Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things I've learned or been surprised by so far

A little less than two weeks in and here are some honest, random and somewhat raw thoughts from a new mom:
I've never been so tired in my entire life. I knew it would be hard, but didn't realize how hard not sleeping all night would be on me.  I'm grateful for last night when she was so much easier on me.

Breastfeeding is a real pain in the butt right now. Note to self: calling lactation consultants for advice might send you over the edge of feeling like a mommy failure.

I miss spending time with my husband.

Hormones make you crazy. I wasn't emotional my entire pregnancy and now I feel like I cry all the time ... reading a book to Nola, Dell saying something sweet about her or I, thinking about her growing up too fast or even a Disney cruise commercial. Honestly. When did I become that girl? 

Taking care of a tiny human is scary. 

I never knew I could love someone I just met so much. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who's helped me thus far. Whether through just talking, bringing food over, sending gifts or helping with the care of baby Nola. It's really made all the difference...(mom, don't leave!)

I prayed for a baby that liked to sleep. I didn't realize I needed to be more specific and ask for the exact times I wanted her to sleep (she currently sleeps all day and is awake all night). I also didn't realize I needed to pray that she would wake up to eat every few hours.

I can't stand to hear her cry or see that bottom lip come out. I just want to protect her forever. 

I will take advice and try just about anything to make sure I'm doing what's best for her. It's overwhelming at times, and I just want her to be happy. 

I'm obsessed with her - the funny faces she makes, that tiny little body, those chubby cheeks and all that hair  - I love everything!

Seeing Dell with her makes me love and respect him even more. He's already the best daddy and I can't wait for our adventure to continue. 

I love our little family. As Dell says, she's the best thing that's ever happened to us.

I know how blessed I am to have this healthy baby girl and I want to cherish every moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Labor and Delivery

At our last doctor's appointment on January 4, I was dilated to a 2-3 and having contractions almost every night. Because of this and the fact that we knew the baby was a good size, the doctor said we could induce the following week (at 39 weeks gestation). So, it was decided that she would  make her entrance into the world on Friday, 1/11/13. The night before, Dell suggested we go out for a nice dinner with just the two of us to celebrate the big event. It was wonderful - great service, delicious food and romantic. I was having pretty regular contractions at dinner. Dell was timing them and thought we should hurry up, get home and call the doctor. I didn't want to miss the molten chocolate lava cake. Priorities people! After dinner, we got home and rested a bit, but I couldn't sleep much. I was so anxious to meet her and I had one last blog post I needed to write. So, at 4 a.m. I translated the thoughts in my head to the computer screen and wrote the letter to Dell. Now, I was ready. 

We got ready, loaded up the car and headed out. Our first stop was to the bagel shop to get breakfast for ourselves and delicious cookies for the nurses that would be taking care of me that day. Hey, I'm not above kissing up. Dell ate his breakfast, but I was in a hurry and didn't get to eat mine. This later proved to be a big mistake. I drove to the hospital and sped the entire way. It was fun having an excuse to be in such a hurry and it kept Dell entertained as well. We checked in at 7:30 a.m. and the day officially began.

I was introduced to my nurse, Staci and she started all the paperwork and the IV. I knew she was going to be great, but didn't know at the time just how much I would love having her at my side until later. I was already having contractions before they started the pitocin, which was a good sign. My doctor made his rounds and came to break my water around 8 a.m. It felt weird. Not too painful, but I did feel pressure. The show was officially on the road. The doctor said the baby already had her first poop and he knew that because my water was greenish. This is not good, as it is very likely Nola swallowed some of the meconium and would need extra attention upon her arrival. No matter what, NICU would be here for her delivery and make sure to suck everything out. That was scary and not how I wanted to start the process. But I knew this could happen and wanted to stay positive no matter what. Of course I was worried, but I had to have faith everything would be okay. 

The contractions became more regular and more painful than they had been as time went on. When Staci checked me again, I was dilated to a 4-5 and I was ready for the epidural. I felt like I had experienced labor and knew what it felt like and my body was ready for some relief. My contractions were off the charts, so I was looking forward to that medicine to help ease the pain. My mom and sister left the room and Dell was able to stay in and hold me up while the anesthesiologist administered the epidural. The numbing shot was painful and then I felt warmth and pressure. It was odd, but within about 20 minutes, I was feeling much better. It wasn't long after that when we had our big scare. Staci was watching my monitors and saw that I was having a very intense and long contraction. The next thing I knew there was another nurse by my bed and they were talking to each other. Staci asked a question and then ran out of the room. This is never a good sign. She came back with a shot to stop the contractions. She put that in my arm and turned off the pitocin. After everything calmed down, she explained that I had a 5 minute long contraction and she wasn't sure why. They put me on oxygen and monitored me and the baby very closely. Apparently during that contraction, my blood pressure dropped to something like 70/30 and Nola's heartbeat went from about 150 to 70bpm. These are obviously major signs of distress for both of us and Staci told me later she was really scared. I'm thankful I couldn't feel the contraction and that they acted quickly to make sure everything was okay with us.  They eventually started the pitocin back up and I was able to get rid of the oxygen mask.

Throughout the day, Staci kept putting me in different positions to try and get Nola to turn the right way. She was head down, but still face up and the stubborn little girl wouldn't turn her head. I labored all day and the doctor kept asking about my progress. Not much new to report. I think we all assumed I would be having her earlier in the afternoon since I was having contractions on my own before and was already dilated. Nola had other plans. I was tired, but not really able to sleep. More than anything, I was starving because I hadn't eaten anything since the night before. I think at one point, I threatened to kill for a burrito. Luckily, no one was harmed by my hungry anger. 

At one point during the night, my alarm on my epidural went off. They assured me there was still medicine in there and I should push the button for extra relief. I pushed the button, but no relief came. The dreaded had happened. The epidural had worn off after me being in labor all day. The pain was really intense and each contraction had me on the verge of tears. After about 20 minutes, another anesthesiologist came in and refilled the cartridge and I was feeling better again. I was so worried I was going to have to push through that pain. The entire day, I am happy to say I remained calm and positive. I handled labor and delivery much better than I thought I would.

Finally, I was fully effaced and dilated. It was time to push around 8 p.m. Staci's shift ended at 7 p.m. and I didn't want her to leave. She jokingly said as long as I didn't make her stay until like 10 p.m., she would stay with me and deliver this baby. What a relief! I pushed for about 2 hours. It was hard and tiring, but I did it. Finally, my doctor arrived and said it was time to get this baby out. Nola's heart rate was starting to drop with my contractions and pushing, so we had to move quickly. I was scared, but tried to do whatever I could to get her out safely.  Staci stayed the entire time. I am so grateful to her for that. She was amazing!

After about 20 minutes of pushing with the doctor in the room, he said he was going to have to use forceps to get her out. I knew this was an option and was grateful he was willing to try this before resorting to a c-section. So, he coached me through everything and before I knew it, her head was out (she was still face up). Then, a pause, then her body came out and I heard her cry. I looked over at Dell and he was sobbing saying "That's my daughter. My baby girl. She's so beautiful." It was the sweetest and most perfect moment ever. My mom and sister were crying and Dell cut the umbilical cord. I felt so blessed. I got to see all her hair and it was adorable. NICU took her out of the room and Dell, mom and Starr followed. I finished the rest of my duties and waited to hold my sweet girl. Dell finally came back into the room and let me watch a video he took on his phone of them working on Nola. It was beautiful and allowed me to see her before they brought her in to me. 

The nurses brought her in the room to weigh her in front of me. 7 lbs 14 oz and the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I was finally able to hold her and get some skin on skin time. It was just Dell and I in the room looking at her and we couldn't believe we did this. It felt amazing. I was just so happy that everything went as well as it did with all the complications. And, in the end, all you can ask for is a healthy baby - we got that!

Thanks again to everyone for their love and support.

She got a 9 and/or 10 on her apgar test, passed her hearing tests and measured a long 21" (I always felt like she was taking up a lot of room in my ribs). She made her entrance at 10:05 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2013. We stayed in the hospital until Sunday, January 13 and brought her home that evening. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear Dell,

I wanted to thank you for being such an amazing husband and friend throughout my pregnancy and always. I always knew I wanted children and a family, but I never longed for children or felt it was right until I met you. I was so excited to start our life together and couldn't wait to see what kind of family we would have. Then, we struggled with infertility. I remember feeling so scared that I may never get to know what it would be like to have that family I imagined. I hoped and prayed, but I doubted too. When the worry set in, you never waivered in your support and willingness to try and figure things out. When I questioned everything and worried that I couldn't provide you with a child, you never gave up. So, WE never gave up ... which is why I think God has blessed us to bring us where we are today. 

I've had a fairly easy and uneventful pregnancy. I've really tried to not be overly emotional, hormonal or just a complete mess. I think I've stayed pretty true to myself and made an effort to not complain much, even when I wasn't feeling well. But, I can remember at least a couple times when I was in nesting mode or just feeling overwhelmed with all the things I needed to do. And that's when I didn't feel like myself. Let's face it ... I got the crazy eye or snapped at you for no reason. And instead of saying, what the heck is wrong with you, you crazy woman?!?!? You simply said "have I done something to upset you babe?" Or, "what can I do to help?" You've taken everything in stride and rolled with the punches. You've been such a great support system and partner. I hope I've made you proud in how I've carried myself while carrying your baby girl.

It's been such an amazing journey and I have enjoyed being on the adventure with you. From wondering if we'd ever get to this point to thinking about meeting our little one in just a matter of hours, it's still unbelievable to me. We are so blessed. 

You are silly, caring, thoughtful, loyal, genuine, a man of integrity and you have the biggest heart. I love you for these reasons and so many more. And when I think about our little girl, I am excited because I know those are the same qualities she will see and love in you. You have always taken such great care of me and I can't wait to see you as a father. I know you will be so good to Nola and she will love having you as her daddy. I'm so excited to start this next chapter of our lives together and I love you so very much.    

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The nursery

Her crib and bedding

The framed poem from our wedding, written by Dell's cousin. P.S. thanks Jackie for the flowers

Bookshelf and toy storage. So many people bought us books and I can't wait to read to her.

Changing table

 Custom painting by Dell, just for his baby girl. We have named her Elle the elephant.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

False labor

One week before Christmas I started having pains. They started in the afternoon at work and I really wasn't sure what they were. By the time I left work and was driving home, they were more intense and I was very uncomfortable. I did some research to figure out exactly what was going on and realized I was indeed having contractions. I wasn't quite 36 weeks yet and these weren't the normal Braxton Hicks I was used to. No, these caused me to stop whatever I was doing and pay attention. Cramping and pain from my stomach to my back and all the way down. They were not consistent, so I knew it wasn't anything to alert the doctor for just yet. I knew the best thing to do was to take it easy and drink lots of water. So, that's what I did. I finally went to bed around 2am and was able to sleep through the night. I haven't had anything so intense since that day. I was glad to experience it though, so it gave me some sort of idea as to what I can expect in early labor.

A gift

As most of you know, I am the youngest of three children. I often enjoyed my role as the baby of the family, but there were times it wasn't as fun. One time, for example, was when my older brother and sister made up a song about how I was only worth $0.99. It sounds really cruel. Kids can be harsh, can't they? But, it stuck with me all these years and it probably keeps me grounded when I need it most. We'll chalk it up to a life lesson. I promise I'm not bitter.

Let me explain. We didn't grow up with much money. In fact, we were pretty poor. So, that forced you to be resourceful with things. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my sister and there were always brand-name things we wanted, but would never own because we simply couldn't afford them. Also, there were many toys my mom couldn't just go and buy upon our request. One of those toys was a Barbie car. I always wanted one and never had one. It wasn't a priority so I just didn't get it. Incidentally, I used a shoebox for a Barbie car. I thought it was clever. My siblings thought it was dumb and added that to a verse in the song about me only being worth 99 cents. 

I guess at some point I told one of my friends this story. Fast forward several months later when she tells me she has a Christmas present for me. I open this:

That story about me not having a Barbie car stuck with her and she wanted to be sure I didn't go my entire life without one. I love it! I will share it with Nola one day, of course. What I really love about this is that it represents so much more than a toy. 

First of all, it shows she actually listened to me. I know I'm personally guilty of being in such a hurry at times that I don't truly listen to what the person is saying. I physically hear them, but am not actively listening and participating in the conversation. How thoughtful of her to listen, remember and think of me months later.

Also, I've said since I became pregnant with Nola that "I want to give her everything she needs, but not everything she wants." As a child, I didn't need this Barbie car. I needed food, shelter, love, etc. I received those things, but I did not receive everything I wanted. So, I found myself thinking many years down the road. I'm at the store with Nola and she's begging me for something she thinks she needs. I hope this car will be a reminder to Dell and I to never spoil her with things, but only with love and attention. Because I think I've turned out alright and I know she will too. 

Thank you

A special thanks to my friends, family and co-workers for all the fabulous gifts. You all have surprised Dell and I with your love and support beyond what we ever imagined. Thank you so much for everything you have done to help us prepare for our new little one and for showing her love already. Here are a few pictures from some of the showers and some to prove she's going to be a Thunder fan: