Monday, July 9, 2012

Laughing at the Devil

You is funny how you can look back at things and realize how it was Satan trying his best to throw you off task. I saw this happen just yesterday.
Jay and I are getting back into the habit of going to church weekly. We had gotten out of the habit while trying to find a church that was the perfect fit for us. But now with the baby, I feel it it more important than ever for us to find a home church and go often. The past few weeks we have been going back to my childhood church, Montevallo First United Methodist. We have enjoyed going and look forward to having John Thomas baptized there in a few weeks.
Well this weekend we had already established that we would be going to church Sunday. 5:00am Sunday morning I hear my phone ringing and think it is my alarm. I go to turn it off when I realize it is actually my phone ringing. I didn't know the number but answered it anyway (which I hardly ever do).
Me: Hello?
Dispatcher: Is this Holly Jackson?
Me: Yes
Dispatcher: This is the Alabaster Police. Are you still affiliated with Creek View Elementary?
Me: Yes
Dispatcher: We have been contacted by the fire department that the fire alarms are going off and they need a key holder. Can you respond?
Me: Yes (notice that I am still have asleep so all I can say are one word answers).
Dispatcher: How long until you can be there?
Me: 20 minutes
Dispatcher: I will let them know.

So I call my boss, who must have been asleep because he didn't answer. I left a message and then texted him what was going on. All the while I'm getting dressed, brushed my teeth, and packed up the baby to go check and see what was going on.
I was almost to school when the dispatcher called me back to let me know that the fire department had already entered the building, checked it out (no fire), and reset the alarms. I thanked her for letting me know but decided that I should still go check on things myself.
I spent the next hour walking through an empty school building  holding my sleepy baby checking out doors, closets, and making sure everything was safe. On the drive home I got to really enjoy the sunrise and have some quiet time.

By the time I got back home it was almost 7:00. All I could think about was going back to sleep. It would have been really easy to go back to sleep and miss church. But I had already made the plans to go and didn't want to back out on those plans. So I put to use that extra time to get a few things done around the house before getting ready for church. We had a great time at church and John Thomas is doing so well going to big church!

The more I thought about the morning events, I realized how much Satan was in action that morning. The early morning phone call, the fire alarms going off, the false alarm, and the hour spent checking out the school were all distractions to get my mind off of going to church. But John Thomas, Jay and I just laughed in his face and still went. I am thankful for the willpower not to succumb to these distractions!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Birth Story

Before John Thomas was born, 2 of my friends blogged about their birth experience. Each story was different but it helped me get my mind focused on my upcoming labor. Their stories helped me so I wanted to share my own experience in hopes that it helps someone else.

I had an exceptionally smooth pregnancy. I was on edge most of the time just waiting for something to go wrong. Thankfully nothing did. I had a few episodes of blood pressure issues but those usually came after a really stressful day at work.
I started my 1 week appointments at 36 weeks. At 34 weeks, I was 1cm dilated and my cervix was beginning to thin. My doctor said that this was a great sign and things looked right on track for labor around my due date. At 36 weeks I was still 1 cm and only slightly more effaced. The baby was also at a +2 station (above the birth canal). At 37 weeks, I just knew I had dilated more but almost cried when the doctor told me that there had not been any progress from the week before. Still one centimeter. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. 38 weeks brought many more contractions but guess what...STILL 1 centimeter but I was 50% effaced. My doctor stripped my membranes at that appointment and we hoped that it might get things moving. I was so uncomfortable! I also had been noticing, starting at 38 weeks, that my heart was beginning to race at odd times. I started tracking my heart rate and blood pressure. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the Wednesday of my 39th week but on that Tuesday, something did not feel right. I monitored my heart rate and it got up in the 150s. This was my resting heart rate. I called my wonderful doctor and she asked me to come in. I was checked and was finally at 2 centimeters and 75% effaced. We had a long talk about what my options were. My entire pregnancy one thing I really wanted was to delivery vaginally. I also wanted to go into labor on my own. Yet at 39 weeks and 1 day, completely miserable, and something weird going on with my heart, we decided that my best option would be to be induced. My doctor felt that as long as everything stayed normal she didn't see why I wouldn't be able to deliver vaginally but wanted me to keep in mind that a C-section might happen.
I was sent directly over to labor and delivery from there. I called Jay and tried to calmly talk him through what all to bring to the hospital. Luckily my suitcase had been packed for weeks.
Scared and excited...just checked in at labor and delivery

Talking to Jay
Getting hooked up...This is my wonderful nurse Marta
So things were pretty quiet that night. I was dehydrated and my doctor thought that might be what was causing my heart to race. So that Tuesday night they decided to let me rest, fill me with fluid, and we would start bright and early Wednesday morning. I was given fluids through IV all night and was given cervidil (sp?) to help soften my cervix and complete my effacement. I was also given a sleeping pill so that I could rest. Thank goodness because otherwise I would have been way to excited to sleep. I had a peaceful night's sleep that night and was able to get up around 5am and have a shower. I am really glad that I was able to have this time to mentally prepare.
My doctor came in that morning around 7:30, broke my water, and started me on Pitocin. Honestly, I did not want to be on Pitocin. I had heard horror stories. But more on that in a minute. Having my water break was an interesting experience. I don't know how to explain it other than a huge gush of warm water.
So I was started on Pitocin. I was feeling the contractions but on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst pain) it was a 3. Around 11 that day, I had progressed to 4cm and my pain was around a 5. I opted to go ahead and have the epidural. BEST DECISION EVER! The anesthesiologist was wonderful and talked me through the procedure. It was not bad at all and my uncomfortable state went to a 1-2 on the pain scale. I spent the next few hours relaxing and sleeping. I really never pictured myself getting so much rest during labor. I wanted the room quiet and relaxing. I spent time watching tv, reading, and sleeping. During the day, I kept noticing Marta come in and adjust my settings on the Pitocin. It ended up making my contractions come at less than a minute apart (I wasn't aware of this!) so they ended up taking me off the Pitocin and progress naturally. I was happy about this decision.
As the day went on, I was getting more and more anxious for my baby to arrive. Around 4pm, I started feeling nauseous. I was checked and was 6cm dilated but the baby had not progressed any down the birth canal. Marta suggested that I sit straight up in the bed. At 5pm I was still nauseous and started to regain feeling from my epidural so I was given Phenergan and they did something with my epidural to reactivate it (I'm not sure what but it worked!). I was almost 7cm by then. The medicine made me so sleepy. So I pretty much slept on and off from 5-6pm.I was also extremely cold. I wonder if that was just part of the process of my body getting ready for delivery. Marta brought me heated blankets that were wonderful!  Around 6, everyone but Jay went down to the cafeteria to eat. Jay and I got to spend some quiet time together as just the two of us for the last time before the baby arrived. Mom came back up around 6:45 and told Jay he could go get dinner and she would stay with me. I was so uncomfortable and all I could think about was pushing. I was also so sleepy (from the medicine) that I could barely stay awake. At 6:55 I looked at mom and told her that I HAD to push. She wanted to call the nurse but I insisted that she call Jay first. Thank goodness because he had just reached the cafeteria and was about to buy his food. After we got Jay to head back up to the room, I called for Marta. Now I was told 7pm was not the best time to have a baby because it was shift change time. But when a baby is ready to come...he is ready to come! Marta came in and checked me. I was 10cm!!! She had me push once and she said "Yep, you are ready!". Like clockwork, the delivery team swooped in. I was so excited! "Here we go" was all I could think. I remember that American Idol was on the tv and I wanted it turned off. I did not want any extra noise in the room. Dr. Head ended up being my delivery doctor instead of my own doctor. He was great though! We started making small talk while he was prepping and it comes to find out that I worked with his brother at Camp Sumatanga (Alan Head). He was really funny too. He would say something and I would start laughing and forget to push. I had seen my fair share of deliveries on tv and in movies and knew I did not want to be that screaming woman. Never once in the delivery process did I feel like screaming. I pushed a total of 5 times and at 7:18 my little miracle was born. My nurse Marta who had been with me all day was so sweet to stay for the delivery. It was such an amazing experience. I had what to me would be considered a perfect delivery. The most precious moment was the moment I first got to see my little guy. And boy was he little! My entire pregnancy I was told he was going to be a big baby. Much to my delight he was a perfect 6lbs even and 19inches long. He was beautiful and had a head full of hair. Jay faced his fears and cut the cord (he had said he wouldn't). The baby was taken to be cleaned up while the doctor took care of me and the after birth process. I did tear during the delivery and had to be stitched up but Dr. Head talked me through the process and I still was in awe of this new life that had entered our world. John Thomas Jackson arrived on April 4th, 2012 at 7:18pm weighing 6lbs and was 19 inches long.
Now we had something special at the delivery. A few weeks before, I had read about having a photographer present for the delivery. This intrigued me. I didn't want any pictures that would embarrass me and I wasn't sure about having a stranger in the delivery room but now I am so glad that we decided to do this. See, while the mommy is being taken care of after delivery, the baby is across the room being cleaned up. I missed all of this. However, thanks to Karen Ford and her photography skills, I now have the most precious pictures from this time. Here are some of the pictures from the delivery. This is just a few! Karen took almost 200 pictures for us.
Welcome to the world John Thomas!

I love the expression on their faces.

It's a boy!

Love at first sight!

My wonderful nurses, Marta and Jennifer. Jennifer was taking John Thomas to get cleaned up.

Where am I?

Look at that hair!

I want my mommy!

Bright light! Where am I?

Proud grandparents! I love their expressions!
Sweet baby

I love this one. He is so in love.

One of my favorites!

My first time holding my cleaned up baby.

So in love!
Our little family
Mommy love
You can tell how sleepy I still was in this picture.
Proud daddy
My family
The Jacksons
John Thomas Jackson

His formal hospital picture. I like Karen's pictures much better. Poor baby, they took this picture right after his circumcision. This newborn sized outfit was huge on him!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Shelby Baptist Hospital. The doctors I worked with were fabulous and I loved all of the nurses. Another person I could not imagine going through the process without is my Mom. She went to my doctor appointments with me (when Jay couldn't get off work), was there with me in the room all day and night and was beside me when I delivered. She and Jay were so supportive during the whole pregnancy.  I also am so thankful for a wonderful pregnancy, an exceptional and easy delivery, and thank God for our wonderful little miracle!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Completely in love

I am so in love with this little guy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is in a name?

Baby names has been a hot topic around here lately. We have decided on names that have special meaning for us and I cannot wait to share it with our little one. Some people don't like to share the names they have picked out but since Jay and I have already shared them with so many people, I'm not worried about letting the cat out of the bag...just don't steal our names! :)

We had decided on a boy's name about the same time we decided to get married. A boy's name was a no brainer for us. Now if we have more than one boy...things could get interesting.
There is a history of the first born males on Jay's mom's side of the family having the initials J.T. Jay's grandfather even went by just the initials JT. Jay's initial's are J.T. so we knew we would keep the tradition of initials J.T. John is a family name on my side of the family. My brother, my uncle, my grandfather all have John in their name. Thomas is a family name on Jay's side of the family. So if we have a little boy, he will be named John Thomas Jackson. We plan to call him John Thomas. Like I said...we have had this name picked out for years now.

Girl names on the other hand have been not so easy to decide on but once we did decide on one it seemed quite obvious. The first name we had picked out was Sarah Caroline. I love the name Sarah Caroline but it got many funny looks from our family. When asked why Sarah Caroline, I couldn't give much of an answer other than we like it. We threw around the names Sophie, Isabelle, and Lillian but they just didn't seem right. Then one day it hit us. Bailey Reed. Bailey is Jay's mom's maiden name and Reed is my mom's maiden name and my middle name. It was perfect! Then I thought...wait a second....I have a cousin named Bailey Reed. She is married now so she has a different last name but I wondered how she would feel about having a cousin sharing the same name. When she emailed me to say congratulations, I asked her about sharing the name and she was excited about it. So Bailey Reed Jackson it is! Best of all, it is a way for me to share my legacy with the baby and pay tribute to the grandmothers.

So what is in a name for us? A way to say thank you to our families. I hope that our baby will one day come to appreciate the love we are passing to him or her by naming him or her with family names.
I am so excited about having chosen names that have true meaning to us.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Psalm 139:14

I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)

A few years ago I had the opportunity to co-direct a youth retreat based on Psalm 139:14. It was an amazing weekend helping teenagers realize that they were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loved them and has been with them since before they were born. That verse has always meant a lot to me but for the past 14 weeks, it has meant even more.

God has given me the wonderful opportunity to be a mother. I am still in shock at this miracle. Honestly, I always thought we would have trouble conceiving. Jay is older, I'm almost 30, both of us have had our fair share of medical problems...I just knew it would never happen on our first try (I even told Jay that a million times as I was trying to convince him it was our turn to try!) Little did I know that God had bigger and better plans in store for us. I found on July 18th that I was going to be a mom. I shared the news with Jay 2 days later when I was a little more "positive" of the news. We kept the news from our parents for a few weeks because we were waiting for my dad's birthday.

See...back earlier in the summer, my dad jokingly held up my baby cousin and exclaimed, "I want one of these for my birthday". At the time, the thought seemed crazy. When we did find out that it was possible, I had to wait for his birthday. It was a huge surprise to both of our families when we shared the news. I wish I could have gotten a picture of my mom and dad when they saw the picture we had for them but I was trying so hard to keep everything a secret.

The past 14 weeks have been an adventure. We have seen our sweet baby on the sonogram with his or her little heart fluttering away. Six weeks later we were overjoyed to hear our little one's heartbeat for the first time. My parents bought us a home doppler so that we can hear the heartbeat whenever we like. It has been fun trying to find the heartbeat. I think we have a little athlete on our hands! It seems like every time I do find the heartbeat, the baby likes to move away from the probe. I've begun feeling my first flutters and words cannot explain the feeling. It is absolutely amazing. The baby loves the combination of sugar cookies and Fresca. Every time I indulge in this combination I feel flutters! I cannot wait to start feeling more movement.

It still amazes me that God is fearfully and wonderfully shaping a new life inside of me. I love this little one more than words can explain already. I pray that Jay and I can be the best parents that God has planned for this little one. I cannot wait until April when we can hold our little one in our arms and give thanks to God for his gift.

One of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard!

This is the first time we heard the heartbeat. If you listen closely at the very beginning, you hear our wonderful doctor say, "There's your baby".

This is one of the times that I found the heartbeat at home on the doppler. It was fun trying to hold the doppler in one hand, balance my phone on my chest and chase the baby with the probe so that I could record the heartbeat.

Thank you to a sweet friend who reminded me this week that it had been a while since I posted and that someone does read my blog. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Praise you in this storm

"Praise You In This Storm"

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

And as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

This song has always had special meaning to me but right now it takes on a different meaning.

God, bless and restore those who are affected by this storm. Bless those who are providing relief. Bless those who have lost everything. Give hope to those who have seen the worse that there will be better days. Give strength to those cleaning up. Bless the children who have lost parents. Bless the parents who have lost children. Strengthen those who are sifting through the damage. Bless those who are donating needed item. Grace everyone affected with your love, hope, mercy, and peace.

I'm struggling right now. I have found myself angry today. Yesterday I felt guilty for enjoying myself while others suffered. Today I am angry that I can't do more to help. I want to be there to pass out supplies. I want to be there to comfort those who just need someone to listen to them. I want to help. Instead I have to complete a final that is due tomorrow night and a portfolio also due tomorrow. I am angry that I have to be so selfish.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Remember me?

Remember me? It has been a while...I took the big leap of faith and started a new job. I love it and feel like it is something that I was meant to do. It is not the easiest job and it has its moments but I find it very rewarding.
Needless to day though, life has been in full swing. Between starting a new job, my cake decorating hobby, and starting graduate school again, there is very little down time. Here it is spring break, and I'm spending it working on school work. Not complaining...but I really would like a break. I keep reminding myself that when I graduate (in December hopefully) it will all be worth it, but then again I like my down time.
In November I will turn 30. I am still amazed when I look at what all I have done in my 29 years thus far. I am excited to see what the 30s will hold for me. In September we are planning on going to Disney World, I CAN'T WAIT! Still have a lot of planning to do but it should be fun!
I guess that is all I have to update on right now. Hopefully it won't be months before I post again. :)