If you are an Auburn fan, appreciate Clark Griswold's determined and optimistic effort to light every inch of his house, or if you just have any ounce of the CHRISTmas spirit in you...watch this video. It's long, but pretty cool. I promise all you non-Auburn fans, if you can survive (or just skip) the first 53 seconds, you will enjoy the rest of the show.
Last Sunday night, I was unloading the groceries and realized that I didn't make it home with my trail mix bars. I paid for them, but they were never put back in my grocery cart. I knew then that there must be a whole bag of groceries missing and I wouldn't notice it until I decided to cook something and didn't have all the ingredients. That occurred Friday night. Allison came into town for the weekend. She got here around 8:30pm and since my sodium diet restricts basically all restaurant food, we decided to make potato soup and broccoli cheddar cornbread. Unfortunately, the missing grocery bag held the potatoes and the Jiffy cornbread mix. Needless to say, we didn't have potato soup and cornbread for dinner. It would be one thing to be missing the cream of onion for the soup or the cheese for the cornbread. It's quite difficult to make potato soup without potatoes or cornbread without cornbread mix. Instead, we ordered Steak Out and didn't eat dinner that night until 10pm!
Saturday, Ashley and Brian came up and they, along with Brent and Allison, worked in the nursery all day--washing clothes, hanging pictures, organizing closets, sanitizing bottles, etc. It was such a blessing to have their help! The nursery is completely ready for Lily, minus the bedding and curtains (which Santa Claus is bringing this week--I put in an early arrival request once I went on bedrest). Saturday night, Brent and Allison went to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree. I had decided I would be ok without a Christmas tree this year (which is SO unlike me, but I figured it would be easier on everyone) but Brent insisted. So, they came home with the largest tree I've ever had in my house...getting close to the size of Uncle LaDaryl's tree (and that's really large...the circumference of the bottom of the tree is usually greater than the height). Brent had to cut off a foot from the top of the tree to get it to fit in the den. I'm thankful that we still do not own a tree topper, because it would not be on the tree this year. Brent and Allison claimed that it didn't seem that big on the farm. Well, of course not, because the sky is the limit out there! After buying 300 more lights, they decorated the tree while I laid on the couch and kindly gave orders. And of course, Elvis serenaded us with beautiful Christmas music. Although the tree is large, it's definitely my most favorite tree ever. I could stare at it all day long. It's colossal size just adds to the many memories that will be made this Christmas season. And, I must add, Elvis brought my BP down that night (104/59). That's the lowest it's been, so I guess Elvis will need to come with us to the hospital.
I went to the doctor today. Heard some good news: my doctor no longer thinks I have preeclampsia, just PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). PIH can still be a serious issue, just not as serious as preeclampsia. My BP was high again (160/80) but it's never been near that high at home. I showed her my BP readings for the past week, and there were only a few that were high (140s/80s). It's always after a shower or eating a meal that my BP goes up. Sadly, that's the most activity I get these days. I've lost more of the water weight that I gained! My stomach measured 39 cm, so Lily is quickly running out of room. The doc hooked me up to the fetal monitor again and said we have one happy baby :) I go back this Thursday for my 36 week ultrasound, again next Monday for one final check-up...then, Monday, December 28th, at 8:30am I will be in the OR having a c-section!!! So 2 more weeks of bedrest, one more run with the orange jug (yes, I have to do a third urine test!), a crazy Christmas, and Lily will be here!
Sunday night I thought I needed to go to the emergency room. One of the symptoms of preeclampsia is a sharp pain/tenderness under your right breast. The tenderness has been there for weeks, but I just recently started getting the sharp pain. It all hit me Sunday night that I had high blood pressure and had all these tests done, but since it was the weekend I hadn't heard about the results. What if I really had preeclampsia and was on the verge of being eclamptic (seizures)? So I started crying hysterically and asked Brent to take me to the hospital. Being the wonderful husband that he is, he knew that 99.9% of my emotion was hormonal and he made me lay down in the bed on my left side. He took my blood pressure and I counted kicks. All seemed to be fine. I decided I would call my doctor on Monday morning to find out the test results and see if the pain in my chest was reason to come in again. So, I called my doc office Monday morning and had to leave a message. The nurse called me back within an hour and told me the results were normal and the pain in my chest was just heart burn. But I knew it wasn't. I explained that I've been taking Zantac twice a day for indigestion and it has cured all heartburn, I also feel the heartburn in my throat and never in my chest. So she had me come in at 3:30 that afternoon. When I got there, the nurse weighed me and I had lost 3 lbs! Then, she took my BP and had this horrid look on her face. "So, what is it?" I asked her. It was 160/100. Not good. She hooked me up to the fetal monitor, gave me some cold water and had me lay there for 25 minutes, monitoring Lily and hoping to get my BP down. Lily's heartbeat was good and I wasn't having any contractions, but my BP remained at 160/100 after laying still for 25 minutes. The doc came in and did a quick exam, told me my cervix was hard as a rock and my pelvis was too small and "not favorable", gave me orders to go straight to Labor and Delivery, told me that I was on bedrest in the hospital until delivery, and said she would come visit me in the morning. I could have sat there and just cried until the office closed, but I put my big girl panties on, marched myself over to L&D, all the while making numerous phone calls, and got placed in a room. I went through the whole admission process of paper work and a ridiculous amount of questions, and after 30 minutes I was in a HUGE robe that the nurse wouldn't let me tie in case they had to perform an emergency c-section, had yet another orange urine jug, hooked up to the baby monitor, blood pressure cuff, and had an IV started. Before Brent could get to the hospital he had to go home, turn off the crock pot with a yummy roast in it, take care of Sanibel, and pack our bags. It wasn't until he arrived that I was able to breathe like a normal person. Ahhhh. So then it just became a waiting game. I was on a sodium diet and was restricted to only hospital food, so my dinner selection was extremely limited. I had chicken, cold mixed veggies, salad with fat free dressing, water, and pepper. Haha...no salt packets for me! I had quite a few visitors that night. Monday night was the faculty Christmas party at school. After the principal, teachers, and secretary went to dinner, they came to visit me. They brought me a book with the lyrics and CD for "A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill. I refused to listen to it that night, I knew the tears would be non-stop. The nurses moved me to another room and shortly after that my mom and aunt came to visit me. After that, they went to the house and got my first "child", Sanibel, and took her back to the Ham to hang out with Uncle Sparky until further notice. Monday night was my first time to ever spend the night in the hospital. I was dreading it, knowing I would get NO sleep. I actually slept really well, minus all the bathroom trips. I went through 3 IV bags of fluid while there, and I still drank as much water as I normally do. Bathroom breaks were very frequent! And unfortunately, due to the IV cords that didn't reach the bathroom, the location of the toilet paper, and that dumb orange jug, going to the bathroom was a two person job. Despite all the times I woke Brent up during the night for bathroom breaks, he also slept pretty well. My doc came in at 7:45 Tuesday morning and told me that if my blood pressure continued to be normal throughout the day, that I could go home after the urine test was over. She also told me that I would most likely have a c-section and that she wanted me to get to 37 or 38 weeks. The nurses there were extremely nice and helpful. I always had a cup of ice! I LOVE hospital ice, that's the one positive thing about hospitals. By 6 pm Tuesday night, the urine test was over and my blood pressure was stabilized and I got permission to go home for the remainder of my bedrest.
So I've been on bedrest for nearly 4 days now and it's been bittersweet. My days are spent with TV, iTunes, Facebook, thank you notes, reading, phone calls, texting, and meals and help from sweet friends. I had an intuition throughout this entire pregnancy that I would not make it to Jan. 10. I didn't know it would end with bedrest, but I just knew the end of my pregnancy was not going to end as planned. That's why I was so stressed about getting things done. People kept telling me, "Oh, you've got time," but I've known all along that I didn't have time. I knew the time would be cut short in some way, and it has, and there is still so much to be done. Thankfully, my loving husband is doing so much for me and, like I've mentioned before, he does it all with a willing and cheerful heart. Never complains, never gets impatient, just completely selfless and loving me as Christ does. We also have wonderful friends and family that are bringing meals and coming over to help with whatever, from bringing me DVDs to hanging pictures in the nursery. I am overwhelmed with blessings and grateful beyond words.
Although being on bedrest is not ideal and definitely not full of excitement, I thank God for it. I was getting stressed at work, trying to tie up everything and get ready for a maternity leave, then coming home and staying stressed with my "Before Lily Arrives" to-do list, I was getting little rest--going to bed at 11 or later and getting up at 5:30. Regardless of whether I have preeclampsia or not, God knew I needed to be forced to rest. Despite the boredom, I've enjoyed it. It's been a time for me to reflect on what a wonderful marriage/husband I have. I have definitely grown to love Brent more and more each day as I watch him serve and take care of me. I've always known what a gentleman he is, that's one of the reasons I fell in love with him way back in 10th grade. I'm not amazed or shocked by his behavior, because he's always done a wonderful job of taking care of me. I'm just more and more thankful and humbled by God's provision for me and care of me displayed through Brent. Bedrest has also been a time for me to really realize that my life is about to be flipped upside down, for the better of course. It has been very bittersweet for me to lie here and think about how soon Lily will be here. I don't want to miss a beat. I compare it to my wedding day. I looked forward to that day my entire life. It came, I enjoyed it, and it went. I'll never have that day again, never experience my wedding day again. It's over. Same with Lily's birth--I'll never be pregnant for the first time again, I'll never see my first child for the first time again, etc. A lot of "firsts" are about to come and go. I don't want to wish away this time. I want to thoroughly enjoy every second as I look forward to Lily's arrival. I am absolutely elated. Remember the song "A Baby Changes Everything" that I refused to listen to in the hospital? I listen to it at least once a day and cry every time, as well as all the songs on the "L&D" iTunes playlist I have created. From this point on, I will always think of the Christmas season in a new way because I now have new Christmas memories. For the first time ever, I will spend Christmas in this house and either be on bedrest or recovering from a c-section. When I hear a Christmas song, I will think of my bittersweet bedrest and the very quiet time that Lily and I shared together before she was welcomed into the world. I can't wait to meet her, but I want to learn to bask in this time so that when she does arrive I don't just let the moment pass me by. I'm learning just how precious a newborn is, especially my own. I pray that I will soak up every bit of time I have now, during and after her birth. I love my sweet Lily.
P.S. Sanibel, I have NOT forgotten about you. I'm sorry that the next time you see me, there will be a new person in the house stealing attention away from you. But you will be a big sister! I hope Uncle Sparky is teaching you a lot about having siblings. It's a big task. You have to be gentle with Lily, love her, and set a good example for her. I promise to still love and play with you. That will not change. And, yes, we can teach Lily how to play soccer and racquetball.
Oh, the dreaded 10 1/2 hours. Saturday from 12:30-6 and Sunday from 1-6. We were pleasantly surprised. The time went by fast and there were parts, many parts, that made us laugh. Even Brent enjoyed it...WOW!
The Instructor: although her personality reminded me of Miley Cyrus, she did a GREAT job! She is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital where I am delivering and I would love to have her by my side. She delivered all of her children via c-section and said she wouldn't have done it any other way...which gives me a lot of hope and encouragement!
The breathing exercises: Well, my giggle box was turned over (since I've been pregnant my laughter has been completely uncontrollable and unstoppable) so I really couldn't focus on breathing the right way. It didn't help that Brent apparently can't count to 5 either. We had to look each other in the eye to do all this AH-HEE AH-HOO stuff, and we are so immature that it was impossible. I was the one fighting the laughter to try to help him do the breathing techniques the right way. It better not be that way when it's time to really breathe!
The weird couple: This was my favorite part of the whole weekend. I brought a notebook to write down important notes (duh!), but it ended up being my "blogworthy" notebook. I made notes all weekend of things I need to tell you about this couple. On Saturday, the wife didn't have on quite enough clothing. She wore her sweatpants below her big belly (which I understand, some pants just don't fit over the belly) but her shirt also didn't meet her pants. Her DEEP v-neck white see-through shirt revealed way too much and the bottom of her shirt hit her belly just below her THIRD belly button ring that was still in tact. When we moved to the floor for breathing and relaxation exercises, she decided that she already knew what to do. She ignored what the rest of the class was doing and started doing yoga moves and stretching her body in all kinds of weird positions...all along, her shirt revealing even more than any of us needed to see. She was sitting by us, so I blame her for not being able to correctly do the breathing exercises. I was distracted. On Sunday, the instructor was going through a power point about normal characteristics of newborns...one of them being swollen nipples. The weird couple were the only ones in the room having a boy. The instructor assured them that the swollen nipples are not "man boobs" just a result of the maternal hormones that he has been receiving for 9 months. The wife disgustingly said, "As long as he's got balls!" Yes, that is an important body part, but must we shout it out loud? Not necessary.
The emotions: Like I said before, my giggle box was turned over. It especially got bad when the instructor showed us a really old video about what to expect postpartum. The lady on the video looked like Pat (the SNL character who's gender is unknown). We were warned that she looked like Pat, but it wasn't until I saw her on the video that I busted out in uncontrollable laughter. My biggest mistake was looking at Brent because he was doing the same, so I just laughed even more. And, all you mothers out there know, you have to be careful how much you allow yourself to laugh when you are preggo. You may need another pair of underwear soon. Thankfully, that did not happen to me this time. But my laughter was embarrassing because no one else laughed as hard or as long as I did. My emotions quickly shifted when we watched the birthing videos. The instructor showed us 3: one all natural birth, one vaginal with an epidural, and one c-section. Normally, these types of things cause me to cover my eyes like I'm watching a scary movie. This time, I got extremely choked up and found myself wiping my cheeks with my sleeves when the mom saw her child for the first time. Ah, I can't wait! But I will NOT be able to stop crying and I can guarantee you it will be the ugliest cry I've ever had! I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life.
The Fear: This girl is NOT going to have a vaginal delivery! Thankfully, my doc doesn't think I will be able to. God knew what he was doing when he combined my creepy fear of hospitals and my unfavorable pelvis...there's no other way out than to cut me open! Honestly though, I left the class Saturday, called my mom and asked, "Can I just tell my doctor that I prefer a c-section and go ahead and schedule one?" Unfortunately, insurance won't approve that. It's not that I have no tolerance for pain, I have an anxiety/hyperventilating issue. When I was 6 years old, I had to get stitches for a dog bite. The dog bite hurt of course, but it wasn't until my parents told me we had to go to the hospital to get stitches that I FREAKED OUT! I was so hysterical in the emergency room that I had to be strapped down into straight jacket so the doc could give me a shot of anesthesia. That straight jacket is all I could think about while I was in the class. Brent kept reminding me that I was 6 when that happened and I've matured since then. I don't know if that's true. I still believe I will be hysterical and forget to breathe (like I do on roller coasters, even though I love them) if I have to suffer through hours of labor. I know that a c-section is major surgery, but surgery is a much shorter process (the surgery people, I'm well aware of the recovery time) and that means less time to build up unimaginable amounts of anxiety and have a hysterical break down. I think it's in the best interest of all involved in this delivery process.
Where do I begin? Thursday started a whirlwind of events. Read "The Orange Jug and Unconditional Love" to get caught up on what happened Thursday and Friday of last week. This blog is broken into 3 parts, so just bare with me!
Part 1: Christmas Trees, Waffle House, and a sick Sanibel
Friday night, I returned my jug of "tinkle" as Brent chose to call it and we ate dinner at Moe's. I'm not a fan of that place, but we are never on that side of town, and Brent loves it, so to Moe's we went. I must have gone straight to bed when we got home, because I have no recollection of the rest of that night. Saturday morning, we set out to find a Christmas tree. We didn't have a lot of time because our 11 hours of childbirth class started at noon. Normally, we go to a Christmas tree farm about 45 minutes away and cut down a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because the childbirth class consumed most of our weekend, we decided to check out the Boy Scouts or Lowe's for a tree this year. We went to 5 different places, and found plenty of beautiful trees, but no one had the means to drill the stump for us. We have a spike stand that we purchased after our first Christmas together, when our tree was lopsided all season and we were constantly nervous that it would fall over. The Christmas tree farm introduced us to a wonderful spike stand and I will never go back to the stand that screws into the tree. I also will never have an artificial tree...that was never an option on Saturday. We have no time to go across town to the farm, but we did find another small farm closer to our house that does drill the stumps, only we now have no time to go get the tree. So, after we wasted our entire morning merely looking at trees that would be beautiful with ornaments, we ate a quick lunch and headed for our classes.
After Saturday's class, once again, it's all a blur. I was obviously tired. We probably ate dinner and came home and I proceeded to go straight to bed. Sunday morning, we got up early to be at church to teach youth SS. Because of our 2nd childbirth class we didn't have time to go to worship. Instead, we went to brunch with some friends of ours, Katie and Britt, who also teach youth SS. Britt had to be at work and they also didn't have time to go to the worship service. We ate at...make a drum roll with your fingers on your desk...Waffle House. Oh if you only knew how much it took to get me in that place! We were first greeted in the parking lot with a very kind family. Waffle House was packed, so parking spots were few and far between. The closest spot was by a car that was parked crooked--actually, they were borderline perpendicular to the two yellow lines. The family was still in the car when we pulled up next to them. Our car was straight, very straight and definitely well within our yellow borders. The teenage boy got out first and looked me up and down in annoyed anger as he got out of the car. Then, the mom had barely enough room to squeeze herself out of the car. I watched her in the side mirror as she cursed and complained about how close we were. We were close, but only because of the poor parking job by dad, who also complained and compared the distance between bumpers as he stepped out of the car. Please...can you really look at the two parked cars and think that we, the ones who are parked straight within the yellow lines, are to blame? Black Friday Pregnant Brittany almost made an appearance, but Brent made her stay in the car until the family was inside.
Back to Waffle House...two places I refuse to eat are Waffle House and Lloyds (in Birmingham). I haven't been to a Waffle house in 6 years and I haven't eaten at one since 4th grade. I have a thing with germs, and I think I've mentioned this before. It's because of that 2 week long unit on germs in Mrs. Stanley's 2nd grade class. When I think of germs, Waffle House and Lloyd's always come to mind and I immediately associate them with filth. It's not so much the food I mind, but the atmosphere. It's sticky, old, and greasy. And if the atmosphere is that way, then the food must be that way as well, right? Ugh. But, Brent likes Waffle House and I've been telling him since we got married that I would eventually go with him to Waffle House. So I did and I've got my Waffle House fix for about 5-10 years now.
In the midst of all this, Sanibel must have eaten something that didn't sit well with her stomach. She was sick all weekend...on both ends, at the same time. We went through a lot of old towels, sheets, and even threw away an area rug because it was beyond repair.
The weekend ended with a freak out at 11pm on Sunday that almost sent me to the ER. See parts 2 and 3 for the rest of the story.
I'm lying in bed because I've put myself on bedrest. I went to the doctor yesterday and learned that I may have preeclampsia due to rapid weight gain (10 lbs in 2 weeks actually, and I'm not sure why I feel comfortable telling you that lovely fact. I'm not exactly thrilled about it, but I know it's all fluid and will disappear soon), high blood pressure, and swelling in my feet and ankles. I was sent to the hospital lab for blood work and to get the oh so exciting "urine jug". Basically, I had to collect my urine in a large, bright orange jug labeled "Urine Specimen" for 24 hours. Thankfully, it's over. However, it was inconvenient at school today--having to strategically plan my numerous bathroom breaks when students were not expected to be in the bathroom. I didn't feel like explaining to a 5 year old what was in my orange jug and why I had it in the bathroom. I have another doc appt next week, but if there is any concern with the lab results, they will call me in sooner. Meanwhile, I am monitoring my blood pressure at home--which, by the way, was completely normal this afternoon. I think part of the reason I had high BP at the doc's office is due to a very stressful week at work and the fact that I sat by myself in a quiet, sterile room for 10 minutes after the nurse told me I had gained 10 pounds. Any girl's BP would be high after that kind of information! So, even though I haven't been told to, I'm playing it safe and resting a lot until I have an all clear. I've had plenty of time to think while lying in the bed. Most of my thoughts have been filled with how blessed and thankful I am to have Brent. He has been more than wonderful to me throughout this entire pregnancy (and marriage)--completely selfless and willing to do whatever needs to be done...with a cheerful and joyful heart. No complaining, no impatience, nothing but his tremendous love for me in action. I'm very humbled. I don't understand why or how he could love me unconditionally. Then, I remember that he is loving me as Christ loves me, Who's love for me I really can not comprehend! God created the PERFECT husband for me and I hope and pray that I show my love for Brent as much as he shows me. I can't wait for the day that I get to see him hold our sweet Lily for the first time!