Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A baby story

After months and months of anticipation, Stanton had one last hurdle to jump. He notoriously had stated that she could come any time after he got his thesis and another proposal submitted on November 15th. So the week prior he was working long nights, I found myself alone quite a bit. Which gave me time to focus on the upcoming adventures and to support him when I knew that in a few days I would need the favor returned. On Saturday, November 15th, he took a break from his busy schedule and we went to the Baylor football game. If I remember correctly, the Bears put a beat down on the Aggies on the last home game of the season. It was very nice. And as we sat at the top of the bleachers all I could think was that this would be our last football game with just us two (well, that and how absurd it was for me to be wearing shorts during a football game in November). After the game, Stantonio went back to work like a good little worker bee. I finished the day watching some tv and just doing what large pregnant women do. Everything seemed fine that evening until I did something I never thought I would do. During my nice hot shower that evening. I had this overwhelming thirst. And thats when I did it. I drank water from the showerhead. And mind you this is no ordinary water. This was Waco water. I typically don't even drink that icy cold unless there is some drastic situation. When Stanton came home late, at about 11 I told him the weirdness and finished quenching my thirst with a suitable glass of filtered water. My poor hubby was so tired, he went right to bed. And I followed, because I've always been a good sleeper and late in my pregnancy I was even beginning to accept reasonable bed times.

Then it happened at about 2 am. I woke up to a wet spot in my bed (by the way best tip ever - make sure there is a water proof mattress cover on your bed if you are pregnant). I went to the bathroom and I knew what was going on. My water had broke. But it wasn't like when people on tv have their waterbreak with a big gush and done. Mine was more of a water leak. I woke Stanton up (marginally) and said "My water broke." His response "What do we do?" I told him to go back to sleep and see if anything else happened. This may seem crazy, but our child birth instructor told us that once you check in to the hospital and your water is broken, they put you on a 24 hour clock. And they get that baby out in 24 hours. The instructor said that if your water breaks and you aren't feeling any contractions or anything, you can wait and try to rest up before the event. Stanton also said we had to call the parents. I thought that they could use the rest too, and really felt like my body had a ways to go before any of the exciting stuff. So with my very groggy husband back asleep, I did what seemed right. I watched some lifetime movies and infomercials as I drifted in between consciousness. To this day I still don't know how I was able to get any more rest. A true blessing from God. At about 7:30, Stanton came out and seemed really confused. I really think he might have thought that he had dreamed the whole thing. We talked a bit and called the parents. I knew my parents and the rest of my family were well on their way to church to surprise my Grandma Schluterman for her 80th birthday followed by a party. I really wanted them to go to that and then come as quickly as possible. Stanton's parents would be quick movers and pack up to make their way down ASAP. So we called and shared the news and then we took the morning slow. Stanton ate his breakfast, we made a couple calls to local friends and made sure someone could cover our Sunday school class.

We were eventually ready to make our way to the hospital. I had my comfy clothes on and entertainment out the wazoo. As soon as you check in, they strip you down and put all kinds of wires on you, to keep up with the baby and the mommy. Pretty quickly, they had me set up on with an IV just in case I needed or wanted drugs later. I was proud of myself for not passing out and have a photo to commemorate my accomplishment. However, the photo is suitable for my eyes only. The monitor kept showing that I was having these massive contractions, but I could barely feel a thing. I was thanking God for being so loving and helping me through this time in my life that had been so hard for so many other women. Then, the nurse figured out that the monitor wasn't really monitoring me too well. And then came the most uncomfortable part of the whole thing...and internal monitor. Yes, some of the stuff later was painful, but this was an all day long issue and just a bother. After they realized my contractions were not as strong as the external monitor had displayed, they decided to put me on some pitocin. This is a drug that tries to get things going more quickly. At this point I knew I had made the right decision in waiting to come to the hospital as soon as I knew what was going on. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Since it was Sunday, my doctor was not going to be able to deliver my baby. It was another doctor, thankfully another female doctor named Dr. Sawyer. I didn't really see her too much, but she seemed nice.

Stanton and I sat in the hospital delivery room talking about not much of anything. We had already talked about how exciting this day was going to be and all the changes that were about to happen for so long, we were just ready and hanging out. After a while, MA showed up. She was such a delight. She has a daughter who was 5 at the time. She is a fantastic mom, and it was nice to be able to talk about some serious things and some not so serious things on this very important day in our lives. I can't remember a specific time table, but at some point MA and Stanton went for some food down in the cafeteria. From what I hear, they had some good conversation and really came back ready to take care of business.

As the day progressed, so did my contractions. I am happy to report that I really didn't start feeling the contractions too much until early afternoon. That is, after the pitocin really started to kick in. I went through several rounds of contractions and I was doing ok. But as the contractions got harder, I couldn't deal with it. I so badly wanted to have an all natural child birth. I had prayed that I would have the strength to make it. But as things intensified, I started crying, not so much because of the pain, but because I knew I wasn't going to make it. Stanton reassured me that what was best was for me to do what seemed right, not go by some idea I had. And that was what we had said before. Hopefully I can make it all by myself, but I was willing to try some IV drugs (not an epidural) to take the edge off. As our child birth instructor put it, the IV drugs are like a good margarita, you still feel the pain, you just don't care so much. And that is pretty much how it went. Only just like a margarita, the other side effect was extreme drowsiness. In between contractions, I slept. At one point our LG friend Allison came in to show some support. After a contraction, I strained to roll over to say hello and thank her for coming, but I just couldn't make it. It was the weirdest thing. I could not force myself to stay awake. But as another contraction rolled around, I would roll onto my right side, where Stanton would be waiting. I would squeeze his hand through the pain, he would give me some encouraging words and then I would drift right back off to sleepy land.

I think things went about the same from about 3:30-6:30, with the exception of Stanton's exit to give some directions to his parents. I rolled over for one contraction and there was Allison, stepping up to the plate, there to hold my hand and encouraging me. Apparently, she was quite freaked out by the whole thing, but I will never forget it. Also, I apparently said a couple of random things thanks to my loopiness. I remember seeing a picture of a donkey over my bed. And I told whoever was in there that I was seeing a donkey, and I knew it didn't belong in there, but that is what I saw. Unbeknown to me I also told my audience that my dad needed to get some new lead ropes for the horses. To Allison's relief, my dad does actually have horses. I proceeded to say that I had never done this before, and apologized for not being kosher. Those drugs do some weird things.

Outside the room, the waiting room was full of friends and eventually family waiting for the arrival of the little one. All our LG friends were hanging out just chatting and staying for the long haul. The arrival of Stanton's parents to the waiting room added an additional level of nervousness and excitement. They were all just waiting patiently and passing the time with some good ol' Dr. Pepper and good friends.

Not too much longer, little Chaselyn was ready to make her appearance. With just a few pushes, and lots of emotion, our baby entered the world. The doctor quickly put her up on my belly. Tears streamed for the both of us. Stanton and I had our baby girl. The proud dad cut the umbilical cord and they gave our sweet angel the once over and a wipe down. She was just as healthy as she could be. Born at 6:59 pm on November 16th, 2008 weighing 8 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 19.5 inches long. What an amazing feeling. Finally getting to see her wonderful face, and holding her in my arms.

After everything was cleaned up the waiting room piled in to the delivery room. Ducky and Crawdad came in first and were followed by the multitude of friends. Everyone was so kind. It was so incredible to know that all these people would help us look out for our child and care for her and love her. After a short visit, they took her away to do a more thorough inspection.

Before too long my parents and sister showed up, ready to see the baby. Papa quickly suited up and went to film Stanton giving Chaselyn her first bath. Through video and pictures, you can see how delicate he was being and how much he didn't want to hurt her. After all the inspections and a bath, she got to come to the room with me and everyone took a turn holding her. Before too long, visiting hours were over. So the grandparents left to go sort out some kind of sleeping arrangement in our apartment. Stanton and I spent the night in the room with our baby. Happy to get up at every little whimper.


Chaselyn's official party invitations

I know I have a lot of posting to do, but this one I can do quick and easy. Here's a link to the blog for our cousin Leslie who made Chaselyn's invitations for her birthday party in Arkansas.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prequel to - A baby story

Let's start at the beginning. As most of you know, Stanton and I started dating at the ripe old age of 15. We stuck together through different high schools, 10 o' clock curfews, college decisions, college dilemmas, and everything else that two people go through during that stage in life. I was focused on my education and so I set the rule that we would not be getting married until after we graduated. This rule was set up long before we really wanted to talk about marriage, because we both knew we were too young. So, as we went through our Freshman and Sophomore years, we were a happy dating couple. And that was enough for us. And even though we weren't even 20 yet, we had been together for quite a long time and some inquiring minds had the nerve to ask us when we were going to get married. Our response - were not ready for that, we'll see where our paths our leading later. Though we fully intended to get married, it's easiest just to shut the questions down. Why? Because its a slippery slope.

And that my friends is the punch line and reason for this back story. For Stanton and I, big decisions have been on a slippery slope basis. We put things out of mind, out of question, until one day one of us has the nerve to say something like "You know, I was thinking that I would really like to start talking about ______(fill in really important life decision here) and if we are sure that is where we are headed." The other one of us grins and we know we are in for it. It has always been a slippery slope from giving in to bring up a discussion of a big jump in our lives to finding ourselves in the middle of the planning stages and eventually making the leap.

For our marriage, it went something like this-Are we going to get married? Yes, but we were going to finish school, so the summer after we graduated would work. OK then, how long do we want to be engaged? Well, it seems logical that if we've decided that 'we're going to be married, then it makes sense to make a public announcement and if that means a long engagement, then so be it. OK, sounds good. Well get engaged and be married the summer after we graduate. Fast forward a little, so why are we waiting to get married, if we know we are supposed to be together? Principles. Whose principles? That would be my principles. Why is this one of my principles? Because I said so. Why? I dont know, why. Maybe we could get married before we graduate. Mom, Dad we want to get married this summer, between our Junior and Senior years. Done! And that was not a single conversation, but it progressed fairly quickly.

Other decisions made along similar lines - the decision to get a masters degree, the decision to pack up everything and move to Waco to pursue a Ph.D. and a Masters for Stanton, and the point of this blog post, to have a baby.

Now, for the real story. When you get married, you become THE target for the baby question about 2.6 days after you return from your honeymoon. (This previous statement is being generous to some Nosey Nellys who ask the question before you even attempt to walk down the aisle or even worse, assume that since you decided not to have a long engagement it must mean that the baby thing is already underway. But I digress) And as with any inappropriate pry into your personal life, the most effective tactic is aversion. "Were not sure we want kids at all.""Babies? Seriously, you think we want to become responsible adults?" "We really want to establish our careers before we even think of having a baby." (There might be some truth in that last one.) When you get married at the age of 21 to the guy you've been with since you were 15, I think the fans are flamed that much more. At least I hope for the sake of all happily married couples without children it was worse for me. Maybe it is that bad for everyone. My favorite comment regarding the baby topic was my dad's sentiments on my 25th birthday - "You know, when mom was your age she had 2 kids and another on the way." I love it, because my dad was never one to mention the baby thing ever before or ever again. It caught me totally off guard. Later when I told Stanton, he came back with the perfect response "You know I have 2 degrees and another on the way." (Jerk store!) I could have never actually said it, even if I would have thought of it, but it makes me smile to think about my dad saying that every time.

So anyway, Stanton and I were pretty good at the aversion tactics. And after a couple years people got the point that we weren't ready and they started to leave us alone. And we were doing fine and dandy, until I went to Stanton with my sheepish little voice and said I think its time to start thinking about a family. And his goofy little grin came right back and said me too. This happened around Christmas time of 2006. I had just finished my first real semester at Baylor, and had another year and a half of classes to go (i.e. through May of 2008) and then a dissertation to write. And he was in a similar situation in his program. So we thought about it and prayed about it even more and came to the conclusion that we should at least be finished with classes when the baby comes. That meant we shouldn't make any efforts until the end August of 2007.

We were excited about our decision, and it was something that only we knew. We didn't want to open the lid on the baby question. We had set a statute of plausible deniability. We also didn't want people (mainly our parents) to worry if we had problems conceiving or anything like that. If it became an issue, we would of course tell them, but telling people that something may happen in several months just leaves too much time to fret over everything. So, we waited patiently and enjoyed our time together more knowing that it could be our last summer as just a couple.

Then my family started planning a big trip to Disney World for the summer of 2008. The prime baby time. I have wanted to go to Disney a lot. And to get to go with my whole family now that were old enough to actually get along and enjoy spending time together seemed like a dream come true. So, we started rethinking. Maybe I should stay on the pills until late October, that way, I would possibly be very plump walking around Disney, but I would get to go and have a great family vacation. So we decided to switch up our plans to make room for Disney. Yes, I am that crazy. So August 2007 came and I asked one last time, if we were sure this is what we wanted to do. And it was, so I popped the pills like I had so many times before. That month was wretched. Notice how I said "we decided" to push back the plans. I became fully certain that God was really trying to teach me a lesson about following His will, not my plans. I felt horrible that whole month. I had cramps like I had never had. I had this persistent feeling of ickiness like I had done something horribly wrong. But I finished the month on the pills. As it came time to start my September pills, we had a re-evaluation of the situation. We prayed again. And decided that we needed to leave it all in Gods hands. He would provide. And if it was His will, we would lose the nearly $1000 we had spent on reserved plane tickets. And if it was His will, we would miss the Disney trip. And if it was His will, we would have a baby by mid-July. And so, that's when the decision was made, to get off the bc.

We went a couple of months with no results, and then I started filling my brain with ways to put the odds in our favor. And for about 2 months, I drove myself crazy trying to subscribe to all these tips. And then once again, I reminded myself that its all in His timing. Not mine. I deleted all those webpages I had marked. And I just prayed and prayed for a baby, whenever God decided it was time. The next month, things were a little different. I wont go into it all again, but you can read the amazing story of how we found out that we were pregnant here. Truly one of the most touching times in my life. After not being able to get away to go back to AR for Easter, we were making the trip 2 weeks later to let everyone know our exciting news.

Stanton's parents were the first to know. We got them a couple of books of prayers for grandparents. It took a little time to process, but then hugs all around. We told my parents and Rachel using some photos. I found a frame that held 5 wallet size pictures, 3 in the back, with two more sliding ones in front. I put pictures of the other two grandkids, a picture with me and my mom when I was a baby, and put a note in one saying that the space was reserved for Baby Greer coming in November 2008. Again lots of hugs and some tears. I also got my dad a picture of him and me on Mount Magazine taken over spring break, which we didn't know at the time had a hidden person in it. There was the tiniest little baby in my belly. We shared the news with my brothers and good friends at baseball the following day. Matthew's response was "What's his name?" He couldn't understand why HE didn't have a name.

The following months brought lots of excitement, lots of questions, lots of growing pains, and lots of joy. We planned out how to tell everyone in Waco. We told our Life Group just weeks after one of the other couples announced their pregnancy. I was getting ready to tell the department, but they had already gotten word from Stanton's advisor. But it was all great fun. We spent time talking about what we wanted the nursery to look like and finding just the right combination of items. We went to childbirth classes and learned about what we wanted our birth plan to be. We talked about how we would combine our efforts to be the best parental duo. We felt the kicks and rolls of the little one in my belly. We finally broke down and bought an actual couch (with reclining action) after I stopped being able to be comfortable in any way on the futon. We had showers full of wonderful people and gifts. And we prayed incessantly that the child would get the best features from each of us (most importantly, not my cankles, not Stanton's hairline, not Stanton's light sensitivity, not my weird elbows, and for my sake I hoped not Stanton's big head).

I'll have to cover the actual baby part later. I really want to get to the main event. But as I started writing, there was so much I wanted to be included. And this is such a good way for me to record things.