Archive for November, 2007
Most of you know that my oldest son plays baseball. I wanted him to play the piano, but he likes baseball and not the piano. He plays Little League in the spring and fall. In the summer and winter, he plays in a competitive league. That’s a lot of baseball, but that’s also a lot of peace and quiet for the mom in the house.
I missed a tournament the other weekend due to having the baby. However, Greg called me with status reports to keep me informed. It’s so cool that he can talk in man shorthand (2 up, 2 down, man on 1st, bottom of the 2nd) and I know exactly what he means. I think he finds this attractive.
So, my favorite player, Number 38, hits the only homerun of the game. Greg gives me a ring, and I can still hear the cheering in the stands. While Greg gives me the RBI’s and other stats, we wait for Number 38 to round the bases and make it back to the dugout. He hands the phone to the homerun hero, who tied the game up with that hit. My boy talks to his mommy in the dugout because he is not worried about coolness.
Always pretty low-key, “For what?”
“For your homerun!”
“It was a triple with an error, Mom.”
Rats. But still. It was a homerun for folks not in-the-know. He made it all the way around with a line drive to the fence. I’m rooting for you, baby.
So the other day, I offer to play catch with my son. He wants to know if I’m for real. Of course I’m for real. I’m a good mom wanting to do a little bonding time with my kid. My baseball player still says, “I don’t think it’s such a great idea.” Go ahead, throw me one.
He gingerly tosses a ball to me—underhand. (This is how they do things in T-ball. I know when I’m being patronized.) I fumble a little, straighten my glove. There. Now I’m ready. I toss it back. A little high, but I’m just warming up. OK, now we’re doing some catching.
“Go ahead and throw me a real one,” I say.
“I’ll get in trouble, Mom. I don’t think I should,” he replies.
“Nah. I’m ready for it. Put it right here,” and I punch my glove like the big boys do.
He put it right there. I missed and fell on the ground in pain. I got bruised and my pinky is crooked.
Whenever I’m inclined to think I know everything, something, or anything, it’s always good to be put in your place by someone who knows better than you do. Even if he’s only nine.
Yesterday, I read a blurb in Time magazine about how Sesame Street DVD’s now carry a warning label for their preschool audience. The old episodes “may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” The issue is that Oscar the Grouch is too grouchy and Cookie Monster eats too many cookies. May the world always have such grave problems.
The postpartum woman also eats too many cookies, but I have no comment on the grouch part. The days are now strung along like a bead of pearls. In the fog of sleeplessness, each successive day seems the same, mostly. They’re the same color, same size, same everything. I can’t tell if it’s the 24th or the 26th, and even if I knew, it wouldn’t matter much anyway. They just keep happening, and I keep feeling glad that we’re keeping up.
Whenever I dreamed about my life and how it’d be, I always left out these parts: The ordinary moments—that when strung together—make the necklace of your life. The plastic alligator in the toilet and the bubble gum that came out of the ice dispenser this week? These are my pearls. They are strung next to my wedding day, babies, and the day we bought our first house. Ordinary and extraordinary, side by side– but the discontent grouch in me wishes for more extraordinary and less ordinary. When I watched Cheaper by the Dozen, the only incredulous part to me was how the house got cleaned up perfectly right after the sequence of disasters. Otherwise, things seemed pretty accurate.
Sometimes I get off-track when I forget that life is not all about me and my feelings. A God-centered life is not a self-centered life. It’s no use being a grouch or being discontent with your lot. God humbled Himself and became a Man so that we could have our sins forgiven. He also did it so that we could imitate Him, serving others as He served us. Sometimes this makes for a very ordinary life, which translates to extraordinary in God’s economy. John Piper writes, “The real cultural bondage today is not that too many people are making God radically God-centered, but that most people cannot conceive of his being loving unless he is man-centered.”
Help us to be more God-centered in everything.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)
That about sums up the past week. Nothing spectacular happened with the delivery or the birth, thankfully. However, the recovery is still sloooow in coming. Greg left out a few details, which I’ll fill in a little now. There won’t be too many details, however, because this is a blog and I’ve got to hang on to whatever dignity I have left.
We arrived at the hospital and I managed keep with the continuous contractions. Score one for me, finally. But Baby Cakes was too high for breaking my water to kick-start labor, so we decided to start a pitocin drip to get those contractions peaking. Peak, they did. But there was no progress after all day of pitocin. Every time the physician checked on baby, she was still high, and I agreed not to risk a cord prolapse.
Meanwhile, the artificial hormone, pitocin, is causing some big contractions, and I get an epidural for the torture. There’s nothing you can do to talk me into a pitocin drip without pain relief. Don’t even try.
So, the doc tells me that it’s hard to place an epidural correctly on short people, and then he wants me to RELAX. Okaay. I say, “But you’re a good aim, right?” Anything to make me think this isn’t the first time he’s stuck a needle in someone’s back. He gets it in after two tries, while I’m running my mouth the whole time making jokes about being paralyzed and such. “By the way,” he says, “that whole thing about being paralyzed is a myth.” “Don’t tell me that,” I say, “I’d never hold still otherwise.”
And for the next three or four hours, I didn’t hold still. I shook like a leaf and hung over a bucket gagging and retching and contorting into weird shapes. Ah, just when you thought it was finally over. It would be almost wrong not to end this labor with the appropriate vomit routine. I snuck food, so Greg calculated the appropriate angle to hold the bucket so they wouldn’t know my stomach wasn’t empty. Why else marry a rocket scientist?
Subject change. So after 8 mg of Zofran, a shot of Reglan and of Zantac, I was able to turn off the vomit routine. I’m doing the pretend-you’re-sleeping-so-it-won’t-hurt Bradley technique thing, even though it’s taking a lot of pretending. In walks some miscellaneous doctor in scrubs and asks, “Hey, I’m here for the c-section. Someone called?”
I fly up out of my pretend sleep and yell, “NO!” Greg tries the more gentle approach, “I think you have the wrong room…” Talk about making a case for not using narcotics in labor, right? Just think what would’ve happened if Greg was at the hospital deli grabbing a day-old bologna sandwich.
So it’s late in the afternoon and still no progress, although the pitocin contractions are steady and regular. They are huge mountains on the computer paper. People tried to insinuate (I know it, I know it) that my laboring all these weeks wasn’t “real” and that maybe I over-guessed how strong the contractions really were. And here they were and still no progress. What I should’ve clued into, though, was that I’ve never had a baby without AROM (artificial rupture of the membranes). Break the water, and I’ve had the baby within the hour every time (except the first time).
Duh. So the baby is finally low, and the doctor is able to break the water. I ask them to “please set up, so I don’t have to wait to get the baby out.” Everyone is tired of my stalling all day and they note that there is no cervical change.
And then it all happens. The previously working epidural flakes out on me. I start yelling, and Greg says, “See? You’re almost done.” I tell/yell him that I’m obviously not. He remembers to read the “emotional signposts” and not the computer and stats. I start to panic. It’s all going so fast, and nobody listened to me. The stuff isn’t set up, and now they’re telling me to WAIT.
Good grief. (That’s not what I said.) I’m yelling that I’ve lost my brains, that I can’t do this, and that I’m broken—just like this worthless epidural that I held still for so I wouldn’t get paralyzed. I admit it. I fell apart a little bit, but it was in a very dignified way. She was here, and it was OK.
And I was OK. All the fear and worry about facing childbirth again, and it was OK. I wasn’t afraid. I felt a little bit of what-just-happened-to-me shock, but when I asked for Greg to order me a salad, I figured that it was a sign that maybe I had found my brains.
Not only did my brains return, I also found joy. We love our little girl. Our hope is finally here after months of pain and trouble. I suffered, but my family carried a lot of that too. It wasn’t easy, to say it lightly. Yet, Elisabeth’s birth is a tiny picture of heaven—we sweat and work here for a joy that is coming one day. It will come, because God is faithful to His Word. She is named after Elisabeth Elliot, thanks to our friend’s suggestion (and your’s too). Her middle name, Hope, completes the literal meaning: God is (my) oath/promise and hope. God is our prize. God is our treasure. God is our promise and hope.
I know exactly what you’re thinking. How could she forget about The Third Annual Cranberry Post, 2007 edition? I have no idea. I will never be a decent blogger. There were exactly ZERO emails asking for a repeat. I checked.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I know what I’m thankful for, and it’s not just that I’M NAUSEA-FREE!!!!!! Yes! And the sentiment is not just because I’m a postpartum blubbering mess. I truly love this family, this life, and this little baby God sent our family. How about you? Any good news to share?
Because God is our only sure promise and certain hope
Born November 14, 2007 at 5:12 PM
Weighing 8lbs. 13oz and 21″ long
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
- Hebrews 6:13-20
10:46 PM EST OK, I’m back home and Amy is hopefully sleeping. I know I forgot to include the baby’s name in the last post, below, so I figured I’d make up for it by providing the birth story so Amy won’t have to later.
We left for the hospital at 6:15 AM, which is really too early if you ask me. Anyway, we got there about 7AM, waited for about 30 minutes for them to get us checked in, and something like 10 hours later we had a baby.
What were you expecting, gold earrings?
5:12 PM EST FINALLY!! 8lbs. 13oz with a 14″ head! (Amy wanted me to make sure I mentioned that stat). Amy and the baby are doing fine. I’ll upload a picture as soon as I can get her to stop eating. Like mother, like daughter!
Oh, and her name is…
3:30 PM EST We’re excited for the baby to arrive too – if only so the kids will stop calling every 5 minutes – “Is the baby here yet?” Obviously, we’re still in labor.
12:15 PM EST How many different ways can you answer the question, “So, is this your first?” I’ve got to come up with something better because when I tell them it’s our sixth, they just say, “Oh” and kinda slink away like they might catch something.
9:35 a.m. EST Strapped in and hooked up. Not what we planned, but here we are. Amy survived the I.V. stick (which was a double stick). Volunteer who took us up to Labor and Delivery said, “Wow, you look good for your sixth!” Not sure how to take that…
6:04 a.m. EST Leaving for the hospital. Greg and I think it’s weird that it’s the first time we’re not in a rush.
Whenever I watch other people’s children, I’m a bit of a conniver. If I tell the child to do something and the angelic child refuses, it leaves you in a bit of a predicament. The adult loses face and the child wins—unless I want to resort to bodily force and tactics. So, I usually use the “I’ll-make-you-think-it-was-your-idea-in-the-first-place” tactic. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s the same scheme that my husband and friends use on me. (They thought I was unaware all this time.) Sometimes I am very godly and the rest of the time I’m that lady from The Taming of the Shrew. As my husband will tell you, nobody forces me to do anything.
How I roped myself into an induction tomorrow morning, though, I’ll never say. But overall, I think it’s the best choice given the whole picture. I’ve done my Google homework. I’m good with it, even if it’s not the way I planned it. Sometimes you just have to relax.
Which is exactly what I did during my non-stress test yesterday. I relaxed. I told the OB that I was having continuous contractions, and I got the “OK” that comes with a pat on the head. After I got all hooked up to the monitors, the printout showed my semi-respectable contractions at 2 – 3 minutes apart. I wish there was a Nausea-o-Meter too.
See? See! I told you! I wanted to tell Greg. I wanted to tell the doctor. I wanted to tell everyone in the world that it’s not all in my head. Continuous contractions: all day, every day. And now I had proof! Except nobody was there at the moment. I was by myself. My moment of justification, and there’s nobody there to see it.
And I forgot to save the paper.
From the desktop this morning comes another gem from my seven-year-old. I can think of a lot of places I could go with this one. When in doubt (and not), always read the instructions, eh?
(More baby journal stuff later…)
There are a lot of sinners in the Bible, and I have a lot in common with them. Since I share in their human condition, I share in their stupidity, suffering, and saving grace as well. In some instances, I’ve walked in their very shoes. I never in a million years, however, would’ve thought I’d have the opportunity to know what Jacob felt like after working 7 years for something and then waking up one morning knowing you’d have to do it all over again. (If you missed that week in Sunday School, it’s in Genesis 29.)
I can’t let the Baby Journal pine away here without telling you about The Dream.
The night before the due date (which we’ve already discussed has come and gone), I took a Phenergan so that I could get ready for the big day (that never happened, remember). I couldn’t face the big day exhausted and nauseous, so I figured it was a good move. Phenergan was my first-trimester savior, but I try to go au natural when I can. The side effect is a deep sleep. I’m not sure if it really takes away the nausea or just knocks you out so you can’t feel it, but regardless, you sleep well.
So, I dreamt that I was newly pregnant again. Upon hearing the news, I informed the informer that I’d sadly miscarry the baby because I was about to deliver this one. “Oh no you won’t,” she replied–and here’s the kicker– “You just start all over again tomorrow.”
I waved the white flag of surrender and plopped my head back down on the pillow. Have mercy.
I will try to make this as interesting as possible. Since the due date has come and gone, I am nothing more than a watched pot waiting to boil. But watching water boil isn’t very exciting.
The problem with a lot of pregnant women (and brides-to-be, if I’m allowed to say so) is that they are entirely myopic. The whole world is spinning but they’re oblivious. So, I just want to beg for forgiveness. I know it’s your birthday, I know that your computer broke, and I know that bugs are eating your lawn. But ….I’M HAVING A BABY!
Or at least I thought so.
I woke up in the early hours of my due date yesterday with a huge baby shift. Finally, maybe Baby got out of that posterior position. Good thinking there, kiddo. Contractions began in earnest first thing in the morning about 7 – 10 minutes apart. Understanding how these things work and knowing that I’ve had only about four weeks of this same prodromal drama, I decided that today was different because the calendar said so. I stayed in bed with my bucket and Greg stayed home from work.
Lying in bed all day, I was storing up my energy for the big event that was surely coming any minute now. But when my friend, Tracey, offered to bring over a Toffeenut Mudslide Frappachino, I decided that maybe getting out of bed was a good idea after all. I sipped my caffeine infusion over contractions and enjoyed the nice buzz afterward. When she left, I told Greg, “NOW, I’m so ready.”
He ordered a babysitter, and Kristen came over around 5:00 p.m. We drove to an Indian restaurant next to the hospital, bringing our bags because contractions were now about 4 – 7 minutes apart. During dinner, they shifted to 3 minutes apart and I was unable to talk through them—a great dinner date. Things were crankin’ and I was getting uncomfortable. Not so uncomfortable that I didn’t finish my Chicken Tikka Masala, nan, and veggie pekoras. (I have priorities, and I know that people languish in starvation in the hospital.) I’ve heard stories about eggplant and labor, so I didn’t share any of the eggplant pekoras with Greg. No way.
So we decide to walk around the hospital fountain, just to get things going really good and just because it was right there. I was still making jokes, and that’s not a good sign, yet the contractions were still strong and hard. In order for me to be in a strong labor pattern, I have to be concentrating, really annoyed, and pseudo-cussing. When our path brought us around to the entrance, I waited for my water to break so it could be like the movies, but nothing happened. And I mean nothing. Everything SCREEECHED to a halt and we got back in the van and went home.
Sometimes I wish my life could be like the movies.