Nov 23, 2010

Isabel Jane is Here!

One week ago today, I was finally able to meet my daughter. She is wonderful and beautiful and a miracle, and Drew and I are so blessed. I wanted to write my birth story before I forget all the crazy details, so here it goes:

Monday morning (11/15), I went in to my doc for a scheduled visit. At this point, I had been having contractions for 8 days solid, 4-10 minutes a part, some pretty intense, but none that were telling me that I was actually in labor. I had been sent to Labor and Delivery twice by my doctor, once because the contractions were 4 minutes apart for about 16 hours, and another time because my blood pressure was high. So, Monday, Dr. Reyna checked again and said I was probably about 3.5 cm dilated and about 50% effaced. My blood pressure was still high and so she decided to do a sonogram to see how big Isabel was to see if it was a good idea to go ahead and induce. I was 38 weeks exactly at this point. Dr. Reyna did the sonogram and said that Isabel was nearly 8 pounds already. A big baby combined with my blood pressure and 8 days of contractions and the fact that I was already progressing, albeit slowly, we decided to go ahead and induce.

So, I headed home to wait for Drew to get home from work. I called my husband when I was on my way out of the doctor's office and told him they were going to induce. I will never forget how he sounded - excited and rushed to get things done at school and get home to his girls. While I was at home, I was able to eat a little potato soup, make the bed, make sure all of our things were in the hospital bag and ready to go and tidy up a few things. I felt calm and relaxed, and I honestly do not think my mind really grasped the fact that I was about to go to the hospital to have my daughter. Drew came home and changed clothes, and we headed to the hospital.

We got there and checked in sometime between 1 and 1:30. By the time I was checked in, wearing my 47 identification/allergy/fall risk bracelets, showered, in my hospital gown and in bed, it was about 2 or 2:30. My first nurse was Susie. She was amazing. Such a sweet spirit and so helpful and encouraging. She helped me get settled, and then Dr. Reyna came by to check on me and give orders for pitocin. About 2 hours after we arrived, my water broke. And when I say broke, I should say gushed. I was laying on my side since Isabel's heart rate was dipping a little with each contraction (she never did like those, but who can blame her?) and I felt a trickle. Drew and my best friend, Macy were in the room and I told them I thought my water had broken. In a flash, they were both by my side and for some unknown reason I started laughing uncontrollably (blame it on pregnancy hormones, or relief that something was actually happening, or maybe something funny that my sweet Drew said). When I started laughing, my water gushed... soaking the bed all the way to the end. It was just like you see in the movies, only I was laying down and not at a grocery store or the mall - or my biggest nightmare, teaching my 7th grade class, thank God!
After my water broke, things started to progress much more quickly.My contractions turned from the uncomfortable tightening of my belly to actual pain in about 2 minutes. I think I might be the only woman in the history of the world who was actually excited for contractions to pick up. A few hours later, I had progressed to 5 cm and the pain was starting to get to me. At this point, I had Amanda for my nurse - or should I call her Amazing! I asked for an IV pain medication to take the edge off, and she gave me some advice that I will never be able to thank her enough for. She said the type of pain med they give you basically makes you feel drunk, where you are still in pain, you just don't care that you are in pain. If I wanted an epidural at all, I would have to wait til that medication wore off completely so that I would be able to sit still enough to get the epidural. I am so glad that I listened and went ahead and requested the epidural. Best decision I made during the whole labor. Macy even commented that it was like seeing two different people - one in pain during contractions, and one at ease after the epidural.

After the epidural (which was expertly inserted by Becky - first try, perfect, no pain!), time drug on a bit. Our labor room had great windows with a beautiful view of downtown. It was lightening, and I pictured in my head writing my blog and beginning with "It was a dark and stormy night"... which I might modify the story to begin with one day :)

I was completely dilated by about 2 in the morning, but still not completely effaced, so it was a waiting game. It was pretty quiet, and everyone was trying to get some rest for the inevitable sleepless days and nights that would follow. At about 4:30 in the morning, Amanda decided that I was ready to start pushing. Oh how thankful I was. My husband was by my side, my mom was in the waiting room, Amanda was helping me know when to push, and another nurse, Shannon, was there to help me with my very numb left leg. Drew was a total Godsend. He supported my head, put his cool hands on my face, and was so reassuring. It brings tears to my eyes now to think about how amazing my husband is.
About 30 minutes or so into pushing, I swear my epidural wore off. My sweet baby girl inherited both her mom and her dad's big head, and I could feel every inch of it as it neared the outside world. But I didn't care. Labor was difficult, I can not lie about that. I was tired, I had thrown up twice (it got in my hair, ew!) and I was so ready to either let her stay in there forever, or to get her out. Dr. Reyna was there now, and all the preparations had been made to bring her into the world. I don't know for sure how long I pushed, but I think it was about an hour and a half when Dr. Reyna finally said "if you push REALLY hard now, you can get her out" - that was all the motivation I needed. One more push, and her head was out, then her body, then the suctioning of her mouth and nose, then the cry... oh the cry. My sweet baby girl was Here!! I was a mommy!! They put her on my chest for a minute while Drew cut the umbilical cord and then whisked her away for apgar, eye drops, etc. Drew got some amazing photos of her first moments of life, and when he brought her swaddled back over to me with a tear in his eye, that was the most amazingly beautiful moment. Here we were - a family. Our first family picture was taken by the nurse and then everything went so quickly. Dr. Reyna finished with me, the baby was taken to the nursery, followed by her adoring daddy, and eventually Nana and Granddad and Aunt Jerri. I was alone in the room for a moment and remember thinking to myself "what just happened?"

Isabel Jane was born at 5:51 on November 16th - 7 lbs 15 oz, 20 inches long, 14 1/2 inch head!! We could not be more in awe of the awesome gift of life Isabel is.
And here we are a week later, precariously balancing baby on top of my typing hands, exhausted and tearful, but oh so happy, and oh so proud of my baby girl, myself for all I accomplished, and most of all, my new little family.
It has not been an easy road, but I remind myself just as I remind my students often... nothing worth doing is easy. And what a lucky girl I am to have my mom around to help me in this new circle of life. I only hope I can be half the mom she is.

Nov 12, 2010

The real update

So, here is the post with all of the meat. It has been an exhausting week, so forgive my lack of poetic grace over these next few paragraphs.

Sunday afternoon at around 5 pm, I started having contractions. They were regular and timeable every 5 minutes apart, but not intense - I could easily talk through them. So, I called the on call doctor at around 8:30, thinking "I'll get him while he's still awake". 2 hours passed and no call back, so I called again. 6 days later and I still haven't heard from the guy, but that is a moot point at this stage :) Since the contractions weren't intense enough to keep me from talking, we went ahead and went to bed. I was up and down all night and didn't get much sleep. The next morning I called my doctor's office when she opened at 8:30 and at that point I had been having contractions for 16 hours! The nurse consulted with the doctor and she decided to have me go straight to Labor and Delivery for observation since I had been having regular contractions for so long.

So, Monday morning I head to L&D for trip #1. I took my mom so that Drew could go ahead and go to school since we didn't know if anything would happen or not. They hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor and of course monitored my blood pressure and checked to see how dilated I was. At my previous week's appointment on Wednesday, I was dilated to 1 cm and not effaced. At L&D, I was dilated 2.5 cm and 50% effaced, so the contractions had been doing something, which meant that I was in "early labor". They just weren't active enough to keep me and deliver a baby. So, disappointed and frustrated, I headed home. Mom, Emily and I went to the mall and walked until I was so tired hoping to induce the labor - no such luck.

Tuesday morning, I was still having contractions, but went ahead and went to work. I was so exhausted, and had a bit of a tear fest in the office before going to class. After lunch, I had a headache and started having some spots in my vision, so I asked the school nurse to come take my blood pressure. It was highly elevated, so I called the doctor and let her know and she said I should come in for my appointment early. My BP was still high at her office, and she checked for more dilation (nothing), but did find a lot of fluid, so she did a very fast sonogram to make sure my amniotic fluid looked good (which it did). Because of the BP, she wanted me to go back to L&D for more observation. I was there for nearly 3 hours this time - and my blood pressure did eventually go back to normal. I think one of the reasons they kept me so long was because Isabel's heart rate dipped a few times during contractions, but apparently that is normal as well. So again, frustrated, exhausted and a little disappointed, I headed home.

That was 2 days ago and I have been trying every natural induction method I know (with the exception of castor oil, gross), and still nothing. So, I went back to the doctor today for another check up. I am still dilated only "between a 2 and 3" and not fully effaced, so she asked if I could wait it out until Monday. I go back in Monday morning, but the doc assured me that I would "have a baby in my arms and be home well in time for Thanksgiving". Hopefully she is right! I can't wait to meet Isabel and snuggle with her!

Baby, Where are you?

It's been a while since I have updated... for a completely different reason this time. You could say it has been a frustrating week, but when you look at it from the right perspective, it has been a week that taught me perseverance. But then again, hasn't the past 9 months been teaching me that every single day?

Remember this? This was Isabel at 7 weeks old. Just a spec on a sonogram that you can barely distinguish, but already so important. Already full of potential and so completely loved. I can honestly say that at that point, I had no idea the emotions I would be feeling in the next 30 weeks.
And here is my sweet girl at 19.5 weeks. Look at how much she grew! You can already see that sweet tummy and sweet little nose, and can imagine the thick curly hair she will inevitably have :) I can just picture her swaddled with the tiniest green socks that her Auntie Lisa bought for her and us rocking and soaking up her smell and trying to get in as many kisses as I possibly can before she grows even more! Oh we are SO blessed. So incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to unite our family with this child. So lucky to be able to be her mom and dad and to teach her how to walk, how to read, and all about God and how much He loved her, even before she was that tiny spec in the first sonogram - the first time we saw her. And we are SO blessed that she is healthy!

A friend of mine posted this on her blog this morning and it really put some things into perspective for me. This family cherished every single minute, and that is my goal. Though I believe I will get to love on my daughter for her very long and full life, we are never guaranteed another day - so why wish for the next when today has so many awesome adventures of it's own.

Baby Eliot was a miracle, and he changed lives before he could even talk. Doesn't that give you chills?

This post has enough information on it's own, so I will give you my baby update in the next post.