons of walking trying to get baby Hammie out, we even went hiking in the park a few times. Yet every week I would waddle my way into the doctor's office and he would tell me that I'd made "no progress." It took everything in me to play it cool, but I wanted to freak out. (I usually did as soon as I left his office)

Every night I fell asleep whispering sweet words of encouragement to get Hammie moving. Every morning I woke up and had the grand pleasure of going to work instead. I didn't want to rush him, I was just ready to meet him (or her at this point). I was ready to hear those cries, to feel those fingers. I wanted to know who I had been carrying around for almost a year. The suspense was agonizing.

My mother in law flew into Austin a week before my due date just in case Hammie came early...no such luck. My due date came and went and her time here with us was winding down. We had fears that she would have to fly back before I delivered. The week of my due date we went in for our regular weekly appointment with the doctor only to hear that I still hadn't made any progress. My doctor is old school and didn't want to induce labor if it could be avoided, (which I agree with completely) so he was willing to let me go 14 days after my due date before inducing. That would be a full week after my mother in law left.

 It was very important to both of us that she be a part of the birth. So there we were at the doctor's office the week of my due date (I was still working by the way), I asked the Dr. if he would be willing to induce us before Mom left and he said he would be willing to try, but if "conditions" in my body weren't optimal then inducing wouldn't work and we may end up with a cesarean birth. He scheduled my week 41 appointment and said see you next week.  My doctor instructed me not to eat anything on the morning of my next appointment just in case "conditions were right for an induction."

I returned to work. Nobody wanted to ride in the elevator with me. I work with all guys and they all volunteered to drive me to the hospital if my water broke. Some guys even joked that they were worried I would have the baby in the office. uuuuuhhhhh...negative ghost rider. I had a plan. I was going to call B, then drive myself home, theeeeen we would go to the hospital together. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. So I figured if I paid attention to my body I could catch the early signs and head home before the "real pain" started. I would under no circumstances allow "the guys" to deliver my baby in an elevator. 

Week 41 -
I didn't eat! I set my appointment for the first the first available time slot at 7:45 am. My mother was on stand-by in Houston. She decided not to go in to work so that she could drive to Austin if "today was the day." We walked in full of nerves, full of excitement, and full of fear that I would be sent home again. The doctor did what the doctor does and announced that my body was just too damn efficient at holding in baby Hammie. We scheduled an ultrasound to double check that Hammie was safe and sound in my belly. So we scheduled an ultrasound for the same afternoon and agreed that we would try to induce in three days. THE SUSPENSE!!!

So on one hand I was definitely NOT going to have a baby that day, buuuuut I was free to finally eat (it was at least 8:30 am by this time). I walked out in a huff, rubbed my belly, leaned on B, and shed a tear or two. I called my mom and let her know that she could go to work after all, that we were going to try in a few days and she could just plan on driving up then. We had an hour before the ultrasound so we went down the street to grab some kolaches. Yes people, is that a surprise? I drowned my sorrows with bacon.

Surprise, Surprise. We went to the ultrasound fat and full. Then I started having contractions. I figured it was false labor because it really just felt like my abdominal muscles were twitching. The doctor conducting the ultrasound took a few peeks at Hammie, smiled at us and said, "Congratulations! You need to go to the hospital right now, you are going to have your baby today." We couldn't believe it. We kinda looked at each other and this sort of calm just hit me, like I was moving in slow motion. "We are going to have our baby today." WOW.

Turns out that Hammie was breeched!! He was running out of room in my belly and he couldn't turn around to follow the exit signs. No wonder my body wasn't getting into position to give birth. The woman's pelvis needs the baby's head to apply pressure to get things moving..and my baby's head was instead snuggled up next to my heart. Like so:

We asked again a couple more times if the doctor was sure we were going to have a baby. She informed us that we needed to go to the hospital immediately and that I would be having a cesarean birth. The moment finally arrived; we were going to have a baby. Then I realized I had just eaten my fill and that it would definitely throw a wrench in the plans. I called my mom, who was now on her way to work, to relay the news. She screamed! haha She told me not to have the baby until she got to Austin. I laughed. She still needed to turn around, drive home to pick up my dad, then drive the 3 hours it takes to get to Austin. I told her I would do what I could. B's mom was at our house waiting on us so we asked if we could stop by to pick her up before going to the hospital. Negative. (it was worth a shot) So B took me to the hospital, got me checked in then drove to pick up his mom.

The nurses at the hospital were amazing. As soon as I got checked in the hooked me up to the monitor and my doctor came in to do another examination. He held my hand and said that we would be doing a c-section birth. I think he thought I was going to freak out. I was not the mom that needed to have a vaginal birth. Most of my life I joked that I would never squeeze a baby out of my hoohah and that they would have to cut it out instead. Touche universe, touche. Since I managed to stuff my face in the short amount of time since I'd left his office he said that we would need to wait eight hours before going into surgery. I called my mom back and let her know that they didn't need to rush to Austin, that we would be delivering later in the evening.

B and his mom made it back to the hospital and I caught them up on all the news, which wasn't much. Around this time my contractions were coming pretty regularly so I called the nurse to let her know that they were getting stronger. She did a check and told me that my cervix was starting to open and that it was FOR REAL BI*CHES!!!! I called mom for the update and they were already about 40 miles outside of Austin (they were speeding the whole way obviously) and would be there as soon as possible. I mean, clearly they were setting a world record. She said that I better not have the baby before she got there (again) and I told her it wasn't up to me. The nurse came back and said that I needed to get prepped for the operating room because they were going to get started immediately. They didn't want to risk me going in to full blown labor.

Grandma Bev and I freaking out with excitement.
This is the point when my nerves kicked in. I was soo excited and sooo unbelievably happy and at the same time I was so overwhelmed that I just stopped talking at this point. I think I probably nodded a few times while nurses swirled around me hooking me up to things and moving my bed around. B threw on his operating room jumpsuit thingy and Grandma Bev (B's mom) beamed with excitement. I was so thankful that she was able to be here for the birth. The nurses looked me in the eye and said, "It's time. We need to go." I was crushed. I didn't want to go in without my mom. She couldn't miss this. Where was my family?? At the exact mom that my bed was being pushed out of the room my mother ran in. relief. She kissed me and made a little face like she was about to break out in sobs. She was rushed to the restroom to put on her jumpsuit thingy too.

The epidural - wasn't bad at all. My nurse held my hands as I bent over to get my epidural and I remember imprinting her face like a baby duck. I thought, I am your responsibility. Don't let me hurt. My eyes must have said everything because she held me and hugged me and told me she would be there through the whole process.  Meanwhile, B was in the hallway mastering the art of the "steady hand."

Steady Hands

In the Operating Room

I tried not to look at all the tools of the trade, but I saw a few. Minor freak out. I plugged them into my memory bank for a later date. Everything from this point happened pretty quickly. B came in and held me and kissed me then the doctor said that he was almost done cutting through all my nether regions. They gave me a heads up that I would feel lots of tugging, which I did, but it wasn't painful, or alarming at all. I practiced the breathing that I use with yoga to slow my heart rate down when I felt anxious and I focused on listening for the baby's cry. I felt this big, long, deep ssssslllllluuuuurrrrrrrrpppppppp (which is exactly what you would imagine it to feel like) and the doctor announced, "We have a gentleman!!" I thought it was soo fitting that he used the word "gentleman."

I cried. B cried. B brought his head down and whispered "it's a boy." It was an amazing moment. Howard was here.

A gentleman.
When I looked back at the video that B recorded in the OR I was able to piece together the whole picture. Howie had such a loud and strong cry. He cried and screeched as they cleaned his little body and the exact moment I spoke to him he stopped. Instantly. I didn't know it then, but when I watched the video I cried. There was proof, he recognized my voice out of the ten other voices in the room. Oh, I cried. Here was our child. When I stopped talking to him he resumed crying. They snuggled him in his little blanket and brought him over for mommy kisses. I told him that I had been waiting on him and that I loved him and he settled down again and listened to my voice. It was perfect.

B and Howie left the OR to get measured and clothed (and introduced to grandparents) and my mom took up her shift by my side in the operating room while I was stapled back together. She rubbed my nose like only a mother can and I took a quick nap.  She has been doing that since I was a baby; rubbing my nose until I fall asleep. It was only fitting that it come full circle.

I met up with Howie and B about 20/30 minutes later fully awake and alert. Here are some pictures from our time in the hospital and our first few days at home.

He still makes this face when he cries.

This was immediately after the surgery before being wheeled into my room.
(check out that hat...not covering ANY of my hair)

Proud Papa

Grandma Bev!



A little nip action - don't freak people.

Our first family photo.

A mom, a grandma, a son, a father.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pre-Baby Prep

About a month or so prior to the due date I started freezing meals. My neice came to visit from Houston and helped with the preparations. We made large amounts of the following meals:
This was my most brilliant idea yet! I ended up making enough meals to stock up the freezer for a couple of months. I made or marinaded all the meat and all we had to do was prepare the fresh ingredients just before dinner. We called it "shopping in the freezer." The stuffed peppers were a recipe from my Grandmother Lenora, but by the time we got to the store for the fresh peppers they were like $2.50 a pepper. whatevs. We ended up stuffing baked potatoes (much cheaper, even though they are so, so bad for you)with the meat mixture instead. It was a big hit with my niece who stayed with us that week. I'll post that recipe in the future. Don't get all De-Mandy with me either.

My mother in-law flew in from Jamaica a week before my due date and planned to stay one week past my due date. It was so awesome having her here to share this amazing time with us. She made huge pots of our favorite dishes. She made homemade chicken soup, curry chicken, B's favorite stew peas, and my ultimate favorite ox tails. It was amazing. We ended up having meals for the entire three months I was out on maternity leave. It was a huge help having those meals once Hammie came home.

I haven't mastered these recipes nearly as well as she has (read: at all). We keep trying to get it right but there is nothing like mom's cooking. Once we get the technique and measurements together to produce a respectable recipe (we can only hope it tastes like mom's) I'll post it. Until then, try one of the recipes up there.

 In addition to my obsession for hoarding food, I had daily panic attacks about "STUFF." For every new item we brought into the house I found fifteen things that needed to be thrown out. UPS showed up at our door daily and poor B fell victim to my tantrums. I felt like I was suffocating from all the stuff. All the preggo books said that this nesting stage was normal. Let me tell you friends, it is serious. The urge was so intense that I really felt like my life depended on whether or not my house was "in order." Closets had to be cleared out, books needed to be donated (woah!), and baseboards needed to be scrubbed. It was scary stuff. So, the house was scrubbed, the meals were made and still...no baby.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Pregnancy

Part II: Are We There Yet??

"Just when you think you can't get any bigger, you do." My sister in law gave me that gem. She was correct, you do get...bigger. And BIGGER. I didn't know it was even possible to OUTGROW maternity wear. That's just ridiculous. I am pretty sure everyone at work got a sneak peak of my stretch marked belly that last month. My walks to the restroom five times a day must have been hilarious, because I was penguin-ing that shit up. Coworkers would make special trips to my office just to clean up.

Randoms: "Hey, did you know your stapler is on the floor."
Me: "Yep. That's where it's going to stay too if you don't pick it up."

I had a collection of "desk essentials" scattered across my office. "Tape?!? I mean, who really uses tape these days?" I constantly convinced myself that I didn't really need that thumb drive sitting next to my feet. I got used to pointing. Sometimes (read: always) I got carried away and made requests for help when I was fully capable of accomplishing it on my own.

"Yeah, pour a little more gravy
on those mashed potatoes.
That's how mama likes it."

After I had the baby I had to re-train myself. I kept forgetting that I was no longer physically impaired and could in fact grab a mixing bowl from the lower kitchen cabinet by myself. I had mixed feelings about that.


When I asked B when he would like to start trying for a second baby (calm down MOM, we were just making conversation) he said HE needed to recover from this pregnancy before he could even think about a second baby. Apparently I was a little demanding. 
Anywhooooo, I noticed that there was this trap that I fell into around my seventh month. Up until the sixth month I worked out religiously. I did MMA style fitness classes about 5-6 days a week. I also taught three classes a week. I was so proud of myself, I overcame the nausea and headaches and at that point I could still lift my leg to do a mean round kick. THEEEEEEN all of a sudden I started getting dizzy. I had low blood pressure and everything made me dizzy. Walking up stairs - yep, got dizzy. My doctor said I should pick up a different kind of exercise, like walking. wtf. Walking?!? Walking is booooooring. Needless to say I had to stop exercising. I concluded that Hammie was being totally selfish and taking all my awesome juice.  So instead of heading straight to the gym after work I drove home, which spiraled into me climbing in bed at 5 in the afternoon for a "nap." Other people just call it "going to sleep for the night." I got depressed because I couldn't work out and hang out with my workout buddies (I'm looking at you Sherry lol) You know what made me feel better?!?!

  The Trap. Ridiculous, I know.

I didn't actually eat that heart attack in waiting, but if I found a place that served that sort of thing I probably would have. I ate. I ate a lot. I wasn't covered in gravy or anything but that would have been nice. This, my friends, was the above mentioned trap. I couldn't work out, which was a problem in itself. How did I compound that issue?? By eating. Yeah, at some point my twisted logic said, "You know what goes perfect with sitting on the couch? Sausage smoothies." I agreed.

I did juice vegetables every morning (B juiced, I drank)to drink on my way to work though. That, in my mind, balanced out the two brisket sandwiches that I ate for lunch. (just kidding...sort of) Hammie LOVED the vegetable juice. Usually about five minutes after I drank said concoction he would explode with movement. I imagined that he was doing a happy food dance. I think everyone in my family has their own happy food dance. I am sure you have a happy food dance also, you just may not even be aware of it. We like to be self aware.
If you're interested in doing a happy food dance from the veggie blood, here is the recipe:
1/2 green apple
4  celery stalks (include the leaves)
1 cucumber (leave the skin on)
2 carrots
1 handful of spinach

It was delicious. It's like drinking your salad without that awful salad dressing we all need. It was simple, it was delicious, and it made my baby do a happy dance.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Let's Play Catch Up

The Pregnancy

Part I: It was a freaking marathon.

And it was amazing. When we found out we (read:I) were pregnant we cried and laughed and panicked. I wanted to tell everyone immediately and at the same time I wanted to savour the news all by myself. Knowing that I was carrying around a life was so unbelievably big an idea that my mind melted on a daily basis.

 I thought about all the ways I would protect this unborn child and yet it also made me think about all the ways that I could not. It reminded me of the Elizabeth Stone quote," making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I have read the quote many times and, in fairness, I did understand what she meant. But NOW it took on a whole new form and it was monstrous to imagine. Then the pendulum would swing and I would think about trips to the beach, ice cream dates, and all the things we would get to fall in love with all over again through fresh eyes. I thought about skinny toes and fingers that would beg for kisses. Those thoughts kept me sane.

As most of you know we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, but almost immediately I knew it was a boy. We decided to call the baby Hammie, which was short for Hamilton since we didn't know who had hitched a ride on the crazymobile. From this point forward when I use the nickname Hammie I am referring to the baby in my belly, not the baby out of my belly.

Every time B asked about how Hammie's day went I would reply that "he" had a great day zapping all of my energy. We went to several ultrasounds and each time they gave us the option of finding out whether we were having a girl or a boy we held firm in our decision and held each others hand for support. We quietly hoped the other wouldn't give in because then we would both be suckers. The first ultrasound we went to showed one little speck in the middle of a larger speck. Hammie was in what we called the gummy bear phase. The second ultrasound produced a much scarier image. I secretly wondered when Hammie would grow a neck.
This was growing inside me.
It was surreal. The heartbeat was so fast; we were watching life. It was amazing. When the technician would signal the end of our appointment by subtly escorting us to the waiting room we felt we had somehow left Hammie in the ultrasound room. I had a mild panic at one point in the room because B yelled out, "THAT'S MY BOY!!!" My heart sank. I thought, "what if it's a girl?!?!" I shot evil death ray bolts at B because my heart truly believed he had just rejected his daughter. Silly hormones. The third ultrasound we went to made us both anxious and waaaaaay pumped. Hammie looked human!! All of a sudden I was pregnant FOR REALS!
It's for real b*tches.
 I wonder how many times I said that over the entire ten months. (I counted: 14,387) Look at those perfect lips on Hammie!! Totally kissable. Every time the technician passed the magic ultrasound wand over Hammie's body Hammie would take a swipe at it as if to say, "get that wand outta my face." -That further confirmed that B hadn't knocked up a stranger. It was official, this was MY child.

I tried countless times to kiss my belly. It never worked. What did work was early morning singing on my way to work, juiced vegetables, B's belly kisses, and Pannie Mama's nose. There was a beautiful Joni Mitchell cover that I listened to on a daily basis. I would turn up the volume and let Hammie listen to it while I rubbed unseen elbows and knees. I could listen to it another 1000 times and I imagine it will take me back to those nights on the couch wrapped up with my lover. Here is the song:

I can't really think after hearing that song, I just want to take a nap and cuddle. I'm going to go to do that. I'll finish this up another time. Adios.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Straight from Austin

                                                          Greetings from Texas

Does it get any cheesier? You can bet your sweet ass it does.

The rundown:

With friends and family spread so far apart, we decided to just throw everything we do online in one spot to keep everyone in the loop. We'll post big moments, little moments, and all the melt downs. It's also a pretty safe bet that there will be lots of posts about food. Whenever we plan a weekend adventure it usually begins and ends with food. I think it's an accomplishment in itself that neither of us walk around all day with a fanny pack of food.
Not such a bad set up after all.

I digress. This last year seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. When B and I decided to head out on this adventure the panic set in. "Are we ready? What if we mess up? Is there a test we need to pass, any qualifications? What if we mess up? Am I normal? Are you sure I'm not having a puppy?" These are questions I asked hourly, to myself as well as anyone who happened to be within earshot of me.

For the few years I lived on my own before B picked me up and dusted me off like a dirty jollyrancher I had a habit of collecting dogs. I was what my brothers referred to as: The Dog Lady.
I was never this classy and my dogs were never groomed.
Dogs are what I know. So imagine my surprise when my bundle of joy did not bark at the doctor who pulled him out. No, he didn't bark but I am still working on that.

So one whirlwind of a year later and we've got one bouncing baby and two funky halfbreeds (or maybe even quarterbreeds if there is such a thing). It was how fast the last year passed that convinced us (read: me) to do a better job of tracking all of this awesomeness. Plus, it's easier to post everything than to tell the same story to 50 people. So sit, stay, and roll over. The only thing I can promise about this blog is that there will be lots of f bombs.
Sorry Mom.