24 April 2013

This is Heaven




The day after we brought Crew home from the hospital, Troy sent the older boys to their grandparents' house for ten days. 

I should probably say that I miss them, but in reality, it has been heaven.

No messes to clean up, meals to prepare, arguments to break up, noses to wipe, or endless whining. 

Sleeping in, visitors coming and going, errands to gather the last touches for our finished basement, dates with Troy (and a sleepy baby), house projects to wrap up.

Having only one baby to take care of has been a piece of cake. I can't believe I ever thought it was hard the first time around. It's amazing how our capacity for chaos grows with each additional child.

Crew can typically be found napping in my lap, or in a ball on my shoulder, or stretched out in my arms, or swaddled tightly next to me in my bed. Completely undisturbed by noise or distractions.

I am treasuring this time I have alone to soak up this sweet new life. It fills my heart with wonder that I got to bring this miracle into the world. 

I love how he snuggles up to me, breathing peacefully in my ear.

I love his velvety soft wrinkly skin and the hint of softer than soft downy fuzz covering it.

I love how he flings his arms wide open when he hears a loud sound.

I love how his little mouth roots towards anything that brushes his cheek.

I love the sounds he makes while he's eating.

I love the satisfied, limp, drunken state he gets in when he's done.

I love nighttime feedings alone with him, bathed in the dim light coming from the hallway.

I love those tiny feet and hands.

I love the perfect smell he has.

I love looking into his newborn eyes and wondering what he's remembering.

And yes, I even love that sweetest ever newborn cry.

I have always adored newborns. But it's just different when it's my baby, part of me. I can almost feel my own heart beating in that tiny chest because I'm so in love.

As excited as I am for Crew's brothers to fall in love with him too, I'm so grateful for this week that I've had him to focus on all to myself.


22 April 2013

Crew's Birth Story


I started having contractions around noon on Monday, April 15th. I had just left playgroup with Nash and we were on our way to pick up Blake from school. I timed the contractions at five minutes apart. By the time we got home, they were painful enough that I wasn't sure if I should be driving.

I immediately called Troy to have him come home from work. Since Nash was born three hours after my first contraction and within the hour of arriving at the hospital, we didn't want to kid around this time. I lined up a place for the boys to go until one of their uncles could take over, gave instructions to the painter who arrived at our house right at that moment, and gathered our pre-packed hospital bags (a definite improvement from last time when I was on my hands and knees packing in between contractions).

I was still breathing fairly easily through the contractions when we dropped off the boys, but we decided to play it safe and head to the hospital.

We checked in around 2pm and the waiting began. My contractions narrowed to three minutes apart, but I stayed dilated at 4cm for several hours. We settled in, watched the Boston marathon bombing footage, walked a few laps around labor and delivery, and I downed several cups of ice chips. The contractions intensified to the point where Troy had to apply pressure on my knees each time to counteract the pain, but I still wasn't making much progress.

My midwife agreed that I was in labor and didn't want to send me home, so she decided to break my water around 7pm to get things moving. Since I was planning on getting an epidural, we decided to get that in place before breaking my water.

And that's when the real fun began. I don't do well with needles. And by "don't do well", I mean I have a serious phobia where I panic, hyperventilate, scream, and make every doctor and nurse within 500 feet have their own panic attack.

Neither the IV nor the epidural went well. My pillow was soaked with tears, Troy's arm was numb from my squeezing, my voice was hoarse from screaming, and the nurse and anesthesiologist were exasperated.

Somehow, I made it through. Once everything was in place, I got nice and numb from the epidural. My midwife broke my water and I progressed from 5cm to 10cm within 20 minutes. I pushed through four contractions (that I couldn't feel of course) and Crew was born at 8:17pm.





But the birth story didn't end there.

After I held and fed Crew for the first time, the anesthesiologist came back to inform me that some spinal fluid had leaked during the epidural. And my chance of getting a massive spinal headache as a result was 70 percent. Since my IV and epidural were still in place, he performed a blood patch in hopes of preventing the spinal headache. He drew blood from the IV in my arm and placed it in my back to form a clot around the fluid leakage. I had to lay flat on my back for an hour after the procedure to ensure its effectiveness.

I made it through the first night and the next morning without any sign of a headache. The boys came to meet their baby brother and doted on his cuteness.







But right around the time the boys were leaving, the spinal headache came on full force. "Spinal headache" can't properly express the pain I was in. It was the most intense pain I had ever experienced. Each time I sat up to try to eat or hold my baby, the pain shot through my head and neck and made my entire body throb.

Several visitors came to see me and I had to lay flat on my back the entire time. Laying flat alleviated most of the symptoms, but it wasn't ideal for taking care of a newborn.

The worst part was that I couldn't hold Crew. I couldn't change him or lift him or take pictures of his sweet face. I had to feed him laying down which was tricky and painful. After such a grueling pregnancy, I couldn't help but think that I just could not catch a break. 

The anesthesiologist came in to tell me my options. I could wait it out and the spinal headache would most likely go away within 1-2 weeks. But I would have to spend that time exclusively flat on my back. And each time I would momentarily sit up, I would experience excruciating pain. Or, I could get a second blood patch, which had a 95% chance of eliminating the headache altogether since it was 24 hours past delivery.

The problem was that the second blood patch involved a blood draw and another epidural. And as agonizing as that headache was, I just did not think I could go through another round of pokes and panic. 

That was before the most unbearable night of my life. Crew decided he was starving and wanted to be fed the entire night. I got almost no sleep, and feeding him was so painful that I could hardly see straight. I literally crawled on my hands and knees to the bathroom. I sobbed each time I thought about enduring another day of the pain.

I started to reconsider the blood patch as the sun rose. I think it was my midwife who convinced me that the outcome would be worth it. Troy and his brother gave me a blessing and I felt confident that the blood patch was the way to go, despite my fears.

Troy called the anesthesiologist who was nice enough to give us his personal cell phone number and set up the procedure for that afternoon. Only, I had a little suggestion for him. I wondered if since I still had my IV port in place, he could just knock me out for the blood patch. He chuckled at first, but as he thought about it more (and drew upon our first horrific experience with the epidural), he suggested that we use a sedative to make me more relaxed. Since I was an in-patient at the hospital, he could order the medication.

That sounded like a pretty good option to me, even if I couldn't be made completely unconscious. The sedative was put into my IV and I don't remember anything else that happened until the doctor was ripping off the tape on my arm. Troy said it was the best I've ever done. After an hour of laying flat on my back, I sat up and could only feel a mild headache. And by the end of the night, it was completely gone. 

The second blood patch was a miracle procedure. It made a night and day difference. I was so happy to just be able to hold my baby! We packed him up and brought him home, and I have appreciated every moment of soaking him up since then.



We're so grateful for a healthy baby and mom.


17 April 2013

Crew Todd Tanner

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Baby Crew.

April 15, 2013 
8:17pm
7 lbs, 0 oz



07 April 2013

The Waiting Game

Every day now, I wake up with this panic that today could be my last day of "freedom" before the baby comes.

And because of that, my energy is through the roof.

I'm running circles around Troy who keeps reminding me that I should be taking it easy, but I feel like these are my last days to get any remaining projects done before I'm nursing a newborn around the clock and simultaneously taking care of a five and three year old.

It took me all week to put the furniture back and hang everything on the walls after our massive painting job was finished. And places that I thought were clean needed to be deep cleaned again and all the windows needed to be washed. But I couldn't stop there. I had to sew/paint curtains that flowed with the new wall color, naturally.

Here's a sneak peek.

And in between conference sessions and hosting a couple of different groups of friends over the weekend, I deemed it necessary to completely clean out our garage. Because when will I find the time to do that once the baby is here? I think Troy wanted to stifle my insane energy at that point instead of being disturbed from his nap to help me out of guilt.

I'm feeling a little sense of relief now that our house is mostly put back together. The schedule for the basement is; Monday-paint walls, Tuesday-tub surround, Wednesday-tile bathroom floor, Thursday-carpet goes in. So, we're getting there. And hopefully we'll get our kitchen cabinet fronts and backsplash up in the next few days as well.

I'm sure I'll invent approximately 16 other projects that need be done in the meantime as well.

Since I'm not feeling super miserable, I'm actually grateful for this little waiting game and each day of productivity I'm rewarded with at this point.

Thank you, baby, for staying put. I'm sure all of this extra exertion will eventually catch up with me, but the baby does have to come out at some point, right?


01 April 2013

Easter

We did manage to celebrate some semblance of Easter amidst the chaos.

Mostly thanks to some great friends who hosted egg hunts on the days leading up to Easter. And made elaborate festive cookies.

Easter egg hunt #1.




I hung in there through the festivities, super duper pregnant.

Easter egg hunt #2.

The mad dash.






A little male bonding on the sidelines.

The kids were told that they could each collect 31 eggs, so of course Blake was very thorough about that rule. While everyone else ran around and collected as many eggs as they could fit in their baskets, Blake counted and recounted his lot along the way to ensure the correct amount.

And then he made sure that Nash had the appropriate amount of eggs as well.


Our friend Lincoln struck up a game with Blake, filling eggs with empty candy wrappers and grass and bark. Blake thought it was the most hilarious thing on the planet.


Gotta love the egg hunt aftermath, strewn across the grass.

Back at our house, the Easter bunny totally failed. He got too tired to hide the baskets the night before Easter, so he left the boys a note instead. He also knew that the baskets would be too much of a distraction for everyone to be ready on time for 9am church.

Blake's heart sunk when he woke up and announced, "The Easter bunny didn't come." Until I pointed out the chicken scratch note and he seemed satisfied.

The bunny redeemed himself later that morning (and snuck out of Sunday school briefly) and left the traditional yarn trails to the baskets.










Blake proclaimed all week long that Easter was a "kid holiday," despite my efforts to have a meaningful Family Home Evening lesson about the true meaning of Easter. But with all the eggs and candy and Easter bunny hoopla, it's hard to blame him for his train of thought.

Maybe next year, when I'm not nine months pregnant, we'll work a little harder at teaching the right concepts. For now, I'm glad that one more holiday is behind us (holidays are so much work), and that I finally made it to April.