Thursday, December 30, 2010

This One Somehow Turned into a Birth Story

The last two nights we've put my tiny boy Grady to sleep in his big boy toddler bed. Each night I tell him "now you stay in your big boy bed, you don't get up, OK?" to which he replies "Otay mommy." Melts my friggin heart. Last night, after we sat on the couch listening to him list his family members in a little song that goes "Mommy, Daddy, Keaton, Beba, Beba, doggies, Anna, Mommy, Gran-Gran, Seth, Daniel, bye bye Daniel" or something like that, I started crying. Crying! With hormonal mommy emotions! Ridiculous. Never thought that would be me. I told Justin I was just so sad that he couldn't roll around and kick the back of his crib like he has done while falling asleep since he was like 8 months old. He's always been the best baby to put to sleep. I can count on my fingers the times he's actually cried in his bed. Excuse me, I guess I shouldn't say baby. We've got a new baby, which means Grady is a boy. I can't say kid yet. He still sucks his "pasheesh" for goodness sake.

Birth Details Alert
I've been staring and staring at Keaton lately trying to make myself appreciate this baby time. It's not that I hate it, despite my occasional complaint about his little baby demands. I'm more terrified that he'll be my last baby. I loved pregnancy with Grady - so easy, what do these women complain about? Pregnancy with Keaton wasn't difficult, per se, but when we got the news of my Anti-Kell status around 10 weeks gestation, and my Googling and maternal-fetal specialist visits began, so did the stress. It wasn't until 24 weeks, when I finally gave in and got the amniocentesis that told us that, hallelujah, he was Kell negative like me meaning I could have a normal remaining pregnancy, that I could justify complaining about the little discomforts like a normal pregnant lady. Before that I just felt guilty. But by the end of my pregnancy, with my symphysis pubis creaking at every step, and my bladder with a capacity of two teaspoons that wasn't terribly understanding of the trip I had to make down the stairs to empty it, and how frigging impossible it was to just take a breath, I did my fair share of complaining. I was just. so. tired! I was sure he was going to be a giant baby, due to the new stretch marks that joined the ones from Grady, which had only recently faded. And then, of course, he was transverse! C-section, OMG. Thank the Lord he turned head-down by the midwife visit at which they were going to try to wrestle him into position. But oh difficult child! He was posterior at my 39 week check! OMG back labor! Pain! Possible C-section! So I did my research and bought an exercise ball, religiously rolled and swayed my hips on it, bent forward to rest my arms on it and let my belly hang, because the websites said that would help his little body spin into position so he would have a chance of coming into this world correctly. I didn't even get to go back to the office before, several days late, I realized I was in labor on a Friday night while sitting on the exercise ball watching "2012" on instant Netflix and timing my irregular contractions on some handy dandy webpage. After Justin got home around midnight, I decided that was the time to vacuum and mop the downstairs rather than to sleep. If you've ever met me, that was a more definite sign of labor than water breaking. I don't choose anything over sleep. I joined Justin in bed for a couple hours, but a really good contraction woke me and I was UP. I soaked in our teeny bathtub while rereading my favorite parts of Ian McEwan's "Atonement." I took a long, hot shower, but had to eventually sit down because standing through those contractions was rough. After I got out, I called the Birthing Center, got answered by a lady in my nursing classes who paged my midwife Phyllis and had her call me. It was 5:30ish am. Although the contractions were still pretty far apart, she said get ready and come on in. So I went upstairs to rouse the baby daddy. I told him "we've got to get ready to go," and, like an 8th grader on a Monday, he said with his eyes still closed "It's Saturday, I don't have to go to work." I sorted his shit out. Grady was still sleeping, so Mom and Gwen met us at the house, Gwen stayed there with Grady and Mom followed us to the hospital (after slipping on the ice, glad that wasn't me!). When I finally changed and settled in, the nurse checked me and said "wow, you're already 6 or 7 cm, I'm going to call Phyllis and make sure she's almost here." Hooray for me, BUT the problem was I had tested Group B positive, like I had with Grady, and needed IV antibiotics during labor. They started it right away. I labored all Saturday morning, got in that fantastically large hospital jet bathtub, sat up in the bed, laid down in the bed, lavender oil foot massages, Mom brushing my hair, heating pack here, heating pack there, but NO PAIN MEDS.

That's right, I did it au natural. I was fully dilated when my water broke - POW- like a busted water main straight across the room. Justin almost died. Phyllis told me I had to hold my pushing til noon when the IV drip would be over or Keaton would need additional testing to make sure he wasn't infected with the Group B Strep. Eek. So I asked them to turn up the drip. There's no way I could wait that long to push, but there was also no way I was allowing them to traumatize my newborn. They turned it up and I tried to just let the contractions flow through my body, head back to avoid pushing. When the drip finished at 11:30, I could finally push! It was such an amazing experience, and so very different from the intervention-ridden purple pushing I did when Grady was born (which I fully believe was due to the minimal amount of Pitocin, that evil stuff). No one told me when or how long to push. No one even held my legs back. Everyone sat in silence while I and my body cooperated. I pushed as much as I felt like through about 3 contractions and right through that "ring of fire" (it does suck) before little Keaton Philip Locklear arrived crying at 11:42 am on November 6th.

He was placed straight on my chest to latch on almost immediately (I might add I had stripped all my clothes off about an hour before. No shame). I got to hold him and nurse him while Phyllis stitched up my one little first degree tear, which, although it seemed to take forever, was far better than the millions of stitches I received after my second degree episiotomy with Grady. The nurses gave him the Vitamin K shot, heel stick, and eye drops all while he nursed so he barely flinched. And after all those new stretch marks, he weighed exactly the same as Grady - 6 lbs 12 oz. Every nurse we had for the rest of the stay told me that my labor and delivery nurse had been telling them all how beautiful of a birth it had been. Beautiful, maybe not, but lovely, I'd say so. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

I want another.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Today I feel the need to swallow my boys up whole, keep them safe and sound back inside me where the big bad realities of life can't get to them. I was blessed to have two uncomplicated pregnancies (with the exception of the antibody/antigen scare with Keaton). What's scary is that that doesn't mean even close to everything in regards to the health of an infant. Grady has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia - it's not severe or life threatening, it's not genetic or caused by anything that happened in pregnancy (so we were told). That almost makes it more difficult. I feel like most of us mamas shake our heads at crack babies or FAS babies or babies with health problems because their mothers are 14 years old. We hurt for the poor babies, we do, but secretly we feel secure and somewhat self-satisfied with the fact that, since we did everything right, our baby will be fine. I'm sure Scarlett's mama felt that way, too. But baby Scarlett Grace has a 10 x 7cm brain tumor that, according to her neurosurgeon, is almost certainly malignant. I hear heartwrenching stories during the 30 seconds of human interest on the news every day, and though I will admit, since procreating, I do cry at the St. Jude's commercials, I had always thought they were pandering to the more hormonal among us. And that is probably true, stated evidence taken into consideration. But Scarlett's story struck close to home for me, as she is not even a month older than Keaton. Her mama is also a Baby Center member, just as I have confessed to being. Her parents love her and took very good care of her from the beginning. Lightning can strike anywhere.

Please keep this family in your prayers. Read their blog here to stay updated on Scarlett's condition.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of Baking Bread and Pine Needles

When I said yesterday that this blog took me forever, I wasn't joking. Also in the running for my time were Blackboard (for school, since our grades were being posted), Facebook (because I am cloistered, also because our grades were coming classmates and I all had to congratulate each other on good ones and secretly try to figure out who didn't make the 75% minimum grade), and Baby Center. Ah Baby Center. You suck me in and take so much of my time. Why is it that I feel drawn to you, filled mostly with first time mothers, the great majority of whom seem to be from Arizona? It must be a mix of genuine boredom/obsessiveness, the desire to spread my great deal of child-raising knowledge and experience (I say this humbly, of course, but I do have a fair amount stemming from all those siblings, working at the daycare, and the BB's), and I suppose sometimes I actually do have a question to ask other mothers, or at the very least a funny story (like the impromptu peep show for the UPS man. Merry Christmas!).

Like I was saying, with all my important internet work and nursing like it's my job, combined with throwing a ball to bounce off Grady's head over and over and later tossing him on the couch over and over, not to mention reading "Hush Baby," you guessed it, over and over, I didn't get much in the way of that thing some call housework done. No real pressure...after all I'm here until January 24th with not much to do besides holiday til I drop. Not so, says el esposo on his glorious return home. Obviously, if I had been doing my job during the day, that keyring he's missing would have appeared. That is all I will say on that matter, because while explaining this blog to said esposo, I swore it was not an outlet for marital frustrations.

So today, with the obvious exception of the present, has been and will be spent in domestic dominance. As I type, two loaves of whole wheat bread are (hopefully) rising in the kitchen. There is nary a dirty dish to be seen. The only reason the clothes washer isn't running is because it is in fierce competition with the dishwasher for water pressure, and the deadlock spells crusty dishes for mama to scrape with her fingernails. And I am really not ok with that whole fingernails-on-the-chalkboard grating noise. I vow to vacuum, mop, and wrap presents single-handedly (no really, you try putting this baby down) while Grady naps, because while he is awake, the (plastic) ornaments are not decorations, they are ball-balls that only adorn the tree branches when they happen to land there. In fact, at this very moment our tree is garnished by a blue rubber ball, a foam basketball, and three kitty balls that belonged to our last few unfortunate feline friends. And, since I insisted on getting the darn tree Thanksgiving weekend, the pine needles are shedding like an English Sheepdog.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grades Posted

Well thank you God. I passed all my required nursing classes with B's. Not the best but I think I did pretty well for myself considering I gave birth this semester and had a toddler at home. I can now relax during Christmas break!

Hang of This

Being of Generation Y, you'd think I'd have a slight clue what I was doing with this blog nonsense. Wrong. It has taken me a week to get it looking anywhere close to what I wanted it to look like, and we're not there yet. The Beautiful Boys have of course distracted me from my web efforts, but just look at them, they're worth it :)

I just want to squeeze their little baby bodies all day long. I pretty much do, when I'm at home, which now is all day every day until January 24th, and I'm PSYCHED! That's also assuming I pass this semester of nursing classes (fingers crossed). I was doing well, in my last-minute, disturbingly nonchalant style, until I had Keaton. The addition of BB2 didn't change my priorities, exactly, since obviously Grady was already tops, but two priorities, plus Justin and, lets face it, everything shiny, Christmasy, or delicious, took precedence over studying. I had a B in everything going into finals, but you never know. Not to excuse my previous laziness, but when your five-and-a-half week old gets sick and you have to do the ER dance in the middle of the first snow/icestorm of the winter, which also lands during finals week, one's exam grades understandably suffer. I've been dreaming about it in various manifestations every night, lately. Like Saturday night one of our instructors and I were a team on The Amazing Race. Serious stuff. 

Gah, never thought I'd be the "documented medical excuse" type. I don't like excuses. I might be one of the only students left who takes a professor's teaching style the way it is and shuts her mouth. I've never asked for a study guide or for him/her to cater to my learning style. No bragging here about my superior retention, because 50 years ago Power Points didn't exist; you sat in class with not Facebook on your laptop in front of you, but a pad of paper and several sharp pencils, as you were going to be note-taking til your little hands cramped up, and then more, using your claws in a pincer style. 

More about the BB's - Saturday Keaton hit 6 weeks. I alternate between looking forward to him sleeping all night in a separate room, not to mention bed, and dying a little inside every week his number goes up. Speaking of which, I like to keep ages in the smallest denominations possible before sounding ridiculous. I'm actually celebrating my 1,203rd week birthday today. I'll count Keaton in weeks til 12 weeks, and Grady in months til he's two years old. Which is next frigging month. I've been creating and nurturing humans with my body non-stop since May of 2008. How incredibly visceral and thrilling a ride it's been. Not every day, of course, but I rather like giving my body, soul and sanity to these Locklear BB's. Who are, as I type, stealing chocolate covered pretzels and snoozing at my boob. I'll let you guess, and apologies in advance if you were on my Christmas goody list. I'll hand the phone to Grady for an explanation.