Sunday, September 27, 2015

Back to work I go!

I have no idea how eight weeks have passed since Lennon arrived.  I officially start back to work tomorrow and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad about it.  This is the first time I am returning to work after having a baby and am truly excited about my job, and not longing to stay home like I have after the last two babies. But it is still bitter sweet.
I know I am entering a season of work, where the wide open space in our schedule that came with me being on maternity leave will disappear.  I will be forced to buckle down, be super organized and our schedule will have to be as planned as ever to pull off having three very young children, two different work schedules, Emmaus’ school and therapy schedule, meals to plan, not to mention church and social schedules.  I am excited about the opportunity to meet some of the financial goals we have set for ourselves. To get back on our feet a little after a self-funded maternity leave. All while doing a job that I am really loving!
I know I/We can do it. But there is a little fear that this transition from 2-3 that has gone so smoothly is about to get hectic, and hard.  I know my capacity to handle things gracefully will get thinner just because I will be working. 
Last year Dan and I had one of the harder years of our marriage. We went to A LOT of counseling to get things figured out, to learn to communicate again, to grieve the loss of a typical life- the type of life we had planned before Tuberous Sclerosis became part of our reality.  And I am just kinda fearful that things will get shaky and unstable again.  
I think even being aware of these fears is good.  Finding ways to safeguard against them, ways to plan a head and take some of the stress off of things when I can- simply by not waiting till the last minute to get things done.
 Planning ahead doesn’t come naturally to me. So here goes nothing!
But, seriously. 8 weeks already?  How is that possible? Please slow your roll baby girl. Things are going by too quickly! 



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Friday, September 11, 2015

Lennon Jean: A Birth Story

Lennon. From the start you were a surprise. You were outside of our timeline- but in God's perfect way, your existence, your entrance was just as it was meant to be.  This is the story of your birth.

Pregnancy number three. This was a hard one for me. I wasn't in the best shape at the beginning, I wasn't planning on adding a new member to our family so both physically and emotionally this pregnancy was hard. Your body naturally remembers pregnancy oh so well. So with each life growing, your body is a little more stretched, your muscles a little less strong and this was no different.  I slept amazing this pregnancy. The whole time. And that may have kept me sane.
Mentally I didn't really let it settle in that we were going to have a new baby until about mid June soooo around 34 weeks? We had some pretty intense stuff happening in our lives, job change, insurance change, autism diagnosis, large medical cost, new school and therapy regiment for Emmaus, and I just couldn't deal with pregnancy too- so once all of that was settled I let it sink in that in a few short (except for the last 9 days) weeks I would welcome a new little one.

I had gone 9 days late with Shiloh and it was pretty mentally hard for me. So this time I was determined to make the best of things even if I was late. And for the most part I think I took the waiting in stride. But waiting is hard. Always.

I had a few days where I thought I was in labor, in fact enough of them that I was beginning to feel like the woman who cried labor. I mean this WAS my THIRD baby, and I had waited for labor each time, so you would think I would know what was fake vs real... but no. More than once I got everyone excited for nothing. I had a feeling it would be a fast labor so the last few weeks I wasn't super willing to be far from home. I just knew I would need to be close to the birth center when things picked up.

August 3 (9days overdue) I was showing more signs that maybe this would be the day. When I would have contractions- which wasn't very often they were hard and hurt, which was a change from the previous days.
By the evening I decided to go ahead and get checked, I still wasn't having super consistent contractions, maybe every 20 minutes, but they hurt. I just truly wanted to make sure I wasn't 8cm or something, really just wanted to gauge how quickly I needed to get to the birth center after things picked up.  I was a "stretchy" 5 but baby wasn't super low. I had been a 4-5 at 39weeks.

At 850 dan put the kids to bed and I was laying on the couch thinking "THESE CONTRACTIONS ARE SPACING OUT!! THIS BABY WILL NEVER COME." I was wondering if we should go walk up and down our street to see if I could get them going or if I should just go to bed.
Dan came and sat with me on the couch, and put his hand on my belly. We chatted for a minute about how much she was moving, I wondered if she would be our last, if these movements of a baby in my belly would be some of our last to experience together. Then she really MOVED. I think the word is engaged. I had a hard contraction. Decided to get up and go to the bathroom- which was difficult, and by the time I stood I had another hard contraction. After it passed I walked the 20 feet to the bathroom and was dry heaving by the time I got there, shaking, my teeth chattering, and I had another contraction. My labor literally went from "is this peetering out" to "woah, I'm in transition". Dan's mom was called, our midwife (who was at home 25+ minutes from the birth center) and our dear photographer- all of which jumped into action to get where they needed to be so this baby could come.
I had been praying for time, for time in labor, to adjust, to have the communion with the Lord that I have experienced the last two times. That it wouldn't go so fast that I couldn't cope. My labors in the past have been very peaceful. They truly are some of the most beautiful experiences of my life. So I really wanted to have a similar experience this time as well.
We got to the birth center before the midwife and waited in the parking lot.
I had texted her at 9:15 while we were driving to the birth center requesting she drive fast.
I had lost the feeling in my hands at some point on the way to the birth center. I could fist my hands, but not relax them, they were totally numb, and so was part of my face. This of course freaked me out. I mentally did an assessment on myself (Yes I am a nurse even in labor). And of course told Dan if I passed out to call 911- I'm sure thats exactly what he wanted to hear while we are alone with our photographer in the parking lot- (Although I'm thinking okay- at least he isn't truly alone if I do pass out!)
Assessment-
Okay, I can feel my feet, my contractions, my hands and arms are numb, but I still have some strength in them, my blood pressure doesn't feel high. I feel calm and not panicked, so this isn't anxiety related.... I don't think I'm having a seizures or a stroke, I feel really mentally sharp, surely in these situations I wouldn't feel mentally sharp? (Yes hilarious I know)

The midwife arrived and we got into the birth room at 9:38. I hollered for them to start the tub as we were walking back. (I'm bossy what can I say).
I pretty quickly got in the tub, had a few contractions, listened to some worship songs. Around 10 I asked dan what time it was- I felt it was going so fast. It was, but my timeline was off so it calmed me down thinking I had been there longer than I truly had.  At 1011 my water broke, and immediately the sensation in my hands and face returned. I guess the pressure from my amniotic sac was compressing something in my spine? The midwife checked me I was at 8cm. But felt like I needed to push.
A few minutes later I started pushing and two or three pushes later her head was out. (If you are into natural birth and ever get the chance I highly suggest a water birth- SOOO much gentler than a land birth- sorry for those of you who are reading this thinking TMI- you may want to skip the next few lines)
Head was born no problem, and then the midwife had a little trouble delivering her shoulders and I couldn't move enough in the tub to help- so I "hauled ass" as I like to say- out of the tub so I could get into a better position for her to be delivered. Her shoulders were very easily born after I moved. I know it sounds a bit chaotic, but it truly was a beautiful birth.
Lennon Jean Ballew
Aug 3, 2015
10:22pm
8lbs 8oz, 21.25 inches long 14" head

(A whopping 1hour 32mins from "Is this actually labor to birth" )

She is a relaxed little one. She is by far my easiest and most content baby. I will be interested to see how this plays out in her little personality. She has been a seamless addition to our family, so far a much easier adjustment than when we went from 1 to 2. Her sisters are in love. We are in love. Mothering her feels so natural to me.

I don't have enough space on our old ghetto computer to download the birth pics and post them on here, but if you are interested I am linking to the incredible video and photos that were done by Allison Corrin Photography.  This is the second birth she has captured for us, the images are beyond beautiful and priceless to us.

Link to her blog with the photos
Link to the amazing video she put together


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