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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Elaina Brielle: Birth Story

Elaina's beautiful newborn photos were taken by Misty D. Photography

Elaina is 9 months old, so it was high time I record her birth story before I start forgetting details! 

By the middle of August, at 37 week appointment, I was a beached whale-- swollen, hot, couldn't move, and who knew your stomach could get so sweaty? The idea of 3 more weeks of pregnancy made me cry. Literally cry. (Who said anything about being reasonable at this point?) I was so happy when my doctor said we could try membrane stripping to get the ball rolling. I was already dilated to 3 cm. 

After Joslynne was 9 days late, and I had a nearly 24 hour induction, all I wanted was to go into labor on my own. On time as well would just be amazing! ;)  On August 18, Saturday, I was almost 38 weeks and started having contractions. Maybe the membrane stripping worked! Wes was doing yard work, and I was making a meal for my friend who just had a baby. I was anxious to join her in the postpartum club. :) I tried to keep going about my business and not get my hopes up, but you know that's impossible. All I could think about was this could be the day! The contractions were only 3-4 minutes apart. They were so mild though, I didn't know what to think. I've only felt active labor contractions on Pitocin, so I didn't know what to expect from natural contractions. I tried laying down but they didn't stop. We live an hour away from the hospital, and I just kept thinking, what if they get closer together and intense suddenly. We would still have to drop Joslynne off somewhere too. We wanted to be logical and practical, but all we wanted was for this to be it. Strange, I know, but I have this desire to experience that "this is it, let's go now" moment. I didn't get that with Jos. I think I just wanted to prove to myself that my body could go into labor on its own.  

So yes, we jumped the gun and went in.  At the hospital, I was 3 cm and 70% effaced, and we were told if I dilated a whole centimeter in 2 hours they would keep us there. I would be lying if I said I didn't do some squats and lunges at that point. ;) We walked about 1000 circles around labor and delivery with contractions still 3-4 min apart the whole time. Come on baby! DROP! Then came the sad moment when I had only dilated to 3.5! By that point, we were just grumpy that we stayed up all night for nothing. We went home and contractions completely stopped. Yes, it was a pathetic trying to hope something into reality scenario, but you live and you learn. Take away...I am impatient. Sleep that night would've been a better plan. ;)

I had next to 0 contractions on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, I had an appointment and Wes's mom came over to watch Joslynne. I put our bags in the car holding on to a twinge of hope, but I was sure I'd be right back. I even told Joslynne I would be home after her nap when she cried as I left.  My doctor was so surprised I was still pregnant after the weekend false alarm. She was so sweet to be understanding and not make me feel dramatic for the whole thing. ;) She asked me if I was still feeling a good amount of movement from the baby. I had been a little uneasy because there seemed to be a pretty big decrease in her movement. I totally expected to hear the typical "Oh well that's probably just because she's getting bigger and it's hard to move in there" response. I appreciate my OB's listening ear and how seriously she takes each question and concern Wes and I have! We LOVE her! We checked the amniotic fluid level and did a non stress test just to see. Wes and I figured it was just a precaution and everything would be normal, so Wes went back to work just down the street.  I had a very low amount of fluid and Elaina was "unresponsive" during the test. Unresponsive means that although her hear rate was "fine" she didn't have the 2 accelerations above a certain rate they like to see in a 20 minute period. 

My doctor peeked back in and said "I think today is just the day to have this baby!" She told me to call Wes back and head to the Labor and Delivery right away. I was like "can I eat lunch quick?" And she said "no, as in right now!" I called Wes, and he was just about to have a smoked rib lunch with his team, so he also asked "can I eat lunch first?" Poor guy, he totally could've eaten first, the hospital was uneventful for the first couple hours! So we were hungry, but also very excited that this was it! :)

My whole goal of going into labor on my own....was slipping away by the minute. I agreed with my doctor on this change of plans, it just didn't feel right to wait after that non stress test. My new goal, was to be able to move around during contractions even on Pitocin. When I had Joslynne, being stuck in the bed with the ever sliding belly bands was a nightmare! When you finally get comfortable during a contraction and the monitor slides off so the nurse has to come move you to fix it is like a cruel form of torture. Luckily, Francesca was best nurse ever, and set me up with wireless fetal monitoring so I could move around. We had do go to internal monitoring after all later on, but it was a great effort! ;)

The first few hours at the hospital were pretty uneventful. We texted our friends and family, got set up with Pitocin, talked to the OB about the plan. I even reorganized my wallet? Haha! (See? Totally could've eaten lunch :P) When contractions started at about 3:30pm, Elaina started having heart decelerations during each one. Obviously that made us nervous.  Our nurse called the doctor and pretty much just told us, they are monitoring and if it gets worse and becomes an emergency, they would do a c section right away. It was made clear that if that was the case, I would have to be put under anesthesia unless I already had an epidural. Of course I wanted to be awake for my baby's birth, but since it was unknown, I decided I'd rather risk it than start labor with an epidural and be stuck to the bed. Especially, since pain hadn't really started yet. It was nerve racking, and nurses kept saying things like "she's just a little mad in there" or "she just really wants to come out." We couldn't tell if they were trying to keep us calm or if it really was no big deal. Thankfully, the decelerations stopped after about an hour. 

The contractions were increasing steadily, but I was still only dilated to 4 cm at 6pm. The OB doctor on call came in to break my water at that point, and commented on how little amniotic fluid I had! I was so thankful we decided to do this that night instead of going home and wondering if our baby was ok.  We switched to internal monitoring at this point. I had a panic moment when, after a while the screen showing the heart rate just stopped! After the decelerations earlier, I was mortified. But, it turned out that the end of the monitor attached to Elaina just fell off. AHH! I guess I really do just move too much during labor. 

Contractions started getting much more intense and Wes was so sweet and helpful. He became a pro at applying counter pressure. He not only is the best cheerleader and supporter, but he also has a way of making me laugh in these situations and taking my mind off the pain. It makes nurses nervous though when my contractions go nuts on screen while I'm in tears laughing at my husband. :P At 9:45 pm I was so excited to find out how much I was dilated. The amount of work the last few hours were, it felt like I had to be far! I was dilated 5.5 cm. So annoying!  A little bit of background, I labored with Joslynne on Pitcocin for 10 hours with no epidural all night only to find out I progressed 1 cm. By morning, I was exhausted, still had all day to go, and ended up with a fever by the time I started pushing.  I had regretted not resting while I could. Since this time seemed like it might be Deja Vu, I was sure we were in for a long night again. I decided to get an epidural and sleep so I could go into pushing with more strength.

The time between asking for an epidural and the anesthesiologist showing up feels like at least 5 days! I know it should be the opposite, but relief being so close yet so far away, makes me lose focus and want to throw in the towel. Remember, we already established, I'm impatient. ;) Not like you have a choice, contractions come whether you're ready or not. The epidural was finally administered and I laid down and started shaking uncontrollably. I guess that's fairly normal, but shaking during contractions before any pain relief kicked in was a little crazy. Then, all the sudden I had a GIANT sharp pain and immediately threw up. We are almost positive that whole moment was caused by Elaina turning from sunny side up to face down. I was instantly dilated to 10cm! YAAAAS! Her being sunny side up was probably what made me dilate so slowly all evening. 

I felt much better after that, but started having the urge to push. Our nurse told me I had to hold on for 15 minutes until the doctor arrived! That was 10:45 pm. My OB looking she was just yanked out of deep sleep and was like "Phew, the way things were going, I thought we had all night!" Haha! I started pushing at 11 and our Elaina Brielle was born at 11:37! She was stuck for a few minutes with shoulder dystocia, but the doctor got her released quickly and in my arms! 

After the few nerve racking moments earlier in the day, I was just so thankful to have her in my arms and healthy! She was absolutely perfect Apparently, I was unable to birth the placenta on my own, but all that meant to me was more skin on skin time with my babe while the doctor and nurses took care of me. ;) I spent that time staring at her and sending my mom and sister selfies with our new girl! She started breastfeeding right away, which I will always remember, because that was one of the only days this little girl actually wanted to breastfeed! (More about out breastfeeding story Here)

I'll tell ya, starting and finishing labor all in the same day is wayyyyy easier than spanning to days. Also, no fever makes pushing a much better experience. Just adding to the many things we were thankful for! Our baby girl had arrived and we were so thrilled!

We got to our recovery room at 2 am and I was STARVING! I ate both the meals the nurse brought for Wes and I! Oops, sorry babe. (Don't worry, he got food.) ;)  While I was inhaling food Wes said "is it just me, or is it raining on us in here?!" It turns out that the older rooms of the hospital form condensation that drips from the ceiling if the air conditioning is on too high! We looked up and the ceiling was COVERED with water dripping down everywhere! We were trying to contact a nurse, find a spot to put Elaina that wasn't dripping, and I couldn't walk yet. We were so exhausted and out of it! The hospital staff was amazing and took care of it right away. But, it was one of those oddly intense moments that looking back now is ridiculous--kind of like watching an adult struggle to swim in a foot deep kiddy pool. :P 

Elaina was 7lbs 13oz and 20 inches long and we fell absolutely in love with her! Knowing Elaina makes it hard to believe there ever was a world without her in it. She has so much joy and the biggest smile that brightens our day everyday.  It could not be more perfect that her name means "bright, shining light"! Wes, I admit your name idea is a winner. She's everything we could've prayed for and more. We praise God for the incredible blessing you are baby girl! 

*As you may know, Elaina was a Bili Baby and had a little 3 week journey with jaundice. You can read more about that here and here if your curious. Some friends have asked if she's totally fine now, and yes, Elaina is perfectly happy and healthy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I put my phone down, and here's what happened

This is something that's been going on behind the scenes in my life for a while. It has been huge for me, so I just wanted to share!

The internet has been a great resource to communicate, find inspiration, life hacks and solutions, to make my art business profitable, and creative outlet. However, there's also a lot of noise to navigate through. It all started to feel like somewhat of a creative inhibitor and I just felt a nudge to take a pause. So, I put my phone down. And didn't pick it back up except for certain times of the day.

I felt happy. Like happiest I've been in a really long time.

I saw more of my baby's smiles. 

My toddler started behaving better.

I played with my babies more.

My husband and i became a better team.

I started actually enjoying my home, decor rather than feeling discontent and needing more.

I suddenly loved my clothes, and knew what to wear. 

My house stayed cleaner and more organized.

I started meeting my goals.

I slept better.

I found time to spend with God.

I felt confident, valuable, and capable.

I started to exercise regularly.

I stopped stress snacking because I started dealing with the stress.

I had more time.

I became more productive.

I had more creative ideas.

I had a direction.

We established a routine.

I know it seems crazy that so much could change just from less time looking at a screen. But, mindlessly scrolling is not just a time suck. Along with its ideas and encouragments, the internet and social media bring constant peer pressure, comparison, unwarranted advice, and differing opinions into our hearts and minds. Its a lot to process. But since we usually scroll the internet when we are tired or looking for a break,  we don't process it all. We end up just filling our minds with an overload of information. It's been amazing to see what a taking a break and filling time, heart, and mind with truth, more real moments, and the people in front of me has done!

 Don't get me wrong, I love that we can find a community of like minded friends here. And, I'm not going anywhere. ;) It's just something I felt the need to monitor in my life. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Baby #2 Maternity Photos

Our baby girl is 5 months old this week, and I am just getting around to sharing our maternity photos!  These photo are still so special to us. Josy has grown up so much in the past few months as a big sister! It's crazy to look back to our days as a family of 3 and remember how excited we were to meet her. It felt like the day would never come. Now we can't imagine life without our Elaina.