Ransom’s {Crazy, Spiritual, VBA2C} Birth Story | Part I

As soon as I became pregnant with Ransom I started seeing numbers in threes.  Everywhere I went I’d see numbers in threes.  If I picked up my phone to look at something, the time was 2:22, or 4:44.  If I woke up in the night it was at 1:11.  If I looked at the page number in my book it was page 222.  Gas cost $3.33.  License plates would be XXX-444.  It was impossible to ignore.  Soon Jake started seeing numbers in threes as well!  So I talked to my friend Jeffie who is really big on numbers what she thought it meant.  She told me she heard two things, 1) Tic tac toe, three in a row! and 2) That God was lining things up for me.  At first the tic tac toe thing made me nervous – did that mean triplets?!  But when we found out he was a boy it made more sense.  Three boys!  After that, it was amazing how I would start to see my numbers in threes during moments of doubt or fear or worry.  It became my cue to take a deep breath and remember that God was lining things up for me no matter what the circumstances looked like in that particular moment.

Ransom was born on a Wednesday morning just after midnight.  The week before, I had been putting his car seat cover back on after washing and I thought to myself, “I remember Katie saying that this brand of car seat is especially good for tiny babies.”  Then I kinda shook my head and thought, “Why am I thinking that?  My babies aren’t small, and I’m probably going to deliver this guy at 40-41 weeks.  The full and then waning moon is supposed to be a few days after my due date, so that was when I assumed I would go into labor.  The waning moon tends to pull women who are ready into labor, I promise, it’s not a cooky hippie thing.  The Sunday before he was born, I went to church and thought, “Ok this is probably going to be the last Sunday I make it to church before he’s born.  I’m way too uncomfortable and I only have one nice outfit that still fits anyway.”

On Monday, I went to the chiropractor to try to get some relief from this awful pressure in my pelvis that had begun over the weekend, and which was causing my legs to swell up.  When Dr. Jim Bob walked into the room, he took one look at me and said, “Umm are you in labor or are you just miserable?”  Just miserable.  The next day I was even more miserable.  It was our anniversary and we were some kind of pathetic couple.  Jake had stayed home from work with a little stomach bug and I hadn’t slept hardly at all the past couple of nights and my legs were killing me.  I was supposed to have a maternity session with Coli of The Love Doves, but I asked her if we could try again next week because I was so miserable.

After a while I asked Ashley to come take the kids so we could rest and then head to my midwife appointment.  When she came over I was kind of weepy.  I had wanted to buy her some flowers and make a big deal out of asking her to be with me for Ransom’s birth.  I had been at her last birth and it was really special, and I wanted her there as part of my intercessory/cheerleading team.  I ended up crying on her shoulder telling her I’d love for her to be there, and that I wasn’t sure I was going to get any prettier or more energetic than I was at that moment (which was not pretty at all) the rest of this pregnancy.  After she left with the boys I started having thoughts like, “I should start packing my hospital bag.  I should make those bars that I wanted Jake to have to snack on during labor and hospital stay.  Maybe we should take the infant seat with us to this appointment.”  And then I would follow up with thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?  I’m only 37 weeks!  This is just me being miserable and wanting to be done.  Calm down.”  But I did pull a few things together and make those bars!

I was in no condition to drive myself to my midwife appointment, so it was a blessing in disguise that Jake had stayed home that day.  Fortunately by this time he was feeling better.  The week before I had asked him if he could come to my 37 week appointment so he could be there when we discussed the birth plan, but his schedule had already been set for the next week.  Stomach bug to the rescue!  It was a good thing he was there because…

As soon as we walked in and told them how miserable I was, my midwife Donnellyn and her assistants looked concerned.  Then they were really concerned when my blood pressure was 145/96 and there was lots of protein in my urine.  Now the birth plan up until that point had been that we would work through some very early labor at home, fairly quickly make our way to the birth center and then around 5-6cm transfer to Denton Presby to deliver with Dr. Cummings, with Donnellyn acting as my doula.  Dr. Cummings is one of the very few OB’s around who champions vaginal births after mulitple c-sections and I have had two.  Well, with my blood pressure as high as it was, she had to contact him right away.  While we waited for him to respond she drew some blood to send off for immediate testing and finished my normal appointment.  I was about 1cm dilated.

Let me pause here and say that she had done blood work the week before and it had come back with excellent results.  I wrote in my last pregnancy blog post that I went from never being so comfortable at that point in pregnancy, to never having been more miserable.  Y’all know I had followed a pristine diet and had made really excellent choices throughout the entire pregnancy.  I was managing stress very well, exercising and getting plenty of rest.  We were all floored that these signs of pre-ecclampsia were showing up out of the blue, especially since I never had any trouble in previous pregnancies when I wasn’t eating healthy or managing stress well!

Dr. Cummings told Donnellyn that I would need to come see him at 7:15 the next morning and not to expect to go home after that.  Unless something drastically changed, we were going to have a baby tomorrow!  I was ticked.  Here I had done everything in my power to be healthy and set myself up for a great natural birth, and now it looked like I was going to have to be induced or have another c-section.  Neither of those options were appealing to me at all.  I knew I could labor without an epidural on Pitocin, but I sure didn’t want to!  And I clearly did not want a third c-section.  Donnellyn sent us to the chiropractor to be adjusted again and then told me to go home, take a bath, eat some good protein and get in bed.  I called our parents and some friends on the way home.  We told everyone to pray that my blood pressure would go down – if it didn’t I wouldn’t be allowed to labor at all – and that I would go into labor on my own.  Ronna, who has been discipling me and loving me since I was 15 was confident that that was exactly what was going to happen.  She sent out an email to prayer warriors in the church, and posted on our Bible study Facebook page, and my dad sent an email out to our extended family.  Ashley got people from her church praying as well.  We were covered!  And we were seeing our numbers in threes left and right.  God was indeed lining things up.

When we got home, we discovered that Ashley had come back over with our boys while we were gone and had cleaned our whole house!  Before she knew what was going on!  And she had bought me Frozen!  My dad came for the boys so we could rest and get up early without any trouble, and I took my bath and got in bed with Frozen.  Jake was running around trying to wash my nursing bras and jammies, setting up the Pack n Play, packing clothes for himself and trying to find various baby items that we hadn’t gotten out yet.  I was still trying to process going from maternity photos today, baby in three more weeks to baby tomorrow.  About 8:00 that evening, we got a call from Donnellyn.

“I just got your labs back, and I need you to come up to the hospital just as quickly and calmly as you can.”

To be continued…

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Ransom’s {Crazy, Spiritual, VBA2C} Birth Story | Part II

Back when we named Ransom (go back and read about that if you haven’t already), we knew that Satan was not going to take the prophetic delcarations we were making over him lying down.  So, while we were not at all afraid, we were definitely on the lookout for how he might try to come against us.  We had been praying over me and over Ransom and had our spiritual eyes and ears open…

 

Jake was in the middle of trying to pack a hospital bag for the next morning while I was following orders to stay in bed when we got the phone call that we needed to check into the hospital right away.  The nursing clothes were about to go in the dryer, I was still trying to process what was happening, and still trying to help my husband assemble items as best I could by giving direction from bed.  When the call came, I was not ruffled.  I called my parents and Ashley, and assured them all that they didn’t need to come to the hospital immediately.  I assumed that they just wanted to monitor me over night before inducing me in the morning.  We left the house about 30 minutes later with the bare bones essentials of a hospital bag, with instructions for Ashley to bring the clean nursing jammies and bras out of the dryer to the hospital whenever she did come.  On the way to the hospital we prayed, listened to some Jeremy Shuck, and talked.  I told Jake that no matter how I needed to deliver this baby, I just wanted the whole thing to be a Holy Spirit party.  I was still kinda sad at the thought of being induced or having a c-section, but I just wanted Jesus to be all over it no matter what happened.

When we arrived, Donnellyn met me at the car with a wheelchair.  I kinda chuckled thinking, “Wow, they must really be concerned here!”  We checked in were taken back to the world’s coldest labor and delivery room where I was told to change into one of those icky hospital gowns.  Did I mention it was freezing?  I was begging for heated blankets upon heated blankets!  Dr. Cummings who was supposed to be my delivery doctor was out of town until the next morning, so one of his partners, Dr. Dooley came in and told me what we were all doing here at 9:30 on a Tuesday evening.

“Your labs and blood pressure and everything are signs that you have what’s called HELLP Syndrome, which can escalate very quickly and be very dangerous for you and the baby.  We don’t like to say things like this, but the truth is that if it escalates too much you could both die.”  I chuckled, “Well no one wants that do we?  Can I have another heated blanket?”  I was absolutely not ruffled, and neither was Jake.  This was absolutely spiritual, and I was absolutely not going to die.  Pu-lease.  I had been watching for the enemy to try to come in, and here he was.  He wasn’t going to win.  She went on to tell me that we had twelve hours to deliver this baby one way or the other.  But she took my blood pressure – it had gone down – and said that just because all of this was happening didn’t mean that I couldn’t still try for my VBAC!  However, they were going to have to start me on intravenous magnesium which would very likely counter affect labor and slow things down.  So we could try, but at the end of 12 hours, this baby had to come out.  And by that time, Dr. Cummings would be around.  I think everyone assumed that Dr. Dooley would get me going and that Dr. Cummings would still deliver me one way or the other.  While I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything was going to be fine and that the enemy was overdoing it here, I was perfectly willing to agree to a c-section if that is what needed to happen.  I could lose that battle in order to win the war if I needed to.  Dr. Dooley then told me that if I was a little bit more dilated than I had been that afternoon (1 cm) she would just break my water and not even start with Pitocin.  After she checked me, I was 3 cms, almost fully effaced and had even moved down a couple of stations since that afternoon!  I hope I’m getting my terms correct here, I need to go over the actual notes with Donnellyn :-).  Dr. Dooley broke my water, and a warm gush of liquid flowed all over me.  I laughed and said, “Aaaah that’s so warm!!!!  In fact, if y’all could just leave me sitting in this for a few minutes that would be great…”  Everyone laughed, which helped the tension in the room.  Did I mention it was cold in that room!?  The nurses were so cold that they went and prepped a warmer room so that they could be warmer!  When the doctor and nurses left the room, Donnellyn was practically bouncing up and down.  “I’m so excited that she’s going to let you try for your VBAC!!  I didn’t think that she would!!  And did you see your blood pressure!!!  It’s gone way down!!!”

Again, I wasn’t exactly looking at the clock, but about 20 minutes after she broke my water, I was instantly having contractions that I could not talk through.  People were talking to me, I was not answering.  The nurses had joked with me about not having a written birth plan and we had talked about writing it then and there.  That did not happen!  I was hooked up to all kinds of machines, and laying on my right side, but I couldn’t have moved or changed positions even if I wasn’t hooked up.  Ashley came in, I heard someone tell me she was there, I didn’t respond.  She and Jake might as well have not even been there, I could only look at Donnellyn and occasionally beg her to encourage me, or get me a cool cloth or a vomit bag (so long, dinner).  At some point I managed to turn on my Childbirth in the Glory album on my phone.  I was desperately trying to relax and get on top of these contractions, and I absolutely couldn’t.  They were coming way too fast, and sometimes one on top of the other.  When I had been in labor with Shep, I had absolutely no pain until I reached 7 cms, and then I labored for a good 10 or so hours after that with normal labor pain.  But it was much slower to build and I had had a great visualization going and had managed to do pretty well staying relaxed and in control for the most part till the very end.  After about an hour and half of this labor, I told Donnellyn that I could not do this.  I wanted off this train!  Where was the slow it down stuff they were supposed to be giving me?!?  None of this was going how I thought it would, and they were telling me twelve hours.  Forget this, there was NO way I could do twelve hours of this.  I told Donnellyn that I needed an epidural.  Donnellyn told me sweetly that I absolutely could have one and told the nurses when they came back in.  The nurse replied, “Oh she can’t have an epidural until she has had two bags of magnesium.”  I think I wailed something about a shot.  I was thinking, ‘GET ME OFF OF THIS TRAIN!’  Then I was thinking, ‘I sound like I’m in transition.  But I can’t be in transition already, it’s only been an hour and a half!!’  The nurse said she couldn’t give me a shot, but she could check my progress.  I’m not sure, but I think she and Donnellyn might have exchanged knowing glances, thinking the same thing that I had thought about being in transition.  Here I had come in as cool as a cucumber, not batted an eye when they told me I could die, and now I was acting like a crazy person.

The nurse checked me and said to Donnellyn, “Well you know what I’m going to say.  She’s complete!  Ten centimeters and at a {whatever} station and ready to push!”  Donnellyn was again ecstatic, “And did you see her blood pressure?” to me, “Honey your blood pressure has gone back down to it’s normal level all on it’s own during labor!!!  He’s this far away from coming out.  This is so wonderful Honey, this is just what you wanted!!!”  I wasn’t even excited!  I just turned to her and said, “Is it??”  Inside I’m thinking ‘WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!  I WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE MATERNITY PHOTOS TODAY!!!  HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?!?!’

They rolled me up to a pushing position and in a lucid moment I asked if anyone had called Coli, the birth photographer.  The ensuing scramble told me that they hadn’t.  I mean it had only been an hour and a half for pete’s sake, everyone was pretty shocked that I had gone all the way through the first stage of labor so quickly with no Pitocin and with magnesium.  I think I pushed for about 15 minutes, and even that left me thinking, ‘How in the world did I do this for so long with Shep?’  I had pushed for an hour with Shep before having an epidural and about two and a half more hours with the epidural!  This labor was so wildly different.

Never once in this process did I question whether or not I could actually push this baby out.  It was not even a concern.  I knew that my body was designed to bear and deliver babies, and bear and deliver it did.  Ransom Joseph Dreyer was born at 12:10 on Wednesday morning.  We had arrived at the hospital not even having contractions less than three hours before!  When they laid him on my chest, I was in so much shock all I could do was say, “Oh my gosh there’s a baby on my chest!  Oh my gosh there’s a baby on my chest!”  Over and over and over.

Sweet Coli arrived after it was over and took photos of us in our first moments with Ransom.

Before they left, Donnellyn and her assistant Lincey prayed over me.  We were on the same page about not agreeing with HELLP Syndrome, and it was awesome to know that someone else besides us got it.

I did have to spend the next three days in the hospital, the first 24 hours of which were on magnesium in a padded bed, hooked up to all kinds of stuff and getting blood work done every six hours.  They were worried I was going to have a seizure even though all of my levels continued to go back down.  When the nurse told me that, I rolled my eyes and told her I had absolutely no intention of having a siezure.  She was glad to hear it.  Various hospital staff that came in kept looking at me with wide eyes saying, “Oooh, you’re the one with HELLP Syndrome.  Wow.  I’m glad everything was ok!”  I just chuckled and rolled my eyes.  One nurse kept coming in looking at me like a ticking time bomb asking what my pain level was.  It was all very surreal, and I just wanted to get home as fast as I could!

In the end, Ransom’s birth was definitely a Holy Spirit party though not how I thought it would be!    This was a warfare birth, but we fought and we won.  All of the things we asked people to pray happened!  And there were lots of people praying.  My blood pressure went down on it’s own, and continued to go down.  After breaking my water, my body went into labor on its own.  And I was finally able to have my vaginal birth, even in the face of what seemed like really bad odds.  Donnellyn was right when she said that this was a great victory!

I have been hanging onto this verse originally written about Abraham and the birth of Isaac ever since I lost Molly almost two years ago.  I’m so very thankful to be living in its fulfillment.

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37 Weeks | Nesting Update

Whelp, it’s happened.  I went from “I’ve never been this comfortable in my late third trimester” (excepting of course this day) to “Oh my gosh I’ve never been this kind of uncomfortable before in my third trimester.”  I thought I might avoid it, but I didn’t.  It happens.  Maybe it will go away!  I’ve been focusing my energies on getting things crossed off of my to do list, with not too much energy or time left over for anything else, which is why I haven’t written in a while.  With three-ish weeks left to go, I’m starting to feel like I’ve run out of time!  I keep trying to plan ‘last suppers’ with friends and increasingly find dates hard to come by, and motivation even harder to come by.  Tomorrow is our anniversary and I think we are just going to celebrate on Friday by going out with our kids.  It’s too much to try to plan two times to go out!

I thought I’d show you a few of the fruits of my nesting labors today.  All in phone photos, because they are sooo much easier than taking real camera photos.  First, I treated myself to this cute little banner at Target the other day.  A little early for an Easter banner?  Perhaps, but the Happy Birthday banner had been up for oooh a year, and Easter is about a week after my due date.  Look at me go!  If I deliver on time, the plan is to have the family over to our house and let them cook a nice Easter meal that I will just pop out of bed in time to eat.  So I may even write something Eastery on my chalkboard if things get really crazy.

Next up!  Freezer cooking!  It’s going reasonably well.  There are still way more things I’d like to stock away, but my budget hasn’t been as friendly towards extra grocery spending as I would’ve liked.  But here in the freezer of my laundry room fridge we have chili, a frozen homemade pizza (would really like to have a few more of these), two casseroles, two bags of lactation bars, and some cream of chicken soup.  In my kitchen freezer I have some white chicken chili, cooked frozen breakfast sausage and broth frozen in little pucks.  To any of my friends reading this: this does not mean that we don’t want meals from friends right after Ransom is born!!!  We do!!!!:-)

My wing chair rockers!  They have both been converted to rockers, and one of them is in process getting its slipcover made!!!  I’m SO excited about this.  I don’t know if both will be finished before he comes, but we’ll see!  Here’s the progress of the first chair the other day.  I did absolutely zero sewing.  I literally just sat there as my friend’s mom just blessed me.  Finally she decided to just take the whole chair home so she could finish it there.  What a gift.  I can’t remember if I showed you a before, so here’s the before and the ‘in-process.’

And the nursery.  I am not entirely sure that I will a) get this nursery fully decorated enough to make it worth a blog post and b) have enough energy to do a real blog post about it if it does.  So I don’t mind showing you a couple of photos.  The first is the before.  It was a soft pale yellow that was pretty blah.  This photo makes it look more yellow than it really was.

And after!  I chose a pale grey/blue color paint that came out absolutely great!  Jake and his dad and the boys (there are paint spots on the carpet now…) painted it one Saturday when I had to be gone all morning.  The curtain panels, the crib, and the bedding are all new to me and all came to me for free as a gift or loan.  We even had a credit that made the paint free.  Isn’t that awesome?  Because I really really love all of it.  The ottoman in the bottom right corner was a Craigslist steal, and of course the wingback rocker that will go behind it was also from Craigslist.  The plan is for the other rocker to go in my room.

That’s about it!  I’ll leave with a photo of *most* of the supplements I’m currently taking.  Ay carumba.  It’s hard to remember to get all these in, but I’m sure trying!!!

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Quinn One Year | Dallas Baby Photography

One year shoots are always fun.  The baby is always confused, the parents and I are always acting like idiots to get them to smile, and they are always so adorable.  Here is Quinn’s one year shoot.  Isn’t she a doll?  These first few are actually in her room – that is wallpaper back there, isn’t it cool?

She’s a happy girl!

Hehehe!

Who doesn’t love birthday balloons?  Little cupcake!

I love these real sibling moments.

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34 Weeks Pregnant | Cranky and Sleepy

It was somewhere around three in the morning and I was obviously awake.  I’m late in my third trimester, that point when sleep speeds off down the road ahead of you like a maniacal demon pausing to look back at you to point and laugh.  I had searing pain in both hips, the muscles above my right hip were cramped (who knew there were muscles there and that they could cramp?), and I was completely exhausted.  Oh and I had to pee.  Of course.  This is sleep when you get near the end of pregnancy (for most).  Somehow my husband had managed to swing part of his leg under the giant body sized pillow that was laying in the center of our bed like a dividing line, and I pushed it away with a tangible anger which I sincerely hoped that he felt (he did).  How dare he sleep comfortably and peacefully while I was so miserable?  And if he did dare, why on EARTH would he be inconsiderate enough to have so much as a hair on my side of the bed?!?
The next morning after waking up for the fourth and final time, I groaned and painfully sat up in bed.  He was already awake, looking at his phone and I sat there waiting a full three or four minutes for him to ask me how I was doing.  With every second that passed I grew more and more angry.  What is wrong with him?!?  Why doesn’t he immediately bestow compassion upon me as soon as my eyes open for what he must know by now could not have been a good night’s sleep?!  When he finally did pause long enough to look up from his phone and ask me how I’d slept, I was so angry that it took me about a full minute to put words together.  After I gave some short and sassy answer about being up all night, I decided to soothe my aching body with a hot bath.  He came in after a little while and asked me what I wanted for breakfast.

“I want the leftover breakfast casserole from yesterday.”

“Did you want all of it?  Or just some of it?”

“Well how much was there?”

“Well, I mean when I put it into a baggie yesterday I made it into two pieces…
I kinda wanted some.
I mean, I guess it’s not that much.You can have it.  I’ll just… you can have it.  I’ll heat it up for you.”

It’s not his first rodeo.

A few minutes after I had gotten out of the bath and back into bed, he came back and and handed me the plate, saying “Sorry it’s a little charred on top.”  I glared, hating myself for being rude but truly angry at the same time.  He turned around and high tailed it back to the kitchen.  It wasn’t a ‘little’ charred on top, it was completely charred on top.  There was no way I could eat it in bed because my fork would cause black flakes to go flying in every direction the moment it made contact.  I hauled myself out of bed and lumbered down the hallway to the kitchen where I sent silent seething vibes at my husband as I sat down at the table to peel the burnt layer of the casserole off of the still edible portion.  He had the decency to further apologize as I ate in stony silence.

I had to get back in bed.  My whole body was crying out for more sleep but was in so much pain that I couldn’t relax.  I briefly weighed the pros and cons tracking down my chiropractor’s personal cell phone number and begging him to drive an hour across town through the ensuing ice storm on a Sunday to come adjust every bone in my body, but decided that might be taking things a bit far.  Instead, I set my diffuser with a calming oil blend, I put on an eye mask and focused on breathing in and out.  “I will not be this uncomfortable every moment for the next six weeks.  Today is a rough day.  I will feel better soon.  In two months I will be back in this bed, just as tired but with a sweet baby in my arms.”  I breathed in and out, and starting with my toes, focused on relaxing my whole body until I fell into a half sleep.  After an hour or so I woke up.  Between the relaxation and the blood sugar stabilization from the charred breakfast casserole, I managed to come around enough to find my actual personality and discard scary third-trimester angry-mommy personality.  I got up to go to the bathroom (obviously) and looked in the mirror.  Upon seeing the state of my tired face and noting my terrible breath and wild hair, I decided that I should really be grateful that my husband even wants to be near me at all in his sleep.  I got back in bed with a book and he sent the cute little one in to snuggle with me.  A wise move.  After a nice snuggle I was finally ready to face the day.  Not necessarily ready to get out of my pajamas or comb my hair or anything crazy like that mind you.  But at least to be awake without wanting to kill anyone.

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