Archive for category pregnancy

Zephaniah’s Birth Story

J
Although I never posted about being pregnant with baby #2 on this blog, my second son, Zephaniah Matthew, made his “fast and furious” appearance into the world five days ago! Yesterday was his due date. We are so glad he came when he did though proving that God’s timing is always perfect. I was hoping the baby would come at least by August 29. Gerald is starting a new job on Sept. 6 so this gave us at least a full week together before he has to begin training. We’ve gone through a lot of changes this summer and some tough things, but even through the rougher times we’ve been blessed to see God’s Hand at work through that and His provision for us even if it’s not exactly the way we wanted.

I love reading others’ birth stories so if that’s something that doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to stop reading right here. 🙂 I’m not going to go into a lot of graphic details, but I’m writing this mostly so I can look back on it and remember. I also think it helps other moms sometimes to read another woman’s birth experience. Be warned, it’s a little long even though the birth was quick.

Zeph’s birth story begins much like his older brother Jaylen’s. Even though I’d been through labor before, I started getting anxious in the weeks leading up to the birth. It’s hard not knowing when or how labor will begin. Since my water broke (without contractions) with Jaylen, I didn’t know what it would feel like to have labor begin with contractions. Again I was praying that I would know when it was time to go to the hospital. I wanted the baby to come soon so Saturday night before going up to bed I sat on my birthing ball (exercise ball) and started moving my hips in circles in both directions on it for about 15 minutes or so. Supposedly that is supposed to help induce labor.

God answered my prayer. Around midnight on August 28, I’d been sleeping for about an hour (I was staying up late watching shows on my computer to relax). I woke up feeling a little bit of liquid. Immediately I thought my water might have broken again. I went to the bathroom and put on a pad then waited a little bit. Sure enough, I felt some occasional gushes of liquid after that so I was pretty sure my water broke. Praise the Lord, I knew this meant I definitely had to go to the hospital! I went downstairs to call the doctor and she told me to come in (as expected). Then I woke Gerald up around 12:15 and we started to finish getting our things together for the hospital.

The good part about living at my parents’ house temporarily right now is we could easily leave for the hospital and not have to worry about who will come stay with Jaylen. I went into my parents’ room to wake them up, told them my water broke, and gave them the baby monitor to Jaylen’s room. Before leaving I snuck into Jaylen’s room to say goodbye to him, which was kind of emotional for me. I knew his life (all our lives) would never be the same after this. I gave him a kiss on the head, snuck out, and off we went to the hospital around 1 am.

On the drive, I was having some mild cramping, but it felt like nothing more than menstrual cramps. We arrived at the hospital and checked in a little before 1:30 am. They checked me to verify that my water broke, said I was about 4 cm dilated (I had been 3 cm at my last appointment 4 days before) and began the process of admitting me. They seemed to take their time asking me all their health history questions, asking about my previous delivery, etc. I was still feeling contractions every once in a while, but they weren’t too painful. I got hooked up to the IV around 3 am. Unfortunately the nurse did it poorly the first time so she had to get another nurse to come in and redo it on my other hand. I have bruises still from this (actually on both hands). So that wasn’t fun. The nurse said that doctor told her that if my contractions didn’t start getting more regular and stronger by 6 am then they would start me on Pitocin. I really didn’t want to be put on Pitocin again if I didn’t have to be so I really hoped my labor would progress on its own this time.

The nurse came back not long after this and told me the doctor was now at the hospital and wanted to start me on Pitocin as soon as possible. I asked her if we could wait because last time things progressed really quickly after being put on Pitocin and I wanted to see what my body could do on its own. She agreed to wait a little while and I think she came back half an hour later (this is when I don’t really know what time things were happening). She was checking my chart and said my contractions were still about 5-7 minutes apart (I could feel them definitely getting stronger though) and suggested we start a tiny dose of Pitocin to help me labor more effectively with stronger contractions. I told her I was probably going to want the epidural soon since I was planning on getting it again (it made my first labor so nice). By now I wasn’t really able to talk through contractions. I really had to focus on breathing through them because they were starting to get more intense. I remember telling the nurse that I want the epidural now. She left the room briefly and when she came back Gerald told her that I really wanted the epi. Somehow in that short span of time my contractions got super strong and painful. The nurse decided to check me and said I was now at 6 cm. As she was checking me, she noticed I was breathing really hard and she asked, “Are you okay?” I was like, “I’m just feeling pain.” (I’m in labor…what do you expect?) Then she told me I was contracting.

After that she suggested I lie on my side. I was in intense pain, feeling sick/nauseous, and I was gripping the bed rail so tightly. I started to feel pressure and I could feel my body starting to push. I tried not to because we weren’t ready for this! I told the nurse I felt a lot of pressure and I think she ran to get the doctor. At this point I knew I wasn’t getting the epidural and I was going to have to do this without the pain meds–not in my birth plan, but at that point I couldn’t focus on anything except enduring the pain. I must’ve seemed like I was hyperventilating because they put an oxygen mask on me. Gerald said at this point he started feeling like he might pass out because he was seeing me in so much pain. All these nurses were rushing around the room, they checked me and they’re like, “We see the head!” So they started setting the bed up for delivery really quickly. Meanwhile I’m trying to fight the urge to push but I can’t help it so I cried out, “I feel like I have to push!”

The doctor walked into the room and she got ready really quickly and told me, “You can push if you need to!” I wasn’t feeling the need as intensely at that moment but suddenly she’s telling me we need to get this baby out so you need to push now!  The nurses were encouraging me (Gerald was trying to figure out what he could do at this point since they didn’t want him in the way but he wanted to encourage me too) and with two pushes, Zephaniah was born. The nurses and doctor all said he was a one push baby, but technically I feel like it was two. I felt immense relief pushing, actually. I don’t even remember feeling a lot of pain at that point. They did end up giving me an episiotomy too, which wouldn’t have been my choice, but the doctor said it was necessary to prevent worse tearing.

They placed Zeph on my chest and I felt so relieved and couldn’t believe I’d just had a IMG_1895natural unmedicated labor (since that’s not what I was planning on doing). The worst part was getting stitched up afterwards. It felt like it took forever and was so uncomfortable (though not as bad as labor). The doctor and nurses were amazed at how fast the labor went. They said the doctor walked into the room at 4:19 am and Zeph was born at 4:23 am. Crazy to think my labor was less than 4.5 hours from start to finish and they didn’t even use the Pitocin! 🙂

I told Zeph later that he made me realize I’m a lot stronger than I thought.I didn’t think I could handle an unmedicated childbirth, but I did. The nurse even asked me if I did it again if I would’ve asked for the drugs earlier. I’m not sure because I don’t regret not even having to get the epi. It helped that it was over so quickly. If I had to endure those horrible contractions for hours, I would’ve definitely gotten the epidural.

We asked for an early discharge from the hospital so we went home late Monday afternoon. Recovery-wise I feel a lot better after this birth than I did with my first. I was never in a lot of pain and the nurses seemed surprised that I didn’t want more pain medication. This is probably a blessing since I have a 2.5 year old at home that also wants my attention. Now we’re adjusting to life with a newborn again plus a toddler (who unfortunately is getting a little sick now…not good for baby). We don’t have a lot of expectations right now so we’re just trying to go with the flow and nap when we can. Jaylen had a rough night our first night home after being woken up by Zeph (then also crying when he was crying), but I think he’s starting to adjust. It’s cute when he tries to help or wants to take care of the baby, but right now we’re trying to find that balance of him “helping” (and not hurting the baby) but also letting him know that he needs to stay a away a little bit because he’s sick.

We would appreciate any prayers for this transition time. I’m already imagining how hard it will be when Gerald starts working and I’m on my own with two kids. But we’ll take it one day at a time.

IMG_4052

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Jaylen’s Birth Story

IMG_1051It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, our firstborn son, Jaylen Micah Stroud, was born. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had December 11 in my mind as a possible birth date for some reason. My actual due date was December 14, but I was hoping the baby would come between my birthday (Dec. 8) and then. Similar to the dream I had early in pregnancy where I dreamed I was having a boy, there may have been some kind of mother’s intuition or something going on because I went into labor on December 11 and our little boy was born the morning of December 12.

I’m not going to go into great detail, but here’s a nice little timeline with my commentary of Jaylen’s birth.

December 11
10:30 pm     We arrived home from having dinner at some church friends’ home. I’d felt some contractions while we were there, but I thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions and they weren’t very regular so I didn’t think anything of them. I took Chloe outside, brought her back in, went back out to check the mail, came in & had to go to the bathroom. After I went, I had an extra gush of liquid and my first thought was, “Oh no…did my water break?” I was taking a while so Gerald came down to see if I was okay and I told him, “I think my water broke!” That’s when I think we both started getting a little nervous & anxious.

I wanted to wait a little while to make sure I was actually leaking amniotic fluid before actually calling the doctor. So I texted my mom to let her know what happened and Gerald finished up some of his sub plans while I was trying to decide if I should call or not. Finally, at about 11:00, I was convinced I needed to call because I knew once your water broke you needed to head to the hospital soon. When I talked to the on-call doctor, she told me to start heading to the hospital. So I set my out of office message for maternity leave for work and quickly finished putting together my hospital bag. I also set everything out for Chloe and told my parents they needed to come pick her up.

December 12
12:00 am     Gerald and I finally headed off to the hospital

12:30 am     We check in to labor & delivery. I’m still not really feeling any contractions. They immediately hook me up to the monitor to monitor baby’s heart rate and my contractions and then get me started on an IV. That’s when I knew I was going to be stuck in bed  so I wouldn’t be able to move around in labor like I would’ve liked. I was already 2 cm dilated, which I had been for a couple weeks. The nurse talked to the doctor and said that they would monitor my contractions until about 4 am and then if they didn’t get stronger and closer together, they would start me on Pitocin. I even had a contraction while she was talking to me but I didn’t feel anything. She asked me what my pain level was on a scale of 1 to 10 and I honestly said it was a zero. So Gerald and I tried to take advantage of those next few hours to get some rest, which honestly was hard for me to do. It wasn’t very comfortable in that bed and being hooked up to all these things.

4:30 am     The nurse came back to check on me and said they were going to start me on Pitocin because my contractions were still irregular. I really didn’t want to get on Pitocin if I didn’t have to be because I would’ve preferred if my labor could continue naturally, but oh well. They gave me the lowest dose and soon after that, I started feeling the contractions more. I felt them before they started Pitocin too, but they weren’t very painful. As I lay there and the contractions started getting a little more intense, I started thinking maybe now I should ask for an epidural because this could take a while and if it’s going to get worse than this, I think I might want the medication.

5:00 am     My nurse came back to check on me and I told her I wanted an epidural. It took a while for them to get everything ready for that and to call the anesthesiologist in. While I was waiting, my contractions started getting more intense and painful. Gerald had to leave the room while they administered the drug. Unfortunately my contractions were getting more intense at this point and I had to try to hold still. I started sweating  and felt like I was going to throw up. It didn’t help that the blood pressure monitor also started trying to read my blood pressure while all this was going on. This was the worst part of my labor. It felt like it took forever for him to get the epidural in & start the medication. Even after he finished and they had me lie back down, I could barely talk and I still felt miserable. Soon after that though, the drugs started working and I felt SO much better. This was around 5:30. Gerald came back in and said I looked so relaxed. I actually started getting sleepy and wanted to take a nap. I couldn’t feel any contractions anymore, but I could still move my legs (though they felt numb).

6:00 am     Nurse came back to check on me and told me that it seemed like I just needed the epidural to relax me because now I was dilated to 8 cm! I was shocked when she told me that because I didn’t expect it to go that quickly. She said she would tell the doctor to stay close by and that I should let her know if I felt any pressure. I felt slight pressure off and on for the next hour and finally called the nurse in again at 7 am.

7:00 am     Nurse came back to check me and she could see the baby’s head. So he was just hanging out there probably for a while! She called the doctor and then a whole slew of other nurses also came into the room and started preparing for baby’s arrival.

7:20ish     The doctor and nurse had me do some practice pushes and said I was a good pusher. That was helpful to know because I couldn’t feel anything down there to know if I was making any progress. The nurse had to watch the monitor to tell me when to push because I couldn’t feel my contractions at all. Then the doctor left for some reason and the nurse was just having me push, but baby’s heart rate started dropping drastically and the next thing I know they’re paging the doctor to get in there quickly and she said they were going to use the vacuum to get him out quickly. It was a little scary (probably more for Gerald since he could see the whole thing happening), but I just prayed in that moment that our son would be okay.

7:30ish     I started helping the doctor by pushing during the contractions in addition to her using the vacuum and we got Jaylen out in probably about 5 or 6 pushes. All I know is it happened quickly.

7:46 am     Jaylen was born weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and at 19 inches long.

IMG_1052

I didn’t get to do skin-to-skin with him right away because the nurses took him over to clean him up and probably check on him. Gerald did get to go over there though (after cutting the umbilical cord). So unfortunately I could only watch from a distance while the doctor stitched me up. I heard him crying and I could see his little legs and I kept thinking, “I can’t believe he’s really here.” I’m thankful for a fairly easy (and actually relatively pain-free for most of it) and short labor.

So we’re about a week into this parenting thing and life with a newborn is a little rough. The lack of sleep, I think, is starting to catch up with me now. Plus no one talks about how difficult the mother’s recovery after labor & delivery can be. I was dealing with pain and discomfort from that up until a couple days ago. Not to mention the challenges of breastfeeding. Everyone keeps saying it gets better and it’s worth it, but sometimes I just keep wondering when that “better” stuff will start. It’s already a little better and I keep reminding myself that this is only a season. It won’t always be like this. Thankfully Gerald has been amazing with helping out around the house–cleaning up things that have been packed up in boxes in our basement and washing dishes (which he hates)–and changing diapers or holding Jaylen while he sleeps so I can get some rest or get something done.

Despite all the challenges of being a new parent, we love our little guy. His name, “Jaylen,” means “tranquil healer.” We chose this name because we like more unique names, but also because his birth is a reminder to us of the healing power of the cross and how God can redeem brokenness. His middle name, “Micah,” means “Who is like God?” We hope that Jaylen will grow up to be a young man who strives to follow God and be more like Christ daily. Jaylen, we’re blessed to be your parents!

IMG_1170

IMG_1172

, , , , ,

9 Comments

An Expectant Mother’s View on Advent

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a week away. Since Thanksgiving is so late this year, that means the Advent season is quickly approaching too. This year, at 36–almost 37–weeks pregnant, I am viewing advent from a different perspective. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was at the same stage of pregnancy I am right now waiting for her baby boy to be born. I imagine as a first-time mom, Mary would’ve felt much of what I’m feeling right now: anxious and nervous about labor and delivery (because of not knowing what to expect), wondering when I might go into labor, excitement about being able to meet my son soon, wondering how being a parent will change my life and if I’ll be good at it, etc.

Advent is about waiting expectantly. At Christmas, we’re waiting expectantly for Christ to be born. Now that He has already come and gone back to be with the Father, today we are waiting expectantly for Christ to return at the Second Coming. I think being nine months pregnant gives you a great sense of how we should feel about longing and waiting for Christ’s return. I’m longing for this baby to be born (although somewhat reluctantly sometimes when I think of the pain I’m going to have to endure for him to get here) and I’m ready to not be pregnant anymore. I know the baby can come at almost any time at this point, but I still feel like I have so much to do before he gets here. I need to finish putting baby things away, get a few more baby things that we need, get the car seat inspected in my car, finish up things at work before maternity leave (mostly trying to work ahead), etc. I’m trying to prepare as best I can for baby’s arrival, but I also know he can come before I even get to do some of these things. So in the meantime, I’m actively waiting by doing things to prepare for whenever he gets here.

Similarly, we don’t know when Christ will return and we may feel like there are so many things we want to get done before He arrives (like getting married, having kids, traveling, experiencing life the way you want, sharing the Gospel with those who haven’t heard–hopefully this last one should be more of a priority–etc). Jesus may come back before any of these things happen, so we need to be prepared too by actively waiting for Him and focusing on the things that matter most in eternity. We should be living in a way that is actively preparing ourselves for Christ’s arrival on this earth. I know I don’t generally think in these terms or live with this in mind, but I want to have that kind of focus.

To help me with this, I’m going to be reading through Ann Voskamp‘s The Greatest Gift, this December. It’s a beautiful little book published by Tyndale that traces and celebrates the lineage of Jesus while pointing to the coming promise of Christ. {For full disclosure, I do work for Tyndale, but was not required to post about this book. I’m just personally excited to use it!} I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to keep up with the readings once Baby Stroud is born, but I’m going to try to keep up as I can.

Ann actually did a great webcast today with Liz Curtis Higgs as they both spoke about remembering the true meaning of Christmas. You can watch the entire “Christmas at the Farm” webcast on-demand and I’d encourage you to do so!

So as I’m patiently waiting for Baby Stroud to arrive (still patient right now…if I go past my due date, that may be another story), I hope I can take these feelings of waiting, anticipation, and even anxiety and allow them to remind me that I’m also waiting for my Savior’s return, which should be even more exciting and highly anticipated. May that reminder help me to refocus my attention on what is most important this Christmas season.

Do you do anything special for Advent to focus on the true meaning of Christmas? 

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Growing Baby

I haven’t been posting a lot of pregnancy pictures online, but for those who may be curious as to how Baby Stroud has been growing, he is definitely hitting a growth spurt.

First half of pregnancy

First half of pregnancy

belly2

2nd half of pregnancy

I started out taking photos every two weeks (except for the first two). I will note that on week 12, it looks like I have more of a belly, but judging by the photos after that, it wasn’t exactly baby belly showing at that time. 😉 Now that we’re only about two more months until Baby’s birthday, I’m taking pictures every week. I think this is when we’ll see the most growth anyway.

I’m still feeling pretty good. No back pain or other aches yet…unless I’m sitting in the same position for a while. Then I start to get uncomfortable. I’m tired, but I also need to work on getting to sleep earlier (5am alarms are tough). Gerald and I are getting excited to meet baby, but I know I’m also a little anxious! I don’t feel ready for baby yet (in terms of…we don’t really have anything for him!) We did set up the Pack ‘N’ Play in our room and I bought a stroller, which arrived last week. We finally also ordered the crib, which should get here Saturday. Maybe I’ll start to feel better once we start putting things in the nursery. Speaking of Saturday, we have an all-day childbirth preparation class that day so it should be interesting! Hopefully it won’t make me more nervous about labor and delivery. 🙂

, , , ,

6 Comments

It’s a…

Last Monday we had our anatomy scan. Any time I get to see or hear baby is exciting and reassuring because then I know that it’s still alive and that everything’s okay. This ultrasound was also special because it’s the first one Gerald could come to and the first one since 10 weeks pregnant. Baby looked a lot more human and less like a bean! We were also hoping to find out the gender of the baby.

The scan went pretty well except for the fact that baby was curled up and made it more challenging for us to see his/her face. It also means I need to go back for another ultrasound in a couple weeks so they can get better pictures of the heart. We tried to get baby to stretch out by having me change positions, but no such luck. The ultrasound tech kept saying, “Baby’s hiding.” So maybe baby’s taking after mommy a little bit by being shy! Everything seems to look good though.

Profile view of Baby (it wouldn't let me rotate it)

Profile view of Baby (it wouldn’t let me rotate it to landscape, but the head is at the top)

Since baby was curled up, I was getting nervous by the end of the appointment that we wouldn’t be able to find out the gender. But I asked the tech about it before we left and she said she was able to tell. She even had a picture for us so she wrote it down on a piece of paper and put that with the pic in the envelope we brought. We sealed it and had to wait until our gender reveal party to find out!

On Sunday we had a small gender reveal party just for our families and one family from church (the husband and wife used to be my youth counselors). We passed the envelope with the gender to Susan, the wife, earlier in the week and I asked her to get helium balloons in pink or blue (depending on what the paper says) and told her to put them in a big box. Originally I was going to have my sister do this, but then I thought it would be more fun for all our family members to be surprised together.

Ready to open the box!

Ready to open the box!

So we all gathered at our new house after church (so it was sort of a house warming party too) for lunch and the big reveal. It also happened to be my mother-in-law’s birthday, but she was gracious to share the day with us because scheduling was so hard to do. My brother surprised us too by coming in for the party from Minnesota! We kept the party casual by doing a potluck and stressed we didn’t want people to bring gifts. Gerald grilled made-to-order burgers for everyone and the only game/activity we did was a quiz I found online about old wives tales that supposedly indicate the baby’s gender. We also had everyone vote on a tally board for whether they thought baby was a boy or a girl. Gerald voted boy and I put my vote on girl (even though a few months ago I dreamed we were having a boy). The boy had more votes.

The Votes

The Votes

After everyone ate, we gathered together to go over the quiz answers and then finally the big reveal, which you can watch for yourself (just scroll down if you don’t want to watch the video to find out what we’re having):

(keep scrolling…)

So we’re expecting a baby boy this December! 🙂 I got a little emotional once we opened the box, not because I was sad, but knowing the gender makes this pregnancy a little more real. Baby is a “he” and not just “it” or “baby” anymore. So although I probably won’t get a little equestrian out of my baby boy, I may be able to turn him into a runner. Gerald’s looking forward to fishing, basketball, and dressing our son in H&M Kids clothes. 😛

It was special to share this moment with our families by all finding out the baby’s gender together. I’m not sure if I’ll end up doing this with any other children God might bless us with, but I definitely prefer finding out in a more special way than just at the doctor’s office. I gave Hershey’s bars to all the people who voted for a boy as a prize. I was going to color the Hershey part with markers, but the ones I had wouldn’t stay on the wrapper. Oh well.

Blue cupcakes were brought out after the reveal!

Blue cupcakes were brought out after the reveal!

So enjoy a few more pictures from our party.

We're having a boy!

We’re having a boy!

Team Blue - the winners!

Team Blue – the winners!

Team Pink - the losers

Team Pink – the losers

Even the pugs are excited

Even the pugs are excited

22 weeks

22 weeks

, , , , , ,

2 Comments

How We Told Our Families We Were Pregnant

We got my pregnancy confirmed at the end of April by the doctor at 6 weeks (I wasn’t as far along as they thought at the time of my appointment), so once a medical doctor confirmed it was really true, we decided to tell our families. It was so hard keeping that a secret before then!

With Mother’s Day coming up in May, I decided we should give our moms an early Mother’s Day gift. As a publicist at Tyndale, I worked on a book called My Grandma and Me by Crystal Bowman, which released last September. When the book came out, I bought some extra copies because I knew whenever we got pregnant, it would be the perfect way to announce our pregnancy.

Me with my mother-in-law

Me with my mother-in-law

So I wrapped the book up in a bag and we told each of our families separately by giving our moms their early Mother’s Day gift. We told my family first and my mom didn’t get the hint right away. She jokingly calls our dog, Chloe, her grandpug so my mom (and even my sister) thought we gave her the book as a joke because of that. Then I said, “You’re going to need this at the end of the year.” Of course then they were all excited. 🙂

We told Gerald’s parents the next day and his mom knew right away what the book meant when she opened it. This is the first grandchild for both of our families so everyone is really excited and I’m pretty sure our child is going to be spoiled.

I hope our moms do use My Grandma and Me with their new grandchild whenever they babysit! It’s a great little devotional book meant for grandmothers to use with their young grandchildren.

So if you’re looking for a cute way to announce your pregnancy to your family, consider picking up a copy of My Grandma and Me and giving it to your mom/MIL. It also just makes a great gift for grandmothers in general.

I’m also looking forward to being able to use my own new devotional with Baby this winter with My Mama and Mewritten by Crystal Bowman and her daughter Teri McKinley. It will be out this September. {For full disclosure, I’m also doing publicity for this book, but I’m also just really excited to get and use all these great kids books! A perk of working for a publisher.}

Let me know if you have any non-Tyndale children’s book suggestions as I start to build my baby library!

978-1-4143-7973-9

, , , , , ,

3 Comments