Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sick Babe

There are so many things to tell you all (whoever you are :) about...
Amazing trips to Seattle and Oklahoma this past summer.  The fact that Henri is now saying "Dadda" and "Mama" and has discovered the art of clapping his hands and STANDING! (while holding furniture).  His graduation to be free in the bathtub without a smaller tub keeping him captive.  His new daycare, which we love, and his Wednesday family, who we love even more!  SOOOO many wonderful and beautiful things...which may come in a backdated post sometime down the road....

But today, the only thing on my mind is my poor sick baby.  I'm confident this is ear infection number 6.  I'm watching the clock until I can call his pediatrician to get him in today.  I'm grateful for a boss who is so supportive and never makes me feel bad about being home when I need to be.  The hardest part about this round is that he has so many more miserable symptoms.  Ear infections 1-5 nearly sneaked right past us since Henri just smiles his way through life regardless of what's happening.  It's turned me into a paranoid mommy, but I haven't made a trip to the Dr. with him yet that didn't end in another round of antibiotics.  We saw an ENT about a week and a half ago and he recommended tubes.  I wanted a second opinion to be sure and that's scheduled for next Tuesday.  But after seeing the pain he was in last night and today, Tim and I are ready to go ahead with the surgery.  It's horrible feeling so helpless.  I just want to do something to take away his pain and make it all go away....


Friday, August 3, 2012

Henri's Room

When I was in the 7th or 8th grade I REALLY learned how to sew.  My gramma taught me the basics, but I made a quilt in my home economics class and felt like I had really mastered this skill.  Fast forward to marriage and my husband knew more about the sewing machine than I did.  I sort of fell off the wagon and gave up on getting too crafty.  And then, Henri came into our lives.  I thought I'd have much more time than I do/did.  I had big plans to sew curtains, a crib bumper, pillows, etc. etc.  I got the curtains and covered 1 rocking chair before he came into the world.  And I think I did a pretty good job.  I took my time, used a measuring tape n stuff.  See?

And then, the rocking chair in a panic we received yet another hand me down from the Wilsons.  I somehow managed between short naps to whip together a cover for that one.  It's a bit crooked and I forgot the ties...but it looks ok.

And then, once H was older and I wasn't worried about SIDS as much as his arms and legs getting caught between the crib slats I decided it was time to get to that bumper.  IKEA had one for $15, but I somehow thought we could save money (I'm dumb) by making it myself.  About $50 and 4 hours later I had a saggy, too big bumper with not enough ties. :(  BUT this week I took it off and I fixed it!

I definitely use more of the "just eyeball" it method than patterns or planning.  I just figure it out as I go.  But I think I did a decent job.  And Henri definitely LOVES it. :)

My mom sends us lots of boxes filled with treasures.  One such surprise was this tiny golden (ok, it's brass or something...) owl.  And the radio is a gift from Henri's Aunt Christa.  We had to go buy this shelf to take care of our overflowing book problem, again thanks to the Wilsons!

And then I wanted a little collage wall, so we grabbed some supplies at Michael's (Letter H, treeround, orange paint, chalkboard paint) and an abacus at Vintage Thrift (my new favorite shop on Orange and Wardlow).  Still need to get the photo of an Oklahoman barn printed for the frame....but my mantra has become "one thing at a time".

Another favorite shop is the Feed Store on 4th and Cherry.  They had these fun vintage toys and some old 45's of children's favorite is the Oklahoma Musical album.

We also grabbed some sticks on Henri's first hike in Palos Verdes a while back and made a mobile for him.  Sure beats the $50 I wanted to spend on a bamboo one from etsy.  Yay for making stuff!  

Overall, a success in my book.  Just 7 months after he was born I think I can pretty much be all done.  And I definitely have Henri's stamp of approval. :)
Seattle trip photos to come soon!  Tim has to make them all color corrected n things.  He wouldn't dream of posting blurry photos snapped in a hurry on an IPhone for a quick blog post.  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012


I'm home sick today, which gives me lots of time for reflection and a slower pace.  I actually woke up to an empty house!  Once I confirmed with Tim that he knew exactly where Henri was :) I gave into my body's pleas to just rest.

Resting to me = doing chores and work at a slower than usual pace, as I was putting away a bowl next to the pitcher we use as a vase I thought for the 30th time, we need a vase.  And I laughed about how my very very Nazarene mother ruined our wine decanter because she used it as a vase.  And then my heart was grateful as I remembered the bouquet of flowers that welcomed us when we brought Henri home from the hospital.  My mom flew out mid-labor from Oklahoma and made it in time to see Henri's birth.  While we were still at the hospital and in the week that she stayed with us she blew us away with her generous and giving heart.  No surprise to me having been raised by this amazing woman, but still overwhelmed with gratitude.  The laundry, the dishes, new clothes small enough to fit Henri, nursing (ahem) intimates for me (that stuff's not cheap!), never mind the cost of her plane ride were all taken care of quietly and lovingly.  My sister did the same thing, at 6 months pregnant.  And her wonderful husband Joe was Mr. Mom to their almost 2 year old while she was here.

We flew to OKC in February so great gramma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins could all meet Henri. 

Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, money has been extremely tight for us since Henri entered the world.  I remember when we asked our life insurance guy what sort of additional expenses we should anticipate.  He said "none really".  HA!  maybe if you make 6 figures and your wife gets to stay home!!  What we've quickly realized is, daycare is a second rent payment!  Literally.  Add the new car payment since the pathfinder died (at least the civic's paid for), and the 5% in health insurance we now pay since the district's in a budget crisis (not complaining, it's still a great deal)....our expenses have gone up.  a lot.

SO, we've had to utter the very difficult words over and over to my family in Oklahoma that we just can't afford to come again until Christmas.  Which sucks.  A lot.  We haven't met our new niece, Eve, yet.  Henri's growing so fast and I want to share these moments with them...and face time just isn't enough.

And then, they all decided to pitch in and fly us out.  Originally the plan was just me and Henri.  But we got a text the day we were finalizing the plans saying, "pack your bags!  the three of you are coming to OKC!"   So this August we'll be braving the Oklahoma heat and spending lots of time watching babies coo and crawl.  I plan to smother Elle and Eve with kisses and hugs and let Henri get to know his amazing family.

I can't wait...and I'm so grateful for my family's generosity and love.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Happy Henri

Remember when I said Henri wakes up happy??  Well, lest you think I'm a big fat is proof!!  This morning we heard him talking to himself around 7:15am and went into his room to witness this little Henri Houdini magic trick. 

We all had a great laugh about it. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

A mother's obsession...

You may not believe this, but guess what I do when I'm home on a Saturday or a holiday after putting Henri down for a nap...

Of course I do laundry, dishes, brush my teeth...all the normal things that are much easier to rush through once he's asleep....but then...

I end up on the computer looking at pictures and videos of Henri.  Last night at 6:30, after he was all snuggled into bed, Tim and I sat out in the backyard drinking cocktails and watching videos of Henri on our phones.  It's just that every little thing he does is amazing!!!  He smiles!  He says "ahhhAA"!  He tries to get all of his toys into his mouth.  He figured out how to move the teeter tottering pandas on his exersaucer.  He loves to "stand".  He can scoot around with his face buried into the ground while kicking his feet.  Gone are the days of "eat, sleep, poop".  This little boy is a world full of tricks and I just don't want to miss a minute!  Saturday he found his feet!  I was overjoyed!  I don't know why...but I've always thought that babies playing with their own feet is pretty much the cutest thing that ever was.

We've gone on a hike, hit up a museum, walked at the beach, went to a lacrosse game, and have played quite a few games of ladder ball and horseshoes with friends...

It's nice to finally  be at a point where our life, doing the things that make us come alive, still happens and Henri's with us...versus our life being on hold while we figure out Henri's naps, feedings, and other various needs.  We're even planning (tentatively) a camping trip in October with some friends.  Any tips on camping with an 8 month old are welcome!! :)

We're learning that we are so blessed with a very happy little boy.  He cries when he needs something...but otherwise he loves his bath, is starting to enjoy books and is reaching out for the pages, goes to sleep easily, and wakes up happy with a huge toothless grin plastered across his face the minute he sees us.  He's even content to chill on his own with some toys for 10 minutes or so at a time.

He's also extremely social and recently had a few days of trying out a new trick.  As soon as he realized he had been laid down in his crib one night he woke up fussing.  I had put him to sleep so Tim volunteered to go see what was up...after 5 minutes of relentless crying Tim came into the living room with Henri in his arms.  Suddenly, he was just fine...not a tear to be found in his eyes.  We knowingly laughed at this sweet boy's manipulative ways and Tim headed back towards his room.  As soon as he turned towards the hall Henri let out his cries of protest.  :)  2 days of leaning down to him in his crib and helping him back to sleep (without picking him up!) we are back to the days of easy sleep. :)  He's so SMART!!

He also got his first haircut!!!  Everyone kept telling us his golden locks would fall out...but alas they just grew and grew.  Tim played barber while I distracted Henri.  To be honest he didn't need any distraction at all, he loved it!  and he is even more handsome than before (at least we think so).

I'd post something else...but really...that's what life is for us these days.  And it is so sweet and wonderful...I want to freeze time and live in this place forever.  But, as I walked along the boardwalk at Bolsa Chica this morning with Henri and Norman and we watched the surfers and saw kids playing frisbie and flying kites I realized so completely that there is so much adventure and joy ahead of us yet.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life with Henri

Well...we've been pretty busy for one thing... :)

The last 3 months have been the best days of my life. It's amazing how much a human heart can love. I never knew I was capable of caring so much for another person. When I was in college I did a lot of research in virtue theory and co-authored a few pieces on "generativity". In a whirlwind nutshell, generativity is a fancy name for loving care and concern for another. I could write you 40 pages about the different facets (nurturing, giving/offering, and creating). Erik Erickson basically said that the ultimate generative act was becoming a parent. I wanted to show that young college kids could also be generative...and I believe they can...but I also believe Mr. Erickson was absolutely right. There is NOTHING that compares to the love that I became capable of when I became a mom.

Here's a quick recap of the past few months:

We went to Oklahoma to meet Grandpa (Bopa), and Henri's great gramma ("MorMor"), and Uncle Joe and cousin Eleanor and Great Aunt Becky and Great Uncle Chris and lots more people we love. My gramma was quite the Henri-hog. She watched him one night while the rest of us went out to eat and when we returned 2 hours later they hadn't moved from their recliner. It was a really meaningful and peaceful time with family.

I went back to work. :( I was put at a new site with new students, staff, colleagues...but I'm at least grateful that my job requires my full attention on most days, so my pining for the days at home I had with Henri can't last for too long. I do have a digital frame on my desk that keeps Henri close to my heart all day until I get home. I have a great job and a great boss and I truly am grateful for God's provision for our family.

While I was at work Tim got to stay home another 3 1/2 weeks as super dad. He and Henri and Norman went on many many walks, listened to lots of Bob Dylan and David Bazan, and took lots of fun pictures which were sent to me during the day. Henri was a champ with the bottle and he and Tim had time to be men together. Not many men get the opportunity to be home with their kids for as long as Tim did, and Tim made the most of that time. I know he'll always have those memories of Henri's first few weeks of life.

Then, Tim had to head back to Apple Inc. and Henri started daycare at Kindercare. He's there with his buddy from church, Hudson. He actually adapted pretty quickly. Sleep isn't as good as it is at home...but there have been the occasional 2 hour naps so we're hopeful he'll learn to sleep more as time goes on. He has definitely become a more adaptable little man recently. We'll never know if that's the result of the magic 3 month mark or part of his transition to daycare...but he is way more content to just hang out these Mommy and Daddy don't have to spend their lives bouncing up and down with Henri in our arms quite so much any more. :)

We went to Lake Elsinore to meet Great Gramma Light a few weekends ago and took some family photos with Tim's side of the fam. Gramma Light gave Henri this awesome pocket watch that belonged to his Great Great Great Grandpa Henry. It was made around 1880 and is pretty awesome. We can't wait to give it to him someday when he's all grown up.

This last weekend was Easter. I made Henri a bowtie from one of Tim's old shirts and we went to church here in Long Beach. Since we don't have any family super close by we went over to our friends' Chanda and Keith's and hung out with them for brunch and a playdate with Hudson.

Now I'm on spring break and Henri and I spent our morning playing, going on a long walk through Bixby Knolls with Norm, and now he's sound asleep to the sound of the ocean waves. (his white noise machine has the ocean on it :) He's so much fun these days. He makes this "AhGOO" sound and his hands find each other and find their way into his little mouth and he shoots us tons of tooofless smiles when we talk to him.

He's the most beautiful thing in the world to us. I can't believe we were given such an amazing gift. Lord help us to raise him to be a man of compassion and generosity and humility and love.

and for no reason other than a good's Norm...being Norm.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Tim and I are fortunate enough to be out on leave right now at the same time...and we were last week...and will be next week too.
Last week we were in Oklahoma visiting my family. My grandma, Henri's Mor Mor (Norwegian for Great Gramma), and my Dad had yet to meet him. I came into the room after one nap they had taken together and she told me, "We had a nice long talk...I told him all about the world". It makes me so happy that we were able to be there if only for 5 short days.

Henri was a champ on the plane ride. He only fussed a bit on the last leg right before take off...but let's be honest, who isn't cranky after a full day of flying on a cramped plane with beeps and lights and teeny bathrooms making you all stressed out?

We're pretty much back on our normal schedule now that we're home. Tim takes over after I go back to work on the we're getting him used to taking a bottle once a day and I'm doing my best to pump on a regular basis so he'll have plenty of food while I'm gone during the day. Lately I just want to hold him all day even more than before. I feel selfish a bit...Tim will ask if I want him to take him so I can eat...or just have a break, and I tell him no...I want to hold him. I'm getting all the cuddling in I possibly can before he's all grown up and telling me to stop being a mushy girl.

Off to sleep...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Henri Morgan Neilsen

Warning: the following is EVERYTHING I can recall from Jan 4th-5th, 2012. Some of it may be a bit TMI for you, so read with caution! :) Also it's ridiculously sister advised me to write every single thing I could remember...I'd put it in a journal, but I type faster than I write, so there. Also, if you're currently pregnant and hoping to hear that this thing is a breeze and doesn't really hurt at all...just take the mouse and click on that little red dot or X in the corner and close the window now and never come back. I promise it does have a happy ending though. :)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 @ 12:00am I awoke to my water breaking. Somehow I made it to the restroom in time, immediately sure that this was not a flashback to childhood bed wetting accidents. One of my very first thoughts was, 'remember to let Tim sleep...he'll need the energy later when I have natural adrenaline keeping me up'. Within a minute of this thought I realized our poor puppy had had an accident in the baby's clearly I decided to wake Tim up since there was no way I was going to clean up a doggy mess while in labor! I gently woke him with the following statement, "Hunny, 2 things: Norm had an accident in the baby's room, and also, my water just broke". His reaction was first groggy and then instantly awake he said, "what!?" We shared a happy moment, and then I went and got him the carpet cleaner. :)

We'd heard from several friends and our Bradley class that it's a good idea to bring treats to the hospital for the nurses to help lock in a private postpartum room and also make friends since we have a detailed birthplan that may or may not be completely welcome/convenient for them. So of course, I started baking Great Grandma Thumper's oatmeal cookies. Since we were still two weeks early, I had just gotten our hospital bag completely packed the day before, printed out copies of our birthplan, downloaded my birthmusic mix to my phone, and had made a list of the things to throw in the bag on the day of. Tim cleared out the back of the pathfinder and loaded up the car...I took my time, remembering that Bradley class and my doctor had said to wait until contractions were 5 min apart before heading to the hospital. I was forgetting one caveat: Unless your water breaks.

So I called my sister, asked some questions, made sure the amniotic fluid was the right color etc. etc. and she told me to call my dr. now since my water broke. Got ahold of the doc and she said, "head to the hospital now, I'll see you there". What?! I'm not even having contractions yet!? Well, just little ones. So we sort of stalled for another 2 hours and didn't head to the hospital until about 2:30am. Before we left I packed Norman's bag and put a key under the mat for our friend Ellie to come get him so he could play with their dog Hindley for what we thought would be just a day or maybe 1 and 1/2 days. Norm didn't know it, but he's a pretty lucky guy. He was scheduled to be neutered that very day at 8am. Saved! He still has his manhood to this day, soon we'll reschedule.

At 2:30 something en route to the hospital we called my mom in Oklahoma to let her know we were in labor. She answered this 4:30am her time phone call with a suspicious, "yesss??". I could hear the smile on her face through the phone.

Once we got to the hospital, between the two of us we somehow managed to get; 1 small suitcase, 1 travel bag, 1 giant yoga ball, 1 basket of cookies, 1 cooler (for my placenta), and 1 camera bag up the elevator. Tim didn't want me to carry anything...but he's not an octopus so he gave in to my insisting that I could help.

We sat in the waiting room for a while and Tim finally decided to go park the car and reluctantly left me all alone for just a few minutes. At that point Dr. Chao came out and said hello (she had just finished another delivery), took some cookies and headed home for the night to sleep. --I can't imagine being an OB. It's like having an infant! You get woken up at all hours with no warning and no choice to say, nah...I'm tired.

At triage we had an awesome nurse, Cassi, who totally respected every part of our birth plan. Did a test to make sure it was amniotic fluid that was filling about my 10th giant sized maxi at this point. The swab is supposed to turn blue if it's your water and not urine. It turned navy blue. We also found out at that time that we were "closed" so I was not dilated at all. :( Cassi let us walk around the floor for 30 min at a time to get oxytocin going naturally, then we had to return to be on the external fetal monitor for about 30 min at a we followed that routine for a while.

Finally, about 5 or 6am (time was a blur thoughout our stay at the hospital) we were moved to labor and delivery. Lisa came in with a soft quiet voice (as per the plan) and turned monitor volumes down etc. She also loved the oatmeal cookies. Sometime between 5 and 7 am Debbie joined us. I love the Naiman family. Debbie is like a sister/mom to me and we asked her to join us for the process since we had no way of knowing if my mom or sister could be there. She isn't afraid of speaking her mind which is good because Tim isn't the quickest to speak up when someone needs to get told. He (and I) like peace and Debbie was our advocate when needed. :) Then around 9:30 I think Sarah came too. She is the first friend I ever made in Long Beach and I so needed her support and back rubs and confident voice saying "you can do this" throughout the process.

Unfortunately, Lisa's shift ended shortly after we met her and in came Star. Star burst into the room, flipped on all the lights, and with her booming voice told us about her 2 home births and how she thinks is just great that we have a birth plan and want to do this naturally, BUT... She continued to tell us all about what great pets pot belly pigs are and how if we have a pet we should take all the blankets with "the baby's blood and fluids" all over them back home for Arnold (somehow she thought our dog's name was Arnold...?) to smell to introduce him to the baby. I reminded her twice we really wanted a peaceful environment...she didn't get it. Add construction right outside of our room and we were quick to request a room change. Room 6 was great...also had a tub and shower which we were excited to use for natural pain management (although no tubs allowed since my water broke and that could introduce infection...but showers were a-okay).

While we were walking in the hall (still trying to get contractions goin) not too long after the room switch we bumped into a young beautiful nurse named Natalie. She said she was our new nurse. ?? We just got Star? Apparently one of Star's patients had become "complete" or in the pushing phase and so Star had to transfer all the other patients she had. I loved Natalie. Our personalities really fit well together. Unfortunatley, like me, she gave WAY too much information. (Tim never fails to let me know this about myself when I'm telling a story to someone :). So Natalie was great because she only made us sit with the monitor on for a few minutes at a time and then let us get up and walk stairs, move around to get contractions goin. One other method for natural oxytocin release is nipple stimulation. So, being the pretty modest person I am, I watched and listened for passers by as I walked stairs while implementing said methods for 30 min segments. It worked...but not enough.

At every point during her shift (7am-7pm) I was at 4cm. :( He was station 0 to +1, I was 80% effaced, and a 4. So things were going great, except I just wasn't dilating, and since my water had broken so long ago, the talks of pitocin started. This is where we got way too much information. We had asked to be given a clear explanation of the medical need for any interventions or medication and be given the chance to give informed consent. Well, we should have said that we only wanted to know about the medical need relevant to us at that time. We were given every worst case scenario that might influence us to say yes to pitocin then and there. Dr. never mentioned it or pressured us. I started to get overwhelmed, and started to second guess our ability to make a wise decision. I called my sister. She talked me through things. One of the things she kept saying to me was "your body was made to have this baby. You were created to do this, and he's going to come when he's ready". My mom told me to listen to my heart. I didn't feel peace about pitocin at that point. BUT I also didn't want my stubbornness or a selfish desire to be able to say I did this naturally to be the driving force of our decisions. I started regretting ever telling anyone on this earth that we wanted a natural birth. I would never be able to live with myself if one of those worst case scenarios did happen and Henri ended up with a horrible infection that put him in the ICU for 7 days. I was crying a lot. Debbie seemed like she was starting to lean toward pitocin too. Finally there was a moment when it was just me and Tim in the room. We prayed. and then I called my doctor. She was awesome. She said, you have 3 options. 1. take pitocin. 2. take antibiotics to help protect against infection (it wouldn't prevent but it would protect if it started to set in). and 3. do nothing. She said she didn't advise me to do nothing since my water had broken 24 hours prior at this point. She said it was completely my choice. At the same time my sister texted me to see if we had considered antibiotics. We chose antibiotics. I think this was one of the most challenging moments of the labor. I was sort of a wreck...and to be totally honest, I don't even feel like we were totally confident that we were making the perfect choice....but I just decided that I didn't have control over this and that we needed to trust God. So I kept praying. I tried to focus on the fact that one way or another we were about to meet out son...and that was all that mattered...

My sister had had an almost identical birth process and delivered at the 26th when we passed that point I started to get discouraged again. Something she kept telling us was that once she got in the tub she totally relaxed and her body went into we decided it was time for a hot shower to relax me. It took a LONG time to get a bench for the shower, and then Jenn (an orienting nurse under Natalie) came in and wrapped up my IV line since we had okay'd a hep lock when I was admitted. Got all set, Tim in his trunks, towels ready, turned on the water and it was kinda just warm...but I still got in. Within seconds it was FREEZING COLD! Opposite of relaxed!!!! I wanted to scream curse words...I may have, I can't remember. I think I said that it was bullshit that a hospital didn't even have hot water. Apparently it was due to that pesky construction that made room 15 so loud and un-relaxing. This was when I started to love Jenn. She practically ran to get heating pads and a cup of hot tea for me to warm up.

One of my favorite things about our birth process was the time the 4 of us (Me, Tim, Debbie, and Sarah) spent together. Telling stories, laughing. Sarah said at one point it felt like we were roommates again and this was just one of those days where we got to stay at home and hang out all day. Debbie talked to me a lot about how her kids have remained true to the personalities the revealed during their birth...for instance, coming in their own time. Debbie at one point said she had a dream recently that the baby's name was Hudson. Which is funny because friends of ours just named their son Hudson. I told her she wasn't far off. Tim and I had gone back and forth on names for all of 9 months. We love our girl name and knew it was perfect from the moment we said it...but boy names proved more of a challenge. We finally made it final when we made him a stocking at Christmas and Tim embroidered his name on it. Clearly we can't make a new stocking!! :)

Back to the birth story...I'm not exactly sure when, but at some point Tim went home for a nap, knowing that we were still in for a long haul. Luckily we live about 10 minutes from the hospital, so that was no big deal. There were other times when I would look over at the chair and he'd be sound asleep...or on the floor and he would be curled up on a pile of blankets and towels. Poor guy. He was so pooped. So was I, but I was also in the zone. It was crazy, 10 hours would go by in the blink of an eye. I kept telling Debbie that I felt like time was flying. I did get 1 or 2 "naps" in. Between contractions and nurses and beeping machines waking me up I wouldn't really call it quality sleep, but maybe it was enough of a power nap too jump start me a bit.

the 7pm to 7am shift brought us Teresa. She was great because she never once mentioned the idea of drugs to us. Unfortunately she wanted me to be on the external fetal monitor for up to an hour at a time, which really restricted my mobility. I sort of fought her on that topic, and just annoyed her by constantly asking how much longer I had to be on that thing. And I honestly had to pee several times during those intervals, so I'd just take it right off and go do my thing. We stayed at a 4 almost all night. No progress. Maybe because I wasn't able to move being on that dumb EFM. Maybe because it wasn't his time yet. Or maybe because he was purposefully waiting for his Grandma to fly in from Oklahoma. She had switched her flight the day before. :)
Teresa also had me on the monitor while sitting/laying in the bed a lot. I eventually got really direct and told her I absolutely could not lay in bed. It concentrated all of the pain of the contractions right to my lower back and it was really unbearable. If I was on the birth ball I could move around. If I was up and walking I could lean on Tim or the bed or the counter. On my knees facing the back of the bed with my upper body dangling over the head of the bed became my favorite position. It actually hurt more in that position, but I could feel more pressure in my pelvis, which I knew meant he was headed down...and that was the kind of pain I knew I needed to go through to help Henri along. One amazing thing that happened overnight was Teresa called the hospital engineers to try to get the hot water fixed. That never happened, BUT, they did figure out that for some unknown reason room 3 wasn't affected by the construction. We promptly packed our stuff up and went to room 3!! and I'm so glad because what happened next was the greatest pain I've ever experienced.

So labor pains/contractions felt like intensifying menstrual cramps. They had a clear start and a clear end. Don't get me wrong, they F-ing hurt!, but you know it won't last forever so you can make it though. Well, all of this sudden I had a SHARP pain in my left side and it did NOT come and go. It just stayed. I desperately asked Teresa what the heck this was. She shrugged her shoulders. (thanks lady) She agreed with me that maybe Henri had a foot in my ribs, or was sitting on a nerve or something about his position was just creating this sharp pain that lasted through the contractions. There was no end to it. No hope that it would just go away in a few minutes. I remember writhing around on the bed like an animal screaming "make it stop!!!" No position relieved the pain. Tim got a cool washcloth for my forehead. For some crazy reason the nurse decided strapping me to the monitors again was a great I couldn't move at all once she had me hooked up. Finally, we decided it was time for a shower. The hot water helped me to relax, Tim was great and stood right outside the tub adjusting the water for me, helping me calm down. I could have stayed in there until I was a shriveled prune all over. When I finally got out the pain was gone. HALLELUJAH! Sometime before Teresa left she checked me and I had made it to a 7. Things were happening, but we were at hour 31 and worried even more at this point about infection...

7am Judith and Jenn took over. We had Jenn again!! Actually, it was more like 7:30 before they made it to the room. Which we totally took advantage of and walked the halls for another 1/2 hour since Teresa wasn't paying attention and strapping me back up to machines. We later found out that what took so long was that Jenn was researching all the ways to get oxytocin (your body's natural pitocin) to release and clearing her plan with Dr. Chao. She came right in with the attitude that we were going to do this, we were going to do it naturally, and we were going to make it happen ASAP! She had Tim and I turn out the lights, here's the TMI part..., and got some lubricant and we used nipple stimulation and visualization. She even brought in a breast pump if nipple stim wasn't enough. Almost immediately my contractions got stronger and closer together and more consistent. At this point it had been a very long time since I had eaten or slept...and I started to feel like my body was just breaking down...I've never been so exhausted in my life.

Then that side pain came back. Jenn was so encouraging. She told me this is part of the process, that this was normal and not to worry. I actually threw up it hurt so bad. I literally started stripping off my clothes and got back in the shower in a rush (we actually forgot to wrap up the IV). It helped, but the pain was still there. There were times when I really started wanting to ask for drugs. But instead the words that came out were just for Tim to hear, "I don't think I can do this". He responded every time by telling me that I could do it, that we were so close, and that he was there for me. One thing that really was great is that no one ever offered me pain medication. I'm so grateful for that, because there were a few moments when I would have said...bring it on!!!

Sometime around 10 I think Jenn checked me and I was still at a 7, "maybe an 8"...I was so discouraged. At one point on the monitors it looked like Henri's heartbeat was dropping in response to my contractions...which isn't good and could be a sign of distress. This was see if we could help, Jenn suggested that I really focus on breathing more through the worst part of the contraction to make sure he got oxygen. I had been clenching down and holding my breath. The next two contractions he was perfect. Perfect perfect. It's amazing what our bodies can do!! Henri's heart beat was actually a perfect picture of health the whole time. My blood pressure was great, we were so blessed to have God's protection over our health. Even throughout pregnancy we were practically complication free, praise God.

At 11am my mom made it to the hospital (huge thanks to my brother in law for picking her up). It was so great to have her there, and it was just in time. Josh, Debbie, and my mom went and got some lunch while Tim and I continued with nipple stim to keep things progressing. When they got back Debbie came over to me and said, your mom and I were talking and we think the name is Henry. I just smiled and said, "where'd you come up with that?" and in my head I thought, "how in the world?? we haven't told a soul!!"

I was back in my position on my knees with my body hanging over the head of the bed. We had talked about pushing positions already and I was super direct about letting everyone know how much it hurt to be on my back. So they brought in a squat bar and gave us a print out of different positions, which we had practiced in Bradley, but you really kind of forget most things at this point, so that was really helpful. The pain was really intensifying at this point...Debbie asked Jenn, "when can she start pushing?" and Jenn replied, "when she's in a lot more pain that this". I wanted to punch her in the face. But instead I just got louder...I don't think she realized how much pain I was already in. I've broken several bones in my life...and never cried, except later when the dumb radiology techs made me straighten my arm with a broken elbow....I digress...

At some point I told Debbie I needed to push, she said maybe we should wait until Jenn got back...and I don't remember this, but apparently I snapped and said "NO!" So Debbie went and got Jenn. :) During this time I was still on my knees over the bed with contractions really strong and about 1 minute apart. After each contraction my body would go completely limp and I would sort of "fall" and then wake up. yep. I was taking 30 second naps between contractions. My body was at the end of all it could take.

Finally I was screaming loud enough that Jenn decided to check me again. I'll never forget the feeling I felt when she said I was "complete". I was so relieved, so happy, my head fell back and I let out the most joyful sound. Finally!!! this was it! I kept asking them to call Dr. Chao. In my naivete I thought that once you start pushing it's like minutes before the kid is here! No no...try 1 hour and 40 minutes of pushing. She had plenty of time to get there. Sometime during this transition to pushing Tim was helping me be as comfortable as he could with cool washcloths and rubbing my back, pushing in on my hips during the contractions...and he soon realized that this nightgown I was in was just getting in the way. So with my okay he stripped me down. Modest little me was au natural for the whole room to see...

Tim was right by my side as we pushed. His poor knees on the tile gripping the back of his neck and digging my left foot into the crook of his arm. I didn't realize it until later, but suddenly about 5 extra nurses appeared. Little did we know we had gained a following of natural birth cheerleaders throughout the floor. They sort of wanted to just come see and be a part. Had I not been so tunnel visioned I might have cared and said no, but I'm glad I didn't. They all ended up being so helpful and encouraging.

We started pushing in a side-lying position. After a while we switched to sort of a sitting squat. worked. At some point Dr. Chao got there. She got a sheet and wrapped it around the squat bar and had me pulling myself up with it as I pushed. Each time I pushed I would hear "this is it!" "this is the one!" "he's right there!" I wanted to tell them all to shut up unless it really was "it!" But Tim told me later that it just really looked like that was it every time! I would take a deep breath, push, push, push, maybe more than 3 times each time. And then I'd have no strength left and I'd fall back and say that I was sorry. I'm not sure who I was sorry to... They'd all laugh and tell me not to be sorry and told me I was doing great. Someone told a joke: "what did sushi A say to sushi B? WASABI!?!" everyone laughed except for me. I told Tim to never get me pregnant again...I was trying to be funny...but I was also serious. At one point I think Dr. Chao had her instruments ready for an episiotomy and someone mentioned that the birthplan said no episiotomy. I regained all consciousness and spoke right to Dr. Chao and said, "you and I talked and I said if I'm going to tear badly then cut, but if I'm just going to tear a little then leave it." And she said, yes, that's exactly what we decided on. But instead she just used massage for the whole time we pushed to help avoid having to cut. That brought in a whole new kind of a stinging burning pain...but I knew it was better than a cut or tear.

A few times while we were pushing the nurses had me feel his much hair!!! It was encouraging to feel him and know how close we were. I kept thinking, why doesn't someone just pull him out!!? Finally, toward the end of one push I felt the "ring of fire" and I knew this was it.

As he came out Dr. Chao realized the cord was wrapped around his neck, twice! She quickly maneuvered him out of this tangled mess and then what happened next is our absolute favorite part of the whole thing. Someone took my hands and brought them down to Henri...and I delivered my son with my own hands.

I carried him right to my chest and told him how much I loved him. He was absolutely perfect and completely worth all 39 1/2 hours of labor. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat for him. Tim told everyone his name was Henri Morgan. Henri because we share Danish heritage and Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. Morgan after Tim's grandfather.

Most of the procedures were done while I held and breastfed Henri, then after about an hour Tim got to hold him for a while. Soon they realized his breathing was a little labored, so they had to take him to the nursery for about 4 hours to suction his lungs.
Tim stayed with him the whole time. By the time they joined me in the postpartum room I had fallen asleep for the first time in 2 days. When they came into the room I was so groggy and out of when you fall asleep on vacation and then wake up and forget where you are. When they said, "here's your son"...I honestly did a double take. I sort of forgot I had a son for a minute. Funny right?? :)

We went home the next day, Friday, at 7:30pm. And now we're a family of 3. 4 if you let Norm make the cut. :)

We're so grateful to God for the beautiful gift of our son. He's more perfect than we could have ever imagined.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I've been off work since the 23rd. and if our little man is right on time, I wont go back until early March...It's so WEirD! Luckily I've had lots of holidays, crafts, and projects to fill my time with. The hardest part is just being home alone...watching my belly bounce around and wondering if that tinge of pain was a contraction...nope, just a stomach cramp from drinking lots of water. Or THAT one...nope, probably just had a lil fist stuck in my pelvic bone or something. At least Norman is a snuggle bunny who stays close to me all day long. :) He's kept me motivated to walk almost every day to hopefully move things along for an early delivery! I'm suddenly very aware as of last week that I have to push this kid out. It's been really fun being pregnant and growing and feeling so much love from everyone around me. But being pregnant has to end...and it has to end with some (0r a lot!) of I hear...But I also know that it will be completely worth it once we hold our son for the first time and see his handsome face.

So to fill my time, today will be a cleaning and organizing day since I've got the high chair pad finished, rocking chair covered, and curtains all done! yey! Tim's grandma's chair has actually been inherited by Christa, but she's graciously loaning it to us for a while. here's some before n after action. I'll post more pics of his room once I've got it all set n ready. :)

Maybe I'll make a pillow if I've got some extra energy after cleaning and steaming the wrinkled curtains we hung to replace those wretched vertical blinds we had. Who ever invented those horrible things?! Tempted to go rent a steam cleaner for the carpets before my mom visits...but then making Tim to the work part. :)

Just a few more things to get...more burp cloths, infant insert for the ergo carrier, extra changing pad covers and waterproof pads...this n that. Then time to research where he'll go for childcare for April, May and June. I wish I had family close...but I know it will all work out.

Time to close the computer and get busy! :)