Thursday, February 1, 2018

Nolan's Birth Story

Nolan James Cowen was due Nov. 22, 2017, but he had other
ideas of when he wanted to enter this world.  On the evening
of Monday, Nov 6th, I was at a work function and began
experiencing regular contractions.  When I got home I told
Joel and we monitored them for awhile.  They were regular,
but not very strong.  After an hour or two we called the doctor.
Based on my history of precipitous labors she suggested we
go into the hospital. It would be better to be there in case things
sped up quickly.  We pulled into the north side of hospital where
my doctor had told us to go only to find out that after 9 pm you
can’t enter that way.  We jumped back in the car and drove to
the other side.  We checked in at the ER triage counter where
they slowly took their time taking my blood pressure and asking
me questions.  I was instructed to sit in the waiting area until a
doctor came down to give approval for me to go to L&D.  
Once we got to the Labor and Delivery floor, we had another
check point where we sat down and spent 20 minutes
answering questions and getting checked in. All of this was
such a slow process! Finally they escorted us to a “holding”
room where women are monitored before being given a room
of their own.  Well, after 7 hours of monitoring they decided my
labor was not progressing and sent me home at 5 cm! WHAT?!?!  

Three days later, on Thursday morning at 4:13 am I was woke
up to an intense contraction.  At that moment I knew I was in
labor so I rushed upstairs to tell Joel.  We called his mom to
come over and stay with the boys.  While we waited for her to
show up I called the doctor and she immediately said to come
in, even though I had only had about 3 contractions by this
point. Once Judy arrived, we headed for the hospital.  We
hit every green light...praise the LORD!  Joel dropped me
off at the correct entrance at 5:00 am(thanks to our false
call on Monday we knew where to go).  I walked in and
knew that the ER triage would take time so through a
contraction I moaned, “I have fast labors.” I’m not sure it
was the way I said it or if they could tell by looking at me
but they moved a lot quicker than they had 3 days before.  
We quickly got up to L&D where they did not have
us stop at the check-in desk.  I felt pressure very low and
was trying to hum through each contraction that were now
right on top of each other.  At one point, I recall snapping
at Joel and another nurse to “stop talking!”  Joel knew at
that point that I was pretty far along in this labor.  The nurses
were trying to find a room for me, but every room they
suggested had something wrong with it.   This one hasn’t
been cleaned.  That one has no supplies.  They finally
found a room that was ready.  I got to the end of the bed
when the nurse told me we needed to get my robe on.  “I
can’t,” I said. She said, “Ok, just take your pants off.”  
Somehow I managed to slip my shoes and pants off and
climb in the bed.  I rolled over and Joel said he saw Nolan’s
head.  The nurses started to scramble as they were not
prepared for that.  I began instinctively pushing as they
tried to page the doctor.  My water broke all over the nurse
and I don’t think she even had time to get gloves on before
Nolan was born.  They placed him on my chest as we all
laughed and tried to wrap our heads around what had
happened.  The nurses told me that we had walked in
the room at 5:17 am and Nolan was born at 5:19 am!  
If any part of our journey had been delayed by two minutes
(or more!) I would have had this baby in the hallway, the
elevator or car.  We barely made it.   So first contraction
4:13 am. A breathing baby at 5:19 am. One hour and 6
minutes!! This was by far my fastest labor.  Let’s just hope if
we have another it doesn’t get any faster.

Moments after labor (still kind of in shock)

                  Nolan James Cowen

                 8 lbs 0 oz     19.75 in

          Meeting his big brothers

Sleeping baby

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Miles' Birth Story

I love looking back on the birth stories of my kids.  Each is a unique and miraculous moment that can never be recreated. I know time seems to blur our memories so I like to write it down to remember in the future.  So here is Miles' special story.

At 3:00 am on April 10, 2015 (exactly one week before my due date) I woke up to period-like cramps. They weren't bad, but they were noticeable. I laid there for awhile trying to go back to sleep while also trying to see if there was any pattern to these pains.  I woke Joel a few minutes later to tell him what was going on.  We laid there together as I the pains continued.  After about 5-10 minutes, Joel suggested we get things ready "just in case."  So we got up and started assembling our bags and throwing together our last minute toiletries.  The moving around must have helped because right away the pains went from constant cramps to contractions every 4 minutes.  We called the on-call doctor and told her what I was experiencing and that I had a history of fast labors. She decided we should head to the hospital.  Laura Gail came over to stay with Liam (we are so thankful for our friends and family who helped out with him while we were in the hospital) and we headed to the hospital.

My contractions were not too bad this time in the car.  Thankfully, they actually slowed down to about 7 minutes apart and I was still casually talking and laughing between them.  We arrived at the hospital around 4:20 am.  I walked to my room as a woman followed with a wheelchair just in case and I got dressed in my robe all by myself (very different from my last labor).  The nurse got me hooked up and checked me to discover I was already 7 cm dilated. Woo-hoo!

The contractions were starting to get more intense.  I needed Joel to apply counter-pressure on my back to ease some pain.  This time around I was a lot more quiet during my contractions.  I tried to internalize what was going on and make myself relax so the contractions could do their job.  Around 5:00 I had a strong urge to go to the bathroom.  The nurse allowed me to go, although I'm not sure it was such a good idea.  While in there my contractions got really intense.  I started doubting my ability to finish labor.  I started telling myself I never wanted to do this again and I didn't think I'd ever be able to get off the toilet.  Apparently, the nurse could tell things were progressing quickly, she popped her head in after about 10 minutes and said, "You better not have this baby on the toilet."  That was all the motivation I needed to get up and back out to my room.

The nurse knew I had been standing through most of my contractions and was willing to accommodate my desire to continue to stand as she put in my IV.  I placed my arm on the table when a huge contraction hit and I felt the baby's head begin to come out.  They abandoned the IV and got me quickly in the bed.  The nurse stuck her hand on the baby's head and told me not to push, as she frantically paged the doctor to come in.  For about 5-10 minutes (the longest 5-10 minutes of my life!) the nurse and Joel stood by telling me not to push!  My body had taken over at this point and was doing all it could to push this baby out, while my brain was trying to get my body to do the opposite as I was being instructed.  If you thinking pushing a baby out is painful, you should try NOT pushing when every ounce of your body is doing everything it can to get the baby out.

Finally, the doctor walked in the room and sat down.  The nurse removed her hand from the baby's head and said, "ok."  That's all I needed to hear.  I stopped "not pushing" and out popped our little bundle of joy at 5:21 am.  Miles Bennett Cowen entered this world weighing 6 lb 14 oz and 19.5 in long.  They plopped him on my chest as I tried to catch my breath.  He seemed so tiny and I couldn't believe that he had arrived.  My labor with Miles was 4 minutes shorter than with Liam, but there were many similarities between them.  I'm thankful to now be at home with our two sweet boys.  It is definitely an adjustment going from one to two kids, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thank you, Lord, for the safe arrival of Miles!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

6 Months Already?!?!?

Having Liam in our life has been the biggest blessing ever!  I had always hoped of being a mom, but it's even better than I had imagined.  It's definitely not easy, but it is so rewarding.  Joel is a fantastic daddy.  I love this new side of him that I am getting to experience.  Liam is now 6 months old and has been growing so much!  Here are some pictures to show how quickly he is growing:

Currently, at 6 months Liam is sitting up on his own.  He is rolling around all over the place.  For about a month he has been sleeping through the night.  Sweet peas are his favorite food so far (he's only had peas, green beans and carrots so far).  He weighs about 16 lbs and has the cutest chubby legs ever.  Jumping in his jumper is one of his favorite past times.  Along with smiling and laughing.  Liam is one of the happiest and easy going babies I have ever encountered.  We're loving every second and can't believe how fast the time is going by.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Liam's Birth Story

 I know I don't blog regularly, but I wanted to have this documented somewhere so I can go back to it and not forget this awesome experience. So here goes Liam's birth story...

            For a week, I had been having severe back pain.  Not just an annoying kind of pain, but a constant, unmanageable pain.  I actually ended up going to the ER on November 24th because it was unbearable.  I couldn’t sit or sleep and I was constantly having Joel massage my back.  While at the ER they gave me a shot for the pain and tested to make sure it was not a kidney issue.  This back pain continued through my due date(Nov. 29th), which came and went with no signs of Liam making his debut.  The night of my due date I actually got a full night’s sleep and woke up the next day back pain free!  Mixed emotions filled my mind.  I was happy the back pain was gone, but I was sad that I hadn’t gone into labor and I was now past my due date, that magic number that is stuck in your head for 9 months.  Since my back pain was gone, I decided to attempt several of the old wives’ tales that we had heard could cause labor.  Joel and I started the day by taking a long walk and then eating lunch at Torchy’s Tacos.  I drenched my tacos in the Diablo sauce (this is hot stuff for those of you who have not tried it).  We went home and relaxed for a while.  I actually got a nap in (I was trying to catch up on the lack of sleep I had gotten from the week prior due to that pesky back pain).  We went and did some shopping and then came home for what we thought was going to be a quiet night.  Pumping was another thing I had heard would start labor so I popped on the breast pump for about 20 minutes.  I had been pumping occasionally for about 3 weeks, but this was the first time that I actually got some milk in the bottle.  I got a whole ounce, which is a lot when your milk hasn’t come in yet.  As I was pumping, I was texting some friends.  I remember telling someone, “Well, I guess I’m going to have a December baby.”  Another friend was encouraging me to be positive and reminding me that God would allow it to happen at the right time.  She also told me to do some deep squats to help get baby in position so he’s ready to go when labor starts.  Around 7:45, while Joel and I were watching a new show on Netflix called “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” I decided to do a deep squat for a short while.  Minutes later, I went to the bathroom and I will spare the details, but at that moment I knew labor would be starting within the coming days.  I was excited and in denial at the same time.  I told Joel that we might be meeting our son soon; little did I know how soon that would really be. 

            At 8:00, I had a sharp pain in my back and abdomen.  It was not too painful, but enough to get my attention.  I looked at Joel and said, “Hey, I think I just had a contraction,” and then went on about my business.  Moments later, I felt it again.  Joel said that if these really are contractions then maybe we should start timing them.  We pulled up the app on my phone and at 8:10 pm began timing my contractions.  Each one got a little more powerful.  After about 20 minutes, we noticed that my contractions were approximately 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute.  The contractions were now at a point where I had to stop talking and breath deeply reminding myself to relax every muscle in my body.  I decided to take a shower, but before I got in I remember looking at Joel and saying, “I don’t know if I can do this…” At that moment, Joel knew that I was in active labor.  We had learned in our Bradley class that when the woman gets serious and/or starts doubting her abilities, active labor has begun.  Joel immediately started loading our bags in the car while I was in the shower.  When I got out of the shower, it had been an hour of steady contractions so we decided to call the doctor.  Dr. Schneider (not my doctor, but one from the practice) was on call and said to go in to Labor and Delivery.  So we hopped in the car and headed to the hospital.  Once in the car, my contractions had progressed to every 4 minutes.  I called my parents in between contractions and said, “It’s time!” 

            The car ride was torture.  I felt every bump and turn with every fiber of my body.  I tried moaning and mentally telling myself to relax through each contraction, but they were getting super intense and relaxing was not possible anymore.  We pulled into the hospital parking lot around 9:45 pm right as I was having a major contraction, which were now happening every 3 minutes.  We waited until it past and then walked in to the ER.  We got to the front window right as I was having another contraction.  They began asking me questions like, “Is this your first pregnancy?” and “What’s your social security number?” as I’m doubled over moaning in pain.  Joel was getting pretty frustrated with the people because they were just letting me stand there in pain while asking the same questions multiple times.  My parents walked into the ER right before I was plopped into a wheelchair.  We were off to the L&D floor.  The only thing I could tell you about the ride to my room was that my mom said, “Look at her toes, they’re so tense.”  Other than that, I think I kind of blacked out until we got to the room. 

            Once in my room, the nurse said to put on a robe.  At that moment I had a sharp contraction and Joel says I got really loud, the nurse knew I was incapable of doing it on my own so she began undressing me in the wheelchair and putting the robe on me.  At this point, the contractions were happening one on top of the other, with only seconds between each one. I was now at the point of asking, I mean breathlessly panting for an epidural.  The nurse, whose name was Michelle, reassured me that she was getting the stuff ready for one.  Little did I know that it was too late for an epidural and the nurse was looking at Joel and my mom shaking her head and mouthing that there wasn’t enough time.  The nurse checked me and said I was ready to go and that we were just waiting on the doctor.  Michelle was quickly getting everything ready, moving at beyond human speed while still calmly reminding me to breath and focus through each contraction.  Other nurses were quickly moving about my room as well.  I, on the other hand, felt like time had stopped and a million knives were being shoved into my back.  I remember hearing Joel talking in my ear. I couldn’t tell you exactly what he said, but it helped get me through the pain.  My moaning was getting higher and my breathing was getting quicker.  In Bradley class, we had learned to breathe slow and deep while keeping our moaning very low.  At this point, I could not control the sounds coming out of me.  I also could not control my urge to push, so as the contractions came I began pushing.  Let me remind you that the doctor still had not arrived to the hospital.  At this time, I was dry heaving and pushing with each contraction.  Somewhere around this point, I yelled that I was not going to have anymore kids.  The pain was indescribable and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  A woman then walks in my room and the nurses announce that since my OBGYN hadn’t arrived yet, that this doctor from the ER would be present to assist in the delivery.  I didn’t care who it was, I was just ready to have this baby.

            Moments later, Dr. Schneider rushed in.  She didn’t take off her jacket or beanie, but simply slipped into an apron and gloves and got to work.  As I continued to push, she tried to massage me so I would not tear, but the baby was coming too fast.  I pushed for about 10 more minutes (although to me it only felt like 2 minutes).  I felt the pressure of the head and then the rest of his body shoot out like a rocket on a water slide.  A sense of relief came over me as the pain was over and my baby was placed on my chest.  I think I was in a state of shock at that moment and all I could do was pat Liam’s bottom and say, “it’s ok, it’s ok.”  He was beautiful and I could not believe that this moment had finally arrived.  They let Joel cut the cord and gave me some time with the baby as they worked on sewing me up (I ended up with a 3rd degree tear and some internal lacerations as well due to the quick delivery).  They took him to measure him and as they did, I asked the nurse what time he was born.  Liam Wallace Cowen entered the world at 10:30 pm on November 30th, 2013 weighing 7 pounds 9 ounces and 20 inches long.  Once things settled down a bit, I began calculating in my head how quickly my labor occurred.  I felt my first contraction at 8:00 pm and he had made his debut by 10:30 pm, so I was in labor for only 2.5 hours.  From the moment we got to the hospital to the moment he was born was only 45 minutes.  Thankfully, we left when we did and did not get stopped by traffic and did not have far to drive to get to the hospital.  Otherwise, we may have had a baby in the car.   The pain was very intense, but I would do it all over again now that I know how wonderful it is to hold your own child in your arms.  We are so grateful to God for the gift of Liam.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

22 Weeks and Counting

I'm now past the halfway mark. It's amazing how fast and slow this pregnancy is going. Thinking back to when I found out we were pregnant seems like just yesterday, but thinking out towards November when we get to hold our little bundle of joy seems like forever away.

Since I last updated a lot has happened. I will try to recap.

Summer began!! And is sadly now almost over. :(

Week 16ish - We found a new home for Zoey, which drastically helped with my asthma. I have since stopped taking all medications for it. Hooray. It was a sad day for us to see her go, but we were happy to give her a new home where she would continue to be loved.

Week 17- I felt the first kick, although I doubted whether it was real or not. Now I know without a doubt that that's what I felt because I'm pretty familiar with those kicks these days. Baby Cowen is full of energy; always on the move. Joel still has yet to feel it, but my mom has. I think Joel just gets bored and moves his hand too soon. I know he'll get to feel it sometime in the near future though.

At week 18, Joel and I went to our anatomical screening and got to see our baby on the big TV projector at the doctor's office. Our baby no longer had a tail, but actually looked like a REAL human. All parts were growing steadily and healthy, including the little part telling us that we are having a BOY!! Liam Wallace Cowen is still scheduled to arrive Nov 29th, 2013. Joel and I were both sure we were having a girl so hearing it was a boy was a little shocking. But now I can't imagine it any other way. I can't wait until the day I get to hold my little baby boy in my arms.

Around week 19 my back started to bother me. Only the right lower side, but it was painful enough to keep me up at night and cause me to have a very large meltdown in front of Joel(although that could have been the hormones). After the huge meltdown, Joel allowed me to make an appointment with the chiropractor. I went several times over two weeks. During that time Judy (my mother-in-law) gave me some orthopedic sandals and I began sleeping with a pillow or two between my legs. I'm not sure what actually caused it (maybe Liam just found a new position), but I feel 99% better. I still have some pains now and again, but nothing like it was.

Last weekend (week 22), Joel and I got in a minor wreck. A car slammed in the back of ours as we were waiting to pull into a gas station. After getting out of the car my neck was a little sore, but nothing that I was concerned about. A police officer showed up and began filling out paperwork to report the incident. While we were waiting I begin to freak out about our sweet Liam. Although I may have felt fine, there was no way to no for sure if our baby was ok on our own. The officer asked if I wanted to be checked out and with tears in my eyes I said yes. He called the EMS who ended up not really being of much help since they had no way of checking Liam's heartbeat. After calling the doctor to get her recommendation, we were on our way to the hospital. We ended up going to the one where we are planning to deliver. They sent us up to L & D where baby's heart rate was monitored for 30 minutes (music to my ears). They discharged us very quickly which was nice, no need to keep us there longer if everything is ok. It was kind of fun getting to see where we will be in 4 months. I saw my old high school friend, DeeDee, who works on that floor. And then we got a tour of the L & D since they were having a pretty slow night. We can now check that off our list of to-dos.

Week 23 - Tonight we put the crib together. Maggie tested it out for Liam. She approves. ;)
So that's what has happened lately. Coming up:
August 7th: Begin Bradley classes
August 9th: Teacher in-service begins/Back to school party
August 19th: School starts
Sept 7th: BBC Baby Shower

Thursday, May 23, 2013

13 Weeks

Tomorrow marks week 13 in this exciting pregnancy journey. Tomorrow is also the last day of school! Woo-hoo! What a great way to begin my last week in the 1st trimester. Time seems to be flying and creeping at the same time…weird how that happens. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday we found out we were pregnant and other times I feel like I’ve already been preggers for 6 months or more. For the most part, I am enjoying the pregnancy. I did have some nausea, but never to the point of actually being sick. The first few weeks were also VERY tiring! I was beginning to wish for my preschool days again when the students would take a nap and I would occasionally lay my head on my desk. Sleep is my best friend. Never ending hunger has been the biggest change I have noticed. Most days I eat, eat and eat and still want more. It’s not like I just want more, it’s as if I feel I’m going to pass out if I don’t get more. But all of these symptoms started fading around week 11 so now I’m starting to feel more normal again. Except for the asthma, my asthma has been an annoying problem that has gotten worse since being pregnant. I’ve tried two different preventative inhalers and have not noticed a difference. Therefore I am still taking my rescue inhaler frequently. Normally I wouldn’t care about taking medicine, but now I am always more aware and cautious because of the baby. Hopefully, this asthma thing will start to disappear once my allergies go away. Last week at my doctor’s appointment, my mom and I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It was beautiful! I’ve told people that I have never been so moved by a sound. It’s amazing how much reassurance there is in simply hearing a steady beat. Baby Cowen had a nice regular heartbeat of 160 bpm. As soon as we left the doctor, I began looking to see if that meant it was a girl or a boy. I’ve heard a higher beat means it’s a girl and lower means it’s a boy, but then I also hear it’s just a myth. Oh well, I guess we will find out soon enough. Besides hearing the heartbeat, my favorite part so far has been watching my belly grow. Below are two pictures. The first is when we found out I was pregnant around 4 weeks and the second was taken at 12 weeks 5 days. Joel keeps joking by saying, “You’re just pushing out.” LOL

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

I’ve always dreamt about the day I would have a baby, but the first time I really thought about actually trying was when my friend Meagan got pregnant. Her son is now turning 3 years old. I feel like that was an eternity ago. Although, I was ready, my husband was not. I tried to push and beg and cry to get my way, but it didn’t work. Around 8 months ago, I finally prayed that God would change either my heart or my husband’s because it was beginning to cause problems in our relationship. I knew for a fact that God would change Joel’s heart, not mine. Funny how we think we know how God is going to work. Turns out, my heart was the one that got changed. I went from begging and crying to being content where we were in life overnight. I began enjoying the things that one day we wouldn’t get to do anymore (i.e. two vacations in one year, going out with friends at the last minute). I realized that God had a reason for us not getting pregnant at that time and I had to trust my husband to be the head of the house and allow him to lead me (not always an easy thing to do, but when does God call us to do things that are easy). Now this doesn’t mean that all thoughts of having a baby left my mind, but I definitely didn’t push for it as much. Then January rolled around, it was time to re-examine our plan. After some back and forth we decided it was time to start trying to expand our family. I really thought that it would take us about 6 months to get pregnant. The first month was February and I tried to convince myself that it was not going to happen and not to get my hopes up, but needless to say, the day my period came, I was devastated. I tried to hide it, but others around me knew I was not ok, even though they didn’t know why. But, I didn’t stay sad for long. I think God purposely made it so that after you find out you’re not pregnant; you get another shot at it a few days later. That was very encouraging. So there we were in March, time to try again. Deep down I once again tried not to get my hopes up, but thoughts of telling others we were pregnant, feeling the baby kick, and holding my sweet bundle of joy in my arms filled my head. Joel was very insistent that we not buy a pregnancy test before my missed period. He kept saying, “Tests are a secondary form of finding out, God created a natural way of knowing.” I knew what he meant, but I just wanted to know! I tried my best to honor my husband’s wishes and waited until the day my period was expected to come and when it didn’t come bright and early the morning it was due, I decided I had waited long enough. I woke up on Saturday, March 23, 2013 and went straight to the bathroom. I locked the doors and whipped out the pregnancy test. This was the kind of test that was supposed to form a cross if you were pregnant and a single line if you were not. I watched the tiny white screen change colors from left to right, all while only seeing a single line. My heart sunk! I decided I needed to wait the prescribed 2-5 minutes and then check again. Longest 2 minutes of my life! I looked and could faintly see a cross. The instructions had said ANY sign of the cross meant you were pregnant, but I still couldn’t decide if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if I really was pregnant. Since Joel was still in bed I sent a text to my friend Laura Gail with a picture asking if she saw a cross too! Her response “Shut your face! I see a cross!!!!!!!!!” Ok, so now it was time to wake Joel and get his opinion (at this point I no longer cared that he was sleeping). “Do you see a cross?” I asked, “Here put on your glasses.” Groggily, he put on his glasses and squinted very intently. His response was not what I was looking for. He said, “It’s kind of hard to tell. Maybe you should wait a few days and take another test.” A FEW DAYS?!?!? Are you kidding me? There was no way that was going to happen. I convinced Joel I could not wait a few days and that we must get a new one right away, but we had to be at the church to work on the new building in just a few short minutes. So it would have to wait. We got to the church, my mind spinning. I was able to semi-focus and get everything set up on the stage, but the moment I had finished and sat down I realized I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed the keys and told Joel I was going to HEB to get another pregnancy test. This time I would not get that stupid one with the cross. I would get the test for dummies, the one that says “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant.” I ran into the restroom once I returned to the church, the pregnancy test discretely hidden in my purse. Once again, two minutes felt like an eternity. The blinking hour glass seemed like it would never go away. Finally, I looked down and there on the screen was the word “pregnant.” I sat there staring waiting for the word “not” to pop up in front of it, but it never came. Tears began to stream down my face as it sank it. I had my friend Caysi go get Joel, who was still working on setting up the stage. As he came over, tears streaming down my face, he opened his arms and began saying “I’m sorry, Babe.” I could not find the words, so through blurry eyes I rampaged through my purse to find the pregnancy test. I handed it to Joel, he took one look and turned to me and said, “Why are you crying?” Boys just don’t understand crying because you’re happy! It’s still taking time to set in and I am daily fighting off the devil as he places thoughts in my head of miscarriages and problems along the way. I once heard a fellow teacher say: “We should not let Satan steal the joy we have today.” Although, I may have a miscarriage or difficulties during this pregnancy, I’m not going to let Satan rob me of my joy today! I’m rejoicing and praising God for the miracle He has begun! WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!