Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflecting

In honor of Lily's upcoming first birthday on Friday, I decided to bump her birth story.  I'm finding it hard to believe that almost a year has passed since that very painful, exciting night!

I still remember it vividly, almost as if it had been yesterday, but it also feels like Lily has always been with us.

The doctors thought she would be born around 36 weeks judging by the contractions, preterm labor, and dilation. They told me that I'd never make it to August.  She ended up staying in the longest of my babies, making it just past 39 weeks!!!  They thought she was on the small side.  I reminded them that even though my belly was small, my babies were great at hiding their true size.  My "smaller than normal" baby ended up being healthy and the longest of my three!  I think Lily wanted to prove everybody wrong from day one.

The drive to the hospital was agonizing.  We got there in 20 minutes, but it felt like hours! To this day, I cringe when I hear the Seal Soul CD we were listening to on the drive. Let's just say that Grant was right about needing to head to the hospital earlier.  However, I did tell him that after months of false labor pains, I would never be able to tell if it was the real thing.  I was right about that.  I was also right about the fact that she was a girl...I just knew it.

I was horribly sick every single day of my pregnancy with her.  I had months of uncomfortable contractions.  My labor with her was very painful.  But I forget how sick I felt.  I forget how much pain I was in.  It was all worth it. Every single moment was worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

What I really remember are the tears that fell down my cheeks when I saw the positive pregnancy test on what would have been my Grandma's birthday.  I remember the first time I saw her at our 6 week ultrasound.  Seeing our tiny "Nugget" move around took my breath away.  I remember how her heartbeat was the most beautiful sound in the world.  I remember those early flutters that progressed into entire flips.  I remember laying in bed at night, holding my hands against my sweet baby. I remember feeling her bony heels pressing against my belly, and marveling at those bony heels after she was born. I remember watching the sun rise over Pittsburgh as I was pushing.  I remember how quiet and amazing it was as she entered the world.  I remember the joy at hearing the words, "It's a girl!!!" and the tears streaming down my face when I first saw her.  I remember the overwhelming love for her as I held her in my arms for the first time. 

That love for her has grown every single day.  She is amazing.

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My labor and delivery with Lily was quick! On Tuesday, August 2nd, I began having the same pre-labor symptoms that I had been having every day for almost 2 weeks. It started in the early afternoon, but felt no different. I joked that I was going to run on the treadmill and try to "shake" the baby out. I did run, but it didn't change anything.

Around 8:00 in the evening, I sat down and typed out my "Guess-What-Nugget-Is" post, having no idea that I was in actual early labor. Shortly after, I put the kids to bed, and Grant and I settled down on the couch to watch a movie. As I sat there, I began noticing that my contractions were regular and lasting longer than they typically did. I was getting a painful contraction every 9 minutes.

I refused to believe that it was actual labor, because I had several false alarms in the previous days. I figured that as soon as I went to bed, the painful contractions would stop, like they always did. Grant, however, kept insisting that we should go to the hospital.

Let it be known that Grant was right.

After an hour of timing contractions, and trying to see if they would stop if I changed positions or took a bath, we decided to head to bed around 11 PM to get some sleep. I fully expected the contractions to stop, but I ended up laying in bed timing the contractions every 6-7 minutes. They were really hurting by that point, so it began to dawn on me that this was probably real labor.

Around midnight, I climbed out of bed, and decided to have a snack, feed our pets, and read a few chapters of my book. The contractions kept coming. I knew it was time to call the doctor and head to the hospital. After speaking to the doctor, I called my dad to come stay with the kids. Shortly after that call, the contractions began coming much faster, and I was in agony.

By the time my dad arrived, I was on my hands and knees on the floor, crying. The contractions were coming every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

The drive into the city was the most agonizing drive I've ever taken. It didn't take us long to get there, but it felt like it! Grant was a nervous wreck, and I was in horrible pain. The contractions continued to come every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Just when a contraction would ease, I'd start to get another one. We both thought that I might deliver in the car!

Grant was right. We should have left when the contractions became regular!

Fortunately, we made it to the hospital after 2 AM, and Grant rushed me up to labor and delivery. The standard procedure is to go to triage first to determine if you are really in labor. However, after the nurse witnessed 2 contractions that caused me to double over in pain within the time it took to give them my name and get weighed, she rushed me to a real room, and immediately checked me. Well, checked me after they were able to pull me up off the bathroom floor. I was 5 cm and fully effaced.

The next hour or so was a blur. I was in so much pain that I can't even remember everything that happened. The labor and delivery ward was completely empty, so I had everybody's attention. The nurses worked quickly to get me hooked up to everything, and had the anesthesiologist in the room soon after.

My anesthesiologist was a Godsend. With both of my previous epidurals, the needles got broken or bent, so I had to be stuck twice. This doctor worked with my contractions, and had the epidural in place in a matter of minutes. Soon, I began to feel relief. I have never felt that much pain before!

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I had an issue with my blood pressure dropping (the needle jammed into my thigh hurt worse than the epidural) and with getting really itchy, just like my labor with Lexie. My water broke, and at that point, I didn't feel any more contractions. Once I was feeling happy and pain-free, Grant and I made our guesses. Grant said boy, I said girl. I was fairly convinced all along that Nugget was a girl, and I made my final prediction based on the high heart rate.

When my doctor checked me immediately after the epidural, I was 7 cm. Right after that, he had to go to the OR for two c-sections. I didn't see him again.

The nurses decided to just leave me be, other than checking in on me, because there was no doctor available. The only thing I felt was pressure every time I had a contraction, but it didn't seem like a big deal. The pressure continued for almost 2 hours, and as soon as my doctor's replacement arrived at 6:30 AM, they sent him in. I had never met this doctor before, but I ended up liking him more than my regular doctors!

When he checked me, he realized that when my water broke, part of the water filled sac blocked my cervix. With each contraction, I was feeling the baby's head push that down. He broke that sac, and Nugget's head immediately came down. It was at that moment that he announced that I was fully dilated, and probably had been ready to push hours ago!

Unfortunately, there was meconium, so he had to call a NICU pediatrician to be present at the birth. I ended up feeling a bit disappointed. It was the middle of the night, so nobody was able to make it into the delivery room with us, as planned. Grant had to be my labor coach and the photographer. We didn't take many pictures during the labor and delivery, as planned. The biggest disappointment was the fact that Grant wouldn't get to cut the cord and I wouldn't be able to hold my baby immediately after she came out. This was the third time that happened. Dylan was a considered to be a preemie, and Lexie had a heartrate fluctuation during labor. Nugget was going to be rushed away, just like my other two babies.

The pediatrician didn't show up until shortly after 7 AM. It was so hard not too push in that half hour of waiting!

During the third set of pushes, in the quiet of the labor and delivery ward, as the sun rose over Pittsburgh, my precious baby was born. It was 7:24 AM, on August 3rd, just minutes after I began pushing. With the last push, I sat the entire way up, and watched her emerge into the world. As I laid eyes on my baby girl, my heart exploded with love for her. Grant shouted out, "It's a GIRL!!!" and tears began running down my cheeks.

The nurse rushed away with her, and Grant and I gripped hands and celebrated the birth of our baby girl. I quickly shooed him away to be with her, and after a few minutes, she began crying. It was the best sound!

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The pediatrician finally gave our 8 lb 12 oz 22 1/4 inch baby a clean bill of health, and handed her over to Grant and I. Despite being tongue-tied, she quickly began nursing like a champ. I fell head over heels in love with her.

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Just after the doctors and nurses cleared the room to give us a few minutes of privacy with Liliana, my parents and the kids arrived. They had just missed her birth! Dylan and Lexie were so excited to hear that they had a sister!

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Our new family of five spent some time together before my parents took Dylan and Lexie home. We gave them gifts before they left-a Lego Hero Factory figure for Dylan and a stuffed owl that Lexie had seen a few weeks earlier. Lexie cried when the nurse took her baby sister away to the nursery, and declared, "I miss Willwee!"

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We stayed in the hospital all day Wednesday and Thursday, and went home on Friday, at noon. Grant took off work for over a week, so he never even left the hospital. Although we were frequently interrupted by doctors and nurses, and visits from family and friends, we had such a nice time together, bonding with our baby girl. Plus, not having to worry about meals was nice, especially since my morning sickness was gone, and I could finally eat!

After the birth, we were moved over to the maternity ward, and we settled in to our new room.
Liliana was an angel! She was so sweet and cuddly. We spent the entire time holding her, just because we could!

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My sister came to visit that afternoon, followed by a visit with my best friend and her husband. That night, after being awake for almost 48 hours, we quickly fell asleep! Lily went to the nursery to get some tests done, and I got to sleep for a 3 1/2 hour stretch, which felt amazing!

On Thursday, another sister and my nephews came to visit. After they left, we spent the next few hours cuddling with our sweet girl.

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That evening, our hospital treated us to a celebratory dinner. It was delicious, and the guest of honor was the best part!

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After dinner, Grant's mom and brother came for a visit. When they left, we were officially exhausted from two lazy days in the hospital, and interrupted sleep!

That night, we had an interesting incident. Our shower in our bathroom turned on by itself. Grant and I just stared at each other, and moments later, the nurse came into the room and asked who was taking a shower. We told her that we were wondering the same thing. She was thoroughly freaked out after going into our bathroom and realizing that the knob was actually turned on, and then told us about rumors of a ghost in the maternity ward. ;)

On Friday morning, we were ready to go home. Okay, so I could have easily stayed another day, but Grant was definitely ready!

Realizing that our photos from the hospital were seriously lacking, I snapped a few pictures before we headed home.

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Lily and I were finally discharged, and just like that our hospital stay was over. It was bittersweet, because all the excitement had passed. Lily cried the entire way to the car, but soon fell asleep.

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After a quick stop to meet her PapPap and great grandma, we brought Lily home. Pink balloons adorned our front porch and a sign made by Lexie and Dylan waited for us in the kitchen.

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Dylan and Lexie were thrilled to have their baby sister home.

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My parents stopped by to bring us dinner and to see Lily again, and then we were on our own. The kids adopted a new bedtime routine: snuggling with Lily before they go to bed!

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After Dylan and Lexie fell asleep, Grant and I snuggled up on the couch with our beautiful baby girl between us.

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Life is perfect with Lily now in it!

14 comments:

  1. Great post! Amazing how fast a year flies by. And I can't get over how young Lexie & Dylan look :). Happy first birthday to your baby :)

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  2. I love this post! The pictures of the older kids with Lily are SO sweet! I hope Lily has a great birthday tomorrow!!!

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  3. this brought tears to my eyes...so sweet!

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  4. Awh, tears!! She's just so perfect, and look how young Lexie and Dylan look! My goodness.

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  5. What a sweet family. Maybe it's because she was so big (good job momma) but her little face is the most perfect little newborn face.

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  6. LOVE this post! Happy Birthday to your sweet Lily. Lexie and Dylan look so much younger just a year ago, it's crazy how fast time flies.

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  7. The pictures are fabulous! You look amazing! You would never know that you were having a baby or had one. The year has gone by so fast. You have captured so many wonderful memories in the beautiful pictures you take and in your blog! I hope you are well! Have a great day and enjoy the birthday! I just thought about it. She is a Leo like my daughter. Such a great thing! :)

    Mama Hen

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  8. Aww, such a sweet story! I am glad to hear that everything went so smooth & quick! Lily is a beauty!!

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  9. Wow! All the kiddos have changed and grown soooo much over the last year :) I hope Miss Lily has a wonderful birthday!

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  10. I enjoyed reading the story of Lily's birth -and I don't think I've ever seen anyone so photogenic in their birth photos with the baby!! You look so relaxed and happy...

    beautiful family.

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  11. Awwww!!! So sweet. Isn't it crazy when they're all: don't push! And you're like, HOW CAN I NOT PUSH?!? Lol Happy Birthday Liliana. It's wonderful to know you! XoXo

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  12. Loved reading Lily's birth story!

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  13. Such a lovely post! I am still in denial that a year had already passed!

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