Saturday, December 5, 2015

Judah: 6 months

How many months old? 6 months
Weight? 15 pounds
Doctor check-up? Right at 6 months we went for a checkup and he weighed around 15 pounds at the 10th percentile for his weight. This check-up was quite the adventure as I took both boys by myself. Judah got his full checkup and cried for approximately 2 seconds after he got all 3 shots. I nursed him for half a minute and that was that! I put Judah down, and it was Shepherd's turn. I distracted Shep while he unknowingly got his shots in his leg. That nurse was a pro, and I felt like a super-mom! 

Why do both parents tend to attend all of the first-borns check-ups and appointments, but by the time you have two, it is a one-parent kind of job! I guess you are considered a veteran by that time, and you are expected to have all the tools in your back pocket by baby number two. I will say that my tools have only slightly increased, but my coping methods have grown tremendously! 
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? We still aren't sleeping through the night. It doesn't matter if he cosleeps with me, sleeps in his bed next to our bed, or in his bed in the same room as his big brother. He still wakes every 2-3 hours.
Feeding? Nursing is going beautifully. I have no problem with supply as far as I know and I've given up giving him a bottle. I suppose he will just go from breast to open cup.
Eating anything? His first food was avocado like his brother, but instead of mushing it up, we gave it to him in slices with the skin left on. He loves food, but gets a little frustrated when he can't open his fist to get the food inside.  
Developmental milestones? He figured out how to roll from his back to his belly just before he turned 5 months, but he started doing it over and over in his 6 month of life.  Right at 6 months (Dec 5) he started rocking on all fours, but he didn't budge at all. 
Favorite toy? He loves to chew on books. All of them. I have to keep most of the books out of his reach, but I've designated 1 or 2 to be his little chew toys. 
Speech and language? Really starting to babble now. 
Loves? He loves to be held all of the time and loves to be sung to!
Dislikes? He dislikes it when his big brother tries to sit on him, roll him over, hug him too tight, or licks his face. He doesn't realize this is just his big bro saying, "i love you!"

Friday, November 27, 2015

Judah: 4 & 5 Months

Shepherd 23 months Judah 4 months

4 months

4 months

4 months

How many months old? 5 months
Weight? 13 pounds 10 ounces
Doctor check-up? Yes - we had to go to check his ears, but he didn't have an ear infection (This was at 4 months). When the doctor told me there was nothing wrong with him I wasn't relieved. I wanted him to give me an antibiotic, a placebo pill, or even just a prescription for anything. It would have made me feel better after I woke both of my boys up from their heavy afternoon slumber, stuffed their grumpy bodies in the car, and drug them to the appointment. I did NOT want to walk out of there empty handed after being in that office for an hour and a half. And although Shep looks like an angel he acted less so for the duration of our visit. There is only so much sanity I have when holding a crying 4 month old and a screaming 23 month old. 

We went again when he was 5 months for a wellness check. He was 7% for his height and 13lb 10oz 12% for his weight.
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? Sleep has been so broken. When he turned 4 months he started waking every hour for almost 3 weeks. Then he finally started stretching it to every 2 hours in the night. I am SO ready for him to start sleeping longer throughout the night, but I am thankful for two things: that he nurses so that I don't have to prepare a bottle and that he will cosleep so I don't have to sit up, nurse, put him back in bed, etc...
Feeding? Right now we are exclusively breast feeding. He won't take a bottle. I am SO thankful that I am producing enough especially after struggling so much with Shepherd, but it would be nice to "top him off" with extra pumped breast milk before he goes down at night or to even go on a date! 
Eating anything? Not yet, but I'm excited to start soon! 
Developmental milestones? He has become so much more vocal. He LOVES THAT EYE CONTACT. He could be crying and I can just make eye contact and smile to get him to stop mid-cry. It is a great party trick, I tell ya.  He has hit so many milestones in the past two months. He has started laughing and cooing. He can recognize us and make eye contact from far away. He can grab toys, shake them, bring objects to the center and transfer them to the other hand. He brings everything to his mouth and chews on anything that can fit in his mouth. 
Favorite toy? Let's say his favorite object - he LOVES swaddle blankets. He likes them to cover his head when he is falling asleep and he rubs it against his face when he is asleep. He chews on it, stretches it out, and squishes it together. We will see if he starts to favor one of the blankets in particular.  
Speech and language? Laughs, coos, and started to imitate "bababa" and even wave with his hand. 
Loves? He still loves being worn with a wrap. I only wrap him on my front still, but I have figured out 3 different ways to wrap him.
Dislikes? He still does not like his carseat, but he has gotten better. He doesn't like dad to put him to sleep. Poor Josh! 

Judah at 5 months

5 months

5 months

5 months - slobber baby!

Shep always crowding Judah's space

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Is the Struggle Real?

pic taken from
This morning my son peed his pants no less than 5 times.  Not included in that number involved me squatting in front of him to help him go on his little toilet. Then he peed on my face. On. My. Face. We had a lesson of how to aim after that. Shortly after the pee ensued, my husband spilled coffee all over my planner.  I slept on and off a total of 4 and a half hours last night due to my lack of time management, a 4 month old getting up at all times of the night, and a 2 year old that wakes before the sun. Beating my chest, smashing our coffee mugs to smithereens on the floor, and high-knee stomping around the living room did not seem very adult. So to cope with my lack of sleep and other mishaps, I stood, nostrils flaring, and stared at my husband for longer than what is appropriate and then flung myself in bed for approximately 20 minutes without moving.

Motherhood is a time of pure hardship folded in with joy, but is it suffering? I have to remember our kids are not persecuting us with bad behavior because we love Jesus. This bad morning, my friends, is NOT “suffering” for Jesus Christ. It is not the suffering John refers to in Revelation when he talks of the tribulation the church in Smyrna was enduring on His behalf.

I was recently chatting with some women about how we may have suffered because of our witness for Christ. My initial thought was about my stay-at-home-with-two-babies job status and how difficult it has been. Some of the women went on about taking care of aging parents, not being invited to the bar with the “hip” coworkers, and being made fun of for being a “goodie goodie.” The scene of pee in my hair, coffee on my planner, babies crying, and toddlers throwing tantrums disintegrated out of my mind. My eyes glazed over as I recounted an ISIS execution that happened late August. Suffering is watching your son’s tiny precious fingertips get cut off one at a time, because you will not renounce the name of Christ and return to Islam. It is letting it go on to the point of execution for your son for the sake of the cross. Suffering is being raped then beheaded in front of an entire crowd, because you will not turn away from your faith.  Have I experienced true suffering on behalf of Jesus? No. I have not. Have I struggled so much to make it through my day-to-day banal routine that it brings me to tears or, rather, face down on my bed unable to move? Yes.

According to the to suffer is “to feel pain; to sustain injury, disadvantage, or loss; to undergo a penalty, as of death; to endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly (emphasis mine).”  We experience plenty of suffering, but is it considered willingly? Are we willingly suffering because we stand on the founded truth that Jesus is our Savior? We need to, I need to, redefine what “suffering for Jesus” looks like.  

A highly esteemed woman of faith brought up how we all suffer for Christ, and she gave a few examples of losing a loved one or enduring depression. This time I did not bring up ISIS or John in Revelation. I passively nodded my head in agreement and mentioned someone experiencing real pain from cancer and the treatments she is undergoing.  I was too afraid to take a stance on what I believe real suffering as a witness of Christ looks like.  This is not to discount the daunting overwhelming nasty hardships we go through or to say God doesn’t care about our hardship or pain.

God cares that our time is spread so thin between our full time job, driving kids to activities, and providing non-stop care for our parent on hospice. He cares. He cares that we are excluded amongst our coworkers. That my son peed in my face. This is hardship and a real struggle, and He cares. My point is we have to stop watering down what is means to be persecuted or to suffer for Jesus Christ.  When Jesus wanted to prepare his disciples for persecution he told them to walk without fear and acknowledge Christ before anyone and everyone.  This is powerful advice for those facing extreme persecution and those living on blessed soil where suffering is not waiting for us to meet him.   

Remember those who are imprisoned, beat, raped, tortured, and executed for being a faithful follower of our God, Jesus Christ, by partnering with them in prayer, fasting, and bearing their burden as they stand as our front line as Christians. This is how we can acknowledge what it means to suffer and be persecuted.  This is how we join them as brothers and sisters in Christ. We must remember when we are cleaning pee off the floor for the thousandth time to be encouraged that we are given another day to live for God’s glory!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Judah: 3 Months

How many months old? 3 months
Weight? 12 pounds
Doctor check-up? No check ups this month. It was all travel and play in Texas and no doctor appointments for this little guy. 
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? He is still in the same routine of me laying him down for several hours. Then he co-sleeps once he wakes up for a feeding.  
Feeding? We've had ups and downs. Right before he turned three months he went through a growth spurt and he was out-eating all I could offer. I ended up supplementing with my own pumped milk. (I was thankful I had any recalling my days with Shepherd.)
Eating anything? Not yet!
Developmental milestones? He has become so much more vocal. He LOVES THAT EYE CONTACT. He could be crying and I can just make eye contact and smile to get him to stop mid-cry. It is a great party trick, I tell ya. 
Favorite toy? So far, he really likes his Sophie Giraffe. 
Speech and language? Same as the developmental milestones. It is definitely more than just coos. 
Loves? He loves mom to hold him. Me. All the days and all the hours he likes me to hold him. I actually don't mind most of the time, but on occasion I like to sleep in a normal position and stand without holding a baby with my left arm, which is starting to get significantly bulklier than my right. But who am I joking? I still have that phantom sway going on even when someone else is holding Judah. He loves his brother, except...see below.
Dislikes? He does not like the crowding of his head, which is the zone Shepherd seeks as his prey. I am constantly wiping off peanut butter, milk, oatmeal, or anything else that is transferrable from Shep's face to Judah's thin red hair and scalp. (That's right! I think he is going to have red hair!) Anywho, Judah, without words, basically screams at Shep for crowding his head each and every time he gets close to it. The carseat is still number one on his most-hated list. Most of the time I pull him out of his car seat in a cool blanket of his own sweat he builds up when crying from point A to point B. The distance can be 2 or 30 miles. He doesn't care, he still doesn't like it, and he lets me know the carseat is not his friend. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Barely Missed That Mommy Meltdown

Hey mamas, have any of you experienced a day where your significant other is sick. Thus, he is incapable of helping with childcare much less bringing a diaper and wipes to you, because he can't even take care of himself. Then, you have an out-of-his-mind 21 month old trying to buy your attention by cashing in every move he can think of - chest bumping you, driving Hot Wheels on your head sometimes getting your hair tangled in the wheels, and eventually screaming in to your crotch, because, of course, that is the exact height of said toddler when you're standing up. Alas, you can't give that little person attention, because you are bouncing your colicky 2 month old up and down for the 1500th time. You would think the 21 month old would go to his Grammy, but, no, he wants his mommy, naturally.

This described one of my mornings perfectly from this week. I was already sleep deprived as I decided to stay up late to indulge in all things adult. So I crammed my face with watermelon, chips and salsa, and ice cream. You know, all the healthy things. Then I proceeded to watch hours of HGTV and hold NOTHING. Talk to NO ONE. Change ZERO diapers. It was amazing until I paid for it the next morning at 6am. The sequence of all the madness turned in to cyclical chaos as I would get one baby to stop crying and turn my attention to the 2nd child before the 1st needed me again. This is the moment when I wanted to tear my clothes in bereavement of my sanity. 

I drove all the way to church alone (since Josh stayed home all sicky) with both children crying. I didn't even try to put the pacifier back in Judah's mouth. I simply put on some Bon Iver and wide-eyed drove the 20 minutes. It wasn't until I put Shepherd in to childcare and my mom took Judah off my hands that I could really sit still and breathe. 

Mamas, these are the days that turn your hairs gray and give you impulses to drive. Just drive as far away for as long as possible. But when you finally sit still what do you think about? I think about my babies. I think about all the kisses I'm going to get when I pick up Shep from childcare. I think about the sweet moments I'll get once Judah wakes up and I get to nurse him while he's half asleep. I think about the giggles I'll share when I get to wrestle with Shepherd when we get home in the afternoon and the books I'll get to read as Shep fills in the words when I don't say them right away. 

These are the days that we break into hours, and when we can't take the hours, we break them in to minutes. We can do anything for a minute. I will never regret putting up with screaming, crying, and intolerable babies. I will never turn back and say, "man, I wish I wouldn't have wasted my time reading that 4th book at bedtime even though I said I would only read 3." These may be the "hard days," but they are also the sweetest. The days after this will still be hard, but the problems just turn in to different issues. Instead of getting him to eat his vegetables, it'll be getting him to text us where he is at with his friends. The days of my boys wanting their "maw-ee" or mommy over any other person will come to a close before I blink my eyes. 

So when I have hard mornings like these, Josh reminds me to be in a place of gratitude. I am thankful that Shepherd over does it with the kisses. I am thankful I am able to breastfeed Judah. I am thankful the beautiful bright blue eyes of both of my boys are mesmerizing to me. I am thankful my husband is so positive despite his illness that is just a step above dysentery. I mean...thank God he still alive, and that I haven't contracted that nasty. 

I challenge you when you are having a hard day despite the age of your kids that you reflect on your life in gratitude instead of driving far far away.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Judah: Two Months

Eventually I'll get the hang of taking these pictures. You have to start somewhere, right?

How many months old? 2 months
Weight? 10.8 pounds
Doctor check-up? At his six week check up, he weighed in right at 10 pounds. I thought this was a tremendous weight gain as it took months and months for Shepherd to get to 10lbs, but he dropped in percentile to 23rd percentile. He was 22inches long so he'd stretched out quite a bit in 4 weeks. He also got a few vaccines. It was not pleasant, to say the least, to see my perfectly content squishy baby realize what pain was for the first time as the nurse, who did any excellent job, quickly gave him 3 injections. Although I was totally anti-vaccines at first and eventually became pro-delayed vaccines with Shepherd, I'll be honest, it was a pain in the cuss to delay them. I couldn't remember what vaccines he did and didn't have, and I wasn't organized enough to write them down or do my research as to what I wanted him to have at certain appointments. I just decided I was either going to be an all-in for vaccines on-schedule OR I wasn't going to not vaccinate at all with Judah. Since reading several articles such as this onethis onethis one, and more I realized that the original researcher correlating vaccines to autism admitted his falsification of data, unethical treatment of children and invalid results. Thus, I decided to just go all in minus the flu shots. He was not his normal self for a couple of days, but as the soreness worked its way out of his body he came around. (Thankfully before we headed out for our forever-long trip.)
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? Judah has totally been doing 4-5 hour stretches consistently at the beginning of the night and 2-3 hours after that. We've mainly exclusively co-slept, but the past couple of nights I have been able to lay him on his stomach to sleep (don't judge - I know that it not the recommended position) and last night he slept for 7 hours!!!!!!!! But guess who woke up at 4:45am and wouldn't go back to sleep? Not Judah...Mr. Shepherd decided that was the best time to start his day.
Feeding? Breastfeeding is going well! My current routine is to feed after he wakes up from naps and any other times that he is hungry. Sometimes I even let him nurse to fall asleep. I really just do an on-demand basis since I'm with him all the time and I can. I couldn't do that when I was working with Shep. I pump after JBeau feeds in the morning and I've been getting anywhere from 4-6 extra ounces! As much as I make in the morning, I have only been able to pump 2-3 ounces total in the afternoon without feeding Judah first. So I'm guessing that's why he has been crankier in the late afternoon and early evening times.
Eating anything? Not yet!
Developmental milestones? He really hasn't been rolling over too much, but he is holding his head a lot steadier when we sit him up or when he's on his belly. He loves to track to where our voices are.
Favorite toy? We have a baby gym made out of PVC pipe that we hang toys from. Judah has started batting at the toys, but he hasn't actually held anything in his hand yet.
Speech and language? He is really starting to coo and explore his voice through what sounds like a sigh.
Loves? He loves to sleep on his stomach, in our arms, or in a baby wrap. He loves to suck on his little fists. I've noticed he prefers to be in footed onsies, because his little feet get cold regardless of the ridiculously high temps outside. He has also switched to loving his pacifiers, which is way different from last month.
Dislikes? He hates his carseat, but loves his mama. I was so thankful he did so well on our 20 hour car drive. He slept almost the entire trip. If he wasn't sleeping, I would give him a bottle and he'd eat and go back to sleep. What a rock star!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Judah: One Month

This past month has been what any mom would report after just having a baby and also raising a 20 month old - excruciatingly exhausting. The first two weeks were a breeze. I had grandparents in town that woke up with Shep letting Josh and me sleep in for as long as Judah would allow. It wasn't until the next morning after Gammy, Josh's mom, left that it all really sunk in. 6am wake up calls by really a cute blonde haired blue-eyed boy aren't so precious when you've been up half the night nursing, nursing, swaddling, and rocking his baby brother.

Josh and I satirically argued over who was more tired groaning in exhaustion. He would wake up with Shepherd at 6am and I would try to get two more hours of sleep after nursing Judah again since I'd been up every 2.5 hours all night. This went on until we realized that the argument would never settle, because we were equally belligerently tired.  We praised God out loud when Shep would sleep in until 6:30am or even 7 sometimes.

I braved going to the park for a play-date meet up with other stay at home moms and their little ones from my church. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but that may be because I could let Shepherd run rampant around the playground. This is a different story when I braved the grocery store a week later. I could see toddler arms stretched out wide through the aisles knocking every box of cereal to the ground. I used the old trick of getting a free cookie from the bakery for Shepherd and hurried through to get all the shopping done. Thankfully, my first grocery run didn't turn out that way. It was a very Instagram worthy experience. If only I hadn't left my phone sitting on top of my trunk.  Just when I think I have it all together, I always get a reminder that I definitely don't.

Right at check out, Judah started crying in the wrap I was wearing him in. The poor boy ringing my groceries in kept asking me "debit or credit," but I couldn't hear him over JBeau's crying. So saying, "what?" over and over didn't help. Finally, I made a bee line to the car and my short-list's worth of groceries. I had made it!!! Thankfully, I made Josh sit in the car in case I needed someone to bail me out of my misery if the going got too tough. I ended up making him put the groceries in the car while I nursed Judah. No, I'm not crazy for making a run in the store with both kids and having a back up plan. Matter fact, I think all moms with any transition - 1st times moms or moms with multiples - should try my tester method of making their significant other sit in the car. If you want to tap out, you can! It was brilliant, albeit slightly insane. I get it.

The rest of the month was mainly Josh and I playing man to man defense with the boys. One of us was with Shepherd (mainly Josh) while the other was tending to Judah. Right now I can't even imagine playing zone and being out numbered when we have baby #3. (Heck yes, I am already thinking about expanding this family. I think my kids are pretty cool and I want more little Hursts running around!) I am so thankful for the support of our community bringing us meals, watching Shep for a few hours, and just lending their advice when needed. Parenting is the hardest task I've ever sought out to do, but I have never reaped so many beautiful benefits from anything before. Such a good and hard month to reflect over.

Clearly I am no photographer, which is why there isn't a single decent pic of JB. Sorry Judah.
How many months old? 1 month
Weight? 9 pounds 4 ounces
Doctor check-up? At his two-week check-up the doctor said nothing about his collar bone, which I am hoping that means everything is good. I was too sleep deprived to ask him about it. He was 8 pounds 6 ounces putting him in the 35th percentile. He was 19 3/4 in long in the 9th percentile (don't ask me why he was 1/4 of an inch shorter than at birth, because I don't know and I'm pretty sure he didn't have a cone head when he was born). His head circumference was 36 1/6 cm in the 54th percentile. I'd say he is doing pretty well. Shepherd was in the 1st percentile for everything at his 2 week!
Any teeth? no teeth
Sleep? JBeau is sleeping on average 2.5 to 3 hours at a time. I can sometimes put him in the rock n play for the first stretch of the night, but he always ends up in my bed co-sleeping. I always said, "I will NEVER co-sleep," but let's face it, if this is what it takes for me to get sleep and function the next morning, then I'm all for it. I also think Judah likes to be warm, because he sleeps better when he is up against me or double swaddled with a blanket over him.
Feeding? Breastfeeding has been going well for the most part. As I had a hard the first time around we took some extra precautions with extra pumping and supplements to help out. I actually pumped a couple times in the hospital to tell my body to make milk, which I think helped. At around 3 weeks, Judah was extra hungry so that is the only time I felt like I didn't have enough milk for him, but "power pumping," using fennel and basil essential oils, and drinking lots and lots of water has increased my milk supply. He is eating like a champ. At night he feeds every 2.5 to 3 hours, but during the day it is usually every 2 hours or so.
Eating anything? We aren't quite there yet, but Shepherd has tried to feed him a wheat thin, a strawberry, and we watched him put 10 pieces of diced bell pepper in Judah's swing next to his face. He hasn't been successful at actually putting anything in his mouth, but I have a feeling we need to keep a close eye on big brother!
Developmental milestones? At 3 weeks he rolled belly to back 5 times, but he hasn't done it again. Maybe it was a fluke? I have no idea, but I was super impressed. He lifts his head and looks around. He can track and he will turn his head to look at me if I move.
Favorite toy? He hasn't played with any toys yet.
Speech and language? He is starting to make sounds every once in a while, but mainly he finds his voice through crying to be fed. He is actually pretty quiet if he is wide awake unless he wants to be held, then he cries again. Typically baby..
Loves? He loves to be warm and tight. So swaddling, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping are his favorites.
Dislikes? He takes his Natursutten pacifier sometimes, but doesnt love pacifiers in general. And we cant really get him to take a Wubbanub...yet. I'm hoping he will, because those little animals are so dang cute.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Judah Beau's Birth Story

***skip down for the details on the day of to skip some of this novel of a story.


Rugged Joy Photography

32 hours and 20 minutes. Here's a walk-through of the beautiful (and scary) journey of Judah Beau Hurst's arrival into this world.

I felt a few real contractions the week of baby Hurst 2.0's grand debut, but Thursday morning, June 4th, the contractions woke me up at 4am. I started timing them just to see if they were regular and how far apart they were without getting out of bed. They were painful, but not painful enough to get in a more comfortable position. The contractions were about a minute long every 8-10 minutes. I timed them for about an hour and a half before I decided to let Josh know that this was real labor and not just the sporadic Braxton Hicks or real contractions I'd been experiencing.

In my mind, before I woke Josh up, I imagined telling Josh that I was in labor. Then, I imagined Josh being a little excited, letting me labor in bed a little longer, and maybe even making me some breakfast and a hot cup of red raspberry leaf tea. I should have known better. The whole scenario escalated quickly as he jolted up and asked how far apart the contractions were. Then he immediately contacted Lauren and Blake (the couple who were to watch Shepherd while the whole havin'-a-baby-thing was going down) to come over,  threw some clothes on, and finished packing the bags for the hospital.

Before 6am, all the bags were in the car, the installed carseat was double checked by Josh, the sitters had arrived, and we were walking around the block. Although I just wanted to rest with or without sleep in bed, I knew that walking speeds up labor by 50% and after having a 45 hour labor the first time around, I was willing to do anything to speed this one along. We walked for an hour and a half. Josh's legs were actually tiring before mine. I was fine until we decided to walk up an enormous Kentucky hill. After an intense contraction half-way up the hill, I bowed out.

I "slept" for a little over an hour still waking up every 8 - 10 minutes. Just before 9am, Josh woke me up and asked if I wanted to walk again. I must have been in a state of delirium walking around my neighborhood composed of 3 blocks of people reminding me of Cheers, where everybody knows my naaaame (bum bum bum). The first go 'round of walking was fine, because it was before the sun came up and before the millions of mommies, their children, and seminarians were either outside or peering through their blinds waiting for pregnant Elise to come strolling by. (Later I was told by at least a dozen people, "I saw you laboring down the street!") I finally went in after an hour and a half, but not before my older neighbor tried to sneak a photo of me during a contraction on the sidewalk in front of her house. I limped away during that contraction telling her to "put the phone down!"

Around 10:45am we stopped by my friend's house. She happens to be a midwife, nurse, and doula - so basically she is a package of awesome with naturally curly hair, a perfect smile, and a personality that could soothe anyone or anything, giving Snow White a run for her money. I just wanted to borrow an empty capsule so I could fill it up with clary sage essential oil to speed along labor. She ended up giving me a couple of empty capsules, loose leaf red raspberry leaf tea, advice to use my pump for nipple stimulation to get things movin', and then she ended up checking me. That is right. Only a true friend and one that is a midwife would casually offer to check to see your dilation and effacement on her own bed. What a friend! Sadly, I was still only 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced - exactly what I was at my appointment 4 days earlier.

As we were slightly discouraged from all the "work" I had done in this labor process, we decided to go get some lunch at Chili's. After ordering the crispy honey-chipotle chicken tenders, the server led me the "back way" through the kitchen to the bathroom. I was thankful for the privilege, but it was kind of weird seeing all the other servers look at me with closed lipped smiles as if to say "congratulations on making it to the whale-sized-stage of pregnancy. Now, get out of my kitchen."

Afterwards, we went back home to take on the pumping challenge my midwife friend advised. 15 minutes of pumping and 20 minutes off for two hours. This definitely sped labor contractions up to 5 minutes apart. This gave me a little bit of hope, so Josh and I decided to go back in town for more walking at Target. This proved to be interesting, as I would position myself during a contraction to be looking at an item on a shelf for at least a minute without moving. Instead of perusing in and out of the baby items or girls clothing, we stuck to the perimeter of the store and the frozen food sections to give us a cool down. After an hour, we stopped by Fro Jo's for some ice cream, picked up my father-in-law at the airport, and met up with our friends watching Shep at Chick-Fil-A. My contractions slowed to every 8 - 10 minutes again.

After dinner, I was exhausted and thought I'd never go in to "active labor." As I had been told multiple times before, I could experience these awful contractions for days with a second child before I actually go in to "labor." I was confused to even call all of this "labor" at this point. Feeling semi-defeated, delusional, and fatigued, I crawled in to bed at 7:30pm to go to "sleep" for the night.

That night also happened to be Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Josh, an avid Lebron James fan, was really excited to watch the game.  He thought he had it made; his semi-laboring wife and active son were in bed for the night. Now, Josh could have some quality father-son time watching the Cleveland vs Golden State game.  After two hours of "sleeping" with contractions 8 minutes apart, I needed Josh.  So I gave the simple, this means business text, "I need you."  Josh spent the next 30 minutes laying beside me and squeezing my hips together during contractions.  Josh loves to time contractions and soon figured out that my contractions were 8 minutes apart.  So Josh ended up setting an 8-minute timer after every contraction to remind himself to go upstairs and help me through my contraction by pushing my hips together or just giving me verbal support.

My mom showed up somewhere between 11:30pm and midnight, but I wasn't coherent enough to remember her arrival.

***This is where you can skip to if you don't have time for the fluff timeline of the day-before actually having baby 2.0.

At 7:30am, I was tired of having these contractions for 12 hours in bed. I called my midwife asking her if she wanted to check me since I had been in labor for 27 and a half hours.  They close at 12pm on Fridays, so she told me to come by in an hour. I live 45 minutes away from her clinic, so Josh and I leaped out of bed to get ready (if that is possible for a 40 week pregnant woman). I threw on the clothes I had on the day before, brushed my teeth, wore the makeup from the days prior, and strapped on my Chacos before I headed out of the door.  I pumped every 20 minutes for 10 minutes all the way to the clinic to hopefully get things going again. Josh and I decided not to get our hopes up when getting checked. I was probably still 2cm, as my contractions were never closer than 5 minutes apart for over an hour. However, the pumping on the way did make my contractions speed up to 4 minutes apart. The whole process of my labor really was confusing with no clear movement form mild to intense contractions.

My mom met us at the clinic, and we all headed in together. All the staff were excited to see me in labor and my midwife excitedly clapped her hands together, winked, and said, "We've never had an office baby! We have an emergency birthing kit!" I took the hint that she was totally cool with me having the baby in the lobby, check-up room, or even in the hallway.

Surprisingly, I was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was so relieved.  I honestly didn't believe her at first, because I expected her to give me disappointing news. Then Josh just laughed and he came over to squeeze my hand. She recommended that I walk around the clinic for an hour to see how things progressed. As my contractions sped up again to 4-5 minutes apart in the hallway, she decreased her recommendation to walking 30 minutes. I circled the building twice in fifteen minutes before I threw in the towel and said I needed to make my way to the hospital! I didn't even apologize to the people who had to walk around me when I stopped in the middle of the stairs. There is a point in labor when you take a "no shame" mentality. Not only did I not apologize, I didn't even make eye contact or scoot to the side. Here is my public apology to all those who squeezed by me to get to the office next to the midwifery clinic.

After getting checked again, I was still 5cm, but I was 100% effaced. At 9:30am we went to the hospital (across the street) and went immediately to the "tub room" that my midwife had reserved for me.  Somehow it took forever and a day to get through the 100s of registration papers. I filled them out while bouncing on an exercise ball and pausing for the contractions. My photographer (and good friend) showed up while I was filling out everything. The nurse took my vitals and spent a long time trying to get the baby's vitals.  Meanwhile Josh kept encouraging me and rubbed clary sage essential oil on my feet and little toe. The nurse suggested I drink a sugary drink to get the baby's heart rate up. Josh got me some of the mini-cartoned orange juice from the nurses station. I took one gulp and immediately threw it up in one of those handy vomit bags the hospital keeps near by.

At 10:30am I got in the tub. I tried every position, sitting at an incline & leaning forward, but the contractions felt unbearable. Although I loved the warm water, I knew I needed to find a more relieving position, especially because Josh couldn't help me in anyway. The nurse checked me again just before I got out around 11:15am. I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced. I couldn't believe how fast I was progressing. I had spent 27 hours going from 2cm to 5cm and within an hour I had progressed 3cm!!! I felt like everything was happing so quickly. When getting out, I noticed I'd finally lost my mucus plug. I hated the transition to the cold air, but I knew the calming  warm tub wasn't where I needed to have this baby as the baby's heart rate was low. The contractions were still 6-8 minutes apart, but the intensity was irrefutable. I was close to having this baby regardless of the length between contractions. Trying to find any position to help, I finally found a little relief sitting backwards on the toilet.

At this point, I felt a huge impulse to push.....because I needed to go #2 in the worst way. (I didn't say I was just going to just write about the cushy fun details!) But because I said the "p" word, my nurse started to freak out as my midwife wasn't there yet. She encouraged me to get off the toilet. She did not want to have a water baby.  Being a rebel at heart, I immediately said, "Why?" And of course I didn't....right away. I finally moved over to the bed after 15 minutes. At this point I knew I was going through transition as I thought to myself, "I don't need to experience this natural birth thing again. I've been there. It was great, but I should just get the freakin' epidural." Then as I thought it, I told Josh, "WHAT AM I DOING?! I CAN'T DO THIS!" As soon as I voiced my panic, my midwife came in. She immediately set out some candles and spritzed the room with a little skip in her step. In my mind I asked, "She is this happy every day?!" I mean, she was about to stare at my lady parts as I somehow pushed a baby out of it.  Her positive attitude helped me past my incredulous thoughts, and it helped me work through a few more contractions. Thankfully, she encouraged me to go right back to the toilet where I told her I felt most comfortable.

After a few more contractions, I moved back to the bed. I got on all fours ready to push him or her out. It felt like an hour that I was on fours, but looking at the time line, I must have only been on the bed for 10 minutes. My arms felt like they were going to give out so I rolled to my back between contractions that were approximately 6 minutes apart. The baby must have turned, because my back labor had eased and lying on my back actually gave me some rest. At noon, I felt the urge to push for real this time. I rolled over on my side with my legs hiked up and my mom supporting one of my legs.

The sensation to push was significantly different than my first go 'round. It wasn't immediate relief. It was painful. My midwife broke my water. I was slightly in shock at the difference of the pushing sensation from my first time and forgot how to relax and breathe. I started breathing quickly, not taking enough in to give myself enough force to push hard. I fatigued during my first actual push and had to stop early.  I asked for the oxygen. I don't think I needed it, but having it gave me a peace of mind for some reason. I breathed in deeply trying to slow myself down and relax to gear up for the next set of contractions. I rolled to my back as Josh kept asking me if I wanted to be on all fours again. I just kept telling him how tired I was. After a couple more "pushes," my midwife started giving me quick instructions to guide the baby out.  I looked around as nurses, my midwife, my husband, and my mom stood shoulder to shoulder around me. Time seemed to slow down. I could see my good friend and photographer trying to peek around the wall of my birth team to capture the moment. I could see the panic in everyone's eyes, but I had no idea what was actually going on. There wasn't time for an explanation at the time as I was following all my midwife's directions. Every word spoken, action taken, or breath inhaled or exhaled was very purposeful. The nurse, for the second time, pressed the call button and urgently requested the NICU team. Some of the quick instructions I remember from my midwife were "good Elise. Okay push...okay don't push, don't push don't push...okay give me a half of a push...Okay Elise, puuuush! You can do it!" It was a strange feeling. It was similar to what you see on tv. My scream turned in to a low groan as I worked through the contraction. Later I was told the halting of the pushing was for my midwife to unwrap the umbilical cord twice from around baby Hurst's neck. She assisted the baby out by using the tips of her fingers to pull the head out. I couldn't understand the unbearable pain, because I didn't experience this with Shep. It felt like he or she was stuck, but finally the baby came all the way out.

Finally, they laid baby Hurst on my stomach, but I couldn't tell if I was holding a baby girl or boy. I was completely fatigued, terrified, and relieved to have this sweet baby that I wasn't thinking to ask. Everyone's faces still showed worry and all I could think about was, "why isn't my baby crying?!" I immediately started rubbing his or her chest saying "cry baby," when someone said, "don't stimulate her!" So I thought, "I have girl?! Why isn't she crying?!" My eyes started to tear up as I watched them rapidly cut and clamp the cord before transporting the baby over to the NICU table. Then out came a loud "wahhhh" from those sweet baby lips. Finally the nurse shouted out the long awaited words, "it's a BOY!!!" They took him off me to suction his lungs of the meconium. It only took a minute total, but in that 60 seconds I laid there in disbelief that I had actually done this - twice. I had TWO baby boys and they were here. His APGAR score was an 8 and he was quickly put back on my chest for some skin to skin time.

Judah Beau Hurst arrived at 12:20pm 2 days after the due date and after 20 minutes of pushing. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and measured 20 inches long. My experience was drug free with no problems making recovery a piece of cake. We love our little JBeau.

Rugged Joy Photography

Monday, June 15, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 40

How far along? 40 weeks
Baby is the size of a: Pumpkin
Total weight gain: 38 pounds
Update from the midwife: 1 cm dilated and 70% effaced as of two days before I was exactly 40 weeks. I know you may be wondering how I could go from 2cm to 1cm and 80% to 70% effaced two weeks later.. Well, dilation and effacement are subjective and Melissa checked me at 38 weeks and Kendra checked me the second time. You can imagine my reaction as I was aghast saying, "WHAT?! How could I only be one centimeter?!" When I told Kendra I was 2cm a couple weeks ago, she said, "eh well we can make it '2cm.'" It was funny, but at the same time you can imagine how disheartened I was thinking it would take a lifetime to have this baby. 
Waist Measurement: 43 inches. 
Maternity clothes? Exclusively maternity. 
Stretch marks? No new ones. 
Best moment this week: Having dinner at Dale and Louisa Ditto's house the night I turned 40 weeks was a blast. We had juicy burgers from the grill, cheesy spicy zucchini and squash casserole, sweet potato fries, and salad from our garden. We ate outside in Louisa's gorgeous garden/backyard (where the pictures are taken).
Movement: Not quite as much movement as week 39. Baby is snug as a bug. 
Food cravings: No particular cravings. 
Miss Anything? Missing just not being pregnant.
Gender: We still don't know. 
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks all the time. 
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood? Anxious.