Friday, May 29, 2009

A Better Birth

I reflect on Parks' birth fairly frequently.  Not every day, but definitely a few times a month.  After all, it was probably the most life changing event to happen thus far in my life.  I think through everything, the start of labor, my surprise when after 10 hours of labor we weren't even at the hospital, my arrival to the hospital and the birth of my first son.  Overall, I was happy with my first birth experience, but I am already looking forward to a better birth next time.   There were a few things I was set on with Parks.  I definitely wanted a natural birth with no pain medications and I wanted to have him close to me after the birth and all that.  I wanted to see a midwife but she was booked so I ended up with Dr. Wolanski.  I wanted to deliver at Martha Jefferson which I knew to be a pretty progressive hospital in terms of how they treat childbirth.

As most of you probably know, I didn't end up with a natural birth.  My labor started at 10 pm on a Thursday night and around 12 am Jackson and I excitedly started getting our things together thinking we would be heading to the hospital in the early morning.  Well, my contractions were certainly strong and very bothersome but 3 am rolled by and they were still 7-10 minutes apart.  7 am rolled by and they were 5-7 minutes apart.  10 am rolled by and they were still 5-7 minutes apart.  At this point, I had been in labor for 12 hours with not much to show for it.  I was completely exhausted because I hadn't gotten any sleep and to make matters worse, I had gone for two vigorous walks during this time thinking it would speed up my labor.  At one point I started jogging, yes jogging! 12 pm rolled around and I broke down, crying and completely discouraged and exhausted.  I was saying "I'm not going to be able to do this."  Mental preparation is so important for something like this and I had prepared for an 8-12 hour labor in my mind.  My mother had average length labors and I was young, fit and thought surely I fall right into the "average" category.  WRONG.  My mom and Jackson gave me a pep talk during my breakdown and I rallied and became very focused on getting through this and getting my baby here safely.  Finally, around 2 pm the contractions had gone down to 3 minutes apart.  We called the doctor.  He said, in his laid-back tone that I should come to his office at 4pm.  I begged for 3:30 and he complied.  We headed over there and I was 5 cm.  He said I could either go home or we could go the hospital and he could break my water and try to speed things up.  Go home? Yeah right!  I high-tailed my contracting preggo self across the street and got checked in.  At 5:00 pm Dr. Wolanski broke my water and things really picked up.  I got in the bathtub which was the best thing ever and the contractions got really intense, about 2 minutes apart, I had about 30 seconds of rest time in between them.  I would close my eyes and lay my head on the side of the tub and do some moan sound that I never thought I would do, I even made fun of people making noises in the birth class videos, but hey, anything goes in labor!  After about an hour and a half I threw up and the nurse said she thought I was in transition.  Sure enough, I was 10 cm.  At 7:00 pm I started pushing.  

This was where things didn't go as planned.  I never really felt the urge to push.  I started pushing as directed and it didn't feel right to me, I felt out of sync with my contractions.  I was also literally exhausted.  I barely had any strength and after an hour and half of failed pushing, something had to give.  Parks' hadn't moved an inch and I was shutting down.  So, Wolanski ordered an epidural and pitocin.  I was both relieved and upset.  I had worked SO hard getting to 10 cm and pushing all that time and I felt defeated.  But I also desperately needed rest so I received the epidural and some anti-nausea medication that knocked me out and I slept for an hour and a half.  At 11:30 pm the doctor woke me up and said I needed to push again.  Of course this time, I didn't feel anything because of the epidural so it was totally directed pushing.  At 11:46 pm Parks was born.  After a whopping 26 hours of labor.  I was so groggy from the nausea medicine I could barely feel the joy of my son's birth.  I knew in my mind that I should be crying but the tears wouldn't come.  I looked at him and I remember feeling a little numb and unable to process the emotion.  I never want to feel that way at another one of my children's births.  

So, all that to say, I am looking forward to a better birth next time.  I have found a wonderful midwife in Virginia Beach and have been seriously looking into a home birth for the next time around.  Yes, you heard me...home birth.  The *only* thing that makes me chicken out is the slim chance that my baby wouldn't be breathing or would need immediate medical attention.  So, the answer to my problem is the DePaul Midwifery Center!  Hallelujah! This hospital in Norfolk has an entire midwifery center where only midwives deliver and the atmosphere is just like a home birth.  You have a room with a jacuzzi tub in the middle of it, a queen size bed, big enough for mom AND dad and all the security of knowing a hospital is right down the hall.  You can even have a water birth there if you want, which I can definitely see myself doing after how much I loved the bathtub during my first labor.  I am so thrilled about this I can't even tell you.  I just know that if I had been with a midwife with Parks, I would have had a different birth.  I would not have been going on jogs for goodness sake, I would have been laying down resting and conserving my strength.  I also would not have been asked to push before I felt like I had to and the midwife probably would have waited for my body to naturally start pushing the baby down.  A midwife probably would have done more to prevent any tears as well.  

I have become so passionate about women knowing their options when it comes to childbirth.  I have also come to the conclusion that the way we treat childbirth as a society is totally unnatural.  A woman is made to feel like she is on the verge of death and strapped into a hospital bed with tubes and monitors when really childbirth is an amazing natural thing.  Women were built for this task!  And since when did laying down in a bed become the best way to push?  It is totally not the best way to push, you are working against gravity.  When I watch "Birth Day" or "A Baby Story" now sometimes I feel really sad for the way mothers are treated by the nursing staff and their doctors.  They are made to feel like an inconvenience and not treated at all with the dignity and respect a laboring woman should be treated with.  I am convinced a large part of childbirth is mental and emotional and when you don't have good support on those levels, it can become a traumatizing event instead of an awe-inspiring accomplishment.  

I will always cherish Parks' birth.  Even though it wasn't my perfect birth plan, it was special.  But now that I know more about how I labor and how my body handles it, I am excited to make better choices for me the next time around.  I want to enjoy this season of childbirth as the empowering experience I believe it was intended to be.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sad, but true.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- National leaders of the Episcopal Church have ousted 61 clergy who aligned with a former bishop in California when he broke with the national church in a dispute over the Bible and homosexuality.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day at Tides Inn

The Andrews Fam spent a wonderful Memorial Day weekend at the Tides Inn with my family.  It was so much fun and we were so grateful for such a wonderful weekend with family.  The Tides Inn is an old resort on the Chesapeake Bay in Irvington, VA.  It has a lot of character and a relaxing atmosphere.  Here are some pictures from the weekend!

The whole family, minus Jud, he had to work :(

The Andrews Fam
My sisters: Lindsey, Shannon, Me
Baby Parks! 

chillin with daddy
i love aunt tina!!!
mommy & me

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Man's Best Friend?

Parks, meet Savannah.  The world's most unbalanced canine there is.   This dog would make Cesar Milan run for cover.  Savannah's neuroses are in large part due to the fact that her owners (my parents) don't think Savannah is a dog.  They think she is their fifth child.  There is even a large oil painting of Savannah in their house.  Let me give you some examples of her "issues":

- She barks incessantly at any person coming to our house.  
- She refuses to socialize with other dogs and people she does not know.  
- She basically has a small circle of trust and she only lets family and people that have been around a long time into her circle.  If you are not in her circle and try to get friendly, she may give you a nip to tell you to back off. 
- She refuses to be around other dogs so my parents get a mobile doggie groomer lady come to our house to groom her privately.  
- When she gets nervous, she shakes.  I'm talking fully body convulsions.  She does it when music is loud or when she goes on my parent's boat.  She has to take sedatives.  
- When she shakes, my mother carries her around in a sling.  Yes, like a baby sling.  
- She doesn't walk after 9 pm (?!!!) She must be carried.
- If you make her mad, she will "bake a brownie" in your room to teach you a lesson.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I actually tried to submit Savannah for "The Dog Whisperer" show on NatGeo but they only are accepting applicants from Texas and California.  I was seriously disappointed.  Please Cesar, take this special case from won't be sorry! 

april showers bring may flowers

i. am. in. love. 

a broken world

I like to try to read the newspaper on a regular basis. You know, stay informed, know what's going on in my community etc. Lately however, the news has become so horrific it makes it hard for me to read it. This week here are some of the most wrenching headlines:

"Beach man not guilty in son's decapitation by reason of insanity"


"Couple whose baby starved to death could get 42 years"

The first story features a man who decapitated his son because he believed his wife was the anti-christ and killing his son was the only way he would be safe.

The second story is about a couple who lived in a house with no heat, no running water, no food, etc. Their 11 month old baby starved to death, but they were up to date on the payments on their new tv with cable.

It's hard to know how to respond to this kind of news.  When I read things like this I have a visceral reaction.  Anger wells up inside of me.  Righteous anger?  I'm not sure.  I'm angry at the man who decapitated his own son.  In my mind I picture the fear and terror in the little boy's face.  A mother trying desperately to save her son.  The injustice of it all.  The fact that this man is rendered "not guilty by reason of insanity" infuriates me.  My blood boils as a parent.  "How could someone do this" keeps ringing through my mind. 

I'm angry at the parents who sat and watched their child die as they watched cable tv.  The picture of a baby suffering like that literally brings me to tears.  I can't help but think of my baby.  My anger rises.   

Then I think about the way our society tends to view these atrocities.  We condemn those who murder a life we can see.  Yet, we sit by and condone the murder of thousands of unborn children every day.  Lives just as precious, just as full of promise.  We take the lives of innocent children every day in this country and while so many vehemently protect the "right" to do this, they reject the legitimacy of capital punishment.  Ending the life of those who have performed the most heinous acts against mankind they say is "barbaric" and "uncivilized".  Really?  But it is not barbaric and uncivilized to end the life of an unborn child?  Would it bother them more if abortionists used guns?  Either way the result is the same.  Death.  In one case it is death of the innocent, in the other case it is death of the guilty.  I choose to protect the innocent.  

Then I'm faced with the Christian reality that Jesus loves these people.  Jesus loves the man who decapitated his child and the parents who sat and watched their child die while they did nothing.  Jesus would forgive them in an instant if they asked.  He would show them grace and welcome them with open arms.  So what is the proper response?  Where is the line between a righteous anger over the sin in the world while maintaining the truth that God loves these people?  How do you balance the overwhelming emotions of anger, sadness and even rage over these events?  I don't know the answers.  I just know that Jesus loves me just as much as he loves them and that one day, none of this will happen anymore.  All the sin and brokenness in this world will be gone and Jesus will be the ruler.  Lord, let it be on earth as it as it heaven, sustain us until the day of Your glorious return.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

You must watch this

go to Jaime's blogand watch the video on abortion.


My blog has become a total yawn.  Several days now I have tried to sit down to write something but I have no inspiration.  Nothing funny has been happening to me lately.  I don't really want to write something controversial again because I don't feel like dealing with the ramifications of my opinions.  But really, everybody has opinions.  If everyone posted their opinions on their blog like I sometimes do, people would think that everyone was offensive.  Chances are, you hold opinions that are offensive to someone, somewhere.  I digress...

The point is I need inspiration and I acknowledge that my blog has become a bore! Help! 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

hitting the pavement

Yes folks, I will be hitting the pavement to get in shape for the summer! I just purchased my BabyJogger Summit 360 and have taken it out for two runs so far.  It's sweet.  Now...if only I could run longer than 5 minutes before stopping! All my mommy friends are pretty serious runners so I figured I needed to step it up in this department.  Who knows, I might even sign up for a race!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2007...

the Andrews family was born! I said, "I do" to Jackson Beal Andrews two years ago today.  It has been two years of wedded bliss :)  I can't believe we have been husband and wife for two whole years! I love Jackson more each day and to see him be a father just makes my love for him grow.  I am so blessed to be his wife.  He is a Godly husband, father, leader and provider for us and I couldn't ask for more.

I would be remiss in this anniversary post if I didn't mention our amazing wedding.  Of course it was my wedding so I think it was the best day ever, but it was truly magical.  It was like an enchanted fairy tale dream wedding!  We got married in a church and had the reception at my parent's home which I loved!  We had a tent put in the front yard and it was so much fun.  I will forever remember this day and smile.  It was the best day of my life (along with Parks being born!).

Just pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Andrews
good dress picture

all the girls

husband and wife!
first dance

my parents' house

this picture does not do the reception ambiance justice!

neat picture 

this gives you a better idea of what it was like...magical! 
i loved our cake!


I love you Jackson Andrews! I love being your wife! 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

So in celebration of my first Mother's Day...I bought myself the babycook! I did it, I caved.  My justification for it is that I rarely ever buy anything for "me" and it IS mothers day after all and it will save us money in the long run and be healthier for Parks (sorry for the run-on sentence).  So now I'm fully committed.  I must make Parks' baby food now that I have invested in the baby cook.  There is no turning back now. I've already made a carrot puree just for fun and it works like a dream! 

Hope you have a fabulous Mother's day! 

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Is anyone else sick of the nasty Activia commercials complete with hand-gestures?  They really gross me out but that stupid jingle "Activiaaaaaaaa" keeps running through my head.  I think we can all get the point of what the yogurt is supposed to do without all the foul hand-movements.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Perfect Day of Meals

This post is inspired/stolen from my friend Megan who blogs at The Megosphere and at The Rathbone Family. She did a post where she asked her readers if they could pick their favorite meals from anywhere, what three meals or snacks would they choose? Such a fun idea!

Here's my day of perfect meals:

Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes (the ones my Mom makes) with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Real Maple Syrup and Freshly brewed Illy Coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Morning Snack:
Grande, non-fat, no whip, white chocolate mocha from the Bucks, of course.


Dos Steak Tacos from Tijuana Flats, fully loaded, with the "Smack My Sweet A** and Call Me Sally" sauce drizzled on top. Diet Pepsi to drink. Yum!

Afternoon Snack:
More Illy coffee and a slice of Bertha's pound cake or carrot cake, both are divine.

Barefoot Contessa's Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce, Mashed butternut squash, herb yeast rolls, spinach salad and a nice glass of Silver Oak. Perfection!

What is YOUR favorite day of meals or just a favorite meal? Let the mouth-watering begin!

P.S. Bertha is my mom's oh-so-affectionate nickname :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


You never know what to expect from thoseandrews do you?  One day it might be pictures of a drooling 5 month old and the next it could be some fiery post about a hot topic.  This post might qualify as a bit of a hot topic, so beware. I'm feeling a little underrepresented by mainstream mommy marketing.  Everytime I watch "A Baby Story" or "Bringing Home Baby" or even a Gerber commercial it seems like all the couples are in their thirties, some pushing forty.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Let me just say it right now: I have nothing against older parents.  People have the right to make their own choices when planning their family.  But, I do think that young families with parents in their early to mid twenties are underrepresented in the media and stereotyped by society.

I found some data that shows the average age for a first-time mother in 2002 (dated, I know) was 25.  By 2009, I bet it has risen to at least 27.  In 1970, the average age was 21.  I found these numbers from this article.  Nevertheless, the average age isn't 35 like all these commercials and tv shows lead you to believe!  Where are the responsible, mature 24 year old couples with children on tv?  Nowhere.  The closest you get is "Engaged and Underage" on MTV which depicts foolish, immature teenage couples who get married.  Some because they already have a baby with their "baby daddy".  It's sad.  

I used to think that the church as a whole was supportive of young couples who wanted to marry early and were open to the possibility of children early in their marriage.  But it seems lots of Christians have adopted a pretty secular philosophy of marriage and children.  What this looks like practically is: date a really long time before you get engaged, and when you do get engaged make it for at least a year, don't have kids soon because kids are such a burden and you want to be free to enjoy each other and be carefree, also they will limit a woman's ability to pursue a career.  This advice does not support Godly young people who want to get married and it does not view children as a blessing and the natural product of marital intimacy.  I'm speaking from experience, children do limit your ability to just pick up and go! We can't go on a spontaneous road trip and visit out friends whenever we want.  But we get to parent a little boy who loves us and that is the biggest privilege and joy.  Children don't mean that you won't get to enjoy each other, we enjoy each other more than we ever have!  Truthfully, I think adolescence is extended *way* too long in our culture.  Men are allowed to act like boys well into their thirties.  College behavior is encouraged instead of adult responsibility.  Marriage, children and anything that ties you down is discouraged and a selfish, "it's all about me mentality" is encouraged.  

I'm just saying, as a 23 year old married, Christian woman with a baby, I feel underrepresented and often stereotyped by society.  People assume that because of our age we are stupid and financially irresponsible.   It's okay that I'm underrepresented.  I know that I am in the minority.  However,  I do think that as Christians it is so very easy to let secular thinking permeate our minds without us even realizing it.  This trend of delayed marriage and childbirth *can* have some disturbing motives when the layers are really peeled back and examined.  I'm not saying there is a one size fits all approach for marriage and childbirth, or if you get married and have children later in life you have nefarious motives.   God has a plan for every family and I know that His timing is different for different people.  But, this is clearly a trend in our culture and I think Christians must always evaluate cultural trends through the filter of God's word.  This is an interesting topic.  Feel free to weigh in here and share your opinion.  

In the meantime, Gerber, if you're reading...feel free to contact my family to represent the twenty-somethings with kids! 

Monday, May 4, 2009

i want it

I really want the Beaba Baby Cook.  Something about it just makes me want it! I have dreams of making Parks' baby food using the best organic produce I can find.  We just started rice cereal so I know that veggies are just around the corner.  I know that I could make baby food at home with appliances I already own: an oven or steamer and a food processer.  But something about the convenience and cuteness of it makes it seem like a must-have.  This is mommy-marketing at its best!  Plus, the idea of assembling, using, cleaning, drying and putting away the gigantic food processor on a regular basis makes me feel ill.  Do any of YOU have the Beaba Baby Cook or make your own baby food?  There is a very good chance my baby food making dreams will end up like my cloth diaper dreams...crushed by reality and a desire for simplicity.  I'll keep you posted...