Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy symptoms and emotions ’ Category

Finley’s Birth Story

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We all have stories to tell. Within each story, there are smaller stories, the details as we remember them and felt them. I firmly believe in the sharing of stories. Some parts of our stories we share. Some parts of our stories we keep sacred. Whatever we decide to share, the stories we tell are evidence of the moments we are blessed to live. Some moments are trying. Some moments are humbling. And some moments are ones where our hearts nearly burst with love.

Finely’s birth was all of those moments.

Below are the stories within in the story that comprise Finley’s birth. These are the moments from her birth that I hold in my heart.  I’ll tell her these stories little by little, unfolding each detail, each fabric in the tapestry of her tale, when she asks me to tell her about the day she was born.

I’ll tell her how her sister awoke the day of her birth with eyes only for my belly. Instead of asking for her typical morning show, she wanted to hug my belly, smother it in kisses, and continually ask when “sissy boo” was coming. In a sweet exchange, we cuddled and talked, the three of us, unbeknownst to me, the last time “the three of us” would still mean one was in my belly. It’s as if in the language reserved only for sisters, they both knew, today was different. Today was important.

I’ll tell her how I’d planned a “pregnant lady day out.” A day that started with a routine doctor appointment and was supposed to be followed by a manicure, pedicure, and shopping. I’ll tell her how I drove away from the house that day with the bed unmade, dishes in the sink, and the vacuum out for some cleaning. I naively thought I’d be back shortly.

I’ll tell her how the nurse began with her usual check of my blood pressure and promptly noted it was too high. As I sat on the cold, thin paper of the exam table, it didn’t even register that this could be a problem. As the nurse checked and rechecked my blood pressure, leaving the room quickly, I heard the quiet whispers between doctor and nurse exchanged just outside the door.

I’ll tell her how the doctor came in and said my blood pressure would not come down and I needed to go to the hospital. I’ll tell her how I called her dad and delivered the news a bit too flippantly, certain it was only a blip in the day’s plans. He immediately began to make plans to meet me at the hospital at which I protested, again, convinced it would clear up soon.

I’ll tell her how her dad, the most caring man I know said, “but what if it doesn’t get better? I need to be there.”

I’ll tell her how the nurses in the ER were the first to use the word, “preeclampsia.” In all honesty, I didn’t know the exact harm of preeclampsia and when they replied, “seizures,”  it suddenly registered that this was more than a blip in the day’s plans.

I’ll tell her how the doctor came in to confirm the preeclampsia and that while we were all healthy and only 6 days away from my due date, she wanted me to deliver that day.

I’ll tell her how the tears of worry poured from my eyes but despite that worry, her dad told me that as scared as we were, we were going to meet our beautiful baby that day.

I’ll tell her how they started me on anti-seizure medication, magnesium sulfate, and it gave me an instant headache, as if someone had placed the fuzziest of clouds around my head from which I could not surface.

I’ll tell her how they started the induction and I asked the nurses to turn down my medication because I wanted to be more present, more alert, more in the moment when she was born. They obliged.

I’ll tell her how at 6:45pm we were on the phone with Grandma, laughing, waiting, distracting, and guessing the baby would probably be born around midnight.

I’ll tell her how at 7:00pm I grimaced in intolerable pain and told her dad, “I think I want to push.”

I’ll tell her how her dad ran into the hall to find a nurse and suddenly, their hurried voices declared me ready to deliver. I remember asking the nurse, “you mean I’m ready to push?” She confirmed, but told me not to because I needed to wait for the doctor.

I’ll tell her how the next 30 minutes were the most painful and excruciating of my life as I tried not to push. I know I only survived those minutes because her dad grounded me. He looked into my soul in a way that only childbirth allows and cheered me and coached me out of a place I thought I couldn’t overcome. We were a team, more than we’ve ever been before. I needed him not only because I love him, but because I could not do it without him. His courage, his optimism, his support carried me through. And when it was over, and he tenderly kissed my forehead and told me I was incredible, I told him we were incredible.

I’ll tell her how  the doctor finally came and said I could push.

I’ll tell her how she must have flow furiously from heaven because with four pushes she was placed on my chest at 7:59pm.

I’ll tell her how her dad kept saying how beautiful she was and how I kept crying because she was here, safe, healthy, and the sweetest sounds of angry first cries.

I’ll tell her how there is nothing comparable to the first moment when the baby one carried for nine months enters the world. It is a hallowed experience, a moment so rare and precious I hold it deep in my heart as one of the best moments I was blessed to live.

I’ll tell her how her dad and I cried happy tears and excitedly shared her stats as I lay IV ridden in the birthing bed.

I’ll tell her how she nursed like a veteran, a happy and welcome blessing considering the other complications I was facing.

I’ll tell her how the news spread rapidly that she was already here and family came to visit and hold her hours old bundle of sweet self.

I’ll tell her how famished I was post delivery and promptly devoured a sandwich, cheeseburger and fries, the only food still available. I’ll tell her how for the first time in history, someone likened hospital food to the nectar of the gods.

I’ll her how after all the visitors cleared, her dad gently rocked her to sleep and she looked so peaceful in his arms, ones she’d only recently met, but so clearly fallen in love with. We both tried to get some sleep but I stayed awake that night as she lay sleeping at the foot of my bed.

I’ll tell her how I stared and stared and loved her with the matchless love of a mother who just met her new babe.

I’ll tell her how my arms ached for her, but because of the preeclampsia and the sulfate, I wasn’t able to continually hold her. I cried because it wasn’t supposed to be like that and after the adrenaline of her triumphant birth, the letdown of my limitations and illness were crushing.

I’ll tell her how I cried giant, hot, frustrated tears to her dad and he listened to my disappointment, but wisely calmed me as he told me, “I can’t lose you. And neither can our girls.” He gave me perspective. I knew I needed to do what was required to get better.

I’ll tell her how in the wee hours of the morning, I asked her dad to bring her to me, and as I held her in my arms, warm and soft and tiny sounds of contentment, the light slowly, quietly brightened to morning. I snuggled her and whispered to her the dreams in my heart for her life.

I’ll tell her how that quiet moment between mother and daughter got me through many lonely and painful moments as the hospital stay, bed rest, and medications dragged on.

I’ll tell her how I was afraid that the moment I had been waiting forever for, the first meeting with her sister, being together as a family of four, would be too clouded by medication.

I’ll tell her how as drained, medicated, and swollen as I was, despite my worries, their meeting, that moment, was one of my favorite moments on earth so far. Her sister came in, a slew of questions, “Why are you in the bed mommy?” “Is that her baby?” (referring to a friend in the room), excitedly announcing, “I brought baby Finley a present!” And even though presents, the thrill of the hospital, and me being in the hospital bed competed for her attention, as I held my two girls, I felt my heart expand with love and gratitude for the two tiny souls I’d been entrusted to raise. Her big sister tenderly examined her with curiosity, declaring her eyes to be her favorite part of her new baby sister.

I’ll tell her how in a moment of blessed clarity, I felt more complete, more love as our expanded family interacted for the first time.

There are so many stories to tell Finley from that day and birth stories are some of the most important stories to tell. They encapsulate so much love.

As she ages, and perhaps as the stories get a little less clear, I hope that she remembers how we told her of the instantaneous love of her father, the curiosity and tenderness of her sister, and the humble gratitude of her mother.

I hope she remembers that we needed her that day, we needed her in that unpredictable delivery to bind us with more love and courage than we have ever known. Her calm little soul brought so much love to our family and continues to do so every day.

We deeply wanted our sweet Finley, but until she came, we didn’t know just how much we needed our Finley too.

 

 

Images: Courtesy of my friend Jana

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

She’s Here and She’s Pleased to Make Your Acquaintance

Monday, February 11th, 2013

I’m typing one-handed as the little cherub we’ve anxiously been waiting for sleeps nestled in the crook of my arm, mouth agape, purring like a tiny cat. I just wanted to take a quick second to let everyone know that baby girl arrived fast and furious and healthy on Thursday, February 7th.

Finley Juliet Besich weighed in at 6lbs, 6oz and 19 3/4 inches.

In regards to my previous post, I thought I’d let you know, I’ve unlocked the secret to going into labor naturally. Lean in and listen close. Plan something.

I had planned a very indulgent “pregnant lady’s day out” complete with manicure/pedicure, shopping, and partaking in whatever sweet treats my heart desired. Girlfriend had none of that. She chose “pregnant lady’s day out,” to come out.

I’d like to go on record and say she is better than any treat this pregnant lady had planned to procure instead. In fact, a few hours after she was born, I told the delivery room full of family, “I can’t wait to do this again.”

And it’s true. As much as pregnancy and delivery are hard at times, there is nothing like a newborn to help remind me of all that is beautiful and hopeful about this world.

We love her deeply. She looks markedly like her big sister did, is covered in some serious newborn fuzz (who knew baby ears could be hairy?!) and for a lady, works her newborn male-pattern baldness quite well.

My cup runneth over with gratitude for a healthy baby, a devoted spouse, a loving family, and the many tender moments she has already brought into our life. I cannot stop the tears when I consider all of these blessings.

I have so much to say about this little lady. For now though, I just want to snuggle her sweetness and enjoy her as she rests perfectly in the hollow of my neck reserved for babies. I can’t get enough of her skinny little legs tucked high and tight on my chest just like they were doing in my belly only a few short days ago.

I’ll be back sometime in the next week to share her story, but for now, I just want to spend my time kissing what little hair she has on her head right off.

Image: Black and white image courtesy of my friend Jana

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

Let’s Get it Started, Let’s get it Started in Here…

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

I cried a pile of pregnant hormonal tears the other night as I realized I might just have to go gangbusters on this uterus. Baby girl just seems wayyyyyy too comfortable in there. I realized I’d done lost my mind when in a bout of pregnant insomnia, I googled “ways to go into labor” at the unfathomable hour of 4 am.

When ladies tell me their birth stories of how their “water just broke,” not to mention it was “two weeks early,” I tune out. It seems fictitious to me.  Really, people, the water just breaks? I wouldn’t know a thing about it.

I want to tell the ladies, “I get it, your uterus knows how to party, mine is apparently an introvert who needs to be delicately coaxed to the middle of the dance floor.”

Lucky for me, I discovered there are all sorts of ways to “naturally induce labor” and in “15 easy steps” I can go into labor. I know I’m getting a little impatient. There’s still about a week before I really have to panic about how to get this baby out of here

Although, for this indecisive lady who can barely choose a dish off the overwhelming novella that is the Cheesecake Factory menu, deciding when and how to have a baby strikes fear in my heart. Just do this thing body.

As I perused the list of ways to go into labor, I thought, “where’s the justice?” I mean most of my internet searches left me thinking I’d try .02 of the techniques.

Where are all the women attesting to eating their weight in donuts as a sure fire way to have a baby? Why isn’t a 4-hour massage at the top of the natural labor induction list?

Castor oil, why you so nasty? And on every list? I vomit in your general direction.

Am I not desperate enough yet if I won’t jump on a trampoline, gallop like a horse, or shine a flashlight on my business as my searches suggested?

For the sake of my dignity, I just can’t go around my hood galloping like a horse. I’ve worked too hard to get some sort of street cred and while many people understand pregnant ladies are totally crazy at the end, the galloping, the flashlight wielding is just too much. I have standards.

Before I have to make any real decisions, there’s a very short list of things I’m willing to try to get this baby outta here:

1. Walking. “Now walk it out” is my personal mantra and we are clocking the mileage daily. Don’t worry, we be walking it out all over the West side, South side, East side, and North Side. We’re doing you proud Dj UNK.

2. Sexy time. My mother reads this blog. I’m well aware of this technique and the fact that it made the short list already tells you more than you need to know.

3. Dancing. I am not above the pole at this point if people can give me legitimate proof it will work.

4. Spicy food. I’ll trade a night of heartburn for a baby any day of the week.

5. Squats. I do approximately 57 unintentional squats a day when I pick up my toddler. After realizing they were a labor starter, I’ve been dropping it like it’s a night club in here, hoping the universe will throw me a bone.

6. Food and beverage. There are a myriad of foods people suggest to evict a baby: pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, moon pie, oregano to name a few. As long as it doesn’t have adverse side effects, see castor oil above, I’ll try it. Sorry eggplant, even though many people suggest you, we were not made for each other.

7. Yoga. I’m all over tree pose, eagle pose, and resting and napping pose. Namaste.

Are there any tried and true techniques I’m missing? Patience you say? What’s that?

Please, only enjoyable natural induction techniques need apply.

As much as I believe you that taking a bumpy car ride while standing on your head, balancing a birthing ball between your feet, taking shots of quinine, and having your membranes stripped all at once totally worked…it’s just not for me.

If your technique involves napping, cheeseburgers, or pedicures, please share away!

Image: A bun on my head and a bun in the oven.

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

What I Love About Pregnancy

Monday, January 28th, 2013

38 weeks/9 months

While wrapping up an interview with a psychologist for a pregnancy related article I’m writing, I kept coming back to her advice, “Just like a good wife never complains about her husband, a good mother never complains about her pregnancy.”

I’ve often heard that saying in regards to husbands, it’s one I subscribe to, but I’ve never heard it applied to pregnancy before.

With my pregnancy nearing the end and this unique opportunity to chronicle so many aspects of pregnancy, I can’t get her words out of my head.

I think back to the posts I’ve written and the way I’ve captured pregnancy and I hope that while honest and humorous, it’s also been positive.

There are only so many times a woman is pregnant in a lifetime and it seems cavalier, even detrimental to spend it complaining.

While some may find it arguable, I think it true, a good mother never complains about her pregnancy. Not because it’s easy or she’s being inauthentic, but because like with a marriage, what good comes from it?

The thing is pregnancy is finite. Not even a year in the long span of years we call a life.

Sure, this is the hard part. At 37 weeks, it’s uncomfortable, it’s mentally tough, physically excruciating at times but then, before I realize, the miracle will be over and there is nothing like the miracle of pregnancy.

I am truly grateful to be pregnant. I will miss this belly.

There are a limited number of times a mother feels her baby kick. There are a limited number of times a mother watches her body grow a baby. There are a limited number of times a mother gets to hold her new infant for the first time. These are the moments I want to remember.

All I’ve wanted to do is focus on the things I like about pregnancy. I’ve been afraid to openly say, “I love pregnancy” because I care too much what people think of me. “She’s annoying.” “She’s naive.” “She’s hormonal.” “She’s not being real.” “Her pregnancies are easy”…etc. But I don’t care anymore.

I am a woman who loves pregnancy.

For me, pregnancy is the grandest example of the body’s amazing capacity to grow life and the soul’s ability to love someone without ever meeting.

While this may be the last time I am pregnant, I hope that it is not. Regardless of what happens in the future, I want it written, documented, remembered, the things I love about pregnancy:

Baby kicks. The feeling of a life, a being, a healthy little babe inside of me is something I wish I could box up and save for the rainiest of days. It cannot be recreated and it is hard to conjure when pregnancy is over, but it is the most incredible sensation.

A constant companion. I love the fact that where ever I go, she goes. She’s with me day and night, sharing secret indulgences, silent tears, and sweet movements. To carry her is to love her.

Talking baby. I love discussing the new addition with family, friends, and even strangers. I love discussing how excited we are to meet her and hearing thoughtful congratulations. Babies are to be celebrated and the best way I know how is to talk about how much we already love her.

My husband falling in love with our baby. His worries indicate just how much he already loves our daughter. He’s protective and thoughtful. There are few things more beautiful than a man loving his children.

Envisioning our future family. I am hopeful when I think of our future. I look forward to the noise and chaos of multiple children. I welcome milestones and find fulfillment in the thought of trying to raise happy, helpful, compassionate children.

Picturing my daughters together. I find so much joy in at the thought of my daughters loving each other. Their shared kisses and toys and secrets is one of the things I look forward to the most.

As I’ve focused more on the things I like about pregnancy, I’ve realized how much their really is to love about it.

Image: My 37 week, full term belly

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations

Let the Countdown Begin

Monday, January 14th, 2013

36 weeks/9 months

Maybe I’m twenty-seven going on seven, but I still like to make paper chain countdowns for exciting events. Well truthfully, I can justify any event to be exciting enough to paper chain. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, doctor’s appointments, root canals. Pap smears? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Nothing preps oneself for the awkwardness of that appointment by paper chaining down those nerves.

I think most of the world would agree then that a baby is definitely paper chain worthy.

With 4 weeks to go, I might be getting out the stapler and scissors a little too early, but I’m ready to countdown. We’re in the red zone. I’ve got my victory dance ready. It’s nearly midnight. The magic is about to happen.

Are you tired of the countdown talk yet? Sorry people, we haven’t even started.

It’s a much different feeling this pregnancy because with my first I was terrified to have a baby. With one birth under my belt, I know it can be done and it doesn’t scare me as much anymore. Yes, there are still some nerves, but most of my feelings are bordering on pure excitement.

We’re at the point where the little bambina could come at anytime. Yes, I want her to continue to grow as healthy and big as she needs to be, but it wouldn’t be totally bonkers if she made an early debut.

This means that we’ve entered a very interesting, very difficult stage of pregnancy.

The waiting game.

It can be a cruel one.

I’ve watched friends and family have babies a couple of weeks early or right on time over the last couple of months and it’s left me hungry. My arms are aching to snuggle a newborn, yet I have no idea when they’ll be filled.

With my first, I was a week overdue and I’m trying, desperately and unsuccessfully, to prep myself with a “she’s going to be late” mentality.

I know, I know, “babies are easier in than out” and “enjoy it while you can,” but there’s just something about this new phase as a family of four that I’m happily ready to start.

I know they’ll be moments with two children that I’ll think, “why was I in such a rush?” Or I’ll long for the days of peeing with absolute freedom, peeing with impunity!

I’m aware newborns are not all snuggles. Enter colic, acid reflux, mixed up sleep schedules, complete dependency. I know it can be hard and realize that it will be hard in some moments, but somehow those thoughts are not curbing my enthusiasm.

I haven’t hit the “I’m so tired of being pregnant please remove this watermelon of a baby by any means necessary,” stage…yet. I’m just thrilled at the thought of making her tiny and sweet acquaintance.

This excitement though heightens the mind game that is the waiting game. These are the last few hard weeks of pregnancy physically, but also mentally. The waiting game is a mind game of epic proportions. When will these contractions get serious? What day will she come? Today? Tomorrow? Three weeks? When should my mom fly out? Too many unknowns!

Soon the dearly beloveds in my life will start sending daily “thoughtful” texts with inquires and excitement about her arrival. This majorly ups the waiting game ante. Too stressful for my blood, I fold.

My solution? Paper chain my feelings into a countdown I can see and maybe, just maybe, feel like I’m doing something to cajole her into the world each time I rip that little shred of paper.

You can bet your bottom dollar when it gets really close to time, I’ll do more pointed cajoling with some serious stadium stairs, spicy foods, and sexy time but for now, the paper chain will suffice. Honestly, experience tells me she’ll do what she wants, when she wants, wives’ tales aside.

And so it begins and tick tocks on the clock…the waiting game.

Add a Comment
Back To Great Expectations