Archive for September, 2010

Second Blogiverasary

Welcome to my third year of blogging!

I love this- sharing what is going on in my world, expressing myself, analyzing life, taking pictures, and hearing from all of you.  What a fun experience I’ve had so far.

Because I’m still learning to type with a newborn, the new school semester has just started, and I want to, I’m going to use this post to link back to some of my old favorite posts.

Reminisce with me…

I am From

Happy Earth Day

Sweet Feet

Introduction to Lying

A to Z, From Me

As I look through these, I’m realizing that I really like my silly themed posts, I think I’ll do more of those.

I hope you find the time to celebrate life’s little anniversaries!  Here is to 20 more years!


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Birthday/Blessing Weekend

We had an amazing weekend here at the Flynn home.  Friday was Steve’s birthday.  He asked me for dragon sugar cookies and a caramel cake.

Don’t the three of them look great together?

I had a lot of fun decorating these cookies.  I decided I was Wonder Woman at one point as I nursed Evelyn, talked to my mom on the phone, and decorated cookies at the same time.

Today we added to the excitement with Evelyn’s baby blessing. What an amazingly spiritual experience it is to listen to your own child be blessed.

We had a lot of family come visit us for the blessing, and it was so much fun to fill our home with the people we love.  There were 30 of us in our tiny apartment today!  I need to remember to take my camera out more often at family gatherings, but at least we got some family pictures of the three of us.

Next time someone wants to take my picture I’ll go brush my hair first.

Angie, Steve’s sister, made Evelyn’s dress, which deserves a post of its own. I’ll make sure to get some better pictures up here soon.

And now, my little angel is sleeping, so I must do the same!

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First Day of School

Evelyn made it through her first day of school!

I wish I could sleep through class like she does.

Steve and I are excited to have started school again and are looking forward to a fun year. We found out that we will be in the same Russian “Independent Study” class on Friday afternoons, which means Evelyn will actually get to attend those classes, rather than waiting in the hall while her parents take turns with her.

Exciting times are here!

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Hands-Free Device

I’m going to get so much done now!!! Perhaps it will involve cleaning rather than making messes.

Not likely, but perhaps.

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Birth Story- Part 4

Birth Story Part 1

Birth Story Part 2

Birth Story Part 3

By the end of my 2 hour “nap” I was feeling pelvic pressure with my contractions.  No pain, but I knew when they were happening.

Dr. Herman came in to check and gave me the best news I’d had so far: She was fully engaged and I was 8 cm dilated.

And then angels filled the room and sang the Hallelujah chorus.

Angie and I stayed up and talked for the next little while, but Steve slept through our excitement.  In fact, when Dr. Herman came back to check again and put in a pressure catheter to monitor contractions Angie had to push his bed out of the way. It hit the wall with a loud thump.  He didn’t even stir.  He had been working really hard all day.  Not as hard as me, but hard enough to be exhausted.

By 2:45 I was feeling the urge to push, and Dr. Herman let me.  Everyone was back in the room now, including my dad, who stood behind the curtain the whole rest of the time.  I kept thinking someone should have gotten him a chair.  At some point we had even managed to wake up Steve and let him know what was going on.

They aren’t kidding when they tell you that the urge to push feels like the urge to poop.  Exactly the same sensation. With my very first push I was told I had apparently read and heard the right things, because I knew how to do it with out being told.  That made me happy, because I was determined to get it over with as soon as possible.

I literally pushed with everything I had.  Steve held my leg and the hand that didn’t have an IV, and Angie held my other leg.  When it was time to push, I pushed against them, in a laying down squatting position. I used every muscle I could.  Angie warned me at the beginning not to push with my face muscles, but I felt like I had to.  The next morning I realized I’d popped dozens of blood vessels in my face and had to black eyes. Gorgeous.

Oh, and this is what else happened to my eyes (picture taken 5 days later).

3 weeks later as I write this, I still have bruising on the bottom of my feet from pushing against Steve and Angie.  I found out later that because I was pushing against her watch, Angie had blood blisters on her wrist.  Liz took a turn at my side but shortly thereafter asked Angie to take her place.  I later learned that she thought I had broken her wrist.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before my contractions slowed down.  Even more unfortunate, my urge to push did not.  The pressure catheter came out with one of my first pushes, and the external monitor wasn’t working.  Christie had to continually push on my abdomen to feel if the muscles were contracting in order to tell me when to push. I didn’t like that one bit. Every time she touched me it increased the sensation that I needed to push and it was extremely uncomfortable.  I kept asking if I could push and being told not to.

And the heat! I mentioned Liz with the washcloths earlier- it became ridiculous how often she was refreshing them.  She and Steve were giving me sips of ice water between each push, as well. At one point it all became too much for me and I ripped my hospital gown off and flung it across the room.

I may  have been a bit overwhelmed.

Pushing was the hardest, most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t call it the most painful.  I’ve had back pain that was worse.  They brought a mirror over so I could see her be born, but mostly it just frustrated me because I could see nothing, and I was SO ready to see my baby.  And when it came down to it, I needed to keep my eyes closed in order to push very hard, so it became a frustrating distraction.

I felt liked I pushed forever.  The previous morning my brother had jokingly told me to try and have the baby by 3:12 that afternoon because his birthday is March 12th.  We made jokes as everyone’s “birthday minutes” came and went, including my brother’s, 12 hours later.  As morning approached I was worried that Dr. Herman would have to leave and I’d have a stranger called in to deliver my baby.  He had told me before that he needed to leave town by 7 am in order to catch his flight, and his wife called several times as I was pushing to make sure he was going to make it.

Another thing about the mirror being there was that I could see what Dr. Herman was doing.  I had asked him not to give me an episiotomy, and told him that I would rather tear if need be.  I think he forgot.  I watched him try and stretch me open, and then I saw him filling a syringe.  I knew what he was doing and decided at that point that I’d like all the help I could get so I didn’t say anything.  Poor Liz, however, didn’t do well. She had to take a moment and sit down.  She took a seat again when he cut me the second time.

Early on, perhaps around 3:30 or 4:00, Angie told me to reach down and see if I could feel her head, which I did!  That excitement of knowing she was close made me think that every push was likely to be the last one.  I think that saved me and helped me to keep pushing.

Around 6:00 the air was thinning.  You have to hold your breath while you are pushing, and I would take a deep breath, push, and repeat twice with every contraction.  Everyone kept telling me to push through the “burn” and just accept it, because I had to in order for her to come.  The problem was that I wasn’t feeling the “burn,” my pushing was getting weaker because I couldn’t hold my breath anymore!  I was so frustrated.

And then it happened.  I was ready to be done, and even though I had already pushed 3 times with the contraction and it had ended, I took a deep breath and pushed again. And when I looked in the mirror, I could see Dr. Herman holding her head!  Steve was telling me that she had dark hair, and I could see it! Babies don’t normally all come out in one push, however, so that meant I had to keep going.  It was so incredibly hard to get her shoulders out, and I didn’t have the force of the uterine contractions helping me, but Dr. Herman was pulling on poor little Evelyn as much as he could, and eventually we managed!

At 6:06 a.m. on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, Evelyn Louise Flynn joined us in this mortal probation.

And her parents couldn’t be happier.

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Birth Story- Part 3

Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

I read a lot about coping with childbirth pain.

The goal was au natural here (see definition #2, in a natural state, although there was a lot of definition #1, nude, involved as well).

One of my favorite books was “Husband Coached Childbirth” by Dr. Bradley, not just for the information but also for the craziness factor that kept Steve and myself laughing as we read.  I’ll admit my favorite thing I heard as I read (forgot the source) was someone’s definition of how to do Kegal exercises: Pretend you are trying to pick a penny up off the floor with your vaginal lips.

Steve and I practiced several relaxation techniques.  He would sing to me softly, tell me stories about some of our favorite times together, whisper to me about life with our new little girl, rub my feet, massage my back and hips.  I did pelvic tilts and found which positions were most comfortable to be in.  I planned on walking a lot, using a yoga ball to rock on, and several other things.  I was excited that my room had a jacuzzi tub in it where I could labor and we even brought Steve a swimsuit in case I wanted him in there with me.

It really started out okay.  Walking was a bit of a pain, but only because of the IV pole I had to drag around.  I found that bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet during the contraction really seemed to help.  We didn’t walk long, though, because I got sick of the one short hallway that went from my room to the nurse’s station.

Back in my room, we tried several different things, but relaxation wasn’t exactly coming to me in the way I had imagined.  The contractions weren’t as terrible as I imagined they could be, but they certainly weren’t pleasant.  They didn’t have a normal pattern, either.  I would start thinking they were getting stronger and closer together, and then they would stop, weaken and spread out.  Sometimes they wouldn’t stop at all, as if my uterus didn’t know it was supposed to take a break every once in awhile.

And then there was the vomiting.

Whenever my contractions would get really strong, I would vomit. Repeatedly. I’m not sure if the contractions made the vomiting worse or the vomiting made the contractions worse, but once I started it took a lot of concentration to stop and the contractions would come right on top of each other.  I would vomit so many times in a row that I found it impossible to breathe in between and felt like I was going to pass out. And then I would miraculously stop.  Angie told me later that she has held a lot of puke bags, but she had never seen anyone vomit as much as I did.

The glorious thing was, everyone was there for me during this.  Angie was always totally on top of things, holding a bag for me to vomit in, reminding me to breathe, suggesting position changes. Steve and Liz alternated offering me water every 15 seconds.  Liz spent a lot of time running between me and the sink and the fridge, making sure I always had cold washcloths available and rubbing my face and my neck with them.  Mom rubbed my feet and my legs.  Steve put pressure on my back during the worst of the contractions, and held my hand the whole time.

Liz was also great about updating my adoring fans on Facebook of what was going on via Twitter and responding to text inquiries.

Well, the yoga ball wasn’t so great.  Nor was sitting on the toilet (I had to be reminded to empty my bladder, I hated doing it). I wanted to try the tub, but was told I had to sit on the bench and have the shower run on me instead.  We tried it, but all it managed to do was get me naked and shivering and Steve’s clothes soaked.  The thing I found helped the most was sitting on the edge of the bed with Steve behind me, putting pressure on my back, while I leaned forward and held onto my Mom or Liz.

Deep breathing helped, too.  Angie was always reminding me to breathe, and that was helpful, because I really would forget frequently.  My breath was combined with a low moan, which I hated, but it helped.  I heard a lot in childbirth class about vocalization, and I read that it helped a lot of women, too, but I didn’t want to do it.  Silly that I would get hung up on “sounding stupid” when I was obviously looking my very best.

Dr. Herman came in to check on me several times.  He would look at the monitor, tell me they weren’t close enough, or have the nurse adjust my monitor because it was frequently in the wrong spot (between my movements and the babies, I’m surprised they got any information on the monitor at all!).  And then he would check my cervix.

One side note about using cervidil to prepare your cervix for labor- it really makes things more sensitive.  I’ve always thought that women complained too much about pap smears and OB checks.  I’ve never really had “pain” when the doctor checked my cervix.  But then I had cervidil, and if that is what women normally feel then I’m surprised anyone voluntarily goes to the doctor.  It was horrible, much worse than having contractions.

Anyhow, back to the results of his checking me: Nothing. No progress. Over and over again.

Near midnight, when he checked me and told me the same news again it hit me: The baby and my cervix were in the same position that they were in at my OB check the Friday before.  5 days later, nothing was happening in that department.

The Pitocin had been increased all day long.  When the nurse who drove me nuts first started increasing it and we asked her about the dosing, she told us that in 16 years she had only seen the maximum dose given 3 times.  By the end of the night, I was there.  She wasn’t, thank heavens.  Christie, the wonderful nurse from the first night I was there, had come back.

Dr. Herman gave me some options at that point.  The baby really didn’t look like she was coming on her own.  He offered to let me keep trying what we were doing, but not forever, since my water had broken early that morning and the risk of infection was increasing.  He offered me an epidural, which he said would probably help me relax and might help my uterus relax.  He also mentioned c-section and that they would have to give me an epidural or another form of anesthesia anyway if it got to that point.

I looked at Steve, as if it was his decision, and his eyes were so full of love and worry.  I then told Dr. Herman I was ready for the epidural.

I expected to feel like a failure if it came to that, but nothing was further from the truth.  I had tried hard. I had tried everything I knew to do.  I had done what my body could do, and I knew it.  I wasn’t asking for the epidural because I couldn’t handle the pain- I was asking for it because my baby and my body needed help!

Once I’d made that decision however, the pain felt pointless and the anesthesiologist couldn’t arrive quickly enough.  The nurses and the doctor all seemed happy that Randy was on call that night, and that seemed like a good sign.  Once I saw him he seemed vaguely familiar, but I wasn’t really at a point where I thought much about it.  Later, I realized that he was my friend Emily’s dad.  The actual insertion of the epidural wasn’t too bad.  I felt grateful that he did it while I was sitting up and leaning forward, rather than lying on my side as I had seen in the childbirth videos.  I didn’t think I could manage to not move during a contraction if I had to lay down.

I had also been curious if the epidural itself would work.  I’ve had trouble with anesthesia before- one biopsy where they couldn’t get me numb, and 2 dental appointments where the same thing happened.  Both had been with Lidocaine.  I was mostly nervous that he wouldn’t be able to get the Lidocaine to numb me and that I would feel the needle go into my spine. Luckily all numbing medications worked well for me that night.

Randy told me that once it was in I would feel 3 more contractions and then I wouldn’t feel them anymore.  He was wrong- I didn’t feel any contractions as soon as he said that.  He did a wonderful job.  I was also in luck that he used a “walking epidural,” which meant I still had control of my legs and that I would, hopefully, feel the urge to push when it was time.

After the epidural it was nap time.  Dr. Herman said he would come check me in 2 hours.  My parents and Liz went to sleep in the truck in the parking lot.  Steve stretched out on the cot, and Angie took the recliner.  I, obviously, got the bed.

Epidurals require a lot of monitoring, so I had to keep the blood pressure cuff on from that point.  My blood pressure dropped quite a bit and they had to give me some epinephrine through my IV.  Every 15 minutes the cuff would automatically start to inflate (unless I was having a contraction- that was actually how I knew they were still happening- the cuff would start to inflate and then deflate, waiting until the contraction subsided).  Because my blood pressure was so low, however, it would then set off the alarm for the nurse to come in.  So Christie and I got to visit every 15 minutes when she would come in to turn off the alarm.  Steve slept through all of this, but Angie and I weren’t so lucky.

We spent the next 2 hours listening to the alarm go off and silently praying that I wouldn’t have to have a c-section.

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Real Time

I’m going to interrupt my birth story, since life has actually gone on during the last 2 weeks, and this way you get pictures!

First of all, Evelyn is great fun.

She did lose 11% of her birth weight in the first 4 days of her life, which was scary, but she is gaining steadily now and eating vigorously.

We’re attempting to fall into some sort of new routine, one which is completely dictated by an unpredictable newborn and involves sleeping for no longer than 2 1/2 hours at a time.

It involves more laundry and less cooking.

Bigger bras and smaller pants.

Lots of changes.

One of the most fun changes is watching Steve become a dad.  He asks people in the parking lot and the waiting room if they want to see his new daughter. He sings to her, and reads Dr. Seuss books to her (and me).  He is a more cautious driver, and he made a vow to never send a text while driving with her in the car.

Last week people from church brought us meals every night of the week, and we didn’t do much cooking.  This week we’ve been more adventurous, and we made banana bread in the waffle iron (genius!) and carrot cake cookies, along with our normal meals.  Steve has been immensely helpful.  In fact, when I started typing this he was scrubbing the shower!

Sunday was Evelyn’s first day at church (we only went for the first hour, three is still a little much for this new momma to be sitting and for her baby to not be crying).

We’ve also been spending quite a bit of time trying to decipher Evelyn’s many facial contortions and narrating what she would be saying if she could talk.

Here is one of the many we’ve caught on camera:

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

This (above) is my favorite face that she makes.  She excels at kissy faces and I giggle at her quite a lot.  Pardon the low resolution from my cell phone in the dark.

Last Saturday Evelyn woke up with a green, goopy eye that turned out to be an infection. No fun.

I was trying to take this picture to show off how she folds her hands to pray already, but it turned out to be a pity picture instead.  Her poor eye healed very quickly with the help of some antibiotic cream.

Otherwise, we’ve just been hanging out, visiting with friends and family (including Aunt Liz) and eating and sleeping and pooping.

We love you all and thank you for the congratulations and well wishes!!

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