Wednesday, November 9, 2016

William Wesley's Birth Story

I  love writing down the experience of giving birth to my children. Each one has been unique, intense and full of so much love.

Wes' pregnancy in general was very very different. In the beginning I was SURE I was having a girl given how much more tired and sick I was. I would go through boxes and boxes of costco oranges and I was gaining weight much faster. Maybe it was age who knows but it felt very different. After a crazy summer of moving across the country and a summer in Utah I was settling in Palo Alto for the final stretch of my pregnancy. Moving is hard. Making a new life for yourself is hard. But doing it all during your 3rd trimester felt miserable. I felt lonely and tired and overwhelmed by my kids and seriously felt like I would be pregnant forever. It also didn't help that I carried a month longer than my first 2 pregnancies. New stretch marks began forming in all sorts of places and I really disliked any picture of myself (which is not normal for me).

Needless to say that as my due date drew near I was more than ready and more than happy to kick him out if need be. The Saturday before my due date I took castor oil to see if I could get anything going. We went on a walk to get bagels and play at Peers park. Nothing. I decided to wait a few days and try again. So on tuesday I mixed a tablespoon with some orange juice and downed it again. Some contractions started coming but nothing crazy until the evening. I took the boys over to Stanford mall by myself to get some tender greens and pink berry ( I was sooo done cooking) I noticed that my contractions were picking up a bit and getting more painful. As the boys ran around the mall after dinner I started to time them and found they were about 3-5 minutes apart. Not bad! Given that my first two pregnancies I had no contractions before the actual hours preceding delivery I thought this was it! I started feeling sentimental about my time with the two boys and how everything was going to change.

On my drive back to the house I called beau who was at a work dinner. He left early and met me at home. I got in the tub (like I always do) and started to time everything.  After calling the midwife she said to wait and rest and see if they continue to get closer together. But by 11 PM they had all but stopped. What???? I was sooo bummed. How could this be happening! Throughout the night I would get woken up by a few contractions but then they would stop. By the morning I was emotionally spent. I did not want to be pregnant one more day and I had mentally prepared for getting this kid out of me the night before. Now I had to kill another day and wait. I called my midwife in tears, telling her that is was messing with my brain. She had pity on me and told me to come in in an hour or two and she would see where I was at.

Beau also had pity on me and decided to stay home to help with the boys and play with us. So we loaded the kids in the car and all headed to my appointment. On the way there the contractions came back and I was having to breath through them. They were a little more intense and would come in every 3 min. Beau took the boys to a nearby park and I headed in and got hooked up to the monitor stopping along the way to lean on the wall during contractions.They were coming every 3-5 minutes but nothing crazy. When Maria came in and checked me I was at about a 4 and he was REALLY low according to her. She said "I bet if I broke your water he would come really fast!" This was the first time I have been given any sort of choice with labor and delivery timing. It was the best feeling knowing that I could go over to the hospital and be done right now. HECK YES! I called Beau, He came back with the boys and dropped me off at the hospital. I called a neighbor to ask if she could watch them for a few hours till my mom got in and started changing into the gown.

Maria broke my water, and the party began. Within 5-10 minutes my contractions were immediately much more intense. I had to get up and lean over during them. I feel like they went in intensity and pain from a 3 to an 8. I could still talk and walk around but they were coming in hot. I finally asked if I could get in the tub and my sweet nurse started filling it up for me. I waddled down the hall and climbed in. aaah! So much immediate relief. It took off a lot of the pressure I was feeling in between contractions. It also just made such a difference to feel a different sensation on my body. Beau finally got back while I was in there and laboring pretty intensely. It was so encouraging to see him. Like the feeling of seeing your mom when you're scared or sick. He started putting pressure on my lower back and talking me through each contraction. He poured cold water in my mouth and giggled as I muttered expletives under my breath about how much pain I was in even after each contraction finished.

 As I was squatting there in the tub experiencing by far my most painful labor up to that point and feeling so much weight my thoughts turned to the savior. I really feel like the spirit was using the experience as a teaching moment. I thought of the crushing pain and weight and even fear he experienced for me and mankind and how he did it out of love. This was the closest I had been to relating to that. How I was doing this out of love for my child.

I started feeling the urge to push in the tub about 45 minutes after I got in so I called for the nurse to come and check me. She said I was only at an 8 and not to push. Well I was getting really dehydrated and overheated in the tub so I asked to get out. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I had put on make up and that it was probably dripping down my face from the steam and sweat. So there I went being wheeled down the hallway back to my room, wrapped in a towel, having contractions with black mascara all over my face. I looked like a dream. I got back into bed and Maria checked me- I was fully dilated! On the next contraction I would start pushing. This was my first baby that hasn't basically slipped out of me from being only 5 lbs. So I really had to push, with all my might to get him out. It was sooo painful! I was screaming at the top of my lungs with each push to try and muster more strength to push. Maria and my nurse were cheering me on as Beau held one of my legs in the air for me to push against. After 6 or 7 pushes, he finally came out and I started sobbing. I did it! I looked down and saw how much he looked like Tennyson and then they put him on my chest. I just kept thinking "we did it!" I was so proud of him. As I sat there holding him I had another impression that he was not quite ready to be here on earth. A little insecure if you will. I perceived that he was a sensitive and more timid spirit that would need a lot of love and security from his mama. This was the opposite feeling I got from Christian holding him for the first time and that has panned out so we'll see if little WW really is more of a wallflower.

My recovery went great and other than the tongue tie debacle that began after we came home and lasted 6 weeks, he was a really easy baby. As we were getting ready to leave the hospital we could not decide on name. We finally widdled it down I had Isaac Goodridge Jewkes written on the Social Security form. At the last second crossed it out and wrote William Wesley. I hope we got it right! I still am not quite sure if we chose the right name but maybe it doesn't matter. He is the light of our family these first 6 months and brings us all so much joy and happiness. We are so blessed by little William Wesley.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Graduation/ end of Business school

Graduation time was crazy, fun, hectic and jam packed! There were so many fun events and visitors and I still can't believe that that incredible chapter of our life is over. We are so blessed to have been there, learned the lessons we did and meet the incredible people we did. Between Christians birthday, graduation and our anniversary we did a lot of celebrating. 

Final section J event where we cruised the Boston harbor at night.

On Christians birthday we went for a walk after church. They installed some new artwork on Spangler lawn that has razor sharp edges and is exactly the height of a toddler (eye roll) someone clearly was not thinking through all of the implications of that. Within 1 minute of being around the piece of art, Tennyson lost his balance, fell down and almost hit his eye on the sharp corner but luckily hit his eyebrow. There was a lot of bleeding and it looked like stitches were in order. So birthday cake would have to wait. We went to Mt. Auburn and it was virtually painless. They now have numbing gel that they put on the skin before they do the stitches. He was a champ. We came home by 6 and had birthday cake for Christian. He was the cutest 2 year old ever.  

We took a day and trekked out to Martha's Vineyard with my parents. A first for all of us. The little houses are amazing! Most things were shut down, biking around was out of the question but it was still a great time spent together.

We had to take my dad to a Redsox game while he was in town and the boys had a blast. Of course the endless popcorn and treats from my parents helped them last longer.

Graduation day was SCORCHING hot! Seriously one of the hottest days in Boston. We tried to stay in the shade until it was time for Beau to walk across the stage. It kind of made for a long event but the pictures were priceless and it meant a lot for both of our parents to be there.

The night before was a section event at a local taco place in Cambridge where you could meet friends and families of the section. The boys were crazy with meemah around and we resorted to shows- but it was so fun to see where all of these incredible people came from. Especially Mors family.

I got up early on graduation morning and saw all of the graduates getting read to head over to Commencement at Harvard yard. There was such an amazing energy in the air- I went home to Beau who was NOT planning on going and basically forced his but out of bed and to go with his section. He later told me that he was glad he went. Then I got a text from Courtney Archibald saying they had extra tickets to the ceremony through Austins dad. So my Dad and I headed out around 8:30 to watch the pomp and circumstance!

Commencement was followed by a lunch in Shad (kind of subpar if you ask me for HBS standards) but it was fun to eat as a family. Then it was out to the lawn to wait for his section (the last one) to be read and for him to walk across the stage. They had the woman whose husband who was also a student and died the beginning of EC year speak. It was great.

Looking at these pictures makes me so emotional. What an incredible experience our family got to experience. We are so lucky. Harvard taught ME so many things about myself, the world, other people, hard work, compassion, leadership, friendship. I am so grateful for the friends we made there. So many meals, laughs, tears and late nights were spent with these people and they have a very special place in my heart.

Oh crimson parents, I'll save those stories for another post.

After the graduation ceremonies we took our parents out to dinner at a nice restaurant out in Newton. Because Bill Hines didn't have any family in town we invited him to come along and had such a nice evening.