Monday, November 21, 2011

Tucker James

 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Job 1:21

I did a particularly life-changing summer Bible study several summers ago.  We studied the Fruits of the Spirit and that Beth Moore had us studying the Word out of the book of Job.  It was not where I expected to start, or finish, a study on the Fruits of the Spirit, but it was wonderful.  Toward the end, this verse out of Job really stood out to me, and stuck with me since then.  Now, I can't get it out of my mind as I think about the birth of Tucker.

You might remember that my due date with Tucker was my late Grandma Soden's birthday, November 16th.  Dekker was two weeks early, and this baby was measuring big, so my doctor advised us that he would most likely come on his own and early.  I had given up the idea of having him on the 16th, and come to peace with his picking his own birthday.  So at peace, in fact, that my doctor, Dave and I opted out of an induction at 39 weeks, as we had previously discussed.  More waiting, and still no baby, until I walked into the hospital on the 16th, 5 cm dilated and in active labor.  I was technically there for an "induction", but I love that I was already in labor.  Tucker did get to pick his birthday, smart little boy, he picked a pretty special date.

I don't know where to start with a "birth story."  I will start with the fact that I never thought I would go 40 weeks, but low and behold, I did and I am so at peace with the choices we made to not induce earlier.  We scheduled the induction for my due date, and I never thought I would make it to that, either.  The Monday before the scheduled induction (Wed) I was 3 cm dilated.  I had regular contractions and several nights leading up to the 16th I thought "tonight is the night", and then the contractions would stop.  Tuesday night the 15th we went to a small group Thanksgiving Family Night-- it was a blast and a great way to take my mind off things.  I took broccoli salad and rolls.  I was pretty miserable, but super loved all the great company.  Wednesday morning I woke up and was pretty sure I was having very regular contractions.  I was bleeding some, and so relieved that I wouldn't be pregnant anymore.  We dropped Dekker off at Ms. Laura's house, his regular daycare provider, and went to the hospital at 8.

By the time we were totally checked in, in the bed, hooked up, paperwork done, etc it was easily 9AM.  They checked me and I was "5 cm, maybe 6."  The morning progressed, and very quickly the contractions got regular and intense, and the Pitocin was stopped fairly shortly after it was started.  I really, really debated an epidural.  I loved my labor experience with Dekker, which included an epidural, but this one was going so fast that I really didn't see it totally necessary.  What I kept thinking about was that I knew this baby was on track to be big, over the 96th percentile on ultrasound at 32 weeks, and I didn't want to get stuck pushing for hours without one.  So I hemmed and stewed and probably teared up and decided to go for it at about 10:30AM.  Five nursing students filed in with the doctor and he administered it.  He started it off pretty slow because Dekker's had taken too high.  I had movement all the way to my toes, could lift my own legs, wriggle my toes, etc.  The nurses came in and I told them that I still had a lot of feeling and they could confirm that, but we all agreed that the epidural had "taken" and was muting my contractions.  It never got stronger.  In hindsight, this was the perfect epidural for me. 

About 11:30/12:00 ish I really had to go to the bathroom (pee) and was having a lot of pressure.  I asked Dave to call the nurses.  He asked what he should tell them and I said "that I want to talk to them."  So he did just that.  They came in and I told them I had to go potty really bad and it was super uncomfortable.  The nurse decided to check me again.  She hadn't done that at all until now because it had only been a few hours, and we all expected the doctor anytime, so the nurse was just waiting for the doctor to do it, following best practice that it be done as little as needed.  Well, I was at a 10, so we called and paged the doctor (again) and waited.  I'm not sure what time it was, probably about noon.

Funny aside, my friend Katie has the same doctor and had an appt.  She texted me from the waiting room and I was like "We're waiting on her so harass her for me!"  Katie was the last client Dr. Simmons saw, and Katie said she barely popped her head in the room and announced that she had to "go catch a baby."

The doctor showed up about 12:45.  She broke my water because, yep, it was still intact.  We briefly discussed not breaking it, but decided we would as the baby is easier to "catch".  The doctor was able to do it with her index finger.

The pushing began.  The epidural was helping mute the contractions but I felt a lot of pain and pressure. At about 1:00 the doctor could tell that the head was large and round.  It was an odd experience, pushing, then waiting in-between contractions while the nurses and doctors, and sometimes myself talked in-between.  It was pretty calm for the most part.  My doctor just stood there watching the machine, chiming in on chit-chat occasionally.  Meanwhile, Tucker's head was pushing on my tailbone so hard that I had almost no relief in-between contractions.  The doctor mentioned that she could use forceps, and I was thrilled at the option.  I guess you know that is when you are in a lot of pain, when forceps sound great.  It was a huge relief and once the head got lifted off the tailbone (kinda like a shoe-horn), he came fast.  The last several minutes was basically one, loud push, which made the nursing students dance around :)  The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and his forehead was bruised from ramming against my tailbone, but he was PERFECT.  They tossed him on my stomach in a moment I will never forget.  Hello, sweet baby.

Dave went with him across the room to the warmer, where they wiped him down.  My doctor asked for a head circumference and the nurse shouted back 15.25cm.  The nurses and doctor gasped.  This number meant nothing to me, until Dr. Simmons said 13 is normal, and 14 is big.  Then one nurse said she has been doing this for six years and that is the biggest head she had ever delivered.  Later, Dave's mom, who wins the award for delivering the biggest baby (David was 10lbs, 11oz) said David's head was "only" 15cm.  Once on the scale, Dave shouted out in disbelief 9lbs, 1.5oz!!  He was 22 inches long.  He nursed for an entire hour in L&D, then we were ready to be moved to recovery.

We came home Friday morning.  I was ready to get out of there and get to some more comfy furniture.  On discharge, my doctor said that based on Tucker's bruising and my pain, she suspected that I fractured my tailbone.  We might never know for sure, and there is really nothing we can do about this but pain management and lay low.  Sitting and laying at home feels so much better than hospital furniture!  My doctor said that in hindsight she has some regret we didn't use the forceps earlier, but no one knew his head was so big.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  I have just a few stitches, and nothing major to report there.  I only mention that because several people were worried due to the size and forceps.  Also, Tucker has no bruising from the forceps, which went next to his ears.  Our pediatrician noted that forceps are harder on Mom than baby.  They may have saved me from a C-Section, or even more damage to my tailbone-- so I consider them my friend.  Thank goodness I had that epidural!

We are home now and can I just say that I love having a big baby!  He is wonderful.  We fill his belly up and then he sleeps and sleeps.  He is up several times to eat at night, and rotates between being particularly fussy at night and particularly peaceful.  Last night he was pretty peaceful, ate, and went right back to sleep.  Today, we are home while Dekker is at Ms. Laura's.  It is great to snuggle him and nurse and rest together.  Such an ah-mazing season of life.

Dekker is doing well.  We are all adjusting, but he does seem to be fond of his baby brudder.  Today, on the way out the door he shouted back to the bedroom, "Bye Bye Mom." Then, without prompting, "Bye Tucker.  I Love You."  Oh my heart overflows.  I am sore, engorged, and tired, but so thrilled to be on this journey of motherhood!

One more note: I have eliminated dairy, soy protein, and red meat from my diet.  We are hoping that in doing so, we will eliminate the 18 hour crying spells that we survived with Dekker for a good three months.  My friends have signed up for meals, are reading labels and finding recipes, and we feel so totally blessed by their help.  Nursing Tucker is such a joy, and having nutritious, yummy food around makes it possible to stay on the diet.  To my friends who are reading this-- thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Your support of me, and nursing, means so so much to me.

The sweetie pie is stirring next to me.  So I will close here, remembering for another brief moment my Grandma Soden.  Before she passed, she promised me that having children (she had eight) is far more joy than work.  I wondered if she was right, and of course now know that she was.  I think of her often, and she is in my heart always.  That is the case regardless of Tucker's birthday.  But I do love thinking about how I will tell Tucker one day about the woman he shares a birthday with.  (I wrote my Grandmas eulogy, and you can read it here.)  Tucker also shares a middle name with my maternal grandfather, James Autry.  I can't wait for the two of them to meet!

On the Journey,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dekker's Big Boy Room... Finally!

The time has finally come!  I can't believe it has taken me this long to get this post up, but I'm so glad to do it...finally.  When we found out we were pregnant, Dekker was still sleeping in his crib in the nursery.  (That feels like forever ago.)  We decided to not convert his crib, and instead just buy him a twin bed and re-use the crib.  It was a financial decision for the most part-- because we have a really nice taste when it comes to cribs.  So we took the front off the crib and added a bed-rail, and he slept in that "toddler bed" for about a month while I cleaned out and painted his new room next door.  It was nice that I could take my time and work on it in the evenings and at nap time without disturbing him.  I did really want to get him into his new room and twin bed three months before R2's arrival.  I did a lot of reading, and was sure this would be traumatic for him (though the reading, and every-single person I talked to assured me of the opposite), and I didn't want him yelling "My Bed" when the baby comes.

So even though the room wasn't complete, it was painted and the bed was set up and he's been sleeping in it for several months.  And, gasp, it was a very smooth transition that I'm pretty sure bothered me more than him.  However, for the record, he has also transitioned nicely into calling the nursery the baby's room and I'm super thrilled about that, too.  It is coming together nicely, and I can't wait to show you all it, too.  All this decorating, including the Master Bedroom has been absolutely fantastic and I love the finishing touches!

So, here is a before picture of Dekker's room.  It was our guest room/my office/holding space for a lot of stuff!  If you remember, I cleaned it out and did a lot of simplifying in there last year and I am so glad I did!

By the time I was finished last October (as in approximately one year ago, wow), it was looking pretty nice.  The opposite wall had a nice twin daybed with trundle, and it was a nice "catch all" room for us.  I was overwhelmed with where to put all this stuff, but between the trash/goodwill/donations, basement, new office, and new job/office, everything found a home.

Here is what it looked like before I started painting.  It was a hot mess.  I remember my sweet friend Suzanne opening the door and saying, very nicely, that it looked like I still had "a ways to go" in this room.  Hahaha, that was an understatement.  I also went through three gallons of super expensive paint trying to find the right shade of manly/cowboy appropriate yellow.  Which I finally did (sigh).  It's Sherwin-Williams "Blonde" if you ever need to know.  When color #2 didn't work, I was so mad at myself for not buying samples (thankfully gallons were 40% off at the time) and so sick of cleaning brushes and upset that I might have to prime (Dave did) that I walked into Dave's office SOBBING.  He thought something was so seriously wrong until I finally blurted out that the paint is... ... "awful, just awful."  Can we blame the pregnancy???  Anyway...

Here are the "after" pictures.  My friends from McCook gave me the idea to put something in this space that would be something Dekker could play with or at.  So we skipped on a dresser and utilized the closet and under-bed storage, then used magnetic paint (bought at Menards) and painted a magnetic board.  Isn't that sweet?  The paint smells like death so we spent one gorgeous late summer day painting on the five layers it asked for (at least 30-45 min to dry in-between), windows opened, running errands and to the park while it dried.  Obviously Dave did all this fume-full painting, and we taped off the square with painter's tape and a level.  It is black paint.  So we painted a top coat, which is optional, and is not suppose to tone down the magnetic-ness, but I'm not so sure.  I did just happen to have this wall color one shade darker in my basement, so that made it easy and it is a nice contrast.  Dave built the frame (the final touch I mentioned last week) and with the magic of spray-paint, presto. (Can I just say how much I love spray-paint.  No messy clean up.  Cheap.  I have been missing out!)

Dekker has magnets on his Christmas list.

What's that?  You want to know about the super cute letters I crafted?  Well, it only took three months and about 400 consultations with more-crafty friends, fourteen trips to Hobby Lobby, and a few girlfriends who threatened to de-friend me if I kept obsessing about them... and they were done!  Just call me Martha!  I bought the letters at Hobby Lobby.  They are 3D and cardboard, very light, and about a buck.  We spray painted them red.  Then I covered them with scrapbook paper.  I traced around them with a pencil, cut the letter out, spray glued it onto the 3D letter, then went around the edges with a razor-blade (on a cutting board).  I am thrilled with how they turned out, and once everything was in my house and I got to going they took about 90 minutes total.  The stars I bought right next to the letters for less than .50 each.  We hung the letters with velcro (thanks for the idea, Katie, during consultation #217) and the help of a laser level.

The other wall is very simple.  It is a chair, which I bought off Craigslist from a former TV News Anchor.  It was an exciting and VERY HOT day this summer.  It was a little pricey, but a steal of a deal considering it has a twin bed in it.  I figured it was about $500 off retail, with the ottoman (which is in the living room), and will double as my Mom's bed when she comes to help with R2.  We will have to rotate it to the wall with the window, but that's fine.  The day we went to get it I sprung on Dave about half way there that it had a bed on it, and then learned that the bed doubled the weight of the chair.  Bummer that we didn't have any help with us.  It was a tense ride, but Anchor Woman's hubby helped.  The decor is all 50% Hobby Lobby stuff (thank you Suzanne for consultation #322)-- I bought a ton then returned a ton but do like the way it turned out. 

Please note: The little red basket next to the chair.  It holds our books-- perfect.  The boot lamp-- we love it!  The Little Buckaroo sign doubles to measure height and is super cute.  The white fan is a necessity and does not "flow." The night-table was spray painted in our garage and was Dave's from before the wedding.  It had been in our basement, unused.  The fan, covered with the same cow contact paper, is pretty sweet.

I picture myself with a little boy on each side of me reading books one day!
Above the chair
Such a fun touch!  This is a second set of blades.  One day, when we change
the decor, we'll have the original blades to replace with. 

Finally, in the corner are two white corner shelves from Target, covered in cow print contact paper.  (Hey, I ordered a roll of it and wanted to use as much of it as possible without over-doing it!)  The top holds a salt and pepper shaker in the form of a cowboy and cowgirl.  They were my Grandma Soden's and were given to me by my dad.  I love having a piece of her in this room (she collected shakers and had hundreds).  The second shelf holds a belt buckle that my Grandpa Autry (Mom's Dad) won and gave to me-- the real deal by the way.  They are both nice and high enough that even if the stinker stands on the chair arm (which he's never done) he can't reach them.

Grandma Soden's salt and pepper shakers
Seriously cool belt buckle

I bought the bed off Craigslist on another very hot day this summer.  It is a Captain's Bed and was in fabulous condition for next to NOTHING.  It has drawers under it.  We lost a knob in transport, so we took the others off and put them on the closet (they were previously white with flower print) and bought new for the bed :)  The sheets are handkerchief and bought off Amazon for way too much.  The comforter is a lightweight blue/denim and was on Dave's bed growing up.  His mom made it!  She also made Dekker a beautiful, warm cowboy blanket that is at the foot of the bed.

We don't actually store much under the bed right now because the closet storage is enough.
But I'm sure the day will come.  Also, I hate that the little "walker toy" got in this pic!
He has been dragging that thing around the house for weeks now, for I don't know why.
The curtains are reused from the nursery. 
Finally, I found this print at Hobby Lobby and I love it.  It is in-between the door and closet.

So there you have it.  I think I've been thinking about this room for over a year.  And while it was fun, I'm glad it's done, done well, done without going broke, and that we really love it.  My hope was that his room would be a space where he could play without hurting himself and without getting into too much trouble, and I'm hoping I might even be able to sit and nurse in there while he plays quietly by himself :) A girl can dream.

Here's to making room in our house and heart for one boy growing up, and one boy showing up!
On the journey,