The Hiccups

Our world has changed in ways I never could have imagined. These are the most exciting changes though that I have ever experienced.  The baby blues are tapering off and Justin and I are finding our rhythm with Link.  We have been getting up together at night and taking care of him together.  Since breastfeeding still isn’t working, I pump while Justin feeds him, and then I will change his diaper and swaddle him to sleep.  Justin usually gets back up one to seven 🙂 times to put his pacifier back in his mouth while Link is trying to fall asleep.  The last two nights have been fairly nice, Link has slept in his crib the entire night instead of in his bouncy chair like he had the previous couple of nights.  It’s a beautiful chaos.

I was excited to spend the day yesterday just me and Link, while Justin was working downstairs.  Unfortunately that didn’t work out.  I developed a horrible pain in my stomach and had my mom come over and help us out.  We went to the Dr. later to find out that I have an infection in my uterus, so I have to be on antibiotics for the next 10 days.  That caused quite the inconvenience for me, especially because Justin’s family is in town this weekend.

Either way, life is not always predictable and rarely can we schedule it.  I have to remember that God is always in control, and things happen for a reason.

There are a few great things so far (besides all of the amazing and wonderful things about being a mom and having a beautiful child) that I have found since giving birth.  First, I weigh less than I did before I was pregnant, in fact it’s less than I have in a couple of years.  Second, I have my sexy ankles back instead of the elephant feet I had for the last 3 months.  And third, if I ever had any confusion about connecting the child that was in my belly to the child that I gave birth to, the hiccups he gets daily are the exact same as the hiccups he used to get constantly in my tummy.

Becoming A Mom

Our sweet beautiful Lincoln Xavier Gehring was born on Wednesday, July 20th at 2:07pm.  This is our long, sad, scary, beautiful story.

Our labor journey began the night before when Justin and I headed to Woodwinds Hospital to start the process of inducing me.  Link wanted to come on his own time, and both me and my Dr. didn’t want to wait any longer for Link’s time to arrive.  After getting admitted on Tuesday night, we were going to start one medicine but Link’s heartrate was too high.  They did some tests and realized that I was a bit dehydrated, so they started pumping fluids into me.  That meant starting the IV which I was not looking forward to.  Needles and I don’t agree.  After awhile, Link’s heartrate went back to where it should be and they were able to start the medicine.

Tuesday was a long night because I had the IV hooked up to me as well as 2 monitors reading any contractions I may be having as well as Link’s heartrate.  Everytime I had to get up to use the restroom (remember, I’m pregnant here which meant I peed a lot, and they were pumping fluids into me, which meant I had a lot to pee out) Justin had to help me unhook and rehook things.

In the morning, it was time to start the pitocin and the antibiotics, which they started around 7am as planned.  Contractions started, and increased in intensity.  It is a pain that I would have trouble describing to you.  I thought that I would have to wait a very long time before getting pain relief, so I would just tell the nurse (we had amazing nurses, by the way) how they felt and how they were progressing.  She would increase the pitocin gradually and check me for dilation.  I didn’t think I was dilating as well as I should be, but she kept telling me how great I was doing and at about 10am, she called the Dr. to see what pain relief I could get.  At only about 3 cms, and just a few hours into it, I thought I would just be able to get some narcotics, and not an epidural.  She came back with the news that the Dr. (who I already loved) said I could have “anything I want” for pain relief.  We had already talked about me wanting an epidural eventually, so one was ordered.  The wonderful amazing epidural Dr. came and inserted the epi, and soon all was better.  I was amazed at how well the pain was taken away.

In just a short time, close to 1pm, I was already completely dilated/effaced/all the good stuff.  The nurse called the Dr., who had been on his way to lunch, but turned his car around anyways to get to the hospital.  Once he got there, the nurse and he decided that it would be alright if he went down to the cafeteria to grab a quick lunch.  While he was gone, the pressure started increasing in my body and I felt the need to push.  The nurse and Justin helped me push for awhile, and the Dr. returned.  I kept pushing, which was the most incredibly difficult and unique experience I have ever been through.  I was determined to get the baby out quickly, because pushing was not fun, and I didn’t want to sit there for hours doing it (I am not a very patient person).  I pushed hard and felt a moment of relief and my baby was on my tummy.

During that moment, I had heard the doctor mention something about the cord being wrapped around the baby twice.  I looked at Link’s face, and I immediately felt like something was wrong.  His eyes were bulging out of his head, he wasn’t crying, and he looked like ET.  I had expected him to not look perfect after being pushed out of me, but this just didn’t seem right.  The Dr. was frantically trying to suction the baby’s nose and mouth.  Justin cut the cord.  The next thing I knew, the baby was gone.  They had taken him to the baby station and were paging the special care nurses and the NNP (neonatal nurse practitioner).  Justin had moved from me to the baby, as did the nurses and Dr.

If you know me, you can understand how at this point, I checked out of the situation.  I am someone who likes to not deal with difficult situations if I can help it.  I like to block out emotions and eventually have a break down later.   This is what I was experiencing.  After doing who knows what to my sweet baby, who I did not feel connected to at this point at all, they brought him over to me and explained what was happening.  I have no idea what they said.  Then Justin, baby and the nurses left the room.  My nurse and Dr. were with me as I went through the last stage of labor, got stitched up (my amazing pushing skills had caused me to tear) and was cleaned up.  My family was waiting in the waiting area, and I’m sure completely terrified and pissed that no one would let them in the room.  At some point I asked the Dr. if whatever was happening to the baby was life threatening, and they said no.  He was having some fluids in his lungs and trouble breathing and they just needed to take care of him.

I got cleaned up and they finally let my family (mom and dad, Ashley, Nikki, and Pat) into the room.  The Dr. had told them what was happening with the baby.  The next 4 hours are quite the blur.  They kept the baby in the special care nursery until 6pm.  During that time, my family spent time with me, and at some point Justin came and gave us an update.  My very scared, wonderful husband had become a father the moment he watched our son turn purple.  It would take me longer.

At some point, the nurse had run me a bath so that I could get cleaned up and go down to see the baby in the special care nursery.  They wheeled me down there, and told me I could hold him.  I looked at him and felt very scared.  He still looked a bit scary and had lots of things hooked up to him.  I told Justin that I needed to go back to my room, so he wheeled me down and I had my mom come see me.  This was the first time that I cried.  I was feeling very guilty for not feeling connected to my baby.  My mom explained to me that what I was feeling was completely normal, that they took him away from me so fast, and that I would get there.

At 6pm, they brought my baby to me, and explained how well he was doing now, and that he was out of the woods.  There are so many other things that were happening during this time, it’s hard to write down everything, and of course you’ve read a lot by now.  The next couple of days at the hospital were very stressful.

Breastfeeding has been a nightmare.  Link doesn’t latch on, and until today (yay for today!) he hasn’t had any successful latches.  I made the decision once we got home that we would be feeding him a mixture of breastmilk and formula, because my baby was starving and I needed to do what was best for him.  We have been trying to work our way to latching, but Link hates it, and it’s hard on mommy and daddy.  We will get there though, or we won’t.  Either way, Link is eating and growing!

I have learned since giving birth that my Dr. said that I saved the baby’s life.  By pushing him so fast, I saved his life.  The Dr. said that I was a incredibly strong, both physically and emotionally.

Once I got home, and Justin and I were starting to get settled in, I started to get a great case of the baby blues.  I have shed lots and lots of tears, but I have been assured (and incredibly comforted) that what I am going through is normal and expected after a traumatic birth like Link’s.

I am falling more and more in love with Link every day, and I’m getting less blue every day.  It will take awhile though, and I am making sure to take care of him and me.  Justin has been so incredible as have our family who have been here cleaning, cooking, and letting mom and dad nap.

I am very tired, but it gets better every day.  The physical pain is decreasing and the emotional pain is getting better as long as I keep talking about what happened and how it felt to go through everything.  I love my little boy so very much.  I love my husband, who has become an amazing daddy.  Link’s first checkup went beautifully, the Dr. says he is perfect!

I will have much more to say about the adventures of Amber, Justin and Lincoln.  For now, check out Link’s webpage for journaling from mommy and daddy, and lots and lots of pictures!

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free

I saw this beautiful quote by Michelangelo and I thought of the pregnancy process.  God is taking the time to create my wonderful little child and will introduce us to the babe once it is completely ready.  Even though my hormones are going crazy, I can’t do basic math anymore, and my center of gravity is off, pregnancy has been such a beautiful process.  I am so excited and blessed to be going through this.

Our next doctor appointment is on Wednesday.  I am so excited to see our babe again and to see the growth so far.  I have not been gaining any weight, I am still down about 12 pounds.  I am only slightly concerned, but I want to make sure that babe is growing like it should be.

I am truly over the whole Minnesota winter thing.  I understand that once summer hits, I will be extra hot, but I am more than okay with that.  After our Monday snow, I fell on the sidewalk at work.  While I didn’t get home, and babe seems to be just fine, it sure scared me.  The slipperyness and coldness has stayed way past it’s welcome.  Ironically, it really hasn’t.  We always have snow this long, but this year it’s bugging me especially.

Classes have started up again.  I have class about every other weekend, so this weekend class is on.  I amazingly got all of my reading done, which I sometimes slack off on a bit.

Speaking of reading, there are quite a few times where I completely forget that I am pregnant.  While I am reading is one of those times.  I am guessing this is very normal – you don’t think about anything you are all of the time.  Part of the reason is probably because I am not sure that I am feeling babe move around yet.  There have been no, “YES! That’s it!” moments yet for me.  I am very excited for that, but I am trusting that even though I can’t feel babe, God is caring for us and I will have even more proof of that on Wednesday!

I want to share one final little story.  Due to my pregnancy brain, I forget a lot of things that happen during the journey, but I want to make sure I am remembering them.  Justin, Nikki and I along with Justin’s parents went to Khan’s Mongolian BBQ for lunch one day.  At the end we got our fortune cookies, and the server brought one extra.  We decided that was for the baby, and I picked one and read the baby’s fortune.  I do want to say that while I really enjoy fortunes, I don’t usually take them to heart.  I cracked open the cookie and it read, “You will bring sunshine into someone’s life.”  What a perfect moment that was.  I teared up a bit, making everyone laugh at me, but what a perfect, beautiful, God moment.

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers

Today has been full of questions.  I have often been told that I ask too many questions.  In situations where I shouldn’t be asking them, e.g. movie theaters, sermons (some may argue this one) and meetings where I am taking minutes, I always want to raise my hand at some point during the event.  And today has been no exception, except I am at least asking them at appropriate days.

It is only noon, and I have already asked more than can be answered.

To my boss:  Can I please have another project?
As a result, to colleagues: Can you please get me this answer?

To my coworker: Can you please explain these things to me?

To my professor: Can you please explain the proper way to cite these sources?

To my husband: Is typing without looking at the keys more like learning a language or learning to drive a car?

To myself: Did you enjoy the spaghetti?  Are you going to the gym after work?  How are you ever going to finish your assignments?

Life is just full of questions, and I know that they will never stop.

The great thing about this is that I am totally alright with that!  I knew who I was!

Quote by Voltaire

The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.

An amazing thing has happened while I have been trying to find something to fill my cravings – I have stopped craving!  I honestly did not think that I would stop wanting chips and popcorn when I am hungry or in the mood to eat.  Which is dumb, because I want to want it!  Now at night, I eat crap less.  I sometimes still do eat something but not because I am hungry, but because I just think that I should be eating.  The great thing about this is that I have started to recognize the difference between being hungry and just wanted to eat something.  I have never been able to do this before.  I am also choosing and wanting to eat healthier options.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still eating crap way too often, but not as often as before.

While this great thing for me has happened because of giving things up for Lent, it has not caused me to focus on God as much as I wanted it to.  God does asks us “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”  I feel that when I make wise decisions about how I treat my body, when I eat right and exercise, I am treating the body that God lent me with respect and that I am recognizing Him in my life.

The goal now for the rest of Lent for me is not only to continue doing what I have been doing along with exercising, but to also recognize exactly why I am making these choices.  When I prepare my breakfast/lunch/dinner in the morning, I want to think about the fact that God grew those strawberries and cucumbers for me to eat, He used His people to plant the ingredients that make the hummus and wheat bread, He gave me the animals that were sacrificed for my turkey and salami, and He gave me my beautiful hands to put it all together into a meal.  When I drive to work I will thank Him for the incredible sunrise/rain/snow that I am driving through.  When I am working I will appreciate every moment because so many are not working.  When I am walking on the treadmill, instead of complaining I will praise THE LORD that I have legs that move when my brain tells them to.  When I lay my head down at night I will realize how blessed I am for the wonderful man laying next to me and for the perfect cat purring on my pillow.

And at this moment, in the class that I should be paying attention in, while I am typing on my Mac, I am in awe of His creations, His blessings, and the amazing days that He gives to me.

Quote by Arthur Koestler

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

This weekend was definitely a challenging one for a couple of reasons.  First, a bag of chips kept falling off the top of the fridge saying, “Eat me eat me!”  I didn’t.  Second, my aunt made the best dip ever and the chips were sitting next to it saying, “I am way better than the celery option!”  I ate the celery.  I am actually fairly proud of myself for being so strong but I know that it wasn’t just me keeping me strong.  I had a lot of help from the big guy upstairs.

I am feeling almost 100% healthy this week, but I am starting it off tired.  It will again be a full week and weekend, so I am hoping to get some quality me time as well and me-and-Justin time, but that doesn’t always work out.

Church Council is tonight.  I really enjoy it, but there are always some challenging moments.  When we talk a lot about money and policy it is hard for me to remember that we are doing God’s work and His will is always done.  I cannot forget that first I need to pray and then I can make wise decisions.

As far as the Oscars last night, I was surprised by some of the winners and came away with many more movies that I should watch.  Before last night, I had no desire to watch Precious, but I might want to, and I definitely want to see The Blind Side.  I may watch The Hurt Locker, but it is not a top priority.  I loved Sandra Bullock’s speech and Jeff Bridges’.

Along with trying to eat healthier, I am going to dedicate time in my days this week to exercise.  I haven’t stayed consistent enough doing so, and I know that when I do, I feel so much more alive.

It’s all in God’s hands.

Quote by A.H. Weiler