Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jensen's Birth Story


I was not one of those women that just wanted the pregnancy to be over. I was still feeling pretty good at 40 weeks. I hadn't been able to run in a while, but I was still walking and staying active. I knew my baby boy was comfortable below my heart, and told him I would just prefer that he get here before Christmas (he was due December 18th), so that I could enjoy a mimosa that morning. 

I went to work on Thursday the 18th, his due date. I hadn't felt anything that made me think labor was close, so I figured I would work until my mom flew in that day. On Friday the 19th, I went to a doctor's appointment to schedule the day that we would induce labor, which I hoped we wouldn't have to do. I was dilated to 2 centimeters, 80% effaced. The doctor did a membrane sweep, and I immediately started feeling more uncomfortable and more regular contractions (I had been feeling braxton hicks for weeks). 

We went to bed that night, and at 3am, I woke up with more painful contractions, 5 minutes apart. I waited until I was sure I was getting them regularly, and then woke up James. He woke up my mom and got things ready for the hospital, while I started using some of the methods I had learned to get through the pain. I sent out one text to my best friend "we're on our way to the hospital. I think I might be having a baby today." 

We checked in to the family birth center at the hospital early that morning and things were starting to get pretty uncomfortable for me. They checked me and I was 3 centimeters dilated. 

I had planned for the birth to be completely natural. My mom had 3 c-sections, because she never dilated past 2 centimeters, and I hoped that a natural drug-free birth would prevent this from happening. My husband and I had a birth plan all typed out. He had read a book called "The Birth Partner" to prepare to be my support during the labor. He even decided that our code word for if I decided I really needed pain relief was going to be "Millenium Falcon." 

James was fantastic. We "slow danced" through many of the contractions, he rubbed my back and applied pressure during some terrible back labor, covered me with a towel in the labor tub while I was still feeling self-conscience of being naked in front of nurses, and prayed over me. My mother was also there and put it upon herself to make sure I was hydrated by offering me water to sip in between contractions. The contractions got closer and closer together and more and more painful. In our birth plan, I said that I wanted minimal cervical checks. The nurse said some encouraging things that made me think my labor was progressing rather quickly, so I thought the end was in sight. 

At some point (I think around 3pm), I agreed to a cervical check. I was sure that I had to be at least 7 or 8 centimeters because my contractions were so close together, some of them "double-humped" contractions. Then the nurse told me I was only at 4 centimeters. Heartbroken, I rolled into the pillow and sobbed. It was at this point that I really started to question my natural labor plan. 

I don't really remember very much during this time, but I remember that I was breathing very strongly to the point that I was almost hyperventilating through each contraction. I was crying and told my husband that I didn't think I could do it and that I really needed something. I think I complained like this for a little while, without actually meaning it or ever using the "code word." Several hours later, I got another check and I had progressed, but I was only at 5 centimeters. 

I do remember feeling embarrassed when I said in front of the nurse, "James... I think I really need the epidural. I... Millenium Falcon... need the epidural." (I mumbled this so the nurse probably thought I said that I m***** f****** needed the epidural.) The nurse suggested we try Fentanyl first, which we did. After a while, it was clear it didn't any affect on me, besides making me feel a little dizzy. So we decided on the epidural. I asked James if he thought I was making the right decision, because I was terrified that it would slow down my labor. He assured me that he thought it was, and told me later he would have considered it sooner except that I hadn't used the code word. The anesthesiologist came in and James told him about my fears. He very gently assured us that he thought I was far enough along that he didn't think I had to worry about that. A few minutes later, he was my favorite person in the hospital. Instead of intense pain, I felt just a small amount of pressure. I looked at the clock and saw that counting from when I woke up at 3am, I had make it through 15 hours of labor. 

Now, I was actually able to get some sleep. My mom, and especially James, were able to get a break too. The nurse checked me a few hours later and told me I was still about a five. From there, we made the decision to break my waters to help me progress. This worked very well, and by 1am on the 21st, the nurse told me it was time to push. 

I remember feeling excited and thinking "this is actually happening. Right now. I'm about to have a baby." It sounds strange, but in all the pain of labor, you forget why you're there sometimes. It hit me right then. I had been in labor for 21 hours, but it wasn't until that moment that it felt like something was truly about to start. This was that breath of air before the plunge. Like when the race official says "on your mark," or like when the song started that signaled that I was about to walk down the aisle with my dad toward my husband-to-be. 

I remember there were a lot of hospital staff in the room. James held one of my legs and my mom held my head while I pushed. At one point, my doctor asked me if she could put a fetal monitor on my baby's head, because she was concerned about the baby's heart rate and wanted to be able to see it during the contractions. I told her I would rather she didn't (who wants a monitor screwed to their baby's head unless it's absolutely necessary?), and waited to see if she would insist, which she never did. 

After a couple more minutes of pushing, she told me that my baby's heart rate was continuing to go up, showing distress, and that he needed to come out soon. That was absolutely terrifying to hear. Let me tell you, if I wasn't pushing my hardest before, I was definitely pushing my hardest now. The doctor then told me that she wanted to use the vacuum assist to help me. James and I had both read about the method and agreed. After she started pulling while I was pushing, things started happening a lot faster. The nurse told me "you're doing so well! You are so strong!" I don't know if she tells every woman that, but it was definitely encouraging to hear. I started to feel the "ring of fire" and at one point, I was sure that the baby's head had to be at least half-way out, but then someone said "we can see his hair!" Finally, I felt a huge relief of pressure as Jensen was born into the world at 1:41am on December 21st, 22 hours after I had woken up in labor at home. He did cry a little bit, but it took a little while for him to make a lot of noise, because he had a little meconium in his lungs. They put him on my chest and James cut the cord. I had only pushed for about 40 minutes. I suffered a second degree tear, but I still consider this a huge win, considering how quickly he had to come out (so I had less time to stretch) and how scared I was of a c-section. 

It is a strange thing to finally see and hear the tiny person that was hidden inside me for 9 months. He was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and a chubby little thing, but he felt so little. By the time he was placed on me, he was already a beautiful healthy pink color. His breathing was a little labored, but after a few minutes, he let out a huge yell that made us all feel better about his lungs. The back of his head did have a small round part sticking up a little from the vacuum suction-cup (which disappeared within a few hours to a bruise that was gone within a few days), but other than that, he looked absolutely perfect. I thought that I would cry, but I didn't. I was full of adrenaline and paying close attention to everything the doctors and nurses said to make sure he was okay. 

James went with Jensen to the nursery. His breathing was still a little labored and he had a slightly raised temperature, so the head nurse recommended that he get checked out. His breathing ended up quickly getting better, and his temperature was gone. We think in hindsight that he only had a temperature because he was placed on top of me right after I had worked so hard to push him out. 

I got through 15 hours of drug-free labor, and 22 hours of labor total.  I don't have any regrets about getting the epidural, because I don't think I would have had the endurance to push at the end like I had. I also don't wish I had gotten the epidural sooner, because I don't know if my progression would have been different if I hadn't held out so long. I think I inherited from my mom a cervix that just doesn't keep up with the intensity of the contractions. Maybe, with a future pregnancy, I'll be able to do a natural labor for the whole time. But for now, I feel incredibly blessed and thank God that my labor went the way it did. Having both my husband and my mom there as support was such a huge blessing. I avoided the c-section that I hoped so dearly to avoid and our baby is perfectly healthy. We thank God every day for him, and we couldn't be happier. 

<3 Amy 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

From Counting Miles to Counting Steps

I know. I said I would update more often. But truthfully, I've physically started writing a blog post at least 4 times, only to get discouraged and not post. "Fit pregnancy" has been hard, ya'll.

First I had really low blood pressure in the first trimester. That has thankfully gotten better, but then I started to get a pain in what felt like a groin muscle pull that radiated up into my back. Come to find out, this is something that many pregnant women experience (even non-runners). It's called pelvic girdle pain, and it might not go away until after the baby is born.

I'm pretty disappointed. I was talking to my mom about it over the phone and I found myself crying when I told her I might just have to stop running after I had a particularly painful run that morning. This might have been mostly because of hormones.. but still a huge disappointment!

So I've had to adjust my expectations. Again. I had this idea that I would tally up all the miles that I had run while carrying my baby. Of course, I can do other things. Like biking, elliptical, and walking (snore). I've felt some pangs of jealously whenever I see a pregnant woman that I followed on twitter post a picture about a great 8 mile run, but staying healthy for my baby is more important. I'm still going to continue to test it with shorter runs, but perhaps the trouble I'm having is just God's way of telling me that I can't run long distances and grow a little person safely at the same time.

What I have been doing:

1) Lifting twice a week. For those really interested, I'm following the beginning program from "The New Rules of Lifting For Women."

2) James and I bought His and Her Jawbone Ups. These have been pretty fun. At first I thought that we might be competing for steps, but then James went and joined the Army Ten Miler training team and I have an office job, so he pretty much dominates in the steps department every day. But, I've been trying to make sure I get 10,000 steps on the days that I don't work out, and just move more during the day in general.

3) Biking. I've found some great pinterest spin workouts that are about 30 minutes long that I can do during lunch at work. I also still did an 18-mile bike ride with my church, but I'm frankly starting to get a little scared of road biking in traffic now. I'm carrying a small person on my torso now!


4) Run-walking. I'll do some kind of interval workout with about 2 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, etc. It seems like when I run faster, my pelvic girdle pain nearly goes away, so while I'd rather run long, this seems to work for me for now.

So I've gone from counting miles to counting steps. Only about 3 more months of pregnancy to go, so I suppose I can deal a little while longer. And I can't wait to meet our little guy!

<3 Amy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Preggo Week 17

Hmm. I'm not sure it's realistic for me to go back to blogging every week. I might switch to bi-weekly soon, but we'll see! Week 17 is almost over. I did run a couple times this week and it felt... good.. except that my bladder feels just kind of funny during the run. Kind of like something is sitting on it and causing some pressure. No idea why that would be. #saracasm But the good news is that I don't experience this at all while biking, so I might be doing a little more of that.

I did get my two sessions of lifting in! I was cautioned by my doctor to not try to lift more weight than I already was. Just to maintain, since apparently it's really easy to injure muscles and tendons during pregnancy (everything is more stretchy to prepare the the huge amount of stretch that will happen to my torso).

I did do pretty well on my goals and I think I'm going to continue to keep these basic goals every week for now.

Yoga x 1 hour (check! did this on Sunday)

Lifting x 2 sessions (check!)

cardio x 3 different days (kinda check. one of my "cardio" sessions was a long walk.)

Eat 2 servings of (low mercury) fish (check!)

Eat 3 veggies a day (check!)

Eat 2 fruits a day (check!)

We are doing something called "Colorful Choices" at work. It's this little health program where we get to log fruits and veggies for points. I've gone a little crazy. It's made those last two goals really easy. My coworkers and I have been totally switching our eating habits for this crazy little game. 

Most of our meals have looked a lot like this. 
Also, I'm regularly feeling baby kicking! Sadly, the little guy (or gal) seems to quiet down whenever James puts his hand on 'em (a habit that hopefully will carry on after birth?), so he hasn't felt anything yet. But I'm hopefully he'll get to feel something soon. 

In other news, my husband summited Mount Rainier on Monday. Earlier this year, 6 climbers died on the mountain in an avalanche so of course, I was extremely nervous. But he and his buddies were fine and they had a fantastic day to climb. And I was a little jealous when I saw the pictures. 
He's a stud. 
And I'll end of a 17 week tummy pic! This pic is actually a few days old. Now that I'm almost 18 weeks, I think I've popped a little more. I'll post another pic tomorrow on instagram with the official 18 week pic. :) 
Much love, 
Amy 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pregnancy: Week 16

James and I just got back from a really nice weekend up at Kalaloch beach. We went to a first-come, first-serve basis campsite, and luckily got a spot around noon on the 3rd. So thankful that the Army decided to give James the 3rd and 4th off, because it worked out really well with my work schedule and got us there before the rush. Our spot was so prime that a guy came up to me within 10 seconds of me getting out of the tent on the morning of the 4th to ask if we planned on staying that night (I know, super peaceful wake-up, right?). Luckily, the next morning was a lot more quiet after the fireworks so we still had a relaxing stay.

View from our tent. 
How was camping while pregnant? Well, I didn't have to pee until about 5am both nights there, so I would call that a pregnancy-win! And during the day, we pretty much just hung out at the beach. It was a little chilly, but we (really, James) built a couple driftwood fires that warmed us up.


So how as running been going? I've never been very good at working out to stay in shape. I mostly have been a runner for the love of running. I don't remember the last time I felt this out of shape, and it makes me not like running quite so much. However, the low blood pressure seems to have gotten a lot better, so now it's just a matter of trying to slowly get back into shape. I failed my "running streak" that I had mentioned in a previous post. Running every day is pretty hard while dealing with morning sickness (which actually did get a little worse at the very very end of the first trimester/2nd trimester). I randomly fell upon the comic below and had to just laugh because that's exactly how I've felt.
http://newbiemom.com/comics/

I think I'm going to start posting my workouts on here to try to keep myself more accountable. I'm just keeping it simple, one week at a time. Hopefully, this will help me to remember to post more on here too!

Goals this week:

Yoga x 1 hour

Lifting x 2 sessions

cardio x 3 different days (at least 30 min each time)

Eat 2 servings of (low mercury) fish

Eat 3 veggies a day

Eat 2 fruits a day

Oh and here's my current bump.

Still not much there. I found some cute nursery sheets at Babies 'R Us and bought them yesterday with James. The lady gave us a gift receipt without even asking! I guess that might be policy or something, but James still gave me a hard time about it. "When are you going to get serious about making a baby? No one can tell you are pregnant yet!" Haha.

Until next week friends,
Amy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What I Didn't Expect: First Trimester

I'm officially 12 weeks along today. My little bit of morning sickness that I had is subsiding. I'm now able to go grocery shopping and cook without feeling sick to my stomach! I am pretty sure that my husband is as happy as I am about that. I'm not officially at the end of the first tri, but I think the hardest part of it are over (the higher risk, the morning sickness etc). Here are the things I didn't expect:
  1. I didn't expect to be so tired. I'm struggling at work. Especially in the afternoon. Staying focused enough to actually work on my projects has become a daily challenge. And not drinking coffee isn't helping either (see #2). I hope this is something that improves going into the 2nd trimester.
  2. I didn't expect to, all the sudden, despise coffee. A cup or so a day of coffee is perfectly fine during pregnancy. I was set on keeping up my habit. Then one day around 6 weeks or so, I felt completely repulsed by it. I don't miss it. You don't need to feel bad for me. I've had a couple cups the last week or so because the nausea is going away, but it's still not my first choice of beverage right now.
  3. I didn't expect to not be very sick. Double negative sorry. But my mom and sister-in-law were both super-sick during their first trimester. I naturally assumed this was the norm. I actually haven't felt very sick. I did mention that I wasn't cooking, so we were eating out a lot. I did throw-up once.. but I think that was from running too soon after pancakes and totally unrelated.
  4. I didn't expect running to become so hard. I was in half-marathon shape prior to getting pregnant (I made sure) and all the sudden, it's hard to keep up a 10-minute mile. My doctor took my blood pressure and it sounded different than what I normally hear (90/50 I think) and so I asked her about it. She said "Oh yeah, that's perfectly normal in pregnancy. You can continue to run and you'll actually get a really great workout still, even if you don't go as fast." I was actually really sad to hear that because, believe it or not, I actually don't run primarily to workout. I run because I like to race and run long distances. So I decided that I don't think I can run a half-marathon until this baby stops stealing so much of my blood. I've settled for a 5k in a few weeks. I'm also running or walking at least a mile a day with the Summer Runner's World Run Streak.
  5. I didn't expect to fall in love with a peanut. At 9 weeks, I painstakingly drank the 32 onces of water to go in with James to the first ultrasound. A girl that looked about 18 years old escorted us back to the room. She told us that she was an intern and would be performing our ultrasound but that the actual tech would come in after she was done to check everything. I just though..Okay, well it's probably going to be a while before we see anything. She then put the gel on me and stuck the little thing on my tummy. Within about 10 seconds, "There's your baby!" I wasn't expecting it at all. I thought I would cry or something, but I just kind of stared in shock. It's now the lock screen photo on my phone and I can't stop myself from looking at him/her at least a dozen times a day. I think I'm officially in love with something that, frankly, resembles a peanut or kidney bean more than a person.
     
Much love,
Amy

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Running (for two!)

I haven't been blogging for a while. My husband got back from his deployment at the end of 2012 and life settled down and got wonderfully boring. In the back of my mind, I still remembered my little blog. I thought to myself.. maybe when we decide to have a baby... it would be fun to blog about being pregnant and running. And just.. being pregnant.

So anyway.. I'm happy to announce that we're having a baby!

I haven't felt very sick. I don't have a baby bump yet. Am I pregnant or is this just a little virus that makes me feel a little sick all all the time and happens to also make my boobs big and sore? It was such a relief to go in for the ultra sound and see that there was actually a baby in there. With a little heartbeat. That was moving.

It feels more real now. Though still slightly unbelievable. I'm really excited to share this adventure with you.

<3 Amy

Keep on praying. Keep on running.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Survive a Deployment with Grace and Dignity

This has been a post that I've been wanting to write for a while. I don't claim that I handled the deployment perfectly. There were more than a few moments of heartache and complete meltdowns. But this is the list that I've compiled from my own experience and from talking to women much wiser than I.


1. Don't compare. James's unit was the last one to deploy for 12 months. The month after he deployed, they switched to 9. I was really bitter about that for a while. But you know what? Deployments were 18 months not so long ago. And I'm sure there were plenty of people that envied the 12-month deployments when that happened. There will always be someone whose husband has a shorter deployment. Or who gets to talk to their husband more than you do. Or one who gets more flowers in the mail than you. Wasting time on comparison will only make the time go slower.

I have a friend at work whose husband is only in town on the weekend. She timidly told me that she knows a little bit what it's like to go through long separations, but then said right away "but I know it's not exactly the same." Apparently, she had another military wife get angry at her for making the comparison. Really? Sure, it's not exactly the same. But what's she going through is hard too, and we should never downplay other women's trials because we think ours are harder.

2. Realize that someone, at least once, will say something thoughtless. I've seen more than one list that says something like "Things to never say to a military wife." It's going to happen to you. It might even come from a fellow military wife. I even had it happen with my husband. On instant messenger, James greeted me with an "I got stabbed today" and I immediately (within exactly 1 second) fell apart. He then proceeded to tell me (probably 2 seconds later) that one of his soldiers accidentally stabbed him in the arm with a box cutter, so he needed a few stitches. It's a funny story now, but I think it's a good example of how a lot of us are on an emotional tipping point during deployments.

Your loved one is at war and it's difficult for people to know exactly what to say, so they say the wrong thing. The best way to handle this is to be prepared and realize that people in most cases, are just ignorant. Picture yourself responding calmly and with grace before it actually happens.

When I wore my deployment pin while I was working at the running store, I had a handful of customers who wanted to talk with me about their opinion of the war. When it got to be too much (which only happened a couple times) I just told them, "You know, I'm really proud of my husband, but right now I'm just not in an emotional state to talk about that." Maybe for you, it will mean walking away. Maybe it will mean a quick inner prayer "Lord Jesus, help me handle this ignorant person with grace." Maybe it might mean putting that person in their place. And you know what? If you start crying, maybe they'll never say that hurtful thing to anyone else again.

3. Stand up for yourself. Maybe it means insisting that you keep your phone near you at work. Or possibly asking your in-laws for a little space when he first gets home.

4. Remember that it's hard for his mom too. As his wife, it's going to affect you (and your kids if you have them) the most. The next person it will in most cases affect most is his mom. Her baby is at war. What she's going through is different, but very hard as well.

5. Support one another. Find at least one battle buddy that will understand what you're going through. Fellow bloggers are fantastic, but I can't tell you how much of a difference it made when I got to meet with my friend Sam for coffee in person every week or two.
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

6. Pray for him. I went through the Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian multiple times. I don't know that God decided to keep James safe because I prayed, but at the very least, it helped me remember that God is in control. Even if the very worst had happened, God would have carried me through it.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

7. Find something to keep yourself going while he's gone. Don't say "your love for one another." I mean something else. For me, it was a couple things: my running goals, being a leader for my church youth group, and my faith. I talked to another wife recently that said she made a goal of reading 25 books and ended up reading over 30. Another friend of mine said that her 1-year-old daughter kept her going. I have another friend who finished her law degree during her husband's deployment. Find something else to base your identity in besides being his wife. I know that may seem strange or drastic, but it will help you to not be completely focused all the time on the fact that he's gone. Make yourself proud of your accomplishments for when you look back on this time.

She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. 
Proverbs 31:25

Is there anything you think I missed? How did/are you handling the deployment?

<3 A.