So, when are you guys going to have kids? You do plan on having kids, right? Are you trying for kids? (I’m sad to say, we actually got this last question several times. I mean, can you think of a more awkward thing to ask?)
If you are a young childless couple and you have been married for, say, 2.5 seconds, you have gotten those questions. And more. Today, this goes out to you. And to all those people out there who ask those questions. If you have ever asked someone one of those questions, may I direct your attention to this.
See, life is full of stages. There’s the single stage, there’s “talking,” and dating, engaged, married, parents, empty nesters and so on. Each stage generally transitions into the next. Some of those transitions are super fast and some take years. But no transition period is wrought with more advice-giving commentators than the transition from being a childless couple to parents.
For those of you who have yet to enter this time of life, or to those who have passed this stage so long ago that you no longer remember it, it’s an awkward time.
It’s full of potentially well-meaning people asking questions that you have no idea how to answer. Or, you get the potentially well-meaning advice givers. There are some genuinely awesome and caring parents out there who just want to see everyone have babies. But speaking as one who has lived through it, most of the commentators on ones parental status seem to fall in one of two camps. The first one being the have-babies-right-now-you’re-missing-everything people, and the second group being the I-hate-my-life-with-children-wait-as-long-as-you-can people. Both camps somehow manage to phrase their advice in a way that makes you feel like you’re not a grown adult until you have children, for that is when you will finally understand either love (the first group) or responsibility (the second group).
These questions are hard to answer as a childless couple. My husband and I were asked when we were going to have kids when we were newlyweds and babies were the furthest thing from our minds. We were asked the question when we desperately wanted a baby, but it hadn’t happened yet. And we were asked when I was already pregnant but not telling anyone. We have five years’ worth of experience with these questions and I still don’t know how one’s supposed to answer them.
Generally, I kept it pretty vague. Like we have a [however many] year plan, or we’re still getting used to being married, or, my personal favorite, I’m still working on raising my husband. There are all sorts of reasons that can delay having children, be they medical, financial, emotional, and the list goes on and on. When someone asks when you’re ever going to have kids, should you answer honestly? Like, we’re waiting to have children until we pay off a couple of bills. We need x amount of dollars. Since you’re seemingly so invested in the status of our reproduction, would you like to donate to the cause? Or, the doctor says I need to go through some medical procedures before conceiving, would you like me to explain these in depth to you? Or, and I’ve been tempted to use this one, I’m just waiting until you seem to enjoy your own children a bit more before I decide to embark on the same journey.
I purposefully didn’t throw this out to the internet until after I became a parent. I had a nagging little thought in the back of my head that after becoming a parent I would feel differently about the whole situation. And I do. And I don’t at the same time.
When you’re in a stage of life so wonderful and lovely, it’s hard not to want to get other people on board and share in that same joy, too. I think that’s what most already-parents and advice-givers are getting at when they make all their comments. I mean, after we had Roo I wanted to go to my childless friends and be all, THIS IS AWESOME. Yes, it’s exhausting and crazy and sometimes scary, but mainly WOW. Do it. Just do it. Be a parent. It’s the best.
But I refrained.
Life comes in stages. I would never tell my sixteen-year-old brother who is in the dating stage to speed things up because marriage is the best thing in the world. While I think marriage absolutely rocks, he is not in that stage yet. He needs to experience dating – every thrilling, nerve-wracking, mortifying, and exciting aspect of it – to the full extent.
So I propose a revolution. No, that’s too strong of a word. A revolution lite. A ‘lution if you will. Let’s stop hurrying people along. Let’s let them do their thing. Live their stages and transitions. Let’s keep the questions about their reproduction to ourselves. And if we do have something to say, let’s be cool about it. As a brand new parent, I do feel like my view of love has completely transformed, but so has my parents’ view. They are first time grandparents and are enjoying it more than anyone I’ve ever seen. My mom said that being a grandparent is a different type of love than being a parent. But she isn’t hurrying me along to the grandparent stage. She isn’t telling me to “just wait until…”. She gets it. I’m in this stage.
So people of this world, let’s love the stage we’re in. Let’s encourage others going through their transitions. And above all, let’s stop asking people if they’re currently trying to have babies. Again, I leave you with this.
After just one month with our Ruby Ellison, I can assuredly say that this new family of three thing is way better than my dreamiest dreams. I don’t know how, but it’s possible!
-She weighs 10 lbs 4.5 oz and is 21.5 inches long. She has moved out of the newborn size diapers and has outgrown most of her newborn clothes. Yes, Mommy cried.
At one month, Ruby LOVES:
- laying on her changing pad. She’ll stretch and smile for as long as we’ll let her!
- looking at her books.
- looking at random inanimate objects. She’ll choose a blank wall over a tv any day.
- eating. She’s a ferocious eater!
- cuddling up on her Daddy’s chest.
- music. It can always calm her down.
- being swaddled at night. As of right now, she routinely sleeps around 6 hour stretches at night. I know – “it won’t last long” is what we hear, but we’re loving it anyway!
Ruby doesn’t so much love:
- having lotion put on.
- baths. She likes keeping her lint hidden in her rolls, thankyouverymuch.
- clothes being stretched over her head.
- falling asleep at times. She fights sleep like her mama did!
I don’t want to forget:
- how she splays her fingers out as she’s eating and rests one little arm on me.
- the way she keeps one arm by her face at all times.
- her adorable little startle reflex.
- her faces and noises. She’s the most expressive little baby! And very loud – she breathes like a grown man and grunts and squeals all the time.
- her adorable confused little face when her daddy gave her her first bottle. She would cry a tiny little perplexed cry in between drinks. What is this bottle contraption and who knew my daddy had milk, too?! Ha!
RooBunny, we adore you. Being your mom is the most wonderful blessing. Sometimes I just hold you and cry happy tears. You love it. Ha! And your dad? He was born to be a daddy. The way you two look at each other is something special. You’re what we’ve been waiting for, precious girl.
(You can read part 1 here)
… We were (FINALLY) getting a baby!
Our family came back in the room and we told them that we would be headed to surgery within the hour. I was disappointed, but also relieved that an end was finally in sight!
One of my favorite moments of the whole process was at that moment. Mixed with disappointment and relief was also a lot of fear. With my family all around, someone mentioned that we should pray. My Papa (my mom’s dad) then prayed the most beautiful prayer that filled me with strength. I still remember his words – I remember having the thought that those words were seared into my heart and I would never forget that prayer.
Then it was surgery time!
There were a few times in my pregnancy that the doctors thought I would need a c-section, so I had definitely read up on what to expect. But it was a lot more difficult and scary than I thought it would be. Maybe it’s because I had already been through the days of labor?
I was still reacting to some medicine and threw up throughout the whole surgery. I was horrified because I thought the movement of throwing up would make them cut something they weren’t supposed to. Ha! And throwing up while lying on your back isn’t the most convenient activity. I shook the whole time and drifted in and out of consciousness. At the time I thought I was falling asleep. I remember feeling so disappointed in myself for keeping on drifting in and out of sleep at one of the most important moments of my life. I’m not the most rational patient apparently.
But then I heard the most beautiful sound – a sweet little (loud!) cry! Oh the joy! The doctor and nurses started exclaiming really loudly and I couldn’t understand half of it because I kept drifting in and out, but I could tell that they were talking about how big the baby was.
Ruby was way bigger than everyone had expected. The doctor kept asking where I had hidden her in my short torso. I refrained from asking her if she had SEEN my pregnant belly. Ha! According to the doctor, her size was the reason that she never helped me progress or got into the proper positioning – she couldn’t fit! And if we had attempted vaginal birth, we would have ended up in an emergency c-section due to her size. God knew all along! His ways are definitely higher than ours.
I didn’t want Roo to ever feel alone, so I asked Timothy to promise to stay with her after she was born. He got so many great photos and they even videoed him cutting the cord! She received two 9s on her apgar test – so healthy! He brought Roo to meet me, but he couldn’t stay close long because I started losing too much blood.
After surgery and that first night of Ruby’s life is still a blur. I remember parts. I remember after she was born and they were finishing that I knew something wasn’t right. But I had a peace because I knew Timothy was with the baby and so I let myself sleep. The most vivid thing I remember is being in the recovery room. Oh the sweet precious relief of getting to hold my baby after months (years!) of dreaming of her face! The nurse helped me nurse her, and it was even better than I had built it up in my mind to be. She ate for a while, and it was just our little family and the nurse in the recovery room for over an hour. I kept squeezing her warm, wiggly legs and marveling at her, and Timothy kept feeding me ice chips and going on about how proud he was. It was perfect!
After recovery we were taken to our room and our family got to meet Ruby. She is named after my Bibi, her great-grandmother, and it was such a joy to announce her name to our family!
That night I remember crying to my parents that I was “missing” it. I was so out of it from the medicine and falling in and out of sleep. I just felt so confused and like nothing I said was making any sense. I was afraid I wasn’t present enough to remember her first night. But morning came! The next day they gave me two blood transfusions and that was when I started feeling a bit more normal. And from that point on, I remember every sweet moment with our darling Roo!
I wouldn’t change a thing about the whole process because God clearly had His hand on it the entire time. I’m so thankful I was able to experience labor and contractions and know in my heart that I tried everything humanly possible to get her here without surgery. I’m so thankful for the medical advancements that allowed me to have a c-section to get my baby here safely. I’m so thankful for a family who lifted us up in prayer the whole time.
Recovering from the c-section hasn’t been the most fun physically, but I had a hard time with it mentally. I can’t think of many more times in my life that I was so afraid, yet I knew everything would be okay. I struggled for a while with sadness and disappointment with how the delivery went. Postpartum is a trying time. It’s brutal and beautiful all at the same time. I think that’s just part of God’s design. The birthing process is a painful one that doesn’t necessarily end in the delivery room. It’s a transformative event!
And I’m so proud to be the mom of our sweet little Roo. She has defied the doctors from the start! She was on watch for premature delivery and growth restrictions from the beginning, but her chubby little self had to be kicked out! And don’t get me started on how many times she flipped in those last few weeks. I’m still amazed that something so large was able to move around in there at all.
We couldn’t be more blessed – or thankful! We’re so glad you’re here Ruby Ellison!!!
I’m typing this one-handed while feeding a baby. I feel like such a mom. Ha!
In case you’re the squeamish type, or my dad, don’t worry. This isn’t one of those birth stories. I’m leaving out the nitty gritty. Not that I’ve forgotten the nitty gritty. Oh no. It’s seared in my mind. But there are some things that the internet just isn’t ready for.
Ruby decided that she loved the womb too much to come out on her own, so I was scheduled for an induction at 41 weeks. The induction details were written on a prescription script which cracked me up immensely. If I had known my doctor could just write me a prescription for a baby, I would have requested one a long time ago. Ha!
All day Tuesday I was a nervous wreck. I told myself that I could feel all the emotions until Timothy and I got in the car, and then all I could feel was excitement. I kept to myself that day (it was either that or act like a snapping turtle) and went on a cleaning spree. I wanted everything perfect for our little girl when she came home. Ten minutes before we had to leave I realized that I hadn’t written anything on our kitchen chalkboard for her. I had scrubbed out the refrigerator, vacuumed her room to oblivion, and washed every article of clothing in the house, but had failed to make a welcome home sign. After I cried for most of those ten minutes that she wouldn’t feel welcome when we got home, we got in the car and made the longest drive of my life.
We were getting a baby!
We got to the hospital and the doctor started the first induction medicine at 5:13 Tuesday evening. (I was super specific in my notes at the beginning of labor. You know, before the PAIN.) My doctor was surprised at the progress I had made on my own and told me that we would probably be getting a baby in the wee hours of the night.
We were getting a baby!
I brought an iPad loaded with books, knitting, and other things to keep me occupied during the waiting period, but I couldn’t focus on anything and mostly stared at the baby crib. Timothy loaded up on his technology and the free Coke. Ha!
Our family members came and helped immensely in their own individual ways. Some brought food, some brought games, some held my hand and kept quiet through my contractions, some told jokes and made everyone laugh, some prayed when I became fearful, some bribed the nurses with donuts – we pretty much have the best family ever.
That first night our nurse got a little snippy and kept making comments about how I needed to rest. I would need my strength and maybe my family should leave? As soon as she left the room we would all laugh and shrug her warning off because, clearly …
We were getting a baby! Soon!
Except not. My contractions were getting stronger and closer, but my body and the baby just weren’t taking the hint. The doctor came back Wednesday afternoon and had the “talk.” I had been through a whole round of the induction medicines and had made zero progress. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I was getting really tired and worn down from the (pointless?) contractions, and she said we had two options. I could try another round of the medicines or we could do a c-section. It was up to me. I wanted with all my heart to avoid a c-section, so we opted for more of the medicines.
We were getting a baby! But apparently not soon.
My sweet husband was my rock throughout the whole process. But one of my favorite moments was when the doctor had finished a very painful procedure in the middle of the night and said “are you okay?” Timothy, still drowsy and half out of it said, “yeah, I’m okay.” Haha! I’m never letting him live that one down.
Over the next two days I gave everything I could. The nurses were all very sweet and supportive and helped me out immensely. Any time they would suggest I try a certain thing or move into a certain position, I would do it. One of them even found the anesthesiologist in the middle of the night and talked her into giving me an epidural even though I “technically” wasn’t progressed enough for one. Let me tell you, that epidural was AMAZING. I know I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did without it!
I remember asking each nurse at every shift change if they thought I would be able to have a vaginal birth. Once I had asked the same nurse that question over more than one shift, I started getting a little discouraged. One nurse came in and said that all the nurses were talking about how long I had been there, and she was going to do everything in her power to get me to have my baby. She ended up getting me a popsicle before her shift was over. Which was awesome, I’m not going to lie. But it was no baby.
Throughout my whole labor they kept having to adjust the monitors because Ruby was moving like crazy. At one point they lost her heartbeat and struggled to find it. The popsicle nurse came in to adjust the monitor and felt around on my belly and got a strange look on her face. She went and got another nurse and asked her what she felt. That nurse was puzzled, too. So then they got a third (?!) nurse. They couldn’t figure out what the baby was doing and how she was positioned. It turned out that she had flipped sideways! She really had no intention of making her way out. Ha!
Fast forward a few hours, the baby had flipped back into the correct position, contractions were strong and consistent, I was exhausted, and I had taken all the induction medicines that they could safely give. Something shifted in my heart Thursday afternoon and I started feeling defeated. I couldn’t imagine having the strength to deliver the baby, no matter which delivery method. Looking back, I think my body was just exhausted. It had been a very emotional time. The amazing doctor and nurses had tried every trick in the book to help Roo and I out, and it was a roller coaster of good news then bad news. Progress then no progress. Then backwards progress. The contractions were draining me, I had some sort of reaction to some of the medicines they used and got rashes and started throwing up, and the time was running out to deliver the baby since they had broken my water.
Then, around 5:00 on Thursday, 48 hours after we had started the induction process, the doctor came in and gently told me that we were out of things to try and it was time for a c-section.
We were (FINALLY) getting a baby!
… to be continued …
Ruby Ellison Gothra
Our sweet little (CHUNKY) RooBunny made her much anticipated appearance on a rainy Thursday evening nearly a month (say whaaaa????) ago. Since that glorious day she has been working on expanding her cheeks, I’ve been recovering from an unplanned cesarean, her daddy has changed his first and subsequent 28984739874 diapers, and we’ve all been settling into a new rhythm as a family of three.
Life with our Ruby is even better than my loftiest dreams.
Much more posts to come. Becoming a mother is quite possibly the most exciting adventure of them all.
I'm honored that you took time to stop by my blog! My name is Whitney, and I'm a diy loving, piano playing, sewing obsessed, thrifty, non-house cleaning, crafty newlywed. I love God, my husband, and life as a wife. If you'd like to know more, just check out my About Me page. Much love!
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