Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"She's so tiny!"

The first thing everyone says when they see Scarlett for the first time is, "She's so tiny!"

She was 5 lbs, 3 oz at birth, but dropped below 5 lbs for a week-and-a-half.  While it's adorable to have a doll-sized baby, it is also terrifying.  At first it was fun to have everyone tell us how cute she was, and that she's the smallest baby they've ever seen.  But after last week, it almost feels like a reason to panic.  

People tell us she looks so much smaller in person.  Here she is wearing a newborn sized top, which kind of puts in perspective how tiny she is.  she's in mostly preemie clothes and diapers, and I don't think we'll be changing that anytime soon. 

While we are so thankful that Scarlett is overall so healthy, she has had a few obstacles to tackle since birth.  The first was that she was jaundiced after coming home from the hospital.  She had to live in a bili blanket, and go to the hospital everyday to get her foot pricked so her bilirubin levels could be checked.  
Glowing baby in her bili blanket

I know that this is such a common problem, and no big deal.  But it was scary, nonetheless.

Add to this the struggle we've had with nursing.  Let's just say it has not been easy.  Probably the most frustrating thing I've ever tried.  And I love the bonding time with my baby girl, but it has also been so hard.  I'm not throwing in the towel, but the struggle has left me wondering if Scarlett is getting enough nourishment (somehow, not all that different from her last few weeks in the womb). 

We had a pediatrician's visit on Tuesday of last week (incidentally, the same day my Grandma passed away.  Talk about an emotional day!)  When they weighed Scarlett, they found that she had lost 2 oz in a week, and was down to 4 lbs, 12 oz.  I of course took full responsibility and blame for that, and had an emotional breakdown, right there in front of the doctor.  Luckily, she is amazing, and hugged me and assured me that I'm not a horrible mother.  But I felt like all I had done in the past week was force-fed my baby.  And yet she had lost weight.  

My doctor gave me strict orders to feed her every 2 hours, and to supplement with formula.  Let me just tell you how guilty I have felt for giving her formula!  I hate that there seems to be a stigma in our society about formula-feeding.  I think this is something that needs to change, because I can tell from personal experience, breast feeding is not easy or even possible for everyone.

We had another appointment scheduled for Friday to check Scarlett's weight.  From Tuesday through Friday I was dealing with the loss of my grandma, busy attending calling hours, her funeral, and other family gatherings.  And on top of everything else, there was this terrible fear that I was starving my daughter! 

I tried my hardest to feed her when I was supposed to, and supplement with formula even though I didn't want to.  And on Friday after my grandma's funeral, Luke and I went to the doctor's office for our "weigh-in."

I was practically having a heart attack.  

Finally, the nurse weighed her, and said, "She's 5 lbs, 2 oz!"  Luke and I basically cheered, and I almost cried tears of relief. Our little peanut had somehow gained 7 ounces in 4 days.  Almost a half-pound!

All this to say, I can't believe how much there is to worry about as a new mom. I naively thought I could breathe a sigh of relief after she was born. Ha!  I'm now realizing there will always be something to worry about.  I'm glad I have the Lord to rely on for peace!  And we are so glad Scarlett turned a corner and seems to be catching up with her weight!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Heaven Got More Beautiful

On Tuesday of last week, I received some sad news: my Grandma had passed away.  We're not sure exactly what happened, but we suspect it was a blood clot.  We also suspect it was peaceful and painless, so that is something to be thankful for.

I am lucky that my grandma has always lived right down the road from my house.  She was a woman who always spoke her mind, good or bad, to a fault.  But everyone who knew her has to agree that she had nothing but good intentions.  She loved to make things beautiful, whether it was her garden or her home.  Everyone agrees that she was the original Martha Stewart.  I believe heaven is now a bit more beautiful with her there.

I know that my grandma believed her biggest accomplishment in her life was her children, and her grandchildren and now great-grandchildren.  She was always so proud of us!  She wanted nothing more than to make us feel special, and she did so in many ways.  She took each of us out shopping for our birthdays every year when we were young.  I'll never forget the Christmas she got all the granddaughters American Girl dolls -- one of the most special and favorite Christmas gifts I received as a child.  She decorated her house and set the table so that every detail was perfect at every Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter gathering.

I know she was one of my most "faithful" blog readers, and I will miss her comments about my pictures and posts.  I know she prayed diligently for Luke and I during my struggle to get pregnant, and she was so excited on the day last December when we told her that we were finally expecting!

I am so excited to say that my grandma was able to meet Scarlett about a week before she passed away.  God is so good!  I like to think that His reason that I was induced early was so that Grandma could meet her.

Much of last week was spent at my grandpa's house with the whole family.  It was so bittersweet celebrating Grandma's life and mourning her loss, all at the same time.  the girls of the family had an extra special time on Friday after the funeral going through all of Grandma's jewelry and scarves, and picking out pieces to remember her by.  

A box of memories...

The picture below was taken Tuesday night while we were all outside.  It was a rainy evening, but sometime before or after this, we saw the end of a rainbow appear in my grandparents' garden.  It was a perfect reminder of God's faithfulness and the peace He offers us during times like these.

It is so sad to say goodbye, but I am so blessed to have had such a special woman in my life for 28 years.  I will miss her, but I know she has left a legacy in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She was a wonderful Christian woman, and she has passed her faith down through the generations!  I will miss her so much, but I'm so glad she is in a place where she will have no more pain or suffering!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scarlett's Birth Story - Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

I left off in my last post right after they had given me the epidural, I had started having extreme neck pain due to the epidural being inserted too far (a wet tap), and they were worried about Scarlett's heart rate.

Apparently they remedied the problem of Scarlett's heart rate dipping too low by having me lay on my side, and switching sides back and forth every once in awhile (I have no idea why this worked).  No big deal, right?  Wrong.  The neck pain that had started when they gave me the epidural was now excruciating.  I was having muscle spasms, and although they were not as painful as the contractions I had been feeling, they were close.  So anyway, every time I had to switch sides, it was extremely painful.  The nurse basically had to flip me over herself, because I couldn't move my legs, my shoulders, or my neck.

Oh yeah, I should add that after they gave me the epidural, my progress stopped, and I remained at 4-5 centimeters for probably 5 or 6 hours.  

Our families were in the waiting room, and I think they were all getting restless at this time. 

Sometime in late afternoon, there was another shift change, and the new nurse -- the one who would help deliver Scarlett -- came in.  I think I was puking for the second time when she came in.  Very glamorous, let me tell you.  Luckily, this nurse was even better than the last one, and was so amazing during her shift!

Things get a little fuzzy here too.  I was so exhausted after laboring for so long.  My neck and shoulders were in extreme pain, which the nurse finally admitted might be because I had a "wet tap" while they inserted the epidural.  I was hungry.  So I was basically just sleeping as much as I possibly could.  I actually think I got in a pretty good nap at one point.  I only woke up when the nurse came to roll me from one side to the other. And when she gave me fresh ice packs for my neck.  Funny story -- I later found out that these packs were actually frozen pads for postpartum recovery. Whatever works, I guess.

Like I said, this part is fuzzy.  But at some point in the early evening - maybe around 5:30 or 6, I began progressing pretty rapidly.  However, the nurse was very concerned about what we were going to do once I started pushing.  She saw how much pain my neck and shoulders were in, and knew it would not be easy for me to push.  So she called my OB to work on a plan. 

The plan was to "labor down" as much as possible (I will explain this in a minute), and then deliver the baby via vacuum extraction.

When she told me about the vacuum extraction, something inside me snapped.  I didn't say anything out loud, but I became determined to have this baby without the help of a vacuum.  I was frustrated that instead of having a natural childbirth, I had basically taken every possible drug.  I was frustrated that I had been induced at all, because I knew the induction was the reason this labor had been so unbelievably terrible.  I was mad that everything felt so out-of-control.  Well, this was something I could control.  I didn't care how painful it was, I was going to deliver this baby without the final intervention of the vacuum extractor. 

So anyway, back to "laboring down."  This is basically just relaxing through contractions, positioning yourself in a way where gravity is in your favor, and letting your body take over to bring the baby down without actually pushing.  At this point, the epidural was wearing off on the left side, and I could definitely feel every contraction.  But this part of labor felt very productive, so it wasn't too bad.

The nurse actually had me try a couple of different positions to get the baby to move down, and to make me progress faster.  I was impressed, because these were positions I had read about in my books about natural childbirth, and not something I expected the hospital to do. 

The first position we tried was where she had me sit on all fours.  It was ridiculous trying to get into that position, because I literally could not move my legs, and again, the neck and shoulder pain were debilitating.  Luke and the nurse basically had to turn me over, and then Luke had to sit behind me and hold my feet to make sure I didn't fall.  

This position was not easy to get into, but it helped me progress a lot!  This is one of the reasons I loved this nurse -- she was very proactive, and not afraid to try things to make labor move more quickly.  I really felt like she went above and beyond.

After the all fours position, they turned me back over, and tipped the bed up so that I was almost straight up.  At least that's how it felt.  I sat in this position for an hour two, laboring down, and letting my body do it was made to do. 

Sometime around 7 or 7:30, I was fully dilated, and we started talking about pushing.  My nurse explained several possible positions that I could try because of my neck pain.  She was explaining to me that they would call my OB now, and start pushing soon.  While she was explaining this, I just remember saying, "Um, it feels like she's like, RIGHT THERE."  the nurse checked, and sure enough, she was crowning. 

The nurse quickly called the doctor, and I then started pushing!  Like I said before, I was determined to do this myself without the help of the vacuum.  My epidural had worn off a lot on my left side, and laboring down had become pretty painful.  But as soon as I started pushing through contractions, it was not painful anymore.  At least not in the same way.  It felt so productive and even empowering, and I was just willing to do anything to get Scarlett here already!!  The worst part was actually the pain in my neck and shoulders.  I had to sit through a few contractions because the neck spasms were rendering me unable to move the top half of my body. 

After about 20 minutes of pushing, my OB showed up.  She actually was impressed by how hard I was pushing, and I'm glad I proved to her that I wasn't going to need the vacuum.

After about 20 more minutes of pushing, I knew we were close.  One big contraction came, and I just remember thinking, "This is it.  I'm not doing this anymore.  She is going to be born before I have one more contraction."  And with that, her head was out.  Even with the epidural I felt the extreme pressure and pain.  I think the contraction had just about ended when her head was out, but my doctor just kept telling me to push.  With one more push, out came her shoulders and the rest of her.  The nurse put her on my chest almost immediately, and I can't even explain the feelings I was having in that moment.  It was like an out-of-body experience.  3 years of waiting, and just like that, she was in my arms.  What a miracle!  

The nurse then took Scarlett to clean her off, while my doctor stitched me up.  It felt like an eternity before everyone was done, and I was able to hold her again!  

About an hour or so after she was born, Scarlett's grandparents came back to meet her:

And after that, her aunts and uncles came back too:

3 years of waiting to meet our baby girl.  9 long months of carrying her. 36 hours and 20 minutes of labor from the beginning of contractions until she was delivered.  Neck spasms and a 10-day, migraine-like headache thanks to the problems administering the epidural. It was all the hardest thing I've ever done, but worth every minute. just might be awhile before I'm ready to do it all again!  Ha!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scarlett's Birth Story - Part 2

Part 1

I left off in my last post when I had just finished 20 hours of contractions due to two rounds of Cervidil, and I had dilated to "a fingertip." I was so over it, and wanting this to be over!

Around this time is when my least favorite nurse of our entire hospital stay started her shift.  I had been waiting in anticipation to hear what my OB had said we would do next.  Without much of an introduction, the nurse started hooking something up to my IV.  I asked her what my doctor had said to do.  "We're starting the pit."  Well thanks for filling me in before going ahead and starting it.

This is where things get a little fuzzy.  My husband and mom can correct me if I have any of this wrong.  Anyway, as soon as the Pitocin was started, The contractions immediately got stronger.  They were still manageable, but they were more painful, lasted longer, and were closer together.  I started having a harder time talking through them.  I'd rate them as a 7 on the pain scale.  

At some point around 7 AM (I think?), my progress was checked.  And I had progressed to 4 centimeters!  How encouraging!  Maybe this labor wasn't going to last forever after all! (Although at that point, it already felt like it had!)

I was still unsure whether I would get an epidural or not.  Like I said, the pain was bad, but not unbearable.  So when the nurse came in and offered me some Stadol to take the edge off the pain, I agreed. My thinking was that maybe if I got the Stadol, I wouldn't have to have the epidural.  Plus, the pain was getting pretty intense.  I asked her what the drug did, and she said it would take my pain level down.  

While (not before) she was hooking the Stadol up to my IV she mentioned that the drug "might cause a bit of drowsiness." She then said she'd be back to check on me soon. 

Immediately after she left the room, it started spinning.  It literally felt like my bed was spinning circles around the room.  I started freaking out and telling Luke that something was wrong.  It took a good 5 minutes or so for the room to stop spinning.  By that time my mom had arrived, but I was freaking out.  I was not prepared for the drug to make me feel the way it did.  I was feeling dizzy and drowsy.  I knew I was acting drunk.  I couldn't even walk myself to the restroom because I couldn't stand up straight.  It was helping my pain, but probably not worth the side effects.  At this point I was not happy with my nurse for not filling me in on the possible side effects beforehand, especially since I had asked. 

I remember at some point that the nurse was supposed to give us an update on what my doctor wanted to do next.  I wasn't "with it" enough, but either my mom or Luke asked her what the doctor had said after waiting a long time for the news.  The nurse's response, "I told you, they're going to break her water."  My mom and Luke informed her that she hadn't, in fact, told them.  I think they were super annoyed, but my mind was too foggy to even comprehend what was going on.

Luckily, right before they broke my water (I think it was around 9 AM at this point), there was a shift  change, and my new nurse was amazing.  Praise the Lord!  Because seriously, the nurse has everything to do with how your experience in labor and delivery goes.  

I believe it was also around this time that I vomited due to the intensity of the pain.  I am one of those lucky people who throws up when I'm in a lot of pain.  You really do lose all dignity in labor.  That is one of the few things I had never done in front of Luke until that day.  Luckily I was in too much pain to be embarrassed. 

My mind was foggy when the doctor came in to break my water.  I just remember it being very painful because my cervix was so high.  And it was the strangest feeling when it broke!  

After that, I came back to reality and the fuzziness cleared very quickly, because the pain was enough to snap me out of it.  Immediately after my water broke, the contractions became so painful I thought I would die.  The nurse asked if I was going to want an epidural, and I told her I wasn't sure yet.  I think it was just a couple contractions later when she saw me gripping the side of the bed ("trying to break off the side of the bed" in Luke's words) and writhing in pain, that she asked me again, "Think you want to epidural yet?"  I answered her quickly with a "yes."  I knew I just couldn't do it.  She told me that we'd have to pump me with fluids before they would be able to give me the epidural.  She told me it would take about a half hour.  and she also said, "getting an epidural makes you sane." That made me feel a bit better.
Luke really thought my contractions looked like a roller coaster

That "half hour" was actually more like an hour in reality.  This was the hardest, longest hour of labor and delivery.  I wish I could even begin to describe the pain I was feeling.  Just waves of pain that started in my abdomen, but radiated down the tops of legs.  I told Luke it felt like someone was holding my uterus in a vice and trying to rip it out of my body.  I really feel like the pain level would have been the same.  I tried to relax and do some breathing exercises, like I had read about, but the pain just took over, and I couldn't control anything I was doing.  Mostly I just grabbed the side of the bed and held as hard as I could while moaning and saying things like, "I'm going to die,"  "I want to die," and "we are adopting the rest of our kids!"  Luke said this part was horrible for him, because he just had to watch me, and there was nothing he could do to make the pain go away.  

Finally the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural!  This part was weird, because they made Luke leave the room.   The anesthesiologist had two other people with him, and the nurse had an over-peppy intern with her who  liked to talk to me and ask me questions while I was having a contraction.  I wanted to punch her. Just being real.  Anyway, it felt like we had quite the full house for the epidural.  And the 10 or 15 minutes that they were giving me the epidural were the worst 10 or 15 minutes of labor, and here's why: I had three contractions while they were giving it to me.  This means I was expected to curl my back out and keep my neck tucked and shoulders straight while I was having a contraction.  This was nearly impossible.  Thank goodness for the sweet nurse who calmed me down, and let me hold her hands during each one.  I'm afraid I probably broke some fingers, but it really did help.  Another reason the epidural was the worst part was because apparently the girl who inserted it was a medical student -- something they hadn't informed me of before she gave me the epidural.  Is that even legal?  Because it shouldn't be.  Anyway, the student inserted the epidural in the wrong spot, so she had to do it twice. I should mention that they also didn't tell this to me until after I had delivered Scarlett.  She also caused a "wet tap," but I will get to that later.  

As they laid me down after giving me the epidural, I noticed that back of my neck and shoulders were extremely stiff, and seemed to be in a lot of pain.  I thought it was probably just because I had been so tense while they administered the epidural.

Luckily, the pain was fading fast.  I was completely numb by the second contraction I had after they gave me the epidural. I think Luke and my mom thought I got a lot more pleasant after that. At first it was really nice, and I was enjoying not even feeling my contractions at all. I believe they started the internal monitors at this point too.  But then I noticed that there were still a lot of people in the room, and they seemed a little worried.  Scarlett's heart rate was doing some weird things.  I think it was partly that they couldn't get an accurate read on the monitors, but also because Scarlett's heartrate kept dropping.  I completely lost it at this point and just started bawling.  If things weren't going well for me, I could deal with that.  But if there was a problem with the baby, that is another story entirely.  

{ Part 3 coming soon }

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Luke and I gave Scarlett her first bath on Sunday night...

She did not love it.

However, give her a pacifier and she can conquer the world!  She did much better after we inserted the "mute button," as we have started to call it. 

 It was a bit of a traumatic experience, but she enjoyed the warm snuggles afterward!
...Just another "first" worth documenting!

 (Part 2 of her birth story coming tomorrow).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Scarlett's Birth Story - Part 1

This is the story of how Scarlett came into this world.

My doctor decided to induce me due to Scarlett's small size, and the fact that she hadn't gained much weight in two weeks.  At my ultrasound two weeks ago, they estimated that she weighed about 5 lbs, 10 oz.  

I spent Tuesday making final preparations around the house and packing for our baby girl's arrival.  I had the most surreal feeling all night, just knowing that we were about to meet our baby girl! And knowing that getting her here probably wasn't going to be easy.  

Luke and I left the house at 5:15 AM on Wednesday, July 10.  We arrived at the hospital and checked in.  We were brought to a big, spacious delivery room where a nurse inserted my IV of fluids.  Then the nurse looked at my chart and saw that I was beginning Cervidil, and not Pitocin that morning.  So we had to leave the nice, big room, and were escorted to triage, AKA prison. Luke and I were pretty annoyed that they hadn't looked at my chart beforehand, but we were just ready to get this show on the road!

Let me just explain the triage room a bit before I move on.  There were three of these little cubicles parallel to one another, with a curtain on the open end, and a shared bathroom.  Nurses and doctors were coming in and out all day long.  The giant automatic entrance doors to the labor and delivery unit that were in serious need of some WD-40 were right outside our door. Luke had an uncomfortable chair to spend the entire day in.  At first, it didn't seem too bad.  But by the end of the evening, we were both about to lose our minds!  I wanted to get some sleep, knowing I had some hard work ahead of me.  But with all the noise, it was nearly impossible.
Here we are in our triage closet room.  Last picture as a family of 2! I look pretty rough and swollen here...

Anyway, back to Wednesday morning.  At 8:00, a doctor came to insert the Cervidil and check my progress.  This was not a comfortable process, but not too painful either.  The doctor gave me false hope when he said, "You're doing great!  This is the worst part!"  Lies, lies, lies.  I wanted to say, "You're a man.  Your opinion is not valid."  He found that I had still not started progressing at all.  It was going to be a long day or two.

After the Cervidil was inserted, regular contractions started immediately.  Before long, they were 3 minutes apart on average.  I was so encouraged, thinking maybe the Cervidil was doing more than I had hoped!  Maybe I would go into labor on my own, and wouldn't even need Pitocin!  I spent the day watching Parks and Rec episodes with Luke as contractions got stronger and stronger.  The worst part was that being pregnant and pumped full of IV fluids, I had to use the restroom all the time.  Luke had to unhook the fetal monitors and wrap the cords around my neck every time.  And every time, I had to try to hold my hospital gown closed with one hand and role the IV machine with the other.    And then I had to try to pee with all of this equipment hooked up to me, and an IV in my hand.  It was such a hassle!

My mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law came to visit that afternoon, which helped break things up.  I had a few breakdowns because I was frustrated about being in the triage room, and I felt a little neglected by the nurses.  But by late afternoon, my contractions were getting pretty strong (or so I thought).  I really thought that at least something must be happening!  So at 8:00 PM, they removed the Cervidil and checked my progress...

NOTHING.  Nothing had happened after 12 hours.  

After the nurse broke the news to me, I immediately started bawling out of frustration.  The nurse called my OB, and she decided to let me eat and shower, and we'd start another round of Cervidil until 4AM.  

After eating a turkey sandwich, I felt pretty refreshed  I was still having strong-ish, regular contractions, too. And after that, a labor and delivery room opened up, so we got to leave triage!  We got settled into our room, and I got to take a shower.  But it wasn't that easy, because I had the IV in my hand.  So they had to cap off the IV and unhook me, and then tape a giant glove over it on my hand so I wouldn't get it wet.  It was hard showering with only 1 usable hand, but I felt a lot better afterward.  Then the nurse reinserted my IV, and somehow ended up dripping tons of my blood all over me and the floor and putting a kink in the IV hose, which then required copious amounts of tape to fix.  Just about every nurse, doctor, intern, and anesthesiologist commented on the crazy tape job on my hand during the next 24 hours.

A doctor came by around 10 and inserted another Cervidil.  Even though my contractions were strong, I was determined to get as much rest as possible, knowing I probably had a long day ahead of me.  I found that if I laid on my side, my contractions hurt much, much less.  So I laid on my side, and got a little bit of sleep.  Probably an hour or 2 of nonconsecutive sleep, total.  With nurses coming in and out all night, and having to unhook my fetal monitors everytime I had to use the restroom, I don't think Luke got much more sleep than I did. 

At 4:00 AM, my doctor had instructed for the Cervidil to be removed, and for me to be checked again.  I was so ready to be done with this part.  The contractions weren't unbearable, but they were getting painful.  I'd say probably a 4 out of 10 on the pain scale.  And I felt like it wasn't doing much good.  I was ready to get things going a little more.

The nurse removed the Cervidil and checked me at 4:00.  She said I was dilated a "fingertip."  After 20 hours of contracting -- a fingertip!  I half expected my OB to tell me I was going to need a c-section.  And honestly, I was so tired, weary, and hungry at that point, I kind of wanted her to.  

{ Part 2 coming sometime later this week.}

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More Firsts

I am almost done writing Scarlett's birth story!  I may need to publish it in about 5 installments, because it is so long!  But I will probably start posting it sometime this week.

Until then I wanted to document a few more "firsts" for our precious baby girl.  It is so fun to have a brand new baby, because everything is a first for her!  It's fun to watch her discover the world for the first time.

On Thursday, Scarlett attended her first softball game of Daddy's.  I was so excited to bring her out, because let's be honest: it was a chance to dress her up!  She slept the entire time, but I'm sure she was cheering her daddy's team on in her dreams!

"Uncle JC" held Scarlett for the first time last week.  I think JC is under her spell just like everyone else seems to be!

Scarlett had her first of many "photo shoots" this week.  I decided to try to do her newborn photos myself, because that was the one thing that sort of slipped through the cracks.  They're not perfect, but I got a few really cute ones!

 And today Scarlett went to church for the first time!  She stayed awake the whole time the band played, and fell asleep during the sermon.  I guess she just wanted to stay awake and listen to her daddy play the drums!  Anyway, she was quite the popular guest this morning, and it was fun having her "meet" everybody!

I thought we needed a family photo to remember her first Sunday at church.

Blurry, but here she is in the service, listening to the worship music:

Here she is posing with Grandma, Great Aunt Beth, and Cousin Hadley after the service

We are so enjoying these days, and trying not to let them slip by too quickly!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First Days at Home

I am trying to get up the energy and time to start writing Scarlett's birth story.  It was a 36 hour labor, so there's a lot to write.  That's one reason I'm putting it off.  Also, I think I have PTSD, and am not looking forward to reliving the experience.  I kid, but it was seriously the labor of my very worst nightmares.  All worth it, of course!

On Saturday, July 13, we came home from the hospital as a family of 3. A big welcome was waiting for us, set up by my sisters-in-law:
The hospital had given us a voucher for free pizzas, so we picked them up on the way home and had a big pizza party with our families to celebrate Scarlett's homecoming!

 During the weekend, Scarlett met lots of her family members

Some of them enjoyed playing dress-up with her...Princess Leia hat courtesy of Luke's sister Diana

 On Sunday we took our first outing.  Scarlett is a little jaundiced, so we had to take her out to get her bilirubin levels checked -- something we've done every day this week.

We took our first family walk with the stroller on Sunday night... our friends' house, where Scarlett and her cousin/future bestie met for the first time

Mostly we've all just been busy falling more and more in love with her in the first five days of her little life!

I am so thankful that Luke has so much time off from work so we can really learn to adjust and start a schedule as a family of three.  I feel like we learn a million new things each day.  So far, Scarlett has been the perfect baby!  She hasn't woken up at all the past 2 nights; we've just had to wake her up every three hours to eat.  She makes the funniest faces and the cutest noises.  

She has changed Luke and I so much already.  Our priorities changed so much the moment she was born.  And watching Luke become a daddy has made me fall in love with him all over again.  He's been so helpful, and I know he'd give her the world if he could.  He's wrapped around her little finger already!  And she doesn't know just how lucky and loved she is.

I am trying to cherish every second of these first days together.  I know they will be some of my most special memories!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Scarlett Elise

Born July 11, 2013 
At 8:21 PM
5 lbs, 3 oz
19 inches long

  Reluctant to meet the world, she put her mama through 36 hours of labor.
 but it was love at first sight!

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ready or Not...

...Here she comes!

Okay, well I'm not in labor just yet.  Not even close, actually, as far as my body goes.  However, my doctor's appointment yesterday did not go quite as I had expected.  I think I was a little overconfident since Scarlett's non stress tests had been going so well, and I had been feeling her moving so much.

I had another growth ultrasound yesterday, and it showed that Scarlett had only grown approximately 5 ounces in 2 weeks.  In those 2 weeks, she dropped from the 22nd to the 12th percentile in weight.

My doctor indicated that although things might still be fine, there is a chance that my placenta is not working correctly, and not giving her the nourishment she needs.  She said it would be safer for the baby to be on the outside where we could ensure that she's getting enough to eat.

The plan is that they will induce me this week!  They will start Cervidil tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 6:00 AM, and probably start Pitocin sometime Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, depending on how much I've progressed.  So chances are, Scarlett's birthday will be on Thursday or Friday, July 11th, or 12th (our wedding anniversary!)

Being induced is about the last thing in the world that I wanted.  I am preparing myself to labor for days with slow progress and long, painful contractions.  With a labor like that, my plan to go without an epidural will probably go out the window (although I'll still try and see how it goes).  I've been warned about the possibility of a c-section if labor doesn't progress quickly enough once they break my water.

My entire pregnancy I've studied natural childbirth and pain management techniques. Although I tried to keep an open mind, I was just pretty confident about how things would go since I had had such a boring pregnancy until a few weeks ago.  I trusted that God would make things happen at the right time, and that He would give me the strength to get through the most painful, exhausting experience of my life.

As it stands now, I have an even greater opportunity to let go and trust Him in the next few days.  There are a lot of different ways this could go.  Up until yesterday, it seems that most of the stories I'd heard about inductions were horror stories.  Labor that lasted for days with almost nothing to show for it.  Labors ending in c-sections.  Painful, long contractions.  However, yesterday people seemed to come out of the woodwork with stories of easy, quick inductions.  Inductions where the Cervidil put them into active labor, and Pitocin was not needed.  Stories where the baby was born 4 hours after Pitocin was started.  As my mom said, people are a lot more likely to share their horror stories than their boring, smooth, pleasant stories.  And while I am still trying to prepare myself for the worst, it is nice to hear that most of these horror stories I've heard are worst-case-scenario stories.

I admit that a lot of the information I studied during this pregnancy was probably a little biased, and anti-medicated birth.  I've read so much about the dangers of labor-inducing drugs, and pain-managing drugs.  I've read all about the needless inductions and even c-sections that doctors schedule for their own convenience.  And yes, there's a chance that this induction is unnecessary.  But as my mom pointed out yesterday, what if it's not?  To me, the chance that this labor and delivery will be long and difficult for me, and possibly stressful for Scarlett, is still better than the risk that she is not getting the nourishment she needs, and that I am putting her in a needlessly dangerous situation.  I know a lot of people consider induction to be a needlessly dangerous situation, but I hope no one feels the need to comment on that here!

I also want to point out that I totally trust my doctor's judgment.  When we were having trouble getting pregnant, I saw 4 different doctors in the span of a few months.  I finally visited my current doctor, and knew she was the perfect doctor for me.  I wrote about it in this post, and even said that I hoped she would be the doctor who delivered my babies someday.  It is so surreal to be at the point where, in a couple of days, she's going to.  I whole-heartedly believed that God led me to this particular doctor at that time, which is evidenced by that post I listed above.  And maybe this is why.  God was looking out for Scarlett even back then.  It gives me chills to think about it.

Anyway, that is where things stand!  I think I needed to write this post to sort through my own feelings about the situation.

And I have to admit, there are definitely some perks to being induced.  As I told Luke last night, I don't have to worry about going into the hospital, thinking I'm in active labor, and then being sent home.  I don't have to worry about my water breaking somewhere embarrassing.  I can check everything off of the to-do list beforehand without being caught off-guard.  We were able to change our schedules beforehand, and find people to fill in for our obligations for the days we will be in the hospital, which has been convenient.  I won't have to worry about not making it to the hospital in time.  I won't have to deal with the mental strain of wondering when I'll go into labor, or heaven forbid, being past-due.  She will come about a week-and-a-half early, meaning I'll have more time with her before classes begin in the fall.  And the best part?  I know she will be in my arms by the end of this week at the latest!  That alone makes everything else seem not-so-bad, because Luke and I cannot wait until she's here!

It was also nice to know that we had just a couple of days left, just Luke and I.  Since our 5-year anniversary is on Friday, we decided to celebrate it with a date last night.  We had a huge dinner at Carrabba's, complete with appetizers and desserts.  We had to go big during our last night out before the big day!

We also went to Babies R Us to pick up a few preemie outfits and sleepers.  I'm not sure if we'll need them, but I hate to think that she might not have any clothes that fit her!  I just want to be prepared.

After that, we bought a few last-minute hospital necessities, and headed home to relax. When we got home, there was a beautiful flower arrangement on the porch.  I still don't know who brought it!  But I'm guessing it was my sweet grandparents.  
Ignore Ellie's ear!  She loves smelling and inspecting the flowers, but has yet to bother them beyond that.

It really is amazing how everything we still needed to complete just sort of came together over the past few days.  We completed our online childbirth classes on Sunday night, I finally got a call from the hospital on Sunday as well to interview me about all of my preferences while we're there and during labor and delivery.  My mom finished the tiny "mattress" for Scarlett's cradle over the weekend, which we will need right when we get home.  Scarlett's diaper bag, which she received as a gift from a group of family friends, arrived on Monday (and I had so much fun filling it!)  Everything is just coming together, and I really can't think of anything pressing that still needs to be done. 

 I had fun filling her bag with the most frivolous items possible. I couldn't help it.

I am thankful for one more day to finish the laundry, and clean the house so everything's just right for our return with the newest member of our family!  Hopefully we will be home by Friday or Saturday.  I can't wait!

I will try to update the blog after she's born!  However, it might not happen until after we get home sometime. I can't believe I will have a baby the next time I write!  It's a very surreal feeling after waiting so long!  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

38 Week Bumpdate

The Bump

Sorry for the out-of-focus picture.  It's hard to focus on myself using the timer on my new camera. Maybe I'll get the hang of it during my next pregnancy, because I hope this will be my last bumpdate!

A few people have told me they think I've dropped this week, but looking at the pictures, I just don't see much difference.  It's really hard to tell since I have such a short torso, and she is definitely not a "basketball baby."  Meaning, I got a big, swollen, round belly (and everything else) instead of just a little "basketball" in the womb. Also, totally unrelated, but please note that my arms look a little less ghostly this week.  I'm proud of my little tan!  

I'm a week past term, which means she could come any time!  I have to keep reminding myself that she's getting bigger and stronger every day she stays put, so it's probably a good thing she waits until as close to her due date as possible.  Even though I'm dying to meet her!

I have an ultrasound tomorrow to make sure she's grown in the past two weeks.  If she hasn't, they will induce me, so we could have a baby this week!  ...But I really think she's totally healthy and growing in there, so I'm not anticipating that that will happen.

Scarlett has passed all of her non stress tests with flying colors, which is another reason I think everything's fine with her.  Her heart rate has been great, and she is moving almost constantly (except when someone tries to feel her.  She must be shy like her mom!) 

  • Lots of contractions -- probably Braxton Hicks, but I have a few each day that sort of stop me in my tracks with a radiating pain through my lower back.  I hope this doesn't mean I'll have back labor!  But I hope it does mean that they have helped me progress a bit.  I will find out at my appointment tomorrow!
  • Swelling.  I can't wait to get my normal feel and ankles back!  I definitely think this symptom would not be so bad during a different time of year.  The humidity does not help.
  • Slight nausea has returned every once in awhile if I get too hungry, or eat too much.
  • I have lost my appetite a bit, but watermelon still sounds really good, just about all the time
  • Also, Chipotle.  Always Chipotle.
Fun Stuff:
  • My hospital bag has been packed for a week, and so has Scarlett's.  Luke is the only one who is slacking, I guess.  
  • Our car seat has been installed, which freaks me out a bit every time I catch a glimpse of it in my rear view mirror.
I'm going to be honest:  if this isn't my last "bumpdate," I will be a little bummed.  I don't want her to come too early, but I am so anxious to meet her!  This whole pregnancy has flown by until the last 2 or 3 weeks.  All of a sudden, time just seemed to stop.  I am so ready for this!  Or at least, I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be!