Elijah's birth.

Daddy and Elijah (5 days old) at his first pediatrician appt.
Elijah is two and a half weeks old now. He's currently sleeping in his pack-n-play. Nate is off to an officer's meeting at church and I've collapsed on the couch after cleaning out the fridge/freezer of old or expired food and then cleaning some (but not all) of the dishes.

The first weeks of parenthood have been a blur. Our weekends include visitors but during the week we take it super easy—spending time with Elijah: sleeping in until 10 if he does (that's after being up at 12, 2, and 6), trying to get out for a brief mid-day adventure (he sleeps like a rock in the car seat), and then home again for seemingly innumerable feedings and diaper changes. We are in love.

Shortly after we got home from the hospital, I typed out what I could remember of Elijah's birth. All the details in a very non-poetic way. Little sleep affects my ability to write coherently, but I wanted to record the details. Let's be honest, though. You don't need to hear all the graphic details. But his birth was not what we were expecting, so here's the semi-condensed version.

Elijah's due date was originally April 12, but based on measurements during the early ultrasound, they calculated his due date to be a week later: April 19. By early April, I felt ready and anxious to meet our little boy. Any day would be just fine with me.

April 12 was a Saturday. I think Nate worked most of the day and came home in the evening. I had spent a lot of the day trying to get things cleaned up around the house. Elijah's room had stacks of books in it. We hadn't finished preparing it; it had been Nate's study/library. I didn't know where to put all the books. I ended up putting many of them in totes and found a place (attic, box, or trash/recycle). Nate got home and I was still working hard. He said, "Honey, why don't you go to bed? We can finish this up tomorrow." I had already planned to lounge/nap after church on Sunday. "No, I'll finish. I don't want to have to do this tomorrow." Hindsight is 20/20: This was classic "nesting."

On Sunday, I woke up around 6. I felt the first contraction around 6:30—a tightening at the front of my abdomen, like period cramps. Googling. I had never had Braxton-Hicks contractions during pregnancy, and I always assumed I would just know when I was actually in labor. I didn't know, so I wondered if this was false labor. Some early practice contractions. Labor could be many hours or even days away.

Nate and I got up and showered. He got ready to go to church early to handle coffee and go to his Porterbrook class. I would join him later. I got ready and ate breakfast, trying to figure out if there was any regularity to the contractions. Our instructions from the hospital was to come or call if the contractions lasted 60 seconds or more and were difficult to endure and had been like that for 2 hours. All of our friends had advised staying home as long as possible because laboring at home was easier than laboring at the hospital, and they might send you home. Everything we heard made us expect a labor that could last 20 hours. So this was supposedly just the beginning.

The contractions seemed to come more frequently. Around 8:30 a.m., I started timing them on an app. Five minutes apart. Sometimes four minutes. I tried breathing through each one and they were really starting to hurt! I thought, If this is just the beginning of labor, I am the biggest wimp! I take back everything I said about having a high pain tolerance! Then I texted Nate and said, "Can you come home after Porterbrook? Even if this isn't the real thing, I can't handle the pain alone." Nate called immediately and I started to cry. He came home right away.

I was trying to breathe and move around. No position helped. Nothing helped the pain, and it was getting worse. Nate came in the door and looked at the app. Contractions were two to three minutes apart. He didn't say so at the time, but he assumed the app was broken or I was just trigger-happy in starting/stopping it. I told him I wanted to go to the hospital. Maybe they could at least get some epidural started or some other pain meds. I needed something; I was starting to despair. "I can't do this!"

My hospital bag was mostly packed, but I had nothing for Nate. He pulled things together as I tried telling him what we still needed to pack. He loaded things into the car. I wanted to go now, but kept pausing. After this contraction, I'll go. Then another would start and I'd need to wait it out. Our friend Amy had told me to stay home until you aren't sure you can ride in the car. I had no idea how I'd ride in the car with pain like this. I started contemplating an ambulance.

Finally, I got shoes on and hurried to the car. I was in a tank top and shorts but my appearance was the least of my concerns. I had to close my eyes through the contractions, and in the car I just kept them closed. I didn't want to see the road or how long it was taking to get to Vanderbilt. I leaned the seat back and tried to get semi-comfortable, and then I'd shout: "Starting!" and Nate would start timing the app, and then I'd finally say, "Okay, okay. Over."

When we got to Vanderbilt, we tried to find the entrance they told us to go to when we took the childbirth class. We didn't have time to park in the East Garage. I told Nate to just valet the car. The first entrance we went to didn't have valet. I said, "Just run in and tell them we need a wheelchair!" Nate did, and they told him to go in through the ER. So we did. A lady came out with a wheelchair and I got in, leaned back (against her, I think) and closed my eyes, breathing and contracting and in a lot of pain. They rushed me to triage and told me I could stop using the app. That was 10:15 a.m.

A doctor (or nurse?) gave me a gown to put on and checked me. "You're 9 centimeters."


"What?" I asked. Had I heard her right? "9 centimeters," she said.

Another nurse asked if I wanted to go to the delivery room in a wheelchair or on the gurney. "I can't move," I said. So they pushed me down the hall on the gurney, and then helped me onto the delivery bed. I kept my eyes closed. It hurt. Nate tells me the room flooded with nurses and doctors. The midwife on call introduced herself. A nurse stood to my left and Nate was at my right. I told the nurse on the left, "I want epidural." I think she said, "I know, honey." I didn't know Nate had already told them I had planned on epidural. They told him, "Uh … we'll see." Instead, they tried to quickly find a vein and start an IV to administer any pain meds they could, but they had a lot of trouble finding a vein. Stuck me four times and pulled off my sock to look at my feet/ankles for one before hitting it in my left hand.

They told me I was going to start pushing. How in the world? We hadn't told anyone we were even heading to the hospital. Admissions had handed Nate a bunch of papers to fill out but they sat blank. What a surprise this would be. I remember I was thirsty and asked more than once for water, and a nurse said no. I started to shout/moan through the pain. The nurse at my side was firm with me. She told me not to make a noise, to focus all my energy on pushing. Her directions were helpful, and Nate repeated them. I heard Nate more than the nurse, and I remember thinking, What is Nate talking about? How does he know what I'm supposed to be doing?

I made a few attempts at pushing. Then they said that I wasn't making much progress, and they were worried about the baby's heart rate dropping. They asked if we'd be okay with them assisting with forceps. We had heard about forceps during our birthing class and had talked about how we didn't love the idea, but at this point we trusted the doctors to do what was necessary and I was thinking, Do whatever you have to do to get him out!

Before long, I felt relief as Elijah entered the world (at 10:46 a.m. … about 30 minutes after we arrived at the hospital). They briefly set him on my stomach before moving him away to clean him up and suction out some meconium he had apparently swallowed while in the womb. Then they brought him back to me. I was tired but couldn't believe it was over and our baby boy was here.

Mommy and Elijah after moving into our recovery room
The nurses told Nate I was a rockstar for delivering him without any pain meds, especially with forceps assistance which they said is not often done without epidural. They said, "What's your favorite meal?" I laid back, exhausted. "Steak," I said, "…and cheesecake." I guess they asked that to say that's the kind of meal I deserved because nutrition brought me a turkey sandwich for lunch.

I had inadvertently joined the "natural birth club." Though I am very thankful everything went like it did and labor was quick, if I have the option next time I am going for the epidural. And we will try to get to the hospital as soon as I feel anything that even slightly resembles labor.

Sweet Elijah Raymond Jones
We're figuring out parenthood a day at a time. We love it. To quote Lisa-Jo Baker's three things she learned about being a mother: "Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is glorious. Motherhood is hard." What an adventure it will be.


introducing …

Elijah Raymond Jones is here! Today is his due date, but he was born Sunday, April 13, 2014, weighing in at 7 lbs, 6 oz. We are tired and overjoyed. The birth was a whirlwind. Contractions began at 6:30 a.m., and he was born at 10:46 a.m. … 30 minutes after we got to the hospital. No time for any pain meds or epidural. Not at all what we expected, but the experience at Vanderbilt was great and we can't believe this gift of grace. We are smitten. More later.



The bump at 38.5 weeks
I got a haircut! It had been way too long. Tuesday after work, I went to Style Kitchen. I had been once before, a year or two ago, so I knew what to expect and it wasn't intimidating at all. I basically told the stylist I wanted something easy to manage with a baby. It's much easier to get ready in the mornings. I like it.

Also, the bump at 38.5 weeks. I'm 9 days away from due date, and I am so ready. Not completely; I mean, there's plenty of cleaning/organizing/decluttering we could still do around the house. But we'd be ready if Baby Jones came anytime. I have my weekly check-up at lunchtime today, but so far no signs of any progress. No contractions. Some nausea and lots of uncomfortableness.

Baby E is a mover and shaker, mostly first thing in the morning and in the mid-afternoon/evening. He hasn't woken me up moving in the night, so hopefully that means he has the right sleep schedule already figured out! :)


dos meses mas.

Photo from 37.5 weeks
Here's a bump photo from a few days ago. Today I am officially 38 weeks. No signs of impending labor, but we are ready to meet Baby E. I guess he's giving us time to get some more things done on the to-do list.

One thing I'd really like to do is get my hair cut, but I don't know where to go. I am not super "stylish"; hair salons in Nashville are so intimidating, and I don't want to spend $50 at a place that makes me feel like I don't belong there … I am so not the type of person who hugs her hair stylist! (I had a bad experience at a place that was so unwelcoming; I actually walked out 20 min. after my appt was supposed to start and hadn't yet. No one was friendly.) So I'm looking for recommendations. I need a few inches off because I can't spend 30 minutes drying and straightening my hair when we have a baby.

Also, as they do every spring, the weeds are taking over our yard. Usually I'm out there spraying the whole front and back yards with weed killer this time of year, but that's probably not safe while pregnant. So if anyone comes out to visit and wants something to do, you could kill the clover and dandelions. I'll buy the weedkiller and give you the garden hoses. Seriously 15 minutes start-to-finish to spray down the whole yard. Consider it. :) I think now that I've lived in Nashville five years, I should have by now just torn up the yard and planted some grass (I think we literally have none). Though it's high on my "wish list," these days it's just not high on the priority list.

Last night was date night. Nate and I went to Maggiano's with a gift card and spent all but 7 cents! Since it was our first time there, our server brought us a sample of fried zucchini. Mmmm. I am also a big fan of Italian bread dipped in olive oil/Parmesan/black pepper/vinaigrette. Plus we came home with at least two meals worth of pasta and chicken parmesan. So good. I was so full.

We planned on going to the movies to see Noah but had some time to kill, so we walked around the Green Hills mall. Of course we ended up at the Apple store. I've had my iPhone 4S for quite awhile. I became eligible for an upgrade in November. Figured I really didn't need to spend $199 for the 5S. Sure, it's lighter and has a better camera. We figured we'd go ahead and get the upgrade for me.

The girl helping us out reminded us that Apple has a recycling program so you can trade in your old phone. She inspected mine (no damage; I have never broken a phone), entered some info into their system … and said, "Wow! Looks like we can offer you $199 for your 4S." That's more than a lot of 4S phones are going for on CL or eBay! So basically for the upgrade, I just had to pay tax which was less than $20. Sweet!

Anyway, by the time we got done, we were feeling a little tired and decided to postpone our movie plans. We went home and Nate tried out some home roasting of coffee. He had some green coffee beans, and we got a popcorn air popper that he used to roast them. It made a mess but worked great and this morning he made coffee with them. I'm not a coffee drinker, but the beans smelled really good after degassing overnight. He's going to experiment with variables and learn to roast his own perfect coffee.

Nate's working today, so I'm taking it easy. Enjoyed orange sweet rolls and tea this morning with Nate. Just doing laundry and a little vacuuming, and some reading. Watching Final Four tonight. and waiting on baby.



bump from 36.5 weeks
April is here, and Baby Jones' due date is in April. Whaaaat. April 19. We're on the final countdown.

This evening I'm hoping to install the car seat and get a hospital bag packed. There are a bajillion lists on the Internet suggesting what to pack in a hospital bag, but fortunately I found a more simple list from Vanderbilt. Basically those are the last essentials and I'll be ready to get this show on the road. I've been sleeping horribly, like 3–4 hours last night, which people say is just preparation for baby. Fair enough, but at least I'll have a baby to care for and some time off work so I can be super tired at home and not sitting at my desk trying to write and edit.

We have some organizing/cleaning that needs to be done but it's mostly "ideally we'll get this done" and not so much "we have to get this done." Nate reminds me not to worry about the stuff that doesn't really matter. I think it was Sunday morning that I woke up feeling overwhelmed and he said, "You just worry about being pregnant." I wailed, "You mean I can't worry about the weeds in the yard?" (This time of year I'm usually out dumping weed killer on our grassless yard. Thankfully our neighbor Kevin just mowed everything down yesterday.) We did make some big progress organizing Saturday and took a huge box of clothes to Goodwill. I just gotta remind myself that now is not the time to worry about whether or not we need a new roof or our house needs painted or that big tree in the front yard needs trimmed. It can wait.

This is the first week that Nashville actually feels like spring. 70s all week. Yesterday after work I went to the zoo to walk for about an hour. I hadn't seen the kangaroo exhibit that opened last fall. It's cool; you can walk around where the kangaroos are and thus potentially pet one—but you have to stay on the path and yesterday all of the kangaroos were laying in the grass taking naps so I didn't even get close to touching one.
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