Yesterday was our anniversary! I knew that Jeff had ordered me some flowers, so all day long I waited anxiously for them. Once the afternoon hit, I went to the flower website to make sure they were actually ordered. They were and were supposed to be delivered by 4:30. I waited and waited.
Nothing. :( They didn't come!
I checked again this morning and now they're in Jacksonville, hopefully to be delivered today.
Good grief, if anything should be delivered on time, flowers are pretty high up on the list. I was so disappointed! Hopefully they will come today and be so beautiful it will make up for the fact that they're late.
Edit: The reason this was such a big deal is Jeff was actually deployed at the time, and getting those flowers was the only kind of celebration I was going to get. So when they were late, I was very disappointed. :)
I signed Jonathan up for WIC today. I have so much guilt associated with this!! I should just let it go.
Guilt 1. That I'm not exclusively breastfeeding anymore. About a month ago, he got thrush. OW! Thrush makes breastfeeding excruciating!! I wanted to quit then, but I stuck with it and when I couldn't stand another second, he got a bottle. Whew, I made it though. Then a little over week ago, he got it again!! I guess it never went away completely. So he got more bottles again. And I started some intense dieting, so all those combined made my milk go waaay down. Now we're doing formula during the day and breastfeeding at night. I try to tell myself that he's still getting the good stuff from breastfeeding even if it's not exclusive.
Guilt 2. That I even accepted WIC. We're not rich or even close to it, but when we budget and are careful we have enough for our needs. But formula is expensive.
Guilt 3. The ladies at WIC tried to make me feel guilty that my other kids (and I) aren't on it! Why, why, why? they asked. They started to make make me feel that I should put everybody on it. When I finally got out of there, away from the pressure, I remembered that No! They don't need WIC! I work hard to try to feed them well. They don't eat a lot of junk, but eat meat, fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy. So I don't need to feel pressure to put them on it. Sure, then we would have more money for other things, but good food is more important than toys or non-essentials. We have enough for our needs, and don't need all our wants.
What a day! Time to just get over it.
In other news, today is our 6th Anniversary! We'll be having a little family party tonight to celebrate. :)
I don't have a lot to say tonight. Kind of like the last few nights as can be surmised by the quality of my posts. :) Tonight I will iron, make another bow tie, wrap a wedding present, and watch some olympics. Ta Da!
The heat has been killing us. Yesterday we went to a park for an hour and a half in the morning and today we just went to the playground in front of our house for 30 minutes and I felt like I was going to die. I think temperature-wise, it's only in the high 80s, but the heat index is 112. Yuck. I feel so bad, because the kids really want to go out and play, but we just can't for very long. I wish there were a mall nearby with an indoor playplace. I have a feeling it would be very popular. I'm learning that while most places stay indoors in the winter, here we play during the winter and hibernate during the summer.
Rebekah is at such a cute age right now. She's so roly poly and mostly sweet, and is learning new words every day. One of the cutest things she does is say "look!" But it comes out "wook!" and she says it about 10 times until you acknowledge what she's pointing at. Many times I have no idea why she's getting my attention about that specific item, but it sure is cute. And if she gets a boo boo, same thing:
Jeff went to see the new Batman movie last night, by himself. I didn't have any interest in seeing that movie, even before the shooting. We live in a small town that is pretty safe, but I still had that flicker of fear that there would be a copycat shooter that night. I pushed the idea down, telling myself it was silly and we shouldn't let fear dictate how we live.
When he got home, he told me that just when the bad guy started being really bad, there was the sound of a chainsaw or a weed whacker coming from just outside the emergency exit door. Eventually it did go away, and he thinks that someone was actually whacking the weeds out there. Then later in the movie during a particularly quiet part, he said he swore he heard the sound of a 9mm being cocked in the back of the theater. I don't know what that was all about, but he was definitely on alert, waiting, almost expecting something to happen.
I asked him what his plan would have been, had something happened. Because of course, Jeff would have a plan. He said his plan was to get down first, try to figure out the movements of the bad guy and come up with a way to take him down. I wasn't surprised. I was both proud and ... I'm not sure what the other emotion was. I am proud to be married to someone who would try to take out the bad guy and save people. (And Jeff really is like that, not just talk. I've seen him react quickly to help people in crises.) But on the other hand, I would like for him to survive, and taking on a shooter doesn't give you good odds.
Then tonight we went to Chick-fil-A for dinner. It was family night there, where a kids' meal comes free with the purchase of an adult entree. There was also a clown. Twice, a balloon popped, making a very loud, very sudden noise. The first one really startled me and got me thinking about the shooting again. The second one still startled me, just not as much.
I am so mad at this world we live in, where evil people cause terror and shatter so many lives. I am heartbroken for people who lose loved ones to needless tragedies. I am grateful for the gospel and the foundation it gives me. And I am sad for people who have no foundation and flounder alone.
Not a very happy post, but definitely things that have been on my mind lately.
I haven't really told anyone, but I kind of think of Jonathan as our miracle baby. First, a little recap.
After Katelyn was born, my hair started really falling out and I was feeling lousy. I talked to my mom about those and some other symptoms I was having and she recommended I get my thyroid checked. I did and I am a little hypothyroid. So I've been taking a little purple pill everyday since then. Well at least I am supposed to.
One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is depression. A little while after Bekah was born, I ran out of my medicine and thought that I could probably beat the depression on my own without it. But I wasn't thinking clearly and I forgot completely the reason that I was taking it-- that my body doesn't make enough of that hormone, which in turns makes all the other hormones in the body. So I should have been taking it. STUPID.
Anyways, I finally realized what I was doing and went back on it. After my thyroid stablized, I went in for a routine blood test and got all my endocrine hormones tested, along with many other things. Most things were fine, but my estradiol levels (estrogen) were post-menopausal low. Let me say that again. My estrogen levels were POST-Menopausal low. So basically I was experiencing early ovarian failure, and with that comes early menopause.
I was shattered. Here I was at 27 staring menopause in the face. I was so terrified that my stupid mistake had caused my reproductive system to shut down and I wouldn't be able to have any more kids. I felt so stupid and broken.
This was right before Jeff left on a short patrol. I was worried and he was worried. He came home and we started trying to have a baby, not knowing if it would work, but knowing that we didn't want to lose any more time.
Amazingly, I got pregnant very fast and here we are on the other end with our beautiful baby Jonathan. I really was terrified that I couldn't have any more children, but somehow we got our baby. I'm not sure how, since my levels were so low. And there was the very real fear that my body wouldn't make the hormones necessary to sustain the pregnancy to term so I was scared of miscarriage like never before. But everything went very smoothly and I was so very relieved and grateful.
So that is the short story of why I consider Jonathan to be my mini miracle baby. I still don't know if we'll be able to have more babies in the future, but we got our Johnny here and if we can't, I think we'll be ok.
But now I know to take my medicine every single day!!
Tomorrow there will be a change in our routine. Since baby was born I haven't been able to spend the time and put the big kids to bed like I used to. It would take a good half an hour-- we'd all sit together on Jeffy's bed and read stories, sing songs, talk about our day, say prayers, and just be together. I miss that and I'm sure they do too. But that always seems like that's baby's crankiest time, so I just try to rush and get them in bed so I can help him stop crying.
But I think I'm going to put him in his bed or something and let him cry. I think I really need that time with the kids. They are happier and I feel like a better mom when we do that. And crying doesn't hurt the baby. He does that anyways.
I'm looking forward to it. I've missed that sweet time with my sweet babies. :)
Refit is the hardest part of a submariner's schedule. At least that's my opinion, but I think most people would agree. Refit is when the boat is in and the crew is doing maintenance on it before it goes back out. It's hard because the sailors are on 3-day duty, which means they have a 24-hour shift once every three days, and usually 12-hours shifts for the next two. So a sailor will work 7:00 am Monday to 7:00 am Tuesday, at which point he starts his Tuesday shift, then gets off at 7:00 pm. Wednesday he'll be back to work at 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, then it starts over again with a 24-hour shift on Thursday. Weekends are not excluded for duty days, but if you don't have duty, you can hope for it off.
Not only are the hours exhausting, but the work is too. So basically we see Jeff for a few hours every couple of days when he's in a state in which he can barely think let alone move. Poor guy. Poor family.
Here's why it's hard on me:
1) He's gone all the time, so the single parent thing kicks in. I become responsible for everything-- the kids, the house, the cars, the administrative stuff, everything, because Jeff won't have a spare minute in a day to do it. He gets home, says hello to the kids and plays with them for a few minutes (if they're even still awake) then it's off to bed to try to recover and gear up for the next day.
2) But he's still "home," so I still need to keep the house clean, the kids clean, make food, and do all that stuff. I know, just plain awful right? :) But when he's gone, I can skip the cleaning, skip the dinner or the bath, and it's no big deal. But when he's kind of home, it makes a big difference for him when it's done so I need to do it.
3) And when life gets hard, people get cranky. Especially the kids. Enough said on that one.
So anyways, life during refit is hard. Military life is hard. I try very hard not to complain and this wasn't intended to be a complaint either. Most of the people who read this blog aren't military and I thought they might be interested as to what it's like.
So yes, it can be hard. But I know we were supposed to join the military, specifically the Navy nuke program. And that's why I don't complain. I'll write the story of why I know that another day.
I've been making a few things for Cassidy's wedding-- advice cards and these little monogrammed medallions that are going on the centerpieces. Her colors are black damask over white with splashes of yellow. It's very elegant and pretty.
I've been doing these projects on my silhouette, which I LOVE. Jeff got it for me for Christmas/birthday/valentine's day this last year, since he was going to be gone for all of them. It is one of my most favoritest gifts ever. It is essentially a cutting tool, but I use the design software for so many things too. I love it! I just finished the wedding stuff last night and it turned out great. I can't wait to see the rest of the wedding, looks like it's going to look fabulous.
On a different note, I can't believe Cassidy is getting married! Makes me feel like I must be getting old. I'm the oldest, and she's the 5th and she's getting married! Crazy. But she found this guy who seems pretty much perfect for her, so there you go. I am so excited to see everyone again in just a few weeks! I met Jon at Christmas and he seems great. Of course, Jeff was out so he couldn't come and he can't come to the wedding either. Someday he'll get to see everyone again. Poor guy.
Ok, this has turned a little more rambly than I intended. Till tonight!
I'm tired and I don't have much to say tonight. But I don't want to miss another day.
I've been doing a lot of baking lately. Not great for losing the baby weight, but fun. :) I made white bread and banana bread on Friday, cinnamon rolls on Saturday and donuts on Sunday. That was the first time I've ever made donuts and I want to try again and make them even better. The kids and I have been enjoying the yumminess, with Jeff partaking every so often.
But I need to stop and refocus my energy on exercising. That's my new big project! No more babies at least for a while, so it's time to get as close to my old body as is possible. I'm excited. And even more excited to discover that housing has a fitness room in the community center with an activity room next for the kids to be in while I work out. Awesome! Last summer I was doing awesome and working out 1, sometimes 2 times a day and it's time to get myself back in gear. Looking forward to it!
To breastfeed or not to breastfeed, that is the question. Lately I've been wanting to quit breastfeeding and go all bottle. It just takes so much time! I feel like it would be a lot easier and faster to feed him with a bottle. His tummy would get fuller faster and he might sleep better. We could establish a regular routine and stick with it. And I would have more time to do other kid stuff.
But even as I write this, I know I won't. Just a dumb wish for more time, I guess.
On a different note, today went much better. My big project for the day was taking the kids to the splash park. That was a lot more fun. :)
I feel spent. Today was a long, hard day and the worst part is that I feel I brought it on myself. This afternoon I decided to paint another wall in the toy room. Why do I take on such big projects when I have 4 little people who need me pretty much constantly? No more big projects. Time to focus on the kids. It's time to get Katelyn to obey no matter what. That in itself would make my life a lot easier. Anyone have any tips on that front?
Jeffy punched a hole in his bedroom wall today. I don't think he was mad; I think he just wanted to see if he was strong enough to do it. Yup, he is. It's interesting the kind of damage my kids figure out to do to all these homes we do not own. In New York, they trashed the carpet. Here we have tile (we specifically chose the one with tile to avoid the carpet) so that's not an option. Instead they punch through walls and rip apart air vents. And I wish I could blame it all on the boy, but that would be unfair to him! Katelyn is as much a wrecking ball as he is, maybe even more. Oh kids. They say you get the kind of kid that you were. I blame Jeff. I sure didn't go around punching walls to see if I could. :)
Baby man smiled at me for a good 10 seconds today. It was amazing! And I didn't feel any kind of rumbling inside, so I have decided it was a real smile and not just gas. :) It made me so happy! I have been feeling an extra outpouring of love towards my kids lately. We had McDonalds for dinner tonight and when he was done with his food, Jeffy tried to pull the happy meal box onto his head as a hat. Of course his head is way too big so it didn't fit and he just kept ripping off whatever piece he was holding. I laughed long and hard at that. He just looked so cute with that box hat! And he told me I was a great mom today. Sure it was because I got him McDonald's, but I can pretend it was for a different reason. When Bekah is hurt or upset she very pitifully calls out "Mommy!" She doesn't have a very good vocabulary yet, but she's got that word down pat. And it tugs at my heart strings every time. She needs me and wants me to comfort her when she's sad or in pain. The sister missionaries stopped by today and commented multiple times on Katekyn's cute little voice. And it's true. She has the cutest little sing song voice and her "ok"s and "yes" which is almost with a lisp, and the way she copies what her big brother says-- it's all just so cute.
In want of becoming a better mom I have prayed in the past for the ability to develop more patience. I think I'll pray instead for more love. Having more love is such a great feeling. It's wonderful to be reminded of what a sweet, innocent little being each of my children is, and how they deserve respect and kindness and love. I'm glad I wrote about this tonight, so when I'm frustrated for some meaningless, silly reason, I can come back to this and get that reminder to stop and just love them. Because I do. So much. :)
Yesterday was a busy day. We cleaned the house for the babysitter to come over (anyone else have to do this?) and went out on a birthday date. Today is Jeff's birthday, and it's one where he now considers himself an old man. Ha ha.
We went out to dinner and a movie, and actually had a great time. I say actually because it's a pretty standard date so it was nice to have a really good time, not because it's surprising to enjoy spending time together. :) Since it was his birthday we went out to sushi. I hate sushi! I tried it again and yup, I hate it. It's not even the fish part I hate-- it's the seaweed rice part. But I got some yummy chicken that came with a salad, soup, and fried rice. It was so yummy! Dinner was a nice surprise.
And we went to see The Amazing Spiderman, which I had very low expectations for. The 1st of the Toby McGuire series came out our senior year of high school and I have fond memories associated with it, so it's rather sentimental and I didn't like the look of the previews for this one. But both Jeff and I really enjoyed it! Peter Parker was much less annoying and much more endearing than I expected. So that was a nice surprise too.
We did bring baby with us and that made for less of a relaxing night for me. He had his first bottle ever at the restaurant then fell asleep for a while, but then woke up and I ended up breastfeeding him for most of the movie. That was kind of awkward. Luckily, the movie wasn't too crowded and he did eventually fall asleep. It was a nice night out and we enjoyed it.
And today was his actual birthday so he got lots of yummy food and some peace and quiet. His birthday candles were sparkles this year, which I thought was AWESOME. That was a lot of fun. Yay for birthdays!
Today I realized I the frazzled and overwhelmed feelings I was having were due to my house getting messy. I've been really good lately about picking up everyday and keeping everything relatively under control. But yesterday was a busy day and I didn't have a chance to do any maintenance, so it was slipping down hill. Today was kind of busy too, but it wasn't anything super important, and I couldn't figure out what was making me feel so frantic.
Then I realized the mess was causing my anxiety, so I cleaned and felt a lot better. I think I am actually becoming one of those people who enjoy cleaning. It's happening very slowly, but I am noticing huge differences in my mood depending on the state of my house (duh). Before, (in NY) I would be feeling very discouraged and depressed, and would try to do things to feel better. But those were the WRONG things. Eating and watching tv did not help, it just made me spiral down more. But now I know that when I'm feeling down, I need to do the things that are going to result in a happy feeling. The act of eating something yummy is definitely more enjoyable than the act of cleaning the kitchen. But the end result of cleaning is a much happier feeling than the guilt and other bad feelings that are the end result of eating. Another lesson learned.
Anyways, this isn't what I really intended to blog about today, but it's what came out. So there you go!
It was a pretty good day. Had a playdate that we all enjoyed, went to Jonathan's well baby appointment and got his stats (always fun) and went to a family meeting on base. It was fun to see people we haven't seen in a while and show off baby. And I got some presents for a baby shower tomorrow. I love baby showers! I'm excited to put the present all together.
And I re-did the blog last night. I like it a lot. The pictures aren't amazing, but they're cute, and I like the blog background. That's my theme for life right now- I am a strong woman and I can do it. :)
I seriously love the 4th of July! I love everything about it-- the parades, the fireworks, going to parks, beaches, having bbqs, roasting s'mores, everything!
Today we went to the parade as a family. Last year I took Jeffy, Katelyn, and Bekah while Jeff was out to sea on his first patrol. It's more fun having him around, even if I had to basically drag him there. But he did admit that I was right and it was a lot of fun. Just about every float/car that passed threw out candy and Jeffy and Katey got very good at calling out "candy please!" And we even got some beads, flags, frisbees, and fans. I think next year I'll make little bags for their loot, they really come away with that much. The parade was what I was looking forward to the most. :)
Then we came home, fed baby, got everyone into their swimsuits (which I can't believe took an hour and a half) and headed over to our community's splash park! This is our 2nd summer here and our first time to the splash park! Silly us. It was a blast! The kids had a lot of fun. There was a mushroom thing that was supposed to be dripping lots of water, but it wasn't working so well, which worked out perfectly for me. Just a few spots were dripping, so I pulled a chair under there and sat with Jonathan while everyone else ran around.
Then we came home and took naps. Well, some people took naps and other people wished they could. :) For dinner, we tried to roast hot dogs and marshmellows over the grill in the backyard, but there were a million too many mosquitos so we came inside. We made them instead on the propane stove on the kitchen table. :)
No fireworks show for us tonight, as I'm too tired to try to beat the traffic, hoards, and bugs, but when it gets dark, I'm doing sparklers. :)
Life is harder when you're tired. I'm a worse mom, my patience goes down to about zip, the house gets messier, challenges seem a million times bigger, and everyday important tasks seem so monumentally hard to do!
It could be that I'm getting up at night with a newborn and don't get much rest during the day. Or it could mean it's time to get my thyroid and hormones checked again. Should probably go with that one, just to make sure.
And I'm really going to try to get a nap in today. :)
I got really spoiled with this baby. Jeff got over 3 weeks paid vacation, my mom came out for a week, and his mom came out for 2 weeks! I got very well taken care of.
But the first week doing it all by myself was horrible. Baby got very sick (RSV) and we went to 2 hospitals and lots of doctors visits and the other kids felt very neglected (rightly so) and the whole thing was just a mess.
This week is shaping up to be much better! Johnny has a bit of a lingering cough, but overall he is better and the other kids are getting more attention, and are also happier.
And today I:
did 2 loads of laundry
did 2 loads of dishes
organized and sorted all the kids' summer clothes
sewed 4 burp cloths and 2 wee wee wig wams
made dinner from scratch for us and another family who just welcomed a baby
And all this while having 4 kids, 4 and under, around my ankles. :)
Yay me! It feels so good to be productive again. And to celebrate I'm going out shopping by myself tonight to buy NON-maternity clothes!! Hurray!
Edit: It's now evening. I scorched one of the dinners and I am too fat to fit in any of the clothes in stores. Yay life. Tomorrow is a new day! Thank goodness.
A few weeks before my sister, Kimi, gave birth to her 3rd child, she started a blog and posted every single day. I have LOVED reading it and feel like I've gotten closer to her-- it's like talking to her every day! So I'm taking a page out of her book and doing the same. I'm going to post every day. And I'm going to be as honest as she is! When I'm frustrated with something I tend to hold it in and even hide it. No more! This will be my place to vent just a little and keep something of a record of my days. They can be kind of hard right now, but I know I am going to miss them when they're gone.
So here's to Kimi! And here's to my new self-inflicted blog challenge! :)
I love a good birth story, don't you? :) Here's baby Jonnie's.
My due date was May 21st, which came and went. I had been dilated at a 1 and effaced at 60% for almost a good month, and was ready to get the show on the road! Especially since Bette Jo, Jeff's mom was here to help and I didn't want her trip to end before baby made his appearance!
I had my 40-week check up on Tuesday the 22nd, at which the doctor stripped my membranes. He tried to warn me that it may or may not do anything so don't get my hopes up. I didn't mind. I knew baby would come when he was good and ready and I wasn't going to do anything to help him along (bad experience with castor oil came to mind!). But the hope was still there that it would be very soon!
I had very light contractions that evening, which wasn't anything new. And they were the kind that felt like period cramps, not hard contractions with a start and finish. We went to bed at about 10:00. A few minutes after midnight, my water broke! I felt a gush start, and I clenched up trying not to let anything out. I lay there for a few seconds, trying to take stock of what just happened. My water had never broken on its own before and I wondered if it could actually be happening! I got up and waddled to the bathroom and there was no doubt. I was soaking wet and dripping all over the floor. So weird! I had always wondered what that would be like. :) I cleaned myself up and tried to calm down-- I was so excited because when your water breaks, baby is coming soon one way or another!
Then the real contractions started. I knew I should go back to bed and try to get some rest, but I was too excited to sleep so I got on the computer and timed my contractions. They ranged from 4 to 7 minutes apart. I also wanted to wake up Jeff because I was so excited, but also knew he would need any sleep he could get, so I waited.
A little after 1:00 am, I tried to go back to bed. Contractions were still coming regularly and as I timed them, the movement woke up Jeff. He asked if I was ok, and I told him my water broke. His response-- "hmmm" as he fell back asleep. I had to really wake him up and tell him that I was in labor and snap to it!
With Bekah I did almost 100% of my labor at home and barely made it to the hospital in time. With this birth, we knew we wanted to labor at home as much as possible, but didn't want to cut it as close as last time. When my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart we took off for the hospital, which is an hour away.
The contractions were picking up in intensity and I was excited! And also nervous! Having done a natural birth before, I knew the pain and emotional roller coaster that lay ahead and I wasn't sure I was up to the task. I had wanted to pull out my birthing books for a quick refresher course before baby's debut, but we couldn't find them, so I was going totally off of my memory, and I was a little nervous.
But I was handling the contractions fine. They lasted about 1 minute and were 4-5 minutes apart when we arrived at the hospital at 2:45. I got set up in triage and answered a million questions, then got checked and I was at a 4 and my water had definitely broken. "She's a keeper!" the nurse announced. :) I heard someone respond back "I knew she was a keeper- she just had that look about her!" Yay for not being sent home. :)
One of the questions I was asked was my plan for pain management. Actually I think it was did I plan on having an epidural. My answer was no, there was no plan to get an epidural. Both Jeff and I noticed the look on the nurse's face which meant "one of those women, who thinks they can make it through without an epidural. I give her 2 hours!" or something like that. :) Ha ha, I'd show them!
I got set up in my room and the contractions picked up more. But this time was different. Instead of just being in pain during the contractions, I was in constant pain. If I held absolutely still, it was manageable, but if I moved the slightest bit, agony!! I thought that was so unfair. I could make it through the pain of contractions on my own, but I didn't know if I could make it through hours and hours of constant gut-wrenching pain on my own.
By this point the contractions were intense enough that I needed Jeff's help to get through them. One would start and I would say "talk" and Jeff would tell me to relax different parts of my body, mostly my jaw, face, and shoulders, over and over. That's how we did all of Bekah's labor and it worked great. It worked ok this time. I just hurt so much and it was a different kind of pain than I was used to. A few hours in the hospital, probably around 4:30ish, I didn't want to do it anymore. I really didn't. I wanted the epidural, even though I didn't. I was familiar enough with birth that I knew about where I was and how much more I had to go, and I just didn't want to do it. It wasn't that I couldn't, I just didn't want to anymore!!
But Jeff reminded me how much a natural birth meant to me and told me to hang on. After battling it out a while, I told him fine! I'll give you 10 minutes! I'm so glad he was strong for me when I was tired of being strong.
I was still trying to hold as still as possible, not moving a centimeter, but baby moved and they wanted me to roll onto my side so they could adjust the monitors. It was excruciating, but I made it onto my left side, which proved to be my saving grace. I knew that I should have been on my side to begin with. They say that's the best position to allow blood flow, etc., and I wanted to get on my side, but moving hurt so, so much, I just couldn't do it, until they made me.
And thank goodness they did! From that point, I was able to take back control of my labor. I think I was at about a 6 then. I had been progressing very well at least, even if it wasn't the instantaneous progression every laboring woman dreams of. :)
When the first contraction hit while on my side, I didn't do my regular signal to Jeff to begin talking to me. I took a deep breath in, closed my eyes and started an involuntary mantra in my head. I listened to my heart beat, and said in my mind "baby is coming" to 2 heartbeats while I breathed in and "I can do it" to 2 heartbeats while breathing out. I did that for the whole contraction ... and the next ... and the next. Jeff was sitting in a chair a little bit away from me, very confused. He told me he realized I was having a contraction, but hadn't asked for his help and seemed to be doing in on my own. He realized I had found my groove and knew that if he jumped in, he would break my concentration and it would be counterproductive. So he left me alone, which was the right thing to do.
During the next while (I really have no idea how long it was, time is very abstract while in labor!) this is how I controlled my contractions. Notice a different word here. Before, I was managing my contractions, now I was controlling them. The most important thing I learned through the birth is that I can control the pain I feel. Not just suffer through it-- I can control it. Can there be anything more empowering!! As long as I was left to myself and uninterrupted, I could control my pain enough to bring it to a level that I could handle without problem.
Many times a nurse or someone would walk in, see me with my eyes closed laying down and not even realize I was in the middle of a very intense contraction. I'm glad Jeff was there to be my eyes. He told me once they realized I was having a contraction, they got this very confused look on their face, like 'why does she look like that when she's having a contraction? She's got no epidural, at this point in labor she should be hysterical!' I wish I could have seen. :)
Somewhere in the 5:00 hour, my nurse said if I felt pushy to let her know and she's check me. I wanted to hold out as long as I could, until I was absolutely ready to push, since it really hurt when she checked me! Eventually I told her I was ready, and she checked me, found a little rim, and called my doctor to come check, who said I was ready. I gave a practice push or two, then she stepped back to get into gear and get everything ready.
And now a note about my doctor. I am so, so glad I had the baby when I did so that she would be the one on-call. She was so wonderful. She spoke to me in a calm and very soothing voice, but was firm in what she told me to do. I trusted her completely and followed her every direction.
And now the pushing began! They tell me I only pushed for like 3 contractions, but it felt much, much longer. :) At one point, the contraction stopped when Jonnie's head was right at the crown and I was stuck in the ring of fire! Aaah! That was awful. I hadn't had that before either! With Katelyn, the final push got her head and all out, and with Bekah, one push got her head completely out, then the next push got her body out. But this time not so much! Finally, after a few more grueling pushes, he was born!! It was 6:07 am, just a little more than 3 hours after we got to the hospital!
Hooray, it was over! Relief has been my first emotion after both natural births. :) Then comes joy and happiness when I get to see and hold my little miracle. He was so cute and seemed so tiny, although he was 8lbs 10oz, not really that tiny. :) I loved his dark hair and hoped it would stay dark like mine.
Afterwards, my doctor told me I am only the 8th woman she's delivered in 10 years who said she would do it without an epidural and actually did. Then she paid me a very high compliment in saying that was maybe the most controlled delivery she'd ever seen. Yay me, I did it! Every birth is so unique and I learn so much from them. Things about myself, mostly. It may sound silly to a lot of people, but after this experience, I feel like I have much more control over my body than I realized. When we got home from the hospital and the older kids got a stomach bug, I decided I wasn't going to get it, and that was it. It probably sounds ridiculous, but I've decided I'm in control of my body and what it does. :)
Anyways, that's the story of how little Jonnie came to our family. He is so loved and we are so glad he's here!!
Little Jonathan Loren Davis was born on Wednesday morning at 6:07. He weighed 8 lbs 10 oz and was 21 and 1/4 inches long. It was my 3rd VBAC and 2nd all-natural birth, of which I am very proud. :) I will write a very detailed birth story soon, but wanted to post a picture for all the people (maybe 2?) that I'm not friends with on facebook. Enjoy!
(If part of it is cut off, click on it to see the whole thing.)