Mommy 4-1-1

Mommies 4 Mommies: What We Wish We’d Known

Callahan’s birth story: A long journey Sunday, December 14, 2008

At the end of my second trimester, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure by my obstetrician. He put me on partial bed rest and put me on medication. He told me if my blood pressure kept going up that I would have to be delivered early, but he was sure that the medication would help. So, for a few weeks I went twice a week to the doctor to get my blood pressure checked. Every check -up was going good, my blood pressure seemed to be under control and they told me they hoped for me to make it to 36 weeks.

On September 18, I woke up and felt like something was different. I couldn’t put my finger on it , but something was different. I had a doctor’s appointment that day, so I got ready and my mom took me ( Cade had the car that day). I went into the office feeling fine, then she took my blood pressure and told me I needed to go to the hospital right now. My blood pressure was 170/112 ( just so everyone knows normal blood pressure should be 120/80). So, they sent me to labour/delivery where they put me on stronger doses of medication and told me they wanted to monitor my blood pressure for a few days. They sent me to mother babe because antepartum was full. The next day , a Friday my blood pressure wasn’t improving and they loaded me up on more medication and decided to give me steroids to help Callahan’s lungs mature in case they needed to deliver. Dr.Cooper came in that night and told me that I would have to remain in the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy and thought we could make it to at least 34 weeks ( at this point I was 29 weeks pregnant). So, I prepared myself for a long stay. Two days later I had a major spell and my blood pressure reached 180/113. They gave me emergency doses of adalat, a second medication to the blood pressure medication I was already on. It worked but gave me wickedly painful headaches. The next day (Monday) my blood pressure was still acting up and none of the medication seemed to be working. So, the obstetrician told me he was going to deliver me via C-section that night , so Cade and I had visits from the neonatalogists talking to us about what would happen when Callahan was born and what his stay at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit might be like. So, Cade and I sat there and waited for me to be delivered , scared and feeling not ready at all. The anesthesiologist came in and started prepping me, then a different obstetrician came in and told me I was fine and the baby was fine and that he was just going to load me up with more medication. I was like alright, thank goodness.

On the Wednesday, of all things my water broke and we thought well I guess this baby really wants to come out. The nurses told me that sometimes even if your water breaks you might not go into labour for weeks. So, we sat and waited and my blood pressure was somewhat under control. The next day, my blood pressure was up again and on the ultrasound that day, they saw that the blood flow to Callahan was being effected. So, once again they tell me we are going to deliver you today at 1 pm. Cade leaves class in the middle of an exam and gets to the hospital only for us to be told once again they are not going to deliver me. Now, as much as I wanted Callahan to stay in me and grow more, I was getting so frustrated with this back and forth that the nurse took my blood pressure and laughed and said it was so high she was not going to tell me and just let me calm down. On Saturday ( it had been over a week) , I started having very irregular contractions, but then they slowed down and eventually stopped that night. Sunday, the day. I went for an ultrasound that morning and normally they don’t do ultrasounds on Sunday’s because they have to call people in, but I was a special case . I went up to my room and waited for the obstetrician with the results. The doctor was taking awhile , so Cade decided to go home have a nap, some lunch and a shower. In the meantime, the doctor came in and told me that they had tried long enough to control my blood pressure and that it was starting to affect Callahan . He told me they would induce me the next day, if Callahan had moved back into the mobile, birthing position ( the previous few days he had been lying transverse, straight across). So, I phoned my mom and Cade and told them that I would be induced the next day. A few minutes later the nurse asked me to take a urine sample , and she discovered that I was leaking huge amounts of protein and that the blood pressure was starting to affect my kidney’s. She called the obstetrician back in and he decided that he would induce me that night. He came to examine me and said that inducing would be too difficult , and that they would deliver via-emergency c-section at 4 pm. It was now 3 :15 pm , and all I had was enough time to call Cade and tell him to get back to the hospital and my mom to leave church because I was going to have a baby within the hour. Cade made it just as they were walking me to the operating room.

Inside the operating room, they prepped me with a spinal epidural but just before that they took my blood pressure and it was 195/129. It was time to deliver that baby. So, they gave me the spinal , which in all honesty I was more worried about than them cutting me open . They then strapped me to the table, put up the sheet and let Cade come in. Cade was talking to me then all of sudden they said to him , do you want to see the baby come out? I was like what ?? I didn’t even know they had cut me open. At 4:08pm Callahan was born , letting out a few cries before he had to be intubated with oxygen. His cries were the most beautiful, most reassuring sounds I could have ever heard. My little boy had come into the world screaming letting everyone know he was there, even though he came 10 weeks early. I saw him for a few moments before they whisked him away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He weighed 3 pounds 1 ounce and was 16 inches long.

After they took him away (Cade had gone with him), they stitched me up and then wheeled me back into a recovery area, where they checked my blood pressure and put me on a drug called magnesium sulphate to keep me from having a seizure. It is an extremely strong med and you can only be on it for a very short period of time. They then wheeled my whole bed into level 3 of the NICU, where our little boy was hooked up to a ventilator and beginning his transition to what would be his home for 64 days in the NICU. It was amazing to seem him so small and tiny and that he was here, but it was also scary and extremely difficult to see my little baby hooked up to tubes and machines . After that they took me back to my room, where Cade was told he would have to go home, because I would need to have one on one care for the rest of the night. They had to wake me up every hour that night to check my blood pressure and all my vitals, and keep me moving. At one point in the middle of the night, I woke up to them putting nasal oxygen prongs in my nose, because the medication had lowered my blood pressure so much that my oxygen levels were dropping. I was so out of it though that I didn’t care, or was even that aware. The next morning I was told I could come off the Mag sulphate, and that I was ready to be moved from antepartum into the mother/babe unit for the rest of my recovery. I stayed for 5 more days before they discharged me. That was the hardest day and there were such mixed feelings. I was happy to be out of the hospital, but I was devastated that I was not leaving with my baby. Definitely not the birth experience I had expected.For the next 64 days, we spent everyday at the hospital with Callahan , watching him become stronger and progress and fight so he could come home. He had to learn so many things, that most babies develop in utero. He spent 1 and a half days on a ventilator, then 3 weeks on a C-pap machine and then four weeks on nasal prongs. He finally came off his oxygen in the middle of November and on December 1st he was discharged and finally came home with us weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces, a far cry from the 3 pounds 1 ounce he once was. He is at home , a healthy and happy boy and we are so extremely grateful.

 

Toddler Multiples Monday, October 20, 2008

Filed under: Twins and Multiples — Kristin @ 2:20 pm

Pardon my absence from the blog.  But while I was away, my twins, Annabelle and Isabelle (Annie and Izzie for short) became toddlers.  If you read this blog, you have at least one child, or are thinking of having a child.  I have two singletons who are past the toddler phase for the most part (!) and I found that phase to be a difficult one a best.  But when you have two or more going thru the same phase at once, well, your life can become a bit of a challenge.

My girls just turned 21 months.  That means that they’re walking, talking, eating machines.  They also have personalities that are as different as night and day.  Annie is much more physical than Izzie.  She walked at 9 1/2 months, was the bigger twin at birth, and is a bit slower with her words.  Izzie waited until almost 15 months to walk, but was uttering words at 10 months.  Annie is about 2 1/2 inches and a good 3 pounds heaver than Izzie.  She is a bit of a brute, hitting and pushing to get her way.  I can understand that, as her verbal skills aren’t quite all there.  Izzie is a lover of stuffed animals and a good book.  That isn’t to say that she doesn’t take her aggressions out on a sibling or parent, as she is quite emotional at times.  They are both so very different.

What I have learned while watching the girls interact with each other, their older siblings and even my husband is that what works for one doesn’t work for the other.  I know this is true when you have singletons, and my singletons are almost 4 years apart and are of different genders.  Having two children that are the same age is quite a phenomenon.  When Izzie is upset about something, she has to be left alone.  She cannot be comforted unless it’s on her terms; never pick her up to hug her unless she wants you to.  She would rather lay on the floor sobbing with a stuffed animal than sit with someone to calm down.  If Annie is upset about something, she cries the biggest tears in the world, wants a quick hug and goes back about her day with a huge smile on her face.

It’s been a trip watching the girls grow from babies into girls.  I learn something about them just about every day.  While they tire me out, I love them to pieces.  I love to watch them grow and learn.

 

Who Are We To Judge? Friday, September 5, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 6:41 pm
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As a single mother, I often feel as if I’m being judged moreso than the average parent.

Are they really judging?  That’s a question that I can’t answer honestly, but it’s how I feel.

And since the recent announcement of McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, she’s being judged, too, but not for her being a single parent, but for having a career and a family.

As a single mother, I don’t have a choice.  I HAVE to have a career.  Child support will not support me.  And kids? I’m sure you’re aware.  They are expensive.

Palin has fallen under attack in just a week over her abilities as a mother and a politician.  Politics aside, let’s talk about her parenting.

Is she a bad mother because her teenage daughter is pregnant?

Is she a bad mother because she was back in the office just a few days after giving birth?

Is she a bad mother because she’s chosen to put her family in the spotlight?

What makes someone a bad mother?

Am I am bad mother because I chose to move my children to a city where they knew no one to further my career?

Am I a bad mother because I leave my children with a friend while I travel for business?

Am I a bad mother because I miss my son’s football games because I have to work?

Is she a bad mother?

Am I a bad mother?

Mrs. Fussypants said it best yesterday on Twitter when she stated, “Yep, I do like Palin. Do I agree with everything anyone does? No. I’m not OK with all MY mom choices. :)”

She’s DEAD ON.

We aren’t perfect parents.  None of us are.  Some of us like to appear to others as if we are, but deep down, we know.  We doubt.  We question.

Even Mary and Joseph lost Jesus.  Did you know that?  And if the parents of the Messiah lost their child, why do we think that we can be perfect parents?

It’s time to stop attacking her as a mother.  If you want to attack her views, her platform, her choices in political office, have at it.  That’s what’s supposed to be important in an election, not the way you raise your children.

As she stated in her nomination acceptance speech, her family is like all the other families in America.  They have their ups and their downs.  Just like you and me.

Let’s not forget that before she is the Governor of Alaska, before she is the Republican VP Nominee, she is a mother.  An imperfect mother, just like you and me.

Before passing judgement on her, ask yourself this question, If you were running for political office, what would the critics say about you?

Heather Jacobson is a single mom to Matthew, 11, and Samara, 9.  She’s wading through life in search of sanity in any form and blogs about it at Desperately Seeking Sanity.

 

The Art of Juggling Thursday, September 4, 2008

Filed under: New Mommas — B @ 12:30 pm

“Looks like you should have been more careful what you asked for.”

I looked at the woman with an obviously confused look on my face because she felt the need to clarify that I got exactly what I asked for in my two kids under the age of 9 months.  What I wanted to say to her was mind your own business, but said something more along the lines of, “After what I went through to finally get these two, I’d have taken twice this.” And it’s true.  I did get what I asked for.  Kids.  But what it took was a long time, some tears, a whole lot of pain, and finally the reward.

Being a mother takes skills of all kinds but I never realized that juggling would be one of them.  Toss a baby or two in the air.  Give them company in the form of naps, baths and feedings.  Don’t forget your other duties of cooking, cleaning and that never-ending pile of laundry.  Didn’t you once have hobbies?  Working out, reading, or whatever your gig was?  When it all comes raining down, what will you be able to catch?

I have learned that mothers dread having their kids too close together.  Not because it was my dread but because women seem to openly share their thoughts on my situation.  Either they fear the insanity of it or they fear the inability to catch the right things when they are coming down.  It is a balancing act with one or twelve, old or young, and I’m not sure they understand that.

Recently, I was chatting it up with a couple of women.  The first was a couple of months ago and the lady I was visiting with was due just behind me and our bellies were showing and we were doing our best to be radiant and look brilliant.  I’m sure we leaned more to the side of tired than radiant, but we tried.  We stood watching her little guy while my daughter was with daddy when suddenly she spouted, with tears in her eyes, “I just don’t know how I’ll do it when I have a newborn and an 18 month old who wants so much attention.”  And from there she heaped her fears out in front of us and tossed in a couple insecurities just to be safe.

A couple months later, with less of a belly and two babes, I visited with a woman who had a 20 month old and a one month old.  Our babies had only entered the world a few days apart and I asked her how she was doing.  In about 30 seconds, I learned she had yet to be alone with her two children.  For a month she had the constant companionship of her husband, mother, mother-in-law, or some sibling.  She’d been living in a fantasy world for a month where she didn’t have to do anything for two kids and was quickly going to have to face life with two kids alone in an apartment because she was going home.  You could smell the fear.  Me, I never came up.  I didn’t mind.  I wouldn’t have known what to say to her anyways.

Both times I went home to dump on my husband the annoyance I felt at being used as a dumping ground.  Yes, I said the right things at the time and reassured these mothers, but I didn’t get why they were looking for comfort from a woman who has (or was going to have) a newborn and a seven month old.  What could I say to them?  I didn’t fear the same way they did but I also didn’t feel that it was my place to comfort them with soft words when I wasn’t going to have the gift of having my kids 18-20 months apart and I wasn’t complaining about it.

Accompany those talks with women who see and comment on what I have for company each and every day of my life and they balk at my ability to stay sane.  Mostly I get asked, “How are you doing?” with an inflection that hints that I should be breaking down into tears and confessing that I just can’t handle it.  They are shocked to hear that not only does my husband come home to a wife and two kids every day (yes, he does a head count) but that we are having fun.  My husband was back at work shortly after the birth of our son and I never had someone other than him enter the house to help out.  I pack up two kids and go to the park, walk a half hour to and from the local library, go to the mall or the zoo, and even go out to visit a friend.

There are days I hold two babies who both want and need the loves.  It is true that things don’t always go smoothly.  But when I toss two babies into the air, baths, reading stories, cooking and cleaning, and the other good things that come with my life, I’ve been able to catch the important things.  Two babies.  At times, other things get dropped only to be picked up, dusted off, and thrown back up in the air. But I’ve learned I am capable, if for no other reason than because I believe I am.

 

Motherly Advice

Filed under: New Mommas,Single Mommas — B @ 12:21 pm

It seems that advice, good and bad, are impossible to miss when you are about to have a child, or if you have little ones.  I’ve been offered a plethora of opinions on what I must or must not do with my children and I have to say that I leave way more than I take.  Should we put the baby to bed awake or rock the baby to sleep?  And does it really matter?

Interestingly enough, I got two pieces of great advice along the road that I value greatly and think are worth passing on in case anyone else can use them along the way.  They didn’t come in the words of, “I think you should _____” or anything like that.  Both were simply comments made in passing by women I respected and whose opinion I valued.  Neither of them know I stole these great gems that I will share with you.  Remember, this is a take or leave it program.  If you think it will work for you try it out, if not, leave it behind.

The first piece of advice came from the voice of a friend.  Being a single mom of four young children, she found herself needing to stay calm in situations she typically could explode in.  She found such an aid in the push of a button. 

When her kids got into something they shouldn’t, she’d stop, grab her camera, and snap a few pictures.  Not only did it give her time to cool down and look at the situation differently, but she caught some grand candid moments she otherwise would have left behind.

Take the time that her youngest got into the flour and sugar bins.  He dumped them both out into the corner bottom cupboard and crawled in himself wearing nothing but a diaper.  Being that he had just finished playing in the bathroom he was covered in a nice white paste. 

Or the time she went to the back yard and found her daughter hauling buckets of dirt from their front yard and adding it to the fishpond so she could make sand castles.  She was knee deep in mud and working away. 

She caught another son in the middle of the kitchen table with a nearly full four-liter jug of milk around him and cascading off the sides of the table.  Floating on top was the contents of a box of Cheerios. 

Those pictures and moments were priceless and my friend was able to catch them and laugh instead of react to her children.  Keeping her calm in those situations has made her a better mother in my eyes.

The second lady I stole advice from is someone I’ve known through a friend for some time, but have always thought her to be an amazing lady.  She made a comment in passing one girls night about how she didn’t do any housework after the kids were in bed.  This obviously shocked every mother present since she had three kids and they all knew and understood the fundamental fact that the work never ceases with even one.  All ears, the ladies asked her to explain herself.

Her thinking is that she works all day every day and when the final kid is down for the night it is her time to do something she wants.  Watch a movie, take a bath, walk on the treadmill, or any number of hobbies she had.  She stated simply that if she did nothing but work from the moment she woke until she hit the sack exhausted, she’d be a less happy mother and enjoy her kids less.  During naps and quiet times she goes to town and gets what she needs done around the house so she can enjoy her kids, and dive into her own time when they were down for the night.

These brilliant women and mothers gave me two of the greatest pieces of advice without even knowing they were doing it.  I am a better mother because I follow my kids around with the camera, even though they aren’t old enough to really get into anything yet, and because I take time out for myself. 

After all, who cares if I swaddle left over right or right over left.  It also doesn’t matter if I throw pinks in with the darks now and then.

 

Being married sometimes isn’t any different… Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 6:27 pm

I’ve stated to many that I’ve been a single parent for 8 years now.  It’s easy for me to know how long, as we separated on our thrid wedding anniversary which was just five days after our daughter’s first birthday.

Happy times, I tell ya.  Most people at that time would be purchasing something leather if they are into the traditional anniversary gifts or crystal/glass if they were more contemporary.

Not me.  I was in a tailspin trying to figure out how I was going to make it on my own making a mere $18,000 a year.

While the decision that day, August 30th, was his, I had plans of leaving long before that.  I was tired of what was going on and I was tired of doing it all myself anyway.  I was young, at just 22.  I had a jaded view of what marriage was supposed to be like.  In hindsight, I probably wansn’t any better of a wife to him than he was a husband to me.

The only difference between being divorced and being married, for me, was the second income that I lost.  The second income that was our primary income.  Yes, I worked.  Like I said, I made $18,000 a year, but my job was the stable job, the 9-5 job, the job that provided the insurance.

We made enough to live.  We spent more than we should’ve and as with the majority of marriages, money was our biggest obstacle as we had varying ideas of how it should be spent.

My plan was to stick it out until Samara was in school, four years in the future.  I was going to save money so that when it happened, I would have a nest egg to get started.  Three months after I had made my mind up, it was over.

I have a very dear friend who is married with three children, however, I often refer to her as one of my single mother friends.  Her husband provides little to no support for the children or for her and she’s working a minimum wage, part time job in which she can take her preschooler because he doesn’t want to put the child in day care.

My friend is enslaved to this man, the man that she is supposed to love, honor, cherish, and obey.  The cherishing, honoring, and love left a long time ago, and while he still expects her to obey, she’s lost any desire to even look at the man, let alone obey him.

I can’t say that I blame her.

I try to help her out the best way that I can.  I see her three children, ages 16, 14, and 4 as my own.  I’m their “adopted” aunt and would go to the ends of the earth for them.

It gets sticky because her husband was my “friend” first in that I met him at a church that I was visiting and he was very nice and welcoming to me in my time of trials.  Eventually, I became very good friends with the family and was clueless to the behind closed door happenings.

As we got closer it all came out and he is nothing to me, or anyone else, for that matter, as he is to her.

Tonight, I had it.  She called me and asked me to pick up her children and deliver them to church.  It’s not really a big deal.  No, they aren’t on the way, but they aren’t too far out of the way, either.

When I got there, he was in the shower.  I found it odd that he didn’t bring the kids, so I called and asked her.

He was too tired and refused to bring them.

If the kids didn’t love to come to church, if they didn’t have all their friends there, I supposed that wouldn’t be such a huge deal.  But they wanted to be there and it’s not like she asked him to take them to a party or to the park.  She asked him to bring them to CHURCH which is two miles away.

So I went to get them.  And I was mad.

Rarely do I get on my high horse about all the things that I have to do as a single parent, but it was a busy day for me.  I had to stop work a little early, get my kids ready early, and drive over there to get them.  Again, it wasn’t that I was doing it more so the fact that he knows that she has friends that will do this for her if he doesn’t “feel” like it.

As we sat in church tonight, as I again prayed for God to take the desires of a husband away if he had no intention of me remarrying, I was reminded that a husband is a title.  It’s what you are, on paper, if you chose to marry a woman.

I don’t want just a husband.  I want someone who is going to love me, be there for me as I am for him.  I want someone who puts his family first and sacrifices for us, just like we would do for him.

It doesn’t matter how much money we make, the cars we drive, or the neighborhood that we live in.  All of those items are inconsequential.  What matters is that we are a team.

For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… til death do us part.

Do I still hope that one day I’ll speak those words in front of my loved ones and life partner?  You bet.

But I’m going to stick to my standards because I refuse to lower mine so that someone else can raise theirs.

Heather Jacobson is a single mom to Matthew, 11, and Samara, 9.  She’s wading through life in search of sanity in any form and blogs about it at Desperately Seeking Sanity.

 

What To Do When There Is No One Else… Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 10:26 am
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For the most part, I don’t mind being a single parent. It is what it is. I remember when I was married with just one child, I befriended a single mom at work and I would listen to her go over her routines with her girls.

I remember staring at her in awe and asking her, “How do you do it?”

Her response is one that, over time, I have come to utter more than I would care to in response to those who ask me that same question.

“I do it because I have to.”

That phrase is so very true. I do all that I do, because I have to.  There is no one to help me transport children to school.  There is no one to pick up the kids if I’m running late.  There is no one to help them with their homework because I’m not feeling well.

I do all the things I do because I have to.

Now, this does not mean that I can’t ask for help.  I can.  And I do.

But I can’t ask for help every day.  It’s not fair to my friends who are working and caring for their own families, so therefore, the responsibility lies with me.

Like I mentioned earlier, for the most part I don’t mind.  I’m used to it.

But there are days, like today for example, that I reach the end of my rope.  My very dear friend told me to enjoy the breeze as I was swinging from that rope, but I was so stressed out over the children, their inability to hear me today or do what I asked them to do, that I couldn’t seem to function.

Today was the day that I wished more than anything that someone, anyone, would walk through the door and deal with the kids so that I could at least enjoy a small portion of my day in peace and quiet.

But even though I wished that would happen, I knew that it would not.  I knew that I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps, feed the kids, get to soccer practice only to return home to get them showered and into bed.

And even though I wanted to crawl up in a ball and pull the covers up over my head, I knew that I couldn’t.

I don’t say all of this because I want to be seen as a martyr, because I don’t.  I don’t want to be seen as invincible, because I’m not.  It’s not my intent to make people think that I can do it all, because I can’t.

But I can do what I have to do. My children did not choose to have one parent.  I owe it to them to keep going.  I owe it to them to give them all that I can.

I owe it to them to do it not only because I have to, but because I want to.  I want to show them that depsite the forces that are against you, you can get it all done.  It’s something that they’ll need to know for school, for their jobs, for their relationships… They will have to do things because they have to.

I want to be a good example for them.  Because one day?  They are going to come to me and thank me.

But I’m pretty sure it won’t be today, or anytime soon for that matter, as they are grounded for not doing their chores the first five times I asked.

 

 
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