Tag Archives: pregnancy

24th Sip

MOM BOD Pt. 2>

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I’ve had this photo sitting in my Instagram drafts for three months. It’s been something of a conundrum for me, since it makes me feel proud and embarrassed all at the same time. The reality is that it doesn’t look much different to this day, over five months postpartum. The stretch marks are definitely less intense, but the wrinkly skin is still there, and my belly button is, well, we won’t talk about my belly button—you already know it’s a sore subject for me. I see photos of moms two or three months postpartum with totally normal tummies that, even if not totally flat, are at least taught and toned. You’d never know they’d just been stretched to kingdom come. Apparently my genetics aren’t coded that way. After my bout with stomach flu last week, I got down to a few pounds below what I was before I got pregnant with Perry, and my arms and legs are finally starting to tone. But my tummy, I fear, will never be the same. And I’m struggling with that. I was afraid to post this because it felt almost like admitting failure. It makes sense a few months out. But at some point, it must mean you’re not trying, right? Or that something is “wrong” with your body? And then on the flip side, I felt like a failure for not owning what motherhood has done to my body so far. I’m trying not to be embarrassed at the pool or wonder what the other girls think when they see my stomach. I try to tell myself they’re not feeling sorry for me or sending up subconscious thanks that their stomachs are flat and toned. I try to be realistic, too, because number two is not far behind and I know I can’t worry about what my body looks like when my baby making days aren’t even over. I don’t have any ground breaking statement to make or lesson to share since I’m still deep in the trenches with this one. My original caption simply said, “We did it all for the glory of love.” Maybe I should have just left it at that.

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20th Sip

PERRY LENORE’S BIRTH STORY >

After 40 weeks and 4 days of a textbook pregnancy, Perry Lenore Beacham joined us on Saturday, January 13, at 6:26 p.m. weighing 7 lbs 13 oz and measured 20.5 inches long.

Aside from chronic sciatica that began as soon as I started showing, a small sub-chronic hemorrhage we found at 29 weeks that healed by week 38, and subsequent pelvic rest which was a party and a half, I loved being pregnant. Feeling her kick was my favorite thing and sometimes I still feel ghost kicks–bizarre! But sure enough, by the time I’d been pregnant for 38 weeks, I was OVER IT. Everyone expected her to come early. So after 8 weeks of prodromal labor and two weeks of a light PUPPP rash, I had my membranes swept on Thursday the 11th (two days after her due date) to try to get labor going. We also scheduled an induction for the following Monday morning if labor hadn’t began on its own over the weekend.

My sister, Chelsea, had already been with us for a month in case the baby came early, and my mom flew down the same day I had my membrane sweep. The following day, Friday, Mom and Chels convinced me and Matt to dress up and go on a date since we didn’t know when we’d get a chance to do that again. I’ll be forever grateful for that last date night just the two of us! All through dinner I could tell something was different and the Braxton Hicks contractions started to get more intense.

We got home around 9 p.m. and I changed in to PJs. Matt took some photos of my stomach to document how huge I’d gotten—so glad we have them!—and 11 p.m. on Friday the 12th is when I can pinpoint the exact start of the actual discomfort of labor. However, I didn’t know it at the time because I’d already experienced all of the early labor symptoms for weeks and it had always ended up going away as soon as I laid down. So I didn’t say anything, expecting it to fizzle out again.

But fizzle out they did not! I hardly slept that night, timing contractions at 10-15 minutes apart. I did get a little sleep somewhere between 3 and 6 a.m. but was aware of the contractions even in my sleep as if I was dreaming them. When I woke up, I was so surprised to still be contracting. I started timing them again at around 7 minutes apart. By 8 a.m., I was having to breathe through the cramps and was gripping our headboard. I wish I had realized I was actually in labor sooner, but because I had experienced false labor so many times, I didn’t say anything to Matt or my mom until I got up to go to the bathroom around 8:30 a.m. If I’d let them know I was experiencing consistent contractions in the middle of the night, my Dad and Adriana might have been able to make it in time as they’d stopped at a hotel on their drive down from Kalispell. Thankfully, they were able to FaceTime in. Hindsight is 20/20.

When I went to the bathroom, I passed the mucous plug. As soon as I stood up, the pain went from a 3 to a 5, and by the time I made it to the living room to tell my mom, I was in tears. I think this was more from overwhelming hormones and the realization that I was in labor than from pain at that point. But it just got worse from there, and by the time I was dressed (which took forever), my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I was in the, “Don’t touch me, I’m in pain,” mode.

I’d had the hospital bag packed since week 30. But inevitably, I wasn’t as prepared as I’d envisioned I’d be. It was survival mode at that point. In the future, I’ll keep it simple and prioritize comfortable granny panties and a container for ice chips (what a LIFE SAVER) over a cute “Going Home” outfit, cause, let’s be real… I didn’t feel cute for weeks. Function ends up making you feel more comfortable than feeling fashionable. The essentials ended up being a hair tie, flip flops, socks, toothbrush, dry shampoo, and phone charger. Next time I’ll just be taking the essentials and adding a comfortable sweatshirt/sweatpants and my own pillow. The hospital had everything else I needed.

By the time we got to the hospital, I was crying and breathing through the contractions to cope with the pain. I was miserable. But I learned I have a higher pain tolerance than I thought. I know mom-gear also kicked in and helped me cope, because I am well known for my wuss-dom when it comes to pain and all things medical.

Without a doubt, the most pain I experienced the entire day—possibly in my entire life—was when the on-call OB first checked to see how much I was dilated. I went into a contraction just as he started to investigate and I kid you not, I experienced out of body pain and uttered sounds I’d only heard in movie representations of agony. I was only 3 centimeters dilated at that point, but they admitted me because my contractions were 3 minutes apart. I was SO thankful. By this time it was close to 10 a.m.

Around 11 a.m., they moved us into our private delivery room where we would stay until she was born. It was fantastic. Everyone was able to be in the room together, it had a beautiful view and was filled with natural sunlight, and I was so thankful to be able to be vocal through my contractions without disturbing other moms in labor. Matt’s parents had also scheduled to fly in that day because we figured by the 13th she’d either have arrived already, or would arriving soon. It was a God thing, because they landed at 11 and were able to come straight to the hospital from the airport.

As for an epidural, the anesthesiologist was in a C-section for the foreseeable future, and we were told I might not get an epidural if a more urgent case came up in the meantime. So I was incredibly thankful when she showed up to administer the epidural around 1 p.m. I’ve always been a worrier who over thinks the worst-case scenario and as much as I knew I wanted the drugs, I was terrified of the minuscule percentage chance that I’d be one of the women who ends up paralyzed or with permanent nerve damage. So midway through the procedure, my brain started to race like it always does when I’m scared, which then gets my heart rate up, which makes me feel like I’m going to pass out. So they had to stop and make sure I wasn’t going to faint on them. I was leaning on Matt, who was a ROCK the entire day. I also can’t believe he never passed out, because we’re two peas in a pod that way. He rose to the occasion above and beyond to be there for me. God was also seriously helping me out in that moment to help me reign in my thoughts, rally my gumption, and will myself to remain conscious and calm. I know without a shadow of a doubt that He also stopped my contractions, because I didn’t have one the entire time they were administering the epidural which took about 7 minutes, and they’d been consistently at 3-5 minutes since 9 a.m. The miracle wasn’t lost on me.

Once the epidural set in, I obviously felt SO much better. It set in good though, and I couldn’t move or feel my legs at all. They checked my cervix again around 2 p.m. and I had dilated to 6 cm. I’m so thankful they didn’t try to check me again before the epidural because it was the single worst pain I’ve ever been in in my life. The nurse eventually gave me a peanut ball and turned me on my left side to help the baby transition. Around 3 p.m., the on-call OB came in and broke my water. It was so strange to have absolutely no feeling or muscle strength and to still be able to feel all of the fluid rushing out. Still not sure how that worked. I felt the fluid for the next few hours, but no pain. No complaints here.

Everything was finally feeling fantastic and I was able to put some makeup on, which really only helped how I felt and not how I looked because you can’t tell the difference between before and after in any of the pictures. I was pale, fat, and getting puffier by the second with all of the IV fluids they were pumping into me. I also discovered the beauty of ice chips. I’d always thought it was a cliche of labor and delivery, but those things are for REAL. I LOVE ICE CHIPS.

At about 3:30 p.m., I started to have a non-stop and violent cramp in my left side that freaked me out because I knew I was partially numbed in that area from the epidural and knew that as much pain as I was feeling with the epidural, I was probably experiencing a scary amount of pain in “real life.” I think it was back labor, partially triggered by baby’s position and from being on my side with my right leg up over the peanut ball (also an awesome labor and delivery “accessory”). The flipped me over to my right side and put a heating pad on the cramping area, and it went away after a few minutes. I was so thankful… can’t image having had to cope with that any longer than I did.

By about 4 p.m., I had dilated to 9 and 3/4 centimeters. I’m not sure how the nurse was that precise. Either way, I was almost there and she started having me practice pushing. However, because the epidural was so strong, they were pretty ineffective at that point.

The kicker is that around 4:30 p.m., I felt the epidural start to wear off out of the blue. It was the weirdest thing. I think it must have slipped a bit in the moving around we did for the side cramp, because it was there one minute and significantly gone the next. So that was awesome, because it was time for me to start really pushing (sense my sarcasm). They had the anesthetist come back in to up the dosage, but at that point I was at constant a pain level of 7, even in between contractions. It did take the edge off enough for me to cope I think, but I was in pain for the rest of my labor experience. The blessing in disguise is that it made pushing more effective.

Here’s another kicker. My nurse had me start pushing at the same time the epidural wore off to help get her moving down the birth canal. HOWEVER, they apparently didn’t alert the on-call doctor from my doctor’s office in time for him to be there for much of the pushing process. Turns out, nurses aren’t allowed to deliver a baby without a doctor present unless it’s under extreme emergency circumstances. So for about 45 minutes, I had to STOP PUSHING while she was just chilling in my hooha. I was feeling EVERYTHING. It was such a bizarre and painful sensation. I was just trying to cope and remain calm, but my family was quite irate on my behalf. I did almost lose it a little bit when the nurse finally offered that the hospital’s on-call OB could come deliver the baby, but that my doctor’s office on-call OB was about 3 minutes away after rushing through traffic from the other side of town. I didn’t give a you-know-what as to who delivered the baby (oh, I forgot to mention the critical detail that MY OB WAS OUT OF TOWN, because they’re ALWAYS OUT OF TOWN!!!), but I swallowed the frustration because I knew at that point it was was it was and I needed to focus on remaining calm. It ended up being worth the wait because the OB that showed up (a partner of my regular doc) was INCREDIBLE and was exactly the personality we needed in the room at that point. He was seriously fantastic. He came with guns blazing, kindness, reassurance, and just the right dose of humor.

PUSHING. Good grief. I have never expended so much energy in my life. I don’t even have words for how hard it was. Draining and overwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe it. Not to mention that I was in so much pain. I had my Chels on one leg and Matt on the other, and my Mom there by my head. The beauty and relief of having the three of them there physically and emotionally supporting me through that was immeasurable. Wanda was in the room as well, and my dad and Adriana were FaceTiming in as they drove. We were able to get Taylor in on FaceTime just after she arrived. I was so thankful to be surrounded by my family. During the pregnancy I wasn’t sure how I’d feel when it came down to it, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

By the time she crowned and they were telling me she had a full head of black hair, it was just what I needed to give me the strength to keep pushing because I was reaching the end of my rope. I also remember being surprised I didn’t feel specific pain or tearing… it was a more general pain than I’d imagined I’d feel. I was able to lean forward just enough to see her head once it was out, too. UNREAL. I mean. How bizarre. Childbirth, people. It’s unreal. You grow a human in your stomach? And then push it out? What even?!

I can vividly remember what the final push felt like, and Perry being placed on my chest. There are no words, so I won’t even try to describe it. She recognized my voice and looked up into my eyes while they scrubbed her off. I’ve never felt love, awe and relief like that.

Also, that oxytocin rush is for real! I smiled the entire time I was being stitched up, which surprised me because somewhere buried deep inside the rush I was telling myself I should be freaking out. But all I could do was smile. At that point she was being cleaned/measured/weighed/etc. by the nurses but I could hear her beautiful newborn cry and my family was giving me updates from across the room.

The general beauty is all captured in photos, and I’ll do a separate post for them. They tell the story of those moments better than I can.

As for postpartum recovery, it definitely blindsided me. I felt like my entire body had been pulverized with a baseball bat. Everything hurt. My diaphragm felt like it couldn’t support my lungs when I stood up. Sitting hurt for weeks, going to the bathroom hurt for weeks, moving hurt for weeks. I had been so anxious to get her out that I failed to do my research on the fact that I would be even more miserable after she arrived. I’m more scared of experiencing the two weeks after delivery than going through actual labor again. But I’m over the hump and finally feeling back to normal. Albeit, a new normal where my belly button floofs out and I’m surviving on less sleep than I ever thought possible… and we don’t even need to talk about what breastfeeding has done to my already well endowed boobs.

Speaking of which. My milk didn’t come in till day 4, and that first week was agony. It hurt SO BAD. I mean, SO BAD. Thank you so much to all of the moms who gave advice and tips via my mom on Facebook! It was so, so helpful and encouraging. I’m incredibly thankful we made it through the rough patch, because I absolutely love breastfeeding now. It’s a mandatory break I get to take every few hours to cuddle and bond with my precious girl. It’s occurred to me that prayer should be the same thing. A quiet respite to take a deep breath, pour it out to God, and leave feeling refreshed.

Whew. There are SO many little details, facets and nuances to pregnancy, the beauty of the day she was born, and these first 4 and a half months of parenthood that I wish I could write about, but I’ll need to save it for another time. We’re already gearing up to start planning for baby number two… where can parents sign up for their superhero capes?

18th Sip

MOTHER’S DAY>

If you Google the socially acceptable amount of time to wait before announcing a pregnancy, it quotes twelve weeks as the general “safe zone.”

The reality is that any of us could go at any time. A baby could be lost at a week or at five months, at birth or at five years old. Any of us could go at any time. Life is to be celebrated.

Matt and I just found out last week that I’m pregnant again. I’m almost six weeks along. It was a bit of a surprise as it’s only been two months since I miscarried and we weren’t exactly doing any baby-planning math.

The fear that I was certain I’d feel hasn’t set in yet, and I suppose it’s because I haven’t fully let myself invest. I’m told that’s natural. I know it’s a defense mechanism… maybe apathy is what I should have been afraid of, because it means I’m essentially refusing to deal with the fear, or pain. Or love. I don’t think it’s as negative as that sounds, but I do have to be honest with myself.

The reality is that I want this baby more than I’m even brave enough to admit at this moment in time. I don’t want that heartbreak or disappointment again, but I am hyper aware of the fact that dear friends have dealt with loss many times without promise of an end. I didn’t think it would happen to me, not the first time. But I do know it could happen again.

And even so, it is well.

I was dreading today. I know that if I weren’t pregnant right now it would feel very different. I have a glimmer of hope that soothes the grief. A part of my heart is still tucked away in that plastic drawer under my bathroom sink, with that first pregnancy test and the little “You are Loved” onesie I used to surprise Matt. But part of my heart has crawled out and is timidly emerging to soak up the sunshine. Opening up and laying vulnerable even to the rain, if it comes.

I know there are loving and protective folks that would caution us to keep this private until it’s safe. But I’ve always known that isn’t my nature. I wear my heart on my sleeve, it’s just part of my DNA. We also know that God uses every single detail of life, no matter how minute or ginormous, to ultimately open our eyes to dimensions of His love and goodness that we can’t fathom otherwise. There are also other families that are walking this same path, and we should be walking it together. No kind of grief or pain should be carried alone. There’s more than enough love, support and hope to go around.

May we look for the good in every situation, and may God and His beautiful plan be our definition of that goodness!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

17th Sip

NEVADA>

Update: Matt and I just moved to Las Vegas, Nevada over the weekend. We loved our three year season on Oahu, but times were changing and we wanted to be closer to our families and in a situation we could afford long term. We streamlined everything we owned down to three suitcases, three boxes, my guitar, and Matt’s surfboard bag. He’ll be making the 4 hour drive to the San Diego area to surf every so often. We love our little apartment and are thankful to have ended up on the west side of town. It reminds me of Phoenix, Arizona if it were surrounded by the mountains of Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Alright. On to another layer of the onion. I shared this on Facebook last night:

“I took some polaroids of the dusty, louvre windows from our place in Hawaii on the day I miscarried. I felt like I needed something tangible to remember. The flash blew out the rain that began pouring that late afternoon, but I will always know the sky cried with me. I couldn’t throw away the pregnancy test and ultrasound either, or the onesie I bought to surprise Matt. They were packed in a whirlwind and unpacked in quiet tonight––and it was hard. They’re tucked away in a plastic storage drawer under my side of the bathroom sink, and the mother chunk of my heart has squeezed in there with them.

“As I walked towards the infant and newborn section on my way to get dish washer detergent at Walmart today, I felt myself subconsciously hold my breath. My eyes locked on an empty carseat and as I walked towards it, it felt like a vortex. Like Frodo when he falls into the marsh outside Mordor. I walked resolutely by, not up to dealing with the spinning wheels that lingering would coax into turning. I would be 13 weeks along now.

“It felt like a breakup at first. At least that’s how my body responded to the grief physically. But now it’s a strange and empty grief where you don’t even know what you are mourning. I guess that’s the love with no where to go. Love that was welling up for an expected recipient that went missing in action. I can’t wait to welcome another pregnancy. I hope I embrace it with peace and not fear. But tonight, I will cry.

“P.S. We love our #newhomenevada and are settling in, slowly but surely. People have been incredibly friendly. The weather is cool. I can see snow on the mountains to the west. I love feeling excited over paper towel holders and spice racks. We spent a few hours putting together our bed this morning and true to ‘The IKEA Home Assembly Rule Book for Dummies 101,’ attached the sideboards backwards and had to unscrew everything and put it back together. It was as it should be. We have a sturdy nest now, and I’m wrapping up in the warm blanket of the shadow of His wings.”

14th Sip

HEARTBEAT>

When you hear the words, ‘There is no heartbeat,” the trapdoor opens and you fall. –Pinterest

Below is what I shared on March 3 (technically March 4… it was after midnight):

After feeling like something wasn’t right for the last week and having some abnormal and worrisome symptoms, I had my OB at Castle squeeze me in for an appointment today and we found out that the baby did indeed stop developing last week––about two days after my ultrasound, somewhere around 7 weeks and 5 days from what we could tell. I had already felt like something might be wrong by the time we went in for that first ultrasound, but everything appeared to be going along fine at the time. Needless to say, I am so very heavy hearted, but Matt and I are resting in the peace, love and perfect timing of a good God. 

I’ve recently learned that 50% of pregnancies don’t make it to full term, and that in most cases it occurs early enough that women aren’t aware they are even pregnant. But when you do know, it’s a kind of pain and grief that makes you want to hide––as does most grief and pain, it seems–and this is when we need each other most. I have recently seen several girlfriends go through the heartbreak of a miscarriage, and we women need not feel alone in our sorrow. I plan to talk about it, for the next mother that finds herself in the midst of heartbreak, identity crisis, fear, disappointment, and the unknown. I’m not much good for a conversation tonight, or maybe even for the next little bit… but I am so thankful for the outpouring of love I have already received tonight. 

Matt has also shared some absolutely beautiful words that I feel capture our hearts better than I can right now. 

He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Matt:

Some difficult news to report: Our baby’s developing heart stopped pulsing between 7 and 8 weeks pregnant. Double confirmed this afternoon. I wouldn’t normally burden anyone with bad news like this, but Emily Beth and I did make the pregnancy public some days ago. I’m sure there are lots of untold stories among us of this nature, and maybe we can all find refuge somewhere in this happening. I know one thing, God is in charge. I have seen his timing in my lifetime so much, so I need to take mountaintop moments as well as the valleys. I was thinking today about how life is a battleground. Once you are here walking around, as well as the whole process of coming into this world. A beautiful, tragic, wonderful, desperate war. And you have to think like a seasoned soldier sometimes to grasp any sort of big picture. I saw a lot in that light today, and so did Emily Beth. Feel free to share anything in this time if you wish. Maybe part of these experiences are for us to come together and comfort each other. Love to all in Christ, and have a great weekend.

The outpouring of love and prayer we received as a result of these posts was completely overwhelming and I don’t know that I could have made it through that weekend as peacefully as I did without that support. God uses others to comfort us. Society is so focused on “bae goals, squad goals, body goals, life goals,” and ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. It’s 100% self-serving and doesn’t leave much room for the messy bits, and that is when we need each other most. The rest is gravy. Real love means walking through the darkness together, even if the darkness lingers throughout our lives. We are meant to care for each other, without any contingencies or expiration dates. Life is meaningless otherwise. It is a war, and we are all comrades. We won’t all make it out alive or in one piece, and we need to carry each other to safety when the bombs go off.

J.S. Park has a quote that gets to the nitty-gritty of what I’m trying to say about love:

The major problem is that many Christians will do Christian things around God, but not with God. We wear a morality-suit or a grace-suit or a cool-Christian-blogger-persona, as if any of these things have anything to do with God himself. Unless our faith is making us more joyful, nuanced, well-rounded, and willing to reach out to those unlike us, then it’s not a faith worth having, and not the one Jesus died for.

 

13th Sip

PREGNANT>

Matt and I decided to announce our pregnancy early. I always knew that if something were to go wrong, I would talk about it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide it or act like it never happened. I believe life begins the moment cells begin dividing and constitutes as something worth celebrating, as well as mourning.

I planned a quick photo shoot with my friend Emily Turner and we staged it so that Matt would think we were helping her out with fresh photos for her website. Mid shoot and shaking with excitement, I pulled out the positive pregnancy test and onesie. It was priceless. I’ll never forget how Matt hooted, “My boys can swim!”

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We knew from day one that this baby belonged to the Lord, and like Hannah (Samuel’s mother in the Bible), I was keenly aware that I needed to dedicate my baby back to the Lord before he or she even arrived. Also like Hannah, I have ached to be a mother for about as long as I’ve known my own name.

I think somehow I knew all along. Of course you always hope for the best. But somehow my body knew. They say most miscarriages occur because of chromosomal imbalances, so maybe somewhere deep inside, in an unexplainable corridor of my heart, God was helping me sense what was coming so that I could begin to prepare for it.

I first shared my fear on March 1:

“All I can think about is this baby inside of me. I wish I could have an ultrasound every day. So many questions. Are you doing okay, my precious baby? Is your heart still beating away? Are you growing and moving your tiny, little almost hands and feet, and hiccuping like all the pregnancy apps say you might? Yes, I have several. I’m just 8 weeks and 2 days today, but I already feel like I’ve been pregnant forever and should have a tummy and feel you kicking. All I can do is pray. And pray, I do. I know the odds, but I’m cheering you on, sweet baby. I will be from now till the last breath I take.”

I suppose this post can stand for the purpose of warning against fear. Sometimes God gives us a sixth sense about things, and for that I am grateful. But as someone that has struggled with a chronic sense of impending doom and worst-case-scenario, I’ve seen how it can steal my joy. And I can see how it might steal my joy when I find out I am pregnant again. Perfect love casts out all fear. This experience has shown me more than ever that I am loved. I compare it to an onion. As with so many things in life, I am slowly peeling back the layers on this particular onion. This is one layer. A very important one. Each layer takes you deeper, and reveals things that sting your eyes and make you cry. But with every sheet, more of your heart becomes revealed and available.

Let’s keep peeling.

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