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A BIRTH STORY - MERCER ANSEL

5.25.2017


I guess Mercer's birth story starts a couple of days before my due date. I had a check-up with my doctor and I was only dilated to a one; no signs that anything was starting yet, but things can change quickly at the point in pregnancy, so I wasn't worried. We talked hypothetically about induction and when that would be done, but not at length, because neither one of us expected it to be an issue. Adelaide was born a day early, so of course Mercer would come any day, right? 

Fast forward to the next week (Monday I think), my doctor was just as surprised as I was to see me at another check up. I was about 40 1/2 weeks, still dilated to a one, no signs of anything starting... We went ahead and scheduled an induction for that Friday. I really hadn't given induction any thought at all. After all, Adelaide came on her own, no problems whatsoever. So scheduling that induction wasn't scary, or stressful or anything, because there was not one ounce of me that thought I would actually be showing up for an induction. I just knew I was going to go into labor any minute. I left that appointment and bought red raspberry leaf tea and pineapple just to be safe. That would make it a sure deal. Right?

Fast forward a couple more days: Thursday, the day before the scheduled induction. Still no signs of anything. At that point, I had been drinking 3 cups/day of red raspberry leaf tea for 2 days and eaten almost 2 entire pineapples on my own and walked endless circles around our yard while Adelaide napped. I went to an abandoned parking lot and walked on the curb, one foot up on the curb, one foot on the ground for half and hour. (I had been assured by another mom at Adelaide's school that it would make me go into labor.) I left there and drove over to the local library where I climbed up and down a flight of stairs for another 20 minutes. 

Nothing.... except exceptionally sore calves.

Now I was starting to worry. I didn't want to be induced. I wanted things to happen naturally like they had before. I wanted my body to have time to adjust to labor and to trust that my body would do what it needed to do on its own when the time was right, when Mercer was ready. It went fast with Adelaide as it was, and I was scared of what it would be like when it was forced to happen. I went back and forth and cried and cried and cried. Eventually, I decided I would call my doctor and push the induction to the following Monday.... he couldn't do Monday, if I wanted to wait, it would have to wait until Tuesday, but he "did not advise that I wait that long." At my appointment earlier in the week, he had told me that after 41 weeks, you're basically just waiting for something to go wrong, hence scheduling the induction. He said it just wasn't worth risking something happening to the baby when my bishop score said I had a low risk of needing a c-section if induced. But I was convinced that I would go into labor naturally, I just had to give it time... maybe my due date was off and I wasn't as far past as my doctor thought. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to worry. What if he was huge by the next week? He measured at 8 lbs 2 oz earlier in the week... what if waiting meant he got too big for me to be able to do it anyway? What if something terrible happened to Mercer all because I didn't want to be induced? Was I being selfish? After lots more back and forth with myself, tons of tears, calling a friend for advice and crying some more, I decided I should just go ahead with the induction the next day as planned. It just wasn't worth risking his safety when everything indicated that an induction should go perfectly fine. So, with my tail between my legs, I called my doctor's office again, and asked to have it moved back to Friday (the next day). My doctor was already gone for the day. They couldn't change it. That was it, I had made my bed and now I had to lie in it. Cue more tears... but eventually accepted it and made peace with the plan. If it hadn't been for the "I wouldn't advise it." from my doctor, I would've been happy with plan, so I focused on my desire to let things happen naturally.

6:30 Friday morning, I wake up to a phone call from the hospital. "Are you coming in for your induction this morning?" Ummmm.... no? What? Huh??? Apparently, my doctor didn't call to tell them I wasn't coming until the next week since it was late in the day when it all happened.

Wow.... this is getting long.... it'll get quicker (way quicker) once I get to the hospital....

I told the nurse of the new plan, to wait until the following Tuesday. "How far along will you be then?" "41 week and 6 days." I told her. She said she did not think that was a good idea, that was too long, it wasn't safe. She recommended I call my doctor's office to try to get it done that day. Remember how I got okay with the plan, now I was terrified. So, when my doctor's office opened, I called. My doctor was in surgery. His nurse was not sympathetic at all, afterall, this was all happening this way at my request. Then I started crying. She felt bad for me then, and said she would talk to my doctor when he go to the office. I heard back from her around 12:30. My doctor agreed to go ahead and induce me if I could get to the hospital asap. Oh, sweet relief. I had been worried sick for hours. At this point, I just wanted him to be born so I could stop spending my days worrying about why it wasn't happening. I called Jordan who had just finsihed up a job about half an hour away, he came home, my mother-in-law left work to come stay with Adelaide and we got to the hospital a little after 2pm. I was dialated to a 2.5 when we got there and apparently I was having contractions, though I couldn't feel them at all. Who knows how long that had been going on? I also had low a fever. Yep, I had a cold on top of it all and could barely talk and was so congested I couldn't breathe through my nose at all. Wonderful timing on all points, huh? The nurses got the Pitocin going pretty quickly after we got there, but I wasn't feeling too much in the way of contractions for a while. 


They did come though....

  

^^ These photos do not do justice to the pain I was in...  I must have a good poker face when it comes to overwhelming pain! And thanks to Jordan for having the foretougt to take photos of my misery, haha! ^^

I finally decided to get an epidural at about 6:15 after probably a couple of hours of pretty good contractions (by good, I mean bad :). When it comes to an epidural, there's really no reason to wait! Why do so many of us want to wait and wait and wait? I did the same thing with Adelaide and nearly missed my chance to get one at all. If you're planning on getting one anyway, just get it! It's not like it's going to run out or you're going to prove what a woman you are by suffering through it as long as you can. Anyway....

My doctor came in to break my water somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00. He said he was expecting a baby around midnight. There were bets as to whether Mercer would be an April Fool's baby. The contractions got way more intense really quickly after that. Even with the epidural, I was in such pain. It was a totally different experience time. With Adelaide, I had been having contractions for about a day before she was born. They felt like really bad cramps, I could feel the tightening around my belly, just like I always read it would be. The were strong (remember me standing in the middle of the road at the hospital because I could not move through the contraction?) But once I got the epidural, nothing. Not a damn thing. No pain whatsoever. I couldn't move anything from the waist down for hours even after she was born. Dead weight. With Mercer, there was no crampy feeling, just pressure. Intense, downward pressure. I could never understand how pressure could hurt before that experience, but it can. Oh wow, it can! And I could still move my legs, that probably should've tipped me off that this time was not going to be the same. I don't know if it was just a much more intense experience because it was happening so quickly and it was forced or if the epidural just didn't take as well this time... By 8:00, I had been telling my nurse that it was hurting like crazy, I told her about the intense downward pressure and she said it was him moving down. There couldn't have been more than a minute between contractions, it seemed almost constant. When they would let up, I just felt exhausted. I could barely open my eyes, I just wanted to sleep. At some point, someone made a call to let my doctor know it was probably time to head to the hospital. When my nurse she checked again me though, his head was there. Like, "Right there" she said (I could get more specific about just how close he was to greeting the world with no doctor present, but believe me when I say, he was right there!) Then understood completely why it was hurting so damn bad! I felt that urge to push that people describe, which I didn't experience at all with Adelaide. I could just feel my body telling me it was time for that baby to get out! My mom and sister were in the hallway at that point and apparently, the nurses were yelling at my doctor as he arrived to hurry up, he's coming! That part was very much the same as it was Adelaide. The part where the baby didn't care if there was a doctor there or not. Impatient! Both of em.

The doctor came in, I pushed twice in a row, one contraction (during which Jordan told me, and I vaguely remember, I said rather loudly- though I don't think it was a yell ;)- "It f**cking huuuurts!" and holy shit, did it!), and there he was. I was in complete and utter disbeleif that that was it. He was there. That fast.

 

As my doctor was stitching me up, I could feel that damn needle... the sharp as hell pain of those stitches going in. He asked if I had one of those button things... and at that point I remembered that I had that extra juice button for my epidural, and I should've been using is for, like, the past hour. It's amazing how pain can make you so foggy that you don't even realize you have a way to stop it. So, someone gave me the button, I pushed it and the pain went away. So yeah, I endured all of that for no bloody reason. What a dummy.

But that was that. Mercer Ansel was born at 8:12 pm. 7 lbs 7 oz (yeah, that 8+ pound estimate was way off), 20 inches long and perfectly healthy.



I don't know if things would've happened on their own if I had just waited. Probably? But in the end, he made it to the world safe and sound, and that's really all that matters. Two completely different birth experiences, two completely perfect kids :)

36 WEEK PREGNANCY UPDATE

2.23.2017


   

^^ 36 Weeks Pregnant with Adelaide, 36 Weeks Pregnant with Mercer ^^

So, where to start..... Well, I'll quickly address the craziness going on in the photo on the right. That's everything out of our kitchen piled up there behind me. Why you might ask? Well, because we thought it would be a great idea to do a kitchen reno a month before baby is due. Is that some out of control version of nesting or something? I'll revisit that topic with a couple more photos in a minute, but first, how about a little pregnancy comparison and update?

This pregnancy has been different from the get go, that was what made me lean toward thinking maybe we were having a boy this time. It hasn't been night and day or anything, but different. A little harder. A little less fun. I don't know if that's all about the pregnancy or the fact that I've got Adelaide this time (although last time I had 17 four year olds in my class...), or maybe just because it's the second time around and the novelty just isn't there like it was the first time, or maybe the fact that Jordan's not doting on me at all like the first time around? I've missed that bit the most I think :( Whatever the reason, I am feeling more ready to not be pregnant this time than last time (heck I was totally into it up until the moment Adelaide was born), and I don't anticipate missing not being pregnant anymore like I did last time either. 

Okay, specifics.... Mercer moves way more. Like, 95% of the time or something. Like, right this minute, moving. When I wake up in the morning, moving. When I drive Adelaide to school,moving. When I get in bed at night, moving. When I wake up in the middle of the night (any of the 20 times), moving. There are definitely uncomfortable kicks and pokes and twists, which I don't remember having at all with Adelaide. Maybe he's bigger, or he's just preparing me for all the boy that is to come? I feel way more impeded. Like bending over feels like way more of a hassle. And rolling over at night or getting off the couch. I think my stomach muscles are way more shot this time. Also, I had a random few days of being woken up at night with indigestion/acid reflux about a week ago. None of that last time. On the plus side, I've only had one middle of the night leg cramp this time (knock on wood), which I battled with way more last time. I think I look a bit bigger; at least I 100% feel bigger this time. With Adelaide I strutted around feeling more confident about my body than I had in years; thinking I was just so cute and being totally happy with my looks. This time? Let's just say it's basically the opposite. The word whale comes to mind a lot.

Also, this "weekly" photo was the first I've done since 20 weeks. I might've missed one or two last time. I'm thinking I'm already seeing just how much different #2 is going to be. I just don't bloody care this time! Haha! It's actually quite nice to be so much more laid back and I'm hoping that feeling sticks around.

Okay, so onto the kitchen situation.

   

^^ Note that this is before about 50% more stuff got shoved over in this corner, including the refrigerator ^^

So, this all started in January, when I decided to replace the cabinet doors. Not that Jordan was totally in the dark, we've had numerous conversations about the things we planned on doing pertaining to our house, we just never got past the first few steps before something else came up and it all got pushed to the back burner. This time, I was serious and I got it done. So, new doors = painting. Well, while we're at it, should we just go ahead and do the concrete counter tops we've been talking about for years? Let's do it! And the back splash (which I've wanted to change for quite a while now) is going to get messed up when we pull the counter tops out, so that's gonna have to go... So that's where we're at. As of today, the kitchen has been emptied for 3-4 days, (with no sink or oven or microwave access for 2 days) the doors and cabinet boxes have been primed and Jordan is about to start 1 of 3 (I think he said) coats of white paint! It already looks so much brighter in there, it's going to look amazing! That being said, it's a total pain the rear and I know Jordan is hating every second of it and cursing me in his head every step of the way. And I can't say crawling around on the floor scraping up old caulking or moving everything out of the kitchen while 36 weeks pregnant was a walk in the park. This is exactly the kind of thing he avoids at all costs. Once he's done with the painting though, he's going to start on the concrete counter tops, which I think he'll actually enjoy (of course, that's based on a scale where nothing is really want to be doing with your free time). He will of course enjoy the bragging rights and the praise that is guaranteed to follow, so don't go feeling sorry for him or anything. 

The plan is for the counter tops to get poured this weekend so that hopefully the sink can go back in by Wednesday, because Jordan is flying out Wednesday night for a few days of spring training in Arizona. And leaving Adelaide and I here for that many more days without a sink would just be mean. Not that I'd complain though, in all honesty. I'm just insanely stoked to have this all happening, finally! 36 weeks pregnant or not. Yeah, we'd be totally screwed if Mercer decided to show up early, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. Like Jordan said, "Why take the smooth flat road when you can climb straight up the mountain on a cow trail?" (Which, incidentally, is exactly what he does on his motorcycle trips.) So he's serious when he says that. 

Besides the kitchen reno and the last stretch of the pregnancy countdown, here's what else is going on.... Jordan's working, of course, as well as taking 2 classes and a lab. I'm trying to sort out things for Mercer. He has a place to sleep (in our room) and clean clothes for the first couples of weeks (unless he comes out huge... I'm not at all prepared for that). Those are really the most important bits, right? I'm going to be starting a part-time work from home job in May! (assuming everything works out the way I think it's supposed to) I'm really excited about that, but nervous about how it's all going to work out with a new baby here too. We've also got a big medical battle on the horizon in my family, so I'm trying to get things sorted as much as I can so I can be there to help as much as possible for that.... Oh, did I mention there's talk of enclosing our breezeway again? That plan has come and gone at least 4 times over the past year, but this time it's looking like we might actually do it. We have actual, architect-drawn plans this time. So maybe Adelaide and Mercer won't be sharing a room after all? At least, not indefinitely. Hmm, wonder when we'll find time to get going on that? Yep, it's kinda crazy around here these days! Gotta keep things exciting ;)


BABYMOON

2.17.2017

You've all heard of a babymoon I assume? That one last hurrah before the baby arrives and throws your life into a total tailspin, never to be mistaken for your old life ever again? Well, this wasn't exactly the typical relaxing long weekend away for the parents-to-be. Nope, it was definitely our spin on the whole babymoon concept. Since Adelaide has been really enjoying our camping trips over the past year, we really wanted to get one more in before the little mister gets here. We didn't start camping with Adelaide until she was 2 years old. While we're hoping to get back into in with #2 along for the ride much earlier, I'm still expecting it to be a little while. So with all that in mind and Jordan with a couple of free weeks in January, we headed West. Where else are you going to go in January and not freeze beside the desert? 

Our first stop was Monahans State Park in West Texas, where we check out some dunes:



And we saw the first of many amazing desert sunsets:



After that we continued West...



^^ Looking for coyotes ^^




...and eventually landed in the Tucson area where Adelaide took in the zoo. The highlight of that, of course, was the carousel. Though the camel ride was a definite highlight as well (which took an amazing amount of coaxing on my part... coaxing, possibly bordering on threatening given we had shelled out 40 bucks for the special passes allowing her to ride the carousel and camel, and I'd have been damned if she didn't get on the freakin' camel!) You know, all the stuff you go to the zoo for...



This trip was my first time to see Saguaro cacti in real life, up close, and it was totally crazy. Like landing right the the middle of a Wylie Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon. It's amazing how huge they get!


   



We made it just into to California for a couple of nights of BLM camping. Much to my amazement, we saw orange trees. Just growing right alongside the road. Like, just growing oranges on them. (And pistachio trees in Arizona!) I don't know, maybe that's only amazing and beyond like, whoa to me. Whatever :)


While in California we were also faced with the difficult decision on whether to eat lunch at a local bakery/sandwich shop place with amazing Yelp reviews, ooooor hitting the Baja Fresh. I love Baja Fresh. We don't have Baja Fresh in DFW anymore. The last time I had Baja Fresh was years ago in Lake Tahoe.... ooooh man that black bean burrito... Alas, Baja Fresh was in a gas station, and so the local place won out. I think the possibility of some delish baked goods for dessert may have also swayed me (if you know me, that will come as no surprise :). There weren't any delish baked goods though :( But, the sandwiches were good. Excellent Pepsi too.  ;)

Next up, our stop at White Sands National Monument where Jordan and Adelaide got in a few more dune slides:

   

That's right, I said sand. It was absolutely so cool to see that bright white sand in the middle of the desert. Definitely worth the stop!



^^ Also, this. Just because it's cute ^^

Food highlight: We stopped back by Blue House Bakery in Carlsbad, NM on our way home (which we found last year on our trip to the dunes out there, and hit up twice during that trip). Like, we went out of our way and designed a route specifically through Carlsbad and drove until like 9:00 the night before in order to be able to go there for breakfast. It's that good. For reals. I started with a cinnamon roll appetizer, followed by the bacon, egg, cheese and green chili croissant and a chocolate croissant to go. I'm pregnant, so I get to do whatever the hell I want when it comes to food :) And, Adelaide got to say hi to her old friend :)

 

I will say we/Adelaide struggled a bit, particularly around days 3-4 or so, after lots of time in the truck and not much time to run around and play or make any choices of her own really. The zoo trip in particular was trying. But after that, Jordan heeded my advice and started seeking out playgrounds for Adelaide and let me tell you, that made a world of difference. Once she got used to the fact that her schedule was out the window, especially considering I never even knew what time it was and she started getting some time to do her own thing, we were golden. Two weeks across 4 states. I think that'll get us through the next few months. 



IT'S CHRISTMASTIME AGAIN

12.04.2016


We made our annual trip to the mall to visit Santa and it went so well! I mean, look at that smile! She definitely had her reservations at first, but with a little carousel ride bribe and a little push from Mom, I got her on Santa's lap and got an adorable smile. By then she warmed up and happily talked to Santa, telling him that she wants an Anna dress for Christmas (I think "Santa" may have already gotten it too ;) I am so excited to see her really enjoy the magic of Christmas this year! 

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