Tuesday, November 8, 2016

At the close of this election

Politics is not everything, and I'm grateful that my life does not center on only that. Unfortunately, it does impact us all in different ways. This is what I'm feeling as I watch the results of the election. Doubtless many will not agree, but perhaps some will sympathize with the sentiment.

We all talk about wanting unity. Needing to pull together and support each other. That is certainly something I believe in, but just for today, I'll cry.

I'll cry because there is so much more anger around me than I thought. I'll cry because I don't want my children to think that hate and fear are acceptable ways to manipulate others. I'll cry for the countless immigrants who fight for safer homes. I'll cry for all of my friends who are black, homosexual, undocumented, disabled. I'll cry for my Hispanic children, and for their family members who now have to fear. I'll cry for the women who cherish the right to vote and who prayed to see the first female president. I'll cry for the lack of compassion I've witnessed. I'll cry for all those who are also feeling confused, upset, scared, disillusioned, and discouraged.

Tomorrow I will unite with those around me to do what I can within my community to continue spreading love, inclusion, and progress. But today I'll cry.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Emotional indulgence

Every so often my emotional side takes over for my practical side, and I find myself in a particularly sentimental mood. This afternoon was one of those days. Perhaps it's because my oldest turned five today, or because I'm in that new baby phase. Or maybe it's just that I've been playing the role of practical and responsible adult too long. 

Whatever the reason, this afternoon I found myself reflecting on past and present, and couldn't help feeling nostalgic.  Not sad, just more than usually sentimental.  There are so many things I look forward to about the future, but at the same time its sometimes hard to watch my kids grow up, friends move away, and see life changing in different ways. 

A word of advice: do not listen to "It Won't Be Like This For Long" on your child's birthday, when you're already feeling emotional, and while you are holding a sleeping newborn. That is, not unless you want a good cry.

Despite being completely sappy and ruining my mascara, it is a nice song, so I wanted to share it for anyone else feeling equally sentimental today. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Nadia Kate

This blog has been unused for a long time, but when people started asking me for Nadia's birth story I figured it was time to revive it. Warning, this is a long post and a somewhat detailed birth story. Skimming to look at the pictures is perfectly acceptable ;)

So here it is, the arrival of Nadia Kate Lopez, born June 21, 2016.

This pregnancy and labor was so different than either of the other two. I had contractions for almost two weeks leading up to real labor, changing at times from mild to strong, and from regular to irregular. It was extremely frustrating, especially due to the fact that I was gbs+ and would need antibiotics during labor, and my second labor went so fast that my midwife kept insisting I come in as soon as "real" labor started. So I spent the better part of 10 days obsessing about if it was "real" labor I was feeling or not.

My induction was scheduled for Thursday morning when I would have been 41 weeks 1 day.  Tuesday I started to feel more contractions than usual. They were definitely time able, and by the early afternoon were coming every 5 minutes. They weren't particularly strong, but keeping in mind my midwife's caution, and my need for at least 4 hours of antibiotics before delivery, we decided to go into the hospital around 4pm. I called ahead, and due to my situation they scheduled me a delivery room right away without sending me to triage, for which I'm very thankful. Triage is perhaps my least favorite area in the labor and delivery wing.

We were settled in the room, I was at 3 cm, and my IV of antibiotics was started at 5pm. My nurse slipped while drawing blood through the IV port, which spilled blood all over my arm, wrist bands, bedding and hospital gown. It was kind of disgusting, but almost humorous.

The worst part was that because I was on an IV my movement was somewhat limited, but the contractions weren't too bad at this point so it was manageable. Because they wanted me to get the full 4 hours of antibiotics in they basically didn't want me to do anything to encourage labor too much, just to maintain and manage.

They had me on the monitors and promised they would take me off and let me move around after 45 minutes because baby looked great. Unfortunately, after 40 minutes baby girl's heart rate spiked to 170. They wouldn't tell me what else was wrong, but they were concerned enough for the midwife and OB to require that I stay on the monitors with no break till the baby was delivered. This was one of my worst fears going in, because I knew from experience that without the freedom of movement my pain management would be hard to handle. I had been hoping to avoid an epidural like I had with Elise, because that physical recovery was so much easier than the one I had after Henson was born.

I labored on the monitor with no checks or anything else for the four hours they needed between antibiotics. I was able to use the longer cords for the monitor so that I could at least sit on the birth ball or stand up, but I was pretty much stuck within a few feet of the bed. By the end of the four hours my contractions were getting stronger fast.

When they finally came in to check me I was only at 4cm. Also, she was sideways and the nurse needed me to lay on my side to try to encourage her to flip the right way. Discouraged, knowing I had to stay in the bed now for at least an hour, and remembering the 12 hours it took me to go from 4-10cm with Henson, I decided to get the epidural. All I wanted was to be able to get in the shower to help me through the contractions, but that was not an option now at all.

When my midwife checked me she also did an aggressive membrane sweep. As soon as she left the room contractions ramped up A LOT. They were stronger, closer together, and lasting longer. It took about an hour for them to come and do my epidural. It took a little while for them to put it in due to my scoliosis, but they finally got it hooked up. Right away I could tell it was not working as strongly as it had with Henson. The edge was taken off the contractions, but I could still feel every one of them from beginning to end, and I could tell they were still getting stronger.

The nurse went to get the midwife to come check on me, but as soon as she left the room my water broke. Henry got the nurse back in. The waters were clear (hurray!) and the baby had turned the right way.

Just then I was hit by what must have been a combination of the medicine in my system and the physical trauma of the baby crowning, because I felt overwhelmingly sick. The nurse got me a bag so that I could throw up, which I did. (Thanks to Henry for taking on the not so pleasant job of holding the bag for me).  We didn't even know I was already at 10cm and ready to deliver, but little girl was so ready that the force of throwing up made her head start coming out, and the nurse got the midwife in there as fast as she could. The epidural had succeeded in making my legs tingly by this point, but the medicine could not keep up with the increase of the pain, so I felt everything, just slightly dulled. Had I known I would have gone from 4-10cm in only two hours I would have forgone the epidural all together.

I learned something new. Apparently a baby can be born without pushing. The contractions can actually push the baby out on its own sometimes. (And yes, it hurts about the same). My contractions stopped for a minute, and the midwife said sometimes your body takes a break when the baby is being delivered, and it's best to wait. I would have welcomed the brief break about an hour before, but at this point it felt like forever!

After a few more contractions she was born. She was purple, but breathing fine. Even though she weighed the most of any of the kids, at 8lbs 15oz and 20.5 inches, she didn't look that big to me.


 I only needed two small stitches (same as with Elise), and for the first time I actually had my own midwife there for the delivery. After the delivery was over my body got suddenly very chilled, and I was shivering uncontrollably. The blood pressure cuff couldn't even get a good reading on me because I physically couldn't stop shaking. The nurse brought a warm blanket, which helped slightly, but I was still shivering when they took us up to the recovery room. It was only after piling all the blankets on myself in the bed that my body started to calm down and I could control the shaking.

We got to stay in the delivery room for over an hour. Nadia was born hungry, so the nurse actually suggested we gave her her first tiny bottle in the delivery room. 


We got up to our recovery room around 1am. Unfortunately I had to keep the IV in till the next morning, but got them to take it out nice and early before 8am. I'm sure I drove my nurses crazy reminding them it needed to be removed, but I'd had that thing for over 12 hours and I really dislike both having an IV and having my movement confined. Once it was out and I was cleared to move around on my own I felt so much better. Getting out of the uncomfortable hospital gown and being able to move around felt great!

The kids came that morning to meet their new sister. Henson was the most excited to hold her. Elise wanted to look at her the whole time. They have been in love with their little sister ever since, and the first thing either of them asks when they wake up in the morning is "where is baby Nadia?"


Now I look at our crazy family and it feels full and complete. It's so strange to think that five years ago we had no children, and now our lives revolve around caring for these little ones. I have found joy in all the stages of my life for different reasons, but I'm especially grateful for this time I have to spend with my three kids while they are small. In some ways welcoming Nadia has felt like the beginning of a new phase in my life. I'm not sure what exactly it will hold, but I'm so happy to have this new little girl to share it with.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wet and Wild Wednesday

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you filled 100 water balloons and set a group of three year olds loose with them outside? Well this morning I found out, and it was a blast. Henson's birthday is Friday, and I wasn't planning to have a friend party for him this year, but last week he told me he wanted to have his friends over to play with water balloons. (Note: until today he had never touched a water balloon, so I'm not sure why the sudden obsession ). 

I think the day was a success. Rarely has our back yard been filled with so much squealing, laughing, and hyper energy. And for a group of preschoolers there were relatively few altercations that required adult intervention. 

Here are a few pictures from our wet morning. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day: counting my blessings

Today I'm feeling very lucky to be the mother of two wonderful kids. They are two very special and unique individuals, a and I'm so blessed to get to spend time with them and help them grow. 

I've had a lot of different experiences, worked a lot of different jobs and met a lot of interesting people, but I have learned and grown more from being a mother than any other experience. 

Both kiddos the day they were born

I'm a very lucky mama! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Welcome Home Baby

Elise is here, and we are all glad to be home and doing well. 

Her arrival was very different from her brothers. With Henson I was a week overdue and spent 17 hours in labor, 14 of those hours at the hospital. This little lady arrived on her due date, and was in quite a hurry. 

For those who like birth stories, here it is. For those who don't, skip to the cute pictures at the end ;)

Saturday morning I had no expectation of having a baby that day. We went to yard sales that morning, and planted vegetables in the garden after lunch. Around 3 I started noticing random painful contractions, but nothing frequent or consistent enough to pay much attention to. At 4 I ran to the store to get something for dinner. While I was out I noticed the contractions started to come about every 10 minutes. I went home and we made dinner. By the time we sat down to eat they were every 5 minutes and getting harder to sit through. So I left Henry to do the dishes while I went to try to manage them. After such a long first labor I expected to need to spend some time laboring at home before things progresseged. By 6:45 they were so intense that I knew we needed to go in. Henry loaded the car, I somehow walked to it, and we went to drop Henson off at a friends. The whole ride over I was just thinking what a wimp I felt like.y first time around I labored for 12 hours before getting any pain relief. This time I was ready to ask for the epidural after only two hours. 

We got to the hospital at 7:30. I'm still not sure how I managed to walk into the building, but we made it upstairs to check in. The registration lady was so nice and could tell I was struggling to keep composed, so she sent me to be checked for admittance while Henry finished the paperwork. After being checked I was immediately taken to a delivery room. I switched beds, and the doctor was there ready to deliver before there was time for anything else (my midwife was already in another delivery and didn't make it on time). At 7:59 Elise was born, after only 3 hours of real labor and less than 30 minutes in the hospital. 

She was 8 lbs, 7oz and 21 inches long. She was a little cold, so she spent some time under the warmer before we could go upstairs to our room, but that was just as well because we had to finish being admitted anyway. 

We feel so lucky that everything worked out so well, that she is healthy, and so greatful for all the people who helped us with taking care of Henson and making the weekend so much easier. So welcome home Elise! We are so glad you're finally here. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Story time with Dad

One of Henson's favorite things is to have us tell him stories.  He particularly loves to hear stories about Henry's horse he had growing up in Guatemala. After a long work day Henson cornered his dad on the sofa to get one of these stories. It was too cute not I share.