Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jocelyn's Birth Story

Baby Jocelyn joined our family at the tail end of November 2015. She is perfect and beautiful and now 7 months old, sitting, trying to crawl, has two teeth and is in love with all her people. It's taken me this long to be able to write about her birth, just to have it on record somewhere.

Jocelyn is my fourth baby and my second cesarian delivery. My doctor assumed the other c-section was my third baby, but actually it was my first! I had two VBACs, then, for a variety of reasons, elected to have a c-section this time around.

From prior experience with "late" babies, and with my due date falling just after Thanksgiving and no one wanting to schedule a c-section then, I was able to schedule it for 39 weeks, 6 days. I never once thought I'd go into labor earlier than that (I didn't), and in fact, this was my shortest pregnancy! One advantage of a scheduled c-section is knowing how many days you have left!

I dealt with a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy with Jocelyn. I was worried about my health, worried about being older, worried about the birth, worried something would be wrong with the baby. There were no indications that anything would be wrong. We had a very talented ultrasound technician tell us everything was fine, and after Jocelyn was born the pediatrician gave her double 10s on the apgar test. I'm still not sure what caused all the anxiety, but it was a reality that I struggled with for months before and after Jocelyn's birth.

One thing I did to help alleviate my anxiety regarding the c-section was to stop thinking about it. I tried to call it "birth" or "delivery" or at least "the procedure". I also tried to focus on meeting the baby, what it would be like to see her and hold her, and finally be a mommy to a GIRL. I tried to remember this was a routine "procedure" and think of all my mommy friends who have had c-sections and how they are just fine now.

I guess I'm mentioning this because having a scheduled c-section takes the physical part of labor away, but leaves you with the emotional part times ten! In labor, you can't really think about anything else, but preparing for a c-section, there's nothing else to think about!

There was a list of things I had to do to prepare the day before, not eating or drinking after a certain time, washing with a certain soap, not wearing make-up or jewelry, etc. We had to be at the hospital super early and it's a 45 minute drive. It was a little surreal to go to the hospital fully prepared to meet our baby girl but to not be in labor!

We checked in at the Emergency Room because the main hospital wasn't open yet. Everything went fine and I chose to walk upstairs to Labor and Delivery because I knew it was the last time in a long time that I would want to walk! I knew where to go because of a series of non-stress tests we did every week because of my "advanced maternal age". (I'm 40.) I changed into the wonderfully ubiquitous hospital robe and sat in the bed while the nurses did preliminary tests, placed the IV, and I tried not to get nervous.

After a few minutes they wheeled me down to Surgery and the nerves tried to get me. Later, I had to ask for heated blankets because the stress and the chill of the pre-op room gave me shivers! My husband was a rock, holding my hand, trying to crack jokes, helping me relax by imagining what the baby would be like.

The worst part of a c-section for me is when they wheel you into the Operating Room and your husband is not there. It seemed like forever, but I was expecting it and just tried to stay in the moment. It was that or black out! And seriously, I was almost 40 weeks pregnant and very very ready to meet my baby girl!

They placed the spinal and helped me lie down. So weird and awkward with your legs getting numb! They propped me up kind of sideways, and I was glad for the oxygen because laying on your back THAT pregnant is not fun! They placed the partition wall and everyone kept saying hi to me. I'm sure I'd met them at the office, but with scrubs and masks, I barely recognized the head surgeon!

Finally Gary could join me again. I was almost excited because I knew we were minutes away from holding Jocelyn! The weirdness of the surgery--ooops, procedure--continued longer than I thought. It seemed forever with adjusting and tugging and pulling and talking. Then someone said they could see her and she was beautiful!

They finished whatever they do, then handed Jocelyn to the pediatrician. She was making a sweet little cry and sounded upset that they had disturbed her in her cozy nest. There were lots of ooos and aaaahhs from the staff, comments on her size and how smart and perfect she was. The pediatrician told us her stats and assigned her a 10 on both apgar tests! The other staff said he never does that, so I was beyond thrilled!

At last--really about 5 minutes or less--they snuggled Jocelyn next to my head while Gary held her. It was perfect.

It took a few more minutes to get out of Surgery and wheeled to Recovery. I honestly don't remember what went on in there. I just knew I was warm and comfortable (still numb from the ribs down), the surgery was over and my baby girl was perfect.

The rest of the day centered around holding Jocelyn. I just couldn't get enough! I held her and fed her and we napped and Gary held her and went to get food for himself (our hospital didn't cover that, but others do). Of course the staff kept checking on me and my stats and my bandages and all. I gradually began to feel my legs and move my toes. I sat up but didn't get out of bed until the next day.

I really had a good experience with Jocelyn's birth. To be honest, the few months following were some of the most difficult. I always find the postpartum period to be the hardest, and recovering from a c-section doesn't make it any better. It was also winter and the northern part of the country where we live only has about 6 hours of sunlight in December, plus it was snowy and really cold! It was cozy and nice until Christmas, but January and February were hard months for me!

But that's another story, one that I'm not sure I'll tell here. Just know that postpartum depression is real. As my best friend says, sleep deprivation is a form a torture and all new moms are chronically sleep deprived!

So any of you moms with c-sections coming up, you can do it! Focus on the birth and seeing/holding your new baby! Recovery will be slow at times, your body will look and feel weird for a long time, but it will get better. Our bodies are amazing and healing will happen!

Thanks for reading my story!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Catching Up

Well, bummer, I didn't mean to disappear like that again! I have so much I want to share from the last 5 months and ideas for the future.

Baby Jocelyn is 6 months old now! She is sweet and precious and I'm just so thrilled she's part of our family! I will catch you up on her weekly photos and some thoughts about her birth and the "4th trimester" (always the hardest for me) soon.

Our oldest, Jonathan, recently finished the school year! So proud of this kid! He's very much looking forward to next school year and being with his friends again, but he's so glad to get a break from homework. Funny thing is, I'm sneaking phonics and reading and math into our daily schedule. :)

All three boys celebrated birthdays in May. Jared is 7.

Jonathan is 9.

And Josiah is 5! I just... Wow!

Spring this year has been rainy and cooler, other than a week of really high temps. It's very green outside and there are lots of wildflowers. It's absolutely beautiful.

I'm trying to get back into walking every day. I did great for a few days after school was out, then our schedule was interrupted. The miles are adding up, but the consistency isn't there and I want it to be.

We're still renting, at least for now. We've been stalking our real estate apps and our agent alerts us to new homes on the market. We are excited to buy and be able to DIY again!

I'm keeping this short so I can actually publish it. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flashback Friday {Nursery Tour}

Our baby girl is 7 weeks old now and doing great! I feel like all I'm doing is taking care of her. I'm not sure how I did it all when her brothers were younger. At one point I had a baby, a toddler and a preschooler, plus I was doing home projects and blogging about them!

My favorite project of all time is my third son's nursery. (That's him in the picture with Jocelyn.) The window wall reveal post has gotten over 38,000 hits in the last 4 years! Since I'm still super proud of this room, I thought I'd share the tour with you today. Enjoy!


Welcome to our nursery!

The first thing you'll notice when you enter the room is this big window framed with blue silk curtains and chippy barnboards. You can read about it here.

In front of the window I added a child-sized rocker with a basket of books. Perfect for entertaining big brothers!

To the right of the window is a tall chest of drawers that was recently featured at Better After! So proud of that!
Here is my post about this dresser's amazing transformation.

I love the look of green plants in every room; not only do they add some fresh green to a room, they're good for the air! Yes, that's my middle son in the frame. I need to print some current pictures!

Next to the dresser is my favorite chair. I've had it forever and it rocks and swivels, so it's perfect for nursing and rocking Baby. I've included a small table for my Bible and water, or my laptop so I can try to catch up with my favorite blogs.

 Above the chair is a gallery wall. You can read more about it here.

Baby's crib is next to my chair. It used to be plain wood, but I painted it and installed the board and batten right before Baby was born... and never blogged about it! I will milk this nursery for as many posts as I can do a before-and-after post soon.

No crib is complete without a mobile! Here is what I created (and here is where you can read more about it).

The door to the hall is at the foot of the crib. Besides painting it white, I've done nothing to it, so there's no picture except the glimpse you get of it next to the closet. Here is a post about the closet.

 I added the sign today and thought I'd skip a tutorial cuz everyone has fancy vinyl machines... Not me! This is my trusty sharpie marker and kindergarten teacher skills!

My older boys (ages 2 and 4) love to play in this little nook.

Of course they prefer the bedspread-turned-curtain down so they can hide!

Next to the closet is this vanity I redid, also featured at Better After and blogged about here. You won't believe the before pictures of it! Now it has been reinvented as a changing table. I bet it never saw that one coming! (Looks like a need a bigger basket for Baby's laundry so it will hide the cords!)

I made this sweet little banner using a receiving blanket.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks for visiting!


So what do you think? I just love that room. I'm curious how it would have evolved if we had stayed in that house. I know I'm not over board and batten and can't wait to buy our own home again so I can add more!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Project #walk365 {November}

This post is so late that I almost skipped it, but I want it here for posterity. So here goes!

In January of 2015 I set a goal to walk 365 miles during the year. I meant it as a goal to walk every day, and for the first half of the year I did just that.

During the second half of the year walking daily wasn't as easy to do, so I upped the miles on the days I did walk (usually two miles per day). I made my 365-mile goal on my birthday in early October, despite a hot summer, a cross-country move, and being pregnant!

But November. November was hard! It was the last month of my pregnancy and as you can see by the pictures, we started to get snow! I cut back my miles to only 5 a week, and tried to get out as much as I could.

I did ok in the rain and slush and cold, but around Thanksgiving we had ice. I walked two more times and threw in the towel! Walking on ice at 38 weeks? No thanks! My total miles logged for #walk365 was 413.

Overall, I'm super proud of myself! I think walking made a huge difference in my pregnancy. Most of the time I felt pretty good and my weight gain stayed in the healthy range.

My goal for 2016 is to walk 500 miles. I know it's not a big difference from 2015's 413, but we're nearly a month into the year and I've walked less than 1 mile!* I'm still recovering from a c-section, I have a newborn, and it's cold and snowy outside, so I'm not going to worry about it yet! With those things in mind, I think #walk500 is a great goal.

*I purposefully go on a walk or log mileage on my treadmill. I use Runkeeper and only log these intentional miles, not the daily mileage I might get around the house or running errands. I think that's great too, but wanted to clarify what "counts" for me.

If you want to walk with me, you know, virtually, I'll be using the hashtag #walk500 or you can follow me on Instagram. I'm gibsongirl726.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pregnancy #4: 40 Weeks & Summary

Ok, this is the last of these pregnancy posts! This was a fun little marker for me to do each week.

The weather turned cold in November, so week 37 is the last one shot outside. I also had to start going to the hospital each week for non-stress tests given my "advanced maternal age".

By week 38 I had cut back to walking only half a mile 5 times a week, and it took me half an hour to do! I stopped walking right after Thanksgiving because we had so much snow and the roads were even icy. I just didn't want to risk falling!

I had some anxiety during this pregnancy, something I've never struggled with before. I know some of it was over the planned c-section and I worried that by week 39 I'd be a mess! Thankfully, my stress seemed to go down as the date approached, and I was fairly calm going to the hospital and heading for surgery. I plan to do a full birth story at some point, but not here or now.

Technically this was 39 weeks 5 days, and Jocelyn was born 39 weeks 6 days. I made sure to get the Christmas tree decorated before the baby, but we really kept Christmas simple this year.

So to recap, here's a look back at weeks 18-40!

Thanks for coming along with me on this journey! Here's to NOT being pregnant anymore!


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