Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the real time around {birth story part II}

After being discharged from the hospital for preterm labor, I spent most of my days lying around in bed, walking from the couch to the bed and bed to the couch and trying to play with Ella all while either my mom or my mother-in-law helped out around the house and Russ continued to work.  I was basically put on bed rest while still being in active labor.  I was so uncomfortable and constantly had pressure.  Anytime I tried to do anything that involved more walking or going somewhere other than home, the contractions would start to come on stronger and I thought for sure that the baby would come then.  But, the waiting would always continue.  I would have contractions, sometimes five minutes apart, thinking we better get ready to go to the hospital...but nothing.  They would eventually subside after I would lay down and drink a lot of water.  This would go on for weeks.  And every week would be another doctor's appointment and I was still staying at a 5 with no progression since the hospital.  When I made it to 37 weeks, we all breathed a little lighter.  We had made it to full term.  We were thankful.  My doctor had gone out of town at some point during that week too so I was glad I didn't go into labor (again) while he was gone.  We would keep going back for our weekly doctor visits thinking this would be it...this visit is when he will tell us we have progressed a little more and now would be a good time to be admitted, break my water and have this baby.  But each visit we had, nothing.  Still at 5 cm and no change.  I was getting even more uncomfortable and it was getting even harder for me to walk.  I really didn't know how much longer I could hold out but I wanted what was best for the baby.  One little memory I have is when my very pregnant friend, Lenka and I went to the mall one night (I think I was almost 38 weeks) and we got a pedicure and a blizzard from Diary Queen.  We loved some blizzards from Dairy Queen during our pregnancy but I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't even eat mine.  After all the walking we did, I came home and started having contractions and thought once again that tonight was the night.  We would be going to the hospital.  But I laid down and went to sleep and nothing happened.  I made it through yet another night.  At home.
So, my next doctors visit rolled around and I was almost 38 weeks.  Hoping for some change by now, the doctor said I was still the same at 5 cm.  He then asked what we wanted to do because he knew I was uncomfortable and it was safe to deliver at any point.  Russ and I had already discussed it and pretty much knew that if there was no change, I would want to be admitted the following week and have him break my water.  We called family and thought the best time would be the following Thursday to deliver.  
After three weeks of being in active labor and on bed rest, I had made it to that Thursday we had planned.  It wasn't an induction because I was already so dilated and all he had to do was break my water.  We weren't planning on any Pitocin.  We were scheduled to be there by 6:30 am on Thursday July 18th (a week before my due date).  Our family had arrived the night before (other than my sister and brother who were leaving that morning).  We were by all means ready to meet this baby.  Everyone was amazed we made it to 38 weeks and 6 days but we did!  
We arrived at the hospital early that morning while my mom stayed back with Ella.  We had arranged it so my mom could come a little later to be with us and our good friend Kate would watch Ella and bring her to the hospital later that day.  I got to the hospital and the staff started to do their thing.  All the IV's, questions, monitors and all.  This time felt so much better though!  I had Russ by my side and we were both so excited.  We finally knew today was the day.  After all the waiting and anticipating...this was it.  We hadn't told too many friends though because we had already told them so many other times on other days that we were having this baby so we didn't want to tell them again until we were actually holding our baby.  For real!  
The doctor came in shortly after I was settled and checked me.  I was still a 5.  I then got my epidural and everything was done and ready by 9:30 am.  Now, just to wait for the doctor to break my water.  I had an epidural with Ella too and I have had such good experiences with both of my births.  I am completely aware of everything all while not having any pain.  Its what works for me and it has been great.  I have been able to actually enjoy the whole process of giving birth and know whats going on because of it.  Anyway, I got my epidural and then the doctor broke my water around 10:20 am.  The epidural was slightly "one-sided" this time around so I could feel contractions pretty well on the left side of my body.  They would at times get pretty intense and strong but we decided not to bolus any and I would just go with it.  A short time later the doctor came back to check on me.  I completely wasn't expecting him to tell me I was complete and could start pushing at any time now.  I remember looking at Russ, shocked and excited all the same time.  No wonder those contractions were so strong...they were working and I was complete.  This must have been around 1:00 pm because I was still waiting on my sister to get here.  Just like with Ella's birth, I wanted my sister in the room so she could capture these moments on camera.  My mom called her to see where she was and tell her I was ready to start pushing.  My sister got pretty upset because she of course wanted to be here.  She wanted my mom to tell me to not start pushing yet :)  I'm pretty sure she sped the rest of the way because she made it just in time for me to start.  The doctor said I could wait a little longer but soon, the contractions were becoming more intense and I was just ready to meet this little one.  I was so ready.  So, just as I began pushing, we heard a knock on the door and it was my sister.  I could tell she was so relieved she made it on time.  She had been crying a little because she thought she was going to miss it.
Anyway, I started pushing around 1:30ish or just after.  Things were a little bit more complicated this time around due to the head being tilted a little in a funny position.  And, it was a pretty big head at that.  So, the pushing continued and would at times take my breath away.  I remember Russ at one point grabbing the oxygen mask and putting it on me.  Shortly after that, the doctor came back in and said he might have to use forceps due to the head being a little stuck and not moving much.  Between that and the oxygen on me, it became a little overwhelming and a few tears started flowing down.  I definitely didn't want forceps used and really didn't know what was going on with the oxygen and the baby's heart rate.  At times it would dip down with my pushing, which can be completely normal.  It was still scary at times.  I just really wanted that baby in my arms.  I continued pushing and the doctor was soon getting ready for delivery.  I was getting really tired and the pushing was getting harder but the adrenaline was there and I knew it would be very soon that I would be holding my baby.  The last few pushes came and the head was moving down.  Because the head finally started moving down, we didn't have to use forceps.  The nurse said "Did your first baby have a lot of hair" and my sister and I both replied with excitement "No, does this one??"  We thought she was implying this baby had a head full of hair but she said it had no hair.  Ha!  We were excited for a minute.  I pushed some more and then the nurse told me to stop.  She told me to just do one slow push- that the baby was coming and the head was out.  I pushed again and knew it was my last one.  The baby was coming out.  The next thing I knew the doctor was holding the baby up, I looked right where I needed to see whether it was a boy or girl although everything seemed a blur and the doctor says with such excitement "Its a boy"!!!!  He was born at 2:59 pm on July 18th.  7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 3/4 inches of perfectness!  I was so relieved that my baby was here and healthy and I could hear him crying.  There is nothing better than that.  The tears started once again and they put him right on my chest and I just held him.  After all that we had been through and all the waiting and anticipation the last 4 weeks, he was here.  And he was in my arms.  I wasn't all that surprised that I was holding a baby boy.  I had a feeling all through pregnancy that it was a boy and then when I had some trouble during labor with the big head, my feeling was even stronger it was a boy.  For the first few hours, he was nameless while we decided between the two boy names we had picked out.  While I was holding him I told Russ I wanted him to pick the name (knowing full and well which name he would pick out- he liked one the best and I was kind of leaning towards the other name).  So, without hesitation, he picked his name.  Isaac Garrett Ayers.  And I had complete peace about it.  I felt we were suppose to have a little Isaac in our family.  It just felt right and I didn't think twice when he chose Isaac.  It just fit perfectly.  A strong meaning behind it and I'm glad Russ wrote about that in his journal.  A testimony to God's faithfulness and promises  That was actually the name we had picked out for a boy if our firstborn was a boy.  So, I knew that was the one Russ wanted to use.
After deciding a name and once the doctor was done stitching me up, it was time to bring in our families.  My sister had already sent out a text to them all with a picture of the face but that was all.  They still had no clue the gender.  With the birth of Ella, we surprised our families by putting a little pink hat on her when we announced the name and gender so with Isaac, we put blue socks on his little feet and wrapped him up.  When all the family was in the room, we unwrapped him and Russ announced his name.  It was a sweet moment for sure.  Everyone cheered and the tears started coming and the smiles were irreplaceable.  I looked at Russ' dad at one point and saw tears well up in his eyes.  He looked so proud.  Then, everyone wanted a turn at holding him.  Of course :)
Later on, Auntie Kate and Paige brought Ella to the hospital to meet her new baby brother.  She was so excited and loved to say his name.  I think she was enjoying all the attention she was getting ;)  She didn't want too much to do with him in the hospital or with me for that matter.  I think seeing me in the hospital bed kind of threw her off and she didn't know what to think.  But, it was so good to see her and be a family of four for the first time.  We are so grateful for what the Lord has done in our lives and these sweet gifts He has entrusted us with.  May we always bring Him glory and honor because of His love and faithfulness.
Here are pictures of this special day....


the first time around {birth story part I}

I hope I can remember this story since its been 3 months since the birth of our second child.  Thankfully, my mother-in-law kept a journal of it all but I want to document it here with pictures.
So, here goes the story of what we thought was going to be the birth day of our second little one.  So much to remember and so many emotions to relive and "experience" again...
I was only 34 weeks pregnant when Russ went on his yearly medical mission trip.  This year it was to Trinidad.  This trip is always planned months and months in advance since its with a mission team so we knew it was going to happen.  He would be gone the last two weeks of June.  So, June 15th rolled around and Russ was off to Trinidad.  With bittersweet feelings, but with confidence that this was His plan at this time.
I was feeling okay as far as pregnancy goes when he left.  We had a doctor's appointment the day before he left (on a Friday) and everything was looking really good.  I was not dilated at all, my cervix was still closed and I wasn't having any contractions as far as I knew.  My doctor felt really good about how things were going and didn't have any concerns.  And, since I had no history of pre-term labor, we felt pretty comfortable with Russ leaving to go out of the country for two weeks.  However, saying all this, I remember it was about two days before he was leaving and I was feeling a little more uncomfortable than usual.  I just had a good bit of pressure and felt a little funny walking but didn't think too much of it.  And then having a good doctor's report helped me not to worry too much.
Moving on, the first week Russ was away, life seemed to go on as it should with an active toddler and a big belly.  Thankfully, my mom was staying with me for much of the time to help out with Ella.  I wanted to stay busy and pass the time so I wouldn't think too much of Russ not being here.  I usually get pretty lonely when he goes on these trips and with my hormones and emotions a little more crazy, I didn't want to think too much of things.  I remember I would take Ella to the pool, try to hang out with friends, go to the mall with my mom, buy some baby stuff, let Ella take extra long bubble baths and go to the park and to the gym to keep busy.  Looking back, I probably did a little too much even with the help of my mom.  I just didn't want a lot of time to be still and think.  Looks like all that caught up with me.  The first weekend, my mom was still with me and we hung out with some good friends in town and went to their friends pool most of the weekend.  We had a good time.  That was probably the last of my "normal" fun in the sun summer time days.  A few days later, (I think it was on Monday) I started to have some symptoms that concerned me.  Then, that following Wednesday (June 26th) I had a friend come over for lunch who just so happens to see the same doctor  I see and was pregnant as well.  She had an appointment with him after our lunch date and I had told her about the few symptoms I had that concerned me.  After she left, I became more concerned when the symptoms returned.  So, at her visit, she told the doctor but by this point I already made a decision to go see him (I talked to his nurse on the phone).  I called another friend (Lenka) who would take me there and I called my mom (she had gone home for just a few days) and told her I thought she needed to come back and stay.  She pretty much left immediately.  In the meantime, my doctor did call me (he actually called me and left a message because I was on the other line talking to his nurse) and was willing to work me in, my friend Lenka came to take me and my other friend who came over for lunch came back to watch Ella until my mom came back.
As I was waiting to see the doctor, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and looking back, I realized I was having some contractions in the office.  Finally, my doctor saw me and checked me.  I was 3 cm dilated and I could tell my doctor was pretty surprised by this, as was I.  Then, I had some tightening and a little bit of pain and he told me that indeed I was having a contraction.  With there not being much that we could do, I went home to just rest.  My mom was already there to help with Ella.  I remember trying to eat some dinner but I just couldn't.  I was so uncomfortable and just didn't feel right.  I tried just laying on the couch but Ella wanted all my attention and wanted me to do everything for her.  I think she knew something was going on.  I put her to bed and then went to lay on the couch.  In between this time, I was able to contact Russ (he had a special phone on him just for me in case anything happened).  Thank goodness he answered when I called him.  I told him all that was going on.  (I didn't tell him anything earlier in case all this was really nothing and I didn't want him to worry).  He was concerned but was also at a very important dinner so it was hard for him to talk.  After I told him what was going on, he got to work telling a friend there on the trip to make some calls and help get an early flight back.  A friend that was here in the States (the MCO administrator) received the call and got busy trying to get him a flight.  The team in Trinidad gathered together to pray for us- the baby, myself and Russ flying back.  I found out later (through a friend) that Russ had gotten pretty emotional during that time.  I just think its so sweet to know so many from across the world were praying for us.  
As I was lying on the couch (while all this was happening), I couldn't move much without feeling very uncomfortable and now that I knew exactly what a contraction felt like (thanks to my office visit earlier), I was probably having them every 15-20 minutes.  They didn't hurt bad- they were just tight and uncomfortable.  And, I was more scared and uncomfortable because Russ was not with me.  My anxiety was getting worse and my body started to shake (something I do when I get really scared).  I was never able to eat dinner (or anything for that matter).
 Russ called back and I told him what was going on and he told me to go ahead and call the on-call doctor which I had already paged him and was waiting on him to call me back.  While waiting, I remember looking over at my mom and seeing the concern on her face.  She later told me she thought for sure the baby was coming very soon.  The doctor called back, told me he wasn't sure if I was in true labor but if anything, I could come in, get checked and get some fluids to hopefully slow down labor.  By that point, I knew I had to go.  I called one of my best friends (again- she's the one that took me to the doctor's office earlier that day) and without hesitation, she said she was coming over to take and be with me.  She's a great friend :)  So, my mom stayed with Ella and off Lenka and I went to the hospital.  The funny thing is, we were both pregnant at the same time and both pretty huge so as we walked up to the triage floor in the hospital, the nurses were very confused on which one was coming to be treated and triaged!  But, I'm sure they could look at my face and tell it was definitely me.  I was put in a room and the nurses started doing their thing- IV's, fetal monitor hook up, admission history and all that good stuff.  They checked me and I was dilated to a 4.  When they hooked me up, I was contracting still about every 15 to 20 minutes but very irregular.   The nurses thought for sure I was in labor and began to bring in all the sterile equipment needed for the delivery.  I remember throughout the night, Lenka and I would periodically just look at each other with wide eyes.  Neither one of us needed to say anything.  We knew what the other was thinking...this baby is coming tonight.  And Russ isn't here.  We even discussed creative ways to tell Russ the gender of the baby.  Lenka for sure thought she would be there to witness the birth of this child and be the first to know whether it was a boy or girl (this all happened on Wednesday, June 26th when I was admitted for preterm labor.  My due date wasn't until July 26th).
  At this point, because I was almost 36 weeks ( I was 35 weeks and 5 days), there was not much the medical staff could do to slow the labor.  They did give me Terbutaline to try to slow the contractions down.  It worked for maybe an hour but then the contractions started to pick up again. During this whole time, my body was still shaking uncontrollably because I was so scared.  But I also remember realizing that I was (what I thought) going to have this baby within the next few hours so I just had to accept it and at that point, I had.  I had this peace that overcame me and I just wanted to try to stay calm.  All I could hope for at this point was for a healthy baby because it would be a preemie.  I had come to accept that.  Russ called soon after  I got there and he was so upset.  He too thought at this point the baby was coming that night/early morning.  I felt like I had to stay calm for him and I remember God just gave me this strength and courage to talk to Russ and tell him everything was going to be okay and we just needed to pray for a healthy baby.
At some point, the nurse came back to check me and I had dilated to a 5.  At this point, I was considered to be in active labor.  The contractions were coming on stronger and a little more frequent.  I could feel them.  They would ask me from time to time if I wanted an epidural but I wanted to hold off a little longer.  They did give me Demerol/phenegran combo to calm my nerves (shaking) and discomfort I was feeling.  It definitely worked and I was out of it and talking crazy within minutes.  It helped me sleep for a few hours.  Lenka was still there with me (she stayed until around 5am when my mother-in-law arrived) so we got a few hours of sleep.
So Thursday morning rolled around, I was still 5 cm, my mother-in-law was now with me, I was still contracting, in active labor, no epidural, and Russ was on his way to catch his first flight back.  The on-call doctor came in and thought I might still possibly be in false labor and could even at some point go home later that day.  I thought that was kind of weird but held out hope that that could be true.  But then at some point my doctor came in and thought differently.  When I asked him if I could possibly go home today, he looked at me and laughed saying "absolutely not".  He thought I was in true labor and would have the baby that day.  So....the waiting game continued. For the rest of the day.  My mom and mother in law were both there throughout the day visiting me and watching Ella.  I had some friends come and visit.  I talked to Russ a lot throughout the day and he was giving me updates with where he was and his flights etc.  My sister came after work to stay as well.  We were all getting prepared for the baby to come.  Throughout the day, my doctor would come up and check me and see how I was progressing.  And at this point, I wasn't really progressing at all.  I remained 5 cm still and the contractions started to just slow down on their own.  Russ was still catching flights and doing his best to get here as fast as he could.  The waiting game continued.  Lenka came back up to see me and painted my toenails for me since I wasn't at all ready ;)  I think by now Russ had gotten an earlier flight then originally scheduled and he was going to arrive around 9pm (still Thursday).  We were beginning to think that he might just make it in time.  So, throughout Thursday, I never dilated any more and my contractions never picked up again.  This, I was told, was very unusual.  Labor usually doesn't just stop like that.  I told Russ on the phone this and I could tell he was excited and I knew that he believed without a doubt that he was going to make it in time and wasn't going to miss the birth after all.  Its funny looking back because I remember all my friends checking in on me through phone calls and texts, wondering if the baby had arrived yet.  They were all concerned and praying.  We had so many people praying for us.  Constantly checking in on us. And they were all surprised when we kept telling them no baby yet.  The medical staff at the hospital was great too.  They were all concerned as well that Russ would probably miss the birth and kept checking in on me and were so kind.  They all got so excited when I told them he got an earlier flight back.  They went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and was always checking to see where Russ was.    Everyone was just about on pins and needles waiting and couldn't believe nothing more had happened throughout the day.  At some point on Thursday evening, before Russ got there, my doctor, after checking me again and no progression still, thought that maybe I could go home on Friday (the next day) if things continued this way.  I remember feeling so relieved.  I was so amazed that my labor had slowed and basically stopped.  I was so excited to see Russ come through those doors soon and have him close by again.  
Russ arrived at the hospital around 9:30 pm on Thursday.  The nurses cheered when he got there and I cried tears of joy when he walked in my room.  He did too ;)  I was so very relieved.  I remember thinking that at this point, whenever the baby came, everything would be okay.  Really okay.  It was such a sweet time and a time I will never forget.
We left the hospital the next morning, still very pregnant.  Very uncomfortable but still very pregnant with a healthy baby inside.  All we could ask for.  I was still in active labor and was pretty much on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  But I was so glad to be going home with Russ and hoping the baby would last until at least 37 weeks when I would be full term.  We texted or called all our family and friends who were actually awaiting the arrival of our little one; waiting to get a text whether we had a boy or girl but instead we thanked everyone for praying for us and that God had graciously answered our prayers- Russ made it home safely without missing anything :) and the baby was still healthy and active...and inside my belly!!  The truth is, God is so gracious and I felt it most during these few days.  He really did answer all our prayers, every little detail He had worked out according to our requests.  I remember the text that Russ sent out to our friends as we were leaving the hospital "thank you for all your prayers.  God has graciously answered"  I am forever grateful.  For this time, for how the Lord worked in our lives through this story He was writing and I felt Him ever so near those few days in the hospital without my husband and with so many unknowns.  
So, to wrap up this ended-up-to-be-a-crazy-long-post, we went home at 36 weeks, healthy and happy.  And together.  We went home on a Friday and the next day was my birthday.  We were all wondering if I was going to share it with the little one.  My mom and sister and mother-in-law were still at the house and we had an early birthday dinner cooked by my mother-in-law.  It was especially delicious considering all the hospital food I just had.  My sister and mom went to a local cake shop and brought us back some yummy cake and we did a little celebration.  I even remember Ella singing "happy birthday to kar-win" with her toy carrot and a candle in it :)  I was feeling pretty drained and exhausted and very uncomfortable at 5 cm but sure happy to be home.  
It would be another three weeks until we would meet our little one and know whether we would be adding another little girl or bringing home a son.  The excitement was getting unreal and was that much more anticipated considering everything we had just been through.  But I will save the best part of the story for the next post since this one is crazy long and I went into more detail than I thought.  I know its important for me to write this down and remember it.  I feel like I can't tell this birth story without telling this part of it.  Not just for the memories, which some were definitely made, but to be reminded of how gracious our loving Father was and is and how He is able.  And just when all the doubt and all the unknowns become so overwhelming, He is there and will most definitely show Himself faithful.  I will never forget the sense of peace I felt during that time.  And I love looking back and seeing how He worked in our lives.  Because little did we know what an amazing story He was already writing for our soon to be precious little one.  

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. Isaiah 30:18
(This was our verse during this time and one that we certainly felt during those days.  We held on to it and it became our encouragement and hope.  May we always be reminded of His graciousness and compassion).  

And because why not add a picture.  Of me in the hospital.  Lenka took this picture of me shortly after being admitted.  We were both scared and didn't know what to do other than just laugh and try to make the most of the situation (when we all thought for sure the baby was coming soon).  Glad I had her there with me to make some fun memories with!

Friday, October 18, 2013

its been awhile....

       Soooo, its been awhile since I last blogged.  No surprise there.  But, I hate that I haven't blogged about one of the most special moments of our lives.  Our baby boy! (more on the birth in another post). We welcomed our sweet son into the world three months ago today.  Really, three months?  I'm in denial.  Anyway, I hate that I haven't blogged about his birth yet because I know I will always want to look back and read and remember just how amazing (and hard) it all was.  I don't want to forget.  I thought I was done with this blogging stuff.  But, I realize more and more how meaningful it is for me to "journal" and remember things and have this to look back on.  For me, for my husband and for my kids.  So many days I just sit here and stare at my babies, knowing each day they are changing a little more, growing a little more, and they will be just a little different than the day before.  Because it all goes by so fast.  And they grow up so fast.  I really want to try harder to document these days- the hard, exciting, trying, happy, weary, crazy days because I know I will forget.  And these will be some of the sweetest moments I will ever know- even if I can't fully see it now.  
So, here's to remembering my baby girl, my firstborn, becoming a big sister and the way she jumped with excitement when her "auntie" friends brought her to the hospital to meet her little brother.  And the few days in the hospital after birth wondering how in the world I was going to transition to a mother of two and not just do my new role, but do it well.  And coming home as a family of four and sister being so excited to have us all there- especially the newest addition.  And all the sweet moments, from the very beginning, that she loved on her new brother and read to him, cooked "specialables" aka vegetables from her kitchen for him, ran to get his paci for him, would be so excited to help change his diaper and if you didn't let her help, she would get so upset, and talking so sweet to him saying "its ok baby Isaac".  
I want to be able to look back and remember these days of raising little ones.  I know I will long for it all again one day.  And I know I will cherish having these memories to remind me and make me smile.

And just because...I need a picture.
And he's already 3 months old.
And really cute and irresistible.
And I really love him.  A lot.