Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lorelei June Fullmer

     We had our induction date scheduled for Monday, May 16th. The Friday before at my appointment, they told me the hospital would call between 4 and 5 am to let us know when to come in and if they didn't call, to call in and ask. Friday night we picked up Aly from the airport, she was so nice and agreed to come out and help us with the kids and the new baby. So, we had a great weekend all of us together, Tanner was off, we went to the beach and had so much fun with the kids and Aly. The night before I started getting nervous about delivery and what was coming. I hardly slept all night waiting thinking about the call coming in the morning.
     They never called, so at 5am I called the hospital. The nurse told me to be there by 7am, so I woke up Tanner and we got ready. We got there and around 8am they put us in a room and got the pitocin going. Our nurse was really nice, we told her we hadn't found out the gender and were going to be surprised, but we both had a feeling it was going to be a boy. I got into the gown and got started. They told me before it even started I was having fairly regular contractions already and was dilated to a 3, but they didn't feel painful, just like Braxton Hicks. My OB Dr. Maccato came at 9 to check on me and to tell me not to have the baby until after 12:30 because he had to be in his office in Katy until noon. Considering labor usually gets shorter and shorter each time, Tanner and I were nervous he wouldn't be back in time. But at that point, I was so ready to have a baby, I didn't care who delivered it. The contractions got a little bit stronger, but didn't really change that much for the next 3 hours. Tanner and I enjoyed talking and joking around while we waited. The nurse at this hospital stays in the room with you the whole time, it was a little weird having her right there, since we didn't want to ignore her the whole time, but also wanted to talk to each other. But she was really nice and easy to talk to, her name was Karla and she was great.
      At 12:30, Dr. Maccato came back and checked on me. He told me he could hold off breaking my water since that would make the contractions more painful. I told him I was ready and to break my water, I wanted to have this baby! He laughed and told the nurse to watch out, "when Mrs. Fullmer decides to have this baby, she's just going to push it right out!" We all laughed. He broke my water at 12:45 and just like my induction with Riley, that is when things started progressing. I was dilated to a 5 at that point. The contractions started getting stronger not long after and I had to really get focused. I started with my breathing and just kept thinking about Eric and Riley. I kept hearing their voices and thinking about cute things they say lately as I was having difficult contractions. I tried to keep up and moving, but since I was on pitocin, the nurse wouldn't let me off the monitors more than a few minutes.
     As it got worse, I asked the nurse for some IV pain medication. I had used this with both Eric and Riley to help me relax between contractions and it helped so much. I told the nurse I knew it wouldn't help the contractions at all, but it is what helped me get through my other labors. My OB said ok, but that I had to take it with phenergan because the pain meds can make you nauseous. I never had any problems with nausea the other times I had taken it, I should have just told my OB that, I wish I had said no to the phenergan! It helps with nausea, but it makes you so drowsy. I started to feel more relaxed, but then it hit me and I literally could not keep my eyes open. I feel like I spent the rest of labor in a fog. It didn't help that I had hardly slept the night before, so I was pretty tired already. I'm glad I was able to relax between contractions, but waking up each time for the contractions I felt myself having to fight to stay awake. It might sound nice to be falling asleep, but it wasn't, because I still felt all the pain, but I couldn't focus very well on my breathing to help me get through it.
     Luckily, this labor was quick like my others, and by 3:15, I hit transition. This is the most painful part of labor, when the baby is moving down towards the birth canal. I told the nurse I was feeling a tiny bit of pressure and I knew it was getting close. Tanner warned her, she better call Dr. Maccato, because once I get the urge to push, there won't be much time to wait. With Riley, Dr. Lee barely made it back in time, I remember the nurse yelling into the hall to get someone in there and call again for Dr. Lee, because I couldn't stop pushing. We were trying to avoid that. She called and he told her to call him back when I felt like pushing. The contractions at this point were painful enough to pull me out of my fog, I was still falling asleep between contractions, but was awake during them so I could focus better on counting my breathing. Tanner is an amazing birth coach, he was right by my side the entire time, getting me ice chips, chapstick, and holding my hand through each contraction. Contractions through transition were right on top of each other, with let than a minute in between each one. He kept telling me how great I was doing and telling the nurse how amazing I was at getting through the pain.  Apparently he even decided to record a few of the contractions and not tell me, it was weird to see it from the outside. He stopped right as I started to freak out thankfully.
     My back started hurting pretty badly at about ten minutes into transition. I had read that being on all fours helps with back labor, so I decided to try it. Oh boy, that was a terrible decision! I got on all fours as the contraction kept getting stronger and stronger, and it hurt so much worse! And as I got in that position, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I knew on the next contraction, I was going to have to PUSH! I told the nurse to get the doctor in there because I couldn't stop it. Once the contraction ended, Tanner and Karla hurried and helped me to sit up in the bed and start getting things ready. Karla kept pleading with me not to push as the next contraction started and I told her the same thing that I did with Riley, I can't help it! I wasn't helping at all, my body was just pushing on its own. Which does not feel good I can tell you. Pushing is my favorite part of labor because it feels so good, it is such a relief, but when they tell you to fight it, it is pure torture. I said I couldn't help it, Karla told me she knew, but that I could keep my legs closed....uh, I loved her as a nurse, but wanted to yell at her, "Are you kidding me?!?" If you want to know what it feels like, think about if you really have to have a bowel movement and can't go, it feels terrible. Now imagine that poop is 8 pounds and you are having the worse menstrual cramp of your life at the same time. Not a good feeling my friends.
     I was freaking out at this point, every contraction I was yelling that I couldn't wait and how bad it was hurting. I vaguely remember Karla running into the hallway and calling to tell Dr. Maccato to get here NOW. Within minutes of all this, there was a woman all gowned up and waiting, telling me not to push, but she would deliver the baby if Dr. Maccato couldn't get there in time. Thankfully, he was close by and came running in. He gowned up and told me I could go ahead and push now. I gave one push and felt her head come out, I almost stopped thinking it was done, then they yelled keep going, so I finished pushing out her shoulders, holy cow that hurt! Like both previous births, I screamed as they came out. And just like that, here SHE was, at 3:30pm, we met our sweet Lorelei June. I will never forget hearing Tanner through his giddy laughter. "Nina, it's a GIRL!" We couldn't believe it, she was here and she was absolutely perfect! They put her right on my chest and let me hold her as long as I wanted, it was wonderful. But I was frustrated because I was still groggy from that phenergan, so I didn't get that adrenaline rush like I did with the other two. The doctor also had a harder time getting my bleeding to stop, so he kept pushing on my belly really hard and Tanner described he was "reaching inside me and just scooping out blood." It felt as awful as it sounds. I ended up having to get an injection in my leg which finally stopped the bleeding enough and he stitched me up because I had torn a couple times. The anesthetic took a few tries to work, so that wasn't fun. It made it harder to enjoy holding her, so I told them they could weigh her and let Tanner hold her. I love seeing him hold them for the first time, I remember it with all of them. He is the best dad and I just love him so much.
     While the ending was a little rough, I loved my labor with Lorelei and was just so happy she was finally here. The next day Eric and Riley met her for the first time and they were both immediately smitten with her. She has since learned to live with the constant kisses and rough snuggles, but she is lucky to have such a great big brother and sister. I feel beyond blessed and am so thankful for this sweet spirit that joined our family. Her birthday is actually Tanner's brother Eric's birthday as well, so it made it even more special. I told Tanner after, I knew it sounded cheesy, but I know that Eric was with her on the other side of the veil, helping her along as she came into this world and watching over her. The veil is so thin as a baby comes into this world and the spirit is so strong, it is amazing. So thankful for the gospel and that families are forever. Welcome to the world little Lorelei, we love you so much already!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tanner's Graduation

 So here I am, back from the blogger dead. Like a blogger zombie, so I know my sister in law Lindsey should like this. I have been terrible at keeping people updated, so I wanted to start off with one of our recent major events: Tanner graduating.

It may seem like I am just bragging about Tanner, in some ways I am, but also, most people (myself included before going through it) have no idea what the process is to become a doctor. This post is not meant to deter people from choosing to go into medicine, but just to show all the hard work it takes. Tanner once had a lady that thought it was a master's degree, two years of grad school and you're done! Wouldn't that be nice? Unless you were the patient, than it would be terrifying. It started with Tanner working on his undergrad degree at the U, having to take all his classes, plus the pre-reqs for med schools, extracurriculars, volunteering, medical experience, etc to help his application. A year before graduation, he had to take the MCAT, an exam that qualifies you for med school and the score determines where you can apply and your likelihood of getting in. Then there are applications, thousands of dollars spent, if they want to keep you as an option, they send you a secondary application, which is the same thing, but they get to charge you another application fee. Then he had to hope for interviews and face some major rejection. It was heartbreaking to watch. These poor guys (and gals) are all over-achievers who are used to being recognized for their hard work, and then have to deal with people telling them in a skinny little envelope that they aren't good enough, or worse, you simply never hear anything from them after they get your money. Tanner was so disheartened through so much of this process, I wish we had been more prepared and known that everyone goes through the same thing. Then there are whatever interviews you get, paying the money to fly to them and stay in a hotel, it was exhausting. Finally, he heard he was accepted at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He hadn't even planned on applying there, but they sent him an application, so he filled it out.

We never in our wildest dreams thought we would end up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! We then moved with our 5 month old baby and left our families for his schooling. The first two years are intense classes. While you are so glad you are in med school, you immediately realize that you have to get back in application mode because if you want to match in a competitive residency, you need a strong application. So he found more service opportunities, did a summer research internship full time, and had to continue research once school started again. You aren't allowed to work during med school, so most of our income from student loans, That definitely was a challenge.

At the end of second year is the first set of boards and Tanner started studying daily for it about 6 months before he took it. Second year was definitely the hardest year of med school in my opinion. The month before boards Tanner started having severe headaches and his doctor couldn't figure out the exact cause. It didn't help he was so stressed because if you don't do well on boards, it limits what you can even try to go into. He tried several medications and had to take his boards while still in pain. Thankfully he got through it and then had a wonderful two weeks off until he started his third year rotations, which is when they get to work with actual patients. They still take exams and assignments through all of this. Many rotations Tanner worked long hours, but always made time for us and helped me with the kids as soon as he got home. He also had a very demanding church calling. During third year, you try out what you like and have to decide on what kind of doctor you want to be and will be applying for residencies in that specialty next year.

Once fourth year starts, you start the application process for residency. If you think it is easier the second time around to do applications, it is still just as crappy. Thankfully interview offers were better this time around, but every rejection still left Tanner feeling down. We had to take a loan out just to cover all his traveling expenses for interviews. They offer the days they offer, so you plan your schedule around them. Tanner was gone for two weeks straight when he first started interviews early in December. He didn't get back to us until a few days before Christmas. He still had scattered interviews throughout the next month.

Whoever gives you an interview, those are the only options you have to put on your rank list for residency. The rank list is a list you make of what residency/program you like most down to the least. The program makes their own rank list, so you hope that your top choice lines up with them having you as a top choice. Interviews usually end in January, then you keep doing rotations and wait until end of March for Match Day. This is the day that you find out where you have "matched," or been accepted into a residency.

March day was so exciting, everyone was so happy and energized. Tanner's class had about 200 students, so you wait until they call everyone's names one by one to get your little envelope telling you where you are going. We had our kids with us and Tanner let me open the envelope. It almost didn't register as I read out loud Baylor College of Medicine -- Houston, TX. It was such a rush. Then, if you are moving like we were, you have to start figuring out where you'll live. When you have 6 weeks to graduation and are poorer than you have ever been in your life, this can get pretty stressful.

Before leaving, I got to see Tanner graduate, which made the countless hours of studying, working away from his family, worked holidays, anxiety, etc,  all worth it. I was working part time to supplement our income throughout all of med school, so Tanner was helping a lot with the kids too when I was out working. I have to just say how proud I am of Tanner and all his fellow graduates for getting through med school. As I watched him walk across that stage and heard them all "Dr. Tanner Fullmer," I admit there were tears streaming down my face. It hit me how much we have gone through and how much we have grown together and as a family.

 We are always having people tell us, "you are going to have so much money." Yes, we will have good job security, and one day it will be a good paying job. We are grateful for that, truly. But it is a long, hard road. We are now in for five years of residency where Tanner basically makes less than $10/hour based on the hours he works and likely a fellowship for a year or two after that, which is to further specialize. After that, you make more money, you just have to pay back a ton of student loans. That being said, I am so happy we have gone down through this road together and wouldn't change anything about it. We have grown so close as a family and learned to get out and find our own traditions. One of the most important lessons we've learned is to find the good in every situation and to really appreciate the time we have together. Milwaukee will always feel like home in many ways, we raised both our children there so far, made so many amazing friends, and learned a lot about ourselves. As we start this next chapter, I am so excited for what the future holds and the wonderful memories we'll make. Congratulations Tanner, I love you and couldn't be more proud!

I love how fun this guy is, throwing his cap in the air

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas 2013

 A very merry Chritney to you all, we had a wonderful Christmas this year! The hardest part was being far away from family and many friends, but we made sure to make the best of being on our own and did lots of fun things while we had Tanner home on his break. This first shot is right after we put our tree up and got it decorated. Eric loved all the decorations and was so excited to see all the Christmas books.
Ward Christmas party sitting with Fred and Kathy

One day Tanner had to study so we went with Jack to Kids in Motion

Eric took his captain's duties very seriously

Eric was so excited he got to play air hockey with a 'big kid'

Our elf on the shelf Charlie. He moved a few times, then spent the rest of the month in Eric's bed.

Ry practicing her sitting skills

Christmas Eve bowling with friends

Christmas Eve in his "Spiderman suit"

We tried to get them together, he wouldn't stop holding her head

Santa's cookies and milk and reindeer carrots

A new Christmas Eve tradition, looking over our Uncle Eric scrapbook

Santa filled the stockings
 Here are the videos of Eric discovering his spoils from Santa:

Imagine him screaming "my scooter!"

Riley had a great time watching the fun

Cowboy Eric

Riley Sue loved her rag doll

Didn't take long to switch clothes....

How he spent the rest of present opening

Opening his drums

The joyous devastation

The scooters maiden voyage around the apartment

Riley inspecting her new pillow pet

And tasting it for good measure

I don't know why there is snow moving on this, but it's Eric in his boots

Loving his new bath markers

And tasting his bath paints, they smelled too good not to

Using our new Discovery World pass

Eric was terrified of walking over the aquarium

How Riley spent the whole trip

Lake Michigan frozen over-pretty incredible!

Go pack go!!

Touring the Jelly Belly factory on the "candy train"

Playing with his RC cars

Parenting at its finest

Bathtime is so much more fun together!

Well, most of the time...

Realized after that a pink washcloth isn't that modest for a pink baby

Our holidays have sure been fun, but to all of you far away, we sure miss you! And thanks to all the grandparents who made our Christmas so great!!