Friday, September 16, 2011

Blanca Isabel Ramos Molina

July 21, 1988 - September 8, 2011

I met you when I was 16, and in my second year of high school. You didn't speak much English, and I didn't speak much Spanish, but both of us had taken French in school. So our conversations were a mix of three different languages. It was the perfect code so others couldn't listen in to all of our talk about boys, our dreams, life, and more. Over the next 4 years I went to Mexico, I was able to see you each time- even when I didn't go with my home church and I was in college. What a blessing. I loved laughing with you. Truthfully, you were the reason I went to Mexico. God started our friendship, and He did so much more. Lots has changed since then, but I will never ever forget you. When I think of Mexicali, I think of you and Jalapa, and I praise the Lord for kindling our friendship. I pray now for your baby girl and husband; I can't bear to know their grief. I rejoice that you are no longer in pain; rejoice that you fought till the end. I'm sorry the end came so soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worn out today...

I'm worn out today. The most precious, beautiful, baby boy in the entire world wants to be held 24/7. Although most would be grateful, even rejoice, over this rare opportunity of holding a newborn all day long, I'm getting worn out. At 3:00 today, Smiles finally let me put him down. He stayed asleep while I took a quick shower and heated up some taquitos. I feel guilty that I don't want to hold my newborn 24/7. Even saying that feels terrible. But if I could be guaranteed potty breaks, food breaks (or at least time to throw something in the microwave), neck massages, and a shower- I'm sure I'd be OK with it.

Don't get me wrong- life with two is wonderful. Not rosy everything is perfect Happy Days wonderful, but blessed wonderful. His squirms and grunts, YumYum's sweet kisses and pats that she gives him, the way he calms down so quickly at the sight of a boob- :).... I wouldn't have it any other way. Tomorrow, Smiles will be two weeks old. I can't believe it's already been fourteen days. My mind is going a gazillion miles an hour- wanting to do the laundry, clean up the house, start thank you cards. My body, on the other hand, is telling me there's no way. I'll get spurts of energy here and there. Yesterday, we were at Kaiser. It was pretty painful standing up and waiting while the clerk registered him for his appointment. The pressure and the bleeding... I'm trying to drink lots and eat lots, and keep from getting dehydrated or anemic. Overall, I'm doing a really good job taking care of myself- all things considering. It's tough though. Making yourself a priority with an amazing one year old daughter who deserves my attnetion, a hard working and tired husband who deserves a break, and a newborn that just wants to snuggle and eat and have his diaper changed- "Me" isn't really an appropriate word to use in everyday vocabulary. But I know how important it is. Go ahead- start your hoots and hollers of how important it is to make yourself a priority. I know, I know. But reality is, making yourself a prioirty when you're a Mom comes with gulit (at least for me). I know, I know. Taking care of myself means I can be a BETTER mom and wife for them. But it's tough.


Well that's all for now. My two week update on parenting two. Amazing. Beautiful. Challenging.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welcome to the world Smiles!

"I (We) can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

Even give birth, and deliver, a baby - unassisted.

Taken right after the paramedics arrived, less than 1/2 an hour after delivering.

Our first family photo; Taken right before we all fell asleep; 5AM
Fast Facts:
Due Date: September 14, 2011
Born: September 2, 2011 (38 wks 2 days) @ roughly 1:20AM
Delivered: At Home
Doctor/Midwife: Not present
Hero: Daddy Scooby Doo
Praising: God
Child: Smiles; 5lbs 14oz, 19" long

I woke up to contractions at 4:30AM on Thursday, September 1. They were joyfully painful (I was so ready to have this baby- even though I wasn't due for two more weeks...). I got into the shower about 5:00, realizing I couldn't go back to sleep. These felt very different from the braxton hicks contracts I had been having up till this point- and I was hoping this was going to be the real thing. I enjoyed the hot shower for a solid 40 minutes at least. I washed my hair and shaved my legs (remembering with YumYum how badly I wanted to have shaved legs, but how that meant 5 more minutes in the shower- that I knew she wouldn't allow). Contractions progressed, again, joyfully, lasting anywhere from 2-3 minutes, and from 3-5 minutes apart. The pain was there, but manageable, and I was praising God that most of the pain was on my front side. With YumYum, I had 100% back labor and never felt a single contraction in my stomach. We were already on the right track. I got out of the shower a little before 6AM and woke up Scooby Doo. He was going to have to go into work to do sub plans, and I prayed he would work quickly. In the meantime, YumYum woke up. While Scooby Doo was at the classroom, I was leaning over YumYum's crib (forward fold- not because I'm some yoga guru that though; it was the most comfortable position), and she was standing up in her crib. She was just talking to me, telling me all about her plans for the day ahead. At one point, she leaned forward, holding her sippie cup in one hand, and her teething ring in the other, and laid her head on my arms that were crossed over the side railing. Her little cheek so close to mind, almost like the knew I needed comforting. What a precious daughter we had been given from the Lord. Scooby Doo worked quickly, and about an hour later (7AM) he was back home and taking YumYum off to Daycare. It was hard to hide the pain from her now, and I really didn't want her to see me in pain. I was grateful that she had a great day ahead of her, full of arts and crafts, music time, story time, and outdoor time. She LOVES daycare.

I spent most of the morning in the shower leaning over on the side, letting the hot water pelt my lower back. Immediate heaven like comfort ensued. There was nothing that could have possibly felt more comforting than that hot water on my back. I was so grateful for our over-sized glass encased shower had a side lip. It was perfect for folding my elbows up on to and putting my head down, rocking my hips back and forth during contractions. Scooby Doo gave our midwife a a call around 8AM, letting her know I was having contractions. We didn't want her to make the one hour drive yet, but we wanted to keep her in the loop. She encouraged me to stay hydrated and asked us to keep her in the loop, saying she'd be in contact. A friend from work who had two previous home deliveries had recommended drinking liquid calcium magnesium for the pain. I had bought the strawberry flavor a few weeks earlier. I asked Scooby Doo to drink it first, after looking at it and seeing that it resembled the consistency and color of Elmer's Glue. Scooby Doo did, and said he doubted that I'd be able to stomach it (I was already nauseous). He mixed it up with some ice and made it a lot thinner, and I downed it. In order to keep things going, I laced up my tennis shoes and hoped on our treadmill. I walked one mile at an incline, hoping that would speed things up. Contractions were slowing down to one about every 6-8 minutes, and lasting only around 60 seconds. During this time Scooby Doo was setting up the birthing tub in our bedroom, and cleaned our toilets. Silly- I know, but because I felt nauseous, I really wanted to toilets to be clean. We never did fill up the tub with water... we wanted to wait until we knew I would want it.

Unfortunately, things started to calm down, and by 10AM, the contractions had all but stopped. I was having one contraction lasting a max of one minute, every 20-30 minutes. They were dull in pain, and not intensifying. I was becoming discouraged. Seriously, I thought, this isn't it? I tried so hard to keep from crying. The idea of going through these painful contractions only to have it be nothing- I couldn't swallow it. Scooby Doo remained a great encouragement and support, and together we took things hour by hour.

A little after lunch time, my sister Paula Deen came over. We opened up a new 2000 piece puzzle of hot air balloons. Anything to keep me from watching the clock, right? I baked spaghetti and burnt a batch of over sized chocolate chip cookies. The day continued on ... my parents picked up YumYum from daycare around 4:00. A call from our midwife around 5:00, checking up on us, sucked because I didn't want to admit labor had basically stopped. Contractions, even though they continued, were still only a minute long, and 20 or so minutes apart. I could breathe through them without trouble, and they were much less intense than the ones I had endured that morning. I decided to head over to Herself Moms for my normal yoga class. I normally just go on Tuesdays, but they offer the class Thursdays as well and was looking forward to going through some of the same movements with a group- that I had been doing by myself that day.Yoga had helped me throughout that morning cope with the contractions, and really helped me focus on my breathing. Paula Deen, now 21 weeks pregnant, said she would join me to yoga as I didn't want to drive myself.

Yoga was wonderful. My contractions increased in intensity and time, having one about every 8-12 minutes. It felt so good to move and stretch. Julie always does such a great job leading her prenatal yoga classes.

I came home and, gladly, followed the midwifes advice. She said to have a glass of wine. OKAY! I stuck to a Coors Light (my alcohol of choice) and turned on a hot bath. Our Midwife had said sometimes its hard to get your body into the normal labor routine.... she said the wine would either help my body relax enough to allow the contractions to really get going, or relax me enough to have them stop completely so I can at least get a good night's rest. As much as I wanted Smiles to arrive, I decided I wouldn't mind the sleep. I downed that beer quickly- and yes, it was delicious. (Chipped ice and Coors light were the only two things during my pregnancy I craved desperately during this 8 1/2 month pregnancy- and ice was the only one I had enjoyed.). With YumYum spending the night at my parent's house in case labor was going to pick back up again, I had the luxury of lying down without distraction.

I don't remember lying down, but boy do I remember waking up. 10PM and HELLLLOO, a colossal squeeze of pressure in my abdomen. I looked at the clock, and thought- well the beer worked. I had fallen asleep. Then I thought, well, it didn't work that well if I was still having contractions. When another one didn't happen for another 10 minutes, I thought, "great. here we go again with the freaking 10 minute apart contractions." They felt much more intense, but I still wondered if this was legitimate labor since they were so far apart. Visions of a 36 hour labor like some of my girlfriend's had experienced flashed before me... I got on the floor and did a lot of cat/cow and played solitaire on my phone to distract myself between contractions. I remember trying to play a game of solitaire on my phone, but the contractions were too tough to play through. It may be time to wake up Scooby Doo.

And now to hear from the hubby.... and the good part.

(Scooby Doo writing)

You woke me up saying your contractions were about 7 minutes apart, and it was after midnight. And you asked me to be awake with you while you were having the contractions. I rolled over on the bed and laid myself so you can put your head on my stomach, and I could rub your back, and shoulders, and stomach, and legs. I did that so I could keep my eyes closed. At about 12:30, you asked me to go get the birthing ball and then I sat on the birthing ball because you didn't want to. We kind of rolled and rocked back and forth so that I could hold your belly and rub your back while you would go through the contractions. At this point, we were keeping track of your contractions on your phone, and they lasted for about a minute and twenty seconds with four to five minutes between them. The last one lasted for a minute forty seconds, with about four minutes between that and the previous. You then asked me to then start the shower, and to call Our Midwife. I called Our Midwife and told her that she should come down now because the baby was going to be coming tonight. I hung up with Our Midwife at 12:50, which is when we got into the shower. We had a few contractions in the shower, and your legs were shaking quite a bit so you asked me to push down on your legs so that they'd stop shaking. We figure at about 1:00 your water broke. My initial reactions was what the heck was that?, but then I realized that it was your water breaking. A bunch of things went through my mind. I know that I checked to see the color of it and I smelled to see if there was any smell. I thought that this is the furthest that we've ever been because your water never broke with YumYum. I also thought that we had up to 24 hours at this point, because my friend's wife had a home birth, and when her water broke, she delivered 24 hours later. I asked how you were feeling and you said better; that the pressure was gone. I said, "we're for sure having the baby today," and that we're most likely within ten hours because one hour every centimeter puts us at ten hours from now. After going through a few more contractions, you had a contraction that you could barley stand through, which is when you said we need to get out of the shower. (007- I pushed through this contraction and the one right before it. Not pushing like I was trying to deliver, but pushing because that's the only thing that felt natural. It's what my body was telling me to do.) I turned off the shower and helped you out. I dried off real quick and put a towel on your back. We walked over to the bed and I sat on it and you leaned on my chest. The next contraction that you had, I noticed a little bit of blood dripping on the carpet, and thought, "we're a lot further along" than I realized. One more contraction- you could barley stand up- a little more blood- and you told me to call Our Midwife and tell her to get here NOW. (007- This was my first holy crap moment. Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap.) That last contraction was the first one you yelled/groaned through. I helped you up on the bed, and called Our Midwife and told her that she needs to get her immediately because we're having the baby. She told me that if you were going to push in the next 15 minutes, I needed to call 911. I hung up and asked you if you felt like you needed to push. You said yes, so I called 911. At first, I tried your phone and couldn't figure out how to call 911. I then grabbed my phone and had a hard time figuring out how to dial. When I did dial, they immediately picked up and asked what my emergency was. I told them my wife was in labor, and our address. (007- at this point I remember putting my hand down and feeling his head. I had no intention of doing this, but it was almost a shock factor for me. Yes 007- hes here. You're not imagining your desire to push. Everything was going so fast, but at the same time- we weren't scared. I don't think there was time to be. I just knew I had to push and this baby was coming. And for the record- Scooby Doo nor I had been through any kind of training with our midwife, or anyone else for that matter, in how to deliver a baby. We were as clueless as you or your spouse would be.) They said that they would transfer me to Rocklin Fire. Rocklin Fire asked what our address was, and I said our address, and then asked you if you needed to push. You said yes so I looked down and noticed that the beginning of Smiles' head was showing. I said push push push push push, and Smiles' head came right out. The umbilical cord was over his right shoulder, behind his head, and down over his left shoulder. I tried to put my finger underneath the umbilical cord to get it out from under around his head, and it was too tight. I couldn't fit my finger underneath. I asked you if you could push again, and you said no, and I said you had to - push. And the rest of him came out. I picked him up and moved the umbilical cord and he immediately took a breath but didn't make any sounds. I laid him on your chest/upper stomach. You kept saying that he's not breathing and that he's not crying, and I kept telling you that he was breathing. I couldn't hear him breathing, but I could see that he was breathing. He was a shade between red and purple, but slowly gaining a more pink coloring. I put him on your upper stomach/lower chest, and made sure the umbilical cord wasn't twisted or crimped. I put my finger in his mouth to try and clear it and there wasn't anything in there. The lady on the phone asked if I could hear her, repeatedly- and I said yes. She told me to try to clean off his face with a towel. He was completely covered in an extremely sticky white substance, so there was no chance I could clean his face off. So I started putting towels over him and over you, to keep both of you warm. The lady then said I needed to get a string to tie off the umbilical cord. I asked you if you were okay, and you said yes. So I ran to the bathroom to wash my hands because I wasn't able to open the door, but couldn't get the sticky white stuff off. I then ran to the garage but couldn't find the string anywhere. When I came inside, Aaron was standing at his doorway, and I told him that he needed to get a string for me to tie off the umbilical cord. I went back into the bedroom to check on you, and when I turned around and walked out again, Aaron had the string and a razor blade to cut it with. At some point, I had gone to the front door and opened it, so the paramedics could come in. After Aaron cut the string, I held it- and he cut it, I heard the fire truck park outside. I walked to the front of the house as they were opening the front gate, and asked them if they could tie off the umbilical cord for me. The first guy said that they could not cut the umbilical cord, that the paramedics would do that- and I told them, "you don't have to cut it- just tie it off". I gave the first guy the string and said you can do it. The lady on the phone said that she'll be letting me go since the fire engine had gotten there. She said congratulations and bye. I honestly don't know what else the 3 guys who came in the fire truck did other than tie off the umbilical cord. I think I was in and out of the room at this point. I know that they most likely checked 007's vitals and made sure Smiles was okay. I remember giving them more towels to lay on 007 to keep her warm and a few more for clean up. About 3 minutes after the fire truck got there, the paramedics showed up and they brought in their gurney and clearly the most knowledgeable guy with them. His name was Ed and later in the morning we found out it was his 110th birth that he had been called to. He took care of everything. He clamped the cord and cut it. He cleaned Smiles off and wrapped him up. He asked me to get a receiving blanket and a "hood" for him to wear. It was just amazing because he was walking the other 5 guys through everything that they need to do when they are called to a birth. As he was walking the others through everything, one of the paramedics asked me to sit down because I was "moving around too quickly and stressing him out." I gave him a bunch of information; time of birth, name, address, mom's name, my name, health issues of 007 and medications. I think it was just a keep dad busy type deal while we do the important stuff. At one point, one of the fireman- Joe, came over to me and said, "Did she just say that she wanted lemonade?". No, I said, "she was offering you some, letting you know there's some in the fridge." After I was done with the paramedics, I was able to take a couple pictures and eventually had Smiles handed to me. I think that I only had him for a few minutes before I handed him over to Uncle Aaron and he took him to the front room. ***At some point, 007's parents made their way over because I had called them to tell them that he was born. Also, I called our midwife to let her know that the baby was born.*** I remember a few more things about the paramedics but I have no idea of what order they happened in. The main paramedic, Ed, repeatedly was telling us how strong Smiles was and that he wanted to hug him and hold him again.

Ed holding Smiles... I know he was a short little Italian man, but part of me wonders if it was my high school youth pastor, who passed away from cancer a few years ago, looking after us too.

He also predicted that Smiles was seven pounds. At some point, while the vitals were being checked, one of the paramedics had said that 007's blood pressure was surprisingly low, in the perfectly normal range,  for just giving birth. I also remember one of the firemen not realizing that Aaron wasn't me. He thought the guy with his shirt off in the front yard when they arrived was me but I just put my shirt on without him noticing. I find that strange since when they arrived I was running around in my boxers.

*And now to 007*

The midwife arrived about 15-20 minutes after Smiles had, and hugged Scooby Doo & I. The paramedics had me sign the paperwork saying I didn't want to get transported, and told us congratulations. I stayed lying down on the bed and the midwife checked me out. We talked about the blessing of birth and how amazing God is, and how beautiful birth can be. She said I had a small tear, but I opted not to be stitched as she said she would have to use a shot- and yuck- I hate needles. Plus, she said, it was straight enough to heal on its own. About 90 minutes went by, and Scooby Doo, the midwife, and I continued to pray. I still hadn't delivered the placenta, and had read about home births where the baby was delivered and everyone was doing great, but Mom had to go in to deliver the placenta. Because I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), she didn't want to rush it. That's how moms can have too much bleeding and further complications. So we prayed. We prayed hard, and eventually, about an hour and half after Smiles delivered, I delivered the placenta.

I remember saying, it's over- it's over- and thank you Jesus" repeatedly. Everything had gone better than I could have ever imagined- except the whole midwife not being there thing- but this was better. I think. It was amazing. My husband and I had delivered a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. My husband- who still didn't cut the umbilical cord (and I don't blame him one bit), and who gets queezy at the sight of blood- DELIVERED OUR BABY. I could no longer poke ridicule at the people who deliver in taxi cabs on their way to the hospital. I always thought- they must be so prideful, waiting until the last possible minute to go to the hospital. How could you not know you were in labor, or that you were that close? Seriously? Mums the word, and I have had my piece of humble pie.

Our Midwife then spent some time with Smiles, measuring him and weighing him, double checking for 10 fingers, 10 toes. (Actually at that point, it was probably just checking!). It was one of the first chances Scooby Doo and I had to take it all in.... Smiles had arrived!

Daddy and Smiles

Taking it all in

Our Midwife and Daddy weighing Smiles. He was 5lbs. 14oz.

He measured 19 inches long.

It was so nice having everything in the comfort of our own home.
By 5AM the house was quiet and it was just Scooby Doo, Smiles, and me again. We laid in the bed, admired him. He nursed without hesitation, and I was amazed and how quick he was. It was like he didn't even have to learn. Instinctual. I felt so alert and awake. After all, I hadn't needed even an IV. It was night/day compared to how drugged I had felt after delivering YumYum. I looked at Smiles and smiled. My two boys had already fallen asleep, and I joined them shortly after.

Since Friday, it's been a wonderful three days. YumYum has had a bit of a time adjusting, but she loves her brother so much. Mostly, it's her sleep schedule that's been altered. With time, we will all adjust. For now, I praise God. The memory of delivering my son will continue to replay over and over in my head, and I continue to praise God for it.
Big Sister YumYum checking out little brother...

Welcome baby
Later Friday morning....