Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So, I bought a computer today.  A week and a half ago, the hard drive on our old buddy poofed and left us internet-less which, sadly, is a major loss.  What do we do without internet?  I’ll tell you.  Phone calls.  I have called so many organizations that I never would have directly communicated with if I had had internet. Here’s to anonymity! :)  We now have a computer that has a link on the desktop directly to my blog.  Woah.  I don’t know how to use most computer features, but making writing on my blog one step simpler MAY (or may not) increase my blog posts.  At any rate, I’m back in the 21st century if anyone wants to shoot me an e-mail.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The DOCTOR is in

Shortly after my last post, we went on our merry way to Las Vegas, NV so that the hubs could graduate. I was 8.5 months pregnant and we were all hopeful that Mr. James would not arrive in Sin City. Caleb and I spent much of the first week in my in-laws house while Jonathan prepared his presentation of research--his culminating project required for graduation. Later, I went to St. George to visit Adam and his family in their new beautiful house there. THEN, thank you very much Steve and Jen, we stayed with some friends in Henderson for the last week of the trip--me sitting and doing very little trying to avoid going into labor.

On May 7th, Jonathan presented research and did a magnificent job. Following the research presentation, there was a smaller, more intimate graduation of sorts for all of the program's graduates where professors issued "Cords and Awards." The cords were decorative to be worn at graduation and then the department had a few awards to be given out to exceptional students. There were 23 students in J's graduating program and only maybe a half dozen awards, so we were trying not to be too expectant of anything. Jonathan won two. TWO! He received, with his 2 other group mates (bless them, but in comparison, they did VERY little), the "Best Research Award." This was definitely appreciated, given how much Jonathan did for this project. Then, there was sort of a "Favorite Student" award. It was the "faculty recognition award" and it went to the student the faculty wanted to recognize for their overall success in the program. Jonathan also received this award. I had tears in my eyes as he accepted it. He has worked so hard, and it's nice to see that others have noticed.

The next day, Jonathan walked at the graduation ceremony and was hooded a doctor. Very exciting. He said it actually caught him off guard what a cool thing it was to be hooded by his department chair.

I am so proud of Jonathan. He has worked incredibly hard since I have known him, to make this accomplishment. He has woken up often before 5am to study so that he could spend time with me and Caleb after classes. He has sacrificed material things so we didn't go into excessive debt. He has given up study time on Sundays so that he could dedicate the day to the Lord and to his family. He has been a model student and tremendous husband and father. I could not be prouder of his accomplishments and that I am his wife. He is amazing.

He took his licensure exam and passed with FLYING colors. What a blessing it is to see such hard work pay off and to see so many blessings come from his diligent work and service for our family.

I love you, Jonathan!

P.S. In comments--if anyone could PLEASE explain to me how to add a picture that shows up as a picture that I can move around and know what it is rather than trying to figure out the html--PLEASE HELP! Thanks!

Then there were FOUR

After arriving home from Nevada, I was antsy to have this baby! I was so grateful he wasn't born on the road and was now fully ready for him to arrive. I started having regular, somewhat strong contractions on Sunday, May 9th. They were between 3-6 minutes apart and would be regularly 3 mins apart and then shift and for a half hour be 4 minutes apart, etc. This went on for HOURS. I had my midwife appointment the next day and was hoping it would shake things loose, but, this didn't work either. My friend Kindra recommended coconut spice chocolate chip cookies from the Cookie Shoppe in town. They were amazing, but I can't say they brought James along either. Finally, on Friday, May 14th, I decided I'd run some errands with Caleb to finish final preparations for James. I went and bought a nighgown that I could wear at the hospital after the baby was born that would cover my backside. --Word to the wise--Modest nightgowns are ugly. Can we get someone on this major oversight, please? Anyway...

While in the store, I started feeling contractions--not unusual. I had been having them steadily and strongly since Sunday. HOWEVER, THESE contractions were different and I knew it. I wasn't timing them because I was running errands. :) I finished what I was doing, and when I got back home, I started making cookies to give to the nurses at the hospital because I was quite confident I would be heading to the hospital that night.

With cookies in the oven, I sat down to eat dinner, but really wasn't able to. The contractions were getting severe enough that they were what I needed to focus on.

We got Caleb in the bath and were hoping to have him down for the night before we left so our rush to leave and the pained look on my face wouldn't freak him out. We were unsuccessful in this as well. They were getting strong and I had heard a story of a woman delivering in the car on the way to the hospital and I didn't want to repeat this. The hospital was about a half hour away, so it was time to go.

We arrived at the hospital at around 8:40pm on Friday. My contractions were intense, but bearable. I "dressed down" and then the monitors were put on and the nurse checked my progress. I was at 6 cm dilated and fully effaced. Nice. The midwife was called and told it was legit, so she needed to come in.

DISCLAIMER: The following is MY story. It's my experience and my opinion for me and in no way reflects all midwives or all OB's or all deliveries with or without an epidural.

I had decided before I got pregnant with James, that with Baby #2, I would not have an epidural. I had been induced with Caleb AND had an epidural. It was great. I could NOT feel pain really at any point after 7 cm when the epidural was administered. How can pain free be bad?! However, for me, I felt that I needed to know the bitterest of the bitter in terms of labor pain to enjoy the sweetest of the sweet when my baby was born. It was would be worth the pain to experience that moment.

At a 6, I was in pain, but still holding up well pain-wise. My midwife came in around 9:30 and checked my progress. Slow--and steady. I asked her if I could get into the labor tub. I had not been cleared for (or had been planning on) water birth, but at this hospital, there are labor tubs where I can labor but have to deliver in the bed. I chose this hospital SPECIFICALLY for this feature. My midwife told me around 9:30 that there were hardly be any point in getting in because I'd have to get right back out to have this baby. This continued for 15-30 minutes or so when I had a doozy contraction that kicked things in to high gear. Up until now, we'd been laughing between contractions. A nurse who I didn't know and had never met waltzed into the room and we sort of had a laugh at the blase attitude of labor and delivery nurses. "Who cares that you're naked? Who cares that this is the day your son is born? All in a day's work for me." After this big contraction, it took everything I had to have this baby. It was the weirdest thing. During the middle of the contraction, I could not STAND talking. ANYONE talking. Hearing voices was like fingernails on a chalkboard. The nurses were asking Jonathan questions for paperwork and he would silently whisper back answers while holding me. This was our routine. Contraction would let up. I would rest and Jonathan would field questions, get ice, etc. The contraction would come back on within 30-90 seconds. I would say, "I need you!" Jonathan would rush to my side, hold me in a hug while I moaned and labored--no words--and the cycle would repeat.

I can't explain what it felt like. Enduring. I hate to be melodramatic. I had heard of women who would shout out, "I'm dying!" in the middle of labor and always thought this was way over the top. No, you're not dying. You're having a baby. Without this way analytical, Type A side to depend on in labor, I may have easily come to this same conclusion. I have broken a leg, had appendicitis and had a kidney stone and I had not had pain that could TOUCH the last bit of labor before pushing. I've never HAD to yell out in pain before. In this case, I could not help it. all you women not yet mothers who are right now wondering why they read this post--epidurals are available and they do work.

I was out of strength, but my water still had not broken. My midwife offered to break it for me, but I was already in so much pain, I suppose I was afraid of actual delivery. How could I handle more? In hindsight, I should have had her break my water. I digress.

Around 11:10-11:15, I agreed to have her break my water. I felt the gush of warm wet and then the "AAH! I HAVE TO PUSH!" feeling. Immediately I started going into shock. My arms and legs, face and everything not in my CORE started shaking and feeling like it was out of oxygen. I was trying to breathe as much as possible because this tingly feeling all over my body was frightening. I feared James wasn't getting enough to breathe and felt if I wasn't careful I was going to pass out. I have a history of fainting and was scared of passing out while I was supposed to be delivering a baby. However, pushing and breathing don't co-exist well. My midwife kept yelling at me to push--not breathe. Pushing was such a unique experience. The pain of pushing the baby out was actually significantly LESS painful than the "transition labor" I had just endured. However, I could feel my flesh tearing as I was pushing. Because of my frequent need to breathe, James started coming out, and then would go back in. Out, then back in (Cue Marlin :D) I know that's less efficient, but the shaking and tingling in my body was unexplained to me and very frightening. Following yells from my midwife and encouragement and reassurance from my husband, AND a need for labor to end, I pushed and pushed and pushed and out came a full head of goopy hair. I could feel my midwife holding my body trying to keep the flesh together as I pushed out his shoulders, but I knew the only way to get him out was through. Tearing or not, tingling or not, it had to come to an end. With another very intense pushing set, his shoulders and body were delivered.

My body shuddered as the rest of the blood and fluid gushed out. I began to cry in relief. The sound I didn't hear, however, was James crying.

The thing I had missed most of all about Caleb's delivery was him being immediately placed on my chest after being born. I wanted this so much. In James' case, they assured me he would go straight from delivery to my arms, but such was not the case. I'm grateful for the Spirit of God that assured me my baby was okay in those first moments. Although I hadn't heard him cry, I wasn't afraid. Within very few minutes, the nurses had him rubbed down, pink and perked up. In the nurse's words, "he was shockey." The intensity of his fast and furious delivery had been just as tough on him as on me. At 11:23pm, May 14, 2010, James Jonathan arrived. 8lbs., 1.5 ounces and 20.5" long. Perfect. He was beautiful right from the start.

I was not so pretty. :) It took about 50 minutes following delivery to be sewn up. I had broken blood vessels over my whole body from the intensity of pushing--most especially on my face, neck and shoulders. I'm sure I was pushing WRONGLY. I know. All I can say is--I did the very best I could.

My father-in-law opened up a tiny window of understanding for me--and hopefully not a sacreligious one--when he compared my experience to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I in NO WAY WHATSOEVER endured anything remotely like the extent of what our Redeemer endured in performing his infinite and eternal atonement, suffering the sins and pain and sorrow of all mankind. I can't stress that enough. That said, under the pain and pressure of what He endured, He bled from every pore. The pores over my face, neck and chin as well as shoulders and back each had dots of blood (under the skin--sort of like pin prick blood blisters) where the vessels broke from the pressure of delivery. That tiny insight and the understanding that even the most pain I have ever endured is not anywhere close to His suffering, has given me more appreciation for His sacrifice for me. His is a matchless gift.

The next day, Caleb came with Grandma A and Grandpa to meet Sweet Baby James. Caleb LOVES him. He is such a sweet big brother. I thought he would be extremely jealous, but it seems the one thing he has relative patience for, is "his" baby, James. We are so blessed.

So, the breakdown. Epidurals or not. Midwives or OB's. I've decided that these choices are ENTIRELY individual. I think my reasons for going completely naturally were good and valid reasons. I think having an epidural to avoid the pain of natural labor is also completely okay. It's great, even. I think OB's can be understanding, thoughtful, kind, and background to the more important person here--the patient. I think they can be cold and unfeeling and clinical. I think midwives can be nurturing and help each step of the way. I think they can be thoughtless and heartless when annoyed by their novice patients. I think if you have a good practitioner--whether obstetrician or midwife--stick with that practitioner! As for me, I think I'm going to shop around and see if I can find a practitioner I like regardless of letters and titles. I also think I'm really glad I delivered James naturally. I needed to know I could. I needed to know I could survive it and to not FEAR it anymore. I also think next time--epidural. Yes, please. :)

So back to James: we love you. You are joy in our lives. You bring greater balance, and greater love to our family. Thank you, for being mine.