Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In My Arms

Here you lay, in my arms. 

Quietly breathing. It's truly one of the best moments in my day as your mama bear. To see your eyes flutter and finally relax into a deep sleep, to hear the tiny noises, hums, heavy sighs and to imagine the stirrings of your thoughts. 

To watch your belly rise and fall with each breath, it's all a mother's joy. To remember when you fit within the boundaries of my arms, cocooned in warmth and fresh newborn smell, and to now see your legs and feet strewn off our favorite gliding chair - your feet dangling below. How fast the time does go. 

It's amazing to watch you grow. To see you move and think and love and show, your love for others so very apparent, stopping to hug and needing affection is one of my favourite things about you, my dear. The way you bow your head towards a friend, requesting a forehead kiss. The way you crawl all over us, resting your head on shoulders or bellies or backs or arms, resting in moments of kindness, melts away any dread from any day. 

To know you are a gift, entrusted to two people, to raise and care for, to watch over and let go of, is the greatest adventure of all - a mystery I will always be unfolding in you, my son. You keep my days filled of play, my nights full of midnight might, my mornings full of smiley glory and my life full of Christ.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

365 Days Old.

Your Birth Story

Dear Canon,

I am writing this with you resting on my chest, just 19 days after you were born. 

At 7:26a on the morning of your birthday, I ran to the restroom! You must have kicked in just the right direction because my water broke.  It wasn’t a gush of water like in the movies, but I knew exactly what was happening since I couldn’t stop it!  Your Daddy asked me what was happening and I said, “I think my water just broke!” He excitedly began to get dressed and called church to let them know he wasn’t going to be making it in for work.  We packed the car with all the essentials: gatorade, your diaper bag, all our overnight gear, etc...oh and the car seat of course!  We nervously prayed on the way to the hospital: for your health, for all the healthcare professionals that we would encounter, for my and your doctor, for the labor and delivery... everything we could think of.  We called both of your grandparents to let them know, Grandma Docter got in the car straight away and drove from Sarasota, and Pop Pop came after he got off work.  Daddy called Great-Grandma Esther in California at 5am her time, so she was a little shocked to get the phone call, but once she comprehended what was happening she got very excited and said she’d be praying for us the whole day and couldn’t wait to hear the good news that you were born!

Once we got to the hospital, Daddy and I parked the car and rode the elevator up to the third floor.  I wasn’t in any pain *yet* so I was able to answer all the nurses questions and fill out paper work pretty easily but water was still leaking, so that was kind of interesting.  Once they checked us in, they wheeled us over to Labor and Delivery Room #6, where you would be born. Because this was a Wednesday, and I had been dialated at 2cm since the Thursday beforehand, they started me on a medicine called “Pitocin” to help us meet you quicker.  It made Mommy’s contractions come more consistently and with great intensity!  Even though labor was more painful at this point, I was still measuring at 2cm several hours into the day. With the pain very intense at this point, we decided to get an epidural to help Mama’s relax and rest.  Linda, our nurse, was such a wonderful help, but especially during the epidural.  Because the medicine had to go into Mama’s spinal cord, it was very important to stay still.  But in order to do so, she had to sit up bent over (with a big belly, that’s hard to do) and not move even during contractions.  Linda helped Mama hug a pillow and lean into her with her arms around me so as to be as still as possible.  It took about 40 minutes for the anesthesiologist to find the epidural space and successfully get the medicine inserted. (Sidenote: I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her and your Daddy’s support.  She told me exactly what was going on and exactly what I needed to do during each portion of labor.)  Your Daddy kept things light, making jokes, making Mommy smile, and taking lots of video and pictures.  He was so hungry all day long, but didn’t eat because he knew I wasn’t allowed to.  He probably consumed a dozen granola bars so that he wouldn’t pass out but I sure appreciated his committed and encouraging heart. 

Sometime before the epidural, Pastor Mark Compton came to see us.  He didn’t realize how far along I was at that point so I think he was a little shocked to see Mama in so much pain.  He talked with your Daddy for a little while, and prayed for us, holding Mama's hand.  It was so kind of him to stop by and strengthened your Daddy & me to endure the day with his prayer.  

After getting the first epidural, Mama was pain-free for about an hour.  Then she began to feel contractions again on the right side of her body.  Because the medicine works with gravity, Linda (our nurse) propped up Mama's left side, thinking having it elevated would help get the medicine to the right side.  This helped for a little while, but not for long.  At first the pain was minimal, but then Mama wasn’t able to talk through contractions, Linda said that that wasn’t normal.  She said we could either wait and see if they got better, or to try and remove the medicine catheter and try again.  She recommended trying again so that Mama could relax and have enough strength for your delivery.  The second epidural wasn’t nearly as difficult to get as some of the pain was relieved on Mama's left side.  Once again, we were pain free for a short time, but then the pain on the left side returned, with the right side now being pain free.  Apparently Mommy has scoliosis - curvature of the back - so it makes it very difficult for getting medicine to work evenly.  At this point, however, Mama had relaxed enough when the medicine did work that she measured 9 3/4 cm.  Just 1/4 more centimeter and we could start to push!

It was about 5:15 when our Doctor showed up for the second time that day.  On her way in the door she noticed the twelve pack of Diet Mountain Dew that we brought for her.  At Mama’s last appointment she joked about loving that soda, so we took her at her word and brought her some!  She loved us for it and was so blessed by such a silly gesture.  After laughing about that, she said she wanted Mama to practice pushing a couple times to see if that would make her feel the need to push.  Mama never did feel any sensation to really want to push, like some other Mommies do so we had to follow their lead.  Contractions were coming at about every other minute at this point, lasting about a minute, so it was getting very tiring.  The delivery process began at around 5:35.  In order for us to meet you, Mama had to push four times, for ten seconds long each time, while holding her breath.  Daddy was on our right side holding Mama's foot and counting to ten for us each time, and Linda was on our left holding Mama's other foot and head.  Mama had to put her chin to her chest with each push, and hold her knees back with her hands.  About 40 minutes into pushing, I remember seeing your Daddy get very still.  He stopped counting and Mama squeezed his arm and told him: “Keep counting!”  Daddy told Grandma Docter, Linda, and our doctor that towards the end, someone else would have to count because he wouldn’t be able to.  Mama thought that was so sweet.  Daddy kept waiting with each push, so joyfully expectant of your birth and arrival. He kept telling Mama how awesome and amazing she was.  He couldn’t believe how strong Mama was and what a great job she was doing.  It was so great to have Daddy's whole support, have him be so proud of you and Mama, and see him so excited to meet you.  I’ve never seen him more calmly nervous in our life.  He wasn’t scared or sick, just calm and ready to meet you, his first baby boy.  Grandma, too, helped excitedly count with the everyone, telling me I was doing great, while Grandpa waiting in the hallway, silently praying every time he heard a contraction coming on.

About 15 minutes before you were born, Mommy began to get very tired.  Doctor "S" decided to use the vacuum to help me and you out.   

At 6:29p you were born. They wrapped you in a towel to warm you up and put you on my chest right away.  You didn’t make much noise, so I kept asking you to cry so we could hear your sweet voice.  Once the cord that connected us stopped pulsating, Daddy cut the cord - I was so happy he wanted to be a part of that.  They put you back on my chest, but I was pretty tired and weak so Daddy held you.  He just stared at your sweet face, smiling.  I’ll never forget the look on his face when he saw you for the first time, so in love.  Mama doesn’t really remember too much else other than exhaustion, hunger and a heart full of love.  After Daddy held you for a little while, they took you over to the warming tray, cleaned you up, and put a diaper on you.  Daddy, Grandma, & Pop Pop all stared at you, talking to you while you were being dressed, and took lots of pictures and video.  Mommy got to hold you once she was done being taken care of and you nursed right away for over an hour whilst eating a cheese burger!  You had lots of visitors right away:  Lauren, Candace, Kendyl, Alex. Everyone watched you get your first bath after they transferred us to the Mommy & Baby suites.  You didn’t like it very much, but once they put you in the warming tray you sprawled out like you were getting a suntan.  The warm lights must have put you right to sleep.  Every once and a while your whole body would jerk and then you’d slowly lower your arms and legs down.  The nurse who bathed you said it was because your central nervous system was still developing and would be for a few weeks.  It was so funny to see you do this, Daddy said it looked like your were throwing up peace signs in the air.  After you dried off and were warmed up nicely, Grandma and Pop Pop got to hold you and they were so in love right away.  

Once all the excitement calmed down and everyone went home, Daddy went to sleep, they took you to the nursery, and Mommy tried to sleep.  After such a tiring day, all Mama could think about what everything that had just happened and her mind just couldn’t shut off: She could still hear what your heart beat sounded like on the monitors, the gushing bump bump bump.  She still felt like she was in labor for some reason and only slept for 2 hours that first night since the nurses had to keep taking her blood pressure and checking on her to make sure I was recovering well.  The next morning Daddy went and got coffee for us, and since Grandma stayed the night at our house, she came back to see you again for the day.  Miss Niki came to meet you, bringing balloons and a baby blanket she bought for you.  Miss Mary & Alex came, and Mr. Rus after he got off work... Pastor Marc & Sarah, and Miss Lucia.  Morgan, Jordan, Hope, & Kaleb all REALLY wanted to meet you right away in the hospital, but their parents made them wait until a few days after we brought you home.  

On Friday, May 25th Daddy and I brought you home.  We drove so carefully and were so gentle putting you in the car seat and making sure you were safe.  The first night you were up until 3:45.  You didn’t like sleeping on your back in your bassinet so Mommy & Daddy finally decided to let you sleep on Pop Pop’s chest for a few hours so that they  could get a little sleep.  It made Mommy a little worried to let you sleep on his chest but we were so tired that we had to trust Jesus that you would be okay!  

Above all, Canon James, from the day you were born, we loved you with ALL our hearts.  You are perfect, and we are loving getting to know you.  We are so honored to be your parents. 

Mommy & Daddy
Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Four Months Shy

My littlest little baby boy turned eight months old this week.  Time is whizzing by.  I still remember seeing him just a few days old, sitting in the car seat on our front porch fresh from the hospital, so tiny.  That first week we did everything as a team, from filing his nails to giving baths it was all a learning curve.  But we got good at things and so did he.  Long ago are the days when he would play under his hanging toys batting away at plush owls and squirrels for hours.  Now his favorite pastimes are jumping himself silly and making his way around the living room via rolling, circling, or scooting backwards.  He enjoys big boy baths trying to grasp at the water and now reaches for whomever isn't holding him.  He can't be held for much longer than a few minutes, busy busy busy are his mind and hands.   He loves to grasp at anything, touching and figuring out different textures. Short are the days ahead when his hind will propel him and the baby gates will go up. 

Parenting truly is bittersweet.  As he babbles Da-Da and laughs histerically when he's over tired, I can't help but remember the days when he would often nap under his play mat, or rest in my arms - his head no bigger than my hand.  He used to just lay on the changing table; getting him ready was a total one person job.  Now he's so wiggly he practically dresses himself, plunging each limp into it's respective hole with each wriggle. He loves to bang his chubby hands on any near by surface, swirl his ankles in excited circles and giggles gutterly anytime I shimmy pants on his legs.

As he learns and understands so much more of this world, my mind plans for all the new things he's yet to learn.  At the same time, my mind travels backwards remembering when he couldn't roll over, rarely smiled, or expressed anything but funny little animal sounds.  It so surreal to watch this little boy grow.  I have a feeling that won't ever change.  God:  Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful boy.  He is such a blessing to his parents and we are so blessed that you chose US to raise, guide, and direct his steps.  We pray You will continue to guide and direct ours so that he may grow to be strong, good, noble, and a lover of You.  We thank you for each day you have given us with him and each day in the future.  We love you Lord and thank you daily for Canon James.  Amen.