Miss Gemma: A Birth Story

Well, our little miss Gemma is now about 2.5 weeks old and life is more tired, magical, and meaningful than I could have ever anticipated. Our little girl coming into our family is such a wonderful blessing.

It was Thursday, Dec. 3rd around 7 pm at Walmart, when I started to think Gemma might be coming soon. Her due date was Dec. 12th and so when I started feeling a contraction in my back, I got excited, but not too excited. I didn’t think I would actually have her early, but the back contractions felt different.

I told Sam that these contractions were different and that things might be progressing. He had me time them. The contractions kept up for about 30 minutes, but were completely irregular, even though they were stronger than any contraction I had experienced this pregnancy. It wasn’t the real deal.

We got home, put Parker to bed, and had just got settled into bed ourselves, when my first definite contraction hit. It was 11:20pm. It was really strong and I remember feeling and thinking… wow. If this isn’t real, then, that was the biggest Braxton Hicks contraction of my life. In my gut, I knew it was real. But knowing that I had false contractions at Walmart, made me hesitant to say this was the real deal.

5 minutes later. Boom. another strong one, lasting about 1 minute. Then the next contraction happened about 3 minutes after, then 2 minutes. By this point, I was trying to orient myself and start to get ready to go to the hospital. We had already texted Sam’s parents to get them to come stay with Parker.

The next half hour was comical and painful all rolled into one. I was pacing back and forth, trying to get ready for the hospital, while Sam was calling family to get things arranged. He ended up getting me ready too, because I couldn’t think straight at ALL. Good thing I had already packed my hospital bag. My contractions were getting steadily stronger though and coming every 2 minutes. We ended up having a friend in our neighborhood run over to stay with Parker, because we couldn’t wait for family any longer. I felt a big urgency to get to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 12:05 on Dec. 4th. They got me checked into a room and started asking me this long list of questions about my medical history, the medications I take, etc… all while I’m having contractions every 2 minutes. Finally I stopped the nurse and was like, “I’m having strong contractions every 2 minutes or so, can we speed things up?”

Then she checked me. She checked me, extremely fast {I often feel like she checked me too quickly}, while I was having a contraction. Then said “you’re a 4.”

That was the most disappointing news and so critical in what happened during labor.

Before going into labor, I had decided I wanted to try going naturally. With Parker I had gotten to the hospital at a 5, and so hearing that I was a 4, while having very strong contractions was super discouraging. I was already tired and I just didn’t know if I had it in me to go naturally.

15 ish minutes later, Enter my Midwife. I told her I was having really strong contractions, but that I was really discouraged. I asked her to check me again. She said, “they just checked you. I don’t think you’ve changed much in the last 10 minutes.” Logically, I agreed with her. How could I have changed so much? In my gut, I felt differently though.

When she said she wasn’t going to check me, I decided I would get an epidural. The pain was just so much, and I had been told I was at a 4. I thought I would die, if I went all the way.

So they officially admitted me, got me in a labor & delivery room, hooked me up to everything, and ordered the epidural. Throughout all of this, I’m having painful contractions, but I’m trying to shrug it off. I’m only a 4! I can pull myself together and do this, Marla! Then they start to give me the epidural. I distinctly remember them starting to put the needle in as I started having a contraction. I told them, “I’m having a contraction!” They said, “Try to sit still!” And so I tried. But at that point, I was shaking and trying my absolute hardest to stay still. It was one of the hardest things I have done by myself to sit so still and be in so much pain.

I laid down after the epidural and started to feel it work, but at the same time, I still felt the contractions. After trying to turn me to make the epidural spread, and still feeling the contractions, my doctor said she would check me.

She checked me and then got a surprised, but business-like look on her face. She told the nurse “I feel a bulgy bag and a lip.” Then she looked at me and said “We’re gonna have a birthday party!” I was so tired at this point, that this completely confused me. I said “What?” Then she repeated what she had just said. I still didn’t understand, so I said “What am I dilated to?”

You’re a 9 1/2. 

A 9 1/2??? I had just had my epidural minutes ago. I had just convinced myself that I was at a 4, and that I had a couple hours to sleep while I slowly dilated.

Not so. She immediately called everyone in and got the room ready.

13 minutes later. Gemma was in my arms.

Gemma Jean Gale

1:58am. 8 lbs 2oz. 19.5 in long. 
IMG_20151204_100135_05

12309834_10153730667446763_8333447236827395497_o

What a whirlwind. I remember that was the phrase of the night between Sam and I. It had been about 2 1/2 hours since my first contraction and now we were holding our new baby girl. I could hardly wrap my mind around it. With Parker I had hours of time to think about him coming and preparing myself that he would be there. With her, we were given quite the surprise.

I remember the relief I felt wash over me when my midwife told me I was at a 9 1/2. Everything all of a sudden made sense. The intense pain I had been feeling was actually intense pain! I wasn’t at a 4, I was practically complete. I didn’t feel so silly, like I had before. I felt like the nurses thought I was silly. There I was breathing heavily, shaking, and having such a hard time, when everyone thought I was at a 4. To hear that I was going through transition while they were trying to give me an epidural and sit still, made me feel so much better. I was hurting like crazy… and for good reason! It all made so much more sense and I felt stronger, knowing I had done more than I realized.

During the whole process, I was so grateful for Sam. While I felt like everyone else thought I was a wimp, I could see in Sam’s eyes, that he new I was more progressed than I was. He told me early on that he thought if I was progressing quickly that the contractions could be really intense. He made me feel like I was strong, even when I felt weak. He was there for me the entire time, helping with pressure points. During the labor, I felt more than ever that we were a team. He was helping me get through the pain. We were connected and I felt his support so strong. He was the only one I wanted by my side and I felt stronger whenever he was right next to me.

Now, 2 weeks later, we are still so thrilled. She is growing well and we are adjusting and trying to get some sleep. It is special to be with an infant that is so new and so pure. And it was amazing to experience, again, the moment of welcoming a new child into the world.

We love you, Gemma, and are so grateful you are in our family.

12339103_10153736220806763_4245279149336820829_o

12357114_10153745127761763_3271511555949057521_o

Advertisements

What I hope I will do different for Baby #2

Even before we got pregnant with this second baby, I wondered how I would do it all over again; the sleepless nights, the teething, the sleep training, the nursing. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression with my first and so that was on my mind a ton, too. How would I prepare my family, what would I do differently, how could I prevent the onslaught of crazy emotions, and most of all–how could I make this next experience better.

Not that having Parker was bad, but it definitely was hard. A lot harder than I expected. The emotions and depression threw me and my husband for a loop. Not only was it hard to see myself in that condition, but I think it was harder for my husband to see me like that–to try to help, but not quite know what to do.

So what will I change, what will I do differently this time around? Really–what has my first baby taught me:

What I hope I will do different

1. Fill that Prescription. Like yesterday. I noticed with Parker that I was struggling. I was anxious a lot, I was frustrated a lot, and then I started having feelings of “I just want to run away” or “my family would be better off without me” or “can’t I just get out of here?!” I also started having feelings of wanting to hurt myself and my baby, which in my right mind, would not be there. Basically, I should have jumped in my car first thing and went to my doctor. DON’T wait for that 6 week appointment. That’s just 6 week’s of downright crazy. Don’t wait until you have all the signs and symptoms that every website lists. Just know if you are feeling worse and then talk to your doctor. You don’t have to be on the prescription forever, I definitely wasn’t, but it will sure help in the beginning while you’re getting used to almost no sleep, taking care of another human, and trying to wrap your mind around all the crying. Again, this is for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is for me.

2. “This will not last forever.”– Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that these stages really do not last forever. I remember crying to my mom that I was worried I would hate motherhood, because my 3 week old was just not leaving me feeling fulfilled or happy. {Not completely surprising}.

977824_10200800162741418_611722807_oThe stages of waking up every 3 hours at night or sitting in the mothers room for almost the entire church block, or being up with a teething baby DO END. They are so short. I almost have forgotten about them already, which is crazy, because they seemed never-ending at the time. But really, they pass. Soon you are getting a full night’s rest, you are sitting in church with your hands empty listening to a lesson while he’s playing in nursery, and then during the day your baby is playing with toys in the other room entertaining themselves. And then… to top it off they hug and kiss you and tell you gushy things like “I love luuu, mom!” It’s wonderful. So believe that things will change for the better, and that most likely you’ll love motherhood. There’s a reason why lots of people have multiple babies!

3. Get a routine, but let it slide- sometimes. I love routines. I thrive on them and so does Parker. He likes to know what he can expect and so do I. I like that he naturally settles down for nap when I tell him I’m grabbing a vitamin and milk… because he knows he gets to read stories and then rest. I like that I can depend on when to get things done and when to meet people for something due to being predictable. And I like having time to myself and with my husband. It just works for me.

923247_10151641119126763_1750822069_nBut, I’ve also experienced a whole lot of stress and anger (embarrassed about that) when my routine is thrown off. I’ll sit there frustrated that he isn’t in bed, even if we are doing something fun. I’ll worry that the routine will never be the same…. yaddy, yaddy, yada. But, really, it will work out. He’ll make up for it some other day that week, or he’ll take a longer nap at some point, or… he’ll teeth the next night and be up all night and then we’ll be zonked the next day. Whatev. It’s just life. So when you get handed a fun opportunity and it’s not going to be an everyday thing. Do it. Break the routine. Make a memory. And just.have.fun.

4.Thank my husband MORE and have less pity parties. Man, even though he didn’t birth the baby or carry the baby, he sure did do a lot. For me, it was easy to get into this mind set that everything was about me during pregnancy and after birth. I wined a bit, lets be honest. Granted my hormones were wacky and I was healing like no body’s business, BUT, he was doing so much too. I wasn’t the only one sleep deprived, I wasn’t the only one trying to make sense of everything that had changed.

268806_10151641119191763_2021570266_nI wish I would have realized that having a baby is a family matter, even more than I did, and that my physical scars would heal quickly.  I wish I would have thought more about my husband, instead of feeling bad for myself. From working to PAY for the babe, to being there when I went crazy. From calling my mom FOR ME at 1 in the morning, because he knew I needed to talk to someone, to loving me and telling me I was enough, over and over and over. He really was a champ. I wish I would have pulled myself out of my pity parties more and bonded more with him.

Overall, I’m just excited for another baby. I’m so grateful for what my 1st has taught me, and I can only imagine this one will teach me a whole lot more in so many different ways.  I’m excited to try the whole process again, hopefully with a little less stress than before. It’s amazing how experience can change us and teach us. Although, here’s to trying it out with having a 2 1/2 year old. We’ll see how that goes… and hopefully take it in stride.

What have you learned from your kids?… How’s that for a loaded question? 🙂

The opportunities are vying

Sometimes life is just plain old busy. Many nights I’m burning the oil trying to get things done, only to burn the candle in the morning as I wake up before dawn with my son, who is all ready to play with his choo-choo trains and fix something with daddy’s special tools.

It’s no secret that the pace of life has picked up speed in recent years. Each year there seem to be more things vying—literally vying—for my attention, time, and energy. I see other moms crafting it up and making their home a beautiful place with their own special touch. I see them taking on side projects to bring in a bit of extra income. I see others making baby books as a touching keepsake and becoming more fit than ever before.

Good.Better.Best These endeavors and opportunities are all good and I often wonder if I should start doing them too. I almost feel I need to take on something extra to simply “fit in.” But, it seems with the overwhelming amount of good opportunities there is a chance I could start forgetting the best things—my child, my relationships, and our good ole’ family down time; laughing together, rolling around on the floor wrestling, throwing  a ball outside. The stuff solid families are made of.

“Not everything… is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” –Dallin Oaks,    

 Good, better, best.

I’m beginning to realize not every activity, opportunity, or project may be worth my while. It may be a good use of my time, but is there something better, or best? I have a choice. The choices I make now will largely influence how close I am to my kids, what they value later in life, and how they choose to live. Time is not forgiving, and even if I have the best of intentions to spend the time with my family, it won’t just happen.

Family edit 681Sometimes the best use of my time will be saying, “No”. No to an opportunity. “Sorry, I want more time with my family. I already have too many distractions, I don’t want another.” It turns out, staying at home with my boy is “enough.” Staying at home with yours is, too.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” – Tim Duncan

My boy, who seems like he was born the day before yesterday is almost 2. I’m starting to realize life is fast. Life is just too full of potential to be less than intentional with my time and with the people I love the most.

For those opportunities that come vying–unless you’re best, sorry, I’ll say no.

Have you had similar thoughts and wondered how to slow down and simply enjoy your family? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts!

I would love to connect with you on a more personal level. Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where I share more of my daily ins and outs, cooking faux pas, and overload of child cuteness!

The best choices I made for myself

There seems to be a notion among ladies that getting married is practically selling your soul to a life of boredom and having children is waving goodbye to your health, good looks, and happiness. Before embarking on my journey with both, I didn’t have much to say–I spoke on faith alone that marriage and motherhood would bring happiness. But now? Now I speak from experience; from evidence in my own life. best choices marriage motherhoodYes, if we’re speaking in terms of doing what is best for yourself–marriage and motherhood are simply a good choice. It isn’t choosing a life of giving up all you love, it is gaining a life of meaning.

If you marry well–marriage will be no where close to living a life of boredom, it’s the opposite. It’s getting so comfortable with one person, you feel you can be your absolute crazy self, your whole self–no feeling of trying to impress or be something you’re not. You have a best friend who will be there to wipe away your tears, vent your frustrations to, and be a crazy nut with, all without a second thought of them judging you. No, marriage has been my happiest years, my craziest years, and my most fulfilling all in one.

Not only that, it has been best for my self-worth, too. There is someone who knows all about me, seen all of me, and never leaves. No one-night stands here. There is someone who inspires me in my goals, keeps me accountable for what I’m working on, and reminds me day-in and day-out that I’m beautiful and worthwhile–even when I feel ugly and insignificant. Never have I been more self-assured than since I’ve been married.

And now about the kids.

When I was pregnant, I heard two girls behind me talking about their friend who was pregnant. One of them expressed her disdain for pregnancy and said:

“Pregnancy completely ruins your body.”

While pregnancy can be taxing, strenuous, and dangerous, most of all–it is beautiful. It doesn’t completely ruin your body. That is a hoax. In reality, it fulfills its purpose. I’ve never felt so whole or complete, than after I had my baby. Pregnancy and motherhood have brought me happiness, not stolen it away.

Since having my first, I’m healthier than before. I have way more reason to hit the gym, than simply wanting a slim bod. I workout and eat right because there are little ones I want to play with, memories I want to have, and a life I want to live. Yes, motherhood has fueled my desire to live and growing a baby inside me has never gotten in the way.

“Being a mother is not what you gave up to have a child, but what you gained from having one.”–Unknown

Don’t believe the lie that marriage and motherhood will strip the fun out of life; that marriage will confine you to a dull relationship and motherhood will make your body damaged goods, because it simply is not that way. If you do believe the lie, you may be robbing yourself of the greatest happiness you’ll ever know.

If you enjoyed this post, then don’t forget to vote! Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, I would feel honored if you would click on this badge to vote for me!

Make it gleam

We put up our first Christmas tree this last week. I’m relishing in the joy of Christmas decorations and the pervading warmth that streams from the lights, the ornaments, the nativity, and the continuous Christmas tunes that waft throughout our house. Mmm, Christmas time just warms my heart.

Today I was gazing at our tree, as I often do during the day, and realized Christmas is what we make it. Life is what we make it.Make it gleam

Our Christmas tree is beautiful to me, because of the ornaments we hand-picked and thoughtfully placed. Our Christmas tree is dazzling because of the strands of beads we carefully strung around the tree. Our Christmas tree gleams because of the lights carefully arranged throughout the tree.

But without all our effort, our Christmas tree is just a tree. An ordinary tree that perhaps wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. It is what we did with the tree that makes it beautiful, dazzling, and gleaming with beauty.

My life may seem rather ordinary, and perhaps it is, but it’s what I’m doing each day that makes it gleam even more. The giggles I embrace, the prayers I say, the smiles I gift to others, the compliments I give my husband, the grace I extend to myself and others, all add a special gleam, a special dazzling effect to my life.

The more we invest and enjoy; the more willing we are to let our personality gleam and shine, the more our tree of life will gleam.

“Life is not always perfect, but it’s always what you make it. So make it count, make it memorable.”-Unknown

Life is what we make it, what we put into it. If life gives you a tree–decorate it–make it gleam.

How have you tried to make the most of your life? What is your favorite part of the Christmas season? Or how does Christmas revive you spiritually? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you would click the banner to vote for me!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you would click the banner to vote for me!