Saturday, June 10, 2017

My White Flag

This morning while doing my hair I felt the intense need to write a story that has been bouncing around in my head for some time. Immediately I thought, na, I don’t have a point or a good tie in yet, but again the thought came, it’s time to share.

So here I am, over-sharing again for no apparent reason because I guess that’s just who I am.

I’m sure you’re all keenly aware, and borderline annoyed at how often you’re reminded that my son was sick and had brain surgery.

Come on Amy move FORWARD already.

But I promise don’t want to talk about that.

I want to selfishly, and unapologetically talk about me.

Really, really about ME.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terribly uncomfortable but here goes:

You see a lot occurred in 3 years that I wouldn’t consider normal or easy, but it also isn’t the worst thing people experience. People endure far worse, and people often do so with grace. So I don’t think my story is unique or some amazing feet that the world should be proud of, but I think what happened to me on a personal level happens all too often.

I was 21 when a baby was placed in my arms that would spend the next 2.5 years chronically ill. I would spend 100s of nights up rocking a screaming infant, then toddler, then child, who was in chronic pain. I would see multiple specialists a week, endure many tests, debate with several doctors, and spend countless hours on google. I would spend many nights crying, pleading, begging, and breaking.

The funny thing is that when I look back at just those moments I am proud and I feel peace. I rallied for Camden. I rallied for the baby in my belly (Kyra) who kept trying to come too early in the middle of it all. I relied on my savior and I blasted through it all full speed with positivity and the ability to manage it all. I killed it!

Who I didn’t realize I needed to rally for was me. 
Now when I look back I can see what I didn’t see then. As a coping mechanism, I began to just turn certain needs off, because it simply wasn’t convenient for me to need them.  

Somewhere along the way I wasn’t taking care of myself, I guess I figured I would do that later.

I can’t pinpoint when the decline started honestly. I remember going to lunch with my sisters and watching them talk and laugh and feeling completely unable to authentically participate. I was spent.

To put it plainly, Amy wasn’t there.
Camden’s and Kyra’s mom was there.
Garth’s wife was there.
I was not.

They asked me if I was okay, I told them I was tired, and that’s honestly the last time I remember putting in the effort to be present beyond when my family needed me to be during it all. Unless I was experiencing raw deep emotion, like stress/worry/fear, I wasn’t present. I would attend girls’ nights for a while and answer a million questions about Camden, and then I would sit in my head, going through the motions of being excited about things like hot chocolate and dessert and the things girls do when they go out.  Except I didn’t feel excited. I simply didn’t feel anything, and it was exhausting to keep pretending like I did. I told myself that it was simply because I had bigger fish to fry at the moment.

Eventually I stopped going, and I started hearing a lot of questions/passing gossip about why I didn’t have time to come to things, what I did with my time, etc etc. and I just moved on. Part of me wanted to scream, do you realized what I am dealing with all day? But instead I turned the social part of me off, and turned in more to my family.

Obviously, you know how the story goes. We did surgery, Camden recovered super well, Kyra managed to stay in my belly til near her due date, and life was tied up with a pretty bow.
The next year (this past year) would be the first year in my mom life my entire family was healthy and there were no trips to the ER. We bought our first home. Garth graduated and got a job that he loved, and life was SO GOOD.

But it didn’t feel good.  And boy did this make me so frustrated with myself.

Plainly and bluntly, last year was the lowest year of my life, and I  still hate saying that. But it is TRUE. It SHOULD be when Camden was sick. It SHOULD have been when he had surgery. It SHOULD have been when I was in chronic pre-term labor. But it wasn’t. It was last year. The pretty bow year.

It took me a long time to realize/accept because the decline in me was gradual and to me completely illogical.

I would get up and put on my workout clothes, only to walk to the basement gym and stand there with no drive to get a workout in. I excused it for the fact I take care of three young kids all day. Eventually I stopped even trying.

I didn’t keep in contact with anyone. I never texted people back, and I didn’t reach out. I was always exhausted.

I was walking in a fog I couldn’t navigate or figure out how to fix.

Eventually I completely stopped sleeping. Instead of laying in bed unable to sleep I just started being productive at night and excused away my lack of sleep for the fact that I was so busy. I was averaging maybe 3-4 hours on a good night. I just told myself you’re so busy! When you’re less busy you will sleep more.

I couldn’t make Amy be present.

One day while cleaning the bathroom I stood up and I looked in the mirror. I barely recognized who I saw and I wondered how much I weighed. So I got on the scale for the first time in a very long time and realized I had lost nearly 15 lbs. Which put me at a very, very low weight. I thought about the day and wondered, did I eat? Did I eat yesterday? The day before?
 It was in that moment staring at myself in a mirror I realized I was truly physically ill.

It still took me weeks to tell Garth, but by the time I did I was barely functioning. I was functioning on a level that I met my children’s basic needs but then I spent the rest of the day accomplishing nothing and feeling horrible about accomplishing nothing. Finally one night I managed to simply blurt out “this has been the worst year of my life”.

At first, Garth didn’t understand. I started telling him about my sleep, my weight, my lack of joy in anything, etc. We went back and forth trying to find a common ground. I started researching depression so I could find better ways to explain it to him and we had to work really, really hard together to get on the same page with it.

Depression has never, ever been something on my radar. It took me so long to admit that it could be an issue for me because I have never even had an inkling of it. I’ve always felt like a positive person, and when I looked back at the previous year I felt like I had handled it all with realistic positivity so how could I possibly be depressed now?

The problem was that I had fought so hard for everyone else, I had nothing left of myself in the end. Which forgive me for how dramatic that sounds! But it’s the truth. WE are important. Our needs are important. When we put them on the shelf too long, we break. It’s as simple as that.

I broke. I broke in a way I never would’ve imagined possible for myself.

Long story short, a while ago I was diagnosed with trauma-induced anxiety and depression. I have learned SO much from pulling myself out of such a deep hole. Somewhere along the way Garth helped me get the courage to fight, and I started pursuing every avenue I could to fight to understand and to manage it.
My bishop was wise and told me that first I would need to accept that this could be a life long struggle, not to just assume I could fix it and close the door.
That was hard for me. But because I am a mom I knew that I needed to learn everything I could about where I was at mentally so that I could have tools to cope and fight it should it ever creep in again.

When I look back I still get frustrated. I was so NOT present that the past year is foggy. There are things about Kyra’s newborn days I flat don’t remember. I remember SO much about Camden’s, but with Kyra’s I just can’t and that hurts me still. There are SO many people who I shut out and unintentionally pushed away because I just didn’t have the emotional stamina to reach out. There were so many people I COULD have reached out to, but I didn’t know how. There are a million apologies I probably owe, but will never be able to give.

I am doing really well at the moment, and I have really learned how to slow my mind and just take things a day at a time. Initially it made me feel so weak to be struggling, but I have come to learn that the people battling for the light at the end of the tunnel are SO strong, and they come back into the light that much stronger.

All that I know is that my one new years resolution was to feel like Amy again. A simple, mildly pathetic, goal. And I am so happy to be able to say I’m getting to know her again.

The season of life I am in right now is good. I feel good, my family is doing good, and we have great health all around. However, I have come to learn that everything truly has its season.

There will be times of triumph, times for the battles, times of peace, and times where we are low and we need our neighbor. The tricky part is that our seasons don’t all happen at the same time.

So if you’re in the midst of a battle, don’t be discouraged by someone's season of peace. When you’re low, don’t be afraid to reach out just because it seems like everyone else is so triumphant. We all have our seasons, some of us have every season in one short year.

Sometimes I think we get so focused on this comparing, we either miss the needs of those around us or we hide our own in order to keep up. We could help lift and encourage each other so much more if we weren’t always competing.

So this is me waving my white flag of surrender. Lets not compete, lets not compare, and lets not be ashamed of where we are at in life.  

I fell apart and I broke and I hid it so well that I was completely alone.
So maybe I’m writing this for me because I have this ever-obnoxious need to try to be as authentic as possible. Maybe it’s so I force myself to not feel any sort of shame about it. Maybe it will help someone realize that we don’t all have it all together. Maybe it will inspire someone to reach out to someone who could be struggling. Maybe it will inspire someone to smile more and just be kinder to his or her neighbors. Or maybe it will remind someone who is struggling that they’re not alone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

To My Kyra Girl


Oh Kyra. Where to begin?
I feel horrible that I haven't blogged in so long. I so carefully documented Camden's life through this blog, and somehow this year I have completely failed you. There are so many things I want you to know about your first year and about your entrance into our family.

You came at the perfect time for me. I myself would not have designed the timing in the way it happened, but that's because I have a limited perspective. Thankfully your Heavenly Father knows us best.

Getting pregnant with you required surgery and the confirmation of endometriosis. The moment I knew I was pregnant I checked your due date, and then I laughed and said "whoops". You were due Christmas day. I was so happy to be pregnant, but also so scared of the sickness. I was definitely sick again, sometimes throwing up 15+ times a day. But you gave me random days off, which Camden did not.

From an outside perspective, you entered our family equation during such a whirlwind. I had to be checked for pre-term labor symptoms before I even knew your gender. They told me at that appointment that I could lose you and that they couldn't stop it because it was too early. But we fought on. I couldn't slow down much due to all the appointments and late nights of pain with Camden, but you kept growing and doing well at every appointment. I was able to keep everything with pregnancy at bay until shortly after brain surgery when the constant labor and constant trips to the hospital to keep you in longer started. I remember crying in the hospital when they wouldn't let me leave because they couldn't stop my labor. I was 32 weeks and they told me it could be likely you would arrive soon. I cried because I felt like I couldn't catch a break and I was so tired of hospital stays. Looking back now I can see that you WERE my break. The constant labor, the reminder to slow down for you-- those were my needed breaks. Even being in the hospital laying in a bed, ordering whatever I wanted to eat, that was a break. They were my opportunities to focus on something other than chiari, my opportunities to be selfish and sit down and rest in the name of a healthy growing baby. Counting and timing contractions all day long gave me something to focus on that I could measure, quantify, control. You gave me something else to focus on, something else to be determined for, and something to look forward to. It took me a while to realize how much I needed those "breaks" but I did, and I am so grateful to have had them.

 Your labor was challenging to say the least, you were facing the wrong way the whole time but to everyone's surprise (and my pain) you cork screwed on the last push -- and you have not stopped surprising me since. I can't describe your entrance into this family in any other way than you are the spark off the bench that we needed at this point in the game. I wish I realized then how much I needed your spunk. You are such a funny, loud, assertive, dominant, adorable, little girl. So dainty and skinny, but SO feisty! Seriously, so much personality in such a little body!! You added the extra oomph we needed to push through 2015 and kick-start 2016.

Watching you grow and seeing more of your personality develop has softened my heart, lightened my load, and made me laugh time and time again. You have consistently been a complete Momma's girl. You laugh deep and in your belly. You smile in a way that takes up your whole face. You growl at people and push away their hands when you've had enough of their affection. You push daddy away when he kisses me and I'm holding you. You lean in when you want me to kiss your cheek. You randomly grab my nose and squeal with the most giddy loud laughter you can muster. You snore a dainty adorable snore. You reach for me and squeal anytime I enter a room. You crawl around this house like you own it-- and you kind of do. You terrorize Camden. You crawl so much with your hands full of cars that you look like you have a limp. You babble and laugh at your own noises. Your cry is the most painful horrid cry I have ever heard, and you seem to plan to keep it that way.
You fit perfectly into our crazy messy life, and you have carried me more than I feel I have carried you in this last year.
I'm so grateful to call you my daughter, and I can't wait to see who you become.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Happy Endings and Battle Wounds

When I think about the past year, sometimes I feel a sting. Like I shouldn’t still be thinking about the past year. I have this idea in my head that I should have moved on by now. That people don’t want to hear me talk about it anymore, and like it is now “old news”. I feel a guilt associated with my bad days, as if having bad days means I’m ungrateful and weak. I feel like the fact I have continued to have some bad days means all the strength I felt I had before wasn’t real. I remind myself that things are much worse for so many people, and that things aren’t that bad for me. 

This cycle of pushing myself to find strength and beating myself up for losing it has continued for some time now. This week I decided I needed to either go back and better deal with the situation, or I needed to find a way to reprocess my current state of being. The more thought I have put into it the more I realized that it’s entirely possible that there is a distinct lack of talk about “life after the storm” as a society.

I’ve noticed that when someone is struggling people tend to instinctively tell them it will be okay. We point out how strong they are, we admire their ability to navigate their storm, and we praise their faith. We do not admire the aftermath, I’m not sure we even like to think about it. We want to hear that they triumphed. We want the happy ending tied up with a bow, and if the one suffering doesn’t see their happy ending we feel the need to point out how happy things are for them, or even how much less happy someone else’s situation is. There is no appreciation for the process.

I feel like I have had the concept of “everything will be okay” beaten into me. Everywhere I turned for relief I received the reminder that I just needed to remember things will be okay.

And things are okay, but things are also absolutely not okay. It wasn’t until this time last year that I realized these two states of being could coexist.  

The truth is I am different. My family as a unit is different. Life is different. That concept has proven almost as hard to accept as the chiari itself. I wanted to deny the ability for anything to cause permanent damage. I feel angry and impatient with myself. I tell myself it’s just dramatic and annoying I feel this way at this point.

It is as if I wanted to rely on The Savior hard enough that I would walk out of it all only better.

I am slowly learning that the battle wounds go hand in hand with the testimony gained. I had to fall down for the strength I felt to come, but that strength does not change the fact that I fell. Sometimes for scraped knees to heal a scar has to form.

When Camden points to his stuffed animal’s head and tells me it hurts it seems to shatter my world all over again. The fact that he remembers it is enough of a blow by itself, but the fear that he is using this to express his own pain is worse.

The first time Camden pointed to his head and said it hurt post op I felt it all come washing over me again. The fear, the sorrow, the anger, the questions. It comes back so fast it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come.
The recent drive we had to the ER for Camden’s possible seizures reminded me I don’t get to just turn away and decide I’m done. Life keeps going, and my life frequently leads to Children’s Hospital.  

Camden woke recently at night in what seemed like major pain and my mind can’t not go down the chiari road. We are so used to it being his pain and defining most of what he did. As much as I wish I could I will never separate the chiari from Camden. It will always be a factor, and always a fear.

When the neurologist explained the paperwork that would need to be submitted to any schools Camden attends it broke my heart a little.  

When I signed Camden up for preschool I got a distinct lump in my throat as I stared at the line I was supposed to write any medical diagnoses or chronic illnesses on.

Sometimes I cry that I still have not felt rest. That I am still so tired. So drained from all the guesswork, all the pain and tests I’ve watched Camden endure. I am ready for rest.

Some days as I watch him run around and play seeing his scar physically hurts me. It’s not just the reminder or the fact that he’s different from those he plays with, there’s just something about seeing your perfect little child’s body damaged that hurts a mom’s heart.

So here’s to being real about life after a storm:
 It’s true what they say, things are okay. I really have grown. I have felt fear and I have felt strength, I have felt bitterness and I have felt gratitude, I have been carried and I have crumbled—and I have the scars to prove it all.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Kyra's Birth as told by Garth

Once in awhile Amy asks me to write down my perspective of a certain event that has happened in our lives. Although this is something that I should definitely do for myself anyways, it has become a bit more frequent over the last two years. And so here we are again; another milestone, another experience, and not unusual a medical one at that.
            We were sitting in the sacrament service of our church meeting early in November when Amy told me she was having regular contractions. This was not unusual for this pregnancy and normally due to some form of over-activity and the cure was normally to sit down and relax for an hour and they would subside. The problem here was, in sacrament meeting we had been doing nothing but sitting. I remember Camden needing a diaper change, and so suggested maybe walking around would help the baby move positions and ease the contractions when she got back.  Well that was a stupid idea! A little over an hour later, with contractions still 2 minutes apart and 10 minutes into my Sunday school class we were out the door, dropping Camden off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and en route to Rose Medical Center in Denver.
            At this point a few things were going through my mind:
1)   She is 33 weeks pregnant. Is this real?
2)   This is real. Is this why we came to Rose because they have such a good NICU?
3)   If she is in labor, I didn’t eat breakfast. This can’t be good. Don’t like your knees when we get there.
Well we arrived, and it being Sunday had to check in through the ER. She was 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced. Long story short, they gave her steroid shots to help the baby’s development should she come early, which she tested positive for (although the positive predictive value isn’t very strong ß biostatistics!). We were kept 2 days. The food at Rose was delicious. We were very bored. They stopped her contractions with blood pressure medication (the common practice performed and little to no risk to baby).
We came home with a prescription, modified bed-rest directions, and anxious/nervous minds about what would happen.  We cleaned the whole house just in case.
Contractions happened again that night, took the medicine, nothing happened.
Over the course of the next few weeks Amy would have contractions 2 minutes apart for hours on end, sometimes up to 13 hours straight.
Black Friday early morning (sometime prior to 4am) Amy tells me she’s contracting, so she’s going to get ready. I pack the bags again. We clean the house. Somewhere close to 6am we decide to sit down and watch a tv show and see if they continue (Thank you Suits). Contractions subside. Nothing happens again. Whew.
We ended up reporting to the hospital a few more times for contractions, or fluid leaks, all ended up being false alarms. But boy did I get good at speed cleaning, packing bags, and loading everything up in record time.
By week 38 we stumbled upon the Prodromal labor term. This fit what was happening exactly. Maybe baby just wasn’t positioned right? Who knows. 38 week appointment Amy was checked: still 2 cm, still 70% effaced.  Our doctor, whom was chosen because he does not offer inductions, is very pro-natural birth, offers an induction before Christmas. What in the world? Lets review the pregnancy: Camden is diagnosed with Chiari at 17 weeks = Amy contracts heavily for hours -> we go to the hospital. Camden has surgery = Amy contracts heavily for hours -> doesn’t tell anyone so we don’t go anywhere (So Stubborn!). 33 weeks very moving Sunday hymns influence baby girl to want to join in the signing = preterm labor -> hospital visit. 33 weeks to 39 weeks Prodromal labor, hours on end every night, no progress. Yes, 7 weeks of labor. Yikes. After A LOT of thought and consideration we accept the offer to be induced, but in the order of operations we still want to do things as naturally as possible. Dr. says he is confident once he breaks her water she could very well just go into labor and everything will be gravy (not literally). Walk Flat Irons mall twice over the weekend prior to induction to try and put Amy into labor, walking at least 3 miles each visit (too cold outside to walk with Camden). Lots of contractions, but they stop after a few hours this time, not to mention we are not going back to the hospital again unless her water breaks, or the contractions are extremely painful and different than before. Nothing happens.  Whew?
Tuesday morning of December 22: induction day. We are instructed to arrive at 6am. We arrive at 5:30am to check in. Another couple arrives before us.  They get checked in first. Pretty sure they got a bigger delivery room. We get the shaft again. From 6am to 8am we sit in the closet room (very small, not much pacing room, and come to find out neither our Dr. or nurse both of 20+ years at Rose have ever delivered in this room before. Ultimate shaft!). After two hours of doing nothing, Dr. finally comes and checks her. 2cm. 70% effaced.  All of those weeks of contracting did nothing.  Awesome. Were they real contractions? Absolutely. Everything showed on the contraction monitor each and every time. Perfect.
8:05am Dr. breaks her water. Here we go. Contractions are more intense. She contracts for two hours, with more intense contractions. 10am the nurse checks her. A little over 2 cm. 70% effaced, -2 delivery position.  No progress? Awesome. Shaft again. 7 weeks of labor and water breaking = no progress for baby girl. Lowest dose of Pitocin is started. We request an exercise ball for Amy. Nurse: “Let me see if I can find one”.  Mind you we have been to this hospital many times and I know for a fact there are multiple exercise balls in the closets of every other room we have checked into prior to induction. Shaft again.  Contractions are obviously more intense now. 30 minutes passes, where is the exercise ball? Nurse: “Let me see if I can round one up”. 15 more minutes passes. Nurse: “I haven’t even had a chance to look for a ball yet”. For the love why can’t we just get an exercise ball and we will leave you alone! (The exercise ball really helped Amy in transition of Camden’s labor, we also couldn’t get into the tub yet because Amy was still hooked up to all the monitors due to Pitocin being used.) Finally after an hour from initial request we get the flipping exercise ball. Then we leave the nurses alone for over an hour. Magic! 12pm we request a mobile monitoring system (which are wireless and waterproof) so Amy can get into the tub. Nurse checks her: 6 cm, 80% effaced. Things are working. Nurse: “Let me see if I can find the mobile monitors”. Here we go again. I should note, in each of our previous visits the nurses immediately offered mobile monitors. We know the hospital is busy on this day, 12 women in labor at exactly the same time as us. BUT as far as we know we are the only ones without an epidural, rendering mobile monitors available. 12:15pm Where are the mobile monitors? Nurse: I haven’t even looked yet. Shaft. 12:25pm Where are the mobile monitors? We really need to get into the tub to help with these contractions. Nurse: Let me see if I can find some. 12:30pm Another nurse from one of our previous visits passes by, immediately gets the mobile monitors. We get in the tub until 2:30pm and leave the nurses alone for two hours. MAGIC! Now suddenly our nurse, as well as two others are constantly waiting on us, after seemingly being annoyed by our requests earlier in the day.  Our conclusion: they thought Amy saying she would do it natural was a joke, and thought our requests were annoying if we were just going to get an epidural.  (I’m in no way saying that getting an epidural is bad, everyone’s labor is different. I AM however saying Amy is a FREAKING ROCK STAR). 2:30pm nurse checks Amy:  7.5 cm. 90% effaced 0 delivery position. 2:50pm Back to the tub. Intense back labor. Baby is posterior. Could make labor long and delivery very painful.  3:15pm back out of the tub. Nurse checks Amy: 8.5-9cm. +1 delivery position. Lean over the exercise ball on the bed. 3:20pm Nurse checks Amy: 10cm. Here we go. They call the doctor. He is there by 3:30pm. Amy is doing amazing. Breathing through every contraction like a champ. Amy says she needs to start pushing. Dr. says to give him 3 minutes to get everything ready. My thoughts: “3 minutes? You better do your best 30 second drill buddy she’s ready to push! This is your job!” 3:37pm Amy starts pushing. Baby flips to be anterior while this happenening, extremely painful. For the first time Amy says she is in intense pain and doesn’t know is she can do it. 3:47pm Kyra Gwenn Wright is born, and looking very blue. Blue? Is everything okay? Dr. “We are a mile high, all babies are born blue here”. Whew! Look at all that hair! 7 lb 4 0z, 20 inches, 8-9 APGAR. For the first time, we didn’t get the shaft!
The rest of our hospital stay was very nice. It’s amazing how annoyed the nurses seemed by us up until they realized we were serious about our birth plan. Then once they saw Amy doing what she did, utter amazement, full support, didn’t leave the room, gave her whatever she wanted. Dr. “Amy your control during that delivery was incredible. I wish all my patients were half as good as you”. That’s my girl! I know I couldn’t do it, but she can! Absolutely incredible.
Dr. Levy was incredible (although some of his comments were ill-timed for Amy’s liking haha). He did a wonderful job. Our nurses turned out to be great in the end. Although they are perfectly terrible at putting in IV’s (to this day Amy’s entire hand is still bruised from burst veins). As usual, the food was great, and I gained 4.5 pounds in our 1.5 day stay in the hospital. Perfect! We were home by the afternoon of the 23rd. Kyra is beautiful. Amy is beautiful. Camden is…still unsure about who Kyra is. But we are officially a family of four! And that, is definitely not the shaft.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kyra's Birth

I wanted to try to write up Kyra's birth story before I forgot any of the little details.
Most of you probably know a lot of them but for my memory sake I will reiterate so feel free to skip around.

I went into pre-term labor with Kyra at 33 weeks. I was sitting in church and Garth didn't believe I was contracting. I tried to give it a couple hours but finally I told him we needed to go in to be safe. So we went in and sure enough my contractions were good and strong 2 minutes apart and had been for hours. I was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. And all of the tests they did to test for the possibility of labor came back positive so I was forced to stay. I was then put on modified bed rest and medicine to stop the contractions.
I took the medicine as sparingly as possible. It gave me hot flashes and causes swelling and rapid weight gain. I also don't like being on medicine pregnant AT ALL. So I only took it after I had exhausted all other methods of stopping the contractions.
I went off the medicine on Thanksgiving and black Friday I had contractions all night long 2-3 minutes apart that never progressed.
This became my new normal. Prodromal labor about 3-5 nights a week that started almost like clockwork between 7-8pm every single night. Hard contractions 2-3 minutes apart for hours and hours on end. Sometimes they would make me go into the hospital to check baby girl. Other times I would just do my best to get any amount of sleep.
By 38 weeks my doctor said my baby was still not engaging and I wasn't progressing at all despite my body trying. It is common after being on the meds for pre term labor that your body struggles to get it going again. He offered to induce me and I was shocked.
I had specifically sought out a doctor who I knew would never ever induce me unless necessary. He is so stubborn about meds and interventions in pregnancy.
But he knew all about Camden's surgery, and I came in with contractions when Camden got the diagnosis, and then he watched me not sleep and struggle right after Camden had surgery so honestly I think he just took major pity on me. He said he normally never offers but knew my pregnancy had been such a long road.
I was on the fence but ultimately decided I was ready to be a mom again. Ready to sleep again and ready to feel good again.

So December 22nd we were scheduled for 6am induction. The doctor hoped that if he broke my water it would be enough to kick me into labor and my body would just go.
When we arrived they were very very behind and we were told we would have to wait a couple hours. Waiting they had me on monitors and it was funny to see I was already contracting 2-3 minutes apart, as per usual.
 After a while I asked if we could eat and she said you will have to ask your doctor. My doctor arrived at 8 and said I'm here to break your water! Which meant no eating. And I was starving! But I was ready to be done being pregnant even more. So he broke my water which was actually quite weird. Camden my water was broken at 9cm and then I just pushed him out. I didn't really feel much. Breaking your water early is kind of gross. I didn't even consider how messy and inconvenient it would be to be periodically gushing water through my entire labor. I like to walk around and move so that was an unfortunate realization. But we managed!
I walked for two hours straight though I had asked for a birthing ball, my nurse never brought one back. You could tell she really didn't think I was going to go natural and didn't like the idea of having to let me. I imagine for inductions is so much easier to get an epidural in and get the pit turned way way up. Then the nurses really can just time it all however they want. But oh well. She was a little harsh at first. Garth ate food at this time much to my dismay but I knew if he didn't he would get sick.

At 10am she came in and asked if she could start the Pitocin. I said she had to check me first because I needed to mentally know where I was at and know that the pit was necessary. She acted like I was obviously not in enough pain to have increased at all but agreed. I had increased 1 cm but it wasn't enough contractions regularity wise so I agreed to let her do the pitocin. So 10am the smallest dose of the pitocin began. My contractions picked up then and I was a little nervous I wouldn't make it.
I was still strapped to monitors, I FINALLY got the birthing ball, but I could only move about a foot. So I bounced on the ball and stared at the monitors.

I felt like I was having a hard time finding confidence because I felt out of control. I didn't know if my contractions were just like the ones I had had for months and would do nothing, or if the pit was working and it would stay this way for a while, or if they would keep cranking up the pitocin and things would get really really hard. Mentally I was getting discouraged and bummed out, plus I was just really tired.

I stood leaning over the ball and then alarms started to sound that my oxygen was low and my hearing muffled like I might pass out. So Garth helped me sit back down on the ball and I felt like in that moment there's no way they would let me labor naturally if the pitocin was affecting me like that. But then things changed. I felt like my body finally caught up to what the pitocin was trying to make it do and I was able to get into a bit of a rhythm. Then they upped my pitocin a little.

They checked me again and I was a 6 at noon so I had increased two more centimeters!. They were finally allowing me to get into the wireless monitors and get into the tub. I knew I could do it at this point. My body had caught up, things felt normal I was progressing, and I was finally allowed to move around. I labored in the tub for a while and you could tell that the nurse finally had confidence in me. She kept telling me how awesome I was and anyone else who came into the room told me about how they were talking about me outside the room. Garth and I laughed about how she completely did a 180 attitude wise toward us.

This labor I really did the breathing and mental managing of pain all on my own. I just closed my eyes during each contraction and kind of did my own thing so it was a very quiet labor. A nurse came in and turned down my pitocin back to 1 because she said my contractions were 1-1.5 minutes apart and really strong and she didn't want to over do it for the baby. I was still really comfortable at this point though so I was fine with whatever.My contractions were really never more than 2 minutes apart the whole labor partly because of the pitocin, but Kyra never showed any signs of stress at all.

They checked me again at 2:30 and I was a 7.5 so then I knew I was in transition and I was pretty excited. They did warn me she was posterior so transition would take longer and the back labor would be harder. We got back to the tub which was great for a while until she got really really into my back. Once she was in my back I couldn't sit anymore so we got out of the tub and I got ready to lean on the ball over the bed. The nurses were trying all sorts of different things to help with the back labor but ultimately things were getting very very intense.

Then I told them I felt like I needed to push which shocked me that it came so fast.
They checked me and I was a 10 so the doctor was called and they told me to wait to push.
Waiting to push is the worst feeling in the world I think!
We let Anna know she needed to hurry if she was going to make it and everyone got prepped for the baby.

I had looked forward to pushing the entire time because with Camden pushing felt so good and relieving. There was minimal pain at first pushing him, of course when he crowned it did hurt. He took about 30 minutes to get out.
Well Kyra was nothing like Camden. She was still posterior and she KILLED. Pushing was extremely difficult and extremely painful. I was so confused and I was struggling to find a good rhythm and position. The doctor and nurses felt a little demanding to me instead of letting me labor down and figure things out they kept telling me how to do it and the ways they wanted it done were not comfortable at all. I found myself getting a LITTLE cranky at them lol. BUT it only took 10 minutes of indescribable pain and she was out at 3:47pm. She came out very very blue which I was then told is normal in Colorado. (Highest apgar score you can get here is a 9 because of it). Who knew.

What I experienced post birth I can only describe as like a mini roid rage lol. The pitocin wasn't turned off till I had her out and right after I had her I felt really sick and really cranky, and the only thing I can think that was really different with her birth vs Camden's was that I still had pitocin pulsing through my body. I was just really crabby, and probably kind of mean to the staff..

 The stitching actually hurt, the pushing on my uterus actually hurt, etc. None of that really bothered me after Camden but Kyra was SO much harder of a labor and much much harder to get out. She really hurt!!
But slowly I leveled off and felt more like myself and felt better about things. I got to hold her for almost an hour before they weighed her or anything. Anna missed the birth by about 5 seconds, but she got to see her brand new and hold her too!

Overall it was a beautiful, hard, tiring experience. I'm grateful it went the way it did and I'm so glad she's here. But laboring in the hospital staring at monitors and being strapped down for 4 hours to begin is really not the most ideal way to start labor. When you're induced things are a little different as far as what you're in control of. Kyra was very painful, but I went into it knowing she would be because she was painful to just carry inside me!!. Her labor and transition was easier than it was with Camden just simply because I knew what I was doing. This was the period I was very quiet and just in my element. However, pushing her out was much much harder. So it was a give and take [:

Garth was awesome. He drew on my back from 10am to the time I began pushing. He breathed through contractions with me and he was by my side every step of the way--as usual. I seriously am so so lucky to have that man. He was all in the entire labor, except for the portion where I made him eat his food in the corner! [;
 The nurse actually came in and teared up telling us watching us was awesome because we are such a great team and that Garth takes such good care of me she didn't have to worry about me at all. The other nurse was shocked that I am 24 because that's how old she is, her and my doctor told us that I look like a 20 year old and act like a 32 year old. So they were all very nice. Despite the fact I think I was mean to all of them after I had her! Only for a little bit though! Then I apologized [:

She is finally here and she is beautiful!