Ch Ch Changes

Over the coming months, I will slowly be changing this blog over to a portfolio page for my photography.  Since last fall, I have done a lot of soul searching.  Since the birth of Sam, I feel like I have been lacking a creative outlet.  I focus all of my time and energy on raising him, but I need to create things in order to recharge my mental batteries.  I haven’t done much of that.  I stopped taking photos.  That speaks volumes right there.

So at the beginning of the year, I did what most people did and thought about my goals for 2013.  I have always been the dreamer; I talk about making plans, but I never follow through.  I wasn’t going to do that this year.  I need to change.

I evaluated my “professional” life and found it to be non-existent.  We shot a grand total of 2 weddings last year.  2.  That’s pathetic.  Don’t get me wrong, they were AMAZING weddings with fantastic clients, but I want to do more.  Want to be more.  So I thought long and hard about how to remedy that and I have decided to branch out on my own.  My business partner Lisa and my relationship has become extremely strained.  Our friendship is suffering, and we’re not even doing any business to show for it.  We’ve had a long talk, and we are no longer partners; we will do our own photography and help each other out because we want to support our friend, not because we feel like we have to.  I feel like our friendship is already improving, but it’ll take some time and effort to be where we used to.

So, now that I’ve broken free of A Thousand Words Photography, what’s the next step?  Education.  LOTS of education.  I have workshops after workshops lined up and have already learned so much.  I have a feeling I will be going through notebooks with all of the note taking I’ve done so far.  On top of the education, I am networking, finding a decent lawyer and accountant, and finding clients.  But the most important thing is that I get out there and shoot.  It’s what I love to do, and I miss it.

Before I can really go full throttle in this business is that I need to be accountable for my faults and actively work on improving them.  I am AWFUL when it comes to procrastinating and returning phone calls.  If you’re reading this, you know this.  While it’s not my intention to be rude, that’s exactly what I am.  This absolutely cannot be a part of my work ethic any longer.  So, I’m going to have to come up with a weekly schedule to keep me on track and basically staple my phone to my hand so it’s never far away.

I know it’s going to take time to work on all of this, especially my habits, so I have no intention on really starting up the business until later this year.  But until then I’m just going to keep working my hardest to be a great photographer.  In the end, I just want my family and friends to be proud of me.  I want to be proud of myself.

Sam’s birth story

***Ye be warned- I will be talking about childbirth and some of the grossness that goes along with it.***

My date date (Sunday, November 20) came and went with absolutely nothing.  Not that I minded, of course.  I wasn’t ready yet mentally, and physically I still felt fine (barring some Braxton Hicks contractions on and off again).  The next day I had a doctor’s appointment to see if I was dilated at all.  It turns out that I was at 3cm, but not effaced.  There was a brief discussion about induction, but I personally feel like induction should only happen if absolutely necessary.  In my case, it wasn’t needed.

Matt and I walked around Costco for a while, and I was getting a lot of the same Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been getting before (for those of you who don’t know what those are, they are simple practice contractions that don’t hurt at all- they feel like you’re doing crunches against your will).  So, my body was gearing up for labor, but it wasn’t quite time yet.

Tuesday the 21st was also uneventful.  In fact, the only thing I remember about that day was that I went to bed WAAAY too late, as in 6am on the 22nd.  That would come back to bite me in the ass.

Less than 4 hours after going to bed, I am awaken by real contractions.  They weren’t overly painful, but they sure as hell weren’t comfortable.  Told Matt what was going on and that once they occurred every 5 minutes we should head to the hospital.  I should also explain that Sam was face-up in the womb, which can make labor more difficult. The back of his head was hitting my spine, causing back labor.  So most of the afternoon was spent slightly freaking out and Matt trying to convince me that we needed to go to the hospital.  He nearly had me convinced when my contractions stopped.  So, we decided to head over to Dan’s to hang out with friends for a bit.

We head over to Dan’s house when the contractions start up again.  We had the hospital bags in the car *just in case.*  We pop in a movie (8mm) and during the whole time I am more or less in labor.  Matt hovered and held my hand while I had contractions.  They ended up getting pretty strong about 15 minutes before the movie ended (which was around 10:45pm).  We didn’t stay too long as I was getting uncomfortable and some people had to go to work in the morning.

As we were heading home in the truck, I commented to Matt that I didn’t think I was going to get much sleep that night.  He suggested that we head to the hospital just to see how far along I was and if there was anything they could do to help me sleep.  At this point I was so tired and uncomfortable that I agreed.

We get to Progress West some time after 11p; the place was dead and slightly creepy.  We had to go through the ER since the main entrance was closed.  The poor lady had to push my fat ass in a wheelchair to L&D, although I offered to walk.  We get into the triage room, where we go through the standard paperwork.  The nurse, a lovely woman by the name of JoAnn, came in to check me out.  I got into the standard (and oh so attractive) hospital gown, where she then hooked me up to an external monitor to see how both the baby and I were doing.  I was only slightly more dilated than I was Monday (3-4cm), but I was starting to efface.  She said there was about a 75-80% chance that I would be staying.  It was around midnight at this point, and she wanted me to walk the halls for an hour to help speed things up, where she would check me again.

So, Matt and I did multiple laps around the L&D floor.  He called both sets of parents to let them know that I was in the hospital, but that there was no reason for them to show up yet (there was a chance that I would be sent home).  My contractions quickly got intense, and I only walked 30 minutes before I was unable to continue.  We headed back to triage where we let JoAnn know that I couldn’t go on.  At this point the back labor was so painful that I was unable to sit in a chair or lay down on the bed.  I hung onto Matt and dug my fingers into his shoulders when things got bad.  Around 1 am JoAnn came back in to check for any progress.  I was a 5cm dilated and 100% effaced, so I was in active labor and checked into the hospital.

We get into our room, and the first thing I do is ask for an epidural.  I always knew that I would likely have one administered, but I was hoping to wait until the last possible minute.  With the back labor, I couldn’t even lay in the bed comfortably, so I requested on as soon as possible.  Matt calls our parents around 2am to let them know what was going on.  Turns out Matt’s mom didn’t bother trying to sleep and my mom immediately left work to come to the hospital.  While this is going on the anesthesiologist arrived to give me pain relief.  It didn’t hurt getting it done, but the problem is that it really didn’t work that well.  I was able to lay in bed, but the pain never really diminished. Oh, and since I had an epidural, I had to get a catheter inserted. That was…um…interesting.

The nursing staff, meanwhile, was trying to get a hold of my OB Dr. Schuetz, to no luck.  They kept trying, but the on-call physician came by to introduced himself in the event that she didn’t show up.  Now, this should have upset me more than it did, but at that point, I just wanted it to be over.  The actual time things were happening start to get a little fuzzy at this point- I was a little preoccupied. 😉  Both sets of parents arrive, which was a welcomed distraction.  We talk for a bit, but thankfully they all go to the waiting room to give us some privacy.  I remember laying on my left side talking to Matt when out of nowhere my water broke.  Now THAT was a weird feeling, but JoAnn was awesome and took care of everything.

Sometime after my water breaking, I felt a definite need to push.  Called in JoAnn, who started to get everything ready for the actual delivery.  Turns out that they had been able to get a hold of Dr. Schuetz (finally!), who was on her way.  The warming bed/station for the baby was set up in the corner, and the bottom 1/3 of my bed broke away for delivery.  They say that modesty gets thrown out the window when you have a baby, and I always said that I was going to maintain mine as long as possible, but honestly, you just don’t give a fuck.  I had Matt go and get my mom to come in and watch, which was something I had opposed for a long time.  I love my mom, but like I said, I’m modest.

With the help of JoAnn, I start pushing, with no progress.  Turns out the baby was stuck on my pubic bone.  I also started to hurt again- my epidural was wearing off.  The anesthesiologist was called in to top me off with pain meds, even though it could potentially stall labor.  I was also forced to lay back a little to help get the baby off the pubic bone.  After that, things progressed very quickly.  JoAnn was helping me push while calmly asking the other nurses if Dr. Schuetz had arrived- she had and was scrubbing up.

Dr. Schuetz finally arrived, and two pushes later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  Samuel John Brenneke entered this world at 5:20am on November 23, 2011.  He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 3/4″ long.  Dr. Schuetz bullied poor Matt into cutting the umbilical cord, and my first thought was how much Sam looked like his cousin Addison (who has been mistaken as Matt’s child many times).  He screamed for a good hour while they cleaned him up, put junk in his eyes, and gave him a shot.  Matt and Mom stayed with him while Dr. Schuetz patched me up (I won’t get into too many details, but the child tore me a new one).

The whole pregnancy and labor can only be described as surreal and amazing.  It hasn’t been easy; there have been some setbacks and difficulties, but we’re working through them.  And believe me, when my son smiles at the sound of my voice, it’s totally worth it.

Yup, still pregnant…

…but not for much longer.  I’m just shy of 38 weeks, which means I am technically full term, and could go into labor at any time.  Not that I see that happening; Coco and I have had several late night chats about him staying in until the full 40 weeks (or longer, if he prefers).  While I am getting increasingly uncomfortable (I started freaking WADDLING this week) and would like to be able to tie my own shoes, to be honest, I’m not ready for him to make his grand entrance.

To put it bluntly, I am freaking the fuck out about being a mother.

I have wonderful, supportive friends who tell me that I will be a good mother, and I almost believe them, but then I realize that I still don’t really like kids.  At all.  They get on my nerves like you wouldn’t believe.  I know that I will love Coco to pieces, but I want to be able to like him as well.  I want to be the awesome, laid back, caring, and supportive mom that he deserves.  Like any parent, I want to do right by him.

So, besides the freakout, how have I been doing?  Physically, pretty damn good.  For the most part, my pregnancy has been going so well that I feel like I’m bragging just describing it.  I’ve only gained 10 pounds, I’ve been taking better care of myself, and there have been absolutely no complications whatsoever.  Coco is growing nice and big, and is a VERY active little boy.  In fact, most babies as they reach full term tend to slow down in their movements, but not Coco- he is constantly moving and kicking, which scares the crap out of me because he’ll probably start walking at 6 months! O_O

Thankfully, throughout this process, I’ve had Matt.  He is, and has always been, my rock.  He puts up with my crazy hormones and silly demands, and does it all with a smile on his face.  I know in my last post I talked about how awesome he is- frankly, I don’t care if I sound like a broken record.  He has sacrificed so much for our growing family, and I’m thrilled that he will be staying home with me and Coco from November 9th to the beginning of the new year.  He needs a break (even if it is dealing with a newborn).  He’s worked SO hard for so long, and I’m glad he’s able to do this for his sake.

So, in the next few weeks before Coco’s arrival, I am going into full-blown nesting mode: his nursery needs to be finished, and the house in a general state of homeyness so we can relax and enjoy this time as a family.

Wow- Matt and I will have a family.  What a trip.

Once again, I attempt to dust this thing off

I haven’t touched this blog in forever, but with some pretty big changes happening in my life, I thought it best to give it another shot.  A new location, a new look, and a new name- all in hopes to journal one of the biggest events in my life.

Yes, we're sure

As you all know, Matt and I are expecting our first child in November, and I am scared shitless.  I imagine it’s the same crap every first-timer thinks, but I can’t seem to help it.  I’m terrified that I have already done something to screw this kid’s life up, like passed on my anxiety and depression issues.  I pray this kid is like Matt in pretty much every way.

And regardless of what my darling husband may think, he has, and continues to be absolutely amazing.  He tells me I’m beautiful when I’ve got a zit the size of a small moon on the end of my nose, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be the best daddy ever.  I think that’s the part I’m looking forward to the most- seeing Matt hold our child (pregnancy hormones make me all weepy just thinking about it).  So, the next time you see him, please remind him of his awesomeness.  He doesn’t believe me when I say it, but if enough people tell him, he just might.

As I am writing this, I am just shy of 12 weeks.  I try not to complain, because I know that some women would kill to have the pregnancy I have had so far: apart from being queasy a few times, I haven’t been sick.  I’ll take the crippling exhaustion and horrible breakouts over that any day!  We’ve found a great doctor, and hearing The Kid’s heartbeat over the doppler on Monday was beyond awesome, if a little surreal.

So, what are the next few months looking like for us?  Hopefully we’ll be able to get this house in a condition to put it on the market.  I would really prefer not to bring a baby home here, but with the housing market the way it is, especially in St. Louis, there is a very good chance it may happen.  I may not like it, but I’ve accepted it.  Besides that, life will be pretty much the same until November, when all hell breaks loose.  And I can honestly say that I can’t wait (and yes, come Christmas I know will whistling a different tune).