Thursday, April 30, 2009

Comfortable shoes

I decided its finally time to start wearing comfortable shoes. Not expensive shoes or cheap shoes or sexy shoes. Comfortable shoes. Ever since I have been old enough to chose my own shoes, I have based my shoe choices on two things: are they cute? are they cheap? Not anymore. I woke up yesterday morning and thought to myself: I am a mom now. I carry around an extra 16 pounds of baby all day. Its time to invest in comfortable, stylish, durable shoes.

Fortunately I knew that the shoe designers that are known for making old-lady type shoes for comfort have started to produce some styles for us younger women as well. I set off on a walk toward Old Town Pasadena where the DSW shoe store is. I have walked through it a bunch of times, but never actually purchased anything. Boy, was I surprised when I started looking at the prices! They sell $500.00 flip flops and jelly shoes!!!

Okay, so they do have reasonably-priced shoes for average people as well, but I was pretty impressed that people are dumb enough to pay that much for a pair of jelly shoes.

I haven't found my new comfy, stylish mom shoes yet, but I will keep you updated.

The most ridiculous product I have ever purchased

I recently purchased the best IDEA for a baby carrier ever. I ended up returning it, because it wasn't comfy enough for me, but while it was in my possession I was pretty much amazed. Its called the Snugli Serenade Vibra. I got it on for about $58. This baby carrier has gel padding in the straps. It has a lumbar support pad that--get this--vibrates. That's right, the baby carrier actually massages your back as you wear it. It also has multiple pockets, vents that zip or unzip when things get sweaty, pouches to store the extra lengths of straps in and a CUPHOLDER! The funniest thing is that there is a little button you press and it will play lullabies for your baby. You can wear the carrier on your chest with baby facing in or out, or you can wear baby on either hip. This is one of the few baby carriers of its type that can even be used as a back carrier (Where baby faces the back of your head). I don't recommend this product, because it isn't very cushy and it can get pretty hot for baby, but I had to share it with you all!

I ended up buying a Moby wrap instead. It can be worn all the ways the snugli can (and more) and it really distributes the baby's weight across your entire back. It also holds the baby in more of a "sitting" position, which is better for their spine.
Even comes in a UV protection version.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Birth of Samson Leigh Hyde


Born 11:29 am, Sunday, February 1, 2009
8 Lb. 5 oz. and 20 in. long

WARNING: Icky details

When I became pregnant, some of the prophetic people around me seemed to know that I was pregnant before I did. When I started telling people that I found out I was pregnant I learned that others around me had already been having dreams about it. I took this as a sign that this was the blessing God had been telling me he would send one day. I sensed the call to motherhood since I first got married. God was with me in this every step of the way. There seemed to be another prophecy over me from the Godly people in my life, too: I would have a son.

My due date was set to be Sunday, February 8, 2009, but 3 weeks prior I began to feel impatient for the baby to come – partly because I wanted to meet him and partly because I wanted to be able to spend as much time with my husband (Ivan) and baby before Ivan shipped off to army training. I began walking a lot more than I had been throughout my pregnancy. Walking is supposed to help bring the baby downward and into the right position.

On Friday, January 30, more than a week before my due date, I began to feel more uncomfortable contractions, but still so mild that I knew it would be a while. That night I took a walk to the park and did several flights of stairs at a parking garage along the way. I did some squatting and felt a gush of amniotic fluid around 7:30 pm. I thought it might just be my mucous plug coming out, so I basically ignored it. I did some more squats that evening and had more gushing. I realized maybe my water had broken, which was a little surprising for me since I knew how rarely the break of amniotic fluid actually marks the start of labor. I called my doula, Linda, to let her know what had happened. She suggested we call my birth class instructor. I got her voicemail. Ivan came home from work and we went to buy frozen dinners at Target.

I debated about whether to call my OB, Dr. Grady, since I knew that (under normal circumstances) there was no need to go to the hospital until my contractions were much stronger. At this point my contractions were coming more frequently, but still barely noticeable. I called the doctor’s office and the doctor-on-call called me back insisting that I come to the hospital at once. I wanted to stay home and sleep and I did not want the doctor-on-call to deliver my baby. I wanted MY OB to deliver the baby. Ivan and I sat in the car ready to take off for the hospital when I spoke on the phone with my birth class instructor. I ended up deciding we could stay home until Saturday morning. That way, maybe Dr. Grady would be available. I also knew that doctors and midwives never want to delay the labor and birth beyond 48 hours after the waters break, due to increased risk of infection for mother and baby. I sent Ivan to buy some castor oil and slept. My birth class instructor expected the castor oil to kick labor into gear within 4 hours, but it didn’t.

We arrived at the hospital around 6:30 am on Saturday, January 31. A nurse promptly reviewed our birth requests and told us how “wrong” and “non-sensical” they were, even though my OB had already approved them. We wanted as natural of a birth as possible. This nurse flatly told me that the reality of the thing is that it wouldn’t happen. Surely I would need an epidural.

My contractions were still quite mild, so Ivan, Linda, and I walked around the halls and in the outdoor garden hoping to speed things up. We did stairs again and again and again. There were landscapers out in the garden about to plant some flowers. There was a tray of orange mums that had just one single flower on the whole tray. It was unopened. I kept the mental imagery in my mind of myself opening up like a flower. My cervix had stayed at 2 cm for some time, so I pictured a tight rosebud loosening and becoming a huge, open rose.

The day seemed very slow and very boring. We walked and walked. We walked to the cafeteria and picked up some food. When we returned, the nurses scolded me and told me I could not eat anything since I would throw it up during labor. How was I going to have energy for the marathon if I couldn’t eat? I asked Dr. Grady and he allowed me to eat as I pleased until the labor became more difficult. I was very glad for this later on, since vomiting during a contraction distracted me from the pain.

Linda prayed for me all throughout the day, but progress was slow. She prayed that things would open up and she prayed for our little family. She prayed for that sour nurse, and it worked (she sweetened up right away). She prayed for my labor and all my anxieties. During an afternoon walk in the garden I saw that that single mum had opened almost all the way, but not quite. Linda picked it and I carried it around for a while. She later forced it to open all the way. What a metaphor that would turn out to be! We spent the entire day getting into different positions, resting, walking, and trying to move things along.

Around 1 or 1:30 am on Sunday, February 1 we went over our options again with the nurses and with Dr. Grady. Since contractions were not coming fast enough and strong enough on their own, they administered pitocin through an IV. From what I understand, pitocin is the hormone that makes labor happen, but in its synthetic form, it makes the contractions more intense and more painful. Boy, did it ever!

After they got my dosage to a point that the contractions were coming every 2 or 3 minutes and they were truly painful, everything gets a bit blurry. I know that at one point they turned the dosage down and I noticed relief in my pain. The contractions slowed, so they increased the pitocin again. When they administered pitocin, they required that I stay on the monitors constantly (which were strapped to my belly). This really limited my positions. Every time I changed positions the monitor would lose track of the baby’s heartbeat. To use the restroom, I had to be unplugged and wheel my IV across the room every hour. Initially I would close the door behind me each time, but when I was in the throes of labor, my legs were too shaky and I really lost all sense of decency.

I remember at one point we discussed the option of the epidural again and I was seriously considering it in my mind. A little bit of stubbornness and the thought of pushing without being able to feel what I was pushing on made me think twice. Maybe it was just due to the fact that I was in so much pain and could barely verbalize anything. Either way, I did not get any pain reliever. At a couple of points they had me lie on my left side, because I was having back pain. They thought the baby might have turned the wrong direction. The change of positions also helped move back the lip that had developed on my cervix around one side of the baby’s head. Dr. Grady said all the pain should be low in my pelvis. Eventually it was.

Dr. Grady said to let the nurses know if I felt any urge to push. Everything in me had the desire to push, because I wanted the labor to be over so badly, but I didn’t need to push yet. The pain was so intense and I wanted it to be all over so many times! Each time after I went to the bathroom I would have to get on the floor on all fours or I would wrap my arms around Ivan and hang on him. While I was in the bed I would ask Linda to speak soothing imagery to me and I would stare into Ivan’s face. Linda talked about the ocean and about a garden and I would try to picture it in my mind. I would imagine that I felt very comfortable, and I almost did. During some of the contractions we took my mom’s advice, and we would say the Lord’s Prayer. I couldn’t remember the words and I could barely annunciate them, but it helped to have something to DO, rather than just let the pain happen to me. During some of the contractions Linda would just pray thanking the Lord. She kept saying “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” I remember being angry that she would not say anything about WHAT we were thankful for. All I could think of was the pain and I was not feeling especially thankful for that. Probably the most helpful thing was when they would tell me I only had thirty seconds left on that contraction. Immediately I would start to feel better.

When it came time to push, I remembered what my birth class instructor had said about how most women like this part of labor. While I was extremely exhausted at that point and didn’t want to keep going, it did feel good to push through the contractions. At the start of a contraction I would make sounds and everyone knew it was time to help me push. Linda and Ivan were on either side of me, each with a thigh in hand, aiding me to open up. The nurses would guide me through 3 ten-second-long pushes during each contraction. They kept telling me to push into my butt, like I had to make a big poop. They wheeled a huge mirror over (even though I said I didn’t want to see) so I could see the baby’s head moving down. This encouraged me to keep going. Also, the fact that I wanted it all to be over gave me strength to push harder. When I looked in the mirror, I could see that everything down there was swollen to a point that I was horrified, but knew it was normal. Apparently this went on for about an hour and a half , and Dr. Grady showed up at some point to guide me and catch the baby.

When the baby finally came out, it felt very wiggly for a few seconds. I felt every curve of his shoulders down to his feet come out of me. The baby was all purple and not moving until Dr. Grady gave him a rub. Dr. Grady moved the cord and put the baby on my chest for a few minutes. I didn’t know what to do with him. I delivered the placenta, and I asked Dr. Grady if I could see it. He grabbed the cord and lifted it up to show me. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. I was surprised how skinny the umbilical cord looked.

I wanted to nurse the baby, but they took him away for a minute to do his Apgar scores, clamp his cord etc. I got to nurse him right away, but it I think it was pretty short-lived. Though Linda had pushed us to name the baby before his arrival, we waited to look at him. Ivan and I discussed the name again, and I vetoed Conan. We named him Samson Leigh. Leigh is one of Ivan’s middle names. We still accidentally called him Conan during the first couple days.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Samson was such a trooper! His heart rate remained steady and strong through the whole labor. The hospital staff were great and the hospital was really nice. I got a huge labor room, which felt very comfortable. A few hours after the birth, they moved me to a smaller, but equally comfortable recovery room, where Ivan, the baby, and I roomed for about 2 and a half days, being waited on hand-and-foot. The nurses helped me clean myself up and gave me perineal ice packs, ibuprofen, and stool softeners every few hours during those days. By Tuesday afternoon, I wanted to go home.

Recently a friend whom I have not had contact with in about a year, contacted me to let me know that the Lord had awoken her in the middle of the night with the desire to pray for Ivan and me. She thought it was around the day that I gave birth. I am sure that that was God giving me the strength I needed, and now I have such a cool story to tell about how He was with us.

1 Ivan is training to be an army officer, probably infantry.
2 The best position for the baby to come out is if he is head-downward and facing the mother’s tailbone.
3 “Water breaking” doesn’t always come all at once. Sometimes it comes out as a leak.
4 It is well documented that the cervix works like any sphincter: you have to relax for it to open! One’s mind has quite a bit of control over the process.
5 It was Superbowl Sunday
6 My labor was as painful as it could possibly be!
7 Timing of contractions is from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next.
9 In between the contractions, I felt almost normal.
10 It didn’t seem like an hour and a half to me. It seemed shorter.
12 We had decided it would either be Conan, Samson, or Solomon.
13 The strangest rule in the hospital was that you couldn't walk the halls with your baby in arms. You could only hold the baby while sitting in a wheelchair or push the baby in the bassinet.

Here is an excerpt from an email I receieved from the wonderfully helpful doula that attended Samson's birth:

"I arrived at the hospital early in the morning and Marcia was very anxious for labor to get started. She knew walking would help. She put on her beautiful, silky robe and we started walking the stairs. There was a lot of construction going on at the hospital and I was not happy to see an extension cord across the path. At one point in the morning an older man came by and tried to get the cords out of the way. He was a very friendly older man and told us about his kids and grandkids. The morning was beautiful and very warm. It got too warm and we went back inside. I am a very talkative person, but Marcia seems more comfortable with silence.

Marcia did not like the nurse named Linda. She was not a kind nurse. She was everything you do not want your nurse to be. When I walked in that morning she was lecturing Marcia that "you are not helpless today. You need to do things for yourself." That night we had a nurse named Daval. She was one of the sweetest people. Just the kind of nurse you want. Daval decided she would not check Marcia. She knew the Dr. would show up some time in the morning. She had natural births herself and was very impressed with Marcia's ability to cope.

I was very impressed with the team work between Marcia and Ivan. They were truly in this together. He wanted to do anything that would help. She was able to say what she needed. She got tired of getting up and down to the bathroom, but moving around kept her labor progressing. When Marcia was not having a contraction she usually fell asleep.

She was such a trouper. I tried to "pray without ceasing," Marcia had a lot of help from heaven that night. I talked with an OB recently who has delivered babies for 20 years. She can think of less then 10 women over that 20 years who managed a natural birth with pitocin. Marcia has a very high tolerance for pain.

At one point as she was pushing Ivan wiped her head with a cool cloth and Marcia says, "Thank you Ivan." We all gave a chuckle at the sweet interaction. Even in pain, Marcia was thinking of Ivan.

I felt like I battled all night in the spirit for the future children of Marcia and Ivan. If morning came and there was no progress they would insist on a c-section. A c-section will limit the number of children you can have. I prayed all night, "Lord, when the Dr. checks her, let her be at a 9." When I went out for breakfast at 8 am the nurse Linda pulled me aside and said, 'Dr. Grady probably won't be here until the afternoon and she probably has not made any more progress all night. You should try to talk them into an epidural." I went to get breakfast, and prayed all the way there and back for wisdom. When I got back, Dr. Grady was there and when he checked her she was a 9. Even then they wanted her to have the epidural. It is all about money to them.

I was very interesting to me how much it helped to have a story to visualize. This was the gist of the beach story that I told to Marcia.

You are standing on a beach. Ivan is there with you. He is standing right behind you and you are leaning into him. The waves are wild and crazy and they crash into you and cover you, but they flow over you and recede. They are already receding and they are taking all your troubles with them.

The sun is going down and it is making a golden road on the water. Your boy is walking that golden road to you. You are a bird and you are flying down to him. You are telling him how happy you are that he is coming to you. You are giving him encouragement to come quickly. You are telling him how excited you are to be with him. You can't wait to hold him in your arms.

The sun going down is a picture of your childhood. The sun is setting and your childhood is setting. You are no longer the child. You are the mother and you are ready for this. You have prepared and you are ready to welcome this sweet baby into your arms and your family.

Ivan and Marcia, thank you so much for letting me share the birth with you. I know it is not easy to allow a stranger into the most intimate of experiences. I learned so much while sharing this with you. And I have a wonderful story to tell all the people who attend my classes. I'll tell them about the 2 Sam's. One with an epidural and one with pitocin. You are a hero in my eyes. God bless your mothering and give you wisdom and strength in the middle of every challenges.
Blessings, Linda"

Monday, April 06, 2009

I have a little boy!

So I finally have a precious son to love and raise and argue with and teach and worry about and give my life for. Don't get me wrong, Jesus is definitely my first love and Ivan will always be the most important person in my life, but having a son is a special kind of love and a special task God has given me.
Samson was born Feb. 1, 2009 at Methodist hospital in Arcadia, CA. We dedicated him to the Lord at Shiloh Baptist Church in Cedar Falls, IA on March 22, 2009. I will share more about his birth later.

Samson is 9 weeks old now and has finally learned that night time is for sleeping! and daytime is for playtime! He is getting so big. He weighed in at 14 lbs last week -- off the charts for his age. He is going to be like his daddy -- tall!