The Right Place at the Right Time

My parents always seem to be in the right place at the right time when I really need them.  It seems to happen by coincidence or by some other miraculous way.  Here is a time when they happened to be there for me when I really needed it.

My parents were visiting for the birth of my second child.  They came to help out with my 2 1/2 year old daughter (at the time), and they came in from DC as we were living in Peoria, IL at the time.  They were great at helping out and taking care of things at home.  In any case, things were moving along smoothly.  I had a normal delivery and I was headed home a few days after the birth.








About two days after being home I started to get sharp pains in the middle of my stomach.  My husband said to take a warm bath (that’s the cure-all in his family for ailments), but even after the bath I felt terrible.  My parents and husband told me to call my OB just in case it had something to with the delivery.

I called my OB and she asked me a few questions.  It wasn’t until she asked if I was nauseas that it became more serious.  I said, “No, not at all.  In fact I am not hungry at all.  I’ve haven’t had much to eat in a couple of days.  I just have no appetite.”  She said to go into the ER immediately.  I got a bit nervous and it was almost midnight.  I had a newborn at home that was a few days old and would NOT take the bottle at all, and my young daughter was fast asleep.  My dad said he would drive me to the hospital so my husband could stay and tend to the kids.

I got there, did some tests, and found out that even though the pain was not on my side I needed an appendectomy ASAP.  My dad was tired, so I told him to go home and help  there.  I knew my husband would be up most of the night with our newborn, feeding him with a small tube along his finger.  Other than breastfeeding, that was the only way to feed him.

I went into surgery at 4:30am.  Everything went well, but it was strange being right back in the same hospital that I had just spent days in.  My parents were there to help my husband with bringing our newborn back and forth to the hospital.  I would feed him when he was there and then pump for them to take some milk home.  They also helped with my daughter and it was just a blessing they happened to be there.

Another time when they were visiting in Peoria we ended up in the ER again.  My son, daughter, and I all picked up a vicious virus and could not stop throwing up.  My husband was not in town and they were super helpful during that terrible time as well.

I am lucky to have such wonderful and helpful parents.  They are coming to visit us in Rhode Island this Thanksgiving.  I hope we have a fabulous and uneventful time together with no trips to the ER!















Do you have family that is there for you when you need it?  What time were they the most helpful?


Kristin Wheeler

Baby #2: Repeat C-section or VBAC?

One of the most common questions I’ve received so far this pregnancy is “are you going to have another c-section?” My answer: “I think so.”

Joanna & happy family after her c-section

My pregnancy with my son was a very pleasant, uneventful one. His delivery was exactly the opposite though. After laboring at home for more than 12 hours, I got to the hospital and it was a whirlwind that resulted in an emergency c-section that likely saved both my son’s and my life. Long story short, I had a placental abruption and my son had the cord wrapped around his neck four times. I lost a lot of blood and was thankful to have the excellent care of the obstetrics team at Women & Infant’s Hospital. If you’re interested, you can read the long story on my blog here.

I go back and forth on whether I should have a repeat, planned c-section or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Some of the advantages of a planned c-section this time around are being able to plan the exact day and having my Mom and Stepdad fly up from Florida and plan childcare for my son. My husband can also plan accordingly at work, months in advance. Another less talked about “plus” is that since I’ve never had a vaginal birth, I can keep the lady parts down there in pre-vaginal birth form, if you know what I mean. The vain side of me would also like another shot at the whole c-section scarring deal. My first one ended up a raised, keloid scar which is not pretty. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I happened to google c-section scars, and realized mine could be in the record books for ugly. The scar is really not a big deal, but my Doctor said she could cut it out this time around and it may heal better.

Some of the disadvantages of a repeat c-section are that it is major abdominal surgery and it took six weeks to feel normal again. There’s also risk of infection and there are scientific studies that show vaginal births are best for babies’ health. Repeat c-sections are also not recommended after two to three c-sections, so if being a Duggar is in my future I should try for a VBAC (hint: it’s not, we will probably be “two and through”). For the record, my obstetrician said I would be an excellent candidate for a VBAC, since my c-section was unrelated to my ability to have a vaginal birth. Apparently, many doctors are not supportive of VBACs because of the risk involved, but I have not experienced that. My doctor has been extremely supportive and so would the hospital I will give birth at, Women & Infants. I am grateful that I have the choice.

On the other hand, part of me would like to experience natural childbirth and by natural, I mean vaginal. The epidural was my friend the first time around, but since I didn’t get it until 8 centimeters the first time maybe I could have a baby without one! I never even got to pushing the first time around and I’d like to have that experience. The recovery time is also less with a vaginal birth, a major plus for having two kids under two years old. The main thing about a VBAC that scares me is uterine rupture. I’ve known a few people that this has happened to, one woman’s baby even kicked OUT her c-section scar while going down the birth canal. I know this is such a low risk, but so was a placental abruption and nuchal cords times four. Another thing about the VBAC is simply fear of the unknown. I’ve experienced a c-section before and it was a pleasant experience.

Although I’ve changed my mind several times, I am currently leaning toward a planned, repeat c-section.
I would love to hear if you’ve had a VBAC or a repeat c-section and your thoughts on it!

Birth of A Mother

holding hands The last words my mother spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”. I held her tiny, cold, and puffy hand through that last night of her life in the hospital. In the morning I watched her chest rise and fall, as she slowly took her very last breath. I truly expected to feel her presence then, as she had promised, but felt nothing. I looked for her everywhere for weeks, for months, but she was gone. The stark finality of death confounded me.

When my first child was born three months later, I half expected to look into her eyes and see my mother’s soul. It was clear however, that my daughter was a unique individual from the very start. I had to come to terms with the fact that my longing was just a wishful notion. The magical thinking that follows death of a loved one.
I did find her,  eventually, but not where I would have expected. A year and a half later, on a wintery night, my baby woke me with her cries. With a fierce mothers need to warm and comfort her, I brought her into bed with us. I hushed her, and soothed her, and held her hand as we both finally drifted off to sleep. My epiphany came somewhere in that half sleep state. The hand that I was holding was suddenly so familiar, tiny, cold, and puffy in mine. I had held this hand before.
I was flooded with the exaltation of a reunion with a long lost love, wakened now by the realization that a baton had been passed. My mother was there, where she had been all along. That intense mother love, that profound need to soothe my baby’s cries, resonated within, and I found her deep inside me. I was the mother now. She had shown me the way. I understood that the incredible depth of what I felt for my daughter, was how my own mother had always felt for me, and she was there. Honestly, for the first time I reflected on the gestation, birthing, nursing, and holding, all of the draining things mothers give to their new child with love. All that she gave of herself was what brought me here, to my own motherhood. Now, whenever the small hand of one of my own children slips into mine, I hear her words, “I will always hold your hand, ” and she is there with me.

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