Monday, December 3, 2018

The Birth of Lucy Joan

At 34 weeks, we discovered I had Polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid).  Typically, it isn’t a major concern, but there are risks, and as with anything, when you know those risks, it can be worrisome.  So, from that point on in the pregnancy, I had a weekly ultrasound to check on the baby and my fluid level.  I didn’t mind that part at all!  My doctor originally was not going to let me go past the 39 week mark anyway, but once we discovered this, he moved it to the 38 week mark…just to try to prevent anything bad from happening during delivery.  So, the date was set for November 20th.

There were definitely times I didn’t think I would make it to that date and sleepless nights with contractions and pains.  In fact, we went to Amarillo the evening before, and I had consistent
contractions the two hours there, but they stopped as we arrived.  So, November 20th it would be!

For some reason, I was worried more about this labor and delivery more than my others.  Deep down, I knew I could handle it (after Henry’s birth experience), but it was the unknown that kept creeping up.  Would she turn before labor (she was posterior)?   Would any of the risks associated with Polyhydramniosis come to fruition?  Would I be able to have an unmedicated induction (for no other reason than to avoid the migraines I’ve had coming off the anesthesia before)?  All of it unknown, and again, for some reason, unsettling this time around.

After a restless night, we arrived at the hospital just a bit before my 7AM induction.  I knew I wanted to hold this sweet baby in my arms, but I didn’t want to wish the pregnancy or labor and delivery away.  As crazy as it sounds, I want those joyous moments in my heart forever, and the details of it all fade away from my memory much too quickly. 

I was put in a room and changed before my nurse arrived.  When she walked through the door, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I had a nurse I had wanted to have for years.  Seeing her in Church when in Amarillo, and knowing just by watching her, she was incredibly compassionate and gifted as a nurse, I smiled so big, and exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to have you as a nurse!”  What a blessing she would prove to be!  She also had a student with her who was as sweet as they come.

We went through all of the questions, got an IV placed (first try – which is a record)!  She asked if I wanted an epidural.  I said I wanted to try to not have one but I was afraid I would.  She then smiled and said she needed pain meds when stubbing her toe, but if I wanted to go unmedicated, she could be my girl – “no pain, no gain” were her words.  She said there were two scheduled cesareans that morning - one at 8AM and one at noon.  So in those two hours, I wouldn't be able to get an epidural.  I then told her I was also worried about the baby being posterior, to which she replied, “They don’t call be Flip for nothing!”  I knew I was in good hands.

I started the morning at 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  They got the Pitocin going, and my doctor came in to break my water at 9 AM.  After that I was 4 cm.  He left, and I could feel the contractions, but they were very bearable.  I sat upright in bed for a little over an hour, and progressed a centimeter. 

Angela came back in, bumped my Pitocin up to four and changed my position (laying on my left side with the “peanut ball”).  The contractions picked up a bit.  After another hour (I think), she upped the Pitocin to six, and fairly quickly, I felt the pain.
Right before noon, I texted my birth photographer (the amazing Lauren Hodges!) that the contractions were getting more intense, and then I really couldn’t text or talk much anymore.  She arrived soon after, and things picked up.  I was praying and focusing on breathing through each contraction when I saw Jeremy sitting down, looking like he was in more pain than me (he’s always has a hard time watching me in labor and feeling helpless).  They turned the Pitocin off.  I closed my eyes and asked Mary to be a mother to me as I offered up each contraction.

I kept feeling pressure with each contraction, but I thought there surely was not any way I could be that far along.  The pain was intense, and my back was still hurting between contractions.  In my mind, I thought, “I can’t do this.”  And, I knew that could mean I was close, but I also didn’t believe I was close enough. 

Angela came to check me around 12:30, and I was eight cm.  She was asking me if I could handle the pain, and instead of answering, I started crying (it’s my “go-to” emotion…when I’m hurting, sad, mad, worried, etc).  Chloe, the student, reached out with a tissue and dried my tears (what compassion!)  Angela then asked if I wanted Fentanyl.  I didn’t know.  But it was in the noon hour, and the epidural was no longer an option.  It was now or never.  I said yes, thinking the pain would go away.  It didn’t.  Instead, it felt like I was in a tunnel and couldn’t hear anyone clearly for a couple of minutes, and then life was back to normal.

She checked again, and I was complete, so she called my doctor, and we waited.  I started pushing at 1PM.  I’ve never pushed more than maybe two rounds of contractions.  But, this time was different. 

I was pushing but nothing seemed to be happening.  I got frustrated with myself, and I think I apologized to everyone in the room about fifty times.  After a little pep talk from Angela, things picked up.  They drained my bladder to make a bit more room, and after a few more pushes, I felt that ring of fire as she came into the world (that didn’t happen with Henry). 

My amazing doctor and nurse placed her on my chest, and I thanked God for a happy, healthy baby with a quick, safe delivery.

Jeremy was right by my side throughout the process, and he was such a rock for me as I felt discouraged, and as I recovered.

Lucy Joan Fisk arrived at 1:13 PM, weighing 8lb, 10 oz. and measuring 20 inches long.  She is named after two heroic saints and a very close friend.  As Jeremy and I decided on her name, we knew she would need to be a light for this darkened world (Lucy means light), and she would need the strength of Joan to do so. 

As always, this new little one brings an instant new love like no other to our family, and we are so incredibly thankful for her life. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Looking Forward and Holding On

I was coming home from my OB appointment the other day, and someone texted asking how I was feeling.  My response was, "Huge."  Haha, it's true.  She then responded that she knew the feeling but that as soon as this little one was earthside, I'd simultaneously be in complete love with the tiny baby cuddled up to me and missing the miracle of pregnancy.  She's right. 

I don't know why I do it, but I do.  I try to take in all of the amazing moments of pregnancy...the little kicks, the knowing that I'm being used as a vessel for a child to be born, the sheer awe of it all.  But, I also find myself texting my sister pictures of my feet that no longer have any definition, half joking at how big they can get before this baby comes and half joking because if I don't, I might cry (not really, but I don't like being swollen).  I run into people and find myself making comments about my size, maybe so they won't do it first.  Yes, I know I'm big.  Yes, I know it looks like twins.  Yes, I'm a bit vain and sometimes shake my head that I didn't do a bit more to stay in better shape.

But, then I near the end and have discovered that I'm carrying a lot more amniotic fluid than I should.  More than likely, nothing will come of it.  And if you want to go on being a sane, pregnant momma, don't google the risks. 

I am not worried, but it does make me think.  It makes me so very grateful for the gifts I've been given in being able to carry most of my babies to term with no complications.  It makes me cringe to think that I complain about the fact that I can barely fit anything around this tummy or on these feet when I've wept with friends who would give anything to be in my shoes...literally.

I feel like I count down the days to holding this little one, and sometimes forget to sit in the beauty of the now.  Because when this tummy is gone, I will forget what it was like to have it.

And, I hate forgetting.  I know that's so weird to say.  But, I feel like that's why I take so many pictures.  Because I've truly forgotten the moments.  I don't remember what each of my babies were like when they first arrived.  Sure, I can look at photos and be reminded, but it's never like being in the moment again.  And, the moments go too quickly (except for those in which your child is whining or screaming like a maniac...those seem to last longer than most).  But, I don't want to forget.

Will I forget what it's like to be pregnant?  Sure.  Will there come a time when it's my last pregnancy?  Of course.  And, I don't know when that will be.  So, if this is it, I don't want to forget these moments...even these last ones...when I'm a bit (read a lot) more moody and difficult to be around than I should be.  I don't want to forget the five little kiddos who ask me every morning when their sister will be here.  I don't want to forget what it's like to feel like this belly may burst open at any minute, as uncomfortable as it may be...because there is life inside.

I like to hold on.  And, I can't.  I have to let go to enjoy the moments right in front of me.  But, I seem to have to re-learn this day by day.  And, when she finally does arrive, and her littleness is so fleeting, I'll have to be reminded (again and again) to let go, in order to fully love each precious moment as I am in it...not aching for the past or worrying about the future, but being in the now.

So, for the next few weeks (or days), I'll be waddling along in probably the same outfit I wore yesterday (and the day before that), praying for the safe arrival of our seventh child and thanking God that I get to do this, because I never want to forget the gift that it is.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The June Birthdays

We have back-to-back birthdays in June.  And forever, I had decided that we would never do a joint birthday.  I mean, several of my kids have birthdays very close together, but I wanted them to each have their own special day.  I was talking to my mother-in-law about this, and come to find out, she and her sister had birthdays twelve days apart and never celebrated them separately.  Then the wheels started turning, and well, what harm would it do if they had their own cakes, their own gifts and just one party?!  We usually only have grandparents over anyway.  So, it happened...the day between both of their birthdays.  And guess what?  They loved it!  

We did let them pick their meals on their true birthdays.  Sophie's day started with strawberry pancakes.

Look how excited John Paul was for her opening her presents!

I've had so much fun the last couple of years trying new cakes for their birthdays.  This was a Biscoff one.  It was as yummy as it sounds.  Cookie butter in cake form!

This one was called Death by Chocolate, and we all kind of decided it was a one-time cake.

Only the best aunts give musical instruments to my kids for their birthdays.  We've had a ukulele, drums, and now, a trumpet!  I can't wait until my nephew's birthday, haha.

I love Peter's enthusiasm.

Eight and four.  As always, it's hard for me to believe.  I saw a friend's post on Instagram the other day where she was helping a young friend get her college dorm ready, and then she said how she got back out to her car (in the parking lot seeing moms and dads hug their babies just a little longer and tighter before letting them go...on their journeys without them).  And, she bawled.  The thought right now makes me want to do the same.  I know it's just part of it and truly what a blessing it is to love someone so much that saying goodbye is so difficult...but yeah, I'm glad they are just eight and four right now.

Carter...he's our inquisitive one.  He has a question all hours of the day.  He's also very confident and very competitive (which sometimes isn't a great combination).  He feels deeply and reacts quickly.  He loves anything science right now,  enjoys shooting his bow, and recently went to a small basketball camp.  He's really moving along with his piano lessons, and he always wants to lead new activities with his siblings.  He's in a stage where he likes to be a bit goofy from time to time and maybe even likes to argue a bit.  For his birthday dinner he asked for a candle lit dinner complete with only Schwans' frozen pizza.  Done.  He likes swimming, dancing, going with Jeremy from time to time, winning, blue Doritos, chocolate chip cookies and almost any candy.  What a wonderful little guy he is!

Sophie...our tough little girl.  She is as girly as they come while as rough and tumble as they come simultaneously (maybe the result of three older brothers).  She will come out of her room with ten bows in her hair, only to get her dress dirty catching waterdogs.  She loves to sing and dance, play house, and help me bake.  She is feisty and quick to tell Genevieve what to do, but she's also just as quick to find her blanket when she is crying.  She has as many expressions as she does shoes, and she loves to just "visit" with her aunts and grandmas.  She claims she loves all things pink, is a huge fan of baked potatoes and thinks she has named her little sister.  She eats cheerios almost daily, rarely wears anything but dresses, and loves a good book!  I'd be lying if I said she was drama-free, but she's such a fun, little go-getter, and I don't know what we'd do without her!

Happy birthday to our June babies!

Monday, August 6, 2018

June in Review

I'm sooo good at blogging these days, ha!

In June...

We had swim lessons.  And, Carter and Peter are pretty much swimming on their own!  And, their momma is pretty proud as well.

You can barely see Sophie giving her thumbs up, but she did so well!  

We had the best group of people to swim with, and the kids made so many new friends!

Henry learned to drive.

We had a water balloon fight or two.

The boys began learning archery.

And, we finally devoted some time to teaching the boys to ride.  They even went to help gather cattle several times and loved it!

The little ones love being the big boys' cheering section when they practice!

We had a couple birthdays, a big trip to Florida and some simple, ordinary days as well!  June was a good one.