Thursday, May 31, 2012

Parent Night

You know what they should have at movie theatres?  Parent Nights.  This would be a showing of a movie that adults want to see (AKA The Vow, Hunger Games, etc.) in a child-friendly setting.  What I mean by this is that the movie would play at a lower volume so it wouldn't hurt delicate baby ears and crying/fussing would be relatively acceptable.  This would be awesome so that moms like me could go to see a movie without it blasting the volume so high into my 4 and a half month old's ears and without having to worry that the slightest fussiness will bother other viewers.

When people see movies such as Madagascar, Shrek, etc., they don't worry as much about babies crying or fussing because it is understood that sometimes if an older child wants to see a kid movie, the parents may have to bring the younger child (perhaps a baby) along with them.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am just a kid at heart- I love anything ranging from Spongebob to Pixar films.  However, I don't always want to go to the theatre to watch a kid movie, and I don't know too many people who can babysit T.J.  Therefore, I end up not getting to see movies in the theatre many times.

Now don't get me wrong, this is part of being a parent.  Those are just the facts- selflessness comes with the job.  And I have no problem with giving up movie theatre dates, but it was just a thought.  How cool that would be!  You could meet other moms and families with children the same age as your children, and you could watch a movie you want to see without feeling pressured to duck out at the slightest fuss! 

A girl can dream, can't she?  =]

Friday, May 25, 2012


I have had JUST about enough.  Went to the pediatrician today.  Ended up seeing a different doctor even though we asked for an appointment with our previous pediatrician who knows us and our child, but instead we got another pediatrician who even grouchily admitted when he came in that it had been "one of those days" for him.  So then the best thing ever happens... he decides to give me a 10 minute lecture on why I should vaccinate my child and why it is a horrible idea not to, etc., etc., ETC.

I am done.  It is MY decision to not vaccinate MY child.  If you want to vaccinate your child, then, by all means, GET ON WITH IT!  I tried to stay polite with the man and end the conversation by saying, "It is just a personal decision.  We just aren't comfortable with it," and yet, amazingly, somehow that didn't seem to work for him!  If you have a different opinion- great!  You are more than entitled to it, but please back off and allow me to have my opinion as well.  Just because my opinion doesn't happen to be the "popular" one right now, it is still my opinion that I am just as entitled to.  Years ago, it was the popular opinion that women shouldn't be able to vote- I am guessing that you are happy someone decided to stand up and say, "I disagree."

Here it is, point blank: your child, your choice to vaccinate.  My child, my choice to vaccinate.  Yes, I know the risks.  However, to me, the risk of not knowing all the risks of vaccines (because no, I'm sorry we do NOT know everything about them) is greater.  Oh, by the way, apparently deodorant and SUNSCREEN help cause breast cancer!!  So the entirely safe, wonderful sunscreen we use to prevent SKIN cancer, is now contributing to BREAST cancer.  See what I mean?  We don't know everything.  We can't know everything.  I am just saying that the "unknowns" bother me more than the "knowns" at this point, okay?  Now get off my back and let me make my own decision for the child I spent 9 months carrying and caring for in the whom and then a freaking hour pushing through my hips and out of my BIRTH CANAL!!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lindsey Portugal Photography

While my son is in his crib staring at his mobile in awe, I thought I would get on and write a quick post about something special.  As some of you may know, I like to support artistic entrepreneurs just starting out.  One of the best ways I can do this is through advertising for them.  Whether this is by handing out their cards, bragging about how wonderful they are to friends and family, or posting on my Facebook and blog, I like to help!

Well, this particular entrepreneur is close to my heart, my sister.  Some of you may follow her blog, Portugal Ponderings (If you don't, you may want to check it out!  I follow it, so you can find it in a snap!), and if you do follow her blog, you know that she has just begun her own photography business!  It is an exciting new journey for her, and she is enjoying every minute of it!  So this is my shout out:

If you are in the Houston area or know of anyone in the Houston area looking for a photographer, check out my sister, Lindsey Portugal!  

Why?  Well, I will tell you!  You are not going to find a more creatively meticulous person in the world!  If you want perfect photos, Lindsey is your gal.  She is is one of those people that won't settle for good or even wonderful!  She wants perfection in her art (You should see her decorative cakes- sheesh!!!).  She seeks this perfection by being open to clients' ideas and suggestions as well as through professional development.  She reads photography books, researches and studies others' photography, and, most importantly, practices to scaffold her knowledge of photography and increase her skill.

Not enough to convince you?  Then check out her Facebook page "Lindsey Portugal Photography" to see her photos from the recent engagement shoot she did.  You won't be disappointed.  =]  And it would be totally groovy if you could "like" her Facebook page to show her some love and give some support to an entrepreneur just starting out.  I would dig it.  That's right... groovy... dig... I brought out the big guns.


P.S. You can leave a comment here to let me (and her) know what you think!  You know I love me some comments!  =D

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Push Him Out! Push Him Out! Waaaaay Out!!!



I, apparently, had an appointment Wednesday, the 11th, at 8:50am instead of on my actual due date.  At that point, I was 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated.  That is when the midwife, Liza, told me, "I don't think you are going to make it to your induction on Wednesday."  She said she thought that I would give birth that weekend.  She really wanted to deliver T.J., but, alas, he showed up on Dorothy's watch!  I loved Dorothy, but Liza would have been just as spectacular- all the midwives are fabulous!  =]

That leads me to another correction: when I went into the office during the afternoon (right before being admitted), I was then 3-4 cm.  THAT is when Dorothy decided it was time to admit me, and she told me she would meet us at the hospital.  That makes a lot more sense than being in that much pain and going to the hospital when only 2 CENTIMETERS DILATED!!!  Haha!

This isn't so much a correction as it is some funny information I left out... I labored some in the bathtub in our condo wearing a bathing suit and sipping a raspberry black tea lemonade from Starbs!  =]  Ahhh, it was glorious, you know, when I wasn't in terrible pain and all...

All righty, ready for the rest?  Well, ready or not, here it comes!

You know, the awesome thing about going into labor is that, if it happens at the proper time, you are SO ready for it.  At least I was.  I was tired of being fat.  I was tired of being bloated.  I was tired of being... well... tired- I mean sheesh!  I had to pee like 7 times a night for goodness's sake!  This is all not mentioning the fact that the baby is SO real by 9 months.  I had carried my child for a very long time, I knew he was a boy, I knew his name, I could FEEL him SO vividly moving around... I wanted to meet him!  God planned this so perfectly so that the excitement of meeting your little addition to the family greatly outweighs your fear of the pain involved in labor and delivery.  Some may disagree, and are so very entitled to, but that is the way it was for me.  =]  I was ready.

You know... at the very beginning of my pregnancy, I thought that I would really, really try to give birth naturally (you know, no drugs).  






Now don't get me wrong, I was never of the opinion that I was absolutely, never ever, no matter what going to get an epidural.  However, after going through the birthing process, the thought of going "drug free" is hilariously absurd to me now- especially considering my low pain tolerance.  It is actually kind of funny how the thought of getting the epidural evolved during my pregnancy.  At the beginning, let's say I was at 20% thought of getting the epidural... well... as the pregnancy continued and I came closer and closer to "the day", that 20% grew to probably 95% thought of getting the epidural opposed to not.  xD  Yes, I was chicken- and for good reason!  I do not do well with pain... I am not one of those "he-women" who can just butch through a stubbed toe, etc.  

But I digress...

We arrived at the hospital and checked in, and then we were placed in a nice birthing room with wood floors, a tub, etc.  (I mean, good grief, the bathroom was nicer than master bath at our condo!)  Once Dorothy came in, she checked things out and asked if I wanted the epidural.  Everyone was really great about not pushing me into getting it- they knew that I had planned initially to go natural.  I decided that I wanted the drugs!  (It didn't take a lot of time or thought... haha!)  

During the epidural, even Travis couldn't be in the room.  I had to breathe through the contractions, leaning over a pillow.  I don't want to brag, but I did really well with not moving and becoming paralyzed by the epidural.  There was a small pinch, but the epidural really did not hurt badly at all; the anesthesiologist was fantastic.  I didn't want to see the needle before it went into my back because that would be, well, insane.  However, afterward, I definitely wanted to see it so I could see what a beast I was!  =D  The anesthesiologist showed me how big it was, and it was big but not as bad as I thought.

The happy juice hit pretty quickly...  P.S. Epidural?  Best. decision. of. my. life.

The best part of the epidural was obviously that it took away the pain, but another great effect of the epidural is indirect.  Because of the pain going away, I got a chance to sleeeeeeeeep!!!!  That was super important because I was already exhausted.  If I hadn't gotten sleep, I would have been too tired to push... which, obviously, would have been a problem for the little guy who was making his way out whether my body was ready or not.

Since I had the epidural, I could carry on a conversation with people and just enjoy labor in general.  We were laughing, talking, and having a fine time.  =]  Various people came in to see me and wish me luck!  It felt like forever to be truthful; I was wondering when it would be time to get the ball... er... baby rollin'!  

What happened when the epidural started running out?  I simply pressed a button and more would shoot into my blood stream!  Yayyyy happy juice!!!!

Now any of you who have had an epidural know that the feeling of your bottom half is... well... gone... my legs felt like they were 200 lbs each!  I could barely move them at all!  It was such an insane feeling!  Thus, if I couldn't control my legs (or any of my bottom half), I couldn't get up to pee (something you do very frequently during pregnancy).  Problem?  NAH!  Thankfully because of the epidural, you cannot feel them put the catheter (yikes!) in!  Not having to pee is one of the contributing factors to me getting some awesome sleep prior to pushing.  =]  Trust me, that is a good thing because they were PUMPING fluids into me like nobody's business!

And we all slept... Travis even hopped into the hospital bed and snuggled up to me for a nap.  Hey, it was getting late, and we were exhausted, we all needed some sleep!  

But... there were complications:

- Because of the epidural, my blood pressure got too low (this happened to my mother during one or both of her births), and so I had to have Ephedrine to raise it back up (ironic considering that it was so high I needed to be tested for Preclampsia).  

- They had to give me Pitocin because the epidural was making my contractions slow.

- A bigger problem occurred... one that scared all of us...

When I was laboring, the RN and midwife turned me from side to side (a normal thing they do during labor).  Well.... While I was lying to my right side, that steady baby heart rate started faltering... it would get too low and then over compensate.  Basically, my poor little baby was inside, stressed out, with a sporadic heart rate flying up and down.  =[

This was dangerous for T.J.  Dangerous enough for the midwife to bring in a doctor... the doctor checked it out, and the general consensus was that if his heart rate didn't level out again, I would need to have an emergency Cesarean Section.  Great.  This was devastating news for me.  I wanted SO badly to have my child vaginally.  They don't do VBACs these days (vaginal birth after a C-section), so if I had a C-section for this birth, that would determine that I would have C-sections for every next baby.  =[  Heart-breaking yes.  Would I put my child at risk to not break my own heart?  No.  I came to terms with it- it may have to go that way.  That was all there was to it.

Eventually, however, my mom realized that the heart rate only went sporadic when I was lying on my right side.  The midwife thought that that could be due to the positioning of the baby and the umbilical cord - perhaps he as lying on it?  Thus, I stayed on my left side and back for the remainder of my laboring.  Instantly his heart rate stabilized when I changed my positioning.

Before I move on, I want to say that at some point during this whole process, I remember it hit like a rush...

Different people from different departments were pouring in and out of the room, chaos was ensuing, and they put an oxygen mask on my face.  That is when I looked to my left at Travis's face- worry-stricken and in a painful, helpless shock.  I tried reassuring him that everything was fine and going to be fine, but I knew that my attempts were futile.  How do you make someone feel better when the love of their life is trying to deliver the second love of their life and is having everyone freak out around her and giving her a mask to help her breathe!?  I was more worried about Travis being scared to death than I was that I was getting extra oxygen through a mask.  Speaking of which, that oxygen mask was annoying... just sayin.

Anyway, so it was finally getting time to push.  The lovely shine-an-intense-burning-light-of-the-sun-toward-the-pregnant-lady's-crotch lights came on like glorious spotlights on the main, unmentionable attraction.  Lindsey got on one side of me to hold my right leg (WHICH, by the way, she did not sign up for- she actually planned on sitting on the sidelines away from "view" if ya know what I mean... well those dreams were thrashed by my enthusiastic midwife).  My mom held my left leg while Travis stood by, preparing for helping with the delivery.  If I had known that they didn't have to hold my legs, you know... that I could have used the sturdy metal stirrups instead to push on, I would have probably requested the stirrups.  I felt inhibited because I didn't want to thrust my mom and sister across the delivery room with my legs while pushing!!!  Anyway, we will get to that excitement in a bit.  

The midwife put on gloves and... i was just... gloriously exposed... awesome.  Speaking of which, (Haha, if that isn't a scary beginning to a sentence, then I don't know what is!) as I was... erm... there... I see new hospital faces peeking at me, smiling, THROUGH MY LEGS from across the room!  Truth be told, I kept a pretty happy disposition the whole time, but that kind of annoyed me.  I had to ask, "Ummm, who are they?!"  Apparently they were NICU people, just in case.  Ahhhh, nothing like being completely exposed whilst meeting new people.  "Well, hi there!  This is my crotch.  Nice to meet you!"

Finally it was time to "Push him out!  Push him out!  Waaaaaay out!"  xD  I will just sum this part up... I turned inside out and boom! we had a baby!  

okay... maybe I won't sum it up that much.

Dorothy broke my water, and we were ready to roll.  I don't want to freak any pregnant or wanting-to-be-pregnant women out, but it was excruciating.  The absolute hardest, most painful experience of my life.  By that point, the epidural had worn out, which is helpful for pushing but also makes it... well... HURT LIKE THE DICKENS!!!  Pushing is not easy as you can imagine.  I was asked to take a deep breath right before a contraction and then push for as long as possible while holding my breath.  This was particularly unpleasant with that stupid oxygen mask on; thankfully she finally took it off of me during the pushing.  That whole "screaming bloody murder while pushing" that you see in the movies... not true.  You are supposed to not make a peep while pushing!  Craziness!!!

I pushed for just under an hour (around 12:30 am-1:24am).  Unfortunately, I needed the episiotomy, but it helped the process go much smoother and quicker.  My sister, Lindsey, said that she had never seen me work harder at anything in my whole life.  And truly, I haven't.  When you know that you are working for your child's life, nothing, not even exhaustion or pain, can stop you.  I do remember saying a few times, however, "I can't do it."  To which my midwife replied, "You have to do it for your baby."  She was right.  And I did.

At one point during the birth, I don't personally remember when (I was busy after all), my sister nearly passed out.  It was near the end when she actually saw T.J.... um... emerging (Sorry, I warned ya!  Not for the faint of heart!).  The midwife was yanking little blue-gray T.J. to and fro by the head trying to get his shoulders out.  Travis had gloves on and was ready to help out, but just as he reached to pull T.J. out, Dorothy pushed him quickly out of the way so she could unwrap the cord from around his neck (that explained the heart rate issue).  Seeing all of this... joyousness... that is when Lindsey felt extremely woozy.  Apparently (I heard later) that Travis noticed this and told her quietly to sit down!  However, she pulled through like a champ!  She sucked it up, stopped watching the nether-regions, and stuck through it till the end!  As far as the rest of the birth goes, Travis helped Dorothy pull T.J. out, and he also cut the cord!  I held T.J. for a moment before they whisked him away to make sure he began breathing- that is when I heard his sweet little cry for the first time.  =']  

Once he was cleaned up, weighed, etc., I held that soft little bundle of love in my arms and knew my heart would never be the same.  <3

The beginning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Hey there, everyone!  I just wanted to take a quick break from my regularly scheduled labor and delivery story to write a post about my first, official baby-out-of-the-womb Mother's Day!  I say that because obviously, last Mother's Day (2011), T.J. was "here" but Travis, T.J., God, and I were the only ones who knew!  (I know it is past midnight so technically it isn't Mother's Day anymore, but let's just pretend, shall we?  ;] )  Oh... do you feel that???  Do you see the smoke???  That's right!  Here comes a flashbaaaaaaaackkkkkk....

 ::voice fading in the distance::

::smoke forming over your view and clearing to reveal Mother's Day 2011::

During Mother's Day 2011, Travis and I knew I was pregnant because just two days before I had tested.  I tested a little early because I didn't want to test so close to Mother's Day, get a negative result, and have the whole day ruined for me, but I also didn't want to MISS my "first" Mother's Day by not testing.  We went to the Engebretsen's home for Mother's Day, but we wanted to tell my parents in person that we were pregnant first.  Thus, it was a "private" Mother's Day for me.

We privately rejoiced in our hearts.

Travis privately gave me a card and a gift.

We privately celebrated.

We privately exchanged knowing glances and looks.

It was wonderful regardless of the privacy.  We had a baby.  He wasn't with us yet.  We didn't know whether he was a he or a she!  We didn't know anything... only that we had been extremely blessed... and that I was a mommy on that Mother's Day.  =]

Anywho!  When it came to pictures, what were we to do?  I wanted to get my "pregnant/first" Mother's Day picture!  But how?  Well, there has been a long-standing joke in the family about Travis and I being pregnant- we always joke about it... yes, we ARE strange, thanks for asking!  Thus, it was easy!  When we were taking photos, I "jokingly" said, "Haha!  Take a pic of Travis, me, and 'Riley'!"  (Riley was a very popular baby girl name when Travis and I started dating, so that was always the name we used for our "baby".  As we did the traditional pregnancy pose, I leaned in and said to Travis right before the picture was taken, "Give a real smile!"  And voila!  We had our picture!

The funny thing is that they TOTALLY bought it!  Kristin even popped over and took a picture with me as I held her tummy as if she were pregnant!!!  awesome.

That was my technical "first" Mother's Day... but, boy, is it better when the baby is OUT!  =]

::voice, once again, fading in the distance::

::smoke, once again, forming over your view and clearing to reveal Mother's Day 2012::

Today was different.  It wasn't private.  It wasn't silent.  It. was. awesome!

I woke up to breakfast in bed. <3
I received a card from T.J. and one from Travis! <3
I received a dozen red roses. <3
We went to church where I was handed a pink rose and told "Happy Mother's Day" multiple times. <3
I stood up during the service when they honored the moms. <3
Then I was taken to Starbucks for a yummy raspberry black tea lemonade- delish! <3
I was taken to Pei Wei for lunch(Travis initially tried Longhorn, but, of course, it was PACKED to the BRIM!  Heehee!) where we got take-out.  Then I got to eat it leisurely and comfortably- honestly, that was probably better than being in noisy Longhorn stressing about the possibility of T.J. fussing!  Ha!  Plus, who doesn't love them some chicken fried rice!?  <3
Then I was taken home where I took a two-hour nap while Travis took care of our energetic little munchkin. <3
We ended the night by happily watching "The Next Food Network Star"... if you haven't seen it, you should!  <3

And the best part of Mother's Day?  Being a mother of course! 

I love my little baby bear more than anything!  He is the joy of my life, and I am unbelievably grateful to the Lord for blessing us with T.J.  The joy of being a mommy overwhelms me sometimes.  I know this sounds super corny, but sometimes when I am rocking T.J., I cannot help but snuggle him close and just cry.  I feel like my heart is overflowing... how can one heart hold that much love?  I didn't think it could until T.J. came into our lives.  How is it that just as I feel like I have reached my maximum capacity of loving that little button, he somehow makes me love him exponentially more as another second ticks by? 

Then how much more must God love us?  He has a Son... He loves his Son.  I would give my son for no one.  HE gave His Son for everyone.  When I think on that, I realized just how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father.

This has been a wonderful day filled with wonderful memories.  Happy Mother's Day to all moms and moms-to-be.  I hope your day was as blessed as mine.

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb."  -Psalm 139:13

 -Please share some of your Mother's Day memories in a comment!  What did you do this year?  Do you have a favorite memory you would like to share?  Feel free!  I would love to read about it!-