Monday, October 30, 2017

George's Birth Story (Finally!): a cautionary tale about getting what you ask for, and cherry pits

He's a good baby. He nurses well and sleeps a lot and has the cutest little smiles. Not to mention the cutest little face.


But he's just very . . . particular, if you know what I mean. He most particularly doesn't care for me sitting at the computer and typing. (Perhaps he got his fill of that in utero, hmm?) He prefers being walked around in the carrier, and enjoys shushing, swaying, bouncing, and patting.

Like this . . .


A post shared by Kendra Tierney (@kendra_tierney) on

Anyway, he's already nearly FOUR MONTHS old, so it's high time I got his birth story typey typed up, no?

After Mary Jane's very quick and easy (if slightly stressful for the husband) accidental homebirth, our main goal for this birth was to get to the hospital. I'd been praying, and asked you all to pray, specifically that I'd feel the beginning of labor, which I don't, usually.

Pats on backs, everyone, because it worked. I did feel it. I felt it all. Just for the record, I'd like to report that this is a dumb thing to have prayed for. Lesson learned.

We've moved since Midge (aka Mary Jane) was born in the bathtub of our old house, so I've got a new obstetrician. At my very first appointment I told him that my labors have sometimes gone really fast. Anita was an hour and a half, and Midge was about 45 minutes. So, I'm all, "Watch out, because this baby will probably come quick!" And he wrote that down on my chart without really reacting. He's a very chill OB. But he'll see, I thought to myself, he'll see.

This whole pregnancy was pretty hard. I had a lot of commitments unrelated to pregnancy that were especially challenging because of pregnancy, like home remodeling and book writing. I had health issues like a broken tailbone and recurring UTIs that were exacerbated by pregnancy, and normal pregnancy stuff like heartburn and edema that were much worse with this pregnancy than I'd experienced before.

I hate taking medicine. I don't know why, I just always have. But I had to give in and do it. Once I was taking a daily antibiotic for the prevention of UTIs, and a daily heartburn medication for the prevention of heartburn, and wearing compression socks, I actually felt pretty good, all things considered, the last couple months there.

With a lot of help with childcare from my parents, the big kids, and a good good friend, I got the book finished and submitted to the publisher one week before my due date <kermit flail!>. Then I figured I had between zero and seven days to get done all the preparation/nesting stuff I'd usually have been working on for a month or two.

I've only gone past my due date once with my eight other births. With all the rest, I've either gone on my due date or a day or two early. I'd left everything to the very last minute

Since Jack was born fifteen years ago, I have always sewn baby blankets and made little shirts with their names on them. I do one for a girl baby and one for a boy baby, since we don’t find out ahead of time.

But this time I was due on July 4th, and we had two different names picked for a girl, one if she was born on July 4th, one for if she was born on other than July 4th, so I needed two different blankets. A boy baby was going to be George either way, but once I was making two blankets for a girl baby, I felt like I should also make two for a boy baby. And now that I type that out I hear how crazy it is. I do. But it FELT important at the time. That’s the kind of crazy I am.


I also got Mary Jane’s baby book made. I just do them on Shutterfly. One year. Photos and captions only. But it just might be my single greatest achievement as a mother, nay, as a human being, that eight kids in this house have baby books. I gotta say, it feels nice to be able to point to a stack of books as physical proof that I loved each of them. Officially.

Anyway, I went to bed the night of July third, just SURE that I'd go into labor that night. Of course, I go to bed every night for the week before my due date pretty sure of that. But when I woke up on July 4th and it was morning and I wasn't having contractions . . . I pretty much turned into a feral pacing animal. I know there are so many of you who have gone days and weeks past due dates and, I don’t know how you don’t go completely out of your mind.

I was willing to allow for the possibility that I might have the baby BEFORE my due date. The extra baby blankets had been sewn against that possibility. But I really was hoping for my fourth baby born on the due date. I really value punctuality.

So, I woke up on the mad and antsy side of the bed. I ate breakfast and decided I would walk the baby out. There was lots of walking, a break to go to Mass, then more walking, and still no contractions. And the whole day I’m getting more frustrated, because I had PLANNED to have the baby in the middle of the night and be home with the kids in time for fireworks. As the hours ticked by, it was becoming clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

After lunch, I went to take a nap and woke up at about three in the afternoon, thinking maybe that was maybe a contraction. In all but one of my previous labors, it only took two or three contractions for there to be NO DOUBT that I was in labor. The last baby, two or three contractions and I was almost DONE. But these were different. They were really mild, but really regular. I was looking at the time with each one and they were thirty minutes apart and getting closer, but s-l-o-w-l-y. It really felt like a first baby, not like a ninth! After a couple of hours of watching Parks and Rec on Netflix and checking the time, I finally decided to get up and see what my family was up to.

I have a determined phobia of announcing that I am in labor and then not actually being in labor. If I faced a boggart, it would be an l&d nurse shaking her head at me and looking past me to tell the husband, “It’s probably just gas.”

So, I reluctantly told my husband that I thought maybe MAYBE I was having contractions. But they didn’t hurt at all, so I didn’t want to go to the hospital yet. I sat down with the kids and my parents and we ate burgers and watermelon and bomb pops and talked about America. And Hamilton. And not thowing away our shots and whatnot.

I just knew that whenever whatever this was was finished and the real thing got going, it was going to go fast . . . so I let the husband talk me into heading for the hospital around 6pm. Betty came with us, and we drove over, me having regular contractions still, but them still not meaning business.

We got to the hospital. I didn’t want to go inside yet, so we walked around the parking lot for a bit. When we decided to go in, the main entrance was closed, so we had to check in at the emergency room. We got in line behind a few other folks and waited. And now I’m getting antsy because I’m figuring the real contractions are going to hit any second and I don't want to be standing in line when that happens. Right in front of us is a family: a mom, and dad, and a four or five year old girl.

They have left a 4th of July party.

And come to a hospital emergency room.

Because their daughter.

Has swallowed.

A cherry pit.

Not magnets, or drano, or a throwing star. They brought her to the ER for swallowing a very tiny food item.

So . . . as you can tell, I was super chill about that.

That emergency attended to, we got to plead our case and get admitted. I got checked and, despite my boggart-y fears, I was in fact in labor, and at about a six, which is unusual for me. I like to cut it very close, and/or just not make it at all. Arriving at a six seemed like kind of a waste of everyone’s time. I started running through all the things I could have gotten done if we’d stayed home for another couple hours. But, c’est la vie.

The nurse said I could walk for fifteen minutes, but then it was thirty minutes before she came to track us down from the hallway farthest from her desk where I was hiding from her. So that was good.

While they had me hooked up to the monitor between walks, Betty and I watched Agent Carter together. Super cute show. It’s on Amazon. I recommend it for teens. Howard Stark’s wanton ways are alluded to, but not in a positive way. And it's been just so awesome to have her there for these last three births. I love that she’s old enough to share this with us.

Anyway, my OB arrived at 9:15pm, in a red, white, and blue polo shirt, fresh from a barbecue. He offered to break my water, and said that he thought that if he did I'd have the baby in an hour. I said I didn't want him to break my water. I had my water broken by the doctor once, and felt like the contractions were much less smooth, somehow, and I prefer to just let things take their natural course, whenever possible. But I silently determined to have that baby in an hour all by myself, thank you very much.

The contractions were hard. The pushing was hard. I was keeping it together, and trying to focus on my prayer intentions, but in between contractions I kept wondering how it the world it could be this hard, when I'd had so many easy births. But I had my deadline, and that was very motivating.

And because God is good and I am obstinate, George Curtis Tierney was born at 10:14pm. On his due date. On the 4th of July. And he was TEN POUNDS! Most of my babies have been in the seven and a half to eight pound range. Bobby was my previous biggest at nine pounds one ounce. I don't know if that explains the long, tough labor, but it certainly felt like an accomplishment.







 


The heartburn and edema and UTIs disappeared as soon as I wasn't pregnant anymore, for which I am supremely grateful.

If you like birth stories, you'll find all the rest of mine here!

A few months in to knowing him, I can now tell you that George is super sweet and super smiley and super extroverted. He likes nothing more that having all his brothers and sisters all up in his face. It took a few months, but he has recently started sleeping long enough stints on his own for me to work on some projects I've been wanting to do. I'm finishing up edits on the book, but traditional publishing, like the Church, is a slow business and the book isn't scheduled to be published until next liturgical year.


So, in the meantime,  I've created a wall calendar to help us keep track of the upcoming feasts!


It features the all the feasts and fasts of the Universal Calendar and then some, illustrated with images featuring the traditional Catholic monthly devotions. It's an easy visual way to bring liturgical living into your home. You can keep track of the feasts and fasts and seasons of the Catholic year, and be reminded to focus your prayer on a different aspect of our faith each month.

January:The Holy Name of Jesus 
February: The Holy Family 
March: St. Joseph 
April: The Blessed Sacrament 
May: Mary 
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus 
July: The Precious Blood 
August Immaculate Heart of Mary 
September: The Seven Sorrows of Mary 
October: The Holy Rosary 
November: The Poor Souls in Purgatory 
December: The Immaculate Conception 


As the Church year begins with December, so does this calendar. You get December 2017 through December 2018, thirteen months. Available for purchase here.

You can see a preview of the inside here.



Or by clicking on the little "preview" link on the publisher's site beneath the cover image, but you need flash, so if you're on your phone you'll just have to trust me that it's cute.

The calendar starts in December and it takes about a week and a half to get to you, so don't wait, order now, blah, blah, blah. There's a coupon code currently available:

Save 10% On Orders of Print Products
Plus Free Mail or 50% Off Ground Shipping
Use Code: BOOKSHIP17
Cannot be combined with other offers
Does not apply to ebooks or services
Ends November 6th at 11:59 PM

(It's a code from the publisher, and I'll update here if any other discounts become available, in case you miss this one!)

I hope you love it!



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