Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

Dream about Second Baby

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 9:31 am on Saturday, June 5, 2010

I dreamed I gave birth to a baby boy! He was born 6lbs 9oz and a week or two before his due date. I had no memory of labor pains. And oddly I knew he had been born, but I didn’t nurture him right away, almost as though I had been sedated and woke up. I wanted to nurse him because he hadn’t eaten anything. Then the nurse or someone was telling me not to nurse him b/c then he wouldn’t take formula. But I told them, “I don’t have formula here and I want to nurse him.”

Then I saw him upclose for the first time. I picked him up and looked into his face and he was cute. His eyes were almost a lighter color. Similar to his brother but his face shape and eyes were different. As soon as he cried my milk let down and I was surprised and happy to have milk since many women don’t get there milk in for a day or two. He took the breast with a little difficulty but finally latched on. Then I looked around and saw Elijah and he was this big boy and was chubby.

We hadn’t named him yet officially and I asked Shin, “What do you think of the name ‘Martin’? We’d call him ‘Marty'” And Shin said, “I like it.” So he was named Martin Johannes.

Then we headed home and tried to contact my in laws first and they weren’t picking up. My stroller wheel broke off as we were walking, we saw the pastor’s wife but she was busy planning a remodeling, and my parents weren’t that interested.

This was not a very good dream. And the name Martin means, “Servant of Mars, God of War” so that’s not gonna happen.

But the baby… he was beautiful.

Second Time Pregnant

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 2:16 pm on Saturday, May 15, 2010

I’m pregnant! I’m about 11 weeks if my true LMP was March 2. I forgot how hard the first trimester is. How awful it is to feel sick all day, should I vomit or not, trying to play mind games and imagine that everything around me is pristine clean and that food is tasty. I have to do a lot of visualizing to feel appeal towards food and environment. I think watching food commercials or seeing other people eating helps to stir up my appetite that would otherwise be shot. Although of course there are sometimes immediate, “no way I can’t eat that” reactions too.

So far I’m having aversion to meats and am turning to beans and mushrooms as an alternative. Ready made salads are my delight. I subsist on oatmeal, cereal with or without milk, bananas, french bread, Real Lemon juice the product that I either squeeze directly into my mouth or mix with Perrier. I was really into oil and balsamic vinegar until I read one bottle that says ‘contains lead’ which scared the heck out of me. Also am doing well with pretzels and clear soups.

My favorite foods are mostly out the window, pasta with red sauce, pad thai, almost all cheeses, ugh. I’ll stop there before I gag.

Well today I came out of the shower and looked down and noticed some stuff around my nipple so I went to take it off and out came colostrum! Out of all the glands! It scared the heck out of me as that never happened the first pregnancy. I came online to see if that was normal or what. Usually can happen as early as second trimester or 20 weeks.

Maybe I am further a long then I think.. but if I am why isn’t my morning sickness going away?!

My current weight is about 134lbs. My pre-pregnancy weight is usually like 125. Gaining 10lbs in the first trimester is also very disturbing…I guess I will have to see how things go from here and try to watch my intake. With Elijah I gained a total of 24lbs and pushed out an 8lb 9oz baby. Maybe if I eat a bunch of junk food the baby will come out 7lbs like so many people I know. J/k They’re just enviable.

More to come.

Birthing Elijah

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 12:57 pm on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I got to 10 cm by hopping in the shower. But the whole time I was scared and anxious of the pain that was to come. So I started praying like mad. Mainly I was praying for courage to submit myself to whatever I would feel. What I do remember is that God gave me courage to endure suffering for the sake of love. Whereas before I had seen suffering as God’s punishment. After a long while of escaping the inevitable Shin knocked and said, “It’s time to come out now.” So I came out and got back in the bed.

The doctor (my ob/gyn’s backup) came in and checked me. I was at 10cm which was a relief. With her still checking my dilation she said, “Do you want me to break your bag?” I answered immediately, “No! I want it to break naturally.” If I had hesitated perhaps she would have done it without my consent. I felt uneasy with her having asked that while checking me because it put me in a vulnerable position- supposing I didn’t have a birth plan I would not have had the time to think it through. After that the doctor decided to go home because she assumed I would be a long time before delivering. That was around midnight.

With my doula I tried different pushing methods lying down and using the squat bar. I was feeling new pains other than the contractions I had grown used to managing. I was growing fearful and pressured by the nurses and pressure I placed on myself to deliver quickly. Everyone was tending to me and looking at my every progress- I felt performance anxiety to progress in labor as the nurse kept coming in and telling me I should lay on my side or do things to start contracting more frequently. The desire to give up was at the top of the list. I kept watching the clock. I think 3 hours passed in that state of frozen fear and ineffective pushing. Mentally it was hard because I felt there was no way out. It was either birth through the canal or go under the knife. It was truly the rock and a hard place.

My water still hadn’t broken but had ruptured slightly. Another nurse came in and said she would help me by checking if my pushing was bringing the baby’s head down. While she was doing that my water broke with a shooting splash. It was the weirdest sensation and startled me. When I look back I wonder if she deliberately broke my bag. And if she intended to, then why not with the sterile tool instead of a finger (nail).

We began pushing again while watching the monitor for my contractions. Then I began feeling the urges to bear down. The best way I could describe it is if you’ve ever been sick while someone else is driving you home. You feel the urgency to pass a bowel movement and your body is sending goosebumps all over. The closer you get to home the more discomfort you feel as you near the point of excretion. At some point I decided that I would make my goal to try to push a real bowel movement out on the table since I wasn’t pushing very well. That’s when my pushing became effective. My doula brought a mirror out and I watched myself dilating. My contractions were stronger and I had to push or else I felt uncomfortable.

I think within 30 minutes I saw just a diamond shaped opening revealing baby’s head. Shin exclaimed that that looked like the top of his own head- the hair pattern. The baby’s hair was wet and matted down. It was fascinating and beautiful. I couldn’t believe that on the other side of that skin was our son.

The nurses called the doctor and told me to wait. She arrived and it was now around 4am. The nurses pulled out the cart with sterile equipment and the baby scale and my doula said that was a good sign. She said that the doctor would help stretch my perineum and that within 15 minutes or so it would all be over.

The doctor had a furrowed expression on her face as she donned her gown and gloves. She made some sort of comment that if she had broken my water bag the baby would have been here sooner. When she sat down the doula was asking her how her night was going and she made some other curt response. Then finally when she was ready and seated she said in a tired, irritated voice, “Please have a contraction.”

As it was apparent she was not happy to be there and with her hostility towards me I instinctively felt anxious around this woman the way a child walks on eggshells around her temperamental father. But I wasn’t prepared to have her act on her hostility and harm me. At my next contraction I felt a surge of pain shoot through my body that made me scream. I heard her saying, “PUSH” and I pushed with all my might and then another indescribable pain that made me take my feet off the stirrups. I felt terrified to do anything.

Minutes later I felt the give of the baby’s body sliding out and I asked, “Is he out? Is he out??” and no one answered me. I heard the baby screaming. And I myself was sobbing and shaking from the pain I had just felt. I closed my eyes and looked away and Shin was holding me not saying anything. Then they put the baby on my chest and all the nurses and everyone was saying, “LOOK look at your baby” but I couldn’t look at him. He was screaming and I couldn’t comfort him because I was in shock. When I finally looked at Elijah I was fascinated but numb. We put him on my breast to feed and he took to the breast immediately and sweetly.

In the meanwhile this dr was holding a big syringe and about to give me a shot. She said, “You’re going to feel a burning stinging sensation.” And I said, “What is that?” And she responded, “Its an anesthetic.” And with another dose of hostility she said, “You can feel it all if you want.” I was cowering because I had never felt pain like that in my life and was afraid when I saw that needle. But she was absolutely insensitive. I had felt violated the first time and now had to subject myself to her again. It was emotionally and physically very compromising. This barbaric woman in my memory is not even a female at all but a big, masculine predator. Thankfully my placenta came out whole and they took it away to donate the cord blood somewhere that I don’t know.

Shin and I were both sorrowful and shocked for the first few hours. I heard Shin saying he loved me and that he saw me giving it my all even in pain. He told me I was his- moreso now than ever. We prayed and wept together and asked God for healing of my body and heart and for Elijah.

My doula also had tears in her eyes. But more than that she was angry. She said that was the worst birth she had ever seen. She said what the doctor had done was so unnecessary and Shin agreed. She apologized to me profusely that I didn’t get the birth experience that I wanted when I had labored so well.

Something had gone terribly wrong at my birth but I didn’t know what- I only felt. I couldn’t see any of it. I also felt this wasn’t the pace I wanted my baby to come out. I wanted to stretch slowly and have him crown without tearing if possible. I also wanted to feel the baby’s head as he came out or hear progress like, “You’re baby’s head is out.” No one had said a word. I wasn’t really a part of the birth other than to have the baby extracted. I asked Shin and he wouldn’t speak to me about it.

It wasn’t until several days after my birth that I called my doula and she told me the dr. had put her two fingers on either side of my perineum and tore me with her bare hands. I had torn even before my son’s head had crowned and sustained a tear to the 2nd degree. Then when his head was out she said the doctor didn’t wait until I had another contraction to bring the baby’s head out. She was pulling on Elijah’s head “so fucking hard” that my doula said she wouldn’t be surprised if he needed chiropractic work later in life.

It was a lot to deal with. I wondered how this had happened. My ob/gyn had been so wonderful. How could his backup be this monstrous lady? And why did she hurt me? Why did God let this happen? And why didn’t anyone say a damn thing? My husband? My doula? The morning of the birth my mother in law showed up unannounced when we had asked our family to refrain from visiting. She said thats how all births are and I should just be thankful he’s feeding well and healthy. That pushed Shin over the edge and he defended me saying that what she said was not encouraging and she didn’t know what happened. She stormed out and Shin disappeared for two hours to argue with her in some waiting room.

Birthing was hard. My hospital birth was horrible.

This is how Elijah entered the world.

Laboring With Elijah

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 9:31 pm on Thursday, December 4, 2008

I knew that Monday morning at 4am I might be having real contractions instead of Braxton Hicks. I had slight menstrual like cramping around 4am on Monday morning. Then I lost the rest of my mucus plug. It was a spongy gray looking thing mixed with blood.

Shin and I both woke up and began getting ready. I cleaned the bathroom on hands and knees for the last time. It helped me to be on all fours to encourage Elijah to turn into a good anterior position. I’d also been leaning over and swaying on the birth ball and doing pelvic rocks the last couple weeks for the same reason.

Shin was busy reading the Word and getting his online business started for the day.

It was December 1st and the house had a certain extra excited feel. By breakfast everyone knew it was happening. Shin’s father said that day would be one of our proudest. He went to work and my mother in law asked if I preferred her to stay or keep her appointment. I insisted she leave, that I would be more comfortable laboring at home on my own.

My contractions were 15 minutes apart for most of the morning. I was busy doing last minute things like finding the baby a pediatrician. I was making a lot of phone calls and trying not to sound distracted as my breath got shorter and my concentration was challenged. The contractions increased to about every 7-9 minutes around 1pm. They increased in pain and I would frantically run from one room to the other trying to make the seconds pass. I would also speed walk to the banister of the stairs until I couldn’t walk any more and there groan loudly where the house echoed most.

It was a pain I hadn’t felt before. Whereas with menstrual cramps you can exercise to relieve it, contractions were inescapable. It was like something was going haywire and screaming inside my body and there was no outlet except to get through it. I’m sure that mentality didn’t help.

I wasn’t managing the pain very well and finally decided to call my doula to come. I naively thought this was the part of labor where I needed the most help because it was the longest part of the process. I was relieved she agreed to come. She normally comes when the contractions are at 5 minutes apart. That sounds close to the end but, as in my case, there are usually still many many hours ahead. She came when she heard I was laboring alone.

I also called Shin out of work. They pulled in at the same time. I opened the door just as the postal carrier was walking by and sent out a few more thank you cards in between a contraction. Then another began and I sped walked out of their presence into the kitchen. I didn’t know how to be in pain in front of others, even my husband. It was different atmosphere laboring alone versus laboring with others around.

Shin turned on a dvd that ended up playing and replaying the menu. He brought down the birth ball. We turned on soft music from IHOP, I drank water and a smoothie that I made earlier that day and sat on the living room rug and let my doula massage my lower back in between contractions. I found I didn’t like being touched during a contraction because it broke my concentration. It was just awkward the whole time being the center of attention yet wanting to be a good hostess, yet being too uncomfortable and distracted to accomplish that.

She gave me an oil for my lower belly that would speed contractions along at a good pace. By 230-3pm I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. I think because she taught me how to breathe and relax I progressed quickly. I had a choice to go to the hospital right then or I could wait until I was more dilated. We decided to try and stick it out till 4:30pm and see. I had a sudden rush of vomit the moment my mother in law came home. I was worried she would be overly concerned- her face was very serious. But my doula lightened the mood when she said it smelled delicious (it was all fruit smoothie). I was also happy because I knew it indicated progress. Then we decided to take a walk through the neighborhood.

I had to stop a few times but Shin would kneel and let me lean on him or on fire hydrants or telephone poles. It also gave me relief to bend over against a wall and let the pressure push my tail bone. They would pretend to do stretches while I had my eyes closed waiting out my contraction.

When we returned I just wanted to sit on the staircase. It helped once again to lean my lower back on the stair behind me and make circular motions with my upper body to let the edge of the stair massage different points in my back. I also used the stairs to do a sort of inclined push up. Shin boiled me some plain spagetti noodles for energy (like going into a marathon). There were moments when I it felt like my ribs were expanding and contracting.

Soon it was 6pm and my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart. We decided to go to the hospital.

It was hard being in a car. Every time we hit a side-to-side bump my insides would tighten and fight the contraction. I was afraid I might need Shin to pull over every minute but somehow I found a way to get totally calm; I put myself in a sleep-like state before the onset of a contraction and stay in that place. I kept saying the word, “yield” and envisioned what was happening inside. I saw my pelvis opening and closing with the baby’s head. I even managed to wait in the car when Shin and my doula stopped by Subway for dinner!

We entered through the lobby and onto the third floor. I asked to be checked at triage before being admitted. I was 9 cm dilated so there was no question. All the nurses said I was so calm they were spooked. At 7pm my nurse changed for the worst. She did everything by the medical book. It was as though she had no respect for my birth wishes. The first thing she did was keep me on the electronic fetal monitor for an extended amount of time and try to make me change my position.

But there were bigger things to worry about.

The contractions were getting worse and I was growing anxious about just how this baby was going to come out. I had a preconception that the pushing part was fast! My friend pushed her baby out in 15 minutes! I thought that was simply faster than normal. I had no idea it was a 3 hour process!

The Perfect Stroller for Elijah

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 7:15 pm on Friday, November 28, 2008

I tend to get a little obsessive when I research products. Currently am looking for a stroller that fits Shin and my lifestyle and personality

What is our lifestyle?
-Not too flashy
-Kind of active
-form is important to Annie
-innovation is a plus for Shin
-reusable or long lasting

So Shin is really big on getting a travel system (a car seat that attaches to the stroller for infants). But I’m against it because it’s heavy individually, it’s heavy when they’re hooked together. I also don’t want to be stuck with a 35 lb stroller even after we’re done using the car seat, or purchase a separate light weight stroller later. It’s just a waste. I’d rather carry the baby for the first few months until he can use a regular toddler stroller for the next years of his life and the same for a second baby if we have one.

That stroller would also be nice if it had other features like, facilitating exercise- like a jogging stroller. But of course it’d still have to meet our other reqs.

We haven’t settled on a price range for this stroller yet but so far it’s climbing. Here are a few I’ve been reading on that have great stats and reviews online and paper but seeing them in person will make a big difference.

Bob Revolution $389
For walks/jogs, 23 lbs, 12″ wheels, swivel lock front wheel, Ages 6-8 weeks old until 70lbs (I must doublecheck infant details- w/wo carseat, etc) I saw this in person today and it definitely feels sturdy and has great suspension. It feels like a bicycle. I’ve heard it isn’t as easy to fold up. Didn’t give it the weight test when folded up. It’s definitely sporty and masculine. Not elegant like the next one. Maybe just because the logo and color reminds me of Home Depot

Bumbleride Indie $439 or $399 end of year sales
For walks/jogs, 20 lbs, 12″ wheels, swivel lock front wheel, Age: Infant-45 lbs (also must doublecheck infant details), upon inspection- not such a great canopy, and doesn’t have as great a weight capacity as the others. But I love the design and ability to jog/rollerblade with it.

Mall Strollers

Baby Jogger City Mini $229
Not for jogs, 16 lbs, 8″ wheels, swivel lock front wheel, Age: babies who can hold head up-75 lbs, great canopy, quick fold technology. I saw this in person today and was really impressed. It generally fits our lifestyle better than the other strollers- price wise, style wise. I just wish I could exercise with it. The wheels aren’t inflatable tires so it wouldn’t be safe to go faster than a walk.

Baby Jogger City Elite $449 or $389 end of year sales
Not for jogs, 25 lbs, 12″ wheels, swivel lock front wheel, the upgrade feature I like from the mini: adjustable footrest, quick fold technology

As impatient as I am to find that perfect stroller, at least for now there’s time, and after Elijah arrives we can try him out in some different strollers and maybe still hit some of the 2008 clearance models.

It’s funny how I’m drawn to all the same stroller models. I suppose it means I know what I like.

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