Thursday, September 24, 2009

Isaac's arrival

Last Sunday was the most exciting day of my life. I woke up Sunday morning with some unusual symptoms, so I called my Mom to see if they could be signs of labor. She thought that they were, and as the morning progressed, Brandon and I became sure of it.

We made our first trip to the hospital when I knew I was definitely having labor contractions and they were getting rather close together. When we arrived at the hospital, one of the most wonderful nurses, Mary, checked us into Triage to monitor my progress. Sure enough, the contractions were coming hard every two and a half minutes, but I wasn't dialated enough for them to admit me. So... home we went... hard contractions and all.

I'd had the flu on Thursday and Friday the week before, so I was still monitoring my fever in case I should let the doctor know that I was still sick. At one point once we returned home, I began to feel feverish, so I checked and and found that my fever had shot up over 100. I called my doctor and he told me I should definitely come back in. When we arrived, they put us straight into a labor and delivery room due to my "flu symptoms", and the doctor reluctantly agreed to admit us, even though I was still not meeting the 3 cm dialation requirement. PRAISE THE LORD!! He told the nurse that he expected I would be at 5cm by 5 the next morning.
Once we were admitted, they started IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds to help take the edge off of the contractions until they could give me my epidural. There was also a shift change for the nurses almost immediately after we were admitted, which meant that, unfortunately, Mary was going home. Luckily, she snagged us a FABULOUS nurse by the name of Susan. (those of you who don't know, my Mom's name is Mary Susan.... coincidence??) After a couple of hours, the anethesiologist came into our room to talk with us. The first words out of her mouth were "I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news.". My first thought was, "Great.. they're sending us home... again!". Instead, the news was about my bloodwork. It showed a very low platelet count, which could cause major complications with the epidural the we'd planned to receive. So... there would be no epidural - only IV meds to help with the pain. The good news was that I was already on the same relaxing meds that I would be receiving throughout my labor, so I took the news much more calmly than one would expect. A couple of hours later, Susan came in to tell us that it was time to start pushing. She said "You still have 30 minutes to have this baby today... let's get to work!". She, along with my amazing husband, were the most wonderful coaches I could have asked for during delivery. Brandon was always there to give me more ice-chips and Susan knew exactly what to say to get that baby out of me. :) Their wonderful words of enouragement kept me going strong. Thanks to them, I pushed for less than an hour!

Labor was just that. LABOR. Hard work. Pain. Sweat. Tears. Ah, the tears. Tears of joy as they showed me our son for the first time. All memories of the pain, sweat and labor of child-birth were suddenly replaced with the overwhelming joy of that beautiful little person that the Lord had blessed us with. Love had never been so overwhelming. Joy took on a whole new meaning.

Isaac Aiden Ritter was born to us on Monday, September 21 at 12:29am, weighing 8 lbs., 4 oz. and measuring 21 inches in length. He is our little miracle - practically perfect in every way. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our precious little man.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for... PICTURES!! :)

Isaac's first picture

Look at those beautiful eyes...

Isaac and Mommy

One day old - snoozing with Daddy at the Hospital

Meeting Grandmamma for the first time

Meeting Grandpa for the first time.

Meeting Aunt Julie for the first time.

We're going home!

All dressed up for the ride home!

Chillin' on the couch

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

Isaac is super alert - watching Daddy's every move.

Happy camper right after dinner!

Isaac's first bath at home.

All clean!

Mommy and Me

Listening intently to Grandmamma

Thanks so much to everyone for the meals, sweet phone calls and emails of congratulations. An extra special thanks to my Mom - Grandmamma - for coming to stay with us during the first week of Isaac's life. Her help has been tremendous - she's cooked, cleaned, run errands, stocked our fridge and given up sleep for us. Thanks, Mom, for the precious gift of your presence. I don't know what we would have done without you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Isaac Update

Today's exam revealed more of the same... no closer to meeting Isaac. But, with my due date only two days away and my docs suspicion that Isaac is getting to be rather large, he wants to see me again on Friday. If I've started to dialate by Friday, he wants to induce on Monday. Everyone say a prayer for me... I want to meet our baby boy on Monday! :)

My Mom wanted to see the latest picture of my bulging belly. Can you tell how much Isaac has dropped? That happened just last night.
Week #40... 2 days from due date

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finally... the torture has come to an end!

Okay, so I admit it. I have been spoiled by the ability to do laundry in my own home, when I need to and when I want to. I didn't realize, however, that I was spoiled in this way until our washing machine was put out of commission for.... prepare yourself for this number, people... FIVE WEEKS!!!! The transmission went bad (yes, really... the transmission) due to the failure of a couple of bearings. Needless to say, this wasn't an inexpensive repair, but it was still significantly less than replacing the machine, so we made the decision to save a few hundred bucks and have it fixed. I'm not going to go into detail about why it took so long... I'm just going to say that the repairman didn't show on three separate occasions, our phone calls were only sometimes returned, and the company I chose to do our repair just plain blows. Now that our machine is back in our possesion and functioning properly, I will begin my duty of posting not-so-glowing company reviews and calling the better business bureau. In the meantime, however, here's a picture of our new and improved washing machine. I love you, washing machine! I will never take you for granted again!

And here's an updated belly shot at 39 weeks. If you think I look tired, you would be correct... but at least I have my washing machine! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

JRLD led to B

This blog is a bit different from those that I normally post, but it's been weighing on my heart. I'm not really sure why I'm supposed to write about it, but I am...
I recently received an unexpected email from an old friend. Actually, an old boyfriend. His name is David, and he and I dated for a short time before I moved to Dallas. After reading about his life over the past several years, I began recounting our time together. We enjoyed listening to music, playing with his "recording studio" (aka his master bathroom - HA!), spending time on the lake, and laughing A LOT. David did a lot of wonderful things for me... things that I never realized until I started thinking back on my life at that time. Seeing these things in hindsight has allowed me this strange, but very real, perspective into how ALL of my previous boyfriends have led me to be the person that I am today, and how they led me to choose the person that I will spend the rest of my life with.
Jake and I dated for two years of high school and a year and half of college. Jake is a really cool guy - very intellectual, quite athletic, incredibley talented musically (All-State singer AND violinist, people... now THAT'S talent!), and he's quite funny, too. Jake was my first love. People who don't believe that you can be in love with someone at the age of 16 are mistaken... I was definitely in love with him. However, I don't know that Jake was ever in love with me, but rather in love with the idea of me. He had the issue of "the grass is greener" in our relationship, which effectively ended our relationship the second time he acted on this stepped into greener grasses. How did Jake point me toward my husband, you ask? He taught me that I needed to be with someone who possessed many of his qualities (intellecitual, musical, sense of humor) in order to have a lasting and meaningful relationship. He also taught me that just because I love someone doesn't mean that they have to love me the same way in return. That's a really tough lesson to learn, but it has been quite valuable to me.
Ryan and I only dated for 9 months... but man, what a whirlwind of 9 months! It was only a few weeks after we began dating that we started talking marriage. Ryan is a very passionate person - everything is exciting to him... in the beginning. He's a risk taker and a free spirit - totally the opposite of what I was accustomed to. This relationship caught fire very quickly and burned out even more quickly. The end of this relationship was harder for me than any other I've had. Why? Probably because this relationship eneded for the same reason as the first... someone else's grass was greener than mine. Talk about a self-esteem killer. How did Ryan lead me toward my husband? He taught me that passion in a person is important to me - that it invigorates me and is rejuvenating. It forces me to look at things from a different perspective, not only from the logical and judicious side of things (which I DEFINITELY tend toward). He also taught me that spontaneity can be a GOOD thing... that I don't have to have everything prefectly planned out, which is completely against my nature. Both lessons have been incredibely valuable to me in my personal AND professional life.
Lance and I dated off and on for 2 and 1/2 years. Lance is very much like Jake. He's very intellectual, athletic, musical and caring. Lance is also unusually perceptive and empathetic... qualities that are not entirely common in men. Lance was also incredibely generous in many ways - something that was really new to me in a relationship. But, yet again, I wound up with a "grass is greener" guy. As soon as I began to move on with my life apart from him, though, he'd come running back! And, unfortunately, this happened many times. I've never truly understood why I put up with it for so long, except that I loved him and had very low self-esteem from my previous relationships. Clearly, Lance didn't love me, and that realization, for some odd reason, took me a while. This relationship ended when Lance moved to North Carolina for his residency. At the time, his moving away was the end of the world for me. But as it turned out, it was actually the beginning of a whole new world for me. How did Lance lead me to my husband? His perceptive and empathetic nature, I found, were incredibely important to me. His generosity was also a wonderful attribute, something which I appreciated immensely.
David and I only dated for 2 months, I think. He was so cool, though, and so different from the other guys I had dated. He was very intellectual, VERY funny, athletic, generous, attentive, thoughtful, artistic, creative and a strong Christian. The other guys I had dated were all Christians as well, but didn't live for Him the way David does. David lived in his grandparents lake house while he was in medical school, complete with boat. We would get out on the water pretty often, which is when I was introduced to the world of wake-boarding. It looked like too much fun to just watch from the back of the boat, so David taught me to wakeboard. Our relationship fizzled out when I accepted my teaching job here in Texas. It was an amicable break-up... I'd say it was as good as a break-up can get. How did David lead me to my future husband? In many ways. His Christian walk confirmed how important it was to me to find a strong Christian mate. He taught me that I can be enough for someone and that's how it's supposed to be in a relationship. He also taught me to wake-board. 'Nuf said. :)
JRLD led me to B: My husband, Brandon
Brandon. What a wonderful name. Brandon is the most wonderful person to have ever stepped into my adult life. He and I met my first year of teaching when I worked as his assistant choir director. I remember meeting him for the first time in a job interview. After being offered the job, he gave me a ride to the school where he and I would be working together to show me around the building and to meet with the principal. I distinctly remember one fleeting moment of our ride to the school in which I thought "Could he be part of the reason I'm supposed to come here?", but I dismissed the ridiculous idea as soon as I thought it. Brandon and I quickly discovered that we have a lot in common, including our illustrious line of not-so-great relationships. I soon saw that he is everything I had learned that I needed in a mate. He is a Christian man, he is empathetic, he is passionate, intellectual, generous, loving, creative, attentive, thoughtful, musical, funnny, athletic (master wake-boarder)... I could go on forever! But do you know what the most exciting part of it all has been? He loves me.... always and without fail. And, while Brandon certainly isn't perfect, he is the perfect person for me... and I love him more and more with each passing day.

It's amazing how the Lord works. He's a GENIOUS! He knew that I would need to go through all of those difficult relationships in order to appreciate the things in my husband that I may have taken for granted otherwise. He knew that I would need a man that didn't fit into my "ideal" mold for a mate, but that he would come from a completely different mold and a very different place than I expected. He was waiting for me to relinquish my "control" over my life in order to show me what I had been looking for all along. I was blind... but now I see.

Thank you, Lord, for the trying relationships that you brought me through in order to receive your wonderful gift of my amazing husband.
Help me to always remember that
trying times lead us closer to You and Your will for our lives.
Help me remember that the grass is greener... on your side.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This one's for you, Mom...

Another doctor's appointment with the same old news... which is no news at all.
My Mom wanted a picture of her grandson, though... enjoy, Grandmomma!