Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nolan's Birth Story {part two}

Surprisingly, despite my nerves {and giant belly}, I was able to get a really good night's sleep. When my alarm went off at 6:25am on Friday, April 22nd I felt nervous and excited, really excited. I called Labor & Delivery to be sure they had space for us and they gave us the green light! It was time to head to the hospital and have a baby! 
We arrived at the hospital right at 7:30am and our room was ready and waiting for us. We met our nurse, Sandy, and loved her instantly. After what felt like a million questions were answered, the birth plan was discussed and the hospital gown was put on we were ready to get things going. 
 I got hooked right up to the fetal monitor to track contractions and baby's heart rate and then got an IV of antibiotics as I had tested positive for Group B Strep. Around 8am the doctor {not my doctor but another wonderful one from her office} came in for the first time. We went over my birth hopes and discussed our plan of attack. She checked my progress and I was still 3cm dilated and 80% effaced, same as I had been at my appointment that Tuesday. At 8:15am she broke my water. Outfitted in a giant pad and hooked up to one of those rolling IV thingys, Jason and I hit the halls in hopes of walking our way into labor. We were given two hours to walk and if nothing happened we'd have to start Pitocin {which I really, really was hoping to avoid}. 
While it was nice to be up and moving around, I was leaking so much fluid that walking was pretty uncomfortable. We had to head back to the room every 15 minutes or so so that I could use the restroom and clean up. Really lovely. At one point Jason said "you have used the word 'gush' way too many times today." At 9:15am, Sandy, asked that we return to the room quick so she could check baby's heart rate. This time, she hooked me up to a mobile monitor so we could take it with us while we walked. After heading back out to the halls I started to lose it a bit. I was walking around hooked up to this machine with cords everywhere, the monitor beeping, the IV hanging and I just started feeling overwhelmed and like everything I was wanting to avoid was happening. I told Jason I just wanted to head to the room and at this point we pulled out the secret weapon...FRIENDS. I decided to sit on a birthing ball to see if maybe that would help my progress. 
 At 10:22am, with no contractions happening yet, it was time for the P word. I instantly tensed up, got emotional and felt scared. Sweet nurse Sandy sensed this right away and told me she'd start with the absolute lowest dose, so 6 drops of Pitocin it was. Shortly after the Pit was started, my mom arrived. We spent the next 45 minutes or so just hanging out, watching Friends and waiting for something to happen. 
 I did start to have some minor contractions but they weren't really painful or even really worth noting. I was happy to feel things happening but it still didn't feel like the real thing. At 11:01am {I love Jason's detailed notes}, Sandy came back and I had to hop back into bed. When I was on the birthing ball, baby's position changed into a spot where they weren't able to get a good heart rate read. Sandy fixed the monitor, looked everything over and then suggested we up the Pit again as the contractions were still weak and irregular. We once again we did 6 drops.

That seemed to do the trick because shortly after the contractions started to come fast and furious. Jason joked that of course it was 12 drops that worked because 12 is my favorite number. I had Jason start to track the contractions and was thrilled to find they were coming every 3-4 minutes, but weren't all that painful yet. It didn't take long for them to get stronger and soon I was asking that everyone be quiet during them, was standing, leaning over the little table tray, swaying my hips and chanting "owwwie, owwie, owwwwwie" which is the exact same thing I did with Kenley. Jason, my mom and nurse Sandy were all so encouraging with their words and made me feel like I was handling the contractions like a champ - it was such a positive and even fun atmosphere.

At 12:04pm, it was time for another check. This time I was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was so excited that I was making progress. At this point we also talked about pain management. I told Sandy that I wasn't against getting an epidural and likely wanted one but didn't want it until I got myself to 7cm {one of my birth hopes}.

The contractions started getting much stronger and were right on top of each other. I felt them more in my back but the back labor was nothing compared to what I had with Kenley {she was sunnyside up} and I could feel a good amount of pressure as baby got lower. Once they got really strong I asked that we turn Friends off and I think that's when everyone knew we were really in business. Pitocin contractions are notorious for being stronger and more painful but honestly, the contractions I was having late in the game were the same in strength as my contractions were before even getting to the hospital with Kenley. I don't know if it's because my body had done it before, because I was in much better shape or what but I handled them so much better than the first time.

At 1:05pm Sandy checked me again and excitedly announced I was 8cm!!!! I cannot tell you the pride I felt! I had exceeded my goal! I gave going without an epidural some real thought, but the pressure I was feeling was freaking me out and when I thought about feeling everything as I was pushing I decided that I was just not interested in experiencing that. So with an excited tone in my voice I told Sandy "epidural me!"

The awesome anesthesiologist arrived about 15 minutes later. He was so cool and did his best to work around my contractions. He was also so positive and cheered me on as I worked through the contractions that were coming so fast. At 1:26pm, the epidural was in on the first try and I felt very little pain as it was inserted. Again, such a better experience than with Kenley. My left foot started to tingle instantly and within minutes I felt sweet relief from the contractions. I could still feel some pressure which I appreciated as I knew it would come in handy when it was time to push. The only negative side effects were that my legs each felt about 200 pounds and my boobs itched like crazy. Epidurals are so weird.

At this point, it hit me how unbelievably hungry I was. That "light but protein packed" breakfast I was suggested to have just was not cutting it and I had used every ounce of energy I had getting through those contractions. I drank an apple juice and ate a popsicle in hopes the sugar would give me a boost, but I was just spent. I also started to get more and more nauseas. My mom noticed the color had left my face and suggested a ginger ale. It tasted absolutely disgusting, but I choked it down anyways. After some time, the color returned to my face and I felt better, starving, but better. 

Around 2:30pm Sandy gave me another check and I was thrilled to learn I was fully dilated with only a small "lip" of my cervix remaining. Because baby was still working on getting lower, we decided to let the contractions push him down versus starting to push too early. Because I wasn't feeling so hot, I was more than fine with just hanging out, resting and taking some time to regroup before having to push. The only downside to that was that our sweet Sandy was off duty at 3pm. I really thought I might cry when she left us. Our new nurse, Kayla, was also awesome so even though we missed Sandy, we knew I was in good hands. 

At 4pm, we all agreed I was ready to push, but of course it was also time for a shift change between doctors. The doctor who had been with me all morning said the next doctor would be arriving shortly, he was down the street at one of the malls. We all found this hysterical and were joking about what he could possibly be shopping for to keep him from the hospital. It was decided he must be picking up something on behalf of Jason from Tiffany's {no such luck on that one}. 

At 4:41pm the new doctor {who was actually the one I saw when I was trying to get cleared to fly to Colorado and was awesome} arrived and it was time to push! My legs were absolute tree trunks so in order to push I had to hold on under my thighs while Jason and Kayla each had a foot. As I was pushing I was seeing stars, everyone was cheering for me to push harder and I was telling myself if you push any harder you're going to pass out. In between pushes I felt so nauseous my face was either in a barf bag or an oxygen mask. As baby got low enough, the doctor noticed the cord was around his neck. I was instantly terrified but he assured me that baby was low enough that he could get him out quickly if needed. It turned out the cord was so long it was a non-issue, thank God! 

With the doctor and Kayla cheering me on and my husband saying all the most perfect and motivating things, I pushed with all my might and at 5:28pm felt my son make his entrance into the world and heard his raspy little cry for the first time. I looked down and saw his face and have never felt more proud or relieved. He was here! My Nolan was finally here! 
I got to hold him on my belly for several minutes while the cord finished pulsing. Because it had been wrapped around his neck, the nurse took him to give him a good once over. Thankfully, he was absolutely perfect! Nolan weighed exactly 8 pounds and measured in at 20 inches long, though we think he was probably a bit longer than that {based on his measurements at his 2 weeks appointment}.
We spent the first hour of Nolan's life, just the three of us. We were completely mesmerized by him and couldn't believe how much he looked like his big sister. We did skin to skin and let Nolan give nursing a try, he latched right away and even though he didn't eat for long, caught on right away. 
For as nervous as I was to be induced, the experience couldn't have gone much better. I am amazed by what my body has done and feel a real sense of pride when I think about delivering both of my perfect babies. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nolan's Birth Story {part one}

I've been dragging my feet writing Nolan's birth story because I just didn't know where to start or how to put that day into words. As I finally sit here sipping my Iced Chai with my little guy asleep right next to me, I am feeling kind of blue that it is all over. When you are pregnant all you want is for that baby to get here and now that he is here I feel as though it all went too fast. Knowing this is my last baby has definitely heightened my sensitivity to everything and I'm sad about how quickly time is passing by. But nonetheless, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine {or both!} and get ready for one heck of a post. I don't want to forget a single detail about the day my son was born, so this is going to be lengthy.


The weeks leading up to Nolan's birth day were unlike anything I could have anticipated. As I'm sure most women who are 37+ weeks pregnant, I was feeling tired, achy, huge, uncomfortable, anxious but also excited and so ready to meet my baby. We had our hospital bags packed, the nursery was finished and all that was left to do was wonder when our little guy would decide to show up.

When my grandma unexpectedly passed away on April 12th {I was 37w4d}, I fell apart. I couldn't believe the timing of it all. I bounced between every emotion you could think of but more than anything was devastated beyond belief that I wasn't able to fly to Colorado to mourn with my family and be at my grandmother's funeral. Of course, the health of my baby was priority number one but it was hard. Really hard. It was also hard to be filled with so much sadness and grief during a time that was supposed to be filled with an excited anticipation. Needless to say, it was a very hazy week.

At my 38 week appointment on April 15th {the day before my grandma's funeral} my doctor suggested inducing me at 39 weeks because of Ziggy's potential size. He had been consistently measuring big in all of the ultrasounds from 12 weeks on and knowing my super strong desire to avoid a c-section my doctor thought this was the best option.  Being induced early went against all of my Birth Hopes and everything I wanted for the birth of my son but after having a really good in depth and honest conversation with my doctor who I love and trust so much I decided we would go ahead with the induction. I should also note that in the entire 38 weeks of my pregnancy that was the first appointment I went to alone {by choice} and I sobbed uncontrollably when my doctor walked in the room and said "How are you doing?" Again, I adore my doctor and that appointment ended up being more like a mini therapy session.

As good as I felt about the decision, the timing was difficult. My mom was still in Denver with my grandpa and was supposed to be heading back to Arizona before driving home for the summer. Thankfully, she was able to get a flight home and my awesome stepdad made the trek from AZ to MN without her. Also crappy timing, my dad and stepmom were leaving town for the basketball tournament we run every year in Denver, so if baby didn't come before 39 weeks, they would be gone for his birth. I was super emotional about my dad being gone but at the end of the day, I had to do what was best for me and Ziggy. Everyone kept telling me to "just take care of that baby" so that is exactly what I did.

That following Tuesday, April 19th {38w3d}, I went back to see my doctor and have my membranes stripped. The hope was that this would get labor started in a more natural way and save me from having to be induced. I went straight from the doctor's office to the gym and took another walk that night {in the rain} desperate to get things moving.
Over the next two days my Braxton Hicks got stronger and a couple even felt like the real deal but were never consistent or "real" enough to track or time. I thought we were for sure in business when I lost my mucus plug in the Holiday gas station bathroom after walking around the lake with my mom and Kenley...but no such luck.

And just like that it was Thursday, April 21st the day before I was to be induced and no real signs of labor were apparent. This is when the doubt and fear set in. Is this what I really wanted? Is this truly what is best for the baby? What if... What if... What if...

I cried and I prayed and I talked to my very patient husband who reminded me of my great conversation with my doctor. He reminded me of all the reasons why we made this choice and reminded me that tomorrow was the day I was finally going to meet my son. I thought about my grandma watching over me and I felt her giving me strength...this was it...our baby was coming TOMORROW one way or another.

As instructed, I called to schedule our induction. I left a message for the nurse and after waiting over an hour for a return phone call I called again....don't make an anxious pregnant woman wait for the phone to ring! That's just cruel. This time she answered, found my paperwork and then informed me that they didn't have any openings for Friday but I could come in on Saturday or Sunday if I'd like. She said it so nonchalantly as if I were scheduling a hair appointment or something. Turns out, my doctor had written down the wrong hospital because I had seen her at a different office than usual on that Tuesday. Thankfully the nurse confirmed the hospital and we caught the mistake but of course, she'd have to check with my hospital and then call me back. It ended up all working out and we were set at the correct hospital for the following morning. I was to call and check in at 6:30am to be sure there was a room available but other than that, we were good to go.

Kenley was at school that morning but after I picked her up and we both napped we spent the rest of the afternoon together, uninterrupted. We made a Play-Doh garden, had a tea party and packed her suitcase. Once Jason was home from work we had a nice family dinner and then took Kenley out for ice cream. Naturally, I was super emotional about my final hours with Kenley as my only. She, on the other hand, was PUMPED!
We brought Kenley to my mom's for a sleepover that night. We had to be at the hospital so early that it was better for all of us to drop her the night before, but spending the night without my sweet daughter was, of course, emotional...are you sensing a theme here?

last photo as a family of 3

The nurse I had talked to suggested I eat a light but protein filled breakfast before heading to the hospital. Knowing myself and knowing I'd be nervous I knew I would not have an appetite, so Jason and I swung by Target to get some protein powder so I could choke down a shake in the morning.
We got home around 8pm and decided to walk the neighborhood in one last ditch effort to get the ball rolling. However, deep down I knew that being induced was how this story was going to play out. Our neighborhood walk lead us to a restaurant near our house where we split an awesomely huge plate of nachos. As nervous as I was, it was so fun having a little date night with my hubby before we had our second baby. It really was a perfect night just the two of us.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the birth story. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Nolan | Week One

Friday, April 29th. The one day I have had on my mind since mid August when I found out I was pregnant with our second baby. Now, here we are on my due date and our little man is already one week old. 
Nolan Richard
born April 22, 2016
@ 5:28pm
8 pounds even and 20 inches long

I cannot believe it has already been a full week since Nolan joined our family, I can't think about how quickly time is already moving or I joke {thanks hormones}.
Life as a family of four is going great. I am feeling really good, Nolan is an awesome baby and we are all adjusting to this new normal. I can't wait to share more about his birth, his amazing big sister and all the wonderful things that I love so much about my sweet son. 
This first week has been a whirlwind of visitors, a newborn photo shoot, a first doctor's appointment, dirty diapers, late night feedings and getting in the swing of having a newborn again. It's overwhelming and crazy but overall so great. I really can't get over how much I love this little boy. I am one smitten mama.
So far what we know about Nolan is that he hates having his diaper changed {it's the only time he cries}, he eats every 2.5 - 3 hours, he loves to chew on his hands, he only sneezes in multiples {usually 2 or 3 but he's had as many as 5 in a row}, he is notorious for pooping one minute after being changed, makes the craziest dinosaur noises when he's hungry and has the cutest little gas smile I've ever seen.
This kiddo has only been nursing for 10-15 minutes at a time and only on one side then he passes out so hard it's nearly impossible to wake him and if I do he has no interest in eating more. He has had plenty of wet and dirty diapers but when we took him to his first appointment on Tuesday {at 4 days old} I thought for sure he was going to be down even more from the 7lb 9oz he was when we left the hospital BUT it turns out my little man is just an efficient little eater as he was up to 7lb 14oz just 2oz away from his birth weight! HOORAY! And yay for efficiency!
As to be expected when you have a brand new baby, every day has highs and lows. I'm tired, emotional and sore but I am madly in love with this baby boy, my daughter and my husband who has been beyond incredible. I am just so grateful for this life and this little family and my heart feels complete. I'm off to snuggle my babies all weekend and attempt to not cry every five minutes. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Note to Ziggy Boy

Dear Baby Boy,

It was just over 8 months ago that I saw the very faintest of second pink lines on a test and our world was once again turned upside down. As panicked and nervous as I was, I was also so very excited. I had a feeling from that day on that you were the baby boy I have been praying for for a long time. We started our time together in Las Vegas for 4 days celebrating your Auntie Libby's bachelorette party. It wasn't ideal to say the least, but looking back I love so much that you were on that trip with me and it was during that weekend that your nickname, Ziggy, was created.
 It was so tough to keep you a secret for those first couple of months, but once it was safe to tell the world I was so, so, so excited to do so! Me, your daddy and your big sister are so thrilled that you are joining our crazy little family and all of the notes of congrats and excited family and friends made us even more excited!
c/o Sara Jayne Photography
As happy as I am to have you growing in my tummy, you haven't been the nicest to your mom. I haven't felt the best and you've had me worried on multiple occasions for multiple things.  From an ER visit, fluid around your heart and being breech for a few weeks, you've definitely made these past 8 months interesting. The silver lining, though, is that I've had the opportunity to see your sweet little face quite a few times. 
I must say the highlight of the past 8 months was finding out that you were in fact a little BOY! The second I heard the words "It's a Boy" I started crying and I've teared up on multiple occasions since, knowing that I am lucky enough to have a daughter and a son fills me with so much joy and your mama is a crier {you've been warned}.
 I should also mention that I really hope you love your room! I spent months agonizing over every last detail and spent hours upon hours priming and painting and decorating and making it as perfect as I possibly could. I cannot wait to bring you home and show you this special space that I created just for you.
I'm not going to lie to you Ziggy boy, I am not one of those women who loves being pregnant. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have carried two babies and experiencing this miracle is unlike anything I will ever do again. While I may not bask in the process and love all the symptoms and side effects that come with growing a baby, there is so much that I cherish about this time and will {gasp} miss.
This ever expanding belly of mine is one part of both pregnancies that hasn't bothered me one bit. I love seeing this tummy grow as it means the baby inside is growing. Sure, there's an awkward phase towards the start where it looks like I ate one too many doritos, but even that part is kind of fun because I know the truth and the truth is that there is a little lemon sized baby squirming around in there with all the doritos and really, that phase of it is so short.
Hands down the best part, however, is feeling you move inside of this bump. Every pop and wiggle and even the big somersaults and rib jabs provide a feeling of comfort that all is OK in there. It is such a surreal thing to know all those flicks and flutters are YOU, a real live baby! While I know the one I feel inside and the one I will soon meet face-to-face are both you, it sort of feels like there are two different babies. It's like I know you, Ziggy, and no one else does. You are my baby boy and only I truly know all that is going on inside, we have our own little world you and me. It's not always a glamorous one and there is definitely a price that comes with this honor but I will miss this special time when it's only us. 

As much as I love hogging you all to myself and feeling the miracle that you are in my belly, I am ready to share you. I am ready to see your face and kiss you. I am ready for you to meet your daddy and your big sister, your grandparents and all your incredible aunties and uncles. You are one loved little man and I cannot wait to introduce you to everyone and show you off with pride. 

So do your mama a solid and come on out sweet boy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

This Past Week

Last Tuesday, April 12 in the early hours of the morning, God called my grandma to Heaven and she peacefully obeyed. It was Parkinson's Disease that forced her from this world sooner than what should have been but knowing that her soul is freed from a body that hurt for so many years is comforting despite the sadness I am feeling. 

My family is incredibly close and I have always had a very special bond with my grandma, so this news sent a pain through me like I have never felt and a sadness I have never known. My mom and stepdad, aunt and uncle, cousin and brother were all able to arrive in Denver to be by my grandpa's side, grieve together and arrange the details of my grandma's funeral. I, at nearly 38 weeks pregnant, was unable to do so. I saw the first doctor I could get in to and prayed for some miracle chance to be able to join my family - even if for only 24 hours. Unfortunately, because of the progress I have already made, the changes in air pressure when flying and the altitude change in Denver they couldn't sign off on letting me travel (and the airlines wouldn't let me on without a doctor's permission). 

My family tried to make me feel included and keep me up-to-date on all that was happening in Denver but despite the effort there was nothing to be done that came close to actually being there. It was an indescribable loneliness and missing my grandma's funeral and that time spent with my family is something that will likely hurt forever. 

I've said a lot of different prayers over the past week and the first few days was begging God for some kind of clarity or insight on His plan for timing this the way that He did. Very late one of the first nights I was scrolling through Pinterest, staring at the images on my phone with no real connection to what they were, very mindlessly eating up the long hours of the sleepless night and then this stood out to me:
I instantly thought of the last time I talked to my grandma...she asked me if I would send her a picture of the baby after he was born. This cracked me up because of course I would, she didn't need to ask. As hard as this timing has been, I now get to have my grandma with me on the day my son is born and she doesn't have to wait for a picture, instead she gets to be the very first to see his face. Not only that, this little boy will provide joy for myself and my family who are all hurting. It's a new life and a new addition, one who will carry my grandma's spirit. 

The strength and comfort come and go and are quickly replaced with sadness and hurt. I'm grieving the loss of my grandma while feeling excited to meet my baby at any time now. The mix of emotions is incredibly difficult and very confusing. 

I appreciate so much the words of sympathy and comfort you have all shared over the past week. I'm so grateful to have the incredible people in my life that I do and I promise I have read, been touched by and appreciate every last word you have sent my way.