Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Birth Story

Going to bed on Sunday night (August 16), I was very discouraged that the weekend had passed with no baby and that I’d be going back to work in the morning.  I’d been so sure we’d have a baby that weekend!  At 10pm, I woke up to go to pee and afterward I felt a small gush of fluid.  I thought that it was odd and wondered if something was happening but didn’t want to get my hopes up again (by week 39, you can convince yourself everything is a sign of labor!).  I was also having some menstrual like cramps but not much stronger than I’d had the last couple of nights.  Fifteen minutes later I got up again and had another small gush of fluid.  This time I was certain something was up.  I woke up Mike and told him I thought my water was leaking.  He groggily told me to try to get some sleep.  Hah.  I laid down for another fifteen minutes Googling what was happening.  When I got up, my water full on broke and I was certain.  I woke up Mike and told him we were going to have a baby and to get up and get ready.  We woke up my Mom and all got ready and packed our stuff for the hospital.  
Last pic of the bump before leaving for the hospital. 
About to meet our baby!

So excited!

We arrived at the hospital at midnight and it was so weird walking myself into Labor and Delivery, smiling and not in pain.  I’d always assumed I’d be fighting contractions and in full on labor when I showed up at the hospital.  They swabbed me to be sure and then immediately admitted us to our room.  I was hooked up to contraction and fetal monitors and the nurse checked my cervix (less than 1cm dilated and 80% effaced!) and left to discuss a plan with my OB.  She told us that they’d be starting me on Cytotec to try to soften my cervix and that it would be delivered every four hours until enough change happened to start me on Pitocin.  However, after my first dose of Cytotec at 1am, my body went into full on contraction mode.  They got intense pretty quickly and were coming about 3 min apart.  At one point I had a really strong, long contraction and the nurse came running in, flipped me over, and started massaging my belly.  Apparently it lasted over 6 minutes.  She said the contractions had come on so strong and sudden that they might have to give me a shot of Terbutaline to stop them if they didn’t regulate soon.  I was dreading that because it seemed like we’d be working backwards (and it was the same drug I’d had a few times back at 31 weeks to stop my contractions).  Luckily, my contractions evened out enough that they just let my body do its thing.  At 4am, I finally got pain medicine.  I’m allergic to the drug they normally give so I was given Dilaudid.  It didn’t do much for the pain but made me super tired and my legs and arm feel heavy.  I was not a fan!  The next two hours were pretty intense.  I might have mentioned tying my tubes so I’d never have to feel pain like that again.  Finally, contractions were at one minute apart and they checked me and said I was at 3cm and could get an epidural as soon as anesthesia was available.  Best news ever! 
Hospital room board.


Getting the epidural was only somewhat stressful as the promise of pain relief makes it way less scary.  The worst part is holding still and being scrunched over through all of your contractions.  We discovered that my anesthesiologist had done his residency at Vanderbilt and finished the same time as I did.  He went from having little personality to chatting with us forever about our shared love of Nashville.  The epidural brought some relief pretty quickly but definitely not the overwhelming awesomeness that everyone always describes.  After about 30 minutes of some relief, I was in the worst pain ever with each contraction.  We called the nurse and explained something was definitely not right.  Luckily the anesthesiologist held up his scheduled C-section he was just about to start and came to my rescue.  He assured me he would not have done so if it weren’t for our Vandy connection.  Yikes!  He tried to administer a bolus to see if it would help and nothing changed.  He said something must have happened to it internally because it was not making me numb anymore.  He quickly removed it and gave me a new one that went 1 cm deeper.  That’s when I realized the magic of an epidural.  Now I could watch my contractions spike on the monitor but felt nothing. 

After the epidural started working its magic, they checked me about once every two hours.  I was at 5cm by 10am, 7 cm at noon, and 9 cm at 2pm.  They were thrilled with the progress I was making on my own without drugs and said we would be pushing in no time.  Unfortunately, my nurse had to leave work early that day and so they had to call in someone to cover the gap from 4pm till the shift change that evening.  We’re pretty sure things were put on hold because of this.  From about 3:30 on, I could tell something was happening.  There was so much pressure down there and I was pretty sure it was time.  However, my nurse told me that she was just going to have me wait and have my new nurse check things when she got there.  Anesthesia came and gave me something for the pain and my legs went almost completely numb.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to push with the numbness and so I was somewhat relieved when my current epidural IV ran out because I hoped that would balance out the numbness and I’d regain some feeling.  At 4:10 my new fill-in nurse finally came to check me and immediately said it was time to call the doctor and start pushing.

With just Mike, my Mom and the nurse, we started pushing at every contraction.  I had no idea how exhausting pushing would be!  It was so surreal to know that we’d soon have our baby in our arms.  We pushed for about 10 minutes with the nurse and suddenly she said to stop pushing because the baby was right there and we needed a doctor.  Luckily, my OB walked in very soon after and got things going.  Less than 5 minutes of pushing later, Hannah was born at 4:37pm.  For those who were worried about Mike’s queasiness with all things blood and guts, he did awesome.  He held my leg and watched the whole birth (and cut the cord!).  I watched his face for much of it and loved seeing his expressions.  He would excitedly tell me that she was right there and almost out.   He kept saying how crazy it was.  He and my Mom were both so supportive and encouraging and it made such a difference when I wanted to give up.  I’ll never forget when they placed my crying baby on my chest.  I just couldn’t believe we had made her and she was finally here. 

The next moments passed quickly.  They took Hannah for her measurements (7 pounds 11 ounces, 19.5 inches long) and early treatments and Mike followed her leaving me to be stitched up.  Finally, they brought her back and we did skin-to-skin and she quickly nursed for the first time.  It was so incredible.  The team cleaned up the room and disappeared leaving us to just be with Hannah the rest of the evening.   Holding our baby and seeing Mike with her was everything I could have imagined.  I couldn’t believe she was ours.  We all fell in love instantly and I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my whole life. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

A letter to my little

To my sweet little girl-
In a few days, you will enter this world.  I'm constantly imagining what it will be like to hold you in my arms for the first time and look into your eyes.  I picture your tiny body curled up in your Daddy's arms and I'm overwhelmed with emotion.  I dream of the days to come when you'll smile at us for the first time.  I imagine your first giggle and big belly laugh, your first words, and your first steps.  I truly cannot wait till the day you join our family and make us complete. 

The past 9 months have challenged me and redefined me in ways I wasn't expecting.  Worrying about you has taken over my every thought and nothing else seems to matter besides keeping you safe.  While I've been uncomfortable and scared for much of the time, I wouldn't trade any of it.  Feeling you roll and kick, hiccup and respond to our touch and our voices has been the most amazing experience.  I feel like I've learned a lot about you already (and I think we're in for a bit of a wild child) and I know, despite the struggles, I'll miss having you with me every second of the day.  At least for now I don't have to share your snuggles with anyone else. 

I'd always dreamed of having a little girl, but assumed I'd have a family of boys.  From very early on though, your Dad and I were just sure you were a girl.  Getting that ultrasound confirmation made me so excited to have a baby girl of my own.  I can't wait for mommy-daughter dates of shopping and manicures and girl-talk. I hope that one day we will be the best of friends. 

I cannot wait for you to meet your Daddy.  I think what excited me most about having a little girl was seeing him with you.  He is a truly great man.  He takes care of me and loves me so completely and I know he will be that and more to you.  I also know that I will have to be the "strict one" as he'll be wrapped around your little finger from the first moment he sees you.  He will spend his life loving you and trying to make you happy just as he has for me for the last 14 years.  I also hope with all my heart that you one day find a man as honest and caring as him.  I hope that his example inspires you to find the kind of love you deserve. 

Before you ever existed, I dreamed of you.  In some ways, I've been preparing to be your Mom since I was a high school girl in love with your Daddy and dreaming of our future together.  You were always meant to be mine, and I was always meant to be yours.  I'll spend the rest of my life wanting you to experience every wonderful thing this world has to offer and trying to protect you from every hurt.  I'm sure I'll fail many times as I learn to be your parent, but I hope you always know that I'm trying my very best for you.  You already inspire me to be a better person and I hope I make you proud to be my daughter.  I want so much for you out of life.  I want to encourage you and assure you that you can be anything you want to be.  I want to be there for you to wipe your tears in the hard times, laugh with you in the good times, and tell you how proud I am of you at every turn.  I will always, always be there for you.  I can't even begin to imagine all the fun we'll have on this journey. Thank you for making me a Mommy.  I cannot wait to meet you.  I will love you always little one. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bump Update: Weeks 37-38

How big is baby? At 38 weeks, baby is the size of a pumpkin!  The app says she's around 19-21 inches long and weighs somewhere between 6 and 9 pounds.  Mom is hoping she’s not actually 9 pounds yet.  Yikes.  It also says she might have an inch of hair by now… but we all know that’s not the case for our kid J

How am I feeling?  Pretty good!  I’ve been able to remain somewhat active which has been great for my sanity.  I’m still swimming laps a few times a week and going for walks and short trips to the gym.  All the old people at my pool are officially on baby watch which is entertaining. 
"hiking" at 38 weeks
Still having lots of contractions off and on but nothing consistent or progressing.  I’ve had a couple crampy mornings which get me hopeful and then I go back to feeling normal.  Lots of nerve pain and “lightning” as a result of how low she’s sitting in my pelvis but nothing unmanageable. 

Little girl is still totally crazy and keeps me entertained with my rolling belly.  I’m thinking she’s going to be an active baby…

Food aversions/cravings?  Fruit, sno cones, anything cold.  It’s dang hot in Vegas right now in case you haven’t noticed. 

Sleep:  Some nights are worse than others.  I’m just thankful I’m not a person who requires too much sleep!

Maternity clothes: Yes.  The belly is expanding at a rapid rate lately.  It’s been so crazy!

Best moments:  The last two weeks have been pretty uneventful in our house. I’ve been trying to enjoy the alone time with my Husband as I know our days as a twosome are almost over.  And I’m still SO thankful we have a pool.  It’s been the greatest. 
37 week bump

figured out how to lay on my stomach.... and it's heavenly

Miss anything?  Not too much.  Still just overwhelmingly thankful to be where we are right now.  I guess I could say I miss enjoying going out to dinner.  We keep making reservations with good intentions and then I’m just too full to want to go eat a meal. 

Nursery progress:  Done.  Bags are packed and everything is ready.  Everything except Hannah ;)

Thoughts on pregnancy:  I thought the first 36 weeks went by slowly but they seriously have nothing on this last month.  I’m SO grateful that I’m feeling as good as I am.  I go back and forth between wanting to savor these last couple weeks with her in my belly and being so desperate to have her here now.  I know there is no guarantee I’ll ever get to be at this stage again so I don’t want to take it for granted or wish it away too quickly. 

Looking forward to:  Meeting our baby girl!  It’s so incredible that we should have a baby in our arms in the next two weeks.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Baby Shower

Little one and I were so lucky to have the most beautiful baby shower ever.  My coworkers went all out throwing a gorgeous baby party with everything pink and chandeliers.  It was amazing!  Here are some pics from the event.  We went home with so much stuff!
front door

can't get enough lemonade

mimosa bar

Candy buffet

the dessert part of brunch

so cute!
she was spoiled
the cutest photo sign for her room

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bump Update: Weeks 35-36

How big is baby? At 36 weeks, baby is the size of a honeydew melon.  She's around 18 inches long and, according to our growth ultrasound, she might weigh somewhere around 6.5 pounds!  She still feels enormous and super strong.  I'm pretty sure my insides are bruised somedays from her kicks.

How am I feeling?  Pretty good!  Besides the obvious fun of having a 20+ pound belly, I'm feeling pretty normal for the most part.  Rolling over/getting out of bed is a little absurd.  Tying my shoes in the evening is also quite comical.  Overall though, I think this is my favorite part of my pregnancy!  I am finally relaxed that she won't come too early and am just excited to meet this little girl!  She keeps me entertained with her giant movements and constant hiccups and it's so fun wondering what in the world she's doing in there. 
I've also noticed that I have had a few more crazy/irrational moments than normal.  The smallest and weirdest things have set me off a few times.  I'm going to go ahead and blame my hormones (and be thankful for a very understanding husband).  

Food aversions/cravings?  Fruit, sno cones, popsicles, anything cold... it's all I want to eat.  No aversions. 

Sleep: Some nights are decent, some nights I have crazy insomnia.  Either way, I still wake up to pee every couple hours. 

Maternity clothes: hah. yes.

36 weeks.  that's a big belly.

Best moments:  At my 36 week checkup, my OB decided I was measuring 4 weeks behind schedule and sent me for a growth ultrasound.  Getting to see my babe on the screen is always the best.  She ended up measuring completely perfect and they estimated her at 36 weeks and 5 days which is even a little ahead of schedule.  Her head measured over 38 weeks, so she's obviously a Kaufman.  They say the scans aren't super accurate for weight because baby is so crammed, but they estimated her to be 6 and a half pounds already!  I also got to see her practice breathing which was really cool because I've been feeling that more and more frequently.  

36 week face... a little crammed to make it out!
Miss anything?  Nope.  Trying to just soak up these final weeks with her in my belly.  I know I'll miss this part when it's over.

Nursery progress:  Everything is setup and ready.  Bassinet is in our room and carseat is installed in the new car.  Hannah got SO much stuff at our baby shower and it has all been washed and put away.

Mommy mobile has arrived and I'm loving it!

Thoughts on pregnancy:  I can't believe it's almost over (NOT that it has gone by fast because I'm pretty sure these have been the longest 36 weeks of my life).   However, watching the countdown on my phone get below 30 days and knowing that she could come anytime is super exciting.

Sometimes I feel patient and relaxed as we wait and then other times I've overwhelmed by how much I want to meet her and hold her RIGHT NOW. 

Looking forward to:  Meeting our little girl.  I really hope she doesn't make me wait too long!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bump Update: Weeks 33-34

How big is baby? At 34 weeks, baby is the size of a butternut squash.  She's around 18 inches long and maybe weighs around 5 pounds.  She feels enormous and super strong.
How am I feeling?  Better than expected?  Besides feeling like I ate a mountain, I'm not too terribly uncomfortable during the day.  After I cram dinner in, I'm pretty much stationary for the night.  My back has been feeling way better than I expected and my pelvis has stopped feeling like it's separating into two pieces except when I roll over in bed. 

As far as the contractions are concerned, I've had a couple multiple hour sessions of them being pretty intense.  My OB first recommended doubling my meds but that made me feel like I was going to pass out from the low blood pressure.  I've increased the frequency and have been handling them decently well.  I'm always nervous when I get a couple in a row that they are going to pick back up and be crazy. 

Little girl is still a wild one.  I'm absolutely in love with all her movements (even when they are painful - like pushing out in one spot super hard or wedging her foot up under my rib).  She's so responsive to our voices and touch and it's so fun to "play" with her in there.  I know that I will miss this part!! 

Food aversions/cravings?  I want to eat all the fruit.  I decided being pregnant in summer is worth it for all the fresh berries and watermelon.  I'll take 110 degrees every day if it means fruit is in season.  Yum!
Sleep:  I think it has improved slightly.  I'm still up to pee several times a night but I'm spending less time lying awake afterward.    
Maternity clothes: Yes... I'm large.  Even some of my longer shirts are starting to be midriffs if I'm not careful!
Best moments:  Checking off weeks has been such a relief after the scare at 31 weeks.  I'm so relieved to be at 34 weeks and mostly "in the clear" in case she is ready to join the world.  At my 34 week appointment, they said she'd be completely fine if she were born now but they are going to keep me on the contraction meds until 36 weeks at which point they will consider her close enough to full term! 
Miss anything?  My lung capacity!  Going up our stairs or walking up a hill (and sometimes just standing to cook dinner) has me huffing and puffing.  My meds apparently worsen the shortness of breath so I'm thinking it's extra bad these days.  I also miss my stomach capacity!  We've pretty much given up going out to dinner because it's just too painful to eat a full meal at night.  So much for the restaurants I had on my list to eat before the baby arrives!
Nursery progress:  Done!  Clothes are washed and essentials are purchased.  Hannah's hospital bag is mostly packed.  Only thing left to do is install the car seat and assemble her bassinet.  So now we wait.
Thoughts on pregnancy:  As the end gets closer, I'm more and more overwhelmed by how grateful I am to have been able to go through this whole process.  It's crazy to me how completely in love I am with this little girl I've never met.  My emotions are high and it doesn't take much for me to tear up (like in our labor and delivery tour when they talked about handing you your baby for the first time... waaah!)
Looking forward to:  I'm very excited for my baby shower next week!  Aside from that, I'm thrilled to be full term soon and get this show on the road.  Oh!  I keep forgetting to mention that we are in the process of buying a mommy-mobile.   My new Honda Pilot has been ordered and I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival.  It should be here around the third week of August which could be a little interesting.  I'm sure we won't be busy then or anything ;)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Our Little Girl's Nursery

Here is the space we created for our nursery!  It was a long process, but we had so much fun with it and cannot wait till it is home to our little girl!  

Get ready for photo overload... I couldn't pick favorites :)