Giving Life My All

Giving all of myself to everything in my life… God, my family, my health, my mind. This is my story… my ups and downs, struggles and triumphs.

My Littlest Love is Turning One!

Should’ve posted this last Thursday….

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One year ago today, I was sitting around my house, trying to keep up on my normal house chores and take care of Cayden, but all I could focus on were the slow repetitive contractions that seemed to be lingering in my abdomen… never getting stronger, never growing closer together… just lingering at a 4 or 5 on the 10 point pain scale and at 10-15 minutes apart.  I was trying my hardest to rub my special mixed essential oil lotion all over my belly to keep the contractions going and maybe strengthen them and bring them closer together.

At around 7 pm, I decided to Skype with my mom over in CT to tell her that I was pretty sure I was in labor and had been most of the day.  Throughout the hour or so that I talked to her, the contractions finally started strengthening and getting closer together.  She looked at me (over the computer screen) and said that I was definitely in labor, would probably be having a baby by the next day, and that I should head to bed to get as much sleep as possible because I was going to need all the strength I had over the next 24 hours.

After getting off of Skype with her, I continued to keep track of my contractions as they continued to increase in strength… starting at a 6 when Skyping with my mom and ending at a 7 when I decided to call it a night at 11.  From 11 pm to 12:30 am, my pain skyrocketed to a 9 and my contractions were just 1 1/2 to 2 minutes apart.  I decided that since the pain was too strong and I wasn’t getting any sleep, I should probably get to the hospital because there was no predicting how long my active labor would last.  Thankfully, my sister, Nicole, slept over knowing that I was going to be induced early the next morning.  She was able to watch Cayden while Greg went with me to the hospital.

So at 1:00 am, I finally woke Greg up out of his deep sleep.  He grabbed all of our hospital bags, threw on some comfy clothes, and helped me hobble to the car.  We were at the hospital by about 1:45, was checked in by 2, and had all of my vitals checked and IVs in by 2:30 am.  At about 3 or 4, I gave in to the pain and got my epidural.  My water broke on its own around 6… and just 3 hours later, I was fully dilated and ready to push.

My doctor came in at 8:45 am to check on me… it was the first time I saw her the entire time since I had been admitted.  She told me that I could try to push now or I could hold off until after she performed a surgery at 9:15.  I told her that I could wait since I didn’t feel the urge to push at that moment.  She turned to leave the room, I rolled over onto my side and all of a sudden felt an extreme need to push.  We called her back into the room and told her I wanted to give it a try.  I gave 3 good pushes to see if I was ready… my doctor said, “oh yeah, we could have a baby in the next 15 minutes.  Let’s have a baby!”  I said, “But what about your surgery, I don’t want to keep you from a surgery.”  She said, “Don’t worry.  I’m pretty sure I’m still going to be able to make the surgery.  Ready?”  She brought over a mirror, after asking me if I wanted one, so that I could see the progress.  Yes, some might think this is gross but it was actually pretty amazing.  I was able to actually watch my baby being born and watch the progress I was making.  It was so encouraging to know that my pushing was getting me somewhere since I couldn’t feel it due to the epidural.  As the baby’s head and neck made its way out, my doctor noticed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around him.  She sounded very nonchalant and cool when telling us about it… not nervous at all.  I trusted her that he would be okay.  The rest of his body came out, she quickly untangled the cord from his neck and stomach, and she put him on my chest.  He was blue in color and I’m pretty sure those were my first words about him, if not my first thoughts.  I was so happy to finally have my baby in my arms.  He was breathing just fine and his color was returning to normal.  He was healthy… he was adorable… and he was finally here.

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The second thing I noticed after his coloring was that he had 2 adorable dimples in each cheek that came out any time he scrunched up his mouth or smiled.  I was so in love with him… a love that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to share or have since I felt that Cayden had all of that love.  After taking a moment to soak in my new baby, I said to my doctor, “That was fast.  You can still make it to your surgery, right?”  It was just 9:10 am… took me only about 12 minutes to push the baby out.  She laughed at me, amused that I was still thinking about her surgery.  A couple of minutes later, Greg looked at me while holding the baby.  We decided on naming him Liam Thomas honoring both sides of our family… Liam stemming from William (Greg’s dad and a long line of Davidsons prior to him) and Thomas for my grandfather who passed away just 2 weeks earlier.  Greg then said to me, “Boy, that was rough.  You sure you want to do this a third time?”  I responded with, “What?  Are you kidding?  That was easy!  Of course I want to do it again!”

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I was so unbelievably happy with how my labor and delivery went at IU North and with my doctor.  The entire experience was calming and comfortable.  Even during pushing, I felt calm and peaceful (unlike my first birth experience where I felt like it was complete chaos).  There was only 4 people in the room during the entire time I was pushing… me, Greg, my doctor, and a nurse.  In one word, I would describe my labor with Liam as amazing.  If all of my labors go as well as that one did, I could easily have another 1… maybe 2 children. 🙂

I always try to wrap things up and bring my life journey back to God.  Maybe I read too much into situations and things are all just a coincidence… or maybe it really is God at work.  I had a decently rough pregnancy with Liam.  From about 2 months into being pregnant, I felt a horrible pain right down the middle of my pelvic bone.  It was a sharp pain and got worse with each month.  Anytime I got in and out of my SUV, I felt the pain.  Anytime I moved from side to side in my bed at night, I felt the pain.  Anytime I bent down and stood back up, I felt the pain.  Anytime I tried to take wide strides on the treadmill, I felt the pain.  Anytime I went up the stairs, I felt the pain.  The pain felt like my pelvic bone was ripping in half.  It was bad and I don’t know why I didn’t tell my doctor about it from the start.  Eventually, I looked into what the pain could possibly be and I found out about tearing or stretching of the Pubic Symphysis.  I’m 100% positive that this is what I experienced… although I never officially had it diagnosed with X-rays.  The ligament between the pubic bone is supposed to stretch a bit with pregnancy… but for some women, it stretches beyond a normal range.  There’s also the possibility of re-tearing the ligament if it was torn in a previous trauma.  After looking it all up, I started reading about what could happen during childbirth if you really did have it.  I read about anything from months to years of rehabilitation of the ligament if it fully rips during childbirth.  I read about women who could no longer walk normal… and women who now walk with a cane.  I read about how to try to prevent further ripping by not straining too hard to push out a baby and not pulling your knees up too high when “bearing down.”  I freaked out and for weeks leading up to Liam’s birth, I pictured the worst case scenario.  I forgot to trust in God and forgot that He has ultimate control over everything.  He reminded me on this day.  He reminded me with the easy birth of Liam.  He made sure my labor and delivery were as comfortable as possible.  He made me fall in love with the end result after months of pain and questions.  He eased my fears.  He was there through it all.  I did not fully rip my Pubic Symphysis during childbirth… I’m not walking with a cane… I’m not bed ridden.  I do have some pain in the ligament even a year later.  I tried running about 6 months after giving birth and felt the pain come back with a vengeance.  I learned to ease into my workout routine.  Every now and then, if I push myself too hard with running at a high-speed or I attempt to “lift” too much weight with the Hip Abducter machine, I feel the pain.  I’m praying that I continue to trust in God for future pregnancy #3 and that I know in the end, He will take care of me.

Thank you Lord for Liam Thomas.  Thank you for the healthy but painful pregnancy I endured.  Thank you for the easy and calm delivery of Liam one year ago.

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The Word of the Day…. Exhausted.

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Matt Maher – Lord I Need You

Sitting here at the end of an exhausting day and the lyrics to “Lord I Need You” keep running through my head.  I’m exhausted.  Mentally and physically exhausted.  I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided 2 1/2 years ago to try my hand at staying home to raise my first son… but I surely did not expect it to be as hard as it is.  The grass is always greener on the other side, right?  I was so unbelievably unhappy working a full-time job and trying to raise a 1 year old.  I felt like I missed an entire year of my first born’s life.  I hated that I was probably not the first person to see him roll over for the first time… or wave goodbye for the first time… crawl for the first time or take his first steps (although I’m pretty sure I got to see those first steps at his 1st birthday party!).  I was sad… I was working to be able to afford to live and to afford daycare.  What was the point?  I didn’t want to send my baby to daycare but I had to because finances just didn’t work out in our favor.  So… we made a massive change moving from CT to Indiana to give me the chance to stay home and fulfill my dreams.

March 2013 – Standing on the location of our current home

I’ve been down both roads… full-time working mom and full-time stay-at-home mom.  Everyone has their own opinions.  Working moms think stay-at-home moms are ungrateful and weak for complaining about how tired they are all the time when it’s their choice to stay home.  Stay-at-home moms think working moms are selfish and have it easy because they get an 8 hour break everyday from their role in the house.  Honestly, I think both types of moms have it pretty hard… each for different reasons.

As a working mom, I remember how hard it was to leave my baby in someone else’s care day after day to go to a job that I was not happy with.  I remember being exhausted by the time I got home and not wanting to cook dinner or do the regular household chores.  I remember feeling horrible because I only had 2 hours with Cayden before it was time to get him to bed.  Life was hard…. I figured that surely staying home with my baby would be 100 times better.

Currently, as a stay-at-home mom, I’m exhausted from the moment I wake up until the moment I close my eyes.  I rarely have a normal conversation with an adult.  I still find it hard to find time for the regular household chores…. but the difference is that I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  There are days when I think the grass is greener on the other side… but then I think about how much I get to see and experience with my children.

Today was a rough day… it was actually completely fine the entire day up until about 5:30.  Greg gets home around then and, of course, at that same time is when Cayden likes to act up.  I’m sure he’s just excited to have his dad home but our house turns into complete chaos.  Greg and I can’t have a conversation with each other without Cayden interrupting and trying to make as much noise as possible to make it impossible for us to talk.  Tonight, Greg had basketball at a nearby church which he had to leave for at 7.  That left me to feed the kids dinner on my own, clean the dishes and continue to take care of them for another 2 hours of the day… on my own.  Dinner took close to an hour because Cayden just can’t help but goof around and talk during dinner.  Liam and I were finished eating in 25 minutes… Cayden took 45.  Dinner was finally over at 7:45, I cleaned up a bit until 8:15, and finally after that, Cayden, Liam and I were able to relax and watch a little TV while playing before Greg got home around 8:30.  At 8:45, it was time to head up to bed for the boys.  Greg took Cayden and I took Liam.  I heard Cayden talking to Greg in the bathroom asking, “how come mommy never takes me up?”  Thankfully, the explanation that “mommy takes Liam and daddy takes Cayden” is good enough for him right now… but the truth is, I’m just too exhausted and about 5 times out of 10, I’m annoyed about something and just want to veg out on the couch not having a conversation, not entertaining a child, not existing to anyone but me for an hour of my day.  Of course, tonight I was annoyed about a lot.  Greg didn’t help with dinner… Greg had a basketball game that took another 2 hours out of the day… Greg was on his phone the second he stepped in the door from work… and was texting people and playing games on his phone when he got home from the game.  I know it sounds like I’m blaming him for everything and I really shouldn’t but the way I see it is that staying home, taking care of the kids, cooking dinner, and cleaning up are all parts of my full-time job.  On days like today, I literally work a 12 hour day…. and at the end of a 12 hour day, I’m exhausted.  At this point, even the littlest thing annoys me.  I’m trying to work on bringing Cayden to bed on a more regular basis.  I understand that it’s important to him to have both of his parents involved in his bed time routine.  It has become a special time in our family… a time when there are no distractions… no electronics, no toys, no shared time with other people or kids… just one-on-one time with Cayden where we can read books and pray together.

March 2013 - Reading before bed with Oma

March 2013 – Reading before bed with Oma

Greg brought Cayden to bed tonight as he does most nights.  Brushed his teeth, put on his PJs, read a couple of books, said goodnight, turned off the lights, and closed the door.  Not more than 5 seconds after Greg closed his door, Cayden was up out of his bed and his room calling to Greg, “Daddy, I want a hug before bed.  Can I have a hug and kiss?”  It melted my heart.  Just like that… my annoyance with the day faded.  I love that little boy more than words can describe and his gentle, sensitive, sweet loving heart… a piece of Greg and me that I can hear and see in him.

I love the job I have… I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  It’s amazingly difficult and amazingly rewarding at the same time.  Every day is a struggle… especially if I don’t make it to the gym.  On those difficult days, I find myself singing in my head, “Lord I need you, Oh I need you.  Every hour I need you”… just a little reminder to myself that I’m not doing this alone.  He is my strength and in those stressful, difficult times, He will show me something to lighten my heart and mind… I just have to keep my eyes and ears open to it.

**Disclaimer**  I hope I in no way offended either stay-at-home moms or working moms!  I respect you all and sympathize with both groups!

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1 Year Ago… seeing good in midst of a storm

This is my first attempt at blogging… it may be a bit random at times but hopefully, its an enjoyable read.

I’ve been wondering for a couple of days now what my first post should be about.  Ideas always cross my mind and I think, “Oh this is it… if I just had my computer, I’d type out a couple of paragraphs on XXXXX.”  But those thoughts usually came while driving or while laying in bed at 11:30 pm before I fell asleep.  Well today it finally hit me.  A post combining family, God and how He works in amazing ways.

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Driving home from dropping off my 3 1/2 year old at preschool today, I randomly started thinking about our life a year ago.  We are coming up on our second son’s first birthday and with that birthday, the anniversary of the day we said goodbye to my grandpa.   That thought had me wondering which day exactly it was that he passed.

When I got home, I pulled up my Timehop app to see if I had any fun pictures that I could post as my #TBT, and low and behold, my status from one year ago today was my status update regarding my grandpa.  One year ago today.  March 5, 2014… a day I will remember forever.  We knew the day was coming quickly, but somehow, even trying to expect the passing of a loved one doesn’t prepare you for the actual loss or hearing someone say the words, “he’s gone.”  The entire day I spent working from home (as I usually did on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and thinking about how I just wanted the little baby brewing inside of me to finally make his grand entrance into the world.  We were about a week from his due date and there was no progress or end in sight (in my eyes).  I was in pain, tired, and done with being pregnant.  5 o’clock rolled around, I was finishing up work and waiting for my husband to get home with our son from daycare when the phone rang.  I looked at the number coming in and it was my mom.  I answered the call, and I don’t know how I knew, but the second she said, “Hey Cheryl,” I had a pretty good feeling as to why she was calling.  “I have some news,” she said.  I finished her sentence.  She confirmed it and proceeded to tell me how he passed.  My heart sank.  My eyes filled with tears and the reality of what our entire family had been trying to prepare for for YEARS, had hit me like a ton of bricks.  He finally let go.  He finally went home to our creator and his wife.  God finally called him home.

After my husband got home, I told him that my mom called with the news.  I sat in my glider most of the night, just rocking and staring off with hundreds of thoughts and memories flowing through my head.  So many great memories of Grandpa and the family… and then the thought that I would not be able to go to the funeral.  I was not going to be able to see my grandpa one last time before saying, “Goodbye.”  It was unbelievably hard to face this… to be one of his only grandchildren not to be able to go to his funeral.  You see, a year prior, my small family of 3 decided to pick up and leave the Tri-State area that most of the Cannella family line resides in.  Aunts, Uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins and grandparents, literally live within an hour to 2 hour drive from each other.  Holidays were always spent together and the memories we all created together are priceless.  Greg and I were the first family members in probably over 30 years to branch out and move away… with my younger sister making the move with us.  So I was a week and a half from my due date, my grandpa’s funeral was likely 4 or 5 days away, and there was absolutely no chance I was going to be flying to the east coast for any reason.  I was torn.  I felt guilty.  My grandpa just passed and I was waiting on bringing a new life into the world.  There was no way I could be happy in this moment… the moment that most mothers are looking forward to with joy, meeting the little miracle they spent the last 9 months dreaming about.  My second son will forever have this sorrow hanging over his birthday when I think back to the days leading up to his birth.  Then it hit me… or maybe I should say He hit me with the reason for all of this.

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Grandpa, my younger sister and me… one of the last times we got to spend together – Winter 2013

My grandpa suffered and pushed through 4 or 5 years at the end of his life.  His last year or so was definitely his worst.  I don’t think we will ever know why he pushed for so long and stuck around when every bit of his body and mind seemed to say that he was ready to go home.  But he did.  Every day, we waited to see if he was going to keep going… and he always did.  The last time we saw him, thankfully, was just a couple of months prior at Christmas when we traveled back to CT to spend the holidays with family.  My oldest (then 2 1/2 years old) got to see him one last time, and even though he probably won’t remember it, it meant so much to me to see the 2 of them together.  Cayden and Grandpa bonded.  When no other adults could figure out what to say or do with Grandpa, Cayden and Grandpa always found something to enjoy together… whether it was playing with dinosaurs, pushing matchbox cars back and forth to each other, giving high fives, or just making funny faces at one another… they had a bond.

Cayden and Grandpa

Cayden and Grandpa

Coming to terms with the timing of my Grandpa’s passing was hard and when most people would be angry at God for the timing, I found peace in it.  He took one of the most important people in my life at a time when I was going to be bringing an equally important person into the world.  He helped ease the pain of the loss by blessing us with the gain of another.  Liam wasn’t born the day that we lost my grandpa… nor the day that my grandpa was laid to rest next to my grandma… but about a week after the funeral and a week past his due date.  I had time to deal with our loss… time to try to heal and try to look forward to our unborn child.  I think the Lord knew that I would have had a very difficult and emotional time going into labor during those days following my grandpa’s passing… and so, he kept Liam inside just a bit longer than predicted to make sure that I could 100% be ready and devoted to delivering my baby.

God is good…. even in pain and sorrow… God is good.

I love you Grandpa and I miss you every day.  I look for you in Liam Thomas’s actions and personality hoping to see that God blessed him with bits of you as you left this world and he entered it.  You were one-of-a-kind and I’m so lucky to have been one of your grandchildren.  I’m looking forward to the day that we will be reunited.

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