Friday, January 7, 2011

Struggles and Growing Pains

Forgive my shameless sharing of photos, but I love our girls. These pictures are of Rebekah our youngest daughter, who also happened to be a very big surprise. After having Elizabeth, Chris and I waited a year and used standard birth control pills as a form of contraception. After Lizzie turned a year old, we started trying.

It was four years before we would finally be able to rejoice because I was pregnant. Four years of negative pregnancy tests, tears, longing, and yearning for Elizabeth to have a sibling who would be there for her in case something should ever happen to Chris and I. Of course, when we first started trying for this, Sarah lived with her mom and we barely saw her. Worrying that Kate wouldn't let Sarah see Lizzie is something happened to us, was a valid concern. Chris could barely find Sarah to talk to her on the phone, much less get his visitation like he should have.

So finally on July 2, 2005 Sarah came to our house and hasn't left since except to visit her mom or for sleepovers, you know normal kid stuff. We still wanted another baby, but after trying and failing and making a decision to have gastric bypass, I decided we needed to just give it up. After all, if we couldn't get pregnant, there must be a reason. So I went forward with my plans to have gastric bypass and at first opted to allow them to tie my tubes. But as I thought about it, I realized I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to my fertility (or in this case, lack thereof) and so I told them before going into surgery to not tie my tubes, because after a year or so we might try to have a baby. April 15, 2006 I was wheeled into surgery. I had the Open Roux NY - it is the older version of gastric bypass in which they cut your stomach open from your sternum to past your belly button. I spent five days in the hospital and it hurt a lot. I wasn't completely up to snuff until after a good four months. I could walk around and sleep in my own bed, but if I was too active w/o the belt they gave me to wrap around my abdomen, then I would start to hurt. The weight came off and life moved on and in August 2006, I realized I was a little late on my period.
I told Chris that Sunday night before I took a test that I didn't want him to get excited, but I was late and I felt kind of like I did when I was pregnant with Elizabeth. He was smiling, but I told him to not go there, it was probably just stress from getting the girls ready to start school. Elizabeth had just started Kindergarten, we had her diagnosis in writing from Dr. Kerschon and she was struggling to adjust to an all day classroom setting. Besides, after years of it being negative, I wasn't fully ready to admit that I could be pregnant. After all, I had been praying the week before and told God that He had brought Sarah into our home and she had emotional baggage from living with her mom and Elizabeth had issues and that as long as our girls were healthy and happy that we were happy with what He had blessed us with. Famous last words, huh!
August 28, 2006 I took a pregnancy test. I went to Sheri's house and we agreed, put the test on the table, no holding it up to the light, just leave it alone and see what happens. Sheri went to one side of the kitchen and I stood near the table, but not to near and we just chatted for a few moments and I looked down. WHAT!!!!!! TWO LINES!!!!! Wait, those are bold lines! I looked at Sheri and she looked at me and I started crying. I'd heard stories about women or men who weep for joy, but I'd never felt that before until that moment. I started weeping. Obviously, my first phone call was to the doctor - I had only had my gastric bypass 4 1/2 months prior to this happening. We hadn't planned on getting pregnant, for the most part we'd been very, very careful. One night though before Chris picked up Sarah from her visit with her mom I decided we'd tried for year with no luck, so what were the odds I'd get pregnant. Apparently they were pretty good. So I called the OB/GYN and changed the appointment I'd set up to discuss fertility problems to a prenatal and question time. I was worried. I had read articles about women who had died after getting pregnant too soon.
I called my surgeon right away and told him the news and got chewed out for not being cautious. So I made phone calls and called Chris at home and told him I had a very positive pregnancy test and we would be having another baby. He tells me when he got off the phone that he was wide awake and danced a jig. I called my family. I called Mary and Ted and asked her if she'd like to drive to Wichita and go out for Chinese food (inside joke in the family and another story).
I was scared, but happy. And it's true - each pregnancy is different. With Elizabeth I was sick from morning until night and couldn't even think about food. I lived in bed or on the couch except one day a month when I would be ravenous. With Beka, I was good most of the day until 4 p.m when the nausea would hit and I'd sit in the recliner and not move so I wouldn't throw up or in this case, dry heave. Sarah and Elizabeth ate a lot of hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or sandwiches and Ramen noodles for the first few months. Then I hit that lovely second trimester and food never smelled or tasted so good. Sheri and I were pregnant at the same time and two pregnant women on the phone at night is not a good thing. I would call Chris before he would leave and request a Taco Bell Burrito Supreme with tons of sour cream and pickles. I couldn't stand pickles when I was pregnant with Elizabeth, but I LOVED then this time around. It was great. We ate food like it was going out of style - and since I'd had gastric bypass, I was still losing the weight and I was breaking my pouch rules so Beka could get plenty of food. She was growing and the doctor was watching and making sure she was thriving in the belly and life was good. The last few weeks though my blood pressure began to climb. Dr. Breit had been monitoring it carefully, since Mom had lost one baby to toxemia (pre-eclampsya they call it now) and had almost died with Matt because of the same problem. April 30, 2007 I went into my appointment. I was tired (I'd reached the uncomfortable phase so sleep wasn't so great) and I was starving and I went in and my blood pressure was very high (150/120) and so Dr. Breit insisted we go straight to the hospital. She said for observation - because I had the girls with me, but I stayed, they induced and Beka was born four hours after they started.
Each birth is different. Elizabeth's birth was all day and it was terribly long, I was horribly sick and annoyed and there were tons of people in the room (all family). Chris and I opted for a quite delivery with just him, myself, the doctor and the nurses. I also knew that I didn't want anyone who was perky or cheerful and that I didn't want visitors until after the baby was born. Some people can calmly and quietly labor on with a lot of people around them. I am not one of them, I need quiet and low lights, and only a few people around or I get very, very cranky. I'm terse and annoyed easily - so the second birth was by far a better a experience than the first time around. It helped that I knew what to expect - that I had no control over my body and to just let it happen. It also helped that instead of pushing for an hour like I did with Elizabeth; Rebekah was born after only four pushes. And suddenly, there she was, this amazingly tiny, little blue eyed girl who is still a light in our house.
Each child brings something into your life. Sarah brings questions and lots of joking. Elizabeth brings compassion for those who struggle in life for whatever reason. Rebekah brings a lot smiles and laughter. Each girl is snuggly and cuddly and loves reading books. They all have gone through the princess phase and the scared phase. Each one has different things they loved or don't love. Sarah is all about music, poetry and books. Elizabeth is about drawing, art, reading, and she is discovering music. Rebekah is all about dolls, snuggles, tickling and playing with Mommy and Daddy. As each girl grows each of them develops into their own person - Sarah was our "what if" girl. Elizabeth is into Math and Science and Art. For now Beka is just happy to be happy and play with her dolls.
I hope you all have a good weekend.
Love in Christ,

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