The Day I Met My Son + the Story of My C-Section

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This week my son, Declan turned 2 MONTHS OLD! It seems like it was yesterday when I went into the hospital to meet this cutie. The experience was beautiful and traumatic all at the same time.

**WARNING: Don’t read if you have lots of anxiety and/or about to have a baby. My experience may terrify you a bit.**

I woke up Friday, June 7, 2019 ready to meet my little guy. I had severe anxiety looming over me because I was delivering him by c-section. Yes, doctors perform c-sections all of the time, but complications are always possible. I sobbed while I hugged my daughter (thinking this could be the last time I could see her). Again, my anxiety was pretty bad. At this point I assumed the worst could happen. I remember Aurora looking up at me saying, “Mommy, don’t cry. It’s going to be okay. Grownups come back.” This made me cry even more but I had to hide it. I gave her one last hug, got in the van with my mom and Steven and rode to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital they took several hours to get me ready for my c-section. All the while, I was fighting back tears and anxiety. I still remember the nurse telling me they would insert the spinal block and get me ready before Steven could come back to be with me. I was so scared to do it alone. I remember walking to the OR with shaky legs. As they opened the OR doors, I saw nurses placing surgical tools on a nearby tray. The nurse directed me to the edge of the table where I waited for the anesthesiologist.  I continued to cry and watch nurses prep the room for my doctor. I was so scared. All I wanted to do was run away but I knew there was no other way to have my little man. He was the only reason I pushed through the anxiety and pain.

It was about 10 minutes later when the anesthesiologist showed up to insert my spinal block. The spinal block hurt SO bad. I remember when I got an epidural with Aurora, I had already been laboring for 6 straight hours. Compared to labor pains the stick in the back was nothing. But this time — it was extremely painful. Thankfully, my OBGYN happen to be in the room when I began to get my spinal block. She held me as I curled up as tight as I could. Again, sobbing in her arms wishing this would go quickly.

After what felt like forever of gritting my teeth and clenching my body — the procedure was over. As I laid down on the table I could feel the spinal block numbing my body. Steven walked into the room as the nurses finished dropping me for the c-section. Steven was dressed from head-to toe in scrubs. I could still see his big smile through his face mask. I couldn’t wait to squeeze his hand. At this point I was still fighting back tears and anxiety. I didn’t know how this surgery was going to go, but all I wanted to do was meet my baby. As they continued to prepare my belly, my doctor did a pinch test. (It’s where they pinch you on your stomach to see if you are numb enough. If you’re not they wait a little longer. Sometimes they may even put you to sleep if your body does numb like it needs to).  I couldn’t feel the pain from the pinch but I could feel her pinching me. This is where I made a mistake. I thought I was numb enough to go on with the surgery. I was wrong.

I felt everything she did. From the cutting to the stretching. My anxiety was already sky high and this made it worse. I began to tell the anesthesiologist that I was in pain. When they finally got ready to pull Declan out — I was told there will be a lot of pushing and pulling. I may not be able to breathe well for a few seconds. I was told to breathe out of my mouth. Well it was about 45 seconds of that. One nurse was jabbing her elbow into my ribs and pushing down to get him to come out. It was hell trying to stay calm and breathe. By the time they got Declan out I was in so much pain. I could feel burning in my incision area. I even had to decline holding my son because I was so distraught.

 

 

Finally, after a few minutes of me complaining of pain — the anesthesiologist gave me medication that basically made me pass out. (As you can see in the RIGHT picture above). He told me I may not remember what happened here but at this point I didn’t care. Within seconds I was out. The remainder of the procedure I was in and out. I could still feel what they were doing but I was too tired to care. I remember squeezing Steven’s hand so tight. I could hear Steven talking to me as he held our baby boy. The funniest part — was finding out after surgery that I was squeezing my OBGYN’s butt with my other hand for about 20 minutes. I guess both of my hands thought they were squeezing Steven’s hand. Thankfully, my female OBGYN had a great sense of humor about it.

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Thinking back on that day, I can barely remember them wheeling me back to the recovery area and handing me Declan. I was still fighting consciousness while trying to breastfeed him. I had a lot of help from the lactation nurse and Steven. It took me a good hour or so to wake up enough to function.

After all of that was over — I finally got to enjoy my beautiful son while still dealing with the anxiety of my c-section. The next day when my doctor came by I told her that I felt everything during the surgery. She apologized profusely — agreeing that was a traumatic experience. Again, I only blame myself because I was the one who told her I was numb enough.

The crazy thing is — I thought my unplanned c-section with Aurora was worse until I had Declan. I’m so thankful that day people were praying for me. My experience makes me think of those moms who have been through worse c-sections than me. Despite being able to feel everything — my surgery went well. I had minimum blood loss and little scaring from my last c-section. My doctor even told me I could have a third child if I wanted to. (I’m still debating that one considering how bad this c-section was).

I’m thankful that I recovered a lot faster even though the procedure was pretty rough on me. I was so thankful that Declan was born healthy. He did have to get his blood sugar checked every hour the first night of his life because he was so big. (He weighed 9lbs 8ouces).

Sadly, my anxiety didn’t go away when I went home. It only got worse. I’ll be writing about my postpartum anxiety in another post soon.

Did you go through a traumatic c-section? What were ways you were able to get over it? Did you have other c-sections afterwards?

 

 

You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a daily meal at our house. I even remember as a kid that’s all I would eat for lunch. Seriously, they are easy to make and just so darn delicious. But today the PB&J sandwich made me question if I’m a “good mom.”

I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my second baby; which means everything hurts. My hips are constantly in pain, I pee at least 6 times a night. I battle insomnia at night while struggling to stay awake during the day.

Today, I actually had some energy to do a few chores. To me, that means clean the whole house. But my body only allowed me to Vaccuum and sweep the floors before my back was screaming at me. I felt so exhausted afterwards. I couldn’t push through the pain. My anxiety was escalating just by looking at the mess around the house.

Finally, I put my daughter down for her nap. I decided to rest myself but by the time I started to fall asleep my happy toddler was at my bedside ready to eat lunch.

As I walked in the kitchen I struggled to keep my eyes open. I was tired and all the energy I had to muster was only good enough to make a PB&J for my daughter. That’s when I broke down into a deep cry for about 5 minutes. “You’re a bad mom”, “you can do better”, “Aurora deserves a better mom” all flooded my mind. I felt completely overwhelmed with failure and I didn’t know how to find the energy to do more. In the midst of my crying, my beautiful 3-year-Old ran and hugged my leg with all her strength. “Mommy, it’s okay.”

Even though she didn’t understand why I was crying she reminded me in that moment that she loves me. She reminded me that a 3-year-Old doesn’t measure by perfection. They measure by love and how those around them are a part of their everyday lives.

I may have made the millionth PB&J but to my daughter it was something to look forward to. She never saw it as a lack of effort on my part but a treat to enjoy.

My husband called me right after my breakdown. He reminded me that I’m not a bad mom. He told me I’m 37 weeks pregnant so it’s okay not to be able to do everything. He told me to be patient until after I have our baby boy. Then I can become supermom again. (He knows me so well because that’s exactly what I want to be. Even at 37 weeks — supermom).

To the moms like me (pregnant or not) struggling to make more than a PB&J — you’re a good mom. You’re doing the best you can within your circumstances. Your babies love you and really do enjoy that PB&J. Give yourself grace and remember that what you make for lunch doesn’t define who you are as a mom. It’s the time and love you put into your kids that really makes a big difference.

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

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When Little is Good Enough

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Dear Foster Daughter,

The day you moved from my home broke my heart. You weren’t the first one to leave but your departure made a massive impact on my life. We struggled to understand each other even though we were just alike. We stressed over the same things and yet could never find a comfortable balance for our relationship.

I worked so hard every day to give you what you needed. I made personal sacrifices to make sure you were being heard. But I still wasn’t doing enough. I still made you mad. I still made you cry. The reality is I couldn’t help you.

That phrase is hard for me to swallow. I get a clump in my throat every time I think of how I failed. How I tried. The promise I made to never see you go. To stay next to you through thick and thin. The promise to not be just another home that gave up on you. Even though you had to go I never gave up. I’m still not going to give up.

I miss you everyday. You brought so much of an impact into my life. We had some pretty awesome times together. Ones I will never forget. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for changing my heart and teaching me how to love you better. You may no longer be in my home but I hope one day we can have a strong relationship.

Maybe you’ll be quick to listen instead of ignoring my suggestions. Maybe you’ll see me as someone who wants the best instead of someone who pushes you to live by the rules. Whatever relationship we have I pray that we can mend the broken pieces. That we can one day look back and laugh about how similar we are.

I will always think of you as my daughter. I hope one day you will still consider us family in some way. I pray you will let me know about your life accomplishments. I can’t wait to see you become the young woman I already see. You’re strong, important, wanted, loved, beautiful, funny and so much more. You will impact lives for the better. Don’t give up. Know we will love you forever.

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Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

Parenting Through Grace

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“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9

“What did I say?” “Don’t touch that.” “No. ma’am.” I have repeated these same phrases for the last few days. My daughter is almost a 2-years-old; which means we are working on listening to mom and dad. My main struggle has been repeating myself and yet she continues to do the same thing after I told her not to. I feel like a broken record. Why won’t she listen?

If you’re a parent then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You spend most of the day trying to teach and correct your children. And yet it seems the information goes in one ear and out the other. Yesterday was a rough day. I found myself frustrated with my daughter. I would correct her and then she was doing something else. She is starting to test her limits with me. Always trying to see how far she can go. It’s frustrating.  That’s when I realized this must be how God feels.

God parents us each day. He gives us guidelines to live by. (The Bible). He teaches us through His word what we need to do as Christians. However, we continue to push the limits. Even when we know it’s wrong. Many of us have faced the punishment for our actions. And yet we’re still making mistakes. Why?

Because we are all sinners. Yes, even our babies. Those cute and chubby kiddos came into this world as sinners. True, they learn habits from those around them, but we all have sinful nature inside. Even as an adult I fight against daily sin. If you’re human then so do you. But there is good news.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:4-9

God’s grace. I had a friend text me during my rough day. She reminded me of how God gives us grace even when we don’t deserve it. Our kids need that as well. Even when it seems like they will never do what we ask. We have to remember to give them grace in the midst of those moments. It may take months or even years to see the lessons we teach them. But I promise it’s not wasted. I can think of MANY times I tested my limits with God. But He was still there. He never left my side. Eventually, I decided to follow His advice instead of my own.

As a reminder to you amazing parents, like your kids, you are still learning as well. For parents of young ones, now is the time to strengthen the patient muscle. To fight through the tough days even when we feel like failures. You’re not wasting your breath or energy. Every effort you put into your child means they are one step closer to becoming the Godly men and women they were called to be.

What are some struggles you face with your kids?

How do you remind yourself to show them grace?

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A New Christmas Tradition: “I call mistletoe.”

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“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 

Ephesians 4:2-3

Christmas is about a week away which means we’re on turbo mode as we try and grab the last presents on our list, get ready for the in-laws who are coming into town and preparing ourselves for days of back-to-back events. Among the chaos it’s easy to forget those around us. Especially our spouse. That’s why my husband, Steven, and I started a new tradition. Mistletoe.

I never grew up with mistletoe in my home. The only time I really saw it was in Christmas movies. Usually when a guy was trying to sneak a kiss from a girl he had a huge crush on. I started thinking about mistletoe and how it forces two people to kiss while standing underneath it.

That’s when I had the idea of bringing it into our home. With our busy schedules (I know for me) I get a one-tracked mind. When I have things to do I get so focused that I can blur out everything else around me. I’m embarrassed to admit, but sometimes I forget to stop and kiss my husband just because I can. So I wanted a reminder.

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I hung mistletoe around the busiest area in our home. It’s located between the kitchen and our door where we leave. Those are also the 2 out of the 3 main rooms we clean every day. So when we are busy cleaning the house or heading to work…we see a reminder to take a few extra moments to kiss.

Why? Because every day is a day we should be fighting for our marriages. Each day is filled with things to get done and the daily routines. But they’re never as important as the one God chose for me to do life with. I already don’t get to spend a lot of time with my husband throughout the week so I want every second to count when I am with him.

It’s also a great way to get over an argument. If you find you and your spouse disagreeing about something then one of you can call “mistletoe.” In our house that means you have to stop arguing, kiss each other and mean it. No quick pecks on the lips while still harnessing an attitude. It needs to be a genuine kiss.

Ironically enough, my husband already does this to me. Mostly when I am cleaning the house. I tend to turn in a raging monster. So he usually stops me and kisses and hugs me until I calm down and smile. It never fails, I walk away giggling and thanking Steven for making me relax. I never want to get too busy to forget to kiss my husband. Especially during the holidays.

What do you think about this tradition?

What are some traditions you and your spouse have to keep you close during hectic times?

I want to hear from you. Leave me your comments.

We’re Adopting and I’m Terrified

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Why I Replaced My TV With A Chair

 

 

 

How My Nervous Breakdown Led Me to a Breakthrough

me“I would stay awake at night. Watching and listening for any indication of danger. I would watch the shadows on my ceiling. Contemplating how I would protect my family.”

It was like any other work day. My husband pulled into our driveway minutes before I needed to head out the door. I asked him about his day while I quickly packed my lunchbox. Moments later I was off to work. But this day wasn’t going to be like the rest.

For the last day I had been feeling an intense pressure in my head. As if I was hanging upside down. I went to my regular doctor a few days before, but had no answers for my symptoms.

When I got to work, I felt awful. The left side of my face and arm started going numb. I couldn’t breathe and I was scared. At first I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack.

I quickly told my boss what was going on. He had one of my coworkers drive me to the Emergency Room. For the next 4 hours I was at the hospital alone. Awaiting tests. They gave me Benadryl which made me pass out. Despite all the scans and blood work, they found nothing wrong. The doctors said I could have MS or an auto immune disease. That’s when they referred me to a Neurologist.

The next day I was struggling. I could still feel the medicine in my system. My mom called me when I really needed someone to talk to. We talked for several hours while Aurora napped. That’s when I learned she experienced the same thing after having my sister. It was discovered that she was struggling with severe stress and anxiety.

That’s when I started reading about symptoms caused by stress and anxiety. I started jotting down what made me stressed. I realized this didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process that led to my breaking point.

Since Aurora was born, my anxiety steadily increased over the months. I work in the news business where every day is full of negative news. Someone was killed during a home invasion. A mother killed her kids. It seemed like every headline was describing death and hatred. Seriously, it’s my usual day. I began to turn those scenarios into “this could happen to my family.” I would stay awake at night. Watching and listening for any indication of danger. I would watch the shadows on my ceiling. Contemplating how I would protect my family. I was constantly in a “fight or flight” state of mind that was causing serious mental and physical issues.

I started relying on myself to take care of everyone. As a mom I have the instinct of protection. I feel like I need to constantly warn my husband of what could happen. I was putting all this responsibility on myself. Not on God.

“Since Aurora was born, my anxiety steadily increased over the months. I work in the news business where every day is full of negative news.”

I put too much pressure on myself as I juggled being a full-time wife, mom and employee. Not to mention the hundreds of things I needed to get done each day. I had no close friends near me to talk to. No family. Even though my husband does so much, I still felt alone and responsible to get everything done.

It was during that time I was far from God. I knew who he was. I knew what all he had done, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask him for help. That ER visit made me see I can’t do it alone.

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I am a very stubborn and determined person that struggles with perfectionism. Those things don’t mix well when you lack humility and faith.  I began to realize I NEEDED God in every part of my life.  More than I was allowing.

It’s been a few months now since my nervous breakdown. Am I all better? Nope. I struggle daily to maintain my stress and anxiety levels. Some days are better than others. I have to workout daily to help release the stress I hold inside. Some days I feel my stress and anxiety build. I usually have to stop and breathe. I start praying to God about it. Redirect my focus on something that makes me happy.

If you’re going through extreme stress and anxiety, I urge you to get help. Whether it’s from a friend, doctor, or spouse. Someone you trust that can listen to you. Also, when you identify the stress that’s when you will be able to tackle the problem. That’s why it’s good to have someone to talk to.

I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I have more good days than bad. I have this weight off my shoulders. I can finally breathe again. It doesn’t take me hours to go to sleep at night. I finally have given God all of those worries.

Honestly, if I didn’t experience a nervous breakdown, I think I would still be trying to do it all alone. It was a wakeup call. God showed me that no human can do it alone. No one can bare that much stuff.

A great story to read is 2 Kings 6:8-23. It’s during the time the king Aram was at war with Israel. Elisha shows great courage while the “servant of the man of God” struggled to see a good outcome.

“It was a wakeup call. God showed me that no human can do it alone. No one can bare that much stuff.”