Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Goodbye Too Soon

When you are a therapist you carry the pain. You carry the hurt. You carry the shame. And as heavy as it seems it multiplies when you realize what you feel is simply a fraction of what your clients carry every second of every day. Having worked with kids and teenagers primarily in my career the realization of that cuts deep into my soul. The travesties that take place in a supposedly "enlightened" country with such "advantages." Their lives seem like anything but advantaged. And yet they are in many ways compared to that of children in third world countries. And the realization of that cuts to the quick even more.

How this world continues to spin despite the anguish that surrounds us confuses me. It makes me want to scream at God to make it stop and just take us all home now. Or if nothing else, save those whose lives are horror filled. And yet when He does just that in the form of calling them home we grieve. We grieve for the possibilities that person never realized. For the unique characteristics that person and that person alone brought to this world. For the dreams that person shared with us and was on the cusp of. For the memories of a soul who had every excuse to be broken and bitter but instead was full of smiles, jokes and generosity and love that was hard to comprehend. Sure, there were rough edges but boy were they easy to overlook when you fully understood the depths of their precious soul.

My only comfort tonight is knowing that he loved God & the tears he cried and the pent up pain that was slowly released over 2 years with me is no more. It's not even a memory. The burdens he carried, ones I wished I could carry myself but never could, are lifted. The regrets and mistakes are wiped clean never to be repeated. None of it matters anymore. All that matters now is the love that he carried & now feels given back to him abundantly. The smile that lit up every room and now won't ever quit. The shame that darkened corners of his heart no longer exists. And he is finally totally safe & secure. And for that I rejoice. God will give him the love He lacked here. He will finally have a father whose neck he can hug and who he can share with. That longing will be no more. He is whole and complete and loved. What this world lacked for him has now been fulfilled a thousand times over. So congratulations are in order. It's a time to celebrate and rejoice. However right now all I can seem to do is cry.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Falling Deeper Still

Sometimes I look at you and my breath catches at your sheer beauty. A tiny ball of perfection snuggled up against me and awakening to give me smiles that literally make my heart skip a beat. My restless heart finds peace it didn't know existed when you slip off to sleep while on my chest, our breaths simultaneous with one another as if our souls are in sync. Glimpsing down to catch you watching me as a smile begins to form from your perfect rosebud lips clear up to your deep blue eyes that shimmer brighter than the Northern star on the clearest of nights. With each smile I somehow fall deeper and deeper in love. To a place I didn't know existed. The depth of it is more than I knew I had within me yet I continue falling until I am so enveloped in it I can scarcely breathe. I'm not sure there is an end to it or if it will just deepen with every precious thing you do.

In your 11 weeks you have brought me more joy than I could have ever fathomed. All the hours daydreaming of what being a Mommy would be like don't come close to what the reality of it is. But with that joy I have also found fear I didn't know existed. It grabs a hold of me like a python squeezing all the joy and peace out of me until there is nothing left but terror and dread. I want to burst into tears at the thought of the heartbreaking world surrounding you. I want you to stay small and tiny forever. I want to be able to carry you around and protect you with all my being. I want to be able to wrap you up in my arms and run with you from any and every painful possibility this life may bring to you. I want my body to be able to adequately shield every part of you with more to spare. I want you to be small enough to hide from the coldness and darkness that surrounds us & sometimes threatens to overtake us.  It makes irrational thoughts pop into my head such as cursing out Eve upon entering heaven for bringing sin into this world & creating this nightmare of a world. Or making you a hermit that never leaves this home, much less my side. Or selling everything I own to buy you multiple body guards or saving up to buy an island that we can escape to, free of all heartache, pain, fear or harm. Unfortunately there is no such thing. Not on this side of eternity that is. God is the only thing that helps me swallow down this lump that builds in my chest when I imagine the what ifs, the tears, the heartache, the struggles that will come your way. For with Him you have body guards 24/7. The best of the best, guardian angels He has picked for you & God's protection. Better than any money can buy! And although you will leave my side and my home God won't leave your side. And best of all, someday we will have that most perfect place to escape to and we will be able to enjoy it together hopefully. That is my biggest longing. That you grow to know the Lord so we will be together for eternity reveling in His glory, goodness and light and all the things that keep me awake at night are a threat no more. When you accept Him someday I will be able to let go of some of the fear. For even though I can't save you from the things of this world that I so long to you will then personally know the One who can. And honey, you must know Him. You just must. This world will chew you up and spit you out otherwise and this Momma's heart can't take that.        

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Erase the bad? Tempting but I think not!

Oh this whole parenting this sure can be emotional. Currently it has hit me how cold and hard and cruel this world is that I have brought Addison to live in. This thinking was partially brought on by my anxiety over taking her for her shots & me going back to work then my mind took it to the darkest, scariest places. I sat one night looking at her and crying and feeling somewhat guilty for subjecting an innocent, helpless child to the aches & pains this life causes. I imagined the wounds & scars she could receive and have to carry with her. I prayed she would only see and feel goodness. That she'd never witness or Lord forbid, have to endure suffering. That somehow the heartaches & the troubles that befall everyone would somehow miss her entirely. I prayed she'd never hear harsh words or things that brought tears to her eyes or worse yet cracks in her heart and/or self esteem. That her little body & heart and soul would not feel pain or discomfort in any shape or form. I was asking for a lot. I was asking for more than this world will offer her. I knew it but I had to ask nonetheless as I looked at each delicate, tiny part of her. It was a cynical way to be thinking and I knew it but it had just hit me that she was no longer within me where I could protect her. As crazy as it sounds I longed to somehow get her back in as I was realizing now that I couldn't be with her 24/7. I couldn't protect her. She would someday walk away and carry on her own life with me nowhere in sight or ear shot. I couldn't save her much less even shield her partially. Life would happen to her and I was helpless to stop it.

Then I tried to imagine my life minus the aches & pains. I realized I wouldn't want that life. I wouldn't be me without them. I know, it's cliche but it's true. Those times, although I hated them, by the grace of God brought out good in me, in my life and in the circumstances. It showed me who I really was and that I was far stronger than I had ever dreamed when I leaned on the strongest there is, God. It brought me to my knees in front of Him wholly surrendering as I had no other choice. It made me surrender things I had needed to surrender for a long time. Those times made me cling to Him as if my life depended upon it, because at times it did. And in the clinging came hope and increased faith and a feeling my heart & soul know all too well but that can't be put into words. Those times made me empathetic and able to see things from other's perspectives. I've applied it in my professional and personal life in order to help me understand and try to help people. Those heartaches taught me lessons. Hard, painful lessons I wasn't grasping in the moment but that I learned nonetheless. Those times seemed like "busy work," a waste of time. Yet they were shaping me and making me into the person God needs me to be in order to fulfill whatever purpose He has set out for me. The verse Romans 8:28 ("And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love the Lord & are called according to His purpose") is so true. His good looked FAR different from my version of good. But in the end his good wasn't just good, it was best. Maybe at the time not for me but for others or for in the future, for a time and place and circumstance I was unaware of and couldn't imagine.

And I realized I have to trust God with Addison. After all, she isn't truly even mine. He leant her to me while we walk this Earth. She is His & as hard as it is to fathom  He loves her even more than my heart can imagine doing. When hard things come her way, and they will, He will work it out. What man intends for evil He will bring good from (Genesis 50:20). And in the pain the opportunity lies for there to come beauty, strength, courage, empathy, understanding. I know my hard times have brought those pieces of goodness to me. And knowing that it doesn't seem so bad. I want her to learn lessons she needs to learn. I want her to know God intimately in a way only you can when you are so broken before Him. I want her to realize she is strong and can rise above. I want her to understand the pain of others so she can reach out and gently touch the sore spots others carry in ways only someone who has walked that same path can. I want her to find pieces of her she didn't realize were within. And so my prayer changed from the unrealistic to the realistic, from her escaping any and all pain to the greatest amount of good coming from those trying times. The prayer turned into me pleading that her heart is open & receptive to Him and she comes to know him at a young age so that all the pain and heartache that may befall her can be transformed by Him into the goodness only He can bring. So now my anxiety is being the type of parent that sets up an environment for her to truly know and grasp God's love and run to Him with open arms as soon as she can comprehend Him. It's intimidating. Yet I know that all that isn't up to me either. It's out of my control, as so much is. I can try to help her but in the end it will be her little soul that takes those steps but I sure pray I can nudge her along into the arms of the One who is good & makes the broken whole and brings about goodness from that which looks so dark, hopeless & ugly. Feel free to join me in that prayer.    

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rookie Mistakes

The following are rookie mistakes made:

Putting baby in bathtub with her socks on.

Getting myself stuck to the swaddler so when I went to put her down of course it woke her up. 

Not being fast enough with the diaper leading to projectile poo twice & several pees. 

Changing her mid poo only to change her not twice but three times. That was a waste of diapers!

Doing the snaps wrong a million times and sometimes in the middle of the night deciding it's good enough. 

Not having the backseat vents on all the way.

There are a million more but this rookie Momma is going to try to get some sleep. Someone tell me again why I am putting this in writing & incriminating myself? 

Odd New Mom Thoughts

The following are real life dumb thoughts that have flown through my head.

"Man, I'm hot. I sure hope my milk doesn't spoil."

Upon waking to a blanket close to my face "Oh crap, you are going to suffocate. Move it, move it now."
-Apparently I forgot that just applies to baby

"She keeps looking all around and nothing is there. Is she seeing ghosts, spirits? Could it be visual hallucinations? Schizophrenia doesn't start this young. Of course, there was that one documentary on that one girl..."

Upon seeing her sleeping with her eyes open and rolled back in her head. "Oh dear, please stop. You look like Rosemary's baby or a demon child or a zombie. Oh no, could it be a neurological condition?"

Upon her clenching her fists up so tight her arms shake and taking in a deep breath with eyes huge & unblinking to begin a huge scream "Oh no, is this the start of a seizure? *piercing scream with all the gusto she can muster* "Oh, nope, just a scream. Man, I've never been so relieved to have her scream like this."

Me to Matt: "She's been giving me dirty looks all day."
Matt: "I think you are taking this too personal."

*At birth with her on my chest* "They say she will smell her mother and learn to recognize her that way. Just great. After 27 hours of labor my deodorant is non-existent and my breath is kickin'. Mommy's going to be imprinted on her as being stinky with horrendous hygiene."

"I have to do all the things she hates (baths, diaper changes, clothing changes, give her medication she dislikes, etc). She is going to associate me with the crap & Matt with the good and fun stuff."

"I wonder if Sun In, lemon juice or peroxide would hurt her? It'd sure help lighten up her hair."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our Piece of Perfection

I've been asked what I will do with the blog now that our happy ending has arrived. I've pondered that. For now I will keep it. If nothing else for something to show our sweet girl someday and to help me keep up with her precious little miracle life. If no one reads it but her so be it. So here is a brief rundown of her first 3 weeks earthside. If you are one of the few who might want to tag along and read about her life bear with me as posts may be infrequent and full of even more grammatical and spelling errors than you are accustomed to seeing on this blog. Something about lack of sleep does that to a gal. 

Boy is this sentimental sap going to have issues with this whole growing up business. I can already see changes within her and on one hand I'm celebrating that she is developing, growing and maturing as she should be while I'm simultaneously sad that the last phase is fading away. I know, I know, it's been a whole 23 days. Absolute ridiculousness. I know. I have to remind myself of the fun and the positives the next phase brings such as more sleep at night! That somewhat eases the bittersweet sting of it all. I can already see little cheeks building within her sweet little face. She is alert more and loving her play mat. And some of her preemie clothes have had to be retired. Oh too soon! I want her tiny forever yet then I know that isn't possible, reasonable or good for her. 

I fear she will be our one and only so I am savoring every second as much as I can. Of course, the 4 hour screaming spell the other night was hard to savor. Just prior to that she was all smiley and as precious as I'd seen her. I was just basking in her sweet beauty prior to that & praising God over every adorable feature. I think God did that so I'd have more patience as I walked the hall for four hours with her trying to bust my ear drums with her blood curdling screams. Thankfully that was a one night thing so far. I swear I have PTSD from the event. Just thinking of it makes my heart start beating faster. I fear a repeat. Overall she is a very good and easy baby. Thank the good Lord! Momma's anxiety has a hard time with screaming and a miserable baby. 

She is so perfect that I find myself conjuring up things that might be wrong with her. As if she is just too good to be true so I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Her sleeping with her eyes not completely closed and looking like Rosemary's baby or a zombie had me sure she had a sleep disorder and/or a neurological problem. Her not laying her legs down flat often when on her back made me fear her hips were too rigid. Her tiny toes pointing slightly inward had me fearing braces. And silliest of all, her staring off into nothingness and finding it fascinating enough to smile about had me fearful she might be hallucinating. The rational, sane part of me knows these are totally nuts but the thoughts still come. If you doubt the extent of my paranoia take a glance at my google searches. For once old Google has been reassuring me and not bringing me into a state of absolute panic. That in and of itself is a miracle! 

So in her 3 weeks Addison has been locked out of the house with Momma twice, has pooped on Momma twice and peed on Daddy. She is getting down to a pretty consistent 3 hour to eat schedule. Addison is learning to tolerate baths & diaper & wardrobe changes better. She met her Great Grand Mama the other day. They are smitten with one another. It is pure adorableness. (More on that later). She is spoiled by all that come into contact with her, particularly grandparents. 

I'd describe the first 3 weeks as perfection. It may not look like it when Mommy is a zombie that smells like breastmilk and who is in a constant state of disarray and feverishly looking on google to ensure baby girl is "normal." If you glanced in the window at 3 am to see me walking the halls and literally praying out loud that God himself would calm her and get her to sleep you might use words other than perfection to describe the scene but for a woman who never thought she'd have these experiences it's absolute, pure perfection. Sometimes I look at her and just tear up. It can be noticing how a vein weaves under her skin or how delicate the wrinkles are on the palms of her hands and I've lost it. The reality of the fact that God chose ME, me of all the people in this earth to get the honor or raising this child, this little piece of heaven He sent down specifically for us, is just so amazing. Being her Mommy is not a job I take lightly and one I hope I never take for granted. I love praising God for this little piece of perfection!!!  


Friday, May 9, 2014

God Blessed The Broken Road

Well, here's the story of Miss Addison's birth. The good, the bad (that never seemed to end) and the ugly (the ugly was mostly my meltdowns full of my ugly crying). I've entitled it God Blessed The Broken Road as it reminds me of the song. It was me and Matt's song for our wedding as it was truly the broken road that led us to one another. So it was with Addison. The road to her was long, broken and full of detours we wanted no part of yet they led us to her so I'm glad we traveled that road & didn't sit down beside it and give up like I wanted to time and time again. So here it is, what the end of that road to her looked like. Again, not as we planned or imagined. 

On Saturday I began having more complications with my bladder. I went ahead and phoned the doctor hoping it was nothing. Of course, as usual, they had me come in. So our trip to Babies 'R Us and all our plans to utilize that weekend as a last minute catch all for all we had to do turned into the hospital stay that would lead to our Little Miss. I went to the hospital and they showed minimal concern for the bladder issues. The doctor had come in to give me discharge instructions and glanced down to notice my blood pressure. She then changed her tune and halted discharge. After more monitoring she told me I had pre-eclampsia and we'd induce the next day. I felt fine so that seemed weird. And my blood pressure wasn't too much more than it had been when I'd been hospitalized last. The doctor said at that time I would have met the criteria for pre-eclampsia. I'm glad they overlooked that one in the midst of the rest of everything that I had going on at the time. The doctor then came in saying they'd send me home for the night if I liked and I could return in the morning for the induction. That sounded like a much better option so we were excited about that. At that exact same moment the blood pressure cuff blew up and my blood pressure was the worst it had been. Again, change in plans. She said she wasn't comfortable with me leaving the hospital with it that elevated. That was my second near escape that had been foiled. 

Well, after Matt rushes home and my parents come to help him finish last minute things (thank you all!) the doctor comes back in and says we won't deliver the next day after all since it's a Sunday and urology  has a ghost staff on the weekends. They wanted them there in case of a c-section and weren't comfortable proceeding with the limited staffing. I was fine by that after a completely idiotic resident from urology had just visited me. The man asked me the same questions over and over again and clearly hadn't read my chart at all. He wasn't even aware I was seeing a urologist at OU. I told Matt that if that man tried to be involved in my case during go time we would be insisting on someone else as I didn't trust the man to care for my fish. I tried to convince the doctors part of my blood pressure issues had been due to that incompetent man. They didn't buy it. Shortly thereafter  the attending physician comes in and begins saying how they can send me home with a blood pressure cuff and I will continue monitoring myself and come in if it rises too high. In the midst of her spill again the dad gum blood pressure cuff begins it's reading. The nurse gives her a look and the doctor stops mid sentence to say that won't be happening with blood pressure like that. I tried to convince her it was my excitement over leaving to go home and/or my anxiety and excitement about the birth coming up. Again, no one bought it. So I stayed in the hospital & the induction began at 12 am Sunday night/Monday morning.  

We got over to labor and delivery shortly later than planned as they were really busy. Apparently storms bring on labor. The induction started and immediately Addison's heart rate dropped to 60. It went from the sound of a galloping horse to that of a flat tire. The nurse had me turn to my left, then my right, then on my hands and knees. All the while I am flashing all I have to all there. Thankfully it was just Matt & my nurse and Matt had the frame of mind to cover me with a sheet prior to all the others rushing in. The nurse shoved an oxygen mask on my face. It was apparently made for a giant and kept slipping up to my eyes. I was on my hands and knees and unable to keep it down. Not that I really cared. I was just freaked out and praying for baby girl's heart rate to pick up pace as I felt mine skyrocket while also simultaneously feeling as if it had stopped and sunk to the pit of my stomach. The nurse picked up the phone and called for "any doctor around, I don't care who they are." In rushed a bunch of people who then started asking me questions. Of course trying to talk through an oxygen mask left my voice all muffled and jarbled. Slowly her heart rate picked back up. They decided to turn off the pitocin and give her a rest. They were fearful I'd need a c-section in the middle of the  night and they'd be ill equipped regarding the urology team for that. So basically they had us wait around until the morning shift came on. That seemed like a total waste and instead of utilizing that time to sleep I anxiously laid there worrying. They assured me baby girl was fine but it was disconcerting for sure. I was thinking if she couldn't handle 5 minutes of it she'd never make it through labor. 

At this time they put in the foley balloon to dilate me (see past post for explanation). It wasn't as bad as I thought. After about 30 minutes they came to tug on it and it fell out. They checked me and told me I was at a 4. I had gone from a 2 to a 4 super rapidly and hadn't had a contraction yet (or so the monitors said). I thought I was some miraculously dilating woman and was praising God and hoping it'd continue. I continued to have straight cramping for about 2  hours after the balloon removal. I have obviously never had a baby or been induced by a balloon so I figured it was residual cramping from the balloon. Nothing was registering on the contraction monitor and I felt like a wuss so I didn't mention it. I was internally starting to panic thinking I was feeling pain from the balloon alone and hadn't had a contraction yet and would surely die when "real" contractions hit. My saving grace that stopped me from not having a panic attack was the doctor's order that I get an epidural early. Her reasoning was if an emergency arose I'd already have that in place for the c-section and it'd be one less thing to worry about. I wasn't complaining about that plan. 

Well after more kept being added to my IV pole it got a little tangled and unorganized so my nurse set about reorganizing it so to speak. In the midst of doing so she realized she had the tubing from the pitocin and the fluids mixed up and instead of setting the fluids to flow at a certain rate she sat the pitocin to flow from that rate and vice versa. This also meant that when she turned the pitocin off she really didn't. That had been the fluids. So essentially I was given a dose of pitocin 5 times that which they would have started me out on. Hence why poor Addison freaked out & continued to have issues with her heart rate. She was caught in a huge, never ending contraction from the get go and got no gradual introduction to labor. That also explained my never ending cramp which was indeed a never ending contraction. This was also when we discovered my monitor for contractions didn't work. So again, the pitocin was stopped, for real this time. The nurse was terribly apologetic and for that I was appreciative. We assured her everyone makes mistakes and that we appreciated her admitting to it and remedying it. She thanked us profusely for being understanding, even coming back the next day to do so again. At that point we couldn't go back so there was no sense being rude about it. I was relieved that there was a reason for Addison's heart rate plummeting like that. I was fearful maybe she'd had some heart condition we'd never known about or the stress of labor would do permanent damage to her. It also explained that I wasn't a huge wimp and had indeed tolerated a never ending 2 hour contraction fairly well. That was a boost to my confidence. That also proved my theory that I was miraculously dilating with no contractions wrong.  From there we waited until the next shift came on. 

When the next shift came on we started the pitocin again. I wasn't feeling my contractions although they were registering fairly high with the now working monitor on. The nurse commented on how most women would be screaming and hitting the ceiling with those. I was thanking God that I was barely noticing them and hoping that trend would continue. It didn't. I am still thankful for that time of reprieve though. At this point anesthesia came in. Ugh, just writing about this gets my heart rate up again. It was the same resident I had met with 3 weeks ago when I'd been hospitalized. That meeting was to discuss my chances of it working, possible issues due to the anatomy of my spine, etc. At that meeting I got a lot of uncertainties and no real answers other than we'd try, it could be patchy and they wouldn't do a spinal on me as it was more risky. They also told me a c-section could lead to me being under general anesthesia. Well as of that day they suddenly wanted imaging done. Mind you I had been hospitalized 3 weeks earlier for a week and had been at the hospital 2 days prior to this and no one had bothered to get this done or even mention it. I was in the midst of labor and my doctor was a nazi about baby being on the monitors, and rightfully so after her drama earlier, so there was little that could be done in that instant. He said they'd send neurology down and if they recommended imaging we'd have to wait on that and results before they'd touch me. The neurology resident came and did her testing which involved a bunch of weird tests. All checked out fine except for one weird reflex that if you run a pen or something along the bottom of my feet my big toe doesn't go up. If I have to be missing a reflex I'll take that one. I'm not sure what the purpose is in that reflex. She said all looked well and she'd staff with the attending. Then the head of neurology came in. He was a precious man. He commented on not understanding why they had just contacted them. I agreed and we shared our disdain for how that had fallen through the cracks. His words were, "If they had even had me see you yesterday I could have given them some answers." He explained they could have done an MRI without the dye and had a road map so to speak for the anesthesiologists and now they were limited on what they could really know. He said he'd bring this up in the next staff meeting. He said all looked well and he saw little risk but no one would really know for certain how it could effect me. At this point they could do an ultrasound but the bone would hinder seeing much of the spinal cord so it would be little use likely. You could see in his eyes he felt bad about the situation. If I ever need a neurologist I'd go to him. He  had great bed side manner and was very empathetic. 

After some time the anesthesia resident and the attending came in. They explained  they were operating blindly as they had no imaging and asked why I hadn't had an MRI since I was 5. I explained probably because I had no issues or need for it after that. Then they asked if I had those records. Of course I didn't, it was 25 years ago. Maybe I could have rounded them up if someone had mentioned it prior to me being in the midst of labor. They explained the risks and how neurology thought I was a candidate to try it. As the attending is talking the resident kept looking at me with a weird look on his face, almost mean like. I looked over and smiled thinking maybe he was inadvertently making that face. Nope, it continued as if I hadn't smiled or made eye contact. The resident then piped in with "This will be a one shot thing. We won't keep trying. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work." I didn't' like hearing that but more so didn't' like the tone he used. It was as if he had the upper hand, not as if hew as just warning me or preparing me. I think he was mad because from the get go I had requested not to have a resident do my epidural. The nurse had told me he disliked hearing that and had acted like he'd still do it. I didn't care if I ticked him off. It was my labor, my back, my baby. I had been debating on whether to complain about him dropping the ball or not on the MRI and all that and when he had the death stare and the rude tone I saw the green light. I informed the attending that especially if it was one shot I wanted him to do it. The attending assured me the resident was a 4 year resident, was great, yada, yada, yada. I informed him I wasn't very confident in his abilities considering he had been the one to drop the ball on the imaging that led to this confusion and trouble. The attending made some excuse for that but agreed to put in my epidural. He had 30 years experience so I liked that. 

They set about doing the epidural. I was unprepared for how forcefully they shove that catheter in there. Matt said my whole body was being shook back and forth as he tried to get it in. He was having trouble initially. The whole time I was praying it'd go in and work, and holding my breath apparently as the nurse told me to stop. Poor Matt said he was fearful they'd hit something they were unprepared to find there and I'd just flop over on him like a wet noodle. That was one bullet we dodged! I kept feeling pain to the left of my spine and kept telling him. He would add more numbing, adjust, etc but it continued on and off the entire time he placed it. Then we set about to see if it would work. I thought it might be but it was hard to tell because I barely registered my contractions. They said they'd give it some time and come back. It didn't take long for me to realize it worked but only on an 8 inch patch on the front of my left thigh. Of course, a part of the body that has nothing to do with childbirth. I laid on my side praying it'd flow through to the other side but it never did. The resident came in telling me it might be giving me more relief that I realized. I knew that wasn't the case, as if I am some fool who can't tell the difference between full feeling and complete numbness. He did an ice test where he put ice on different parts to see if I could feel it. Sure enough, it was as I told him (surprise, surprise). Then he said it might still work for a c-section. I asked how that would work if it wasn't even working now. He said due to the high volume they flow through and how if it didn't they could give me something else or something to make me not remember it after. The thought of going through an operation with full feeling regardless of whether I'd remember it or  not didn't sound like anything I wanted to do. At this point I was convinced this man just wanted to torture me. He told me to continue to give it more time. I was laying on the side it wasn't working on and pumping the button as much as I could praying somehow it'd start working. Nothing. I had a melt down. I had been up for about 20 hours now and was exhausted and hadn't eaten. It was a bad combo. The nurse tried to calm me by saying they could try it again. I informed her they wouldn't. She asked why. I told her I was unsure. She called them and the resident lied to  her about saying that. He said that was between the attending and myself. He then came in and said, "Remember, how I told  you it was one shot? Well this is it." He told me he could try to move the catheter a centimeter but that was the extent of what they'd do. I was full on bawling at this time, not that the heartless creep cared. He asked how far I had progressed. When I told him I had been at a 4 for 14 hours now he raised his eyebrows. I don't think he was expecting that answer. He allegedly moved it but never took off any tape so I am highly doubtful he did a darn thing besides touch my back. Matt and my parents hadn't been in the room at that time so I can't be sure but it sure seemed fishy. Thankfully that resident went off duty and in came a much nicer one. Unfortunately she couldn't convince the attending to try again although she said repeatedly she didn't understand why they wouldn't and said she'd do it herself. I told her I was comfortable with her and we even offered to bribe the attending. We never heard from her again so it obviously didn't work. Commence another meltdown, as I was now feeling contractions, was exhausted & hungry, nothing was going as planned & I still wasn't progressing past a 4. My Mom never got past a 4 so I was just sure I'd do all this to never go further and end up with a c-section in the end. 

Speaking of c-section... I can't keep straight when I learned this or when they broke my water, it has all become a blur, but while in labor I learned that the c-section that I thought was only risky for me and the work I'd had done would be much more risky for Addison than I knew. Due my anatomy not being in the "normal" positions since I have had a bunch of surgeries and reconstruction they would have to get through that prior to getting to her. Since I'd definitely be under general anesthesia she would be as well. They said it could take up to an hour to get to her and upon doing so she'd have to be resuscitated. The thought of my newborn being resuscitated freaked me out like no other, as you can imagine. They assured me lots of babies, even 20 weekers, go under general anesthesia and it would likely be fine she'd just need some help initially. I do not call that "fine" for my baby. So there I had to just suck it up and gear myself up for the long haul regardless of how long it took or what came at me next. And what came at me next was the sad and scary realization that I wouldn't be able to get IV pain meds either. I had wanted to avoid them initially as I knew the baby got more in their system but once the epidural was out the window I thought "Well, it's not an epidural but it's something. It will at least take the edge off." The doc had to break the news that I couldn't have them as Addison's heart rate had been unstable and if we did the meds and it occurred again we wouldn't know if it was a genuine problem with her or the medication. I bargained like you wouldn't believe. I tried to use logic saying I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours or slept in over 30 and was still at a 4 after 20 hours & I wouldn't be able to push in that kind of condition. I used tears (not really intentionally, they were just there) and even guilt telling them they could at least give me a Tylenol so I'd feel like they were trying to help me in some way. For the record, they humored me and did give me a 500mg Tylenol so I guess I didn't have a completely medication free birth. Not that that did an ounce of good but I was hoping it would be like a placebo effect and I'd feel like they were assisting me in some way. By this point I'd told Matt I was going home as they weren't helping me. He reminded me that wasn't an option and we had to just depend on God. I bargained with God. I asked for grace & mercy & for Him to change the anesthesiologist's mind. I asked forgiveness for cussing & being ungrateful and selfish. When I still had some sense about me I was quoting scripture in my head. That got lost somewhere along the way as the pain mounted. I also asked Matt to ask them to turn off the Pitocin for 15 minutes so I could just have a quick break. I so longed to get in the bath but I had the internal monitors so I was stuck in a 3 foot area. When I asked if I could walk around I was told I could in that 3 foot area. Not that walking or standing was actually feasible or helpful right then anyway. Actually no position helped but the birthing ball and I tried a lot. I'd get in one, a contraction would hit, I'd feel like I was dying then go right back to the birthing ball. The nurse & doctor kept telling me how well I was doing and how "controlled" I was. I felt anything but controlled although I sure longed for it. At one point I told them, "You don't  understand, I'm not controlled, I'm losing it." They later said that made them laugh.   

From there it was a blur. I remember shaking uncontrollably. Apparently that is the "labor shakes" and a good thing. I can remember the birthing ball which I lived on for several hours and rocked back and forth on while holding onto the bed and leaning against it in between contractions. Matt would rub my back in the midst of them. He was beyond wonderful. He even asked permission before he'd get up to go to the restroom. He was super encouraging and kept telling me how amazing I was & how good I was doing. I did have to get onto him a time or two for making me laugh in the midst of contractions. Only Matt could make me laugh in the midst of a contraction! I was surprisingly very nice to him. Even he commented on it several times. If nothing else this was a huge bonding experience for us. I literally would have unraveled without him. He kept asking if I wanted to do the breathing exercises. I didn't even attempt them as we learned them where they are led by him. I felt so out of control it felt like the only thing I could control was my breathing. Not that I did a great job of that. I remember asking the nurse and doctor if my face going numb was normal. There response was, "No, you're hyperventilating. Slow your breathing down." Easier said than done. Somewhere along the way I got 2 popsicles and a little cup of jello which seemed like manna from heaven. I asked the doctor to check me but she wouldn't yet saying if I was still at a 4 she was afraid I'd "crumble" (which I would have) and she didn't want to risk infection as I had already had my water broken. I got delirious at the end. The contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and I'd fall asleep in between and be half dreaming when the contractions hit. I would ask Matt about what I was dreaming. I had my contacts in for forever at this point and  had shed many tears so everything was literally blurry and surreal. By this point I  had really bad low back pain that didn't let up and Matt was applying counter pressure but only between contractions as during it seemed to make it worse. Of course, they couldn't find a heating pad when I wanted one so they heated up a packet of baby wipes for me. They also gave me ice chips and in between contractions Matt would give them to me. I felt like a dog getting rewarded with a treat. I had been nauseous for awhile which they said was normal and gave me a barf bag. Of course they gave me the medication for nausea that I told them didn't' work on me. I didn't have the energy to argue with them. By this point I was feeling like no one was listening and I was totally out of control.   

They came in about an hour prior to when they were to check me. My contractions had eased up a little and were further apart. I was certain this meant I was stalling out. The nurse said it could be that or me being ready to push. That seemed nuts. Why would they ease up then!?! The pitocin was as high as it  had ever been so I wasn't seeing that being the case. I didn't even let my mind go there. Sure enough, the doctor checked and said with a shocked voice "Complete, complete, negative 3." The nurse let out a squeal and said "Do you know what this means Lacey!?! You're ready to push. You're at a 10." I was too exhausted to get too worked up about it but did say, "Thank God!" Everyone suddenly started rushing around and I looked about to find I was alone in the room. The doctor and nurse went to get things ready and Matt went to try to find my parents. I thought, "Great, the one time I am alone is when it's time to push." I was willing them to hurry so we could get this thing over with. Pushing was the scariest part for me initially but by the time it came I was so ready for the finish line I didn't care. And it turned out to be the easiest part. I'd take that over the contractions any day. The doctor was a little over the top with encouragement but that was what I needed in the moment. Matt, who swore he'd sit back away from it all and not see a thing ended up watching the entire thing and being amazed and really involved. I so didn't want him to do that initially but again in the moment I didn't care. I just wanted her out. After an hour of pushing our little Addison with a cone on her head that was 4 centimeters in diameter from her sitting there for 20 hours before she entered the world. She had her eyes open looking around and crying like a drowned kitten. All I could think of and say was how tiny and beautiful she was & thank God. And that was when I fell in love. Love at first sight. I always said it didn't exist. My .003, my miracle, my answered prayer, in my arms flailing about proved me wrong on that one.