Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome Baby Wyatt -- A Birth Story

Our stubborn little man

At 38 and a half weeks pregnant, I was ready to pop and more than ready to hold my baby boy in my arms. He was due June 8th but my husband and I weren't expecting to see him until after that. My entire pregnancy our son had shown his stubborn side by refusing to cooperate for nearly all of our ultrasounds and testing. We were fully expecting a few more weeks of waiting before our son would have to be induced in order for him to make his grand arrival. But of course, he would prove us wrong once again.

 "Babe, I think we need to go to the hospital. I think my water just broke!"

If there had been a baby pool predicting my son's arrival, my parents would have won it. They both were convinced my son would come early, arriving on May 29th because that was my older brother's birthday. I begrudgingly agreed with them but still hoped that my son would choose any other date. The morning of May 29th, I woke up for my early morning potty break like usual. As I was hoisting my very pregnant body out of bed, I felt and heard a small pop. I thought nothing of it considering my body had been doing all sorts of crazy things due to my pregnancy with my worst complaint being my stiff joints that made me feel like I'd aged decades overnight. As I made my way to the bathroom, I discovered the pop I heard and felt was actually my water breaking. Just as I entered the bathroom, I felt a little trickle but it was hardly what you see in the movies. So I grabbed a towel and headed to Google. After a few moments on the internet and a few more trickles, I went back to the bedroom and woke my hubby.

About 15 minutes had passed since he was up and we were gathering last minute items for my hospital bag when I began to feel pain and severe cramping. I never had the joy of braxton hicks throughout my pregnancy so I wasn't exactly sure if they were contractions or not. I still remember standing in the nursery with my husband and having to grab the side of the crib and stop talking for a moment until it passed. That's when I knew they were contractions. But they weren't terribly long or terribly frequent yet so we were unsure if this was it or not. But my water broke so we headed to the hospital like good little parents-to-be following the directions of my OB.

Labor goes on... and on... and on...

We arrived at L&D triage and they did the usual battery of tests and sure enough, my water had broke. At that point, I didn't need a silly strip to turn blue because it was pretty apparent to me. I won't get too specific but they always tell you that you'd be surprised how much fluid you lose when your water breaks. Mine was a slow trickle with random gushes that lasted for hours. It was fun...

Once confirmed to be in labor, I was assigned a room, poked, prodded, and hook up to monitors. The contractions progressed but I handled it well. It was so funny to me every time the nurses and doctors would ask how I rated the pain. I had no idea. This was my first child and I had never had contractions before. I kept asking them based on the monitor because I had no idea how to gauge the pain. I'd ask "Was that a good contraction?" I knew that it hurt and it certainly wasn't fun but I also knew that I could handle more if I had to. So it wasn't a 10. But at the same time, if they told me that my contractions were actually very weak I would have had a problem because they certainly were stronger than a 2 or 3. How do you rate a pain that you've never experienced but you know it's going to get progressively worse?

After about 8 hours of labor, I was still only dilated a few centimeters. My labor seemed to have plateaued so they gave me Pitocin and an internal monitor. A couple of hours had gone by and I finally asked for the epidural. I had always planned to have one at some point but I also didn't want to start it too soon. Around 7pm, after 12 hours of labor, the anesthesiologist arrived to give me my epidural. The epidural itself wasn't that bad. It's like any other procedure--the anticipation of the "giant needle" was the worse part. Sure, the giant needle wasn't fun and it's hard to relax your back like your told when you're in the middle of a contraction. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. What came after, however, wasn't that great.

Taking a turn for the worse

I had a bad reaction to my epidural. Within 15 minutes, my blood pressure dropped very low and I felt very ill. I thought I was going to pass out and I ended up getting sick. I hadn't fully bounced back from my epidural yet before there was concerned for my baby. Due to my poor reaction to the epidural, his fetal heart tons also took a dive. The OB came in to check my vitals and his and also exam me. Luckily for us, the OB on call was my regular OB who'd seen me for my entire pregnancy. After my examination, he told me that yet again, my son was being stubborn. I was still only dilated about 3 inches but my station was "a negative one and that's being generous." Despite breaking my water a week and a half early, my son was still wedged pretty high in ribs and wasn't showing any signs of dropping further to make his grand entrance. This normally wouldn't be a big deal and we'd just wait it out but there was concern because of his drop in fetal heart tones. The way my OB put it, we could wait, let my labor progress and keep playing games with his heart rate or we could just go in for a C-section and have this baby. Still foggy from my epidural and talking through an oxygen mask, I told him to do what we had to do. So the decision was made to have a C-section.

Wyatt Alexander is here!

About an hour later, my son was born at 9:07 p.m. on May 29th. My husband, who was with me during surgery, said that our boy was completely wrapped up in the umbilical cord so it's probably better that he was born this way. I didn't care. Our little man was here and we couldn't be happier. Wyatt Alexander was healthy and so was mom. Our lives were changed forever for the better.

 
 
 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Back!

It's been a year since my last post, but I'm back. And what a year it's been!

The biggest change in my life that will likely have the biggest impact on this blog is my son. My husband and I welcomed out first child in May. It was a long time coming as we had to pursue fertility treatments to get pregnant but we'd do it all again in a heartbeat. And 8 weeks ago today our son Wyatt was born. We're all adjusting to life as new parents with a new baby (and much less sleep) but thankfully the learning curve hasn't been too rough so far.





Being a new mom has had a big impact on my life. I never realized how much of a spectator I was in my own life until my son was born. I always had goals and ambitions but I never really had the drive to make it happen. At the risk of sounding cliché, I feel like my life has more purpose now. And because of my son, I want to do more. I want to do better. I want to be better. I want to take control. I want to get off the sidelines, stop putting things off because they're not going anywhere and take charge. So that's what I'm going to do.

So stick around. Join me on this new journey in my life. Hopefully I'll learn a few things along the way. No matter what, I'm sure it'll be interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RTW: Where Do You Find Creative Inspiration?

From YA Highway:

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question to write about on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. This week's topic:


When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?


For me the answer is simple: away. I wish I had an actual, official getaway but sadly I do not. But the bottom line is when I'm feeling like the creative juices are on empty and I'm a little fried, I just get away from the world and all the hubbub.

A few years ago, I had my dream writer's retreat that always provided me with creative inspiration. The retreat was a family member's lake house.

Oh how I miss it...

Gorgeous!


But sadly, they recently sold it. I found a poor man's version in going out to my parent's house. But that only works when I'm house sitting and am out there for an extended period by myself. Otherwise going to visit mom and dad isn't exactly conducive to recharging the creative battery. But it is nice out there.

Country living...

Indeed.

Basically, I just need some solitude and some nature to get me recharged and eager to write again. Nature is wonderful and being near water is even better, but peace and quiet is really what I need. How about you my writer friends? And even non-writer friends. Everyone needs an escape from time to time to get their mind straight. What do you do? Where do you go?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Am A Writer

I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer.  I. Am. A. Writer. I AM A WRITER!

Man that felt good...

I'm announcing it to the world because finally I've admitted it to myself. I am a writer. This is who I am and this is what I do. This is my chosen profession and my passion. Writing is my calling. It is not just a hobby. Writing is in my blood. I've always known. But I couldn't find the courage to admit it to myself and to the rest of the world... until now.

While my family has always be supportive, I've never been encouraged to wholeheartedly follow my dream. I was pushed to quietly do it in my spare time when I wasn't working my real job. Be an adult, be responsible, and if there's still time, then make yourself happy. That's no way to live. So I'm done. And coming to that realization feels amazing.

Happy Dance!

All of my adult life I've been stuck in a revolving door of dead-end jobs and supposed golden opportunities that were going to give me the freedom to do what I really wanted while still maintaining the facade of being a responsible, employed adult. But every job, every position, every career has been nothing more than an obstacle keeping me from my true calling. Not anymore.

Late last year my distraction du jour was real estate. I got my license and was ready to conquer the world. And then, not so much. That profession has recently been put to bed. This weekend, I mailed in the paperwork to put my license on inactive status (meaning I could reactivate it with the state at some point down the line) and I can no longer practice real estate in Ohio. I realize this would normally be a sad announcement but I'm thrilled. That was the last one. I'm no longer anything put a writer. I'm not a real estate agent nor am I a customer relations representative, a social media leader, a sales associate, a bridal consultant, a receptionist, a security dispatcher... Man, that's a lot of dead-end jobs. None of those jobs brought me joy. None of those jobs were leading me toward a bright future. All they ever did was stress me out and get in the way of my real dream.

I realize I'm rambling here but I'm okay with that. Because finally admitting to myself and the world that I'm done with everything else that is getting in my way is just so liberating. I can't help it.

So there you have it. My name is Stephanie and I am a writer. Woo hoo!

Friday, July 13, 2012

First Ever Friday Finds!

Hooray! It's Friday. And this is my first ever Friday Finds!

Partay!
(Source)

As I just started this today and haven't been trolling for links all week, the list is short. But I hope to share more fun, insightful, interesting or just plain silly links that I've gathered over the week on each Friday Finds.

  • First up, The Bi-Polar Writer. Cracked me up. Not only was this post a pretty accurate depiction of my day-to-day struggles with writing, it also gave some sound advice.
  • "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so, so.... scared!" Any blog post that can incorporate a Jessie Spano reference without losing its credibility is a winner in my book. And Five Things to Consider, Aspiring Writer does just that. It's chalk full of insights for aspiring writers and an excuse to watch a SBTB snippet on YouTube. Yahtzee!
  • Finally, I did a lot of updating to my blog list. While I didn't necessarily call out each post on it's own, I do feel the need to point out some of the stellar blogs that I've added to said blog list. Check them out.

I thought I had more legit Friday Finds to share. But then I realized the only other posts I had to share were all from the Tumbler News Cat Gifs. Here are some of my favorites:



"When I go to cover an event and I am told I cannot get in"



"When I'm trying to learn from a webinar"



"When someone brings food to the newsroom"



And my personal favorite...

"When you are accused of misquoting someone and you play back the tape"



Hopefully next week's Friday Finds will be a bit more productive. Happy Friday y'all!


Bad Blogger, Bad!

I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
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I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
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I will not let my blog do dark for over two weeks without notice.
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I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
I will not let my blog go dark for over two weeks without notice.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Blogiversary - a.k.a. Lessons Learned

The blog is officially a month old today. And while I haven't blogged as much as I would have liked to, I'm still happy. It's lasted much longer than others and I still have a long list of things I would like to talk about. I just need to continue to work on my time management and prioritizing.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I've been busy lately and that's part of what's kept me from blogging. That's partly true. The last couple weeks have been very busy in great ways and the couple weeks before that, not so much. But I'm happy to say that my work in progress is actually in progress and I'm pumped to keep plugging away at it. I love the story and my MC is alive and well in my head. So even though the first couple weeks weren't entirely productive, I'm still grateful for the time because it did still get me to a more productive time.

Throughout my month of mostly being productive, I've learned a few personal truths and I was reminded of some lessons that I've previously learned but clearly needed to experience again. And I'd like to share. So here we go:

1. Procrastination and Distractions are both a blessing and a curse: use them to your advantage to recharge and motivate. 


I'm a natural born procrastinator. I don't really know why but I often have a hard time motivating myself to do something with my life. And distractions often become the focus of my time and energy even though they're mostly fruitless. But sometimes they're necessary. Over the last month, I've tried very hard to walk the line of being focused and motivated but I've also allowed myself to indulge in some less than productive activities. And while I had to make sure I didn't spend all my time on those activities, the time I spent indulging was still useful in the big picture. In the last month I redecorated my office and created a wall-o-inspiration. Combined I think I spent maybe 3 days total on both projects (and I'll post some before and afters later). I tend to be a perfectionist about the smallest and most ridiculous things. So I didn't allow myself to go too crazy on this project. But I did allow it in general and here's why: when I was done, I felt refreshed and motivated. I had a fabulous new(ish) office that I couldn't wait to start writing in and I had some inspiration right in front of my face in said office so I could always look to it if/when I needed a boost. Even though the projects were not necessary, they did help me to recharge my creative battery.

The flip side to that is what I've been doing all day. I've been tooling around on itunes for hours looking for new music and going through my own library all in the name of a writing playlist. While this is great in general and I very much do find inspiration in music, I feel I've taken this activity much too far -- as usual. I'm still working on finding the balance between temporary distraction that is still overall productive and just plain procrastinating.

2. Reading is great when used in moderation.


I've also done a lot of reading over the past month. Which is great! I don't remember the last time I devoured that many books in such a short time frame. But it's also a problem. I don't remember the last time I devoured that many books in such a short time frame because it's not often I have the time to do so. And while it was thoroughly enjoying, it took a bit too much time away from the writing. I am a firm believer in the adage that you should read and read and read if you want to write as it will only make you a better writer. And I also agree that you should focus a lot of energy in your desired genre. And that's exactly what I did. Just a bit too much.

On the flip side, I was entirely moved by some of the books and completely inspired to work that much harder at my own writing in the hopes that I could one day produce something as powerful as what I'd read. And I also spent a lot of time reading books on the craft of writing -- some more helpful than others. But if it weren't for one of those books, I wouldn't have the majority of my overall plot structure on my WIP. Which means, I doubt I would have even gotten around to starting it because I still didn't know where I was ultimately going with the story. So again, I'm still working on finding the balance but I can only be grateful for the time I've spend reading this last month. At the very least, if I couldn't be writing, reading was far more productive than watching TV.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff.


As I've mentioned, this isn't my first blog. I've had others on differing topics all with varying levels of failure. And I firmly believe the one reason why this blog is relatively successful (at least compared to its predecessors) is because I told myself from the very beginning not to sweat the small stuff. Don't worry if you can't always blog. Don't worry how many days have gone by between posts or how many pages views they've gotten or how many subscribers you've picked up along the way (which is zero by the way). Just keep plugging away. And that's what I've done. And because I haven't forced myself to blog when I didn't want to, it doesn't feel like work and I'm still eager to do it. I still have lots more to say, even if I am just talking to myself out here.

The same goes for my WIP. Sure I set goals and wish I was further along. But as long as I'm still ultimately getting somewhere, that's good enough for me. This is something I'm constantly telling myself. And not just in my writing life but in my day to day. And I feel like it's something that everyone could use at one point or another. I tend to get derailed and deflated at the slightest set back. But reminding myself not to sweat the small stuff helps me remember that it's okay. Progress is still progress regardless of the amount and even being stagnant from time to time is still better than going in the wrong direction. It helps me to remember to pick up and carry on.

4. Don't force it.


In the same vein as #3, I try not to force it. Now this may be more beneficial to me because of my personality and not necessary the best prescription for anyone, but I find it helpful. I have to work to keep my motivation and to keep positive. I need small, regular, attainable goals so that I can see my progress and use that to move further. Yet, they can't be too firm so that I feel defeated if I don't make it to one of my goals. (Have I mentioned yet that I'm a little whack a doodle character?) But the point is, I can't force it. And in general, that's pretty true for anyone. Banging your head against the wall isn't going to get you anything but a headache. You can't force it. Sure you need to be persistent but when push comes to shove, at least for me, you gotta know when to pick your battles.

5. Never take your eye off the prize.


This is almost a personal mantra. Because I know I'm quite stubborn and sometimes needy, I allow myself the occasional indulgence. Sometimes it's a bit more than occasional. But that's okay as long as I don't forget the bigger picture. I try to visit the world of my story at least once a day. Even if it's just talking out a problem or situation for a few minutes in the car. I try to spend a little piece of each day with my characters so I can easily enter their world when it comes time to write. I also try to take any opportunity I may get to develop my story, on paper or just in my head whenever I can. And that helps to balance out my weaker moments where I'm less than productive. But as long as I never forget my dreams and goals, as long as I never forget the story within me that I feel bound to tell, than I'm always heading in the right direction.

Those are a few of my rules to live and write by. How about you? Are there any other rules that help you meet your goals? Or rules you have to keep your sanity? Feel free to leave them below.
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