The Foolish Thing About April

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I've always seemed to take things quite literally, or perhaps maybe just a little too seriously. I like things to be clearly defined, but still with enough flexibility to go at my own pace. Everything in my planner is written in pen, with the full month showing (always) - looking at the big picture while seeing my daily to-do's and goals...There is a routine. I know what to expect.. You may say predictable; If it's not written down---I forget, I don't do it, I'm not there, or I'm late-- so sorry!! Please remind me!
Whether it's in school, relationships, at home.. Whether speaking of bill draft dates or "deadlines" in my head of when this needs to get done how... Always, a reason. And with everything in my life- how my day at home with Taylor is structured- always, a purpose. Nothing mindless. Ever in prayer...Ever keeping Matthew 6:7 in mind...
I am in no way, or ever will be, a jokester. Jesting.. Everyone is different- and so is everyone's idea of fun and games. You can never please everyone...But because I don't care for sarcasm, nor jesting - unintentionally cruel jokes - I don't participate.
Unless it's truth- but the day in the timeframe chosen to say just happened to fall around the beginning of April. Even then, it was a compromise...
And this is why I begun to get nervous, emotional, just heavy when April 1st came around in that planner...
Wishes and prayers, aches and loss, pain and joy... There are so many feelings that may come as we approach April... April 1st... Otherwise known to popular culture as "April Fool's Day."
I wonder if the person who thought of this grand idea ever dreamed how painful these jokes can be to others...
It was early fall 2013, let's say September- when we both decided it was time for us to have a baby. I honestly came to the conclusion a few months prior- maybe it was that spring- but  it took time for Marshall to come around, because we had a way we wanted things to go- a "plan." Ideally, it would take a few months to conceive, and by Christmas we would share our announcement with the world, and the next summer of 2014 our sweet baby would arrive. But things never go according to plan.. Even if they are written in pen.
I think part of what fueled this desire was becoming so deeply involved in women's ministry - with other military wives - on base. Another part was just the plain old fact that I wanted to teach young children, preschool or 2nd grade - rather than 8th grade science as I thought years previously. Immediately after we moved into our rental earlier that year, I began volunteering at least 6 hours a week at the elementary school in our neighborhood. I met friends- other wives of those in the military- whom I began a journey of sharing life and bible study with weekly on base.
Being constantly around children to some capacity in school or service since high school only added to this desire, over time. Once we made the decision, I scheduled an appointment with my cardiologist to see if my heart was strong enough to sustain myself as well as a new life. It is...but with caution. Still I received the well wishes and the check off the list to stop taking my diltiazem (blood pressure & chest pain medicine) ...
And we were so naïve. Because we thought it wouldn't be long...
Yet God's plans are greater than ours. Months passed, and too many times I jumped the gun anyway to take a test- it was so hard to keep track. Too many months with a still empty womb and a hopeful heart. After 6 months, I went to see an OBGYN. She knew it was too early to declare anything, but seeing as I had an appointment - we were eager - and my unique medical history - she referred me to a high risk doctor. I went, and while I was thoroughly warned of the "risks" in my case, they said to wait until a full year has passed, while tracking everything, and then to talk.
The first year of waiting passed...Still only one blue line, month after month. Even those times when I didn't feel "normal" and skipped months, giving us false hopes, still, God said to wait. But I was tired of waiting. Babies were everywhere!! People even joke about having babies, why cant I at least take care of one who isn't cared for in accords with everyone's identity as a child of God?
I didn't know until months and months later, looking at a printout of my records, but the doctor wrote that I had amenorrhea, and technically still do. That means that skipped months and false alarms (prior to testing) would always just be... a part of life. It became such a painful part of life...Especially seeing the babies and announcements all around us. I think perhaps this truth is ever more real being on a military base - because for the most part, stay at home mamas with multiple little souls to shepherd is the norm, since the husbands are more often than not, away from home.
Those 2.5 years of waiting, hoping, dreaming, disappointments... Those years were long. They took a pull at me, and because of this caused some rifts in our marriage at the time (on top of the stresses of the military life). But God... He is in control of every little detail- and I desperately needed to truly believe that again.
Fast forward to 2015. The new year began... and what incredible things were in store! At that time, every other month- 6 times a year- brought a false alarm by way of a skip- because of amenorrhea. But we had hope. While the initial excitement wore off, the desire was still ever-present.
Just under a year ago, days after Valentine's in February, we saw two blue lines! This test took a little more prodding initially- because of the years of disappointments- but what a joyful time it was. Good things come in TIME! We were able to see Taylor's picture a few days later, and were beyond thrilled. Baby's first photo- when our little one was 6 weeks and 6 days old- will forever be framed and remembered as JOY! He is faithful.
We then thought of when to share the news...and how. Because of hearing other stories of love and loss firsthand through sweet friends I made in the fellowship on base, I absolutely knew that I wanted to wait until baby was a few months along... I guess to be cautious. In hindsight maybe it was more in distrust of God--- waiting for Him to "prove" to us that the wait, truly, is no more. As much as I wish that mentality wasn't the case, it is so easy to fall into that trap when you desperately want something so good, yet don't have just yet, all the while seeing it everywhere you go...
Here is what we did...
Well, ever since I can remember the past few years, Marshall always had a running joke going that each April 1st, he would text our parents that we are a joke. I didn't necessarily like that - it was all him - but then again, it's April Fools, right? Well, this time, since we WERE expecting - and after that wait - I knew I couldn't condone that again. So come April 1, 2015, Marshall let our parents and siblings know... and I again texted everyone to confirm....And it took some convincing, which is understandable because of past trends,  but the news was spread! It was our time! (Also consider the fact that I never confirmed or said a word about this the years previous).We were somewhere around 10 weeks at that point, and the plan was to wait until 12 to announce to the whole world, for various reasons... We'd have an additional ultrasound by that point, and it would be later in that month... on our own time, to announce, rather than as a "joke." Still, this was a compromise, but this is how it happened.
In the future, never will I make big announcements on April 1st, and never will I be able to wait that long to announce something so life-changing and incredible...Yet at the time, we did what we did. And with this, I feel that maybe the couples who do jest about such a sensitive topic to many on this day... just simply... don't know. Your eyes aren't opened to the hurt all around you unless you have been in those shoes as well. Yes, there should well be a part of everyone which says it is dehumanizing to joke about life in such a playful and careless way...That is if you truly understand the struggle and pain behind such days, such announcements, such life-changing moments. I sure didn't until we were waiting months... years... longer than we thought we ever would. (Which also, in hindsight, isn't near as long as others so courageously fight the pain in waiting - years - decades, even - for the joy of a new life sustained. I can't even imagine..)
And this takes me back to my first point.... Maybe I'm "too serious" about things, maybe I mull things over a little too many times in my head, or maybe I am just a hyper-sensitive young mother who cries at the drop of a pin about.. well... anything. (Which actually, all of the above are true at different times!) But the truth of the matter stands: This April 1st, be careful about what you jest about - joking about such a sensitive topic to others. You never know how your words can affect someone - truly - until you are in their shoes. Something as intrinsic as a new life...This is not something to jest about. Instead---It is something to celebrate!

Taylor Bobbie Newsom: A Birth Story

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our son is 3 months old today, so it's about time I get around to writing out his birth story. Ours isn't near as "exciting" or even as long as most are. It all started extremely early on the morning of October 19th, 2015... That day anyway would have been eye-opening because we had a hospital tour scheduled - a few days before we scheduled to meet baby at an induction - but we instead ended up missing both appointments... And our lives forever changed!
 This here is the last ultrasound we got of baby. I didn't realize we would get another 4D so it was definitely a surprise! This was in those last few weeks {October 9th} - just look at those chubby cheeks! 


 Anyway as mentioned, at the last OB appointment in mid October (I think it was the 14th?), we scheduled an induction for October 22nd. My doctor suggested the 21st but I like even numbers better! Remember the original due date was October 28th? Well, I was already dilated 3cm, so she didn't think the baby would wait any longer than that... And because we live an hour away from the hospital (at that point we were in our own home! Yay!) - and how low baby already was - the doctor preferred for us to be on the schedule rather than drive as baby comes.... But God and our little one had other plans....

Almost the week before baby was born, I was already dilating as he was getting ready to make his entrance (At my last OB apt I was 3cm just days before). It ended up happening much faster than I expected- sometimes it takes weeks, but in our case, it took days. During the last couple weeks of pregnancy I have been stopping every hour or two for a bathroom break, to sit down, or to eat, so I wasn't expecting anything different when I woke up before light that Monday morning for the restroom. I sat in bed contemplating if it was really urgent  enough to get up, because getting up took real effort at this point (I was 38wks+3days), and many times it was a false alarm just because the baby was dropping and getting ready. After about 20 minutes of realizing I couldn't get back to sleep and had to get up, I started waddling out of our room to the bathroom on the other side of the house.
I just barely made it past the carpet onto the linoleum flooring in the open dining area when I felt a slow trickle and suddenly a big gush of liquid- my water broke!! So I screamed in shock and woke up Marshall, waddled to the bathroom to change into new clothes and all to keep me until we made it to the hospital, and we thought about what to do. Marshall was due to wake up soon after I did to go to work, so he was thinking about how long to wait until he should leave, and if he should. I was thinking that it could take all  day until I'd be ready for the baby to come out - I've definitely heard and read a few birth stories at that point and felt "prepared." So I asked him to wait another hour or so before he leaves to see if we should head to the hospital or not (it could have been another day or so, after all. Right.) and I'll see how I feel.
Turns out, things happened quickly. It was about 430am when I woke up and 530 or so when we decided we needed to head to the hospital and baby wasn't going to wait. So I quickly packed a bag of changes of clothes for me and baby and who knows what else- I cannot remember what I grabbed- and we were getting ready to get in the car. I was thinking all the past week about how I wanted the birth to go and decided I really wanted to have a cold smoothie on the way there to help calm myself some and relieve whatever it could, so I quickly made a mocha frappe with some mix we have to sip on the way there. I also grabbed a loaf of bread to snack on, since I knew they wouldn't let me eat anything at labor & delivery until I was in a room after baby was born.
I was still thinking that we could be at the hospital a long time before baby actually came, and Marshall thought maybe he could go to work for a couple hours (which didn't happen), so we decided to take 2 cars. Read again: We (my husband & I) each took a car to the hospital. I drove myself to the hospital, with my frappe in my lap and my loaf of bread, purse, and frantically packed hospital bag in the passenger seat. My water already broke and after I waddled through the house and into the car, I drove myself 1 hour to the hospital. {We live about an hour from Tyler and that's where the doctor was that I was seeing since we moved back}
Because of the drive the doc suggested to leave when contractions were 7-8 minutes apart. Or really, whenever I felt was best, but then at the latest to ensure we'd be there in time. They usually suggest 4-5 minutes based on how labor generally progresses as well as the distance from the hospital (our labor really only took half the time as "usual") I think when we left the contractions were around 10 minutes apart and lasted close to a minute or so each. There were only a few those couple hours when we were at the house and each time it happened I had to completely stop what I was attempting to do! "Active labor" is considered generally up to a minute long each contraction and 3-4 minutes apart. Which is why to leave at 4-5 minutes apart is generally suggested, to get to the hospital before things really start progressing.
Anyway. It only took hours at this point. We left the house close to 6am and made it to the hospital around 7am. I screamed a bit through each red light I had to sit at and played worship music as loud as I could to try and calm down for the ride. I sipped my frappe the entire time and prayed continually for baby boy to stay safe in my womb and not come out until we were at the hospital. The sun came up as we were driving- a colorful sunrise to welcome our little one (it was still dark out when we left!).
On the way I called Marshall a few times on speaker thinking that I couldn't finish the drive- but we were halfway there- so I just kept on going. Somehow. I also called our parents on speaker and let them know, even though Marshall was already calling them too. I could feel contractions coming as I was on the phone so they quickly told me to focus on driving and hung up to get ready to come out to Tyler to meet our baby. As we made it to the hospital we parked in the garage, where you have to push a button for a ticket. I couldn't get that ticket fast enough. I parked at the first spot I could find and Marshall parked a few spots past. I remember kind of jumping out of the car after this and bending over for a couple minutes to catch my breath through another contraction. Marshall rushed over to the car to grab my bag and baby's bag, and I grabbed my purse and started waddling out of the garage - thankfully we found spots on the ground floor- to the entrance of the hospital. I was holding on to Marshall very tightly, I remember he said that his hands were tingling because of it.
As we walked into the hospital lobby people watched and got out of the way, then a front receptionist grabbed a wheelchair for me and pointed us toward the elevators to get to labor & delivery on the second floor. I'm sure it was pretty obvious at that point to anyone around that baby was coming. Since I got out of the car I kept asking- screaming- for my medicine, because I knew that past a certain point in labor it was too much of a risk to be given any meds for an epidural. But we made it just in time before that cutoff and I was told repeatedly by nurses that I would be able to get an epidural.
By 8am we were in the delivery room and I was ready for baby to come. Marshall held out his phone and took a photo of us right before. Total it would be about 5-6 hours (about 5am-1030am) I was in labor, but at this point we still had another couple of hours to go until baby was going to come.
Nurses put a belt on my belly to monitor baby's heart rate as the rest of the vitals were checked and my doctor was called. The photo Marshall took of us before was taken about 8am, two and a half hours before baby came. For that time I was simply bearing down with each contraction while each vital was checked and rested as much as I could in between them. Marshall also may have "lost" circulation in his hand once or twice with how tight I was holding on to him!  I also was able to get the epidural which allowed me to try to get a little rest before baby decided to come soon after. Once I was able to get the medicine I was a little loopy- some of it I remember, though- I  was acting really strange. I kept trying to lick and bite my hand and Marshall's hand. It felt kind of like I was floating - I said "elevated" at the time- like I was riding a smooth and wave-like roller coaster. Such a weird sensation. The medicine really did start working! I also remember asking for a honey butter chicken biscut from Whataburger before they closed their breakfast menu for the day. That was a huge craving I had during pregnancy!
Past this I don't really remember the specific times or lengths of the contractions or even the time we started pushing. But I do know that once I got the medicine and my doctor was called, she was just finishing with her first appointment of the day at the ob clinic and was able to cross the street to the hospital for the delivery. It was soon after 10am when my doctor made it because as soon as she was there it was time to push for baby. Birthing a baby is the strangest feeling yet also the most miraculous experience. Did a little human really grow in my belly and come out? Somehow, he did! {That's all by God's doing, y'all}
Now I do not remember the details at this point and I'm not sure Marshall does (or wants to) either but only a few intent pushes later baby came, crying and all. The doctor and nurses all said that for my first baby, it was a really easy delivery compared to most. There were no issues- baby dropped and I dilated quickly, and after just "a few minutes" of pushing he was there. I do remember that it sounded like Marshall was "coaching" me as he, the nurses, and doctor were all encouraging me to push.I thought it was how he would sound coaching little league games one day! Everyone was saying how close baby was and when the top of his head emerged, that was all I needed to hear. Very quickly he was here!
Now I was 3 cm just a few days before, and usually at 4cm you start having contractions intense enough to be in the hospital ready for baby to come. By the time you reach 10cm baby will make his entrance. I believe I was at 6cm {estimating here} when we arrived at the hospital and within the next two hours was ready for baby to come. I do know that in those last few cm, at least for me, it was a matter of minutes in progression, which the nurses and the ob alike said was not normal for first time mamas (It sure happened really quick!) I was just thankful that the whole birth didn't last a long as it could have, and I'm sure Marshall was too! Labor lasted around 6 hours total, from the time I woke up to when baby came.
Taylor Bobbie Newsom was born.... details below in this fun announcement I made...
We were in the hospital for 4 days total. It is still a blur.
I remember I kept asking the nurses repeatedly that first day to check for the afterbirth because I didn't remember it coming. Which it did, of course, it just happened so quickly, and I had those pain meds, that I didn't remember clearly at all. It is horrifying to go to the bathroom the first time after childbirth. Another thing people don't tell you is that a newborn's first stool is sticky and nearly black, kind of like tar. Then it starts to change color and consistency depending on if you breastfeed or use formula, but at first, it's kind of nasty, honestly. And Marshall was there to change his first diaper soon after, once we got to our hospital room close to lunch.
Also by the time baby arrived our parents were already on their way to the hospital, but weren't quite there yet. It was really sweet to have some time just the three of us before family arrived, but we were also really excited to introduce him to the world! This next photo my in laws took, this was almost immediately after we went to our own hospital room on the nursery floor. The timing was just right with their drive to be the first visitors after we were settled in. My parents were also on their way with a four hour drive and arrived that afternoon to meet him. I could see (or hear) my mom practically running down the hallway, eager to meet her grandbaby.

Those four days after Taylor was born were a blur. Even the morning he was born was a blur, but I remember just enough to write it out, at least. Taylor was 5 pds 10 oz at birth and 5pds 1.6z when we left the hospital. It is typical for newborns to lose some weight after birth but baby lost just a little more than they like to see, so we stayed an extra day with a promise of going to back a few days later for a weight check in. During our hospital stay we figured out nursing and enjoyed getting to know our new little one. It was wild. Nurses came in every couple hours to check vitals on myself and baby, even through the night... Which meant that I didn't get much sleep, but when I did, I slept hard. Thankfully, newborns sleep a lot, so it allows you to recover from birth for the first few days. I took advantage of the room service and ordered extra food for each meal so that Marshall could snack some too - the cafeteria at the hospital was pretty good, actually. All of our parents were there and kept us company as we slept and watched Taylor do his newborn baby things. It was such a precious time! I was so glad that the hospital room had its own bathroom and shower. Once everything calmed down a bit after baby arrived it was such a relief (and really strange at first)to able to clean up- I felt like a person again. It's such a weird feeling after childbirth, but I managed as much as anyone does I suppose. I couldn't really walk well that first day or two and had to hold on to a wall, something. We went on a walk around the floor a few times during our stay as I got to feeling a little more normal.
As I said, those first days in the hospital were a blur. But our baby boy was here!!!!!
 Next up: months 1-3! {And any details I may have missed.. but I think I caught most of  baby's birth story!}

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