Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Musings

Three year old Thomas looks at me and says, “I saw myself in your glass eye.”

Translation: I saw myself in your eye glasses.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Start Part 3

August 2010

Right before Travis was born on August 5th, things sort of fell apart and we wouldn’t be able to stay in the apartment as long as we had thought. We would actually need to be out by the August 20th-about two weeks later. We had no idea what we were going to do. David had just gotten an interview set up for the next week for a full time job, but still at that point, was no guarantee of a job. David’s part time job still wasn’t enough for us to come up with a deposit and rent for a house, not to mention we still couldn’t find anywhere to rent, yet. We drove ALL over Tulsa and the surrounding areas and couldn’t find anything that was big enough, in our price range, and okay for 11 people to live there.

So, I came home from giving birth, kept Travis on bili lights for the next two days, then took the next week and a half to pack up our temporary belongings to move them to a second storage unit, since most of our other things were still in a storage unit in the town that we were originally going to live in 45 minutes away.

I promise this really is the uncomplicated version.

At church the Wednesday evening before the Friday that we had to be out of the apartment, a friend asked me how we were. I told her I was feeling a little overwhelmed. We needed to be out of the apartment in a day and a half and we still didn’t know what we were going to do. She looked at her husband, then looked at me. Then, looked at her husband, then looked at me. “You are going to come stay with us while you figure out what to do.”

This was an older couple with grown kids and grandchildren. I’m not so sure she really knew what she was asking. LOL But, they had a travel trailer and an extra bedroom they were willing to share with us. The following week David was offered the full time position he interviewed for, but we still had to wait to save up the money for rent and deposit.

The one thing that I had begged and pleaded to not have to do in this whole ordeal was to not have to live or even stay briefly with anyone else. I had been there and done that ten years ago. (That is completely another story for another day, but it lasted for three months.) And now, here I was ten years later, and had to do it twice. I was getting to the point again where I was upset easily. Although, that could have been in part from all the hormones from just having given birth. We found a four bedroom house that was the right price, but the real estate agent decided not to return our calls even after he agreed to show us the house. We found a four bedroom double wide, but they wanted ten percent down to finance. We found a three bedroom house in a great location and price, but someone who had seen the house the day before decided to rent. Where was the place that God had for us? Did he have a place for us?

The evening that the lady called to tell me that the house had been rented by the guy from the day before, was the end for me. I reverted back to that same feeling of sadness and dread. I so did not want to go back there. I had already been through so many months of despair and I didn’t know why God was taking me back down that road again. And so soon after I thought I had come through it.

I had a list of the last five possible houses that I still had to call. If one of these didn’t work out, I didn’t know if we’d ever find a place to live. I had already told David I wasn’t sure if I even had the emotionally stability to talk to anyone on the phone. But, he was working so much he just didn’t have time. So, I had to put on my big girl pants, suck it up, and get it done. The first house I called was four bedrooms, 2300 square feet and had a garage. She said she didn’t have a problem with such a large family and was even planning to show it to someone the next day, but said she’d show it to us first. I couldn’t imagine it not working out. This was perfect!

The next morning I met her at the house. David had to work, but we agreed that if she would take our offer, we could go ahead and give her half the deposit then and the rest the following week. I have to admit that when I walked into the house, I was a bit taken back. The entire time she showed me through that house, I was praying “Oh, Lord, please do not make us have to live here.” I had to lower my standards. A lot.

She said, “So, what do you think?”

I wanted to say no, but maybe it was the Lord, or maybe it was my fear of not finding anything else that forced me to say, “We’ll take it.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Travis's birth story

As I have said before, my due date came and went. It was so hot, I about fainted when I saw the van thermometer said 107. I was addicted, I mean addicted to lemonade over the summer. This was my first due date in the summer in ten years. I was due on Thursday, July 29th, and on Tuesday, August 3rd, I went in for a non-stress test. You know we never find out the baby’s gender ahead of time, and we must’ve forgotten to inform the ultrasound tech about this. After looking around the screen for a minute she said, “So, you’re having a boy?”

And we were all, “Um. We don’t know?”

And she was all, “Oh! Um, well, uh, it could be the cord.”

And we were all, “Riiiight.”

And she said, “Nuts. I did that last week, too. Sorry.”

We said, “No problem.” I had a 4D ultrasound at around 7 months and we suspected it was a boy when we saw the cute little “Sanchez boy mouth”. Well, that and the fact that the baby’s kidneys were enlarged a bit, which is a common issue with boys- and one that usually resolves on it’s own as it did in our case.

The baby was doing fine, but my blood pressure had been up a bit, so the doctor decided that I should come in to be induced on Thursday, exactly one week late. David had to work during the day, so we agreed to schedule our coming in for around 6:00 that evening. This would be my 8th VBAC.

I thought for a while after we moved to Oklahoma, that I may not be able to have a VBAC. Apparently most doctors’ insurance carriers in this area will not cover the liability for VBAC delivery. They just automatically schedule repeat sections. So, what do you do with a person like me who has 1 section and then 7 VBACs in their history? Well, I don’t believe there are too many people like me. And, I was NOT about to schedule a c-section. I mean, really? Thankfully, I found a doctor that could deliver me. And, not only could he deliver me, he is a Christian homeschooling father of five. Woohoo. Jackpot.
Not only was he encouraging in the “many children” realm, but prayed for me as well.

Thursday morning I woke up not feeling very well, and by early afternoon had a fever over 103. David came home on his lunch break maybe around 2, and I guess I must have looked pretty bad, because he went back and told them he needed to leave early. We headed out to the hospital around 4:00. They gave me Tylenol for the fever. The baby was very tachycardic with heartbeats nearing 200 beats per minute. My fever lowered down to around 101, (Travis’s heart rate lowered as well) so they decided to go ahead with the IV antibiotics, which I needed for the group B strep.

They gave me two IVs.

One in each arm.

What kind of prison torture hospital gives two IVs? I hate getting the IV. It is definitely the worst part about giving birth, and this time I had to have a “back up” IV.


After the first round of antibiotics, they started the pitocin. I was dilated maybe to a 3 or 4 at this point. I was having mild contractions, but they really didn’t feel any stronger than my normal Braxton Hicks.

Pitocin and I have a love/hate relationship. I love that it forces my babies to arrive so that they aren’t setting up extended stay residence in my uterus. I hate that it makes my belly feel like someone is stabbing me with a red hot poker iron. So, I am of course again faced with the epidural dilemma.

To get it or not to get it.

If I get the epidural, I most assuredly will begin throwing up and then will have lower extremities deader than the tree trunks snapped over by last year’s tornado. In addition to the fact that usually it doesn’t take on one side, so one side is numb and the other isn’t. I decided that I would just go as long as I could, and then reevaluate. Shortly before 9 pm, I decided that I just couldn’t do the pitocin/hot poker thing any longer and I would just go ahead and get the epidural. I told the anesthesiologist that the epidurals never take on one side, so he said he’d make extra sure that he got the needle in the middle. Well, he did. And the epidural really hurt. But, it did get numb on both sides. This time, they gave me a little button that I could use to control how much epidural I was getting. I thought that maybe if I didn’t increase the dosage, then I wouldn’t get nauseous. The epidural basically took away the "hot poker" feeling, but not much else. The nurse decided to go ahead and check me. I was at a 7.

Less than ten minutes later I felt a LOT of pressure and my water broke. I said, “David! The baby’s coming, go get the nurse.” My water has never broken on its on except for during the actual delivery. The nurse rushed back in and said, “It’s the water, and the head’s right there. Go on and get the doctor.” After about two pushes later, we had a Travis Clarke. All 9 pounds, 10 ounces and 22 inches of him.

I think I made a good call with the epidural. Travis was born about 15 minutes after I got it. It didn’t make me nauseous and I could still feel my legs, so I was able to get up and walk to the bathroom BY MYSELF.

The never really figured out what had caused my fever, but I had the antibiotics so whatever it was would have gotten knocked out anyway.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Start Part 2

April and May 2010

Two more kids had birthdays in April. Brooke turned 7 and had a party with her cousin whose birthday is the day before hers. Tyler turned 13. David continued to look for a part time job, but couldn’t get set hours. There were a couple of possibilities for him to move into a department head position or something similar, but it just didn’t work out. But, he did get Associate of the Month. (And to brag on my husband a little, he got it again in October. Twice in six months!)

We still continued to make the best of our living situation. David’s sister and her husband received a settlement they were waiting on, and were able to move out to a rental house in May. They were stuck in their old lease until October, so we stayed behind in the apartment and worked out an arrangement for the rent. That would give us until October for David to find a better paying full time job, or work out his hours so he could find a second job.

Summer of 2010

My depression was finally starting to fade. I could talk about things without bursting into tears. We found sort of a normal for us, even though we knew staying in the apartment was only temporary. In June I had all four nieces and nephews during the day since David’s sister and brother in law were both working. I think it was good since they all had gone so long without ever really seeing their cousins.

The kids played in the splash pads that are all over Tulsa. The oldest five kids got to go to Bible camp. We had a Little-House-on-the-Prairie-athon. We took walks over the Arkansas River. We also visited the Aquarium and the Zoo. We found a really cool playground on Route 66 that was in the form of an old western town.

In July, we went to a BBQ and fireworks. We volunteered for VBS. Brittany went on her first missions trip to Oklahoma City. They helped out at a day center for the homeless, and got to see Tim Hawkins.

We went to a cement plant where the kids found a fossil. They also had lots of fun activities like mining for chocolate chips and a tour of the plant.

And, of course, the biggest event of the summer was the arrival of this little guy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A New Start Part 1

It has been forever since I’ve been able to blog and I really have missed it every second. But now that our lives are more stable I can finally pick back up where I left off. What’s that? You want to have a moment by moment commentary from the last nine months since I blogged? Well, I will spare you from the long and mostly complicated details, but I will give you a summary of our lives since last February when we departed South Carolina bound for Oklahoma.

February and March 2010

We said our last goodbyes to our friends, finished packing up our truck and set out. We had to leave some stuff behind. I guess it’s hard to squeeze 12 years of your life into a 24 foot Uhaul. We stopped in to see my family in Alabama and spend the night there. On our 15th Wedding anniversary we started the 12 hour drive to Oklahoma. To make a long story short, we were going to live in a relative’s house, but their house was under renovation. When we arrived we realized it was simply not safe for the kids and that arrangement wouldn’t work out. This house was in a town about 45 minutes from Tulsa and the town didn’t have a store that David could transfer his job to, so now here we were with no job, no house and no money.

David’s sister offered for us to stay with them in their apartment in Tulsa for the weekend until we could figure out what to do. That Monday some of the kids started getting sick with some crazy high fever, coughing thing. The following Friday, Bailey got it and by Sunday she was in the hospital with RSV/Pneumonia. Welcome to Oklahoma.

You would think that I would be bitter about how things were disintegrating for us. And, oh let me tell you, I was. Things had really been going downhill steadily since David came back from guarding the detainees in Cuba back at the end of 2003. He was gone for a year with the National Guard, but he was really gone for the next two years as well from PTSD. I kept joking that I was still waiting on my husband to come back from Cuba. He finally started getting back to normal in 2005. In 2006, he got hired on with an investment firm. And we all know how that ended. We had been struggling financially through two years of trying to make that job work and one more year of unemployment. So, to say we were burdened emotionally and finacially and leaving South Carolina with a heavy heart was an understatement. I knew God was still there, but did he forget about us? Was he making an example out of us? Was all of this somehow our fault because we don’t know how to manage our money (Dave Ramsey I’m talking to you!) Why would God give us all these kids and then pull the blanket out from under us? Well…………

We realized that this starting over thing was much harder than just starting out to begin with. But, some things worked out in our favor. David’s supervisor from the old store had decided to keep David in the system, so when we realized that our stay in Tulsa was going to be more permanent, he went to a store about a block from where we were staying with David’s sister, and transferred there. The store manager really liked him and gave him 40 hours every week even though he only transferred into a part time position. But unfortunately 40 hours a week making a little more than minimum wage does not cut it. David looked for a part time job, but he didn’t have set hours, so that proved to be difficult. David’s sister and brother in law were both jobless at that point as well so we decided to pool our resources and try to make it work. But, yeah, 16 people in one household. Well. Enough said.

Two of our girls celebrated their birthdays that month. Bailey turned one and Bethany turned eight.

We started attending a Free Will Baptist church in the area. I really didn’t want to. Mainly because I felt let down by God. And because I couldn’t talk about our situation without crying. I really didn’t have much to say that was positive. I know I had been in a depression that started the summer of 2009. I remember talking with David and saying, “I just want to be happy again.” I know we have joy in the Lord. But, the circumstances just wore me down. I just wanted my mood to naturally default to “happy” like it used to, not “sadness” like it had been. Life by that point was just so hard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Musings from Oklahoma: Christmas Edition

Three year old Thomas gives us a new rendition of the old Christmas favorite, ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’.

“Ho, Ho, the mystery toe up where you can see…….”

(I wonder if Scooby ever solved that one.)
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