Monday, May 21, 2012

VBAC vs. C-Section

When I found out that I was pregnant the first time I had a million grand ideas of how this whole "birth" thing was going to go down.  I was going to have a completely natural, drug free delivery.  They were going to place my squirmy, pink, bundle of baby joy on my chest and we would bond at first sight.  I was going to be with my baby immediately and nurse him straight from the womb.  I wasn't going to have a major surgery or a scar to last a lifetime.  Nope.

 That was a long time ago (kind of, but not really...) and can I just quote a little Outkast for a moment?

  "You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather."

I ended up having a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks and 2 days.  I had spinal anesthesia (even more potent than an epidural)  I heard my boy's first cries from behind the blue surgical veil as my husband peeked over and pronounced "Whoa!  He IS big!" and I was introduced to my beautiful, perfect, 10 lb. 4 oz baby boy after they cleaned him up, weighed him, cleaned and stitched me up, and I didn't get to attempt to nurse him until several hours later.  I was completely bedridden for 24 hours after major surgery with the most annoying "pressure boots" EVER (evidently they keep your blood flowing in your legs to avoid clotting and such, since you can't move your legs...BLAH!) and yes...I have a straight little "bikini cut" scar that will be there forever.

 I have to admit...there was never anyone holding a gun to my head telling me that I  HAD to have a c-section.  It was more an "urging" of two different doctors.  My doctor was a little less urgent about when we did the surgery, but he made sure to elude to the fact that he assumed it would happen regardless of it being scheduled or after many hours of labor.  I sought a second opinion with a different doctor who was a little more "gentle" with me and told me she really thought it would be in my and my baby's best interest.  I was made aware of the risks associated with "shoulder dystocia" (which are horrific) and I was scared, to say the least.  I decided after hearing those possibilities...that if, in fact, I decided to wait and just let my body "do it's thing" and I happened to put my baby in danger...I would never, EVER be able to forgive myself.  After all, it wasn't just about me at that point...if it had been I probably would have been willing to risk a little bit more.  But not with my boy!  SO...a cesarean section it was.  At the time I had my c-section, I was zero centimeters dilated, zero percent effaced, and Brennan was still sitting pretty nice and high. (which by the way, meant that he was born with the most perfect little round head!)  Who knows how long he would have stayed put if we had said no to the c-section (and with the fact that babies gain about half a pound per week at that stage...we were looking at an 11+lb babe) I never so much as felt a single contraction...never had the "my water broke!" moment.  I worked my 40+ hour per week job until Friday and I set my alarm for 6 am Monday morning, took a shower, got dressed, and went to the hospital knowing that in a couple of short hours my baby would be extracted from my abdomen and it would all be "over"...just like in the movies, huh?

It was actually a really difficult thing for me to accept at the time (and I still have moments of "did I do the right thing?") but I have come a long way with prayer and encouragement from my loved ones.  I know that the bottom line is that my boy is safe and healthy and so am I.  It's not even that I have a particular hatred for c-sections.  I have never looked at anyone else who endured one and thought "Hmm...isn't SHE a wimp."  No.  Far from it actually.  It is by no means the "easy way out" as some people assume.  But see...I have this thing called "perfectionism"'s really unfortunate sometimes, actually.  I always envisioned being the totally capable, strong Mama that would go through labor like a champ.  I just kept telling myself that I had somehow failed at my one, clear, womanly duty...I couldn't even give birth to my baby.  How ridiculous is that??  I know.  Very. I am pregnant again.  My doctor with Brennan assured me that just because my son was born via c-section did NOT mean that I would never be able to have a vaginal delivery.  He said people have successful VBAC's (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) everyday.  He did however urge me to wait at least 18 months from my son's birth to the conception of our next baby if we intended to try a VBAC because that would mean a higher likelihood of success.  I assured him that was NOT a problem! (Hah!  Can we say "Surprise baby"???)  So, lets see...we conceived this baby when Brennan was 26 months old...we wanted to be EXTRA safe and we love the idea of our kiddos being just about 3 years apart in age.  I am now seeing a doctor here in Texas (obviously we moved from Virginia since baby #1 was born.) who supports my choice to attempt a VBAC, even though I can see the look of "you're crazy...don't you know second babies are usually BIGGER?" whenever she looks at me.  The fact of the matter is...I know that some people might think that I am, in fact, nuts (there could be some truth in that!) but you know what?  I just want to have the OPTION of trying to have a VBAC.  I have been praying (fervently!) that I would be able to have a vaginal delivery this time, but my husband pointed out to me that I shouldn't be so consumed with the method of delivery.  He's right.  So I have added an addendum to my prayer and that is...if for some reason the VBAC doesn't work out and I end up having another c-section, I pray that God would calm my heart and my emotions and that I would not be devastated.  That I would know that babies are born via c-section every day, just like they are born vaginally every day.  Every baby, every mom, every pregnancy and birth are different...there is no way to compare.  Also, let me be clear on this...the way that your child is birthed into this world (as a dear friend of mine put it) "is NOT a biblical issue."  SO TRUE and I am really offended when people openly and seriously judge someone else for having a c-section.  So in the end, all I care about is that I have a healthy and happy little baby and that I can hold my head up and say that I did what was best for both of us.  Obviously there are risks associated with both methods of delivery, but as it stands I am what my doctor calls a "perfect" candidate for a VBAC.  I would love to have this experience, but would you join me in praying that above all else, our baby is born healthy and in the safest way!  Thank You!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Snakes on a Farm

I'm not a fan of snakes.  I don't necessarily mind them if they are living behind thick glass in some sort of reptile habitat, but they definitely aren't my favorite zoo exhibit by any means.

Shortly after we first moved here, we were down at Judy and Shannon's (mother and father-in-law) house for dinner and afterward Shannon offered to drive me and Brennan home on the gator.  SO, he dropped us off on our front porch and something caught my eye...A SNAKE.  Coiled around the little awning-holder-upper-metal-post-thingy.  Well, you can just ask my father-in-law how THAT went because I don't care to relive it.  He rescued us and handled the snake appropriately.  Thank God...because as you can imagine, the snake obviously almost ATE my infant child.*

All I can say is, (again) Thank God my father-in-law was the one to stumble upon the nearly 6-foot-long snake that was in our chicken house the other day.  I think it is safe to assume that if it had been me that discovered the snake, there would be a big mess to clean up as I may have soiled myself.  Seriously...why do snakes even exist?  They're just so...creepy! Ugh. (No offense to all of you "keep snakes as pets" folks...but you clearly suffered some sort of trauma as a child and were not loved by your Mother.**)

Shannon killed the slippery serpent and I was left to assume that all was right in the world once more and that I no longer needed to be concerned with our egg-thieving pest.  WRONG.  Today my daring brute of a husband killed ANOTHER snake in the chicken house.  Snakes on a Mother-F'in Farm.***

The curses of living in the middle of a hay field...

*Obviously a gross exaggeration.
**Only joking.  But seriously.
***Sorry...I'm aware it is crass.'s a slightly modified (and highly ridiculous) movie line from the atrocious movie "Snakes on a Plane" and oh-so-appropriate in this instance.


First of all, let me just say...I am under no illusions that this is as exciting to some people as it was to us.  I am aware that people endure earthquakes literally on a daily basis in some parts of the world and that they are probably thinking "Those Texans, I mean really...cry me a river."  The thing is...we don't get earthquakes here in Texas very often, so yes...this is a big deal!!

Last week we had an earthquake that was 3.9 (Two Earthquakes within a week! Yikes!) However, I was at work during that one and thought that my mother-in-law and husband were just suffering from a case of the "crazies" because I didn't feel it.  Well, let me just tell you...I FELT IT last night.  Oh my goodness!  Please take note of the little map from the US Geological Survey that I attached to this post.  See the little star??  I feel confident that if you zoomed in extra close on that star you would see our house.  Seriously...the epicenter of this earthquake was almost right where we live.  It hit at 3:12 am and we were sound asleep.  I definitely said a naughty word when I was violently shaken awake...oops!  I'm thinking the shaking lasted somewhere around 15-ish seconds...Derek thinks it was less, but based on reports I have been reading it's obvious that I am right (surprise, surprise!!!) Regardless of how long it was, it was awfully violent for only being a 4.3 magnitude earthquake.  Our bed is on a basic frame with wheels and we have hard floors in our house so we were shaking pretty bad.  Not to mention the fact that it sounded like there was a huge train barreling through the pasture right outside our window.  Who knew earthquakes were so LOUD??  Probably people who are used to earthquakes, that's who.  

Poor Brennan.  There was a brief moment of silence after the obnoxiously loud rumbling subsided and then he cried out "MOMMY!!!" I ran in and he was so sleepy and disoriented he said "Mommy, please you lay in my bed with me?"  Sweet guy.  He says things backwards sometimes, so instead of "Will you please" it is "Please you will"...and you bet I did!  

Other than being really shaken up (hah!) we are all fine.  Nothing fell off of our walls or got broken (miraculously) and we didn't exit our house to find a gigantic jagged crater in our yard.  All is well and hopefully we're done with the quakes in Texas.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nature-1, Derek-0

It's ironic, seductive, sexy, and alluring the comic book Graphic Novel (shout out to all of the nerds!!) version of "Poison Ivy" is.  Because let me tell you friends...the real thing is anything but!*


Derek, my dear, sweet, handsome husband has a raging case of Poison Ivy.  Poor guy!  He was chopping down a tree(such a burly stud! )...and unbeknownst to him, the tree was also covered in the death ivy.  Lo and behold, a few days later and he has this wicked rash on his arms (Mostly.  There are some small patches on his thigh and chest) and it is just miserable.  Thank GOD, Poison Ivy is not contagious from person to person and I didn't touch the stuff.  We have a prescription steroid cream that we had used for Brennan in the past (he gets eczema on his legs) that seems to be helping some for this particular bout with contact dermatitis.  However, I, in my current pregnant state am unable to touch the steroid cream because it specifically states that it is teratogenic (very bad) for pregnant women.  We have been training Brennan in the fine art of steroid cream application. (Only kidding, of course!)  Derek says that hot showers are the best relief he has found so far and I have offered to apply calamine lotion and rub his throat to help the benadryl go down.  (Since he all but refuses to take pills with WATER...what in the world??!)  Hopefully my husband will be on the mend soon!

So this is my suggestion to all of you reader (that's right...all ONE of you...) if you see this:

STAY AWAY!  You will rue the day you ever thought "Poison Ivy" was pretty if you don' have been warned.

*Perhaps Derek was drawn to Poison Ivy because the cartoon version has red hair and he clearly has a thing for redheads...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

20 Weeks and a Silly Survey!

Total weight gain: Still working on getting back up to my starting weight.

Maternity clothes? Still mixed.  I wear some maternity things, but a lot of them are just still a little bit too bit so I end up having to "adjust" myself constantly which is highly annoying.  My awesome, awesome Aunt-in-Law (is that a title?) Pam volunteers for a clothing drive type of thing and got a huge box of maternity clothes that she sent my way.  Best part??  Almost all of them were super cute and my size!  Thank you, Pam!  And thank you to the similarly sized, stylish, formerly pregnant woman who donated the clothes!! 

Stretch marks? Still none and hoping it stays that way!! :)

Sleep: What is this "sleep" you speak of??  I don't think I have ever heard of it.  Blah.

Best moment this week: Just feeling the baby move so much more.  SEEING the baby move from the outside!  

Miss Anything?  Why is it that I always just want a cold deli sandwich?  Lunch meat never sounded so good!! 

Movement: Oh yes...lots.  Derek has now been able to feel AND see the little babe move.  Pretty incredible! 

Food cravings: As I mentioned...Lunch Meat.  Oh my gosh, the other day I was craving a Turkey, Spicy mustard, and Granny Smith Apple sandwich (like from Magnolia Foods in Lynchburg) so much that I highly considered buying the ingredients and just steaming the turkey...but you and I both know it just wouldn't be the same.  Perhaps after this baby is born a trip to Lynchburg is in order?  Ahh, who am I kidding??  OF COURSE IT IS!! 

Anything making you queasy or sick: I have a UTI (oh joy.) Sorry...I know that is TMI.  (Hey...UTI, TMI...hah!)  I am on some antibiotics right now and they don't seem to be making me feel any better, but hopefully that will change.  PS...I HATE that I am taking a prescribed medication during this pregnancy.  I didn't so much as pop a tylenol when I was pregnant with Brennan and I would really just rather NOT this time around...but I know that UTI's can be very serious in pregnancy if they go there ya go.  I hope my baby isn't drugged up! :(  

Gender: Still a surprise!  Although I did have my first "gender prediction" dream and the baby was a BOY!  He was really adorable and I didn't wake up the least bit disappointed at the thought of having another boy.  A girl would be lovely, but so would a boy.  This is the beauty of the "surprise" factor....we know it is one or the other and it truly does NOT matter! 

Labor Signs: No.

Symptoms: SO. TIRED. 

Belly Button in or out? Still in, but becoming more and more pronounced by the day. 

Wedding rings on or off? ON!

Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy :)

Looking forward to: Brennan being able to meet his sibling!  He loves to talk about the baby and even claims that HE has a baby in his belly from time to time.  When we eat dinner he pokes his belly out and says "My baby is growing!" hahaha :)  We tell him it is his "Food Baby" 

Friday, May 4, 2012

California Love

My favorite guys and I just got back from a quick trip to my home land...California.

It's where I was born, where I always called "home" (even when we moved away), and where most of my extended family lives.  Derek, my dear husband, had never been "home" with me until now!  We will celebrate our 4 Year Wedding Anniversary in July and he had never seen where I grew up.  Disgraceful.

SO, we decided that we would make a little mini-vacation out of it.  We flew in to San Francisco, which is kind of scary to drive around in, but all around a really neat city.  We stuck to the super tourist-y type things and hung out around Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf.  I LOVED Pier 39 when I was a kid!  (What kid doesn't?  I mean really.)  So it was really fun to show my Brennan boy around my old stomping grounds.  He got a big kick out of the Sea Lions that hangout in the little marina and really enjoyed riding the big carousel with Daddy!  I would have gone too, but it's five dollars per person to ride or something insane like I passed.  I was on picture taking duty and enjoyed a warm churro with my Mom while the boys were riding :)  We also got to meet up with my precious old (not OLD, but old-as in, from junior high) friend Diana and her sweet baby girl Amaya!  It was super awesome to see them, even if the Rainforest Cafe* did scare the dickens out of my son.

After our lovely day in the bay area we headed back home to Stockton which is where all the family is.  We stayed with my Grandpa Bill and Grandma Reggie and got to see lots of little cousins and my uncle and aunt whom I haven't seen in YEARS.  It was awesome.  Brennan had tons of fun playing with sweet Caroline (who is a little more than a month older than Brennan, but clearly more dainty than my big boy!)  We also spent lots of time with my mom, my sister, my nieces (Madisyn and Abigail), my brothers, my grandma...LOTS of people! :)  Lots of food, naturally.  Lots of laughs.  We were even able to capture a picture of all of my siblings and my Mom.  A rarity, my friends!!  So what if we couldn't get Austin to smile...that, too is a rarity (even more than the picture) :)  It was the perfect little trip and just long enough.  We were ready to get back home, but we will definitely look forward to coming back for another visit soon!  Next time it will be with TWO kids...whoa.

*The Rainforest Cafe is an obnoxiously loud and humid restaurant that is set up to look like an actual rainforest...complete with moving/mechanical wildlife such as gorillas, snakes, and butterflies.  Also...every 30 minutes on the dot there is a "thunder storm" sans REAL thunder, but it makes for an ULTRA loud couple of minutes where there are strobe lights, rumbling chairs, loud claps of thunder from the sound system, etc. combined with the screeching of the mechanical animals.  Being that we have ACTUAL thunder storms (which are quite scary sometimes) here in good ol' Texas...Brennan wasn't too keen on the spectacle.  He screamed and cried in terror every thirty minutes and clung to me through the whole thing.  *sigh*  AND...our meal was OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive.  $15 for a cheeseburger?? Really?  Next time we will stick solely to the clam chowder in a bread bowl sold on Fisherman's Wharf.  YUM!

Ultrasound Shmultrasound

Well...that was disappointing.  We had our "20 Week" ultrasound the other day and it was just not very exciting.  I was actually only 19 weeks, but they call it the 20 week ultrasound because it is usually scheduled "around" the half-way mark.  We were also dealing with a less-than-enthused Brennan during the appointment because honestly...WE couldn't even tell what we were looking at half the time, so how could we expect our two-and-a-half-year old to be interested in the black wavy lines on the screen??  So poor Derek wrangled Brennan and got even less out of the appointment than I did (which wasn't much)

Let me just start by saying that I am beyond blessed to have a healthy baby/pregnancy.  I don't mean to be whiny about it, so I will try not be...but let me just vent some of my frustration because well, that's what I do here on my blog from time to time.  Terribly sorry.  

First of all, our ultrasound tech was just not very talkative.  She was nice enough, but really only spoke when I asked "is that an arm I see?" or "Oh look, I think those are kidneys..."  Other than that, she stared blankly at her computer in between squeezing warm goo on my belly and waving the magic wand to see the baby.  It can be a little disconcerting to an expectant mom and dad to hear absolutely no comment from the person examining their child to check for any abnormalities.  In this case, as they say, "no news is good news"...but still...I could have used and "Oh look...There's your baby's perfectly beating heart!"  Alas...silence.

I think all of my feelings on this matter were heightened by the fact that the ultrasound tech that we had in Richmond during my pregnancy with Brennan was AWESOME.  She was so sweet and always sent us away with tons of pictures and congratulations and "Oh, Look how sweet those chubby cheeks are!!"  She was also extremely thorough and I feel like this lady was not.  Brennan's ultrasound tech always checked every. single. thing.  She measured all of his organs, his heart rate, his head circumference, length of arms and legs...everything.  I'm sure that this lady got what she needed for my doctor to feel content, but I wanted more. Also...we were sent home with ONE picture.  Which, as you can see, is just really not that good.  At the end of the ultrasound she actually spoke, but only to tell me that she was having a hard time getting a clear picture of the baby's heart for the doctor.  She said "I can see it on the screen, I just can't seem to get a picture of it." it was in Brennan's case, I assumed that she would ask me to come back at a different time to try to get a clearer picture if she was unable to capture it.  I was wrong.  She just basically shrugged her shoulders and said "Eh...I saw it on the screen.  That's good enough."  Not good enough for me, lady.  Not good enough for me. 

So...we are faced with a dilemma.  We had multiple ultrasounds with Brennan because of his size.  My doctor had me in for an ultrasound once a week toward the end of my pregnancy.  We also went to a photo-studio-type place and had a 3D/4D ultrasound when I was pregnant with Brennan and we loved it! My doctor says that we will most likely do at least one more ultrasound closer to the end of this pregnancy to monitor the baby's size since I want to attempt a VBAC.  Since we are waiting to find out the gender for this baby, I had said earlier on that I wanted to fore go the 3D ultrasound this time, lest we be tempted to peek.  HOWEVER, now I am having second thoughts.  I would really like to have some decent pictures to show to this precious child someday.  I hate the idea that they will someday look at Brennan's huge stack of ultrasound photos and then look at their one-measly little picture and think "What the heck, MOM?  Clearly you love Brennan more."  Also...I really do want to just get a more thorough look at the baby and make sure everything is looking a-ok. (Not that anything being less than perfect would CHANGE anything, but it would just be nice to be able to have some preparation if that were the case)  I mean...we could tell the 3D ultrasound tech that we don't want to know the sex of the baby and to stay out of "the area"?  Right?  Or should we just leave this one alone and trust that everything is fine?  Decisions, decisions.  Thoughts??  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

30 Months...

My very precious boy is two-and-a-half today.  Where has the time gone??  By the way...this little poem has me in tears today.  Pregnancy hormones??  Probably not.  It's just so true!  I love watching my son grow and learn and become a personable, interactive, funny, sweet BOY!  But man...Sometimes I just want to hold him forever and never let him leave.  We are so blessed by this little guy and I truly don't know how I ever lived without him.  Love you, Brennan!

*Image from Pinterest