Monday, January 29, 2018

Family of Five

Life has turned upside down and (by evidence of my blogging) is starting to turn back up-side again. I'm getting to that point where I can't really remember what life was like before Tyler. We all LOVE him. He is the best baby, so smiley, so chill, so happy and so gosh darn cute! I can't believe how obsessed with him I still am!

These last few months have been pretty chill. Before baby I stressed about going to the store, but now I do grocery pick up, send Bobby or go when they're sleeping. Funny how things become non-issues. I still think three is a handful though! But the boys have adjusted to their new normal too. Troy is helpful when I ask him to hand me stuff, or tell him to play by himself. Rocky smothers his little brother with so much love!

Since October we've had our favorite guests - my parents and Kylee and Alice and Mark, as well as Michael had a training in San Antonio for 6 weeks and we got to see him just about every weekend, and Preslee came to visit twice. My mom was of course so helpful with the baby (ie delivering the baby). Michael was so fun to the boys. They called him Spider Michael and he just played and played with him. He took them to Sea World too.

We had a fun Halloween, and so much fun anticipating it. I loved those little boys in bat costumes. I was just going to make Troy a costume, but Rocky wanted to be a bat so.bad. So I ended up making two. The costumes were not awesome but well loved. It was the best to have the Ramptons with us for trunk or treating.

Thanksgiving was very casual, we did a potluck with people from our ward.

Rocky had a (million) fall(s) to his face and ended up developing an abscess. We thought it was going to need to be pulled asap, but it's still hanging in there. We'll see. It was a hard pill to swallow thinking he might be front-toothless for 5ish years!

December was the funnest, as it always is. I turned 29 and my friends spoiled me with breakfast, presents, sign on the door. Bobby too, with an instant pot. Children's nativity, concerts, white elephant Christmas party...We drove 13+ hours to Colorado. The car trip was not bad and it was so fun to see the WHOLE Ellsworth fam. Lots of sickness though - some are still lingering... We even got snow in San Antonio!

January we've just been working on schedules, preparing to start chores, getting back to health and routine. Tyler is 13% so trying to bulk him up. Bobby got called to Scouts. We had Tyler's baby blessing yesterday.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tyler's Birth Story

Troy was 4 days early and Rocky was 11 days early, so since mid-August I've been on the edge of my seat wondering when this baby would come! My due date came and went and I could not believe I was still pregnant! My mom flew out on Thursday, Sept 7 so I hated having help but not using her. I was so tempted to strip my membranes, but I wanted to have this baby naturally so I forced myself to be patient.

For both Troy and Rocky, my birth experiences were completely different than what I was planning on for Tyler. Epidurals, artificial rupture of membranes, membrane stripping, continuous monitoring, episiotomy...I pretty much complied with whatever my doctor suggested. Their births were beautiful and perfect, but I wanted something different with Tyler. I wanted to trust my body instead of forcing it to do anything. I wanted to trust the baby and provide him a unstressful birthing event. I wanted to prove to myself that my body was capable of making and delivering a baby and I could go through that process without having to be numbed. I wanted to be supported by Bobby and people instead of medicine and items. I wanted to have the freedom to move to guide the baby down the birth canal instead of pulling it out. In summary, I wanted this to be a spiritual, bonding experience and I knew that the cost of that would be pain and preparation.

I did not find my hospital to be supportive of me. I learned about halfway through my pregnancy to not ask questions or for favors because they were always dismissed. I cried after almost every appointment. Because I went into A Fib with Troy during labor, the doctors were worried about delivering Tyler. None of my OBs had ever had a patient deliver a baby with A Fib, and my cardiologist had never had a A Fib patient get pregnant. To cover themselves, they had a whole plan of bringing down ICU nurses, hooking me up to a 12 lead EKG for my entire labor, pulse ox, continuous fetal monitoring, etc. etc. I would have been fine with it if it had been the other two deliveries, but this really ruined my plans of a natural birth as it would cause a lot of restriction of movement. I feel that one of the reasons my heart did freak out so much was because it was under so much unneeded stress. I felt that all this monitoring and supervision would increase my chances of stress on my heart.

We really considered switching insurances/doctors, but we were scared of what that would cost us if I did need cardiac intervention. It would also make things complicated with my cardiologist. AND even if I did switch, the new doctor would surely request my prenatal medical records, and we had no indication that the new doctor wouldn't do the exact same plan, but charge us for it, so for those reasons we decided to just stay at SAMMC.

My plan to combat the ridiculous amount of oversight they planned for me was to labor as long as I could at home. My doula and others recommend this to me anyways, because the less amount of time a patient is at the hospital, the less likely she'll need interventions. They also didn't have birthing tubs at the hospital, so I wanted to be in my bath as long as I could. I hoped I could labor as long as I could at home, be a little distracted by the 35 minute drive, get to the hospital and deliver soon afterwards before they really even had a chance to get all those monitors hooked up.

I prayed about this delivery so much. I poured my heart to Heavenly Father how I wanted things to go, and why and asked him for me to give me this spiritual experience of welcoming a new innocent baby into our family. A friend of mine told me that Heavenly Father wanted this for His children and that he would answer my prayers and give me the birthing experience that I needed. I had all sorts of unanswered questions and fears of the unknown, but at the same time I trusted Heavenly Father to hear and answer my prayers. I had a feeling that everything was going to be OK and so did Bobby. I prayed in specifics - after hearing a birth story of my friends, I even discussed how I would like to catch the baby if the doctor would let me and I had the physical stamina to be able to do it, but that I wasn't expecting to be able to. I prayed mostly that I would be able to withstand the pain, and that labor would go quickly but not too quickly that it was out of control, and that it could be a peaceful, bonding experience between me and the baby and Bobby and that I would be kind throughout it and wouldn't need to get confrontational with the hospital staff, that things would just work out. I also prayed so much that the baby would change positions before I delivered (baby was posterior weeks before delivery on numerous occasions).

I did my part to try and have things work out. I read the Bradly Method and tutored Bobby on it. I read and practiced hypnobirthing - that was probably my main prep. I researched positions and relaxation techniques, counterpressures and back massages, Robozo, bought thoughtful snacks and drinks, I had herbs for transition, Bobby and I practiced laboring positions, Bobby did Robozo to me many nights near the end, I swayed on my birthing ball, I attempted to do 300 squats a day per Ina May, but that actually never once happened, but I did try occasionally. I was ready! But when the due date came I was also ok with waiting. I didn't want to induce labor too much (like too much walking - induction was obviously out of the question for me), because I felt that he was still posterior and wanted to allow him time to flip.

Monday morning came. My mom and I walked 2 miles to the HEB construction site. She led me in way further than I felt comfortable with and the construction workers had to ask us to leave lol. Not one contraction. I told multiple people that it "wasn't going to happen today." I texted Bobby that I felt 6 months pregnant, not 9.

My first contraction happened when we were dropping Troy off at preschool at 11:35. Then I had a couple as we drove home. I barely mentioned it to my mom because I didn't want to get her hopes up. They just kept coming! I thought maybe this was something and started actually tracking them at 12:45. Rocky had shown me false labor twice - so I didn't get my hopes up too high. I did my "chores"and read my scriptures and mom tried to make herself busy by making cookies. The last thing I wanted to do was eat, but I was trying to be a kind laboring woman and decided to have a couple bites of her cookies since she made them for me, and ended up eating two. They were the best cookies I've ever had.

Bobby was asking me if he should come home, but I didn't want to get too excited about labor too fast, for one in case it was false labor, and two because I wanted to not concentrate on labor until I needed to because I didn't want to head off to the hospital asap. I was going to labor as long as I could at home, so the longer I ignored it, the better. I told him not to come, not to come. Finally I accepted the fact that this was it. I told him to come home now. I texted my doulas that they could come over or meet me at the hospital. At this point I was laboring in the tub.

I got out of the tub, only to be in pain and got back in. The second time I get back in the tub, maybe around 2:45, I started realizing that things needed to start happening. Bobby needed to come home, my doulas needed to get here, the boys needed to go to their friends house, my bag needed some last minute things to be packed... So at that point when I realized it was time to go, I couldn't because I was waiting on people. I thought I was home alone (turns out I wasn't), and I said to myself, "Ok I need to get out and dressed and pack so I'm ready when everyone shows up. When I stood up to get out of the tub, that is when things really got intense.

I was laboring in the tub in my sports bra because the door was open and I didn't know if people were going to come in and check on me. I grabbed a robe and headed for my dresser. I made it about halfway, to the edge of the bed when I couldn't walk anymore. The contractions were SO intense at this point. I was on hands and knees - still with the intention to get some clothes on. The whole time while laboring I felt I needed to be leaning forward, perhaps because baby was posterior? Also a lot of rocking.

My doula and mom came in my room at this point. I was completely primeval, animal-like crawling on the floor. My doula tried doing some counterpressure on my hips, but I couldn't hold still I was in so much pain. But I didn't have the energy to tell her not to touch me, so instead I just crawled away. I knew that was a weird thing to do, but like I said - primeval. I was crawling in circles in my bedroom, in so much pain that I think I was trying to "run away." I was panicked and scared. My doula was telling me not to use just high groans, and asked if I was pushing because of how I was breathing, essentially high pitched grunting. I was trying to listen to her/take her advice but I really didn't have control at that point. From the time I got out of the tub until the end, I only had one very small break in contractions. They were relentless and on top of each other and so painful. My mom later told me that my whole body was radiating so much heat, just being near me.

My water broke next. It felt like a syringe, a lot of pressure to get it started, then even more intense/different pain once it was over. I watched my water break as I was still on my hands and knees, I remember it squirting out and it was white with specks in it. I lost it at this point. I stood up and said something like, "We've got to go right now! We can't wait for Bobby! We've got to go to the closest hospital too." I remember grabbing my doula's shirt at the shoulders. I think my doula was responding with something about breathing, but I wasn't listening.

She started leading me out of the bedroom, my mom behind me. At this point I had no clue that the baby was so close to coming. It did not register to me that I was probably in transition. But it did go through my head something my sister-in-law Anna sent to me, "At some point you're going to think you can not do this, that is when your baby is coming." The pain had been bearable, but once my water broke I had overstepped my pain limit and I was thinking I could NOT do this. I wanted to die or to be knocked unconscious! I hated myself for not being at the hospital earlier and therefore the thought that I couldn't get pain relief anytime soon.

Anyway, right past the doorway, about 5 steps from where my water broke and I had stood up, and 10 seconds later, I instinctively reached down. I don't know why. I didn't think I was delivering a baby, but to my surprise I felt a head and shoulders. At that exact time I was overcome with relief. The pain was gone. I reached down and grabbed the baby, and collapsed backwards onto my mom's lap all at the same time. He had been delivered to his belly button. There was no conscious pushing. He really did just fall out. I was grateful he didn't land on the floor, because like I said I didn't intentionally catch him. I didn't really know what to do, but my doula took over from there. She delivered the legs and handed him back to me.

I was still kind of in shock. The first thing I said was "I feel so much better" which is dumb but I think my body was still trying to process the pain I had just gone through.

I knew the baby was ok. He was pretty pink when he came out. He was crying/coughing just a little and blinking/looking around. I am still on my mom's lap. We were all in shock!

The rest is kind of a blur already (I needed to write this blog post asap because I know I'm already forgetting things!). The doula told Bobby to call 911, that was the first time I registered Bobby was there, so no the doctor in the house was not a big help. Bobby was getting towels and following orders from the operator and answering questions. The doula was checking me for bleeding, no gloves, just running the show. I am SO grateful she was there. We would have been totally lost without her. She was calm and level headed and knew just what to do.

The 911 operator told us to get a shoe string to tie off the umbilical cord. A month or so ago a friend gave me an umbilical cord clamp, just in case she said. She must have been inspired. I was like what do I do with this? She was like, "I don't know. Keep it in your car just in case?" I should have. But instead I gave it to Troy to play with and my last remembrance of it was it was half under the fridge. I told the people around me that there was a clamp under the fridge. My mom tried to get it, then Bobby came and used super human strength and lifted the fridge and found it. We clamped the cord, and I got my desire of delayed cord clamping. It was cold and lifeless by the time we clamped it and I remember the feeling on my thigh. There was thick pudding-like vernix on the bottom of his bum all over my fingers. One of the towels was stained with meconium.

I felt like the paramedics arrived quickly - my mom said it took about 10 minutes. It must have been Bobby who took pictures, but I have no memory of taking pictures. The paramedics were funny. I don't think they had any clue what they were doing. They tried placing leads on Tyler - which would not stick whatsoever. They never checked for bleeding which was making the doula nervous. I have no memory of getting on the gurney. I was just glad they promised that I could hold the baby the whole time to the hospital. The wheeled me out on the stretcher right as the middle school bus dropped off the neighborhood middle schoolers. I was breastfeeding.

The hospital was much less invasive than I imagined SAMMC would be. It was simple, and everything went according to procedure. We were discharged after 24 hours.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Still a family of Four

Today is September 10 - my due date of #3, and no signs of baby coming today. All my friends pity me, and I pity myself to a certain extent, but I'm an experienced mother enough by now that I know they are easier inside the womb than they are outside! And I still have a lot to do, like updating my blog, so until the time comes I'm making the best of it! I am sure excited to meet #3 though.

My last blog post was "Welcome to San Antonio," almost exactly one year ago. Since then, we have made a lot of good memories, learned a lot, made new friends, done a lot! It's a whole different life than the one in El Paso, different but good. A new baby will be here soon, one baby turned 3 and another 2 and the biggest boy turned 30!

A big change for us is owning this home of ours, and being home-owners for the first time. Since moving in a year ago we have: replaced the roof, replaced the water heater, replaced the water softner, made a garden bed/garden and done lots of landscaping and laying sod, learned and experimented lots with decorating... We have enjoyed owning and have loved this house of ours.

I complained that this was a long, hot summer. We didn't vacation once since Michael's wedding, but we actually had a great summer. Me and the two boys played and played. They made leaps and bounds of improvement at the swimming pool, which we visited a couple times a week. SeaWorld, museums, free movies, lakes, libraries, dates... I loved this summer!

The end of summer has brought a big change for our family - Preschool for Troy! We have completed one week and so far it is a success! He is darn tired by the end of his preschool days, but he loves going and always asks to stay. His teacher is the sweetest too. I think it will be a great year.

Rocky is going at a million miles per minute. As my mom stated "He has tender feelings and a streak of mischief." The boy loves to be held, has a million facial expressions, loves to play and is so loud. He is an equal match for Troy physically and to put frankly - they fight all the time. But also play all the time. When Troy goes to preschool, Rocky asks me 100x "Troy? Troy?" To which I respond "He's at preschool!" And he says, "Oooohhhhh!" 30 seconds later: "Troy?"

Bobby is starting his second year of dermatology residency. Supposedly a little easier than first year? He is enjoying it. He has great friends in the program with him and carpools to work everyday. He continues to nurture his passion for finance and investing on the side.