The Baby is Here

Jameson Jeffrey Hemsath left the safety of his mothers womb to live in a world marred with imperfection and we couldn’t be any happier. He came out perfectly aware of what he got himself into as he indicated by his voracious cry. With a head full of hair, long, slender fingers and toes, bluish eyes, and a pink body, Jameson came crashing into the world with the help of a C- section. Theresas body just did not respond as we had hoped and she never began labor, never dilated, never had contractions. After 41 weeks, the doctor scheduled the procedure for today at 8:30 am and we arrived at 6:30 am. Theresa was instructed not to eat past 10pm of the night prior and no water beyond midnight. Needless to say we arrived at the hospital tired, anxious, hungry, and dehydrated. Well, Theresa did. I had a large cup of coffee while the remnants of an off-brand rice crispy cereal dried on my shirt.

Anywho- we began the process almost immediately. The doctors have a three room system: a prep room, an operating room, and a recovery room. In the prep room we watched TV as I filmed the current events so Jameson can look back on them. We made jokes and goofed off with the nurses. Im not sure they appreciated it so much. At one point, they had Theresa attached to all sorts of tubes and then asked us:

“Do you guys have a will?”

“Excuse me?”

I made a few jokes and the nurse didn’t respond much to me after that. Everyone’s a comedian. Linda and Barb arrived and we all spent some time together before the scrubs walked in to take us out. Our OB looked at me humorlessly and said, “where’s your scrubs?” I took that as my cue so sneaking off to the bathroom I put on the Jenny Craig after-picture sized paper clothes. I felt like JD in a fat suit (SCRUBS joke). The hair net, however, takes the cake. I really felt comfortable in it. I may just buy a few for casual wear. Now, I look just like the rest of them while Theresa sat in the bed talking with the anesthesiologist and I had flashbacks of that episode of Twilight Zone where the pretty girl had the operation to look like a pig person (the episode is called “Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder”). They led us to the next room.

In room two they split us apart. Theresa went in to the operation room to get the epidural and the doctors began to prep their tools for operation. I sat and waited… and waited… and waited. Two minutes later, I realized my impatience. The total wait time ended up being around 20 minutes before they called me in. I walked into a room and a blinding light met my eyes. Just like the movies! The pristine room held machines, tools, tech, and beeping things and I couldn’t help but recall the brainwash scene in The Manchurian Candidate. They led me to my wife whose wandering eyes illustrated her drugged induced state. She was seriously loopy. I immediately sat beside her and began to stroke her hair. She loves when I do that. I confessed my love for her and shared my absolute joy over our child. I held back the tears as my fears of birth defects and abnormalities came racing back (thank you… Satan!). Oh how I desire a healthy child!!  I beat back the thoughts and moved in to kiss my wife. Well, my face mask touched her face mask… ahhhh, the medical industry.

I moved my camera above the paper curtain before the doctors told me not to. I sat down. After all, I wouldn’t want someone to film me in the event of a massive screw up. They told me the light may bother the baby’s eyes. I didn’t argue. Nor did my camera have a light. I sat and sang a made-up song to my wife and she told me they were close. She began to breath heavier and the doctors told me to look! look! look!

I rose above the curtain with my camera to see a pink and purple little human stretching and clawing and crying. He looked perfect and I couldn’t have been more proud. Although tiny and little, he fought against his aggressors and looked for his mamma. He wanted milk but the police state wanted him marked. They inked his foot and poked and prodded at him, he cried and cried and cried.

I had to draw the line.

So I leaned in close and whispered to him the way I would at nighttime when I saw him moving in mamma’s belly. “Your daddy is here. Your daddy is here. It’s okay.”  Immediately after I spoke to him- IMMEDIATELY- he stopped crying. The boy knows his daddy. A calm came over him and he almost looked up at me (almost because his eyes remained closed). I stood amazed at the power of heredity until the nurse gently whispered to me- “we need him to cry so he can clean out his lungs.”

Crap.

I followed him around with a camera until they brought him to mamma. I put him next to her face and she began to whisper to him- “I love you so much, I will never leave you, I will always protect you, you have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear…” She whispered and he listened. I can think of no better example of the bond that exists between a mother and her child. It’s something that exists between them- it’s palpable but it’s not material. It’s not in the genes and it’s not in the cells. If it were it could be destroyed, it could mutate. It would disappear when the baby left the room but it does not. The bond remains even when the baby is taken to the nursery. It exists in the realm of thought, of beauty; the immaterial and the transcendent. To think there are some who would deny this is silly. That position has never been more ridiculous then when watching a mother and her newborn.

 

This perfectly designed human is mine. A million and two different parts. 30 billion cells and even more proteins, amino acids, and polypeptides- and that’s just his body. So many different parts arranged in the right way at the right time. A complexity so rich it’s irreducible. At so many different phases any one part or particle in billions that malfunctioned in anyway could have ended the child entirely. From conception, to gestation, to incubation. This was no accident. No result of natural forces. He is beautiful but that beauty does not exist in his genes. It’s not in his skin cells or his hair. If it were it could be taken from him with a bruised knee or hair cut. No. The beauty that exists in him is a part of him but separate from his physical features. Darwin didn’t just have the science wrong, he had the philosophy wrong too. How ironic that in the aftermath of death of his daughter, Darwin abandoned his wits and adopted anti-theism.

The third room is where we rested until the doctors “allowed” us to see our child (yes, you read that right). I picked up Kanan who spent some time with us before going back to his dads. Family came by and a few friends. We are so grateful for them. Things have since calmed down and we are enjoying some down time. Jameson is sucking his fingers now and looking at me through the plastic tub in which he rests. His eyes open and close depending on the speed of my typing or the volume of my voice. He flinches in panic from time to time as he remembers that he is not in the womb any more. Little known to him he has entered a fallen world, a disgusting world of greed and envy, pain and suffering. Though we will try to protect him we will not always be able. Like Neo, he will awake to start his training; fighting evil and those who love it. He is sleeping now…almost. And it’s a good thing too.

Tomorrow is gonna be a hell of a day.

My Last Day Pregnant

41 weeks pregnant--my last belly pic

I am 41 weeks pregnant and not only have not started labor, but my appointment today showed no signs of my body responding to the cramps I’ve had all week. I am still high and closed tight. But emotionally and physically,  I feel done. Not that it matters what I want anyway. I would probably wait another week if my doctor said it would be safe, but given I have had a prior c-section, she does not want to go past 41 weeks as it poses an increased risk for rupture. I’m already nervous enough about the risks of stillbirth and uterine rupture and add on top of that my knowledge of what happened with Kanan which lead to a c-section the first time, I really don’t have much hope that my body will do what it needs to do anyway. I gave it to God. I’ve prayed and prayed that my baby would be born naturally and timely, that my body would respond well. None of that has happened. I also prayed that God’s will be done. That if it would be dangerous to do so, that he would lead us to a c-section.  Apparently, God is okay with a c-section. Perhaps I would rupture. Perhaps the baby would get sick from swallowing meconium or God, forbid he would be stillborn. Either way, we are here at this point. And so, we are doing it. Tomorrow morning at 8:30 I will be on the operating table.

We went in today for my checkup. As I wrote above, there were no signs of progress. The baby was doing fine though—heart rate in the 130’s. My weight gain for the week stood at barely a pound, which puts me at a grand total of 32 pounds of weight gain. We then headed to the hospital for my directions for tomorrow and my pre-op blood work. I am to stop eating tonight at 10 and stop drinking liquids at midnight. I am to arrive at the hospital tomorrow morning at 6:30 where they will prepare me by giving me an IV to hydrate me, and give me my spinal block, etc. At 8:30 AM we start the operation. Owen can be in the operating room with me so we can hear Jameson’s first cries together. Then Jameson and I can be reunited in my recovery room after he is cleaned up and I am sown up and feeling okay. Owen plans to pick up Kanan from school around 11 to bring him back to the hospital and see his little brother. I cannot wait to see Kanan’s sweet little face and see his reaction. He is so excited about having a brother. I don’t think he realizes what he is getting into or even that he may even feel some jealousy tomorrow, but I am excited nonetheless. I cannot wait for our family picture in the recovery room together as a family: Owen, me, Kanan, and our little Jameson.

I’m pretty disappointed in my body, but am super excited about seeing Jameson tomorrow. I was taking a shower today and started to cry such happy tears realizing that after tomorrow, my life will again change forever. I have felt this way only four other times in my life. I felt this same way the days before Kanan was born, the day I recommitted my life to God, the day  I married my husband, the day my father died, and now this moment. These are the moments that mark the milestones of life. These are the moments that make me feel alive—just raw emotion and the moment when I say, “so this is what this feels like.”

I prayed again in the shower. Prayed that God would remain with me in this next fork of my life. That he would give me his patience, wisdom, peace, and love to be able to be the best working mom and wife that I can be. I need him. I don’t know how I will do it without him. I prayed for my husband and for Kanan. That they would be guided by the Lord as well. That they would be patient with me and my emotions as I go through this transition. That they would feel loved.

So here we are….It is 5 pm. I plan to vacuum and dust to get rid of the cat dander in my house for baby. Then I head off to visit my grandma and eat dinner with her as we read chapter 3 of the book of John. And then I return home to eat my final snack before bed, relax with my husband, and try to get some sleep. Tonight will be hard without water. I get so thirsty at night. I imagine my thoughts will keep me up as well. Last night I was up at 1230, then again around 3, and then again around 5—all three times, my mind so full of thoughts; my body so sore. But, that will just further help prepare me. I imagine tomorrow night I will be up around those three times as well, nursing Jameson. 🙂

40-Week Update

image

Kanan (dressed in Iron Man costume) watches his 40-week mama capture her big belly shot in the bathroom.

Today has been a slightly disheartening, but somewhat hopeful day. I woke up feeling a wee-bit crampy, but otherwise normal. My friend Claire and I met up around 10 to walk around the mall given the icky weather and hope that the walk would stimulate some labor in either one of us. Well, big success for Claire! We had to leave around noon because it looked like she had started! They started getting stronger and stronger and she became even too uncomfortable to drive, so I took us home. Very exciting! I have yet to hear back from her to find out her progress, but hopefully she is having that baby soon. In the meantime, spending time with her may have rubbed off on me. Since leaving her, I have been much crampier. As a matter of fact, the majority of the afternoon and evening I have been getting waves of cramps about every 20 minutes! Still, when I went in for my check up today, I found that my cervix is still high and closed tight. The doctor scheduled me for another appointment for next week—week 41. If I am still high and closed tight, we will probably have a c-section on Thursday the 26th. Moving on past 41 weeks in a subsequent pregnancy after a c-section can increase risk of rupture. While Owen and I would rather have a VBAC and are praying that we are successful, the risk of stillbirth and uterine rupture by going past 41 weeks with no signs of labor just doesn’t sound worth it. Especially since my last labor didn’t progress past 1 cm despite it being 24 hours post membrane rupture and laboring all night long.So that is where we stand. I’m hoping my crampiness today is a sign that a C-section next Thursday will not be necessary. Prayers would be appreciated.

So I guess that means this baby will be here within a week! In the meantime, Jameson’s heart rate today was 145—very good. I lost 2 lbs since last week, praise God! That 7 lb weight gain in one week was just crazy! So overall that means I have gained 31 lbs over the course of this pregnancy and that is much better than my first pregnancy of like 45-50 lbs ( I honestly don’t know as I stopped weighing myself at 45 lbs which was a week before I gave birth and I know that last week I puffed up A LOT with water retention).

Waiting for this baby while eating carne asada and gaining weight!

  • I’m 39 weeks preggers.
  • I’m still  high and tight. The doctor can’t even sweep my membranes to help me along.  
  • I gained 7 ridiculous pounds in just one week–although I did eat a huge plate of carne asada for lunch which has been sitting in my gut all day, but even if I ate like 3 lbs worth of food, that would still mean I gained 4 lbs which is what I should gain in a whole month! So, I’m obviously sitting around way too much while on leave. I’m going walking tomorrow and then again on Friday with a couple of girlfriends including one who is due next Tuesday.
  • I feel so huge, it is becoming increasingly difficult just to flip over in the middle of the night from one side to the next. Bending down to pick something off of the floor actually takes a strategic plan and still never completes without a gurgle from my squished stomach or a grunt from my smashed lungs.
  • Just getting out to my car and into the driver’s seat is getting me all huffed and puffed.
  • On the bright side, people are really nice to me! But, meh, it’s just not worth the wait….

Oh I want this baby out now!!! Please Jameson, come out now, please, please, please! If you came out on Monday, we would have had three beautiful months together before I would have to return to work. The longer you wait, the less we have together. Please baby boy, come out!

37 Weeks!

Well, I’m officially “full term” and I definitely feel like it! I have to make 5-point-turns just to get out of bed, I’m up every hour either flipping over because my hip hurts, hands are numb, can’t breathe, have to use the restroom again, or am dying of thirst. I’m hitting my belly everywhere I go. I make a moaning sound when I have to get up. By the end of the day, if I’ve been sitting too much that day or standing too much, I’m aching. I have some nights where it feels like my body is so tired, it is actually paralyzed! I have to consciously tell my body, “pick up leg and move forward,” “bend down,” “sit up,” etc. Its hilarious. But it is my first week at home on my maternity leave. Given I caught a stomach bug of some sort, I Monday and Tuesday just really tired and wanting to nap a lot. Then I spent Tuesday night vomiting, and Wednesday all day, sleeping and trying to endure the remaining nausea. Oh and not eating because my stomach hurt too bad. But today is good. I have some heartburn I’m relieving with Apple Cider vinegar, I’ve finally finished writing all of my thank you notes for my baby shower, I’ve eaten, I’ve juiced, I’ve read, I’ve blogged, and now I’m heading off to get some errands done before heading off to fellowship group. Woot-woot! Finally! One productive day!

As for baby–he survived the 24-hour stomach virus and two days of fatigue prior to. Yesterday, he had a heart rate of 144. He was quite active Monday and Tuesday, doing some sort of aerobic activity in there that was quite extensive as he truly flipped from one side of my belly to the other. My sister witnessed this event from across her living room. Yes, it was a show! And boy did it hurt Mama!

As for me, I have gained a whopping 1 pound since last month, but baby is growing still so the doctor is not worried. That puts me at a total of 26 pounds I have gained thus far, which is far better than where I was at this point with Kanan. If I remember correctly, I couldn’t see my clavicle bones at this point and I had already almost fainted like three times (most likely from the body weight on my arteries or something…haha!).

It is Owen’s 31st birthday today, but he is unfortunately spending it all day at school working on final projects and exams. I won’t see him until tonight. But I have a gift bag for him and a card waiting for him. We did celebrate his birthday with friends last Saturday because I knew today would be difficult. And Kanan and I made him a cake on Monday night so we were able to do something small together then too. Yes, in our house, birthdays last a week, not a day. 🙂 So Jameson, if that doesn’t make you want to come out, I don’t know what will! Come on out buddy! You’ll have week-long birthdays every year for the rest of your life!

Oh yes, and the picture of my belly above I took yesterday when I was still suffering from the stomach virus. So excuse my face. Try to just focus on the lower half of the picture. Haha!

33 Week checkup

Just had my 33 week checkup yesterday (or 34 weeks if we prefer UCSD’s assessment) and things are looking great!

Firstly, I passed my glucose tolerance test! Boy was that whole process a pain. First, I went in for the standard one-hour test. Now when I did this test with Kanan, my doctor told me i didn’t have to fast, so I made my appointment for after work. Well, I had carrots for lunch without knowing that those are one of the highest vegetables on the glycemic index. So I didn’t pass it and therefore had to take the 3-hour test which includes fasting (I’ll go into the details soon). I did not want to make the same mistake again, so this time I took the test in the morning after I didn’t eat breakfast just to make sure. Well, the lab lost my blood. Yes,you don’t have to reread that last line, they LOST MY BLOOD. Now this wouldn’t be such a terrible thing except for that the test is not fun. You have to drink this  10 oz bottle of disgusting sweet syrup version of tang and then sit there for an hour feeling terrible before they take your blood. So needless to say, when they lost my blood and I learned I would have to do it again, I was not happy. But I did it. And again, I didn’t eat breakfast. But I did enjoy a cup of half-caf coffee with powdered creamer and no sugar. Not a good choice. I didn’t pass. Agh! I looked up coffee on the internet and its connection with glucose levels. Guess what, it raises insulin levels. So there you go. I messed up. Again. So off to the three-hour test I went. This one is much worse. You have to fast for 12 hours. So I didn’t eat anything from 8pm to 830 am when I went in to the lab. They stuck my arm immediately to get my “fasting glucose levels.” Then I had to drink the nasty drink. After one hour of sitting there, (actually standing for a while because no one in the waiting room offered the pregnant woman his or her seat, so I finally had to just clear one of the magazine tables and sat my rump there until one became available) they stuck my arm again for more blood to test. Then after one more hour, stuck my arm again. And then finally, one hour later, they stuck my arm for the last time. During this time, I felt sick. I had a difficult time concentrating so I couldn’t grade essays as I had attempted but instead could only maintain enough intelligence to mentally process the pictures in a February issue of People Magazine. I also felt this weird tingly sensation up and down my arms. But, on the positive note, I did use the negative experience to treat myself to an In-and-out cheeseburger and a vanilla shake on my way home. Felt much better after that!And the best news is, I passed. Yay!! I am thoroughly enjoying my cravings for baked goods like toast, creme of wheat cereal, cake, and cookies and did not want to swap that for chicken in the morning. 🙂

Condition of baby: heart rate in the 130’s still which is normal and good. His head is down–also good. He is moving all day long now as opposed to just the evenings. He gets an occasional bout of hiccups from time to time. He loves my belly being touched by dad or brother. And he gets extra active after Mom eats sweets. 🙂 He still likes to hang out on my right side, so my belly looks lopsided most of the time. And he doesn’t like it when I cough (leftover effect of the three-week bout of laryngitis I just got over)! He jumps sometimes when I do. It’s cute.

Condition of Mom:

On the downside—-I am starting to get uncomfortable pretty much all the time, but especially in the evenings. It seems that I’m having a harder and harder time feeling like I can breathe, the bigger this baby gets. So I sit in one position until it’s too uncomfortable and my breathing gets shallow. Then I move into another position. And the process continues. At night, I wake up constantly from being uncomfortable or needing to go to the bathroom. So now the fatigue is starting to come back during the day. I’ll definitely be ready for middle-of-the-night feedings though! Also–baby is putting weight on my bladder. So guess what happens when I cough? You got it. Even if I just went to the bathroom! Somehow there’s still just enough! Not enough to embarrass myself, but I know it happened and I don’t like it! So–I guess its time I start doing kegals. Boo! I always forget. And finally, my hips can sometimes really ache. I mean ache so bad that at night I have a hard time even walking–especially if I was on my feet a lot that day. I think I’m officially ready to just roll myself around my classroom on my desk chair instead of walking. Haha!

On the bright side–I’ve gained only 25 pounds so far, which is much, much better than where I was at with Kanan. At the rate I am going, I should gain 33 pounds by the time Jameson comes, which fits right in the 25-35 pound healthy zone for pregnant women. Yay!! Secondly, my skin looks fabulous. After Kanan was born, I have struggled with more acne. I was always blessed in this area, so constantly having 5-6 pimples on my face everyday drives me nuts! Well, now my skin is better than ever. Not one pimple! I love it! I can go makeup free and feel beautiful! And, my chapped-lips continue to stay gone. Oh, and this is strange, but I’ve noticed my hair on my legs is not growing as fast. I used to have to shave my legs everyday and now I can go like 3 days between shaves. And the hair that is there is super fine. What’s up with that? I mean I’m not complaining. Less work in the shower is definitely appreciated. It is just strange. Especially since the hair on my head is growing faster and none of the hair that is there falls out anymore, so its growing super thick. The same goes for my nails. They are stronger, with whiter tips, and long. Again, no complaints, just….strange.

Condition of Dad: He is working super hard in school, on his business, and building his business’s website. He is also still working in ministry–mentoring the youth of our church, working on his first sermon for the college group at our church on Luke 20, maintaining his studies in the internship program at our church, and attending a parenting class with me on Friday nights. He also of course balances this with his wonderful role as a husband and step-father to Kanan. He and Kanan are growing so close in their relationship–it is beautiful to watch. He of course is super excited about Jameson’s arrival–he’s cleaned out the garage and brought all of the baby stuff up to our apartment. And he is totally nesting! He completely reorganized the house during his spring break, bought curtains, hung them up, and rearranged furniture!