Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Four Months

I know – it really has been four months since I’ve blogged – maybe none of you are left and I completely understand. Maybe you will come around again or maybe I will pop up in your reader and maybe, just maybe, you will trust that I will write again – frequently…or at least periodically.

Explaining my silence may seem odd, so instead of trying to explain, I will just give you the update. And since we are old friends, you will forgive me for the silence and be happy to catch up and we will all happily move on.

I’m expecting Baby Powell v3.0 on November 28th. She is a girl and quite an active little one. Kayla is excited to share her room (she doesn’t know what she signed up for!) and as my belly grows Zachary just seems to have a knowing way about him. I point at my belly and say, “Baby.” He hugs and takes care of one of Kayla’s dolls which is encouraging (except for the day he threw her across the room).

I am still in awe of God’s plan for this baby. After I had Zachary I remember saying to God, “you are really going to have to talk me into having another baby.” When the pregnancy test registered that little plus sign (a week after a false negative result), my jaw dropped and I covered my mouth and the tears started. Jerry’s knowing smile made me realize that this was for real and this is exactly what we were meant to do. Our baby’s name (will publish here after she is born) means “the grace and joy of my Father.” I believe that God in his joy has given us this little girl. I’m excited to see what she will be like.

Thanks for reading.

Five Weeks and Counting…and Growing!

Five weeks – little Zachary is 5 weeks old today. As some friends predicted, he arrived just after the Superbowl – Monday February 4 at 2:44 am. My water broke at 4pm on Sunday February 3rd and I just laughed. For some reason, this whole pregnancy I had a feeling my water would break and I was in a great mood thinking about how in 24 hours or less, Zachary would be in my arms. I was nervous when I called the midwife and excited that she said as long as labor started on it’s own in the next 6 hours I was free to stay home. The contractions felt like low abdominal menstrual cramps and I actually had to ask myself at first, “was that a contraction?” They became regular about 6:30pm and were about 5-7 minutes apart when we left for the hospital about 9:30pm. When we got to the hospital they asked me if I wanted a jacuzzi room – I was excited thinking how comfortable that would be. (Turns out I never used it – more on that later.) They told me I was dilated 6 and 90% effaced. I was elated and happy that I was able to be home through so much of the first part of labor.

The contractions were intense, but I prayed through each one and held onto Jerry. I found labor to be a very inward, introspective experience. I closed my eyes through every contraction reminding myself that God created my body to do this work and I should not resist or tense up. When I resisted a contraction they hurt more and seemed unbearable.

Unfortunately because I had a c-section last time, they made me wear a fetal monitor at all times. It made it hard to move around although they could hook me up to a wireless unit, they kept having to change the position of the monitor to make sure they could still capture his heartbeat. I tried to walk, but felt best when I was lying on my side, but I knew that this slowed things down. I was unbearably hot – that was one of the most surprising things about the whole experience. (No interest in a hot, jacuzzi tub!) Even though it was freezing cold outside, they turned the heat off completely in my room. I can’t imagine if it had been on.

By about 1:45, the feelings were incredibly intense, I felt the urge to bear down, but didn’t recognize at the time what that feeling was. I just remember sitting on the toilet thinking that my pelvis was coming apart – that it was at the widest position it could be. I was right – I was fully dilated and 100% effaced. I remember the midwife saying to me, “It’s time to push this baby out!” I remember saying in a fog, “Really, it is?” I kept thinking – the hard part is over, right?

WRONG! I never realized how hard it would be to push out a baby – I just had no idea. I pushed for nearly and hour and I just remember thinking after each push – he has to be out soon right? I was so tired and the fact that I had not slept in almost 24 hours was taking its toll. Near the end they lost Zachary’s heartbeat and could not get it on a monitor on his head. That was ironic to me because I could feel him kicking me right at that moment. In the chaos I don’t remember if I said anything about it out loud. The midwife said to me, “If we do not get this baby out soon, I will have to cut you.” That was enough motivation for me and on the next push, his head came out partially and then the next push he came completely out. I’ll never forget that immense feeling of relief and the strange sensation of the umbilical cord still attached to my body. In seconds he was on my chest and I remember saying over and over, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.” He was so big – 9lbs 6oz. They said I could breastfeed him, but I couldn’t sit up, so that was challenging, but he sucked for about 10-15 minutes and then they wisked him away over to a bassinet to be weighed and other things.

I’m still overwhelmed now 5 weeks later thinking of the experience. I thank God that he gave me the perfect birth – no drugs, a short labor, a beautiful, healthy boy. I just kept looking at him when we were in our room a few hours after he was born and just marveling at how beautiful he was. We were surprised to find that he has two dimples. There is no one else in either my family or Jerry’s family that does. I remember during those quiet days in the hospital looking at him and thinking “God must have delighted in making you.”

Five weeks later I look at him in his swing making growling and cooing noises as he likes to do and being amazed at how big he is already – almost 13 pounds.

It Won’t Be Long Now

I’m counting the days until little Zachary John makes his appearance. Everything is going well. The midwives think that he is much smaller than Kayla was and he is head down and ready to go. Everyday seems slow when waiting for something this big to happen. I hate that I just used such a simple word as “big” to describe giving birth and the experience of raising another child. In truth the magnitude of it all is alluding me at the moment. I’m just trying to take one day at a time.

Everything is ready – at least physically – his room, clothes, even diapers and wipes all loaded up into the changing table. My bag and his are packed. Yet everyday I keep wondering, am I ready? Mentally ready? I’m trying to stay positive, to take the memory of the chaos of those first few weeks with Kayla in perspective. To remember that I was new to everything and at least this time there are only some aspects that are completely new. Like the fact that he is a completely different person – with a different personality and habits among many other things of course.

I’m not sure what I had to say in this post that is very profound, but more just me trying to grasp the stillness and quiet before this joyous change. It reminds me more than ever that I have to trust God in all things. He has given me the gift of this little boy. Zachary John means “remembered by a gracious God.” Because he has remembered me, I know that he will be with me through this.

The Blossoming Belly

Well, for those of you who don’t know, Baby Powell v2.0 is on the way. This pregnancy has been very odd or maybe not odd in the “statistical significance” sense, but odd in the “not like the other one” sense. We tried for several months to get pregnant and after watching just about every other female family member get pregnant before me, we were finally blessed with the digital readout at the crack of dawn (6:30am 5/31) of “Pregnant.” I was happy and excited but so bleary eyed that the tears ran down my cheeks on the outer rim of my eyes instead of the inner rim near my nose. Weird? Odd? Yeah, it was. Because we were on vacation, we promptly went back to sleep until Kayla woke up.

The weeks following involved exponential weight gain (12 lbs in 6 weeks – thanks wacky thyroid!), nausea in the evening – what’s that talk about “morning” sickness? Don’t know about that… And being smacked on the head with a two by four fatigue at random times of day. For a couple of weeks, Jerry just tucked me in at about 9pm.

Suddenly at 10 weeks – I came back to life! I could stay awake in the evenings! I tossed out my saltines that I had permanently attached to my person! I made it through the late afternoon without a snack! Ahhhhh…but then the belly popped out. And with a vengeance it went forth in its glorious round girth. There should be some law against “popping” before week 13. In one week, normal clothes became 2-3 inches too small. Maternity clothes from my previous pregnancy were all for the wrong season, so only a few worked at this stage. But all was not lost – $100 later – two pairs of pants and three shirts joined my life and brought me over to chic maternity land. Who knew that I looked so good in mint green? Or that the inventor of the “miracle pant” would now become a beneficiary in my will? Could sleek khaki pants and breast-hugging shirts somehow make me a better person? I guess that all remains to be seen.

On July 11 we went in for my first midwife appointment. After all the talk about twins, she thought it best to do an early ultrasound verification. One little baby was hanging around in there – its little heartbeat flickering. All of a sudden – it started jumping around – thrashing its little arms and legs as if it knew it was on camera and as if to say, “Hi Mom and Dad – I’m doing good in here!!!” Our midwife laughed in surprise and said, “that is so unusual to see the baby moving this early.” Well, as we have seen with Kayla, we don’t have ordinary babies (and I mean this in the best possible way of course). Of course our baby would move around like mad at 9 1/2 weeks!

Two weeks later (11 weeks or so), I felt that flutter feeling (Moms, you know what I’m talking about). Now with “normal” pregnancies this usually happens around 16-18 weeks. I stood there thinking to myself, “Naaaahhhhh, this is pretty early.” It’s as if this baby heard my thoughts and decided to do it…hmmm…seven more times! I know without a doubt that was the baby moving. I don’t care what anyone else says. My midwife confirmed today that without the placenta in front as it was with Kayla, it is pretty likely that I’m more sensitive to movement and I did feel this little one moving.

At my appointment today we very easily heard the baby’s heartbeat – slower than Kayla’s, but very strong as if to say, “I’m strong and healthy, Mom and Dad.”

I’m pretty convinced that like Kayla, this baby is going to have a story to tell when we meet him or her for the first time. (Kayla’s was a pretty intense story as she screamed bloody murder for 45 minutes straight right after she was born. No little baby wah, wah for her!) It’s been very different than last time, but so calm and peaceful. It is odd, but I’m looking forward to giving birth. Maybe I am slightly naive as I did not even have one contraction with Kayla (c-section due to her size – 10lbs 3oz), but I have a sense of rightness with this whole process.

As for now, the belly continues to grow. I rub it and dance often – just to make Kayla and Jerry laugh. Ironically, even though this blossoming is so important, so unique and so well, fun this time, I have not taken one picture of it in its spherical glory. I guess it’s off to select the appropriate photo shoot look and start clicking away.