Thursday, November 14, 2013

This Time Last Year

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a big ball of emotions right now. With Kenley's first birthday TOMORROW and the party on Saturday, I can't help but be nostalgic. I've been looking through tons of pictures, reading old pregnancy posts and reminiscing about those final days before our life was forever changed. I decided I wanted to do a sort of re-post of Kenley's birth day and the days surrounding it because 1. there's a lot of new faces around here and 2. looking back I realize I left out A LOT of details, my memory of that day is already fading and I want to make sure I document it all. 

So sit back, grab like three cups of coffee and a bottle of wine and enjoy what is sure to be the longest post in the history of blogger.

Thursday, November 8th 2012
My due date. The one day I had in my head from the very beginning. I knew all along this date was just a guess but it's still the one day you in your mind for the entire 9 months. I remember being so excited and so anxious. I also remember knowing for absolute certain there was no way my baby was being born on November 8th. I had NO signs of labor and physically was feeling great. I was over being pregnant simply because I wanted to hold my baby and the anticipation of childbirth {something I was really nervous about} was driving me batty. 
this picture was taken at 11pm after I had cried about not wanting to take a bump pictures. True life.

Friday, November 9th 2012
I called my boss with a little white lie that I thought labor might be starting. I didn't sleep AT ALL the night before and there was just no way I could get my preggo booty out of bed and to work. I alternated between crying and sleeping the entire day. I wasn't crying because I was sad the baby hadn't come but because I felt like a failure. I felt like I should be so happy and excited to meet my little girl, but I wasn't. I was anxious, the anticipation was killing me. Sitting and waiting for the worst pain of your life to start is a very strange thing. I had been receiving text messages, emails and phone calls checking on me, asking if there was a baby and suggesting I go for a walk, bounce on a ball, have sex, eat spicy food, eat pineapple, etc. etc. etc. Like it was just that easy. I was a mess and threw myself a little pity party for two {two because sweet Bailey never left my side}.

Saturday, November 10th & Sunday, November 11th 2012
Both the Aggies & Gophers played on Saturday {at the same time}, so we had my dad, step-mom and sister over for the games. I remember feeling so happy and so relaxed. Watching football with my family was exactly the fun distraction I needed. I had cried all my tears, gotten over myself and had a new attitude. Plus, my brother was at the Gopher game in Illinois and actually got on TV. It was a super fun surprise. Sunday we met my mom and step-dad for brunch - another fun distraction. I found that getting out and having fun was MUCH better for my mood than sitting at home waiting for a contraction {shocking, I know!} Then we got sushi {don't worry, it was veggie} that night and I used an insane amount of wasabi hoping to spice the baby out. 

Monday, November 12th 2012
I had my weekly appointment scheduled for that upcoming Wednesday, but when I woke up on Monday morning I knew I couldn't wait that long. I needed to see if there was any progress. Thankfully my incredible doctor was able to get me in. I was 3cm dilated and 75% effaced which was a MAJOR improvement from being just 1cm and 60% effaced for the previous three weeks. I decided to let my doctor strip my membranes to try and get labor going. My doctor also explained to us that she doesn't let patients go past 41 weeks because of the possible health risks to mom and baby. Because I was past due, she ordered a biophysical ultrasound to check the status of the baby. Basically, they check a bunch of different things {heart rate, breathing, movement, amniotic fluid, placenta, etc}, there is an 8 point scale and the baby has 30 minutes to complete all of the tests. If there are any concerns or the baby is in distress, induction or C-section happens right away. Thankfully, our little nugget scored a perfect 8/8. She was doing great, which was a relief {even though I wanted her out!} Before we left we scheduled our induction {something I was really hoping to avoid because I wanted a natural childbirth} for that Thursday, November 15th. The good news was if we did have to be induced, my doctor was the one on duty. I gave her a hug and she told me she wouldn't be surprised if I had a baby before Thursday. I left feeling great. There was an end in sight. No matter what I'd have a baby before the end of the week. 

Tuesday, November 13th 2012
I got up and went to work which was pretty much like cruel and unusual punishment. Thank God for my best buddy Carolyn and g-chat or I probably would have pulled all my hair out or beaten one of my coworkers. Carolyn and I chatted all morning both about the baby and not, pretty much just doing whatever we could to get through what seemed like the longest day of all time. Right around 1pm I got what felt like a bad period cramp, I got really sweaty and felt a little dizzy and then just like that it was gone and I felt fine again. I remember spazzing out and telling Carolyn to which she asked a coworker who had kids and we all agreed that I had my first contraction. I actually still have the entire g-chat conversation from that day and had to share part of it because it's so dang funny. I had to edit out some swear words and this is just a teeny portion of the convo, but nonetheless: 

1:12 PM 
 me: i just got a really bad cramp
 Carolyn: omg
 me: and i'm like sweating
 Carolyn: omg
 Carolyn: NUGGET IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  i knew i should have washed my hair
 me: dont get too excited
 i'm sure it's nothing
1:13 PM 
 me: the cramp is gone now
 Carolyn: that's what CONTRACTIONS DO!
 me: ok
  we need to stay calm
  you're having a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Carolyn: is that not calm?
1:25 PM 
Carolyn: did you text jason yet?
1:29 PM me: no
  i'm waiting for another one
 Carolyn: LOL
  prob a good idea
 me: he will spaz out otherwise
 Carolyn: he's going to pee himself
1:37 PM me: ok
  well i am freaking out
  so i am going to go home
  i'll be back on when i get there
 Carolyn: hurry!
I flew out of work like a bat out of hell yelling to my boss that I had a contraction as I ran out the door, leaving my Sante Fe Rice & Beans SmartOne in the microwave. A few hours later, around 4pm, I lost both my mucus plug and bloody show and was absolutely thrilled to tears about it. I have a really weird fascination with mucus plugs. I continued having some cramps but really nothing I could time, I wasn't able to sleep so I watched "No Strings Attached" on the iPad in bed.

Wednesday, November 14th 2012
I woke up at 7:30am with a more defined contraction. It felt stronger and had a more definite start and stop. And they kept coming! They weren't painful, just more annoying, and were coming about every 10-15 minutes. I still felt unsure and didn't want to get false hope, so I told Jason to go to work and I stayed in bed and watched "Mean Girls." Around 9:00am my contractions were getting more painful. They were about 10 minutes apart, but I could tell this was finally the real deal. I sent Jason a text letting him know my contractions were more frequent and painful and he immediately came home. 

I had been sending my mom text updates all morning and could tell she was getting anxious, I think she asked if I needed anything like 10 times, so I asked her to come over to keep us company and bring us lunch! She showed up with my Spinach Cheddar Omelet on a Jalapeno Cheese bagel around 12pm and at that point my contractions were coming every 7-9 minutes and were more painful, especially in my lower back. Though I was making progress, I still had a long ways to go, so we watched "Clueless" and then "Sleepless in Seattle". 

I was handling the contractions pretty well, they were definitely intense, but I found that standing up and leaning up against our railing felt the best. I would sway my hips and say "owwwwwie, owwwwie, owwwwie." I tried to take deep breaths but that really didn't help me, I found that the "owwwie" chant gave me the most distraction. It was so strange. I would just be sitting on the couch like no big deal, then as soon as I felt one I'd pop up, assume the position, get through it and sit back down like nothing had happened. Labor is frickin' strange people. 

Right around 4pm the contractions were getting really strong. I was still getting through them but they were really hurting. It was at this point I decided to take a shower, and it felt AMAZING! I seriously could have stayed in there for hours. Jason sat nearby and I would tell him when I was having a contraction so that he could continue to time them. About 20 minutes into my shower Jason yelled that I should probably get out, my contractions were now 3-4 minutes apart and had been for over an hour. 

At 4:21pm Jason called the doctor. They asked him how far along I was, what my contraction stats were and then asked for a birthday and he goes "Whose birthday? Mine?" I remember dying laughing! Why on earth would they need his birthday? Anyways, the nurse told us that we should indeed pack up and head to the hospital. 

My mom brought Bailey to my in-law's while Jason and I made our way to the hospital in rush hour traffic. That car ride was AWFUL. I was in the back seat on my hands and knees trying to get through the contractions that were getting stronger and stronger and the damn car wasn't moving. I was, however, in good enough spirits to snap this disgusting selfie: 
We finally made it to the hospital and parked because I was too scared to be dropped off at the door. Of course, we somehow got turned around and went in the wrong entrance which took us through a ton of creepy long hallways and up and down like three flights of stairs, me stopping to have a contraction every couple of minutes didn't really help the situation either. At 5:12pm we had finally made it to the birth center and were checked in to Triage. 

There, we had the most amazing nurse, Christine, who was so hilarious and also really sweet. She tried to hook me up to the fetal monitor but my back was hurting so bad I couldn't bear laying down. She was able to get a good enough read to ensure the baby was OK. I was still only dilated 3cm but was "paper thin" as Christine put it. We were left to power through more contractions. After about 45 minutes, Christine came back to check me again, and once again I couldn't bear to be on my back. My back hurt so bad I nearly had an anxiety attack when I was asked to lay down. I asked Christine if she could "check me like a cow." We all had a good laugh, she gave the cow method a try but unfortunately wasn't able to get a good read. I was still only 3cm but because of my pain level Christine admitted us. 

At 6:10pm we moved into our Labor and Delivery room. I remember getting emotional when I saw the little glass bassinet, hat and blanket all ready and waiting for my baby. Sadly, I was not a fan of the nurse on duty. She didn't have the sweetness and humor that Christine did and was all business. She MADE me lay down on my back so she could hook me up to the fetal monitor and I pretty much freaked out. The stabbing pain I felt in my back was magnified 100% while laying down. So I popped up as soon as I felt a contraction and pretty much refused to be tied to the bed from that point on. I was contemplating another shower when my doctor came in at 6:42pm. 

She decided to break my water to try and get things going. My contractions were close together and super intense but I was still only 3cm. As soon as my water broke, everything changed. I felt the baby drop lower and it caused the back pain to be absolutely unbearable. The only way I can describe it is being stabbed in the tailbone while also being beaten with a hammer in the same spot. No positions, no breathing and no chanting were giving me any sort of relief. When I found I was still only 4-5cm dilated, I knew I couldn't continue like this. I asked for an epidural. 

Jason knew how very badly I wanted to give birth naturally. He did exactly what I told him to do if I asked for medication, he told me I could do it. He told me I was strong. He told me if I got the epidural there was a good chance it would lead to a c-section {my ultimate fear as I am terrified of surgery}. His words meant nothing to me. At that point I didn't care if I had a c-section. This was the one time I yelled at Jason, I looked him the eyes and with the fear of God yelled "I don't care. I need the f-ing epidural." I know, how cliche. 

At 8:10pm the anesthesiologist came in. He was all business and frankly a little scary. We had been watching FRIENDS and the first thing he said when he came in the room was "turn that off." In order to successfully insert the epidural, he needed me to sit completely still which was IMPOSSIBLE with the excruciating contractions coming every couple of minutes. Right as he was getting ready to start a new nurse popped up in my face and said, "Hi, I'm Nikki, I'm your new nurse. You can do this." THANK GOD! She was amazing and just what I needed. The first {yes, the first} epidural didn't go so well. First he gave me the local anesthetic and then attempted the epidural. I felt a super intense shooting pain in the left side of my back, which caused me to panic. He then gave me another shot of the local and then tried the epidural, which didn't work. After waiting out a couple of contractions, he gave me yet another shot of the local and then a successful epidural. The relief was almost immediate and I was so grateful. I began to shake and couldn't stop, so the nurse covered me up with warm blankets. It was at this point I realized how tired I was. We put FRIENDS back on and I was able to relax and get some sleep. 
After an hour or so of rest, the nurse came back to check me to find I was 6cm dilated. I was happy to be making progress but knew things weren't progressing as quickly as they should - and so the dreaded "P word" came up. I desperately wanted to avoid Pitocin as it seemed all the birth stories I had read that ended in c-sections came after a vicious cycle of epidural + pitocin + more epidural + more pitocin = distressed baby = c-section. They started me on the lowest drip of Pitocin and I prayed I wouldn't find myself on the operating table. After the Pitocin started I got really nauseous. I thought for sure I was going to throw up and when the nurse gave me a bucket to puke in I just dry heaved. Thankfully the nausea only lasted for that brief moment. 

At 11:12pm, Nikki came back in to check me again. This time she said "Alright, you're done" Jason and I looked at each other both confused as to what exactly that meant. So Jason asked, "OK, so how much longer do you think?" And Nikki replied, "I'm going to get everything ready, it's time to push." It was so surreal. Here we are just hanging out with my mom, watching FRIENDS, I couldn't feel a damn thing and all of a sudden the nurse just nonchalantly tells me it's time to have my baby.

I started to push just shortly after, which felt so strange. For some reason the monitors weren't able to read my contractions, so Nikki literally had to sit there with her fingers inside of me to tell me when I was having a contraction. She would say "OK" and then her and Jason would each grab a leg, I would bear down and then push to the count of 10, take a deep breath, push to the count of 10 and then take one more breath and push to 10 for a third time...then rest until the next contraction. I remember feeling so lightheaded from pushing. Once the baby had made her way down a little more I was able to feel pressure and the urge to push when I was having a contraction, which I liked way better because I felt like I was actually involved in the process. I would alert the team when I was feeling a contraction and then I'd push again. It was so crazy because in between the contractions, you just sit there. There we were, Nikki, Jason and I {my mom left the room when it was time to push} watching FRIENDS. We were all cracking up at the show, and then I'd push, and then we'd resume the show. It was absolutely the perfect way for me to push out my baby and not a single one of my friends was surprised when I told them this story. 

Thursday, November 15th 2012
About an hour into pushing the nurse called in my doctor. She wanted to consult with my doctor to see if she should once again increase the Pitocin or not. They needed more Pitocin to keep my contractions coming but the increase in Pitocin was causing the baby's heart rate to drop. My doctor was now in our room to stay and I pushed a few times while they determined how to proceed. I looked over at Jason who was sitting on my left and was looking at the heart rate monitor. Baby's heart rate had dropped down to 80. He gave me a look that said "you need to push this baby out and soon" and that's all I needed. The next contraction I pushed with everything that I had in me, to which my nurse exclaimed it was my best push yet! At this point the Holiday Armadillo episode of FRIENDS was on, so even though the mood in the room was pretty serious, we were still laughing at the show. In between pushes I was explaining to my doctor what was going on and why Ross was dressed as a giant armadillo. 

I was making good progress with my super charged pushes, but the baby's heart rate was still low. My doctor pulled out the vacuum to help get her out quickly. Once again - something I definitely didn't want, but at this point I was willing to do whatever we could to get the baby out without surgery. Literally the second my doctor put the vacuum in me, the baby's heart rate jumped back up to 130. My little drama queen didn't want the vacuum any more than I did. 

I felt a lot of pressure and once again put every fiber of my being in to pushing out my baby and sure enough, out came her head. I took a deep breath to push out her shoulders but before I could push I felt her slide out, she was so long and skinny that she came out with one push. It was without a doubt the weirdest thing I've ever felt in my whole life. 

At 1:07am my baby girl was born. My doctor held her up and it was a moment I couldn't possibly forget. I have absolutely no way to put those first few seconds into words, I just remember saying "oh my God, oh my God" over and over and over. I felt so much relief and so much pride. I think I was so in shock that it was over and she was here I couldn't even muster tears. Once I snapped back in to it I realized Kenley wasn't crying. 

The nurse took her to check her stats and try to clean out her lungs. She had a lot of fluids which was preventing her from crying. Finally after what felt like an eternity she let out the raspiest little cry and it was the best sound I had ever heard.
Then, I was finally able to hold my angel for the first time...and that is when the tears started. It was without a doubt the most incredible moment of my life.
I was able to hold and snuggle my baby girl while the doctor finished her job down below - but it wasn't going as smoothly as it should have. It turns out I had a Retained Placenta, which means my placenta was still attached to the uterine wall. I now realize could have been a really big problem and even life threatening due to blood loss. Thankfully, for me, it just took a little longer to deliver and my doctor had to help the placenta along which was really uncomfortable. I had also torn and had to have an episiotomy which resulted in stitches in three different places. This whole process took a little over an hour, but FINALLY I was sewn up and ready to focus on being a mom. 

The best team in the whole world, my doctor & nurse!

My poor little mom had been pacing outside the door this entire time. She heard the baby's first cries and shortly after she was born Jason went out to tell her she had a granddaughter named Kenley Kouris. After I was all stitched up, my mom came in and was the first to meet Kenley. 

It was now almost 3am and my mom went home to get some sleep. After she left Nikki came back in and told me I needed to walk to the restroom and pee before they were allowed to bring me up to the Postpartum room. I stood up and immediately felt like I was going to pass out. They laid me back down and told me I should try to eat something and they'd try again in an hour. Jason had been texting my dad and could tell that he really wanted to come see us but didn't want to intrude. Jason asked if he'd be willing to bring us some food and he jumped on the opportunity. My dad showed up later with some McDonald's french fries and a strawberry milkshake which was my all time favorite treat when I was a kid - he even had to go to three different places to find somewhere that could make a milkshake at 3am.
My dad hung out with his granddaughter for a while and as soon as he left it was time for me to try for the bathroom again. Nikki brought reinforcements and with the help of the two nurses I was able to stand up and walk to the bathroom. As soon as I sat on the toilet I felt woozy again. Nikki started saying "Kristin can you hear me?" and I snapped back "Well, yeah". Like why wouldn't I be able to hear you? She told me I had passed out...yup, passed the heck out on the toilet! I awoke to cold towels on my face. Despite my episode on the toilet I was ready to be moved to my recovery room. I was actually sad to leave Labor and Delivery because our room was huge and I absolutely loved Nikki. 

It was about 4:30am when we were finally settled into our new room and we were absolutely exhausted.
Our new nurse, Beth, came in, we gave breastfeeding another go and around 5:30am we were finally able to get some sleep. All three of us slept for about two hours, and then the nurse was back to remind me to breastfeed again. 

The rest of Kenley's birth day was a complete whirlwind. We had 22 people come and visit us that day. 
In between visitors there were naps, breastfeeding, diaper changes, nurses checking on my stitches, doctors checking on Kenley, tons of meals brought by family & friends and Kenley's first bath!

And somewhere in there we made the announcement via social media that our daughter had arrived.

Friday, November 16th 2012
Early Friday morning we learned that we had the option of going home and we jumped on it. The team at the hospital was incredible and took such good care of all of us, but even after one night we were ready to be home. Kenley and I both had to get our final check-ups and then we were cleared to go!

With the baby and our bags and the loads of gifts, it took us a while to get in the house and get situated, but once we did I remember Jason and I looking at each other, Kenley was in my arms, and we just said "now what?" It was the start of an amazing new chapter in our lives and I cannot believe it's already been a year since we brought home our baby girl.


K said...

Such a sweet story! She was such a little peanut. Happy Almost Birthday to your little girl!

Jessica said...

I can't believe it's been a year already!!!

~Dawn~ said...

I'm in tears - what a BEAUTIFUL birth story, Kristen!!

Kelly said...

I've obviously read your first birth story but this was just as entertaining and educational haha! I LOVE that you guys watched Friends while in actually labor LOL! And of course I started crying as I saw the photo of you and your mom (you both look so proud!!) and the story about your dad stopping at three McDonalds!! ❤️ These birth stories are getting me all sorts of excited. Pardon me while I get NO work done today because I'll be reading blogs all day now ;-)

♥ Drazil ♥ said...

I can never get enough of birth stories! Love it!

Kelly B. said...

This was the sweetest thing ever. I can't believe it was a year ago! I feel like I was just checking instagram to see that both Kenley AND Bailey had arrived shortly apart!

Carolyn said...

So crazy! Reading the story again brings it all back! Love all of you so much!!

Anonymous said...

You were right Krit... made your mama cry. Thank you for making me a part of your story. xo m

Sara Jayne said...

tears... just beautiful <3

ajs {of MN} said...

crying.... i love the recount of what is sure to be one of the most important days of your lives!

now i MUST go back and read my birth story- this has me wanting to relive my life changing day, too!! ;)

Happy Bday to Kenley tomorrowwww!!!!!

Melissa @ i carry your heart said...

I read your birth story the first time around, but it was really fun to read again. I'm due with #2 at the end of December, and it's so crazy to think of going through this whole process again! I'm excited for the amazing parts and terrified of the not-so-fun parts. haha

Kari said...

Yes! I love the "now what?" ... I think Ryan and I asked that too! But it seems pretty easy to just stare at the new little ones and get lost in the awe that they are finally here! So glad you recapped those days- fun to remember all the details!

Katie @ said...

Love this post! Can't believe you lasted so long at home...first sign of a contraction for me and we were in the car! I was terrified I would miss the window for an epidural! =)

hello erin said...

Eeek! Happy (almost) one!! I love reading birth stories they're all SO different! I was one of the super lucky ones who ended up with a c-section (enter major sarcasm)... So so thankful you didn't end up with one too ;)

P!nky said...

What an awesome story!!!! I loved drinking my cup of coffee while reading, I'm so glad you were so detailed [minus the mucus plug, wtf is don't tell me ew gross haha]!

What an amazing birth story, thanks for sharing! And since I'm a day late, Happy you gave birth day to you and happy BIRTHDAY to Kenley K!!!


Bridget said...

I could read birth stories ALL DAY!!! Love them!!! I also love your convo with Carolyn in gchat...gave me a great chuckle :) I am so jealous your birth story becuase my experience was so different and not what I expected/wanted for our hospital stay.

Mara Chamberlain said...

Your story is good. I like that you can look at it now and see it as totally entertaining. My first meal after Harrison was born was McDonald's too. And we left the hospital a day early too because he was so good, barely cried and slept really well. Then that first night he cried and cried and I thought we made a huge mistake going home a day early. Since then though, life has been pretty great with my little stinker! Hope your first night home with little miss Kenley went better than that...

Bre said...

Thank you for taking the time to record that. I know it was more for you than your readers, but I enjoyed reading it.

Confessions of a Northern Belle said...

I know I just told you that I was crying... but I still am. SUCH a beautiful story. Thanks for being so detailed and open and honest. Us pregnant moms need to hear about everyone's experiences! She is such a beautiful little girl! And you are AMAZING!