Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jonathan's First Day

The week before my C-section, I would lay awake in bed each night and try to visualize what would happen on the Big Day. I thought that visualizing everything would help ease my anxieties. So, for seven nights I fell asleep to thoughts of IVs, spinal block needles, catheters, blue curtains, and mesh panties. I know, I know. Not exactly sugar plums.

By the time Jonathan's birthday arrived, I had done the run-through so many times. I felt mentally prepared. "It's no big deal" I told myself. People have C-sections at the hospital every day.

I was really anxious during my last C-section. The staff offered me anxiety meds but I declined once they explained the side-effects. I didn't want to be loopy after my son was born. I was so exhausted and out-of-it during my first emergency C-section that I didn't hold my first born until he was three hours old. I wanted to be present and coherent for the birth of my second son. And even though I was insanely anxious, it was the right decision. As soon as they lifted Ryan over that blue curtain for the first time, everything was OK.

I assumed that since I'm now an experienced C-section patient, this time would be a breeze. Wrong.

I held it together just fine all morning. We dropped the kids off, parked the car, and walked toward the hospital. Suddenly, tears flooded my eyes and I felt like beavers had constructed a dam in my throat. I walked up to the registration counter and couldn't speak. My husband checked me in. They brought me back to a pre-op hospital room. The baby incubator was all set up in the corner. "My baby is going to be there," I thought as I smoothed my hand softly over the blanket.

My husband and I sat on the hospital bed and waited. He was trying to make small talk and little jokes to ease the look of horror on my face. We took side bets as to how much baby would weight. Then I didn't want to talk. To anyone. We waited forever (or 30 minutes). Apparently, no one let the nurses know we were there. Finally someone came in and handed me a gown and a stack of sanitizing wipes. I was instructed to wipe down my entire body. Between light sobs and watery eyes, I went into the bathroom and complied, shivering to the touch of the cold wipes. In the mirror, I glanced one last time at my round belly and then went back to the bed to be prepped for the IV.

Surprisingly, the IV is where I totally lost my shit. They swabbed my arm, numbed up my wrist. I looked away as they inserted the IV. I started to panic. I didn't want to be there. The gravity of the procedure hit me and suddenly I could barely breathe. I tilted my head upward and cried out, "I want to go home." Then I sobbed uncontrollably.

The nurses tried to reassure me. They brought in the head nurse and patted my hand and told me everything would be fine. The anesthesiologist tried to reassure me. Everyone seemed surprise that I was so nervous (as if it never happened before?!) and kept asking me what part of the C-section I was worried about. What? The entire fucking thing. I just looked at them dumbly and said, "You're going to cut me apart!" I mean. Duh.

Finally it was time to walk to the Operating Room. After they summoned me, I at on the edge of the bed, frozen. I leaned forward into my husband's torso and cried. I didn't want to go. I couldn't will my body to walk to that room. Not intentionally. Somehow, I did it. After several minutes and still deep in sobs, I got up off that bed and walked. Right into the Lion's Den.

I remember walking into the room. I was surrounded by white and sterling silver and the windexy-blue of scrubs, latex gloves, footies, and hair caps. It was so bright and pristine. The room was freezing. The smell of sterile chemicals made me want to vomit. I was instructed to sit on a very narrow, aluminum table. It's cold surface pressed harshly against me and I felt trapped. I remember curling up for the spinal block and suddenly it felt like ice cold water was being pushed through the veins in my legs. Everything from the chest down went numb.

I could hear myself breathing but I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn't feel my lungs filling with air. They put an oxygen mask over my face and I could feel the warmth of my breath fill the mask. But I still couldn't feel myself breathing. I panicked again. I yelled out that I couldn't breath. I yelled it over and over. The anesthesiologist assured me that I was breathing and tried to talk me to calmness. But his words couldn't take away the feeling of suffocation and I couldn't calm down. (Turns out the spinal block made my chest numb too and that's why I couldn't feel my lungs).

I gasped for air over and over. I yelled out. I cried. Mid-panic, I heard the anesthesiologist tell my husband that he was going to give me something to calm me down. And suddenly, completely and totally beyond my own control, calmness took over. The rest of the operation is hazy, at best. I remember asking my husband if he was able to sell our couch on craigslist. When the doctor asked what color it was, I told her it was purple (it's brown). The doctor said the baby was almost out and I asked my husband to take a picture when they lifted him over the curtain.

The next thing I remember is this:

My baby arrived into the world to a mother who was totally high on Valium (and thank GOD!) but who loved him so incredibly much.

I heard someone yell out that he weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. I felt a lot of tugging and pulling down in my abdomen, and both my shoulders began to ache (apparently during the procedure air gets into the body cavity and once they stitch you up, it has nowhere to go which causes pressure in the shoulders) and the rest is a blur. I don't remember the nurses placing baby next to my pillow. I don't remember my husband taking photos. I don't remember being wheeled out of the room. In fact, I don't remember what happened within the next hour and a half.

My next memory is in the recovery room. I don't remember seeing anything (my eyes must have been closed?) but I remember hearing a nurse shout for the doctor to come right away. She reported that my pulse was 38 beats/minute and that my blood pressure was really low. I remember hearing concern in her voice. I felt like a third party observer because I felt like something may have been seriously wrong but I lacked the ability to have any emotional reaction. The doctor rushed in. checked me out, I heard her say, "It's ok. She's a runner." After that, everyone seemed less worried about my stats. Later my doctor would tell me that she wasn't worried because a low pulse is only really a problem when blood pressure skyrockets but my blood pressure stayed really low- like 80's over 50's- during my entire hospital visit.

Finally I came around and at some point I was holding the baby in my arms. I looked down at his sweet little sleeping face and I was instantly in love. He looked so much like Ryan when Ryan was a newborn. I lay in the hospital bed, with the lower half of my body still numb, needles and wires sticking out all over my body, a damp cloth pressed against my forehead, and a host of nurses and staff fussing and working all around me but for a brief moment everything faded away and all I saw was him. And he was perfect. And I felt full-to-bursting with happiness.

It wasn't until nearly two hours after his birth that baby finally had a name. My husband and I were so noncommittal and indecisive to the very end. "Benjamin?" he suggested. That didn't sound right to me.

"What about Lucas?" I offered back.

"Maybe." He replied.

"Or Jonathan?"

"I like both of those." He said.

"You can decide."

"Well, what do YOU like?"

Eventually it was settled, Jonathan Roger. I had been pushing for Roger as a middle name from the very beginning (my dad's name). My husband vetoed it all along. But in the end, I could have asked for the moon and he would have delivered it to me. And I absolutely love him for it.

The rest of the week was a very long recovery. There was fainting, excruciating pain, more poking and prodding, and a five day hospital stay. Several times I felt that I would never be able to get out of bed or feel human ever again. Normal life seemed a universe away. But through it all, Jonathan was the bright spot. He made the whole ordeal worth every second. He brought me smiles at 3am. Tears of joy in the quiet hours of the morning. Hugs and kisses and happiness immeasurable.

Before Jonathan, there was a silent void. Our house and our hearts were full of noise and activity. But I didn't feel complete. I felt like there was a missing puzzle piece and I longed for one more baby. Jonathan's presence has far exceeded anything I had imagined. The void is gone. He is perfect. Absolutely perfect. From the little crown on his sweet-smelling head to his tiny little chicken legs. From his shrill hunger cries to his unintentional sleepy smiles.

I'm excited that for the next four months, my only job is to love these THREE boys:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Jonathan

Oh my, csections are HORRIBLE. That was my hardest one yet. I have no idea why I have such a hard time, especially considering that I've done this twice before. But after several fainting bouts (apparently because I'm a runner, my blood pressure and pulse are super low which at first freaked out the nurses. I had a pulse of 38 at one point and my avg blood pressure has been 80s over 50s, and made me more prone to fainting), I finally was walking this evening.

Happy to be on the other end of intense pain and fainting, I really have no words at this point to describe the experience. A birth story post might come later. My experience with Valium was pretty humorous.

I also have inadequate words to describe baby Jonathan. I am so in love with him. I forgot how sweet newborns are. The sound of his little, fast breaths, the touch of his tiny, soft hands, and the smell of his beautifully round head. Everything is perfect and wonderful and I'm so insanely blessed.

Monday, October 20, 2014


The newest love of my life:

Jonathan Roger
8 lbs, 3 oz and 20.5 inches long.

Middle name is a family name.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Last Day

I had every intention of making the last couple days before baby gets here a fun and memorable time for the kids. But OH MY GOSH. My kids have been demons.

Saturday morning, I doled out five time-outs and took away TV privileges all before 9am. They still continued to fight over everything and argue with me at every turn for the rest of the day. They even managed to fight over the proper method for putting away Legos. SERIOUSLY?!

Today wasn't much better either. I'm seriously starting to worry that there is no way I'll survive my four month maternity leave. I feel like a yelling monster. I'm SO sick of enforcing time-outs, administering reprimands, and mediating every little dispute.


But despite the frustrations of the past couple weeks, there have been a couple shining moments.

A trip to the park - the last day there will only be the two of them:

Pumpkin carving:

And Ryan being goofy. Ryan: "Mom, I a robot!"

I'm kind of in denial about what's going to happen tomorrow. Maybe that's a good thing. Less time to be anxious.

But denial or not, we are at least ready! Today I packed baby's diaper bag, my hospital bag, Jacob's school backpack, an overnight bag for the two big kids (sleeping at grandma's for most of the week), and finished assembling the car seat.

Ugh, I'm ready too (40 weeks)

Yay! After tomorrow, I won't be pregnant anymore!! And most likely, I will never be pregnant ever, ever again. My surgery is at noon tomorrow and I'm not allowed to eat anything after midnight tonight. Not that I'd be able to eat tomorrow anyway. Ahh, this is really happening?

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Baby will be here Monday. Monday at noon to be precise. It's so weird to know the exact time, down to the hour. But it's also highly convenient. (One--and the only--point for C-sections).

I took yesterday and today off. Yesterday I had hoped to have a fun day with the kids. Ryan stayed home with me while Jake was in school. Ryan had a million tantrums which included: screaming "I hate you" repeatedly in Target, crying at the top of his lungs for five minutes (also in Target) for no apparent reason, throwing himself dramatically on the kitchen floor every time I refused to give him Doritos, and telling me that everything was "stupid."

Wow. Jacob's terrible twos (which were actually terrible threes) were never this..... terrible.

Finally it was time to pick Jake up from school. I decided to surprise the boys with a fun putt-putt golf adventure. They fought and whined the whole time. Jacob threw down his golf clubs in disgust and had his own set of tantrums.

Let's just say that yesterday was not my finest mom day. I put the boys to bed at 7:30, cried for half an hour, and then spent the rest of the evening wondering what the hell I was going to do with another child when the children I have drive me so insanely batty. What the hell have I done?

Even though I'm supposed to be on maternity leave, tomorrow I have to go into work and sit through a lengthy court hearing. I was asked if I was available to do some work after the hearing. I'm pretty sure my face screamed, "what part of 'maternity leave' do you not understand." But all I managed to say was, "I wasn't planning on it...." HINT. HINT.

Everything is uncomfortable. Everything hurts. But the thought of a C-section, and everything that procedure brings, makes me want to put Monday off until forever. My C-sections have never been easy. The first time (my emergency C-section), I ended up with an infection and a fever. The second time, I lost so much blood that my doctor almost ordered me to have a blood transfusion. In ten days, things will be better. But getting there is going to be so hard. So. Hard. Do I take the anxiety medicine they will offer me and suffer through those extra side effects...or do I suck it up, again?

This reminds me, I have to start taking stool softeners right now. Popping them like crazy until Monday. Because there is nothing worse than having to poop after someone has cut through all of your abdominal muscles.

Ryan is my baby. Having another baby makes me feel slightly like I am betraying him. Tears. Damn you, hormones.

I'm worried that I'm going to be so overwhelmed that I might not love the new baby. But I'm also pretty sure that I already do love him. I'm being absurd, right?

My husband is awesome. We have been married for seven years and I feel like this year has been our best. We are so different but we make such a great team. The strength of our relationship may have something to do with the fact that neither of us really have friends. He isn't bad to look at either.

I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm overwhelmed. And sometimes I feel absolutely nothing. Everything on social media pisses me off. I'm pretty sure I have pre-partum depression. I vaguely remember having these same feelings last time around.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

You will be here in eleven days. Unlike many of your baby peers, you will not have the luxury of a fancy nursery prepared and decorated with much care, energy, and thought. In fact, despite your nearing arrival, you do not even have a place to sleep yet. There is not one inch of this house devoted solely to you.

You will not get hours of one-on-one time from your parents. You will not be the center of our lives like your oldest brother once was. In fact, you will often be an afterthought. A tagalong. Your schedule will be roughly forged into our daily activities. I will have to pry you from the warm house early each morning to take your brother to school. You may feel like merely a piece of luggage at times, as you sleep (or cry) in your carseat as we cart you around all over town from activity to activity.

You will not benefit from long, lazy days at home lounging in the living room and being gazed upon as we tend to your every whim. In fact your own schedule will rarely be accommodated to perfection. You will take naps in the car while errands are under way. Your diapers will not be changed instantly. Your cries will not be immediately tended to.

As your birthday approaches, I most frequently see that day as the end of my pregnancy rather than the beginning of you. As a working mom, I don't have a lot of time to think about and dwell on the event much. Don't get me wrong, we are all anticipating that day and counting it down. But mostly, this takes place in quiet. In our silent thoughts as we cook meals, make sure homework is completed, fold laundry, create grocery lists, carpool, answer calls from clients, and send important emails from our office computers.

We all know that the day you are born will be a day of something big and important. We just don't know how to conceptualize that in our present world of chores and mundane daily tasks. Factually we know that your birthday will bring forward a brand new human that will forever change us and be bonded to us. But despite our knowledge of how the whole thing works (and despite having done this twice before) we still cannot conceptualize it or understand it.

Don't let any of what I just said fool you. You are wanted. You are loved. We are eager to meet you. Although we cannot provide you with everything your oldest brother had (unlimited undivided attention and your own designated space), we cannot wait for the moment that the doctor lifts you over the bright blue curtain and we get to see you for the first time, filmy, wrinkly, and covered in white goo.

I can't wait until we finally settle on a name that will be yours forever. A name we will use over and over as we call to you lovingly, scold you, or brag about you to coworkers and friends. A name we will put on birthday cakes and school applications. We don't have that name picked out yet. And it amazes me to think that your name, so unknown and undecided at this moment will become so familiar to us.

I feel the same way about you. Although you exist right now, I do not know a thing about you. And as foreign and unfamiliar as you are to us now, you will become an integral and familiar part of our lives. A part that someday I will not be able to imagine being without.

As we go about our business as usual and as your birthday slowly creeps up on us, it become even more strange to realize that in the course of a couple hours, with transformation of one Sunday into one Monday without much fanfare or buildup, as the rest of the world goes about its business, our lives (and yours) will change forever.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkins Before Babies

This weekend I had the best of intentions. I had planned to finally start getting ready for baby. Because, you know, I'm only two weeks away from D-day and had done absolutely NOTHING. From the look of our house, you wouldn't expect that we would be adding a new person to our family in exactly 14 days.

So, I thought I would take the time to cross off all the things on my half-assed baby list. Like: set up the bassinet, get the car seat ready, wash all the newborn clothes and blankets, pack a hospital bag, and buy bottles and baby shampoo and other baby accessories.

What did I actually manage to do? As I was putting the boys' dirty laundry into the washing machine, I haphazardly threw in three newborn outfits. Sorry new baby, no Dreft for you. So. At least baby has three things to wear when he gets here. Aside from diapers and boobs, newborns really don't need much of anything else anyway, right? Places to sleep, like cribs and bassinets are overrated anyway.

In other news, my two year old frequently tells us that things are stupid. He also likes to say that he hates us. He literally turns from sweet toddler giving me hugs and forehead rubs to devil child kicking and screaming his extremities in wild protest in just a matter of seconds. It's quite impressive.

Even though I didn't manage to do much in baby preparation, I did spend three hours at a pumpkin patch with my family. And I don't regret my unwise time management decisions one bit. Apparently, it's much more important to get ready for Halloween than it is to get ready for the birth of your third child.

Last year we discovered The Best pumpkin patch in the entire country. And if it's not really The Best, well, it's pretty far up on the list. There was bouncy houses, mechanical bull riding (even for kids), zip lines, monster trucks, a zombie safari (I've never been brave enough to check that out), a jump pillow, camel rides, pony rides, a cow train, hay rides, duck races, pig races, a petting zoo, long slides, a playground, go carts, tether ball, a live band, goat feeding, food ... oh, and pumpkins, duh!

I took over 200 pictures at the farm today but I promised myself that I would only post my favorite ten pictures (it's your lucky day!).

It appears that Jake was just not cut out to be a bull rider. Out of three attempts, his longest ride was 2 seconds.

So tall. This settled once and for all an ongoing debate I have with my husband. He insists he is 6 feet tall. I know he's only 5'10." I win.

Cow train made with oil cans pulled by a tractor (not pictured)

Accidental action shot.

Daddy giving the kids a lesson in tether ball.

Zip line! Jacob flapped his arms like a bird for the first half of the ride and thought he was hilarious.

My babies this year.
So big compared to last year:
I found a pumpkin just my size!

I left pumpkin selection to the experts. They took their job very seriously.

Obligatory family shot. And my new favorite picture :)