Henry’s Birth Story

At 6am on December 3, 2012 Zach and I were preparing to leave for the hospital.  Our friend, Rebekah, had arrived to watch Cora and Owen and off we went.  I was not nearly as nervous as I thought I would be…I was just more anxious than anything to FINALLY meet this little guy.  We arrived at the hospital around 6:20 to find our pastor, Reggie, waiting for us.  He prayed with us in the waiting room and off we went.  That was such a blessing.

The nurses had our room all ready and I immediately changed, so they could hook me up to the monitors to hear Henry until the surgery.  One nurse started on that while another started my IV.  Neither was easy.  It took a good 15-20 minutes to find Henry’s heartbeat.  This was terrifying after a while, but eventually they found it.  Apparently, he was in a VERY strange position.  Then the IV took two tries…again…no fun, but the second one was quite comfortable for the 36 hours I had to have it in.  Impressive, because I hate those things.

Zach and I proceeded to answer a ton of questions and fill out a bunch of paperwork.  Finally, around 8:05 they wheeled me to the operating room.  It was crowded and cold.  I honestly didn’t expect there to be 10 people in there!  And everybody had masks on…so while most of them introduced themselves to me in my room, I don’t really remember any faces.  The nurse anesthetist was my buddy.  She didn’t leave my side and was so sweet about telling me every little thing.  After my spinal, they laid me down, at which point I got very nauseous.  They gave me medicine to help my blood pressure come up, but I didn’t respond to it.  So they gave me anti-nausea meds AND more blood pressure medicine and then I felt better.

All of a sudden they were starting the surgery and Zach wasn’t in there!  I started to panic a bit.  That was probably my most anxious moment during the surgery.  They assured me he was coming, but it was really odd that they started first.  I guess it was in case they had to put me all the way under for whatever reason.  They were right.  He came in quickly and was right there by my side.  I was so relieved and almost cried when he took my hand.

Before I knew it I felt this AMAZING relief as they delivered Henry’s bottom and legs.  I could breathe!!  It took a good 20-30 seconds to get the rest of him out.  Not only was he footling breach (rare and risky) but he had his arms over his head which made him harder to get out.  THEN…he had the cord wrapped around his neck twice (probably why he didn’t want to flip…he couldn’t!).  The doctor said later my placenta had two HUGE veins in it which means a version would have been very risky in terms of abruption.  So all in all, it is great I had a c-section because we were both safe. Henry was born at 8:27am on December 3rd….we will share a birthday!  Fun fun!

Despite the medical necessity I am still not crazy about the c-section experience.  It was very impersonal and there was no intimacy….with my husband, my nurses, or my doctor! Everybody had masks and I had no real active part in the process.  I never understood why people would care about that aspect if it was medically necessary but I’ve found myself grieving the lack of my “ideal birth”.   Again, I’m so grateful to have the option and have Henry here safe, but I will never understand why people simply choose to do c-sections for convenience or “appearance” purposes.  Another major thing I didn’t care for it was the inability to hold, nurse and snuggle my baby right after birth.  That was just plain awful.  More on that in a later post.

After Henry came out, Zach was able to go over and see him.  It seemed to take a while for him to cry after he came out, but once he did I just burst into tears.  It was such a relief.  They brought him over to me and I could tell he was not breathing right.  He was grunting and sounded quite full of fluid.  Zach, the baby nurse and Henry all left and I was stitched back up and headed to recovery….




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Expecting Baby Henry

Finding out we were expecting our third child has brought out every emotion known to man.  Excitement, anticipation, fear, happiness….you name it and we’ve felt it.  Now that the time is getting closer, the feelings are just pure excitement.  For everybody.  Cora and Owen can hardly stand it and Owen asks regularly when the baby is coming.  They fight over who will get to sit next to the baby at the dinner table.  Cora has said she can’t wait to hold him while she watches her show before bed.  Owen has stated that Cora will hold the baby and he will not…he will just tickle toes and be “a big helper”.

The week before Henry arrived, I went to the doctor and found out he was breach. At 30 weeks he was upside down, but there was plenty of time for him to move.  By 36 weeks he was head down and I was SO relieved.  At 37 weeks he was still head down.  The night of my 37 week appointment I felt some INSANE and almost painful sensations.  He was moving so much!!  About an hour later the contractions started.  They got down to every 7 minutes and we had our bags packed and we were about ready to go when they slowed down and stopped.  False alarm.  One week later at my 38 week appointment I found out he was once again breach.  Our thought is that he turned that night I felt all that movement and it irritated my uterus to set off those contractions.  I had an ultrasound at the 38 week appointment to confirm his position and then it was off to schedule the c-section.  We briefly discussed an external version, which is where the doctor tries to turn the baby from the outside.  The risks are placental abruption or breaking the bag of water.  Either of these could result in a huge medical emergency for me or Henry. My doctor said he and his wife couldn’t try a version, which was my answer…we would just schedule the c-section and pray he flipped on his own.

I was feeling some strange emotions that moment in the doctor’s office.  I was a bit relieved this event would be scheduled, because, as every mom knows, my biggest concern through all of this was how Cora and Owen would handle “the big day”.  The ability to prepare them and schedule their care was a huge relief.  But mostly I was sad.  I was sad I would have to have surgery.  I was sad I would be in the hospital for so long.  I was sad my recovery was going to be hard on me, on Henry and on my family. I was sad that c-section babies tend to have a harder start after birth and was worried about the effect on Henry.  I was also a bit thankful.  At that moment I knew the only way Henry could come out was by c-section, so I was thankful for great prenatal care and modern medicine that would make it possible for his birth to happen successfully.  However, the poor scheduling lady at the doctor’s office got the “sad” when I suddenly burst into tears.  Thank goodness she is used to that.  :)

The c-section was hard to schedule.  The ONLY time available in the three day window that the doc wanted to do it was 8am on December 3rd.  Yep….my birthday!  As long as Henry didn’t come early we would share a birthday!  The last week was rough.  I continued to be on partial bed rest and was just all around VERY uncomfortable.  But we enjoyed the final days as a family of three and did a lot of preparing mentally for the major surgery and recovery I would go through.  Here is a picture from Sunday December 2nd….


39 weeks


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Cora is Five!!

Cora turned five on November 26, 2012.  We had a birthday party on November 17th to ensure that it happened before the baby came.  Being 37 weeks pregnant I decided to keep it small.  Cora invited just a few good friends and a good friend of ours made her cake.  She wanted an Ariel party, which is great, but she is about 20 years behind.  They don’t sell Ariel party supplies in the store, so everything had to be ordered online.  It was a great day.

Cora has grown so much this year.  She is so smart and such a good daughter, big sister and friend.  She loves to color and there are days where she does little else.  She also loves manipulating things…tiles, beads, books, stuffed animals, etc.  Anything she can arrange, move around, make patterns, etc. is fair game in our house.  She has also really started playing “pretend” more.  Her favorites are playing church, preschool and restaurant.   Mommy and Daddy are starting to make the decision on where Cora will go to kindergarten which is unreal.  She is more than ready though and will completely kill it.  Cora is an amazing little girl and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for her.




IMG_8108        IMG_8107







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Pumpkin Patch

I went with Cora’s preschool to the pumpkin patch for the third year.  We always have such a great time.  It is neat to see Cora with her classmates and watch them explore all the parts of the pumpkin patch.  This year Cora especially enjoyed picking out the PERFECT pumpkins (one for her and one for Owen) and the horses that we unexpectedly saw near the patch.  As always, the hay bales were a huge hit and the kids had a blast jumping, sliding, etc.  Cora found out that hay can get in some…um….uncomfortable places when you slide down big bales, but a quick trip to the bathroom made it all better.  Can’t wait to visit next year….with her kindergarten class?  YIKES!!


Cousins.  :)  Such good buddies.





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Owen’s Birthday

Our big boy turned three on September 19th.  We had a party for him.  It was the first time he helped to choose which friends he wanted to have at his house including a friend from daycare!  Owen doesn’t like cake….and ice cream is hit or miss….but  Owen loves donuts! So that is just what he got.  :)

It is hard to believe that our little man is turning three.  The last year has been beyond challenging emotionally (seizure, finger accident, another seizure and a severe asthma attack), but at the same time it has been so fun to watch him.  His speech has become so much more clear and he is just so funny.  Owen has one of the sweetest spirits and biggest hearts of any child I know.  So concerned about everybody around him all the time.  Sure, he is a typically preschooler and sometimes doesn’t want to share…and can be defiant.  Overall though, he loves to make sure everybody is happy, check on you periodically and “you OK?  OK.”.   Love this little boy more than words and can’t wait to see what the next year holds!



Owen and Gaston.  So cute.

The whole gang.  Such a fun party for our big three year old!!

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Cora’s sense of humor

Last night I was watching the kids finish up a quick dinner.  I was taking them BOTH to Cora’s gymnastics class and Zach had a work function to go to.  Cora’s mac n’ cheese was a bit runny and the way she was shoveling it in, I could just see it spilling on her black leotard.  I offered to help her so she wouldn’t spill and she accepted.  So of course…with just 1 or 2 bites left, I dropped a piece on her leotard.  She looked at me and said “That didn’t go very well, did it, Mom?”  We both started laughing and she said “Maybe I should have Owen help me with my mac n cheese!”

Gee…where does she get her sarcastic streak from??



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Tis the season!

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New Swing Set and Old Friends

Our buddy Luke is back in Virginia to visit!  He brought his little brother Noah (who we had never met).  Jessie, Luke and Noah came to play this morning along with Clara, Helen and their Mommy, Julie.  We had a blast on the swing set.  Owen and Noah argued over whether there were tomatoes or apples in the garden next door.  Cora and Luke thought being tickle monsters was pretty funny.  So good to see our “babies” playing again…even if they are almost 5!


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Cora is bouncy.  She is also strong.  We figured this is a good combination to be in gymnastics.  She started two weeks ago and is totally in love.  She did gymnastics camp last summer when she was 3 and then again this summer and had a blast.  So we knew that this would be a great first sport for her to try out.  A lot of kids around here do soccer, but I just don’t think Cora would care or be into it.  Gymnastics or swimming are MUCH more her speed.  So we are giving it a shot!  Here are some pictures from gymnastics camp with her good buddies Elliana and Isaac!  Or as she calls it “Be-gymnastics”.  Last year she just said “benastics”, so now she has it right but hasn’t dropped the “be”.  Kids are funny.

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“God will get you into his room”

When Owen had his first seizure in October 2011, our first clue that anything was wrong was a TERRIBLE noise (almost inhuman) coming from his room.  We ran in to find him seizing badly and that started our 5 day adventure.  The anxiety that resulted from that night, obviously, put me into therapy for a few weeks afterward.  I saw an amazing therapist in the area who also happens to be a Christian…the only way to go for me, since it is the basis for everything I feel and the only way for me to deal with issues such as that.

One of the main things I just couldn’t get past in October was “What if we hadn’t heard him? What if we were brushing our teeth or doing the dishes and just didn’t hear that noise from his room?”  Marcia said over and over “you can’t question that, because you are questioning God!  Look at the Bible…look at what He has done?  God will get you into his room.”  I think about that all the time.

Fast forward to last night.  The video monitor was in Cora’s room due to some sleeping issues she had earlier in the week and we had no monitor at all in Owen’s room to hear or see him.  As I was going to sleep at 10:20 my white noise machine was acting up.  It would just turn down randomly!  I’ve never had that problem..it seriously would just go way down in volume until it was almost off.  I restarted it, changed noises…everything! But it wouldn’t work.  At one point it had gone down and I heard a noise.  I sat up in bed, heard it again and realized it was just a dog barking…or so I thought.  I got my noise machine back on and drifted off to sleep.

About 90 minutes later something woke up me and Zach.  My sound machine had turned completely off.  We heard the noise again and immediately recognized it as coming from Owen and not human sounding.  We shot out of bed and to his room fully expecting to see a seizure.  What we saw was almost as scary.  Owen was in his crib with croup…a restriction of the airway caused by a virus and recognized by any mother from the “bark like” cough they make.  He was pale and cold to the touch…unable to talk or cry out to us….obviously not getting enough air.  We fired up the nebulizer and got dressed to take him to the ER.  It was also looking like he had indeed had a seizure, so we were a bit panicked.

Our neighbor came and sat with Cora (blissfully unaware in dreamland) and we rushed off.  Luckily the breathing treatment we did helped and by the time we got to the ER he was getting a lot more air in.  In the end, we don’t think he had a seizure…there was no sign of fever and we feel like the lack of oxygen was causing the symptoms we saw when we first got him up.  He got some steroids and a chest x-ray (clear) and we came home by 2:30.

So back to that noise machine.  His cough wasn’t that loud. Would we have heard it with our noise machine on?  Maybe.  But what an awesome God we serve that He ENSURED we heard it by turning off our noise machine.  I mean really…no other explanation.  We returned home, went to sleep and my noise machine worked perfectly.


**Update after Pediatrician appointment this morning.  Owen doesn’t seem to have croup.  There has never been a fever and he isn’t ‘sick’.  In fact, he is bouncing and happy this morning!  No cough to speak of and definitely not barking.  The doc thinks he had an acute severe asthma attack.  The breathing treatment we did at home worked “too well” to be croup.  A good thing, but obviously scary because he’s never had an acute attack and it was so out of the blue.  No trigger and no illness.  So we watch and wait and treat him aggressively with his breathing meds and pray it never happens again!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. ~Jeremiah 29:11-12

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