They Don’t Call it Labor for Nothing!

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Beckett Michael Sherrill was born on Wednesday, May 2nd at 10:06pm, a healthy weight of 8lbs 11oz and 20″ long. My husband and I can not be more proud of what we’ve created and are basking in all the glorious things parenting has to offer.

It started like this…

5/1/12

12:00pm: My mother arrives into town, scheduled, for the day after my due date, May 1st. When I pick her up from the airport we have a good laugh about how my baby boy is not here yet, and that my doctor jokingly told me the week before that my cervix had only began to dimple and the baby’s head was only slightly further down the birth canal from the previous week. He mentioned something about mid-May that I tried to ignore, and that was that! This baby was taking his sweet time. I brought mom home to get settled in.

3:00pm: We decide to head up to our local Burger Lounge for an early dinner, and as we’re finishing up I head to the restroom to relieve myself. OMG!! I lost my mucous plug!! I run out to share the news with my mom who was super excited (lol). We hurry home to do some research. Turns out my elation could be premature, the mucous plug can come out anywhere from two days to two weeks before birth. I try not to be discouraged, after all something was happening!

5:00pm: My mom and I head out for a walk with my boys, Brody and Tate. This is something I have grown really fond of, enjoying time outside with my pups, in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Diego. It is really amazing how much you can appreciate the little things in life when you are forced to slow down. We walk, walk, walk hoping for headway.

11:00pm: CONTRACTIONS!! “Yooooooooow, Kelly Clarkson!” I quickly check the clock over the next few hours, contractions are around twenty minutes apart. I think labor is happening…

5/2/12

2:00am: I move myself into the living room as contractions are getting closer together, no need for my husband to suffer a horrible night’s sleep, I need him on his A-GAME today. I fumble around on my iPhone until I find a suitable app to manage my progress, I use Contraction Master.

7:00am: My husband wakes up and I update him on the situation. “We’re gonna have a baby and it’s going to happen soon!“My mom wakes up and she’s excited to hear that things are moving along. Panic sets in for my husband who quickly downs a cup of joe and starts getting things together for our hospital stay. My bag is packed and there is a checklist taped to the door. Contractions are approximately seven minutes apart, I shower and struggle to put myself together.

9:00am: We are packed and ready to go. My contractions are still all over the board. One seven minutes, then four, then three, then seven, then five… they are averaging five minutes apart though, so I call triage at Mary Birch Hospital for Women. The nurse I speak to on the phone suggests I stay home for a couple more hours and see if my contractions get more consistent. I’m stressed out (to say the least), in pain and sleep deprived. This was not the answer I had hoped for.

9:15am: Against the nurses advisory, we are heading to the hospital. I was prepared to be sent home if I was being too cautious, but piece of mind is what I needed right now. What I failed to mention to the nurse, was that I was concerned about how much fluid I was losing, clear-ish, stained pink. Hours earlier I had read in What to Expect that you can experience what they call a bloody show and that this was normal. What was described in the book looked like what I saw in my soaked maxi pad, so I guessed everything was par for course.

9:30am: We check into triage and low and behold that fluid I was losing was my water bag that had broken. The nurse described to me that the situation was likely that my bag had broken high in my stomach (instead of low, where it would have gushed out) and that essentially, my water was only spilling over every time I had a tough contraction. NEVER EVER doubt your intuition, you know your body and you’re probably right! Go to the hospital when you’re ready!

11:30am: Matt and I are checked into our labor room and I receive my epidural within the hour. Life is good better!

1:00pm(ish): A handful of nurses rush into the room, without explanation I am spread open, my doppler heart rate monitor that was placed across my abdomen is replaced by an internal heart rate monitor that is inserted and placed on the top of my baby’s head (yes, while still in my womb). I look to Matt to explain what is happening in my haze of drugs and delirium. Searching his face provides no answers, it shows only the same worry and fright that I am feeling, tears stream down my face. Something is wrong. Bradycardia, my baby’s heart rate dropped below the acceptable range of 110-160 bpm and something was depriving him of oxygen. As the nurses hustle around and get things under control, in what seemed like the longest three or so minutes of my life, they explain to me what they believe to be happening was that his umbilical cord was either knotted, wrapped around his neck or he was simply laying on it when I turned to my left side.

2:00pm: My cervix is dilated to 5cm and completely thinned out.

3:00pm+: The next several hours pass by slowly, we wait for progress. Several different levels of Pitocin are administered to help dilate my cervix. I try without success to turn once more to my left side and we experience the same bradycardia as before, cementing in the fact that I can not move off my sore right side. For nearly seven hours we wait, and nothing good is happening. In the end, I dilate to 6.5cm before my cervix begins to swell, closing my cervix slightly. There are no guarantees in childbirth and any expectations you may have, you better be willing to throw out the window for the health and safety of your baby and yourself. Birth plan or no plan, your way will be mapped out as you travel it.

9:15pm: Twenty three hours in labor and the doctor informs me that it’s time for a Cesarian Section. I had to know it was coming, I knew the (lack of) progress as the day wore on. Exhausted, sleep-deprived and uncomfortable, I break down, defeated. Tears fly out of me with wild abandon. Matt tries to console me and tell me I will be fine. I know that these surgeries happen all the time, but logic was not something I could find in this situation. I sign the documents.

9:30pm: I am prepped, drugged and ready for surgery. This is truly all a blur and seemed to happen in an instant. I am afraid, shaking, unsure of how this will pan out. There is a sheet literally two inches from my nose and my husband sits beside me. They call for the incision. I do not feel pain. What happens next can only be described as someone wrestling an alligator out of my stomach, tugging, pulling, resistance, so much pressure, SO MUCH PRESSURE you can’t breathe, and then, release. Twenty or so minutes and my baby is brought into the world.

10:06pm: My son is pulled from my abdomen and we wait, wait to hear his cry, wait to know that he is breathing… we wait thirty to forty seconds, and there it is, the sweet sound of success. I will survive this, and so will my son. Happy Birthday Beckett!

We Made It… 40 Weeks!

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I must admit, I didn’t think I’d see this day. From the very first ultrasounds, after measuring my little dude, the nurses and technicians have questioned my due date. They ranged wildly from four days to two weeks larger than expected. I insisted that my period date was close to correct so they kept my original due date, based on my own calculations. THANK GOD! Because if I was sitting here, still pregnant, after moving my due date sooner, I’d really be going out of my mind. My doctor has reminded me several times that first-time mothers often go over their due dates, and that patience is the only thing he can prescribe. None the less, call it wishful thinking, or maybe because my mom delivered 3 children early and my sister 2 of 3 early, or maybe because I was told over and over what a big boy I had brewing, or simply a case of wanting to meet this little guy so badly, I sit here today able to write this post, one day overdue. NO CONTRACTIONS, NO LABOR PAINS, NO SIGNS that this will even be happening soon. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my doctor and another ultrasound to see how things are looking. I’d love to not make that appointment, but for now, it stands.

Matt and I are both very excited that we will be giving our son the best chance at a good run at baseball, should he like the sport. The age cut-off date for little league is 4/30, so he’ll potentially be the oldest kiddo on the team. I only mention this because if you have read Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes a pretty good point about planning for your children’s success in sports based on birthdays (as if we could plan for these things anyways). Just trying to find the silver lining, as I wait another day, sleep deprived, uncomfortable and unable to control my anxiety about labor. Yikes!!

A good read: http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Packing for the Hospital

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This was actually a lot harder than I would’ve imagined, then again, I could just be making harder than it will actually be. In any case, I asked my friends and read through plenty of online information to come up with my bag-o-tricks. The question I asked myself was “how can you make yourself comfortable in, likely, one of the most uncomfortable situations in your life?”

Every hospital is different and will provide you with different amenities. I started my journey with a trip to the hospital, a tour of Mary Birch. I am extremely happy that I decided to do this, not that I felt I had a choice, my doctor scolded me for not doing it sooner. It was great seeing where everything was, checking out both the labor and recovery rooms and in general, just getting my bearings. The tour guide provided ample time for questions and answered many of my concerns I had about the process. We were also provided with a packet (which I’m sure I had received before) with loads of useful information about what the hospital offers before, during and after the birth of your baby.

Here is the list they provided of packing suggestions:

Robe and slippers, 2-3 pairs of pajamas, favorite music CD, a watch with a second hand, sour candy on a stick, lotion for massages, item for back massage to help reduce stress, lip balm, childbirth handbook, nutritious snacks for your partner, warm socks – at least 2 pairs, going-home outfit for baby, going-home outfit for mom (5-7 month pregnant size), list of important phone numbers, change for vending machine, clips for hair/ headband, a fan, paper and pencil, camera and/or video camera, extra pillows with colored pillowcases, cell phone and charger, receiving blanket, installed car seat, nursing bra, breastfeeding book, nursing gown, hair care, toothbrush and toothpaste, contact lens and/ or glasses.

My favorite suggestions from friends (in addition to a lot of those mentioned above):

Water spray mist in a can (I chose PM Awapuhi Moisture Mist), goodies for mommy for after delivery (Milk Duds definitely made the cut), including something good to drink (Gatorade), pj’s, robe, underware in black (get it? got it. check.), toilet paper that I like (Cottonelle flushable wet wipes), change of clothes for hubby and a laptop (iPad loaded with movie rentals).

A few things I came up with on my own, but think will be helpful:

Sound soother, ear plugs, eye cover, photo copies of my driver’s license and insurance cards, travel hair dryer and some make-up (and definitely more than just the few toiletries mentioned above).

I’m sure I will be over-packed but if I’m being honest, that is the way I like to travel. Well, my bag is officially packed and I’m ready to go, just waiting on you know who…

A Baby Boy’s Nursery

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Today I completed our little guy’s den, which he will likely be sharing with mommy for a couple of months (hence the queen-size bed taking up so much room). It’s been a work-in-progress since he was conceived, ideas that developed in my mind and then slowly, but surely, in reality. There are things that I absolutely adore and things I wish I could go back and do differently. However, I’m totally in love with the whole package and can’t wait to bring home baby. Let me know what you think.

The rest of the best: http://babysherrillmakes3.shutterfly.com/pictures/89

San Diego Party Animals

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My second baby shower thrown by my best friends, Joy and Deidra, in San Diego was simply the cutest and most creative themed party I’ve ever been to. The hours they spent planning and executing every last detail is beyond anything I could have wished for, you’ll see their craftmanship if you click the link to all the pictures. Joy and Deidra hosted some 30 or so of my very best friends to lunch and dessert on a Sunday afternoon, February 12th, in Chula Vista.

Decor photos: http://babysherrillmakes3.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

All the details were a surprise to me, and if you know me well, you’ll know this is one of the hardest things for me to handle. I am a complete control freak and in my group of friends, the total party planner. So to sit back and let someone else do something for me is as close to (enjoyable) torture as it gets. My girlfriends did a great job of making sure I was prepared by giving me a list of things to bring to the party, only a few of which were relevent to the event. I was shocked at all the work that was went into planning this shower and can’t wait to return the favor for these two ladies.

The invitation set the tone for a theme that happens to match my nursery, zoo animals. Guests were encouraged to wear fur and their favorite lipstick in honor of the mommy-to-be… yes, I LOVE fur and who doesn’t love a good lipstick color?! All the guests were greeted by zoo-keepers, Joy and Deidra, and that’s where the fun began. Everyone was given an activity book that included instructions for shower games and areas around the house where guests could participate in showering mommy and baby with love and support. A D.I.Y. panini station was set up for lunch, along with tomato soup and loads of other snack-ables. Cupcakes and cookies finished up the eating portion of the shower and a wild time was had by all!!

This was a special shower because these guests are the friends I’ve chosen to stand in as my San Diego family and honestly, I feel like I’ve hit the “friend lottery” with every one of them. My baby boy is going to grow up being quite the ladies man with all of his beautiful “Aunties” around, and I’m sure, spoiled rotten.

Guest photos: http://babysherrillmakes3.shutterfly.com/pictures/45

Many thanks for all the amazing gifts, words of encouragement and for the love shared with my little king of the jungle.

Showered with love in Seattle.

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You can rarely visit Seattle without encountering a few showers, it’s part of what makes my hometown so beautiful. It’s also the source of a lot of memories and a set of roots that keep me from getting or staying too far away.

My family is there. A family that includes my mother, father, sister and brother-in-law, their three kiddos, my brother, his twin girls and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc. I consider “my family” not only to include those that are blood-related, but also a very special group of people that I grew up with, families with children who were mine and my siblings ages, who spent every weekend together. These people, along with some good friends are what make going “home” so enjoyable.

Over the Christmas holiday we visited this family and I was treated to my first baby shower. My mom and sister hosted some twenty or so guests the day after Christmas to lunch and dessert. We played some games and I was spoiled with gifts, advice and support for my little dude.

Pins in Rice Game

Dirty Diaper Game

Tye Dye for my California Guy

 

My eyes filled with tears as I looked around the room, seeing in all these amazing individuals, pieces of the person who stares back at me in the mirror every morning. This is the foundation of who I am, the core of where my own parenting will take form. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that I have all of these people in my life, and with their continued help I know that I will be a successful parent. They say raising a child takes a whole village, and my village consists of a very special people and I am beyond thankful for every single one of them.

Unprepared at 35 Weeks!

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Unprepared is a funny word to use when talking about the birth of your first. One, because what does prepared mean to someone who has never been a mother and two, with every child being an absolutely new and unique experience can even a veteran mother be prepared?

None the less, 35 weeks hit me like a freight train and panic set in as I realized our new, forever house guest would be arriving in a month (or God forbid, less). I was wrapping up work and so busy doing so, that nothing had been checked off my list of things for baby preparedness. Sure, most of the items had been purchased, scattered around my house, shoved under beds and in boxes (disassembled) and bags waiting to be organized, put away and readied for use with the babe. But my achy body and a constant need for napping was not making it easy to be productive. Little by little things would have to get done and if all else failed, it would be done while the little dude slept peacefully in his crib (a mother can dream…)

My check up at 35 weeks (exactly) included an ultrasound and my hubs and I were so excited to see our guy. The last time we saw him was 16 weeks earlier at our 19 week appointment, and boy had he changed. No longer living and moving freely in a roomy studio apartment, this little guy was cramped and contorted into a home that resembled a cocoon. We saw half of his precious little face, and an arm across the other half that clearly expressed we had caught him at a bad time. Dr. Barmeyer measured his femur at 35 weeks and 5 days and his head at 36 weeks and 4 days (Lord help me), ever so slightly larger than average and the boy has brains, whoo hoo! My doctor told me at this point they would do nothing to stop labor if he decided to come early, all his vitals were looking good and now starts the waiting game (waiting, while frantically trying to prepare, that is).

Baby Boy's face, look closely!

Sleep has become something of a joke and everyone warns me that it will be worse when the babe is here. I have to get up to use the bathroom at least once during the middle of the night and my nose and throat are mucus coated, creating a lovely melody of snoring, sniffing and heavy breathing that has also started to effect my husbands sleep. Anxiety keeps me from the last precious hours of consecutive sleep and I find myself online or making lists at hours like 4am. Eating too late, too much or too close to bedtime has not only made me sick, but absolutely uncomfortable. Switching from one side to the other, desperately trying to find that comfortable position has my husband labeling me “the thrasher”, because let’s be honest, it’s not easy moving a sack of potatoes strapped to your stomach around, especially when you have no use of your abdomen muscles and you surround yourself with 18 pillows!!

If it sounds like I’m all doom and gloom, that isn’t really the message I’m trying to convey about these last weeks. My pregnancy has been a blessing and this boy, the most amazing gift. I will admit to being uncomfortable at times, but most of the time I look down at my belly in pure amazement. What my husband and I have created is beyond anything I could have imagined and my hope for his future is bright and shiny. Some say pregnant women glow from the outside, what I feel is an intense glow from the inside. A light bursting at all my seems, so much joy and love waiting to escape that as soon as this little guy enters the world, it will blanket everyone in the room in a storm of sparkling glitter.