A change in the winds…

*Disclaimer: Yes, I have been extremely negligent in this blog. But with all of the drama around Liam’s birth, then surgery 3 weeks later… mommyhood has taken its toll. Oh.. and the news below too…

marypoppins

I am a huge Julie Andrews fan. Like, huge huge. One of my favorite movies she starred in is Mary Poppins. I love how Mary Poppins’ gentle, yet firm, spirit is what changed the heart of a whole household. I also love how she fostered the children’s curiosity. I always hopped I would grow up with a bit of Mary Poppins inside of me. But this isn’t my point … my point is this. Do you remember how, at the end, the winds changed and signaled that it was time for her to move on to a new home? I can clearly identify with that right now… the winds have changed for the Roehls. As of September, we will no longer be California residents.

This is a bittersweet announcement. When we left Illinois 5 years ago, it was a bitter announcement. We were leaving a place we hadn’t ever planned on leaving. When we realized that Illinois would not provide the career opportunities we needed, we set our sights on Oregon, Colorado and North Carolina. The only place I told Oliver and God (ha!) I wouldn’t move, was California. *ahem* God put me in my place REAL quick with that one! We were given an amazing opportunity in California, and we moved here. I can see so clearly now why God had us come here. I have made some great connections, close friends and even best friends here. We had fantastic job opportunities that furthered our careers and helped us see, even more clearly, God’s plan for our lives. All along we had a 5 year plan… we kept this 5 year plan in the forefront of our minds. We even took two trips to our other “choices” (Portland and Denver) to continue towards the decision of our next location.

During our time here, we purchased an investment home. It was in no way our “forever” home. We never LOVED it, but it has provided us so many opportunities to learn and demonstrate hospitality. It’s given us a shelter from the storms of the world (we don’t mean actual rain…), and it has come to hold a special place in our heart. This home is where Oliver first carried me across the threshold (yes, he really did!). It’s where we first decided to start a family. It’s where we learned we would struggle with infertility. It’s where we’d curl up in bed and cry as we waited for our child. It’s in the front bathroom where I discovered I was pregnant – where I stared into the mirror in complete shock before slumping against the counter. It’s in the living room, on our sofa, where I first told Oliver he would be a father… it’s the front door we carried Liam through when we brought our promised child HOME. Although we don’t LOVE this home, there has been a lot of love in it and a lot of memories were made here. It’s hard to leave, but it is time.

 

Our home - for sale
Our home – for sale…

 

So, where are the Roehls headed next?! Remember how we had been planning on Portland, Denver or North Carolina? Well, we went and visited Portland together and, although beautiful, it just wasn’t “us”. We also really wanted to be near family… so North Carolina was our next choice. Oliver’s mom, sister, brother and my sister would all be just a days drive away. We’d also  be significantly closer to our family in Ohio. I began talking to college friends who lived there and secret shopping for the private practice market/ competition. That’s where we ran into a BIG hiccup. The socioeconomic status of the state, along with the income-to-“cost of living” ratios were WAY off (based on our careers). North Carolina was no longer looking like someplace we could “get ahead”. And we weren’t about to move to a place where we’d struggle to make ends meet – been there, done that. About this time my dad took a job in Boulder, CO and Oliver had two cousins who had been living in Denver for some time. In October, while I was VERY pregnant with Liam, we took a trip out there. On the plane we made a pact NOT to fall in love, but to keep our heads about us. Two days into the trip, we’d fallen head over heels. I asked Oliver to not make me make any decisions until AFTER Liam arrived. Liam was born on a Monday, on Tuesday Oliver began discussing the move *smile*

So where are we at in this whole process? We placed our home on the market last Wednesday. Over the course of the week we had over 60 groups visit our home and  last night we signed papers on one of the offers. It should be finalized in less than 20 days, and we will no longer be California home owners. For the summer we will be living in my father’s work condo in Sunnyvale (about 20 minutes from our home) with my mom, Chief and the 2 chinchillas. And in September, we’ll move to Colorado! To say 2013 has been a whirlwind year already would be an understatement. But we are at peace with our decisions and we are ready for the next chapter – all THREE of us are ready. *smile*

Come what may, all the glory goes to Christ. So Colorado, here we come!

<3 The Roehls

 

 

 

6 week change

Liam is 6 weeks old now, and so much has already changed. Of course he looks different and has learned so many new skills. But life is demanding I return to the “real world” as well. There are things demanding my attention, so I have to begin the struggle every mom hits – balancing life. Our typical morning routine is:

  • Liam chatters and fusses in his swing for about an hour
  • Daddy then gets up and changes his diaper
  • I feed him for about 45 minutes while doing my bible study
  • Mommy changes the next diaper
  • Mommy and Liam have story time and singing time
  • Liam takes a nap on mommy’s lap or against her chest

This morning I had a few things to do and actully had the energy to get them done. So I set Liam down in his swing for about 10 minutes. When I came back, he’d slipped into his morning nap and was dozing pecefuly. This may sound like freedom – he’s happily asleep and I’m free to move around! But actually, it was sad. I adore his morning naps on me! But I also know they have to become fewer as I prepare to begin seeing clients again.

And it breaks my heart.

<3 Tara

He’s Arrived!

Liam John MacKinnon Roehl arrived at 12:57pm on January 14th. Daddy and mommy were both able to be in the OR together, holding hands and awaiting his arrival. He was a true breech, feet clear over his head and butt first. As our amazing OB brought him into the world we heard shocked phrases such as “wow! What a big baby!”. Later he was weighed in at 9lbs 7 ounces at just 20″ long. Shortly thereafter he demonstrated amazing lung capacity, again shocking everyone in the OR. Daddy was able to stay near him while they wiped him off and swaddled him. A nurse brougt him over to mommy to see. The anesthesiologist took him from the nurses arms and placed him on mommy’s chest, allowing her to stroke his cheek and say hi before they took him away.

It wasn’t our dream delivery, but it is the child we have always dreamed of. And THAT is what matters. He is a great eater, very alert, and clearly knows mommy’s voice and daddy’s touch. He sleeps in 2-4 hour stretches right now, giving mommy time to recover and daddy time to acclimate.

We are so VERY in love!

image

<_3 tara="tara" and="and" oliver="oliver" p="p">P.S. full birth story coming at a later date… God orchestrated so many events and His hand was clearly on our little man. We felt your prayers and thank you for covering us. It’sbeen an amazing 24 hours! And Tara’s heart performed perfectly!

The last week…

This past week is our last week without baby boy a part of our life. I’m a tad addicted to pictures … and document everything. So here is a sneak peek into our last week without baby!

lastweekcollage.jpg

Top to bottom, left to right:

  • baby boy is making it harder to fit into booths at restaurants..
  • with ym sister in town, we’ve had a few fun game nights over at my parents’ house
  • We went to Benihana’s for mom’s birthday… my niece was quite entertained!
  • I went to IKEA for the last of my “nesting” items .. and a good walk as well!
  • As we assemble items, “Fred” has been our test dummy. He is a doll my grandma gave me before my brother was born 24 years ago!
  • We took my niece shopping with my mom’s friend. She was quite entertained emptying every contained she could!
  • My sister and I were quite entertained at the “double standard” we found throughout the mall..  It looks like someone stole his pants and left him in his argyle socks while the chicks are busy fulfilling fantasies.
  • I’ve begun work changing my burlap Christmas wreath for our next celebration – baby boy!
  • My niece loves crawling between my legs. Leaving me with the view of one cousin underneath another!
  • My FINAL physical therapy appointment pre-baby … three times a week since July and then suddenly we’re done! Time for baby!
  • Some dear girlfriends came over and helped me organize some of my craft room – the goodies I found! Including my flashcards from grad school!
  • This lotion has been AMAZING the last month and a half – here’s hoping my feet remediate themselves once baby isn’t on board and this lotion can be retired until the next little one!
  • My pregnancy shoes – elastic straps, slip on breathable and good support for my feet. These have been my best friends the past few months!
  • Pedicures with my sister before D-day! And yes.. those are packing peanuts between my toes. Looks like the economy has even effected the nail salon!

Sunday night I’ll post another collage, from our final weekend with “baby on board”. And this will be the place to find pictures and updates on Monday!

<3 Tara and Oliver

Three days left …

Emotions …

That’s right… we’re less than 3 days away from meeting him. I’ve loved every single day of this pregnancy. You can even ask Oliver – I have found joy in every single minute! You won’t find me complaining about swollen ankles, lack of sleep or anything else. I just couldn’t – we waited so very long for this time that we haven’t been able to contain our joy! It’s overflowed every morning when we wake to my growing belly and our giggles every night as we drift off to sleep talking about this baby.

What I’ve found is, I have been so excited about this pregnancy and the adventure of it, that it has been hard for me to change my mindset and think about NOT being pregnant. I won’t lie .. there is a sense of loss there. Not just loss of this time, but loss of control. It has been hard for me to realize how apprehensive I am about not being able to protect my baby 100% of the time. Right now he is ALWAYS with me, I know how he is, I know when he moves the most or where he is lying currently. Everything happening with the delivery and hospital is making it even harder to have this control taken from me. But the past few days I have really begun to think about Sunday night. The last night I will go to sleep with baby boy inside of me. The last night I will get kicked if I accidentally roll onto my back. The lasts of a lot of things. But it also is giving me time to think of the firsts that will come Monday. The first time I’ll hear his cry when he comes into this world. The first time I’ll count his fingers and toes. The first time he’ll hear my heartbeat from the outside. The first time he’ll hear my voice on the outside, as I introduce myself as ‘mommy’. The first time I can touch him…. that last one is a really hard one to think about, since I still don’t know when it will happen. But it will happen, at least I know that… and it will be magical.

I am tearing up just thinking about Monday… but for a change it isn’t out of fear and frustration. Now, those feelings are still there. But as God continues to give us peace and orchestrate the events of Monday, I am finding the overall thought of Monday is a waterfall of excited emotions. For the first time in weeks I feel I can finally (again) say… I CAN’T WAIT! It feels good to feel this way again, rather than just beat up and run down from all of the stress. Again, it’s not gone, but excitement has taken the upper hand once again.

Medical News …

Yesterday I went in for my echo at Good Sam, and today I went in for my appointment with the Good Sam cardiologist. What a relief to find out she only had good news for us!

  • The head doctor for reading echos from Stanford was in the Good Sam cardiologist’s office today doing echos. My cardiologist showed her first my echo from December, then from yesterday. Her response? “Why are you wasting my time showing me normal echos?” Yep … there is NOTHING wrong with my echos!
  • So, come Monday, I will simply be hooked to a normal heart monitor, will spend 24 hours on the cardiac floor (hopefully less!) and then will finish out my time in the hospital on the Maternity floor. I mentioned to my cardiologist that our OB had received tentative permission for baby and Oliver to stay with me, but only if we have a private room. She assured me she could twist a few arms and for SURE get us that private room! She listened to my heart again, review my history, and assured me I am a perfectly healthy pregnant woman.
  • The cardiologist will stick her head in on Monday to see if they want her to stay, but if not, she’s going to spend the day in her office – since there is nothing wrong with me! *smile*
  • The cardiologist specifically requested and obtained the anesthesiologist of her choice for my c-section on Monday. Now, doctors recommend each other all the time, so it’s hard to know if they are REALLY good or just scratching each other’s backs. But before I could ask anything, my cardiologist goes “and just so you know how good she really is – I had back surgery 1 month ago and I specifically requested her for myself! She’s the best!” Well, ok then!

Why …

We don’t know why … we don’t know why we had to go through all of this. Why nothing is wrong with me, yet everything had been changed as if there were something broken. We don’t know why baby went breech so late in the pregnancy, or why we’ve had to fight simply to allow me to hold my husband’s hand when our baby enters this world, or why I can’t hold my baby right away after waiting so many years for him. But as I’ve said, post after post … there is a REASON. And whatever it is, I trust Him who is in control of it all. Because His plans are ALWAYS better than ours. He planned the specific time for this baby to come into the world – and for some reason it involved a lot of waiting and tears. He’s also planned this birth – and again it has involved tears. But if I have learned anything, it is that God is GOOD and only has GOOD things for us. May our little warrior come into this world according to HIS will, and not ours.

<3 Tara and Oliver

Blessings through tears

News and debates between doctors continue. We’re learning to guard our emotions and instead approach each new piece of information with calm and wisdom. Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still heated shouts of “why!” or tears. But we’re realizing nothing is set in stone until baby boy arrives.

  • We have another echo scheduled for Thursday with the Good Sam cardiologist. We are hoping to get any last pieces of information from her that we need to know for the surgery on Monday.
  • We also got an e-mail from our OB – she has TENTATIVELY regained permission for Oliver to be in the OR for the delivery. This still can be revoked at any time, so we’ll calmly wait and see.
  • She also says that the CURRENT mandated time on the cardiac floor has been returned to 24 hours. Again, this can be changed at any time. But people are at least asking questions and trying to find us answers, and for that we are grateful.

We asked our OB about hiring a “private duty nurse”. We are wondering if that would increase our chances of having the baby with mom more, because it wouldn’t demand time from their nurses to come to the cardiac floor (if that is even allowed). She didn’t seem to take our request seriously, and we realize she has more pressing matters she is dealing with regarding Tara’s care. And we understand – her responsibility really is Tara, not baby boy. So, we’ve taken up that as our own task. God really lead the phone calls through the right channels, and we’ve already spoken to the head of case management at the hospital. He actually sounded excited about our idea and is seeking out the right people to figuring out if it’s doable.

We have also been working hard to educate ourselves on c-sections. There is so much more to take into consideration. What can we do to increase our chances of a VBAC next time? What will the healing time look like? How can we increase our efficiency with the healing process? What will all of these things make more difficult for us after delivery?

One thing is clear – this has a STRONG chance of making breastfeeding more difficult. We are passionate about ONLY breastfeeding our son. So, this is another task we’ve taken up and are seeking information on our own. Tara had already attended a La Leche League meeting, but she went to this month’s meeting and received some great information from the leaders and other moms there. We’ve had our pump checked and it is in great working order. Tomorrow Tara is going to the hospital to get “measured” for the best fit for the pump, as well as discussing whether it would be best to use ours or the hospitals to ensure baby gets the most colostrum possible while away from mom. We’re also hoping she can meet with some of the Lactation Consultants and schedule for them to meet her as soon as possible on the cardiac floor.

A lot is happening, a lot isn’t… but this is the path we’ve been set on. So we will continue to walk forward, knowing we can rest assured Someone bigger and wiser is guiding our steps.

A more personal note …

I posted back in September about songs and lyrics that have meant a lot to us during our battle with infertility. Silly me, I thought “Blessings” was an anthem for our past. But it hit me yesterday, as I sat crying in my car, that it is still my anthem. And it will probably continue to be my anthem as I am a mom to this precious little man.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

There are mercies hidden in this trial … we just don’t see them now. But hopefully we will soon. If not, it’ll probably one of our top 5 questions for God when we get to heaven *smile*

Please continue to lift us up – we covet your prayers as we head into the last week preparing to meet our son …

<3 Tara and Oliver

Maternity Photos

We have known Scott and Stacy for 3-4 years now. They went to a home group we used to be a part of, and are amazing people. They have two of the cutest kids on the planet and these amazingly HUGE hearts. I mean, they met working in an orphanage in South Africa! WOW! They own Urban Earth Photography, and have photographed a LOT of our friends’ big life events. We were so excited when they offered to do our maternity shoot! This pregnancy is something we feared would  NEVER happen, and now we have photos to remember this amazing time waiting for Squishy to grow big and strong so we can welcome him into the world.

As you know, this blog has been about me being real, not “perfect”. As a perfectionist, this isn’t easy. But God really laid it on our hearts to tell our story when He blessed us with baby boy after those 2.5+ years of waiting. So, in continuing in ALL honesty, I am posting ALL of the pictures. They are all BEAUTIFUL, but I can honestly say I look at some and think “ug – I look huge!” or “wow… big butt much?” Now, this is nothing to do with the photography (again, Scott and Stacy are amazing) and everything to do with my own insecurities. But here they ALL are … enjoy 🙂

Forget answers, more questions

Last night we sat down and created a list of 32 questions for our OB today. It was our last appointment before the c-section next Monday, and I needed to have a ‘picture’ in my head before I arrived at the hospital next week. I was feeling ready, and strong, and excited to know what was going to happen. I just wish I hadn’t left crying and defeated once again…

Our scheduled c-section time shifted slightly, it has now been pushed back to noon (meaning we must arrive at the hospital at 10am). That was no big deal. Our OB also informed us that the anesthesiologist was hand picked by the cardiologist and is supposed to be absolutely fantastic. More good people on our team! But the good news stopped there…

  • We’ve been booted back to the OR and no permission has yet to be granted for Oliver to join me. So I am facing not only a c-section, but a c-section alone.
  • Because it’s in the OR, they will take the baby straight to maternity while I get “stitched up”. No skin-to-skin … I can’t even touch my baby. I’ll get one look at him before they take him, when the OB holds him up for me to see before giving him to the nurses.
  • I’ll be then put into recovery and eventually transferred to the cardiology floor, where my stay has possibly been upped back to 48 hours again.
  • Currently no permission has been granted for the baby to visit me on the cardiac floor. They are trying to get permission for him to have short visits with a nurse from the nursery. Without the nurse, he cannot come to my room, and he can only stay as long as she can.
  • It is not known whether anyone can stay with me on the cardiac floor, and no one can stay with the baby overnight in the nursery.

It’s amazing how much our priorities have changed the more this has developed. From a 3 page, all natural, birth plan with detailed instructions … to begging hospital administration to allow my husband to be in the OR with me and to be allowed to even see my baby. Oliver has been amazing through it all, constantly my rock and my support … and my optimism. We know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is a reason for all of this. Our God is not one to abandon us in our time of need. If anything, we are learning to rely on Him more and more.

<3 Tara and Oliver

 

In Search of a Plan

Oliver couldn’t attend today’s OB appointment, as he was just returning to work and they scheduled the appointment for late morning. My mom went with me instead. Right before the appointment I received an e-mail from my OB explaining that hospital policy would NOT let us have the type of c-section experience we were hoping for. I’m not going to lie, I arrived to the appointment with puffy red eyes from crying that one out. By the time my OB came into the room I was barely holding it together (despite my mom’s best efforts to distract me). The news she had for us simply made me cry again. Apparently the original cardiologist at Stanford (let’s call him Dr. S) had sent an e-mail outlining interventions necessary for my labor and delivery. It included:

  • c-section performed in the OR (where Oliver could NOT be with me)
  • a PICC line put into my heart
  • 48 hours post c-section spent on the cardiology unit where babies are NOT allowed

To say I had trouble handling this news would be the understatement of the year. I just sat and silently bawled. Two and a half years of waiting for this child – not only was my labor and delivery turning into a mess, they were going to take him from me! My OB reassured me time and time again she was fighting for us. She already had an e-mail out to the COO of the hospital outlining the reasons Oliver should be allowed in the OR for the delivery. She was having a back-and-forth with the cardiac anesthesiologist for our hospital who was siding with Dr. S despite a lack of evidence to support the intervention. She even showed me the e-mail from Dr. S, which included words like “I have seen patients die…” and other such threatening words to defend his extreme intervention recommendations. His fellow wrote a note saying “While I appreciate her autonomy with the decision that she prefers to deliver elsewhere, I think it would be unwise…” My OB explained that by putting all of this in writing, they were backing my entire team at Good Samaritan Hospital into a corner. The Good Sam team were having to go with his recommendations or set themselves up for malpractice lawsuits if something did happen (which hospital administration would not be willing to risk) and continuing to build a case for me to deliver at Stanford. From the beginning I had asked Dr. S for a birth plan to give to my team. Instead he insisted that my team present one to HIM for approval. Each time they do, he comes back with another demand – it truly feels like he is seeing how far he must push to get Good Sam’s team to drop me. We are SO SO SO blessed to have the OB that we do and that her team is so willing to go above and beyond for us. Our OB had yet to touch base with our cardiologist for Good Sam, so depending on that conversation a lot could change.

With all of this I dropped the big bomb – I wanted to move our c-section date. I just did not feel we had enough information or answers to head into a c-section. That is major surgery – I needed to know what was going to happen in that room, when I could see my baby, what they planned to do to me … all before I let them just hack into me! Thankfully my OB again saw my point of view and assured me we’d move it. She promised me a call this afternoon.

Update:

Our OB called after speaking to the Good Sam cardiologist. They had come to a compromise that would keep hospital administration, Stanford and the cardiac anesthesiologist out of our way. There will be NO PICC line put in, the c-section (assuming baby doesn’t change positions) will be done on the Labor and Delivery floor with Oliver at my side and by changing the date we would be able to change anesthesiologist (to a less fanatical one). But I will have to spend one night on the cardiac floor. My response? “Well as long as the hospital understands that my husband will be sleeping in the nursery at that baby’s bedside then.” My OB assured me she is working with them to get a neonatal nurse assigned to the cardiac floor that night, which would allow the baby to stay with me. Have I mentioned lately how great my OB is?!

As we stand now, unless baby switches positions (which is less and less likely each passing day), we will be having a c-section on January 14th at approximately 11:30am. *deep breath* We will find out more information as the week progresses and as we near the 14th (our next appointment is on January 7th). But for now we pray for peace and God’s will. The Lord knows we need a bit of a break right now.

In happier news … a sneak peek at my bump *smile*

38 week bump!
38 week bump!

<3 Tara and Oliver

Ringing in the New Year

It’s New Years Eve and my parents and Wendy came over to help us rearrange the house. I have been daydreaming about this rearrange for MONTHS. We finally decided it was going to happen and just DID it. We moved our dining room table into the kitchen, moved in some spare furniture we had from the living room redo, set up the baby swing, took down our tree … it was fantastic! And moved SO fast with all of the helping hands. We *LOVE* our new space!! It gives us a great place to put the baby in the swing or jumper and watch him while in the kitchen. It also combines all of the eating areas into one room, which works since everyone hangs out in the kitchen anyways when they come over *smile*

Dining room table in its new home!
Dining room table in its new home!
Our new "sitting room"
Our new “sitting room”
Mom and Wendy taking down my Christmas tree
Mom and Wendy taking down my Christmas tree
Last time we get our tree from a lot - back to chopping down our own from now on!
Last time we get our tree from a lot – back to chopping down our own from now on!
Ringing in 2013 together - our last time as "two"!
Ringing in 2013 together – our last time as “two”!
How Chief rang in the new year (even with all the fireworks outside!)
How Chief rang in the new year (even with all the fireworks outside!)

<3 Tara and Oliver