Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Birth Story of Andrew Marshall Graves

This is the birth story of my oldest, who was born in 2009. He was born at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base. 

I've not shared his birth story here, and in honor of his first birthday I wanted to. So, here it is. :) 

***
On June 7th on the way home from church services, I told Philip that I felt "different". I noticed that my abdomen was a lot lower and it felt extremely heavy. I wasn't having contractions but I was feeling a lot of pressure and it was hard to walk. We decided to go to bed early (around 10pm) in case this was the "big moment". At 11:17pm I woke up in the middle of a contraction. It was very, very strong. It lasted about a minute and when it was over, I tried to wait for another one. It never came and I fell back asleep. At 11:41pm I woke up screaming. It scared poor Philip to death. I looked at him and told him we might need to go in if I had another contraction that strong. We waited and I had another really hard one ten minutes later. I sat on my birthing ball to help take the pressure off of my hips and lower back and in another ten minutes I had a contraction that was even stronger than the first two. I told Philip to call the hospital but before he could even get on the phone, I had another one.

The contractions started coming every two minutes. I managed the best I could on my own using the birthing ball and walking. Philip quickly loaded the car and we drove to the hospital. We got there around 12:30am on June 8th. The nurse took me back to triage and had me lay down. I couldn't even get to the bed. I told the nurse that I didn't think I would last long before my water broke and she immediately checked me. I was at 8cm and completely effaced. Then things started moving really fast. Philip got on the phone with my mom while they wheeled me into a delivery room.

At this point I was beginning to lose my ability to concentrate. My contractions were every minute and I had enough time in between contractions to catch my breath but that was about it. The doctor asked me if I wanted anything and I told her no but she called the anesthesiologist in there anyway. I told Philip that I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was unable to concentrate because the doctor wouldn't let me get out of bed and stand. I was laying flat on my back and it was making the contractions a lot worse. Philip dealt with my indecisiveness well and reminded me what I wanted. He was really firm and I was REALLY mad at him but eventually the anesthesiologist stopped asking me if I wanted an epidural or a spinal and left the room. The nurses and doctors left and I had Philip help me get out of bed. Once I was able to stand and sway my hips the contractions became a lot more bearable. The doctor was mad at me for getting out of bed but I wouldn't get back in. Philip helped me stay standing and I leaned against him. 

My parents got there around 1:30am and as soon as my mom was there I got a second wind of energy and more resolve to birth Andrew the way Philip and I had planned. Unfortunately, the doctor kept hassling me about breaking my water and speeding things along and I was having a very hard time getting into a place where I was relaxed. At around 1:50am I told the nurse that I felt like I needed to push. My body was naturally pushing at the end of each contraction and I felt like it was something I needed to do. The doctor told me to get back in bed and they would break my water. I knew I was running out of time before they just forced me back into bed so when my next contraction came, I pushed on my own and my water broke. It was around 2:05 am.

Once my water broke the pain completely went away. I felt a lot of pressure but it wasn't painful at all. I laid down in bed and the doctor check me and she told me I could start pushing. They would only let me use two birthing positions --- laying on my back or squatting. Since I wasn't in pain anymore I opted to lay on my back so that I could relax my body in between pushing.

At first I had no clue how to push. Then it just started happening naturally. From the way the lights were positioned on the ceiling I could see everything going on in the reflection of my doctor's lenses and the mask of the attendee who was helping her. (I think this may have been his first birth because he looked terrified.) Pushing felt so amazing but it was exhausting. My oxygen level dropped, as well as my blood pressure and they had to put me on oxygen. The mask was really irritating but it did give me more energy. Then I saw his head crown in the reflection of my doctor's glasses and I could've climbed Mt. Everest with that energy burst. Two pushes later and he came out! I nearly passed out when I saw him. He looked enormous to me. Philip said that my eyes were huge and looked like they were going to fall out of my head.

It was 2:28am. Andrew Marshall Graves weighed 8lbs, 5.9 oz and was 21 inches long. There was meconium in my water when I delivered him so I didn't get to hold him right after he was born. I also had a second degree tear that they had to stitch up. 

I was also very thankful for a quick labor. We were only at the hospital for about two hours before he arrived and I'm thankful I didn't have to be there longer because even though my doctor was nice and knew what she was doing, she really irritated me by not listening to mine or Philip's requests about the labor and the delivery. I also hated being hooked up to monitors and having an IV (which I pulled out on accident within thirty minutes of getting it.) We just really didn't have enough time to explain our requests about the way certain things were handled so, it may have been different if we had that time. They did several things that I asked them not to do, including clamping the cord immediately and cutting it, giving him the eye salve and Vit. K right away (the eye salve is required in Texas but Vit. K isn't, I asked them to wait for both of those). They also wouldn't let me leave the delivery room till I peed twice. There were also 14 PEOPLE in the delivery room, not including Philip or my parents. I asked Philip if they thought I was having multiples because there were SO MANY doctors and nurses. I didn't care that there were people there, but I don't know why there were so many. 

Then, upon leaving today they tried to give me a Depo shot AND the MMR vaccine (since I showed up as non-immune for it in my prenatal screen) and the OB gave me a great lecture for declining them. She said, "I know it's popular to not get vaccines right now but, that's not safe nor is it an okay trend." I just smiled and said, "Okay." (The popularity comment made me laugh once she left. Even my dad was laughing about that one.)

Like I said, the birth and delivery went well but, the hospital staff wasn't cooperative. They were very nice and sweet but, acted like I was some wack job for requesting certain things be done certain ways. My mom was great though, and told me how proud she was of me and said that most doctors don't expect people to research the traditional procedures because it's what the doctor does and who are we to question medicine and, I think she's right. So...I'm really thankful for people who have helped me research lots of things and form my own opinions about pregnancy and childbirth. 




Friday, June 7, 2013

Andrew Marshall - At Four!


Somehow, in the blink of an eye, I have a four year old. 

I'm not sure when or how this happened? Isn't he suppose to still be snuggled up in my arms, so new, so squishy? 


Now he's not so tiny anymore. He's a bright, active, loud, four year old paleontologist in training. He talks to us like he's an adult. He sings, he writes, he can even read a little bit. He's so grown up. I am just amazed by him, every single day. 


Here is his interview at four. 

1. What is your favorite color? “Red”
2. What is your favorite toy? “”T-Rex. He has two fingers and was a vicious predator.” 
3. What is your favorite fruit? “Apples in slices.” 
4. What is your favorite tv show? “Dinosaur Alive documentary. It has a Tarbosaurus.”
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? “Bacon, like daddy!”
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? “My camo shirts and my red shirt. I like camo because it looks like what daddy wears.” 
7. What is your favorite game? “Dinosaur Train games, where you find King Cryolophosaurus. He’s a shy dinosaur.” 
8. What is your favorite snack? “Dinosaur fruit snacks. I love the blue ones.”
9. What is your favorite animal? “Bella is my favorite doggy.”
10. What is your favorite song? “Jesus Loves Me!”
11. What is your favorite book? “Dinosaur Encyclopedia, it shows all the dinosaurs.” 
12. Who is your best friend? “Daddy. Then Jonas and Landyn are my two friends. And Preston.”
13. What is your favorite movie? “Walking With Dinosaurs, with Nigel Marven.” 
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? “Play dinosaurs and hunt for dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs outside.”
15. What is your favorite drink? “Water!”
16. What is your favorite holiday? “Christmas! I like getting a stocking with candy!”
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? “I like to sleep with T-Rex and daddy!”
18. What is your favorite thing to do with daddy? “Play with daddy. I just like to be with him. He is amazing.”
19. What is your favorite thing to do with mommy? “I like when we make cookies in the kitchen.”
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? “I want to be like daddy and I want to be an paleontologist too.”

Monday, April 8, 2013

Six Months In

It's hard for me to comprehend that my youngest is almost seven months. He's closer to a year than he is to being a newborn, and he's almost been earthside, in my arms, longer than I carried him inside.

JohnDavid at birth.
So how's life you may be wondering. How is the transition from one child to two children?

Honestly, some days it is a breeze. Some days the planets align, my kids are happy, laid back, easy-going and I think "Oh man, I'm super mom. I should have more kids!!" Then most days it's 4pm and I'm in my pjs and my kids are dumping out dog food or painting the carpet and I'm refraining from calling the doctor to request a tubal. Those days are simply that...just "those days".
JohnDavid, taking a nursing break.


I was lamenting to Philip a few days ago that I never get to finish a cup of coffee without having to reheat it. Ever. Morning coffee was my "time" when it was just Andrew and I. We snuggled in bed....he looked at his books and drank his milk or nursed, and I drank my coffee while reading to him or while we watched a show.

Not so much now. JohnDavid is WAY to busy to snuggle in the morning. He needs to go, go, go....go after brother, go after Bella, attack the cords to every.single.item.that.has.cords, and topple off the bed head first. And he laughs this loud, manic laugh as you try to prevent him from destroying everything. Have I mentioned he can't quite crawl yet?

So I put my coffee down and I forget it while I break up yet another fight between Andrew and "scratchy boy" (as Andrew has so affectionately nicknamed him.)

And the day goes on like that.

The differences between JohnDavid and Andrew are astonishing to me. They are like night and day in their differences. So in a lot of ways it is like learning to be a mother all over again.

Something are easier. Breastfeeding is easier this time around. Sleep (um, lack of sleep) is a bit easier this time around. I find that *most* days I am a bit more centered, patient and gentle. My confidence from "been there, done that" has increased.

Somethings are much harder. Getting everyone ready and out the door. Housekeeping. Feeding myself. Basically any type of self-care is much harder. Finding time for my husband.

Overall, this transition has been smoother than I expected. I think this has happened for several reasons. JohnDavid is a happy baby and easy-going, though extremely busy. His desposition has really helped make things smoother. Also I gave myself a huge break in expectations. I still keep up with my housekeeping schedule, but I take the weekends off. I exercise, but if I miss a day I don't care. I purposefully plan quick, easy meals several times a week instead of long, drawn out detailed meals. Thanks to Pinterest, they are still just as yummy! My husband is working a new schedule so we spend the mornings together before he heads to work after lunch.

We are happy and enjoying life. Today the boys sat on the floor and played together for almost an hour. I folded laundry and browsed Pinterest, enjoying watching them interact. I'm looking forward to more times like that.

And maybe as we have more times like that, my confidence will grow more and we can go from two kiddos to three? Hmmmm.....

My wonderful, sweet, happy, silly boys.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Whip it good!


So, digging coconut oil out of a jar is kind of a pain. With or without a spoon. 

But it's easy to fix that. 




That's that.

It makes a good base for lotions, homemade toothpaste/deodorant, diaper creams....
So, simplest, easy way to make coconut oil easy to use daily. You can buy containers at Hobby Lobby or any craft store really. Or just spoon it back into the jar.

Oh, and in case you don't know why or how to use coconut oil, check out the wonderful blogs by Hybrid Rasta Mama:

333 Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut Health

Okay, enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Silence Revisited

Earlier during December I said I was going on a FB break to offer silence for time to mourn. I also wanted to process some of the emotions I was feeling.

I signed off on Tuesday night. Wednesday I spent with my boys. We cleaned, cooked and I found it refreshing to just focus on my family. That evening we went to bible study where my husband did a short talk about courage. It really stuck me because I wondered how much of my life I spent being silent because I was afraid of what others would think of me, if they'd be mean or not want to be friends anymore. I reflected on my recent FB decision to be silent and wondered if it was for the right reasons. Lots to ponder.

The next morning I was awoken by my oldest throwing up on me. (Nothing will get you out of bed faster, I promise!!) he had a high fever and for the next eight hours he threw up every forty minutes. It was heartbreaking and I was needing advice, so I logged onto Facebook to "consult the hippies". (That's what my husband calls it when I ask my friends for crunchy/natural medical or parenting advice.)

Upon logging on I discovered I had five messages in my inbox. All of them needed to be answered soon.

I also had been the recipient of a generous gift from the lovely ladies at the Natural Parents Network in honor of JohnDavid's birth, so I felt it necessary to thank them immediately, because it was something I was incredibly touched and thankful for receiving.

And in the midst of dealing with vomit, replying to friends and thanking friends, it hit me -- I can't avoid social networking. I'm too social. I'm about a extroverted as you can get, and the idea of me avoiding a website where the majority of my friends were active was laughable. I'm shamed faced to admit that this hasn't occurred to me before.

However, I do think there is a time for silence and mourning. And I think there is wisdom in bowing out when you feel overwhelmed by a subject, as I was feeling. Whatever your cause is, spouting off in anger doesn't do much to help it.

I want to be honest and I want people to know who I am. I want the confidence to post about things that I feel strongly about without being attacked. Positive, respectful disagreement is always, always welcomed. I don't want to be surrounded by people who think *exactly* like me. But I do want to be surrounded by people who are thoughtful, regardless of their differences.

So, I apologize for not thinking this through.

Sigh. Back to blogging. And Facebook.