Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hooray for Summer!


Praise the Lord, nicer weather finally arrived.  Finally.  Will has been loving the outside.  


One of his first outside adventures included a trip to the park with our young adults bible study.  


This particular outside adventure also included approximately three Cheetos...


...and ladder golf...

I will refrain from sharing what Mark chooses to call this beloved outdoor game...


...and a campfire with smoke that Will was terrified of.


 Hooray for summer, grass between our toes, picnics, and baseball hats.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Hippie Birth Plans and Bonding

Remember when I planned a hippie home birth for Will?  

Though having a home birth was Plan A, we ended up having to move to Plan B...and then Plan C.  Bummer.  

Several of my friends who know how "granola" I tend to be have asked me about planning for Baby #2, and if I am preparing to labor differently this time around.  My answer to that question is sort of complicated...  

I'm not sure if my greater web of blog followers really give a crud what or why I am planning for Baby Dos, but after all, this is my blog, my soapbox, and my chance to process things in black and white.  So here we go...

I have gotten the feeling - maybe I am too sensitive in this - that some have thought our home birth "failed" or was botched in some way, since Will was not born at home, and that we ended up in the hospital, and then the NICU.  And further, since it "failed," certainly we would change our minds, this time around, and be a little more mainstream in our birth planning.  I would like to take this opportunity to say that these things are not true.  They are not true of what happened, and they are also not true about our decision-making process.

Our home birth did not fail.  I labored over 24 hours at home, and those 24 hours are my best memories of Will's journey into the world.  I was on my own turf, had the privacy I desired, enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of my own house, I felt centered and strong.  My midwives and Mark supported my body's natural process and encouraged me along the way.  Will and I were safe, monitored and cared for.

Though a home delivery was our Plan A, our midwives, Mark and myself were united in holding safety as the number one priority.  If anything out of the ordinary happened, or if safety was ever even close to an issue, we were happy to transfer to a hospital for extra assistance.  So, when labor continued to progress very, very slowly...and when I continued to grow more and more weary, we were happy to move to Plan B and transfer to the hospital.  Nothing failed, nothing was botched, nothing was an emergency.  Our midwives were wise and proactive in recommending a transfer.  They saw I was exhausted and saw that medical intervention would be helpful.

Hours later, Will finally made his long-awaited appearance and was as healthy as could be for the first 12 hours of life.  The strokes and seizures that occurred later on were not a result of a long labor or a home birth or anything in between.  His MRIs have shown underdeveloped blood vessels in his brain, which spawned all the complications.  His problems were anatomical and could have caused problems at any point in his life.  Praise God for His faithfulness in leading us to the hospital - exactly when we needed it the most!

In looking back, though I am extremely thankful for all of the medical intervention, I am also thankful for the precious hours we were at home.  In fact, a huge part of me wishes that we could have Baby #2 at home.  Heck, everything about hospitals drive my overly-sensitive self nuts-o.   It's just that...well...like I said earlier, things are just a little more complicated than that...

I have been doing a lot work in processing some of the trauma of Will's journey.  At first, it seemed like a big and heavy cloud of darkness and yuck - too foggy to sort through or make sense of.  It was just...there...hanging over my head and raining down hopelessness and despair every day.  Recently, with the help of a Christian counselor, I was able to process through the story and start to pinpoint the specific things that were the hardest to handle and the toughest to get over - the particular things that seemed to be holding me in bondage months later.

You'd think the most traumatic things would be related to Will's injuries - to the fear and worry, etc.  Oddly, though, the toughest things for me are much more related to bonding...  Weird, right?
 
There's a picture tucked into the hard drive of my computer that continues to haunt me.  I can't even bear to look at it, let alone post it on this blog.  It's a picture of Will's very first moments in the world.  He is wet and gooey and laying on my chest, his head looking to the right.  And my head is pointed in the opposite direction, away from him, checked out (or passed out?)...I am not holding him, my arms are not around his tiny little body, I am not looking at him or marveling in his beauty.  I am not welcoming him or telling him how much I love him.  Though Will is laying on my chest, he is alone, exposed, and vulnerable.

The first hours of his life continued similarly.  I was too exhausted to care for Will, so he spent many of those first hours in a cold and sterile nursery - away from my, his mama's, familiar heartbeat and warmth.  When I was gaining some strength, and could have begun to be more available, Will started having seizures and strokes and was whisked away to the NICU and put in an even more sterile, plastic box, invaded with needles and wires, and inundated with pokes, prods, alarms, schedules and medicines - further away from anything familiar or welcoming.  He was even more alone.

Though we experienced great amounts of fear and worry for Will's health, the worst part, for me, was not being able to be there for him.  I just wanted to be his mama, to hold him, tell him everything would be alright, to welcome him, and show him that he was loved and wanted.  The long labor and tragic turn of events robbed Will and I of those desires and deep (even supernatural?) instincts.  He deserved more.  He deserved more from me.

In the months that followed, I was left with a hollowness towards Will.  I didn't feel connected to him, didn't feel the joy I expected to feel towards him.  I felt scared, fear-filled, guilty, condemned, stressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, and very, very depressed.  

It wasn't until meeting with my shrink counselor that I was able to identify that most of those feelings were resulting from a disconnectedness, and a lack of bonding with my baby.  I had missed out on all those hormonal and supernatural and instinctual things that were supposed to happen in the first moments and hours and weeks of life as a new baby and new mama.  I was living with a baby I had never actually welcomed into the world.

So - this is where it all comes full circle, I promise! - I don't know that I have changed my mind or my thoughts in regard to granola, hippie home births.  I still love them.  I still know they are safe and wonderful, and truth be told, I am jealous of the mamas who have experienced them.  I will still defend and support every granola, hippie mama and midwife in the world!  So, maybe it's not about changing my mind as much as it I feel that I've learned more about myself and what I truly value.

Last time, beyond safety, I valued a natural process, privacy, coziness, laboring on my own turf and on my own terms.  I valued a lot of wonderful and meaningful and noninvasive, tree-hugging sorts of things.  In preparing for Baby 2, I still value those things, and hope to enjoy as many as possible in our second labor.  

It's just that, this time around, I value bonding with my baby even more.  

This time, I am less willing to log ridiculously long, hard hours of labor, and much more willing to ask for medication and help, if it means, in the end, I will be more awake, more aware, more available, and have a bit of strength left to welcome and bond with my little one.

If I am blessed with a quicker, more reasonable labor, with no complications, I hope to make it through hippie-style.  If my body decides to be slow and arduous again, I will take seventeen epidurals if it means I am able to be more present in our baby's first moments.  Well...maybe not seventeen, but you get my point.  And beyond meds, I am writing our birth plan with bonding in mind - more space, more time to be a family, uninterrupted and private, etc.

Though I would recommend home births and our midwives to my dearest friends, we have chosen to labor in a hospital with a supportive doctor and pseudo-doula this time around.  Not because we were dissatisfied, but more because emotionally and psychologically, I felt like I needed a fresh start - a new story, a new atmosphere and a new experience.  I don't want to rewrite a chapter and edit out the parts that were hard...I just want to write a new chapter entirely.

The good news and hope in all of this is that the Lord loves to make beauty out of ashes.  For all of the hollowness and disconnectedness I felt towards Will in the past, I now feel like I've been able to welcome him and bond with him in ways I never thought possible - better late than never, yeah?  We are making memories and having fun together and the Lord has redeemed the brokenness in our little relationship exponentially.

And, though I could be filled with fear and anxiety in looking ahead to another labor, less than 16 months apart, I am clinging to the fact that the Lord loves to renew.  I am praying Baby #2's labor and delivery and first moments in the world will be a story of restoration and hope.

The end.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

First Birthday Highlights

Though we were hoping for a bright and sunny day for Will's birthday, we ended up with rain and wind and cold, cold, cold.  We spent part of the day playing ball at our church's gym.


...and had a little Dairy Queen picnic on the gym floor.


Daddy shared one of his french fries with Will.


And then the boys played basketball.  Will loved watching Mark shoot hoops.  When Mark gave Will the ball, he looked right at the hoop and threw the ball - fully convinced he would make it, just like dad!


Little hoopster...


Our fancy Wal-Mart party at home.


Complete with fancy Wal-Mart cupcakes.  We are gourmet around here, people.


Happy first birthday, Will-Bug!


Will in his birthday suit - watching Daddy grill out the patio window.


His first cupcake...  Which he did not enjoy as much as this picture eludes...  He shivered when he took the first bite of frosting.  I do not think he has a sweet tooth...yet.


Three generations of cupcake clean up.


Mama and Daddy bought Will a drum set for his birthday.


...but Will likes books better than anything.  He stopped for a quick speed read in the middle of presents.


Auntie Marliss and Uncle Brent...


Grandma Bev and Papa Dave...


Auntie Marliss gave this horse to Will - and he cried and was scared to death of it.  I am happy to report, Marliss, that Will and Horsie experienced full reconciliation the next morning, post-birthday.


Will and Daddy getting ready for a walk, while we waited for party number dos with the Tegeler side.  Both of my boys in their favorite attire - ball caps, t-shirts and slishy shorts.


And then we grilled and ate cupcakes all over again with Grammy Pammy and Papa George...


Papa George gave Will a big boy airplane toy.


And, that is all...

Happy first birthday, Champ!  We love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Preparing for Will's One Year Birthday!


A year ago today, I had already been in labor for about 10 hours.  Nevermind, our little Will Bug still wouldn't make his appearance for another 30 or so hours.  And then, to top it off, his first hours and days and months on earth weren't the greatest.

Celebrating Will's first birthday has come with a mix of joy and sadness, hope and grief, and just about everything in between.

Many friends, family and acquaintances started asking me, months ago, if I had an elaborate theme party planned, or if I started crafting for his birthday already.  My answer has been a steady "no"...  At first, I questioned myself a bit.  Why wasn't I crafting?  Why wasn't I Pinteresting a fun theme for the day?

Here are my answers:

1) I am saving my blood, sweat and tears for when he will care and actually remember it.  When he is old enough to fall in love with Star Wars and begs me for an elaborate Jedi Knight celebration, I will be ready - so ready.

2) The days leading up to his birthday have felt too weighty...  Not heavy or burdensome...  More significant, sacred, maybe even holy.  Like Mary, I've spent these days treasuring up so many things.

Though Sanford and Mayo Clinic doctors, and home health nurses, and physical therapists and behavioral therapists have poked and prodded and watched our little man for delays, signs of cerebral palsy or a weaker side of his body, problems with his vision, reflexes and everything in between - they've scoured him for an entire year, looking for any and all complications resulting from his strokes and seizures.

....and they have found none.  Nothing.

He is a thriving, healthy, stubborn, naughty, curious, sensitive, hilarious, messy little one-year-old.  He is full of life, and meeting all of his milestones.  All of them.  When we left the NICU with Will, we didn't know if he would ever play catch or read books or walk or laugh - the chances of having a severely injured and delayed little boy were very real.  To be at this place, one year later, is...  I don't know.  Overwhelming?  In the best possible way?

We are SO thankful and even stunned that the Lord has shown Will and our family so much blessing and favor.  So, it is a little strange to be in a place of grief and sadness alongside all of our joy.  I am feeling mildly schizophrenic.

The days leading up to Will's birthday have been a time to remember, reflect, and treasure many things from the past year.  Unfortunately, several of those memories - especially surrounding his birth and first few months - are still dark, scary, traumatizing and filled with pain.  I wanted more for Will.  I wanted to welcome him into the world with joy, I wanted his first hours and days to be filled with snuggles and happy visits with family and friends, I wanted to hold him and treasure his first moments.  I wanted to be able to look at his birth pictures and be filled with joyful memories.  I wanted to remember his first few weeks at home with warmth and delight.  I wanted his first months to be filled with hope and anticipation and gladness.

Instead, I am plagued with hazy memories of shock, heart-wrenching pain and trauma.  And I am haunted by memories that are missing - things I don't even remember and have NO recollection of - probably because I was so physically drained, passed out, and just plain filled with depression and hopelessness.

Yuck.

Anyway, to make a long story at least a little bit shorter, I DID buy a few things at Wal-Mart, and the table IS looking relatively festive, and cupcakes ARE in the fridge.  But this year, we will be celebrating a little more simply than usual (at least for my over-the-top celebratory tendencies).  Instead of slaving away, crafting up a storm, breaking the budget and Pinteresting until a magazine-worthy party emerges, we have been, and will continue to use these next days and hours to pray, process, cry, laugh, snuggle, and stand in awe of our great blessings...to stand on some important and holy and sacred ground and remember.

We are remembering how the goodness of the Lord shines so brightly in the midst of so much darkness, and we are treasuring our little miracle man.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Social Media Stinks

I am losing hope in social media.  Quickly.

Because we all are just typing, and because those typed words seem to fly off into a meaningless outer space, it is far too easy to type things that are negative, hurtful, unprofitable, argumentative, defensive, prideful, and everything else in between.

And the thing is, I have been guilty of this.  I am one of "those people" that has contributed to this pile of crap by typing negative, unprofitable, horrible sorts of things.  It makes me wonder if it's even worth it.

A while back, I blogged because I thought the Lord had given me a story to share - a testimony of His faithfulness to encourage others to hope in Him more.  I was also having a lot of fun designing and crafting and was so excited about it, I just wanted to share with everyone.  I engaged on other social media platforms because it was fun to connect with people I would never otherwise connect with...and I truly believed these media sorts of things could be redeemed and used for the Lord's purposes.

Great intentions, folks.

But here I am.  Processing what feels like a bit fat mess.

Though I started with the best of intentions, it just seems too complicated.  Though I DO have a story to share, and though it IS a story of the Lord's faithfulness, I feel like I can/should only share the good parts...and that the valleys and the yucky parts are too dark, too riddled with negativity and doubt...and only sharing the good parts feels, well, fake.  Though I DO have fun sharing design and crafting sorts of things, is it, in the end, just unprofitable?  Meaningless?  And, perhaps, even rooted in my own pride or false identity?  Though it IS fun to connect with people, is it really worthwhile to "invest" in 100 relationships at the expense of 10 face-to-face, undistracted sorts of deeper, more relational interactions?  Though I DO believe social media can be redeemed for the Lord's purposes, I, personally, feel too weak and too sinful to sign up for that job.  I will screw it up - and HAVE screwed it up.

Sharing on social media is complicated.  Even completely innocent, well-intentioned sharing can be misunderstood, or could offend.  After all, you hardly ever have FULL control over who will see or read your content.  How will Jane Doe in Never Never Land respond - especially when you've never really considered someone like HER will be reading your posts?

And here's another thing that's even more discouraging...  Some of my favorite blog authors have been inundated with horrible, hate-filled, argumentative comments on their posts.  It makes me wonder if blog readers are even interested in the heart of what's being said vs. a misuse of a word or a tiny point that could be taken out of context.  Is the social media world really this dark?

Are we all looking for an argument?  Looking to jockey our positions or wisdom over another's?  Are we all looking to just be heard?  By someone - anyone?  Are we all frantically adjusting our highlight reel for others to think we're successful and worthwhile?    Are we all desperately connecting with hundreds of faceless people just to feel known?  Yuck.

Bah.  Is it worth it?  I am not sure yet.

Do I overanalyze everything?  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Etsy Shop Sale!



Reading this blog is finally going to pay off.

20 percent off EVERYTHING in my Etsy store for a week, friends.

Use code DEC20 to apply.  Expires 12/12/13

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Warrior Will



Warrior Costume c/o Auntie Naomi and Micah's craftiness.