Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Everett's Birth Story

Everett Floyd Black was born on January 13, 2014 at 1:14pm. He is perfect and wonderful and I wanted to make sure I wrote down his birth story to remember forever. Everett’s birth was such an amazing experience. It was as close to perfect as I could’ve imagined, and I am so grateful. In the days leading up to his birth, James and I decided that we wanted an un-medicated hospital birth attended by an obstetrician. I felt it was the best choice for me and my baby, and it truly was.

Note: While this way of birthing was perfect for me, I do not expect or think others should feel the same way. I didn’t choose it to prove anything to anyone (except for maybe myself), or because someone told me it was the safest way, or because I think that epidurals or pain medication is bad. I chose it because it felt right. My sincere hope is that every mother chooses the birthing experience that she feels is best based on research, self-reflection, and prayer.

It was around 6:30 am on Monday morning that I felt my first real contraction. James was in the shower and I walked in to potty and tell him the news. Over the next half hour they were coming regularly at 4-5 minutes apart and I let James know that this might be it. He headed to work to prepare for a sub, but I think we were both in denial that it was actually happening.  He promised to answer the phone if I called. I decided to take a shower and see if that relaxed me or slowed anything down. It didn’t, and at about 7:30 I was starting to feel like I should start getting some things packed up for the hospital. Liam woke up around 8:00 and I called my parents to let them know I would need them to watch him for the day. They agreed to meet us at the hospital to pick him up. I called James after that and let him know I needed him to head home as soon as possible, as it was getting difficult to do much of anything. I also texted our doula, Erin, to let her know we were heading to the hospital. James got home about 8:30 and we left about 9:00. 

My last pregnancy photo, at 36 weeks

The contractions in the car were pretty unbearable, but the 45 minutes to the hospital went quickly enough. The waves were coming every 3-4 minutes and lasted about 1 minute. It seemed like a long drive, but it was hard to focus on where we were, and before I knew it we were getting off the freeway. I'm very glad that I had to foresight to ask (force) James fill up the car with gas on the previous Saturday night while on a date in Salt Lake. I would have been pissed if we'd had to stop.

James dropped me off at the door of Labor and Delivery and then went to park the car and wait for my parents to get there. I gave Liam a hug and a kiss, it was hard to leave him for some reason. I knew I wouldn't see him for a while, and I was going to miss him! I checked in at the desk, and they took me to room 4. I still didn’t feel like I was really in labor, but the nurses assured me that I was very much acting like a woman in active labor. Reg (short for Regina), my first nurse, got me hooked up to the contraction and heart monitors, then confirmed by ultrasound that he was head down. She also checked me, and at that point I was dilated to a 5+. My mom came in for a minute to give me a hug, wish me good luck, and tell me she loved me, and James came in a few minutes later, at about 10:15. I was so glad to see him! Reg had left the room for a minute to get some of the supplies needed for the birth and James went into the bathroom to pee. He didn’t think to lock the door, and when Reg got back she walked right in on him! It was hilarious. Luckily he had his back to the door, so his modesty was uncompromised. Mine, however, was not, as I tried multiple positions to make the contractions more comfortable while my gown was gaping open in the back. Those things are the worst! They agreed to remove the monitors so that I could move more freely, but wouldn’t budge on inserting an IV hep-lock in case I needed medication for my high blood pressure. While Reg finished setting up the instruments the doctor would need to sew me back up, the nurse who would be attending my birth came in. Her name was Chari, and she was so great. She wrote down our unofficial birth plan on the white board since I hadn’t had a chance to make up or print out my own birth plan. 

Labor & Delivery whiteboard
I’m actually glad that I didn’t have a birth plan, and I don’t think I needed one.  I went into this birth feeling calm and prepared for anything. Fortunately, I had a wonderful doctor and nurse who were very good at listening to my wishes and giving me the information I asked for. Nothing was done without my consent, and I’m so grateful for their willingness to listen to me as I listened to my heart and my body.

We turned on my hypnobirthing tracks on the iPad, and I found that the most "comfortable" position was while sitting on the bed with the bottom dropped down and James pushing on my knees. He would kneel at the bottom of the bed and put his hands on my knees and apply counter-pressure during contractions. The next 45 minutes went by pretty well, the contractions were painful, but manageable, and the Hypnobabies (thanks to a wonderful woman who lent me the program) helped me to relax and stay focused on my breathing.

At about 11:00, the contractions were getting pretty intense. We worked through them as best we could, James supporting me and helping me remember to breathe through each one. Chari was a little worried about my blood pressure, so she called the doctor. Erin got there at about 11:30. and I was so glad because I was worried she wouldn't make it there in time. She had to drive 2 hours from Logan. Dr. Thackeray came in a little later. He checked me and said I was dilated to a 7+. I was having a really hard time at this point. Erin was rubbing my back and James continued to apply counter-pressure.  Chari would periodically reach down during a contraction and monitor Everett's heart rate to make sure he wasn't getting too stressed. I know it was difficult for her, but I'm so grateful that she didn't try to convince me to do continual fetal monitoring. We tried some other positions, but I honestly just didn't want to get off the bed. Standing up seemed to make things worse and after each contraction I was so exhausted I wanted to lie down.

My amazing husband supporting me through labor
Dr. Thackeray came back a bit later and suggested that we break my water. I was terrified! I was worried about chord prolapse, but I was even more scared because I knew that if he broke my water, that was the point of no return, and I honestly still hadn't given up on the idea of an epidural. He told me that he was pretty sure if they broke the water that Everett would soon be on his way, and that it was getting pretty late in the game to do an epidural anyhow. The contractions were so hard to get through, and I REALLY wanted to give up. My entire birth team was seriously phenomenal, I know I couldn't have done it without them! Everyone was telling me that I could do it and that I was strong, and I wanted to believe them, but it was so hard! Erin helped me remember the "I am statements" we had discussed. I would chant things like "open", "I am strong" or "I can do this". The doctor left for a minute, and all it took was one more contraction and I was begging Chari to get him to break my water. It turns out he had only just gone out to the hallway to fill out some paperwork, so he was back pretty soon. I wanted that baby out by whatever means possible, I was SO done with labor. Dr. Thackeray ruptured the membranes at about 12:30, and then things got real, really fast.

James moved from the bottom of the bed to up top by me because the counter-pressure wasn't doing anything for me anymore. I think Erin was still rubbing my back, but I can't remember, I just remember that I would hug/hold on to James for dear life. I honestly felt like if he wasn't holding me to Earth I would've floated away. He was so awesome throughout the whole thing, but he was especially supportive during that last hour of labor. I've never loved or needed him more. My memory gets pretty shaky at this point, but I do remember screaming, swearing, and sweating a LOT. They got me a wet washcloth and Erin was fanning me with a clipboard at one point. It seems like the contractions were back to back, I don't remember getting much of a break. I remember my mouth was really dry, probably from yelling/moaning. It was such a blur after that, but I'll tell you what I remember. I remember feeling like I was honestly going to die, and that it might not be such a bad alternative to what I was going through.. James held me tight and kissed my forehead and lips (which weirdly enough, really helped). He would tell me to breathe and would take deep breaths with me so that I wouldn't pass out. At one point I thought I might need oxygen. It was so hard to remember to breathe through the contractions. I closed my eyes tight and just tried to make it through each one. He told me he loved me and that I was doing so good. I'm sure I sounded like a dying animal, but I tried to keep my sounds really low because I had read that low sounds open up the cervix. James told me later that I was screaming/moaning right in his ear, and he was afraid he might go deaf, but he definitely wasn't going to say anything about it. I've never felt so close to a person in my life, I love that man.

I've also never felt closer to my Heavenly Parents. I thought a lot about God, I felt his presence there. I know he loves and is concerned for all His children, especially as we bring new life to this world. I felt my Heavenly Mother, her loving care and comfort. I thought about Christ in the garden, and the pain he suffered, and I wondered if he had experienced this pain too. A few phrases popped into my head during this difficult time, the first: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me" because I really thought I might die, but I also knew that I wouldn't, and that it would be over soon. The second: "I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree". It's probably because that's the song we sing to Liam to help him calm down or when he's sad, so I think that's why it brought me some comfort, Also because it made me think of my first little boy and how much I loved him and how important it was to me to bring his brother into the world the best way I knew how.

Dr. Thackeray checked me at (I think) around 1:00 and said I was a 9+ and to start pushing when I felt the urge. I told James he should get a gown/gloves on if he wanted to catch the baby, but he said he really felt he was needed more up by me, so he stayed. Even though he didn't get to deliver Everett like he did Liam, I am so glad he was right there with me.  The next contraction I felt a slight urge to push, so I did a little bit, and then the one after that I really felt the urge, and pushing felt SO good. I could finally DO something. I pushed through another contraction and I really felt him move down. James was up next to the bed with me, and I just held on to him/hugged him so tight and screamed and pushed with everything I had in me. Erin and Chari each held one of my legs. The next wave I felt him crowning, and a bit of stinging, but I didn't care, I just wanted him OUT. One more push and his head was out, and then in the next contraction I pushed out his shoulders. The only word I can use to describe the feeling is awe.

First picture of mommy and baby
I was in such awe of what I'd just accomplished, in awe of how perfect he was, and in complete awe of the miracle of life. James hadn't even realized that I was pushing because he was so focused on me. He was surprised when they lifted Everett right onto my chest. I looked up at him and saw tears streaming down his face. Our beautiful, perfect little boy was finally here, and we were so thrilled. What a high!

Erin's words on the birth: "You are a birth goddess!!! So beautiful and so powerful!! It's always so beautiful to see strength and determination first hand. I'm blown away that you saw it in yourself and owned it! It was hard, but it was worth it. My favorite part was when Everett was put on your chest and you just held him and kept saying, "We did it baby! We did it!" It took my breath away! I get teary thinking about it! I could seriously go on and on. You and James working together was beautiful! Just amazing!"

He's here!
Counting his fingers and toes


Daddy and Everett
Well, the pain doesn't stop after the baby is born, but it sure is a lot more bearable! Also, you know I asked for pain killers while they sewed me up/delivered the placenta. The cramping afterwards and the pushing on your uterus, ugh, I felt like I was being tortured! But it was all so worth it. It was so empowering to do something I never thought I'd be able to do, but knew was the right thing for me. I have a powerful body and mind, and I can do hard things! I still can't believe I did it un-medicated, but I'm so glad that I did. I'd probably even do it again. We love our little Everett to the moon and back! Welcome to the world, baby boy!

*All birth photos courtesy of Erin Oakeson

Friday, February 25, 2011

Growing up

It's crazy how much we grow over the years.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Safety First

While trying to learn about hoe best to use these amazing tools available to us like Blogging there re a few things that are important to remember in order to keep you safe while posting information. The first thing that I want to emphasize is that if you are going to post something about anything that you first check your facts. Checking the facts not only makes sure that you don't make yourself look foolish by posting something incorrect, it also makes sure that you don't mislead any followers of your blog.

If you choose to reveal any secrets that you have been trying to keep on your blog, then it is best not to give them away in your blog. While thinking of revealing secrets on your blog, I wish to bring up another rule that should be obeyed while blogging, and that is to make sure not to abuse the idea of anonymity. Even though your blog may not have your name attached directly to it, this doesn't give you free rein to say anything and everything you might think. Also, it's important to remember that whether people know whether it's you saying something or not, if offense is taken you may still be responsible.
Something that I think is important to remember while using the blogs is that they are public, and many times in the case of teachers they are used by classes, parents, and other teachers in order to share information and spread ideas. If you are going to blog about things that you feel and think then it is important that you should avoid conflicts of interest. As teachers it is very important that we do avoid these conflicts of interest especially because of the audience of our blogs. If we take a side of any conflict we are overstepping our bounds and doing that which we should not do. It is important that we blog very objectively.
Last but certainly not least I think that the most important rule while blogging is to obey the law. This rule might be the one most easily followed if we look at what rules there are regarding the laws of what we can use freely and what is protected by rights of the owners. The other rules that I have seen that would help you blog safely would also fall under this rule, things like recording limits, and to be careful about the copies posted to your blog. While Blogging is certainly a fun thing to do, it is just important to make sure that you take great care in protecting yourself. This is not necessarily a hard thing to do if you take time to think about what you are posting, and if it is something not of your creation to make sure to take the time necessary to make sure it is used legally.

I found a list of rules to consider for safe blogging on this website. http://knoxvilletennesseerealestateblog.com/1969/12/31/10-rules-to-follow-and-practice-safe-blogging/#ixzz1ELlWC1Qo

Educational Technology Assignment

While looking through several different resources that teachers can use though blogging I found quite a few interesting things. In the first site that I went through was a site dedicated to more of a higher education setting where it gave a lot of information to help college students be successful and to get the most out of their education. The second blog that was found has a lot of information that will be useful as teachers, including projects activities and ways to help our students be able to learn all that they need to in order to do well in their educational career. The last blog that I found to be useful as a teacher didn't have information on hot to teach students, but many articles written about teachers and how education is affected by different things happening in today's world.

Educational Technology Assignment

While looking through several different resources that teachers can use though blogging I found quite a few interesting things. In the first site that I went through was a site dedicated to more of a higher education setting where it gave a lot of information to help college students be successful and to get the most out of their education. The second blog that was found has a lot of information that will be useful as teachers, including projects activities and ways to help our students be able to learn all that they need to in order to do well in their educational career. The last blog that I found to be useful as a teacher didn't have information on hot to teach students, but many articles written about teachers and how education is affected by different things happening in today's world.

Monday, August 31, 2009

James' New Job

I forgot to mention in my last post that James got a new job as well. He was working at K-mart AND Convergys for a while. He worked about 65 hours a week during a lot of July and August, bless his little heart. He just quit K-mart this last Tuesday, and now he's working about 30 hours a week at Convergys while he goes to school full time. He was sad to leave K-mart, but it was for the best. Convergys is going good, he likes making angry people on the phone happy by the end of the call. He doesn't like sitting around a lot, so he's starting to work out and play basketball. I need to get my butt in shape too. Hopefully we'll be able to afford gym memberships soon. Well that's about it. I'll try to keep up as best as I can. Thanks for reading!