Sunday, April 24, 2016

Audrey Royal: Birth Story

Almost six months later sounds like a great time to record a birth story.

Audrey was probably my favorite birth experience yet! It was incredible, amazing, and fun!

My due date was set for November 7. Mark was leaving for China November 14, so I had an induction date for November 11 just in case, but I wanted to avoid inducing if at all possible. Lucky for us, this little girl decided to pop out a week early on November 1 to give her daddy a little more time with her before his week and a half trip. Although, I have a theory my due date was way off and she came late (my menstrual cycles were every six weeks before I had her so it was hard to tell what was goin' on!).

At any rate, Sunday November 1 at around 4am I started feeling some contractions. I felt like they were about ten minutes apart. a little before 5am I decided to do some cat stretches to try to get some of the pressure off my back. I got out of bed, did one head up stretch, then did the head down, arched back stretch and POP! My water broke. I ran to the bathroom (SUPER EXCITEDLY!) and changed before deciding to wake up Mark to tell him. I woke him up and started finishing packing my hospital bag--talking about how we shouldn't wait because who knows how fast I'd go this time! Mark was...well, tired. He suggested we try to rest until the contractions were closer together so we wouldn't have to wake up grandma and grandpa to come watch the other two littles yet. I reluctantly agree and tried to get some sleep.

Well, if anything kept me awake it was my excitement at having a baby--not contractions. They actually started SLOWING DOWN after my water broke and I woke up at around 9am (if there is ever an excuse to make the hubs wake up with the kids on a weekend, labor is it) to almost nothing at all. By 11am contractions were basically non-existent.

I called the hospital and they recommended I not wait longer than 10hrs after my water broke to come to the hospital. So, grandparents took the kids to church and Mark and napped until around 3pm when we decided we should head to the hospital.

At this point I was getting a little nervous--would they have to give me pitocin or something to get things going again? With all the horror stories I'd heard I was NOT looking forward to the remainder of my Sunday.

We got to the hospital and I felt so weird checking in without even having contractions. Especially thinking back on the craziness of my previous birth with Sophie! Everything was so strangely... calm.

Well, they first told me that it looked like my water HADN'T broken which I strongly disagree with. Then they told be that I had to get on some kind of antibiotics because I was strep B positive or whatever it's called. My Dr's office had never informed me of that, so it's a good thing I came in when I did considering they like to give the antibiotics 4 hrs before delivery!

Anyhow, after checking me and testing some swabs of nasty they concluded my water actually HAD broken (thank you very much!). And they could continue with the labor process. Luckily them checking me a couple times seemed to stimulate something and I started having contractions again! Then the nurse mentioned little Audrey was probably sleepy and they did some kind of vibrate/sound thing towards my stomach and BOOM the contractions really started picking up! She did some pretty crazy kicks (compared to her basically not moving all day--also a little worrisome for me at the time), and I think it must have scared her right out!

So, after all this they moved me into labor and delivery around 5:30-6pm. My contractions were about every 5 minutes and I was 5cm dilated (which sounds impressive, but at my Dr visit a week before I was a 3 soo....). We knew we wanted to name her Audrey, but still hadn't decided on a middle name so we jokingly told the nurses to start offering suggestions after we got settled.

I was feeling GOOD though! I was excited for this baby to come out and I was getting ready to get in my "labor zone." Mark, however, didn't know what to do since our other deliveries had been so drastically different. He was sweet and kept asking if I needed anything when I all I wanted was for him to be quiet and stay in his own little corner until I needed my back rub. Don't mess with a pregnant lady in her zone, man!

Unfortunately I started to get some back labor--just like I had with Ellie. I had Mark rub my back while I tried all different positions to relieve the pressure. At around 8pm The nurse came in to check me and said I was 7cm.

I knew then that I had a choice. I felt like I could still handle the pain. It was fine--I was cool doin' my thing. But I thought about my birth experience with Sophie and wasn't sure if I wanted a small replay. Don't get me wrong--I loved how fast Sophie came and how I was able to hand everything....until the end. Because I felt like I couldn't handle the transition I got the epidural so late and it was great--but I loved my epidural experience with Ellie more when I got it early on enough to have some of it wear off. I didn't get that chance with Sophie and I couldn't move as much right after.

So, do I wait things out until the breaking point, or do I just get the epidrual now since I no longer felt like I needed to worry about slowing things down?

I decided what the heck! Let's get the epidural.

Best. Decision. Ever.

It WAS weird getting the epidural when I felt like I could still handle things, but it was crazy how the mood in the room changed when I did.

Instead of needing to focus on each contraction I could sit back and enjoy my husband's company and we could celebrate together the fact that our baby was about to be born! We started laughing and joking and just letting the complete excitement of our baby fill the room!

We decided to turn on the world series since we'd been keeping up with it for once. Living with

Mark's avid baseball fan dad AND having my hometown team compete in the series had made us pretty exited about it all! I haven't always been super into following sports teams. Still aren't. But I was so thrilled that the KC Royals were doing so well in "the" sport I married into, I had kept tabs on all the scores.

We didn't expect a win, but there it was--in the delivery room! Around 10pm we saw the crazy extra innings and we cheered our team together--letting that awesomeness combine with everything else! Then, when they were pretty clearly the winners but the inning wasn't over I turned to Mark and told him I felt like I needed to start pushing. His reply: "Don't you want to see them win this thing?!"

I laughed and told him to just get the nurse and have the Dr called. By the time he showed up they would win.

Sure enough, I was dilated and the nurse said I was a couple minutes away from pushing. My Dr. came in basically right after the Royals officially won the world series. And with that, I was ready to push. Sure enough, she was out minutes later after just two pushes!

The first words out of the Dr and the nurse's mouths were "Look at all that hair!" and "What a big baby!"
was so happy! WE were so happy! It was such a joyful, exciting wonderful experience.

The nurses/Dr were right--she was a good size baby weighing 9lb 12oz and 21 inches long. And what a beautiful one too.

Mark turned to me while we held her and asked what I thought about making her middle name Royal. I was hesitant at first, but loved how tied her name would be to the fun experience of her birth. And so Audrey Royal got her name, and I LOVE it. She is truly ROYAL and we love her to pieces!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Can't I Be a Feminist Too?

Let's do a little exercise. Just indulge me. Read the following word and phrases and ask yourself how each word makes you feel.


The History of Feminism

The Modern Feminist Movement

Thanks readers. Now think about those feelings and keep them to yourself or comment below. The following are my own feelings.

Truth be told, the word "feminism" makes me kind of uncomfortable. Mostly because I don't know how to feel. My following feelings on the two phrases should help you understand why.

The History of Feminism: Well, this makes me feel pretty proud to be a woman. It makes me think of the suffragettes fighting for their right to vote and to have the same privileges as men. It makes me think of women throughout the 20th century who refused to be put in the category of "housewife" simply because of their gender. This phrase makes me feel like we've come a long way, and I'm so grateful. It's a pretty happy feeling.

The Modern Feminist Movement: Well, this one is not so happy. To be honest, it makes me think about angry women wanting to be treated like men. And I don't mean politically--I mean in almost every respect. It makes me think of women who say that they are proud of their female bodies, but don't want to take all the responsibilities of having them. The feeling is sad and frustrating because with these ideas of Modern Feminism, is a feeling of being left out.

I know many, of not most feminists aren't crazy, angry women... some are, but of course there were also plenty of those when the Western Feminist movement first started. I'm just telling you the picture that comes to my head.

I know, too, that pro-abortion and things like refusing to have men open doors for you is not all that modern feminism consists of. But, I feel like it is at least a fairly big part. Maybe I'm wrong, but let's say I'm right.

If I'm right, then that means I'm not a feminist. While I support women's rights for equal political and economic participation (among others), because of a few things I disagree on with modern feminists, I am kicked out of the club. Because I believe abortion is wrong. Because I like it when my husband opens the door for me. Because I don't think it makes sense for women to compete in most sports directly with men [Note: not the same as compete in the same sports as men do] because like it or not, our bodies ARE different. 

Can't a feminist like a little baking too? :)
And, what's more--and perhaps the most damaging to my feminist counterparts--I am a Stay At Home Mom (STAHM). That's right--I actually CHOOSE to stay home with my children every day. I clean the house and I cook dinners. I change diapers  and soothe two sometimes very fussy girls all day. There are weeks were I go days without leaving the house (okay...that's kind of embarrassing...don't judge!). I do the laundry--the closest my husband ever gets to helping is when I beg him to retrieve a load from the dryer. He works all day--achieving tangible goals--while I run around at home all day doing things like cooking meals and making up crafts and things for my two year old to entertain herself with.

I'm aware that according to the above description, I do not fit the "modern feminist" role. And that's why not being able to proudly call myself a "feminist" really bothers me sometimes.

Not because I want to go out picketing for my right to work because I'm oppressed by male authority figures, but because I am a strong woman too and I deserve just as much respect in my position as a woman who decides to work does. I may not work full-time, but I have a four-year degree and try to continue to educate myself. I am a 100% equal partner with my husband in all of our decisions. I'm just as smart and capable of critical thinking as most men and women with my same educational background are. Just because I choose to stay at home with my children doesn't mean I'm oppressed, brainwashed, or stupid. My husband has always said the choice to work outside the home is completely up to me. But staying home is a choice I made that is right for me and my family.

Now, all that said, I should acknowledge that in the past year or two I have seen some shifting in the modern feminist movement. Thanks to talks like Emma Watsons' at a HeForShe campaign event and really incredible mommy bloggers, we're making some progress. I guess I just wish it would move faster.

My daughter can be strong even in a pink leotard.
You see, this topic is especially important to me not just for myself, but for my daughters too. Despite whatever feminism turns into in the future, I want my daughters to know they can be whatever they want. If Eleanor wants to be an astronaut, or a stay at home mom, or ballerina, or a marketing professional my reaction will be the same: "You go girl. You be what you want to be.You do what you were meant to do. "

Because shouldn't that really be the message of feminism? We are capable of doing just about anything, so let's stand up for the right to do what we want--no matter what it is.