Thursday, August 18, 2011

Callings and Callings

Right now at church my calling (unpaid, part-time job) is on the Stake Activities Committee (wards are the local congregations, a stake is a group of wards). I’m the “Music Specialist”, serving under the “Cultural Arts Director”.

I pretty much got this calling because I started pushing for a big music production I wanted to have performed. It almost happened about a year and a half ago, but it’s finally coming to fruition this November.

Whenever we have a music-oriented activity comes up I’m really excited about it and try to get things going, but I always feel side-lined. I detest the hierarchy that is set up (as it is not clearly defined) and the fella that is the “chair” (as assigned by stake pres.) runs things completely contrary to how I am used to having things done and how I would like to see them done.  It seems disorganized, with the loudest voices getting listened to the most (literally).

Now that this production I’ve been working my tail off for is finally underway I feel totally side-lined. We have someone leading the choir and (odd, I know, but it works) someone else leading the orchestra. They are both very capable. I’ve tried to maintain a sense of “running things” by trying to hold on to being the contact point/producer, but honestly I feel like a pet. It’s ridiculous.

I keep getting a little anxiety whenever I think about the calling and/or the production now. I’m thinking about bailing and just being a player in the orchestra. I don’t really want to do that, though. I want to follow through and see this done well. I’ve just got to figure out how to re-focus the production when it’s so far underway. I was late to one of the key meetings and I think that our newest recruit for this gig got the idea that I was an extra limb – somewhat useful, but more of a novelty.

Gag, I hate undefined positions. I’m really a task-oriented person. This must be one of those “learning and growing” things that God gives us. ha.

Sounds like I’ve got some planning to do. Thanks for the listening ear, internets.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Post-Partum Depression and other fun

What exactly is post-partum depression like? I’ve never been sad or lethargic or felt like I would harm my baby, but I have had other difficulties. I’m quick to anger, impatient, I yell, and my memory is pretty much unreliable for at least six months. For that entire first six months it seems like I can’t do much beyond the basics. (Forget about the first couple of months. Just managing to get some sleep in between wakings/feedings is all I can handle.)

Is this PPD? Is it just sleep-deprivation? Perhaps Seasonal Affective Disorder? (I am in Seattle, after all.) Some people are just blessed with good sleepers and seem to be right back into the swing of things after 6 or 8 weeks. After three kids, I’m not sure if the babies are to blame or my own biology.

I am starting to really come out of my funk, finally, but it’s also coinciding with the arrival of more sunshine here in the Evergreen State. I know that last year around this time I also seemed to “wake up” when there was a bright, sunny day. I keep planning to try full-spectrum lights, but I’ve only just now started looking into them.

Whether or not I get PPD or SAD or both, we might be done having babies. I kind of want one more, but this has been rough. Scott has a few dietary restrictions and is exclusively breastfed, the sleep has been rough because he has a sensitive gut, and my immune system has been abused since early/mid-December. I finally had a two-week break but I’m sick again. It’s not debilitating, but anything is too much when you’re already getting up multiple times during the night.

I’m convinced that having babies is better done when you’re in your 20’s. Perhaps I would have been just as crazy, but maybe it wouldn’t have lasted so long. At any rate, I’m 32 now and will probably be close to 34 when and if we’re ready to have another. 35 is my cut-off. Spending ten years pregnant, nursing, and recovering is enough for me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Baby Scott–September 6, 2010

At 12:50am a strong contraction woke me up with pressure on my bladder. This was a fairly regular occurrence of the past couple of weeks, so I took care of business and then went to check on Jane. She’d been having a lot of accidents at night lately, so I asked her if she wanted to go potty. When I squatted down next to her bunk I felt a little trickle. She flopped out to stand, only to refuse and crawl back into bed. I’m glad that she refused, because I was pretty certain that I had not wet myself. So after Jane declined I went back to the bathroom and checked on things. Sure enough, I was having an intermittent trickle of amniotic fluid. My water had broken and the baby was on his way.

I had been heavily preparing for the baby for the past month, but of course the night he chooses is the one where our laziness prevailed on a quiet Sunday evening. The house was a mess.

I walked over to Travis and rubbed his feet to wake him. Thankfully, we had been going to bed at a decent hour more recently, so we had a few hours under us at this point. “Trav, my water broke. I’m going to go clean the kitchen.”

He turned and smiled, “Congratulations, Honey.”

He got up and helped me load the dishwasher, clean the table and counters and sweep the floors. We remembered to hold off on starting the dishwasher & cleaning the large items – we would need that hot water for the birthing tub.

I didn’t want to call my birthing team without details, so Travis and I tracked my contractions for about half an hour while we cleaned. They were mild, but 3-4 minutes apart. At about 2am I called the on-call pager and Beth returned my call and verified that everyone needed to come right away. I had tested positive for Strep B this time, so I had to have a shot of antibiotics right away. She said that she would call Lynn, as she and I wanted her to attend my birth.

Travis told me to also call the doula and the tub rental. (I hadn’t wanted to rush things, but it’s a good thing he was there to push me along – labor progressed much faster than I thought it would and those things take a long time to fill!) During all this cleaning I also had to use the toilet about four times. This was a very good thing as I was planning a water birth and did not want any of that gross-ness factor floating around with me.

It was about 1:30am and I needed a snack, so I took a few bites of banana and drank a little water. I had felt hungrier than that, but that seemed to do it.

I called and woke my parents. They live two hours away. I told them I would call back in a bit to update them. I called the midwife pager, called my doula, and called for the birthing tub. Within one hour everyone but my parents was there. The midwife team checked my vitals and administered the antibiotics while I sat at the kitchen table. Then the contractions were starting to get heavier.

Travis supported me from behind for a few, I held onto the pull-up bar for another, but mostly I had to walk them out. Then I had to speed walk them out, then high-step them out and then Laura – my doula – would press on my hips while I swayed, bracing myself on a bed or couch. She followed me around, keeping her distance while I “hmmmm’d” and “oooooo’d” through contractions, until I called for her. In between contractions I went to the bedroom and put my swim top on in preparation for the tub.

Soon I was back in the front room, kneeling in front of the couch and supporting myself through a contraction. I called for a bowl. I could hear the women behind me, but I knew they wouldn’t make it in time, so I moved quickly to avoid throwing up on the couch or the rug and barely made it to the hard floor. Someone – I think my doula – threw a towel down on top of it and put the bowl in front of me. Good thing I chose half a banana for a snack – everything came out.

I think that it was at this time my midwife – Lynn – asked to check me. I lay down on the front room floor (for what seemed like the longest time), “6 centimeters, -1 station.” She was still checking the baby’s position when a hard contraction came on, “Lynn!!” I yelled. Her checking me had brought on a bigger contraction and she quickly moved away so that I could get up.

The pacing increased and the contractions became harder to cope with, but I focused my breathing, sound, and mind to relax through them.

Finally I was in my bedroom and I remember the whole team being nearby, so I must have been sounding like it was time. I knelt on all fours for a couple of contractions while Lynn stepped up and compressed my hips between her legs, and then with her hands. Then my body was pushing.

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“My body is pushing!” I scrambled out of my underwear.

There was a murmured “That’s okay, that’s okay.” from several voices.

“Can I get in the tub?”

I think there were a couple of chuckles at my request, but someone helped me get in the tub. The water came up just past my waist and felt great. The achiness in my back dissipated, and I relaxed. I am told that I was in the tub for over an hour altogether, but time took a back seat to existence at this point. I closed my eyes, and focused on the strong sensations that encompassed my womb.  IMG_2603Between contractions I would try to relax my body into a focused state to allow the next contraction to roll through. Sometimes they rolled, sometimes they tumbled. The tumbling sent me squirming and heavy as if a bowling ball were being created from my abdomen. The rolling was intriguing; showing me just a glimpse of what it really means to conquer our natural selves. IMG_2607There were brief periods of transcendence when I would Ooooooo… or Aaaaahhhhh… my way through a contraction and I felt that my mind and my body were open and connected in a new way. It felt like a great and quiet power was passing through my body.

Much of the time, though, I tumbled with that power and I struggled to harness my body.

IMG_2611Travis continued to be behind me at the side of the tub. He and the doula would put a cool washcloth on my forehead between contractions. He held my hand sometimes, I squeezed his in return. I was checked once or twice and Lynn told me that the baby needed to come down a lot more. That was my new focus.

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Breathe, see the baby’s head descend further into the birth canal. Open. Descend. Open. Descend.

Miss Beverly woke up around 4:30am. We had watched many videos of home births on Youtube to help prepare the girls for what would happen. She loved watching them and finding out about the birthing process, but she told me that she was “…not interested in hearing you make those sounds.” Travis asked her if she’d like to go in and see me. True to her word, she declined. Travis set her up in the front room with Go Diego, Go.

My parents arrived, I remember my mother sitting nearby. She had brought her own stool so that she would have a good seat. I heard my dad’s voice in the background, but Mother told me that he couldn’t bear to stay and hear me, so he took care of Mom’s things and went back home.

Then it was time to push. Lynn told me to let it go slowly, to let things stretch. I remember being impatient to get the pain to stop. I moved around in the tub, but I was conscious of staying low enough so that I could keep the baby entirely under the water.

IMG_2612At one point I turned around, with my face now toward where I had been sitting. I was on my knees, and I remembered Deborah’s character from Birth. I knew that she had drawn her character from experience, and so I drew from that a guide on how to birth my baby. As the baby descended, I reached down and felt his squishy head. I could feel the hair covering his head. I knew that he was bigger than my girls because the pressure of the stretching was so intense that I thought that I might tear. I was afraid of that, but I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. I wanted to control the baby’s descent, so instead of letting his head go back in a bit after a contraction, I pushed harder and held him there. (In hind sight, I really wish I had allowed the contractions to push him out instead of using force. My bum didn’t take kindly to that.) Finally his head popped out. Lynn and Marion checked the baby quickly and then gave me the go ahead to push him out the rest of the way.

I pushed. I felt his little shoulders come through, I picked up his little body and lifted him to me, with Lynn aiding me.

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Moving over to the side of the tub I held his smooshy body and rubbed his back while Marion wiped him with a receiving blanket and covered him for warmth. He let out a small cry of protest and fell asleep. Lynn and I rubbed him to try and get him to cry more, but he would not. She listened to his lungs, but he was alright. He was just a mild little guy. Eldon Scott Leithead.

Several towels and blankets later, someone took him from me so that I could get out of the tub. I’m sure that a couple of people assisted me. I was amazingly exhausted – empty in many ways. I needed to deliver the placenta. Someone handed me a bowl and asked if I would like the birthing stool. They had to retrieve it from the front room, so I opted to squat since that took less energy than standing. The stool arrived and it was a lot better than squatting over the bowl. I was surprised at my inability to push at this point. Marion had me cough a few times and finally we were done.

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After being helped into my bed, Lynn helped me get my swim top off, I was covered with a cozy sheet and the rest happened in a blur of exhaustion. I remember the girls coming in to greet me. They had already met Baby Scott. I had some time to hold him skin to skin in my warm bed, snuggling his sweet little body. I nursed him.

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The girls watched everything very interestedly. Jane took to Baby Scott immediately, but Beverly needed some time to process all of the commotion in her home.

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By the time Marion was ready to do all of Scott’s measurements, the girls were right up in everything. They were fascinated and it was lovely to watch.

I nursed my little baby while he lied skin to skin with me. I loved it. I was so happy with my three little people and my darling husband.IMG_2665

Here’s looking forward to the next addition.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The magic number three…

I don’t mean three kids.  Yes, they are more difficult than two, but I’m talking about the age three.  That, combined with a newborn who doesn’t like a couple things I’ve been eating (gassy) means I don’t sleep enough.  Today I am sick too.  My brain isn’t functioning correctly, and I had a Grinch’s sleigh to paint for my friend for the ward party.  Bleh. 

Today I started an elimination diet to figure out what – besides dairy—my baby cannot process well.  Quinoa, olive oil & homemade chicken broth.  That’s what’s on the menu all day.  I was going to skip the broth, but I feel broken from this sickness.

That’s my tiny rant.  It would be longer, but I can’t think very well. 

Oh, and I have the best husband ever.  He has frequently stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with a gassy baby so that I can sleep between necessary feedings. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Best Maternity Shoot evaahhhh!

I have done a maternity shoot for each of my three babies now. 

Beverly:

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Jane:

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And this past Saturday, we had our maternity shoot for our little man.  I don’t have possession of the shots yet, but you can view them at Julia’s website here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Boxes

I’m glad that I had a mad rush of nesting yesterday.  My kitchen looks fantastic and is maintainable right now. 

Of course, now I’m sitting in a mess of boxes and stuff here in the guest room and having contractions about every 20 minutes.  I only just started writing down the times at 3pm because I was busy running errands today and was a little worried that my water would break while I was in the store.  ha! 

My bet?  They’ll wear off.  Hopefully I’m progressing, though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No-sew Custom Bed Skirt

So, our bed frame is made of various lumber pieces and sits taller than most.  It’s been an awesome spot for extra storage.  However, it’s also impossible to find a bed skirt to cover up said storage of awesomeness. 

I dug around at Joann for some cheap upholstery fabric.  They have some that is red-tagged at only $6/yard, which is even better when you have a 50% off coupon.  I needed something white and heavy for a crisp, tailored look.  I finally found it (with help from Miss Beverly) in the drapery liner section.  Score, it was only $6.99/yard.  I bought 3.5 yards and a spool of 1/4 inch heat and bond. 

I cut my pieces …

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Then I ironed their hems…

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Once I got the three hems done, I super-steamed and ironed them so that they would bond really well.

Then I took everything into my room and attached it to my bed with a staple gun.  If my hems weren’t perfectly even it didn’t matter because I could adjust their height when stapling.  :D  How sweet is that?

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Next project, a padded headboard.