Friday, September 19, 2014

Project 35 of many. . .

With 3 kids the projects are getting fewer and further between. In fact, when we moved to St. Louis this summer I purposefully left almost all of my project material behind. I am sitting on my hands for a season so that I can focus on the more important project. . . my 3 boys! It is a project that spirals out of control very quickly.

The other morning before anyone else was up, (and, this never happens. I usually get out of bed at least 5 minutes after my kids have woken up.) I was reading a book about how important it is to teach your kids to use the left and right sides of their brains. It was going along pretty well, I felt like I was about to learn something major. Then I don't know what happened. I had a roll of paint tape in my hands all of a sudden and had masked off a section of the wall in my dinning room. The kids woke up, and the masked wall stayed blank for a couple of weeks. This week I finally let the kids have at it.

Honestly the project turned out way better than I could have hoped. I gave the boys 3 paint colors and let the colors mostly dry before introducing another color. My favorite thing about this is that I love abstract art, but Kyle does not- but, he likes this! Why? This is not abstract to our kids, it is as real as it gets for them! To hear Jonathan talk about his art is hilarious! I think we are going to have him write out an artist statement. Ha!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Where is your victory?

I laid Benjamin in the ground 3 years ago today. I remember walking up to the grave and feeling like their was no way I could ever let that coffin go, no way I could ever place it in the ground. Part of me had died and I couldn't let it go.

When I think back to that day the thing that strikes me as most bizarre is that I did not take the day off from work. I taught my class in the morning, came home, went to the cemetery, said goodbye to you, and then somehow thought it necessary that I go back to work  and teach my evening class.

I spent the day before Jacob was born lying on the cold, hard cement floor at work because every ounce of energy had drained from me and my entire body felt like it was burning up. I was working two jobs at the time. Right after Jacob was born I quit one of my jobs, but kept the other. It seemed good for me to keep it at the time, even though I didn't need that job for us to survive. Now I just wonder. . . what was I thinking? I had two kids at home and another in the hospital, surely they needed me more than my students.

In May I became a stay at home mom. Deciding not to work was a very hard choice, there were lots of tears involved and I felt like a failure. I felt like I should be able to do it all. You know, work 25 hours a week, make 3 meals a day, garden, sew cute crafts for people, educate my kids, be a wife, work out, relax, drive kids to swim lessons, read my Bible, journal, and take showers, and clean the house. Even now part of me looks at that list and thinks, "Okay, why couldn't you do all that, Caitlyn? It's not that much stuff."

But it was. It was too much stuff. And, I can't do it. So, now I stay home with my 3 bouncing boys and wonder how I ever did it all. I wonder why it took so long for me to bury the part of me that couldn't rest.

Benjamin dying was a life changing event. Jacob coming 7 weeks early and spending 7 weeks in the hospital was a life changing event. Part of me felt like it was dying each time those things happened. But, the biggest life changing event that has taken place was when I decided to kill my career and stop doing all those things that can seem so important at the moment.

I've heard over and over again my entire life not to "bury your talents in the sand." Moms, don't feel bad if you have to do that in order to raise your kids right and love your husband. I am focusing on the bigger picture. God made me a mom, I believe He is more interested in my weaknesses than my "talent." My weaknesses are 29, 3, 2, and 1/2 years old. God is about relationships and family. My resume is going to have a huge hole in it, my sewing machine will gather dust, my wool collection will probably be eaten by moths. And, I will be the better for it. Who would have ever thought that when you stop living for yourself that EVERY single aspect of your life would get better.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Child 4 of many....part 1

Although, I think I'd like the rest will be born by another woman.

Early in our pregnancy we found out that Jacob's umbilical cord was inserted into the bottom of my placenta instead of coming out if the middle like it is suppose to. We were told that this could lead to preterm labor.  I don't think either of us were too concerned; in my mind all of my children had this same problem in utero and I simply hadn't heard about it because I had not gone to a specialist with them like I had been with this child. 

At 31 weeks pregnant I remembered that Levi had gotten his shoulder a little stuck on my pelvis on his way out and asked the doctor about this. He said that we would talk about it at my next visit when Levi was not throwing a fit because he'd gone without a nap.

At my next visit he talked about birth weight and told me there was a fairly significant chance that if Jacob went to term that he would probably be bigger than Levi - so there was a chance of him getting even more stuck. Which is big deal when he might not handle labor well because of the marginal insertion of the umbilical cord. Then the doctor proceeded to me that in the last week my amnion and chorion had started to separate and could be seen hanging and floating in my uterus. This was another sign that we might have preterm labor.

He suggested that we plan a c-section around 39 weeks. I was terrified. I wanted baby to be safe obviously but then there were all those what if questions. In the end I think what we had decided was that we would have a cesarean if it looked like he was going to be a big baby and went to term, and would try natural if he was preterm, opting for a cesarean if baby was in distress. 

On New Years days I felt terrible. No energy, light headed, my arms felt as if they weighted 500 lbs, I was burning up and my heart would race if I walked for more than a few minutes. So, of course I went to work. Around 1, I realized that I had been feeling better but that baby was not moving. So I went over to labor and delivery to get checked out. Of course baby started moving around within about 10 minutes of getting hooked up to the monitor. I was not contracting and they let me go. 

The next day around 3:30 I realized that I was spotting and possibly having light contractions. My doctors office was about to close so they said I could go to labor and delivery if I wanted to get checked out because baby wasn't moving too was moving well, but I went anyway. I was pretty sure I was having contractions and leaking fluid at this point. The fetal monitor was not picking up contractions, then they moved it and low and behold I wasn't crazy! They described what was on the monitor as "irritable uterus." They did a test to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid, I was no; nor was I dilated. They discharged me around 6 and I went home.

I was still having contractions but had been told that it wasn't labor- rather that irritable uterus, so I tried to ignore them... They went away until about 10pm when they started to get stronger. I laid down, they didn't go away and were getting more painful. I practiced my breathing and was eventually able to fall asleep around 11- despite on going contractions. I think I woke up at 12:30 in the middle of a horrible contraction. I quickly realized that I was bleeding actively again. I laid in bed for awhile feeling stupid about wanting to go back to labor and delivery, but at the same time my contractions were so bad that I thought just maybe it wasn't "irritable uterus." I called doc, he told me I should go back to the hospital. By this point I  was laying on the ground, rocking back and forth with contractions and shaking compulsively and trying to decide if I could drive myself to the hospital. Kyle decided that I could not and we made it to labor and delivery around 1 am.

Contractions we hard, short and right on top of one another, I was 4.5 cm dilated. They tried to stop labor, but half an hour later I was 5.5, and then six, and then talking to a neonatologist and being wheeled into a delivery room. I am still thinking the baby will be born in February because they forgot to tell me they had stopped trying to halt labor. I started bleeding a lot at some point, it felt like my sac of waters had popped, but it was just blood. They said my placenta was most likely rupturing because of how strong, sharp, short and close together my contractions were. They gave me something mild for pain, said if I needed more that I would have to have an epidural. At this point I think I had realized that maybe I was going to have a baby. With the medicine the contractions still had a lot of pressure, but did not hurt as bad. That lasted for 4 contractions. They checked me again, I was still 6. All this time they baby is doing really well, heart rate dipping a little, but at all the right times and doing what it was suppose to.

I decided that I was not going to have a mentally and physically traumatizing birth.  I had no idea what was going to happen, but come what may I was not going to feel it. So I signed for an epidural while the anesthesiologist finished up on someone else. I was 6.5. They prepped me, I'd already had my fluids so they could go right in with the epidural. 1st contraction- cleaning my back, 2nd getting needle in and testing meds on me,  time in between- oh maybe I have to push, and a quick check, "you are ten", third contraction begins- laying down as he finishes securing the tape "be careful it may still fall out." Height of 3rd contraction, "I have to push!" The nurse telling me not to- not pushing, but baby comes out anyway and is caught by the bed. Nurse quickly picks him up and puts him on the warm bed, I am thinking "I just had a baby, he is crying. That is good. How did he get over there without my umbilical cord being cut?"  Blood everywhere. Pools on floor, spots on curtains and walls, up to elbows on nurses arms. Now there are four people in the room, then 10. "Oh my gosh, I feel so much better, that epidural worked fast." I never actually got the epidural, my adrenaline and oxytocin kicked in hard and fast unlike I have ever experienced before.  Kyle on the other hand looked like he might pass out.

"Baby's umbilical cord was detached at birth" I hear, "you got it clamped right away?"  "Yes." 
Everyone was everywhere. Doctor pulling out my placenta. Talk of a blood transfusion for me.  Neonatologist telling me my baby will poop my own blood that he ingested, and that that is perfectly "normal" as is the blood that he is bubbling up through his tiny perfect lips. Kyle takes a picture and shows him to me, "his hand has an 'M'" I think, "probably no Down syndrome (there was a 1 in 25 chance)" I felt like I was the eye in the middle of a hurricane, calm, alert and "yeah, this is all normal, it is all okay."
I held baby for a minute or two and then they took him to NICU.

The flurry if activity was gone as quickly as it had come. I was alone. I'd been in the hospital for about 3.5 hours.  I think I cried then.