Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Parker Is Here!

For the past two and a half weeks I have had many failed attempts at blogging. I promise I didn’t forget about you guys and have been super excited to give you an inside look at our growing family. So, sorry for taking so long and thanks for coming back after my mommy-hood hiatus.

I am humbled, honored, and super pumped to introduce

Parker Jae Ward

Born January 10, 2011 at 10:48am

6lbs, 8oz, 20.25in

Here’s how it all went down, got tired and stuck, and eventually came out:

On Sunday morning, January 9th, I woke as usual around 5:30 and got ready to head to work to endure what had become physically the most difficult hours of my week. I am blessed to work with 130-140 volunteers each weekend to help create an environment at our church that will allow those who are broken, hurting, lost, and vulnerable to feel comfortable, welcome, and open to hearing God’s Word (just another day at the office – I have the coolest job ever). Our church has 5 weekend services and I made it through the first 3 without any major issues. It was between the 10:00 service and the 11:30 service that I was waddling through the church lobby talking to volunteers, checking coffee supplies, and trying to ignore the size of my ankles, when I was stopped by one of our team leaders. As she and I stood in the middle of the church lobby I felt the most uncomfortable and disgusting and holy-cow-I’m-a-grown-woman, feelings. I couldn’t tell if I’d peed my pants in the sort of way that keeps my mom off of trampolines or if this was the beginning of the end of a 9 month journey. I casually ended the conversation I was having and made my way quickly to the restroom then directly to Jason who was behind the computer at my desk. He smiled a holy crap smile and went straight to google to search either water breaking or how to teach grown women to tinkle in the big-girl potty. As soon as church was underway I led one last devotional, began scribbling post-it note reminders and leaving them on desks and folders around the office, started cleaning and re-setting the lobby for our next service, wrote my final weekend report when the weekend was only 60% over, and I left the binder titled Angie’s Maternity Leave Plan smack dab on the center of my desk. All the while, Jason and I remained very quiet, composed, and nonchalant around my co-workers and volunteers. We rushed home as soon as we could sneak out the back door at church and I began folding the load of laundry I’d left in the dryer the night before. Jason forced me to call the hospital, a task I was not excited about at all. “Yes, I think my water may be leaking or maybe I just peed my pants. Umm, yes ma’am, I’m 28 years old but can’t tell whether or not I peed my pants.” I refused to go to the hospital fearing they would charge me an arm and a leg, hand me a package of depends, slap me on the rear and send me right back home. Instead, I kicked my legs up on the couch next to Jason and took a nap.

At 5:30 Jason convinced me that a hospital visit would be best and would at least give us some peace of mind. We debated back and forth about whether or not to pack our bags into the car. We decided that in an effort to provide good entertainment for the neighbors we’d pack our stuff and then unpack it with our new case of depends when we got back home. We calmly pulled out of the driveway and giggled when Jason said, “if this is really it, it’s not at all what I expected.”

We made our way to the second floor of the hospital and buzzed ourselves into the maternity ward. It was silent and cold and I was still completely sure they’d tell me I had peed my pants, we’d grab some dinner on our way home, and I’d be back to work for the Sunday evening service. I put on the hospital gown, laid on the bed, and the nurse hooked me up to several machines to monitor contractions, check my blood pressure, and monitor the baby’s heartbeat. After one test said my water had not broken, they suggested we do another test that the nurse found more trusting (no clue why we didn’t go with the more accurate test from jump street). When the nurse came back, what seemed like 5 hours later, with our lab results she began unplugging me from the machines as she told us we’d be staying and having a baby – thank goodness we decided to bring our bags. She gave me a second gown to wear as a robe to cover the split in the back of gown number one and walked us to a delivery room and told us that since I was not having very intense contractions we’d likely be facing a 12 hour ordeal. Jason called our parents, told them the news and encouraged them not to rush and to be careful on the icy roads – they began arriving within 45 minutes. Oh, and being told I was having a baby brought on the contractions immediately.

The early hours of labor were tolerable but all of the pain I was experiencing was in my back. I knew I would be in for a long night but told Jason we’d have a baby by 5:00am for sure. A couple of co-workers and friends dropped by the hospital to give us some company and to cheer me along. By midnight I was progressing slowly and the nurse offered me pain medicine that she said would make me feel woozy or drunk. I turned it down thinking I’d need to wait for my labor to progress to avoid the medication wearing off just in time for the fun part. In the middle of the next back breaking, intense contraction, I assured the nurse that I was a fun drunk and ordered pain medicine and had her call for an epidural. By 1:30 I had a numb abdomen and legs and hoped I’d be able to get a nap in before the main event. Just as I dozed off and Jason nuzzled himself into a corner of the rock hard couch the nurse came rushing in, flipped me on my side, flung an oxygen mask on my face and shot something new into my IV. I was terrified and shaking and Jason looked confused and just as nervous. Our baby did not like the medication they administered to help progress my labor and her heart rate had dropped…a lot. Jason held my trembling hands and prayed for our baby and for us.

That 5:00am I promised came and went and by 7:00 the next morning (about the 12 hour mark) nothing had happened. Our doctor made his rounds just before 8:00 and assured us he’d rush in as soon as he was paged that our baby was close. By 10:00am there was still very little progress and the nurse informed us that our doctor suggested a C-section. They were worried if we attempted to use medication to help move us along we’d end up in the operating room under a lot more stress in a few hours anyway. I was scared. The nurse had tears in her eyes as she told us knowing that after 14 hours in the hospital this isn’t how we expected our story to end. I just wanted to keep the baby safe and if someone was going to be more at risk it had better be me. Time to suck it up and meet this little girl.

Our parents joined us in the delivery room one last time and we all prayed together. The nurse brought Jason his scrubs, hat, booties, and mask and they wheeled me down the hall. I entered the freezing cold operating room to hear the surgeon counting the supplies. They put up a curtain in front of my face and spread my arms out on either side. After the made the first cut Jason got to join us and sat over my left shoulder. The entire surgery took right around 15 minutes but it felt like 9 more months passed as I waited and prayed to hear the cry of a girl I was already in love with.

At 10:48am Parker Jae Ward made her debut with a loud cry that flooded the room and my flooded my heart. Jason rushed over and trimmed the umbilical cord and fell more in love with her every second as they cleaned her up and took measurements. We are still amazed by Parker and humbled by the magnitude of the blessing she is to us. Motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood – the Ward’s are loving every minute of it!

And, I didn’t pee my pants :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Walk This Way

If at any time during the life of this blog I have made comments regarding my size, the level of protrusion of my belly, or suggested that I couldn’t possibly get any larger, I would like to roll all of such comments together and slap myself in the face with them. Every stage of this pregnancy I thought I couldn’t get any bigger, any more uncomfortable, or have the urge to tinkle more times in a single day. It happened. I got all of those things.

We’re rolling into week 38 of this journey and the scale is boasting numbers that I can barely comprehend. I know that being pregnant means gaining weight but when those numbers are flashing back at you and the teeny, tiny, blonde headed, I’m-5-months-along-with-my -4th –and-have-only-gained-half-a-pound nurse is looking over your gigantic shoulder, pregnancy doesn’t seem like a valid excuse. It seems that everything is difficult and taxing at this point. Sometimes my arm gets stuck beneath my side while I sleep and it too dozes off to a tingly dreamland. I’m still trying to decide if it’s easier to endure the tinglies of a sleeping limb or muster up the strength and momentum to roll over in bed and simultaneously fight and juggle the 3 pillows that have been tucked and stuffed around my bulging belly. One of the biggest, and apparently the most noticeable, changes in the last two weeks has been my ability to walk. Or waddle. I’ve been told by several people that I’m “starting to walk like a pregnant woman.” I’m not stupid. I know this means that I am waddling. I try really hard to point my toes forward, keep my shoulders back, and actually make my legs bend at both the hip and knee. But, sometimes I forget and instead of bending at the hip and knee, my legs just take wider steps. I like to keep my arms out away from my body to help with balance, avoid armpit chaffing, and to swing back and forth to increase momentum and speed. It feels delicious but looks ridiculous. I feel like I’m gliding across the room with the grace and precision of an Olympic figure skater when in actuality, I’m trudging through the room with the grace of a lumberjack penguin (no offense to lumberjacks).

I’m so stinkin’ ready for this little girl to get here. Being pregnant has been fun and the experience of a lifetime but, seriously, fun’s over. People used to look at my belly with a sense of awe and want to touch it and talk to it and love it. Now people look at my belly and I think they feel sorry for me. They know I’m beyond ready. So are they. So, in an attempt to make everyone happy I’m going to join the hundreds of committed-for-now walkers and runners at our local park and try to get things moving along. Waddle. Waddle. Waddle.

Baby Update: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that 9 months is about 36 weeks. We’re entering week 38 of this pregnancy and I feel like I have every bit of a 2 week old hibernating in my tum-tum. Our actual due date is January 17th but I’m praying that God provides sooner rather than later. The baby is considered full-term at this point and will spend any remaining time gaining weight (comforting thought just before labor). Our doctor’s visits have been great and they still think we are on track and progressing beautifully.

Also, check out the new page on the right, Lessons for Parker, to see a short list of things I hope to pass on to our new daughter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Childbirth 101

Welcome to Childbirth 101.

When we arrived at our first class the instructor handed us a booklet, took our money, and asked us to find a seat. I ran off to the restroom for what was probably the 3,000th time that day and Jason snagged two seats on the back row on the aisle. Nice choice. When I returned, he leaned over and said, “Did you know that blood travels through the umbilical cord at 40 miles per hour?” He smiled and stuck his nose right back into the booklet he had been thumbing through. (Note: blood actually travels through the umbilical cord at 4 miles per hour which isn’t nearly as impressive, but whatever.) Class officially started and we both tried not to snicker and nudge the other at every mention of a body part or sexual reference. Our child is going to be so lucky to have such mature parents.

It was just as awkward as I expected. All of the videos we watch are circa 1996(ish) and all of the couples kind enough to volunteer for said videos are ridiculous. Our first class covered relaxation techniques and slow breathing exercises. It wasn’t exactly what you see in the movies or on television but it wasn’t too far from it either. The instructor played some audio clips for us as we practiced the techniques. The sound of the waves crashing in the background made me want to pee for the 3,001st time that day and the recorded voice of the lady made me more uncomfortable than relaxed. She spoke in her nice, phone voice, barely above a whisper, and v e r y s l o w. She prompted us to close our eyes and to try to clear our minds. I opened my eyes to make sure Jason’s were closed. They were. Then the calm voice started repeating phrases that made me everything but relaxed. Here’s my recollection of my thoughts from those 3 not-so-relaxing minutes:

“Your right arm is warm and heavy. Your right arm is warm and heavy.”

No kidding, it’s like 100 degrees in here. If you think my arm is warm you should feel my armpits – they are sweating like crazy and I was planning to nonchalantly wear this shirt again tomorrow but I guess that’s not happening. (By the way, don’t judge me for multiple wears. When I find something that will stretch over the baby-bumpmountain I go with it.)

“Listen to the sound of the waves.”

Why do people find the sound of waves so relaxing? The beach is beautiful but it also tastes like salt and blowing sand hurts. Oh yeah, and ½ the people in here are pregnant and now have to pee. I wonder if they give us a break. Sprite sounds good too. I hope we get a break.

“Your abdominal area is warm and calm. Your abdominal area is warm and calm.”

What? This doesn’t even make sense. My abdominal area is the same temperature as my armpits and it hasn’t been calm since about 18 weeks and that enchilada I just ate for dinner. How about instead of my abdominal area being warm and calm we talk about how it’s huge and hard. This is something I can relate to.

“Imagine yourself on the beach watching the waves. Imagine your baby in the ocean. Continue to slow your breathing.”

WHOA! EXCUSE ME?!? Screw breathing! Hee hee hoo, hee hee hoo, hee hee who the heck threw my baby in the ocean? I assume she’s really smart and her motor skills will be above average but, swimming so soon? What about the undertow or the current? How in the world am I going to get my baby out of the ocean? My imagination says this labor thing hurts like crazy. Now I have to take my burning-in-pain loins to find a waverunner or boogie board or something to help me rescue my child from the endless ocean. It’s going to be bumpy and I think I’ll have to ride side-saddle-ish on the waverunner. Jason, open your eyes! Help me get our baby out of the ocean! Why is no one else concerned? These other couples are going to be horrible parents, half asleep while their babies float helplessly in the ocean.

So, we’re learning a lot and looking forward to our next class (or something like that).

Jangie Update: During our doctor’s appointment this morning Jangie’s hearbeat flooded the room with loud, consistent beats – it never gets old and is more amazing each time. Jason thinks she sounds big (I have no idea what this means but love that he tries to characterize and give more life to the sounds she makes). The little sprout is growing like crazy and is 16.5 inches long and almost 3.5 pounds. Sometimes it feels like she is 25 inches long and 6 pounds – I’m the size of a small house in the suburbs. I’ve been writing to her and making a list of rules and advice that I want to pass along. I’ll post them here in the coming weeks.

Photo Attribution

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goodbye Toes

Last week Jason and I spent some time out of town for my job. The change in scenery for a couple of days was refreshing and I really like staying in hotels. I feel important and distinguished and like a world traveler even if we were only 60 miles from home. When we checked into our hotel I stood in the lobby while Jason retrieved our bags from the car (a true gentleman). The lady working the desk at the hotel boldly asked, “Honey, is it a boy or a girl?” I looked around the lobby suddenly realizing I was the only other person around. I looked down surprised, as if someone had just strapped this huge belly on my perfectly sculpted 6 pack abs. I looked back at her, managed a smile and answered with confidence, “It’s a girl.” In hind sight I’m pretty sure I wasn’t looking around and confused by the fact that I’m growing a human. I have become pretty aware of it over the last few months. I think I was confused because this was the first time a stranger has really said anything about my pregnancy. I’ve seen people stare and maybe wonder. People I know have reluctantly said things like “well I thought maybe you were but didn’t want to say…” But, never a stranger. This lady was bold. She broke the never-ever-ever-ask-a-lady-if-she’s-pregnant rule with confidence which means one thing:

I am w a y beyond well maybe or beer gut or just eats a lot of cheeseburgers. I am full-fledged, strangers-are-sure-of-it, where-in-the-world-are-my-toes-they-probably-need-polish PREGNANT!

I thought I was getting along so well and adjusting to the weight and protruding tum-tum like a true champion. I can still button my real jeans and stretch most of my shirts over the bump but, I’m coming to the realization that it won’t last much longer. In the last week it seems difficult to put on shoes and heaven forbid they need to be tied. I have to wind my leg up, count to 3, and swing it with as much momentum as possible hoping it will land atop the opposite knee and I can reach my foot. By that time I’m sitting cross-legged-ish and out of breath. All of my shoes end up tied way on the side rather than in the middle. Bending over is nearly impossible so any pens, sticky notes, or paper clips that get dropped spend the entire day decorating the floor around and under my desk. Making leg shaving a necessity was definitely not a decision in which any preggers were consulted. I look down often to find my hands resting atop the shelf my belly is creating. I keep finding stains on my shirts and wonder how long they’ve been hiding or how many times it’s possible for a grown person to miss her mouth. My computer now requires a desk because I don’t have a lap with enough room for it. I am getting better at putting on mascara from a distance because leaning over the bathroom counter to get a closer look in the mirror just isn’t an option. Jason drives a truck and I drive a mid-sized, turn of the century SUV – both disgusting options for the pregnant lady. I can only lift my knee so high before it collides with the underside of the tum-tum then gets swung into the floorboard. Leg #2 is then on its own for the final hoisting to the seat. If the Oh Shooties! handle ever gives, it’s going to be a real gong show. The worst of it is…. We still have another 12-13 weeks of major growing to go.

Hello ginormous. Goodbye toes.

Other Updates: Jangie is approximately 14 inches long and weighs about 2 pounds. Her eyes will open and she can even blink her brand new eyelashes. She’s been really active over the last couple of weeks and my belly dances from side to side like crazy. Jason finished painting and hanging new trim and crown molding in her room – he’s doing such a great job with his projects. I finally caved and ordered some maternity clothes this week to get through fall. And the biggest almost-breakthrough is that we are about 98% sure on what we will officially name the little sprout. We’ll keep you posted.

Photo Attribution