Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Most Beautiful Thing Happened...

June 25th 2014
Today I had my regular weekly OB appointment. I was 38 weeks along and as ready as ever. I was excited for this appointment especially, because not only was I going to hear Baby G's heartbeat, Dr. Barney mentioned that if I hadn't had this little baby yet, he would "strip the membranes" which sounds incredibly horrific. I think Chris nearly passed out just hearing the words.

We arrived and after hearing her beating heart, he checked the dilation of my cervix. Only a little change. I was a 3.5 almost a 4 (the last time I was checked I was a 3 almost a 3 and a half. Which wasn't that long ago considering I had a TON of false labor contractions sending us to the hospital so many times I was basically on a first name basis with the staff ).  But I was still grateful for the progress. I asked if he'd still be stripping my membranes (fingers inserted just inside the cervix to lift part of the amniotic sack away from the uterine lining in hopes of jump starting labor within 48-72 hours if already in the beginning stages.) Despite it’s awful name, it was not painful at all. In fact I remember telling Chris that I wasn't sure he really stripped anything. Dr. Barney was a little reluctant to do this because he was about to leave on Pioneer Trek and would be unreachable for the next three days. I agreed to it anyway because lets be honest… the last few weeks of pregnancy are miserable and I wasn't completely sold on the idea that anything would actually start this labor! I'd tried curb walking (literally walking the curbs of the sidewalks hoping the uneven steps would break my water) , any and all kind of herbal teas and oils (minus Castor oil… um no thanks!), loads of pineapple, and even…(warning... TMI alert) nipple stimulation (which I found out later takes hours to work if at all). Nothing worked… so why would my membranes being stripped do anything right? Dr. Barney finished and said "Take care, we'll see you at St. Marks in a week for your induction."


Later that night. I was experiencing what I had come to know as "normal" yet painful contractions. They did seem a tad bit worse, however. But I barely had time to really notice a difference let alone track them. Caler was extremely lethargic. He had napped for about 2 hours (those who know him, know that is NOT my boy) and had come down with a fever. Crystal and I took him to the ER. She suggested we go close to St Marks and after finding a closed urgent care, we decided to head straight to the hospital.

He was checked in and getting looked at. He perked up a bit and the nurse joked that it was my turn next seeing as my contractions were growing closer together and gaining strength.

At about 8:00pm, I decided to let Chris know.

When I called he sounded distressed. His truck had broken down and he was on his way to drop it off at his dad's shop.  His exact words... "Don't tell me you're in labor...Of course it'd be today of all days!" We made a plan to have him meet me at my house and we would drive back to the hospital together. He pulled up to my house a little sooner than Crystal and I, in a borrowed Powerline work truck. And he was pretty worried by the time we made it home.

Together we loaded the truck with all of the gear we would need to welcome Sweet baby girl into this world. An overflowing grey and white damask diaper bag, a boppy nursing pillow, a fuscia and grey car seat. And ourselves. And we raced to St Marks as my contractions continued to get closer together and to gain in strength. I was near tears.

When we arrived at 10:45, I walked into Labor and Delivery for what felt like the 159th time. The nurse at the check in desk remembered me (from last week, and the week before that and the day before that and so on…) and handed me the paperwork to be completed and signed. She asked what was going on and I remember telling her "just contractions that make me feel like an idiot for thinking I was in labor any other time". She laughed and I'm sure she was thinking that this was yet again another false alarm.

I knew the drill, we were set up in Labor & Delivery room #7. The room with the clock that Chris hated. It's bright red flashing numbers changing every second. But at least it wasn't the room with the broken chair.

Gohar, our nurse, came in to get me hooked up to the monitors and checked my cervix. After all the painful contracting I was only a 4. But still, I noted the change from this afternoon as progress and wasn't complaining too bad. We would be staying for at least an hour to monitor contractions and note any cervical change. If nothing happened, we'd be packing up and heading back home. Realistically… I thought we'd be going home again.

The monitor dug into my belly with each contraction and it hurt. The hour passed and it felt like an eternity. The unknown was torture. Was I going to meet my baby today? Would I be going home holding my big belly waiting for her to make her eventual debut?

June 26, 2014
At 12:30am, she checked my cervix. 4.5. She seemed a little conflicted as to if the change was big enough to warrant a stay. She needed the go ahead from that night's charge nurse. I felt defeated…. I was positive that we would be going home. I turned to Chris and said "If we are sent home, we aren't going far… we'll be back. These contractions hurt and aren't going away." The Belgian Waffle was our next stop.

She came back with a smile and an IV tray. We were having a baby. On Chris's Dad's birthday.

I re-met that dang Sprite later...

I sent out the text to my family and called Alisha. My person. She said she was on her way and arrived shortly after.

I felt a rush of emotions. I had waited and waited for this day to meet my baby girl and now it was finally here. I was over the moon excited and yet a little scared. Would I be able to do it? Could I handle a natural delivery? What if I had to have a C-section? What if she wasn't ok? It's impossible to explain the rush of feelings of excitement, gratitude, worry and fear that go through your mind when you realize that today you will meet the little baby you've grown in your belly.

We walked and walked and walked... the familiar halls of the hospital. We noted not to go into the main hospital as we would not be able to get back into Labor and Delivery without walking out through the ER..... yeah, we'd been through this a few times before.
I forgot my slippers....

The contractions got worse. And worse. And I couldn't breathe. I felt like the world was closing in on me. I couldn't catch my breath from the last contraction before the next one started. I cried and screamed and moaned. It hurt. My sweet nurse pushed on my knees and I was rewarded with a few seconds of relief. But it returned. And then it came again. During a moment of clarity, I realized I wanted an epidural. I needed the epidural. So I waited until my next contraction dissapated to ask my nurse for one. I wanted her to know that it wasn't in the heat of the moment. I really wanted the relief, despite what my birth plan demanded.  And in that moment... Eff the tub!  
At around 3am and dilated to only a 5, the most amazing man entered my life. The epidural man. By this time the contractions were coming so hard and so fast I literally couldn't tell when one stopped and another began. I was beyond delirious, climbing almost out of bed trying to escape. It didn't work. He pulled the tray in front of me and placed a pillow on top and told me to lay across it. As I did he began to explain the risks to the procedure and I felt like screaming at him to shut up and stick the needle in my back. I didn't. I just nodded and waited for him to be done talking. Chris and Alisha stood on either side of the tray to assure its stability. He began. It failed. I felt pins and needles all the way down my left side. He started again. Blood. It failed again. Chris fainted. Literally… He fell backwards into the chair and the nurse rushed to his aid. Another nurse came in while another went to go get him juice. The anesthesiologist tried again. This time he said it worked. I trusted him. And in twenty agonizing minutes, I finally felt sweet relief. And I confessed my undying love for that epidural man.

It didn't last. I could still feel the entire right side of my body. And pretty soon half of my body was experiencing about 80% of the pain.  I cried and when it got worse I screamed. It was then that I met the Dr who would be helping me meet my sweet little girl, Dr. Erica Faircloth. She noticed my discomfort and had another epidural man come in to rescue me. The epidural wasnt working like it should have been. My right side wasnt being medicated. It was un-numb. Before I knew it, I fell asleep …. Mid sentence. I fell asleep. I was relieved of pain and sleeping comfortably. This seemed to be a cycle of repetiveness…. Cry, scream, medicate, sleep and repeat. About 100 times all while being turned on my sides with my leg up, in a failed attempt to move her to anterior.

At 5:00 am my water broke and I was dilated to a 6, but labor felt like it was slowing down. Despite the slow progress, pitocin wasn't suggested. I was contracting on my own. I was proud.

By this time I also had had several new nurses, my current nurse Karla checked me. Not much progress was made. I labored on. The Dr. came in and felt where the baby was. She was posterior (sunny side up) and turned a bit to the left side. After she tried turning the baby without success, she asked about my previous babies birth weights… she suspected the baby might be big.

I labored all night and all morning only making a bit of change here and there. By 9 or 10 that morning I was a 9, I was a 9 for awhile. By noon they were worried. And by worried I mean Dr Faircloth said she was checking on a patient and would be back in five minutes to prep for a c-section. And I didn't care. I was so uncomfortable, delirious, and just plain out of it. I wanted to feel better, and mostly… I wanted to meet my girl. I wanted her safe in my arms. I wanted to breathe her in and know she was safe.

Dr. Faircloth came back and checked me. It happened so quickly. I mean… quick. Stirrups were flying out, my legs were being guided in them, and the next words I heard were. "Ok. Kristal. You're ready. Let's try to push".

I pushed once and they told me her head was right there. They put a glove on my hand and I got to feel her little head. Her beautiful head full of dark hair. It gave me motivation and I tried to push again. Her head came out in that push and it gave me even more motivation to push. I was so close to meeting my beautiful baby girl. But there was a problem. Dr. Faircloth told me to stop pushing. Her shoulder were stuck. My sunnyside up girl was still turned a bit to the side and she was stuck. They asked nervously again about the weight of my other babies. Before I knew it the room was flooded with nurses and Dr. Carlton (the dr who delivered Caler, and who saw me fairly frequently during this pregnancy with hospital visits). I had a nurse on each side of the bed with me, kneeling and pushing all of their weight on my belly. Pushing baby girl down and hopefully out into the world. Dr. Faircloth knew it wasn't working. I could push all the day long but baby girl wasn't budging. In quick genius, she reached her arm inside to help this little one move her shoulders. And it worked. They were free. And at 1:08pm Genevieve Gracelyn Roylance was born.  My precious baby girl was placed on my chest. Skin to skin I met my baby. My baby girl. This girl who I'd prayed and hoped for and wanted. So wanted. I fell in love again, just as I had two times before. My heart grew. This girl is perfect. She is perfect and I sobbed as I held her to me. I never wanted to let go.

The nurses exclaimed of her size. And I just thought… "you guys are crazy".  I snuggled my girl close to my heart as the cord we shared pumped. And then it stopped and Chris took the scissors.

Although the delivery was a difficult one... I wouldn't change a thing if it meant not having this little darling in my life... Welcome to the World my Evie Grace.
Three words for you my love, Birth... Nailed it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chef Ayden the Great....

I think I'll let the pictures do the talking this time.... all I gotta say is, this kid is nothing short of AMAZING! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cookies and Yoga...

Cookie's ya'll. And yoga pants. Because there is nothing in the entire world that makes me feel better than eating a cookie while practicing yoga. These cookies especially. give me motivation to dip into downward facing dog.

I made lemon cookies the other day, before I decided to conquer my daily yoga. I think the only way to describe these cookies are with the following words: They taste like heaven. No lie.

Mouthwatering Lemon Cookies:

1 C Softened Butter
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 TBL Lemon Zest ( Use as much of the yellow on the lemon the more white you get the more bitter it will taste.)
2 TBL Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 - 2 C All Purpose Flour

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy and looks whipped. Add in the vanilla, the egg, Lemon zest, and Lemon juice and continue mixing until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Use a cookie dough scooper to make small little balls on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 - 14 minutes until cookies no longer look wet. Remove from oven and keep them on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

These cookies really have nothing really to do with yoga, I just wanted to justify the fact that I ate three of them. In a row. And in my defense, one of them was as I was doing yoga. I pinky promise.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tis the season...

It's fall! Finally... and in true October fashion, I am cooking, baking, and flavoring with as much pumpkin as possible. I love pumpkins. I do. I love fall and I especially love pumpkins.

So today, I made pumpkin soup. My kids are questioning it and giving me the worried eye they always give me when I'm baking something they aren't too sure will taste sweet and filled with sugar. They're grounded at the moment, so they have no other choice but to eat my pumpkin soup.

They won't be disappointed, because this soup is good. This soup is divine and hits just the right spot on a rainy fall day just like today.

The recipe is as follows:

Pumpkin Soup

2 1/2 TBL butter (the real stuff folks, margarine is a four letter word in our family)
1 large or 2 medium Russet Potatoes (peeled and chopped into small pieces)
1 large Yellow Onion (minced)
3-4 Cups Chicken Broth (I use low sodium)
1 Can (15 oz) of Pumpkin Puree (make sure it is in fact pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, that would be weird)
salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly ground Nutmeg (I used McCormick ground nutmeg which is perfectly delicious also, just don't skimp on the nutmeg folks, it adds the perfect amount of spice to this soup).
You can also add about 1/4 up to 1/2 C of heavy cream but to be perfectly honest, the soup stands up well completely on it's own without the cream. I'm trying to be a little more health conscious these days so I do without)

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped potato and onion and cook, stir occasionally until the onion is translucent (about 5 - 7 minutes). Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until potato is tender. Stir in the delicious pumpkin. Use an immersion blender to puree mixture until smooth. (You can also cool the soup and pour into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Then return it to the pot.) Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium and bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for eight to ten minutes. If desired, stir in cream and stir to distribute heat throughout the soup. Serve hot and ENJOY!!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Packed Bags and Crocodile Tears...

"i hat you. i am running awa tumoro! frum, Caler!"
 Dear world, I too, would like to write a run-away note. But my son beat me to it.  He had had enough and frankly so had I. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway...) we had a few rough nights this week. Tears were in all of our eyes as I sent them up to bed for the fifteenth time.

As I sat on the couch angry and tears streaming, I could hear the laughter and pitter patter of disobeying little boys. Momma was mad. And momma went upstairs and grounded anyone within a five mile radius. Momma's little men were not happy and not laughing. I heard the little pitter patter of eight year old feet one more time, and I was exhausted. I waited to hear it again, but it stopped. They had finally fallen asleep.

It was a little while later that I climbed the stairs only to find a letter waiting for me. The letter was written in the sweetest eight year old handwriting. It was devastating. But what was more devastating was what I found in the morning.

In their room, a neatly packed back pack sat ominously.

I didn't say a word to him as he sulked out ready for school. But I hugged him. And he hugged me back. We didn't talk about it right away. We both needed time I think.

I walked up the stairs with him after picking them up from school and we talked as we unpacked.

"I was going to bring Ayden's teddy bear so that I always would remember him." He said as he placed it back on Ayden's bunk bed. My heart smiled as I realized they do actually kinda like each other.

"Do you want to talk about why you were mad at me last night Bud? I asked.
"I guess."
"What made you mad?"
"I never want to be grounded. And real men are never grounded. So I was going to go and be a real man." He replied.
"Oh. Ok I guess I had a different idea of what a real man did." I said as I re-folded a pair of his jeans.
"What do they do momma? because they aren't grounded. I know that." He said matter of factly.
"I think they respect people and they don't break the law, and that way they don't get grounded or have to go to jail."
"Yeah I think they do that too."
"Do you remember our house rules kiddo?"
"yes..." He said.
"Do they remind you of something that grown-ups have to live by?"
"um... laws?" He smiled showing his toothless grin.
"Exactly buddy, so what do you think should happen when our rules at home get broken?"
"Oh. I see... we get grounded." The smile faded, but he hugged me. Which, I think, means he's staying put (at least until the next grounding).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda... but didn't

My Dear Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda-been,

What a job you thought you could take on. Loving another man's children. Disciplining another man's children. Taking the backlash from another man's children. Being responsible for... another man's children. In the beginning you did it all. And you were good. You were loved by all three of us. You helped me put them to bed, or carry them in from the car. You helped build Lego's, you tinkered with tools in the garage, you asked for time with them. You were everything they had always wanted and everything they still deserve. In Ayden's words, "I trust him momma, when he says he will do things, he does them." And you did. You did with your whole heart and I don't doubt the love you have for them.

I saw you slipping away slowly, though. I saw the frustrations seeping in. I saw the fury behind a broken rule. I saw you slam the door and walk away. You walked away.

The thing is... you had it all wrong. It wasn't a job. It never was and it never will be. Not to them and not to me. This life, being a single momma, is not only mine... it's theirs. And they didn't choose it. They don't deserve it.

The worst part, is not that you made them feel like that. As you said to me often "it's not your job".  The worst part is that I let them feel like they were just a job. I'm their mother, their person, the only one person they have in the world, and I let them feel insecure for too long.

So it surprises me when I hear you say you want to try again. See how we work out. Because you miss me and you love me. It's not that I don't miss you. I do. I miss you. Everyday I miss you. It's not even that I don't love you. I still do, and I always will. And believe me when I say I've wanted to hear those words for over a year. I've cried countless tears and I've analyzed over every last detail of our relationship.

I've asked myself over and over some of the hardest questions I've had to ask myself. What would have happened had our baby lived? What would have happened? I don't have the answers. And you don't either. I wonder though, what our lives would be like. I wonder. I hope. I think. I dream. I cry. I ache and I miss you.  And then I stop. I have to stop.

Because what I dreamed of for me. What I had hoped for for me. And believe me, I had dreams for you and me. I'd be lying if I said I still didn't. But what I'm left with feeling is truth. And the truth is, babe, we didn't work. What you and I had wasn't what was best for the two lives I have been trusted to care for. It wasn't what they needed, therefore it's not what I needed.

So, I ask you. I beg of you... please let the wound I still feel for you everyday heal. Allow me to move on. Allow me to be a momma. A good momma to the men in my life who, no matter how many times I ground them or won't allow them to stay up fifteen minutes past their bedtime, will never choose to slam the door.

My love always and truly,
The Single Momma

Monday, September 30, 2013

Beating the bullies...

You are strong my buddy, you have heart, and you love... you love with your whole heart! You see the good in people even when they aren't good to you. I know you have what it takes to stand up to bullies, but it breaks my heart to pieces that you have to deal with the dark side of human nature at barely 8 years old.

All the things they spoke, they should never have said.
All the hands on you, they should never have been laid.
You should be crying, but you don't want to let it show.
You stand tall, when they want you to stay down.
You should be playing, instead you're running.
You have a little life in you yet, I know you have a lot of strength left.

How much courage it must take for this boy to get up and ready for the day, knowing what is ahead. What is waiting for him the moment he enters the playground. Shoelaces are stepped on, hands push on his back and all he wants is to make it to the slide.

The strength this boy has is something those bullies will never have. This boy is beautiful. His laugh is contagious. And his heart is as big as "all the way to Florida and back".  His imagination is in the clouds and because of this, attackers have a target locked on Caler and his superhero cape. This boy knows who he is and no matter what happens to him, he doesn't change for anyone.

My boy loves people even when they don't show love to him. My boy still refuses to fight back. He doesn't want to hurt anyone. My sweet boy... my sweet sweet boy and I had the following conversation.

"Violence is never ok buddy, and you should NEVER be the one to hit someone first. But Caler man, if they hit you, and the only way you're able to get away and tell your teacher is to hit them ... then, buddy, hit them back, and hit them hard enough that they stay on the ground!"

To which my baby replied:

"But I don't want to hurt them, Momma. I want to be their friend."

Looks like this momma isn't the only one teaching...