Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Birth Story

I wanted to write this blog last Thursday, November 25, but Thanksgiving got in the way and distracted me a bit.  Besides being Thanksgiving, however, it was also my Tally's 5th birthday. I felt the need to reminisce and retell the story of her birth. I'll spare you the unnecessary details...

It was Wednesday, November 23, 2005, and we were living in Baumholder, Germany. I was 37 weeks pregnant with our first baby, a girl whom we were naming after John's grandmother, Talmadge. At 5:00a.m. I was awakened by the unmistakable feeling of what had to be my water breaking. It startled me, and I sat up in bed. After a few minutes, I ran to the bathroom and became certain that it was indeed my water. After pacing around the house a few hundred times, I returned to bed with butterflies in my stomach (and a baby, of course) and waited for John's alarm to go off. Why? I don't know.  But I did. Those 5 minutes seemed like an eternity. Finally, the loud beeping filled the room, and John groggily turned it off and sat up in bed. "My water broke," I said. "What? Are you sure?" he responded. "Pretty sure," I answered. "Ok," he said. "You pack your bag. I'm gonna run to the office and tell them where I'll be." Would most first-time fathers calmly go to work before taking their laboring wife to the hospital? Probably not. But I went with it. It was my first time too. We followed the plan. When he returned from work a good 30 minutes later, I had everything ready, and we jumped (well, nonchalantly walked) to the car. We drove the 20 minutes to the hospital, found our way to the Labor & Delivery floor, and spoke to a nurse. She conducted a test to see if my water was in fact broken, and she decided it was not. Nevermind the constant gushing of fluids that I was experiencing - oh, wait . . . I'm sparing the details. So anyway, we disappointedly drove back home. I attended a coffee (a social gathering for officers' wives) that night and was completely miserable. The gushing continued - sorry. The next day was Thanksgiving, and we had plans to celebrate with a potluck feast at our neighbor's house. Unfortunately, we never made it. We returned to the hospital, and a different nurse conducted the same test as the day before. She decided it was positive - my water was broken. But I already knew that. I was admitted to the hospital and induced because I had no contractions. I had a roommate, and I wish I could remember her name. She had just had a c-section and spoke enough English that we were able to communicate with each other. She was a minister at an amazing church in the nearby town of Idar Oberstein. The church was built into the side of a huge rock. Here's a picture:

Anyway, I digress. Six hours after I was induced, I was ready to move into the birthing room. It was more like a birthing suite with a queen size bed, a big bathtub, and a tangled rope hanging from the ceiling that came in very handy when the contractions became unbearable. I was determined to endure labor drug-free. A warm bath was the only relief. Eight and a half hours later, I was pushing. Little did I know that it began snowing around that time. I pushed for 45 minutes, and at 3:12a.m. on Friday, November 25, Talmadge Lee Martin was born. She weighed 6 lbs 9 oz and was 18.5 inches long. She was tiny and perfect in every way. She was a little yellow, but some bright lights and foam sunglasses took care of that. She came into the world with the snow. I would love to show you a picture of her, but that was two computers ago. I now have no digital copies. 

Anyway, John deployed to Iraq two weeks later, but I figured things out real quick. I lived and learned through trial and error. He saw her again when she was 7 months old and was able to witness her crawl for the first time, and then he saw her again right before she turned 1. She quickly became a daddy's girl upon his return. Now she's 5. I don't know where those 5 years went, but they were worth every minute. The coolest part is that just like the snow came when she was born, it came again just before her big day ended last week. Just before midnight on the 25th, it snowed. 
Tally, 7 months

Tally, 1.5 years

Tally, 2 years

Tally, 3 years

Tally, 4 years

Tally, 5 years

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can't hold it in

Today on my routine drive back from Nashville I could not hold back the tears in my eyes. It was supposed to be yet another appointment with Maddy's orthopedist at Vanderbilt, but it turned out to be something much more. Her brace shoes that she started wearing a few weeks ago did not work out. Her tender little feet could not handle the tight leather high-tops fixed to a metal bar, and she quickly developed blisters on the tops and bottoms of her feet. Within a week of getting those shoes, she was put back in casts. After 2 weeks of casts, we tried the shoes again, and just like the first time, the blisters took over. My heart broke. I knew that if the blisters returned, the orthopedist was going to put her legs in casts again and schedule surgery. The surgery is a simple procedure where he puts her to sleep under anesthesia and clips her achilles tendon on each foot. It's simple, yet very emotional for me that it has to be done at all. I cannot stand for my babies to undergo any surgery, and unfortunately, they all have. So I dreaded today's appointment. My dread led me to do a little online research about clubfoot braces, and to my pleasant surprise I found a newer one that allows the baby's feet to move independently. It is supposed to help reduce the risk of blisters and encourage development for crawling and walking. Today I asked the orthopedist about this brace, and he surprisingly agreed to try it. No surgery was scheduled! So on Wednesday Maddy will get her new brace along with some new sandal shoes to go on it, and we will keep our fingers crossed that no blisters will form, and she will not need surgery. I dodged a bullet, and all the worry that was building up inside me was released on the way home as I got all teary eyed thinking about my baby girl sleeping better because she'll be able to move her feet, learning to crawl, and eventually learning to walk with a brace that will help her more than the first one. She's been through so much already, and she's not even 4 months old! I would do anything to make the rest of this long journey easier for her. She's my baby girl.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Thanksgiving Poem for Him

The holidays are coming and I wish that you were here,
You will be sorely missed at the dinner table this year.
I am very thankful for the years in the past
When we sat at the table together;  those memories will last.
I will eat some turkey and some stuffing for you too,
I only hope a nice hot meal will be waiting there for you.
I hope the locals are thankful to have you there with them,
You’re fighting for their freedom cause their future sure looks grim.
The holidays are tough just knowing you’re far away,
Your empty chair at the table speaks more than I can say.
I give thanks to you for the sacrifice you make,
But missing you for the holidays sure makes my heart ache.
I cannot wait to see you when your time over there is through,
 But for now Happy Thanksgiving; I am very thankful for you.