Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Willow Jane Washer - Our Birth Story

After Thayer's exciting entrance into the world we knew that a home birth was not on our agenda, but we were definitely interested in a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). My OBGYN was supportive, but wanted to do an ultrasound at 37 weeks to see how much the baby weighed. If it looked like the baby could be close to the 8 lb mark by my due date he wanted to discuss a repeat c-section, otherwise, he was on board with trying for a VBAC.

We hired our doula, Jessica, again and were able to attend about half of the Bradley classes just as a refresher.

Gary and I had to process our past labor and delivery experiences several times throughout this pregnancy and even had other emotions come up that we'd never felt before. I love being pregnant and I love having newborns, but I HATE H.A.T.E. HATE labor and delivery. You would think that since that's the shortest part it wouldn't be so bad, but it's come to be the most difficult part for us.

I was given the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Freed-Hardeman University, and participate in their Makin’ Music production. I did the ‘right’ thing and asked my doctor if he approved because I would be 36 weeks pregnant. He was not on board with this at all. I felt I needed a second opinion so I asked Jessica since she knows more about my daily physical activity regimen. She approved, so off I went to jump and dance around on stage!!

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Image may contain: 13 people, including Eric Russell, Ben Williams, Amy Stanfield, Kimberly Rowe Washer and Chris Brush, people smiling, outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, on stage, concert and indoor

Upon my return it was time for my 37 week appointment. I found myself recounting my diet and how I felt in prior pregnancies up to this point. I gained the least amount of weight with this pregnancy, but felt the most pregnant I had ever felt. I can't decide if that had to do with my age or that I was chasing 2 other kids around.

I always feel anxious waiting on the doctor to step into the room, but the day of my ultrasound brought on a new level of anxiousness. I hung on every facial expression and word from Dr. Chesney. Finally, he announced the baby's weight of 6lbs and 1oz and that he was comfortable moving forward with a VBAC!! I’ve never dilated early and at this appointment I was dilated to 1 ½ and 50% effaced!!! I give Makin’ Music all the credit!!

Fast forward to the week before my due date…at this appointment I was expecting Dr. Chesney to at least mention setting a date for a c-section because he told me in the very beginning that he didn’t want to induce since I was a VBAC, but to my surprise he simply said, "Everything looks great! See you next week!" To which I replied, "If not before!" That was a little bit we liked to do every week ;). He always chuckled. I'm sure he has the same bit with every other pregnant patient, but I appreciate him humoring me!

My goal throughout the entire pregnancy was to make it to May 5, Cinco de Mayo, which was 2 days before my due date. It just seemed like a great day to have a baby! Also, I am somewhat of a planner, even though that can be questioned by my ability to keep the baby’s gender a secret, so having a goal date and praying specifically for that date really helps me! So far, all three of my children have come when I was ready and on the weekend, might I add, for all of you out of town family members…you’re welcome! (If you sang that in the voice of Maui from Moana, props to you!).

Everyone knew my goal date was May 5, so when that day arrived it was like GAME ON!!!  I went to work the whole day and finished up everything. That entire week I had been preparing the guys for my departure and making sure everything would be handled while I was gone. I left that day feeling free and ready to have a baby.

At about 6:30pm I got a text from my friend, Stephanie, who had her baby 2 weeks before! She had to have a repeat C-section and I was drilling her with questions the whole night!!!! I wanted to know how her recovery was with the 2nd section. How she did emotionally knowing she was having another section because I knew she planned a natural birth with the first. At 8:56pm I texted, “I really think this is all about to happen in the next 24 hours and I’m starting to freak out!!!!”

At 9pm I was watching a Plunder video of my friend, Amanda, and she shouted out to me and asked, “Are you in labor yet?” and I said, “Nope.” Well, I guess I lied because I actually was :/. Sorry Amanda!

At around 9:30pm I called my parents. I told them I was pretty sure I was in labor and just for ease of mind I would like for them to come up for the weekend. They started packing their stuff and were on their way a couple of hours later.

At 9:46pm I started texting Jessica. I hadn’t started timing my contractions just yet because I forgot to download an app. Ha!

10pm I decided to shower and see if the contractions stopped or changed. They didn’t!

At some point during all of this, Gary laid down with Wren and Thayer while I tried to rest in our bed. I started timing the contractions and they were very sporadic. 6 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and then they would jump back up to 6 minutes, etc.

I told Gary that as soon as my parent’s arrived we should probably head to the hospital.  They got to our house around midnight. Thayer could obviously sense something was going on because he woke up. My mom sat in the living room with him while Gary and I decided to go back to the bedroom and labor for a little bit longer. Between each contraction I prayed. The prayer was simple and direct and went something like, “God, if I’m meant to have this baby VBAC please PLEASE let this be a quick process. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do another day of this.” I prayed this prayer on repeat in my head!

I texted Jessica about 1:30am with screenshots of my contractions, which were still very sporadic and she asked, “Where are you feeling them?” I was feeling them in my stomach and back and a few low ones. She responded, “Since you are up, walking and moving around is good to do. We need to get the contractions more regular by changing positions every 20-30 minutes, walking, pelvic rocks, stirring on the ball.”

At that point, I got down on my hands and knees to do some pelvic rocks (like cat/cow in yoga) and I was feeling the contractions in my hips for sure!!

At 2:15am I’m beginning to get really anxious (what’s new huh?). I text Jessica, “I’m feeling super anxious. It’s tight even when I’m not having a contraction. I think we’re gonna go to the hospital.” Her response is why I love her and having her on my team sooooo much, “Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you for Kimberly and we thank you for this baby. We know that you have made us fearfully and wonderfully. We pray that you give Kimberly peace right now, Father. Take any worry of anxiety away. Fill her with peace and rest. Lord, we know you are with us and care about us. We pray that you give us direction on how to help this labor progress beautifully. We thank you, Father.”

While reading that prayer my contractions started coming every 2 minutes. Gary and I were already on the way to the car. I told Jessica we would text her when we got to the hospital to let her know how far along we were.

**Side note** Gary’s mom and the Silver Streaks group from our church were leaving for an Alaskan cruise that morning. The guy that was getting the bus ready (at 2:30am) drove behind our house as we were about to leave. So, he was the first one from church to know we were having a baby ;). From what I hear, he bragged to his wife when he got home.

I knew that once we got to the hospital I would probably not be allowed to eat or drink anything so I demanded Gary get me a Gatorade and cheese stick for the ride.

Each contraction was more intense than the last. I had a hard time at this point relaxing through them. I’m sure Jessica could sense that through the texts because she reminded me to breath and relax! I remember telling Gary that when we got to the hospital I just wanted to get the epidural. I couldn’t do this any longer! I was looking for some sort of confirmation on his face, but he never answered me and just kept driving. I’m pretty sure I said it about 10 times.

We arrived at the hospital and knew that since it was the middle of the night we would have to check in through the Emergency Room. Gary parked the car at the door and we walked in very slowly. He asked me if I wanted a wheelchair and I said that it felt better to walk.

I had my first contraction after we walked through the first set of doors. Immediately after walking through the second set of doors I had another one. Note: these doors are like steps away from each other. The lady behind the desk asked if I wanted a wheelchair, to which I replied, “No, thank you!” She didn’t even ask us to come to the desk, she just buzzed us through to the back.

We walked through the doors to the back, waved towards the nurse’s station, and they told us to head down the hall and turn right. I had two contractions before we even got past their station. One of the nurses ran, grabbed a wheelchair, made me sit it in, and said, “You are not having that baby down here!” I just chuckled and thought to myself, “Don’t worry my labors are super long and this is still the beginning!”

She went pretty quickly to the other station that had to check me in. They asked me some questions, but I don’t remember anything they said. Gary ended up having to answer most of them for me. Then we began the trip to the L&D floor. I can’t recall how many contractions I had during this trip, but I know I was pretty uncomfortable.

Once we arrived on the floor they wheeled me into the first room. It didn’t look like a normal labor and delivery room. One of the nurses jumped up and said, “Is she having a c-section?” I’ll be honest at this point I wanted to shout YES!!  Let’s do it!!  Let’s get this baby out now!!!  However, I was having a contraction so I couldn’t yell and I simply just nodded my head no. They quickly moved me to a labor and delivery room.

It was around 3:15am by the time we got in the room. I still had to change my clothes, pee (my favorite thing to do during labor), and get to the bed. There were two nurses in the room getting me all set up. The first nurse checked me and said, “Huh! That’s weird! Nurse 2 you might have to check her too.” I said, “Is that a good weird or a bad weird?” Nurse 1 replied, “Well, I think you’re at a 10.” Within minutes, Nurse 2 was checking me and girl was not as gentle as Nurse 1. She was rummaging around in there like she was searching for a treasure! She confirmed that I was at 10!

HOLY COW!!!  Is this a joke??! Am I really at a 10??? Gary immediately calls Jessica to let her know. Luckily, she had already gotten up & dressed while we were on our way to the hospital so she just had to get there!

At 3:24am my water breaks!!  Y’all this was the craziest feeling!!  In both of my previous labors the dr./midwife broke my water for me, but this spontaneous combustion of fluid was insane! I just kept saying over and over, “Oh my water broke. My water broke.” I think I remember Gary saying at some point, “We know!”

Timing is obviously not perfect at this point, but sometime within me getting in the bed, them checking me, and realizing I was at a 10 they called my Dr. I just knew he would come because he knew how much this VBAC meant to him, but to my disappointment he wasn’t able to come. So, they called the dr. on call, Dr. Bratsch. They gave her the run down and she asked them if I wanted the epidural. I answered no.

Jessica finally (I say finally, but it was literally minutes that felt like hours) arrived and seeing her just brought this sense of calmness over me! She immediately stepped in for Gary and let him rest for a bit. This was a different process for him and he honestly wasn’t really sure how to react to how quickly everything was going.

Dr. Bratsch was on the phone with the nurses again after Jessica got there and the epidural came up again. Jessica leaned down to my ear and said, “You are doing so great! You are about to start pushing! You don’t need this epidural!” While I knew she was right, in the back of my head I kept thinking about how I pushed for 3 hours with Thayer. I was scared to death that was going to happen again. Jessica told me later once she stood up and looked in my eyes all of my past started replaying in her head too.

The nurses continued to read my chart over the phone to the doctor and then the dreaded word VBAC came out. The mood in the room changed immediately. The doctor sternly told them over the phone that I didn’t have a choice I had to have the epidural. Jessica tried to ask follow-up questions just to understand why, but the nurses wouldn’t budge.

The anesthesiologist came into the room after that to give us the run-down. I never looked the man in the face. I’m pretty sure I never even looked in his direction because I was contracting one on top of another and resting as hard as possible in between. I do recall him standing in the exact spot with his hand hanging over the side of my bed where I had been grabbing during each contraction. While he was talking I was reaching and reaching for that bar, but his hands were in the way. My face was speaking to Jessica in the torment that I couldn’t grab the bar and she interrupted him and said, “Please hold her hand.” Thankfully he did!

Within minutes they had me sitting up on the side of the bed to get the epidural line in. I remember apologizing for pooping because at this point I couldn’t help but push through the contractions. I was belching too…right in the nurse’s ear that was standing in front of me. She kept giggling because I was apologizing and we both got yelled at by the anesthesiologist. These contractions were INSANE. I’m normally a calm laborer, but I had to scream through these especially when they are yelling at me to be still and not push!!!

Once he got everything set back there, they laid me back. They immediately put my feet in the holsters, the doctor arrived, and I was ready to push. They were trying to find the babies heart beat through one contraction and the nurse was pushing sooooo hard on my stomach I seriously almost hit her in the face. We were definitely pushing against each other on the monitor because I was trying to push her off and she was pushing harder to stay on. I asked her nicely to move until the contraction was over, but she said she couldn’t.

I have no idea if they even pushed the epidural in me, but after 2 pushing contractions and the ring of fire that I screamed through, little Willow Jane was born at 4:09am, less than an hour of us arriving at the hospital!

I just kept saying over and over again, “I can’t believe she’s already here. I’m supposed to be in labor all day today. I can’t believe she’s already here!”  I was in such SHOCK that the labor was sooooo fast!!

Within seconds of her being born my friend Rachel walks in. She was coming down the hallway and just missed the birth. 

I had to soooo many emotions flooding my mind about how this labor and delivery happened that I had such a hard time even being in the moment. I was in shock for hours after she was born. I started calling and texting my family around 6 just to let them know we had a baby and everyone was in as much shock as I was. 

I wouldn't tell anybody what it was until they came to the hospital, which was really really fun!! I got so many texts and calls of people trying to get it out of me all day, but never gave in ;). Sorry everyone!!

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Image may contain: 4 people, including Kimberly Rowe Washer and Gary Washer, people smiling, people sitting and baby

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Willow is a precious blessing to our family and I am so thankful God decided we needed her! 

After everything calmed down, we got home, found our new normal, and it was time for me to sit down and write her birth story, I decided I wanted to get the hospital records just to show me timing of how things happened. We had already received the bill and that $800 epidural charge, but I was interested in knowing exactly how many minutes before I pushed her out that the epidural was put in because it definitely didn't go into effect until after she was born. I got the records and, what do you know, they didn't even mention the epidural. The records showed what time we checked in, got in the room, what time my water broke, and what time she was born stating, "Vaginal Birth after Cesarean," but nothing of the epidural was ever mentioned. 2 hours after she was born, which is when an epidural has usually worn off, the nurse came in to let me use the bathroom. Thankfully, Rachel was still in there and helped me get up because I would have fallen flat on my face with just one person. I was so numb!!!

I couldn't have done this without my team and the preparation that went into it. While I do believe our bodies are made for this, I also believe that we have to practice and prepare ourselves. I'll be honest, nothing can truly prepare you for this experience, but the more you know how to react to what is going on the better off you'll be. 

I pray that any mommy out there who wishes to have this experience is able to do it. I know it's not for everyone, but it truly is an amazing felling!

Monday, March 20, 2017

2 my sweet boy...

Today you turn 2! The age everyone refers to as terrible, but son you have been blowing my mind since you entered this world!! Your extravagant entrance was just the beginning of what we had in store for us! You definitely keep us on our toes!

Sensitive skin, sensitive tummy, but a heart of gold...although, you don't really like to say, "I'm sorry." Oh, I know you can say it, but when you get in trouble and I ask you to say I'm sorry you refuse! However, you will always offer a hug instead. We will take what we can get!

You're my early riser, and you usually have a present ready when you come into our room...if you SMELL what I'm throwing out ;). 

You would prefer to run around with no clothes on, just your "Boops" (boots) and diaper.

You can pee pee in the potty, but we aren't super consistent with it yet. 

You have really started playing with cars a lot more lately. You drive them around making the noise and I love it! Anything can be turned into a 'gun,' a marker, selfie-stick, barbie, etc. Now we just have to get your lifetime license so daddy can teach you how to be a real hunter and gatherer! 

Your favorite thing to do with your sister is JUMP. On anything!! I don't even make the guest bed anymore because it's y'alls favorite place to jump, laugh, and play! The playroom becomes an obstacle course of pillows and cushions so you never have to touch the floor. You get so excited and say, "Didter, come on. Come on, didter," as you wave her towards you!

No matter if I've been gone all day or 2 seconds, every time I walk in the door you say, "MOMMY!!" with a big grin on your face and come running!! You give the greatest 'around the neck' hugs and I bet everyone can vouch that your snotty, slobbery kisses really are the BEST!!

You love to brush your teeth and wash your hands. 

If you could be outside 100% of the time, you're life would be complete! BUT, you are my runner! I can turn around for 2 seconds and you are gone! We have to keep a short leash on you (not literally, although we did have one for the cruise that you hated) when we go out in public because you'll be gone in no time. I'm sure there will come a day when I'm being called over the load speaker of a store saying, "Will the mom of this boy please come pick him up. He was found destroying the potted plants in the garden section." By the time I reach you, you will have won over all the hearts of the employees with your dirty face and super bright white smile!!

You eat everything! Like seriously, half of the time we have no idea what's in your mouth! Just yesterday, you picked up a fruit snack from the church parking lot and before I could get to you, it was in your mouth! Wren and Easton, of course, thought it was the most hysterical thing they had ever seen! This could be why you have tummy issues, but hopefully as you get older this will make you have a stomach of steal!!

Speaking of your tummy issues, we've had a rough couple of months! We've slept on the couch a lot, washed a lot of towels, had many snuggles, and are currently trying to figure out if you're allergic to something or you really did just get the stomach virus that many times. Hopefully, now that it's getting to spring...HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING BTW...if it is stomach bug we will be done with it!!  But if it's allergies, I pray we find the culprit soon!!  Some things we've been trying to stay away from are hot dogs, chickin nuggest (you had chick-fil-a the other night with no problems), and sandwich meat (it seems fresh deli meat is not a bother either). There is still something that is irritating your eczema, but that could be because I think you're teething right now too! Like I said, you've taught me A LOT :).

Oh my stars, do you love animals or what? I so wish we could get you a dog right now, but don't worry my boy, soon! One day soon you will have that dog and I know it's going to be a forever friendship!!! You love every dog you see! You want to pet them, hug them, love on them. It doesn't even matter if they snip at you, within seconds you're right back over playing with them again. Xena, I'm talking about you ;). If I make you leave them it's a knock-down drag out of screaming and fighting to get back to the dog!!

You've started calling me "Mom" already and it breaks my heart a little, but you hear your big sister doing it. However, it normally sounds something like this, "Mom. Mommy. Momma. Mom. Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Mom..." and it goes on and on. Yes, just like the baby on Family Guy!

You are very talkative, but not as easy to understand, which frustrates you a little. There are many tears when we try to figure out what you are wanting, but once we do that BIG smile comes back and those BIG eyes just light up!!

You're my screamer/squealer! You scream when you're excited and scream when you're mad. Sometimes you just scream because it's fun, I guess. 

You love "moomies" (movies). Some of your favorites are; "Memo," Dory, Bunny (zootopia), and Minions. Or anything that has a dog in it! When the beginning starts you always say, "Here it comes." With Minions you sing along because they are singing. You love the "Oh oh" song in Zootopia and if I'm not singing too you make sure I know!!

If there's dirt, you're playing in it. If there's a puddle, you're splashing in it. If there's something on the ground, you're tasting it. You are all boy and I'm learning so much from you!

I love you so very much and can't wait to see what other adventures you have in store for us in the years to come!

Mom 😢

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

To my precious girl on her 3rd birthday!

Dear Wren,
Wow! Can you believe you are 3 today?! I sure can't!
It feels like yesterday that I was celebrating my first Mother's Day in the hospital.
You were so tiny, weighing 5 pounds and 13 ounces.
You are still my tiny girl (weighing in at 27 lbs and 2 1/2 feet tall, as of today), but man do you have a BIG personality!!
I love how you dance around the living room and no matter what you're wearing a tutu is put on over your outfit to give you full twirling capabilities. "Reach for the stars and twirl like the ocean..." a silly song I made up while we do our 'Dancing With The Stars' dance moves.
I love being THAT MOM at gymnastics. You know, the one who follows her kid all around the gym to try not to miss one single flip or balance beam act and claps after every "Tada." Coach Ruth sings your praises and tells me every week how advanced you are for your age. I just need you to remember our pact...when you become an Olympic medalists and they ask you to be on 'Dancing With The Stars' you are supposed to respond, "Not me, let my mom take my spot." I will be flattered, but gladly accept the offer 😉. I'm so glad that we shook on it so it's pretty much a done deal!
I love how excited you get to build and invite people into your 'hunt' (tent/hut) in the playroom, how silly you get when it's time to put your 'jammies' on for bed, but my ALL TIME FAVORITE is when you say, "I want to hold you."
I don't correct you because in my mind that's what makes you my baby. I wish that I could hold you every time you ask because one day, and I know that day is getting closer and closer, you won't ask to hold me anymore.
I love your sweet kisses and when you hug my neck and say, "I love you mommy!" I love how you get super defensive if someone tries to say that I'm their mommy and your response, with burrowed eyebrows, "No, that's my mommy!"
I love how tough you are! 3 staples in the back of the head, no problem for you! You still did everything just like normal and didn't even cry when they took them out!
I love your curls! One day you might hate them, just like I did and sometimes still do, but they sure are precious!
I love how you love your brudder! He's your Buddy, your sidekick, and I love seeing y'all play together! I love to hear giggles and belly laughs coming from the playroom while I'm cooking dinner.
I love your athleticism! It amazes me that a kid so small can do the things you do. You can climb just about anything and jump from some of the tallest places. I pray that fearlessness leaks into other aspects of your life! And if it does, girl, you will FLY!!!
I love you for YOU!! You can sometimes be a rascal, but I sure do love that I get to be your mommy and call you my favorite girl!!
Happy Birthday sweet Wren! Have a piece of BLUE cake today to celebrate!!
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Devil - He's Always Roaring

I have a confession to make. This is hard. It’s something I hate to admit. It’s something I wish I could say will never happen again, but I’m human and I sin.

A way I can help myself to never do this again? Have the words of God on my heart always. I need to study compassion, meekness, humbleness and  mercy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What?! Thayer is 7 months old?!

“Da da da da” is what we hear all the time now. He talks to Dada, talks about Dada and sometimes yells at Dada. BUT the other day I had to meet Gary when his car broke down and Thayer was done being in the car and actually said, “Ma ma ma ma” when he saw me. I was so excited! I didn’t want to get him out of his car seat because I wanted to hear him say it over and over again!! :-)