Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Those Things

Already having a child, you would think having a second one will be no different. You would think you are already a pro, and that nothing that happens will take you by surprise.

Having my baby girl home less than a week has let me know how very wrong I was. There are certain things that have caught me by surprise. Those things that I thought I would never forget with the first birth, but that still take my breath away.

Those things that are not pleasant.
How hard labor was, and how much it hurt.
The tears that come with using the bathroom.
The gross fluids that stick around after giving birth.
The cramps that feel like labor at times.
The belly that lingers and makes it look like you’re still pregnant.
How much it hurts to breastfeed at first.
How much laundry is added to your baskets (especially if your baby is a spitter or the diapers leak).
The raging hormones that make you laugh while you are weeping and utterly confuse your toddler and husband.
The fear of not being a good mom/ baby’s not getting enough to eat/ baby sleeps too much/ etc.

Those things that are precious to a mom’s heart.
The first time you see and hold your baby after experiencing the torture of birth.
The feeling of accomplishment of birthing your baby. (No matter what the delivery method!)
The bond of a mom and a nursing baby.
The funny expressions your baby makes while sleeping (and while awake).
Having your baby fall asleep in your arms.
Seeing your baby in your husband’s arms.
Getting to dress your baby in cute clothes. (More for the little girls than little boys.)
Those chubby, chubby cheeks.
How much you like the smell of baby. Baby hair. Baby breath. Sometimes, even baby poop.
Did I mention the cute baby smiles when they sleep?

There are new things with the second baby.
Double (or triple) the diapers!
The way big brother just wants to hold and kiss his sister when they are in the same room.
The way he wakes up at night when she cries a lot.
The family hugs and snuggles in the morning and at night.
The way big brother coos and sings to little sister, and how she seems to light up when he holds her and coos to her.

These are just a few things this momma has noticed in the first week after giving birth. I know I will learn more about myself and my children in the next weeks, months, and years. It will all catch me by surprise, and I will hide these treasures in my heart and not take one moment for granted.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Week 39 - The Story

Week 39

This week was Gideon’s birthday, so we went to the parque a couple of times, then we went to the zoo on Tuesday. We had a pretty busy weekend and first two days of the week, so I told David Wednesday that I was taking the day off and not getting out of bed. I was so tired, and I thought if Ruth could come at any moment, I wanted to be ready for her…not the exhausted hot mess that I was.

That day, and especially that night, I had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. Now, I had been having contractions for four months, so this was nothing new. When David and Gideon went to football practice that night, though, they were pretty frequent – every 5-15 minutes – enough to make me look online for differences in BH and real labor. Everything I read said that real labor contractions got more intense and were in pretty regular intervals. Mine didn’t, so I didn’t worry about them…just viewed them as an annoyance.

David and Gideon got home around 12:30am, and David and I went to bed around 2:30am. While David went to sleep, I couldn’t sleep because of the hardening of my uterus and having to go to the bathroom after every contraction. Very annoying. Then, I had two real, very painful contractions. They only lasted about 15-30 seconds. But after the second one, I knew it was the real deal. It was 3:30am.

I woke David up, saying “Honey, we need to go to the hospital…I think I’m in labor.” Now, because my water hadn’t broken, and the contractions were short and spaced close together (David timed them at 30 sec length with 30 sec in between), I still wasn’t 100% sure I was in labor. But I didn’t want to be home in case it was.

We got all our stuff, got Gid in the car, called the Dr and our friends to come get Gideon from the hospital, and arrived at the hospital at 4:00am.

Apparently, My Body Doesn’t Like Pain

When I got to the hospital, I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and contraction monitor, as well as to an IV. I had tested positive for strep B, and had to take 2 doses of antibiotics over the next 4 hours to make sure Ruth didn’t get it. They checked me, and I was 5 to 6cm dilated. Uh Oh. If you’ve heard my story about Gideon’s birth, you know I went from 4 to 10cm in 1 hour. But that was with pitocin. Surely, I wouldn’t labor as fast without the meds. Surely, I would last 4 hours and be able to take all the antibiotics and let my body get a chance to rest (I hadn’t been asleep since the night before!) before having to push!

At 4:30am, my water broke. That’s when the yelling began. I’ve heard of women who can labor without yelling. I am not one of those women. I do not like pain. I do not like to be touched while I’m in pain. Nor spoken to. Just leave me alone. David has learned this, and actually stood in a corner most of while I pushed (it was also VERY hot in the room, and he stood by a window to be cooler…) They checked me again, and I was at a 7. And they moved me to a L&D room.

They hooked me back up to all my equipment while I stood and tried to handle the pain as best as I could. She checked me again, and I was at around an 8 or 9. (I really didn’t like her checking me that often…she seemed to always do it when I was contracting…and it hurt…a lot!)

At 5am, I was told I could push. I pushed a few times, but my contractions seemed to be getting less intense, so I was able to rest. But my dr and nurse were trying to get me to push…sorry, I’m not ready during that one (the dr actually tried to “help” me during one of the contractions by checking were Ruth was…I about lost it!) The nurse also tried to help by putting my feet in the stirrups or lifting my legs. I appreciated it, but she did it while I was pushing. Did I mention I don’t like being touched while I am in pain?

At 5:20am, David was leaving the room to go to the bathroom. I told him to hurry back. I needed him there. He was such an encouragement to me, telling me I was doing a good job (when I felt like such a failure and a baby for yelling and saying I couldn’t do it or that it hurt)…He was my support, even from the corner of the room. While I wasn’t having contractions or pushing, he was right there beside me, telling me how great I was doing and holding my hand…or trying to, at least. As he was walking out the door, I had a major contraction were my body wouldn’t let me not push…and told me to keep pushing until I had Ruth all the way out!

Don’t worry, David heard my cries and that they were longer than normal and rushed back into the room in time to see the whole show! He got to cut the umbilical cord, too!

Even without the Pitocin, it seems like this labor and delivery was so much more intense and painful and stressful than Gideon’s. David said I did a lot better this time (maybe his expectations were a lot more realistic, and he knew what to expect), but I don’t remember it being that way.

Maybe part of it was the frustration of the language barrier and the lack of communication between me and the dr and nurses here (that’s what I get for having an awesome midwife in Ft Worth the first time!), but I felt utterly alone during this delivery, and that I was a monkey in the zoo. (I was able to calm down when I prayed…which was maybe 5 min before I pushed my baby out!)

Part of it might also have been the rapid pace of the delivery or the irregularity of women having a natural childbirth here. The women might actually listen to the doctor and follow her lead! SmileSorry, I get a little (ok, a lot) crazy during my l&d process…And ladies who do that for 5-25 hours, I am so in awe of you! I was wishing for meds and a c-section almost the whole 20 minutes I was able to push!

When they put that little girl on my chest, though, I went from a yelling, mad-woman to a smiling, joyful, new-again mommy. None of the craziness or the pain mattered after that. The reason for the month bed rest and the agonizing pain was here, and it was all worth it!

To go from:

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in less than 30 min is amazing! God really does know what he’s doing with adrenaline and endorphins and hormones and all that good stuff!

Ruth Judsyn Barker

7lbs 3 oz.

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Her big brother is in Love!

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One Big Family!

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Little Third Culture Toddler Turns Two!

I cannot believe that my little boy is two today. It seems like time speeds up the more we don’t want it to…like when it comes to our kids growing up. Gideon is growing up so much, and I am afraid if I even blink, I’ll miss it.

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A couple of weeks ago, on David’s birthday, I was in another room away from Gideon with the door closed, which he hates, when I hear this sweet voice call out, “Momma? Momma?” I was so thrilled! This was the first time my son had said my name!!! He’s said “Dadda” for a few months, and he says other words, but never “Momma”. I almost cried with happiness and love I did not know I could feel. It really is the sweetest sound to hear your child call for you the first time.

Since I have been off of bed rest, Gideon has *almost* reverted back to being a momma’s boy. He still loves being with his daddy, but mommy is still a comforter and support when he gets a knot on the head or falls down. But one kiss is all he needs to make it all better. I am cherishing these moments that I can offer that kind of simple love to make everything perfect again.

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Through all of these sweet moments, our little man is going through his “terrible two” stage. He cries when he’s hungry or when he’s tired or when he wants his shoes and socks off or when he wants them on or when he’s having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. These are times that are pretty trying for any parent, but we have to remind ourselves that we need to give a little more grace and patience during that time, even when letting him know that his actions are not acceptable.   

Gideon and His Third Cultural-ness

I did not realize how third culture my child was until about a month ago. I know everyone wants to believe their kid is special and unique. But when you are in a store buying baby clothes and the lady who works there asks your child if he wants to come with her and sit at the table, and he then proceeds to try and unbuckle his stroller to go with the woman while nodding “yes”, you realize how much you might not know about your child. Did I mention that this woman spoke a different language than you speak at home? Yes, we live in a foreign country, and we have lived here for over half of Gideon’s life. And, yes, Gideon was in daycare for the first five months we were here where they spoke little to no English. But that was so long ago, and he was so little, I kind of thought he was just a little less loss than we were in terms of language, joking that he could probably translate for us but not really believing it. And then at the doctor’s office a few weeks ago, I hear him responding (somewhat intelligently) to the nurse who was speaking to him in Portuguese. Man, there is so much I have to learn about my own kid! His vocabulary is growing (saying not only “momma” last week, but also bus and car), and he talks in sentences in his “Gid” language. I’m waiting for him to break out in sentences in English or Portuguese (although he really doesn’t speak to us in Portuguese that often, even though his first word was “Ola”).

I love this about my kid. He is full of surprises every day!

Football

Other than growing vocally and expressing himself in the funniest ways, my son also loves football! His new favorite game is “Down, Set, Hut!” This can either be played by ending in a tackle or throwing the football.

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He’s actually got a pretty good arm, and he is pretty accurate in his aim (most of the time), sometimes even throwing a spiral. And he tackles really well, almost knocking David down if he is caught by surprise. He loves going to football practice with Daddy and the boys.

 

Yes, my little boy is growing up! I am so excited to see what God does with him and through him on down the road. We are so blessed that God has given us Gideon: our outgoing, charismatic, football loving, snuggle buddy. 

Happy birthday, Gid-man. Mommy and Daddy love you so very much!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Week 37–Ready to Meet My Little Girl!

Week 37Gid vs Ruth2

 

How far along? Almost 37 Weeks
Name: Ruth Judsyn Barker – We’re having a girl!
Best moment this week: Getting a box from my Parents and Grandparents with cute clothes and oatmeal! Also, I got off of bed-rest at the first of the week!
Miss Anything? Tying my shoes. Being comfortable in my skin. Not grunting when I get out of bed or off the couch or out of a chair.
Movement: A lot. She’s High and Low and all over! It really hurts when she moves, though.
Food cravings: Fruit and carrots. Blue Cheese. Iced Tea. From QT. Or a cherry vanilla DP. With sonic ice. Shaved Ice. Watermelon. A big, cheeseburger with TLC fries!
Belly Button in or out? OUT! Pretty much. It never really went back in after Gid, so it was inevitable that it would be out eventually.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Both…just ready to not be pregnant. Smile
Weight Gain So far: About 20lbs, I think.
Looking forward to: Meeting this little girl! During this last ultrasound, she was sticking out her tongue and talking! I love it!

Prayer Needs:
-
Endurance for me to last a few more weeks (maybe).
- Patience and clarity as we communicate with new doctors and nurses in broken Portuguese and English in a culture that does things a little differently than in the states.

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
John 16:21

This verse is so true! I don’t remember being this miserable with Gideon at all! Smile

Bed-Rest and the Restless Momma

Most pregnant women would love to be put on bed-rest. I dreamed about it. Please, someone tell me to take it easy and not move out of my PJs for a few weeks. I beg you.

Chasing a toddler is not an easy task in and of itself. Add to that the added fatigue, growing belly, and (in my case) frequent and pesky contractions, it is downright miserable.

But when actually told, “You can’t get on a bus/metro. You can’t take a walk in the park. You can’t lift heavy things (namely your child). You can’t do a lot of housework (ok, not crying over that one!).” It kind of stinks after a while. I didn’t feel broken or fragile, but I was told that I had to act like it.

This mentality is totally foreign to me. With my first pregnancy I was able to do so much! I worked the day I went into labor. (Thankfully I felt bad enough to go home early, and my water broke as I was going up the stairs to my apartment.) I went jogging two days before I went into labor. I worked full-time and went to school full time. There was nothing I couldn’t do.

With this pregnancy I have spent the last three weeks in bed (which is not good for me because I am a naturally lazy person to begin with…add a doctor’s note saying this is where I belong? We’ve got trouble!) My intention, though, was to keep the clothes washed and folded, as well as update my blog weekly, if not daily, and touch base with stateside prayer partners and churches. As well as read the Bible more and watch some movies on Netflix. I was able to read the Bible a lot, but the other goals went out the window when our computer broke and it took about 2-3 weeks to fix it. So, I took up crocheting. I was able to finish 7 or 8 headbands for me and Ruth and some friends.

David was wonderful during this time, like I knew he would be. He took Gideon with him everywhere he went every single day. (Let’s just say he was extremely tired by the end of the month!) David now has a buddy. The other day, David was gone before Gid got up and after he went to bed. There was much crying and saying, “da-da?!” Gideon has always been a people person, and he loves getting out of the house to ride the bus and metro (and ride in the car when we have it). He also has fallen in love with football. That was one of his first words, “Ball!” He can throw the ball with a good form for an almost 2 year old, and his new favorite game is “Down, set, hut” where he gets down like a lineman and tackles you. It is precious!

He also went shopping for me when we did not have the car (he HATES shopping!)

I did do a few things while “resting”. I cooked lunch and dinner almost every day. When we had the car, David took me to the butcher and fruit shop so I could get out of the house and see people other than him and Gid. I was also able to have people over to the house for lunch and dinner. I just made sure not to do too much while they were over. David also took me to the mall and a second hand children’s store one day to buy a few things in case Ruth came early. So, I’ve had her bag packed for a few weeks, now. (Which is completely foreign to me; Gideon came so early (37.5 weeks) when I thought he would be late, I threw some things into a bag (or David did) on the way out the door to the hospital!)

It was so hard for me not to feel guilty during these weeks, though. Not being able to really watch Gideon so David could get a nice break or nap when he obviously needed it. Not being able to go out shopping or to the park when we needed something or when Gideon was really bored. Having to rely on David for almost everything or feeling like I was taking advantage of him. Staying in bed all day and not being able to meet with people or even go to church!

At the end of the three weeks, I was also battling depression. Not being able to get out except a few days for doctor’s visits or the very rare trip to the mall or butcher for 5 minutes really took a toll on my emotions. Only seeing my husband and son for a few hours every day while being totally alone most of the day left me close to tears many days, also. It also stretched my marriage. David would come home so exhausted from taking Gid everywhere, while I would be craving company and conversation. This created a lot of friction a lot of nights where we were not physically or mentally capable of meeting our partner’s needs. 

But, like so many other moments in my life, I believe God was trying to get me to draw closer to Him during this time and be fully reliant on Him. As afraid or nervous as I was of Ruth coming early, I knew that God has her in His hand. And me, too. And I also was able to rely more on David to take care of Gideon. Even with my husband and father of my children, this was a hard lesson. But for a control freak when it comes to my kids, this was a needed lesson.

So, while bed-rest was difficult and not at all dream-like, it did have its life lessons. And there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I am full-term now and off bed-rest. And I am looking forward to meeting my lovely baby girl!