Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Anti-Krumroy

My head has been all over the place the past few days.  I just finished throwing a baby shower for my brother in law and his wife for their baby girl who is due to arrive at the end of April.  On top of that, my very difficult breastfeeding relationship with Genevieve is coming to an end this week.  I'm going out of town without her and I'm already down to just one feeding a day.  My body is done and so are we. 

My baby girl is turning 1 in just about a month.  This is doing what all first birthdays do, making me look back at our first year.  The first year is full of so many milestones and decisions.  The first birthday party is so much more about the parents then the baby because it is such a year of growth for any parent, regardless if it is your first or your last.

When Genevieve first started needing formula, I was having a conversation with a friend and he jokingly told me that she was the "Anti-Krumroy" baby.  At the time this thought hurt my feelings because I was just so sad that it was true.  She was on formula.  She wasn't getting homemade baby food, she was in disposable diapers.  She was everything that I thought I was wrong with other people's parenting.

It's been 6 months since then.  And I no longer cringe when I give Genevieve a bottle of formula in public.  I no longer look around to see who is judging me for it.  I really think this is because I've stopped judging myself.  And when I stopped judging myself, I stopped judging others. 

There are other ways that this has come out in my parenting of her.  For example, just yesterday we were outside and instead of holding her or putting her in the swing so she wouldn't get dirty, I let her crawl around in the grass, the dirt, and the pine straw.  This was something I never would have let my other kids do.  What if they ate dirt?  Or got their clothes dirty?  Or? Or?

So have those decisions that I made that made Genevieve the "Anti-Krumroy" hurt her?  Most definitely not.  She's my first child to have any kind of separation anxiety when she leaves me, proving just how much she loves me.  When I leave the room, she seeks me out. She's growing and healthy.  And that smile.  Oh that smile.  She may just be the happiest baby I have ever seen.  "Anti-Krumroy"?  I don't think so.  She is the final piece of this Krumroy puzzle.

Every time you have a child you change.  Ainsley made me a first time mom and I changed into a brand new role.  David taught me what it meant to love a little boy.  And Genevieve, she taught me to let go.  Thanks kids.  I'm better because of you, all of you!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Line in the Sand

A Line in the sand is defined as a point beyond which, once the decision to go beyond it is made, the decision and its resulting consequences are permanently decided and irreversible.

As parents we think we make these.  Decisions of how we will be as a parent. We say them out loud and say we will never do this or we will only do that.  We judge other people by these decisions.  We often take pride in these decisions.  Usually these are not the small decisions.  These are the "big" things. 

  • I will rear face my child's car seat until at least 2 years old
  • I will never give formula
  • I will not give my child sugar and soda
  • I will discipline a certain way.
You get it.  

Well one of those lines got broken for me this week.  

Genevieve was born at 9lbs 2oz.  She was a big baby.  But since then, her weight has been slipping.  At her 4 month check, she weighed 13lbs 2oz.  She has only gained 4lbs in her little life.  The doctor didn't seem overly concerned but then I had to see a lactation consultant for thrush.  In a 2 week span, she gained nothing.  Zero.  Stayed the exact same.  

This isn't ok.  She's eating for survival and not for growth.  I've been doing all the things to increase supply and it's just not working. The doctor and the lactation consultant want me supplementing 1-2 ounces after each feeding.  I'm continuing to breast feed but I just needed a little help to boost her weight.

Leading up to that bottle this morning, I have been so conflicted.  Realizing my body just isn't the same as it used to be is tough.  Realizing that I can't do what I want to do is hard.  

And then when I gave that bottle this morning she didn't want it.  Oh my heart.  

That being said, I do believe God is working on me.  I've taken pride in what my body can do and how healthy we try to be.  And through pregnancy and now breastfeeding, I'm realizing the sinfulness in this.  Yes, I should take care of my body, but it has become something I value more than I should.  

So it's time to let go.  Time to take the help where I can get it.  Whether it be a couple scoops of formula to try out from a friend or 60 ounces of frozen breastmilk from another.  I will push through this and continue to try and feed Genevieve my milk.  But I can't let it be my identity.  

My mother in law had it just right this morning when I spoke with her.  This is not about me and my feelings.  This is about helping my baby grow and thrive.  Grow baby grow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Operation No More Babies

Ryan and I recently made the decision to have no more children.  We have 3 beautiful children here on this earth and 3 children waiting for us in heaven.  Our years of fertility have brought great joy and great sadness.  Putting those years behind us is bitter sweet.

When I was pregnat with Genevieve I was sure that I would not think twice about getting my tubes tied.  Pregnancy was hard. Harder than it had been before.  Each day that passed toward the end came with stronger thoughts of being "done".

I made the appointment within 10 days of her birth.  I was sure that these 3 beautiful children were all that I could care for well.  And so it was time to put that stage of our lives behind us. (Side note for anyone wondering why I did the surgery and not Ryan.  It was a financial decision.  We are on separate insurance and mine was 100% covered and he would have had to meet his deductible.  Can't beat free surgery.)
And yet, when walked into the hospital yesterday for my surgery, I got sad.  Ryan kept asking me if I was ok.  I just kept saying yes.  But inside I was quite sad.  I know in my head that it's the right decision.  But my heart aches just knowing those years are over.

No more pregnant bellies.  Each first that Genevieve goes through is the last time I will see that first.  Each outfit she outgrows will be donated.  Each stage she leaves behind will be another stage we leave behind as well.

Part of that is freeing. Part of that is really sad.  But you have to stop sometime.  It doesn't matter if this is my last baby or if we had one more after this.  I will have to go through those "lasts" at some point.

It is officially over now.  The surgery is done.  There is no turning back.  I will hold on to these lasts as much as I possibly can.  And I will soak in as much joy as I can from the lasts that are coming down the road.

But if you see me getting overly emotional at the little things Genevieve does, just know that I am savoring those moments.  She is officially the baby and will be forever.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Final Birth

One of my favorite parts of giving birth is going over the birth story over and over again in my head.  I enjoy re-living the anticipation, the highs and lows, and finally that moment where I got to meet the latest addition of our family.  But this birth story has been hard for me to write.  I've had a birth go differently than hoped before and I've had a birth go exactly as I hoped.  But this is different altogether.

The weeks leading up to Genevieve's birth were tough.  I am older this time.  I never imagined that I would be pregnant at 37.  And this was a third pregnancy.  I started having regular contractions at around 30 weeks, nothing regular at first and then they worked themselves into a pattern of starting every night around 7:00 and stopping after a bath before bed.  On top of the contractions and the general difficulties of the end of pregnancy, our website went through some really tough spots.  We went almost a week without being online.  And yet, God provided a fix for this less than a week before I went into labor.  As I was living through all of this, I imagined that this would be what my birth story would revolve around.  But it's not.

It was a Thursday.  I had a mother/daughter brunch at Ainsley's school.  It was the last thing that I wanted to do before I had this baby.  I went to school that morning and didn't realize that it was the National Day of Prayer.  Ainsley's school had a worship service that lasted over an hour.  I stood for the whole thing.  Prior to that, I think standing for 5 minutes was my max.  But I kept thinking that it would be over in 5 minutes so I didn't ask for a chair.  The brunch was amazing and a wonderful time to celebrate Ainsley.

That night I dropped Ainsley off at dance class and she was going to be picked up by a friend for dinner.  David and I went to Chipotle to get dinner for the rest of us.  As is the case typically at dinner time, we stood in line for about 45 minutes.  We got home that night and ate dinner.  Ainsley was dropped off by her friend's dad and the rest of us ate our dinner.  As I finished, I told Ryan that I thought I might be in early labor.  The contractions that started at 7:00 were different, much more intense and much more patterned.  He asked me what he needed to do and I said, just get the kids to bed.  8 minutes.  It took him 8 minutes to get them to bed when it normally takes him 45.  Woot!

I called my my mother in law, midwife, and my doula.  Everyone had prepped me that this labor was going to go fast since David's was only 3 hours.  When we couldn't get in touch with Ryan's mom I began to freak.  We called the neighbors and created a back up plan.  But this labor was going much more routine than either of my other 2.  My contractions were building in a steady pace but not too fast.  We located my mother in law and my doula came over.  We took a walk and being on my feet seemed to keep the contractions going.  I got in the shower, as per my midwife's advice, and they really built.  We decided now was the right time to go to the hospital.  I kissed my sleeping children goodbye and we went into Genevieve's room and prayed over what was to come.  That time was sweet and helped me center myself for the work ahead.

When we got to the hospital, my contractions had all but stopped.  I checked in with the nurse and my midwife.  I was not going home.  I hadn't progressed any from my appointment the day before but we decided that since I was there it might be a good time to get my membranes stripped.  This had worked with David so it was worth a shot.  We decided to get checked in and get an IV put in.  I was Group B Strep positive so I was going to need antibiotics as soon as possible.  They put us in the same room that we had when David was born.  It was so familiar. I had my membranes stripped and my midwife set up the tub as Ryan, Mary (my doula), and I began to walk the halls.  As long as I was standing up, my contractions kept going.  When I sat down they all but stopped.  So I stood.

At this point, I had my antibiotics dripping and I was in the shower.  I was managing my contractions really well.  Ryan, Mary, Tanya (my midwife), and Kristy (my nurse) were all just sitting around watching me labor and small talking.

I got out of the shower and Tanya decided it was a good time to break my water.  I was 8cm and I just needed a final push to go through transition.  I had a couple contractions and then it was clearly time to get in the tub.

So I transferred into the tub and my body just really took over. Ryan held my hand as I worked through these harder contractions. I remember Tanya saying something about moving my hips to help get baby into a better position.  I have no idea what she said for me to do, but my body just did it.   With each contraction I kicked a leg out here or rotated there and within 45 minutes, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  And I pushed for 3 minutes.  2 contractions.  It was a hard 3 minutes.  That crap burns and hurts.  They don't call it the ring of fire for nothing.  But I had her out.  I was in so much of a zone that Tanya had to yell at me to look down and see my baby.

And then we met Genevieve.

She was so chill.  Not screaming or crying.  Just looking at us.  It's one of the beauties of water birth. The babies come out with such a smooth transition.  Her apgar scores were 7 and 8.  She was pinking up and doing well.  They decided it was time for me to get out of the tub and so they transferred Genevieve to Ryan's chest.

And that's where it went different.  And my life changed before my eyes.  And I will never be the same.

Within a minute of Genevieve being put on Ryan's chest, she stopped breathing.  Completely stopped breathing.  He quickly called over the nurses and they wisked Genevieve to the baby warming station.  Remember I'm still in the tub so I can't really see what's going on.  And then Tanya turns and looks at me.  Calmly she says to me, "Your baby is having some trouble breathing.  We are going to call the NICU team in.  There is going to be a lot of people in here really soon.  Just hold on."  And she turned to the wall and hit the NICU button.

20 seconds.  It took 20 seconds for the doors to fly open and rush of people to come in.  They took over immediately.  All I heard was someone saying "6 minutes since birth.  7 minutes since birth.  8 minutes since birth.  9 minutes since birth.  10 minutes since birt., 11 minutes since birth."  Ryan was there watching the whole thing.  Mary was at my shoulder, holding my hand and praying.  I don't know what she prayed.  But it was clear that she was petitioning to our Heavenly Father to please save this little baby girl.

And then Genevieve cried.  It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard in all of my life.  She was ok.  She had made it through.  And so had we.  Those were the hardest 5 minutes of my life.

We don't know why it happened.  Genevieve spent the next 72 hours in the NICU trying to figure it out.  There was a possibility that the Group B Strep infection had passed to her.  But the cultures all came back clear.  The best explanation I have received is that sometimes babies just don't transition well.  It had nothing to do with the water birth.  It had nothing to do with me being Group B Strep positive.  I didn't do anything that caused it.  It just happenes sometimes.

Because she was in the NICU for so long, we extended my stay at the hospital.  The time in the hospital was not what I imagined.  There were very few visitors.  We don't have wonderful hospital pictures.  We are missing the one of her being weighed for the first time.  Ainsley and David couldn't meet her until she came home.  I missed out on some precious skin to skin time in our room.  I was able to breastfeed in the NICU but it was in a chair behind a curtain.  Not very bonding.  When I think about those 72 hours, I just get sad.

Thinking back over her whole birth, the glorious empowerment that it could have been is gone.  Her birth is about minutes 6 through 11.  Those 5 minutes felt like an eternity.  After the losses we have gone through, I couldn't imagine losing a baby at full term.  And yet graciously, God answered those prayers that Mary prayed while I sat in that tub.  Those prayers were heard.

And for me, Genevieve's birth is wrapped up in prayers.  We prayed for her before she was conceived.  We prayed for her during my pregnancy.  We prayed for her during labor.  We prayed for her after she was born.  We will continue to pray for her.

Because of all of those prayers, I have given these verses to her birth story.  Because it's true.  We prayed for her.  And she is not ours.  She is His.

27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Genevieve Jane Krumroy

Naming children has never been an easy task for Ryan and me.  I come up with a list and Ryan vetos.  He can't commit until we have the baby.  And then once I have gone through labor, I tell Ryan what I want to name the baby and he gladly agrees as a courtesy since I've done all the work.  

Unlike when I was pregnant with David, we decided to find out the sex of this last baby.  Because I'm old, insurance covered the Harmony test and we found out at 12 weeks that this baby is a girl.  We were in the parking lot of Ainsley's school when we opened that envelop and saw the words "Female Fetus".  With that, I looked at Ryan and said...I get my Genevieve Jane!  He said he wasn't so sure.  And I said, I was and that he would get used to it.

Ever since I started seriously looking at baby names 7 years ago, I have loved the name Genevieve.  But when we were pregnant with Ainsley, I was determined that her middle name would be Elizabeth.  It's my mom's name.  It's my middle name.  And it would be my 1st daughter's middle name.  Pairing that with Genevieve would just be mean. So I passed and waited.  And then David was boy.  So I waited some more.  I kind of figured I would end up having a dog named Genevieve. But at 12 weeks, I was given the gift of the name I've always wanted.

Growing up, I didn't have a lot of grandparent interaction.  My maternal grandfather died before I was born.  My maternal grandmother died when I was 3.  And my paternal grandfather died when I was in 3rd grade.  That leaves my paternal Grandmother, GiGi.  She was a huge part of my childhood and early adulthood.  Her name was Janet, a name I didn't love.  But her mother's name was Genevieve.  She died a month after I was born. I just know that my GiGi would be so thrilled to know that her great granddaughter carried her mom's name.
Genevieve Crooks - 10/5/1882 - 12/5/1977

The perfect pairing with the long name Genevieve is Jane.  Ryan grew up with some fantastic grandparents.  His maternal grandmother, Jane, just died a few years ago.  Ryan has so many great stories from her and his grandpa.  They were truly fantastic grandparents.  And when I came into the picture, Grams welcomed me with open arms and treated me as her own.  On her death bed, I was pregnant with David.  I got to tell her that if he was a girl, the middle name would be Jane.  David ended up being David and so we waited. But God blessed us with another girl.  And I got to fulfill my promise to Grams.  Her name would be passed.

Jane Taylor - 10/17/1919 - 08/21/2011

After everything we have been through, I was starting to give up on the dream of a 3rd child and my Genevieve Jane.  But now we have our own Genevieve Jane.  I plan on framing these 3 pictures together in her room.  What a legacy.

"For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.” - 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dear Kindergarten Ainsley

I went to a brunch today for Ainsley's class.  We were asked to prepare something to say about our children.  Knowing that there was a chance I would be in the hospital having a baby, I wrote mine out for someone else to read.  But I got to go.  And it was a wonderful time.

I thought I would share what I wrote about Ainsley as well.  She is so precious to me.

My Dearest Ainsley

In the Bible, God changes people’s names before He does something major in their lives.  When you were born, God changed my name.  I was no longer just Tracey.  I was now Mommy.  And God changed me in a big way when you were born.  He made more complete into the person that He wanted me to be.  The biggest way He changed me was in my love.  He taught me brand new ways to love someone and that someone is you.

I wanted to share some things about you and how very proud I am of you.  This year has been a huge year for you and it has been a joy to watch you grow; Physically, Academically, and Spiritually.

This year I have seen you grow so much physically.  You are always on the move and your dad and I have loved watching it happen.  Your growth in your swimming has been amazing.  We watched you grow from the summer last year where you were scared to do a lap in freestyle to this past meet when you won your heat.  It was also so fun to watch you learn to ride your bike and now race around the neighborhood with your friends.

Ainsley you are becoming a wonderful student as well.  I have loved watching you grow in your love of learning.  It’s been awesome to see you go from barely reading at all to reading 30 page books and trying to read everything you see.  You are a sponge and are soaking everything in and we love it!

The biggest thing I have seen this year is your spiritual growth. We have watched as you memorized scripture and learned about the Bible at home, school, and in church.  This is the year that the gospel became clear to you.  You asked Jesus into your heart this year and your father and I are so excited.  There is nothing bigger you will ever do in your life.  Just this past week, you courageously spoke to Pastor Jeff about being baptized.  That’s a huge deal and we cannot wait to stand up with you on the day that it happens. 

Ainsley, you are going to continue to grow in your life.  We know you are going to go places and be a leader.  Your dad and I want to encourage you to keep growing.  Keep pushing yourself.  And most importantly, follow Christ always.

Monday, January 26, 2015

It Could Be So Different

Reflection is a good thing.  Looking back on where you have been and what the Lord has done is always a good exercise. 

I'm sitting in my quiet house tonight with 2 sleeping kids with my hand on my stomach feeling the baby in my womb move around.  Ryan is out of town on a business trip.  He never travels so this is a strange occurrence for me.  And as I sit here by myself, I can't help but think of what it would be like if he weren't here.

Ryan and I met when we were very young.  I was a freshman in college and he was a junior.  Neither of us really knew who we were.  We were starry eyed teenagers.  Well I was.  He was an old man at the age of 20!  In all practicality, he was the only boyfriend I ever had (those boyfriends that lasted 2 months in high school just don't count).

We got engaged when I had just turned 21.  On February 5th 15 years ago, we got married at the ages of 22 and 24. 

As I look forward to our 15th anniversary next week, I'm just struck by the Lord's goodness to us.  We both had relationships with God when we got married.  But we didn't really know God.  We were not just young in age, but young in our faith.  We both had grown up in the church, but we didn't really have a firm grasp on the character of God and our own character and our own imperfections.

Over the past 15 years we have dealt with our share of good times and bad.  We have moved over 600 miles away and back again.  We have endured bad jobs.  We have celebrated great jobs.  We have adopted dogs and watched as those dogs got old and died.  We have been to weddings.  We have been to funerals.  We have had children.  We have lost children. 

And now here we are.  Closer than ever.  And I can't help but ask why.  My only answer has to be grace and grace that can only come from a Heavenly Father who loves us so very much.  As we have been through all those things, the best part is actually watching each other grow in Christ and knowing that we are walking this path together.  It's because of His graciousness that we are here.  Oh how different it could be. 

And as we cling to Him in all things, I can't help but be reminded of the scripture that our wedding was based around.  We built our rings around it.  We have built our lives around it.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
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