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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Denton Paul: A Birth Story

Friday morning I had my 37 week appointment and my doctor told me I was not dilated at all. He asked if I wanted to schedule to be induced during my 39th week and after chatting about options we decided I would wait and see how the next few weeks went before scheduling anything. Flash forward a few days...

On Tuesday morning I woke up when my alarm went off at 6 am feeling nauseous. It felt like the pain was definitely higher up in my stomach and not baby related at all. I was also exhausted and thought maybe my many sleepless nights might be catching up to me. I called in a substitute for the morning and decided I'd sleep in a little and go in at noon. At 11 my alarm went off again and I still felt sick. I decided to try to suck it up and see if I felt better as the day went on. I ate a banana and a small yogurt and went to work.

I felt pretty horrible the whole time I was there. My poor class could tell I felt awful and they were concerned about me. After an hour and a half of attempting to teach science I vomited and ended up curled up in a ball in the middle of my classroom. Thankfully I had another adult in the room and she ushered my kids out and into another classroom. I called Crockett from the floor and by the time he got to school to pick me up I was feeling well enough to walk outside. He took me home, I called my doctor, and went straight to sleep. My doctor said it sounded like I had the GI bug going around and not to try to eat anything. They said sip on small amounts of water and take it easy.

At 4:30 pm I woke up with pains in my lower belly and started timing them. They were 6-7 minutes apart and surprisingly painful. By the time I thought to call my doctor the office was closed. I called the hospital triage number they gave me when we toured and they told me since I hadn't kept down water all day my contractions were most likely from dehydration. She told me to keep sipping water and they would go away within a few hours. I kept drinking and the contractions kept coming. At 8 pm, after 4 consecutive hours I could no longer talk or walk through the pain and they were still around 6 minutes apart. I called triage again and they told me they still didn't think it was labor and I shouldn't come in. They told me to take Tylenol and drink more fluids. I was frustrated and really praying this was the real deal and not wasted pain. The contractions continued on and became more and more intense. By midnight I had taken 2 warm baths to try to help and was in serious pain. Contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and I called triage again. They STILL told me not to come in! She said if I came in they would check me and most likely send me home. At this point I was pretty tired and tried to sleep in between contractions which turned out to be useless. Crockett had gone to bed hours ago and also didn't think this was the real deal. I woke him up and told him I wanted to go be checked. We quickly packed up our bags and called our friend over to stay with Andi. We were out the door by 12:30 am.

At the hospital we got onto the maternity ward, through registration, and into triage. They checked me at 1 am and I was dilated to 1 cm. The nurse who checked me was the same one I'd spoken with on the phone and she was not very optimistic. After checking me she suggested I go home, but said I could stay and she'd check me again in an hour and a half if I wanted. I told her I wanted to stay and Crockett encouraged me to walk to get things going. I had every intention of walking, but was in too much pain. I was on that horribly uncomfortable triage bed for an hour and half and the contractions were now 2 minutes apart. The pain was as bad as my miscarriage had been and I was praying that I was progressing because all I wanted was an epidural. That was a long hour and a half. At 2:30 am she checked me again and was very surprised to find out I was now dilated to 3.5 cm. I asked, "Does this mean I can stay?" She said, "You can stay." I looked at Crockett and said, "We're having a baby today."

They got my IV in (after blowing through a vein and trying again) and got me set up in my labor & delivery room. Within minutes of being there the anesthesiologist came in and at 4:20 am I finally got my epidural. I was so worried about the pain of the epidural that I was sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for intense pain. I felt a tiny prick and kept waiting. I finally asked, "Is it in yet?" and he replied, "It's been in." The IV was more painful than the epidural! I was pretty shocked, but extremely grateful. At first, only my right side went numb and I was still feeling contractions in my left side. It was a weird feeling! After moving me all around and increasing my dose, my left side eventually went numb too. At that point I was very comfortable and could still feel the contractions, but they weren't painful at all. I even closed my eyes for a bit and tried to rest. (Also, my nurse told me that sometimes labor starts with vomiting and I never had a stomach bug at all.)

Around 6 am my nurse noticed my contractions had slowed to 9 minutes apart and told me this can sometimes happen once the epidural takes effect and told me I might need pitocin if I wasn't continuing to dilate. She checked me again and I was 6 cm and she could feel the water bag. She said never mind and soon my contractions were back to 2 minutes apart. Everyone kept telling me how smoothly my labor was going and terms like "dream labor" and "textbook labor" were used. I think I was still in shock that 1.) I was actually in labor. I was counting on at least another 11 days! 2.) that everything was going so well. I was so anxious my whole life about labor. I thought for sure everything that could go wrong, would go wrong. I had myself prepared for a horrible experience and possibly an emergency C-section. Denton had been breached and I never felt him turn. (My nurse kept assuring me she felt a head!)

At 7 am the doctor on call came in to break my water because at this point it still hadn't. She had this awful looking long stick in her hand and I tried to slow my breathing. I had seen a video of this happening and had prayed I wouldn't need it. I don't know why, but it scared me. She went to check me before breaking my water and as she did she broke my water! There was a huge gush and I was so relieved she wouldn't have to use the stick! I was now 7.5 cm.

At 8:50 am my nurse said she'd check me again in 20 minutes, but I told her I was definitely feeling low pressure. She checked me again and I was completely dilated to a 10! She called in some help and they began setting up for delivery. She called the doctor and by 9:10 am I was pushing with Crockett and my nurse. The first few contractions were hard to feel and I wasn't sure what I was pushing. They offered me a mirror so I could watch the birth and that helped me determine how to push. After 20 minutes of pushing, Denton Paul Thompson was born at 9:32 am on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 weighing 8 pounds and 3 ounces. They immediately put him on my chest and we had an hour of skin to skin and I could barely stay awake for it. I was thrilled, but also at this point hadn't eaten since Monday night or slept in 27 hours. I was absolutely exhausted.

After a few hours my nurse had me get up to go to the bathroom and as I did my blood pressure plummeted and I almost passed out. I felt a heavy chest then dizziness. Then I had ringing in my ears and my vision started to blur. All within minutes. She pulled an emergency cord and a team of nurses rushed in. (My nurse was so great. At this point she was just holding me up and said, "A bunch of people are about to come in here, but you're ok. Don't worry. You're ok and we're going to keep it that way.") They put ammonia salt under my nose and got me back to bed. Apparently my color had drained too and Crockett, being in the other room and seeing nothing but a bunch of people rush into the bathroom, was very confused and worried. After I got in bed I slowly came back to normal and I ordered some lunch. :) That helped a lot!

The next 2 days in the hospital flew by and there were no other complications with me or Denton! We ate and slept and tried to get the hang of breastfeeding. Aunt Becca and big sister, Andi were the first visitors and then Grammy and Papaw arrived after their 12 hour drive. Next, Nana came to visit after she too drove 12 hours from Katy, TX. We got to go home on Friday and have been loving every minute of this adjustment from a family of 3 to 4.

We are so incredibly grateful that the Lord chose to bless us with this baby boy. He didn't have to. His faithfulness was complete without this gift, and yet he chose to give it. Not only did we have a perfectly healthy and normal pregnancy, we had the same experience in labor and delivery. I'm so thankful Denton came early too because he was already a big boy at 38 weeks and I can't imagine how big he would have gotten in 2 more weeks' time. Every single little prayer along the way was answered and God delivered his perfect peace to me time and time again. I never had an anxiety attack during pregnancy aside from 2 minor episodes that were gone quickly. I was perfectly calm during labor and even when I was having painful contractions I was comforted and didn't panic. Crockett was an amazing support and while I thought I'd be sad that we live so far from family and it would only be the two of us during the birth, in the end I'm grateful it was. It was such a sweet experience for us and after all the time we spent begging Jesus for this little life and fighting for him through fertility treatments and procedures it felt appropriate that we should have just each other to experience the realization of the gift. I've never loved this man as much as I do now. Every season of life with him gets sweeter and sweeter.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Having a son means I'll have to let go.

I'll be honest. I wanted another daughter. Crockett and I both did. From the moment we found out there was a life growing in me we hoped, dreamed, and prayed it would be a girl. He adjusted quickly when we found out we were having a boy. It took me a little longer. Here's why. 1.) The only thing I know about raising boys firsthand comes from watching my sister raise my nephews and the close interactions I've had with them. They outnumber her and both have ADHD. The way she has adapted to parent them, while successful for her, is not something I think I could do. They are rambunctious, dirty, loud, destructive little fellas. (Of course they have their precious, snugly, completely sweet moments too.) While I love them with all of my heart; they absolutely TERRIFY me. 2.) Andi was born in December. This baby is due in January. A girl would mean we were completely set in the seasonal and gender department regarding everything. Nursery decor, clothes, toys, you name it. We saved everything. 3.) I take my role as a mother, specifically to a daughter, very seriously and I absolutely LOVE it. I fail at it every single day, but it truly brings me joy to know that it is my responsibility to model for my daughter(s) what it means to chase Jesus every day with all of your heart. I enjoy modeling and inviting Andi into the learning of how to cook, clean, read and memorize scripture, and obey and respect Daddy. I love that it's my role that will have the biggest impact on her little life when it comes to what she thinks about Godly womanhood. It's a huge responsibility and one I do not take lightly. Like I said, I screw it up hourly, but it brings me immense joy. 4.) I love all things girl. Bows, glitter, nail polish, dresses, shoes, playing princesses, doing hair, watching princess movies, etc. It's all I ever wanted in life! 5.) And the biggest reason of all. I want to give Andi a sister close in age. I know it's out of my control (obviously) and I've been reprimanded for this thought, but this truly comes from good intentions, not a desire to control the world. My sister and I are 3 years apart and always wished we were even closer in age. We are best friends and while it wasn't that way until high school, I treasure our friendship as adults and can't imagine not having it. I know it's not a guarantee that if I were to have 2 girls they would follow the same path, but man do I want to pray for that and hope for that. It's not that I didn't want a son. It's that I wanted another girl first so she'd be closer in age to Andi and then I'd love a son later. Is that too controlling? Is it wrong to hope for a certain gender for semi-selfish reasons? If you ask my mom, she'd say yes, BUT I have come to accept that this little baby inside me is in fact a boy and not a girl. I will have a son, and while it's taken me longer to adjust to that and I did have to grieve for my plan, I'm excited to be a boy mom and hopeful for the sibling relationship between my kids. 

There is one thing, though, that has always been in the back of my mind. A fear about having a son. With a boy, I know there will come a day that he will replace me as the most important woman in his life and there will be another girl who will make her house his home. Initially, this sounded like the worst thing that could happen to a mother, but as I've reflected on my own marriage and sought what the Lord has to say about this area, I've already begun praying that my flesh would yield to the Father's will with my son, who is ultimately His and not mine.

Here's the prayer I've started and will continue repeating until the day that I die because this is certainly an area Satan will try to use to attack my faith and make me doubt:
First of all, Lord, may both my son and his future wife be yours. May they run after you first and each other second. Save them. Lift the veil and invite them into your irresistible, saving grace. Give them both a deep desire to honor their covenant to you and to each other all the days of their marriage.

Help me to love her like a daughter and may she know that she is welcome in our family; that she is not an outsider welcomed in as a guest, but a sovereignly placed missing piece. May she feel that I value her as a person, but also as a wife. May I make it plainly obvious that I respect her position as his priority and that I am FOR her marriage. When the vow is made before you, Lord, her heart becomes his home. 

From my womb, to my arms, I will carry this little boy and love him with the deepest love I can offer. I will dedicate decades of energy, time, and resources helping him grow into a God-fearing man who desires to leave his loyalty to me and when she comes along, Lord, help me to let go as they become one.

Give me grace when he misses his first Thanksgiving to spend with her family or eats foods she cooks that he never ate of mine. Fill my heart with patience and understanding when he's not at family events or doesn't call as much as he used to. Guide my tongue to be slow to speak and offer advice only when he asks for it. Help me Lord, to desire these things even when I don't. 

Help me to remember all the days of his life Jesus, that he is yours. Not mine. Raising him will be a privilege and I praise you for his life and all that he will become for your glory. I praise you for her life and all that she will become for your glory. Please guide and protect the future Mrs. Denton Thompson, whom I already love and cherish.

"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10: 6-9

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Expecting a Miracle

About a year ago Crockett and I were told that we would not conceive a child on our own and that we would need to go through a medical procedure that had a 75% chance of working in order to get pregnant. We took home that information and let it sink in, but then really dismissed a lot of the thought process over it as Andi was born a couple months later and life quickly filled up with her in our family. Everything shifted the day she was born. Every longing we had to become parents was instantly fulfilled. Our missing piece was found and we felt an immediate contentment. Ten months later we were just as content and had agreed not to even discuss the potential second adoption until Andi was 2 or 3. Then October 16, 2015 happened...

I was late. It wasn't uncommon or even something that would make me blink an eye except that I had been pretty consistent for the last 5-6 months. I was about 12 days late and had absolutely no other reason to believe I was pregnant, but when I woke up I had a strange idea to take a pregnancy test. I grabbed one of the old tests I had bought in bulk back when we were trying several years ago. It immediately showed positive. I studied the test and the directions as if I must have done something wrong. This wasn't right.

I ran downstairs to the second bathroom where Crockett was showering, barreled into the room saying, "Crockett!! Look at this!!" He popped his head out of the shower and looked at the test. He asked me what it meant and I told him it was positive. He laughed and closed the shower curtain. In a state of total shock and abandonment I ran back upstairs and took a picture of the test, texted it to my sister, and immediately called her. I had woken her up and demanded that she interpret the picture I'd just texted. Silence. Then, "Becca, are you pregnant?!?" I said, "Apparently! Except it can't be right!" She looked at the picture and noticed the test had expired over a year ago. She instructed me to get a new test right away. I sent Crockett to the store. He still thought I was somehow joking and was sure the test was expired and broken. He came home with 3 tests. I immediately took one and it was SO positive RIGHT AWAY! I just stared at it in shock. I showed him and he didn't think I'd done it right. We were both highly confused and in severe disbelief.

We both went to work and scheduled a blood test to be drawn in the afternoon. It was the strangest day ever and I was so distracted. I can tell you that my kids learned about 90% less than normal. Finally, we met at the doctor's office and they took my blood. On the way out I asked to take one of the nurse's urine tests. She laughingly obliged and it too came back positive right away. I just stared at it and said, "I see lines. Do you see lines?" She laughed at me again and said, "It looks pretty positive, Hun." Another nurse walked by and patted me on the back saying, "I'd say your pregnant."

I sorta accepted it. It was sinking in. Crockett still wanted blood results. The next morning I took another home test and it was unsurprisingly positive. Monday after school I got the call from the doctor's office saying the blood results confirmed I am indeed knocked up.

Over the last 2 weeks we've accepted that this is in fact true, but it is still quite surreal. Thankfully, I've had virtually no symptoms. No morning sickness, food aversions, smell aversions, or nausea. Yet. I wake up every day thanking God for another painless pregnancy day. This has made going to work SO MUCH easier than I expected. My biggest symptom has been pure exhaustion. I'm sleeping 9-11 hours most nights and still barely getting out of bed on time. Every morning I feel like I only got 5 hours of sleep. I'm excited for the second trimester energy I hear about, but we've got a ways to go for that.

According to calculations I'm 7 weeks, 5 days pregnant today and my estimated due date is June 12, but we have an ultrasound next Monday that will hopefully give us a more accurate update.

We know that this baby is a gift from the Creator of life and that God truly has made himself known through this. This wasn't us. We are broken. This is God. This is his miraculous and mighty hand. His plan all along has been perfectly unfolding. He knew we were going to get Andi. He knew she was meant to be the big sister and that this baby was coming. He has always known and always provided and I am so humbled by it all. That is my saving grace right now, that God ordained this. That he is using me in a big way in a part of his obviously special plan. Both of my children were divinely and miraculously placed in my hands and I LOVE telling that story.