29 November 2011

the baby that couldn't nurse and what happened to her mom ~

I've been thinking about this post for awhile.

Should I write it?  Should I not?
It's not like I'm really "over it," so what do I say?

Ultimately it's a very big part of my life right now and my will always be part of my story with Everly.  Yeah, the blog is public and all, but it's also my mini-diary, so I need to tell it.  For my sake.

...cue the tears.  Again.

Everly doesn't nurse.  There.  I said it.  I, who have nursed all seven of my other children, and nursed two of them well into toddler-hood now have a formula fed baby.  Judge me.  I'd say I don't care, but I do.  A lot.  A whole lot.

I've spent hours at night alternating between shaking my fist at God and then curling up into a ball of tears crying, "Papa, why? Why won't you fix this?"  I never knew it would be this hard.  This emotional.  Sometimes I have felt almost bi-polar or something.  I have swung between being able to trust the Lord in it and being peaceful (albeit still very sad) to being very emotional.  I think I cried through worship at church for a good 10 weeks straight.  At least.  Even now it takes me about 30 seconds to be in tears if I really let myself go.  I can mostly talk about it pretty matter-of-fact but it doesn't take much for me to let myself "go there" and have to fight back the tears.  Mostly I am okay now.  But it's pretty much because I'm just kind of numb.

Glen has been nice, he's been understanding.  But he doesn't get it.  He's a guy.  I guess I can't blame him.

I feel like I have failed my daughter.  
When I listen to the lies of the enemy I hear things like:

"She doesn't need you."
"She doesn't even want you."
"If she gets sick it's all your fault."
"If she isn't as smart as the other kids it's all your fault."
"You shouldn't have been so prideful about nursing your other kids."
"If you had only, if you had only, if you had only..."

Sure, I can tell myself they are lies.  And they are.  They are not.true.  I know that in my heart of hearts.  But it's still super hard to ignore them.  When you go to nurse your daughter and all she does is get really mad and scream it's really hard to not listen to those malicious whispers.  When you read all those studies about how good nursing is and how evil formula is it's really hard to not wonder if maybe, just maybe she wouldn't have that stuffy nose.  It sucks.  Bad.

Part of my problem lies in guilt.  Should I have tried harder?  Should I have tried longer?  Should I not have tried to wean her from using the shield? (She would nurse from a shield the first few weeks.)  Maybe she really is tongue tied and if I'd just taken her to the doctor it never would have been a problem.  Should I have kept the pump I rented longer?  Should I have been willing to sacrifice several hours of every day to pump?

My other difficulty is that I'm not settled in how to view the situation.  Should I view it as satan trying to steal something from me?  Should I have prayed "against it" more?  Or do I believe that for some reason I may never know she didn't need to nurse.  That for some reason it was better for her to have formula.  Glen has celiac, all of our kids have gluten sensitivity.  But I eat gluten.  Maybe it would have caused a huge problem for her and it's the Lord being merciful and protecting her.  (Cue the guilt in that situation.)  Maybe with our family dynamics right now (busy with a very wide range of ages and things going on) the Lord knew she would be just fine with formula and in this season I needed to be able to leave her at home for some reason.  Maybe she is being protected from something.  I.don't.know.  And right now He isn't telling me (um, I might have a few issues with that too....) 

So, how I'm dealing:  Ultimately I'm just trusting God.  It's all I can do.  I can't figure out why (I have my theories; ultimately I think she has a significant tongue tie so even though she can nurse and did for a few weeks it's very hard for her and she learned to prefer a bottle) and it doesn't seem that I can change it.  I still have milk.  I still try occasionally.  I'm hoping maybe one day as she gets older she'll just decide it isn't so bad.  

And mostly I'm believing that if Jesus could turn water into wine, and the Giver of Good Gifts won't give his children a stone when they ask for bread, that he absolutely can turn that formula into the perfect food for her.  He can make it good.  And He is good.  This I know to be true.  So it's okay.  I'm going to be okay.  She's going to be okay.  And it's okay for me to be sad.  I will probably always be sad.  But there is not a day that goes by that I wish I could just go back and start over.  

So if you see me giving my baby a bottle, or the next time you see a mom giving her baby a bottle; don't judge and don't make assumptions.  Just give her a big smile and pray she doesn't turn into a puddle of tears.  

...and for anyone interested in the details, I'm going to detail it all out right here so if for some reason I ever need to remember the progression of things that led down this path I'll have it all written down.

28 November 2011

the birth of everly ~

Wow, it's been awhile since I've done one of these.  Everly's birth was kind of non-dramatic and I just realized I hadn't written about it!  Seeing as how I want to remember all the details it's pretty long.  Fair warning.

I've re-hashed the whole early baby/late baby thing numerous times here, so suffice it to say that when you've had five approximately two-week-early babies, one exactly-on-time baby, and one 15 day late baby that you just don't really know what to expect.  I was particularly uncomfortable at the end of this pregnancy (and bored, SO bored) that I was really hoping she would be early.  She must have been awfully comfy in there because I now have two late babies.  At least it was only three days and not fifteen.  Whew.

To start at the beginning, I just didn't have it in me for a home birth this time.  I didn't feel peaceful about it at all.  Haven and Grace were both 9 1/2 lbs (at 15 days late and 13 days early, respectively) and they were both posterior.  You can read about their births here and here.   Not only were they hard physically (especially Haven's, his was pretty dramatic involving zero pushing stage and being born in the caul) but especially mentally.  My midwife was and is amazing, getting both of them to turn during labor, but it made for long, uncomfortable labors.  I have diastasis pretty badly which I believe contributed to them being posterior and in the event Everly was going to also be posterior I wanted the option of an epidural.  So I went back to my ob that delivered my first three children and initially referred me to my midwife.  I'm so glad I did.  It was a great experience.  And what is up with having THREE 9 1/2 lb babies in a row?  Seriously??

Everly's pregnancy was hard.  I don't think I'd call it my hardest, but it was tiring.  My indigestion was worse than ever before (not that anyone cares, but I'm writing all this done for posterity's sake  :). )  I did all my regular freezer cooking and nesting and by about two weeks prior to her due date I was ready.  Alas, she was not.  So I sat there.  For two weeks.  Wondering if today was the day.  It *was* the beginning of the school year so I had some stuff to occupy me, but I had planned it light not knowing when little Evelyn Rose would make her appearance so it wasn't too big of a deal.  I was so bored.  SO bored.  But I resisted the offers of my doctor to induce me whenever I would like.  He said he was just trying to help me not have to birth another big baby.  I said thanks, but no thanks.  Those first few minutes and hours of realizing it's finally happening are priceless.  Definitely worth waiting for.  It's my favorite part of pregnancy pretty much.  So exciting.

My due date, Thursday, 15 September, came and went.  I remember posting on facebook on Friday night how odd it felt to be waiting to pick up my two oldest kids from a youth group event while being overdue with another sweet baby.  I definitely never imagined I'd be having babies when I had kids in youth group!

On Saturday I had made plans with my aunt to have lunch and go see The Help.  I had secret thoughts of going into labor during the movie but was mentally staying prepared for another very late baby.  We had a great lunch at Red Lobster and then headed to the theatre.  Sure enough, about halfway through I realized I was having some contractions.  Yes!  I discreetly checked my phone and realized that from the onset they were every ten minutes apart.  So I texted Glen and was so content sitting there with my little secret.  When the movie was over I promptly went to the restroom where I discovered that it was definitely the real thing.  I informed my aunt who was going to be the one to keep our kids that she should probably go home and be on call.  She lived with my great aunt and took care of her so we had made plans that my sister Kristen and her husband would come over if it was during the night and my aunt and great aunt would come out in the morning.

I stopped by the store to grab some stuff, went home, did laundry, straightened up, and told the kids.  My contractions pretty much quit while I was moving around but I was losing my mucous plug so I knew things were moving along.  I also realized that she was posterior (she had been anterior up until the last couple of weeks) so I figured it would be another long-ish labor.  I actually really felt that she was more sideways and had mentioned this to my doctor.

(In hindsight I should have known.  That Sunday was our church's day at a nearby YMCA camp which is super fun.  The kids had been looking forward to it all year and I had said so many times that unless we were actually having a baby on. that. very. day. that we would go.  Uh huh.  We had a baby that day.  Poor kids. They took it well.  At least it was raining and they didn't miss out on too much.)

The kids went to bed, Glen and I watched a movie and then went to bed.  I think I slept for about an hour.  My contractions were getting stronger and closer together.  I didn't want to call my sister or wake up Glen because I just wasn't quite ready to be that official yet.  So I sat in the tub and was beginning to have to really breathe through contractions and was having alternating thoughts of wanting to just stay in the tub and thinking I need to get to the hospital so I can get an epidural already.  I should have realized that was a pretty clear sign to go.  Thankfully Glen realized it and said we should probably go.  Not that the birth was imminent or anything but after Haven's literal falling out I think he's just a little nervous.  :)

So we headed to the hospital.  The triage nurse asked (in my opinion kind of disbelieving, like she gets women in all the time "thinking" they are in labor) if I *thought* I was in labor.  I was thinking, "Lady, this is my eighth baby.  Trust me, I'm in labor."  But I just smiled and said that yes, I thought I probably was.  She soon discovered I was about six-seven centimeters so that earned me a trip upstairs to labor and delivery.

Let me back up and say that I was super nervous about having a hospital birth.  Ethan was my last hospital birth and he is about to be ten.  Since then I've become (mostly) anti-vaccine and anti-intervention and I had a lot of concern over how that was going to go down.  After lots of asking questions on facebook I really felt the Holy Spirit telling me to just trust the Father, to pray for favor, and to not worry.  So I did that and was able to quit obsessing.

So when I got to the hospital and they gave me the hospital gown I told them I would really prefer to wear my own clothes.  And they were totally fine with it.  Totally.  They were understanding, accepting, and even sometimes downright supportive of my preferences.  I am so thankful to have had no issues whatsoever.  The only thing was that they insisted on giving her a bath in the nursery and keeping her under the lights for an hour.  I wasn't okay with that.  I thought I could keep her just as warm and I had visions of her lying there hungry and crying and them refusing to bring her to me until the hour had passed.  So we just declined the bath and no problem.

Anyway, when I got upstairs we went through the general questions and of course all the comments about Everly being number eight.  They know my midwife there and I think they found it humerous that I really just wanted a hospital birth for the epidural.  So they got me hooked up and I remember just lying there in the very early morning hours (I had prayed to go into labor and make the trip to the hospital at night, I just love it that way.  It just feels so secret-ish.) watching the contractions growing longer and closer and peaking on the monitor and thinking, "Thank You, Jesus, for epidurals."  True story.  I said it numerous times.  I was dead serious, too.  I did have a moment of pride when the nurse told me I was a good 7 (before the epidural) and asked if I always acted like nothing was really going on when I was at 7.  Ha.  Made me feel good even though I was being a weenie about it this time around.

The night passed and as morning came I began to be in a lot of pain.  Like I-may-as-well-have-been-at-home kind of pain.  The epidural. guy had to come back like four times.  I was having significant pain very low in the front *and* back which was new to me.  I can only imagine what that would have felt like completely sans epidural and at home.  I think I really believe that's why I needed to go to the hospital this time.

Finally they got me dosed up and then it was time.  Yay!  I had been concerned about possibly having to push out a posterior baby.  Susie (the midwife) was always able to get them to turn but I knew with an epidural and laboring just sitting in the bed that I couldn't count on that happening.  But I am glad to say that aside from the whole no-pushing thing with Haven it was by far my easiest pushing stage.  Five minutes.  Tops.  I think three pushes.  SO easy.  I did need a couple of stitches but it wasn't a big deal.  And she came out sideways.  That's what the doctor said.  Sideways.  That explains the pain in the front AND back, I think.

She was and is perfect.  Aside from my particularness  (is that a word?) the rest of the visit was normal and we were allowed to leave the next morning.  I spent a good amount of time worrying that first night about how I was going to decline having my blood drawn the next morning (I didn't feel it was necessary and WHY do they always come in at like 4:30am???) but when the tech came in I groggily said, "I"m declining having my blood drawn," and she gave me a quizzical look, turned around and left.  No one ever said anything about it.  I think they knew I just wanted to have my baby and be left alone.  :)

So that's it.  The birth of little Evs.  Life since then had been anything *but* my typical new baby adjustments but that story is for another time.

Welcome to the world, sweet Everly.  We are so glad you are here.  You are perfect, and you were born at just the right time.

12 November 2011

my grace girl~

My sweet Grace girl.  A little more girly-girl than the other girls were; maybe that's why it seems different.  A 12:15am post isn't really adequate to encompass Grace in all her Grace-ness, but these few photos are a pretty good summary.  She can go from sweet baby girl to mischevious to karate chopping to hilariously fun in about two seconds and I absolutely love that about her.  She is fully confident in doing her own thing but she and Haven are also two peas in a pod for sure.  And yes, everyone here still thinks she is sooo cute despite having a little competition lately.  Two and half years later and I could still eat her up.  She's my "babes."  I just...there are no words.  

sweet two year old birthday

"Us?  We haven't been doing anything.  Really!"

"Ichi, ni, san shi.
Check out the awesome karate moves, people."

"I'm ready for church, are you?
It's July?  Your point?"
(yes I took her like this and yes it was awesome)

She likes to watch "woovies."

She calls Everly "Little Evs" and says, "Aw, she's sooo coote."

She wants "chocate milk" first thing in the morning
(but please don't tell her I just put a tiny bit of powder)

She wants to "swuggle" every night before Dad puts her in bed.

She always wants to "pway games" on the phone.

She can dance like nobody's business.
~ thank you, Kristen and Trevor  :)

She's quite entertaining to do laundry with
as she likes to tell you exactly who every item belongs to.

She says, "Caweb, Etan, Riah."

She knows exactly what she wants to wear
(as evidenced above.)

She could cut paper all day long and apparently
has amazing fine motor skills
since she can turn one piece into about a thousand as she sits and cuts each piece with the utmost precision.

And last for this evening, but not least,
she and Haven are so sweet together.
As soon as they are reunited after class at church
they hug and give each other pictures.
And Haven almost always saves part of his snack for her.
Super sweet.

Two year olds are awesome.

09 November 2011

little evs~


Evelyn Rose

18 September 2011
10:53 AM
9# 8oz

What a little sweetie she is. Sometimes when I snuggle her up under my chin I am so overcome.
My heart is full. She is so precious.

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"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November