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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Tonight as I sit here I am reflecting on how blessed my life has been. It's the little things that really make the biggest difference in life. Right this moment, Gary is upstairs with our little baby putting him to sleep, the sound of the dishwasher is humming in the background, and I am contemplating whether or not to clean the living room of Joey's toys or write a blog. Life couldn't get better for me. The toys can wait. I am taking a moment of "me" time.

I really can't believe Joe is 4.5 months old. He is growing like a weed. He makes me smile all day long. Today he actually learned to scoot on his tummy across his play mat to the other side. I was amazed! Ask me a year ago, and I would never have imagined how much joy the simple little milestones would bring to my life. Although I am so happy to see him achieving these things, it gives me a tinge of sadness inside that he will never be this small again. Tomorrow he will be a little bigger, smarter, sweeter...all the while growing right out of my arms. Tear.

This realization was a reality check for me. I was starting to get flustered when he would only take a nap on me, and not in his crib. I would look around at all that needed to be done and feel overwhelmed. I would let this stress me out. I would cry when I couldn't find the time to take a shower or a nap. Today, I let it all go. I welcomed the sweet warmness of his little body next to mine while he slept soundly in my arms...the only place in the world at that moment where he felt secure enough to sleep hard and for a long period of time. I watched him dream. His tiny eyelids would flutter and he would let out small noises from those perfectly soft lips. He would smile, and I imagined him dreaming of all the milk in the world. He made me laugh on several occasions. These are the moments I will never get back. I refuse to let them escape me because I am too worried about getting the laundry done or the carpet vacuumed.

One day he will be five years old, waving good bye to me as he makes his way to the school bus, and I will have more than enough time to do what I need to do. Until then, I am savoring every last moment with this amazing miracle. I am blessed and forever thankful for my baby.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Day

After much doubt about the actual amount of snow we would see today, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The snow started coming down last night about 10 p.m. and did not stop until about 5 p.m  today. I woke up to see a winter wonderland in our backyard, and I immediately called my sister to come over and snap a few pictures of "Joey's first big snow day". This is the benefit of having a photographer in the family that lives 4 houses away.  We bundled up and made it outside amidst the blowing cold snow, it was fun for us, but Joey did not seem too impressed. He mostly just cried. He did look absolutely adorable in the big blue snow suit that Grandma & Grandpa bought for him though. After a few quick minutes it was time to come inside and get warm again. We spent most of our day together as a family, mommy cleaned the house and daddy shoveled the drive way...twice. I love snow days when everyone is home, time for some hot chocolate before bedtime.  Good night :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Perfect Mom

In my most recent four months, I have been in pursuit to be the perfect mom. Yes, it's true...I have been trying very hard to perfect my not-so-perfect mothering techniques. I have stressed myself out on many occasions trying to be everything to my baby. EVERYTHING. I find validation in his smiles, laughs and sweet coos. Where I find myself falling short is the wailing cries and tears, the gas that I can't get to go away no matter what I try. I blame myself. I change my diet, I try the drops, I work his little legs in a bicycle motion until the tears stop.  I cry when he cries, and I feel guilty about it, I feel like I am not the strong mom that I need to be...I realize at this point that I am not perfect. I realize that although it is impossible to obtain perfection, I still strive for it when it comes to my sweet baby. I fall short and it makes me sad. Hormones? Maybe. All the same, it breaks my heart in a million pieces when I can't fix what is wrong. Who said motherhood was easy?! I want to look that girl in the eyes and call her a liar. If, that girl even exists. This is the hardest job that I have ever been blessed with. It's a lot of worry, tears and "I don't knows", it's a lot of unnecessary trips to the doctors office, many sleepless nights and a lot of self blame when things don't go exactly how the books say they should. Who wrote those things anyway?

So, all that being said,  I am giving up my pursuit to be the perfect mom...I am working now on accepting that I will be everything my baby needs even if I'm not perfect. I am learning, and boy-oh-boy, this is the biggest learning curve I have ever encountered. Here's to all you mommas out there, who so desperately need a hug at the end of a long hard day...My hat is off to you ladies, and lets stop trying to obtain perfection and just relish those hugs, kisses, and little laughs. We are strong, we are able, we are moms.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Birth Story

Date:  Saturday, October 13, 2012. Time: 8:00 am

Must. Go. To. Grocery. Store. YUCK. My swollen feet make their way to the bathroom for the sixteenth time since I went to bed the night before. Usually, on the weekends, I will make the run to the grocery store by myself. Gary will stay home and work on cutting the grass or other things that men like to do. Not today. Today, I hurt. My back aches, my ankles throb, and I think I have been having some contractions? Maybe. Probably. Oh- I don't know, they don't really hurt, so most likely not. I'm probably going to have one of those babies who waits til long past their due date, which isn't for another two weeks anyway. Good thing, because that Brazilian wax I decided to get yesterday still really stings.  WHAT WAS I THINKING??? Ouch. Yes, I survived a Brazilian at nine months preggo - I can do labor, I think.

I recruit my loving, supportive husband to accompany me to the grocery store. I have gained sixty pounds (YES, you heard me correct, 6-0) during this long, incredibly hot summer pregnancy, and I feel every single ounce of it. Entering the store, I notice people watching me, like I may just have this baby in the the veggie isle, right next to the organic avocados. Nope, not me. I am one of those moms who will undoubtedly need to be induced at 42 weeks, I am sure of it. Who needs groceries anyway?! I should have just stayed home. I start to cry a few "I'm feeling sorry for myself tears" and proceed past the deli.

A kind hearted stranger approaches me and utters something like "it won't be long now". I want to grab her by her cute little pony tail and scream..."Don't you know I still have two weeks?! Don't you know it is more common for a first time mom to exceed her due date then to come early?! Don't you know that by saying this to me you are just filling my head with false hopes?!" But she doesn't know, and how could she? I look as big as the empire state building and ready to burst at any moment. Besides, two weeks to her may seem like "right around the corner". To me, it seemed like an eternity of sleepless nights and aching joints, but I digress. I smile my best smile and move on.

A couple of contractions in the frozen food section, and I am "gently" reminding my dear husband that I must get home and find my favorite spot on the couch. I remind him that "I am done! No more anything for me. I am parking my big butt on the couch for the remainder of this pregnancy, or at least until I have to pee again, which ever comes first". He just smiles lovingly and agrees with me. Man, I love him.

We get home, and I do just that. Park it. Feet up, cold water in hand and my iPhone. I start to google. "Ways to induce labor naturally"...First suggestion, "walk around"...ha ha hahahaha. Hilarious. Ok, next one. "Massage", now we're talking! I ask Gary to help me by putting pressure on all the areas in the foot and ankle precisely as outlined on this site. We spend about a half hour massaging my feet, and I feel content.

The tigers are playing tonight, they might make it to the world series. We decide to go to my sister's house to watch the game. I won't have to do much, except sit on the couch so I decide to go.  It's a late game, it goes into extra innings, my tail bone hurts. I want to go home. It's eleven pm. we leave and head home. I tell Gary that I am done working. I am calling in sick Monday and not going back until after this baby is born. Of course, he agrees and helps me up the stairs to our bedroom.

I quickly fall asleep around midnight. I wake up suddenly at one a.m. I think my water broke!? I'm sure it did, but I'm not having any contractions. I run to the bath room and come back into the bedroom. I am excited. But where are my contractions? Damn. Probably should go back to bed and wait. I fall asleep and about 20 minutes later they start. They feel like strong menstrual cramps. These must be the real thing. I can't sleep.We start to time them. They are lasting about 20 seconds and are about 3 minutes apart. We text our doula, Misty. She tells me to take a hot bath and drink 32 ounces of water. If it is real labor, the contractions should continue to come, if it's false labor they will more than likely stop for a while or become further apart. The hot bath felt amazing. Music, candles, my awesome hubby by my side, and the, yep that dog wanted to be part of it too. He kept coming into the bathroom and seemed very interested in what was happening.  My contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. They were now around 30 seconds long about 2.5 minutes apart.

We call Misty (our doula) and tell her that we are probably going to head to the hospital soon. We try to labor using the exercise ball...I eat some cheese-it's, and when the contractions started coming for 40 seconds and 2 minutes apart. I said we better go. We grabbed our bag, called our families and out the door we went. We were both so excited. We got to the hospital about five a.m. There was no one at the check in area to the birth center, so I sat down while Gary went to find someone. We did not find anyone so we decided to walk up to the birth center on the second floor. We rang the buzzer and were let in.

They checked me in, and I was sure to provide a copy of our birth plan to the nurse. She was super friendly and agreed to follow as close as they could.  She asked if they could check me to get a baseline measurement. I agreed. I was 3 cm, and 100% effaced. Contractions continued and I got into my own gown. (a black cotton halter top type of gown that I bought on Amazon). Misty arrived and it was so nice to see her. She was our doula. She had been a constant source of support and inspiration for Gary and I . She supported our decision to try for a natural birth and provided a lot of information to help us feel confident in that decision. Once Misty arrived, Gary went down to the car to get our bags.

I tested strep b positive, so I decided to get one dose of antibiotics that would be good for twelve hours. Even though I am extremely sensitive to antibiotics, this seemed like the best choice, considering the implications, if our little baby were to come down with it. I had an I.V. put in and the antibiotics were administered. My head started to itch like crazy, a mild reaction that ended when the antibiotics were done. Once a full dose was complete, the I.V. was unhooked and I was free to move around.

For the first couple of hours I was able to talk through my contractions. I had my iPod playing the birth play list I had created in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Gary was right by my side, holding my hand while I labored in different positions. We used the birth ball, tried squatting (until my sciatic nerve started acting up) and finally decided to use the birth tub. This was such a relief. The hot water, and battery operated candles really helped to relax me. The contractions were very strong at this point and I started to hum through them. Close my eyes. Pray. Focus. Gary held my hand and encouraged me with his words. Misty brought in cool wash cloths and placed them on my head. My midwife was coming in every half hour or so to check on me. I was doing good. I spent about an hour in the tub, and decided I wanted to get out. I was asked if I wanted pain meds. I declined.

This time I was at 7 cm. Only 3 hours had passed and I was already making good progress. I was encouraged. I labored standing up for a while and then decided to try laying on my side. After another hour, I was checked again, this time at 9 cm. The midwife came in, and she stayed this time. I knew we were close. I did not talk much at this point, but I did make a point to keep my mouth open and moan through each contraction. A low, loud moan that seemed to prepare me for what came next. The contractions hurt, but the moaning and my dear husband seemed to make them bearable. The nurse asked if I wanted pain meds again. I think I yelled at her....I DO NOT WANT ANY PAIN MEDS. My body was working like it should, and producing it's own hormones which dulled the pain. I was doing fine with out them.

The midwife examined me and found that my bag of waters was bulging, so she asked if she could try to break it as it would help speed things up. She had an intern midwife with her, who asked if she could try it. I agreed. She inserted the hook and tried to break it twice. At this point I asked nicely for the midwife to do it. She tried one last time, but did not succeed. We did not try again.

One more hour and I was dilated to 10 cm. I remember the nurses bringing in a large tray with a lot of medical tools on it. That was the first time during the entire labor that I was scared. I asked what those were for, and they told me it was for afterwards and I most likely would not need anything on the table. That pacified me. They told me I could start to push if I wanted to. So I did. I pushed hard for two full hours, our little baby was so close. We could see the head. I pushed on all fours until I got tired. Then I pushed sitting upright and holding the pushing bars attached to the bed. Each wave was so strong, but the pushing seemed to ease the pain of the contractions. I welcomed it. The time flew by. I had no idea that two hours went by. They asked me if I wanted pitocin. They told me it would help get the baby to come out... I agreed since my body was so tired at this point and I just wanted it to be over. The pitocin increased the contractions. The length of time I had to rest was significantly decreased.

Gary told me for the millionth time how good I was doing. I politely asked him never to say that to me again and to just hold my hand. I smiled, he kissed my head...we proceeded with another hour of pushing. He held my hand, Misty held my leg.  It was then, amidst the blur of labor, sweat and tears, that my second scare happened. I heard the midwife talking about my baby's heartbeat. It was decreasing. The nurse gave me an oxygen mask. The midwife called for the doctor. All I remember at this point is looking out the window at the church that sat across the street. I prayed for God to help us. I prayed for strength and for a healthy baby. I prayed for the doctor to know what to do. I cried out for help. I watched the doctor as he watched the monitor. I recall worrying, that after all of this, I would need a cesarean. He asked if he could get the vacuum. After talking to Gary, we agreed that this was best.

The doctor was reassuring. They gave me a local numbing shot, and hooked the vacuum to our little baby's head. He told me to push. I did. Just one good push and out came our little miracle. Screaming, crying, and completely perfect. No vernix, red as can be and ready to be nursed. Gary announced that we had a son. He cried. I cried.  We kept his umbilical cord attached for about 15-20 minutes. He began to nurse immediately. My heart was so full. I delivered the placenta shortly afterwards, and our doula took it so it could be encapsulated.

Again, I was asked if I wanted some pain killers. I declined and asked for some Advil. My body was producing it's own meds. I really thought that someone slipped me something. I felt like I was on vicodin for a good 12 hours after birthing Joey - but it was just my own hormones helping me out. I was so impressed at what the human body is capable of. 

Joseph Connor Lawson was born October 14, 2012 at 1:17 p.m. weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 oz, 20 inches long. A perfect bundle of love. We are so blessed.