Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Boat is Out of the Basement!

Well, friends, the boat is out of the basement. Phew! As we all know by now, I was a tad anxious about how it'd all go down, but the birth of my third child went as smoothly as I think it possibly could have. And, she is more than amazing.
Seriously, I think she must have sensed my apprehension, and in an effort to prove me wrong, she made her exit as gracefully as ever. Seriously. When I went in for my 37-38 (I'm still not in total agreement with what my due date should have been versus what the first ultrasound predicted) visit, the doctor informed me that I was 4-5 centimeters dilated, and that if I happened to call in that evening with possible contractions, she would not send me home, seeing as how I live 30 minutes from the hospital seeing as how it would be cruel and unusual to send home a woman as far dilated as I was. A simple Braxton Hicks would be enough to push past the new rules of engagement induction in her eyes. So, she stripped the membranes (Matt loves this term), and told me to hope for the best. I told her I'd see her that evening.
At home, I thought I was having something going on...there were never painful contractions, just a bunch of tightening moments, but they were enough for Matt to get his labor coach hat on and convince himself and my mother that I was, indeed, in labor. I called the doctor and she reiterated her "seeing as how I lived so far and such over the phone"...I'm pretty sure it was more for the nurses than me, and she instructed us to come on down to the hospital. Mind you, I was unconvinced. I mean, I had zero pain. Zero. I didn't even care that Matt stopped at the slowest Burger King in the state of South Carolina on the way down there. The only reason I let him drive was because I felt it would be inappropriate for a woman in "labor" to drive herself to the hospital. When we arrived, and I saw a woman that was actually in painful labor walking in with us, I felt slightly guilty for some reason. Certainly, when they strapped me to the monitor and checked my cervix, I'd be hitting the road for home. Right?
Wrong. The monitor showed regular contractions. Why wasn't I feeling them? And the doctor told me I was 6 centimeters dilated! Well, how about them apples? Despite the lack of discomfort, I took the advice of the nurse and Matt's sister that once my water was broken I'd have a hard labor, so I asked for the anesthesiologist to chat with me about an epidural. My previous experience with the needle in the back had been horrendous. Like 2-week migraine horrendous. Like electrical shocks through the body horrendous. Like the current anesthesiologist saying to me, "That was you?! I heard about that happening!" horrendous. Like OMG! Thank goodness this guy seemed to know what he was talking about, because he convinced me that what had happened before was sucky and wrong, and that he had a better grip on the situation. So, I let him stick the needle in my back...after he drew me pictures of how it would work...and my waist-down world went pretty numb.
That was about 3 in the morning. By 4, I was 8 centimeters and my water was broken. At 5.30, I decided to take a little rest, and when the nurse came to check me at 6, I was groggy and half-asleep, but apparently, the baby was making her way out! What? She called the doctor, and after 3 sets of pushes and 5 very short minutes, Evan was in my arms, all gooey and beautiful and screaming her sweet head off. Now, I'm not one to brag, but 5 minutes! Oh yeah! That's ridiculous. But, I was on a mission. I cringe at the thought of having certain things on display...particularly unclothed things...I'd make a terrible porn star...so there was work to be done and done quickly. While it clearly didn't phase the doctor or nurses, who were talking about vacations and things to do in Myrtle Beach whilst my most feminine world was a stage for everyone's attention, I was faaareaking out to get that mess over with.
And, when it was done, I was rewarded with the most amazing gift. Evan. She's perfect. As perfect as her sister and her brother before her. Perfect. And huge. 9 pounds, 19 inches. Born June 20, 2012. I'm so happy I opted for the epidural, because even if I had not a single painful contraction without it, the exit from my body would have been enough to send me to therapy for post-traumatic stress, of this I am sure.

The Big 8!

To say that June has been a busy month would be a severe understatement. We've had some major events this month. Major. Perhaps one of the most important happenings is that my first-born daughter (yeah...did you get that?) turned 8!!! Holy moly! I cannot believe that 8 years have passed since she blessed our lives with her beautiful presence. 8 years!

For the first celebration of the birth of my first girl, the family gathered together. Leenie and Grandpa came from Raleigh. Popi and Babi came from a few minutes away. And we all got our grub on at Ella's favorite restaurant, Yamato! Now, this kid got some sweet birthday presents this year, but I don't know if even a phat mountain bike and an iPod touch can compete with the yummy goodness that is part of the experience at Yamato. Ella loves it that much.

For the friend part of the birthday festivities, we toned it down a little this year. We usually have a big, huge pool party for my girl, but with my condition (9 months pregnant), Ella graciously decided that having a few of her nearest and dearest girls for a movie and a swim would suffice. So, with Mary Claire, Saylor, Mary, Jesma, and Emily, we caught a viewing of Madagascar 3 and cruised on over to Popi and Babi's pool for hotdogs and ice cream cake. Now, I must say that a car full of 7 & 8 year old girls is quite an experience. A very loud, high-pitched, squealy experience, sprinkled with "like" and modern-day valley-girl talk. Throw in a little Adele, and you can actually touch the girly energy bouncing all around the van. (Yes, the minivan...it doesn't appear to be going anywhere.)

Ella's cousins Kelley and Dean were waiting for us at Popi and Babi's, which made our girl group complete. There was music and laughter and more high-pitched, squealy loudness...it was perfect. All of the girls that were there have been a part of this party experience since way back when in Ella's preschool days, and it's quite a sight to see them grow and change and remain friends along the way. I'm very thankful for moments of simple happy fun like these.

Most importantly, I'm thankful for my Ella. She's growing up so fast. Too fast. I want her to always know how much I cherish her and every second of her life. She is so precious. Happy birthday, my love.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spring Sports, Round 2

I think we're getting into a pattern with spring sports, friends. It's one reminiscent of my youth and one that I'm happy that my kids will know: Spring is for baseball and softball!

This year, my Ella and Summit were on different teams. She played softball and he did coaches pitch again. My dad coached with Matt's help, and, in all honesty, it was a great season all around.
Summit was still the youngest on the team, but he did really well. He loves baseball. Actually, he loves sports. I see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. It's no big surprise, though, as he comes from a long line of sports fanatics. It's inherited. One day he, too, will drive his wife bananas with the obsessive game watching and overtly loud cheering and booing.
This was Ella's first year in softball, and I am so grateful that they created the teams for the girls this season. They had so much fun. It's awesome to see little girls learning how to play, and even more hilarious to see them roll their eyes or put their hands on their hips when they get frustrated or to cross their arms and completely turn their backs to the coaches if they don't like what they have to say. Attitudes, like fashion sense, are innate, and this season showed just that.
Go Vipers and Threshers!

Maybe Not the Weight Gain

There comes a time in every woman's pregnancy where she wonders exactly what the hell she was thinking when she decided it would be a good idea to have a baby. Any lady who denies this is lyin', pure and simple. And, there a good number of reasons to have at least a small spell of buyer's remorse with pregnancy. Perhaps the most prevalent cause of this state-of-mind is the very idea of how, exactly, a woman is to take a very large being from inside of her and see it outside of her, particularly when there is no exit that really seems appropriately large enough for the being to pass through. My friend, Carolyn, provided an analogy that has stuck with me for months now: it's like building a boat in your basement. Yep. Or my dad's comparison to a snake eating a pig backwards. Awesome, right? These images have stuck with me, unfortunately, and they have me sweating more than August in South Carolina.

Of course, there also comes a time in every woman's pregnancy where she's just desperate enough to look past the logistical nightmare of extracting a baby through her very small exit... When she tires of trying to tell the difference between panties that are wet with sweat or wet from an overly leaky bladder... When sneezing and squeezing no longer provides protection... When she notices that what she imagined to be a bull in heat panting is actually her own now normal breathing... When the term "It's a jungle out there" refers to what may be happening south of the old baby belly, but she's unsure because she's been unable to see "out there" for quite too long of a time... When the thought of going to sleep at night, an experience that once brought so much excitement, becomes so dreaded and uncomfortable... When the 9-month-long rehab plan becomes just too much to bear... When the idea of destroying the woman at the OB's office who takes her weight becomes a lovely fantasy... When Tums and Metamucil are all-too familiar staples in her daily dietary intake, and the thought of doing without either one is enough to set her off in a tail-spin of tears...

When it gets to this point, a woman decides that the only way out is gonna have to do. And, rather than fretting over the unimaginable pain that will come with labor...and, I might add, the weeks that follow, because, let's be real here, things don't just go back to normal; there is a tricky little healing process involving warm water and iodine in squirt bottles and an obsessive fear of bathroom...the woman decides that being pregnant has seriously run its course. Time's up for the little one who's, by now, taken to hanging posters of her favorite band inside of her mama's uterus. Real life awaits.

Real life. For Baby, whose world is no longer warm and cozy and protected. For Baby's siblings, who now have to share their worlds with yet another. For Mama. For Mama's nipples, which become inverted at the very idea of the super-fun breaking-in period when milk comes in and Baby learns to nurse. For the engorged (it's as bad as it sounds) and leaky boobies that replace the leaky bladder. For the laundry, oh my goodness the laundry, that seems completely impossible for one very small human being to create. For even less sleep. For Daddy, who better figure out how to deal with Mama as quickly as possible for the sake of everyone. Ahhhh. Yes. Real life.

But, a beautiful life. And so worth it. The buyer's remorse disappears. The fear. The wet undergarments. The jungle. The sobriety. The weight gain. The heartburn and constipation. They all become worth it in the end. Well, maybe not the weight gain, but the rest of it is worth it.