Monday, December 31, 2012

The End and The Beginning

This time last year:

I was thinking about quitting my job and had recently discussed having a baby in the near future. We were still paying off our Escape, and had a minimal amount in savings. We were eating whatever  we felt like, but didn't feel super great. We had just started working at the church with Alex as the Youth Pastor. 

Over the past year:

My last day of work was in the beginning of February, and I found out I was expecting in the beginning of March. We paid off our Escape and took a trip to Disney in February. We reached our halfway point for our savings goal. I started a diet due to a gestational diabetes diagnosis. We have a beautiful baby girl, who is sleeping soundly on me as I type this. We've been at the church for over a year, and are building relationships. 

Goals for next year:

I've been reading through Hebrews, and our pastor has been preaching on the book for the Sunday night service. I've based some goals on this book. With scripture as the basis for goals, we will be more focused on His will.

Hebrews 10:22-23 " let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

1. Make time with God my #1 priority. As soon as I have a quiet moment in the morning, that time is Bible and prayer time. Even if I have an incredibly messy house, God time comes first.

2. Get reading! I have a number of books  that I want to read, but haven't. TV is something that has dominated my time, when I could just as easily be reading a book. I would like to finish one book a month. So, I plan to have 12 books finished by the end of the year. I think this goal is attainable for me.

Hebrews 12:12-13 "12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead."

3. Food and Physical activity-okay, so this may be a little bit of a stretch with the verses, but I know that when we exercise and eat healthier, Alex and I do a much better job as children of God, spouses, parents, and friends. Therefore, I want to start walking and strength exercising more often. I'm going to need to incorporate holding a baby for a lot of it. I could do squats while I'm bouncing her...not 100% sure how this is going to pan out yet. 

Food: Gluten is in EVERYTHING-even my jar of mixed nuts was processed in a place that also does wheat. I realized that trying to avoid it altogether was stressing me out more than just eating it every now and then. I'm going to focus on eating lots of fruits and veggies, plenty of protein, and then not stress out of there's a little gluten in our diet. We're also only going to have dessert once a week, and most likely when we are hanging out with other people-that's when we are most tempted to have sweet treats.

Hebrews 13:1-2 " Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. "

4. Hospitality: I want to plan meals so that if extra people show up for dinner, I won't be stressed out. I need to plan so that leftovers aren't necessary, but still have enough to have extra if needed. My plan is to have a lunch plan that doesn't go bad right away as a back up plan if we don't have leftovers. I want our house to always be a place where people are welcome.

Hebrews 13: 5,16 "Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you... Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices."

5. We will write out a budget for every  month (which Alex already does) and we will stick to it. We will use cash accordingly (usually spending and grocery). We will give to our local crisis pregnancy center above our tithe. We will also reach our savings goal of 3-6 months of expenses by the end of the year.

My final goal is to pray continually. So often I forget who is really in control, and try to take charge myself. I want our house to be a place of learning, and I want Adara to learn what is most important.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Adara Grace: A birth story

I wake up Thursday feeling the best I had in months. Grocery shopping is a breeze. I stock up on all the food I thought we would need, and feel prepared for Adara to come at any time. When I get home, I start on a cookie recipe that were dubbed "Labor Cookies." I eat a couple of them, and also have a burger covered in hot sauce. That night Alex and I meet up with his sister Julia and her crew to see the last of the Twilight movies at 10pm. We get home about midnight and go to sleep.

I'm not feeling too great. I get up a couple times to use the restroom, which isn't unusual for me. I finally wake up around 5am and feel the need to go to the bathroom again. While in there, I heard a pop, and then felt a gush coming out of me. I first question what it really is, but when it won't stop, I realize, "That must be my water breaking! We're going to have the baby in the next 24 hours!"

I walk into the  bedroom and say, "Alex, I need you! My water just broke!" We check the time-5:15am, and then try to decide what to do. I don't feel any contractions right away, so we call our parents and then the on-call number for the doctor. The on-call person says that if my water has broken, to go to the hospital. Both our moms say that I probably don't need to be in a hurry. My mom encourages me to take a shower and get some breakfast. I get in the shower and start to feel some contractions. They aren't painful, but I can tell that they are contractions. We realize that they are already coming a couple of minutes apart, so we decide to go ahead and go to the hospital. I am feeling a little queasy, so I opt out of breakfast. We finish packing up and headed to the hospital.

We get to the hospital, park, and start walking to the fourth floor. I want to walk as much as I can. On the way, I  stop during the contractions, and then keep walking in between them. We make it to the fourth floor and I say with a smile that my water had broken. Apparently that night was a popular night to give birth, because we get the last open room on Labor and Delivery. We get into our room between 6:15 am and 6:30 am. Unfortunately, this is right before a nurse shift change. One nurse comes in and says something about hooking me up to an IV. I explain that I wasn't going to have an IV, and ask if she would look at our birth plan. She asks if we have checked with our doctor, something about the IV being mandatory for liability reasons, and that she was leaving in 15 minutes. She also said something about how she had her baby all natural, but that she had hers at Vanderbilt. Apparently it had been a long night at the hospital. This does not help me relax. We also realize that we left the multiple copies of my birth plan sitting on the bed at home. We did have it saved as a google document, so Alex prints copies and brings them back to our room.

The new shift nurse comes and is wonderful. She sits down and reads through our birth plan, explaining how that would work practically for all of us. She says she adopts all of the women who are under her care for the day. She explains that she will only check me every couple of hours until I am at a 5, and then every hour after that. She checks me and says I am a four, but then says a "loose three" so that it will seem like I progressed more the next time she checked me. I agree to get a Hep Lock just in case, and agree to have Pitocin after Adara is born to help my uterus contract. The nurse tries once to get my vein and it doesn't work.  She says she has a "one stick rule" and calls the anesthesiologist to do it. He does, but it hurts, and temporarily distracts me from my contractions. The nurse tells me that all the anesthesiologists are good, but this one who put the Hep Lock in is the best. She said that she knows I'm not getting an epidural, but if I was, he's the best. This is comforting to me, as I don't know entirely what to expect in the coming hours.

Both my mom and Alex's mom arrive early in the morning around the same time. Allison times my contractions as they come-they are still about two minutes apart and last about 30 seconds. They are slightly painful, but not bad at all. I am prepared for a long day at the hospital. Twice I go to use the restroom, as the nurse told me that a full bladder makes the contractions feel worse. The second time I stay in for some time, since the contractions are getting stronger and closer together. I can hear Alex, Allison, and my mom talking in the other room, discussing how the labor seems to be going faster than expected.

The rest is somewhat of a blur. I am thankful that my mom wrote down some of the times and events. At 9:15 am I am checked again and am at 5cm. Contractions continue to get worse. I hang onto Alex, standing on my knees on the bed. I put all my weight on him during the contractions, trying to relax. I picture the contractions pushing the baby out of me. I close my eyes and just try to relax and breathe. I can tell that I am wearing Alex out, and both of us are drenched in sweat. The nurse encourages me to work with gravity and sway my hips, so I do. She puts counter pressure on my lower back, and this also helps. At some point I switch to leaning on my yoga ball-we put it up on the bed and I hug it. It helps, but the contractions are feeling really painful. They intermittent monitoring is not working for me. The nurse tries to do 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, but I can hardly stand to have the monitor on me for more than a few minutes. The nurse comes in to check me again. It hurts to be on my back, and I have only a small window to turn over for them to check me. At 10 am she announces that I am at 7 cm. I am encouraged that I am progressing. I am much louder than I thought I would be. The nurse tell me not to holler through my contractions, but to breathe. My mom encourages me to keep breathing. I try to focus on the switch on the back wall. The pain during the contractions are intense, and it takes all my focus to get through the next one. I keep thinking I should get a break, but the contractions keep coming one after another. At one point I say that I never want to do this again. I also remember mentally questioning my decision to labor without pain medication. My mom reminds me that when I feel like I can't do this anymore, that's when I am almost done. Allison calls the nurse in to check me again. The nurse tells me that I have to turn over for her to check me, and I tell her I don't think I can. I finally do and she announces at 10:45am that I am at a 9-10, and should be able to push soon. I cry out "Yes!" and am relieved that this will all be over soon.

According to my mom, I start pushing around 11:08am. The doctor convinces me to turn over to push. They angle the bed up and prop my feet on the stands. My mom, Alex, and Allison surround and support me. Both the doctor and nurse are very encouraging during the pushing. Someone asks the doctor how long it will be, and she says something about 15 minutes. I know I'm supposed to breathe during the pushing, but I only breathe through them a few times. I end up holding my breath and pushing-I feel like I can push better that way. The doctor encourages me to hold onto my legs while pushing, so I do. Here's my mom's account:

"We begin to see hair and a bit of her head, but then she would slide back up the birth canal. After 15-20 minutes of pushing, the doctor is a bit concerned but keeps telling Calista what an excellent pusher she is. She rested between pushes. Dr. is concerned after 45-50 minutes of pushing. Suggests possibility of C-section, and that maybe the shoulder was the trouble. Calista pushes again. When Calista pushes again, doctor cuts episiotomy and here came Adara! The little girl had her hand up by her head, that that's what made the pushing stage slower."

When the doctor mentions cutting me, I respond "Just get her out. I don't care anymore, just get her out." At some point during the pushing they bring out the mirror. My mom encourages me to look so that I can see her coming. I can hardly focus on pushing, let along look to see what was going on. Near the end of the pushing I start hyperventilating, and the nurse gives me oxygen. This helps me calm down some and finish pushing. Adara comes out and I hear her cry as soon as I see her. The nurse immediately puts her on my chest. She's beautiful. She's perfect. I'm so relieved to be done. Nurse says something about giving me Pitocin to help my uterus contract. I don't care. She's out-I don't care what they do to me know. The doctor explains that my placenta is about to come out. I can feel it coming, but this it painless. Doctor stitches me up after giving me a local anesthetic. Every check from the nurse says Adara is great. I'm so relieved. I keep saying, "I'm so glad it's over! I don't have to labor or push anymore!" A nurse weighs her and cleans her. Lots of pictures and congratulations. I say something about only being able to do this by God's grace. They keep us in labor and delivery for a couple more hours before moving us to the Mother-Baby room. We are checked on routinely, and are home by 2:30 pm the next day. I am still very weak and can hardly walk, but I am so happy to have our daughter and be home.

Adara Grace Barberi. Born November 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm. 7.3 ounces and 19.5 inches long.  Praise God for a healthy little girl and a good, fast delivery!