I read Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter last week. It was so wholesome and lovely and uplifting. It filled me with graditude for my family—my exemplary husband, my creative children, and my dream to educate them and grow with them. The Stratton family is my model. We will be like them, and someday Barry and I will stand in the place where we started and look out over what we’ve created and be overcome and overjoyed. It is a book I will read over and over—by myself and with my family.
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is, well, um…HUGE. My phone has not stopped ringing for 3 days. Well, I guess it’s not ringing now. It just rings while I’m nursing a baby and my other 2 kids are sledding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Either that or trying to do back flips off the couch–and my kids definitely aren’t good at back flips. All the phone ringing must coincide with a crisis, screaming, and nursing a baby. I don’t answer it then, but I do eventually have to return the calls. That’s when the fighting comes into play. My children have never fought so much until I had to make lots of phone calls, so I just ignore them and try to pay attention to what the person is saying at the other end of the line as the bigger kids climb into Logan’s crib and jump up and down and demolish his mobile while screaming at each other at the top of their lungs.
So, who’s idea was this?
I feel strangely peaceful about all of it. I’m just learning the ropes. I can do this. (positive thinking there)
Today was just crazy. Barry’s alarm didn’t go off. Who knows why. He probably just forgot to turn it on–or it had to do with the fact that we had each of our 3 children in bed with us for at least part of the night and his clock got knocked down somehow. Anyway, he woke up late. Pre-Presidency that would have been no big deal, but see, we only have one car. Barry missed the bus and it was raining, so he couldn’t make his usual bike ride. He had to take the car, but I had to be at the church at 11 to meet a truck with $500 worth of humanitarian aid for a local charity, and after that deliver groceries to a sister who just had surgery. He also had a lot of work to get done… Well, he came home early so that I could have the car. $500 worth of food is A LOT of food–a lot of really heavey food. And the woman who I delivered groceries to lived WAY out in the boonies. And I left my lights on while I was putting away her groceries, so I could not leave her house when I was done. Another sister who also lives way out in the boonies rescued me and jumped my car (because I had no jumper cables in it–just 3000 lbs of food).
Then it was Enrichment night. It was wonderful. We helped clean a clinic that helps migrant workers in the area. We stocked their pantry with food, we scrubbed the floors, wrapped Christmas presents and talked with each other.
It was also very humbling. I looked around and realized that if anyone from the outside looked at our group they would have no idea I’m the one in charge. I’m to akward and quiet around people I don’t know. I can never think of cute things to say or good questions to ask to keep a conversation going. I big groups of people I can not get my mind to focus–I never remember to take roll or…anything I should. I end up just watching a lot of the time… And I also realized that I am the youngest woman in the ward.
So, who’s idea was this again?
I did more today than I normally get done in a week. (Did I mention there is a fiber-arts show I am making new spindles for this Saturday? Yeah, that’s a lot of work too.) I’m hoping by next week I’ll figure this out so that week can remain sane and my children won’t be completely starved for my attention.
Heavenly Father is in charge here.
and so I feel like a failure of a mother. He is just so capable. The man can do anything, or should I say everything–all at one time. And I love him for it. I have the easiest life. I don’t have to do anything and it gets done anyway, and he showers me with aprreciation as if I did do it (you know, whatever “it” is at the moment– laundry or dishes or super-human acts of calming the screaming Jonah etc. etc. etc.).
So, last night he went to the temple and I was left in charge of bedtime. Which I’m sure any decent mother is expert at, but me? No. Brenna and Jonah were running wildly, flipping lightswitches while I chased them and stuffed toothbrushes into their mouths, all the while being serenaded by the blood curdling screams of a hungry baby. I didn’t read the stories right, or sing the songs right, or fill the sippy cups up with the right temperature of water… It took me over an hour to do what Barry does in 15 minutes. But the kids were asleep when he got home. And Jonah was miraculously asleep in bed, even though he spent about 20 minutes screaming on the floor by the door because he wanted the little pink cup–which Brenna asked for first.
So Barry came home from work early today so that I could take a nap because I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from being left alone with my own children for ONE NIGHT.
I’m blaming the headaches on the horrible metal contraptions and rubber bands in my mouth.
I had a friend studying to be an orthodontist that said pure-bred people have the best teeth. Our problem here in America is that we’re a bunch of muts, which has led to our need for torturing-teeth-straighteners (aka. orthodontists). See, what happens is that we get English teeth in a Swedish body, or worse yet, Swiss teeth in a French skull. Nordic teeth in a Japanese frame is especially bad. But, when you’re Native American or Chinese or Tongan through and through way back to Adam–it’s really unlikely that your mouth will be full of teeth sticking out every which way with unsightly gaps and overlaps. I think the logic holds true. When was the last time you looked through a National Geographic magazine featuring native Aftrican tribes and saw a bunch of people in loin cloths with horribly crooked teeth? Never!! They smile big beautiful smiles, not only because they are only wearing loin cloths, but because they have perfect white pure-bred teeth.
Well, I’m not pure-bred. Which is okay. I’m pretty happy with the Danish, English, German etc. etc. mixture I got…except for the teeth.
I went to the teeth-straightening-torturer today.
A year ago I walked through the tents on the grounds of Young’s Dairy longing for a spinning wheel so that I could do the magic of turning fluff into yarn. Well, I couldn’t afford a spinning wheel, but when I got home I figured out how to make a drop spindle out of a wooden car wheel and a dowell, got some wool off of ebay and went to town. Two rabbits, a monthly fiber group get-together, and many skeins of yarn later, I’m a happy spinner who had a booth in a tent at the Wool Gathering on the grounds of Young’s Dairy and sold every single spindle I made to sell!! I put Logan in the “pod” under the table while he slept and helped other people learn how to spin. It was a great time and I’m excited that it went so well. Barry did so much to help me. I wish everyone in the world could have a husband like him and feel so loved–he puts his all into something if he knows it means a lot to me. Thank you Barry…
well, for a couple more days.
The time has gone by so fast. Logan is 6 weeks old. His cheeks are chubby, he smiles and coos, he’s in 3-6 month clothes. With my first baby I was so excited for her to do the next thing– to reach the next milestone, but this time I want to freeze time. I want to sit in my rocking chair nursing my baby, stroking his cheek, hearing his sounds, feeling him close, holding him up on my shoulder, pressing his soft sticky cheek against mine, smelling his hair, hearing his breath, with all of him fitting in my arms and molding to my body in perfect tininess– forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for a month or two more. I just sit and look at him trying to memorize how he looks at that moment and how it feels to hold him and smell him. I try and try, but I know that tomorrow he’ll look different. He’ll gradually change until he’s so heavey I can’t carry him up the stairs and he talks and runs and plays. Those days will be magical too, but in a different way. When he’s small I know he’s mine. As he grows, he starts to become his own.
I had false labor for weeks. The middle of June was torturous because Barry was home from school for 2 weeks and we were trying everything to make the baby come—and everything we tried did make me have regular contractions for hours at a time, but nothing real. I was so impatient, praying every night that that would be the night, but July 1st (the due date from my earliest ultrasound) came and went. I was frustrated and angry and sick of being pregnant. July 4th was Fast Sunday, so I fasted as much as I could being pregnant and really prayed to understand why I didn’t have a baby yet. Why wasn’t Heavenly Father answering my prayers? The answer I got was that He was answering my prayers. I had been praying and reading and preparing so much for a natural, drug-free, spiritual birth experience. I needed to trust in the miracle of my body and in Heavenly Father—he made me after all, and knew perfectly how everything needed to work in order to bless me with the experience I wanted so much. But, another week went by. I relapsed into angry, miserable tears. I even contemplated being induced just to get it over with. I had to keep falling back on the thought of how excited I would be to finally see and hold my baby. After all the waiting and hoping and preparation this would be my best birth ever. It took about a week and a half for it all to really sink in, but then I finally felt peaceful. I was able to let go of my want to control everything and just trust that my body would do what it was made to do, and that God was in control.
I really hoped to have an excuse not to go to my Enrichment meeting July 13th, but there I was with my round belly conducting the meeting and welcoming everyone there. After I sat down to listen to the presentation I noticed a new kind of contraction—a totally different sensation than the tight hard ball contractions I had been having for a month. I felt pressure lower in my belly and in my back, and I felt it again a few more times that evening. After I got home I noticed that these contractions were coming every half hour or so. I stayed up for a while, then went to bed.
At about 3 o’clock in the morning I was woken up by a particularly intense contraction and was so excited they hadn’t stopped. I rolled over so I couldn’t see the clock, focused on my relaxation breathing and went back to sleep. In the morning Barry didn’t know what to do. I told him to go to school, and he did, but called every hour to make sure everything was okay. At about 10 my mom called. She told me that I needed to get rid of my negative thoughts and feelings and frustration and focus on what I wanted. Every time I had a negative thought I needed to affirm, “I am able to have my baby naturally this week.” I told her about my fasting and prayer and that I had finally felt peaceful and able to relinquish control. I think that is what I really needed, peace and surrender, to be ready for my baby to come (and just as a life lesson from this whole experience). I also told her I thought the baby would be born that day or the next. I would check the clock every once in a while as the day went on. Contractions every 15 minutes.
A little later, Brenna’s little neighbor friend came over to play. We had lunch, I worked on making a book of drop spindle spinning instructions, spun some angora yarn, took pictures for illustrations, and kept myself busy. By this time I knew I was in labor. My neighbor Kari called to check on her daughter. I told her I was in labor, but not too far along, and that it was nice to have Nicole to entertain my kids. She decided that she needed to come over until Barry got home. As soon as I got off the phone with her, it was 1:33, I had a contraction that took my breath away and decided it was time for Barry to come home. I called. He didn’t answer his phone. I left a message, then just stood in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, talking with Kari. My contractions were more intense, but I could easily talk through them. During each one I would lean on the counter and let my lower body go limp, take in a long breath, slowly think “o p e n” as I exhaled, and just enjoy the sensation of my body doing what it needed to do. Barry got home a little bit after 2—I decided I wanted to go upstairs and be alone to relax. Kari took the girls to her house and Barry got things together to go to the hospital.
Upstairs, I turned on my Rainbow Relaxation and Birth Affirmations CD (from the Hypnobirthing Institute), sat on my yoga ball at the edge of my bed, and leaned over onto my pillow. It was so peaceful and the support of the ball felt so good on my joints and bones. The Birth Affirmations were particularly helpful—I felt so empowered and excited that I was going to do it. I was really going to have my baby and it would be just how I wanted it. I had really lost track of time and everything going on around me, but after my CD had ended and I continued to sit on my ball and relax. I realized that my contractions were really close together and we had better go to the hospital or I wouldn’t be able to let the nurses put my IV in or anything. Barry called Labor and Delivery to let them know we were on our way, then started making arrangements for the kids. He just took Jonah across the street with Brenna, loaded up the van, and we left—but realized as we were pulling out of the neighborhood that Jonah didn’t have any shoes and that they probably would need car seats for the kids, so we turned back. I couldn’t talk during contractions anymore, but I was easily able to drop into deep relaxation during each one, then continue on with conversation afterward.
We got to the hospital at 4:15 and walked through the crazy construction maze up to Labor and Delivery. I was able to walk through my contractions, but really focused on my “o p e n” exhalation and relaxing every part of my body that I could. We got to the nurses station, and I leaned on the counter to rest, and they weren’t sure whether to believe I was in labor. Since it was my third baby, and things were slow, they decided just to let me go into a room instead of triage first. We let them know I was going to have a natural birth and the practitioner there delivering babies introduced herself. “I’m Anne. I’m a midwife. Unfortunately, my shift ends at 5 and they’re really strict about that here.” It took me a few minutes to get changed into a hospital gown and go to the bathroom, then the midwife checked to see how far dilated I was. To everyone’s shock, and my relief and disbelief, I was at 8 cm. Yep—I really was in labor! So, I was strapped with the monitors. The midwife told the nurses and med-tecs not to give me an IV, but I said I was GBS positive. She seemed to think I didn’t really need antibiotics, but we had them put in a hep-lock anyway and I was hooked up to antibiotics a little later. Admissions called to see if Lt. Croker could come do paperwork and answer questions and I said “No!” I think then everyone realized it wouldn’t be long until my baby was born. My contractions had become really intense and I just lay limp in the hospital bed with the back propped up and my feet together and my knees fallen apart. Now my exhalations were audible—it probably sounded like soft moans, I don’t know. I just did what felt good and helped me totally relax. There were a ton of people coming in and out of the room. I was a sort of spectacle—the lady who came in at 8 cm., didn’t have an epidural, and wasn’t screaming her head off. I was able to zone everything out, but I had a few contractions right on top of each other and was finding it really hard to relax. Barry stood by me stroking my hair and reminding me to relax my neck, my face, my left hand (that had the IV in it) or what ever looked tense. He helped so much—but my contractions had started to change and I didn’t know how to deal with them. I said I was scared, but the nurse, Barry and the midwife all said, “No you’re not!” They continued to encourage me and the midwife checked me—I was complete. She put on a paper gown and sat on the bed with me. My water broke soon after and pushing contractions began. I just surrendered to them. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was so intense and overwhelming, but I didn’t have to do anything. I moaned and tried to relax as much as I could and my body did the work of pushing my baby down. I was still laying in bed, and probably could have been more comfortable in some other position, but I felt like I couldn’t move—I really didn’t want to, I just wanted it to be over. My skin stretching as he crowned hurt and burned and stung. Barry kept telling me to reach down, but I felt powerless to move and didn’t want to break my relaxation, so I just shook my head and said “no” or “I can’t.” He finally just took my hand and put it on his head—it was out!!! That made everything so much better and with the next push I felt my baby slide through my hands as the midwife put him on my chest. He was so clean—just a little bit cheesy on his back—and so skinny, and a little purple.
Logan Jacob Croker was born at 5:10 pm on Wednesday, July 14th at Wright Patterson AFB Medical Center. I held him skin to skin and nursed him and looked at him. When the umbilical cord stopped pulsing I got to cut it myself, and then the placenta came out with one little push. The midwife had stayed past her shift, and stayed with me while I held Logan—not letting the nurses wrap him up in towels or put anything between him and my skin. About an hour and a half later he was weighed and measured (7 lbs. 8 oz., 21 inches), then bathed, and I was able to get up and walk around. My stay at the hospital was wonderful—Logan’s first bath and everything was done right in my room. He nursed wonderfully, we rested, and everyone was so nice and helpful.
Heavenly Father did answer my prayers. Logan’s birth was beautiful—the natural, powerful, spiritual experience I had longed for. Everyone that was there said that it was so peaceful and calm. The midwife said she wished it had been filmed for use in childbirth classes, and throughout my hospital stay the med-tecs that had watched came in everyday to tell me that they hoped that when they had a baby it would be just like Logan’s birth—staying home as long as possible, arriving at the hospital and remaining calm and peaceful.
My recovery has been faster and much more comfortable than with the births of my other children. I didn’t have an episiotomy, though I did tear a tiny bit, and there was no nursing learning curve. I haven’t felt groggy or lethargic because I didn’t have any drugs during labor.
I was up with contractions for a lot of the night. It is so exhausting and emotionally draining, because even though I know they aren’t “real” contractions, maybe the next one could be–so I stay awake waiting for the next one… I have discovered that eating cuts my false labor shorter, so last night I was only up until 3:30 instead of 5 or 6.
I should be really thankful. This has been my best pregancy ever. I have felt so good. Not quite so tired, my legs don’t feel like they’re falling out of their sockets, I don’t really feel huge and immobile, and I can still roll over in bed all by myself.
Still, it is just the waiting. Do I want to be induced? After Brenna’s induction I vowed I would never do that again. Am I just selfish to want to get it over with, to just have this baby ASAP? Would I regret being induced, especailly since I started out this pregancy with such strong feelings about doing it naturally and trusting the miracle of my body and growing closer to my husband and to God through the process? I have so may things going through my mind constantly. I have waited this long, what’s a few days or even a week longer? What does Heavenly Father want me to do?
On another note, Jonah seems to be totally potty trained!!! I had hoped, but didn’t think it was possible, that I would only have one baby diapers. If this baby had been born even a week ago it would have thrown a real kink in the potty training dilligence on my part–so that’s a blessing. Jonah is even staying dry all night–which means he wakes up earlier because he has to go potty, but we haven’t had to clean up big squishy toddler poop for a whole week!! THAT is cause for celebration!!!
I have a doctor appointment in the morning. We will see what happens…
Depending on the time of day and the degree of irrationality my pregnant mind currently possesses, I am either crying, or quietly resigned to the fact that this little guy just isn’t fully cooked yet. It has been torture waiting. A lot of things have contributed to it:
July 1st has come and gone. Tomorrow is the 9th, which could also possibly be my due date, since we don’t really know when my last period was.
I have stopped praying that the baby will be born NOW and am simply asking for help to endure…until when?
OK, here is the blog. Let the games begin!