What i Expect for my Child from a parent to a new teacher

watermark backpack

I wrote this awhile back in thinking about what I want for my child’s education and the environment he is in all day. School is such a huge part of a child’s life-so much time spent there. Of course I have expectations for my second-born as well, but this was with my firstborn son with Down Syndrome in mind. Here is what I came up with:

1) I expect my child to be considered as much a voice and a student as any other kid. This means even if he is there part of the day, he needs a place to sit-and kids should know who he is. I have heard this story going around the internet that a boy at open house kept asking where his nametag was. So sad! I have also heard parents being similarly left out at open house situations. This is NOT ok.

2) I expect my child to be spoken to, not about as much as possible and for this to be instilled in peers.

3) I expect that if peers are treating my child like a baby that you as the teacher remind the student that “he can do that himself” or “he is too old for you to talk to hi that way.” (and yes, that second topic may require you to have a conversation with the student privately.) I am not satisfied with the notion that people can baby talk, lift/carry, or over-assist my child all they want so long as they aren’t bullying. I’m thrilled if the kids are nice, but I am raising my son to grow up as a 5, 6, 7 year old part of the school and community. I want him to learn , mature, and grow independent-all of which are harder for him than the other kids. He doesn’t need an excuse to slack off or become confused in his role.

4) When we as a family do have concerns or requests, I expect to be heard, not be treated like a burden or pest. I should not have to apologize. I didn’t create the hurdles and neither did you. Our job is to work tougher to help my child have a “level playing field” with others.

5) I expect open communication.
6) I expect you will get frustrated with my child like I sometimes do. That’s ok. Just don’t give up on him, please! We so appreciate you, teachers!
7) I expect you to try to understand my child. He has major speech delays, yes. But there’s so much he does say and you can unlock so much more to help him learn if you take the tie to listen and ask me what things he does and says often mean. HE signs, he says parts of words, whole words, gestures. HE has a PECS book.
8) Also, I expect you will help him communicate with peers. They are all each other’s “teachers” too after all, aren’t they?
9) I expect you to tell me what you need from me to help you be able to teach well. I know your job is overwhelming and me telling you what I expect may amake you want to roll your eyes (hopefully not but depending on the day-maybe so!)
10) I expect you to try. I ‘m not going to barrel into a parent teacher conference making accusations because my child isn’t writing or reading yet. There are SO many factors at play for kids with special needs, I know that. All we ask is you try. Love, Ethan’s parents

Tips to help the reluctant nurser

Idsc_0210 thought I would compile a few tips I have gathered from my daughter’s reluctance to nurse for one reason or another-mostly from reflux which was at its worst in her earlier months.Recently, teething has caused her to be reluctant at times, so the same tips apply to teething nursers. Friends who had already had a baby with reflux who wouldn’t nurse due to feelings of pain and trauma from associating pain with nursing/bottle-feeding told me some of these tips. I found it helpful to join online support groups to see what tips were given there as well, and the same problems and questions kept popping up regarding babies reluctant to nurse or bottle-feed so I hope this helps mommies who have been struggling to get their babies to nurse.

I’ll also include a section at the end about what helped us/doctor realize Katelynn had silent reflux and what symptoms to look for.

1)Bouncing the baby while nursing-This was the most helpful thing I was told to do, as Katelynn continued to refuse nursing fairly often even up to the age of 6 months when on two reflux medications. (or bottle-feeding, if the mother doesn’t think this causes too many gas bubbles.) It helped to be a distractor and often, it helped her fall asleep, which was often the only way she was comfortable enough to nurse (while asleep.) I have found in talking to other parents that requiring “dream-feeding” to nurse/bottle-feed is a very common thing for the little ones who have reflux.

2) Dream-feeding/falling asleep to start nursing-I know a lot of people have hang-ups about sleep associations like nursing to sleep and while I wish that wasn’t (almost) always the case with her up until just recently, it is absolutely the only way my baby would nurse for awhile. She was just too uncomfortable other times to want to nurse while totally awake and even if it had been hours or an entire night even-she wouldn’t nurse. You have to just get your baby eating and you can worry about all those habits later in my opinion. Babies will all have different degrees of sensitivity, so try what you like but just know that SO many parents rely on dream-feeding to get their reluctant (usually reflux) babies to nurse/bottle-feed.

3) White noise-again, the distractor
4) dark (sometimes important, sometimes not as much)
5) You want to keep tabs on a breast pump if you’re nursing and your baby is having days of not nursing well.

That’s all I recall using that was helpful-but helpful it was (after getting a good medication regimen!) I have to bounce her still sometimes if she is distracted away from home, if big brother is around, or she is teething.
Here are some of the things that I found are part of silent reflux that I either noticed before the doctor suggested Katelynn had it and also some things I read afterward that gave me those “aha!” moments when I realized Katelynn did the same things that other parents or doctors described babies doing.

1) crying after nursing, usually for a set amount of time, then feeling relaxed and happy (or maybe not..but with Katelynn its like a switch flipped.It was crazy!)

2) Pulling off the breast (or bottle) even when clearly hungry, by the cues and by the clock, attempting to nurse again but pulling away crying and

3) arching the back. With silent reflux, you have to look for this and other symptoms because you aren’t going to see the milk come all the way out of the mouth. The acid will rise and burn the esophagus and will be very painful and upsetting to your baby. Before any meds at all, Katelynn would scream nonstop for 30 minutes and I have not since heard her scream like that so thank Heaven for the meds! When we’ve tried to drop a medication, though, she does fuss and try to not nurse. It would last all day long and she was obviously hungry but wouldn’t eat due to feeling uncomfortable when eating, even when the tips given above were used. In two weeks we will be trying a trial of removing one of the medications (Zantac first for a week, then dropping Prevacid) so hopefully it will go well!

The happy ending to that story is that the trial went well and she outgrew it-yay! Currently I’m in the last stages of weaning/drying up. She is no longer nursing at all as of two days ago.

Ethan’s words at 4 years old-“Don’t underestimate me!”

image property of better than expected

image property of better than expected

For the first of the post, I am simply copying and pasting the list I made for Ethan’s therapists and teachers when he was actually not yet 4 years old. When I have time I will probably add to it to make it up to date right at age 4. I was curious to look and post this to 1) hopefully not lose it, 2)because I was asked how many words he can say at a doctor’s appointment the other day. I made a guess at “in the 80s, probably.” I was pretty close, and I’m sure there are many words I am missing in the making of this list. When I have said this, I have been met with pleasant surprise to what seems like doubt on the other person’s part (just one person to my recollection.) It made me want to double-check and I am satisfied I gave a correct answer..also, I’m not sure why it should be surprising. Honestly, I would have thought it would be the other way around-hoping that he could say more. He definitely has room for improvement which is why he qualifies for speech three times weekly. But hey-don’t underestimate him! It’s not so unbelievable he can say at least 80 words. And no, it’s not just words he repeats and doesn’t understand-he uses the words on his own! I’m not a speech therapist, so I don’t know the lingo-but its what I would call “self-directed speech” or something like that. He is using the words for genuine communication. Does he do this consistently in all environments? Not always. Maybe his mostly quiet nature at doctors’ visits is the reason for the raised eyebrows and asking me extra questions to be sure I’m not counting words he says on his own, rather than repeated words.

I might be misreading the intent, but it got me to thinking that we probably all do that a lot to people with special needs. If there is a shy or quiet child or adult, do you assume they don’t know what is going on or have as much intelligence? Probably not. (Or maybe some of you do?) So in the same way, we shouldn’t assume a child or adult with special needs doesn’t know what is going on or can’t communicate just because they are not chatting up a storm to you. There is a slogan I’ve seen on t-shirts and so forth that says “Presume Competence” and while it may not roll off the tongue as much as some other awareness slogans, it is so important for us all to remember.

WORDS ETHAN CAN SAY CLEARLY
-no , yay! , yummy, (or mummy) mommy, “oh, yea!” daddy sissy, nin nin papa, go, hat, baby, all done, arm, eye, pee pee, night ,”hi!”, me , “Here!” (Hands things to people) , knee , hip, hop, toe, hot, “hold” (requested holding sister ), cracker, ger ger ” for tiger (could be specifically tigger or Daniel tiger sometimes ), scissors , paper, “bye”, you, me, ball, “oh, wait!”, in, on (requesting turning on a battery operated toy for example-hasn’t used for placement (“it is on the table.”) has said “I poo poo” when he went and brought me the wipes.

NAMES-bitsy, –izzy, Bella (extended family dog names ), Emmy (aunt Emily),, “Zaza”for aunt Melissa , ” kiss” (Chris) danny (uncle), said “ther ther ” once for Aunt Heather. Ana and Elsa from Frozen

“Rick” for cousin maverick (sees his often lately but doesn’t say it on his own) , “bye”, (for cousin “Levi”), “, “omi” for Naomi , caught on fast-tried to say Santa and Jesus .” aw” and sign in forehand for me maw, “Vic” pronounces “bic” (grandpas name)
“Ree ree “-Henry the octopus , also refers to any form of octopus as ree ree right now.

Letters “e”, “t”, (says and also recognizes )

“APPROXIMATIONS”-Door,boat, dog , please, more, milk, drink, water, circle, square , red, purple , blue, nose, ear, teeth, treat , house , home, banana, pretzels , yes , book, “Ethan “, (only recently ) , popcorn ,” doh “for play doh or “shadow”. “Per per”-diaper, toot (only when asked to day it, not used on his own yet ) “pone” for phone , “poon” for spoon . Still calls both forks and spoons the name “spoon”. “Bow-” for bowl (drops the l) “key key” for monkey, “-ant” for elephant, drink (just “ink” also typically signs it), cheese, blueberry (for blueberry flavorted yogurt), yogurt, poop (poo)

SIGNING ONLY WORDS- (from wha I’ve seen )-water , hungry (only once ), thirsty (recent ), “thank you”, cold,

He does gestures to get me to understand what particular show he wants at times.

PRETEND PLAY-pretended to be pirate “arg!” Or rowing boat , by those were mostly repeating behaviors from TV show so idk if it counts as true pretend play ( ?), likes to pretend everything is a hat, pretends to be animals, acts out scenes from Frozen (knocking on door and listening if he hears someone sing the snowman song)

RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE/THINGS HE UNDERSTANDS-he can point out his elbow, Tummy, belly button , knees, hips, teeth, hair, tongue, mouth, ear eye, and “privates “, toe …said “Nin Nin” when he saw a driveway with the same gravel as his Nin Nin’s house

Paddling Upstream and Mom Guilt

tha

tha


In trying to sit and reflect, the image of a dog paddling upstream is how I feel like my mind and soul have been for awhile now. A lot is from the adjustment to two kids, the busyness and trying to keep them quiet while Ryan was working night shift (Don’t Wake Daddy game, anyone?) With all the housework, cooking, nursing (and having reflux issues that took over for quite awhile really consumed a lot of my time as she took forever to start to nurse or cried from problems with that.) I also had this monumental guilt for shorting one kid or the other for various reasons. For one thing, I used to have all this time to focus on Ethan’s special needs like flashcards, open cup practice, and so on. Now its just hard to even have time to play with him. (Oh yea, this baby also doesn’t take long naps-and sometimes had taken NONE despite all kinds of efforts.) It’s gotten better overall lately. Ethan is in a center during the day, so that alleviated some guilt because I knew he was getting his educational and therapy needs, my baby wasn’t constantly in a carseat traveling to and from outpatient therapies two times a day for her brother, and Ethan got attention and playtime. (Once the baby cried from breakfast to lunch time, and I felt bad for Ethan because he just kind of watched TV alone and played around with whatever was in the living room.) I know a lot of this is just par for the course for an older kid and baby, but with Ryan’s work schedule, it was one adult to two kids during the daytime as well as bedtime routines most days for awhile. Lately, with drinking from a cup, Ethan needs assistance because we figured needing assistance with an age appropriate cup that is better for his oral motor skills is better than independently using a bottle which is not age appropriate or good for lessening tongue thrust. That’s something else that takes up more time (but at least I can hold him when I do that. 😉 )

MOM GUILT
So it seems that “mom guilt” can be present and ugly no matter what the circumstances. Bottle feeding, nursing, full-time working, stay at home, one kids, or two (or more). I think in all the efforts to be a great mom, a great wife you can kind of lose yourself and connection to God if it’s all about what you DO. There are always things left undone as the parents’ work is never done. You try to be all about cleanliness and checking off boxes 100%? Something with the kids will be neglected. If you always feel the need to hover or simply be present dn play with your kids all day-and there might be a time or day for that-but for the most part it’s not necessary or realistic and you will have a nasty house. Sometimes you will feel like you are devoting so much to both cleaning and kids and yet still have times where your house looks like something from Poltergeist-all crazy and helter skelter. The point is, as with any form of insecurity, I will never ever feel better about who I am as a person, mother, or wife if I am trying to make myself feel accomplished on my own. God gives me my identity and making time for praying and reading the Word is always going to be the one thing that will make me feel whole and at peace. I don’t have to look to other people for validation of my hard work (although its nice to hear it from your husband and others-and they do that!) I will know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and making a difference in my kids’ lives.

Behind the Yellow and Blue Banner

I am usually that proud parent who shares twatermark backpackhings about Down Syndrome awareness, medical alert bracelets, and inspirational stories on social media. I never miss wearing blue and yellow on 3-21 (World Down Syndrome Day) and share facts to raise awareness all through October . I even made a wreath last year.

Some days, though, I am wistful about that extra chromosome. I don’t know if it’s so much for me as for him..I think not having Ethan in Sunday School and a developmental center until recently has made me sheltered as well-sheltered from the painful awareness of just how far behind Ethan is becoming in relation to his peers. Ethan is progressing very well; but regardless of his progression, all the other kids are moving onward very quickly and without hours of therapies every single week and almost every day. The sad thing (sometimes) to me is that it;s not just that he is being passed up by kids who are 3 years old. Kids one to two years younger can already talk so much more clearly. For some reason (well I actually know several reasons ) being delayed in speech bothers me so much more than than other things. It is sad that Ethan has worked hard on jumping with both feet off the ground for over a year, not to mention running-yet other kids barely shovel in their 1-year-old birthday cake and they just up and do it. Their bodies can just execute it so much easier than Ethan’s. While sad, that is easier for me accept than speech delays.

Why so sad about speech? I think it’s because when you are left out of communicate-that is the biggest barrier in connecting with others. How often will not being able to run, jump, or ride a bike affect connecting to others? Well, a lot actually in early childhood. Still, speech is the main thing in my mind that connects people to one another. This ever-widening gap between Ethan’s abilities and others makes me so sad and concerned for his connection to others. I hopeEthan isn’t lost in the shuffle-that he isn’t hurried along, spoken for, or forgotten because he quietly sits (or not so quietly-ha) talking in shorter phrases, signing, needing more time and broken-down directions to follow.

Here are some things I never considered-nor did you probably-on how important his interventions are. It’s what he works so hard at and has to leave family time or class time for in order to do what comes naturally to typical kids for the most part.

1)Jump
2) Run
3) Ride a tricycle or bike
4) Walk without falling
5) Walk longer distances without tiring
6) Walk down a step without falling (I have to be very watchful. He has almost face-planted in concrete steps. Yes I know that could happen with a typical child, but it is more likely to happen for a kid like Ethan due to his low muscle tone, etc. If you just dismiss us parents of kids like Ethan by saying “kids fall”, it only makes us feel more alone.

I am not wanting pity or to make people feel weird..I really don’t know what I hope to accomplish. It’s just straight from my heart to my pen (and now computer. I figured I would blog it, but I just needed that good old pen to paper therapy!) I guess maybe we won’t always be expected to be chipper or just act like the differences aren’t there. Please don’t expect that. You may hear about our early acceptance of how Ethan was born. We love him like crazy. We sometimes say we wouldn’t change him-HIM Well what does that mean? Of course we want him. I’ve grown to understand what some veteran parents of kids with Down Syndrome mean when they say they wish their child didn’t have to have an extra chromosome. Half of you Down Syndrome parents are mad now,maybe, or shocked. I’m not going to tell someone how he or she should feel. These are just times that the pain is more present, just grief over other things-it doesn’t go away. When someone mistakes your kid for one much younger because of ability and stature-it’s there. When I’m told it could harm my child irreparably to do tackle football or gymnastics-and we have already cut out those and trampolines as options at the young age of 3, it’s there. When my kid has hardly uttered his name in a recognizable way, yet kids 2 or more years younger who barely know him roll his name from their tongues effortlessly-the frustration and pain are there. It’s shocking. We work so hard-Mainly HE does. Ethan and his therapists and us. And it is such a punch to the gut when I happen upon some kids 3 or younger who are doing not just the things he’s learned in 2 years, but more. Much more. And I know he isn’t the sum of his abilities. I know he is still precious and smart. You don’t have to tell me-the thing about a child with delays is as a parent or other close adults is that we see patterns, varied signs, or unclearly utterances, and we see our child letting us know what he knows about the world.

Apartment Living with 2 Kids

These are some things we have come up with to make it work (because it has to!) to house a family of 4-two kids under age 3-in an apartment. It is a 2-bedroom apartment and since we cannot let the 3 year old safely room-share with his sister-we share a room with the baby! I know a lot of people like to do that or feel it is safer anyways (Considered to be a SIDS protective factor.) Anyways if you may be in this situation-this post is for you! This may apply to small houses as well.

1)First of all, getting rid of UNNECESSARY FURNITURE would be the best way to start. This is not where we started, but since its so large and you can do this before move-in day if possible, it’s a good starting point.

2)Make use of a MINI STORAGE if you can afford it. If you start your family in an apartment to begin with , you may not have to do this but because we started in a house (long story) and furnished it, we had large furniture that made it cramped when adding two children playing, crawling, etc. We opted to put our larger seating (couch) in storage and keep the love seat and recliner as well as computer chair out.

3)GET RID OF anything you don’t need, or don’t need as many of. We were able to keep some things at our parents’ houses in attics and sheds (high chairs we didn’t need yet, strollers, etc.) I am planning on doing a toy cleanse to get rid of things that are essentially duplicates or things my first child has outgrown that i anticipate my second will get as gifts anyways or that are just not necessary. I really want to separate out the battery operated toys to where I control when they come out of the closet, but that’s another story entirely haha

4) Get all the compact baby items you can! (or if your kids are a little older, then get compact kids’ items.) So this would be space-saving high chairs (we are just keeping our old one but we started in a house), maybe a potty ring instead of separate potty chair (we love the Cushie Tushie!), fold-up changing pad, etc.

5)Change the purpose os some furniture you already have or combined purposes. We have a nightstand that we turned into a changing station in our room that we share with our baby, for example. We moved our kids’ dresser into their closet recently as well. If you can do some under the bed storage, that would be great, too. We didn’t do much of that.

6) Keep your stroller or infant car seats in your car. If you had a house or just one child in an apartment, you may have been used to bringing the car seat or stroller inside after each outing or walk, but those take up so much space that it’s just easier to leave it in the car. Yeah, the strollers get in the way somewhat for grocery trips but you could work around it or just leave it at home if you know you need the trunk space for shopping.

7)If you have lots of decorations or fancy china, just pack it away. For most people, this season of life with babies and preschoolers is probably not one in which you are doing lots of entertaining that requires nicer dishes-and your kids would just break them anyway-so that’s a nonessential that doesn’t have to be kept in the cabinets.

8) SPACE SAVER BAGS are awesome for off-season or outgrown clothes.
9) If you do have an upstairs and downstairs, having TWO OF EVERYTHING (just about) is just a must for me.Two or more diaper storage/changing stations, two sets of toothbrushes (not as necessary, but helpful for a pre-K kiddo or toddler), kids’ books, a few kids toys at least (and baby!) , maybe multiple diaper pails or wetbags for each floor (right now we don’t since we are on one floor most of the time especially on weekends. Thinking about keeping little trash bags upstairs so they can just be carried down when done upstairs. Two booties are a lot of booty to change. 😉 ) Blankets and burp cloths on both floors is also so helpful!

10) Gotta make it an even ten..o I’ll share that while they aren’t much to look at, the large plastic shelves meant for garages really is what we use to keep blankets, dvds, video games controllers, books, and office supplies on downstairs. oh and some toys. 😉 We have one upstairs for medicine (no med cabinet at this apartment), blankets, and my husband’s scrubs.

Katelynn’s Birth Story-A Second Birth vs. First Birth

Katelynn is not only our Rainbow Baby but also our almost Christmas baby..she was born just a few days after Christmas and I’m glad it ended up that way. Even though I know she will always probably feel her birthday is always a little in the shadow of Christmas, at least it is afterward and not the day of (although I’m sure that can be fun for others and we would have made it work.)

EARLY LABOR
Katelynn’s birth story is so different than Ethan’s birth story (also told by his dad here for many reasons. First of all, it was characteristically faster and easier in a lot of ways as a second birth. In the weeks leading up to Katelynn’s birth I had some contractions but was still at 1cm at my previous appointment. Two nights before her birth I hardly slept with no particular reason, then the night before I had a great night of sleep! The morning before she was born was a Sunday and I had some light bleeding so I thought she might arrive in a day or so. Then I had some mild contractions but I wasn’t sure if I was really starting labor or it was more random contractions. I went ahead to church and the mild contractions continued but I went on with making my grocery list then ALMOST went to the grocerty store then after talking to my husband, I decided not to go. Just after that I had some more bleeding so I called the medical exchange to see if they thought that wa okay. They said

pic by her HP fan daddy. picture property of betterthanexpected321.wordpress.com

pic by her HP fan daddy. picture property of betterthanexpected321.wordpress.com

probably so, but since you’ve had it twice today, go ahead and come in to get checked. We called my parents to drop Ethan off at their house on the way up to Labor and Delivery and we were hardly two blocks before my contractions started hurting more and taking my breath away. Ryan started driving faster and I remember grabbing the “sissy bar” as my dad called it when I was a kid (and what others know it as the “oh #!%!” bar” as he whipped the truck into my parents driveway. HE turned on his emergency flashers on the interstate and he said “yea, you’re in labor” and I had to agree with that!

AT THE HOSPITAL

They monitored me at Labor and Delivery and said I was at a 3 and if I progressed to a 4 they’d keep me but otherwise they would reassess the situation. The doctor never did come in to give her opinion and I started hurting really intensely while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the tv in the room. I thought they would never check on me again and I wonder if the nurse heard me from the hall say “When is someone going to check on me?! I could be at a 5 for all they know!” because she came in 30 seconds later to check me and said I was at a 4. So the plan was for me to be admitted and finally I was and opted to walk to the room. I told the nurse once admitted that yes, I do want an epidural and thought awesome, I’m going to get it sooner than I did last time (because I didn’t realize I was in labor and thought the pain was some problem so I didn’t show up to outpatient until i was at a 6! And it took a LOT of laboring and sleeplessness to get there with my first baby.)

So here we were again watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , just in a different room, and it became kind of weird to watch as the pain intensified. The soundtrack from the movie seemed even more epic and motivating. Ryan looked at a loss and said “I wish I could do something to help. What do you want me to do?” and really there was nothing. I don’t even get the whole hold your partner’s hand or squeeze them to death because for a while there I was content with his moral support and clutching the bedrails sort of like I was steering the hospital bed. In between contractions, it even made me laugh a little. I was NOT laughing when I was in labor with Ethan because it lasted so long, mostly at home (the early part with no epidural) and I was so frustrated because I thought the pain would not go away for weeks as I didn’t know what it was!) This time I knew exactly what was going on and just dealth with contractions as they came and worsened…and worsened. The anesthesiologist was still not around and I was concerned that I might be rapidly progressing as these things often do with subsequent babies. The nurse apologized and said there were some emergency c sections and finally she checked me and suer enough I had been moving along but I could still get an epidural.

GIMME THE DRUGS!
I started hurting more, and I started rocking from side to side as “driving the hospital bed” was not enough anymore to keep me grounded and under control. As I rocked and moaned (in a controlled, patterned action) I realized this was the same thing I remember doing when in labor with Ethan at home, rocking on our guest bed. (I wandered from beds to couches ro recliners throughout the 2 nights-mainly 1-where I was in earlier labor with Ethan.) AS time went on and I still didn’t have an epidural underway or yet in sight, I was hurting a lot and not much was keeping me feeling in control of the pain-it wasn’t out of control yet, but I was getting pretty worn out so the nurse offered something to make them more bearable as I waited. She said “it will make you feel like you’ve had a few too many margaritas.” I wasn’t sure how that felt becaue I’d only had sips of this and that, then drank a MIke’s Hard LEmonade and kept asking my friend “Am I drinking it too fast?” Yep, I’m that girl. 😉 My husband videoed me because I was being ridiculous immediately (Strong stuff!) and was laughing uncontrollably about absolutely nothing between some contractions. I remember the contractions still hurt, but I was distracted and I’m sure kind of numb. On the part of the movie where Voldemort threatens to kill everyone if they hide Harry Potter to protect him, I was giggling as a contraction ended and said “Well THAT’S what you want to hear when you’re in labor!” After Ryan videoed me I asked “Well wait…am I gonna be acting all stupid when Katelynn is born?” and Ryan teased me and said “well, yeah” and then quickly said “I’m just kidding” when he saw my crestfallen face. Then I said “oh good, I was about to cry if that was true!” then actually started crying! I was a mess. The nurse’s eyes got big when she came in and saw my immediate goofiness and it cracked me up. By the time that was wearing off the epidural was finally ready to be placed. ** Just like the first labor, the epidural made me more nervous than anything but all went well. The nurse said to let her know when I started feeling more intense pressure and I wasn’t sure how much I was “supposed” to feel. I don’t remember feeling much at all with Ethan’s birth but it was probably about the same and I was just much more exhausted going in to the hospital with Ethan. I got a tight 8 hours sleep the night before Katelynn’s birth! After feeling prolonged pressure, they checked me one last time and I was at a 10-ready to push!

PUSH IT
There is not much to say here-it lasted all of 12 minutes! They had my feet bent up in stirrups which was a MUCH more comfortable and natural way to push than lying flat like they had me at the first hospital. They just told me when it was time to push and I did-I had a better sense of what muscles to use, probably, and had done core exercises prior to getting pregnant. (Afterward a nurse said to not do those in first trimester and I never revisited them but continued my rehabilitative hip and knee exercises.) So I think all of those things played a role in how well the pushing went! Credit goes to the good hospital staff and supportive husband as well! With Ethan’s birth, I pushed somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour-still not bad, but I do think having done it before plus the better positioning and MUCH more energy reserves from a good night’s sleep and shorter labor helped.

The only thing the doctor who examined Katelynn had concerns about was her hip being loose and said its possible she will need a corrective harness for 6 months. He said this can happen quite often if the baby is lying in the womb at an odd angle.

A SURPRISE DIAGNOSIS BIRTH VS A TYPICAL BIRTH
Everything about Katelynn’s birth was fast and thankfully, easy for the most part! While I know there are so many different complicttions and frustrating labor stories that come with any child, the main difference in our surprise diagnosis birth story (Ethan’s) and Katelynn’s was after the babies arrived, of course. I will list them numerically then probably make it a separate post.

**CAUTION
A note of caution: I had no knowledge about Staydol, other than knowing other people who had it in the past. (But didn’t worry about it because my husband is an RN and I’m just not generally one to question doctors and nurses especially if it’s something really routine like labor pain management-I’m not saying they wouldn’t tell me, I just didn’t care about asking! HOWEVER-Something to consider ahead of time is if you are offered a pain medication before and epidural, maybe think through if it will affect how still you sit when the epidural needle is being inserted. I remember being concerned that I was going to wiggle too much because I still had those drugs in my system and I did feel a little wiggly and it was hard for me to concentrate. My inhibitions were in that in between stage of having to focus pretty hard to make sure I didn’t say something stupid to the anesthesiologist like “well hey, you’re a handsome one. Much younger than the last one though…I hope you’re experienced enough.” Since I did feel like it was hard to focus on verbal directions and stay still (although not THAT hard, mind you), the incident popped into my head when I was suffering pretty horrible postpartum headaches the first week after Katelynn’s birth. (I couldn’t even sleep for a while some parts of some nights-and I was SO exhausted.) I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was wiggly (I don’t think I really was-Ryan and the staff probably would’ve said something.) I do remember there being a few different times the needle had to be inserted and I’m 95% sure the painful headaches were only hormone related because the epidural headaches sound MUCH worse after consulting with a bunch of women including my mother. I say all this, however, to share the possibility of drugs and movement during epidural placement that might happen, I imagine (since they do tell you to stay still, after all.) I wondered if it was the same exact stage of labor I had been in at home and thought hmmm maybe I’m a 6 now? Finally I was checked again soon before the epidural-yep, I was at a 6! So even though I showed up at a 3, I didn’t actually get this epidural any sooner than with my first baby. Oh well, some people are lucky to make it to the hospital with baby #2, right?