Waiting past the due date was challenging. Each day brought new questions and uncertainties -- surely this must be the day. Then, as the day was ending and our bodies were weary from the day's activities we would wonder, "if our little one decided to be born tonite would we have the energy to go thru the laboring process."
Then, that day arrived. A day we had hoped for, yet not as we had planned.
After much deliberation and under the counsel of our medical providers we began the induction journey at 8am. A path that would lead, eventually, to the OR. Thankfully at 8am we did not know that, for God knew we needed to take this one step at at time. Each of those stages involved some mourning of the things we had lost (to labor without inducing meds, to use alternative methods to cope with the pain instead of an epidural, to avoid a C-section).
As each contraction ended it seemed we'd not have energy to do another. But, then it'd come and somehow we pushed on. Like many things in life, it is good God gives us limited insight into the future. Instead of relying on our own strength and insight we trust our Father to provide for each moment.
There are many sayings out there that speak of the need for community;
it takes a village to raise a child...
no man is an island unto himself...
What a privilege to be blessed with a top notch laboring team.
Jennifer (via phone while she was out on the west coast)
They and the many workers at Women & Babies Hospital treated us like royalty and at the same time friends. To have the wealth of medical knowledge and yet tremendous mutual respect in the unique situation each decision presented was amazing---the fullness of wisdom and humility working in harmony.
On this side of things we are incredibly thankful. As proud parents we already have more pictures than you can imagine. I will only post a few more right now. Check out Kirsten's Facebook page for more in the near future. For those without Facebook (like me) we'll add a slideshow on the blog.
Just wanted to give an update for those who may be lurking around waiting for news of our baby's arrival... Little baby JM should arrive in the next couple of days, we hope! Today, I'm 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant - that's right, 11 days overdue. But, I still feel really quite good, have a decent amount of energy and still no swelling (hooray for that!). My lower back and left sacro-iliac joint (in the bum area) have been bothering me some the past couple of days, but otherwise I can't complain for being as pregnant as I am.
I had another appointment today for another non-stress test and ultrasound to check the fluid level around the baby. Once again, everything was beautiful - my monitor strip was reactive (and I even think I might have seen a couple of bumps on the tocometer that indicated some contractions) and my fluid level was still a wonderful 13.9. Exciting things for a pregnant doctor in waiting...
I have to take a little pity on my dear friend Rachel, who's been faithfully fighting the fight for me at work this past week. I stopped working as of Monday for many reasons, but one major reason was because it was so overwhelming to go into work everyday and be swamped by questions about when the baby was coming and why I hadn't delivered yet. I'm still getting that badgering, of sorts, on facebook, through phone calls, e-mails, etc. I don't want to sound unappreciative or disgruntled by the questions, because I know everyone cares about us and our baby so much and is very interested in the pending news. I thought by avoiding posts on facebook about being pregnant and overdue and instead writing about chewy chocolate chip cookies, rhubarb strawberry crisp, etc. that I might deter some of those comments, but not so... again, I'm thankful for the interest and investment in our lives, but it's made it more difficult to wake up every morning still pregnant.
But, back to Rachel... yes, poor Rachel has had to field the questions and comments everyday at work in my absence. It got to such extremes that yesterday she had to make a (loud) public announcement in the clinic assuring everyone that I had not yet delivered, I was not yet in labor, and that she would, in fact, make sure they all knew when it happened. I think she even said she'd wave a big flag and make a scene or something! To top it all off, she even posted on her facebook page and her blog that I wasn't in labor, just to ward off the inquisitive parties there too! Thanks, Rachel, for sticking up for me ;) and for taking this one for the team!
I know that there's a plan for this little one's arrival into the world and am trusting God - still would love for one of those gazillion things I've tried to kick in very soon, however! Tim asked me today what I would miss about being pregnant when this is all said and done, and I'm sure that I probably will miss many things. I told him that at 11 days past my due date, it probably wasn't the best time to ask me (again, feeling great for the most part and very thankful for that!). But I definitely have to admit that this has probably been the most wondrous experience of my life. I told him I was sure I'd miss the amazing movement of our little one inside of me, the baby's love for ice cream and how it would make me giggle, the way my body mysteriously and magically has changed to accommodate this new life, and much more. That being said, I am anxious to welcome our baby into the world and experience a whole new wonder and amazement! One of my mom's biggest fears was that she would find out from our blog (instead of a phone call!) that she had a new grandbaby, but we've assured her that she'll be well aware of any such news long before it makes it to our blog! Although, for the rest of you, don't worry, we'll be sure to post some news and photos as soon as we have some to share.
This past weekend, I was really struggling emotionally with the fact that I was almost a week past my due date and my doctor was starting to talk more about the "I"* word, which was making me not healthy and happy... So yesterday after church, Tim & I spent some time with a friend of ours who is one of our support persons planning to come to the house while I'm in labor. She's been doing this baby stuff for a long time, and just knew exactly what to say to me yesterday to bring a great sense of peace over me, my baby and my body. She gave me some great advice. She said that this will happen, and reminded me that I know down deep that it will; she said that I should stop going to work! and that I should enjoy the next few days doing things I like and emotionally preparing myself for labor and being a new mom, instead of trying to fix others' medical problems and getting really frustrated every morning when I walk into the clinic and everyone says: "You're here again today? We didn't expect to see you here. No baby yet? When are you going to have that baby? Still pregnant, eh?" and on and on and on... Grrr!! I know that they ask because they're interested, excited, concerned, and such, but so not helpful... Our friend also recommended that I do things like go to the park, read a trashy novel (not a pregnancy book) or a fun book, buy some flowers, have a hot date with my husband, go to market, get a pedicure (did that last week), buy some sexy lingerie, take a long walk in the sun, sit by the river, just enjoy being me and celebrate being pregnant, feeling the baby move and getting ready for his or her arrival. So, today I heeded her advice... and I didn't go to work! It felt good! And this is how my day has gone so far:
Kissed my husband goodbye and sent him off to work
Had a cup of tea and biscotti
Lounged around and read a bit
Went to my postdates testing appointment and had a beautiful, reactive non-stress test and an ultrasound that showed my AFI (amniotic fluid index) was 13.9 - that's good, by the way (means the baby has plenty of fluid to swim in still). No peaking during the ultrasound either. ;)
Had lunch with my mom
Picked rhubarb in my parent's backyard
Went to the grocery store
Bought some flowers
Came home and baked - super yummy Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies - found the recipe here
Also baked one of Timmy's favorites - Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp
Made my sister-in-law's famous Penne with Vodka Sauce for dinner, which we ate with roasted garlic bread...
And I'm about to take a walk with the best hubby ever, then come home to relax on the couch with him over some of that Crisp and perhaps a cup of hot tea...
Then to bed we'll go, not knowing what the night or tomorrow will bring!
Although I was busy doing "stuff," it was stuff that makes me happy, that I enjoy, and that I might not get to do for a long time. Besides, I was really craving chocolate chip cookies!
*"I" stands for induction, in case you didn't know... and I'm really hoping and praying that we won't need to talk much more about it! (Hint: So don't ask ;)!)
I have been noticing that the gadget on the left side of our blog page that counted down the days til our baby was to be born got to zero (on our due date), but then started counting up! Grrrr...! The floating baby count-down was fun to watch til the numbers were going in the opposite direction. Seeing a higher number every day wasn't helping the sentiments of frustration that have set in by being overdue. Not so fun anymore... So, I removed it today - just like that - poof! and gone! Gadget be gone, and baby JM come on into this world!
When we were with Tim's family on Mother's Day, my nieces were playing dress up, and they gave me one of their baby dolls to "practice" with a little. I thought it was fun and cute, but I sure would like to hold one that wiggles and squirms and actually cries when it's hungry - the one they gave me was all too quiet!
A friend of mine gave me the book, "Birthing From Within" yesterday, and she recommended that I try to start reading it before the baby comes. Even though I'm already passed my due date, there's still time til the actual labor process begins (and even then, there may be some time for reading!).
One of the things I read early on in the book discussed fears and worries that all mothers about to go through labor experience. It states that most women worry about pain, the possibility of something being wrong with their baby or the baby dying, and the possibility of dying themselves. Every woman, however, is unique, and has a variety of other worries and concerns because of who they are, what they've experienced in the past, and how things have gone up until this point.
The author recommended listing all of your worries, so as to acknowledge them and not suppress them, and to address some of them in advance, if possible. She affirms that worrying is a normal part of being pregnant. An exercise in listing your fears can be a therapeutic journey to be able to get those worries off your chest... I like to think that I will then be able to hand them over to God, trusting that He will calm my fears and give me the strength to face what lies ahead.
This morning, as I was in the shower, I started to make my list. I've decided that writing it down would be helpful for me. I realize that my list is probably different and more extensive than the average woman about to bear a child. One thing is true - I am a pregnant woman, and I share very similar emotions to those of all pregnant women, just by virtue of the fact that I am about to become a mother. In addition, however, I know that both my career and parts of my personality add to my list and make it probably longer than most.
Here goes my list: pain, strength and stamina (lack of) to deal with labor and pushing, meconium, NICU, continuous monitoring, abnormal electronic fetal monitoring, induction, cervidil, pitocin, epidural, vacuum, forceps, c-section, tearing, stitches, shoulder dystocia, ABO incompatibility, breastfeeding problems, postpartum hemorrhage, blood sugar protocol,...eek!
So, there you have it - my list exposed and now I give it over to God, who has held me and our baby in His hands all this time throughout the pregnancy,and I'm sure will continue to do so, through the labor and delivery, and for many years to come. Even if and when I feel like I may not be in control, He always is in control, has a plan and knows what's going on. I simply need to continue to trust...
Another friend recently sent me an e-mail telling me that she was praying for me, and specifically praying the words of 1 Timothy 2:15 "But women will be kept safe through childbirth, if they continue in their faith, love and holiness with self control."
As I wait for the moment to come when the pains will start, labor and delivery will occur, and we'll welcome our new baby into the world, I, too, pray that I will continue in faith, love, holiness, self-control AND patience. I desire so much to be at peace with the natural course of how things progress, but at the same time, I recognize the feelings of frustration and impatience that I, like so many other women, am experiencing now that my due date has passed, and things still seem about the same.
All in perfect timing... thanks for joining us in prayer for continued patience and peace, and thanks for walking the journey with us.
We had a lovely Mother's Day, visiting with both of our families and spending the late afternoon and early evening "hiking" at Landis Woods. We asked my dad to do a photo shoot of sorts while we walked through a few of the trails. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we got some good shots... fortunately Dad's rate for the sitting fee didn't put too much of a dent in our wallets! Now, we're just hoping that the next time we have a photo shoot it involves a little JM baby!
Today we were blessed with the presence of two great friends - Marvin & Dori - who came to our house, in the midst of our dust, dirt, construction zones and some chaos, to help us clean and tackle some more projects before the baby arrives.
It's hard for me to allow others to see our messes at times, and even more difficult for me to allow others to clean up those messes (unless it's my mom...for some reason that's very different). But, our dear friends didn't bat an eye at our dirt and disorganization, and instead they got down and dirty with us to help sort through some things and get one step closer to some assemblance of order. And then in the end, they thanked us for the opportunity to share in the nitty gritties of life with us! Incredible!
It truly is a humbling experience and a joy to share things such as these with friends. So again, Marvin and Dori, thank you, asante sana, gracias! We are full of gratitude!
Here's some photo evidence of what occurred at our house today... Marvin & Tim were totally celebrating the successful assembly of our changing table/dresser combo... and confusing themselves for Charlie's Angels!
Only 7 days to go til the due date, folks! Of course, we all know that this babe will come when it's good and ready, but officially can't really be in there for more than three weeks from now - all of which is scary and exciting at the same time. I've had a few contractions here and there, and I'm doing all the stuff that I recommend to my own patients to keep them from going way beyond their due date, but still no baby. I certainly can't complain at this point, however. I had some significant swelling last week, after walking over 7 miles in one weekend, that forced me to wear flip-flops to work (which patients thought was great, but I'm not so sure about the OSHA folks' opinions about it). That's gotten much better now (back to regular shoes), and my biggest woe is that it's super difficult to roll over in bed. But otherwise, my energy and my spirits are still good, I am still working full time and surviving, I don't have killer back pain (like most preggers at this point), and I managed to wear 3 inch heels to a gala on Saturday night and dance the "Electric Slide" without any difficulty. Still holding on to this baby, though! Last night we met with some friends, who shared with us that for a long time she (the pregnant-at-the-time mommy) had been trying to plan out the day their first baby would come - like when it would be convenient for her - but then she started to feel convicted about that. She finally realized that she needed to tell the baby that he could come anytime when he felt ready to enter the world. She "released" him to come on his terms and not on hers... and he came that night! God and the baby both knew what the right timing was! Those friends prayed with us last night, which was an encouragement and also brought me a great deal of peace about what's to come. But just in case Baby Johnsen Martin is listening right now, "you, too, are released to come when you're ready!" We know you won't mind coming home to a house that's in the midst of many, many remodelling projects, and you surely won't remember it much either. Our friends also prayed that my labor would be quick, healthy, without complications and that I (we) would have courage, energy and stamina. May God hear their (our)prayers! I also think I might have found out the gender of our baby today! The mother of my doctor's nurse has never wrongly guessed what gender baby was being carried inside a beautiful pregnant belly - NEVER! This same woman works at my clinic in the evenings. I hardly ever see her, because I'm not usually at the clinic at night. The nurse had taken a couple of pictures of my belly when I was at my prenatal appointment on Friday in order to show her mom. She was going to let me know the verdict today via e-mail, but I never got the e-mail. I happened to be at the clinic later than usual today, so I ran into the said expert guesser and asked her if she had seen pictures of my belly over the weekend. She said that she hadn't seen her daughter this past weekend, so didn't see the photos. So, I said, "well, what do you think?" And she said, with a voice of authority and hardly a pause, "it's a ...!" I asked if she was certain, and she nodded yes. I turned to the side, to give her a different view, and her answer remained very clearly the same. This all happened in front of one of the receptionists, who very much disagreed with her assessment, but nonetheless, the guessing lady stuck to her guns and would not be moved or shaken! When I came home to tell Tim, he reminded me that it's still a guess, and she has a 50/50 chance, but so far her track record is pretty darn good. So we'll see...! I can't really tell you all, because that would ruin the surprise. So, you'll just have to wait... like the rest of us!
We are known as the "1st Friday Couple," having had our first date on a "First Friday."
First Friday is a monthly event when all of the shops and art galleries downtown are open late, have new exhibits, and bring the city alive. It's a great time - even better when you get engaged on First Friday, like we did! It surely holds significance for us, and thus we've become the 1st Friday Couple!
Our family grew, when Sebastian Roy joined us on May 24, 2009. He is our pride and joy, and has changed our lives forever!
We welcomed our first Friday Baby, Maya Hope, on March 4th, 2011! We have fallen in love all over again with our little baby girl and with each other.
Life as a family of four is richer and more joy-filled!