Thursday, December 18, 2014

Welcome to the world, Isaac Daniel

I have been coming terms with Isaac's birth story over the past 8 or 9 weeks. It has taken some time to process and discover how I feel about everything. I'm not sure I have totally come to terms with it yet, but I am at least ready to write it down. I both want to talk about and want to forget about it at the same time. It just seems too raw still, but as I started writing this, I felt better about it. It was a completely different experience than I had with Ben-some ways better and some ways much worse. One major difference was that Isaac was a stubborn little monster and didn't want to come out on his own. I expected to go into labor naturally right around 39 or 40 weeks since that is what happened with Ben. So, I was prepared by 39 weeks. I had bags packed and meals ready. I had my house cleaned and laundry done...and then we waited. And waited. And the house got dirty again and laundry kept piling up.

At my 39 week appointment, the midwife asked me what date I would be ready to be induced if I made it to 40 weeks and I said, "40 weeks and 1 day?" She laughed and informed me that they do not induce until at least 41 weeks, so my induction was set for 41 weeks and 3 days and that felt like a million years away. They kept asking me if I thought he was bigger than my first baby and I kept saying, "yep, he seems huge," but there was never any real concern over it. I had to have an ultrasound the day before my induction to check fluid levels, and I asked the tech to tell me how big he was, but she said she couldn't tell and they hadn't asked her to check that so she wasn't going to. I was disappointed to have to be induced. I was scared of having pitocin again and I wanted to have that "going into labor" moment where I call and say, "guess what? My water broke!" That just wasn't meant to be, though.
Large and in charge-41 weeks

So on Friday, October 10th, Bizzy and I drove, in the pouring rain at 9:00 in the evening, to be checked into the hospital. They were going to insert a Foley Bulb that night and have me stay overnight and start pitocin Saturday morning. I had never heard of a Foley Bulb before, so I naively thought it would be a painless and easy procedure. Cervical ripening? No big deal, right? I told Bizzy later that they really should offer epidurals for the Foley bulb placement because it was brutal. Not sure if the midwife was extra tired or cranky, but the placement took almost 30 minutes and she kept complaining that my cervix was "tilted" so she couldn't get it in and I was crying and breaking out into hives while Bizzy huffed like an angry bull in the corner. Finally it was in and I was given a sleeping pill to help me rest in my luxurious hospital room accommodations. I was kind of worried about taking a sleeping pill on an empty stomach, so we ordered a bagel. I remember watching tv waiting on my bagel and then thinking, "why am I seeing double of everyone?" The nurse walked in to check on me and I saw two of her as well, and I remember asking her why there was a second one of her and she laughed and assured me the sleeping pill was taking affect. Apparently, I proceeded to eat my entire bagel while continuing to ask, "Where is my bagel?" I have no recollection of this. Guess I should be careful with the sleeping pills in the future.

I woke up the next morning without any signs of labor or changes so I hopped  waddled into the shower and got myself ready for the day that I would meet our son. I was excited and nervous and ready for the labor part to be over. My mom and sister were on their way to the hospital to help cheer me on. I. was. ready. We anticipated that labor would progress quickly once pitocin started because I had a relatively short labor with Ben once I started the meds.
Still laughing at this point

Rolling my eyes at usual
We were ushered into our labor and delivery room where I met my nurse who was the most nurturing and kind person (so different from the first time around). She made a huge difference in my delivery experience in such a positive way. I wish she had actually gotten to see Isaac being born, but she missed it by a few minutes.  After a few hours of antibiotics and waiting, we started pitocin. We were all ready for things to get going, and at first, contractions were getting intense and we would think, "ok, here we go." Then they would just slow down again. This went on for hours and they continued to pump up my pitocin level. I would pant through a series of contractions and then everything would slow down. It was exhausting for everyone. We watched a lot of HGTV. The epidural man started coming in and asking if I was ready for him, but I really wasn't in hard labor, so I would send him away. Apparently, he was bored and wanted something to do- slow day, I guess. The midwife came in to check my progress and I was still only at 2-3 cm dilated after all of that pitocin and contractions on and off. I nearly cried and I think so did mom, Heather, and Bizzy after sitting there all day waiting for something to happen. I finally got so tired that I asked for the epidural, but both my midwife and nurse convinced me that it would be better to wait until I was in serious labor or it would be hard to tell how things were progressing. So, we walked the halls and went downstairs in the hospital and I walked through Starbucks in my lovely hospital gown looking very large and uncomfortable. I got some sympathetic looks from the ladies in the hospital, and the men all looked terrified like I might spontaneously pop that baby out at their feet.

Waiting and waiting...

About 5:30 I was leaning over the side of the hospital bed while mom rubbed my back, and Bizzy decided he needed to take over in the massage department. I have always said that Bizzy's massages are quite deep tissue and, dare I say it, painful at times. He rubbed once on my lower back and I felt something in my belly pop. I knew something happened but I wasn't sure what and I was concerned something bad had happened but there was no instant change. So I continued to stand there for a few minutes until all of a sudden I felt like I peed in the floor and then things happened fast. My nurse came in and confirmed my water had broken and about 5 minutes later, my contractions had me doubled over the bed nearly sobbing trying to catch my breath. We started calling for the epidural, but of course, the epidural man was in the middle of another procedure and would be a few minutes. The contractions were the most painful and intense things I've ever felt and they were coming back to back. I began weeping at one point when one ended because I was just so thankful to have it be over, but then another started immediately after. My support team of Heather, Mom, Bizzy, and my nurse were wonderful, offering me support and telling me I could get that epidural any minute. They turned off the pitocin because things were getting intense so quickly. I had waited all day and then in the span of 20 minutes I was IN LABOR.

Finally, Mr. Epidural made his appearance and ushered everyone except Bizzy and my nurse out of the room and sat me up on the edge of the bed. I was having to hold still while fighting through excruciating contractions. Looking back, I am sure I left bruises on my poor nurse's arm and hand as I battled through it trying not to move while he messed with my spine. I remember my epidural from Ben's labor being quick and painless, so I didn't anticipate the problems with this epidural.

To start, he was taking an incredibly long time and it hurt. A. lot. I kept thinking, "this can't be right." It turns out that I was right because when he tested the placement of the epidural with fluid, I started feeling very strange like my heart was beating out of my chest and then everything went black for minute. I think I said, "I feel kind of funny," before I passed out for a second. He informed me that he had put it in a nerve or something (my memory is foggy of this) and that he was going to have redo everything. At this point, I am crying and begging for mercy from the contractions and I just can't imagine having to sit there any longer. My nurse kept reminding me to breath and I remember staring out the window trying to focus on one tree outside to keep myself from screaming with each contraction. So, he started the epidural again, and this time, I start to feel relief but only on half of my body. It was the strangest sensation. Everything on my right side was numb but I could feel contractions completely on the left. He assured me things would even out and he would be back to check on me in 20 minutes or so. So I was laying in the bed feeling every contraction still but now I was numb on one side of my body. And then I started to feel like something was going to happen sooner than the 20 minutes Mr. Epidural was giving me for things to "kick in." My midwife came in to check my progress and she said, "Hannah, you are at 7 cm, no wait, now you are 8, now you are 9" as she sat there. She said, "looks like things are about to start happening and we may need to start pushing even though this may not be the way you wanted it to be.

So I started pushing with feeling on only half of my was strange and disconcerting and freaking painful. I didn't push that long with Ben so I thought that once I started, Isaac would pop on out, but I was wrong..again. I pushed and I pushed and the midwife would just keep saying, "Ok, let's try that again" and I would think, "Just freaking get him out already!" But I really only had energy to push and hope that this one would be the one where I would hear him cry. At one point, Mr. Epidural started bopping back into the room to check on how the epidural was going and my legs were in the air and I was full on making noises no person should ever make and everyone turned and yelled, "GET OUT." He has probably never moved faster to exit a room in his life. Thanks for nothing, dude. I still think we should have to pay for only half of the epidural's cost since I only got half of the effectiveness. Makes sense to me.

After pushing for what felt like forever, the midwife thought we were getting close. So I did one big push and all of a sudden, I saw her face change and she yelled something to the nurses and they hiked my legs up into the air and things turned very serious. I remember her yelling, "Call the NICU" to the baby nurse behind her as she pulled my baby boy out of me and it was quiet. Silent. No cry. And a team of nurses and doctors come running into the room and grab my baby and it was still silent. I remember seeing the expressions on the doctors' faces and Bizzy's face and Heather's face, and I was terrified. I kept asking, "Is he ok? Is he ok?"I wanted to hear him cry but he didn't and the midwife kept saying, "He was stunned. He got stuck and he was stunned." Finally, after what felt like hours but was probably minutes, I heard the most beautiful sound. Isaac let out a huge cry and I saw everyone relax a bit. The doctors and nurses started smiling and everyone started reassuring me that he was fine, but he was still so far away from me in the isolette, and I needed to touch him. I just wanted to hold him and make sure he was ok. I did know for sure that he was a big boy. The first thing one of the doctor's said, after he started crying and everyone breathed a sigh of relief was, "You just birthed a toddler!" Yep, thank you. I was there and things will just never be the same down there. Isaac was 10 pounds 4 ounces and had a full head of black hair. Bizzy kept telling me how beautiful he was while I was being sewn up from birthing that beautiful toddler with only half an epidural...grrr.

Apparently, Isaac got stuck coming out and when the midwife finally saw his face, she realized something was wrong. He was blue and the cord was around his neck. Because of the way he was positioned and pulled out, his shoulder was stuck behind my pubic bone so there was also concern of shoulder dystocia where he would have permanent damage to his arm. So, needless to say Isaac's birth was quite traumatic for him and for me. It is still a little difficult for me to think about sometimes and the "what ifs" are terrifying and sickening, but it always puts things in perspective for me when I remember. As I sit here and type out the story, reliving the details of it, the long day I just had doesn't seem as overwhelming and brutal. I have to remember what a complete and total miracle having a child really is. It seems so commonplace sometimes because of how many times it is done, but it most certainly isn't. There is still concern over Isaac's arm and the damage to his shoulder which could have permanent effects but we will just cross that bridge when we get there.

The most wonderful moment of that day was when Bizzy finally brought my Isaac over to me. It was magic. I could only cry because I was so relieved that I was holding him and he was ok, and he just looked at me. It was like he knew me, and I will never be the same.

Our boy is beautiful and looks more like Bizzy every day, I think. Welcome to this crazy world, Isaac Daniel. You are so incredibly loved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Few Changes...

So, my last post was about Benji's first birthday and there have been a few changes since then. Namely, Ben is now 2.5 and we have a second beautiful baby boy, Isaac. I should have more time to blog now, I think (read in a sarcastic tone). I don't really think many people will have an interest in the mundane details of my daily life, but I've felt the need to write something again. Anything, really. I used to write all the time in college, and while it was always stressful to write essay after essay, I really loved completing each one. There was a since of catharsis and satisfaction. I think I need that feeling again, especially on days when I feel like the only adult I spoke to all day was Bizzy and that was only in passing off one child to him as I tend to the many needs of another. Life is "brutiful" (to quote from my favorite blog, Momastry) at the moment. It is both the most brutal of days with really beautiful and overwhelming moments of joy. So here goes nothing. Maybe it will be another year before I post again :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Benjamin Gregory

Has it really been a year already? In some ways, it has flown by and in others, it feels like time slowed down and creeped along (specifically months 1-4 when we weren't sleeping). We just had a wonderful birthday party for Benji with family, and it was a smashing success. A big thank you to our family who helped so much make the day special. I know Benjamin won't remember his first birthday, but I will. In some ways, it was a celebration for Bizzy and I to say, "Look, we made it a year! We survived and made this adorable boy." We had a photographer come and take pictures of the party so that we could have beautiful memories of the party and all the people there who love Benji.

To catch up on who Benjamin is at this point in time, here are a few of his stats.

Weight: 22 pounds 4 ounces
Height: 30 inches...Bizzy is convinced that the nurse measured him short
Head Size: 18.5 inches
Feet: BIG-he is wearing a size 4 right now
Words: No official words yet; although, Bizzy had a dream where Benji's first words were "Nana here?"
Likes: Dancing to his tractor's music, snuggling on the couch during "snack-time," PUFFS, any type of ball or rolling toy, any kind of dog, trains, bubbles, belly-dancing in his car seat, being outside, riding on his red race car, and watching airplanes
Dislikes: Diaper changes, cleaning up after meals, being taken away from anything he wants, carrots, and the ice maker
Favorite foods: It changes weekly, but at the moment, he loves sweet potatoes, cheese, bananas, yogurt, and whole wheat waffles
Mobility: He is cruising all over the place and he stands by himself until he realizes he isn't holding on to anything and then immediately drops. We think he will be walking in the next month or so especially since he is in a Gymboree class with a bunch of little walkers.
Signs: Ben knows the sign for milk, eat, more, puff, all done, dog, and airplane (kind of)

                                       Here are some pics from his birthday party:

Animal Safari Theme

Ben tried to sleep through his party

                                        Eliza looking beautiful
 Had to wake Benji up to join his party...making his big debut

 My precious one year old boy

He was excited to see everyone!

Benji got a new red convertible for his birthday. Won't happen at 16, buddy. 

 All the fam..we are a big group!

Bissmeyer clan

Granny, Nana, and Pops (Ben decided to eat his loafer)

We love this boy. 

Hey! Look at me! It's my birthday. 

 "Hmm, interesting."

"Let me try it..."

 "Mom! What did you feed me?!"

Garry and Kate

This would have been super cute if Benji had looked less bored

 Nana and balloons :)

Love this picture! Classic Benjamin. 

 We achieved 1 picture with Benjamin and Eliza together. Success. 

Auntie Melynda with Benji

 Standing by himself like a big boy

Four generations of strong women

 Benji loved his train table and trains from Granny and Nana/Pops

My favorite picture of the day. 

Ok, second favorite. 

Thank you to everyone for their love and support this past year. We could not have survived the sleepless nights without you, and it brings tears to my eyes knowing how much Benjamin is loved by all of you. 

Benjamin, you have brought such purpose and meaning to my life. I can only imagine what this next year will bring. Happy birthday, my precious baby boy. I love you to the moon and back. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spoiler Alert: Motherhood is Hard

Every day, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom for Benjamin. While money may be tighter than it would be if I worked, I think the trade-off is completely worth it. My life revolves around this little man, and for now, that is how it should be. While I wouldn't trade staying at home with Ben for anything, there are times that it can be isolating. There have been times that I felt like I didn't have anything interesting to say about any topic other than breastfeeding, pooping, sleep schedules, or developmental milestones when out with someone other than Bizzy. And since the moment Ben was born, I discovered that motherhood is flippin hard, ya'll! That should really be the sub-title to that book What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Every single day, I am faced with decisions about Benji's well-being and safety, and there is always a desperation to make the RIGHT choice and do things PERFECTLY. And as any mother would tell you, that hardly every happens; thus, there is an overwhelming sense of mommy guilt associated with most days. Lying in bed at night, I replay scenarios where I could have NOT dropped the toy train on my darling baby's head (just a totally hypothetical scenario...).

Breastfeeding also brings its own set of issues and struggles along with it.
Recently, I've had some issues with low supply, blocked ducts, and Ben's great nursing strike of 2013. There is nothing that has gotten my blood pressure soaring as quickly as attempting to feed Benjamin in the middle of the night and having nothing coming out. He started screaming and I was panicking and my internal monologue was something like, "I can't feed my baby. I can't feed my baby. IcantfeedmybabyIcantfeedmybabyIamtheworstmotherintheworldahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."
The worst. Then came the week where Ben refused to nurse and I was fairly certain that he would never eat again and again, I felt like the worst mother in the world.

Compounding the problem, I've started trying to pump again so that we can get Benji on a bottle, but the pump has failed to work for me now that I haven't used it in over 6 months, so more stress piles up. Anyway, I was starting to lose it a little bit until I posted something on facebook about my struggles and asked for any advice. I was overwhelmed from the responses from other mommies giving me their advice and telling of their own personal struggles. Even if I am not able to make pumping work for me with any of the advice given, the take-away message was priceless: you are not alone. Motherhood is definitely not for sissies. So I want to thank all my mommy family and friends who came to my rescue and helped me realize that motherhood isn't about perfection. Just having someone say, "Dude, that was hard for me too" quiets that crazy, frantic internal monologue in my head a little.

I also want to give a shout-out to my mom and sister who are the best mothers I have ever known. They continually guide and teach me through their quiet strength and unwavering love.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Put Your Hands Together

It has been a long time since the last blog post, but with the holidays and our increasingly mobile 9 month old, things have been a little hectic. Ben has been changing with leaps and bounds lately. He is crawling, pulling up on anything and everything, throwing balls, and, most recently, clapping!

This past Friday, Ben and I were playing and I was trying to get him to clap and he just sat there staring at me like I was crazy. I guess he needed a little process time because later that evening, Bizzy and I were playing with him and after I leaned over and tickled him, he looked up at us, laughed, and clapped his hands. I think it brought tears to both Bizzy and my eyes. We all sat there clapping for about 20 minutes. Definitely one of my top Benjamin moments so far. Now Benji is clapping a lot and I love it every. single. time.

Here is a video of our little man clapping...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Watch out World--Ben is Mobile

Benji is officially on the move! He has started army crawling, and he is getting pretty darn fast. He is incredibly cute about it, of course, because he crosses his little ankles as he begins pulling himself across the floor. He hasn't quite figured out that it might be easier to actually use his legs to propel himself, but he is getting there. :)

Of course, Bizzy and I want to see him crawl as much as possible, but Ben doesn't do it on command or when you want it most, so we have studied his movements, much like Jane Goodall, and we discovered the things that motivate him to move the most....
They are listed in order of importance to Ben and that importance is directly linked to the speed at which he will crawl towards the object:
1. Redford (hyper-speed army crawl with an unflappable determination)
2. Cellphones (very fast crawling with a fixed plan of attack)
3. Cords of any kind (Unrelenting determination here--just when you think he forgot about them....)
4. Shoes/feet, which he immediately puts in his mouth..gross. ( Slow and steady towards these beacons of obvious chewing potential)
5. Anything that is not a baby toy or you don't want him to have (Meandering crawl which soothes you into the delusion that he is just exploring until BAM- he has Red's chew toy in his mouth.)
6. Sanctioned baby toys (Not so much of a crawl here, but he will propel himself a little bit if the toy is super cool; otherwise, he is going to pretend like he no longer has functioning arms or legs and will scream until you place it in his hands)

I wanted to have a super cool video of Benjamin moving to add here, but it seems that the video camera is crawling kryptonite. As soon as I pull it out, Ben goes dead-weight....maybe one day I will have evidence!

Kidding aside, Ben is learning so quickly and becoming such a little man full of personality. I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with him and that I get the opportunity to watch him grow and turn into the absolute coolest boy EVER. No overstatement here. Just the other day, I was lying on the floor with him as he played with a toy and he ended up flipping it over and making a loud noise on the wood floor. He immediately turned to look at me with big eyes and we both started laughing. It was such a small and seemingly insignificant moment, but I know that I could have missed it. So, a big shout-out of thanks to my hubby who is "bringing home the bacon" for this one-income family. His job allows me to stay home with our baby boy, and it also allows him the flexibility to come home around 3:30 most days. We are very lucky indeed.

Here is a photo montage of Red trying to escape Ben's laser-like tracking skills: