Tuesday, August 28, 2012

looking behind and now moving forward...

So...we're moving!

Talk about a roller coaster of emotions... We had a baby, interviewed for my dream job, got an offer for my dream job, accepted the offer, decided to move all in a matter of a month!! whoa...not to mention pregnancy hormones in there! haha 
So, we were offered a fantastic position with Nationwide Children's Hospital...the place i have wanted to work since Perfusion school.  they are innovative, cutting edge, ranked in top 5 Children's hospitals and have a wonderful team i get to join.  The surgeon is incredibly supportive and basically tailored a position for me...and i get to work with a close friend and classmate! The offer knocked our socks off- i literally fell on the floor when i read the offer and Dave's response was: "well i guess we're moving to Ohio!" haha  so God really has directed our path through this entire journey and we trust He will continue to.  BUT that doesn't lead to say it isn't emotional
I work with an amazing team of 9 (now 8) perfusionists who have taught me so very much about life, teaching, research and how to be a better perfusionist every day.  Gosh i hate to leave them all! We have a fabulous cardiac team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, ECMO team...i could go on and on...do you see how difficult of a decision this was?  BUT the work/life balance was off- i was working most nights when i was on call- getting out of work late, working most weekends i was on call- doing lectures at home at midnight on the couch, not getting rest, hadn't seen the gym in months- it was to the point it was affecting my life at home- i was tired and grumpy that i couldn't spend the time i wanted to with my family...so it was time. Contrary to popular belief i left MUSC for a better opportunity, not just for family.  
however, i can't tell you how excited i am to have my boys grow up with an aunt 10 minutes away and grandparents 45 minutes and 3 hours away. Dave and i both grew up next to our families and we wanted this for our boys as well.  

This journey has been emotional, leaving behind those we love so dearly who have made this our home for the past 4 years, our friends who we have grown so close to, girlfriends who are always there for dinner and girls nights out!, Dave's job that he loves dearly (he will be working remote)...but we feel this is where God is leading our path and are trusting in His faithfulness to see us through it all.  

Emotions such as leaving our first home...the first home we purchased, walked in to, painted and made our own, the home we brought Noah home to, the home Noah took his first steps in, the home we entertained our friends in, the room i nursed Noah in late at night and rocked him to sleep looking out the window, the home we newly brought Micah home to...how do you walk out of those doors, close the garage door and drive away?

I think You do it tearfully with hope deep down that you have made the right decision and that with time your decision will bring more joy to your family.

Say a prayer for our family as this is a huge transition for us and the boys, we are praying for a peaceful move and and easy transition for the boys!  So below are a few things i never want to forget about Charleston and a few things for those of you who have never lived in the South (it really is sunny every day)

Thank you to everyone who has made these last 4 years some of the most memorable years of our lives! We love you!!

Things We will MISS about Charleston

the beautiful Beaches
Serenity- everyone is so laid back and slow paced (note this is also something i will NOT miss haha)
Water surrounding everywhere you go
sounds of the ocean
Farmers Markets
sweet grass stands on the sides of the roads all the way home from work 
meeting friends on the beach for the day- cooler, chairs and a good book
Arthur Ravenel Bridge 
sayings: "yall" " i might could do that"  "mash that button"  "my buggy at the grocery store"
Noah saying "boats!"  every where we're driving
SUPER amazing restaurants downtown (Blossom, Magnolias, Fleet Landing)
historic downtown: carriage rides, the battery: 
Sunshine everyday...literally- even if it rains its usually sunny
October- the most fabulous month in Charleston
active lifestyle of everyone (everyone runs, kayaks, goes to the beach)
Palm Trees everywhere
double porches- Charleston style homes: 
Driving over the bridge on my way home from work looking at the Charleston Harbor and zoning out into the beach/salt-life
Splash Island on the weekends: 
fun tropical flowers
Charleston Birth Place
all of our close friends and co-workers who have made this our "home" for the last 4 years- we love you all!

Things We WONT MISS about Charleston

June, July, August
massive construction down HWY 17
brown grass all winter :(
downtown FLOODING- by flooding i mean here's the market on a normal day:
here's the market during high tide and a good rain: Photo: Great day for Kayaking at the Charleston Market- Photo by Nicholas J Winn

Anxiously watching the weather channel for every hurricane
The tropical storms that follow the hurricanes that miss Charleston
Serenity- everyone is so laid back and slow paced (sometimes i want to strangle people and tell them to get moving!)
DEER eating my lilies! 
driving home at 7am after working all night on call :( 
BIG BUGS (although I've never seen one in my house- cockroaches are just nasty!!)- love bugs, noseeems 


Micah Dale Hodge July 1, 2012

Sooo... almost 2 months later i sit down to write the story of our little sweetheart... Micah.  Its been beyond busy...baby, taking a new job, listing the house for rent, renting it, packing, loading, attempting to move all with a toddler and newborn...so here's the story (sorry its so delayed!)
so, just like with Noah's story, my perspective will be in Black and Dave will be in Blue :) 

***WARNING:  this is our labor story-- and it is that- so if  its TMI- do not continue on! HAHA***

June 30th Dave, Noah and I decide to head to splash island for the day, i'm 38 weeks pregnant and still feeling great.  i didn't think he would come any time soon because i wasn't miserable or uncomfortable (sometimes i think that's when babies come is when mom is fed up! haha)  As we're driving there Dave jokingly says: "I hope your water doesn't break at the pool because we wont know- haha!" and thankfully he said this or i wouldn't have been tuned into it!!

Dave and Noah were in the pool playing and I was sitting on the edge catching some rays ;) and felt like i was sitting in a small puddle of WARM water...so as i sat there i thought that it was kind of weird that it felt warm, but dismissed it as the temperature was insanely hot (it is Charleston at the end of June!) so then i stood up to see if anything was dripping and i felt it dripping down my leg...again dismissed it as my suit dripping (again this is such a small amount of drippage that it was VERY confusing).  At this point in time i didn't even say anything to Dave b/c i figured it was nothing.  So i told him i was going to go sit down for a minute.  AS i was sitting there i felt it again and was convinced my water must have broken.  So i get up to tell Dave and nothing is coming out... confused again! So i stand there for a minute and feel it again- another trickle...so i tell Dave that i think my water broke b/c i feel it dripping.  HE continues to play with Noah!! haha so finally i said "HUNNY! we should go!"  So we pack Noah up and stroll to the car...meanwhile i dont' feel it again- the entire ride home.
It was a typical weekend for us, Saturday was warm and sunny so we went to Splash Island (our local pool /  waterpark Noah loves).  Ashley was having mini contractions at this point, meaning whenever she started moving quickly her stomach would harden up.  We knew it was close and I was thinking in my head we wouldn't go past the end of the week and Micah would come say Thursday or Friday.  Ashley was feeling crampy I remember so she decided to have a seat while I played with Noah in the pool.  She came up to me later saying, I think my water broke.  I asked how sure she was and she wasn't 100% sure.  It was hard to tell after all since we were at the pool.  Anyways, I asked what she wanted to do but being her tough self we stuck it out for a bit.  We left around noon and head home instead of heading to our tradition that seemed to be going to Five Guys for some grilled cheese. 

Our entire ride was spent deciding if we should call the Charleston Birth Place or not... i decided if i rolled on the floor and more fluid came out- i would call...so we got home- Dave started making Noah lunch and i tried laying in multiple positions (to get his head to move) to see if water came out...nothing... so i dismissed it and figured it was just my suit dripping, so we took at nap and when we woke- i went to the bathroom and felt more fluid-- that convinced me it was my water, so i broke down and called the midwife.  (this is pretty embarassing to call your midwife with your SECOND pregnancy and not know if your water broke- if it did-fine, if not- uhh did i pee myself or what the heck is happening?! haha!!)

I call the emergency number- as its Sunday and Laurie Hershey calls us back (CNM on call) and i tell her all the situations and that i'm not sure if my water broke- she said "humm, i'm not sure either- it sounds like it could be, but the only way for me to know is if i see you- and i just got up from a few hours of sleep from another birth last night, do you mind if i eat dinner quick and meet you up there at 715?)  

 who will watch Noah?  we call our first responders...Chip and Jody Lemmon (BTW the best friends we could really ask for - they have been amazing to us and such wonderful friends- we are so sad to be leaving Charleston b/c of this amazing family!)  and they are on vacation back home in New Jersey!!! ahhh... no big deal we have another family that graciously offered to help us if needed- the French's (another amazing family that we have had so much fun with and will miss sooo very much!) so we call Molly and Brad to see if they could come over and watch Noah while he sleeps so we can go to the birth center...ends up they have friends over for the night, SO we decide to just take Noah with us.  

Noah enjoyed the ride but suspected we were going to Olive Garden which he loves.  We weren't of course.  He made the most of it as the birth center was empty so he had the whole train set to himself.  He ran around playing chase with me while mom was getting checked.  I showed him where he was born too which I'm sure he didn't comprehend.

   We get to the birth center and Laurie does some type of litmus test on the fluid to check the pH and it comes out negative, but she said the gold standard is a "fern test"  where they put the fluid under a microscope to see what the cells look like- if it appears like a fern it is amniotic fluid...like this:
 Negative for crystal ferning

 Positive for crystal ferning
 So she's looking at it and says...Nope- it wasn't your water ...then says WAIT! how weird- i see one fern- just as i said nope, i see 1 but only 1 cell ferning.  puzzled she decided to do an ultrasound to see how much fluid i still had- if my water broke the fluid should be low.
she did an amniotic fluid index while ultrasounding and normal fluid is 8, mine was 18! meaning i had TONS of fluid still- 2 pockets by his head and all over on top...so this didn't lead to believe that my water broke.  She decided to hook me up to the monitor to see my contractions (i'd been having them for a few days now- just BH though) and check the babies HR.  She went and called another midwife in the practice: Leigh Wood to ask her opinion.  She said the same as Laurie - that she's never seen this before....mind you that they both come from HUGE practices that birth close to 2,000 babies a year-so for both of them to not have seen this is a bit odd! She said she didn't think i needed to, but i could go over to Trident hospital and have an amniotic fluid test done that would tell us for sure if it broke.  I told her i wasn't trying to be a drama queen- if it didn't break i'll hang my head low and go home and be fine- i don't need to over do it- i just want to do wahtever they think is appropriate.  my fear is that my labor wouldn't start if it was my water and i would end up with a c/s b/c it didn't start with Noah ( i had to take the famous concoction!) She decided to call Triedne to see if they would give her the test and let her do it here...so we did.  She then sent us home and said they would call us with the results.  She said we had 24 hours to be in active labor if my water did break and that she was confident she would have me in labor 
 this is why i love midwives- she said "what kind of midwife would i be if i couldnt get you into labor?"  the coolest thing that alternative medicine DOES work and there is confidence in it- i love natural childbirth mentality
We head home (Noah was a trooper and played with the trains at the office and it was WAYYY past his bed time)...i've convinced myself that it wasn't my water at this point- i'm kind of happy that we have some more time to prepare and for Chip and Jody to get home :) Then my phone rang...and she said it indeed was my water!! She told me to get some rest, if my contractions didn't pick up to wake up at 5am and take the drink again- and if nothing was happening to call her at 7am

WOW this changes things!! we will have Micah in 24 hours!! so many thoughts and emotions...excitement, fear of labor again, sad that Noah wont be my only baby anymore, worry about who will watch him, stress of packing and notifying everyone...

Talk about changing your next day outlook.  Picture yourself driving home and knowing that tomorrow you will have a new human being living in your house that you have to take care of.  Haha well not to put it so cryptic but that's what it is.  But seriously I got super excited at this point because we finally get to see him.  Seems longer this time than it did with Noah, even though he was actually a week earlier. At this point the excitement of getting to see what he looks like dawned on me.

 we realize, Chip and Jody are out of town, the French's have visitors --how many people have to go down to the 3rd person on the list to watch their little one?! haha US! so we really didn't want to bother the Nathan's so i called my close friend Chelsea to see if her and her hubby would come over- yep they have visitors as well...then i call my amazing co-worker, Alicia and she doesn't answer...  now what?!! so we call the saviors of the entire occasion.. Jay and Beth Nathan... who, mind you, have 3 kids of their own and a VERY busy life... they drop everythign and say they will do whatever we need to help out  (seriously, the best relief EVER knowing someone will be there and take good care of Noah)  so Jay said he would come in the middle of the night if we need him or the morning and take Noah to church with them.  

So off to bed we all went...i woke up a few times with timable contractions, but i always think about what Lesley (another midwife) told us the first time:" if you are questioning if you're in labor...you're probably not!" haha which is sooo true! so i went back to sleep, woke up at 5am to take THE DRINK :)
4 Tbsp Castor Oil
4Tbsp Almond Butter
1 Cup Champagne
1 Cup apricot nectar
6 drops lemon juice...mix it up and chug! haha 

So i drank it and well- went back to bed! haha everyone else was still sleeping...woke up at 7 and decided as much as i didn't want to that we should call Jay and have him come get Noah, incase my labor was as fast as it was with Noah- he would be safe and tucked away :)  So Jay came right over with Jack and got Noah- gosh that was the hardest thing to watch him drive away crying.  I knew he would have a blast, but its so hard to watch your "baby" drive away because i knew the next time i saw him he would be a big brother.  I hoped he would love his brother but always know he was still mommies baby- makes me tear up thinking about it now.  So Noah was off to church with the Nathans who are by the way SUPER PARENTS- their kids are the most polite, well behaved kiddos we know...so i didn't have a worry in my mind- thank you Nathans! i know you know how much of a relief it is to have someone you lvoe and trust watching over your kids! 

I felt bad calling Jay on this one since they have 3 young kids as it is and to add another one is just pure madness in my opinion.  Being a good friend though he offered to help.  I knew Noah would be fine and have tons of fun at the Nathan's place but ya it was sad for him to leave.  Imagine waking up and changing and getting put in a strange car to go somewhere you don't really know.  However, it was just the car ride away that he was sad for, he had tons of fun playing with their kids.  Jay sent many text messages throughout the day with pictures of Noah having fun with them at breakfast, church and at their home.  It was definitely reassuring that he was doing good.

I called Laurie who said to meet her at the birth center and we would get the party started, so we packed the car and headed in. Laurie also asked if i would be okay with the student midwife catching Micah.  I told her yes because i knew the student had 10+ years experience as a L&D nurse and seemed very knowledgable AND hello i work with and train students everyday- how could i say no?! 
When we got there the room was all ready and comfy- i just love this place! Laurie said i would be doing herbal shots every 15 minutes and nipple stimulation- do you want David to do it or do you want to use the breast pump?  well, here goes awkward question #1! haha so i aked dave and hello..he wanted to! haha so i did a shot and she left us for 15 minutes while i sat on the ball and rocked back and forth and another shot 15 minutes later...on and on... they didn't taste bad- they just tasted like strong herbal alcohol flavor...it could have been much worse! We did this routine for about 2 hours.  Below are some photos...and Dave being goofy in the room.

 this photo is real- he really fell asleep!! haha
 first painful contraction!!

Ok to clarify, I was just resting my eyeballs for a minute................

Then we walked around outside for a while, my contractions would pick up (mind you it was 98 degrees outside and humid!).  They would periodically check Micah's HR to make sure all was well and my BP... Then Janet (student CNM) said she thought we should maybe break the rest of my water.  My water broke at the top, which is why it was only slowly trickling out and the 2 water pockets by his head were not allowing his head to engage my cervix- to tell my body its GO TIME... soo i agreed especially since it already broke on its own this would just help.  the device is a little stick looking thing with a microscopic pick on the end... i also have a posterior uterus- which she said is typical of people like me who have fast labors, so your uterus hides in the back more because it knows once it comes down you will have a baby momentarily! haha so the water breaking was kind of painful- just b/c i felt like her arm was in my throat (because of my uterus position)  it sounded like a squeeky latex balloon- kind of funny.  So after that we then went back to shots every 15 minutes and walking/ running outside...yes my hubby the personal trainer was jogging with me! HAHA  i said- whatever i need to do to get this started lets do it!  AT this point we were nearing noon and i was getting really nervous that i wouldnt be in labor and have to go to Trident to get pitocin :(  which would be just fine and everyrhing would have wokred out, it just wasnt my birth plan- for those of you moms out there who have had this experience you know what i mean- it feels like shear disappointment... so jogging we went! haha
Laurie came in to chat around 1 and asked if i was sure my water broke at 11...catching her drift i said...oh no, it was more like 4 or 5! She said well i can't push it that far out, but i will let you go until 2, if were not in active labor then...(she paused) well i wont say it- but you know what i'm saying.  For this i am eternally grateful! had she not have had faith in me or the birthing process i would have been at Trident with pitocin..thank you Laurie!! 
The were feeling me during my contractions surprise that they werent painfun- she said they were strong contractions (they just werent hurting me)

I think because Noah was so fast, we were kind of bored up  until this point.  Her contractions were strong but not super strong that she couldn't function.  We had been there for a few hours and there isn't much to do of course.  So we literally walked the streets back n forth.  Also it was REAL hot that day to the point where you walk in the sun for a few minutes and its like "get me inside!".  Anyways, we made the most of it even if the neighbors were wondering what we keep doing walking back n forth.  But eventually things start to get moving which was good because we definitely didn't want to have to go to Trident to get things going.  We knew we were getting closer and one way or another we would get to see Micah that night!

So sure enough around 130 i had the first contraction i had to stop talking through... i've never wished for pain so bad in my entire life! it gives youa whole new perspective on labor and the pain that comes with it.  i was excited ot feel my body kick in and realize we had to get this sweet boy out or it would be compromised with the use of artificial drugs...Thank you Lord for knowing just the right timing! 
The contractions started pretty quick and pretty quickly got very painful...i just kept breathing through them and dave was by my side the entire time.  I have to say i am so thankful for my supportive husband who was willing to take this drug free journey with me.  He was constantly rubbing my back, giving me water and gatorade and encouraging me.  This labor really felt like we bonded and had a connection that got me through it all- with Noah it was so insane driving and trying not to have him in the car- we kind of lost the serene nature of birth.  so, thank you to my best-friend, partner and support system for believing in me and helping me birth our son naturally into this world- i love you!!  (THANKS! LOVE YOU TOO! YOU DID AWESOME!)

After about a half hour of contractions we called the photographer to come, so she wouldn't miss it! Laurie then suggested i get in the tub to help with labor pain- i was having a lot of back labor this time-- but all still completely manageable.  So we got in the tub...WOW did it feel amazing- i didn't realize how much pain i was in until i got in and it was relieved! so we were all sitting around talking, having a good time- my contractions were close at this point and started to get very difficult.  Dave and Tamara kept giving me water on the short breaks between.  i knew i was probably in transition because i started to doubt myself.  i really started to wonder if i could make it- i thought maybe the pain was so bad i would pass out and drown inthe water! HAHA-- but i knew it would only be a short time of this really bad pain, so i just kept my focus on breathing.  Janet then asked if i had the urge to push, so i pushed through one contraction and she said i was doing good and that he was moving down.  so i pushed for a total of about 20 minutes-- and holy cow i now get why its so exhausting! i barely had to push Noah out and i never really understood why people say they are so tired (i only pushed twice for noah) now i get it! haha it takes everything you have within you on each push and you get very small breaks to recover before its go time again... i was hunched over leaning on Daves knees in the tub, holding his hands.  AT one point i was in so much pain i didn't know how to tell Dave i was dying so i looked up at him and said: "help me" (i now see how hilarious this was!!)  
She said his head was out to wait for the next contraction and he would be out... now - in my head i said "heck no, there will be no waiting for the next one this child is coming out NOW! haha"  so i kept pushing and out he came- Janet pushed him through my legs to dave and we pulled him out together-- until i heard Laurie yelling STOP! his cord is around his neck! so she pulled him back, pulled it over his head and then the glorious ascent continued... i cried with joy, happiness and sheer relief!  we held him and looked into his beautiful eyes- so happy to finally meet this miracle God has given us.  Once the cord stopped pulsing they clamped it and Dave cut it...we got out of the tub and they put him on Daves chest.  Gosh what a precious moment for a daddy to meet his son, smell him, look at him and bond.  

One of my favorite moments of course is getting to hold him on my chest.  It did take 20-30 minutes of some intense pushing.  Ashley did amazing (again).  She was extremely focused throughout the whole thing like she was a professional.  She did yell out "Help me!" once or twice towards the end which is kind of funny because there is little you can do to help with taking away the pain at that point.  She was grabbing me so tight.  Tighter than I knew she could ever grab.  But it was all worth it (as she would echo) because out came Micah who was beautiful!  Thanks Hunny!

love this photo of the tubDave and I in the tub

Pushing Janet is right behind me and Laurie is to my left 

Most amazing, powerful feeling 

sweet nurse who was amazing! Donna Horan

 on daddy's chest :)

Holy roller coaster of emotions- exhaustion from a way more painful labor than with Noah exhaustion from the crazy rollercoaster of labor-- another 2 hour from start to finish labor...wow!! Micah was perfect, looks just like his big brother, Noah.  born a week earlier than Noah, 38 weeks 1 day 6 lbs 12 ozs, 19 inches born July 1 at 3:35 (Noah was 39 weeks 1 day 7 lbs, 21 inches born at 4:35)  

love him so!

an hour or so later Beth came with Noah and he was so excited- he wanted to hold him and touch him right away (pics below)... then he wanted treats! HA he was over it and ready to play (i guess this is a huge advantage to having them close in age).  So Beth took Noah home (another difficult goodbye) and we hung out until the cord blood people came ot get the blood and left an hour later.. picked up Noah at 730 from the Nathans and we were all tucked away in our home asleep by 9pm :)  
he wanted to run over and touch him! so cute 

checking him out!

holding his brother for the first time-- can you see the pure joy/ excitement in his face?! gosh i love these two!!

Noah took our camera and took a picture of Tamara- our photographer

he was so excited!

Daddy and his boys 

Beth Nathan who watched Noah for us :) 

Such an amazing story and i am so thankful for the birth center being here for those of us who chose this birth plan.  so thankful for my amazing hubby who was by my side and helped me through the entire thing...so happy to have 2 healthy precious litle boys...thank you, Lord!

Noah at 1 week(left)  

Micah at 1 week (above)

 Micah at 1 week (right)
Noah at 1 week 
here are a few of my favorites from the newborn session: 

and at 1 week of age:

first pediatrician visit 

Daddy's armpit always works 

welcome to the Hodge family, Micah- we love you!!