Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Day Vera Was Born.

I've never written a birth story before. I honestly never felt that inclined to share them. I mean, of COURSE they had a significant meaning and they were amazing experiences, but I never had the urge to share. They were mine to hold onto. But I wanted to share this last one with you as I grew from this experience. It was more than just a painful experience that I wanted to get over with to meet a sweet baby face. It was such a wonderful story.

Each of my children have taught me lessons. A little back story on my last two deliveries:

Scarlett was my first and I was in labor about 14 hours with her from the time that I got to the hospital. She came over a week early. I started having mild contractions with her that grew stronger overnight. By 5am I wanted to go to the hospital. I thought, I must be 1/2 way there by now! When we got there, I was only about 3-4 cm. What a defeating feeling hearing the nurse say that...They broke my water and the pain immediately went from "I can tough it out" to "Get the epidural man now!" I've never considered myself one with a high pain tolerance and I never had a set birth plan in mind. I just wanted to do the best I could.  From there, I was pain free and watched Everybody Loves Raymond until I felt the urge to push. Then, I pushed for 45 min and she was born at 7:20 pm that evening. My little Scarlett Cindy was just a perfect angel and I must say, she was such a good baby, toddler, child and still is my good girl. So caring and thoughtful. I hit the lottery with this one as my first. Scarlett taught me how to be a mother. I am grateful for such a good-natured child as my first. So many anxieties and worries with your first. We went through a lot of scares with her from hospital stays to febrile seizures....she definitely broke me in as a parent.

With Maxwell, I was in labor only about 4-5 hours from the time my water broke. He came 5 days late. I had been leaking fluid for 2-3 days but they tested it and said it wasn't amniotic fluid. I think they were wrong since those tests are not 100% accurate. A day or two later and my water broke in a huge gush of water that you only see in movies. I wanted to stay home as long as I could because I didn't want to be in the hospital confined to a bed as I had been with Scarlett for so long. Luckily the hospital was only right around the corner. After my water broke, the contractions came on pretty intense. By the time that I got to the hospital at midnight, I could barely walk in. I couldn't even think straight. I was 5 or 6 cm and when they asked me if I wanted an epidural, in the midst of my most painful contraction yet, I said YES! He was born 4 hours later after 3 pushes. Maxwell Theodore came out a hefty 8 lbs and 12 oz. He is my shy and sensitive Mama's boy. Although, I can say that he definitely came with the "Middle Child" attitude, this boy is so loving at his core and despite giving me a run for my money sometimes, he is such a blessing. Maxwell has taught me patience. Before Maxwell, I never had to adjust my own behavior to teach someone else. With him, I have. I know also understand the term "mama's boy". Because it's true what they say, nothing like a bond between Mama and son.

But the day Vera was born was a little different. We named her Vera Solveig LaFountaine. All of our children have middle names after lost loved ones. Scarlett Cindy is after Tyler's mother who passed away. Maxwell Theodore is after not only my Grandfather, but my father, (who is still here). For those of you wondering how you pronounce her middle name, it's Sohl-vay. Her middle name is after my late Nana from Norway to whom I was very close with and miss dearly. The Scandinavian name, Solveig, means "the strong house" & "daughter of the sun". She is indeed both. My little strong house taught me about strength this time around.

As my 3rd baby, I was well aware of the signs of labor. The day before I felt wonderful! An abundance of hormones must have surged through my body and I was so productive and had a day of accomplishments. Perhaps a little late nesting.  I felt happy and just ready for my little one to come along. But the next morning, I woke up feeling not so great. I had a trickle of water occur that morning,  just like I did with Maxwell. Just a trickle and then that was it. To me, that was a sign that I may be close to my water breaking-perhaps a slow leak. I also noticed what they refer to as the "mucus plug" being lost as well, which I never did with the last two and I knew it was only a matter of time before she came. I begun to have braxton hicks that day. I hadn't had any braxton hicks throughout this entire pregnancy which was also much different than the last 2 pregnancies where I had them throughout the last trimester. But the morning of, they started in. I sat on my exercise ball instead of my office chair for the whole day. It felt more comfortable. I still worked that entire day. After working a full day, I picked up kids and I did some interviews for the gym. I ate a good meal just in case it was the last meal I ate for awhile. I prepped Scarlett for the fact that the baby might be here any day now and that she needs to help out with her brother when the sitter came. She was my good girl, as she ALWAYS is, and helped get her school bag ready, helped her brother get in pj's and fed the dogs.
By days end my "braxton hicks" seemed more like regular contractions where they wrapped from my back around to the front, but they still weren't painful or consistent so I just ignored them. We all went to bed. At midnight, they woke me up. I just changed positions and tried to go back to bed. But I was woken up again at 12:30 and 1pm and thought, maybe these are real contractions this time? You would think by baby #3 that I would know the difference but they didn't come on so intense and all at once like they did with Maxwell. At 2pm we decided to call our sitter and have her come stay the night at the house just in case. She came over and I started to feel like the contractions were indeed, real contractions. When I couldn't talk through them anymore, we decided to head to the hospital and beat the rush hour traffic that was going to hit by 5am. My fear was getting stuck in that traffic, in labor.  No thanks. With how quick Maxwell came, the doctor urged me to get there asap and not fool around.
We arrived at the hospital at about 4am. When we got there, I made Ty sit in the parking lot with me for a bit since I dreaded going in. I'm not sure why but being in the hospital just stresses me out. All the poking and prodding, needles and hospital beds. The less time I had to be in labor at the hospital was good with me. Finally, around 4:20 am I decided we could go inside.
I walked in, up 2 flights of stairs (most of you know how much I hate elevators) lol and into Labor and Delivery. They asked if I was there for a scheduled induction. I said no, I think I'm in labor. I could see the nurses eyeing if to say, You aren't in enough pain to be in labor. 
They sent me into triage where I waited for them to come check me. It seemed like a busy night.  I could hear the nurse in the room next to us,
"You aren't quite in labor yet, we will be sending you home for now." After about 15 min, the nurse finally came in and started on a slew of questions since I had never been to this hospital before. I have now had 3 babies in 3 different states. I guess the trick is to stop moving to new states ;)
She started to prep me for the scenario that I might not stay. I just nodded and smiled. This ain't my first rodeo, lady. After checking me, she made a surprised look and said, "Ok, you're staying! You are 7.5 cm with a bulging bag of water! I'm going to call your doctor and get her in here asap because this could go quickly."

I knew I was in some sort of labor but I didn't feel that they were painful enough to be 7.5! They asked if I wanted an epidural. I had to think for a moment. I looked at Ty for reassurance. I had always wanted to do natural labor but always assumed that I would just get another one since I didn't feel I was strong enough to get through it without. Then I looked at the nurse. She said, "You are walking around and laughing like nothing at almost 8 cm...."
And she was right. I said, "This last time, I'm gonna do this without." After I said it, the most powerful contraction yet came on and I thought "What have I done?" lol.  But I stuck with my decision. They got me checked into my room and called my doctor. By this time it was about 6 am. I wanted to stand because it made the contractions come on stronger and I figured that was helping me progress. The nurses were calling me "Ms. Casual 8 cm" the whole night. They said they rarely see women this far along so calm and controlled. I went from 7.5-9 cm very quickly and with some pretty strong but manageable contractions. I even thought to myself, is labor going to be this easy?!? The doctor then arrived and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. It was inevitable anyhow so I said yes. My water broke very easily as it was leaking somewhat anyhow, just as I had suspected. I just had one cm to go.  Let me tell you, that last hour, from 9 to 10 was excruciating. And I was wrong, labor was NOT going to be that easy. It was certainly unlike anything I have ever endured before. I barely remember it now but I do recall going in and out of it as if I could feel less pain if I wasn't there. An instagram friend sent me some birthing affirmations to listen to. I only listened to them for about 3 days since that was all the time I had but they did indeed help. I repeated them to myself as I zoned out of the pain and focused on the only thing I could control, my mind. When I would have contractions, I focused on not fighting it, but letting is come, accepting it and releasing my tension, relaxing my muscles and the urge to tighten up my body. I envisioned as it was happening that it was slowly working to open up and as the pain would diminish, I was a step closer. Those thoughts were all that got me through that final hour. I don't really remember much else during that last hour.
Once I finally got to just about 10 cm, I recall my body just began pushing on it's own. I couldn't stop it if I tried. I recall pushing the nurse button, the nurse calling for the doctor and them both running in to assume positions. I recall holding under my legs, wrapping around baby and pushing like my life depended on it. Having an epidural with the previous two, I couldn't feel much when I was pushing. It just seemed like I was pushing but didn't really know if it was working. This time, I could FEEL it pushing her down and I could FEEL it working. It was not as painful as I suspected it would be, more just an intensely strong feeling of pressure-almost hard to describe, but also more rewarding than anything I have ever done in my entire life. I recall yelling at one point while I was pushing. They said it was the only time I made any sort of noise throughout the entire process. The nurses said that I was very focused and quiet most of the time. Then I recall regaining my composure once I realized that the only way it was going to end was if I put my entire energy into pushing.  The nurses were amazing and reassured me, giving me direction on what to do again.  All of that happened in just 2 hard pushes over a few minutes. But it felt like it was longer. Most likely because I really FELT it this time and because my contractions were spaced out quite a bit which was nice because I got to rest in between. On the last push, the one that I used every fiber of my body to push her out with, I took a deep breath and just zoned everything else out but the thought of her coming out to meet us.  I felt her head coming down and out...again, it didn't feel painful which I am still surprised by. Maybe natural endorphins and adrenaline mask it. Then another gasp for air and I heard the doctor say, "one more push and her body will be out". With the last push, her body come out.... her cries filled the room. Without a doubt, the most amazing feeling in the world.  As they held her up in the air, I saw her sweet face and thought, there you are. They placed her on me. I tried to pull her closer to me but the doctor reminded me, "Don't pull her too much yet, she's still attached." Ha ha, Oh yes, of course she is. The doctor clamped the cord and handed Ty the scissors.  We saved the cord blood this time so the doctor was busy collecting that. The doctor looked up at Ty at one point and asked, "Are you ok?" He nodded, "Ya, I'm good".   I laughed, "That's just his normal serious look." and we all laughed as it was evident this was true.

Once they put her little body on my chest, the entire world melted away and all I saw, felt and smelled, was this little life that we made. This little being that took so much energy from me over the last 9 months. This little being that made me so sick and so tired for so long. The hardest pregnancy I have had yet. She looked up at me trying to see through the ointment over her little eyes and my heart just exploded. It was if she wanted to say,  "It's me Mama. Thank you for dealing with all the sickness so I could be here. I'm the one you have been waiting for. I'm here. " Her fresh skin and tiny fingers wrapped around me. I will tell you, there is NO other feeling in this entire world that can compare to a moment like this. This little strong house showed me my inner strength. One I didn't know that I had: That I'm not just a girl with a low pain tolerance and that I can do what I set my mind to. She taught me strength in so many ways. I had the strength to get through a crappy pregnancy for 7 out of the 9 months, strength to overcome any of the hardships we dealt with because of it and the strength to welcome her naturally into this world. Something I really didn't think I had the courage to do. I don't think any one birth was better than the other. I don't think that having an epidural the first 2 times made it any less special or important. But I am grateful for the experience this last time.  Vera is my perfect little ending to my family and the perfect beginning to another life. I feel so very blessed.

Dear Vera, you are worth it all. You are my little strong house. Never forget that. 

Love, Mama.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

This post has been sitting in my drafts for 2 months now.....figured that I would finally push "publish" on it since it's end of January... smh. 

San Antonio is military capital for those that may not know. We live close to the air force base here. This year we put ourselves on the list to host some military away from home for the first time. It was my first time trying to do this and I first applied to the wrong place, then once I got a hold of the right place,  I applied too late.  So it was just the 4 and 1/2 of us for Thanksgiving this year. I can't get used to having holidays by ourselves for the life of me. My entire life we have always had large family gatherings and the holidays seemed more festive. Lots of people crowding around eating snacks. Laughter and chatter. Kids running around playing. But this Thanksgiving was a lot more quiet than any of those past memories. Just my Maxwell trying to fill the noise quota. Ty cooked pretty much all of the food besides the pies. The kids and I tackled that project. My goal was to have a completely all organic Thanksgiving dinner. I think we succeeded!!
After we ate, the kids and Ty brought some meals out to the homeless and then we just relaxed. It was a very laid back and chill Thanksgiving indeed. I did some more decorating for the holidays as well.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Life Lately: The 3rd Trimester,

These photos were taken throughout this last trimester.
I'm currently 38 weeks and had intended to post weekly during this pregnancy....but life took over and I'm lucky that I even got to sit down tonight and just write a little. I've also come to the realization that I will never be on time for anything lol....even blog posts. I'm just not an on-time kinda gal and now that I have's only gotten worse! I guess there could be worse things to be known for.
The holidays are over and soon as they ended, I started feeling VERY unprepared. I kept telling myself that I had time still but between work and gym prep, kids (who just got over being sick) and the regular daily duties....time just got away from me! So here I am at 38 weeks, scrambling to get it all done!! My car seat literally came in today! Smh.
Last week, I was lying comfortably in my bed and thinking about how exhausting and tired I was with a newborn when I had Scarlett and Maxwell. It was literally the hardest part of motherhood for me. The no sleep in the beginning was really rough both times and I was NOT prepared for it. Even with Maxwell, who slept pretty good after the first month or so, I was a zombie the first few weeks. A few friends, acquaintances and a slew of instagrammers swear by the Snoo bassinet and rave about how amazing it works. In my panic, thinking about all that needs to be done in the next few months to come, I made a midnight decision to return the Halo and get the Snoo.  So I am currently waiting on that as well. I don't have a nursery set up for baby girl. In our house, the master suite is on the first floor. The extra bedroom upstairs is currently the guest bedroom. Between not wanting to run upstairs everytime the baby cries and the fact that I like having a guest room, I just haven't made a decision on where her room will be. For now, she will sleep in our room. And so her washed clothes are in baskets in my bedroom. I kind of laugh because it is true that with your first, you have it all prepared months in advance. The second, a little more laid back and by the third, you just wing it and say,
Ah, it'll be fine! Eventually she will have a room and clothes organized....smh.

5 strangers this week have randomly stopped me to tell me that I am having a boy. To which I smile and say, "Nope, it's a girl". Apparently I carry all of my babies like "a boy". Whatever that means.
The past couple of weeks I have had quite a bit of pain. So many things I didn't experience with the other two, I am did this one. Which means there is no predicting or assuming anything when it comes to babies! She moves SO much! Scarlett definitely moved more than Maxwell but this one moves more than both of them combined! So much so that she often hurts me. I get nervous that she is doing somersaults in there and tangling cords! lol. As she gets bigger, it gets worse. A lot of pressure and just walking around like I just got off a horse! ha. She dropped this week and I am feeling that.
I am nesting like a crazy person this weekend. And unlike most of the time when I feel like I'm doin something nonstop but nothing gets done, this weekend things are getting done! I hired a cleaning service. Periodically I will hire someone to clean the house when I just don't have time. We put the carseat in the car and packed bags. I'm TRYING to arrange for someone to be here with kids for when I do go into labor. Not a fun task when your entire family lives across the country. But we'll figure it out. I've got enough clothes for now. I think we have everything we need for the newborn stage....but wow! I forgot how much you need for a new baby!! We gave everything away when we moved here to TX so we were starting from square one again and every little bit helped.  SO THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who sent us gifts for baby girl. It meant a great deal to me! My work crew is amazing & sent me such a generous gift! And Kalin, Mom, Shauna...Thank you!! We really appreciate it! Even a couple Texas friends blessed us with some things. 

The end is near for my last pregnancy and it's bittersweet for me. I know I said this very same thing with Maxwell....ha ha but I felt a little different back then. I always had this feeling deep down that there would be 3. A girl actually. And now that she is almost here, I feel that I am 100% complete in the motherhood dept. It's just a different feeling for me. I have always felt that I am quite intuitive. I can pick up on whether I like someone or not within 15 min of meeting someone. I knew what each of my kids would be. When I pictured my kids in my head, it was girl, then a boy and then another girl. To be honest, if I had easy pregnancies, I prob would have had 4, another girl. But I DO NOT and with this being my hardest, it's safe to say that I'm feeling complete.
I am beyond excited to meet this new baby that is so lively. I'm  excited to share her name and see what she will look like!! I'm also getting nervous. Not about having a newborn in general....that I feel a little bit experienced with by now. But more with having a newborn WITH 2 other kids to take care of and a business starting all at the same time. Things have a way of working out though. They always do. So I just trust in God that the timing of everything was not in my control and that there is a reason, a season and that it will all flow together in the end. I'm really feeling quite blessed and very thankful for another healthy pregnancy. There were definitely hard times on this journey but still so much to be thankful for still.   See you soon my sweet little baby girl......<3

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Christmas 2019.

We stayed in San Antonio for Christmas this year. It was SOOOOO nice to relax and let the kids wake up and run down to see the presents under the tree. It's been a while since they have gotten to do that. The last 2 Christmas' we traveled. AND let's not forget the fact that I'm 8 months pregnant and wasn't allowed to travel anyhow.

My mom came over from Florida and my little sister joined us from New York. We had hoped more family would join us but it didn't end up working out that way. We had a fun week together! It always goes by too quickly! Just the same, we crammed in some good memories. We had a potluck style Christmas Eve party with our favorite dishes, Christmas games & Christmas Vacation played in the background all night. We made gingerbread houses and baked sugar cookies. We drank wine (mocktails for me) and ate too much just as the holidays should be. We played silly games and laughed all night long. Those are the moments that I really treasure. There's something so magical about Christmas.  Ty attempted reindeer and snowmen pancakes one morning. They didn't turn out too bad. Not Pinterest worth but the kids loved them!

Christmas morning was gifts from Santa, biscuits and gravy for breakfast (Ty's family tradition) and then some relaxation. I had my formal sit-down Christmas dinner that consisted of Herb Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots, cranberry sauce and warm rolls. Ty made homemade french onion soup for an appetizer and that was a hit!! The next day we headed down to the Riverwalk. We grabbed dinner and then saw the lights along the Riverwalk. It was REALLY crowded so we did a short distance and then went home to play some games in the peace and quiet. Scarlett had horse lessons that weekend and we all drove out to watch her. We did some walks around the neighborhood too.
I really miss having family close. It's probably one of the hardest things about living in Texas. Scarlett cried and cried when they had to leave. It's hard to think that the next time we see them might be in another year. The kids change SO much in a year and I know they love seeing their grandparents and aunts/uncles. We won't be traveling as much this year with the gym and new baby coming up so that is a little sad to think about. Anyhow, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that 2020 is good to you!!