Saturday, January 3, 2015

4 Hour Flight and a Day Full of Miracles

January 3rd, 2015 - Saturday

Wow. That was the first time I wrote 2015. :) I really want to do better about keeping a record (journal) of our family happenings. I guess because I have so many different options of how to do this (typing vs. hand writing, pictures, videos, etc.) it’s been hard for me to really go at it - at least writing stuff down. Anyways, I couldn’t go on to do another thing tonight before I took the time to write down my day today.

As I laid Madelyn down in her crib and Caleb was already in bed (all by 7:40PM Utah time!) I couldn’t help but stop and say a prayer right then to thank my Heavenly Father for how today went. I told Him, “Now, today could have gone SO much worse, but I thank thee that it didn’t.” :)

Our day started at 4:15am NC time (2:15am UT time). We left my parents house by 5:15am and got to the airport in good time. We had SO much stuff between Kirk, me, and Brooks. (Brooks flew to Utah with us on the same flight so he could help us with the kiddos. He starts at BYU on Monday with Kirk!)

Fun story: Kirk and Brooks went through the security metal detector before me and I was stuck behind holding Madelyn in her blanket trying to get a part of the stroller to pop off. I couldn’t do it with one hand so I had to lay her in one of the bins they use to put stuff in to go through the x-ray machine. Haha, the security person with a worried face was like “uhh, um, okay” but there was no other way for me to get the tray off the stroller and we were holding up the line! Ha. Just a fun fact that Madelyn has been laid down inside an airport security bin. I wanted to throw that story in here.

We got to the gate at 6:20ish. I went to the bathroom to nurse Madelyn. Kirk changed Caleb’s diaper and clothes out at the gate. I finished just in time to preboard. Miracle of miracles….it ended up that we had a WHOLE row...6 the 5 of us...when we were thinking we would only have 3 for the 5 of us. Because of this they let us bring Madelyn’s carseat on. That was AWESOME. I could lay her in it and she slept in it really well and that gave me two hands to help with Caleb.

Caleb did well at first going between Brooks and Kirk and looking out the window. Madelyn was in her carseat in 21A by the window, I was sitting in 21B, my backpack sat on 21C until I had to put it under the seat. Kirk sat in 21D by the isle, Caleb sort of was in 21E and Brooks was by the other window in 21F.

Thankfully I was able to get a little nap at the beginning of the flight...I was woken up by Caleb crying non stop with his raspy voice. (He has had a few green boogers the past couple of days as well as diarrhea and has been teething like CRAZY...and has been functioning on less sleep because of the teething...all a very bad mixture for my little 17 month old.) I tried to just ignore it and hope Kirk could calm him down...but Kirk tossed his phone at me to get my attention and help. So he gave me Caleb and I worked on getting him to sleep for about 15-20 minutes and MIRACLE...he finally fell asleep. He was SOO tired. He ended up with the whole top part of his body on my lap and his legs in the open seat by the isle. About 3 minutes after he fell asleep Madelyn woke up! Ah. I could NOT wake Caleb up...I didn’t know what time it was. I tried calling to Kirk  quietly...nothing. I threw a blanket at/on him...nothing. I threw a burp cloth at his head that landed on his shoulder...nothing. Then thankfully after my failed attempts and Madelyn starting to slowly get more worked up a 10-12 year old boy was walking by (miracle). I stopped him and asked him to wake up Kirk. He looked at me weird and with a face that says “are you sure?” He poked Kirk a few times...nothing. I told him to just shove him! So he pushed him a little bit harder and Kirk finally woke up and gave the kid a dirty/confused look. I felt so bad for him but I quickly sent him on his way with a thank you! I got Kirk’s attention and pulled Madelyn out of the car seat and gave her to him. I asked what time it was...and of course it was time to feed her! Ah. I was still not going to wake up Caleb but Madelyn was getting antsy. I quickly decided that I could nurse her while Caleb was on my lap. He had positioned himself just right that I could do it (miracle!). So yes...if you are wondering...I felt like super mom. Haha. I even had Kirk take a picture. Kirk started to fall back asleep, but thankfully I got his attention before he did and said, “Don’t you dare fall asleep again while I have these two on my lap!” Ha, oh man. He smiled and realized that it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to fall asleep on me.

I finished nursing Madelyn and gave her back to Kirk. I closed my eyes for maybe a minute and then Caleb woke up! :( Dang it. At least he got a 20-30ish minute nap. He was so much happier! Thank heavens! Now, not too long after all this Madelyn decided to have one of the hugest dirty diapers. So she leaked a little out onto her clothes. Could have been worse though! And good thing I brought an extra pair of clothes (another super mom point). ;)

The rest of the flight was pretty good. We all played musical chairs throughout the 4 hour flight. We were all sitting in different seats when we landed. Haha. Right as we landed Caleb did a doosy in his diaper...but we had to wait until we were parked at the gate for Kirk to go back to the bathroom and change him. Good thing I brought an extra pair of clothes for Caleb too! ;) One more point! Now...I don’t like bringing extra clothes for the kids because it takes up precious room in the bag of their food, toys, etc. but I know it is pretty much a necessity… *sigh*

We arrived in Utah around 9:20ishAM. Oh, funny story. As we are sitting there waiting to get off the plane one of the flight attendants comes on the overhead microphone and says something like, “A guitar and stroller have just arrived at the gate…” Brooks sort of takes in a breath and gets tense for a second...a few seconds later he laughed. He thought the lady had said, “A guitar has arrived and has just been stolen…” BAHAHAHAHA. Oh man. I am laughing out loud right now remembering this. Haha. He clarified with me though that she said stroller. I thought it was interesting that they even said that over the intercom. They have never done that before. Side note: Brooks was a little worried overall about his guitar...we had showed him the video “United Breaks Guitars”. Check out the video. It’s pretty funny!

Well, we got our bags, squished everything into Kirks’ parents minivan (miracle) and we were off to Provo. Phew. What a morning! After dropping Brooks off at new student orientation and getting some lunch, we all went to bed from 1PM to 5PM (with a little break to feed Madelyn in there. Oh, and Kirk didn’t get to sleep until 2:20ish because he was so kind to take Madelyn and be awake with her until she fell asleep! THANK YOU HUBBY! 10 points for you!) ;) Oh, it felt so good to sleep after going to bed past Midnight and waking up at 4am.

Kirk went to get Brooks around 5 and drop his stuff off at his apartment and then they came back and we had dinner...a dinner that I had prepared with a crying Caleb at my legs. It just goes to show how out of it Caleb is when he is just all out of sorts - even after a 4 hour nap! Thankfully he calmed down a little, ate some dinner, took a bath, and was in bed by 7:30pm! Another miracle.

I trimmed Brooks’ hair quickly before Kirk took him to go grocery shopping (for us too). Madelyn is sleeping soundly in her crib next to my bed and I am just overcome with thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for a day that was so good...or at least could have been a lot worse. ;)


Kristine B. Perry

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Caleb's Birth Story - Dad's Perspective

For months, Kristine and I have prepared for the birth and delivery of our baby. Even in the first months of pregnancy, Kristine and I began reading and preparing for the birth. Kristine decided early on that she wanted to go all-natural. Originally this was influenced heavily by a fear of needles but as we read several books, we began realizing the adverse side effects of pain medication in labor on babies.

The first book we began reading was Hypnobirthing. In the early chapters, the author kept referring back to the naturalist doctor Grantley Dick Read. Unknowingly at first, we'd also began reading his book "Childbirth without Fear." Read's book helped Kristine to better understand the process of childbirth and really come to feel that because it is a natural human process, labor and delivery could occur without extreme pain.

After figuring out all our insurance information (what a pain!), we chose a practice in American Fork to deliver our baby. The Central Utah Women's Clinic has both midwives and doctors and deliver their babies in either the Timpanogas or American Fork hospitals. We choose to see the midwives because we felt that they shared our same values of unmedicated, natural birth--trusting the body to perform the way it was intended.

One of the first midwives we met was mama Claudia. Considered the "grandmother" among the other midwives, she's had years of experience and seems unphased by little things that have the potential to go wrong. Her simple confidence that everything would be fine certainly strengthened my own.

As the months passed, we were thrilled to find out we were having a boy! What this meant, however, is that we had to start from scratch on choosing a name! We had plenty of girl names but boy names were harder to come by. I liked Clark for a long time. One of Kristine's favorite names throughout the pregnancy was Kent. She had a hard time falling in love with ANY boy name at all and was little help in suggesting them. She served primarily as the veto committee :). Kirk Jr was always on (but low) on the list but never quite felt right. Around month 6, while riding on the train to my internship in Salt Lake, the name Caleb popped into my head. To me, the name Caleb was both soft, yet strong. It felt sensitive but also powerful. I loved it! 

As I did with many others, I began googling the meaning of it and looked up who Caleb was in the bible. Caleb and Joshua were among the spies sent by Moses to scout out the land of Caanan. Only the two of them, of the 12 spies sent (one representing each tribe), believed they could inhabit the land. They knew that it was promised to them and had faith that the Lord would help them to receive it. Because of their faithfulness, Caleb and Joshua were the only two adults to receive the promised land after the children of Israel wandered for 40 years. The Lord praises him for his being whole hearted and following him fully. After that, I began calling the baby Caleb and almost exclusively referring to him as such. Kristine warmed up to it quickly and the name still felt good when he was born.

As his due date approached, I was PLAGUED with excitement and anticipation! Everyone always refers to 37 weeks as "full term" and so my hopes were high that he'd come early. 37 weeks came and went, as did 38, 39, and even 40. Day after day my coworkers would ask if he'd arrived yet and day after day I'd have to say no. Kristine's family arrived in town on our due date and together we waited for the baby to come. Everyone looked at Kristine as if she were about to explode--a time bomb ticking. With no complications to the pregnancy, Kristine and I had no reason to worry--just wait.

At 39 weeks, we weren't sure if her water had broken or not. We had a couple reasons to suspect that it might have so we had the midwife check at our appointment. The water had not broken and she was already at a 3 but contractions were light and infrequent. More waiting! Needless to say, however, we did everything we could think of to speed things up! I rubbed pressure points in her feet, we went on long walks (including a 3 mile one up the canyon), we even jumped on the trampoline! Nothing seemed to be working.

On Pioneer day, the 24th, we had a big Butler family get together at Kiwanis park in Provo. Kristine was 4 days "overdue" and we were getting more anxious. At our last appointment, we were told that the next appointment would include an ultrasound, non-stress test, and a discussion about induction. These things all stressed Kristine out for fear that any complication found would lead to immediate induction. With little to lose but much to gain, we resorted to castor oil. At 10 pm on the 24th, I mixed Kristine's castor oil with orange juice, poured a glass for myself and we said "cheers!" to parenthood!

We went to sleep like normal that evening, but starting at around 1 that morning, Kristine began waking up every half hour to use the bathroom. At 4, she woke me up to help her while she was having contractions. "I Love Lucy" served as a temporary distraction but eventually the contractions and throwing up because of the castor oil became too strong. After a short nap, I labored with Kristine the rest of the morning as I massaged/pressed on her back, rubbed her legs and feet, and tried to help her relax as the contractions came. The timing of contractions steadily grew closer and closer until it was almost time to go to the hospital. While I finished packing the hospital bags, Karolyn, who'd gone shopping for us and bought us a back up massager, helped Kristine through a number of contractions.

To prepare ourselves for the birth and delivery, Kristine and I took a Bradley class together. The Bradley method totes that it's a "husband-coached" approach. The main premis is that because birth is a natural event in a healthy woman's body, total relaxation of the surrounding muscles etc allows for the uterus and birthing muscles to function efficiently. The husbands role is to help his wife achieve total relaxation through physical touch, talking, etc. In addition to this, the class equipped us with an overall knowledge of what to expect, what's normal, what things the nurses will do, what we can request etc. This class helped us to have a better mental picture of what was to come and be better prepared.

At 1:30, we left for the hospital while the contractions were about 3 minutes apart (from start to start) and lasting for 60 seconds from start to peak. Kristine certainly had a lot of contractions in the car! One of the massagers Karolyn bought allowed Kristine to sit up with her back against it--that Saved her. More contractions came as we arrived at the hospital so stopped in the parking lot, the elevator, and the reception desk while Kristine leaned against me.

The first room we were placed in was small, bright, and cold--not a perfect environment for laboring in. In this room we checked in, answered a number of health history questions, more contractions, and they checked Kristine's dilation: a 7! I was thrilled that she'd progressed so far already! She was handling everything beautifully. The other thing they wanted was a good strip of the baby's heartbeat. They found the heartbeat with little trouble and it remained constant throughout both contractions and relaxation. For whatever reason, however, they want to see 2 influxes in the heart rate. His was so constant that there were few big changes so we ended up laboring for about 30 minutes in that room. To our joy, Claudia was the on-call midwife and eventually just sent us over to a bigger, warmer room because of how well everything else was going.

To my surprise, Karolyn, Alisha, and Luke showed up at the hospital while we were still getting checked in and settled! Thank goodness for them that laboring in the hospital didn't go all day and night! The new room was up in the corner with lots of big windows and plenty of room to breath. Kristine kept rolling through contractions as I assumed the runners stance and pushed on her knees. At about 3:45, Kristine moved to the tub where the jets helped her to relax her legs and soothed the pain. I sat on the side and just held her hand and talked her through contractions and was SO impressed by the way she was handling the pain. At this point in the labor, Kristine was no longer silently enduring them though! A couple squeals that sounded like she was pushing alarmed the nurse and motivated them to want to check her dilation. She got out of the tub had one contraction, then another, and then POP!--a gush of water all over the floor! When they checked her, she was fully dilated and ready to move on to pushing!

The first pushing position Kristine tried was on her hands and knees with her head against a pillow on the propped up table back. This helped relieve some of the back cramping she'd had throughout every contraction and gave me an angle to push on. I stood on the table and pressed down much like I was doing CPR. Together we worked and Kristine pushed and pushed and pushed.

Meanwhile, another of Claudia's patients across the hall was in the same stage! Claudia occasionally stepped out to be with the other woman and check how she was doing and she ended up delivering about 30 minutes before us. When she was back for good, Kristine flipped around to try a squatting position which sped up the progress of the baby. My anticipation and excitement continued to build as I could see the baby's head come further and further with each push. Kristine's strength was zapped by the end and she could barely support herself but she pushed and pushed until the baby's head came out!

Suddenly, Claudia urgently told Kristine to STOP PUSHING and I looked down to see the baby's purple head and the umbilical cord wrapped around it 3 times! Claudia quickly tried to pull the cord off but it was far too tight. Seconds later as the rest of the body came out she maneuvered the baby in a way to get the cord off and began suctioning out the mucous in his mouth and nose that were preventing him from being able to breath. These were the longest seconds of my life. Seeing my son struggling this way was almost too much. Finally, his little body got the air it needed and he began crying loudly as he was handed to Kristine. Together we held him and rubbed him and kissed him and talked to him. I cried as I counted fingers and toes and kissed my wife and was filled with and overwhelming and indescribable joy. Claudia commented on how much trouble babies with a triple nuchal cord cause them--typically leading to long stays in the NICU. I am SO SO grateful that he was healthy and that the cord being wrapped around him didn't cause more trouble and complications.

I sent one of the nurses into the hall to bring in Karolyn who took many pictures and was a joy to share the moment with. After that first minute, Caleb calmed down and stopped crying as Kristine held him and I rubbed his feet and legs. I was amazed during the next half-hour or so how quiet and calm he was!---a tender and special spirit indeed. The one concern of the nurses was that he looked rather pale so they took him under a light and rubbed his little body and tried to make him cry more to get the circulation moving better. The official details were given of July 25th at 5:28pm, 7 lbs 15oz, and 20 inches long. (Downstairs during his longer evaluation, the nurses noticed how long he seemed so upon remeasurment, he was declared 21 & 1/4 inches long---approximately the 95th percentile for height!) Kristine also had a small tear that needed to be stitched and repaired. We were told that her kegals (pelvic floor exercises) paid off in helping her not tear worse.

We spent about an hour and a half after the birth in that first room where Kristine tried feeding him and he ate a little bit. A little after 7, we went downstairs to the mother and baby section where we'd spend the rest of our hospital stay. I went with Caleb and a nurse to the nursery while Kristine went to get settled in her room. I watched as the nurse gave him an extensive exam checking his joints, reflexes, back, etc. She double checked the measurements upstairs, and changed the height. Caleb was such a trooper the whole time! She was impressed that he was crying so little compared to many of the other babies. Another nurse came over and as she wiped his eyes, I asked if I could help. She gave me some simple directions and I turned him over for me for the bath! This was my first time alone with him as I cleaned him off and changed his diaper. The nurse was impressed at how well I did telling me that most new dads are far too delicate and don't clean them very well.

With my little man in his rolling crib, we rolled down the hall and in with Kristine. Finally we were a family--just the 3 of us. For hours I felt butterflies just realizing that I'm finally a DAD! My adrenaline slowly wore off but the feeling of deep love for this little boy remained. I already love him so so much.

That first evening, Mom & Dad, Eric, Tony & Karolyn, Angela, Julie, Katie, and Luke came to visit. After they all left, Kristine and I were in for a LONG night. Caleb was gassy, uncomfortable, and constipated and struggled to be soothed. This combined with nurses checks, being taken to the nursery for weight checks etc. led to little and intermittent sleep for all of us.

Early the next morning, Caleb was taken again to the nursery to be checked by the pediatrician. Everything looked great--the only thing he pointed out was a small divet between his nose and mouth representing a cleft lip that had sealed. We hadn't even noticed at first--it's very small. His other cute abnormality is his left ear which has an extra bump on the top and is a little smaller and shaped differently than his right ear. It reminds me of Nemo's "lucky fin" in "Finding Nemo."

Friday came with more visitors and thankfully more relaxation as Caleb got into a better sleeping and eating pattern. I will cherish a memory in the early evening as Kristine and I cuddled together on her hospital bed and looked at our sleeping baby. We are a family. We are no longer 2, but 3. I thought of family vacations, errands, and just about everywhere else we go--there'll be 3 of us. I am just so happy. God has answered all our prayers. For months we prayed for a smooth, short, complication free labor. We prayed for a healthy son and healthy mom. We prayed that Kristine would be able to manage the pain and deliver naturally. We received all of these things. God has blessed us tremendously and certainly knows the desires of our hearts. I know that he lives. I know that we are His children. I know that we lived with Him before this life and that our spirits contain divine qualities and gifts. I have learned in the smallest part what a fathers love is and am so grateful for this. I can't wait for the adventures and growth to come!