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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Ornament Tradition

I don't know about you, but I am an absolute sucker for traditions. And I feel like this time of year, I have more of them that I hold close to my heart than any other season. From putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving to the movies I have to watch to staying in my pajamas on Christmas day and many more in between, it's just a season for tradition.
But my favorite Christmas tradition rarely actually takes place during the Christmas season. It started back in September of 2011. My husband and I had been dating for six months and we took a day trip to Galena, Illinois and spent the day walking around to all of the little shops and having lunch and being adorably in love. As you do when you're celebrating your six month anniversary, of course. At one of the shops, they had Christmas ornaments with names on them and we happened to find both of our names. Adam's name is easy to find, but finding my name spelled right isn't always easy. So we bought them.
At some point either that Christmas or the following year, we bought similar ornaments at a dollar store. But at this point, it still wasn't something intentional. Just a coincidence that they had our names again.
It wasn't until three years later, on our honeymoon in October of 2014 that it had become a habit. When we went somewhere new together, it had just become my first instinct to look for a special ornament to add to our tree. On that trip, we came home with three. A sand dollar with Santa on a surfboard to remember the town we were staying in. Santa on a rocket ship from the Kennedy Space Center. And a bride & groom Minnie & Mickey mouse sitting in a wedding ring - to celebrate both our newly married status and, of course, Disney World! It was on that trip that it became a cemented tradition.
The following year, for our one year wedding anniversary, we went back to Galena and picked out a sparkly red heart with a lock and key.
This year, our newest addition is my favorite one yet. Over the weekend, we took a trip to Williams Tree Farm, our first time there, so that Jaxon could visit Santa. Unlike at the mall, we can take our own pictures for free! While there, I knew we had to pick out an ornament. We found a little blue onesie ornament that says "Baby's First Christmas" and it is absolutely perfect. It celebrates a lot of firsts. Our first trip to the tree farm, Jax's first time seeing Santa, and his first Christmas. It is the best addition to our tree and to our tradition!

What is your favorite tradition?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jaxon's Birth Story | Part Two

The story of Jaxon, part two...

At around 1:00am on Thursday morning, I was told that I was dilated to 10 but the doctor wanted to wait for the baby's head to move down a little more before I started to push. Shortly after, I couldn't wait anymore. I started pushing at around 2:00am with little progress. This baby didn't want out. After three hours of on and off pushing, I didn't think I could do it anymore. Physically, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was resigned. Every push left me more and more convinced that I couldn't do this. I couldn't get the baby out. I begged for a c-section... and was told no. While this was typically the cut off point of pushing, the baby was stuck too far down and we would both be at risk if they tried the c-section. I had to keep pushing. At some point (time is a hazy concept during all of this), the on-call doctors switched and a new one came in. She was amazing. With her, a whole team of techs and nurses, and my own support team of my husband, my mom and my mother-in-law, things finally happened. My husband and his mom were behind me, pushing me up. My mom and a nurse had my legs and were pushing them back. And finally, the baby started moving down. After what could have been minutes or hours, I really have no idea, my not-so-little baby was finally coming out. 

Side note: Remember that epidural? It wore off for the last hour... I. Felt. Everything. 

At 8:31am on Thursday, September 29th, after nearly forty hours of induced labor and six hours of on and off pushing, I heard the words "it's a boy" and I cried. I only got to hold him for a few seconds because after all of that, he'd gone to the bathroom at some point and they had to make sure that he was okay and get him on precautionary antibiotics, just in case. A few minutes later, I was told that my beautiful boy was 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long and his head was 14 inches around. All I could think was that yes, I believe it. I felt every inch and every pound. 

He was worth it. Every hour. Every contraction. Every failed epidural. He was worth it all. Aside from the hell he gave me while coming out, he has been perfect ever since. He's healthy and happy and only cries when he needs something. At two months old, he is sleeping for eight hours at night. He is perfect. 

As for me, I was left severely anemic after having him. This has lead to an ER visit the night after we brought him home, where I was diagnosed with heart palpitations. I've been seeing a doctor and taking iron and they're getting better. I was also not able to breastfeed. I tried, but quickly discovered that he was getting very little from me. For a few weeks, I tried to both nurse and supplement with formula while getting my anemia under control, hoping that I'd be able to maintain my small supply and eventually increase it. But that didn't happen. By the time he was one month, my supply was non-existent. It was disappointing, but I try not to be too hard on myself for it. There's nothing wrong with formula, he's healthy and happy, and there was nothing that I could have done that I didn't already try.

Life is better now than we ever could have dreamed of.

Jaxon's Birth Story | Part One

This post is coming just a little later than I anticipated writing it. I always intended on sharing his story within the first couple of weeks after having him, even before we knew that it was a "him" that I'd be talking about. But life happens. At first, I was too hormonal and emotional to even talk about it. I seriously started crying one night listening to my husband telling a friend about all I went through - hormones... they're no joke. 

And then time just got away from me. I've spent most of the last two months enjoying my time with Jax, staring at his face and generally putting off everything else. What can I say? Spending time staring at that little face is far more important than cleaning or writing or anything else. Maybe when he stops changing so much so quickly, I'll get better at doing things. 

The story of Jaxon... 

My due date of September 15th came and went exactly as I expected it to. I can't explain why, but for months before I was due, I was telling people that he would be late. I just had this feeling deep in my soul. Turns out, I was correct. Eleven days after he was due to make his entrance, on Monday, September 26, I had yet another appointment to check on how he was doing (healthy, comfortable, showing little sign of wanting to come out). This was when my doctor decided that induction was happening. He didn't want me waiting a full two weeks and this baby was clearly in no rush to come out on their own. (note: we still didn't know gender at this time) And so he set it up and told me to head to the hospital the next day at 3:00pm. They'd start Cervidil that night and Pitocin the next morning. I texted my husband and my mom to let them know the plan and then I went home and waited. Part of me was still hoping that I'd go into labor on my own in the next 24 hours. I did not. 
This was taken right before we left for the hospital. My last moments with my girl before she lost her only child title ;)
On Tuesday, Adam and I got everything ready to go for our trip to the hospital. We dropped Izzy off at Adam's parents house, went to Target for a few last minute things and just to waste some time, and had lunch at Panera. Then it was time to head to the hospital. Very few people knew that we were going in. I probably made some people a little angry, but I wanted to be left alone so I could focus on labor, and so I decided that the only people we were telling were parents, siblings and grandparents. We checked in, got situated and after a few hours, they started the Cervidil. I was also given an Ambien that night to help me get some sleep, which I am so grateful for because those 4ish hours of sleep were all I really got for the next couple of days. 

Contractions were already going when I was given the Pitocin on Wednesday morning at around 6:00am. The baby's head had moved down a lot, which was a major improvement from where I'd been before. I was still barely dilated, but progress was happening and I was having contractions, so I was hopeful that I'd have a baby by the end of the day. My mom took the day off work and my mother-in-law, who works in the same hospital that I was in, got off early so she could come join us. The next 24 hours are kind of a blur, but I will do my best to remember the big details. 

I was given Dilaudid at one point for the pain. The first dose helped. The second did nothing. Eventually, I was dilated enough and was in enough pain that I went for the epidural. Aside from having to be induced instead of going into labor on my own, I'd say that this was the start of my troubles. The anesthesiologist came in, put in the epidural and had to take it out. He'd hit a blood vessel and I immediately felt my heart racing and felt lightheaded when the medicine started. He tried again and had the same result. Two attempts. Two failures. I was hysterical. Sobbing. I wanted everyone gone. I didn't want to try again. After I calmed down, the on-call doctor convinced me to try again with a different anesthesiologist. Thank the lord, this one went in and started working right away. For a bit... 

Somehow, shortly after it was started, the epidural catheter shifted and wasn't working correctly. He came back in, adjusted it and I was good to go again. A while later, the baby had moved down and was blocking the medicine from getting to one side of my body. He gave me a bit more medicine and I was good again.