June 28, 2007


I've had an exercise ball for years. I think Kyle got it for me as a gift when we were first married (and I was ok with getting a piece of exercise equipment as a gift because he knew I wanted one). You know what I'm talking about, right? One of those oversize pink rubber balls that you can sit on and lay on in order to make exercise more challenging and "fun?" Up until last night, ours has only been used for sitting on to play video games. I don't know . . . maybe it seems that video games are "healthier" if we sat on an exercise ball while we play them. Last night, it became the baby soother. Jack loved it when I held him and bounced him on it. Plus, his fussiness ceased. Score one for mom.

Things were pretty good all around last night. When he fell asleep after the exercise ball, I put him down in his crib because I had some things to do in the bedroom where his bassinet is. He slept in there until Kyle and I were ready to go to bed. (Side note: Murphy chewed a hole in our Pottery Barn Kids boppy cover and I'm NOT HAPPY) We went to bed without him in our room and it was rough on both of us. I was surprised that Kyle had a hard time with it too. However, as soon as our heads hit the pillow, we heard his cry over the monitor.

Kyle got him up and changed his diaper and sat down to try and feed him the bottle I had made up. Up until this point, he wouldn't take a bottle (I was beginning to think that the breast pump was a waste of money), but this night was different. But Kyle sat down with it and he took it likeit came naturally to him. He kind of looked at Kyle as if to say, "I said I'd do it when I was ready." I guess he's grown up a little in the past 48 hours.

When Kyle put him in his bassinet after the bottle, he was still awake. I thought for sure that he would start crying. But he just drifted off to sleep on his own. That has never happened before. We think (don't laugh) that he might have liked the sound of the breast pump because when I turned it off the first time he kind of stirred until I turned it back on.

In other news, Kyle found out today that he won't be coaching JV basketball again this year. They're looking for someone with more high school coaching experience and since last year was his only expeience coaching high school basketball, that kind of counts him out. He's a little disappointed, but only because they've known for a couple of months that they wanted someone else and hadn't told him. To be honest, we're not all that bummed about the whole thing. We're excited to have that 10 weeks back . . . excited that he doesn't have to deal with frustrating parents . . . even more excited that he doesn't have to deal with, well, other people involved. In fact, I was secretly hoping he would decide not to do it anyway. However, we're still trying to figure out where that money will come from. It wasn't enough to make us rich, but was just enough to make losing it hurt. We've got a lot of extra bills that start in November. I wish he could still coach 7th or 8th grade basketball. It was so much easier and really not much less pay. I guess this is the part where we trust God to provide. He always does and surprisingly, I'm not that worried about it. Maybe becaus it's still so far off. Or maybe it's plain old peace.

Alright, Jack's calling. So is Kyle. Gotta go.

June 25, 2007

Senior Teen Camp

I'm beginning to feel a sense of normalcy. Of course, it's a new normal, but at least I'm figuring out what life is going to be like. It's still hard to plan a camp and not be there to watch it all be carried out, and to not be spending as much time investing in a staff I hired and have spent months preparing for and praying for, but I look down at Jack and know that it's all worth it. AND, it's not like I've had to give up my job at camp. I've been able to do a reasonable amount of both things . . . camp and taking care of Jack. I'm just torn because I want to put my all into both things. But Jack's getting used to taking naps in the Baby Bjorn and things at camp . . . well sooner or later they'll get used to not having me around as much (hopefully the easy way and not the hard way).

After a refreshing weekend, it was hard to jump back into another camp but it's nice to know we don't have an overnight camp for THREE WEEKS after this week. That'll be a nice break. Last night was the hardest night yet. For some reason Jack was particularly fussy and Kyle and I both were particularly cranky. This morning was no different, but Kyle was at camp. I hate it when he cries and his face turns all red and he goes into the "silent cry" mode, but if he's dry, fed and well-rested, all I can do is hold him and rock him, I suppose. As his mom, it's just upsetting to see.

Our speaker at camp for the week is Phil Owen . . . which means he, his wife and kids are out here all week. That's a treat for Kyle and I because we really like them and have a good time with them. I'm bummed that I'm not around more this week to spend more time with them but the meals and short times we've had with them are good. We only see them once or twice a year (if that) but everytime we do I wish we lived closer so that we could spend more time with them. I'm beginning to realize how many friends Kyle and I have that we could say that about. A vast majority of the couples that we are friends with live far away.

I'm starting to realize that Jack is somewhat of a local (very local) celebrity. I'm shocked at how many people walk up and ask, "Is this Jack?" and want to see him. They greet me by name, ask how the delivery was and how things are going. The odd thing is that I have no idea who more than half of them are. I think some of them are from our church and some are probably people that know Kyle's parents, but I'm still amazed at how many people know him and want to meet him. There are few times in my life where my extroverted nature has been pushed to it's limit, but it's fun and exhausting all at the same time to be talking to so many random people.

So, I was looking at all of my pre-pregnancy clothes (none of which come close to fitting yet) and was wishing I could still fit into my green AE hoodie that I love so much. I'm beginning to realize that I'm going to have to start shopping for clothes at J.C. Penney and Meijer . . . which isn't bad but is just an adjustment. I guess I'm too old for the stores I used to shop in anyway. And, I'll settle for fitting into anything at this point. My maternity pants are too loose (my radio that I wear for camp is constantly pulling them down) but everything else is too tight. I haven't been back on a scale since Jack was born but I might do that tonight. I really hope I've lost enough to make me feel a little better. I'll let you know tomorrow. :)

June 23, 2007

Three weeks old . . .

I'm amazed that Jackson is already 3 weeks old! Where has the time gone?! He smiled at me today for the first time (twice actually) while he was awake. I took some pictures later of him kind of smirking (see the links below) but I wish I could have captured that smile. It was amazing.

Jack's in this phase where he DOES NOT sleep. He slept for about an hour this morning and an hour this afternoon. THe rest of this time he's either awake and happy or awake and fussy. It's kind of tiring. Shouldn't he still be sleeping qite a bit?

We took Jack with us and some friends to the Beach Bar yesterday for lunch. We're just realizing that we can't do things like go out to lunch for a while. It's not fair to our friends who have to deal with a fussy baby the whole time and it's not as much fun for us. Today, however, has been so refreshing. Kyle and I have been home all day today. We took Jack & Murphy on a walk (and it was nice even though Jack wailed for the last 5 minutes of it). We ordered lunch and had it delivered. I have not paid the bills, folded clothes or done anything I've needed to do, but I did get a lot of sleep and relaxation!

I'm feeling down today about the fact that I'm not even close to fitting into last summer's clothes. I don't want to have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe in a bigger size. And I don't want to have to wear maternity clothes all summer. It's really depressing. And even though I'm committed to breastfeeding, I'm hating it right now. It's really disappointing. I hate the fact that I can't find shirts or bras that fit. I hate not being able to find a comfy position while he's eating. I hate many things about it that I won't discuss here. I really hope it starts to get better soon.

Here are the links to pictures I've posted of Jack. Just copy and paste the address into your browser:



Here are a couple I took today:

June 21, 2007

It's not my fault

This week of camp has been a good one. I had the opportunity to meet one on one with eight of our ten female counselors yesterday and I was amazed at the things that God is doing in the lives of our campers. I feel like our staff this summer is amazing (despite mine and Kyle's total lack of organization or "with-itness").

Heather was able to come this week which was a HUGE help. She worked here for three summers and knows what she's doing. I'm not sure how I would have made it through this week without her.

So, I came to a realization today. Jack's crying is not my fault. I think for some reason, I've blamed his fussiness over the last couple of days on myself. I've assumed that I've done something wrong or that he's miserable because of something I'm not doing. But sometimes babies just cry, right?

This morning he screamed like I've never heard him scream before and of course it brought me to tears as well. It only lasted for about 10 seconds and I still haven't figured out why he was crying.

I know this was kind of boring, but that's all I've got for now . . .

June 20, 2007

It's a different world . . .

I have a little baby poop on my left pant leg, breast milk on my right pant leg, pee on my shirt and spit up on my shoulder. And I don't want to change because I know that clean clothes will be dirty again in about an hour. It's a different world thab it was 3 weeks ago.

It's a Wednesday afternoon in June and I'm sitting at home. I haven't been at home on a Wednesday afternoon in June for more than 15 minutes for more than 9 years. It's a little strange. When I'm here, it really does feel more like April or October. Jack has just made my world totally different.

I know that it's to be expected . . . everyone knows that life changes completely once you have a baby. But having him in June made that realization much more emphatic. Besides sitting waiting for him to wake up, I have very little to do at home. This is the complete antithesis of what my summers have been like in the past. I just keep wondering what everyone at camp is doing right now.

Please don't misunderstand me . . . I love Jackson and wouldn't trade him for the world. I'm just still trying to figure out how all the pieces of my life fit together.

June 19, 2007

Another crazy day . . .

Monday was just as crazy, if not crazier than Sunday. We got to camp in the morning and we had a camper who had already punched his counselor twice. When Kyle went up to handle the situation, the camper cracked him in the head with a side rail for a bunk bed . . . which bought his ticket home. This camper who we had to send home was signed up for target sports class (riflery and archery). Crisis avoided? Perhaps. So Kyle spent the morning dealing with that.

I was dealing with everything else going on down at breakfast, plus everything we had forgotten to have ready for the day, plus Jack. Luckily, Jack was good all morning.

However, Jack turned over a new leaf yesterday. The fussy leaf. I had made the commitment to take Jack home for a little bit of normalcy after lunch. He slept all the way home, but as soon as we walked in the door, he started crying and didn't stop until a little after midnight. He probably had a total of an hour of sleep during that entire 12-hour period. It was kinda miserable. He went from being such a happy baby to a REALLY fussy baby almost instantly. Kyle came home for a little while during the afternoon and got him to calm down. He put him in his crib and left and about 10 minutes later Jack was wailing again. It just makes me feel helpless.

I didn't get a shower yesterday which made me feel so gross all day. Mainly because I have been wearing flip-flops and my feet were so dirty. When Kyle came home last night, I had finally been able to get Jack to fall asleep on my stomach, so I didn't want to get up and ruin that just to take a shower. I told Kyle about how I was feeling and he grabbed a wash cloth and cleaned my feet for me. Amazing.

Today, he slept all morning except for nursing times. I kind of wonder if his fussiness yesterday was a reaction to something I ate. He was so good this morning, so I decided to bring him to camp so I could get some things done. He got fussy right around the time we got here. Honeymoon's over, I guess.

June 17, 2007

Father's Day Picture

I would put a Father's day picture of Jack and Kyle here but we don't have one. It's been too busy to get one. It was the opening day of our first camp and the word "crazy" cannot do the day justice. It was so nuts.

Kids who weren't registered showed up and demanded to be in certain rooms, parents were cranky, we have a lot of high-maintenance, special needs kids (one of whom alread punched his counselor in the face), Kyle and I had forgotten so much of what we had to have done, the computer for the power point wasn't working (I don't think it has ever worked on the first night of the first camp) and I called in Aunt Katie to come to the camp to watch Jack. People kept seeing me all evening and saying, "I can't believe you're working when you have a 2 week old." I don't think they could imagine how guilty I felt when they said that.

It just all kind of came crashing down tonight. I don't know what would have happened tonight if I were on strict maternity leave. Kyle would probably have had a nervous breakdown tonight because of how much stuff would have been piled on him alone.

So, I'm sitting here in my office nursing Jack, updating the camp website and crying . . . trying to figure out how I can do it all. Or how I can arrange things so that I don't have to do it all. I'm so hungry because I didn't get dinner. I did get plenty of sleep last night though . . . I don't know what I'd be doing now if I hadn't.

All I wanted out of today was a "First Father's Day" picture of Kyle & Jack. I guess there's still 3 1/2 hours left.

June 16, 2007

Road Trip

Jack went on his first road trip to Great Grandma Wietholter's house! He slept the entire way (three hours) there and screamed the entire way (well, only about an hour of the way) home. Everyone ooed and ahhed and seemed to agree that he's the cutest baby EVER! Here are some pictures of the trip!

Aunt Karina came to stay the night before our trip and read him a story (although I read him his first bedtime story two nights before that and he really seemed to enjoy it).

His Great Grandma thought he was "precious."

4 Generations

Side note: Murphy's getting a lot better with Jack. SHe seems to be getting used to no longer being the center of attention. Here's a picture just to remind you what she looks like. More importantly, check out how much less swollen my ankles are now!

June 15, 2007


I so badly wish I had a video camera with me this afternoon because you probably won't believe what I'm about to tell you. Luckily, we had two witnesses besides Kyle and I to confirm that what I'm about to tell you is true.

Jack rolled over unassisted from back to front today. I know it sounds unbelievable that a two month old could do that. It was probably a fluke and it will probably be months before he does it again, but it happened . . . for real.

Kyle and I were sitting in the Cedar Center talking with Amy and JJ. Kyle was holding Jack and playing with him. Kyle laid him down on the table (which I'm sure breaks some sort of camp liscensing health code - sorry sherry) and he kind of tipped on his side as he usually does when we lay him down. He laid there for a while and began to try and keep leaning/rolling. I made a joke about how it looked like he was trying to roll over. For the next 30 - 45 seconds, he kept trying this until he was tipped all the way up and completed the roll (it sounds like some sort of gymnastic move, I know). Then he started screaming because he was laying on his arm and his face was smashed against the table.

So, no one really believes us, but it's true. Amy and JJ can even back it up. Jack's ahead of the curve. I kind of want to call the lady who said I'm causing him brain damage (see previous blog) to tell her.

The heavyweight

Well, Jack had another weigh-in today . . . 9 lbs, 8 oz! Our goal was fir him to be back to his birth weight but he was almost a pound over it! He's eating like a champ! Kyle was able to meet the doctor today, which was nice. It was a great morning!

I've been feeling a little guilty about the fact that I went back to work when Jack was only a week old. I guess I should say that I continue to feel guilty about that. It's gone well and he seems to like being toted along in his sling and stroller but I guess I just feel bad when people give me shocked looks when I tell them he's 1 1/2 weeks old and they see me working. We have a pretty good routine down though.

I know Kyle doesn't care . . . especially because me being at camp with Jack means he gets to see him more! I think he's mostly worried that I'm not taking care of myself. But he must remember that I can handle more than most people can . . . in fact, I think I'd be getting bored at home. But I'd probably be getting more sleep too.

Today is the last day of staff training, so hopefully once camps start, I'll be a little more free.

I've been posting pictures of Jack on myspace because it's such a pain to post them here. But I just found out that people without a myspace account can't view them (and I think I only have one friend who that applies to). So here are some for your enjoyment:

June 14, 2007

Jack's first Dr. visit(s)

We brought Jackson home from the hospital on Monday and I cried a lot of the way home. This was just the beginning of the post-partum emotions! I cried because I still looked WAY pregnant. They told me I’d leave the hospital looking 4 – 5 months pregnant. That was always encouraging to me because my sister-in-law is between 5 & 6 months pregnant and I was ok with looking like she did. I went home looking 8 ½ months pregnant.

I cried because I was overwhelmed with how much responsibility we had for this new life. I cried because I was tired. I cried because all of the build up of being pregnant was over. I cried because I was still in pain from the whole birthing process (and the stitches that resulted). I luckily regained composure by the time we got home. There was a balloon and sign on the door and Joy put a sign on the door of Jack’s bedroom. It was so nice!

We got home around 1 and Cindy brought us lunch from camp. One nice thing about U of M is that they have room service and you can order whatever you want for meals. Nice, huh? You just have to be careful what you order because it’s hit or miss. The pancakes and bacon that we ordered for breakfast that morning were like two small round pieces of styrofoam and two thin strips of . . . well, some sort of dog treats. Their sandwiches, however were excellent! All of that to say . . . we were hungry.

My first order of business after lunch was to make Jack’s first Dr. appointment. The pediatricians at U of M wanted him to be seen no later Wednesday so we made an appointment for Tuesday.

When we arrived at the Doctor’s office, I was surprised to find out that you sat in the waiting room and waited for them to call your name over an intercom and then you went in the appropriate door and the nurse met you in the hall. That was kind of strike one.

They weighed Jack and he was 7 lbs, 14 oz. They weighed him again and he was 7 lbs, 12 oz. Sounds like someone was still learning how to use the scale . . .

Anyway, his birth weight was 8 lbs, 10 oz. so the nurse practitioner was very concerned about this. So concerned that she told me immediately that I needed to start supplementing breastfeeding with formula. Now let me just say that I’m not a psycho parent who thinks that feeding my son a little bit of formula will condemn him to a life of mediocrity. However, I’m committed to making breastfeeding as successful as possible for Jack and I wanted a good reason for supplementing and I wasn’t seeing one. He was within the “safe 10% weight loss” zone and my milk hadn’t come in yet, so of course he wouldn’t be gaining weight like a formula-fed baby would be. But he was getting all of the really healthy colostrum that he wouldn’t be getting if he were getting formula.

Anyway, I questioned her on it and told her that I didn’t feel comfortable starting formula quite yet. My friend Annie told me a similar story from when her son was jaundiced and it was that story that gave me the courage to just express my discomfort with what the nurse was prescribing. I was close to tears at this point . . . she had me panicked about his weight loss and was acting as if he could die any second. However, when I questioned her on this she said (I hope you’re sitting down), “You will cause brain damage in your child if you don’t start feeding him formula today.” I lost it. I was crying so hard and she was giving me a stern look and shoving my hands full of formula samples. Kyle said in retrospect that her answer to everything was probably to give people formula and shove them out the door. I knew she was full of crap, but no new mom wants to hear someone say that she might cause brain damage to her child!

Thankfully, U of M sends out visiting nurses the day after patients are released from the hospital and my visit was scheduled for that afternoon. I told her about my experience and she was shocked. She said that we definitely needed to keep an eye on his weight and we might need to supplement if my milk didn’t come in within the next 24 hours, but that I would not be causing my baby any brain damage. She asked for the name and phone number of the nurse practitioner we talked to because she wanted to have a chat with her.

She explained that there is a low percentage of moms in Jackson County that breastfeed, so they’re probably not used to seeing the weight loss that comes in breast fed babies. She also pointed out that if we had just gone to a one week visit rather than going the day after he was discharged, my milk would have been in and this probably wouldn’t have been an issue. She helped us to find a different pediatrician.

I went to that pediatrician on Wednesday and my mom came with me because Kyle had to leave that morning on an overnight campout with our staff (which, of course, caused me to shed a lot of tears and to be way emotional). This pediatrician (Dr. Moore in Chelsea) was amazing. When we were in the waiting room filling out paperwork, he came out and introduced himself. All of the receptionists and nurses introduced themselves too. They were so friendly.

They weighed him and he had gained 4 oz since the appointment the day before! Milk makes all the difference, I suppose. He spent a good 10 minutes thoroughly examining Jack (as opposed to the 30 seconds the day before) and spent a good deal of time talking to us. All in all, he probably spent a total of 30 minutes with us. At the end of the appointment, Jack was getting hungry and Dr. Moore asked if he could have his nurse practitioner (who is also a lactation consultant) come in and make sure nursing is going ok. Of course she could! She sat with me through the ENTIRE feeding and made sure he was latching on well and just talked to me about a lot of baby things.

We went back on Thursday and Jack had put on another 3 oz! We saw Dr. Stefanie that day and she was just as great as Dr. Moore. She spent a TON of time answering my questions about baby routine and immunizations. I honestly felt like they genuinely cared about my baby . . . even after he peed and pooped on both doctors! It was wonderful.

Post-partum thoughts

I’m not sure how to summarize everything that’s gone on over the last week and a half, but here are some random things:

I hate looking pregnant still. Yes, my belly has gone down significantly, but I feel like people still think I look pregnant. I had one person say to me, “You had the baby . . . why do you still look pregnant?” No, it was not a 5-year-old girl. It was a 25-year-old girl. I, of course, left in tears. I know it’s true, but I hated to be reminded of it.

I packed up all of my long-sleeved maternity shirts on Monday. I still wear a lot of the short-sleeved ones. My closet looks really empty. I wish I could just figure out how to make my belly go away faster. I was never super-skinny to begin with, but I just want to look normal again.

My mom came and stayed with me from Wednesday to Saturday and I’m not sure what I would have done without her. She helped so much with Jack and kept me company while Kyle was gone. This kid is lucky to have so many loving grandparents!

Kyle and I took Jack on his first shopping trip on Sunday. He slept the whole time with the exception of when we nursed in the car while Kyle ran into a store. He went to Target, Kohl’s and Home Depot.

We’ve had some good nights, we’ve had some bad nights. Overall, he’s a pretty good baby. Even when he’s keeping us up to the wee hours of the morning, I just look at him and remember what a miracle he is. How could I complain about such a wonderful little boy?!

He nurses well . . . most of the time. Sometimes I feel like there’s no way I’m feeding him frequently enough. Other times, I’m not sure where he puts it!

I kind of went back to work this week. Actually, not kind of. I did go back to work. I did the staff training sessions that I usually do (all of last week the other staff members covered for us). I got ready for the upcoming summer. I’m hoping once camps hit, I won’t be needed as much so I can spend more time with Jack. I feel a little guilty about toting him around so much this week. I started to feel a little bitter too when I realized that if I had him September I could have just stayed home with him for 8 weeks straight. I should make it clear that Dave made it clear to me that if I didn’t come in all summer, it was ok because I needed to take some time for maternity leave . . . so it’s not like I’m a slave to SBC at all. I feel lucky to work in such a flexible environment.

Just an update . . . my carpal tunnel has not gone away. I still have the claw. The swollen ankles have gone down quite a bit but are still pretty puffy at the end of the day. HOW MUCH LONGER?!

Well, Jack’s sleeping, so I should be too. I’ll do my best to keep up with this a little more regularly now that I’m caught up.

I'm new here . . .

I’m sitting at my kitchen table with Jack’s head on my chest and his butt balancing on the computer so that I can type with both hands. It’s 12:48 and I’d love to be in bed, but I refuse to complain. If you had told me last year at this time that I’d get to be caring for this little guy, I wouldn’t have believed it. And now it’s here and I feel so blessed that I’ll deal with the late nights! Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog, so I should start from a while ago.

The last week and a half has been a whirlwind. I kind of feel like on June 1 someone pressed the “fast forward” button on my life and it’s never going to slow down!

On Thursday (May 31), I worked at camp all day and helped serve dinner at a board meeting. It was really warm and although I had wished he'd have come earlier, I was glad for all of the time I had during the week to get things done for the summer. On Friday (June 1), I kicked it into high gear knowing that it was my absolute last day to get things done. I was so productive . . . I think it was probably one of my most productive days on record! I think most people were surprised to see me at camp on that day because they knew I was going to be induced. Actually, I think most people were surprised to see me for the two weeks leading up to giving birth. But keeping busy helped the time to pass fast.

In that last week, I had a couple of emotional breadowns about all of the normal stuff. Will my baby be healthy? Will we have enough money to provide for him? Will I be a good mom or an utter failure? Kyle was so patient and so good to me. I can honestly say that the last three or four weeks have only increased my love for him.

We got to the hospital at 7:30 on Friday and I was so nervous. When they called to tell me to go ahead and come in for induction, it kind of sent me into a panic. I was struggling to hold back tears as I realized that these last few moments at home for Kyle and I were kind of an end of one life and the beginning of the next. I knew that the next time we were home together, everything would be different. I was excited but really emotional. I do this with everything. At the end of each summer, I get emotional about the fact that we’ll never have another summer exactly like the one we just had. I guess I’m just sentimental and it was elevated due to all of the pregnancy hormones!

We stopped at McDonalds on the way to the hospital. It’s the same McDonald’s that we got breakfast at every morning on our way to Ann Arbor for fertility treatments (and is probably the reason I gained more weight than I should have with this pregnancy). We spent a lot of time reminiscing about the last year and talking about how much had changed. A year ago, we weren’t sure we’d ever be able to have a baby and here I was getting ready to go give birth.

I was just a combination of excited and nervous.

When we got to the hospital our nurse (Heather) took us down to our room and I got changed into my fashionable hospital gown and they put the monitors on me. They monitored my contractions as well as the baby’s heartbeat. We pretty much listened to his heartbeat non-stop for the next 21 hours.

My nurse also started me on an IV with anti-biotic because I tested positive for the Group B Strep virus. While she was getting the IV started, the anesthesia guy came to explain the whole epidural thing and to have me sign and consent. Between listening to the risks of epidurals and having the IV started I started to get pale and thought that I might pass out. Kyle was fanning me frantically with the room service menu. It took about an hour for me to feel ok again. All I could think was, “If I couldn’t get through the IV, how will I ever get through labor?!”

At 10 PM, my doctor (who wasn’t even on call that night, but just stopped in to see how I was doing and to make sure everything was ok) came and found that I was 2 cm dilated and they used a suppository to help me continue to dilate. They came back at 2 AM and found that I was at 4 cm and started the pitocin into my IV.

Here’s what I learned about pitocin: They start at .5 units per whatever length of time and double it every hour until it’s up to 2 units. From there, they add 2 units every hour. I was having contractions from the start every 3 – 4 minutes, but didn’t feel a thing. I thought that was lucky for me! I was wrong.

That night was miserable. The bed was uncomfortable and it was so hard to get any sleep hooked up to an IV, blood pressure monitor, fetal heart rate monitor and contraction monitor. Plus, I was still dealing with swollen hands and feet and that didn’t help much! Needless to say, I was still exhausted in the morning.

My mom and sister came Saturday morning and sat with us for a while. It really helped the time pass quickly. They went to get lunch (and to get lunch for Kyle) and while were gone, my pitocin was bumped up to 20 units (which was as high as the doctor would have let them go). They tried to break my water . . . and they thought they did but there wasn’t much to show for it. I still wonder if my water had broken days before that and the doctors just didn’t believe me! When the contractions hit, they hit with a vengeance. They failed to tell me that even though I hadn’t been feeling any contractions, that when the pitocin finally started working, I would feel them 10 times worse than usual. My mom and sister were there for just a few minutes after the contractions started and I could tell they were upset to see me in so much pain . . . which was hard for me to see. Eventually, they went to the waiting room and it was just Kyle and I. Seriously, Kyle was amazing. You would have thought that he had been through this before because he knew exactly what to do and say to make things as good as they could have been.

The hospital was packed that day (Kyle saw one woman in a wheelchair waiting for them to find a room for her) and there were three c-sections going on and one on deck when my contractions hit. I had to wait two hours for the epidural. It was the longest two hours of my life. Going into the hospital, I wasn’t sure if I wanted an epidural or not . . . for many reasons. But as soon as I had about 10 minutes worth of contractions, I was ready for one. The hard thing was I had to sit perfectly still while they placed the catheter for the epidural . . . that’s really hard in the middle of intense contractions. Once the epidural took effect, I fell asleep almost immediately. I know that my contractions were more intense than most, but I don’t know how women go through hours upon hours of labor with contractions of even half of the strength of mine! Those of you who have been induced and given birth naturally . . . I have a great deal of respect for you. I don’t understand it, but I respect it!

As soon as I got the epidural, they came to check me and, of course now that I was comfortable with my epidural, I was dilated to 10. The doctor wanted me to rest for an hour though before starting to push because the two hours of over the top contractions had tuckered me out. I tried to rest and the nurse ordered Kyle to get some food before the pushing started because he’d need all of his energy too. But Jack didn’t want to wait. About 20 minutes into my “rest time” I started getting awful aches all over my belly and the nurse said it couldn’t wait.

It was at this point that she mentioned that most first time moms push 2 – 3 hours to deliver. I think I blocked that piece of information out during our childbirth classes. 2 – 3 hours?! I couldn’t imagine. At that point, I was determined to get this done and to get it done quickly. Kyle and the nurse (whose name was Deena, by the way . . . we couldn’t have done this without her) were so good at encouraging me. When Kyle could see his head he’d tell me and tell me how much he could see and kept me going by reminding me that as soon as this was over, I could hold my son. I seriously can’t even explain to you how much my love for Kyle increased during this whole thing.

I also saw a whole new side of myself during the process of labor and delivery. I’ve never known how I would respond to that much pain and to be honest, I’m really proud of how well I did. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment! Deena called me a rock star . . . I’m not sure why, but I took it as a compliment. People have asked me which was harder: the contractions or the pushing. They are honestly so different, I can’t even compare them.

After 45 minutes of pushing, Jackson William Luke made his entrance into this world at 5:01 PM on June 2. I don’t think anyone can describe the feeling of seeing your child for the first time until you experience it for yourself . .. whether it be in a delivery room, or in the office of an adoption agency or in a recovery room after a c-section . . . it’s truly amazing and Kyle and I were both overcome with emotion and it is a moment that I hope I will never forget.

He was an absolute conehead when he came out! I had never seen a baby with a head that pointy and I was a little worried at first that it might not go away. But it did within a few minutes. He was beautiful!

Jack cried for less than a minute and then spent the next 30 – 40 minutes just looking at me and Kyle . . . he was quiet and wide-eyed. He was completely awake and seemed to be taking everything in.

Kyle took Jack out to introduce him to our families (and tell them his name that they had been so anxious to find out). The nurses helped me to get to the bathroom and get ready to have visitors. I was a little depressed to see that my ankles, face and hands were still really swollen and that I had gone from looking 41 weeks pregnant to looking 37 weeks pregnant. But I was on such a high that none of it really mattered all that much.

The rest of the evening was spent having visitors and making phone calls to let everyone know the good news!

After everyone left on our first night in the hospital, Kyle and I were just stunned as we looked in the little crib and saw our son laying there. He was so perfect and so amazing. All throughout the night, we would just randomly look over and watch him sleep. Could we have possibly brought this kid into the world? Could he possibly be half Kyle and half me (although I’m glad I pushed him out because he looks so much like his dad I needed something to prove that he was mine too)! The nurses and doctors came in and out throughout the night. I probably got about an hour of sleep total . . . but that hour of sleep was way more restful than any of the sleep I had gotten over the last few weeks. I just kept thinking, “I’m his mother!” It was both a daunting and exciting thought. I just kept praying that God would make me equal to the task.

We were told that we would have to stay at the hospital for 48 hours because I tested positive for the Group B Strep virus. What they really meant is that I would be discharged after 24 hours and Jackson would be discharged after 24 hours. Luckily, they have nesting rooms at U of M that allowed us to stay with Jackson until he was discharged. The second night, we went from a really nice hospital room to a really small nesting room that had a couch with a pull out bed for Kyle and I. The walls were paper thin so we could hear everything going on in the other rooms, but at least we all got a little time to cuddle together in the same bed as a family.

Our nurse that came on after Deena was excellent (her name was Becca). The nurse after Becca, however, was not so great. Her name was Jean. She sound Jamaican and I had a hard time understanding her. She seemed like a very kind woman but was very frustrating. She wouldn’t answer any of my questions about when we’d be discharged and would always answer me with “you don’t need to worry about that.” What kind of answer is that?! Then, when I told her I was frustrated and needed answers to my questions (through tears) she told me I could ask the nurse who came on after her.

Needless to say, by the time we were released on Monday, we were ready to get home. Our staff had all arrived Sunday night and we were sad that we couldn’t be there to greet them, but it just wasn’t good timing!

As I reflect on the whole “birthing experience” I’m beginning to forget a lot. I think that’s the only reason that women choose to have more than one child! But I will never forget the moment that they handed Jack to me. I’ll never forget looking at Kyle and seeing how he looked at me and looked at Jack with so much love. I hope that those memories never fade.

June 11, 2007

Coming soon . . .

So, I seriously thought that only my mom and Annie Stahr read my blog regularly . . . that is, until I didn't post one for a week and started receiving lots of e-mail about how I haven't blogged in a while. Sorry to keep you all waiting.

Jackson William Luke entered the world at 5:01 PM on June 2 (yes, an entire week late). He is the most precious little boy I've ever seen! I love being his mom and it's a joy to take care of him. Yes, I'm tired, but I'm loving every minute of it.

I've been writing in my own personal diary and am working to edit my entries so that I can post them publicly. If you'll check back within the next few days, I'll have pictures and blogs from the last week.

Thank you all for the love that we've felt over the last week . . . I hope that my blogs will prove to be even more interesting now that I'm a mom rather than just a pregnant lady!