Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Birth Story: Part I

Four days before little miss made her appearance!

I always thought birth stories were a little odd. Part of me enjoyed them because as a nurse, I found the details interesting. Now having gone through it myself, I eat them up. And usually cry a little with both sentiment and solidarity. So here I am, writing my own birth story of our precious baby G. If you're not into this thing, I'm in no way offended. Scroll, skim, or skip. No worries. But I want to have an account of it to share with her when she's older-- and for myself, because some of the details are fading already and it's such an incredible experience that I don't want to forget (well, some of it I do, haha!).

Without further ado...my birth story.

7:30am: One week before my due date, I woke up to a mildly painful contraction. I had had several Braxton Hicks for the past few weeks but nothing that was actually painful, so this was new and interesting. I laid in bed before my alarm and felt a few more so I figured I would tell P. to leave his phone on during the day at work just in case I needed to call him (though I figured even if this was the real thing, which I doubted since it was a week early, we had a long time ahead of us with a first time labor).

After fifteen minutes or so, I got up to get ready for work (my last day before I began maternity leave) and went to the bathroom. There was blood. For someone who's had a miscarriage it's terrifying to see blood during pregnancy at any time. But after the initial wave of fear, I was also somewhat excited. This must be "bloody show" and I knew that meant labor would most likely happen within a few days. I woke P. up and told him I was going to call the on-call doctor for advice.

They didn't call me back at all. So an hour later, my doctor's office was open and I called them instead. The nurse and I discussed my contractions, which were happening fairly frequently between 8-12 minutes apart. They were still only mildly painful and I even laughed through a few of them because it was so fun and funny to think we might be close to the big event. The nurse scheduled me to come in and see them in a few hours, although she mentioned a few times about me going to the hospital instead. I didn't want to go to the hospital because I was sure it was so early and I wanted to labor at home as long as I could-- and/or not get sent back home.

The nurse called to check in on me in an hour and the contractions were still about the same. She told us to pack our hospital bags just in case and to head there instead if the pace picked up or if I had more bleeding (which I was having a little, but being a nurse I'm a stubborn patient and I wanted to see my OB, not the hospital staff).

P. and I were both giddy with nervousness and excitement as we packed things up-- our bags, some snacks, and a giant blue exercise ball to use as a birthing ball.

11:30am We got to the doctor's office and as we waited the hour to see her (good doctors always have long waits...) my contractions slowed to almost every half hour and very irregular. I was glad we had chosen to see the doctor instead of the hospital.

12:30pm Sweet Dr. M saw me and checked me. I was dilated 1cm and I think 90% effaced. She told me she thought I would most likely have the baby within 24 hours and she recommended we go back home, get something to eat, and take a walk to try to bring the contractions back on.

1:00pm We left the doctor's office and decided to go out to eat at Chik-Fil-A down the street just for fun. I was thrilled. We knew baby was coming yet we had a decent amount of time to prepare. (hahaha, not quite as you'll soon see...) We notified our doula of the situation and she encouraged us to go home and labor as long as I could there and to let her know when I wanted her. We texted our families, including a picture of me smiling through a contraction, compliements of P.

1:30pm Chik-Fil-A is one of our favorite restaurants because of their values, polite staff, and delicious food. Now it has an even more special place in our hearts because of that day. My hubby was both nervous and excited and told the cashiers that "my wife is in active labor" after he gave our order. They were two super sweet young ladies who loved hearing that and gave us our meal for free. The manager later came over to our table and gave us several free coupons for sandwiches, because she said we'd enjoy them in the postpartum period. Finally, a sweet young worker came over and asked if she could pray for us. She prayed a beautiful prayer over us and it put brought peace to both me and my husband as we had started to get nervous.

During our meal, my contractions had come back. P. joked that it seemed like every time I took a bite of the pickles on my sandwich I had a contraction. He started timing them and I started noticing they were more painful. I had to bend over in my chair between eating...but still kept a smile on my face because, hey, we were in a public restaurant. haha. After a few contractions, I asked him how frequent they were coming.

He looked at me with an odd look on his face and showed me the contraction-counting app as the reality hit us-- they were coming at 3 MINUTES APART.

We smiled nervously and I said, "I think we better go to the hospital."

To be continued!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesdays

“She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting , reading, music, and drawing.
“Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worth all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant.
“I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! O, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!”
-Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss, qtd. by Natasha Metzler

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday Talk #49: My Favorite Freezer Recipe

I finally found it!!!

Baby G is napping and I spent much of that time searching for my favorite freezer recipe in my Pinterest boards! I knew what the recipe was but no matter where I looked in my different boards or what I typed in the search bar...I could not find it. Which made a little more sense when Pinterest told me I have over six thousand pins in my account! That's ridiculous!

But victory at last! I found it. You've probably seen the Creamy Italian Chicken or Crockpot Italian Chicken recipe floating around on Pinterest at some time in your browsing. You know, the one where you dump chicken and cream cheese and Italian dressing in the crockpot and it makes this amazing creamy goodness to eat over pasta. Mmmm. There are multiple sites with this recipe, but I was on the hunt for a particular site because I've only seen one recipe where it not only makes your dinner but also a freezer meal for later!!

Here you go. Enjoy this recipe for Crockpot Italian Chicken. This stuff is amazing. Two incredibly easy and delicious dinners in one simple prep. I'd post a picture for you but we ate it already. ;)

Have a gorgeous week, friends!

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Mercy Monday

Yesterday was our parish's 175th (!!!) anniversary. What a beautiful and exciting milestone. Our church was built in 1841. Though I always feel at home in a Catholic church because of the presence of Jesus, I left a dynamic parish family when I got married and we moved to a new town. It took me awhile to want to officially join our new parish because I didn't quite feel settled there yet. But yesterday during the anniversary Mass celebrated by our bishop, and afterwards at the parish festival as we mingled and chatted with so many wonderful people...I told my husband I realized I felt at home here now. This was truly my parish and I loved it. 

One of my favorite things about our parish is our Adoration Chapel. As Catholics, we believe Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and so an Adoration Chapel is a place where Jesus is there in the Eucharist and we can visit with Him and pray. It is a powerful gift and I always feel such peace and love when I'm there with Him. 

This week my act of mercy is going to be a visit to the Chapel for an hour to pray for others. So many in our families, our workplaces, our communities, and the world are in need of prayer. I know that our Lord has so much mercy (tender, loving kindness) to pour out on all of them. Our prayers can be a conduit of His grace and mercy. 

Join me this week in prayer as an act of mercy

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Coffee Date

I glance at the clock as I hear her hungry little grunts and noises. I try to remember when I last got up to nurse but it's all blurring in my tired memory. So I get out of bed and hope that this will be a quick feeding and get both of us back to much-needed sleep.

Instead she is wide awake after her meal. My frustration melts when she smiles at me. And then she laughs. The first time. And I cry at the beauty of it.

She finally drifts back to sleep in my arms as I rock in my great-grandma's rocking chair. I put her back in her bed and glance at the clock again. The daily decision-- do I go back to bed or stay up? It's way too early to be up with this much lack of sleep...but I feel the Lord calling me.

I walk down the stairs, every muscle aching, even the ones in my face. It's as foggy outside as it feels in my brain. I put the coffee on and hear the comforting brew. I close my eyes to the mess all around me of wipes and blankets and water glasses and opened mail and laundry in the dryer. So much to do in my small amount of time before she wakes up...prayer time feels extravagant.

But I respond to His invitation anyway. I take my mug of coffee and the baby monitor out to the porch. I sit quietly as the sun burns through the fog and I wait for the Son to burn through the fog in me.

He shows up. Despite my inconsistency in meeting with Him, He is there. We talk. We sit in silence. We watch the morning sky together. I tell Him about my inadequacies. He tells me about His grace.

I look at the bottom of my coffee cup and I hear the noises on the baby monitor. It's time to go. I walk back in to the messiness but it doesn't bother me as much anymore.

Instead I hear His tender reminder as I begin this day...I am with you.

He is with you too today. With all the grace you will need. Feel His tender love for you in every moment.