Rocco Sean’s Birth Story (with a bit of preface…) October 2, 2015
We always knew we wanted three kids. We had both agreed that just because we lived in a city that seems to frown upon more than 2 children…we weren’t going to let that dictate what we wanted our family to look like. In fact, we probably would have tried to get pregnant sooner than we did. Rafi was such a gem of a baby (pretty much a gem until just now turning 2.5…can I pull my hair out please?!) that it seemed like…why not?! Let’s do this. But then the bomb hit. Sean had serious cancer…totatlly out of the blue…and we decided we needed to wait on our plans and focus in on helping our brother survive.
Long story short everything went horribly wrong. We fought and focused on Sean as best we could… culminating in our standing around his hospital bed singing worship songs and praying as we ushered him into the Kingdom of heaven. And then we weeped and weeped until nothing was left…Sean was taken from us.
We don’t live far from the hospital where Sean died…so we walked home…in shock, clutching one another’s hands and thankful for the bitter cold wind on our hot tear stained faces. Nothing looks more promising after witnessing death take place than the idea of creating life. And it was on this heartbreaking occasion that we decided we would try for our third.
It didn’t take long, and by the time Sean had been absent from our lives for just a month there was new life in my womb. I cried when the pregnancy test said it was positive. Not because I wasn’t happy, but because Sean would never know. And it all seemed so wrong.
My pregnancy began to mark the amount of time that Sean had been missing from our lives. I tried not to think of it that way but…it was difficult not to. I felt like I had conceived grief and as the baby grew in my womb I felt like I was preparing to give birth to this swelling grief. I was getting increasingly more nervous about delivering and it made me scared and anxious.
Aaron had a hard time being excited about the baby. He knew that he didn’t have the emotional capacity to keep his shit together if something went wrong. So he kept his attachment at bay. Which I felt. And the pregnancy felt lonely. I had a grieving and sad husband, two small kids to care for and a growing baby bump that I was too much in survival mode to be too excited about yet. As the due date drew closer I began to get more anxious about delivery.
I began to have mild panic attacks…I would get hot and panicked and anxious thoughts would overwhelm my mind so much that I had to stop everything to walk in the cold air or splash cold water on my face. I had to remind myself…”I am alive. Things will be ok.”
About a month before my due date I went to my girls group (as I have twice a month for five year now) and I was sharing how anxious I felt and how lonely it all seemed, and how much pressure I was putting on myself. Pressure for Aaron to be happy again some how… maybe another son (to ‘replace’ his brother) would do it. I cried as I shared and a good friend spoke harsh and yet kind truth to me. And she prayed powerfully to Jesus over me. She told me that this little baby has nothing to do with death and grief. And she prayed to remove the burden I felt so heavy on my heart to try and make all the sad things right with this new life. I resonated with her powerful prayer and God moved. From that day I felt delivered from my anxiety and felt excited to meet my newest son. Life is a treasure no matter the context it comes from!
When hugely pregnant you convince yourself there is no possible way that you could stay pregnant a moment longer…surely, you think, my skin will tear away, my vagina will fall out….how can I be pregnant any longer??? (and that’s like week 35) So by the time I was at week 41 I was done. I felt like a cat. Find me a dark closet, and put me in there ALONE until I give birth! -not easy to do with 2 other kids…-
April 17th. It was a Friday. The school Rina was starting Kindergarten at in the fall, was having a PTA coffee time for new parents. My mom and I walked over and met lots of new people…I was huge. We decided to make the walk home longer to see if it would do anything. – I was already 8 days late. And we had already walked a total of 10 miles the weekend before (which did nothing) so why the heck not keep walking?! Ugh.
We got back home and I sat down to look at my phone and I starting feeling some “tightening”. I had some “feelings” all week long but this felt different…the tightening was now accompanied with a pulling on my vagina. After about an hour of feeling this I said to Aaron “I’m feeling something different” (keep in mind ALL week I said here and there, “I’m feeling something” and he would appropriately get his phone out to time the “somethings” but I kept managing to sleep it off. oy.) Anyway…this felt different and i knew it. After an hour of my “tightenings” coming every 5 minutes. I decided I would take a shower….I wanted to make sure 1- this didn’t tapper off and 2 – that I started labor (relatively) clean. Every time I felt “something” I would yell “AGAIN!” from the shower. “AGAIN!” from the sink. “AGAIN!” from the bedroom. Soon it was every 2-3 minutes I was shouting “AGAIN!” “AGAIN!” I showered and dressed and even ate an entire plate of pancakes Aaron had just made for the kids…(I must have known I needed to carbo load! hehe) We decide we need to call Sarah to come and stay with Rafi. Aaron managed to get Rafi down for a nap just in time for Sarah to come over and Rina get picked up for preschool. My mom , Aaron, and I immediately got into the car to head to the hospital. It was perfect timing because all of a sudden I had to start concentrating when the contractions came on….it was for real.
Unfortunately for me, UCSF had just moved facilities that February from down the street to literally..across town! San Francisco may only be 7 miles by 7 miles but man, getting to the other side of town takes at least a half hour and in labor with contractions rapidly increasing in intensity It is a VERY long drive. I had my hands tightly holding on to the door and the arm rest with my feet pressed hard against the floor of the car. And trying to focus on my breathing. Long breath in…..long breath out.
We get there. It takes twice as long to walk across the parking lot, to the elevator, and into Labor and Delivery because my contractions were coming on fast and I had to stop and focus with each one.
As usual we arrive and they take me to triage to find out if I’m ‘really’ in labor. I HATE TRIAGE. Please please please just believe me. I AM IN LABOR! RIGHT NOW!!!!
Anyway…we met Donna who is a sassy black woman with alot of attitude and, I love her. She asks about my last doctors appointment. “It was yesterday” – “Do you know how dialated you were yesterday?” “I was 4cm.” “Gurrrrl! Why didn’t you come in then?!”
Oh Donna…because I want to go into labor naturally thats why!
She checks me and I’m 6cm.
I knew that was good but I also knew I wasn’t in transition yet. I tried to not let my mind be disappointed. I just kept telling myself…”Rafi was fast. This one could be fast too.”
An hour later….we get to the delivery room. My mom is with me. Aaron is with me. And my friend Jess who is an LnD nurse and a trained Doula is with me. I immediately want to sit on the toilet because I know I feel safe “letting loose” there. I’m there for a bit and Jess suggests that we move. We move over to the bed and I sit there for awhile. Jess suggests again that we move so that my hands are on the bed and I’m leaning over. She said we should let gravity help the baby out. I knew I should, but I didn’t want to…It’s gonna hurt more when I move! But I did it. I had 2 or 3 contractions in this position and I immediately felt the baby drop. I yelled, “I need to push! I need to push!”
No one gives the woman in labor enough credit. She knows her body. Especially when she’s had a few babies already.
I get back on the bed and they check me. Sure enough I am fully dialated and fully effaced. Showtime. For some reason all the doctors and nurses had left….silly people thought they had time to spare. Jess runs out and tells them its time!
I think I pushed all of 5 minutes. Rocco was coming out fully entact in the amniotic sac….(Aaron says it looked like a green Alien orb…My mom says it was awesome.) but the nurses could see there was meconium in the sac with him and so they punctured it before he came out all the way. He was perfect.
I didn’t cry like I thought I would. (I’ve never cried actual tears with any of my babies. After that much pain I’m just relived it’s over!) but I just kept saying, “hey buddy. hey buddy. hey buddy.” Sounds silly but those were the words I had for him. “Hey Buddy. Life is hard and sad. But you are here and perfect and whole and right now life is good. Really good. Hey buddy.”
Rocco Sean Trank born April 17th, 2015 7lbs 3 oz.
Rocco means rest or restored.
Sean mean a gracious gift from God.
He is totally living up to his name!
This took me a long time to write. So now, Rocco is 5.5 months old and I can tell you that having a third is wonderful. He is so loved by his sister and brother and he is so happy. He has the biggest smile and the best disposition. I highly recommend a third…even if you live in San Francisco.
Musings from Day #20 from Auntie Anna March 31, 2013
Day #22 March 30, 2013
Aaron comes home tonight.
If there were any reason that I thought I could do this ‘mother of two thing’ without my husband, these last couple of days have proven that not to be true.
With Rafi irritable and tired and crying all the time – it has become very clear to me that; no, it is not ideal that I do this on my own and yes, I am very glad that my husband is coming home tonight.
I will say that these past 3 weeks (sorry I led you all to believe it was a month) I have actually really enjoyed. It showed me that I can enjoy the day in and day out monotony of things called ‘parenthood’, it taught me to enjoy and appreciate my daughter more, and it allowed me to appreciate all the help that surrounds me.
Since before Rafi was born and we were just waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for him to come, I kind of gave Aaron the reigns of Rina and let him go for it. And then when Rafi was born I was clearly more tuned into him and Aaron was more tuned into Rina. So I am grateful for this time to balance out my time spent with my kids and for Rina and I to establish our relationship again. When Aaron left for India for a month -this summer- (that was really a month well, definitely 3.5 weeks) she asked about her Papa all the time and wanted him all the time, and it just made me feel inadequate and insufficient. But this time Rina rarely did that. Granted she is much older now and understands a lot more, and we are home and comfortable, but I am glad that I was enough for her for the time that Aaron has been away.
This time has also given me a little bit more perspective on the times when Aaron has to work late, or be gone for a weekend here and there, or just needs a little bit of time ‘off’.
By the time Aaron left I was feeling extremely entitled to his time. I was getting irritated if he wasn’t home by 5:15 or so, I was bothered when he had men’s group or something else that took away from, our kids or family time but – to be honest- took away from me.
This time has given me a lot of perspective about how much I can handle, and how much I don’t need to demand my husbands time, but so thankful and grateful when I have it.
I thought for sure the last 5 hours leading up to Aaron’s arrival would be grueling ones. Everyone is gone from the house for one thing or another, Rafi is still not himself, and since he had been needing a lot of attention Rina has been wanting more attention too. But God has been so gracious to me, we ALL napped today. Rafi napped for 2.5 hours – he also napped in the morning pretty well – both times it turned out to be because his right shoe came off again (sorry, again, I kept saying it was his left shoe that was coming off but really its his right – I am so bad at my left and right – really.) and he was comfortable. Rina napped till 4:30 (2.5 hours) and I napped for a half an hour!
Then tonight my wonderful sister and brother in law came and made us dinner and hung out with us in those awful hours between nap time and bed time. And miracle of all miracles Rafi went to bed. In his bed. In his room (the bathroom). At 7:15pm and has been asleep this whole time (it is now 9:45). And that gave me some good quality time with Rina before Aaron comes home and is the parent of choice again.
Thank you for being such a loving and supportive audience while I passed the time with Aaron gone with this blog. It’s been a lot of fun and a great distraction.
My friends tell me I should keep the blog up. I think will, but more like once or twice a week.
Aaron would like me to re-name my blog so he can make me a much cooler webpage, any ideas?
I hope you all have a Happy Easter weekend ( Unfortunately Aaron will be speaking at a different church on Easter so we won’t be together but…at least he will be back by the evening!)
Today was a good day.
Tomorrow will be even better.
Day #21 March 29, 2013
I have so much to be thankful for, I really do.
Right now I am sitting on the couch in my living room – the living room I share with five other people, five people whom I really enjoy and love. Five people who are like family to me. Just their presence has given me encouragement over these few weeks with Aaron gone. I won’t look forward to that part of not living here anymore, having true community surrounding me.
Rafi didn’t get to sleep last night until I put him in my bed (oh dear. there won’t be any room for Aaron when he gets back.) when I went to bed at around 10:30. We slept for a solid 5 hours before we both woke up only to realize his left shoe came off – no wonder he slept so well! – so after readjusting his shoes, which is SUCH a work out – afterwards I am seriously sweating and my muscles are super tense, we slept another good chunk of time until 7:30am. Only to realize again that his left shoe came off. He kind of had naps during the day when he was suppose to but, they weren’t for long. Any time he tries to move his feet his wakes up screaming bloody murder. Sometimes its short lived and goes back to sleep but most of the time he is done sleeping.
It wad difficult to get him to bed tonight – well he still isn’t in bed – I even bathed him and gave him a good half hour without the braces on, but when I tried to put those stupid shoes back on it took forever. And the minute I thought they were on good and tight, the left foot would come out.
I finally laid him down on my bed (he fell asleep) I took the laces out of the entire left shoe unbuckled it and then put his relaxed foot in the shoe with the heel down, then buckled it and then laced it, that is the only way I know how to put the second shoe on right.
It has taken me ten times longer to write this blog than usual because little man just keeps crying and crying, and fighting and fighting. On one hand I take it as a good sign, I finally got his feet in there right! On second hand, I am pretty sure this is going to be another sleepless night.
Thankfully my last one for awhile.
Aaron comes home tomorrow!!
I am not sure why I thought it was 24 days, turns out to be only 22. Which is more like 3 weeks than 1 month. So now I feel like a liar.
But I have been so blessed and so thankful for so many people in my life during this time. I have many a housemate who will hold Rafi or play with Rina and that is invaluable. Especially in that worst part of the day 4-7pm. The hours after nap and before bed, the worst.
Or the fact that my mom came, and my mother and sister in law came. Or that fact that my other sister in law came and hung out with me and 2 whiny kids this morning on her spring break. It made my whole day better.
I need to go now because the only thing that makes Rafi stop crying is if I am holding him. This could be a long night.
Today was a good and exhausting day.
Day #20 March 28, 2013
I didn’t get much sleep last night.
By 12:40am Rafi was sleeping in my bed with me. And that really isn’t my style – but, it worked, for the most part.
By 3:40am I was massaging his legs, holding his hands, and just praying that this transition would move quick. I am an optimist by nature (if that wasn’t already obvious), so it is usually easy to talk myself out of being down or upset. I just tell myself things like, “Nothing lasts forever.” “Things could be worse.” “It will be over before you know it.” “When he is a super soccer star he can thank me for rubbing his legs and tightening his horrible shoes.” – I just prayed. Prayed that God would give me the strength to get through this part of this whole process. Plus everything is worse at night and even worse when you are alone at night.
The casts didn’t bother me.
And that little boy who got his first casts on at 2 weeks old, I didn’t really know him. I was getting to know him, but he was hardly familiar yet. He slept a lot. He ate a lot. It was instinctual to care for him and keep him safe.
Four months later, this is my son. My adorable happy, smiley, content, and cuddly little man. I know he doesn’t really cry unless he is hurt or angry. I know he loves his sister even when she head butts him. I know that when I get him up in the morning he smiles and coos at me like I am a mountain of chocolate ice cream. He is very familiar to me, I can’t even imagine my life with out him anymore.
So now? These braces seem unfair and unkind and awful and a threat to the happy life we had.
I know full well, that it is what’s best for him, and I wouldn’t even consider not putting them on him. I realize (and know from experience) that the things that are hard are often the things that are best for us, but knowing that never makes it any easier.
My mother in law is one of nine kids (9 kids!? What?) and her older sister and her grandson, Gabe, came through last night and today on their way to Sacramento to visit more family. Gabe is 10 years old, and as one of my housemates put it, he isn’t yet tainted by puberty. Meaning; still unaware of all the things that in 2 or 3 years he will probably be very insecure and awkward about. Instead, Gabe was adorable. He seemed very comfortable with himself, he was very kind and gracious with Rina – who he played with – even though she is only 2! And having Gabe here – just for the past 24 hours – made me excited about having a little boy. One who will run and jump and play and maybe even dance (like Gabe does) – and it gave me great encouragement to keep forcing my little boys’ crooked fit into his horrible shoes.
It made me think about how God feels about us sometimes. He knows we need to be uncomfortable for a time because He sees beyond the horrible hurting shoes and just sees how straight and perfect and functional our feet will be. But instead we want to kick and scream and whine and cry and not do what we know we should, because we don’t want to be uncomfortable or hurting. But it’s typically in those times that if we are able to let God do His work and put us in the painful shoes and are obedient in the pain that we get the abundant blessings that follow – running and jumping and playing.
I want to choose obedience, even when its hard. And just plain sucks.
Anyway…I am having a horrible time figuring out how to put his shoes on him, I think whatever medical professionals designed these things were clearly NOT parents. I called Aaron crying today because I hate the shoes and was so frustrated getting them on. I still don’t know if they are on right.
I wish I had researched things a little bit more, apparently there were other shoe options I could have gotten for him instead. But, I am so not that person, I am terrible at that kind of thing, and I feel awful about it now. Aaron needs to come back so that he can be fatherly and strong in the areas where my mama’s heart just want to pull them off his feet and give them to some kid to use as a baseball bat.
Thankfully, in the midst of all this going on with Rafi, I didn’t have to also deal with Rina. My mother in law and her sister, and my sister in law and adorable Gabe, went to Fisherman’s wharf and took Rina with them! Thankfully Rina is a gem when she has another older kid to impress and apparently Auntie Annamarie was willing to hold her much of the time – so she had a blast! They had left at 11am so by the time 5pm rolled around I was getting worried. They hadn’t called and they weren’t picking up their cell phones. Turns out most people over 60 don’t keep the best tabs on those cell phones of theirs! 🙂
But it was a blessing she had so much fun, and that they were all willing to have her tag along and that I was able to focus on Rafi, with out too much head butting involved.
Today was a tiring day.
Day #19 March 27, 2013
*sigh* I am glad that today is over.
Rina woke up congested with a very croupy cough – which meant I couldn’t send her to my friends house for ‘pre-school’ time, which meant she had to tag along to both of Rafi’s appointments. Thankfully my mother-in-law was with me and Rina did really great the whole time, and I didn’t even bring the iPad.
Rafi’s first appointment was at Orthotics – they gave us the shoes that he had been fitted for about a month ago and made sure he still fit them. Turns out he didn’t, they had to get other shoes 2 sizes bigger (ha!) and they had to move the bar another half an inch because he grew (and the bar needs to the same distance as his shoulders) and they showed us how to put them on.
I hate these shoes.
They look like instruments of torture.
I much preferred the casts (which I realize is easy to say now) – Rafi loved his casts, they were apart of his body and he had them on nearly every day since he was two weeks old. As far as he was concerned they were apart of his body.
Now, I am clearly not a medical professional but I feel like in this day and age there would be a way around putting a buckle on a shoe for a 4 month old and a way around getting rid of laces and a way around making the shoes stark white. Really?
As if the shoes weren’t enough, as I was feeding Rafi in his first appointment I noticed that his bottom two teeth were just beginning to cut. So, as he has been in and out of sleeping and crying tonight I don’t know what to blame, his teeth or the instruments of torture he has strapped to his feet.
Poor boy. He loves kicking his feet. If he was in a paddle boat he would be half way to Australia by now * kick kick, kick kick* – like he is riding a bike. He may have been wearing casts but that never stopped him kicking his feet and banging his casts on everything. But now, he can’t kick his feet independently – he can bend his knees which he couldn’t before – but he has to kick his feet together, which he hasn’t quite figured out yet.
He finally got a full bodied bath tonight – it had been a while. So he got a full bath and I got him all dressed and cleaned, gave him some tylenol, and then planned to put his shoes on, feed him and put him to bed. Well, putting those ridiculous shoes on was horrible. I laid him on the ground and tried and tried and finally 15 minutes later (after some sweat and some tears) they were on. Are they on right? Not sure I care – but they are on.
I really hope he sleeps okay tonight – so far he has woken up a lot and it’s not even 10:30pm.
Alright he is crying I need to be done for tonight.
Today started out good, but has ended hard. Glad Aaron is coming home soon – he always knows what to do in these kinds of situations.