Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dr. Fisher

Levi and I went to the pediatrician for our first visit yesterday. Dr. Fisher is a very tall, lanky 50-something man with wispy white hair and large hands. He speaks quickly, admits to mumbling, and occasionally changes the subject so quickly that even I can't keep up. He rapid-fires the basic questions, "How's he eating? Sleeping? How many wet diapers a day?" I find myself responding like the contestants on Family Feud, all I need is that big red button.

He was going through the drill when he asked, "What color are his bowel movements? Yellow?"

"No, they're actually orange."

"Orange?!? Do you know why?"

So here's the doctor asking my medical opinion, obviously testing my nursing degree prowess. Test question: Give the rationale for a newborn's orange poopy diaper as it would compare and contrast to the normal yellow breast-fed poopy diaper. Right. Ready, sir.

"Well, I figure it's him clearing his bilirubin. I've noticed that his jaundice is lightening so he must be passing the excess bilirubin in both his diaper and urine-"

He interrupted, "No that's not it."


"No." And a wide mischievous grin crawled across his face. "It's orange for Halloween."

Monday, October 24, 2005


An F5 is considered an "incredible tornado" by the Fujita scale. It has winds between 261 and 318 mph. Damage sustained can be any of the following: Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-enforced concrete structures badly damaged.

The Furr family has now become... an F5.

Matt and I are giving each other lots of hugs nowadays to keep one another's morale up. F4 to F5 is still early in it's transition. Most of the time it seems to be going well, and then, without warning, the wheels fly off and trees disembark, the house creeks... you get the picture. Overall the kids seems pleased with Levi's addition. Izak refers to him as "baby brother" and is so very concerned with his little cries, shouting for my attention, "Baby Brother Crying!!" Libby circles him like a small shark, eyeing him out of the corner of her big browns, every now and then coming in to poke him on top of his head, not too hard, but hard enough as if to say, "Hey you, this is MY turf... you feelin' me?" Some days I choke back tears thinking of an encouraging word a mom gave me when Libby was a baby, Before you know it, you'll hear them running down the hallway together laughing. But until then, we take it a moment at a time.

The birth details (Men, you've been warned.) This is especially a shout out to my curious Bradley and Buffalo buddies.

Matt and I arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. Tuesday, October 18th. We were checked in and chillin' in our lovely birth suite for about two hours before the OB got there. The monitor showed that I was having contractions every 7-8 minutes (tell me something I didn't know), but they were mild. I was 5-6cm upon exam, so there had been some progress at some point. The OB ruptured my waters at 9:26 a.m. (that sucked!) and ordered Pitocin to be started. Really though, once my water broke, I rolled over on my left side and got to work relaxing and working with the pain. I've never had my water broken artificially before, but I was determined to play nice and follow the rules as much as possible. Levi was coming down along my backbone, so there was really intense back pain (so did the other two). They hung my antibiotic, and not to change tradition I began vomiting. The nurse checked me and I was already 7-8. Then came my buddy Pit. Induction Pitocin can go as high as 20-30 mu. They started my drip at 2mu. The second they plugged it in, the pain and intensity of the contrx made me start to moan. Heck, I think all I needed to do was smell the stuff. The drip started at 9:58 a.m.. By this point I'm thinking, You know, some drugs would've been nice. I don't think I want this natural thing again. In fact I'm sure I don't. But at that point, it was too late. Within a half an hour I began thinking, You know, a c-section sounds really good about now, I would be fine with that, perhaps I should mention it to the nurse... But what I've learned about childbirth is that the crazier, more desperate the thinking, the closer you're getting to the END. I've also learned that it does you no stinkin' good to give voice to the thoughts because that may only reinforce them. So I was quiet, except for the moaning and occasional "Baby, baby, baby out." Matt was amazing. stayed right by my side, talking gently from time to time, reminding me to relax, put my shoulders down, relax my legs. He was the weather master as I'm calling the climate, "I'm hot!" (whipped covers off) "I'm still hot!" (dropped the thermostat in the room as low as it could go) "I"m cold!" (covers my legs) "No, I'm hot!!" He stood by the bedside and allowed me to grind me forehead into his side as the contrx hit, clutching his shirt. He'd softly say, "Let go and relax, you're doing great." I did not feel like letting go, but knew I needed to obey my coach.

A little before 11 a.m. I thought I'd pull one over on Old Mother Nature. I knew left side-lying was a way to expedite labor, so I rolled over to my right side to slow things down. By now I'm thinking, I'd like to die. No pain meds, no c-section... I think I'll just die right here because this is impossible. If I have to go one more minute with this intense pain, I'll never make it. But as I rolled over I felt everything change. The back pain stopped, the contrx became centered in the middle of my body, I stopped moaning. I actually was thinking, Hey, this isn't so bad. Right side, good move! But then came the pressure... and I felt my body start to push, and I thought, OH NO! Back on the left, back on the left!!! Because as much as I didn't want the pain I really didn't want to push! The nurse was close by, and checked me out, said the time was very near, and started calling for the doctor. I just remember lying there, determined to not push, no matter what. One contrx came and went, and then my body took over and began bearing down. I began to writhe under the force of it. (That was when I had my first behavioral correction from my coach. Matt said firmly, "Heidi, quit biting the sheets!") The OB came in and the nurse said, "She's ready to deliver." The OB said, "Is she getting ready to push?" and the nurse said, "No, she's delivering right now." As the OB was walking across the room I remember yelling, "I'm only doing this once, so somebody tell me the best way to push!" They helped me "assume the position" and I tucked my chin and let 'er have it! I heard Matt counting in my ear, "1...2...3...4" and could feel the pressure and burn of the head, then a slight relief - I'd pushed the head out and wasn't even aware. Normally everyone starts yelling, "Stop, stop, stop!" and they suction, but since no one was saying anything (Matt said the OB was suctioning like crazy) I bore down and gave it another shove.... and then had the most wonderful feeling when it all just came out! And there's wriggling, and warmth, and, well, all that. I guess the nurse was still trying to tie the OB's gown when she had her hands full of baby boy. She'd gotten there just in time. And Matt said to me, in that whispery, tear-choked voice he always has, "It's a boy! It's a boy!" 11:05 a.m.

Levi was full of fluid from rocketing out so quickly without spending time in the squeeze cycle, so he had a bit of suctioning to do. His cry was very pinched and tight at first, but he screamed and screamed. I remember just being absolutely dazed. It had all happened in 1 hour and 29 minutes. I called the nurse over and just said, "Be with me, please." She smiled and stood there and held my hand. Colleen was fantastic. Matt was amazing. The OB made easy money. And the nursery nurse was really funny, cracking jokes, sarcastic, talking to little Levi, apologizing to him. I was too stunned to laugh, but she was funny!

Overall, that's the story. I sustained no damage to speak of. Levi looks like the c-section baby I was wishing for. He eats well and frequently (every two hours), and sleeps... well, that will come in time.

I think back to how much I stressed with the first two. Would they every sleep or nurse well? Would life every moderate? And I'm determined this time to live in the knowledge that Levi will grow and develop, and that this very happy and healthy F5 will see great days ahead!

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My new son

Welcome, Levi Lawrence Furr. Born at the bidding of Pitocin and the medical team (which included Mommy), he finally came out at 11:05 a.m. Tuesday, October 18th. Nine pounds, 4 ounces. Quite a beauty. More details to come.

Thank you for your prayers and kind words of encouragement.

Monday, October 17, 2005

One Way or Another... Baby Comes Out Tomorrow!

We're sick of messin' around. The doctor said that I should've gone a long time ago... if I could only have contractions. I am scheduled for induction with Pitocin tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.. We have childcare lined up for the day and night. I've had Pit before, so I'm not afraid of any surprises. Labor's just plain hard any way you go about it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Cake!! Posted by Picasa

Izak is three!

My sweet one turned three surrounded by pastoral staff and several friends whom he loves very much. It was a beautiful day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

39 and 4

Last night Matt and I had another potential "last date for a very long time." We left the kids with a charming little sitter and headed to... Benihanas, of course. After dinner we stopped at Target for wipes and strawberries, and as we were strolling between home decor and ladies' clothing a funny thing happened. I've heard of the sciatica attacks that pregnant women get. A sudden pinching of the sciatic nerve that runs down either side of your lower back into the leg renders you immobile. Well, sure enough. I don't know if the baby dropped down into the pelvis (I assume it's coming down sunny side up), or what happened, but my right leg went from functional to collapsible in about 2 seconds. Matt's looking at me as I'm folding backwards into a human envelope saying, "Are you ok? What's happening?" I keep thinking it will get better with the next step as I'm sinking, sinking, slumping towards the floor, yelling, "Get me a stool or a chair." I'm still too proud to go into a heap at this point, and too shocked to believe I'm literally falling down in the middle of the store. (Might have asked for it because on my way in I thought I might be having a contraction, and Matt asked if we needed to stop. My comment was, "If it doesn't stop me in my tracks then it's not worth stopping for." Eh-hem.) Matt grabs a little ottoman and shoves it under my rear as I'm closing in on a landing. We're both belly-laughing. He's asking, "Is your water going to break? Because if it is, we're about to buy an ugly $70 foot stool! Here, get up and sit on this one for $29.99." People began staring, and I'm trying to pull it together. It was a funny event, full of physical humor which is my favorite kind, even if it was at my expense. We managed to limp through the rest of our trip and made it home. Last night was fraught with not-so-funny pain for most of the night... but still nothing to clock or time. It just hurt. But the laugh from earlier in the evening will go a long way in keeping me smirking.

My next OB appointment is today at 1:45p.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

39 and 1

Baby remains in solitary confinement, and shows no new signs of emerging. Mom has returned to Bay City after 10 wonderfully helpful days. I'm trying to navigate each day alone again, which isn't as easy as it sounds. I think one of the best parts about Mom's company is that it helped give me someone to talk with, and though I may have been constantly thinking about whether each moment was "it," I could talk about something else. Home alone with little ones means I don't really have the conversational selection of another adult, unless you don't mind exegeting the adventures of Blue's Clues and Riverdance a thousand times a day. I'm not a phone person, especially with two little ones bound for folly. It's nice to have another person as an "alongside one."

My last appointment was last Wednesday and my next appointment is Saturday. I feel rather despondent, so I didn't see what the rush was in getting back into the office in order to be told, "Anytime now... don't know why you haven't gone already".

Izak turns three on Sunday, bless his heart. There will be cake from Baskin Robbins and candles!

Libby has been having tough nights with multiple waking. My assumption is molars and perhaps nightmares. But her nights have been choppy... which makes my nights more choppy.

Not much else that I want to share. I'm working on being an "expectant" mom rather than a "frustrated" one. I'm not sure how I'm doing, but I've resolved that there's nothing else to really be stressed about. Mom's come and gone, Matt's into October which he prepared for mentally to have the big upheaval occur with his schedule, my hopes of a sapphire birthstone have passed... I guess all that's left is beating the snow...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Being Picked

I think I agree with the general psychology that says we carry childhood issues into adulthood with us. I think one of my "things" has always been being one who was picked. Either because of my potential value, or proven worth, or importance... the list goes on. The little voice inside me still, at 34, says, "Pick me!" I remember not making my senior H.S. Homecoming court by one vote, and the burn in my heart because I knew I had not even voted for myself, but another girl on the ballot. If I would've only voted for myself then I would have been picked. I remember an atypical orchestral try-out for an international group I toured Europe with when I was 15 years old. We had to discuss and choose our chairs based on how we thought we played. I neglected to choose principal chair because I thought it was haughty, though I had never received any lower placement than first chair due to my skill and training. I ended up third chair by default, and was absolutely ill about it (until the end of the rehearsal when the conductor shouted, "Heidi, get up in first chair, and Dan, you're always out of tune! You sit third!"). After being embarrassed by third I was picked for first.

Today it's therapeutic for me to say I've been picked again. First, my husband, who consistently picks not only me but our whole family, chose to go to an important meeting with me that he did not have to attend. We both had a crazy night with the kids, who were pretty much up from 2-430a with various needs. He had stayed up late and worked the night before, and uses Saturday as a work day... but wearily looked at me this morning and said, "I think I'll come with you. This is a pretty big thing for our family." And just like that, I was picked. Secondly, my mom, who I've mentioned in the past having a crazy list of dependents back in Michigan, chose to come out here for 10 days to be with us all as we await/survive the end of this pregnancy. She had a million other things that were pushing for her attention, but instead, she picked me. No, I didn't have the baby while she was here, but the around-the-clock helpful presence was perhaps even more of a blessing than had a newborn been in the mix. I got to watch her drink up her grandbabies and delight in their developments, and enjoyed working alongside her throughout the day. ( I also got two homemade pumpkin pies out of it too... oh yummmmm.)

Thank you, Lord, for the way you continue fill the little holes and divots in my heart. Thank you for picking me every single day. And thank you for those who love me and my family so much that we live in the security of knowing we have been, and will continue to be, chosen.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A True Fanatic

Three years ago this month Izak was born. I was at the hospital, recovering from a long but rewarding labor. A few nurses had gathered in my room, and were musing about the sudden increased census in the labor and delivery unit. One nurse said, "I don't know what it is... There's no full moon, and they're too late to be New Year's babies...". The other nurse said, "I know, and it's way too early for Valentine's Day babies."

Without much thought I interjected, "Well, these are Super Bowl babies!"

They just stared at me, while I blushed and grinned form ear to ear. My team won.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ready, Set...

WAIT! Good grief, Lord! What IS this? Tuesday evening and Wednesday were looking great as far as having the baby. Good contractions, they even started to fall into a nice pattern on our way to the OB office. If the baby drops any lower it's going to be in one of my legs. The exam showed that I'd made good progress, actually 1 cm more than I had hoped, head down. The doc "stirred things up" a little, and by the time we drove down the road a mile for lunch, I thought I'd drop the baby in the Olive Garden. Very intense stuff. I called Mom, told her things looked favorable (She came out on the train the next day), called my inner circle of pregnancy friends and told them things looked like they would be done soon. And then the signs began to fade into nothingness. I had a silent night, got great sleep, and awoke ready for the show. Thursday morning had a few highlights, but then it settled down. I thought maybe subconsciously I was waiting for my mom to come. Her train arrived at 1:53p. And the rest of the day remained quiet. Late Thursday night after Mom and the kids were in bed, Matt and I went for a long, wonderful walk. We got home about midnight, and I "lost something" and had quite a "show". From 1-2a Friday morning I had great contractions 9 minutes apart... and then nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing!!!! In the morning I went in for a labor check with the same doc who had seen me Wednesday. Exam essentially unchanged. She offered to admit me, but said that I may just end up going home if things didn't progress - and that's really unacceptable to me. So home we came. This time I had absolutely no activity as a result of the exam. Nothing to report. Nothing to do but wait... it's either got to be mind-numbing contractions or my water breaking that will prove I've made the leap to real labor.

Why, Lord? Why did Wednesday look SO good and then everything stopped? I was the most sure I've ever been that that was real labor, but it ceased. So here I sit with my mom while the minutes tick away. She's having a great time with the kids, and is such a huge help. No one knows me as well as Mom. But we look at each other as if to say, where's this baby!?!? The caregivers back in Michigan are getting a real run for their money by 97 year-old Grandma, who has a propensity to misbehave while Mom's gone. She's very fragile and child-like... and stubborn. So Mom bears the stress of that end of things too.

I've done everything I know to do. To be very honest, I don't think the wait has anything to do with "doing the right thing." I think it's just about the wait. I've always been control-challenged, and waiting room experiences really bring that out in me. Instead of relaxing, I become more insistent about peddling my agenda. There's a desperation I feel now, an inability to be happy with the current settings. I struggle with a view of God as an irritated father, one that mocks me as I struggle in limbo. I always find it interesting that I'm so opposed to stillness. In the absence of direction I want to go forward. In the absence of progress I want to make things happen, even if it's the wrong thing. In the absence of hearing God's voice I turn up the sound so that I'll at least hear something. And while I'm being lured gently into the desert by the One who loves me, where I've spent a majority of the last three and a half years, I drag my feet and whine to go back to what I know. Essentially less of Him, and more of myself.

Jesus, help me cherish the wait. Give me your peace. Solder my feet that I will not run from your presence, and may that alone be more than enough.