Friday, July 21, 2017

New job titles: Mom & Dad

I don't know if I've ever told you this, but in jr. high, I was nicknamed "Mom" by my circle of friends.  This nickname stuck and permeated into other circles throughout high school and college.  For the first time, now, however, I can officially assume this role!

Our son, Jacob Earl, was born Monday, July 3, 2017 at 8:54 p.m.  He weighed 6 lbs. 7 oz. and measured 19 in. long.  I know several of you are interested in all the details, but several of you aren't, so I've written a separate post about his birth story.  Click here if you'd like to read it!  The nutshell version, though: it went well.  ☺

Perhaps my favorite part of being pregnant was watching Bryant getting increasingly excited to be a dad...and that "favorite" has permeated into motherhood.  I love how much he loves our son.  It's so awesome to see him assume a brand new role so naturally and so well.  Definitely brings a tear to my eye.

I have cried many tears over this baby, already (quite literally - have to wipe them off his super-squeezable cheeks, sometimes).  They start as happy tears - tears of gratitude for the gift God has given us in this son.  Tears of overflowing love for him.  Tears of amazement at the way he looks at me, and that he looks around for his dad and me when he hears us speak and did so even in his first few moments in the world.

My happy tears, however, soon turn to tears of heartache.  Perhaps it's my hormones leaking, as I like to say, but more likely, it's my heart growing to understand new heights of joy and realizing the potential for equal depths of pain.  My heart aches for those who long to be mothers and are still patiently waiting on God's timing and answer to their persistent prayers.  My heart aches for those mothers who have lost children, young and old.  It aches for those whose are witnessing their babies going through illness and pain.

These tears change again, however, to tears of admiration.  Admiration of all the mothers who have gone before me - those I've known, those I've observed from afar, and those I've only heard about.  It's been made clear to me that a mother's sacrificial love manifests itself in so, so many ways - before and after birth!  It is shown in late-night feedings and early morning diaper changes.  In months of careful eating and health monitoring in an effort to get pregnant.  In wanting the very best for her child, regardless of the implications on herself.  In financial saving and sacrifices to fund adoption and/or fostering.  In sore nipples and tears of pain during breastfeeding.  In complete lifestyle changes and priority shifts.  Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list - only the tip of the "mother's love" iceberg - but it's what's on my heart, right now.  A mother loves her child so much before she meets him/her, and though it doesn't seem like there could possibly be any more love to give, that love just continues to multiply once she holds her child in her arms and watches him/her grow.  It's amazing.

(A father's love is similar, of course, but I can't speak about it as knowledgeably...☺)

On a lighter note...I believe I promised you pictures of the nursery.  ☺  Keep in mind these were taken before Jacob arrived.  There have been some subtractions/additions of various things, and it definitely looks more "lived in," currently.  Wish I could somehow attach the "new baby" smell for you all!  (I mean that wonderfully good "new baby" smell - nothing to do with poopy diapers, though in an effort to keep it real, I'd probably attach that, too.)
This is a "before" picture of the bookshelf corner...
...and after!
Shelves courtesy of IKEA - custom cuts and installation courtesy of my handy husband!
So many great things in this pic!
The dresser-turned-changing-table was found and delivered by Bryant's parents and painted by his talented sister.  Isn't it beautiful?!  And it's the perfect size/height.
You may recognize the pennant banner and diaper cake from a couple different showers.
The little wagon is holding alphabet blocks is an antique from my dad's side of the family.
Another great hand-made gift and little boots from ancestors on my dad's side of the family.
We were so excited when we found this rocker at a consignment sale - it was just what we were looking for!
The afghan was made by a friend (it's the perfect size - Jacob and I have used it every time he's nursed!).
Boppy and cover (and cute little tote down there) were much-appreciated, practical gifts.
We couldn't believe our luck when we found this crib on clearance at NFM at 1/3 of the original price!
Both blankets were handmade gifts.
You may recognize the wall-hangings from the showers, as well.
We'd been collecting books here and there for a long time and have been gifted so, so many since our pregnancy news and baby's arrival.
The frog was a gift, and the striped bin was the very first thing I purchased for the nursery after finding out our baby was a boy.

That's all, for now, from this new mom!  Thanks, as usual, for reading and for your interest, love, and support.


Favorites of the day:
Our first date night as parents: "Netflix and Chill" with ice cream souvenirs we brought home from the hospital.
(Do you get it?  "chill" - ice cream?  Haha.  Bryant has been killing it with the "Dad Jokes," already.  Though, if you know him at all, you know he was ultra-prepared in that department, and had been practicing long before adding the "Dad" part to his joke repertoire.  ;)
the fact that this baby is starting to learn the difference between night and day, already!
These precious bright eyes.  Can't wait to see what color they turn out to be!
His mom and dad's are hazel and green, respectfully, so we'll see.

Our Birth Story

"Remember that time we packed our hospital bag thinking we were just being prepared, and our son was born 24 hours later?"

This is something we'll be saying for a long time to come, I'm sure.

For real, though – we had JUST packed our bag. Bryant said, “If we pack it now, he’ll come on time. If we don’t, he’ll come tomorrow.” And as he likes to say, now, "I was half right!"  Our baby boy gave us the best surprise by coming 18 days early, and we were so glad to get to meet him sooner than expected!

Here are the details for those of you are interested:

I woke up at about 1:00 a.m. thinking I was wetting the bed. I got up to go to the bathroom thinking, “Gosh – I’ve really lost all control…also, I haven’t peed this much in a long time!” (I’ve been known to have a “peanut” for a bladder when I’m not pregnant…so, when pregnancy squished that "peanut" in half (or more) get the idea.)

Anyway, I started to change the sheets, thinking the ordeal was over and I'd just go back to sleep (of course, we'd gone to bed later than usual that night).  Before I was able to wake Bryant, he rolled over, woke up from a dream, saw me out of bed with the sheets half off the bed, and said, "Woah!"  I told him what I thought had happened, but that the "pee" was still coming out.  Cue Google and a "how do I know my water is breaking" search.  All the while, I was still in denial.  Surely my water hadn't broken.  Surely we're not going to the hospital to check.  SURELY we won't be staying to have our son tonight!

Once Bryant was up for real, though, he was sure of what was happening and was in "go" mode right away.  He was so sweet to let me take time to shower, help get the sheets in the wash and put new ones on, make sure I ate something substantial, and tie up a few other loose ends (getting a b-day card in the mail, tidying up the kitchen counter, starting the dishwasher, etc....I wanted to do all the things!) before we left (because he knew we wouldn't be coming home for a couple days...I was still in denial, I think).

We checked in to the hospital around 4:30 a.m., and it was confirmed we were going to be having a baby that day!  My water had indeed broken (thank goodness I'd purchased some disposable underwear (lady diapers) on sale that week and had them handy to wear on the way...), and I was 80% effaced and dilated 2 cm.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise from our room and settled in to await the arrival of our son!

Around lunchtime, the contractions started to get more "uncomfortable," but my progress was kinda stuck at 95% and 4 cm.  So, around 3:45 p.m., they put me on a dose of Pitocin to "get things moving," since my water had already broken.  True to their warning, the Pitocin resulted in stronger and more productive contractions.  I had decided to go through labor and delivery without an epidural and had planned to not opt for any pain meds.  I'd hoped to use the Jacuzzi tub as a "last resort" sort of relief, but when I got to the point of asking to use it, the nurse kindly reminded me that I wasn't able to, since my water had already broken.  So, at that point, I went ahead and asked for a dose of pain meds in my IV, since that was my only option for a bit of relief.  Not too long after that, it was time to push (for ~26 mins.), and then, we were holding our son!

Backing up a bit to that whole labor process: wow.  I need to say first and foremost: I couldn't have done it without my husband.  From the time he woke up when I was changing the sheets to the delivery of our son, he was the BEST partner I could've asked for.  He had done a ton of research in preparation for our natural childbirth and had began coaching me on relaxation techniques several weeks prior.  When the time came to implement these techniques and tools, he was ready!  Not only did he provide his own constant encouragement, but he even asked several women in my life to write notes of encouragement/support/distraction to give me during the many hours of labor!  He knows me so well.

I wish I could put into words what an out-of-body experience it all was.  I truly felt like a crazy person for a few hours toward the end.  I just wanted to be able to hug and thank all the nurses for enduring the moaning/yelling/writhing hot mess I was, but literally, all I could do was not-super-kindly ask for various "needs" during that time (a hand to push, less pressure there, another pillow here, etc.).  I can't imagine what Bryant was thinking/feeling seeing me like that.

Perhaps the most special part of the whole process was our awesome doctor letting Bryant assist with the delivery - he got to be the very first person to hold our son!  What an amazing experience for him.  I have to say, I am a little embarrassed by my initial face after delivery.  I think I was just in shock that the many hours of labor were actually over and I wasn't in pain, and I was also in awe of the baby they were placing on my chest.  It really took me a couple minutes to come back to my right mind and wrap my head around what was happening.  It didn't take long, however, for the joy, amazement, and gratitude to set in - our son was here!

Another cool thing about the whole process: there was an EMT student who had asked to observe our birth.  When she asked if she could, my only question before agreeing was, "Can you take pictures?"  She was more than willing to do so, and she caught some truly amazing moments that we will cherish for a long, long time.  She was also willing to assist with my labor needs, which Bryant was extra thankful for.  He told me, "I never knew how (physically) strong you were!"  Needless to say, he was glad for an extra pair of hands.

Our hospital stay afterward was wonderful.  We had a few visitors, but were also able to spend quality time together as a new family of three!  The nurses and staff were very helpful, caring, and encouraging the whole time.  They made sure all our questions were answered - even ones we didn't know to ask - and ensured our health and comfort during our entire stay.

Though I missed out on playing in a July 4th band concert (don't worry - we listened to "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the way to the hospital to make up for it) and the fireworks show afterward, we got to watch some firework displays from the floor-to-ceiling windows in our third floor hospital room.  It was a really special night!

So, there you have it!  Thanks for being interested and reading.  Hopefully, it wasn't TMI for ya.  ☺

Recovering well,

Favorites of the day:
the Moby wrap I scored at a garage sale
flowers from Baby Jacob ☺
meals and treats from friends and family - thank you!